Saturday, October 29, 2016

Some Halloween Reading

I love reading for the seasons and holidays, but must admit I'm much better at keeping on top of the calendar with children's books than my own "adult" books! With Halloween on Monday, I thought I'd share some books in our rotation lately:

Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree, by Stan & Jan Berenstain
Little Blue Truck's Halloween, by Alice Schertle & Jill McElmurry (Illus.)
Eek! Halloween!, by Sandra Boynton
Plumply, Dumply Pumpkin, by Mary Serfozo & Valeria Petrone (Illus.)

Not shown/returned to library:
Room on the Broom, by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler
Llama, Llama Trick or Treat, by Anna Dewdney
It's Pumpkin Day, Mouse!, by Laura Numeroff & Felicia Bond (Illus.)
Five Little Monkeys Trick-or-Treat, by Eileen Christelow

The majority of these have been read more than once and quite a few have been read repeatedly. My son's favorites are definitely Little Blue Truck's Halloween and Eek! Halloween! For these (and other favorites), he brings them over to Mommy or Daddy and climbs into one of our laps to be read to. It's pretty much one of the cutest things I have ever seen. Little Blue Truck's Halloween is from the library, but I'm thinking we should get a copy for our Little Blue Truck collection based on his enthusiasm. I just picked up Little Blue Truck's Christmas when I saw it at Marshalls in preparation!

And just last night, I actually did start a spooky book of my own!

So far, I've read the intro and one of the fourteen stories (I skipped to the shortest one!) I love the idea of dipping in and out of this collection and it doesn't matter to me if I don't finish it by Monday (which I probably won't!) I don't read a lot of short stories, so I'm glad to be giving this a try and branching out a bit. Collections of stories, poems, or essays always seem like a good idea to have going alongside other longer works, but I never seem to get one started. Maybe this one will help me get the ball rolling. Thanks Jade for the recommendation!

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Do you have any favorite Halloween or fall books?

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

October #ShelfLove Update

My last ShelfLove update was back in June, so I have a bit of catching up to do! From July through October, I averaged 2 books per month from my own shelves:
1. The Fiery Cross, by Diana Gabaldon (audio, re-read)
2. Illuminae, by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (print)
3. The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros (print, re-read)
4. The Marvels, by Brian Selznick (print)
5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Illustrated edition, by JK Rowling (special edition print, re-read)
6. A Breath of Snow and Ashes, by Diana Gabaldon (audio, re-read)
7. The Complete Peter Rabbit, by Beatrix Potter (print/audio)
8. Lord John and the Private Matter, by Diana Gabaldon (audio, re-read)
July-October TOTAL:  8 book read from my shelves
2016 TOTAL: 28 books read from my shelves

That was a bit better than I thought, actually! You'll notice a few on my list are re-reads, which may be bending the rules a bit. I mostly read an alternate format (audio) of a book I already owned for many years or from a print copy I never got around to re-reading since purchasing it for my collection. So I figured in one way or another, it was still in the spirit of ShelfLove!

Next up, I should re-calculate my stats for Read the Books You Buy to see how I'm doing on reading books I added to my shelves during 2016. Between these two challenges, I am attempting to keep myself accountable in terms of reading more of what I have at home. I doubt I'll reach my goal of 80-100% on that one, but the higher I can bump my %, the better!

The October ShelfLove discussion topic is my bookish wishlist for Christmas and what I really wish for is to read more of what I already have! It shouldn't be so difficult, but I learn about so many great new (and new-to-me) books all the time that can be hard to pass up. The wheels are already turning trying to come up with a game plan for the new year. Wish me luck!

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How has your 2016 reading been going?

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Reconsidering This Space

Hello? Anybody still there? It's been a while, I know! Well, if you've stuck around to see this post, know that I really appreciate the fact that you are here still sharing the bookish love. In the past several months, I've really only posted about challenges and reading events, but I've found I really do miss writing about other things. And most of all, I miss the little community in this corner of the internet. I read other blogs much more often than I post here, so I still get to be in on the fun, but they are all very inspiring and thought-provoking! I often find myself with ideas, but no time to get them typed out coherently. We all know that life happens (I have a toddler now! How did that happen so fast?!) and I'm glad for it. But I was thinking that maybe instead of trying to figure out how I can get this blog back to how it used to be, maybe I should reevaluate how I use this space. There is a reason I never closed up shop completely, and it's mainly the small community of readers and fellow bloggers who have somehow managed to connect here. So what's a girl to do going forward? The following are the answers I've come up with (so far!)

  • Reviews will be short and on Goodreads. For months (years actually!), I've actively resisted posting my thoughts on Goodreads when I mark a book as finished and give it a rating. I did this because I kept thinking "No, better not, this should be a review on the blog first." And how many of those actually became reviews? Hardly any! It's time to admit that most of my review-ish thoughts are best recorded when the book is fresh in my mind and that 95% of the time, I only have a few lines (maybe a paragraph) to share anyway. The other day, I just started doing this with picture books and it felt so great to get those thoughts down. And just like that, the (imagined) pressure of needing to have all review-ish thoughts specifically on the blog was gone. So if you want thoughts on specific books I've read, I'd love to be Goodreads friends -- if we aren't already :)
  • If I do have a lot to say about a specific book or my experience reading a book, genre, author, etc., those are the kinds of thoughts I will post here. I'm thinking things like my Reading Winnie-the-Pooh as an Adult which was my last "real" post -- four months ago! 
  • I want to write more about my reading life in general -- whether that is thoughts on audiobooks, the library, book collecting/organizing -- basically, anything reading-related that is not a review.
  • I want to write more about children's books and my experiences reading to my son. I think I shied away from this a bit without even realizing it. But children's books are a big part of my life now and I am finding so much joy in them. They may not be for all adult readers, but I am so very grateful to be able to explore this whole world of books that I never read myself or I don't remember reading, as well as revisiting the childhood favorites I do remember.
  • Come December/January when all the year-long reading challenges start popping up, I am going to be very, very picky about what I join. In 2016, I joined eight which was a major drop from prior years, but it's still too many to keep up with. Whatever I join, I want to realistically be able to keep up with my updates, be an active participant, and really use each challenge as a (fun) tool to focus my reading. Focusing my reading has always been a big reason I join challenges, but I can't focus on 8 (or more!) different goals if I am really honest with myself. 
  • Cutting back on challenges, I've also decided it's time to retire as host of the Banned Books Challenge. I was never the most active host anyway, so if any participants or interested bloggers are reading this and would like to take over for 2017, that would be wonderful!
Alright, I think those are all my thoughts for now! Thank you again to anyone who's stuck around. I look forward to putting these ideas into action and getting back in the blogging groove with a refreshed mindset.