Friday, September 30, 2016

TBR October 2016

My intention today was to write a September wrap-up post briefly telling you about what I read this month. However, my week has not gone as planned and I have four books that I am desperately trying to finish. I have decided to give myself a day of grace so my wrap up post will be on Monday and today I'm going to briefly go over what I am planning to read this coming month. 

I am the queen of unrealistic TBR piles. Usually I have between 20-30 books on my monthly pile. I'm trying to be a little more realistic this month and I am just going to highlight the top 8 that I am determined to get to in October. (Though, of course, in my mind I have another 20 that I plan to get to...)

First of all, I want to read these five books:

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley
Enchanted Islands  by Allison Amend
Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

These are all books that I received through Book of the Month. They all came out this year and I have heard very little about any of them. (I did hear a positive review of The Woman in Cabin 10.) I just want to read them and be able to recommend them (on not) to you. 

The next book I want to get to in October is Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. This will be the first of my classics club reads. Though I am a great procrastinator, I'm going to try really hard to faithfully chip away at my list each month. 

I also want to read The Alabaster Box by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman. This was given to me as a birthday gift a couple months ago. I honestly know nothing about it but I am looking forward to reading it and sharing it with all of you!

Last (but most definitely not least), is Crosstalk by Connie Willis. 
Willis is one of those authors whose books I will pre-order, no questions asked. I can't even tell you how excited I am about this book. It will be read as soon as it arrives. I am just hoping that Amazon Prime comes through for me and it will be delivered on Tuesday, the day it is released. You can be sure I will be peeking out the windows whenever I think I hear the UPS truck!

Coming soon: 
Monday will be my September Wrap up and starting next Wednesday I will be participating in Top 5 Wednesday. Curious? Check out the Goodreads group here or just live in anticipation until then!

Thanks for reading!!!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Gifting Recommendations: Board Books

Today I thought I'd do something a little different. Christmas is a mere three months away and I don't know about you, but I love giving books as gifts. So for the next couple months I'm going to do a series of recommendations blogs to help you find the perfect gift for your loved ones. 

We're going to start with board books because it is an absolute necessity to expose kids to books before they can even read. There is one series that I am enthralled with and that is going to be really the only thing I talk about today. 

I have one word for you, Babylit. If you have not heard of this company it is high time that you did. Babylit takes great works of literature and turns them into a learning experience for little ones. 
Learn to count with Jane EyreDracula
Pride and Prejudice, or Romeo and Juliet
Look how beautiful these illustrations are! 

Learn colors with Alice in WonderlandThe Wonderful Wizard of Oz, or A Christmas Carol, animals with The Jungle Book, flowers with The Secret Garden, monsters with The Odyssey or fairies with A Midsummer Night's Dream. You want your child to learn Spanish? Start them right with Don Quixote. French? Les Mis. Shapes? Treasure Island. Emotions? Emma. And the list goes on. They are all beautiful! My favorite is Anna Karenina, a fashion primer. 

Look again at the beautiful illustrations!

Babylit also makes alphabet books. They have a different illustrator and focus on different time periods in history so you are getting a variety of words instead of apple, banana, cat, dog, etc...
Pictured below is C is for Castle: A Medieval Alphabet. (Sorry for the glare.) They also have A is for Atom: A Midcentury AlphabetR is for Railway: An Industrial Revolution AlphabetM is for Monocle: A Victorian AlphabetS is for Sabertooth: A Stone Age Alphabet, and V is for Vittles: A Wild West Alphabet.

Babylit also makes another series all about travel. Travel with your child to CaliforniaNew YorkWashington D.C.London, or Paris.

There are so many wonderful options with Babylit! They make great Christmas or birthday gifts, or even baby shower gifts. I cannot speak highly enough of this company or their products. If you haven't experienced the delight of these board books you are missing out! (Confession: I don't have kids and I have whole shelf full of these books because they are just that amazing!)

Friday, September 23, 2016

Classics Club

One of my goals recently has been to read more classics. I like to read classics but, inevitably, they take more commitment and therefore, I rarely pick them up. I have been trying to be more purposeful in choosing what I read. This past week I stumbled upon The Classics Club. This is a place for people to read and blog about classics. The idea is that you make a list of at least 50 classics, choose a future date (usually around 5 years out), and then start reading. You can connect with other people who are reading the same book or get ideas of other books you want to read. What a great idea!!!

My list is made up mostly of books that I already own, a few of them are rereads but most of them are new. There are many many authors that are not even touched on in this list. My goal is to get through this list (in other words, read the books already on my shelves) and then make a new list. I am setting my end date just four years out, August 31, 2020, although, ideally, I would like to be finished well before this. So without further ado, here is my list:

1. Persuasion - Jane Austen
2. Northanger Abbey - Jane Austen
3. Mansfield Park - Jane Austen
4. Lady Susan - Jane Austen
5. Peter Pan - J.M. Barrie
6. Agnes Grey - Anne Bronte
7. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall - Anne Bronte
8. Shirley - Charlotte Bronte
9. The Professor - Charlotte Bronte
10. Villette - Charlotte Bronte
11. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
12. A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
13. A Little Princess - Francis Hodgson Burnett
14. The Secret Garden - Francis Hodgson Burnett Review Here
15. My Antonia - Willa Cather
16. The Moonstone - Wilkie Collins
17. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
18. Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Defoe
19. A Child's History of England - Charles Dickens
20. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
21. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
22. Dombey and Son - Charles Dickens
23. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
24. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
25. A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
26. The Pickwick Papers - Charles Dickens
27. The Hound of the Baskervilles - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
28. The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
29. Mr. Midshipman Hornblower - C.S. Forester
30. Ben Hur - Lew Wallace
31. Castle Rackrent - Maria Edgeworth
32. Madame Bovary - Gustav Flaubert
33. Lord of the Flies - William Goldman
34. Mythology - Edith Hamilton
35. The House of the Seven Gable - Nathaniel Hawthorne
36. The Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne
37. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
38. Tom Brown's Schooldays - Thomas Hughes
39. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
40. The Call of the Wild - Jack London
41. Pale Fire - Vladimir Nabokov
42. Metamorphoses - Ovid
43. Ivanhoe - Sir Walter Scott
44. Lady of the Lake - Sir Walter Scott
45. Breakfast at Tiffany's - Truman Capote
46. Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson
47. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
48. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - Mark Twain
49. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain
50. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich - Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Bookish Bookin Book Tag

     So today I am going to be doing the Bookish Bookin Book Tag. What is that you ask? Well, let me tell you. Book tags are a type booktube video that I am simply changing into a blog post. The idea is that someone comes up with a series of related questions, makes a video answering those questions, and then 'tags' other people to answer the same questions and it just keeps going. So, obviously, I am not on booktube so I have not been tagged and I will not be tagging anyone else. Although if you want to answer these questions by all means feel free. 
     The creator of this tag is Bekah AwesomeBookNut. You can check out her video here

What is a well loved book that you hated?
     I actually tend to avoid many well loved books so I had a little trouble coming up with an answer to this question. I have decided to preface my answer with a small disclaimer. I do not hate this book, I just am not as in love with it as the rest of the world seems to be and that is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I have read this book more than once and I honestly don't get the mass appeal. It's fine, just not anywhere near the top of my favorites list. 

What is a guilty pleasure book?
     Just One of the Guys by Kristan Higgins...cheesy (clean) romance...but so cute...

Have you ever spoiled a book for someone? If so, which book?
     Not that I know of...although I'm about to in the next question so you might want to skip that one.

What book made you ugly cry?
     The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall, the fourth book in the Penderwicks series. !SPOILER ALERT! The little girl thinks her dog dies because she doesn't love it enough...It's a children's book! What kind of horrible monster are you Ms. Birdsall?!?!?!?!

What is your latest DNF (did-not-finish)?
     Revelations of a Single Woman: Loving the Life I Didn't Expect by Connally Gilliam. I was really hoping for something encouraging and uplifting and all I got was anecdotes about how hard it is to be single...yeah, I got that, thanks. If loving the single life includes reading your book, no thanks!

Which book have you read due to controversy?
     Harry Potter...all 7 books...I spent an entire summer dragging myself through those books and I really didn't like them. I found them boring and the writing sub par. People kept telling me I had to make it to the end of the series before I passed judgement. Challenge accepted, now I intend to pass judgement for the rest of my life.  

Have you read a book where you questioned the author's sanity?
     Everything by Jasper Fforde but in a good "I love the insanity" type of way!

What is the most cringe-worthy book you've read?
     Honestly, I just finished Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling and that one made me cringe a few times. There were several racist and derogatory comments that I just had trouble getting around. Normally, things like this that are dated I just kind of take in stride knowing that it is a reflection of the time it was written but I really had trouble with this one. 

Which book have you read solely due to the cover?
     Just this summer I picked up Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier. 
Not excellent writing by any means but a fun fluff read. 
And the cover is GORGEOUS!

Name a book you're embarrassed to admit you've read.
     Bimbos of the Death Sun by Sharyn McCrumb but it has nothing to do with the book itself. I think it is a great book and I highly recommend it but just saying the title makes me cringe a little and jump very quickly to an explanation. (It's a murder mystery set at a sci-fi convention in case you're wondering. Hilarious!)

Name an unknown book you wish more people knew of.
     I'm going to have to go with The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery, one of the lesser known books of a well known author. This is my all time favorite book and I cannot sing its praises enough. You need to read this book! 

Name a favorite villain.
     Count Olaf from A Series of Unfortunate Events!!!

Name a book you enjoyed that is outside the normal genres you usually read.
     Another difficult question because I read pretty broadly across several genres. I'm not big into graphic novels but I really enjoyed Maus by Art Spiegelman probably because it touches on my fascination with World War II.

Name tropes you actually enjoy reading.
     (A trope is a commonly reoccurring literary device or cliche)
     I always love a good vs. evil theme, or fairy tale themes like the lost princess or the royal who doesn't know she's royal. 

What/who inspired you to join Booktube?
     Obviously no one, since I didn't join. But I will give you three of my favorite booktubers that I just love to watch. If you're are interested be sure to check out:
     Caitlin at Book Chats
     Kailey at Books for MKs
     Lesley at WordsofaReader

Just a reminder to all my wonderful readers that these are opinions and not gospel truth. Don't hate me just because I dissed Pride and Prejudice and Harry Potter...You can hate on The Blue Castle if you want...hahahaha, just kidding, no you can't, keep your hate to yourself!


Friday, September 16, 2016

What if...?

Once upon a time I was tired. I put on my nice cozy pajamas and brushed my teeth, I crawled into bed and read a final chapter in whatever book I was currently reading. I turned off the lamp and snuggled down, arranging my blankets and pillows just so and wrapping my arm around my teddy bear. (Confession: Yes, I still sleep with a teddy bear. His name is Fuzzy. Admit it, you're jealous.) Just as I started to drift off a question started forming in the back of my mind, a nagging question, a keep-you-awake-all-night kind of question. What if I could only re-read 20 books for the rest of my life? Which 20 books would I choose? Oh the horror!!! I was wide awake and I knew sleep would elude me until I had solved this riddle. Don't get me wrong, I love to re-read books. But how could I choose only 20??? I will spare you the mental argument with myself about a fiction only list vs. an all books ever list. Here, in no particular order, and the 20 fiction books I would choose to re-read for the rest of my life.

1. The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery
2. Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis
3. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis
3. The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis
5. The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis
6. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
7. The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
8 .The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien
9. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
10. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
11. Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery 
12. Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery
13. Anne of Windy Poplars by L.M. Montgomery
14. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
15. Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde
16. The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde
17. To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
18. Blackout by Connie Willis
19. All Clear by Connie Willis
20. Perelandra by C.S. Lewis

As you can see, I like my series. I like getting to know my characters in depth. Picking and choosing my favorite books out of series almost killed me, but I did it! 

So there you go. If you haven't read any of the books on the list, get to it!!!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Blogging vs Vlogging

     This summer I discovered Booktube. Who knew there was such a world out there? So many people passionate about books and wanting to share their passion with the world. I spent countless hours watching video after video, connecting with people around the world over books. I loved discovering those booktubers that I connected with the most, those with similar tastes, with the same favorite authors. Needless to say, my TBR list on Goodreads more than doubled over the last few months.
     Somewhere in the middle of the summer I started to contemplate the possibility of joining the ranks of the booktube community in a more active role. I could do that! I could make my own videos! I could inspire others to read more! I went back and forth for weeks, arguing the pros and cons with myself. One day convincing myself that I would do it, I could be charming and witty in front of a camera. The next day letting my skittishness and insecurities deter me. Then, one day, my lightening bolt moment came. I realized how much having a youtube channel would dig into my reading time. That's what it came down to. I would have to make videos on a regular basis. I would have to do my hair and makeup every time I made a video. I would have to film and edit. All of that would mean less books read.  
     That is why, in the end, I decided it was not worth it to me. I will carve out my own little corner of the internet where I can share my love of reading in my own way. You'll see many things on this blog that are very similar to a booktube channel: Monthly reading wrap-ups, reviews, and even tags (if you don't know what those are you just go to youtube and search booktube). This is how I've decided to share my voice. For those of you out there making videos, more power to you! I will continue to watch and be inspired, while I sit here in my pajamas. Now to close my laptop and pick up a book...