Monday, January 1, 2018

A Reading Review of 2017 and 2018 Reading Goals

I thought it'd be good to not just review my favorite books of 2017, but also to look at some statistics to really dig into my 2017 reading now that the year's officially over and review some of my goals! All of these numbers could be a little bit off - I don't have complete information (I didn't even try to count queer authors) or I just miscounted - but I did my best.

One of my goals was to read 150 books, but I topped out at 138.
  • 10 of my reads were books I was working on
  • 2 of my reads were sensitivity reads
  • 16 of my reads were non-fiction
  • 35 of my reads were by PoC, Jewish, or Muslim authors
  • 18 of my reads I did not finish
  • 5 books I put down, but plan to come back to
  • 14 were picture books
  • 11 were graphic novels/comics
  • 12 were romance novels
  • 12 were adult fiction 
  • 14 books were about queer people
  • 31 books were about PoC, Jewish, or Muslim characters (not including non-fiction)
I have all kinds of other statistics that I've been working through - I started crunching numbers before the year was over and read several books after that, but I don't remember how many. But I am pleased with how I branched out to non-fiction, my ability to get better at recognizing a book isn't for me, and the number of books I read that were a little different from my norm.

On the other hand, I'm disappointed with my diverse reading, though. I felt like I had been doing really well in reading diverse books from diverse authors, but numbers don't lie. It's definitely an improvement over last year, when I only read 11, but it's still not where I want it to be. Same for books about characters of color.  My goal last year was 50% of my books read to be by or about marginalized people and I didn't hit that - around 50 of the books I read fit this bill, so around 37%. But I made some really big strides in that direction. I'm really glad I already have quite a few books on my shelves to get me even closer to reaching 50%.

I also had a goal to get rid of more books than I acquired and I came close! The final count I have is that I acquired 323 books and got rid of 313 books. I didn't meet my goal, but I came really close and I think knowing how close I came will be a good motivator for hitting that goal in 2018.

2018 Goals

My 2018 goals are a bit of a challenge without being overwhelming. I want to read 130 books this year - preferably books I can count towards my Goodreads goal since that was definitely an issue this year. Goodreads thinks I only read 121 books. 

My more challenging goals include reading more backlist. Of the 130 books I read in 2018, I want 1/3 of them to be backlist. Too many books have been sitting on my shelf for too long and I want to at least try to read a lot of them. I even have a list of books that I HAVE to read in 2018 or they need to go because I never will.

As I mentioned, I once again want to try to get rid of more books than I acquire. I also again want to try to read at least 50% diversely. I just wanted to repeat that in the 2018 section of this post.

On top of that, I want to finish at least one series per month. I have SO MANY unfinished series on my shelf and that's just an extra stress on me, knowing I haven't finished them. If I finish - or catch up on - at least one series a month, that can get me really far through my TBR. Similarly, I'm debating either not taking on any new series or trying to read first-in-a-series books per month so I can decide if I actually want to be invested in that series or just move on. We'll see how I feel as I start finishing series.

Again I want to try to increase the non-fiction I read. I want to read two a month. There are SO MANY books I want to check out that are non-fiction, but there are also SO MANY sitting unread on my shelf that I don't want to keep acquiring more until I've made a bigger dent. 

These are kind of lofty, genuinely challenging goals, which is why I'm also challenging myself to read for at least an hour a day and 3 hours on Sundays (which will hopefully be my designated "off" day). I read at a rate of about 100 pages an hour - slower if I'm reading non-fiction or adult fiction - so theoretically if I read an hour a day, I finish a book every 3-4 days and likely an entire book on Sundays, so I'll read 3 books a week, which would take me to 156 books in the year, and that doesn't even factor in comics and graphic novels and picture books. And I want that hour a day to be separate from any work-related reading too. This particular goal has an added bonus of taking me off the internet and social media and maybe even getting me to bed earlier.

So, those are my rather lofty reading goals. Some may need to be adjusted as the year goes on and my life changes, but I'm hoping not to sacrifice too much. Last year I promised monthly updates and UTTERLY failed at that, so we're going to try quarterly updates this year. More doable and gives me a better chance to look at how I'm doing with some of my goals.

--Julie

Sunday, December 17, 2017

My Most Anticipated 2018 Reads

I might not be a real book blogger, but I can still yell about all of the books I'm dying to get my hands on!

Sequels and Companions

Shadow Call by AdriAnne Strickland and Michael Miller
My Plain Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows
Puddin' by Julie Murphy
The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee
The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty
Warcross #2 by Marie Lu
The Spy with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke
The Caged Queen by Kristen Ciccarelli
Ruin of Stars by Linsey Miller
Chainbreaker by Tara Sim
Forest of a Thousand Lanterns #2 by Julie C. Dao

Other Books

Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson 
Sea Witch by Sarah Henning
Mirage by Somaiya Daud
Heart of Thorns by Bree Barton
What the Night Sings by Vesper Stamper 
Royals by Rachel Hawkins
Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier
The Nameless Queen by Rebecca McLaughlin
Game of Secrets by Kim Foster
The Summer of Jordi Perez by Amy Spalding
Fat Girl on a Plane by Kelly deVos
The Half King by Melissa Landers
From Twinkle, with Love by Sandhya Menon 
The Unbinding of Mary Reade by Miriam McNamara
The Bird and the Blade by Megan Bannen
Dark of the West by Joanna Hathaway
A Land of Permanent Goodbyes by Atia Abawi
Hullmetal Girls by Emily Skrutskie
Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles
Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young
The Queen Underneath by Stacey Filak
Belly by Eva Darrows
A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna
A Thousand Beginnings and Endings edited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman
You'll Miss Me When I'm Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon
A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole
Bygone Badass Broads by Mackenzi Lee
Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman
To Be Honest by Maggie Ann Martin
The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White
Beneath the Citadel by Destiny Soria
Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

So, that's everything that I'm DYING for. But it's definitely not the only books I'm watching in 2018. And I'll be talking about some of the 2018 books I've already loved in my year-end round up. At the actual end of December because I still have reading to do.

--Julie

Monday, October 23, 2017

True Life: I'm Obsessed with Bookish Candles

My name is Julie and I have a problem.

I reorganized my candle collection and I currently own 100 candles. One. Hundred. I owned less than 10 before July. And I'm currently waiting on...13 if I counted right. With another 96 on my wish list that I'm hoping to make a dent in with the holiday sales. Majority of them are themed around a specific book or piece of media that I love and honestly, I'm just lucky I'm not a fan of Sarah J. Maas because things could be so much worse because there are so many Maas candles.

But with all of that candle shopping, I've gathered Thoughts on quite a few candle shops and policies and scents and I thought it'd be fun for me to share them with you.

My Top 3

Looking at my candle collection, I absolutely have favorites and all of these favorites have a few things in common: they ship quickly, they have a wide variety of scents and inspirations for those scents, they have fantastic customer service, and they have great packaging.

Icey Designs was my first candle love. Hafsah works with her whole family and makes some fantastic candles. They're a bit on the pricier side, but it's so easy to tell why. The candles have some physical heft to them and aren't like the types of jars you see in other stores. The labels are always stunning and well thought out. A lot of the candles have some gorgeous glitter on top. Hafsah is always open to suggestions for scents and for book inspirations and she works fast to come up with them. I've proposed candle ideas and she's had a scent ready in a week or two. She also has amazing customer service; whenever I've had issues, she's been quick to offer to replace the candle or refund me (I always opt for the replacement because they still smell fantastic). And if you want your candles fast, Icey Designs is where you go; the candles aren't listed unless they're in stock and they usually ship out the day after your order, arriving 2-3 days later because of priority mailing.

Owned: The Fallen Isles (8 oz and 2 oz), Over the Wall (8 oz), Warcross (8 oz), Dumplin' (8 oz), An Autumn in Whimsy (8 oz), Touched by the Stars (8 oz and 2 oz), Dimple and Rishi (8 oz), Wonder Woman (8 oz and 2 oz), It's Only a Game (8 oz), As Travars (2 oz)

Wish List: Empress of Feng Lug (8 oz), Reading by the Fire (8 oz), Fangirl (2 oz), The Fallen Isles (2 oz), It's Only a Game (2 oz)

Novelly Yours is another candle shop I've loved for a long time. I wasn't totally sold at first, but they've quickly become a favorite. Brittany has such a wide variety of candles and there are definitely candles I missed out on before I fell down the rabbit hole that have already been retired. She also always ships within two weeks most of the time and comes up with such creative ideas! She even has a new Scent Obsession jar so you can get your favorites in a 22 oz size and yeah...that's gonna happen when some of my stock runs low.

Owned: Stories & Sunsets, Anna's Favorite Cookie, Shipping It, Autumn Ambiance, Summer Love set

Wish List: Autumn Ambiance (yes another), Cress, The Wraith, Shipping It (22 oz because it's so good, some retired scents only available in 22 oz sizes (Anna's Favorite Cookie, Magical Golden Flower)

Flickering Tales won me over with a Pemberley candle that was being discontinued. It was Pemberley and had a lilac smell, so I thought it'd be fun to try! Since then, I've burned through 2 8 oz tins and I have two more in my candle cabinet that I stocked up on. She also has a candle that smells just like chocolate covered cherries that I need a full size of and most recently she impressed me with a limited edition Bardugo box, featuring 5 locations from different Leigh Bardugo books. I had been on the fence with it since I wasn't big on Shadow & Bone and never finished the series and I haven't read Crooked Kingdom yet, but I'm kind of obsessed with these candles and I'm already really sad they're not available in full sizes. I might actually order a custom of one of them in a full size. She's also really great at highlighting lesser known books that are harder to find swag for. In fact, there's a Song of the Current candle that was a limited edition and not in my budget when I ordered the Bardugo box, but if it's still in stock when holiday sales start up....

Owned: Pemberley (8 oz), Belle (4 oz), Romance (4 oz), New Adult (tealight), Bardugo box

Wish List: Romance (8 oz), Current Carry You

Other Shops I've Tried

Canterbury Road Co really focuses on covering lesser known titles - lesser known swag wise, anyway. Shannon is so lovely and while I'm not totally sure her scent combinations work for me, I'm still waiting it out.

Owned: Camp Daybreak, Whimsy's Enchantment, Raven in Peril Raven in Love

Wish List: Over the Sea to Skye

Wanderlights Candle Co is a Canadian company that ships out pretty quickly and is based on locations, including fictional ones. She also has great customer service - I placed an order about a week ago and she messaged me yesterday to let me know there was a delay in some supplies, but she would have it out by next week.

Owned: Tokyo, Paradise Island, Halloweentown (soon), PSL (soon)

Cornerfolds Candles is owned by two women who are in a fan group I'm in. They're located in Florida and when the hurricane was about to hit, they made sure orders were out the door several days in advance or they just held on to them. Mine made it out the door, but USPS decided to hold my candle in limbo anyway. But it was totally worth it because the candle is GORGEOUS and smells incredible.

Owned: The Sanctuary (4 oz)

Wish List: Toil & Trouble, The Sanctuary (8 oz), Wit Beyond Measure

Nerdy Alchemy is a newer, smaller Canadian shop that does candles and some body products for bookish goods and video games (Legend of Zelda fans, you'll be quite pleased) and movies, so it's a really great variety. She's super quick at communicating - the candles I ordered weren't going to look exactly as pictured and she made sure that was okay before sending out.

Owned: Emojis and Cookie Dough

Wish List: Current Carry You

Stub Tail Candle Co is another shop that covers a lot of books that don't see much swag. If there's a book you feel needs more candles, this is a really good place to check (she has a lot of Roar candles, for example). She also donates a portion of all sales to animal rescue organizations.

Owned: Reading Past Bedtime, Daughter of the Dragon

Wish List: Memory World, Glass Snow, King of Crows

Muggle Library Candle Co is a really wonderful little shop with a fantastic line up. Unfortunately, she recently launched a Sorting Hat Candle that changes colors as you burn to "reveal" your house and a bunch of big websites found it, so she's overwhelmed with orders. The only listing in her shop right now is for pre-orders of the Sorting Hat Candle in May. When she can handle making more of her candles, I'll be eagerly waiting.

Owned: Deadly Sunrise, Jewel of Bharata, Ravenclaw

Wish List: Book Boutique, Free Elf, Pumpkin Juice

Geek and Wonder AKA Flickering Fandoms is a shop that was too pronged, but recently merged to sell all sorts of nerdy things - skin care, bath and body products, and obviously candles. A lot of shops tend to use amber and sandalwood and some heavier smells, but both of the candles I have from this shop are really light and clean, which is what I prefer.

Owned: Trident, Amazon Princess

The Melting Library is one of the most well known candle shops. Because of that, it will take at least a month to get any of your candles. Once they ship, they ship quickly and they're a really nice quality. I like the packaging a lot and shipping isn't too expensive - though I do live in the same state as her - and there's just a nice selection. The holiday themed candles are already up for pre-order because she has such a long processing time, so I pre-ordered an Anastasia-themed candle and threw in an Outlander one as well. She restocks some number of candles every Sunday at 12 EST!

Owned: Goddess of Truth, The Autumn Prince, Once Upon a December (soon), Breath of Claire (soon)

Wish List: His Calipha, The Night Bazaar

Wick and Fable is another one of the more popular ones with a large variety. She'll also do multiple candles for the same media so if you don't like a particular scent, you'll likely have other options.

Owned: Isla de los Suenos, Ravenclaw, Most Ardently, Warrior Princess, Honeydukes (soon), October Winds (soon), The Autumn Prince (soon), Autumn Rainstorm (soon), Autumnlands (soon), Whimsy (soon)

Wish List: Inej, Nina, Virtual City, The Spring Prince, Thousand Lanterns, Xifeng, Imperial Palace

Novel Heartbeat Creations is the first shop that created the hashtag candles and has some really great ones. There's also a pretty good variety of book inspirations and a really fun layout.

Owned: #diversebooks, Slay Your Own Dragons, Nightspire, Bookstagram

Wish List: #diversebooks (8 oz)


Wick Worms is one of the companies that makes chunk candles - creating extra chunks of wax in different colors and letting them settle within the main candle. She does a lot of fun bundles that are limited edition, so definitely keep an eye out.

Owned: Book Hangover, Wonder Woman Set

Wish List: Autumn in Whimsy

Belle and Co Candlemakers focuses on ladies. All of their candles are based on literary ladies, mostly classics, but also some more modern and pop culture and literary references. Most recently, she released a limited run of candles inspired by Margaret in North and South and I...had to jump on it.

Owned: Women of Winterfell set, Margaret (soon), Lizzie (soon)

Wish List: Lila, Diana

The Leaky Candle has a lot of fun candles and sets. When I ordered from them, it took over 6 weeks to get my candles and there was little communication about what was happening and why it wasn't just the week or two their website said. I was finally able to get an answer through their Etsy and they explained there were some emergencies and they included an extra candle. So, a little frustrating, but it was (hopefully) a one time thing. And I do like the candles I ordered. She has a bunch of Halloween-y candles in the shop now you can check out.

Owned: Summer Storm, Mo Dunn, Pemberley Woods, Hogwarts Express

Moss & Moon isn't really a bookish candle company, but they are still a lot of fun. The concepts are fun, the smells are wonderful and strong, and I love the labels. The only downside for me is that they're in Australia and the shipping is a bit much for me to order more candles from.

Owned: Citrus Punch, Crazy Cat Lady

A Court of Candles is a shop I don't have a ton of experience with - I only have one small candle from a book box - but I've liked what I've tried so far, so I'm excited to check out some of the other candles. I am not a fan of their website, but they do have an Etsy as an alternative.

Owned: Thymiscera

Wish List: Viktor, Kaz, Inej, Hapee Birthdae

Meraki Candles is a Scottish candle company that I'm...truthfully not a fan of. Again, I only got to try one candle from a book box. The candle didn't smell bad, but it didn't smell great. It managed to have some tunneling, even though it was in a tin (which usually prevents tunneling since the metal gets hot and melts the wax on the edges) and then after about three burns, the wick just...fell into the wax. I can't use the candle unless I cut out more wax or melt...around the wick? Somehow? I just wasn't impressed and I won't be placing more orders.

Owned: Phoenix Riders

Flick the Wick has some of the most stunning labels in all of candledom - which is why Angeline also has a bookmark shop! Her candle scents are really close to the description and the colors are just so stunning.

Owned: Emergency Dance Party, Dimple and Rishi

Wish List: Dimple and Rishi (8 oz), Goddess of War, Bookstagram, Bibliophile, Ketterdam

Liber de Stella has a huge variety of candles and all of the ones I ordered smell amazing...but they also tunneled. It's an easy thing to fix and not a big deal, but it is kind of frustrating. I might give her shop another try - maybe go for the smaller sizes - but I'm not in a rush to do so.

Owned: Mountain of Adamant, Gauri's Garden, The Night Bazaar, Her Yellow Dress

Library Lights is another Canadian based company that makes candles (and a lot more). It did take a very long time for my order to ship out, but they're so simple and pretty and the smells are incredible.

Owned: The Promise of Tomorrow, Caliph of Khorasan

From the Page is a really fun shop with some cool options. They do a lot of cool, unique sets and some fun inspirations for their candles. Right now, they're having a sale where they're selling 8 oz jars of some of the scents they made for sets in 2 oz and I snatched one up from the Disney set.

Owned: Disney set

In the Wick of Time is another one of the really popular candle shops. The one candle I have is a very strong rose scent, which usually gives me headaches, so I can't really burn it, but that's a me problem, not a shop problem.

Owned: Pemberley

Wish List: Once Upon a Time, Jane Austen's Writing Desk, Amazon Warrior

Other Eras Candles isn't really a bookish shop, but whatever. She does a lot of really great packaging and she does some charity candles and she also has a couple of art prints. And her scents, at least in the candle I have, are really strong too, which I tend to appreciate.

Owned: French Lavender

Wish List: Autumn, Stand with Women

This isn't even close to all of the shops out there - there are many, many more on my wish list I want to try out - but these are some shops I have feelings about. If you'd like, I can make this a monthly-ish or quarterly thing, where I go through and just talk about the different candle shops I've tried. Or, if you'd like more details about any specific shop, let me know that too.

--Julie

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Bullet Journaling 101

About 6 months ago, I began bullet journaling. Maybe the logical thing to do would've been to wait until January 1 like a normal person, but I started in the middle of December because I just had so many ideas.

It started with a twitter conversation. People tried to explain it to me and it made sense when they laid it out - a bullet journal is a planner, a to-do list, and a place for notes all in one place. So, then I started googling. I looked at Pinterest, which is a wealth of pictures and blog posts about layouts and ideas. I also looked on YouTube to watch videos of the things people were doing. Then I decided to go for it.

Bullet Journaling uses an index. You write down everything important in your index and the page numbers so you can find it easily. This requires pages for indexing and numbered pages. After falling down my research rabbit hole and realizing these were things I would need, I decided to stick with the Leuchtturm 1917 - which comes with numbered pages, indexes, and bookmarks. It makes things easier for me to have all of that ready to go. (These are available on Amazon a little bit cheaper and I try to check regularly - sometimes certain colors will randomly be cheaper.)

Additionally, the Leuchtturm is available in a dot grid. The benefit of a dot grid is that it it gives guidance for drawing lines and writing neatly, unlike blank pages, but it doesn't feel as constraining as lined or graph paper because it's not as defined. Not everybody is bothered by the definition of lined or graph paper and not everybody wants guidance, so it really depends on your preferences. These notebooks are pretty pricey, so if you're not sure what you prefer or if bullet journaling is even for you, then start with any notebook you have around the house. 

Now, what do you put in a bullet journal? As I said, it's a planner, to-do list, and place for notes. Most people start with a Future Log - which basically means some sort of calendar for future months. Personally, I used two pages and wrote down all the months of the year with some space between, 6 months per page. Underneath, I write down anything relevant - birthdays, events, holidays. 

I also put any trackers that I'll use over and over again for months. For me, that included a purchase tracker, so I can track my spending habits, and some reading trackers - one to track the books I read, counters of what format I'm reading and how diversely I'm reading, etc, which I'll turn into graphs later. There's also wish lists, long term to-do lists, a list of movies to watch, a period tracker, a list of essay ideas I have, a social media tracker, phone numbers for my representatives, a list of passwords for various websites, and lists to track the books I get rid of and the books I bring in this year.

Then comes monthly spreads. There's a lot of ways to do this that depend on your needs. For me, I keep it simple - a page where I put down every day of the month and make any notes of events/holidays/etc that are listed on my Future Log. On the next page, I make notes for the month - Blogbound work, freelance projects I have for the month, Interrobang list I want to get done, and any other notes or goals I have for the month. Super, super simple, but there's all kinds of things people do with their monthly spreads.

Next, I have monthly trackers. I have a habit tracker, both to keep track of when I do things like cleaning the litterbox and watering my plant and to build better habits, like taking vitamins every day, working out, moisturizing. Then I do a Money In/Money Out page, which is literally just a page split in half where I write down my income and my spending. Then I do another reading page, so I can track EVERYTHING I pick up and sketch out my TBR for the month. Finally, I do a Gratitude Log, which has a lot of layout options.

After that, things vary. Some people do weekly and daily spreads, while others just do a weekly - again, it depends on what you need and how much space you need. I don't need a ton of space, so I just write down the date, 4 days on one page and 3 days on the other, and write down any events, appointments, and to-do list items. with the remaining space, I make a notes section for the week - things I don't have to get done on a specific day and things I just want to keep in mind - and a Waiting On section, to keep track of things I'm expecting in the mail.

Beyond that, I make a lot of lists - to-do lists, ideas for Interrobang, time logs for Pique, notes for my manuscripts, places I want to travel, Broadway shows I want to see. I practice my handwriting because I still have a long way to go on that front. Your pages can be whatever you want them to be.

How do you decide what you want your layouts to look like? That, again, comes down to you. I did a ton of research into ways people did layouts to decide what to work on and I still change things up - my June spreads are a total departure from the spreads I've been doing so I can see if I like something else better. As I said before, Pinterest is a really great resource. I have a Pinterest board for bullet journal spreads and for handwriting practice - there's not a ton there, but it prevents getting overwhelmed and helps give you a basic starting point. I also, as mentioned, fell down a YouTube hole. One of the most helpful channels was Boho Berry. She has a ton of videos, but probably the most helpful series is her Bullet Journal 101 series. But she also has Plan with Me videos, tutorials on different layouts, comparisons, and other tips. Additionally, she has a blog, an Etsy shop, and she has a newsletter that includes some freebies and discounts. 

As a bonus, once you start looking at these kinds of things, Pinterest and YouTube will both start recommending you MORE channels and boards like it. And you'll also fall down the research hole.

So, I think that's a good place to start! I'll be happy to do another post on more tips should anyone want them or have other questions relating to bullet journaling. 

Happy planning!

--Julie

Saturday, May 27, 2017

NYC Things to Do

So, Blogbound, Book Expo, and Book Con start in just a few days, so a lot of my friends are converging on New York City. Here are a few helpful tips!

  • Download an MTA Subway app. There are even some (free) ones that'll let you know about delays that pop up. Mine is just called Subway and it's free and a little annoying because it always opens up in Brooklyn, but it's easy enough to navigate. There's even a 7 train station right by the Javits open now - the 7 line runs through Times Square and Grand Central for your convenience and the Javits is the last stop going west! On the other hand, be careful on weekends. The subway can be a nightmare on weekends.
  • Bring a portable charger. If you don't have one, get one - you can get them pretty cheaply. And bring a regular charger too, since there's always cafes with outlets you can stop in in the worst case scenario. 
  • There are the obvious places to stop - Strand, Books of Wonder, Shake Shack. But I also recommend Kinokuniya, which has books, stationary, and a comics/manga section on its three floors. There's also this bar I love - Duke's - which has really good Happy Hour deals and amazing desserts. I used to go to a location near Union Square, but that's closed, so the only other location is on 3rd Ave, between 37 and 38. I also love Big Daddy's Diner, which has multiple locations, and the Hollywood Diner - they're both your classic diner, though probably a bit more expensive than you're used to if you're not around NYC. Near the Javits, there's the Tick Tock Diner and the Skylight Diner. Both are on 34, but Skylight is on 9th Avenue and Tick Tock is on 8th Avenue.
  • Speaking of the Javits - I highly recommend skipping the overpriced options in their cafe. Instead, go to one of those diners or one of the food carts that surround the Javits. My plan is usually to stop into one of the Dunkin Donuts in between Penn Station and the Javits; there's three or four of them within a couple blocks of Javits and I can grab a bagel or two, which is easy to eat on the go and doesn't make much of a mess. So if your schedule is packed or you just don't know what your food schedule will be and don't want to pay the overpriced options, I'd recommend grabbing something along those lines and bringing it to Javits.
  • If you do go to the Strand, I highly recommend going downstairs - there's a few shelves of half off new books. A lot of their books are already half off, but this section is a LITTLE different.
  • It's going to be pretty warm in NYC next week and the rain will be pretty minimal, but always bring an umbrella and always bring a light sweater. There are frequently random thunderstorms in the summer that only last 20 minutes or so, but get pretty intense. And while outside will be comfortable, the subway and some places might be blasting the AC, so you might want a little extra something.
And that's all I've got on the top of my head, but feel free to ask questions!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

February Reading

February was my own personal non-fiction month! I decided that if I was going to stray from that, I had to read books by black authors. That lasted...for a little while, but not as long as I'd hope it would. Still, I wasn't far off my expectations and I'm generally pleased with my progress this month!

I DNFed one book this month and finished three books for work, which I won't include here. I also started one book that I didn't finish and think I'm going to put aside for a little while; it was a non-fiction book by a white dude.

Total read: 10
Non-Fiction: 6
E-books: 3
By WoC: 5
YA books: 4
Adult Fiction: 1
Romance: 1

I'm still slacking on queer reading - I only read two books with queer MCs and by queer authors (plus an essay collection with some queer authors) - but I otherwise really need to work on widening my diversity scope. Still, I made a good dent on my TBR, both e-book and not. 

As for how many books I acquired vs how many I got rid of...that I don't wanna talk about. It wasn't TERRIBLE but it was still...yeah. (Also I'm not in the house so I don't feel like trying to figure it out.)

SO, there's a really basic overview of my reading month. Still room for improvement, but I'm content.

--Julie

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January's Reading

When I started this challenge, I didn't anticipate quite how intense America's meltdown would be. But I still managed to read 10 books, only 2 short of what Goodreads said I needed to hit my goal of 150. I might still finish another tonight since my current priority has been finishing books that have been sitting on my nightstand for AAAAAGES.

So, I read:
Fate of Flames by Sarah Raughley
Wait for Me by Caroline Leech
Poison's Kiss by Breanna Shields
La Petite Four by Regina Scott
Difficult Women by Roxane Gay
The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana
By Your Side by Kasie West
The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig
Geekerella by Ashley Poston
The Falconer by Elizabeth May

Which means I read
10 books
4 books by WoC
6 books about PoC
2 books by queer authors (that I know of)
1 book with queer MCs (though two had pretty extensive queer side casts)
2 books with neurodiversity
0 books with disabled MCs
1 book with fat MCs
0 non-fiction
0 ebooks
1 DNF

I also DNFed one other library book, but I didn't get far in, so I didn't count it. And I'm 2/3 of the way through a non-fic book that I figured I'd wait to finish until February so I could work on clearing books off my nightstand for the last few days of January. I still have...7 books, including a library book and 2 romance novels. So...that went well.

BUT hey, I'm doing good at making sure I'm reading more PoC and I've...got some work to do on the rest. Still. Progress!

As far as my book IN take vs my book OUT take well...I took in 31 books and got rid of 13. I *did*, however, get rid of 31 since I started tracking in December and only brought in 45. And I finally boxed up a bunch of books to go out, so my physical piles of books to get rid of have shrunk? But I also have at least 4 more books coming so...you know I'm TRYING. And I think a lot of my non-fic books have the chance to go on the pile of books I get rid of. As do the romances I'll read when I need a break. And I only know of...6 books I'll be acquiring for sure in February. At the moment. So...fingers are crossed.

I have a (loosely) compiled reading list for February. Feminism and badass ladies and intersectionality. I'm ready to do some learning and be empowered!

--Julie