Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Things to Eat/Drink While Reading

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

I follow a lot of other blogs that participate in Top Ten Tuesday and I finally decided that I wanted to join in. These posts are so much fun to read and I love seeing what everyone has on their lists each week.

So this weeks list is favorite things to eat or drink while reading. Now, I’ll read whenever I get a chance to but being able to sit down with a nice drink and a book is one of my favorite feelings in the world. I would say that I don’t tend to eat a lot when I’m reading but I actually read a lot of e-books during meals.

I’m going to split this up and do five and five, starting with my top five foods!

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Cheez-Its

Peanut M&M’s

Sour Anything

Fruit

Chips

And now for my top five drinks:

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Coffee

Chai Tea

Fruity Tea

Moscato With Lemonade

Pop/Soda

I feel like all this list has done is show how much of a bad eater I am… I swear I’m not (other than my soda addiction) most of these are just things I *want* to be eating when I’m reading… Half the time I’m reading books while working anyways!

I really like cold drinks in the summer and warm drinks in the morning. I almost always have to have something to drink while I read but I’m not a really big snacker anymore so I tend to not eat anything when I read. And if a book is really engrossing? I can almost guarantee I’m not going to consume anything until I’m done with it. I think my favorite combination is Cheez-Its and moscato with lemonade. Now that’s a great Friday night.

Now back to work, with no snacks… And lukewarm coffee because I didn’t drink it fast enough. Happy Tuesday!

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Guilty Reader Book Tag

So Emer over at A Little Haze Book Blog posted this tag the other day (here’s a link to her post) and I immediately knew that I wanted to do this tag as well! It was originally made by ReadsLikeWildfire on YouTube and has since been making the rounds.

I think this is such a fun tag because it really shows how different people can be when it comes to reading habits!

Have you ever said you’ve read a book when you haven’t?

In school? Oh 100%, all the time. Almost every single book that was required of me to read in high school I never finished reading. I got really good at bullshitting my way through every single assignment in my English classes.

And in real life? Yes. Also yes. The main example of this that popped into my head was Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I say she’s one of my favorite authors and that I love her books but in truth I’ve never actually finished one.

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Have you ever borrowed a book and not returned it?

Yes…………

Okay but in my defense I borrowed this book with every intention of returning it. I swear I’m going to return it. I just need to suck it up and ask my professor where I can mail the copy to.

I borrowed a book from one of my professors and then ended up dropping out of that school and couldn’t go anywhere on the campus except the dining hall without panicking so I never went to his office again in order to return the book. And now I live almost three hours away from that school and I’m too chicken to email my professor and apologize for stealing the book and asking him how I can get it back to him.

Have you ever read a series out of order?

Not since I was a kid! At least not any that I can think of! But when I was younger I had this really great skill of finding a book that looked super interesting and then buying it without realizing it was a part of a series… Luckily so many middle grade series have enough introductory information at the beginning of each book that it was easy to get away with. The two that I for sure know I read out of order were the Gilda Joyce series by Jennifer Allison as well as the Gallagher Girl series by Ally Carter.

Also speaking of introductory information in books, the whole time I was writing that sentence in my mind all I could think of was Junie B. Jones (My name is Junie B. Jones, the B stands for Beatrice except I don’t like Beatrice. I just like B and that’s all.) Iconic introduction.

Have you ever spoiled a book for someone?

Yup. Never on purpose but if I really need to talk about a book to someone I’ll usually just ask a friend if they ever intend on reading the book or if they care about spoilers and then just rant to them about whatever I needed to. There’s a good chance I probably spoiled books for my sister while we were growing up as well but she also didn’t start enjoying reading until almost middle school and I talked a lot…

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And on the topic of spoiling books. Somehow in my lifetime I have been immensely lucky with avoiding spoilers, usually I have to seek out spoilers in order to find something out. One thing that I did get spoiled on was Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. My mom told me because she thought that I had already read the book and I still wonder what my reading experience would have been like had I not known of Dumbledore’s fate. Also was that a purposeful spoiler? Maybe… But like Harry Potter is old news at this point lol.

Have you ever dog eared a book?

Definitely! And ripped covers, cracked spines, dropped in water, spilled food on, cried on, written in, etc. etc. My books are well loved and while I used to hoard bookmarks, I genuinely can’t be bothered to keep them around anymore because I literally NEVER use them. Now I tend to just leave my book flipped open to the page I’m on if I’m reading a physical book or if I’m reading a hardcover I use the dust jacket as the bookmark. I try to take good care of my physical books but I’m a mess in every aspect of my life and if I’m being honest, pristine books feel unloved to me.

Have you ever told someone you don’t own a book when you do?

Probably… But only because I’m so bad at knowing what books I do and don’t own anymore. That’s what happens after multiple moves, a lot of decluttering, and a sister who likes to steal books. I have a very general knowledge of what I own but I’m very forgetful and also my e-book collection is something I hardly ever acknowledge so there’s a good chance I’ll forget any of the books that I have on my Kindle.

Have you ever skipped a chapter or a section in a book?

Yes. And I will continue doing so when it comes to things that give me extreme second-hand embarrassment or are triggering.

Have you ever bad mouthed a book you actually liked?

The one thing that immediately comes to mind is Twilight. Because honestly are you a true Twilight fan if you don’t also talk extreme shit about it?

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Other than that I don’t think I’ve ever actually bad mouthed books that I like. With books that I enjoyed that I later found out were really problematic then I voice that I was educated differently but if I genuinely enjoyed the books while I was ignorant to the problematic things then I won’t actively bad mouth it after that.

I guess I am quite the guilty reader… Haha, well this was fun. I will chat with you all again in my next post!

A Thrilling Post: Why Can’t I Read Thrillers and Love Them?

I have a love-hate relationship with reading thrillers. I continue to consume them but none of them really thrill me. I’ve found with a lot of books that readers claim to have “shocked” them I go into them expecting the same thing only to be extremely underwhelmed because I guess the twist ending before it comes close to happening. One big example of this was when I read The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (shockingly I never once got spoiled on it despite waiting so long to read it). I guessed the ending long before the actual ending but I still enjoyed reading the book nonetheless.

I’ve been picking up a lot of thrillers recently in the hopes of finding something that will actually wow me. I’m not sure how well this will end up going though. It seems by the end of every thriller I’ve read I find myself trudging along and just waiting for it to be done. I’m not sure why I’ve been in such a thriller/horror kick but I kind of think it’s just my anticipation for fall and Halloween… JUST GET HERE ALREADY SPOOKY SEASON. (Though I’m really not excited for winter but I genuinely cannot wait for fall).

I’m starting to wonder if I just go into thrillers with too high of expectations or if I’m just letting my pessimistic viewpoint of the books I’ve already read turn me off from new books too early. I think that one thing that really gets to me with this genre is that it’s typical with other genres for books to follow patterns. With thrillers following the same patterns, however, they become far too predictable for me.

One thing that I’ve begun to do when picking up thrillers is not reading a description. I’ve started doing this with a lot of books but especially with thrillers because if I know too much about the plot I start trying to pick out the loopholes and the whodunnit way too quickly instead of just allowing myself to be immersed in the story.

The main thing that I’m going to take from reading all the thrillers that I plan to is that despite the fact that in the end they don’t always impress me they’re still good. There are very few thrillers that I get all the way through and genuinely hate. If I do hate it there was most definitely something objectively wrong. A lot of thrillers are messy with unreliable narrators and I’ve come to accept that those things are just part of reading these types of books. For a while it was so hard for me to not get so incredibly frustrated with how idiotic some of these characters act until I forced myself to feel the fear and unease that they feel and realize that for the most part, they aren’t thinking straight.

If you have any recommendations of thrillers you think I should read, leave me a comment so that I can add them to my list! I’ve got a lot that I’m planning on working through and I’d love to have more.

In addition to reading a lot of thrillers, I’ve also been watching a lot of thrillers and I’d like to recommend two to you now.

The first is called The Endless:

Overall I found this movie really well done. It was very trippy and I already want to watch it again.

And the second is called I Am Mother:

This one is a Netflix original and I just watched it the other night and holy cow it genuinely fucked me up because robots and AI are one of my biggest fears and this entire movie played into that. I highly recommend.

So far this month I’ve read three thrillers and I’m already deciding which one I want to read next so expect to see a lot from this genre in my wrap up at the end of the month! Maybe I’ll be able to talk about something that wows me!

 

June Reading Wrap-Up

Well I feel like if I continue to read as many books as this month or more I might have to start splitting up my wrap up posts into multiple parts! This was a really productive reading month for me. Although I’m sure if I end up getting back into school this fall that my “for fun” reading will diminish greatly as it always does when I’m in school.

Anyways, after each book I have attached links to the places that you can go to purchase these books if you are interested. The Amazon link is an affiliate link. The links attached to each of the titles will send you directly to that books Goodreads page for more information! And without further ado, here are all the books that I read in June!

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

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4/5 Stars. Overall, I really enjoyed this story. It was an incredibly (sometimes overwhelmingly) detailed tale following a myriad of characters through the events of a Singaporean summer. Though there were some aspects of the story that I didn’t enjoy, I could see why it was written the way it was. Such a lavish and interesting book. I highly recommend.

Amazon Affiliate Link // Barns and Noble // Book Depository

If Only by Melanie Murphy

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2/5 stars. This was a sweet slow-burn romance about second chances, “if only’s”, and learning about oneself. It was an easy read but I felt like the plot dragged on as well as being pretty predictable. I had some problems with the story and characters that kept me from fully enjoying it but it was by no means a bad read. I think I’m just really picky with my romances! It was also a lot more emotional than I had expected it to be but I appreciated the rawness of some of the emotions throughout.

I would recommend this to people who like more emotional contemporaries, sweet, slow romances, and a little bit of magic. Also this was the first ARC review that I’ve done so I was really excited about that! Still kind of surprises me that I can get ARCs!

Amazon Affiliate Link // Barnes and Noble // Book Depository

The Girls by Emma Cline

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3/5 stars. This book had been sitting in my Kindle library for over two years and I finally checked out a physical copy of the book from my public library to actually read it. The plot dragged on at some points but it was really well written and incredibly atmospheric. It just felt like it was missing something!

Amazon Affiliate Link // Barnes and Noble // Book Depository

Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

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5/5 stars!!! Definitely going to be in my top books of the year I feel! Here’s the link to my blog post about this book. I highly recommend this book and I am so excited to read what Casey McQuiston comes out with next!

Amazon Affiliate Link // Barnes and Noble // Book Depository

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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5/5 stars. I’m working on a post right now about all of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books and I started with this one. Absolutely loved it and it had the exact ending that I was hoping for! I found the characters in this story to be really mature and I was really impressed with how logical the ending came about. Reid writes lovely stories that just fly by!

Amazon Affiliate Link // Barnes and Noble // Book Depository

Fled by Meg Keneally

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4/5 stars. This is a debut novel by Meg Keneally. I got an ARC of this book from NetGalley and will link my Goodreads review here. I think that anyone who likes really engrossing historical fiction would enjoy this. Some bits drag on but the book also takes place over quite a few years so it’s kind of understandable that there will be slower parts. Such an interesting story though and to think it’s based off of a real woman is just amazing. I’ll be interested to see what else Keneally comes out with in the future!

Amazon Affiliate Link // Barnes and Noble // Book Depository

Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol

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5/5 stars. I thought that this graphic novel was cute and funny and it reminded me so much of my own time at camp that it made me super nostalgic!! The art style was lovely and I really enjoyed the monochromatic color palette that Brosgol chose. When I was reading other people’s reviews I was kind of surprised by how harshly it was rated but it didn’t make me want to change my own review. I could see where everyone was coming from but I thought it was a 5 star book for myself nonetheless.

Amazon Affiliate Link // Barnes and Noble // Book Depository

See How She Dies by Lisa Jackson

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1/5 stars. This book was published in 2004 and let me just tell you that it did not age well at all. Trigger warning for abuse, rape, incest (I don’t even care about how the plot ended up but I’m calling whatever this BS romance was incest.) I feel like this book had so much potential and then it just fell short in every single aspect. There were so many plot holes and stupid reasons as to why the plot couldn’t be different (I spent half the book yelling at them to do a DNA test but apparently it wasn’t possible because the parents were cremated, um the girl has four living siblings? Do they not possess the ability to give a sample of their DNA?) Really just not a great book.

Also I’m not linking places to buy this book. Don’t read it, honestly. And if for whatever reason you feel a need to read it, just get it from a library or find it second hand. But truly, guys, it is not worth reading! I’m not even sure anymore if I want to give Lisa Jackson a second chance. There’s a whole shelf of her books at my library but every time I go there I see this book on there and just get sick to my stomach.

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

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4/5 stars. This was the first Christina Lauren book that I have read and I really enjoyed it! I’ve come to realize that I am really not a fan of enemies to lovers stories because I’ve yet to see one executed in a way that the “enemy” aspect isn’t literally only from miscommunication. So if any of you know of a book where they’re actually enemies first send that recommendation my way!!

I wrote a longer review of this which you can read here.

Amazon Affiliate Link // Barnes and Noble // Book Depository

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

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5/5 stars. If I could go back in time and give this book to my high school self I would. I will be recommending this book to every high schooler and early university student from here on out. Like this is exactly the type of book I would’ve wanted to read when I was questioning my entire life back when I was 16-18. And because I’m in a similar headspace again now I think this book just hit really close to home.

You can read more of my in depth thoughts here.

Amazon Affiliate Link // Barnes and Noble // Book Depository

Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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3/5 stars. Again, working my way through Reid’s books for an upcoming post that I’d like to publish by the end of July! Of the three books by her that I read in June, this was my least favorite. I found the main character to be really grating and I wish that I had liked the romance in this a little bit more. I just felt like the relationship leaned more towards toxic than it should have. Felt very lusty over lovey in my opinion and I wasn’t overly impressed.

If you like Reid’s other books I would recommend this but if you haven’t picked up her books before I wouldn’t suggest this to be the first one that you read. It was an interesting concept with killing off the love interest in the first chapter and seeing how the characters go from there but the flashbacks to before his death kept me from really seeing how she loved this guy so much. I’m sorry but I really feel like nothing good comes from rushed relationships.

Despite all of that it was breezy to read through as I’ve found with each of Reid’s books and I did enjoy most of it which is why I ultimately gave it 3 stars.

Amazon Affiliate Link // Barnes and Noble // Book Depository

Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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5/5 stars. Earlier in the month I had read If Only by Melanie Murphy which is another sort of “what if” plot. I would have to say that Maybe in Another Life executes the plot better. At least in my opinion anyways. I found the parallel plot lines in this novel to be really interesting. Some people didn’t enjoy it when things were the same down to very specific things but honestly I kind of enjoyed that! I thought it was so interesting to see how similar the plot lines could end up and how much overlapped and intertwined despite them playing out so differently.

I also loved that the message in the end was that no matter how your life ends up due to the choices you make, you can find happiness. It just gave me a lot of really warm fuzzy feelings to read the last couple of chapters.

Amazon Affiliate Link // Barnes and Noble // Book Depository

While the Duke was Sleeping by Sophie Jordan

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2/5 stars. Okay I still can’t stop laughing at the fact that I read this book… Oh boy I am so not a fan of these type of romance novels! But I decided to give it a try anyways because people won’t stop talking about these types of books. Reading this though definitely showed me that these are not my style and I don’t need to try and make myself read others even though people rave about books like this.

I think that people who are fans of smutty romance would probably enjoy this a lot more than I would. It’s a pretty average book and was really quick to read so I’m sure there will be people out there that would love this!

Amazon Affiliate Link // Barnes and Noble // Book Depository

So at this point I have about 6 books that I’m currently reading so if I can make myself come out of this reading slump that I’m falling into I will hopefully be able to finish reading those books. There is a very long list of books that I want/need to review as well as quite a few other posts that I’d like to get out this month. I think July is going to be quite busy for me so we’ll see how this goes!

What books did you read this month? Anything that you think I should check out? Did you read any duds this month? What are you looking forward to reading in July?

Annotating Books

I have seen numerous videos of people talking about how they annotate books and I thought that this would be a really great post for my blog! I just really wanted to start a discussion about annotating books and why (or why not) you do!For a very long time I thought that annotating books was sacrilegious. I hated even dog earring pages and it physically pained me when my books got damaged!! I still cry a bit inside when my books get damaged and I still never dog ear pages but I’ve come very far with my ability to write in my books. Paper Towns by John Green was the first book I ever wrote in for fun and I’ve written in countless school books to use for papers and projects.The books that I’ve annotated most recently have been nonfiction books. I find it really helpful for keeping track of stuff in my self-help books when I highlight and take notes within the book. I used to try and journal outside of the book along with what was in the book but unless it’s a library book I’ve stopped doing that because I never reread my journals.Recently I decided to annotate my Throne of Glass series as I reread it because I want to do a review of the series at the end of it… I was going to do a post comparing that series to my all time favorite book Graceling by Kristin Cashore but have since decided that Graceling will get it’s own post because I have much to say about it! The reason I decided to go in big on annotating Throne of Glass is because I know that they’re books that I will never loan to anyone.The not loaning books out to people anymore is actually a big reason why I’ve decided that I’m going to start annotating books. I always feel anxious about writing in books because “what are other people going to think when they see this?” and honestly? Now I really don’t care. I’m going to annotate books that I know I’ll keep, or books that I really want to analyze and when/if I get rid of them then someone else gets to see what I thought was important in that book.I think that I put too much pressure on myself about keeping books in pristine condition. Books are not meant to just sit on a shelf and look pretty (though they do look really nice and pretty on shelves) in fact, my favorite books are the ones that are completely beat up and barely holding themselves together.Now that I’ve decided that it’s okay to annotate I also feel this pressure about annotating every book I read. So now I have to tell myself that it’s okay to not annotate a book if I don’t want to! I think a lot of my annotating is going to occur with books that I’ve already read. Once I have an entire set of hardcover Harry Potter books I want to annotate that entire series (going to save the paperback ones just as keepsakes).With a number of the videos that people have published talking about annotating books I find it interesting what they use as a system. I’ll include links to some of the videos that I’ve watched at the end of this post! From what I’ve seen, most people have pretty similar systems for what they decide to tab and I kind of liked that.This is the system that I’m using for the Throne of Glass series:For nonfiction books I really just highlight and write in the margins and then put a sticky tab in there. No differences in colors for those unless I run out of the tab that I used at the beginning of the book.I think I’ll use around the same type of system as with Throne of Glass for other books but I think I’ll change certain categories around depending on the book.Now I’d like to open it up to everyone reading this. What’s your opinion on annotating books? When you get rid of annotated books do you get anxious or laugh at the idea of someone reading your notes and trying to decipher what you saw in that book?If you take notes when you read, do you take notes in the book or out of it? Do you annotate your e-books? I never annotate e-books!! I used to highlight quotes but I almost never reread e-books and have just stopped annotating them at all.Here are the videos that I watched before deciding to make this post:

How I Annotate My Books by XCatherineReads:

How I Annotate My Books by BooksWithChloe:

How I Annotate Books by Little Book Owl:

I really like how she has multiple systems! Also props to her for being able to keep so many colors straight… I could never!! Which is why I have so few colors when I actually use the color system.

Annotating for a Lazy Reader by Paperbackdreams:

Honestly I appreciate the honesty in this one, I also watched her original video and it was quite similar to a lot of the other “each color represents a different thing” system but I also like her new “lazy” approach!There were also a few videos where people talked about annotating within vlogs they posted but I honestly can’t remember which ones those were.

Audiobooks: An Internal Struggle

People love audiobooks. And for years now I’ve wished that I could be one of those people. I really and truly want to try and love audiobooks but no matter what I do they just don’t seem to mesh well with my brain and reading style.

It’s funny because I’ve had this struggle for my entire life. I remember trying to listen to the Harry Potter audiobooks when I was a kid and giving up on them before I made it to the second CD. They just read so slowly! (Maybe this plays into why I hated the Order of the Phoenix for so long!!) And then I couldn’t control the speed of their talking so I just had to read at a snail’s pace along with the narrator.

I want to say that I tried audiobooks for the second time sometime during the end of high school once I had my own car. I’m a little foggy on if this was actually during high school or if this was during my first summer after college but I want to say it was during high school. I figured I might as well try to listen to books while I drove to and from work (like my 15 minute “commute” across town was enough time to get in some good listening lol). But again, it was just never enough time and on most trips, if I wasn’t going to work I had someone else in the car; usually my sister because I was always her go-to chauffeur after I got my license and car.

In college I learned about Scribd and Audible thanks to BookTube, Whitney from WhittyNovels in particular always influenced me to try audiobooks again because I always saw her getting so much reading done with Scribd! I used many, many free trials and never finished a single book. I always thought, “Oh! I can totally use this while I’m cleaning or doing something that requires my eyes but not necessarily my whole brain power.” And then I’d be 20 minutes into the section I was listening to and could not understand any of the story because I’d zoned out from concentrating too hard on cleaning or whatever.

This year I again tried audiobooks after a few years of giving up on them and wow, they yet again sat in my car completely untouched (I checked some out from the library) because I always turned on music when I was driving instead.

Now when I watch reading vlogs where audiobooks are used, or hear about how many audiobooks people listen to I feel oddly jealous. I wish that audiobooks worked for me but they just don’t.

When I’m doing idle work, I like listening to Youtube videos, music, or podcasts. Those never seem to cause me any problems, even when it’s a pretty information heavy educational podcast. So that constantly makes me question why I can’t also pay enough attention to audiobooks to know what happened by the end of it! I can even pay enough attention to Youtube videos to understand what is going on in them while I’m also reading a book but for whatever reason I don’t mesh with audiobooks at all!

I also have a slight aversion to e-books so maybe it’s just some deep seated prejudice towards electronic “reading” that keeps me from utilizing audiobooks. I would love to try a Kindle again but I haven’t decided if I want to go for it or not. I’d love the ease of traveling with a small e-reader and have seen that one of the newer Kindles is waterproof which I think would be an awesome feature.

Audiobooks are amazing and I think that it’s really cool that they’re becoming so innovative with them; like when they have a full cast of people for the characters or just the fact that they’ve become so easily accessible with apps and subscriptions. And while they might not be my cup of tea I do like seeing them become more and more popular as the years go on. I think they’re a great way to encourage reading for those that don’t actually enjoy reading, or even for those who can’t use a physical book.

For now, I think it’s time to set aside my need for wanting to find a way to love audiobooks and just move on and keep trucking with physical books. I’m sure someday I’ll attempt to use audiobooks again but for now, I’ll just take the time to sit down and read even if it does mean I can’t multitask as well!

Do you “read” audiobooks? If so, what’s your favorite part about them? What’s your least favorite part? What is your overall preferred way of reading?

History Book TBR

So I’m a bit of a history junkie. I feel like a lot of people find this surprising about me or even strange but I am sort of obsessed with history! If I were to guess, it would probably be due to all my exposure to Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books when I was growing up and playing pretend with my sister. I was always Mary and she was Laura and I think that plays such a huge role in why I love history so much. Another book that really threw me into that realm was this book called The Green Glass Sea which was about two girls who had parents that worked on Project Manhattan during World War II. Oh and I can’t forget about the influence that Oregon Trail must have played into this too! (I feel like not surprisingly but pioneer times and world war II are two of my favorite parts of history now).

Today I’m going to be sharing a bunch of the historical books that I have on my TBR list at the moment.

Trials of the Earth: The True Story of a Pioneer Woman by Mary Mann Hamilton

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Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

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The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel

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Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain

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The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan

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Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley

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The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Marta McDowell

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I feel like there are definitely other books that I could add to this list but I’m being too lazy to look them up. If you have any recommendations of historical nonfiction I’d love to hear them! I’m always looking for new books within this genre to read.

I’m actually currently reading Testament of Youth, I bought it two years ago while I was in London at one of the many museums that we went to and I figure since I’ve had it that long I really should be reading it now. Hopefully I’ll be making a post about that soon and if I do I’ll link it here.

Anyways, happy Monday everyone! I hope your week starts off well.

*This post contains affiliate links to Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rereading Old Favorites

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I have a whole shelf on my bookshelf of books that I once held extremely near and dear to my heart. These books had a huge impact on my “youth” and they’re ones that I won’t be able to part with any time soon. Though some of these books have stood the test of time, there are many that make me cringe when I reread them.

I will say though that I don’t look at old middle grade novels in the same way that I do some of the old young adult novels that I read. I feel like to now critically look at a middle grade novel just doesn’t make sense, of course the characters come across as immature and naive and the plots are incredibly basic, middle grade is a whole other level of thinking and comprehension. I am obviously no longer the target audience! However, if any of you would be interested in me going back and critically looking at old middle grade books I would love to do a post like that… (This is me saying that I’m probably going to do this even if no one comments on this post about that particular topic).

On a “spiritual” level, I still love books like Twilight and those dystopian novels that were published really early on in that craze, but I also wouldn’t list them on my favorite books list right now. Even books I’ve read recently that I was obsessed with tend to have something fundamentally wrong with them and I have to look past that in order to read them with the same joy I had when I first read them.

Now I think that moving forward and reading new stories and learning new things will always teach a person to think more critically about things that they used to like… Or at least I think that’s what we all hope for people and ourselves as we learn new things. Books that we read in the past are super important to who we become as adults and I think it’s important to be able to talk about the books that we loved then and even if they don’t stand the test of time they can still mean something to us.

It’s too easy to be embarrassed about favorite books and want to hide our old or even current reading tastes because we may like problematic stories or stories that haven’t aged well or even stories that once seemed so mature and amazing that now have just lost their touch. I don’t think that we should be quick to condemn things we once loved because they aren’t “good” today. I think we should discuss and call out things that haven’t stood the test of time and be inspired to read better books and tell new stories.

I was just inspired to write this post from seeing people rereading Twilight recently and also from writing my Books That Shaped Me post. I think it’s funny to see how immature and bad some of my old favorite books are compared to some of the books I’ve been reading more recently. It’s just interesting to see how things change over time!

Do you guys have any books that you feel embarrassed to say that you still love?

 

The Books That Shaped Me

At this point in my life, I have read too many books to count. Going to the library as a kid was one of my favorite outings and every year my uncle used to give me $50 to Barnes and Noble for Christmas. Though nowadays I struggle greatly to find my motivation to read I still love devouring books and when I find a good one it makes me so grateful.

I was going through my goodreads account looking at all the books I had there so that I could look some stuff up for another blog post and I couldn’t help but get slightly emotional over all of the books that I had listed on there that I read way back in elementary and middle school. Books played such a pivotal role in my childhood that I decided to round up a bunch of the books that really shaped me as a person and as a reader and share them with you. I feel like this post could get really long so I might end up sharing this in parts!

I’m basically just going to compile this list with just the names of the books/authors with some commentary when I see fit because I feel like if I were to add my commentary to every single one of these this post would be two miles long and no one would read it! However, if you are interested in more of my commentary on certain books or series just comment on this post and I can make singular posts about certain books/series if you want to know more!

Anyways, here are the books that shaped me!

The Harry Potter series

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Books written by Margaret Peterson Haddix

RunningOutofTime

Specifically Running Out of Time which to this day I maintain as being one of my all time favorite books. Which reminds me, I need to buy a new copy of this still as my last one was stolen from me… This story is just crazy and I highly recommend this book to anyone!

The Main Street series by Ann M. Martin

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Though in general Ann M. Martin’s books all were a really big childhood, her Main Street series was probably my favorite (and I’m honestly still trying to read them!) Her Babysitter’s Club series will always be a classic as well.

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

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When I first read this series the books were still being released and I remember waiting for the last book and I was so excited when it finally showed up at my library and I could read it! It was the weirdest set of books I had ever read and I was genuinely extremely confused by the entire experience of reading this but I loved it!

American Girl books

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I think that these books had a really big influence into my love of history, as did a few others on this list. American Girl books and the dolls were huge in my life. The magazine was my first ever subscription and I have every single one of those saved in a box still! Kit was my favorite and to this day I still watch the movies if I can get my hands on them!

Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder

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Project Mulberry by Linda Sue Park

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I have to brag for a second when I mention this book. We actually read this book for a school thing (I can’t remember what it was called but everyone in my grade got this book for free and after we read it we had a big game of jeopardy) and I have to credit myself for winning grade-wide jeopardy for my class. All because I knew the name of the study of bugs! It’s entomology btw if any of you wanted to know. I will also say that I think that this book was one of the first times that I really stopped to think about how creatures that aren’t humans are treated and it made me really sad!

The Beacon Street Girls Series

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Somewhere out there, there is a website that is somehow related to this series that has my first ever attempts at blogging on it. I’m not even going to lie, as I’m writing this post I’m thinking about going to the library to check out books from this series. I loved these books so much growing up! I actually kind of regret getting rid of my collection of them!

Soul Surfer by Bethany Hamilton

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Bethany Hamilton, to this day, is one of my biggest heroes! Her faith, strength, and heart are so inspiring and I’m so glad that I discovered her when I did. In sixth grade I actually did an entire presentation as her after reading this book. She’s an amazing woman and I love following what she does!

Halfway to the Sky by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

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This (along with the next book on the list) have been huge in influencing my wanting to explore more. Halfway to the Sky actually inspired my want to hike the Appalachian Trail someday!

Skye’s the Limit by Megan Shull

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The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi

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I read this book in sixth grade as well and actually read it for a small reading group. The reason this made it onto the list has more to do with my experience of reading it though instead of the story itself (though I do love the story and totally want to reread this!). I’ll try to tell the story quickly…

So back in first grade I got really excited about a book that I was reading for a reading group and ended up reading the whole thing in one night. The next day I said this to my teacher and it was like I had done something illegal! She yelled at me in front of my entire reading group telling me that I was horrible for not being able to follow directions and that I shouldn’t have read ahead and should never do it again. So I tried to never read ahead again (and I still think that this might be why I hated reading books for school more often than not).

Then in sixth grade, I ended up reading this entire book in one night because it was so entertaining I had to finish it! I revealed this to my reading group during our discussion and one of the girls actually told the teacher when she came around to talk to us… I was genuinely terrified when my group mate told her but my teacher almost immediately asked me what I thought of the ending and couldn’t help but discuss how much I had liked the book. The way she reacted compared to my first grade teacher actually shocked me and made me realize just how important it is to have good teachers who have fun/encourage their students to do stuff.

Every Soul A Star by Wendy Mass

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The Sisters Club by Megan McDonald

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Love, Ruby Lavender by Deborah Wiles

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This book kickstarted this weird obsession with anthropology that has always stuck in the back of my head. It’s the reason that I loved the show Bones so much and honestly has now inspired me in my newest collegiate pursuit. Weird how random things will end up influencing your entire life!

Once Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris

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And finally…

The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages

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I borrowed this from a friend in elementary school and have been hooked on learning about World War II ever since! This book, of all of these, probably jumpstarted my love of history more than anything and I credit this to my insanely crazy interest in the World Wars (especially the experience of those on the homefront) ever since.

So now that I’ve talked your ear off… I want to know, what books shaped you as a kid? What was your favorite book growing up? I’d love to read them!

 

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Reading Jane Austen: The Beginning

I’ve got to admit something to you guys…

So I’ve been saying for YEARS now that Jane Austen is one of my favorite authors. And now I must admit that I have never actually read an entire book of hers. Yes, that’s right, I have never read an entire book of Jane Austen’s before. I’m honestly kind of embarrassed to actually be typing this out, like I went to Bath in England a couple years ago and cried when I realized I was walking where Jane Austen once walked and I bought multiple books of hers and about her whilst on that trip and STILL have never read an entire book!

I have gotten about halfway through Pride and Prejudice numerous times (like more times than I can recall at this point) and I’ve also read about half of Northanger Abbey. And I honestly really do feel embarrassed to say that. So that is why I have decided to challenge myself to read all of Jane Austen’s books and document that process on the blog, you know, just to hold myself accountable.

I pulled out my complete collection of her novels that I bought in London back in 2017. I have that really pretty set that’s been published too (picture inserted below) but those books (along with my copy of the book Jane Austen at Home) have been packed in a box someplace and I’m not sure if/when I’ll ever see those again! I’ll be reading and trying to annotate each book as I go. I think also instead of reading these books in the order that they’ve been put into this book I’ll be reading them as I see fit to read them. Which means I think I’ll begin with Lady Susan because I have honestly never heard of that before!

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So to make a long story short, I’m going to stop pretending to be the biggest Jane Austen fan of all time and actually get my butt in gear and read her books for real! Let’s hope I still love her as much at the end of this as I do right now!

Also if any of you have suggestions as to what order I should read her books in let me know!