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The book wall of shame, part 1

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Behold my Book Wall of Shame, part 1. First, I should apologise if you can see your book or a book you gifted or loaned me in this pile – I really like it, I do! I just actually haven’t finished a book in a very long time. Well, I read Landline a couple of months ago. And one or two other novels in the last year or more but otherwise, I’m not very good at finishing anything. But I’m getting better at saying that I’m not reading because that’s actually incorrect. I’ve read hundreds of short stories this year and a couple extra novels that I published, and I read those at least 3 but probably closer to 5 times each. And I read a lot of non fiction every day. But reading for leisure? That’s long since become a thing of the past. And that kinda makes me sad. That my “job” has made what used to be a hobby no longer fun, or possible.

It will not surprise you that one of the items on that heinous 2013 Resolutions list was something a) ridiculous and b) vague like Reduce my TBR queue. What does that mean? Does that mean a net reduction? Or a title reduction so that if new books in = books read, it’s still achieved? Truthfully, I want it to be both reduce the backlog of books I would like to have already read aka all the books that had buzz last year etc as well as stay on top of all the books that will have buzz or that I want to read. Be a reader! in other words. Which I realised the other day, is fine, as long as I don’t also want to be a quilter, a gardener, a knitter, and tidy my house and achieve the other 22 items on the resolutions list. I’ve been avoiding this item on my To Do List and possibly attacking the rest of the items on it because I just didn’t know how to work this one. My TBR is high, and deep, and filled with deep personal *feelings*. I’ve been stalling.

However! It came to me! The idea came to me after I was killing time on Friday waiting for C to get his haircut. I’d wandered to Big W (we now have Big W and 28 Specialty Shops! down our way, it’s a *big* deal) and ended up in the books section. Whereupon I found about 8 books I needed. I mean, wanted. I ended up buying two – The Rosie Effect, the sequel to The Rosie Project, which I loved, and a book about two women who comb England for the best high tea (yes, it’s a book with a whole heap of high tea menus and frivolity, I expect, and some kind of a love story, probably). I took these books home, felt slightly bad about adding to the TBR and then promptly started The Rosie Effect. And I’m enjoying it – it’s a quick read.

So this had me thinking, I have so much less expectation with non genre (SFF) books. I feel less judgement from others because I don’t really discuss the books I read and like outside of genre. I’m probably a very mainstream reader in other genres, and I don’t really care. I read those books for leisure and fun. And I tend to find myself wanting to come back and read another chapter. And if I don’t, I figure I’m not enjoying the book, it owes me nothing, and I ditch it. Noone judges you if you didn’t like a chick lit book. So. I have decided to rekindle the joy of reading books for fun. And I pulled out all the books from my TBR bookcase that are not SFF or horror  (but crime is okay). My dear husband wandered in in the middle of this and got excited cause he thought I was culling a whole heap of books. I also pulled out the YA – SFF or no – as a second wave. And the picture about is the books that I’m going to read over summer. Hahaha. Well maybe not. But they are books I am going to start and if I’m not enjoying I’m going to ditch so I expect to finish many of them in only a couple of days of reading or else move them along. The hope is that by the time I get to the end of this wall of books, I’ve retrained myself to read for fun again. And then I will look at the remainder of the TBR and the wishlist.  

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Today’s drink: San Guillermo Costa Rica by Five Senses – weak because I scared the machine by running out of water

Today’s total word count: 604

Year Total running word tally from (Nov 24): 14 399

Progress on: Thesis data sets, scarf for xmas gift, filling book orders, emails, Garden Project commenced

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Turns out I have a lot to say under this post’s subject heading. I’ve been working on part 1 for a few days now and I think the problem is too many competing thoughts. So here’s part 2 first, instead.

I guess in some ways I feel very much against the clock at the moment. Some things, you just can’t apply for extensions on – tenders, grant applications and babies. I have a lot I want to get done before the baby comes. A lot of things I want to get sorted or just dealt with so that I don’t need to deal with them afterwards. Right now, I have time, and mostly good headspace. Later, maybe not so much.

And in the process of working through stuff and how to set systems up to cope when I have more on my plate I’ve been able to come much more ruthless and decisive. I spose it’s a momentum you develop and the hard bit about saying no or culling things from your life is the starting. Once you’re used to be able to say no, once no isn’t so terrible anymore, once you experience the freedom that no brings, it’s a lot less scary and a lot easier to say.

I’ve been weeding my book collection. The truth is, it’s not really a well thought out collection anyhow. It’s a bunch of gonnas, maybes, one days and shoulds. When you move that clutter out the way though, it’s left with OOh! and Hey! and I really have been meaning to! I’m weeding my shelves a couple of books at a time. Sometimes I have to think about it for a few days – if I like that writer’s whole body of work except this one book, do I have to keep that book? Turns out, I’m not a library and I am under no obligation to have a complete archive – I’m only ever going to lend a book like that with, “I personally thought this one was shit, but hey…” I’m slowly pruning it to bookshelves where every book on them means something positive or uplifting (in experience/memory) to me. And I’m removing books that I feel I need to have because someone else will be impressed by my owning it. Or books I have there for guilt reasons – gifted to me, or struggling to enjoy or feel I should have to read or maybe if I try reading in a couple of years time I’ll make it past the first 40 pages.

I don’t really have much time for leisure reading. It’s not like that fact is going to substantially change in say the next five years. Any book I have in my TBR queue is taking the place of a book that’s yet to be published that I might want to read. Or will become a feeling of guilt when I do buy that 2015 book and I haven’t read the TBR pile yet. Cause I have books still sitting in my TBR from more than 5 (10 and even 15) years ago now.

I’ve started trialling turning off backlit electronic devices before bed and reading paper books in an attempt to combat some of my insomnia/trouble getting to sleep. It’s helping. But I’m also discovering that a lot of books I have in my TBR are not fun/enjoyable to read. If that hour before bed is my only time in the day for complete relaxation reading and might be the only time for the foreseeable future, why should that hour be a struggle, or be me forcing myself to push on with a book because I feel guilty about not reading it or feeling I should read it or because I bought it therefore must read it? I’ve stopped reading a lot of books in the last three weeks and culled them – mostly pulp crime or chic lit – because those books should be easy, page turners, and if they’re not, why am I reading them? Being able to start making that decision that if I’m not enjoying a book after 40 pages, it’s wasting the time I have for enjoyable reading, is helping me work through a bigger issue.

What do I think will be so different in 5 years time in terms of enjoying this book more than I am now? I often put a book down that I’m not getting into with the thinking that maybe in a different mood, or a different place in my life, I might enjoy the book more. I can’t really think of one example that that’s actually ever been true or happened.

I saw a great pic on Facebook the other day that said “If you don’t enjoy reading, you’re doing it wrong” – you know how sometimes some random placard just hits a chord with you? I’ve been thinking a lot about how some people like to say that if you haven’t read X you’re not entitled to an opinion about Y genre or you can’t consider yourself a “real” fan or you’re not as worthy of participating in discussions, you haven’t “earned” your cred. I came to SF in my own way and in my own time and on my own terms. But for a large portion of the last decade or so I’ve been feeling obliged/guilty/required to get certain books read. So that I can consider myself a proper legitimate person entitled to an opinion. The thing is, I find a lot of those books boring. And I felt bad about that. I felt inadequate. Like, maybe I didn’t really enjoy the genre if I didn’t enjoy X or Y. Or didn’t get why other people did.

And that made me stop enjoying reading. It’s given me a reading block for the last 5 to 7 years. Certainly for novels. It makes the culture consumed section of Galactic Suburbia hard, a struggle, and sometimes embarrassing for me.

Then I started culling books I wasn’t enjoying. I started looking at each book I was picking up to read from my TBR at night and asking myself if, given I have a limited number of books I can read over the rest of my lifetime, did I really want this book to be one of them? It’s amazing how, with that perspective, it’s easy to ditch a book you’re not enjoying. Especially when you read slowly and carefully. Especially when the choice is between forcing yourself to read something you don’t like versus zipping through something you’re really engrossed in. Ahhh … being engrossed in a world and a story. Wasn’t that the point of this whole hobby in the first place?

And then I came across this a week or so ago:

It sums up exactly where my head is at right now. I don’t need anyone else’s approval to sanction my fan activity as legitimate. I don’t need to sit anyone else’s test or read their curriculum to get a pass. I don’t need to like what other people like in order to prove my worth. I’m me. And I like what I like, because *I* like it. Because my experience is unique and personal. And my interests, and what interests me, are mine. And lots and lots of the books that I’m “supposed to like” are books that I probably will never be able to relate to no matter how many times I try and no matter how many decades I try to read them in. Luckily for me, the genre I love is diverse and broad and has lots of different niches and books within it. And there *are* lots of books that *I do* enjoy reading. And forcing myself to read books I don’t to win some other person’s approval or permission is a complete waste of *my* time. And in fact, was working to make me kinda hate my so defined genre.

Who cares if person over there thinks I don’t get to have an opinion? Last time I checked, no one has been awarded the policing-the-genre badge. What if I have my own opinions anyway? It’s kinda been working out ok for me so far. And … this is supposed to *fun* after all, right? Right? Deciding who gets to have an opinion and who doesn’t, based on your own contrived approved list of books, is just another subtle act of excluding people. And I finished highschool a looooooong time ago now.

Ah… the freedom! I don’t need your approval. I don’t need your permission. I don’t need you to like me.


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One of the things I really enjoyed about reading Sweater Quest was the various discussions around knitting and knitting philosophy. I think you can find universal truths everywhere and I am always looking for them. Something that the Knit Harlot said in it was that she loved how nothing really terrible can happen when you knit. She says the worst thing is you set out with a ball of yarn to knit a sweater, and you end up with a ball of yarn (no sweater). You still have your ball of yarn. I like that. And it’s helped me move beyond perfectionism about the first jumper I’m currently knitting. It’s not perfect. It looks handmade. That’s because it is. And it’s not the last thing I will ever knit, I will get better and more than that, the jumper will eventually get worn and then worn out and I’ll part with it. It’s the circle of (knitted) life.

But I liked the idea that … you know … if you never do anything because you’re so scared of it not being perfectly executed, then you will never do anything. And how is that better? And this turns out to be a really good way to break through paralysis or roadblocks. Or in other words, sometimes a decision is better than the right decision, especially when you no longer fear failure. What’s the worst thing that can happen when you execute an idea (especially when it’s not a life or death one) and it doesn’t work out?

I’m starting to feel like I’m making headway on things that have been hard to conquer in the past. And it turns out, that with progress on any of these, the most effective thing has been consistency. So I’ve been very slowly, every day, working on culling and decluttering. And some days it might only be one or two things but will power is a muscle – it gets stronger the more you use it. It gets easier to cull and part with things the more often and regularly you do it. And I used to know this, I just got out of practice. I have now almost completely cleared out the “to donate or sell” corner of stuff I had piled when unpacking. I have slowly been taking it in small shopping bags, now and again, to charity bins (there aren’t many near our place so I have to do it when I go up to Perth). Today, I made the decision that selling my culled books on eBay was not worth it and, after the discussion with the secondhand bookstore owner yesterday, I decided to donate them. Today, I took all those not currently up on eBay, and also some craft kits that I was planning on selling, and donated them. And it felt AWESOME!  I parted with stash and I parted with book collection and the world didn’t end and I feel more free! I am loving the cleared space – the space that I know used to be filled with things that made me feel bad and guilty.

And I went a step further. Whilst I was procrastinating on making a decision about something else (I did, in the end, just make one and moved on), I decided to sort my To Be Read bookcase in my bedroom. I decided to shelve the books by genre since I feel like I am more of a reader who feels like genre (so I might feel in the mood for YA, a short story or nonfiction). I took them all out to sort and as I did so, I did the kind of “airing of the stash” thing that knitters do. I looked at each book. And I decided that some of them I didn’t actually want to read, that if I was in the middle of one and hadn’t gone back to it in over a year, then it was ok to not force myself to finish it just to say I had but rather to just … NOT! OMG I feel AWESOME having given myself the permission to not finish books I’m not enjoying. I kind of want to (and am) start looking at reading like Simon from The Readers Podcast – he’s reading like it’s the Apocalypse. And seriously, if you think, hey I might only have this year left to read, do I want this book to be one of those?, it’s amazing how much easier deciding not to finish or read something becomes. Guilt free!

And I decided to cull my TBR bookcase to only contain books I honestly see myself reading in the next year or two. And the rest  I took out. That makes this bookcase much less guilt making with the books I feel I *should* be reading and more with the enticing here’s the books I *want* to read, which shall I read next? excitement. Aka how reading should be. And I’m going to be totally ok now with shelving unread books back into my general collection – that is, books that I want to read *at some point*. If I genuinely want to read something, and I feel in the mood for it, then I am perfectly capable of going and finding that book to read. So now I feel happier about sorting and culling the general collection and then having everything shelved by genre etc. Read and unread mingled. Because what is definitely worse than read and unread books co-mingling, is not being able to find any of the books you own exactly at the minute you want to find them. It especially applies to books like short story collections or nonfiction, which I really see as “own with intent” – books I want to own and intend one day to read, or to refer to.

And all of this has had me thinking about craft stash. And other perishable things (like gift soaps etc). I think I have gotten to a place where I don’t know what happens if you use the stash. I was rummaging in the stash on Saturday night (where, OMG I think I found evidence of moths OMG) and happened upon a very delicious hank of yarn I had forgotten I’d bought – Socks that Rock in Stormy Weather (it’s a gorgeous spectrum of greys). And I thought, hey that might be great for a new scarf – I need some lacy, lovely scarves now that I work back in the city, total scarf wearing for decoration type attire requirements. And my next thought was, but I bought that for socks and I also really want a pair of socks in that colourway. And I think that’s where an obstacle comes up for me. I could knit the skein and buy a new one. Or I could knit the skein and knit myself a pair of socks in a different colourway. Or whatever. But I literally couldn’t think past the idea of actually using up my stash. That I like the stash and don’t know what I would do if I actually worked through it – this concept is not one I am comfortable with. When in reality, working through the stash would make me happy by a) knitting, which I love b) turning lovely skeins into lovely wearable possessions for me or for gifts and c) free me from guilt about buying new yarn. Yet this is still not something I feel comfortable with.

And I wonder if this is a similar thing at play with my TBR. Working through it would mean I would have to go out there and find new books to read (note, I have no problem impulse buying books). There is something comfortable at being familiar with what you have yet still to do. That and, I always feel like I need brain energy to switch into reading a new book – new writing, new concepts, new worlds to get used to. I suspect though, that this is just a reading muscle that needs to get flexed to build strength again. Hence the encouragement of reading what I feel like reading and maybe reviewing them here to a) mark the read books b) validate book choices beyond the peer pressure and c) getting back comfortable at review

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April 17   A book confession

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The other day something I had been avoiding for a while now smacked me in the face. Well actually, it knocked one of my Ditmars off a shelf and broke it (it’s one that was probably glued together in the first place so can be easily fixed, I hope). I’ve been in denial about it but the truth is – I have never actually unpacked my books and put them away in this house. Terri came to borrow a couple of books that I *know* I own but when I went looking for them, I couldn’t find them. Normally I am really pedantic about my books. They are the first possessions that I pack and move when I move house and I always always have a very specific way to shelve them.

Alas, I moved in with C in June last year and all I did was *unpack* my books. And locate them kind of in the study. I had lost bookcases in all my various house moves and all the bookcases here were full. So there was nowhere to unpack them into it. I did go and buy myself four bookcases from Ikea. Two are in the study and are filled hapazardly with my books. One got pilfered for C’s games in his man cave. And the fourth is in our bedroom and is filled with my To Be Read books. But there is no order or reason to any of my bookcases at the moment and worse, they nowhere near fit all of my book collection, some of which are stacked in front on the shelves (leading to Ditmar fatalities) or piled under my desk and just around.

I was really upset that I couldn’t lend Terri the books she was looking for. I did lend her some books she didn’t *know* she was looking for and I think that worked out ok. But I am really really unhappy that I don’t know which books are where and have just abandoned this part of settling in. I think maybe, I can’t really be properly settled in if my books aren’t.

On the weekend, I finally started to confront this issue. I started to sort my books into some grouping order – everything was just everywhere. As I started to sort them, I started to realise I could actually cull some books. This could help with the storage issue. And something else too. As I’ve continued to declutter, both in my physical and my electronic world, I’ve found a great sense of freedom and removal of weight from letting go or letting myself off the hook or out of the guilt of wanting to want to read or do or like certain things. I think this might also be part of settling into your late (eek!) thirties. I’m caring less about doing things to fit in. And I know we as a community pride ourselves on not doing things to fit in but even in this community, there is still pressure to read (and like) certain books or blogs or whatever. And I’ve started to notice that I force myself to try to like some things and then I ignore or don’t allow myself to just not. And lately, I’m kinda starting to let that go. Who cares if I don’t like something? Life is pretty short, too damn short, to spend it reading books you don’t like or doing something you don’t care for just because everyone else is. And as I start to let go, I’m actually finding I’m discovering ore of me in the process. But that’s something for another blog post.

So I realised that I didn’t need to keep books, to let them take up shelf space, just so I can impress someone else. If I don’t own a book any more, does that mean I didn’t read it? How would you know? And if I do own a book, does that mean I *have* read it? How would you know? So I started being ok with removing books from the collection. And some of that is about letting go of possessions I have dragged with me for the last 15 years and somehow contribute to defining me for that reason alone. I’m not done. I’m not nearly done. But I’m ok with having started.

I am still going to need more bookcases. But I have to first figure out where they would go.

But I’m actually posting about this to ask a question. I have more than one To Be Read area. My bookcase in my bedroom is my recent (last 2 to 3 years) accumulation of books to be read. I have another little bookcase (15 cm wide and only three shelves) in the study which is an overflow To Be Read bookcase, probably of books with a similar book stashing timeframe, possibly a bit longer. Kind of books I’m somewhat less wanting to read. This case can probably be properly sorted and perhaps weeded. But in my main book collection, I noticed I have a lot of books that I haven’t read but still want to own and at some point, not in the immediate future, intend to read. Some are classics and I never really feel bad about buying those and then popping them in the main collection. But not all are. And for some reason, I’m ok with them being there and not in the To Be Read and feel confident that when I feel like reading those specific titles, I will go looking for them. BUT … why don’t I feel that way about the main To Be Read books? And further, those books take up an entire bookcase. At some point, I intend to read them and then shelve them in the main collection. So … that means that I need another whole bookcase just for the To Be Read alone, assuming I continue to accumulate at a constant rate.

Do you keep your To Be Read books separately? How do you tell the difference between books you really intend to read and books you feel you should just own?

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We’re looking after my parents’ dog, Morrie, at the moment. He’s quite old, not interested in making new friends, yet despite this, unbelievably patient with the puppy who does not take no for an answer. It took a good few days for Morrie to settle in. He kept looking like he thought Sasha had cooties. But yesterday, for some reason, he seemed to really settle in. He started patrolling the perimeter and sitting guard at the front door, in turns. This mesmerised Sasha who went from constantly antagonising Morrie to sitting in choice viewing spots and watching Morrie get hot under the collar. Now they are both tiring each other out and napping and not annoying us, more importantly.

Anyway, I just noticed that Morrie puts himself to bed and then doesn’t get up for anything. Puppies on the other hand, are always up for any old caper and will happily wake up and wander down the other end of the house with you, no matter the hour. On noticing this, I remarked to C: We should get another puppy when Sasha starts to get old.

C: I’m planning on doing that with you, too.

Me: *unimpressed look*

C: Yeah, isn’t the old one supposed to train the new one?

Me: You really want *me* training your next wife?

C: maybe I’ll pay someone.

So now I am sitting in bed, nursing a very painful spicy food incident and contemplating my holiday that was, as the prospect of hours to returning to the day job tomorrow approaches. Holidays are no way long enough and I really really wish I didn’t have to go to work yet. I only have 8 days left in this job to go. I of course got nowhere near what I had hoped to get done done. And I’m getting more and more scared about the longer commute that I have signed up for with my new job. I’m consoling myself on the first with the fact that the holidays have kickstarted my getting round to a bunch of things which I can continue to work on, in shorter spurts, as of tomorrow.

  • I got started on sorting out and clearing out the two spare rooms which have some of the last, and worst, of my unpacking. You know, all the stuff that you don’t know what it is or what’s with it so you don’t unpack it cause you’d have to sort it out.
  • I also sorted and tossed yet more of the postgrad stuff.
  • I homed a few more of my pictures on various walls.
  • I started some low effort gardening (mostly setting the habit of watering things)
  • I watched about 50 hours of The Vampire Diaries. Ahem
  • Also watched bits of Homeland, Psych, Primeval, The New Girl, Whitney, The Big Bang Theory, Private Practice
  • Sorted out my quilting – did about half of my xmas presents (the rest still to go), discovered I had one quilt top finished and located backing and wadding for the finishing of the project (that’s as far as that got), almost finished the third quarter of the monochrome quilt, made up almost 50 of the charm hexagons for my charm quilt (and discovered I have many many triangles precut for this project).
  • Read several books
  • Bought a ipad
  • Started my 2012 Last Short Story Reading
  • Participated in the Mega Boxing Day Podcast
  • Worked on three different Twelve Planets collections
  • Worked on a couple of unannounced TPP projects
  • Found a couple of comics that I’m dabbling in
  • Opened and started processing TPP’s novel manuscript submissions call

Ok, after that list, I guess I did ok with my holiday. I felt really like I had nothing left to give to the year and spent a lot just “pottering about the house” which is one of my favourite things to do when I’m on downtime. So I have to be happy with that. Even though a lot of things didn’t get progressed as far as I’d like.

But I did get a bit of insight into how I operate – know thine enemy – in terms of procrastination. I figure if I can figure out why I don’t do things I really want to, maybe I can figure out a way around my own obstacles. Or something. Don’t read that too closely, it’ll give you a headache. I often figure up tricks to get myself to do things I don’t want to. And whilst, the making myself do things I don’t want to do is more a thing of the past, making myself do things I want to do is kinda new and still shiny. Anyway, what I discovered is I often abandon or avoid things when they require going to find something out, or figuring out how to do something, or if left fallow too long, not knowing where I was up to or what I was doing.

So the whole sorting out my craft cupboard involved grouping like with like ie all parts of each project in one place and then taking stock to see where each was up to. And that alone was enough to get my enthusiasm back for about 6 projects at once. Often just identifying what the next step is (something C is often saying to me) was enough to help me move forward. It meant that instead of starting a bunch of new projects which had been my plan, I ended up happily working on older ones. I took this and applied it to other things, like sorting out scary packing boxes of doom, and emails that were waiting for answers, and TPP projects I’d stalled on, and found great success. It seems so simple but I think I need the reminder – when looking at something I’m avoiding, think up what just the next step is. Maybe that should be my thing for this year.

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December 6   I’m dreaming of Xmas

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Plans plans plans. My head is swimming with plans of what I want to do in the future and it’s very difficult to stay enthusiastic about the grind of the present – you know that whole winding things up for the end of year thing.

I’ve suddenly got an exciting holiday to plan and granted it’s a long way away from now but still. Planning! Things to do! Things I want to see! Must make a “indicative” suggestion list. Wouldn’t want to be too scheduled but but but! SO EXCITED. Ahem.

Some time ago Deb had me promise to consider taking the month of December or January off TPP. To just … break. And relax. I think today I realised that’s probably not going to happen. I’m a bit sad about that but am also really revved up on the projects I’m currently working on and want to give as much time as I can to them. I want them to be the best I can make them. And I ended up behind in 2011 which I understand but can’t quite forgive myself for. Yes, yes, I can hear C’s refrain in the background.

Anyway, it is what it is. And I don’t do well idle anyway.

I keep forgetting I only have Xmas and New Years off – maybe 10 days, maybe a little more, I haven’t counted yet. But I have this huge list of things I somehow genuinely think is reasonable to get done in that time. Like I want to catch up on a bunch of TV shows. And I want to get stuck into finishing a few of my quilting projects. These two are compatible but um in 10 days? I can probably *work* on one project and undoubtedly will *start* several new ones. Thereby not completely goal A and setting myself to have even more UFOs (unfinished objects) for next Xmas. I also want to clean out and tidy the two spare rooms – one of which is currently the TPP storeroom and craft dumping ground. The other has two cupboards of craft supplies that I want to organise and audit. I also have a bunch of novels I want to finish. Last Short Story to get on top of. Oh and the rest. Like, all the TPP tasks I haven’t gotten to this year and the new projects/ideas I want to initiate or implement.

Rationalising is needed. I know.

And then I’m starting to think about 2012. It’s a new year. I’ll be getting married. I’m thinking of the cons I might attend and the ones I won’t. There’s change afoot in my day job and at this stage I don’t know which way that’s going to play out. And I feel like I need to set some rules for my hobbies. Yeah yeah I know how that sounds. But maybe something like, I can only buy a new book for every 2 that I finish reading. OR something. And I signed up for Cookie A’s sock club. It’s been a few years since I joined a sock club and that’s because I was using it as an elite sock yarn collecting exercise. This one though is a lot of fun – it’s the choice of 2 sock patterns with a skein of yarn every other month and two cookie recipes to bake to go along with it. It’s the cookie recipes that sealed the deal for me. And on umming and ahhing about it, C said to me – well I guess I’ll be baking the cookies. Damn  I love that man. And the thing I’m coming to finally realise is –  I can be superwoman and do it all but only because he does some of the things for/with me. Which the more I think about it, the more I realise this  is what is called a partnership or a team.

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First, some book p0rn. Here’s my WFC stash:

From my con bag I kept The Last Unicorn by Peter Beagle and Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey. The top four books are from Charles Tan and are Philippine SF for me to bring home. I did some secondhand bookshopping with S, D and V and walked away with the Agatha Christie and the Andre Nortons. And the rest, I’m afraid, was dealer room shopping. I love the kind of bookshopping you do with friends. I’d told Jonathan and Ellen that I’m looking for old books written by women (the few I bought are the ones wrapped in plastic) and they both kept popping out at me from behind bookstacks to read me out crazy blurbs or first pages. And then when Ellen had been unsuccessful at nabbing Jonathan a copy of Delia’s book because they were quickly sold out at her book launch, we rushed off to the dealer’s room where rumour had it there were a few left. So I joined in and bought a copy too and then as the three of us were heading out of the centre in search of the bar or something, we bumped straight into Delia so we all promptly thrust our copies at her for signing. Much fun.

And then, *even though* I am starting to stress about things like “how will we afford children?” and “what if this is my very last year of fulltime paid work (and can no longer impulse buy yarn/fabric/books on the internet)?” I seem to be dealing with that by doing things like this, the books I have acquired *since* coming home from WFC:

And my to read bookcase, before the addition of the above:

And the worst of it? Those are all OLD books. The 2012 publishing year has already begun and I can be sure that on the next episode of Galactic Suburbia, Tansy is going to tell me about a bunch of books I should have read.

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