September ’17 TBR + Goals

sept17tbr

If August was the month of rereads, September is going to be the month of new releases, or new purchases! At least for the most part. I do not expect that I will want to burn through all my new books super quickly, especially as I want to get back into the process of spending time recording my thoughts on the books I read. So I will try to intersperse older books that I should have read a long time ago too.

I also want to make sure I’m doing other things this month too, so I’ve spent some time thinking about other goals I have that like to get done this month beyond reading so that I can share them with you, for accountability purposes. ^_^

TBR

I’d be happy if I read just six books this month, especially if the rest of my free time is spent writing and blogging. But today I want to share the books that are at the top of my TBR for this month.

 

  1. Persuasion by Jane Austen (which I wanted to read for #MakeMeRead in August)
  2. Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo (which is a new release by my fav author)
  3. Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas (which is the latest installment in the Throne of Glass series)
  4. The House of the Scorpions by Nancy Farmer (which is technically a reread but it’s been over 10 years since I read it)
  5. Maus II by Art Spiegelman (which is one of my latest purchases that I ended up deciding I wanted to have after reading Maus I last month)

Yes, I’m only listing five books above. But that’s because I want to keep my TBR open for whatever books I may not know I will want to read this month. I have a few other books that have been on my mind for a few months now, but they’re ones I want to save for the right time. Ya know?

Goals

Last month in By the first day of fall… I shared three goals that I wanted to accomplish by September 22nd, the first day of fall. Those goals still stand, and I believe I’m currently making good progress on all of them. But I have some other things I want to do this month that I also thought I’d include here.

#1 Publish one book review per week. I’ve long wished to make Thursday a day reserved for book reviews. I’m really going to start prioritizing these posts after this weekend so that they begin rolling out each Thursday. The reviews will include a summary, notes on the format, my thoughts on the story, a list of similar or somehow related books, and my recommendations for who I think would enjoy reading it. I will include what I gained from a writer’s perspective, as I read because I want to write.

My promise to you and, more importantly, to myself is that I will only review books I think are worthy of the time I will put into them and that I think should be shared. So I hope you will enjoy these posts! I know book reviews are not the most popular posts so I hope that anyone who by chance clicks upon one of them will be enchanted by my spin on them.

#2 Write at least 2k words every day I do not have work. I get about 2-3 days off each week, though, they are not the same days each week. In an effort to begin giving myself some structure, I want to start mandating a word count goal that will whip me into shape for NaNoWriMo. I’ve begun to slack on writing with my efforts to catch up on my Goodreads Reading Challenge, and while that’s been valuable, it’s time to switch gears and gain more balance. So hopefully 2k words is a challenge that is achievable. I want to write these words even if I feel like they’re crap and will never be included in the first draft. It’s just exercise.

#3 Research doctorate programs in which I am interested. I’ve been debating my original idea to apply to doctorate programs for the next academic year. I still would love for that to be my next big move, but I want to make sure I’m choosing the right program that will get me where I want to end up. So I want to investigate my options, even the most wild ones. That way I will have plenty of time to work on my application by December, which I think is the time most schools open for submission.

#4 Apply for five jobs. Yes, I have a job. But it’s not one that was ever meant to be long-term. It’s nice to have so that I’m not doing nothing and have a little money coming in, but it’s not going to help me get rid of my debt. It’s a job that will help me survive, but not thrive. So I want to apply for at least five jobs more befitting my academic background and skill set. I’m not in the biggest hurry to leave my parents house, but if I can get a good job that isn’t here, I’m prepared to take it. I feel like I’m in limbo right now.

#5 Finalize a theme for Betwined Reads. Last week I created a fun collage to use as my blog logo, but I still want to create something completely of my own mind and creativity. I love playing around with the design and theme of the blog, but I’m hoping by the end of September I will have something set to use for the rest of fall all the very least.

End Note

All right! I’m feeling pumped for the month. How about you?! The next posts you can expect to see here are my next installment of my revived writing feature Novel Progress (see first post here) on Wednesday & a book review for Vassa in the Night on Thursday. From then on, we will see!

Thank you for reading!
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August ’17 Wrap Up

I cannot believe how much I accomplished this month, especially as August is typically such a blah month. This month I was able to almost catch up on my Goodreads Reading Challenge by reading a grand total of EIGHT books! I’m not sure the last time I’ve read so much, but I’m still two books behind schedule. I’m less stressed out about it and am confident I’ll be completely caught up by the end of September.

I think I have definitely gotten my reading mojo back. I did a lot of rereading this August, but I think it’s good to reread. You pick up more than you might’ve upon the first read a book, and I think each time I return to an old favorite I’m a slightly different person. So even if I know what’s going to happen in a book, I am thinking about how my thoughts have changed between readings. Fortunately, there hasn’t been any drastic ones this time around!

What I Read

  1. Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen (★★★½)
  2. Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi (★★★)
  3. Maus I by Art Spiegelman (★★★½)
  4. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (reread) (★★★★)
  5. Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling (★★★★★)
  6. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt (reread) (★★★★★)
  7. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (reread)(★★★★★)
  8. Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter (★★★★★)

It’s hard to choose a favorite book that I’ve read this month, as I read somewhat diversely and was more than pleasantly surprised at quite a few of my reads this month. I already knew I loved We Were Liars, and that did not change; I was as supremely moved as I was the first time I read it. I think I have to go with Vassa in the Night. I haven’t had a chance to put my thoughts into words, but it was so strange and so beautiful. I really loved the updating of a Russian fairytale to urban Brooklyn and all the diverse characters. I plan to write a book review of this book as soon as possible.

This month I also acquired a lot of books! You can see a full list on my post A Book Haul of eBooks and Fairytales, which went up earlier this week. Vassa in the Night was one of my new purchases, and some of my upcoming reads will no doubt be pulled from this list.

End Note

In the past, my monthly wrap ups included a bit more on my writing and the things I’ve watched, but I chose to keep it simple because I want to focus more on the gorgeous books I’ve read. I have a September TBR in the works that you will hopefully see tomorrow night. It will include a short list of goals I have for the month of September as well with regards to my writing habits and possibly creative projects.

Thank you for reading!
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#MakeMeRead Wrap Up, Reading Update, & Blog Plans

Hey! 

About two days ago I finally finished reading Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen, the only book I managed to pick up during the #MakeMeRead It Read-a-thon last week on account of completely forgetting what week it started on. I still completely plan to read Persuasion by Jane Austen, the second highest book on my poll, in the near future. I just didn’t feel a rush to jump into it right after Sense & Sensibility, as unlike that book or Pride & Prejudice, I have not seen a movie adaptation of this one and I worry if that’ll make it more challenging a read.

Currently Reading

I instead decided to reach for another book that has been on my TBR for over a year now, Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi. I read Boy, Snow, Bird and The Icarus Girl by the same author in 2015 and was enthralled by them, particularly the former. So I’m leisurely trying to make my way through Oyeyemi’s colorful collection of works. Of Mr. Fox, I will say that it hasn’t been exactly what I was expecting, but I’m fully on board now, although it was intitially disorienting.

What I read next this month is still uncertain. I’m currently mood reading right now, with a mind still on catching up on my Goodreads Reading Challenge. I’m perpetually about 6–7 books behind.

I have secured a part-time job finally and while it’s nothing too exciting, I suspect it will mean I’m reading a bit more on my iPhone, whether on breaks or in bed when I’m too tired after shifts to hold up a book. Earlier this year I decided to purchase Amazon Prime for the first time with my student discount and I just learned that with the membership you can access certain eBooks for free! I’ve downloaded five and I’m eager to get to them.

Blog Plans

I want to start posting more on here, but I’ve also realized I’m no good at scheduling blog posts. I’ve found that it doesn’t allow me flexibility to do what I want to do when I want to do it, and all too often I’ve forgotten when I haven’t put finishing touches on a post before it goes up.

As I mentioned above, I just got a part-time job. At the moment I’m not sure what my schedule will look like other than I will be working around 30 hours a week. Also, it is my hope that I can find a full-time job by the end of the year that better suits me and my life goals.

With these realizations in mind, a blog schedule will most likely not suit me at this time. However, I do want to continue to work on this blog by recording my reading and writing journey as well as my other creative pursuits as they come and go.

In the next couple of weeks I know I want to work on my graphic design skills, update all my pages, and start doing more formal book reviews, so you can expect all that right now at the very least!

Writing Update

I don’t have much to share on the writing front, but in case you were wondering or find these updates useful (maybe for commiserating in failure?) I thought I’d share instead of just neglecting my problems. I’m still in the outlining phase of this book. I have no trouble envisioning any number of novel beginnings, but it’s the middles and ends I struggle with. I think right now, my problem is I don’t know what my character wants and I don’t know if that’s a problem of not fully knowing her or not knowing the world. Maybe it’s both.

I had hoped I’d be writing by this time this month, but I’m not sure when anymore. Part of me is like “I need to start this NOW” and the other is like “I should just shoot to be ready by NaNoWriMo.”

I could wax on about this a while longer, but better I get going so I can work on this problem tonight. I don’t know what life after tomorrow is going to look like.

End Note

Thanks for sticking with me and this blog! On my very first blog Books o’ the Wisp, I used to do this feature called Letter from the Blogger. I did it at the beginning of each season to talk about myself and my plans for the coming months. I may try to do one of these again soon, as in this weekend. Amongst the other things you might be able to expect soon, I’ve got a book haul to share and I want to do a book review of Mr. Fox because it’s a lesser known book and I think I want to dedicate do more to shine a light on the under-hyped books on my blog.

Thank you for reading!
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In Which I Did Not Forget This Week Was #MakeMeRead | TBR

Oops!

In my head, for some reason, the #MakeMeRead It Read-a-thon started next Sunday and not this past one! Luckily I think I should be able to make it through my top two reads voted for last month: Sense & Sensibility and Persuasion, both by Jane Austen.

I own both of these books in an large leather-bound anthology of Jane Austen’s work so that’s going to be interesting to read from again. I first read Pride & Prejudice from that tome, so I’m wondering if it will bring back any sense memories. At any rate, I look forward to finding movie adaptations to watch after I finish these books to see how they compare.

I’m just excited to beat this reading slump I accidentally fell into when I started The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee. I’m about halfway through it, but I moved it to the put-down-for-now shelf on Goodreads as I’m rarely in the mood in sit down and listen to it. I hope to one day find it in a physical format, as it was getting really exciting the last time I listened to it. My life at the moment just does not suit audiobooks.

Writing Update

I thought I’d sneak in a cheeky writing update to fill you all in on what I’ve been doing aside from reading (and to buff up this post since I don’t really like doing the odd short posts). Around last week I decided to commit myself to writing again as I missed it and have felt more motivated. I’ve been watching a lot of writing videos on YouTube ranging from author interviews to creative writing students sharing their writing journeys. It’s been really inspiring.

I’m currently in the planning phase of my novel. I’m using Scrivener to organize all my notes and the story has already changed a lot from its original inception. I feel like I’m in a visual headspace right now with envisioning settings, but per usual I’m stuck on what needs to happen in the story. In the past, I would probably just started writing and figure it out as I go. But I can’t shake the fact that the story will be much stronger if I know where I need to end up.

I have a list of things I was planning to work on today before I realized #MakeMeRead was this week, but an idea I had as I was preparing lunch was that maybe writing is the most important thing to do right now. I want to work on my craft without procrastinating because I don’t have a plot, so I’m thinking I might start writing a well-known story. Then I can begin practicing writing and take my time on my own novel…

I don’t know! I’ll fill you in on what happens later. I’m thinking about how I can bring back writing updates without killing my motivation to actually write. That reminds me, I still want to do a post about why I stopped blogging about writing…

End Note

I will definitely be back this weekend with a wrap up for this read-a-thon. I’m thinking it will be possible to read more than two books this week, but I don’t think I’m willing to read the rest of the options I presented in the poll. I might instead pick up some other books I’ve been wanting to read/reread.

It’s not fall yet, but it’s been rainy where I live and I’ve had fun pretending it is fall as it’s the time of year I feel most inspired. I’ve also been re-watching American Horror Story season one about the murder house and it’s reminding me of my first semester of college because my roommate and I would rush home every week to catch it when it aired. It was the best.

Thank you for reading!
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Summer Biannual Bibliothon Wrap Up!

Hi!

It’s Saturday evening and I’ve made peace with the fact I’m not going to get much more reading done tonight before bed so I want to share my wrap up for the week of reading. In case you want to see the lofty goals I had for myself this time last week, here’s my TBR.

I started off really strong on Sunday and managed to finish two books this read-a-thon in a relatively quick amount of time. I started with The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, as it was my least anticipated read on my TBR. I had tried to read it a few years ago and was not able to get into so I gave up. Little did I know this book takes the protagonist Bod all the way to young adulthood, so I was happy to find it wasn’t just a children’s book.

I loved the hauntingly beautiful atmosphere of the book and the episodic way in which the novel was written. Now I see what the hype is all about and would love to recommend this as a bedtime read for any parents out there who read to their youngsters. It’s so good.

The next book I picked up was The Catcher in the Rye. I really enjoyed rereading it for the first time since high school. I still remembered a lot of the stuff we talked about in high school and felt a little nostalgic about it for some reason. I was a little scared going into this book again that I would not like it as much as I did before, but my worry was needless as I find myself as compelled by Holden’s story as much as I was 17.

I didn’t read at all between Wednesday and Friday, despite listing Never Let Me Go as my next read. I had to do some work on my research paper that was time-sensitive and am happy to report I finally finished it today! The literature review anyway. I mean, I know it could still use some work, but I decided to push my luck and see how little I can get away with right now. I’ve had a motivational problem lately about my research, related to issues I’m not quite ready to talk about.

Last night I started the audiobook for The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. I’m somewhat liking it, but think I would enjoy it more if I was able to read it and see the words on the page. For one thing, I could go faster if I just had the physical book, but also because my favorite thing about the book so far is the witty banter and I wish I could linger on some passages longer.

End Note

The main thing I’m happy about having accomplished is ending my reading slump and getting a bit closer caught up on my Goodreads Reading Challenge. I have a feeling I’ll be all caught up by the end of August with the #MakeMeRead It read-a-thon running August 6–13 (please vote, if you haven’t already).

I’ve been getting into bullet journaling a little bit, which I’ve found is inspiring me to be more productive so hopefully I’ll be a little more active on this blog soon. I also want to work on my blog design next month, so that’ll be fun!

Thank you for reading!
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Book Blogger Tag | #SummerBibib

Hi!

If you saw my post that went up yesterday, you’ll know that I decided to do the Biannual Bibliothon, which runs this week starting today and ending on Saturday at 11:59 p.m. In addition to reading and video challenges, there are also blogging challenges which I have decided to participate in, starting with the Book Blogger Tag, curtesy of host 4TeenLiars.

1. What are you planning to read for the Summer Biannual Bibliothon?

The Graveyard Book, The Catcher in the Rye, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, Never Let Me Go, Flame to the Mist, The Buried Giant.

2. What is your favorite genre to read in Summer?

Action-packed fantasy and cosy literary fiction

3. Where is your favorite place to read in the summer?

Year round, I find my bed super comfortable. But in the summer I also enjoy reading in my houndstooth IKEA chair by the window during the day.

4. What is your favorite challenge done in the Summer Biannual Bibliothon?

LGBTQIA+, as I don’t really feel pulled to read from this genre on the regular and I appreciate the challenge incentive to read more diversely.

5. What fictional character would you hang out with in the summer if you could?

Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle.

6. What are your plans for summer?

I’m really boring and appreciate the ability to be home, having the time to experiment with cooking, and reading more with less of the stress from the school year.

7. Do you have summer reading playlist, if not what would be on it?

I don’t like to read with music on, as I find it too distracting. If I had music on, it would be to drown out other sounds so I guess it’d be soothing classical music.

8.What is your favorite summer movie?

I’m a fan of blockbuster Marvel superhero movies in the summer. Captain America and Iron Man ones are my favs.

9.What book do you read every summer, if not what thing do you do every summer?

I used to read The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood every summer, but I haven’t yet this year and am not sure if I will. Every summer since I started going to college I’ve enjoying having full access to a big and stocked kitchen so I generally try out new plant-based baking recipes every summer.

10.What other book tags are you planning to do this summer?

I don’t know! If I’m tagged in something and find out about it, I’ll likely do those. I might see if there’s any tag I can do for August.

End Note

I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about me in this post. I’ll be back tomorrow with my second blog challenge, which I believe is to write a book review. I may do one for either The Graveyard Book, House of Many Ways, or The Perilous Gard, all of which I’ve most recently read!

Thank you for reading!
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Summer Goals ˁ̡̡̡∗★ ̫★ˀ̡̡̡

Hiya!

I didn’t mean to go another whole week without posting again, but it’s taken me a while to decide what I wanted to post next. I decided the most logical place to start is with a summer goals for myself and this blog. But before I get into it, I want to first thank you all for your best wishes on my job search. My interview this week went great, and I got some good feedback. Unfortunately I think the job went to someone who they knew.

I wasn’t 100% sure I wanted to set summer goals for myself, but I feel like without a steady structure I won’t get as much done as I’d like. When I first started this post, I only envisioned stating my summer goals, but by the end I realized it might be a good time to think about what I want to accomplish long-term as well. So I’ve listed some of my wildest goals to achieve by the end of the year as well.

➴ Summer Goals

READING

This summer I want to read at least 20 books in order to be all caught up with my Goodreads Reading Challenge by September. On Thursday I’ll be posting my TBR and participation in the 20 Books of Summer challenge so stay tuned for that (& see the blog post from Rattle the Stars that inspired me ^_^)! My own post is already written, I just need to put on some finishing touches.

➴ BLOGGING

This may be ambitious, but I’m feeling really tempted to jump back into blogging in a major way by committing to posting at least every other day without fail as long as I have ideas. Right now I feel like I have a lot of ideas for things I’d both like to share and also think others would really benefit from. Some weeks I may be really busy or feel like I got nothing. I’m hoping to get through those weeks by planning ahead and actively updating a Google doc of ideas so I don’t forget them.

WRITING

I recently said that I’ve not been in the best of writing moods lately and while I still don’t want to commit to writing a novel this summer, I’m thinking about setting myself a more modest goal of writing an interactive short story. I have some past drafts of ideas that I may be interested in developing further, or I may start completely from scratch. We’ll see how that goes! I think it will also be fun to update you all on this process!

➴ Year End Goals

  1. Have a job I really like
  2. Have successfully completed NaNoWriMo for the first time since November 2014
  3. Have a modestly successful Etsy shop
  4. Have 500 blog followers between WordPress and Bloglovin’

End Note

I think it’s great to have goals for yourself throughout your life in order to continue to grow, even if you’re done with school and happy with your life. I encourage you to think of some seasonal goals and long-term goals in order to access how you might best go about achieving them. At the end of the summer/year I want to evaluate how successful I was at attaining these goals and decide what my next moves will be.

Do you enjoy setting goals? Why or why not?

What are your wildest of creative goals? How are you working on achieving them? 

Thank you for reading!
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