20 July, 2014

Reading in 2014 (Jan.-July)

Hey, Readers,

This year I decided to try and beat the number of books I read last year, setting myself a goal of about 20-25 books this year. It's now July, a little more than halfway through the year, and I'm nearly to that goal now! Last year I had some busy times when I really didn't read much, but this year I've gotten back into the habit (and started visiting the local library on a weekly basis!) and have been reading almost constantly through the hours I'm not working, driving, or sleeping.

Since we're about halfway through the year, I wanted to go back through the things I've read so far in 2014 and just make a few notes about each one. Because I read a lot, I tend to forget details of the things I read once enough time has passed, so this is both a way to touch base with what I've read and to hopefully stir my memory in the future. Without further adieu, here is what I've read so far in 2014 (mostly in order, so you'll see I try to alternate types of books when it makes sense to--but as I'm separating the books and plays, as well as separating the books I've re-read from the new books read, it's not entirely chronological).

The Wicked Garden: Book One by Lenora Henson
The author sent me this book upon finding my YouTube channel; she thought my viewers might be interested in it. I haven't read any of the other books in the series. The Wicked Garden centers around the character Gretchel, who is experiencing a slow re-awakening of her insights, power, and ancestral memory. It could use a trigger warning for domestic violence--I legitimately despised the one male character by the end of it. Characters in the book are often, though not all (that I could tell) archetypes, and the series is an exploration of the world of archetype as much as it is a story about history, family, and reclaiming personal power.

Me as Dani Hoo in a production of
The Westing Game, March 2014
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
I was in a production of the play by the same title that was based on this book, so I read the book as part of my acting process. A lot more goes on in the book than in the play, as can be imagined. It's a fun, funny story, full of interesting characters. It's a murder mystery type of thing, and a lot of people read it as kids, though I never did. If you've read it or if you do read it (or the play, or see the play), I played a female version of the character Doug Hoo, a teenage track star. We renamed my character Dani Hoo, short for Danielle.

Fun in a Teacup by Ian McKinnie
A friend of my bosses got them this book about tea leaf reading, and I borrowed it to read. It's short, includes diagrams and some useful instruction, but could definitely be a lot better. My overall impression of the author's tone is that it's condescending. The diagrams are all drawings, and there are only a few photographs. Much of the book is the author's personal stories of parties where he read the leaves for different people. I was confused by his various statements about on the one hand how anyone can make use of/learn this art, and on the other hand how he is much more prone to being successful because of his heritage or his family or I don't remember what.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
I hadn't read these yet, can you believe it? I sped through these tales, but tried to make them last, limiting myself to one--okay, maybe two!--per day. Since I watch the BBC show Sherlock, it was really fun to re-watch the episodes after reading the Adventures and see the modernized references to the tales that I didn't catch before. I'm sure if I read the entire canon, like my boyfriend is doing now, I'd catch even more!