Temporary Break

It turns out that moving, well trying to pack everything up to store in preparation to move, takes a lot of time and brain power. If you are able to keep listening, and understanding, new audiobooks or reading books while moving kudos to you, I cannot. I’ve re-listened to some organizing books, however I think I have listened to them twice before. So I will just plan on taking a hiatus from reading until I am either settled in a new house or the new J.D. Robb book is out. If I listen to/read anything I’ll post it, however I’m just going to consider this ‘on hiatus’ until fall.

I hope everyone has an amazing summer, and gets a lot of reading done!

21/100 A Field Guide to Demons, Vampires, Fallen Angels, and other Subversive Spirits By Carol K. Mack and Dinah Mack

To start with, if you are looking for a serious treatise about Demons, Demonology, or even a comprehensive book about the different specters that various cultures around the world have created then why did you pick this book up? It is only about 7 hours long, that is not nearly long enough to cover a fraction of the information out there. This book is not even pretending to be comprehensive and barely makes a pretense at being serious. There are some creatures out there that I had not heard of, and some aspects of creatures I had heard of that were interesting. They do mix some psychological principles in with psychic creatures which, if you or your theology believes in those spirits, could be seen as demeaning. There is a definite Christian, specifically Catholic, Bias because with over half of the creatures the sign of the cross is a warding mechanism, if not a dispelling mechanism.

The entries are divided up into the terrain on which the creatures can be found, with some cross referencing like you would see in an encyclopedia. Mountains, deserts, oceans, forests, domicile, and psyche are the terrains referenced. Each creature that they mention, they do specify that this is not a comprehensive list, is given some information and often a tale about their activities. The tales are interesting and often have some speculation about why the tale might have occurred, ‘to keep children out of the forest at night’ etc.

If you are interested in some causal information about a wide variety of creatures as well as some amateur psychology about what might be behind the creation/existence of the creatures then this is a decent book. If you are actively interested in paranormal phenomena, specific creatures, or extensive lore behind certain beings, then give this a skip.

For very casual paranormal fans, or those with a passing interest in mythology, give this book a try. Everyone else, just skip it for some in depth information elsewhere.

20/100 Stuffology 101 by Brenda Avadian & Eric Riddle

75% of this book is just cute names for different types of clutter and words that they have made up to describe different types of problems that clutter accumulation brings up. There may be bits of information that is useful in the last part of the book, once you get past the winging and if you can look past the cute terms and acronyms that I am sure they find funny. “Clutter constipation” and the POOP acronym, only made me tune out. If you need an easy fun way to understand that other people have the same clutter problems that you suffer from, if you want some random quotes from people that are related to clutter, then this is the book for you. If you are looking for quick actionable steps that do not rely on a lot of self reflection, or trying to figure out what your deep motivations are, then this is not the book for you.

This might be useful for some, I prefer books like “The Home Edit” and “Real Life Organizing”.

19/100 The Home Edit by Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin

Yes, this is the second time I have listened to this in 2021. No, I’m not embarrassed by that. I’m also re-listening to Real Life Organizing as well. Since spring is well on its way and summer will follow soon I’m trying to get some organizing done. I will finish listening to Braiding Sweetgrass soon. This is a copy and paste of my last review.

Previous Review: I did enjoy this book, however I find the first part of the title to be a bit of a misnomer.  The book I read previously, Decluttering at the Speed of Life, was much more of a book on home editing.  I did enjoy listening about some of the techniques that they employed to get things within the home organized, they use a ton of plastics beware, however I think that this is more of a last step book for me.  When I’m done filling my containers and getting rid of the excess, then I will go back and listen to this book again.  This is a good book, just not for the stage of decluttering I am in.
Added Review: This book is not about how to edit your home, however it is about how to organize your home in a visually pleasing way. These authors own an amazing business, I recommend you follow their instagram, where they go into peoples homes and organize their belongings in a way that works for that person or family. This is very inspirational as to what your home can look like when time and attention is taken. If you are just starting your decluttering journey, do NOT START with this book! This will make you think, ‘Well, I’m too disorganized/lazy to ever have my home look like this’. If you think this, check out any of the ClutterBug information. As I mentioned in the previous review these individuals use a lot of clear plastic containers and are firm believers in organizing (everything) according to the rainbow colors.

In The Middle

Okay, so I am a little over halfway through my next book. It is Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. Of course, I was looking for a craft book when I picked this one up over a year ago and this is not a craft book. Recently I have been watching several videos on YouTube that compile Indigenous Peoples TikTok videos. I am also following NotoriousCree on Instagram, he is a ‘Fancy Dancer’ (I do not pretend to have an appropriate definition, you will simply have to look him up as well as the phrase). This does not, in any way, make me any kind of an expert on Native and Indigenous Peoples, this simply has opened my mind to a different perspective. Since Braiding Sweetgrass is much more about a way of thinking about the world around us that is not centered on a modern perspective, rather a perspective as old as time itself. This book is one that I have to listen to slowly, sometimes a chapter at a time, other times just a few minutes before there is information that I need to digest. I appreciate that the author, a professor, learned doctor, mother, and person who is Indigenous, does not spew out hate (however justified). Listening to a podcast, that I usually rather enjoy, I despair when I hear f*ing Catholics/Christianity. I understand that the two hosts are Witches, one was raised Catholic, and that atrocities have been committed in the name of the Church. However, even as I listen to Kimmerer telling a creation story and speak of how everything on the Earth was created by the Great Spirit, the Honorable Harvest, and so much more, I hear some despair for how Governments attempted to eradicate the cultures of the Indigenous Peoples. I also hear how she struggled along her journey toward finding her way, her path (remember I’m only half way through the book), and I look forward to seeing what she finds along her way. A person whose entire community, people, and way of life, were almost wiped from this Earth, and she only speaks of ways to spread understanding and the lessons that her people have almost lost.

Okay, enough of my anti-hate rant. I am looking forward to finishing this book, and I will probably be reading some Megan Derr (re-reading) just for something lighter to occupy my active thoughts while my hind-brain chews over the deep lessons found in Braiding Sweetgrass.

One Abandoned, One Completed, a Trend Noticed

Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery. Okay, so I am participating in a sock knit along and I hoped to participate in the read along aspect as well. Both are based on Anne of Green Gables. I have the first of four socks made (eventually I hope that these will be 8 socks, 4 pairs, however I am going to be realistic and try to get one of each done before worrying about the mates). I also listened to about 13 chapters of this book, it started out fairly interesting if a bit misogynistic (they wanted to adopt a boy to be useful), and rather a heartbreaking look at adoption in rural areas I believe this practice might still go on today. After a while I began to get irritated. I fully understand that a young person looking at the world in a different way, full of life, joy, and curiosity is a wonderful thing to behold. However they are also exhausting. My personality has never been prone to the kind of exuberance that Anne possesses, and due to a few of my own personal issues…she irritates me to death. Since I was making up things to do so I did not have to listen to this, not even very productive things, I decided to just let Anne go and enjoy my knitting.

The 99% Invisible City by Kurt Kohlstedt and Roman Mars. This book is the very definition of Amazing! These authors also run a podcast based on the same concepts outlined in this book. The world around us is varied, eclectic, and full of little secrets that you would never know about by taking a quick glance around. Does that row house look a little different from the ones around it? Maybe it’s hiding a secret. What were the rivalries like between sky-scraper architects? Why are manhole covers round? A lot of little questions, some that you did not even think to ask, are answered in this book. While you can skip around, I listened to the audio version straight through and thoroughly enjoyed the ride. If you are looking for a quirky, eclectic, audio book full of interesting tidbits, then this is the book for you. The stories are engaging and well researched. There was not any gore or gruesome bits that I can recall. This is one of those books you can re read or listen to time and time again learning something new each time. I found this book fascinating, and while only a bit stuck with me that is more to do with my distractions while listening to it rather than the book. I plan on listening to this again in the near future!

Onto the revelation. Alright, so if you have been reading this for any time it will probably not come as a surprise to you, however I have recently realized that I simply do not feel like reading fantasy, sci-fi, paranormal, romance, or almost any fiction right now. I am re-reading a few Megan Derr books, and I really think I should re-listen to the Shelly Laurenston series, other than that I am very into my non-fiction kick. The only downside is that a few of the books I really want to read do not come in audio, when I am home I prefer to do something with my hands like knit, spin, or weave. I understand that there are people who can do those things and read at the same time…I need to concentrate on the tasks too much to do that. By acknowledging this switch I feel that finding books to read will become easier. Also devising strategies to get through the physical books may be as simple as pick it up and reading a chapter or two when I have a moment. We will see what the coming weeks bring.

17/100 Sweet Nothings by Megan Derr

I have no idea why Obligations are such a roadblock for me. I wanted to join the Anne of Green Gables readalong to go with a knitalong, I listened to the first part and then avoided listening to anything for about two weeks (hence the break in posting.) I did manage to get the first sock knit, so that is good, however I think I’m going to stop worrying about the reading and move on.

This is the third book in the Lost Shifters Series by Megan Derr. This book is, unfortunately, filled with a lot of self-hate talk. The phrase “Fat trash panda” is bandied about by the main character without much refuting done by his main love interests, yes plural this is a MMM novel. This book picks up, essentially, where the last in the series left off however with a completely different set of characters. The original characters, wolf and snake shifters, are brought back in along with misunderstandings about relationships and murder, a lot of murder. This was a quick and fun read with some very emotional misunderstandings along the way. If you want to see three guys, that happen to be able to shift into animal forms, trying to navigate life and their families without getting murdered then this is a good book for you. There is one sex scene near the end, however it really was only a few pages long. If this is the first book in this series you have read, be prepared to be very lost. Should you have started from the beginning, this is a lovely addition to a fascinating series. I would love to see the world fleshed out a bit more into something other than a one shot, this series has the potential to rival Laurenston’s shifter series.

16/100 The Weekend Crafter: Feltmaking: Fabulous Wearables, Jewelry & Home Accents by Chad Alice Hagen

This is a fantastic book if you are thinking about getting into wet felting wool. I think that the idea of making a soap gel to begin with is a great concept. They do also admit that regular soap will work however they highly recommend their gel formula. I have always wanted to get better at felting and I believe that this book will help me create something using resists, probably a bag, as well as figuring out when and how I can add handles onto items. The instructions are comprehensive, clear, with amazing illustrations. They walk you through every single step, telling you how things should feel at certain steps and so much more.

This is a great wet felting book for beginners, those (like me) that cannot figure out what they are doing wrong, or advanced felters that want some tips or tricks they might not already know.

15/100 The Little Book of Cottagecore: Traditional Skills for a Simpler Life by Emily Kent

I have recently started purchasing materials for the Public Library I work at, so when Cottagecore came across my list I wanted to look into it further. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that it was available for an Audible credit, well I love Hygge, Medieval History, Conservation, and Crafting so this book on how to craft a simpler life will be a great addition and culmination of all of my interests. I listened to the audiobook version and read the accompanying PDF so my perceptions might change slightly if I had read the physical version. It does do this, sort of. If you are using this with a background knowledge of some of these subjects, reading the Caveats at the beginning that this is not medical advice, and being willing to take a much deeper dive on these subjects before trying the projects outlined then this is a good book for ideas. If you are going into this as a completely new concept, skipping the prelude before the introduction (as I would have if I were reading a physical copy), and without a gardening/crafting/herbalism background knowledge then this book could very easily end up in a poorly made quilt, some medical problems from improperly made/consumed tinctures, and I shudder to think about Apiary (beekeeping, which the author does encourage you to go into a deeper dive on this topic before starting), windowsill gardening, etc. attempted using these scant instructions. In the quilting the author mentions that “It is advised that you do not iron your quilt…” Then proceeds to advise for a pretty wall hanging go ahead and iron it. In this book about traditional skills the author mentions using materials like synthetic cloth for a like-new look that will last longer rather than worrying about the environment (or taking into account the quilts that we have that are over 100 years old).

I completely understand where this author is coming from. It takes a considerable amount of time and expense to do things the natural way, to learn the proper methods for hand piecing, or even machine piecing a quilt sourcing organic materials so that you do not get the puckers that the author is advising you iron out. Kent does advise that you consult a doctor in the text before the introduction, I believe that this should have been re-iterated in the chapter rather than having the advice as a legal disclaimer in the beginning. I am sorry to say that I can easily see individuals reading this short book, stopping medication to use tinctures, and skipping speaking with their doctor. This book attempts to help the reader ‘short-cut’ a more natural and simpler lifestyle. However the reader is losing out on many of the benefits of this type of lifestyle by taking those shortcuts. If you are thinking about taking up a Cottage Core Lifestyle, or even just want more information about it, I suggest you look up several of the key components that interest you about that lifestyle and research each one individually, take a deep dive, work on learning one skill, then move on to another aspect or skill. If you are willing to take the advice in here with a grain of salt and just want to learn some of the basics without consulting pinterest, then take a look at this book. I’m not buying it for the library, however. I hate writing negative reviews, however I just cannot endorse this book. If there was a book that went into the tenants, reasons for, thoughts behind, benefits of, etc. cottage core perhaps with some lovely anecdotes, I would buy that in a heartbeat.

No New Reads

I have not read any new books this past week. I have accomplished quite a bit, and listened to some podcasts. My Current podcast obsession is Love to Sew, where two Canadian Women that own sewing related businesses discuss various aspects of sewing, the sewing community, fabric, being size inclusive, being BIPOC inclusive, being gender inclusive, and so much more. This podcast is informative without becoming ‘preachy’ in the way so many liberal leaning podcasts tend toward. Sewing has always been one of my ‘aspirational’ crafts, something that I hope to do in the near future.

Podcast In Death is also a current obsession of mine, this is a podcast dedicated to the J. D. Robb series of books. These hosts tend to talk about everything from the audiobook versions (Along with an interview with the voice actress that reads Robb for Audible), to the world building, review the reviews, and so much more. This dynamic and interesting podcast tends to be a bit long however I wind up laughing through the entire thing.

I have also been consistently listening to the Bones and Bobbins Podcast, I am not sure if I reviewed this one before or not. There is not a ton of ‘crafty’ content, unless we are talking about ‘The Craft’ as there is a lot of witchy content. There is some craft content, in the form of witch bottles, realistic medical models, and so much more. If the weird, morbid, supernatural, and slightly off intrigues you (like it obviously does me since I devour this podcast and support them on Patreon) then this is a good podcast for you!

Okay, that is all until Sunday. Hopefully I will have read a book by then. Have a great week!