On a break

This blog started as a way to fill time at a job at which I was woefully underused. Things have changed in the nearly four years since I started this.

I have books and books and books that I’ve read that I haven’t written about because there are so many other things demanding my attention. I also want to read obscure books that don’t get a lot of attention when I do write about them and I find myself rethinking my book choices over and over — should I read for myself or for the blog? Sometimes I can’t even enjoy something I’m reading because I’m reviewing it in my head.

And there are things of my own I want to write.

All that leads to the headline: I’m taking a break. Maybe I’ll be back, maybe not, but if I’m on an announced break, I’m not going to feel guilty about not posting regularly. It’s time to simplify.

Thanks to those who read this and encouraged me.


I’m back, whether you want it or not, with a poem about fried bologna

bologna.jpegIt has been exactly six months since my last post.

That’s pathetic. But, as usually happens, vanity projects like these get put aside when every day is filled with necessary projects.

But, to coin a phrase, new year, new you, right? So I’m back. I’d like to say it was due to popular demand, but only three people asked if I had given this up, so it’s not as though there was a groundswell.

Continue reading “I’m back, whether you want it or not, with a poem about fried bologna”

A peek inside my sad, sad brain

th.jpegI realized something after hitting the “Publish” key on my last post: It was my 100th post. (Cue the horns and confetti.)

I started this blog in October 2014 because I was bored as hell at work. I was in a job where there was little work for me, but they paid me an exorbitant salary for doing nothing and I let them. Typing away on this blog at least made me look busy. Of course, they still laid me and lots of other people off when they realized none of us were actually working, so looking busy just delayed the inevitable.

Anyway, by the time they laid me off, I was kind of hooked by this, so I kept at it. Here are some fun (for me, at least) facts:

Continue reading “A peek inside my sad, sad brain”

A new year, a new challenge: Making this blog better for all (but mostly for me)

Gentle Reader,

The 2016 Classics Challenge ended by kicking my butt.

Three categories—and you may remember this was a shortened list of categories—went unread. I would say at least a dozen other books I read went unblogged about due to lack of time or because I had nothing to say about them.

So you’ll see a few changes on Shelf Improvement this year. You might say I’m improving my shelf. Come on, that’s funny.

1: The page dedicated to the 2016 Classics Challenge has been renamed the 2016/17 Classics Challenge, so it doesn’t look as though I’ve been a slacker. I will add new categories soon.

2: I won’t choose categories for you. Feel free to attack what book you want in whatever order you want. It’s all about reading, not keeping up with me. And, truth be told, the conversation I envisioned never really happened. I had envisioned my own little online book club and I’m disappointed it hasn’t happened yet, but that’s life.

3: I’m planning on doing a bit of catch up, so look for a flurry of reviews. These reviews will be, in general, shorter so you, Gentle Reader, won’t be daunted by them. But more important, I won’t let them pile up, either.

4: I’ll also try to read relevant books, as reviews of newer works seem to get more readers.

So here’s to a better year for this blog and its devoted readers. But mostly, for me. I don’t need the guilt of not keeping you challenged or not blogging.



Would it kill you to punctuate properly?

Regular readers will know I complain about bad copy editing in books.

I mean, really, people. If you’re going to put something on paper and between two hard covers and expect me to cough up $25 for it run it through a goddamn spellcheck. It’s free with Microsoft Word.

At work, we don’t send anything to anyone without overediting. “It wouldn’t hurt to get another pair of eyes on that,” I hear after the fifth round of proofing—and that’s just for the sign-up sheet for the holiday potluck.

Continue reading “Would it kill you to punctuate properly?”