My Book Buying Ban Challenge of 2019

I’m calling this a challenge as if I have any say in the matter….

I am a month into my second semester. I like my classes so far and I started my archives internship, which could either be pretty fun or really complicated. While I have two full days in the middle of the week where I don’t have to travel two hours into the city and I can devote it entirely to homework, it’s slowly becoming a problem. My temp agency has had a heck of a time finding me part-time work. I’ve applied to several places over these past few weeks, but not all of them responded and the one that did was a rejection.

rejected no kiss GIF

Between Christmas, my birthday, and those weeks I didn’t have work on my last assignment, my funds are stretched thin. Buying books right now is not a good idea. I learned that the hard way when I bought two books I really wanted. Whatever money I have left must go towards lunch at school, train rides, and bus fare.

For the next I don’t know how many months, I’m on a book buying ban. Even if the assignment my consultant recently found for me works out, my bank account needs a break. It would be wise if I waited to get my finances under control before I splurged on my next book haul. Especially since it is a big kick in the gut every time I have to accept the money my dad offers me.

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While I have many unread books at home, there are a select few that have been on my TBR for longer than they should have been. Those are the ones I should focus on. I also want to spend this time taking full advantage of the library, checking out books I am interested in, and rereading old favorites.

Recently, I realized I rather like having large TBR piles. It is my over indulgent book hauls that are the problem. In the past, to get my spending under control, I did the “you read X number of books off TBR, you can buy more.” Sometimes, it worked, at least for a few months. Now, I have a stronger motivation of saving money.

The books I want to cross off my TBR the most are:

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

Tower of Dawn and Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

Vicious and Vengeful by V.E. Schwab

The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

The Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Smoke in the Sun by Renee Ahdieh

Fierce Like a Firestorm by Lana Popovic

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

Windwitch, Sightwitch, and Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard

Now I Rise and Bright We Burn by Kiersten White

Lord of Shadows and Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

The Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson

Falling Kingdoms series by Morgan Rhodes

The Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

 

I’ve been an avid user of libraries for years. Now that I’m on track to being a librarian, it’s been an even bigger push to practice what I preach. There is a long list of backlist titles I have wanted to get to for years, like The Selection series by Kiera Cass and the Shatter Me trilogy by Tahereh Mafi. Those I am checking out from the library in the next few months, once I get through the stacks I have currently. Also, there are other books that have caught my eye while browsing various places, books I am interested in reading but not enough where I want to risk the money to buy them or they are so old I would have a hard time buying a copy anyway. Or I actually do want to buy them except my bank account is like…

the office no GIF

Thank God for the library.

In case you were wondering, these are the books I currently have checked out:

 

Sweetpea by C.J. Skuse

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

True Notebooks by Mark Salzman (this is actually a book I checked out for school)

A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin

Invisible Ghosts by Robyn Schneider

Where I Live by Brenda Rufener

Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce

Marina by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika Sanchez

Even When You Lie to Me by Jessica Alcott

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary by NoNieqa Ramos

Black Flowers, White Lies by Yvonne Ventresca

Dead to Me by Mary McCoy

Blood and Salt and Heart of Ash by Kim Liggett

Hunting Annabelle by Wendy Heard

Sad Perfect by Stephanie Elliot

My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier

The Art of Starving by Sam J. Miller

The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long

Born of Illusion by Teri J. Brown

If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio

The Sweetest Spell by Suzanne Selfors

The Looking Glass by Janet McNally

The Healer by Donna Freitas

In Paris with You by Clementine Beauvais

My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life by Rachel Cohn

The Second Life of Ava Rivers by Faith Gardner

The Wren Hunt by Mary Watson

If Only by Jennifer Gilmore

Reader, Come Home: the Reading Brain in a Digital World by Maryanne Wolf (another book I checked out by recommendation of a professor)

Dark of the West by Joanna Hathaway

The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox

White Stag by Kara Barbieri

The Birds, the Bees, and You and Me by Olivia Hinebaugh

The Antidote by Shelley Sackier

Stolen Time by Danielle Rollins

 

Yes. I am a crazy library person. But I will read all these books. Even if I have to renew them.

Rereading books is something I’ve wanted to do for so long. There are series I own in which I read the first book, bought the rest of the series, then never read them. It’s been so long, I have to reread the first book before I even thinking about reading the others. These include the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series by Ransom Riggs and The Queen of the Tearling trilogy by Erika Johansen.

Second, there are books I own that I have marked as “read” but I don’t remember reading them. Before college, I had a habit of reading multiple books at a time, then I would get bored with certain ones and mark them as “read” on Goodreads without having finished them. I was a lazy reader back then, sadly.

My main reading resolution of 2019 is to do an unhaul. There are books I know I will never read again, I realized problems with them, like the Archie Sheridan and Gretchen Lowell series by Chelsea Cain. The same can be said for the Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong; I don’t know if I would be able to tolerate the borderline problematic urban fantasy tropes now like I did at sixteen. Other books I outgrew them and I’m mainly keeping them for the nostalgic value, like The Mediator series by Meg Cabot and the Twilight saga by Stephenie Meyer. Unfortunately, with limited shelf space and outrageous book-buying urges that are constantly at odds with the dedicated librarian, nostalgia has to step aside.

 

 

Right now, I have typed up a whole reading list of books I want to read before I break my book buying ban. Will I be able to stick to this? I have no idea and, if I know myself, there is a strong probability I will change my plans to something else. All I know is that I cannot buy books right now. Which I’m sure my bank account will be very relieved about.

 

Do you have tips for a book buying ban? Any are much appreciated!

 

 

 

 

 

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Why I Love Reading (Top 5 Tuesday)

I’m doing something different with this week’s Top 5 Tuesday. I managed to come up with five reasons, but saying words simply like “escapism” and “imagination” didn’t feel right, even if they are true. So, I’m just going with it.

Why do I love reading? Honestly, I never gave much thought to it.

Reading is something that has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My dad read to me before bed every night when I was little. Then, I started reading on my own.

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I do remember there were certain periods of my life I was not reading much. I was into computer games and I liked being outside on my swing set. As I entered middle school, books became my constant companions, mainly because I didn’t have a lot of friends.

            While I was picked on, especially for liking books so much, for the most part people were nice to me or they ignored me. I kept to myself. I didn’t try so hard to get in with the “It” crowd. Still, I wasn’t exactly getting invited to birthday parties or to hang out after school.

In a way, I’m sure I had it easier than a lot of other kids in high school. I didn’t dread going to school out of fear of getting harassed daily. I tried extracurriculars, mainly so it would look good on college applications and to get my mother off my case about not having a social life. But everything I joined—book club, SADD, Youth Court—all got taken away so the budget could favor the football team.

 

I guess I liked people, at least sometimes, but I preferred books. It wasn’t until college that I made real friends who appreciated my love for reading. During that time, reading felt more like fun, mainly since I wasn’t sticking to just one genre of novels anymore.

Books got me through a difficult time in my life. The last two and a half years were rough. Throughout my four years of undergraduate, there was the underlying tension in my family as my mother’s health deteriorated. My friends helped me through those moments where the fear of losing my mom was real and I could distract myself with homework. But after I graduated, the security blanket college provided was gone.

Even though the people that cared were a text or phone call away, my mom’s condition was constantly in my face. For several months after graduation, I was unemployed. Then, the summer I left college, I had my own health scare. Between finding a job, worrying about my mother and managing her various doctor visits and other medical needs, and trying to take care of myself, books got me through it.

Reading books also came through for me when my mom went on hospice towards the end of 2017. For few times each day, I didn’t have to think about what was going on.

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OK—enough sadness.

On a better note, I love reading because it helped me find my passion: writing. When I was eight years old, I read Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume and immediately after finishing it, wrote my own “novel.” After that, I couldn’t stop.

My parents said I was spinning stories before I could actually write. Reading books simply encouraged my natural storytelling ability. The ones I read at different stages of my life influenced my writing as well. When I was obsessed with the Sweet Valley books, I wrote about twins, or some “perfect” girl with mediocre problems. When I was obsessed with Meg Cabot books, I wrote about overly dramatic teenaged girls in chick-lit novels.

But none of those kinds of stories “clicked” with me in terms of writing. That didn’t happen until I was fifteen and I read The Darkest Powers trilogy by Kelley Armstrong. I could write about overly dramatic princesses, but only if said princess was a witch or had fallen in love with a vampire.

 

A love of reading led me to be an English major in college. I wrote a play that was performed on stage by my college’s theater my senior year. I started this blog because I love to read books.

In short: I love reading. I love books.

I just do.

 

2018 Bookish Survey

This is going to be a super long post, but I got this survey off the blog Perpetual Pages. 2018 is the first year I’ve done my reading stats, so here it goes!

 

Reading Stats

Number of books you read: 57

Number of rereads: 3

Genre you read the most from: young adult

 

Best in Books

Best book you read in 2018?

The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace

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Book you were excited about and thought you were going to love more but didn’t?

Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann

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Most surprising (in a good way or a bad way) book you read?

This Heart of Mine by C.C. Hunter

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Book you “pushed” the most people to read (and they did)?

I talked a lot about certain books this year, but as far as I know, I hadn’t been able to convince anyone else to read them.

 

Best series you started in 2018?

The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan

 

Best sequel of 2018?

Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

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Best series ender of 2018?

Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller

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Favorite new author you discovered in 2018?

Amanda Lovelace

 

Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

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Most action-packed/thrilling/un-put-downable book of the year?

The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

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Book you read in 2018 that you would be most likely to reread next year?

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things by Carolyn Mackler

(Once I get my own copies.)

 

Favorite cover of a book you read in 2018?

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

 

Most memorable character from 2018?

Cath from Heartless by Marissa Meyer

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Most beautifully written book read in 2018?

The Beast is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale

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Most thought-provoking, life-changing book of 2018?

The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace

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Book you can’t believe you waited until 2018 to finally read?

The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things by Carolyn Mackler. I really needed a book like this when I was fifteen.

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Favorite passage/quote from a book you read in 2018?

“Sometimes your heart is the only thing worth listening to.” Heartless, Marissa Meyer

“Does ‘doing exactly what I want’ mean not thinking about other people’s feelings? Because that’s just not the kind of person I am.

Maybe it can mean whatever I want it to mean, like taking care of myself and not letting people walk over me.” The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, Carolyn Mackler

“If I ever have a daughter, the first thing I will teach her to love will be the word “no” & I will not let her feel guilty for using it. – “no” is short for ‘fuck off’” The Princess Saves Herself in This One, Amanda Lovelace

 

Shortest and longest book you read in 2018?

Shortest book: Stuart Little by E.B. White (131 pages)

Longest book: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling (734 pages)

 

Book that shocked you the most.

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

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OTP of the year (you will go down with this ship)

Alosa and Riden from Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller

Leo and Calypso from The House of Hades by Rick Riordan

 

Favorite non-romantic relationship of the year.

Alys and her foster mother in The Beast is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale

 

Favorite book you read in 2018 from an author you’ve read previously

Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

 

Best book you read in 2018 that you read solely on a recommendation from somebody else/peer pressure/bookstagram, etc.

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

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Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2018?

Remy from The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

Wallace from Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

 

Best 2018 debut you read?

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

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Best world-building/most vivid setting you read this year?

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

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Book that put a smile on your face/was the most fun to read?

The Book Jumper by Mechthild Glaser

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Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2018?

History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

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Hidden gem of the year?

The Book Jumper by Mechthild Glaser

The Beast is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale

 

Book that crushed your soul?

Sold by Patricia McCormick

The Opposite of Innocent by Sonya Sones

The House of Hades by Rick Riordan

 

Most unique book you read in 2018?

Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman

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Book that mad you the most mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

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Blogging/Bookish Life

Only answered the questions relevant to me.

 

Favorite post I wrote

Recommending Books I Didn’t Love, But You Might

 

Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2018?

Getting nominated for all these different award posts (some of which I didn’t get around to responding to, but thank you so much to those who tagged me!).

 

Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

Putting my blog on the back burner when school started and realizing my reading habits will change as my life does.

 

Most popular post this year on your blog (whether it be by comments or views)

People seem to like my salty review of A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell.

 

Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I didn’t read 100 books like I wanted, but I did manage to complete about half of my reading goals, like reading more debut novels and writing more book reviews.

 

Looking Ahead

One book you didn’t get to in 2018 but will be your number one priority in 2019?

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

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Book you are most anticipating for 2019 (non-debut)?

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood, which is the sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale.

Lovely War by Julie Berry

Teeth in the Mist by Dawn Kurtagich

 

 

2019 debut you are most anticipating?

Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto

The Dead Queens Club by Hannah Capin

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Series ending/a sequel you are most anticipating in 2019?

Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco

 

One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging life in 2019?

Maintain a good amount of reading while adulting, such as choosing it as a better option of self-care than watching TV or YouTube.

 

There’s my 2018 bookish survey!

What is one thing you hope to do in your reading life in 2019?

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Top 5 Reading Resolutions for 2019

Happy New Year all!

When it comes to the New Year’s Resolutions, I’m like the general population: I can stick with them for maybe the first three months of the year, but by the summer they are out the window. Reading, of course, falls under that umbrella most times.

For this list, I settled on my top five reading goals for 2019. These are the ones I want to focus on. Some I want to get sorted out as soon as possible, maybe within the first month of the year. We shall see.

My top five reading resolutions for 2019 are:

 

“Unofficially” read 30 books

When I say “unofficially,” I mean I will set a Goodreads goal of 30 books, but I won’t actively try to read 30 books in 2019. Admittedly, this is a low number for me. Right now, I’m on break from school. I have three weeks of ample free time that I plan to use for reading. But after that, school will be back in session.

When the new semester starts, not only will I have classes, I will also have an internship and hopefully a part-time job. Any time I have will be devoted to schoolwork, including the majority of weekends. Of course, I will make time for reading and post wrap-ups as much as I can, except school takes priority in everything.

 

Prioritize and marathon book series

I have so many series on my bookshelves as well as on my Goodreads TBR it’s embarrassing and just a tiny bit overwhelming. There are some series where I own the first book or several installments. There are others I own that are completed and some I don’t have all the books yet. Some series are almost completed. It’s all over the place.

Last year, I set a goal of reading and finishing ten series. That was an epic fail. This year, I plan to prioritize series and read them through completion. While I own several completed or almost-completed series, there are plenty other older ones I want to get to. Most likely, I will check them out of the library.

 

Make smaller TBRs but be flexible

For the longest time, I thought I was a mood reader. In the past year, however, I realized I like to make reading lists and sticking to them. Problem is I want to read every unread book I own and I can never make up my mind on the order of my TBR. Not to mention I don’t always take into account whatever library books or new purchases I pick up.

The idea I have is to select a specific amount of books off my TBR at home that I want to read at the moment, as well as have room for any library books. As of right now, I am forgoing monthly TBRs for the sake of school. Ideally, I plan on doing reading wrap-ups at least every two months, to update you guys on what I’m reading. Hopefully, this system I have in mind will keep me from getting frustrated with my reading while juggling schoolwork.

 

Unhaul books

As painful as it is, every few years I make myself do a purge of my bookshelves. There are ones I’m not sure I would love as much as I did as a teenager if I reread them now. Many I kept for nostalgia reasons, like the Meg Cabot books, but I’m almost positive if I read them now, I wouldn’t love them much anymore. I already went through that sad disillusionment when I reread the Harry Potter books. Not a pleasant experience.

Other books, like the Archie Sheridan series by Chelsea Cain, I realize now have some major problems in them. After I recommended the books to a friend, she pointed it out to me. Now, I have a pretty bad taste in my mouth. I’m even debating on getting rid of my beloved Kelley Armstrong books, like The Darkest Powers trilogy or her Women of the Otherworld series. I want to reread the Women of the Otherworld series, but do I have the energy, the desire, and what would I do if they turn out to be more problematic than I remember?

As I continue to dwell on this, my Amazon wish list grows….

 

Practice borrowing before buying

I did pretty well with checking out more books from the library instead of buying them. I even put holds some 2019 releases my library has already ordered. The trick, though, is to read them on time.

Yes, the books are free and I’m supporting a great institution where I plan to build my career. The flip side to that is I check out more than I can read. I feel bad renewing books I don’t read when someone else could be reading them or I send the book back unread if it doesn’t get checked out that often. Besides, there’s not enough room on my nightstand for more than a few books at once. Got to think practically here.

 

What are your reading goals for 2019?

 

An Update: My TBR Problem & the Weirdest Reading Slump of My Life

Hi everyone!

First off, I want to say thank you. You guys have been super patient with me since I started school. Of course, you all have lives of your own, so why would you bother yourselves with mine? LOL

Since I started school, my blogging schedule has been out of whack. I knew this would happen though. The workload is manageable (this semester anyway), but it’s still a lot. I’m getting home at 8pm almost every night. Once I’ve had dinner, I either do a little bit more homework or I just take my laptop into bed and watch YouTube. I have time to read or blog on the weekends, but those are usually reserved for excess homework I didn’t get done during the week.

It’s not that I haven’t been reading for fun at all. There are weekends where I get up early enough to chill out blogging or reading a book with a book. Still, if you saw my last post, you know I only read four books between the beginning of September to the middle of October. In the time since, I’ve read one book, but I hardly count it because it was a collection of ghost stories that I read on Halloween and I barely finished it. Of all the library books I checked out in October, I only read two of them. I ended up returning the rest even after renewing them, because I lost interest in all of them save for two. I checked out Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik and Part of Your World by Liz Braswell again, along with a lot of new books.

It’s not that I don’t want to read. I still throw a book into my backpack every morning thinking maybe I will have time or the energy for it at any point during the day. Except it never fails: November first rolls around, I get into a reading slump.

In the past, even when I was not in school like I am now, the slumps were generally a result of burnout or being overwhelmed and/or bored with the books on my TBR. This year is different.

I want to buy books as much as I want to read them, if not more so. Not necessarily because I want to read the new books right now, but so I can read them later. I even made three wish lists on Amazon. Like I have the money for all those books….

Recently, I had to delete my TBR document off my desktop because it was too much of a distraction. I was actually adding books I had not even bought yet. Instead, I picked four books I wanted to read off that list and put them on my nightstand. Those are The House of Hades and The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan, Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman, and Little Women by Louise May Alcott (saving this one for Christmas). Any other books I read are coming from the library.

 

Is this even a reading slump? I’m not sure. All I know is, I needed to focus on school and, unfortunately, my TBR is going to have to wait a while.

Who Am I? A Book Tag

I saw this tag on YouTube, done by Samantha from Thoughts on Tomes. It is inspired by the PBS miniseries The Great American Read, in which people vote on the best book ever written out of 100 well-known classics, such as Harry Potter and The Handmaid’s Tale. As far as I known, no one on the blogs has done this tag. It looked so interesting I couldn’t pass it up.

 

If your life were a book genre, what would it be?

beckyalbertalli

Logically, it would be more like a contemporary, something Becky Albertalli might write. It would read like an introverted twenty-five-year-old bookworm trying to “adult” with little social life and an awkward love life. A little mystery thrown in there, too, like “what the hell am I going to do with my life?”

 

What villain from a book do you identify with the most?

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Though she doesn’t start off as a villain, she becomes one. It’s Catherine Pinkerton from Heartless by Marissa Meyer. At the beginning of the novel, she’s a sweet girl with big dreams. Then, her parents force her into an engagement she doesn’t want, she’s being courted by a guy she doesn’t love, her best friend turns her back on her, every attempt she makes to pursue her dreams gets squashed, and she loses the one person that accepted her for who she was. I experienced similar things, where people lacked faith in me and wanted me to do something else, because they didn’t think I could do the things that I wanted or they wanted me to become someone else. In a way, I could relate to Catherine “turning over to the dark side” because, after getting hurt so much, I turned people away until I found those I could let in.

 

What protagonist are you most similar to?

relatable

I picked three characters I related to the most, for different reasons. The first is Molly from The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli. I related to her social awkwardness regarding the opposite sex and her inexperience with dating, plus the weight problems and body image. Not only does she gain confidence in dating, she learns to accept her body for what it is.

The next is Elodie from The Forbidden Orchid by Sharon Biggs Waller. She was the oldest daughter who had to take on adult responsibilities in her family. With my mom being sick for so many years and my dad being stressed out between trying to do right by her and my autistic younger brother, I had to take on more responsibilities than other people my age had, much like Elodie.

Lastly, there is Eliza from Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia. Reading from Eliza’s perspective was the first time I saw a genuine portrayal of myself, especially when I was a teenager. Besides the love of her art and the social awkwardness, there were similar feelings of anxiety in social situations, like being in a room with a lot of people. That, and just feeling disconnected from others in general, save for a few.

 

Which book did you connect with in the past that you no longer do?

harrypotterseries

I hate to say it but…Harry Potter. In my reread of the series, I made it to the fourth book and the magic has, unfortunately, kind of faded for me. I still see the value in the stories, of course. But I’m 25 years old now. Reading the books now are more about gaining a new perspective on a popular series rather than nostalgia or even serious enjoyment.

 

What recent book read would you love to be a character in?

Naturally, The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan, to hang out with Percy Jackson and all the other demigods. Also, in the past month, I’ve read The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager, which I can’t stop thinking about. Despite what went down, and knowing I am not a nature or camping person, I would not have minded being a character in that novel.

 

How do your reading habits show off your personality?

besideTBR

My reading habits have taught me I am a control freak in every aspect of my life. For the longest time, I thought I was a mood reader. In recent months, I figured out that I like to make reading lists. Just picking up whatever book I feel like or using a number generator to pick my next read doesn’t work for me. My TBR is organized in a Word document in the order I want to read them in. If I do change my mind about the certain order, I can easily go back and fix it.

 

What book taught you something about yourself?

Not just one book has taught me something about myself. I’ve learned various things from almost every book I read. To name a few:

The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things by Carolyn Mackler: I saw someone with my body type portrayed in a young adult novel, trying to shop for cute clothes. Like Virginia, I learned to embrace my body type for what it is and take care of my body. Not to be more attractive, but to take care of myself. My only responsibility is to myself.

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The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace: This poetry collection taught me that I have more power than I know, I don’t owe anybody anything, and I have the right to put myself first if I need to.

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Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume: This is the book that made me realize I want to be a writer and that is where my passion lives.

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The Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong: These books taught me I want to be a writer in the fantasy/paranormal genre as well as the mystery genre.

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The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli: This book taught me that I am not the only one with a virtually nonexistent dating life during a time where it seems everyone else has more experience than I do.

theupsideofunrequited17

 

I tag!

Shanah

Crystal

Katie

Kelly

Grey you’re going to have LOADS of fun when you get back 😉 (Also, let me know if it’s annoying! I don’t want to bug you!)

Kristin

Joe

Sophie

 

Three Books and the Memories Attached to Them

I saw this post done on Books Amino by someone named Storm Rodrigues, so thank you to them for giving me the idea!

It was a struggle to come up with at least three books with solid memories. My memory is crap. I’m pretty sure there are more memories regarding books I own. But these were the ones I came up with.

These memories are all over the place. Some books have more than one memory attached to them. They all hold significance.

 

The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace

theprincesssavesherselfinthisonefeb18

I read The Princess Saves Herself in This One back in February or March of this year. My dad had asked me to take care of my grandmother, who was just diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. This was barely a month after my mom passed away, after fifteen long weeks of me taking care of her when she went on hospice.

I said no. I wanted to go back to work with the temp agency and get a full-time job. But Dad threatened to quit his job if I didn’t do it. We need the insurance, so I agreed to watch my grandmother once a week and my dad made the arrangements with my uncle. Thankfully, shortly thereafter my aunt got wind of what the two brothers were doing and squashed it. She didn’t want to put me through that again. Still, the way my dad treated me, more concerned about the house my grandmother owns than my mental health, it seemed I was the built-in caregiver.

I had gotten The Princess Saves Herself in This One out of the library. One night, I couldn’t sleep, so I picked up the book. And I kept reading until the wee hours of the morning, only breaking for a few hours of sleep, and then picking it right back up as soon as I awoke.

Everything Amanda Lovelace wrote in her first poetry collection was exactly what I needed to hear at the time. I had a complicated relationship with my mother. I had felt like I was being used by family members to deal with problems they didn’t want to. The Princess Saves Herself in This One reminded me that I do have power, and I can say no, even if other people get pissed off. My own well-being should be my priority, always.

 

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

partimeindian

There are two different memories attached to this book. First, is my high school book club in my freshman and sophomore years.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian was the first book we read freshman year. I thought the title was stupid; then, I read it in two days and loved it. The best part was sitting around with the other club members and the librarian who advised the group talking about it. After so many years, I thought I finally found my people. Unfortunately, the book club was disbanded my junior year because the librarian in charge, Mrs. Davis (who I adored), retired. So, you can imagine my anger when, on my last day ever of high school, I found out the book club had been revived by another school librarian.

In my sophomore year of college, I was a teaching assistant for my school’s First Year Seminar program. In addition to the summer reading book, the professor I worked with liked to have other books for the students to read, specifically ones about other cultures. When she asked for recommendations, the first book I thought of was The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. She read it, loved it, and we used it for our students.

The professor I was TA for submitted The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian as an option for the first-year summer read for the incoming freshman class. Other professors on the committee read it and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. After a vote, it was picked for the freshman summer read in 2014. Several events throughout the first semester were held in honor of the book. Such as, a Native American woman from a local tribe gave a presentation and we watched Smoke Signals. The professor in charge of the entire first-year seminar program, a professor I had in another class, gave me a shout-out for recommending the summer reading book at the viewing of the movie.

The best part, though, was that my students loved the book.

 

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume

fourthgradenothing

The oldest memory on this list and one I will always hold dear. I read Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing when I was eight or nine years old. After I finished the book, I had the urge to find a notebook and pencil and write my own story.

In ten “chapters” (ten pages), I wrote a whole story about how a ten-year-old girl’s life changes after her older brother leaves for college. First off, I was eight years old and I am the first-born. There was no one in my life at the time that was old enough to be in college. I have no clue how I came up with that idea. Second, the main character’s name was Mariah, named after a Ralph Lauren girl (long story). Third, her older brother’s name was Gohan after a Dragon Ball Z character…. Lastly, that “novel” was not the last time I heard from Mariah (which was actually not spelled that way, but I forget the way I wrote it). I wrote several other stories from her perspective, as well as two other girls named Chelsea and Elizabeth.

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing awoke something in me that wanted to be a writer. My parents said I was always a storyteller, making up stories on the spot. Up until then, I never wrote anything down. Once I did, I couldn’t stop. I filled every notebook I could get my hands on. I was putting my imagination to good use. And I have Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing (and Judy Blume, too), to thank for that.

 

What is your greatest memory attached to a book?

 

Discussion Post: Is There Such a Thing as Too Many Books?

I know. You all are probably looking at me like:

shocked muppets GIF

 

I never thought I would say it either. Looking at my bookshelves, packed with books I read and want to read, fills me with joy. One of my life goals is to have a personal library. Despite its size, I don’t feel overwhelmed by my to be read pile. For the first time in a long while, I’m excited to read every book. And, of course, there is the local library, which, as you know, I’m a big supporter of.

Recently, though, I noticed I am as obsessed with books I don’t own as much as I am with books I already possess…if not more so, in some cases.

I talk about book buying bans a lot on my blog. Over the years, I tried various methods to keep my somewhat unhealthy book-buying habits under control. One method that worked for me the longest time was reading a certain list of books off my TBR before buying anymore. Then, there were the times I was unemployed or only working for a limited time period and my finances basically forced me not to go anywhere near bookstores or Amazon. Those times, I tended to use my library more often.

In and of itself, that’s not a bad thing. There are books I know I would rather check out from the library than buy, like old backlist titles such as The Selection series by Kiera Cass. Plus, library books are free and you can check out an unlimited amount.

There would be months I’d only check out no more than five books from the library. Other times, I check out more than I can read by their due dates and, unfortunately, sometimes lost interest even after I renewed them. There were books I had checked out twice, expecting to read them on time. Then, for one reason or another, never did. Most of those I bought later on, so I could read them whenever I wanted.

As of this moment, I’m still unemployed, waiting for either a temp assignment or hopefully getting a job at my school’s campus. My funds are getting tight and the last thing I want is to ask my dad for money. Yet, I have made individual wish lists on Amazon for Black Friday, Christmas, my birthday in January, and other books I plan to buy next, most of them I previously had checked out from the library but didn’t read them. And each list is well over ten books.

If anyone else does this, please tell me so I can feel less like a crazy person.

My point is: book buying and library borrowing are starting to feel more like a need rather than a want, if that makes any sense. I’m at a point where saying I’m on a “book buying ban” doesn’t do much for me anymore.

I know from a poll I did a few months ago on Books Amino that most people don’t do book-buying bans. But for me personally, book buying and even book borrowing, feels like an addiction. Sadly, I want to buy books more than I want to read them lately.

After spending two weeks cleaning out the basement with my dad and filling a whole dumpster with thousands of dollars worth of impulse buys left behind by my mother, I should know better.

Of course, you all would argue that a book has more value than a knickknack of a cow wearing a dress (not even the weirdest thing my mother bought). I’m sure many of you also know what it’s like to browse through Barnes & Noble or Amazon, and end up buying so much your wallet hates you. Or you check out so many books from the library your arms hurt carrying them home.

The natural answer should be—and, really, is—that there is no such thing as too many books. But when does book buying start to become an addiction?

 

UNPOPULAR OPINION ALERT: A Somewhat Spoilery Rant on Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

As I begin to type this, I am very glad there is a solid wall between me and the rest of the world….

I know I’m not the only person that feels this way about Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz. I like to think that readers are generally accepting of other people’s opinions. Personally, hyped books are a hit or miss for me. I don’t know why, they just are. Knowing that about myself, I kept my expectations neutral for probably one of the most beloved novels to be published in the last ten years. Unfortunately, I was let down.

aristotledantelibrarybook

On the surface, the plot was interesting: a coming of age novel about two Mexican boys in 1980s Texas, one of them realizing he is gay while the other struggles with his identity. But upon reading the novel, there was little plot to speak of. Just a lot of talking, or, in the case of Aristotle, not talking, and describing the various things the boys did together over the summer. The writing was cringey, repetitive, and overly philosophical (we’re talking fifteen-year-old boys here), yet dumbed down, like you’re talking to a moron and trying to teach him life lessons in layman terms.

As characters themselves, Aristotle and Dante were all right. Aristotle’s anger was understandable, if frustrating. He learned from his parents not to talk about his feelings, especially not to ask questions about his brother in prison, so he bottled everything up until it exploded. Surprisingly, I realized I related to some of his anger. When I was younger, I was told often to stop talking, even when I had something I wanted to say. Sometimes, I felt like my feelings were being ignored. Eventually, I found people I could talk to, though I was older than Aristotle was when that happened.

As for Dante, I’m not sure how I feel about him. Mostly because he is what I feel like I need to rant about.

So, if you have not read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, there will be spoilers ahead. You have been warned.

It really, really bugged me when Dante pressured Aristotle to kiss him. Then, he got all pouty when Aristotle avoided him for a few days. After that, he admitted to Aristotle when he was kissing that other boy, he was thinking of kissing Aristotle. And Dante again confessed his love for Aristotle, saying he was all Dante thought about. It didn’t help that their parents noticed. As far as I was concerned, it seemed as though Dante was trying to force his feelings onto Aristotle, who may or may not have returned the sentiment.

I completely understand Dante had his feelings hurt. Believe me, I’ve been there. But it was obvious Aristotle was not ready. I don’t blame him in the slightest. An openly gay Mexican boy in Texas? Those of us that have read the novel know how well that turned out, at least for Dante.

I did find Aristotle’s borderline obsession with Dante weird. Although, I would sum it up to his lack of non-pushy friends (those girls Gina and Susie would annoy me, too, if I knew them in real life). Except that didn’t bug me so much. It was how much of a roll the parents played.

Why did his parents have to tell Aristotle he was in love with Dante? Why didn’t Aristotle figure that out on his own, like Simon did in Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli? Aristotle can’t love Dante like a friend? Don’t we want to protect our friends as much as we would our significant others?

If I’m missing something, please tell me.

I know how this sounds. But I want to stress that I am all for LGBTQ+ books and a healthy gay romance. I am not for forced romantic relationships; does not matter if it is heterosexual or otherwise. I honestly did not see how Aristotle and Dante were romantically compatible. Best friends, yes, but boyfriends I’m not so sure.

Despite my rant, the novel was an easy read, at least in the beginning. Towards the middle, I wasn’t really enjoying myself anymore. Even though I liked Aristotle’s wise-ass sense of humor, after a while, I was starting to find the characters annoying.

Overall, I give Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz 2 stars. I liked Aristotle’s sarcasm and I could relate to him in some degree. I also appreciated the realistic approach to family, giving the boys healthy relationships with their parents. Unfortunately, the cringey writing, lack of plot, and feeling of a forced romance didn’t do it for me.

 

Let’s discuss Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. Is there anyone that shared my opinions? Do you want to try to bring me over to the other side? Have at it!

How Does Life Affect Your Reading? (Discussion Post)

On Saturday—despite the severe anguish it caused me—I lowered my Goodreads reading goal from 100 books to 50 books.

At that point, I was seven books behind in my yearly reading challenge. I ranted about it on Books Amino (rather than read) and most people encouraged me just to read like normal and not make a big deal out of it if I don’t make 100. I knew they were right; yet, at the same time, the stress of falling behind was getting to me more than I knew was sensible.

The reason why I set my 2018 Goodreads Challenge to 100 in the first place was that I wanted to motivate myself to keep reading. The last time I set my goal that high was 2015 and I had an amazing reading year. Only back then, my life was different.

In 2015:

I was a junior in college. In between classes, campus jobs, and meals, I was in the school library doing homework or projects. When I needed a break or finished the assignments I wanted to get done, I would read.

My best friend and I were roommates our junior year. We are chill people and at the time we didn’t go out much. Whatever other free time I had, when I was not with friends, I was reading.

That summer, I worked at my college’s library. My shift ended at 3pm, and then I had about two hours to kill before my dad picked me up to go home. I spent that time reading. Then, for about two weeks in July, my boss was on vacation, the other librarians were in meetings for most of the day, and there was a lull in summer classes. Hardly anyone was in the library, so I had all this time to read.

The end of 2015 was the beginning of my senior year. It was basically the same method as junior year. Thanksgiving break rolled around and that was when I just started getting into graphic novels. I distinctly remember reading volumes 2 through 5 of the Saga comics in four days. And I ended up actually beating my goal—I read 108 books in 2015.

I didn’t set a reading goal for 2016 because I had to focus on finishing college. I decided not to do one in 2017 for fear of causing myself unnecessary pressure to read while I was trying to figure out how to adult.

Past Jillian was onto something.

I wanted to bring back what I had in 2015. Except….

My Current Monday through Friday Schedule in 2018:

  • Wake up at 4:30am to make the bus at 6:45am
  • Try to read on the bus for the hour and a half long commute, but sometimes doze off and I end up listening to music instead.
  • I have an hour for lunch, but instead of reading, I go for a walk. I sit in a desk chair pretty much all day. That can be uncomfortable after a while.
  • Get out of work at 5pm and commute home on the bus again for another hour and a half. Only I am in front of a computer screen all day and I need to rest my eyes (near-sighted problems).
  • Make it home by 7pm. Dinner usually ready (a perk of still living in my dad’s house) and I have about five hours until I go to bed at 11pm.
  • Instead, I watch BookTube.

 

On weekends, I tend to read a little bit more than I do during the week. But because I am a masochist, it’s still not as much reading as I would like. I’m usually the first one awake between 8 and 9am. With my dad and my brother still asleep, it’s quiet. I make coffee and sit on the couch with my dog, reading for a good chunk of the morning. I even manage to keep reading when my dad wakes up and turns on a European soccer game.

However, the reading sprints don’t last for very long. Because of my work schedule, my weekends are devoted to my blog. I write upcoming posts, edit them, and then schedule them to be posted throughout the week. And then what do I do?

Netflix. Or YouTube. Depends on my mood.

I did not want to lower my Goodreads goal. But like I said, falling behind was stressing me out. Worse still, it was taking the fun out of reading. Instead of being excited looking at the books sitting around my room, I was getting anxious to meet a certain quota. That is not healthy.

I realize now that I have to be realistic. Life circumstances have affected my reading. I was told this would happen as I got older, yet I refused to accept it. I still want to keep reading books. I love doing it and it helps me keep writing. Books are the reason I was an English major in college and why I want to be a librarian. Only they sometimes might have to take a backseat as I move forward.

Has this ever happened to anyone?

            What do you do when life gets in the way of reading?

            Does it ever take away the desire to read?

            Would you ever give up on a reading challenge, change it, or see it through?

 

Let’s discuss!