books

Readathon Kids: the rogue challenge 

So I totally dropped the ball on everything and didn’t submit my challenge in time. Boo. I figured there’s no reason I can’t put it out there anyway! 

I love the idea of including kids and childrens’ books so I invite you all to share your favorite childrens’ book, quote, illustration or picture. Basically share something related. Does your little have their own stack? Show me! Leave a comment below or link up. I’ll be looking out for the hashtag too. #readathonkids 

I’ll be choosing two winners and the prizes are mysteries for now but they’ll be similar to last years. I gave away a copy of A Wrinkle in Time so I’ll be doing something in the same vein. 

Okay. The sun is hot and the pool is calling. 

It’s the readathon!

I have been excited about this readathon since the last one was over and over the months as my life changed in huge ways I became even more excited. Today I planned to lay on the couch and read as much as I could while also cheering and hosting a mini challenge. Well, I don’t think I ever signed up for a mini challenge  and I’m nowhere near my couch. My husband surprised me with a getaway to a local resort. I’ll be poolside and beachside all day today. He did pack me my kindle so I will definitely read but my readathon activities will definitely be slightly different. I can’t complain. It’s the best surprise ever! 

Watch out for a rogue mini challenge from me. I will be giving away some books ūüôā 

I hope everyone is having a wonderful readathon. I will be seeing you around!

BBAW Day 4: Community

 How do you stay connected to the community? 

Blogging can be a very lonely endeavor which is why Twitter is such a great place to keep up to date with what’s going on. I find it easier to interact on Twitter although I do enjoy commenting on blog posts (my goal this year is to do a lot more of it). When I first started writing about books I did not put myself out there beyond sharing the link on Facebook. I did not think to seek out fellow bloggers. That all changed when I heard about Dewey’s Readathon. Firstly, I had never heard of a readathon and I was blown away by the number of readers who took part. I was also taken in by the mini challenges, cheerleaders, and basically the entire production of it all. All these people came together and organized this amazing event that was free and did not require pants! It was instant love.

During my second readathon I cheered and that really exposed me to a lot of blogs. It was so much fun seeing what everybody was reading and how they were getting on that day. For my third readathon I also cheered but I also hosted a mini challenge. Taking part in the readathon really made me feel a part of a wonderful community. The book community has been nothing but welcoming and I will always be grateful for that. Books are not only my closest friends but they have introduced me to some pretty great humans along the way.

Participating in my first readathon has caused me to be more active on Twitter and it propelled me to continue my blog. It also changed the way I Instagram. Socializing and readathoning go hand in hand. I am only sorry I did not hear about it sooner!

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BBAW DAY 3: Because of a Blogger

What have you read and loved because of a fellow blogger?

This question has made me realize I need to keep track of who recommended what because even though I know I am constantly adding “want to read” books to my Goodreads I quickly forget which blogger/booktuber I got the rec from. I need to develop a system. Having said that, my brain has proven to not be completely useless for this endeavor as there¬†is one book I can confidently talk about in answer to this question.

Trading Rosemary by Octavia Cade– I know exactly who to blame for this wonderful read: Books and Pieces.¬†I primarily watch her videos on YouTube. Her greeting of, “Hello lovely humans.” is inviting and just perfect. As soon as I heard her talk about this book I bought it on my Kindle and dove right in. I absolutely loved the story.

The next thing I have loved because of a fellow blogger is the #readmyowndamnbooks challenge by Andi at Estella’s Revenge. This make up your own rules challenge has proven fruitful. I have cleared valuable shelf space by parting with some duds I no longer want to keep and I’ve read about 9 books that I owned but had just been keeping as decorations. I now have 5 books left to read! This means I am free to borrow as many books as I want from the library and even purchase a book here and there when the mood strikes.

I don’t have a list of books I’ve read because of these channels/blogs but here is a list of who I watch/read:

Brock at Let’s Read

Ron Lit Рher reviews are very scholarly and as I looked at her channel I recalled that I read Carmilla because of her and was not disappointed.

Danika Leigh Ellis

Climb the Stacks

Rincey Reads РI read Station Eleven because of her rec. Another winner.

librarianfanmail – upon writing this I discovered that she’s taking a break from youtube and her content is no longer available but I can’t not mention her. She turned me on to so many great reads!

Brown Girl Reading¬†– I think most of my TBR is her fault! I love her reviews/discussions and she’s been a huge contributor to my quest to read more diversely.

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BBAW Day 1: The five books of me

It’s Book Blogger Appreciation Week over on The Estella Society¬†and even though I don’t consider myself a book blogger their intro post caught my eye and I wanted to take a stab at it. How hard can choosing 5 books be? The (obvious) answer: VERY! I am almost incapable of choosing between books and when I do I feel almost unable to explain why I loved them¬†so much. It’s one of the reasons I don’t consider myself a book blogger. Sure, I write about the books I’ve read but usually in general terms. I have thus far been too lazy to write the sort of blog posts I admire other bloggers for. And this is where I am trying to talk myself out of writing this post for fear of coming off as an ignorant wannabe.

Having said that here are 5 books I think are very me right now.

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami – This was the first Murakami book I read and I instantly fell in love with the prose. Granted, I read it in English and not the original Japanese but the translation really gave me the sense that it was true to the author’s voice. I plan on giving this one a reread soon.

Trading Rosemary by Octavia Cade – I read this book after watching a video by Books and Pieces on YouTube. The premise interested me and the fantasy/ sic-fi aspect of it especially. I was not disappointed. It is a very short read (you can read it in one sitting). The story takes place in a world where memories are currency. They are transferred into coins and traded. While the buyer can relive the experience through the memory the original is destroyed. Which memories are worth selling and losing forever?

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini – When I was younger I loved to read whatever was on a bestseller list and admittedly my reading horizons were very narrow. The Kite Runner was one of the first books that got me thinking about reading diversely.

Half-Resurrection Blues by Daniel Jos√© Older¬†– By now it’s no secret that Older is one of my favorite authors and not just because of his books and his writing (both of which are amazing) but also because of his activism. I have learned a lot from his tweets about the publishing industry and writing in general. He’s an asset to the writing community. He calls out the issues of lack of representation and other nonsense such as the children’s book that depicted happy, smiling slaves. Half-Resurrection blues was the first book I read by him and I plan on reading anything else he writes.

The End of Mr. Y by Scarlett Thomas – A place where you can travel into people’s minds, read their thoughts and even influence them. A special potion that allows you to enter this space. Quantum physics and Derrida. I stayed up late into the night to finish this book and it marked the end of a reading slump.

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Book Fridays: January Wrap-up

I managed to read 10 books in January which is a personal best. It’s a meaningless stat and I don’t place much value on it but I’m still excited to have accomplished that goal. Here is what I read in January along with some thoughts on each book.

  1. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling – I am working on reading the entire series and since my husband got me the set for Christmas I am well on my way to doing just that. With every book I read I realize just how good the film adaptations were. They stayed true to the books and even though changes were made it all still works. I especially love reading the book and getting all the information and nuances left out of the films. I can’t wait to continue my Potter journey soon! My rating: 4 stars
  2. Uprooted by Naomi Novik – I heard about this book via booktube and picked it up from my library. I really loved the premise and found it to be an enjoyable read. It made me feel like I was in a world of fairy tales. The story centers around Agnieszka, a young girl chosen by an immortal wizard to apprentice with him. My rating: 4 stars
  3. Midnight Taxi Tango by¬†Daniel Jos√© Older¬†– Ever since I read Resurrection Blues last year I was eager to get back into the world that Older crafted. I was not disappointed with this latest installment in the Bone Street Rumba Series. I will be writing a separate post on this book. Suffice to say it’s filled with badass characters and diverse cast that kicks ass. My rating: 5 stars
  4. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls – After a friend recommended this book another friend seconded the rec and even sent me a copy as a gift! This book was a difficult read but a good one. It’s difficult because unlike fiction memoir gives us a glimpse into a person’s life. Real life. These awful things happened to real people. Real people made these shitty choices. Overall, it was a powerful read that will stay with me forever. My rating: 4 stars
  5. Low by Mary Elizabeth – My friend wrote and self-published this book and she very kindly shared an ARC with me. I cannot be unbiased about this so I will forgo a star rating on this one, haha. This book is possibly the best she’s written so far. So much growth in the writing style. The story is about Low, a bad boy criminal and Poesy his loving sidekick. They’re a modern day Bonnie and Clyde. If you’re looking for romance and thrills this might be the book for you.
  6. Negro: Este color que me queda bonito by Benito Masso – I picked up this book from El Candil in Ponce during my visit to Puerto Rico last year. One of my goals this year is to read more books in Spanish. I picked up this book because I was excited to hear from a black Puerto Rican about his experiences with racism. Puerto Rico is diverse but the fact remains that black puerto ricans are disadvantaged and oppressed by white puerto ricans. There is no Kumbaya on the island. Racism is rampant and insidious, however, I seldom see it addressed. I more often see people pretend it doesn’t exist. This memoir was poignant in that the author not only recounted his encounters with racism both on the island on on the U.S. mainland but he also detailed his journey of healing and talks openly about internalized racism. My rating: 5 stars
  7. The Martian by Andy Weir РI had been meaning to read this book last year but the wait list at my library was a mile long so I finally caved and bought a copy in December. Naturally, as soon as I bought it I was notified that a copy was on hold for me at the library. Go figure. Anyway, I was excited to read the book especially after watching the movie. I was not disappointed. The book was nothing short of thrilling. The end especially had me on edge even as I knew how it ended! Some changes were made and a lot of detail was left out of the movie. Both incarnations of this story are worth checking out. If you love space travel then I suspect reading about an astronaut stranded on Mars is right up your alley. My rating: 5 stars
  8. Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce – When I visited my parents last year I rummaged through the bookcase in my childhood bedroom and found a few books to take with me. This was one of them. I remember reading it and loving it. The idea of a magic garden that appears out of nowhere and that only Tom is privy to was very appealing to me. It still is. Reading children’s books as an adult is such a joy. I will continue to seek out kid lit.¬†My rating: 4¬†stars
  9. Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit by Daniel Quinn – I read this book for the first time during my freshman year of college. It was a required reading for my World Civ class. I remember being blown away by this book after my first reading but my second reading left me underwhelmed. I still think it’s an interesting book but something about it just didn’t resonate with me as much as it did the first time around. I was slightly disappointed but glad I read it all the same. The book is about a man who answers a classified ad that states: Teacher seeks pupil. Must have an earnest desire to save the world. Apply in person. From here he embarks on a journey and so too does the reader. My rating: 3.5 stars
  10. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan – A mysterious bookstore filled with strange books and a new clerk who is determined to figure out what’s going on. This book was a fun read. The ending was kind of¬†underwhelming¬†to me but overall I really enjoyed it. My rating: 4 stars

Conclusion:

I had a great reading month and I stuck to my #readmyowndamnbooks challenge! I did not purchase any books. Out of the 10 books I read 2 of them were library books, 1 was an ARC, 1 was a gift and the rest were books I already owned. My pile of books to be read is greatly reduced and after purging my shelves my house is a lot more organized.

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Book Fridays: Thoughts on reading

I have been doing a lot of reading this month¬†and it¬†feels good. I have momentum going and I don’t want to lose it. I’ve never been one to care about how many books I read and it wasn’t until two years ago that I started tracking my reading and participating in the Goodreads Reading Challenge. Having said that, I just read 10 books this month and it’s a meaningless statistic that I am excited about. It’s the most I have ever read in a month.

This year I am participating in the #readmyowndamnbooks challenge and so far I am happy with my efforts. I did just purchase a book ¬†but it’s not a novel! And so I am allowing it. If you’re curious, I picked up The Whole30 the 30-day guide to total health and food freedom by Melissa Hartwig and Dallas Hartwig. My husband and I are starting Whole30 on February 1st and while this will be my second Whole30 I found that the book is a worthwhile investment especially for the recipes and food plans.

Reading is something that I enjoy. I love to read and I can get lost in a book to the point where I will want to shirk my responsibilities. It’s difficult to pry myself away and do mundane things like tidy up, make dinner and put my son to bed BUT I do these things and jump back into reading. I can’t read when I am feeling anxious or stress which is why I often take week long breaks from reading. When my anxiety peaks I find myself consumed by it and the last thing I want is to tarnish my most beloved pastime. Currently, my anxiety is under control and my life has taken a turn for the better¬†which is why I am taking full advantage of my good mental health.

Diego started preschool this month and this has given me two days a week where I have a period of about 7 hours to myself. I try to do as much as I can around the house. Everything is easier and gets done faster when Diego isn’t here to interrupt me! I do miss him but we are both getting some much needed time away from each other. At first I thought I would read during his absence but I have found it much more appealing to be productive. At the moment, I am decluttering and reorganizing closets and drawers. It’s messy work but the end result will hopefully keep us organized.¬†That might not seem like it has anything to do with reading but to me it has everything to do with reading. I like to be relaxed when I am reading. Clutter and outstanding chores get in the way of this so being organized allows me to spend more time reading and less time cleaning up.

Those are all the random thoughts for the day. Next week I will wrap up my reading month and share some thoughts on the books I read in January.

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Book Fridays: #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks

Last year I sorta lost steam with Book Fridays towards the end. I was reading faster than I was writing blog posts and I just felt like writing about the books I was reading had become a chore. So I took a break from doing that so that I could read in peace and regroup. I don’t consider myself a book reviewer but I suppose that any discussion of a book can be called a review of sorts. I am not sure what my approach will be this year but one thing I am definitely doing is participating in the¬†#ReadMyOwnDamnBooks challenge. The point of this challenge is pretty straight forward: read books you already own rather than buying more books to add to your TBR pile. I really like this idea, especially after shopping my own shelves last year and realizing I had a bad habit of buying books and not reading them. I don’t have a lot of books compared to some but I do have a nice little pile of them that I am going to get through this year.

Currently, I have 11 books on my nightstand and 1 book on my Kindle. I also have a few more¬†on my bookshelf downstairs. There are no set rules in this challenge, you decide how you want to tackle your pile of books. Some people want to knock a certain number of books out before allowing themselves any new purchases. Others, like me, are going cold turkey: NO NEW BOOKS UNTIL…these books are read. It’s OK not to finish a book (life is too short to read books we aren’t into). I am not purchasing or borrowing books from the library until I’ve gotten through at least most of the books I have at home. I’m planning to be strict on zero purchases but a library book or two might happen.

These are the books I’ve already read/ plan to read in 2016.

  1. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling read
  2. Midnight Taxi Tango by Daniel José Older read
  3. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls currently reading
  4. Negro: Este Color Que Me Queda Bonito by Benito Massó Jr.
  5. Perfume by Patrick S√ľskind
  6. Ishmael by Daniel Quinn*
  7. The New Moon’s Arms by Nalo Hopkinson
  8. The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima
  9. Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce*
  10. Ghost Knight by Cornelia Funke
  11. Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield
  12. The Zenith by Duon Thu Huong
  13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
  14. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
  15. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
  16. The Queen by Tiffany Reisz

*denotes a re-read

I don’t plan to read these in any particular order. Once I finish a book I usually look at my TBR list and decide what I’m in the mood for. Most of the time¬†I borrow books from the library but last year I discovered that Dollar Tree sells books and they’re not the kind of books I assumed they were (trash) so I loaded up on quite a few. I plan on writing about these Dollar Tree books soon.

How about you? Do you have a lot of books laying around? Consider reading your own damn books!

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Book Fridays: Last chance for readathon prep

Dewey’s 24 hour readathon is tomorrow. Are you ready? In my previous post I talked about my approach to the readathon and how I prepare for it. Now that I’m down to the wire I realize that I don’t have my stack fully worked out! I have plenty to choose from so this is really a non-issue but I’m tempted to make a library run for two books I really want to read.

My meal and snacking choices are dictated by what’s Whole30 approved. I started the program on Monday and I’m already experiencing results so I intend to stick with it for the full 30 days. It won’t be easy! I have created some bookish snacks that I haven’t been able to eat such as these book pastries and these fruit leather and cheese books. I won’t be eating these but I’ll still be making them for Diego who will be my reading buddy (he even has his own readathon stack!). Doing Whole30 means that I have to prioritize meal planning for tomorrow as I can’t be putting things in my mouth absentmindedly. I plant to have plenty of fruit and veggies on hand. I’ll be prepping them tonight so I don’t have to do much tomorrow.

I will be cheering, reading, and hosting a mini challenge so I know that there is little chance that I’ll finish more than one book but the readathon is so much more to me than that. I will have a great day no matter how much I end up reading. I hope to finish the book I’m currently reading tonight so that I can start a new book tomorrow. I’m one of those readers who is loathe to have more than one book going at the same time. The Picture of Dorian Gray has been one of those reads that’s annoying and infuriating but something about it keeps me¬†invested. I have no problems dropping a book I’m not into but I am into Dorian Gray and I don’t know why!

Will you be participating in the readathon? Let me know in the comments!

Happy reading tomorrow (and always ūüôā )

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Book Fridays: The readathon is coming!

Dewey’s 24 hour readathon is coming up on Saturday the 17th! Have you signed up? If you’ve never participated I strongly urge you to do so. It is a fun event for readers of all ages and if you love to volunteer your time they could really use all the help they can get! You can sign up here and poke around to see how you can get involved if you’re into that ūüôā

I first heard about the readathon last October via Rincey of Rincey Reads on YouTube. I wasn’t sure I could participate but I ended up reading the entire day and had a lot of fun reading updates and blog posts from readers around the world. If you’ve never done a readathon I think Dewey’s is the perfect place to start because it’s all about having fun. You don’t have to read for the full 24 hours (although you certainly CAN) and there are lots of bookish activities and challenges going on for the full 24 hours. A celebration of books and reading is the best way I can describe the readathon.

How do you prepare for a readathon?

Personally, I like to prepare my stack in advance. My first readathon was spent with The Mists of Avalon. I devoted all of my reading time to just the one book and that’s a valid plan of action. The following readathon I lined up a variety of books of varying lengths which resulted in completing a couple of books. That made me feel accomplished. My advice would be to have a variety of books to choose from. You just never know what you’ll be in the mood for once you get going.¬†I’m firmly on team print books AND ebooks. I love my Kindle and I have a few books to choose from on there, too.

Visit your local library

If you have a¬†reading list bigger than your bank account you are not alone! If I were to purchase every book I wanted to read I would be broke. In planning your reading for the readathon I would suggest visiting your local library if you’re able to do so and if your library has Overdrive (or has some other way to loan ebooks) take advantage of that as well. I now have a to be purchased list of all the books I borrowed that I now want to own.

Don’t forget to shop your bookshelves and even your friends bookshelves. Just make sure to take excellent care of their books. Nobody likes to get dog eared copies back. There are also plenty of books in the public domain that are available in ebook format for free.

If you have some coin to spend check out thriftbooks.com. I recently purchased a few books from them and although visibly well loved they are still in great reading condition.

Plan ahead

This might sound like overkill to some but I like to plan for the readathon by making meals ahead and basically having nothing to do but read. Of course this is all relative as I have a toddler and so diaper changes and as of recently, potty visits will be happening throughout the day. I also think it’s important to take breaks, rest your eyes, stretch your muscles etc. And of course we need to eat! Snacks are a must and they can be as healthy or junk-y as you want.

Have fun

I think the most important aspect of the readathon is to have fun. Get your whole family involved. Pick up a comic or graphic novel. You aren’t limited to any format either, ebooks, print books and audiobooks are all readathon material.

I will be hosting a mini challenge on Saturday. There will be prizes! I am so excited to cheer, read and keep up with readathon happenings. I probably won’t finish a book but I sure will have plenty to read.

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Diego’s readathon stack!

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