Posts Tagged ‘adjusting’

Most of y’all know I’m a longtime reviewer for Shelf Awareness (best. gig. ever). That usually means I get a delicious stack of print advance copies to try out every month. But due to the pandemic, my last stack of physical ARCs arrived in mid-March. (Shortly after that, the stay-at-home orders came down, and many publicists and editors – including mine – couldn’t get to their offices to distribute books.)

Since we usually read two to three months ahead (those books I got in March all had pub dates for May, though some of them have been pushed back), we had to shift to e-galleys quickly. I was (am) not a fan of this idea: I love physical books, their heft and feel and smell, and I also don’t want one more reason to scroll on a screen. But my sister has lent me her long-disused Kindle Fire, and after several weeks of denial/procrastinating/avoiding reality, I finally have it set up for digital reading. (I’m requesting books through both Netgalley and Edelweiss, and the experience in both places has been mostly fine.)

It’s not as good as a “real” book, and I’m still reading physical books when I can: either rereading old favorites or working through my long-unread stacks. But the e-reader experience is much better than scrolling through files on my laptop, and it means I can still do the freelance work I love.

Like so much of life under quarantine, it’s not what I would have chosen, but here we are. I am (simultaneously) frustrated, trying to make the best of it, and intensely grateful that these are my problems.

Are you reading digitally in these strange times – or do you normally? Any tips?


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Back at home

Back from two wonderful, sometimes chaotic, action-packed but also peaceful weeks. Back from wading in the Bahia de la Concha, making footprints in damp sand, and taking photos of Jeremiah as he jumped all the way in. (Brrr!) Back from crowded pintxo restaurants filled with cigarette smoke and red wine. Back from practicing my Spanish and talking to Trent, our Australian hostel roommate, and watching the sunlight on the water. Back from seeing Jersey Boys in London, laughing and weeping and singing along to “Sherry Baby” and “Oh What a Night.”

Back from – before that – a whole week in Oxford, still my favourite place and my soul’s home. Back from three nights in the basement flat in House 10, dinners with Mike and Jacque, hooting with laughter over episodes of Fawlty Towers. Back from hugging Janine and walking to On the Hoof for a Tom’s Le Club sandwich and a chat with Clara. Back from afternoons in University Parks and surprise English thunderstorms, and scones and tea with Sally at Queen’s Lane. Back from hours of chat with the lovely Lizzie, a day trip to Wales for a fantastic wedding (our Jo’s), and lots of laughter with Sarah and Grace in a formal garden. Back from another wedding, this one at St Aldates, with a sermon by the unmatchable Simon and a rockin’ dance party afterward. (My favourite little black dress, pressed into service on so many occasions, once again played its part with grace and aplomb.)

Back from snuggling baby Ella during the morning service at St Aldates, and worshiping with both hands flung to heaven in the evening service. From lunch in Laura and Owen’s tiny flat, nestled on top of Charlie and Anita’s house like a baby bird. Back from four nights on Lara and Jacob’s futon, from hot chocolate at G&D’s, from a cup of tea on Simon and Tiffany’s sofa, from books at Blackwells and tea at Whittard and a new, green-patterned pashmina. (Well, those last few objects came home with me.) Back, and wishing I were still there, yet glad to be back in my house, on my street, in warm West Texas, to savour these last bits of summer. (Well, who am I kidding? Summer, despite what the calendar says, will linger here for at least another month.)

Instead of my usual cleaning-laundry-organizing-readjustment frenzy, I’ve been trying to follow Jen’s advice – her post on What To Do When You Get Home has been my mantra. Rest and silence first; then stories; then a bit of unpacking and shopping (for fresh fruit and other essentials) and laundry, not even because I have to, but because it helps ground me, put me back more firmly in my own dwelling space and time zone. A bit of knitting; a few Friends episodes; simple homemade meals; sorting things out gradually and putting my life back in order. But not in exactly the same order. Some things have shifted; I don’t know exactly what they are yet, but I know this trip has changed me, as all trips should. I’m trying to sit with that a while and let it enter my body, my consciousness, while being present in the moment, and the realities of life and work and church and friends here. (And coffee night tonight – to which I am so looking forward.)

May you find rest today, in the midst of wherever you are, be it routine, packing, unpacking or another transition. I’ll be back soon with more stories and photos. Blessings to you all, and a big thank-you to my guest bloggers who kept things lively around here while I was away.

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