March 2014 Recap

Another month gone.  This was an interesting month in that movie-watching was at an all-time low and I supplemented my voracious reading of Sweet Valley High with a slew of non-fiction.  So the result is a mixed bag.  Let’s get to it!

Reading:

Best Book of the Month: Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

Books Read: 30
Adult: 4
YA: 21
MG: 5
Children’s: 0
Fiction: 26
Non-fiction/Memoir: 4
Graphic Novel: 0
# of Pages Read: 6223

Thoughts on March’s Reading:

  • As far as non-fiction goals go, I read four non-fiction/memoirs (Soul Survivor, The Honest Life, Live From Saturday Night: The Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live, andGod’s Harvard: A Christian College on a Mission to Save America).
  • I didn’t read much in the way of YA fiction outside of SVH this month, but I did knock out Side Effects May Vary and And We Stay.
  • My numbers are insanely high because I read so many Sweet Valley High novels this month for my other blog.  These books are a breeze to get through (I can knock them out in about 30 minutes if I’m not distracted by other things), so they count–but just barely.  I’m on a roll with them right now, so who knows how long that will last.

Watching:

TV:

Much as I’d like to, I’m not obsessively tracking what TV show episodes I watch and when.  So this will be mostly bullet points.

  • I’ve completely slowed down on Breaking Bad.  I’d say I’m watching something like one episode a week?
  • For reasons completely unknown to me, I’m on a serious The Vampire Diaries kick.  I’ve blown through three seasons this month, and I can’t seem to stop watching, even though everyone is dumb and parts of the show really squick me out.  Expect a post on this at some point.  Probably.
  • J. and I tore through the first season of Orphan Black, which is great and you should watch immediately.  The second season premieres in mid-April, and I can hardly wait.
  • I’m also casually re-watching Daria, which HOLDS UP and is still really, really funny.
  • I’m still watching The Good Wife, am looking forward to the return of The Mindy Project, and can’t wait for the return ofGame of Thrones.

Movies:

vmarsBest Movie(s) of the Month: Veronica Mars

Movies Watched: 4
New: 2
Re-Watch: 2
Theater Trips: 1

Thoughts on Movies Watched in February:

  • Not a stellar month for movies, probably because I’ve been hardcore bingeing on TV.
  • Veronica Mars is the clear winner here.  I haven’t written a post on it, and I’m not sure I will, because it sort of feels done to death, but I did love it while also recognizing its flaws.

Goals for March:

  • Continue reading and watching diverse things.  Keep up with keeping track.

Happy reading and watching, readers!

February 2014 Recap

Somewhere over the course of last year, I lost the plot with regard to monthly recaps of what I’d be reading and watching, and that’s too bad.  I actually really like these posts to help me reflect on the past month, in terms of what kinds of media I’d been consuming.  So, with the start of a new year and a fresh resolve to track more thoroughly what I’m reading and watching, here’s my attempt at starting up these monthly recaps again.

Reading:

Best Book of the Month: Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern

Books Read: 25
Adult: 4
YA: 19
MG: 2
Children’s: 0
Fiction: 22
Non-fiction/Memoir: 3
Graphic Novel: 1
# of Pages Read: 5554

Thoughts on February’s Reading:

  • As far as non-fiction goals go, I read two memoirs (I Don’t Know Where You Know Me From and Never Have I Ever) and one biography (Pain, Parties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer, 1962).  I loved the Plath and was lukewarm on the other two.  I didn’t read anything I would qualify as “hard” non-fiction this month.
  • A lot of the YA I read this month was really, really disappointing: I kind of hated Asylum, thought Royally Lost was painfully silly, and didn’t connect with The Museum of Intangible Things the way I wanted to.  Even so, Cammie McGovern’s Say What You Will was my favorite read of the month, hands down.
  • My numbers are insanely high because I read so many Sweet Valley High novels this week for my other blog.  These books are a breeze to get through (I can knock them out in about 30 minutes if I’m not distracted by other things), so they count–but just barely.  I’m on a roll with them right now, so who knows how long that will last.

Watching:

TV:

Much as I’d like to, I’m not obsessively tracking what TV show episodes I watch and when.  So this will be mostly bullet points.

  • I’ve completely slowed down on Breaking Bad.  I think we’re still slogging through the third season.  I will finish it.  It’s just not something I ever look forward to sitting down to.
  • Instead, I hate-watched my way through four seasons of Glee, which I’m not proud of, but there it is.  I don’t know why I can’t look away from this show–it is literally the worst and represents everything I hate, but damn if I can’t stop binge-watching.
  • I also still watch New Girl and Switched at Birth.  Everything else seems to be on hiatus right now.
  • J. and I have started watching The X-Files as something to have on in the background sometimes.  It’s enjoyable but I don’t see us finishing it (as well we shouldn’t because it’s one of those shows that refused to die).

Movies:

12yearsBest Movie(s) of the Month: 12 Years a Slave

Movies Watched: 8
New: 5
Re-Watch: 3
Theater Trips: 0

Thoughts on Movies Watched in February:

  • Not a stellar month for movies, despite my best intentions to get ready for the Oscars.
  • Despite not liking animated movies, I watched Disney’s Frozen and found it adorable.  I mean, largely forgettable, but something I probably would have loved as a kid.  I also watched The Croods and didn’t hate it, so that’s something, I guess?

Goals for March:

  • Continue reading and watching diverse things.  Keep up with keeping track.

Happy reading and watching, readers!

January 2014 Recap

Somewhere over the course of last year, I lost the plot with regard to monthly recaps of what I’d be reading and watching, and that’s too bad.  I actually really like these posts to help me reflect on the past month, in terms of what kinds of media I’d been consuming.  So, with the start of a new year and a fresh resolve to track more thoroughly what I’m reading and watching, here’s my attempt at starting up these monthly recaps again.

Reading:

Best Book of the Month: Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery by Robert Kolker

Books Read: 18
Adult: 7
YA: 5
MG: 3
Children’s: 3
Fiction: 14
Non-fiction/Memoir: 4
Graphic Novel: 2
# of Pages Read: 4855

Thoughts on January’s Reading:

  • I’m trying to read more non-fiction this year without actually making it a hard-and-fast goal, and my default is memoir, of which I read several this month.  But I also read Robert Kolker’s true-crime non-fiction Lost Girls, and it was a standout.
  • A lot of the YA I read this month is scheduled to come out later this year.  E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars is sure to be a critical success (and maybe a little polarizing), while Ava Delaira’s Love Letters to the Dead was a total disappointment.
  • I started the month by reading a bunch of the Alice series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, which is partly why my overall numbers are so high this month.  I fell away from them early on, though, and since I”d like to finish the series this year, I should probably try to tackle a few more of those soon.

Watching:

TV:

Much as I’d like to, I’m not obsessively tracking what TV show episodes I watch and when.  So this will be mostly bullet points.

  • J. is still supporting me as I slowly trudge through Breaking Bad.  We’re up to season 3 now, and while I can see how the show is quite masterful, I also don’t think it’s any fun to watch.  I’m determined to finish it, though.
  • I’ve become OBSESSED with The Good Wife, and whizzed my way through three seasons this month.  J. is on board now, too, which means that I’ve slowed down how many I’m getting through so I can wait to watch with him.
  • I also still watch American Horror Story: Coven, New Girl, The Mindy Project, Parenthood, Girls, and Switched at Birth.
  • I’m also doing a re-watch of Veronica Mars to gear up for the movie, and I’m participating in the beta-forums over at Previously.tv so I can talk about it with other Veronica Mars geeks.

Movies:

way way backBest Movie(s) of the Month: Enough Said, The Way Way Back

Movies Watched: 15
New: 11
Re-Watch: 4
Theater Trips: 1

Thoughts on Movies Watched in January:

  • We watched quite a bit of horror in January, including both Insidious movies and the Carrie remake.  All three were pretty terrible.  The Carrie remake was particularly egregious, because I just can’t figure out what the point was of remaking it (okay, I know, money, whatever)
  • I finally, finally got around to seeing Austenland, and it was TERRIBLE.  Just, like, the worst.  I texted my sister about it, and she agreed, adding that it seemed like the screenwriter just gave up halfway through.

Goals for February:

  • Continue reading and watching diverse things.  Keep up with keeping track.

Happy reading and watching, readers!

Year in Review: Reading

Without further ado, this is how my year in reading breaks down.  2013 was a pretty good, if not stellar, year.

READING

Overall Reading:
Total Books = 136 books
Total Pages = 41,120
Avg Days Per Book = 2.7 days
Avg Pages Per Day =  112.6

Longest Book = Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling (860 pages) OR A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (830 pages)
Shortest Book/Novella = Nowhere to Run by Claire J. Griffin (118 pages)

My best reading month was December  with 23 books read and my worst was August where I only read 4 books.  The breakdown for books/pages read by month for the year looks like this:


Month…Books…Pages
JAN…… 10…….. 3195
FEB…….10………2798
MAR….. 9………2969
APR…….8………2574
MAY……6………2550
JUN…….5……… 1754
JUL……..7……….3112
AUG…….4…….2060
SEP……..9……….3023
OCT…….21……….5811
NOV…….20…….. 5335
DEC…….23………5939

The Cybils obviously skyrocketed my reading numbers the last three months of the year, allowing me to hit and surpass my goal of 100 books this year.

Overall, not a terrible reading year.  I’m not setting hard goals for next year because I’m feeling burnt out right now, but I do hope to expand my reading to genres I usually avoid.

Happy reading!

February Recap

clubdeadjaniefacetoface justoneday eleanorandpark deluxetwo deluxethree cycleslivingdead theswordAdobe Photoshop PDF

Books:

Total Books: 10  | YA/MG: 5 | Adult: 5  | Fiction: 10  | Non-fiction:  0 | Re-reads: 5
Hardcover: 2  | Paperback:  2 | Kindle:  4 | Phone: 1
Pages Read: 2,798 | Pages Per Day: 100

Best Book(s) Read: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Most Disappointing Book(s) ReadJanie Face to Face by Caroline B. Cooney

Movies:
Total Movies:  9 | Comedy:   | Drama:  | Horror:
New:  7 | Re-watch:  2  | Theater: 3

Best Movie(s) Watched: Hello I Must Be Going, Argo, Life of Pi
Worst Movie(s) Watched: N/A

Goals for Next Month:

  • FINISH J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy or decide to really give it up
  • Read at least 10 books
  • Post at least 20 days out of the month
  • Watch at least 10 new movies

Happy reading and watching, y’all.

YALSA’s The Hub Reading Challenge

I’m woefully behind on actual blog posts.  This is mostly because I am insanely, undeniably, totally busy.  However, I did want to post about YALSA’s very cool reading challenge that just started this week.  Hosted by The Hub, the challenge asks participants to read or listen to at least 25 titles on the recently released best-of lists.  For a full list of the applicable titles, check out the pdf here.

You don’t have to be a YALSA member to participate.  All you have do to is leave a comment at the announcement post and then track your progress however you’d like.  The Hub will post an check-in every Saturday from now until June, when the challenge ends.  Simply track your progress and connect with other readers.

It’s looking to be a fun challenge.  I’m personally hoping to read some Alex Award winners, because it’s something slightly different for me.

Are you going to join up?  

January Recap

Books:

Total Books: 10  | YA/MG: 7 | Adult: 3| Fiction: 9  | Non-fiction: 1 | Re-reads: 2
Hardcover: 2 | Paperback:  5 | Kindle:  3 | Computer: 0
Pages Read: 3,195 | Pages Per Day: 103

Best Book(s) Read: Golden by Jessi Kirby
Most Disappointing Book(s) Read: How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

Movies:
Total Movies:  14 | Comedy:  4 | Drama: 3 | Horror:  6
New:  7 | Re-watch:  7  | Theater: 1

Best Movie(s) Watched: 10 Years
Worst Movie(s) Watched: Mama, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Goals for Next Month:

  • Read at least 10 books
  • Review at least 10 books (this has been harder lately)
  • Post at least 20 days out of the month
  • Watch at least 10 new movies–including as many of the Oscar nominees as possible

Happy reading and watching, y’all.

2012 Year in Review: Viewing

VIEWING

Total Movies: 119
# of new movies: 56
# of re-watched movies: 63
# of theater trips: 28

Average Movies per Week: 2.2

The breakdown for movies by month for the year looks like this:

Month…Movies
JAN……14
FEB…….8
MAR….. 17
APR…….11
MAY……7
JUN…….7
JUL……..8
AUG……8
SEP……..11
OCT…….8
NOV…….9
DEC……..11

The best movies I watched, by month:

JANUARY – Young Adult
FEBRUARY – nothing standout
MARCH – The Hunger Games
APRIL – Cabin in the Woods
MAY – The Avengers
JUNE – nothing standout
JULY – Magic Mike
AUGUST – Manhattan
SEPTEMBER – Sleepwalk with Me
OCTOBER – Pitch Perfect
NOVEMBER – The Silver Linings Playbook
DECEMBER – Les Miserables

GOALS FOR 2013:

  • Go to the theater at least 25 times
  • At least 1/2 (50%) of all movies watched should be new-to-me (never seen before)
  • Review, review, review

What are your viewing goals for 2013?

End of Year Survey

Jamie hosts an end of the year book survey at The Perpetual Page Turner every year.  Go check out the survey for Jamie’s answers, links to all the other people who’ve participated, and to link your own!

Best In Books 2012

  • Best Book You Read in 2012
What’s interesting about trying to determine the best book I read in 2012 is that I often feel really strongly about something right when I finish it, and when I return to it later, I can’t access those feelings.  There were several standouts this year, but there are two that continue to be books I find myself thinking about again and again: My Book of Life by Angel by Martine Leavitt (review) and The Children and the Wolves by Adam Rapp (review).  Both are dark, thought-provoking YA novels with sparse prose, and both stay with you long after you’ve finished.
  • Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going to Love More But Didn’t?
 There were a lot of these this year.  I suppose there always are, when you get as excited about books as I do.  A few standouts: Small Damages by Beth Kephart (review), which was good but slower than I’d have liked (and I had issues with the chosen ending, to be honest). Fever by Lauren DeStefano (review) was a letdown after loving Wither so much.  Oh! Also, The Story of Us by Deb Caletti, (review) which felt overly long and was weirdly homophobic.
  • Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012?
It has to go to My Book of Life by Angel by Martine Leavitt, because not only did the cover and the title do nothing for me at first, but it’s a verse-novel, which I’m usually not a fan of.  This one blew me away.
  • Book you recommended to people most in 2012? 
I’ve been pushing Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews on everyone, regardless of whether or not they read YA.  I try to tailor recommendations to people based on their actual reading preferences, though, so there isn’t really one book I recommend to all readers.  It’s not a one-size-fits-all sort of deal, yo.
But seriously, have you read this book yet?  Why not?  It’s funny and profound and moving and is everything I wanted John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars to be (but wasn’t).  It’s definitely a standout read, and it’s definitely one you should be reading.
  • Best series you discovered in 2012? 
Ouch.  Guys, I didn’t reach much in the way of series this year, and the ones I did read I didn’t exactly discovery this year.  I’m so over series right now that I’m strangely proud (and a little smug) that I don’t really have an answer for this one.
  • Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?
I’m super impressed with C.K. Kelly Martin, Martine Leavitt, and Sharon G. Flake.  They’re all authors who I’ll be following from now on (not to mention picking up and devouring their backlists).
  • Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you? 
That would probably be nonfiction.  I read John Kraukauer’s Under the Banner of Heaven this year, and I really enjoyed it.  It was fascinating and alarming and deeply unsettling.
  • Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012? 
Courtney Summers’s This Is Not a Test  (review) comes to mind immediately.  I loved it and couldn’t put it down.  I really couldn’t–I extended my time on the treadmill to keep reading.  Absolutely worth it.
  • Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson (review), especially if I can convince my mom to read it, too.  I loved this one and thought it was so beautiful and haunting.  I’d totally read it again.

  • Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?
Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol (review).  This was published in 2011, but it’s new to me, so there you have it.  I think the cover is absolutely perfect for the story–and the illustrations inside are just as amazing.  If you haven’t read this one yet, get on it.
  • Most memorable character in 2012?
 This is a tough one, but I’m going to give it to the kids in Adam Rapp’s The Children and the Wolves.  Those characters were vivid, disturbing, and are still with me months later.  I can’t get them out of my head!
  • Most beautifully written book read in 2012?

I don’t know, man.  I think Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson was really, really well written.  Let’s go with that one.  Here’s a sample:

“Sometimes I think that maybe we are just stories. Like we may as well just be words on a page, because we’re only what we’ve done and what we are going to do.”

  • Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012?
Every book has some sort of impact on me, whether I like it or not.  For the purposes of this prompt, though, let’s go with the lovely and surprising The Girl with Borrowed Wings by Rinsai Rossetti (review).  It’s a stunning debut well worth your time, but it also reminded me that fantasy novels can be done really, really well and still surprise you.
  • Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read?
Maybe Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates?  I didn’t love it as much as I expected to, but I’m embarrassed it took me this long to get to it.
  • Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012?

I don’t keep track of quotes (and maybe I should, and maybe I will in 2013?  Who knows?), but I do remember highlighting a lot of quotes when I read Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl.  Stuff like this:

Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl. Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl.  Men actually think this girl exists. …Oh, and if you’re not a Cool Girl, I beg you not to believe that your man doesn’t want the Cool Girl. It may be a slightly different version – maybe he’s a vegetarian, so Cool Girl loves seitan and is great with dogs; or maybe he’s a hipster artist, so Cool Girl is a tattooed, bespectacled nerd who loves comics. There are variations to the window dressing, but believe me, he wants Cool Girl, who is basically the girl who likes every fucking thing he likes and doesn’t ever complain. (How do you know you’re not Cool Girl? Because he says things like: “I like strong women.” If he says that to you, he will at some point fuck someone else. Because “I like strong women” is code for “I hate strong women.”)

  • Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012?

Longest book was Ellen Hopkins’s Tilt clocking in at 602 pages.  Shortest was No Name Baby by Nancy Bo Flood at 106 pages.

  • Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!

The weird, jarring plot twist in Huntley Fitzpatrick’s otherwise perfect My Life Next Door. (review)

  • Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).

Travis and Harper in Trish Doller’s Something Like Normal. (review)  They were the swooniest relationship for me, and I don’t usually get swoony about fictional characters.

  • Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously?

Holier Than Thou by Laura Buzo (review).  I read and loved Good Oil (being published this month in the US as Love and Other Perishable Items) last year, so I actually ordered this one from Australia.  And it was WORTH IT.

  • Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else?
Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork.  I read it for a children’s/YA lit class and it was definitely a standout for me.  I don’t think I would have picked it up were it not for the class.

Looking Ahead…

  • One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2012 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2013?

There are so many books that I’m chomping at the bit to read once the Cybils are over.  I can tell you that Reached by Allie Condie is high on the list.  So is Night Beach by Kirsty Eagar (not available in the U.S. but I got my hands on a copy).

  • Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2013?
Again, how do I choose?  There are literally a ton of books I can’t wait to read in 2013.  Selecting titles from authors I love helps narrow it down a little.  I’m looking forward to The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler and Sarah Dessen’s The Moon and More.
  • One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging in 2013?
I’d like to continue to grow as a critical reader and reviewer.  I’d like to branch out and read more genres.  We’ll see what happens.
That completes the survey.  I’ll still do my roundup of the year, and I hope to have some hard and fast data for you then, but this will have to suffice for the time being.  In the meantime, stay warm and keep reading!

November Recap

Books:
Total Books: 16   | YA/MG: 16  | Adult: 0| Fiction:  16 | Non-fiction: 0  | Re-reads: 0
Hardcover:  6 | Paperback: 6  | Kindle: 3  | Computer: 1
Pages Read:   4,478 | Pages Per Day:  149.3

Best Book(s) Read: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
Most Disappointing Book(s) Read: The Truth About Faking by Leigh Talbert Moore

Movies:
Total Movies: 9 | Comedy: 1 | Drama:  4 | Horror: 3 | Documentary: 1
New:   5| Re-watch:  4  | Theater: 4

Best Movie(s) Watched: The Queen of Versailles, The Silver Linings Playbook
Worst Movie(s) Watched: Megashark vs. Crocosaurus

Goals for Next Month:

  • Read at least 10 books
  • Review at least 10 books (this has been harder lately)
  • Post at least 20 days out of the month
  • Watch at least 10 new movies (this might suffer until the Cybils are over)

This wasn’t a great reading month for me, and it was a terrible blogging month.  We’ll see what happens with Decembe,r but until I graduate in a couple of weeks, things might stay super slow.

Happy reading and watching, y’all.