Posts Tagged reading

a thing I’ve noticed lately

I’m not sure when it was exactly that I stopped reading blogs. It might have been around the time that I was feeling really overwhelmed by my final semester of grad school, but maybe it was earlier. Maybe that thing that so many articles talk about (attention spans decreasing with the constant use of digital technology) has happened to me. Certainly it must have happened around the same time that the gaps between my own posts got longer and longer.

Last week I realized that I have a stack of 6 or 7 books that I am currently reading. I never did this before. Before a few months ago, I almost never had more than one book going at a time. I wonder if I am allowing myself to be too easily distracted. The allure of seeing what other news articles have shown up in my news app before I finish reading this long New York Times or The Atlantic piece can prove too great sometimes.

While I stopped reading blogs, I kept using Pinterest and Instagram. It’s so much more simple to digest a photo and maybe give a click of appreciation than to read to the end of a story, antidote or article. I want to adjust how much of my time I spend looking for the next thing and try to focus on finishing what I begin. We’ll see how it goes!

three things

These are threes things I am enjoying this week:

I tried this recipe for Ham, Cheese & Spinach Puffs and it’s a keeper! I like recipes that teach me a new skill. This one taught me how to make a béchamel sauce. We had a few hot from the oven for dinner with a good bit of salad. The rest I stored in the refrigerator and they make great lunches warmed up or cold.

I’ve been reading this review of Go Set a Watchman. I pre-ordered Watchman and I am looking forward to reading and thinking through it with my friend Tiffany. We are starting our mini-book club back up with this book. (We last read Z: a Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald and The Paris Wife. They make very good back-to-back book choices for a book club interested in historical fiction.)

It’s just too hot to be outside or out of the pool right now in central Texas. But for some reason I just can’t stop looking at quilts and quilting patterns. This one is a beauty!

Gift Guide No. 5

reading & writing, pt. 6

At the end of each month I try write a short recap of the books I’ve read.

Well, between visitors and that little event called the World Cup my reading was pitiful last month. I really only read one book and it wasn’t even the whole book, just the introduction.

Erec by Hartmann Von Aue
Translated, with an introduction and commentary, by Michael Resler

Years ago, I had an amazing professor named Dr. Hart. She taught English and Irish literature and believed in giving away her books. The semester she retired she opened up her office library and invited her students to come take whatever we wanted. I adopted a large Medieval literature textbook, a collection of Swift’s poems, and Erec.

Erec is the German telling of an arthurian knight’s adventure.  I read the story part a few years ago, but skipped the introduction. Somehow the only thing I read last month was this introduction and commentary. It takes up about a third of the book and was very interesting.

Former posts:
Reading and Writing, Pt. 1
Reading and Writing, Pt. 2
Reading and Writing, Pt. 3
Reading and Writing, Pt. 4
Reading and Writing, Pt. 5

reading & writing, pt. 5

May was a busy month. It began with a flurry of last minute tasks for final school projects. A few days after my semester ended we flew to California for Joel’s grandpa’s funeral.

Now the month is finished and I have once again only read two books. The styles were quite different but both were about the transition from childhood to youth to early adulthood.

This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
I didn’t realize when I began this book that it was the first novel by Fitzgerald. I read it mainly because it was a one of the few things by him that I still haven’t read. It’s much different than his other stories in the way that it was written. I felt like it needed some editing.

But there are also the wonderful turns of phrases that are in so many of his writings. I can see why it had been so well received at the time it was published. It is an odd book. It flips back and forth between different methods of writing: typical narrative, letters, so many poems, and even a play. The play isn’t something that happens in the story. The story abruptly switches to a play format.

My favorite parts were in the character’s descriptions of his college days.

Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden
Last summer we were flipping through Netflix looking for something to watch when we came across “Tomorrow, When the War Began”. The description sounded so ridiculous that we thought if nothing else it might be a hilariously awful b-movie.

The basic promise is this: a group of seven Australian high schoolers go off into the bush on their summer holiday. When they return home a week or so later they find out that their country has been invaded, their parents and friends are interned in a local fair ground, and they have tough decisions to make.

The movie version is actually pretty well done. The book I found more tedious. Partially because I have never read much in the YA genre (when I was a high schooler I lived in Jane Austen and George Elliot novels) and the angsty, hormonal teens got a touch annoying, and partially because I think the overall story works better with visuals. The characters are often split up so we hear the story from one group’s perspective then when they meet back up we hear the same story again from the others’ point of view. It gets a little old.

And that was my May reading. What should I read next? I’ve been casually flipping through a collection of Keats because I’m trying to develop an appreciation for poetry, but I would love a good story to get lost in.

Former posts:
Reading and Writing, Pt. 1
Reading and Writing, Pt. 2
Reading and Writing, Pt. 3
Reading and Writing, Pt. 4

reading & writing, pt. 1

Back in December a few college friends were visiting and one mentioned that she was close to her goal of reading 100 books in 2013. Her comment sent me scanning my bookshelves and trying to add up how many I had read. I’m not sure of the exact number, but I know it was far below 100.

I’ve always been a big reader, but it’s a little hard to juggle a book and a sewing machine and other grad school work so the reading got pushed aside. Not only that, but I got into a terrible habit of not finishing books. Something I’ve never been guilty of much in the past.

This year I’m not setting a goal for a certain number, but I am trying to read more and to keep track of my thoughts on the books I’ve started/read/finished. I think this simple addition of writing what I think of what I’m reading has been a success. I’m not sure I would have read as much if it wasn’t for this simple practice.

reading and writing
Thank you for the lovely notebook set, Jessica!
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vacation packing

Vacation time is almost here! These are a few of the things that are coming along with me: Night Sky notebooks from Field Notes, Cheerful Weather for the Wedding, and The Moonstone. I’ve been watching this version of Cheerful Weather for the Wedding regularly this summer and I’m excited to see what the book (a novella from 1935) is like. The Field Notes have constellations visible during the summer printed on their backs.

vacation packing 1


vacation packing 2


vacation packing 3

summer reading, pt. 2

I finished The Paris Wife last week and felt a little mopey for a few days. I enjoyed the book, but it was hard to know what to pick up next. I rummaged around the bookshelves and stacks of books that seem to flourish in our house. And came across We Have Always Lived in the Castle. I remember that I bought it because the forward convinced me, in just a few paragraphs, that I should.

Summer reading

Summer reading

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it instantly captured my attention. The first half has a wonderful amount of Hitchcockian suspense and when I wasn’t reading it I was thinking about it. When thinking about it, it reminded me of Arsenic and Old Lace, and Agatha Christie novels. It also reminded me of I Capture the Castlewith a little Dickens and Mary Shelly, just a bit.

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summer reading, pt. 1

There a lot more daylight right now and for me that means a little more time for reading outside in the evenings. I thought it would be fun to start an ongoing summertime series toshare some of the blogs, books, and magazines that are keeping me entertained these days.

Hand and Hand

I heard about this wonderful new zine from Jessica. Here’s what they have to say for themselves:

Hand and Hand is a new zine celebrating the maker’s hand and mind. We believe that making is not simply about learning new skills or sourcing great materials, but about discovery, exchange and an intimate relationship with materials and practice developed over time that have connected humans for generations.

You can buy your copy over here.


I can’t get enough of Jen’s Scout Tee projects. They’re so smart and I’ve learned so much from seeing her process of pattern making and sewing. I really liked this post about making knit variations of the Scout Tee.

scout tee

You can learn how to make one for yourself over here.


We had a rare cloudy, stormy day in Austin and I stayed busy inside: baking cookies, planning a makeover for the balcony, reworking a mitten, and reading. After finishing A Moveable Feast I felt a little at a loss and couldn’t settle into any of the yet unread books I have around here. My friend Tiffany recommended The Paris Wife and it’s the perfect book to follow all the Hemingway.



It tells the story of Hemingway’s relationship with his first wife from her point of view. The writer’s style is very engaging and I’m breezing through it. It reminds me of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald in a good way.

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