Tag Archives: book chats

Book Chat – Monthly Reading Piles

One of my larger goals in 2017 is to read more books I’ve bought or received over the year. It’s been a tough goal given I work for a public library and we are constantly getting new items in every day. Still, I’ve been documenting at the end of every month just how much of my own personal collection I’ve managed to knock out. I thought it would be fun to show you all my piles from January to May!

Things to note: the piles seem to get progressively bigger each month. Also Tracer!Funko likes to make frequent appearances in these photos.

January:

 

February: 

 

March:

 

April:

 

May: 

Do you do anything unique to keep track of your reading or books you’ve completed? I have my reading goals in my journal as well as my Goodreads challenge, but I find it fun at the end of every month to see the stack I’ve completed and if it has helped push down the Shelf of Shame TBR (which it sort of has? At times?).

Let me know what you think in the comments. 🙂

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Book Chat – Buying Less Books & Reading My Own Crap

One of the biggest problems I had as a book nerd in my teenage and college years was that I loved to buy books. I mean to the point of hoarding. Now, there’s nothing wrong with having a lot of books, but as I’ve joked about my “Shelf of Shame” it really is one of those things where I get super frustrated with myself. So I decided to make a conscious effort the last few years: cut back on the book buying. It just started to make sense, but then a new problem arose.

The Dilemma: 

I work at a public library. When I get to process the new books I am like a kid at Christmas with excitement. I was already a heavy user of my library even before getting the job, but I found myself getting this rut where I kept taking out books, reading them, and then not reading my own stuff. “It’s for the circulation stats!” I would tell myself, but it didn’t help my massive pile of personal books. In March I devoted myself to reading all the books I’ve had out from the library (and at the time of this post I am down to two left) because in April I am putting myself on a ban for a little while. The only thing I won’t ban myself from is new comics and manga since I read and return it fast enough. But book books? Yeah, I need to control myself.

The other issue is ARCs. I love my ARCs, I love reviewing books for you guys, I love sharing stuff I am enjoying as well. I admit, this one likely won’t stop, but I do need to work on balancing the ARCs and my own reads better. What I am going to try to do again is do one ARC, one personal read and try to keep the back and forth going. Sometimes an ARC is not what I am craving, so I may just slip into reading what I want.

Trying to Find a Solution:

If I am being honest, I would say 2016 was the year I really did start to reduce my book buying and stick with it. I still buy books from authors I love to support and one of my goals is to donate ARCs I’ve kept and replace them with a legit copy. Because money can be a real tight thing, sometimes you have to get crafty. One thing I love doing is book trades, which I have a select group of people I trade with and that has been a wonderful thing. It’s allowed me to give away books I know I won’t read again and in exchange get something I want to read. However, it also adds to the pile.

One thing in 2017 I am doing different is giving myself specific reading challenges for the year and each month. In my goals journal I’ve given myself a few broader goals for the year:

  • Read 200 books
  • Read ten Non-Fiction books
  • Read five 500+ page books
  • Complete/Catch-up on 10 Series

I find recording what I read base on my challenges has been very helpful. It allowed me to visualize what I have on my shelves that need to be tackled. It also just helps is planning some of my reading for the month. I have managed to complete my reading goals for the first two months without trouble, but we will see how things go throughout the year. I always try to keep my goals every month even though sometimes it’s very difficult. Still, I try to stay positive!

Where To Go From Here?

Frankly, this is the larger question I ask myself. One of my goals is to read my own stuff and down-size my books. I have ideas on what I plan to do with the books I don’t want to keep, and I’ve weeded and pruned my collection down to stuff I still want to read. If I can continue to use my library less (which I love so hard) and keep reading my own stuff, I’d like to think that once my husband and I are ready to downsize that my collection will be much more manageable.

Here’s hoping I can stick to this plan. It’s going to be tough, but I really need to keep at my Shelf of Shame and focus on reading what I have. I hate not being able to support authors financially, and I do try when I can (or instead encourage my library to buy it so others can enjoy). Cutting back on things you love to spend money on is hard, and given the amount of money I have spent in the past? I feel like I have a lot of work to do.

Book Chat: Why I Love (and Why You Should Read) the Whatever After Series by Sarah Mlynowski

16043628As you all know, I work in a public library. Working in a public library you get a huge sense of what is hip and in with the middle graders. While I can’t for the life of me get the appeal of Geronimo Stilton (he’s just too perfect), there’s one middle grade series that has really sunk its claws into me. I am, of course, talking about the Whatever After series by Sarah Mlynowski.

Those who might be unfamiliar, Sarah Mlynowski is a Canadian author who has written a plethora of novels ranging from middle grade to YA. Her books are beloved in Canada and this series in particular gets a lot of love from middle graders. I will tell you why that is as well: it has to do with the heroes of this series, Abby and Jonah.

First off, Abby and Jonah are Jewish, and every so often Abby or Jonah will teach the readers about Jewish customs, Hebrew words, and holidays and she does this in a way that feels organic to the story. Second of all, both Abby and Jonah are VERY well fleshed out and flawed as characters, and to the point where in each novel shows a bit more of personalities. Truthfully, I adore Jonah, and that is because he goes beyond the annoying little brother stereotype and often he’s the one suggesting to Abby how they can solve the mysteries in the fairy tales! I also adore Abby, and I love that her life’s goal is to become a Judge. What girl says that at her age? Not many.

The last thing about this series is that it is a fun twist on traditional fairy tales. From Rapenzel 18527499losing all her hair because of Jonah’s sports cleats to Beauty and the Beast just not being compatible for each other, I love the creativity that  Mlynowski throws into each of these books. It really makes you think about how the original fairy tales are, but how easily one can flip them upside down.

I feel like more folks need to check this series out because not only does it have the depth that some middle grade lacks, but it adds pure fun to a genre that can often feel stale. Sure the covers are pretty cheesy, but don’t let them fool you — these stories are funny, light-heated and they and just plain fun. I say this as a person who has whipping through all the books that are currently out in less than a year. Definitely check this series out if you have a middle grader in your life or if you just love middle grade!