Friday, January 31, 2014

January - This Month in Reading

The first month of 2014 was not as successful of a reading month as I might have liked. I only completed 2 books (I'm working on another that I just wasn't able to finish before the month ended, unfortunately). However, both of the books I finished counted for my challenges, so that was good. I talked about rearranging things to get more reading time in 2014, and that is still a work in progress, but  I think I'm on the right track. So all in all I will count this as a good start.

For February, I will finish the book I have in progress right now, which is a challenge book, and then move on to some other challenge books - as well as a couple non-challenge books that have come up (these will be explained when I finish/blog about them). So I'll shoot for reading four books in total - twice as many as this month, but doable, I think. Wish me luck!

How was your reading in the beginning of 2014?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Man in the Iron Mask - Alexandre Dumas

Well, I am an idiot. I found this book on my beloved Library Sale shelves for 50 cents, and after seeing that it was "complete and unabridged" I grabbed it since it's a classic. Little did I know that this book is actually part of a much longer book, making it technically part of a series. Had I known that before I just jumped in and started reading, I would have of course felt compelled to read the previous books first, but by the time I figured all of this out, it was kind of too late so I decided to just let it go and read this book out of order.

I enjoyed this book for what it was - it had a lot of intrigue and plots and some good action sequences. I will say that having seen at least one movie version of this book, the book is rather different, so movie fans shouldn't expect a retelling of any of the relatively recent filmed versions. I'm sure if I had read the longer book this one would have made more sense in the larger context of the overall story, so maybe I'll pick up the previous books at some future date.

This is the first book for the Back to the Classics Challenge, and also counts for the Books on France Reading Challenge (it was originally written in French and is set in France in the time of Louis XIV) so I'm off to a good start with challenge reading so far in 2014!

The Reflections of Queen Snow White - David Meredith

The other day I was contacted by this author, who offered me a copy of this book in exchange for a review. Exciting! That's only the second time an author has asked me to read and review a book, so I jumped at the chance.

This was a very fast read for me. I was able to very much empathize with Snow White's feelings about her husband, as I could easily imagine myself in her place and how devastated I would be if I lost Mr. K (even if he's not royalty, ha ha). So that part of the book was close to my heart. I enjoyed the author's deepening of parts of the Snow White story that are rather familiar to us as readers. One small critique I do have is that in places I found the dialogue to be a little too much like everyday speech, which took me out of the fairy-tale atmosphere from time to time. This may be because nowadays it seems like all fantasy-type movies/shows have the characters speaking in British-type accents using very formal speech patterns (HBO's Game of Thrones, I adore you, but I'm thinking of you here) and so I expect that to be the case with anything that seems to be in that genre, so it might just be my hangup. If you're an adult fan of fairy tales with a twist you will probably enjoy this book quite a bit.

I know I recently said that I wouldn't be reading any books for the Color-Coded Reading Challenge for a while, but this book also happened to work for that challenge, so I let it leapfrog over a couple other books I have in progress. I hope to have a couple more challenge-related reviews before the end of the month.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Book Blogger Hop

It's been a while since I was able to participate in a hop, so let's get to it!

Book Blogger Hop
This week's question is a good one:

Do you think you will ever read every book in your TBR stack?

My response

Well, my first impulse is to laugh hysterically and say, "No way!" :) 

But really, my answer is: "it depends." If you only count the books that are physically on my TBR Pile, I could probably read them all in the next five years or so, and I am really trying to do that. I have also really disciplined myself to avoid the temptation of bargain books, as I find them hard to resist, so that has helped keep the pile at a fairly consistent number of books over the past year. 

However, if you count all of the books that I would like to read, but that I don't have a physical copy of here on the actual pile, that TBR number is much higher. And there will always be more and more books that sound interesting that I will want to read in the future... so in reality, the "virtual" TBR pile will probably always have plenty of books on it, and it will probably never be finished. 

How is your TBR pile looking?? 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2014 Reading Challenges

As usual, I'm making a post that lists all of the reading challenges I'm participating in this year, for the sake of organization. The links in this post are links to my individual blog posts with my challenge details. The individual posts have links to the blogs that are hosting the challenges, etc., in case you'd like to pay them a visit and sign up!

The TBR Pile Challenge. This will be the fourth year in a row that I've entered this challenge. I love it! I have managed to complete the challenge in all three previous years, so it's helped me reduce the crazy TBR pile 12 books per year at a time. There are some books on this year's list that I have been wanting to read for a while now so knowing they will be read sooner rather than later is a good thing.

Harlem Renaissance Reading Challenge. This is a new challenge that I haven't previously participated in, but I couldn't resist. I will have to go to the library or bookstore for this one, so I probably won't be posting any books for this one until this summer, but that's just making me look forward to June (which is NOT how I usually feel about the horrible hot months, so that's a very positive thing!).

Color-Coded Reading Challenge. Another challenge I've been participating in for several years now, and loving each time.  Through this challenge I've come across many books that I might not otherwise have ever read, and I love expanding my reading that way! This is another challenge that I am going to temporarily put on hold while I chip away at the TBR pile-related challenges, but I will be seeking out fun books for this one later in the year. I may even tackle Gravity's Rainbow - yowza!

Books on France Reading Challenge. What can I say, I love France. I love Paris. I love speaking French (I do it poorly, but I try). I love French food, wine, bread, coffee, pastries, chocolate, etc. etc., and of course I love reading about France too! I have been trying to finish reading a book in French for a couple years now (that sounds so stupid, sorry) so I am hoping that I can read at least that one for this challenge, but most of the books will most likely be read in translation. Maybe I'll get in a supply of wine, bread, and chocolate as an accompaniment to my reading! ;)

Back to the Classics Challenge. One of my reading goals has been to read more of the classic books I feel like I should have read already but just haven't managed, and this challenge is going to be a fun way to make that happen. I was able to find all the necessary books right on my TBR pile, so that makes it a double win too.

The Planet Earth Challenge. This is my own ongoing personal challenge, to read a book set in each country on our planet. I add books as I read them from my pile (or wherever they come from!).

So there you have it. I did initially limit myself to signing up for challenges that only involved books I have here on the pile, but I caved because how could I not do the Color-Coded reading challenge this year? And if I have to hit the library anyhow, what harm can it do to participate in one other library-related challenge? All in all I think this is manageable and I'm looking forward to using these challenges to reduce the TBR pile as well as expand my reading.