Book Chat

Reading Log: January 2014

The first reading log of 2014!  January is always fun because I have lots of new books from Christmas.  I’m knee deep into the Game of Thrones series (A Song of Ice and Fire), but I found time to indulge in quite a few crafty books too.  Lots of fun reading!

Below is my Reading Log for January 2014, with my thoughts about each book to help me remember what I read.  I’ve included all the books that I’ve read or finished during the month (even if I started some of them outside of the month).  And of course I keep track of my rating on the grade system, the binding, genre, etc… just for fun!

January 2014

HB = Hardback, PB = Paperback, AB = Audio book, K = Kindle.
F = Fiction, HF = Historical Fiction, NF = NonFiction, YA = Young Adult,
CL = Children’s Lit, B/M = Bio/Memoir, SFF = Sci-Fi/Fantasy, C = Craft

Title Start Finish Grade/
Format
Genre

 

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1)
by George RR Martin
12/18/13 1/9/14

A+
K

SFF

Journey to the Heart: Daily Meditations on the Path to Freeing Your Soul,
by Melodie Beattie
1/1/14 Still Reading

TBD
PB

SH

Alice in Tumblr-Land and Other Fairy Tales for a New Generation,
by Tim Manley
1/2/14 1/2/14

B
HB

H

Craft-a-Doodle: 75 Creative Exercises from 18 Artists,
by Jenny Doh
1/2/14 Still Reading

 

TBD
PB

C

Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays,
by Ree Drummond
1/5/14 1/6/14

A
HB

C

Patchwork and Quilting,
by Better Homes and Gardens
1/9/14 1/9/14

A
HB

C

Cross-Stitch Samplers,
by Better Homes and Gardens
1/9/14 1/9/14

A
HB

C

Clash of Kings (Song of Ice and Fire #2),
by George RR Martin
1/10/14 Still Reading

TBD
K

SFF

One Man’s Meat,
by E.B. White
1/11/14 Still Reading

TBD
PB

M

Heather Ross Prints,
by Heather Ross
1/15/14 1/16/14

A
PB

C

Thoughts:

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Fire and Ice #1), by George RR Martin – A+

The Amateur Librarian // December 2013 Reading Log

So glad I finally started this series after putting it off for so long!  I love the TV series but I was afraid to commit to five huge books and no end in sight.  The show follows the book almost scene by scene, so I was familiar with all the plot twists beforehand but the writing just enhanced everything I already knew.  The writing is almost invisible, it’s so seamless and flows seamlessly from one POV character to the next.  There are a few main storylines, with characters on all sides giving their points of view, but somehow it’s never confusing.  The world-building never felt labored, and the characters are so realistic that there’s no “good” or “bad,” just shades of lifelike grey.  But most of all, it was just downright enjoyable to read.

 …

Journey to the Heart: Daily Meditations on the Path to Freeing Your Soul, by Melodie Beattie – TBD

The Amateur Librarian // January 2014 Reading Log

One of my new year’s resolutions is to actively seek peace… I know there will always be ups and downs in life, but I’d like to cultivate a state of mind that can weather both the storms and the daily frustrations of life with some grace.  That sounds pretty unattainable as a resolution, but I’m trying to go about it by building little daily habits – going to yoga, using a meditation app, practicing breathing exercises, reading a daily meditation book.  My mom gave me Journey to the Heart in May 2010, after I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and Crohn’s Disease was imminent (I’m glad she wrote an inscription!).  I read it daily for quite a while – I have the highlighted pages to prove it – but eventually I fell out of the habit.  But the great thing about this kind of book is that it’s forgiving – infinitely re-readable and it doesn’t matter if/when you start and stop.  I started anew on January 1, and I might not make it through the entire year, but I’ll give it a go! It’s nice to include a little bit of peace in my bedtime routine.

 …

Alice in Tumblr-Land and Other Fairy Tales for a New Generation, by Tim Manley – B

The Amateur Librarian // January 2014 Reading Log

I love the Fairy Tales for Adults tumblr page – Peter Pan, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood as young adults in the modern day, dealing with existential crises.  Each page is dedicated to a different fairy tale character, with a short paragraph and an illustration.  The characters go through an arc of sorts throughout the book, which was about the only difference from the online version.  The captions are humorous and quite often profound, but I felt like I had read it all online before.  I thought there would be more new stuff –  the content is still great but the fact that it’s recycled material was a disappointment

 …

Craft-a-Doodle: 75 Creative Exercises from 18 Artists, by Jenny Doh – TBD

The Amateur Library // Craft Book Library

Still reading.  I ordered this on a whim for Christmas, and I’m so glad I did!  Eighteen different artists are featured, with 75 step-by-step doodle ideas and inspiration.  I decided to take my time working through the book and giving each doodle a go.  Really fun exercise in creativity, right up my alley!  I’ve worked through a couple artists, but it’s a fun side project to have in the background and might take me a few more months to get through it all.

 …

Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays, by Ree Drummond – A

The Amateur Librarian // January 2014 Reading Log

I still collect Pioneer Woman’s cookbooks whenever they come out, even though I haven’t cooked anything in quite a while!  I still like the inspiration, especially the holiday theme of this third cookbook, and Sam gave it to me for Christmas.  The layout gets better with each book, and this one includes plans for making the menu a day ahead, suggestions for variations, and coordinating recipes from other holiday menus.  I marked a few to try, but it must be admitted that most of these “special occasion” recipes require more effort… and seeing as how I can’t even muster any minimal effort meals, I probably won’t be attempting them any time soon.  But one can dream…

 …

Patchwork and Quilting, by Better Homes and Gardens – A

The Amateur Library // Craft Book Library

I found this book by Better Homes & Gardens at a thrift store with some friends over the holidays.  I love the bright crazy colors and the ‘70s décor featured throughout the book.  Some projects are pretty dated, but there are definitely some gems.  Unfortunately the instructions are practically foreign to me, with hardly any pictures and some very vague language.  So this book is definitely for inspiration only.

 …

Cross-Stitch Samplers, by Better Homes and Gardens – A

The Amateur Library // Craft Book Library

Another thrift store find.  Some of the projects are dated or too traditional for my taste, but I like the fact that you can mix and match almost everything to create your own sampler.   The background information was pretty helpful too – for instance, I never realized that samplers were created as a resource to use the motifs or letters for embroidering other household items – like a personal catalogue of sorts.  It makes sense but I never thought of it that way, and something about that just tickles my fancy.  I also learned that fair isle knitting patterns translate to cross stitch easily, so they can be a source of more ideas.  Fun inspiration.

 …

Clash of Kings (Song of Ice and Fire #2), by George RR Martin – TBD

The Amateur Librarian // January 2014 Reading Log

Still reading.  In this second book of the series, the TV show starts to deviate in a few ways, which was interesting to read and see why they might tighten up some storylines or combine characters. The high drama continues, and again the writing is so enjoyable that I find myself rooting for every single character, no matter what side they’re on.  Well, except for maybe Theon and Stannis… not my favorites.  Fun stuff, really enjoying this series!

 …

One Man’s Meat, by E.B. White – TBD

The Amateur Librarian // January 2014 Reading Log

Still reading.  Essays by E.B. White before and during World War II, when he moved from New York City (and the New Yorker) to the countryside.  I just love his conversational and rambly writing style, which is perfect for short essays at the breakfast table.

 …

Heather Ross Prints, by Heather Ross – A

The Amateur Library // Craft Book Library

This is the perfect splurge for a Christmas gift card – I couldn’t quite pull the trigger with my own money, but it’s well worth the indulgence if it’s a gift card!   The book is divided into three sections – projects, design, and resources.  I was really impressed with the projects – even though Heather Ross is primarily a fabric designer, the ideas cover a wide range and weren’t just limited to fabric.   Although I have to say that almost all of the projects involve transferring one of her prints (or your own) onto fabric or paper… and that can get very expensive from the get-go.  But of course you could also just buy some fabric to use.  The design section was an unexpected surprise, with a full Photoshop tutorial for creating your own textile prints.  But the best part of all is the dvd full of Heather Ross prints to do with as you please – and there are so many, many possibilities beyond the projects mentioned.  I guess I didn’t understand exactly what the book involved before I ordered it, but I’m so pleased by the unexpected wealth of ideas and promise.

So that’s what I’ve been reading during the month of January.  Anyone reading a good book?

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