My Bookish Week 01/25/20

This week I did pretty well reading wise. I finished 4 more books bringing my yearly total up to 9 books read so far. I am now only in the middle of 3 books because I focused on finishing books instead of starting new ones.

Unfortunately it was also a bad mental health week and I did a little shopping and am now officially losing the lower my TBR battle, but I’m sure I can catch back up, just maybe not this month.

This week I finished reading

6. It’s Ok That You’re Not OK by Megan Devine ✰5✰ This is one of the books about grief I was hoping to finish this year. This book took me months to read. Not at the fault of the book. I don’t like to be inside my grief, actively working on it, for too long each day. It’s overwhelming. This book offered so much to so many people. Encouragement and love for those who are grieving and practical advice for both the grieving and those that love them and want to be helpful. This is an invaluable resource for all. 

7. I Love My Love by Reyna Biddy ✰2✰ I’m using this book for the Pop Sugar reading challenge to read a book written by an author in their 20s. 

8. Gwendy’s Magic Feather by Richard Chizmar ✰3✰ I’m using this book for the Pop Sugar reading Challenge to read a book that passes the Bechdel test. 

9. Fool Moon by Jim Butcher ✰4✰ I am using this book for the Pop Sugar Challenge to read a book by an author with more than 20 books published. It is also a book from my 2017 purchases reading goal. 

This week I continued reading

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (page 96/1468)

This week I started reading

Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore (page109/338)

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman (page 16/337)

This week I acquired

6. How to Boil Water by Jennifer Darling

7. The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

8. The Magic Three of Solatia by Jane Yolen

9. Emergency Contact by Mary HK Choi

10. The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman

11. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

12. Wundersmith by Jessica Townsend

13. A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard

Next week I hope to pick up (at least one of these)

The Stainless Steel Rat Saves the World by Harry Harrison

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Wilder Girls by Rory Power

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Next week it will be February. I’m hoping to finish at least two or three more books before January is finished.

Recent Read – A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

My rating ✰5✰

Picture and quote from Goodreads

An unflinching, darkly funny, and deeply moving story of a boy, his seriously ill mother, and an unexpected monstrous visitor.

At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting– he’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his backyard is different. It’s ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth. From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd– whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself– Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.

This was such a hard and emotional read. Knowing what was coming for Conor and his mother while he seemed to not know, or at least to not acknowledge it was painful. Watching his mother die before our eyes mirrored watching my beloved husband Jason die in so many ways that it hurt my heart intensely to see it all over again in Conor’s eyes. I was sobbing uncontrollably by the end. It was such a hard and touching and powerful story that I am so glad I read. The pictures added to the story and were frightening all on their own.

Seeing Conor’s fear and anger come out throughout the book were something I could relate to from my own loss. The denial wasn’t something I related too, but could see why he was experiencing it. The representation of grief is painfully accurate. I highly recommend this book to anyone that can handle the tears it will likely cause.

Five Star Book Predictions

I hope to give every book I read five stars, but that’s not realistic. I looked through my recent acquisitions to see which ones jumped out at me as the most likely to be new favorites. Here are 5 of them in no particular order. I’ll link to goodreads and share the blurb they have there as well.

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren

Three years ago, Tanner Scott’s family relocated from California to Utah, a move that nudged the bisexual teen temporarily back into the closet. Now, with one semester of high school to go, and no obstacles between him and out-of-state college freedom, Tanner plans to coast through his remaining classes and clear out of Utah.

But when his best friend Autumn dares him to take Provo High’s prestigious Seminar—where honor roll students diligently toil to draft a book in a semester—Tanner can’t resist going against his better judgment and having a go, if only to prove to Autumn how silly the whole thing is. Writing a book in four months sounds simple. Four months is an eternity.

It turns out, Tanner is only partly right: four months is a long time. After all, it takes only one second for him to notice Sebastian Brother, the Mormon prodigy who sold his own Seminar novel the year before and who now mentors the class. And it takes less than a month for Tanner to fall completely in love with him.

Wilder Girls by Rory Powers

It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her.

It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.

But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.

The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

A cursed girl escapes death and finds herself in a magical world – but is then tested beyond her wildest imagination

Morrigan Crow is cursed. Having been born on Eventide, the unluckiest day for any child to be born, she’s blamed for all local misfortunes, from hailstorms to heart attacks–and, worst of all, the curse means that Morrigan is doomed to die at midnight on her eleventh birthday.

But as Morrigan awaits her fate, a strange and remarkable man named Jupiter North appears. Chased by black-smoke hounds and shadowy hunters on horseback, he whisks her away into the safety of a secret, magical city called Nevermoor.

It’s then that Morrigan discovers Jupiter has chosen her to contend for a place in the city’s most prestigious organization: the Wundrous Society. In order to join, she must compete in four difficult and dangerous trials against hundreds of other children, each boasting an extraordinary talent that sets them apart – an extraordinary talent that Morrigan insists she does not have. To stay in the safety of Nevermoor for good, Morrigan will need to find a way to pass the tests – or she’ll have to leave the city to confront her deadly fate.

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

‘I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.

My name is Kvothe.
You may have heard of me’

Becoming by Michelle Obama

In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare.

In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.

From these selections it feels like I read pretty widely and enjoy a wide variety of books. The one of these I plan to read next is Wilder Girls. I hope to start it in just a few days time. Have any of these books been five star reads for you?

My Bookish Week 01/18/20

It was a pretty good reading week. I finished three more books and made progress in four others. I didn’t read as much as I had hoped to though. Pepper’s behavior is normalizing again thankfully so hopefully I’ll have more reading time this coming week.

This week I finished reading

3. Often I am Happy by Jens Christian Grondahl ✰3✰  I am using this book for the Pop Sugar reading challenge to read a book with only words on the cover. 

4. Grieving: A Love Story by Ruth Coughlin ✰5✰ I am using this book for the Pop Sugar reading challenge to read a book by or about a journalist. 

5. Middlegame by Seanan McGuire ✰5✰ This is one of the tomes I wanted to read this year. I am going to also use this book for the Pop Sugar reading prompt to read a book with a character with a vision impairment. 

This week I continued reading

It’s Ok That You’re Not OK by Megan Devine (page 197/241)

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (page 53/1468)

Fool Moon by Jim Butcher (page 150/342)

Gwendy’s Magic Feather by Richard Chizmar (page 131/323)

This week I acquired

4. The Supremes Sing the Happy Heartache Blues by Edward Kelsey Moore ($1.00)

5. Perfect Little World by Kevin Wilson. ($1.00)

Next week I hope to pick up

Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

I Love My Love by Reyna Biddy

I hope that you all have a good reading week and I hope that I do too.

Books On Grief

After my husband died from brain cancer in June of 2019 I began reading books about grief and widowhood and death, mostly non-fiction, but some fiction as well. I have collected 20 books, aimed at adults, on these subjects in the past seven months. My daughter, age 4, has a couple dozen books on grief and death as well. Of the 20 I purchased for myself I read 7 in 2019 and have read 3 others since the new year began.

Of those books, my top recommendation would be Grief: Day by Day and How to Survive the Loss of a Love would be a close second. They were all good for me in some way though and I don’t think you an go wrong with any of them.

The other books I’ve purchased and plan to read throughout this year are:

Do you have any other books on grief, death, widowhood, etc that you can recommend to me? We are an atheist family so something not too heavy handed with the religious aspects you often find in books of this type are appreciated.

 

2020 Reading Goals

I used to love making goals and reading goals are my favorite kind. I’ve made several for this year.

  1. Read at least 100 books
  2. Own fewer unread books at the end of the year than I have at the beginning. I’m not going to count all of the books I own at this time because it’s at least 700 and I don’t want to spend time counting them when I could spend that time reading instead. For my charts I’ll just start with a 0 which is whatever I have now and subtract books I own and have read and add books I have purchased. I don’t have a number goal in mind, I just want it to be smaller.
  3. Only order books online when I’ve read 10 physical books that I owned in 2019 or earlier. This is one way I hope to help with goal number two. In 2019 I purchased or was given 285 books. I buy most of my books online so I hope to lessen that a bit by only placing an order after reading 10 other books. This won’t limit what I read from my shelves or the library or digitally and it won’t limit in person purchases, but online is where my control problems lie. I also won’t necessarily restrict how many I can buy in that online order, but it’s usually about the free shipping threshold of $35. This will mean every time I read 10 books, I will order about 5 books. I’m hoping to keep the in person shopping low too, but I don’t spend nearly as much that way so I’m not worrying about that part right now. And I don’t think Christmas and Birthday gifts, even ones I buy for myself, count towards this.
  4. Finish reading all of the books I have records of for 2017. I only have records of my book purchases from November 2017 on. Of the books purchased in November and December 2017 I still have 14 unread books. I hope to finish those all in 2020. They are:
    1. Luka and the Fire of Life by Salaman Rushdie
    2. The Rules of the Tunnel by Ned Zeman
    3. While My Pretty One Sleeps by Mary Higgins Clark
    4. The Silver Star By Jeannette Walls
    5. The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox
    6. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
    7. Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett
    8. Rocket City by Cathryn Alpert
    9. Fool Moon by Jim Butcher
    10. Grave Peril by Jim Butcher
    11. Summer Knight by Jim Butcher
    12. Death Masks by Jim Butcher
    13. Blood Rites by Jim Butcher
    14. Dead Beat by Jim Butcher
  5. Read at least 14 tomes (books over 500 pages). I do not read long books. Almost never. They intimidate me, but I own so many that I am excited to read. Here are fourteen I plan to read in 2020:
    1. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
    2. Middlegame by Seanan McGuire
    3. Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder
    4. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
    5. Battle Royale by Koushun Takami
    6. I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb
    7. Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann
    8. The Red pyramid by Rick Riordan
    9. Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames
    10. Angels & Demons by Dan Brown
    11. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
    12. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
    13. House of Leaves by Mark Z Danielewski
    14. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
  6. Complete the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge for 2020. I’ve never done this before but I would like to. I have the prompts in my reading journal and I was going to try and fit books in to each category, but I think I will just read what I read and slot them in to challenges as I can.
  7. Participate in Booktube Rereadathon 2020.I always like the idea of rereading my favorite books but in practice I pretty much never do so. This readathon is hosted by Alex Black Reads and has one challenge for each month of the year. For each prompt you reread a book based on the prompt.

 

These should all be completely doable. I’m excited to get started.

My Bookish Week 01/11/20

I spent this week with a sick kiddo so not too much reading was done. I finished one more book though and started two others.

This week I finished reading

2. That Which You Are Seeking is Causing You to Seek by Cheri Huber ✰3✰ I will be using this book for the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge for reading a book that was published in your birthday month. Goodreads says it was published on Feb 1, 1990. This is also a Jason book*

This week I continued reading

It’s Ok That You’re Not OK by Megan Devine (page 165/241)

Middlegame by Seanan McGuire (page 209/523)

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (page 39/1468)

Fool Moon by Jim Butcher (page 88/342)

Grieving: A Love Story by Ruth Coughlin (page 72/173)

This week I started reading

Often I am Happy by Jens Christian Grondahl (page 79/167)

Gwendy’s Magic Feather by Richard Chizmar (page 37/323)

This week I acquired

3. Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter This was a gift

Next week I hope to pick up

Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

I Love My Love by Reyna Biddy

I have plans to finish between 3 and 6 of the books I’m reading this week, depending on how the kiddo is feeling and how much time I end up with for reading.

*A Jason book is a book owned by my late husband before I met him or a book he talked about often through our 9 year marriage