I’m having a hard time believing it’s already August. There’s less than a month until I’m back at work!! I saw an image on Instagram this morning by @letterfolk with a quote that said:
“How is it already August…
Tomorrow is basically September.
It’s already 2019.
Happy New Year.”
That pretty much sums up how I’m feeling. Time flies! I had a fantastic reading month in July, and I’m hoping to do the same this month, before work gets going again and I start my Master’s.
So, without further ado, here’s my August TBR.
A Court of Mist and Fury – Sarah J. Maas How They Met – David Levithan A Man Called Ove – Fredrik Backman The Sky is Everywhere – Jandy Nelson The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo – Amy Schumer Fierce Kingdom – Gin Phillips The Boat People – Sharon Bala Precious Cargo – Craig Davidson Tarzan of the Apes – Edgar Rice Burroughs A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini Hollow City – Ransom Riggs (I accidentally put Library of Souls, book 3, in the photo, but I haven’t read book 2 yet) Lion – Saroo Brierley P.S. I Still Love You – Jenny Han The Fledgling – Jane Langton (The Hall Family Chronicles #4) The Fragile Flag – Jane Langton (The Hall Family Chronicles #5) The Time Bike – Jane Langton (The Hall Family Chronicles #6) A Dance with Dragons – George R. R. Martin
How I chose
I decided to go for a huge stack so that I could mood read from it this month. Mood reading worked really well for me last month, even though I didn’t officially choose a TBR. I also wanted to diversify my list a bit more and read some Canadian Literature (CanLit).
Where I’m at, and what I’m looking forward to!
I started reading The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo on the last day of July, and I’m almost done. Andrew and I are heading to Seattle to see the Jays-Mariners series today, so I don’t know how much reading I’ll get done, but we’ll see!
I think I’m most excited to read the CanLit (The Boat People, Precious Cargo) and the diverse reads (A Thousand Splendid Suns, Lion) on this list.
My classic choice for the month
Since March, I’ve attempted to read one classic per month. This month I’ve chosen Tarzan of the Apes! Should be fun!
Even though it’s a purposely big TBR for mood reading…
I still think I have a pretty good chance of finishing these because I’m still off work for summer!
Time to finish my packing and choose my weekend book list!
This past weekend, I participated in the 24in48 Readathon. I posted about what the readathon is and how I was heading into it on Friday, before it started. If you’re interested in more details about the readathon, you can check out that post.
Here’s a little reminder of my TBR stack for the weekend.
I never intended to read all of them, because that would have been impossible, but I wanted to have a lot to choose from so I could mood read as I went.
So, how did it go?!
This is a wrap-up post, so of course it’s all about how the weekend went. Obviously, the overarching goal of the readathon is to read 24 out of 48 hours. Spoiler alert, I didn’t read for that long. But it was still an awesome weekend! So let’s get into it.
Duration and Quantity
In total from Friday at 9pm to Sunday at 9pm, I read for 17 hours and 27 minutes! During that time, I read 3.5 books. Here’s my stack, basking in this morning’s sun:
I was pretty happy with how long I managed to spend reading. I did the 24in48 Readathon for the first time in January, and I read for 13 hours. So I bested that time by 4.5 hours this go around!
A breakdown of the order of operations
I started the 24in48 weekend off by finishing the last 3/4 of Austen’s Northanger Abbey. I was only intending to read a chapter at a time, as I tend to do with classics, but I really got into it about halfway through and just kept going. I loved it, and there will be a review up soon!
Then I found myself inspired by a newfound Bookstagram friend and fellow ‘thonner, Kasturi (@bruadarachreads) to start Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, which serendipitously also happened to be in his TBR stack. I finished that one on Saturday night and wanted something a bit lighter. So, I started with the children’s series and began The Diamond in the Window.
After finishing the children’s book on Sunday morning, I found myself really wanting to finish the Rebel of the Sands series, so I grabbed Hero at the Fall from my stack. I ended the ‘thon at 9pm Sunday having read almost exactly half of it.
Things that weren’t so great
I’ll start with these, so I can end the post on a more positive note.
First, I felt super sick on Sunday, so that was probably the low point of the readathon for me. It was also really hot in the apartment, so I was pretty uncomfortable all around. I was literally sitting on my chair on top of a towel, soaking through my clothes and feeling crappy. It made it hard to focus on reading, and I ended up watching a lot of rugby instead.
Also, I didn’t meet the 24-hour target. I hadn’t really been expecting to anyway, but I’m a super competitive person. I also didn’t win any door prizes, sad face. Again, not unexpected.
Finally, the 7s Rugby World Cup was a good and a bad thing. Going into this weekend, I was incredibly excited to have the weekend absolutely full of two of my most favourite things: reading and rugby. But looking back, I think I would have preferred having the two on separate weekends. I stopped reading completely to watch each of Canada’s games, which was fine and in the plan.
However, I had all the other games on in the background, and it meant that I wasn’t entirely focused on either rugby or reading. I think I would have finished more books if I hadn’t been watching rugby in the background, because I would have read faster. Oh well, it is what it is! I have no control over scheduling for either of these events, obviously. And I still really enjoyed both watching hours and hours of amazing rugby and reading for hours and hours. Which brings me to the great stuff!
Things that were awesome
First, I read 3.5 books in a weekend! In the summer, I generally try to read a book a day (unless I’ve got events or things going on) because I have so much free time. So to read almost double that was a great accomplishment for me.
I also got to make connections with a couple of awesome people through the readathon, Kaitlin (@bookedandready) and Kasturi (who I mentioned above). I have been virtual friends with Kaitlin through Bookstagram for a while now, and I discovered that she was also doing the readathon. Kasturi found me somehow on Bookstagram shortly before the ‘thon, and we decided to share in the experience together as well, with Kaitlin! It was totally organic and fantastic. We supported each other throughout the weekend, tagging each other in posts and stories, and generally motivating each other to keep going.
Last, I had a serendipitous reading moment. I posted about it on Bookstagram already, but it needs to be shared here too! On Saturday night, I finished Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, and it was past my bedtime, but I really wanted to start the first few pages of a new book anyway. As I outlined above, I started The Diamond in the Window. As it turns out, both authors chose a Ralph Waldo Emerson poem for their epigraphs.
Also, Emerson features heavily in both books! How cool is that? I love book magic like this.
So that’s a wrap on 24in48 for 2018!
The next 24in48 Readathon is scheduled for January 26-27, 2019. I can’t wait!
The 24in48 Readathon is a competition/challenge that occurs twice a year. It started in 2015, but I heard about it for the first time back in January, which is when I participated for the first time.
How does 24in28 work?
The basic premise is a challenge to read for a full 24 hours out of a 48-hour period. Officially, the readathon starts at 12:00 AM on Saturday, and ends at 11:59 pm on Sunday, EST. For me, that means official time starts at 9:00 PM on Friday, and ends at 8:59 PM on Sunday, as I’m on PST.
You can track your reading however you want, usually with a timer on your phone or another type of timing device. There’s no way for the hosts of the readathon to really check if you actually read the whole 24 hours, but us bibliophiles tend to be pretty honest characters, in my humble, rose-coloured glasses opinion.
That’s a question many people have asked me, including my husband and friends.
My main answer is because it’s fun! I love an excuse to read all weekend long without feeling guilty for not doing anything else. Although I will be doing other things – I’ve got plans to meet a friend who’s in Vancouver for a visit with her baby, and the hubs and I have a standing weekend pitch & putt date. It’s good to take breaks and move your body!
The reason you need to time yourself (other than the excitement of a challenge, of course) is that if you manage to read for a full 24 hours, you’re eligible for prizes! Us bibliophiles also really love giveaways, including books, bookish merch, and credits to book stores. They also do photo challenges using the hashtag #24in48, which is super fun and helps you to stay engaged with the readathon all weekend long.
Another thing that I find helps me stay engaged with the readathon is to set a TBR. I choose a huge one, just like I do for my monthly TBRS. This helps me stay motivated, and it also gives me a lot of options to mood read from in the event that I get bored or that I am not enjoying a particular book. I do not expect to finish all these books.
So, without further ado, here’s my July 2018 24in24 Readathon TBR!
A photo, first:
Here’s the list:
Northanger Abbey – Jane Austen
The Hall Family Chronicles, Books 1-6 (entire series) – Jane Langton
The Diamond in the Window
The Swing in the Summerhouse
The Astonishing Stereoscope
The Fragile Flag
The Time Bike
Hero at the Fall – Alwyn Hamilton
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs
P.S. I Still Love You – Jenny Han
A Court of Mist and Fury – Stephanie J. Maas
A Dance With Dragons – George R. R. Martin
Last, I’m going to give you a few explanations as to the choices I made in building this stack, as I chose it with a lot of intention and purpose.
My Classics Challenge
This was inspired by Whitney of The Unread Shelf Project 2018. She’s been the inspiration for a lot of my reading goals this year, and you’ll see another aspect of that later in this post.
Whitney suggested as a challenge during one month this year (March I think?) to choose a book that’s been on your unread shelf for a really long time with the target of finishing it by the end of the month, and to give it away if you don’t. So, I’ve been trying do this with my classics, because historically I struggle to read them. My goal is to read one per month, and if I don’t finish, I have to give it away. I set a page per day target to help keep me on track. This month’s classic is Northanger Abbey, which I’m already about 1/3 of the way through. I decided to add it to my TBR for the readathon to motivate me to finish it.
The Unread Shelf Project July Challenge: Finish That Series
Something that has helped me determine my TBR for July, and for the 24in28 readathon, is Whitney’s challenge for July, “Finish That Series.” I have a lot of unfinished series. I read 5 books that were part of series on my vacation to Calgary, and now I’ve added a bunch more to this TBR.
I read Traitor to the Throne (review upcoming) in Calgary, and this weekend I hope to finish the trilogy with Hero at the Fall. I’ve been majorly putting off finishing Game of Thrones, so that’s on there too. I read A Court of Thorns and Roses earlier this year and didn’t think it was that amazing, but I’ve heard the series gets way better as you go, so I picked A Court of Mist and Fury too.
I read To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before last summer (incidentally, on my vacation to Calgary) and bought the sequel quite soon after but never got around to it. Now is the time! A bit of fluff as a spacer between some of my heavier choices.
I chose Miss Peregrine’s because I own the series but haven’t started it. Similarly, I chose The Hall Family Chronicles because I read at least the first two books when I was 13 or 14, and then never finished the series, and that cannot stand!
That’s it for now!
Let me know if you’re participating in the readathon in the comments. Make sure you sign up at the website I linked above to make sure you’re eligible for prizes! I’d love to hear what you’re planning to read!
I am really bad at keeping track of when sequels or “next-in-series” books are coming out. So when I got back into the swing of things on Bookstagram and realized that Legendary had come out over a month ago, I smacked myself. And then I promptly went out to get it, once I’d realized that I actually could, within the bounds of my book-buying ban.
As per my husband’s suggestion, I’m trying very hard to only bring one book into our home for every five that I read. I started tracking in June. So, when I realized Legendary was out, I checked my list and discovered that I had read enough books to buy it! Easy decision. I liked Caraval, but I wasn’t over the moon about it. But everyone who felt the same way about it as I did were seriously loving on Legendary, so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.
I didn’t regret it! But let’s not get to that until I cover the usual bases of my reviews.
Here’s the synopsis of the book, pulled from Amazon:
“A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.
After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister Scarlett from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.
The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more―and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets…including her sister’s. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice. But now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about―maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever.
Welcome, welcome to Caraval… the games have only just begun.”
The cover of Legendary is just as gorgeous as the first book in the series:
I was going to be drawn to this book regardless of the cover because it’s a sequel, but it’s nice that it’s super pretty!
Finally, here’s my review of Legendary!
When I reviewed Caraval, I said that the writing felt scattered, and that I didn’t really like the main character, Scarlett, much, because I found her really over-dramatic.
The most major difference in the writing style of Legendary is the narrative perspective. This time, the story centres around a new narrator, Scarlett’s sister Donatella (Tella)! Given that she is an entirely different person, I liked her personality a lot more than Scarlett’s. This made the book way more enjoyable to read.
Second, I think that the “scattered” feeling I talked about for Caraval is gone for Legendary. Perhaps that can be chalked up to writing experience? As far as I know, Caraval was Garber’s first novel.
In addition to being a major improvement on Caraval, Legendary itself is just a really good book. Just like its predecessor, the plot is exciting and always keeps you guessing. The magic of this series is so unique and interesting, and the dangers get even more real in this second instalment. I read it in a single day, and loved every page.
Other Awesome Stuff
I think I said this about Caraval too, but the design of this book, inside and out, is just gorgeous. There are section dividers for each day of Caraval (I don’t think that’s too much of a spoiler), and the chapter dividers are also beautiful. I’ve already mentioned how much I love the cover. I think what steals the show though, is the map at the beginning of the book! It’s absolutely beautiful!
Overall, 5/5 stars!
I highly recommend this magical tale of love, sacrifice, and mystery.
I am so excited to have the chance to read these two paperback ARCs of Crossroads and the Himalayan Crystals (book one of the trilogy) and Crossroads and the Dominion of Four (book two of the trilogy) in exchange for honest reviews. These were my sixth and seventh ARCs, and I’m hoping my eighth will be the third and last book in the series! To be clear, my opinions are all my own.
Book One: Crossroads and the Himalayan Crystals
Here’s the cover of the book! I love the colour.
Here’s the synopsis of the book, pulled from Amazon:
“An ordinary school day in Middlefield turns into a mystical tale filled with endless adventures of magic, fairies, flying horses, and danger. A modern-day saga of four young teens who find themselves trapped in another realm-“The Otherworld”-where they must abide by an evil druid’s bidding or risk endangering the lives of their loved ones and the magical beings they have befriended.”
And here’s my review of Crossroads and the Himalayan Crystals!
The Crossroads series has a fun premise, with multiple realms and a quartet of protagonists who get hurled into a new realm by their biology teacher.
I enjoyed the characters and the setting, both of which were unique and interesting. I especially loved the descriptions of all the different places the main characters went in the Otherworld. They were so cool and imaginative! The book was easy to read, and the plot moved at a good pace.
I think the biggest selling point of this book is how unique the magic is. I read a fair amount of fantasy. This series has druids and fairies, but I find the qualities of magic and the variety of powers and how to access them really creative. Not going to give too much away, but all the characters have very different powers. Plus, they tend to discover new ones as they go along, which makes the story that much more interesting!
What I found difficult with this first instalment of the series was that there was a lot of description and dialogue that I found unnecessary. I found myself thinking, “I totally could have imagined that in my head, it didn’t need to be told to me” fairly often, to the point where it got a bit annoying. I think this book and Graham’s future writing would benefit from a bit more leaving things to be crafted by the readers’ minds.
That being said, I did enjoy this book and I think that for a younger audience, the extra description could be helpful. And I did enjoy the story!
Overall, 3/5 stars!
I would definitely recommend this book to younger readers, in the realm of the 8-12 category, and for younger teens.
Book Two: Crossroads and the Dominion of Four
Here’s the cover of the second book!
Here’s the synopsis of the book, pulled from Amazon:
“At first glance, Jake, Shayna, Seneca, and Conner seem like average teens. Maybe even like some kids you know. But theyre special. They know that magic, spells, and prophecies are real. In Crossroads and the Dominion of Four, author C. Toni Graham continues the tale introduced in Crossroads and the Himalayan Crystals. The teens have accepted their fate as defenders of the Otherworld. The realms mythical beings have chosen sides in a deadly magical war, but its not always clear to whom they pledge their allegiance. Jake, Shayna, Conner and Seneca must use their new magical abilities to battle treacherous creatures and face life-altering crossroads. Only a powerful druid and her loyal minions stand in their way to fulfilling their destiny of becoming the prophesized Dominion of Four.
The Crossroads series brings together creatures and humans as they fight for the common goal of returning harmony to the Otherworld and rid the realm of evil forever. Teen readers and fans of action-packed fantasy genres will enjoy this thrilling saga.”
And here’s my review of Crossroads and the Dominion of Four!
I enjoyed this book much more than the first. I found that the description issue was better than in the first book. Also, the plot, setting, and characters stayed fun and intriguing. I also found that the characters developed a lot more in this book. That’s something that’s important to me in general as a reader.
Again, I really loved the unique magic in this book like I did in the first one. It got even better in this book, but I really don’t want to give it away! The book also uses a really fun plot device toward the middle of the book which totally threw me off. Once I’d figured it out I really liked it, though! Totally adds to my opinion of the awesome creativity in the writing!
Fair warning, this book ends on a bit more of a cliffhanger than the first book did. So, be ready to want the third and final book right away like I do!
Overall, 4/5 stars!
I would definitely also recommend this book to younger readers, even more highly than the first. Again, I’d say in the realm of the 8-12 category, and for younger teens.
Finally, if you’re an author looking for a review for your new work…
I would love to write one for you! Seeing a review request in my inbox is so exciting!
In June, I finally started coming out of the most epic slump I think I’ve ever had. I set myself a huge and hopeful TBR for June, and didn’t come close to reading everything on it. I ended up reading 5 books. However, it was much better than May, in which I read one adult novel, one children’s book, and three graphic novels. And I’ve now gotten myself past the halfway mark of my 2018 Goodreads Challenge of 110 books. As of June 30, I was at 62 books.
So, here it is, my June Wrap-Up!
I Am Malala – Malala Yousafzai ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Crossroads and the Dominion of Four – C. Toni Graham ⭐⭐⭐⭐
In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It – Lauren Graham ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Ersatz Elevator – Lemony Snicket ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut ⭐⭐⭐⭐
A total of five books, meaning I’m finally back on the upswing!
Did I Meet My TBR Expectations?
I once again didn’t read everything I had planned to. I didn’t get around to posting a June TBR here on the blog, but I did post a photo of it on Bookstagram, so here it is:
I put 12 books on my TBR and ended up reading 6 of them, so it was pretty good! Apparently I finished the first Crossroads book early in June and not in May as I previously thought. I’m still enjoying setting a huge TBR to see if I can meet a big goal, and to have lots of choices to mood read from.
Notable Reads This Month
Overall, my favourite book of this month was I Am Malala. It was so inspiring and taught me a lot about the culture, history, and geography of places I didn’t really know much about.
This month was pretty great in terms of ratings, too!
Now that June is over, it’s now my teacher summer, so I plan to spend lots of time blogging and even more time reading! See you soon, and
I am so excited to have the chance to read this Kindle eARC (Electronic Advance Reader Copy) of Unwilling Key by Sarah Beth Moore in exchange for an honest review. This is my fifth ARC. It’s also the sequel to Broken Moon, which I reviewed last year. To be clear, my opinions are all my own.
Here’s the synopsis of the book, pulled from Amazon:
Naiya Legerdemain has successfully escaped the City and saved her adoptive family. Now hiding in the underground rebel stronghold, Athens, she finds herself at loose ends – both unable to leave and unable to fulfill the mission her father left her before he died.
In place of her mission, she is expected to play her role as the resistance’s figurehead, learn to fight, train her powers and discover the true purpose of her family’s ancient line. And frankly, she couldn’t be less interested.
Even worse, she’s begun seeing things. Strange, shadowy apparitions that threaten to overthrow her already questionable sanity. The reappearance of her old enemy, the Home Guard, along with a growing unease about what Athens is and what it stands for, further undermine her grip on reality. Combined with the knowledge that human souls are fast running out, life has become very unpleasant indeed.
At her side is Tate, the brainiac beauty whom she loves to hate (and hates to love), her sweet little brother/monster Pip, the giant hulking hunter, Achilles, and the boy she’s not supposed to love: Enoch. Of course, with the addition of a new member of their party – handsome Aidan – things have gotten slightly more interesting.
Will Naiya be able to discern good from evil, friend from foe, in this newest installment of the Broken Moon series? Will she get the guy and win the day? Most importantly, will she do it all without freaking the hell out? Well, only time will tell.
The cover of the first book in the series, Broken Moon, looks like this:
And the cover of Unwilling Key is just as gorgeous!
We all know by now how much I appreciate lovely covers.
Finally, here’s my review of Unwilling Key!
To start, I loved Unwilling Key! Broken Moon‘s magical dystopian world hooked me from the start, and this continues in Unwilling Key. I love the descriptive language Sarah Beth Moore uses to depict these intricate, if battered, settings. Also, one of my favourite aspects of the setting of Unwilling Key is its dystopia – it is a world without maps, with little tether to what it once was. This episode in the series begins to reveal the geographical locations of some of the cities as places that really exist in our world today. These connections are intriguing and sometimes funny, as are the names citizens of the new cities choose for their homes, without the knowledge of what they had been before.
Even with a few more grounding details, things get even more mysterious and interesting in Unwilling Key, constantly adding questions to a never-ending list of things you want to understand, while slowly unraveling the answers through a plot that is both action and character-driven.
Other Awesome Stuff
Characters I loved in Broken Moon remain loveable, while this instalment also introduce new characters who immediately catch my attention and reel me in. Their interactions are authentic and dynamic. Also, the political conflict gets more elaborate and complicated as new cities and worlds come into play. But it remains entirely believable, especially given our world’s contemporary political climate.
Sarah Beth Moore also crafts a very strong female lead character. I think that’s one of the things I like best. This isn’t your average, run-of-the-mill “downtrodden female character discovers she has powers and immediately is able to use them to save the world” story. Naiya, the main character, has an amazing monologue. In it, she says just that, in better words (but I’ll refrain from spoiling it for you). Instead, she faces real struggle in harnessing her powers and left me feeling that she was much more deserving than most in the end.
Unwilling Key is an exciting, action-packed read and I enjoyed it from cover to cover!
Overall, 5/5 stars!
I highly recommend this dystopian sci-fi adventure story of love, resilience, and determination.
Finally, if you’re an author looking for a review for your new work…
I would love to write one for you! Seeing a review request in my inbox is so exciting! In fact, I’ve got another ARC in my inbox right now! Stay tuned for a review of that in the near future.
You need to get copies of Broken Moon and Unwilling Key right away!!
Since posting about The Three-Body Problem on my Bookstagram, I’ve discovered that it’s pretty hyped.
However, before that, when my book club, #thebreakfastbookclub, chose it as our April book, I’d never heard of it.
A Little Background on The Three-Body Problem
This book is science fiction and was originally written in Chinese. Kevin Liu translated the edition I read. It is the first in a trilogy. It’s called The Remembrance of Earth’s Past, and is wildly popular in China.
Here’s the cover:
And here is the synopsis of The Three-Body Problem from Amazon:
“The Three-Body Problem is the first chance for English-speaking readers to experience this multiple award winning phenomenon from China’s most beloved science fiction author, Liu Cixin.
Set against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion. The result is a science fiction masterpiece of enormous scope and vision.”
Finally, here’s my review of The Three-Body Problem!
This was a tough one for me. I didn’t enjoy it very much, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t interesting.
I liked that the story was expansive, spanning the lifetime of a couple of characters and incorporating many other characters’ stories along the way. Also, the story’s present-day time was a bit more futuristic than real-life 2018, which I found enjoyable.
The book also really made me think. The possibility of intelligent life living somewhere other than Earth is an existential one that is very absorbing.
Over My Head, in More Ways Than One
First, I didn’t understand a lot of the math and science in the book. The “Three-Body Problem” is a math problem that I understood the concept of. However, there was a lot of other science and math in the book. The text does explain it, just not in a way that made sense to me. And that made it hard to read.
Second, I have very little understanding of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, which was the historical time-period around which much of the story was based. I could definitely have done some research to make this more relevant to me. However, I was already having a hard enough time reading the book because of the math and science that I didn’t want to put more effort into it.
Finally, I found the names of the characters, which were obviously all Chinese, to be very difficult to keep straight. This is a me problem, not a book problem, obviously. But it was just another thing that made this book a frustrating reading experience for me.
Overall, 2/5 stars for The Three-Body Problem.
I normally love sci-fi, but this was way too much. It is a really intriguing concept, but it fell short for me. I’d recommend it to people with a strong understanding of science and math, or a strong understanding of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Or both. Otherwise, I’d skip it.
I missed my March reading target, even though I was on vacation from work for two weeks.
No March Wrap-Up yet, on Bookstagram, or here.
I haven’t even chosen an April TBR, and it’s the 17th. Of April.
The only 2 books I’ve finished so far this month I started in March. I’ve read Furiously Happy, and The Wide Window.
I’ve also only posted 4 times on Bookstagram this month, and I normally post once daily.
What’s going on?
It’s here, the dreaded slump everyone on Bookstagram lives in fear of and talks about constantly.
A slump is different for everyone, but generally it means we’re reading and posting on Bookstagram far less often than usual. Generally, this makes the person experiencing the slump feel bad.
Unpopular Opinion: It’s fine.
Here’s an opinion that some people might not agree with: WE DO NOT NEED TO APOLOGIZE FOR SLUMPS. I see so many people posting in their stories about how they’re sorry they’re not posting as often as usual or how they’re sorry they haven’t posted in a while…
I literally don’t care. At all. In fact, you’re probably doing me a favor by not posting as often, because it’s less that I feel obligated to look at (that’s probably a story for an entirely other post).
But seriously. Don’t apologize for doing you. I certainly won’t be. This is definitely not an apology post. It’s an exploration of whim and of understanding what makes me tick and who I am as a person, reader, and Bookstagrammer. I wish I were reading more now because I love to read, not because I feel bad for not “providing a service to my followers.”
I still don’t feel that great about it.
But that’s because I have my own sets of expectations about how much I read and how much I engage with the Bookstagram world, and I’m not meeting them now.
My reading target for 2018 is 110 books. Thankfully, through participating in a few readathons in January and February, I was able to get ahead. I’m now at 47 books for the year, which means I’m almost halfway to my target while we’re only about a quarter and a bit through the year.
But if my slump were to continue for another couple of months, I’d start to worry. I need to work on my expectations of myself, I know, but at least I have some leeway at the moment.
Suspicions About What Started the Slump
As the title of this post suggests, I’ve got a lot of ideas about potential causes of this slump.
The first is SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder. I wrote a post about this over on my mental health blog. I get really down in the Winter and am less productive in general. Also, I sleep more, which cuts down on my reading time. We’ve had an even rainier and greyer Winter here in Vancouver than usual, and it’s not been good for my motivation and reading habits.
The second reason is my vacation to Cuba. It was great for my reading, because we spent most of our days on the beach. However, when I got back I was a bit sick and super exhausted. I tend to get what I call “vacation hangovers” when I have to go back to my routines after being away, especially on trips that are really relaxing. My vacation hangover made me literally want to do nothing but sit on my armchair staring at my phone games.
I’m reading a book I’m not really enjoying, The Three-Body Problem.
It was the #thebreakfastbookclub pick for March, and I still haven’t finished it. I find that reading a book I’m not that into pretty much always puts me into a slump. However, I have serious reading FOMO and I’ve almost never DNFed a book in my life, so I have to keep going. Thankfully, I should finish it in the next couple of days, and then I’m going to pick my next book really carefully.
This is also kind of to do with Cuba. It was also great for my Instagram addiction, because there was very little wi-fi and what we could get cost money and was incredibly slow. So it was nice to not have to worry about posting or interacting on Bookstagram, but when I got back I felt like I didn’t feel like doing it anymore.
How I’m Dealing With It
I find the best way to deal with a slump is to just ride it out. If I’m trying to force myself to read I’m not going to enjoy it. Likewise, if I’m uninspired about posting on Bookstagram, my posts aren’t going to be as successful as I want them to be.
When I notice that I’m not really enjoying a book, I do my best to choose my next read carefully, so that I know it’s something I’ll really love. I’ll choose a book by an author I already like, or one that’s super hyped and that I’m really excited to read.
I also find that making to-do lists and journaling helps me get my motivation back.
Finally, I think sometimes it’s just important to do what your body is asking for. On top of having a vacation hangover, I’m also during the heaviest training weeks for my half marathon. This is physically exhausting (and rewarding). It’s in less than three weeks! So if my body wants to sleep more and read less, that’s what I’m letting it do. For now, anyway!
Hope to see you (virtually at least) soon!
Let me know how you deal with slumps in the comments!
Disclaimer: I received this book as a generous gift from the author herself, Tehmina Khan, in exchange for an honest review. This gift in no way influences my opinion or review.
Things She Could Never Have by Tehmina Khan is a collection of short stories.
It came into my life at the perfect time. I’m starting to think more critically about the types of books I have on my shelves. This is especially in terms of diversity. The founder of @theunreadshelf project on Bookstagram set a February challenge of reading and talking about more diverse books. When this happened, I had just received Things She Could Never Have for review.
Here’s the beautiful cover of this book:
I love how creative it is!
And here is the synopsis of Things She Could Never Have from Amazon:
“Accomplished, sensitive, and often disturbing, these stories take us into the lives of modern Pakistanis?privileged and poor, gay, trans, and straight, men and women, in Karachi and Toronto. “Whisperings of the Devil” takes us into the mind of a mistreated maidservant’s boy who gets seduced into the role of a suicide bomber. In “To Allah We Pray,” two privileged and educated young men, one of them home from Toronto, gallivant through the streets of Karachi, finally walking into a doomed mosque.
“Things She Could Never Have” is a love story about two young trans women living in Karachi. “Born on the First of July” opens the door into the home of a Toronto girl who has left to join ISIS and the devastated family she leaves behind. “The First” will astonish many readers by its depiction of sexual encounters of young college girls in Pakistan. These and other stories link us into the complexities of a sometimes troubled and often misrepresented Muslim society.”
Finally, here’s my review of Things She Could Never Have!
Traditionally, I haven’t been a fan of short stories. Normally this is because I find they make me angry. My whole life, I’ve battled with my own preconceptions that literature shouldn’t make you angry. I am a person who likes the plot of stories to be tightly tied in a bow at the end, à la “and they both lived happily ever after.” Normally, I find that short stories purposely subvert that narrative trope, and I don’t usually enjoy it. This opinion has not changed since reading Things. However, Tehmina Khan’s stories made me angry, sad, happy, and thoughtful, and frustrated, and I LOVED IT.
These stories are well-curated windows into worlds I have very little knowledge or understanding of. They are each about modern Pakistanis. They are set both in Karachi and Toronto. The characters encounter difficulties I have never had to even imagine, and they do it with grace and resilience. The language is poetic and illuminating. It opened my eyes to whole other perspectives and experiences. It was magical.
Other awesome stuff:
Some of the stories’ plots connect. I LOVE it when short story collections do this. In this case, it’s never overt. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but I love the delicate way in which some of the narratives end up being about the same characters, in small but important ways.
Overall, 4.5/5 stars.
Some of the phrasing felt a little confusing at times. I also wanted a bit more depth in some of the stories. However, those are small things. Overall, I LOVED these incredibly heartfelt, shocking, and heartbreaking stories of love, life, and loss. It is a collection full of diverse stories. Racially, sexually, religiously, in terms of class and gender, and more. It left me wanting so much more. Plus, the author is a Canadian female POC, and she is originally from Karachi, Pakistan. I highly recommend reading this book!