Long Term Reading Projects

I don’t usually make TBRs because it feels too ridged. I don’t like feeling like reading is homework. ie. read pages 100-212 tonight and pages 213- 345 tomorrow. When I see page numbers written down I immediately rebel and want to read any book but the one listed. So short term reading goals often don’t work for me.

Long term reading goals are fun though. And with no real deadline it’s not worrisome for me if I don’t work on one for a month, or several, at a time.

Long term reading projects I have range from reading all of the books by a favorite author to reading all winners of the Newbery Award to reading a specific set of recommended books in a genre I enjoy.

The project I’ve been working on the longest is my goal to read all of the Newberry Award winning books all the way back to the beginning in 1922. I started this challenge in September 2017 and of the 97 books on the list I have read 9 so far. I was progressing in this challenge by ordering one book from the list from my library each month, but have fallen off the wagon a bit with this one.

The next challenge I started in about September too. That goal is to read every book written by Lois Lowry. I have read 13 of the 44 on the list so far and have fallen off this wagon as well after reading a few that I didn’t like so much. They weren’t bad, just not as good as The Giver quartet. Those are the books that made me want to read everything she has written.

The third goal is sitting at 2 out of 17 books written by Anne Lamott. I’ve read at least 3 or 4 of the others, but that was long ago and I plan to reread them.

The next challenge is a list of books about writing. Many of them rereads and others ones that I’ve meant to read for some time. I am sitting at 3 out of 15 read and another 1 started.

The other genre specific list of books are dystopian reads. I have a list of 38 dystopian books that I want to read. So far I have read 1 and that was The Stand by Stephen King.

I’m also hoping to read Fredrik Backman’s books (1/8) and all of Seanan McGuire’s books (3/37) though I think those lists are outdated.

I keep track of my long term reading goals in my bookish bullet journal with simple checkbox lists like these.

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Do you have any long term reading goals? How do you keep track of your progress?

If you want to know the specific books on any of my lists let me know.

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Color Coded TBR (blue)

I decided to choose a set of books to read from my shelf based entirely on color. I started with my favorite color, blue. I’ll show you the list of books I chose today and after I’ve read them, I’ll come back and tell you what they are about and what I thought about them.

Today’s five blue books are:

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The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

The Twin by Gerbrand Bakker

Of these, the only one I’ve read before is The Phantom Tollbooth.  I purchased The Silver Star  in 2017 and Year of Yes  in 2018. The others have been on my shelf for at least five years (this is an estimate).

I’ll be back with my thoughts on these five books once I’ve finished them all.

Have you read any of these books before?

Tome Infinity and Beyond Week One Wrap UP

I had a lot of physical setbacks this week so I’m not nearly where I wanted to be in my readathon reading. Here is how the first 7 days of Tome Infinity and Beyond went for me.

September 7th

On the first day of Tome Infinity and Beyond I began my first book. The Witch and Other Tales Re-told by Jean Thompson. Day one was a busy day for me and I only manged to get through the first story. It was not what I was expecting, but it was okay. I gave it ✰2✰. 36 pages read on day one.

September 8th

Day two my depression was taking over. I have a lot of eye issues and a fear of all things medical has stopped me from being looked at for the issues that have been ongoing for two years at this point. They have gotten far worse in the past month of so though. And on day two I was having so many vision issues that I couldn’t see the words on the page to read without an extreme amount of effort.

I didn’t read at all the first half of the day. I regrouped after a nap and read the second story in from The Witch. I gave that story ✰2✰ as well. 24 pages read on day two.

September 9th

Day three my eyes were still being difficult. (I did send a feeler message for a new eye doctor though). I dug out an extra bright desk lamp and set that up on my desk to help me see my pages better. I read the third and fourth stories in The Witch. I gave each of those stories just ✰2✰ as well. I also read about half of the fifth story. 62 pages read on day three. My best day of the readathon so far.

September 10th

Day four was a Monday. Those are the busiest days of the week at our house. I go with my daughter and her grandparents to do all the shopping and errands for the household and nothing went right.

I did get some reading done though, even with the long day and my difficult eyes. I read the rest of story five in The witch and gave that story ✰3✰.

September 11th

Same story with my eyes. No reply from the potential new eye doctor as of this morning. Still using a very bright light to try and read for little bits of time. Still working on book one. I should have been over half way through my second, and longest book, by the end of today. I feel like giving up, but I’ll just keep plugging along and see how it goes. On to story six in The witch.

I finished story six in the early morning and gave that ✰2✰. So far an entirely underwhelming book. Two stories to go and then I’ll move on to a new book. Having to take frequent breaks to rest my eyes is making for very slow going.

Story seven got another ✰2✰ rating. I should have DNF-ed it long ago, but with only one story left I pressed on the next day.

September 12th

Day 6 I finally finished my first book. The witch.  The final story also got a ✰2✰ rating, giving the book as a whole only ✰2✰. Of the eight stories I was underwhelmed by all of them. I enjoyed the writing style, but the stories themselves didn’t really do anything for me.

My eyes were exhausted and I had work to do, but I was hoping to finally start my second book of the readathon later this day.

After completing the first challenge I found myself on Venus and I needed to read a book with a bold female character to leave this planet. My next book to be read was The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer. I had high hopes for this one. I read The Host in December of 2017 and really enjoyed it. It would have had a ✰5✰ rating except the epilogue knocked it down a star for me.

I didn’t make it anywhere near the 344 pages I needed to read of this book today in order to be caught up on my readathon tbr plans.In fact, I only made it through one page.

I did however get my eye doctor appointment scheduled. Phew. Here’s hoping they can figure something out. Aside from the fear of never seeing my daughters face as an adult or a teenager or maybe even as a four year old next February, not being able to read has been the biggest depression inducing side effect of all my vision issues.

September 13th

Today I finally got an actual start on The Chemist. This was one of only two books on my TBR that are by more popular authors. I found this book on my library Overdrive app and it was available. Reading on my Kindle if far easier on my eyes than reading in a physical book at this time. I use white words on black pages and the light is coming from inside the screen instead  of in front of or behind the book.

I still needed to read about 450 pages of this book today to be caught up on the readathon, but at least now it felt like I could make some progress without injuring myself more. I read 45 pages this day.

I’ll be back next week to wrap up the remaining days of Tome Infinity and Beyond. How is your readathon reading going?

Too Many Free Ebooks

I love physical copies of books. I’m a sucker for a big floppy trade paperback. I especially love that format for non-fiction books that I want to write in and reference back to later. I also love ebooks. I read on my kindle every day. Usually in bed at night. My eyes aren’t so great these days so it’s really hard to read a physical book in the light in our bedroom.  I read books from my library on Overdrive, usually more popular books. I read a lot of other, less popular books too. I usually read those on Kindle in the form of free ebooks.

I originally started my Kindle book collection because I couldn’t say no to anything free. My Kindle content says I own 2733 Kindle books. Apparently the first book I bought for free was on July 25th, 2011. A book I’ve never read. Let’s be honest, there are probably hundreds of books on my account that I will never read. When you get something only because it’s free it doesn’t always work out.

I have since become more discerning in the number of ebooks I acquire. If I don’t think I’ll read it, I don’t purchase it. I also don’t download anything number two or higher in a series unless I already have book 1.

I am also trying, every week or so, to go through my enormous library of Kindle books and getting rid of at least a few that I know I won’t read.

One thing I’m doing to catch up on the crazy backlog a bit is to download everything I purchase to my Kindle instead of letting it sit in the cloud and be entirely forgotten. That way when I scroll through the list of books I’ve downloaded a title will be sparked in to my memory when I am looking for a new read.

I’m probably still downloading way more books than I’ll ever get to though. It’s really hard for me to say no to a book that I might want to read someday. Especially when it’s free today and might not be tomorrow or whenever I’m ready to read it.

In general I find ebooks to be way overpriced. I can usually find a physical copy in excellent condition for far cheaper than I can purchase an ebook And an ebook doesn’t feel like I’ve really gotten anything for my money.

I’m cheap and I love ebooks. Of course I found ways to make finding them easier.

I’ve won a dozen or so books from Goodreads giveaways. I don’t like to enter many though because it feels like I am obligated to write a review and writing book reviews terrifies me. They are a way to possibly get free books though.

The bulk of the Kindle books I have are gotten through daily emails that list free or sometimes very cheap books.

Bookbub is the one I’ve been using the longest. Each day I get a list of ebooks sent to my email. A few are free. Most of them are very cheap, a dollar or two. You can choose genres you’re interested in and skip the others.

Anther one that I’ve been following for less time is called Free Booksy. This one is my favorite. I get an email every day that has a long list of ebooks for free and couple that cost a small amount. Today for instance my email contained 32 free ebooks. Again you can choose which genres you want to be told about. I’m loving the LGBT  section of book choices that has been included recently.

The final email I get daily with free ebooks is one I discovered very recently. It is called Book Basset. This is more of a blog style email and website than just a list of books. You get way more information about each book in the email though. I haven’t made much use of this daily email yet, but have downloaded a few things.

Between the three emails daily I’m sure I’m downloading more books that I can read, but I can’t always help myself. And at least I’m not in danger of hurting our budget. Needing to buy the second, third, fourth, fifth, etc books in a newly loved series though, that will hurt the budget big time.

Do you like to try free ebooks, or do you like to stick with more well known authors and series?

Picture Books about Kindergarten

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My daughter is so incredibly excited to be a kindergartner. We started her kindergarten year of homeschool  on August 24th.  For about 6 weeks leading up to the start of school we checked books about kindergarten out from our library and read them all many times. It certainly helped to keep her excitement up.

Some of the books we checked out and loved over that time period are:

If you Take a Mouse to School by Laura Joffe Numeroff
The 12 Days of Kindergarten by Jenna Lettice
Kindergarten is Cool! by Linda Elovitz Marshall
Ready Set Kindergarten! by Paula Ayer
On the First Day of Kindergarten by Tish Rabe
Planet Kindergarten by Sue Ganz-Schmitt
This is my Home, This is my School by Jonathan Bean
Charlie Goes to School by Ree Drummond
Super Saurus Saves Kindergarten by Deborah Underwood
Amanda Panda Quits Kindergarten by Candice F Ransom

My daughter’s favorites of the bunch were The 12 Days of Kindergarten and On the First Day of Kindergarten.  They are both songs like the 12 days of Christmas, but with words about school and all the fun things the children are doing there.

She and I both always enjoy This is my Home, This is my School.  We love to talk about how he does school at home and how his kitchen is his cafeteria and his car is his school bus. She loves to read stories about kids that go to school in a public school setting, but she loves it even more when she can read about kids who go to school at home like she does.

My favorite book of the bunch was another book about kids that do school at home. It is called Charlie Goes to School. We hadn’t read this one before. It is new to our library. This is a very cute story about Charlie, a dog, that helps around the homestead with all of the chores like fixing a tire, shoeing a horse, and with school. He decides to start his own school to teach the animals on the homestead how to read and do math. It’s a very cute and fun story with great pictures.

These were all great reads for my new kindergartner. I’m hoping to add the two homeschool books to our home collection at some point.

Her biggest takeaway though from all of the books was that as a kindergartner it was very important she have a lunch box. I don’t want her to miss out on the things public school children do so her new lunch box is Paw Patrol and she likes to use it to eat lunch in the living room or at the park.

What books do you like to read at back to school time?

Can you find your passion by answering 3 questions?

With my husband losing his job and trying to find a new one there has been a lot of talk about what he wants to be when he grows up. He’s 42. I’m 31. I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up either. I was looking up ways to find what you’re good at or career tests or how to find your passion. I came across an article on The Telegraph website called Eight Ways to Find the True Passion in Life that has Eluded You written by Rebecca Burn-Callander. You can find this article here.

The article talks about 8 different ways to find your true passion in life. The first one asks three questions.

Finding your passion could be easier than you think. By answering these questions honestly, you could work out what to do with the rest of your life.

“What subject could I read 500 books about without getting bored?”

“What could I do for five years straight without getting paid?”

“What would I spend my time doing if I had complete financial abundance to do anything?”

I answered the questions like this. I could read 500 books about writing. I would read for five years straight. And if I could spend my time doing anything I would read, drink coffee, teach my daughter at home, play, and travel.

Answering these questions I discovered that I should read a lot, write a lot, home school and play with my daughter, and drink a lot of coffee. Travel will have to come after our finances have been sorted out again.

I’m not sure yet how to make money writing, reading, and drinking coffee, but I do try to make as much time for all of those things as possible. In fact, looking at my journal where I wrote down the answers to these questions, it was the day I filled in my answers that I decided to take the jump back in to my blog after having abandoned it when my husband lost his job. I haven’t had this much fun with writing in a long time.

Have I found a career? Not quite. But I’ve been hearing and reading a lot more lately about how your passion does not necessarily have to equate to a career or job. If you love it you should do it even if you never make a cent. Following your passion because you are passionate about it is enough.

So I’ll do the things I know I love and try to find new ways to bring in more income. As Elizabeth Gilbert says in Big Magic “If someday I got lucky enough to be paid for my work, that would be great, but in the meantime, money could always come from other places.”

Gilbert also says in Big Magic “Do whatever brings you to life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart. The rest of it will take care of itself.”

I’ll be here doing the things that make me money, but also doing the things that make me happy like reading and writing and drinking coffee. Both kinds of activities are equally important.

Do your passions make you money?

Tome Infinity and Beyond Readathon TBR

Tome Infinity and Beyond Readathon TBR

Tome Infinity and Beyond is a readathon being hosted by Brews and Reviews along with several other hosts. The readathon is taking place from September 7th to September 21st. The story and the map for the readathon make this one of the coolest reading events I’ve ever taken part in. You can find the mission log and map here.

I will be leaving Earth on Ship C. I’ll be reading a book of short stories. I chose The Witch and Other Tales Re-Told by Jean Thompson.

After I arrive Venus I will read a book with a bold female character. I chose The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer.

I am then traveling to Mercury and reading a book under 250 pages. For this challenge I chose Will & I by Clay Byars.

After Mercury I ended up in the Asteroid Belt. I have to read a space opera adventure to escape. I chose to read Armada by Ernest Cline.

For my final planet and my final book I arrive at Saturn where I have to read a book with circles on the cover. For this challenge I chose I am the Cheese by Robert Cormier. This will be my only reread of the event, but it’s been many years (perhaps a decade or two.

And that is where I will settle down to live. I am assuming we are including the 21st as a reading day which means I have 15 days to read these 5 books. There are 1531 pages across the five books on my TBR. I need to read just over 100 pages a day to keep up and to safely find my new home.

What will you be reading for this reading challenge?