October 2020: What Are You Reading?

I haven’t been reading a whole lot (in English, anyway) lately, but I did manage to read a few books this month:

Nonfiction books:

  • Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth by Margaret Atwood

Fiction books:

  • The War of the Realms by Jason Aaron (graphic novel)

I’m also reading The Gown by Jennifer Robson (who I happened to interview last summer on TBPL Off the Shelf).  I’m really enjoying it so far. 🙂

I didn’t really have a favourite this month; I enjoyed both  Payback and The War of the Realms for different reasons.  Payback was a really interesting literary look at debt (lol and as I’ve been reading through all these Massey Lectures, I’ve discovered that I honestly do enjoy examining literature – guess that’s a hold over from school!)  And The War of the Realms was a great graphic novel that showed the end of the War of the Realms which was rampaging across the Marvel realms; as an extra bonus, Jane Foster got to be Thor again!

So what have you read over the last month?  What was your favourite book?

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Tuesday Update: Looked Over Some Old Stories :)

I finally did it: I sat down and started looking through some older stories that I’ve written. I’ve been meaning to do this for a few weeks now, so I was happy to finally make the time to do so! I found some interesting things in my notes too; one old story had some notes in the margins that I made for editing purposes, so that’s one I’m hoping to sit down with over the next few months.  And another one was very exciting – this was a story I started writing for a friend after his dog passed away (but I never gave it to him – it never felt good enough to be a gift).  I didn’t think there was much to the story, so I was surprised to see I’d added some stuff to it….specifically an unnamed, mysterious character who shows up to retaliate against the main character; my mystery man literally just says “Now we’re even,” and flees.

I still can’t believe that was in there!  Who the heck is this character and what the heck happened to them that they needed revenge like that???

So yeah….looks like I know what story I’m going to be working on! I don’t know if that stuff with the mystery man will stay, or be saved for a different story with those characters, but either way, I need to figure it all out. 🙂

On the language-learning front, I accomplished everything I set out to do this week.  I read more stories in both languages, played more Influent in Ukrainian, and continue to progress in Duolingo (I turned a few more Ukrainian lesson bubbles to gold – only 20 left for a golden tree!)

I also did manage to read a little bit for fun this week! My mom lent me her Kobo so I could read The Huntress by Kate Quinn last month; it also has The Gown by Jessica Robson, so I decided to start that rather than The Alice Network.  I sat down to read it on either Tuesday or Wednesday night, but the Kobo wasn’t working!  The screen was on and said it was at full battery power, but I couldn’t get it to do anything, even reset.  Finally I plugged it in and it started charging – for some reason it ran out of battery while still showing the home screen with a full charge!  So I wasn’t able to start reading that night, but I did get to it a few nights later. 🙂

So how’s your week been? Anything exciting planned for this week?

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Tuesday Update: Language Learning + Character Brainstorming

Hey everyone, how’s your week been? I set myself a few too many goals and didn’t get through them all. But that’s okay; I had a feeling I was being a bit too ambitious when I set them. So going forward I’ll have a better idea of what I can accomplish in a busy work week during this pandemic!

While I didn’t accomplish all of the goals I set for myself (I completely forgot to look through older stories I’ve written…), I still feel like I made good progress on the language front. I read a few short stories/chapters in both French and Ukrainian. I played around with a language-learning game on Steam called Influent – I need to work on my Ukrainian vocabulary, so I’m hoping it will help! And I even managed to finish watching season 1 of Les Revenants, which is a super good show in French (I watched it with English subtitles because my French is not good enough to follow media yet – I tried watching a movie without subtitles awhile ago, and if not for the visuals, I would have been totally lost!)

One thing that I was also very happy about last week (that was not a goal) was that I sat down and brainstormed a couple of new characters! I have a very vague idea at this point for what could be a series of stories set in a pub on one of my worlds. While I still have a lot of things to figure out about these characters, I was just happy to actually sit down and write a bit over the weekend. 🙂

Oh, and one thing I decided to add to my goals for this week: read for fun! I haven’t read a book in awhile (other than the French and Ukrainian books I’m making my way through), and the last few books I was reading were all for an article I was writing at work. So this week I want to make a point to at least start reading a fiction story of some sort with no pressure on myself. I’ve heard really good things about both The Gown by Jennifer Robson and The Alice Network by Kate Quinn, and have been planning to read them for weeks. So hopefully I’ll actually start one of them this week! We’ll see how it goes.

So how about you? Any plans for the week? Reading anything fun? 🙂

 

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Interview #78!

The seventy-eighth author interview went live last week on TBPL Off the Shelf! This time I interviewed author Nancy Campbell Allen about her Steampunk Proper Romance series, her writing process while working in different genres, and using stationery for planning.  You can find the interview here.

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Tuesday Update: Revisiting Goals

Hey everyone, Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you had a good weekend *and a good Thanksgiving if you’re in Canada too). 🙂

This weekend, I sat down and revisited my goals.  I realized that I haven’t really been thinking about that sort of thing in months.  But I’m doing well with the goals I set here on the blog: I finished Memories and have already read over 25 books this year!  That just leaves editing a few short stories that I’ve previously written.  So I need to get on that over the next few months!

I also noticed that in my notebook with the weekly goals I try setting for myself, back in 2019 I set more long term goals.  So I took some time to set some goals for myself over the next year and beyond.  At this point, I’m mostly focused on my language learning as I’ve already put in so much time learning both Ukrainian (over four months) and French (about 3.5 months); I don’t want to stop working on either of them right now because I’m afraid I’d lose the progress I’ve made.  So ideally I’d like to get one of them to a point of conversational fluency sooner rather than later to get it off my plate, so to speak (I’m hoping/thinking that it’ll take less time  per week to maintain a language once you’ve learned it well enough to have in-depth conversations in it).  Realistically, this is going to be French, thanks to both its similarity (particularly in terms of vocabulary) to English and the fact that I took French classes in elementary school many years ago.  I’ve found that French vocabulary is currently a lot easier for me to learn and retain, and for that reason alone I’m pretty sure I’m going to be able to have conversations in French far sooner than in Ukrainian.

So with that in mind, I set the goal of conversational fluency in French for one year from now.  I made some goals to build towards that through the year, including making it through some books, finishing the Duolingo French tree, and understanding French media without subtitles.  For Ukrainian, I’ve set similar goals, but with a longer timeframe; my current hope is to be conversationally fluent in Ukrainian two years from now.  But it’s okay if I don’t meet the goals I set in the exact timeframe I’m hoping for; I’m going to treat these goals as a sort of road map to help me get to that point (not as a set in stone deadline for being able to have deep conversations with people).

In terms of writing goals, at this point I haven’t set any new ones for now (although as a super long-term goal, I’d love to create French and Ukrainian versions of Memories….)  Hopefully I’ll be able to meet the last goal I set for 2020 here on this blog (editing two stories), and then I can plan for some new writing projects for 2021!

Oh, I am still planning on brainstorming a new story idea I had as well, but I didn’t want to put any pressure on myself by making that into a set goal for the remainder of the year.  We’ll see how it goes. 🙂

So what about your goals for 2020?  How have they been going?  🙂

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#WriteTuesday – Starting to Think About Writing…

Hey everyone, how’s it going?  I feel like this last week literally flew by!  But that’s ok – overall the week felt pretty good (although I did find myself feeling a bit overwhelmed by everything at times too – it’s looking like a second wave of Covid is hitting my country and province).  I’ve been just trying to take everything one day at a time, and to that end, I also wanted to start tackling things like my email, which was getting a bit out of control (I really need to consider unsubscribing from some things….)

But in the middle of everything, I was starting to feel a glimmer of actually WANTING to write something, which is pretty exciting.  I haven’t really been working on any projects since finishing Of Pieces and Memories (I attempted to work on editing “A Friend From the Deep,” but that story felt an awful lot like writing about self isolation, which I’m honestly not ready to do).  I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to work on next, but I do have some ideas of themes that I’d like to explore a bit more before committing to anything. We’ll see how it goes.

My main goal right now is to not overwhelm myself.  I’m studying two languages right now, plus I gave myself a whole bunch of reading for articles for work.  So adding a little brainstorming work in shouldn’t be too overwhelming; I can start working on something once I finish off that reading!

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September 2020: What Are You Reading?

I had a bunch of books I wanted to read for work this month (Massey Lectures), so that’s where most of my reading time went.  But I did manage to sneak in a bit of fiction. 🙂

Nonfiction books:

  • All Our Relations: Finding the Path Forward by Tanya Talaga
  • Race Against Time: Searching for Hope in AIDS-Ravaged Africa by Stephen Lewis
  • The City of Words by Alberto Manguel

Fiction books:

  • The Huntress by Kate Quinn

My favourite was definitely The Huntress.  My parents both read it and recommended it to me, and it didn’t disappoint!

So what have you read over the last month?  What was your favourite book?

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Update – Lots of Reading + Language Learning

Apologies for no post last week; I was on vacation from work and forgot. 😦

Over the last few weeks I haven’t really done any writing; I’ve been trying to read a whole bunch of Massey Lectures for an upcoming @ Your Library article I’m planning on writing for work (that’s the column the library I work at publishes in the local paper).  I’m hoping to get through another two more Massey Lectures (and in a perfect world I’ll have time to reread A Short History of Progress, but realistically that won’t be happening before the article is due).  Wish me luck!

I’ve also been continuing with the language learning, both Ukrainian and French.  I signed up for iTalki and had my first lesson in Ukrainian last week; I really liked the teacher and have another lesson booked for this weekend. 🙂  Right now I’m only planning on booking Ukrainian lessons on iTalki since there’s still a lot more French to learn on Duolingo…maybe once I eventually get to the end of the Duolingo French tree then I’ll try French on iTalki too (lol but that’s a looong way off from now).

So how have you been over the last few weeks?  What’s new and exciting?  🙂

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Interview #77!

I forgot to mention this yesterday: author interviews are happening once again on TBPL Off the Shelf!  The seventy-seventh went live yesterday. This time I interviewed author Heather B. Moore about researching The Paper Daughters of Chinatown, grappling with different viewpoints, and how her writing and research processes change depending on the book she’s working on.  You can find the interview here.

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#WriteTuesday: The Return!

Happy September everyone!  Did you have a good weekend?  This weekend was Labour Day here in Canada; I was very happy to have an extra day off (although I mainly spent the time reading The Huntress by Kate Quinn – I needed to get through it for a book review that’s due this week)!  I am happy to say though that I also fit in some editing time.  I actually pulled out the notebook I use to break down my goals for the week into manageable chunks (I haven’t used it since February! 😮 ) – I used it just to plan out what I needed to do over the weekend (mostly reading and editing). I’m happy to say that I managed to get through pretty much all of my goals. 🙂

Oh, and earlier in the week, I was also a guest host on the Thunder Bay Public Library’s weekly show Read This Next, which airs on Fridays. Nicole and I chatted about video game books – we gave highlights based on games that are coming out this fall, talked about our personal video game book recommendations, and just generally chatted about video games.  I had so much fun!  Check it out here:

Other than that, I’m still working on French and Ukrainian, mainly on Duolingo.  I tried watching a movie in French without subtitles about a week ago; I couldn’t follow the dialogue, but thankfully I was able to follow the story thanks to the visuals.  Then a few nights ago I watched a movie in Ukrainian, but with English subtitles; my Ukrainian isn’t as strong as my French, but I was happy to be able to pick out a few words on my own here and there.  Oh, and I was really excited: while reading The Huntress, one of the characters has a tattoo on her foot in Cyrillic.  Even though it was in Russian, I was able to understand what it said (it was the numbers for six hundred and sixteen)!

So how’s your week been?  Anything new and exciting? 🙂

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