2020 Reading Resolutions Check-In

I was ambitious in my reading resolutions for 2020. 2019 had not been the best year in terms of reading—despite a lot of other great things—so I wanted 2020 to make up for it. But I was also in my final semester of graduate school. As you can imagine, there is a lot of reading involved in the field of library and information science. The work was just demanding in general, on top of maneuvering it around a part-time job. I knew I had to practice the best self-care, even if it was watching scary story videos on YouTube instead of reading.

Regardless, I’m checking in on my reading resolutions to figure out which ones I want to carry on with for the rest of 2020. Those reading resolutions were:

 

Set a Goodreads goal of 50 books

COMPLETED

Thanks to my children’s literature class, I read 50 books by March. Initially, I planned on leaving it alone, to just read books without the pressure of reaching a new goal. Then, the quarantine happened and reading suddenly became a struggle with all this new amount of time on my hands. In April, I raised my Goodreads goal to 80 books in hopes competitiveness will spur my reading. As of right now, it has helped. At least somewhat.

 

Read more of the books I own than library books

NOT QUITE…

At this moment in time, 54 out of the 69 books I’ve read this year were library books. About 43 of those library books I read for the children’s literature course. I should have just stuck to those. However, I suddenly became obsessed with obtaining more library books. I needed an excuse to get out of the house when my previous job went into lockdown and school went online. Then, of course, the public library also went into lockdown for the quarantine.

 

Buy books for every 10-20 amount of books I own that I read

FAIL (OBVIOUSLY)

I am not quite sure what I was thinking when I made this resolution. In fact, I had forgotten about it. The majority of the books I read in the first three months of the year were from the library. Even after my enormous birthday splurge in January, I still could not stop shopping for books. I would try not to buy books at all, then buy so many in one go. Can anyone blame me though? I worked near two bookstores.

Fortunately, my bank account will rest easy for the time being. I don’t have the funds for books now, honestly. I joined Book of the Month in April as a graduation present to myself, then cancelled it this month (July). I would have stayed subscribed if I was not unemployed. I do like the service, regardless of the current controversy.

 

Complete the series on my priority TBR pile

NOT YET COMPLETED

I plan on finishing this before the end of the year. I put off the series I started and books I was excited for to focus on school. Now, I no longer have the distraction. In fact, I’m in need of a distraction. Until I get a job, I have all the time in the world to take a hammer to my TBR pile.

 

Get back into writing book reviews, monthly wrap-ups and TBRs

Book reviews: nope

Wrap-ups: yes

TBRs: yes

Between the COVID-19 lockdown and my school/work schedule, I did manage to squeeze in writing monthly TBRs and wrap-ups. On the book review front, I wrote one individual book review in the past six months. The rest? I guess I did not have a lot to say about them. Hopefully, that changes in the coming months.

 

Stick to reading lists, but be flexible

YES…AND NO

Regarding this one, I would manage to select books, but change my mind constantly throughout the month. This is nothing new. Like in previous years, I would go to the library and borrow too many library books because I was trying to stop myself from buying more. With my owned TBR books, I thought I settled on what I wanted to read next, then I would change my mind later. It goes on.

After the recent Black Lives Matter movements, I grabbed unread books I own by Black authors. It was the first time I felt truly grounded in a TBR pile. This then spurred me to make a reading list I hope to complete by the end of 2020. I am finally happy with what I want to read next. I am positive it will stay that way for the rest of the year.

 

Reread books

YES

So far, I’ve reread seven books in 2020. I started my reading year with a reread. I had heard people saying starting the new year picking up an old favorite spurs their reading on. They were right.

There were also a few picture books my dad read to me as a little girl, like Madeline, that I read again in my children’s literature class. I reread The Boxcar Children, my favorite book in elementary school, for that class as well. In May, I reread two books, A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes, when I fell into a reading slump. Those books helped me out of it.

Will I continue this for the rest of the year? The only book I want to reread now is The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand. Only in December, close to Christmas.

 

Read before bed

SOMETIMES…

I thought reading before bed might help me sleep. Without having to get up super early in the morning to go to work or school, I was having trouble falling asleep at night. Turns out, I have to be careful what I read before bed. If I read something particularly sad or exciting, I cannot fall asleep. I still read before bed, on and off. I want to be more consistent, though.

 

Read all library books borrowed and not take out so many at a time

DO YOU HAVE TO ASK? FAIL

After my school and work went into quarantine, I checked out over 40 library books. These were all books I wanted to read. Being home more, I thought I would have time to read. Technically, I did have time to read—I just wasn’t making it. Eventually, it became hard to concentrate on anything not schoolwork. As usual, I made my way through some of the library books, but could not bring myself to read them all. Then, I proceeded to get more. This time around, though, I have an amount I know I can reasonably get through.

 

Unhaul books

NOT COMPLETED (BUT IT’S NOT MY FAULT)

I had every intention of doing another unhaul this year. My school was already hosting a book drive when they suddenly closed for quarantine. The local library isn’t accepting donations right now, either. But I have a list of books I want to donate once I’m able to.

 

Do a blog series

FAIL

For the past few months, I was absorbed in school. It sucked up my creativity; a lot of ideas died during brainstorming. I might do one later this year…maybe?

How did you do on your reading goals so far for 2020?

What am I Going to Read in July of 2020?

Ever get so excited to read, you want to read all the books yet can’t focus on anything?

Yeah, that’s me, right now.

There are a lot of books I own that I want to read in 2020. However, I’m going stir crazy stuck inside my house all day. My local library has entered Phase 2, where we are allowed place holds and pick them up. I know I should not. My books at home are being ignored. But there are a few library books I checked out before the quarantine that I want to finish. And I’m having a hard time focusing on reading my TBR books. When I fall into a reading funk like that, usually library books are the only thing that can get me out of it.

I really want to challenge my reading in July. I am still unemployed, with nowhere to go and nothing else to do. I debated on whether to raise my goal on Goodreads as a way to motivate myself to read. We will see what happens in July.

Here are books I want to read in July 2020:

 

Currently Reading

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

41154268  27071490

I picked up both of these books in the middle of June, only to put them back down again. I made it to the middle of With the Fire on High, then stopped. I honestly don’t know why, because I liked what I read. At this point, my lack of enjoyment of With the Fire on High is probably all on me.

The same can be said for Homegoing. At this moment, I am 59 pages in and have not read anymore since. Hopefully, in July, I will finish both of these.

 

Library Books

The Fiery Heart, Silver Shadows, and The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead

9833184 8709524 8709528

The last three books in the Bloodlines series are remainders from my pre-lockdown library book haul and the only ones from that haul I still wanted to read. I started reading The Fiery Heart right before I was hit with this reading slump at the end of May. I felt compelled to set the series aside in favor of others, but I do want to finish the Bloodlines series. The books are fun.

 

Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer

40046030

I’ve had Echo North on my radar for a while. It’s a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, where the beast character is a wolf. When she discovers her father being held captive by a wolf, a girl named Echo makes a deal with the wolf to live in his enchanted house for a year. As she explores the house, she finds secrets lurking inside the library, along with a mysterious boy trapped inside a world of mirrors. To save herself, the wolf, and the boy, Echo must solve the mystery behind the wolf’s enchantment.

 

The Dragons, the Giant, the Women: a Memoir by Wayetu Moore

50870505. sx318 sy475

The Dragons, the Giant, the Women is the one that started the new library book haul after I saw an advertisement for it on my library’s website. This book covers the war in Liberia, a part of history I know little about. It then leads into the author’s experience growing up in the United States as an immigrant and a Black woman in Texas. If I want to be educated on such a topic, nonfiction seems the best way to go.

 

Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman

45303582. sy475

I forgot I had Snow, Glass, Apples saved on my library account. Since I like to read graphic novels when I’m in a “reading funk” as I call them—not quite a slump, though close to it—I reach for graphic novels. Snow, Glass, Apples is a retelling of Snow White where the wicked stepmother is actually a good queen and Snow White is the villain. Let’s see what Neil Gaiman does with this.

 

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

7507944. sy475

I had Akata Witch saved on my library account, intending to read it eventually. After more than one of my frequently watched BookTubers talked about it, I figured it was a sign from the universe to read this young adult fantasy novel about a magical school in Nigeria and gifted teenagers looking for a child murderer.

 

TBR Books

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Pride by Ibi Zoboi

Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert

32075671. sy475 35068632. sy475 25062038. sy475

I am way behind on the hype train for The Hate U Give, but after reading Dear Martin by Nic Stone, I need more educational fiction on police brutality. Little & Lion I had meant to read for Pride month, but I got held up by other things. Pride is a retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice set in modern-day Brooklyn. I will read either Akata Witch or one of these books for the Off-the-Grid-read-a-thon Shanah is hosting later this month.

 

A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

Thunderhead and The Toll by Neal Shusterman

Fierce Like a Firestorm by Lana Popovic

Smoke in the Sun by Renee Ahdieh

30809786. sy475 Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe, #2)  43822024

26157983. sy475   36010223. sy475

These are five out of the fifteen books I need to read before the end of 2020. All of them have been on my TBR for too long.

 

Amber & Dusk and Diamond & Dawn by Lyra Selene

Amber & Dusk (Amber & Dusk, #1)  43813884. sy475

There were a lot of books on my shelves that were calling to me in a way I could not ignore. Amber & Dusk along with its sequel Diamond & Dawn were two of them. Sylvie is a gifted illusionist, an ability her guardians called a curse. To put her talents to good use and get out of her situation, she changes her name Mirage and, under orders from the empress, infiltrates the royal court to claim her supposed rightful spot in their ranks. I like fantasy books with intrigue, especially with a main character that appears to lean more towards Slytherin. Haven’t heard anything about Amber & Dusk, since its release, so let’s see how this goes.

 

Any ambitious reading plans for the second half of 2020?

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.

Joe Biden Period GIF

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.

Talk Show Radio GIF by WNYC

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.

Netflix GIF

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.

bob greenberg GIF by The Webby Awards

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.

youtube falling GIF by SoulPancake

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.

studying high school GIF

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.

book GIF

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.

lisa simpson episode 6 GIF

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:

17285330 36301023 29283884. sy475 44557918 37880094 30375937. sx318 37539001 30312891. sy475 13541056. sy475

36341204. sy475 18079576 22817331. sy475   22817368

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.

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?

Mtv Awards 2019 Whatever GIF by MTV Movie & TV Awards

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?

10485751 8709527 8709523

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?

yosemite sam books GIF

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

7767276. sx318

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

32075671. sy475

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

28458598

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

36341204. sy475

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

35959740. sy475

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

77203. sy475

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

13450398

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

7896345  11765920. sy475   11864728

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

1036302

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

10576365  16150830  16150831

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?

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

18659623

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

37533587. sx318

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

45493566. sy475

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

38612739

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

16138688

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?

50 Bookish Questions

I love talking about books (obviously). I love book tags. I love answering questions about books. That is why, when I saw this tag on Sahi’s blog a few weeks ago, I knew I was going to do it even if she hadn’t tagged me.

This one is going to be a long one, so let’s get right to it!

 

What was the last book you read?

153540

At the time I am writing this post, the last book I read was The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton. I had to read it for my children’s literature class.

 

Was it a good one?

I liked it.

 

What made it good?

Cute drawings and a beautiful color palette, with an important social message, I think.

Would you recommend it to other people?

Yes, but only to those who enjoy children’s picture books.

 

How often do you read?

I try to read at least 20 to 30 pages a day. There were times (like right now) I went several days without reading. Usually, though, I don’t last longer than a day.

 

Do you like to read?

Is water wet?

What was the last bad book you read?

37533587. sx318

Sabrina by Nick Drnaso

 

What made you dislike it?

There was no character development and a one-dimensional plot.

Do you wish to be a writer?

Yes. I want to get back into creative writing in 2020. I even have a notebook set aside to write story ideas.

 

Has any book ever influenced you greatly?

30075802

Most of the books I read influence me, to a certain extent. Two examples include The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace, a book that empowered me when I did not feel powerful, and Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume, inspired me to start writing.

 

Do you read fan fiction?

Not as much as I used to. I was more into it during high school until college, eventually only going back to read really smutty ones when I was bored.

 

Do you write fan fiction?

I did in middle school, I think.

 

What is your favorite book?

36297097

I do not have a specific favorite book. For the sake of the question, though, I will say my favorite book that I have read so far in 2020 is To Drink Coffee with a Ghost by Amanda Lovelace.

 

What is your least favorite book?

28664911

A surprisingly easy answer: Woman of God by James Patterson.

 

Do you prefer physical books or reading on a device (like Kindle)?

I exclusively read physical books. Too much screen time makes me feel nauseous.

 

When did you learn to read?

According to my dad, when I asked him for an assignment last semester, when I was one year old I was pretending to read. But when I actually learned to read, it was probably around five years old.

 

What is your favorite book you had to read in school?

The Age of Innocence      4671. sy475     92303      33294200. sy475

I enjoyed most of the required reading I did in school. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton….The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald….The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde….The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo….Those are the first ones I thought of, but there are a lot.

 

What is your favorite book series?

33784373      7171637. sy475     27774758. sy475

Ummm…I don’t have a single favorite series. Who does? My current top three favorite series are Stalking Jack the Ripper series by Kerri Maniscalco, The Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare, and An Ember in the Ashes series by Sabaa Tahir.

 

Who is your favorite author?

Again, how do you pick just one? Off the top of my head, a few of my favorite authors are Kerri Maniscalco, Sabaa Tahir, Renee Ahdieh, Cassandra Clare, Cynthia Hand, Laurie Halse Anderson, Robert Galbraith, Markus Zusak….

 

What is your favorite genre?

My favorite genre is fantasy, both adult and young adult.

 

Who is your favorite character from a series?

A recent new favorite character is Xiomara from The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo. She is a strong-willed girl that tries to hide her vulnerable side because the people around her just won’t get it, or at least she thinks most of them won’t. I felt so much for her and I identified with her.

 

Has a book ever transported you somewhere else?

It’s easy for me to get lost in a book, unless I am distracted.

 

Which book do you wish had a sequel?

36626748. sy475

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager, though I’m not sure how the plot would work out. The twist revealed at the end of this book has potential of being another good psychological thriller, depending on how the author chooses to go about it.

 

Which book do you wish DIDN’T have a sequel?

29430824. sy475

Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes, the companion to You, should not exist.

 

How long does it take you to read a book?

It depends on a bunch of different factors. If I have a lot going on, I sometimes don’t have the energy to read. In those cases, it would take me longer than a week to finish a book. It also depends on page count; longer books, 500 and up, tend to take a while for me to get through, even if I do not have much going on.

 

Do you like when books become movies?

If it is done right.

Which book was ruined by its movie adaption?

Divergent (Divergent, #1)

Divergent by Veronica Roth, no question.

Which movie has done the book justice?

22628

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, a movie I dare say I liked more than its source material.

 

Do you read newspapers?

Not as much as I should.

Do you read magazines?

Nope, I find them boring.

Do you prefer newspapers or magazines?

Neither.

 

Do you read while in bed?

Yes, I have gotten back into reading before bed, although I lapsed after starting the new semester.

 

Do you read on the toilet?

Ummm…no.

 

Do you read while in the car?

Does reading on a bus count? If not, no, I don’t read while in the car. I don’t know how to drive, so I am always the passenger looking out the window. On the bus, I will read if I am awake and the lighting allows it.

 

Do you read while in the bath?

If I had a bathtub or owned any kind of fancy bath products, I might. I don’t read in the shower, either. I don’t wear my glasses and I would hate to get my book wet.

 

Are you a fast reader?

I consider myself a fast reader, for the most part. Although sometimes maintaining my focus is hard.

 

Are you a slow reader?

Sometimes, if I’m struggling to focus or I’m not that invested in a book.

 

Where is your favorite place to read?

My living room couch.

 

Is it hard for you to concentrate when you read?

If there are too many distractions or I am just not in a good headspace at the moment, then I do have a hard time concentrating on reading. But if a book is really good, I can usually mentally block out noise around me.

 

Do you need a room to be silent when you read?

Not necessarily. If I am reading in my bedroom, I prefer to have my white noise machine on. I have managed to focus on reading in other noisier situations as well. Although, now I’m thinking about it, I might prefer silence.

 

Who gave you your love for reading?

My dad, who read bedtime stories every night when I was a child, and my aunt, who is a librarian and continued to encourage me to read while my parents wanted me to do more “normal” kid things.

 

What book is next on your list to read?

16138688

Right now, I am currently reading The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan. While I am working my way through that, I will pick up the next books I need to read for my children’s literature class from the library.

 

When did you start to read chapter books?

Third grade.

Who is your favorite children’s author?

J.K. Rowling or Rick Riordan.

Which author would you most want to interview?

Carlos Ruiz Zafon seems like he would be interesting to talk to.

Which author do you think you would be friends with?

Christine Ricco of Polandbananasbooks on YouTube and the author of Again, But Better. She’s out loud quirky and I love those kinds of people. I think our respective energy would feed off each other.

 

What book have you reread the most?

693208

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, a book I have read at least three times.

 

Which books do you consider “classics?”

Books that have already been labeled “classics” are the books I think of as classics. Though Harry Potter is a good contender for this title.

 

Which books do you think should be taught in every school?

22552026. sy475   17237214  39280444

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds, Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan, and Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.

 

Which books should be banned from all schools?

NO BANNING BOOKS! PERIOD!

I tag…EVERYONE!

Would you ever ban a book from a school? If so, which one?

(POST AT YOUR OWN RISK!)