Summer TBR & 20 Books of Summer Reading Challenge!

20booksfinal

20 Books of Summer is a reading challenge hosted by 746 books (https://746books.com/2016/05/23/20-books-of-summer-is-back-whos-in/) where the challenge is essentially just to complete 20 books during Summer 2016; you can also go for 10 or 15 books as an easier challenge. I feel like 20 is fairly doable for me as a summer reading challenge, although who knows; I might dive into a super long book and get sidetracked.

The majority of my picks are books on my physical TBR shelf that I’d really like to take down, although there are a few library and audiobooks on there. I also tried to include a good mix of SFF and realistic fiction, with two nonfiction thrown in. I honestly have no idea if I will be able to stick to this TBR, but based on my current reading mood, these are the 20 books that I could really see myself getting into this summer!

 

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay (The Neapolitan Novels, #3)The Story of the Lost Child (The Neapolitan Novels, #4)North and SouthWhite Teeth

And AgainThe Girl Wakes: StoriesThe Obelisk Gate (The Broken Earth, #2)A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2)

LagoonGods Behaving BadlyDeathless (Leningrad Diptych, #1)Gold Fame Citrus

Get in Trouble: StoriesUnaccustomed EarthBrideshead RevisitedThe Young Elites (The Young Elites, #1)

The Immortal Life of Henrietta LacksRunning with ScissorsThe Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)Roses and Rot

Advertisements

May Book Haul!

IMG_1814

April was a month filled with enticing library used book sales, so there weren’t any sales in my area in May. Instead, I splurged a bit on some new books and, in an unusual move for me, actually read two and a half of the books I bought this month within the month.

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante – I finally caved into the immense literary pressure and bought My Brilliant Friend, a book that for a long time I resisted reading. I genuinely had thought I wouldn’t enjoy it; I was very, very wrong. I loved it so much that I quickly had to run back to Barnes & Noble for the second book.

The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante – the sequel to My Brilliant Friend, I just finished reading this book this morning. And now desperately need the third book.

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas – I pre-ordered this book awhile ago and am currently about halfway through; so far I’m finding it significantly more enjoyable than its predecessor, A Court of Thorns and Roses. I’m looking forward to reading the rest but want to savor it.

Love Poems by Pablo Neruda – I have never read a single poem by Pablo Neruda, although I’ve been meaning to for years. I don’t tend to read a ton of poetry but I think I should be attempting to read more of it; I’ll start with this very slim volume of extremely famously beautiful love poems.

Nobody is Ever Missing by Catherine Lacey – I don’t know a lot about this book, but I found it in the Staff Recommendations section at the Strand. The cover is absolutely gorgeous and depicts a woman being submerged in water; from the description, it looks to be about a woman leaving her life behind and immersing herself in a new environment in New Zealand. I’m intrigued.

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro – I’ve read two of Ishiguro’s previous books (Never Let Me Go and The Remains of the Day) and love his thoughtful style and his focus on the theme of the unreliability of memory. This book is his first foray into touches of fantasy and depicts an elderly couple’s search for their son. I’ve been wanting to read it ever since it came out but was waiting for the paperback edition to be released.

The Daylight Gate by Jeanette Winterson – Winterson’s The Passion was my first 5-star read of 2016, and I found this book completely accidentally on a bargain table at the Strand. From the back of the book, “The Daylight Gate is Jeanette Winterson’s singular vision of a dark period of complicated morality, sex, and tragic plays for power in a time when politics and religion were closely intertwined.” It looks to be about witchcraft and witchhunting in 1600s England, and I have really high hopes for it.

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh – I really hate watching a movie before reading a book, but it’s been a long time since I saw the film version in an indie movie theater in my college town. My goal to read more classics has been going really terribly, and I’ve  heard amazing things about this book, so I’m going to hope that this can help get me into a classics zone. The Goodreads blurb refers to this book as “the most nostalgic and reflective of Evelyn Waugh’s novels, Brideshead Revisited looks back to the golden age before the Second World War. It tells the story of Charles Ryder’s infatuation with the Marchmains and the rapidly-disappearing world of privilege they inhabit. Enchanted first by Sebastian at Oxford, then by his doomed Catholic family, in particular his remote sister, Julia, Charles comes finally to recognize only his spiritual and social distance from them.”

Bookish Travels: NYC Edition

IMG_1784

Warning: this is a very nerdy and picture-heavy post 🙂

I’ve been MIA from the blog a bit lately, mainly because of work, but also because last week I went to visit two of my friends from grad school in New York. I go to the city pretty often (usually a few times a year) but this was my first trip since I started book blogging and bookstagramming, so I decided that in addition to catching up with my friends (which was amazing!) I was going to nerd out hard.

And nerd out I did! I had the opportunity to do some awesome bookish sightseeing, as well as add a bunch of books to my ever-expanding TBR shelf, because I have a book buying addiction that I’m really not even attempting to curb at this point. The main event I was looking forward to, book-wise, was a visit to the Strand, the famously gigantic indie bookstore (18 miles of books!). I’ve been twice before and absolutely love climbing up the ladders to explore its gigantic shelves.

IMG_1731

My first bookish stop was Chelsea Market, which I’ve somehow never been to before. I used my book-ray vision to find this extremely cute bookstore, where I stared hungrily at all of the books; they had some gorgeous editions of modern classics that I somehow resisted buying.

IMG_1744

The next day, I stopped for a snack at a coffee shop my friend recommended, as she had passed it by and immediately thought of me when she noticed the wall of books inside: Ground Central Station on East 52nd. I loved the interior, which was dimly lit, with eclectic furniture and a wall of bookshelves; it seemed like it would be a perfect place to escape the craziness of the city and pop open a book.

IMG_1761

I then headed toward a main literary New York landmark, and one I was embarrassed not to have visited in the past: the New York Public Library!

I used to live in Boston and was pretty obsessed with the Boston Public Library; now I am totally devoted to my local library system that has the most ridiculously wonderful (and frequent) used book sales that I have ever encountered. But now I know that the NYPL, as well, is going to hold a special place in my library-obsessed heart.

IMG_1763

First of all, the library really builds up your anticipation as you walk along East 41st aka Library Way; there are plaques set into the sidewalk with quotes from famous writers that you read as you walk.

IMG_1765

Then you finally get there and see the humongous library in all its glory:

IMG_1767

And then you go inside and start geeking out about how beautiful it is:

IMG_1780

IMG_1773

IMG_1777

And then you discover that there is a STORE inside the library that not only sells books and bookish accessories but whose proceeds also benefit the library system! Seriously, this is a fantastic idea and one that I wish other libraries took advantage of (I’m looking at you, Boston). I ended up buying: a tote bag; a book of love poems by Pablo Neruda; and a mug with a Jane Austen quote about reading on one side and the NYPL lion on the other.

IMG_1792

The moral of this story is: if you are a bookish person and you happen to be in New York, GO TO THE LIBRARY. You will not be sorry!!

My last bookish stop was the main event: the Strand!

IMG_1787

Honestly, I was so wowed by the library that the Strand wasn’t quite as exciting for me as it was the first two times I’ve gone. But it was still awesome! And I still bought a bunch of books!

If you’ve never been to the Strand, it has a bunch of really fantastic aspects that I always enjoy. The basement floor has reduced price books, all of which are in great condition; there are sooo many bookish goodies including mugs, clothing, bags, writing accessories, etc; the shelves extend up so high that you have to use strategically placed ladders to find the books you want; and the display tables are excellently curated with not only a New Books table but also tables for Banned Books, books you may have missed, books everybody loves, etc. And then there are the stacks, which are ridiculously extensive and so fun to spend time exploring.

IMG_1788

I ended up buying another mug (this one says “A well-read woman is a dangerous creature”) and four books: Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh, The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro, The Daylight Gate by Jeanette Winterson, and Nobody is Ever Missing by Catherine Lacey.

IMG_1795

Also, on a non-bookish note, do any of you watch Unreal? Because this happened:

IMG_1728

Does anyone have any recommendations for bookish spots in NYC? I want to make a list of new places to check out during my next visit 🙂

WWW Wednesday!

img_1384-0

It’s WWW Wednesday, hosted by Taking on a World of Words at https://samannelizabeth.wordpress.com/. For WWW Wednesday, you just answer the 3 W’s:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

So, as for what I’m currently reading:

The Story of a New Name (The Neapolitan Novels #2)Citizen: An American LyricA Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2)

I’m very slowly reading/savoring A Court of Mist and Fury; I love how long it is and it’s very romance-focused. A lot of the time I tend to quickly devour books like this, but it seems like a waste; there are so few YA series that I really like that when a new one is released I feel like I should make it last. I’ll probably need to do the same thing with Crooked Kingdom when it comes out; I can’t even think of any other current YA series that I’m that into right now, which is sad.

I started The Story of a New Name, the second book in Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan quartet, a few days ago but am waiting for a good stretch of reading time to get completely immersed.  The first book ended on a huge moment (don’t worry, I would never give away any spoilers) and I know that wherever the story goes next is going to be intense.

I’m currently listening to Citizen: An American Lyric, which is a book of poems, prose poems, and essays about the insidious racism in America by Claudia Rankine. It’s beautifully written and I like hearing poetry read aloud, but I keep replaying parts of it to make sure that I’m getting all of the meaning.

What did I recently finish reading?

My Brilliant Friend (The Neapolitan Novels, #1)Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's "Learned"Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader GinsburgDeath My Own Way

Bout of Books ended on Sunday, which was a really wonderful week for me. I finished 2 audiobooks and 2 print books, and enjoyed all of them; I also emerged with a severe case of Ferrante fever and a newly revived interest in nonfiction audiobooks.

What will I be reading next?

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay (The Neapolitan Novels, #3)The Girl Wakes: Stories

The short answer is, I’m not sure. This weekend I’ll be in New York visiting friends (and hopefully the Strand) and am planning on taking The Story of a New Name with me. If/when I go to the Strand, I’m planning on picking up a few new books because I know I will be powerless to resist, so my next reads may depend on what I find.

I’ve also been thinking about starting The Raven Boys for my next YA book to try; there has been so much hype about this series now that the last book has come out, and my library has both the ebook and the audiobook available. I’ve been trying not to read too much about the plot of the series so that I’ll be surprised, but I have a feeling that this might be up my alley.

Also, I’m assuming that once I finish book 2 of the Neapolitan novels that I’ll need to immediately start book 3, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay. And I had mean to get to Carmen Lau’s The Girl Wakes, a book of short stories focused on feminist fairy tale interpretations, during Bout of Books but didn’t get a chance, so that’s definitely coming up soon as well.

 

Has anyone read any of these books? What are you all reading at the moment?

 

Bout of Books Day 7 Updates and Wrap-Up

IMG_1699

 

Bout of Books is over! But apparently the next one is August 22nd to the 28th, which seems very soon, so I’m OK with it. My Bout of Books didn’t go exactly as predicted, but I had a really good time and read some awesome books.

 

q5ighFP

The weirdest thing for me about the reading challenge was how much audiobook time I got in. I’ve posted before about how I really struggle with paying attention to audiobooks, but I think I’ve finally found my niche–nonfiction. For whatever reason, it’s much easier for me to pay attention to nonfiction than it is to follow a storyline of a novel. I finished 2 audiobooks this week and started a third, which is crazy for me, as I usually get through one a month at most. I also was really surprised that I only read a little bit of A Court of Mist and Fury; I had really expected to either binge-read it prior to the start of Bout of Books or have it consume my readathon.

First, here are my Day 7 updates:

Books finished: Not That Kind of Girl, My Brilliant Friend

Books started: Citizen: An American Lyric, The Story of a New Name

Pages read: 107 pages of My Brilliant Friend, 18 pages of The Story of a New Name

Audiobook time: 1 hour of Not That Kind of Girl, 43 minutes of Citizen

Not bad for the last day!

 

And here are my overall Bout of Books stats:

Books completed: 4

  • Death My Own Way by Michael S. A. Graziano – 4 stars
  • Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon and Shana Kznizhnik – 3 stars
  • Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham – 3 stars
  • My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante – 5 stars

Death My Own Way

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's "Learned"

My Brilliant Friend (The Neapolitan Novels, #1)

Books read, but not finished: 3

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2)

Citizen: An American Lyric

The Story of a New Name (The Neapolitan Novels #2)

Favorite book I read: My Brilliant Friend, which became my 4th 5-star read this year. Seriously, I know I keep talking about it, but you all really need to read it. Then we can talk about it. Especially the ending because OH MY GOD.

Total pages read: 471 pages

Total audiobook time: 9 hours and 38 minutes (if my math is right?)

 

I probably could have read more, but work has been super crazy and I’m very happy with the amount and quality of reading that I got done. The most exciting thing for me is that I’ve been reading books that I’m really loving instead of wasting my time on books that are only OK. I can’t wait for the next Bout of Books, but I also can’t wait to get back into all of the fantastic books I’m reading right now, which is a very good feeling 🙂

 

How did everyone’s Bout of Books go??

Bout of Books Updates: Days 4, 5, and 6

IMG_1689

I may not be reading quite as many books as predicted during this Bout of Books, but the important thing is that I’m absolutely loving all of the books I’ve been reading. And that’s rare for me, because I’m picky! In the last few days, I’ve finished the audiobook I was listening to, Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon and Shana Khnizhnik, and was both inspired and blown away by the life of the Supreme Court justice. I started a new audiobook, Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham (apparently nonfiction has really been working for me in audiobooks!) and went in with low expectations which were totally exceeded. I do watch Girls, but find it inconsistent, with some episodes that are amazing and seem to be making such great insights into twenty-something life, and other episodes that are really unenjoyable.I also thought that Lena Dunham was way too young to be writing a memoir. But Lena’s memoir is hilarious and self-aware, and I love that she reads it herself.

My Brilliant Friend (The Neapolitan Novels, #1)

My main physical book is still My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante, and it is still so good and immersive. I’ve been wanting to read it slowly and savor it, even though there are still 3 other books in the series; at the same time I can’t wait to see where the story goes next. I’ve also started obnoxiously promoting this book to everyone I talk to and insisting that they read it immediately.

So here’s my reading breakdown: (I’ve never really counted the time/pages of reading before, it’s interesting to see what I can get done in a week)

Day 4:

Books finished: Notorious RBG

Books started: Not That Kind of Girl

Pages read: 27 pages of My Brilliant Friend

Audiobook time: 45 minutes of Notorious RBG and 70 minutes of Not That Kind of Girl

Day 5:

Pages read: 35 pages of My Brilliant Friend

Audiobook time: 3 hours of Not That Kind of Girl

Day 6:

Audiobook time: 1 hour of Not That Kind of Girl

Mini-Challenge: Freaky Bout of Books for Friday the 13th

 

IMG_1694

As you can see, the bunnies are having a great time reading a lot of vampire literature. I hope everyone is enjoying their Bout of Books!

Bout of Books Day 3 Updates & Mini-Challenge

IMG_1680

I had a really wonderful Day 3 of Bout of Books – Wednesday is my day off from work, so I was able to wake up semi-late and read in bed for awhile. After working out and getting some things done around my apartment, I walked down to the river near where I live and read My Brilliant Friend while enjoying the sunshine. I can’t believe it was 75 degrees out today! Then I did even more reading this evening. I have to say that I am LOVING My Brilliant Friend. I really wish I hadn’t resisted reading it for so long; I was clearly being silly about not reading it and should have looked into it sooner. But at least I’m reading it now and discovering its insanely well-crafted storytelling (and I caved and bought book 2 in the quartet, The Story of a New Name, so that I can jump in once I’ve finished book 1). I am also very gradually savoring A Court of Mist and Fury; I don’t want to finish it too fast and have it be over with, as it’s a perfect guilty pleasure read.

 

IMG_1681

 

Day 3 Updates:

Books finished: 0

Books started: 0

Pages read:

  • 101 pages of My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
  • 56 pages of A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Audiobook time: 45 minutes of Notorious RBG

Mini-Challenge: 5 Favorites. I chose to display my five favorite science fiction books (and now I feel like I should be doing more of this! Stay tuned for my top 5 fantasy books, etc).

 

IMG_1686

 

I hope everyone is having an awesome Bout of Books! For more info, you can check out the site here: http://boutofbooks.blogspot.com/