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The Sunday Salon ~ October Wrap Up, NaNoWriMo and Mining ARCs

Since I didn’t get a chance to reflect on October, I thought I would start there before discussing my first full week of November.

October Wrap Up

October was an exciting month for me. Not only did I try some new things on my blog, I also celebrated my 37th birthday, my daugthers’ 6th (Emma) and 4th (Allison) birthday, and my 11th anniversary with Danny.  My parents and my Uncle Ryan came down for a visit, something that is always nice.  The most momentous thing for me, though, was standing up in front of nearly 250 people and speaking at a professional conference.  I left that stage feeling energized and alive.  I can’t really express how much of an adrenaline boost that gave me for more than a week.  It was a defining moment in my life.  You never know what you can do, do well, and enjoy unless you try.

October Spotlight

For the first time, I spent the entire month focusing on one book – The Witch’s Trinity by Erika Mailman.  I hope that everyone enjoyed it.  Erika wrote a wonderful guest post and graciously offered three giveaway copies of her novel.  I am looking forward to hearing back from our three winners.  As an FYI, I still owe the transcript of the interview with Erika and hope to post that this week.

October Reading Recap

I also had a pretty decent reading month in October.  I read nine books and, as of last night, they are all reviewed.  I am not counting Bible Illuminated because I did not read the entire New Testament.

Here’s the list:

Non-Fiction:

Constitution Translated for Kids by Cathy Travis
Bible Illuminated: The Book (New Testament)
Just Say Nu by Micheal Wex

General Fiction

The Tenth Case by Joseph Teller
Bad Monkeys by Matt Ruff
Janeology by Karen Harrington
Finding Nouf by Zoë Ferraris

Historical Fiction

The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory
The Lost Diary of Don Juan by Don Carlton Abrams
Capote in Kansas by Kim Powers

Anti-Pick of the Month

I could not pick just one book as my favorite, so I’m going to do something a little different.  If you had all of the books I read and could only pick one not to read, I guess I would pick:

cover-of-the-tenth-case

NaNoWriMo

I started the NaNoWriMo at the beginning of the month and over the first two days, I wrote almost 5,000 words.  Unfortunately, this is not something that I can continue.  Giving the responsibilities I have at home and my very real need to get out from underneath the pile of ARCs I’ve accumulated.  I’ve decided to focus on the prior commitments I made to authors and publishers.  That being said, I really enjoyed the writing I did accomplish and I know that this is something I can do when the time is right.

Although I’m no longer participating, that doesn’t mean that I can’t cheer the rest of the troops on.  If you’re like Bethany, Karen, Jena and are working hard to meet your 50,000 words this month, I am your biggest cheerleader.  If you need encouragement or anything, you know where to find me. Go Team NaNoWriMo!

Mining ARCs

So, after deciding to quit NaNoWriMo, I organized all of my ARCs and prioritized them based upon external deadlines like book tours and personal interest.  I’ve put myself on a book every three day schedule and, after this middle of this week, a Monday, Wednesday, Friday review schedule.  If I follow through on the schedule I’ve worked out, I will be free to begin picking books based upon my whims, not my obligations beginning the first of February.  I have just a little over two months to go until I reach the other side – with ample time built in for the holidays so I don’t get stressed out mid-stream.  To me, this will be a wonderful thing.  As much as I love the opportunity to read new books, the weight of that obligation is getting too heavy for me.  It’s making my reading and my blogging feel like a part-time job I can’t get rid of instead of the joy it has been for the most part.  I hope to be able to accept a book or two each month, but from here on out, I want to be in complete control of my reading.

I’ve got my eyes on the prize and believe me, once my last scheduled review is posted on January 30, 2009, there will be a huge celebration going on in The Literate Housewife’s household.

How was your week?

14 Comments

  • At 2008.11.09 15:24, Memory said:

    Wow, that’s a LOT of ARCs! Good luck with them!

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    • At 2008.11.09 15:59, Dawn said:

      Your idea for “mining ARCs” is a good one. I’m learning to be more discriminating in the books I agree to review; although I like to try something new every once in a while, it’s better (for me) to stick with the genres I prefer.

      Good luck getting thru the stack!

      • At 2008.11.09 16:22, Andi said:

        Please come organize my reading life so that it looks more structured! lol

        • At 2008.11.09 17:00, Sher said:

          Ah… a fellow Scorpio girl… and, you’re only 2 years behind me! Lot of Scorpios in your house.. must be a lot of bright, stubborn, emotional folks roaming around that family!

          Are the ARC’s (Advance Review Copies)… remember I’m a “newbie”

          • At 2008.11.09 17:28, Scobberlotcher said:

            What a successful month you had. I applaud your prioritizing, though I’m sad you aren’t continuing your NaNo novel. Perhaps you’ll pick it up again. I STILL think there’s a novel inside you. :)
            Thanks so much!

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            • At 2008.11.09 18:55, Alyce said:

              I can really relate. I have had to make a schedule for myself for my books (about 3 a week) so that I can start reading something besides ARCs. My stack should be done by the end of January as long as I have self-control and stop requesting so many ARCs. Good luck!

              • At 2008.11.09 21:32, Bonnie said:

                First, Congrats on your achievement of speaking at the professional conference!!! That must be a wonderful feeling of accomplishment!

                I commend you for writing 5,000 words for NaNoWriMo and that is an amazing start! You’ll know when you’ll be ready to pick it up again.
                I was considering it after I read your post but knew that I was dealing with some stressful personal issues and wouldn’t be able to manage it. I’m considering giving it a go next year.

                I can relate to your Mining ARC dilemna. In my excitement and overzealousness, I’ve acquired way too many ARC’s. I like your idea of a reading schedule. I’m going to prioritize mine in some way so that I don’t feel overwhelmed. I am also being more particular about what I accept to review as well.

                Keep us posted on your progress!!
                My advice is to react the first time you feel overwhelmed by your ARCs. The longer you hold it off, the more books you’ll have to contend with. Believe me. Until you take drastic measures and know exactly what you have, you’ll still say to yourself “this sounds interesting” or “why not?” :)

                • At 2008.11.10 00:53, donstuff said:

                  A busy October – the only thing missing was your husband’s birthday.
                  Congratulations on your accomplishments. Now you have an opportunity to relax… oh, wait – we’re moving toward the holidays. Nevermind.
                  Ding, Ding, Ding! You hit the nail on the head, my friend. :) I had to choose one challenge over the other. There was no other choice.

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                  • At 2008.11.10 00:57, Violet said:

                    Happy Belated birthday to you and your daughters too.
                    Looks like October was a rocking month for your entire family. You have managed to read quite a lot of books this month. All the best with the ARC’s.

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                    • At 2008.11.10 02:35, Marcia said:

                      I’ll always be cheering for you no matter what you decide to do. :-) As you look back at October you should feel a major sense of accomplish both personal and professional.

                      I, too, several months ago felt the same feelings you’re going through with books and blogging. It was starting to feel like an obligation instead of a pleasure. One of the big changes for me was not necessarily writing a review for every book that passes through my life. If I don’t feel inclined to do so I label the post ‘Reading Journal’ instead of ‘Book Review’, jot a few notes on the blog something short and sweet and move on.

                      I also pared down my books and made honest decisions about what I really want to read. The books that didn’t make the cut got passed along to fellow book lovers who I knew would enjoy them. Instant stress relief.

                      Here’s looking forward to reading your blog in the upcoming months and watching your enjoyment of reading come back.

                      I like your reading journal idea. There are other ways of highlighting books than just reading them. And I love to give gifts, so that is another way to release stress. The giveaway I had last month was really helpful as well.

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                      • At 2008.11.10 08:21, bermudaonion said:

                        I’ve got a lot of ARCs, but I think you’ve got me beat. I’ve decided not to worry too much about deadlines, unless it’s something like a blog tour.
                        It’s not as much about deadlines as it is feeling guilty for picking up The Other Queen to read instead of one of the books an author or publisher sent me. I want to walk over to my bookshelf and pick out what I want guilt free. So long as I have a ton of ARCs, I’ll feel guilty choosing something else. It’s the Catholic in my I guess. :)

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                        • At 2008.11.10 10:17, Devourer of Books said:

                          I used to have a system like you’re starting now. It worked for me for a long time, but now I need something different. I’m still going to order the books by priority on my shelf, but I’m no longer going to force myself to stick solely to that order in my reading. For instance, I am going to start “The King’s Daughter” today, even though I only received it last week and there are a bunch of books that technically have a higher priority, because it is Tudor historical fiction (Elizabeth of York! Henry VIII’s mom!), and that’s exactly what I need right now.
                          It was your Monday, Wednesday, Friday organization that I mirrored this plan after. :) I’m only going to do it until these ARCs have all been read and reviewed/highlighted. After that, I’m going to do as I please. ;) I can’t wait for your review of The King’s Daughter! You know how I love the Tudors. I’ll be keeping my eye on my Google Reader!

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                          • At 2008.11.13 20:51, bookworm said:

                            wow, October sounds like a busy month for you. You and your daughters birthdays are all in October? That sounds fun and hectic too…lol.
                            Congrats on your public speaking in front of all those people! Thats great :) Public speaking is a fear of mine…but I agree with you, you never know what you can do unless you try.

                            • […] Romance, but as the back cover got closer and closer, my thoughts were already shifting to my Mining ARCs spreadsheet and the book I would be reading next.  When I finished the novel, there wasn’t a […]

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