By the Numbers: August 2013


Total read since January: 26
(target is 36 by December, to be on track I should have read 24 books by now)

Only three books this month and none knocked my socks off. Here they are in order of most to least favorite:

  • Under the Empyrean Sky — I really wanted to love this book. I like the author. I like the genre. I like the concept of a post-apocalyptic world overrun with and built around GMO corn. But this book fell short of “love.” It was good. I liked it. It was just a little too “YA” for me. Too much boy growing up angst — anger at his dad, anger at the town bully, anger when he (inevitably) loses his girl, general anger at life, etc. Not enough about the world the story is set in. It left me with too many questions about the people, the classes, the politics, the history, the setting… But don’t listen to me. If you are intrigued by the official book blurb description, you should read the book. I’ll probably read the sequel. I’m interested enough to see where he goes with this.
  • Out of the Deep I Cry — Russ and Clare solve another mystery in Millers Kill, NY. Yes, I am still reading these books. Yes, it is presumably for my Mystery Fiction final project. But, yes, I admit I am sucked into the story and the budding romance and actually WANT to keep reading these, even after I finish my project. Trashy romance / mystery novel? Yeah, kinda. Well written with thoughtful characterization and plotting? Yes! New guilty pleasure reading? Maybe…
  • The Skull Beneath the Skin — This is the last novel I had to read for my Mystery Fiction class. It was a slog. So much description. So much gothic moodiness. So much drama. I mean, the client was an actress, but still. Blech. Not my favorite book from this class. I struggled to finish it. But, I did it! And now I just need to finish the last online module and my final project, take the final exam, and I’m done! (That still sounds like a lot of stuff… the slog continues…)

My goal for next month is to write deeper and more critical book reviews, ideally closer to when I actually finish reading the book.


My blog posts this month were almost exclusively about swimming. I am not sure that counts as “writing.” As much as my mom loves me, I’m pretty sure even she is bored silly by blog posts about swimming workouts. So, I am going to attempt to write about other stuff (in addition to the swimming workouts) next month.

I would drop the swimming posts, but it’s part of who I am and what I think about. Also, I want to be a resource for people who want to do lap swimming for a workout but have trouble coming up with workouts, or staying motivated. Ideally, I want to inspire people like me who had no idea they could still swim competitively after college that they can and should because it’s so much fun! Really!

Outside of the blog, I made some slow progress on the writing project this month. And by slow, I mean I only added 2k words. Sigh.

Still, I did some planning and thinking and plotting. I am starting a new writing class in September — Developing the Novel. I’m hoping that will help me carve out more of my free time to FINISH THIS DRAFT by the end of this year.


My US Masters Swimming FLOG (Fitness Log) says I swam:

  • 21 of 31 days (target was ~20 days)
  • 39.94 miles (target was ~30 miles)

NEW RECORD for both number of days and number of miles in one month! Since pretty much the only thing I have been posting on this blog this month has been swimming workouts, you probably already heard enough about my swimming. So, I’m just going to celebrate this little achievement, and post this impressive chart of my yards / month that really shows how far I’ve come since January (and how lazy I was April thru June).

For those of you totally bored by my swimming workout posts… sorry. I don’t think they’re going away. Maybe just skip them? I’ll try harder to post other stuff besides swimming. Promise. Although, if you are sick of my swimming updates, you’re probably not even reading this section. Oh well.


This may be a first. No movies in August. I got a movie from Netflix in the first week of August that is still sitting, unopened, in the living room. I just haven’t been in the mood to watch a movie.

However, I did stumble upon one bit of amazingness that I can’t believe I am just now finding out about… The Lizzie Bennet Diaries! In the last 24hrs I’ve watched all 100 episodes. It’s AMAZING! I love it. They did such a good job adapting Pride and Prejudice to modern day. And the actors / actresses in it are fantastic. If you like Jane Austen, you should go watch this right now. Just be warned, you will get completely sucked in.

Next month: September… Back to school! My favorite time of year! (even though I am no longer in school…) And, even though it’s fall everywhere else in the country, it’s now finally “summer” in San Francisco. Yippee? (I miss real fall…)