August Wrap Up (psst! kitten pictures!)

August was a slow reading month for me, partially because I was still healing from surgery, partially because I’ve been in a weird multi-genre-slump all year, and partially because we found two abandoned kittens and I’ve been caring for them. (I swear these are almost harder to take care of than a newborn baby :/ )

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pic from a few days after we found them; they’re bigger now and harder to photograph because they move too much

These little demons now have names: Timon & Pumbaa. The one in the top pic was the one we found first, and he was bigger than than the second one, and he makes little grunting sounds when he eats. The smaller one would sit up on his hind feet to eat from the bottle, and kinda looked like a meerkat, so, Pumbaa and Timon seemed fitting. I tried out some other names, but they actually started responding to Timon & Pumbaa, so it stuck.


As far as books are concerned, I read 4, plus a Buzz Books sampler (which I did count for my reading goal because that was several hundred pages).

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Escapism: Words + Photos by Candice Lee (review here), a poetry/photographs books, which I gave 3/5 stars.

Cicada Summer by Maureen Leurck (review here), which I gave 3.5/5 stars.

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh, which I gave 5/5 stars.

The Awakening by Kate Chopin, which I gave 4/5 stars.


The Awakening counted for the #RockMyTBR Challenge (my goal was just to read at least one book that’s been on my shelf/Kindle for a year or more).

Back when I did the New Year’s Resolution Book Tag, I selected Anna Karenina as a big book I’d like to read, and my goal for it is to finish it by the end of the year. I made decent progress this month, but I’m still only about 250 pages into it. I’m not sure if it’s me or what, but I’m not loving it 😦


On the writing side of things, I finally worked more on my poetry collection. I’ve typed up everything I’ve written and edited, did more editing, and I think I’m close to having everything arranged the way I want it. I still want to write a little more for it, do a bit more editing, and (the big thing) find a title.

But, I made progress and I feel pretty good about it. I’m terrified of finishing it, though, because that means I might actually have to do something with it, like try to get it published traditionally, or take the plunge with self-publishing :O Scary stuff for someone who’s always been terrified of sharing their writing.


How was your August? Did you read anything really great?

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Why I count (pretty much) everything I read on Goodreads

I felt inspired to write this because I’ve seen a few discussions online recently about what people do and do not count, and I realized how much my own choices have changed over the last few years.

For the first few years I used Goodreads, I only added “real books” I read. Then, I considered “real books” to be novels, entire collections of poetry or short stories, novellas, plays, and that was it. If something had a low page count, I felt too guilty to add it. An example would be The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. This story is, depending on your edition, pretty short. I think my two copies are both under 100 pages, which lands them in that hazy place where short stories and novellas meet. I think a novella is typically considered a short novel of 30,000 words, but maybe less than 50,000 words, and short stories are typically anything under about 30,000 words. I could be wrong about that, and maybe there are different classifications depending on where you look for the information.

I didn’t read many comics or graphic novels back then, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t add any I did read. I also didn’t add any long short stories, and I was too ashamed to admit I read erotica, so I didn’t include those for a long time, even the full-length novels. (This was before it was a popular genre that it seemed like everyone was reading without always being judged for reading.)

While I do focus a bit on the number of books I read in a year, my primary goal is to increase the number of pages I read. I don’t know why, it just is. So, eventually, I grew tired of A) not being able to remember what I’d already read, and B) missing out on hundreds–if not thousands–of pages counted each year because I wasn’t including everything I read on Goodreads.

Maybe someone will look at my Goodreads shelves and scoff because I’ve included a single issue of a comic, or a short story, but it works for me to do things that way. The big turning point for me was when I realized that I don’t always like to read an entire collection of short stories in one go, and I don’t want a single volume sitting on my “currently reading” shelf for a decade while I read a piece every few months. (Things like the Grimm brothers fairy tales, or Poe’s complete works, or Bradbury’s complete short stories fall into that category for me.) I was also sick of my yearly page count not being a true reflection of the number of pages I’d read. This was particularly frustrating when I was also reading a lot of fanfic, so not only was I missing out on counting those (which could be quite long), I was also denying myself the inclusion of things that were on Goodreads, if only I would add them.

So, I decided to stop caring what anyone else thought about what I added to my shelves. It is, after all, my account, to use in whatever way works best for me. I joined Goodreads to keep track of every possible thing I read, and I became a Goodreads Librarian to help add things that weren’t already on there (which seemed a particular problem with self-published books for a while, and I read a lot of those back then). So what if someone else laughs because I added “The Raven” as something I’ve read? I read it, so on the “read” shelf it goes.

The point of me writing this is mostly just to say this: If you use Goodreads, and you feel weird about adding shorter things, think about why. Is it because you really don’t care about adding it, or because you’re worried about what someone else will think? Remember that your Goodreads (or whatever book/reading tracking thing you use, if you use something else) is there for you, and it’s up to you how you use it. If you don’t like adding short works, that’s totally fine. But don’t shy away from it because you think someone else will think it’s weird or silly.

I still don’t actually count every single thing I read, but I count almost everything. I prefer doing it this way because it helps me remember what I’ve read and what I thought of it, as well as giving me a more accurate picture of how many pages I read in a year.

As far as the yearly Goodreads challenge is concerned, no matter what my goal is, I still don’t consider it finished until I’ve read that many longer pieces. For example, if my goal was to read 10 books, and I finished it in January by reading 5 novels, 3 collections of poetry, 1 comic, and 1 short story, I wouldn’t actually consider it “complete” by my standards until I’d read 2 more longer things, whether they were novels, novellas, plays, poetry collections, etc.

I’m not going to try to tell anyone how they should use Goodreads, or that they should change what they’re doing. If it’s working for you, and you’re happy with it, that’s all that matters. I just wanted to share this because I think that maybe, if I’d known other people who did add everything a few years ago, I would have started doing it much sooner, and possibly not had as much senseless guilt for so long.


How do you use Goodreads?

Do you also add everything you read, regardless of length/genre/etc., or are you more selective?

New Year’s Resolution Book Tag

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A few of my resolutions that aren’t e-books

I saw this tag on Jenn–Thrice Read’s blog (she got it from The Restless Reader) and I decided I had to do it. Why? Because doing book tags that interest me is one of my New Year’s Resolutions, and this seems like the perfect place to start. I’m trying to use only books I already own for these prompts, so I’m crossing my fingers and hoping to get to them all, but I’ll be happy if I get through most of them.

 

 

 

 

An author you’d like to read (that you’ve never read before)

Joyce Carol Oates. I know, I know, I should have read something of hers before now. Hopefully soon, since I found Black Dahlia & White Rose at a discount store recently.

A book you’d like to read

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. How I’ve managed to not read it yet is a mystery because I loved the Grisha trilogy. (It’s really not a mystery. It was reading slumps. Evil, horrible reading slumps.)

A book you’d like to re-read

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. (Actually, I want to re-read the entire “trilogy.”)

A book you’ve had for ages and want to read

Hahahaha! So many! I’m going to go with…The Little Friend by Donna Tartt. I bought this book when it came out in paperback over ten years ago. And I still haven’t read it.

A big book you’d like to read

I want to tackle Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy this year. I’ve wanted to read it since jr. high, and I finally have the edition I wanted, so I think it’s time.

An author you’ve previously read and want to read more of

Jane Austen. I’ve only read Pride & Prejudice and I wasn’t a big fan. But, my perspective has changed, so I’d like to give her books another chance.

A book you got for Christmas and would like to read

We don’t celebrate Christmas, but around that time my husband bought me The Complete Stories of Flannery O’Connor and I’m dying to read it. It’s so pretty and has been on my wishlist for a couple of years now. Flannery O’Connor will also be a new-to-me author.

A series you want to read (start and finish)

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. I have Cinder, but I’ve been putting off reading this series until I knew I could afford to buy the rest of them as soon as I start Cinder. I’m 99% sure I’m going to love them.

A series you want to finish (that you’ve already started)

The Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger. I read the first two books a few years ago, fell in love, but couldn’t get my hands on the rest for a long time. Now I finally own them all and can’t wait to read them.

Do you set reading goals? If so, how many books do you want to read in 2017?

Usually, yes. However, I realized that for two years in a row I struggled to read. I kept putting so much pressure on myself to read more, read outside my comfort zone, review more, etc., and I’ve basically been in a giant slump for two years. This year my goal is 12 books. More than that is wonderful, but I just want reading to be fun again.

 

 

Bloopers from my attempts to get that one almost-ok picture, featuring my husband’s cat

 

Do you set reading resolutions? If you do, tell me about yours for 2017!

If you’ve read some of these, which one do you think I should read first?