Saturday, March 31, 2018

April Caldecott Calendar: April Fools' Day, Easter, Earth Day, & Arbor Day

A week ago, I gave a little intro to this new Caldecott Calendar project I've started working on. I picked a pretty busy month to start with, so I'm cutting it pretty close here! I will do my best to post further in advance in the future to give some more lead time for anyone trying to read along with the various holidays and seasons. 

Please be aware that my intention for this project is to create an informational and organizational resource, not to curate a list of recommendations. I will mark ones I've particularly enjoyed with an asterisk (*), but will include books whether I personally like them or not. And while I am planning to read through all of the Caldecott titles, there will be some included I have not yet been able to read for myself. I will be as comprehensive and accurate as I can, but I still may miss things and need to add/revise lists later on. I will have a permanent tab up top for this project so you can find the latest updates. Please let me know if you notice any errors or omissions as we go!

April Fool's Day
(April 1st)
To the best of my knowledge, there aren't any Caldecott titles about April Fools' Day itself, but I decided the occasion works well for some nonsensical and silly titles from the award list. I've never been much into April Fools', but it still strikes me as an odd overlap that Easter falls on April 1st this year -- that probably won't happen again for some time!

Du Iz Tak? written & illustrated by Carson Ellis
2017 Caldecott Medal

Rain Makes Applesauce, written by Julian Scheer & illustrated by Marvin Bileck
1965 Caldecott Honor

Pop Corn and Ma Goodness, written by Edna Mitchell Preston & illustrated by Robert Andrew Parker
1970 Caldecott Honor

King Bidgood's in the Bathtub written by Audrey Wood & illustrated by Don Wood
1986 Caldecott Honor

A Very Special House, written by Ruth Krauss & illustrated by Maurice Sendak
1954 Caldecott Honor

What Do You Say, Dear?, written by Sesyle Joslin & illustrated by Maurice Sendak
1959 Caldecott Honor

Easter can be on any date between March 22nd and April 25th, but since it most often falls in April, it has landed on the April list :)

Juanita, written & illustrated by Leo Politi
1949 Caldecott Honor

The Egg Tree, written & illustrated by Katherine Milhous
1951 Caldecott Medal

Earth Day
(April 22nd)

*Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems, written by Joyce Sidman & illustrated by Beckie Prange
2006 Caldecott Honor
This is such an interesting mix of the environment, science, and poetry with really beautiful illustrations.

Gone Wild: An Endangered Animal Alphabet written & illustrated by David McLimans
2007 Caldecott Honor
The subtitle pretty much explains it -- this alphabet book features an endangered or vulnerable species for each letter. The illustrations are so clever!

In the Small, Small Pond, written & illustrated by Denise Fleming
1994 Caldecott Honor
This is a simple nature story following the inhabitants of a pond through the seasons.

The Desert Is Theirs, written by Byrd Baylor & illustrated by Peter Parnell
1976 Caldecott Honor
This picture book is about the Papagos Native American tribe's deep respect for and relationship with the land and all creatures they share it with.

Green, written & illustrated by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
2013 Caldecott Honor
A simple story with intriguing cutouts perfect for the littlest of bookworms with a subtle environmental message.

Arbor Day 
(Last Friday of April)

A Tree is Nice, written by Janice May Udry & illustrated by Marc Simont
1957 Caldecott Medal
This one certainly works for Earth Day too!

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Stay tuned for another April list including books for National Poetry Month and Jazz Appreciation Month as well as a list for Spring!

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Added since original posting:
King Bidgood's in the Bathtub
A Very Special House
What Do You Say, Dear?

Last updated: April 15, 2018

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Caldecott Calendar Project: An Introduction

As many of you already know, I've re-discovered a of love picture books since my son was born -- almost 3 years ago now! In large part thanks to Julie's Newbery Challenges, I've been purposely seeking out Caldecott books and can hardly believe how many winner and honor titles there have been over the years. A great many of these books I'm actually just reading on my own, though I hope that more and more of them will capture my son's interest as he gets older. While he regularly surprises me with a longer attention span when he's really interested in a particular character or topic, a lot of the Caldecott titles aren't exactly toddler fare.

I love reading seasonally, especially when it comes to picture books, even if, ahem, my toddler isn't always on board (Christmas and Halloween books in March, anyone?) So I've been trying to figure out which Caldecott books fit various categories, holidays, seasons, etc. throughout the year. I've looked for lists of them online and been surprised by how little I've found. General lists that might include a Caldecott or two abound, but that wasn't really what I was looking for. So it seemed like one of those things I'd have to put together myself if I wanted to have it as a resource -- so here we are!
While it feels like I've read a TON of Caldecott books, I still have so many left to discover which is why I kept pushing off this idea. But if I keep pushing it off, I don't think it will ever happen! So please bear with me as I kick off this blog series in the next week or so with Caldecott Books for April. I will be as comprehensive as I can, but I still may miss things and need to add/revise lists later on. I will have a permanent tab up top for this project so you can find the latest updates. Please let me know if you notice any errors or omissions as we go!

I'll end now with just one Caldecott book for March to give you an idea of what I'm trying for with this project. Also, it is so perfect for this time of year (in northern New York, anyway!) that I don't want to wait a whole year to share it :)

First Sign of Spring

The Happy Day, written by Ruth Krauss & illustrated by Marc Simont
1950 Caldecott Honor

The world is still covered in snow when the animals start coming out of hibernation and find the first sign of spring. Perfect for those days when the calendar says spring is here, but it doesn't quite feel like it yet! This one has large illustrations and short, simple text, so it's one of the Caldecott titles that does work for the toddler set, at least in theory :)

Sunday, March 18, 2018

When you finally read that book that's been on your shelf forever... and it's... fine...

{This is my third TBR-themed post inspired by Caffeinated Reviewer's March Take Control of Your TBR Challenge}

You don't love it, but it's not a complete disappointment either. Maybe it's a mixed bag sort of book. Maybe it's a decent read, but it doesn't inspire any strong feelings -- a middle of the road 'I Liked It' 3-star read. You know the ones I mean. The book is good. It's fine. But it's not all that special. I've read a lot of 3-star books over the years and there's nothing wrong with that. But there's something about holding onto a book for SO LONG only to find out it was just *fine* or *OK* that's feels different than if it had been a library borrow or recent purchase.

Unless a book was a gift or a freebie, if it's on my shelves, it's safe to say I think I'm going to love it. If I expected a book to only be a 2- or 3-star read, it wouldn't have survived all the bookshelf culling I've done over the years. I would have donated it, sold it, traded it in, or sent it off to some book drive or other. I don't intend to acquire and hold onto books I think will just be *fine* or *OK.* Don't we want more than that from the books earning a spot on our shelves? I know I do! It's unrealistic to think every unread book will end up being a 4- or 5-star read, but a reader can dream, can't she?

A few recent titles that fit the bill are....

My Ideal Bookshelf, edited by Thessaly LaForce & illustrated by Jane Mount

I've had this book since 2012. It's one of those titles I kept noticing on my shelf and wondering why in the world I hadn't gotten to it yet. I love books about books and I've loved the Ideal Bookshelf concept ever since I first heard about it and yet... there it sat. I finally cracked this one open because I've been reading more collections of shorter works alongside whatever other *main* book I'm reading -- essays, short stories, that sort of thing. And I hate to say it, but it wasn't as fantastic as I thought it would be.

I love the illustrations, but I didn't know a lot of the contributors. My predominant feeling while reading was that I was woefully under-read to appreciate most of it. And many, many times when I recognized a title on someone's shelf, it wasn't one that was discussed in the accompanying essay! The vast majority of children's books scattered throughout were not elaborated on and those are the ones that intrigued me most. Why did Roseanne Cash put Little House in the Big Woods on her shelf? Why did an artist/urban planner choose a Richard Scarry book? What's the story behind the legal scholar/professor including The Phantom Tollbooth and Now We Are Six? Only one person chose a Harry Potter book (how?!?!), but there wasn't any story behind it. One shelf included A Wrinkle in Time, Harriet the Spy, and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but not a word about any of them. And the Childcraft encyclopedias! Does anyone else remember those?!? They were a throwback to my own childhood I had completely forgotten about until the moment I spotted them in these pages -- and I wanted to know more!

I still marked a lot of great quotes and there were a few essays that were real gems, but overall this averaged out to a 3-star book, rather than the 5-star home-run I expected it to be. I do understand that if each contributor elaborated on a dozen or more titles the book would have gotten unwieldy and my own areas of interest are not going to be the same as everyone else's. I just wanted more from this one!

I can't even tell you how long I've had this one because I bought a used copy from the now defunct website. But it's been many, many years, I know that much. Summers came and went and for one reason or another I kept not picking this book up during those warmer months -- and it went completely off my radar for the rest of the year because I thought it was a "summer book." When I finally picked it up, I quickly discovered I was wrong! The essays are organized by season of life (Child, Mother, Grandmother) and include all different times of year, holidays, etc.

As with almost all essay collections, I enjoyed some better than others. These are all personal and obviously come from the author’s own specific experiences, family, and memories. As such, I found some more relatable than others. There were some outstanding stories that brought tears to my eyes and plenty of other interesting ones even if they didn’t speak to me in quite the same way. I originally rated this book 4-stars, but then knocked it down to 3. Maybe it really should be 3.5? The stories I loved I really, really loved, but the rest were just OK for me. And in retrospect, I can't shake the feeling that the book is almost too idyllic. I don't wish drama and dysfunction on anyone's family and I'm not saying the author was being dishonest either, but we all look back with rose-colored glasses sometimes, don't we?

Greenglass House, by Kate Milford

I bought this at my local indie and it sat on my shelf for about a year. When I was reminded it has a snowy/winter/Christmas setting, I went so far as to buy the sequel with the idea that I'd then read them both during the 2017 Christmas season. Anyone else ever buy a sequel for a book they haven't read yet, because you just know you're going to love them? Please say it's not just me! And oh, how I thought I would love this book! And it ended up being... just... fine. It was good, but it wasn't great (for me). For a middle grade novel with a mystery/suspense element, it took me a really long time to finish. And by the time I did, I didn't jump into the sequel because I needed a break from Greenglass House and I had too many other books I wanted to get to. A month and a half later, I actually just picked it up today during my son's nap, but wasn't sure if I was actually going to commit to reading it. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the shorter chapters and how engaged I was feeling early on, so I'm sticking with it. I'm starting to feel like winter's days are actually dwindling, so I'm glad I gave this series another chance this season after all!

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What is a book you had on your TBR for a long time that didn't blow you away as much as you had expected? I'd love to know!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Unread Shelf Project 2018: My Sign-Up Post

{I already posted about the March challenge for this project, but I've finally gotten this (lengthy!) sign-up post together.}

I've been following Whitney's @theunreadshelf account on Instagram since early January. I found her when there was some New Year buzz around her #theunreadshelfproject2018. It's mainly an Instagram thing and my account is mostly just pictures of my kid, so I told myself I wasn't going to join. But I've really enjoyed following along for some TBR-tackling inspiration anyway and I've been feeling inspired to do more than just follow along lately. I don't have a Bookstagram account, but I have a book blog, so why not participate in my own way? Other bloggers have been writing Unread Shelf Project posts outside of Instagram, so here we are! Below is Whitney's original post explaining the basics and rationale behind the project:

Who’s excited for 2018?! 🙌🏽💃🏽🎉. . . I’m joining up with @katereadsbooks_ and @calsreads to host The Unread Shelf Project 2018 - to encourage and challenge you to read the unread books you already own. Check out my story for a video about it and keep reading! . . It is sooo easy on social media to get caught up in book FOMO and frantically buy more books than we can possibly tackle quickly. I currently own 161 unread books...🤦🏽‍♀️ Which is about half the books we have in our 900 square foot house, which is kinda amazing we have room for all those. 😂. . . Anyway! In 2018, I am committed to reading my unread shelf and not buying or borrowing books until I meet my goals. It’s an exercise in contentment, self-discipline, and enjoying what I have instead of accumulating more. . . Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing our personal goals for #theunreadshelfproject2018 and week- or month-long challenges to help us get there. . . This is not an exercise motivated by shame or guilt. It’s a recognition that many of us have more books than we need, and it’s time to slow down and READ. . . I hope you will join us, whether you have 10 or 100 unread books! The first challenge for you over the holiday weekend is COUNT YOUR UNREAD BOOKS. To set a realistic goal, you have to know where you’re starting from! . . Feel free to share your total in a story or post, and tag me and #theunreadshelfproject2018 so others can follow! You can also repost this graphic to show you are participating! . . I can’t wait to see what you all come up with. Happy reading! (And counting! 😉) . . #theunreadshelfproject #kcbookstagram #bookstagram #unreadbooks #readingchallenge2018 #readyourowndamnbooks #books #readingchallenge #contentmentchallenge
A post shared by Whitney - The Unread Shelf (@theunreadshelf) on

The key points for me are:
"It’s an exercise in contentment, self-discipline, and enjoying what I have instead of accumulating more."
"This is not an exercise motivated by shame or guilt. It’s a recognition that many of us have more books than we need, and it’s time to slow down and READ"
Other than the Instagram focus, I had two more reasons for not joining earlier: 1. I was sticking to my decision to not join more year-long challenges and 2. I reallllly didn't want to face the music and tally up all my unread books. My change of heart on reason #1 is that I'm considering this a replacement for the 2018 Goodreads Challenge I never joined. Plus, this is a project, not a challenge right? Ahem. Anyway. As for reason #2, I had a rough idea of my number of unread books from Goodreads, but my tracking has gotten unwieldy over there. (It couldn't be because I have too many books could it? Nah, that can't be it...) I'm much better at using Goodreads for ratings, reviews, and connecting with other readers -- cataloging over there has not been my strong suit, hard as I've tried to keep everything all in one place. So when Whitney shared a screenshot of the app she's been using called Book Buddy (free version with 50 book limit or unlimited pro version for $4.99), I went ahead and took a chance on the pro version.

A big part of me thought it was a huge waste of time to go through and scan all my unread books into another service, but I also liked the idea of a fresh start for tracking my TBR and turned it into a bit of a project with my son. Though he did lose interest before we finished, it occupied us for a decent chunk of time we were stuck inside. He was a particular fan of the sound effect when a barcode failed to scan which sounds like a car horn (don't worry, you can turn the sounds off if you're not entertaining a toddler!)

So we combed through the house and scanned in only unread books and books I've read since the beginning of 2018. My unread number is embarrassingly huge, but I'm going to throw in a few explanations/excuses. First of all, I've included just about every single unread book in the house across all ages, genres, and formats (minus a very few of my husband's books I don't plan to read). Picture books, fairy tales, middle grade, poetry, easy readers, ebooks, audiobooks -- all of it. So that stack of early readers from a garage sale my son is still too young for? They're on my Unread Shelf. And the pile of picture books from the used bookstore or the library discard shelf we didn't get to yet? Yup, those are too. And on and on. I also included some books I've technically read before, but purchased with the intention of re-reading. I know that inflates my unread number, but I wanted to see the full scope and then take it from there.

Going through my shelves as I just did for this project reminds me of the wealth of great stories I already have at my fingertips. It reminds me I already have a great variety to choose from depending on my mood. I am fortunate that it's easy for me run to the library to borrow books on a whim and that's amazing! But it's far too easy to reach for the library stack because there are due dates to comply with. So this is about shifting my focus, slowing down, and enjoying what I already have. And it's also about clearing out some of the excess to send off to new homes and share with others -- culling is definitely part of my plan for this project.

Now here is the part where I tell you I've been going back and forth about whether or not to share my actual Unread Shelf number here on the blog. For a long time, I had a TBR counter on my sidebar, but I got rid of it because it didn't actually help keep me accountable like it was intended to. At times it seemed like it downright backfired and I really don't want to repeat that experience with this project. So it feels like cheating, but I'm going to keep the numbers to myself. I will admit this much -- I don't have an unread shelf, but more like an unread library -- eek!

I try to remind myself that all those unread books includes digital as well as print. It includes a lot of freebies (Amazon First ReadsAudiosync, Volumes etc.), used books, library discards, and bargain books, but it's still a LOT of books, no matter how good the deals were. I'm trying to think of books as good investments (which Julie reminded me of recently!) and I love to lend out books, but building a family library has definitely outpaced my reading ability. And even though I want to make progress on my Unread Shelf, it's NOT all about numbers. I want to think of our library as a resource and remember that reading is not a race. I don't want to reduce my reading life to stats and an overgrown checklist -- the app and the numbers are simply tools to help guide and organize me. If those tools start getting in the way, I have no problem letting them go.

I'm not sure exactly how I will do updates going forward, but I'm setting my official first goal to read all of the unread picture books that have been lingering around. I love picture books, so that's a goal I can get excited about. I probably just need to "borrow" a stack from our own shelves instead of the library for a few weeks and I should be all set :)

The title of this very blog refers to my overflowing shelves -- or what I thought were overflowing shelves nearly seven years ago. And the whole point of starting a book blog was to read more of them! But I seem to veer further off course the longer I hang out in the bookish corners of the blog/podcast world. In a lot of ways, I'm actually OK with that, but maybe this project will help me get back to my bookish roots. I know there are so many great stories just waiting for me to uncover -- and I look forward to experiencing them :)

Sunday, March 11, 2018

When you finally read that book that's been on your shelf forever... and you love it!

{This is my second TBR-themed post inspired by Caffeinated Reviewer's March Take Control of Your TBR Challenge}

When I finally dig into books that have been sitting on my shelf forever, thankfully it's not all DNFs and disappointment. Sometimes it feels like a treasure hunt. Like I've uncovered a diamond in the rough and I just can't believe I didn't pick that book up sooner. What was I thinking?!

I'm going to use a loose definition of "forever" for the purposes of this post, but let's call it at least a year, though I'm sure I'm not the only bookworm who has unread books hanging around a lot longer than that! Here are a few I've read since December that fit the bill:

A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L'Engle

According to Goodreads, I put this on my "Have a Copy" shelf in February 2013 -- that's 5 years ago! I had found a matching set of books #2-5 of the Time Quintet at my local used bookstore and felt I should remedy the fact that I missed out on them as a kid. Whether because the person who traded them in held onto Wrinkle or because another reader snapped it up before me doesn't really matter, but I wasn't surprised to see the most popular first book was not there. And it certainly didn't deter me from scooping them up and then tracking down the missing title elsewhere. And even though I did that rather promptly, the entire series still sat unread on my shelves for 5 long years. My mom even borrowed, read, and returned most of the series before I ever cracked the first one open! (Side note: She started feeling lost in book #5 and gave it up. I've since learned there is apparently some controversy over whether or not books #4-5 are *really* part of the series as it was originally a trilogy? I don't know enough about it to comment, but if you have any insight, please share!)

When I finally picked up Wrinkle for two different read-alongs, it only took a couple of pages to know it was going to be a really special book. The writing is excellent and I found it so very engaging -- the kind of book I just want to get lost in. I almost want to compare it to how it felt reading Harry Potter for the first time, though that might be a slight exaggeration. I did get a tad bit lost with some of the science-y stuff later on and I struggled a little bit with concentrating on book #2, but overall, I've been so glad to finally be experiencing this new-to-me series.

The Snow Sister, by Emma Carroll

I bought both of these in December 2016, thinking I'd read them during that Christmas season... and I didn't. Womp, womp. I brought Winterson's short story collection with me to my grandmother's house for the holiday, but never made it past the introduction which I didn't find all that inspiring. I tried again for Christmas 2017 and I'm so glad I finally did! Not every story was a hit for me, but I really appreciated the variety and breadth of the stories as well as the excellent writing. Even with a few meh stories, I book dart-ed a TON of memorable quotes and passages.  I even loved the little anecdotes that accompanied the recipes -- which I originally thought I would skim or skip in favor of the *real* stories. Lesson learned.

As for the Emma Carroll book, I can't say I'm surprised I loved this slim heartwarming Christmas novel (novella?) My love of middle grade has only grown in the past year though, so maybe I was better off waiting? But still, its short page length really left me kicking myself for not picking it up sooner. I find that seasonal books have an even higher likelihood of languishing on the shelves because if I don't get to them the first time, that typically means a whole year will pass before I even consider picking them up again. Those seasonal/holiday reading windows always feel so short! And if I miss the boat a second time, we're talking another whole year, and so on and so forth. I'm trying to establish a habit of pulling out all the seasonal books well ahead of time so I can see what my options are at certain times of year. It's a work in progress, but it definitely helps focus my reading choices and if I do skip a book, it's more likely to be a conscious decision rather than me just forgetting I had it until the season has come and gone.

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Do you have a book you ended up loving after it sat around for awhile? I'd love to hear about it!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

#TheUnreadShelfProject2018: March Challenge

I'm doing this a bit out of order since I haven't even posted anything about joining The Unread Shelf Project 2018 yet... but oh well! I'll get to that at a later date, but the short version is basically to read books from your shelves. It's mainly an Instagram thing and is hosted by Whitney @theunreadshelf -- go check out her account and #theunreadshelfproject2018 if you're on Instagram :)

For the month of March, Whitney's challenge to participants is to choose a book to read by the end of the month. And if you don't read it, you have to get rid of it! Sell, donate, trade-in -- that's up to you, but out of the house it goes. The idea is that by giving yourself a deadline (sort of like a library book!) you will either be motivated to finally read a book you want to keep OR it will be the perfect excuse to admit it isn't for you and send it off to a new home.

So the point of this post... my chosen book for this challenge:

My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop edited by Ronald Rice & illustrated by Leif Parsons

This is the third and final book-about-books I bought over five years ago that's been sitting on my shelves ever since. I read the other two recently -- one was a DNF and the other was good though it didn't quite live up to expectations. So it's time to read this last one and see once and for all if it's a keeper or not. I'm reading a few essays at a time and am about 40 pages in so far. It's the perfect book to spread out over a couple of weeks and a perfect book for this challenge.

I have a feeling I could repeat this challenge for myself in the future -- but I'll have to see how I feel about it at the end of the month!

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Have you ever tried anything like this? I'd love to know!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Links I'm Loving Lately [2]

{A lot of bloggers share link round-ups, but I was particularly inspired to get in on the link love by Reading With Jade's recent Blog Posts I've Enjoyed Lately series.}

It's just shy of a month since Links I'm Loving Lately [1], so it's time for another round!

Posts That Put a New Book On My Radar

+How to Make Using the Library Less Stressful: Part 3 {Everyday Reading}
+A Life Well-Nourished: Reading Intentions For 2018 {Top Shelf Text}

+Life Weeds {No Sidebar}

The Mom Life

+Funfetti Chip Scones {Sally's Baking Addiction} < -- haven't made these yet!
+Meatball and Rice Skillet with Baby Peas {Belly Full} < -- a favorite easy dinner!

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Seen any great posts lately? Share in the comments if you'd like :)

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Monthly Book Budget Update #2

{February has come and gone, so it's time for another budget update to help keep myself accountable. Update #1 is here.}

Well, in February, I blew through most of my budget on the first of the month. I had Amazon points and a Book Outlet reward, so I placed an order on each site and both exceeded my "freebie" amounts. This left me with just $2.72 to spend when later that day I went to cancel Audible and was offered $7.49/month for 3 months if I kept my account open -- and I wasn't passing that deal up! I toyed with the idea of not *counting* it, but decided I'm better off counting everything I said I would (gifts/donations being the only exceptions that cost me anything). That way, I'll know exactly how much I went over by when making any future budgeting plans. So I kept my Audible account open and my budget dipped into the red at -$4.77.

For a while after that, I was really enjoying the freedom of a spent budget. If that sounds a bit contradictory, hear me out for a second. Whitney over @theunreadshelf on Instagram talked in one of her stories last month about how putting a limit on when she allows herself to buy books (her birthday, library sale, etc.) for #theunreadshelfproject2018 she's hosting takes away the stress of decision-making. She's not spending time and energy debating the should I, shouldn't I? of book browsing, shopping, etc. because she already knows the answer: I'm just not buying books!

So I was sitting happily in that negative budget, just not buying books, when the Newbery and all the other ALA Youth Media Awards were announced. And I still get email offers. Annnnnnd they were running a 3/$30 teen book sale. So I looked. And 4 winner/honor books I was eyeing were on sale. And I splurged. Award month is not a good month for me to be on a budget!

I was feeling OK with this decision and I didn't waste a lot of time agonizing over it. These awards only happen once a year and I wouldn't be likely to find these hardcovers for $10 each again. (Excuses, excuses I know!) So I placed the order and went back to "just not buying" books -- sort of. I bought two books for a Valentine's Day gift and was charged for a book I ordered at a huge price drop in December that finally was back in stock. I'm pretty sure that one will be an Easter gift though, so it also falls in the "gifts don't count" category.

I should have been more than done for the month, but with two days left in February I ventured to our local used bookstore with a stack of trade-ins and who was I kidding to think I wouldn't leave with books for my son and I? I got to go on this trip solo too, so I had plenty of time to browse and the combination of used books and supporting a local business gets me every time. Let's just say I'm glad I get to start over for March!

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How are your 2018 goals going so far?

Thursday, March 1, 2018

When you finally read that book that's been on your shelf forever... and it stinks!

{Inspired by Caffeinated Reviewer's March Take Control of Your TBR Challenge I recently joined, I thought I'd do a series of TBR-themed posts. Keep an eye out for at least two more coming up soon!}

Has this ever happened to you? It just happened to me last weekend with The Books They Gave Me, edited by Jen Adams.

It might be a bit overkill to say it stinks, but it sure was a letdown. I didn't rate it on Goodreads because I didn't finish it, but I was hovering between 1- and 2-stars when I DNF'ed it instead. A few stories were good, but there were far too many others I just did not care for.

Reading an underwhelming book isn't exactly breaking news -- it happens to all of us at times. The thing about this particular book is that I know it has been sitting on my shelf for over 5 years. It's a book about books I thought I would absolutely love. AND it's basically just a collection of short snippets, so it doesn't make a whole lot of sense that I didn't at least dip into when I first bought it. But nope. I didn't read a single story (that I can recall) until last weekend. After putting it aside and picking it back up a few times thinking maybe I should just power through since it's so short, I finally DNF'ed it. I'm not a big DNF-er, but I'm trying to be better about admitting defeat and cutting my losses in terms of time invested in books I don't really care for. Because with all the great books out there, why not move onto something better?

I really am fine with having a DNF, but couldn't help thinking: I can't believe that book has been taking up shelf space for 5+ years! Forget the (minimal) time I spent trying to enjoy the book, it took up bookshelf real estate for sooooo long. I don't know about you, but when that happens, I can't wait to get that book out of my house and on its way to a used book shop or donation bin. Just because I don't like it doesn't mean no one else will like it. But it is making me wonder just how many other duds are lurking on my shelves that I should be clearing out. Thankfully picking up those lingering books doesn't mean all DNFs and disappointment -- there have also been hidden gems lurking on my shelves, but that's a post for another day :)

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What book did you end up not liking after it sat on your shelf awhile? I'd love to know!