Library Checkout April 2019

In an earlier post I lamented never getting to backlist books because of all the holds coming in from the library on new titles. I did pause my holds but that doesn’t mean I’m not checking books out from the library! Here’s what I read, checked out, and have on hold for the month of April. Thanks to Rebecca at Bookish Beck for hosting this monthly meme – check her blog out!

library-checkout-feature-imageLIBRARY BOOKS READ:

Outer Order, Inner Calm – Gretchen Rubin ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

My Sister the Serial Killer – Oyinkan Braithwaite ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Tooth and Nail – Ian Rankin ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Karamo: My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing, and Hope – Karamo Brown ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

CURRENTLY READING:

Harriet the Spy – Louise Fitzhugh (a re-read; I haven’t read it since childhood and was inspired by Marcie at Buried in Print.)

Road Rage – Ruth Rendell (Inspector Wexford #17)

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Start-up – John Carreyrou (digital audio book; about 75% finished)

CHECKED OUT, TO BE READ:

The Folded Clock – Heidi Julavits (memoir)

The Rumor – Elin Hilderbrand (“light” fiction)

The Sky at Our Feet – Nadia Hashimi (middle grade)

The Story of Diva and Flea – Mo Willems (chapter book – not for my son, for me!)

The Psychopath Test – Jon Ronson (nonfiction)

A Dying Fall – Elly Griffiths (mystery)

Wade in the Water – Tracy K. Smith (poetry)

Bright Dead Things – Ada Limon (poetry)

IN THE HOLDS QUEUE:

We do NOT have time to list all of my holds. Currently I have 18 books on hold (for me) and some movies and music too. It’s utter insanity. I’m trying to manage them and not have them all come in at once. I still want to read some of my OWN books, plus I’ve got two classics in line for May reading. Some of the books I have on hold are:

Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive – Stephanie Land

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls – Anissa Gray

An Anonymous Girl – Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

RETURNED UNREAD:

I really should be better about keeping track of this! I’m sure I’ve returned things unread but I didn’t write that down. 🙂

So, anything spark your interest here? Have you read any of these? What’s your latest item checked out from your library?

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Reading Round-up and The CC Spin Result

Hello friends, I hope you’ve had a good week! It’s time to do a little catching up and finally tell you what my Classics Club Spin result was.

Recently Finished Reading:

Tooth and Nail by Ian Rankin.

5519730This is the third book in the Inspector Rebus series. In this one the Inspector gets called down to London (from his home base of Edinburgh) to assist on a serial killer case, chasing a suspect nicknamed “The Wolfman.” There’s a lot about the psychology of serial killers here, and I liked how open-ended the case was right until the very end. Rankin highlights the tension between the English detectives and our Scottish protagonist. He’s not exactly welcomed with open arms. There’s a subplot about Rebus’s family, his daughter and ex-wife who live in London, and how he’s not exactly been the most present father. And another cringe-worthy romantic relationship – my least favorite element of these books so far. Rebus is kind of a screw-up in that area. I am not sure that I really like John Rebus, but he’s interesting and funny and complex and I like reading *about* him. And I’m a softie for a maverick detective. I eagerly anticipate getting to read the next installment.

Currently Reading:

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Start-up by John Carreyrou.

37976541I’m listening to the audio book of this from my library, and it’s BANANAS. I can’t even begin to comprehend the amount of money poured into this half-assed, shady, unethical operation. The hubris, megalomania, and privilege of Theranos’s founder, Elizabeth Holmes is mind-boggling. It’s a highly entertaining and eye-opening read. I’m ignoring my usual podcasts in favor of this book. I definitely recommend it. The narrator is nothing special, but the book is just so… wow. One heck of a story here. I’m about half way through.

Karamo: My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing, and Hope by Karamo Brown.

43253544I’m OBSESSED with Netflix’s Queer Eye and all the guys. They are just the most joyful and kind-hearted people and their show makes me happy. So of course I’m going to read any memoir that one of them writes. (And I do like to read celebrity autobiographies.) Karamo is laying it all out there. I’m halfway through this and he’s just discussed his addiction to cocaine that nearly killed him, an interesting take on colorism and gender, and his love for his church and how he won’t let anyone cherry-pick Bible verses to denigrate who he is. He comes across just as confidently as he does on the show, and I like how he is baring all of his past mistakes honestly. I recommend this if you’re a fan of the show.

CC Spin Result:

The number chosen in Monday’s spin was 19, which means I’ll be reading Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh. I’m really excited to finally read this and I own a copy already which is nice. Here is the Goodreads blurb:51MDxGgSUmL

The most nostalgic and reflective of Evelyn Waugh’s novels, Brideshead Revisited looks back to the golden age before the Second World War. It tells the story of Charles Ryder’s infatuation with the Marchmains and the rapidly-disappearing world of privilege they inhabit. Enchanted first by Sebastian at Oxford, then by his doomed Catholic family, in particular his remote sister, Julia, Charles comes finally to recognize only his spiritual and social distance from them.

Have you read this?

What have you recently finished?

Light Bulb Moments (Bookish Edition)

Two things I’ve recently realized:

  1. I can’t put down The Count of Monte Cristo for any length of time and expect to pick it back up again with a good memory of what I’d read before. And…
  2. I’ve got to quit getting new books on hold at the library if I want to read all the books on my TBR list that I say I want to read.

So I’ve delved back into my gigantic Dumas classic, after letting it sit on my shelf for most of March. I’ve already made some good progress – I’m now at 70% complete! That Count is quite the master of disguises. I feel like Villefort is juuuusssttt about to figure it all out but he’s not quite there yet. It’s still a wonderful, entertaining read. I just have to maintain my momentum and not let it sit for too long. Then it becomes too easy to not pick it back up again.

Also, I’ve used the “vacation stop” function on my library holds and pushed them all back until next month so that I can focus on what I’ve got checked out now and what I’m reading from my own shelf. I was getting inundated with holds and could feel the others looming.

I was going through my Goodreads TBR list, which I do from time to time to assess whether or not I really want to still read these things. And I kept thinking, Oh I really want to read that! Why haven’t I read that yet? You know why? NEW BOOKS. Shiny new books that keep coming out every week and sound so amazing and I have to get on the holds list right now! Perhaps as my holds stop date gets closer I’ll extend it further. I really want to make a dent in my TBR list, which at the moment is 363 books.

What am I reading now?

 

My Sister the Serial Killer is SOOOO compelling. I just started Notes of a Native Son and so far it’s wonderful. It’s my choice for April’s Instagram #Unreadshelfproject2019. The prompt this month is to read the latest book you’ve acquired. I’ve only read three stories in the Gallant collection but I will finish it by the end of the month.

Have you had any bookish light bulb moments lately?

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on my Spring TBR

By now y’all know that I am a major mood reader and don’t make ironclad TBR lists for months or even for seasons. But I do love looking at a good TBR list, so I decided to post on the topic for today’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl). It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these. Here are some books I might get to this Spring:

Currently Checked Out from the Library:

 

Currently In the Holds Queue and Nearing Being Number 1:

 

Three Books I Own That I Might Get To this Spring:

Have you read any of these? What’s on your Spring TBR?

Reading Goals Update – March 2019

How’s it going, gang? I don’t know about you but I’m really ready for Spring. Yesterday we had a beautiful day, 70 degrees F and sunny. I was able to do a bit of weeding and soil amending in my garden, and I can’t wait to get out there and do some more on a regular basis. I’ve got way more seeds than I have actual room for plants, LOL. That’s the optimist in me I suppose. Anyway, it’s time to check in with my yearly reading goals.

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Photo by Mohammad Amiri on Unsplash
  1. Read from the New Books Shelf at work. Well, I tried a book in February that didn’t work for me (The Bookshop of Yesterdays by Amy Meyerson.) I read about 35 pages and wasn’t hooked. And I haven’t yet picked my choice for this month’s New Book Shelf read. So not much progress has been made since the last update.
  2. Read The Count of Monte Cristo. I’m on page 799, which is 55% finished, according to Goodreads! So quite a bit of progress.
  3. Read more poetry. I’m enjoying Kevin Young’s collection Jelly Roll. download (1)Really playful, earthy, musical, vibrant stuff. It’s been a long time since I’ve taken a poetry class, so I’m rusty in all the correct poetic terms to describe and analyze a poem. But in terms of pure emotion, this is stuff I can connect to. Also, I’ve found an awesome poetry podcast: The Slowdown by American Public Media. U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith, who has a lovely voice, by the way, gives the listener a little emotional context for a poem, a personal story from her life, perhaps, and then reads it. It’s five minutes and a new one comes every week day. I highly recommend it if you’re wanting to explore poetry.
  4. Read My Own Darn Books. As part of Whitney’s Instagram #UnreadShelfProject2019, this month’s prompt is to read the book that has been on your shelf unread for the longest time. As my longest unread book is Anna Karenina and I’m already reading a monster classic at the moment, I decided to pick the book that’s been on my Goodreads TBR the longest: Lady Susan, The Watsons, Sanditon by Jane Austen. 51dmPYYOzjL._SX325_BO1,204,203,200_(It’s also on my Classics Club list.) I finished Lady Susan today and it’s wonderful – what a piece of work she is! Not only is this project making me choose at least one book from my own shelf every month, it’s making me look at my books with a more critical eye. I’m asking myself, Am I really going to read this? Am I still interested in this? And if the answer is no, it’s going to the Friends of the Library.

How are you coming along with your own yearly reading goals? Have you heard The Slowdown podcast? Are you desperate for consistent Spring weather like I am? Oh, I started a book for Cathy’s Reading Ireland Month today. It’s Donal Ryan’s The Spinning Heart. The first chapter was excellent so I have high hopes. I hope you are all well, my friends. I say this a lot, but I really do love this bookish community. Talk to you soon.

 

Sunshine Blogger Award Tag

img_0334Back in January Shell at Books By The Cup nominated me (and others) for the Sunshine Blogger Award, and now I finally have a chance to answer her excellent questions. The award is given from one blogger “to those who are creative, positive, and inspiring, while spreading sunshine to the blogging community.” Thanks for thinking of me, Shell!

What’s the best book you’ve read in the last 6 months and why?

The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton, because he blew me away with his strength, forgiveness, and positivity in the face of unimaginable oppression.

What’s the worst book you’ve read and why?

I suppose this is in the last 6 months, not all time (which would be Billy Budd by Herman Melville because it pissed me off so badly when I had to read it in the 10th grade.) Hmmm… this is hard to answer because I don’t finish books I don’t really like. I did not care for Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker. That was my most recent DNF. It wasn’t the book for me, but I can see how some people would love it. It was just way too much information for me and I realized I didn’t actually care about wine to that level of detail.

What book have you read recently that’s outside your comfort zone?

51flpz8fm5lProbably A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole. It’s a straight-up contemporary romance with steamy sexy parts in it. I haven’t read very many of those at all. But I really enjoyed it and found it to be smart and feminist with a page-turning plot.

What has blogging taught you about yourself and others?

It continually teaches me to stop comparing myself to others! (A very valuable life lesson for me.) It’s taught me to follow my OWN path and believe in who I am right now, just as I am. It has also taught me that book people are the smartest, most encouraging and compassionate people on the internet!

What format do you read the most in?

Paper books. I do not prefer to read on screens because I am in front of a computer at work all day, and I concentrate better reading than listening.

Why is reading an important part of your life?

Why is breathing an important part of my life? 😉 Reading provides me so much: knowledge, vicarious experience, empathy, escape, joy, fun, satisfaction, excitement… it truly is the thing I geek out the most about and the pursuit I can’t imagine my life without.

How many unread books do you have?

Ha! Well, I just did a recount for the #unreadshelfproject2019, and I have 63 unread books in paper or e-book form at my house.

What book would you reread every year (if you like to reread?)

Anything by Jane Austen or Barbara Pym.

What is the most memorable bookstore or library you’ve been to?

toronto-public-library
Toronto Public Reference Library

The Toronto Public Reference Library is so unique and HUGE!

What’s your favorite genre?

Mysteries and thrillers. I like mysteries on the more realistic side but not totally gruesome or disgusting.

What advice would you give a new blogger to improve conversation and engagement?

Find the blogs you enjoy reading the most and comment consistently on those. Don’t try to follow or comment on a million blogs. If a blogger doesn’t comment back regularly on your blog, then maybe you don’t need to expend a lot of energy on theirs in return. You will find your core group of bloggers over time, and they will bring you so much joy and good energy – and introduce you to so many interesting books!

I enjoyed answering these questions! I’m not going to tag anyone but here’s a question you can answer in the comments if you like:

What’s the book that’s been sitting on your bookshelf unread for the longest time and why haven’t you read it yet?

 

 

 

 

 

Reading Goals Update – January 2019

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Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

Yes, I know January isn’t over, but I’ve made such good progress towards my reading goals that I wanted to go ahead and document it. I think a monthly post will also help keep my momentum going.

downloadGoal #1: Read From the New Books Shelf at Work. I’ve read one book! It was The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. It’s a domestic thriller, which Anita Shreve blurbs on the cover as “Fiendishly clever… in the vein of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train.” Well, I liked it somewhere between those two, giving it four stars for pure page-turning readability. It’s one of those books that’s pretty entertaining, slightly cheesy, and ultimately forgettable, sort of like reading an US Weekly magazine. Initially the writing didn’t float my boat (lots of brand-name dropping) but I let myself forget all that and just got lost in the escapist, twisty fun. I have a hold on the writing pair’s new book, An Anonymous Girl.

Now this isn’t really much of a stretch read for me as I do like mysteries and thrillers, but I’m just glad I read something that my branch owns for a change, ha ha!

Goal #2: Read The Count of Monte Cristo. I am currently on page 345 y’all! I am killing it. It’s still so good. I’m kicking myself for not reading it sooner, but I guess the right books come to you when you’re ready for them. (I mean after you’re out of school and teachers aren’t assigning you books way before you’re ready for them.)

Goal #3: Read more poetry. I’m progressing through Shauna Barbosa’s Cape Verdean Blues. It’s not grabbing me like I had hoped but I’m going to finish. I think maybe reading poetry is like exercising, and you have to get warmed up again after a period of inactivity. I also checked out five more books of poetry this weekend, so I’m at least setting myself up for success.

a1ndiwiiwqlGoal #4: Read More of My Own Books (#unreadshelfproject2019.) The prompt for this month on the Instagram challenge was to pick any unread book off your shelf and read it this month or get rid of it. I chose Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker, a book I purchased for myself during my birthday(ish) trip to Nashville and Parnassus Books. Sorry to say, this book was a DNF for me. I realized that I didn’t really care about wine to the degree necessary to make this book interesting or fun for me. I was annoyed by the obsessive sommeliers Bosker was interacting with and got to page 70 before throwing in the towel. I couldn’t imagine reading 230 more pages of it. I can see how some people would like this but it just wasn’t the book for me. However, this means I have gotten rid of one book from my shelf, so it’s a win (a donation to the Friends of the Library.)

Speaking of the library, I mentioned earlier that I’d gotten a promotion at work. I’m now the branch manager of my small public branch (seriously, we’re tiny, we normally have only three staff members.) I’m thrilled, relieved, and energized, and ready to try lots of new program ideas to try and get people in the door.

How are you all doing so far in January? I hope you’ve already found some great reads in 2019.