Tag Archives: features

Book Shelf Challenge 2020!

Last year, I fell off the wagon in my book shelf challenge. I was determined that last year I would read more books I owned than library books. I fell off the wagon somehow. It usually happens near the end of the year when I find there is so many books that get recommended to me at work by colleagues or through End of the Year/Best of Lists. I also ended up getting more ARCs throughout the year and books for Christmas than I anticipated. Here’s how my shelves currently look:

My goal if I can swing it this year and be more consistent is to remove the pile of books off of the floor. If I read enough books from all three areas, I feel like I can read enough to not have a pile on the floor anymore, which honestly, has upset me for awhile. I do regularly prune my collection for stuff I don’t want anymore and when I’ve read books from my shelf, I’ve mainly been donating them to my work, reselling them, or donating them to schools in my area rather than keeping them. I’m still aiming towards having less stuff in my home and working through my low waste life-style, but books have just always been sentimental.

Last year, however, it felt amazing to donate/sell/share/purge, and I didn’t feel sad because I only kept the books I knew I wanted to loan to friends or would likely reread. Friends have suggested books from my shelves that they think I will enjoy, so I definitely am going to start there. My goal is to read at least fifty books from these piles. Think it’s doable? Let me know your goals for the year as I’d love to know what your reading and decluttering plans are!

HAPPY NEW YEAR! + Reading Goals for 2020

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Apologies for the hiatus — life was just getting crazy and I wasn’t feeling the best given the holidays always make me feel sad since my parents died. I know things will get easier as time heals all wounds, but admittedly, I’m still not there yet. What you will see on the blog will be a lot of “Late to the Party” ARC reviews for the next little bit and some more content regarding decluttering and mindfulness. I do want to try and get back into blogging and being a bit more consistent, but I am also not going to beat myself up for content since I am also human and need time to recharge and plan.

What I am excited for? It’s a new year, which means new reads. I read 300+ books in 2019, and started a full-time library gig in the process. I don’t think I will be able to read 300+ books again in 2020, but I will share some of my simple goals for the new year.

  • Read 200 books (I think this sounds more doable for me! I may also fail, we will see. If not, Goodreads can yell at me)
  • Continue to read what I own and try to bring in less “owned” books (this was going okay in 2019, but I think I can do better)
  • Request less ARCs and only request what I am excited to read.
  • Continue to purge/sell/donate/repurpose books I’ve read and do not want anymore. (This will require me to do more unhauls of the TBR and read shelves, but also doable)

And I think four goals is good enough. I am also going to make a list in my bulletjournal of books I own and would like to get to and see how it goes. I didn’t do as well as I wanted in 2019 on that challenge, but I still want to try and see how it goes.

What are some of your goals for 2020 and what do you hope to accomplish in the new year?

#YearofLess Update 3 – Life & Low Waste Goals

In the month of May, I started a full-time job in a new library system. It meant retraining myself on a lot of library practices and un-training (it’s not a word but lets roll with it) myself from the policies of the old system I worked for. Since moving to a new library system, I’ve had the freedom to create my own programs as well as be a participant in current programming as well.

In the month of May, my work did a twenty-five day butterfly observation program where we had children come up with twenty-seven names for our Painted Lady butterflies. It was a great way to teach children about how butterflies are valuable to the environment, and their life cycle. Here’s a photo I took of our first butterfly, “Benson”, after she was born.

I’ve also gotten back into the swing of implementing low waste practices at work, the big one being using Staples Terracycle program in order to ensure that writing utensils do not end up in landfill when they can be recycled properly. Here’s a photo of the last run I did at my old job! It’s a lot of markers!

Lastly, throughout the months of March to May, I had been working on the first version of a large scale project that I plan to present to the library association that I am apart of. It looks at the idea of can libraries move to a low waste life-style and can we create more environmentally-friendly and sustainable programming for our clients who wish to find out what they can do for the environment. My new manager is very supportive of my current programming ideas and projects, so it was wonderful to do a dry run of my presentation at my old work!

Aren’t I adorable in my Captain Marvel shirt and pink running shoes? Yeah, I thought so too.

As of right now, I am doing my best to catch up with the blog to the best of my ability. Learning a new job and crafting new programs takes a lot of energy and come July begins our summer programming extravaganza, which it’s going to take a lot of me. If the blog seem empy-ish during July and August (which I hope it won’t be), this is likely why. I still have a few more #YearofLess posts plotted, but they require a bit more work, so I am sorry I haven’t gotten there yet.

Anywho, have a great summer and I hope to jump back into the blogging fray soon!

The Scott Challenge – March & April Selections

Welcome back to the “Scott Challenge” where my husband is challenging me to read some of his favourite books and I provide some commentary. The two books this month couldn’t be more radically different, as one is a science fiction collection from 1997, the other a sweet fantasy story about immigration. Let’s dive in, shall we?

March Pick:

The Callahan Chronicals
(Callahan’s #1-3)
by Spider Robinson (Published: Published October 15th 1997 by Tor)

I have a love-hate relationship with Spider Robinson’s writing. Often I love his characters, but the writing is too dry for me, lacking any sort of oomph. That is exactly the problem with The Callahan Chronicles, on top of it being a short story collection at as well. I do love books that involve space bars and weird patrons, and my favourite story in the book was one full of puzzles, which then Robinson at the end had to write a lengthy author’s note about how people were sending him solutions to this one puzzle, but he himself for the answer! I weirdly want to play the Callhan video game that was made in 1997, and I still might. Just wish I loved this more. 2.5/5 Stars.

April Pick:

The Golem and the Jinni
(The Golem and the Jinni #1)
by Helene Wecker (Published April 23rd 2013 by Harper)

The Golem and the Jinni was a book I heard a lot about when it released and one admittedly I just never got around to when it released. This beautiful fantasy novel is one I devoured on my weekend in Thunder Bay, because both the Golem and the Jinni were loveable characters just trying to blend into the world around them. This is a wonderful and different take on the immigration story, and even if you don’t like fantasy, this is still a book I’d recommend people give a whirl. It’s sweet, touching, heartbreaking, and more hopeful than one would image. 4/5 Stars.

Middle Grade March Wrap-up – Part 1

Over the month of March, I decided to try and read a lot of middle grade. It was inspired by a lot of Booktubers who were doing similar, but also by the first book I finished in the month, All The Ways Home by Elise Chapman (which I keep hinting at and there will be a review closer to its release). Split into two posts, I thought it would be fun to share with you all the middle grade reads I checked out and some quick thoughts. I ended up reading six books, but will only be discussing five between the two posts.

The War I Finally Won
(The War That Saved My Life #2)
by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

I ADORED the first book in this series, but if I am being honest, I don’t feel like Ada’s story necessarily needed a continuation. This sequel has Ada and her brother Jamie with a legal guardian while World War II rages on. This is a hard one to talk about if you’ve never read the first book (which I highly recommend you do), but this one was a surpisingly slow sequel where I feel like it took its sweet time to get to the story it truly wanted to tell. I gave the first book a five star when I read it, but this one wasn’t the same spark for me. 3.5/5 Stars

The Golden Door
(The Three Doors Trilogy #1)
by Emily Rodda

I wanted to love this book so badly and I had a hard time with it. It’s likely more me than the book because I’ve been in such a weird fantasy slump and just not picking up fantasy books that spark joy in me. This one is such an old school sword, sorcery and dragon story for a middle grade audience and its fabulous in that regard for making that old school genre accessible. I thought the plot was very D&D and the characters just didn’t excite me. However, having since read it, I have recommended it a lot at work, especially for reluctant male readers! But yeah, this sadly wasn’t a hit for me. 2.5/5 Stars

To Night Owl from Dogfish
by Holly Goldberg Sloan &  Meg Wolitzer

A friend of mine described To Night Owl from Dogfish as “The Gap Parent Trap” and it 100% is. This addictive little book about two girls going away to a sleepover camp while trying to keep their dads in a relationship so that they get to become sisters is both funny, heartbreaking, and just charming all around. Avery and Bett will make you grin from ear to ear that’s how wonderful this story was. I think about it a lot and how much fun I had reading it, or how much I thought Bett’s grandmother was just the absolute best grandmother in a book ever. This sweet contemporary book knocked my socks off and I hope more folks check it out. 5/5 Stars

That’s it for part one! I hope you stay tuned because on Friday, I’ll share the other two wonderful reads I checked out for Middle Grade March!

#YearofLess Update 1 – Jan & Feb

March has just begun, and I thought it would be valuable every two months to show you guys where I am at with my #YearofLess project. I am sorry I haven’t shown much yet in ways in which I’ve made eco-friendly changes yet (more on that soon), but I thought I’d do a check in for books and tea. Books…. it ain’t great (though amazingly I haven’t bought a simple one of the ones I have acquired) and tea… tea is going very well.

Let’s look at books! Here is images back from the beginning of January.

And now here is how the piles look since the end of February:

It grew. Again, I didn’t buy any of these books — not a single one! However, publishers love sending me books, which I am grateful for because once I read them I pass them on to those who can love them (schools, organizations, and my colleagues), but for all the progress I thought I made, it looks like it’s overflowing even more. I also went to the library conference back at the beginning of the month, so I was handed a lot of free books as well.

I also blame this pile:

A lot of these holds were in the process of expiring it, so they came through for me. I’d love to get all of them read in March, but I doubt it. I may just also put some of them back on my For Later Shelf and take them out again when I am ready. We shall see though< I may also just read them all and then cry about it later when I didn’t get to my own stuff.

Again, my goal is to cut this as much as I can — I’ll consider it a victory if I can get the pile on the floor read and donated. It’s going to take a lot of hard work, but I know it’s doable. I also know come Spring, I will get into a mood and purge more as well, and I think that will also make me feel a bit better. For the month of March I am participating in Middle Grade March, a month long read-a-thon for middle grade lovers. I have so much middle grade on my shelves that I feel like this is a good opportunity to knock some of it out and spread some love. At the end of the month, I’ll share some of my favourite reads.

Tea

My tea situation is far better than the books. I haven’t managed to clear out a full ziploc bag yet, but I’m definitely getting there. I’ve been really focused on working through what’s in the ziploc bags because my goal is to get it so I just have the few tins that I can then refill at different places to my heart’s content. I love tea, but let’s be real, my pile was getting out of control.

Before:

After:

Seriously, this looks a lot more mangeable than it was previously. It’s not perfect, but I am enjoying how little the ziploc bags are getting. 🙂 We shall see at the end of April if either of these have gone down. For now, wish me luck!

Book Riot’s Read Harder 2018 Challenge – May and June Wrap Up

You may have noticed that I skipped a month for this feature. If I am being realistic, given how much crap has been going on in my life, it was an easy thing to forget. However, since then, I have read a few more books for my challenge. Lemme share what the last two months have brought me.


Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

Completes Challenge #10: Romance Novel by or About a Person of Colour

Thoughts: While this book is getting a lot of mixed reviews, I personally loved the crap out of it. I loved the meet cute between Penny and Sam, and I loved how organic their friendship was from the start and how it blossomed into quite the dramatic romance. This book has great friendships, and while Penny and Sam are challenging characters to enjoy, I think Choi does an amazing job of getting the reader to understand where they are both coming from. Check out my review here.


The Emissary by Yōko Tawada

Completes the Challenge #19: Book of genre fiction in translation

Thoughts: I found this on our New & Popular shelf at work and decided to give it a whirl.  I don’t mind a very abstract read, but something about this book left me feeling very lost and confused a lot of the time. Maybe it’s me being out of practice reading Japanese Literature, or maybe it’s the fact that this novel jumps around with too many ideas but nothing feeling concrete at all. Yeah, not sure what happened here.

 


And there you have it! It’s another two reads, one for each month. I didn’t do so hot, but let’s be honest: I’m trying to do a bit too much on top of getting ready to move and go on vacation. Here’s hoping for a better month in July! (Though I doubt it.)