Saturday, October 17, 2015

Another Readathon?

Hi all! I know it's been a solid six months since I've written here. A lot has happened between now and then. There's school, and work, and all those little things that make life worth living. Unfortunately books haven't been a part of my life since the school year started. I blocked off this weekend to change that. 
I miss reading, and as i'm getting over a dozy of a cold I can't think of a better form of medicine. 

So here is a quick introduction, I'm Sarah, by the way. Hopefully I'll find a way to be around here more. 

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
Michigan, the metro Detroit area. It's kind chilly today and that makes for perfect snuggly under blankets reading!

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
I just bought Carry On and I'm really excited for it, but i'm not really sure what order i'll read anything in, at least not yet. 

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
Gummy bears and pita chips? I'm fairly predictable here. 

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
Hi! I'm in my second year of library school (though i don't want to be a traditional librarian), I have a dog who will be my unwilling cheerleader and cuddle partner all day, and I'm currently looking for authors who were born or have lived in New Orleans so I can prep for my next trip!

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?
I think this is my sixth readathon? It may be my seventh. My first was in Fall 10 but I haven't managed every one since. 
The main thing I'm doing different today is not worrying. Usually not having done this introductory meme by 9am would be a stress inducer for me, but i woke up a little after 8 and started reading, and occaionally texting. Sometimes it's good to remind myself this isn't about page or book counts but instead about enjoying reading, and the great community that surrounds this reradathon!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Serendipitous Settings

Now that school's over I'd like to focus on reading. I say like to instead of offering any more commitment because my life has been chaotic lately. I, and I'm sure many of you bookish folks, would agree, don't usually love chaotic. But right now it's fun, and the unknown isn't as scary. I'm waiting to hear back from a few internships and just came back from a weekend in Boston!
Which is actually why I'm writing this post.

As part of a new kind of reading challenge I'm doing a check list instead of reading to a book count. One of those checks is a book in a forgien language.

Now I'd just recently watched a Ted Talk with Elif Shafak and immediately knew i wanted to use one of her novels for this challenge. My local bookstore only had Bastard of Istanbul (which she wrote in English) and The Forty Rules of Love, which i bought after trying to clarify that it was written in Turkish (I'm still not sure. Shhh)

Anyway, Forty Rules sat at the bottom of my TBR pile for about a month. I didn't touch it during the readathon, and after I started a large Murakami (again for this challenge) instead of diving into a more digestible novel.

I finally packed it in my bag for an early Saturday flight to Boston and immediately knew I made the right choice. The main character lives just outside of Boston, and while this setting isn't relevant to the story other than to show a distance between 2008 America and 13th century Turkey I clung to it.
You see I don't know much about Rumi, and while I hate to admit it I'm fairly ignorant of most customs of Islam. I'd jumped so far out of my comfort zone that I had to claw at the one thing that felt like home when my head was swimming with religious passages.

In the bookish side of the internet we talk a lot about how books change us, or how we find them at the right time. I don't know that I learned more about myself here, or that I am changed by Shafak's story. However I do know that this small setting, just outside of Boston, kept me reading even when I wasn't sure I wanted to finish. It gave me a connection sometimes that's all a reader needs.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Halfway There *cue the Bon Jovi*

Mid-Event Survey:
1. What are you reading right now?
I'm about a third of the way through So You've Been Publicly Shamed. It's really interesting so far.
2. How many books have you read so far?
I've only finished , Gutshot, a collection of short stories.
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?
Continuing on Publicly Shamed. Hopefully starting Red Queen.
4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?
I've had quite a few interuptions today, some have been self imposed, like going to the gym and getting lunch, others are more dog-barking related. That's life though, and there's no point getting upset over minutes in between pages.
5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?
How chill I've been. Honestly. In years past it's been a race to finish books, and by this point i'm burnt out and angry. Now my numbers aren't as high but i've enjoyed everything i've read and look forward to continuing on, with a break for Orphan black, of course.


1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
Michigan, where is it supposed to rain. Guess I won't be reading outside.
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
Maybe Red Queen? I picked it up on a whim yesterday but it seemed like a good readathon book

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
Gummy bears. Always gummy bears.
4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
Hi! For those of you who don't know, I'm Sarah! I'm currently a grad student getting my MLIS in hopes of preserving books in the digital era. Other than school and books I enjoy writing, netflix and traveling. Fun Fact: I once had a fish named Ophelia who, due to some medical issues, would only swim upside down.
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?
My first readathon was in the fall of 2010. I haven't fully participated in every one since then but the last few i've made honest efforts in. Last year I finished two and a half books while still making time for myself. So I guess I'll continue to follow a schedule of reading until my eyes or tired or i need a break, and then playing with my dog or going to the gym. Breaks are important! Reading needs to be fun!

Guess i'll switch from my Chamber of Secrets audiobook to actually reading. See you guys later!

Friday, April 24, 2015

No Regrets, But Also No Reviews

I could make excuses, but they'd all involve the words Grad School, Writing, Fan Fiction, and Life. I didn't realize what adding another class to my schedule would do to my reading habits, let alone my reviewing and musing ones. It's actually strange. I'm studying to work with books, to preserve them, to do all of these things that make them more accessible but that currently means i have to steal time to enjoy them.
But the semester is nearly over and I'm done stealing.

To kick off an awesome summer full of trips and books and friends I'm participating in the Dewey Readathon for my fourth year. I'm super excited. There was a trip to the bookstore. I have an abundance of gummy bears. Really, things are going to be great.

I really miss writing here, and while you can more often than not find me reblogging pictures of pretty books and begging for recs on tumblr this is where my heart is. I love the format, and the way it helps me keep track of my reading life.

So I'm back, even if being back means once again just for the months between classes.

Get ready for some serious reading/blogging tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Wrap Up

It's been a crazy year. I kept most of my resolutions! I traveled, I read. I applied to grad school and then I actually went! People came in and out of my life and that's okay.
But this is a book blog, and another major resolution I had for 2014 was to revive it or let it go.
I found that I really love writing here on Loving Books. It helps me organize my thoughts about books and all things literary. It's shaped the person I've become. I was pretty good about updating this year, at least until I went back to school.
The only thing I didn't really live up to were my goals of leading classics and authors of color. I'm at three for each, so next year hopefully I'll do better. 
So even though in most peoples eyes my 2014 probably looks like a shit show I'm looking at it as the year I kept promises to myself. Here's hoping I can do the same in 2015.

Now, since it is the end of the year, I present you with the list of books I've finished in 2014:
1. The Dinner - Koch
2. Divergent - Roth
3. Insurgent - Roth
4. Allegiant - Roth
5. Hyperbole & a Half - Brosh
6. Paris My Sweet - Thomas

7. No One Belongs Here More Than You - July
8. Eleanor and Park - Rowell
9. One More Thing - Novak
10. Northanger Abbey - Austen
11. Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone - Rowling
12. A Replacement Life -Fishman
13. Detroit: An American Autopsy - LeDuff
14. Fangirl - Rowell
15. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - Rowling
16. Anna and the French Kiss - Perkins
17. Attachments - Rowell
18. Lola and the Boy Next Door - Perkins
19. Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban - Rowling
20. Daughter of Smoke and Bones - Taylor
21. The Other Language - Francesca Marciano
22. Days of Blood and Starlight - Taylor
23. Dreams of Gods and Monsters - Taylor
24. To All the Boys I've Loved Before - Han
25. Can't and Won't - Daivs
26. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - Rowling
27. Just One Day - Forman
28. Landline -Rowell
29. 1Q84 - Murakami
30. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - Rowling
31. Gone Girl - Flynn
32. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince - Rowling
33. Shadow and Bone - Bardugo
34. Cat's Cradle - Vonnegut
35. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Rowling
36. Because - Riippi
37. Friendship - Gould
38. Isla and the Happily Ever After - Perkins
39. Cinder - Meyer
40. Scarlet - Meyer
41. The Vacationers - Straub
42. Cress - Meyer
43. The Maze Runner - Dashner
44. This is Where I Leave You - Tropper
45. Mood Indigo - Vian
46. The Anatomy of Dreams - Benjamin
47. My True Love Gave Yo Me - Perkins and others 

48. Bad Feminist - Gay
49. Room - Donoghue
50. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight - Smith
51. Just One Year - Forman
52. Just One Night - Forman
53. Texts from Jane Eyre - Ortberg 

See y'all next year.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Top Ten Books I Read In 2014

2014 was a big year. I lost my grandmother and went back to school. I lived my life around trips that would take me far from Michigan. I started to think that there's a future where the words hourly pay don't always apply.
I like to think it's because of all these changes that I chanced upon so many good books this year. There were times when I needed a long challenge and others where the only thing I could handle were fluff and decadence. I found a book about dealing with loss some six months after I needed it. I discovered Roxane Gay and started to love nonfiction in a new capacity.  YA demanded a bigger shelf in my library and reminded me never to overlook a genre just because of the average age of it's readers.
I'm closing in on 50 books this year. My goal was 35. 2014 could have been a bad year, but I'm counting these 10 books as the silver lining.

Top Ten Books I Read in 2014

1. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephenie Perkins
Sometimes a book comes around when you need it most. I was in a slump when I picked up Anna and immediately I fell in love with her, Paris and a British boy. I loved Anna and the French Kiss so much I recommended it to anyone who would listen. I bought it's sequels immediately. I squeed (is that a real word? oh well, is to me) and cooed over passages and themes.
Really, AatFK is a book that 16 year old me needed, but would have refused to read. I'm glad I'm more open now.

2. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
Every summer I like to pick a huge book and make it my project. This year I grabbed 1Q84 and dedicated the most of June lugging it from work to home and back again. I liked to whine about it's lenght and it's slowness but really I loved what I read. 1Q84 made me think. It gave me people living like, well, people - only in a slightly altered universe. It gave me a mystery that I'm still irritated about. It kept me captivated for all of its 1100 pages.

3. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
If Anna and the French Kiss is a book 16 year old me needed. Fangirl is one that 19 year old Sarah would have clung on to for dear life. Fangirl managed to make the more nerdy/fandom parts of my life seem relevant, like they didn't need to be kept in the shadows until someone else mentioned Hogsmead or a Sonic Screwdriver. I loved the chapters of FanFiction and Cath's general attitude. She was for a bad year in college. It was good to see that my second year hellish experience wasn't something that only happened to me.

4. Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
Bad Feminist is everything I needed it to be. It gave me permission, at least as much permission as a book can, to be imperfect while still wanting equality. It's full of Essays on sexism, the media, race, and politics and I loved every single one of them. I want to give a copy to every important lady in my life. It's a great book. Go pick it up.

5. This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper
Family Drama - Check
Infidelity - Check
A Distant Family Sitting Shiva - Check Check Check
Okay I'm a few years behind here, but This is Where I Leave You is a fantastic book.  It's funny and emotional and just great. Gah.

6. Divergent by Veronica Roth
January was cold. I was snowed in more often than not. Since I couldn't do much else I read. The Divergent series made winter bearable for me. I didn't love Tris, and Four went from interesting to boyfriend worthy to irritating too many times to count, but i loved Roth's dystopian Chicago and the factions.

7. One More Thing by B.J. Novak
This was my favorite short story collections of the year. It's full of fast reads. They're funny and culturally relevant. Plus Novak was always my favorite part of the Office and I just love him in general.

8. Daughter of Smoke and Bones by Laini Taylor
Hands down the Daughter of Smoke and Bones series was my favorite set of books this year. Karou was interesting, Akiva was sulky, but cool. The worlds, Angels, Chimera, everything was fantastic.  I did like the first book the best, but they were all fantastic. I have a review of the series coming up later this week with more fangirling, so stick around.

9. Room by Emma Donoghue
I'm going to ask you to be patient with me. I actually finished Room today. I'd put off reading it for years but bought it on a trip to Canada in the spring and needed to read something on hand instead of buying a new book for my kindle. I was immediately sucked into Jack and Ma's world. It didn't matter that it was small and horrifying. I tried to pace myself because sometimes Donoghues proses made me anxious. In the end i finished in about three days and now I'm sitting here, typing this and generally be upset over a book.

10. The Vacationers by Emma Straub
I'm ending my list with a perfectly pleasant book about an outwardly pleasant family who just happens to be crumbling. Dirty laundry is aired during a summer trip to Spain. It's a great, quick read and one of my favorite new releases of 2014.