31DaysofBlogmas, Reading, StephReads2018

How I read over 200 books this year

I read a lot.

Like, over 200 books per year a lot.

Whenever I tell people that I read this much they usually ask me how I do it, or what kind of magic did I do to make that number possible.

And honestly, I never thought that this was some high sort of number, until I began looking at stats of average readers, where most people don’t even finish a book per month, let alone in the high 20’s per year.

So, I thought that it would be fun to tell you a bit about how I read so many books, and maybe some of them will help you out. (If not, no worries, I’m just over here reading like always)

One of the things I make sure to do is make reading a priority. Many people I work with at my second job don’t get why I don’t have cable (the main 2 reasons are it’s freaking expensive and I don’t need to have the distraction) but in reality, I’ve chosen to make my reading a main thing I do when I come home.

I do still watch netflix or amazon prime, and I watch some booktube videos, but on the whole after watching one or two episodes, I realize how much time I’m wasting and I turn it off and go to a book.

When I say I make reading a priority, I don’t mean that I neglect my writing or my job or whatever, I just mean that I am try to read every day for at least 20 minutes. I use the app Bookly which tracks how long you read each day and while I’m not super competitive with others, I love seeing how long that streak can go.

And this is difficult, especially when I work an 8 hour day at my first job, get home to brew a cup of coffee and then immediately set out for my second job and don’t get home till after 11 pm. But I find that if I don’t read anything during the day or even right before I got to bed, my mood is just not there.

Reading helps me relax, refocus and also make sure that my mental health is up.

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I also try and read multiple books at the same time. For some reason, I don’t like to read only one book at a time, it actually causes me to read slower when I don’t have the option of picking up a different book. Right now, for instance, I have 6 different books going on at once. I try to not do the same sort of genre for each book just so I don’t get confused, but sometimes I can’t help it.

I have always done this. I read books and sometimes the plot is lost or the character is dull or I just need a break from the 500 page tome that I’ve started and I go after a different book. (There are times that this backfires on me as there are some books that I just don’t feel like completing and are bugging me but that’s a different story)

Also it makes me feel really accomplished when I manage to complete 3 or so books in one day, because look at that Goodreads challenge jump up!

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Another thing I do for my reading is to acknowledge that there are some authors I just don’t like and won’t read. Most people will say you need to read widely, and I whole-heartedly agree with that, but I don’t want to spend time and money on an author when I know I don’t like how they write or what they write. There are too many books in the world that are waiting for me to find them and I don’t have time to waste on mediocre books/authors.

And just because I don’t like a book or feel like a book is for me, doesn’t mean that it might not be for you. One of the best things about reading is that it’s subjective to the reader, and what I like you might actually hate. We can all have our own opinions.

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This year I got super into graphic novels and to be real, I’m so glad I did. They basically go fast, pretty artwork and make me feel so happy because “Look how many books I finished because of them”. I wish I could say the same for audiobooks, but unfortunately I’m very picky on audiobooks. I have to have a narrator I like, I have to have read the book previously and I have to like the way they talk. (Kid you not, very unpopular opinion here but everyone in the book community seems to love Jim Dale’s narration of the Harry Potter books and I absolutely HATED how he voiced the characters)

I really wish I could read more audiobooks because then I would have so many books read, but I have 3 that I love, and that’s enough for me at the moment.

Another thing I do to challenge myself to read more books is something that’s really random but it’s to take a picture of each book and do a twitter thread with it. For some reason knowing that the thread pops up and shows not only how many books I’ve read but also how many pages and ratings I’ve given it, makes me want to read more just to fill it up.

And the last thing I do to read so much is just literally carry a book with me wherever I go. Anytime there’s a line (hello crazy holiday shopping) I pull out the book and read. Maybe it will only be a few pages, maybe it will be almost finishing the book, but I never really have a problem with waiting.

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So, yeah that’s pretty much how I read and such…which really wasn’t very full of tips as far as I can see, but maybe one of these will help you out!

Hope your day is going great, and remember life is too short for mediocre books!

~Stephanie

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31DaysofBlogmas, Reading, StephReads2018

5 books I want to finish before 2019

One of the most annoying things being a BookDragon is that I have a sad tendency to start books, get invested in them, and then when it gets boring or too stressful (I don’t know who says reading is relaxing because I barely experience that!) I tend to put it down and start a new book.

Which is sometimes good, because I am a mood reader and there are times when I just need a different type of book, but the bad part of me doing this is that I have quite a few books that I have half-started and.

just.

haven’t.

finished.

So these are books I want to read before the clock strikes midnight on December 31st. I’m hoping I can get through all of them, or even at least part of them, just to finish them and get them off of the indeterminate shelf on my TBR that is aptly titled “Started but not yet finished”. (These are in order based on how long they have been sitting on my shelf half-started, and here’s my post of shame)

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1-Hunting Prince Dracula. Dude I have had this half-started on my shelf for over a YEAR and yet, I still have yet to motivate myself to read this book. I don’t know why because I absolutely loved the first one but for some reason I just haven’t been in the mood for this one. But now with the new book out already, I just need to up my reading game and finish this one so I can get to the third one.

(*Update: I looked on my Goodreads shelf while uploading this, I literally have only read 135 pages in this book and it’s almost 500 pages…whoops)

2-While Beauty Slept. This is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, and the main reason I stopped reading this one, was I got bored. It’s very…informative but super dry and not that much magic and well, I got bored. Not much else to say about this one.

3-Forest of a Thousand Lanterns. This is a creepy retelling of Snow White but with Asian folklore and it’s from the perspective of the wicked queen. I really enjoyed this one (all 80 pages I got to) but since it’s sufficiently darker than I was expecting, I put it down expecting to get to it in October…which totally didn’t happen. I do want to finish this one though, I think it’s written really well so far.

4-Goose Girl. This one I feel a bit cheated on. I knew it was a retelling of the goose girl fairy tale, but it’s pretty much a straight retelling so far which is a bit disappointing because I wanted something different and weird. I do have high hopes for the whole series though, and I think once I get past the first one the rest would be good but it’s just getting there that’s the problem.

5-East of Eden. This is a retelling of the book of Genesis and it’s a hunker of a book. It’s really interesting, but there is a lot in this book that I feel could have been edited out and tightened but so far it really is just something that I’m trying to get through.

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So those are the books I’m in the middle of right now, not counting Anna Karenina which I’m reading with a group on instagram and should be done with by the end of the year. I would like to start the new year fresh and not have to have any half-started books around but I’m not sure that would happen.

I have noticed though that with the exception of East of Eden, all of these are fantasies so I’m not sure how that will work out, and I try to not read the same genre back to back, so I might have to change that for this month.

And unless something drastically changes, I seriously doubt that any of these are going to be new favourites or 5 star reads, though some of them might be close to it. And I’d love to be shocked to find that a book I thought I had all figured out, would move to the top of my list, but I’m slightly doubtful.

What books are you in the middle of? Do you leave off books for a while or do you try to finish them straight-away? Let me know below!

Have a great day booknerds, and remember, life is too short for mediocre books!

~Stephanie

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31DaysofBlogmas, monthly wrap up, StephReads2018

November Wrap-Up!!

This past month was actually a really good reading month for me! I didn’t really have a slump per say in October, but I definitely joined the struggle bus of what I didn’t know what to read!

Not so with November! In November it was like I hit the ground running and completed a lot of books within the first couple weeks.

I managed to read 20 books in November.

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9 were from the library, 1 was an arc (that I had on my shelf since August…whoops), 6 were brand new from my TBR and 4 were rereads.

I read a total of 7,027 pages this month, which I’m sure is helped because I ended up reading a few larger books, which of course helped my page count.

Breaking this down further:

*6 middlegrade this month (3 were rereads)

*2 biographies

*6 nonfiction

*2 adult fantasy

*3 Agatha Christie (and yes she’s in a category all her own!)

*1 Historical fiction

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I had a few disappointing reads, and a few that actually surprised me with how much I ended up liking them. On a whole though, this was one of my better reading months, because not only did I actually get to a lot of the books I planned to, but I also managed to knock 6 more books off of my TBR named Steve. All in all, a good month!

What about you fellow booknerds? What have you been reading this month? What was the best book, or the worst? Let me know below!

Have a great day, and remember, life is too short for mediocre books!

~Stephanie

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31DaysofBlogmas, Books, StephReads2018

31 books in 31 days

In January of this year I managed to surprise myself and somehow complete 31 books in 31 days. It honestly shocked me because I wasn’t even paying attention, and then about January 28th, I noticed that I had read 27 books, and decided to challenge myself to see if I could read 31 books. And I did.

And this past month I’ve been thinking about doing it again. Maybe it was a fluke, and maybe I wouldn’t actually read 31 books in 31 days. But I’m going to try.

I also thought that the busiest month of the year would be perfect for me to try and challenge myself to do this. Because when you do a ridiculous challenge, you might as well go big or go home right?

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So these are some of the books I want to read, or reread, depending on the book. Between you and me, I don’t think I’ll end up reading all these, only because I’m such a mood reader and I don’t like people telling me what to read, even if it’s myself.  (As is evidenced by so many abandoned TBR’s)

I also think I’m in that last minute panic before the year ends, thinking about what books I should be reading and what books I need to be reading. It also doesn’t help the fact that even though I passed my book reading goal, my page count is slightly below where it should be. So I’m panicing and trying to get all of the books read, before the end of the year.

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I mean, it’s only 31 books, it’s not like there are only 31 days left in the year. What’s the worst that could happen? And it’s not like I decided yesterday to do Blogmas as well, I mean, no one could want to possibly inflict that much torture on themselves right? (Spoiler: I actually am doing Blogmas again, so hopefully better than last year!)

What are some of your bookish goals for the rest of the year? Are you ahead of your reading challenge or are you a bit behind too? Please let me know!

Hope y’all have a great night!

Remember, life is too short for mediocre books!

~Stephanie

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BookHaul, Books, StephReads2018

Last 10 books tag!

I saw this tag on G-Swizzel’s channel and thought it was an unique take on books and what we were reading, so I figured I would try it out! (See her video about it here!)

1-What was the last book you DNF’d?

The last book I DNF’d (did not finish) was Fawkes by Nadine Brandes. I was super excited about this book, a retelling of Guy Fawkes but with magic, and couldn’t wait to get to it. However, I ended up stopping it about half-way in, for a number of reasons. I felt like it did move fast and the plot was steady, but even though it felt like it moved fast, there was very little character growth, and I wasn’t attached to any of the characters. There also was not much build up for how the plague started, so that was a disappointment. I have heard a lot of people rave about this one though so I think it’s just a case of “Not the right book for the right person”.

2-Last book you reread?

At the time of this writing the last book I reread was 4:50 from Paddington by Agatha Christie. I love rereading her mysteries because even though I’ve read nearly all of them, I manage to mostly forget exactly what happened and who did it. Which is not an easy task when I have an almost eidetic memory, but somehow I can do it on her books.

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3-Last book you bought?

I just had a Bookoutlet order come in yesterday so I would have to say all of those. Most recent single purchase that I made was The Lay of Atrouru and Ituren by J.R.R. Tolkien. Tis the season for book sales though so I’m sure I’ll be getting some more soon.

 

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4-Last book you said you read but didn’t?

The last book that I was convinced I had read was Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. We were supposed to read it for our senior class for English, and I was convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that I had read it. And then this year I picked it up and realized…no I had never actually read it. (Sorry Ms. Turner…I thought I had!) But I am glad I never really read it in high school because I’m pretty sure it would have made me go off of reading for a while.

5-Last book you wrote in the margins of?

The book I’m currently reading now, Tried by Fire: the story of Christianity’s First 1000 Years by William J. Bennett. It’s a super interesting book about the start of Christianity and I keep finding parts I love and want to remember, so pens and highlighters to the rescue.

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6-Last book you got signed?

Well, I have a subscription to Owlcrate and every single one of their books come signed and with exclusive covers to boot. So the last one from them would be Shadow of the Fox or Pride. But if we are talking the last one where I met the author and got it signed it would be probably the Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkowski or Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor.

7-Last book you lost?

I don’t really lose books. I think the last time that I “lost” a book was when I had turned in a library stash and the librarians told my mom that I had lost a book and hadn’t turned it in. We searched high and low for that book for 3 days, tearing apart every part of my room, my sister’s room, the apartment and the car. After 3 days my mom went in, telling them we couldn’t find it and could it possibly be on the shelf? After just 10 minutes of looking we found it, sitting on the shelf, not checked in. My mom was…slightly livid on that. But that was the only time where I “lost” a book.

8-Last book you had to replace?

I had to replace 2 books from loaning them to friends and not getting them back. But the last ones I replaced because I was replacing the old covers were my Jane Austen collection. I have been wanting a matched set for years and I finally got them all and they just look so pretty on my shelf.

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9-Last book you had an argument over?

Oh dear. Well, let’s just say I have quite a few differing opinions about books and plots and what constitutes a good book, and leave it at that. I don’t really have arguments with people about books because reading is so subjective, but if someone asks my opinion on certain books (*coughsarahjmasscoughjohngreencough*) I have no problem telling people what I think.

10-Last book you couldn’t get a hold of?

That would be the white copy of the Night Circus. The Night Circus is one of my all time favourite books, but I cannot find the white edition of it at all. (If anyone has it that they would like to send to me for an early Christmas gift, I would be absolutely grateful and thankful…just putting that out there)

Anyways, so that’s the tag, it was super fun to do! I don’t know who has done this one yet, but if you haven’t, please do it and then let me know! I love reading about other people’s last books…or really any books!

Remember, life is too short for mediocre books!

~Stephanie

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BookHaul, monthly wrap up, StephReads2018

October Wrap Up! (yes, I’m alive!)

Hello friends!

So first and foremost, I’m sorry for the unintentional sabbatical that somehow happened during September and October. Honestly, I’m not even sure what happened, but let’s just call it life and roll with it, ok?

The past two months have been hard on my reading schedule, not so much as I haven’t wanted to read, but rather, I haven’t had the time, with working full time and working about 20 hours in my part-time job, plus family and sleep, well that just meant that a lot of things fell to the wayside. Unfortunately that also meant this blog…and reading. (Sad face)

But right now I’m back, and even though I’m participating in NaNoWriMo again this year, I have a feeling that this month is going to be a better reading month then last month. (Mainly because at the time of this posting I’ve already read 3 books for this month!)

So let’s get to what we are all excited for, the books I read!

I managed to read 15 books in October. This breaks down to:

-6 Nonfiction (1 reread)

-6 Adult fiction (2 reread)

-1 Graphic Novel

-1 YA

-1 middlegrade

 

It seemed like my reading was all over the place and the end result was I had boarded the struggle bus of “I have no clue what I want to read but let’s pick up 15 different books because they all sound fantastic but I don’t want to finish any of them” which sounds like a slump, but I really wasn’t slumpy, just…not wanting to finish anything.

Of the 12 new books that I read, only one of them got a 5 star rating. And I accurately predicted the rating of a book I was super on the fence about, I thought it would get a low 3 star, and it actually did.

 

Book Buying:

This month I also ended up getting/acquiring 25 books.

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3 of them were for my 2019 goals of reading all the C.S. Lewis books

10 of them were rebuys (with different covers) of either my Jane Austen or my Agatha Christie

2 were preorders

6 fell into my cart from Bookoutlet

2 were from Owlcrate

1 was from a friend.

(The majority of those were from Bookoutlet so I’m actually quite chuffed about how many I got in good condition.)

A nice thing that actually happened yesterday was that I hit my goodreads reading goal for the year, so now I’m just trying to read as much as possible to get that number up higher.

How has your reading been this year? Have you read any of the books that I read? What books are you most excited for? Come chat with me in the comments!

Have a great day and remember, life is too short for mediocre books!

~Stephanie

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BookHaul, Reading, StephReads2018

#BNBookHaul

There’s nothing like the feeling of walking into a bookstore on a rainy day, or a sunny day, or even a random Tuesday where you decide that “Yes you do need a new book” even though you might have a few…hundred…unread books at home.

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But the best feeling, besides walking into a bookstore is walking into a bookstore and finding out that the books you were coming for, are all on sale! Which of course means that all decorum and budget planning is going straight out the window, because now you are buying BOOKS!! And lots of books! Not just one or two, nope, you get to splurge and get all the ones that have caught your eye!

Today Barnes and Noble is starting a weeklong sale, called #BNBookHaul where over 100 titles of their YA and children’s books are 50% off. (Yeah, I was shocked too! Trust me, this is amazing!)

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Some of the YA books on sale are popular titles like Strange the Dreamer (considering the sequel comes out in less than a month, you should catch up on this one immediately!); Three Dark Crowns (again the sequel to this series is coming out soon, you don’t want to play catch up later!); Dread Nation; FuryBorn; Heartless; Sky in the Deep (stabby vikings and cinnamon roll boys!) and other amazing books.

While the sale is going on for one week, a lot of the books are limited quality, as in, they don’t have any more in the back! So if any of these titles sound like something you want, make sure that you get down to your local B/N and get all the books, for way less then what they are stickered for! And if you end up buying at least 3 books, you get a free tote!

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Personally, my wallet is already whimpering about the cost for the words “Book Sale” and my TBR might be growling at the thought that I am going to be adding more books to it, but hey, book sales like this only come around once in a while!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some book shopping to do!

Happy reading booknerds, and remember, life is too short for mediocre books!

~Stephanie

 

 

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