Sunday, January 21, 2024

The Sunday Post #354

This post contains affiliate links. I earn a commission from qualifying purchases.

The Sunday Post is a chance to recap the past week, talk about next week, tell you what I’m reading, and share news. It’s hosted by The Caffeinated Book ReviewerReaderbuzz, and Book Date.

The Sunday Post #354

On The Blog Recently

In My Reading Life

It took several weeks, but I finished Crime & Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky! I've been procrastinating this book for decades because it's a chunky beast. I'm glad I finally forced myself to read it. I got through it much faster than I thought I would because it's more readable than I expected.

It's about a college student called Raskolnikov. He's a narcissistic murderer who spends about 1/3 of the book unconscious, but he still manages to have a more active social life than me.

Raskolnikov is an unpleasant dude. He describes himself as a "Superman" or "Napoleon" who doesn't need to follow laws. He's going to accomplish great things and, to do them, he needs to be free from the morals that govern other humans. However, Raskolnikov has a big problem. He's broke and can no longer afford college or his apartment. To solve his money issues, he murders two elderly pawn brokers.

To Raskolnikov's dismay, he discovers that he's human. He starts to feel (somewhat) bad about the murders and is paranoid about getting caught. As the novel progresses, he becomes more and more mentally unhinged until he's too consumed with guilt and fear to function.

Raskolnikov is a psychologically complicated guy. He's clearly mentally ill from the start. He's delusional, prone to extreme mood swings, and can't see beyond his own interests. I guess he's a proto-Nazi? This book is older than Nazis, but Raskolnikov divides the world into elite humans and parasites. He doesn't see a problem with killing parasites.

But, sometimes he's nice? He has a massive group of friends and family members who adore him. That's one of my complaints about the book. There are too many characters and subplots! And everybody talks way too much! And everyone is excessively dramatic about everything! It's confusing and makes the plot drag. Between the long conversations and Raskolnikov's tedious inner monologue, I struggled a bit. I did enjoy how complicated Raskolnikov is, though. He feels like an authentic (horrible) person. I kept slogging because I wanted to know what would happen to him.

Stop reading now if you don't want spoilers: I thought the epilogue was disappointing. The author suggests that becoming Christian and getting a girlfriend can fix crime and mental illness. I know this book is from the 1860s, and we've learned a lot since then, but I just spent 650+ pages reading about a violent Nazi with severe emotional problems. The problems are solved by sex-worker Sonya and her Bible. I feel sorry for Sonya. She's taking on a lot of baggage. If Raskolnikov ever gets out of prison, she needs to run far, far away from him. Don't trust him, Sonya! You deserve better.

Then I read a tiny classic. It was The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I guess this is a philosophy book? If you're new to classics and don't want to tackle Crime & Punishment, then this is a good place to start. It's only 190 pages, and the plot is straightforward.

The main character is a shepherd boy from Andalusia who badly wants to travel. His wanderlust leads him to fortune tellers, thieves, warriors, alchemists, and treasure chests. The book is about listening to your deepest desires and paying close attention to your environment so you don't miss opportunities to make your dreams come true. Sometimes life doesn't go as planned, but you still end up exactly where you want to be.

The plot is too simplistic and mystical woo-woo for my tastes, but it's a hopeful little book. Each page will give you something to think about. The main character has an awesome attitude about life. He knows what he wants, believes in himself, and sees every plot twist as a learning opportunity.

I think this book oversimplifies life because there are many reasons why a person can't follow their dreams, and the book doesn't acknowledge those reasons, but it's accessible philosophy. I thought it was . . . fine.

In The Rest Of My Life

Story time!

You know how most of the US was in a deep freeze last week? Well, in Colorado, it was below 0, snowing, and windy for days. Brooklyn's school was closed. The gym was closed. The roads were closed because cars kept sliding on ice and wrecking.

I got bored, so I decided to take every book off my shelves and dust each one. This is a massive task because I have 6 bookcases, and they're stuffed to the point of collapse. It's a stupid number of books.

Getting the books off the shelves and dusting took a whole day. Then it was time to put books back on the shelves, and . . . no. My arms and back hurt. I'm not sure if the pain was from the books or shoveling snow, but it sucked. The floors of two rooms and the hallway were completely covered in books. I had made an overwhelming mess.

Luckily, I have an awesome used bookstore in my town that can help with my problem. Since I'm too lazy to put the books on the shelves, I decided to trade a bunch of them at the store. I made a stack of books I'll never reread. Then I made a stack of books I know are at the library. If I want to reread them, I can get them from the library. Then I made a stack of mass market paperbacks because I hate them.

Then Brooklyn came in the room and asked why I was piling books in front of the closet. I told her, "To stop the evil clown from getting out." That's probably why I shouldn't have children.

Anyway, I ended up with 350-something books in my clown barrier. I still have more books that I want to trade in. I haven't gone through all of them yet.

The clown barrier is double stacked. There are more books behind these books. Also, yes, I've read every brick in the barrier. (During the deep freeze, I saw a guy on TikTok saying that people who make bookish content don't actually read. They just buy books. I'll have you know, I do both!)

When the roads reopened, I called the used bookstore and asked if I could bring them 350 books. They were like, "LOL, no. There's a daily limit." I learned I'm going to be spending a lot of time at the bookstore. Also, I'm not putting these things back on the shelves. The clown barrier stays until all of it is traded.

So, that's how I spent the deep freeze. I wanted to dust and ended up making a bunch of work for myself.

These are the books from one shelf. Imagine this six times. Also, ignore the bunched-up rug. To fix it, I have to move the desk, and I'm too tired to be **aesthetic.**

Oh, I have a question! What do you do with ARCs? I usually dump them in the Free Library, but I have some that people might actually want. I have Sadie, The Bear And The Nightingale, and a few others. How do I get them out of my house so I never have to dust them again?

For More Bad Decisions:

Take care of yourselves and be kind to each other. See you around the blogosphere!


  1. I had to read Crime and Punishment in my high school AP English class. It was a bit intense for 16 year old me. Lol. I did however have a frog at the time that I named Raskolnikov.

    It has been soooo cold! Does your city have a Buy Nothing Group? I have been putting my books on our Buy Nothing group a little at a time, in sets.

  2. "It's about a college student called Raskolnikov. He's a narcissistic murderer who spends about 1/3 of the book unconscious, but he still manages to have a more active social life than me. "<-- I cannot breathe! You slay me! Wow! That was quite a massive undertaking with the books. Good luck wittling down that stack. I used to give away my physical ARCs, and those I couldn't, I tossed (sorry).

  3. What a project! That's cool that it led to getting books out of the house, though. I used to have some good luck getting rid of ARCs by giving them to other book bloggers.

  4. About Crime and Punishment, you wrote: “ There are too many characters and subplots:” If you ask me that is a description of almost all the most revered 19th century Russian novels.
    best, mae at

  5. Wow, AJ, that is a lot of books. But just think of the trade-in, all the new books you can get 😂 Have a wonderful week ☕📚🪱🥶☃️💙

  6. Lol at your Crime and Punishment review
    There are online groups of bloggers that trade ARCs. You could also donate them to a local community organisation, like a homeless shelter, a women’s refuge or senior citizens Center.

    Wishing you a happy reading week

  7. Seeing your stack of books reminds me of how I regularly took my used books to the library. They were always glad to see me coming! But nowadays, my books are mostly on Kindle.

    As for what to do with the ARCs: since mine are on Kindle, I send them to the Cloud.

    Enjoy your dilemma! Here are my WEEKLY UPDATES

  8. Oh Wow, that is a lot of books, LOL! Yes, you could give to Free Little Libraries, or your library. As for ARCs, if they don't say ARCs on them you can give them to anyone you want (or even if they do), if they do have an ARC marking on them, I think you are supposed to get rid of them and not pass them on. Good luck with getting all the books gone!

    1. And, Google has been weird lately, this is Cindy from

  9. He's a narcissistic murderer who spends about 1/3 of the book unconscious, but he still manages to have a more active social life than me.
    Cries in introvert. But you make it sound really good and now I want to read it!

    Seeing your stacks of books makes me miss my stacks of books, but I sure don't miss dusting them either!

  10. (Saluting) Crime and Punishment? Well done!

    I thought about you as I was reading America the Beautiful? last week. It might be your sort of book.

    Whew! I remember cleaning out eight bookcases of books (yes, literally thousands of books). My used bookstore took every last book.

  11. sounds actually like a great idea for snow days! Bravo. Do you mind coming to my house to do that too? I can give you a few books to take back with you, lol

  12. Good for you for even attempting to dust all your books! And, even better that so many aren't going back on the shelves even though it means multiple trips to the used bookstore. I am supportive of a good closet/bookshelf purge. I tend to put ARCs in the free library or pass them on to friends.

  13. I read Crime and Punishment about 40 years ago. I'm so glad you had a productive week with your books.

    Anne - Books of My Heart This is my Sunday Post

  14. Ha ha! Sometimes pizza confuses us all. Congrats on reading and finishing Crime & Punishment. I haven't yet attempted any of the Russian classics. I do want to read Anna Karenina. Someday.

  15. When we downsized before moving to Florida, I had to get rid of my physical books. They were just too expensive to transport. I ended up taking them to thhe used book store, the library and other places to donate books. I so much prefer my Kindle books. No one knows how many books I actually have and they take up no space :) Have a great week!

  16. The clown barrier...that's hilarious! And congrats on finishing Crime & Punishment. That's impressive. :D

  17. Raskolnikov sounds like a hot mess! Yes, run Sonya, run! It's been cold all over the US. I'm dying laughing over your comment to Brooklyn "clown barrier"!! I sometimes give my books away on the blog. I got rid of a lot before my move in 2022. It can be expensive to ship, though, even with media mail. I donate to Goodwill sometimes too. I need to find a little free library somewhere and drop them off.

  18. A daily limit?! What a pain.

    The clown barrier made me snort my drink a bit...

  19. Wow that is a huge undertaking! I give my ARC’s away and rarely keep them.

  20. Evil clown...LOL! Reminds me of a Far Side cartoon. It must have been book organizing weekend, because I did the same in my office. I have a pile to sell and one to donate. I haven't tackled books in other rooms yet, but this was progress.

    Hope you have some good reading days ahead. Try to stay warm.

  21. Pizza is a drug, so was the dog that far off?

  22. I need to get rid of some books! I started but didn't get too much further.

  23. Well, congrats on cleaning off and purging your shelves! I do a little bit every once in awhile, but the last time it got a good going through was when we moved over 6 years ago. I think LFLs are a good place for ARCs, but like Sam, sometimes I just throw them out.

  24. Sounds like a great way to spend time if you have to be snowed in. And I LOVE LOVE LOVE the reason they are all stacked in front of the closet door.

  25. Great snowy days project! I should go through mine to decide if I really want them anymore. When I used to get physical ARCs, I would sometimes just trash them. Putting the books you want to get rid of in front of a closet should be a good incentive to actually get them out of the house unless you don't actually use the closet. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

  26. I remember really liking Crime & Punishment when I had to read it for school, but I can barely remember anything about it. I have considered reading it again. If I do, I'll skip the epilogue. From what you wrote, I don't think I'll suffer for it. I really liked The Alchemist when I read it years ago--it read like a fable to me so that's how I took it. I am not sure what I would think of it now.

    It sounds like you had your work cut out for you with your bookshelves! I hope your arms and back are feeling better! I have a lot of mass market paperback books I need to let go of, but I can't bring myself to. I did cull my collection of those way down a couple or so years ago to one and a half shelves, with each shelf double stacked. Chances of me reading a mass market these days are very rare so I have little excuse to keep them around. And yet, there they sit, in the spare bedroom, collecting dust. I understand stores and libraries need daily limits in how many books they will take, but it still is a pain. We were taking boxes to our library every weekend for months this past year because they'd only take one box at a time (except for the two or three times we got away with taking in more because we argued we had one box per person and there were three of us . . .). Back when I got physical ARC's I would take my ARCs to my office and add them to the shelf in the breakroom so my coworkers could borrow them if they wanted or I give them to my mom who shared them with her friends. I hope you have a great week, AJ!

  27. "To stop the evil clown from getting out." OMG I'm dying. The fact that I find that hilarious is probably why I don't have children either.

  28. That's impressive getting rid of that many books! Congrats. Less clutter eventually. When we moved last year, I took about 6 boxes to a used bookstore. They gave me $25, no joke. I think I read Crime & Punishment in high school, the dude was hair-raising then. I think it scared me but I plowed on. The Alchemist wasn't for me. I read it but it was simple and I couldn't make much of it.