Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The Stay at Home Reading Challenge

At Ramonamead.com:

The idea for a mini-reading challenge, to occupy our minds during this weird time, came from my writing partner and fellow book lover Lisa. I took her idea and ran with it, my original thought being to give you prompts to read stuff you’d have lying around the house, a bookish scavenger hunt, if you will. But don’t hesitate to include items borrowed from the library, whether they’re physical or digital, or anything else you might buy online.
This can work retroactively too. If like me, you’ve already been home for two weeks, feel free to count anything you’ve read in that time!

The Stay at Home Reading Challenge

  1. Read a book on your shelves with less than 250 pages: Soul Surfer--Bethany Hamilton
  2. Read a children’s book: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone--J.K. Rowling 
  3. Listen to an audio book read by a celebrity: The Poets' Corner--John Lithgow
  4. Read a magazine from cover to cover (digital counts): Foundry, October 2019 Edition
  5. Read at least one chapter outside, on your patio, porch, deck, balcony, etc: Read one chapter outside on April 9

Challenge completed on April 17

Monday, March 30, 2020

What I've Been Doing

I keep hoping I will come up with something to write while holed up at home. It's the second full week and not a thing has come to me. It's too bad, and with all the time I have I want to. But I guess something will come in time. It's been 10 days since I last blogged. Even that has gotten slower during this time. But an idea for something will come up, I just know.

On the other hand, I have gotten a lot of books read that I have at home. I am currently finishing up The Stand. I was little scared of reading that one, because of both the length and the subject matter. But since my mom has it at home and I cannot visit the library for a while (no telling how much longer now), I decided to give it a go. One of my reading prompts this year is a book over 1000 pages and another is a Stephen King novel, two things I rarely read. I don't expect to read another book over 1000 pages, at least not this year. And this book has both prompts covered.

And two of the ebooks I put on hold on the Northern California Digital Library have come in. I'm still not a big ebook reader yet, but doing so seems necessary at this time (when the actual library is closed), to be able to read what I don't have at home. Audiobooks are also available this way, and I have listened to one  so far and have some on hold.

I have done some art, namely the project I had planned for work last week. It was inspired by this artist's work. Some of the "dresses" he made were from food, which we would not have used in class. Some of the samples I liked:

I will admit am not that great at drawing faces and figures, and I guessed that some of the people in class would not be either, so my idea was to use pictures from magazines. I had done one at work on the Friday before the shutdown began and sadly did not take it with me. But I did some at home, and here is my take on this art idea:

I used pieces from a bingo game in both (I had gotten the game from Dollar Tree to use for art). The top photo has numbers cut from bingo cards and the numbers that the caller draws. The bottom photos contains the markers for the cards.The models are were printed from the Lane Bryant website.  I will be holding onto this art project for when we open again. 

Friday, March 20, 2020

Glad to Have Hoarded Some Books

If there is one thing I have been glad to have hoarded, it is the books I have at home. Now that the library is shut down till April, I have time to read what I have at home. The hoarding of books goes back several years. Many of them have been there forever! And there are few I acquired recently, the ones at Kmart (before its closing in February) and a few from Goodwill in the last month or so.

But I'm having a hard time deciding out of all the books I have. Something I seem to already do. I have been trying to read more from home and now I have to. Last Friday, I returned a stash of books I'd borrowed from the library, with the plans of reading from my own stash for a while. Who knows now how long that "while" will be. Why do I seem to find books I want to read at stores, then have trouble deciding when to read them? Or wait years to do get to them? I'm guessing I am not alone on this.

But even as I try to make my way through my books at home, I discovered how to read them online through the Northern California Digital Library. So far, I have only borrowed one book this way and have several on hold, many of which have a waiting period of "about six months." I never really got into reading e-books until recently (don't have an e-reader, but have other ways to read ebooks).

One thing I'm glad about is that I don't have a lot of hoarded books so as to make my house look like what is seen in the photos below:

I cannot imagine areas of my house looking like this.  I don't know what I would do if this happened. Some of the stacks of books in the pictures look about ready to fall over.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Dealing With the Current Situation

I just want to let everyone know I'm doing my best to stay safe in light of the current situation, and I hope you all are doing the same. It's been hard staying home most of the day, but I'm making the best of it. Work is still on, unless I hear otherwise. The youth group that comes in the same building after the adults has been canceled for two weeks. The county library was open, but is now closed until April 7.  The local high school's play "Grease" was supposed to begin this Friday. And my writers lab and all other classes offered through the arts council have been cancelled until April. And as many of you have already heard, the stores have been crowded, but I make sure only to go when needed and only get what is needed. Last night a customer ahead of me bought over $500 of groceries. And for the record, I have not been one of those toilet paper-hoarders!

I have not felt much like writing, despite having to be home most of the day. I was not even sure if I was even going to mention this on my blog at all. But as I said I just wanted everyone reading this to know how I am doing and want to know how you are also doing. This will pass.

And on a side note, I now have time to read some of the books I have at home. Which I have already begun to do.

Everyone do your best to stay safe.

UPDATE: I just learned I will be off work until April 8. The behavioral health office has made the decision to close the center until then.

It has also been raining in my area, so that too has kept me home most of the day.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Born Under the Wrong Sign?

I saw this today on a Facebook group I joined:

This is very weird, as sci-fi is one of the genres I read the least often. Contemporary, retelling, rom-com, fantasy and historical are some I read more often--some of those more than others. Not very big on steampunk or tragedy, guess those two were right. Only some horror, thriller, paranormal and dystopian for me--those had to be right also.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Tsundoku: The Practice of Buying More Books than You Can Read

I saw this on Facebook the other day. I guess I am guilty of this. Except I don't use an e-reader, though I have downloaded some books from Project Gutenberg onto my computer on iBooks and even those get neglected for a while before I read them. I can only take so much looking at screens each day. And can only take so much audiobook listening each month. I have been trying my best to stay away from the library, but it's hard not to want to go there. But I do make it a point to read some of the stuff I have at home, as many as I can per month. Printed books are my most preferred format.

From the link above:
The Japanese word describes piling up books to save for later ... even if you'll never actually read them.
"Even when reading is impossible, the presence of books acquired produces such an ecstasy that the buying of more books than one can read is nothing less than the soul reaching towards infinity." – A. Edward Newton, author, publisher, and collector of 10,000 books.
Are you one of us? A master of tsundoku? Mine takes the shape of the aspirational stack by my bedside table – because I am going to read every night before bed, of course, and upon waking on the weekends. Hahaha. My tsundoku also takes shape in cookbooks ... even though I rarely cook from recipes. And I think I most fervently practice tsundoku when I buy three or four novels to pile in my suitcase for a five-day vacation. Sometimes not even one sees its spine cracked.
Thank heavens the Japanese have a word to describe people like us: tsundoku. Doku comes from a verb that can be used for "reading," while tsun "to pile up." The ol' piling up of reading things.
"The phrase 'tsundoku sensei' appears in text from 1879 according to the writer Mori Senzo," Professor Andrew Gerstle, a teacher of pre-modern Japanese texts at the University of London, explains to BBC. "Which is likely to be satirical, about a teacher who has lots of books but doesn't read them." Even so, says Gerstle, the term is not currently used in a mocking way.
Tom Gerken points out at BBC that English may in fact seem to have a similar word in "bibliomania," but there are actually differences. "While the two words may have similar meanings, there is one key difference," he writes. "Bibliomania describes the intention to create a book collection, tsundoku describes the intention to read books and their eventual, accidental collection."
Mmm hmm, guilty as charged.
It's interesting to consider the future of books right now – and the potential fate of words like tsundoku. We have dedicated e-readers and phones and tablets that could easily spell doom for the printed page. We have tiny houses and a major minimalism movement, both of which would seem to shun the piling of books that may go eternally unread. We have increasing awareness about resources and "stuff" in general; is there room for stacks of bound paper in the modern world?
While generally uncluttery, treehugging me thinks that transferring my tsundoku to a list of digital editions rather than a stack of physical ones might be the way to go ... the truth is, real books that one can hold in the hands are one of the things that I am loathe to abandon. I love the smell, the weight, the turning of pages. I love being able to easily flip back a few pages to reread a sentence that persists in my memory. And maybe, apparently, I love buying books that, ok, maybe I don't seem to actually read.
So here's the deal I've made with myself. I will resist fast fashion and crummy unsustainable food and a bunch of plastic crap that I don't need. And in return, I will allow myself to engage in some tsundoku – besides, it's not actually a waste because of course, I'm going to get to that teetering stack of books someday, really. And if the Japanese have a poetic word for it, it must be all right.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Chapter Break Bingo – March 2020

Here is the card for March.

March Bookish Bingo

My books:
  1. The House of the Spirits--Isabel Allende (7 squares): Physical Book, Library Book, Over 400 Pages, Magic, Fantasy, Diverse Characters or Author, Not in a Series
  2. Firegirl--Tony Abbott (4 squares): Children's Book, Enemies/Frenemies, Dark Past/History, Secrets
  3. Rise of the Rocket Girls--Nathalia Holt (3 squares): Free Space, Military, Blue on the Cover
  4. Dorothy Must Die--Danielle Paige (4 squares): In a Series, Shelf Love, Suspense/Thriller, Luck
  5. Stud Rites--Susan Conant (4 squares): Animal on the Cover, Detective/Cop, Crime Syndicate, Set in a City
  6. From the Corner of the Oval--Beck Dorey-Stein (2 squares): Free Book, E-Book
  7. Sea Glass Island--Sherryl Woods (1 square): Audiobook
25 squares completed on March 20

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Paint Brush Art Dolls

When looking for an art idea on Pinterest last month, I came across these art dolls (below) made on paint brushes and wanted to do this for art at work:

I was not able to find any specific instructions on how to make these, so I looked on the designer's Etsy shop to see what she had used. She had used wood and a doll kit she had to order. I would not be able to do this, so I had to come up with a way to do it myself. The solution I came up with was to use posterboard. I tried the layers to make it more sturdy. I then looked online for vintage-looking faces and butterfly wings. The bottom part was different colored papers, plastic jewels, and glitter glue we had on hand at the center among our art supplies. The bristles were dipped in red food coloring. Here is what I came made:

I left each person to decided what they wanted on their brushes. I did not get around to making any pictures of other people's projects.