Sunshine Blogger Award 2.0

I have once again been nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award!  Thank you to An Irrelevant Girl for the nomination and the questions.  She is a poet whom I’ve been following for a few years.

Rules for the nomination:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog so others can find them.
  • Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.
  • Notify the nominees about it by commenting on one of their blog posts.
  • List the rules and display a Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and/or your blog site.
  1. Do you remember any recent dreams?

No, but that is a boring answer, so I will tell you that I remember many dreams that I’ve had over the years, including two different ones where I died and then woke up.  I have also had several dreams featuring my dad since he died last year, which I found very comforting.

2. What are you looking forward to, whether it’s short-term or long-term, close or far away?

I am looking forward to the birth of my second Little Jedi in the fall.  While this is maybe not the time I would have chosen to have another kid, what with a global pandemic and all, I am hopeful about the future of our family as we grow and change.  Though you may be seeing a bit less of me here on this blog in the coming year!

3. What’s your favourite word?

Oh, dear, I don’t know.  I enjoy many words like “superfluous” and “perspicacity.”  My toddler also tells me that “thermostat” is a funny word.

4. Is there anything about you that surprises people?

Possibly that I was in a sorority during university.  I expect that I don’t come across as a typical sorority girl.

5. If you won the lottery, what’s the first thing you would buy?

Probably something supremely boring, like paying off my house.

6. What’s one thing you could spend a whole night talking about?

Star Wars!  Also fantasy novels, and probably biological research.

7. What’s something that is nostalgic to you? (eg. an item, place, song etc.)

Things related to Florida, where I grew up, like palm trees, moss in oak trees, the beach, Disney, and horribly oppressive humidity.

8. Are you more of a lone wolf or a pack wolf?

Lone wolf!  I am an introvert.

9. What’s your favourite sound?

Silence from my toddler’s room after bedtime.

But seriously, music of many kinds is my favorite thing to listen to.  I almost always have music on the background when I am at work or writing.  When I lived by myself I often put on headphones with music to fall asleep.

10. What’s your favourite thing about yourself?

Physically, my red hair.  Personality-wise, my ability to be both logical and empathetic.

11. What’s something you haven’t done in a while but would like to do again?

Ohhh so many things.  I have to keep reminding myself that when my kids are older I will have some time to myself again.  It has been several months since I played the flute, and several years since I played tennis.  I also haven’t done any fiction writing since November, I think, so I am hoping to do Camp NaNo this month to finish up the fanfic I was writing.  In all my copious spare time.

I typically don’t do nominations for awards anymore because I simply don’t have the time, but feel free to answer these same questions yourself if you like!  Consider yourself nominated ~_^

Check out my 11 answers from my first Sunshine Blogger Award here.

The Book Snob Tag

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Am I a book snob?  I don’t know, so let’s do a tag and find out.  This seemed liked a fun one to do now that we all have some more time home to read!

This tag was originally created by Tia and All the Books over on Youtube.  I found it on Madame Writer’s blog.

1. Adaptation Snob: Do you always read the book before you see the movie?

Nope.  In fact, with classics many times watching the BBC adaptation has inspired me to read the book (Great Expectations, Middlemarch), which I might not have done otherwise.  In general with popular fiction, I do like to read the book first.

2. Format Snob: You can only choose 1 format in which to read books for the rest of your life. Which one do you choose: physical books, ebooks, or audiobooks?

I think I have to go with ebooks.  I find that physical books really provide the best reading experience, but since becoming a mom the vast majority of my reading is done on Kindle.  It’s portable, I can read with one hand while following my kid around, or in bed, and switch between multiple books easily.  I’m too practical to be a stickler.

I’ve tried a few audiobooks and find I don’t really care for them at all.

3. Ship Snob: Would you date or marry a non-reader?

Probably not, but the issue doesn’t arise because the person I married is a reader.  We both enjoy sci-fi and fantasy; in fact, one of our first real conversations was about The Lord of the Rings.  We even started reading The Expanse series together, which was very fun until he finished the series and I’m stuck in book 4 and now he nags me occasionally about finishing. 🤣

4. Genre Snob: You have to ditch one genre – never to be read again for the rest of your life. Which one do you ditch?

Horror.  Or even thrillers.  Anything that gives me nightmares or anxiety can go.

5. Uber Genre Snob: You can only choose to read from one genre for the rest of your life. Which genre do you choose?

Fantasy!  This almost feels like cheating because it is such a diverse genre.  I love YA fantasy, urban fantasy, high fantasy, fairy tales, magical realism, alternate history, portal fantasy, etc. etc. Three of the last five books I read were some kind of fantasy.  And there are so many classics, like LOTR and Harry Potter, that I could just re-read repeatedly.

6. Community Snob: Which genre do you think receives the most snobbery from the bookish community?

There does seem to be a divide between those that read YA and those that don’t. I’ve seen a lot of disdain for adults that read YA, like myself.  I also think that Romance gets a bad rap.  I was never a fan myself until a few years ago, and now it’s my go-to for a light, quick, uplifting read.  There’s a wide range of quality, but I’ve read many romances that are real page-turners with excellent characters and meaningful themes.

7. Snobbery Recipient: Have you ever been snubbed for something that you have been reading or for reading in general?

Personally, no, I don’t think so.  My parents used to get annoyed when I would read instead of doing chores, does that count?

So, maybe I’m a bit of a snob, but I don’t think I’m too bad.  What about you?  I’m not going to tag anyone specific, but feel free to post your responses in the comments or on your own blog, and leave me a pingback.

Eight Years Blogging

This month marks my eighth blogiversary!  Crazy to think I’ve been doing this so long.  Let’s take a look at my most popular posts from the past eight years.  It’s an interesting and varied list.

  1. There is no hot air balloon in Around the World in Eighty Days

  2. Famous Introvert-Extrovert Pairs

  3. We all got a chicken-duck-woman-thing waiting for us: Star Wars Bad Lip Reading

  4. Who’s that Pokémon…girl?

  5. Revisiting KOTOR II: (#2) Get me off Telos!

And here is my least popular post, with only 24 views ever; it’s a song a wrote while I was studying abroad in Spain. Give it some love, too!

Lit Mag Poetry: Mi Salamanca

Unfortunately, I find myself very busy this year and I’m probably going to be scaling back my posting here.  I hope to keep up at least one post a week, including some photos of course.  Here’s to more years of nerdy girl blogging!

2019 Reading Review

Another year, more great books.  In 2019, I read about 145 books, of which about 2/3 were Regency romances.  The rest were from various genres, and I reviewed 17 of them here on this blog (you can check out the Book Reviews category to see them all).  Here are some highlights.

Fantasy

I really enjoyed the Wayward Children series of novellas by Seanan McGuire, starting with Every Heart a Doorway.  The characters and worlds of this portal fantasy series have stayed with me; read my full review here.  I also enjoyed exploring the novel length version of Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik, which reads like an original fairy tale; read my full review here.

I read very little YA fantasy this year, and I what I did read was pretty average, nothing really outstanding.  I’ve been a little disappointed with the quality of current popular series.  Anyone have recommendations for recent must-read YA fantasy?

Comics

I highly recommend both the Darth Vader and Doctor Aphra comics by Kieron Gillen.  If you only read one Star Wars comic, I’d recommend the Vader Down crossover issue, which features the OT characters as well as Aphra, one of my favorite new canon characters.  It has everything you want: action, humor, great characterization.

Nonfiction

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I’ve been working through Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book of essays, We Were Eight Years in Power, since the beginning of the year.  These are essays on various topics previously published in The Atlantic (including “The Case for Reparations”), compiled here with his reflections on each piece.  It’s not light reading, but I feel like I’ve gained a lot of perspective, especially as we enter another election cycle.  And I’m so glad I discovered Coates’ beautiful writing.  I also enjoyed his run of Black Panther, and I can’t wait to read his novel debut, The Water Dancer.

As a relatively new mother I also enjoyed Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year by Anne Lamott. Everything she wrote rang so true to me!  Plus she is just an entertaining writer.

Author of the Year: W.R. Gingell

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Awhile back I raved about Gingell’s Masque, an inventive version of Beauty and the Beast, but this year I really started reading through her oeuvre, and the more I read the more I fall in love!  Luckily, she now works full-time as an author and is continuing to release several new fantasy stories every year.  So far, I’ve read her fairy-tale inspired Two Monarchies series (of which Masque is a part), her epic fantasy Shards of a Broken Sword trilogy, and her hilarious urban fantasy City Between series.  I’m going to do some more detailed reviews of these in the coming months,  but if you are looking for a quick, entertaining read, I highly recommend her work.  Also, check out her blog and Facebook page.

pile of books
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

At the end of last year, I made some reading goals for myself for 2019 and I think I did pretty well with them.

  1. Read from more genres.  I tried really hard with this one and I succeeded.  Some genres I read this year include: cozy mystery, fantasy, sci-fi, classics, historical fiction, memoir, non-fiction essays, short stories, poetry, comics, and YA.  I also listened to some more audiobooks; though I still don’t love them, I started to use them in conjunction with ebooks to allow me to continue the story wherever I am.
  2. Finish Heyer’s romances.  I read Venetia, which is one of her best, as well as a mystery from her.  I still have 2 more Georgian romances to read!
  3. Read books I already own.  Yeah…still working on that.  Definitely a goal to continue next year.
  4. Finish the books I started.  I did get better about this!  I finished most of the books I started last year, and while I still have a few I started this year that I’m in the middle of, I feel like it’s more under control instead of a revolving door of library loans.  I did have a couple of DNFs this year; mostly they had some element of mental illness that I couldn’t handle reading about at the time.

For 2020, I want to focus on getting back to reading physical books instead of being on my phone and Kindle all the time, as well as reading all the books that are already on my shelves.

What were your favorite books of 2019?  Do you have any reading goals for 2020?

On Life and Death and Art

My dad passed away recently.  He was the biggest supporter of my blog here at Jedi by Knight, reading every post I wrote and often mentioning them to me when we spoke.  Even my husband rarely reads my blog!  To know that someone, somewhere was reading what I write was a huge gift, just one of many such gifts my dad gave me.

42410301. sy475 A librarian by profession, my dad is one of the reasons I was an early reader.  Our house was filled with books, and he nearly always had one or two Louis L’amour novels by his comfy chair in the living room.  He occasionally asked my opinion on YA or anime to include in his library’s collection.

The last book I gave him (on the occasion of his retirement) was Louise Penny’s Still Life, which he described as slow and character-driven.  In short, my dad was someone who understood the value of novels to enhance our lives.

My mom and I spent a lot of time in various hospitals while my dad was sick; I was a bit surprised to find something all hospitals have in common: beautiful artwork.

Artwork in a hospital?  Don’t sick people and doctors have better things to do than contemplate the meaning of some shapes on the wall?

Actually, no, I realized once I thought about it.  I see art as an essential part of life, a way to tell a truth through a different medium, shapes rather than words.  Where better to see an expression of the meaning of life than among the sick and dying?

This is artwork from the hospital where my dad died: “Ahuja Azure, Citron and Amber Persian Wall” by the famous glass artist Dale Chihuly.  It may seem like a little thing, but seeing this piece there truly helped me in a difficult time.  It reminded me that even as I was experiencing heartbreak and suffering, there is still beauty in the world.

So, one thing I will take from my dad’s death as well as his life is the positive impact of art and books in people’s lives.  He will be missed here, but my blog will carry on in this spirit–his spirit–for as long as I am writing.