Feb 7, 2015

Not Long Now, but A Long Time Coming - An Update

The Short Version

Shortly after starting my RTR book challenge in November, which for the most part was progressing nicely as of mid-November, I was hired to work an event that demanded at least 75% of my time for about 10 days. It didn't help that once that was concluded I was hired to work a multi-week promotion contract. That left me in mid-late December, with The Virgin Suicides unfinished.

Once again, I tried something and didn't stick to it. But I resolved to keep reading, keep working, and find time when I could in the new year. And I have.

You can look forward to a few new reviews coming out soon: The Foodspotting Field Guide, A Feast for Crows and more among them. Stay tuned.

The Long Version

When I get into a work project, especially in the short term, I work VERY intensely. This is a good thing -- I throw myself into work and it consumes me. I do the research. I prepare mentally, physically, emotionally. At least, I think it's a good thing.

Unfortunately, fun projects and ideas get thrown out the window or ignored completely. Amidst back-to-back contracts, I can sometimes forget a book, a series, a recipe -- anything that isn't about the job might get discarded, if only temporarily.

In mid-November, I was hired to work a very impressive inaugural conference at the UN. It was an incredible opportunity. I was part of a global organization and was the manager of a team of incredible volunteers. I met the First Lady of Namibia, escorted the First Lady of Malawi, and got to speak with Mama Sarah Onyango Obama, third wife of POTUS' paternal grandfather. That was a real treat.

Completely by accident, I landed a second contract as that was wrapping up, doing some brand ambassador work with a startup who was expanding their customer base in NYC. Over a period of three weeks, we trained and promoted the company and despite the inclement weather, I'd say it was a success (then again, I'm not looking at ROI or numbers in this situation). 

That left me at late December, which meant Chanuka, Christmas, planning a New Year's Eve party and the new found need to work consistently. I took time after the holidays to revamp my CV, to pick out some new interview wardrobe, and to start applying to a new industry. 

Which brings us to mid-January. Amidst all the commuting back and forth, I did finish an audio book and a podcast, which felt like I wasn't completely ignoring my duties to this blog. Unfortunately, it also meant I wasn't doing any actual blogging (which hurts what I was trying to become - a bookworm). I wanted to get back to it, but I didn't know how to get back on a schedule since everything had gotten so discombobulated. 

Then I had a long talk with a friend who pointed out that I am at my best when I am both researching/learning from my reading AND doing recreational reading (I guess that makes me Hermione?) but I wasn't sure how to get back to both. She suggested I study an hour or so per day, breaking up my job-applying schedule, and that I also do recreational reading an hour a day (but when I could). I added that I shouldn't let myself be upset when I miss a day - it's not like I'm hurting my chances of graduating or something. I have n one to answer to but myself -- and I shouldn't be that hard on her (on me). 

So beginning in mid-January I have started a schedule of both recreational reading and knowledge reading that has worked for the past three weeks pretty well. I confess I don't update GoodReads as much (which I will try to change as a result of this update and the promise of more reviews to come).

I'm currently reading Modern Magick in order to understand the intersection of Tarot and the Kabalah (but not cast spells or perform complicated rituals). I've always believed in the spiritual and the connection we have to the occult and mysticism. Studying Tarot was very therapeutic when I was recovering from a recent surgery, so I hope it will have similar effects now.

I'm also concluding A Song of Ice and Fire by reading the fifth volume (A Dance with Dragons) and reading The World of Ice and Fire, which came out last autumn. It's not really meant to be read cover-to-cover (at least I don't think - it's considered a reference or coffee table book) but I don't care. It's gorgeous and I'll do what I want.

Add to that The Virgin Suicides, You by Caroline Kepnes, and The Cuckoo's Calling -- all of which I started but never finished. There is plenty I want to read (see my massive TBR list on GoodReads) but I'm saying "not until I finish" and I think that's reasonable. I've also made my goal to read 15 books this year. That's five more than last year's goal, which I also didn't achieve. I've already set out and achieved some other goals this years and we're only 5 weeks in, so I'm feeling pretty good.

Coming up after this post -- a review of The Foodspotting Field Guide which I found out about way too late. Stay tuned.