Top Ten Tuesday: Changes in my bookish life since 2010

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

The 20s are almost upon us! Are we going to call the next decade the 20s and continually confuse each other with references to flappers and the Jazz Age? I probably will. Anyway, the end of the year is usually a time of reflection, but I think this prompt is more interesting than just thinking about this past year’s reading.

I checked my trusty Goodreads account to see what I was reading in 2010, but according to Goodreads, I became an active user in July 2013. My, how Goodreads has changed since then! Just kidding. It’s still the same poorly designed, inexplicably beige site it always has been. (Even though Amazon owns Goodreads now, it’s still terrible. How and why?! It’s like Goodreads is the forgotten stepchild of the Amazon empire.) I remember that when I joined the site, I was a bank teller at a not-so-busy location, and I was bored out of my mind. For some reason I decided it would be a good use of my time to try and add every book I had ever read to my Goodreads shelves. I guess it wasn’t acceptable to me to just start with a clean slate of reading stats. All of that to say, I don’t have solid reading stats to show my progress, which, as a lover of infographics, is truly saddening to me.

Here’s what I remember about my bookish life pre-Goodreads. First of all, I had no awareness of the book community – what books were popular, what authors were winning awards, etc. I used the local library a good bit, and I would just browse the shelves for something to read. That is mind boggling to me. I don’t think I’m capable of casually browsing anymore, because I already know what books and authors I want to read, so that’s what I’m always looking for. The first popular books I remember being aware of were The Hunger Games and Twilight. I don’t think I really even knew that Young Adult was a genre (not just an age range) until The Fault in Our Stars came about. I mostly read physical books from the library, with the occasional audiobook. I got a Kindle for Christmas in 2011, which I used to *gasp* buy (I’m pretty sure I had no idea that the library had ebooks) ebooks, which was basically blasphemy to all print book lovers. I believe I was shamed out of using my Kindle, which was only resuscitated and used again this year.

Before I figured out what genres I actually liked to read, I went through a phase of only reading (or claiming to only read) classics, because I was a pretentious book snob. This was also around the time when I started keeping track of the books I owned and hadn’t read, which became another source of book snobbery (the bigger the tbr, the better) and also the beginnings of book guilt for all the things I hadn’t read. That’s the downside of being aware – you feel guilty for all the things you didn’t know before. This went on for a while, unfortunately.

A few years ago there came a time in my life where I decided to stop letting myself feel guilty for the ways I thought I had disappointed others and myself. Part of this process was purging my toxic tbr, and I got rid of a lot. I picked up each book individually and asked myself if I was still interested in reading it at any point (thanks, Marie Kondo). That Penguin Classics edition of Bleak House I bought in 2011? Never gonna read it. Part of the problem was that I was buying books I thought I should read rather than books I actually wanted to read. My book buying habits have improved, and now I make it a point to check my tbr regularly and decide if there are any books on those shelves that I don’t care about anymore. I don’t see the point in trying to force myself to read something that I bought months (or years) ago that I forgot I even owned.

I used to read pretty narrowly in terms of genre, and I was hesitant to try new things. Now that I know more about how to find reliable book reviews and perform Readers’ Advisory (yay, library school), I’m much more widely read, though I still have room for improvement. I also didn’t really know how to seek out, or even that I should seek out, books by authors of diverse nationalities, races, religions, and gender identities. Over time, the percentage of books I read by heterosexual white men has dwindled considerably.

Thinking about how my reading life has evolved since 2010 has been a bit enlightening. Yay for self awareness! I’m loving reading everyone else’s posts on this topic, and I would love to chat more if you want to drop a comment.

My biggest hope is that after 10 more years of reading, Goodreads will be a different color, but I have pretty low expectations.

Happy reading!

End of the year book tag

That side eye though.

This is my first end of the year book tag, and I got excited and wrote this post before I was tagged. No regrets!


1. Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish? 

There were a lot of books I started this year that I didn’t end up finishing because I didn’t like them. As far as the books I actually do want to finish, I have Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver and Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi. I didn’t realize this until just now, but I started both of these as audiobooks. Normally I do have a hard time sticking with audiobooks, even if I like the book, so this isn’t that surprising. I have a physical copy of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle at home, which might help me finish it.


2. Do you have an autumnal book to transition you to the end of the year? 

I don’t really plan my reading around seasons, but for some reason I associate fantasy novels with fall, so I guess it’s the perfect time for me to be on a Brandon Sanderson binge. I’m currently reading The Hero of Ages, which is the final book in the Mistborn trilogy. 


3. Is there a new release you’re still waiting for?

Most of the releases I was anticipating this year are already out. Not to say I’ve read them all! I am low key curious about the Michelle Obama Becoming journal.

4. What three books do you want to read before the end of the year?

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org
Scythe
Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org
Skyward
Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org
Ninth House


5. Is there a book you think could still shock you and become your favorite?

Like I said before, I’m in the middle of reading The Hero of Ages, and I think it’s a strong contender for my favorite book of the year. It wouldn’t be shocking, though. Beyond that, I don’t think it’s possible for me to love a book as much as I’ve loved reading the Mistborn series. It’s going to take a while for my emotions to even out, and I can’t even imagine what this book hangover is going to be like. And no, I will not stop talking about it.


6. Have you already made reading plans for 2020?

Oh yes. Such is the life of a book blogger. There will be a whole post on that later. 

I’m also excited to write about my favorite books of the year and see what everyone else loved reading! Do I do it now? Do I wait until the year is officially over? Time will tell!

Happy reading, bookish friends. 

Top Ten Tuesday – Books on my TBR that I’m avoiding and why

Top Ten Tuesdays is a weekly prompt posted by Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl, but this week I’m taking a cue from Leelyn @ Sometimes Leelyn Reads and expanding the topic to include books that aren’t on my physical TBR. Honestly, if it’s a book I don’t want to read right away, I’m not going to keep it on my shelves.

  1. Nevernight by Jay Kristoff – I’ve heard lots of rave reviews for this book, but I also heard a review that mentioned one particular description that turned me off this book completely. I don’t know the context of the line, or even the full quote, but it’s something like “beautiful like a fresh suicide.” From what I’ve heard, death and decay are prominent themes in this book, but can we all just stop romanticizing suicide? I’ll go ahead and cut myself off from ranting.

2. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens – This is a book I’m avoiding, but I might actually come back to. I did try reading this not too long ago. I got about 10 pages in and returned it back to the library. I had high expectations for this book since so many people love it, but I was bored instantly. Normally I’m into books with a slow burn, but I might have just picked this up at the wrong time.

3. Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve – I made the mistake of watching the movie adaptation before I read the book. The movie started out okay but was ultimately disappointing. I know I should read the book because it’s probably way better than the movie ever could be, but I don’t want to be disappointed again.

4. The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon – So I do really want to read this book. The thing that’s holding me back is that it is hefty. It also seems like it’s going to be complex enough that I will want to annotate it, which means I need to buy my own copy instead of borrowing it from the library, and I haven’t seen a copy of this in my local used bookstores. I hesitate to buy it brand new because I don’t know if I will love it and also $$$.

5. A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin – I really want to love Le Guin. I do. It’s just that I started out with The Dispossessed and it was a huge mistake. Now I’m afraid to try something else, even though Earthsea appears to be far more accessible, and there’s rumors of another tv adaptation, which means I’m obligated to read the series so I can point out every way that the tv adaptation differs from the books and annoy all of my friends and coworkers.

6. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah – This has been compared to The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, which is what made me want to read this book in the first place. It is also the reason I haven’t read it yet. I’ve never read anything by Kristin Hannah, but can this really be as good as The Poisonwood Bible? I may never know.

7. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris – I’m sure this book is fine. I’m just really over the whole trend of writing heartwarming stories (based in reality or not) set during the Holocaust. In my opinion, people like to latch on to stories about hope and survival because it’s easier than thinking about what led to these terrible events in the first place. *Shrug emoji*

8. The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware – I enjoyed Ruth Ware’s books up until The Death of Mrs. Westaway, which I thought was terrible. I’m interested to see what she does with this, since it’s based on The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, but I don’t want to get my hopes up in case I’m disappointed again.

9. The Library Book by Susan Orlean – I work at a library, and I love true crime. For those reasons alone, I should want to read this book. I don’t know why exactly, but I never really got excited about this book when it first came out. I haven’t heard from very many library workers who have read it and recommended it, which makes me hesitant to read it.

10. Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid – One of the main reasons I haven’t read this book yet is because I’m afraid it won’t live up to expectations. I’ve heard from some people that it is excellent, and from others that it was not so great. If this gets a movie adaptation, I will definitely watch it regardless of whether or not I’ve read the book, because I love movies about music.

There you go! If you think you can change my mind and make me want to put any of these at the top of my TBR list, have at it. I’m willing to be persuaded!