#readmyowndamnbooks

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 José 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 – I 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: #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 Süskind
  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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