Weekend Update – Things I Liked This Week – January 2018

Posted by on Jan 21, 2018 in Fun, The Things I Liked This Week, Weekend Update | 2 comments

The Things I Liked This Week January 2018

The Things I Liked This Week January 2018

I started doing The Things I Liked This Week in June of 2015 and it’s definitely become my favorite monthly post. I love adding to my list throughout the week.

Here are the things I liked this week:

1. Abby checking things out
We cleaned out and reorganized the pantry. She had to go check things out. Probably just in case we moved the treats in there.
Abby looking around the pantry


2. This is totally accurate.
Good Day Bad Day


3. Lily the elephant
She cracks me up


4. This tweet from Frank Oz
I just love this


5. This penguin


Posted by Readingry on Monday, January 8, 2018


6. This

Actual footage of me waking up

I feel like I've been hit by a sledgehammer

Posted by The Aardvark on Tuesday, January 2, 2018


Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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Bout of Books 21 Wrap-Up

Posted by on Jan 15, 2018 in Blogging/Reading, Bout of Books, Fun | 1 comment

Bout of Books 21 Wrap Up

Bout of Books

Bout of Books 21 ended last night. It was my fourteenth Bout of Books and I’ve got the next one marked on my calendar the week of May 14th-20th.

Once again I had a great time having a reason to say ‘nope, it’s Bout of Books and I’m going to read instead”.

I had a great reading week. The main reason I like Bout of Books is that it’s a low-pressure readathon. I never feel like I need to stop doing everything else to just read but I am encouraged to maximize and make more time for reading than I normally do. Obviously I worked full time all week so that limited my reading time but I managed to get a lot of reading hours in.

I managed to make some changes to my daily routine that I’d like to make regular habits. I traded my bus/train ride twitter and phone game time for reading. I also made sure to stay away from the phone apps and read on my lunch break.

I don’t track pages read but I do track time spent reading and listening to audiobooks. Last Bout of Books I read for 22 hours and 20 minutes. I always go into Bout of Books thinking that if I could read for more than 20 hours during the week I’d call it a success. .

For this Bout of Books I ended up with 22 hours and 35 minutes of reading so Yay Me! I was within a couple of minutes of having the same amount of both listening and reading.

Bout of Books 21

Click for larger image

This is what I read this week.
On Audio:
I finished listening to The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith narrated by Robert Glenister.

I listened to Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds narrated by the author.

I listened to almost 6 hours of Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright.

In print

I finished reading Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard.

I read all of:
The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie.
Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor
Fables Vol. 18: Cubs in Toyland by Bill Willingham

I also started a reread of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I’m reading the gorgeous illustrated edition with art by Jim Kay.

All in all a great week of reading. Now I have a pile of reviews to write!

If you participated in this week’s Bout of Books I hope you had a great week of reading. If you didn’t participate you should consider joining me and all the other participants in May.

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Bout of Books 21 – Kickoff and Updates Post

Posted by on Jan 8, 2018 in Blogging/Reading, Bout of Books, Fun, Uncategorized | 2 comments

Bout of Books 21

Bout of Books

Bout of Books 21 kicked off at Midnight last night. I can always find a way to make Bout of Books work for me. I have a busy week ahead but I’m going to make as much time for reading as I can.

The Bout of Books Read-a-Thon was created by Amanda @ On a Book Bender on a complete whim in August 2011. It took on a life of its own and was such a hit that Amanda decided to do it again and turn it into a somewhat regular occurrence.

  • Bout of Books is a week long read-a-thon, usually from 12:01am on a Monday through 11:59pm on a Sunday in whatever time zone you are in.
  • It is low pressure, meaning participants are only asked to push themselves to read more than they normally would during any given week. There is no competition between readers.
  • How much time a reader wants, and can commit, to read, tweet, or network with fellow bloggers is left to individual preference. All challenges and giveaways are optional.
  • Networking with fellow bloggers is actively encouraged, though never required.
  • Use Twitter to post updates throughout the read-a-thon. Everyone will be tweeting with the #boutofbooks hashtag.

I have several books on my desk and on my ereader. In addition I’m almost done with  one audiobook and may or may not finish another short one this week.

I will be using this post as my tracking post and adding daily updates each morning about what reading I have accomplished the day before. I’ll post updates here every morning Tuesday through Saturday. I’ll include my Sunday reading on my final wrap up post.

One thing I do a little different this week is to track all my reading time. I have a time tracking app on my phone and watch so it’s easy to hit the start and stop button and track whether it’s reading or listening time. One benefit of using this is it keeps me focused. I find I’m less inclined to get distracted by stuff that I could be doing around the house or playing on my phone if I’m feeling like I’m “on the clock” for reading.

I’m not making any specific reading plans because I’d rather just read whatever looks good at the moment.

So . . . Let the reading begin . . .

Monday Reading

I had a great day of reading. I usually don’t listen to my audiobooks at work but I managed to have some time where I was working on stuff that didn’t take much concentration and was able to listen to my book.
I ended up with 2 hours and 20 minutes of audiobook time and I finished The Cuckoo’s Calling. I enjoyed it and plan to continue with the series.
I had an 1 hour and 50 minutes of print reading time. I started The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie.

Total reading time: 4 hours, 10 minutes
Books finished: 1
Books started: 1

Tuesday Reading

I had another great reading day.
2 hours and 34 minutes of audiobook listening. I listened to all of Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds (a short but powerful novel in verse) and started listening to Going Clear by Lawurence Wright.
I read my print book (The Mysterious Adventure at Styles) for an hour and 40 minutes.

Total reading time: 4 hours, 15 minutes
Books finished: 1
Books started: 1

Wednesday Reading
Somehow I managed another four hour reading day.
2 hours and 18 minutes of audiobook listening all of Going Clear
1 hour and 42 minutes of print reading and I finished The Mysterious Affair at Styles.

Total reading time: 4 hours, 1 minutes
Books finished: 1
Books started: 0

Thursday Reading
It was bound to happen. A busy day at work made for less audiobook time and a short lunch made for less print reading time.
I ended up with an hour and 49 minutes of listening to Going Clear
1 hour and 4 minutes of print reading. I started Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor

Total reading time: 2 hours, 53 minutes
Books finished: 0
Books started: 1

Friday Reading
I worked from home today so my commute listening time turned into take a walk after work listening time. I liked that trade off.
I listened to 2 hours and 14 minutes of Going Clear.
I got an hour and 32 minutes of print reading. I finished Binti: Home and started Fables Vol. 18: Cubs in Toyland by Bill Willingham

Total reading time: 3 hours, 46 minutes
Books finished: 1
Books started: 1

Saturday Reading
One hour and 13 minutes of reading Fables: Cubs in Toyland.
That’s it. This is exactly why weekend readathons are never a good thing for me. Weekends is when we do stuff.

Total reading time: 1 hours, 13 minutes
Books finished: 0
Books started: 0

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Bout of Books 21 Sign Up

Posted by on Jan 2, 2018 in Blogging/Reading, Bout of Books, Fun | 6 comments

Bout of Books 21

It’s that time again. Next week will be my fourteenth Bout of Books.

Bout of Books

Bout of Books 21 starts on Monday January 8th.

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 8th and runs through Sunday, January 14th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 20 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

I love Bout of Books. Three times a year I have an excuse to say “I can’t do that right now, it’s my reading week”. The Hubster is used to it by now. I don’t go into Bout of Books with any expectations of reading for X number of hours straight through. My life doesn’t let that kind of thing happen. The way I approach Bout of Books is to limit things like spending time on Twitter, or playing games on my phone and substituting reading time for all of those little distractions. I also set aside extra time in the evening for reading too.

I like to keep track of the time I spend reading during Bout of Books. I never track pages read but I do track time reading or listening to books. I use a great app on my phone to track my time. It’s called ATracker.

Bout of Books 20 tracking

Bout of Books 20 tracking

It’s super easy to set up two tasks (reading and listening) and then it’s just a tap to start and stop tracking time. Now that there’s an Apple watch app to do that on my watch instead of my phone.

I think the reason I like to track time is that for me being ‘on the clock’ keeps me from getting distracted by my phone, the TV, that pile of papers on my desk, etc. I enjoy the time tracker and the daily and weekly reports I can get on how much time I’ve actually spent reading.

I won’t set any goal because that’s really not the purpose of Bout of Books. It’s all about a low key week long focus on reading more than usual. I will put together a Kickoff and progress updates post on the 8th.

I hope you’ll check it out and decide to join in on the fun.

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January 2018 Photo a Day Challenges

Posted by on Jan 1, 2018 in Fun, photos | 4 comments

January 2018 Photo a Day Challenges

Happy New Year! Time for another month of daily photos!

I have found a way to make daily photo prompts work well for me.

No single photo a day prompt list fully works for me. I choose to save several lists and choose one prompt each day from among those lists. Every once in a while I just can’t find a prompt that works for me that say so I give myself permission to tag whatever I do want to photograph. I’m happy to say that I love this approach and it works great for me. I highly recommend it.

Here is a sample of the photo a day lists I’ll be using for January:
(click on the images to see larger versions)

If committing to a month at a time feels like too much, there are other weekly and daily options available on Instagram
There are several Instagram accounts that feature a new theme every day or every week. I follow these accounts and every once in a while they save me when I just don’t like any of the other prompts. These are all worth following on Instagram.

As you can tell, I am a huge fan of using prompts for daily photos because it helps make a personal photo journal and also makes me look for inspiration throughout my daily life. It helps me to notice and appreciate the little moments and things every day.

I’ve been doing this since March of 2012 so I’m closing in on 6 years of daily photos.

Follow my Daily Photos on Instagram

These are the most liked of my December 2017 Photo a Day photos:

If you’re not doing a Photo a Day challenge I hope you’ll consider it because it’s a fun way to have a photo journal. If you are, great! Keep up with it. You won’t be sorry. I highly recommend the pick from many prompts each day approach.

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Weekend Update – My January 2018 Could Do List

Posted by on Dec 31, 2017 in Fun, Weekend Update | 8 comments

Weekend Update

December 2017 Could Do List

I’ve seen a few bloggers post a monthly ‘Could Do” list and I think it’s a fun idea. Here are a few things I”d like to do in December. I might do them all but I don’t feel obligated to complete the list.

1. Clear out and purge another room
In December we took everything out of the kitchen cabinets and put less than half back. I still need to do the pantry but I’d like to tackle another room too.

2. Reed the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
Since they started releasing the illustrated editions with art by Jim Kay I’ve been making them a January reading tradition.

3. Be more active in my LibraryThing group
I want to put this higher on my priority list than it’s been the past few months.

4. Go to a museum
There’s lots to do around here that we’ve never done.

What’s on your “Could Do” list this month?

Hope you’re having a great weekend.

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