So. Many. Challenges.

Is reading a competition? With so many reading challenges out there, I feel like it’s becoming a competition, or at least a means of putting one’s self on a pedestal. But maybe that’s because I haven’t done one yet¬†ūüėČ I honestly don’t have the time – or maybe I do?

Have you noticed how many reading challenges there are out there? Some of them definitely pique my interest, and I find myself tempted to participate. Like this one from Modern Mrs. Darcy: 12 Books, 12 Categories, 12 Months. Now that, I could do.
IMG_1041

Then there are the incremental challenges that I see and think, “I could do that.. I could do that one too, probably.. Nope, couldn’t do that… Do these people read for a living?!” Like this set of challenges on challies.com. The Light Reader does 13 books in a year. No problem! Easy. Definitely doable. The Avid Reader does 26 books a year. Also possible. I consider myself around (if not technically in) the Avid Reader category, so 26 books in one year should be fine. But then comes The Committed Reader, with an entire book in each week. I have to ask myself, are we reading books that are 100 pages long? Are we speed reading? I begin getting skeptical at this point. But, there is yet another category: The Obsessed Reader. This category reads 2 whole books each and every week for an entire year. Really? Is that possible? Again, the skepticism; but, maybe it can be done – after all, I’ve never tried (or kept track)! If you are looking for a reading challenge for 2016, I hope you clicked on the link because there is a wonderful chart for keeping tack of your books for each level (Light, Avid, Committed and Obsessed) on Challies.com.

When looking for some fun reading challenges for this post, I came across You, Me, and a Cup of Tea which has a wonderful assortment of themed reading challenges¬†and links to the websites/blogs that host them. Like the audiobook challenge by HotListens.com¬†and the Back to the Classics challenge by Books and Chocolate, and¬†even the Hard Core Re-Reading challenge hosted by¬†You, Me, and a Cup of Tea! So if you’re looking for a challenge to guide your reading this year, please check these out. And happy reading! Maybe next year I will be posting about a challenge I completed…

 

 

A Delightful Read for the Holidays

I hope you all had a wonderful day yesterday, whether it was relaxing at home after stressful holiday build-up, or whether it was a full day with family and friends. And of course, I hope your Christmas was full of new books!

Do your holidays have time for reading? If so, I would like to suggest that you check out¬†Attachments by Rainbow Rowell if you haven’t already.
IMG_1751
This was one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read in quite a while. The story is adorable and well-told. It’s a romantic tale about an IT guy who falls in love with the girl whose flagged emails he has to read. The dialog is really witty and there are some references to grammar, due to the cast of characters working at a newspaper. So if you are a grammar nerd this will appeal to you on that level as well. For anyone looking for something to read that is light and heart-warming, this book is for you!

Christmas Books at Christmas time

Do you have books on your wish list? I sure do, and some of them are Christmas-themed, so I thought I would share them with you on this very special day, Christmas Eve.

First,¬†Dear Santa published by Chronicle Books. ‘Children’s Christmas Letters and Wish Lists, 1870-1920’ how cool does that sound? Amazon’s link to the book shows a couple of sample pages with letters from 1896 and 1907, and they are adorable. It looks like the perfect addition to any Christmas enthusiast’s book collection:
Screen Shot 2015-12-24 at 5.28.52 PM.png

Next, A Christmas Carol: A Pop-Up Book by Chuck Fischer. Reviewers rave about the amazing detail and intricacies of the pop-ups, and frankly, I am desperately hoping to add this to my collection soon! It looks absolutely beautiful and also deserves a place in the Christmas Book aficionado’s library:
Screen Shot 2015-12-24 at 5.36.07 PM.png    Screen Shot 2015-12-24 at 5.41.24 PM.png
*both images from the same link

Another version of Dickens‘¬†A Christmas Carol¬†that I have on my wish list is the one illustrated by P.J. Lynch. The illustrations are lovely, and really bring the story to life. This book is could easily become a family heirloom.
Screen Shot 2015-12-24 at 6.03.08 PM.png    Screen Shot 2015-12-24 at 6.09.55 PM.png

I wish all of you a happy, blessed Christmas! And may you read all the books you hope to in the New Year ūüėČ

Healthy Books in the Winter

Now that the weather is turning cold, I wanted to remind everyone out there to make sure:

  1. your books are not under a heating vent, on a radiator, or near a heat source.
  2. your books are not housed on an outside wall that gets cold (or warm, or damp)
  3. your books aren’t in direct light or too tightly packed on a shelf

When your books are near a heat source, they dry out and the paper will become brittle and break more easily. Fluctuating temperatures aren’t healthy for your books, and neither is too much moisture, as that can cause mold growth. Light damage is cumulative and irreversible, so the less light that reaches your books, the better!

For more in-depth tips on book health, be sure to click on Healthy Books in the menu on the right-hand side of the page. Thanks for stopping by!
Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 6.57.21 PM.png
In the Library by John Arthur Lomax

Broke & Bookish Secret Santa

Happy November, everyone! I have to apologize for not posting in over a month. Truth be told, I’ve been uninspired lately. BUT, I just found The Broke and the Bookish‘s Secret Santa and I’m so excited that I wanted to share it with you. There’s not much time left, though, so sign up now if you’re interested!

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 2.21.13 PM
http://www.brokeandbookish.com/2015/10/6th-annual-broke-bookish-secret-santa.html

This is such a great idea! Send in your address and a list of books you’ve got on your TBR list (you can even send a link to your wish list), along with some other details, and you’re in. I just signed up and I’m really looking forward to it. Enjoy, good luck, and Merry Christmas!

Creepy Classics

As someone whose reading preferences lean towards the light-hearted and uplifting, it’s rare that I read something dark. But over the years, I have read those wonderfully creepy tales by Poe, and I’ll never forgot how downright shocked I was when I read¬†Dracula,¬†having expected something far more demure and reserved from a Victorian novel. I added¬†The Picture of Dorian Gray to my reading list a few years back, so I have ventured down the path of creepy reading, but it’s not somewhere I go very often.

To those who haven’t read¬†Dracula, you need to read it. Is there anyone out there who hasn’t read Edgar Allan Poe? Probably not, so I won’t recommend those (but just in case you haven’t – they’re short, so you don’t have to invest a lot of time, but they are thoroughly frightening and just right for this time of year). My suggestions for this post aren’t very quirky or unusual (being classics..), but they do fit nicely into the October/Hallowe’en theme. I still haven’t read¬†Frankenstein or¬†Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,¬†and I really should get around to those one day, because those would also fit this reading category, from what I’ve heard. Are there other creepy classics out there? Does anyone have any other recommendations? Oh, and check out my corresponding Bookstagram! (don’t forget: wmgirl01 on Instagram)
IMG_1606

Happy autumn, and happy reading!

To Buy, or to Borrow?

Which do you prefer? I almost always buy my books, unless I’m not sure it will be a good read, in which case I borrow it from the library. If I like the book I borrowed, I’ll probably buy it after reading it and add it to my collection. The question is, where will I buy it? Online, or from a physical bookstore?

The other day I was in a bookstore and saw a book I liked, but did not buy it, for various reasons. Yesterday, I decided to go back to the bookstore to purchase that book, but it was out of stock. Amazon, however, has the book, but unlike most of the time when the book is much cheaper on Amazon.com, it is the same price. I decided that I would forego the instant gratification of buying the book right then online, and would wait the extra few days until it’s in stock at the bookstore. But it’s so hard to wait!

Have you ever had to make that choice, between buying a book online, or waiting to buy a book from a physical bookstore? What did you do? I admit, most of the time, I do buy my books from the cheaper online source, but often price is the deciding factor. In this case, however, when the price was the same, I felt a moral obligation to support my local independent bookseller.

On the other hand, a lot of people choose to borrow books instead of buy them. What makes one choose borrowing or buying? For me, I love books and want to have a collection of my own. Do those who usually borrow not want their own collection?

What do you think? Do you buy or do you borrow? Do you buy online or from a bookstore? Is supporting the local indie bookstore a lost cause anyway?

Controversial Books

My sincere apologies for not writing much lately. Life has been far too busy and is starting to seriously impair my ability to write an engaging blog. Blogs are meant to be fun and not a source of stress, however, so I continue on and blog when I can, in the hopes that you all understand and don’t hold the infrequency of my posting against me.

Now that it’s well into September and school is in full swing, I wanted to do a post on controversial books. I’ve just begun reading¬†The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie, and I still recall the uproar it caused when it was first published in 1988.
Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 3.47.20 PM

Last year I read¬†Native Son by Richard Wright, which has been ‘challenged’ repeatedly since it was published. The challengers are right – it does have very explicit sexual scenes and violence, but it is an incredible book. I still can’t believe it was written in 1940, with a searing social commentary on race relations in the United States that is still relevant today.
Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 4.08.00 PM

I’m looking forward to the epic read that¬†Satanic Verses promises to be, and I wonder what controversial books all of you have read. Did you enjoy it (or them)? Did you wish you hadn’t read it, or agree with those who challenged it – that it should not have been published? Or did you like it so much you wish it were required reading for everyone?

Murder in Japan

I can’t believe that 1) it’s September. What?? I know. It snuck up on me too; and 2) that I haven’t suggested any unusual, quirky reads since July 13.¬†Fortunately, I have just finished reading a new book that fits nicely into that category, and thank goodness there are two more (so far) in the series! So, without further ado, let me introduce you to The Shinobi Mysteries, by Susan Spann:

The Claws of the Cat

Screen Shot 2015-09-06 at 6.55.48 PM
As you know, I don’t do book reviews (there are plenty of other sites out there that do that), but here’s a quick synopsis: It’s 16th-century Japan, and a violent murder must be solved within two days, or innocent people will die. A samurai and Portuguese priest team up to solve the crime, with lots of insight into samurai culture and historic Japan. I¬†highly recommend it. And guess what? There are two more books that follow!

Blade of the Samurai and Flask of the Drunken Master:

Screen Shot 2015-09-06 at 7.06.42 PM   Screen Shot 2015-09-06 at 7.44.51 PM
I thoroughly enjoyed the first book and can’t wait to start the second one. I know you’ll like them too!

Blogging Shout Out!

One of the great things about having a blog is the great community of bloggers you get to meet. I have really enjoyed finding and following new blogs, and I realized it is long past time to introduce three of my favorite blogs to you so you can get to know them too!

So Many Books Рthe agony and ecstasy of a reading life, by Stefanie Hollmichel.
Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 8.05.15 PM
I enjoy reading this blog, and I really like the Bookish Quotes page – I think that’s a unique, personal touch that helps to set this blog apart from the rest. Stefanie has lists of all the books she has read over the years with active links to their reviews, as well as an alphabetical list of all the blog entries down the left-hand side of the page, so you can easily get to the post you’re looking for.

Words Read and Written Рthe ramblings of an Aussie Book Blogger by Jodie.
Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 8.16.44 PM
This was one of the very first blog I started following. Jodie’s blog has thousands of followers (I can only dream of that!), and I find her posts engaging and easy to relate to. Along with reviews, she also often features author interviews, which are always interesting!

Dolce Bellezza – for literary and translated fiction is my newest find, and I’ve already added several books to my To Read list based on reviews from this blog.
Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 8.44.29 PM
Bellezza is refreshing because there are books mentioned and reviewed here that I would not otherwise have heard of! And who doesn’t love discovering new books?!

I hope everyone checks out these blogs and enjoys them as much as I have. And who knows? You might discover your new favorite blog, or a book you never knew you were missing.