Day: August 22, 2017

My Very Own “Book Bucket List” – July 2017

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It’s been 1 month since I started my Book Bucket List and I’ve knocked the second one off the list:  Katherine Arden’s The Bear & The Nightingale. You can see the review here.

 

In its place, I’ve added The Resurrection of Joan Ashby by Cherise Wolas. Below is the link to the on-going Book Bucket List and a background on what it’s all about. My Very Own “Book Bucket List”  —  Click here for the on-going detailed Book Bucket List.

Please take a look and help me decide which book I should read in September to satisfy this mini-challenge. You can vote in the poll below until August 28th, 2017. The poll is at:

 

About Me
I am a writer. I am currently searching for an agent and looking at independent publishing options for my first book, Watching a Glass Shatter. To see more, please check out the website for this novel where you will find the first 3 chapters, character bios and sample quotes.

I am writing my second novel, Father Figure, with plans to finish it in December, 2017. As part of the process to engage with my fans and followers, I am publishing a weekly status on the progress of this second book. For a description of this book, check out the post where my friends and followers voted for this book as my second novel.

Beyond these two books, I have a number of short stories, poems and other novels in various shapes and forms. I also read A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, Tags, Awards, Age/Genre/Book Reads and Author Spotlights, as well as the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge.

You can also access my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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Book Review: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

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3 out of 5 stars to The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, the first in a fantasy and historical fiction series about Russian fairy tales.

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Why This Book
I ordered this online many months ago based on the description I’d read in Goodreads. Then a friend of mine, Valerie, was planning to read it. We decided to do a buddy read together earlier this month.

Plot, Characters & Setting
A Russian girl loses her mother and her place in a family. She meets strange creatures who no one else can see. Her father remarries to provide her with a mother figure, then has more children. Something happens in the background where there is a war between religions, people and culture. It’s a battle to maintain your village and your family, but also to connect the past with the future.

Approach & Style
I read the paperback version over a two-week period. It’s 312 pages or 28 chapters long. Chapters are about 10 to 12 pages, told in third person.

Strengths
It had absolutely beautiful imagery and lyrical prose. You truly feel transported to a new world full of complex characters, interesting plots and high imagination.

There is a lot of great history and views on religion, politics and royalty. You believe you are in Russia dealing with true occurrences and fantastic situations.

Concerns
The language was too confusing for me, often leaving me wonder what was real and what was fantasy. I’m not normally a fantasy reader, so it might have been partially my fault.

Names on the characters change a bit too often, which made it slightly difficult for me to recall who each person was.

Final Thoughts
I had been in a reading slump and was working on the final chapters of my own book. I might have been distracted while reading this one. I wanted to love it, but I didn’t. I think it’s a strong book, and for that, I settled on a 3 rating. It is good, just not the right match for me.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 163 – Inventory

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Inventory: a complete list of items such as property, goods in stock, or the contents of a building or container

 

 

invento

People who own or run a business often take an inventory to understand how much product they have available at any given moment. Sometimes it’s weekly or monthly, others at a random interval or annually for determining a true financial picture of the business. As I lay in bed this morning, I wondered why people don’t more frequently think about doing an inventory of their life. We have many ‘products’ around us that are essential to our survival and happiness. Sure, we take inventory of toiletries or groceries, so that we can purchase whatever supplies we need on a fairly regularly basis, but I’m pushing the limits here with my definition of inventory. Life is important. Valuable. Why wouldn’t we want to know where the important things stand on a more frequent basis?

Most of us would agree that apart from whatever reasons we as humans exist, a major component of our life is to be happy and pursue goals to help further the planet and society. To do so, we should want to have the best plan or approach in each of our individual lives. So why not keep a running inventory of the things that we need to achieve such goals? When I think about the areas of life we could apply such logic, it includes friends, hobbies, keepsakes, dreams, passions and feelings. When you take it down a level lower, perhaps it’s volunteer programs, books, movies, flowers, foods or vacations. Most of this seems obvious, given we all do these things informally without realizing it. But when I took a moment to think about the inventory of my life this morning, I wondered what it really said about me. Am I maintaining stock in the appropriate places to have inventory at maximum levels?

In the world of friends, have I surrounded myself with the people who I enjoy being around and want to socialize with? Or have I retained people in my life who I feel almost forced to continue a friendship with? Do I have friends in each of my passions or hobbies? If I answer no to these questions, then there’s something wrong with my inventory. If I enjoy reading mystery books, shouldn’t I have a few friends who love those things too, so we can bond and grow and have fun together? If I want to be friends with people who have done things I want to do, but I’m stuck seeing people out of some odd sense of duty, maybe I’d be happier if I reorganized the deck to align things in a more proper manner.

I would suggest the same approach for all the rest of the things in my life. Or your life. Knowing where you stand in comparison to where you want to be is essential to forward momentum, positive change and ultimately happiness. While I’m not suggesting we embrace anything too formal in our approach, or even throw out the baby with the bath water, I am saying it might be time to prepare our own inventory of where we are today and where we want to be in regard to all the things that make us happy. In my world, I tend to comb through these things in my head every so often, which is helpful for a large guiding force towards my end goals. But I’m not actively measuring it or verifying at proper intervals that other people or unexpected consequences didn’t get in the way or throw things off balance.

An example for me lately is reading. I love to read. I have too many books in my TBR. I have too many sitting on my physical bookshelf waiting to be picked up. But I haven’t prioritized it among everything else going on in my life. But I could do a quick inventory and set some goals for myself and get to at least one of those books each week, as in the end, it will make me a happier guy. Completing an inventory can be hard. It can be easy. But it starts with two things: (1) what do you have and (2) what do you want. With those two items, you can solve the puzzle. My initial thought was to treat it like a plan, a path or a line of sorts. There is a start and a finish point. As I drafted this post, it occurred to me, more from instinct, that it’s not a line. There isn’t really a true start and end when it comes to pursuing things in your life. Life has a start and end, but in between, it’s rather continuous.

It’s a circle. There may be a point on the circle where you begin, then you travel 360 degrees until you get back to that same place you began; however, the cycle doesn’t end. You can keep going around and around as much as you need to tend to your inventory while you are still on the planet focused on achieving your goals. Let’s not make this effort something that feels like work or a difficult task. Let’s make it something we feel helps lay the next few steps on our path towards the future we want as opposed to the one that just happens based on how the day progresses. I will start next week with two things:

(a) Cozy mystery books

  • I love to ready cozy mysteries, and I have tons in my TBR but no one to share them with. A few online friends I chat with enjoy them, but we don’t spend a lot of time talking about them. So if any friends want to participate with me, let’s pick a few books to read together for the rest of the year and have fun talking about them.

(b) Meditation

  • I am generally a very relaxed guy. A few things will set me off, but underneath the calm exterior lurks the jitters over not being able to accomplish all that I want to. I have no tools to help navigate those nagging reminders. Exercise doesn’t always help. Food does temporarily. But I don’t have any other tools to find a way to expel those nerves. I need to find a few things to place in a bag of tricks that will help relax me, provide a calm retreat or learn how to meditate. I’m open to suggestions.

How about you? Any thoughts on how you’re managing the inventory of your life? Areas you want to participate with me during this little re-adjustment in our life circle?

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.