Tuesday, December 01, 2015

#AMonthofFaves: My Reading Year, 2015

For this first day of #AMonthofFaves we're taking a look at our reading year in general. Discuss whatever moves you, but don't forget to visit the other two hosts of this event: Tanya Patrice from Girlxoxo.com and Tamara from TravelingWithT.com! 

What a reading year indeed. This seems like the year of the slump for myself and for many other bloggers I know. At times I had trouble sitting down to read at all, though I know that's more of a "too-much-going-on" thing than a lack of desire to read. With a kiddo in kindergarten, some job woes, and online teaching, not to mention extracurricular writing, I found myself bookless far more than I would've liked. 

However, I still managed to read some amazing, memorable, meaningful books this year. Rather than reading steadily, I found that on the weekends that weren't so busy I might gulp down one, two, or even three books. It was truly a year of fits and starts, but if it's reading, I'll take it. 

There were some projects that really helped me get back into the swing of reading. Specifically, the #15in31 challenge I posed for myself in October was amazing. I managed to read 12 books in 31 days which is A LOT more than I would normally read. I suspect I'll issue more of these challenges to myself going forward. Basically, it's just a great jolt of reading mojo.

Image by CapriciousReader.com
On the whole, this was a year of free range reading. Whatever struck my fancy was what I rolled with: comics, literary fiction, memoir, travel, even business. There's a little bit of everything, and I like that. 

How has 2015 shaped up for you?

Link up your own post below:

Monday, November 30, 2015

#PotterBinge: Non-Spoiler Reactions to Chamber of Secrets

Chamber of Secrets is the only Harry Potter book I've never re-read. Well, until now. Why did I not re-read it until now? I dunno. For some reason it hasn't stood out in my mind quite the way the other books have, but upon re-read there is plenty to appreciate.

  • Hagrid back story. His love of animals is so endearing, though often wreaking havoc with his life and career. 
  • Lucius Malfoy is just the biggest ass around. 
  • Dobby. He's always super endearing, but this lays the ground work for SO MUCH that is to come, and re-reading it, that really hit home. 
  • Furthermore, my dog looks like Dobby, but she's not a very good house elf. Never cleans a thing.
  • The part of I was most looking forward to re-reading in this book was Nearly Headless Nick's Death Day Party. A gross delight. 
  • I'd forgotten Ginny Weasley's part in this book. Such a central character and so much foreshadowing. 
  • Harry, you're a bit of a dolt sometimes. PAY ATTENTION AND TELL THE TRUTH, MAN.
  • Car-as-hero. Love that anthropomorphism, though that doesn't seem the right term. It's the best I've got. 
  • I love the cover on the edition I have because it highlights The Burrow. I would give all my galleons to explore that place. I'd even help throw the gnomes out of the yard. 
  • Gilderoy Lockhart annoys me more than almost any character in literature.
  • Any time I read about Molly Weasley in these early books, the more excited I am that she gets to kick some ass in the later volumes. 
  • Also, Arthur Weasley is not to be fucked with. 
  • The little details always thrill and delight me. The description of Mandrakes and their maturation process is AMAZING.

It's not too late to join the #Potterbinge! It's a free-range reading of all the HP books from November 1, 2015 to January 31 of 2016. There's still plenty of time! 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Reading My Own Damn Books

Hello there, whirlwind weekend! I'm kinda glad you're coming to an end because you make a regular week look like tea and cookies.

A whole lot of Thanksgiving travel happened, and a whole lot of housework, grading, and writing happened, but let's hop straight to the book talk, shall we?

After much Christmas decorating yesterday, house clutter started bothering me, so I culled my books and did scads of rearranging shelves. I've had it in my mind that I want to focus more on my own TBR in 2016, so I got to work. I tossed books that I've lost interest in or set aside half-finished that I don't really want to finish. I tossed books that I was holding onto out of some sort of reviewer's guilt.

After I cleaned out my shelves, I decided to...da-duhmmmm....count how many physical books are in my house. Grand total: 210. Not as bad as it could be, but that's only physical books, as I said, and not the ebook stash. I don't even want to talk about that.

So the plan for 2016? #ReadtheDamnBooksYouAlreadyOwn is a hashtag that started thanks to a Twitter discussion...as most things do. When I mentioned wanting to shop my own book stash in the coming year, Adam from Roof Beam Reader suggested his long-running TBR Pile Challenge, but as it turns out, he won't be hosting it this year. I've failed miserably at this challenge in the past, so I was already a bit weary.

Several trusted blogger friends on Twitter suggested some alternative challenges like James Reads Books' final TBR Triple Dog Dare or My Reader's Block's Mount TBR 2016 Challenge. But....I kinda don't want to deal with any rules but my own.

The result: #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks. I'll be using this hashtag to talk about this personal challenge throughout the year. The rules are pretty nonexistent....

  • Read my own books
  • Try to knock off 100 in 2016 by either reading them or ditching the ones that are DNF
  • I can't buyyyy myself any books until I've read a significant amount of my own. Like maybe I can treat myself for every 5-10 of my own books I read. I'll be fairly flexible with this and see where my guilt leads me. 
  • If I'm itching for newness...use the library. Even if it's the shitty local one. 
I look at my shelves and there are SO MANY GREAT BOOKS waiting! And the ones that aren't great...be-gone-ya. The pic above is not all of my TBR, but it is the biggest chunk, nicely culled and organized. 

I'm a big believer in keeping a manageable amount of things in the house, and when you live in a small house, the culling, cleaning out, and only keeping what you really need is IMPORTANT. Clutter messes with my head...a lot...so this is also an attempt to keep what I really love instead of collecting, collecting, collecting. 

Wish me luck with #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks! If you'd like to join me, feel free to link up below. This is TOTALLY a choose-your-own-adventure, so don't feel beholden to my rules. You do you and holler with the hashtag on Twitter! 
Images by Freepik