Not the Usual Sunday Post

img_20181110_151315.jpgIt’s been a busy weekend with an essential oil party, a birthday party, some major picking up around a massively disorganized house, putting together two special projects for school, shopping for furniture for the kids’ rooms (today), and hosting a family dinner (today).

As such, today’s Sunday Post is not going to be as organized as usual. Instead, I’ll tell you a bit about my reading experience over the past week. First off, I only finished one book – God Save the Queen by Kate Locke. I read it in its entirety, but I always had to prevent myself from skimming. I felt like the story could have benefitted from some serious editing. The story – which is unique – just dragged on and on for me. Ideas were continually repeated and it just took too much of awhile for each thing to happen.

classicsofamericanSimultaneously, I just kicked off my foray into Classic of American Literature, an 84 lecture series that costs something like $500 for a CD through Great Courses, and I bought through Audible with my monthly credit.

I’m also still reading Jeremy Benthams’ Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, but to be honest, I’m having trouble finding the right time to read. I like the subject matter, looking at morality in relationship to imprisonment is truly interesting. But I have to be in the right mindset to read philosophy, and that mindset is not at 10 o’clock at night after a long day of work. Unfortunately that’s really the only time I have to read right now.

I’ve been stuck on two books for about a month now: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath and Miss Timmins’ School for Girls by Nayana Currimbhoy. I hate to not finish books. It seriously makes me feel all yucky inside. But I’ve already read The Bell Jar years ago (and didn’t much enjoy it then) and I just don’t care about what’s happening in Miss Timmins. If anyone has any sage reasoning on why I should continue either one, speak now or forever hold your piece.

How’s everyone else’s reading going?


Sunday Post: Now it’s November

The Sunday Post hosted by the Caffeinated Reader is an opportunity to share with the blogging community what bookish things are happening in our world. So what have I been doing?

introtoprinciplesmoralsReading | In the last week, I have finished the third Lady Sherlock book! Just a marvelous series, and I sincerely thank Amanda, from The Zen Leaf, for recommending it. I just started Jeremy Bentham’s An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation as part of my “read the book before listening to the Partially Examined Life podcast” plan.

Listening |As I was eagerly anticipating November 1 and my Audible credit, I killed time bingeing Aaron Mahnke’s Cabinet of Curiosities – a wonderful 2 stories in 10 minutes podcast – and immersing myself in Dr. Jordan Peterson’s podcast. I love listening to this brilliant man so much I now have all of his books on my wish list for Xmas. I’m pretty sure I snuck in one episode of Lore and one episode of the Partially Examined Life as well.

On November 1, I browsed Audible like a crazy person before settling on Classics of American Literature (a Great Courses) which includes 84 lectures paired with a 389 page sort of textbook (an outline of the lectures with a few extras). I’m totally geeking out.

Blogging| Last week I was MIA but this week, I have a few posts pre-scheduled. On Tuesday, I share a few memories of my great-grandparents. I was lucky enough to know them and they’ve been on my mind lately. Then on Thursday, my R.I.P Challenge wrap-up post will publish. I have a bunch of books waiting to be reviewed, so fingers crossed I get around to one or two this week.

candyDoingEating Candy. No seriously. We have soooo much candy from Halloween. My grandparents’ house gets about 300 trick-or-treaters a year, and this year I thought I was responsible for providing all the candy. So did my aunt. As such, we ended up with a lot, a whole lot, of leftover candy which somehow managed to make it back to my house along with all the candy the kiddos got on our two-hour trick-or-treating extravaganza. I shall gain weight. Much weight.

Smelling | So I recently boarded the essential oils train, and I must admit that while I don’t feel like oils will solve all of life’s problems, I do very much enjoy the smell and the way they put me to sleep. Right now, I have a blend of Citrus Fresh, Eucalyptus, and Copaiba going and it’s just heavenly.

Thinking | Holy crap it’s already November. How did that happen?

Wondering | Has anyone ever read the Kate Locke series Immortal Empire series? If so, should I read it?

Loving | As always, it’s the kiddos.




Sunday Post: Here Comes Halloween

The Sunday Post hosted by the Caffeinated Reader is an opportunity to share with the blogging community what bookish things are happening in our world. So what have I been doing?

Reading | I’ve been a reading fool. Which is super wonderful. In the last week, I powered my way through Annihilation, the first two books in Sherry Thomas’s Lady Sherlock series, and two audios. Four of those even count towards my R.I.P challenge. What a wonderful week!

Watching | My tv viewing is a mish-mash now that the regular season has started, but to be honest, I’m not loving on anything in particular. Anyone have a new show they absolutely adore?

How I feel while binge-watching – Focused and Awesome


How I feel watching a bunch of different shows at once – Unfocused and Kind of Dorky


Listening |I finished Gladwell’s David and Goliath through Audible and have been eagerly waiting for November 1st ever since to get my next read. In the meantime, I did listen to an Audible original, Jonathan Maberry’s “Lullaby”.

Blogging |Last week, I posted reviews of Seraphina and Shadowscale, and then I took the rest of the week off.

Doing | Halloween prep! The kids love driving around looking at decorations, so I’m something of an expert on all the spooky houses in town. We have all the candy, treat bags, drinks, and crafts at their school ready-to-go for Wednesday. Costumes have been chosen, random decorations are up around the house, Halloween socks are on our feet, and pumpkins have been decorated.




Sunday Post: Alone Time Please

The Sunday Post hosted by the Caffeinated Reader is an opportunity to share with the blogging community what bookish things are happening in our world. So what have I been doing?

theminiaturistReading | I finished The Miniaturist, and to be honest, I can not wrap my mind around my feelings on it. I read it, I enjoyed reading it, some of the intricacies of the story were truly intriguing, and yet I was very underwhelmed throughout, as if constantly waiting for something to happen which would tie it all together. Hopefully I’ll work it all out and then get a review together soon. I’ve pretty much given up on Miss Timmins School for Girls, as in I haven’t read a word of it in weeks, so we’ll see if I pick it up again.

Listening |I’ve been loving podcasts so very, very much for the last year, that I decided, on a whim really, to join Audible. For my first book, I figured I’d play it safe and get a book narrated by a podcaster I enjoyed, so I started listening to Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath. It’s exactly like listening to his podcasts, so I am loving it.

Blogging |Last week, I posted reviews of Jean Kwok’s Girl in Translation and V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic series. This week I have a review for Seraphina and Shadowscale finally going up after three months of putting it off – not due to a lack of enjoyment. I just couldn’t figure out what to say. I’m not sure what else will be going up as I haven’t had time to write any other advance posts. 🙂

alonetimeWorking | Work has been a whirlwind these past two weeks between the TYCA conference and then meeting after meeting after meeting. I am involved in a bunch of projects which is a love-hate relationship for me. I truly enjoy the work; I love the idea of continuous quality improvement; and I’m excited about these projects. Simultaneously, the time these projects is added on top of my normal workload which is a full-time job in and of itself. Also, it means way less alone time in my life overall which is rather stressful for me. I feel like I haven’t had time to recharge as I haven’t been alone for about 13 days now.

Anticipating | I have big dreams of at least one afternoon, possibly Wednesday, where I will have approximately three hours between leaving work and having to pick up my kids. Three blissful hours of alone time where I am determined to not grade anything, clean anything, or even answer a phone call. I may just sit in silence and quite literally do nothing.



Sunday Post: After TYCA

The Sunday Post hosted by the Caffeinated Reader is an opportunity to share with the blogging community what bookish things are happening in our world. So what have I been doing?

Reading | My reading is pretty much the same as last week as I spent all week prepping for my conference presentation. So, still wishy-washying my way through Miss Timmins’ School for Girls, savoring The Miniaturist, and avoiding Descartes’ Meditations.

jordanpetersonListening |I just started listening to the Jordan B. Peterson podcast, and I am loving it. Dr. Peterson is a clinical psychologist and a professor at the University of Toronto. His podcast includes interviews and recordings of his lectures on wide-ranging topics which are absolutely fascinating. I aspire to be as intellectual and entertaining as he is as a professor.

Blogging |Last week, I posted reviews of Stephen King’s The Gunslinger and Susan Cain’s Quiet. This week I have reviews going up for V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic series and Jean Kwok’s Girl in Translation.

Doing | I was at the Two-Year College Association Midwest Conference for English teachers, geeking out on awesome sessions and presenting on my college’s hybrid project. And eating. I was definitely eating.

Loving | The last few days of summer…Well, actually I live in Illinois, so we’ve got patches of 80 degree weather here and there for a month yet; still, there’s no guarantees these days.

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Wishing and Working | Will someone please grade all my papers for me? Please. Pretty please.



Sunday Post: Well, hey there

The Sunday Post hosted by the Caffeinated Reader is an opportunity to share with the blogging community what bookish things are happening in our world. So what have I been doing?

Well, hey there! Long time no see. I’m baaaaccckkk. Again.

Reading | So in my giant hiatus from blogging, I have finished a few and started a great many books. Here’s the rundown in brief:

  • V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic series. Finished. Fantastic. Fan. Tas. Tic
  • Miss Timmin’s School for Girls by Nayana Currimbhoy. Currently Reading. Meh. Has anyone read this? Should I keep going?
  • Descartes’ Meditations on the First Philosophy. Currently Reading. I’ve made it through the first two meditations of which I’m quite the fan. I love his idea of methodological doubt. I haven’t read the next three because I’m not sure I’m ready for him to undoubt everything he just doubted which is my understanding of what’s coming next.
  • Jessie Burton’s The Miniaturist. Currently Reading. I’m tending towards liking this one despite what feels like a serious lack of action.

Watching | I finally stopped bingeing Stargate (after season 8 so two seasons to go), watched a few episodes of Stargate Atlantis, and am now off the binge and onto the obsessive viewing of random new shows on the fall lineup. I am enjoying Manifest so far, I’m feeling pretty blah about New Amsterdam and FBI, I am seriously not feeling Magnum P.I.. Those are the only new shows I’ve seen, so please tell me what good ones I’m missing out on!

Listening |I just downloaded Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath from Audible, but I haven’t had a chance to start it yet. I figured I’d give it a try since I love Gladwell’s Revisionist History podcast.

Blogging |This week I have reviews going up for Stephen King’s The Gunslinger and Susan Cain’s Quiet, two wildly different but both wildly awesome reads. I did update by Readers Imbibing Peril Challenge as I read two of the books I originally listed and added a new one!

Anticipating | I’m heading to Indianapolis this week for the TYCA Midwest Conference where I will be presenting on the Humanities & Social Sciences division’s plan to increase hybrid offerings from 3% to 60% in a two-year span, including our plans for setting guidelines for hybrid instruction, scheduling rules, student and instructor satisfaction surveys, assessment of student success plans, etc. Any other two year teachers out there who are hitting up this conference?

Loving | We all went to my cousin Tara’s wedding a few weeks ago, and this picture is the kids, at approximately 11:30pm after doing some serious dancing at the reception:

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Sunday Post: Jury Duty

The Sunday Post hosted by the Caffeinated Reader is an opportunity to share with the blogging community what bookish things are happening in our world. So what have I been doing?

Reading | In one glorious day, I read hundreds of pages in V.E. Schwab’s A Conjuring of Light, the third in her Shades of Magic series. I rarely get to sit and read for uninterrupted hours, but as I had jury duty last Monday – an uneventful, we just stayed in the room all day jury duty – I was able to read and read and read. And I’ve never seen so many people reading in one place….not even a library.

bingewatchingWatching | You guys are probably tired of hearing it, but I’m still working through Stargate SG-1. It’s my second go-round with the show and I’m still loving it. I feel like I’ve made a sort of swap over the last ten years. I used to watch a dozen shows at a time and read only one book; now I tend to read multiple books simultaneously but only (binge)watch one show at a time.

Blogging |Last week, I posted reviews of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon and Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. I also posted a 50/50 Friday on the best and worst novel set in a school which was fun.

Anticipating | My cousin Tara gets married this coming weekend, so the family and I are headed out to Iowa.

Loving | Madison got to bring home the macaw Malachi for the weekend and she was so excited. And of course, Carter was excited too. First order of business, make a mask of Malachi so we could all pretend to be him…

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I think Madison did a great job on the mask!



Something Wicked This Way Comes


Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show rolls into Green Town, Illinois a week before Halloween, tempting the townspeople with the ringing of a calliope and the tickling lure of mystery. Will and Jim, two local boys, are particularly drawn to the rather sinister carnival, the carnival that desires only to destroy.

What a beautifully mysterious tale of good and evil. I particularly enjoyed the characterization of the two main characters, Will and Jim, as diametric complements. One light, one dark. One a thinker, one a man of action. One subtle, one bold. And yet, I purposely do not use the phrase diametric opposites; for while they are opposites in many ways, they are not good versus evil. No, the evil in this book comes in a much more sinister form than that of a young boy. Evil is the circus.

Well, we all knew that. Clowns are terrifying and circuses have freak shows and mysterious traditions and a distinct yet hidden subculture; all of which has combined to lend a romanticized and dark air. But Cooger & Dark’s is more than just a dingy, dirty, dark carnival; it is alive, it breathes, it feeds. It is temptation, and that is why Bradbury’s carnival creation is so much more sinister than other literary carnivals and freakshows I have read about. Here, young boys can grow older, the old can return to youth, age is something which can be changed as easily as taking a short ride on the merry-go-round.

This story is beautifully written and I think would be a great back-to-back read with The Night Circus. Two more books for you to consider if you are participating in R.I.P.

Memorable Scene: There are multiple scenes where the boys are running, half-racing each other, but they always tie. This age, this friendship is not ready for one to win, for either to excel at or differ from the other in any significant way. They are at an age of mutual experience. These scenes were beautiful to me.

Memorable Quote: So, in sum, what are we? We are the creatures that know and know too much. That leaves us with such a burden again we have choice, to laugh or cry. No other animal does either. We do both, depending on the season and the need. Somehow, I feel the carnival watches, to see which we’re doing and how and why, and moves in on us when it feels we’re ripe.

The Sunday Post: Into September

The Sunday Post hosted by the Caffeinated Reader is an opportunity to share with the blogging community what bookish things are happening in our world. So what have I been doing?

darkershadeofmagicReading | I’m still working on the second book in V.E. Schwab’s DSoM series. I tend to be a polygareader these days, but I haven’t found another book to begin quite yet. I think that’s because going through each and every book on my shelves has put me in that weird place where I love them all so much I couldn’t possibly pick one.

Watching | I am – either sadly or awesomely – on season 6 of Stargate SG-1. I guess it all depends on how you look at it; I’ve been in a viewing frenzy recently as I’m not getting enough sleep to maintain focus during the day for reading.

partiallyexaminedListening |I started a new podcast called The Partially Examined Life in which three former philosophy doctoral candidates discuss the theories of philosophy, the philosophers themselves, and the texts they wrote. As each episode revolves around one short philosophical text, I might actually go full-on geek for this one and read the texts they discuss, and since I am sooooo far behind on this podcast, I have easy access to the lists of texts they covered.

Blogging |Last week, I posted a review of Lady Audley’s Secret to kick off my participation in the Readers Imbibing Peril challenge. This week I have a review going up for Mark Haddon’s the curious incident of the dog in the night-time and Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes.

Doing | Completely overhauling my library!!!! Seriously, it was a mess, and I absolutely hate that I didn’t take a before picture to show you guys. I really didn’t plan the overhaul; I was just sitting at home one day, doing everything except grading papers, and I suddenly went for the bookcases. I’m still not done, but here’s a quick view of where I’m at:

If I get myself going, I’ll set up some giveaways of those six boxes of books I’m removing from the shelves.

Anticipating | Jury Duty. Tomorrow. Bah humbug. I get that it’s my civic duty, but this is my FOURTH jury summons and over half the people I know have NEVER BEEN CALLED FOR JURY DUTY. I’m calling bullshit.

Sunday Post: The Long Month Recap

The Sunday Post hosted by the Caffeinated Reader is an opportunity to share with the blogging community what bookish things are happening in our world. So what have I been doing?

Doing | I’ve been on a month-long hiatus from blogging due to my two-week family reunion and then the start of the school year. In other words, I’ve been busy with a lot of this….

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Reading | I read a bit while on my fun-filled hiatus. I finally finished Susan Cain’s Quiet and loved it. The hilarious Abridged Classics: Brief Summaries of Books You Were Supposed to Read But Probably Didn’t was consumed in about 20 minutes. I finished V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic and then immediately began reading the second in the series. I’m working on that one now, and I have to say that I think this may be one of the best series I’ve read in years.

Watching | While I still throw on Shameless from time to time, I’ve been binge-watching Stargate SG-1…for like the third time in my life. I know, I know. Geek.

Listening |Revisionist History by Malcolm Gladwell and Lore by Aaron Mahnke are still my top two podcasts, but I have been listening to Aaron Mahnke’s Cabinet of Curiosities as well. While the first two are longer podcasts, approximately 30-60 minutes depending on the episode, the Cabinet tells two strange stories in about ten minutes. Great for when you just want a quick fix…like waiting in line, or on a day when the dreadmill just seems stupid…

Blogging |Since my last Sunday Post, reviews have gone up on the blog for Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha series, Kassy Taylor’s Ashes trilogy, the first part of The Wicked + The Divine graphic series, and Richelle Mead’s The Glittering Court. As I’ve been absent, I haven’t gotten to read any comments on these posts, but I promise I’m getting back in action now.

Anticipating | In the next month, the family heads to Iowa for my cousin’s wedding which I am really looking forward to.

Working | We are now two weeks into the semester, and I’m teaching three sections of Composition 2, Introduction to Literature, and Introduction to Film Study. So far my students seem awesome (to me, this means engaged and talking).

Loving | School has begun. Madison is in first grade and Carter started three-year-old preschool. *sniffsniff  It just seems like my babies are growing up so fast. Carter’s having a rough time in the morning drop off, crying because he wants me. But his teacher assures me that it lasts about two minutes and then he’s good to go. Luckily, the school is really good about sending parents pictures of what their kids are up to, so I get to see Carter having fun after I leave….and not crying in a corner, desolate and alone, feeling abandoned by everyone and suffering as I originally pictured through the tears in my eyes as I bawled in the parking lot after leaving him the first day.2018-08-17 07.27.38.jpg

So what have all of you been up to? I can’t wait to read the serious long backlog of blog posts I have saved in Feedly!!