Tag Archives: Reading

Too Many Books?

22 Mar

I rarely feel this way, but I’m starting to feel like I’m reading too many books.

I usually keep it to three books, one print, one audio, and one digital. Recently, I’ve tried to do two audiobooks with one in my car on CD because there are audiobooks I can’t find digitally. Honestly, it’s not my favorite and I’m going to try to get through books only available on CD quickly so I can return to doing them on my phone as much as possible. There’s an extra audiobook in my life right now for that reason.

Every year, I try to read a book in Spanish. I try to start it as close to January 1 as possible and finish as soon as I’m able to. Because they take me a long time to read, I often have to take a break from them before I finish to read a book club selection before the meeting date. While I’m getting close to finishing my Spanish read for the year, I have to put it aside for a book club right now. That gave me an extra print book in my life.

The digital book I’m trying to read is really long and I’ve lost the library hold on it before. Because I didn’t want to be caught with no book to read, I started another. However, when the long book became available again, I got back to it and put the second book aside. I’m about to lose the hold on the long one again so it will be back to the second book. There’s the final extra book in my life right now.

So there are three extra books, doubling my ideal number of three all the way to six. The issue is also that I’ve got a lot of similar genres going on. Both ebooks, one print, and one audio are contemporary fiction and the remaining two are fantasy. I usually have at least one historical fiction book going on which gives me more variety of settings, but no such luck now.

It’s frustrating because I feel like I’m not making progress on any of them. I haven’t finished a book since February 22nd, a month ago. I’m three books behind schedule for my Goodreads challenge! I know I’ll go through a week of finishing a ton of books, but it’s hard to see when that date will come.

Does anyone else read like me? Has anyone else felt this discouragement?

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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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!

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!

Do You Read On The Couch?

14 Nov

Welcome back to exploring where we all read! As I said before, I love reading in bed. On the couch, well, is a different story.

I almost never read on the couch. I find it puts a lot of strain on my neck to look down at my lap to read. When I lift the book up my arms get tired. I end up laying down on the couch, but at that point, I’d rather be in bed where I have all the pillows I need to make myself comfortable. Plus, there are no breaks in cushions on my bed. My butt doesn’t get stuck anywhere.

I will read on the couch for a short time. If I know it’s only going to be 20 minutes that I’m reading while I wait for something or someone, I’ll do it. I also read magazines on the couch. I usually read these in short installments rather than all at once so reading them on the couch is a good option. Plus, they’re so light that holding it up to my face isn’t as much of an issue for me.

I’m going to guess I’m in the minority here. Couch reading seems to be pretty popular, but I just can’t get comfortable. Am I the odd one out, reader? Do you read on the couch?

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 in Coffee Shops?

13 Nov

Wow, you all really responded to my ‘Do You Read in Bed?’ post! Thank you all so much. Due to a lack of finishing any books this week, I’ve decided to make a series out of it this week and talk about other places people tend to read. First stop, the coffee shop!

I know this one is usually more of a writer stereotype, but I wanted to explore it. I cannot read in coffee shops. As much as I love reading with a warm cup of tea at home, I can’t do it at a coffee shop. I’ve even tried sitting in the armchairs, it didn’t help. I have a lot of trouble tuning out voices and people talking around me while I read so most public places don’t work for me. Since coffee shops tend to be kind of quiet, the one person having a loud conversation on the other side of the room is very clear. If I was going to read at a coffee shop, I’d need to wear headphones and listen to music.

But then, I’d be too distracted to read. I get super distracted by people walking by me. This isn’t just when I read, it’s also at work on my computer or during a conversation, anytime really. If I was reading in a coffee shop, I’d look up any time a new person came in to order. I’d be a mess trying to keep to my spot in the book and looking up all the time.

I do enjoy writing at coffee shops, but reading is a completely different animal. I wonder if I’m weird or if this isn’t a popular reading spot. How about you, Reader? Do you read in coffee shops?

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 in Bed?

9 Nov

Reading before bed has been a ritual for me as long as I can remember. As a kid, I’d read until my mom told me to turn out the light. Now, I read while my husband brushes his teeth. Even in college, when I’d be up until after midnight and need to be up early again the next day, I would read at least two pages before turning out the light. It’s helped me to calm down before bed, even if a plot is ramping up.

I have to admit that in the past few years since smartphones have become a steady part of our lives, I’ve slipped a bit. I’ll check Instagram for cute baby pictures and Facebook to see new movie trailers. And then I won’t read as many pages because it’s later and I’m already so tired of reading status updates.

And it seems I’m not alone. I found this article which talks about what a fleeting experience reading in bed is. It’s an experience that hasn’t been around a long time and that looks to be going away quickly. And that makes me sad.

Having no screen-time before bed is supposed to promote healthier sleep. Books, real paper books, can do that. As easy as it is to watch a video or read an article, I continue to force myself to put my phone down and pick up some words printed on a page. I really hope this isn’t a fad. It’s a tradition I plan to pursue for the rest of my life.

Do you read in bed? Printed word or ebook? I’m curious if anyone else agrees with me on the health benefits of reading before bed.

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!

Ten Things that Don’t Seem As Important When You Realize Your Book Club Meets in Three Days

25 Jul

Alternatively titled ‘Things Book Nerds Give Up When A Book Gets Good.’

  1. Television. TV isn’t important when the story in your hands is calling.
  2. Sleep. I’ll just read one more chapter before bed.
  3. Eating well. Who wants to cook when you could be reading?
  4. Exercise. Reading is an exercise for the mind!
  5. Talking. There’s no time for speaking when there are words to read!
  6. Human interaction. If I avoid everyone, I can read more.
  7. Food. Forget eating well, there’s no time to eat at all.
  8. A social life. I could go to dinner with my friend, but then I might miss out on two chapters.
  9. Personal hygiene. Because you can’t take a book in the shower.
  10. Writing good blog posts. My apologies for this one, I’m frantically 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!

Tips to Being a Successful Book Polygamist

19 Mar

It’s been a while since I did a free form post, but this is something that’s been close to my heart for a while. Every WWW Wednesday, at least one person will comment on how many books I read at one time. To me, there’s no other way to do it! I had this on my brain when I saw a post from Sheila at Book Journey on Reading Styles and I figured it was time to share my tips and some tools that I love.

My ability to read multiple books at once had one secret: diversity! To me, there are two types of diversity in books that make it easier to read a few at a time. The first is the plot. Diversity in genre and setting helps me keep plots from confusing themselves in my head. For example, right now I’m listening to two audiobooks. One takes place in 2000 BC England and the other takes place in North Dakota 1988. (Comment below if you think you know what they might be!) When two books are set in different places or times, it’s harder to get them confused. I read two books set in India at the same time once, but one was modern and the other was set in the 1700s. Time helped me keep them separate even if the setting was the same.

Genre is another way to very the plot. A romance novel and a crime novel might have similar settings, but the nature of the story will help the reader keep the plots separate. I’m reading Christian fiction and non-fiction about WWII. No chance of confusing those!

Piece of advice #2: Have books for different times. I have a book I read during breakfast and one before bed. I have an audiobook for the car and one for when I’m cooking. My assigning these books different times of the day helps me remember that in the morning I read about the rapture and before bed I read about the Manhatten project. In my car, I hear about Native Americans and in my kitchen I hear about Pagan gods.

My third piece of advice is to use different formats. I find that I don’t confuse the plot of my audiobook and my ebook. One I hear and the other I read. Absorbing the story in different ways keeps it separate in my mind. At any given time, I’m working on an eBook, audiobook, and physical book. If you’re lucky enough to have a library card, here are some great resources I’ve found at my library. If your library doesn’t have these, ask if they might be interested in getting them!

Physical Books
Inter-library loan- Get books from other libraries and check them out at your home library. The downside is that it takes a long time for them to come in sometimes.
Reciprocal membership- See if your library offers the ability to get a library card from a partner library.
Membership at another library- Look at libraries in the towns where you work or go to school if it’s different from your own. Some libraries offer the option for students, employees, and business owners to have a card in the community even if you don’t live there.
Library used book sales- I buy most of my books used. My library sells trade paperbacks for $1 and that’s a deal no one can beat. When I go to libraries, I always look for their book sale and see if I can snag a winner. The summer is a great time for big sales.
ARCs- If you’re willing to gamble on a new author or new book, ARCs are great. You can be an early reviewer of a novel that might not have been released yet. There are a million different ways to get ARCs. My favorite is Goodreads Giveaways.

eBooks
3M- I don’t have much experience with 3M but my librarian friends tell me it’s a very user-friendly platform that’s especially great for eReaders.
Overdrive- Probably my favorite reading app! Overdrive allows you to rent eBooks in several different formats. Some you see in a web browser and some are downloaded to the Kindle app. I’m sure there are other formats, but these are the two I’m most familiar with.

Audiobooks
Books on CD- Easiest to get from the library. These are perfect for long car rides or commuting.
Audible- I don’t have a subscription, but I’ve used the app. It’s really simple to use and Audible has a copy if you’re willing to shell out the cash. Good for new releases or titles you don’t want to wait for.
Overdrive- Again, one of my favorite apps. Though this one is a bit hit-or-miss for me depending on the format of the file. Some are simple to download to my phone, but some have to be converted and added to iTunes before I can listen to them on the go. I prefer the former, obviously.
Hoopla- This is my newest love for books. Hoopla has super simple downloads of audiobooks and has some titles available I haven’t seen on any of these other sites. It’s still new and I can only see it growing.

I hope these tips and tools can help you! There are some great resources out there if you’re willing to look for them. If you’re like me, you need to fund your reading habit at the lowest possible price, which is why I’ve tried to list many of the resources that are available at a low cost if provided by your library. I’m no expert and don’t pretend to be, but if you want to know more please Google these services and ask your library! As a Friends of the Library Board member, we love knowing what patrons want from their library.

Let me know if you have any advice for book polygamy! It could be fun to read even 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!

National Readathon Read-Cap

26 Jan

If you hadn’t heard, the first ever National Readathon Day was this past Saturday, 24-January. The day was sponsored by the National Book Foundation, Penguin Random House, Goodreads, Mashable, and some other wonderful sponsors with the goal of promoting a lifelong love of reading in America. (Here’s the main page.) I saw this very late in the week and decided my husband and I were going to give it a try.

My goal was to make progress with a book I’m struggling through, La Sombra del Viento by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. It’s hard for me to read in Spanish for a long period of time and I wanted to challenge myself. I’m proud to say I made it through 54 pages of the book and it’s a wonderful story. I also sampled from two other books, California by Edan Lepucki and The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis. California is an audiobook on my phone and I listened to about 25 minutes of it while I cooked lunch for me and my husband (no excuse to stop reading!). Willis’s book is an ebook I’ve been reading off an on for a few months and I got to a really great plot twist while reading on Saturday. I got through 10% of the book that day alone because I was so hooked.

There were times during the four hours when I wanted to go do a chore that was bugging me or I wanted to turn on Netflix and watch just one episode of The Office, but I kept reading. And in the end, it was really nice. My husband read all of Beowulf and got a chunk of Ready Player One by Ernest Cline read (by my recommendation!) and he really enjoyed the experience as well. I look forward to next year and hopefully there will be something in the community about the event so it doesn’t feel as isolated. I think this is a great idea and I can’t wait to see it take off in the near future!

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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