Catch Report

Nothing much to write about, so it must be about time for a catch report (is it seriously 6 months since the last one???):

  • Nine Uses For An Ex-Boyfriend by Sarra Manning – released in the College of Arts waiting area (I’ve had some good catches from there, actually – I really must get round to releasing some more books there, especially as it’s coming up to that time of year when students will be coming in to get enrolment advice), caught and re-released elsewhere in the university.
  • Life As I Find It by Mark Twain – released in Dunedin in 2006, where it was caught almost immediately, but the finder didn’t make a journal entry until last year.  In the meantime, it’s been very well travelled (read the journal entry!), and has now been re-released (I assume somewhere in the US?).
  • Miss Purdy’s Class by Annie Murray – this is why I like staying at the Wellington YHA.  Every time I stay there I take a pile of pre-numbered labels and register as many books as I can on their excellent book exchange shelf.  And it always pays off in a good catch rate (with most of them then being re-released in other YHAs around NZ and Australia).  This one has travelled to the Wanganui YHA.
  • Faithful Gardener by Clarissa Pinkola Estes – a second catch for a book I released in 2008 in Christchurch, which then travelled to Auckland, and has now been found in Nelson.
  • The Ambassador’s Daughter by Pam Jenoff – did I mention how much I like the Wellington YHA?
  • The Tree by Deborah Ratliff – a catch from our Bookcrossing Christmas Tree.  And even better, the finder got the joke!  Themed releases are so much more fun when the finder recognises what you were trying to do 🙂
  • Mean Spirit by Linda Hogan – a very brief journal entry on one of the books I released on a giraffe on Christmas Day. But hey, a catch is a catch, no matter how brief.
  • Life (and Death) in a Small City Garden by Philippa Swan – a second catch for a book I released in Alexandra in 2009.
  • Darkness and Light by John Harvey – remember what I said about the Wellington YHA? Yep, another catch.

2014 in review

In my 2013 in review post, I wrote “…instead of hoping that next year is a better one, I’m going to say that I’m going to make sure that next year I continue to make my life what I want it to be, and that I’ll keep surrounding myself with what gives me joy.” And I reckon I succeeded at that. I’ve made new friends, learnt new skills, completed another Honours paper, taken on new responsibilities at work, managed to fit in a bit of travel, and generally continued to build the life I want to have. And because of that, I’ve been recognised and rewarded for my efforts in big ways and small, and more importantly, I’ve been happy. It’s been a tough year (especially in the first half, trying to juggle study and work and life), and full of challenges, but it’s been a very good one.

So, 2014 in first(ish) lines:

January: Amazingly, I actually made a decision. And not only that, I sewed the blocks together, so now I’m committed to that decision (well, I suppose if I was really determined to change my mind I could always break out the quick-unpick, but yeah, nah).

February: Today marks 11 years since I joined Bookcrossing. Not that I’ve done a huge amount of bookcrossing in the last year or three – I got out of the habit with the earthquakes and never really got back to it.

March: Term started this week, and I’m already swamped with work (it’s worrying when the lecturer says she’s going to give you a nice easy reading for the first week, and it’s 40 pages long (and that’s not counting the two “optional” readings that go with it…). Yeah, I kind of forgot just how hard Honours is.

[April and May didn’t exist, according to my blog at least. Probably because I spent them head down among piles of research papers, interrupted by a glorious couple of weeks in Australia, which I never had time to write up because as soon as I got back home I was straight back into study.]

June: I’ve been getting the odd nudge and query as to my continued existence, so I thought I’d better drop in briefly and reassure everyone that yes, I’m still alive, and I’m not avoiding any of you, it’s just that I’m buried alive in a giant mound of journal articles to read and essays to write and approaching deadlines, so my life for the last month or so has been pretty much reduced to work, study, do the minimum to keep myself fed and healthy and the house vaguely clean, and repeat.

July: My birthday party baking went really well – the bread dough rose and baked up beautifully, the cake and eclairs were suitably chocolatey and decadent (even if I did slightly mess up the icing on the eclairs by getting a little bit too experimental and forgetting that adding orange zest to give it an interesting hint of jaffa also means you’re adding extra oils, which if you don’t adjust for will it make ganache come out funny… which absolutely nobody even noticed anyway, though they did notice they tasted good so that was all that mattered :-)).

August: Every few weeks at work someone in the office will declare it time for a cake run, and one of us will run down to the cafe for a selection of cakes and slices.

September: Yesterday was another very busy day (one day I really must have a restful weekend…) It started with a mad dash for the bus (after I completely miscalculated times) to get myself over to Heathcote.

October: Generally, I try to be a nice person. I even try to be polite to telesales people – it’s not their fault they have an irritating job to do, and they’re being paid a pittance to do it.

November: Lytteltonwitch came over this morning so I could help her tidy up her CV (hopefully the advice I gave her turns out to be useful – I did once have a job polishing CVs, but that was a lot of years ago and in another country, so I’m not exactly up to date on current HR trends).

December: First of December, so theoretically it’s the first day of summer today. So of course it’s cold and wet and miserable. I don’t know why I’m surprised, really, because Christchurch does this every year – we have a hot November and we all think summer has come early, then it turns cold again in December just when everyone starts planning barbeques for their end of year parties.

And in pictures (semi-randomly selected):

January:

February:

March:

April:


(Two for the price of one, because these never actually made it to my blog – they’re from the many convention and road trip photos from Australia that are still sitting unsorted on my computer waiting for that mythical “one day” when I get round to going through them. This is why you should never take a holiday when you’re busy!)

May/June:

(No photos – just imagine me sitting at a computer writing frantically, surrounded by toppling piles of photocopied articles, and you’ll get an accurate image of those months).

July:

August:

September:

October:

November:


(Oops, another batch of photos I never got round to sorting and posting…)

December:

Yep, looks like a pretty good year to me 🙂

What I read in 2014

For the first time since I started keeping these reading lists, I dipped below 100 books read this year – my total was only 93.  I suspect the main reason for that is that I got out of habit of reading for pleasure in the first half of the year, when I was reading so many research papers for my course (none of which I counted towards my reading total, as they weren’t books, just journal articles – if I’d counted them the number would look way more impressive!) that when I took a break picking up a book was the last thing I’d feel like doing – instead, I’d watch a DVD, or something on YouTube, or play a game: anything quick and brainless and not requiring the concentration of reading (plus, the whole “critical reading” skill I was acquiring, which while invaluable for my academic aspirations, had the unfortunate side effect of making me more critical about everything I read…).  So by the time I finished the course I’d got out of the habit of reading being my default relaxation option.

But anyway, although shorter than usual, here’s the list for 2014:

 Total = 93 books

January (11)

February (6)

  • Where Angels Fear to Tread by EM Forster (library audio book)
  • Under the Harrow by Mark Dunn (e-book)
  • What the Animals Taught Me by Stephanie Marohn (library audio book)
  • Conrad’s Fate by Diana Wynne Jones
  • The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein (library audio book)
  • Labour Day by Joyce Maynard (library audio book)

March (6)

  • Death of an Artist by Kate Wilhelm (library audio book)
  • The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks (library audio book)
  • The Lollipop Shoes by Joanne Harris (borrowed from SIL)
  • Guardians of Ga’Hoole: The Capture by Kathryn Lasky (library audio book)
  • Guardians of Ga’Hoole: The Journey by Kathryn Lasky (library audio book)
  • Guardians of Ga’Hoole: The Rescue by Kathryn Lasky (library audio book)

April (6)

May (9)

June (6)

  • Spoiled by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan (library audio book)
  • The Forest House by Marion Zimmer Bradley
  • Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling (library audio book)
  • Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery (e-book)
  • Anne of Avonlea by Lucy Maud Montgomery (e-book)
  • The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe (library audio book)

July (10)

  • Anne of The Island by Lucy Maud Montgomery (e-book)
  • Anne of Windy Poplars by Lucy Maud Montgomery (e-book)
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (library audio book)
  • Anne’s House of Dreams by Lucy Maud Montgomery (e-book)
  • Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
  • Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer (library audio book)
  • Anne of Ingleside by Lucy Maud Montgomery (e-book)
  • This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer (library audio book)
  • Rainbow Valley by Lucy Maud Montgomery (e-book)
  • The Selection by Kiera Cass (library audio book)

August (10)

September (5)

  • All the Summer Girls by Meg Donohue (library audio book)
  • A Beautiful Lie by Tara Sivec (e-book)
  • The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer (library audio book)
  • Frog Music by Emma Donoghue
  • Home Front by Kristin Hannah (library audio book)

October (5)

November (9)

December (9)

What I read in 2013 (129 books)
What I read in 2012 (128 books)
What I read in 2011 (133 books)
What I read in 2010 (137 books)
What I read in 2009 (150 books)
What I read in 2008 (154 books)
What I read in 2007 (123 books)
What I read in 2006 (140 books)
What I read in 2005 (168 books)

What counts as a book?

What I read in 2013

Total: 129 books

January (17)

  • Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (e-book)
  • The Sandman: The Wake by Neil Gaiman (graphic novel)
  • Live Alone and Like It by Marjorie Hillis
  • Skulduggery Pleasant: Playing with Fire by Derek Landy (borrowed from Nephew)
  • The Favoured Child by Philippa Gregory (library audio book)
  • Save Yourself, Mammal! by Zach Weiner (cartoons, e-book)
  • The Most Dangerous Game by Zach Weiner (cartoons, e-book)
  • Castle in the Air by Diana Wynne Jones (e-book)
  • Attack of the Bacon Robots by Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik (cartoons, e-book)
  • The Reluctant Widow by Georgette Heyer
  • Napoleon’s Buttons by Penny Le Couteur and Jay Burreson
  • Skulduggery Pleasant: The Faceless Ones by Derek Landy (borrowed from Nephew)
  • Monkey Mind by Daniel Smith (library audio book)
  • House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones (e-book)
  • Seize the Day by Saul Bellow (library audio book)
  • These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer
  • Wizard by John Varley (borrowed from Jenny)

February (9)

March (13)

  • The False Prince by Jennifer A Nielson (library audio book)
  • Chair Person by Diana Wynne Jones
  • Epic Legends of the Magic Sword Kings by Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik (cartoons, e-book)
  • And Did Those Feet by Charlie Connelly (library audio book)
  • Making Rounds with Oscar by David Dosa
  • The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
  • Summer School by Domenica de Rosa (library audio book)
  • Waterfall by Lisa T Bergren (library audio book)
  • Invasion by Mercedes Lackey, Steve Libbey, Cody Martin, and Dennis Lee (e-book)
  • Dapper Caps and Pedal-Copters by David Malki! (cartoons, e-book)
  • My Horizontal Life by Chelsea Handler (library audio book)
  • Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings by Hélène Boudreau (library audio book)
  • Children of the Night by Mercedes Lackey (e-book)

April (7)

May (6)

  • The Sylvia Chronicles by Nicole Hollander (cartoons)
  • Stranger Things Happen by Kelly Link (e-book)
  • Nerd Prom by Joshua Anderson (e-book)
  • Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid (e-book)
  • What We Saw by Ryan Casey (e-book)
  • Lucia by Andrea di Robilant (library audio book)

June (12)

July (11)

August (11)

September (7)

October (13)

November (10)

December (13)

What I read in 2012 (128 books)
What I read in 2011 (133 books)
What I read in 2010 (137 books)
What I read in 2009 (150 books)
What I read in 2008 (154 books)
What I read in 2007 (123 books)
What I read in 2006 (140 books)
What I read in 2005 (168 books)

What counts as a book?

2013 in review

Dickens had it right: it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.  It seems like every year lately I’ve summed up the year as being full of horrible stuff interspersed with some pretty good stuff, and expressed the hope that next year can only get better.  And yep, once again there’s been some pretty horrible stuff in this year.  But there’s also been a lot of good stuff, and most importantly, the good stuff has come from my own determination to turn my life into something wonderful.  So instead of hoping that next year is a better one, I’m going to say that I’m going to make sure that next year I continue to make my life what I want it to be, and that I’ll keep surrounding myself with what gives me joy.

Anyway, returning to 2013, here’s the first lines from each month (usual proviso: first lines that actually contained content and not just an excuse for not posting…)

January: Now that the grey and horrible weather has ended, I decided to make the most of a bit of sunshine to go for a walk with my camera this morning.

February: A mysterious gift of marmite just appeared in our hallway.

March: Still here, and still coping, though it’s very much a case of two steps forward and one back.

April: Mojosmom’s suggestion of a peach cobbler sent me off to Google.

May: I went to another class at Make Cafe last week, this time on paper piecing patchwork. 

June: It’s been a busy couple of weeks.  Fuzzle was here for most of the first week – it was great to see her, and we had loads of fun.

July: I’ve got a large wintersweet bush in the garden, and for about 10 months of the year it’s an ugly, scraggly looking thing that I’m tempted to just rip out.

August: The last couple of weeks have been very long ones, full of drama and a total emotional roller-coaster.

September: It was a gorgeous sunny day yesterday (as it is again today), so I went for a long walk with my camera, looking for spring.

October: I seem to have drastically expanded my social circles all of a sudden, joining two new groups in the space of just a couple of weeks.

November: I’ve had Goldenwattle staying for a few days, on her way round the country.

December: It’s been a strange sort of week.  We knew we’d be shifting offices sometime this week, and that we would have to stay away from the office on moving day so we didn’t get in the way of the movers, so we’d talked about having some sort of team field-trip, maybe involving a site visit to one of our content providers.

And in pictures:

January:

February:

March:

April:

May:

June:

July:

August:

September:

October:

November:

December:

Yep, looking at that lot, I reckon I’ve done a pretty good job of surrounding myself with joy this year.

What I read in 2012

Total = 128 books

January (17)

  • Machine of Death edited by Ryan North, Matthew Bennardo and David Malki!
  • Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell (e-book)
  • Broadmoor Revealed by Mark Stevens (e-book)
  • Beachcombers by Nancy Thayer (library audio book)
  • A Year on Planet Alzheimer by Carolyn Steele (e-book)
  • Wool by Hugh Howey (e-book)
  • Wool 2: Proper Gauge by Hugh Howey (e-book)
  • Wool 3: Casting Off by Hugh Howey (e-book)
  • Wool 4: The Unraveling by Hugh Howey (e-book)
  • Earthquake: Christchurch, New Zealand 22 February 2011 by Chris Moore (borrowed from work)
  • Flashforward by Robert J Sawyer (library audiobook)
  • The Atoms of Language by Mark C Baker (e-book)
  • Sentence of Marriage by Shayne Parkinson (e-book)
  • The Center of Everything by Laura Moriarty (borrowed from Jenny)
  • Mud and Gold by Shayne Parkinson (e-book)
  • The Game Games Bowl by Tim Buckley (e-book)
  • Ping by Susan Lowry (e-book)

February (8)

  • A Cold Day for Murder by Dana Stabenow (e-book)
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (e-book)
  • Powerless: The Synthesis by Jason Letts (e-book)
  • Powerless 2: The Shadowing by Jason Letts (e-book)
  • Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (library audio book)
  • Powerless 3: The Stasis by Jason Letts (e-book)
  • Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (library audio book)
  • Invisible by Lorena McCourtney (e-book)

March (13)

April (10)

May (14)

June (8)

July (7)

August (9)

  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (e-book)
  • Kowloon Tong by Paul Theroux (library audio book)
  • A Second Chance by Shayne Parkinson (e-book)
  • Ellie Lane by Emma Brown (e-book)
  • Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs
  • Pathologies by William Walsh (e-book)
  • Gwenhwyfar by Mercedes Lackey (library audio book)
  • Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson (e-book)
  • Alice in Deadland by Mainak Dhar (e-book)

September (7)

  • How to be a Woman by Caitlan Moran (e-book)
  • The Rice Mother by Rani Manicka
  • Unlocked by Karen Kingsbury (library audio book)
  • Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy (borrowed from nephews)
  • A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle (library audio book)
  • Life Mask by Emma Donoghue (e-book)
  • Talking it Over by Julian Barnes

October (13)

November (8)

December (14)

What I read in 2011 (133 books)
What I read in 2010 (137 books)
What I read in 2009 (150 books)
What I read in 2008 (154 books)
What I read in 2007 (123 books)
What I read in 2006 (140 books)
What I read in 2005 (168 books)

What counts as a book?

2012 in words and pictures

Last day of the year, so it’s time for the traditional summaries and round-ups.  It’s certainly been a busy year – some good stuff (Ireland, graduation, starting Honours), and some not so good (the general feeling of malaise across the city as the adrenaline of 2010 and 11 wore off, and the long slog to recovery began), and some just really hard work (Honours, new responsibilities at work).  We lost George, but we gained Parsnips and Pushkin.  Definitely a lot of ups and downs, and some of it was a real struggle to get through.  I’ve had to make a lot of compromises (like prioritising study over keeping in touch with friends) and rethink a lot of things.  But I think the main thing I can say about 2012 is that I survived it.  And in doing so I’ve learnt a bit more about what I’m capable of, so I know I can keep going and get through this degree no matter what obstacles are thrown in my path by the next few years.

Anyway, enough deep thought, on with the trivial.

2012 in first lines*

*actually, most of the first lines were along the line of “sorry I haven’t updated in so long”, so these are instead the first contentful lines of each month**

**yes, amazingly I did manage at least one entry in every month of this year. It surprised me too!

January: “It seems the earth wants to remind us that just because it’s a new year, that doesn’t mean the end of the aftershocks.  We were rudely awakened twice during the night by big ones, a 5.1 at about half past one, and then a 5.5 at quarter to six.”

February: “We haven’t quite settled on their names yet, so I can’t introduce you, but I can show you photos of the two little additions to our family.”

March: “I knew the Honours year is a hard one, but I didn’t know it would be HARD.  We’re only three weeks into term, and I’m already finding it a struggle to keep up with all the reading that’s needed… not to mention the thinking.”

April: “Got back from Ireland a week ago, but between jet-lag, the inevitable cold I caught on the plane, visitors, catching up with work and study, and of course graduation (I’ve got my BA!!!) I’ve only just managed to finish the release notes from the trip, let alone transcribing my travel journal.”

May: “Work is hotting up as we get closer to our big launch, and study takes up most of my free time. And this week I seem to suddenly have a social life – as well as last night’s meetup, I’ve been invited to Jenny’s book launch tonight and another colleague’s birthday party tomorrow night.”

June: “I keep telling people it hardly ever snows in Christchurch, but I may have to revise that.”

July: “I’ve taken the day off work to attempt to get an essay written, and that’s [photo] the reading pile I’ve accumulated for it (the books, though they look impressive, are not the biggest bit – most of them I’m only using one chapter from – it’s the pile of journal articles stacked beside them that have taken me weeks to read through!).”

August: “Finally I’ve got my new computer!”

September: “That was cool.  We just had the edge of a huge thunderstorm pass over (from the look of things, the main part went right over the city centre) – loads of thunder and lightning, which lasted about half an hour, and then, just as the lightning was dying down, we heard a strange roaring in the distance which seemed to be getting closer.”

October: “The end (for this year anyway) is in sight – I’ve written an almost just about semi final draft of my paper, and if I can catch up with my lecturer on Tuesday to clarify a few last points I should be able to get it finished in the next week or so… and then I can relax a bit and enjoy the summer.”

November: “One of the nicer side-effects of the earthquakes is that because we lost almost all of the city’s arthouse cinemas, the mainstream cinemas have started showing a broader range of films to cater to some of that market.”

December: “December is suddenly upon us, and the round of Christmas/end of year functions has started – I’ve already been to three, and it’s only the 9th.”

Yep, as I suspected, study was the dominant theme for the year!

2012 in photos

January:

February:

March:

April:
April2012

May:

June:

July:

August:
110912marmite

September:
040912hail

October:
211012farmers

November:
241112sculpture6

December:
241212carols

I hope that whatever 2012 was for you, 2013 is better!

What I read in 2011

Total = 133 books

January (12)

February (9)

March (10)

April (15)

May (9)

June (10)

July (11)

August (9)

September (6)

October (15)

November (15)

December (12)

What I read in 2010 (137 books)
What I read in 2009 (150 books)
What I read in 2008 (154 books)
What I read in 2007 (123 books)
What I read in 2006 (140 books)
What I read in 2005 (168 books)

What counts as a book?

2011 in review

So many ways to sum up a year.

First(ish) sentences:

  • January: I know I said we were going to have a quiet night and probably not even see the New Year in, but plans do have a habit of changing.
  • February: It’s the first of February, so that means TWO MONTHS UNTIL AMERICA!!!
  • March: We’re back in Christchurch, and feeling much refreshed and ready to face whatever this city throws at us.
  • April: In just a few hours I’ll go to the airport to fly to Auckland, where I’ve got a couple of hours’ wait before I fly for another 12 hours to San Francisco, and then it’ll *still* be the morning of the first of April! (I love time travel ;-))
  • May: We’ve just come back from Riccarton, where we almost but not quite bought a new vacuum cleaner (our trusty old Dyson has so many parts needing replacing that it’s been looking more and more economical to just get a new one – and we realised it must be about 11 or 12 years old now, so it’s actually lasted quite well).
  • June: Another big aftershock this morning.
  • July: In the last couple of weeks I’ve actually ventured in to town a couple of times.
  • August: Too late to back out now, I’ve booked my flights.
  • September: One year ago today, the people of Christchurch thought we’d had a disaster, but we had no idea how much worse it was going to get as the year progressed.
  • October: After a couple of incredibly busy weeks trying to catch up with work and study after my unplanned break, I had my final exam on Friday, which means I have finished my BA!!!
  • November: Yay! I managed to release 11 books at 11 am on 11/11/11.
  • December: Yesterday’s mail: I got a corporate Christmas card, MrPloppy got a bank statement, and George got a parcel from Lytteltonwitch.

Photos (a few of which never made it into my diary, me being so slack at updating this year!):

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August

    (Ok, that was actually taken in July, but it snowed in August as well)
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

Or just in thoughts. This has been such a huge year. The bad stuff (earthquakes, depression, work uncertainties, Stepfather dying, more earthquakes…) has been so prominent it’s hard sometimes to remember that this year also contained some pretty good stuff. The American roadtrip, for a start – I keep forgetting that was only 8 months ago! There were enough wonderful moments in that trip to last a lifetime. And looking back through the year’s entries I’ve been reminded of all the other good times of 2011: going camping (and goat hunting!) with brother and the kids, making bookmarks with mum, fishing for yabbies with dad, welcoming MrPloppy home from his trip, all the laughter and catching up with friends at conventions in DC and in Wellington, finishing my degree and being accepted for honours… yeah, for a stink year it’s actually been quite good, really 🙂