To Annotate or Not to Annotate [Discussion] #LetsTalkBookish #LetsDiscuss2022

April 20, 2022

Do You Annotate?

Pros and Cons

To Annotate or not to Annotate (white text over the background of a stack of hardback books)

Image Source: Canva

Some readers annotate and some do not.

What is annotating?
What is the purpose of a
nnotating?
How do you annotate?
Why annotate?

I love discussion posts, and many of my favorite bloggers participate in Let’s Talk Bookish and the Discussion Challenge. Do you love discussion posts?

As I reflect, think about your experience. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

This post is inspired by the Let’s Talk Bookish topic hosted by Aria @ Book Nook Bits. This post is also an entry for the 2022 Discussion Challenge hosted by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction and Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight.

Let's Talk Bookish graphic

2022 Discussion Challenge (meme)

What is Annotation?

Annotation is simply interacting with the text to find meaning as you read.

What is the difference between Annotation, Highlighting, and Note-Taking?

All three are forms of interacting with the text for the purpose of increasing comprehension and constructing meaning. All three facilitate communication between the author and the reader.

Annotation occurs right on the page and involves a system of symbols. Love something? Put an exclamation point in the margin. Confused? Add a question mark in the margin. Don’t know a word? Circle it.  Love a thought. Add a heart to the margin. Want to remember a quote? Underline and put a star in the margin. Disagree? Place a sad face in the margin. Do you see steps or a list of reasons? Number them. Do you notice a potential theme developing? Mark it with a “T.” Etc. In the days when I was reading physical books, I always read with a pencil in hand (except for library books of course!). You can make up your own set of symbols for annotating.

a poster of annotation symbols

Highlighting: Use a highlighter or different color highlighters to highlight certain sections, words, phrases, and concepts. The danger of this is that you might not remember why you highlighted a certain part. Or you might be a 5th grader who loves to use a highlighter and indescriminately highlight an entire page or pages! (Come on! I know you remember doing that!) If you are reading on a kindle, you can use the highlighting tool (and actually export these highlights!). As an alternative to a highlighter you could use book darts to mark a line or a post-it to mark a page or write a note. If you are an audio book listener, you can bookmark a certain location (or write the location in a note on your phone) and put it in physical note form later.

Note-Taking: When I take notes, I like to divide my paper into sections for characters, setting, themes, quotes, etc. Downsides to taking notes: it’s more laborious than other methods and they can be misplaced! So I recommend a spiral you can use as a book journal for note taking. In theory, it’s more difficult to lose an entire journal than a scap of paper.

Do I Annotate?

Absolutely!
Well, this needs a clarification. When I used to buy physical books, I annotated them all. Now I read digital books and need to rely on highlighting or note-taking. However, of all the methods I love annotating the most. I love picking up a book I’ve read and seeing all the annotations! Have you ever bought a used book filled with annotations?

Why Do I Annotate?

The main reason I annotate is to promote comprehension and construct meaning. In other words: to retain, question, react, or respond. When I taught 5th grade, I required my students to annotate. I loved that we had “consumable” social studies textbooks so that I could teach them to use an annotation system of special marks. There are charts of marks you can access or simply make up your own! Annotation is a form of communication with the author and the best comprehension tool. Related: When I was a student, I always took extensive notes and often I came home and rewrote my notes. The act of physically moving the pencil on paper builds comprehension and meaning. Have you found that to be true in your life? This same principle applies here!

Reviewing Tip

For writing reviews, it is imperative that I use one of these three methods for interacting with the story. My notes, annotations, and/or highlights jog my memory of the reading experience, jump start my review, and give me examples to site or quotes to highlight.

The Cons of Annotating

Well, the obvious con is that you don’t want to write on the pristine pages of your book! I promise it’s ok to mark up your book! Permission granted! Annotating will make your reading experience more meaningful and increase the sentimental value of your book. Another con might be the investment of time. However, if time spent results in a more satisfying reading experience, isn’t it worth it? Honestly, I can’t think of another con. Can you? If you don’t annotate, can you share why?

TL;DR

Interacting with the text in whatever way possible adds meaning to your reading experience.
Highly recommended!

QOTD: Do You Annotate, Highlight, or Take Notes?



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



Let’s Get Social!

Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

© ReadingLadies.com

Are You a Rereader? What Makes You Reread A Book? #EleanorOliphantIsCompletelyFine [Book Review] #LetsTalkBookish #LetsDiscuss2022

February 2, 2022

Are you a rereader?

What makes you reread a book?

Are You a Rereader? Rereading Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine (white text over a background of a stack of hardback books)

 

Image Source: Canva

Some avid readers are rereaders and some are not. Which are you?

How do you decide what to reread? What makes you want to reread? Are you a frequent rereader or an occassional rereader? Maybe you’ve never reread a book and can tell us why.

I’m reviewing Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine (a reread) in today’s blog post.

I was going to clean the house, but then I realised.l..this book isn't going to read itself (Image: a young woman sits on the floor leaning against a cabinet reading a book)

I love discussion posts, and many of my favorite bloggers participate in Let’s Talk Bookish and the Discussion Challenge. Do you love discussion posts?

As I answer the questions, think about how you would answer them for yourself. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

This post is inspired by the Let’s Talk Bookish topic hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion. This post is also an entry for the 2022 Discussion Challenge (this is also my sign up post), hosted by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction and Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight.

2022 Discussion Challenge (meme)

***This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Am I a Rereader?

Not really. I seldom reread. So many books, so little time! The few books I have reread are on my lifetime favorites list. I can’t envision rereading a book I didn’t absolutely love. Are you a rereader?

What Motivates Me to Reread?

Upon reading the last page of a book I really really loved, I put it on my lifetime favorites list. These are the books that I choose from if I’m going to reread.

I realize that rereading can have a different purpose from the first read. Maybe in a reread I can pay closer attention to the author’s writing and style; maybe I’m looking for clues that I missed or evidence for why the author chose a certain ending; maybe I’m looking for evidence for a conclusion I drew from the author’s open ending; maybe its to revisit certain themes or beloved characters; or maybe the book was just so beautiful that I want to immerse myself in that world again. I’m a fairly fast reader, so rereading helps me focus on other elements (besides a pageturning plot).

What motivated me to reread the book I’m reviewing today?

  • I LOVED it!
  • The jaw dropping ending had me immediately contemplating a reread some day so that I could appreciate the way the author constructed the story and developed the characters.
  • A few members of my online book club chose to read this book in January and I thought it would be fun to reread and discuss it with others.
  • I read it before blogging and have never written a formal review (which you’ll receive today!).

My Biggest Drawbacks in Rereading:

  1. Because I only reread books from my lifetime favorites list, I’m always afraid that I won’t love it as much as the first time.
  2. So many books, so little time.
  3. I suffer from FOMO and I’m distracted by the new and shiny, so the pleasure of rereading gets pushed to the back burner.

Can you relate to any of my drawbacks?

What Books Have I Reread?

See? It’s not many! There are so many books and so little time that I seldom feel I have the time to invest in a reread. The reason I reread the last three MG books is that I’m in a MG book club and I wanted to reread the selections before I made the recommendations. How many books have you reread?

What Books Would I Like to Reread Next?

  1. A Place For Us
  2. Anxious People
  3. The Hiding Place

Do you have a reread planned?

Today’s Review and My Recent Reread:
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (cover)

My Summary:

Eleanor has a carefully constructed life and daily routine, avoids close relationships, and says exactly what she thinks. Her weekends involve frozen pizza and vodka. Every Wednesday she talks with Mummy. The day she meets easy going and big-hearted Raymond, the IT guy, things begin to change as she opens her heart to friendship.

My Thoughts:

(I think this is a story best read without reading reviews first, so proceed with caution as I might reveal more than you want to know.)

Common Misconception: I frequently hear Eleanor Oliphant described as humorous and quirky. My opinion differs. Yes, Eleanor is outspoken and her observations and comments are candid and at times snarky. Many times, her behaviors and observations brought a smile to my face. However, there’s obviously so much more going on that I wouldn’t describe it as humorous or quirky. I think of it more as a story of trauma and survival.

The Hero: Raymond is the hero in the story. He’s kind, nonjudgemental, accepting, encouraging, consistent, persistent, understanding, thoughtful, and patient. A true friend. A “foil” to all the unkind people at work. I hope that you have a Raymond in your life and you are a Raymond to others. #ChooseKindness

I LOVE brave Eleanor. I admire Eleanor and her ability to carve out the life she does in spite of her past trauma which is alluded to throughout the story. She is a survivor. I love that Raymond is her friend (and I hope much more!).

“I felt the heat where his hand had been; it was only a moment, but it left a warm imprint, almost as though it might be visible. A human hand was exactly the right weight, exactly the right temperature for touching another person, I realized. I’d shaken hands a fair bit over the year–more so recently–but I hadn’t been touched in a lifetime.”

Guaranteed UNFORGETTABLE. This is a difficulty story to review because it’s best “to discover for yourself.” After I read the last page, I KNEW that this story would demand a reread. I was engaged as much on the reread as I was the first time even though I knew the big reveal. The way Gail Honeyman constructs the story and develops the character is masterful!

Compelling Themes: loneliness, bravery, honesty, survival, unconditional love, healing, acceptance, friendship, and restoration.

***contains spoilers***
Content Considerations: past spousal abuse and domestic violence, past childhood neglect and violence, suicide attempt, alcholism, workplace harassment (bullying)

Highly Recommended: I realize that this might not be a book for everyone, but Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is on my lifetime favorites list and I highly encourage you to give this unique story a try. Recommended for readers who appreciate complex personalities and complicated lives. I’ve heard Eleanor Oliphant compared to other “quirky” reads and characters, but for me she is in a category all her own and can not be compared. Have you read it?

My Star Rating: 5 Stars

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (cover)

Eleanor Oliphant Information Here.

Meet the Author, Gail Honeyman

Gail HoneymanGail was born and raised in Stirling, Scotland. Her mother was as a civil servant and her father a scientist. Gail was an avid reader in her childhood, visiting the library “a ridiculous number of times a week” due to her passion for books.

She studied French language and literature at the Glasgow University and continued her education at the University of Oxford, starting a postgraduate course in French poetry. However, Gail realised that an academic career was not for her and she started a string of “backroom jobs”. She worked at first as a civil servant in economic development and then as an administrator at Glasgow University.

While working at Glasgow University, Gail enrolled in a Faber Academy writing course, writing the first three chapters of what would become Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. Cambridge’s Lucy Cavendish College was running a competition for unpublished fiction by female writers and it was just what she was looking for to fulfill her lifelong passion for reading, so she submitted her work and the rest is history. The novel was published in 2017 and earned numerous awards, sold millions of copies, and received wide critical acclaim.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine won the 2017 Costa First Novel Award.

 



QOTD:

What makes you reread or not reread? What is the last book you reread?

Have you read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine?

If you are a rereader, what has been your favorite reread?



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



Let’s Get Social!

Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

© ReadingLadies.com

Books About Books and #TheReadingList [Book Review] #WhatsOnYourBookshelfChallenge

January 21, 2022

Do you love Books About Books?

Favorite Books About Books (white text alongside a tall stack of hardback books on a blue painted wood table)

Today for the #WhatsOnYourBookshelfChallenge I’m focusing on “Books About Books.”

Do you have a favorite Book About Books?

I fall hard for Books About Books and it’s one of my favorite and most read categories! Following today’s review, find a list of a few of my favorite “Books About Books” titles.


For today’s review, I’m highlighting my most recent “books about books” read:

The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams

The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams (cover) white text overe a graphic image of scattered open books

Genre/Categories/Settings: Contemporary Fiction, Books About Books, Ode to Books and Libraries, Multi-Generational Friendship, London (suburb)

My Summary:

The Reading List is a memorable debut novel about a list of library books, the magic of reading, and unlikely friendships. A widower, Mukesh longs to connect with Priya his bookworm granddaughter. He ventures into the local library and meets Aleisha, a lonely and sometimes surly teenager who is a volunteer at the library for the summer. Aleisha has discovered a reading list in the back of one of the books she was shelving and decided she would read the books on the list. When Mukesh asks her for a reading recommendation, she remembers the list and recommends the first book on the list. Mukesh and Aleisha strike up an unlikely friendship and connection through discussing the books on the list as they read them (she reads one book ahead of him).

My Thoughts:

Debut: The Reading List is a beautifully written and all around wonderful debut novel. Sara Nisha Adams is definitely on my “new authors to watch” list!

Main Characters: Mukesh and Aleisha are both lonely and start out as nonreaders. Aleisha begins to read books on the “found” list out of curiosity and boredom while Mukesh thinks he “should” read because his late wife was a reader and now his granddaughter is a bookworm. He hopes that reading will help him keep alive the close connection he had with his wife and make new connections with his granddaughter, Pirya. Mukesh and Aleisha form a bookclub of sorts as they look forward to sharing their thoughts about the recent book that Aleisha has recommended for him (from the list). Their conversations are sweet, a friendship forms, and reading becomes a lifeline for both of them.

Other Characters: The story includes other colorful and interesting characters from the library and the community. However, when the author devotes an entire chapter to a random character, I found it to be a distraction that took me out of the story and away from the main characters. Each one is an interesting character and the sections of random characters exhibit the same quality of writing, but I’m not sure of the purpose except to establish the sense of a broader reading community.

The Reading Life: The author captures so much of the magic, satisfaction, and enjoyment of the reading life! Books have the ability to create strong connections between people….even strangers! How many times have you been in a public place and found yourself trying to read the title of the book the person next to you or across from you is reading? Or when you notice a person reading a book you loved, do you feel compelled to start a conversation? Do you ever feel that a book is recommending a person? I.E. if this person is reading that book, they must be a great person! Book people really are the best people, and I think this a universally recognized fact!

Favorite Quote:

“Priya was reading a book he knew all about. He knew the world Priya was in right now. There was something magical in that…in sharing a world you have loved; allowing someone to see it through the same pair of spectacles you saw it through yourself.”

A Mystery: There is a bit of intrigue in the story, also. Where did the list come from? Who created it? For what purpose was it created? Is there a reason that certain books were selected?

Structure: The story is loosely structured around the actual reading list as Mukesh and Aleisha work their way through. Each book is discussed to varying degrees and your reading enjoyment will be enhanced if you’ve read some or all of the books (but it’s not necessary to have read any of them). However, there’s more to this story than a simple reading list. It’s a story of found family, community, grief, connection, and moving forward.

The Books: Mukesh’s reading experience starts with The Time Traveler’s Wife (a book Mukesh found while cleaning after his wife died). He wants to read the book she had last read before he returns it to the library. This in turn leads him to meeting Aleisha and receiving his first recommendation.

(if you’re curious!) The Reading List:

To Kill a Mockingbird
Rebecca
The Life of Pi
The Kite Runner
Pride and Prejudice
Little Women
A Suitable Boy
Beloved

Themes: the joys of reading, connecting with others through books, the book life, friendship, support, loneliness, sibling relationships, mental health, grief, complicated family dynamics, connection, and community.

***contains spoilers***
Content Considerations: mental health, suicide, cancer

Highly Recommended: I’m enthusiastically recommending The Reading List for fans of books about books and the reading life, for those who appreciate an uplifting story (except for hard hitting issues as mentioned above), for readers who may have read any or all of the books on “the list,” and for book clubs.

Your Book List: If YOU were to curate a reading list to leave in random places for other readers or non-readers to find, what books would you put on your list and why? Wouldn’t it be fun to start finding book lists lying around?! Hummmm….perhaps this will be a future blog post!

My Rating: 4 Stars

twinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-star

The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams (cover) white text overe a graphic image of scattered open books

The Reading List Information Here

Meet the Author, Sara Nisha Adams

Author Sara Nisha AdamsSara Nisha Adams is a writer and editor. She lives in London and was born in Hertfordshire to Indian and English parents. Her debut novel The Reading List is partly inspired by her grandfather, who lived in Wembley and immediately found a connection with his granddaughter through books.



A Few of My Favorite Books About Books/Bookshops/Libraries

(the first section are my most favorite and most highly recommended)

The Printed Letter Bookshop
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
How to Find Love in a Bookshop
The Last Bookshop in London
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
The Librarian of Auschwitz
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
The Reading List

* * *
The Last Chance Library
The Paris Library
The Lost and Found Bookshop
The Jane Austen Society
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill
The Library of Lost and Found
The Night of Many Endings
Cloud Cuckoo Land
The Personal Librarian
84, Charing Cross Road



 I’m linking up with Deb @ Deb’s World and SueDonna, and Jo for the January installment of #WhatsOnYourBookShelfChallenge.

Whats On Your Bookshelf Challenge



QOTD:

Do you love Books About Books?
Do you have a favorite?
Is The Reading List on your TBR or have you read it?



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



Let’s Get Social!

Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



***Blog posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

© ReadingLadies.com

2021 Reading Stats and 2022 Goals

December 30, 2021

Happy New Year Book Worms!

2021 Reading Stats and 2022 Goals

Reflection: 2021 Reading and 2022 Goals (white text over a background of an open journal, pen, hardbbackbook and holiday candles)

Image Source: Canva

Brace yourself for a nerdy post, bookaholics!

Have you ever set a reading goal or considered a reading challenge?

Reading in 2021

I’d love to hear from you if you analyze reading data at year’s end. Although I’ve always been analytical, I think my appreciation for using data to plan was heightened during my tenure as a teacher when I poured over student data to inform my teaching. Now, instead of looking at student achievement, I’m paying attention to my own numbers as it relates to reading achievement. I realize that while numbers are not that important in a rewarding reading life, they do reveal some trends and inform future reading choices. It’s important to me that I’m reading diversely, supporting women authors, and increasing my nonfiction percentage. While this post about the numbers is mostly a self-reflection, I hope you find it interesting and possibly motivating toward considering your own reading achievement during the past year and setting some goals for 2022.

If you’ve read ONE book this year, you’re a reader and I encourage you to celebrate that read and accomplishment!

Blog Feedback

I’d also like to know (in comments) what you’d like to see more of or less of on the blog for 2022. Has the variety this year been satisfactory for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts! In fact, I may put together a survey in January.

2021 has been another challenging year, but I’m also so grateful for wonderful books and delightful bookish conversation! Thank you to each of my followers and visitors! Thanks for the views, comments, and shares! I appreciate EACH one!
giphy

Best of 2021

See this post for a list of my most memorable reads in 2021 and this post for my top five memorable histfic reads of 2021.



Let’s Talk Numbers!

Total Books Read: 119

Remember….it’s really not about the numbers! It’s about the enjoyment of reading.

This number is down a bit from last year’s high of 131, but as long as I’m above 100 I’m satisfied. I averaged 25-30 books a year when I was teaching full time and the majority of those were read during the summer. For me in this season of life, 100 books is a comfortable number. I average two books per week and the weeks when I can only read one dense nonfiction or a 500+ page fiction are balanced out later when I can read 3 lighter, shorter books in one week.

My Year in Books (stats from Goodreads)



Books Abandoned (DNF): 7

I’m getting better at knowing my reading tastes and passing on books/genres that I know won’t be to my taste. I’m also not reluctant to abandon books that aren’t working for me. There are too many great books waiting to be read to make myself finish something that isn’t right for me at the time. Are you a fearless abandoner or a committed finisher



Women Authors: 102!

One of my goals in starting this blog is to support women authors writing about strong women and I feel like I’ve had success in this area. We’ve certainly come a long way since the days when women had to publish under a man’s name!



Diverse Reads: 20

For this number, I counted the books that take place in a culture other than my own, whose characters are ethnically different from me, and whose author is an author of color. It was my focus this year to intentionally read and promote authors of color. I have read other books in a broader sense of diversity, and it’s always my goal to read more diversely.

Library Books:

One stat I enjoy tracking each year is the percentage of books I read that are from the library.

Library = 41 (34%)
ARC (advanced readers copy from the publisher) = 40 (34%)
Own = 38 (32%)

I didn’t realize until I counted them up that the percentage is evenly distributed! Between library books and ARCs, 68% of my books are free! Great kindle deals help me buy books to own.



Fiction: (Broken Down by Sub-Genre): 107

The sub-genres add up to a more than 107 because a few books fall into more than one category.

Historical Fiction: 29
This is obviously a favorite sub-genre! See my top five memorable histfic reads in this post.

Literary Fiction: 4
This is a category that brings about some debate among readers….the most simple definition is that literary fiction is not genre fiction. Also, it’s character driven (usually) and known as literature written to explore the meaning of life and its issues….for example, most prestigious award recipients and national prize winners are categorized as literary fiction. My favorite title this year in the category is Gilead by Marilynne Robinson.

Women’s Fiction: 57
Wow! This is the first time I’ve ever read this much “women’s fiction”! There were months when these books were a balm to my pandemic brain! Again, a reader’s definition may vary….for me they are books in which most characters are women and the plot centers around women’s concerns and issues….some in this category are lighter reads that readers refer to as “beach reads” or “vacation reads.” Two of my favorites in this category are Three Words For Goodbye by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb and Yours Cheerfully by AJ Pearce.

Mystery/Thriller/Suspense/Science Fiction: 8
Clearly, I don’t read too much in this category because real life is scary enough….mainly, the books I read in this category are best sellers that I want to form my own opinion about. Although I rarely read scifi, my favorite read in this category is the audio version of Project Hail Mary…simply fabulous!

Issue Centered: 5
The main purpose of these stories is to focus on a certain issue. I usually enjoy these books unless they are heavily agenda driven by the author. My favorite title in this category is The Stranger in the Lifeboat by Mitch Albom (what if God appeared to you when you called out?)

Middle Grade: 12
I love a great Middle Grade read! There’s some enjoyable and engaging literature in this category for adults! Two of my favorites are Ghost by Jason Reynolds and Other Words For Home by Jasmine Warga.

I’ve started a Newbery Project which you can find in my blog’s menu pages.

Young Adult: 6
I didn’t read in this category as much as in previous years. One of my favorites this year is Firekeeper’s Daughter.



Nonfiction (broken down into sub-genres): 12

This is a definite area for improvement for me in 2022! My goal is to have a 20% nonfiction percentage. In this second year of the pandemic, I have been more drawn to escapist reads! My favorite nonfiction in 2021 is The Day the World Came to Town (don’t miss the Broadway musical Come From Away streaming on AppleTV +).

Memoir: 6
Memoir is a favorite form of nonfiction.

Biography: 1

Narrative Nonfiction: 1
Nonfiction written in story format.

Essay: 4



Story Graph

You may have heard about Story Graph, an alternative book tracking app to Goodreads. I decided to use both Goodreads and Story Graph this year to compare them (a blog post about this coming soon). One of the delights of using Story Graph is that it provides you with neat charts and graphs to help summarize your reading. My Story Graph handle is reading_ladies_blog. Here are a few of my 2021 charts/graphs:

Story Graph 4

Story Graph 1

Story Graph 2

Story Graph 3



Let’s Consider New 2022 Goals

(please share yours in comments):

Goal 1:

Goodreads Reading Challenge (determine how many books you’d like to read and track them through the Goodreads app). This is the easiest of the goals/challenges as it simply involves setting a number. This number can be adjusted throughout the year if you are reading above or below your goal. I recommend setting a reasonable goal and then raising it if necessary. My goal is 100 books. I met this goal in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021, and it’s reasonable that I will meet it again. Retirement and pandemic isolation help tremendously! The 2022 Goodreads challenge will be available at the first of the year. Are we friends on Goodreads?

My Year in Books (stats from Goodreads)

This year I used StoryGraph concurrently with Goodreads to compare and contrast the two platforms. A blog post about that is coming soon.

Goal 2:

I want to curate a satisfying reading life in which I read what I want, when I want! (Thus, no other challenges for me this year.) I’ve come to the conclusion that life is hard enough without adding book challenges.

My goals are simple: read at least 100 books in 2022, read widely and diversely, and increase my nonfiction percentage.



What reading goals do you have for 2022?

goal make things happen



Happy New Year! I hope you’ve experienced some pleasurable and challenging reading in 2021 and are eagerly anticipating the reading year ahead!

giphy

giphy-1



QOTD:

Did you meet your reading goal for 2021?

What is your 2022 Reading Goal?

Do you use a method for tracking your reads during the year?

Have you considered your best read of the year? (see my most memorable reads of 2021 in this post and my top five historical fiction reads in this post.)



Happy Reading Book Worms!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



Let’s Get Social!

Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



***Blog posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

© WWW.ReadingLadies.com

 

“Uplit” Recommendations and #AVicarageChristmas [Book Review] #WhatsOnYourBookshelfChallenge

December 17, 2021

Do you have “Uplit” on your bookshelves?

UpLit What's On Your Bookshelf (white text in a blue text box against a background of reddish pink balloons against a blue sky

Today for the #WhatsOnYourBookshelfChallenge I’m focusing on “Uplit.” If this term is new to you, here’s a definition I found online:

‘Up Lit’ is the new literary buzz word, described as a trend for books with an emphasis on empathy, books that are uplifting and life-affirming, and which explore themes of family bonds and the human spirit. These types of novels focus on kinder, gentler human connections, but have an element that preserves realism.

Although I regularly and intentionally seek out “feel good” books with some substance (more in 2020 and 2021 than ever before!), I first became aware of “Uplit” as an official term and subgenre in this blog post by Lynne @ Fictionophile.

Uplit adds balance to my reading life.

Perhaps this is why I adore Middle Grade literature that often has strong themes of family, friendship, and hope.

However, “uplit” is not exclusively fluffy and light. The stories can include substantial themes but kindness, gentleness, empathy, and hope always shine through the darkness.

***Note of Caution: as with most subgenres, there can be a difference of opinion in the books that are included….the following list is not an “official” list and simply represents my personal opinions.

From my reading, here are a few of my favorite “uplit” titles (in no particular order):

Although those who curate lists often cite Eleanor Oliphant as their prime example of “Uplit,” I don’t know if I fully agree. Although there is kindness, quirkiness, and a ray of hope, the story is filled with trauma and has an unreliable narrator. The story is devastating. What do you think? Uplit or not?


For today’s review, I’m highlighting my most recent “uplit” find from The Holley Sisters of Thornthwaite Series (Book 1)

A Vicarage Christmas by Kate Hewitt

A Vicarage Christmas by Kate J

My Summary:

A family tragedy that happened years ago has caused Anna, the third of four sisters, to suffer from shyness and some social anxiety. She works and lives in Manchester and for the first time in years she comes home for Christmas because her parents have a big announcement. Coming home is difficult for her yet she adores her family. One night to escape her busy and complicated family and bossy sister, she goes alone to a pub where she meets a handsome and kind stranger. Simon is easy to talk to and she ends up spilling her family secrets. She’s mortified to later learn that Simon is connected with her father at his Parish. Can Simon and Anna salvage their new relationship, negotiate family complications, and create a magical Christmas?

My Thoughts:

I first came across this series in a post by Lisa @ Hopewell’s Public Library of Life Blog just at the time I was comtemplating light Christmas reads for December and rounding out my novella reads for Novellas in November. At 182 pages, this is a quick light read for your busy December days! Thanks for the rec Lisa!

Setting: Who can resist a quaint village in England’s Lake District?

Characters: A Vicarage Christmas is a poignant story of a lovely family comprised of four adult daughters with four unique personalities, a wise and kind father who is also the Vicar of the village parish, and a compassionate and understanding mother who holds the family together and is a gracious hostess. Then, there’s Simon who would like a future with Anna, and I can’t forget about the beloved family dog.

Themes: Lovely themes in A Vicarage Christmas include family dynamics, sibling loyalty, taking risks, grief and childhood trauma, reconciling with the past, community, and parents who do the unexpected.

Lots to Love! I enjoyed this “uplit” story of family, community, and finding love. After reading this novella, I am eager to continue with the series. I’m now on book three, but I think I’m loving book one the most! It was a perfect December read and introduction to the series.

Content Consideration: one trigger warning for memories of the death of a child (sibling)

Recommended: A Vicarage Christmas is an excellent example of “uplit” in my opinion! I’m enthusiastically recommending this heartfelt story for fans of “uplit,” for readers who love gently told stories with themes of family, faith, and finding love, and for those looking for a novella or quick vacation/weekend read.

My Rating: 4 Stars (3.5 rounded up)

twinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-starhalf twinkle-twinkle-little-star

A Vicarage Christmas by Kate J

A Vicarage Christmas Information Here

Meet the Author, Kate Hewitt

Author Kate HewittKate Hewitt is the bestselling author of many novels of both historical and contemporary fiction. She particularly enjoys writing contemporary issue-driven women’s fiction, and her novels have been called ‘unputdownable’ and ‘the most emotional book I have ever read’ by readers.

An American ex-pat, she lives in a small market town in Wales with her husband and five young(ish) children, along with their two Golden Retrievers. Join her newsletter for monthly updates and giveaways at http://www.kate-hewitt.com, or be part of her Facebook groups Kate’s Reads, to discuss all manner of books, movies, music and cooking.


 I’m linking up with Deb @ Deb’s World and SueDonna, and Jo for the December installment of #WhatsOnYourBookShelfChallenge.

Whats On Your Bookshelf Challenge



QOTD:

Have you read A Vicarage Christmas or is it on your TBR?

Do you read “uplit”?

What is your number one “uplit” recommendation?



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



Let’s Get Social!

Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



***Blog posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

© ReadingLadies.com

My Newbery Project #WhatsOnYourBookshelfChallenge #NewberyBooks

November 19, 2021

Today for the #WhatsOnYourBookshelfChallenge I’m focusing on Middle Grade reads, particularly books that have won the Newbery Award. In fact, I have a Newbery Page in my blog menu!

My Newbery Project

my-newbery-project

Background Image Source: Canva

What is the Newbery Award?

First awarded in 1922, the Newbery Award also known as the John Newbery Medal is a literary award given by the Association of Library Services for Children (as part of the American Library Association) to one author (per year) for the most distinguished contribution to American children’s literature.

Winners display the medal on the cover as shown on this 2019 winner:

Merci Suarez Changes Gears by Meg Medina (cover) ....girl on bike

For each year, in addition to the one Newbery winner there are also Honor winners.

You can find the complete list of Winners and Honors in this link.

When I’m in a reading slump or simply looking for a lighter and quicker read, I often turn to middle grade literature as evidenced in these posts: 10 Reasons Why I love Middle Grade Books. or 10 Awesome and Diverse Reads for Middle Grade or 10 Inspirational Reads For Middle grade. Obviously, the Newbery list is not the only resource for finding fabulous middle-grade reads, but I do check the list to see what I can check off. As a result, I’ve decided to document my progress toward reading Newbery Award winners.

I’ve created a page that you can find in my blog menu or by clicking on this link:

My Page For My Newbery Project Progress Here

How Many Newbery Award Winner (or Honors) Have You Read?

Or do you have other awards you follow?

 I’m linking up with Deb @ Deb’s World and SueDonna, and Jo for the November installment of #WhatsOnYourBookShelfChallenge .

Whats On Your Bookshelf Challenge



Remain Young At Heart and Read Middle Grade!

QOTD:

Do you have a favorite Middle Grade Read? A favorite Newbery Award winner?



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



Let’s Get Social!

Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



***Blog posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

© ReadingLadies.com

10 Bookish Confessions From an Ardent Bibliophile #TopTenTuesday

August 17, 2021

“Spinning the TTT Topic”

10 Bookish Confessions From an Ardent Bibliophile

10 Bookish Confessions From an Ardent Bibliophile (white text over a background of a woman reading in a hammock)

Image Source: Canva

Today, I’m linking up with That Artsy Reader Girl for Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Places I Love to Read.

The dilemma here is that I can read ALMOST ANYWHERE and I love to read EVERY WHERE! So a more interesting SPIN on this topic is places and circumstances in which I CANNOT read….thus a confession of sorts.

Top Ten Tuesday (meme)

If you’ve clicked over from That Artsy Reader Girl, Welcome! Please look around and enjoy your stay.

***This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

I can read almost any where and at almost any time!

Readers Gonna Read!

♦ Late at night (into the wee hours) ♦ During most TV programs ♦ Outside or inside ♦ At sporting events ♦ At coffee shops ♦ While standing in line ♦ Waiting rooms ♦ When it’s quiet or noisy ♦ Sitting in a comfy chair, at a table, or on a sofa ♦ In bed ♦ While cooking (e-books or audio books makes it easier!) ♦ Inside or outside ♦ During cold or warm seasons ♦ Instead of other projects ♦ In the bath ♦ At Disneyland (yes I read an entire book one day when my children were old enough to be on their own and had “check-in” times!) ♦ During meals ♦ …

Of all the places and times I read, late at night is probably my favorite because once the house is quiet I can immerse myself in another world for endless hours! However, I don’t have a favorite place or location.

Here’s my confession regarding the Top Ten circumstances in which I CANNOT read!

  1.  I CANNOT read early in the morning (although I can stay up all night reading, I can’t wake up early to read….usually because I’ve been up too late!). I would fall asleep immediately.
  2. I CANNOT read a physical copy while I’m walking (on a sidewalk or treadmill) or while on an exercise bike.
  3. I CANNOT read during my favorite TV shows even though I can otherwise read in the same room while the TV is on. My favorite shows that dictate I set aside my book include The Rookie, Blue Bloods, This is Us, Chicago Fire, NCIS, Jeopardy!, and Gymnastics during the Olympics.
  4. I CANNOT read while children are swimming in my pool (I keep a careful eye on young swimmers at all times).
  5. I CANNOT read an audio book while sitting still……they immediately put me to sleep or my mind wanders! (audio books work for me while driving probably because I’m accustomed to listening to talk radio). Even listening to an audio book while doing chores is too distracting for me. Basically, any time my mind is free to wander, it will!
  6. And this is the most SHOCKING! I CANNOT read at the beach! It’s not for a lack of trying. In fact, I always have a book with me. The sound of the surf and ambiance of the environment overpowers me.
  7. I have DIFFICULTY reading during troubling times. I noticed that in 2020, it was difficult to read during the onset of the Pandemic. When I could focus, my brain craved lighter books and escapist reads. I had no interest in historical fiction during the earliest months of the Pandemic. After about six months, my reading mojo began to return.
  8. I CANNOT read physical books with light, tiny font! I’m used to being able to enlarge the print on my kindle, so on the rare occasion I pick up a physical book and the font is small and the print is light, it’s ANNOYING for me to read and it negatively affects my reading experience! I’m spoiled by my kindle.
  9. I CANNOT push through and read a book I’m not enjoying. Life’s too short to read bad books…or books not to my taste. (see my DNF post here)
  10. I CANNOT reread….at least I RARELY reread. Once I’ve already had the experience, I’m done. The few times I have reread a book, I didn’t derive the same pleasure from the experience as I did the first time. I’m not opposed to rereading….I reread Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and The Book Thief before the movies came out. I reread The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry because I was desperate for something to read one weekend and couldn’t find a kindle deal and my library hold hadn’t come in and I was caught up on ARCs.  Fikry was already on my Kindle and it had been years since I read it, so in order to have something to read, I dove in. I actually enjoyed my reread! But rereading is not something I do often or seek out like some readers.

Whew! That was difficult for a hard-core reader like me to come up with 10 examples of when I don’t read!



QOTD:

Do you have a favorite place to read?
Do you have circumstances in which it’s difficult or impossible to read?



Happy Reading Bookworms!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection!
Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



Let’s Get Social:

Thank you for reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along, promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



Happy Reading Bookworms!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection!
Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price. This money will be used to offset the costs of running a blog and to sponsor giveaways, etc.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

The book covers and author photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s website.

© ReadingLadies.com

Books I’d Love With Me While Stranded On a Deserted Island #TopTenTuesday

July 27, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’d Love With Me While Stranded On a Deserted Island

Books I'd Want With Me While Stranded On a Deserted Island (Top Ten Tuesday) Image: purple text over a mountainous deserted island

Image Source: Canva

top ten tuesday

Today, I’m linking up a recent Reading Ladies blog post with That Artsy Reader Girl for Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’d Like With Me While On a Deserted Island.

So…..you’ll be treated to a list of TWENTY great reads instead of ten (or think of it as two lists of ten!).

(the following post was originally published on Reading Ladies on July 9, 2021 and includes Amazon affiliate links)

One Great Summer Read (20 Bloggers Offer ) imOne Best Rec) Image: tight focus of a woman sitting beside water reading

Image Source: Canva

Are you pondering what book to choose for your vacation or staycation?

Are you in limbo trying to decide what ONE great book to read this summer?

Do you ever wish someone would just TELL you what book to read?

Are you looking for a list of trusted book review bloggers?

Do you spend more time thinking about which book to pack for your vacation than packing the clothes? (oh…just me?)

If you only have time to read ONE more book before summer’s end, what would you choose?

beach reads cartoon

This is the time of year when readers in my hemisphere are looking for “Beach Reads.” (If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, happy “winter reading!”) The term “Beach Read” is puzzling to me because I think any book you read at the beach or the pool is a beach or pool read (similar to a body at the beach is a beach body!). Furthermore, “beach read” means different things to different readers: some want easy reading/light/fluffy, some want escapist, some want romcom, some want thrillers/suspense/mystery, while others are looking for heavier or longer reads that they might have more time for in the summer. During the summer, I look for the same types of reads I look for all year long: something substantial, engaging, memorable, unputdownable, and thought-provoking. What is your ideal beach or pool read?

20 Reviewers Recommend:

Some things bring joy to a blogger’s heart and this collaborative post is definitely at the top of the list!

As Gina describes our project: “A worldwide summer reading multi-blogger extravaganza!”

I am thrilled to publish this post today! I asked TWENTY (including yours truly) experienced reviewers from a variety of geographical locations what they would recommend as their ONE “Not-to-be-Missed” Summer 2021 Reading Recommendation.

Today, I’m exceptionally excited to introduce you to a few of my blogging friends who chose ONE recommendation for YOU (listed in alphabetical order by blogger’s first name). I want you to notice that these bloggers are an international group! One of the greatest joys of blogging is making book friends around the world and country (better than pen pals!). Please take a look at their recommendations, check out their blogs, and give them a follow!

I think you’ll enjoy the following TWENTY “recent releases” recommendations that include some diversity and represent a mix of genres that will appeal to a variety of tastes (from self-help to romance to literary fiction to engaging women’s fiction to family drama to southern fiction to historical romance to uplit to domestic thriller to intergenerational friendship to science fiction to contemporary mystery to page-turning histfic to mysterious retelling to crime thriller to kindred spirits).

We hope at least one matches YOUR reading taste!

i love books

***Titles are Amazon affiliate links and full review links have been included.

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Summer’s One #MustReadBook 2021 [ReBlog]

Are you looking for ONE more great read this summer? Check out this recommendation list from 20 fabulous bloggers/reviewers! Happy reading!

Reading Ladies

July 9, 2021

Find Your One “Must Read” Book of Summer 2021!

One Great Summer Read (20 Bloggers Offer ) imOne Best Rec) Image: tight focus of a woman sitting beside water reading

Image Source: Canva

Are you pondering what book to choose for your vacation or staycation?

Are you in limbo trying to decide what ONE great book to read this summer?

Do you ever wish someone would just TELL you what book to read?

Are you looking for a list of trusted book review bloggers?

Do you spend more time thinking about which book to pack for your vacation than packing the clothes? (oh…just me?)

If you only have time to read ONE more book before summer’s end, what would you choose?

beach reads cartoon

This is the time of year when readers in my hemisphere are looking for “Beach Reads.” (If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, happy “winter reading!”) The term “Beach Read” is puzzling to me because I think any book you read at the beach or the pool is…

View original post 5,300 more words

Did You Like the Ending? #toptentuesday #LetsDiscuss2021

July 13, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday: Did You Like the Ending?

Did You Like the Ending? white text over a background stack of hardback books on a blue wooden table

top ten tuesday

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl. The prompt for today is “Book Titles That Ask Questions.” Hummmm…..I looked through my list and I’ve got nothing! Since I don’t enjoy creating posts with randomly chosen covers or titles, I’m SPINNING this topic into my own question: “Did You Like the Ending?” (Jumping off a previous discussion post: What is a Good Ending?)

I’m also taking this opportunity to link up with the 2021 Discussion Challenge, hosted by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction and Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight.

Do you love or loathe ambiguous endings?
Which books have you read that leave you wanting more?

I’m Ok with open-ended stories as long as the author leaves some breadcrumbs or inferences upon which I can draw my own conclusion. I loved ALL the following stories, but I wanted more from the endings in each case.

***This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

(more…)