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text 2019-01-02 07:49
My New Year Goals!
These are goals to start the year off with, not New Year Resolutions because if I don’t do them… IT. IS. FINE!! No beating myself up. Mostly reading related, of course, but also some health stuff.
 
It isn't all fun and games; I have chronic pain, with mobility issues (can't walk or stand very long), depression, social & general anxiety. Because of these, it is so easy for goals to go out the window.
 
I don't have a "workout" plan, or a "diet" or any goals like that. It is all about getting my mental health in a better place and doing small baby steps to gain some mobility back. I just want to be able to move and not be in such pain. If you don't have depression or chronic pain, you might never understand how hard it is to crawl out from the darkness or to push beyond the pain to do a thing that gives you more pain in the moment. It is a vicious cycle and not an excuse or laziness!
 
The things below are goals, things I wish to keep up with, but I am going in realistically, knowing I'm going to fall and stand back up many times. Depression even makes things like reading and writing hard to do sometimes and not feel fun. No beating myself up when I fall down!
 
Daily Creative Brain Goals:
 
Read or write for at least 20 minutes when you wake up, before getting online and at least 20 minutes before bed (Replace with meditation when needed
 
Daily Healthy Brain Goals:
 
Meditate:
Monday - 5 Minutes
Tuesday - 10 Minutes
Wednesday - 15 Minutes
Thursday - 5 Minutes
Friday - 10 Minutes
Saturday - 15 Minutes
Sunday - Any length or off
 
Music:
All the music!!!
Find and listen to a new song/artist
Music is life!
Sing along, hum, chair dance, or wave your arms like you are a conductor
 
Love:
Think of 1 thing you are thankful for before going to bed, no matter how small, big, silly or weird
Say "I'm worth living, I matter, I'm meant to be here!" whenever death is on your mind
Every time you think something negative about yourself, imagine you going back in time and saying it to yourself as a child; you wouldn't, so why say it now?
 
Daily Healthy Body Goals:
 
Stretching:
5-10 before yoga
 
Yoga:
Monday - 5 Minutes
Tuesday - 10 Minutes
Wednesday - 15 Minutes
Thursday - 5 Minutes
Friday - 10 Minutes
Saturday - 15 Minutes
Sunday - Any length or off
 
Cardio:
5-10 after yoga
 
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Monthly Creative Brain Goals:
 
Read at least 1 physical book I own
Read at least 1 Kindle book I own
Read at least 1 library book (Support the library!!)
Read at least 1 thing you can not track on Goodreads! Be free, you don't have to track everything! (Fan work, an interesting article...etc.)
 
Write at least 1 short story
Write at least 1 poem
Write a few times a week in a journal
 
Monthly Healthy Brain Goals:
Research & learn about something new
Read about interesting people
Play trivia games or take quizzes on a variety of subjects
 
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Overall bookish goals:
 
Read more diversely, read more “new to me” authors, more authors with different backgrounds than the one I have, read more translated work
 
The Read Harder Challenge is great, but I won't stress it and think I have to hit every challenge in the year. Reading should not be stressful!
 
Here are the challenges: (If you have any book suggestions, let me know!)
 
Read:
1. An epistolary novel or collection of letters
2. An alternate history novel
3. A book by a woman and/or AOC (Author of Color) that won a literary award in 2018
4. A humor book
5. A book by a journalist or about journalism
6. A book by an AOC set in or about space
7. An own voices book set in Mexico or Central America
8. An own voices book set in Oceania
9. A book published prior to January 1, 2019, with fewer than 100 reviews on Goodreads
10. A translated book written by and/or translated by a woman
11. A book of manga
12. A book in which an animal or inanimate object is a point-of-view character
13. A book by or about someone that identifies as neurodiverse
14. A cozy mystery
15. A book of mythology or folklore
16. A historical romance by an AOC
17. A business book
18. A novel by a trans or nonbinary author
19. A book of nonviolent true crime
20. A book written in prison
21. A comic by an LGBTQIA creator
22.A children’s or middle-grade book (not YA) that has won a diversity award since 2009
23. A self-published book
24. A collection of poetry published since 2014
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review 2018-11-19 20:00
SuperMutant Magic Academy / Jillian Tamaki
SuperMutant Magic Academy - Jillian Tamaki

The New York Times and New Yorker illustrator Jillian Tamaki is best known for co-creating the award-winning young adult graphic novels Skim and This One Summer—moody and atmospheric bestsellers. SuperMutant Magic Academy, which she has been serializing online for the past four years, paints a teenaged world filled with just as much ennui and uncertainty, but also with a sharp dose of humor and irreverence. Tamaki deftly plays superhero and high-school Hollywood tropes against what adolescence is really like: The SuperMutant Magic Academy is a prep school for mutants and witches, but their paranormal abilities take a backseat to everyday teen concerns.

 

My first thought on this is that I am wayyyy too old to truly appreciate this graphic novel! I liked the idea of a school for mutants and witches and I’m pretty sure that this would have totally been my jam when I was in junior high school. Because, let’s face it, we all feel like mutants when we’re in junior high.

It was definitely a creative way to illustrate all the problems that we have at that age: where do we fit in? What are our talents? What will be do after graduation? Or even today after school? Do our marks matter? Does that cute boy/girl know that we exist?

I can still relate to some of it—don’t we all still feel like mutants some days? But those days are fewer and farther between the older that I get. I know that I can support myself and run my life successfully on the majority of days. If I could talk to my teenage self that would be my message: you’re going to be okay. Loosen up and enjoy things more. Too bad that wisdom only comes to us once we’re short on the energy to appreciate it fully.

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text 2018-11-02 13:58
Reading progress update: I've read 190 out of 256 pages.
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader - C.S. Lewis,Pauline Baynes

 

My First Task of the Festive Season!

 

Reading a book from a completed series.

 

Plus, it fits with my previous reading plans for 2018.  Two birds, one stone.  So to speak.

 

Should finish it up on Saturday at the latest.

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review 2018-09-10 17:15
Pagans / James J. O'Donnell
Pagans: The End of Traditional Religion and the Rise of Christianity - James J. O'Donnell

A provocative and contrarian religious history that charts the rise of Christianity from the point of view of "traditional" religion from the religious scholar and critically acclaimed author of Augustine.

Pagans explores the rise of Christianity from a surprising and unique viewpoint: that of the people who witnessed their ways of life destroyed by what seemed then a powerful religious cult. These “pagans” were actually pious Greeks, Romans, Syrians, and Gauls who observed the traditions of their ancestors. To these devout polytheists, Christians who worshipped only one deity were immoral atheists who believed that a splash of water on the deathbed could erase a lifetime of sin.

 

This was a great history of the late Roman/early Christian time period. It wasn’t quite what I thought I was getting, but it was still very interesting and written in an easy-to-read style. I thought I was going to get more about the pagan religions of the time. Instead, I learned that the whole idea of being pagan, as opposed to being Christian, was a creation of the Christians once they found themselves in the position to be able to form public opinion. As the author puts it, “Outside Christian imaginations, there was no such thing as paganism, only people doing what they were in the habit of doing.” Like those of us now who don’t really espouse a religion, but still celebrate Easter and Christmas.

The main points to know about the traditional, pre-Christian religions? ①Their gods weren’t perfect. ②The gods weren’t very nice. ③The gods didn’t care whether or not human beings did the right thing. ④The gods hadn’t created the world, either. ⑤They could help you, if you were nice to them.

The relationship between gods and humanity was much more businesslike in traditional religions. If you wanted something badly, you made a sacrifice to the god/goddess of your choice and if they liked your offering, you might get some divine help. But there were no guarantees.

If I have learned nothing else from reading this book, I realize now how completely current European and North American societies are shaped by Christianity. It is the underlying assumption of all our societal structures. Even atheism is completely shaped by its reaction against Christianity.


Also, Christianity has changed greatly since its early days, but some things never change. It’s still split into numerous denominations because its followers are prone to outrage at discovering that someone else dares to have a different opinion. That judginess and tendency towards schisms/excommunication started early and continues on to present day.

The author doesn’t talk about Neo-Pagans (except in one footnote), but the Modern Pagan movement, just by using the word ‘pagan,’ is defining itself in relation to Christianity. Christians created the concept of paganism after all. These Modern Pagans are much more self-conscious about their ‘faith’ than the original worshippers of Zeus or Thor were. (The whole concept of having faith in a god being a Christian innovation).

Amusingly, one of the ‘pagan’ concepts that has hung on is the title of “Pontiff” for the Pope. It was originally the title of the Roman official in charge of all religious occasions, regardless of deity, held in Rome under the Emperors.

The author has also written a book on St. Augustine which might also be an interesting read, although there’s a good summary about him in the last half of this book.

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review 2018-09-07 16:48
The Body in the Library / Agatha Christie
The Body in the Library - Agatha Christie

Colonel Bantry has found the strangled body of an exotic blonde bombshell lying on his library hearth - and the neighbors are beginning to talk! When Miss Marple takes an interest, though, things begin to move along nicely, and its all far more convoluted - and sordid - than the genteel Bantrys could have imagined.

A curmudgeonly financier, his self-absorbed adult children, a couple of pragmatic and clever hotel workers, tons of money and influence, a wild local lad, some smitten girls, the film business, mix into a classic Christie plot filled with twists, turns, and double-backs galore. Plus the glorious settings of A Great House, a fancy Hotel, and an excessively genteel little village, and let's not forget Miss Marple...

 

 

I read this book for the Terror in a Small Town square of my 2018 Halloween Bingo card.

Another Miss Marple mystery, which Dame Agatha crafted carefully to deceive the reader. One mystery author quoted on the cover claims that no matter what twisty thing you think up, you soon find that Christie did it first. This is why she is still the Queen.

Miss Marple knows human nature—she’s an observant woman who has lived in a small village all of her life and has taken note of the goings on. She’s been an employer too, having hired and fired maids and other assistants over the years. There’s nothing like job interviews to teach you about paying attention to details of human behaviour.

I loved Dolly Bantry, who states that if a murder is going to be committed in her house, she’s going to enjoy it. She summons Jane Marple and they begin their investigations by bullying a young copper into letting them have a good look at the body. A reminder of how strong class differences still were at this point in history. Inspector Slack is obviously on the forefront of the change in respect for the gentry and is viewed with some distaste by his boss, Colonel Melchett, as a result.

I had to laugh when one of the young men in this story bragged about having autographs from Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christie! I enjoy the work of both of these women and I don’t blame him for his excitement.

So was is Colonel Bantry in the library with a rope? No need to play the game of Clue to find out, just enjoy this compact little mystery. It is a fabulous way to spend an evening.

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