Category Archives: On my mind

Mondays with Megan-Is 2012 My Lucky Year? The Proof is in the Pudding!

My seven-year-old nephew started a new tradition this year for New Year’s Eve-rice pudding with an almond in it. This is actually a popular Christmas Eve tradition in Norway, Denmark, and Finland. According to the tradition the cook places one whole almond in the rice pudding and whoever gets it in their serving will have good luck for the year or get an extra present. Well my friends, I got the almond and so far I’ve been feeling pretty lucky. Two lucky things happened last Friday.

1. I received a phone call telling me I won a box of books from Amazon Publishing after being 1 of 15 randomly selected winners of a School Library Journal giveaway. I am excited to see what I won!

2. Author Antony John generously offered to do a Skype interview with my book club after we discuss his book, Five Flavors of Dumb! They don’t know this yet (unless they are reading this) but they will find out when we meet in February. How cool is that? We will be talking with Mr. John in March so if you have any questions for leave him, me a comment and I will do my best to get them answered for you. In the mean time, go out and read his book if you haven’t already; it’s a great feel-good read.

I’d say things are looking good so far. How about you? Is 2012 going to be your good luck year too?

Happy Reading!

˜Megan

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Final Thoughts on 2011 and Looking Ahead to 2012

First, a HUGE thank you to all of you out there reading my blog. What began as just another thing on my To Do list has become something that I love and look forward to doing. I have a few new ideas for this little spot in the new year, so stay tuned.

Now, on to the goals. I have given this a lot of thought and I have decided not to join any reading challenges in 2012. I will continue to set reading goals for myself, but they won’t be anything that I obsess over. Sad, but true, my lists and goals make me a little nutty. This year I read A TON. I read some awesome books, but somewhere along the way it became more about meeting my goals and less about just enjoying the book in front of me. I was always thinking ahead to what was next. With this in mind here are my reading goals for 2012:

1. Read from the shelves and discover “new to me” authors.

Why? I love being the one to order the new (YA) books and then getting to read them first. In the library world this is a.) part of the job description to keep current with new releases and b.) cool. There is a problem with this. The hot new releases that everyone wants are rarely on the shelf so people need to know what to read while they wait their turn for The Next Big Thing book. I short, I want to beef up my list of “go to” recommendations and read more of the gems I may have missed. The key here is to find a balance between old and new.

2. Read a variety of formats and genres.

Do you see how I am setting myself up for success here? This will be a piece of cake! Audio and graphic novels? Check! E-books? Apparently this is not a fad! I struggle with nonfiction and historical fiction, so I will need to make an effort to read genres. I need and want to read both YA and adult books. Basically anything I read in 2012 will meet this goal. Clever, no? Again, it’s all about balance in the new year.

3. Read only things I enjoy.

I will not waste time on books that are just ok. If I am not hooked, I will pass it along and not feel guilty about it.

That’s all. I want to reclaim reading from the land of “work-related” and return it to its rightful place as a pleasurable escape. Wish me luck.

What are your reading goals for 2012?

Happy Reading and Happy New Year!

˜Megan

 

Today I am Thankful

It’s so easy to get caught up in all of the stressful hustle and bustle of the holiday season. I myself am guilty of fretting over things that in the grand scheme of things are insignificant. This week I have had a number of reminders to slow down, stop stressing, and enjoy the magic and merriment of the season. Lucky you, I am going to share.

I have been feeling quite scattered-brained this week and I have not been able to muster the concentration needed for The Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare. Shocking, I know. But, the bright side of this is that I found inspiration in two small books.

First I enjoyed A Little House Christmas: Holiday Stories from the Little House Books.

I know I have talked about Little House a lot lately, but they really are just so good. This collection of Christmas stories helped put me in a holiday mood and reminded me of the things that are truly important-good health, close family, and good friends. Laura Ingalls lived in a time when a new tin cup and few pieces of candy were a Christmas windfall. Can you imagine? Life was hard and dangerous and they found comfort and joy in family and friends not material belongings. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for all the modern conveniences I enjoy, but it does make me think.

The other source of inspiration this week comes from the book 365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life by John Kralik

In 2007 Kralik, an attorney, found his life to be at a depressing low. His law firm was in jeopardy, his relationships were in shambles, his apartment was tiny and depressing, he has unhealthy and miserable as he helplessly watched his dreams slip away. That is, until he found inspiration on a New Year’s Day walk in the hills of L.A. He decided to start focusing on what he had instead of dwelling on what he didn’t. Inspired by a thank you note from his ex-girlfriend, Kralik embarked on his mission to send 365 thank you notes to people who touched his life.

I am only half-way through the book, but I am finding it inspiring and thought-provoking. It is making me more aware of all the things that I have to be thankful for in my life. In fact, I am thankful to Stacey for recommending this book to me.

Another reminder to slow down and enjoy the season came last night. After watching my nephew’s Christmas concert I drove my 90-year old grandmother home. As we approached downtown she remarked that she hadn’t seen Public Square lit up for Christmas in years. How fortunate that we had not passed the exit yet! It was late, I was a little cranky and I knew I had to be up early the next morning, but that 10 minute detour really meant a lot to a woman who doesn’t ask for much in life. And do you know what? It was beautiful!

Grandma is on the left, her 92 year-old sister is in the middle, and the 87-year old “baby sister” is at the end. Me and my sisters are on the opposite side of the table. We are sitting across of our “older” selves (I am the oldest of my generation, in the middle, across from the oldest of her generation). I am so thankful to have these awesome women in my life.

Finally, this morning I saw a house collapse on its neighbor. The new second story of the house literally collapsed to one side. I was reminded that things can always be worse. My basement may be a damp, moldy mess, but at least my neighbor’s roof is not leaning against the side of my house. Life is good.

I hope you can take a quick, quiet moment and find something to be thankful for today. It’s amazing how much better you’ll feel.

Do you have a book that inspires you? I am in the mood to be inspired, so please pass the recommendation on to me. Thank!

Happy Reading!

˜Megan

I’m Here!

Hi Everyone! I apologize for my absence, but when you have a view like this to enjoy it’s hard to think about blogging.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 In fact, I was totally unplugged on my vacation. I spent almost an entire week with the fam and it was great. I think this little getaway was just what I needed to get out of my reading funk. I am continuing to tear through the Fables collection by Bill Willingham. These graphic novels are fractured fairy tales for adults (though I would say older teens could certainly handle them). I have made a tiny dent in The Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. It’s a good thing he is a slow writer because it could take me years to get caught up in this series! I have decided to give Eragon by Christopher Paolini a go-I’m taking the book on cd home today. And finally, as soon as I finish the last 80 pages of The Fox Inheritance by Mary Pearson, I will be reading The Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. This book has gotten rave reviews and I am excited to see if it lives up to the hype. I also expect to be getting Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins any day now and The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan is right around the corner. Yikes! So many books, so little time….

That’s all for now. My brain is still recovering from my post-vacation cold.

Happy Reading!

On Not Feeling the Book Love

So it turns out that my reading rut is more of a reading funk! I am not totally in love with a book right now. You know what kind of love I am talking about? The kind where the daily business of your life is annoying because it is keeping you from the enjoying your amazing book. The kind of book love that keeps you up way past your bedtime, but who cares because you absolutely must keep reading. Yeah. That kind of book love. I don’t have it. I miss it. But I think there is too much going on right now for me to focus. Therefore, until further notice, I am only reading books with pictures in them. I will also be reading comic books. Here is my new TBR pile:

Robot Dreams by Sara Varon

This graphic novel HAS NO WORDS! Yes, please.

 

 

 

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

This is from the author of The Invention of Hugo Cabret so it is sure to be a treat.

Here is an interesting tidbit: this book is huge! It is over 600 pages long and weighs almost 3lbs (2lbs, 14.8 oz to be exact).

 

 The Plain Janes by Cecil Castelluci

I think I want to give this to my book club, so I am rereading it just to make sure.

 

 

Fables: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham

This is the first volume in a new adult graphic novel series. It comes highly recommend, and it is a book with pictures, so it’s going home with me today.

 

 

I am also taking the new Batgirl comic, a Deadpool comic, and the new Justice League comic and I am waiting for the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic. Heroes in a half-shell!

Happy Reading!

˜Megan

How to Get Out of a Reading Rut

                      

I have about 20 library books at home, I have recently purchased at least that many, my TBR list is always growing, and I have a book club book that needs to be read and yet, I am in a rut. I think it started last week with Rot & Ruin. Despite my love of zombies and all the rave reviews, I could not get into this enormous book. I tried. Really, I did. So, over the weekend I set it aside (not quite ready to abandon it) and tried something else, and another something else and another…until I finally found a book that held my interest for more than ten pages. My relief was short-lived. Yesterday on my way to work I realized that I was not enjoying my audiobook. I spent all day feeling anxious about what I should pick to replace it. I am pleased to report that I once again found the book that I needed and I am completely free of my reading rut. What did I pick?

Currently reading: A Gentleman of Fortune, or, The Suspicions of Miss Dido Kent by Anna Dean. This sequel to Bellfield Hall is a charming Jane Austen-esque mystery.

 

Currently listening to: Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling.

I chose each of these books for different reasons. I chose A Gentleman of Fortune because it is not YA. The majority of what I read is YA, and I love it. However, sometimes I miss reading a good “grown up” book. I have also been going through a bit of an anglophile phase (I have recently enjoyed the BBC show Sherlock, a young Sherlock Holmes mystery, and Downton Abbey), so it was a natural fit. The book is clever, charming, and fun and a welcome break from all the awesome YA dystopian I have been reading.

I chose Harry Potter because it is familiar. The sonorous voice of Jim Dale is just an added bonus. I have read all the books and seen all the movies and I know exactly what is going to happen next. I am enjoying the fact that I don’t have to concentrate to hard on what is going on. It’s a fun vacation for my brain.

I have found the perfect books to get me out of my rut, but there is one more thing I need to do. I need to return all of my library books and start fresh. It’s hard for me to do that, but it has to be done. Actually, I am kind of excited to have a whole new stack of books to neglect, I mean read. So, if you find yourself in a reading rut my advice to you is to ignore the books you currently have and choose something that is either familiar and comfortable or something you don’t normally read.

Happy Reading!

˜Megan

Series vs Stand Alones

I love a good series. I love getting to know the characters, watching them grow (hopefully) and experience new situations. A favorite series is comforting, like spending time with an old friend. The down side? Waiting for the next installment! It’s only in a series that you find the cruel, cruel cliffhanger ending. Or even worse? Discovering the series doesn’t hold your interest as it progresses. Which is why I totally appreciate a solid standalone. These books are efficient and get the job done without dragging things out. There is something satisfying about closing the cover on an awesome standalone, knowing that the author has said everything that needs to be said. 

The reasoning I bring this up is because I realized recently that I have neglected a few series while at the same time starting some new ones. I can’t have this, especially since some of my neglected series are complete, ready to go, no waiting for the next installment. So, it is time to tie up some loose ends. Since July is the month that gets the final Harry Potter movie, I have decided that this is a good time to dive into the final installments that are on my TBR pile.

Here’s the plan:

 Everlasting by Alyson Noël, the 6th and final book in the Immortals series. After a lot of heartache and blundering, loyal readers will finally learn the fate of Ever’s and Damen’s relationship. I really enjoyed the beginning of the series, but struggled with the middle part. I am pleased that this final chapter is really good.

Deadly Little Games by Laurie Faria Stolarz is the third book in the Touch series. A fourth book, Deadly Little Voices, is due out Fall 2011. This series is full of suspense and mystery, with a touch of the supernatural. The main character Camelia has the power of psychometry, the ability to sense things through touch. I enjoy this unique ability and am looking forward to finding out more about Camelia and her love interest, Ben.

Lord Sunday, by Garth Nix is the 7th and final book in The Keys to the Kingdom series. I have enjoyed this series on audio and have come to love Arthur Penhaligon, the young hero. Full of danger and adventure, memorable characters and epic battles, this series is sure to be a hit with readers going through Harry Potter withdrawal. It’s time I learned Arthur’s fate. *sniff*

Desires of the Dead, by Kimberly Derting is the sequel to The Body Finder. A quick glance at the author’s website did not reveal information about further books in the series, so I will have to just wait and see. This series stars Violet, a teenaged girl who can sense the echoes of murder victims and then match those echoes with the murderer. Pretty terrifying and nifty gift, huh? I found the first book to be a page-turner and loved the sweet friendship/romance between Violet and best friend Jay. I am not sure why I didn’t snatch this right up when it arrived in February, but I am taking it home today.

I think this should keep me busy for the next few weeks. Before I go let me recommend some awesome standalones that I have recently enjoyed:

1. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
2. Forgotten by Cat Patrick
3. Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore (due out July 12, put yourself on hold now!)
4. Shine by Lauren Myracle
5. Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John

Happy Reading!

˜Megan