Reading Update: September 2022

Reading Update: September 2022

Happy almost fall, almost spooky season friends! I love fall for reading, and I cannot wait for all these new releases in the coming weeks.

I have a very exciting and important announcement: I broke my annual reading record in August.

Yes, August. By August of 2022, I officially read more books in this calendar year than I’ve read in any other calendar year…

and there’s still 4 more months to go.

I’m up to seventy books as I write this, with a few more in progress. I cannot believe how much I’ve been able to read this year, and I have no idea what makes this year special. I literally doubled my book count over last year (which, if you ask me, was The Hardest Year of My Life, so I guess that adds up). Suffice to say I’m pretty damn proud of myself and I’m going to keep announcing it at all social functions, like a normal person would.

When it comes to the 52 Book Club 2022 Challenge, I’m still nearly just as stuck as last month. I’ve actually read enough to schedule reviews through the remainder of the year, but I’m going to have to shift things around to hit those last few prompts. Here’s what I still have left:

20. Related to the word “gold”

44. An anthology

47. Read during the month of November

Number 47 should still be an easy one, as it’s kind of a waiting game! My plan is still to read Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid for number 20 – even if they don’t select it for Book of the Month, it just sounds like something I want to read. My plan has been Goblin by Josh Malerman for number 44, but I’m open to suggestions, honestly.

When it rains, it pours: I’ve had so many new releases on hold with my library’s Libby app for weeks, and all of a sudden they’ve all come available. At once. Just in one week. So currently my docket there includes The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (loving this one…she is so talented as a writer. Huge fan), Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey, and I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy. I’ve heard the last one is pretty heavy, but after watching a few interviews with her, I know I’ve got to read it. McCurdy’s portrayal of Sam on iCarly was a staple of my childhood, but I’m ready to see it in a new light. This sounds like a damn important book for her, and for my generation to understand in the larger concept of our own popular culture.

I also subscribed to Audible last month, and I’m using it to pick away at the books that have been on my tbr for the longest! So this month, I’m reading A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. I remember adoring The Kite Runner when I was *literally a freshman in high school* so yes, this book probably has been on my tbr since 2014. It only took me eight years, but I’m going to read it now, I swear… *starts sweating nervously*.

I acquired a metric ton of new reading material in August thanks to Gibson’s August sale, so unfortunately, cut off one head and two more shall grow in its place, or whatever. My tbr is Hydra.

We’re getting there, people. The colder days and more reading time are almost upon us…

Have an excellent weekend ❤

Reading Update: August 2022

Reading Update: August 2022

I finally did it, friends: the reading updates are getting years on them now.

The Charmed Librarian has been back up and running full-time for over a year now! I’m wicked proud of that accomplishment, especially when it feels like thankless work – but in the end, I love having something so solid and consistent, that I built from the ground up, and can look back and reflect on from time to time. I love reading, and I love what all my reading has allowed me to build on here since 2019.

So, happy birthday, Charmed Librarian.

Sorry you had to see that.

As I write this, on the second to last day of the month, I read fifteen books in July. I can’t even believe that. I don’t think I’ve ever read that much in a month in all my years. That’s practically a book of every other day…insanity. And I don’t really know why, either; my schedule has remained consistently insane between multiple jobs and restarting my Etsy shop (shameless self-plug). Audiobooks definitely make a huge difference for my volume (six of the fifteen were audiobooks, which I can easily listen to at the same time as having another physical book going). Having my Kindle everywhere and anywhere has also been a help. I know some people really hate them, but I adore my Kindle. Maybe it’s not the same, but it’s hella convenient. Another five of the books this month were on my Kindle – which again, I can for some reason read while also having a physical book going.

Next on the agenda for this month: The 52 Book Club Challenge. I have just six prompts left, and one of them is 21. Published by Simon & Schuster, which I have already potentially filled with some books, if I move things around. I’m going to swap The Only Good Indians from prompt #1, to prompt #21, and fill #1 with Devil House. The other prompts I still have to go are:

16. A book you’ve seen someone reading in a public place

20. Related to the word “gold”

44. An anthology

47. Read during the month of November

and 51. The word game in the title

I have plans for almost all of these! Unfortunately, tragically, I basically never see anyone reading in a public place around here. However, the book list on Goodreads provides a myriad of selections that are primarily book club picks, including Where the Crawdads Sing, which sounds kind of awful but is *also* my local library’s book club pick this month as well. I’ve been wanting to attend that book club, as there is also alcohol involved, so I figure this would be a great way to hit two birds with one stone.

For #20, I’m thinking I might go with Carrie Soto is Back if that is in fact a Book of the Month pick for August…which the internet seems to think it will be. The book is about a gold medalist, and the whole cover is gold – so I think that’ll do just fine. For my anthology, I’m thinking Goblin by Josh Malerman, though I’m unsure if that counts. Any thoughts? I read anthologies are collected works by multiple authors, but this is an entire work by Josh Malerman that connects in the end.

#47 should be a walk in the park (just read *something* in November!), and for #51 I’m going with The Marriage Game by Sara Desai. That one has been on my tbr forever, too.

Now I just have to do all these things… home stretch!

I also finally read some of my Book of the Month picks in July! Neither were spectacular, but I liked them well enough. I get so excited when the new picks come out, and nothing is better than book mail. I can see why this is addicting. I’m counting down the months until I get my book BFF bag, with the book pocket. And that makes me feel absolutely ridiculous!

Here’s to another month of stellar reading! And maybe, some more stellar reads!

Reading Update: July

Reading Update: July

I suppose I should probably start putting the year on these reading updates? I must have done at least a year’s worth by now!

It’s July which means SUMMER READING IS HERE!! And given that this is the first full summer I have not been a librarian myself, I am playing to win. I signed up for summer reading last week and plan to dominate. My old coworkers have been scaring off the other adults with the threat of my participation. This. Is. My. Year.

Of course, that also means trying to make time in my busy schedule to go down to the library and log books to begin with…but we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

I usually tend to read more in the summer and less in the winter, but the past couple seasons haven’t been like that. Here’s hoping I can still keep up with the insane pace I’ve set for myself this year. As of the end of June, I’ve already read 43 books toward my goal of 52 this year – 18 books ahead of schedule, according to Goodreads. 43 books is already eight more books than I read all of last year! I read nine in June alone, though very few stuck out as great ones. I loved My Killer Vacation by Tessa Bailey (obviously), but everything else was *meh*. I’d like to aim for a bit more nonfiction in July, as well as cut through some of my tbr currently residing on my shelves at home. June was a good month for that, too. I got through Fumbled, The Five Love Languages Military Edition, and The Book of Cold Cases. This month, I’d like to get through Cricut Maker, The Last Time I Lied (the only Sager I haven’t read yet!), and The Paris Apartment, if I can.

I fell out of touch with my audiobooks in June, too. I usually get through most of my reading by taking advantage of audiobooks, but I just wasn’t here for it this month. I’m getting tired of boring narrators, especially when the stories are so good. The only audios I listened to this month were Written in the Stars, Misery, and The Book of Cold Cases. I started a couple, but didn’t end up listening to them all the way through because I was so bored with the narrators. That’s a problem I’ve not had in a long while.

July will also see the first week or so of my being alone for four weeks. Nate and I tend to spend time together in the evenings by watching movies together, or our favorite shows (Wednesdays are kind of our night, with shows like Kenobi and Moon Knight). This takes up time that I would’ve spent reading in a past life. I’m curious to see how much reading I get done when I’ve got to fill all those evenings alone! Rewatching Stranger Things is also on my list, though, and that’s not something Nate will watch with me. Maybe that’s the time to do it.

I think that will about do it for the reading update! I can’t wait to give you the results of summer reading next month, and regale you of my awesome prizes. 😉

Reading Update: June

Reading Update: June

JUNE!! One of my favorite months of the year. My birthday. The perfect weather. And though I’m not a kid anymore, the perfect nostalgia of the coming summer break.

^It me.

Summer reading is COMING!! Usually I’m a pretty consistent but slow reader until the summer hits, primarily because I used to have a summer vacation to read…now that I don’t, I’m not sure why I still grip on tightly to the idea that I’ll have more time to read, more flexibility to sit up until 3am to finish the book I just started. All the same, it’s a great feeling to be on the cusp of.

And I am plenty-well stocked for the summer. I have so many books on my tbr, but I do feel like I’m legitimately knocking them out, at least. But for this reading update, I want to take the time to evaluate my 52 Book Club 2022 Challenge progress. Prepare yourselves, because I have turned reading into a science trying to complete this challenge.

Behold, the color coded spreadsheet I built just to figure this out:

I didn’t want to have to pick what I was reading just to meet the prompts; I really don’t read like that and thought I could get away with just picking up books and making them fit after the fact…but as I write this, I’ve read 34 books this year and haven’t quite completed that many prompts, truthfully.

Some of the prompts, I’ve completed, but haven’t designated a certain book to fill the spot just yet. That’s what the purple highlight is for. Red highlight indicates a prompt I haven’t completed at all yet (so, definitely what I need to be focusing on in the latter half of the year). And all the yellow highlights are the books I have tentatively chosen to fill those prompts.

My hope behind using the online spreadsheet was that I could Command+F and find all the times a book met a prompt, so I could choose just one slot and block off the rest. It’s a whole thing and I’m tired just thinking about it. However, I know that I definitely need to buckle down now and figure out how many prompts I can actually designate complete at this juncture!

To start, I’m going to go through all my purple highlights and pick one of the books to fill the spot. If that book is already in a different spot, I’ll work backward until I can pull enough of my bonus books into place that I’ll have completed more prompts. I’m guessing I’ll still have a bonus or two, but I think this could work!

Yeah, easier said than done. This is a seriously intense puzzle and I’m convinced I may actually be better off just reading more books than trying to move them around!

I did make a couple successful switches, though. Including books who don’t have published reviews just yet, here is my current list:

  1. A Second Person Narrative: The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones
  2. Featuring a Library or Bookstore: Well Matched by Jen DeLuca
  3. Title Starting with the Letter “E”: The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling
  4. Title Starting with the Letter “F”: Finlay Donovan is Killing It by Elle Cosimano
  5. Chapters Have Titles: Survivor Song by Paul Tremblay
  6. Household Object on the Cover: The Godparent Trap by Rachel Van Dyken
  7. A Non-fiction Bestseller: The Home Edit by Clea Shearer & Joanna Teplin
  8. Involving the Art World:
  9. A Book That Sparks Joy: She Sheds Style by Erika Kotite
  10. A Book Based on a Real Person: unlock your storybook heart by amanda lovelace
  11. A Book with Less than 2022 Goodreads Ratings
  12. Set on at Least Two Continents: The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill
  13. Includes a Club
  14. A Character with Superhuman Ability: Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune
  15. A Five-Syllable Title: The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
  16. A Book You’ve Seen Someone Reading in a Public Place
  17. A Book Picked Based On Its Spine
  18. Jane Austen-inspired
  19. A Book that has an Alternate Title: Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire by Amanda Foreman
  20. Related to the Word “Gold”
  21. Published by Simon & Schuster
  22. An Unlikely Detective: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
  23. Author with an X, Y or Z in their Name: Weather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon
  24. Address a Specific Topic
  25. A Wealthy Character: Lock Every Door by Riley Sager
  26. Has an “Author’s Note”: Heartstopper: Volume 4 by Alice Oseman
  27. Includes a Map: Devolution by Max Brooks
  28. Award-Winning Book from Your Country: The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
  29. Over 500 Pages Long
  30. Audiobook is Narrated by the Author: Bag of Bones by Stephen King
  31. Technology-Themed: Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood
  32. A Book That Intimidates You: The Burning by Tim Madigan & Hilary Beard
  33. A Bilingual Character: The Wedding Crasher by Mia Sosa
  34. An Author’s Photo on the Back Cover
  35. From the Villain’s Perspective: Cackle by Rachel Harrison
  36. Recommended by a Favorite Author: How to Love Your Neighbor by Sophie Sullivan
  37. Set in a Rural Area: The House Across the Lake by Riley Sager
  38. Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover!: The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain
  39. A Middle-Grade Novel: 100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson
  40. A Book with Photographs Inside
  41. Involves a Second Chance: Payback’s a Witch by Lana Harper
  42. An Indie Read
  43. Author Who’s Published in More than One Genre: Gwendy’s Final Task by Richard Chizmar & Stephen King
  44. An Anthology
  45. A Book with Illustrated People on the Cover: The Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox
  46. A Job Title in the Title: The Therapist by B.A. Paris
  47. Read During the Month of November
  48. Redo One of This Year’s Prompts but with a Different Genre
  49. Book Title Starts with the Same Letter as Your First Name
  50. A Person of Color as the Main Character: Something to Talk About by Meryl Wilsner
  51. The Word “Game” in the Title
  52. Published in 2022: Love at First Spite by Anna E. Collins

Even as I’m going through it to write it down I’m realizing more of the ways I can move this around and make it work even better, especially based on what I still plan to read this year. And after going back several times, I’ve managed to fit all 34 of my reads so far into the list! Another great thing: there’s only eight prompts remaining that I haven’t filled at all yet. I need to buckle down and focus on those now!

I’ll update all the posts that got switched around, as well as The 52 Book Club 2022 Challenge page soon to reflect these! Glad I took the time to rearrange them and prep for the remainder of my reading year.

Anyone else doing the challenge? Is it time for a mid-year check in??

No more content today, friends, because that has successfully zapped all my energy.

Hope you have a fabulous Friday and weekend!

Reading Update: May

Reading Update: May

The usual GIF offering for the reading update gods:

That’s right…I went there. Even though this is the most disturbing image of JT I can possibly imagine, I went there.

April was an awesome reading month for me, yet again! I’ve never had such a successful spring time, at least not since I was a senior in high school. I finished 7 books, including one five star read (Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune).

This was a big month of audiobooks for me. 5 out of the 7 books, I enjoyed as audiobooks. I’m in the car so much lately, that it was just really helpful to absorb the books this way this month. Usually it’s not that many, but you do what you have to when you now have two jobs and endless house chores to keep up with!

As I write this I haven’t actually *gone* to indie bookstore day yet, but I’m very excited to do so! I have a huge list going of books I want to pick up at Gibson’s on Saturday the 30th, including but not limited to Devil House, Finlay Donovan is Killing It, Dial A for Aunties, and Secret Identity. Half of these are on my list simply because I’m told they’re similar to Only Murders in the Building. I also really wanted the rest of The Home Edit series, but it doesn’t look like they’re in stock there…so I may peruse some other organizing and design books!

I have about a billion books on my tbr that are coming out in the next few months. This was an excellent month for finding things I can hardly wait to read, unfortunately for my sanity… currently the list includes:

Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey

The Hacienda by Isabel Canas

Fangirl: the Manga: Volume 2 by Rainbow Rowell and Sam Maggs

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

And that’s not even counting the ones I couldn’t wait for and found on NetGalley!

Oh my goodness, just got completely derailed on NetGalley after writing that. I was only looking for one specific book and ended up requesting three. Ughhhhh. I’m so bad at this!

Maybe I’ll get lucky and some of these will become Book of the Month picks. I can only hope! And speaking of BotM, guess who still hasn’t read March or April’s picks…

It’s me. I know. Hide your shock.

At least I seem to be cruising through some of my tbr from years ago (or even months ago). Sometimes I fear that when I buy too many books all in one trip, I’ll read the one I’m most excited for and then lose steam and never go back to the other ones…it happens far too often, to be truthful. But the past couple weeks I’ve managed to knock out Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire, Survivor Song, The Only Good Indians, Cackle, and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. This, of course, is all thanks to audiobooks: every single one of these was an audio read for me, even though I have the physical copy on my shelf. It’s a great way for me to go back and knock out those pesky books that are just giving me side-eye from the shelf.

I think that about wraps it up. It’s a quick update, but still a solid month of reading! I always feel like I should have a game plan, especially when it comes to getting these NetGalley books done, but it never works out like that. I’ve succumbed to reading wherever the wind takes me.

Have an awesome weekend and an awesome month, peeps!

Reading Update: April

Reading Update: April

Is it really time for one of these again?!

I suppose it’s a good thing that the weeks are flying by, but I think I’m more than a little annoyed that it hasn’t warmed up in NH just yet. I’m currently sitting on my couch and cursing the fact that Eloise is sleeping on the blanket, so I can’t put it over me. (Yes, I know I allow myself to be greatly inconvenienced by my cats).

This is the first time in a long time that I’ve bothered to look back over what I wrote last month. Usually I don’t like to feel the pressure of failure, having not read anything I said I was going to, but I legitimately can’t remember where last month started and ended. I need to read my own update just for a recap, LOL.

I did not get to Gwendy’s Final Task or The Paris Apartment. Shocker! I did read quite a bit though. I got to seven books, including 2 NetGalley ARCs (Mia Sosa’s The Wedding Crasher and Sulari Gentill’s The Woman in the Library). Only The Woman in the Library was a five-star read for me, but I liked most of the ones I read this month. I had some four and four-and-a-half star books.

I also accidentally signed up for Book of the Month? I was doom scrolling Facebook and got a Book of the Month ad (all my ads are book related…does this happen to anyone else?!) and they had March’s selections on a little carousel. They caught my eye with The Paris Apartment, but of course I had already ordered that one, so I kept scrolling until I found Dating Dr. Dil by Nisha Sharma, which sounded like a fun one. And it was only ten bucks for a hardcover, so I thought, what the heck. It showed up at my door literally two days later but I still haven’t read it as I write this. Also, I picked Like a Sister by Kellye Garrett for my book this month, and it’s already here, sitting on my coffee table, right next to the other one. I’m starting to think buying books is a whole separate hobby then reading them…but I like both?

With the exception of my BotM accident, I did pretty good on my no-buy. I’m going to try again this month, and really try to work through everything that’s already here. I have so many good ones just waiting to be read, if I could only stop buying and finish them!

I did end up getting to The Only Murders in the Building on Hulu, and it launched me on a streak of books *like* Only Murders because GODDAMMIT I NEED THE VIBE BACK. I’ll be not so patiently awaiting season 2, but in the meantime, I’ve picked apart the internet for books like it. So far, I’ve come up with The Maid by Nita Prose, The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley (!!!), Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto, and Finlay Donovan is Killing It by Elle Cosimano. I already have the first two, so the other two will go on my next book shopping list. Must. Recapture. WARM FEELINGS FROM MURDER SHOW.

I’m on a mini-vacation now, sitting at home for a couple days and just recuperating, but I haven’t found much time to read. I made a lot of plans by mistake (truthfully, by mistake. I hate plans) but figure it’s better to get everything done while I have the time. I’m going to stain my bookshelves, get through all my blog stuff, and maybe (just maybe) read a bit. 🙂 No solid plans on what to read, though. I seem to be trapped in an endless circle of “I just need to finish this…” where I then proceed to pick up a completely different book and finish it one sitting. I’m getting really good at ignoring books I’m supposed to be reading.

I just realized as I went to schedule this post that April has FIVE. FRIDAYS. Ugh. That means two bonus reviews I’m totally not prepared for. Pray for me! What should I read??

That’ll do it for me this month! Enjoy the rainy season, and find some time to relax. Have a great weekend. ❤

Reading Update: March

Reading Update: March

Time for a March update!

Yeah, in case it wasn’t clear from my February sum-up post…I didn’t read much this month. Super weird. I did SO good in January, maybe I just needed a breather, but winter is generally my good months! I only got to two books in February, Weather Girl and Love on the Brain, but I think Ali Hazelwood’s newest has put me back in a reading mood.

I spent most of that time, instead, trying to launch my craft business and binge watching television with Nate (my boyfriend). I’ve seen a lot of Star Wars and a lot of Disenchantment these last few weeks. Oh, and Arcane. And the back of my eyelids, lol. But not a lot of books! It’s just been a busy month. I redid our bedroom as well, which was quite the endeavour full of mini-projects, and it just really filled my time – but I’m excited to jump back into this and fill some more prompts in March.

I have so many NetGalley books still available. -_-. *I’m* killing me here. Sometimes I go on and request things and know that I’ll read them almost immediately. But I think, when the pandemic first started, I just requested soooo many books to stock up and then never read them. There’s some really old stuff in there, and I’ve already weeded out what I’ve decided I’m *never* reading. So really, I do intend to get to this someday. Maybe March is that day? I’ve already started in on some of them. Maybe my new rule will be to read the oldest first. I need some sort of discipline when it comes to NetGalley or I’m never going to catch up!

I also think I need to go on a no-buy for a few months. Picking up some stuff at Gibson’s February sale was well worth it, but I think March needs to be a no-buy month! Maybe it’ll encourage me to get through some of my tbr for once in my life…plus, Nate might kill me if more books show up in our house. I’m running out of places to put them, people.

Which, only sort of related, but I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned that I keep my books in wooden crates! You know, the unfinished crates you can buy at the craft store, or IKEA, or any other major big-box retailer? Those things are incredible storage solutions. I stack them facing out everywhere. Those puppies are my bedside tables, end tables in my living room, the legs of my coffee table (with a huge butcher block top on top of them), and even my entertainment center, holding our tv and gaming consoles! I love those as bookshelves, especially because once I run out of room, all I have to do is go grab another $10 crate, or however much the going rate for some wood is these days… easy peasy solution! Peep the endless possibilities from my cat cam:

Also, Eloise. 🙂

My plan this month is to hit the books while Nate is away visiting his family in Georgia – I’m hoping I can get through a little more without him here to watch more Star Wars with me. 🙂 I want to get through Gwendy’s Final Task and The Paris Apartment, at the very least! However I am also eyeballing the show Only Murders in the Building, which is totally not something he’d watch with me, so this is truly my chance, hahaha. Have you watched that one?? We’ll see what I get to, I guess!

I got and gave a lot of book recommendations this month, too. My boss and I chat about books often, and she knows I like a good mystery. She recommended The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain, which another one of my friends had also read and enjoyed. I don’t know if I’ll get to it this month, but it’s definitely on my list now! She told me, funny enough, to skip the first chapter. Apparently it’s far more intriguing to figure out if you skip the first chapter, which is really just setting the stage and telling you how things will end. It goes against everything I’ve ever been told, but I might try it for the sake of the mystery.

My bestie finished up The Return by Rachel Harrison and was looking for something else with the same vibe to check out, as well. I suggested My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix, and also House of Leaves, even though I haven’t read that one yet, only because it sounds exactly up her alley. Turns out, it was, because she’s already read that one – which is a glowing recommendation in my eyes, and I can’t wait to pick up that one myself now! She’s going to pick up that Grady Hendrix after Final Girl Support Group now, so we all made out in this deal.

I think that will about do it this month! Not much to report on this time around, but solid reading time ahead. Thanks for tuning in and enjoy the weekend! 😉

Reading Update: February

Reading Update: February

Me, after reading all January:

Reading and I are starting off on a great foot this year.

I think a lot of that credit is owed to The 52 Book Club, whose 2022 Challenge I took on this year with the hopes of increasing my numbers over last year. So far, so good: as I’m writing this, I’m already nine books into my year and only twenty-five days into it. The trouble is on the horizon, though, because I completely planned out all my reading only for it to be derailed by even more books I bought, and all the incredible new releases coming out this year… *cringe* Even now I’m starting to fill things into my challenge willy-nilly, mostly because I’ve already read them so it should count for something!!!

Further, I have in fact decided to start a “Come Book Shopping with Me” segment, but I’m going to be a bit more loose in interpretation with it. Instead, I’d like to have a “Book Hunting” segment: in which I either book shop, peruse online down an endless black hole of recs, go to the library, or even peruse a friend’s collection for some hidden gems. My wallet can’t afford all this book shopping, y’all. In addition, monthly updates will now come on the first Friday of the month, and this new Book Hunting segment on the second Friday. I hope you’ll join me next week for my first book hunting trip!

Not only did I read more than I have in months in the last few weeks, but I’ve read a lot of different content that I don’t usually pick up…and I’ve loved it. Primarily, fantasy! If you ask me on any given day “what I like to read”, I will tell you “absolutely anything except fantasy”. I like a good magical realism book, which is the mark I suppose some of these hit on, but full fantasy? Not often. And while nothing I picked up in the last month was too hardcore, it did remind me that I like my books to have some magic and whimsy to them. Hopefully I can keep that going through this month.

I also had more five star reads than I have in a very long time, too. A whole streak of them, right at the start. I’m sure a lot of people feel that I’m too liberal with my five stars, but sometimes a book just hits the right chord at the right time, and who am I to deny it the fifth star?! I thoroughly enjoyed Payback’s a Witch and The House in the Cerulean Sea over the last few weeks, and I’m confident they’re good books at any time of year. They both took me by surprise in how much I enjoyed them, and how light and happy they made me feel. What a good month I had!

I have tons of ARCs still to sift through in addition to all the book shopping I did this month, adding to my horde like a bibliophilic dragon. I’ve been back in a romance mood currently, but I think it’s about time to hit a mystery. I’m also highly anticipating Gwendy’s Final Task later this month! Hopefully I can keep up this inhuman motivation to consume books, so I can get through all of these awesome books on my docket.

Happy Friday, and happy February friends! Spring is coming soon, I can practically taste it.

Reading Update: January

Reading Update: January

Happy Friday, peeps! And happy January! I’m here with your new year, new update. 😉

I’m already finding that The 52 Book Club 2022 Challenge has me reading more than I have been the past couple weeks. The holidays really slowed me down, but keeping up with the challenge, and trying to read my Libby loans before they get torn away from me, has me reading much faster than I have been. I’m averaging a book every three days right now, even with work.

I am still trying to finish Devolution by Max Brooks, however, and not because it’s bad. Once I had decided to do the 2022 challenge, it was the only book on my shelf that fit prompt 27: includes a map. I thought maybe if I held on and finished it after the start of the year it’d be fine to count it…but now I don’t want to jump back into it, because I totally forgot what’s happened in the first eighty pages or so. I can’t win. Anyways, I grabbed the audiobook on loan from Libby, so I’m going to give that a shot when it becomes available!

And speaking of, Libby audiobooks have been absolutely saving my ass lately. I’ve taken on so many new hobbies, and still have so many responsibilities around the house, that audiobooks have been a savior. I’ve listened to two in the past week, whereas if I had to take time to sit down and read right now I’m not sure I would have accomplished this much. I have another one downloaded and three more on hold. They may not be for everybody, but when I’m running out of physical time but I still can’t be without a book, audiobooks save the day.

I skipped my bookstore review this month because I just didn’t have the time to drive to a new bookstore – the nearest one I haven’t explored is probably a good fifty miles, and it is so very hard to fit things in with the holidays. I’m thinking of dropping the bookstore review altogether. What are your thoughts? Do you like reading the bookstore reviews? Would you prefer a “Go book shopping with me” segment once per month? I’m more apt to frequent a Gibson’s or B&N any given month than make a pilgrimage to a new indie store, though I do love exploring new places and supporting small businesses! Let me know what you think.

Looking forward to the coming month, I want to knock out a few more prompts with new books I’ve ordered! I just picked up She Sheds Style by Erika Kotite and Not Your Average Hot Guy by Gwenda Bond. Worst case scenario, Not Your Average Hot Guy will fit prompt 45: a book with illustrated people on the cover. I’m not clear on where to put She Sheds Style, though. In a general sense I think it fits prompt 24: addresses a specific topic, since it’s literally just about she sheds, but most of the prompt suggestions are on current events and movements… if that was their intent with this prompt, it was worded really poorly. “Addresses a specific topic” is really broad! I had already planned out a lot of my prompts, but I might go back and rework them. Some of them, I already switched around; others, I had accidentally read last year. We’ll see where I land at the end of the month, and then February’s project might be to redo my roadmap!

I’m finally making a dent in my huge NetGalley shelf…likely only because I haven’t requested anything in so long! I’m finding lately that I feel really out of touch with what’s new and popular. When I was cataloging at the library I was pretty familiar with new books of every genre…but now I haven’t the slightest clue. I’ve honestly lost track of romance, even. My recent trip to the library highlighted just how out of touch I am, hence my desire to do a “go book shopping with me” segment! I need to get back to the bookstore regularly so I can see all these great new releases. What have you read recently that should be on my tbr??

And that’s going to do it for January!! Stay warm, read inside. 🙂 Enjoy the month!

Reading Update: December

Reading Update: December

Back to another episode of She Didn’t Read What She Said She Was Going To: holiday edition!

Actually, I’m not going to spend much of this post beating myself up about not meeting my goals. Instead, I’d like to turn my focus to reflection on this past year, and the new year ahead – and new reading challenges!

As some readers know, 2021 was my first year of true *adulting*. I am now one full year out of college, and I started out this calendar year with multiple jobs that put me well over your standard forty hours a week. Finally in July, I ended up on a normal, forty-hour schedule, and my reading that had been left by the wayside – through months of working long hours, living in a camper, and just generally being exhausted –finally picked up. I kick-started this blog back into working shape when I finally saw some of my time open up. And since then, I’ve managed to maintain a slightly over one-book-per-week average.

That said, I did start this year out with a fifty-two book goal on Goodreads. I do the challenge every year, and last year I managed sixty-five books, the year before, fifty-nine, and my senior year of high school? Seventy. I will never top the amount of books I could consume when I had three periods a day basically set aside for reading. But fifty-two seemed reasonable. Even when I was in college, working two jobs, I was able to get to sixty-five. So I figured.

But I was wrong. Horribly wrong. Mid-year, I realized there was no way in hell I was getting there, after spending the spring absolutely drowning and spending 100% of my free time just sleeping. I was sleeping like, eleven hours a day. Regularly. So yeah, I didn’t get to fifty-two books this year, and I certainly don’t expect to before December 31st. Around July, I adjusted my goal down to just forty books, and truthfully, I may not reach that either.

I think it’s important to remember that it’s just been a tough year all around. The way many people suffered from the lack of human contact during 2020, I suffered from too *much* human contact upon re-entering the real world in 2021. And it hit me hard. It hit many of my friends hard. Remembering that the world is built for extroverts, and not us extreme introverts, was a harsh reality to face through the spring and summer. It’s only now, towards the end of the year, that I’m readjusting. You people-people simply have no idea how good you have it.

As it stands now, I have read thirty-two books this year. I’m on my last review of the year for the blog, and it’s set to be Sleeping Beauties by Stephen and Owen King (which has been on my tbr for about three years now, lol). I am content with thirty-two books, knowing that next year is bound to better, and that I simply made it through 2021 without *fully* collapsing. All in all, this is still a hobby, and not meeting my goals is not the end of the world.

Looking forward now! Last year one of my close friends invited me to the Facebook group for The 52 Book Club: a book challenge that not only asks you to read about one book per week, but attaches a prompt to each book. I joined a little late this year, and decided to skip it, but never left the group. So this year, I’m going to attempt the 2022 challenge (in addition to my normal Goodreads challenge, in which I will again attempt fifty-two books this coming year).

Like many other readers attempting the challenge, I’ve attempted to plot out my reading in a way that it eliminates many of the books I’ve been holding onto for years, instead of buying every little book I need for the prompts. Here are a few of the prompts I’m struggling with, if you have any ideas!

8. Involving the Art World

28. Award Winning Book From Your Country

43. An Author That’s Published in Multiple Genres

I purposefully didn’t fill in every prompt with planned books so far; some of the prompts (like 45. A book with illustrated people on the cover) are things I read pretty regularly on my own, so I think there’s some flexibility there to see where the reading takes me in 2022.

As best I can, I’m going to try and post my reviews throughout the year with the matching prompt, so you can read along with me or choose not to read the ones I don’t love for this or that prompt! I will be setting up an additional page on the blog so you can follow my progress. I hope you’ll join me in tackling The 52 Book Club’s 2022 challenge. If you’re looking for tracking resources of your own, check out this page on The 52 Book Club and scroll to Downloads.

Now, looking back quickly at November, I have to admit I only read one of the dang books I said I was going to. Ugh. Hook, Line, and Sinker can be crossed off my list. I never made it to my other NetGalley reads, though I’m already incorporating them into my 52 Book Club Challenge (One Italian Summer for prompt 52, anyone?!). Not to worry, though, as I did squeak out a Christmas book review for you all, as well as tackle a monstrous-ly sized King novel. I do my best.

This month, I want to hear from you: what challenges are you doing this year? How many books are on your tbr for 2022? Any books you can’t wait to see published? Give me all the deets!

Have an amazing remainder of your holiday season, and a wonderful new year, friends!