Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Random Thoughts on 2009/2010

As the current year ends I find myself looking back more than I am looking forward. Honestly, my life is pretty settled but also somewhat stagnant. I don't really have big plans for the upcoming year. Most of my goals revolve around books/reading/alone time. I'm not really an introvert, but I live with my grandmother and our house is the watering hole for my family. I don't have a small family either. There are more than thirty people including my aunts, uncles, and cousins, and at any given time all of them are in my living room. I also have a somewhat high-stress job. I work with "at-risk" kids and I am currently in a first grade classroom. So, all of that adds up to a lot of noise. The noise leaves me craving the solitude of a good book. I started reading in large quantities again last year. Before last year I worked full time while getting my undergrad degree, then became a retail store manager, and was in a serious relationship with the wrong person who I consistently dumbed myself down for (yes, I was an idiot) so reading wasn't high on my list of things to do. I still read, and I still loved books and book stores, I just didn't read as much as I do now. I'm hopeful that I continue to read in the coming year, which is one of the reason's I am doing so many challenges.

Speaking of reading, I am also planning on re-reading the Harry Potter series. I can't tell you how many times I have read these books, but they never get old. Right now Alan Lastufka (of YouTube and Nerdfighter fame) is reading the HP series for the first time, and he is blogging his way through them. The blog is so fun and it is great for me, a serious HP nerd, to read along with him. Also contributing to my re-read is the fact that one of my librarian friends is re-reading them as well. She and I have been having a discussion the past few weeks about how soon is too soon when it comes to re-reading, and we decided that since we both finished them at the end of summer that we should maybe wait until 2010. Needless to say, we didn't make it that far!

Challenges! I did some of my challenges in the sidebars already, but I am planning a few more as well. I am going to do the Once Upon a Time Challenge hosted by Tena at Crazy Book Slut, because I absolutely adore retelling of fairy tales. Since I only have to read 5 books to complete this challenge I will review the books and tag them with "Once Upon a Time" so they are easy to find. I am also going to do the Rainbow Connection Challenge which has it's own blog. This one will go in my sidebar as well. I decided to do this challenge because I failed so miserably at the A-Z Challenge last year, and this is a nice alternative. I also really want to do an Anita Blake Challenge and a Book to Movie Challenge, but I am going to wait to sign up for them. There are two other challenges I am pretty sure I am going to do, but can't quite commit to them yet.

Well, one super long blog post later...I'm finished! So, tell me...are you doing any reading challenges? Do you think reading challenges are lame? Do you love HP? Do you think HP is lame? Actually, don't tell me if you think HP is will hurt my heart, and I just am not a fan of that =] Do you have New Year's Resolutions? I don't because I think they just set me up for failure! Have a Happy New Year!

Monday, December 28, 2009

2010 Challenges

Why do I do challenges? Mainly because I love to read and I read without abandon. By doing challenges my reading goes in a direction. Sometimes the challenges make me stop and pick up a book that I usually would never consider. Sometimes the challenges just encourage me to work toward a random goal. Regardless of the reason, challenges are fun and they give me the opportunity to keep track of what I read throughout the year. Last year I only completed two of the four challenges that I tried. This year, I am trying more challenges but they are more topical than others. Most of these I will put in the sidebar, but some I will do in the both the sidebar and the original post.

Here are the challenges that I will keep track of only in the sidebar along with the link to the sign up pages
  1. The 100+ Challenge hosted by J. Kaye's Book Blog
  2. 2010 Young Adult Reading Challenge hosted by J. Kaye's Book Blog (I will do at least the "Stepping It Up" challenge, but most likely I will end up reading enough to qualify for the "Super Size" version.
  3. Celebrate The Author hosted by Becky's Book Room
  4. Support Your Local Library Challenge hosted by J. Kaye's Book Blog (I will probably only commit to doing the "Mini Challenge" for this one but maybe more.)
  5. Gilmore Girls Challenge hosted by Lisa (for this one I am only going to commit to the "Emily" level, but I would really like to complete the "Rory" level.
So, this is to just get me started on various challenges. I'm also planning on doing a few others that just looked fun, and I'll post more about them later, along with the books I have chosen for those challenges. If you want to join any of these challenges just follow the links to the sign up pages for more information. Also, leave me a comment so we can be challenge buddies!

Monday, November 23, 2009

In Defense of Chick Lit

I am an avid reader. It's true that in the last two years my focus has been mainly on YA and kid lit, but I will read just about anything. One of my favorite genres is chick lit. I love it! It is fun, usually a quick read, and it pretty much makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. However, in the last two years of library work I find that my chick lit recommendations are frequently met with disdain. One of my co-workers often looks down her nose when I ask her for recommendations saying "we do not have the same taste in books." When I ask her to expand on this she will gladly inform me that she doesn't read "the kind of books I read," meaning, I guess, that she isn't a fan of the bright colors, high heels, and diamonds on the covers of many of my check outs. But here's the thing: in the past 20 years of reading I can say that I have honestly read thousands of books. Not just chick lit, YA, or kid lit. I read mysteries, classics, the really depressing Oprah's book club picks, paranormal, suspense, short story collections, memoirs, biographies, everything. There have been very few books in my life that I sat aside without enjoying them. Some of them were required reading in school that I later picked up and found that I loved, some of them just didn't really do it for me. And that's okay. All books are have a place, and every book is a match for someone. So, here is the thing about chick lit. It makes you feel good. They are happy stories. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, and she gets her dream job. Generally the characters are in their mid-twenties (like me) and are trying to find where they fit in life (also, like me) and usually by the end of the book they have realized that they will be okay. Who doesn't like that message? I love that message! The truth is, a lot of time, life sucks. So it is nice to be able to turn to a happy book, full of cheer, that makes me laugh out loud. I love the "hard" books too, and I think that they have a place. However, as the weather gets grosser, and the days get shorter and darker, I will turn away from my memoirs about women who are living with cancer, my books about the Darfur crisis, and the books that follow recovering drug addicts and instead I will look for books with pink covers and cutesy titles. These books will bring a little bit of sunshine into the bleak winter ahead. So, the next time someone recommends a chick lit book, give it a chance. No, you probably won't learn any new words, or have the opportunity to discuss the political undertones of the text, but you will have fun!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Well, in the past few weeks a lot has changed. For one thing I have a new job! Hooray and fun times all around. I wanted to post about it because with the new job comes the opportunity to blog more frequently. I currently blog for the library, and I don't post nearly often enough. But hopefully with more time I will be able to do a better job here. I read a lot and I review books. Most likely I will still be doing this for the library on a volunteer basis until they get someone to fill my position. Once someone new comes along I am not sure if they are going to want to continue with the blog or not. I want to continue the book reviewing here so that if the library blog disappears people can come here and see what is going on. I am planning on starting this before I leave so that the current readers can come over here and see what is going on. This blog will be somewhat different than the library blog because I will also focus on the adult books I read. At the library I mainly work with kids and teens, so my blog there revolves around YA fiction. There will still be plenty of YA stuff here, don't worry, it is my favorite genre to read, but I read a lot, and since I read a lot I read everything from biographies to trashy romance novel. I also care about various world issues and I may talk about them on here as well. I also have more freedom here so if I want to talk about something crazy from my personal life I can do that too. So, just to recap: I plan on using this blog mainly to review books/talk about the books I am reading or want to read, but it is also a personal blog that may contain all kinds of randomness. I hope everyone who stops by says hello and enjoys what I have to offer. If you have suggestions I would love to hear them!