Posted in Community

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Resolutions/Goals

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Top Ten Tuesday is now being hosted by That Artsy Reader! Interesting, right?

I haven’t done a TTT in a loooong time, but I thought it’d be a great way to start off book blogging for 2018, especially considering this week’s topic.

I don’t have ten goals for reading, but I do have a few. First of all, I don’t do New Years resolutions. I think they’re just setting yourself up for failure. Rather, I do life goals. At the end of 2017, I sat down and listed things that I wanted to accomplish, change, continue, or just do better for 2018. Then, I created a bingo layout in my bullet journal so that I will get mini rewards for each box I complete and then a larger reward if I actually get a bingo. I did this last year too but fell off with tracking it and didn’t actually reward myself with anything or complete any bingos, lol. One of my goals for this year is to be more intentional with my life, so hopefully, that goal will enable me to complete other goals, which include the following reading/bookish goals that are on my bingo board.

  1. Book blog at least once a week for at least 40 weeks this year. Being more regular with blogging has been a goal of mine since I first started blogging in 2004. I fail regularly at this, heheh. This will be my year!! (We’re not going to talk about how this is the 3rd week of the year and I’m just getting started.)
  2. Participate in at least one season of the Goodreads Seasonal Challenge. I’m doing this in my own way. I’ve created a spreadsheet for myself to keep track of the tasks and how I’m meeting the goals. I’m following the rules as set down for the challenge, but I’m not posting my completed tasks to the group. This is just for me. So far, I’ve scored 215 points for Winter and I’ve completed this goal.
  3. Read five books per season for the Goodreads Seasonal Challenge. This will take me all year, but I’ve read 16 books for winter (Dec 1 to Feb 28) so far.
  4. Organize my Goodreads shelves. This is something I’ve been meaning to do for quite some time. Years, really. I’m trying to remain positive about it.
  5. Read and review 12 ARCS. This should be easy enough. It breaks down to just one a month and will help me complete my first goal too.
  6. Create a household Goodreads account. This is, by far, my most challenging bookish goal that I’ve set for myself but will be highly rewarding once completed. We’re a family of readers and our interests overlap. This has resulted in us buying books that we already own on several occasions because one person doesn’t realize that another has already bought the same book. Also, I’m extremely curious as to how many books we actually own.
  7. Read six nonfiction books. Seems simple enough, but the nonfiction books I gravitate towards are historical tomes that take me weeks to finish. We’ll see how it goes.
  8. Successfully track all the books that I read in 2018 in my bullet journal. Yes, I know I have Goodreads, but I track things in my bujo that I don’t on GR. For example, I keep track of author’s nationality, whether they’re male or female, and whether or not I’ve reviewed a book and where I’ve reviewed it. I started out strong last year, then switched journals and fell completely off the track.
  9. Lastly, my Goodreads book goal for 2018 is 65 books. This is the same as it was last year and I finished 2017 at 75. I’m not too worried about reaching this goal. 🙂 I’m already at ten books for 2018.

So, what are your bookish/reading goals for 2018? Do you bother with yearly goals at all, or just figure they’re a waste of time?

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Posted in Reading

Adding a New Shelf

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No matter how much I read or how much older and wiser (heheh) I get, I still hesitate to allow myself to DNF a book. It almost seems unfair to form an opinion about a book that I haven’t finished. How can you make an informed decision when you lack all the information? That being said, I do allow myself to DNF a book now and then. If an eBook’s formatting is so terrible that I can’t figure out what I’m reading, I DNF it. If a book doesn’t hold my attention, is not interesting, and I’m not getting anything from it, I DNF it. If a book has so many typos or the sentence structure and/or grammar is awful (and where are the editors here??) I DNF it. There are other reasons, but these are my main three. When I do this, I do not write a review for the book even if it’s a proof copy. I absolutely do believe that it’d be wrong of me to convey my thoughts and opinions on a book publicly without having completely finished a book. This is strictly my personal opinion for myself.

There are times, however, when I’m reading a book that I am enjoying but set it aside for one reason or another. Maybe a book that I’ve been waiting for has finally been released and I can’t resist reading it right away or sometimes life just gets in the way. On Goodreads, I usually leave these books on my “currently reading” shelf. Eventually, I’ll move them back to my “to read” shelf, but I don’t have any set amount of time for making that decision. It just seems as if I’m padding my numbers when I “say” I’m currently reading a book that I haven’t picked up in six months or however long.

I was watching Jean’s booktube channel, Jean’s Bookish Thoughts, the other day and she discussed this topic herself and said that she created a shelf just for these books. You know. Books that you’ve started, have set aside, but fully intend to pick up sometime in the future. I don’t know why I didn’t think to add this shelf to my Goodreads before. It will also be a good way for me to review these books every once in a while to see if I do, in fact, want to come back to them or maybe I should just add them to my box of books to trade at the used book store.

There’s nothing wrong with DNF’ing a book. There’s nothing wrong with setting a book aside in favor of another. There’s nothing wrong with reading ten books at one time. I just like to stay organized and I’m a visual person. Creating a shelf on Goodreads for books I’ve started and haven’t finished just makes good sense for me.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you have a similar shelf? Do you have a better or more creative solution?

Posted in blog stuff, book tag, Community, Fun Bookishness

The Goodreads Book Tag

I saw this posted on Adoptabooksaus and couldn’t resist joining in. This is a good tag! Without Goodreads, I’d buy a lot more duplicates of books than I already do, heheh.

What was the last book you marked as “read”? That would be Sepulchre by Kate Mosse. I’m not reviewing this book here unless I get a request to do so, but suffice it to say I only rated it as 2 stars on Goodreads and it took me three weeks to read it. I wasn’t the biggest fan of this book.

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What are you currently reading? I just started Victoria by Daisy Goodwin yesterday and I’m loving it! If I didn’t have to take care of my daughter (was recently in a car accident), I could’ve had this book read in a day, I like it so much.

What was the latest book you marked as “tbr”? That would be Cogheart by Peter Bunzl. Someone recently posted an interview with this author on a blog I follow and it sounded like a book that’d be right up my alley, so I added it.

What book do you plan to read next? Good question. Nothing on my bookshelves has been catching my eye lately. What I really want to read are the graphic novels I have set aside for Dewey’s Readathon. It has taken all my self restraint to NOT read them. I suppose I’ll read The Pearl and the Carnelian by Annabel Fielding since it’s a NetGalley book.

Do you use the star rating system? I do. I’ve written about my feelings about ratings before.

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Are you doing a 2016 Reading Challenge? I am! For a while, I was worried that I wouldn’t meet my goal for this year. I was something like seven books behind schedule at one point. As of this writing, I have read 55 of 65 books. That’s 85% of my goal and I’m four books ahead of schedule. Woohoo!!

Do you have a wishlist? On Goodreads, I mark books that I want to read as “to read” and if I don’t already own them, I add the shelf “need to buy”. That’s basically my wish list. My husband knows to peruse my “need to buy” shelf for gift ideas.

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What book do you plan to buy next? This couldn’t be an easier question. I plan on buying Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. It’s the second book in the Illuminae series and I’m sad that I don’t already have it in my hands. 😦

Do you have any favorite quotes? Share a few. 

“I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying.”
― Oscar Wilde, The Happy Prince and Other Stories

“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”
― Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey (The only Austen novel I like)

“It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

“I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else.”
― Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane

“If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.”
― Oscar Wilde

Who are your favorite authors? In no particular order:  Twain, Gaiman, Hemingway, Erik Larson, J.D. Robb, Michelle Moran, Jenny Lawson, Alison Weir, Margaret Atwood, Zora Neale Hurston. There are others that aren’t coming to mind right now.

Have you joined any groups? I’ve joined a few but I participate very little. So little, that I can’t really remember which groups I am in, lol.

I’m not tagging any particular person. If you want to participate, please do so! I’d love to read your responses, so leave me a comment if you decide to tag yourself. 😉

Posted in Community

The Ratings Pressure

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I recently watched a booktube vid on YouTube about the positive and/or negative aspects of rating books. The video is Goodreads Ratings:  Yay or Nay? by suddenlylorna, who I love and you should check out. I’ve touched on this subject in the past but from a different perspective and I’d like to revisit it today.

I rate books on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and here on my blog. I do so for several reasons.

  1. A rating gives an instant and brief glimpse into my feelings about a book. This is useful to me, personally, because it helps jog my memory about how I initially felt about a book. I think this is helpful to other readers too, to give them a starting place upon which to decide if they want to read a book or not.
  2. It’s easy. I do my very best to write about my feelings on books that I’ve read but sometimes, especially if the book is older, I don’t always take the time. A rating takes the place of a drawn out review and/or journal entry.
  3. A rating is less opinionated.

I can see suddenlylorna’s point about no longer wanting to rate books on GR though. She said she feels pressure to rate a book in her mind, as she’s reading it before she even finishes a book. I’m sure other readers feel the same pressure. In my mind or in a notebook, I am taking notes on what I am liking or disliking about the book as I’m reading it. I’m not assigning it a rating though. I also don’t give in to the pressure to agree with the majority. If I rate a book, its rating is coming from my experience with the book, not other people’s. This is controversial, but I’ve seen GR users gang up together to attack authors and/or books. These so-called “influencers” can severely hurt a book’s rating. This reason alone is enough to base your opinions on a book on what you take away from it, not what other people are telling you is good or bad about a book.

Ratings and opinions are subjective. The book I reviewed on Monday was given a wide range of ratings on GR. I gave it a middle rating of 3 but I could see why other people only rated it 1 star. The things that bugged me about the book bugged them even more. That’s their opinion and it isn’t right or wrong just like my opinion isn’t right or wrong. I can think of one specific book that bugged the ever living hell out of me. I can’t, not for one millisecond, see why so many people liked it. Still, it has been made into a movie and is ever so popular. Who cares? I can live with being in the minority.

Why don’t we, as a book reading society, allow ourselves to have opinions? I remember reading someone’s blog or an article or something, where someone said it’s rude to post a negative opinion about a book. Maybe it was in a Facebook group. I think it’s actually against the rules to debate about why they (the member(s)) didn’t like a specific book. Anyway, wow! Not every book published is actually good. Not every book that has received critical acclaim is good. Not every book adapted into a movie is good.

It amazes me how much pressure we put on ourselves. Allow yourself to have an opinion on your books! Of equal importance, allow others to have opinions too even if they don’t agree with yours! The world would be a boring place if we all thought the exact same things.

Posted in Reading Roundup

2016 Goodreads Reading Challenge Update

If I was going to say that I track my reading, I would say that I do so on Goodreads. I wish I was more disciplined about tracking my reading. In 2014, I had a reading journal. It was a journal that was specifically for reading and books. Looking back, I was pretty good about keeping it up to date. Maybe I need another one for 2017.

Anyway, I do my best to keep Goodreads up to date with what I’ve read, what I’m currently reading, and my TBR. As for my TBR, I added a category, “need to buy” so that my husband can look at my Goodreads account and see what books I want but don’t actually own for holidays and such. I also use this for myself when I’m out buying books and can’t remember if I’ve bought one or another. Unfortunately, I’ve forgotten to remove that “shelf” occasionally and have found duplicate copies of books on my shelf. Oops.

2016 Goodreads Reading Challenge

As for the Goodreads Reading Challenge, I did not complete my goal last year, ending the challenge at 62 of 75 books read. In 2014, I did complete my goal at 63 of 60 books. For 2016, I set a goal of 65 books thinking that would be a good compromise between 2014 and 2015. Looking at my progress thus far, I’m behind!! ARGH! As of this writing, I am at 34 of 65 books and Goodreads estimates that I am SEVEN books behind schedule.

In my defense, it’s been a somewhat eventful year. I had the semester from hell at the beginning of the year. Then my dad passed away in March. I’m still dealing with that. My husband and I had our anniversary trip to Europe in May. We’ve had family down to visit twice; once at the end of May and then again earlier this month. It really hasn’t left me a lot of time for reading. I’m actually currently reading five books, lol. I’ll leave the deets of that for another post.

I think I might fill out my reading numbers with a few graphic novels. They count!

Posted in Books News

Goodreads 2015 Choice Awards

Book awards of any kind frustrate me. My choices differ with the nominees and/or winners more often than not. Why is that? Is my taste so terrible? I find that I often disagree with the popular opinion on a lot of different subjects. I guess my inner rebellious teenager will never be put to rest. I’d like to discuss some of the winners.

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  • Fiction:  Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee. My opinion:  What a predictable pick. I judge this pick. Can’t people be a little more creative with their choices?? I haven’t read this book so I have no actual opinion of the book, but I still say it was predictable. BEYOND predictable. This book won and it didn’t even have to get out of bed to do so.
  • Mystery Thriller:  The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. My opinion:  I couldn’t stand this book. It was about pathetic women. Awful. The plot twists weren’t creative or original. Ugh. It won by a landslide too. How? This was such a bad book.
  • Fantasy:  Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman. My opinion:  Okay. So this is another predictable pick. HOWEVER, I love Gaiman and he is a phenomenal writer. I have this book and while I haven’t read all of the stories in it, I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read so far.
  • Horror:  Saint Odd by Dean Koontz. My opinion:  I’m a huge fan of the Odd Thomas series. I haven’t read this book yet, but I’m happy to see that it won for this category. Way to go Odd!!
  • History and Biography:  Dead Wake by Erik Larson. My opinion:  Larson is another fantastic writer. I have absolutely loved all of his books that I’ve read. I haven’t read this one yet, but I’m not surprised it won in this category.
  • Graphic Novels & Comics:  Saga, Vol. 4 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples. My opinion:  Of the nominees, I thought this was a clear winner. Again, I haven’t read this yet, but I have read volumes one and two. Saga is worthy of the win.
  • Best Debut Goodreads Author:  The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. My opinion:  This book was good. However, my opinion is that its win equals winning a popularity contest versus winning on merit. Looking at the other nominees, did The Red Queen deserve the win based on the story and the writing? I don’t think so. All the popular kids read and liked it…
  • Young Adult Fantasy:  Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas. My opinion:  Are you freaking kidding me? I haven’t read this because I can’t stand Maas’ writing. Maybe she’s improved since Throne of Glass but holy wow! That was such an awful book I can’t stand the thought of torturing myself with more of her writing. Here, I have a very unpopular opinion but I stand by it. Makes me wonder at other people’s taste. 😉 I think Illuminae should have won here.

So, there you go. My opinion of other people’s opinions. When I disagreed, I strongly disagreed. What am I missing? I’m confounded.