Tag Archives: book blog

May TBR (Lots of Readathons!) and Musings

For the past few months, with everything going on in the world, I’ve been finding it more helpful to mood-read rather than to set TBRs. Reading has been an incredible source of stress relief, particularly as it’s been a cold and rainy spring, and leaving my apartment to walk or hike in a non-crowded area isn’t always possible. And I’d like to continue to focus on reading as a source of distraction as we shift into May and uncertainty regarding when and if regulations will start to relax in different parts of the country.

For the past month or so, I’ve been working part-time; I work in the healthcare field, and where I work we’re still seeing emergent and urgent patients but not routine ones, so the majority of our staff has been furloughed temporarily. I’m lucky to still have a job, even if it’s only part-time, and eventually, once social distancing recommendations start to relax, things will become extremely busy as we build our patient schedules back up. For that reason, May is a bit nebulous, and I’m not really sure what to expect: I might be working relatively little the first two weeks and working overtime the next two, but I might not. I was thinking that having some structure and plans for my reading life might help counterbalance the uncertainty in my professional life; I could be wrong, and relapse into mood-reading again, but I think that some readathons sound great right about now.

So, what readathons are happening in May?

First of all, there’s the Medievalathon, hosted by Holly Hearts Books, which is structured similarly to the O.W.L.s readathon I participated in in April, where you read books that count toward specific tasks, and those tasks translate into imaginary attributes. With Medievalathon, you’re reading to outfit yourself with Middle Ages garb, weaponry, and an animal companion, as well as challenging yourself to read as many books as possible to attain a higher rank, up to Emperor/Empress. For me, this type of readathon works as sort of a fun aside to my reading; I rarely would pick up a book purposely to fulfill a prompt, but I enjoy seeing how books I’ve read fit into the categories as my reading progresses throughout the month.

Then there’s Tome Topple, hosted by Sam at Thoughts on Tomes,  one of my favorite readathons to participate in, where your goal is to read books over 500 pages long over the course of 2 weeks. I think, like with the last round of Tome Topple that I participated in in Feb, I’d like to aim to read one YA tome (Kingsbane by Claire Legrand) and one adult tome (Possession by A. S. Byatt), although it’s possible I may also try to read Aurora Burning by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman (in which I’d also probably re-read Aurora Rising, the first book in that series, which does not count for the readathon. We’ll see.)

Kingsbane (Empirium, #2)Possession (Definitely)

Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle #1)Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle #2) (maybe)

I tend to have good success with Tome Topple; it’s a great motivator for me to pick up some of my more giant books that might otherwise seem intimidating. Tome Topple lasts from May 9-22.

I’m also planning on participating in Bout of Books, a week-long readathon that always tends to boost my reading productivity. I won’t be setting a specific TBR for that one until closer to its start date.

Grab button for Bout of Books

The Bout of Books readathon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It’s a weeklong readathon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 11th and runs through Sunday, May 17th in YOUR time zone. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are daily challenges, Twitter chats, and exclusive Instagram challenges, but they’re all completely optional. For Bout of Books 28 information and updates, visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

And then I’m also setting a challenge for myself that’s not exactly a specific readathon: I want to try to read as many of my Book of the Month books as possible in May. It’s not because I’m necessarily overwhelmed at being behind on my picks, but just because there are a lot of them that I’m extremely excited about and am kicking myself for not having read yet. I’m definitely planning to read Normal People by Sally Rooney and Beach Read by Emily Henry, but I’ll probably try to pick up a few more as well, depending on how the month is going.

Normal PeopleBeach Read (Definitely)

Gods of Jade and ShadowQueenieTrick Mirror: Reflections on Self-DelusionWriters & Lovers (maybe)

 

I hope that everyone is doing okay, and staying safe, and I’m sending good thoughts to you all. Let me know in the comments if any of you are joining in on all of the May readathons.

2019: My Reading Year in Review and Stats

We’re a quarter of the way into 2020, which means it’s the perfect time for my 2019 reading wrap-up. I always like to organize a recap of my reading year with some statistics, lists, and final thoughts, and I didn’t want to let a little lateness stop me. Looking back on my reading helps me to better plan reading goals and plans for the future, and if nothing else I also just find it interesting to see how my reading breaks down in different categories.

So here are some stats/fun facts:

Total books read: 103

Total pages read: 32,900

Average rating: 3.9 stars

Shortest book read: Emergency Skin by N. K. Jemisin (33 pages)

Longest book read: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas (re-read) (699 pages)

Average book length: 319 pages

Most popular book (based on Goodreads data): Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris (re-read)

Least popular book (based on Goodreads data): Bloodlust & Bonnets by Emily McGovern

 

Top 10 books of 2019:

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

How Long ‘Til Black Future Month? by N. K. Jemisin

Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood

Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss

The Mother of All Questions by Rebecca Solnit

Sapphire Flames by Ilona Andrews

 

And now for some charts breaking down my reading:

 

Adult vs. YA:

Author breakdown by gender:

Format:

 

Genre:

 

Release year:

 

Longest Reads (new to me)
Children of Blood and Bone 525 pages
Aurora Rising 470 pages
Rage 460 pages
Ninth House 458 pages
Gideon the Ninth 448 pages

March Reading Wrap-Up/Discussion

First of all, I really hope that everyone is safe and healthy, and I’m sending all of you bookish friends a lot of love. I know that this month has been difficult and scary, and I always want this corner of the bookish internet to be a place for us to celebrate our love of reading, in both good times and bad.

It would be a lie to say that everything going on hasn’t affected my reading life the way that it’s affected everything else; of course it has. I’m currently working part time; I work in the healthcare field, so it’s an essential service, but routine visits are being postponed at this time. Despite the fact that I’m working less, I’m not necessarily reading more–I’m doing more work outside of work than I usually do, talking and Facetiming with friends and family more, and I’m also finding it harder to concentrate. I think I DNF’d at least 3 books this month either because they couldn’t hold my attention, were too dark, or I didn’t think I’d rate them highly enough to be worth continuing; I’m finding that my DNF threshold is very low right now, because I only want to read books that are a good distraction and are easy to follow.

What has been working for me genre-wise has been romance, contemporary YA, and fantasy; almost all of my books from this month (and probably for next month too, since I’ve got several going right now) fit into those categories. Familiar authors are also comforting; I was grateful that Alisha Rai and Sarah J. Maas had new releases or ARCs that I was able to dive into. I was able to finish six books this month and I rated all of those 4 stars or above; I’m very grateful to have found some very good and comforting reads in the last few weeks. I hope that you all have too.

Stats:

Books finished: 6

ARCs: 2

Audiobooks: 2

What Shines from It by Sara RauchSolitaire by Alice OsemanHouse of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. MaasGirl Gone Viral by Alisha RaiThey Both Die at the End by Adam SilveraThe Wallflower Wager by Tessa Dare

Reviews:

What Shines From It by Sara Rauch (4.5 stars) – A fantastic short story collection focusing on fractured or fracturing relationships and incredibly human characters. The stories are thoughtful and beautifully written, and they stayed with me long after I finished reading them; check out my full review here. I received an ARC of What Shines From It from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai (4.5 stars) – I absolutely loved this contemporary romance featuring strong friendships and family bonds, discussion of mental health issues, and two sweet main characters. Check out my full review here; I received an eARC of Girl Gone Viral from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Crescent City: House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas (4 stars) – It’s hard to review a book that I was anticipating for so long. I’m a huge fan of Maas’s A Court of Thorns and Roses series, but I could never get into her YA series, Throne of Glass, but from what I know of both series Crescent City does retread some familiar ground, particularly in regard to characterization. It’s also definitely too long, which I wouldn’t have minded if it was also a bit better, but there were also things I did really enjoy about it. I might do a long, spoilery review involving a pro/con list later on, but essentially, I felt it was a fun read with some characters that I really loved, a beautiful female friendship at its heart, and hints of intrigue to come.

Solitaire by Alice Oseman (4 stars) – A well-written, character-focused contemporary YA from the author of Radio Silence, which I loved. This is Oseman’s first novel, but doesn’t read like it–it has both humor and emotional depth, but it’s the characters that really shine.

The Wallflower Wager by Tessa Dare (4 stars) – Historical romance is still a new-to-me genre, but what everyone I talk to seems to agree on is that Tessa Dare is a must-read author. With The Wallflower Wager, I understood why–this book is fun but also packs emotional punches, and it’s light without ever feeling inconsequential. It’s the perfect book to pick up if you need assurances that a happy ending is around the corner.

They Both Died at the End by Adam Silvera (4 stars) – YA contemporary, with a twist: a service called DeathCast calls you just after midnight on the day you’re going to die, and although there’s nothing you can do about it, you’re then able to live out your last day to the fullest. In the case of protagonists Rufus and Mateo, they decide to use the Last Friend app, which matches you with another person fated to die so that the two of you can spend your day together. It’s a well-written book, poignant without being overly sappy, and features a really lovely relationship that’s totally believable despite its day-long time frame.

 

What books worked best for you this month? Are there certain authors or genres you find yourself drawn to lately? And how are you guys doing with everything? Let me know in the comments.