2020: The Year of the Reading Challenges!

So I’ve never been much for reading challenges, but they are a big part of the Litsy community (are you guys on Litsy yet?  You NEED to be on Litsy!), and I’m finding myself drawn to all of them.  While I doubt that I’ll be able to complete them all, I am looking forward to seeing if I can find books from my TBR to fit some of the categories.  I’m not looking for new books to read as much as I am looking for creative ways to choose what books I knock off my already-huge TBR next!

I’ll probably be posting updates for these challenges on each month’s Rearview Mirror for my own records.

#ReadingUSA2020

Can I read a book set in every state in the US?  Bigger question:  Is there a book set in every state in the US in my personal collection here in this very house??  I’m still working on pulling together the list, but I think that I am going to be at least at 75% just from books I own.  We’ll see.

#ReadingEurope2020

So technically the original ReadingUSA challenge was last year, so the people on Litsy who completed that one are starting a new challenge of reading a book set in every European country this year.  While I’m going to focus on USA (so much easier), I’m also seeing if I can check off books for Europe as well.  This all ties into my overall goal of entering/tagging all of my books in LibraryThing (an ongoing project that may last years).  So far I’m through the “H” authors on my shelves and have found books for Austria, Germany, The Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland.  It should be pretty easy to check off the major countries, but I don’t anticipate just stumbling across a book set in, say, Slovenia. I’ll keep my eye out, but since I’m mostly focusing on books that are already on my TBR, I’m not sure how far I’ll actually get with this challenge.

#Booked2020

This is a random challenge with six categories for each season.  The categories for winter are:

  • Millennial Author
  • Hat/Head Covering on the Cover
  • #LiveandLearn – Subject Mostly New to You
  • Set in Hollywood
  • #CoverCrush
  • Finish in a Day

Again, I think I can find books either on my shelves or on my TBR list to fit all of these categories.

#AuthoraMonth

The host for this challenge gave everyone the opportunity to vote on what authors they would like for this challenge, and the top twelve were chosen.  January’s author is Fredrick Backman, so I may finally get around to picking up Beartown.  The idea is to read at least one book by the month’s author as a way of discovering some new authors.

#ReadWithMrBook

MrBook is a major member of Litsy and an active promoter of the community there.  He chooses one category a month and encourages everyone to read a book from it and let him know what has been read.  January’s category is “One-Word Title” – should be a pretty easy one to find on my shelves!

#YearoftheChunksters

The hosts for this challenge are encouraging everyone to check off some of those 500+ page books from their TBRs.  I don’t get myself embroiled in ridiculously long books very often, but I am going to see what’s on my shelves.  One chunkster a month may be a good goal.

Book Log

At the beginning of this year I started using an Excel spreadsheet to track my reading, and it’s been fantastic.  It lets me geek out on my personal stats, which I love, and has helped me keep track of what books have been reviewed.  However, I really have been wanting a physical book to use as well.  When I’m traveling and such, it’s nice to have something with me where I can jot down a few notes while I am still having all the book feels.  Plus, what happens if my computer crashes and I lose all my spreadsheets??  However, I’ve had trouble finding a book journal that reflects what I want.  Most of them have a lot of stuff for future planning, or try to be a combo book log and daily planner.  I finally found one on Amazon that is less than $6, has space for 100 books, and asks the exact questions I want to track.  I’ve been using this one for the month of December and it’s fantastic.  The first few pages are an index, and then each number links to a full page for that book.  It’s simple and does just what I need it to and no more:

I’m mostly passing this on in case any of you are looking for a book log also.  The price is so reasonable that it seemed worthwhile to mention it.  Here’s the link on Amazon (I get literally nothing out of you purchasing this; this is just me personally liking something, not me getting rewarded to plug an item) – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1695289064

The cover choices are kind of meh, but you can’t have everything!

So, do any of you participate in any kind of reading challenges?  Have any of you joined Litsy yet?  Let me know if you do!

On Swearing in YA …

Yesterday I grumbled a bit about swearing in a YA book I recently read (and greatly enjoyed), Kids of Appetite.  While I still don’t like swearing in general, and especially in YA, it was random because that same exact day I saw Maggie Stiefvater address the topic on her Twitter.  Someone had tweeted her saying that they had enjoyed the lack of profanity in Stiefvater’s most recent book, All the Crooked Saints.  Stiefvater replied:

Intentional! Scorpio Races is also mostly without swears. Pip Bartlett is 100% profanity free. I use it as shorthand — if I think a book has difficult content a younger reader ought to talk through with an adult, I throw in swears to make sure it gets labeled for older readers.

Difficult content, in my opinion: suicide, self-harm, abuse, drug or alcohol use, an excessive number of Latin verbs.

While I can’t imagine that every author uses (or doesn’t use) swearing as thoughtfully, I thought that it was an intriguing methodology, and a reminder that just because I like or don’t like something that an author has done, doesn’t mean that that thing was done thoughtlessly.

Opinions?

Blogging Blehs

Sometimes I go through phases where blogging just sounds like so much work and ick, so that’s why I haven’t been posting much the last week or two.  Because, frankly, I only do this for fun, so if it isn’t fun…  there isn’t much of a point!

But I’m starting to feel the reviews simmering inside of me.  Writing is one of those things that I can’t help but do; I’ve done it my whole life.  And while I have no real skill for writing fiction, I’ve always enjoyed reviewing, summarizing, writing reports, all those sorts of things that help you through college.  And it’s part of why I started this blog – so I would have an outlet for my writing, and a place to practice it, because writing is definitely a skill that begins to fade away if it isn’t used regularly!

At any rate, I have some great books in the review queue, so I thought I would let you know what is upcoming, if I ever get around to it (links to Goodreads)….

  • 32948256The Magician’s Workshop, Volumes I & II by Christopher R. Hansen and J.R. Fehr – these books were sent to me from the authors with a request for review.  I don’t always do this (and I honestly don’t get a lot of requests because I’m not like a crazy popular blogger), but I really liked the concept of these stories, and they ended up being a lot of fun.  I actually did write a Goodreads review for the first book, but I wasn’t really in a blogging mood when I did so, so that will probably be edited and then a review for both books posted here.  Someday.
  • Shatter by Michael Robotham – the third Joseph O’Laughlin book was some A+ creepy shizznizz that I totally enjoyed, except for the part where they get divorced in the end.  What the heck.
  • Terms & Conditions by Ysenda Maxtone Graham – this is my first Slightly Foxed edition book, and it was so much fun.  Just the physical act of reading this book was a delight because it is PERFECTLY bound.
  • The New Way Things Work by David Macauley – Two nonfiction books in one month??  Yes!  I’ve been working through this book forever, and finally finished it off!
  • The Travelers by Chris Pavone – this book was interesting, but I also felt like it should have been a lot more exciting for being a book about spies and all.  It somehow lacked that can’t-put-down-ness that really good thrillers have.
  • Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen – I was expecting some little chick flick fluffiness, but this ended up being a surprisingly good story with a really excellent message that still wasn’t preachy.

termsconditionsAs you can see, my blogging blues haven’t impacted my actual reading!  We’ve had some lazy weekend days here with really lousy weather.  The husband has been teaching himself to play bass on Rocksmith on the PS4 (surprisingly good?  Now I’m teaching myself guitar!), so I’ve been curled up in a fluffy recliner with a pile of books and a soft blanket, reading away and listening to the bass line of Roger Miller’s King of the Road repeatedly.

Hopefully all is well out there in the blogger world…  I should be back in the groove soon…

Hey friends!

Sorry for the long silence!  Life has been truly crazy of late.  Of course, I always have plenty of time to read (an expert like myself can read while doing other things that would normally be a waste of time, like brushing my teeth or cooking supper or walking from one end of the apartment to the other), but blogging…!!!  And I’ve read some really great books, too!  I’m especially looking forward to posting about The View from Saturday, which was a book I wasn’t really expecting to enjoy and ended up purchasing immediately after reading because I loved it so much; Unequal Affections, which was actually a well-written retelling of Pride and Prejudice for once; Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World, because who doesn’t want to read a random book by someone who is weirdly obsessed with bananas?? and Conrad’s Fate, another great installment of the Chrestomanci series.

But all of that is (hopefully) in the future.  Last week, my husband and I went to North Carolina with my brother and his wife, and had a fantastically relaxing week (for once, I legitimately felt like I needed a holiday), so for now my blogging focus is going to be on updating the Travel Log.  I usually post as we go along, but I didn’t take my laptop this time (more time for reading!) so I’m a bit behind.  Feel free to catch up on my news there (or not lol), and hopefully I will be back to books soon!!