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?

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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?

 

 

 

 

 

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The Rapid Fire Book Tag

Greetings!  Happy December, readers.  I’m slowly getting back into the reading groove after my mediocre/distracted/busy November.  Right now I am reading Michael Connelly’s latest Harry Bosch thriller, The Wrong Side of Goodbye, as well as a reread of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.  And I just started a nonfiction book about weight and body image called Body of Truth: Change Your Life by Changing the Way You Think About Weight and Health.  So far I’m enjoying all three!519rtaeemkl-_sy344_bo1204203200_

I saw this tag on Naz’s awesome blog (Read Diverse Books) last week and thought it looked like a fun way to get back in the swing of blogging.  Two book tag posts in a row?  Don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll finish a book soon and write a proper review. So here we go (I warn you, it’s a long one!)

Ebooks or physical books?  Definitely physical.  I stare at a a screen all day at work and don’t want my reading to be one one if I can help it.  I’ve read a couple of ebooks and appreciate their availability and convenience, but I am almost always a paper reading fan.

Paperback or hardback?  Don’t care.

Online or in-store book shopping?  In-store is my preference, but with a young child and a husband who works an almost opposite schedule, my time to browse is almost nil.  So I’ll take whatever book shopping I can get at this point!

Trilogies or series?  No preference.  I read whatever suits the narrative.  I do tend to read mystery series, which can go on forever.  This latest Harry Bosch is the 21st!  But as long as the quality doesn’t go down, I’m in for the long haul.

Heroes or villains?  I want to read characters who are realistic to me in their emotions, thoughts, and actions, regardless of whether or not they’re likeable.  I like flawed characters; they “ring true” to me.  That said, I need at least a shred of goodness in a main character to really love a book.

bn-oc968_gyasi__jv_20160520165430A book you want everyone to read?  I’m going to echo Naz’s answer and choose Yaa Gyasi’s brilliant first novel Homegoing.  It just blew me away.  I didn’t want to put it down and made me reconsider what I thought I knew about the after effects of slavery that resound to this day.

Recommend an underrated book:   I did a Top Ten Tuesday post about this very topic back in July.  Check it out!

The last book you finished?  Mrs. Malory Investigates by Hazel Holt, the first in the series.  (See?  I told you I read mysteries!)  It was lovely and I have the second one on my bedside book stack.

3867811-_uy200_Used book, yes or no?  I don’t know how a reader could say no to used books.  I like to support authors of color (and hopefully help influence how the industry chooses to publish authors in the future) by buying new hardcovers sometimes, but I take books any way I can get them.

Top three favorite genres?  Mystery, Literary, Speculative.

Weirdest thing you use as a bookmark?  My bookmarks are pretty standard/boring.  I get them free at the library!  🙂

Borrow or buy?  I do both, but most of my reading is borrowed, since I work at the library!

Characters or plot?  Both please!  But I do love a good novel where “nothing happens.”  🙂  I love getting inside characters’ minds and I love books about the foibles and ordinary interactions among families and relationships.

Long or short book?  Short, if I have to choose.  Although I want it on the record that I’ve read Middlemarch TWICE, so I can read long books!  Ha ha!

Long or short chapters?  No preference.

Name the first three books you think of?  Ladder of Years by Anne Tyler, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, and Beloved by Toni Morrison.  I loved the first one, and I intend to reread the last two soon, because it’s been FAR too long since I’ve read them and I want them to be fresher in my mind and look at them from an adult perspective.2540302-m

Books that make you laugh or cry?  Right now I probably need some more books that make me laugh!

Our world or fictional worlds?  How about something that resembles our world but is just a little bit off?  I like those kinds of books.

Do you ever judge a book by its cover?  Yes, initially.  But it’s certainly not my only criteria.

Audiobooks?  Yes, but I don’t do them very often.  I only listen to them occasionally in my car because most of my other listening to things time is taken up by a million podcasts!

Book to movie or book to TV?  Movie.  I don’t have a lot of time for TV these days – I’ve about reached my max on what I’ve got time to watch.

A movie or TV adaptation you preferred to the book? Mary Poppins.  The book and film are VERY different. 51jbvwtdx-l-_sx320_bo1204203200_

Series or standalone?  Standalone.

I hope you guys enjoyed this tag.  I like doing these things from time to time and I especially like reading them – it’s fun to see how our individual preferences match or differ.  I’m not going to tag anyone else, but feel free to do this if you like or if you’re stuck on what to write about next!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Is My Genre – Tell Me Yours Tag

I was tagged by Jackie at Death By Tsundoku yesterday, and it couldn’t have come at a better time – I’ve been a real slacker here lately.  In between bingeing on new Gilmore Girls, the Thanksgiving holiday, and my family being sick, I haven’t felt much like blogging.  This is the kick in the pants I need to get back on track!this-is-my-genre-tell-me-yours

Drew@TheTattooedBookGeek created this tag.  Check out his blog!

Question 1:  What is your favorite genre?

While I enjoy many different genres, my go-to favorite is mystery (with a special shout out to British mysteries.)

Question 2: What is your favorite author from that genre?

Nope, no way, can’t pick one favorite.  Some of my favorites include Ruth Rendell, Michael Connelly, Agatha Christie, and Robert Galbraith (A.K.A.,  J.K. Rowling.)

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Michael Connelly

Question 3:  What is it about the genre that keep pulling you back?

I love the challenge, to see if I can solve the mystery before the detective/main character does (I usually can’t!) I also love the page-turning, immersive quality of mysteries.  I love literary fiction but I can more easily put a novel in that genre aside, while with (good) mysteries I am so caught up that I don’t want to put them down.  I love the sense of resolution and tidyness that mysteries can (usually, but not always) provide.  And with long-running series, I love seeing how a beloved character develops and changes over time.

Question 4: What is the book that started your love for the genre?1036967

Well, I’ve written before about how the Nancy Drew series and Ellen Raskin’s The Westing Game were integral to my  love for mysteries from a young age.  But I also fell in love with mysteries early on by devouring the Nate the Great books by Marjorie Sharmat, the Cam Jansen series by David Adler, and the Encyclopedia Brown books by Donald Sobol.

Question 5: If you had to recommend at least one book from your favorite genre to a non-reader/someone looking to start reading that genre, what book would you choose and why?

Oh man, this is tough.  I’ve got a few picks that I think are good places to start for a mystery newbie.  For a more literary take on mystery, you can’t go wrong with Kate Atkinson’s terrific Jackson Brodie books.  The first one is Case Histories.  It’s one of my all-time favorite reads.  410dvepm1dl-_sy344_bo1204203200_For a classic British mystery, go with Agatha Christie’s Murder On the Orient Express or The A.B.C. Murders.  For a lighter/cozy-ish spin on mysteries, try Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce series.  the_sweetness_at_the_bottom_of_the_pieThey feature an 11-year old precocious British girl with a passion for chemistry and tempestuous relationships with her sisters.  Oh, and she happens to help solve murders.  The first one is The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.  And for a grittier, more violent detective series, try Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch books.  Set in Los Angeles, Harry is a Vietnam vet and a maverick detective, often fighting corrupt government officials and fellow policemen.  The first one is The Black Echo.

Question 6:  Why do you read?

I read to learn, to connect, to vicariously experience, to empathize, and yes, to escape.  I read because it’s a central part of who I am.  I read because books are “uniquely portable magic,” as Stephen King said.

Thanks, Jackie, for tagging me.  This was fun!  I’m going to tag a few people because I’d be interested in their takes on it, but if you don’t have time to participate, no worries!  And if I don’t tag you but you’d like to participate, please do so!  Or tell me your favorite genre in the comments below!  If you also like mysteries, tell me some of your favorites.

Tag:

Katie @ Never Listless

Sarah @ Reviews and Readathons

Tara @ Caffeinatious