Readers, you might have noticed that I’ve been AWOL for almost a month now. That’s because I got a new job–without quitting my old job! While my schedule will eventually settle down, right now I’m working nonstop, so I haven’t had much time for blogging. But I had to jump on today’s TTT prompt. In no particular order, these are the books I’m looking forward to reading this spring.
Some of these books have been on my TBR list for so long I’ve forgotten what they’re about or why I even put them on my list. I’m going to try to explain why these books are on my TBR list, and maybe that will prompt me to finally read them!
A Grown Up Kind of Pretty. I have absolutely no idea why this book is on my list…
While Beauty Slept. Gothic Beauty and the Beast retelling.
There is No Dog. Quirky MG (or possibly YA).
The Escape from Home. I always love Avi’s work.
The Broken Teaglass. Murder mystery + tea.
Orlando. I want to read a lot more of Virginia Woolf, but I struggle with her writing.
Will Grayson, Will Grayson. Because I’ve only read one John Green book, and I feel like that’s not enough for me to judge if I like his writing style or not.
You Don’t Look Like Anyone I Know. Crazy but true neurological issue that keeps the author from recognizing faces.
The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents. Why was this the first Terry Pratchett book that made it to my list? (It wasn’t the first I read, obviously.)
Today’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt is all about sharing the books I can’t believe I’ve read. Combing through the past couple of years of books I’ve read, I was surprised at how many books I have read recently that are either out of my comfort zone or from genres that I typically don’t care for.
Wild. I had been aware of this book for a long time–who hasn’t?–but I never wanted to read it. I finally gave in when my book club decided to read it, and I enjoyed it a lot more than I anticipated.
Dracula. I tried reading this classic in college and was totally freaked out by it. But I decided to give it another shot in 2017, and I’m glad I did.
The Husband’s Secret. I read this book for book club as well. It wasn’t my favorite, but I can see why it has been so popular.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. This is one more book club read, one that I had seen floating around for years before I finally read it. And it was fascinating! This is one of my favorite things about the book club I’m in: it forces me to read popular books that I otherwise wouldn’t have tried.
Anna and the French Kiss. I don’t usually like YA romances. And I didn’t like this one, either, despite the assurances of many bookish friends that I would.
American Gods. This is another book I tried in college and quickly abandoned. This time I listened to this monster of a book on audio, which helped me get through it.
The Beautiful and Damned. I can’t even remember why I picked this book up. I felt like it was just a rehashing of the themes from The Great Gatsby (even though this book was written and published before Gatsby), and I didn’t much care for it.
Middlesex. The incest in this book totally freaked me out. But I still finished it.
Bare Bones. I actually read this book for a challenge, which required you read a book that was a recommendation from a stranger. I had never heard of this guy before, so it was really weird reading his memoir, but I didn’t hate it.
What books are you amazed that you’ve read? Leave your thoughts and links in the comments!
Happy New Year, bookish friends! I can’t believe that it’s 2018 already. I love to get into the nitty gritty details of the books I’ve read, so as always, I’m sharing my favorites and all the statistics of the books I read in 2017.
This year, I read 247 books, which is surprisingly similar to last year’s 251 books. My increased work schedule and other life changes would have lowered this number, I think, except for the book challenges that pushed me to finish certain books.
35% of these books were diverse books, which I defined as written by or about underrepresented groups. Books in translation, books about feminism, books about countries other than America or England, and books by or about people of color, people with disabilities, people who identify as LGBT+, or adherents of non-Christian religions all fell into this category. (Up a bit from 33% last year, which is awesome!)
I read 75% fiction and 25% nonfiction this year. This is a little bit more fiction and a little less nonfiction than the past two years, which I think is probably because the nonfiction I did read was pretty heavy.
61% of the books I read were written by female authors, which means the other 39% were written by male authors or by both a male and a female author.
64% of my 2016 books were backlist books; 30% were new; 6% were classics. This seems to show how I’m leaning toward reading books from my TBR list rather than only picking up the latest book that catches my eye!
9% of the books I read were published by indie or small press publishers; 91% were by mainstream publishers. I’d like to do better at reading small press books this year.
My Goodreads ratings overwhelmingly fell into the 3-4 range. I rated only one book as a 1 this year, and I only gave nine books a 5 (which explains why I had such a hard time creating favorites lists this past year; there were very few books that blew me away in 2017).
Almost all of the books I read this year were from the library (or Hoopla/Overdrive, both of which I have access to through our library system). Other sources included Amazon (of course), Paperback Swap, the thrift store, and my other online sources, Scribd and Serial.
11% of the books I read this year were audio books, which is way up from any years in the past. 22% were ebooks, and the other 67% were print books (no surprise, as I still much prefer paper to reading on a screen or listening to a book).
I reviewed 81% of the books I read this year. Some of the 19% I didn’t review because I didn’t have much to say about them; others I read for personal reference.
I’m also taking a cue from Alise at Read. Write. Repeat. and sharing a few books that I enjoyed in certain categories.
Most thought provoking:$2.00 a Day by Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer. This book was painful but fascinating to read.
Best children’s series:Septimus Heap. I’m sure frequent blog readers will not be surprised to see that series here, considering how much I’ve gushed about it this year!
Best adult series:Aunty Lee. I love the Singapore setting for these mysteries, and Aunty Lee is such a fun character.
I set only three bookish goals for 2017:
Write more joint book reviews. I didn’t complete as many of these as I had hoped, but you can see my annual Newbery reviews with my sister here, and I did a guest post for Jane of Raincity Librarian here.
Participate in Armchair BEA. I did this, and it was so fun! Unfortunately, the organizers of Armchair Book Expo have stepped down, so I’m not sure if this will continue next year, but I’m very glad I was able to participate again in 2017.
Continue to read at least 25% diverse books. I did this handily!
I hope you all have a great start to 2018! I’m wishing you all happy reading in the new year.
I’ve already received a couple of books from my Christmas wish list (thank you, Secret Santa!), but there are always plenty more I’d like to add to my shelf. Here is this year’s edition of the ten books I want to find under my Christmas tree.
The Year of Living Danishly. This sounds so fascinating!
The rest of the Septimus Heap series. I’ve acquired copies of the first three books in the series. I know I want to re-read it in the future, and one day introduce the series to my children, so I need a complete set.
The Complete Stories of Dorothy L. Sayers. I haven’t read any Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries (crazy, right??), so why not just get them all at once?
Neverwhere. I’ve been wanting to read this Neil Gaiman story for a long time.
Pioneer Girl. I think it would be really interesting to read Laura Ingalls Wilder’s autobiography–this time written for adults.
Black Dove, White Raven. I loved Code Name Verity, and this book has been on my TBR list for a long time.
Accidental Saints. To someone who spent a fair amount of time reading about non-traditional Christianity this year, this book sounds super interesting.
The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook. Because of course.
What books are you hoping to receive this holiday season? Let me know in the comments!
Interrupted. I read a huge amount of Christian books this year, and this was one of my favorites. Powerful and relatable.
The Septimus Heap series. The more I think about this series, the more I love it! I can’t believe it took me this long to finish reading it. Now I just need to acquire my own copies of these books so I can re-read them.
Although it never really gets cold here in southwest Florida, I still find my reading habits changing as the holidays approach. I don’t want heavy novels or important nonfiction; give me dystopias and lighthearted mysteries! Here are ten of the books on my TBR list this winter.
On the Edge of Gone. A dystopian novel starring an autistic character? Yes please!
The rest of the Aunty Lee series. I really enjoyed the first book in this mystery series set in Singapore, and I’m excited to read the next books.
The rest of the Junior Bender series. There’s even a Christmas-themed book, so this read is right on time!
Death by Darjeeling. Why not spend the winter months getting into a new mystery series?
Shadows on the Moon. This is one of the books that has been on my TBR list for so long that I can barely remember why I put it on there in the first place. I need to read this soon.
Howl’s Moving Castle. I have still never read a Diana Wynne Jones book (I know, I know!), and this one seems like a good one to start with.
A Tale Dark and Grimm. What fits these short winter days better than some dark fairy tales?
Neverwhere. I don’t always enjoy Neil Gaiman’s work, but his creepy, surreal worlds also seem fitting for winter.
The Black Lizard Big Book of Locked-Room Mysteries. This anthology of Christmas mysteries kept me happily occupied during Christmas break last year, and I think this anthology might do the trick this time.
What books are on your winter TBR list? Leave your links in the comments!
Pictures of Hollis Woods. This Newbery book, about a girl in foster care who wonders if she’s blown her only chance at having a true family, is one of my all-time favorites. It made an impression on me as a child, and I’d love my children to have that experience too.
Hope Was Here. A 16-year-old girl with a history of leaving the people and places she loves makes the move to small-town Wisconsin, where she and her aunt have been hired to turn a small diner into a bustling restaurant. Hope is a strong character and she knows how to fend for herself, but she also learns to rely on the family that she has built.
Code Name Verity. The unbreakable friendship between two girls during their military work in WWII England is powerful and heart wrenching. A focus on the importance of female friendships and the actions of women working dangerous and important jobs makes this tear-jerking YA book a must-read.
Hattie Big Sky. 16-year-old Hattie gets a chance to create a new life for herself when her dying uncle leaves his Montana homestead for her to prove up. Hattie experiences and learns from hard work, cold winter days, new friendships, failure, and even death. This Newbery book is a powerful look at what young women can do, and a reminder that failure doesn’t mean the end.
Walk Two Moons. This Newbery book by Sharon Creech is one of my favorite books, period (but you guys probably already knew that!). 13-year-old Sal and her grandparents are going on a cross-country trek to find Sal’s mother. Sal passes the time by telling her friend Phoebe’s story, and in doing so, Sal reveals her own struggles of life without her mother.
A Long Way from Chicago and A Year Down Yonder. The grandmother in these two Depression-era books is the star–she’s larger than life and seems a little crazy, but she isn’t afraid to stand up to anyone or to flout social norms for what women should wear, or do, or say. She ignores social niceties in order to take care of those who need her help, and her two grandkids get dragged along with her schemes. Hilarious and heartwarming at the same time.
Ella Enchanted. This book is way better than the movie version (of course). Ella is unable to ignore any direct command given to her–her curse means that she must obey every order. However, she is strong willed and struggles against her curse for years, until (*spoiler alert!*) she learns how to break it herself. There is a prince involved (what Cinderella retelling doesn’t have a prince?), but Ella doesn’t need his help to free herself.
The Penderwicks series. These books offer the classic childhood adventures that many of my favorite books from childhood did, but without the problems that come from reading books published in the 1930s. The Penderwick family is warm and loving but isn’t afraid to get into mischief.
El Deafo. This graphic novel about a girl growing up deaf is funny but also thought provoking. Kids can enjoy the art while still learning about being deaf and about inclusion of others.
The Casson family series. The Casson family is flawed, more so than the Penderwicks, but they share a sense of fun and adventure, even in the midst of family difficulties. Each of the very different children gets a book focused on them.
What books do you want your children to read? Share your thoughts or links in the comments!
I’m taking today’s Top Ten Tuesday theme in several different directions. Some of these books are actual cookbooks. Others are novels that feature food, or even books with foodie covers. A couple are even books about food that I haven’t actually read yet but reeeeeally want to. I hope you’ll share with me your favorite cookbooks or your TTT lists in the comments!
(P.S. Several of these books are ARCs which I have already reviewed, but as always, all opinions are my own. These books made the list not because I received a free copy of them, but because I truly enjoyed them.)
The Coincidence of Coconut Cake [ARC]. I didn’t actually enjoy this book that much (please click through if you want to read one of my more rambling, off-topic reviews), but the cover is amazing.
Redwall. This suggestion comes straight from my husband. He has fond memories of reading this series as a child and drooling over the feast descriptions.
The Pho Cookbook [ARC]. Andrea Nguyen is my go-to source for all things Vietnamese food-related, so I was super excited to read this ARC when it came out earlier this year. (And, of course, to ask my husband and resident chef to make me some pho!)
Hope Was Here. This book, a childhood favorite and one of the few books I’ve re-read more than once, is set in a diner where Hope is a waitress. She sprinkles her viewpoints on being a waitress and loving food throughout the book, and every major event centers around the diner and the people Hope meets there.
A Scone to Die For [ARC]. You guys know I love this cozy mystery series about a tearoom in Oxford (I’m even on the author’s review team!), and the first in the series is packed with food references and even a recipe.
Around the World in 80 Purees [ARC]. I loved this book. It offers so many good ideas for helping even your little ones enjoy different flavors. As an adventurous eater myself, I’ll try anything to help my future kids start to love food and avoid becoming picky eaters!
Pretty Good Number One [review copy]. This is the book that made me want to explore Japan and basically eat everything. The book isn’t all about food (but it kind of was for me!).
The Little Library Cookbook. I haven’t read this cookbook yet, but I love this food blogger also. She takes inspiration from books (both childhood favorites and adult fiction) to create her recipes.
The Cardamom Trail. This is another cookbook I haven’t read yet, but as a big fan of the Great British Baking Show, I really want to! I loved Chetna’s unique flavors on the show, and I’d love to try them for myself.