Some Books I Own But Haven’t Read

I don’t own a lot amount of books. A rough estimate puts the total shy of 300 (a lot being totally subjective, of course…). I give careful consideration to each book I purchase. I don’t usually buy a book without having read it first, exceptions being for authors I already admire. Most of these purchases come when long-held notions of “Hey, I thought I might read that someday!” or “Haven’t I heard good things about this?” meet bargain prices. Because I own relatively few books that I haven’t read yet, I don’t feel any need yet to start getting through them. However, because I bought these books on a whim with no planned intention to read them, they often slip from my notice. They get lost on the physical shelf, or I forget to add them to my virtual shelf, and a book not on my Goodreads TBR may as well not exist. I started storing unread purchases in a crate under my bed, so I can easily pull it out and see what’s waiting for me. (This crate also contains library books.) A few of these unreads I’ve already added to my 2016-maybes shelf. No pressure, but I don’t want to let them languish forever 😉 

  1. The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly by Sun-Mi Hwang – Bargain book. A pretty little thing recommended by Andi.
  2. Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden – Used book from a store where I had a credit. Was on my Indigenous authors TBR last year.
  3. The Lexicographer’s Dilemma by Jack Lynch – Bargain book. Author familiar to me from my History of English course.
  4. The Mushroom Hunters: On the Trail of an Underground America by Langdon Cook – Bargain book. I like these kind of food books.
  5. The Bird’s Nest by Shirley Jackson – One of the few physical books I purchased while in Japan. Never got in the mood for it.
  6. The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald – See above.
  7. Japanese Portraits by Donald Richie – Bargain book.
  8. Notre-Dame de Paris by Victor Hugo – Ahh, this one’s a bit different. Bought from Shakespeare and Co. in 2010. More of a souvenir than a book I really want to read.
  9. Little, Big by John Crowley – A rare book shopping therapy purchase! Meaning, I wanted to go to a bookstore and buy something without preplanning. I believe Neil Gaiman likes this one.
  10. Beowulf by Seamus Heney – Bargain book. I’ve never read the whole thing through.

This post evolved out of a little debate with myself over whether I should take up Andi’s Read My Own Damn Books challenge. I see a lot of bloggers write about how they own far too many unread books. Thankfully this is not yet the case for me, so in the end I decided there wasn’t really any reason for me to take on that challenge 😛 Are you more like me, or do you have a daunting TBR at home?

Jumping Into January (Library Book Haul)

I visited the library on December 28. I snuggled into an armchair and pulled out my iPad I opened the Goodreads and library apps. I was cross-referencing my 2016-maybes shelf with the library’s available books and ebooks (if I can borrow a book as an ebook, I save it for when I’m travelling). I drew up a list, then headed out into the stacks. I enjoy browsing books on GoodReads, but holding a book in my hands and reading a few pages remains the only way I can truly evaluate a book’s potential. I had great success with this final visit of 2015. I picked up 15 books, including middle grade, young adult, fiction and non-fiction. One book I began to read while waiting for my ride and I finished it in one sitting! Here are my remaining books:

I hope to fit a lot of good reading into this month, as I’ll be travelling from February to May with no guaranteed access to books I want to read. This library stack should give me a solid start! What do you think of my picks? Do you have any reading plans for the first weeks of 2016

December Book Haul

A few weeks ago I started working seasonally at a bookstore. I’ve been having a great time helping people find the books they’re looking for. This weekend was staff appreciation, which meant an extra discount on top of the regular staff discount. Of course I couldn’t resist buying books even this close to Christmas! (Though I was careful not to buy any of the ones on my Christmas wishlist). I ended up with seven books (two were planned and four were from bargain sooooo it wasn’t too extreme ;P).

  • The Art of the Lord of the Rings edited by Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull – Really excited to dig into this one, as it contains many never before published pieces.
  • The Hobbit illustrated by Jemima Catlin – I kind of, sort of collect The Hobbit…at least I’ve decided so now that I have six copies. If I ever win the lottery, you know I’ll be adding a first edition to this budding collection!
  • House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski – I’d been reading a library copy, then my sister’s copy, but I’m enjoying it so much I want to add it to my library.
  • The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly by Sun-Mi Hwang – Found this in the bargain books section and thought of Andi’s review. With my staff discount, it came to $3.50 so I added it to my basket.
  • The Lexicographer’s Dilemma by Jack Lynch – I love it when I find bargain books that are already on my TBR list.
  • The Mushroom Hunters by Langdon Cook – Totally an impulse buy. Looks intriguing!
  • I My Slow Cooker by Beverly LeBlanc – I have to be careful not to become the sort of person who buys cookbooks but doesn’t use them… I liked the look of a lot of the recipes in this one, though, and I think I could make better use of my slow cooker.

I did buy a few gifts for others. I bought The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson and pencil crayons to go with the colouring books I got for my mom. I also bought to two gifts to donate to a toy drive – a set of 12 Thomas the Tank Engine board books and a Doc McStuffins ‘Busy Book’ (a picture book that comes with little figures and a play mat).

How is your holiday shopping going? Have you treated yourself to any books lately?

Readers Imbibing Peril (RIP) Challenge

Mystery. Suspense. Thriller. Dark Fantasy. Gothic.  Horror. Supernatural. Or anything sufficiently moody that shares a kinship with the above. That is what embodies the stories, written and visual, that we celebrate with the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril event.

Last year I participated in the RIP IX Read-along, though I wasn’t prepared to jump into the challenge itself. This year I’m not missing out! The RIP X Challenge runs September and October. Over the years, I’ve become more interested in what I label ‘eerie’ stories, those ghostly, atmospheric tales that blossom when read on a cool fall night. So, I’m happy to participate in a challenge that celebrates and embraces those stories. I want to complete Peril the First – “Read four books, any length, that you feel fit (the very broad definitions) of R.I.P. literature”. My choices are:

  • The Bird’s Nest by Shirley Jackson – The Read-along book last year was The Haunting of Hill House, which was my second Jackson read. I’ve loved both of her books that I’ve read, so this one is a natural choice.
  • Skary Childrin and the Carousel of Sorrow by Katy Towell – I’ve owned this book for a couple years and while I love Towell’s Skary Childrin animations, I hadn’t yet got around to reading her debut novel.
  • Library of Souls preview by Ransom Riggs – I won this back during the April Read-a-thon. The final book in Riggs’ Peculiar Children trilogy!
  • The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allen Poe – I’ve had a book on my TBR for awhile called The Fall, based on Poe’s story. I’ve never read Poe…I plan to change that.

Are you participating in the RIP Challenge? Do you have any recommended reads?

Sneak Peek: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Release date: 24 February 2015 (20 February Kindle edition)

The first I heard of this book was over at Lone Star on a Lark (Louise has read the whole book, so give her review a look if you want a broader perspective). I was happy to find the ‘sneak peek’ offered on Netgalley and decided to request it, just to see if the story was as good as it sounds. It seemed like a story I would love – but was it too good to be true? I’m happy to report – not at all! I devoured the preview one slow morning at work and nearly cried to know I couldn’t keep reading. Here are some of the reasons why I love this book already:

  • Alternate worlds focused on a Victorian London setting
    • Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London – but no one speaks of that now.” (GoodReads description)
  • Well-defined and different attitudes towards magic in each world (see above quote)
  • Prose that pulls you along but isn’t too fancy
  • Semi-royal ambassador main character (I’m not sure why, but I’m really into reading about nobility right now. Not Game of Thrones style nobility…just characters where that’s one part of who they are.)
  • Colourful supporting cast that isn’t too sprawling

This is the kind of story I desperately need right now (one comment I made – “Ooh just what I wanted but didn’t realize I needed!”), so I might be a tad over enthusiastic about it. Admittedly, some might find the beginning slow. But really, the setting is key here. I didn’t mind that there wasn’t a lot happening because I was just happy to be experiencing this new world. If it sounds remotely like your thing – definitely try this book!  I’ve just pre-ordered it and I’m waiting anxiously for release day, which is right near my birthday and a day when I don’t have any classes. 😀 I’ll post a full review once I’ve read the whole thing. For once, I’m already excited to know it’s part of a series. This is a world in which I’m ready to spend a lot of time.

Have you read the preview? What did you think? (Have you read the whole thing? Is my enthusiasm warranted?)