Last Year in Books

One of my favorite things about the end of one year and the beginning of another is reading people’s posts about what they accomplished and what they plan to accomplish upcoming year. When it comes to books, I genuinely believe that reading even one book a year is something to be proud of in a day and age where a large percentage of society picks up Zero books per year. That being said, I am so happy with how my 2018 reading goals were accomplished, not because of the number, but because I enjoyed myself and I exceeded my goal without panicking and reading books I didn’t want to read.

I love tracking my books read both on Goodreads and in my reading journal. This not only gives me a nice boost to my ego every time I look at it 😉 but it also allows me to further analyze my reading habits by seeing what genres I read the most of and what I’m NOT reading. So breaking it down by category, in 2018 I read:

  • Nonfiction: 2
  • Mystery: 11
  • Classics: 17
  • Middle Grade: 7
  • Fantasy: 29
  • Romance: 8
  • Science fiction: 3

Of these books, 3 were audiobooks. I also found it interesting that I read through 3 series.

The first thing that jumps out at me when looking at this breakdown is how few nonfiction I read. I was actually a little disappointed with myself at first and then I gave myself a little pep talk. I mean I read 87 books, and of those, 17 were classics. 17 classics, most of which apply towards my 5 Year (60 book) Classics Reading Challenge. So when I look at it like that I become very proud of myself. I had a great reading year because I enjoyed most of what I read and I made a sizable dent in my Classics challenge.

So although I do have reading resolutions and things I’d like to change in my reading life this year, I can look back on this past year and smile… and I hope all of you are doing the same in regards to your Reading lives! Happy New Year…

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Angry Book Reviewers

We’ve all seen it. We finish a book we love and we eagerly go to to goodreads or another social media platform because we NEED to talk about this book we loved and in the midst of all the other glowing reviews or book discussions there’s 20 comments from people who absolutely HATED it. Not just simple “I didn’t like this book because insert reason here” comments, but scathing, insulting “you must be stupid, your father was a hamster and your mother smelled of elderberries and you are basically the worst if you like this book” or insulting comments towards the author. In a day and age where cyber bullying is widely recognized as a legitimate thing, the book community is the last place I expect to see this kind of thing, but there it is. Over the last few weeks I’ve seen quite a few nasty encounters while scrolling through goodreads and it absolutely boggles my mind. Since when did it become ok to insult others because they like something you don’t? And how dare people insult an author because a book was not for them. What’s worse is that these nasty comments are no longer confined to their own posts, often these types of things get posted in response to someone who writes a positive review. So today I just have a few of things to say. If you are being harassed by one of these losers, paper cut that B. If you are an author who spent countless hours working on a book from your heart, thank you for your hard work and for giving readers one more book to choose from. If you are one of those losers who thinks it’s ok to insult people whether they created something you don’t like or they like something you don’t, cut that shit out. And if you choose to bless me with some insults on social media because I like a book, I will not hesitate to paper cut you.

The Classics Club 50 Question Survey

1 Share a link to your club list.

My list.

2 When did you join The Classics Club? How many titles have you read for the club? (We are SO CHECKING UP ON YOU! Nah. We’re just asking.) 

August 2017 and I have read 17 so far.

3 What are you currently reading?

Wuthering Heights

4 What did you just finish reading and what did you think of it?

Just reread Dracula and loved it just as much as before.

5 What are you reading next? Why?

Brave New World.  I’m in a dystopian kind of a mood and I always hear about this book in conjunction with 1984 so we will see.

6 Best book you’ve read so far with the club, and why?

I’d say it’s a toss up between North and South and Dracula.

7 Book you most anticipate (or, anticipated) on your club list?

Anything by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

8 Book on your club list you’ve been avoiding, if any? Why?

Moby Dick. Because I just can’t. I have started this book three or four times and have always ended with me quietly closing the book and placing it back on the shelf.

9 First classic you ever read?

And Then There were None.

10 Toughest classic you ever read?

I had a hard time with Villette because it felt long and I couldn’t identify with any of the characters.

11 Classic that inspired you? or scared you? made you cry? made you angry?

Madame Bovary made me angry and though I understood her frustration a little, I wanted to smack her around a little.

12 Longest classic you’ve read? Longest classic left on your club list?

War and Peace is probably the longest and The Tale of Genji is probably the biggest I haven’t read yet.

13 Oldest classic you’ve read? Oldest classic left on your club list?

Utopia is the oldest I’ve read to completion but I have read parts of works by Plato and other Greek works.

14 Favorite biography about a classic author you’ve read — or, the biography on a classic author you most want to read, if any?

My Bondage and My Freedom by Frederick Douglass. I was blown away.  It read like a fiction novel rather than an autobiography.  It was excellent.

15 Which classic do you think EVERYONE should read? Why?

1984.  Really makes you think about what it would take to get to that point.

16 Favorite edition of a classic you own, if any?

I own a beautiful copy of The Tale of Genji, the collected works of Jane Austen, and my pop up version of Alice in Wonderland.

17 Favorite movie adaption of a classic?

The most recent adaptation of And Then There Were None.

18 Classic which hasn’t been adapted yet (that you know of) which you very much wish would be adapted to film.

The Shuttle.

19 Least favorite classic? Why?

So far, I’d have to say The Dumbhouse.  I get the whole trying to make you think, but I have a hard time reading about cruelty to children or animals and this one had both.

20 Name five authors you haven’t read yet whom you cannot wait to read.

Lady Muraski

Edith Hamilton

Emily Bronte (currently reading)

21 Which title by one of the five you’ve listed above most excites you and why?

I’m excited to finish Wuthering Heights because I wasn’t enjoying it at first but I’m starting to really enjoy it and I have heard about this book for years.

22 Have you read a classic you disliked on first read that you tried again and respected, appreciated, or even ended up loving? (This could be with the club or before it.)

Pride and Prejudice. I was not as familiar with the culture and language when I first read it and now I love it and frequently read regency and Victorian literature.

23 Which classic character can’t you get out of your head?

Frankenstein’s monster.

24 Which classic character most reminds you of yourself?

I really identified with Anna Karenina when my first marriage failed.

25 Which classic character do you most wish you could be like?

26 Which classic character reminds you of your best friend?

Merry from Lord of the Rings. She’s cheerful and carefree.

27 If a sudden announcement was made that 500 more pages had been discovered after the original “THE END” on a classic title you read and loved, which title would you most want to keep reading? Or, would you avoid the augmented manuscript in favor of the original? Why?

Lord of the Rings. Hands down.

28 Favorite children’s classic?

ANYTHING by Frances Hodgson Burnett.  I loooooove all of her children’s lit.

29 Who recommended your first classic?

Nobody really.  I just wanted to read more difficult books and picked up Pride and Prejudice when they released one of the movie adaptations.

30 Whose advice do you always take when it comes to literature. (Recommends the right editions, suggests great titles, etc.)

There are a few people on Booktube who I tend to listen to because they have similar tastes as me.

31 Favorite memory with a classic?

Relaxing with my newborn in my arms and reading through all the Frances Hodgson Burnett children’s classics.

32 Classic author you’ve read the most works by?

Agatha Christie, Frances Hodgson Burnett, and Jane Austen.

33 Classic author who has the most works on your club list?

Probably Frances Hodgson Burnett.

34 Classic author you own the most books by?

Agatha Christie.  See my Agatha Christie Collection.

35 Classic title(s) that didn’t make it to your club list that you wish you’d included? (Or, since many people edit their lists as they go, which titles have you added since initially posting your club list?) 

I added My Cousin Rachel because I found a copy of it and wanted to read it.

36 If you could explore one author’s literary career from first publication to last — meaning you have never read this author and want to explore him or her by reading what s/he wrote in order of publication — who would you explore? Obviously this should be an author you haven’t yet read, since you can’t do this experiment on an author you’re already familiar with.  Or, which author’s work you are familiar with might it have been fun to approach this way?

I am sort of doing this right now with the Project Poirot that I’m participating in.  Reading all of her Poirot books in order.  It has been interesting to see how Christie’s handling of characters and plot progresses.

37 How many rereads are on your club list? If none, why? If some, which are you most looking forward to, or did you most enjoy?

There are four re reads on my list. I have already re read Dracula but I am very excited to re read Persuasion and War and Peace.

38 Has there been a classic title you simply could not finish?

Moby Dick has been like this for me but I intend to get through it before this challenge is over.

39 Has there been a classic title you expected to dislike and ended up loving?

Dracula. With all the cheesy movie adaptations I expected the worst and it ended up being one of my all time faves.

40 Five things you’re looking forward to next year in classic literature?

Reading more nonfiction and translations from eastern literature.

41 Classic you are DEFINITELY GOING TO MAKE HAPPEN next year?

Mythology by Edith Hamilton.

42 Classic you are NOT GOING TO MAKE HAPPEN next year?

This one depends on my mood.

43 Favorite thing about being a member of the Classics Club?

Finding titles I’ve never heard of and sharing a love of classic literature.

44 List five fellow clubbers whose blogs you frequent. What makes you love their blogs?

I will have to come back to this question later because I haven’t really come across many.

45 Favorite post you’ve read by a fellow clubber? See above.

46 If you’ve ever participated in a readalong on a classic, tell about the experience? If you’ve participated in more than one, what’s the very best experience? the best title you’ve completed? a fond memory? a good friend made?

I began a readalong of Crime and Punishment with my cousin and it didn’t work out the way I’d like because he didn’t read at the same pace as I did and it wasn’t a priority the way it was for me.  We ended up finally having a little discussion about it long after I had finished the book.

47 If you could appeal for a readalong with others for any classic title, which title would you name? Why?

Moby Dick so I have to finish and because other people’s thoughts might help me to see the book from a different perspective and be more inclined to finish.

48 How long have you been reading classic literature?

Off and on since I was 13.

49 Share up to five posts you’ve written that tell a bit about your reading story. Reviews, journal entries, posts on novels you loved or didn’t love, lists, etc.

War of the Worlds: My thoughts

Messy bookshelves

A Dr Seuss birthday

You force your toddler to read?? In which Nicky rants… just a bit.

Back to the Classics 2018

50 Question you wish was on this questionnaire? (Ask and answer it!)

How has Reading classics affected your life?

I think I am more aware of the world around me. When I’m in certain situations, I might think “wow, this is just like in insert book title here!” I feel like I have a better appreciation for different human natures and let’s face it, my vocabulary is fabulous now. 😉

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Merch

So this week’s Top Ten Tuesday is all about bookish merchandise and since I’m always on the look out for bookish merch, I thought I’d participate and check out all the other bloggers’ lists as well.  I was originally going to include bookish merchandise that I own, but finally decided against in case this post mysteriously makes it into my husband’s web browser this Christmas season.

Husband: “Nicky, what’s this?”

Me: *wide eyed* “huh? what?”

H: “this” *points to my blog post in his browser*

me: *deer in headlights* “I dunno” *breaks into a mumble*

If you are not aware, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl’s blog and it is fun to go check out other bloggers’ responses to the weekly prompts.  So without further ado, here are 10 bookish items I want in my life that I don’t have already.

Matilda Relaxed Tee

Matilda was one of the first Roald Dahl books I ever read and this shirt is adorable.

Coffee and a Classic Subscription Box 

I have a love hate relationship with subscription boxes but this one is in my future.

Hobbit poster

Because why wouldn’t I want to hang up a poster of the full book?  This is definitely an item I plan to buy.  I might even put this in the guest bathroom for those guests that forget their smart phones 🙂

Dracula Tee

A shirt for one of my all time favorite books? Yes please.

Hobbit locket

While I’ve been eyeing a sterling silver book locket for months, I had to include a picture of this one because I love Tolkien.

A… Book

Do I need an excuse to want another book?

Socks for my little one to run around in and tear up the house

A pillow to prop my my big head up when I stay up to 3am reading

This kickass mug

Ideal for coffee or booze.

This Ballcap

I love ballcaps and I love books.  Enough said.

The Book Addiction Tag

I’m back with a cute tag I saw at Always Trust in Books. Once again I am on travel for work and so this was a tag that was fun to participate in and easy enough to do on the go.

The Book Addiction Tag

What is the longest amount of time you can comfortably go without picking up a book?

I typically read every single day. I’d say the longest I’ve gone is a week or so and that’s due to a book hangover.

How many books do you carry on your person (or kindle) at any one time?

I carry a physical book everywhere but I also carry my kindle and there’s 5 or more downloaded at all times. Never know what I’ll be in the mood to read when I’m away from home!

Do you keep every book you buy/receive or are you happy to pass them on to make space for more?

I’ll admit it. Im a hoarder. When it gets really out of hand I’ll take some to the used book shop to make room.

How long would you spend in a bookshop on a standard visit?

With or without my kids? If I’m alone, an hour or two. With my kids, I have a very narrow window where I get to run down the aisles and pick up anything that looks interesting before my two year old demands to go to the kids section, so probably 30 ish minutes with kids.

How much time per day do you actually spend reading?

I usually read whenever my youngest is in bed. I never really watch tv and even if I wanted to the husband is always hogging the big screen while gaming so typically an hour or more. Sometimes upwards of three if I go to bed later.

Where does the task ‘picking up a book’ appear on your daily to-do list?

During breaks and after my toddler’s bedtime I read.

How many books do you own?

A few hundred. I attempted to inventory my shelves recently and was interrupted at 318. I still had a whole other bookcase to do and I have around 200 on kindle. So I’d estimate less than a 1000 but more than 700.

Approximately how often do you bring up books in conversation?

I don’t have a lot of friends that are readers but I always bring them up when getting to know someone.

What is the biggest book (page count) you have finished reading?

War and Peace was up there. The Luminaries. The Autobiography of Henry VIII by Margaret George.

Is there a book you had to get your hands on against all odds i.e searching bookshops, online digging etc?

Some old school Agatha Christies and some Victoria Holt books that I finally found on eBay.

A book you struggled to finish but refused to DNF?

Villette by Charlotte Bronte. I started that book like 5 times before I finally trucked through it.

What are 3 of your main book goals for 2018?

Read more non fiction. More contemporary fiction. Progress on my Classics Challenge.

Have you ever had the privilege of converting someone into a reader (maybe via inspiration or incessant nagging)?

My youngest. She is only two but books are our favorite time together and she’s already shaping up to be a future reader.

Describe what books mean to you in five words.

Fun.

Entertainment.

Education.

Family.

Escape.

Messy bookshelves

It’s Shelfie Sunday and I thought I would start off this series with a topic I’ve been thinking about for a few days now.

While scrolling through Bookstagram recently, it hit me that while I may LOVE gazing lovingly at my bookshelves, they look nothing like those beautiful every-book-the-same-size rainbow organized shelves I see.

Sure I own some pop funkos and flowers that I display and I love decorating them for the holidays. And sure, I have some beautiful editions of books. But I display them alongside my well loved paperbacks and mismatched series. But I’ve also run out of room so I double stack my books wherever they fit. My organization makes sense only to me and now that I’ve resorted to double stacking, my books are less “organized” and more… let’s say (air quotes) “haphazardly arranged wherever the f they fit.” I’m in the market for a new shelf so I will be rearranging them back into a more cohesive system soon, but as of right now, we are stuffing books everywhere.

I get a lot of pleasure out of scrolling through bookstagram but I get the same pleasure out of walking around a library or a musty smelling used book store and just looking around. The same pleasure I get from my own shelves. I just love books and anytime there’s a stack of them somewhere, I look and I admire.

So despite my tacky arrangement of pop funkos, anime characters, and random memorabilia I’ve collected while traveling the world, I can honestly say that I believe my shelves have a lot of character. My shelves may not conform to the modern ideal of sleek shelves full of perfectly placed decor and hardback books, but they are beautiful to me and more importantly, they are full of friends both old and new, books I love. ❤️❤️

*As an afterthought I’d like to say that I just discovered the #messybooks posts on bookstagram and I’m in love*

So does anyone else suffer from messy books syndrome?

Creepy (but not too creepy) books for fall…the classics

Greetings fellow readers! I am beyond excited we recently said goodbye to summer and hello to fall. Even though I typically veer towards gothic reads, I am still a mood reader but fall always tends to put me in an even more gothic mood than usual so I find myself reading a lot of more melancholy books this time of year. So today I thought I’d discuss some books that are creepy enough for this time of year but are considered classic literature.  Being the fan of Gothic fiction that I am, this is right up my alley and I had a lot of fun coming up with classic titles that embody the eery atmosphere that we all like to come across in books during this time of year.

1. Dracula by Bram Stoker

I love the format of this book and it remains one of my favorite books of all time.

2. Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier

Melancholy and full of suspense. The setting and the suspense make this story a great fall read.

3. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

I have a love/hate relationship with this one. Dr. Frankenstein is a character I want to reach through the pages and shake some sense into but it is fascinating and has very creepy parts.

4. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Another all time favorite. Typical gothic fiction complete with mansion, brooding man and young female heroine.

5. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

The book that kindled my love for Agatha Christie and scared the pants off 13 year old me.

6. 1984 by George Orwell

The paranoia in this book makes it terrifying. Definitely enjoyed this.

7. In a Closed Room by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Nothing at all like her other works (which I love). This one has ghosts and children. Spooky and sad.

8. The Mysteries of Udolpho by Anne Radcliffe

I am still reading this one but definitely worthy of being on this list.

9. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

You can’t get much more gothic and suspenseful than this book. A worthy classic that I loved.

10. Gothic Tales by Elizabeth Gaskell

I am currently reading and enjoying so far. This is a collection of shorter stories that are all creepy in a different way.

So that’s it. I decided to keep this shorter because I could have kept going on and on. If you have any creepy classics you think I should try please recommend them to me!