Category Archives: Book tags

Tag: Spring Cleaning

I was nominated for this Spring Cleaning bookish tag by Hannah last month! I’ve fallen desperately behind this season between being busy and a bit of a reading/blogging slump, but I had a lot of fun putting this one together and it’s still spring in my corner of the world, so thanks for the tag, Hannah!

The Struggle of Getting Started: A Book or Series You Struggle to Begin Because of Its Size

11264999I’d have to say A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R. R. Martin. I struggle with picking up every single one of the books in this series, even though I love the world and story and do delight in reading them once I get going. I believe the shortest of the series is the first book, A Game of Thrones, which stands at over 800 pages (at least in the copy that I own). I’m currently hesitating about picking up book 4, but I think I’ll get around to it in about a week or so.

Cleaning Out the Closet: A Book or Series You Want to Unhaul

6186357The Maze Runner series by James Dashner. After the harassment allegations against Dashner a couple of years ago I no longer want to support his writing in any way. I’ve been hesitating because The Death Cure (book 3, the final installment) would be the first book I’ve bought and then unhauled without reading, which doesn’t sit well with me either. Though I found the plot of this story interesting, the writing style has bothered me from the first chapter of the first book, so between that and Dashner’s recent reputation, I just don’t have any interest in picking it up in order to read it to send it away- a stalemate.

Opening the Window and Letting Fresh Air In: A Book that was Refreshing

40597810Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I’d heard a lot of hype, I’d seen some reviews criticizing the documentary-script-style formatting, and I wasn’t sure how interested I was in reading about a fictional 70’s rock band. But The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo had convinced me to set my expectations aside and give TJR a chance with any subject and style, and to no one’s surprise I adored almost everything about this book. By the time I finished, I found myself completely addicted to classic rock. The modern spin on this “historical” trend was perfection. Refreshing.

Washing Out the Sheets: A Scene that you Wish You Could Rewrite

39938177I really liked the plot and characters of Taylor Adams’s recent thriller, No Exit, but there was one disturbing scene that felt gratuitously cruel and ruined the suspension of disbelief for me once and for all. (It was the door hinge scene, for anyone curious who’s read the book. Not really a spoiler for anyone who hasn’t.) I’m not sure what I would have wanted to happen in place of this event, but I found it disturbing and unnecessary in a way that negatively impacted my opinion of the entire book.

Throwing Out Unnecessary Knick-Knacks: A Book in a Series You Didn’t Think Was Necessary

32283133Origin by Dan Brown. Honestly the art that I was encouraged to look up after encountering it in this novel is the only benefit I remember encountering as a result of reading this book. I loved the first three books in Brown’s Robert Langdon series when I was in high school and my first year of college. Inferno (book 4) was beginning to lose my interest, but I still found its concept intriguing (forced mass sterility as a method of worldwide population control) and was interested in Dante and his Divine Comedy at the time, so I didn’t mind. But Origin (book 5) felt completely unnecessary and frankly much less engaging than I’d found the rest of the series. So unnecessary that I’m not sure I would ever continue reading future books that might follow it someday.

Polishing Doorknobs: A Book That Had a Clean Finish

30849411I tend to prefer endings that leave something open for the reader to consider after closing the book, which is not exactly what I would call a “clean” ending. The first thing that comes to mind that might fit what I think is the spirit of this prompt is Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. This is a multi-generational story set in multiple locations, and though the ending was not the most impressive chapter of the book for me, I did appreciate how it tied all of the characters and their stories together without wrapping up all of the suffering in the book in an overly neat or dismissive way. Just the right amount of hope and grief.

Reaching to Dust the Fan: A Book That Tried Too Hard to Covey a Certain Message

37969723I think I’ll have to go with The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker. Overall, I enjoyed this book and appreciate its themes, but after much consideration (probably due in part to the book’s inclusion on the Women’s Prize shortlist this year) I’m still not on board with the Achilles chapters. I think Barker makes a valuable point about ownership of stories and history by including him the way she does- allowing him to take over Briseis’s story- and perhaps disliking his character the way I did was the Point. But I wish she had found some other way to make this Point because the Achilles chapters continue to mildly irritate me, months later.

The Tiring Yet Satisfying Finish: A Series That was Tiring But Satisfying to Get Through

165035Last year I read Vilhelm Moberg’s (translated) Emigrants series, about a Swedish farming family relocating to the American Midwest in the mid 1800s. I found the writing a bit dry and progressed through the four books rather slowly, but ultimately look back on this series fondly. I had never before read anything remotely similar to my own family’s history, so it felt rewarding to learn about it through my favorite art medium- fiction, obviously. I’ve actually met some of my grandma’s Swedish relatives since finishing this series, and appreciated having a bit more context with Swedish history and culture prior to meeting them.

 

Since we’re just on the cusp of summer (at least we are where I’m at), I won’t obligate anyone to this decidedly spring tag. It’s definitely my own fault that I’m getting to this one so late, which is not a reflection of my enjoyment level over putting these answers together! So I’m not tagging anyone specifically, but please feel free to try it if it looks interesting to you, and link back to me so I can see your answers!

Have you read any of these books? What did you think?

 

The Literary Elephant

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Versatile Blogger Award

Several weeks ago I was tagged for the Versatile Blogger Award, and I’m finally getting around to posting it! I don’t talk about my life much on my blog (I swear I’m the most boring person alive), so it was a fun change of pace to put together a list of things about myself to share. Thanks to Sarah for the tag! Her reviews (and her cat pictures!) are wonderful, and if you’re not following her already you should do that now!

Award Rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you
  • Link to the blog of the person who nominated you
  • Share 7 facts about yourself
  • Nominate 15 more bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award

Seven Facts About Me:

  1. The first place I was allowed to walk to alone as a child was the public library.
  2. I was first chair cellist in high school, but I haven’t played at all for a few years now. I do still play piano, but music used to be a much bigger part of my life. I still think the cello is the best-sounding string instrument. I saw a performance of this cello solo live and I still remember it as one of my favorite music experiences.
  3. The farthest I’ve been from the continental US is the Bahamas- I was three. I would love to travel more! Absolutely everywhere.
  4. Other than in college, I have always lived on farms. I love the space and the clean air of the countryside, but I was not cut out to be a farmer.
  5. I’m a slower reader than I used to be. I have a tendency to reread any sentences or passages that particularly interest me, and I also have developed a bad habit of skipping around the page for dialogue before going back to read everything in its proper order. I think I catch a lot more in my reading than I used to, but there are so many books I want to read and I wish I could pick up the pace!
  6. I love nail art. I don’t spend quite as much time on this as I used to, but I still own 400+ bottles of polish so it’s pretty rare that you’ll catch me with naked nails. (If you scroll far enough down my Instagram feed, the book pictures are completely replaced by nail art. It’s my other creative obsession.)
  7. Peaches are the best fruits.

 

My Nominations:

If you find yourself tagged and aren’t interested in participating, no pressure. Conversely, if you don’t see your name and want to take part, consider yourself tagged! I was trying not to tag anyone that I new had already been tagged, but I’ve been working on this post for a few days now (it’s been a busy month, please excuse my absence from the blog world), and I hope I haven’t mixed anything up! Please link back to me so I can see your facts if you want to try this post, as I do like meeting the blogger behind the books. 🙂

 

The Literary Elephant

 

Favorite Book Quotes Tag

This tag is pretty self-explanatory, so here we go!

Rules:

  1. Mention the creator of the tag: Celine @celinelingg
  2. Mention the blogger who tagged you: Rachel @paceamorelibri
  3. List 5 of your favorite book quotes along with the reasons.
  4. Spread the love and tag some people to participate and connect!

I actually thought this was going to be more of a challenge to narrow down; I’ve been keeping a spreadsheet of the quotes I mark in everything I read for…seven years or so now? But I don’t often scroll through them without looking for something specific, so I thought I would have to choose between hundreds of favorite quotes- only to realize as I started sifting through that I have a tendency toward very morbid lines. Many of my favorites are downright depressing, and that wasn’t the vibe I wanted here. Fortunately, I did find some favorites that are more fitting.

774732

“Everything must have a beginning…and that beginning must be linked to something that went before.”   -Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

Some of these quotes are meaningful to me because of the way they connect to my writing life. This first quote, from one of my all-time favorite classics, is a great reminder for a writer: nothing begins from nothing, and often the best place for a story to start is not the beginning. I also just love the romance of the notion that everything is connected to everything else, each story inseparable from the greater story that is life.

18925043“When she could see one of the sides, she was frightened; the ants had been working in all that blackness. She watched them swarm up and down, in silence, so visible, palpable. They were working away inside there as though they had not yet lost their hope of getting out.”

-Julio Cortazar, “Bestiary”

This one has haunted me, in a very lasting way. The girl in the quote is looking at an ant farm, but she is also stuck with extended family (I think) at a summer house, which is its own sort of ant farm. Some of them do want to escape. It’s such a quiet, horrifying moment born out of something that should seem ordinary. Somehow the hopelessness of the dark room makes the ants’ perseverance both better and worse. They never give up. They don’t understand that there’s no reason to keep trying. Are humans that way? In certain circumstances, perhaps. In any case, I’ve been unable to forget about these ants through the years, and “Bestiary” remains one of my all-time favorite short stories.

13547452“Coincidences happen, but I’ve come to believe they are actually quite rare. Something is at work, okay? Somewhere in the universe (or behind it), a great machine is ticking and turning its fabulous gears.”

-Stephen King, 11/22/63

This relates back to the “everything is connected” idea that I always try to keep in mind while writing, and also a reminder that coincidences in fiction rarely seem plausible. But I think it’s also a great image that depicts my love of sci-fi/fantasy or anything otherworldly/bizarre: a sort of double-image, the world superimposed over some all-encompassing thing. I have a weakness for fiction that touches on gods or dreams or fate or other big ideas that we can’t quite explain yet. There’s magic in the unknown.

18966806“And I wonder, in my last moments, if the planet does not mind that we wound her surface or pillage her bounty, because she knows we silly warm things are not even a breath in her cosmic life. We have grown and spread, and will rage and die. And when all that remains of us is our steel monuments and plastic idols, her winds will whisper, her sands will shift, and she will spin on and on, forgetting about the bold, hairless apes who thought they deserved immortality.”

-Pierce Brown, Morning Star

As invested as I am in humanity, there’s something so relieving in imagining that instead of humans wrecking this planet and moving on to another one, the world will be resilient enough to carry on after we’re gone. I know there’s some science about the sun and 8 million years and whatnot, so it’s really only a matter of time anyway, but it’s nice to believe something beautiful can outlive careless waste.

881655“Some of the best things are done by those with nowhere to turn, by those who don’t have time, by those who truly understand the word helpless. They dispense with the calculation of risk and profit, they take no thought for the future, they’re forced at spearpoint into the present tense. Thrown over a precipice, you fall or else you fly; you clutch at any hope, however unlikely; however– if I may use such an overworked word– miraculous. What we mean by that is, Against all odds.”

-Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin

Here’s an optimistic one that’s actually taken from the midst of a tragedy. There’s something so easy and propulsive about Atwood’s writing that pulls me in every time, but The Blind Assassin pulls all the stops. It’s a dark, dual tale about fictional assassins on a faraway planet and a Canadian family ground down to ruin. And yet, as bleak as this story is, it still takes the time to remind its readers that even at rock bottom, all hope is not lost.

I must be in a philosophical mood today, as I’ve chosen quotes that explain some of my tastes and opinions instead of just beautiful words. But I suppose the quotes that I relate to this way inevitably have more impact and staying-power than the ones I mark simply for appreciating the way they sound or look on the page. I suppose I do read primarily to learn about and connect with the world in ways that I feel are more difficult in real life, so it must make sense that these are the passages that stick with me.

What quotes have made the greatest impression on you?

Tagging some new friends: Elysa @wordswordswords, The Constant Reader @theconstantreader, Jane @whatjanereadnext, and anyone else who wants to post some favorite quotes!

 

The Literary Elephant

 

 

Book Postscript 2018 Tag

One last look back at 2018 before we get too far into new, exciting reads! I was tagged by Rachel for these out-of-the-ordinary superlatives.

1. The longest book you read this year, and the book that took you the longest to finish:

Interestingly, Stephen King fits both of these answers. It was the longest book I read in 2018 with a grand total of 1,156 pages. I buddy read this book over the course of a month, but it didn’t really take me that long to read. I focused on it for two or three days each week for four weeks, and it flew by. I loved it, even while I read other books on the side.

For the book that took me the longest to finish I could go several ways, but I’m choosing not to name any of the books that I paused and returned to months later- instead I’m naming the book that I consistently tried and failed to finish: the third novella in The Bachman Books (only about 200 pages, titled Roadwork) was my sole reading focus for over two weeks and I just could not get through it. This collection of 4 novellas took me a whole month to finish though it was nearly 500 pages shorter than It and I wasn’t reading anything else in the meantime. The Bachman Books slumped me.

2. A book you read in 2018 that was outside of your comfort zone:

askingforit

I did a lot of branching out this past year, but the title I want to talk about here is a YA contemporary that I did not expect to find especially challenging: Louise O’Neill’s Asking For It. I read several books (YA and adult) in 2018 that dealt with rape culture, but this one was absolutely brutal to read. The fact that it felt so plausible and relevant really got under my skin. This book made it to my favorites list for the year, despite the unlikable main character and downright disturbing turn of events, but I still can’t think about it without cringing- it’s that powerful.

3. How many books did you reread in 2018?

I haven’t been rereading much in recent years, but I would like to change that. In 2018 I reread four books, and took quite a journey through examining my changed opinions. This is not the first year I’ve reread Amelia Atwater-Rhodes’s Hawksong, a favorite from my middle school days, and I still enjoy that one with all its nostalgia, though its sequel (Snakecharm) didn’t impress me this time around.

But I’ve also been undertaking a bigger project, rereading Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight saga one chapter per day in order to make a study of how my reading tastes have changed over the years. I finished both New Moon and Eclipse in 2018, and came up with some interesting reflection posts for both (linked through the titles). Though I don’t enjoy the series anymore, pushing through one chapter per day and asking myself what I liked about the books originally and why I dislike those same things now was a very interesting and educational exercise. I do intend to finish the reread with Breaking Dawn in 2019, but I’m also hoping to pick up some rereads that I actually expect to enjoy!

4. Favorite reread of 2018:

Probably Hawksong by default because it was the only really good rereading experience I had in 2018. It’s been one of my all-time favorites since I was eleven or twelve, and even though I’m not longer obsessed with it I do still find YA fantasy elements that I appreciate in the short and sweet reread.

But my Eclipse reread generated one of my favorite posts of the year as well, so I guess I’m glad I suffered through that one also.

5. A book you read for the first time in 2018 that you look forward to rereading in the future:

I could list so many! But to name a few, Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin is an epic fantasy/family saga with a brilliant ending that will definitely change the way I see the rest of the book the next time I pick it up. I also loved Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca and Anna Burns’s Man Booker-winning Milkmanboth of which I look forward to enjoying all over again in the future.

6. Favorite single short story or novella that you read in 2018:

thebachmanbooks

I didn’t read very many short stories last year, and I didn’t like many of the few that I did read. So we’re back to Stephen King’s The Bachman Books for my favorite novella: The Long Walk. It’s a creepy story about 99 teenage boys who walk until they die– and one who outlasts them all. I liked it enough to finish it in one day during my busiest time of year, and bought my own copy of the single story after returning the collection to the library.

7.  Mass appeal- a book you liked and would recommend to a wide variety of readers:

I’m taking a surprising break from fiction here to recommend an essay and an essay collection. Letter from Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King, Jr. should be required reading; it’s a short, historical, and still impactful examination of human rights, and I’m so glad I finally read it in full. If you need more incentive, it now comes in this cute tiny bindup from the Penguin Modern collection.

Additionally, Not That Bad, edited by Roxane Gay, is a collection of essays in a variety of forms from men and women who have something to say about rape culture. This is the book you never knew you needed until you started reading it. It sounds straightforward, but each of the thirty essays shows a different angle to a problem we’ve all seen and experienced in some form or another.

8. Specialized appeal- a book you liked but would be hesitant to recommend to just anyone:

thepisces

Melissa Broder’s The Pisces is a fantastic novel about a student struggling more than she can admit to finish her thesis, and the merman she falls in love with in the meantime. I picked this up in the midst of the mermaid-book-fever this summer and can honestly say it’s one of the most bizarre books I’ve ever read. Also one of the most compelling. But the main character is rather unlikable and the merman romance is rather graphic, and I honestly don’t know who I would recommend it to who would embrace the abrasive details to appreciate the unique voice that drives this novel. It’s seriously good, but also seriously weird.

9. Reflect on your year as a bookish content creator (goals met, good/bad memories, favorite videos blog posts you made, etc):

I don’t really set blogging goals for myself, other than just not to quit. Talking about books is what I do for fun, so I like to just keep it fun and not make a chore of it for myself. But I did manage to complete every post that I meant to in 2018, and I am glad I kept coming back to the blog despite some disruptions in my real life schedule. I know I tend to post way more reviews here than anything else, but that’s what I like to write most so I don’t mind? I hope you don’t mind either.

One post I’m particularly happy with this year, and that I think I’ll keep up in the future, was my 2018 Almost-Favorites. Maybe every year I won’t have so many, but in 2018 I had so many runners-up favorites that I didn’t want to be left out of my end-of-the-year lists, and Thanksgiving seemed like the perfect time to talk about those second-best books that I appreciated throughout the year.

10. Tag some fellow bookish content creators

I fell a bit behind between Christmas and New Year’s this year, so I’m not entirely sure who’s already posted what for wrap-ups. And so as I continue to catch up with viewing those, I tag anyone who feels up to answering these questions! Please link back so I can check out your answers, as I do love wrap-ups, and I think these are great questions!

Sincerely,

The Literary Elephant

Coffee Book Tag

I was tagged by Rachel for this one; she admits to not drinking coffee, but my confession might be worse: I don’t really like any warm beverages. Or even iced coffee. I drink maybe two cups of tea per year and otherwise just stick mainly to water. But a preference for coffee does not seem to actually be required for this tag, so I’m going to have some fun with it anyway. Here we go:

(P.S. cute font graphics totally borrowed from Romie We Deserve Love)

(P.P.S. titles are linked to my reviews, where applicable)

black coffeeA Series That’s Tough to Get Into But Has Hardcore Fans

redrisingcoverThe Red Rising saga by Pierce Brown. This is a dystopian sci-fi series set in space, and it seems like that’s enough info to turn a lot of readers away. Furthermore, the first book is the weakest of the series, in my opinion. Brown lays some groundwork, but there are some unfortunate parallels to concepts from The Hunger Games in that first book that turn even more readers away. I would definitely advise reading at least through book 2 before deciding, because once you’re hooked, you’re really hooked. The Howlers are an intense  wolf-cloak wearing fanbase that I am happy to be a part of- minus the wolf cloak.

peppermint mochaA Book That Gets More Popular During the Winter or a Festive Time of Year

achristmascarolcoverA Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. This seems obvious to read around the winter holiday season, but I read it for the first time last year. I was already familiar with the story, but had never actually read Dickens’s original, and it is definitely worth the read. It’s a classic about kindness and generosity during festive times of year, with a supernatural twist, and it’s not too religion-focused for those who don’t celebrate Christmas.

hot chocolateA Favorite Children’s Book

thecityofembercoverThe City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau. This is one of the first chapter books I remember reading in elementary school that interested me in the weird and bizarre. I didn’t know about genres back then, but I did learn pretty young that I like books that turn the real world upside down and inside out. Books that toe the line between reality and fantasy. Other favorites from this era in my life include Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, Joseph Bruchac’s Skeleton Man, and The Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black.

double shot of espressoA Book That Kept You On the Edge of Your Seat From Start to Finish

darkmattercoverDark Matter by Blake Crouch. This is a science fiction thriller that constantly surprised me. I think the fact that I didn’t know much about dark matter and hadn’t read a thriller for a while probably contributed to how well this one worked for me, but I loved the otherworldliness of the twists and the exploration of “what if you had made different choices in your life?” I never knew what to expect next, and that’s exactly what I was looking for when I picked up this book.

starbucksA Book You See Everywhere

itcoverIt by Stephen King. With a new 2 part-film halfway released, this thousand page monster has been seeing a lot of fresh attention over the last year or so, and I doubt that’ll go away until the excitement from the second film dies down. This one has a strong magical/sci-fi element even by Stephen King standards, but it was the characterization that I loved most. Watching the 6 kids from the Losers Club navigate childhood fears and bullies and seeing them return to their haunted hometown as adults was absolutely fascinating, and they remain some of my favorite King characters.

that hipster coffee shopA Book by an Indie Author

aluckymancoverA Lucky Man by Jamel Brinkley. This is probably not exactly what the prompt wants me to do, as this book was a contender for the National Book Award and is thus not so obscure, but it’s got less than 500 ratings on Goodreads so I’m going ahead. I haven’t even actually read this book yet, but I fully intend to, and I hope a lot of others will as well; Brinkley was one of my creative writing teachers at the University of Iowa, and at that time I don’t believe he’d had anything published yet. So it was pretty awesome to look at the National Book Award nominees this year and see a writer that I actually knew and wanted to support for that reason. Unfortunately, though he was shortlisted, he didn’t win. But I liked what I heard of his work back then, and I’m looking forward to picking this one up.

decafA Book You Were Expecting More From

snapcoverSnap by Belinda Bauer. I decided to read the entire Man Booker longlist this year, and this thriller was the first title I picked up. I’ve been looking for a really impressive thriller all year, and I thought that one longlisted for a literary prize might be exactly what I wanted- but it fell short. Though I liked some of the ideas and characters that went into this story, Snap was riddled with so many plot-holes and problems that I ended up pretty frustrated with it.

the perfect blend A Book or Series That Was Both Bitter and Sweet, but Ultimately Satisfying

emmacoverEmma by Jane Austen. This book is full of dramatic irony; it was so frustrating at times to watch the characters make choices that the reader knows are mistakes, but rewarding in the end to see them overcome their earlier failings. I have not quite read all of Austen’s novels yet, but this seems the one that best shows off her skill as a writer, while also featuring the sort of heartwarming romance that she’s best known for.

green teaA Book or Series That is Quietly Beautiful

faithfulcoverFaithful by Alice Hoffman. Though this book starts with a difficult tragedy and the main character takes a lot of time to figure out how to cope with it, it was heartwarming seeing her find her way at last. Also, she adopts a lot of dogs along the way- as a cat person, I must say that the dogs must’ve really been written well to impress even me. (Also I really love looking at that beautiful floral blue cover.)

chai latteA Book or Series That Makes You Dream of Far-Off Places

origincoverOrigin by Dan Brown. Actually the entire Robert Langdon series. I used to read these books because I liked the action and the puzzles, but even though Origin didn’t impress me the same way, it was still full of art and cultures that I would love to see in person. Particularly in this latest book, the Guggenheim Museum of modern art, in Bilbao. Looking up images of the art described was probably my favorite part of reading this book, and it’s the locations rather than the plots that have stuck with me from the previous books in the series.

earl greyA Favorite Classic

rebeccacoverRebecca by Daphne du Maurier. I love classics. I don’t read enough of them, considering how much I enjoy them. This is just the most recent classic I’ve added to my favorites shelf, a Gothic romance with an emphasis on the psychological. Other classic favorites include: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind, and George Orwell’s 1984 (though the scene with the rats will always haunt me).
taggingNone, actually. I’m going to leave it open to whoever likes coffee and/or books and wants to try this tag. Link me if you’re interested, I’d love to see some more answers!

Sincerely,

The Literary Elephant

My Bad Reading Habits

I was tagged a while back by Rachel to show some of my bookish bad habits. So many of her points were relatable, but there are plenty of bad habits to go around… here are some of mine:

  • Thinking about my rating way too early – I don’t generally take any notes for my reviews until after I’ve finished reading, but I do try to keep up an ongoing mental roster of impressions. And thinking about what I want to include in my review always leads to thinking about how many stars I’m going to give. To an extent, knowing whether it’s a 5-star read or a 2-star read is going to impact the sort of review I’ll be writing, but it is totally unfair to any book to try forming a solid judgement when I’m only halfway or a third through the book. And by the time I get to the end, it doesn’t matter what I thought earlier anyway, because the rating almost always seems obvious by then, so all that worrying ahead of time about whether I’m going to say it’s a good book or not is just wasted worry anyway. Like I need more anxiety in my life.
  • Committing myself to too many books – I’m not generally bad at math, but almost every month I have the same problem with overbooking my reading schedule. I pick up 5 books at the library thinking, “yeah, I read more than that in a month, I can handle this,” and then I pull 5 books off my TBR shelf thinking the same thing, and at no point do I think “well, I average more like 8 books a month so I actually have to choose which of these stacks is more important.” And then I borrow a book from a friend and agree to a buddy read and decide to read a prize longlist.
  • Checking the page count first – Before I buy a book, I check the page count. Before I check out a book from the library, I check the page count. When a book I’ve ordered comes in the mail, the first thing I do is check the page count. Unless the book is extremely short or extremely long, the number has no bearing on when I will read the book. I just like to know. The reason I consider this a bad habit and not just a weird one is that looking up the page count means seeing the last page of a book first, and I concentrate so hard on not reading any of the ending that sometimes I accidentally see some of the ending just because I’m so focused on the fact that it’s there. I hate spoilers; I don’t know why I can’t stop checking the page count to help myself avoid them.
  • Mood buying when I’m not mood reading – I didn’t own a lot of books as a kid and as a teen. The school library and the public library were easily available, I was big on rereading, and I didn’t have an allowance or a nearby bookstore. Just in the last 3 or so years I’ve developed a problem with buying way more books than I can keep up with reading. Other than the numbers of what I’m buying and what I’m reading simply not matching up (apparently I’m just bad at book math in general), my biggest issue is that I buy what I’m craving to read, but then I don’t read what I’m craving and the mood passes. I definitely own books that I think I would have appreciated more if I had read them right away instead of waiting. Which goes hand in hand with:
  • Saving the best for last – If I have two unread books in my hands, one of them inevitably excites me more than the other. Instead of reading the exciting one, I start with the one I’m not as sure about so I can end on a high note. Except by the time I’ve read that less-exciting book, I’ve got two more books in my hands, and I’m picking up the less exciting one again just to get that out of the way. And the cycle continues, because there are always new books and I can’t stop buying and borrowing. But if I keep on saving the best for last, I will never get to those books I’m most excited about. I know that no matter how many years I live, I will die with hundreds of books left on various TBR lists. So why am I saving the good books? Why do I put aside books I’m incredibly excited about or interested in? The world may never know. This is the habit I most want to break, because… it’s ridiculous. I need to become one of those Eat Dessert First people.

I’m tagging: Amanda, Nirmala, Claire, and anyone else who wants to confess some bad reading habits. (No pressure of course.) Comment below or link back so I can see your habits!

Sincerely,

The Literary Elephant

 

The Sunshine Blogger Award

Disclaimer: If you’ve noticed that I’ve basically fallen off the face of book earth lately (or if you haven’t), it’s just because fall is a crazy busy time in my life, and I do plan to catch up on what I’m not posting now when I have time again later. But A few weeks ago Rachel tagged me for The Sunshine Blogger Award, and answering some bookish questions is just what I needed this week. Thanks, Rachel!

sunshinebloggeraward

Rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog to this post
  2. Answer the eleven questions asked by your nominator
  3. Nominate eleven bloggers
  4. Ask them eleven questions, different to the ones you’ve answered
  5. List the rules
  6. Display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and blog

Rachel’s Questions:

What’s the worst book you had to read for school?

Grand Opening by Jon Hassler. I actually liked most of the books that I had to read for school, but this one immediately comes to mind. I went to high school in Minnesota even though I lived in Iowa, and we were assigned this book because it was set in Minnesota and was written by a Minnesotan, so in addition to just finding the story pretty boring it also felt irrelevant to me in the spirit of supporting home-state authors that it was presented to me with.

Within your own country, where would you most like to visit that you haven’t already been?

New York City. For most of my childhood, I wanted to live in New York after graduating high school, but then I was pretty depressed around that time and gave up a lot of things. I’m not really interested in setting up my life there anymore, but for as badly as I wanted to go then, I owe it to myself to at leas visit.

What’s the best first line of a book you’ve ever read?

I have no idea. I tend to savor them in the moment and forget them, I guess. But I just flipped through some favorites from my shelf to see if anything jumped out, so I’ll mention this opener by Lauren Slater in Lying: A Metaphorical Memoir – “I exaggerate.” That’s the whole first chapter. It’s a perfect fit for the book. (And arguably for all books. What are writers if not exaggerators?)

Do you have any tattoos and do you want any?

I don’t have any yet. I would like to get at least one, but I’m the most indecisive person alive, so I’m just waiting until I’m sure that I won’t end up hating my choice.

If you watch booktube, who’s your favorite booktuber?  If you don’t watch booktube, what’s your favorite thing to watch on youtube?

Currently Ariel Bissett, but it fluctuates. I would rather read than watch/listen to book reviews, so I like that Ariel isn’t really reading and posting about the most popular books at the moment, though her content’s still bookish. I especially liked her recent documentary about Instagram poetry, and her “books I want to read that nobody cares about” videos.

Which classic do you think more people should read?

Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser. I had to read this one for school, and it didn’t sound like anything I would be interested in so I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It’s a sort of dual look at what a person will do for money, and what a person will do for love, in a great mirrored structure. I’ve recommended this one to a lot of people who don’t ordinarily read classics, because it’s easy to read and surprisingly resonant and I don’t know why more people don’t know about this book?

What would you consider the most overhyped and the most underhyped book you’ve read in the last year?

Overhyped = The Power by Naomi Alderman. I wanted to love this one because so many others seem to, but in the end I thought it had some great concepts but poor execution.

Underhyped = Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi. I thought this was a brilliant novel about identity and African culture, and was sad to see it fade out of sight after its release this spring.

Would you like to work in the publishing industry, or do you prefer to keep books and reading strictly a hobby?

I actually tried (pretty half-heartedly) to get a job in editing/publishing after finishing college, but I was so burned out at the time and it was only ever second-choice to writing. So I’m taking the rest of this year to finish my first novel, and depending on how that goes I’ll regroup before moving forward, but I plan to always be doing something with books, so I would love to make a career of that in some way.

If you’re a writer, which author’s style do you think is most similar to your own?  If you’re not a writer, which author’s style do you connect with the most as a reader?

Oh gosh, it’s hard for me without ever having been published to compare myself to anyone who has been; although I’m pretty sure I’ll still have imposter syndrome long after my name is printed on books. But maybe a bit like Caroline Kepnes? Fast-paced, mysterious, contemporary, but the focus is mostly on all the weird stuff that’s going on.

What’s your least favorite book cover?

There are so many bad covers out there, it’s hard to choose. But lately I talked with my Stephen King book reading buddy about some bad covers of his books, and this is one that immediately comes to mind:

petsematary

Who’s your favorite actor/celebrity?

Can I say Evelyn Hugo? I’m fickle about non-bookish celebrities, and don’t have a go-to at the moment.

 

My questions:

  1. What was your first dream job as a kid, and did that dream get realized in any way?
  2. Are you a library person?
  3. What’s the longest book you’ve read, and was it worth the time?
  4. Is there a genre you never read? (Why?)
  5. Which book do you feel like the only person who hasn’t read yet?
  6. Do you judge a book by its title?
  7. What’s your favorite mythological creature?
  8. Is there a book you’ve loved especially because of where or when you read it?
  9. Would you be satisfied or disappointed to reach the end of your Goodreads (or other long-term) TBR?
  10. What is your favorite subject (outside of books/language) to learn about?
  11. Do you have an irrational level of fear for going blind and not being able to read any more (or is it just me)? Or another irrational fear?

Tagging:

Read Voraciously, Failing at Writing, Book Jotter, The Cozied Reader, Jenna Bookish, The Reading Chick, I’ve Read This, and anyone else who wants to answer these questions!

If you’ve already been tagged for this award recently or just aren’t interested, no pressure. If you do decide to post, please link back to me so I can see your answers! 🙂

Sincerely,

The Literary Elephant