Bout of Books 7.0

This year I am going to participate for the first time in Bout of Books. It lasts from tomorrow (Monday, May 13th) to next Sunday (May 19th). The goal is to challenge yourself to read more during that week than you normally would. It's also a great opportunity to socialize with other readers and those involved in the online book community. You are supposed to tweet your progress as you go. I'm excited to take part and since I am currently out of school and unemployed, I figured this would be the perfect week. If you are interested in participating as well, following the link to the Bout of Books blog I linked above.

Here is the official blurb:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 13th and runs through Sunday, May 19th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 7.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

I will be challenging myself to read at least 3 books this week. I know, it may not seem like much but compared to what I have been reading lately (barely anything…) it's a big step for me. I haven't decided which books I will be reading yet for BoB, but I will go check out my bookshelf as soon as I am done typing this post and hit 'publish.' 

Let me know in the comments if you're going to participate too and hopefully I will see some of you around on Twitter. I can't wait to start reading and to see what others are reading too. #boutofbooks

 

Unfinished Series!

So I recently did a post about the book series I've been wanting to start reading, but then I got to thinking…there are a couple of series that I haven't even finished yet! I figured it'd be best to finish those before I begin a new one. I stopped reading these for a variety of different reasons: got into a reading slump, lost interest, didn't have access to the sequels, etc. I'll be sure to explain the scenario for each and give my opinion of the series' so far – up until the point I have read at least. 

1. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld 

I left off at about the middle of the second book, Pretties. I enjoyed the first one enough to purchase the second, but I found that I just did not have enough interest in the story. I didn't fall in love with the characters, I wasn't crazy about the plot… Don't get me wrong, I think the premise is great but the execution just isn't in my tastes. I'd like to get around to finishing the second book and hopefully the whole series one day.

2. Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare

I absolutely loved Clare's The Mortal Instruments series; I've read all of them and am excited to see the first movie (even if the actors they cast are not my favorite) when it comes out soon. However, I had more trouble getting into this series. It's basically the same world and mythology just several years earlier. Some of the same characters are present in this series as in the Mortal Instruments, but none of my favorites. I think I've read the first two in the series, but because of a combination of reading slump and loss of interest never made it to the third. One of the other things I've noticed about series is that I'm much more likely to forget about them or lose interest if I have to wait months or even years for the next sequel to come out. 

3. Across the Universe by Beth Revis

I've read the first two books and really enjoyed them, and I own the third one but have not gotten around to reading it yet. It's the conclusion of the series and I'm excited to find out what happens, but for some reason I just have not been in the mood to pick this one up. Hopefully I will be soon.

4. Gemma Doyle by Libba Bray

I have only read the first book in this series. I had heard good things about it so I picked it up, but I ended up being a little disappointed. It definitely was not what I was expecting nor it is my typical taste in books. I'd like to finish the series one day though, just to see how the story ends!

Top 5 Series I Want to Start!

Hey guys here are some series I've been wanting to read but never got around to. Series, especially long ones, can be pretty daunting to read sometimes because of the length. It's so much easier to start a stand-alone novel and then be done with it in a day or so. Saying goodbye to your favorite characters is never fun though, so that's one of the good things about series. Hopefully I'll be able to start some of these now that I have some free time on my hands finally. There are also several series I have started but never finished also awaiting my attention. 

1. The Wolves of Mercy Falls by Maggie Stiefvater

This one first came out in 2009 in the midst of all the Twilight hype, and everyone always said if you liked Twilight you'll like this one. Personally I'm kind of over the whole supernatural thing, especially werewolves (I'm more of a vampire fan). I'm willing to give it a try though, especially since I already own the first one. 

2. The Selection by Kiera Cass

I've heard a lot of mixed things about this series. I know the author fairly well though – she's actually a BookTuber (book vlogger on YouTube) that I've been subscribed to for awhile now. She's great and I'd love to support her by reading her series. 

3. Millennium by Stieg Larsson

Super popular book and movie, so it must be good right? I tried watching the movie once…but it just couldn't hold my attention. Hopefully I'll have better luck with the book.

4. Lorien Legacies by Pittacus Lore

I have the first book but have never gotten around to reading it. Every time I go to pick it up, something else catches my attention instead. I've heard good things about this series – the first one at least. The rest seem to have fallen under the radar. Hmm…

5. Gone by Michael Grant

This series seems like a great dystopian read, and they are fairly popular. The first book has gotten a lot of mixed reviews on Goodreads, but that doesn't mean that I personally won't like it! 


Which one should I tackle first? Which series are you looking forward to starting? Let me know in the comments! 

Bookmark Collection!

Hey guys, so I am officially home from college for the summer. As I was unpacking and putting my things away, I came across my bookmark collection. I have over 70 bookmarks – crazy right? Who needs that many? 

I do, apparently. Honestly though, I haven't actually used bookmarks while reading since middle school! I normally just dog-ear the pages or use the dust jacket to keep my place.

Anyways, just thought I'd share a couple with you. Enjoy.

 

bk5

These two are probably my favorites and most used. I love polka dots.

bk11

These are all my Twilight ones. There was a stage of my life in which I fangirl'ed. Hard.

 

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These are all ones that either have a specific memory for me or are from a certain place. The Rome and Phillip Island ones I received as souvenirs from my best friend in middle school when she used to travel a lot. We aren't close anymore, but the bookmarks remind me of what a great friendship we used to have. The one that says Princeton I got while visiting the college with my family. The other two are from Arlington, Virginia where my grandfather is buried in the war memorial cemetary. I got them while I was there for his funeral. 

One of the reasons why I like to collect bookmarks so much is because they're like little souvenirs – super cheap and easily transported too!

 

bk12

bk3

bk2

This one I bought at a museum field trip for school. 

 

bk9

I love bookmarks that have information, quotes, or fun facts on them. They're like little pieces of knowledge, and who doesn't love learning?

bk4

The presidents. 

 

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The string type of bookmarks.

bk1

A few of my favorite animal bookmarks. The turtle and wolf ones both have information on the other side, which, as I said before, I love.

bk10

One my mom bought for me that has my name and the origin/definition of it.

Is it weird to have a bookmark collection? I'm not sure, but I don't really care either. I think they're cool and super easy to collect. I don't go out of my way to look for them – friends and family buy them for me, I buy them when I travel new places…and over time they have just accumulated. They're also a great way to preserve memories and experiences. 

YA Books of Summer 2013

Hey all, here are some YA titles that are being released this summer that I personally think look promising/interesting. Perfect for taking along with you on those beach trips. Enjoy.

1. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

September 17th, 2013 (not really summer, but that's okay)

2 words: Stephanie Perkins. Love her. I was so pumped to see she has another book coming out and I will definitely be picking this one up! If you haven't read her other stuff yet, you should.

Boy. Girl. Love. Manhattan. France. Heartbreak. Typical female YA book, but still sounds awesome to me. 

2. All I Need by Susane Colasanti

May 21st, 2013

Summer. Falling in love. College. Goodbyes. Long-distance relationship. Um, sounds so relevant to my life that I'll have no choice but to get this one. 

3. The Raft by S.A. Bodeen

May 28th, 2013

Traveler. Honolulu. Plane crash. Ocean. One raft, 2 people, 0 food. Sounds reminiscent of The Life of Pi, but it's obviously different. The only similarity is the raft and the stranded-ness really. Sounds pretty beachy though!

4. The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

June 4th, 2013

Another 'summer before college romance book' type thing. But c'mon it's Sarah Dessen so it's probably good, right?

5. Allegiant by Veronica Roth

October 22nd, 2013 (again, not really summer, but again, that's okay)

Third book in the Divergent Series. Pure awesomeness, can't wait!

Career Stress!

I've been looking into getting another part-time job recently for over the summer. As far as I know, I'll be working at Domino's again but to be honest I'm getting a little sick of the place. I want to branch out, expand my resume. Ever since the possibility of employment entered my head around the age of 10, I've wanted to work at a bookstore. The one in my town- Walden Books – got shut down because it wasn't doing enough business, but besides that Borders closed anyway (Walden Books was affiliated with Borders). The next closest one would be Barnes n Noble, which is located in a mall that's about 20 minutes away. Kind of a drive, but it would be worth it to me. Not to mention working at a bookstore looks better on a Writing major's resume than does a fast food place. 

I won't be quitting Domino's – I've worked there long enough that I've developed a decent hourly wage and relations with the management to the point where I can pretty much pick and choose my schedule – but I might like to get a second job for the summer. I need the money, especially if my mom gets the new position she applied for. It's a good thing – she'll be making more. However, I have a $2,500 scholarship through her current place of employment that's pretty much the make-or-break for me to attend Syracuse University right now. So yeah, I need to make $$$.

Regardless, thinking about applying for a second job coupled with registering for fall classes has got me to thinking about the major dilemma once more. I don't know what I want to do with my life! I have a several interests – all of which are very different from one another – and I don't know which ones to pursue and which to say goodbye to. I'd love to work for a publishing house – so majoring in Writing with a possible background/minor in Marketing or Communications would be ideal. (What's the difference between having a background in something, and a minor anyways??) However, I've also recently discovered an interest in geography. I'm all into climate change and the like. So do I double major in Geography? Or just minor it? What kind of careers would a Geography degree get me, and are they really something I want to do for the rest of my life? Thirdly, if that's a word which I don't think it is but just go with it, I really like health and medicine. I don't do gore and I don't do math, soo I'm not sure how far that path would lead. Epidemiology is what I'm really interested in though. Perhaps a job working for the CDC? Do you need a PhD in Med. for that? Gah!

So stressful, and my time to declare is running out…

Ah, Nostalgia

I've been thinking a lot about the books I used to read when I was younger. I read a lot when I was a little kid. I owe a very large part of that to my mom. She read a lot too – she still does – and she used to always take me to the library with her. It was always something that me and her did together and had in common. My younger brother would tag along sometimes, but he was never as interested in it. My older brother reads occassionally, but, again, not as much as me and my mom do. It's cool to look back on the books that began it all…the ones that have taught me so much. Not only did I learn valuable writing and comprehension skills, but my vocabulary and spelling were also expanded. If I hadn't started reading so much at a young age, I wonder what I'd be like? What other hobbies I would have developed instead?

 

The first book I ever read was a Dr. Seuss. I remember staying up late (late for a 5-year-old that is) with my older brother upstairs in our room. We sat at a table with just one lamp to illuminate the book. He was always really patient with me. He went over that book with me again and again until I could go through and read every single word on every single page. Part of me believes I was just memorizing the story at that point instead of actually reading, but I still count it. I remember being so proud of myself and rushing downstairs to show my mom what I could do.

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In 3rd grade I received this book from my teacher, who happened to be one of my favorite teachers. I still have it to this day in a special place on my bookshelf. 

Around the time I was in 2nd-4th grade I started to really get into several younger readers and middle grade series. The Scholastic Book Fair days at school were always my favorite. When I got my own library card (instead of just using my mom's) I felt so official and mature, even though my signature was barely legible. I remember checking the library each time I went for books in the series I hadn't read yet and getting really excited when I came across one. I used to read for hours and hours. I'd check out so many books from the library…the stack was always so tall that I could barely carry them up to the front desk. I have so many old favorites, but here are just a few:

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

The Bailey School Kids series

Nancy Drew series

Two of a Kind series by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen

The Boxcar Children series

anything Judy Blume

The Babysitters Club series

Junie B. Jones series

Looking at these pictures brings back a lot of fond memories for me. I'm sitting in my dorm room, but it's like I can smell the distcint scent of library and used books. 

 

I think it's so important that kids start reading at an early age. Like they always say, it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks. Hobbies and interests get developed early on, and it's crucial that reading becomes one of them. When/if I have children of my own, I will definitely be pushing these titles on them. 

 

What books were your childhood favorites?

Book Profiling

Tonight I'm in one of those moods where I feel like being all philosophical, where some of my random thoughts about life's deeper meaning come to the forefront. It's raining…I'm sleepy…and overwhelmed by essays, tests, and projects. It's the perfect storm for a ramble, so of course I had to blog about it. 

So I've recently been thinking about book profiling lately. And by that I mean, if you see someone reading a certain book, you automatically make certain judgments about them. Does a person reading a classic novel make you think they're intellignet, sophisticated, educated? Does a YA novel cause you to assume the reader is more simple-minded – lazy, even – because those books don't require much effort on their end? It's interesting to think about it.

And then of course you can look at people and make assumptions about the type of books they probably read, if they read at all. Maybe it's just me but I can usually tell whether or not someone is a reader, and, if they are, what types of books they like. From porno magazines to classics to history books to sci fi, it's usually pretty clear. 

I'm not really sure where I'm going with this, but I don't know, it's just something to think about…

Bookshelves You Wish You Owned

Hey everyone! I thought I'd share my bookcase with you all. Stuck here in my dorm room with only the few books I brought with me makes me miss my messy shelves back home. It's usually a little more organized and neater than this, but while I'm at school my mom likes to "borrow" books from my room and can never seem to put them back in the right spot. It's okay though, I'm glad they're being put to good use rather than just collecting dust. 

You can't tell but on the top shelf I have a few trophies and medals from my childhood (basketball, a beauty pageant, cheerleading) and some other random memorabilia. The shelf directly below that are my favorite hard cover books. All the shelves are double stacked by the way, meaning there's books behind the books that you can see. Running out of room but too lazy/cheap to buy another bookcase. Anyway moving on, the next shelf is my paperbacks that I have read along with a picture frame and a sand-filled frog that fell over. Then I have books that I haven't read yet, otherwise known as my TBR (to-be-read) pile and a stuffed bear from Dorney Park, Pennsylvania. Then I just have random books – ones that are either too large or too small so they'd look awkward with the other ones, classics, some journals, dictionaries, writing guides, etc. There's also a green bike seat and a dark blue doorhandle from my friend's Tiburon. Don't ask why. The very last shelf is old notebooks and folders from high school, yearbooks, a picture album, some movies and some CDs. Like I said, messy and unorganized but I love it.

Hopefully when I'm older and can afford nice things to have in my own home, I'll be able to upgrade to something much nicer. Here are some cool bookcases I found.

 

 

100 Best Books?

I recently stumbled upon TIME Magazine's "All-Time 100 Novels" list and thought it'd be cool to see how many of them I've read. There are quite a few lists like this one floating around the Internet, all of them composed of different titles but for the most part consisting of classics. I'm not a huge fan of classics, but there are definitely a few I'm interested in reading one day…not to mention the ones I was forced to read in high school. Here's the list. Titles marked with an "x" are ones that I have read. The ones that are italicized are ones I might want to read one day. I've only read 11, that's pretty sad! Count how many you've read and tell me in the comments below 🙂

The Adventures of Augie March

All the King’s Men

American Pastoral

An American Tragedy

Animal Farm

Appointment in Samarra

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret

The Assistant

At Swim-Two-Birds

Atonement [X]

Beloved [X]

The Berlin Stories

The Big Sleep

The Blind Assassin

Blood Meridian

Brideshead Revisited

The Bridge of San Luis Rey

Call It Sleep

Catch-22

The Catcher in the Rye [X]

A Clockwork Orange [X]

The Confessions of Nat Turner

The Corrections

The Crying of Lot 49

A Dance to the Music of Time

The Day of the Locust

Death Comes for the Archbishop

A Death in the Family

The Death of the Heart

Deliverance

Dog Soldiers

Falconer

The French Lieutenant’s Woman

The Golden Notebook

Go Tell it on the Mountain

Gone With the Wind [X]

The Grapes of Wrath

Gravity’s Rainbow

The Great Gatsby [X]

A Handful of Dust

The Heart is A Lonely Hunter

The Heart of the Matter

Herzog

Housekeeping

A House for Mr. Biswas

I, Claudius

Infinite Jest

Invisible Man

Light in August

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe [X]

Lolita

Lord of the Flies

The Lord of the Rings

Loving

The Moviegoer

Lucky Jim

The Man Who Loved Children

Midnight’s Children

Money

Mrs. Dalloway

Naked Lunch

Native Son

Neuromancer

Never Let Me Go

1984 [X]

On the Road

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

The Painted Bird

Pale Fire

A Passage to India

Play It As It Lays

Portnoy’s Complaint

Possession

The Power and the Glory

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

Rabbit, Run

Ragtime

The Recognitions

Red Harvest

Revolutionary Road

The Sheltering Sky

Slaughterhouse Five [X]

Snow Crash

The Sot-Weed Factor

The Sound and the Fury

The Sportswriter

The Spy Who Came in From the Cold

The Sun Also Rises

Their Eyes Were Watching God

Things Fall Apart [X]

To Kill a Mockingbird [X]

To the Lighthouse

Tropic of Cancer

Ubik

Under the Net

Under the Volcano

Watchmen

White Noise

White Teeth

Wide Sargasso Sea