Category Archives: Bookish Things

A Simple Request

Last fall, my family took a trip to Illinois. Part of our trip was in the Chicago area, where we each got to do something fun. My pick was to travel to Evanston to visit the Page 1 Books store. I like to visit independent stores whenever I travel, and I had been following them on Instagram for a while.

Page 1 Books started (and still is) a subscription service where you give them a list of books you have enjoyed and then they send you a surprise book that you might enjoy. You can also order books through their store, bookish goodies, or a little of both in some of their book bundles.

When I visited their store on my trip, it was the most magical experience. The store is nestled in a quaint row of shops. As I stepped in, I was pulled into the pictures I had seen on their Instagram. Quotes on the wall, books on the shelves, even the sweet little kids section. I was a total fangirl.

Then, I met Brandy, the owner, who was just as awesome in person. We talked for a bit, took pictures, and then something magical happened.

I knew I was going to buy a book. That was something I did any time I visited an independent bookstore. Brandy offered to help me decide. I talked about some of the books I had read recently that I really enjoyed. I was skimming the shelves as I talked. There were several books on the shelves that I thought might be interesting, but nothing seemed to be just right.

I had been reading books about books and bookstores, really enjoying this niche genre of sorts. That’s when Brandy opened drawer in the shelves and pulled out the book that was sitting by itself, Dear Mr. Knightly by Katherine Reay. Not only did it fit what I was looking for subject-wise, but it took place in Evanston, the perfect souvenir book for this special trip.

Like many, many other small businesses, Page 1 Books had to close its doors to the public due to social distancing. You can still purchase bookish goodies and subscriptions on their site. And you can also purchase books as well through Bookshop.org. But because of this pandemic, they are still struggling to make ends meet. That’s where we can make a difference. Here’s Brandy with more:

Click here to donate and help Page 1 Books bring the magic of books to many more readers.

Don’t forget those businesses that made a difference when you walked through their doors. Whether you order delivery from the local restaurants, or purchase gift cards at your favorite shops, you can make a difference. This whole experience has opened my eyes, and it’s changed how I will purchase things in the future. Not just in books, although let’s be honest, that’s where most of my money goes!

Do you have any favorite small businesses? How is everyone holding up?

Books and Bookish Goals

Last year, I made a goal to read 44 books.  I knew I would have an unpredictable year, so I gave myself a goal of reading 4 books a month with a month of margin.  Apparently, I needed that margin because as the year ended, my life became very busy!  I managed to just barely eek out the last two books in December (though both were wonderful!).

But this year, while predictability is never going to be a thing in my life again, I want to challenge myself by adding a few books to my goal.  I also know that my schedule is going to shift a bit this year in favor of a little more space.  One example is removing the phone from my bedside will free up the time I spend mindlessly scrolling first thing in the morning or last thing at night.  I can replace that with more reading time.

So, this year, I’m going to try to read 48 books.  That is about 4 books a month, which I think will be doable. 

I also want to curb the book collecting binge that was 2019.  I was receiving books from family, free books from the library, and all the new releases and occasional trips to Half Price Books.  So, I have a lot of books waiting to be read on my shelves.  That being said, there are still a few books that I will probably preorder this year.  My favorite authors have books coming out this year, so I can’t say I won’t get another new book this year.  But I will definitely be cultivating my personal library, purging some of the authors I no longer read to make room for the favorites I will read over and over again.

In addition to what is already on my shelves, I plan to continue with the two book clubs I joined last year.  Life’s Library and the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club.  Life’s Library sends a book and some bookish goodies every six weeks. There is a Discord conversation that you can participate in as you read the book, and the money goes to support combating maternal mortality in Sierra Leone.  The MMD Book Club is a monthly subscription. They don’t send you the book each month, but I generally can find them in the library. It also includes a lot of discussions with the authors as well as little bookish “classes”.  Both book clubs have expanded my reading tastes, helping me to hone what I love in literature (and sometimes what I don’t).

I’m really looking forward to where reading will take me this year.  Even though I will definitely try my hardest, I may not reach that goal.  Life tends to be erratic that way.  Still, at least in this case, it really is about the journey, not the destination.  And I’m going to enjoy this journey, one book at a time.

A Little Reading Chat

The Autumn season tends to bring up thoughts of cozy blankets, big arm chairs, a large mug of tea, and a good book.

But here in Texas, it is just getting to that point. I mean, I was in shorts just three days ago. It’s been ridiculous. And maybe that has contributed to my reading slump.

Maybe it was the vain attempt to finish a book I wasn’t in the right mindset to read.

Maybe it was the collection of really good shows that just came out on Netflix. (If you have Netflix, and you haven’t seen Raising Dion, you need to remedy that ASAP).

Maybe it was the our new weekly family schedule that began this fall.

Maybe it was the lack of sleep I’ve been getting lately because the boy hasn’t been sleeping well either.

Maybe, and most probably, it is all of the above.

By the time I crawl into bed at the end of the day, all I want to do is crash. And I do get up pretty early in the morning, but whatever energy I have managed to cultivate overnight has been dedicated to my Mom’s group bible study workbook (which is about false gods, that I talked about last week) or my continuation of reading the entire Bible in a year (I’m so close to the end of the year it would be crazy to stop, but Jeremiah is heavy material, ya’ll).

I guess I am reading. And I do have two books I’m reading right now when I get a few minutes here and there in my day. Also, it’s kind of adorable that every time I pull out one of my books in front of my son, he finds a book that he’s desperate for me to read (so, really, if you count all the kids’ books I’ve been reading lately, I’ve hit my year’s goal and then some).

I just started watching “Living With Your Self” starring Paul Rudd on Netflix. I don’t know if I like it yet or not, I’m just in the second episode, but if I were cloned, I would definitely use that opportunity to read more books. Although if I were to be honest, I would rather have a time turner because I’m sure my clone would get totally jealous of my reading time.

So, maybe I wouldn’t call this a slump, per se. More like just a busy season in my life. But it’s a good season, full of happy memories being made every day. And now that it’s cold, we have all the fun activities like, snuggles on the couch and that sensation you get when you’ve been outside long enough to get your nose red and then come back into to a warm house. I much rather would go from being cold to warm than the other way around. But that’s just me.

I hope wherever you are, you are staying warm and reading well. Enjoying life and making memories. Have a happy Tuesday, everyone!

Have you ever experienced a slump? How did you deal with it? (And it doesn’t have to be a reading slump!)

TBR lists and why I’m taking a break.

For those of you who may not recognize the acronym, TBR stands for To Be Read. It means the list of books you plan to read in a given time period, usually a month but it could be a year or even a season. I haven’t really done a TBR in a while on this blog. I’ve been having a bit of a hot-cold experience with my monthly TBR books for the last few months. (I’ve been sharing that TBR list on my Instagram feed instead of here on the blog). So I’ve decided to throw caution to the wind and forgo the monthly TBR stack in exchange for a book by book reading. Here is why.

My reading life has evolved since the beginning of the year.

At the beginning of the year, I wanted to broaden my reading life. I was trying to read an adult fiction, YA, nonfiction, and a classic. At the time, I didn’t count the book I was already reading for the Life’s Library book club, and since then I have joined the Modern Mrs. Darcy book club. Just these two book clubs alone have given ample opportunities to broaden the books I usually read.

Plus, I buy books throughout the year. Books from the backlists of my favorite authors, books that are recommended to me, books with pretty covers (what? sometimes I have no shame). And when I finish a book, sometimes I want to read another just like it, sometimes I want to read something completely different. Having no TBR will allow me that freedom.

I’ve gotten really caught up in trying to finish all of the books in the stack that I’m actually getting into reading slumps.

This happened last month. I was desperately trying to finish a book on my TBR that felt like I was walking through quicksand. There was nothing inherently wrong with the book. In fact, I really enjoyed the content, the writing, even some of the points in the book were things I’ve studied in the past that I found interesting and convicting. But right now, I need to put the book down. I need to read something different – a different format, genre, author, something.

So, not making that TBR will give me the freedom to say, “I will finish this some other time.” I don’t have to feel the pressure to get it done within a certain time frame. And maybe after finishing another book, or time passing in general, there will be a right time for me to pick that book back up and finish it.

As the end of the year approaches, I will have less time to devote to reading.

There have been some rumblings of chaos in my life lately. Typically, the last four months of the year are my busy season. This year has been a little crazier than usual, so I can only imagine that the next few months are going to get interesting. I’m really excited to experience everything, but I also need to realistic with my time. So, giving myself some space to do so will only benefit my reading life, instead of the TBR that will just belabor it.

So, instead of a TBR, I’m taking a page out of my new, more relaxed, blogging schedule and just share the reviews of a book when I complete it. I will also probably share what I’m reading in the moment on my Instagram, so again, if you don’t follow me on there, you will be missing half of the story.

All of that being said, there is a book to the left of my computer right now demanding that I open it. I’m so excited to read this one as it was recommended to me recently (and I couldn’t help myself, I already read a few pages a couple days ago). So, I’m off! Happy reading everyone!

May TBR

I’m taking a bit of a break this month, which I will talk about later this week, but I still have a TBR list that I’m hoping to accomplish.

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson. This author has been all over my feeds for the last year. I purchased this book a while ago, but had so many others I wanted to read first. Probably because I’m a bit intimidated. Sanderson is known for his long prose, and I’m a little afraid I won’t like his work after all the hype. Elantris was his first book, and even though it’s not his most famous work, it is all set in the same world so I’m good with starting at the beginning . We will see how it goes.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. I’m pretty sure I have read this before, but I wanted something on the shorter end because of the Sanderson book this month. They made a movie a few years ago, and it’s on Netflix still, I believe, so I might watch it after reading the book.

Adamant by Lisa Bevere. I got this book during a sale at Hobby Lobby. And I have been wanting to dig in ever since. I don’t know much about the author, but I follow her on Twitter, and there have been a lot of good reviews and responses to this book.

The Wicked King by Holly Black. I read the first book in this series when it came out last year. I didn’t hear much feedback on this second book, but the third book and its cover have already been announced, so I feel like I need to read this ASAP.

What are you reading this month?

April TBR

I liked the themes I’ve been doing the past two months, both for Black History Month and Women’s History Month. I don’t think I will continue with themes, but I couldn’t help myself doing it one last time. Of course, this has nothing especially to do with April, but I thought I would read some science fiction since I had a book in just about every one of my categories.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green.  I have been wanting to read this book for months now, and I finally have it on my monthly TBR. In fact, it’s the book that inspired the sci-fi theme. I don’t know much about the plot other than it’s about a girl who takes a picture of this mysterious robot that shows up and she deals with the fame fallout.

The Whole Brain Child by Daniel J Siegel, MD and Tina Payne Bryson, PhD. So this isn’t science fiction, per se, but it does kind of fit into the science realm. It’s one of the books I picked up for parenting, and I’m interested to see what it says. I like holistic approaches, and it seems to be leaning in that direction.

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. This was a big series in the YA community that actually completed last year with the book Obsidio. The format is really fascinating which is what pulled me to the book in the first place. It’s a collection of notes and emails and other correspondence back and forth. I’m intrigued.

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. I think I read this book in school, but I don’t really remember what it is about, other than it probably takes place on Mars. But it fits the science fiction theme, so I’m excited to read it.

What are you reading this month?

March TBR


Since the books from Black History month worked out so well, I thought I would try to do it again for Women’s History Month.  Of course, I have a lot of books written by women, so I tried to whittle it down to the four books. It was really hard because there is so much I want to read. Here’s my final four.

Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis.  It’s funny because before I chose this book, I saw nothing but accolades for it, but after I chose it, I’ve been seeing a lot of harsher critiques.  I’m trying to go in with an open mind and make my own decision.

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett.  A friend recommended it a year ago and it has been sitting on my shelf for a while, so I’m finally going to read it.  I read a collection of her essays which were okay, but I’m hoping to enjoy her fiction more.

The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson.  The second book in the Truly Devious series.  I read the first on towards the end of last year so excited to continue this mystery!

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.  I’m a little intimidated about this book, but I really love Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights so I am interested to see how much I like her sister’s novel.

What are you reading this month?