Reading Journal (29 July): Summer Mode to Blog Reading

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My problem this summer is not finding time to read: I’m really enjoying a lot of reading. My son runs around in the back yard and I sit under the umbrella with my books. I curl up in the air conditioning after my son goes to bed for the night. I’m finding lots of reading time.

No, my problem is finding time to read blogs. I’ve only been getting about 20 minutes of blog reading time a day. I haven’t been the commenter I’d like to be. I sincerely apologize to all you great bloggers out there. Maybe I’ll get back in control soon and get more blog reading done. I really do love leaving comments, and I miss visiting your wonderful blogs.

I started to have a weird feeling this week like I’m not reading enough books blogs, but I’m going to try to resist the urge to add more to my Reader. I do hop over to the blog of anyone who comments, but yet I still get this feeling that there is a “summer mode” going on in my blog reading world. Maybe we’re all posting less, but I don’t thinks that’s it. I just feel that I don’t have enough time to give you the attention you deserve.

Have you been doing less blog reading since summer started?

Although I haven’t been reading blogs and commenting as much as I’d like, I have been reading a lot this summer! I’ve enjoyed my lighter summery reads.

Finished Reading

See my notes by each book below.

  • TAGALOG: A Complete Course for Beginners by Living Language (finished 1 of 15 lessons, audio and booklet; nonfiction/languages). ABANDONED. I gave up on this. The DVD-ROM player on my laptop has mostly died, so the convenience factor of this program became nonexistent. I don’t think learning a lesson via a CD and booklet is very realistic. I think I already knew that.
  • The Autobiography of an Idea by Louis H. Sullivan (0 read of 320 pages; nonfiction). ABANDONED. I still would really like to read this autobiography, but I’ve decided to read the general Chicago architecture book now instead and revisit Sullivan’s account at a later date.
  • The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart (345 pages; YA fiction). FINISHED! Overall, it was okay, but I found large portions of this to be horribly boring. It doesn’t get me excited to read more YA as last week’s Uglies did. All that said, I’m not the target audience. Review coming tomorrow.
  • The Door by Margaret Atwood (120 pages, plus audio disc; poetry). FINISHED! For the Martel-Harper Challenge. I loved this volume! I’m going to listen to the audio (which has a selection of the poems) again but I’ll still get up a review soon.
  • Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel (240 pages; fiction). FINISHED! For The Spice of Life Challenge. I really enjoyed this book, and I’m going to give away my copy. Check back here on Monday.

Currently Reading

not pictured: audiobook The Woman in White; The House at Pooh Corner

I’ve included my thoughts about these current reads below.

My Books

  • The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins ( audiobook, on 14 of 38 segments, 25.5 hours total; fiction) My current audiobook; downloaded via Very well done as an audiobook, and a gripping story.
  • The Stories of John Cheever (15 of 61 stories, 820 pages; fiction/short stories). Part of my Pulitzer Challenge. My goal for the coming weeks is five to ten stories a week.
  • The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne (40 read of 180 pages; children’s fiction). I’m reading this aloud to my son, a little bit every day.

Old Library Loot

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Eva and Marg that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library.

  • Twenty Years at Hull-House by Jane Addams (200 read of 290 pages; nonfiction). Some parts have been dull, but overall, I’m still enjoying this.
  • Abraham Lincoln: A Man of Faith and Courage by Joe Wheeler (35 read of 280 pages; nonfiction/biography).  For the U.S. Presidential Reading project. An interesting, “popular” look at the most popular president.
  • The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (375 pages; fiction). I plan to begin it this week. I skimmed the first few pages, but I’m going to sit down and read it for real as soon as I finish one of the non-fiction books above.
  • The Arabian Nights II, translated by Husain Haddawy (270 pages; fiction). I finished the other volume translated by Haddawy and I feel like I missed something; this volume has the traditional stories I missed. I’m looking forward to reading this. Not yet begun; if I finish The Eyre Affair, I’ll begin this one in the coming week.
  • The Chicago School of Architecture: A History of Commercial and Public Building in the Chicago Area, 1875-1925 by Carl W. Condit (220 pages; nonfiction). Not yet begun. The Lincoln book is due back first, so I will have to read it first. I’ll begin this when I finish the Addams and Lincoln books.

New Library Loot

I got two new books this week.

  • Pretend Soup by Mollie Katzen and Ann Henderson (30 read of 95 pages; children’s nonfiction/cookbook). For The Spice of Life Challenge. I started reading through it and looking at the pictures and I can’t stop! It is so fun. It’s probably a little above my son’s level (he’s not yet two and it’s geared to 3 to 5 year olds), but I’m excited to get him interested in cooking all the same.
  • An Edge in the Kitchen by Chad Ward (5 read of 210 pages; nonfiction/reference). For The Spice of Life Challenge. I skimmed the first chapter, and I’m eager to learn all the “how to’s” and whys of kitchen knives. I’m such a geek!

Fabulous Finds

Reviewed on July 29, 2009

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

  • Okay, I have to admit, while I’m supposed to be interested, I’m not at all interested in reading The Disreputable History. I had a chance to meet E. Lockhart at ALA and didn’t. Her books just…don’t sound interesting to me. I love YA, but for some reason, those don’t feel like my kind of book. Eventually I have to read that one for the Printz project, but I’m kind of putting it off.

  • I think a lot of bloggers slow down in the summer, reading them and writing them. I happen to be on a computer all day long and have no children, so I’m still at it! 🙂


  • Everyone seems to be slowing down and concentrating on other things during the summer it seems. I didn’t notice much of this last year, though, so I wonder what’s different about this year.

    I love architecture, so I hope you’re able to find a book that catches your interest. Chicago is such a pretty city architecturally speaking. And I hope you enjoy The Eyre Affair. I don’t think it’s for everyone, but I had a good time reading it despite having never read Jane Eyre.

  • I haven’t noticed a change in my reading habits (blog or otherwise) but I still haven’t caught up after vacation. I’ve definitely noticed fewer comments this summer, though.

    Sorry you didn’t love Frankie Landau-Banks. I thought it was great! Looking forward to reading your review of it.

  • I must confess I don’t read as many blogs as I’d like. Only about a dozen come through my RSS reader. With two 11mo boys I only get to read when they are napping, so I try to read books rather than blogs.

    I like this Reading Journal segment 🙂 I’m going to have to have a little peek around your blog while I’m here 🙂

  • Amanda, I can’t say I liked the book, and it makes me wonder how other YA high school books are. It was so not me. Everyone else liked it though, so I’ll probably get comments on tomorrows post telling me I’m all wrong….

    Lezlie, I’m still home with my little one all day, so technically I’m right next to the computer too, but my son insists on being outside more than not!

    Christina, Once I read the Chicago architecture book (hopefully in the next two weeks) I may have questions for you about what to read next! Of course, my TBR is so huge, I find it’s hard to fit it all in!

    Last July and August I was in Australia where it was winter, so I didn’t notice anything different. I was also moving back to the USA, so I was a bit tied up myself. I wonder about this year. Are we all burning out from blogging too much?!

    Ali, I know, everyone liked Frankie except me. I’m just not a fan of the high school scene, so I don’t know what I was thinking in reading it to begin with!!

    Lisa, I think we’re all in that boat!

    Bella, I’m amazed at the low number of 12 in a reader. Reader is addicting! I find my number gets higher very quickly. And then I feel guilty cutting it down. But we do what we can.

    I’ve been reading rather than blogs during my son’s nap too. Twins? That sounds exhausting. I’m impressed you don’t take a nap too…

    I’m so glad you like the Reading Journal segment. I like lists and I like how it keeps me organized.

  • I haven’t been commenting as much, but I blame being unusually busy at work, not summer fun. How sad for me! It seems like enough of an effort to post on my blog.

    I’ve been trying to get in the habit of checking my google reader instead of visiting each blog, so I am reading blogs. But that makes me even more lazy about clicking through to leave a comment.

    When my head starts to spin like this, I try to remind myself that book blogging is supposed to be fun. I have a job already! Blogging is not supposed to be another one.

  • Rose City Reader, yes, my own blog definitely wins out over reading other blogs. I’m sorry that your busy-ness is not fun induced :(. I think reading via google Reader is 100 times faster, simply because I feel less guilty not commenting! so I understand. I hope your head stops spinning soon. Blogging is fun when it’s not!

  • Rebecca.. I’m in the same boat. I do skim through all the posts in my reader (and read all the ones I’m interested in), but have less time to comment. I also pared down my subscriptions. I’ve been subscribing to other bloggers who occasionally or even once commented on my blog, but then find that I don’t share the same tastes in reading as them, and I end up not reading through their posts. I’m only worried that I might offend those who I don’t subscribe to, but really, my purpose is that I find books I’d be interested in, from blogs I read, right?

    Anyway, I’ve read all Updike’s Rabbit books and I must say that I’m in both sides of the coin. Being, that I loved Updike’s writing, especially how he perfectly depicts the atmosphere of the time, but that I abhorred Rabbit the protagonist, he’s a jerk. Well, Updike must have meant it that way. He’s concocted a character so real that he’s like a familiar uncle or a dad’s friend, etc. All in all, I thought it was a worthy piece of literature, even if the protagonist was loathsome. Probably other readers can’t overlook that, but I tend to base my judgment more on the writing.

    Also, how come you’re learning to speak Tagalog? Lol. It’s my first language.

  • claire, I worry about “offending” readers too. But I just think if people don’t read the same books I do, it’s okay if I’m not subscribed. I just click over if someone comments on mine.

    Thanks for your insight on Rabbit. Someday I’ll read them, keeping in mind that I’ll hate the main character.

    As for the Tagalog: My brother is marrying a girl from Manila next week. She also speaks English fluently. My husband is also fluent in Tagalog — he spent two years there as a religious missionary. I guess I just thought it would be nice to know some words and phrases, but I don’t think the learn-by-CD method is very practical! It’s a bit of a different language.

  • Oh wow, that’s nice. Congratulations to your brother and his bride! It amazes me when people of other cultures speak Tagalog, mostly because I’m not used to it. Mainly, it’s that we tend to adjust to other languages and other cultures, not the other way around. I think your brother is amazing for learning Tagalog in just two years. It is, indeed, a difficult language, because a lot of the syllables tend to be the same, but when connected with a different syllable the words become completely different. Tagalog is Malay language mixed in with some Chinese and Spanish. So if you know Spanish, it’s a little easier to learn other words. For example, in Spanish, horse is “caballo.” In Tagalog it’s the same pronunciation but spelled differently: “kabayo.”

  • Another example, which is very common, is the Spanish “como esta” which is in Tagalog “kumusta.” (How are you?) Anyway, I shouldn’t be giving you these lessons, I’m really a terrible teacher, lol.

  • I’m following the comments with interest- my brother also married a woman from Manila while he was stationed in Korea. I just met her for the first time this summer and she’s just perfect for him. Their kids speak both languages (so far, they are still little.)

  • claire, well my brother doesn’t speak Tagalog at all. My husband does. Ironic that my brother is the one marrying the girl fluent in Tagalog! I do speak Spanish, and so I hoped I’d “get” Tagalog. But after one lesson of the CD, Tagalog was a bit too scary still. Like I said, my husband speaks it fluently, and he thinks it’s kind of funny that I thought I can learn it by listening to a CD. That’s why I gave up at this point. But maybe at some point I’ll keep trying to revisit it. I’d love to know another language, although I never even use my Spanish now LOL!

    Lisa, I wonder if my brother’s wife will speak Tagalog at home. Every time she’s spoken with my husband (who is fluent), it’s sounded more like “Taga-lish”, a mix of Tagalog and English. So I wonder?

  • My brother has picked up some, but they mostly speak English to each other. He has picked up some of the accent though, in particular with names. So their baby is Anna, but when they say “Anna” it’s nothing like the way we say it. I am fascinated to listen because my brother has a very good ol’ boy Southern drawl the rest of the time.

  • Rebecca.. Lol! I’m sorry for the mix-up, guess I was reading too fast. Wow your husband speaks Tagalog! It’s really nice to hear as there aren’t so many non-Filipinos who do.

    Lisa.. Hi! Our accent does sound strange in English! I sometimes have to consciously switch my accent mode when saying proper names (like my family name, which is Chinese. It sounds so funny in English ha ha.)

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