You’ve Got a Book in You: Elizabeth Sims

Book style: Non-fiction

Beer style: None – I read this book off an on for over a year

There are probably a million and one books on how to write a novel, so figuring out which ones to read can be difficult. This one actually came as a gift from the hubs, which I found wonderful and sweet. He’s an analyst so he of course did a lot of research when purchasing some books for me. He told me that this was one of a few he’d bought for me that topped the list of books to read about writing.

I finally finished it in just over a year, but don’t take that as it wasn’t a good book. It was a very good book ( I have a ton of spots marked with a sticky note for further reference. Which is definitely what this book feels more like: a reference book to come back to later. And although it’s completely different than Stephen King’s On Writing, it brings a good perspective. On Writing was a mix between Mr. King’s past, how he became a writer, the challenges he faced, and his style of writing. You’ve Got a Book in You is more like a helpful guide and a friendly pep talk, but not in a “Do these steps and you’ll be on the NY Best Seller’s List” kind. Real advice, about writing because you love it, and putting in the effort needed to create some great work.

Continue reading “You’ve Got a Book in You: Elizabeth Sims”

Almost, almost

My life is going through a ton of changes right now. Changes that involve Yeses, Nos, and Almosts. We sold our house in 72 hours which was a big Yes! We are now reflecting on the inspection. They either want little piddly things to be done (nail the fence post that’s loose, change the AC filter) to big things (re-do duct work, change out electrical).

Let me clarify, our house is in great shape. None of the things they are asking for are necessary for the safety of the house. Inspections are a weird thing. Some guy whose never been in your house comes in and tells you everything he thinks is wrong with it. Some things are legit, some are squabbling. At first I got really angry. I just wanted to yell, “Here’s a hammer. Fix the damn fence yourself!”, but that’s not quite advisable so we are working on compromises now. We’ll have someone out to fix some of these small things, with a few bucks for them on the table to do their own electrical if they so feel the need to rewire the house.

So with the house…we are at an Almost. Hopefully by tonight, we will have a Yes.

During the craziness of selling our house, I also was interviewing for jobs. I had three interviews in one day, so I was really hoping one would work out. One was certainly a No, I think mutually. One was a Maybe, but nothing on their side was solid, which made me nervous, but the last one felt like a Yes and ended up being so. I ended up getting a second interview with a company and they called the next day asking if I’d accept a position with them. A definite YES.

With all of the craziness, and change happening, I definitely needed to get a run in. Between sitting in a car for hours, waiting for people to be done strolling through the house, then stress eating to calm myself through all of this (breakfast tacos and chocolate shakes…mmm), I needed some exercise to make myself feel better again, and clear my mind. I remembered that WordPress was running a 5K challenge, asking people to run/walk/stroll/bike a 5K and post about it. I was hoping to get one in last night, but I didn’t quite get there. I knew time was a crunch because we had plans to meet friends for dinner, and I needed to bathe the dogs as well. I decided on one of our shorter routes in hopes that it was still a 5K. No luck. An almost.

Even though this wasn’t a full 5K, between all my walking around, I’d  hit over 10,000 steps which was around 5 miles. I felt good about that.

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My Almost 5K

 

To be honest, I’m not a fan of Almost. Almost doesn’t cut it. But Almost is what I have and I am hoping that tonight Almost becomes a Yes. Almost is better than No. I almost ran a 5K today among the worry of inspections, dogs needing to get bathed, meeting with friends, figuring out when to pack, what house to buy next, I still got a run in. I still did something for my health. That’s what matters. Getting into the habit of this is what matters.

We will be road tripping it to Omaha this weekend to house shop and hopefully buy, our next home. I’m excited and nervous and what we’ll find. All I hope is that whatever we decide on, I hope it’s a Yes.

 

 

 

 

 

Reading instead of reviewing

I’m going to be taking a small hiatus from reviewing books, because unfortunately, I have to read a dry, boring, but necessary book for work. I work in the IT security world, so I have to keep up with the terminology, technology and everything that goes on with it.

I’m slated to take a rather brutal test, the CISSP exam, within the next couple month so I need to hunker down. I like the world of IT security, but it doesn’t mean I enjoy reading 900+ pages of terminology, policy and information about legacy systems. BUT, it has to be done. So I’m doing it.

Which means fun books will be put to the side for now for this beast.

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Wish me luck!

Far North: Michael Ridpath

Note: This book is called 66° North in other countries – this is the US version.

This is the second book in the Fire & Ice Series – the book previous to this is called Where the Shadows Lie.

Now that Magnus has spent some time in Iceland, he’s become a little more familiar with the culture but often still refers back to his American training, which sometimes gets him in trouble, but sometimes turns out to be the thing they needed. In this book, Magnus reaches back to his past to try to find out who killed his father so many years ago, and who is behind the murders of the country’s top bankers and financiers.

Continue reading “Far North: Michael Ridpath”

Travels, reflection and where you lay your head

I’ve been traveling a lot lately. More than I usually do, which has led to some reflection.

The first trip was out to Oregon, to see my dad’s side of the family. My grandfather had died and I wanted to attend the funeral. I booked a plane ticket and rental car the day before the funeral and headed out. I hadn’t been back to Oregon, my birthplace, in probably 15 years. I tried so hard to remember the last time I’d been but I couldn’t remember. Too long.

The trip was bittersweet; I was here for a funeral, but I was going to see my cousins, aunt, dad, step-mom and grandmother; people I hadn’t seen in so many years. Unfortunately, the last time I’d seen my dad was for another funeral – his sister’s. Why is it that we only seem to see people for weddings and funerals? Continue reading “Travels, reflection and where you lay your head”

Gratitude: Oliver Sacks

This is a collection of four short stories, or reflections, that Mr. Sacks wrote during the last few years of his life. The book read like a reflection on what really stood out in his life and what was important during those last few months on the earth. The musings he wrote were entertaining, insightful and sometimes humorous. For example, Oliver was a scientist by trade and had a love of the elements, so each year for his birthday, he would reflect on the element number of his age. His last one, 82, was Lead.

He also took an uplifting approach to life after learning that his cancer had returned again in his 80s. He reflected on the good in his life, and the gratitude he felt for the years that he had lived.

Even though I had different expectations for this book, it was still a good read and a great reminder to focus on this important things in life, to not worry about all the little piddly things that happen, and to be grateful for the day to day occurrences in our lives.

I’d recommend this short read as a reminder to seek out gratitude always.

Over the last few days, I have been able to see my life as from a great altitude, as a sort of landscape, and with a deepening sense of the connection of all its parts. This does not mean I am finished with life. On the contrary, I feel intensely alive, and I want and hope in the time that remains to deepen my friendships, to say farewell to those I love, to write more, to travel if I have the strength, to achieve new levels of understanding and insight.

Rating: 7.5/10

 

Zer0es: Chuck Wendig

This was my first “hacker” book, although I feel like I should have started these a long time ago considering I work in IT security, and it was also my first book by Chuck Wendig. I’d heard of him and seen his books, but always forgot to look into them, getting distracted with loads of other books to add to my list (it’s probably a real thing – like biblio-ADHD or something). I actually found his blog, started reading it and loved his writing style, so I finally grabbed up his book and read it.

I would describe Chuck’s writing style in this book as quick paced and rough-edged, in a good way. I read it almost like a noir-style novel, where things are happening quickly, and you’re digging your way through the dirt to find out who’s behind the government conspiracy. Continue reading “Zer0es: Chuck Wendig”

Lay Down Your Weary Tune: W.B. Belcher

I listened to a lot of David Ramirez when reading this book. It just fit with how I felt the writer was portraying the mood of this book. Although there were some funny parts, where I found myself quietly laughing or smiling, there was an underlying tone of sad reminiscence, remorse, regret, and the chances we have in life that we miss.

Jack Wyeth is a college grad who has done practically nothing with his life. Nothing that makes him exceptionally proud. In his college years, the highlight of his time was meeting the famous Eli Page, when Mr. Page came to perform at the school. Continue reading “Lay Down Your Weary Tune: W.B. Belcher”

Where the Shadows Lie: Michael Ridpath

 

This was a book I picked up on a whim. The hubs had asked me to pick up a book on WWII for him, so I strolled over to the library to do so. Of course, I can’t go into a library to pick something up without strolling through the aisles to see if I can find anything that looks interesting to me. Like wine, I’m a sucker for the labeling, so the cover of this book caught my eye. It’s a frosty, desolate looking cover, which actually reminds me of my childhood in Minnesota, but this is actually a depiction of Iceland, where the novel mostly takes place. (Note: I also didn’t realize this was a series when I picked it up, so I’ll be reviewing the next novels in the series later).  Continue reading “Where the Shadows Lie: Michael Ridpath”

Slaughterhouse Five: Kurt Vonnegut

It took me over 30 years to finally read a Kurt Vonnegut book. I think sometimes I don’t read a lot of classics because I’m afraid I’ll be disappointed (Emma, I’m lookin’ at you).

This book is abstract, to say the least, but is still followable. Yon Yonson is the narrator, but only speaks of himself a handful of times. It’s mainly told as a third person story and is considered semi-autobiographical, as Vonnegut was actually there during the bombing of Dresden. He quickly introduces himself in the beginning, and mentions himself as a character during the time at Dresden, which is how he is able to tell the story. Continue reading “Slaughterhouse Five: Kurt Vonnegut”