Monday, September 28, 2015

Day 361: Eleven, Rhymes with Heaven!

Well, it rhymes better than 'Books' does. They do mean the same thing though. Books are what we are about today. Not interested? Have a look at the pictures and have a fabulous day! Otherwise, following are my progress reports on assorted book challenges for the year:

Avanti Ciera 2015 Let Me Count the Ways Reading Challenge

Goal: Multi-Diamond—10,000+ Pages

January: 1887 pages
February: 2491 pages
March: 2436 pages
April: 3197 pages
May: 3973 pages
June: 1951 pages
July: 3235 pages
August: 4503 pages

Total Year to Date: 23673

Goal Blown Out of the Water! According to Goodreads, I have actually only read 22,133 pages, so something has gone slightly awry somewhere. But I still count that as Job Done. And two giant diamonds for me so far. I wonder when they will arrive?

10000 Pages

Book'd Out's Eclectic Book Challenge 2015

Reading some, finished some, yet to start the rest.

Retellings (of fairytale, legends or myth): Two Years Eight Months and Twenty Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie (referencing the 1001 Arabian Nights)

A book set in a country starting with the letter S (eg. Sweden, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Slovakia): Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum - Switzerland

PI Crime (fiction featuring a private investigator): The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

A novel published before you were born: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Contemporary romance: Good Girl Gone Bad by Karin Tabke

Fiction for foodies (fiction featuring food/food related business) The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry

Microhistory (Non Fiction) Rain: A Natural and Cultural History by Cynthia Barnett

Science Fiction set in space: The Martian by Andy Weir

Sports (Fiction or Non fiction) The Meaning of Sport by Simon Barnes (eek, sport *cough, cough*)

Featuring diversity: Half-Resurrection Blues by Daniel Jose Older

Epistolary Fiction (fiction written in the format of letters/emails/diary entries) The Gum Thief by Douglas Coupland

Middle Grade/YA Adventure: Fairytales For Wilde Girls by Allyse Near

4 Books
12 Books


Started at: 53 Books
Updated to: 65 Books
Re-Updated to: 69 Books
Re-Re-Updated to: 75 Books
To Be Re-Re-Updated at the end of October to: TBA Books

Read: 63 Books

Best Reading Year. Ever!!

63 Books
75 Books

Bookmark to Blog 2015 Monthly Key Word Challenge

In which you choose a book with one of a selection of words in the title each month.

Jan: Girl - The Tattooed Girl by Joyce Carol Oates
Feb: Lie - The Lie by Chad Kultgen
Mar: Kind - Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore with Lynn Vincent
Apr: Dream - Dreamland by Kevin Baker
May: Thief - The Gum Thief by Douglas Coupland
June: My - My Notorious Life by Kate Manning
July: Sun - The Battle of the Sun by Jeanette Winterson
August: Glass - Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas
September: Life - Life and Death in Shanghai by Nien Cheng
October: TBA
November: TBA
December: TBA

3 Books
12 Books

My Own Alphabet Challenge with no Time Line

Abducted; TR Regan
(The) Beach House; James Patterson
(The) Cat Who Could Read Backwards; Lilian Jackson Braun
Dolores Claiborne; Stephen King
Emma; Jane Austen
Fairytales for Wilde Girls; Allyse Near
Galapagos; Kurt Vonnegut
(The) Help; Kathryn Stockett

7 Books
26 Books

Book Journey's Harry Potter ReRead (until 31st March)

Before the finish date:
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

After the finish date (and therefore irrelevant really):
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

7 Books
7 Books

Tournament of Books 2015

In which I read all the books that have been chosen for this year's ToB

(And by 'read' I mean 'will start soon'. Come on! I've got until March next year on this one.)

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
Adam by Ariel Schrag
All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld
A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Wittgenstein Jr by Lars Iyer
The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
A Brave Man Seven Storeys Tall by Will Chancellor
Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill
Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel
An Untamed State by Roxanne Gay
Redeployment by Phil Klay
Silence Once Begun by Jesse Ball
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante

16 Books

Semi-Charmed Summer 2015 Book Challenge

Finished: Ran from 1st May to 31st August

Any book that fits the general rules. The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry

A book you have never heard of before. (Just go to a shelf and pick a book based on the cover, the title, whatever you want!) Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews

A book that has been on your TBR list for at least two years. (If you've had a Goodreads account for 2+ years, this will be easy to figure out. If you don’t, do your best to pick a book you’re pretty sure you’ve been wanting to read for years.) No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy (added to my To Read list in 2012)

A book that won a Goodreads “Best Book” award in 2014. The Martian by Andy Weir

A book by an author who is completely new to you. Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith

A book by an author you have read before. (No re-reads for this one.) Shakespeare: The World as a Stage by Bill Bryson

A book with "light" or "dark" in the title. (Or "lightness" or "darkness.") Lighthousekeeping by Jeanette Winterson

A book with the name of a city, state or country in the title. Edited to add: The place must be real, either current or historical, but not fictional. Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut

A book with an animal on the cover. Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell and Know by Alexandra Horowitz

A book that is part of a series with at least four books. Iron Lake by William Kent Krueger, Book One of the currently fourteen book long series featuring Cork O'Connor

A book that is longer than 500 pages long. — Submitted by winter finisher Kristen from See You in a Porridge. The Stand by Steven King - 1153 pages

A book with an alliterative title. (All words in the title must begin with the same letter; no exceptions for articles or prepositions. Examples: Gone Girl or Nicholas Nickleby. Yes, this is tough, which is why it's worth the most points!) Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb


115 Points
200 Points

And one I decided to join recently:

My Readers Block: Colour Coded Challenge

Please consider this my sign-up

"Blue" or any shade of Blue (Turquoise, Aquamarine, Navy, etc) in the title/on the cover. Half Resurrection Blues by Daniel Jose Older

"Red" or any shade of Red (Scarlet, Crimson, Burgandy, etc) in the title/on the cover. Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews

"Yellow" or any shade of Yellow (Gold, Lemon, Maize, etc.)in the title/on the cover. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

"Green" or any shade of Green (Emerald, Lime, Jade, etc) in the title/on the cover. Olive Ketteridge by Elizabeth Strout

"Brown" or any shade of Brown (Tan, Chocolate, Beige, etc)in the title/on the cover. Jackie Brown by Elmore Leonard

"Black" or any shade of Black (Jet, Ebony, Charcoal, etc) in the title/on the cover. Black Dog by Stephen Booth

"White" or any shade of White (Ivory, Eggshell, Cream, etc)in the title/on the cover. Girl with the Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

Any other color in the title/on the cover (Purple, Orange, Silver, Pink, Magneta, etc.). Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson

A word that implies color (Rainbow, Polka-dot, Plaid, Paisley, Stripe, etc.). Pattern Recognition by William Gibson

9 Books

And the one I said I never would (because something always annoys me about it). Twice:

Goodreads Seasonal Challenge: Spring 2015

Finished: Ran from 1st March to 31st May

A book title with a '?', '!', or '...' in it: Because I Said So! The Truth Behind the Myths, Tales and Warnings Every Generation Passes Down to Its Kids by Ken Jennings

A book with a Goodreads rating over 3.5: 15 Seconds by Andrew Gross

A book on either the 'Did Not Finish' or 'Abandoned' lists on Goodreads: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

A book with the genre science, science fiction or mystical realism on its title page on Goodreads: The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry

A book whose author's surname ends in ER: The Sins of the Fathers by Matther Scudder

Total: 70 points/1035 points

1035 Points

Goodreads Seasonal Challenge: Summer 2015

Finished: Ran rom 1st June to 31st August

A book of your choice: No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

A book from one of the suggested Summer Reading lists—San Fransisco Public Library 2014 Adult Summer Reading List: The Martian by Andy Weir

A two book task:
Book 1: A book that is #1, #5, #7, or #9 in a series: Iron Lake (Cork O'Connor, #1) by William Kent Krueger

Book 2: A book with one of the following words in the title - heaven, celestial, prime, void, dark, wind, spirit, fire, earth, river, ocean, mountain, forest, thunder, time, sound: Walking Into the Ocean (Peter Cammon Mysteries #1) by David Whellams

A book with a stand alone or embedded genre of 'Paranormal': Ghost Night (Bone Island Trilogy, #2) by Heather Graham

In honour of Terry Pratchett, a book with a genre of Science Fiction or Fantasy or any combination on its main book page: Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1) by Sarah J. Maas

A book that shows a body of water on the cover: Ghost Shadow (Bone Island Trilogy, #1) by Heather Graham

TOTAL POINTS: 80 points/1085 points

1085 Points

The Outfit
Dress (or, Nightgown perhaps?): Op-shopped
Singlet: Target
Jeans: Target
Necklace: Junk Jewellery Store somewhere
Shoes: Swedish Hasbeens

Photographer de Jour: V——

Getting linky today with:

Not Dressed As Lamb

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still being molly


Friday, September 11, 2015

Day 360: Ten Little Surprises

I'm organising a holiday. It is a secret. Do not tell Mr Earwig. Later this year he is turning fifty. But it wasn't me that told you okay? He doesn't want anyone to know. He doesn't want a big party; he wants to disappear for a few days and come back like it never happened. So on the actual day we are going to a wedding. That should cover that up nicely. A few days later we will do the disappearing act. He knows something is afoot. It is, I realise now, quite difficult to fly solo on organising something as momentous as this. Sure, when we do it together I usually put a very strong case forward as to why my plan is the best—and he doesn't often argue back—but I would normally get to run every other option through him before I decide which is the best in the first place. I can't do that here.

I've managed to get in a couple of 'Would you rather *scenario 1*, or *scenario 2*?' Q&A's, where scenarios include things like staying put or being above sea level or basic economics and accounting. but otherwise he has no idea.

This is what he has hoped it wouldn't be: Bali (volcano smoke cloud) or the Maldives (too close to sea level) or Mexico (too many drug cartels). Ummm, who in their right mind doesn't want to go to the Maldives? And Mexico? For: food, people, culture, language, colour, beaches, weather, sights, Mexico City. Against: a drug cartel or two. It balances 'in favour' in my mind. I can neither confirm nor deny if we are going to any of these three places.

Every few days he grabs the globe and spins, rattling off names. Ireland, Italy, Japan, Spain, the UK, Fiji, Hamilton Island, Myanmar, Tunisia. I can neither confirm nor deny if he has got that right.

He hasn't suggested Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Poland, Turkey, Uruguay, the Turks and Caicos Islands, San Fransisco, cruising the Alaskan Inside Passage, Greenland, Zanzibar, or travelling to the North Pole on an Russian Nuclear Powered Icebreaker. I can neither confirm nor deny whether any of these would be a better guess.

Today starts the 'getting off sugar' campaign. I was contemplating doing it as a give-up-along online but the dates coincided with the trip. Sitting and discussing it on the couch I came up with this gem: 'We can't give up sugar right in the middle of our trip to Europe'. I can neither confirm deny whether that was a slip of the tongue or a red herring.

All will be revealed, I can confirm, on the 21st October. At a wedding. I hope there won't be disappointment after all this build up. *fingers crossed*

The tenth pair of shoes in my count down?, count up?, are proof positive of why Mr Earwig deserves this surprise. He bought them for me—he knows my size and favourite website. I love their mustardy tweediness. And truth be told, it's like a book you wouldn't ordinarily read and are coerced to, only to really enjoy—like The Martian by Andy Weir for example. I may not have bought them myself, but now I love that I have them. Close inspection reveals how much one of my mutters loves them too. Grrr.

The Outfit
Shirt: Op-shopped (outgoing, with a tear at the front seam)
Skirt: Op-shopped
Belt: Op-shopped
Necklace: ModCloth
Shoes: Poetic Licence Whiplash

Photographer de Jour: Moi

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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Day 359: You're Making Me Feel Hot

Well now that the silliness is over, I can relax, look back and see what Christmas 2013 was all about. In our family we have on-years and off-years. On-years are when we get together with the core family members (we're a complete two generation family that moved to Australia from South Africa in the eighties and so, before everyone got 'partners', Christmas was always just our core family); off-years, the second of every two, are when everyone goes to the other halves' family events. A simple plan. It works quite well. This was an off-year. But there seemed to be lots of using the fact that my Dad had been unwell during the year and was unlikely to travel over Christmas as an excuse to abandon the usual plan and head up to the Gold Coast. My sister and family did it. And V—— and I did too. I had Xmas Eve Eve, Xmas Eve and Xmas day off work and we hightailed it up there to make the most of a three day holiday with the lot. This was the outfit I sort-of wore on Christmas Day—my mum kept telling me to take off my cardigan because she felt too hot. I'm sharing it's emerald-green-ness over at the Trend Spin Link up with Laura, Erin and Alison.

List_Addict               Irene

There was swimming in the pool, swimming at the beach and swimming at Wet 'n Wild (water park on the Australian Gold Coast for those who don't know). At Wet 'n Wild we paid a bit extra and got a Fast Pass which allowed us, much to the chagrin of everyone else queuing on hot concrete, to go straight to the front of the queue. Every time. On the five most exciting rides. I felt bad for the waiting people, but only for a second, then I was riding rides and screaming down tunnels and ramps. I do think I picked up some nasty bug in the pool though, as I got a throat infection that I still had up until about a day ago (and it is now mid January!) From feral, bug-infused, small people I believe. Sorry to people who think of those things as the more commonly used 'children'.

The forecasts for the twenty-seven days prior, the three days during, and the thirty-nine days post our trip are like this: high of 28C, low of 21C; high of 28C, low of 21C; high of 28C, low of 21C; and repeat. Too hot for cooking a large, traditional Christmas dinner. So while we were all out of the house at Wet 'n Wild on Christmas Eve, my mum did the ham and the turkey, and on Christmas day we had cold Christmas meats and salad for dinner. V—— and I had to leave to come home again in the evening. All in all it was a fabby Christmas. And we got to celebrate it for days afterwards because B——'s new Xmas handwash, which played a carol whenever you squeegied some foam into your palm, decided to play its carol every time someone came into the same room. It was possession; a Christmas poltergeist. Luckily the batteries ran out quite quickly.

The Outfit
Dress: Op-shopped
Christmas Cardigan: Thrifted, Christmas Cardigan Aisle, Savers, Lubbock, Texas
Necklace: Lovisa
Shoes: Irregular Choice 'Alaska'

Photographer de Jour: V——

Who wore it better?

Putting a link on with:

STYLELIXIR Style Sessions


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Day 358: Nine Sugar Shoes, No-Sugar Shoes

I'm quitting sugar. Yeah, yeah, very funny! Close those mock-shock mouths and get up from your soccer-style, fall-to-the-floor feints. I don't believe I can do it either. But I am going to try. I was going to start today. But I thought I would make banana bread at seven am and think about this properly instead. I need to be ready.

Ready Plan Item Number One:

Buy Sarah Wilson's I Quit Sugar.

Accomplished/Work in Progress/Failed

Ready Plan Item Number Two:

Throw out all the things in my cupboard house that contain sugar, or send them to work where Mr Earwig can keep a secret stash he shouldn't have, away from me and any knowledge I have of it.

Accomplished/Work in Progress/Failed

Ready Plan Item Number Three (Most Important One and The Real Reason For The Delay):

Taste for the last time those things which mean so much to me, that bring sunshine to my life, and that will never pass these lips again.

Here is the list:  
  • Darrell Lea's Peanut Brittle
  • Lime Milkshake
  • Picnic Bar
  • Coffee and Cake in a Cafe
  • Cinnamon Donut from the Vietnamese Bakery ✔️
  • Red Skins
  • An Exotically Flavoured Macaroon
  • Jaffa Cakes
  • Tunnock's Tea Cakes
  • Thai Food in a Thai Restaurant (apparently it's full of sugar!!)
  • Pancakes after Night Shift
  • Salted Caramel
  • Fake Sugary Swedish Cider

Accomplished/Work in Progress/Failed

The mission (and I do choose to accept it) is to have all this done to start the rest of my life sugar-free on the 12th September. Eek. But it will be fun in the mean time. I hope it means I will lose weight, because getting there will mean putting it on by the looks of it!

The Outfit
Dress: Target
Jacket: Op-shopped
Necklace: Junk Jewellery shop somewhere
Shoes: Irregular Choice Golden Harpy

Photographer de Jour: V——

  Getting linky today with:

pleated poppy


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