Category Archives: Blogging

2014 End of Year Book Survey

2014-end-of-year-book-survey

 

Every year, Jaime at the Perpetual Page-Turner puts together this great End of Year survey. It’s just a fun way to look back on your reading year. I took most of December off from blogging, which was much needed, but I’m ready to get back into the swing of things with a full week of best of 2014 and looking ahead to 2015. To kick it off, I’m going to start with the year-end survey! I always pick the questions that are most relevant to my reading life, so be sure to check out the full survey if you’d like to add it to your blog, too!

Reading Stats

Number of Books Read: 102 and I’m expecting to read a few more before the week is over.
Number of Rereads: 3
Genre You Read the Most From: Fantasy – 39 books.

Best In Books

Best book read in 2014? Like I could pick just one! Someone by Alice McDermott, The Transcriptionist by Amy Rowland, Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt, Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz, and Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Book I was excited about and thought I was going to love more: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. A Secret History is one of my favorite books, so I had high hopes for The Goldfinch. While I liked it a lot, it’s definitely not one I’ll read again.

Most surprising book: I’m going to go with most surprising series – The Vampire Academy series and the Bloodlines series. I devoured these this year and really loved them, which I wasn’t expecting! They aren’t perfect books, but I liked the world building a lot and cared about the characters.

Book I pushed the most people to read: I’m constantly telling people to read The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

Best series I started in 2014: Bloodlines!

Favorite new author: I think everyone discovered Roxane Gay this year, but An Untamed State was one of the best books I read this year. Celeste Ng is another author I’m eager to read again and Lin Enger, author of The High Divide.

Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year: The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero and The Three by Sarah Lotz

Book I’m most likely to reread next year: I like to wait at least a year or so in between rereads, so probably nada.

Favorite cover: 

9781616202545 Aristotle_and_Dante_Discover_the_Secrets_of_the_Universe_cover

Most memorable character of 2014: Jane Eyre

Most beautifully written book of 2014: Talking to the Dead by Helen Dunmore and Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman (Goal: read more beautiful books in 2014)

Most thought-provoking book of 2014: Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty

Book I Can’t Believe I Waited Until 2014 to Read: The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield – I won this galley in a Twitter contest ages ago and it had been sitting on my shelf for a long while. I ended up loving it and I’m sorry it sat on my shelf for so long!

Favorite passage? From Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman:

The letters are sitting right here, bound in dirty string so they can’t come open too easily, so they can’t steal my nights as I look for secrets in their creases. Mama developed Grandma’s preference for onionskin paper too, and felt-tip, I wait for this to happen to me, I’m certain it will. The only way to tell the difference between Mama’s letters and Grandma’s at first glance is that Mama’s stay bundled up so tight the string rips into their pages and Grandma’s are loose and open, all over this table. I keep Mama’s letters closed, keep their edges close together like a cut that needs force to heal. I’m all wrapped up in there, jumbled with her, small i‘s and slashes, her story in my story at every turn.

Shortest book? Hilda and the Midnight Giant by Luke Pearson (40 pages) Longest book? A Feast for Crows by George RR Martin (976 pages)

 Book that shocked me the most: Wild Ones by Jon Mooallem had some fascinating and shocking facts about conservation and extinction.

OTP: Sydney and Adrian!!!!

Favorite non-romantic relationship: Karou & Zuzana from Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Favorite book read in 2014 from an author I’ve read previously: Locke & Key and Saga volumes 2 and 3

Best book I read in 2014 based on a recommendation: Wild Ones by Jon Mooallem based on a recommendation from Aarti

Best debut I read in 2014? Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Best worldbuilding? Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

Book that put a smile on my face: Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson and

Book that made me cry: Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Hidden gem of the year: I want everyone to read David R. Dow, so I’m going to say Things I Learned from Dying by David R. Dow

Book that crushed my soul: Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Most unique book of 2014: The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero – Though this style of book isn’t really unique, it was definitely the most unique book I read in 2014!

Book that made me the most madAn Untamed State by Roxane Gay made me viscerally angry about the horrible things that people can do to each other.

Looking Ahead

One book I didn’t get to in 2014 that will be a priority in 2015: I’ve already picked out my first book of the year for 2015 and it’s going to be My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante, which I’ve only heard good things about.

Book I am most anticipating for 2015: The third book in the Kingkiller Chronicles by Patric Rothfuss, Doors of Stone, does not have an official release date, but the rumor is that it will be in 2015. Fingers crossed!

One thing I hope to do in my reading life: For every book by a white person, I would like to read a book by a person of color and keep up my trend of reading more books by women. I’m going to do a more detailed post about my 2014 stats and my 2015 reading goals, so keep an eye out for that this week!

What did your reading year look like?

 

 


Introducing Nonfiction November!

cork w books

 

I’m so excited to announce that Nonfiction November is returning for 2014! The idea for Nonfiction November came because I had had such a great year of themed reading and I had (and have) way too many nonfiction books languishing unread on my shelves, plus alliteration is a wonderful thing, so Nonfiction November was born. Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness, nonfiction blogging hero and all around wonderful person, co-hosted with me and it ended up being one of my favorite blogging months ever! This year I’m happy to say we have two new bloggers who have joined us – Rebecca from I’m Lost in Books and Katie from Doing Dewey will be co-hosting with us this year!

Like last year, this is an event that can be as low-key or as involved as you want it to be! There are three main ways you can participate and, of course, we hope you’ll be able to do all three! I’m most excited about our new readalong this year, but we need your help to pick out the book we’ll be reading. See below!

Option One

Read and post about one nonfiction book during the month of November and include it in one of our linky posts!

Option Two

Participate in our weekly discussions about nonfiction! Each week there will be a different topic, hosted by a different co-host. On Monday, we’ll post about that week’s topic and on Friday we’ll do a round up of that week’s participants. You can put your post up on anytime during the week, just be sure to add your link to the linky before Friday so we can include you in the round up post! Here are this year’s topics, so you can plan ahead:

Week 1 (Nov 3-7), Hosted by Kim – Your Year in Nonfiction

Take a look back at your year in nonfiction and answer the following questions:

  • What was your favorite nonfiction read of 2014?
  • What nonfiction book have you recommended the most?
  • What is one topic or type of nonfiction you haven’t read enough of yet?
  • What do you hope to get out of Nonfiction November?

Week 2 (Nov 10-14), Hosted by Leslie (me!) – Be the Expert/Become the Expert/Ask the Expert

This was one of my favorite topics last year. Everyone loves a list, after all! If you decide to Be the Expert, post a list of books about a certain topic that you’ve read and can recommend. If you’d like to Become the Expert, do a little research and create a list of books on a certain topic that you’d like to read. Finally, if you’d just like suggestions from other participants on which books to read about a certain topic, you can Ask the Expert. Here are a few examples from last year.

Week Three (Nov 17-21), Hosted by Rebecca – Diversity in Nonfiction

What does diversity in nonfiction mean to you? Is it about the topic or theme of the book? Or is it the race or ethnicity of the author? Do you have any recommendations for diverse nonfiction books? Are there any topics that you’d like to see written about and/or read more widely?

Week Four (Nov 24-28), Hosted by Katie – New to My TBR

It’s been a week full of amazing nonfiction books! Which ones have made it onto your TBR? Be sure to link back to the original blogger who posted about that book!

Option Three

POLL COLLAGE_2Finally, the third way you can participate is new this year: our Nonfiction November Readalong! This year we’re adding a readalong component and we’d like you to help us pick which book we’ll be reading. Please go to this link to vote on which of the following four books you’d like to read for the readalong: Cleopatra by Stacy SchiffThe Sports Gene by David Epstein, The Restless Sleep by Stacy Hornor Wild Ones by Jon Mooallem. 

PHEW. That was a lot to say in one post, but I hope you’re as excited about participating in Nonfiction November as we are about reading your posts! I can’t wait!


A More Diverse Universe

amdu150

The wonderful Aarti at BookLust has been running A More Diverse Universe every fall for the past two years. In past years, she’s challenged bloggers to read science fiction and fantasy novels by people of color and post about them. The first year, it lead to me reading The Killing Moon and The Shadowed Sun by NK Jemisin. Just reading through this post again made me want to reread the series! They’re wonderful fantasy novels that I highly recommend. Lsat year, I had every intention of participating, but I didn’t quite make the date, but it did make me take a serious look at my reading habits and what I can do to make sure I’m reading more and more books by authors of color.

This year, Aarti is opening up the challenge a little bit. Instead of reading fantasy and science fiction books by an author of color, the task this year is to read and review any book by an author of color during September 14-27th. I also have a goal (that I’m woefully behind on) to read books on my TBR, so I pulled the books that I could reach (there are a few boxes in front of my bookshelves still unfortunately) from my shelves and I came up with a reading list. Here are my pool of titles!

IMG_20140810_201736

 

 

I don’t expect to finish all of these, but I think it’s a good selection that includes nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. Historical fiction and contemporary. A lot of these books are BIG though, so I’m not quite sure how many I’ll get through in the next three weeks, but hopefully I’ll have a few reviews for you during A More Diverse Universe.

If you’re interested in participating, head on over to Aarti’s post to sign up. I can’t wait to read your reviews!

 


This past month…

2014-05-03 14.19.04 - Copy

I feel like so many things have happened and I don’t even know where to begin. The days all jumble together until I can’t tell one week apart from the other. I’ve traveled a lot – to Philadelphia, Virginia, North Carolina, Indianapolis. That picture up there is from my plane and that’s Cincinnati. Did you know that the Cincinnati airport is actually in Kentucky? I’ve worked. I made up for only reading one book the entire month of April (to be fair, it was A Feast of Crows) by reading 5 books this weekend (four comics, one novel). I’ve enjoyed good weather and bad. I’ve had wonderful news and horrible news and all the ups and downs that come with it. I’ve learned things about myself and feel like time has passed both too slowly and too quickly. All in all, I’m incredibly grateful that I got to just sit on my couch this weekend.

There have been times this past month when I didn’t miss blogging. A few afternoons when I thought I could give this up, probably. But there have been other days when my fingers have itched to write and I tried to let them write without a purpose, in a journal, in a google doc, and I missed this. What I really missed was you. I have felt a little bereft not knowing what’s going on in your lives. I’ve spent the past few days catching up – I’m sorry if I didn’t comment, but know that I read it and I want to know more! What has happened to you this month? What have you been reading? Tell me everything.


This week in…

blogging.

I made two manageable goals at the beginning of the year: record a quote from every book I read and post at least once a week. So far I’ve kept that up! I’ve been posting very general thoughts about books, random things that occur to me when I am reading or when I begin writing the post. I’ve been calling these posts “Quotes & Notes” and so far, I’ve published ones on Things I’ve Learned from Dying by David R. DowThe Reconstructionist by Nick Arvin, and The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. Next week, you can look forward to reading about Tandem by Ann Jarzab, On Such A Full Sea by Chang-Rae Lee and probably Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls.

reading. 

I’ve decided on a very basic reading schedule for 2014 based on what has worked well in January:

  • one book in translation
  • one book from work that is publishing in Fall 2014. I want to read the whole Fall fiction list, something I haven’t done in the almost 2.5 years I’ve been at this job.
  • one 2014 release (not from work)
  • at least one comic a week
  • the rest from my TBR in 2014 list

I feel like the reason I always fail at reading my TBR is because of all the new shiny books out there! This gives me two books that I’m allowed to buy a month, plus a third new book from work. All the excitement from Comics February has made me remember the days when I used to read one comic a week. It might not happen every week, but it’s good to have the goal. At my standard reading pace, this help me get pretty darn close to finishing off my 2014 list, while still not feeling bored by having my reading planned out for the year. ALSO I’m perfectly happy DNFing a book from my TBR list. I’ve already sent one out the door that I just couldn’t stand.

I’m not expecting every week to be perfect, but it helps to know what I want my 2014 reading year to look like (which I already talked about here and here) and actually applying that to a month’s worth of reading!

crafting.

I’m working on a “scrap” blanket, in an effort to use up ALL THE YARN. For a while, I was just buying any pretty yarn I saw, and then never finished any projects with it. Fortunately, all the colors I own compliment each other pretty well, because it’s coming together nicely.

scrap blanket

As for what I’ll do when this is finished and I have no yarn… I have been thinking of trying out one of two new hobbies: bookbinding and hand quilting. I’ve been following Trish’s progress on her hex quilt and I really want to make my own! I even picked out the fabric I would use. I am also obsessed with this bookbinding tumblr and I watched a ton of bookbinding howtos from Sea Lemon this morning. Both of these hobbies are going to take a little investment, so I have to decide! I have dabbled in bookbinding and sewing in the past, but not seriously. I’m looking forward to learning something new!

loving.

  • Andi’s post “15 Topics for your Blogging Blues” – I shall keep this post in my pocket for all the rainy blogging days.
  • Sasha’s post “Into Whatever Crazy Beauty Awaits” – The last paragraph of this gives me  chills. It’s so so beautiful and such a wonderful way to anticipate the new year. I’m trying to hold onto all the New Year enthusiasm as long as I can. When is it no longer acceptable to say Happy New Year?
  • Jason’s post “Comfort Food” – “I love [pb&j]. Like, the actual emotion. Like, I have an intense, fraught, passionate relationship with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.” Yup.
  • Linda Holmes’s post “Chris Christie and Pulling the Red Handle” via Clare @ The Literary Omnivore – Amen is all I really have to say about that.

looking ahead.

This week, I’ll be reading If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino (my monthly translation!), Someone by Alice McDermott (book club read), and The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling. Plus anxiously anticipating Comics February!!!

What did you do this past week? What are you looking forward to next week?


2013 Reading Stats

I haven’t posted reading stats here in a while and I didn’t do a very good job of keeping track the past few years. Life just got in the way. In 2013, though, I made it a point to keep track of a few things: date finished, page count, publisher, pub date, male/female ratio, where the author was from, and whether or not the book was a translation. I think it is interesting to see how my reading changes over time and how it shifted throughout the year. It’s mostly for me, but I know that I love reading other people’s stats posts. I’m fascinated by what people decide to keep track of. As for my 2013 reading, I’ve talked already about how I only read one translation this year and how I want to make it a priority to read more in 2014, but how did my other stats fair?

Total Books Read: 104. One hundred seems to be my magic number. Sometimes I read a little bit more, sometimes a little bit less, but it is always around 100 books, no matter what I do.

Total Pages: 33,259! I loved how Care pulled out her chunksters (books with more than 450 pages) to see what percentage of this year’s page count was chunksters. I read 14 chunksters, which were a total of 11,477 pages or 34.5% of my total reading for the year.

Age range: 65 books for adults (62.5%), 24 YA (23%), 3 Middle Grade (3%), 1 Children’s (1%) and 11 that were vague crossovers that could have fit into two or three categories (10.5%). I’m pretty happy with this split, though I wouldn’t necessarily mind if there were more YA books next year.

Genre: This is so hard to pin down, I’m almost hesitant to even track it every year. This is, in reality, a combination of form and genre, to make it a little bit easier.

  • 27 comics, 5 of which were nonfiction/memoir (26%)
  • 17 fantasy/science fiction/speculative fiction (16%)
  • 28 general fiction (27%)
  • 7 horror (7%)
  • 18 nonfiction (17%)
  • 3 poetry (3%)
  • 2 historical fiction (2%)
  • 1 romance (1%)
  • 1 book of short stories (1%)

I’m so surprised that the comics number is so high! I did read a lot this year, but I didn’t think it was that many. Once again, I’m happy with this, but I wouldn’t mind if fantasy or horror jumped up a bit. And definitely poetry! I want to read more in 2014. Why did I split out horror from the fantasy/science fiction/speculative fiction category? I don’t know. I just did.

Female vs Male Authors: 54 female (52%), 46 male (44%), 4 both (4%)

Book format: 90 print books (86%), 6 ebooks (6%), 8 audiobooks (8%). This number is more for curiosity’s sake than anything else. I might try to listen to more audiobooks, but I’m not overly concerned with my print vs ebook number. Though I would like to see more of the print books I own heading out the door! I have way too many.

Library books vs my books: 29 library books (28%), 65 books from my shelves (62%), 10 borrowed from other readers and returned (10%). This number LOOKS really good, but I’m pretty sure I acquired just as many as I sent back out the door.

Author nationality: 

  • 75 from USA (72%)
  • 12 from UK (12%)
  • 8 from Canada (8%)
  • 3 from Australia (3%)
  • 2 from New Zealand (2%)
  • 1 each from the Netherlands, Nigeria, and Spain (3%)

The remaining three were essay collections that featured several authors, so I did not track them. This is the number, along with the number of authors who are POC (only 10 books!) and the number of translations (just 1), that I’m most disappointed with and is something I’m seriously going to work on in 2014. I should be reading books from around the world by a variety of people, not just my own familiar corner.

So, I’ve told you about my blogging goals for 2014. Now for the reading goals! Like with the blogging resolutions, it’s all about keeping it simple:

  • Read more books that I own! And stop buying as many as I send out the door!
  • Read more books from around the world, in translation, and by people from a variety of races.
  • Blog about each book I read in some way, but not necessarily a review. I started keeping a book blog to remember the books I read, so even if it is just a monthly wrap up of what I read, I’d like to have some kind of post that at least mentions each book I read in 2014.

And that’s it! If you keep stats about your reading, were there any big gaps you noticed in 2013 that you’d like to fix for 2014?


5 Years Later

Five years ago today, I was a sophomore in college and without a thing to read over my winter break. I wanted something new to read, so I got online to find book reviews and discovered that there was such a thing as a book blog. I knew that this was how I wanted to spend my time and a baby blog was born.

Since then, a lot of things have changed, but one thing is still the same. I feel so fortunate for that day, because book blogging has changed my life in more ways than I can count. I have met amazing people, been fortunate enough to have many opportunities, and hope to be a blogger for a long time.

Usually, I don’t do much for my blogiversary, because there is just so much going on. It’s the end of the year! There are year-end surveys and book lists, New Year’s Resolutions, and holiday posts. But lately I’ve felt the blogging bug and I thought I might share some of my blogging resolutions.

  • Blog at least once a week. I know this won’t happen every week, but I’d really like to try to make this a priority in 2014.
  • Blog about books, but not necessarily reviews. I like my book lists, my conversations about books, but I’ve been tired of writing reviews for a long time. I think it’s time to just let them go.
  • Post a quote from every book I read. Weekly post about this, maybe?
  • Blog about other things. I’ve thought about blogging about NYC, crafting, recipes. I’d like to find a way to do this consistently. I want my blog to reflect my life.

And that’s it. I want resolutions that are doable. I want 2014 to be the year of getting it right in all aspects of my life. Or at least trying my best. Will you join me?


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 46 other followers