Reading Challenge 2014 Update: 6/1/2014

I know, it’s been forever since I’ve updated. But I’ve been too busy doing other things to blog (reading, working, looking for new books, gardening, watching my shows, hanging out on reddit wasting time…yeah…). Anyway. For April and May I did really well with reading, so proud of myself. Think June is going to be another good month. I’m trying to hammer away at my massive tbr list, but the problem is that for every one book I read, I acquire about four or five more. I’ve come to the realization that I may (perhaps) have a bit of a book hording issue. Maybe. (but I love my books! please don’t ever take them away from me!) So, yeah. One step forward, many steps back. Books are awesome and hard to resist picking up, what can I say to that?

Back on track though. Here’s a list of the books I read in April and May. Sorry it’s not a fancy post with the cover pics and all that, I’m just super tired and lucky to be updating at all.

 

April

  • Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb
  • Deerskin by Robin Mckinley
  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  • If I Stay by Gayle Forman

May

  • The Lost Duke of Wyndham by Julia Quinn
  • Beguiled by Arnette Lamb
  • Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding
  • Bronze Gods by A. A. Aguirre
  • Graceling by Kristen Cashore

June (so far)

  • Silver Mirrors by A. A. Aguirre

 

That means so far this year I’ve read twenty new books. I’m right on track to make my book a week average, or even surpass it, if I can keep up this recent pace. I’ve also re-read at least three (but maybe more, I don’t always keep track when I’m re-reading something because they don’t count toward my reading goal). I’m also in the middle of about four other books that I need to finish at some point soon-ish. Overall, super pleased with my reading progress so far this year–especially the last couple of months. Going to try my best to keep it up.

2014 Book Challenge: Update 3/28/2014

Yeah, it’s been awhile. At least I made another update before March ended though, right? Heh.

What have I read since last we met? Good question. I haven’t read quite as many books as I would have liked. Although, in addition to the books listed below I’ve read a novella and am currently in the middle of three other books (one to be finished very soon I hope).  Also, keep in mind I’m only counting books I haven’t read before on my BINGO card, otherwise I really could have used a few more blocks with this batch.

I finished up the rest of the Julia Quinn books my friend had given me. That would be these three:

 

kiss_450     wedding_450     diaries_450

 

These are books that I’ve re-read since the last update:

 

Slightly Dangerous chosen_med Naamahs-Kiss-206x300

 

And so my bingo card looks like this:

 

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2014 Book Challenge: Update 2/8/2014

I really meant to update this much sooner but a combination of depression issues and pure laziness has kept me from blogging. I’ll try to update more often going forward but I’m not making any promises.

Now…on to the books!

I took a break in the middle of reading Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb (this is the second book in the Farseer Trilogy) to dig in to some regency romances. That might seem like an odd choice, but my friend came over with a huge bag of books for me and I was in the mood for some light and fluff-filled entertainment. There was a time, years ago, when I considered myself too good to read romance novels. I don’t know why, but I thought of myself as more intellectual than people that read ‘those type of trashy books with half nekkid dudes on the covers’. Then I read a book by Julie Garwood (I was visiting my cousin for the weekend and couldn’t sleep and it was laying around begging to be read) and I quickly told myself I’d been a pretentious asshole and dove head first into the genre and never looked back.

Like any genre fiction, Romance can be extremely formulaic. (And while I would include Fantasy in that, I tend to think that Fantasy has much more range–there are more formulas and tropes that are pulled from then, say, Mystery or Romance which are more narrow in scope in my opinion.) But that doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyable. And yes, even books with strong female characters tend to have the woman swooning at the men at some point (I’ve never swooned…am I missing something from my life?). So, on a critical level, I do still find some parts of romance novels problematic in a lot of ways. But, damn they can be fun to read. And sometimes that’s all we’re looking for–to be entertained.

Right now I’m reading a series by Julia Quinn that is about an aristocratic family in Regency England consisting of eight siblings; each book is about one of them finding their happily ever after. A quote on one of the covers compared the author to a ‘modern day Jane Austen’ so I had to eye-roll a bit at that. I don’t think of Jane Austen as primarily a romance writer (although she did, certainly, do that) but as a satirist. And a damned good one at that. So…yeah… But perhaps that’s just my own personal hang-up.

Anyway. I’m quite enjoying these books and have practically flown through them since I started reading them two weeks ago. I’m on the seventh book today and hope to finish that up by the end of the day. Each one has enough unique elements to set it apart from others in the series and some of the characters are not as typical as others in the genre, which I find refreshing.

Below are the ones I’ve read so far. I’ve linked the pics to the author’s site about the books if you want more information about each title.

duke_new_276         viscount_new_276         offer-mm_276

mister-mm_276         phillip-mm_276         wicked_276

So far this year I’ve seven books (and am in the middle of two others). I feel almost like I’m cheating by using so many romance novels on my bingo card because they’re so easy for me to breeze through, but I read them so they count. And my overall personal goal is much more than this card so I shouldn’t feel guilty and yet…. Oh well. My book bingo card currently looks like:

Reading-Bingo-small

Massive TBR List of Massiveness

Well, I finally got around to inputting my TBR list into Excel. Woah. Yeah, it’s long. And I’m sure I could add even more to it but I don’t want to overwhelm myself. (too late…?)

Some of the books that I don’t own I’ll probably have to skip over til I can acquire them at some point. Hrm. A couple of those would be really easy reads too…I ❤ those Michelle Sagara books.

The cool thing about Excel is that I can just change around a book’s priority any time I feel like it and rearrange my list without much fuss. And I’ll probably do that from time to time as I read things, and as my mood changes. Also, things can be easily added or dropped from this list. So feel free to rec me books.

I created a separate page for my TBR list (because it’s so massive and also an on-going thing), here’s a link.

Getting Organized

Earlier today I went through all my books and wrote down the ones that I’ve either a) started to read but didn’t finish or b) have not yet attempted to read. I just finished compiling them into a spreadsheet that is going to be my official TBR list. There are 89 books on there. O.o

It seems like an awful lot (and it is!) but keep in mind I own over 1000 books so this is less than 10% of my books that are unread. That’s not completely unreasonable. Plus, I went on a bit of a book buying bender last year, making several treks to Frederick to visit Wonder Book and coming away with hauls of 20-30 books each time. All things considered, that’s not such an unreasonable amount of unread books.

Still. Holy crap. That’s a lot of books. And those are just the ones I already own! There are a bunch more that I want to read that I don’t have! (I have yet to add those to the list, that’ll come later)

Out of the 89 there are 19 that I had started to read at some point and then put down and didn’t pick back up. O.O

This has made me realize that I really need to buckle down and get to reading. Some of these books I’m only marginally interested in, others I’ve been wanting to read for a while. Some, I know, will take me a while to get through, while a few will be an effortless breeze.

I’m going to go through the list and rank them in order–those I want to read most to those I want to read least. That will hopefully give me some sort of direction/extra motivation to make it through this year’s book challenge. Wouldn’t it be great if I could make it through all 89 of them? Fat chance of that, there are some looooong books on there (like Ken Follett’s World Without End), but one can dream.

Once I get this spreadsheet organized I’ll figure out a way to share it.

2014 Book Challenge: Week One Update

I have not one, but two book challenges that I’m working on in 2014. The first is my own personal resolution to read more books (but specifically to read four a month, or a total of 48 books). Last year I read a grand total of thirteen books (wth???). Or rather thirteen books that were new to me, I also re-read some books but I didn’t count them because they weren’t new experiences.

The second challenge I’m doing (really to help motivate me to finish the first) is the Reading Bingo challenge (brought to my attention by my friends and fellow editors at Way too Fantasy, C.J. Casey and June Faramore). I’m not going to re-post the pic or the rules, you can find out all about it in my post about it from the other day if you want.

The first full week of 2014 has passed so I thought I’d do an update. I’m not sure if I’m going to update every week or not, it depends on how much I’m reading. Hopefully, if I’m sticking to my reading goal, weekly updates shouldn’t be too hard to manage.

Books Read:

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb

AssassinsApprentice-US-Whelan-176x300

I’ve been meaning to read this book for about the last nine months or so, but recently several people recommended it to me all at once and I moved it up in my tbr pile. I’ll admit that I’m a bit of a lazy reader and tend to get bored easily (one of the reasons I’ve never been able to get in to Tolkien) so I found the first 150 or so pages really boring. There is some excellent world building accomplished, but I found the set-up to the story really tedious. Perhaps because it’s essentially someone recounting their entire life story, and not every moment of one’s life is extremely interesting. That being said, there was a ton of pay-off for all that set-up.

Once I’m in to a story I tend to get really invested, that’s why one of the most important things for me is good characters. Since it’s written in first person pov there’s a good connection with the narrator of the story, especially as the story goes on you become really concerned with how things are going to turn out for him (even though you know he lives through it all since he’s narrating this as a sort of memoir). There are some characters that are obvious villains, but still have some complexities to them. The heroes of the tale are harder to figure out and infinitely more dynamic than those you’re rooting against.

As for the plot elements, there is plenty of politics and scheming for the throne if you’re in to that sort of thing. Also, a really interesting take on magic…not so much in how or what kind of magic but who it’s wielded by.

Toward the end of the book I had to stop reading a couple of times to gather myself from some really emotional scenes (I may have cried….more than once) and the end of the novel was so suspenseful I was almost afraid to keep reading to see how things turned out.

I recommend this to anyone that loves the fantasy genre; it’s a great read. If’ you’re like me and get bored easily, don’t get discouraged and quit reading at the beginning–trust me, the end more than makes up for the beginning.

Bingo space(s):

This one qualifies for several blocks, but as I’m only counting each book for one space, I’ll have to wait and see what I want to count it as depending on what other books I read. As is this could count for the following: A Book by a Female Author, A Book That is More Than 10 Years Old, A Book With a Blue Cover. (Probably also A Book a Friend Loves)

2014 Book Challenge

This year one of my resolutions was to read at least four books a month. Well, already a week in to 2014 and I’m only a quarter of the way through my first book. I need more motivation!

Well, I have a few friends that are also avid readers and one of them posted this reading bingo challenge on facebook with the intent to finish off the entire card. Well, sign me up. This will give me some direction on giving me ideas of what to read throughout the year (my TBR list is already quite long, so I’m happy to be able to pick through it and shorten the list a bit).

If anyone wants to join in, the rules are at the Retreat by Random House page, or you can just do the entire card along with us. To keep everyone aware of how I’m doing I’ll be posting regular updates here with what books I’ve read. Good luck to everyone in their reading endeavors this year!

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