Tag Archives: reading

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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Remembrance Day Reading Accomplished + Language Learning Goals!

Last week, the only goal I set for myself was to read D-Day Girls: The Spies who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II by Sarah Rose (which I finished on Friday night!)   I was glad that I didn’t set other goals for myself because D-Day Girls was a bit of a tough read (particularly in terms of subject matter – there were a few points where I had to stop reading for a bit because of what happened to the people).

But even though that was the only goal I set for the week, I still managed to finish off a few of my November goals!  First I passed Checkpoint 6 in French on Duolingo!  That was super exciting – there are only two checkpoints left within the course!  Then I listened to the final episode of the first season of Ukrainian Lessons Podcast!  I’m excited to start Season 2 – I’m hoping it will help me improve my listening comprehension (I’m finding with Ukrainian right now that I have a super hard time understanding words that I’m hearing; if they’re written out for me, I often find that I did know more of the words that were spoken that I thought).

I also accomplished most of the goals I set for myself two weeks ago, with the exception of some work I wanted to do editing one of my short stories (I keep ignoring it in favour of my language learning).  As we’re now over half way through November, I’ll have to make a point of working on that if I still intend to work on a second story next month!

So how’s everything going for you?  Are you making progress on any goals you’ve set for the month?  Let me know in the comments! 🙂

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Reading For Remembrance Day

cover of d-day girlsA year or two ago, I remember my brother saying that on Remembrance Day, he tries to read a book about the World Wars. I decided this year to do the same. So while at the library, I picked out D-Day Girls: The Spies who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II by Sarah Rose. This book tells the story of three of the women who answered the call to war, becoming saboteurs in France. It sounds very interesting, and after reading The Huntress back in September, I am eager to learn more about the largely unknown women who helped in the Wars.

 

I’m hoping to make this a yearly reading tradition.

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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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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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