My 2013 book pile and New Year bookish resolutions

Purchased & Unread

(Note of warning: long post ahead!)

My muscles were tight from tension before classes started this autumn, and constant exam-cramming allowed this tense, jittery feeling to double in size. I call it The Stress Monster, and it haunts me. (It haunts a lot of people, I know — practically everyone. There’s an entire population of Stress Monsters.) This invisible creature nearly stabbed my reading interest to death, but as it happened: my reading interest left before that could occur. I simply did not want to read. I did not want to read anything.

I wanted sleep  sleep   sleep    s l e e p.

I spent hours hidden beneath covers and crashing on the living room couch these last few months. I split motivation between willing myself into a bedblob versus maintaining status as “acceptable student and probably a responsible adult.” If it was one thing I took away from fall quarter, it is admitting when I will not have time to read a book. Not only that, but I learned how easy it is to toss something aside and feel relieved.

Wow. I realized that butting my desperate desire to read ALL THE BOOKS against life equates to more stress, because: ugh, I don’t have time to read all those and do that and this, even though I’d like to read all those and still have time for that and this. I struggled to get out of bed, hobbled to class, slumped in chairs, whined, whined some more, and managed to pull enough of myself together to earn an A in the one pain-in-the-arse class: statistics. (I feel quite proud of myself, see, see.) So what this all leads up to is…

For the first time in a long time, I have no library book requests. Let me repeat: no book requests at the library.  …With the exception of a few graphic novels (and by “few,” I do mean “few.” I know: shocking). Although I expect my schedule to carry on in the same, if not more, amount of busy, I made certain to leave my mornings free (God, yes). It might seems like a small detail to some, but to keep it short: I am not a morning person, and when I’m not rushing around to make it somewhere by 8 AM, my energy receives an automatic boost. I’m calm. I’m clear-headed. Yay.

Before anyone takes a bet on how long my disinterest in library books lasts, I have resolutions. Yes: actual resolutions, and it will do me good to stick by them when Real Life keeps hogging Free Time. For starters:

  • REVIEW MORE. School takes away from this, but I have challenged myself to read and review at least 12 book. This is courtesy of The Mad Reviewer’s reading challenge, which you can read about here and here.
  • Do not buy books unless I plan to read them in the month they are purchased. A problem I have is snatching books up because I want them, and because I want them I also want to read them. Sadly, I rarely get around to the reading part.
  • Pick no more than 3 reading challenges. I know I am not alone in challenging myself to a challenge too many. Too many, in fact, that it is by some miracle that I complete one.
  • Restrict library privileges. Ooh, this sounds harsh to me, but one reason I hold off on reading books I own is because I constantly check out other books from the library. And then? I check out so many books from the library that I can’t read all of the library books. And then I experience separation anxiety and accumulate large fines.

With all that said, however, I still have books I want to read that sit on my own shelves, which brings me to my last bookish resolve: Read at least 5 books I currently own. Five is a good number, right? As long as I keep away from the library, I can actually read my books! A good chunk includes (a book pile I don’t think I can possibly get through in one year, but…):

booksbooksbooks

This list includes the result of October’s book-buying-spree, and I intentionally excluded Gone with the Wind — a book I purchased years ago, and I often wonder if I will ever read it. In any case, my 2013 doesn’t want anything to do with Margaret Mitchell. Before (and if) I jump into HP #7 (because new books distract me so…), I will re-read the first six books. If you are interested in doing a Harry Potter read-along with me, or any books you spy here, please contact me and do not feel shy. Read-alongs keep me focused until the book’s end. (Now I know of at least one HP group read-along that begins in January, but I’m likely to begin in late March or spring. I love education, but sometimes it feels like a nuisance.)

Another book I want to add is one that has not come in yet: The Berlin Boxing Club  by Robert Sharenow. Any day now, B&N… Call me.

The Berlin Boxing Club

Karl Stern has never thought of himself as a Jew; after all, he’s never even been in a synagogue. But the bullies at his school in Nazi-era Berlin don’t care that Karl’s family doesn’t practice religion. Demoralized by their attacks against a heritage he doesn’t accept as his own, Karl longs to prove his worth.

Then Max Schmeling, champion boxer and German hero, makes a deal with Karl’s father to give Karl boxing lessons. A skilled cartoonist, Karl never had an interest in boxing, but now it seems like the perfect chance to reinvent himself.

But when Nazi violence against Jews escalates, Karl must take on a new role: family protector. And as Max’s fame forces him to associate with Nazi elites, Karl begins to wonder where his hero’s sympathies truly lie. Can Karl balance his boxing dreams with his obligation to keep his family out of harm’s way?

And I cannot neglect these holiday books I received! I missed the Secret Santa book exchange at Broke & the Bookish by one day. One day. It was unfortunate timing, but I did do an exchange with Savindi and the Secret Santa event is now forever on my mind in the form of a post-it note.

Savindi was smart and sent my gifts out well before the holiday craze, so I had the pleasure of finding I am the Messenger  and Frankenstien in my mailbox weeks ago. (Thank you!) Meanwhile, I am praying the mail(wo)men treat Savindi’s package with TLC and more importantly: do not lose it. (I am also anxious to hear Savindi’s reaction, and I hope it arrives very, very soon!)

Holiday giftsA few other books I haven’t yet read and received:

I want to read each and every one with equal amount of excitement, which only makes it difficult to choose which to read first! I love my daily dose of mentally unwell characters (The Burn Journals) as I do a good classic or dystopia. I should spend my money well, because if I do get around to Dashner’s book, I will most certainly grab the next two installments as soon as possible.

(I say this, because there are great number of 2013 book releases. Naturally I wish to have them all.)

 

 

Last to list are my want-to-re-reads! Harry Potter books 1 – 6, not pictured, reside in spirit.

Re-reads

I care what people have to say about Charlie and his friends, about Chbosky’s writing, about the style and content. And that is just it: I care. I care so much that you might as well say I’m intrinsically bound to it. Me and Charlie. We connect. I’ve stuck myself to this story, or it has stuck to me like an extra limb, but several years have flown by since my last Chbosky encounter. Quick to read, Perks is where almost every sentence is a quotable line and I would love to give it another go… before I watch the movie.

Hartman’s novel, I bet you already guessed, is one book I am positively re-reading before the sequel. Sometimes it takes an extra shove, but the wonder in re-reads comes from new discoveries as well as re-discoveries — noticing details I didn’t see before and giving myself the chance to sit back and enjoy a book I already know is great.

Likewise, I would love to read Standiford’s novel (How to Say Goodbye in Robot) again as well. I read Bea and Jonah’s coming-of-age story during a time when my blog remained inactive, unofficial, not sure what to do with itself, and existed as a waste of Internet space. My GoodReads account was not fully active, either, and reviews don’t write themselves. I felt surprised to feel as touched as I did by this book, and I think it deserves some commentary.

So. Has anyone else thought about what they might like to read from their shelves in the new year?

**

Before signing off, I’d like to acknowledge those who nominated Midnight Coffee Monster for the Liebster Blog award. I was named not once or twice, but three times. Thank you to Enchanted by Books, Just One Monkey Typing, and PidginPea’s Book Nook! I did not forget, but I did get busy.

Until next time–

goobye and don't die

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18 thoughts on “My 2013 book pile and New Year bookish resolutions

  1. Okay if there’s one review I’m looking forward to from you other than I am the Messenger of course it’s Berlin Boxing Club. You’ve really made me want to read it now. If you ever comet o Toronto we have to meet up and go on a book shopping adventure and I’m sure you’ll have me bankrupt by then lol. I will definitely let you know when I get your package :). Thanks for doing a gift exchange with me! I’m really looking forward to getting it and I’m hoping that I get it either today or at least by Monday.

    Good Luck with your Reading Challenge :). I haven’t decided if I’m going to participate in one yet, but if I do I’ll post about it.

    Have a Happy New Year Raya!

    • B&N ordered it on Wednesday for me, and I know it’s only been a few days, but I want the book right now. I even called yesterday to double check that they have the right number to call.

      Ha ha, we’d both become bankrupt. It takes a lot of telling myself “no” in order set a book down. If there’s one thing worse than one book nerd in a bookstore, it’s a couple of them. Even worse: a group. It’s so hard not to want to buy a dozen books whenever I go visit a bookstore.

      I’ll feel better once I hear it’s been delivered, because I’ve heard some horror stories about packages taking weeks to deliver. I imagine the package getting lost among others and I constantly double check to see that I wrote the correct address down. I hope it gets there soon!

      Happy New Year (:

      • I’ve been good about not buying anymore books. I stared longingly at the bookstore in the mall yesterday as my dad and I went to the bank. But I didn’t buy anything, but I bought A Monster Calls and two other books online for a friend of mine. I really hope you enjoy Berlin Boxing Club.

        I’ll definitely shoot you an email as soon as I get the package. I’m hoping I get it on New Year’s Eve maybe. How are your holidays so far? And are you enjoying I am the Messenger?

      • That reminds me: have you heard the audio version of A Monster Calls? I’m not very big on audio books, really, but Jason Isaacs supposedly does an excellent narration. I’ve thought about checking to see if the library has it.

        Oh, gosh, I saw The Outsiders on Wednesday — great cover, too — but then I spotted the rest of the Maze Runner books as well as The Knife of Never Letting Go and about 5 others I thought sounded interesting… I had to force myself to sit them all back down and leave, lol.

        The holiday break is going good :D And today feels relaxing because I have nothing to do and nowhere to go today. I could read all day if I wanted!

        Yes! And I wanted to ask: chapters 5 and 6 are very short, so I wondered if you wanted to read those today as well, or we can read 4 chapters tomorrow? No pressure!

      • You had me at Jason Issacs lol and no I haven’t heard the audiobook of A Monster Calls. I need to see if the library has a copy of it in the New Year.

        The bookstore was having a sale on hardcovers and they were 30% off. It’s a shame I have no money to spend lol. And for sure we can read Chapters 5 and 6 today and do four tomorrow. I was thinking of asking if you wanted to read 5 and 6 anyways, but you beat me to it :).

  2. I have the same problem as you re: library books detracting from books I own and actually want to read. For that reason, I am contemplating taking on the “tbr double dog dare” (http://readywhenyouarecb.blogspot.com/p/tbr-double-dog-dare.html) to get through at least some of the books languishing in my tbr pile. I am hoping to get through at least 10, but we’ll see, as I often get distracted by books I read for the theme-of-the-month book salon I run.

    • Oh, I might do that! I’m still thinking about it, but I like that there is no numbered goal of books to read. I know of another TBR challenge, but it’s year-long and the goal is read at least 12. I figure if I challenge myself to a lower number I’m likely to feel less intimidated and read more.

  3. I’ve also had to take on the New Year’s challenge of not buying any more books until I finish reading the new ones I already own. I’ve also had to hide my library card (I donate to the library annually and as such have a “gold card” with unlimited check outs and no late return fees). I feel a little like a shopoholic who has to hide their credit cards in a block of ice in the freezer. But being a bibliophile is such a sweet addiction…

    • What I would do to have no late fees! I just paid off $10.20 (once you hit $10, the library won’t allow any check-outs), and it’s already crept back up to $5.35. I can’t ever seem to keep it at $0, but I know — if I had such a card, I’d head to the library every day and check books upon books out. It’s very addicting, but I like to tell myself it’s better than splurging at bookstores.

      Good luck on keeping that library card hidden!

  4. I like your resolutions and I encourage you, for the sake of not letting stress spoil what should be fun, to stick to them, even when it gets hard. Reading should be a pleasurable activity and not an added stress. The great thing about the book blogging community is that you are a part of it, you don’t have to participate in every thing that crops up to be so either. Very happy for you setting up some goals to bring some stress reduction. A happy early New Year to you! :)

    • It’s a funny thing: books bring comfort when I feel particularly stressed out, but they also bring additional stress — I end up feeling frustrated for not having the time to read all the books! But I think keeping my book count low will help with that, and reading books I’ve already bought will feel nice.

      And a happy early New Year to you as well!

  5. I have to say, I have my own stress monster. Especially this year. It’s gnawing at me and creating massive knots in my shoulders that are horrible painful and making me go into a reading slump and be all crappy. It sucks. Bleh. Bleh. Bleh.

    I have to agree with you about actually reading books that I have and no longer requesting of NetGalley for me. I need to stop and read all the books I have. haha. Hopefully I will manage to do this.

    However, in the mean time I want to read the Narnia books too and the Phillip Pullman His Dark Materials. So if you wanted to do a read-a-long for either of those series I would definitely be up for it, because like you I need something or somebody to help me focus and read them or I never will. Or even Jane Eyre. Anything. I have them all to read!

    Just chuck Stromdancer away now, don’t bother! ;-) haha. I didn’t really enjoy it, but I hope you do! :)

    • I know that knot-twisted pain in the back and shoulders and even the neck, and then there are the headaches. Headaches are the worst part, IMO. I hope you’re able to relieve some of that stress — it just kills a person’s interests in hobbies.

      Ooh, yes, definitely! We can do a read-a-long. I’ve wanted to read both the Narnia and His Dark Materials books for years, and I never get around to either one. My mom is the one who ended up reading my Golden Compass book and got hooked into the trilogy. It’s been over 5 years, and she still tells me I “need” to read them. “Some day, Mom. I promise…”

      Ha! I saw you didn’t like Stormdancer very much. Although it’s nice to read reviews from people who didn’t enjoy it. It’s easy to raise my expectations when I read 4/5 star reviews all the time.

      • Yes, luckily I haven’t had too many headaches, but they can be a pain. Yes. It should come once I finish all my exams!
        Exactly how I’ve felt about both of them. Although my mum hasn’t stolen my books. haha. I saw the Golden Compass film though, so that prompted me a little, but still I didn’t get very far.
        Yes. Lots of people have enjoyed the book and I was only joking. It’s different for everyone. You may very well love it! :)

      • Stupid ol’ WordPress sending your comment to the spam bucket! I nearly missed your reply.

        Good luck on the exams! How many do you have?

        Ha, I got to hear loads of flak from my mom regarding the film. “That’s not how it is in the book! No. No! The witches shouldn’t be introduced so early!” If anything, it made be curious to see what the books are like, though. I tried the book several times years ago, but I think the farthest I read in The Golden Compass was up to page 16? It’s a sad number.

        I hope I do! I read some posts on under the “Stormdancer” tag on Tumblr. There seem to be mixed opinions about the depth of Kristoff’s research into Japanese culture and language. Honestly I’m little worried by that, but I still have hope I’ll enjoy it.

      • Ahhh shucks. I hate it when it does that!
        I have 2 in January. Only one of them is really, uber important though. So I’m practically crying over it and I had to take a couple of days off because of the stress, but I’m feeling a little calmer over it now.
        Oh dear. I think I may have read some of The Golden Compass if not all of it, but I actually can’t remember so I need to read it again. Or I may have just confused how far I read with the film….
        Ahhh, well I do hope you enjoy it because it’s not a bad book, it just wasn’t for me!

  6. Yay for re-reading Harry Potter. I’ve read them all except the Order of the Phoenix which I’ve been putting off for a whole year now because I don’t want Harry Potter to end for me. But I have to get around to doing it this year, so I’ll be re-reading the whole series (more shelf-time for OotP). At some point.

    You’ve got a great pile, though! The pile of books I own and haven’t read is a compilation of purchases made three years ago when I was still blindly stumbling about books. Well, those and Charles Dickens classics…!

    Good luck devouring all these and keeping the stress at bay! :)

    • I felt the same way for years, like if I didn’t finished off the last HP book it meant the series was still very much alive and never-ending… in my imagination. A few blogger friends stated the obvious (“You need to finish it!”) and pointed out the magic of re-reads. Now I just feel silly for putting it off for so long.

      Thanks! Ha ha, yes — I also have book purchases from years ago that I never read. I did well for a while. Not splurging on books, that is. I abuse library privileges now and was buying books that I’ve read and loved (or books I really wanted to read)… I feel another phase of random book purchases nearing again.

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