The Survey–Reading on Borrowed Time; or, Getting Reacquainted With the Library

the survey, a weekend roundup on The 3 Rs Blog

Reading and Listening

Remember when I was contemplating a free-range-reading summer? The book stack I made in anticipation of that is still assembled, and I actually did read one book out of it…and then my August and September packages from Shelf Awareness showed up. They brought me so many interesting options that I may exceed my review quota for those two months (but since I didn’t get any reviews to them for July, going over would just about have me breaking even for the year to date).

The upshot is that instead of reading freely, I’m reading for money. I’ve submitted two women’s-fiction reviews for August, I am currently reading a memoir about a New York socialite who became a high-society funeral planner (Good Mourning by Elizabeth Meyer, out on August 25) and I have some fascinating-looking September nonfiction next up in the queue after that.

I’m less excited about what’s coming my way for October, though, and November and December tend to be slow on the new-books front, so it may just be a “free-range fall” instead of summer.

On the audiobook front, I’ve been reading for free–I checked my first audiobook out from the public library on my new card, via Overdrive. I had decided that I was curious enough to want to read Go Set a Watchman after all, but not enough to want to buy it. I will have some things to say about it soon, but I will say right now that I made the right call about where to get it..

Audiobooks were the primary incentive for my recent acquisition of a library card, but I didn’t realize until after I’d gotten it that my local library system has a pretty paltry audiobook collection. However, California residents can obtain cards to any California library for free–you just have to be able to pick up the card in person, with ID and proof of address, so I got a card for the neighboring Los Angeles Public Library system last week.

The LAPL media collection is huge, but I’ve got just two audiobooks on holds right now–I’m trying not to place too many holds at the same time to minimize the chances that they’ll all come in at once, since I doubt I’ll have time to read them all at once. I’m using Overdrive’s wish list function to keep track of the books I’d like to place on hold.

I may start using Overdrive for ebooks from the library eventually, in addition to audiobooks, but not when I’m especially busy on the review front. My commute provides me with 8-10 hours a week to read audiobooks as a captive audience, but my available time for print and ebooks is harder to predict, and the tricky part of fitting library books into it is that there’s a fixed window to read them once you get them in hand.

So…if you have any time-management hints for juggling freelance reviewing and borrowed books, let me know in the comments!

reading glasses a writing pen and 2 library cards


After nearly ten years of ineffective persuasion, I finally got Paul to watch Freaks and Geeks with me as a summertime binge-watch, and we finished it this week. (I’ve had the series on DVD since before I met him, but we watched it on Netflix streaming, because it’s just easier.) 

I think the new podcast Appointment Television is going to become one of my favorites pretty quickly. The topic of its second episode was the increasingly popular summer activity of the TV rewatch, with one aspect of that being the particular experience of rewatching a show with someone who’s never seen it before. I have other things to say about Freaks and Geeks, but I’ll say right now that even though I last watched it over a decade ago, I think I liked it even more this time, partly because I got to see how Paul reacted to it as something new to him.

Sharing and Linking

Earlier this year, I thought I would start doing periodic link-roundup posts instead of including them here on Sundays, but I’ve had enough trouble getting around to these Sunday posts lately, let alone anything new, so I’ve reconsidered…for now.

  • If I revisit the separate-link-roundup idea, maybe I’d do it as an email newsletter–although there’s no way I’d do it as well as my new favorite, Two Bossy Dames.

So, how are you spending this summer Sunday?

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