What Do You Do When You’re in a Reading Slump? A Discussion Post

We all know that feeling—you want to read, but you can’t decide what you want to read next or nothing you pick up is holding your attention for long. Or—GASP!—you just don’t feel like reading.

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I am currently in a reading slump. It has been going on for the entire month of May. The first week was entirely focused on finishing graduate school. I didn’t want to read, mostly to stay focused on my deadlines. Also, frankly, I just did not feel like reading. It required more brain power than I had to give. Plus, there was a book I felt like caused the slump and none of my library books were holding my interest anymore.

When I am in a reading slump, I usually ride it out until I feel the urge to read again. Going a few days without reading is normal, to prevent myself from burning out. If I go for longer than a week, then I consider myself in a reading slump.

In my experience over the past couple of years, I usually get them twice a year. The first one is at the beginning of the summer, either in May or June. It is mostly because I have no idea what to do with all the sudden free time on my hands. The next reading slump happens in December. This is because I basically lose interest in every single book on my TBR as I become irrationally overwhelmed with all the books I want to read before the end of the year.

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Like I said, when I get stuck in a reading slump, I don’t force it. There’s a greater chance of me not liking a book I otherwise might have enjoyed. So, instead of reading, I do other things.

First, I watch TV shows on Netflix or movies on Disney +. Right now, I’m watching old episodes of Criminal Minds. I’ve watched Hotel Transylvania 3 at least four times already. I want to get back into Season 3 of Thirteen Reasons Why, which I was in the middle of when the new school year started. Now that I know Season 4 is coming out in June, I’ll wait to finish the season so I can binge. I also have a watchlist on Disney + of old Disney movies I want to watch, like The Black Cauldron, The Sword in the Stone, and Pinocchio. Not to mention the three re-watches of The Nightmare Before Christmas.

And, before anyone asks, we just finished The Tiger King Netflix miniseries. It was…fine.

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Another thing I do when I’m in a reading slump is I organize my TBR pile. Trying to get myself excited for reading again, I make lists of books still on my TBR. I arrange them by priority and my excitement level. This method is working right now, actually. Organizing all the books I want to read next in 2020 gives me something else to think about. Besides the quarantine and that libraries are still closed, so I can’t put my Master’s to use.

Next, when I’m in a reading slump, I attempt to work more on my blog. Right now, I have a backlog of ideas I meant to work on. Of course, since I am not reading as much, I can’t do the book reviews or recommendations I want. This is when I really have to get creative. I usually turn to BookTube, which both sparks my desire to read again as well as gives me a burst of ideas for creative content.

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When I finally feel like I want to get out of the reading slump, nine times out of ten, I will go to the library first. Most of the time I’m in a reading slump, I lose interest in the books I have at home. Instead, I go to the library and borrow a bunch of books. I read whatever I can get around to in between check out and renewal. Or, such as my current situation, I flat out lose interest in them, wanting to read my own books again.

From there, I pick a book off my TBR that I know I can get through quickly, like a graphic novel. Another type of book I might reach for is one low on my TBR pile, one I have minimal expectations going into, so there is no risk of me being disappointed by anything. I kill two birds with one stone: get out of my reading slump and take a book off my TBR that has gone unread for too long.

While this is my usual method, I’m trying something I don’t do very often. I’ve heard people rereading old favorites to get back into reading. I tried this at the start of 2020, rereading a book after a deep reading slump at the end of the previous year. It helped other times I felt a funk in my reading. Rereading books is something I want to do more of in general. I grabbed a whole bunch of my favorite books from over the past few years to reread until I feel like getting back to my regularly scheduled TBR pile.

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I don’t miss school. But in case you could not already tell, this quarantine is slowly driving me to insanity.

Thank God for books.

 

What do you do when you’re in a reading slump?

My Reading Plans for the Rest of 2020

I’m posting this here, so I can hold myself accountable. I want to stick to this plan.

At the end of May, I will officially be unemployed. When this COVID-19 quarantine began, my place of work (which happened to be a university) made it clear that people in my position may or may not have a job after May 28th. I will still be getting paid until then, but after that, it will be a while before I see another paycheck. Especially if businesses are not up and running again.

Even though I will officially have my Master’s in Library and Information Science, that doesn’t mean I will find a job immediately. Plus, my exuberant book haul from April showed me a cold reality: I do not have a lot of room left on my bookshelves.

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Does that mean I’m going on another book buying ban? No, not necessarily. If anything, I am cutting back on book-buying and focusing on reading books I already own.

I typed up and printed out my reading list of priority TBR books. These are books I’ve owned far too long unread—series I started but never finished, completed series I have not started, and other books I was very excited for when I bought them. Once I’m done with all my library books, I’ll move right on to those books.

I want to get started on my priority books right now. Only I also still want to read all the library books I checked out prior to the quarantine. This is the first time where I have the opportunity to read the insane amount of books I borrowed in the first place.

Speaking of library books, I plan on cutting back on those as well for the rest of 2020. The longer I am unemployed, the chances are I will feel the need to get out of my house and the only place I would want to go is the local library. Except I want to not visit the library so much with all those unread books at home, but I know myself too much at this point to say that won’t happen.

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As for buying books, the only ones I am bringing in are what I get through Book of the Month. Under the rules of their subscription, I can pick up to three a month (the monthly selection plus two add-ons). Reasonable enough—I’m getting my fix while maintaining a budget for new books.

After my May pre-orders come in, the goal is to not buy any other books besides my selections for Book of the Month. Ideally, I’d like to keep it up until December and then blow all my Christmas and birthday money on books I want. But if I make it to at least September (and I have a full-time job), I will be happy.

At this point in time, I’m going back and forth between doing a post on my monthly selections from Book of the Month, or including them in the monthly wrap-up. I don’t want to prioritize new books over old ones, but I’d hate to leave my Book of the Month selections unread and unrated. Since they are the only books I am buying at the moment, it seems only right that I should just read them now rather than put them aside. It doesn’t help that Book of the Month app tempts you with a yearly challenge of their own.

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Apparently I have developed this new competitive streak with my reading. A few weeks ago, I increased my Goodreads reading goal to 80 books. By March, I had already beat my original goal of 50 books in 2020. Three weeks into the quarantine, I was not reading as much as I wanted to. The library books piled on my desk were a constant reminder that I was ignoring my primary method of self-care. I thought raising my goal on Goodreads would motivate me to pick up a book instead of watching YouTube videos or binging old Criminal Minds episodes on Netflix. It has, but still not as much as I wanted.

That’s why I plan to take full advantage of the free time I will have until the world turns itself right side up again. Reading and writing will be much more fun now that it’s not for school anymore. I want to take a hammer to my priority TBR. Possibly part of that priority TBR will be my Book of the Month selections; if they are the only books I buy, it seems I read them before they gather dust. We will see if that changes in a few months, particularly if I think I need to unsubscribe for the sake of money. (Even though Book of the Month is cheaper than most book subscription services.)

If you’re curious, here are some of the books I marked “priority” on my to be read pile:

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The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

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

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, and The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky by Mackenzi Lee

Escaping from Houdini and Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco

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

What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

Now I Rise and Bright We Burn by Kiersten White

 

Unemployed and stuck at home, I am so, so tempted to see if I can make it to 100 books read. But I’m not going to test my luck.

At least, not yet.

April 2020 Reading Wrap Up

With school slowly winding down and COVID-19 still keeping me from going to work, I expected to read more this month. I usually keep my weekends free. By the middle of April, though, I was not reading as much as I wanted. I planned on participating on Shanah’s Off the Grid-a-thon as well as the Stay at Home Reading Rush hosted by Ariel Bissett on YouTube. I read one book that I had already started prior to the read-a-thon, finished it, and then decided to take a break before I got sick of reading.

That “break” basically went as long as the rest of the weekend.

Epic fail.

I read a total of five books in April. I wanted to aim for six, but that last week was all about schoolwork. Plus, the mental state I was in at the time, I had to set aside reading for the time being. However, four out of those five books were some of my favorites I read this year. And, when I checked my stats on Goodreads, I realized read 59 books so far this year, which is the amount I read the entire 2019. So, in hindsight, I suppose my reading streak is getting better.

In April of 2020, I read:

 

The Winter King by C.L. Wilson (library book)

3.75 stars

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The Winter King is a fantasy romance I went into with low expectations. While it was a long book that dragged too much in some parts and had ten-page sex scenes, the plot was not as cliché as you might think nor was the romance. It took me a month to finish, except that’s not entirely the book’s fault. I had a lot going on at the time, getting distracted by school. When I did read The Winter King, I had a lot of fun. If you want to know my full spoiler-free thoughts, click the link to my review.

 

Anne Frank’s Diary graphic novel adaption by Ari Folman

4.5 stars

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After finishing The Winter King and realizing I was not in the mood to read its sequel, The Sea King, I randomly selected one of the graphic novels on my TBR: Anne Frank’s Diary graphic novel adaption. I read the original novel in sixth grade. I don’t remember much about the book, so I’m assuming this graphic novel adaption follows the book to a T. Regardless, I enjoyed this probably more than I did the original work.

Anne could be seriously annoying, but then again, she was thirteen years old. She was also trapped inside of an attic with her family, fearing for her life and theirs. On the flip side to that, living inside Anne’s head and her overactive imagination was sometimes entertaining, especially when you take in the drawings. However, by a certain point in the story, I was bored reading, even as the tensions started to rise. While the graphic novel format added something, it also seemed to take something away from it. What that was, I’m not entirely sure.

 

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (library book)

1 star

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In all honesty, I went into Shiver with relatively low expectations. I knew it was Maggie Stiefvater’s debut work, from the post-Twilight era where angsty, somewhat problematic insta-love was the thing in young adult paranormal romance. I tried to push forward, since people have said the first 100 pages of The Raven Boys are slow. I figured the same could be said for Shiver. But I reached almost 200 pages and I still did not feel it.

I know that, technically, Sam and Grace already kind of knew each other, but their romance still felt too much like insta-love. Individually, as characters, they were flat and there was no chemistry between them or any other feasible connection between the other characters. I wanted to keep reading the trilogy, as I checked all three books out from the library before the quarantine. But then I saw the other library books I had, ones I wanted to read way more than I did the Shiver trilogy. Shiver was just so boring and felt like pulling teeth. So, I set aside the trilogy.

If I had read Shiver at the height of its popularity, when I was in high school or college, I would have enjoyed it way more than I did now. However, since I am so excited to read Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Boys series and her other books, I am willing to give the Shiver trilogy a second chance if any of you can convince me otherwise.

 

Bloodlines by Richelle Mead (library book)

4.5 stars

The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead (library book)

4.25 stars

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The Bloodlines series was another I went into with low expectations. I didn’t think I would hate them or anything, except I thought of them as mediocre 3 star books. As you can see, at least books 1 and 2 beat those expectations.

Just from glancing at reviews on Goodreads and what I saw on social media in general over the years, people don’t like Sydney Sage, particularly in how she handled her feelings regarding Adrian Ivashkov. Though I understand people’s frustrations with her, I personally found Richelle Mead’s portrayal of Sydney’s conflicting feelings about vampires with her Alchemist upbringing very realistic. She’s been trained from a young age to be wary of vampires and that humans must not associate with them no matter what. That kind of brainwashing doesn’t disappear because of some boy, even if it is Adrian Ivashkov.

Regarding Adrian, I am slowly warming up to him, more than I did in Vampire Academy. I would find him funny and charming one second, than want to strangle him the next, especially when he made some not-quite-tactful comments on Sydney’s eating habits. Maybe I’m oversensitive, but it really bothered me, especially since I’ve been in Sydney’s position in obsessing over everything I ate. He’s also a little too cocky and arrogant sometimes for my taste. Jill is right that Adrian feels his emotions powerfully, though. And maybe a little fickle, considering it was only a few months since he was dumped by Rose. But I can relate to Sydney—a guy expressing his feelings like that to me would make me want to die from awkwardness, because I’m also socially inept and would have no idea how to react.

Speaking of Sydney, I dare say I like her more than Rose Hathaway. I identified with her more. I loved her awkwardness and how she’s such an intellect that lives inside her head, much like I do a lot. All she wants is to do right by people, even if she sometimes goes about it the wrong way.

Besides the characters making me feel everything, Bloodlines and The Golden Lily were binge-able with their fast-paced plots and easy to follow world building. I’m glad I waited so long to get into this series—these are the ideal books to read during the quarantine.

 

What was your favorite book that you read in April?

The Finished Books Tag

What does one do when you are craving to write content for your long-suffering blog but your brain feels like a lump of meat? Reach into your book-tag emergency fund.

I first saw this tag, the Finished Books Tag, on Kristin Kraves Books a while ago. It looks like a lot of fun.

 

Do you keep a list of the books you have read?

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I use Goodreads to keep track of all the books I read in a year, as well as far back as I can remember, since I started my account in 2012. In addition to that, I use a notebook to keep track of all the books I read in a month, and the ratings I gave them. This is how I write my monthly TBRs and wrap-ups.

 

If you record statistics, what statistics do you record?

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Not much, besides what I rated them. Lately, I’ve been thinking more about page count. I didn’t read a lot of big books last year. So, I unofficially aimed for a higher overall page count this year. I only look hard at the statistics writing up the yearly reading survey, but even then it’s the bare minimum.

 

Do you give star ratings for books and if so, what do you score books out of and how do you come about this score?

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I use the Goodreads star ratings. If I consider a half-star rating, I simply write it in the review box. I base these ratings on how I feel about the writing style, the plot, the characters, and my overall enjoyment of the book.

 

Do you review books?

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If I really want to talk about a book, I will write an individual review on my blog or on Goodreads. Otherwise, I write smaller reviews in my monthly reading wrap-ups.

 

Where do you put your finished books?

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Wherever they were in the first place. That is either their spot on my bookshelves or in the pile of finished library books to be returned.

 

Do you have any other rituals for when you have finished a book?

After finishing a book, I write down my rating in the notebook, then mark it as “read” on Goodreads. If I consider the book a new favorite, I draw a purple star next to the title in the notebook and then I add it to my favorites list on Goodreads. At the end of the month, I add my favorites I read from that month to my yearly favorites list on Goodreads.

I’m so grateful for the Internet. No one else in my life would care about this.

 

I tag:

Shanah

Rebecca

Grey  

The Stay Home Reading Tag

I had every intention of participating in the Stay Home Reading Rush Ariel Bissett on YouTube hosted last weekend. Thursday was a no-go because of homework, but I planned on bringing my A-game on Friday and read into Sunday. More on that in my April wrap-up.

Since I am ONE WEEK AWAY from finishing graduate school and my work is still closed, I will be doing a lot more reading at home in the foreseeable future. For the time being, this tag is still relevant.

 

How is your reading going while staying home?

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At first, when this whole quarantine started, not great. It wasn’t what I was expecting it to be. I had so much time on my hands to do homework, but it was hard to focus. Home has too many distractions. My brain is slowly turning to mush because of it. My dormant anxiety has been flaring up unexpectedly; I’m getting emotional and irritable over stupid little things. I feel lonely most days, if I am being honest. Sometimes, TV and YouTube help more than books. In the past couple of weeks, though, I’ve been getting better at reading regularly.

 

Where have you been reading at home?

Most of my reading has been on the sofa in the living room, either first thing in the morning or later in the afternoon.

 

Best book you’ve read during isolation?

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As of writing this, my favorite books I read during isolating are Bloodlines and The Golden Lily, the first two novels in the Bloodlines series by Richelle Mead. Another contender for a favorite is The Winter King by C.L. Wilson.

 

What’s your favorite feel good book?

I’m not good about rereading books, even old favorites that could cheer me up during times of stress. If I really am in a bad mood, I don’t turn to reading. Instead, I watch movies on Disney + or TV shows on Netflix or videos on YouTube.

 

Book you wish you could buy or borrow from the library?

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Because we, thankfully, have the Internet, buying books (shamefully) has not been a major problem. I finally caved and subscribed to Book of the Month. You will see the first book I got from them in my upcoming April book haul. Although, I can’t lie…it’s nice to see commas in my checking account. Not buying a lot of (or any) books each month will certainly keep that going.

Books I wanted to borrow before the quarantine were The Queen’s Assassin by Melissa de la Cruz, This Boy by Lauren Myracle, and Straight on Till Morning by Liz Braswell. I also wanted to re-borrow books I had checked out a while ago, such as Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken and The Wicked and the Wise by Rebecca Podos.

 

Author you want to shout out during this time?

Richelle Mead, for writing such entertaining and binge able books, namely the Bloodlines series. I got way more addicted than I was expecting.

 

What is your Reading Rush TBR?

After failing at loosely participating in both the Reading Rush as well as the Off-the-Grid-a-thon, I managed to finish only one of the books on my TBR. That was Bloodlines by Richelle Mead, though, admittedly, I had already started it prior to either read-a-thon.

 

How has your reading been during this prolonged COVID-19 isolation?

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Popular Books I Haven’t Read Yet

Story of my life….

Despite my best efforts, I don’t always keep up with popular releases. I might buy them during the top of their hype, but more often than not, it will be another year or even longer before I actually read it. All this is usually because my backlist TBR is so long and I feel bad for reading new books when older ones are still waiting. Sometimes, if I opt to get a book from the library, I will manage to read it before the hype wears off.

There are a lot of popular books on my TBR that I have not read yet. 2020 is the year I hope to knock some of these off.

Five popular books I haven’t read yet are:

 

Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

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After I read I Am the Messenger last year, Markus Zusak officially had the potential of becoming a new favorite author. Bridge of Clay came out in 2017 and it had been his first book in over ten years at that point. After its publication, though, I did not hear a lot about it. From what little I did hear about Bridge of Clay, it was not all that enthusiastic. If I recall, Bridge of Clay is about five brothers in rural Australia, supposedly a mystery involving the youngest.

 

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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Yes…I know…I think I had this book on another popular books I hadn’t read yet two years ago….I honestly have no explanation as to why I have not yet felt compelled to read The Hate U Give. I still have not seen the movie, either. 2020 is the year I read The Hate U Give.

 

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

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When Dimple Met Rishi is another beloved young adult novel I still have not read. At the time it was released, I think I was not quite into contemporary as I was into fantasy. But I like the idea of a diverse novel following an arranged marriage between two teenagers with very different ideas about their Indian culture. I recently bought Sandhya Menon’s newest book, Of Curses and Kisses, facing its beautiful cover front and center on my bookshelves. All her other books keep calling to me, but I refuse to read any others until I read When Dimple Met Rishi.

 

What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

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I bought a signed copy of What If It’s Us from Barnes & Noble from a Black Friday sale the same year it came out, if I remember correctly. By that time, I had read History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera, as well as Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli and enjoyed all of them. Unfortunately, What If It’s Us did not get the best feedback, so I am cautiously optimistic.

 

Circe by Madeline Miller

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The only adult fantasy book on this list, Circe was yet another book I had checked out from the library with every intention of reading except I didn’t. I probably would have bought a copy anyway, since I love Greek mythology and I was interested to see what Madeline Miller did with such a minor character like Circe. This is another book I have front and center on my shelves—mostly because it can’t fit anywhere else in the mess—but I am hopeful this book will replace the Bernadette Peters Circe in my head with a new one.

 

Did you read any of these books and what did you think of them?

Books I Will NEVER Reread

As my TBR pile grows each day, I occasionally think about books I still own that I want to reread. Recently, as I started looking through my bookshelves, thinking about books I want to unhaul. I also started thinking about books I could never reread.

The books that I read and ended up not liking are a given. I don’t think I am alone in assuming most people would not reread a book they hated. I mean…if you do, you do you. However, there were books I did like, even loved, when I read them, but distance has made me realize I could never reread them.

Those books are:

 

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

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Ever read a book you loved so much you want other people to read it too? That was the case with me and The Kite Runner. Khaled Hosseini’s writing is utterly beautiful and the story left a mark on me. I thought about rereading it, once, but there were certain things that made me too uncomfortable or angry. Which, of course, I’m sure was the author’s point. Instead, last year, I decided to pass The Kite Runner off to someone else that wants to read it.

 

Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley

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I’ve wanted to reread Pretty Girl-13 because I considered it one of my all-time favorite books. Then, something occurred to me. There is mental illness representation in this book I’m not sure would fly as well in 2020 as it did in 2013. Looking back on it now, it was written in an almost sensational way. I might be wrong, only I don’t want to find out if I am not.

 

The Darkness Rising trilogy by Kelley Armstrong

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Of all the books by Kelley Armstrong that I have read, The Darkness Rising trilogy are ones I never think about. They weren’t terrible; they just weren’t as entertaining to me as The Darkest Powers. The tensions weren’t as high. The motivations of the villains didn’t make any sense. I didn’t connect to the characters. So, yeah, a reread of The Darkness Rising trilogy is not happening.

 

Prey by Lurlene McDaniel

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Prey is another of the books I go back and forth on if I could ever reread it. Considering it covers a relationship between a male high school student and his female teacher, those types of books can be a hit or miss. This book didn’t sensationalize it, but it’s one of those books that make me wonder if I want to go on that emotional roller coaster again.

 

The Darkest Minds trilogy by Alexandra Bracken

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Since the movie adaption of The Darkest Minds came out, I started thinking back to this series. When I first read it, I enjoyed it. Now, once I took time to think about the actions of the characters, particularly Liam and Ruby, all I can think is those little shits. Ruby made some seriously bad decisions, don’t get me wrong, but Liam’s actions during In the Afterlight still piss me off. I might as well not reread the trilogy.

 

What are books you will never reread?

March 2020 Wrap Up

You know the last time I did a single monthly reading wrap-up? I don’t….

Since I started grad school in 2018, I opted to do reading wrap-ups every few months instead of monthly. Between work and school, I was not reading a lot. The only exception has been these past two semesters, when reading was part of the curriculum for a class. I wasn’t reading a lot in summer of 2019, when I was on break from school. Sometimes, after so many hours of school reading, fun reading was impossible. No matter how hard I tried.

I work and go to school in big, well-known cities. I was fully aware that the Coronavirus was happening and people were scared. And I understand why—America has never seen anything like this. I work at an academic library, and the school I worked for had been paying close attention to the updates. Meanwhile, my graduate school stayed informed, but had not made a fuss about it yet. Probably because the school is primarily full of commuters.

Then, three days into my spring break (the week of March 9th), my school sends out a mass email that they are extending the spring break to figure out what they were going to do about the Coronavirus and the rest of the semester. Two days after that, they announced they were going virtual for the rest of the semester, just like the university I work for and a lot of other schools.

The first week of this unexpected quarantine was a hard adjustment. Obviously, the library I work in is also closed and I have no idea when it will reopen. I can’t even go to my local library to study, since they are closed until April 6th. Right now, I am doing the best I can to not get distracted from my schoolwork. I’m also realizing that I can work later and sleep later now—I don’t have to work my schedule around catching a bus.

It’s the little things. Just like books and this blog and this platform.

I read seven books in the month of March. The first three were for my children’s literature class and mentioned in another wrap-up. The rest are here and mostly library books from my library book haul.

The last four books I read in March 2020 were:

 

I Work at a Public Library by Gina Sheridan (library book)

5 stars

I Work at a Public Library: A Collection of Crazy Stories from the Stacks

I checked this one out of my school library (great timing, huh?) after seeing it on a display. It is a collection of stories by a librarian working in a public library. They were laugh out loud funny, some were heartfelt, and all were brutally honest. If you have ever worked in a library, you will appreciate the humor.

 

Coraline graphic novel adaption by Neil Gaiman (library book)

4 stars

Coraline

I watched the movie adaption of Coraline on Netflix a few years ago, without having read the book. This graphic novel is technically also an adaption of the source material, so there were probably things changed to better suit the format here, too. Between the two, though, while I enjoyed the graphic novel of Coraline, it was not as unsettling as the movie. Of course, you can count on Tim Burton to make just about anything terrifying. On the flip side to that, I liked Coraline in the book more than the Coraline in the movie. She was spunky, a quick study, and thought on her feet. The Coraline in the movie was annoying.

 

Doll Bones by Holly Black (library book)

3.75 stars

Doll Bones

Doll Bones was a book I read for a review assignment in my children’s literature class. It’s my first middle grade book by Holly Black that I’ve read. It follows three friends, Zach, Alice, and Poppy, who play a make-believe game of pirates, mermaids, and evil queens with their toys and the china doll sitting in Poppy’s mom’s glass cabinet. When Zach’s asshole dad throws out his toys declaring he “grow up” and then Zach lies to the girls about why he can’t play the game anymore, they manage to convince him to go on one last adventure: to return the ashes of a dead girl inside the china doll to her grave.

I went into Doll Bones with semi-low expectations. While I have liked the books by Holly Black I’ve read so far, nothing has reached 5-star level yet. Doll Bones was a fun and quick read, blurring the lines between fantasy and reality. There were moments where I wasn’t sure if what was happening was real or imaginary. The characters were realistic, though we only get Zach’s point of view in the third person. As for the plot, it was entertaining and made me want to find out what was going to happen next.

 

Break Your Glass Slippers by Amanda Lovelace

4.75 stars

Break Your Glass Slippers (You Are Your Own Fairy Tale, #1)

I preordered Break Your Glass Slippers, something I rarely do. I was in the middle of reading another book, trying to finish it after dragging it out for over a month. But I could not stop thinking about Break Your Glass Slippers. The same day it came in the mail from Amazon, I caved and read it in the next 24 hours.

Break Your Glass Slippers focuses a little bit on toxic romantic relationships like some of Amanda Lovelace’s other poetry collections. But this one is more on toxic friendships, toxic family members, other toxic people, and women building up other women. Mainly, the message of Break Your Glass Slippers is to be your own Fairy Godmother and prince as much as a princess. I loved the stress on women supporting other women and learning to find your own self-worth instead of looking to others for validation. The reason I did not give it a full 5 star rating was because not all the poems hit a nerve or made me feel something compared to the previous one I read this year, To Drink Coffee with a Ghost. Which, if I’m being honest, I will probably compare the rest of her works to for the foreseeable future. Of all Amanda Lovelace’s published books so far, though, Break Your Glass Slippers is the prettiest with the light-blue undertones and starry night endpapers.

 

What did you read in March?

Reading Habits Book Tag

This unneeded quarantine has made me so crazy that I can’t remember if I have done this tag before….Although, my memory is bad anyway. So, never mind.

I saw this book tag on Ariel Bisset’s channel a few days ago. I like talking about bookish things that are not necessarily books. And I have more than ten bookish habits than I mentioned in a previous post. Now, I have another reason to talk about them.

To the tag!

 

Do you have a certain place at home for reading?

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At home, I read mostly in my living room on the sofa. Sometimes, I read in my room at my desk or in my bed. Between all these, the sofa is usually the one I gravitate towards, as my bed makes me sleepy (naturally) and the desk isn’t the most comfortable after a few minutes.

 

Bookmark or random piece of paper?

Bookmarks—paper, magnetic, or metal. Depends on whichever looks better with my current book.

 

Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter/a certain amount of pages?

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I usually take a break from reading a book after a number of chapters, no more than five. Or ten, if the chapters are short. If something is going on around me or I lose focus, then I can just stop reading.

 

Do you eat or drink while reading?

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Only water and occasionally coffee. I would never eat while reading—too many of my books have been damaged that way.

 

Multitasking: music or TV while reading?

The only music I allow when reading is my white noise machine, if I happen to decide to read in my bedroom. As for television, I sometimes read during commercial breaks, with the volume muted. I can also read if someone else in my family is watching TV and I happen to be sitting on the sofa.

 

One book at a time or several at once?

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One at a time; if I try to read more than one, I favor one book over the others and they sit ignored until I get around to them.

 

Reading at home or everywhere?

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I bring a book with me to work or school, mostly as an incentive to take breaks during the day. I try to read on the bus into the city, but more often than not I end up falling asleep. It doesn’t always work, though. So, I do most of my reading at home.

 

Reading out loud or silently in your head?

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Silently in my head, since for me reading in a solitary activity.

 

Do you read ahead or even skip pages?

Yes and yes. Primarily to find out what happens next or to find out how many pages of a chapter/a book are left to read.

 

Breaking the spine or keeping it new?

I am a heathen that breaks the spines of my books and I don’t feel bad about it.

 

Do you write in your books?

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I tag:

Shanah

Rebecca

Grey

Kristin

First Reading Wrap Up of 2020: January & February

It’s been two months since I have posted here on my blog. In that time:

I started my last semester of graduate school.

I’m currently on a now extended spring break because my school is taking precautions against the Coronavirus.

I broke at least two of my reading resolutions. (I’m sure you can guess which ones.)

I beat my Goodreads 2020 reading goal.

I READ 30 BOOKS IN ONE MONTH!

That is due to the children’s literature class I am taking this semester. Those books you will see in a separate reading wrap-up. But I have never read so much in a month.

I am glad to say I started off my 2020 reading year strong. Before school started again, I managed to read five books in January. It is also the month I read 30 books, making it more of a whirlwind than it already was. In February, I read only one book not school related.

In January and February 2020, I read:

 

January

 

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll (reread)

4 stars

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In the days leading up to 2020, I was fussing over what my first read of the year would be. Then, I heard a few people say they started the new year with a reread. I bought Through the Woods, which I read from the library in 2016, to reread at Halloween. That didn’t happen, so I decided to pick up this graphic novel anthology as my first book of 2020.

My rating is the same as it was in 2016. I love Emily Carroll’s art style. I liked all the stories, but I still have the same favorites: “A Lady’s Hands are Cold” with “My Friend Janna” as a close second. I really hope Through the Woods someday gets made into a movie.

 

To Drink Coffee with a Ghost by Amanda Lovelace

5 stars

To Drink Coffee with a Ghost (Things that Haunt, #2)

I already know that my favorite book of the year will be To Drink Coffee with a Ghost. The only book I can imagine topping it is A Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir, the final book in the An Ember in the Ashes series coming out in December. And that is if I read it right away when it comes out. But even that is a hard maybe.

I read Amanda Lovelace’s latest poetry collection in a single night before falling asleep. And I cried my eyes out the whole time. To Drink Coffee with a Ghost focuses on Amanda’s tumultuous relationship with her mother. Almost every single poem hit a nerve. It’s been a while since a book affected me so much. Which means extremely high expectations for Break Your Glass Slippers, coming out March 17th.

 

Sabrina by Nick Drnaso

2 stars

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Sabrina took me for a ride I was bored on the whole time.

I think the author was trying to provide a social criticism, but the execution made no sense. Too many times the plot went off course. Soon it became more about the characters’ life drama than learning what really happened to Sabrina. There isn’t any character development either; none of the characters seem to grow, including the main character, and none of their stories feel resolved in any way. Yet the book was so compulsively readable I had to find out if it got better. Some parts were good, and the author knew when to use dialogue, but I was ultimately disappointed.

 

Look Both Ways by Jason Reynolds

4.25 stars

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Look Both Ways called to me from my shelves, despite the fact it was not on my intended reading list. After reading Long Way Down last semester, my expectations going in were high. I did enjoy this book’s “slice of life” stories, though admittedly I was bored for a chunk of it. Some of the characters, all in middle school, felt more fleshed out than others. Regardless, Jason Reynolds’s writing style was almost perfect.

 

Pet by Akwaeke Emezi

3.5 stars

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Besides Look Both Ways, Pet also called to me from my bookshelves. And it was short, which meant getting ahead in my reading challenge. The concept was just too fascinating: a contemporary-feeling dystopian novel set in a city called Lucille, where no more “monsters” exist. Jam is a transgender girl who accidentally summons a creature called Pet from her mother’s painting with a drop of blood. When Pet tells her there is a monster living inside her best friend Redemption’s house, she agrees to help it find the monster, shattering her reality that Lucille, her whole world, is safe.

The concept behind Pet was really interesting. This book was packed with diversity. I liked how Jam being transgender was not a “thing”; her parents and friends just accepted it. Also, Redemption had three parents and there was a librarian in a wheelchair. Pet was a fascinating element, a frightening creature that was the only thing Jam could trust. However, the writing felt juvenile and it took a while to get to the point. That being said, I would consider picking up more books by Akwaeke Emezi if they write more.

 

February

 

The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan (library book)

2 stars

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I had checked out The Painted Girls twice from the library. I’ve had this saved on Goodreads for so long, I had forgotten about it until I saw it on someone’s blog recently. By no means it is not a long book, yet it took me far too long to get through.

I thought it wasn’t The Painted Girls fault that it was taking me forever to read. I am a graduate student, after all. However, when I was reading it, I lost interest quickly. When I had chances to read it I didn’t want to.

Despite how bored I was while reading The Painted Girls, I did like the writing style and the atmosphere. Unfortunately, the characters were flat, and the plot took forever to get to the point. Not to mention the time jumps that came without warning; those took me out of the story instead of into it. Despite this, I am willing to believe that the timing was bad. Maybe someday I will check The Painted Girls out of the library again to reread one day.

 

What books have you read recently?