Sunday Lowdown #15

Basic Life Update:

I haven’t heard back from the library job yet about the materials handler position, even though the job post was removed from the website. If I don’t hear back by Wednesday, which will be two weeks from my interview, I’m going to call someone. *fingers still crossed* 🤞🤞

It’s been incredibly dreary in northwestern Indiana. Just when I was thinking of moving to Mordor for something more cheerful, Saturday hit and it was a gross 85 degrees. #Sticky. It’s never temperate in the Midwest.

I’ve been reading all sorts of plays and musicals for my freelance writing gig with the theatre. Though I hated reading musicals when I was on the script selection committee, I’m enjoying the ones that ended up being chosen by other members! I’ve read five scripts and created a hook, a brief synopsis, and a long synopsis for each so far.

This Week in Reading: Finished Books

This was my first week not as production manager, so by moving all that information and worry I was holding in my brain for that job out into the atmosphere, I had incredible reading focus. In addition to the scripts, I finished Forward, a memoir by Abby Wambach. In it, she discusses her origins, the ease with which she excelled in a sport she wasn’t wild about, and how she became the individual who has scored more goals as a professional soccer player that anyone else in history. Review coming Tuesday.

Next, I read Wolfpack: How to Come Together, Unleash Our Power, and Change the Game, a short feminist work also by Abby Wambach that was crafted out of a Barnard College commencement speech she delivered last year. Wambach notes eight rules that typically apply to women and gives advice on how to change society’s expectations. Review coming Wednesday.

Thanks to my husband’s eagerness, we finished Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell, and I was able to get my review of that posted. It’s always hard for us to move on to a new book because those old characters were with us for the weeks it took me to read a whole novel aloud to him.

I got tired of mentioning Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh on my “in progress” category on the Sunday Lowdown, so I plowed through the end, confirming my original hunch that director Danny Boyle took a story that lived in a land of no context and made a proper plot. Trainspotting is book two in the Mark Renton series.

A completely different type of story, the young adult novel Fat Angie: Rebel Girl Revolution by E.E. Charlton-Trujillo was a treat. Because the writing has a lot of paragraph breaks and dialogue, it was easy to complete in a few days. I love that the author responds to me on Twitter.

There was one book I chose to DNF rather quickly: Ani DiFranco’s memoir No Walls and the Recurring Dream. I mean, it had to be amazing — except it wasn’t. On the first page she describes stupid things she’s done on stage, and on the second page she’s remembering how it was weird to be a folk singer post 9/11. . . with no context or transition at all. Plenty of readers on Goodreads confirm it’s a hot mess.

This Week in Reading: Books in Progress

Currently, I’m reading a book I pre-ordered 2015. Woops. It’s the oldest book on my TBR shelf of owned books: Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell. Lately, I haven’t been buying any books that are available at the library, but this one I pre-ordered because I knew the author — we went through the same MFA program — and she had become a New York Times bestselling author. How could I not show support? The novel is a Cinderella re-telling.

I chose the next book for nightly reading to my spouse, The Book of Ruth by Jane Hamilton. So far, he’s not sold on it, making me hyper aware of every depressing detail the narrator shares about the people in her life. I read and loved it years ago and then taught it at an all-women’s college circa 2012. Maybe Nick will come around?

Next Week in Reading:

I’ll need to get through about seven more scripts for the theatre to meet my May 31st deadline. I’ll also begin Or Something Like That by Bud Smith, the oldest book on my TBR shelf written by a guy. Now that I have more time and focus away from work, I need to get through some of these books I own by men, too.

I’m going to start Porno, the 3rd book in the Mark Renton series by Irvine Welsh, following Trainspotting and Skagboys. I read it years ago and have forgotten much of it, but I’m determined to finish this series in 2019, despite what seems a fairly anti-feminist collection of works. I’m going to alternate an Irvine Welsh novel and then the next oldest book by a man through the end of the year.

Books I Obtained This Week:

For the love of h*ck, why am I suddenly buying books?? I know why: I decided that I need more women in my life, to be purposeful with my music, TV, and book buying. I ended up grabbing a couple of books about women in heavy metal to offset all the Metalocalypse I’ve been watching.

Wicked Woman: Women in Metal from the 1960s to Now by Addison Herron-Wheeler covers metal women I’ve never heard of. #Stoked. It’s only 89 pages, so I hope Herron-Wheeler crams a lot in efficiently. I also picked up What are You Doing Here? A Black Woman’s Life and Liberation in Heavy Metal by Laina Dawes, with a forward by Skin entitled “Who Put That Shaven-Headed Black Woman on the Stage?” *shivers* I’m pumped that I get both the music genre I love and a black woman’s perspective. Lastly, I bought Nothing is Okay by Rachel Wiley, a collection of poetry with a queer/fat focus. Readers on Goodreads argue this book is better than her first.

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28 comments

    • Oh, man. Do you pre-order books? I have a Mercedes Lackey book that is pre-ordered. . .I can’t remember if I have any other aside from Cornwell’s. Thank you for the luck, Callum. 🙂

      • I do sometimes when it’s an author I already know I love 😊 I also buy books I’m excited about as soon as they release because ‘I can’t wait to read them’, and then proceed to wait about 3 years to read them 🙈

        • Uhhhhh, definitely yes on that second one. That’s why I’ve stopped buying any book I haven’t read that is available at the library. If, after I read the library copy, I love it, I’ll buy the book.

            • I’m so sad your library is small. Mine is big enough that I have trouble using gift cards I get to Barnes & Noble because I don’t want to buy a book at the library. I don’t mean to sound like a braggart, but to express how fortunate I feel.

  1. My fingers are crossed for you! As for the weather, it’s been the same way in the northeast. It was unusually cold for two weeks (20 degrees below average), and then yesterday, it was over 80, and today we’ll be close to 90. For once, I don’t mind not having time to garden.

  2. Glad you’ve had such a productive week of reading, and hoping you hear back soon about the job! Having only seen the film, I’ve always been curious about the novel Trainspotting — sounds like it’s safe to pass on?

    • Well, that depends on if you want to read the other four books in the series. The second movie (dubbed Trainspotting 2 for obvious reasons) is definitely different from Porno. I think you could read more interesting, cohesive books is what I think I’m trying to say, lol.

  3. Fingers crossed about the job. They might be having funding arguments or all sorts. Sorry about the DNF but sounds very sensible. And those rock ones look great!

    • I just remember that Sick Boy is making porn that looks terrible, but he doesn’t realize it, and Spud is writing a memoir that is terrible, but he doesn’t realize it. And Diane comes back.

  4. I have ‘Glue,Irvine Welsh’ facing out in big letters from the bookcase in my bedroom. No idea what it’s about though I suppose I’ve read it. Shame about the Ani di Franco, I love her music.

    • I looked up the summary of Glue. It’s four Scottish young men wasting their lives and covers sex, drugs, and social issues. Sounds like Trainspotting! One of the main characters is Terry Juice, who appears in other books, including Porno and his own novel, A Decent Ride, in which this sex addict completely loses his libido. I remember I like that novel. Welsh definitely improved his writing over the years.

  5. This is going to sound like a stupid question, but do you guys get alot of tornados? Are they pretty scary? We don’t here in Calgary, but I’ve experienced a few in Ontario (from far away, and I slept through one as a kid) but I find them terrifying…also I loved that movie Twister.

    Gosh you’ve been so productive, and I’m so happy you’re out of that stressful job — life is too short!

    • The Midwest isn’t so much a tornado alley like Kansas and those states. When tornado alley has tornadoes, there are dozens all over the place. The Midwest typically gets storms that are super close to developing a tornado, so the wind is a problem, especially if you are in a developed are with trees. Those lovely tree-lined streets? Yeah, those are destroyed in high winds. Forests protect themselves with the sheer number of trees, but a few on their own in a neat row are going to be obliterated. I’m not sure about other people, but when there is a storm that could produce a tornado, I can always tell. You take a really hot day, the kind during which you are sticky, and then all of a sudden it gets dark outside. And then you realize, hey, that breeze is quite chilly. And the wind will kick up like crazy! Am I afraid? Not really, and probably to my detriment. We used to sit on the porch under the roof and watch such storms when I was kid. Nature is fierce, so how could you not want to see? — so goes the thinking.

  6. I feel like you’ve talked about Mechanica for years, so kudos to you for finally picking it up. You just reminded me that I joined a challenge for backlist books and I can’t remember the last time I picked one up for it. Whoops are everywhere. I’m always a little nervous about interacting with authors on Twitter, especially ones that follow you back. On one hand, yay! On the other, they see what you say about their books. What if you hate them?

    • I HAVE been talking about Mechanica for years — that’s so bad! Eep! I actually really liked the book and was surprised when it ended. Surprised, because so much goes unsolved. Because there is a second book. Off to the library I go!

      I’ve had a few authors who became too friendly with me and then were quiet mad when I didn’t like their books. One lady stalked all my reviews online for a while. Another author sent me a scathing email, saying she didn’t think I was “that kind of person.” Others still just slowly back away and disappear if I didn’t like their book. Really, they shouldn’t be reading my reviews if they don’t want to know what I have to say. Before I tag an author on Twitter alongside the review, I now ask their permission. Basically, I write, “Hey, I’m going to review your book, and if it’s a positive review, would you like me to tag you?” I’ve had some authors say no because they don’t read any reviews, and that’s a-okay. I think Charlton-Trujillo said yes because the book was just released and she’s looking for press.

  7. I am wondering if some books are better read aloud than others? Not that that’s the case with The Book of Ruth, but it just made me wonder. I decided to try reading one to my husband, but it just isn’t sticking. Maybe it’s the book, or maybe it’s just the fact that I always go to bed too late and just want to sleep. Ha!

    I love that you’ve been buying books. I have been saving up my gift cards and am going to have a big spree one of these days!

    You’ve probably heard back by now, but in case you haven’t, fingers still crossed for you!!

    • Ugh, fingers STILL need crossing.

      I definitely think some books do not read aloud well. We tried Stranger in a Strange land, and I hated reading the first two pages aloud so much that I was like “I QUIT!” It has to be the kind of book that is well written, and even better if it’s not overly-complicated. I know I struggled reading Jane Austen aloud because the word order we use today was different then, and I stammered over most everything.

  8. Glad to hear that reading the musicals has turned out to be fun after all. I’m not sure I would enjoy reading song lyrics very much either. But I do love watching musicals (mostly).

    I can relate to the conflicting emotions surrounding various reading goals. Also often around the idea of finishing series. In the past ten years or so, I’ve been enjoying a much more diverse group of writers and yet when it comes to finishing series, with characters I’ve enjoyed spending time with in the past – or, at least, found intriguing, they’re often from a time when my access to diverse writers’ works was much more limited. Like you, I’m fond of the alternating approach. 🙂

    • I think what I learned about musicals is that if the lyrics are not witty (meaning I can get a sense of the rhythm from the page), it’s a good musical in real life. If I feel like my eyes are glazing over, the show tends to be more on the “meh” side.

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