2016 Recap

AHHH. How is it already 2017??? (Gross.) I made two major goals in 2016 again: finish 40 books and check off all 24 challenges as part of Book Riot’s #ReadHarder campaign – and, well, I failed, AGAIN. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (You can see my actual goals here.)

If you’re interested, here’s how my stats broke down:



I read 30 books, or  75% of my goal of 40.


Books I read:
sherlockchronicles CityOnFire femalepigs A Darker Shade final for Irene TheLostTimeAccidents AGatheringOfShadows AMothersReckoning RosalieLightning RegionalOfficeIsUnderAttack Eligible LumberjanesV3 WhenBreathBecomesAir youllgrowoutofit giantdays1 giantdays2 lumberjanes4 thousandthfloor undergroundrailroad ThePassage goodmorningmidnight womeninscience adulthoodisamyth thefirethistime faith1 moongirl1 crosstalk giantdays3 belljar

Some stats:



Book Riot introduced their #ReadHarder challenge in 2015 and I loved the idea. It got me to actually think about what book I was reading, and, in some cases, gave me that extra nudge to read something that was already in my tbr pile. I went through all the challenges and made a list to help guide my reading… but again decided to bypass that list and start reading books just because I wanted to read them. I also started a food memoir (Fresh off the Boat) and a book about religion (The God Delusion) – but didn’t find them interesting enough to finish – and couldn’t find anything on my tbr list that was 100 pages or less (although Adulthood Is a Myth came close).

I read 9 books, or 38% of my goal of 24.


* Infographics thanks to Goodreads.

New to the Queue #5

Jamie of Perpetual Page Turner started this and I love it so I’m (politely) stealing it!

I add a lot of stuff to my TBR list, my Netflix queue, and my library holds list. Here’s stuff I want to actually seek out and consume right now.

Stuff I Want to Read


Children of the New World: Stories by Alexander Weinstein

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Jerusalem by Alan Moore

Known and Strange Things: Essays by Teju Cole

You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson

Stuff I Want to Watch


Chewing Gum

Don’t Think Twice

The Edge of Seventeen



Stuff I Want to Listen To


22, A Million by Bon Iver

Cover Sessions, vol. 3 by Boyce Avenue

The Hamilton Mixtape

Influential Sessions, vol. 2 by Boyce Avenue

Sherlock Series 4: The Final Problem Original Television Soundtrack by David Arnold & Michael Price

What did YOU add to your queue?? Let me know!

Top Ten Tuesday: 2016 Releases I Meant to Read

logo-TopTenTuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme was 2016 releases I meant to read but somehow, inexplicably… didn’t. I based this list on my memory and two posts I made last year about my most anticipated releases for the first and second half of 2016.


All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation by Rebecca Traister (March 1st)

The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin (May 24th)

Dear Emma by Katie Heaney (March 1st)

Everfair by Nisi Shawl (August 16th)

Every Anxious Wave by Mo Daviau (February 9th)


Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter (April 12th)

How to Ruin Everything: Essays by George Watsky (June 14th)

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo (May 3rd)

In the Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero (May 3rd)

Lumberjanes, vol. 5: Band Together by Noelle Stevenson (December 13th)

Video Review: Biographies!

In which I come back after two years (TWO YEARS) and review The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League by Jeff Hobbs and give it 4 stars because it was an “insightful and intimate portrait” of one man’s life and an all-around great read.

And then I review Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris and give it 3 stars because it was “interesting and clever” but not for everyone.

Watch it below or check out my other videos at YouTube.

Life Update #2

I haven’t posted a new blog entry in about a month because, well, I’ve sort of fallen out of love with blogging. I’m still updating my Goodreads, though, in case you’re just dying to know what I’m reading or adding to my TBR.

Happy reading, y’all.

Top Ten Tuesday: YA Novels I’ve Added to My TBR

logo-TopTenTuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme was books I’ve recently added to my TBR, but since I don’t normally read young adult novels, I decided to list fifteen titles that I’ve added to my TBR within the last six months!


Asking for It by Louise O’Neill

Ask Me How I Got Here by Christine Heppermann

The End of Fun by Sean McGinty

The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash

The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig


Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard

Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

I Woke Up Dead at the Mall by Judy Sheehan

The Leaving by Tara Altebrando


The New Guy (And Other Senior Year Distractions) by Amy Spalding

Rani Patel in Full Effect by Sonia Patel

Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas

Thoughts On: Revisiting a Book Ten Years Later

“Thoughts On” is a monthly feature on thewasofshall where I give my (often rambling) thoughts on a topic relevant to reading, literature, or the book business. To see previous (and future) topics, click here. To participate, scroll all the way down.

thepenaltyboxWhen I was a sophomore in high school, I discovered romance novels. (As you do.) Most of them came from a tiny corner of my town’s library, tucked into the paperback section and surrounded by mysteries and Harlequin-esque mass market paperbacks. I was a cover snob even at fifteen, and I was either so appalled by the aesthetics of about 80% of the collection or just couldn’t yet admit that I actually might like romance as a genre that I gravitated to only a couple of authors by the time I’d made it to senior year: Carly Phillips, author of the Hot Zone series (which was then not even a trilogy); Rachel Gibson and her Chinooks Hockey Team series (which was then only a trilogy); and Deirdre Martin, who’s novel The Penalty Box was the latest in her New York Blades series. (I know… I feel old thinking about the good old days of the early aughts.) What drew me to these books remains a mystery. The cover font? The minimal graphics? The tantalizing hint of grown-up relationships? And why this one specific book that I still remember reading more than a decade later?

The Penalty Box revolves around 28-year-old Katie, back in her small town to a) attend her ten-year high school reunion and b) help take care of her nephew while her sister’s in rehab. The conflict (and a memorable first scene with a little black dress) arises because Katie’s lost a lot of weight and wants to show up the girls who picked on her in high school – but also show off to her high school crush, who has had one too many concussions from playing hockey and now runs the townie bar called – you guessed it – The Penalty Box. Hijinks ensue.

What kills me about this book – and why I’m so focused on it now, in 2016 – is that I’m 28 and my ten-year high school reunion is just around the corner (like, literally this month). In high school, I was fat, a nerd, and had a serious crush on someone starting in the middle of my junior year. (Katie and I could be twins, y’all.) I always (ALWAYS) assumed that, if I didn’t attend my five-year reunion, I would at least show up at my tenth – thin and confident and ready to flirt with Crush and somehow, I don’t know, do something about my ten years of pining (#ugh)… but then two things happened in quick succession:

  1. I received Facebook notifications from my graduating class about our impending ten-year reunion (OMG I’M ALMOST THIRTY STAPH)
  2. I did a little bit of digging and found Crush’s Facebook profile and it is very clear that he’s dating someone and also very clear that staring into his digital face does nothing for me anymore (when did that happen??)

Somewhere along the way, I realized that thin does not always mean confident – nor does confident have to mean thin – but sitting in the back of my brain was The Penalty Box, one of the first novels I read that I felt might actually happen to me – the perfect end to a “what if?” a decade in the making. Expect that, in less than four weeks, it will no longer be my future. I don’t want to go to my high school reunion, nor, really, do I want to spend any more time thinking about what could have been – at fifteen or at 28.

I haven’t decided if I’m going to re-read The Penalty Box. Not yet, anyway. I’m not ready to revisit something that might not hold up to my own expectations. Nor, though, am I willing to say goodbye to that fifteen-year-old who saw her own future as something very, very bright.

Have your own thoughts on revisiting a book after a long absence? Share them! Post them to your blog, link back to this post, and then comment letting me know!