Discussion: Waiting to Read a Series

So it has come to my attention over the course of the past year that there are people who actively avoid reading unfinished series.

This is something that would never have even occurred to me. Possibly in part because I got hooked on the Animorphs series in the 4th grade, and the author didn’t finish it until I was in sixth, so I guess I’m just used to waiting. I also grew up waiting on Harry Potter, so there’s that too.

But mostly I don’t even bother to find out if a book is even a part of a series before I start reading. I pretty much assume anything is either a stand-alone or a part of a never-ending-mega-series-that-I-will-never-finish until told otherwise. Finding out how many books are in a series is so far removed from how I pick books that I would never have even considered that.

So I was a little shocked the first time I heard this. Not because I was appalled or anything, just because I’d never thought of it and it’s kind of weird to me. But over the last year I’ve just come to accept that there are people out there who won’t read a book unless they know the whole series is available to them.

And as I sit here, twiddling my thumbs and waiting for the conclusion of The Kingkiller Chronicles which may never come, I have to say, It kind of makes sense. But, at the same time, it kind of makes me feel icky all over. So, like I do, I thought I’d make a pros and cons list. Continue reading

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How to Keep Your TBR Under 100

The book blogger’s number one problem? Keeping that TBR down! I am here to offer you 10 tips and tricks for keeping your TBR under 100 books.

What qualifies me to write this post? you might be asking. Great question! I have been book blogging for about a year and a half now and my TBR STILL has only 95 books in it. Which makes me the resident expert on keeping your TBR from exploding.

So here we go!

1. Read books that are actually on your TBR.

I know, I know! It sounds impossible! But if I can do it, you can do it. Continue reading

Books: Art or Entertainment?

In my opinion, fiction authors have one of two intentions when they write a book.

  1. To entertain
  2. To create art for art’s sake

Now, obviously, most authors include a little of both. To me it’s kind of like a continuum with super artsy books like The Color Purple or The Goldfinch on one side, books like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies or The Princess Diaries on the other side, and the vast majority of books falling somewhere in the middle.

book continuum

Interestingly, I think this same idea applies to most forms of art, especially movies and music. Continue reading

Things I Would Love to See More of in YA

I’ve been talking a lot this summer about how I get kind of burnt out on Young Adult books. While I think some of this may have to do with no longer being a young adult (what IS this life???), I think it also has a lot to do with how similar YA books can be.

Even when you pick up a very diverse set of YA books, there still seems to be a distinct pattern that they follow. There are certain themes, characterizations, even tropes that you can count on seeing in just about anything, regardless of what the book is about. This annoys me as a reader, because I like variety. But it REALLY annoys me as a mother and educator.

Kids aren’t cookie cutter, and so their books shouldn’t be. So here are some of the things I would personally like to see more of in YA.

(Note that I’m avoiding all discussion of “rep”. Whether LGPTQ, POC, classes, or whatever, that discussion is already raging. This is all other stuff.)

Ugly Main Characters

Or even main characters that are just plain. Why do they all have to be beautiful, or hot, or whatever? Even worse, so many of them think they’re ugly and then discover they’ve been beautiful all along. What are we telling our girls? That they’ll discover they’re beautiful and then learn to love themselves? Heck no! I want to see some ladies loving themselves regardless of their appearance. I’m thinking Jane Eyre style here! Continue reading

Challenge Yourself

I would like to take a moment today to look at TWO thoughts I often see expressed on social media.

THOUGHT 1: I hate when I see parents shaming their kids for reading books that “aren’t challenging enough.” Does every single book have to be a challenge????

First of all, while I completely agree with the sentiment that not every single book needs to be a challenge, as a mom I’m also not big into parent shaming. You don’t know that parent! You don’t know that kid! Maybe that kid DOES read challenging books and the parent is a snob that thinks Warriors is too “kid-y” for her child. Maybe. Or maybe, just possibly, that’s a brilliant kid who is capable of moving on to bigger and awesomer things, but won’t read anything outside of their Magic Tree House comfort zone. YOU DON’T KNOW!

Hem, sorry. Continue reading

Can a Book Really Inspire Change?

It’s the 21st century, and we all know how this little dance goes. Finish book. Feel inspired. Exclaim “MY LIFE IS SO CHANGED!!!!” Then do nothing.

We all have those books, the ones that really made us understand something important, or feel inspired to bring change, or that made us feel like we could make a difference. In the acknowledgements for Children of Blood and Bone Tomi Adeyemi even had a call to action to go do something. And yet, is it just me, or are we not doing anything?

I think that it’s easier to feel inspired than it is to act. Especially because a lot of times a book doesn’t actually tell you what to do. A lot of the social issues that are so important to so many Americans right now just don’t leave us with that many options. Yeah, we can vote, and yeah we can march, but not TODAY. And yeah, we can tweet, but what is that really doing anyway? Maybe a book leaves you feeling inspired that you can do something to change the world. And then maybe you try to go do something and can’t figure out what to do after all. And then a few days go by, then a few weeks, and next thing you know you aren’t so inspired anymore.

So did anything really change? Continue reading

A Broke Girl’s Guide to Bookstagram

I often see posts from book bloggers giving advice on how to grow your bookish Instagram, affectionately known as bookstagram. (You know you’re cool when you have an Instagram full of pictures of BOOKS…) And while I find some helpful tips in these posts, I get frustrated when I see things like “Fake flowers from the craft store make great props and are so cheap!” Um, excuse me? I don’t call ten bucks for a double hydrangea bloom cheap. 

A lot of bookstagrammers and book blogger are high school and college students who don’t have extra money to throw around on luxuries like a light box or an entire series of hardback books. Others of us are working parents who don’t have time to DIY everything in the whole world, or spend hours on bookish photo shoots. And, sadly, I see very little advice that is useful to folks like us.

So, I thought I would offer up some of the practical advice I have figured out while bookstagramming over the past year. Note that I do bookstagram as a hobby, and if you’re interested in gaining thousands of followers and get 600 likes per post, this is probably not going to be that helpful to you. Continue reading