With the current state of the world, I am fairly positive that I am, along with everyone else, slowly and surely losing it. At first I thought I was going to be fine and power through. Now I’m not sure. Especially with schools in Texas being officially closed down for the remainder of the school year, which means that on top of everything else I now have homeschooling to add to my daily to-do list.
I feel like I’m a bit of an oddity since I’m still able to read during this time. That is both surprising and then less so. I’ve talked before about how reading has always been a constant friend to me, during the darkest of personal times. So, on some levels it stands to reason that I can still read right now. Which isn’t to disparage those who find themselves not being able to read since again, everyone is processing the quarantine in their own way.
However, I’m not reading the way I want to. I have to make a conscious effort to finish a book, since I find myself easily swayed by the siren-like call of a new book. This means that my book cap goal has gone out the window. I haven’t listened to hardly any audiobooks, since I’m not commuting anymore. And my drinking has increased slightly since this all began.
But, I am still trying to make lemonade margaritas out of the lemons being lobbed by life right now. I wanted to share some bookish things have brought me joy while grown-up grounded.
Ordering Books Online
I will be honest and admit that this was really only specific to The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, since I have been looking forward to this book for roughly six months. I’ve never been disappointed by Grady Hendrix, so I am really looking forward to this. I also ordered a book from Half Price Books that I’m still waiting for. But I have other books to read right now. And I know it will either get to me or my gift card will be refunded. So, I’m not too worried about it.
Ordering books online allows me to support bookstores during this time, especially locally owned favorite Lark & Owl Booksellers. Not only that, but getting packages during times like these can be quite the mood booster. It’s like, “Thanks, past me, for looking out!” Plus it gives me a goal to look forward to and encourages me to finish up with my current reads.
Getting a New Library Card
Literally the Sunday before the world went inside, the Houston Public Library opened up the option to get an online library card and have access to their digital collection. This was a huge deal for me since I can’t even get that access to Austin’s digital collection due to not being within the official limits by less than a mile. Which was heartbreaking.
Now, this the Houston Public Library. And this offer was opened to all Texas residents (for free) and non-residents (for a price). So, this means that the wait list can be long for certain titles. But that’s okay since between all the titles you can get right away or the other books that you have already in reserve, I’m never truly bothered by the waiting period. Plus, if I forget that I put a book on reserve, it’s like another surprise from past me!
Placing and Getting Holds Digitally
Speaking of placing books on reserves, this is yet another thing that can bring me joy. Although I can’t go to any of my local libraries (yes, that’s plural) since they were pretty proactive about shutting down when all this chaos began, their digital collection is still available. Between the three cards I have through Libby (don’t judge me!) and Hoopla, I could easily spend hours perusing the various collections and downloading or placing books on reserve.
Amazon FreeTime and Audible titles
As long it’s not required, my son loves to read. He will happily pick up a book randomly while eating or we’re just having a quiet day with no trouble. The minute he has to read it for anything school related, though? Oh, the whining that comes out of his mouth. With me having to work from home, it’s tricky for me to ensure that he’s actually reading a book, rather than staring blankly at the page for 30 minutes.
So I was very happy to find out that the Amazon FreeTime subscription came with access to limited Audible titles. We’re going to ignore the fact it took me two years. Now we can listen to a book together for 30 minutes. While we do, I come up with questions to ask him after each chapter to make sure he’s paying attention. This definitely helps when it’s time for him to fill out his reading log.
It takes a bit of an extra effort on my part. And I am not always enamored with the titles he picks. But listening to someone read to him works best for him when it comes to retaining information. As I strive to set up him for success, it is only a slightly bitter pill to swallow.
Scratch-off Bucket List
Years ago one of the members of my book club gave us all a poster of ‘100 Essential Books’. The goal is to scratch off titles as you work your way through the list. Well, I never took the time to hang it up for multiple reasons. I didn’t want to put it in a frame until it as all scratched off. Nor did I want to keep unrolling and re-rolling it back up whenever I finished a book. Not only is that tedious but I knew that I would forget the books on there during the in-betweens.
Being stuck indoors finally gave me the kick in the pants to do what another member did and get a hanging magnetic frame. This way I can hang it up to and actually see my progress as I move through the titles. Now the one thing I need to work on is reading outside of my comfort zone more and taking on some of the more challenging titles. Although some could argue that is what audio books are for.
Tracking My Reading
Another thing that has brought me a bit of joy during this time is tracking my reading. I’ve been a bit fanatical about making sure that my Goodreads is updated. I also make sure to track it through Book Riot’s 2020 Reading Log. If you haven’t seen this before don’t worry; it’s not too late to start tracking! I understand that this is due to having some semblance of control in this crazy world. And I totally embrace it. Because I am still enjoying seeing how my reading is stacking up this year.
Marathoning/Finishing Books in One Day/Sitting
I recently only had a couple of days left on a digital library loan that I wasn’t going to be able to renew since another patron was waiting. So when my weekend came I buckled down, stayed in my pajamas, and finished it in a matter of hours. I repeated this for another book the next day.
The reason this is different from non-quarantined times is that normally on the weekends I have plans. Between gaming, book club, or church events, my weekends get packed pretty quickly. So I don’t really make myself take the time to read. Since I’m not going anywhere non-essential for a while though, I am able to implement the discipline to dedicate to more sessions like this for the books I want to finish.
I’m a sucker for bookish quizzes even when I’m not being forced indoors. Whether it’s a character personality match, a book recommendation, or a guess the book quiz doesn’t matter. I’m all about these quizzes.
Now that I can’t go any-damn-where I have no problem taking these for a laugh or to pass the time. And if I can get another book or two out of them? Even better. I may get a backlist bump for a novel that I initially overlooked. I also like seeing how right, or wrong, these personality quizzes can be and tend to share them with my book club as well so we can share the results.
These are just a few of the things that have brought me glimmers of happiness during this trying time. Hopefully they gave you ideas on how to brighten up your day to day. Remember that even if you’re not reading right now, it doesn’t take away from by book nerdom and you’re not going to lose credibility with anyone. Above all, at this time you need to make sure that you’re taking the proper steps for your mental well-being.
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