What I'm reading these days

Ugh, I feel stretched these days. I have about a million different books that I'm reading on a million different devices. Paperback, hardback, nook, iPad, computer... they're everywhere! My priorities are leaning towards library books and the ARCs I have from NetGalley, though, so I'm working hard on those.

I'm still in the process of figuring out how to get things done beyond just taking care of the baby. After four and a half months, I'm starting to get it worked out, but it's hard to get motivated! (That's why I liked Drive so much.) So wish me luck to get some books finished!

(Also, does anyone wanna buy me one of those new Nook Glowlight things? Anyone? Bueller...?)


Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink

Summary: "Forget everything you thought you knew about how to motivate people—at work, at school, at home. It's wrong. As Daniel H. Pink (author of To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Motivating Others) explains in his paradigm-shattering book Drive, the secret to high performance and satisfaction in today's world is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.

Drawing on four decades of scientific research on human motivation, Pink exposes the mismatch between what science knows and what business does—and how that affects every aspect of our lives. He demonstrates that while the old-fashioned carrot-and-stick approach worked successfully in the 20th century, it's precisely the wrong way to motivate people for today's challenges. In Drive, he reveals the three elements of true motivation:

*Autonomy—the desire to direct our own lives
*Mastery—the urge to get better and better at something that matters
*Purpose—the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves

Along the way, he takes us to companies that are enlisting new approaches to motivation and introduces us to the scientists and entrepreneurs who are pointing a bold way forward.

Drive is bursting with big ideas—the rare book that will change how you think and transform how you live."

Review: I'm so proud of myself for actually finishing this book!

I actually started it a couple years ago when the company I was working for started an informal "lunchtime book club" thing... but I left before we had our discussion about this one, and I never went back and finished reading it. Until now.

Fascinating stuff. I've always worried about myself a little, because I have a hard time motivating myself to do things. Some of this I credit to the theory Pink talks about from Dr. Carol Dweck, who says that sometimes smart people don't try hard because instead of seeing problems as opportunities to grow, they see them as tests of smartness. If intelligence is a quality you're born with in a finite amount, then when you see a problem you can't solve, it becomes a sign that you don't have enough intelligence to solve it. However, if intelligence is seen as a quality that can be enhanced through hard work, then tests merely become opportunities to learn.

This book really helps me see myself in a motivation paradigm beyond "if I do this I can have this reward," which is a relief because I've never felt that I respond strongly to that motivational style.

Reading this book is also what helped motivate me to start up my book blog again. As I read, I thought about how I'd kind of abandoned the blog when my life had some big changes, and how I always wished I could go back and start it up again. And now I have! :)

Goodreads Shelves: i-feel-so-smart-now, nook-book, read, thought-provoking



The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

Summary: "Forced to leave her sunny Caribbean home for the bleak Connecticut Colony, Kit Tyler is filled with trepidation. As they sail up the river to Kit's new home, the teasing and moodiness of a young sailor named Nat doesn't help. Still, her unsinkable spirit soon bobs back up. What this spirited teenager doesn't count on, however, is how her aunt and uncle's stern Puritan community will view her. In the colonies of 1687, a girl who swims, wears silk and satin gowns, and talks back to her elders is not only headstrong, she is in grave danger of being regarded as a witch. When Kit befriends an old Quaker woman known as the Witch of Blackbird Pond, it is more than the ascetics can take: soon Kit is defending her life. Who can she count on as she confronts these angry and suspicious townspeople?"

Review: So it had been a while since I read this one, and I had forgotten a lot of it. And I'd forgotten how much I liked it.

So good! It's a great book about coming of age and kindness for others, and adjusting to the people around you while staying true to who you are.

And sure, there are a couple of stereotypes (for instance, Goodwife Cruff and Mercy don't have too much character development beyond Woman Who Is Mean To A Young Girl For No Apparent Reason and Crippled Saintly Sister, respectively), but there are also characters who overcome their initial stereotypes, like Kit's uncle Matthew, who comes through for Kit despite how much he looks down on her lack of a work ethic early in the story, and Dr. Bulkeley, who insists in treating Mercy's fever, despite strong political differences with Matthew (and also despite being SUPER pompous early in the book).

I also liked all of the romances portrayed; they were all pretty natural and realistic, despite the use of my least favorite plot device: "I LOVE him! I ALWAYS loved him! I just never realized it until now!" Ugh. Gag. (Not to say that it doesn't happen in real life, because it does, but not as often as it does in books and movies.)

Overall, it was great to read this one again.

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, bechdel-test, i-own-it, is-this-a-kissing-book, my-kind-of-woman, read, thought-provoking



Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling

Summary: J. K. Rowling continues her phenomenally popular Harry Potter series with yet another tale of magic, mirth, and mayhem. Like its predecessor, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is chock-full of fascinating characters, frightful events, and fun wizardry.p

The Dursleys were so mean and hideous that summer that all Harry Potter wanted was to get back to the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and WIzardry. But just as he's packing his bags, Harry receives a warning from a strange, impish creature named Dobby who says that if Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts, disaster will strike.

And strike it does. For in Harry's second year at Hogwarts, fresh torments and horrors arise, including an outrageously stuck-up new professor, Gilderoy Lockhart, a spirit named Moaning Myrtle who haunts the girl's bathroom, and the unwanted attentions of Ron Weasley's younger sister, Ginny.

But each of these seem minor annoyances when the real trouble begins, and someone - or something - starts turning Hogwarts students to stone. Could it be Draco Malfoy, a more poisonous rival than ever? Could it possibly be Hagrid, whose mysterious past is finally told? Or could it be the one everyone at Hogwarts most suspects... Harry Potter himself?

ReviewWhy does everyone always hate on Chamber of Secrets...? It's one of my favorites (of the books, not the movies; the movie is awful). Seriously, though. Creepy voices in the wall talking about blood, slaughtered roosters, people turned into stone, and "her skeleton will lie in the chamber forever"? That's some legitimate scary, there. Not to mention two of my favorite lines: "I expect I was hopeless, was I?" and "Never trust something that can think for itself if you can't see where it keeps its brain!" (Words to live by.)

Admitedly, I wasn't into the death-day party, or the Polyjuice potion. And the Quidditch was kind of uninspiring in this one. But I love seeing how things that seem insignificant or sufficiently explained come back to be SUPER important later, and I think Chamber of Secrets does an excellent job of setting the stage for serious stuff to go down later, while also being pretty kick-A in its own right.

Goodreads Shelves addictive, bechdel-test, fluffy, funny, is-a-movie, my-kind-of-woman, pretentious



Illusions by Aprilynne Pike

Summary: Laurel hasn't seen Tamani since she begged him to let her go last year. Though her heart still aches, Laurel is confident that David was the right choice.

But just as life is returning to normal, Laurel discovers that a hidden enemy lies in wait. Once again, Laurel must turn to Tamani to protect and guide her, for the danger that now threatens Avalon is one that no faerie thought would ever be possible. And for the first time, Laurel cannot be sure that her side will prevail.

Review I... yes, I did. I did it. I read it.

These books are unusual in that I'm not entirely sure I like them, but I somehow can't put them down once I've started them. It happens every time. I JUST HAVE TO KEEP READING.

It might be because they're very EASY to read. So I start reading, and before I know it I've read fifty pages without noticing it.

I'm not super into Laurel. Not in the way I'm not into Katniss, which is a far more violent way. But I'm just kind of blah about her. I am glad about the David thing, though. And I'm glad about the Tamani thing, too. I mean, she's what, sixteen? Or thereabouts? You don't have to be tied down, kid. Just let it go.

And stuff.

Anyway, if you're into fairies, this one's for you.

Oh also, there seems to be a problem with my copy, wherein it was missing like a chapter at the end. That, or the book was a huge cliffhanger. :(

Goodreads Shelves addictive, bechdel-test, fluffy, is-this-a-kissing-book, pretentious



Outdoing Myself

So my quest to start blogging again came from two sources. First was one of the books I'm reading (review to come), and second was when I got a Goodreads invitation to this challenge over at The Book Vixen. So I guess I'm signing up!

Last year, my official book count was 9. :( Admittedly, I'm pretty sure I read more than 9 books last year. But that was my count according to my Goodreads Reading Challenge, and I'm gonna stand by it. That being said, I'm pretty sure I can beat 9!

My official goal for the 2014 Goodreads Reading Challenge is 25, but to give myself a little wiggle room, I'm gonna enter this challenge in the "Out of breath" category, which makes my goal 15-19 books.

Wish me luck!

The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer

Summary: When Sophy goes to stay with her cousins in Berkeley Square, she finds them in a sad tangle of affairs – some romantic and others of a more pecuniary nature. Perhaps the Grand Sophy has arrived just in time to save them.

Review: Yeah... Sophy's pretty awesome. I'm kind of a fan.

This is my first Georgette Heyer book; I wasn't sure what to expect, going in. But I liked it a lot.

The characters were great; I loved how Sophy just took charge of everything around her. Definitely my kind of woman.

Goodreads Shelves: bechdel-test, fluffy, funny, is-or-would-be-a-good-movie, is-this-a-kissing-book, my-kind-of-woman, nook-adult 


Housekeeping Note

So after I made my decision to resurrect this blog, I came over and looked at it... only to discover three entire posts I'd written but never put up!! WHAT the WHAT?!

So the next few reviews are those. I read them (and wrote the reviews) about two years ago, and I now post them for your enjoyment. Easily identifiable by the label "blast from the past."

Apology, of sorts.

Dear everyone,

I was in fact intending to apologize, and tell you that I'm sorry that I stopped blogging for two years for no apparent reason.

But I have a firm belief that this is my blog, and I don't have to explain myself to people. If I stop posting, you can (and did, I'm sure) easily read other blogs. Blogs that probably review the same books I read/would have read.

So there's that.

That being said, I do in fact feel bad that I stopped posting on my book blog for no apparent reason. So... I'm sorry. :/

One of my New Years resolutions this year is to revive my book blog, though. So here I am. Resuscitating it. Wish me luck?


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