Bookish Resolutions

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?

Spooky or non spooky? That is the bookish question.

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?

2020 Unread Shelf Challenge Wrap Up.

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!

Thoughts about my reading in July

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).

6 month check in

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

My Unread Shelf Challenge

I spent part of 2019 watching how Whitney from The UnreadShelf was reading through her unread books in 2019. I decided that I was tired of by passing the books that I own for shiny new to me library books (or gulp newly purchased books). So I am taking part in the 2020 Unread Shelf Project. Whitney has been kind and shared a lot of ideas on how to get started because it can seem a little daunting and overwhelming. How do you start reading books that you haven’t read yet? You count them (136 unread), you put them all in one area. I have kind of done this, thank goodness for the Ikea cart (pictured above) that my friends gifted me for my birthday a few years ago! and then pull some of the books that you really want to make sure that you read this year (stay tuned for that picture soon!).

There are also some great prompts for this year, in January- any unread book, August- a buddy read (I would love to do this one, so bookish friends, let’s talk!), November- a book from your favourite genre. And if the prompt for that month doesn’t work you are free to choose something else. There isn’t any pressure, which is ideal for me, I tend to be a mood reader, so it’s good to switch it up, even if that switch up is small.

I’m excited to read more from my unread shelf in 2020!

Favourite reads of 2019

Wow, looking at my little desk calendar today and it is day 361 of the year. In some ways this year has seemed very very long. And in other ways it has flown by. I was able to read a lot of books this year, more then previous years and I think that is because I procrastinated on the things I should have been working on and read instead. So in 2020 I need to find a balance but that is for 2020 to figure out.

Today I wanted to share some of the books that I really enjoyed reading this year. So in no particular order here we go!

A Bitter Feast- Deborah Crombie- this is like 16th in a series but it reminded me of how much I love Duncan and Gemma (British Mystery series)

Dear Girls- Ali Wong- I laughed SO hard at parts of this book I was crying. I’m not anyone mother’s and I still found it to be very relatable.

Still Life- Louise Penny- I finally started the Inspector Gamache series in September of this year and I don’t know how it took me this long. So atmospheric.

Veronica Mars- Rob Thomas- I re-read the two novels that were released after the movie in 2014, still enjoyable, especially as I was getting ready for the new tv series (I am still not ready to talk about the last episode).

Delicious!- Ruth Reichl- a fictional novel by the former New York Times restaurant reviewer. I really loved this one. It was like a nicer Devil Wears Prada- but only because it takes place at a magazine, but it is quickly shut down and it is a food magazine. So not like Prada at all.

Save me the Plums- Ruth Reichl’s nonfiction about her last days running Gourmet magazine. I am not an adventurous eater at all, but this book had me wanting to eat some of the meals that Ruth described.

Veronica Speedwell series by Deanna Raybourn- I don’t even know how to describe this series. Veronica lives in the late 1800’s but has very modern ways of thinking. She solves mysteries with Raker and there is some romance and will they/ won’t they and it’s delightful.

The Proposal- Jasmine Gulliroy I have really enjoyed the whole world that she has created with her characters and her books, this year I read a lot more romance then I have before and I think that Jamine’s books were the gateway.

The Paris Spy- Susan Elia MacNeal- The Maggie Hope series was another new discovery for me this year. I liked this one because it takes place in Paris during the Occupation, I always like books that tell the story of what women were doing during major historical events and this one has the added bonus of spies.

The Huntress- Kate Quinn. I didn’t want this one to end, but I also had to keep reading to find out what was going to happen. Before reading this book I didn’t know anything about the Night Witches.

Next Year in Havana- Chanel Cleeton. I really enjoyed this book and it’s sequel this year. I didn’t really know anything about Cuba or what happened when Castro came into power and I feel like I learned so much from this book.

I’ll Be Your Blue Sky- Marisa de los Santos- so this is the third book of a trilogy but I read them out of order and started with this one. And I really loved it.