Top 10 Winter Books to Read

It’s the mosttt wonderful tiiiiime of the year! After saving PTO patiently all summer, I can soon take a chunk of time off to indulge in some personal readathoning. Here’s ten books I’m hoping to read this winter, a mere fraction and in no particular order:

  1. Datura by Leena Krohn (in progress) – Enjoying this surreal Finnish novel!
  2. The Boy in the Mask: The Hidden World of Lawrence of Arabia by Dick Benson-Gyles – Yes, I know, another LoA book. 😆
  3. Live Not by Lies: A Manual for Christian Dissidents by Rod Dreher – I have So Many Thoughts already on this topic… very interested to hear what this author says!
  4. The Transpacific Experiment: How China and California Collaborate and Compete for Our Future by Matt Sheehan
  5. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro – Second try…
  6. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
  7. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
  8. Bluebeard’s First Wife by Seong-nan Ha – Random book of spooky short stories I found on Overdrive. 😀
  9. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens – Not making any commitments to a chunkster here, but I’m falling in love with Dickens again as I read A Christmas Carol. I’ve never read DC, only seen films.
  10. The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (reread, already started)

All that to say, I’m sure this list will change tomorrow…

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Top Ten Non-Bookish Hobbies

Here’s a little levity for this angsty day: my top ten hobbies outside of reading!

  1. YouTube – I’m one of those hypocrites who is proud for not owning TV, while watching YouTube all day. 😆 It’s not all mindless… I listen to music and podcasts when I work, and sometimes political commentary in the evening, and then the occasional lecture or long interview. My current guilty pleasures are comedy skits and K-pop music videos (which I never-in-a-million-years thought I’d get into. See, people can change.).
  2. Music – I play piano and violin, when the mood strikes me. On my other blog, I listen to and analyze pop music.
  3. Cooking – A year ago, I set a goal for 2020 to learn how to cook. I started this past August, and now I cook every week and sometimes bake. Being mostly vegetarian cuts down some of the cost and unpleasantness!
  4. Writing – I love writing stories and poetry. I have a little book coming out in a week or two (self-published). More on that soon…
  5. Conversating – There’s few things so fun to me as long discussions about politics, religion, and history with someone who is open minded or at least won’t make it personal. Though I have strong opinions on certain things, I dislike debating from just one side; I prefer looking at multiple ideas and going over the pros/cons with the other person. I will sometimes play devil’s advocate if I feel a conversation is getting too narrow in scope. (My poor family is used to it now.)
  6. Decorating – Well, those of you who watch my YouTube videos know about this one. I’m fond of pictures, flowers, and figurines. I try to keep it budget friendly; most of it comes from Dollar Tree, Daiso, and Hobby Lobby!
  7. Movies – My family and I watch/rate movies together every month. Usually old movies (we have an ongoing Alfred Hitchcock project), but also costume dramas and indie films. I just started a Letterboxd account, not much on there yet but feel free to add me if you’d like; it’s sort of a Goodreads for movies.
  8. Walking – I used to walk daily and still love nature walks when I can. Recently, though, I’ve been getting my exercise at the grocery store (thanks, Freddy’s, for moving everything).
  9. Shopping – I enjoy shopping for home decor, lots of the time I’ll just window shop to see what they have. Hobby Lobby, At Home, Joanns, all those fun places.
  10. Sewing – To be honest, I haven’t sewn as a hobby in years, mostly for lack of time. I used to be really into it, making clothes and stuff. I still do small projects, like hemming pants, when I need to.
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Band Names Inspired by Classic Literature

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is a fun one—book titles that would make great band names. As usual I’m going to stick with classic literature. Some of these might already be band names (if you recognize any, let me know!). Also, what genre do you think these should be? 😆

  1. The Man Who Was Thursday
  2. Tommy and Tuppence
  3. Lord Jim
  4. (The) Old Curiosity Shop
  5. The Brothers Karamazov
  6. (The Sorrows of Young) Werther
  7. She
  8. (Far from) the Madding Crowd
  9. Fathers and Sons
  10. (The Heir of) Redclyffe

Top 10 5-Star Books(??)

Haven’t done Top Ten Tuesday in a while! This week’s topic intrigued me…top ten books you think you’ll give 5 star reviews. Being Awfully Picky, I rarely give books 5 star reviews, so this should be interesting.

  1. Conversations with Kafka by Gustav Janouch – From what I gather, this book retells conversations that supposedly took place between Franz Kafka and Janouch, a son of a friend or something. Kafka + urban legend = I’m already hooked.
  2. The Bridge Over the River Kwai by Pierre Boulle – Loved the movie, hoping the book is just as good!
  3. The Collapse of the Third Republic by William Shirer – What can I say…I have a weird/unhealthy fascination with the collapse of societies and the takeover of evil regimes (from the perspective that if we can see AND heed the signs, we can stop it from happening at home). But apart from that, this is a classic of history so should be good.
  4. Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman – This book has nearly 4.5 stars on Goodreads and SRK, one of my favorite book Instagrammers, raved about the author (which is how I discovered him to begin with). I’m kind of banking on a 5 star review at this point. 😉
  5. Tales of Hoffmann by E.T.A. Hoffmann – I read some Hoffmann a few years back; some of it was amazing and some of it was cringy. I’m hoping this is amazing!
  6. The Yearling by Marjorie Rawlings – Growing up, I enjoyed the movie, and I expect I’ll get even more out of the book now I’m older.
  7. Watership Down by Richard Adams – This is a favorite book of one of my favorite musicians (Adam Young aka Owl City), and the story sounds right up my alley.
  8. The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11 by Garrett Graff – I’m going off of this review by Stephen, who’s been known to have pretty good taste in books. 😉
  9. Le Morte d’Arthur by Thomas Malory – This will either be a 1 star book or a 5 star book, I’m pretty sure.
  10. Emily Dickinson: Letters – I’ve already read some excerpts from her letters so I have a feeling I’ll love this book.

Top Ten Character Friends

August is RACING by.  (I guess I say that every month.)  I’ve finished a couple of books over the weekend, but I don’t know when I’ll get to writing proper reviews.  Till then, here’s a quick post for Top Ten Tuesday!

Characters I’d like to be best friends with, classics and otherwise:

  1. Much from BBC’s Robin Hood.  This guy gets a lot of flak from the other members of Robin’s gang (and Robin himself), but it’s not fair… he does pretty much all the cooking and worrying for everyone.  If we’re friends, I’ll help with the cooking (even though I don’t like it) and back him up when they start picking on him.  Being my friend, he will be loyal to a fault, but also give me constructive criticism when I need it.
  2. Miss Marple.  Poor Miss Marple… I just want to protect her from all the creepers and psychos she encounters (not that I am capable, heh).  She really needs a friend.
  3. Lucian Gregory from The Man Who Was Thursday.  Ok, maybe not friends, more like frenemies.  But I feel an anarchist-poet would round out my acquaintanceship very well and make life more exciting.
  4. Tatyana from Eugene Onegin.  She’s a good soul, but she desperately needs someone to help her stand up to her relatives and give some perspective on Onegin and how he’s frankly not worth the heartache of pursuit.  (I guess that’s more of a therapist than a friend, oops…) 
  5. Gregor Samsa from The Metamorphosis. Not gonna lie, I am TERRIFIED of creepy crawlies of any size, so it would be a real challenge for us to be friends.  However, I can relate to having chronic problems (albeit not of the beetle variety); he could really use a friend to be on his side.
  6. Gandalf the Grey from The Lord of the Rings.  Master of fireworks, fighter of horrid creatures, and an overall grandpa figure.  Who wouldn’t want to be Gandalf’s best friend?
  7. Mary Poppins.  Is basically my role model for being Kind But Extremely Firm.  If we were friends we could commiserate over the nonsense of the world while sipping tea across a floating tea table.  I need this.
  8. Bertie Wooster from the Jeeves and Wooster series.  Speaking of nonsense… We’re probably too much alike to be good for each other.  But we’d have the best times gadding about town and shocking Aunts with our funemployment.
  9. Conseil and Ned Land from Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.  Conseil, Professor Aronnax’s servant, is a true nerd like me.  On the other hand, I share Ned Land’s abhorrence of being a prisoner, even on the Nautilus.  I would help them figure out a solid escape plan, while trying to minimize conflict with the Professor (and Nemo).  
  10. Sherlock Holmes.  He’s smart-aleck and also knows martial arts.  Low patience with lesser minds such as myself but literally willing to battle to the death to save our lives.  Also, we’ve been best friends since 4th grade…well, since I was in 4th grade…  As for Holmes, “he never lived, but he never died.” #bf4ever