A Reader’s Reality: Let’s give the “Get To” approach a try!

It’s the age-old lament of book lovers everywhere: So many books. So little time. What’s a reader to do?

Sometimes when I contemplate my huge stacks of books waiting to be read, I feel all mopey and lost. I dream of a day when I can do nothing but read.

But since I live in the real world — one filled with bills and taxes and work and responsibilities — my dream of reading 24/7 will have to wait.

And that means that I have to prioritize. And like so many bookworms, I keep telling myself that I need to focus on the books I already own. Stop buying new books! Stop requesting books from the library! Stop picking up even more library books on a whim! And the biggie for book bloggers;

Stop requesting so many ARCs!

Because ARCs are simply dominating my Kindle right now, and with the ARCs comes a sense of obligation, or even worse, the guilt that hangs over our heads when we just don’t get around to reading them.

The direction my house is heading in…

Now excuse me for a second while I take a detour…

While staying at a relative’s house this past week, I happened to be in a room where the TV was on most of the day, and one day, the group there was watching some morning talk show. No idea which. In any case, the host and the guest were talking about either a book or maybe the guest’s motivational speaking topic (?) — I didn’t catch all of it. But what did strike me in that moment was the approach the guest was promoting, using a reframing of language to change the way we think about things.

Two examples stuck in my mind:

Rather than talking about “going through a hard time”, substitute the word “growing”: I’m growing through a hard time right now.

Um. No. Not for me. Way too hokey, although if it works for some people, more power to them.

But this one I kind of liked:

Instead of “have to”, try “get to”. Rather than “I have to go to work today”, try “I get to go to work today”. I like this! Kind of puts a more positive spin on things we think of as obligations or objects of dread.

Which brings me back to ARCs. Ah, the long, long list of ARCs. Look, I totally believe that getting ARCs to read is a privilege, and one that I really and truly appreciate. That said, I do get way, way ahead of myself and end up with so many ARCs that they take over my reading life, which leaves me feeling frustrated when I have to ignore all my other books in order to read the ARCs in a somewhat close proximity to their publications dates.

I realize that I’ll probably never tame my impulse to request ARCs, and that’s okay. Because I’m trying my new positive spin!

So no more saying: I have to read so many ARCs this spring.

Instead, I’m celebrating! Because…

I get to read so many ARCs this spring!

What do you think? Does shifting the language also shift the attitude? I’m ready to give it a try. And here I’ll be, reading away to my heart’s contect, relishing my ARCs as well as my other books… all the wonderful stories I get to read!

Top Ten Tuesday: The next 10 ARCs I plan to read

snowy10

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 a FREEBIE. I love freebie weeks — it’s such fun to see all the unique top 10 lists everyone comes up with.

My top 10 topic? It’s all about the ARCs.

I’m working hard on getting my reading life organized, keeping track of my pending review copies, and making time for all the other books I want to read too. I’d taken a rather big pause in terms of requesting ARCs last year, but somehow I’ve ended up with quite a few for the first half of 2017. So, without further ado, here are 10 upcoming books, to be published between February and July, that I plan to read on or about their respective release dates. The ARCs are just sitting there on my Kindle, calling my name…

Going by release date:

1) Always by Sarah Jio (2/7/2017)

always

2) The Gilded Cage by Vic James (2/14/2017)

gilded-cage

3) The Mother’s Promise by Sally Hepworth (2/21/2017)

mothers-promise

4) Next Year For Sure by Zoey Leigh Peterson (3/7/2017)

next-year-for-sure

5) Mister Memory by Marcus Sedgwick (3/7/2017)

mister-memory

6) The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See (3/21/2017)

tea-girl

7) Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel (4/4/2017)

waking-gods

8) The Best of Adam Sharp by Graeme Simsion (5/2/2017)

best-of-adam-sharp

9) Coming Up For Air by Miranda Kenneally (7/1/2017)

coming-up-for-air

10) South Pole Station by Ashley Shelby (7/4/2017)

south-pole-station

Are you planning to read (or have you already read) any of the ARCs on my list?

What’s your freebie topic this week? Please share your link!

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Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I host a Book Blog Meme Directory, and need your help! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!

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DisembARCing

That’s it. I’ve reached my limit. No more!

I hereby declare my freedom to read like a leaf on the wind… (excuse my mélange de metaphors). Watch how I soar!

read_free

Way back when — on January 1st, to be precise — I made all sorts of promises and resolutions. And, well… I suck at resolutions.

I swore that I’d cut back on ARCs and concentrate more on reading the books I already own, and to tell you the truth, I didn’t do an awful job. I did cut back. I paid attention to release dates. I made myself a handy-dandy Excel worksheet so I could track my ARCs. I tried to make sure I didn’t have more than 2 or 3 per month for the first half of 2016, and I did my best to read them all as their publication dates rolled around. And for the most part, I actually did pretty great! Yay me!

yay

But…

buffy but

I’m still frustrated. I’m down to my last 10 ARCs (ignoring the unread ARCs from previous years), and I feel duty-bound to read them — but damn it all, I have so much else I want to be reading.

My books are piling up, and I’m feeling weighted down. And my overall feeling is:

I DON’T WANNA!

I don’t want to read according to a schedule. I don’t want to read what’s next on my calendar. I don’t want to read because I said I would.

I want to read what I want, when I want.

This isn’t anything earth-shattering, and I know I’m not alone. We all get frustrated. It’s the same old, same old story:

so many

I’ll repeat myself:

I’ve had it. I’m done. I need my space.

So yes, I’m going to finish the 10 ARCs still sitting here waiting to be read. After all, they’re all books that I wanted to read — I made sure to only request ARCs for books I’d read anyway, whether in ARC format, fresh from the library, or even requiring actual money to change hands.

But once I’m done, I’m done. I’m not requesting any more ARCs this year. Which feels like a huge step to take, but I mean it. If I want to read a new release that badly, I can get it from the library or bookstore. And once it’s in my hands, I’ll know if I really want to read it at that very minute.

I’m just sick of delaying the books that strike my fancy because there’s an obligation book staring me in the face. So no more!

I’m getting off the ARC train.

DisembARCing.

Starting now.

The Monday Agenda 11/18/2013

MondayAgendaNot 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.

How did I do with last week’s agenda?
The Rosie Project12842134

Picture Me Gone

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. Finished at the end of last week, posted my review this week. This book just makes me happy. 🙂

Just One Year by Gayle Forman: Done! My review is here.

Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff: Done! I chose not to write a review for this book, as I found myself in the unusual (for me) position of just not really having anything to say. This book is well-written, and I’ve loved some of the previous books by this author, but Picture Me Gone simply didn’t work for me. The story was kind of flat, not much happened, and I didn’t find the characters’ actions and motivations terribly compelling.

Unthinkable by Nancy Werlin: Done! My review is here.

Hoot by Carl Hiaasen: Moving right along! My son and  I are really enjoying Hoot, and hope to wrap it up within the next two weeks.

And in book news… Outlander fans were saddened to learn that the March publication of book #8 in the series (Written In My Own Heart’s Blood) would be delayed… but all heaved a big sigh of relief when a new release date was announced a couple of days later. So who else is counting the days until June 10, 2014??

Fresh Catch:

Three new books this week:

The Lover's DictionarySinful FolkDamn' Rebel Bitches: The Women of the '45

The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan: Borrowed from the library. After reading so many of the author’s young adult novels, I’ve been wanting to check this out too — I’ve heard great things!

Sinful Folk by Ned Hayes: Just received a review copy, looking forward to reading and reviewing this one closer to its January publication date.

Damn Rebel Bitches by Maggie Craig: I treated myself to this history book focusing on the women of the Jacobite rising of 1745 — a gift for my inner Outlander fanatic!

What’s on my reading agenda for the coming week?

ShadowsThe Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic

First up, I’m really looking forward to reading Shadows by Robin McKinley.

Next, I’d like to start The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker. Guilty confession: I’ve had this ARC sitting on my Kindle for a long time now… but I haven’t forgotten about it!

I think these two will take up the whole week, but if there’s time, I’ll dig into The Lover’s Dictionary as well.

So many book, so little time…

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

boy1

The Monday Agenda 11/11/2013

MondayAgendaNot 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.

How did I do with last week’s agenda?
Palace of SpiesBellman & Black: A Ghost StoryThe Rosie Project

Palace of Spies by Sarah Zettel: DNF. I got about 75% through this book, and came to the sad realization that I was just forcing myself. Palace of Spies seems charming, and I’m sure plenty of young adult readers will enjoy this tale of false identities, royal intrigue, schemes and blackmail, and — oh, yes — even love. It’s well-written and lively — but it just wasn’t for me.

Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield: Done! My review is here.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. Finished late Sunday. What fun! Review to follow.

Hoot by Carl Hiaasen: My kiddo and I are about a third of the way into this book, and it’s a lot of fun so far! Our reading time has been pretty scattered this week, but we hope to make more progress this coming week.

Fresh Catch:

One new book this week:

S 1S. by J. J. Abrams and Doug Dorst. I’m completely intrigued by this work of art, which is hard to look at as “just” a book. With marginalia and scraps of paper filling up the book within the slipcase, I’m not sure I’ll even know where to start when I’m finally ready to read it. Still, it is rather superb just to look at.

S 3

What’s on my reading agenda for the coming week?

Wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles, I’ve basically reached my goal of catching up on my NetGalley backlog! I swore that I wouldn’t read anything else until I’d gotten through all of my review copies for books published up through the beginning of November, and ta-da! I made it.

Okay, I did decide to omit a few that I received on the late side. Since they were already post-publication, I figured there was no rush… but overall, I’m just tickled pink to be where I wanted to be… and to finally be able to dig into the books I’ve been drooling over for the past several weeks!

My new number one goal? Get through the stack of four new YA novels that I’ve been dying to read!

book pile

My most wanted (to read) list:

  • Just One Year by Gayle Forman
  • Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff
  • Unthinkable by Nancy Werlin
  • Shadows by Robin McKinley

I’ll definitely be starting with Just One Year, and then will let fate (or, okay, my arbitrary whims) decide what I read next.

Yippee and hurray!

So many book, so little time…

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

boy1

The Monday Agenda 11/4/2013

MondayAgendaNot 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.

How did I do with last week’s agenda?

Parasite (Parasitology, #1)The Tulip EatersThe Expeditioners and the Treasure of Drowned Man's Canyon

Parasite by Mira Grant: Done! My review is here.

The Tulip Eaters by Antoinette van Heugten: Done! My review is here.

The Expeditioners by S. S. Taylor: Done! My son and I really loved this steampunk adventure. My review is here.

Fresh Catch:

One new book this week, and it’s gorgeous! I’m thrilled to have my very own copy of the brand-new Fables Encyclopedia:

Fables Encyclopedia

If you’re a Fables fan, you’re going to want this! And if you’re not a Fables fan, what are you waiting for? Fables is my super-duper, absolute favorite comic series. Start with the first paperback volume (Legends in Exile), and you’ll be hooked!

What’s on my reading agenda for the coming week?
Palace of SpiesBellman & Black: A Ghost StoryThe Rosie Project

I’ve just started Palace of Spies by Sarah Zettel, and so far, it’s a lot of fun.

After that, I’ll be reading one review book and one library book:

  • Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield
  • The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

HootAnd in the world of reading with my kiddo, we’ve just started Hoot by Carl Hiaasen. We read Chomp earlier this year and loved it, so we have high hopes for Hoot as well. Judging by the first few chapters, this should be a… hoot (no, I won’t go there!) blast.

Once I finish Bellman & Black, I’ll be caught up on my review copies! I still have quite a few more to get through, but none are late (except for the ones I intentionally held off on, and even those, I’ll get to in the coming month).

Do you know what that means? I can finally start digging into my Pile of Sadness (aka, the books I simply HAD to buy the second they came out, but haven’t allowed myself to read yet)! Next week should be fun too:

book pile

So many book, so little time…

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

boy1

The Monday Agenda 10/28/2013

MondayAgendaNot 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.

How did I do with last week’s agenda?

Science fiction, contemporary fiction, YA fiction, and a graphic novel — what a fun week it’s been!

incrementalistsgood wife

Reality BoyRASL

The Incrementalists by Steven Brust and Skyler White: Done! My review is here.

How To Be a Good Wife by Emma Chapman: Done! My review is here.

Reality Boy by A. S. King: Done! My review is here.

RASL by Jeff Smith: This newly released hardcover compilation of Jeff Smith’s RASL comic series is about parallel universes, art theft, Nikola Tesla, quantum physics, and government conspiracies, among other things. Plus there’s a very creepy little girl, lots of desert landscapes, and plenty of sex and violence. In other words, not for kids! Jeff Smith is the creator of one of my all-time favorites, the Bone series, which my son and I both love. RASL is not one that I’ll be sharing with him any time soon! That said, I really enjoyed RASL. It’s mind-bendy, twisty, smart, and fast-paced, with a great hero and plenty of food for thought to go with all that action. If you like a good graphic novel every once in a while, check it out!

The Expeditioners by S. S. Taylor: Such a great kids’ adventure story! The end is in sight…

Fresh Catch:

I’m still respecting my self-imposed reading diet — no reading books from my shelves (or the library’s shelves) until I catch up on all of my review copies! I did get one new book this week, preordered some time ago:

17333261

Argh! It’s so hard to be good!

What’s on my reading agenda for the coming week?

This week I’ll be reading:
Parasite (Parasitology, #1)Palace of SpiesThe Tulip Eaters

I’ve just started Parasite by Mira Grant. This is going to be a good one!

Once I’m done, next up will be two more review books:

  • Palace of Spies by Sarah Zettel
  • The Tulip Eaters by Antoinette van Heugten

Bellman & Black: A Ghost StoryAnd if by some miracle I get through all of these (which is unlikely), then I’ll move on to Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield, which I’ve really been looking forward to.

Believe it or not, after these four books, I’ll be caught up (for now!), and can start sprinkling in some of my new on-my-shelves books in between upcoming review copies! Oh, happy day!

So many book, so little time…

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

boy1

The Monday Agenda 10/21/2013

MondayAgendaNot 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.

How did I do with last week’s agenda?

What with one thing and another, it’s been a pretty slow (but fun) reading week:

Longbournbad housesincrementalists

Longbourn by Jo Baker: Done! I loved this inside-out look at the world of Pride and Prejudice, as told from the perspective of the Bennets’ servants. My review is here.

Bad Houses by Sara Ryan and Carla Speed McNeil: Done! A quick and engaging graphic novel. My preview of this upcoming new release is here.

The Incrementalists by Steven Brust and Skyler White: Still reading — about 70 pages to go. A lot of the virtual reality stuff is going pretty much over my head, but it’s still interesting and puzzling enough for me to keep going and see if I can make it all make sense.

The Expeditioners by S. S. Taylor: My read-aloud book with my son — going great! I think we have another week or two to go.

Fresh Catch:

I’m still trying to be good and stick to the plan of finishing off all my current (and a teeny bit late) review books before digging into all the new books begging to be read. Meanwhile, two of my requests came in at the library this week:

The Rosie ProjectRASL

Two very different books, but I’m looking forward to both!

What’s on my reading agenda for the coming week?

Still sticking with my commitment to focus on review copies, this week I’ll be reading:

incrementalistsgood wife
Reality BoyParasite (Parasitology, #1)

First, I’ll be trying to finish up with The Incrementalists. And after that, I have a few more books lined up that I’m excited about:

  • How To Be a Good Wife by Emma Chapman
  • Reality Boy by A. S. King
  • Parasite by Mira Grant

I realize that I’m being overly ambitious and probably completely unrealistic in thinking that I’ll make it through four books this week… but hey, a reader can dream, can’t she?

So many book, so little time…

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

boy1

The Monday Agenda 10/14/2013

MondayAgendaNot 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.

How did I do with last week’s agenda?

It’s been a pretty fun and eclectic reading week:

Charming (Pax Arcana, #1)Before I Met YouWill in ScarletLongbourn

Charming by Elliott James: Done! A terrific first book in a new urban fantasy series. My review is here.

Before I Met You by Lisa Jewell: Done! Contemporary fiction meets historical fiction in a novel set in both the 1920s and 1990s. My review is here.

Will in Scarlet by Matthew Cody: Done! An exciting middle grade book about Robin Hood and his Merry Men. My review is here.

Longbourn by Jo Baker: Just started over the weekend, and I’m currently about 25% of the way into this new look at the world of Pride and Prejudice… as viewed by the servants below-stairs.

And in kids’ books, my son and I are about 1/3 of the way into The Expeditioners by S. S. Taylor, and we’re really enjoying it. It’s a steampunk adventure story, filled with mysterious maps and clever kids. After a bit of a slow start, we’re hooked!

Fresh Catch:

In keeping with my new need to name everything, I’m calling this my Pile of Sadness:

book pile

Why? Because these four books are YA new releases that I bought for myself and can’t wait to read… but I’m trying to stick to a vow* that I made to get caught up on my NetGalley backlog before reading anything else. It’s the right thing to do, and it seems to be working… but then I look at my Pile of Sadness and feel all sorts of tearful longing building up inside…

Must. Be. Strong.

*So what’s this vow about? I wrote a post yesterday about, among other things, my mid-October reading resolutions. And whatever else came to mind. You can read it here.

What’s on my reading agenda for the coming week?

Sticking with my decision to catch up on review copies, I have this coming week’s reading all queued up:

Longbourn incrementalistsbad housesgood wife

First up, I’ll need to finish Longbourn by Jo Baker. Then onward with:

  • The Incrementalists by Steven Brust and Skyler White
  • Bad Houses by Sara Ryan and Carla Speed McNeil
  • How To Be a Good Wife by Emma Chapman

I’m actually loving everything I’m reading these days… but that Pile of Sadness is so tempting… and I just got an email notification that I have some library requests ready for pick-up. Must. Be. Strong.

So many book, so little time…

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

boy1

The Monday Agenda 10/7/2013

MondayAgendaNot 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.

How did I do with last week’s agenda?

Doctor Sleep (The Shining, #2)Sky Jumpers (Sky Jumpers, #1)Charming (Pax Arcana, #1)

What a great reading week it’s been!

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King: Done! It seemed to take me much longer than I’d expected, but I finally finished. Loved it! My review is here.

Sky Jumpers by Peggy Eddleman: Done! Totally enjoyed this adventure story for the middle grade set. My review is here.

Charming by Elliott James: At about the 80% mark, should be finished later today. Quite a fun new world of urban fantasy to explore!

And in kids’ books:

Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo (Leven Thumps, #1)The Expeditioners and the Treasure of Drowned Man's Canyon

Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo by Obert Skye: Sadly, this one is going on the DNF pile. My kiddo and I really tried to stick with it, but after reading about 2/3 of this book, we still had no idea what was going on — and didn’t find it interesting enough to try to find out. We both felt that we could walk away, and so we did. Moving on…

The Expeditioners by S. S. Taylor: Our next read-aloud book is set in a steam-punk-ish world with all sorts of neat twists. We’ve only read two chapters so far, but it’s hooked us both right away.

Fresh Catch:

I can’t keep up! My pile of newly released (and promptly purchased) YA books keeps growing. Here’s this week’s addition:

Picture Me Gone

I’m really looking forward to reading this one, but I’m going to have wait a few weeks. Why? Read on…

What’s on my reading agenda for the coming week?

I have a new goal, and I think it’s one that I can actually achieve! My Kindle is getting completely backed up with review copies that I haven’t gotten to yet (BTW – thanks, NetGalley! xoxo), and I think it’s time to really tackle the backlog! My resolution for October is to catch up on all of the ARCs currently waiting for me, with publication dates anytime from this past summer (yes, I’m behind) through November. And only then will I go back to my overflowing bookshelves and dive into the books I’ve treated myself to but haven’t read. (What? Buying books and not reading them? Shocking situation! Can anyone else relate?)

So here’s what’s up next for this week:

Before I Met YouWill in ScarletLongbourn

  • Before I Met You by Lisa Jewell
  • Will in Scarlet by Matthew Cody
  • Longbourn by Jo Baker

The only teensy hitch that I foresee is that Just One Year by Gayle Forman is being released this week and… well… I may have to make one exception to my reading resolution and read it THE SECOND IT ARRIVES because I have been dying to know what happens for months now!!!

Anyone having a problem keeping up with their review copies? Please tell me I’m not alone!

So many book, so little time…

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

boy1