I discovered the world of podcasts about six months ago. I don't know what took me so long! While I listen to a variety of them, I've found that my favorites are the ones about books. I thought I'd share the three bookish podcasts I listen to, as well as some of the books I've recently added to my TBR because of them (that's the only problem with them - my TBR is certainly not shrinking!). And to compound that problem, I'd love if you would share some of the bookish podcasts you enjoy listening to so I can join in!
This podcast is hosted by Andrew and Craig. Each week, one of them reads a book that's been out for a while, and then they discuss it. They give some background of the work and the author. They discuss good parts, bad parts, confusing parts, funny parts, and everything in between. I've been picking and choosing which episodes I listen to in their archives because I only listen to ones about books I've already read (don't want any spoilers!). This podcast is informative and hilarious. (And Craig has the best laugh ever.)
This podcast is hosted by Anne Bogel, a.k.a. Modern Mrs. Darcy. Each week, she interviews someone and asks them for three books they love and one book they hate. She then recommends three books she thinks they would enjoy based on their tastes. I wasn't so sure about this podcast when I first started it - why would I care about book recommendations for someone else? But it quickly pulled me in, and I am devouring the archives. Three books I recently added to my TBR because of this podcast are: (Click on the cover to go to the Goodreads page.)
This podcast is hosted by Sarah Mackenzie. It's all about children's literature, both picture books and middle grade books. She interviews authors and illustrators and audiobook narrators. She discusses how to spread the love of reading to your own children. Of all the sections in a bookstore or library, children's literature is the most dangerous for me. I want to come home with ALL THE BOOKS. I don't know if that's because I was a teacher, or because I'm still an eleven-year-old at heart. Either way, this podcast is amazing and delightful. My TBR has grown substantially because of this podcast!
I make no secret of the fact here on Smiling Shelves that I love libraries. Having time to visit the big library branch several towns over was one of the best parts of my summers. It's so much fun to browse and discover new books. And best of all - they're all free!
But they're free because you can't keep them. If you're checking out a library book, there is an inevitable due date to keep track of (even if you renew it once or twice). Library due dates can be helpful. They provide wonderful motivation to read, and read lots (if you're liike me and can only come home with a huge stack). Knowing that you have to return the book soon means you're more likely to read rather than play on your phone or binge on a Netflix show. I've always found library due dates to be positive and motivationally challenging (surely you can't read that whole stack in three weeks, can you? Watch me!).
Recently, however, I've found that the looming due date has turned on me. It's no longer a challenge to read the books in time - it's now stressful. This probably has something to do with a little boy who takes up a lot of my time. I can tell my reading pace has slowed down over the past couple of months. So now the huge stack of library books is just adding more stress to my life.
I've also been wanting to read more of my own books this year. I've always been so distracted by library books that this hardly happens, but for once, I'm feeling the desire to read my own books - and can't, because I have a stack of books due next week that I have to finish.
So I'm thinking of taking a break from library books for awhile. This is especially ironic and surprising, because I've just returned to library use after taking a couple of months off for my Circumreading the World challenge. But my own books are calling to me, and I certainly don't need anything else in my life stressing me out. Now the trick will be to visit the library for my son's sake without checking out any books for me. . .
Are you a library user? Do you find due dates helpful or stressful? How do you find a balance between library books and your own books?
Here we are at the end of another year, which means it's time to gather all the statistics! Half of the fun of this yearly wrap-up post is charts and graphs, but I just don't have time to make that happen this year, unfortunately. Ah, well. Here are the numbers in all their glory, with my top reads of the year below!
Books read: 137
Pages read: 33,597
Male authors: 35%
Female authors: 65%
Books I owned: 26%
Books from the library: 74%
Set in the United States: 41%
Set in Europe: 22%
Set elsewhere in the world: 21%
Set in a fictional place: 15%
My Top Finds of 2016
Favorite fiction books: The Midnight Queen by Sylvia Izzo Hunter
Favorite nonfiction book: Among the Janeites: A Journey Through the World of Jane Austen Fandom by Deborah Yaffe
Favorite children's book: Krakens and Lies by Tui & Kari Sutherland
Favorite young adult book: Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger
Favorite series: The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
Last week, my local library hosted an adult coloring event. I was the only one who showed up. (I live in a pretty small town, so it wasn't that surprising.) So for an hour and a half, I was coloring with the librarian on duty and our new library director, who has been working there for only a few months. I'm not very good at small talk (long live introverts!), but the conversation was flowing pretty easily, and I was enjoying myself and the quiet time away from my little guy.
After about 15 minutes, the library director went over to the only other patron in the library. She was a high school student who was killing time by watching YouTube videos on the computer. The director invited her to come color, and she reluctantly agreed. Within the next 45 minutes or so, here is the awesomeness I saw from the librarians:
Libraries are about so much more than books. Yes, free books are great. But librarians are incredible human beings who take care of the people who walk through their doors in so many other ways than just providing books.
So thank a librarian. They richly deserve it!
I am typically a fairly voracious reader. I read at least 100 books a year, and I always take great pleasure in setting my Goodreads goal to challenge myself. But this past January, I only set my Goodreads goal for 50. You see, I was having a baby in April. And I didn't know exactly how that would change my reading, but I knew it would.
But since my little boy has arrived, I've had to increase my Goodreads goal to 75. And then 100. As of right now, I'm actually 25 books ahead of schedule. It turns out that having a baby can actually increase your reading time.
How did that happen? Well, I'm still not entirely sure how I'm getting through the amount of books that I am. But here's what I think is working:
I know I'm far from the only book blogger out there with kids. What are your tips for reading with little ones around?
So despite having a newborn baby in the house, I did read some books in April! Here's a recap of my amazing April reads:
Winter by Marissa Meyer (This was AWESOME! And major thanks to my husband, who turned pages for me while I nursed my little guy. Every bookworm needs a husband like this!)
The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion (My book club read The Rosie Project in April, and I figured that was a good time to check out the sequel.)
On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder (Trying to stay caught up with the Little House Read-Along. Each one of these I read, I enjoy them more and more.)
A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley (I have finally discovered a place for audiobooks in my life! They are extremely useful in life with a little baby. And Flavia was perfect as an audiobook.)
Taran Wanderer by Lloyd Alexander (The Chronicles of Prydain are awesome. I really need to reread them more often.)
The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall (This series just gets better and better. I think they have officially made it onto my must-buy list now.)
Here we are, three months into the year already! I've tried to cram as much reading as I could into these three months, because Baby could be showing up anytime. And who knows how much reading I'll get in then! Here's how I've done so far this year:
Books read: 28
Pages read: 7,844
Male authors: 39%
Female authors: 61%
Books I own: 46%
From the library: 54%
Favorite book this quarter: Can I have a tie? I loved Cress, the next installment in the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. And I am also loving my reread of the Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander. Must be a "Chronicles" thing.
Reading Challenge Progress
Read the Books You Buy 2/7 read - current percentage is 29% (20-40% is my goal)
Show Your Shelves Some Love 8/30
Little House Read-Along 3/12
Newbery 5/30 points
Not too bad as far as the reading challenges go. I'll really have to keep on top of the Read the Books You Buy challenge! Goals for the second quarter: read more nonfiction and read more of my own books. Totally doable!
At the beginning of February, I posted a list of books I hoped to read in that month. It worked amazingly well. I finished 9 of my 10, and have started on the last one. I love checking things off of lists, so I feel very accomplished this month!
I thought I would try the same thing for March, although with a slightly shorter list. While I like checking things off, I did miss the freedom to read whatever I felt like in February. So hopefully with a shorter list, I can finish these all and still have time to mood read.
This week of book blogger fun is hosted by the Estella Society.
Today's topic is how to avoid burnout in blogging and in reading. I have to start by confessing that I haven't experienced either yet. I've been blogging for almost three years, and although some weeks are harder than others, I haven't felt like I wanted to quit yet. And I've (knock on wood) never had a reading slump. I don't have any secrets to share about avoiding burnout; just a few thoughts about what I do.
So I guess I could sum up my blogging and reading philosophy as "I do what works for me." Low pressure. Keep it fun. So far it has worked, and I can only hope that continues to be true!
This awesome week of book blogger goodness is hosted by the Estella Society.
Today's prompt has us musing about how we stay connected to the book blogging community. There are a myriad of ways, many of which I'm only just starting to explore!
My name is Julie, and I own a lot of books. As in, they are stacked on the floor because I've run out of room on the shelves. And those shelves? There are so many books on them that they smile -- not sag; smile. This blog will cover book reviews and all manner of other bookish things.
You can contact me at email@example.com.