My First DNF of The Year

28962895Last year I had a lot of DNFs (books that I did-not-finish), but I don’t know exactly how many because I didn’t keep track. This year I’m going to keep track on Goodreads, starting with my first one for this year: IQ by Joe Ide. I thought I’d like this so I even bought this one when it was on sale recently on Kindle. Unfortunately, neither the storyline in the present nor the storyline in the past kept my attention so I abandoned it after 135 pages.

I know other book bloggers that have a limit of 50 pages before they’ll DNF a book. Sometimes I don’t even make it that far and other times I make it almost to the end. For me, the criterion is I’ll abandon the book whenever I’m not “feeling” it. It could be page 10 or page 410 of a 420 page book (although I admit that would be very rare). I am not one of those readers who believes they have to finish the book. I’m not getting paid to review the books and in fact, I don’t do reviews for publishers or anyone else, so if I don’t want to finish the book, I don’t have to. So there (insert emoticon with tongue sticking out)!

What is your criterion/criteria for abandoning a book or are you one of those readers who have to finish a book no matter what? Also do you ever return to a book that you DNFed? I have one that I keep trying to get through: H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald. Like IQ, I got it through a Kindle deal so it’s on my Kindle whenever or if I want to return to it.

The Ebooks I Have Waiting To Be Read

Over the last few months, especially in December with special deals from Kindle and Google Play, I’ve picked up several ebooks on the cheap. Some are books I’ve wanted to read for a while; others, I’ve only just heard about, but thought they were worth the $1.99 or so to check out. Will I get to them first thing this year? Doubtful, since I’m still reading The Lord of the Rings: One Volume (which also is one of the books) and have at least one other ebook checked out from the Free Library of Philadelphia. But someday, some week, some month this year, maybe I’ll get to one or more of the other 18 ebooks:

  1. All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot
  2. All Things Bright and Beautiful by James Herriot
  3. All Things Wise and Wonderful by James Herriot
  4. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson
  5. Crocodile on the Sandbank (Amelia Peabody Book 1) by Elizabeth Peters
  6. Don Quixote: A New Translation by Miguel de Cervantes and Edith Grossman
  7. H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
  8. Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda
  9. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  10. Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly
  11. IQ by Joe Ide
  12. Lord Foul’s Bane (The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever Book 1) by Stephen R. Donaldson
  13. The Lord of the Rings: One Volume by J.R.R. Tolkien
  14. Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan
  15. Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker
  16. Mrs. Saint and the Defectives: A Novel by Julie Lawson Timmer
  17. Punishment (Detective Barnes Series Book 1) by Scott J. Holiday
  18. A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick
  19.  You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me: A Memoir by Sherman Alexie

To make it an even 20 for the year, I already did read one of the books I purchased: The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, and Douglas Carlton Abrams, and it was one of My Top 5 Favorite Books Read In 2017.

As for the rest, going down the list from top to bottom:

  • I picked up the first Herriot book and then got all three on another deal because I remember watching the PBS show years ago and liking it, and I don’t think I’ve ever read the books.
  • The deGrasse Tyson was on a whim.
  • I bought the Peters book because a friend recommended the series and while it is available at our library, this way, I thought I’d get to it on my own timetable.
  • I read a translation, I think it was abridged possibly, by Walter Starkie years ago of Don Quixote and enjoyed it. We have this translation at the library but it’s so huge that I’d rather have on ebook.
  • I tried to read H is for Hawk last year, but didn’t get to it so now I have a copy for when I try it again.
  • Yes, it would be better to have a print copy of the Hamilton book but now that I have a Fire, I think I’ll be able to see the pages well enough.
  • The Hate U Give was on a lot of bloggers’ “Best Of” lists for 2017 so I felt obliged to get and see for myself what all the fuss is about.
  • Hidden Figures: I actually got for my wife. The only bad thing is that it’s on Google Play Books, which we only can read on our phones, but at least we have it.
  • IQ is another one I picked up on Google Play Books, one of only three on this list not on Kindle. I was on hold for the longest time from the Free Library of Philadelphia that I just decided to go ahead and buy it.
  • Lord Foul’s Bane will be a reread…if I ever get to it.
  • Likewise, LOTR is a reread and I’ve only started it last month.
  • I think I read about the Sullivan book on some blogs and thought, “Why not?”
  • Mindhunter: Kim and I watched the show and loved it, so I thought I’d go back to the source, also on Google Play Books.
  • Mrs. Saint and The Defectives? To be honest, this was one I accidentally hit “Buy” on and didn’t go back to get rid of. I have no idea.
  • Punishment was purchased, I think, last week and was on a whim too. I think it might have been one that Kindle featured for January.
  • A Scanner Darkly, I have heard of it and want to read some PKD so why not this?
  • I love Sherman Alexie, what can I say?

Have you read of these books? If you have or haven’t, which one would you start with?

My Top 5 Favorite Books Read In 2017

For this past month, I’ve been joining hosts Girlxoxo, Traveling with T and Estella’s Revenge for their 4th annual #AMonthofFaves blog event. – “a fun way to recap the year that was” – during the month of December. Today’s topic is “The Top 10 Books That Blew Your Mind This Year,” which I’ve adapted to my own top 5 favorite books read in 2017.

On Friday, I gav you My Top 15 Albums of 2017; yesterday, my wife Kim and I gave you Our Top 10 Favorite TV Shows/Movies of 2017; and today, I give you…

My Top 5 Favorite Books Read In 2017

5. The Fade Out by Ed Brubaker (writer), Sean Phillips (artist, letterer), Elizabeth Breitweiser (colourist)
4. The Lost Book of The Grail by Charlie Lovett
3. The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown
2. Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church by Rachel Held Evans
1. The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by Dalai Lama XIV, the only book for which I wrote a review this year.

I won’t be writing much today about them, because Friday, my aunt, who has been living with my parents and who has been in ill health for a number of years, passed away so my mind understandably isn’t all here. A memorial service will be held Wednesday for her at my parents’ church and Kim and I are going (it is one of Kim’s regular days off from work and I’m taking a vacation day). However, I will say that Suzi from the blog Whimpulsive recommended The Fade Out, a graphic novel, to me; Tasha from the blog Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and Books recommended The Lost Grail; and Andi from the blog Estella’s Revenge recommended Searching for Sunday.  Surprisingly, three of the five were nonfiction, since I don’t read much nonfiction. I think altogether I read five nonfiction books this year.

Books Read In 2017

In reverse order, here is what I read:

  1. Lazarus: Vol. 1 by by Greg Rucka, Michael Lark (artist), Santiago Arcas (illustrator)
  2. The Fade Out: Act One by Ed Brubaker (writer), Sean Phillips (artist, letterer), Elizabeth Breitweiser (colourist)
  3. The Fade Out: Act Two by Ed Brubaker (writer), Sean Phillips (artist, letterer), Elizabeth Breitweiser (colourist)
  4. The Fade Out: Act Three by Ed Brubaker (writer), Sean Phillips (artist, letterer), Elizabeth Breitweiser (colourist)
  5. Two Kinds of Truth by Michael Connelly
  6. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  7. Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick
  8. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
  9. Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride
  10. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  11. Some Buried Caesar by Rex Stout
  12. Too Many Cooks by Rex Stout
  13. The Lost Book of the Grail by Charlie Lovett
  14. The Western Star by Craig Johnson
  15. Gallows View by Peter Robinson
  16. The Red Box by Rex Stout
  17. The Rubber Band by Rex Stout
  18. The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by Dalai Lama XIV
  19. Absolutely Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick
  20. Murder is Binding by Lorna Barrett
  21. Dark Water by Parker Bilal
  22. Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane
  23. Midnight Sun by Jo Nesbø
  24. Blood on Snow by Jo Nesbø
  25. Double Whammy by Carl Hiaasen
  26. Forever Free: The Story of Emancipation and Reconstruction by Eric Foner
  27. Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin
  28. Fer-de-Lance by Rex Stout
  29. Leaves of Grass: The Deathbed Edition by Walt Whitman
  30. The Dain Curse by Dashiell Hammett
  31. Moonlight Mile by Dennis Lehane
  32. Prayers for Rain by Dennis Lehane
  33. Gone, Baby, Gone by Dennis Lehane
  34. Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church by Rachel Held Evans
  35. Robert B. Parker’s Cheap Shot by Ace Atkins
  36. The Rain in Portugal: New Poems by Billy Collins
  37. Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett
  38. Sacred by Dennis Lehane
  39. Darkness, Take My Hand by Dennis Lehane
  40. Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania, edited by Marjorie Maddox
  41. The Widow by Fiona Barton
  42. Dearest Creature by Amy Gerstler
  43. The Dry by Jane Harper
  44. Broken Promise by Linwood Barclay
  45. The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown

How was your year in reading for 2017? What were your favorite books? Let me and my readers know a few of them in the comments, if you like.

Our Top 10 Favorite TV Shows/Movies of 2017

Yesterday, I gave you My Top 15 Albums of 2017; today, my wife Kim and I give you Our Top 10 Favorite TV Shows/Movies of 2017; and tomorrow, I give you My Top 5 Books Read in 2017.

I’ll start with four of my favorite TV shows and movies, then have Kim give you her four favorite TV shows, then end with one TV show and movie from both of us.

Mine

Narcos: Kim discovered this before me and kept telling me I needed to watch it. Finally, over the Thanksgiving weekend, I caved and I love it. I’ve already finished Season 1 and am set to begin Season 2.

Mindhunter: I knew from the trailer that I’d probably like this one, because I like Criminal Minds and I was right. What surprised me is that Kim actually liked it too.

Baby Driver: Yes, let’s get this out of the way now, Kevin Spacey is in this, but he’s not the reason to watch this one.  The music is the main reason to watch this one; the action is another. Personally, from someone who has tinnitus, I also liked how it was included in the story of the main character.

Logan Lucky: Like Baby Driver, this is a heist movie too, but with director Steven Soderbergh more like his Ocean’s Eleven movies. It also was fun to see Daniel Craig and Adam Driver in the role of rednecks.

Hers

GLOW

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Dear White People: Watch this show. Have a discussion. Watch it again. Talk and listen. Mostly listen. Don’t let anyone who hasn’t seen it or whose back is up about it tell you what it’s about. Listen until you hear something you needed to understand. – Kim

Master of None: This show is like that delicious foreign film you want everyone to sit down and watch and you are frustrated because most of them won’t and they are missing out. It is beautiful. Aziz Ansari learned Italian for you. Watch his show. – Kim

Ours

Game of Thrones: I only read the first book in the series and made it through about a quarter of the second before giving up. I wasn’t that interested in the series, plus we don’t have HBO. However, when our library director started getting the series on DVD and a couple of coworkers started watching it and saying how good it was, we finally caved…and we fell hard. We binge-watched the first six seasons and then couldn’t wait for the seventh season to come out on DVD so we bought it on streaming.

The Big Sick: 

What were your favorite TV shows/movies from this year? Share in the comments or with your own blog post, if you like.

 

 My Top 15 Albums of 2017

Today, I’m going to give you My Top 15 Albums of 2017; tomorrow, Our Top 10 Shows/Movies Watched In 2017; and Sunday, My Top Five Books Read In 2017. Here are my top 15 albums of this year:

15. EP/EP2 – Yaeji
14. Black Origami – Jlin
13. Aromanticism – Moses Sumney
12. Take Me Apart – Kelela
11. Melodrama – Lorde
10. Sleep Well Beast – The National
9. I See You – The xx
8. Kelly Lee Owens – Kelly Lee Owens
7. Okovi – Zola Jesus
6. Utopia – Björk
5. MASSEDUCTION – St. Vincent
4. american dream – LCD Soundsystem
3. A Deeper Understanding – The War on Drugs
2. Drunk – Thundercat
1. DAMN. – Kendrick Lamar

And here is a list on Spotify with one selection from each of those albums:


So how about you, what are some of your favorite albums from this year?

Looking back and forward

A look back

This past month, I’ve been joining hosts Girlxoxo, Traveling with T, and Estella’s Revenge for their 4th annual #AMonthofFaves blog event – “a fun way to recap the year that was.” So far, these are my posts from the event:

  1. My Top 10 Favorite Things of 2017
  2. This is How I Read
  3. This is How I Blog
  4. The Blogs I Love
  5. Our Favorite Book to TV Adaptations
  6. My #lifehacks
  7. I love…December

A look forward

There are four more prompts, but I’m only doing one more, the last one, for top 10 books, which for me might be top five books. Except I’ll be doing it Dec. 31 instead of Dec. 29 to coincide with my last Sunday Salon post of the year. On Friday, Dec. 29, I’ll give you my Top 10 Albums of 2017 and on Saturday, Dec. 30, I’ll let you know what our Top 10 TV Shows/Movies were for the year.

Starting tomorrow, I have a four-day weekend and then next weekend, I have a three-day weekend. This weekend, the plan mostly is to read (still The Fellowship of the Ring), but as I’m in the midst of watching Narcos (my wife finally got me to watch it and I love it), that might not happen.

Since Sunday is her only day off in a stretch of 13 days (with one day only four days), we are going to make the most of it by going to a Christmas Eve brunch at a local hotel and then to see the latest Star Wars movie. We did get together with my side of the family last weekend for Christmas, with one of the highlights, besides of course, getting together with family, being that I received a new laptop from which I’m typing this post now. Kim also got a new Kindle Fire and she gave me her old one, so now when I come home from work each night, I have to decide which device to use: my phone, my laptop or my Kindle. It’s a rough life.

Aside: The Kindle Fire almost has me convinced to try reading graphic novels again, because of how easy it is to navigate from panel to panel. I am considering Comixology, but I’m not sure because I don’t really have the money for all the graphic novels I can’t read. I’ll probably get hooked on a series and then realize I have to pay for the rest.  However, I am considering it; if not, I’ll look for other free graphic novels or ones on sale through other resources. Update: Since that last draft, I have signed up for a 30-day free trial. 

So…if you celebrate Christmas, any special plans this coming weekend/week? 

#AMonthofFaves: I Love…December

a-month-of-faves.jpgI’m joining hosts Girlxoxo, Traveling with T, and Estella’s Revenge for their 4th annual #AMonthofFaves blog event – “a fun way to recap the year that was” – during the month of December. Today’s topic is “I Love … December.”

My wife and I don’t do much decorations because of…well…a small house and cats, really, one cat, Seamus, who is about 11 years old.  However, we still love decorations, especially at my parents, where we just happened to go yesterday to get together with them, my aunt, my sister and her family, because my wife works Christmas Day.

Family Christmas today.

A post shared by Bryan G. Robinson (@stillunfinished) on

Besides getting together with family, we do have a few Christmas traditions that include, but aren’t limited to the following:

  • drinking egg nog, mixed only with Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum, Private Edition.
  • watching Christmas movies, especially Elf, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, and the only version of A Christmas Carol (in my wife’s opinion, and now in my opinion too), the 1951 version which was called Scrooge when it was released in Great Britain and which starred Alastair Sim.
  • listening to “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” as read by its author Dylan Thomas.

What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?

#AMonthofFaves: My #lifehacks

I’m joining hosts Girlxoxo, Traveling with T, and Estella’s Revenge for their 4th annual #AMonthofFaves blog event – “a fun way to recap the year that was” – during the month of December. Today’s topic is “Best Changes You Made To Tweak This Year,” or, in other words, “best changes you made or routines you kept that better organized your day / life; your = morning, evening or daily routines.”

Solitaire/chill music/magnesium/lavender/various essential oil blends: It isn’t a routine I have perfected yet, but it is one that I attempt nightly. Before bed, I play a game or several variations of Solitaire via Mic Solitaire Collection on my phone, listen to “chill music,” usually via Mixcloud, take a magnesium, apply essential oils. My wife even has one blend, which she labels “Ear Peace,” made specifically to help with my tinnitus. The blend doesn’t take away the tinnitus, but it definitely lessens the volume for me. Likewise, the routine helps me unwind physically, mentally, and emotionally.
In the new year, I need to work on spiritually unwinding and also physically “winding up” my day. But at least I have a base from which to work.

Google Home Mini/TickTick: As part of a Black Friday deal, we got a Google Home Mini. No, it’s not something we “needed,” but it is fun. So far, we’ve mainly used for it listening to music on Google Play Music, but I look forward to seeing what else we can do with it.

The main app I use on my phone is TickTick, which helps me plan my day, especially at work. My day to day and week to week routine at work doesn’t change much, but it’s nice to have reminders for when I occasionally forget things. It’s also good to have reminders for personal things too, e.g. picking up a prescription. Now if only there was a way to integrate it with Google Assistant so I could’ve use with the Google Home Mini.

What are some of your life hacks from this past year, either tried or true or new this year?

#AMonthofFaves: Our Favorite Book to TV Adaptations

I’m joining hosts Girlxoxo, Traveling with T, and Estella’s Revenge for their 4th annual #AMonthofFaves blog event – “a fun way to recap the year that was” – during the month of December. Today’s topic is “Favorite Book to TV or Movie Adaptations” from this year.

My (and my wife’s) favorite, without any question was, and is:

I only read the first book in the series and made it through about a quarter of the second before giving up. I wasn’t that interested in the series, plus we don’t have HBO. However, when our library director started getting the series on DVD and a couple of coworkers started watching it and saying how good it was, we finally caved…and we fell hard. We binge-watched the first six seasons and then couldn’t wait for the seventh season to come out on DVD so we bought it on streaming.

Honorable Mention

I haven’t read the book by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker…yet, but I did buy an ebook copy that I hope to get to in the new year. My wife and I both enjoyed Season 1 of the Netflix Original series, and we look forward to seeing the second.

What were/are some of your favorite book to TV or movie adaptations from this year?

#AMonthofFaves: The Blogs I Love

I’m joining hosts Girlxoxo, Traveling with T, and Estella’s Revenge for their 4th annual #AMonthofFaves blog event – “a fun way to recap the year that was” – during the month of December. Today’s topic is “The Blogger Love Edition.”

I only follow a handful of blogs, almost all book blogs, and while all of them are good, each in their own way, these are the three I return to again and again:

Tina, Kim, and Michelle, respectively, are book bloggers, but also blog about their families and lives and always look on the bright side of life, even when life might not appear that bright to those on the outside. If you haven’t visited their blogs, I encourage you to do so.

What are some of your favorite blogs?