Lets Talk

Let’s Talk | Worst Books of 2020

Hello and welcome to a bit of a round of post for the year 2020. I wanted to take a moment and share a few of my most disappointing reads of the year. In a few days I will have a bit more of a positive post where I will be sharing my best reads of the year. Until then, here is a collection of books that just didn’t do it for me for one reason or another. Sometimes books just aren’t for me.


Ducks, NewburyportDucks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This is a book I would have never tried to read if it was not on the shortlist for the Man Booker Prize. Saying that, you can most likely see I ended up giving this book 1 star. While the idea of this book did sound very appealing as soon as I started to read it a red flag for my personal reading tastes went up. The first few pages was just a never ending list with commas, never a period. The book was being told by someone who is just rambling on and on, which I can see is most likely a choice to get the feel for how thee narrator is feeling about life.

For me, this was so stress inducing for a few reasons. I felt like I was reading the equivalent to Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder movie) taking the winners down the chocolate river through a tunnel. It was just getting more and more intense because I was reading faster and faster just trying to find a period. I. just wanted a natural stopping point to put the book down. The second being, I personally dislike stream of consciousness writing.

Mainly due to the formatting and how the author choose to write this book, I did not like it. But, thesee are mainly personal reasons and if any of these don’t bother you I say give it a go. Like I said the idea of this book is great, it was just ruined for me based upon the formatting.

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Imaginary FriendImaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was so much enjoying this book for the first 400 pages or so. Then it just started to feel like there was a. huge ending coming, but there were 100s of pages left. I feel like this book went on for way too long and the pacing was just all messed up. I liked it less and less as it went on and it is a shame because I really was loving this book at the start.

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The Financial Diet: A Total Beginner's Guide to Getting Good with MoneyThe Financial Diet: A Total Beginner’s Guide to Getting Good with Money by Chelsea Fagan
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This was a VERY basic finance book that seems to be only for women. If you know anything about basic budgeting you can skip this. But, this could be good for someone who just graduated and is just starting out.

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Midnight Sun (Twilight, #5)Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I got very bored halfway though. The main selling point of this book is seeing more of the Cullens. That is how this book got 2 stars. The rest, really didn’t really keep me engaged and was not really interesting.

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The Order of the DayThe Order of the Day by Éric Vuillard
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

While the content and the writing overall easily warrants 4 or 5 stars I cannot give it this rating. The main reason being there are no footnotes or end notes to share any sources. Quotes that are in the text have no mention of where it is from, which is very disappointing. This is not acceptable for a nonfiction book.

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House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City, #1)House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I am going to be honest, I really went into this book thinking I was going to enjoy it quite a bit. The idea sounded interesting and the world created sounded very interesting, but I was kind of bored reading this… okay very bored. The weird thing is, things were happening, some pretty intense stuff. So, I am not sure how or why I was bored, but I was. I might go back in the future and give this book another go, I might not have been in the right mood for it. (Update, no I will not).

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Bullet Journal, Writing & More

Bullet Journal | My favorite Spread of 2020

Hello and welcome to a little post where I am going to share a few of my favorite bujo spread from the past year. I am not going to do much of an introduction other than I am basing this off of how practical and how they helped me throughout the year, not necessarily how pretty they are. Anyway, here are the spreads!


Monthly Books Read

One of my favorite spreads of this year, well it really happened every month, was my monthly read books spread. At the start of the month I would draw four shelves and then throughout the month print out pictures of the book covers for each book I finished. It was a really fun and visual way to see all the books I was reading without just keeping track of a number.

Oracle Card of the Month

I think the last half of the year I started adding an oracle card of the month to my bullet journal, which I loved because I used a selfcare oracle which had a journal prompt, actives, and more to help take care of yourself. I really loved this because 2020 has been a really interesting year to say the least, but I really loved these prompts because some of them I would never have tried otherwise. The one pictured focusing on the moon cycle and it focuses on mindfulness throughout every phase.

Get to 0 Books on TBR

I am not 100% sure if I ever shared this spread, or table actually, where I listed weeks from June 2020-October 2020 and my goal for my TBR and actually where I ended up at the end of the week. Well, this is not a picture of it competed, but I did get to 0 this year, which was so awesome. I really didn’t think it would have happened. Anyway, I loved checking in with this spread because it really kept me motivated from week to week.


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Wrap Up

Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon Recap | October 2020

Hello and welcome to my second post of the day. Yesterday I took part in Dewey’s 24 Hour Readahon and I wanted to share my experience and my reading progress. Throughout the day I updated on twitter and instagram, but I did not share anything on here. I thought a recap post would be best.

If you would like to know more about the readathon, you can visit their website, they have been around for a long time, their first readathon was in 2007! They host a readathon 2 times a year, generally in April and October. I have taken part in a few over the years and I have always enjoyed between the mini challenges, games, and reading sprints.


Updates

Starting off hour 1 of #deweys24hourreadathon with an audiobook.

screen shot of Ta-Nehisi Coates' Between the World and Me audiobook.
screen shot of Between the World and Me audiobook screen

Decided to take part a mini challenge for the #readathon.
Hers is my name in books! Now, back to the reading! P.S. I decided to just make this one big thread for the day.

Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent
The Hunger by Alma Katzu
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy 
All stacked and pictured surrounded by flowers.
Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent, The Hunger by Alma Katsu, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

#readathon update, I finished my first book. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Rating: 5 stars.

Picture of Between the World and Me with 5 stars.

Quick #readathon update for #deweys24hourreadathon. I am 38% through my current read, which is Amityville Horror by Jay Anson.

Holding book open to Chapter 12 with text overlay describing current progress to 38%
picture of the heading of chapter 12 to show progress.

I finished my second book of the #readathon, now I need to figure out what to read next.

I decided my next read of the #readathon will be continuing Cemetery Boys, I am starting at page 41. Let's see how far I get before falling asleep. 😂 I am making more progress than I thought I would during Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon.

Picture of Cemetery yBoys and a green pen on covers.

Originally tweeted by bookishluna (@BookishLuna) on October 24, 2020.

Not pictured is a 8:30 run to go get some caffeine, I started getting really sleepy and my BF and myself took a reading break and went out in search of coffee and tea. Once back I came back and met my main goal of finishing Amityville Horror.


Wrap Up

I ended up finishing two books and 20% of another. The two books I finished were Between the World and Me, which was amazing, and The Amityville Horror. Both I really enjoyed both of these books for very different reasons, but I am really glad I picked them up.

  • Books Read: 2
  • Books Started: 1
  • Pages Read: 478

I had such a blast dedicating the day to reading, especially with all of the stuff going on in my life right now. At this point I plan on participating again in April!


What is your favorite readathon?

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Wrap Up

Middle Mark | October 2020

Hello and welcome to my mid month check in for October! So far I am overjoyed with the books I have read. I cannot believe that we are already halfway through the month, but I am still really happy with the four books I have managed to read. One was a tome too and another was nonfiction!


Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?: And Other Questions About Dead BodiesWill My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?: And Other Questions About Dead Bodies by Caitlin Doughty
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Once again, Caitlin Doughty has written a very interesting and morbid book. This is much different than her previous two that I have read. It is set up as someone asks a question about death or death adjacent and she answers the question. Throughout the book she uses science, personal experience, and history to answer the questions which I enjoyed. Her voice is very similar to how she presents herself in her videos, which is great that her personality carries over so well.

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Strange Weather in TokyoStrange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was not expecting to be so pulled into their companionship, but the writing and structure of their story was beautifully done. I really enjoyed seeing them find each other over and over again.

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A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Outlander, #6)A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another great installment of this historical fiction series. I don’t want to stay too much since this is book 6 in a series, but this one did not disappoint and it holds its own within this saga.

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If It BleedsIf It Bleeds by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another good collection of short stories by King. It was really nice to see Holly again from the Mr. Mercedes series. I think she is now no of my favorite King characters or at least in the top 3 easily. This collection has 4 stories, three I really liked, the second one I didn’t like too much.

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I am currently reading two books at this point in time. I am reading Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas, I am really loving this book so much and I am so glad I am able to read it. At this time I am only 12% into it and I can tell it will be a contender for a top book of 2020. The second book I am reading is Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. I am about 8% into this and I am enjoying finally reading this classic horror.


What was the last book you read, did you like it?

How are your reading month coming along? 

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Reviews

Someone Picks My Books | Heidi – This is My Book Shelf Blog | The Test by Sylvain Neuval

Hello and welcome to another installment of Someone Picks My Books! This month I had the extremely kind and amazing Heidi pick my book, you can find her over at This is My Book Shelf Blog. As the title states, Heidi picked The Test by Sylvain Neuvel. Thank you so much for helping me out and picking this book for me!


One Sentence Review

A very intense book that messes with your mind and really makes you think about human psychology.

Description

Britain, the not-too-distant future.
Idir is sitting the British Citizenship Test.
He wants his family to belong.

Twenty-five questions to determine their fate. Twenty-five chances to impress.

When the test takes an unexpected and tragic turn, Idir is handed the power of life and death.
How do you value a life when all you have is multiple choice? –goodread.com


What I Liked

First and foremost, this book is nothing short of intense. It really pulls you in at the start being calm and you think you know what you are getting into, but you really don’t. Everything in a moment got turned upside down and I don’t want to say more than that.

This book is nothing short of amazing for a few reasons, but yes this is going to be a gush review. Sorry, not sorry. This really makes you think about human resilience, human psychology, and what society wants from its citizens. I am writing this review a few days after reading it and I keep thinking about things that characters say and do. Everything in this short novella has a point to it and it is really written to make you think. Even in this short story it has so much to it, it does not fee3l like the author was cutting corners or rushing the reader in the slightest.

What I Didn’t Like

Honestly, I can’t think of a thing I disliked about it personally, but I can see some readers having a difficult time reading this story (spoilers ahead) so here are some trigger warning; murder, brutal violence, terrorism, and racism. I am not the end all be all for trigger warnings, look more into them from other readers before reading this book because they might have picked up on other triggers that I have personally missed.

Overall

Overall, this was a very impactful book to me because it really makes you think about human nature, society, and a laundry list of other things such as prejudices and racism that are ingrained in society. I feel like this little story really packs so much into it that it shows the talent of the author. This will be a story I reread again I feel like and it will have a place on my bookshelf for the years to come.


Next month I am reading a book picked by the wonderful Maggie from the blog Storme Read a Lot. They have wonderfully well written reviews and other awesome posts. Also, their twitter is just as wonderful!

Have you read this book before or is it on your TBR?

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Lets Talk

Let’s Talk | How I Read 10+ Books a Month

Let's Talk

Hello and welcome to a little post where I list a few ways that help me personally read 10+ books a month. Now, this is just my personal experience, but I figured maybe sharing might give some ideas to those who might read this or even maybe get you into the reading mood!


First and foremost, audiobooks! I listen to audiobooks on a few platforms, the one I use the most is free through my library, I use libby. I use this to borrow audiobook (& ebooks), because honestly audiobooks are expensive and I can’t keep up financially with the amount I listen to each month. In second place is scribd, which is a small fee each month that give you access to audiobooks (& ebooks).  Lastly, is libro.fm which is an independent bookstore alternative to audible for a monthly fee. I listen to audiobooks when I am cleaning, crocheting, or when my hands are busy, but my mind is not really engaged.

The next thing that helps me is reading before bed each night. A few months ago I wrote a post called, Challenge | One Week Reading Before Bed. Following this challenge, I actually ended up changing up my nighttime routine. I loved my experience so much I kept it as part of my nightly routine. It is really calming for me and helps me wind down after the stress of the day.

Now, this is a bit of an odd one to mention but, I stopped reading books just because of the hype. I realized a lot of the books I was reading I picked up because of the hype. Well, since I realized hyped books I am meh about tend to be  slow paced and have little enjoyment, I should just leave them behind. Now I just read books I am really interested in and feel drawn to picking up. Since this switch happened I have read more because I want to pick up my current read more often and for longer periods of time.

Lastly, I am a huge supporter of DNFing books. Now, this is something that I have really embraced over the last few years. I used to have serious feelings of FOMO when I was reading a book I was not liking. I was convinced that there would be a huge turning point and I would see why everyone was loving a book. Well, nine times out of ten, that turning point never really happened. Now, if I don’t like a book after 50-100 pages, depending on the length, I DNF it. For me personally, I have found there is no point in pushing myself to read something I am not enjoying. Not only does it slow down my reading, I could be reading something I am really enjoying.

Well, those are a few ways that help set me up to read 10+ books a month. 


What are ways you work reading into your day?

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Tags

Let’s Talk | The Prediction Book Tag

Let's Talk

Hello and welcome to a tag I should have done months ago, I am so sorry Whitney, but better late than never. At least I am hoping. I was so happy when Whitney tagged me back in March, this is such fun tag and I am glad I am able to be apart of it. Now on to the rules and prediction prompts!


Rules

  • ping back to the creator of the tag, @bookprincessreviews
  • tag the person who tagged you
  • find an answer to match each prompt
  • have fun!

Each Prompt is a Prediction for My

Next Read

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave by Frederick Douglass

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave

As I said in my post, To Be Read | August 2020, I planned on reading this book in August. I did come across some excerpts I read when I was in school and they were all annotated. I didn’t read the annotations, but I am curious of how my annotating will vary this time as opposed to last time when I am done reading.

Next 5-Star Read

After the Quake by Haruki Mauakami

After the Quake

I am not quite sure this counts as cheating, but I am about 50% done with this book already and I am really enjoying it. As long as nothing unforeseen happens, I am probably going to be giving his book 5 stars. It is a great collections of short stories with a unifying thread. It is whimsical, magical, and thought provoking.

Next 1-Star Read

Color Therapy Plain Simple: The Only Book You’ll Ever Need by Nina Ashby

Color Therapy Plain  Simple: The Only Book You'll Ever Need

I am going to be honest with this one. I don’t really think it is going to be a 1 star read, but I think it is going to be the lowest rated out of my current TBR. The reason being it has a 2.4 rating on goodreads… that is the lowest one I have. I do have hope though that maybe I will like it better than others.

Next Love Interest

Jo & Laurie by Margaret Stohl and  Melissa de la Cruz

Jo & Laurie

This is the only book on my owned TBR that has a hint of romance to it. It is a historical fiction/retelling/continuation of sorts of he lives of Jo and Laurie from Little Women. Which, if you did not know is my all time favorite book and series. Yes, there are more Little Women books!

Next Book You’ll Be Buying

Confessions on the 7:45: A Novel by Lisa Unger

Confessions on the 7:45: A Novel

I think the next book I will be buying will actually be a pre-order of this book. It does not come out until October 6th, 2020. I went to a digital author book talk and the author recommended quite a few books, many I read, but this one stood out to me!

Next Book That Will Leave you With a Book Hangover

A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon 

A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Outlander, #6)

While I do enjoy this series I always have a book hangover of sorts when I finish ones of its tomes. I tend to read two per year because that is all I can handle. I am planning on reading this one at the end of August or in September. I still cannot believe I have made it to book 6 of this series.


I Tag

Erica

Ash

Celina

Jessica


What book do you think will your next 5 star read be?

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Hauls & Unboxings

Read 5, Buy 1 | March 2020 Haul

Read 5, Buy 1

Hello and welcome to another check in for my Read 5, Buy 1 challenge. I don’t know about you, but I have really had the itch to buy as of late and I will admit it, I went a bit above my Buy 1, but thankfully not by much! The ones I did go and buy that were not covered by my Read 5, Buy 1 were all Shakespeare plays for my Blogmas | Goals | 2020 Shakespeare Challenge. So, they were books I would have had to buy anyway. Anyway, here are the books I read and the books I bought in March!


The Breakdown

Alexande Hamolton by Ron Chernow

Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky

Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Gwendy’s Magic Feather by Richard Chizmar

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepety

Bought: The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silvere

A Knife in the Fog by Bradley HarpA Knife in the Fog by Bradley Harper

Queen’s Gambit by Bradley Harper

Journey to Jo’burg by Beverley Naidoo

Angel Mage by Garth Nix

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson

Bought: The Time of Contempt by Andrzej Sapkowski

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski

Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Full Thottle by Joe Hill

The Girls of Gettysburg by Bobbi Miller

Bought: House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas


Extra Books – Shakespeare 2020 Challenge

King Lear by William Shakespeare

Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare

Macbeth by William Shakespeare

The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare

Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare


Overall, I don’t think I did too badly with this challenge. I read 15 books, but I only added 9 books so my Owned TBR as a whole has gone down this month. A win in my book! I am hoping with the OWLs in April I will be doing even more reading, but so far I have done a bit of ebook buying this month. So, we shall see how this social distancing affects my book buying and my TBR.


Are any of these books on your TBR?

What is the last book you added to your TBR?

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Wrap Up

Middle Mark | #AnimalCrossingReadathon Wrap Up

Middle Mark

Hello and welcome to a hybrid of a book post. This is my Middle Mark post, but also my wrap up for the Animal Crossing Readathon I decided to take part in last minute. Which, I ended up doing better than I thought I was going to do. What really helped me was the fact that I decided to do a bit of a personal readathon on March 14th. Anyway, on to the books!


Read 2

Gwendy's Magic Feather (The Button Box, #2)Gwendy’s Magic Feather by Richard Chizmar

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this second book in the series, it had a different vibe to it, but I very much enjoyed seeing the characters again.

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Imaginary FriendImaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was so much enjoying this book for the first 400 pages or so. Then it just started to feel like there was a. huge ending coming, but there were 100s of pages left. I feel like this book went on for way too long and the pacing was just all messed up. I liked it less and less as it went on and it is a shame because I really was loving this book at the start.

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Animal Crossing Readathon!

HamletHamlet by William Shakespeare

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Review to come.

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Between Shades of GrayBetween Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is my first book by Ruta Sepetys and I am kind of mad it took my this long to read a book by her. The writing is just wonderful, but I don’t want to say this book is wonderful it is powerful and eye opening. The topic that is covered in this book is just heart breaking. I knew about the history, reading detached non-fiction during my studies, but this book just makes this story so much human than I have come across it in the fast.

This book felt like I was hearing the story of a young girl and the fight/spirit she had in her when she was surrounded by horrid things. Her story was heart breaking, but I cannot get over how power and strong she is. It really makes you think of all the people who wee affected and mistreated during this time period and the events are rarely talked about or discussed. It is a tough read, so I would research the topics and events that happen in this book because I feel like it might be triggering to some.

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A Knife in the Fog (Margaret Harkness and Arthur Conan Doyle #1)A Knife in the Fog by Bradley Harper

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Just as wonderful on the reread. If you want to read my full review from my first read, you can see that here: Blog Tour Review | A Knife in the Fog by Bradley Harper.

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Queen's GambitQueen’s Gambit by Bradley Harper

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very wonderful sequel to A Knife in the Fog. I continue to enjoy the authors well researched writing, plot, and characters. It was a very enjoy ride and I read it in a single day I was so pulled into it. Will be keeping an eye out for more books from this author!

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Promp Recap

✔️Resetti: Queen’s Gambit by Bradley Harper DONE

✔️K.K. Slider: Audiobook of Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys DONE

✔️Able Sisters: Hamlet by William Shakespeare DONE

Tom Nook: The Magicians by Lev Grossman

✔️Animal Crossing Gamecube: A Knife in the Fog by Bradley Harper DONE


Four out of the five prompts in my book is not bad at all. I really was lacking on reading The Magicians. It isn’t that I am not liking it, I just want to read it when I can’t be distracted. It is too good for its own good! Anyway, I had a lot of fun with this readathon.

I am a bit sad that I preordered the game in a physical store and they are closed, so I wont be playing today or for a while most likely. But, I am glad that everyone is being safe. It is just a game and I will get my hands on it as soon as I can. It is always nice to have something to look forward to.


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Reading Challenges

Reflection | 2020 Goals, 3 Month Checkin

Reflection

Hello everyone and welcome to my first post reflecting on my 2020 reading goals! I am excited to take a bit of a dive into my goals and see where I need to focus and where I am doing well. At this point of the year it is so early I am not too worried about anything just yet, but I feel like if I don’t keep an eye on it they will fall to the way side. So, here are my 2020 reading goals and where I currently stand on them.


  1. Read a shortlist: Man Booker 2019
    • The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
    • ✔️Ducks, Newburyport  by Lucy Ellmann
    • Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo Started
    • An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma
    • Quichotte by Salman Rushdie
    • 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak
  2. Read 50 books, 21 books read. 
  3. Read all backlisted books, 46 books in all. Down to 27.
  4. Read 30,000 pages. Read 7,661 pages so far. 
  5. Read 16 nonfiction books. Read 5 so far. 
  6. Read 16 books from the library. Read 5 so far. 
  7. Read a book from each continent
  8. Read a book recommended by Joe Hill or Stephen King
    • The Hot Kid by Elmore Leonard
    • Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman Purchased 
    • Brutal Youth by Anthony Breznican
    • Frankenstorm by Ray Garton
  9. Read a Shakespeare play a month, you can join the fun by going to the goodreads group 2020 Shakespeare Challenge Group.
    • January: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
    • February: Othello
    • March: Hamlet

Currently, I am feeling pretty good about my goals. I have at least made some little progress on every single one. The one I am currently the most concerned about is reading a book from each continent. A lot of the time when I pick up a book I have no idea where it is going to take place so this is the one that is more of a guess for me. I should search for a few books that I know for sure take place in the continents that remain, Antartica is always a fun one to try and do.

If you have any suggestion for books set around the world and Shakespeare places I would love to hear them. I have a bit of a list on Shakespeare from a few people. So, don’t worry if you have made a recommendation, I have written it down!


How are your goals going?

Have you decided to change any of yours or introduce new ones?

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