Sunday, April 30, 2017

Readathon Recap and Book Club Bookstore

My Reading Nook (
My reading corner.
 I didn't read as much as planned or for as many hours as I thought I would for this marathon. I think I was overtired, which makes it hard for me to settle down and focus. Seasonal allergies are also messing with my mind these days. It's all good. Some readathons I'm a reading machine, others not so much. This one sorta snuck up on me. I'll be more prepared for the October readathon which is usually the one I hunker down with more. Save the date: October 21, 2017!

Chris Wolak and Cynde Acanto owner of the Book Club Bookstore, South Windsor, CT (
With Cynde Acanto owner of Book Club Bookstore

I started the day in my reading corner with Jason Rekulak's The Impossible Fortress and read for about an hour before writing a blog post, checking in with readathon social media, and doing some family stuff. Then I headed out to South Windsor, CT for the Book Club Bookstore's grand opening of their new location. As you may know it was also Indpendent Bookstore Day yesterday, so I felt compelled to visit at least one bookstore.

Book Club Bookstore Grand Opening, South Windsor, CT (

I knew I'd be arriving at the tail end of the party, which was scheduled for 10:30-12:30, and a traffic jam on the interstate put me further behind, so I arrived as the last of the party goers were leaving and folks were cleaning up. I had a nice browse and talk owner Cynde Acanto.

Book and Plant Haul from the Book Club Bookstore, South Windsor, CT (
My book and plant haul.

Book haul details:
  • Connecticut Valley Tabacco by Brianna E. Dunlap (author event 5/24 at 6 pm)
  • A Short Guide to Writing About Literature by Slyvan Barnet (I used to have a copy)
  • Danse Macabre by Stephen King (the Master's book about the horror genre)
  • Stephen King Country by George Beahm (because I now live close enough to easily visit)

It was my first time visiting the store and I really like it. It's small, but well curated and sells new and used books. The left side of the bookstore is primarily adult fiction and some YA/kids books. The right side is adult nonfiction. The front of the store features gifts made by local artisans and a nice selection of live plants (cacti and small plants for terrariums as well as terrarium kits and supplies). My terrarium has been in need of a refresh, so I bought some reindeer moss and a miniature plant. I think it's some kind of ivy.

They host an impressive number of author events and book clubs. Check out their Facebook page or website for more information. I hope to attend their Stephen King book club sometime.

Stephen King Book Club, Typewriter display, Book Club Bookstore, South Windsor, CT (
Creative way to display the Stephen King Book Club schedule

After the bookstore, I did some grocery shopping. Would you believe the grocery store I stopped in didn't have frosted strawberry pop tarts? Sad. That's one of my readathon staples. I only eat them two or three times a year as a special treat. The place had unfrosted strawberry pop tarts. Does anyone really eat those? I should have checked those two boxes for dust.

You Are a Badass Audiobook (
Need motivation? Try this audiobook.

All things aside, the lack of pop tarts was the only hiccup of the readathon for me. Sure, I could've gone to another store, but I settled on Good-n-Plenty for my sweet treat instead. I'd also finished the audiobook I was listening to by that time--You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero, which I highly recommend if you need some motivation. I might have driven to another store if I had more listening to do. You know how that goes.

After making dinner, eating, watching an episode of Grace & Frankie, playing with my dog, and then playing a few rounds of Rory's Story Cubes with my wife, I messed around online some more, walked on the treadmill while reading The Impossible Fortress before finishing the night reading in bed.

Overall, it was a good day with some reading, a wholly satisfying bookstore visit, and no pressure to do anything else...which is probably my favorite thing about readathon.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Readathon Opening Survey

WildmooBooks Finalized TBR Stack #readathon
Finalized TBR stack!

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon has begun! Thought I'd jump in and do the opening survey:

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? 
USA > New England > Connecticut > Guilford

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak. Reading it for Booktopia and have heard nothing but good things about it.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

Potato chips!!! For three weeks now I've been practicing chip discipline and only eating chips once a week. Today is the day! 

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

I'm 51 years old and recently started a book podcast with my friend Emily (Book Cougars). Middle-aged book lovers represent! I think more middle-aged folks should start blogging if they aren't already.

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

I'll be taking a nap or two during the day, not because I'm old, but because 1) naps are good and 2) I'm on a multi-day sleep deficit from traveling during the week.

You can find other participant's responses here.

Off to read now!

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Night Before Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon and a BIG BUG READING

Another glorious day dedicated to reading is almost here! Or at least a good chunk of my day on April 29th will be dedicated to reading because it's Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon!

To be honest, this readathon sorta snuck up on me and I don't feel very prepared (I haven't even bought snacks yet!), but I'm happy to have a day to chill with some books. The 29th is also Independent Bookstore Day and the BOOKCLUB Bookstore in South Winsor, CT is having their grand opening tomorrow, which I'd like to attend. I'm thinking I can get snacks on the way home from the grand opening.

I went to a couple libraries today to pick up holds and a few other things that caught my eye. I haven't finalized my "official" TBR stack yet as I'm still pondering, but chances are I'll try to finish a book or two that I already have started and then flip around in some other books. I'm in more of a browsing mood today, but who knows what tomorrow will bring. 

Here's a shot of today's library haul:

#libraryhaul for #readathon and The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

When I got home I was thrilled to find an advance reader's copy of The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry waiting on my porch. I've heard nothing but good things about this book, which is a bestseller in the UK. It's coming out this June in the US. I probably won't start it tomorrow, but isn't the cover fantastic?

One of the libraries I went to today is the Acton Library in Old Saybrook, CT. I adore their metal sculpture of a dragonfly reading Lord of the Flies.

Metal sculpture, Dragonfly reading Lord of the Flies, Acton Library, Old Saybrook, CT (front)

Metal sculpture, Dragonfly reading Lord of the Flies, Acton Library, Old Saybrook, CT (back)

Isn't she charming?

If you've never heard of Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon, it's a reading marathon held twice a year, in April and in October, and hosted by Heather and Andi of The Estella Society. This October the readathon will be celebrating its 10 year anniversary, so I hope you'll consider joining in on the fun!

Friday, April 21, 2017

The Dude Diet Update: First Recipe Attempts

Months ago, way back in November 2016, I posted about The Dude Diet by Serena Wolf and said Laura and I would be trying some of the recipes over the winter. Well, it's now spring, but we're finally getting into it!

Quinoa Crunch Granola from The Dude Diet on

Laura made the Quinoa Crunch Granola. She's actually made it a couple times now, with some slight modifications based on what we had around the house (i.e, walnuts instead of pecans). The first time she used a liquid coconut oil and the second time a virgin coconut oil in solid form, you know, the white waxy-looking stuff? We both prefer the taste of the liquid coconut oil. The recipe calls for "liquid extra-virgin coconut oil," but we need to shop around a bit more for a liquid coconut oil that is also extra-virgin. The Quinoa Crunch has been a great addition to our breakfast routine and also does double duty as a snack.

Smoky Black Bean Chicken Stew from The Dude Diet on

The first recipe I tried was the Smoky Black Bean Chicken Stew. With the exception of the cumin, which makes Laura ill, I followed the recipe to a T and--wowzers--was it spicy! I LOVED it, but the chipotle peppers in abodo sauce were too spicy for Laura. I made a less spicy version for her the next day that was a bit too bland that'll I'll work on jazzing up.

Smoky Black Bean Chicken Stew with Goat Cheese from The Dude Diet (

I took Serena's advice and added some crumbled goat cheese the first time I ate this stew and it was so delicious--the creamy tang made me make obscene groaning noises as I ate. I've since tried it with sliced avocado on top, but my fantasies about this dish go back to the goat cheese version.

Up next, Smashed Potatoes with garlic and thyme.

You can check out Serena Wolf's recipes online here.
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