Climbing Mount TBR – Bookish

I had three reading goals this year: 1) read 130 books (2 a week plus a third book every other week, 2) buy no books for myself, and 3) read mostly the books I own, whether audiobook, print, or ebook. I excitedly buy books, determined to read them immediately, and then they sit there. I have come to realize that books I buy are less likely to be read than ones I do not own, which is embarassing! I’m now at a point that I own more books in print that I haven’t read than I have read. Don’t get me started about ebooks or audiobooks. A virtual library just makes the problem so much worse.

I think vaguely I had an idea of reading at least half of my books from those that I own. Which is fairly reasonable. I knew going in I’d likely read at least 12 books which I didn’t own for my monthly book club. I also knew, I’d grow frustrated if I only read books I own and nothing else. If I want to read graphic novels, then I’d be getting them from the library. I didn’t want to set the goal too high and fail to meet it, but also, I really need to read some of the books I own, so I couldn’t be too lean with it either.

Since I’ve met my goal of reading 130 books on Goodreads, I decided it was time to check-in on how I was doing with my goal of mostly reading books I own. We won’t talk about the book buying ban. Buying no books was unrealistic, but I also needed it to be set that low to really curb my buying. It has; I feel guilty every time I buy a book and have even put books back a few times. But, I’ve bought books for myself, so I can’t quite say I met this goal. Also, don’t congratulate me on reaching my 130 goal; I won’t feel it’s been met until it’s a bit higher as there are some short stories and graphic novels in there that are artifically boosting the number read. Last year, I kept trying to find a way to track everything I read without counting everything I read towards my Goodreads reading challenge. It was annoying, convulted, and didn’t really solve the issue. This year, I decided that it will all even out in the end. It might not exactly, but I have only so much energy.

There’s a Goodreads group that one can join to track how well you are doing on reading through books they own. I have borrowed their mountain levels. They are based on the number of books read, not the percentage of overall books read, but this works too. If I’m sticking to about half of my books being ones I own, then I need to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro at 65 books.

Pike’s Peak: Read 12 books from your TBR pile/s
Mount Blanc: Read 24 books from your TBR pile/s
Mt. Vancouver: Read 36 books from your TBR pile/s
Mt. Ararat: Read 48 books from your TBR piles/s
Mt. Kilimanjaro: Read 60 books from your TBR pile/s
El Toro: Read 75 books from your TBR pile/s
Mt. Everest: Read 100 books from your TBR pile/s
Mount Olympus (Mars): Read 150+ books from your TBR pile/s

How am I doing so far? I am not doing well. Somehow, I’ve read only 37 books I own this year. That means I’ve climbed Mt. Vancouver, but I still have Mount Blanc, or another 28 books, to reach my goal. Except, that if I read another 28 books, that adds another 14 I need to read of books that I own, because then I would have read 28 more books. Maybe I’ll just keep my goal at 65 books, regardless of how many total I read. I didn’t realize this would be as hard as it has been! I need to rethink this goal. I will update you all once I decide how I will proceed. I definitely won’t drop below my goal of reading 65 books I own, but I might not aim for half off all the books I read. The rest of my year reading could be really frustrating if I do.

Have you ever tried to climb Mount TBR? How did it go? If you haven’t tried, do you plan to? What goal would you set?

WWW Wednesday – A Meme

WWW Wednesdays.jpgWelcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading and is now hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words For this meme, you just answer the three Ws:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Please share your answers in the comments below or link your blog post!

What are you currently reading?

We Are WaterThe book I am the most actively reading right now is We Are Water by Wally Lamb. I LOVE Wally Lamb, but it’s been an incredibly long time since I’ve read him. I found a near perfect used copy of this book rather recently for a great bargain. Owning the book moved it up on my TBR, but, well, also down as for some reason, books I own seem to sit on my shelf much longer than books I borrow. Weird, right? But not this time! I am already tackling it, though I’m not really sure I can count it toward my Mount TBR challenge since I broke my year long book buying ban to snag it. I’ve been noticing that as a trend lately… Anyway, I’m reading this book now in large part because a friend and I are buddy reading it. I haven’t gotten very far in it, but I’m loving it! Have you read it? What were your thoughts?

I am also tackling a few other books at the moment – too many really. You can always see what I’m currently reading on the sidebar Goodreads widget or on Goodreads. If you pop over on Goodreads, definitely friend me! I love following other book lovers!

What did you recently finish reading?

The WoodcutterI finished The Woodcutter on Sunday the first, just one day shy of counting it towards June. I almost did since I was so close to done when my light dimmed enough I could now longer read, but there was just too much left to justify it as a June read. I have yet to review this book…I know, I know…but I LOVED it. The atmosphere was beautiful and the story engaging. When the main story arc concluded, I would have enjoyed the book and probably given it 4 stars, but then there was a bit more and, boom, 4.5 stars. Just well done. Of course, I had a few criticisms of the book, but that’s to come, hopefully in a full review next week!

Isn’t the cover beautiful? Have you wanted to read this book? What do you think about a woodcutter fairytale? It was a different take for me and one I’d be happy to read again!

What do you think you’ll read next?

Rebecca coverI usually say that this is a hard question for me as I tend to be a mood reader, but this month, I have a tight TBR if I’m going to finish my buddy read in a timely manner and read my two book club reads. I’m not sure this is going to work out, but I’m trying! It does mean I have my next book determined for me and it is Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. In my friend book club, we are trying to tackle books from PBS’s The Great American Read list. Last month, we read The Color Purple and this month, our selection is Rebecca. I’m curious to see if I’ll like this book. It’s definitely not one I would have picked up if it weren’t for book club.  I’ll try to post a review here when I finish it, assumming I do between my buddy read, 2 library book clubs, friend book club, and eARCs on my TBR! I think I have been way too ambitious book wise lately. Do you ever find yourself doing that? What do you do to handle it?

What are your answers to the three Ws? Please comment below or link to your blog post!

WWW Wednesday – A Meme

WWW Wednesdays.jpgWelcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and is now hosted by Sam on Taking on a World of Words. For this meme, you just answer the three Ws:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Please share your answers in the comments below or link your blog post!

What are you currently reading?

The WoodcutterThe book I am the most actively reading right now is The Woodcutter by Kate Danley. I have wanted to read this book for quite awhile, but never quite got around to reading it. I’m glad I finally did! So far, it’s really intriguing and I definitely want to know what happens next, but it is a different style of writing and hasn’t pulled me in as much as I had hoped. But I still expect it to be a good read! Have you read it? What did you think? Did it live up to the hype and its awards?

I am also tackling a few other books at the moment – too many really. You can always see what I’m currently reading on the sidebar Goodreads widget or on Goodreads. If you pop over on Goodreads, definitely friend me! I love following other book lovers!

What did you recently finish reading?

The Color PurpleI finished The Color Purple on Sunday. I read it for a book club my friends and I have been doing for 11 years! I was part of the initial membership, but then moved away a few times, and came back a few times, but now I’m here to stay in the book club. It’s absolutely wonderful. Are you part of a book club?

We read The Color Purple because we decided to tackle some of the books on PBS’s Great American Reads list. This was a book several of us owned and hadn’t yet read, so we picked this one. I greatly enjoyed this book and am so glad we picked it. I suspect I watched part of the movie at some point because I was aware of the plot up until the book switches point of view. Or maybe that part wasn’t in the movie? I’m not sure since it was so long ago I watched it. Have you wated the movie or read the book?

What do you think you’ll read next?

We Are WaterThis is a hard question to answer for me as I tend to be a mood reader. In addition, there are so many books on my TBR shortlist, it’s a bit of a guessing game to figure out what I will tackle next. But I decided to go with the safe bet for now. A friend and I have been doing buddy reads about every other month and she suggested we start reading the next one soon, which is We Are Water by Wally Lamb. I am really looking forward to reading it as I love Wally Lamb. Plus, I own it and I’ve had a goal this year of 25% to 50% of the books I read to be ones I already own. It’s a bit ambitious, but it’s also ben satisfying! I’ll probably start We Are Water as soon as I finish The Woodcutter. But I might pick up an ARC or a book from the library on my TBR. Who knows!

What are your answers to the three Ws? Please comment below or link to your blog post!

One Lovely Blog Award – Bookish: Award

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Thank you so much to JD over at Studious Creatives for nominating me. I absolutely love her blog. You must go check it out! It is a wonderful inspiration for creativity of all types by a fellow book lover. I cannot praise her blog enough! I loved how open-ended this was. It was fun to write this post!

The Rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog
  2. Share 7 things about yourself
  3. Nominate others (up to 15)
  4. Include this set of rules
  5. Inform your nominees

Seven things about me:

1. Family

I have a sister and the most adorable nephew ever! I feel incredibly blessed to be such a huge part of his life and I absolutely love being an aunt! I could talk about him all day. He is my light. I love him to pieces!

2. Loves

I LOVE fireworks. I have a lifetime goal of traveling to see some of the world’s best fireworks displays. I feel blessed to have seen firework displays in DC and NYC, including from a building overlooking the White House. I hope to add many more amazing experiences to my list one day!

3. Hobby

I picked up crochet not quite two years ago now, though I didn’t really get into it until summer 2016 when I took my first crochet class and then immediately a second one. I picked this hobby really quick and I’ve been really happy with the quality of most of my projects. It’s a goal of mine to sell a few crochet things on Etsy at some point. I also have a new goal of crocheting literary things and when I do, I will post them on this blog!

4. Digs

I live in a semi-rural area on a decent amount of property in a duplex. I specifically choose this location because it is close to things I need access to, like my library and Target, but it is not in town. There are no street lights, curb, sewer, or gutter. But there is a lot of quiet and nature. In fact, there is a cute little pond incredibly close to my house and I love walking around it with Nica. Nica LOVES grass so has been in heaven here!

4. Other loves

I love the architect Frank Lloyd Wright and not only have a life goal of seeing all of his houses which are open to the public, but also to build many of his houses out of Legos. I feel at peace in his houses. I will give an awful lot to live in one of his houses. They bring more joy than I can possibly explain. I mean, after all, they are just houses. Even his commercial buildings are amazing!

5. And still more loves

I love Legos and a few years ago, decided to throw caution to the wind and embrace my love of Legos. I’ve taken on their more adult sets with incredible joy. I wish I could afford more Lego sets as I absolutely love building them! Their newer architecture line is also really great because it combines my love of Legos with Frank Lloyd Wright!

6. Favorites

My favorite color is purple, ya know, the color of royalty. 😉 Purple flowers are also pretty great. The ones on the right grow wild in my lawn, until they get mowed over, which always makes me sad!

7. Pets

My first pet as an adult was a bunny named Logan. Do you know the rabbit from Monty Python The Holy Grail? That rabbit was based off Logan. He was the most assertive bunny I have ever met. He dominated Nica and asserted his space. Nica usually ran away from him in terror. It was an interesting dynamic. Logan was also a very clever bunny and had a tendency to break out of his home in the middle of the night as a baby. But then he grew up into a grumpy old man and mostly just sat as a big lump of fur. He passed away a few years ago from kidney failure. I still miss him.

8. Bonus: one thing about Nica

Nica has lived in more states than me by 2! She was born in Alabama where her mom (purebred Corgi) was a stray after Hurricane Katrina and she was transported to a rescue in New Jersey where she lived until I adopted her. When I lived in New York, I used to joke that I rescued her from a life in Jersey! Haha.

The Nominees

I wish I could tag everyone, but alas, I cannot. Nearly every blog deserves this award and it’s so fun to do! I’m sorry if I wasn’t able to tag you. This is the worst part about tags and awards. :/

Dani at Mousai Books
Abby and Erica at You Otter Read
Anthony at Keep Reading Forward
Elin at Book Owlie
Jill at Jill Jemmett
Kayla at K Drew The Book Worm

WWW Wednesday – Bookish: Meme

WWW Wednesdays.jpgWelcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and is now hosted on Taking on a World of Words. For this meme, you just answer the three Ws:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Please share your answers in the comments below or link your blog post!

What are you currently reading?

The Mortifications coverThe book I am the most actively reading right now, or at least trying to (book slumps are the worst!) is The Mortifications by Derek Palacio. This is a work of literary fiction and I am greatly enjoying the quality of the writing. I was a bit hesitant about reading this book as the title is a bit daunting, but so far, I’m enjoying it. It’s an odd story of a Cuban family who immigrates to Hartford, Connecticut. I plan to review it on my blog very soon!

I am also tackling a few other books at the moment – too many really. You can always see what I’m currently reading on the sidebar Goodreads widget or on Goodreads. If you pop over on Goodreads, definitely friend me! I love following other book lovers!

What did you recently finish reading?

Love and Other Consolation Prizes coverSadly, nothing in the last week (since the 20th), but on the 18th, I finished Love and Other Consolation Prizes. The premise of this story was fascinating: a boy was raffled off at a fair and ends up being won by a Madam. I was intrigued from the beginning and there were definite parts of the book I really enjoyed. But this ended up being a 3.5 star read for me as it just didn’t quite feel real. I wanted to be sucked into Ernest’s world and really feel like what it felt to struggle as he did. Unfortunately, this was a more light and fluffy read than the heart string pulling book I was expecting. I’m less of a fan of fluffy reads in general, but for people who enjoy feel good historical fiction, I think this would be a wonderful book! My full review will post on here very soon!

What do you think you’ll read next?

The Lady of the Rivers coverThis is a hard question to answer for me as I tend to be a moody reader. In addition, there are so many books on my TBR shortlist, it’s a bit of a guessing game to figure out what I will tackle next. But I decided to go with the safe bet for now. For book club, we are all reading Philippa Gregory books, but we get to choose which one. Since I haven’t read any of her work, I am starting with the first in one of her several series. The avid Gregory reader in book club recommended it as the one to tackle first. I am anxious to read it as I have heard so many things about Gregory and I tend to enjoy historical fiction, so I’m expecting this to be at least a 3 star review. But I also have reservations, so we’ll see how it turns out! I do not expect to review this book here, but I will review it on Goodreads!

What are your answers to the three Ws? Please comment below or link to your blog post!

Nica: Napping and Reading – Bookish: Life

IMG_20170913_135311Since Nica had her surgery, she has been sleeping a lot. It’s this heavy, deep sleep, where I can tell she has drifted off to a wonderful dream land. In these moments, I simply do not want to wake her. I try not to get up. When I do have to get up, I tip toe as quietly as possible to help ensure she does not wake. But other times, I am content to watch her over the top of my current read. While she naps, I read and it’s glorious for both of us.

It’s interesting that since her diagnosis of bile duct cancer, I find myself more and more simply sitting and watching her. Whether she is napping or licking her paws or simply relaxing, I find so much beauty in these everyday things. In fact, the beauty is often overwhelming and I simply want to smother her with all the love. But I also want to preserve that moment, watch her, and take it for what it is. That’s what I’ve been doing and it’s brought me a lot of comfort and peace.

IMG_20170913_143615My favorite napping and reading activity is outside. While outside, she doesn’t fall into that deep sleep, she does stretch out with a big smile on her face. She loves the outdoors, especially grass. As I write this post, she is happily panting in the sun. But usually, I am reading while she enjoys the day. Nearly every day since she’s been well enough, we come out to the backyard for some period of time and she enjoys the sun and grass and smells while I enjoy a good book and breaks admiring her beauty.

I don’t know why I didn’t do this more often with her before the diagnosis. I occasionally brought my laptop outside with her and worked for a time, but I didn’t stop and relax with her. Plus, I wasn’t really doing it for her as much as I was doing it to help me cope with a challenging task. But now, these moments are for her and while they bring me great joy, we do them because they bring her immense joy, even when I think she is spending too much time in the sun and not enough time in the shade. The joy on her face when we are outside just to enjoy the day is palpable. These are going to be some of my favorite memories when she’s gone.

IMG_20170913_144059Occasionally, we are joined by other creatures, but this frog is definitely the most constant. He apparently enjoys living inside my outdoor umbrella. Seems like an odd choice to me, but to each his own.

What are some small things you take immense joy in?

August Reads and an Update – Bookish: Reads

Welcome to August Reads! Overall, I read 7 books, including 2 audiobooks, 2 nonfiction books, 1 ARC, 1 eARC, 4 diverse books, and 2 books written by women. This month, 57% of the books I read were diverse, which is over my 50% goal. For July and August combined, 60% of the books I read were diverse, which I very happy with. Only 29% of the books I read this month were written by women, which is below my desired 50% goal. For July and August combined, 55% of the books I read were written by women, which meets my overall goal of at least 50%. The biggest change this month was not listening to audiobooks. This was due to my dog’s sudden and critical illness and the toll it took on me. It’s also why it took me longer to get through books as there were some days I just didn’t have the energy to read. For an update on Nica’s health, please scroll all the way to the end!

the judgment of richard richter coverThe first book I started and finished in August was the Judgment of Richard Ritcher. This was an interesting change of pace from my normal reads and I am so glad I decided to grab it through the Kindle First program. It’s been a long time since I read an Eastern European/ Russian author and it wasn’t the only book by such an author this month. This was a 4 star read for me, though note that it comes with trigger warnings.

The Power of Habit coverThe next book I finished was a hard one for me to determine what the star rating should be. I ranged from giving it a 2 to a 4 and finally settled on a 3.5. There are parts of The Power of Habit that are really good, but ultimately, there were several flaws, which are common in pop science journalism, that got under my skin as a scientist. But, I was able to take a few useful things away from it, so I decided on a positive star rating. This book was reviewed on Goodreads.

The Shadow of the Wind coverMy next read was also challenging to figure out a star rating. I was so excited to read The Shadow of the Wind and so let down by its sexism and poor finish. Honestly, this book combined with The Power of Habit probably contributed to the reading slump that was excerabated by my dog’s illness. This was not exactly my month for great books. But like The Power of Habit, there were things I enjoyed in The Shadow of the Wind and it made it hard for me to give it a low rating. Again, I was between a 2.5 and 4, but settled on 3.5 stars.

Still Here coverOnto a book I greatly enjoyed reading, even if I barely remember it now. Still Here was a book I couldn’t put down and read in no time at all, but it wasn’t that memorable. Because I enjoyed it so greatly while I read it, it was a 4 star read, but it won’t end up on a favorite list. I do expect to read Vapnyar’s books in the future as I loved the tone of this book. Plus, it was great to have a second Eastern European/ Russian book in one month!

How to Listen to and Understand Great Music coverI finally finished an audiobook I started back in June. It was very long, though it generally kept my interest and I moved through the early sections pretty quickly. Then I took a break and powered through again. How to Listen to and Understand Great Music is definitely an audiobook I would recommend to anyone interested in better understanding orchestral music. This was a 4 star read and I have already stated another audiobook by this author! This was reviewed on Goodreads.

The Circle coverAh, The Circle. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a movie more than the book before, but it happened here. I chose to read this book to meet a reading challenge requirement to read a book that was being turned into a movie this year. This book sounded super interesting and I was really excited going in. Unfortunately, I didn’t much like the main character and the ending was the worst. Oddly enough, those issues were fixed in the movie, which was coauthored by the book author. So, maybe he ended up agreeing with me in the end. This was a 3 star read for me since the plot was interesting. It was reviewed on Goodreads.

Little Gold coverThe last read was Little Gold which was a unique story for me that was hard to get into, but absolutely worth sticking it out. I fell in love with Little Gold (the character) and was satisified with the book, even though the ending was a bit too perfect. This was one of those books that is hard to describe, but I want to push on everyone. I’m not sure it’s a book for everyone, but for that certain reader, it is a wonderful treat.

update-1672349_640Lastly, an update on Nica. Nica (pictured in the profile picture) has been recovering a little more every day from a major surgery which removed a large tumor, her gallbladder, a lymph node, and a small mass. Before surgery, she was suffering from severe adema and would have died without the surgery. Going into surgery, there was a greater than 50% chance that this was liver cancer, which has a median survival time of 2 years. Unforunately, this was a rare presentation of bile duct cancer, which is an aggressive, fast metatsizing cancer. The vet expects her to live 3 to 6 months, though median survival time in the medical literature is 6 months. I will try to keep up with this blog through this challenging time, but I may not go back to doing reflections for awhile. They are simply too much for me in terms of emotional energy and time. As it nears the end for Nica, I will likely take another hiatus. She is my world, my child, and my spirit animal. Losing her will be an incredible blow and I’m simply not sure at this point how it will affect this blog. I will keep you updated as I know more.

What book did you enjoy most in your August reads? Please comment below!