Tag Archives: Goodreads

7 Quick Takes on Reading, Planning, and Dating

7 Quick Takes, hosted at This Ain't the Lyceum

— 1 —

As evidenced by the “old news” in last week’s 7QT and my ridiculously overdue 2016 year in review post, I am still clearing out my backlog of things I wanted to share here. Will you humor me with just a few more oldies?

For the third year in a row, I was among Pocket’s top 5% of readers. Or maybe it was the opt 1%. I can’t remember! I neglected to clip the email properly to share a screenshot, so just trust me; I read a lot in Pocket.

If you like to read articles online (or watch videos), but find yourself wandering down the rabbit hole of links or worrying about wasting data loading ads on your phone, you’ll enjoy Pocket. It’s been revolutionary for my reading habits. Why scroll through Facebook aimlessly looking for something to read on the go when I can read articles I have already curated?

— 2 —

I don’t have the link to my Pocket Year in Review anymore, but I do have my Goodreads 2016 Year in Books. I was pleased with last year’s reading. I read plenty of nonfiction early in the year and slipped in some awesome fiction towards the end, and I met my overall book goal. Goodreads has been excellent for my book-reading in much the same way Pocket has for articles.

Read ALL the books!

— 3 —

I was much less pleased with my life planning. I still have the plan, but I haven’t reviewed it for at least six months. I’m pretty sure it still shows calling my grandmother once a month as an action item, and she died in August.

I am expecting to have some time in the near future for some extensive revisions, though, so I was glad to pick up a free life plan review tool from Building Champions back at the turn of the year. The video is no longer available, but the review tool (and the free tool for writing your first draft of a life plan) are still there.

We plan vacations, and we plan weddings, but have you ever planned your life?

— 4 —

I am still reading and loving Verily magazine. I especially like their “Gentlemen Speak” feature, which consists of articles written by real men or roundups from interviews with the same. Before I met Mr. Man, I often wondered why the nice, smart, charming, churchgoing men I met were never interested in me. We clicked so well! Wasn’t there something more than just “not feeling it” or the standard-but-infuriating “intimidation” factor? Andrew Mentock offers a few novel ideas why a great conversation doesn’t always lead to a date invitation.

Fun fact: I have had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Mentock (not to be confused with Mr. Man) in person. The Internet is maybe not such a huge place after all.

— 5 —

Related to the dating theme, I was fascinated by an essay posted in ZENIT about the effect that promoting chastity has had on slowing the spread of AIDS in Uganda. Americans in particular seem to think of Africa as one homogenous zone that needs saving, where AIDS spreads like wildfire. That’s not true any more than it’s true of the U.S. The A-B-C method really can work.

— 6 —

I manage my email really well, so I tend to stay subscribed to email lists for a long time and actually read what they send (or unsubscribe properly). I was not, however, expecting to hear from Small World of Words. I participated in their word association study online so long ago that I have absolutely no memory or record of it.

It was neat to see the results, of course, but getting that random email was also a reminder of just how long scientific research takes. We tend to just hear about results—especially when they are sensational—but I always forget that it might have taken years of data collection and analysis to get to those conclusions.

— 7 —

My life as a YNABer is still going well. I am currently casually mentoring a recent convert to budgeting. It took some encouraging to get past the idea of waiting for a “normal month” before committing to building that first budget. There’s just no such thing as a normal month!

There will always be something unexpected. Your car will need repairs. Your child will get sick. A bill will arrive. There’s a reason I built my first budget with a category called “Stuff I Forgot to Budget For.”

Budgeting is not about being able to predict the future or relying on historical spending data. It’s about using the money you have now to pay for the things you need now, some things you just want, and things that you’ll need later. Budgeting is about facing reality.


For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t the Lyceum.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’ll Never Read

It’s Wednesday, and it’s late enough as I begin this that I know with certainty I will be back-dating (back-timing) this post to get it filed under the correct day. I have had many awesome things to do this week, though, so I do not regret being late. I also do note regret this because I get to pick my own topic: it’s a freebie week for TTT.

Top Ten Books I’ll Never Read (In No Particular Order)

  1. The Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy: This ought to go without saying, but it needs saying! I fleshed out my reasons in my media discernment column at ACNM, but the consensus was that not enough Catholics (or humans, really) were speaking out against it. It’s erotica, which is like pornography except that it uses words instead of pictures. It is mainstream and readily acquired in the age of e-books. It is seen as harmless and acceptable. None of these are good things! I’m staying away. As a SomeECard once said regarding Bud Light Lime, if you ever see me holding a copy of any of the Fifty Shades books, I have been kidnapped and am trying to signal you.
  2. The Da Vinci Code or any other book by Dan Brown: Much with Fifty Shades, my problem is not primarily with the content. People have written less-than-flattering fiction about every affinity group in existence. People tell falsehoods about Catholicism all the time. It happens; I get it. My problem is that Dan Brown apparently (I’ve never even held a copy) claims in the book that the story is based on fact. It’s not! Those are weird legends at best. Don’t waste your time. If you want to know what real Catholics are like, read Brideshead Revisited.
  3. City of Bones or anything else by Cassandra Clare: I fell madly in love with Harry Potter fanfiction when I was in high school. The anniversary of the day I started reading Draco Dormiens was last week; it was Independence Day. Bored, I wandered through the Internet to the first of a novel-length trilogy by an author who went by Cassandra Claire. (Notice the spelling?) I devoured it that day and quickly moved on to the second and third “books.” Imagine my horror when, having received a real book contract, Cassie changed her pen name and yanked her previous (and mildly more plagiaristic than all fanfiction already is) works from the web. I eventually came across copies, but I felt betrayed. It’s one thing to disown your previous work; it’s another to deprive your fans of it entirely. I will never read any of her books. (I may finish the trilogy one of these days, though.)
  4. The His Dark Materials Trilogy: This is related to my distaste for Dan Brown books. His Dark Materials is basically The Chronicles of Narnia for little atheist kids. I’m not an atheist; I’m a quite happy Catholic. Why would I want to read an atheist allegory where the characters set out to kill God (who turns out not to be the God, but still)? I’ll stay away.
  5. The Twilight Saga: You knew it was coming. I have exactly two actual experiences with the actual text of Twilight. The first was when a roommate read a random sentence aloud from Eclipse (I think it was Eclipse). I almost fell out of my chair laughing because it was so cheesy. Later, I read a liveblogged review on a random LiveJournal. Each chapter had a snarky-sounding title. I thought they were all jokes. They were the actual chapter titles! When your book sounds like a joke on itself, that’s called satire. I won’t even get into the inappropriately intense romance or the weak and badly-paced movie version (which I admit to seeing—I tried!).
  6. Harlequin or similar romance novels: I try not to look down on people who read or write romance novels, but I look down on them for themselves. If your book is not literary enough to just be called “fiction,” I doubt it’s very good. I would rather read classic novels that have romance than read books that are trying to sell the romance (or just sex) without real plots. They’re like action movies: all explosion, no story. I need story.
  7. Any other erotica: Another sad aspect of the Fifty Shades phenomenon is that many of its readers are unaware of the history of similar books. I won’t name any for fear of accidentally recommending them, but these books have been around for decades. I won’t read any of them, because pornography is one of the few things in the world I genuinely hate. It’s pretty much that, sin, and spiders.

This is another short list with multiple books in each entry, but it will do for now. It covers the extent of my “Will Not Read” shelf on Goodreads. I am making a public declaration against these books. You are my witnesses.

Booking Through Thursday: Queue

Ooh, this week is a good one: it has a sweet title, and it’s super relevant.

What are you reading now?

Would you recommend it?

And what’s next?

I just finished Intensely Alice (I know, I know), which helped me officially finish my Goodreads challenge for the year!

That’s pretty exciting. It was decent, but nothing fabulous. Next up is the next Alice book, but after that there’s only one more that’s been published, so my catching-up spree of almost a year will be over until next summer. It’s like my experience with watching Glee: some episodes/books aren’t that great, but I can’t give up on it now after I’ve invested so much time. There are only two books left to be published in the series, though, so it’ll be over soon, and I can stop be embarrassed when people see me reading Alice and ask about it.

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