Reading wrap-up: May reads and purchases

May reads

Well, our May reads are in the history books. Or at least in our Goodreads “read” file. I can hardly believe how quickly this year is flying by!

All of the books I read this month related either to the Gilmore Girls reading challenge we’re doing at Books, Ink or my personal project to read classical literature and books inspired by it. Only two of the six books I read this month were part of my existing library. But I’m making allowances for the Gilmore Girls challenge.

May reads

Continue reading “Reading wrap-up: May reads and purchases”

Updated – Reading time: The When Are You Reading? Challenge

The When Are You Reading? Challenge invites participants to read one book in 12 time periods. Lends new meaning to the phrase reading time, doesn't it?

The When Are You Reading? Challenge invites participants to read one book in 12 time periods. Lends new meaning to the phrase reading time, doesn't it?My first year participating in the When Are You Reading? challenge hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words is officially completed. And I’m happy to report I was able to read books set in or written in each time period represented in the challenge.

When I joined it in June, I had three time periods left to cover. I had great ambitions to read books written during those times. But … for two of the three (1500-1599 and 1600-1699), I ended up reading historical fiction instead of books written at that time. For 2017, I’m aiming to read books written during each period since my goal is to read more classics this year.

My final tallies are down below. When I originally wrote this post, I included every book I’d read this year as a way to figure out what I still needed to read. I haven’t included all my 2016 titles read since then, only the ones that completed time periods. If you’re interested in more about the books I read this year, I keep monthly lists here.

If you’re interested in participating in 2017, Sam has a description and sign up here.

When, as a kid, I was in danger of taking life too seriously, my dad would invite me to reflect on my concerns by asking, “How much will this matter in 100 years?” At the time, I assumed his rhetorical question was meant to show me how our fleeting obsessions hold little consequence in the grand scheme of the universe.

But that’s not quite right, is it? Without access to knowledge of future events, we cannot possibly know whether this (whatever “this” is) will matter in 100 years. Life is made up of tens of thousands of millions of seemingly inconsequential choices whose cumulative effects can be world changing.

We study history for this reason, don’t we? To study the actions and reactions that have lead to outcomes we want either to replicate or avoid. But even that doesn’t really work. Evidence suggests we make the same mistakes over and over again; it’s the one thing about human nature and experiences that’s predictable. Conclusion: All we can do in the moment is our best.

I’ve been thinking about this over the last week after discovering a reading challenge hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Continue reading “Updated – Reading time: The When Are You Reading? Challenge”

Bout of Books: Book in a Song Challenge & Update

For today's Bout of Books Challenge, a song I associate with a book and my reading update.

Today’s Bout of Books Challenge is hosted by Janey Canuck. As you may have divined from the title of this post, the challenge is to write about a song you connect with a book.

That’s an easy one for me. One of my favorite books inspired one of my favorite songs: Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita inspired The Rolling Stones’ Sympathy with the Devil. Interestingly, I loved them both separately before discovering that they’re connected. Though if you think about the subject matter, it makes perfect sense. 

And now for my Bout of Books update:

I’m not a fast reader. So I didn’t set a goal of finishing 57 books or whatever. Even five would be a stretch for me in a single week, barring my being trapped alone on a deserted island with nothing to do but read every moment of daylight. (Not that I would object to that.) My goal was more modest: to get back into a reading rhythm. Continue reading “Bout of Books: Book in a Song Challenge & Update”

Ramping up my reading challenge in May

I'm kicking my 2016 Reading Challenge into high gear in May with the #SmashYourStack reading challenge.

I'll be kicking my 2016 Reading Challenge into high gear in May with the #SmashYourStack reading challenge.My reading challenge has been my anchor during a busy first third of 2016. It has flown by in a haze of events, assignments, responsibilities, new experiences. In other words: life.

Through this rush, #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks has kept me focused without putting inordinate pressure on me to read a set number of books by a set date. It has reintroduced me to what is turning out to be an exceedingly well-stocked library (my very own!). It has staunched the slow bleed of my monthly earnings. Oh yes, this reading challenge came at just the right time, and I’ve loved everything about it.

Still…the rosy glow of affection and good intentions can dim over time, can’t they? Who hasn’t experienced the pull of old habits? Continue reading “Ramping up my reading challenge in May”

The unabridged list of books I read in April

Another eclectic collection of books I added to my "read" pile in April

April readAm I really already talking about the books I read in April? Yes, the same incredulity that possessed me at the beginning of last month. This year is flying by at the speed of sound (or is it light?).

This month saw my highest “read” tally all year, thanks in large part to Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon. My titles included the usual mix of middle-grade and adult fiction and memoir. I also read a classic I’ve been meaning to read for a few months (or years…whatever) and finished a book that has been languishing on my “currently reading” list for a few weeks.

Books I read:

Reading Challenge-wise, I’m not doing too badly: 60 percent of the books I read this month were books I already owned. Although … When I look at it that way, I’m barely passing. I will have to keep working on this!

* Indicates a #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks title Continue reading “The unabridged list of books I read in April”

The unabridged list of what I read in February

Jasper Fforde quote

February delivered what feels suspiciously like a reading slump, but not exactly. I say “not exactly” because I’m still reading (what else is there to do? I have few other interests, really). But I’m distracted and a little bit restless.

#ReadMyOwnDamnBooks felt like my anchor and inspiration this month. When I struggled to focus on what the heck I wanted to be reading, I turned to the books that, at some point, felt like must-reads. That’s why they’re on my shelves, right? Some of them I read completely. Almost as many, I read only in parts. Continue reading “The unabridged list of what I read in February”

5 New Books to Look for in February

New books for February 2016

New month, new books! In the interest of pursuing my 2016 reading challenge to read the books I own, I’m restricting new purchases. I’m only buying books I’ll read in the near future. Or (*clears throat*) trying to, anyway. (January results were slightly less than stellar.)

Still, that doesn’t mean I can’t keep a running list of books to read in the unspecified future. And if I share said list with you, maybe you’ll read one (or three or all – whatever works!)? And tell me which I should move up to the top of my list? Continue reading “5 New Books to Look for in February”

#ReadMyOwnDamnBooks: “The Marvels” by Brian Selznick

As previously mentioned, the hashtag #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks captured my attention in a big way. It inspired me to take a good look at how many books I own that I have not yet read, and the results were sobering. Which is to say: I own too many books that I have not yet read, and it’s time I gave those books my attention.

I’m ambivalent about annual reading challenges, as I’ve seen they can sometimes have unintended consequences, of the undesirable sort. For the foreseeable future, I won’t be doing any challenges that involve reading a particular number of books per year. But a challenge that invites me to rediscover the books I bought that have somehow managed to disappear into my tottering stacks (before being read, I might add) sounds excellent. The temptation to purchase wonderful, intriguing new books will be fierce, I expect. But I will do my best to keep tackling those existent stacks.

To kick things off, I began by compiling a list of five recently purchased titles and plan to update with more as the year goes on. I’m quite excited to see what I’ll discover. I’m equally excited to be able to announce that I dove right in on New Year’s Day by reading Brian Selznick’s beautiful, moving The Marvels. Continue reading “#ReadMyOwnDamnBooks: “The Marvels” by Brian Selznick”