Five Favorite: New Book Resources

“Five Favorite” is a feature on thewasofshall where I lay out my five favorite “x”. Sometimes they’re relevant to a season or holiday, mostly they’re not. It’s an all-around fun excuse to give my 100% amazingly awesome opinion. To see previous (and future) topics, click here. To participate, scroll all the way down.

As a librarian, keeping up-to-date on new releases is part of my job. (At least, that’s what I tell myself when I spend hours perusing review journals and websites!) So, here are my favorite ways to stay abreast of the (tens of) thousands of books that get published every year.

  • Book websites:
  • EdelweissNetGalley: online interactive digital frontlist book discovery tools
  • Franzen Comes Alive: Liberty is a reading machine (I don’t know anyone, online or off, who reads as much as she does). She co-hosts All the Books! as well as pulling together a weekly newsletter of, like, twenty books. (Seriously, every week.)
  • Goodreads: membership to the number one social media site on books has its perks – like monthly new releases; get an email sent to your inbox or just browse by genre or authors you already have on your shelves.
  • Review Journals:
    • Baker & Taylor’s Forecast: a monthly publication promoting forthcoming hardcover and paperback book titles
    • Kirkus Reviews: book reviews and recommendations from the most trusted voice in book discovery
    • Library Journal: previews of upcoming titles; access to timely reviews of books, audiobooks, DVDs, and other media; author interviews; conference updates; and other opinion and analysis from LJ staffers and contributors
    • Publisher’s Weekly: a weekly news magazine focused on the international book publishing business and offering feature articles and news on all aspects of the book business, bestsellers lists in a number of categories, industry statistics, and pre-publication book reviews

Have your own favorite ways to learn about new books? Share them! Post them to your blog, link back to this post, and then comment letting me know!

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:

Goodreads*

2016recap-1

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

2016recap-4

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:

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#ReadHarder

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.

2016recap-5

* Infographics thanks to Goodreads.

Five Favorite: Book Apps

“Five Favorite” is a feature on thewasofshall where I lay out my five favorite “x”. Sometimes they’re relevant to a season or holiday, mostly they’re not. It’s an all-around fun excuse to give my 100% amazingly awesome opinion. To see previous (and future) topics, click here. To participate, scroll all the way down.

Hearing “book apps” makes me think of reading eBooks on a tablet – which is all fine and good except that I don’t do it. What I mean is really book adjacent apps that help me control and organize everything related to books themselves as well as the larger book culture.

GoodreadsIconGoodreads (Android + Apple, free): Goodreads is certainly the largest social network devoted to books and reading – and it does have its limitations – but I use it almost everyday and have added every single book on my “want to read” shelf and am currently kind of obsessed with updating my progress on its built-in “currently reading” shelf.

InoReaderIconInoreader (Android + Apple, free): I have looked into a lot of feed readers – BlogLovin’, Digg Reader, Feedly, The Old Reader, Sage – but Inoreader’s app is great (kind of better than its website tbh), and the site lets me keep up to four weeks of unread articles; I get about 90% of my book-related news through this.

OverdriveIconZinioIconOverdrive (Android + Apple, free) + Zinio (Android + Apple, free): Overdrive gives access to front-list eBook and eAudio rentals while Zinio focuses on magazines. If I read eBooks or had a tablet, these would be my go-to. (And, as a librarian, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention them!)

PocketIconPocket (Android + Apple, free) : I used to keep a browser open (constantly) with upwards of, like, ten tabs of stuff I wanted to read. (This is not counting anything I found at work and then made into a list.) Pocket has changed my life and is way better than Safari’s reading list because it’s cross-platform and -app compatible. (Seriously. If you download one thing off this list, make it Pocket.)

StreaksIconStreaks (Apple, $3.99): A simple habit-forming app that lets me create tasks or behaviors and then gently reminds me throughout the day if I haven’t yet achieved them – perfect for daily reading! [Note: although I love this app and use it daily, I don’t think it’s worth the $4 price tag (I downloaded it for free).]

Have your own five favorite book apps? Share them! Post them to your blog, link back to this post, and then comment letting me know!

2015 Recap

I made two goals in 2015: finish 41 books and check off all 24 challenges as part of Book Riot’s #ReadHarder campaign – and, well, I failed. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (You can see my actual goals here – which include books I said I would read in 2015 as part of a Top Ten Tuesday post – but that’s not even worth mentioning because I read NONE of them.)

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

Goodreads*

2015recap1

I read 31 books, or  76% of my goal of 41.

2015recap5

Books I read:

AsLongAsYouLoveMe BadFeminist BetweenTheWorldAndMe BrokenMonsters TheGirlInTheSpidersWeb TheGirlWhoKickedTheHornetsNest TheGirlWhoPlayedWithFire HarkAVagrant HowStarWarsConqueredTheUniverse 23899174 IsEveryoneHangingOutWithoutMe Lumberjanesv1 LumberjanesVol2 TheMartian MissPeregrinesHomeForPeculiarChildren ModernRomance MsMarvelVol1 MsMarvelVol2 MsMarvelVol3 MsMarvelVol4 TheRoad TheRoyalWe ASingleMan StationEleven StepAsidePops WannaCook WeShouldAllBeFeminists WhatIWasDoingWhileYouWereBreeding WhyNotMe YesPlease YoureNeverWeirdOnTheInternet

2015recap2 2015recap3 2015recap4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#ReadHarder

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 last December to help guide my reading… and then sometime during the summer, I kind of decided to bypass that list and start reading books just because I wanted to read them. So… I didn’t accomplish my specific goals, but I did read a lot of books that popped onto my radar in 2015 (HELLO MS. MARVEL) – and that’s just as good.

I read 16 books, or 67% of my goal of 24.

2015ReadHarder

* Infographics thanks to Goodreads.

Thoughts On: Reading Goals

“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.

Since the first of the year is notorious for goal setting, it’s also a prime time for book-related challenges to pop up: like the annual one hosted by GoodReads, Book Riot’s #ReadHarder challenge, PopSugar’s Ultimate Reading Challenge, Authors A to Z, Flights of Fantasy, and maybe one or two more. If you’re a reader who a) likes to track what they read or b) likes to stretch their reading habits, challenges are awesome ways to not only read more but to also read smarter. The very act of participating requires some on-the-side planning to make sure that the book choices you make throughout the year will conform to the challenge’s rules. Additionally, if your challenge is purely a numbers game, you’re forced to figure out how many days or weeks you’ll have to finish a book before moving on to the next one.

I’ve participated in the GoodReads challenge since 2011, but my numbers pledged went as high as 70 while my numbers read were as low as 19. There’s been a lot of talk on why a particular reader is participating in the challenge (or why they’re not), but for me, it’s never about whether or not I read my desired number of books. Instead, I like keeping track of what I read and I do that on GoodReads – so my participation in the GoodReads challenge naturally follows suit. Eventually, as I read less and less each year, so too will my pledged number each January 1st. It’s like a fun game where all the fun is participating and the results are ultimately unimportant.

This year, however, I decided to participate in a more focused challenge: BookRiot’s #ReadHarder challenge, which posits 24 broad themes from reading a book by someone of the opposite gender (easy peasy) to one written when its author was over 65 (not so easy peasy). As I mentioned above, it’s forcing me to do a bit of research before I simply pick up a book that’s at the top of my tbr pile. To help myself, I created a page which outlines each task and which book I’ve decided to read to fulfill that task. I spent almost an hour asking myself, Which books could potentially fit each task? Out of those titles, which sound interesting? Or are currently on my tbr list? Or are ones that I already own? Because I also told the bookternet that I wanted to read a number of books in 2015, I got busy matching titles on that list with my #ReadHarder list – which resulted in yet another question: which book could I match with a specific task to narrow down how many books I would pledge to read?

If you’re a member of GoodReads, you’re able to poke around my Stats page and see just how many books I tend to read per year (which is how I get my pledge number in the first place). Even though I read 4/5 of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series – which, combined, totaled 4,056 words – I still only read 19 books and my total pages read was the lowest it’s ever been. Not very encouraging to a person whose theoretically pledged to read 24 books for the #ReadHarder challenge, 26 titles for my Top Ten Tuesday post, and however many other titles that pop up. That’s a solid 50 books right there – not only higher than my total goal of 41 but also way higher than my average of the last two years.

It’s almost like I’m setting myself up for failure.

Except, kind of, I’m not. Because, like I keep mentioning, I don’t take my participation in the GoodReads challenge all that seriously. I also am viewing my participation in BookRiot’s #ReadHarder challenge as an excuse to read some of the books I’ve already told myself that I want to read but, for whatever reason, haven’t. Like Lauren Beukes’ Broken Monsters, Louise Erdrich’s The Round House, or Jill Lapore’s The Secret History of Wonder Woman. These all sound like fantastic reads but, because I don’t own a copy, am in the middle of a series, or am thinking about a different book when it comes time to pick my next read, these titles languish on my tbr list. Now, I’ll get to read them.

Also, and most importantly, the reading goal that I actually hope to accomplish this year is reading 30 minutes per day. However many books that amounts to or however many tasks that completes, reading on a daily basis is my main priority. I’ve talked about making reading a habit, but I’m still not consistently hitting my goal. So, yes, completing all 24 #ReadHarder tasks or hitting my 41-book goal would be awesome, but I’m not stressed out if I don’t make it – because I really just want to keep reading day in and day out, from whatever book of which I happen to be in the middle. And, ultimately, that’s my reading goal for 2015.

Have your own thoughts on reading challenges? Share them! Post them to your blog, link back to this post, and then comment letting me know!

Review: A Shortcut in Time by Charles Dickinson

Just a warning that the following review contains massive spoilers.

A Shortcut in Time (A Shortcut in Time, #1)A Shortcut in Time by Charles Dickinson

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Oh, this novel’s potential…. The plot is original, as is the character’s mode of time travel, but the structure and cliff-hanger ending really made this novel more annoying than entertaining. First of all, If I had time-traveled fifteen minutes into the past, like the novel’s protagonist Josh Winkler did, I would not be so freaking calm about it. (I would be just as obsessed, though.) This calmness irked me so much that I’m still thinking about it. Apparently there’s a sequel, titled A Family in Time, but you wouldn’t know it from the incredibly frustrating and blunt ending. Penelope and Josh successfully time-traveled back to whenever this novel takes place and their lives are irrevocably changed. Flo never married Josh – yet Penelope still exists and hasn’t yet ripped a hole into the space-time continuum. Josh is now married to Lee. Jock Itch never existed, which means he never killed Vaughn or caused brain damage to Kurt, which means the Winkler family never went bankrupt to pay for Kurt’s hospital bills – WHICH MEANS THE VERY FABRIC OF TIME AND SPACE HAVE CHANGED.

I actually looked up this novel online to confirm that, no, my copy wasn’t missing any pages. Penelope comes back from 1908 and then nothing. Not even some blank pages – literally just the back cover.

Please tell me that my crazed reaction is not an anomaly because ugh, this book!

View all my reviews