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?

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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.

 

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.

 

Totally Achievable Reading Goals for 2019

I was really excited to formulate my reading goals for the year. You all may know that I am a reader and blogger who dislikes sticking to lists and needs a lot of freedom in my book choices and in my blogging life. So I don’t make formal monthly TBRs because I know that just doesn’t work for me. But the goals I am aiming to achieve this year are so viable and doable – I am already getting started on them!

Goal #1: Read more books from the New Books shelf at work. I work in a small public library branch (actually, I just got a promotion, more about that later!) My regular patrons are always asking me, as they stand in front of the New Books shelf, “What have you read lately that’s good?” And of course, I immediately blank out and have to scrounge for titles. This is partly because I read so many backlist titles and also because my reading tastes don’t exactly line up with the tastes of many of my patrons. To that end, I am committing to reading at least 6 books from that range of shelving – and to trying some genres that I normally don’t read, like Inspirational (Christian) fiction, Romance, and gentle “Women’s” Fiction. (I don’t really like that genre title, and I don’t know if it’s a valid designation, but it seems to fit a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience that makes up a large portion of my regular patrons who need recommendations. Maybe I should call it “fiction centered on women characters.” That’s kind of wordy. Anyway, you get my gist.)

41tj7urm1sl._sx323_bo1,204,203,200_Goal #2: Read The Count of Monte Cristo – finally! So I’ve already started on this one! I’m at page 100 of this 1400+ page behemoth. And guys, I’m really enjoying it! It’s so readable. My way of reading this while also reading other things is to read 100 pages a week. I’ll knock it out in a few months, and I’ll write some reader’s journal-like impressions of each section I complete.

Goal #3: Read more poetry. Last year I started off dabbling in some poetry, but I didn’t finish a whole collection the entire year. Sad face. If I can read 4 books of poetry this year, I’ll be happy.

Goal #4: Read more from my own bookshelves. Last year I did a good job of reading my own books, but I kept buying more, so my total number of unread books actually INCREASED over the course of the year. This year I am following along with The Unread Shelf Project on Instagram, where Whitney gives us prompts to get us reading our own books. This month’s is to pick a book off your shelf that you HAVE to read by the end of January or else you have to get rid of it. Motivation! My January book is Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker. I’ve started reading it and so far I like it, yay!a1ndiwiiwql

That’s it. I don’t want to make my 2019 reading feel like homework, so I’m happy with 4 goals. I am confident I can achieve them, and even if I don’t, I’ll at least have fun trying. Hey, if you have any poetry recommendations, lay them on me. I’ve checked out Cape Verdean Blues by Shauna Barbosa. I know nothing about her but Kendrick Lamar blurbed her book, which intrigued me, and it’s one of the newer poetry books added to our library system.

Do you make a list of reading goals for the year? Or do goals just seem like too much pressure? Let me know in the comments.

Some Reading Stats and Numbers for 2018

Hey friends! I hope that everyone has been having a wonderful holiday season. It’s that awesome time of the year when voracious readers like us are taking stock of what and how much we’ve read over the year. I’ll post a Top Ten Favorites soon, so this post is purely about the numbers and whether or not I completed any pre-set reading goals. (Note: I’m counting the three books I’m currently reading in my tally, as I plan to finish them before Jan 1.) My numbers come from my 2018 Goodreads Reading Challenge (which I more than doubled – I deliberately chose a low number.)

img_3346Total Books Read: 118 (This includes chapter books I’ve read with my son, otherwise the total would be lower!)

Fiction: 94

Nonfiction: 24

Chapter Books/Middle Grade/Picture Books: 42 (although I’ve not listed picture books on Goodreads, except for one, and I’ve read a GAZILLION over the course of the year with my son.)

Poetry: 0 (Really dropped the ball this year.)

Mysteries/Thrillers: 13

Romance: 2

Short Story Collections: 2

Graphic Novels/Comics: 3

Audiobooks: 7

YA: 2

Authors of Color: 24 (20% – not good! Although if I only count MY books, not my son’s, the percentage goes to 31%, a bit better. I have to say that I find kid’s books are even more white than grown-up books.)

Rereads: 8

Classics: 12

Goals Completed: You may recall I only made two small reading goals, since I don’t like to read from lists and lots of goals make reading feel like homework to me.

I completed one out of two goals: to read at least 12 of my own books from my own bookshelf! I read 22 books from my own shelf! (The rest came from the public library – either the one where I work or the one in the county in which I reside.)

I did NOT, however, complete the other goal, which was to read Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo. You may be asking yourself if I really WANT to read this book after all, now that it’s been a goal of mine for two years and I haven’t read it? Well, I’m asking myself the same thing. So my solution is, since I already own a copy, I’m going to start reading it on Jan. 1. It’s so big and intimidating, I’m going to try to read just 3 or 4 chapters a week. We’ll see how I like it. I’ll keep you posted!

Other Blog Happenings This Year:

It’s been a terrific reading year. I’ve got some ideas about how I’d like to shake up my reading a little bit next year. Nothing too crazy, because I am a Mood Reader Supreme. But I’ll post about that early in the new year.

How about y’all? Did you accomplish any reading goals? Anything  in particular you want to do differently next year?

Library Checkout, November 2018

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Library Checkout is a monthly library-use meme hosted by Rebecca at Bookish Beck. Please do visit her blog, she always reads so diversely (and in massive quantities, too!) Here is a snapshot of my library usage in November:

LIBRARY BOOKS READ:

There There – Tommy Orange ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

The Death of Mrs. Westaway – Ruth Ware ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

The House at Sea’s End – Elly Griffiths (Ruth Galloway mystery #3)                 ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ I am LOVING this series!

Dark Sacred Night – Michael Connelly (Harry Bosch mystery #31/Renée Ballard #2) ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ I don’t know how Connelly does it. He’s a MASTER of compelling, propulsive writing. I still care about Bosch 31 books later. I’m excited to see the new direction he’s taking now that he’s partnering with Ballard.9780062368607_p0_v3_s550x406

I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life – Ed Yong ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Unsheltered – Barbara Kingsolver ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ (Review to come)

When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice For Difficult Times – Pema Chödrön ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

CURRENTLY READING:

51LSDwIJIUL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row – Anthony Ray Hinton

A Room Full of Bones (Ruth Galloway #4) – Elly Griffiths

CHECKED OUT, TO BE READ:

Dare to Lead – Brené Brown

Spy School – Stuart Gibbs (middle-grade fiction – I’ve been meaning to get back into reading MG fiction for a while now)

IN THE HOLDS QUEUE:

The Library Book – Susan Orlean

Becoming – Michelle Obama

Fox 8  – George Saunders

Gmorning, Gnight!:Little Pep Talks For Me and You – Lin-Manuel Miranda40854717

Go Tell it On the Mountain – James Baldwin (My Classics Club spin book!)

Plus, 6 more books on hold that I’ve had on hold for a while now and keep pushing back using my library system’s “suspend” function. I’m starting to wonder if I really want to read these after all! It might be time to let some of these go.

Anything from my selections look interesting to you? What have you checked out from your local library lately?