Book Fridays: Reading priorities and July TBR

I don’t think I have ever shared my monthly TBRs but since I have a few books lined up and no scheduled post for today I am sharing what I plan to read this month. I have always frequented my local library but between last year and this one I have really amped up my library use. I go to the library almost weekly whether it’s to browse, pick up holds, or return books. I also make use of their Overdrive service for e-books. It turns out I do not have the funds to buy as many books as I read. I actually like borrowing books first because if I love a book I can always purchase it knowing that I really want it in my collection. Reading borrowed books has helped me knock out  a lot of books I’ve been meaning to read since once I bring them home I actually read them. See, I used to buy a lot of books and they tend to sit for a while before I get around to them. With library books I am forced to prioritize my reading.

Speaking of purchased books, this year I am reading my shelves and so far I’ve read several books I had purchased years ago but never read. I am also purging my bookshelves of books I am not longer interested in owning because my reading tastes have changed a lot over the last few years.

But back to prioritizing my reading, this week, Daniel Jose Older’s Shadowshaper was released and I am dying to read it. I planned to start it the day it came out but I hadn’t finished the book I was in the middle of and with another two library books still in the wings I know that I have to wait. I am not the type of reader who likes to read multiple books at once unless they’re non-fiction, or a collection of stand alone stories. It’s not a hard and fast rule for me but I much prefer to read one book at a time. In fact, I seldom ever have multiple books going at once. Reading mostly library books has really challenged me in that I have had to begrudgingly put down a book for a few days because one of my library holds has come in.

Here is what I plan to read this month:

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

The Cross of Redemption: Uncollected Writings by James Baldwin

Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older

I will probably read other books but I’ll pick those out depending on what I feel like. I’ll either borrow hard copies from the library or e-book format from Overdrive. My husband has Amazon Prime so I could also borrow books from there.


Book Fridays- NaNoWriMo, TBR lists and ratings

It’s Friday and I will barely get this blog post up in time but I’m determined to write one. I am officially done with NaNoWriMo! I wrote a little over 52k words and now that I reached my goal I am taking a break from what I wrote for a little bit. I will return to it eventually and see if anything is salvageable. It wasn’t always easy to sit down to write. Time management is something I need to work on. On some days I managed to wake up early and snag some time to write while my son was still sleeping. During the day I tried to write when I could, or scribble some ideas in a notebook or even record a voice memo on my phone. That proved to be one the most useful tools during the month. When it came to actually writing some days I wrote over 5k words and other days the words would not come and I felt as though I was trying to squeeze the last drops of juice from a fruit. On those days I wanted to give up but I forced myself to sit down and write something. Every word adds up and a hundred words here and there contribute to the overall count.

This month I have not finished any books even though I did manage to read a little. I’ve been reading La Ciudad de las Bestias for a couple of months now. I started reading it out loud to my son but found that reading out loud for long periods strains my throat, I’m probably just a wimp. Then I read other things but this month I picked it back up and have been plodding through it. I am enjoying the story very much. I think I might have mentioned this before but I feel as though I read slower in Spanish than I do in English. I’m fluent in both languages but I haven’t read Spanish novels regularly since high school so I’m out of practice. I hope to finish the book by the first week of December. While I was writing and not reading I had some time to go over my to be read list on Goodreads. Before using Goodreads I had a list of books I wanted to read in a notebook, and on random post-its, and in a note on my phone. Basically, I was disorganized. With Goodreads I am able to keep a list of what I’ve read and want to read as well as notes of what I have read. I don’t love Goodreads but it’s the platform I’m using for the moment.

When I think about my TBR list I know that I can only hope to read half of what’s on it. I find myself wanting to read more books than I’m able. Every week I learn about new books through friends, booktube and other random sources. I feel like it gives me something to look forward to and so I don’t have a problem with a long TBR list. This brings me to the issue of managing our books. There is no right or wrong way to do that. Booktuber Danika Leigh Ellis made a great video about “working libraries” and how we think about our books. I highly recommend her channel for interesting book topics as well as book reviews. There’s also something about her voice that I find very soothing.

Another topic that Danika discussed that has prompted me to analyze my own thoughts on it is that of star ratings on Goodreads. I often find myself struggling with star ratings because I am never quite sure as to how I should evaluate a book I’ve read. Sometimes my ratings are purely emotional. If the story left me feeling shitty I want to give it a low rating. It’s not rational! Other times even though I was meh about a book I want to give it a four star rating because I thought it was a well written. Should I rate based on the technical (writing, grammar, spelling, etc) or should I rate it on my own personal criteria (how women and minorities are portrayed etc)? There really is no answer ratings are not really that useful if we don’t know an individual’s criteria. I used to rate books without reviewing them but I now find myself writing at least a couple of lines about how I felt about the book and hence why I rated it the way I did. Whenever I am reading up on a book I want to read I find myself not looking at the ratings but at reviews. I want to read people’s thoughts. Ratings, like reviews, are subjective but unless there’s a review to go with the rating are completely useless in my opinion.

These are my book (and non-book) related thoughts for the week. Until next time!