Currently on my piano: one of my many piles of books TBR!
It’s no secret that I love books. I love the feel of them, the look of them, the smell of them. I love to read them. Books are like candy to me. Granted, with everything that’s gone on in my life the last few years, my reading progress has been scattered, and little. But that doesn’t stop me from buying books, borrowing books, collecting books, or staring at the piles of books I have in the house wishing I could read one of them from cover to cover.
I’ve done a little better with reading this year, well in the fall anyhow. I read way more once I made the decision to quit my job an official, final decision. I read a lot in October, even though I was still working, and in school. I didn’t read much at all in November though I was home. I was finding it difficult to sit still and focus on a book for any period of time. I did buy a bunch of new books, and I received some as gifts, but I have been so full of nervous energy that I couldn’t get into many books at all. I even took some of my regular comfort-food books back to the library without finishing them! *gasp*
I’m at 34 books read, out of the 50 I challenged myself to read for the year (both on Goodreads, and the 50 Book Pledge). I managed 40 last year. I am hoping to make it at least that far this year. Who knows. I only have 3 weeks left, and…
I’m going to be WORKING a lot! Wooo! I got a job at the bookstore, and though it’s seasonal right now, I couldn’t be happier to be back working with books. I start training this week, and then have a full, busy schedule next week. Christmas rush at a bookstore is my favourite time to be working with books. There’s just something about the atmosphere that fills me up with joy and excitement!
I admit to being a little nervous about going back to book retail after all these years. Being on my feet all day will be difficult, and exhausting, at first, and I’ll have to remember all sorts of new things because the company has changed immensely since I was last an employee with them. Also, I worked in a smaller format mall store, not a giant format store like this one, so it will be a learning curve. And I’m trying not to think about the fact that I am currently old enough to be the mother of many of the other people I will be working with. I was that young, hopeful girl back when I first worked at the bookshop, and now I’m… not young or hopeful anymore. ha ha!
But internet, I was so happy during the tour of the store this week that I thought I was going to burst into tears in the middle of the sales floor.
Fingers crossed that I am actually as happy about this job as I think I am. I’m pretty sure my instincts are on point though. But still, new things are scary and exciting at the same time. I’m just so happy to be going back to working with books. And I am hoping this will help me with my reading issues, because I’ll be surrounded by books, and people who love books just as much as I do, and I’ll want to be reading all the time soon I am sure!
I have been making good use of my town’s library since they have upped their game in English books. There are many frustrations when living in a mostly French province and you want to read – for “free” – in English. Most of the public libraries in this province don’t stock English books, and they don’t really budget for them either. I broke up with the library in this town years ago, but something inspired me to take a look at their website over the summer and I was delighted with what I found. So I spend hours (yes, hours) on their online catalogue each week looking up books and authors, going through their new acquisition pages, and saving books I want to read to my account’s wish list. When I was on vacation this summer, I was at the library every 3 days or so. Now I’m going about once a week. The good news is that I am reading again, even though it’s still slow going.
Read: Audrey, Wait!; The Lost Hero; The Son of Neptune
I have been working on being patient with myself when it comes to books. Since I am borrowing these from the library, and not buying them, I am letting my body (mind?) tell me when it wants to continue reading a book, or if it wants to put that book aside and try something else. I have taken some books out of the library more than once because I just couldn’t read them the first time I tried. There’s no rule that says I have to read a book I’m not quite feeling, RIGHT AWAY. There is a rule, but it’s mostly one my little ODC voice tells me I have to do. Why do I feel guilty about stopping a book when I am just not enjoying it? Why do I feel guilty when I stop a book I know I’m going to enjoy, but I’m just not that into it at the moment? Why am I putting pressure on myself for something this simple? Just put the book down. Walk away. Try something else and just borrow that book again when you’re feeling it. It’s a weird sort of pressure to put on oneself.
Read: Heir of Fire; Burial Rites // Did Not Finish: Dreamwood
I am a huge Mood Reader, and the fun I’m having with the library is that I can take out all sorts of things at once and then try them out. I have been checking out more non-fiction but I don’t always get to it while I have the books out. Unless I know I’m really eager to read something I didn’t get to by then end of my time with the book, I haven’t been renewing anything. I just bring it back and I’ll take it out some other time. I did learn from the books above that one book just wasn’t for me. I was not connecting with the writing or characters, so I won’t try that again. But the other books? I’ll pick up another time. I just wasn’t in the right mood for those books this time around.
I honestly thought that the Thanksgiving long weekend that just past would have seen me plow through these books above, but I’m still trying to make my way through the first book I picked up. My long weekend was oddly busy and my brain did not want to settle down and escape in a book. So I’m slowing making my way through this bunch of books. One is due back next Friday and I have another 2 weeks with the rest. I might actually renew some of these because I know I want to read them all RIGHT NOW. Only not right now because I can’t seem to focus.
Over the last year, for various reasons (one of which was the fact that I just wasn’t reading anything), I have been very good at not buying books. There has always been this urgency for me to pick up new releases as soon as they come out, and I’m not sure why that was such an urgent thing since it’s not like the books would disappear a month later. I would stockpile books I HAD TO GET NOW! and then not read them for months. I put an end to that, why spend the money and take up space in the house and not read something right away. It was a difficult habit to break, but I did. I bought books only if I KNEW I would want to keep them. The past month and a half I have actually bought more books than I have in the last year. Books I have been looking forward to and know I’ll keep. However they are sitting on a shelf right now because I want to get through the library books as much as I can. I’m at this weird point where I just don’t know WHAT I want to read next because I want to read ALL OF THE BOOKS at once. Heh.
So I am learning to be kind to myself about reading, and patient. The only pressure on me about finishing a book is a made up pressure that my brain has created. I’m not in a race. I’m not on a deadline. I can be leisurely about my reading and I don’t have to finish something if I am not feeling it. My entire being is still recovering from that stupid trauma and I’m not back to my normal (haha) self yet. I still need time to heal my brain and learn to focus on things and not always feel so…skittish. And eventually I’ll be reading a ton of books again without even thinking about it. And I’ll enjoy reading for fun and pleasure and not because I have to read something for a review, or for anyone else.
And occasionally I will treat myself to book purchases that I am really looking forward to because, well…
They are just SO PRETTY! (Kate Forsyth is one of my all-time favourite authors and these are UK editions of her last few books that used to be only in Australia and UK. I had to get them, I have been lusting after her new releases for some time!) (And: Sale!)
Sometimes you just need a new book to help make things a little bit better.
Well, goodness. It’s certainly been a while, hasn’t it? I assure you my absence from this blog hasn’t been intentional. Unfortunately the blog fell to the wayside as life became way too LIVE! AND IN 3D! for me. Between my own health, and school, reading has been a difficult task. The fact that reading seemed like a task in any way was rather heartbreaking to me, but I just couldn’t settle down with a book. My escape from my head and the world was found in much more active pursuits like exercise, and being outdoors. I found I couldn’t sit for long (or short) periods of time and get lost in a book as I have always been able to do in the past.
I found that I was picking up a book and getting about 2 chapters in before I lost interest. Nothing was capturing my interest for long, and almost everything I was trying to read felt like I’d already read that story, but under a different title, from a different author. There’s nothing worse than being burnt out on books. And right now, there’s just so much repetition in the book world that it’s difficult to rekindle your passion for reading when you’ve already read that story before. I gave up on most YA books because they were all blending into each other and it didn’t feel like there was much substance between the covers. I am tired of all the same plot points and conflicts. I am tired of pining away for someone you’ve met for about 30 seconds, who treats you like crap. I am tired of love triangles, being THE MOST POWERFUL WHATEVER!!, and insta-love. I just want adventure, fun dialogue, entertainment.
So I stopped buying books months ago. Why bother, when I wouldn’t read them. It’s a waste of money and space.
And I began to read a lot more Middle Grade (“a lot” being a relative term) and, occasionally, non-fiction. I was reading slowly, and certainly not anywhere near my normal pace. I literally just hit 30 books read for the year this weekend. Normally I’m somewhere close to 100 by now. But I just haven’t been able to focus on books. I have been on a bit of a roll this month because I have rediscovered my library.
I have mentioned my displeasure with my local library many times before. Living in a French Province, it’s difficult to find a decent selection of English-language books in your town’s library. I let my library card expire years ago because I was tired of always being disappointed when I went to look for books. But something this summer made me look up the library hours online and I was delighted to find that they have updated their entire system and I was able to search for books online. I was extra delighted to find how many books they had in the library that I have on my wishlists. Not only did they have those books, but they actually had current releases in library, or already on order. Also, they have new hours (awesome ones, too) and so off I went with my husband to get a new library card. I’ve already read through a ton of books in the last 3 weeks.
For most people, the excitement I am feeling over my library will probably seem odd. But they have really changed it up and have more stock for English readers and this makes me happy. Also, I can try a book guilt-free because I won’t be spending money (that I don’t have) on a book only to find that I am disinterested in it. If I think I would like it, but I just can’t get into reading it now, I can always take it back out again. Whee! Saving money and space and mental anguish all in one go!
Although I have picked up my reading pace this month, I still haven’t been updating my blog. The time and energy I normally put into a post (editing the photos, etc) has been distributed elsewhere in my life these days. I do write quick thoughts on Goodreads when I finish a book, but I just can’t seem to find any motivation to blog. I think about it as I fall asleep, but once I’m awake again, that moment is gone.
I have read some excellent books this year though, out of the 30 I have managed to finish. I think I might write a small post on those I loved the most. That’s on my To Do List for the summer. Once school starts back up in September, I know I won’t be reading leisurely anymore. I’m back in a torrid love affair with reading at the moment, but I’m pretty sure it’s just a summer romance. It’s nice to know my mental health is slowly healing itself and I am able to relax a little more. (Trauma is not a fun thing to experience. Just saying.)
It’s been a very rough year and a half and that’s affected my reading state of mind more than I thought it would. I hope those of you who might read this post have had a better reading time than I have. I would love it if you could share with me the books you’ve loved recently. I’m looking for suggestions and I’ll even consider books outside my comfort zone (well, some. Non-fiction? Historical?) What have you read lately that’s knocked your socks off? Let me know!
(In case you’re curious about which books I have read this year, you can check out my list of Books Read in 2014.)
I have not read a full book since August 25. I didn’t read anything in September. I can’t remember the last time I went more than a month without finishing a book. Or reading. Heck, even when I had laser eye surgery I still got 4 books into the month!
I have been 100 pages into The Book Thief since August. Not because I am not enjoying it but because I can’t focus on reading anything these days. Nothing. I can get 3 pages into a book and then start feeling very anxious and antsy and I need to be doing something else. I just can’t relax, sit still and read for any length of time these days.
I hope to be back on the reading wagon soon, but until I can get this weird restlessness under control I don’t know when that will be.
I’m not doing nothing though! I’m continuing my Publishing Certificate program and am taking Sales & Marketing for Book Publishers this semester. It’s pretty interesting and fun so far. I totally geeked out when I learned about the 4 parts of an ISBN. I knew there were publisher indicators but I didn’t know about the other 3 indicators! Woot! I’m also continuing to train myself to jog (though I haven’t been out there in a couple of weeks) and am doing a bunch of other fitness classes that are making me feel so much better both physically and mentally. On top of that there’s my full-time job which is actually a lot more insane than normal due to a whole bunch of factors (none of them positive) and I just don’t have time or head space for much else. Including blogging.
I felt sort of odd not having updated this blog in over a month so I thought I’d just put this up here for now to feel a little better. Also – Halloween theme! Because, you know, it’s OCTOBER and my favourite month.
Hope you’re doing ok, Internet. I miss you.
You know, I only had one month out of 12 last year that I beat my books read by the year before. April seems to have been the only month that I out-read myself from the year before. October comes in second with my having tied the number of books read. The rest of the year? I fell short, often by MANY books.
I managed to complete 95 books in 2012. Reading just wasn’t something that I was able to escape with as often as I normally do. Many reasons factored into this, and I did do a lot of academic-type reading this fall as I read articles for my research paper and weekly module readings for my class.
95 books read in a year isn’t horrible. Yet, I am still slightly disappointed that I don’t have a little COMPLETED sash over my Goodreads challenge widget for 2012, like I do for 2011. 😉
One thing that changed a lot in my reading habits in 2012 is my lack of reading YA novels. I think I am YA’d out. Very few books feel original and I’m tired of reading the same plots over and over with only names changed. Alas.
However, I did read some amazing YA novels this past year, they weren’t all duds. I also read many other amazing books, so I’ll break stuff down below. Clicking the image will take you to the post on that book. 🙂
(I cheated on that last one, because it’s not just Disappearing Nightly that I loved, it’s the entire series! Since I read them all in a month-ish, I am linking you to the series tag!)
For a full list of all the books I read in 2012 (if you care) you can click here, or the BOOKS READ tab at the top of the blog.
I’m looking forward to going through the (way too many) books in my own home that are unread at the moment. I don’t normally make goals for the year in January, but for this once, I’m making an exception. I shall try to read as many of my own books as possible before buying a ton more. Although I do have a handful of books that are coming out in the next few months that I am excited for (all parts of series). I will allow myself these new books, but limit the rest of my book buying. Or at least try.
Happy new year to you all! I wish you an exciting 2013 of reading!