Tag Archives: reading

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter everyone!  How’s it going?  Last week ended up a super busy week (sorry that I didn’t post) so I was quite happy to have a weekend without many plans.  I took some time to do some stuff around the house, and ended up reading a whole book on dolphins (To Touch a Wild Dolphin by Rachel Smolker, a book I’ve had for years that I found in my basement the other day).  I had intended to read Undermajordomo Minor by Patrick deWitt, but was distracted by the dolphin book because it fit into some worldbuilding I wanted to do. I didn’t actually work on the worldbuilding though until yesterday, when I finally sat down and opened my world documents to start making some changes! I meant to all weekend, but just didn’t – lol that seemed to be how a lot of my weekend went.  I don’t mind though, because just relaxing and doing “nothing” felt good (I binged a few episodes of a show I like, and started going through a stack of magazines I have).

Otherwise, over the last few weeks I’ve mostly been busy working on book editing.  I feel like I really got back into the swing of things, so it’s been going well.  🙂

I’m also really excited because I found season 2 of Les Revenants, a French show I really liked at the library last week!  I watched the first season last fall but had a hard time finding the second season (I was hoping to have it brought in through interlibrary loans, but no luck).  I guess in the meantime, the library ordered a copy of it!  So I’m very excited to get to finish the show. 🙂

So how’s everything going for you?  Have you been up to anything exciting lately?

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March 2021 – What Are You Reading?

March turned out a better reading month than I expected!  I started reading Life of Pi (actually back in February) and it was turning into another Starless Sea: I made it about 100 pages in then completely lost interest in it.  After it sat for weeks without me touching it (I read Atomic Habits and the two Starcraft graphic novels during this time), I had just decided to give up on it once and for all when I grabbed it again and actually finished it!

Nonfiction books:

  • Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones by James Clear
  • Outer Order, Inner Calm by Gretchen Rubin

Fiction books:

  • Starcraft by Simon Furman (graphic novel – and apparently a reread! I read it years ago but didn’t remember it at all until I found it marked as read on my Goodreads page!)
  • Starcraft: Survivors by Jody Houser (graphic novel)
  • Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  • Dungeon Born by Dakota Krout

Other Language books:

  • La Gentillesse, C’est… by Pat Zietlow Miller (French translation by Edith Cordeau-Giard
  • French Short Stories for Beginners and Intermediate Learners: Engaging Short Stories to Learn French and Build Your Vocabulary by Language Guru

I really enjoyed reading Atomic Habits.  I thought it had some really great advice for anyone who wants to be working on creating better habits for themselves.  I also really liked Dungeon Born, at least once I got through the big rules dump at the beginning of the book (that part felt like I was reading an RPG manual rather than a fiction book).  Once the story took off, it was really fun, and I’m looking forward to reading more in the series!

I’m also really sad that the second arc for the Starcraft series was apparently cancelled – I really wanted to know what happened next with these characters! 😦

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

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Feb 2021 – What Are You Reading?

I actually finished Architects of Memory just after posting last month’s What Are You Reading post. I was hoping I’d be able to sneak it on there, but instead it got to be the first book for this month. 🙂

Nonfiction books:

  • None!

Fiction books:

  • Architects of Memory by Karen Osborne
  • Jane Foster Valkyrie: At the End of All Things by Jason Aaron, Al Ewing, and Torunn GrØnbekk (graphic novel)
  • Aquaman: Manta vs. Machine by Kelly Sue DeConnick (graphic novel)
  • Revenge of the Cosmic Ghost Rider by Dennis Hopeless (graphic novel)
  • Short Stories in French for Beginners by Olly Richards and Richard Simcott

I really enjoyed Architects of Memory.  It’s been awhile since I’ve read any Science Fiction (probably since reading the last Murderbot book during the summer) and Osborne gave me a lot to think about regarding where human culture is heading (a lot of that came from the interview I did with her, too).  I’m looking forward to reading Engines of Oblivion, the second book in the duology, whenever I get the chance.

I was also a big fan of the second Jane Foster: Valkyrie graphic novel – I liked it a lot more than the first!

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

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A Big French Update :)

Over the weekend, I finished reading Short Stories in French for Beginners!  😀

To celebrate finishing the book, I made a video where I attempt to talk about it in French.  You can check it out here:

Lol, I had a really hard time making this video because my brain was stuck in “Ukrainian mode” that day – it took several takes before I got something where I didn’t completely trail off into nothingness because I couldn’t remember the words I wanted to say!

I’m still defaulting to English at times, especially when I get frustrated with trying to remember words, but I felt like I got a lot more French out in this video than in my other two French videos, so that’s nice to see.  🙂

My next French book is going to be French: Short Stories for Beginners and Intermediate Learners by Language Guru.  It’s a smaller book with only eight chapters (I think each chapter is one story), so I’m hopeful that it won’t take me too long to get through.  Like Short Stories in French for Beginners, it’s got vocabulary and comprehension questions.  But as an added bonus, each story seems to have an English translation, so that’ll be interesting to see how close my understanding of the French versions were to the English!

I’ve also read a few Robert Munsch stories in French (I took a book out from the library, L’heure de Munsch, which collects 5 Robert Munsch books that were translated into French).  That’s been a lot of fun too – while I’m not understanding every word, I’ve understood enough to figure out what was going on.  I got a real laugh out of the second book in the collection (Tire le bouchon, fiston! or Down the Drain in English), and am looking forward to reading the last three. 🙂

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Happy Valentine’s and Family Days

Hey everyone, I hope you had a good Valentine’s Day and Family Day if you celebrate it!  My long weekend was good – I was able to spend some time reading. 🙂  I also finally finished sorting through and uploading all of the pictures from my phone to Flickr – I had over 1200 pictures going back to before the pandemic hit here!  This has been a huge undertaking and I’ve very happy to have a lot more room on my phone now!

In terms of goals for the week, I got through almost everything I set for myself.  I read I think 10 stories from 100 Easy Ukrainian Texts (I was hoping to get through just 8! I now only need to read 6 per week and I’ll finish the book as planned by May!), and one full story (three chapters) from Short Stories in French for Beginners (which means I just have one more three-chapter story to go and I’m finished the book!)  Plus I managed to fit in some reading for fun!

Oh, I also fit in reading another chapter from Painless French, so that was a bonus!

So for this week I’ve set much the same goals as last week, but with a few less stories from 100 Easy Ukrainian Texts.  I’m also ramping up working on book editing, so we’ll see how the reading goes in the middle of that!

So how’s your week been?  How is everything going for you? 🙂

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Jan 2021 – What Are You Reading?

I got off to a terrible start with reading this year. At the very end of December, I started reading Erin Morgenstern’s The Starless Sea.  A friend of mine recommended it to me, but for some reason I just couldn’t get into it. I got about 100 pages in and just couldn’t bring myself to keep reading.  But because of the recommendation, I felt bad abandoning it.  And so it sat for several weeks before I finally gave up and sent it back to the library.  😦

What finally got me out of my reading slump was my friend, CJ Halbard, sending me an advanced copy of his newest Project Tempest novella, Her Mad Song.  It deals with some really interesting ideas (specifically emotional climate change – that there is an emotional/imaginative environment that everyone is connected to, which is perhaps permanently changing because of the emotions and tensions that have been building up, as shown through things like social media).

I did start reading another book after finishing Her Mad Song, but didn’t have time to finish it this week due to some work training I was doing (it was three full days, plus I spent a lot of time reviewing stuff from the textbook each evening after the class was over).

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

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Hello 2021!

Hi everyone! How were your holidays?  Mine were quieter than normal, but still good.  I’ve always loved the holiday season because it’s a time when I reconnect with family and friends.  Since it wasn’t really possible to do so this year in person, I decided to send out Christmas cards instead.  I even got a few back in reply by the end of that week! (I couldn’t believe how quickly they travelled!)

But now it’s a new year, which means time to reflect on the goals I set last year (and set some new ones!) Last year I basically set the same smaller goals for myself as in 2019: I wanted to read 25 novel-length books, finish one of the RPG’s that I’ve started (although I specifically picked Memories for 2020), and work on two short stories (although I decided I was going to edit a few I’ve already written, rather than write new ones).  While I was successful with the first two goals, the short story editing unfortunately didn’t happen: I put it off, and then, when I was going to make a push to work on at least one during December, the book editing project I’m working on derailed that plan completely (which is okay – it was good to get some work on that done instead).  And ever since I started learning both Ukrainian and French when I was off work due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a lot of my time has gone towards language learning as well.

I wasn’t really sure what sorts of goals I should set this year because I honestly have no idea what 2021 will bring in terms of the pandemic (I am hopeful we’ll get through it this year, but who knows if a third or fourth wave might shut everything down again?)  I don’t want to overwhelm myself with ambitious projects (especially during this pandemic; some days I don’t want to do anything and that’s okay).  Plus, if I’ve learned anything during the last several years of setting goals, it’s that a few smaller goals are better for me (also, I still seem to get derailed over the course of the year even with those smaller goals!)

But I did know that accomplishing some milestones in both French and Ukrainian would be important.  Unfortunately it’s hard to quantify things like “be able to have a basic conversation” or “be able to have a deeper conversation.”  So I looked through the goals I set for myself during my random October planning session, and chose some concrete things to accomplish from that list.

So with all of that lead-up, here are my goals for the year:

  1. Read 25 of the novel-length books I own.  I know I can read 25 books in a year (I read 43 books this year).  But I keep getting distracted by shiny new books at the library, completely ignoring all the books I have here.  So I’m going to challenge myself to get through more of my books (of course, that will have to wait until I deal with the library books I’ve already got out…).  Whether they’re physical or on my Kindle, I want to get through 25 of them before the end of the year!
  2. Write a new story.  I feel like it’s been forever since I have, and I’d like to change that.  I don’t care what kind of story it is: a short story, a novel, an RPG, a podcast, a screen play, whatever.  I just want to work on something new!
  3. Language Learning goals:
    1. Ukrainian Duolingo tree to Gold (I’ve only got four more lesson bubbles to go!)
    2. Finish reading Short Stories in French for Beginners
    3. Finish reading 100 Easy Ukrainian Texts
    4. Read French Short Stories for Beginners
    5. Read French: Short Stories for Beginners and Intermediate Learners
    6. Read Ukrainian Language: Texts in Ukrainian
    7. Finish Ukrainian Lessons Podcast seasons 2-4
    8. Finish the Duolingo French tree (just getting to the end, not turning it to gold)

While it didn’t make the list, I’d also love to finish with the book editing project I’ve been working on since 2019.  Unfortunately that’s out of my hands (the original end date for that should have been last winter, but it was taking longer than planned even before covid hit).  So fingers crossed that it will finish this year, too!

So what about you?  Have you set any goals for yourself this year? 🙂

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Dec 2020 – What Are You Reading?

Happy New Year everyone!  How’s it going?  Unfortunately I didn’t have much time for reading this month…

Nonfiction books:

Fiction books:

  • The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

The Alice Network was alright.  I loved the stuff that happened post WWII, but had a hard time getting through the WWI stuff (the characters were a lot more fun in the 40’s).  But I’m glad to have read it (although I definitely preferred The Huntress).

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

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November 2020: What Are You Reading?

I took out a whole bunch of books from the library this month. Everything from fiction to nonfiction, graphic novels to memoirs.  So I made a real point of trying to get through a bunch of them, rather than just renewing them a bunch then sending them back unread.  I also read a few non-library books, including a novel my mom lent me (The Gown), and a few graphic novels I bought for myself (Power Rangers – I wanted to read Shattered Grid after playing through the Power Rangers game Battle for the Grid). Also, as I mentioned on November 10th, I wanted to read something related to the World Wars for Remembrance Day.

So here’s what I was able to read this month:

Nonfiction books:

  • We Have Always Been Here by Samra Habib
  • D-Day Girls: The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II by Sarah Rose

Fiction books:

  • The Gown by Jennifer Robson
  • Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Shattered Grid by Kyle Higgins (graphic novel)
  • Aquaman: Unspoken Water by Kelly Sue DeConnick (graphic novel)
  • Aquaman: Amnesty  by Kelly Sue DeConnick (graphic novel)
  • The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang (graphic novel)
  • Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Beyond the Grid by Marguerite Bennet (graphic novel)
  • Ukrainian Folk Stories by Marko Vovchok, translated by N. Pedan-Popil

I managed to read 6 library books!

I honestly don’t know what my favourite was.  I really enjoyed reading The Gown; it was a very interesting historical novel (I especially loved the interview and notes Robson included from her research).  I powered through We Have Always Been Here in a night (I didn’t realize until after I finished it that it had actually won Canada Reads this year – I picked it up only because someone returning it to the library recommended it to me). And The Prince and the Dressmaker was a wonderful story about being true to yourself and your friends.

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

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Tuesday Update: Language Progress, Short Story Setback + Guest Hosting!

Hey everyone, how’s it going?  This week I made some great progress on my goals for the month! My Duolingo Ukrainian tree is now to red + (so I’ve got through all the lessons at least three times each; the ultimate goal is to get through all the bubbles 5 times, turning tge tree to gold).  I finished the second section of stories in 100 Easy Ukrainian Texts (these all involved “things” like pens and keys and stuff).  I started another story in Short Stories in French. And I passed the 6th Duolingo checkpoint in French!

I did experience a slight setback though where it comes to editing my short story for the month.  I’ve talked before about choosing the stories I wanted to work on for the remainder of the year.  Unfortunately, I came to the realization that one of the stories isn’t really a short; there’s so much more going on in it, that I think it needs to be a longer work of some sort (perhaps a novella or even a novel?)  A lot more work will need to be done on it than I initially expected because there’s so much more going on. So I made the decision to put it aside for now. 😦

So instead I’m going to see if I can whip the other story I choose into shape. I’ll also have to choose a second story for editing in the hope that I can still make that goal!  I don’t know if I’ll have time to edit two stories now, but I’m still going to try! Wish me luck. 🙂

Oh, and on Friday, I was once again a guest host on Thunder Bay Public Library’s weekly show Read This Next.  Nicole and I talked about the Massey Lectures (which I had been reading when we filmed).  We thought this was really topical as the 2020 Massey Lectures aired this month!  If you’re interested, check it out! 🙂

For this week, other than looking over that other short story, my main plan is to fit in more reading in Ukrainian, French, and English. What about you?  How’s November going? 🙂

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