Tag Archives: book chat

Sporadic Posting + Small Hiatus

Hi everyone who follows this little blog written by an awkward middle grade and YA loving library technician. I am in the process of selling the house that I live in, which means for the months of May and June, I may be super sporadic posting content on this blog. I am not going away forever, but with the processing of selling, finding a new place to live and then getting settled, it’s going to take up a huge part of my time and blogging is definitely going to fall along the way side.

Do not be alarmed! There will be book reviews, few little features, and updates. They just sadly won’t be super consistent. Please be super patient with me as I hope to be back in perfect blog form once my life has settled down a tiny bit. Perhaps I’ll come back talking about working in a public library and some bookish adventures that I hope to have over the summer.

All the best!

Sam

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Book Chat: Finding Time to Read When You Are Prepping to Move

As you may have noticed, the posts on this blog have been a bit lax lately. This is mostly due to the fact that my husband and I are prepping to sell my mother’s house starting in April. We’re doing all the painting and repairs ourselves (with a few exceptions of course) and we are trying to make sure that everything is ready to rock and roll by the first week of April. It is a lot of work and I know it’s definitely cut into my reading time.

The majority of my books are packed and what I have done for the time being is I’ve made myself a bag of books. It’s a bag that sits in my room filled with titles that I am interested in reading. I’ve been trying to cut back checking out items from work because I have this fear that I am going to lose the items in the process of moving. I even made a page in my bullet journal to give you an idea of what I am hoping to read while I am going through this process.

So what I have done is I drew a bag in my journal and then listed every book that is in my bag. At the bottom I created a star rating key, and effectively my goal is to color in each section based on the star rating that I have given the novel. As you can see, I haven’t coloured much in yet, and if I am being honest, it’s because my reading has definitely slowed down since we got into hardcore preparation mode. I am hoping once we move to put the Shelf of Shame (aka TBR Shelf) back up to give you an idea of how much I purged book-wise. I have been having strong urges since going through my mother’s stuff and my own that massive downsizing needs to happen.

Mainly, I’ve been listening to audiobooks, particularly on my way to and from work. Right now I am listening to The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer, which is a YA classic. It has definitely been interesting so far. I’ve also just been trying to make an hour a day to read, and some days that has worked and some days it hasn’t. Part of it is when I sit down to read or game, my mind feels guilty and I feel like I should be working on packing up the house. I recognize though that taking breaks is important and I am going to keep at it.

I hope at the end of the month to share if more of these quadrants have been coloured in or not. I’ll keep you updated. 🙂

Book Chat: KonMaring My TBR Shelves & Letting Go of Books

This was a long time coming, but I have reached the stage where I am frustrated by the amount of books I own. As my husband and I prepare to move and paint the house we are currently living in, we have been going through all of our stuff and trying to figure out what is staying and what is going. It’s been taxing, emotionally draining, but it needs to be done.

Going through my books has been an eye-opening experience. I am starting to see how much my reading tastes have changed and more over, how I have less of a desire to keep most of the books I own anymore. The reality I am facing is that I don’t do a lot of rereading, and I tend to simply keep books that have left an emotional impression on me or something I know I want to loan to friends. I used to be a huge fantasy reader, and as I’ve aged, I’ve become more of a contemporary reader now. I still love fantasy and I still read it, but it used to be 80% of what I would read for the longest time.

I used to feel this need to keep every book I received over the years, only to realize that it wasn’t viable. Space for books is always at capacity and sometimes finding space for more book shelves isn’t exactly an option. It also doesn’t help that my husband is as much a book hoarder as I am.

Story of our lives.

Frankly, I am realizing I have less desire to own books unless I like them. I’d rather get a book from the library I work at and if I truly love it after reading it, then at least I can go and buy a copy after the fact. The more I work for the library system I am in, the more I realize how much stuff we have and how accessible a lot of the stuff I want to read is. So I’ve been going through books I “kinda want to read” (the ones that still make me curious) and seeing if my work has them. If we do, I put it on my “For Later Shelf” and get rid of the physical copy, and if we don’t, I keep it in case that inkling is there.

Supporting the library has become more important to me as I’ve gotten older because circulation numbers matter and taking stuff out from the local library and showing the demand means a better chance for a budget increase, and frankly it just means that the books I am borrowing are “vacationing” at my house and are not staying with me indefinitely. When I teach books that way, I have less of a desire to hoard them and more of a desire to have less, which is my ultimate goal here.

Having a lot of stuff has become an exhausting thing. I want to just keep having less if I can keep at it. Once we move, I am going to take a picture of my Shelf of Shame for you all again to give you an idea of how much was purged/read. I’m excited to see if I’ll have actual space on shelves that will be less for TBR and more for other things. We shall see!

Five Favourite Books I Read in 2017 (That Weren’t 2017 Releases)

While I focused a lot of my reading energy on 2017 releases, I will say I had favourites that I read this year that came out past years. It’s hard to fit in reading time for older titles when there is so many new and shiny reads coming out and demanding your attention. It’s true and utter hardship, I tell you. However, I have five books I read this year that didn’t release in 2017 that I loved to pieces and want to recommend.

Crooked Kingdoms by Leigh Bardugo

Hello, my name is Sam, and I only just read the sequel to Six of Crows in the last week of November. Seriously though, THIS BOOK. There was so much drama, intrigue, failures, successes, discomfort — I was a ball of emotions reading it, particularly during one point where I sobbed like a huge baby. This duology is easily a favourite because it’s one of the few cases where I can say I loved the entire ensemble cast of characters and wanted to protect all my babies in one go. I maintain that Inej and Nina’s friendship may still be one of my favourite things about these books, but in all honesty, Crooked Kingdoms was just such a satisfying conclusion for me. Thanks for all the pain, Leigh.

Born A Crime by Trevor Noah

Born a Crime was a book I picked up on a whim thanks to a friend and co-worker’s recommendation. This book looks at Trevor Noah’s life living in South Africa and being born to an African mother and Swiss father. Being mixed race in South Africa is considered a crime, and Noah leads up through all the lengths of what his family did to keep him safe, while also sharing amazing, if often sad stories of his life growing up. I LOVED this book, and it was one of those books that kept me wanting to read just one more chapter, and another and another. This is a great non-fiction read, and a great gate way into non-fiction if it’s something you don’t read very often or at all.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

This is a beloved book that has been floating around Booktube for along while. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel reading this book, but I am glad it was my companion for my cottage driving that I did. This book is full of magic, heartbreak, and is a true book lover’s book. The ending wrecked me while I was listen to the audiobook (a bad plan!), and admittedly I couldn’t stop thinking about this book as I listened to it, gasping in situations that surprised me, chatting to myself when something happened. I loved this book and it’s one I want to gift every person I know who loves books as much as I do.

The Collected Essex County by Jeff Lemire

My husband and I adore Jeff Lemire’s works. They are twisted, dark, psychological and just plain intriguing to read. Essex County has won numerous awards in Canada, and I felt it was finally time to check out why. Each of the three stories is gripping, uncomfortable, and simply difficult to read. Lemire doesn’t shy away from topics and his work tends to face challenges head on in ways that can be difficult for some readers. Regardless, I loved this book, and all his other books as well.

Purple Hibiscus
by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

When I grow up, I want to be as badass as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I want to put that out there. Purple Hibiscus was a eye opening read for me in terms of learning about Nigeria, family relations, and culture differences. It made it a hard read at times, but one that just offered so much clarity and insight. Plus her writing is simply gorgous, engaging and completely sucks you in. I still have a few more of her books to check out, but right now I am a huge fan.

I am always looking for new book recommendations, so please feel free to leave me some in the comments below. What were your favourite non-2017 releases you read this year?

Five Favourite Books I Read in 2017

As we are winding down the year, I thought I’d share five reads this year that stuck with me since completion. I read a lot of books this year (with less than a month to go!). I read over 400+ books (including comics) and I thought I’d narrow it to five simply because if I shared all my favourite, this post would go on forever and no one would read it.  All these books released in 2017, and I will be doing a post of favourites I read that didn’t come out this year soon!

Shall we begin?

My Brother’s Husband by Gengoron Tagame

This beautiful manga looks at one man’s relationship with his brother’s husband. Yaichi is a single parent raising his daughter, Kana, when a Canadian man named Mike shows up at their doorstep informing them that he is the husband of Yaichi’s deceased twin brother. This manga stuck with me all year since I read it — it looks at blended families, cultural differences, issues of homosexuality in Japan versus Canada. It’s just an amazingly well-woven story that made me snob, laugh and smile all in one go. I highly, highly recommend this manga to those looking for something meaty but thoughtful.

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

The premise of this novel-in-verse is based on an elevator ride that Will is taking and contemplating. Going down the elevator, Will is trying to figure out why his brother was murdered and given the “rules” of their family, one of them is exact revenge. This novel shows Will’s thought spirals as he tries to determine who his brother’s killer is, and can he commit murder. Gorgeously written,  Jason Reynolds work became a favourite of mine throughout the year, but this is the book that has stuck with me so far. I still have Boy in the Black Suit and his Miles Morales novel checked out from the library to read.

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

It is no secret on this blog that I am an intense fan of Jennifer Mathieu’s books. I have yet to be disappointed, and Moxie was the first of her books to come out with any sort of hype behind it. This book was worth the hype. It’s a feminist manifesto that looks at issues of sexual harassment, lady friendship, and taking matters into your own hands for the purpose of protest. Viv is a fantastic heroine who is someone many of us can relate to with ease, and how she grows in this story is easily one of the book’s best parts. Moxie is a kick ass novel through and through.

A Conjuring of Light by V.E Schwab

This conclusion left me a hot mess after completion. There is something about this world, these characters, and the way in which all the magic and politics flow in the story that keeps you guessing. Kell and Lila go through so much in this story, and it just felt like a roller-coaster of my feelings plummeting down the deepest slop, then feeling slightly relieved, only to find the hidden drop on the ride that makes you scream the loudest. I am so excited there will be more books set in this world, but A Conjuring of Light reminds a very satisfying and emotionally charged conclusion to an amazing fantasy series.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

I recognize that this is THE novel of 2017, but I think that title is well earned. The Hate U Give is a book I found myself recommending to patrons at the library frequently, regardless of whether they were readers of young adult fiction or not. Offering amazing insight into the Black Lives Matter movement, Starr and her family are memorable, wonderful, and people who are flawed but fighters. This book reminded me of when I was growing up, something I mentioned to Thomas when I met her back in the summer. While I will never understand what it is like to be a young black person, I have so much respect and an even greater desire to understand. This book was emotional, painful, and truthful. A hairbrush is not a gun.

These are some of my favourite 2017 releases that I LOVED this year and that stuck with me throughout. What are some of your favourites? I’d love to know in the comments below.

Book Chat: #ShelfofShameJuly Challenge

June saw me slow down my reading a bit. Part of it is that I used to take the bus to work and that was prime reading time. Now I drive a car, which is crazy exciting, but it also cuts into my reading time more which is a bummer. Even though I read every day in June, I still feel like I didn’t read at my usual speed or even amount. I also read a lot of library books, which is always the problem when you work at the library.

The goal for July is to make a small change. I’ve suspended all my library holds (minus my comics) and my goal is to push towards reading stuff on my own shelves. I have so many ARCs I want to read, so many books I own I want to read. I need to get back into the habit of constantly reading and pushing myself towards clearing my TBR a bit more. I’ve been working through my TBR in different ways, such as my monthly reading challenges, my Goodreads Goal, Read-a-thons, and even doing the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge as well.

July is going to be a rough month given I’ll be running RPGamer.com’s #JRPGJuly event where we play and try to complete a JRPG in a month. I also have friends from Minnesota visiting as well, so I really need to try and use my time wisely. Hopefully I can manage my time better in the month of July, because June just had so much going on to the point where I felt as though I couldn’t keep up with everything going on and then my reading suffered because of it.

So my goals for July are going to be:

  • Read 5 ARCs
  • Read one 500+ page book
  • Read 5 books from the Shelf of Shame

Hopefully there will be a read-a-thon or something going on in July to motivate me further. WISH ME LUCK!

Book Chat – Reading Beyond the Bedroom

I LOVE to read in my bed. It’s my comfy spot where I can get maximum puppy cuddles, fluff my pillows and just snuggle in with a good book. It’s generally where I get a chunk of my reading done. When I was an avid rider of the bus to work, I also used to read a lot on transit. Now that I own a car, this has been a bit harder for me, but I am still trying with the use of audiobooks.

However, my favourite place to read when the weather is good is outside. I love being able to sit in my backyard or out in a park and just get a few chapters in. Every so often my work asks me to work at one of our tiny library locations where there is a beautiful garden in the back. Whenever I have a break or am on my lunch, I love to sit out there and just gobble down some chapters and enjoy the fact that I am one with nature.

Here’s some photos of the little library and the garden. You tell me it isn’t a quaint little spot to read. 🙂

Part of the flower beds within the garden.

Main entrance to the library, as well as the steps to the inner part of the garden.

Archway and Memorial Plaque.

Bliss.

I would love to know where your favourite spots are to read. Do you find you always read in the same spot? Do you find yourself relocating depending on comfort, other people, etc? Let me know in the comments!