10 Best Backlist Books I Read In 2014

So I’ve already shared my favorite 2014 releases (non-debuts) and my seven favorite debut novels of YA! Today I want to talk about all the pre-2014 books I read this year! So I’m defining BACKLIST, for this purpose, as anything that was published pre-2014. It’s important to me as a reader/blogger to not forget about older stuff…plus I always miss SO many things.

So here are my 10 favorite backlist books I read this year!

 

best YA books

 

If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch (published 2013) : Oh man this book really got to me! Definitely an underrated one! The sisters in this story just will haunt me — everything they went through. But oh my heart had warm and fuzzies by the end of this!
If I Lie by Corrinne Jackson (2012): SERIOUSLY SUCH AN UNDERRATED BOOK! This one made me sob! It was short and I read it all in one day!
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (2011): This was one of the books on my Halloween reading list. It was not scary to me as the cover made me think it might be (creepy kids!!) BUT all of the supernatural/magic stuff was awesome and it was brilliantly written! Cannot wait to read more of this series!
Saving Francesca/The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta (2006 & 2010): I’m putting these together for one because The Piper’s Son is a companion to Saving Francesca (though it can totally be read by itself though you won’t feel as if you are visiting old friends like you do if you read Saving Francesca first). Marchetta is a genius and I’m glad now I’ve read more of her than just Jellicoe Road (which I super loved). I loved both the perspectives of Francesca and then of Thomas Mackee. HIS STORY HURT ME SQUARE IN THE FEELS.

Throne of Glass/Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas (2012 & 2013) : I’m SO happy I finally jumped on this bandwagon because it’s given me this appetite for fantasy now! Heir of Fire (book 3) made my best of 2014 releases list and these books were VERY high on my list this year of books I’ve read. OH MY GOODNESS. They just keep getting better and better.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (2013): This was definitely one of the best adult fiction books I read this year! SO FUNNY and sweet and I just couldn’t put it down!
Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas (2013): WOW. If you like thriller/mystery kinds of books, this one was just so twisty and awesome. Took a ripped from the headlines story and just kept me guessing until the final page.

How To Love by Katie Cotugno (2013): This book was incredible! I tend to steer away from teen pregnancy books just because a lot of them don’t seem like my thing but this book just captivated me! Love me some complicated, messy relationships!

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay (2012): Hands down one of the most all-consuming reading experiences I had this year! This book is beautiful and sad and tragic and hopeful and OMG MY EMOTIONS.

How To Say Goodbye In Robot by Natalie Standiford (2009): THIS BOOK is such an underrated gem! Friendship! Finding oneself! If you like quirky characters and stories, check this one out!

 

 

Tell me which backlist books you read and LOVED this year! I’m always wanting to make sure I don’t skip excellent books from years past!

I Got The Message Loud & Clear: Reading Isn’t Cool.

Mostly my family and friends are very supportive of my love for reading even if they don’t altogether get it. As a child I was just as much of a voracious reader but honestly there’s always been this underlying “poking fun” with some of my extended family and it just makes me cringe when I think of it.

Even today as an adult I get these comments from them “reminiscing” about my childhood reading tendencies and while, I’m not super upset by them, they just get under my skin. As a kid, they made me feel bad too. And that makes me sad because why should a kid feel bad about reading??

There was, even now, these comments about how I was the lazy one out of my sister and I because I would rather sit and read.

And I just think there is something wrong with making a kid feel like they are lazy because their hobby of choice happens to be one that includes sitting (I mean, yes sure my butt hurts from all sitting I do while reading). I played outside and was VERY active as a kid but I always had a book with me no matter where I went as I do now (especially when I had to visit their homes) and would prefer reading to anything. But just because I was reading was not because I am lazy. There were many times where I felt like I should be “more active” like my sister because of their comments and I felt this shame that, because I liked reading, I must be lazy. I was at my baby sister’s graduation two years ago and one of them was telling Will ALL about how they could never get me up to bake cookies with them like my sister would because I was soooo lazy and would just sit there with my book. Insert questions if I’m still just as lazy. (Spoiler alert: I AM AND I LOVE IT. IF YOU CALL IT LAZY, I DON’T CARE).

There were so many comments about how I was “quiet as a mouse” with my nose in a book all the time and the way they said it it never sounded like a good thing in comparison to how my sister was.

This would happen when they were talking to their Bingo friends or introducing me to someone. “Oh this one you’d never know she’s there because she’s always reading.” “She’s so shy and quiet” or if I was reading after a long visit at my grandma’s house I would hear comments about how I should be more social LIKE MY SISTER. It always made me feel like I was this strange mutant. Also, it’s a big pet peeve of mine to assume because I like to read that I am automatically socially awkward or quiet. I AM QUIET BECAUSE I AM READING. Even as an adult I think they still assume I’m this quiet little mouse which couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve never been that. It always made me feel like I was not as fun as my sister.

“If you are that bored I can find you something to do”

I AM NOT READING BECAUSE I AM BORED, PEOPLE. I do not need a hobby as they always would try to suggest.

“She’s in her own world.”

Nah. I can hear you talking about me. But really this world I’m in right now is better than the one where I have to listen to you talk about your Bingo drama or talk about what a bump on a log I am because I like reading more than I like watching your soap operas.

These are just a few of the comments I would get frequently. I’m sure my extended family wasn’t TRYING to be cruel or anything but even now they speak about me in a way that I don’t like and as a kid it made me feel really bad about myself. Like I should be ashamed to be a reader because it was lazy or because I wasn’t as FUN and SOCIAL as my sister (which was not at ALL true). It stuck with me when I became a pre-teen (which is what I think was part of this HUGE gap of my reading history) because I thought boys wouldn’t like me if I was bookish and that people would think I was a “loser” for liking books. Being a bookworm wasn’t something that sounded very cool to my extended family so it probably wouldn’t be very cool to all the boys I was trying to chase and the new friends I wanted to make.

Being a bookworm held such negative connotations and even more so in middle school and high school where so many kids would proclaim how boring and uncool they thought reading was. So I stuffed that part of myself down very far for a long time and it took until the end of high school for me to start being open about it again. But even then I was all “Oh I read Jack Kerouac and Sylvia Plath (which I truly loved) but it made me feel like I was COOL and INSIGHTFUL in a way that admitting I read the latest Nicholas Sparks wouldn’t.

I got the message loud and clear: READING WASN’T COOL. And that makes me sad that so many kids end up thinking that. Hiding their love for reading like it’s a dirty little secret. Like being a bookworm means something it doesn’t. That’s the beauty about being part of the online reading community…you see we bookworms come in MANY MANY varieties. We don’t all share the same characteristics. Being a reader does not mean you are ONE CERTAIN WAY. Being a reader isn’t something to be ashamed of it and I’m not quite sure how it ever got to be looked upon in that way.

I love being a reader and I am proud of it being a part of who I am!

Let’s talk: Has anybody in your life ever made you feel bad about being a reader? When you were younger did you get the message that reading wasn’t “cool”? Did it impact you?

The Best Medicine When I’m Feeling Down…

I’ll be honest, friends. I’ve been feeling rather down. Things have been good in some ways but also there’s just a lot of things that have been stressful and discouraging and I feel like I’m just treading water here. I feel such a lack of control over a lot of things and some days even existing is hard and exhausting. It’s just one of those kinds of tough patches and I just try to ride it out as much as I can — being intentional to change the things I can and know that things will get better.

Some of these days are harder than other and I have to get out of my own head. Somewhere along the line I was having a bad day and I found a way to lift me up a little bit and it’s become my sort of foolproof plan on the days where I feel like I’m going to break.

I’ve found the best medicine for these days is wandering the library or the bookstore.

I spend a good hour or two just wandering and browsing with no real intention or end goal. I just wander. I pick up books I’ve never heard of. I browse in sections of the bookstore I wouldn’t typically go to. I creep on what people are looking at (you all know I’m a book creeper). I move books I loved so that they can be seen (SORRY BOOKSTORE PEOPLE). I read from books that look interesting and jot down the titles for later (okay I type them into my phone but jot sounded better). I find new interests. Discover new things. I TOUCH ALL THE BOOKS. There’s so much freedom in just wandering and picking things up on a whim. Potentially holding your next new favorite book or that book that will change your life.

ALL THOSE WORDS. ALL THOSE STORIES. They calm me. They do. It’s incredibly freeing to not rush into a store with a goal of something to pick up…some sort of intention. I’m allowed to go where my whims take me and there are no expectations. As the time passes I find the stress and that negative energy have lessened.

But mostly it helps me to remember that the world is so much bigger than this day. All those stories neatly lined up on those shelves contain hope, struggle, magic, perseverance and so many more things that are part of the human experience — some better or worse than my own. It helps me to remember in these moments I’m not alone. People have been there before me and people will be in the future. This is one day. ONE DAY of my story. One little slice of this great big world and what it has to offer me and what I have to offer it. Maybe it should make me feel small and overwhelmed (okay I DO feel overwhelmed because SO MANY BOOKS, SO LITTLE TIME) but for some reason it doesn’t.

There’s all sorts of perspective to be found in wandering in the bookstore and even though it doesn’t fix everything…it sure does help my heart and calm me down a bit. And I just enjoy being surrounded by all those books.

I think this is one of the many reasons I love reading so much — sometimes it’s so calming and  helps me get out of my own head or sometimes it gives me perspective I need/offers up something that helps me think about what I’m going through. It always reminds me that I’m not alone. That this is fleeting. That there is reason to hope and persevere.

Books = the best medicine. I don’t care what anyone says or if it’s not scientifically proven.

How Do YOU Define A Spoiler?

You all know that spoiling a book is one of the ways you can piss me off as a reader but I don’t want to talk about that today. I want to talk about WHAT CONSTITUTES A SPOILER.

There are obvious spoilers. We all know them. We all have experienced them (probably). Hopefully we’ve all tried really hard not to drop them on unsuspecting people. Accidents happen though….says the girl who accidentally spoiled something for a friend. Careless spoilers or intentional ones to be a jerk though…just stop.

But let’s talk about some areas where I feel like people are divided…mmmkay?

Is it a spoiler if the book has been out for YEARS AND YEARS AND YEARS or is so super popular and a part of pop culture?

Harry Potter. Twilight. Pride & Prejudice. Game of Thrones. I know, as someone who has never read Harry Potter (okay I read the first one), that spoilers abound like CRAZY and I have to be really careful to avoid them. On one hand I’m like WELL self…it’s been so long and it’s like only the most popular piece of literature EVER so kind of my fault? But on the other hand I’m still a little sad that I have to shield my eyes always. I haven’t been spoiled TOO much but I’ve been REALLY careful. And really, there are always new readers for every book so it kind of stinks if you discover it late or if you are younger and are discovering it for the first time.

Is it a spoiler if it alludes to a plot twist or some sort of mind-blowing reveal that might happen?

Okay, this one is a sensitive topic for me because it happens so often but I really do kind of count it as a spoiler. So, I read a book like way before it came out. There was a HUGE twist. I did not know this because LITERALLY nobody had read it except like authors and publicists. My mind was blown. When it came to talking about the book, I was really careful not to say OMG THERE WAS A HUGE TWIST but, as the book got in the hands of more people, others DID point this out. And then a lot of people went into it looking for that — knowing that something that completely changes the game happens. I don’t know if it’s a “spoiler” per se but I kind of see it as spoiling the reading experience in a way. I know many people were looking for something huge and explosive and that tainted their reading experience as opposed to mine which was one where I was completely blind to anything.

Can shelving the genre on Goodreads/talking about genre be a spoiler in some cases?

Okay I have two example of what I mean.

1. Once, before I started a book, I accidentally glanced at the shelving when I was on its page and saw it labelled as LGBT. That wasn’t something that was in the summary and as I read I realized that it was kind of supposed to be something that was gradually revealed about two characters relationships and it didn’t SPOIL it but it kind of did? I knew their friendship had another element as things were revealed.

2. I was reading a book that I thought was contemporary and I saw that it was marked “paranormal” on Goodreads and at first I thought, “Dummies!” but then I was like, “Oh…maybe it changes and there is a twist.” And sure enough the big twist was a paranormal one that I wouldn’t have even have HAD in my mind if I hadn’t seen the shelving for it.

 

 

lets-talkI’m all over the place. On one hand, I do see these things as spoiler-y in nature but I don’t know. Things like shelving the books are things maybe I can just not look at?  I’d love to know what you think about each “grey area” that I brought up! Do you see any of them as spoilers or no? What are some other “grey areas” when it comes to spoilers? Do you have any “spoiler” rules (ie. what constitutes a spoiler for you when you talk about books)? How do YOU avoid spoilers? Have you ever been spoiled but the person didn’t think it was a spoiler?

Self, DO NOT SUCCUMB TO IT!

I’ve never really been a blogger who has been stressed about reading. (Seriously, before blogging, it would have baffled me that a reading or a hobby based on reading could be so stressful). I have the normal waves of “AHHH SO MANY BOOKS TO READ!” or “AHHHH SO MANY NEW RELEASES HOW CAN I KEEP UP?!?” (I never knew about new releases really before blogging) or “OMG I AM DROWNING IN BOOKS.” But they are small waves that travel through my body and momentarily freak me out and then are gone quickly.

I don’t keep a schedule for reading ARCs or any books, I read quite a variety of things old and new and I just generally keep it low stress for myself — because that’s just how I personally have wanted to go about this for the past (almost) four years.

But these past couple days? I had a meltdown. A big melty meltdown of toddler sized proportions. My thoughts are conflicting and confusing and…annoying? Because I hate stressing about things.

Can I just talk it out with you guys, please?

1. I feel so overwhelmed. There are so many books I’m never going to get to in my entire life. Likely even on my shelves I’ll never get to some of them. I don’t read by release dates but I try to be conscious of what I’ve got but, months like this where EVERYTHING good seems to be coming out, I am slowly feeling anxious over all the books I WANT to get to in this month (and the next) but know that at the pace I read and the time I have available to read that I’ll never get to all the ones I want to + the ones I want to buy when they come out. I get envious of other’s ability to read more than I can.

I feel like keeping up is a fruitless endeavor. I completely stress over which book to read next because I realize that I need to be smart about which books I read because of my finite reading ability and every dud of a book is time I could have had for a better book for me. I get all frantic about my choices and the ones left on the shelves. I feel like I’m missing out (is there book FOMO..there has to be? MAJOR BOOK FEAR OF MISSING OUT). I’m staring at all my books for review & the ones I’ve bought and I feel overwhelmed. Too many choices. Too much pressure. Not enough time.  When I feel like this I just want to hole up and read ALL THE HOURS OF THE DAY I HAVE FREE — because I’m genuinely excited about all these books but because of the book FOMO or stress or whatever we want to label it.

2. But then I have these other thoughts where I just don’t WANT to read all day every day, despite the rabbit-esque multiplying my TBR does on the daily, as much as sometimes I feel the pressure to do that because of blogging. I’ve talked about how last year I was feeling really unbalanced in life because of book blogging but I really do like to maintain some sort of balance in my life in all areas. Blogging has always been a struggle because it is so easy to let it take up a lot of time without even realizing it. I’ve been intentional about setting low reading goals even though I know I COULD read more + setting boundaries with blogging.

Sometimes I feel like, as much as reading is one of my favorite things in LIFE, I just don’t want to read THAT much and becoming a devouring machine that constantly and only ever is reading. I also want to savor what I’m reading. To not just move on to the next thing and let that be that – like how I was before I started blogging. I don’t want to treat reading like a race.  And on top of that..I really don’t want reading to be this stressful thing. (I know I control that though blogging DOES add to that).

And really..what’s the end game in me reading that much or trying to frantically read that much? It’d be a combination of the desire to read ALL THE BOOKS because as a bookworm I want to know all the stories & worlds & characters  & also it’s the pressure… but to what end? For what purpose? This is what I have to keep asking myself. I can’t do it all. I need perspective.

Sigh I feel much better getting that out. I’m taking deep breathes and just trying to go back to my zen attitude about reading and blogging. I’m okay with my little bookworm freakouts that happen from time to time because such is the bookworm life but I’m not okay with the rattling meltdown I had (for no reason) in the past couple days wherein I just stressed myself out big time about something I love and that keeps me sane normally.

Does anyone else sometimes feel the weight of all the books they will never get to?? Bloggers, do you feel stressed about reading sometimes?? How do you manage? I’m not used to succumbing to the pressure that’s always there! Please can we talk this out because Will just doesn’t get it at all!

DO NOT READ IN PUBLIC!

It’s that awkward moment when you are reading something that brings a volcanic eruption of FEELINGS in the form of tears that just comes flowing to the surface….and you are in public…away from the comfort of your own space where you can properly ugly cry your little heart out.

It’s the worst. My eyes are burning and my face starts to get flushed and I’m trying with all my might to HOLD BACK THOSE TEARS. I’m sure I look like a hot mess with my teary eyes and the trembling lip that I’m trying SO HARD to stop.

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And I just feel like everyone is STARING AT ME. Like I’m this unhinged crazy person. I mean, book people would probably understand this. The shedding of tears for fictional stories and characters. But other people? NOPE. I feel like they are all probably whispering like “what is wrong with this chick??” or awkwardly trying to look past me so they don’t catch eye contact with the crying girl.

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Sometimes it’s because I was dumb and chose something (Night by Elie Wiesel) when I knew I would be reading in public (an airplane). Seriously, who’s dumb idea was THAT? That book shouldn’t be read in public. I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER. Just like I know better than to read The Fault In Our Stars or any sort of cancer or grief or death book in public.

Other times I’m taking aback by the fact that the book I chose (Where The Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller) is making me cry while I’m reading in public (the pool at my apartment complex) because it maybe didn’t strike me as a book that might make me cry. And then it’s all panic to figure out how to stop the tears that I didn’t see coming.

Stop Crying GIF

I had a potentially awkward crying episode a few weeks ago when I was reading while the kids I nanny were napping. Their mom works from home and sometimes will come downstairs for food or something to drink so I never know when she’s coming down. I was reading Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor, a book I knew would probably make me cry but I didn’t anticipate finishing while I was there, and I felt myself start to FEEL THINGS. Not just tearing up. I could tell I was going to full on ugly cry. I was willing my tears to stop because I knew she could potentially come down at any moment or the kids could wake up and I didn’t want to be SOBBING like a crazy person. But it didn’t work…and there I sat sobbing just at least hoping she didn’t come down or the kids didn’t wake up and trying to come up with possible explanations for my eyes (sudden onset allergies? I poked myself in both eyes? A sneezing or coughing fit??). Luckily I was in the clear.

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I stealthily was able to hide my crying while I was at the pool by dunking myself underwater so it looked like I was just wet and then putting sunglasses back on. It was a solid way to conceal my book induced tears. But what happens when I’m on a plane or a train or sitting in a cafe or any other sort of situation where I might be reading in public and access to water is not available?! How to conceal it?? I guess I could carry around a pair of sunglasses everywhere? Or maybe books that will inevitably make you cry should just come with a DO NOT READ IN PUBLIC warning? Or maybe I should only read books that are funny in public? (Ehh but then I become that weirdo girl on the treadmill laughing like a hyena…yep I’ve been her).

It’s a problem to read in public when you are someone whose book feels sometimes turn into very real tears. Until I can figure out how to control it I will be forever the girl you can find sobbing in public because of a book. I guess there could be worse things, right?

(ALSO: Will wants to know, and I quote, “is it normal for people to cry this much in general from reading a book??”

Let’s Talk: Have you ever cried while reading a book in public? Any awkward crying stories to share? I’m curious what books made you cry in public! Or are you a person that’s pretty good at pushing back those tears? Or maybe you don’t cry or express many visible emotions at all while crying?

I’ve Cheated. Or Something.

Back in January 2013 I asked you guys if you were book jugglers and I talked about how I was a serial monogamist when it came to how many books I would read at one time and why I was. (I also had a HELLA cute kid Jamie pic in that post). At the time I wrote that I was totally a one book kind of girl!

In this past year, I’ve totally changed somewhere along the way. I’ve cheated. Or maybe I’ve become a book polygamist. I don’t know. But all I know is that I’m juggling a ton of books these days and I feel like quite the playa playa. I don’t know HOW it happened but it just sort of did.

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I always have my primary book that I’m reading but now it no longer has all that love and attention to itself. Then I started having a gym book that I would read on my Kindle whilst on the treadmill but then I started doing other exercise-y things so I’m not there as often. Now that I’ve started nannying while I’m still looking for jobs I have my “nannying book” on my Kindle that I only read while I’m there. My kindle is just easier to hold when I’m reading and the baby is asleep on me. But, it doesn’t end there, I also decided it would be an excellent idea to add my commuting book, which is an audiobook, to really get some extra reading time in. The other week it even got a little crazy because I had a book that I had bought for my Nook, which is now deceased, so I had to read it on my Nook App so I was reading THAT.

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I’ve gotten out of control (and I totally feel like Papa Smurf above) but I sort of like it. Some observations:

1.  Surprisingly it’s been kind of nice because I feel like I’m not in a “I haven’t read in a week because I’m avoiding my book” slump as often because I am picking up something different so if something isn’t speaking to me and I’m avoiding it (before deciding to put it down..which I suck at) then at least I’m still reading SOMETHING at some point in my day.

2. I feel like I’m finishing more books. I don’t know if it’s true but I feel like it.

3: OMG MY BRAIN SOMETIMES. It can’t handle the switching back and forth.

4. When I’m not careful and I’m reading books that are maybe kind of similar..I really do feel like they bleed into each other. Gotta be smarter about that!

5. The one bad thing is that when I finish two book around the same time I’m like OH MAN NOW I HAVE TO WRITE TWO POSTS. Double the procrastination!

6. It’s really nice when I have an e-Arc of a book and then end up with a physical copy because then I make them both my primary and Kindle read while I’m nannying. I feel like I blow through books so fast!

7. One of my main reasons I didn’t like juggling books was because I felt like I would either a) have major indecision between which book to pick up if I was enjoying both or I would gravitate towards one and just abandon the other one altogether and it would never get read. I’ve realized that this point becomes moot now because I’m not just juggling them for the sake of juggling them but I have designated books that I only read in specific places or at specific times. It’s not like I’m just saying “okay I’ll read a little of this and then a little of that one” and keep rotating just because. THAT doesn’t work for me but apparently the fact that each book has their place to be read makes it work for me. PLUS, like with the gym book, it’s so motivating to know that I HAVE to go to the gym to read it!

It’s working for now and I’m not opposed to changing habits so I’m just rolling with it…this new found “book slut” hat I’m putting on.

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So, you may or may not have talked about your habits with me back then when I talked about my book monogamy, but I’d love to talk about whether or not you are a book monogamist or if you juggle those books like a pro! Do you have designated books that you only read at x time/place? Have you always been a one book person or a juggler? Any thoughts on anything I brought up?

This Always Seems To Happen!!

Last week I talked about the end of the year reading blues but this week I want to talk about another thing that happens to me at the end of the year.

I’d say I have a pretty good eye on what is coming out each month. I always scour the catalogs way ahead of time and I’m always up to date each month. However, without fail since I started blogging in 2010, the end of the year approaches and I realize there are some books that must have flown under my radar or something!

Sometimes I knew about the title but it didn’t stand out to me initially or I didn’t know what it was about but had seen it in passing. In other cases I completely just must have missed it and I don’t know how. Then all of a sudden I start reading end of year lists or Top Ten Tuesday lists and I keep seeing books being mentioned almost universally or by a few people I trust and I’m like WHY DID I NOT GET THIS MEMO? Why did I not hear of this book? Why was it so far off my radar??

So today I’d like to share with you the books that apparently flew off my radar and I plan to get to!

under the radar 2013 YA booksunder-the-radar-books-2013

 

If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch: I’ll be honest. This is one I had seen around but the cover didn’t really draw me in and the synopsis sounded similar to some other books on my radar so I just really didn’t pay much attention to this one. Then suddenly I see this explosion of love for this book!  I missed the boat apparently! OH and then it was on the Goodreads award thingy too! (Biggest pusher of this book: Judith)

Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg: I had never heard of this one until I started seeing Estelle rave about it and now I’m seeing lots of love for it and I definitely feel out of the loop! No idea what it was even about but I definitely want to check it out after such praise!

Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn: Another one I hadn’t heard of at all until bloggers had started labeling it as a favorite of the year. Where was I on this one??

The Summer I Became A Nerd by Leah Rae Miller: I had never heard of this one until someone said it was their hidden gem favorite of the year and lo and behold I find lots of people I know liked it on Goodreads. This one totally flew under my radar but seems like something I’d really like!

Unteachable by Leah Raeder: Okay, so I had heard rumblings of this one but had no idea what it was about or anything. I also kept confusing it with another book so that probably didn’t help. But I’ve seen this on some best of lists and people who have done my End of Year Book survey. Then I went on Goodreads and LOTS of people loved this one this year. WHAT THE HECK? And now reading what it is about…I AM VERYYYY INTRIGUED.

Splintered by A.G. Howard: I had seen this one before but didn’t know much about it but then everyone started talking about how they can’t wait for the sequel and how it was a favorite so I HAD to look to see what it was about. Why did I not know about this?!

Winger by Andrew Smith: I had never heard of this one until Magan started talking about it and gave it such praise! How did this slip off my radar? And now I keep seeing A LOT of talk about it. I’m vowing to buy it next with my B&N gift card.

Altered by Jennifer Rush: Where did this one come from and why hadn’t I seen anything about it? Lots of talk on my Twitter lately about this one! Especially from Betty!

My adult fiction picks:

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent: I’m always looking for a good adult historical fiction when I scour the catalogs but I never heard of this one until Hannah started raving about it and I just don’t know how I missed out on this one! It just came out in September but I’m just very surprised I hadn’t scoped it out before!

Margot by Jillian Cantor: Again, I’m the queen of finding good historical fiction and I never even knew this was coming out and I ALWAYS pick out historical fiction set during wars — particularly WW2! Why is this one just showing up on my radar now?

 

What about you — does this seem to happen to you at the end of the year? What books slipped under your radar this year that you HAVE to read next year because suddenly everyone is talking about it? Have you read any of my “slipped under the radar” books this year?

Current Status: Drowning In Books!!

 

Will always comments on how he feels like the books in our apartment our slowly encroaching on his space and soon we are going to have to get rid of furniture in order to house all these books. I mean, LOGICALLY, I’ve known that since I started blogging in June 2010 that I’ve acquired books at a more rapid pace. But it wasn’t until recently that I feel like I’m actually drowning in books. I walk in my room and there are just piles that have no homes. I actually feel overwhelmed by them.

I’m running out of room. This month I got rid of many many tote bags filled with books and gave them to a neighbor who teaches high school English and then put a box of books in our mail room with a sign that said “free!” and even after cleaning off my shelves a little bit I’m STILL struggling with where to put them all.

The thing is…I suck at getting rid of books. I also suck at not acquiring them. (And don’t even get me started on the fact that I’m drowning in books and I still have a stack every week from the library). There are a lot of books I bought many, many years ago and I don’t think I’ll ever read them BUT WHAT IF I WANT TO? There’s also books I was sent for review (unsolicited) that I’ll never read for various reasons. I try to pass as many as I can along to local bloggers but without a job currently I can’t afford to be sending THAT many packages to give the remaining ones away.

My general rule that I set up for myself was that I would keep only favorite books that I would reread and that I would pass along the rest to other people I knew or donate them to a library/high school. I’ve done ok with that to some degree but sometimes I can’t bear to part with books I really LIKED but maybe wasn’t a favorite. I also am ruthless with getting rid of ARCS unless they are a signed fave. My strategy is great and all in theory to get rid after I read them if I won’t ever REREAD them but the fact that I acquire them faster than I can read them all is PROBLEMATIC.

And while it’s amazing to have so many books to choose from…it’s actually kind of overwhelming and I suffer from possibility overload. WHY DO I DO THIS TO MYSELF?? lol

 

Do you feel like you are drowning in books or are you good at keeping your shelves at bay? Do you keep every book you buy or receive? Are you ruthless about getting rid of books? What do you do with your books/who do you give them to? Tell me your methods, strategies, etc. Or just make me feel better that you are also drowning in books, too!

When I Don’t Love A Book Everyone Else Loves..

When I don’t like a book that everyone else does or not AS MUCH as everyone else does my brain starts running through all the reasons why that could be.

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Is it just a case of it wasn’t my thing? Where there glaring problems I saw? Did my own values and experiences influence it and make me see it differently? But there’s one thing I always come back to and that’s the hype monster – which is both a good and bad thing for different reasons.

As a blogger I’m often reading books early before they have a chance to be hyped. It’s sometimes like I’m reading it in my own little isolated bubble or vacuum. I have few opinions to influence my thinking and really NO expectations to live up to. It’s a book that I may or may not enjoy and that’s all I know about it aside from the premise and the author.

But then let’s take the books that I’m late to the game on…books that people RAVE about and seem to be universally loved. Let’s just say it was a case of that I LIKED it but not as much as everyone else did — I didn’t get that OMG FAVE BOOK, life-changing experience that so many trusted people talked about. All those REASONS that made this book their favorite for all these years. I sit there and wonder that,  if I had been in a “reading vacuum” and never heard anything about this book — like in the case of those books I read early — if I would have felt differently.

So I sit there all…”ok, book, would I have liked you MORE had I read you back when you just came out and there was relatively no hype or I wasn’t involved in the blogging community where I’m always hearing opinions about books? Or would it have been the same? Maybe you really just weren’t an amazing book for me?”

And obviously I don’t have the answer to that. I can’t go back in time or  read every book in a vacuum where I hear basically nothing about it. But I feel sad for the books I could have probably LOVED if I hadn’t such high expectations of them because of all the hype. It’s one of the few downsides I see to blogging sometimes. I’m SO inundated with opinions that give way to expectations that it’s hard to read without being influenced by them. I JUST WANT TO BLOCK THEM ALL OUT WHEN I READ so I can have my own experience that is free of any hype.

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So let’s talk: Do you ever think about this? Are there any books you think you probably would have LOVED more if there wasn’t that dreaded hype monster or any sort of built up expectations because of people’s opinions – like if you read them early on or in a “vacuum” so to speak? Or do you think you were always destined probably not to LOVE those books? How do you keep those expectations and hype at bay to let yourself not be so influenced?

 

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