January Wrap Up

I am so thankful January is over. January was the month from hell, and I’m pretty sure it was actually 458,603,837 days long. Every time I thought January was close to ending there were still like 10 more days until the actual end of the month. Let’s just say I am SO ready to start fresh in February.

I wanted to use today to reflect on how my January went in terms of my goals. How did I do in accomplishing them? Do I want to change any of them? Do I have any new goals? Basically, what worked and what didn’t. So without further ado…

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(Nothing motivates me more than this song.)

The Unread Shelf Project

I did a pretty good job with some of my goals this month for January, but for some of them I fell off the wagon. And by “I fell off the wagon,” I mean I threw myself off the wagon and let it leave without me. I may or may not be referring to my book buying ban and how well it didn’t go. (I am 100% talking about how badly I did with my book buying ban.)

All of the books that I read this month were books on my unread shelf. So I did a really good job being able to cross those off my list. I read seven books this month, six physical books and one book on my kindle. So in the sense of working through my unread books that were already on my shelf, I did AWESOME. The key word unfortunately is already.

Confession time: I bought a lot of books this month. I bought books when I went to Maine to visit a friend from college, I bought more books from my local bookstore, I went to Barnes and Noble twice leaving with books and I ordered some off of Amazon. So yeah, I threw myself off that wagon pretty hard. I know I don’t want to keep adding to the books on my Unread Shelf because then I won’t be able to accomplish my large goal for that, which is to get to 100 or less unread books on my shelf. I also know, I LOVE to buy books. There is no where I love being more than at the bookstore (except maybe Disney World), and there is nothing I hate more than leaving the bookstore without buying any books. So, how do I fix this going forward?

I think I am going to try and get back on the book buying ban, but keep it to smaller time frames. I thought I was a moderator, someone who can only do something in moderation, but apparently I’m an abstainer. I need to completely abstain from something otherwise it becomes an extremely slippery slope. So for February, I’m going to try and not buy any books, and reevaluate how that goes at the end of February. Wish me luck.

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(Thanks Lando)

My Blog

For my first month of blogging ever I’m feeling pretty good. I know there are things that I’m looking to improve for next month, like making sure I get my review’s up. I read seven books in January and I was terrible about getting my reviews up. I need to start setting time aside after I finish a book to write my review. So that is my plan for next month. I mean look at all these good books I read this month!

 

Books I Read

I am very proud of the amount of books I read this month. I read seven books in total this month and I don’t remember the last time I read so many books in one month. And as a bonus, there was only one that I didn’t enjoy as much as I wanted to enjoy it. So it was a great month not only for amount of books read but quality of the books I read too. I even had a couple 5 star reads which was exciting!

  • The World According to Star Wars by Cass R. Sunstein -⭐️⭐️
  • The Power by Naomi Alderman -⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (and so far definitely number one on my list for 2018 favorites)
  • Strange Weather by Joe Hill -⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway -⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • Red Clocks by Leni Zumas -⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • The Immortalists -⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • My Absolute Darling -⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I do have some reviews that I’m working on for The Immortalists, and My Absolute Darling which will hopefully be coming in the next week so keep a look out!

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Next Month!

I am SO excited for February. I’m participating in a fun challenge started by Alisa over at @worldswithinpages (on Instagram) and here is her blog, called Fantasy in February. Where the goal is to read strictly fantasy. I am really excited for this because I love fantasy but I always get sucked up into classics and contemporary fiction. I’ve gotten some really good recommendations and I can’t wait to get started. Join us or follow along with the hashtag #fantasyinfebruary on Instagram!

I also started an IRL book club with some of my friends at work and our first book is Sleeping Beauties by Steven King and Owen King which I am the most excited to read.

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What books did you read in January? Was your January like mine or did you have a great January! Tell me about your month in the comments below!

– Hannah

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10 Tips and Tricks to Read More

The first thing that I hear when I talk about my reading goals is “I don’t have the time to read” and a fairy dies every time. Okay… I’m being a little bit dramatic. Maybe. But, it’s true. A lot of people, myself included, are living such busy lives. For some, every minute is carefully planned out. For myself, and I’m sure there are others like me, every day is spent desperately trying to plan my day and constantly being stressed out about how much I need to do in any given day and yet still I only have 24 hours in a day. 24 hours generally never seems like enough time.

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(Seriously, 24 hours in a day isn’t enough time.)

I find that reading is one of the best ways for myself to find some peace, and to relax during the day – so finding time to read is imperative for me. Because it is so important to me, I’ve been able to find ways to find more time during the day to read and I wanted to share my list of tips and tricks with you:

  1. Always carry a book with you – I always have my current read with me, generally a physical copy in my purse. Not only that though, I also carry with me my Kindle, just in case I finish my current read or if I’m not particularly feeling up to reading my current read, for whatever reason.
  2. Read multiple books at a time – This one is *almost* the same as number 1. I find that if I’m reading multiple books at a time, I don’t get so discouraged when I’m not in the mood for something. It gives me more options to choose from depending on how I’m feeling that day.
  3. Put your phone down – Seriously, it seems hard, but once you get in the habit of not having your phone on you, you’ll realize how much time you actually spend on your phone. At the end of the year I was reflecting about how much time I spend on my phone staring at my Facebook feed like a zombie. I ended up deactivating my Facebook and deleted the app from my phone (deactivating Facebook did not deactivate my messenger, which was nice as I do use that as a means to communicate with some of my friends) and I realized one weekend that I had set my phone down when I got home at 6pm and didn’t pick it up again until I set my alarm when I went to bed at 10. It. Was. Amazing.
  4. Give up books that you don’t enjoy – This is a interesting idea. People feel very strongly about whether you should finish a book whether you like it or not. I used to fall under that camp, but then after forcing myself to read some really awful books that I hated I was so discouraged I had a hard time picking up a new book. Now that I only read books that I’m really enjoying, I am reading so much more.
  5. Set a goal – Try setting a goal to keep you motivated to read more. Make sure though, that you keep your goal reasonable. If you only read one or two books last year, don’t set a goal to read 100 books this year, you’ll only get discouraged if you read 10 (even though that would have felt like an accomplishment if thats what you had set your goal too).
  6. Join a book club – Find a book club to join. Your local bookstores, libraries, the Oprah Bookclub, Reese Witherspoon’s book club, (to name a few ideas), or even start your own with some of your friends. Reading books with friends or other people can be one of the most enjoyable ways to read a book, it gives you the option to rant or rave about which ever book you are currently reading to people who will understand and/or commiserate.
  7. Find a reading challenge – Try to participate in a reading challenge. There are tons of really fun ones out there that can get you reading something you wouldn’t have picked out on your own. My favorites are the challenges that don’t tell you what book to read but give you a prompt and you can pick the book you want to read that will fit that prompt.
  8. Share what you’ve read – Get a Goodreads account, start a blog, or a bookstagram. Posting about what you’re reading or what you’ve read can help you find other people to talk about that book with, get recommendations, and possibly make new friends in the process.
  9. Take notes – I’m a big supporter in writing in your books (I’m actually working on a more detailed post in regards to that). Keeping notes, or keeping track of favorite passages, will help you understand the authors message more clearly.
  10. Read – Simply, read. You will never read more if you don’t just start reading. Once you get into the habit of finding time to read, you will find yourself reading more.

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(Has anyone seen this episode of The Twilight Zone? Heartbreaking.)

Do you have any tips or tricks to finding more time to read? Did I miss anything? Let me know!

– Hannah

Best of 2017

Today is the last day of 2017 and I don’t know about you guys, but this has probably been one of the worst years in my life. I am more than ready to close the door on 2017 and walk into 2018. I’ve already dubbed 2018 the year in which Hannah makes her mental illness her priority, so things can only go up from here. So, in honor of probably one of the worst years of my life, I’m going to share the top five books that I read this year (in no particular order).

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Lady Chatterly’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence. Constance Chatterly unhappy and married to an invalid, finds refuge in the arms of their game keeper, Mellors. Together they learn how to find peace and fulfillment in their lives. – I’m not sure if you can tell, but this book is well read and well loved. This is one of my favorites of all time, I read it over and over and constantly fall in love with this story.

“We’ve got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.” – D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterly’s Lover

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Le Cirque des Rêves arrives without word or warning, a beautiful circus only open at night. Within its tents, there is a fierce competition between two talented magicians Marco and Celia. Unbeknownst to the two magicians, the competition is a duel that ends only with the other participants death. As the two fall in love, the fate of each of them, the circus, and all of their friends hang in the balance. – I got swept away in this story, and when it was over I was upset there wasn’t more of it. I felt like I was a part of the magic of the circus while I was reading it, I fell in love with every one of the characters, my heart breaking and rejoicing with them.

“I am tired of trying to hold things together that cannot be held. Trying to control what cannot be controlled. I am tired of denying myself what I want for fear of breaking things I cannot fix. They will break no matter what we do.” – Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus

The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood. In the midst of an economic collapse, Stan and Charmaine believe that the gated community of Consilience may be the answer to their prayers. As troubling events start to occur, a darker side of this community starts to emerge. – I love everything I’ve ever read by Margaret Atwood, and while this novel isn’t as dark as either The Handmaid’s Tale or the MaddAddam trilogy it does have a lot to say about the human heart and what it is to be free.

“The past is so much safer, because whatever’s in it has already happened. It can’t be changed; so, in a way, there’s nothing to dread.” – Margaret Atwood, The Heart Goes Last

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore. The life of Jesus was written out in the Bible but you might not have heard the whole story. Here is where Biff comes in, Jesus’s childhood best friend. He is here to tell us the true story of Jesus that we haven’t yet heard. – This book was by far the most humorous one I read this year. I was laughing out loud at work, causing multiple coworkers to ask inquisitively what exactly I was reading. I had to stop and reread passages over again purely because I had been laughing so hard when I read it the first time I didn’t want to miss anything. In a year like 2017 this was definitely my favorite read by far.

“It’s wildly irritating to have invented something as revolutionary as sarcasm, only to have it abused by amateurs.” – Christopher Moore, Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal

I, Lucifer by Glen Duncan. The Devil has just been offered a hell of a deal, reentry back into Heaven if he can live a well behaved life in a human body on earth. In almost stream of conscious-like prose, instead of teaching us what it is like to be the Devil, he ends up learning a bit of what its like to be us. – This book was recommended to me by one of my best friends and I ended up loving it just as much as he thought I would. The way the novel is written takes a while to get used to, it doesn’t have much structure to it, most of it is just stream of conscious thinking, but once you get used to it, I, Lucifer was quite the enjoyable ride.

“(I invented rock and roll. You wouldn’t believe the things I’ve invented. Anal sex, obviously. Smoking. Astrology. Money … Let’s save time: Everything in the world that distracts you from thinking about God. Which … pretty much … is everything in the world, isn’t it? Gosh.)” – Glen Duncan, I, Lucifer

So there you have it, my top five favorite reads of 2017. What was in your list? What are you looking forward to reading most in 2018?

– Hannah

Christmas Book Haul

Good Morning!

I know its a few days after Christmas but I hope that you all had a very merry Christmas, or a happy Hanukah or whatever holiday you may have celebrated! I wanted to share with you the books that I was gifted this year. Books are not only my favorite thing to give as presents, but they are my favorite things to receive as presents as well. I love seeing what book someone else loves or what book they think I might enjoy.

And this year it looks like I was given some pretty good picks.

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  • Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve – In this post apocalyptic world, London is now on wheels, turned into this giant machine that travels the country side looking for other city’s to take over and use for resources. As London is chasing a smaller town across the wasteland, Tom Natsworthy is thrown from the city into the barren wasteland. From there he and Hester Shaw must get back to London before London does something that could put the future of the world at stake.

Set in a steam punk version of London, my fiancee described this book to me as if the cars in Mad Max: Fury Road were larger and had towns on them. Now, this is one of the reasons he is my fiancee, because he knows anything Mad Max: Fury Road-esque is bound to be a hit for me.

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(I mean look at these colors.)

  • The Power by Naomi Alerman – At first, the world is recognizable, everything being as it should and then a new force takes root and now women and teenage girls all have the ability to inflict terrible pain and even cause death. This leads women to become the dominate gender.

Billed as being similar to Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale it seems to be an interesting take on dystopian futures and how women are treated in them. How instead of being the gender that seems to suffer and be oppressed, woman are given a power that for once men do not get to have.

*A bonus: both of these two books are being given a film adaptation, a movie being directed by Christian Rivers set to be released in December 2018 for Mortal Engines and a tv series by Sister Pictures.

  • Super You: Release Your Inner Superhero by Emily V. Gordon – Producer, former therapist and pop culture guru Emily V Gordon takes us on a mission to learn how to be the superheroes of our own lives and find our capes.

As I said in my introduction, I struggle with depression and anxiety, on one of my best days my mental illness is a partly cloudy day, it’s cloudy but the sun pokes through and it’s still pretty nice, but on my bad days it’s like a hurricane, tornado, and earthquake all happening at once. It’s overwhelming and a constant struggle to determine how best to manage and survive. I’m optimistic looking at this book, and I’m hoping that I’m able to find the courage inside myself to don my own superhero cape.

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(#goals)

  • F*cked: Being Sexually Explorative and Self Confident in a World That’s Screwed by Corinne Fisher & Krystyna Hutchinson – Written by the hosts of Guys We Fucked: The Anti Slut-Shaming Podcast, F*cked is a book for anyone who has ever felt like they can not be their true authentic selves when it comes to being a sexual being.

As someone who is a human with a sexual appetite I know I have experienced my own issues with how I view myself based on how society looks at me and my own personal views of love and sex (as a queer, non-practicing, non-monogamous person stigma abounds). Finding this podcast and listening to the way that Corinne and Krystyna talk about love and sex as well as how they talk to the men whom they fucked is done respectfully and non-judgmentally, was refreshing. I can’t wait to read this book addressing these things even further.

Did you get any books for gifts this holiday season? Did you get any of the same books? I’d love to hear about them!

Happy Holidays!

– Hannah

2018 Reading Challenge

Good Morning!

If reading more in 2018 is one of your New Years resolutions than this is the post for you!

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(tenor.com)

In 2017 I set myself a goal of 52 books, and while I didn’t get anywhere close I did manage to read 27 books (8 more than 2016). So I decided to make my own reading challenge, 24 different prompts, 2 books a month, to keep myself motivated and able to reach my goal.

I am most excited for the “true crime” and “book with an LGBTQ+ protagonist” because I a) have an obsession with true crime, SSDGM y’all and b) in doing some research while picking prompts I found some really interesting books that I’m really intrigued by. I also am excited for the prompt “a book that was being read by a stranger in a public place”, as a people watcher I’m maybe a little nosier than I should be and I’m constantly trying to see what people around me are reading.

In order to keep track of my goal and the books that I’m reading, I use the Goodreads app. I like being able to track and rate the books that I’m reading. It also will give suggestions once you’ve rated enough books, just in case you ever don’t know what to read. If you wanted you can also follow me here!

And without further ado here is The Well Read Fox’s 2018 Reading Challenge!

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So grab your books and anything you need to get cozy and let’s get to reading.

-Hannah