Reading Wrap-up: October 2015

Allow me to begin this post with a big ol’ WOMP-WOMP-WOMP. Not only have I completely neglected my poor blog this month, but also my reading list! I only read TWO books this month, and one of them was even a re-read. What a disgrace! Hahaha I’m only joking. Sometimes things are more important than blogging and/or reading (gasp!) and for me, those things include Halloween!

I had such a great Halloween! Hoping to get a post up about our night & our costumes soon! Tutorials to follow, because I’ll have to make those from scratch again.

Anyway, the two books I read in November:

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Yeah, that’s it. Those are my two! Hopefully I can get myself back on track for November (even though I’m actually 1 ahead of schedule on my Goodreads challenge). We’ll see!!

What did you read in October? What are you looking forward to in November? You know I’m always adding to my TBR & would love some more titles on it!

I likely won’t be back tomorrow, since I’m taking a 3-day weekend, but I’ll do better next week. I miss you, blog!

Until Next Time ❤

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Reading Wrap-Up: September 2015

UGH. Slacker. It’s October 15. But you know what? Let’s talk about what I read in September anyway, because it was a great reading month for me!

I’m gonna try something a little different with this post, so let me know how you like it in the comments!

Click the photos to see the Goodreads page for each book

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The Design/ The Duet Review    //   Original Heir of Fire Reivew

I can’t believe I actually read this many books in a month. I mean, technically The Martian started at the very end of August, but even then – I think this is my highest volume reading month ever. Feels kinda awesome, you guys.

Until Next Time ❤

Books, Revisited: Why I Re-Read Books

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HAPPY OCTOBER, EVERYONE! Ok, so I’m not sure if you’d figured this out yet, but holy crap I love October. I’m so excited it’s here & cannot wait for Halloween (except that whole “I really need to start working on my costume” thing). Anyway, I’m feeling refreshed and totally energized by the prospect of a new month and a new season, and my trip to the salon a couple weeks ago definitely helped things, as well! Clearly, I’m feeling like rambling because of all the excitement. I haven’t had that much caffeine yet today, I swear!

Today I wanted to talk about revisiting/re-reading books. I’ve only read a handful of books more than once (children’s books excluded), and I was thinking this morning –  since I just finished re-reading Heir of Fire & have moved on to re-read Queen of Shadows – about which books I have chosen to devote more of my time to than others, and why.

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Similarly to re-watching movies over and over again, re-reading a book gives you new insight to the story. You pick up on things you didn’t notice the first time around and you put the pieces together in the way the author intended, rather than the way your brain decides to piece it all together before the author comes out & explains it (did that even make sense?). Let me try again: I love using an author’s foreshadowing & tiny clues to try and figure out the twists and secrets before they are revealed later in the story. At the same time, by doing that, I miss out on just experiencing the story and taking time to really connect with the characters. On a second (or third, or fourth) read-through, you know where the story is going & you can just marvel at the way the author brings the narrative together.

The obvious difference between re-watching a film and re-reading a book, though, is time commitment. I’m not a very fast reader, so reading a book multiple times really is a commitment & takes away from the time I could spend reading new books (and putting the tiniest of dents into my To Be Read list, you feel?). So, what makes a book re-readable for me, personally?

  1. FEELS. This is the primary reason I will re-read a book. If it makes me feel strongly – any emotion, really, but just resonates on an emotional level? It’s definitely worth reading again. This is basically the first criteria for whether or not I’ll take the time to revisit a book. If I didn’t feel anything for it, why bother, right?
  2. BEAUTY. I am a sucker for poignant books with beautiful language or beautiful settings. I have read The Great Gatsby more times than any other book (I think I’m sitting around 5 or 6) because it is just so beautiful to me. Tragic, of course. But beautiful. I’m certain that as my experience with classic novels grows, there will be a few more that I add to this list. I’ve also re-read the book The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant three times since the first time I read it. That book is like soul food for anyone obsessed with Renaissance-era art history.
  3. SEQUELS. So series are a huge thing right now, obviously. Seems like every book you pick up these days is part of some series or another, and finding stand-alone novels can really be a daunting task. What about that feeling when you finish a book that you didn’t KNOW was in a series and then you have to wait a year (or more) for the next installment? That might be one of the worst feelings. By the time that next book is released, you’ve likely forgotten some of the key points of its predecessor, and a re-read would help pull you back into the world and better understand what is happening in your new book.
  4. ADAPTATIONS. This is one I haven’t really experienced yet, but would definitely qualify as a reason to re-read something. In a time when Film/TV adaptations of best-selling books seem to be the norm, it’s likely that one of your favorite book series is going to be adapted at some point. Now, my previous exprience has just been to read books once the adaptation is already nearing completion, so it’s not a re-read scenario, obviously. But The Selection and Throne of Glass series have both been optioned recently for adaptations, and you can rest assured I will be re-reading if/when those projects reach completion.
  5. NOSTALGIA. There are always those books you read when you are young that stick with you because they resonate on some level or are really integral to developing the person you choose to become.  I started a Harry Potter re-read this year for that very reason. It’s a series I love desperately, that had a huge impact on me as a teenager (obviously I’m not alone in this), but I haven’t read the books since Deathly Hallows was released.  Another great example of this for me is Ella Enchated by Gail Carson Levine. I adored that book the first time I read it & it may have been the book that really cemented a love of reading in me. I have re-read it a few times over the years, but I’m actually probably due for a another read-through soon.

I mean it when I say I don’t have many books on my re-read shelf. It really takes a hugely emotional connection to a book before I’ll consider spending extra hours on it. Because, why would I when a new favorite could be next on my TBR pile?

Here’s a look at every book I can remember reading more than once. Again, excluding children’s books & beginning at about mid-grade level:

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Fun fact: Twilight should technically also be on this list, but I didn’t include it because the only reason I’ve read it more than once is that I completely forgot I had read it the first time. I don’t know if that’s on me or Stephanie Meyer, but apparently it really didn’t resonate that much the first time through.

So, how about you? Do you tend to read books once and move on, or do you re-visit old favorites? How do you choose? I’d love to hear from you!

Until Next Time ❤

7 Happy Days – Just What I Need

Oh man. I’ve been in a bit of a funk this past week, and I can’t quite put my finger on what it is. I can’t tell if I’m being overly sensitive or if some of my friends are distancing themselves from me & I don’t want them to feel like I’m attacking them about it, by bringing it up, but it’s really been eating at me. Among other things. That’s all a story for another day, though. Maybe. Sigh…

Anyway, I started the 100HappyDays challenge a week ago, and it’s actually been helping my perspective stay on the right side of that drop-off into depression-land. Essentially, if I get home from work & don’t have any ideas for a post for that day, then I know I need to take some time and DO something that makes me happy. I don’t need to just sit around & wait for good things to happen. I can make good things happen for myself.

SO, I thought it would be good for me to reflect on my first week of the challenge, in order to gain a little perspective today, which has been a teensy bit rougher than previous days.

Day 1 – Rereading favorite passages from Queen of Shadows while drinking my new Aelin Ashryver Galathynius blend of tea from Adagio. Cozy & happy.

Day 2 – SPIDER GWEN HOODIE! I’ve been waiting for this thing since February & it finally arrived. I may have worn it for like 4 days in a row & the only reason the streak ended was because I was wearing it when Hubby & I watched the series finale of Friends and, well, there’s mascara all over it that I have to scrub out, now.

Day 3 – Kate Spade mug! Kate Spade + Coffee + Watercolor + Books… yeah, I don’t know how this wouldn’t make me happy.

Day 4 – I decided that since I wasn’t ready to move on from Queen of Shadows yet that I would re-read Heir of Fire AND Queen of Shadows before diving into my October TBR. I’m just not ready to spend a year waiting for the next installment of this series. It’s quickly weaseling its way into my top favorite series slot (*gasp* even higher than Harry Potter?!…perhaps)

Day 5 – A side of me that rarely pops up on the blog, the sportsfan side. I really only care about one team & they are killing it this season (so far). We’ve been getting kind of a bad rap for the past few seasons, so it’s nice to be back on an upswing.

Day 6 – Working on collecting this entire set of classics with edgy, modern covers. Drac & Frank look so great together. I can’t wait to complete my set! Also included are: Wuthering Heights, Hamlet, Jane Eyre, Pride & Prejudice, and The Fall of the House of Usher.

Day 7 – Yesterday was rough. Not as rough as today has been, but rough enough that I recognized my need for a break. So, I headed off to the Library right after work and spent 4 hours reading Heir of Fire on their living roof. If I had to pick one place in the world that is my oasis, it’s that. I only just discovered it a few months ago & I’m obsessed. Yesterday’s weather was perfect for outdoor reading, too, which made it so much more perfect. I was in a great mood by the time I came home (right after sunset).

If you want to follow along with me for the rest of this challenge, you can follow me on Twitter or Tumblr. Also, check out posts from the entire SqugSquad by searching the tag #HappySqugs.

Until Next Time ❤

Christa

[10] Obsessive Wednesdays: Can I Get an Aelin?

Hey! It’s Wednesday already! And the day is almost over! And my post title is hella cheesy, I know. Like SO cheesy. Whatever. You’ll deal. I’ve had a pretty one-track mind lately with a certain book (listed below) that I finished last week, so today’s post is gonna be short, but filled with goodness. Enjoy these things to get you through the rest of your week!

BOOKS

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas

Oh yeah. No surprise here, especially if you follow me on social media. I finished this book last Thursday, and I still cannot stop thinking about it. I could talk about it for hours and hours (and I have). It was a perfect installment to a series that is gradually becoming an all-time favorite. Who knows – maybe it’ll squeak past The Selection? I guess we’ll have to wait and see when both series are concluded! Anyway, I actually started re-reading the last 200 pages of Queen of Shadows last night because I couldn’t bring myself to read anything new yet (aside from those RS Grey books I cruised through over the weekend). It might be a while before I  gather all my my thoughts & feels enough to write a review, but I’m pretty sure you don’t need the review to know what I’ve rated this book!

LIFE

100 Happy Days

I started the 100 Happy Days challenge yesterday, along with some members of the AdultBooklr Admin group. The purpose of this challenge is to pay attention to the things that make you happy on a daily basis. By posting every day with one thing that made you happy, you can improve your overall well-being and mental health over the course of 100 days. We will be tagging our posts with #happysqugs on  Instagram and Tumblr, so you can follow along! I also encourage everyone out there to participate! To sign up & make a pledge, just visit 100HappyDays.com!

MUSIC

Discover Playlist

Spotify started making custom “Discover Playlists” a month or two ago, and I have to admit I’m impressed. I’ve added the majority of songs on my playlist to my saved music almost every week. I love that I somehow end up with a bunch of songs that I know but have forgotten about, along with a few new songs I haven’t heard before. They’re doing a really great job of analyzing my music tastes, which honestly surprises me because I’ve never been a fan of their radio feature or suggestions. Anyway, here’s my playlist – you can follow it & see what I’m rocking out to each week 🙂

TV

Friends

Hubby & I have been POWERING through the whole series on Netflix for the past couple months. We’re finally only about 8 episodes from the end, and I’m gonna be sad to see it go! I forgot how great this show is. Unlike even some of my current/ more recent favorites (HIMYM, Big Bang Theory, etc…),  I feel like there was never one season of Friends that was subpar to the others. It was consistently fantastic & every episode makes me laugh out loud.

GOALS

In addition to the 100HappyDays challenge, I’ve been making a lot of daily goals for myself, like “write every day” and “draw every day”. I haven’t had much time to really focus on blocking into my schedule for these things, but I’m definitely ready to do so in conjunction with the 100HappyDays! So, I just wanted to make a declaration that I’ll be writing more (both fiction & nonfiction) and drawing more! Hopefully I’ll be able to share updates & progress with you guys after a few weeks of attempting all this! Today’s drawing is REALLY exciting, and coincides with my book obsession… can’t wait to share it!

What are you loving right now? I’m always interested to see what you’re up to! Let me know in the comments!

Until Next Time ❤