Tag Archives: Reading

Literary Pregnancy

23 Apr

Maybe this is nothing. Or maybe I’m on to something. I’m not sure. Either way, I’d love if you could chime in and let me know if I’m going crazy.

I noticed this a while ago and brought it up to my husband who shrugged, brushed it off, and let me move on. But I brought it up to him again on Monday and he told me I might as well blog about it. So I decided to try listening to him for once.

Does anyone else feel like far too many fictional females get pregnant?

I’m usually not bothered by it, but I’m in the middle of reading The Alice Network by Kate Quinn which includes three pregnancies. I’m also reading The Lola Quartet by Emily St. John Mandel which involves a pregnancy. I feel like I’m surrounded by literary fetuses and I think I’m overwhelmed.

I think there are a few reasons for this. Becoming a mother is a major life change and gives a lot of character development. Also, sex makes for good plotting and pregnancy can be a result of sex so books move in that direction. Pregnancy also builds tension because of unknown due dates or unknown fathers or pending abortions. This can lead to emotional turmoil, also good for tension. These are mostly dramatic results, there’s also happiness and joy but those don’t seem to be turning up in the books I’m reading.

I noticed this first when I was reading Armada by Ernest Cline. Two of the characters are intimate once and the woman gets pregnant. It seemed a bit too convenient for me. I get that it happens and it only takes one time, but I think it happens disproportionately in literature.

And that’s where my frustration lies. Pregnancy in books seems to defy the odds of nature. The amount of failed birth control and virginity-losing pregnancies in books seems to be a good bet in Vegas. It just doesn’t seem possible. I was so convinced Eilis in Colm Tóibín’s Brooklyn was going to find herself pregnant that I was shocked when she didn’t.

Maybe I’m rambling. Maybe I’m off base. Maybe I’m spot on. What do you all think? Is the fertility of fictional woman off the charts? Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

How to Read Four Books At a Time

21 Apr

Every week during WWW Wednesday, someone will comment on how many books I read at once. Usually, it’s surprise that I’m in the middle of so many or that I’m moving forward with them all. This is something I’ve learned to do because I like reading this way. I realize it’s not for everyone or even for most people but it works for me. Here’s a brief overview of a typical workday (before COVID 19 and since COVID 19).

Pre-COVID 19

  • I wake up early to workout. This often involves a run. During a run, I’ll listen to the audiobook on my phone (Book 1).
  • After showing, I’ll drive to work. If I’m listening to an audiobook on CD, I get some of that while driving to work (Book 2).
  • During lunch, I’ll try to read some from my ebook (Book 3) on my phone and let people think I’m checking Instagram. Sometimes I do both.
  • After work, I get some more time in with my CD audiobook (Book 2).
  • While cooking dinner, I listen to my phone audiobook (Book 1).
  • Before bed, I read some of my physical book (Book 4).

With COVID 19

  • I wake up and workout, usually bodyweight exercises, and listen to the audiobook on my phone (Book 1).
  • I take a short break before starting my day to read and have my tea (Book 2).
  • If I’m having trouble focusing during the day, I read a page in my ebook (Book 3). It takes only a minute and it helps me refocus on the task at hand without getting up to explore the kitchen.
  • After work, I relax with a few more pages of my book (Book 2). I’ve turned my commute into reading.
  • While I cook dinner, I’ll listen to my phone audiobook (Book 3) or we’ll go pick up carry out to support our local restaurants and restaurant workers which allows me to listen to the audiobook in my car (Book 4).

So of course, some things have had to change. I’m getting through physical books faster and CD audiobooks much slower. I’m adjusting to that. I’ll avoid CD audiobooks and enjoy the time to make headway on my TBR shelf. We’ll all get through this and cope as best we can. To everyone else coping by reading, I salute you.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

How COVID19 Has Changed My Reading Habbits

6 Apr

I think we’re all making adjustments to the new world we find ourselves in. I plan to talk more generally about how it’s affected me later, but I want to talk now about how it’s affected my reading. I’m sure other book lovers are feeling this, too.

Normally, I have about four books going at once: a physical book, an ebook, an audiobook on CD, and an eaudiobook. I read the physical book when I’m home, I read the ebook when I’m at work or waiting at the doctor’s, I listen to the audiobook in my car, and I listen to the eaudiobook when I’m working out, cooking, or doing something else around the house. It’s a good balance and I get to enjoy a little bit of each story every day.

Well, that was before. With COVID19, I’m not driving to work and my kitchen table is also my office. I don’t have a morning commute and instead, have some downtime before I start my workday.

I wake up in the morning and do some light exercise, listening to my eaudiobook. I then take a break to read my physical book for a while until I need to start my workday. Instead of breaking for lunch, I either do an indoor bike ride or go for a run while I enjoy my eaudiobook. In the evening, I read my physical book again.

So there’s a lot less time for my ebook and my physical audiobook. I’ve been trying to pick my ebook up when I think about it, but I don’t think about it much. And I’m not driving much at all but I’ll volunteer for errands periodically so I can have some time in my car to work on my audiobook. They’re both going very slowly when I usually have a good amount of time for each in my day.

So I’m adjusting. I know I’ll go through eadiobooks faster so I’m lining them up for a quick transition to another. I’m finally getting through the large shelf of physical books I’ve been neglecting for a while. And I’m enjoying it all a lot.

We’re all adjusting to this new normal. Our daily routines have been completely changed. I know I’m not alone and I know these are minor adjustments to have to make. I’m not trying to complain; I’m trying to discuss how I’ve adjusted and I’d love to hear what adjustments others have made. Libraries may be closed, but their online resources are still available and so valuable. I hope others are taking advantage of them. We’re lucky to live in a digital world.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

2019 in Books

6 Jan

I read 62 books in 2019. My goal was 52 so I’ve exceeded it by 10! I wasn’t expecting that, especially after missing it by four last year. I’m going to go for 55 in 2020. I know all the long bike rides training for my IronMan 70.3 were a winning contribution. I know I’ll be training for a shorter race, but my longer commute should make it possible.

I read 22,051 pages. This is the fourth year in a row I’ve increased my pages read! I’m really happy with this and I know it goes along with having a high number of books this year.

The shortest book I read/listened to was Ajax Penumbra 1969. This was more of a novella so no surprise there. I could have listened to the whole thing in one long bike ride session! The longest book I read (or listened to) was A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin. Again, no surprise. That thing was long! I was glad to get through all those disks. I’m going to have to try to get a digital copy of the next audiobook because it’s going to just get worse from here. This was also the most popular book I read. Again, no surprise here!

My average rating was a 3.6, a tenth lower than last year and the same as 2018. A lot of books got four stars from me this year. Here’s how my ratings skewed this year:

5 Stars: 6
4 Stars: 29
3 Stars: 24
2 Stars: 3

I’m a bit surprised at how many three star ratings I’ve given. Maybe I was a bit harsher this year. Though I did find I was a bit blase about more than a few books this year.

Thanks for taking a look at stats with me! If you’ve been here a while, you know I love numbers and book-related numbers are the best.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

2018 in Books

5 Feb

I can’t believe I didn’t post about this yet! It’s been a month already and I’m late to the recap. Well, better late than never. I was able to find my 2018 recap much easier this year than last year.

I read 51 books in 2018. My goal was 55 and I’m sad to have missed it. I’ve lowered my goal for next year to 52 and I think I’ll make that one.

I read 18,339 pages. That’s an increase for the third year in a row, even if it’s a book-number decrease from last year. I knew I was reading long books!

The shortest book I read was The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr and E. B. White. I should have guessed this one, it was such a short audiobook! The longest book I read (or listened to) was A Column of Fire by Ken Follett. Over the past five years, the longest book I’ve read each year was either Follett or George R.R. Martin. Man, can those guys write long books!

The most popular book I read (re-read, really) was Harry Potter y las Reliquias de la Muerte (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows). Not a big surprise there! I’m glad to have finished my Spanish re-read of the series. Maybe I need an English one next! The least popular book I read was Critical Chain by Eliyahu Goldratt. I guess he’s more of a one-hit wonder.

My average rating was a 3.7, a tenth higher than last year. I must have had a lot more 5 Star reviews this year because I did, unfortunately, have one 1 Star review. Here’s how my ratings skewed this year:

5 Stars: 8
4 Stars: 24
3 Stars: 13
2 Stars: 5
1 Star: 1

No surprise to me that 4 Stars is my most common rating. To me, it means I liked a book a lot and that it was just shy of perfect.

Thanks for taking a look with me! If you’ve been here a while, you know I love numbers and book-related numbers are the best.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

The Book Club Dilemma

20 Sep

I seem to have this problem fairly often and I’m wondering if I’m the only one. Reading book club selections on a deadline can be a killer!

It happens every time. I think I have a week free to squeeze in a book I want to read. I’ll get started, I’ll get into the book, and then it happens. This time, it was an audiobook hold coming in that I’ve been waiting two months for. That threw my idea of listening to the audiobook of our selection. Another time, it was losing the hold on the ebook I was reading for fun, starting the book club selection, only to have the ebook become available again a few days later. Almost every time, something comes up.

I try to make it work. I balance ebooks, audiobooks, eaudiobooks, and print books as best I can to enjoy some of my own picks while getting through a book club pick as well. But sometimes it’s a real struggle. I don’t want to put a book on hold or I’m SO CLOSE to finishing it and could be done in four days but I need to get to that book club selection because I only have a week to read it and I’m supposed to be leading the discussion. Something always comes up.

I can’t be the only person who has problems with reading on a deadline. I know many of you read for book clubs and for blog tours. How do you deal with the time pressures and squeezing books in that have no deadline but make you happy? I need some tips.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

What’s the Fastest You’ve Finished a Book?

21 Aug

I saw a post on Instagram from a college friend who was raving about a book she read in 24 hours and I was utterly blown away. I was trying to think if I’ve ever accomplished something like that and I think the last I can remember was Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling. I read that within 24 hours of it being released.

I tend to read 250-300 page books and for me, it’s hard to sit still long enough to read one that long in a 24 hour period. I think it’s doable, but it’s not something I really want to do or can see myself doing often. Maybe if I was sick or injured and needed to be on the couch a lot. But as is, that’s not something I particularly want to do.

Sorry for the short post, but I’m so curious to talk to you all about this in the comments. Do you read books in a day? How often and what books have driven you to complete that?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Non Fiction Books: When Do They End?

17 Jul

I’m sure you’ve all looked at a non-fiction read before and thought, “Wow, that’s a long book!” just to discover the last 50-100 pages are notes and afterwards and epilogues and misplaced introductions. I know I have multiple times and it makes the books seem much more manageable. But I’m starting to question how much I ‘need’ to read this.

This is stemming from my current read of The Feminine Mystique. I’ve come to the ‘end’ of the book or something like an end. I still have 100 pages of ‘other’ stuff. Some of it I want to read, some of it I don’t. But it got me thinking about how much of these ‘after’ things people read. Eiplogues I almost always read. But the acknowledgements? The afterward? The introduction to the reprinted edition? The notes? I think there’s somewhere to draw a line.

Reader, I’d love to hear your thoughts. How much of the print after a book ends do you read? Do you consider a book ‘read’ without going through all of these? Most importantly, can I finally leave The Feminine Mystique behind?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

How Much Do You Read on Vacation?

15 Jul

Readers, I need advice!

I’m leaving Wednesday for a two-week vacation. My husband and I are doing it all carry-on only! So, that, unfortunately, means no books! I can hear you all gasp in horror. I’ll clarify. That means no print books. If you know me, you know I’m a dedicated print reader so I’m going out of my comfort zone and doing ebooks on my phone for this trip. I have one I’m in the middle of and one more downloaded and, well, that’s it!

I’m nervous I don’t have enough. I’m 90% sure I can download more while I’m abroad but I know there are weird phone rules with some services and I’d prefer to have books on my phone before we head out. I think I might have enough? Maybe? I don’t know!

We have several flights on this trip so there will be a good amount of time spent waiting in airports. I think that will be the majority of my reading time. I’ve packed the rest of our days pretty full.

How much do you all read on vacation? Would two books be enough for anyone out there? I feel like I’m really skimping but I’m also being a bit logical about my time. Would you suggest another book? …or two?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Too Many Books?

22 Mar

I rarely feel this way, but I’m starting to feel like I’m reading too many books.

I usually keep it to three books, one print, one audio, and one digital. Recently, I’ve tried to do two audiobooks with one in my car on CD because there are audiobooks I can’t find digitally. Honestly, it’s not my favorite and I’m going to try to get through books only available on CD quickly so I can return to doing them on my phone as much as possible. There’s an extra audiobook in my life right now for that reason.

Every year, I try to read a book in Spanish. I try to start it as close to January 1 as possible and finish as soon as I’m able to. Because they take me a long time to read, I often have to take a break from them before I finish to read a book club selection before the meeting date. While I’m getting close to finishing my Spanish read for the year, I have to put it aside for a book club right now. That gave me an extra print book in my life.

The digital book I’m trying to read is really long and I’ve lost the library hold on it before. Because I didn’t want to be caught with no book to read, I started another. However, when the long book became available again, I got back to it and put the second book aside. I’m about to lose the hold on the long one again so it will be back to the second book. There’s the final extra book in my life right now.

So there are three extra books, doubling my ideal number of three all the way to six. The issue is also that I’ve got a lot of similar genres going on. Both ebooks, one print, and one audio are contemporary fiction and the remaining two are fantasy. I usually have at least one historical fiction book going on which gives me more variety of settings, but no such luck now.

It’s frustrating because I feel like I’m not making progress on any of them. I haven’t finished a book since February 22nd, a month ago. I’m three books behind schedule for my Goodreads challenge! I know I’ll go through a week of finishing a ton of books, but it’s hard to see when that date will come.

Does anyone else read like me? Has anyone else felt this discouragement?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!