Tag Archives: reading

Bout of Books Day 6: Updates and Mini-Challenge

My week has ended up being absolutely nuts, and I’m so glad that I’ve had such great books to look forward to to help keep me sane. On Saturday, I finally was able to make it to the library to restock on books for the weekend–I went into the challenge with too little preparation and didn’t expect to read as much as I have been. Next time, I’m definitely going to prepare better and make a stack of books ahead of time! At the library, I checked out:

I read Enclave by Ann Aguirre earlier in this challenge, and a dark, fast-paced YA dystopia was a really great genre to go with–so I got both sequels to check out. Enclave takes place mainly in the tunnels of the subway in post-apocalyptic New York City; it’s a closely written novel with a suffocating, immutable society of people at its heart that rapidly expands toward the end when the main character finally is expelled to the surface. I was skeptical of Outpost because it begins in a very different setting: a walled town that has reverted to pre-modern ways in order to protect itself from the damage done by the past, and where the characters I loved in Enclave have a hard time fitting in due to their violent ways. I read the first hundred pages of Outpost on Day 6, and was pleasantly surprised that the new premise is still working really well.

I also finished Saga: Volume 5 on Day 6! This brings the number of completed tasks for Book Riot’s 2016 Read Harder Challenge up to 3, and it’s only the beginning of January. This next installment of Saga was absolutely fantastic–if you’re skeptical of graphic novels, like I used to be, I’d highly recommend this series as a starting point. It has humor, emotion, creativity, and beautiful artwork. I had actually really disliked the fourth volume, but Volume 5 brought it back to the amazingness I was used to, and now I’m anxious for Volume 6.

Mini-Challenge: The Comfy Reading Spot

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For this mini-challenge hosted by Once Upon a Chapter, here’s my comfy reading spot! When it’s not warm enough to read outside in the sunshine or on a beach, and not cold enough to read in a hot bath, I like to read curled up on my couch.

I’m loving this reading challenge and excited for Day 7.

Most Anticipated Books of 2016

I’m still going strong with Bout of Books (despite the fact that this week has been absolutely insane!), but I’m taking a brief pause with the updates for a very important post that I need to make before we get too far into the new year: my most anticipated books of 2016! I feel like there are fewer books that I genuinely can’t wait for this year compared to last year, but there are still a decent number of books that I am ridiculously excited for. Here they are!

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders (out on Jan 26th)- I discovered io9.com a few years ago, and it’s become a major source of science fiction and fantasy book recommendations for me, thanks to editor-in-chief Charlie Jane Anders. I haven’t read any of her fiction yet, but this book sounds like an intriguing and relevant hybrid of genres centered on best friends whose paths have been divided into magic and technology and who have to reunite to help alter their world.

The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin (out on Aug 16) – N.K. Jemisin is one of my absolute favorite fantasy authors. She’s unique, and her books have immense emotional power as well as unfathomably impressive worldbuilding. Her book The Fifth Season was one of my favorites of 2015, and since its first sentence announced the end of the world, I’m anxious to see how its sequel will explain and expand on the apocalypse. It’s hard to discuss this one without revealing spoilers, but I’m especially excited to see how she handles what will hopefully be an expanded role for the rock/human beings we met in the first volume of the trilogy.

Mr. Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt (published January 5th) – Samantha Hunt is being compared to Kelly Link, one of my favorite writers, for her new novel, which sounds like a combination of ghost story and family saga with dual narratives. I’m a huge sucker for genre-benders, and can’t wait to see if this is as unique as I hope it will be.

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (out on May 3rd) – this is the sequel to last year’s A Court of Thorns and Roses, a mishmash of fairy-tale retelling and fae lore that I had no idea I would enjoy so much. To summarize (SPOILER ALERT) Feyre, a huntress who detests the fae for what they’ve done to the human lands, falls for Tamlin, a fae lord, without meaning to, and then ends up rescuing him from an evil queen. In doing so, she strikes a bargain with the mysterious fae lord Rhysand, who was probably the most entertaining part of the first book–and who, it seems, is going to feature heavily in book 2. I’m thinking love triangle? I love a good YA love triangle…I know a lot of people are tired of them, but when they’re done well, it’s a huge guilty pleasure for me.

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (out on September 22nd, no cover yet) – why isn’t this book out sooner??? Six of Crows was one of the most ridiculously fun YA books I’ve read in years, and it ended on a huge cliffhanger. While I love each of the six central characters, I really can’t wait to hear more from emotionally damaged, brilliant Kaz, leader of their criminal team.

Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews (out on September 27th, no cover  yet) – apparently September is going to be an awesome reading month! Kate Daniels is one of my favorite series, and this ninth volume is going to be the crescendo leading up to what I can only anticipate will be a monumental showdown in book 10 between Kate and her godlike father, Roland. Andrews’ characters are realistic and likable in the face of a hostile world torn between magic and technology, and Kate and Curran have become one of my all-time favorite book couples for their unwavering support of each other.

I’m sure there are more amazing books coming out this  year, but these are the ones I’m currently obsessing over. What are you most excited to read in 2016?

Bout of Books Day 3 Update and Mini-Challenge

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It’s Day 3 of Bout of Books and, even though in my last post I mentioned that I was attempting to avoid the library and knock books off of my TBR pile instead, I did hit the library today. (Oops.) I was looking for Volume 5 of Saga, and was extremely disappointed that it wasn’t there even though the library web site promised me it was–I hate it when that happens! So I requested it and hopefully it’ll be in before the challenge ends.
To help cope with my disappointment in not finding Saga, I checked out this YA book that was recommended to me by an author I follow on Goodreads:
Enclave (Razorland, #1)
It’s a dark, post-apocalyptic type of read, which I haven’t read in awhile and definitely fits my reading mood. So far I really like the gritty tone and the protagonist, although I hate that her name is Deuce. Seriously? Deuce? The author couldn’t have picked literally any other name at all?
Mini-Challenge 3: Rainbows!
For this challenge, I made a book rainbow with a few of my more colorful book covers:
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For part 2 of the challenge, here’s an acrostic of ROYGBIV with some of my favorite authors (except for Banana Yoshimoto–I haven’t read anything by her yet, but I’m really interested in her book The Lake, which sounds intriguing.).
R – Rowell, Rainbow
O – Orwell, George
Y – Yoshimoto, Banana
G – Gaiman, Neil
B – Byrne, Monica
I – Ishiguro, Kazuo
V – Vandermeer, Jeff
Happy reading to everyone!

Bout of Books Day 2 Update and Mini-Challenge

It’s day 2 of the Bout of Books challenge and so far i have 2 books completed! Yay! Yesterday I finished Landline by Rainbow Rowell, which was sort of a cozy winter read, and We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, an ebook version of a speech she gave about feminism.

I’m also in the middle of 2 other books:

The PassionThe Just City

I’m liking the challenge so far for the extra reading motivation–what I’m struggling with is my natural instinct to read library or ebooks for fast-paced reads. One of my 2016 goals was to decrease my TBR shelf, and that’s never going to happen if I keep hitting the library or going trigger-happy with Amazon one-click.

Here’s my entry for the Would You Rather? challenge hosted by Writing My Own Fairytale–this looked like a fun way for me to start participating in the mini-challenges during Bout of Books!

  1. Would you rather:
    Lend books to someone who dog-ears pages or to someone who reads with cheesy Cheetos fingers?

Ew. Definitely dog-earing pages. I HATE food on my books.

2. Would you rather:
Be able to meet one character of your choice or meet one author of your choice?

Such a hard question! I’d love to meet so many of both. If I was allowed to date one character…but that wasn’t the question. I think I’d meet one author if I had the choice–but which one?? Neil Gaiman, Ilona Andrews, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Margaret Atwood would all be great contenders.

3. Would you rather:
Never be allowed in a book store again or never be allowed in a library again?

What a mean question! Can I still buy books online? Or take out library ebooks online? OK, I’ll stop looking for loopholes…I guess I’d choose to never be allowed in a library again 😦

4. Would you rather:
Have to choose one of your favorite characters to die in their book or have to pick one of your favorite couples to break up in their book?

I’d have to go with die. I hate when fictional couples break up. For some reason I find it easier to handle character deaths.

5. Would you rather:
Be required to read Twilight once a year for the rest of your life or The Scarlet Letter once a year for the rest of your life?

Embarrassingly, I’d choose Twilight. I first read it in high school and thought it was a fun book. I’m team Jacob, of course, and I feel like as long as you don’t think of it as a model for your personal relationships it’s an entertaining read. I’ve never read The Scarlet Letter, but I have this feeling that I’d find it boring and preachy. I should pick it up someday, though.

2015: My Reading Year in Review

2015 was a great reading year for me. I branched out into different genres while digging deeper into genres and authors I know I love. My top ten list for the year contains books that will become some of my all-time favorites (see my earlier post!). And, here, I’ll attempt to organize some stats about my reading year for the first time ever!

Total number of books read: 73

Total number of pages read: 23,167

Longest book read:

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (722 pgs)

Shortest book read: (technically a short story)

Forbid the Sea by Seanan McGuire (20 pgs)

Average book length: 317 pgs

Most popular book I read this year (according to Goodreads): The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, with 481,331 other readers

Least popular book I read this year (according to Goodreads): Verses by Ani DiFranco, with 440 other readers

Average rating: 3.3 stars

Number of live author events attended: 3 (Kelly Link, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Dinaw Mengestu) (all were awesome)

Number of states I purchased books in: 4 (Massachusetts, New York, Florida, Louisiana)

Number of library used book sales attended: probably around 10. I tried to count, but I lost track.

Number of books I bought: infinity, approximately

Number of audiobooks I listened to: 4

Plays I attended (plays are similar to books…): 3: Book of Mormon, Twelfth Night, Spring Awakening

 

meta-chart

meta-chart(1)Reading Challenges:

✓Participated in Dewey’s 24-hour Readathon

✓Read more than 60 books

✓Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge

read-harder-finisher-2015

✓Colorful Book Covers Challenge: read 3 books for each color

Red Cover
The Mime Order (The Bone Season, #2) by Samantha Shannon A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1) by Sarah J. Maas Me Before You (Me Before You, #1) by Jojo Moyes

Orange Cover
Gunmetal Magic (Kate Daniels, #5.5) by Ilona Andrews Sweep in Peace (Innkeeper Chronicles #2) by Ilona Andrews The Martian by Andy Weir

Yellow Cover
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler The Sixth Extinction An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

Green Cover
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell Fate's Edge (The Edge, #3) by Ilona Andrews All Is Forgotten, Nothing Is Lost A Novel by Lan Samantha Chang

Blue Cover
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel Stranger Things Happen by Kelly Link Perdido Street Station (Bas-Lag, #1) by China Miéville

Purple Cover
Fracture Me (Shatter Me, #2.5) by Tahereh Mafi Steel's Edge (The Edge, #4) by Ilona Andrews Saga, Volume 4 by Brian K. Vaughan

Pink Cover
The City & the City by China Miéville Saga, Volume 2 by Brian K. Vaughan Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

Black Cover
The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter Small Gods (Discworld, #13) by Terry Pratchett Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

White Cover
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Gray Cover
The Heir (The Selection, #4) by Kiera Cass Smoke and Mirrors Short Fictions and Illusions by Neil Gaiman A Red-Rose Chain (October Daye, #9) by Seanan McGuire

Brown Cover
Forbid the Sea (October Daye, #0.4) by Seanan McGuire Anansi Boys (American Gods, #2) by Neil Gaiman Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Colorful Cover
Euphoria by Lily King The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

Here’s to even more awesome reading in 2016!

Bout of Books Reading Challenge!

 Bout of Books 15 is COMING!

One of my reading goals for 2016 is to participate in more reading challenges, so I’m kicking off the year with a week-long, low-pressure reading challenge: Bout of Books. I heard about this challenge after I participated in the Dewey’s 24-hour Readathon last year and was looking for similar challenges. So, while I’m still working on compiling my breakdown of my reading in 2015 (spoiler alert: there will be pie charts!) I’ll be working on reading more books than usual this week. Let me know if you guys are participating as well!

Here’s more information about the challenge:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 4th and runs through Sunday, January 10th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 15 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

Reading Goals for 2016

I may be a little early with this post, but as 2015 winds down and I begin to analyze my reading over the past year, I can’t help but look ahead to what I’d like to do differently once we hit January 1st. I’ve never been big on the idea of resolutions, because it seems too arbitrary, but I like the idea instead of setting goals. Resolutions are mandates, lines in the sand that make you a disappointment if you don’t stick to them (not that anyone ever does past the third week of January), but goals are inspirational and motivational. They’re encouraging rather than mocking. So, in the spirit of finding new areas of reading inspiration, here are my reading goals for 2016.

1.) Read more long books.

I love long books. I have the “I like big books and I cannot lie” mug to prove it. There is no better feeling than the arm strain associated with complete immersion in a giant book that you never want to end. But sometimes it’s hard to start a long book, because it means committing yourself to something for an extended period of time–there’s always the fear that it’ll be a lot of your precious reading time devoted to a book that wasn’t worth your while. This year, I’ll ditch the fear and dive into as many doorstopper books as I can. Particular book I have in mind: Little, Big by John Crowley.

2.) Read some older books, including at least two classics.

Goodreads has really helped how I analyze my reading. There’s a fun little tool that lets you analyze your reading year to year by number of books, number of pages…and the year books are published. When I took a look at mine, I was extremely embarassed–prior to reading Northanger Abbey last month for a reading challenge, the oldest book I’d read since 2009 was We Have Always Lived in the Castle, published in 1962. Even worse, the vast majority of my reading had been of books published during the 2000s. I like reading new books, and I’ve had some amazing reads, but I think in 2016 I need to think more about reading backwards in time as well. At least for a few of my picks. I also am a bit behind on my classics reading; I read a ton of classics in high school, but I haven’t returned much to the genre since then. Particular book I have in mind: Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak.

3.) Make a dent in my TBR shelf.

My TBR shelf is out of control. It’s been out of control for awhile, but now it has morphed from one single shelf to a jam-packed shelf plus a breakfast bar covered in books, plus several stacks of unread books in my closet. There are a lot of factors at work here: my love for library used book sales; my love of libraries in general that causes me to check out new books rather than reading what I already have; and my love of buying books that I either think I’ll love or that I’ve already read and are meaningful to me. But in 2016, I need to get down to business and read the books I have. I won’t ban myself from buying new books, because I physically cannot do that, but I’ll at least try to reduce the unread pile substantially.

4.) Read more books I think I will love, and fewer books I think I will like.

Sometimes I don’t pick up a book looking to find my next favorite. Sometimes I pick up a book because it seems like it will be a decent, fast read. And this is okay once in awhile, but I feel I did this a few times too many in 2015 and ended up with too high a percentage of two-star books that come out of me picking up a book and thinking, hey, this could be an okay guilty pleasure read. (examples? I’m a little embarrassed to admit that this year I read both I’m Not Here to Make Friends by Courtney Robertson, a memoir detailing her time on The Bachelor, and Down the Rabbit Hole by Holly Madison, about her life before, during, and after The Girls Next Door. Yeah. I’m not super proud about this.) In 2016, I want to avoid the lazy reading feeling that leads to two-star books, and focus more on books that I’ve been excited to read for a very long time because I have a strong feeling they could enter the favorites list. Particular book I have in mind: The Just City by Jo Walton.

5.) Discover new favorite authors.

I, like everyone, have several authors that I consider my favorites (Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, Jose Saramago, Octavia Butler, N.K. Jemisin, Ilona Andrews, Lev Grossman, etc) and while I will happily devour new books by these authors as quickly as I can buy them, this year I’d like to add some new names to the list. This year I discovered Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie after reading and loving Americanah, and I plan to hit Half of a Yellow Sun hard in 2016, but I’d like to add at least one new name to the “favorites” list in 2016, or at least strive towards then. In addition, it seems criminal that I have never read a book by Zadie Smith, Salman Rushdie, Jo Walton, or Jonathan Franzen, and books by each of these authors are currently sitting on my TBR shelf, mocking me. Particular book I have in mind: White Teeth.

6.) Read books I haven’t read by authors I know I love.

There are a lot of authors whose books I’ve completely loved, but I haven’t yet gotten around to checking out any additional books by them yet. (See Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, above). 2016 is when I fix this! I’m thinking in particular about picking up The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (I loved Never Let Me Go), 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (I enjoyed the strangeness of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle), Fledgling by Octavia Butler (Dawn and Parable of the Sower are two of my absolute favorite books), and The Passion by A.S. Byatt (this year I read Ragnarok, one of the Canongate myths series, which was so beautiful and thought-provoking that I went crazy and bought two more books by Byatt).

7.) Participate in at least one Dewey’s Readathon.

This year was my first time doing a Readathon, and I absolutely loved it. It was a fantastic excuse to escape into books for the day and abandon outside stress. The thing is, I didn’t plan for it very far in advance–I read about it online about a week before the event and it was pure luck that I didn’t have to work that day. So in 2016, I want to schedule my Readathons early and block off those Saturdays so that I can be sure to participate in them again. And try to blog more during the Readathon next time, as well!

8.) Continue with my favorite book series.

Some people like to wait until an entire series is published before starting it. I am not one of these people. I am not nearly patient enough for that. I rely on new books to distract me in between series installments. That also means that every year there are plenty of great new releases to look forward to. In 2016 I’m beyond excited for Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews, the ninth Kate Daniels book; N.K. Jemisin’s The Obelisk Gate, the sequel to The Fifth Season and the second book in her Broken Earth series; Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo, the follow-up to the stellar Six of Crows; and A Court of Mist and Fury, Sarah J. Maas’s sequel to A Court of Thorns and Roses.