Tome Topple Round 5 TBR

Happy first day of Tome Topple, everyone. That’s right. It’s this time of year again already. Time to pull out all of the amazing sounding yet physically terrifying books we’ve been neglecting because they’re just too damned long. Honestly, I have more of those than I’d like to admit.

Yep, I was surprised too. I knew another round of Tome Topple was coming up fast, but this really snuck up on me. I always have a stack of tomes to get through, though, including some books I picked up earlier this week as well as all the titles I didn’t quite make it through during the last round of Tome Topple.

For those who may not know, Tome Topple is a readathon originally created by @thoughtsontomes. The goal of this particular readathon is to read books that are 500 pages or longer. The readathon runs for two weeks. It begins today, November 17th, and ends November 30th.

For the goal oriented there are some challenges that can be completed. Because who doesn’t like a little extra challenge with their readathons?

Here are the challenges:

1. Read more than one book.
2. Read a graphic novel.
3. Read a book in a series.
4. Buddy read a book.
5. Read an adult novel.

I’m hoping to get through a number of books this time. I’m not sure how much reading time I will realistically have this week as Thanksgiving is being hosted at my house this year, but I’ll try anyway, damn it. Without further ado here are the books that I’m planning on reading over the next two weeks.

Tome Topple TBR:

The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service by Eiji Otasuka and Housui Yamazaki (640 pages)
Arcadia by Iain Pears (510 pages)
New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson (615 pages)

Who else is participating in Tome Topple? Are you reading any of the same books? Let us know below!

Why I Can’t Read Seasonally

I’ve always read whatever I want, whenever I want. So does everyone, right? Well, I thought so, too. Then I heard about this whole ‘seasonal reading’ thing. It started over the summer while watching a YouTube video by one of the more popular booktubers, someone who’s reviews I like, but whose reading tastes usually stray far from my own. This particular video was about ‘good summer reads’. Curious, I watched on. What were ‘summer reads’? Were those like ‘beach reads’, another term I’d heard bandied about for years but never quite grasped the concept of? My only idea of a ‘beach read’ was ‘book clung to like a lifeline when family and/or friends drag you kicking and screaming to the beach. Usually comes with side of sand and gross, sticky watermelon seeds.’


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The Get Graphic Readathon – The TBR List

The Get Graphic Readathon begins this weekend, and guess who’s participating? I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to binge read all of my unread graphic novels, so here we are.

This readathon is dedicated to reading only graphic novels, comics, and manga. The readathon begins at 5 pm on Friday, October 6th and runs through October 8th. I do love that the readathon begins Friday evening. Now I don’t have to stare at the pile of graphic novels and manga all night!


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The Hobbit and It’s Impact on a Young Reader

Today is the 80th anniversary of the release of The Hobbit. In 1998 I received my first copy of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. It was a Christmas gift, tucked under the tree with all the others. The book was extremely oversized, the text huge and was filled with the beautiful artwork of Michael Hague. To this day it sits on my shelf (flat as it’s too tall to fit any other way) amongst all my other Tolkien books (as a platform, because, well, it’s huge).


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Tome Topple: Conclusion

Hello, all. Kate here.

Last week saw the end of the Tome Topple Challenge, a book reading challenge begun by @thoughtsontomes. The challenge itself was designed to get readers together to tackle some of the enormous books on our to-be-read lists. You know the ones – that book by your favorite author that weighs more than your cat, the book with the gorgeous cover that could second as a weapon in the case of a break-in, the one you dropped that one time and actually broke your toe. Those. The tomes.

My list of Tomes was:

The Waking Fire by Anthony Ryan (592 pages)
The Forgetting Moon by Brian Lee Durfee (777 pages)
Trigun Omnibus by Yasuhiro Nightow (696 pages)
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (532 pages)
The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland (752 pages)

Each ‘tome’ read was supposed to be 500 pages or longer. My goal, admittedly, was a bit of a stretch. I had five books on my list in an attempt to complete some stretch goals. I thought I’d get through at least half of the books on my Tome Topple tbr. Despite the books being large, some overly so, there was fourteen days to complete reading them. I could do that. I’d read Illuminae in one sitting, and that book was huge. I had complete and utter confidence that I could get through a good number of the books I’d picked for the challenge.

So, of course, I came nowhere close to completing all of them.

It’s called a challenge for a reason, something I seemed to have forgotten in all the excitement. The only book I managed to get all the way through was Trigun Omnibus by Yasuhiro Nightow. Even a manga takes quite a bit of time to get through when it’s 696 pages long. As for the rest, I started most of them. I’ve begun both The Waking Fire by Anthony Ryan and am more than halfway through Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. Both are very good, and I really want to finish them.

So why did I do just this badly in completing my Tome Topple goals?

I’ll be honest with you. It’s an oncoming reading slump I only just figured out how to combat. I’ve been trying to read an early copy The Massacre of Mankind by Stephen Baxter which comes out today, August 22nd, and is only four pages shy of meeting the Tome Topple requirements. While I was very excited to start reading this sequel to war of the worlds I quickly found myself disenchanted, something which I’ll go into at length in an upcoming review. Needless to say, after trying to slog through that for the last several weeks I’ve not really had the ambition to read much of anything at all.

I can’t blame my lack of reading on that book entirely; that isn’t fair. Still, it certainly didn’t help.

Next time I think I will set some smaller goals. A few less books on the to-read list and an attempt at completing only one or two of the challenge goals is probably a smarter idea.

Did anyone else participate in the Tome Topple Challenge? Did you meet your reading goals? Let us know in the comments!

Book Con! The Good, The Not So Good, and The Confusing

Happy Tuesday, everyone! This weekend I went to Book Con. It was fun, it was tiring, and it was my first time at this convention. Not sure what took me so long. I’ve been to pretty much every other convention that held in the area. But, with no further ado, here’s what I thought about the experience. The awesome, the not so awesome, and the things that baffled me just a little bit.


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Bookworm Problems: Reading Slumps


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It’s perhaps one of the worst things that can happen to a bookworm. A reading slump.

For the last month or so I’ve been stuck in a pretty bad slump. I have many books on my to be read pile which, is taller than me, and I want to read them. I really want to. When I sit down to do just that, what happens? Nothing. I can’t focus. I can’t get into the story. Take away the usual challenges us bookworms face (unable to get comfortable, bad lighting, etc) and multiple those things and their frustration by a thousand and you will have entered the frustration of a reading slump.

So, below are some ways I’ve found that help break out of a reading slump. While none of these are fool proof and my slump isn’t over yet let me tell you I’m much more ready to settle in with a good book now than I was this past weekend when I resorted to doing nearly all of these things.

  1. Switch Genres
    This one is simple. If you’ve been reading about witches and wizards but can’t get into the next fantasy series or part of a current series take a break! I know for me this is difficult, especially if happens mid-series (I always feel obligated to read start to finish, no other books in between) but lately this is the trap I’ve fallen into. So, while I liked Leigh Bardugo’s first book in the Grisha Series, Shadow and Bone I had a hard time getting into it. The writing is good, the plot is interesting but I’d been so far into the fantasy realm lately that I didn’t recognize that I needed a break from it.
  2. Read something light
    Sometimes, if switching genres doesn’t work, I find reading a novella (whether from the same genre or different) will metaphorically wet my whistle and get me excited to read more ASAP. I found this particularly effective when reading the Selection Series by Kiera Cass. The novellas in between the books (The Prince, The Guard, The Queen and The Favorite) were exactly what I needed when I was in between the actual books and trying to get into the next one. Not only did they give a bit more about the characters from the main story but it made me even more intrigued by the main story line which, as an author, is exactly what you want readers to feel.
  3. Read reviews
    This is huge for me and sometimes this will make or break a slump. If I see someone raving about a new book my interest is piqued. When I see many people freaking out over the same? Well, the old adage of “How can X number of people be wrong?” stands true here. If I see a high average rating on GoodReads and a lot of in depth, fun reviews, I’m more likely to pick up that book and dive right in.
  4. Re-read an old favorite
    Sometimes you need to remember why you love reading. I mean, we all know it’s amazing and a great way to spend your time. However, when you’re in a slump you’re often discouraged about books and reading in general. In my case I feel guilty that I’m not reading with so many books on my pile (and reviews to write for this blog). So, sometimes you need to reset and go back. For me sometimes it’s Harry Potter. Other times I’ve gone way back and read The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton because I distinctly remember reading this book twice in one day.
  5. Switch up how you read
    Sometimes holding a physical book is part of the problem. If you can’t get comfortable you might give up. Try an e-reader. Try an audio book. Anyway to get the story in your mind and refocus on the love of storytelling  will sometimes be enough to snap you out of it.
  6. Get some recommendations
    Whether you go on GoodReads, ask a librarian, ask a bookstore associate or turn to a trusted friend (I’m looking at you, Kate) sometimes you just need someone to push a book in your hands and say “this one.” And, most of the time, those people are right.
  7. Watch a book based movie or show
    Whether you watch the 2016 movie Girl on the Train, the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, or any number of the books turned cable TV show (Pretty Little Liars, Recovery Road, Shadowhunters, etc) sometimes you just need the visual handed to you. I know plenty of people out there think like me and say “I can’t watch that until I read the book first.” Well, if you’re in a book slump, when exactly do you think you’ll get to the show or movie?
  8. Set the mood
    Mood is important. Have a reading chair or, in my case, nest. Have water, tea, coffee and snacks near by. Make sure the room you’re in is at a comfortable temperature. If you like it cold so you can be under a blanket while you read, open the window or lower the temperature in your home. If you like it warmer, sans blanket, dress warm and cozy or raise the temperature. Make sure the lighting is exactly how you like it.  Most importantly, don’t let other distractions enter your mind. Put your phone aside (or turn it on silent mode). Play soft music. Whatever you need to enjoy your much deserved down time.
  9. Focus on your goal
    If you’ve set a reading goal for the year (like I have) sometimes you need to remind yourself of that. And while you can’t force yourself out of a slump sometimes focusing on the goal can help. For me, despite my reading slump, I have promised myself to read for at least twenty minutes a day. Some days it’s a struggle and some days I’ve found myself reading well beyond those twenty minutes, if only to finish the chapter.
  10. Reorganize your shelves
    For me this is a last resort kind of thing. Generally that’s because I’m very…let’s call it particular, about how my shelves are organized. While I love the color coded shelves or genre specific shelves you see on Instagram and other social media platforms I just can’t bring myself to do it. For me, reorganizing generally means going through and pulling out the books I think I’ll want to read next, dusting off my shelves and enjoying my extremely tall to be read pile. While my friends and family are visibly concerned at such a pile, for me it is a physical representation of a challenge to myself. And I never turn down a reading challenge.

What are your tips for getting over a reading slump? Anything that always works for you? Let us know in the comments below!