A-Z Bookish Survey

I figure since I’m fairly new on the bookish blogging landscape, I thought I could do a survey. I love surveys and it would be fun to do, plus I’d love to see other bloggers do this so copy pasta away.

Author you’ve read the most books from:
Probably Chuck Palahniuk. When I was in high school, I was in love with his writing and I read everything I could get my hands on. I was also really into Panic! at the Disco so when I found out he was an inspiration for some of their songs, I had to read his stuff.

Best Sequel Ever:
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Besides the first book, it’s my favorite of the series and I love it.

Currently Reading:
“Librarian” by Brian Fence. It’s wonderful.

Drink of Choice While Reading:
Coffee, coffee, coffee. Hence the title of this blog. I’m also a big fan of tea (hot and iced). My boyfriend works at a local fair trade, organic coffee roaster so I get free coffee and tea and it is wonderful.

E-reader or Physical Book?
Both, I have preferences for some books. Longer books I enjoy more in physical form but I can’t explain why.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:
Ronald Weasley. I’m pretty much dating him now.

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:
“Slide” by Jill Hathaway, shot in the dark and I loved it.

Hidden Gem Book:
“A Gracious Plenty” by Sheri Reynolds. It’s an unassuming, yet magical book.

Important Moment in your Reading Life:
My parents, brother, and I used to read Harry Potter when they first came out. We read aloud in the living room and went in a circle. It was marvelous and made me really love reading.

Just Finished:
“The Art of Fielding” by Chad Harbach

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:
I’m not really into mysteries but I also feel like I haven’t read any good ones. Also, historical fiction. I’ve never been a history fan, but again maybe I just haven’t read any good ones.

Longest Book You’ve Read:
“Storm of Swords” by GRR Martin at 1200+ pages but I also read the Brothers Karamozov on my Kindle and it didn’t have page numbers but it certainly felt as long.

Major book hangover because of:
“Insurgent” definitely gave me a bit of a book hangover. I didn’t read anything for a while after that.

Number of Bookcases You Own:
Well, I’m in the process of moving so it’s hard to say. I still have a very large one at my parent’s house filled with my high school books. I have a big box packed right now that used to be on a bookshelf in my current apartment, and then I have an old printer cabinet filled with all my favorites. But my Kindle is my main source of books since college.

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:
“Animal Farm” by George Orwell. I’ve read it so many times because the first time I read it, I was about 8 or 9.

Preferred Place To Read:
Outside if I can but I end up reading the most on the bus.

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:
“Not all who wander are lost.” -JRR Tolkien

Reading Regret:
Not being able to spend enough time reading.

Series You Started And Need To Finish(all books are out in series):
The Lord of the Rings (haven’t read 2 or 3)

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books:
Cloud Atlas, The Charmed Sphere, Harry Potter (all of them)

Unapologetic Fangirl For:
Fantasy and sci-fi

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:
The rest of A Song of Ice and Fire

Worst Bookish Habit:
Buying books faster than I can read them.

X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:
As I mentioned, most of my books are in a big giant box so I’m going to do this with my Kindle and pick the 27th book: Les Mis! I haven’t read it yet, hence why it’s so far back in my Kindle.

Your latest book purchase:
“Born in Flames”  by Candace Knoebel

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late):
Between work and school, I haven’t had time to stay up late. I think Cloud Atlas probably. It was so long, it kept me up many nights.

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Review: The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Genre: Literary Fiction
Pages: 512
Format: Ebook

Summary: The Art of Fielding is about five characters–Henry, Schwartz, Owen, Affenlight, and Pella–and how their lives and interactions dance in a tangled web together. The story focuses on Henry’s path as a shortstop who gets recruited by Mike Schwartz to Westish College in Michigan. After three years of practice and extreme training under the heavy influence of Schwartz, Henry becomes a star on the field. His dreams skyrocket until one bad throw rattles all five intertwined lives and sends Henry into a downward spiral out of the spotlight.

Review: First, I’d like to emphasize that while this book has lots of baseball and seems to be based around it–a bonus for me because I love baseball and my team is having a horrible season–it is a character-driven novel and anyone can read it without losing anything from the baseball parts. Harbach describes the game very eloquently, one of the many aspects of this books that I enjoyed, but he also writes five very complete, dimensional characters who envelope the reader in their lives and affairs.

I thoroughly enjoyed the first half of the novel. Harbach builds Henry up into a hero-like character, young and fresh with potential, hope, and enthusiasm for baseball. I was inclined to adore Henry from the beginning. Henry’s fall from grace is heart-breaking and despite some of his more questionable actions, I couldn’t help but still root for him the entire book. I also enjoyed Pella’s character, a strong young woman trying to reclaim the youth she left behind when she dropped out of high school, got married, and moved to San Francisco. Her anti-rebellion back into college and into her father’s house makes for a refreshing character who is desperate to just be a normal college kid. As a character story, it was well-done. Each character has their strengths and flaws, deep personalities that make them all distinct and wonderful to read about.

Now let’s talk about what I didn’t like: pretty much the entire second half of the story. The middle felt long and drawn-out. Some of the characters side-stepped their carefully-constructed personalities in very uncharacteristic ways. There were a good 100 or so pages that simply could have been omitted. I almost lost my interest which is unfortunate because I wanted to like this book so much more than I did. While the characters remained relatively strong, I lost interest in the story. Everything got very messy very quickly and there was no relief for the reader past the half-way point, no hope to cling on to and this is too long of a book to be left stranded like that.

The other thing I didn’t like was the ending. I absolutely hatted the ending. It felt cheap and I finished the book feeling like I had been gypped. After investing many hours into reading a long, drawn-out book, the end felt like a cop-out. Overall, I was a little disappointed by this book. I wanted to like it so badly and 200 pages in, I would have given it 5 stars in a heartbeat. The ending really left a bad taste in my mouth. I will explain more why past the spoiler barrier so continue at your own risk.

Continue reading

Tuesday Top 10: Top 10 Favorite Books of ALL TIME

As I’m new to the blogging world, I thought it would be a great idea to introduce my reading preferences with a top ten list of my favorite books. Some of these are my favorites because of sentimental value, but they’re all good reads that I would recommend. I reread them often and their covers are worn but it only makes me love them more. I’m currently working on a video to expand on why I love these books.

  1. Slaughterhouse-Five Kurt Vonnegut
  2. The Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger
  3. Animal Farm George Orwell
  4. Rant Chuck Palahniuk
  5. The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath
  6. A Storm of Swords George RR Martin
  7. Ender’s Game Orson Scott Card
  8. Howl’s Moving Castle Diana Wynne Jones
  9. Cloud Atlas David Mitchell
  10. The Charmed Sphere Catherine Asaro

Honorable Mentions: Breakfast at Tiffany’s Truman Capote, The Silver Linings Playbook Matthew Quick, The Whale Rider Witi Ihimaera, After the Snow S.D. Crockett, Catching Fire Suzanne Collins, Watership Down Richard Adams, A Gracious Plenty Sheri Reynolds

There are so many honorable mentions because it’s impossible to narrow good books down to ten. Let me know if you enjoy any of these books and if you can think of any recommendations based on them.

Weekend Brew: Placing Literature

placing literature

Check out this cool, new literary tool that was launched last month: Placing Literature is a map where you can plot and find real-world settings in literature. It’s already grown enormously thanks to user submissions. Find out if there are any books with locations near you or plot your favorite locations yourself if they’re not already listed. This could also be a great resource for self-published authors trying to promote their books. Add the locations you use in your book and let readers find you.

placing literature 2If you go on vacation, use the map to plot a literary journey and check in to places along the way. You can experience the real world like your favorite characters and experience first-hand the settings and places they go. Next time I need a vacation, I plan on using Placing Literature to plot out a road trip of literary adventure and hit all my favorite books’ settings.

Find Placing Literature on Facebook and WordPress.

Friday Reads (& First Post!)

Happy Friday, Readers! Welcome to my brand-new blog and the first edition of Friday Reads. Starting a reading blog on a Friday sure makes coming up with a first post easier.

I look forward to going home from the office later today and curling up with a good book, some peace and quiet, and the knowledge that the weekend has begun. Here’s what I’m reading now and hope to read in the future.

Currently Reading: “The Art of Fielding” by Chad Harbach

So much of one’s life was spent reading; it made sense not to do it alone.

Goodreads | Amazon

Before I bought this book, I had heard quite a lot about it. I contemplated the meaning of the title for quite some time sans research, missing the perhaps-obvious clue of the typography. It wasn’t until I began reading that I realized it was about baseball, and if I had known that, I probably would have picked it up a lot sooner.

The fact is, I love literature and I love baseball so for me, this is a sublime combination. I remember reading the Baseball Card Adventures series by Dan Gutman in elementary school, but I wasn’t into baseball then and haven’t picked up a baseball-related book since. Since my team has been in a long-running rut this season, this is the perfect book to get my baseball kicks.

I’m about a fifth of the way through (it’s a dense 500+ page-turner) and I love it. Something about the way Harbach writes baseball action makes it so visual and real. Trust me when I say, you don’t have to be a baseball fan to enjoy it. It’s also about love, literature, friendship, and escaping parental expectations in college.

To Read: The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare

Between A Song of Ice and Fire, Divergent, and the MaddAddam trilogy, I really don’t need to be picking up another hefty (incomplete) fantasy series. However, I recently (as in yesterday) discovered, they’re making movies. The book reviews have been mixed at best, but something about a literary-film conversion makes me feel like I just need to read the book. While it’s unlikely I’ll get to it before the release, it’s getting added to my to-read pile. Due to the inconsistancy of reviews, give me your feedback. Is the series worth a read?

That’s my first post, folks. I hope you enjoyed it. Let me know what make up your Friday Reads.