Well, here we are with two months of 2019 already behind us! Life does go by swiftly.
I’ve had a quietly busy month here at home. The back room is FINALLY finished (ish). Ironically, we weren’t sure exactly what we were going to do with that room, but Tom was struck by inspiration one day. I have a set of three amazing bookshelves that he built for me several houses ago. In this house, they’ve always been in the lower room because that is literally the only place they fit – but they’ve never fit there very well. Tom had the brainy idea of moving them into the back – where they fit like they were built to go there! This has also opened up the lower room to many new possibilities. Of course, this meant that I personally moved every single book that I own over one weekend, and with over a thousand books, that’s really a serious chore (somehow, although those shelves were fiction only, I ended up also rearranging all the nonfiction shelves as well?!). But the payoff has been fantastic!!! I’m completely in love with my new library, complete with loads of south-facing windows, the perfect table for quiet lunches, and access to the window seat in the lower room. We’re planning to get a big chair and ottoman, and the room will be complete!!
In the book world, I decided to do some serious housecleaning on the TBR. I’ve always just thrown loads of books on there and let them sit, which is why the TBR has hovered between 800 and 900 books for quite some time now (and that’s not even including series!). I usually employ a random method of choosing what to read next, but I was thinking about how sometimes I do want to mood read – I want something fluffy, or a thriller, or something thoughtful – and I have no real way of knowing what I’m getting into on the TBR. So I have begun the somewhat arduous task of actually going through every title on that spreadsheet, looking it up on Goodreads, deciding whether or not I really want to read it, and then either eliminating it, or highlighting it in a color-code that indicates the genre. Do I have a problem? Yes, I definitely have a problem!!! HOWEVER I have gotten rid of an astounding 190 books so far!!! I still have a little over 500 (187 have made the cut at this point) to check, so hopefully a lot more will come off. I’m excited because the books still on the list genuinely spark interest in me, so I am hoping that this is going to lead to more fulfilling reading in the future.
Speaking of which, a couple of weeks ago I for some reason just starting thinking about these books I read back in like fifth or sixth grade, and then really wanted to read them again. So I bought the first 16 books in the Redwall series on eBay for like $20 and here we are! I’m actually genuinely enjoying revisiting Mossflower. These books have a lot of weaknesses, but they are just overall ripping good tales of adventure and good vs. evil. If you like shades of grey between your heroes and your villains, these books aren’t for you. But if you want to know exactly who the bad guys are, these may be your style!
Favorite February Read
Although my review ended up kind of gripey, I really did genuinely enjoy reading Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills. The friendships and banter kept me turning the pages. I always enjoy reading a book where I think I would enjoy hanging out with the characters in real life.
Most Disappointing February Read
I didn’t have any serious duds this month. I suppose my least favorite was probably one of the reads from the goofy Love Inspired series that I read. I really have low expectations for those books, but Thanksgiving Groom still got on my nerves. There were just a few too many plot holes, and the main characters were super annoying.
By the Numbers
- I completed 21 books for a total of 6071 pages. My average was 216 pages per day, which is down slightly from January, but still pretty solid. Gardening season is approaching, so I’m anticipating that my average will actually drop every month. :-D
- My average star rating was 3.57, so slightly up from last month.
- Seventeen books were from my private library, with the rest either from the library or Kindle Unlimited.
- I read four Kindle books and fifteen physical books – mostly paperbacks this month.
- The oldest book I read this month was A Damsel in Distress by P.G. Wodehouse, published in 1919.
- Mattimeo, a Redwall book that I haven’t reviewed yet, was the month’s longest read at 446 pages. Wrong Brother, Right Match was the shortest at 180 pages, although I’m always suspicious of Kindle page amounts.
So as I mentioned earlier, a purge of the TBR has begun! I genuinely am excited about getting this system back under control. I feel like after reading/blogging for several years now, I have a much better handle on what I actually want to read – in the beginning, when I first started following book blogs, I just added anything and everything that sounded remotely interesting, little dreaming how swiftly the list would grow! Now I feel like I am ready to be more selective about adding books, and I think the backlist purge is going to mean that I overall enjoy more books going forward!
For those of you who don’t know, I’m weirdly obsessive with organizing the TBR, and have it on a spreadsheet divided into five different tabs:
- Standalones: 669 (down 190!!!)
- Nonfiction: 85 (up 1)
- Personal (which includes all books I own (fiction and nonfiction), but lists any series I own as only one entry…): 667 (holding steady)
- Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 241 (up 3)
- Mystery Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 109 (up 2)
I’m actually caught up on everything except for the Redwall books. I’ll probably do a review for the first five of those when I finish Salamandastron.
Speaking of Salamandastron… it’s my current read. Rereading these books has made me realize that they may have influenced my love of badgers.
The Probable Next Five Reads…
This totally got hijacked by Redwall, and probably will continue to be! However, after Salamandastron, I’m going to take a brief break to read and review an ARC – Off Planet by Aileen Erin.
That’s the update at this end! We’re settling in for a bit more snow this weekend, but hopefully the March Rearview will include some spring weather!!!
This post is a perfect example of why I like your blog so much. It combines several things I like in theory (home projects! gardening! border collies!) and reality (good books!).
Also loved Redwall! Did you have a stand-out most and least favorite from back in the day? I know my favorite was Taggerung, and I hated Loamhedge. I picked them up whenever they were cheap at Hastings, and I have almost all of them! Honestly, re-reads are probably going to wait until I can share it with my kids, though. That TBR…
On that note, I’m not gonna lie. Your TBR was stressing me out. 😅
Why thank you!!!
I honestly don’t have clear Redwall memories from childhood, although some of the books seem vaguely familiar as I’m reading them. I like the badgers and hares the best. I’m not even sure that I actually read all of them when I was a kid, so some of the later ones may be completely new reads.
lol the thing is, I started that TBR back when I was first starting to follow other book blogs, and really had no idea how swiftly the books would accumulate! After a few years, I feel like I have a better sense for assessing reviews and genuinely knowing if I would actually like the book! While it wasn’t stressing me out exactly, it was frustrating me because it was just this big pile of STUFF with no real organization. It’s starting to take shape now and I’m VERY excited! Go spreadsheets!!!
Your room turned out so beautiful! I love it. I hope you get lots of enjoyment out of it. I’m also very impressed with your TBR culling. I did some of that myself (though not in such an organized fashion) and I’m down to 300-some I believe. I hope you have a great March!
If I can get below 400 I will have culled more than half, which is honestly my goal. I realized the list was cluttered with a lot of books I felt rather ambivalent towards reading. I’ve also been getting rid of books that include something that I know I don’t like, like infidelity being a large part of the plot, or just sounding depressing, or someone showing up with a baby someone fathered ten years ago but no one bothered to let him know. I don’t need that kind of negativity in my life when there are SO many books I’m genuinely EXCITED to read!
LikeLiked by 1 person
I hate the “Surprise! You’re a father!” trope, too. Although I did recently read a book that employed that and still really enjoyed the book.
I remember loving the Redwall books! My favorites were Mossflower and Mariel of Redwall. The first one always scared me though, haha. I maintain that Cluny the Scourge was absolutely terrifying.
Right?? So far none of the other villains have been as scary as Cluny. I don’t remember the specific books very well from my childhood reading, just vague impressions of rats being evil and badgers being awesome! :-D