Taming the TBR Update

Taming the TBR Update

A few weeks ago, I put out a short-term project called #tamingtheTBR. This was basically a way for me to clear my bookish calendar for the summer and let me read whatever I want. It’s the summer after all and the summer deserves certain types of reads. For me, it’s going to be a lot of romance, a lot of fantasy, and a little bit of diverse reading.

I know there’s a couple of slow burners in my pile and I might skip them depending on my mood. That’s right, I’m going to kick off the TBR and just read books because of the mood I’m in. I want to make a pretty good dent in my TBR list this summer. I’m already getting anxiety that I won’t get to read everything I want. I mean, it’s more realistic to think this way.

Anyway, I did come away with a few highlights that I want to share. But from this point on, it’s going to be reading for me and I’m so excited about it.

Finished reading all the books

Well, just the books I had to read. It actually didn’t turn out so bad. Aside from a couple more books I’m waiting on for various IG promotions, I’m pretty much done! I did end up not reading a couple of the books I chose from Netgalley and I’ll share those reasons why.

I won’t be using Netgalley anymore

When I first started out, I used Netgalley to get books and review. It was a lot of fun! It allowed me to build my blog and my credibility. I was able to work on my review style too because of it. But as my Instagram started to take off, I didn’t need the books I was receiving on Netgalley. In  fact, I started ignoring my Netgalley reviews because I was getting so many books in the mail I’m happy to read.

So I’ve decided that I’m not going to be using Netgalley to request and review books, but I will use it as a resource on all the new books coming out and I can easily request from publishers.

I had the worst book slump ever

Scratch that, this wasn’t the worst book slump. That was the few years after college where I just didn’t care about books and just wanted to watch TV for a little while. That was my worst book slump. However, it did take me a week to read a contemporary YA story that would have taken me about two days. I mean, that could have been the book too, but I’m not going to count that.

As I mentioned in my post from a few days ago, I’m legit over reading. I guess when I’m asked to read a bunch of books I’m not in the mood to read, then I find myself wanting to stop reading all together. It’s something valuable and I’m glad I learned that about myself. But I’m glad that this slump is over as you can see by my review of Save the Date by Morgan Matson. I’m now reading They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera which is giving me serious Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe vibes.

Finally I organized my books and ready to read!

It’s been an interesting few weeks. I don’t think I’ve bellyached more than maybe I was a kid at Disneyworld and I didn’t get a chocolate Mickey ice cream bar. I finally took a moment to go through all my books in my TBR, make the choice on the ones I do intend on reading, and displayed them out like a library or a bookstore or something.

To make things short, I displayed all my books in my room. I don’t plan on having a TBR during these months because I want to really go by my mood. I still have a few books that I’m going to be reading for my book club, but aside from that it’s free reading from here on out.


I hope you enjoyed this update and I do hope you follow along with me as I read books existing in my TBR. Who knows, maybe you’ll read along with me or we’ll coincidentally read the same book at the same time.

Bad Ass Book Babes: @nycbookgirl

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Photos from Morgan’s Instagram page

Here’s another addition to the #BadAssBookBabes interview series! In this series, I sit down with different book bloggers and bookstagrammers who are just bad ass book readers. Some of them are fighting for a cause. Others are just trying to escape the dole drums of the world.

Recently, I emailed Morgan from @nycbookgirl and asked if she would like to be featured. Of course she agreed! It was so great to read her responses and get to know her a little bit more than on the internet. I hope you get a chance to know her too!

Introduce yourself and what’s you mission with your Instagram?

Hi! I’m Morgan, creator of the Instagram @nycbookgirl and blog www.nycbookgirl.com.  I started this account as a way to commemorate two things I love: the books I’m reading and the city I’m living in.  My blog posts are really a tribute to where I am in my life at that moment and how I saw the book as a result: part review, part journal entry.  When I’m not reading, I work in the theater industry in NYC as the assistant to a Broadway producer.

What is your biggest inspiration to read?

I read because I love the chance to escape into another world.  I read because it’s one of the greatest opportunities I get to learn: about other places, cultures, and people.  Reading is a chance to experience something else, something other than your point of view.

What is your big motivation to start your bookstagram?

I actually didn’t really know anything about the bookstagram world until my dad sent me some photos from the wonderful @bookwormstatus, another NYC based bookstagrammer.  After following her for a few months, I realized we were reading all of the same books and visiting all of the same places.  We met up for coffee and Ashley asked me if I had ever considered blogging.  I had kept a travel blog while studying abroad in college but hadn’t had any content since.  Meeting Ashley got me thinking and a few days later, I had a handle and a concept and I just began!  And I’m so happy I did.

Coffee or tea?

Coffee! I love a good mug of earl grey but I’m a total coffee addict!

What is the one thing you want to get out of reading?

I love reading because I love getting the chance to experience why someone else thinks the way they think and why they act the way they act.  Reading is often times an exercise in empathy.

Was there any time where you couldn’t read?

I was an English and Theater double major in college so I read a lot (thousands and thousands of pages) over four years, but rarely had any time for reading for pleasure.  There was always more that I could be reading for school, so I rarely was able to relax into anything that wasn’t assigned.  When I graduated and started clueing into the dozens of new books released every Tuesday, I was overwhelmed!  There’s so much I must have missed!

What would be the one piece of advice you’d give new bookstagrammers just starting out?

Connect with the people – send messages, watch stories, comment and reply.  The people behind bookstagram are the best part of this community!  And the more friends you make, the more you’ll enjoy it.

If you’d like to be featured in this series, use the hashtag #badassbookbabes for a chance to be considered! I’ll be keeping an eye out for you all 🙂

My First Amazon Books Experience

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I was walking to the train the other day from a bridal shower my sister threw for me. The shower was a great time and we walked around and looked at expensive clothes I can never be able to afford.

And as I was making my way down to the train station, I walked across the Amazon Bookstore that recently opened. Oh whoa, this thing is already open? I asked myself as I moseyed to the front door. A security guard open the door for me and I entered the space. Of course I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to check out a major brand’s bookstore. I’ve been buying books with Amazon since Amazon was only about books, but now that Amazon is about everything it just seems a little short sighted to open just a book store.

Nevertheless, I continued into the brightly lit space. I felt like one of the new customers walking into Joe Fox’s “Fox Books.” Everything was beautifully displayed, clean, and covered in books. The coffee from the cafe connected to the store wafted through the air providing the atmosphere with some sort of sensory trigger. Paper and coffee; a deadly combination to any good-willed reader.

The entire experience made me think of You’ve Got Mail and the battle for bookish territory between an independent bookstore and a major corporate book outlet. However, there were some obvious differences between Fox Books and Amazon Books.

I didn’t get the vibe that Fox Books was trying to set up. Yes, there was coffee and books but the store was a little bit cramped. Given the fact that they’re right in front of the Empire State Building, they’re getting way more foot traffic than Joe Fox was getting at his store in the Upper West Side.

I was a little squished against some other book browsers. Moms and dads just watching their kids playing on the Kindle Fires. The aisles were a little cramped and not even two people can pass casually without a few “excuse me”s and “i’m sorry”s. There weren’t floors of books where you can hide out and read for hours without anyone interrupting you. There wasn’t a huge selection of novels from every genre here. I didn’t even see an Amazon Books mug! I would have been all over that.

But I think the biggest and most interesting thing about this store was the selection. I read somewhere that Amazon Books would only stock novels that have been rated and reviewed the most on Amazon and Goodreads. If you’re the social reader that reads a good book every six months, then this will be the store for you. You get to see a great compilation of best-reviewed novels throughout all the genres.

However, if you’re an avid reader getting in about 25-50 books a year you might find this store to be a little underwhelming. All the books I saw on display were novels I’ve already heard of and seen. Some I’ve already read. And as attractive as that is to the average consumer, it’s not that attractive for a daily reader.

The other downside of having only best-rated or best-reviewed is that you’re not going to get those hidden gem novels. You’re not going to find the mid-list novel here. This is really a drawback especially since my mission in life is to share great diverse reads and some of those reads aren’t being read by the hundreds of thousands.

And of course, you can buy any of the Amazon products right at the store. That is if you can get an opportunity to pry a kid off the Kindle Fires to see how they work.

There was definitely one plus, though. You can pay with your Amazon account and if you’re a Prime member, you can get a discounted price. You know when you’re shopping for books on Amazon and you see the retail price  with a strikethrough and a discounted price? Well, that’s what you can get to pay here. To pay with your Amazon account, all you have to do is scan a QR code with your phone and then the cashier just scans your phone. I didn’t even take my wallet out once and contemplate the remorse I would feel from buying six books.

Overall, I think this might be a good hangout for me while I wait for the train. There’s coffee and books for me to browse, but it’s not going to be my go-to spot for books. It was fun and I’ll probably go in there again, but I’m not going to hold my breath that this will replace any other bookstore in the world.

 

Eight celebrities who love to read

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From Oprah’s Instagram

I love it when I find out that a celebrity is a book reader. Something happens to me where I light up and almost feel closer to that person even though I’ve never met them in real life. I do hope that one day that I do, but for now I can only dream. Perhaps even I’ll get famous and have my own celebrity book club. A girl can dream.

Over the years, I’ve been collecting these bookish celebrities who have been vocal about their love for reading. Some celebs have gone out of their way to create book clubs for their followers to read along with. Others are a little bit more on the downlow, but you can always catch them reading something. However, I wanted to share with you all the best of the best celebs with their awesome love for reading. Some you may already know while others you might find surprising.

1. Oprah (DUH)

I think everyone in the entire world knows that Oprah is a book reader. Aside from her infamous book club, she’s also starred in tons of movies based off of books. From Beloved to the upcoming A Wrinkle in Time (alongside Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling), Oprah loves books. I’m pretty sure she’s going to do a Weight Watchers commercial about it soon.

2. Reese Witherspoon

Reese Witherspoon is a new bookish celebrity I collected. I didn’t know that she was such a reader until I read an article about how she basically fought tooth and nail for Big Little Liars to be made for the silver screen. Reese also has her own bookclub where she suggested great novels written by some super strong woman. Many of her suggestions are thrillers, but sometimes you get a few more even-keeled stories.

3. Mindy Kaling

I think this one is another obvious celebrity in the bookish universe. Mindy Kaling has written two books about herself and each includes stories about her love of reading and spending time doing so. She’s also been seen reading and sharing her favorites online.

4. Ameriie

Ok, this one was a little out of left field but I love that Ameriie is also a reader. Like totally in love love love with her being a reader! If you don’t remember who she is, she sang a little song a few years back called 1 Thing and then disappeared from the spotlight. All of a sudden, she’s come out with a compilation of short stories written by various YA authors and some written by herself! I couldn’t believe it until I heard it and I’m so excited to check that out.

5. Britney Spears

I actually didn’t find out that Britney Spears was a reader until I read an article about it a few months back. Apparently, scattered through her Instagram feed, you can find little bookish gems hanging out. I think that’s incredible and it makes me so happy to know that she’s bookish!

6. Emma Watson

Ok, this is another given since everyone in the bookish world already knows that Hermione Granger loves to read. But seriously, Emma Watson has her own feminist book club where she not only reads the Feminine Manifesto, but other novels written by strong women.

7. Emma Roberts

This was another unbelievable one for me, but I recently came across the Belleist Instagram account and loved the book club choices. I started following them a little bit more earnestly and boom, there’s Emma Roberts sitting there with a book in her lap. It was her book club! Wow, I’m just so happy to see the Emmas reading.

8. Kat Dennings

The last one is Kat Dennings. This might have been one some of you know and others may not know, but she is a legit reader. I’ve read interviews where she gushes over spending her time surrounded by her books. Sometimes you’ll see her post about it, but I just find Kat Dennings to be this incredibly intelligent woman who probably only got this smart from reading books.

What other celebrities do you know that love to read? Leave a comment below!

Five justifications for buying two of the same book

 

 

I found myself at the bookstore the other day fawning over a copy of Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson. The paperback cover of the novel looked completely different from the hardcover (which feels to me like the latest trend nowadays). It was shiny and silvery from the foil and the title of the novel was bright and bold using vibrant colors. The book reached out to you from its little stack on a shelf of other great reads.

I had bought the book back last year during the Brooklyn Book Festival. The hardcover copy was a golden hue with kids running through a sprinkler depicting summer life on the streets of Brooklyn. It made sense for the novel and it gave the book a sense of “sophistication.”

But I stared at the new cover longingly contemplating whether or not I should buy it on top of the five other novels I already picked out. I didn’t plan on buying it because I already knew I owned a copy of the book at home. Being a person on a budget, I couldn’t justify a purchase like this especially when I knew I had the other book at home waiting on my TBR to be read.

What’s a girl to do? Consider the alternatives. There’s a million reasons why you would want to buy two copies of a novel. Perhaps it’s your first novel and you want to have the ones on the shelf at your local bookstore and not the ones the publisher gives you. But in my general way, I’ve found five really good reasons to justify purchasing two of the same book.

You forgot you bought the book in the first place

Whoops, this happens all the time especially if you’re a reader. You buy a book a million years ago and you’re pretty sure you lent it to that one dude that came over your apartment for a “sleepover” and ends up being a one night stand. You’ll hate that guy forever for taking your book, but you realize you need it again.

You buy and, lo and behold, you didn’t give it to that scumbag creep. Instead, it was buried deep in the back of your bookcase almost trampled to death by the stacks of novels you added to the top of it. So you’ll have two of the same novel, not a big deal.

You’re a diehard fangirl/fanboy and you need multiple copies of the same novel with different covers

I’m talking about those Harry Potter fans. Since this year is the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter, Bloomsbury Publishing released Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in four beautiful collectible editions in all four house colors.

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How can you resist buying ALL four of them even though you know you’ve been sorted in Ravenclaw a hundred times when you’re pretty sure you’re a Hufflepuff. I’m pretty sure that being 20th anniversary COLLECTIBLE editions, it would be okay right? RIGHT?!

You thought you bought one book and then Amazon sends you wtf?

I hate this with a thousand suns. You go on amazon or any other book selling venue thinking you’re buying one book, but then they send you another book.

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Oh, it’s the same book alright, but this is not what you expected. I wanted to buy the book on the left because of its gorgeous cover and I heard it was freaking amazing, but what I got was the book on the right. WTF!?

Perhaps this is a symptom of online shopping and how you should always buy books in real life, but that means I have to get in my car and drive to the store and put on pants. Why do I have to do that when I can get them online?

As you can see I already went out and bought the new cover, but come on!

When the book publisher decides to make a book in the trilogy not match the other books

Yup, this is another big pet peeve of mine and it happens a lot. A LOT. The first time, I let it slide because I was buying Twilight novels in Paris so that I can read it on the plane ride home. Those novels don’t match, but that’s okay with me. I decided to make that decision and I was desperate to read something on the five-hour flight.

But when you’re not strapped for time and you’re trying to collect the series, you want to make sure that each book looks the same. It’s so they all look lovely next to each other on the shelf.

LOL the joke is on you because sometimes publishers like to make your editions the more expensive ones and you didn’t think the cheaper one would look so bad.

It’s a frustrating life sometimes when you’re a book collector and you want everything to be precise and exact. Form over function, that’s what I always say.

You’ve been lugging around the 800-page hardcover tome of a novel and your hands are tired of holding it up

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Image from masculinebooks.com

I live in New York City and one of the biggest proponents of this city is that you’re basically a pack mule. You carry everything with you and you can never find a bag cute enough to carry around tome. I legit wear a backpack every single day and not a cute one.

Because we carry everything, it’s always nice to not have to add another big thing to that list like, say, a 900-page tome by some famous author who’s books have been a world-reknown series. So I used to buy all my books that were more than 500 pages long on my Kindle. It makes it super easy to carry my books without having to break my back.

However, somewhere at the midpoint of any Kindle-based novel I read, I get this longing for an actual novel for me to hold with paper pages that I can turn and feel the ache of my fingers trying to keep the weight up. Honestly, I’m pretty sure that my hands and fingers are stronger from holding up books on a crowded subway.

So what do I do when I get that longing feeling? I buy the actual book. But I justified this purchase with math:

You see, the average novel on Amazon is about $10 less than the cover cost. Kindle books are only $9.99 for most unless you’re getting one of those bigger blockbuster hits. So, if you buy a book on both the physical format and the ebook format, you’re basically buying one book. All that money would have gone towards the one book anyway.

Or you just tell yourself that this is going to be a good one that you want to keep an actual copy of for your future self to re-read.

 

I do hope you enjoyed my fun little post about the ways you can justify purchasing the same book twice. Have you ever found yourself in this dilemma? What kinds of justifications have you used?

 

#BADASSBOOKBABES – @bookish.harpy

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Every month, I feature a young person who loves to read. It could be about diversity, gender identity, being a human, being a reader. It’s to highlight some people who love to hug a book and imagine a better world for everyone. Why call yourself a reader when you can be a #badassbookbabe?

This month, I interviewed Sara-Jayne of @bookish.harpy. Sara-Jayne has got a great bookstagram account where she promotes women and diversity through her reads. She’s also running a great photo challenge this month, so I thought it’d be great to hear from her some words of wisdom and insight to what makes her read.

Check out her Instagram, use her hashtag #ReadWomen2017, and don’t forget to follow her August photo challenge.

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Introduce yourself and your mission with your Instagram?

Hello! My name is Sara-Jayne and I’m a feminist bookstagrammer from Pittsburgh. I started my Instagram account in January to document my #ReadWomen2017 project. For the entire year, as a form of passive resistance against an administration that seeks to silence the voices of women and minorities, I’m only purchasing and reading books written by women (with a particular emphasis on women of color and LGBTQIA+ women).

Why did you decide to dedicate your year to reading female authors?

When the results of the 2016 American election came in, I was angry. Furious, really. And completely disgusted that the voices of women and minorities keep getting ignored while the voices of old white men keep getting louder. So I decided to spend an entire year only listening to the voices of women and minorities, in the hopes that I could spread the diversity love while educating myself to become a better intersectional feminist.

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What is the one thing you want to get out of reading?

For me, reading is a way to connect with and learn from different people. I want books to challenge me, to make me rethink my opinions. But then sometimes, I just want to get lost in a book where badass lady leads are wielding swords and going on adventures. It’s a balance, I guess.

Coffee or tea?

It sort of depends on the season and time of day. I drink coffee every morning, but love curling up with a good book and a cup of tea on a cold evening.

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If you’d like to be considered as the next bad ass book babe, tag your posts with #badassbookbabes on Instagram.

Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka

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I’ve been hearing a lot of things about this book, so when Simon and Schuster sent over a copy for me to read, I figured why not give it a chance.

Disclaimer: This review is my honest thoughts and not in any way shaped by Simon and Schuster.

I’m not a fan of thriller novels. The last one I read was Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and if you’re into reading books, you’ve probably heard about it (shivers).

I think it’s something about that edge-of-your-seat-who-dunnit that I’m not a fan of because it weirdly gives me anxiety. Look at that, I’m a bookish person who has anxiety about life and death.

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However, this novel is not your typical thriller. In fact, it’s not thriller enough and for some folks, I’m seeing some low-stars on Goodreads because of it.

Luckily for me, I’m big into literary fiction, so I decided to read it in that lens instead of as a thriller and what I found was a remarkably well-written novel about three characters coming to grips with who they are in the midst of a young girl being murdered.

For me, this is my kind of thriller. I love reading character-driven novels and if you’re looking for more of that and less of the blood and gore and anxiety-driven stuff then this might be Thriller Lite™ just for you.

Danya Kukafka is brilliant as a writer. Being a book editor may be helping her in that department, but she’s definitely got her own voice. It’s interesting and provocative without having to push the envelope on the story. You’re following these characters through the novel and you’re seeing how they cope with death.

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There were three intertwining stories throughout. There was the boy who stalked her, the girl who loved her before she hated her, and the police officer set to help on the case amongst the challenges he faced being somewhat involved.

I found myself trying to guess which of the three was the person that killed Lucinda in the beginning of the novel. Obviously, you would think it was the stalker boy because who stalks a freshman in high school? Or it could have been the girl that hates her and was motivated to end her life, but do you think she could do it?

When I read in the end who it really was, I think that was when it snapped into place the truth of the novel; it doesn’t matter. The murder itself was a maguffin to the real story here. It played as the basis for these characters to grow and find themselves, but the murder wasn’t the real plot.

I love it when a novel makes you think more than just on the surface. I love when a novel lulls you in on this great journey only to show you that the journey has been inside yourself the entire time.

It was quite an adventure and a fun one at that. Yeah, there were a few issues with the length of the novel and the dragging, but if you’re a fan of true crime and thriller stories then this might not be the one for you.

You can find out more about this book on Goodreads.com