Week 24 Reading Update!

Since it is an ungodly hour on my side of the world this Saturday morning, I thought I might as well make myself useful and post a weekly reading update! As far as my reading goals that I outlined in my BuJo go, I did accomplish (or will shortly accomplish) them!

Yay! I actually set a goal and finished one of them! *pats self on the back*

They weren’t lofty. I merely wanted to finish my current read: Small Country & to start a new book, which I will here shortly with The Death of Mrs. Westaway.

I also discovered this week that I think I need to take a hiatus from my Throwback Thursday: Classic Reads Edition. I got about 66% through my current read for this (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes), and then I decided WHAT AM I DOING?

I really just don’t think I have the mind for classic reads. I struggle with focusing, retaining information, and not allowing my mind to wonder a lot with reading as it is. The classics just seem to amplify these deficiencies, and as a result I am continuously frustrated and disappointed. I might try again later in the year, but I am relieving myself of that pressure to do one classic read a month.

And also, as I discussed with my bookish bestie, classic novels are a bit outdated for our modern minds. We’re used to short snippets, or direct communication. The circumspect style of writing doesn’t really suit the modern reader, unless one is on point with focus and lives and breathes for this sort of writing.

So I am up to 7 on my list of abandoned books. But this is only the second book I abandoned in 2018, and it was also, my second classic read.

Anyway, onto the book I DID finish this week. Small Country: A Novel by Gaël Faye is actually originally in French, but the translation in English read beautifully to me.

37781941if_star-4_47965 if_star-4_47965 if_star-4_47965 if_star-4_47965 if_star-4_47965

A coming of age story set against the backdrop of a country on the verge of civil war. Our protagonist is ten year old Gaby, a quiet, thoughtful as well as mischievous boy. His childhood is full of pranks he pulls with his friends on their neighbors as well as secret meetings where they smoke cigarettes and drink beer in their fort built out of an abandoned van.

Except the small privileges of childhood that he enjoys are on the verge of ending as the first democratic election has dire consequences in his mother’s homeland of Rwanda, and eventually, in his rather picturesque cul-de-sac.

Told through the eyes of a child, Gaël Faye’s story is full of innocence and humor. His writing style uses rich, descriptive language that makes you feel transported to the suburbs of Burundi.

Each section is short, and employs meaningful anecdotes that drive the action of the plot forward. The story was heartwarming, horrifying, and beautifully written all in one.

It is rare for me to give a story five stars, but this one felt entirely deserving. It’s one of those stories that stays with you and touches your heart deeply after you finish it.

What are some of your 5 star reads for 2018? I am always looking for recommendations! Well if you stumbled upon my blog post, thanks for reading! 

Catch you later, bookworms!

UpdatedBlogSignature

 

 

A Mathematical Mystery & My June TBR

Firstly, I want to talk about my latest read: The Last Equation of Isaac Severy.

35297219if_star-2_47963if_star-4_47965if_star-4_47965if_star-4_47965if_star-4_47965

This one surprised me. Sure, I chose it as an extra Book of the Month selection, but I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. The characters were complicated, all going through their own personal struggles, while this mystery of their patriarch’s last equation unfolded.

The novel opened with the death of Isaac Severy. While a shock to his family, he was entirely prepared to die. And with this tragic event, the relations of Isaac Severy find themselves brought together. Their relationships are strained, and different facets of the characters are slowly revealed to us in purposeful ways.

Told from three points of view from within the Severy family, we get a fuller picture of the mystery. Each of them have something that connects them to it, even if we don’t know it straightaway. Which allows for the story to come together at the end nicely.

The pace of this was steady throughout. There were a few twists, which then urged me to read several chapters more in one sitting, but it wasn’t heart pounding where you needed to finish the entire thing in a single setting. The mathematical concepts in this were well explained for people with little to no knowledge of it (like myself haha), without the writing becoming heavy with technical terms. And there were references to today’s culture, making you as a reader feel more connected to the story.

All in all, I thought this one was worthy of a 4.5 rating. I highly recommend this one to those who like a good mystery + family drama.

And now onto the second part of this post. My June TBR list!

Honestly, I can’t believe we are halfway through 2018! Time sure flies when you’re having fun 😉

Sadly I am not even halfway through my Goodreads Challenge. Yes, it shows that I practically am, but I am not counting The Lying Game & I accidentally clicked the “I’m finished!” button besides Sherlock Holmes on their website haha. So technically, I am only 12 books in 2018.

But I will not give up, even if I sound a bit defeatist. There are 6 months left in the year, and I only need 18 more books to complete my challenge, and I just need to keep reminding myself of that I can handle 3 books per month (if not more).

The three for June I will push myself to finish are….

37781941Burundi, 1992. For ten-year-old Gabriel, life in the comfortable expatriate neighborhood of Bujumbura with his French father, Rwandan mother, and little sister, Ana, is something close to paradise. These are happy, carefree days spent sneaking cigarettes and stealing mangoes, as he and his mischievous gang of friends transform their tiny cul-de-sac into their kingdom.

But dark clouds are gathering over this small country – and their peaceful idyll will soon shatter when Burundi, and neighboring Rwanda, are brutally hit by war and genocide.

I’m looking forward to this one. I love reading stories set in different places of the world during parts of history I am not familiar with. Knowledge is power, whoop whoop!

36681184

Kim Lord is an avant garde figure, feminist icon, and agent provocateur in the L.A. art scene. Her groundbreaking new exhibition Still Lives is comprised of self-portraits depicting herself as famous, murdered women—the Black Dahlia, Chandra Levy, Nicole Brown Simpson, among many others—and the works are as compelling as they are disturbing, implicating a culture that is too accustomed to violence against women.

As the city’s richest art patrons pour into the Rocque Museum’s opening night, all of the staff, including editor Maggie Richter, hope the event will be enough to save the historic institution’s flailing finances.

Except Kim Lord never shows up to her own gala

Fear mounts as the hours and days drag on and Lord remains missing. Suspicion falls upon the up-and-coming gallerist Greg Shaw Ferguson, who happens to be Maggie’s ex. A rogue’s gallery of eccentric art world figures could also have motive for the act, and as Maggie gets drawn into her own investigation of Lord’s disappearance, she’ll come to suspect all of those closest to her.

Who doesn’t love a promising sounding thriller? Set in another unique community, I’m looking forward to diving into this one, and holding on tight!

36373481On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money.

Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased…where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the center of it.

I am so excited to have my hands on the latest Ruth Ware novel! I know she’s becoming a pretty big deal in the bookish community, and I’m not really in the “in crowd,” to have received this in advance. But I’m really excited for this one! She has a lovely way of writing, and also finds ways to shock you with various plot twists.

I might add some more to this list, especially those “classics,” I am supposed to be reading, but am really struggling to force myself to haha. Although The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is a pretty good read to be in the middle of at present.

Anyway, what is everyone else reading this month? Link your posts to your blog/social sites below for me to check out! 

Until next time bookworms!

UpdatedBlogSignature

 

 

 

Aggressively Trying

Ok, so I posted a single update for my contribution to #BoutofBooks this year. And then the rest of it kind went into a downward spiral of nothing. Same with the 8inFortyEight (stemming from 25inFive). I’m pretty sure I read two hours this weekend and even less last week.

Not to mention I totally didn’t do a bullet journal spread for this week, so I just feel like a disorganized jumble of parts and pieces. I hate weeks when I am unprepared like this. I feel like a little mouse scurrying from item to item on a string of post-it’s that make me even question why I try with the bujo. And then I get mad for wanting to give up on it.

Life has been so hectic the last couple of weeks, I don’t even know how to keep up with everything. I’m sure this isn’t the best day for me to update my blog because I just got my monthly parcel from mother nature. So my emotions are more polarized than normal.

But gosh, it’s really hard right now to focus on one single thing, finish it, do a good job & feel good about it. I can’t be alone in feeling this way, right?

Anyway, I am going to try and end this post on a positive note. Some things I did this past couple of weeks that I really should be proud of even if they aren’t contributing to my side projects and such.

Work Related:

  • I developed outlines for new ancillary benefits to offer to our employees.
  • I attended a great training program open house that might yield more candidates in the future.
  • I went on a business lunch in spite of not feeling like 100%. And I didn’t totally suck at it (even though he kind of did, communication wise).
  • I got over my fear of doing multiple calls in a day.

Personal Related:

  • I got my husband a sentimental birthday gift & made him dinner.
  • I baked delicious cookies & then got compliments on them at work.
  • I turned my insomnia this morning into a 30ish minute reading sprint.
  • And I am going to go home shortly, drink some wine, & aggressively read to forget about my trying day.
  • Also, I guess I just turned a negative post into a positive one and created a bujo list to make up for the fact that I do not have any updates in that little blue book.

How is everyone else out there doing? Feeling like none of your goals are being accomplished? Or are you killing it? If you’re being a total badass I would appreciate any words of encouragement you can provide this lowly book blogger, who tries so hard but often falls short.

Until next time bookworms!

UpdatedBlogSignature

Bout of Books updates…

…reorganized-reading style.

I’m always coming up with new ways of logging information about my life, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this is my third method of logging my progress for Bout of Books.

Now, if you followed this blog around the time of its rebirth (around Jan 2018), you might remember that I was updating my BoB progress here.

But in another twist, to remain interesting & offer some splashes of color, I decided to combine the two things this blog is really about. My love of bullet journaling & books.

So here we go. I give you the first of 7 excerpts from the pages of my bujo, including little fun facts about me, pages read, books I’m on (and hopefully books I will complete). Also, check out my TBR list for this year’s Bout of Books on my bookstagram (well, it’s not just strictly books, but books dominate it quite a bit).

BoutofBooks Goals & Day 1

How did everyone else do for Bout of Books? Are you signed up? Make sure you sign up & make it official, so you can participate in the cool giveaways & prizes that will arise!

 

The Pro’s & Con’s of The Book Thief

I have a feeling there will likely be unpopular opinions for this post. And that’s ok. Diversity is what makes the world go round, ja/yeah?

19063I really wanted to love this book. I wanted to rave about it in this review. I wanted to proclaim my undying love to it. And maybe it’s because I am reading this so late in life. Maybe because I saw the film first my opinion of the book was slightly tainted. (Although truthfully, it wasn’t even that memorable, so I didn’t have too many spoilers that came from the film to the book.) I could probably come up with more reasons/excuses to try and place blame on myself for not LOVING this book, but we would probably be here all day.

We’ll start with the bad & the ugly.

In short, it was long. The protagonist wasn’t all that interesting. Sure, she’s a little girl, and it’s a coming of age story, so I get there is a lot of development & realizations of “this is the world we live in, how terrible and unfair,” but I just didn’t feel a connection to her. Her suffering didn’t move me for the majority of the book. It wasn’t until the end when I felt anything for her, and again, most of my sad feelings were directed at other characters.

Another thing I noticed was that my mind drifted off several times when reading this, and I felt the full 547 pages of this book. It felt really, really long to me. And I get we need more connections with the characters, so perhaps that was why the length was what it was, but I just felt like COME ON, IS ANYTHING EVER GOING TO HAPPEN? too many times.

There were a few moments where I would breeze through chapters, anticipating what was coming next, but those moments were few & far between for me.

Enter the reasons for the if_star-4_47965if_star-4_47965if_star-4_47965if_star-2_47963if_star-0_47961 rating.

Now onto the good things that redeemed this for me & made me want to finish.

The writing was beautiful. It was lyrical and wrought with personification at every opportune moment. Everyday feelings, objects, etc., were given human dispositions that made sense, and added to the quality of writing.

The choice of narrator was unique and made for creative storytelling. I felt like having an ‘impartial,’ or ‘unbiased,’ narrator might have played into my lack of feeling for certain characters. But otherwise, I thought it was a creative aspect of the story. It made the pages go by quicker.

Another thing I liked about this, is something that I often struggle with as far as WW2 books goes. And that is the emotional toll a story takes on you. For me, this one this wasn’t super heavy on the emotions.

Sure, there were parts of it that were sad. And the descriptions of certain things were intended to be heartbreaking, but it wasn’t horrific or super dark like other books set in this era that I’ve previously read. It was just like “meh this is depressing,” but not debilitating where I would need a break from books set during this time period.

I did feel a certain prickling behind my eyes during Part 10. However, the resolution was kind of rushed and glossed over. Which is fine, it served it’s purpose. So there were some redeeming qualities in the final few sections.

I would probably recommend this to people. But I have read other books from this time period that I have enjoyed more, so this one would be just an “if you have the time,” or “if you want to read more experimental type writing,” sort of recommendation from me.

Anyone else not a fan of this one? Or do I stand alone? Any other good recommendations from the WW2 era? Or any other good books in general that you’re reading?

Let me know bookworms!

UpdatedBlogSignature

Bout of Books is Feeling 22!

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22!

Just kidding. I’m not, but Bout of Books is! Or rather, this read-a-thon is on its 22nd run haha. My apologies for the weird/cheesy/awkward intro, but my hubster and I like to sing songs that have lyrics with certain numbers associated with them. So I was channeling that at the forefront of this post.

This is my third time participating in BoB, so I’m on the verge of ‘expert,’ status (yay for almost achieving small goals!). And even though this May appears to be a little crazy for me socially speaking, I’m still signing up for this read-a-thon.

It’s always proven to be a great time. A lot of Twitter socializing, challenges, giveaways, & the like over the course of a week.

For those of you who don’t know what Bout of Books is, check the information below:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 14th and runs through Sunday, May 20th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 22 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog.

grab button for Bout of Books

The thing I love most about this read-a-thon is its lowkey-ness. There’s no pressure to read a mountain of books. Though if you’re the type of person that can, more power to you. But I am not. I will be lucky if I get through 4. But still, in my mind that’s pretty impressive, since most of my books are at a minimum of 300 pages.

I’m also pretty excited because I found out that one of my challenge ideas is going to be used. So that’s kind of cool! *grins like a big eyed emoji about it*

But as far as my TBR goes, I’m not ready to decide it just yet. I’ll probably post a picture of my desired reads for this on Insta closer to the date, so stay tuned!

Any of my other fellow readers doing BoB 22? Where do you gals/guys post your updates for read-a-thons? Your blog? Twitter? Insta? Other methods?

I’m still mulling over how I will update my progress in this year’s Bout of Books. 

But anyway, make sure you sign up bookworms! This is truly a grand ole’ time!

UpdatedBlogSignature

 

The Votes Are In!

TBT-Banner

So it’s that time of the week again! This time, I thought I would make this announcement a little bit more fun and interactive. I asked you all to vote either through my Twitter or Instagram on what my next classic read should be, and I must say I am surprised and feel very grateful that so many (more) of you voted in this last poll.

A huge thank you to all of you for supporting the content of this post! For without your votes, this wouldn’t  be possible. You are all amazing humans who support this (probably selfish) endeavor of mine to be the best reader & writer I can be. And for that, I want to thank all of you for being so awesome! 🙂

Anyway, the news you are all waiting for. This race was a close one. I didn’t expect certain people to vote the way they did, but I still think its cool to see where everyone else’s interests in books lie also. So that was also kind of fun. Between Twitter & Instagram there were 13 votes!

And the winner is…

The votes were 8-6 in favor of Mr. Holmes here. But for those of you who voted for 1984, fear not. It’s the next on my list for my TBT Classic Edition. 🙂

As for those of you on Team Holmes, you’ll get to read my review for this one in the next couple of weeks!

So what is everyone reading out there? Any of you other bookworms have classics on your TBR? Let me know (if you want, of course)!

Until next time!

UpdatedBlogSignature