Tuesday, December 31, 2019

#AMonthofFaves This Is How We Read

Today is the last post for #AMonthofFaves hosted by Kim and Tanya at GirlXOXO (link here) and T of Traveling With T (link here). I've so enjoyed thinking about these prompts this past month. Today we are talking about "how we read." I did a fairly in depth post on the nuts and bolts of how we read last year for this prompt which you can read here. That post is still very accurate except for one big thing...

Yesterday I got a Kobo e-reader. Aaaaaahhhhhh!!! This is something I never thought I would say. However, my parents gave Sam one for Christmas and I got a little envious. I honestly bought it solely for reading on vacation. We're headed off for a week and a half in a couple of weeks and I'm so excited that I will just load some books on my Kobo and not have to worry about bringing physical books along. No more trekking to little libraries to find vacation books to leave behind. No more managing library books through different countries. I have a feeling this will be a vacation reading game changer. However, I'll report back on that in a month or so, once I've actually used it.

Oh, and I will probably also use it for books that my library only carries in e-format. I might have one (or three) of those loaded to "test my e-reader out." Right.

Anyways, I had a whole different post planned (and mostly written) for this prompt, but I wasn't feeling it. It was basically answering a whole bunch of questions about my reading from 2019 and I felt like I was just saying the same thing over and over. So yesterday in the shower, inspiration hit, and I decided to review 2019 from a reading point of view. At the end of my post, you can tell me whether you think this was "inspiration" or "just plain boring." Ha!

January 2019 started with a #24in48 readathon. I LOVE those readathons. Below is my aspirational TBR and the actual books I read, along with my total time read. (24 hours and 25 minutes, for those who can't see it.)
I also really love this photo of Sam and Rachel reading with me on the Saturday morning.
In February we took a short trip to Victoria, BC to visit my parents and of course, a bunch of reading happened during that time.
I started Becoming on the plane ride and couldn't put it down. I also read my first Shirley Jackson and another book in the Maggie Hope series by Susan Elia McNeal. And the plane ride home was taken up by Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty -- who I still don't love. Boo.
I have a pile of books on my dresser which is my TBR of non-library books. Some of these are books from friends, or the rare book I've bought and mean to read. This was my pile at the end of February. Stay tuned for what it looks like now...
I decided we would spend a large amount of time over March Break reading. Sam took me up on that challenge and read three or four books in the Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan. These books are 500-600 pages each.
Rachel and I also spent a fair bit of time reading.
At the beginning of April I participated in Dewey's 24 hour readathon. I was in a full day event at church that day but walked home reading as it was one of the first really beautiful days in spring. I read two books during the readathon.
In April I also finished reading The Secret Garden illustrated edition out loud to Rachel. It was fun to share this classic with her.
Also in April, the children's section of our library, which had been closed for FOUR WEEKS due to a renovation, finally reopened.
May brought some interesting books into my life, including the stressful book Five Days at Memorial about a hospital in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. Yeeks. I think this is also when my Jenny Colgan love affair started :)
In June, the Toronto Raptors made it to the NBA finals (AND WON!!!) so I spent a lot of nights watching basketball and my reading suffered accordingly. Ha!
After that I spent a fair amount of time reading in bed, catching up!
We also started spending more time at our table outside which I discovered was an awesome reading spot. Although I discovered the hard way that I needed to put sunscreen on my knees as that was the only part of my lap not covered by a book. HAHAHAHA!!! #summerreaderproblems
I also discovered that a two week road trip to visit friends was not conducive to a lot of reading. I'm so happy we had such an amazing vacation but I am sad that I missed both the Dewey's Reverse Readathon and the July #24in48 readathon :( But I did learn how to needlefelt so there is that!
Sam and Rachel reading in our hotel room at night.
We ended our trip with a few days at my parents' house before flying home and I might have finished three or four books in those few days.
The rest of August is defined by reading at the pool while the kids had tennis and swimming lessons and enjoyed playing with friends.
At the end of August, I was jonesing for a reading weekend so I declared to Dave that I was doing my own readathon. I read four books in one day and it was exactly what I needed.
In September or October I discovered the gem that was The Residence and enjoyed cozy reading in bed once again.
The end of October brought Dewey's 24 Hour readathon, again. As always my aspirational TBR is not a realistic one :)
I love reading in my reading chair, under our travel wall. Especially with a hot drink and a warm blanket.
And I spent quite a bit of time this fall reading Harry Potter book 2 out loud to Rachel.
In November I fell down our stairs and needed to rest for a few days. I moved my reading to the couch, wrapped up in a blanket and with my comfort bag for aches and pains.
At the end of November, I participated in my first ever readathon with the Bookish Canadians Instagram account. I read four books over the course of three days and enjoyed interacting with other readers.
I was unemployed for the fall and started a new, on call, as needed job on December 10. It turns out that I worked six full days in the last two school weeks of December and my reading suffered accordingly.
Over the break though, I read a few of RaeAnne Thayne's Haven Point Christmas books and really enjoyed them. They were just the light read I needed for the holidays.
And here is the stack of books on my dresser as of yesterday. The two smaller piles in front are library books I need to read before we go on vacation in mid-January. The looming pile at the back is my current TBR of non-library books. It's getting a little crazy! I think I need to make a resolution to get that pile under control in 2020.
So that was my 2019 reading year. It was fun to reflect this way and I hope you found it (somewhat) interesting :) I haven't finished my final book (books?!) of 2019 yet so I will update that number on Instagram later today.

And 2020 -- I look forward to all the good books you have in store for me!!! I can't wait to read you!

Monday, December 30, 2019

Favorite Books Read This Year #AMonthofFaves

I'm so behind on blogging right now. I still need to catch up on reading a bunch of the posts for the #AMonthofFaves linkup but first, I'm going to try and get my last two posts for this written. Today, we're talking about our favourite books from the year. For those of you who have spent any time around here (or who follow me on Instagram), you know that it's always hard for me to pick favourite books. I LOVE THEM ALL!!! Most of the time :)

As always, all my images are from Goodreads (unless otherwise noted) and I don't get commission if you click on them :)

Here is my list of For Fun Fiction Books I Think Everyone Should Read.
The Flight Girls
I really enjoyed The Flight Girls by Noelle Salazar. It tells the story of women who trained to be pilots within the US, during World War II. It was a bit of a love story, a lot of a sad story, and introduced me to yet another facet of the war I didn't know about.

Where the Forest Meets the Stars
I think I've written about Where The Forest Meets the Stars at least three times before and will likely write about it again until you've all read it. It's worth it and my friend Emily, whose opinion regarding books I trust, also liked it so if you don't take my word for it, take hers!

the Lemon Sisters - Target Exclusive
The Lemon Sisters by Jill Shalvis was just the perfect book for me at the time. I think I read it this past summer and I needed a book just like this. It's a book about two sisters who switch lives for a little bit and I loved it.

The Lost Girls of Paris
Pam Jenoff is best known for The Orphan's Tale but I think she should also be known for this gem, The Lost Girls of Paris. I loved this book more than I liked The Orphan's Tale. Read this one. Then come back and tell me why you love it! Ha!

The Girl He Used to Know
There was just something about this book which I loved which is why it is ending this list. Either Annika Rose was so well written, or the story was so engaging, and the ending surprised me (although it shouldn't have). It just sticks out as a book I think more people should read.

This next list of books I am titling Books You Should Read If You Are Similar To Me. How's that for a category?!?!
Evvie Drake Starts Over
I loved Evvie Drake Starts Over because there is baseball. There is love. There is a woman trying to figure out who she is. Plus, as I was reading this, I was doing some transcription work for a friend, and yes, that's in this book as well. It was the perfect book for me at that particular time. And it still might be perfect.

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill
If I could move into a book it might be The Bookish Life of Nina Hill. I loved Nina. I want her job. I want her books. I devoured this book and maybe you will too. Or maybe it's just me. But this book had to be on here somewhere. I rarely buy books but I might have to make an exception for this one so I can read it over and over again.

The Flatshare
Two people share an apartment and, through living there together, fall in love. The Flatshare could have been written about Dave and I except we lived at our house at the same time, not like ships passing in the night. There were just so many (too many) things about this story which resonated with me and took me right back to the beginning of our relationship.

The Library Book
I love libraries. I love books. Put them together and you get The Library Book which I LOVED! It's the story of the Los Angeles library, particularly the fire at the library in 1986, but also the library's history. Parts of this book made me cry which should be a recommendation in and of itself!

The Overdue Life of Amy Byler
I don't know if it's because The Overdue Life of Amy Byler is about a librarian or because it mostly takes place in New York City, but I LOVED this book too. Plus this title is one of the best titles I've ever seen.

This category is called Non-Fiction Which I Couldn't Put Down.
The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11
I've read lots of books about September 11th and I'd heard a lot about how good this book was. The Only Plane in the Sky lived up to all the hype. It was a hard book to read but I appreciate how much research the author did and how he put a new spin on this day.

The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump
I found The Threat really interesting and engaging. I want to talk with someone about it. A friend who lives in The States said she might find this "too realistic to enjoy" and I get that. I read it as an outsider looking in on the current realities of the US, not as someone having to live within that reality every day. So take that as you will.

The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House
I unexpectedly loved The Residence so much that I wrote a review of it. You can read it here.

Bad Feminist
After wanting to read this book for a number of years, I finally read Bad Feminist. And now I am wondering why I waited so long to read it. I loved it. I love Gay's writing and I want to read more of her work.

Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers Who Helped Win World War II
Code Girls was another one of those hidden gems I just couldn't put down. I also wrote a book review of it which you can read here. And then go get this book because these are stories which should be known.

The Bookshop on the CornerThe Cafe by the Sea (Summer Seaside Kitchen, #1)Meet Me at the Cupcake Café (At the Cupcake Café, #1)
I would say my new favourite author this year is Jenny Colgan. Her books sometimes take me a bit to get into but then I can't put them down. And since she writes about plucky women who start over, I just adore her characters. And all her books are set in Great Britain which I also love.

Have I inspired you to pick up any of these books? Do I have any books on here you couldn't stand? What's one book that you love but you think might only appeal to you because of your specific interests??? Tell me below.

Again, I'm linking up with #AMonthofFaves, the blog party hosted by Kim and Tanya at GirlXOXO (link here) and T of Traveling With T (link here).