The Bookworm Makes A Comeback

2015-04-30 13.36.30

Every year I resolve to read more books. I went through a huge dry spell while I was in graduate school but I never stopped acquiring a stack of books that have been glaring at me. They are in desperate need of some love. I chipped away at them over the last few years but never with a sense of urgency. Honestly I feel bad. I love having shelves full of books but I feel really bad that I haven’t read a lot of them. That’s changing this year.

Enter Pop Sugar’s 2015 Ultimate Reading Challenge. I like the idea of challenges very much. When I undertake them, I can find many reasons to drop out. Well, some of them are legit e.g. knee injury (I was actually pretty far into a challenge when that happened- I was really bummed out).

The one life event that I knew would have an enormous impact in my successful completion of this challenge is our brand new baby. What a wonderful impact indeed! The baby was due to arrive at then end of January, which he did, so I knew that January was my month to make some headway in this challenge. To date, I have read 23 books. I am exceedingly happy about that. I feel good about completing the challenge.

Here is the plan (subject to change according to my whim):

Bold means I read it; Italics means I plan on reading.

1) A book with more than 500 pages

2) A classic romance The Princess Bride-William Goldman

3) A book that became a movie Gone Girl-Gillian Flynn

4) A book published this year The Girl on the Train- Paula Hawkins

5) A book with a number in the title

6) A book written by someone under 30 The Tiger’s Wife-Tea Obreht

7) A book with non-human characters Mort(e)- Robert Repino

8) A funny book The Undomestic Goddess- Sophie Kinsella

9) A book by a female author Secrets of the Baby Whisperer- Tracy Hogg

10) A mystery or thriller The Life We Bury – Allen Eskens

11) A book with a one-word title Monstrous- MarcyKate Connolly

12) A book of short stories Roald Dahl’s Book of Ghost Stories

13) A book set in a different country

14) A nonfiction book The Nursing Mother’s Handbook-Kathleen Higgins

15) A popular author’s first book Looking for Alaska- John Green

16) A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet Trigger Warning- Neil Gaiman

17) A book a friend recommended The Happiest Baby on the Block-Harvey Karp 

18) A Pulitzer Prize winning book All The Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr

19) A book based on a true story Born To Run- Christopher McDougall 

20) A book at the bottom of your to-read list Blow Up & Other Stories- Julio Cortázar

21) A book your mom (or dad) loves Big Stone Gap- Adriana Trigiani

22) A book that scares you Bird Box – Josh Malerman

23) A book more than 100 years old Dracula- Bram Stoker

24) A book chosen based entirely on its cover

25) A book you were supposed to read in school but didn’t

26) A memoir Is Everyone Hanging out without me- Mindy Kaling

27) A book you can finish in a day We have always lived in a castle-Shirley Jackson

28) A book with antonyms in the title

29) A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit

30) A book that came out the year you were born

31) A book with bad reviews Imperial Bedrooms- Bret Eaton Ellis

32) A trilogy Unwind Trilogy – Neil Shusterman

33) A book from your childhood James and The Giant Peach- Roald Dahl

34) A book with a love triangle

35) A book set in the future

36) A book set in high school

37) A book with a color in the title

38) A book that made you cry Summer Sisters- Judy Blume

39) A book with magic The Magicians – Lev Grossman

40) A graphic novel

41) A book by an author you’ve never read before

42) A book you own but haven’t read yet The Anansi Boys-Neil Gaiman

43) A book that takes place in your hometown (or surrounding area) Death Comes For the Archbishop-Willa Cather

44) A book that was originally written in a different language The Boy in the Suit Case- Lene Kaaberbol

45) A book set during Christmas The Land of Steady Habits-Ted Thompson

46) A book by an author with your same initials White Ginger-Thatcher Robinson

47) A play Julius Caesar- Shakespeare

48) A banned book One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest- Ken Kesey

49) A book based on or turned into a TV show Neverwhere-Neil Gaiman

50) A book you started but never finished East Of Eden-John Steinbeck

Right now I’m reading Big Stone Gap. I like it. It’s a feel good sort of book. It moves pretty quickly. I am a little disappointed in myself though. My mom really liked that book and gave it to me about 5 years ago to read. It sat on my shelf. She passed away a year and a half ago and I’m just now getting to it. It takes place in the part of the country she loved. I wish I could talk about the setting with her. I recognize the names of the places she used to talk about. I wish I could talk about the characters. I desperately want to talk about the parallels to our own lives that I am finding. I am so mad at myself. I waited 5 years and lost my chance.

I took antidepressants when I was breastfeeding. AND when I was pregnant.

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Originally posted on ourhayley:

Over the past week or so, the UK press has given extensive coverage to the tragic deaths of new mother Charlotte Bevan and her four day old baby daughter, Zaani Tiana.

If you are not familiar with the story, 30 year old Charlotte, who allegedly had a history of depression and schizophrenia, walked out of her local maternity hospital with her baby daughter, and committed suicide with her daughter at local beauty spot Avon Gorge in Bristol. The press has since reported that Charlotte had been in touch with social workers throughout her pregnancy, and that she may have been frightened that her baby would be taken away from her. It has also been reported that Charlotte stopped taking her medication so that she would be able to breastfeed her daughter.

Charlotte Bevan Charlotte Bevan

Quite rightly, the NHS is now launching an investigation to look into how the new mother…

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Five Fascinating Facts about Edgar Allan Poe

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Originally posted on Interesting Literature:

1. He was the first person to use the term ‘short story’. At least, Poe’s use of the term is the earliest that has yet been uncovered, from 1840 – nearly 40 years earlier than the current OED citation from 1877. This is fitting, given that Poe was a pioneer of the short story form. Poe wrote ‘I have written five-and-twenty short stories whose general character may be so briefly defined’ in his preface to Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque. This fact was discovered by Martin Greenup – see his ‘Poe and the First Use of the Term “Short Story”‘, Notes and Queries, 60.2 (2013), 251-254.

Poe12. Poe carried on writing even after he’d died. At least, if you believe the rather outlandish claim of Lizzie Doten, the psychic medium whose 1863 book, Poems from the Inner Life, included poems which Doten claimed to have received from the…

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15 Essential Irish Novels

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Originally posted on Qwiklit:

It is difficult to dispute the place of James Joyce among the Pantheon of all literary greats, but Ireland has much more to offer than his modernist virtuosity. As a country that has suffered through famine, civil strife and poverty for decades, it is quite relieving to see just how rich their literary tradition actually is. Not only is it the ancestral home of Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw, but many of the finest active writers have a firm footing on the contemporary fiction scene. Here are some of the finest works from the post-Joycean era:

1. Edna O’Brien – The Country Girls (1960)

Edna O’Brien is a masterful prose writer who captured an era with a keen eye for the subtle and personal. Written during some of the most repressive years in Ireland after the Second World War, The Country Girls follows two adolescents as they…

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Autism, Denmark and again no link with vaccines.

Originally posted on Left Brain Right Brain:

For a while now, I’ve been hoping that someone would publish data on the current state autism prevalence by birth year in Denmark. Denmark has been used for epidemiological studies for autism since their is a national database for health care. Thus, one can obtain a count of all people in Denmark who have been diagnosed with autism. Which is not the same thing as saying they have a count of all people in the country who are autistic. One can be autistic and not be diagnosed, as we will see.

A recent study using the Danish database is Recurrence of Autism Spectrum Disorders in Full- and Half-Siblings and Trends Over Time: A Population-Based Cohort Study. It’s an interesting study and I feel somewhat guilty for pulling the time-trend data out for my own discussion. In short, the study found that if a family has one child who is…

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Alternatives to Amazon – Environmentally and Socially Responsible Holiday Retailers!

Originally posted on :

The holidays are approaching, and like many Americans, you will probably purchase a gift for a friend or family member online. As a proud Green American, however, you may be wondering how the company synonymous with online shopping, Amazon, ranks in terms of sustainability and social responsibility. We did some research on the issue, and found that by most corporate standards, Amazon does poorly in these fields. amazon-alternatives-ad-only250x

For the past year, Green America and its allies have been pressing Amazon to take action on climate change. In response, Amazon has taken two significant steps: it hired Kara Hurst, the former CEO of the Sustainability Consortium, as its first-ever sustainability director, and it revealed that the company has a goal of 100% renewable energy for its servers. However, unlike competitors that have announced a transition to renewable energy Amazon does not provide a timeline for the transition and has made no…

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Your Life on Earth

Originally posted on an idea a day:

BBC Earth has a new online feature called Your Life on Earth where you can find out all kinds of facts about how the world has change since a certain date. It asks you to input your birthdate, gender and height, but you could input any date from history.

For instance, I plugged in October 10, 1964, when the Tokyo Olympics began. Some facts I learned:

There have been 250 volcanic eruptions since that date.

A 50-year old penguin would have a family of 10 generations.

Although a quick search tells me that the average Emperor penguin only lives about 19.9 years.

The population has increased by 3.9 billion people since October 1964.

And the average life expectancy has increased by 16 years. That’s almost a full life to an Emperor penguin.

An animal called a saiga was saved from extinction 9 years ago.

A quick search tells me that it’s…

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