R.I.P. Readers Imbibing Peril XIII

 

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As usual, I am late to the party.  But at least I freaking got here… right? Anywho, I came across this seasonal challenge on the Classics Club page and I really wish that I had found this, I don’t know, YEARS ago.  I practically live on mysteries and gothic suspense novels. This challenge originated with Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings but is now hosted by Heather at My Capricious Life.

About the challenge:

The purpose of the R.I.P. Challenge is to enjoy books that could be classified as:

Mystery.
Suspense.
Thriller.
Dark Fantasy.
Gothic.
Horror.
Supernatural.
There are several categories depending on your level of commitment but I chose to participate in Peril the first which will require me to read 4 books that fit within these categories.  While I don’t sign up for challenges all that often, this will work splendidly for me because A. These are usually my preferred type of books and B. This will work well and in line with the few other challenges I participate in (Project Poirot, Back to the Classics, and The Classics Club Challenge)
My choices:
1. Dracula
2. and 3. will probably be the next couple Agatha Christie’s on my Project Poirot list
4. The Hazelwood
I may change my selections, but I feel pretty confident that these will be the ones.  I am so excited to participate in this challenge for the first time! If you are also participating (since everyone seems to have already known about this challenge) please let me know what your selections are or drop a link to your post!
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Where to get book recommendations?

Someone asked me how I figure out what books to read and I felt myself look like this:

I mean, the answer to that question is beyond complex.  So here I am, days later, mulling it over and I realized that I don’t purposely do anything to seek new book recommendations but they come from a variety of places.  With that being said, I will share some of the ways I find new books to read and hopefully some of you will drop a line and tell me where you get your recommendations.

1: Podcasts

My daily commute to work and household chore time are full of podcasts.  The two book related ones that I listen to most are the What Should I read Next podcast and the All the Books Podcast.  Of the two, the What Should I read Next podcast is my favorite.  Anne Bogel, the host of What Should I read next is a joy to listen to.

2: Staff Picks

I love staff picks at the bookstore.  I love how there are always a variety of selections from different staff members so there is usually someone with similar reading tastes to mine.

3: Cover Browsing

It’s time consuming but such a pleasant way to spend an hour… or two (don’t judge me) at the bookstore.  I do tend to pick up books with pretty covers, but I will pick up any book if the title is intriguing.

4: Other Bloggers

It’s one of the reasons we’re all here isn’t it? We share book reviews and rave about books we couldn’t get enough so naturally I pick up book recommendations here and there.

5. Amazon

The “You might like this” feature on amazon sometimes has a nice gem tucked away and I’ll usually make a note of any that sound interesting.

6. Other books

This is one of my favorite ways to get book recommendations.  I love when I’m reading a book and the characters mention another book by different author.  It’s almost like book inception.  A book within a book.  Mind blown. Another way I can get book recs from other books is when I read a retelling or a spinoff of another book.  (ie. when I read the Historian I had to go read Dracula)

 

There are many ways that I get book recommendations.  Divine intervention, being in the right place at the right time, having someone hand me a stack of books they’re getting rid of. You name it. But these were some of the most common ways I figure out what to read.

What are some ways you get new book recommendations?

Summer Reading Programs

While looking for a way to keep my 11 year old son reading during summer break, I came across a couple Summer Reading Programs that I thought I’d share.

1. Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge

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This program allows your kids to track the books they read, get book recommendations and earn digital prizes. This year’s theme is “A magical summer of reading”.

However, it should be noted that this program also requires that they be registered by a teacher or librarian.

 

2. Barnes and Noble Summer Reading Program

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I really like this one for two reasons.  The first being that they can earn a free book, and the second is that it requires that they log their thoughts about what they read.  They read 8 books, log what their favorite parts are and turn in their log for a free book at Barnes and Noble.  Yes for free books!!

 

3. Lifeway 2018 Summer Reading Quest

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Sadly I do not think we are able to participate in this one because we no longer live near a Lifeway (though I still get the emails)  This program allows your kids to earn a free book AND a free bible.  They will also provide them with the program journal to log their books, plus a bookmark and pencil for free!

 

I came across quite a few more programs but I was very impressed by these three in particular.  The others that I looked into didn’t really seem to have any incentive or at the very least, not one that would interest my son.  Well, that is all for today. Thank you for joining me! Happy reading!

A mid year recap of my least favorite books this year

Now that we are officially halfway through the year, I was thinking back over all the books I’ve read so far and there a few that I have very strong feelings about so I thought I’d share what some of my favorites and not so favorite books are. Part 1 is dedicated to my least favorite books and Part 2 is dedicated to my favorite books so far in 2018.

Let us begin with the Books I didn’t enjoy so much in the first half of 2018:

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I was a little let down by this book and I’m not quite sure why.  I had such high hopes for it because it was a multi generational historical fiction book with what I guess would be considered magical realism and/or supernatural elements.  It’s not a bad book and the writing was good, I guess I was just expecting more.

 

 

city of brass

This is another book I had high hopes for.  After reading The Golem and the Jinni I was super excited when I heard about this book on the All the Books podcast and ran and picked it up immediately.  I was severely let down by this one. The concept of this book was fascinating but I found most of the dialogue to be very juvenile (which is perfectly awesome when I’m expecting it) and though it was marketed as an adult book, I found that it felt much more like a YA novel.  I have nothing against YA and enjoy reading YA books WHEN I AM IN THE MOOD FOR THEM. But this had a lot of what my 11 year old would call “cringe-y” dialogue and plot.  I found the whole thing to be a little cheezy and overdone.  I really wanted to like this but I doubt I’ll read the next one.

 

abc murders

*Sigh* I hate to add this one to my non fave list because I feel like I am betraying my queen.  I am a definite Agatha Christie lover and have been doing a read through challenge of the Poirot books, but this one is not my cup of tea.  Part of why I love reading Agatha Christie is because of the cozy yet clever mysteries presented in her books and this one felt a little too much.  It was a little over the top for me.

 

villette

People aren’t kidding when they say this isn’t Jane Eyre.  Aside from the obvious “well duh, it’s a completely different book” it really is different.  I did not hate this book and I mostly enjoyed it because it still had that element of melancholy throughout, but I found it very slow to start and the ending was like getting hit by a bus.  I immediately said “WHATTTT????!!!!” and went online to see if I had interpreted it correctly.  I had, and I was very taken aback by this book’s ending.  Still worth the read though.

 

So that is all for my least favorite books this year.  Please let me know if you love or hate any of these books.  Maybe I am missing something! Stay tuned for my favorite books so far in 2018.

 

 

Annotating books: yay or nay?

If you are of the opinion that nothing should mar the pages of your precious books (and that’s a totally understandable point of view), than I would quit reading right now because some of these photos might upset you.

I re entered college a couple years ago and things are a lot different this time around. I have a very full time job, a husband and two kids. It wasn’t as easy to breeze through as it was when I was 18. Majoring in history, I have to keep track of tons and tons of names, dates, and places. I love to keep concise notes but I wanted to get more out of my text books. Because of my profession, I sometimes get grants for free ebook versions of my textbooks (which is great and many people wish for) but I missed the ease of flipping back and forth through paper pages, so I started buying the paper copies and started writing and marking the hell out of my textbooks. I began to get so much more out of my textbooks this way. My Historiography textbook is a good example of this and I am able to flip back through it for advice when working on a history paper.

 

 

Back in August when I started my Classics Book Club Challenge, I challenged myself to read many books that had frightened me in the past. I wanted to immerse myself in them and get all I could from the texts. So I thought to myself that if marking my textbooks was working so well, why not begin to mark my books as well? So that’s what I did. It has been going wonderfully so far. Over the last few months I have been honing my system so it has changed considerably from just post it notes and marking with asterisks. I now loosely color code things with highlighter and pen and take notes in my reading journal. I also still use plenty of post its to tab the books. Usually I will highlight or underline key characters’ first appearance in blue while highlighting pretty passages in pink. A good example of my more recent refined system can be seen here in my copy of The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien which I am currently re reading. I thought it would be fitting to include this book as tomorrow March 25 is Tolkien Read Day.

Annotating in this way has helped me remember so many more of the names and places in Tolkien’s universe and it has worked nicely helping me know what to look for in my companion books The Heroes of Tolkien and The Guide to Tolkien’s World: A Bestiary, both by David Day. (It has not escaped me that not only am I a real life history dork, but I am also a fictional history dork 😉)

But while I am all about annotating books, I haven’t yet started marking up my pretty collectible copies of certain books.

I know a lot of people think it an evil sin to mark their books but I also know there’s a lot of you out there who DO mark their books. So I’m curious to see how many of you out there mark your books and how do you go about doing so? I like where I am now compared to a few months ago but I would be glad of any new tips. So let me know if you’re a marker or not! 🙂

See you next time!

A Dr Seuss birthday

It’s been two weeks since my last post and there has been a lot going on but we managed to include some bookish activities and lots of reading in that time frame. We started off with Read Across America Day, my birthday, Bella’s birthday, a milestone in 1000 Books Before Kindergarten and culminating today with my wedding anniversary.

It is no secret that Dr Seuss is well loved in our home so for Read Across America Day we went to a Dr Seuss celebration at our local bookstore and got some prizes and books for Bella. (My birthday was also spent at the bookstore where I purchased some books I will haul soon) It was also Isabella’s 2nd birthday and as her favorite story of all time is the Cat in the Hat, we celebrated Dr Seuss style.

I had some blue poster board and thought it would be fun to try and recreate her favorite book’s cover as a prop for her birthday.

I was also able to make a centerpiece with some pictures I printed off the internet and some pages out of her first copy of the book which she destroyed as a baby.

She absolutely refused to get into her party dress but loved the little Cat in the Hat hair clip I made so at least there’s that.

The party was a success and as we asked for books in lieu of cards, she received a nice new stack of books to add to her collection and all signed by people who love her.

Now that most of the festivities are over I will be back with some review posts and discussion posts. Thank you for joining us for our fun Dr Seuss parties. Happy reading!

Warning labels on books: A controversial discussion

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I’d been intending to discuss this topic in a future post and had been holding off due to the fact that some may consider it a bit controversial, but I came across a great post at Pages Unbound and it addressed a lot of the same topic.  So while it is fresh in my mind, I’d like to throw in my humble two cents.

If you are a reader of middle grade or young adult fiction, it will come as no surprise to you that these books, YA in particular, are featuring more and more mature content. And that’s great. Readers can find all kinds of stories to suit all tastes.

But here is my dilemma.

While I would never want to be Nazi book mom, and call for removing books from libraries or angrily snatch books from my kids’ hands, I struggle with how I should handle these kinds of books in regards to my oldest who is soon to be 11 years old. When I was his age I was reading Judy Blume books and the Boxcar children. He on the other hand has a lot more to choose from. I encourage reading in our household and I know he is capable of reading at a level beyond middle grade books… but I don’t necessarily feel comfortable with him reading about things like rape just yet. After all, though he’s almost 11, he is quite naive in regards to a lot of things. His reading level may be advancing quickly but he is still a little boy who thinks the word “butt” is funny. Not quite ready to fully understand things like sex trafficking and torture. Now I know the simple answer would be to just monitor what he reads, but that becomes a little difficult when I don’t know the content of every single book that’s out there and he is fast approaching the “target age” for most YA.

I recently read an article where college students at several different colleges had called for “trigger warning” labels to be placed on books that dealt with distressing content. And while I admit I was sort of dismissive of the idea, it has gotten me thinking. Would it be feasible for publishers to publish future books with a small label? Something along the lines of “contains graphic violence” or “contains sexual content”. I’m curious to know what other readers think of this.

Now my dilemma may resolve itself. I may just be worried about nothing. He may decide “ewww this book is weird” and decide not to read it of his own accord until he is ready (or ever). In which case I will have another few years before I deal with the same issue again with my daughter. I know that for myself, I was around 12 when I started looking for more mature things to read. And I found them. I turned out okay, but I also think I was a little more mature and more prepared to handle difficult content than my son is now.

So I am curious to know what other readers and other parents think?  How do you handle mature content in books with your kids, siblings, students etc?