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2017 in Books

11 Jan

Goodreads has a feature that summarizes your reading for the year. For those of you who’ve seen it, consider yourselves lucky! I saw mine once and just spent ten minutes trying to find it again. It’s very well buried and hidden. I dug it out and (along with some other Goodreads stats), I wanted to share some of that information with my wonderful readers.

I read 54 books in 2017. My goal was 50 so #epicwin.

I read 17,992 pages. Now I wish I’d read an 8 page children’s book just to make that an even 18,000! This is about 700 pages more than 2016 and two books more.

The shortest book I read was The Importance of Being Earnest and the longest was World Without End. Funny enough, both were audiobooks and both were 5 Star reads.

The most popular book I read was Tuesdays with Morrie. Have you read this one? The odds are in my favor!

My average rating was a 3.6. This seems about right for me. I don’t give books a 5 very often (see below) and I give a book a 3 unless it really upset me. It seems I trend high and I’m ok with that.

I started wondering how my ratings tend to skew. In 2017, I rated books as follows:

5 Stars: 8
4 Stars: 23
3 Stars: 17
2 Stars: 6
1 Star: 0

I’m really excited about a year with no 1 Star reads! Woohoo! I’m not surprised that about 43% of my books get a 4 Star rating. I enjoyed a lot of what I read this year and 4 stars is a solid rating from me.

Thanks for taking a look with me! If you’ve been here a while, you know I love numbers and book-related numbers are the best.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

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1,000 Posts!

9 Jan

Imagine my surprise when I took a quick mental break from work and saw a notification that my post last Tuesday accounted for my 1,000th post! I’m so blessed that you are here following my rantings 1,000 posts in. I wanted to take a minute to share with you what it took for me to get to this point. I didn’t get here overnight by any means. This will probably be a lot like my birthday posts. I do love those.

I started my blog in September, 2013. That means that I’ve had the blog for approximately 1,585 days. That means I post 63% of the time so I’m posting almost 2 out of ever 3 days! I didn’t realize I had so much to say.

I have 133,729 views (as of typing this) meaning each of my posts has been seen an average of 133.729 times (yay math). Now, that’s completely skewed because a WWW Wednesday post will get around 110 views and that’s really high for one of my pages! However, my homepage averages 140 a day alone now and it was below 70 the first year I had this blog. Oh averages.

I have 1,230 followers plus an additional 28 email followers. I see that as each post attracted over one person to follow my blog! Not a bad statistic, but definitely not one I had for a long time on this blog. In fact, I didn’t hit 1,000 followers until May 2017, not too long ago!

You all are so amazing for following me and I’m so blessed to have dedicated readers who (for some reason) care what I have to say about books. You mean the world to me and thank you so much for sticking around for 1,000 posts. Here’s to many, many thousands more.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

A Bookworm’s Christmas

8 Jan

Santa knew just what I would like! Well, my husband and future sister-in-law did for sure. It was modest this year with three books gifted to me. I’m excited to read them all!

A staple gift from my husband, I got the new illustrated Harry Potter, Prisoner of Azkeban. I haven’t finished reading the second one yet so the new book will go to my Harry Potter shelf (yes, I have one) while I keep picking away at Chamber of Secrets. I told myself I wouldn’t look at the beautiful pictures, but I may have cheated a bit!

I got two other books this year, too. The first is The Invisible Guardian by Dolores Redondo. My sister-in-law-to-be has cemented a new family tradition in place by buying us books for Christmas every year. I love this. My selection this year was based on my Spanish degree. The book is originally published in Spanish and takes places in Basque Country, Spain. I’m excited to see if there are cultural elements in the book that I’ll recognize from my research.

The final book was a second book from my husband. I’ve been reading more and more running books as I get more involved in distance running and triathlon. This one is about a dog who follows an ultra-marathoner and becomes a training partner. It looks like a really sweet story and I’m excited to read it and find out more.

Did Santa bring you any books? What about friends or family? I hope you enjoy your Christmas reads. Happy new year and happy reading!

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Currently Reading Book Tag

26 Dec

It’s been such a long time since I did a tag! I can’t even remember the last one I did. Priyasha tagged me in this one a few weeks ago and I have the time (aka I’m a bit short on material) now so it’s a great time to share! If you haven’t been to her page before, check it out! She’s a faithful WWW Wednesday follower as well.

This tag is originally created by Charly Reynhorse and you can watch the video here.

How many books do you usually read at once?
I’m a big fan of reading multiple books at once. I usually have a minimum of three going. However, I use different formats. I’ll have a physical book, an audiobook, and an ebook. I sometimes have up to five. I often have an audiobook on CD for the car and a different one on my phone for running and house chores. I also might have two physical books going if I have to stop reading one to finish a book club pick. I don’t think I’ve ever had more than five.

If you are reading more than one book at a time, how do you decide when to switch books?
Like I said, it depends on where I am. If I have the physical book, I’ll read that over an ebook but I don’t really have to decide other than that.

Do you ever switch bookmarks while you are partway through a book?
No. I cycle through my bookmarks in a stack and I take whatever’s on the top of the stack.

Where do you keep the book(s) you are currently reading?
On my bedside table.

How long do you typically read in one setting?
For an ebook, it’s usually my lunch break or the wait at the doctor’s office. An audiobook could be a long time, depending on how far I’m running or how many cookies I’m baking. For a physical book, it’s usually pretty short, about a half hour at most. I get bad back pain for anything longer.

Do you read hardbacks with the dust jacket on or off?
I used to leave them on but now I religiously take them off.

What position do you mainly use to read?
Supine. It’s most comfortable for my neck. If I get uncomfortable, I’ll lay on my side to keep reading.

Do you take the book you are currently reading with you everywhere?
No, that’s what I have the ebook for. My physical book stays at home.

How often do you update your Goodreads progress on the book you’re currently reading?
I used to do it daily! At my old job, I’d read a physical book during lunch and update Goodreads when I got back to my desk. That’s been over two years. Now I’m bad about it and really only update when I start and finish.

Woo! There we are. I’ve decided to tag the last few people who commented on WWW Wednesday last week but anyone is welcome to join! I couldn’t tag all of you. 🙂

Amber (Step Into a Book World)
Emily (A Keyboard and an Open Mind)
Wolly Muses
Ryan (Muse with Me)
Deanna (A Novel Glimpse)
Jenn (Bound to Writing)
Keeana (Keeana’s Korner)

That’s all, folks. Thanks for learning more about me. Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Happy Thanksgiving!

23 Nov

To my fellow Americans, Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is a day to spend with friends and family. I encourage everyone to put down their books just long enough to enjoy some pecan pie. Yum!

And if I can be a little opinionated for a second, please don’t go Black Friday shopping until normal business hours. Let those employees spend the holiday with their families by not supporting the sales.

I’ll jump off my soapbox now. Enjoy the turkey!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Do You Read Outside?

16 Nov

And now for the final installment about where we all pick up a book! A friend of mine recommended this one on Facebook and I can’t believe I hadn’t already thought of it. I do enjoy reading outside.

I have a porch in my apartment. I’ve got two lawn chairs and a table out there. It’s covered so no rain gets in and I’ve got two wind chimes hung up out there, too. I love spending Friday afternoon sitting out there and finishing a book. It’s one of my favorite things to do in the summer. Being in Michigan, I don’t get a very long window when the weather is conducive to this and I like to take advantage of it when I can. I’ll give up if it’s windy or gets chilly, but that porch chair is one of my favorite reading spots.

I’ve done a fair share of reading in other outdoor locations as well. I used to read outside during my lunch every day. I’ve read in parks and in college, I’d take a yoga mat outside and read there. Laying on my stomach at the beach is another favorite.

I can’t be the only one who likes to read outside. Do you read outside, Reader? What’s your favorite place?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

5 Reasons Readers Don’t Make Great Students

26 Oct

In honor of my midterm tonight, I thought I’d avoid studying and provide you all with this lovely list of reasons readers aren’t always the best students. Please add more if you have them!

1. If the historical fiction version was better, I’m going to consider that history.

In my book, Ken Follett and Philippa Gregory wrote 1200-1500 English history.

2. I’ll read until I fall asleep, but it’s not my textbook.

That puts me to sleep too quickly. I need some plot!

3. I’m reading during lectures, but it’s still not the textbook.

It may be hidden inside my textbook or on my phone, but it’s not about management theory.

4. I’m tired in the morning classes because I HAD TO finish the last 100 pages last night.

So. Worth. It.

5. If I find another reader in class, you can forget about me being quiet and respectful.

If someone else wants to debate if Harry could control the Basilisk because he is a Horcrux, I’m going to have that conversation.

Can we keep this list going? How does being a reader clash with your ability to be a student? Until next time, write on!

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Favorite Female Writer: #1

19 Oct

Monday, I told you that my #3 favorite female writer was S.E. Hinton. Tuesday, I told you my #2 favorite female writer was Philippa Gregory. Today, I’m going to talk about my #1 favorite female writer and I’m going to guess this isn’t a surprise for anyone who’s been around my blog for very long.

J.K. Rowling
Image via The Telegraph

J.K. Rowling

Surprise! (Or not…) I was introduced to Rowling when I was about 9 years old. The third Harry Potter book had come out and after some resistance, I started reading the series from the beginning and fell in love. I was just the right age for these books and grew with Harry as the books went on. The movies were right on pace with my childhood as well. The series is my favorite of all time and one I’m sure I’ll re-read and re-enjoy with any future children I may have.

I’m not, on the whole, a big S&F fan. There are exceptions, to be sure, and HP is the biggest of those. I think one of the most endearing qualities about HP is that it appeals to those who don’t traditionally enjoy fantasy because there are elements to it that go beyond the traditional elements of that genre. It has mass appeal and even though it was aimed at children, it’s very popular with young adults and adults.

My adoration for Rowling grew when she started to branch beyond Potter. A Casual Vacancy wasn’t for me and a lot of others agreed. I do, however, enjoy the Cormoran Strike series. I understand why she initially opened up under another name and I admire her for continuing on. Like my stance on S&F, I’m not usually a big mystery fan but, again, Rowling has brought to her books something I can enjoy and connect with. The long story of Robin and Matthew and Cormoran’s role in Robin’s life is intriguing, even when I’m not very interested in the case at hand. Rowling has created great characters and I can’t wait to read more about them.

Rowling started writing when she was unemployed and down on her luck. She wrote because she needed to. She knew the story needed to come out. I always strive for that feeling, but I know it’s not always achievable. I crave the days when my story is so strong in my head that I know I have to write it. I think of those days when I’m not having one. Rowling was braver than I’ll ever be and took a chance to get her story written and I greatly admire her for that.

I doubt this is a surprise for anyone, but I had to share my love for Ms. Rowling. She defined a generation that I’m blessed to be a part of and I hope it continues to inspire for generations to come.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Favorite Female Writers: #2

17 Oct

And I’m back! Yesterday I posted to tell you why S.E. Hinton is my #3 favorite female writer and today I’m back to give you the story behind my #2 favorite female writer. Get ready.

Philippa Gregory
Image via Fantastic Fiction

Philippa Gregory

My mom introduced me to Gregory’s books in late high school and instilled a love for British historical fiction that I still suffer from. I’ve read a stupidly high number of Gregory books and enjoyed a lot of them. One of the best part of Gregory’s books is that there are still some coming out! Her interpretation of the lives of the Tudor queens, in particular, has blended with history in my mind and I’m not sure I’ll ever tell them apart well.

To be sure, there are books of Gregory’s I’ve enjoyed more than others. I always recommend the same few titles to those who are unfamiliar with her work: The Other Boleyn GirlThe Queen’s Fool, and The Constant Princess. There are some I’ve disliked over the years, but remembering how much I enjoyed these three has made me come back to her time and time again. My experience with Gregory has helped me branch out to other historical eras and genres and I’ve found a love for the genre and a desire to write my own history.

I’ll admit I’m not a dedicated reader and many Gregory books have come out that I’ve skipped or not gotten to. I read ones about historical figures that spark my interest. Catherine of Aragorn is very interesting to me, thus my love for The Constant Princess. Gregory has focused on many women in history, some I find more deserving than others in my personal assessment and those have earned my readership.

One of the things I adore most about a Gregory book is the detail and history involved. Now, some of her books can get a little too detailed, but many of them have rich details that enhanced the story and keep it moving along. Her depiction of the daily parts of life is my favorite. There are practices and pastimes she brings into the stories as well as vocabulary and niceties that I adore. She weaves them in seamlessly and makes the reader feel like he or she is living in the time period.

I know many people commented they hadn’t explored Gregory’s vast works yet when I was reading her recently. I encourage people to give her a try because there’s such a variety that it’s hard to think there’s nothing in her booklist for any reader.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Star Wars Reads Day 2017

12 Oct

Last weekend, my husband and I ventured out to the library to celebrate the fifth annual Star Wars Reads Day at our library. Despite this being the fifth and it being sponsored by the Friends (of which I’m a board member) and a good friend of mine being a key organizer, this was my first time attending. I won’t like, it was the light saber battle demonstration that got me to go.

My library is better than yours! #fclswrd17 @farmlib

A post shared by Sam Ann Elizabeth (@samannelizabeth) on

If that doesn’t get people to the library, I’m not sure what will. It’s worth noting how quiet it is in that room because five minutes earlier, the Jedi talking about their training was drowned out by yelling children.

In addition to the demo, there were crafts for kids to create masks, Yoda ears, and practice their Jedi skills on a balancing course. Of course, there were cardboard cutouts that my husband and I used to take a pretty sweet picture. It was recommended we use this for our Christmas picture this year but we usually have our pet turtles in the picture and I’m not sure how we’d PhotoShop them in this time.

Part of it being Star Wars Reads Day is that the library was giving away free Star Wars novels. As the library receives donations, any Star Wars books are sorted out and set aside for this day each year. My husband grabbed one to add to his classroom.

I wanted to talk about this and highlight some of the amazing events libraries are putting on. Friends funding helped build this event into something many patrons look forward to each year.  I’m so proud to be on the Friends Board of Directors and I love my library! If you haven’t gone to check out the programs at your library or explore what is offered besides material lending, I urge you to do so.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!