Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Bookish Goals For 2013

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is:

Top Ten Bookish Goals for 2013

I recently did a blog post about my bookish resolutions for 2013, and at first thought this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic would be a bit redundant. But thinking about it further, goals and resolutions are not necessarily synonymous. After all, a resolution is something that I’m committing to seeing through, generally something that’s a stretch or that takes real effort. (I know, I know, resolutions are make to be broken. How well I remember those pounds I was going to lose last year…) But goals? Goals, to me, represent attainable results, maybe more of a work plan than a grand ambition.

So, in no particular order, my bookish goals for the new year:

1) Concentrate on reading books that I already own. Do less buying and borrowing. I love my public library and the wonderful used books stores in town, but really, I have plenty on my shelves to keep me busy. Time to tone down my obsessive need to get my hands on every new book that comes out.

2) Purge! See # 1 — I have plenty of books on my shelves (and spilling off my shelves…), but let’s face facts: There are books in my house that I picked up years ago, and every time I think about reading one of them, my first reaction is “nah, not in the mood”. When this continues happening with the same books for a really long period of time, it’s time for those books to go! One of my big goals for 2013 is to pull out all of those books that I’ll never get around to reading and find them a new home. If I donate my unwanted books to our local library sale, I’ll be doing a good deed as well as improving my overly-cluttered habitat. Two birds, one stone!

3) Organize! I bought beautiful new bookshelves earlier this year, assembled them, shoved lots and lots of books on them in an initial frenzy of moving books off the floor and out of boxes and bags… and I’ve done nothing since. My shelves lack any semblance of rhyme or reason. I look forward to a few leisurely afternoons of taking books off the shelves, figuring out a system, and reassembling my little personal library. Preferably while holding  a nice, hot cup of coffee. Or maybe something a wee bit stronger.

4) Find new ways to engage my child in reading. My adorable, smart, funny son practically runs in the opposite direction whenever I ask him to take time to read. He loves stories, loves being read to — just doesn’t want to sit and read himself. I think we may have achieved a bit of a breakthrough recently: I downloaded a book for him on my IPad, and suddenly reading became fun! I hate the idea that technology has to be involved, but I suppose I should count my blessings and be glad that he’s reading at all. Still, I know the newness of the IPad will soon fade and I’ll have to find new and creative ways to get this kid to read.

5) Read a classic that I’ve never read before. I’ve read all of Jane Austen, but only one book by Charles Dickens. I’ve read Jane Eyre and Vanity Fair, but I’ve never read The Grapes of Wrath or The Sun Also Rises. I don’t know what it will be, but I do know that I want to read at least one classic book this year. Which fits in with #6…

6) Read outside the box. I’m a fiction-lover, through and through, deep down to my bones. But I do enjoy other genres when I read them, even if I really have to force myself to depart from the fiction world. I’d like to branch out a bit, maybe read a little history, a science book, maybe some social commentary, a biography or two. Again, I haven’t picked anything in particular yet, but this is a good “note to self” to remember to make time to branch out a bit.

7) Attack the fairies! OK, that’s my cutesy way of trying to force myself to commit to reading the book I was so excited to get a couple of months ago: Fairy Tales From the Brothers Grimm by Philip Pullman. I have a well-documented problem with short story collections, and despite the fact that I love fairy tales and I love Philip Pullman, I still haven’t been able to sit down and open this book. Perhaps I need some serious psychotherapy to figure out why I have such a problem with stories… or perhaps I just need a good list like this one to force me into action. Time will tell.

These next two are really more blog-related than specifically bookish, but since I blog about books, it works for me.

8) Explore the blogosphere. My blog was born in 2012 and I’ve spent the first several months of its life just feeling my way forward. Now it’s time to reach out a bit more, try to connect with other readers and bloggers, and expand my reach and my online community. My goal is to participate in more blogging events, challenges, bloghops, etc. I hope to meet some cool and interesting people along the way, get some great new ideas, and really get a better sense of what’s out there and what I can do with a blog.

9) Get techie with it. Again, in the world of blogging, I’m sure there are a lot more resources and tools than what I’m currently using. My other bloggy goal is to explore the technical resources that can help make me a better blogger. (Ideas? Suggestions? Referrals? I’m all ears!)

Finally, the one that really matters, probably more than all of the above:

10) Slow down. Stop focusing on the numbers. Stop worrying about stats. Read for pleasure. Pick books because they’re what I want to read. Take as long as it takes to read, savor, enjoy, contemplate, consider, ponder, and reflect. Remember that I read because I love it, not because I have a challenge to meet or a blog post to write. When I stop enjoying my reading and start finding it more of a chore, I know I’m doing something wrong. READ FOR LOVE. That is all.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Resolve To Read In 2013

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is:

Top Ten Books I Resolve To Read in 2013

I’ve done a few blog posts already about my reading intentions for 2013, including my reading resolutions and my participation in a reading challenge focused on reading books languishing on the ubiquitous “TBR” (to-be-read) shelf. Bearing those in mind, but thinking also about what I just really, really want to read in 2012, here goes:

The ten books I absolutely, positively want to read in 2013 are:

1. The Round House by Louise Erdrich

2. Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

3. Written In My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon (This is the only one either not yet published or without a definite release date, but the author’s website says “fall 2013” — good enough for me!)

4. Tempest Reborn by Nicole Peeler

5. Dreamers of the Day by Mary Doria Russell

6. The Child’s Child by Barbara Vine

7. The Crane’s Dance by Meg Howrey

8. Other Kingdoms by Richard Matheson

9. Mariana by Susanna Kearsley

10. Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs

Granted, some of these aren’t much of a stretch for me. Three are new entries in series that I already read, and one is the beginning of a new series by an author I adore. Others are by authors who have written at least one other book that I’ve read and enjoyed. Still, given that I intend to read LOTS and LOTS of books in 2013, I think I can safely commit to including these ten.

What are you excited to read in 2013?

HAPPY NEW YEAR! May your reading year be filled with joy!

The Monday agenda

Not a lofty, ambitious to-be-read list consisting of 100+ book titles. Just a simple plan for the upcoming week — what I’m reading now, what I plan to read next, and what I’m hoping to squeeze in among the nooks and crannies.

It’s New Year’s Eve morning, last day of 2012! Heading out of town tomorow for a few days in the snow with family before work, school, and real-life kick back in. Meanwhile, there are books to read! Onward with the reading agenda.

From last week:

Cold Days by Jim Butcher: Done! Terrific new addition to the Dresden Files series. My review is here.

Sailor Twain by Mark Siegel: Done! Review still to come.

I did not get a chance to flip leisurely through my two new coffee table books (My Ideal Bookshelf and Buffy: The Making of a Slayer), so I’ll look forward to savoring them in the New Year.

And this week’s new agenda:

I have two library books left on the pile before I dig back into my collection at home, in keeping with my #1 resolution — maintain a healthy balance between reading library/new books and books on my shelves. So, first I’ll finish up the library books:

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins: A YA novel by the author of the very charming Anna and the French Kiss.

This One Is Mine by Maria Semple: The earlier novel by the author of Where’d You Go, Bernadette, which I enjoyed tremendously. (My review is here).

After that, I’ll dive into something I already own — either The Round House by Louise Erdrich or one of the Susanna Kearsley novels I’ve been waiting to read.

So many book, so little time…

That’s my agenda. What’s yours? Add your comments to share your bookish agenda for the week. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

The 2013 TBR (To-Be-Read) Pile Challenge

Well, this sounds like a fun one! The Roof Beam Reader blog is hosting the 2013 TBR Pile Challenge, and I think I’ll jump right in!

Roof Beam Reader

The goal is to make a list of 12 books that having been sitting on your bookshelves for longer than a year — and commit to actually reading them — FINALLY — in 2013. This sounds perfect for a book hoarder like me… just can’t help myself when it comes to used book sales, and consequently, my shelves are full to bursting with books that I still haven’t read. To qualify, only books published prior to 2012 are eligible. Books can be read in any order, and two alternates are allowed (in case one of the 12 turns out to be soooooo not my thing…).

Drumroll, please! My list for the 2013 TBR Pile Challenge:

1) Dreamers of the Day by Mary Doria Russell (complete 4/3/2013)

2) The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (completed 7/3/2013)

3) Affinity by Sarah Waters

4) Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (completed 7/3/2013)

5) Incendiary by Chris Cleave

6) Mariana by Susanna Kearsley (completed 1/14/2013)

7) Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir

8) Other Kingdoms by Richard Matheson

9) Horns by Joe Hill

10) The Camel Bookmobile by Masha Hamilton

11) An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

12) Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn (completed 2/5/2013)

Alternates:

1) Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

2) Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan

Of course, it’s awfully hard to commit in advance. I have two Susanna Kearsley books and two Sarah Waters books that I want to read — is it cheating if I swap later on?

Good luck to everyone participating in the challenge! Happy reading in 2013!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Bringing Me

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different topic for a top 10 list each week. This week’s topic is:

Top Ten Book I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Bringing Me

Before jumping in, let me preface this post by saying that I’m using “Santa” in the metaphorical sense. I have never received nor do I anticipate ever receiving a visit from Santa. It’s not that I’m naughty (at least not on a daily basis) — I just don’t swing that way, religion-wise.

So onward to the top 10 books I wouldn’t mind receiving this holiday season. Bear in mind that my loved ones usually shy away from buying me books, since chances are either a) it’s something I want to read and I already own it; b) I’ve already read it but thanks anyway; or c) it’s sooooo not my taste — don’t you know me at all? As a result, just about all of the books currently on my shelves are books that I’ve bought myself, and everything else that I’ve read has come from the library. I’m difficult, I admit it.

Therefore, my top 10 list consists of books that I’d LOVE to receive as gifts but either haven’t bought for myself (because I haven’t gotten around to it yet or they’re just not available), OR they’re books that seem wonderful but would feel like too much of an indulgence to buy for myself.

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1 & 2) Two pop-culture celebrations top my most-wanted list: Firefly: A Celebration is what appears to be a lovingly produced tribute to Joss Whedon’s Firefly series, filled with photos, scripts, behind-the scenes looks, and more. Buffy: The Making of a Slayer is a hardcover, slipcased edition that is, according to Amazon, “the first authorized, fully illustrated retrospective” of the hit series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Both are priced at about $30, which puts them into my luxury book items category. Unless there’s a huge price drop at some point, I probably wouldn’t get these for myself — but if any family members happen to be reading this, consider this a huge hint droppage.

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3) I find myself rather intrigued by Building Stories by Chris Ware, which is a graphic novel that comes in a box and consists of 14 separate pieces that can, if I understand correctly, be read in whatever order you’d like. I’m not sure that I need to own this, but boy, would I like to open it up and play with it.

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4) The Rolling Stones 50 by The Rolling Stones. 352 pages, over 1,000 illustrations! It sounds like a real treat for Stones fans, but I’m certainly not die-hard enough to spend $60 on it. I’d be perfectly happy to just look through it once or twice at a friend’s house, to be honest. Still, if it turned up as a gift, I certainly wouldn’t say no.

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5) My Ideal Bookshelf by Thessaly La Force and Jane Mount. Can I just tell you that I’m in love with this book? I mean, I really love everything about it. The concept is just lovely:

The books that we choose to keep –let alone read– can say a lot about who we are and how we see ourselves. In MY IDEAL BOOKSHELF, dozens of leading cultural figures share the books that matter to them most; books that define their dreams and ambitions and in many cases helped them find their way in the world. Contributors include Malcolm Gladwell, Thomas Keller, Michael Chabon, Alice Waters, James Patterson, Maira Kalman, Judd Apatow, Chuck Klosterman, Miranda July, Alex Ross, Nancy Pearl, David Chang, Patti Smith, Jennifer Egan, and Dave Eggers, among many others. With colorful and endearingly hand-rendered images of book spines by Jane Mount, and first-person commentary from all the contributors, this is a perfect gift for avid readers, writers, and all who have known the influence of a great book.

Not only that — check out the artwork! I could spend hours staring at these paintings of book spines. And what’s more, you can buy prints of many of the shelves from the artists’ website (www.idealbookshelf.com)… and, if you’re willing to shell out some $$, you can order a custom original painting of your own ideal bookshelf. Love, love, love.

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6 & 7 & 8) It’s graphic novel time! I’ve been reading a lot more graphic novels this past year, and the more I read, the more I want to read. My choices here are some graphic novels that have been out for a while. The idea of trying to catch up and read the whole series for any of these is rather daunting. Still, if my metaphorical Santa decided to gift me with one or two of these, I’d be thrilled. My top picks for extravagant graphic novel gifts are:

  • The Walking Dead Compendium 1 & The Walking Dead Compendium 2: These massive paperbacks each encompass eight of the Walking Dead graphic novels and are over 1,000 pages in length, with a retail price of $60 each. I’ve missed the Walking Dead phenomenon completely so far, on the page and on TV, but I’m soooo tempted to dive in.
  • The five hardcovers that make up the Absolute Sandman collection each run about $100. But, hey, it’s Neil Gaiman! Considering the price, I’ll probably rely on my public library when I’m ready to tackle what I’ve heard is a masterpiece. Still, if a gift were to come my way…
  • Bone! It’s the Bone: 20th Anniversary Full Color One Volume Edition! The Bone series by Jeff Smith is marketed as a children’s series, but I found it engaging, funny, dramatic, and wonderfully drawn. What a world! And the stupid rat creatures are, hands-down, my very favorite stupid evil carnivores. My son has the Bone collection in paperback, but this hardcover special edition looks absolutely stunning.

And to wrap it all up, how about a couple more books about books?

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9 & 10) My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop (published by Black Dog & Leventhal) and One For The Books by Joe Queenan. I spend a good portion of each day either thinking about, writing about, or talking about books. These books about other people’s favorite books sound like perfect reading for a bookworm like me.

And there you have it, my top 10 pie-in-the-sky wishes for holiday gifts. Maybe most aren’t too realistic, but it’s awfully fun to fantasize a bit!

Here’s hoping that you find some reading goodies wrapped up in shiny paper with your name on them this year! Happy reading!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Most Anticipated Books For 2013

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. I just happened to stumble across this weekly event for book lovers, featuring a different topic for a top 10 list each week. So… here I go, jumping in!

Top 10 Tuesday newThis week’s theme:

Top Ten Most Anticipated Books For 2013

More or less in order of how badly I want to read them, here are my top 10 can’t-wait-for books of 2013:

MOBYdiscovery

1) Written In My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon: It may be a bit of a cheat to include this book, but this is the one I’m most looking forward to. Book #8 in the Outlander series will have fans in a swoon, I’m sure. The author has mentioned fall of 2013 as the likely publication date, and while I haven’t seen anything more specific than that, I’m putting it on my list and keeping my fingers crossed.

2) All Souls’ Trilogy, #3 by Deborah Harkness: Another one that’s not a sure bet, but boy, would I like it to be. According to the author’s website, this book has neither a title nor a release date, but count me in as one of the devoted fans of the series with fingers crossed hoping for a summer 2013 release.

3) Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger: Book 1 in Gail Carriger’s new Finishing School series, due out in February. I adored Ms. Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series, and will absolutely read anything and everything she writes.

4) Tempest Reborn by Nicole Peeler: The sixth and final book in the Jane True series, due out in May.

5) Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs. The next installment in Briggs’s fantastic Mercy Thompson series, starring a shape-shifting auto mechanic and the werewolves and vampires of her acquaintance. Due March.

Tale for the Time Being

6) Fables, Volume 18: Cubs in Toyland by Bill Willingham: I got hooked, big-time, on this amazing series of graphic novels. Literary, smart, funny, and engrossing, Fables has it all. I’m counting the days until I can get my hands on the newest volume, due in January.

7) The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman: Neil Gaiman falls into the category of “must read whatever he writes”, and I’ll be sure to read this new book when it’s released in June.

8) A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki: The new novel by the author of My Year of Meats, one of my all-time favorites. I don’t know what it’s about, but I have no doubt it’ll be weird and wonderful. Due March.

9) Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris: I’m kind of over the whole Sookie Stackhouse series, but I’ll still read this final book to see how the author wraps it all up. Due May.

10) NOS4A2 by Joe Hill: Joe Hill writes creepy, scary, excellent fiction. I’m looking forward to sleepless nights when this one is released in April.

Of course, that’s not counting the paperback releases I’ve been waiting for, or all the books already on my shelves that I hope to read in 2013.

Looks like we’re in for a very happy new year! Happy reading, all!