In my effort to read more from my unread shelves I’m going to attempt a “no buy 2022”. We shall see how long I can go without buying a book. I have found that in times of stress and uncertainly I tend to go online book shopping. This as resulted in a lot of unread books, and a lot of money spent on books. I think it will (hopefully) be better for my wallet and my bookshelves to not buy books for at least the beginning of the year. I will have to find new ways of coping with stress. If anyone has any suggestions please let me know.
Hello, wow it is almost Christmas time as I sit at my desk and write this. I don’t know about you but I have been feeling overwhelmed (of course about variants and the virus and life in the pandemic) but I have been feeling really overwhelmed and a little stressed about reading the past couple of weeks. I look at the number of books that I read last year and I look at the number of books that I have read this year and I want to BEAT the previous record. I have been reading for the sake of finishing a book to add it to my “read” list and you know what? I’m not loving reading like I usually do. I have also been feeling like I needed to keep posting on instagram multiple times a week. Why? Likes don’t really matter (they really don’t) and the friends that I interact with on there will interact with me whenever I post.
I need to take a step back and really look at what my motivation is for reading as well as what will make it enjoyable for me. One thing that comes to mind is that I don’t think I will try any reading challenges next year. I will continue to read from my own unread shelves because I do enjoy that, and I also feel like I have actually accomplished something when I do. I won’t be setting a reading goal on Goodreads (or anywhere) else for 2022. The pressure of seeing the little notification “you are behind on your reading goal” is an added stress that I don’t need.
I will continue to use my paper reading journal because I really like being able to see the books that I have read and what I have thought of them. Plus I really enjoy the ceremony of writing in my reading journal and organizing it. I love keeping lists of what books sound interesting or books in a certain genre that I haven’t yet read.
Next year I think I will keep track of the genres I read, mainly so I know what I can read to switch things up if I hit a slump. As for Bookstagram, I will try to post a couple of times a week but I will (try) to not let it control me.
Have you made any resolutions about your reading life? Are you looking to change your reading life in any way?
Do you read spooky books in October? I always have grand plans that I will finally read The Historian and Night Film (which are both books that have been sitting on my unread shelf for years) and then October passes by and I haven’t read them again. I am a bit of a chicken and tend to only enjoy Halloween things meant for kids. Maybe I should stick to those books and leave the scary books for a sunny summer day?
I didn’t write a post for January. At this point this blog is probably more for me than anyone reading it but I will try to at least write a monthly recap of my reading going forward.
February’s prompt for the Unread-shelf Challenge was a book you got for free. I chose a Maeve Binchy book, Irish Girls About Town which is actually a book of short stories by Irish authors. Reader, I hated this book. It was from the early 2000’s and it just reminded me of the time that women’s fiction was branded as “chick lit” and how superficial that whole time could be. The actual short story by Maeve Binchy was okay, not as sweet and comforting as some of her full length books.
The March Prompt for the Unread- shelf challenge is a book you got on a trip. And I am stumped for what I will pick. I am not a big traveller, even before COVID so I will have to really think about this one.
On to my favourite reads of the month. I either really loved what I read this month, or I really didn’t love a book. There wasn’t a lot of okay books which I am okay with.
5 star books:
All the Devils are Here- Louise Penny
Kindred- Octavia Butler
4.5 star books:
The Survivors- Jane Harper
4 star books:
The Nature of Fragile Things- Susan Meissner
Boundary Waters- William Kent Krueger
The Girl from the Channel Islands-Jenny Lecoat
Dear Miss Kopp- Amy Stewart
Verity- Colleen Hoover
Locked Rooms- Laurie R King.
Ohh 2020. What a year this has been. So much heartbreak, and stress and rage. It has been a year filled with so many emotions and feelings.
Through it all the one thing that was consistent was that I liked to read. Some months I went through times when I wasn’t reading a lot, and some months I read SO many books.
I started off the year being really good and reading a lot from my unread shelves as well as reading library books. Then Covid happened and I started reading A LOT of ebooks from my library. Once curbside pickups started happening at my local library I took advantage of the new and newer books available and went a little crazy with the library holds in the summer. And then the slumps started. I was either not in the mood, or didn’t have the right book, or was easily distracted by streaming content. From August-December I didn’t do a great job of reading from my unread shelves BUT I did discover that short stories, graphic novels and romance novels helped me get out of my slump.
I started off the year with 136 unread books and I ended up reading 50 books from my shelves. I bought 26 books this year which should still leave more with less books than I started the year BUT a bunch of books were given to my parents and I picked through them and added more to my tbr list.
I will now start 2021 with 152 unread books. 102 physical books and 50 ebooks that I have picked up when Kobo, Kindle and Apple had sales. I can’t wait to start reading them!
I feel like I say this every month, but I can’t believe that July is already over. Time is going by so quickly and yet also so slowly. 2020 is a weird weird year.
At a glance it would seem that I had a pretty great reading month- I read 15 books. But when I was going over the books I read and thinking about them I realized that I went a little wild with the library holds (my library had curb side pick up) and trying to read titles from the Modern Mrs Darcy Summer Reading Guide. Looking back I felt like I was in a competition with myself to read as many books from the guide that I could, plus new releases that I had seen on Bookstagram. I only read 1 book from my unread shelf which was a little disappointing.
I did enjoy many of the books I read this month. The Jane Austen Society, 500 Miles From You and The Last Train to Key West were some favourites.
I really liked that Clap When You Land was told in verse it made for beautiful reading and I don’t think I have read a book set in the Dominican Republic before.
I need to listen to all the songs mentioned in The Happy Ever After Playlist.
Sex and Vanity has me wanting to read or at least watch A Room with a View.
The Vanishing Half still has me thinking about identity and what makes us us. It is a really timely read.
28 Summers, Grown Ups and I was Told It Would Get Easier are all books by some favourite authors that I was happy to visit again.
Beach Read was the perfect steamy beach read that has me wanting to read some romance books.
The End of October. Weird to read about a pandemic while living in a pandemic filled world. But still enjoyable because it was a bit of a thriller and I always enjoy those books.
A Baby’s Bones and A Shroud of Leaves I had hoped to find a new series that would be similar to the Ruth Galloway series. This wasn’t it. But I have hopes for Kate Ellis books.
The Leftovers, the one book from my unread shelf. I liked it, even though it made feel a bit panicky and anxious. I tried the first episode of the tv show and didn’t love it. But I should see if the next couple episodes get better.
I hope that August will be filled with more books from my unread shelf and that I slow down my library borrowing (only in that I tend to be too enthusiastic and push aside the books I already own).
I can’t believe that June is almost over and that 6 months have gone by since 2020 started. Time really has lost a lot of meaning while living in this new social distancing pandemic life. I don’t know about you but I have had periods of time where I am reading A LOT of books. And then I have some days/weeks when I can’t focus and reading seems like a chore.
I think I have been making pretty good progress in reading more from my unread shelf. I have completed the prompts for every month so far, although I did struggle with June’s prompt. If I had stuck to my “rule” of only reading one Louise Penny book a month in May this prompt of “a book from a series” would have been easy.
My local library opened up this month for curb side pick ups of books on hold. And I may have gone a little crazy putting books on hold. I have been able to put holds on and have read a couple of books from the Modern Mrs Darcy Summer Reading Guide this year. Some I have liked, some I haven’t but none of them have been books that I have loved.
I have noticed that since the pandemic started I have been reading a lot of mysteries. I have especially liked reading books in a series, there is something comforting about them (even though they usually feature a gruesome murder). I have also noticed that I don’t enjoy “chick lit” or women’s fiction books as much as I used to. I don’t know whether my tastes have changed or I’ve become a different reader, or my mood/stress level has been different this year or a combo of all of the above.
Some of my favourite reads from the first part of the year: ** book from my unread shelf
- A Rule Against Murder- Louise Penny **
- Little Fires Everywhere- Celeste Ng
- The Book that Matters Most -Ann Hood**
- The Brutal Telling- Louise Penny **
- The Janes- Louisa Luna
- Recipe for a Perfect Wife- Karma Brown
- Bury Your Dead- Louise Penny**
- All the Ways we Said Goodbye- Beatriz Williams
- Two Girls Down- Louisa Luna
- Other People’s Houses- Abbi Waxman **
- Bibliophile – Jane Mount**
- Comfort Me with Apples and Tender at the Bone: Two Culinary Treasures- Ruch Reichl
- A Little Princess- Frances Hodgson Burnett**
- A Garden of Small Beginnings- Abbi Waxman
- How the Light Gets In- Louise Penny**
- A Great Deliverance- Elizabeth George
- The Watsons go to Birmingham- 1963- Christopher Paul Curtis
- Nevertheless She Wore It- Ann Shen
The prompt for this month was the book you most recently acquired. Right before everything closed down because of the pandemic in March I was lucky to make a visit to Indigo (ohh book shopping in a store, how I miss you very very much). While I was there I bought a few books, and the one that I picked for this month was Other People’s Houses by Abbi Waxman. I really enjoyed this book, I love stories about families and women and their daily lives. By the end I was wishing that I lived in Frances’ neighbourhood (and that I lived in LA). I hope to be able to read The Garden of Small Beginnings another book by the same author that I think features some of the same characters.
This prompt was great this month because I am like many other people who seem to think that they shouldn’t read their new books before they have read books that have been sitting on their selves for far (far) longer. I say read what you like, because reading is reading 🙂
The Unread Shelf challenge for March is to read the book that has been on your shelf the longest. I did a lot of thinking about what book that might be and I figured out that it was The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton. I pulled if off of my shelf (well book cart) at the beginning of the month. And I opened it up and…. I haven’t gotten past the first couple of pages. I don’t know if it is the size of it (over 800 pages) or something about the characters names and the way the first page was written but I have NO desire to read this book. None whatsoever. I think this might get a pass and go to a Little Free Library where someone else might appreciate it more. So did I fail the challenge for this month? I don’t think so because I am making room on my unread shelf and I am learning about the type of reader that I am and the types of books that I enjoy reading in this season of my life.
I also don’t feel too bad about not reading this giant hardcover book. I didn’t buy it, and it wasn’t a gift from anyone in my life. I won it from the library in a summer reading contest a couple of years ago. So I have no guilt about letting this book go. It feels pretty good!
Even though February is a short month I am still pretty pleased with the amount of books that I was able to read this month. In total I read 11 books, 7 books from my Unread Shelf, 1 short story that I bought on Kobo and 3 library books. I bought 2 Elin Hilderbrand books on sale from Kobo ($4 for both) and on Family Day I stress bought 3 Louise Penny books from Book Depository. I am finding that I am really paying more attention to the books that I choose to read as well as the books that I buy. I did a lot of recon on the Louise Penny books before I decided that I in fact deserved them, so I bought them.
The books that I read this month are:
The Lost Letters of William Woolf – Helen Cullen. I basically read this in January but finished the last couple of chapters on February 1. It wasn’t what I thought it would be. It focused more on the marriage of William Woolf and less on solving mysteries of the Lost Letters of England (which is what I thought it would be from the back cover).
The Book that Matters Most- Ann Hood. This is my pick for a book gifted to you from the unread shelf challenge. My friend Alicia gave this to me a couple of years ago. I’m glad that I read it this month. I love books about book clubs and reading and I wish that this one had had a little more of that but I still enjoyed the storyline with Ava and her daughter Maggie. At times I was frustrated with those two characters but I still enjoyed this one.
The Brutal Telling- Louise Penny. I enjoy this series a lot. I feel like things are starting to happen to the beloved people of Three Pines and I like it. I can’t wait for March to be here so I can read the next book in the series (I’m only allowing myself to read one a month because I would just blow through them if I let myself).
The Summer ’79- Elin Hiderbrand. This short story was just alright. I really enjoyed The Summer ’69 this past summer and I was looking forward to seeing what the characters were up to 10 years later. And while you do find out what they are up to, it all seems too short. It would have been better as a full length novel.
Daughter of Empire-Pamela Hicks. I had heard about this book on Twitter a couple of years ago. I finally found a copy in the Fall and bought it after watching the latest season of the Crown. I needed to to know more about “Dickie” Mountbatten and I thought that a book written about his daughter would be a good start. This was at times really interesting. The stories about Pamela’s childhood were fascinating. But I found it to be a bit boring once she started to reminisce about her young adulthood. It was interesting to see what all happened on Royal Tours in the 1950’s. Such a different time for travel, especially royal travel.
Meet me in Monaco- Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb- I had started to read this back in September but found it wasn’t for me. I put it back on my shelf because I knew that at some point it would be the book for me as I had read a biography about Grace Kelly when I was in Grade 8 (I was a nerdy kid who loved royals, and Hollywood). I loved reading about Cannes, Monaco and Grasse. My love of essential oils really tied into the perfume making that Sophie’s family made. I think this year is going to be the year for Grace Kelly historical fiction so I was happy to start it off with this book.
The Language of Bees- Laurie R King. I haven’t read this series in order, and I feel like you don’t have to. I might be wrong about it but previous cases and books were referenced enough that I didn’t feel too lost when I was reading it. Once I got into this story I really liked it. Was that because Sherlock and Mary spent most of the book apart? Probably. I find Sherlock Holmes to be rather exhausting, even more so as a 60 plus year old, married to a 24 year old. Mary is far more enjoyable when she isn’t jumping through the mental hoops that Sherlock puts her through. By the end I was intrigued enough to want to read the next book.
The Scent Keeper- Erica Bauermeister. I was surprised that I was able to read a Reese Witherspoon book club pick in the month that it was picked. But somehow a copy became available quickly on Libby. After reading the first two chapters or so I wasn’t really feeling this book. But having a chance to read it for a couple of hours really helped immerse myself into the story and I found myself reading until I was done. If you have been reading this blog since I first started it you know that I love essential oils and how scent is tied to memory. This books is all about scent and memory and the scent industry and I really liked it.
The Janes- Louisa Luna. I loved this book. I heard about it during the Winter Book Preview that Anne Bogel did with the Modern Mrs Darcy Book club and What Should I read Next Patreon supporters. I saw that it was on Libby so I thought “why not?”. I couldn’t put it down. There were so many twists and turns. I am now waiting for the first book in this series because I need to know more about Vega and Cap and how they became partners.
First Impressions- Charlie Lovett. This premise for this book is what made me add it to my “to read” list and ask for it for Christmas a couple of years ago. What if Jane Austen didn’t come up with the idea of Pride and Prejudice herself? What would that mean? And I love a good literary mystery. But this just fell a little flat. The main character makes a lot of bad decisions that anyone who has ever read a mystery would know are wrong. It was disappointing. However, I am probably going to watch Clueless, Pride and Prejudice (2005) and maybe Sense and Sensibility this weekend.
Recipe for a Perfect Wife- Karma Brown. I really enjoyed this one! I liked the duel narrators of Alice and Ellie in 2018 and 1956 and how we had a chance to look into both of their marriages. I love historical fiction and cooking so I really found the chapters about Ellie to be really interesting. And I think my Grandma and Mom have some of the cookbooks that are referenced in this book!