Life with a side of books.

Grad School: Well, I put my first semester of grad school behind me last week and couldn’t be happier. I start a short summer term in ten days so my celebration will be brief as I need to start reading straightaway. Taking two condensed grad school classes while working full-time is a daunting prospect but I only need to hold on for six weeks. Both classes offer something awesome so I had to go big or go home. Many bottles of wine await me at the end of this tunnel I am entering.

Books: Something I never thought possible has happened. I have finally reached a point where I need to start exercising some semblance of self-control with my book purchasing. I am buying way more than I can possibly keep up with reading wise thanks to grad school requirements. I am not sure if I will limit it to one book a week or a month, but some kind of limitation is in the works. (I’d also like to start buying groceries and cooking at home more. Go figure, ha!)

Book tracking: I wanted to track the books I read this year more closely but have been slacking big time. I’m not sure I will try picking it back up mid-year or letting it go until next year. It is a coin toss at this point which way I will go. I like the idea of a book journal more than a simple tracking system but either way I am not going to force anything right now.

The Blog-diggity: I have been incredibly inconsistent with posting and writing but plan on working harder to post more. Mainly because I really enjoy putting my thoughts out into the ether and the interacting with fellow bloggers and bibliophiles that follows. Chatting about books is one of my favorite things in life, that will never change.

Hobbies: Whew, so many. I have not been able to pick up my camera for some time but with the abundance of hiking trails around the Chattanooga area that will change this summer. (If you are curious you can find some of my photography here on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/shanadubois) I am going to learn how to crochet this year, umm, at some point. Blankets for everyone come next Christmas! I also want to start cooking more so I can bring my lunch and have leftovers when I get home. Mmm, leftovers.

Life in general: I have let myself become too complacent and sedentary in the last two years or so and want to make a lot of changes. I am finally taking the time to make my priorities a priority. Grad school was one of the biggest ones. Now to tackle getting healthy. I am taking steps to shift to a more vegetarian diet. Mostly because I love veggies more than anything and have never been a huge fan of meat in general, but my overall goal is a healthy and balanced diet. I also need to make walking every day part of my routine and add a focus for fitness into the mix.

So, overall I have a lot going on but the focus is on enjoying life to the fullest and being the best me I can be. Happy reading and I look forward to chatting with you!

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2015 Reading Goals

Starting grad school while still working full time will make personal pleasure reading more of a challenge but will still be a priority throughout the year. This will also be the first year I am going to actively track my reading to know more definitely just how much and what I am reading.

My goals in number form:

  1. Read 52 fiction titles
  2. Read 26 non-fiction titles
  3. Read 350 short stories/essays (published individually versus in a book collection)

My general reading goals:

  1. Read more diversely
  2. Read more back list titles
  3. Explore new (to me) non-fiction more broadly
  4. Explore more small press titles and hybrid authors
  5. Track all my reading (in a fun and nerdy spreadsheet)

I debated if I should include required reading for grad school and ultimately decided it counts; reading is still reading. I am also going to subscribe to more journals and magazines for short stories and essays.

Reading is a huge source of happiness for me and I find I buy books more readily than I am making the time to read them. That is a huge focus for me in this coming year. I have not even set-up my TV in my new home to avoid being sucked into mindless dribble I have seen over and over again.

I am hoping required reading and writing for class won’t hinder pleasure reading too severely but I will be able to gauge that more in the coming months once classes start.

It is going to be an exciting year and I look forward to discovering new titles and authors, interacting with fellow readers and authors even more, and sharing my love of the written word with those around me!

2015 and I are going to be GREAT friends!

This year is bringing a lot of change and new endeavors for me. Just to name a few:

  • I moved into my own place in November and am finally getting settled (still a lot to do).
  • I start graduate school January 5th working towards my master’s degree.
  • I am working in a new department at work.
  • I will be attending my first major conventions this year: World Horror Convention and World Fantasy Convention.

Even with all that I have going on I want to do even more with my time and energy. I have many personal goals I am going to also work towards during this coming year. In no particular order:

  1. Learn to knit/crochet. (I want to be able to make gifts for people.  A blanket and a book will make for the best gift packs.)
  2. Read more. (I spent way too much time allowing life and TV to get in the way. Not this year.)
  3. Track my reading. (I have never paid much attention to my reading but this is going to change going forward. I want to read more diversely, read beyond the “front table” and seek out back list titles and small press authors.)
  4. Take better care of me. (I am too quick to turn to processed foods and ignore working out and allow a sedentary lifestyle to take root. This year I am focusing on me and my health. I also want to support local farmers buying produce directly from the farm.)
  5. Write. Write. Write. (Dedicating time to developing this blog and finding my voice is a huge priority for me. I also want to get back to my fiction writing, something I put on hold too many years ago.)
  6. Take more pictures. (Photography is another hobby that brings me great joy and something I have neglected. There are a lot of beautiful hiking spots near here and I will be exploring them more fully with camera in hand.)

I don’t have specific resolutions per se, I want to make 2015 the year I finally start living life to the fullest, making my goals and dreams a priority.  It is going to be a full and busy year but an awesome one.

I am sure it will be a bumpy road but I welcome the challenge. So, 2015 let’s see what you have to offer.