Rereading Books: Yay or Nay? (Discussion Post)

When the professor for my YA literature class released this semester’s reading list, there were a lot of books I have read. Quite a few I have wanted to reread for a while. Now, I finally had a reason.

But did I really need one?

Rereading books is something I don’t do enough. I did it more when I was younger. I relied on money and gift cards on my birthdays and Christmas to get new books. My high school library was all right, but I didn’t have a lot of access to it by junior year. More often than not, I reread books because when I found something I liked, I was all in. I would literally read nothing else than the books by the same author, over and over.

Once I got a job, I could buy the books I wanted to read. I did not think of using my college’s library until my senior year, when my boss at the school library asked me to start writing book reviews for the library’s Facebook page. When I graduated college, I found out my local library had improved so I started using it more. Thus, I had basically stopped rereading books.

I do like rereading, though. Revisiting an old favorite is always fun. You find things you missed the first time. Sometimes, rereading an old favorite, like a Harry Potter book, helps me get out of a reading slump. Rereading my favorite parts of books also improves my mood sometimes, too.

On the flip side, reading tastes change. I attempted to reread Twilight a year or two ago, only to put it down after 200 pages. It was not as good as I remembered. Or, it was better to a sixteen-year-old than a twenty-five-year-old.

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Last year, I reread Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll before picking up Heartless by Marissa Meyer. When I first read it, I gave it three stars. That was during a time I was scared to give books low rating, unless I truly hated it. Turns out, when I read Alice in Wonderland again, I did hate it more than I thought I did.

You might also notice problems that do not sit well with you anymore. Regarding Twilight, I was Team Jacob, so Edward was already a dickhead in my eyes. However, when thinking about the Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong, there was a toxic relationship that would make today’s readers puke. At sixteen, I was able to ignore this as best I could, even if they made me uncomfortable most of the time. At twenty-six, I’m not so sure if I can put up with Elena and Clay’s BS anymore.

Then, of course, there is the age-old argument against rereading that your unread books are ignored. By rereading books, you put yourself at risk of missing out on new stories. This is primarily why I don’t reread books as much as I want to. I’m constantly adding books to my TBR on Goodreads. I have had enough income over the years where I could buy new books. My local library has a good selection. In other words, with so many new stories coming into my possession or within my reach, I didn’t see any reason to read books I had already read.

Personally, I have come to realize I am not big on rereading as much as I was years ago. With all the new books coming out, I felt as though I was missing out. I also don’t like the idea of possibly realizing I don’t like an old favorite as much as I thought I did. I would rather not taint my memory of an otherwise good experience. That’s what happened with me during my Harry Potter reread last year.

To be honest, I sometimes would like to reread more often than I do now. I buy books I read from the library to add to my collection, as well as to possibly reread in the future. Only after my Harry Potter reread, I’m not quite sure how I feel about rereading overall anymore. I will most likely reread first books in series before continuing with the remaining books if I took too long to get around to them. This was the case with The Rosie Project trilogy by Graeme Simison and the Masque of the Red Death duology by Bethany Griffith. I enjoyed the first books and own the sequels, except I haven’t read the following novels. I read The Rosie Project in 2014 and Masque of the Red Death in 2012. I have forgotten a lot of what happened in these books.

For the next few months, the rereading I will mainly be doing is for my YA literature class. Given that The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon, The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson, and Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys, I am looking forward to it.

 

How often do you reread books?

Do you like to reread books or do you prefer to read new stories?

 

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Inside and Out Book Tag

“No book tags,” I told myself. “Make up your own stuff.”

So far, I have done that. For the most part. Trouble is, the day this goes up is my last free weekend before I start my next semester of graduate school. I wanted something fun to write before throwing myself headfirst into academics again. Plus, I like tags where I don’t have to come up with a specific book for an answer. Kristin Kraves Books knows how to get to me with the book tags she posts on her own blog.

 

Inside flap/back of the book summaries: too much info or not enough?

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A summary is usually what draws me to a book, after title and cover. Often times, I find a book with a gorgeous cover, only to put it back on the shelf because the information on the front flap or back cover just does not do it for me. I personally want to know what I’m reading and if it is something I want to put time into. Even though it can be annoying, I also sometimes don’t mind if a synopsis offers too much information or is too vague. If it has the right buzzwords, I’m game.

 

New book: what form do you want it to be in? Be honest: audiobook, e-book, paperback, or hardcover?

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Despite the current overflow in my bedroom, I prefer books in physical format. Hardcover or paperback, it doesn’t really matter to me, so long as the book is in good condition.

 

Scribble while you read? Do you like to write in your books, take notes, make comments, or do you keep your books clean, clean, clean?

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CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN!!! I absolutely cannot bring myself to write in my books. The only books I can justify scribbling in are textbooks I bought for school. For my YA literature class, I will be taking notes in my notebook while I read.

 

Does it matter to you whether the author is male or female when you’re deciding on a book? What if you’re unsure of the author’s gender?

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An author’s gender has never even been a considering factor for me when choosing a book. If I took a hard look at my Goodreads, I would probably find that 90% of what I have read is by white female authors. But there have been books by male authors that I have truly enjoyed, too. I think it is more important to focus on whether or not you are reading books by people of color or are of a different sexual identity than yours.

 

Ever read ahead? Or have you ever read the last page way before you got there?

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Sometimes, I read ahead if I am worried about a certain character. I will flip a few chapters to make sure they are alive by the end of the book. I try not to read the last page to avoid major spoilers. Most times I don’t care about spoilers, but I still do like to be surprised sometimes.

 

Organized bookshelves, or outrageous bookshelves?

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I would love to have organized bookshelves, preferably in alphabetical order by author. However, lack of space and a somewhat impulsive book buying addiction makes them outrageous.

 

Have you ever bought a book based on the cover (alone)?

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Yes and no. What I mean by that is, I will be drawn to a book because of the cover. But only after I read the synopsis do I bring myself to buy it, such as was the case with books like The Silver Witch by Paula Brackston and The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova. A book I can say I specifically bought for the cover was the reprint hardcover edition of Vicious by V.E. Schwab. It was a book I had wanted to read for years. And, admittedly, I thought the new cover was cooler than the old one.

 

Take it outside to read, or stay in?

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Nine times out of ten, I stay inside to read. I cannot tell you how many times this summer I have promised my dog Ziva I will take her outside on cooler days, and then I end up staying inside with the AC. Plus, my dog is nine years old, and the heat takes a lot out of her to begin with. I also have a really stupid pet peeve where I don’t like wind blowing the pages while I’m trying to read.

 

I tag:

Shanah

Sophie

Rebecca

Sahi

Joe

Grey

 

Where I Find Books I Want to Read

As I’m sure you all can understand, books pretty much take up my life. I’ve also been thinking a lot about my career in library science.

One of the areas of library science that is high on my list is reader’s advisory. This has gotten me thinking about where I get my own reading recommendations. This was probably one of the easiest lists I ever made.

 

Goodreads

Screenshot_2019-08-16 Recent updates Goodreads

I joined Goodreads in high school, the Facebook for bookworms. To this day, it’s the only social media I can actually say I like. I’m constantly adding books to my TBR on that site. I read the lists people make as well as the recommendations Goodreads gives based on other books I added. I know Goodreads has gotten a bad rep over the years, but I can’t shake my loyalty. I would forget so many potentially great books if it were not for Goodreads.

 

Book of the Month and other subscription boxes I can’t afford

Screenshot_2019-08-16 Book of the Month       Screenshot_2019-08-16 OwlCrate - Monthly Book Subscription Box

This one is kind of random, I’ll admit. I signed up on their website, though I technically have not subscribed to the service. Despite this, I look forward to the Book of the Month selections, as well as the Book of the Month YA selections, each month. Most times, they have books I probably would not have found on my own. And they cover a multitude of genres. I’ve gotten some interesting recommendations since I started following Book of the Month on their website. The same goes for services like Owlcrate, which I was subscribed to years ago but sadly had to cancel due to lack of funds.

 

Browsing bookstores, libraries, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble and Books a Million online

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I have found some really good (and not so good) recommendations while casually browsing my local library. I spend my lunch breaks browsing the bookstores near my work (one of which has a great café, by the way). There are books that I found I’m really interested in reading, so much so I have had to refrain myself from buying them all at once. Particularly since I would have to carry them all on the train, then walking to the bus, and then walking home after getting off the bus.

I also spend a lot of time browsing on Amazon and the websites for Barnes & Noble and Books a Million. Amazon gives me recommendations based on books I have bought as well as books I added to my wish list. Barnes & Noble has a lot of backlist titles on sale and I keep up with new releases on there as well. Books a Million somehow finds all these new releases that no one else knows about, introducing me to cool books to add to my TBR.

 

Watching BookTube videos and reading book reviews on blogs

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Nowadays, BookTube is where I get the bulk of my book recommendations. While browsing the library and bookstores in person as well as online introduce me to more hidden gems, BookTube keeps me up-to-date with the popular releases, as well as somehow manages to hype up books I might not have picked up otherwise. I even recommended BookTube as a source of finding book recommendations in my reference services class last fall.

The same can be said about book blogs. Many of you guys have a knack for finding those hidden gems. BookTube, as well as book blogs, have also introduced me to genres I thought I would read. Mainly, adult romance. Watching Smut-a-thon vlogs and reading romance reviews, listening to people rave about Christina Lauren and Tessa Dare and the Reluctant Royals series has convinced me to give the genre a chance. Enough that, the next time I’m at the bookstore, I might just stock up on those romance mass market paperbacks.

 

Where do you guys mainly find your recommendations?

How Do I Choose to Borrow or to Buy? (Discussion Post)

To borrow or to buy?

As someone pursuing her Master’s in Library and Information Science, the answer should be simple, right? However, while I love the institution of libraries as a whole, I am still a book lover and a book collector (or addict or hoarder) overall.

I do my best to borrow and buy in equal measures. But when choosing which to do for which books, it depends on a number of different factors.

The first is the most obvious: finances. Sometimes, I simply do not have the means to buy a ton of books I am only interested in. Like the first four months of this year, I had no choice but to use the library to sedate my book-buying urges. There have been times I do have money, except I still need to be choosy on how I spend it if I need to save for something else (cough student health insurance cough).

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There have been books I was interested in reading, except not enough to justify spending money. In other scenarios, it was a matter of which came first. Books I wanted to check out from the library were then available at a discounted price at Barnes and Noble. There have been books that I wanted to read right this second and I did not hesitate when I saw it available at my library. Only that often led to checking out more books than I could read and having to return them unread.

This leads into a problem I’ve created for myself. For a while, whenever I did not read a library book, I checked it out again at a later date. Sometimes, I did manage to read them on time. But more often than not, I did not read them a second time around, for one reason or another. I know librarians don’t care how many times you check out a book, but it got embarrassing after a while.

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Instead of getting over this embarrassment, whenever I return unread library books, I add them to my Amazon wish list to buy at a later date. In a way, I feel like this cheats the “borrowing before buying” system. Especially since some of these books were random titles I found while browsing the library stacks. Still, this somehow influences my desire to buy them anyway, even if that was the first time I had heard anything about them.

Another factor that determines whenever I borrow or buy a book is the level of hype surrounding it compared to my overall interest. Such examples include Everless by Sara Holland and The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton. Both of these books got a significant amount of buzz when they were released. I sometimes buy into hype more than I care to admit. Only the synopsis for both these books seemed so far out there for me to comprehend (even for fantasy novels), that I could not convince myself to spend money. In some cases, there are books that were so hyped, I’d get so excited for them, I borrowed them or bought them, depending on whichever came first.

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The next factor is my previous experience with a specific author or a book similar to something I read before that I didn’t enjoy. A recent example of this scenario is Aurora Rising by Aimee Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I had bought into the hype surrounding their previous work, Illuminae. At the time, I was not deep into reading science fiction yet, so I got it from the library. Unlike most people (and their brothers and mothers), I did not love Illuminae. I don’t plan on continuing with the series either. So, when Aurora Rising was released, I had no interest in picking it up.

Once again, the hype won out. Also, I could not deny that this plot was much more intriguing to me than Illuminae. The cover being super pretty didn’t help. So, I caved and got it from the library. Thankfully, this time around, I was not disappointed. However, there have been other situations where I was disappointed again by an author I had faith in. And, no, I do not want to talk about Whitefern by V.C. Andrews….

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Availability of a book has recently, unexpectedly, become a factor of whether I borrow or buy. To my naïve surprise, not all books are readily available online. If I wanted an older title, such as Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson, I would have had to scour the Internet to find a used copy in relatively good condition, whereas I could just wait a couple of days for the interlibrary loan to go through (and not have to spend any money, of course). Sometimes, if a book is not easily accessible through other avenues, or it’s a book I don’t think I will want to buy later (as was the case with Aurora Rising), I will keep that library book to read instead of returning it.

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If you use your local library, how do you decide what books you want to check out?

How do you decide what books you want to buy?

If you read a book from the library and enjoyed it, do you buy it later?

What are your thoughts on borrowing and buying overall?

Let’s discuss!

2019 Reading Resolutions Check-In

I had this idea in the shower the other day (TMI?) on doing a check-in for my reading resolutions. In a similar vein to the “Mid-Year Freak Out Tag,” (which I will be posting in a few days) I did an update on how far, or not, I’ve come in sticking to my 2019 New Year’s Resolutions. And figure out if I want to bother continuing with them or not.

 

“Unofficially” read 30 books

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At the beginning of the year, I set a Goodreads goal of 30 books and, miraculously, I beat it in May. I did this under the assumption I would have the bare minimum of reading time once I started the second semester of graduate school. I wanted to set the least stressful goal, even though I promised myself I would not make a big deal out of it.

The first few weeks of the year, I was on winter break. I read a few graphic novels as well as a few lighter books in between job hunting. By the time the semester began, I was still unemployed with only two days a week available. Naturally, that did not help my chances in finding part-time work. But it did help my reading.

Since I had two full days totally devoted to homework, I had more time to read on the weekends, as well as on the commute to and from school. Right now, I am well into summer break. I don’t plan on raising the goal higher. I’m just going to keep reading as much as I can without stress.

 

Book buying ban of 2019

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I had to go on a book buying ban for the first three or four months of the year, which I decided after my original resolutions post. By the beginning of February, my optimism at finding a new job had dwindled. After making an impulsive book purchase, I quickly realized that certain things had to take priority. Books were not one of them.

I am proud to say I was successful in this. I lasted until April, when taxes came through for me and I finally allowed myself to buy books again. I probably shouldn’t have, since I was technically still unemployed, but going to the library wasn’t doing it for me anymore.

Now, I have a job for the summer at an academic library surrounded by bookstores. I’ve bought three books in the past few weeks. However, being twenty-six sucks. I have to pay my school to provide health insurance. The bill is due in August. So, instead of taking advantage of my current financial situation and bookstore access, it looks like I’m going to have to go on another ban. Or, at least, cut back on the amount of money I spend.

 

Prioritize and marathon book series

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Fail, fail, and more fail. I have not prioritized series. I have not marathon any this year, either. I have read first books in series or the concluding novels or sequels. The rest are stand-alone. I did check out completed series from the library and pull ones I intended to read off my bookshelves. Then, after a while of sitting around unread, I ended up returning them to where they belonged.

Going forward into the remaining half of the year, I have selected series I want to complete before January 1st, 2020. Some of those series are:

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

Falling Kingdoms series by Morgan Rhodes

Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray

The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson

 

Make smaller TBRs but be flexible

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Honestly, I’m not sure what my plan was with this one.

I was not doing monthly TBRs because of graduate school. I read what I wanted when I had the time or energy to do so. I read mostly library books for the first few months, a combination of the book buying ban and using library books to make sure I kept up a healthy reading habit. Not that it always worked.

I like making reading lists and sticking to them, but I’m learning to be flexible when a “mood” hits. Lately, though, with all the books I want to read, the “moods” have been kind of annoying.

 

Unhaul books

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Of all the resolutions I set for myself in 2019, this is the one I am happiest I completed. I was running out of room on my bookshelves. There were books I knew I was never going to read again that taking up space. My Amazon wish list was getting longer.

Then, in April, my advisor announced the department was holding a book drive for an elementary school’s library in Rwanda. The books that they didn’t give to the school would be used in a book sale to collect money for the students’ materials.

Every Friday, I came to school with an extra bag full of books to put inside the donation bin. While I was sad to see some go, I knew they were better off going to people who would appreciate them more. And I was better off, too. At the same time, it was also an euphoric relief. I kind of want to do another one later this year, should the opportunity arise again.

 

Practice borrowing before buying

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This has been successful: there have been books I read first from the library and bought later or I plan to. Only upon reflection, the frequent library use of the year has brought on some unexpected problems.

Aside from not reading all the books I checked out (that should be a drinking game), I was not reading books I already owned. Worse still, I often lost interest in the library books, in addition to running out of time even after renewing them. So, in a sense, I was not thinking “practically.”

At the time I am writing this, 21 out of 34 books I read so far this year were library books. The book buying urges as well as free days in the middle of the week influenced the frequent library trips. Various times, I found myself with more than thirty books checked out at once.

In the past, I would have returned the books, then got them from the library again at a later date. Except even then, I still didn’t read them most of the time. I have a habit of borrowing books and not reading them, only to buy them later. In a way, it’s cheating the “borrowing before buying” system.

I think I might have to avoid the library for a few months. Easy enough, since it’s closed on the weekends July through August and I work during the week. While I obviously love the institution of libraries, there are books at home that have been gathering dust.

 

How have you done on your 2019 reading goals so far?

 

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.

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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…

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

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.