TBRs, Reading Goals, and Why I’m quitting it all.

*waves white flag*

I give up.

I give up, and I’m completely okay with it.

I enjoy feeling like I’m a part of something. I love nerding out with a fandom, or engaging with a niche community that shares a similar interest. I’ll admit that as someone who works and goes to school from home, and who lives with chronic illness, I don’t often feel a part of much. The internet is my savior in that respect. I’ve always had a love for reading, and between blogs, Youtube and Instagram, I’ve been exposed to the massive and crazy world of Book bloggers, Booktube and Bookstagram. Their passion has often left me feeling equal parts inspired and inadequate. It’s what has inspired me to try and reach a higher reading goal and to make monthly TBRs. I thought I wanted to be a bigger part of that community.

Until I realized that I don’t.

Don’t get me wrong. There are great people within the online book world. There are important conversations being had and brilliant books that I’ve discovered through it. But there are negatives too. I find myself frequently feeling pressure to read more and to read faster. I find myself wanting to consume books simply for the sake of consuming it. Read-a-thons and TBR lists aren’t about savoring the books we enjoy, they’re about consumption and reaching impressive reading goals. Sure, some people simply read a lot, and read fast. I’m just not one of them. So I find myself feeling such pressure to try and keep up. I thought that trying to reach specific goals, and attempting to read a certain number of books every month would help me to prioritize reading as self-care, but through this I’ve learned how easy it is to turn something you might have once found enjoyable and therapeutic, into something that feels like a chore, and that is stress-inducing.

I don’t want the book community to destroy my love for reading.

I found that the pressure I put on myself to try and read longer/faster/more, was making me feel guilty for engaging in other things I enjoyed doing – like watching TV. I also found that I would feel like what I was reading wasn’t good enough. There’s a lot of discussion in the book community right now about what kind of content we are reading. While I get it, I found it left me feeling like I shouldn’t even be talking about the books I was reading or wanted to read, because maybe they weren’t valuable?

I can recognize the power and value of the online book community, but I have to say that trying to engage in it, has left me nearly hating an activity I have loved my entire life. When I was little, I was always getting in trouble for reading in the dark. I was heckled and harassed during school because I read during lunch… or on the bus…or during free periods. So I hoped that this online community would help me find cohorts who I could share my love of reading with. But the reality is that there is a dark side to everything. I’m not saying that everyone who participates in this community is bad – not at all! I’m just acknowledging that there are issues.

So I’m done. I want to find my way back to loving reading again. Reading truly for pleasure and fulfillment. Reading for myself. Maybe I’ll share it here, maybe I won’t. But done are the TBR’s and the reading goals. I think its the only way to save this relationship.

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February 2019 TBR + January Recap

This is big. I think this might be the ONLY time ever, where I’ve been able to say the following: I READ MY ENTIRE TBR!!! Okay, so it was only four books – small fish for most of you out there, but I was trying to stay somewhere between aggressive and realistic when I put my January TBR together, and I did it! I read all four books and then some!

In this post, I said that my goal was to read 50 books in 2019. I also shared the four books that I hoped to read in January. I made it through all of them, plus some others that I picked up from the library. My local library is a rather small one, but I love that our county system allows you to request books (or other materials) from any library and have them sent to the library of your choosing. It’s $0.25 to have a book sent from anywhere in the county, to the library five minutes from my house. You can’t beat that! In an effort to be more frugal this year, I’ve been trying to utilize my library a bit more (I’m also no longer buying books on Amazon…or really, much of anything, but that’s a whole different story)! I’ve never had anything against the library, I just also love collecting books, so sometimes I need to curb my book buying a bit. 😉

In total, I read EIGHT books in January.

Here’s what I read:

  • Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan
  • An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
  • My Squirrel Days by Ellie Kemper
  • I’ll Be There For You – The One About Friends by Kelsey Miller
  • #NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women by Lisa Charleyboy
  • If They Come For Us by Fatimah Asghar
  • Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery (#2) by Jenny Colgan
  • Christmas at Little Beach Street Bakery (#3) by Jenny Colgan

You can see my ratings for everything I read over on my Goodreads page (feel free to friend me over there!), but I think my favorite book this past month was Little Beach Street Bakery (the first over the two that follow in the series). I’ve learned in the past year or so, that I really enjoy chick lit – especially when set in England/UK/Europe. I’m realizing that there’s perhaps a bit of an escapism theme in the entertainment I’ve been enjoying, especially in recent years. With such a messy reality, who can really blame me?

Grad school started up again at the very end of the month, and I have to admit that I haven’t opened a book for pleasure in a few days, but I’m still trying to be hopeful that I can continue making time for personal reading goals despite everything else. I’m keeping it simple again this month with a four book TBR, but I’ve also got some holds from the library that I’m in queue for, so we’ll see what happens there (I’m number 33 in line for one particular book!).

February 2019 TBR

  • Betty White In person by Betty White
  • The Mystery of the Blue Train by Agatha Christie
  • Perfect Timing by Jill Mansell
  • The Many Lives of Doctor Who by Richard Dinnick

Every book on this list is from my own personal collection, and has been sitting on my shelves for a bit, except for the Agatha Christie. I’ve always wanted to read her books and when I came across a whole bunch at the thrift store recently I picked them up for super cheap figuring it was worth the risk since it’d be cheaper than one single book new!

The Doctor Who book is a graphic novel / comic and Missy recently reviewed it if you’re interested. I figured it was perfect for my TBR this month since I was looking for light and simple to try and keep my reading momentum going!

I’d love to know what is on your TBR this month, and what you’ve loved reading in January! Lets talk about it in the comments! Of course, if you’ve ever got suggestions for me, I’m all ears!

Happy Reading!

Goodreads 2019 Reading Challenge + January TBR

Last year I ended up reading 38 books – surpassing my goal of 30 for the year. Despite not reading for long chunks of time (hello, grad school), I feel pleased with my progress and like I have successfully found *some* of my reading mojo again. Reading has always been a huge love of mine, but life and school have often gotten in the way of it over the years. This year, I’m stepping up that goal because I want to really focus on making reading not just something I make time for, but something that I consistently make time for.

I view reading as not just entertainment, or an educational tool, but also as a means of self care – a way of distracting me when perhaps I’m not feeling my best. Whenever I go through a period of time where I don’t pick up a book, I feel off – like some part of my routine is missing or unsatisfied. I can’t promise that I will read (for pleasure anyway) every single day, and I know that when school is back in full swing, there’s likely to be many days where I don’t pick up a book. But my hope is to try and read at least a little bit every single day!

In 2019, my Goodreads goal is to read 50 books.

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The Surface Breaks: A Re-imagining of The Little Mermaid by Louise O’Neill REVIEW

I’ve always been a fan of The Little Mermaid. It was my favorite Disney tale growing up. Even when I was young though, there were details, and themes within the story that I took issue with or criticized, even if only in my mind. When I first heard about The Surface Breaks (thank you Bookstagram!), which is a re-imagining of The Little Mermaid, I was instantly intrigued and knew that I had to get my hands on this book by Louise O’Neill. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the simplest of tasks being that the book has only been released in the UK so far (can someone explain to me how this all works??), but eventually I got myself a copy and all was right (or at least better) with the world.

The book seeks to tell a different story based on the original story written by Hans Christian Andersen, challenging the themes that both Andersen and Disney wove into their versions of the story. The idea is to tell the story of The Little Mermaid through a more feminist lens. I would say that O’Neill certainly succeeded in this endeavor.

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Rat Queens Volume One: Sass and Sorcery REVIEW

ratqueens

I’ve really been getting into graphic novels lately. I’ve always been a reader but its a particular genre that I haven’t really delved into much before. There’s been a few books that I’ve read in the past that I really enjoyed (March, Persepolis), but recently, I’ve more or less, jumped head first into the world of graphic novels, and I’m honestly loving it. It’s a great break from the heavier reading of grad school and I love how easily I can get through a book. I think that after this past semester I felt like I was in a rather deep reading rut and graphic novels have been the perfect way to dig myself out and find my reading groove again!

I wish I could remember how exactly I came across Rat Queens because I’m so happy that I did. I requested it in my library system and picked it up a couple of days ago. Today I finished another book (Bitch Planet – pretty good), and felt like reading something else so I dove into Rat Queens right after. I recently finished a couple other graphic novels, but none has been as pleasurable as Rat Queens has been. I think I’ve fallen for this series hard. I know. I’m only on volume one, but I just have a sense that I’m really going to enjoy this series. Have you ever felt that way about a series? There’s just a vibe that you get!

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