12/26/18

2018 End Of Year Survey

This is one of my favourite things about the end of the year, looking back over my past year of reading and forward to next year as well!  This annual survey is hosted by the incredibly talented Jamie @ The Perpetual Page Turner.

2018 Reading Stats


Number of Books You Read: 110
Number of Books You Re-Read: 7
Genre You Read The Most From: Contemporary


Best in Books

1. Best Book You Read in 2018?
I love how this survey always starts out with the toughest question! I read so many great books this year, but I think it'll be a tie between The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto and All Your Perfects.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
The Language of Thorns was one of my most anticipated releases this year and, while I enjoyed it, I didn't love it as much as I had expected to.

3. Most Surprising (in a good or bad way!) Book of 2018?
I went into My Heart Joins the Thousand completely blind because Jessica @ Novel Cravings had an ARC, and I decided to read it along with her, but I was BLOWN AWAY by the story -- this is truly an under the radar book of 2018 and one that I wish had more love.

4. Book You "Pushed" the Most People to Read (and they did) in 2018?
The Great Alone, the Darker Shade of Magic series, and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.

5. Best Series you Started in 2018?  Best Sequel of 2018?  Best Series Ender of 2018?
Strange the Dreamer and Muse of Nightmares for series starter and ender.  INCREDIBLE.  Best sequel would go to The Well of Ascension.

6. Favorite New Author You Discovered in 2018?
CHRISTINA LAUREN. Runners up are Helen Hoang and John Boyne.

7. Best Book From a Genre You Don't Typically Read/Was Out of Your Comfort Zone?
Lonesome Dove -- it's a WESTERN and one of my husband's favourite books. He's been bugging me to read it since we first met and then I decided to make the book my July project and I LOVED IT.

8. Most Action-Packed, Thrilling, Unputdownable Book in 2018?
I could easily pick Lonesome Dove again, but I think I'll go with Pieces of Her, which I devoured in two days … I can't wait to read all of Karin's backlist.

9. Book You Read in 2018 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
I had fully planned to reread All Your Perfects as soon as my copy arrived in the mail, but I think my heart needed a bit longer to heal, but it'll happen in 2019 for sure.

10. Favorite Cover of a Book You Read in 2018?


The covers of both books are so pretty -- and it's hard to know whether the UK or US cover is prettier!

11. Most Memorable Character in 2018?
Eleanor Oliphant

12. Most Beautifully Written Book Read in 2018?
It's a tie between The Heart's Invisible Furies and The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto

13. Most Thought-Provoking / Life-Changing Book of 2018?
The Heart's Invisible Furies -- I was still thinking about that book months after I finished it.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2018 to finally read?
Lonesome Dove!

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2018?
“You’re a storyteller. Dream up something wild and improbable," she pleaded. "Something beautiful and full of monsters."

“Beautiful and full of monsters?"

“All the best stories are.”
Laini Taylor,
Strange the Dreamer   

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2018?
How I did this: Went to my read books on Goodreads and sorted by page number and just looked for what I knew I read this year that was the shortest and longest.
Longest -- Lonesome Dove
Shortest -- Losing Lily

17. Book that shocked you the most?
It was hard to think of a shocking book, but I'll go with Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren. I've read steamy books (heck, I've read Fifty Shades of Grey) but I was still surprised by sex in the first chapter of this book, and once per chapter for the first few chapters of the book!

18. OTP of the year (you will go down with this ship!)
I read A Court of Frost and Starlight this year, so my answer is the same as previous years: Rhys and Feyre

19. Favorite non-romantic relationship of the year?
The Golem and the Jinni -- such a beautiful story with such intricately developed characters.

20. Favorite book you read in 2018 from an author you’ve read previously?
I've read a few of Kristin Hannah's books, but The Great Alone BLEW ME AWAY.

21. Best book you read in 2018 that you read based SOLELY on a recommendation from somebody else?
The Heart's Invisible Furies for SURE. I picked it up because Alyssa @sweptawaybybooks loved it so much and it never would have caught my eye otherwise.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2018?
I'm not really a book crush kind of girl, but I'll pick Rhys again this year ;P

23. Best 2018 debut you read?
When My Heart Joins the Thousand -- please, please, PLEASE add this to your TBRs!

24. Best worldbuilding / most vivid setting you read this year?
I loved the world of Renegades! It wasn't a series that was really on my radar, even though I loved the Lunar Chronicles, but I'm glad I decided to pick it up.

25. Book that put a smile on your face / was the most FUN to read?
Happiness for Beginners - that book filled my heart with so much joy that I immediately passed it along to a coworker who needed a pick me up.

26. Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2018?
Oh gosh … The Heart's Invisible Furies, All Your Perfects, The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto, Blind Kiss, The Next Person You Meet in Heaven, Happiness for Beginners, Strange the Dreamer, Muse of Nightmares … I cry easily in books!

27. Hidden gem of the year?
I really, really enjoyed Jessi Kirby's latest book, The Other Side of Lost. I didn't see too much buzz about that one, but it warmed my heart and I devoured it.

28. Book that crushed your soul?
At the time of drafting this, I'm 300 pages into A Little Life and I already have a feeling that this is going to be that book for me this year … if I finish it by December 31. If not, it'll be that book for this question at the end of 2019.

29. Most unique book you read in 2018?
I DNFed this book, but I think I'd have to pick Lincoln in the Bardo. I was trying to use up some Audible credits and the reviews raved about this one and I was intrigued by the use of so many narrators. Super unique premise of having the story narrated by ghosts and then using so many actors to provide all the different voices, but I was so lost and confused that I couldn't finish it.

30. Book that made you the most mad (doesn't necessarily mean you didn't like it)?
If You Don't Have Anything Nice to Say -- the narrator is not a character that you're meant to love but it was one of the strongest features of this book. I struggled to rate it when I finished because I didn't like her, but I liked the book … a sign of a well-written book!

Your Blogging / Bookish Life

1. New favourite book blog you discovered in 2018?
I'm loving Nabiha's reviews at We B Bookin and will be obsessively stalking her blog to see what she thinks about God of Small Things.

2. Favourite review that you wrote in 2018?
Sometimes reviews for books I loved are the hardest to write, but the words flowed easily when I raved about All Your Perfects.

3. Best discussion you had on your blog?
I didn't share too many discussion posts this year, but it's something I want to change in 2019.

4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else’s blog?
Trisha Jenn Reads has been sharing the most beautifully honest posts about pregnancy and loss on her blog - starting with this one about the loss of her son. I SOBBED when I read it.

5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
Seeing Jodi Picoult in October!

6. Best moment of book blogging/your book life in 2018?
Getting approved for some SUPER highly anticipated ARCs!

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
I think it might have been my spring TBR? I need to be more engaged with Top Ten Tuesday next year as well.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
Always, my Marko Monday posts! I love sharing picture book reviews, as well as updates on my little man … who's not so little these days.

9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
Bookish podscasts for sure (No Thanks We're Booked and He Read She Read are two favourites!)

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
Kind of? I have a whole post coming on that soon, so stay tuned!

Looking Ahead

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2018 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2019?
Queen of Air and Darkness

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2019 (non-debut)?
Daisy Jones and the Six

3. 2019 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
I haven't seen any that caught my eye yet...

4. Series Ending You Are Most Anticipating in 2019?
Does The Bride Test count since it's a companion novel?

5. One Thing You Hope to Accomplish or Do in Your Reading/Blogging in 2019?
No pressure -- just keep it fun and not complicated.

If you filled out this survey, please leave me a link to your post and I'll stop by!  Thank you from the bottom of my heart, as always, for taking the time to visit my little corner of the internet =)

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5/11/18

Reading On My Mat - Welcome Home

One of my resolutions this year was to resurrect some of my old features.  I decided to start Reading On My Mat in the summer of 2015 as a way of bringing in some of my non-reading interests to the blog.  The subsequent posts that I shared are some of my favourite posts that I've written on this blog and I've been itching to write another one.

Since I shared my introductory post about my reading journey, I stopped going to the yoga studio and fell into a lengthy period of not doing too much fitness-wise.  2016 was a bit of a blur with packing and selling and buying and moving and moving again.  Once life calmed down a bit, I started looking for a way to bring fitness back into my life.  My commute is an hour and a half each way, and as much as I would love to escape to a yoga studio for some deep, meaningful mat time, I knew that going to yoga once a week wasn't what I needed.  So I started using 20 minute yoga sessions on the Yoga Download podcast.  You guys, I loved them.  Twenty minutes was the perfect amount of time to get some fitness into my day, work up a sweat but not take away from the limited amount of time that I get to spend with my family after a long day at work.  Plus, Marko loves to join me!

I loved the free podcasts so much that I took advantage of Yoga Download's Earth Day sale and signed up for a one-year membership.  The cost of the membership is the same price that I used to pay for one month at my old yoga studio.  While I appreciate the fact that it is a unique experience to practice amongst others, I'm not ready to give up time with my family in exchange for yoga right now.  I love that I get home, change my clothes and am on the mat ready to go.  The classes vary from 15 minutes to over an hour, and I can choose from so many styles and instructors.  (I swear, this is not a paid ad in any way -- I just really love this site!)

I have also fallen head over heels for my new favourite instructor, Pradeep.  At the beginning of his classes, he says the most beautiful words, almost prayer-like, and his words reminded me of the spiritual feeling of peace that practicing brings to my heart.  Although yoga is about fitness, it's also about spiritual well-being and feeling centred and grounded in the world.  Whenever we'd return to downward-facing dog, Pradeep says, "Welcome Home."  Two simple words, but they meant so much to me.  Hanging upside down, shoulder muscles burning, I heard those words, "Welcome Home" and thought to myself, Yes yes YES.  Welcome home indeed.

Namaste.

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12/29/17

2017 End of Year Survey

This is one of my favourite things about the end of the year, looking back over my past year of reading and forward to next year as well!  This annual survey is hosted by the incredibly talented Jamie @ The Perpetual Page Turner.

2017 Reading Stats

Number of Books You Read: 103
Number of Books You Re-Read: 6
Genre You Read The Most From: Contemporary and Fantasy

Best in Books

1. Best Book You Read in 2017?
This is always the hardest question of all to answer, but I think I'm going to go with Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng.  I saw the book all over the blogosphere, and I actually walked into a bookstore and paid FULL PRICE for the hardcover because I just had a feeling that I would love it.  And I did -- so much so that I found myself still thinking about the book weeks later.  

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick.  I loved Pitch Perfect, and thought that listening to Anna's story, told in her own voice, would be wonderful, but I was so underwhelmed by this book.

3. Most Surprising (in a good or bad way!) Book of 2017?
Amber @ Books of Amber has been "gently encouraging" me to read Unravelling for YEARS, I think since I hauled it (maybe three years ago?)  And yet it just sat on my shelf.  When I finally picked it up this year, it was SO GOOD.  I could barely put it down and I read it in two days, and its sequel equally quickly.

4. Book You "Pushed" the Most People to Read (and they did) in 2017?
The Darker Shades of Magic trilogy.  Every time I see someone post a picture of the book(s) on Instagram, I read the caption to see if they've read the it or not.  If yes, I squeal excitedly about how much I loved the series; if not, I tell them to READ. IT. NOW.

5. Best Series you Started in 2017?  Best Sequel of 2017?  Best Series Ender of 2017?
It's a slippery slope to have the Shades of Magic on every question, so I'll go with the other series of Victoria's that I started and finished in 2017, This Savage Song.  SO GOOD.  Best sequel, hands down, is Lord of Shadows.  My heart has not yet fully recovered.  Best series ender is a tie between A Conjuring of Light and A Court of Wings and Ruin.

6. Favorite New Author You Discovered in 2017?
Celeste Ng.  Kristin Harmel.  Leila Howland.  Angie Thomas.  Karin Slaughter.  Brandon Sanderson. Victoria/V.E. Schwab.  I read lots of new-to-me authors this year!

7. Best Book From a Genre You Don't Typically Read/Was Out of Your Comfort Zone?
Mistborn.  I was SCARED to pick up a Brandon Sanderson book.  Adult fantasy is definitely out of my comfort zone, and he's such a beloved author in the bookish community.  But I read Mistborn in September and loved every minute of it.  The next two books are a high priority for 2018, and I also want to give The Way of Kings a try.

8. Most Action-Packed, Thrilling, Unputdownable Book in 2017?
I started reading thrillers in October and couldn't stop!  This is definitely a new favourite genre of mine.  I read Black Feathers, The Girl in 6E, He Will Be My Ruin and Pretty Girls, all of which I had a hard time putting down.

9. Book You Read in 2017 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
Little Fires Everywhere, or the Darker Shades of Magic trilogy -- I'd like to reread them on audio.

10. Favorite Cover of a Book You Read in 2017?


These covers are SO GORGEOUS and I love them so much.

11. Most Memorable Character in 2017?
Lila Bard.  I'm trying to not mention Shades of Magic in every question -- but it's SO HARD!

12. Most Beautifully Written Book Read in 2017?
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green.  That book shook me, but in a good way.

13. Most Thought-Provoking / Life-Changing Book of 2017?
Oh darn, Turtles again?  I didn't fully understand what OCD was until I read this book.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2017 to finally read?
Shantaram.  I started it in November 2012, but had to set it aside because I was too exhausted to focus on such a dense book, and I developed pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel syndrome, which made holding a heavy book impossible.  I can't believe it took me almost five years to pick this book back up -- but it was worth the wait.  Truly an incredible book.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2017?
Usually I wrestle with this question, but reading Shantaram this year gave me LOTS of possible choices.  I'll go with a quote from the opening page of the book -- if this doesn't entice you to pick up this beautiful book, then nothing will...

“It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was chained to a wall and being tortured. I realised, somehow, through the screaming of my mind, that even in that shackled, bloody helplessness, I was still free: free to hate the men who were torturing me, or to forgive them. It doesn’t sound like much, I know. But in the flinch and bite of the chain, when it’s all you’ve got, that freedom is an universe of possibility. And the choice you make between hating and forgiving, can become the story of your life.” 

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2017?
How I did this: Went to my read books on Goodreads and sorted by page number and just looked for what I knew I read this year that was the shortest and longest.
Longest -- Shantaram
Shortest -- The News

17. Book that shocked you the most?
Behind Her Eyes -- I did NOT expect that ending.

18. OTP of the year (you will go down with this ship!)
Feyre and Rhys.

19. Favorite non-romantic relationship of the year?
The friendship between Kell and Lila.

20. Favorite book you read in 2017 from an author you’ve read previously?
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo -- I loved that it was SO different from TJR's other books, but also such a unique book.  I loved how unlikeable Evelyn was -- it reminded me of my experience reading Fairest.

21. Best book you read in 2017 that you read based SOLELY on a recommendation from somebody else?
My friend Tina texted me one day and said she wanted to read The Life Intended and that we should read it together.  I borrowed it from the library, but then our lives got busy and we never did.  Then, near the beginning of the year, I found it on a bargain table at Chapters and picked it up.  This book never would have been on my radar, had it not been for her.  And I LOVED IT.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2017?
I'm not much of a book crush kind of girl, but I absolutely adored Kelsier in Mistborn.

23. Best 2017 debut you read?
I think that The Hate U Give is the only debut that I read this year, and it's fitting that it's also one of my top reads of the year.

24. Best worldbuilding / most vivid setting you read this year?
The world building in A Darker Shade of Magic is INCREDIBLE.  Also, This Savage Song had an incredible post-apocalyptic world.  And Mistborn's magic system is on a whole different level.

25. Book that put a smile on your face / was the most FUN to read?
I had the best experience reading The Best of Adam Sharpe because there's a playlist that goes along with the book!  It was awesome to read, then listen to a song, then reread a passage with the song playing in my mind.  I've never read a book this way before, but it really brought the reading experience alive in a way that I haven't experienced with any other book before.

26. Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2017?
LORD OF SHADOWS.  My heart has still not fully healed.

27. Hidden gem of the year?
The One and Only Ivan.  I haven't read much middle grade in years past, but this book was so sweet and genuine, with such a beautiful story.

28. Book that crushed your soul?
I want to say Lord of Shadows again, but I'll pick something else instead.  Black Feathers, although a thriller and not really soul crushing per se, centred around the experiences of the homeless on the streets of Victoria.  It really changed the way that I look at people who are living on the streets, and made my heart hurt for the life circumstances that have led them there.

29. Most unique book you read in 2017?
A Little Something Different, while certainly not a favourite book this year, was definitely unique.  Told from the perspective of many different characters, but not the main characters, it was an interesting way to tell a story.  Particularly the parts that were told by a disgruntled park bench and a squirrel.

30. Book that made you the most mad (doesn't necessarily mean you didn't like it)?
The Lux Series -- SO.  MUCH.  EYE.  ROLLING.

Your Blogging / Bookish Life

1. New favourite book blog you discovered in 2017?
I rediscovered Rose Quartz Reads, whose blog I used to read, but then I kind of fell off the blog-reading wagon.  I've started email subscribing to my favourite blogs, so that I can read posts on my commute.  Hopefully, this year I'll get better and being on my blog reading game.

2. Favourite review that you wrote in 2017?
Burn by Julianna Baggott, because it's not just a review of the final book in the series, but also a reflection on my journey with the series.

3. Best discussion you had on your blog?
It will come as no surprise, but the post with the most comments is my introductory post for the Love-a-thon.  Rereading those comments is already getting me excited for the 2018 round.

4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else’s blog?
Tiff @ Mostly YA Lit is one of the sweetest, kindest bloggers I know, but when I read her pregnancy announcement post, I cried so hard.  I was so blown away by how honest and genuine she was in her post about her struggles to get pregnant, and so honoured by how she shed light on an issue that affects so many, but isn't talked about openly.

5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
I can't choose just one!!!!  I loved the All the Short Ones Readathon because it was something new that I hadn't done before, but I also loved joining the Love-a-thon again, as well as the Broke and Bookish Secret Santa.

6. Best moment of book blogging/your book life in 2017?
Meeting Jessica @ Novel Cravings (and her adorable son!) in REAL LIFE.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag -- I gotta start doing more tag posts next year ... they're so much fun!

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
I love sharing Marko Monday posts, and will continue to do so regardless of the fact that these posts rarely get comments -- but my son is so cute!!!!  Give him some love!!!

9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
Owlcrate -- I'm four months in and fully down the rabbit hole.

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
Mostly?  I just wrote a wrap-up post on this.  I finished all four of my reading challenges, but didn't quite reach all of my goals.  But I'm okay with that.

Looking Ahead

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2017 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2018?
I started The Revolution of Marina M, but got distracted by other things.  I will definitely, definitely be reading this book in 2018.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2018 (non-debut)?
I wrote a post on this too!  But if I had to choose one ...  I can't do it.  I choose two: Save the Date by Morgan Matson and Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare.

3. 2018 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
I don't know if I'm anticipating any debuts (and I'm terrible for paying attention to debuts that are releasing!)  If you know of any, please let me know.

4. Series Ending You Are Most Anticipating in 2018?
Throne of Glass and the Dark Artifices.

5. One Thing You Hope to Accomplish or Do in Your Reading/Blogging in 2018?
RELAX.  I had a pretty sluggish blogging year, and sometimes the pressure of not posting and not having engagement with my posts gets to me a little bit.  BUT, I fully intend to not worry about this in 2018, and just go with the flow.  If I'm inspired to post, I'll post.  But if it's quiet on here for a little bit, just know that I'm probably curled up with a good book and a mug of tea, and I'll be back soon!

If you filled out this survey, please leave me a link to your post and I'll stop by!  Thank you from the bottom of my heart, as always, for taking the time to visit my little corner of the internet =)

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11/13/17

On Dusty Books

Last week, I shared a list of books that I've bought this year, and was pleasantly surprised by the fact that I've read about half of the books in the same year that they were purchased.  A few years ago, I tried my own version of a book buying ban, where I promised myself that I'd only buy a book if I planned to read it right away.  There's something exciting about coming home from the bookstore and diving into a new book right away, rather than sticking it on the shelf and forgetting about it.

One of my reading goals this year is to get my physical shelves to less than 100 unread books.  Currently, I'm sitting around 115 so it feels doable by the end of the year.  I've also unhauled a few old ARCs that were gifted to me that I have zero interest in reading, to help bring my numbers down. I have a few short books that I was thinking of blitzing through, as it'll get the numbers down quickly and, if I don't like them, I can just immediately drop them into the unhaul pile.  But there's something holding me back.

I have had a truly incredible reading year.  Truly, truly incredible.  For a while, it felt like every book that I was picking up was blowing me away and I was marvelling at how few DNFs I had this year.  This is precisely what's holding me back from picking up some of these older titles -- I'm fairly certain that they're books that aren't my cup of tea anymore; however, I don't want to just unhaul them without giving them a shot first.  BUT, since I'm having such a stellar reading year, I also don't want to pick up and DNF a string of books in a row, just to get my unread numbers down.  There's always a little part of me that thinks that I might love the book, if I read it at a different time in my life.  For example, I used to read a lot of middle grade, so I have about 20 unread middle grade titles on my shelves.  I don't read much middle grade anymore, which isn't to say that I won't enjoy those books, but I probably would have enjoyed them more if I had read them ten years ago.  Or maybe I'll enjoy them in another five years.

In conclusion, I probably won't sweat my reading goals and will just keep picking up the books that I want to read when I want to read them.  I read 13 books last month, so finishing off 15 more from my shelves in two months doesn't seem unreasonable.

What about you?  How do you deal with dusty books that you're not sure you are interested in reading?  Do you keep them for a rainy day or try them and DNF or just unhaul them?  I'm interested to hear your thoughts, so let me know in the comments below -- and thanks for stopping by!

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8/7/17

On Reading Multiple Books

I've had this post simmering in the back of my mind for a few weeks now, and seeing this post on Book Riot propelled me to actually write it.  I have multiple books on the go at the moment, and by multiple books, I actually mean five.  FIVE BOOKS.  The funny thing is that I actually wrote a post with an identical title back in 2014, where I explained my thoughts on the matter in a completely different way (click here if you want to see what 2014 me thought on the topic), or keep reading to see how 2017 me thinks differently.

In 2014, I'd just delved into e-reading, so I found myself with a physical book, an audiobook and an ebook on the go at the same time.  Bouncing between formats was fine, but I'd decided that this was too much and I was going to slow down and read only a physical book and an audiobook at the same time.  Flash forward three years, and I've upped that quotient, but strangely enough, I'm okay with this.  My feelings on the matter are very in line with the Book Riot article, where the writer talks about taking the time to savour a longer read, but knowing that she'll feel like a book slump is coming on if she reads the same book for too long.  THIS IS SO ME.

I read Shantaram last month and it took me exactly one month from start to finish.  I loved it, every moment of it, and I spread it out over the month on purpose, planning to read 30 pages per day.  In all honesty, part of me thought that it might end up being the only book that I read in July, but I found myself reading through my 30 pages on the train to and from work, and then reading another 30 pages in the evening, resulting in me being a day ahead of schedule.  So, at one point over the long weekend in July, I set aside Shantaram and read a thriller.  Then, there were a few scorching hot days where my brain was melting and I picked up a lighter read.  Every time I went back to Shantaram, it was because I was excited to pick it up, not because I was trying to get my pages read.  In the end, I ended up finishing the book ahead of schedule because I was enjoying it so much and tore through the last part of the book, but I absolutely loved both taking the time to savour it and allowing myself to read other things at the same time.

Yesterday, Tome Topple started and, although I haven't posted a formal sign-up post, I'm joining in.  I picked up Strange the Dreamer, which I hadn't planned to read this year, but it's been calling my name from the shelf.  It's just over 500 pages, so it satisfies the challenge, and I totally plan to savour it over the next couple of weeks because Laini Taylor's writing is utter perfection.  I also have a non-fiction book on the go from the library (the GTD method, which I heard about on Boho Berry's channel), plus I'm finishing up the Lux series and I have two audiobooks on the go.  And, you know what?  It's totally working for me.  Although it's a lot of books, I find myself gravitating towards what I'm in the mood to read, and I'm actually reading more this way than I have in previous years.  I've already read 52 books this year and, if I can stick to my reading plan, I may even finish all of the books that I had planned to read this year (for the first time EVER!)  I love that I'm still reading what I want, when I want, and haven't felt slumpy at all in recent months.

So, we'll see if there's another similarly titled post in three years' time about how reading multiple books isn't working for me, but for now it's working just fine.  If you read multiple books, or if you don't, please let me know why in the comments below!

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7/12/17

A Blogging Identity Crisis

On April 15th, I started writing this post.  And by "writing," I mean that I wrote in a title for the post and hit save.  That's basically how I lock down my ideas, with the intention of coming back later to flesh out the idea.  This post has been simmering on the backburner of my mind for a while now, and I've opened the draft post a few times, but the words didn't come.  Until tonight.  Tonight I feel ready to share.

This November, I'll be celebrating six years of blogging.  SIX YEARS in this little corner of the internet.  It's still quite little after all these years, mainly because I have never really had enough time and energy to devote to networking.  I admire those bloggers that can pour so many hours into their blogs, and their devotion shows in reader engagement and content development.  I wish I could be like those bloggers and, to be honest, sometimes those feelings are what gets in the way of blogging. It's not a numbers game for me, but it's more a frustration over the quality of my content.  I shared a post a while back, sometime after Marko was born, where I reflected on the thought and care that I used to put into book reviews when I had the time and energy to write them.  As time has gone by, I've stopped writing reviews (except for review copies and if I have a burning need to say something) and have toyed with a number of bookish content ideas.  In all honesty, after so many years of writing about books, I think I'm just running out of bookish ideas.

Which leads me to the topic of this post -- my blogging identity crisis.  I've been wrestling with the idea of making this blog about more than books (and I even tried doing this last year, but didn't follow through).  I have other interests, and spend a lot of time watching videos or looking on Pinterest to support these hobbies (searching for bullet journal ideas on either one is a BLACK HOLE).  I've also discovered non BookTube channels lately, like Cheyenne (Studyrose on YouTube) who I discovered through her Plan With Me videos, but then got caught up in all of her other creative content.  I was watching a video the other day where she mentioned listening to inspirational podcasts, and I thought to myself, "Yes, I should find some of these podcasts to listen to on my commute."  And then I had a huge realization: I have been spending more time lately passively engaged with my hobbies instead of actively engaged with them.  I look for lettering inspiration and bullet journal layout ideas instead of picking up my pen and journalling.  I scroll through Goodreads to see what my friends are reading and watching TBR videos on BookTube instead of reading a couple of chapters of my current read.  I spend more time adding to my TBR pile than subtracting from it, or more time planning and deciding what to read than actually reading.

I'm going to start actively engaging in my hobbies, instead of passively engaging with them.  I'm going to write more on here, write more in my bullet journal, reading more books and, most importantly, reconnecting with my yoga mat.  I've just done two days in a row and am feeling amazing.  I'd like to keep this up ... for once.  And I'm going to blog about whatever the heck I feel like blogging about.  I thought about making a plan for how to roll out new features and content but, you know what?  I barely have time to blog, so I'm just going to go with it and see where it leads me.  If you've stuck with me this long, please know that I am eternally grateful for you and the fact that you pop by every now and then to read these words.  Let's see where this leads, shall we?

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6/28/17

Reading Resolutions - Halfway Point

I like looking back at my resolutions halfway through the year to see where I'm at ... I'm doing well, but still a ways to go.  Let's break it down...

1. Reduce my physical TBR to less than 100 books.
Although I didn't have a specific number at the beginning of the year, I guesstimated that I had approximately 130 unread books on my shelves.  Today, I have 122 books.  I have been reading most books from my shelves, but there were also a lot of new releases to buy this year (plus others that have wandered onto my shelves).  The remainder of the year doesn't have as many new releases, so this challenge still feels achievable.

2. Reduce my e-book TBR to less than 20 books.
I've been really good about not buying too many cheap e-books this year, and knocked off quite a few short reads in March, but I'm still sitting at 27 books.  I usually pack one book and my Kobo when we head to Alberta in the summer, so hopefully I'll gobble up a few e-books under the prairie skies.

3. Finish 10 series.
I've finished two of the 10 series that were on my original list, but I also binge read the entire Darker Shade of Magic trilogy, so I'm counting that one as well.  Still a ways to go on this challenge, but I'm hoping to focus on series over the summer.

4. Blog whenever hubby plays video games.
Well, hubby promptly stopped gaming after I posted my new year's resolutions!  There has been a LOT of hockey on this year, as my husband's beloved Oilers made the playoffs this year.  I've been popping in my earbuds and listening to Peaceful Piano on Spotify, and have been doing well at tuning out the hockey and getting some reading done.  I've also taken a couple of non-intentional breaks from blogging -- I think I was burning out a little with blogging.  I'm coming up on six years in November and, although I do still love my little corner of the internet, I've been having a blogging identity crisis.  Hopefully, I'll have a post soon detailing exactly what that is and what it entails, but I haven't quite decided just yet.

5. Participate in three online events.
This is a success already!  I participated in the Love-a-Thon, the All the Short Ones readathon and the third round of Tome Topple.  YAHOO!  In the remainder of the year, there will hopefully be a second round of Tome Topple and my favourite event of all, the Broke & Bookish Secret Santa.

Did you making reading resolutions and, if so, are you on track with your goals?  Let me know in the comments below, and thank you for stopping by =)

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