My Bed Is Covered in Books

November 14, 2020 1 of 8

Supposedly I’m reaching the end the “difficult” week of NaNoWriMo, so let’s see if I can make that work out and get my wordcount way up. Granted, after this post (or maybe the next one), I should be farther than I got the last time I tried to NaNoWriMo my blog, but I’d really like to actually win once.

Anyway, between trying to update my Goodreads page and Alex moving out and giving me back all of my books that have been accumulating in his room and that I just don’t have any room for, the spot that used to be Thomas’s is now dedicated to my books.

Below, I threatened to take a picture of my bed with all of the books on it. Well, there you go. And maybe the blanket isn’t really *teal* per se, but I did make it that bluegreen color with teal dye.

Oh, and I got my latest book from The Fantastic Strangelings Book Club, which is a book about books bound in human skin. So that promises to be interesting.

OMG. I just realized that I don’t have any of my comic strip compilations on my
Goodreads account. Crap. I guess I’d better get to that, too.

I really should take a picture of my bed. My bedroom is really dark, though, so who knows what it’ll look like in a photo.

I found another cookbook in Alex’s bedroom, so that’ll be a new source for recipes now that I’ll just be cooking for myself. The cookbook is *also* on Thomas’s side of the bed.

For today’s Gratuitous Amazon Link, erm, I don’t know how the oldest Nancy Drew book in my Goodreads page is the 16th in the series (I wonder if my Overdrive account with the San Antonio Public Library has the dates I read the first 15 books), but it is. So, here’s The Clue of the Tapping Heels, by Carolyn Keene.

Dictating Blog Posts, Take Two, Also a Maybe Book Review

So the new app I downloaded was more effective than the last, but still not quite what I was looking for.

On the plus side, it definitely got more words correct than the other one. And it didn’t spontaneously rearrange my paragraphs. So, yay!

On the negative side, the app was designed more for making notes than for long-form dictation. Every time I so much as took a breath, the app would stop taking dictation and I’d need to press the microphone button. And, furthermore, if there’s any way to get those notes off of my phone and onto my computer, I haven’t figured it out.

So, the search continues.

I’m not getting very far on that book on Belle Gunness so I was going to talk a bit about the book I read before that, The Authenticity Project (the easiest Gratuitous Amazon Link ever, maybe because this time it’s not really that gratuitous) by Clare Pooley. Our protagonist is woman named Monica (what’s Monica’s last name? Do we find out? Crap. Now I’m going to have to reread and see what it is*) who runs a cafe in London.

One day at work Monica finds a notebook with the words “The Authenticity Project” written on it. Inside the book are the words of an artist named Julian Jessop who was once fantastically successful but who disappeared from public life 15 years ago. He writes that he feels that people are too busy trying to project this image of perfection and he hopes that people who find this book will use it to tell their truths and maybe that truth will, as the saying goes “set them free.” He tells his future readers that his wife died and afterwards he lost the desire to make art. His friends have died one by one and now he’s elderly and alone.

Monica writes her truth (that despite her financial success at her previous career and her lovely cafe, she longs to find a husband and start a family) in the book, leaves the book in a wine bar, and sets out to improve Julian’s life.

Over the course of the book, we accumulate six POV characters and an assortment of supporting characters and, one by one, we find that maybe their lives aren’t as wonderful as they appear on the outside. But together, they do make something terrific.

The characters were engaging and I loved watching them come together from so many individuals experiencing various forms of loneliness to form a group of friends.

One of the subplots is about how people’s lives always look more perfect online than they are in real life. I don’t know what kind of online friends Pooley has, because my online friends, well, if they’re making their lives look better online, I pity them. One friend, for example, had been struggling to make her marriage work and just as she decided that, as much as she loved him, it wasn’t ever going to work, he died. For real. I’m no longer close enough to her to feel comfortable asking how he died. I think it might have been an accident.

As much as I loved this book, I don’t think it’s one of those that I’d need on a desert island, so I gave it four stars, and I really wish they had a ten-point system, because this may even deserve four and a half.

*I skimmed about 1/3 of the book with no sign of a last name for Monica. I have the idea that it’s Charles. But don’t quote me on that.

Foreign Language Update

I’ve really been slacking off on the foreign language front lately. And since that’s my best chance to be able to retire (well, not retire as such but switch from a “punching the time clock” career to a “do it on my own time” career, which is probably the closest I’ll ever get to retiring), I need to step it up.

To that end, I’m listening to less foreign language music and have just started working on the podcasts at Radio Ambulante. Radio Ambulante is a project of NPR telling human-interest stories from Spanish-speaking areas. And they cover a lot of territory. Some of the accents are way more challenging than others, but it’s good practice.

I also blew a couple of bucks on a 3-month Rosetta Stone subscription for Castilian Spanish. I figure that’ll give me more to work with than I get from speaking at work and doing Duolingo.

I’m still doing Duolingo. I’m laddering Spanish and Mandarin. They don’t have Mandarin for Spanish speakers, so I’m doing Spanish for Mandarin speakers.

And I’m still working (slowly!) on reading in my target languages. In Spanish, I’m working on the translation of Prince Caspian by CS Lewis, and Ciudad de las Bestias by Isabel Allende. In German and Italian, I’m still in the translation of the first Harry Potter book and in Chinese, I’m about a third of the way through Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

And, as always, I’m paying myself. 1¢ per Duolingo lingot, 2¢ per minute of Rosetta Stone, Radio Ambulante, and audiobooks, 1.5¢ per minute of music, 15¢ per page* of foreign language book (because that takes the most concentration of all). At an estimated $400 per credit hour for tuition and fees, I think I have my first four credit hours of my modern languages degree paid off, and it only took two and a half years to get there.

Crap. I’ve got to work harder, don’t I?

*Per paragraph for Chinese.

Gratuitous Amazon Link time. Why not? City of the Beasts, in English and Ciudad de las Bestias in Spanish.