BRL Quarterly Report #7

Hi guys!  Now that it’s nearly mid-April, it’s time to do my first Quarterly Report of 2017!    Big Reading Life Quarterly Report (1)

Here’s the breakdown of my reading in the first quarter of the year:

Books Read: 23

Fiction: 18

Nonfiction: 5

Audio: 0

Juvenile/Middle Grade: 328250841

YA/Teen: 1

Graphic Novels: 1

Authors of Color: 6

Published in 2017: 2

Favorites This Quarter:  The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (my review here,) Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (my review here,) and Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera (my review here.)

So how am I doing on my 2017 Reading Goals?  I’ve read NO authors in translation, NO books about body positivity/acceptance, only one work so far by a LGBTQ author, only one YA title (Lumberjanes Vol. 2, which is my only graphic novel or comic thus far,) and only one work with a spirituality focus. My reading has been all over the place, heavily on the fiction side.  So I’m not making a lot of progress so far on my goals, but that’s okay! On the plus side, I’ve only had one 2-star read (Peter Swanson’s Her Every Fear,) with everything else a 3 or better.  I participated for the second time in Reading Ireland Month, which is always a fulfilling reading experience.  I read my first Miss Marple mystery and my second ever romance novel!  I’m happy with my reading pace – for the first time ever I’m seriously considering trying to reach for 100 books in a year! I’ve still got plenty of time to make a serious dent in my reading goals.  And even if I don’t, I know my reading will take me to so many entertaining, satisfying, enlightening places!

How are you doing with your own reading goals?  Are you surprised at what you’ve read or not read so far in 2017?

PS… Shameless plug!  I have the honor this week of being Cathy’s featured blogger on her terrific feature The Books That Built The Blogger!  Check out my post here, and please DO follow her fab blog, 746 Books!


BRL Quarterly Report #6

Happy October!  I am just thrilled that it’s finally not 90+ degrees anymore in Tennessee like it was for all of this last quarter, it seemed.  The past few days it’s been chilly enough in the mornings for me to wear socks and shoes instead of sandals and to throw on a cardigan or jacket.  I am deeply grateful.

big-reading-lifeSeems like I had another nice reading quarter (July, August, September.) When I do these things I’m always surprised by how much reading I’ve done, because it seems like I’m always complaining about not having enough time to read!  I’m pretty psyched about my continuing exploration of graphic novels/comics.  I’ve read some really terrific books this quarter:

Total Books Read: 26

Fiction: 19

Nonfiction: 7

Audio Book: 1  (The Dorito Effect: The Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor by Mark Schatzker)

Juvenile/Middle Grade: 2 (Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan and The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place #4: The Interrupted Tale  by Maryrose Wood)

YA/Teen: 4 (All graphic novels/comics.  The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Vol. 1 &2 by Ryan North and Erica Henderson, Aya by Marguerite Abouet, and Lumberjanes: Beware the Kitten Holy  by Noelle Stevenson.)

Graphic Novels/Comics: 6 (The above 4 plus Fables Vol. 9: Sons of Empire by Bill Willingham and March Book Two by John Lewis.)

Authors of Color: 9

Published this year: 6

Favorite Reads This Quarter:

I didn’t have written reading goals for this year, aside from my Goodreads Challenge, which I’m definitely going to make.  (I’ve read 65 of 70 books so far.  I deliberately set my number low!)  My unstated goal for every year is to read more works by authors of color.  In 2014, I read a puny 7 works by authors of color.  In 2015, I read 17.  So far this year, I’ve read 18.  My goal is to get to 25 before the end of the year.

How have your goals for the year been going so far?  Anyone met or exceeded goals already?  What’s your favorite book of the last few months?

BRL Quarterly Report #5

Since we’re midway through July already (!) it’s time to do another Quarterly Report, analyzing my reading from April through June.  Apparently this was my quarter for graphic novels!

Total books read: 22

Fiction: 17

Nonfiction: 5

Audiobooks: 1 (The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg)

Juvenile/Middle Grade Titles: 1 (The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit by Octavia Spencer)

Graphic Novels: 7 ( I read Vols. 3-8 of Fables and March: Book One by John Lewis)

Authors of Color: 7

Published in 2016: 4@thiskitsch

Favorite Reads This Quarter:

Seven graphic novels!  Apparently I’ve caught the bug.  I’m still enjoying the Fables series, but am wanting to branch out and try some others.  I’m currently reading Lumberjanes, Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy and so far it’s fun!  And I’ve got March: Book Two checked out from the library. If you’ve got a suggestion for another graphic novel or comic I should check out, please let me know in the comments!

Now that I’ve finally finished Middlemarch, I’m taking a break from classics for just a little while.  My plan is to tackle another one in September.  I’m considering a few titles and might even do a poll to help me decide!

Since we’re halfway through the year, how are you doing on your reading goals?  I’d love to hear about your progress.




BRL Quarterly Report #4

It’s that time again.  I can’t believe it’s already April!  Here’s what my reading looked like from January through March:

Books Read: 17

Fiction: 13 (including two graphic novels/comics)

Nonfiction: 4

Female/Male: 12/5

Authors of Color: 2

Audio Books: 2

Published in 2016: As my husband would say, “SQUADOOSH.”  (This means zero.)

Favorite Reads this Quarter:

  • Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison (my review here)
  • Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante
  • A Glass of Blessings by Barbara Pym (review here)

A couple things…  I began the year participating in the TBR Triple Dog Dare .  Even though I caved in mid-February, this accounts for no newly published books so far.  (However, currently I’m reading Samantha Hunt’s Mr. Splitfoot, which will be my first 2016 book.)IMG_3198

Also, I am behind on my goal of reading more authors of color.  Again, I partly blame my participation in the TBR Dare.  I was reading books on my own physical shelves, that I owned as of December 31, 2015.  From this experience I discovered that, in the past, I did not make a conscious effort to buy books by authors of other ethnicities or races.  Granted, I’m a heavy library user, since I work there and all, but still…  I realized that the books I hear about and read about in the usual media outlets are overwhelmingly by white authors.   I began my journey of reading more diversely in 2014, where I read a measly 7 books by authors of color.  Last year the number was 17, which was better, but not outstanding.  I hope to hit at least 25 this year.  So I’ve got to get busy!  (By the way, can I just once again mention how instrumental that series of posts by Book Riot about reading diversely were?  They really opened me up to a whole other level of awareness of this issue.)

So it’s been kind of a strange reading quarter for me.  But I’ve read some awesome books and have really delved into an entirely new genre for me (graphic novels/comics.)  I’ve also become obsessed with bookish podcasts, so my TBR list has exploded!  I’d love to hear from you guys about how your first reading quarter of 2016 has been.  Are you on track with your reading goals for the year?  What’s been your favorite read so far this year?



Big Reading Life Quarterly Report #3

Some lighter reading material that made me super happy recently! I adored “Felicity!”

So the end of September/start of October was crazy, as I’ve written about before.  I realized that I didn’t do my quarterly report.  I like taking stock of the reading I’ve been doing, and seeing how I’m meeting my reading goals for the year (or not.)  So even though it’s October 21, here goes Quarterly Report #3 (July, August, September):

This was a very good reading quarter.  I feel like I’m (unintentionally) striking a good balance between male/female authors, fiction and nonfiction (for me anyway,) and also making good progress on my goal of reading more works by people of color.  11 works by POC so far, as opposed to 7 for all of last year.  I do feel as if my life has been enriched by being more intentional about what I select.

I hope you all are meeting your reading goals for the year, and if you’re not, I hope you don’t feel guilty about it!  Life is too short for reading guilt!

Big Reading Life Quarterly Report #2

My dad’s big on Rumi.

Time to take stock of my second quarter reading this year!  I switched into a new book journal in April (I wrote about my first book journal here.)  It’s a journal with Rumi’s quotations that my father had given me some time ago.  What better way to put it to use than to document my reading life – the good old-fashioned way.  I’m a pen and paper woman at heart.

So here are my stats for April-June:

  • Books read: 17
  • Fiction: 12
  • Non-fiction: 5
  • Female Authors: 13
  • Male: 4
  • Authors of Color: 2
  • Audio books: 1
  • Published in 2015: 7
  • Favorite books this quarter: A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson, The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson, and The Shelf by Phyllis Rose.  Honorable mention goes to My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante.

Thoughts: Kinda dropped the ball on the authors of color.  It’s really apparent to me now the huge disparity between white authors and authors of color, in what gets published, publicized, and reviewed.  Still, I’m the one choosing books.  I’ve also not listened to many audio books this year – I think I’m in a music phase right now (I love you, Sirius XM radio!)  I’d like to read more nonfiction that’s not memoir – some history, biography, and microhistory.  That’s a goal for the next three months.

This has been a really good quarter overall – lots of quality reads.  Here’s hoping the second half of the year is satisfying and fun!  Has your reading year turned out as you’d hoped so far?

Big Reading Life Quarterly Report

It’s almost the end of March (what?!) so I thought I’d take stock of my 2015 reading so far and see how I’m doing on my Reading Goals.  I do love to make a list, after all, so here are the details for the first three months of the year.

Books Read: 19

Fiction: 16

Nonfiction: 3 (2 Memoirs)

Female Authors: 12

Male Authors: 7

Authors of Color: 4

Audiobooks: 1

Books Published This Year: 4

My favorite books of 2015 so far:

  • Dept. of Speculation – Jenny Offill (I will write more about this one shortly.)
  • A Brief History of Seven Killings – Marlon James
  • We Have Always Lived in the Castle – Shirley Jackson

Having read four authors of color (Jesmyn Ward, Sherman Alexie, Marlon James, and Walter Mosley) feels like a good start towards my main reading goal of 2015. Why is reading more diversely important for me?  Book Riot (my very favorite bookish website) has done an amazing five-part question and answer session on diversity in reading, and it really embodies why this issue is something I care about.  You can read about it here, here, here, here, and here.  If you want.  🙂 They answer questions like Why is reading diversely important, anyway? and Isn’t paying attention to the race of an author racist?  Thought-provoking writing here.

Onward!  Read on, good Book People!  Anyone have some favorites so far this year?  I’d love to hear them.