Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Shelf Control #3

Shelf Control is a weekly meme hosted by Lisa of Bookshelf Fantasies where we each share a book from our shelves we'd like to read soon. I need a break from the new releases, so this is just perfect for me! Come on and join in :)

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My pick for this week is:

The Miseducation of Cameron Post, by Emily M. Danforth

How I got it:

When I got it: August 2014

Why I want to read it: This is yet another title I found out about through my interest in banned and challenged books. Last year, it made the news when a Delaware school district removed it from a summer reading list for incoming college prep and honors freshmen students. Supposedly the objection was for inappropriate language, but many people think the objections were really about the lesbian main character. The district ended up removing the list altogether (which seems a bit ridiculous since it was a list of award-winning books!), but the story was enough to put the book on a lot of people's radar -- including mine. I promptly bought the book and still it sits on my shelf -- time to read it soon!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Show Your Shelves Some Love Challenge: September Update + The Perils of Book Hoarding

OK, I'm starting right off the bat and admitting I have gotten completely off track with this challenge. I took a blogging break after my son was born in the spring and while I was gone (and unaccountable without my usual monthly update posts!), I ended up on a bit of a book-buying binge. They were mostly bargain books, so my wallet isn't hurting too badly, but my shelves most certainly are! I cannot even bring myself to count up the number of new additions since my last update. Honestly, I don't think I even really want to know.

But instead of throwing the towel in altogether, I'm going to hit the metaphorical restart button and aim to finish out the year recommitted to showing my shelves some love! I'm not going to limit myself to books already on my shelves before this challenge started in January, but will choose from any of the books I currently own. I plan to severely curtail any new purchases going forward and will still use my library, but not quite as much as I have been. I recently decided to return to my blogging roots and have put my TBR number on my sidebar as a continued reminder to read what I already have. 

Unfortunately, I think this update perfectly illustrates this month's discussion topic -- the perils of book hoarding. Book shopping often has a snowball effect for me. So if I give in and buy one or two, before you know it the stack of new books has multiplied beyond reason. And while learning about and acquiring new books is a fun part of being a book lover, it takes away from time I could actually be reading which is just a crying shame! Read more, buy less -- I think that needs to be my mantra from here on out!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Kicking off Banned Books Week 2015

This year, Banned Books Week runs from September 27th to October 3rd. As many of you may already know, banned books are a major bookish interest of mine. I am lucky to live in a country where books are not banned or censored by the government, but that doesn't stop books from being challenged in libraries or schools -- often unsuccessfully, but not always. I am a big believer in the freedom to read. I also firmly believe it is every parent's right to decide what books their own kids can or cannot read -- or at what age they feel their kids can read a particular book. I don't think one parent should get to decide what an entire class or school reads, and I definitely don't think the objections of a few should get a book pulled from library shelves.

Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association.

I'd like to think when my son gets old enough that I will allow him to read freely and use books about tough subject as opportunities for discussion. A bit idealistic for a brand new mom of a 5 month old perhaps, but I don't think books are something to be afraid of. Books often portray ideas, situations, decisions, etc. that we don't like or agree with, but I don't think I will do my kid any favors by pretending these things don't exist out there in the real world.

If you are so inclined, celebrate Banned Books Week by reading a title from one of the ALA's frequently challenged lists. I'm planning to read at least one myself and hopefully more!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Shelf Control #2

Shelf Control is a weekly meme hosted by Lisa of Bookshelf Fantasies where we each share a book from our shelves we'd like to read soon. I need a break from the new releases, so this is just perfect for me! Come on and join in :)

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My pick for this week is:

What My Mother Doesn't Know, by Sonya Sones

How I got it: my local indie bookstore

When I got it: last year?

Why I want to read it: Banned Books Week is starting September 27th, so I'm picking another frequently challenged title from my shelves this week. Banned Books are a major bookish interest of mine and I can't believe how many of these titles I've picked up over the years and then neglected to actually read! Also, it's a novel in verse, a type of book I've never tried before.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Back To My Blogging Roots & Tracking my TBR

A couple of weeks ago, Lisa over at Bookshelf Fantasies wrote a post Counting Up the Books that really struck a chord with me. She basically did a culling and inventory of her collection, followed by tallying up a master Book Count of what she still wants to read. This reminded me so much of my early days of blogging -- you know, back when I chose to call this little corner of the internet Buckling Bookshelves because my shelves were literally overflowing. I wanted to read more and buy less and in my very first post, I fessed up to my number of unread books. Back then, I thought 230 was a lot (excuse me while I have a good laugh at my former self.)

I had a hard time committing to less book buying though and eventually deleted the page I used to keep track of my number because it kept increasing instead of decreasing. Even as I did read some of the titles on my shelves, I just couldn't keep up! Getting more involved in the book blogging community was wonderful, but it didn't help this *problem* one bit -- I just kept hearing about new books! I even fell into the ARC trap for a while and things got way out of hand.

If I am perfectly honest, things are still out of hand. For the first few months of 2015, I did really well on the Show Your Shelves Some Love (A No Book Buying Challenge) I joined. I was also focused on my son's upcoming arrival and during the early days of new motherhood, I had no interest in learning about or acquiring new books. But as I came out of the fog a little bit (and was stuck in the house a lot) I discovered and went on quite a binge. And since I'd already "cheated" on my goals, I started checking my other usual book sites and stores again and was back to my old habits in no time -- buying more than I could possibly read and neglecting the books I already have.

The majority of my collection

Lisa's final Book Count ended up being 478. I'm pretty diligent about inventorying my collection on Goodreads, so a quick glance shows that my own TBR** number stands at 580 (give or take a few errors or accidental omissions). I've tried to not let it bother me, but it is time to admit that it does. I spent time and money acquiring my collection and I haven't been enjoying it as much as I could be. I am so extremely fortunate to be able to own books and I feel like I am taking them for granted. I am the last person to tell anyone else how they should feel about their unread books, but I don't feel great about my ballooning number. I want to appreciate what I already have and I'm ready to hold myself accountable again.

So, I'm following Lisa's lead and putting my TBR number on my sidebar (beneath my "currently reading" widget) instead of hiding it on a separate page like I used to. Right here, right now, I'm admitting to a starting number of 580. I will be trying my best to keep that number going in the right direction (down!) I'm officially returning to my blogging roots and refocusing on what I already have. I can't say I won't ever buy new books, but I don't want them to be my main focus. I want any new books I do buy to really earn their spot on my shelves. I will still borrow library books (print & audio), but I want to make a conscious effort to stop neglecting what I already have.


** TBR is different for everyone, but for me they are the books I have in my home (any format) that I still want to read. I don't include books I want to read, but don't have a copy of. I do count any of my husband's or kid's books I plan to read -- the kid books on my TBR mostly include some larger treasuries and holiday books that we haven't gotten to yet.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Shelf Control #1

Lisa over at Bookshelf Fantasies is introducing a brand new meme that is so darn perfect for me right now I could hardly believe the timing of it! Instead of focusing on new releases as a few long-standing Wednesday memes do, she's going to focus on sharing books she already owns but hasn't read yet.

For me, the hardest part about reading from my own shelves is choosing what to pick up next. I'm spoiled for choice really and it's time to show some appreciation for all the books I already have. This is one step toward returning to my blogging "roots" which I'm going to talk about a bit more in an upcoming post.

So without further ado, my first pick:

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume

How I got it:

When I got it: June 2014

Why I want to read it: This is one of those classic YA books I had always heard about, but never read. Last year, I saw the gorgeous new cover redesigns and decided it was finally time to add some Judy Blume to my collection. AND this book is a frequently challenged title and banned books are kind of my thing. Banned Books Week starts September 27th this year, so it's time to finally read this one!

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So come on and join in! Breathe some life back into those books collecting dust on the shelves and rediscover a hidden gem waiting for you in your own TBR stacks :)

Friday, September 11, 2015

Baby Books to Make a New Mom Cry, Part 2

Back in May, I shared some of my favorite baby books -- the ones that were getting me all choked up as a brand new mom. I've found a few more since then that I absolutely adore, so thought I'd share this next batch. The waterworks don't turn on quite as easily these days, but I still love some of these more sentimental stories. I'm enjoying them while I can -- before my little guy is big enough to pick what I read to him, that is!

Baby Love, by Angela DiTerlizzi
Guess How Much I Love You, by Sam McBratney
If I Could Keep You Little..., by Marianne Richmond

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What are your favorite books to read to the little ones in your life?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A Bookish Decorating Project, #2

A while back, I shared my bookish decorating project for my son's nursery. Before I ever even started working on that one, I had another decorating project in the works for our living room, a.k.a. my "library room." My basic idea was a *collage* of favorite bookish quotes with some bookish artwork/prints mixed in. I already had a bunch of matching frames in different sizes, so I started filling them in one by one based on what fit in best where...

So what's in the collage?

1. Five of my favorite bookish quotes printed out on white cardstock in various fonts:

"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you know, the more places you'll go" ― Dr. Seuss

“And every book, you find, has its own social group--friends of its own it wants to introduce you to, like a party in the library that need never, ever end.” ― How to be a Woman, by Caitlin Moran

“I always order the banned books from a black market dealer in California, figuring if the State of Mississippi banned them, they must be good.”
― The Help, by Kathryn Stockett

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” ― Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, by J.K. Rowling

“A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest.”― C.S. Lewis 

(Note: I have since read the book of essays by C.S. Lewis where I believe this last one is taken from. It seems wherever I first read it had the wording a bit off, but I'm leaving it for now. The message is the same regardless!)

2. Two illustrated quotes printed from Goodreads' monthly newsletter:

"I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library." ― Jorge Luis Borges

"It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities" ― J.K. Rowling

3. A copy of my UK Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone cover.

4. An illustrated postcard of The Elephant House, the cafe I visited in Edinburgh, Scotland where J.K. Rowling wrote parts of Harry Potter.

5. A print that came with my collector's edition of The Tales of Beedle the Bard.

Here's what my reading corner looks like :)

As you can tell, it's a bit Harry Potter-heavy :)

Has anyone else ever tried any bookish decorating projects? I'd love to hear about them!