Our Week in Books #3 2015

I promised myself I’d review two books a week this year, but have reviewed the grand total of zero so far. Which makes me 7 reviews behind where I wanted to be already. Sigh.

I also promised myself I wouldn’t acquire quite as many books, but have 24 already. On the bright side I’ve actually taken 26 to charity, so net gain is negative. Not as negative as it ought to be though.

It’s been another busy week, and quite stressful. Onwards and upwards…

Our Week in Books in Numbers
Year progress: 25/365 = 6.8%
Read 52: 1/52 = 1.9%
Picture books: 17/52 = 32.7%
Short reads: 7/52 = 13.5%

Books reviewed: none

Books read (excl picture books):
Mortimer Keene: Attack of the Slime – Tim Healey & Chris Mould (read aloud)
Mortimer Keene: Ghosts on the Loose – Tim Healey & Chris Mould (read aloud)
Mortimer Keene: Alien Abduction – Tim Healey & Chris Mould (read aloud)
Mortimer Keene: Dino Danger – Tim Healey & Chris Mould (read aloud)
Daisy and the Trouble with Life – Kes Grey & Garry Parsons (read aloud)

Books added to shelves:
Double Daisy – Kes Grey & Garry Parsons (bought from Mostly Books)
My Headteacher is a Vampire Rat – Pamela Butchart & Thomas Flintham (bought from Mostly Books)
The Philosophy Book – DK (bought from The Book People)
I Can Read French collection – 10 books (bought from The Book People)
George’s Marvellous Medicine – Roald Dahl & Quentin Blake (2nd hand from charity shop)
The Giant Under The Snow – John Gordon (2nd hand from charity shop)
3x Rainbow Fish stories (2nd hand from charity shop)
Cumulative: 24 (£32.21)

Library books borrowed: none
Cumulative: none

Books removed from shelves: 26
Cumulative: 26

A reading challenge from http://liveotherwise.co.uk/makingitup

Our Week in Books #2 2015

It’s been a bit of a rubbish week with kids ill and off school, and I’m now ill so just backdating this before I forget the details.

Our Week in Books in Numbers
Year progress: 14/365 = 3.8%
Read 52: 0/52 = 0.0%
Picture books: 11/52 = 21.2%
Short reads: 2/52 = 3.8%

Books reviewed: none

Books read (excl picture books):
The Naming of Tishkin Silk – Glenda Millard

Books added to shelves:
Please Mr Panda – Steve Antony (review book from Hachette)
The Tale of Two Beasts – Fiona Roberton (review book from Hachette)
Mortimer Keene: Dino Danger – Tim Healey & Chris Mould (review book from Hachette)
Cumulative: 6 (£1)

Library books borrowed: none
Cumulative: none

Books removed from shelves: 42 ready to go – not counting until they’re gone ;-)
Cumulative: none

A reading challenge from http://liveotherwise.co.uk/makingitup

Our Week in Books #1 2015

I used to do ‘Our Week in Books’ posts on a Saturday (or Sunday), but I’m moving to Wednesdays to fit in with the year and because I usually have more time to blog on weekdays than on weekends.

The first week of 2015 is almost complete, and I think I shall spend the rest of the year much like I did last year, asking “How did it go so quickly?!” Although maybe this year I’ll be more mindful and not have the year rush by so fast.

With my youngest child now five-and-a-half, although we still read lots of picture books, she’s now interested in listening to chapter books over several nights so we’re starting there. The almost-eight year old has also decided to listen to the longer books, and input into which ones are read, so after two years of her avoiding story time because she can read herself, I’m getting to read to both girls again. Which is lovely.

This does mean that we might not read picture books every day, so I’m not committing to 300 picture books this year, but we’ll see how we go! Jax at Making it Up is running the 300 picture books challenge for 2015.

Therefore I’ve slightly altered the format of my week updates, and my Goodreads challenge of 156 books this year is split into 52 books for me (over 150 pages, longer than an hour to read, including read alouds if they are longer); 52 picture books (I’m sure we’ll do lots more); and 52 short reads (either read aloud or to myself). So although 156 looks less than my usual 352 challenge, the books are longer.

I’m also not putting every book received onto Goodreads, but onto my spreadsheet for personal tracking, but will add review books because I need extra reminders to get them written ;-)

Again my aim for the year is to make a net gain of zero books. I have about 25 ready to go to charity, and will make a big picture book cull this year (cry!) because we do not have the space or means to store all these books. Gaining around 400 books each year is not sustainable long term. Much as I’d like a big house with a library, it’s never going to happen, and life is too short to keep hold of things that aren’t used. (More crying!) Being a hoarder at heart, this isn’t going to be easy, but I will try very hard.

Lots of boring ramble there, of no interest to anyone but me really but there we go ;-)

Our Week in Books in Numbers
Year progress: 7/365 = 1.9%
Read 52: 0/52 = 0.0%
Picture books: 3/52 = 5.7%
Short reads: 1/52 = 1.9%

Books reviewed: none

Books read (excl picture books):
Baby Aliens Got My Teacher – Pamela Butchart (read aloud)

Books added to shelves:
The Naming of Tishkin Silk – Glenda Millard (review book from Phoenix Yard)
Layla Queen of Hearts – Glenda Millard (review book from Phoenix Yard)
My So-Called Life – Joanne Nadin (bought from Poundland)
Cumulative: 3 (£1)

Library books borrowed: none
Cumulative: none

Books removed from shelves: none
Cumulative: none

A reading challenge from http://liveotherwise.co.uk/makingitup

Project 365

I’ve never joined in with the 365 photos project, because I didn’t think I’d remember to take pictures every day but a better phone I’ve been instagramming lots more so I might just manage it. But if I don’t, I’m not going to stress :-)

I’ll try to update on Mondays, so here are days 1-5 of 2015 :-)

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I’m just learning to do posts from my phone at the moment so hopefully this will work :-)

Our Week in Books #52, #52 & 2014 Review

A few days late, but here’s the last Week in Books 2014, with some summaries.

My plan for 2014 was to have a net gain of zero books by removing as many books from shelves as I gained. The actual net gain was 403. Oops. An effort definitely needed for 2015 as we’ve made a net gain of over 800 books in the last two years, which is a bit ridiculous.

This year I included books I bought as gifts in my ‘books added to shelves’ list, but also in my ‘books removed from shelves’ total. This was to keep track of all book spending, including books given away. I spent over £1000 on books, which is higher than my annual salary. So also not sustainable. Aims for 2015 is less books, and a huge cull. This will be hard.

Books are my addiction. I don’t smoke and rarely go out, but I really really don’t have the finances.

I achieved both book challenges, although I haven’t hosted #300PBs for months so really should do a final wrap-up. I won’t be doing it this year, because more and more chapter books are entering into our reading. I will still read and review lots of picture books, but not committing to 300!

I read 82 books for myself this year, but I discounted ones under approx 150 pages, or that took under an hour to read, but still exceeded the 52 reads plan with 55 books. Woohoo :-)

I’ve decided not to register every book I get on Goodreads in future, just the ones I read. I keep a spreadsheet list anyhow, and put them in a weekly post, so it’s unnecessary work that could be spent actually writing reviews.

So, that’s 2014, more or less.

Books added to shelves:
Once Upon a Time – Marina Warner (review from NetGalley)
Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops – Jen Campbell (bought from The Book People)
More Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops – Jen Campbell (bought from The Book People)
Night’s Child – Maureen Jennings (bought from The Book People)
Under the Dragon’s Tail – Maureen Jennings (bought from The Book People)
Except the Dying – Maureen Jennings (bought from The Book People)
The Scandalous Lady Wright – M C Beaton (bought from The Book People)
His Lordship’s Pleasure – M C Beaton (bought from The Book People)
Her Grace’s Passion – M C Beaton (bought from The Book People)
What If? – Randall Munroe (bought from The Book People)
Geek Girl – Holly Smale (bought from The Book People)
Varjak Paw – S F Said (bought from The Book People)
Wreck This Journal Everywhere – Keri Smith (bought from The Book People)
Lullaby – Amanda Hocking (bought from Poundland)
Daisy and the Trouble with Kittens – Kes Gray & Garry Parsons (bought from Mostly Books)
Stormy Night – Salina Yoon (review book from Bloomsbury)
Little Red Riding Hood – Daniel Egneus (competition prize from Harper360)
Manolo Blahnik and The Tale of the Elves and the Shoemaker – Camilla Morton & Manolo Blanik (competition prize from Harper360)
Christian Lacroix and the Tale of Sleeping Beauty – Camilla Morton & Christian Lacroix (competition prize from Harper360)
Diggers – Terry Pratchett (Christmas present for MG)
Usborne Sticker Dressing King Arthur (Christmas present for DG)
Usborne’s Write and Draw Your Own Comics – Louie Stowell etc (Christmas Present for MG)
The Rather Small Turnip – Laurence Anholt & Arthur Robins (Christmas present for DG)
Bad Faerie and the Grotto of the Goblins – Sue Cowley (Free Kindle)
Journey to the River Sea – Eva Ibbotson (99p Kindle)
Thinking about It Only Makes It Worse – David Mitchell (99p Kindle)
Humans A-Z – Matt Haig (99p Kindle)
The Birds Began to Sing – Simon Dillon (Free Kindle)
Dr Gribbles and the Beast of Blackthorn Lodge – Simon Dillon (Free Kindle)
Cumulative: 633 (£1014.82) (£4072.76)

Library books borrowed: none
Cumulative: 46

Books removed from shelves: 6
Cumulative: 173
57 eBooks. Net bookshelf gain 2014 cumulative = 403

Read 52 books finished in last 2.5 weeks: The Matchbox Mysteries; Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops; More Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops; The Snow Jewel; Geek Girl; Humans: An A-Z; Daisy and the Trouble with Kittens

Year progress: 365/365 = 100.0%
300 Picture Book progress: 387/300 = 129.0%
Read 52 progress: 82/52 = 157.7% (55/52 = 105.8%)

300in2014 A reading challenge from http://liveotherwise.co.uk/makingitup

Christmas and Depression

I wasn’t sure whether to write this, it being Christmas, but I think I need to get the words out if I can.

I am depressed.

It’s not a sadness, or grief. It’s a physical weight tied around my body. It’s an inability to drag myself up, to wash, to dress, to care.

Except I must do these things. I must put on the mask and interact. I must feed and clothe and wash my family.

I’m not alone, but I feel alone. I’m not left to do these household tasks, but I feel I ought to. I’m not being lazy when I stare into space, but I feel I am being.

I can hug a daughter, and I feel my heart physically ache and want to burst with love, but I also feel so distantly removed from that.

I do have feelings. I do have thoughts. But they’re trapped and being eaten away.

I laugh, I play, I talk, I hug. But I’m also not there. The hours slip through my fingers like water. I blink and the morning has passed; I blink again and it’s night.

Sleep is elusive, but then it grips and doesn’t let go, and I am unaware of the household awake around me.

I wake. I stare at the ceiling. I stare at my phone. Words drift through me and I almost wonder how to catch them.

I try. Another day. I try again.

Too Many Books, Too Little Time…

The first statement is obviously untrue, there is no such thing as too many books. But I am struggling with the second, although technically this also can be changed. But at the moment, my average of one book a week (sometimes none, sometimes many) suits my life.

Which means looking at this picture of unread books, and adding in the ones I forgot to collect together, and all the ones I want to reread, and doubling physical books with Kindle books means I have about six years worth of books I want to read NOW.

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So I’ve been staring at this picture (it’s less intimidating than looking at the actual books) and mentally culling several. After all, if I’m not going to get round to reading them in the next six years, I may as well not keep them, right?

I’m finding this a lot harder than it should be… “But what if I suddenly decide I want to read that one and I don’t have it any more?!”

Letting Go

I was going to title this Giving Up but I’m feeling more positive today and ought to reflect this.

Today I am letting go. I’m letting go of all the things that have to be done by Christmas.

Because, really, they don’t.

I’m letting go of panicking about getting things posted on time. I’m letting go of getting the photos ordered on time. I’m letting go of blogging every day. I’m letting go of stressing about the never ending to-do list.

I’m going to email the people I’ve not posted to and tell them I’m thinking of them. Because I am. And the gifts I should have packed and posted will be just as appreciated whatever date they arrive.

I’m going to relax in these last child-free moments and save my energy for being there for my children. I’m going (to try) to embrace mess and crafts for the next two weeks. I am going to play the board games endlessly. I am going to read that story again and again.

The twenty fifth of December shouldn’t be some kind of stressful deadline we must adhere too. It’s supposed to be a time to celebrate together.

So regardless of your religious orientation, Merry Christmas. I hope everyone has a calm and peaceful fortnight.

I probably will blog over the next fortnight but if I don’t find time, in not going to stress about that either. (I give myself about an hour before I’m stressing again, but I’ll try not to!)

2014 in First Lines

Again inspired by Annabel’s House of Books, a retrospective of the year’s blogging. Not that you can see last year’s any more because it’s set to private. As are 245 posts of the probably-twice-as-many that I removed in February when I had a bit of a crash. So some of these first lines are from the still-published posts, rather than the actual first posts…

January: Another year, a new set of stats! (Our Week in Books #1)

February: Oops, we seem to have acquired a lot of new books this week! (Our Week in Books #5)

March: It’s March. (Our Week in Books #9)

April: The plan today was to add books to Goodreads that aren’t there so I can update my picture books read list properly, take a photo of the books I’m going to giveaway for #300PBs and update Monday’s post at last, and write an update here of all the decluttering and tidying I’ve done in the last two weeks, with pictures. (Our Week in Books #14)

May: It’s almost like the Hoo’s Kids Book Fest programme has been made for the Chaos household. (Who’s At Hoo’s?)

June: This is a wonderful idea from Borough Press, an imprint of HarperCollins. (#BookADayUK Favourite Book from Childhood)

July: I haven’t blogged much for a long while it feels, and I’m still working out whether I’m going to return to diary blog or just write about books all the time, but writing is therapy so please indulge my rambles. (July Update)

August: It’s August already, and I haven’t finished June’s #bookadayuk. (Our Week in Books #31)

September: Another week, another set of excuses why I’ve not done much blogging again. (Our Week in Books #36)

October: A modern re-imagining of the traditional rhyme This is the House that Jack Built, with a boy playing building blocks in a farm setting. (The House That Zac Built by Alison Murray)

November: This November I am going to attempt to blog every day. (November)

December: It’s the first day of December. (Advent 2014)

Yup. I think that pretty much sums up 2014. Sigh.

Unwanted After School Activities

I’m sure I’m depriving my poor darlings of many opportunities by not signing them up to zillions of external after school classes, but the fact of the matter is I don’t drive and I have limited social energy so dragging kids on buses all over the place every evening just isn’t an option.

Besides, their tiny school does pretty well for after school clubs, even if they’re not as snazzy or well equipped as specialist clubs might be. So we have our routines, and we have help retrieving one child when the other child is ready to drop and doesn’t want to walk to and from somewhere to collect her sister.

But Christmas is different, and now Mighty Girl is in Year 3 and Danger Girl in Year 1, it’s been even more packed with after school commitments. Which, as I’m going through a period of quite bad depression, has been quite hellish.

I know many people do things after school as standard, but usually they do have cars to help. It’s dark by 4pm, it’s cold, and we have to walk everywhere, so this diary has not been fun:

Thursday 4th – see Thursday 11th, but in-laws collected MG as Mr Chaos at work.

Friday 5th – School Christmas Fair 5-7pm, both children attending and I went with them. Fortunately managed to convince them to leave at 6.30 as friends were leaving, otherwise it really drags at the end. Or after about 10 minutes in my case. And I was down to my last 80p at the time we left anyhow.

Monday 8th – Gym club for MG & DG finishing 4.15, back to school for 6pm for ‘Christmas Hour’, a mix of mini plays and poems that both girls were in.

Tuesday 9th – MG at friends’ after school, which she should have gone to the week before. Fortunately Mr Chaos can get home early from work to pick her up at 6pm, otherwise DG & I would have to bus there and back to get her.

Wednesday 10th – DG’s Nativity at 6pm. Although that ended up being taken care of by in-laws as we were ill.

Thursday 11th – MG at Art Club until 4pm, then Brownies at 5.30pm. This has been a nightmare all term, as by the time DG & I get home there’s about 20 minutes before we have to pick MG up (and DG will go very stubborn about going out again); then we have an hour before dropping MG off again (and DG will get stubborn about leaving, because she wants to stay at Brownies all the time.) Normally MG’s godmother (and Brownie leader) drives MG back at 7.30pm but she’s on a well-deserved holiday so Mr Chaos had to get back from work to pick her up, and Thursdays are a day he has an evening meeting every week so he’s back and forth to do that, but otherwise DG would have had to do four back-and-forth walks instead of three, which I usually have to carry her on because she gets fed up. I’m not a fan of Thursdays!

Friday 12th – MG’s after school disco at 6pm. Again Mr Chaos got back from work early in order to pick her up at 7.30pm so I didn’t have to drag DG out yet again.

Monday 15th – MG to Youth Club disco with friend. Fortunately no back-and-forth to drop her off with DG this time because MG went went home with friend after school. Disco 6-8pm. Phone call at 7.25pm because MG couldn’t take the noise and busyness of the disco any more. She basically sat in a corner the rest of the time anyway. I’m really proud of how she went to both discos though. Fortunately Mr Chaos was home in time.

Tuesday 16th – KS2 carol service, 6pm. MG is Mary in this one apparently. At least we can stay to this one, although not sure if Mr Chaos can get home in time.

Mr Chaos is the website department for an Oxford college, which involves creating all the content including photos and video and at this time of year he has lots of evening events to attend, which has made things even harder. Plus me being in a slump of depression adds even more strain.

MG and DG are exhausted. Mr Chaos is exhausted. I’m exhausted. We’re late to school every morning. I’m looking forward to the end of term…