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!

Like most readathons, there is a list of challenges for readers can decide to participate in. This list is as follows.

Challenges:
1. Read from a new-to-you series.
2. Read two installments of the same series.
3. Read a work over 300 pages.
4. Read a work with black and white art.
5. Read a work picked out by a friend.
6. Read at least 5 works.

I expect some of these challenges to be easier than others. I read a good deal of manga and have plenty on my shelf that are unread, so reading a work with black and white art will be easy enough. Funnily, one of the challenges which may be the most difficult for me is reading two installments of the same series. By this point in life I know that I can be very easily distracted. No matter how many installments in a series I have, no matter how many of them are set out before me, I know I will get distracted by something. Skipping over tbr piles has become too easy for me. But I will persevere!

So, what is this list of books I’ll probably wind up changing on the day the Get Graphic Readathon starts? Here’s the list:

Black Clover Vol. 1 by Yuki Tabata
Black Orchid by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean
FLCL Omnibus by Gainax
Watamote Vols 8-9 by Nico Tanigawa
D-Frag! Vol 4-5 by Tomoya Haruno
Konosuba Vol 1 by Masahito Watari, Natsume Akatsuki & Kurone Mishima
Monstress Vol 2: The Blood by Marjorie M. Liu & Sana Takeda
The Sandman Vol 3: Dream Country by Neil Gaiman
Descender Vol. 3: Singularities by Jeff Lemire

Honestly, I could just keep listing things. Between everything I have borrowed from Hoopla and Comixology along with the the recent manga I received in the Loot Anime crates I have more graphic novels than one list warrants. And that doesn’t even include the stacks of owned but yet unread manga.

I’m not sure how many manga and graphic novels I will get to. I’m also not positive how good I will be at actually sticking with my to-read list. It’s something that I always struggle with. I set books aside to read next and get distracted by newer books or pretty covers or remember halfway though something that there was another book I had meant to read last month and I should probably get to that one first.

As always reviews of the books will follow the readathon. Stay tuned to see what gets read and what thoughts on each title!

Are you participating in the Get Graphic Readathon? Let us know what graphic novels and manga you’ll be reading in the comments below!

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!

Bookworm Problems: No Time To Read

Second to reading slumps and something I am struggling with greatly currently is one of my biggest frustrations as a bookworm; having no time to read!

Working full time (along with spending roughly two and a half hours commuting) severely limits my time to read during the work week. I come home and am exhausted from both the commute and the work day which leads me following the same pattern every night: eat dinner, shower, lay out clothes for tomorrow and fall asleep. Sure, some nights I manage to watch a little television or get a little reading in but most of the time I’m worn out from the second I walk in the door and the only solution is to sleep.

While my commute is on public transportation (aka I’m not driving the whole way) it’s not always so easy to pull out a book and read comfortably. Cramped seats, people with huge bags in your face and then there are the inevitable days where it is pouring rain and I refuse to risk bringing a precious book anywhere near water.

SO, what is a bookworm to do? Find ways around the struggle of course.

Using both my Kindle and Nook apps on my phone I manage to get some reading in, more comfortably, on my commute and without risking damage to my books. I give myself at least fifteen minutes of reading time at night (with an alarm) so that I don’t stay up all night reading. And, yes, there are days that I do carry a book along with me on my commute.

Weekends are often spent with my books, forgoing social plans (sorry to all my friends) so that I can actually enjoy some me time, some down time and more importantly some reading time. Mental health days/ sick days/ vacation days are often spent with a book in my hands. At the end of the day, or the start of my first day back to work,  I relive my time spent with characters and other lands and it is the only thing that gets me through my day.

How do all of you fit in your reading time? Let us know in the comments below!

Tome Topple and Our Reading Goals

Happy first day of Tome Topple, everyone. For the next two weeks we will be reading books that are long. Very long. The books that have sat on our shelves and to be read piles for weeks or months or an embarrassingly longer amount of time than that.

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. It begins today, August 4th, and ends August 17th.

There are several challenges for anyone who likes some stretch goals. Because who doesn’t like some extra challenge in 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 can’t help but feel that 500+ pages books are particularly rampant in sci-fi and fantasy. I mean, two of the books in my Tome Topple TBR are over seven hundred pages long. Or maybe I’m just naturally drawn to unnaturally long books.

And here is my Tome Topple TBR list:

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)

I’m not sure how many of these books I’ll actually finish. This is a grand total of 3,349 pages, after all. Even for me that’s pretty excessive. As for the challenges, I do have a graphic novel on my list as well as a couple of book in a series.

But, the attempt will be made! At the very least I expect to finish Strange the Dreamer as that’s a library book and needs to be returned, ironically enough, on August 17th.

Are you participating in Tome Topple? What books will you be reading? Let us know in the comments below!

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!

Moving As A Bookworm: Packing

Moving is hard. There’s no way around it. No matter how many times I do it, no matter how far in advance I start, I always wind up stressed and buried in teetering towers of boxes. But moving as a bookworm poses its own problems.

Books awesome! But they’re also heavy and take up a lot of space. One of my shelves had books stacked two layers deep. Another was bowed under the weight. And that doesn’t even count all of the books I’ve left in weird places.

Okay, so here’s the breakdown. As far as shelves go, I have one regular standing shelf, one of those little cubby hole shelves sold at WalMart, and five wall mounted shelves from Home Depot, each one roughly six feet long. Needless to say, these hold a lot of books. But, of course, that wasn’t all the books I needed to pack.
I’m pretty sure books just spawn new books. No matter how tidy I try to keep my shelves books just seem to spill off them and onto anything and everything in the general vicinity. End tables, the bar, the floor, hell, the top of the microwave. I’ve found books pretty much everywhere you could think of.

Under normal circumstances this would be funny, but with no real consequence. But when moving, this is frustrating to say the least. Twice now I’ve thought that I was finally finished packing books only to find more in a very weird place. At fifteen boxes I started packing the glasses beneath the bar where three books (an illustrated copy of Black Beauty, a book on proper gardening techniques, and a coffee table book) were tucked between the side of the bar and a wine decanter. My husband took a couple books he wanted to read (King Lear and The Queue by Basma A., Aziz) and left them on his work bench beneath a box of EL wire. And the nightstand pile. I thought I had a very under control stack of books on my night stand. Turns out there were seven, not counting the book I found beneath the boxes of contact lenses on my dresser.

Have I found all of them? Maybe? At this point I’m not confident anymore. I have an open box beneath my desk half full of books just in case, and fully expect it to be full by the time I move.

But the worst part about moving as a bookworm?

All my books are gone! The shelves are empty, and stacked against one wall. All my books are packed into boxes where I can’t get at them. Every time I look at the wall where all my books used to be I get a little sad. And to add insult to injury, I don’t even have time to read the books I have access to. Between packing up my apartment and fixing up the house my husband and I are moving into, our days are pretty full. I think I’m suffering book withdrawal.

We haven’t actually moved yet, so it will be some time before I get my lovely book collection back. Even then, it’ll be a while before they’re all unpacked. Between my mother in law moving out of the house we’re moving into and a general spring (summer?) cleaning, there just won’t be room to unpack for a while. I’ll have my Kindle, of course, but there really isn’t anything like a physical book. Stay tuned for an account of how I’m coping, or not coping, with minimalistic book living.

What are your experiences of moving as a bookworm? Let us know in the comments below!