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text 2020-03-28 14:22
My New TBR Cart, or the Big Home Decluttering Project

... Part 1.

 

It started last weekend when I resolved to finally catch up with a few overdue tasks, which -- go figure -- suddenly also restored at least a semblance of order to my office.  (A colleague with whom I'm working very closely, and who is just about the only person permitted to get away with this sort of comment, had recently -- before "social distancing", of course -- wondered aloud, "What happened here?  This used to be an office once ...")

 

Part of the decluttering of my office involved finally inventing shelf space for all of last (and this) year's, as-yet unshelved books, a large number of which had taken residence stacked up on my office floor -- which in turn, eventually, also went a fair way towards decluttering my living room, where yet-to-be-shelved books had started taking up more and more space in the same manner.  In furtherance of their shelving, a while back I had decided to finally tumble to creating a TBR cart: something I'd so far resisted, because there's no place in my home where it can have a permanent space, so whenever it's not actively being consulted, it will have to live wherever it is least in the way at any given time.  But as a temporary expedient, and to whittle things down to a selection of those books I really do want to get to sooner rather than later, it may end up serving very well ... and at least, we're off to an excellent start in that very direction.

 

As per usual, "decluttering" actually started with yet more clutter, when I piled up all my stacks of unshelved books on my living room floor to then sort them by "audiobook / print edition", "read / TBR", genre, etc., in preparation of actually shelving them.

 

(For the record, this is obviously NOT the way these books had been stored up to then.  In fact, this is a sight so horrible to my eyes that it's the fastest and best motivator to get me to find proper shelving for my as-yet unshelved books as quickly as possible.)

 

I decided that in an effort to further prioritize my selection, I would stack my new TBR cart with:

 

* A few "comfort watching" DVDs;

* Audiobooks yet to be listened to (regardless whether I've already read the books in question or not); and

* Print editions of TBR books that I do not also have as audobooks.  Mostly these are books newly acquired in 2019 / early 2020, but I ended up going back to my shelves and pulling a few books from there as well.

 

And hooray, this way I actually managed to find / create shelf space for all those books not going into the TBR cart, and to stack my cart with a selection of books I'm truly looking forward to reading soon!

 

 

Now onwards and upwards to the rest of my apartment ... (ah, the things that social distancing makes us do at last!)

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text 2020-03-28 12:27
Oh, look! Matching Spines!

 

One of the results of this week's Big Decluttering Project was that rearranging my Golden Age mystery shelves finally allowed me to put up my Margaret Millar omnibus volumes in the upright position and right next to each other.  And look what I found!  I love it when that happens ...

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review 2020-03-28 01:27
A Parallel Universe/Body Swap Story Story Full of Laughs and Heart
Back to Reality - Mark Stay,Mark Oliver,Kim Bretton

Oh, boy... how do I talk about this? I thought about calling this a bundle of joy, but that means something else. A bundle of audio joy, maybe? This was just so much fun that I want to start with that. If you're looking to have a good time, this is a book for you.

 
If you read the Book Spotlight I just posted, you've got a good idea about the plot (and if you haven't read the Spotlight, why not?). But for the sake of completeness here's the gist: connected by something across the multiple parallel universes, two versions (one 18 and one almost 2 decades older) of one woman swap bodies for a few days. The older version works in PR, is the mother of a teen who can't stand her, with marriage problems. The younger version is a pop star on the verge of breaking through in the '90s. If they don't swap back, there's every sign that they won't survive in this new world. But how can they do that?

 

That sounds sort of intriguing, I hope. But the book never really feels like that kind of Fringe-inspired take on a Back to the Future/Freaky Friday mashup, because of the voice, the style and approach of Stay and Oliver—which is characterized by humor and heart. It's like early-Rainbow Rowell/Jennifer Weiner/Emily Giffin/Sophie Kinsella. These are strong women in very strange circumstances, surrounded by interesting characters responding to unbelievable situations.

 

We meet Jo on a night out with people from the office, which turns into an alcohol-fueled karaoke sensation (Jo has a fantastic voice, but a lot of stage fright). I enjoyed this chapter so much that I probably could've written 3-4 paragraphs about it alone and would've read an entire book about this woman's life (especially because what happens to her in the next couple of chapters deserved a complete novel to see her respond to). It took me a little longer to get invested in "Yolo" (the 90's version), but I came around and started rooting for her, too.

 

I am not the target audience for this (note the authors I mentioned above—some of which I only know through my wife's description). And there were a few times I asked myself why I was listening to this—each time, I decided I was enjoying myself enough that I didn't care if this was my typical read or not. There's just a hint of SF, a dollop of Time Travel (more like jumping between parallel universes), and a healthy amount of "women's commercial fiction." This is a recipe for a wonderful literary dessert.

 

I'll frequently (maybe too frequently?) talk about an audiobook narrator bringing the text to life. And Kim Bretton does that. But she does more than that—she fills it with life. Dynamic, energetic, vibrant...are just some of the adjectives that spring to mind. I was very happy when I just looked over her other audiobook credits and saw a couple of titles I was already thinking about—if she's doing them, I'm giving them a try. (although, if I never hear her do another American male accent, I'd be more than okay).

 

Funny, sweet, amusing, heartfelt, laugh-inducing, touching, comic, imaginative—and did I mention humorous? This is 606 minutes of pure entertainment. I really encourage you to put this in your ear-holes. It'd probably work almost as well in print—Bretton's great, but she has to have something to work with—but in audio? It's close to a must-listen.

 

 

My thanks to Overview Media for the invitation to participate in this tour and the materials (including a copy of the novel) they provided.

 

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2020/03/27/back-to-reality-a-novel-audiobook-by-mark-stay-mark-oliver-kim-bretton-a-parallel-universe-body-swap-story-story-full-of-laughs-and-heart
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text 2020-03-21 16:40
#StayHome24in48 -> Extended!

Hi everyone,

 

Hope that you are doing well! I'm about to enter the second week of serious social distancing, and suddenly it is rather lonely living alone abroad. I'm just so glad this is the time where we can stay in contact with other people via virtual means, or else I think I would have gone mad at this point (and I went two work for two mornings).

 

I just came across this extra Read-a-thon and while I think there will be more in the coming weeks, it was too good not to join. Although I think I will just keep posting updates after the weekend for the duration of the social distancing (here in Belgium it's currently until April 5th, but they are already saying it will probably be longer).

 

So yes, let's read.

 

What I already finished this weekend: (watch out for the reviews)

 

Ooronoko - Aphra Beth **

 

The Little Book of Shakespeare ***

 

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text 2020-02-24 14:12
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