29 09 2012

048. Read 50 books (33/50) [more info]

So I got one more book finished before my project’s end last night…

Fitting that it was the last in a trilogy (Blackout, by Mira Grant), so a suitable end to the day. I really enjoyed this series – I read the first book while pregnant with our son Rowan, the second when he was only a couple of months old (snoozing in my arms!) and the third when he was a toddler. Kind of bittersweet that it’s over now, but I don’t think there’s anywhere the characters could really go from there so it was a fitting end. 🙂

In regards to reading, I didn’t get to my goal of completing 50 books in 2.5 years. It seemed so do-able at the time, but then again my time was my own back then – no child to take care of and my work commitments weren’t too large. Pregnancy and birth changed all of this, and there were times I found myself reading a lot and other times I went months without barely reading much at all. I was talking to someone about this recently, that I could have made this goal “easier” by choosing to read shorter books… but I did not want to compromise on books I wanted to read (or re-read) simply because they seemed too long and therefore not going to get finished in time – ie, Coalescent by Stephen Baxter, which I’m re-reading at the moment but didn’t get finished before my project’s end. I love that series, and I’m looking forward to continue digesting it over the coming months.

With my next project (oh yes, I’m guessing that there will be one starting in the next year),  I will lower my expectations of time spent being able to read a little more and drop that total number from 50 to something like 30, for example. More do-able, I think.

Non Sci-Fi Reads

6 07 2012

049. Read 10 books that aren’t from the sci-fi or fantasy genres (10/10) [more info]

Finishing up on my current read, Organic Crops in Pots (by Deborah Schneebell-Morrell) marks the completion of ten books read since 2010 that aren’t science-fiction or fantasy related.

Sure, it doesn’t sound like much but considering I’ve only read 30 books in that time, 10 is quite a significant chunk of that! I don’t normally read much out of my favourite genres so this was a stretch in parts. Here is my list

02. Inconceivable – Ben Elton (finished 6/05/10)
06. An Inconceiveable Notion: Stories of Infertility & Childlessness – Justine Davies (finished 15/08/10)
09. The Nanny Returns – Emma McLaughlin & Nicole Kraus (finished 30/11/10)
14. Hypnobirthing; The Mongan Method (finished 06/04/11)
16. Breastfeeding – Sheila Kitzinger (finished 15/04/11)
19. 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die
24. Baby-Led Weaning – Gill Rapley & Tracey Murkett (finished 04/10/11)
25. The Wonder Weeks – Hetty van de Rijt & Frans Plooij (finished 13/09/11)
29. Diary of a First-Time Mum – Nicole Hall (finished 24/03/12)

30. Organic Crops in Pots – Deborah Schneebell-Morrell (finished 06/07/2012)

I discovered that I don’t like ‘chick lit’ (ie, fluff reading for women), but parenting books are okay. I discovered a couple of new authors I’d potentially read again, but on the whole realised why I prefer sci-fi novels… for the escapism!

Another goal ticked off the list!

Book: Diary of a First-Time Mum

24 03 2012

Image048. Read 50 books (29/50) [more info]
049. Read 10 books that aren’t from the sci-fi or fantasy genres (9/10) [more info]

I’ve been reading this book for the past month in both short and long stints (it takes me time to actually finish a book these days, chasing after my mobile baby who is quickly becoming a toddler), and can say I thoroughly enjoyed it! I was looking through the parenting section at the library, which is conveniently placed next to the children’s section (sheer genius on the library’s part…!) and the title caught my eye, and secondly that it’s Australian – from a Melbourne point of view, which I could relate to even more.

Diary of a First Time Mumexplores pregnancy, birth and beyond and is truly an honest read. I’ll be truthful, I was literally laughing out loud in parts because it was exactly what I had been through (breastfeeding in particular), and nodding my head as I understood what it was like to have a baby who didn’t want to sleep or would rather destroy everything in the house rather than sit quietly with the contents of their toybox (for the record, real-world objects are more interesting to most babies I have discovered).

I’m going to recommend this book to anyone who has a young child of their own, and also to women who are pregnant – or are thinking about trying for a child – as its warts-and-all approach to parenthood is refreshing (especially the ‘On Reflection’ section that finishes each chapter). Sure, it might scare a few people who will scoff “our life will never be like that”. Oh yes… it will. 😉

Review: Makers

8 08 2011

048. Read 50 books (19/50)

I finished reading Cory Doctorow’s Makers last night and while I enjoyed it, to be honest I’m ready to move onto something else. It had some good ideas as far as technology and consumerism is concerned, but overall it was quite a depressing read (particularly the last third of the book). Doctorow’s Little Brother was one of my literary highlights of 2010, so I had high hopes for Makers as well.

Still, it wouldn’t stop me from seeking out other books by this author, so it’s not a write-off completely. 😉

Reading List

5 08 2011

048. Read 50 books (18/50) [more info]
049. Read 10 books that aren’t from the sci-fi or fantasy genres (6/10) [more info]

I’ve been getting more time to read here and there after settling into life with a baby, though now it’s generally during a feed or after Rowan’s gone to sleep at night. It doesn’t really help that the books that I choose to read are quite long (it took me nearly three months to finish the book I started soon after his birth!!). My highlight has been Deadline, book 2 in the ‘Newsflesh’ series – I read the first novel Feed over Christmas (nothing says Christmas like a zombie apocalypse..!).

Here’s what I have been reading since April (full list available on the Books & Recipes tab under the title graphic)

14. Hypnobirthing; The Mongan Method (06/04/11)
15. Selling Out – Justina Robson (10/04/11)
16. Breastfeeding – Sheila Kitzinger (15/04/11)
17. Going Under – Justina Robson (30/06/11)
18. Deadline – Mira Grant (12/07/11)

19. 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die (currently reading)
20. Makers – Cory Doctorow (currently reading)

My Recent Reading List

2 12 2010

048. Read 50 books (9/50) [more info]
049. Read 10 books that aren’t from the sci-fi or fantasy genres (3/10) [more info]

November is usually a pretty busy time for me (work tends to consume my life) and this year has been no exception. However, I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel and December means it’s time to wind down for the year.

When I get the time to unwind lately, I’ve been reading and cooking (see previous entry for some of my food endeavours). Here are the books I have finished reading recently (keep in mind that I like to savour books instead of rushing through them as fast as I can).

7. The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:  A Trilogy in Four Parts – Douglas Adams (finished 04/10/10)
The ‘Hitchhiker’ series has been on my to-read list for a couple of years now, and it wasn’t until recently that I actually got around to reading it. Theoretically I could have counted each of the four stories as a book, but since they were in a single volume the rules I set for the challenge applied – it was one book. Adams’ style is eccentric, peculiar and downright silly most of the time… but in a way that makes for light reading, laughable storyliens and compels you to want to read on. Admittedly, by halfway through the fourth book I’d nearly had enough, but kept going to see the characters reach their ultimate end-games. Good, fun reading. 🙂

8. The Evolutionary Void – Peter F. Hamilton (finished 14/11/10)
This book is the final in the ‘Void’ trilogy, and I had been waiting two years since reading its predecessor. It is a combination of space-opera and fantasy at times, and two storylines have been interweaved to leave the reader hanging for more of one part when another begins. If you like physics, mathematics, spaceships and the odd sarcastic joke, then this is the series for you. If anything, the ending let me down a little bit (a touch too saccharine), but overall the series has been among the best I have read in recent years.

9. The Nanny Returns – Emma McLaughlin & Nicole Kraus (finished 30/11/10)
After reading a truckload of science-fiction back to back, it was time to intersperse soemthing a little different – introducing one of my first forays into chic-lit (which I never thought I’d do!). While I haven’t read the original The Nanny Diaries, I’ve seen the film a couple of times and when seeing the sequel book in the library I thought I’d pick it up. What I thought was light reading turned into quite heavy reading, as the dramas and he-said, she-said conversations unravelled. Kind of like being in the workplace amongst gossiping women, actually! Is this what most of the chic-lit genre is about? If so, then I’ll probably stick away from it in future.

Next up on the reading list? Zombies, of course (to counteract the girliness in the last book).

Recent Book Reviews

15 08 2010

048. Read 50 books (6/50) [more info]
049. Read 10 books that aren’t from the sci-fi or fantasy genres (2/10) [more info]

Over the last couple of months I’ve been doing a fair bit of reading (or more than I’ve done in the last year). Sitting on public transport and waiting for appointments at hospitals will do that to you… but at least I’ve used the time well. 🙂

One recent book I’ve finished is Ringworld (Larry Niven), a story of space exploration and distant races written in the 1970s. The story revolves (pun intended :P) around a narrow band of substance orbiting around a star that appears to be long-abandoned by its creators (the ‘Engineers’), but inhabited by an ancestor of a humanoid species. The story is quite humourous in parts, making droll mentions of a race of giant parrots and interspecies intercourse, to name a couple of instances. Well worth the read, even if it’s a little slow to get into and if you can ignore some scientific and physics-based inaccuracies).

Another book is a collection of tales of Australians who find themselves childless, not by choice. An Inconceiveable Notion: Stories of Infertility and Childlessness (Justine Davies) focuses on the stories of women (and men) who live with infertililty. Interestingly, this book popped up on my COLLECT list from the local library shortly after finding out that I was pregnant (after a long battle with infertility myself, through endometriosis). I wondered whether to pick it up and decided to in the end. Some of the stories were ones I could relate to – IVF or endometriosis, while others related to PCOS, age or finding a partner later in life. While infertility seems like a depressing read, it was actually uplifting to see people working towards acceptance and that life brings so many other opportunities. Do I consider myself out of the infertile backwaters simply because I’m pregnant now? No, I don’t – infertility is something I will identify with for the rest of my life, regardless of where life might lead.