Squeezing in Reading Where I Can

So last week I decided to try something out. I tend to end up doing a lot of driving with my job. I’m essentially a health inspector in a large county, so I spend a good chunk of time driving from one inspection to the next. So I thought, why not try to squeeze in some reading time driving from place to place?

So I picked up Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins in audiobook form. And let me tell you I was actually surprised about how much I was able to listen to during the day. I averaged around 2 hours a day on a normal inspection day. Hello more reading time. On top of that, I think it actually made me go through my day a bit happier. It almost feels like a guilty pleasure or that I’m getting away with something. 

So what about you guys, how do you get in extra reading time? Audiobooks on long commutes or reading on a train or bus? Are you squirreling yourself away during  your lunch hour for a few minutes reprieve? Let me know and if you have any audiobook suggestions send them my way. 

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Finding Time for Reading and Branching Out

Obviously, I haven’t blogged in quite a while. I’ve found it hard to balance reading time with working, crafting and trying to live a healthier lifestyle.

Here lately I seem to have been getting into a bit of a better groove. I won’t say I’ve gotten it figure out but I’m working on it. A while back I decided I didn’t read enough to warrant me blogging about it but this evening I decided who cares how much I read or if I post about a book every week? I want to talk about books with other book lovers and if someone wants to criticize me for not blogging enough that’s up to them.

So I have been making a concentrated effort the past month or two to read more graphic novels. Time for me to branch out and try new things. It has been a form I have avoided in the past and I am quickly learning that was a mistake. Not all graphic novels are about superheroes! Although I admit I have been enjoying some Batman graphic novels. I’ve found that great artwork and good stories can be found in the pages.

So far I have tried The Pretenders (The Cemetary Girl Triology) by Charlaine Harris, Sailor Twain: Or Ther Mermaid on The Hudson by Mark Seigel, and Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley. Seconds was by far my favorite of the three. I loved the art style and the story drew me in. It had a wonderful old folk tale vibe to it and I stayed up late to finish it in one sitting.

That’s what I’ve been reading lately. I’m currently reading The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero. Still early on in the book but loving it so far. What have you all been up to? Feel free to let me know some of your graphic novel favorites to check out.

Publishers and Imprints: Opening My Eyes

So I have a confession. Before I started blogging and getting more into the book scene with twitter, podcasts, and blogs, I never really paid attention to publishing houses. I think I had some vague notion about some of the big ones like Random House and Penguin existing, but it was nothing I really paid much attention to or was a way that I searched out books. Back then I usually focused on searching out authors I had previously read and new that I liked or looking by genre. Now I’ve become much more aware of the many different publishing houses that exist and have even added it as a tool for searching out books. It’s by no means a definitive method, but I’ve come to realize that certain publishing houses tend to have published books that I am interested in or have a tendency to publish a certain theme, genre, or type of book that I’m interested in, so I tend to either look at their upcoming publishing lists or pay more attention to the books they are touting. As I said though this isn’t a definitive method. Every publishing house has certain gems of books and I am not advocating ignoring one publisher because they haven’t published something you’ve liked in the past. I’m just saying that I’ve realized that this is one tool you can use in you arsenal when searching for good reads. I also recommend following publishers on twitter or checking out their websites. Lots of useful information and even some fun to be had with both. So I also included imprints in the title of the post. That’s because I’m just now starting to realize that imprints exist. As you can imagine having not paid much attention to publishing houses before I had just thought that all of these company titles I saw on spines of books were independent houses. I’m realizing that might not always be true. And speaking of genres or certain themes of books, some publishing houses will have entire imprints devoted to publishing certain genres or types of books. Also a useful tool in the book search arsenal. So in a way yes, I have discovered a whole new world within the book community. It makes me wonder what other facets of the book world are out there that could be used to find books or enrich the reading experience.

Week in Review: May 25, 2012

Time for my week in review! I have to tell you all that I’ve had a rough week in my personal life. I found out this week that my program got funding cuts and that I will no longer have a job after June 29th. I have started j0b searching already and have a phone interview set up for today. Wish me luck!

Books I finished: When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

Books I started: In the Woods by Tana French and When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

Plans for the next week: I think In the Woods is going to be one of my longer term reads. I’m enjoying going through it slowly. I’ve decided to start my first Toni Morrison book: Song of Solomon

Reviews I did this week: The Deep Zone by James M. Tabor

 

Hope you guys had great reading weeks. Have any book suggestions for me?

Week in Review: 5/18/12

I’m trying to make an effort to blog more regularly. In addition I feel like I’m still trying to find my voice/writing style so bare with me. A lot of time I feel like I come up with this great topic to write about, then I sit down and post it and it always seems less brilliant than I imagined. Does that ever happen to you?

So week in review: 

This week I finished The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai.

I’m going to start In The Woods by Tana French. This one has been on my shelf since at least 2009 and I think I’d honestly forgotten about it until it was mentioned on The Bookrageous Podcast by Jenn (she mentions it in episode 36). Her enthusiastic endorsement made me consider picking it up again.

I’ll try to get a review of The Borrower up soon but right now I’m still trying to digest the ending.

Hope you all have had great reading week and can enjoy a weekend full of fun and reading!

Starting an Online Book Club?

Good evening!

So I’ve been rolling around this idea in my head for a while and have mentioned it once or twice on twitter but I’ve finally decided that I wanted to make a post and see if there is any interest.

I want to start an online book club. I live in a small area and don’t have many book friends so starting a real life one seems like a daunting task. Those that are already started at the libraries usually meet at inconvenient times for me. Plus I already know that so many of you are awesome and I really want to talk more about books with you. Plus, what’s better than being able to show up to book club in your pj’s and being able to drink wine without worrying about driving home (trust me I won’t judge).

So here’s the basic idea, I’d like to limit the number of people in the club to 8 people plus me, mainly because I want to use google+ hangout as the “meeting place” for our book group. We would meet and chat about a chosen book once a month in a google+ hangout but hopefully we will get a good group together that will like to chat on twitter or by e-mail in between book club meetings.  I’m hoping that we can do this during the evening time (depending on the time we could do weeknight or weekend evening).

That being said I want to try to organize a fun and friendly group. I want everyone to feel free to express opinions about the book but I don’t want people to insult other members. We can establish more solid guidelines once we see if there are people actually interested.

 

So those are the basics of my idea. Anyone interested? Leave a comment on the blog or contact me through e-mail or twitter!

My Reading Year Review and goals for the New Year

First off, Happy New Year everyone! I hope everyone had a wonderful and safe time ringing in the new year.

A new year means it is time to look back on the reading goals I set for last year. I wasn’t blogging yet, so there’s no post to refer back to, but I set a goal of reading 58 books, after Michael from Books on the Nightstand started an 11 more in 2011 challenge.

Sadly I didn’t reach my goal. I only read 51 books this year. So I did read books than last year. I was looking at Goodreads stat tool that they have for tracking your books read from you read shelf, if you put the date that you read the book when you save it, the Goodreads stats tool will keep track of it. I noticed that you can also see how many pages you read in each year. This year I read 17,670 pages, versus 14,168 last year. So I think all in all, at least I definitely read more this year.

So what goals do I want to set for the new year? Well I’m participating in some reading challenges for the first time. I’m doing the TBR Pile Challenge hosted by RoofBeamReader and BethFishRead’s What’s in a Name Challenge. You should be able to find icons on the left of the blog that will take you to the blogs and challenge posts. In addition to this, I think I want to set a goal of 55 books read this year. It would be great if I read more, but at least this way it seems easily attainable, as it’s only 4 more books than this year, and I won’t feel overwhelmed about it. Goodreads has their reading challenge tracker again this year, so you can enter in your goal and it will keep track and tell you if you are behind or ahead of reaching your goal.

So in case you can’t tell, I’m a big fan of GoodReads (http://www.goodreads.com) If you haven’t checked it out yet, go do it. It’s a great way to keep track of what you’ve read, what you’re reading, and what you want to read. You can also find reviews of books, book groups, and friends so you can exchange thoughts on books and find new books to read. As if you guys needed help adding to your to be read pile 😉

I hope everyone is recovering from their New Year’s Eve parties and maybe can spend a relaxing day home curled up with a book. Happy Reading!

On Tap Tuesday 12-6-11

So I had grand plans for today. I woke up to a rainy dreary day and I thought: Perfect day for reading and knitting! I really wanted to try to finish Storm Front by Jim Butcher before I wrote my post. I’m loving that book so much! I’m thrilled I have 5 or 6 more books from the series waiting for me on the shelf!

 

So did any of that get done? No. The dog escaped from the fenced in yard yet again, had to go find him and then spent the next hour or so moving is lead around trying to find the optimal place to place him in the fence and away from escape places. Then I found a job I wanted to apply for (I’m currently job searching) so I spent half an hour writing the cover letter and then an hour and a half fussing with the printer because it was printing all streaks. Lovely.

 

So what’s on tap for this week?

I would love to finish Storm Front by Jim Butcher.

I just started listening to Packing for Mars by Mary Roach Narrated by Sandra Burr.

If I finish Storm Front I will work on Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese and then maybe pick The Illumination by Kevin Brockmeier back up.

 

This doesn’t seem to be a good reading season for me so far, especially since I got the bright idea to knit presents for most of the people on my list. Please stop me next year if I decide to do that again, okay? Hope everyone else’s reading is going better than mine. Send me reading mojo!

Why Didn’t I Read This Sooner: A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith

I’m going to use the category Why Didn’t I Read This Sooner for all the older books that I read that I feel like I should have read a long time ago. I mean really, these are great books, why didn’t I read them sooner.

First up for this category is: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith Read by Kate Burton

First off, I have to say that I believe that A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a must read for book lovers. The main character, Francie, finds escape and herself through reading and writing and this plays a key role in her life throughout the book.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn follows the Nolan Family living in Brooklyn in the early 1900s. The book is divided into five parts, each depicting a slice of time in the family life. The family consists of mother Katie, father Johnny, little brother Neeley, and Francie. But honestly, I’m sure I’m the only one left who hasn’t read this book?! The quick and short version synopsis of this that that the Nolan family is a poor family living in Brookyn. The father is an alcoholic and the mother works really hard to try to keep the family above water. She really just wants a better life for her children. In order to do this she makes sure they can read and write, they read Shakespeare and the Bible every night, and she tries her best to keep them in school to get an education, something that she didn’t get to have.

The book is elegantly written, even in the dark and some what grittiness of the life that Francie is living. The narrator really brought the story to life though. She truly gave a different voice to each of the characters and even sang some of the bits of songs in the novel.

 

So if you haven’t picked up this book, do it. I highly recommend the audio book version with Kate Burton narrating!

I Want to Read Everything!!

I’ve noticed a possibly bad, possibly good thing happening with my reading habits lately. I want to read everything!! Now that’s not quite different from the norm, I always feel like there are a ton of books I want to read and that I don’t have enough time to read them all.

But lately, I just keep starting books. It all started with the Thankfully Reading Weekend, where I picked out three books so I would have some to rotate through in case I got bored with one since I was planning on reading so much that weekend. I actually ended up starting all three. This is a rare and new thing for me, because I’m usually a monogamous reader, I pick a book and read it til I’m finish with it, no other distractions. The rare break to this rule is if I get a book from the library that I’ve been on the wait list for, then I typically stop what I was reading and read the library book til I’m finished then switch back.

So yeah, three books, a totally new experience…but wait, I decided to start yet another book. I was browsing through ebooks on the library to see what was available on my to-read shelf so I could plan ahead and saw that Life After College by Jenny Blake (http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780762441273)  was available. I found the description interesting as  I graduated from graduate school last June and I’m still looking for a job. It was available so I put that on my Nook and started reading it.

Now the question will be if I actually finish any of these books. I’m hoping so, because so far I find them interesting. I own every book that I’m reading except for the Life After College book so I don’t have a library deadline hanging over my head, so we’ll see.

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