5-7, 7-12, Books, Children

Reading Resolutions and Reading Challenges

The new year is just getting started and many of us feel that it is a great place to restart.  I am definitely an organize obsessed person, the sheer amount of color codes and systems in my weekly planner and bullet journals are a by product of that.

I am definitely one of those people who look at my reading and try and see if there are things I want to do differently, do more of, do less of, etc.  I usually set myself certain goals at the beginning of the year.  Most bookish people will use Goodreads which has a built in challenge where you simply choose a particular number of books to try and read in the year.  I have friends who use excel spreadsheets to track metrics like genre, author gender, author ethnicity, country of origin and a whole bunch more so you can make it as simple or complex as you want.  When it comes to kids though I find that they need a bit more structure.

I am a believer that resolutions and challenges when it comes to reading can be very helpful in diversifying reading and pushing your own boundaries.  Whether you have a voracious reader or a reluctant one gamifying reading by creating goals, adding friendly competition, and/or providing some structure to the books for the year to come can be an interesting way to change up the way your children read.

I personally use the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge and have for the past few years.  As an adult it helps me pick books to read both from my existing TBR that I might otherwise overlook again and again for something else as well as pushing me to read outside of my comfort zone.  If you read it might be a fun game to play together or put siblings up against each other.  Read together, read separately, have physical rewards or create an artistic display of the books you read.  It makes reading fun, builds good patterns and adds incentive.

In case you missed it, I did also post a summer reading challenge post which is a great resource of different challenges that you can use or adapt to be yearly challenges and worth the look.

f I’ve been tempted to make my own challenge but I am not entirely sure I could create such a beautiful thing as the many that you can on Pinterest.  I don’t have the necessary computer programs.

Have you tried reading challenges, or do you prefer to just read on your own unhindered with restrictions.

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Adult, Books, Children, Musings

Ladies and Gentlemen, I Present: Summer Reading Challenges

I wanted this post to be more than just a link to a Pinterest board I have been curating for a while now, so I figured I would give the link:

I AM THE LINK!

as well as talk a bit about why I enjoy reading challenges.

For the past two years I have participated in a year long reading challenge, I figured now would be a good time to post this (rather than waiting until December or January) because I know that some parents struggle with getting their kids to read over the summer.

My answer to this: Gameify that.

Gameify is not a word.  What I’m saying is that if you make reading into a game, kids will be more motivated to do it, I know I am.

I went to Pinterest and looked at some of the challenges that teachers and parents have built, I encourage you to make your own based on themes, or genres, or your own kids interests.  It can be self motivated, or a competition.  The point of the challenge is not to be a homework assignment.  You aren’t forcing them to write an essay at the end of the summer, you are just trying to get them to read as much, or as widely as possible.

I chose pop sugar as my yearly reading challenge because I felt it had the most interesting selection of challenges.  They felt more varied and open to interpretation.  Sure a challenge such as “Read and Espionage Thriller” is pretty straight forward but “Read a book set in a hotel” or “read a book with a cat on the cover” were very interesting challenges for me.  It made the challenge fun, and helped me read outside of my comfort zone.  I was a wide reader to begin with, but this helped me think about what I was reading in a bigger perspective as well as pick up books that I may otherwise pass by.  I found great books that I loved this way.  I recommend you try as well, with or without your kids.

This was a super short and sweet post but I wanted to put it out there.

Reading is fun, let’s make it even better!

Adult, Books, Musings, YA (Young Adult)

February Wrap Up

Big things happened in February!  I got a job, I started said job, I immediately realized how little free time I had.  One of my goals for March is to figure out how to organize my free time so that I can keep up with my reading without dying from stress.  I also started gympocalypse which is basically going to gym Monday through Friday with my ex-cheer-captain best friend back home.  I was not a cheerleader I was in the Art Honor Society.  I drew pretty pictures.  This might kill me.  It also has contributed to how tired I am each night.  Hopefully I will equalize and do better at this pace.

You didn’t come here to hear about my life, you came here to learn what books I read and how I’m doing on my reading challenges.

First things first, books.

187128861The first book I read this month was actually the #imbibliomancy pick!  If you haven’t watched our book club discuss this one while drunk you should definitely go do that asap.  It was hilarious, plus we had the special guest of Taylor’s totally British girlfriend.  Classing the show up just by having her there.  It was also nice to know that she does actually exist and wasn’t photoshopped into his pictures from Scotland.

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The next book I read was for a special I wanted to do for lunar new year.  I had been wanting a copy of The Three-Body Problem for a while but was waiting for it to come out in soft cover.  I talked about this book in a video and discussed translation a bit, since that is one of the things I would like to do with my life.  It is one of my favorite science fiction novels I have read to date and I am excited to pick up the second when I can.

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The third book I read you will be seeing on Friday actually!  It was also translated from Chinese but this one is a collection of stories by a Malaysian author.  I found them all incredibly beautiful and talk about some of the themes that show up in this collection throughout.  I really loved the way that this author was able to build ambiance in such short stories.  They got a bit repetitive for me but I read them all one after the other and they might not be that way if you read them a little slower.

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I followed that up with The Circle by Dave Eggers!  Some dystopian/utopian fiction wherein one company trying to do the right thing actually alienates a large portion of society.  I think that this book got a little preachy sometimes, but was actually really disturbing to read from.  If you like stories about societies not too different from our own that are mildly creepy and discuss a more realistic fall into dystopia then this is definitely one to check out.  I reviewed this one on YouTube so you can hear me talk about it there!
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I followed that up with my YA Bestseller of the year.  I picked this one up from the library and read it and reviewed it on the youtube channel.  In it I discuss a lot about book cover trends and why I feel like ya fantasy is all the same story over and over.  I want a different story guys.  Is that so much to ask?  Not just a new world, a new story.

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The next book I read was actually for a joint review between Gretchen and myself.  I had seen this one making the rounds on booktube and everyone seemed to love it.  For me it wasn’t so amazing, I definitely enjoyed it, but for Gretchen it wasn’t great at all.  If you want to hear us discuss the pros and cons of this novel you should watch that video.  Our next read is Gretchen’s choice and that means it will be YA so look out for that.

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I read some poetry this month guys.  I hardly ever read poetry for myself.  In fact this is only 1 of 2 poetry collections I have bought for myself.  I have some that I used in school, but I picked this one up because I wanted to read it.  I talked about this one before going to the gym because poetry is terrifying and exercising is also terrifying.  So woo, that happened.  I might try and review more poetry as time goes on, but for now this is what I have for you guys and it probably isn’t the best review out there.

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This was followed by an ARC that I was actually reached out by the author to review.  Usually I pick up ARCs that I request from the published but the author of this one found me on tumblr and asked if I would be interested in reading his book.  It was quite short and actually did some new and interesting things with the YA fantasy genre but if you want to know what exactly I really loved about this book you should go read the post here!

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Apparently I was on an ARC kick because after that I read Lions.  This book doesn’t come out until July so there is quite a long wait for the review of this one but it did convince me to pick up her debut novel which I will hopefully be reading and review soon for you guys.  Once this review comes out I also want to do some sort of discussion post where I compare them because her debut is called Lamb and this is Lions and they have to be connected in some way.  I just feel it.

As far as challenges are concerned:

I have now completed 12 of 40 Pop Sugar Challenges.

However, I have only read 5 of my own damn books despite reading

22 of 50 books for the year.

Crazy that I’m almost halfway through my yearly reading challenge with ten more months left in the year.  However, I have started a job and my reading has slowed significantly.  I need to let my body find a new equilibrium before I can catch back up with reading.

There you have it folks, the February wrap up.  I will hopefully have two ARC reviews for you this week, so look forward to those!  Gretchen and I also have new 30 Seconds to Disagree videos coming out tomorrow.

Another month down, on to the next one.

Adult, Books, Musings, YA (Young Adult)

#readyourowndamnbooks Haul/TBR

Gretchen and I are back with another Betwixt the Books video, wherein we want to talk to you guys about the books that we already own that we are excited to get to this year but have been putting off for some reason or another.

The whole point of read your own damn books is to get us to bring down that ever growing TBR.

I have a problem with getting six book from the library every week, Gretchen requests ARCs instead of reading the books she already has, we all have our vices.

If you want a sneak peek at what will be coming up on the blogs at some point this year then this is the video for you!  Enjoy!

We will be back tomorrow with a new episode of #imbibliomancy wherein we discuss Queen of the Tearling so you should definitely look forward to that!

Adult, Books, Musings, YA (Young Adult)

New Years Resolutions or My First TBR

Those of you who follow me on Twitter or Instagram will know that I have decided to do a reading challenge for the first time in 2016.  I have always done the Goodreads Challenge (at least since starting Goodreads) but it isn’t something I stick to really closely, I use it mostly as a bench mark to gage my reading from year to year.  This year I am doing an actual challenge that is going to push me out of my comfort zone.

Now, I don’t normally plan my reading.  I read whatever I want, when I want.  I go to the library and walk around and grab a book that looks interesting, I hear about a book and immediately go and seek it out, I pick up a book that has been on my shelves for a few days or a few years.  For this reason I was a bit nervous about completing my challenge.  If I’m just picking up books willy-nilly I might get to September and realize I need to read 20 very specific books and then get bogged down not being able to read what I want.

For this reason the other day I made a new shelf on Goodreads, titled 2016 Reading Challenge and went through the categories and picked books that I either own or were on my TBR that fit.

Have I mentioned which challenge I’m doing?  No.  Oh, oops.  Well I’m doing the Pop Sugar 2016 Reading Challenge!

Here is my tentative TBR, I might switch some of these out for other books that fit the categories if they catch my eye during the year and I purposely left the easy categories blank for something along the way.

  1. A Book Based on a Fairy Tale:
  2. A National Book Award winner:
  3. A YA Bestseller:
    Eon (Eon, #1)
  4. A Book You Haven’t Read Since High School:
  5. A Book Set In Your Home State:
  6. A Book Translated into English:
  7. A Romance Set in the Future:
  8. A Book Set in Europe:
  9. A Book Under 150 Pages:
  10. A New York Times Bestseller:
  11. A Book That’s Becoming a Movie This Year:
    Me Before You (Me Before You, #1)
  12. A Book Recommended by Someone You Just Met:
    (open for a bookseller to recommend me something)
  13. A Self-Improvement Book:
  14. A Book You Can Finish in a Day:
    (open because I don’t know what I can finish in a day until I do it)
  15. A Book Written by a Celebrity:
  16. A Political Memoir:
  17. A Book at least 100 Years Older than You:
  18. A Book that is more than 600 Pages:
  19. A Book from Oprah’s Book Club:
  20. A Science-Fiction Novel:
  21. A Book Recommended by a Family Member:
    (open because this easy enough to get at some point)
  22. A Graphic Novel:
    (HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA)
  23. A Book that is Published in 2016:
  24. A Book with a Protagonist who has your Occupation:
    (On the Job Hunt Currently will update when I gain a Job)
  25. A Book that Takes Place During the Summer:
  26. A Book and its Prequel:
     (prequel to Jane Eyre seen earlier on this list)
  27. A Murder Mystery:
  28. A Book Written by a Comedian:
  29. A Dystopian Novel:
  30. A Book with a Blue Cover:
    (open because so incredibly easy to achieve)
  31. A Book of Poetry:
  32. The First Book you see in a Bookstore:
  33. A Classic from the 20th Century:
  34. A Book from the Library:
    (I repeat: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA)
  35. An Autobiography:
  36. A Book About a Road Trip:
  37. A Book About a Culture you are Unfamiliar With:
  38. A Satirical Book:
    Catch-22
  39. A Book that Takes Place on an Island:
  40. A Book that’s Guaranteed to Bring You Joy:

Are you doing a reading challenge this year? If so which one?  If not, that’s cool too, I don’t know if I’m going to like this or not so I might only do it this year.

I should also mention that these books don’t include all of the books for book club or with Gretchen or any number of other books that I might get my hands on.  So this is not a definitive list of my books for the year.  I’m just going to use it as a guideline for when I want to read something.  The books on this list that I already own have been pulled out and placed on the shelf next to my bed so that when I’m in the mood to read I can pull one of these instead of something else.

This of course isn’t my only New Years Resolution but to hear about that you will have to wait for the video that Gretchen and I put together talking about our Bookish Resolutions for the year.