With July 14th and the release of Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee one month away, I decided to read To Kill a Mockingbird for the first time since I was in the fifth or sixth grade. Back then I don’t think I really understood everything in the story all that well because I remember really not liking it and wondering why in the world my dad made me read it. This time around I really enjoyed it, finished it in less than a day (instead of what felt like forever) and hated how abruptly it ended while at the same time loving the ending. In short, To Kill a Mockingbird was all about timing for me.

Now that I’ve found that I actually do like To Kill a Mockingbird, however, I have a dilemma: whether or not I should read Go Set a Watchman.

For most readers, the answer is simple. If you like a book, read the sequel. If you really like a book, read the sequel ASAP!

For someone like me who is aware of different situations and goings-on behind the scenes in the publishing world, it’s trickier. Stories of authors behaving badly can tarnish a book even for those who try to keep authors and their books separate. But in the case of Go Set a Watchman and Harper Lee, it’s the possibility that Harper Lee’s wishes weren’t taken into account and she was instead taken advantage of that keeps reading Go Set a Watchman from being a certainty.

I am in no way saying that Harper Lee has been taken advantage of, but it is the fact that one cannot know for sure that has me on the fence about whether or not I’m going to pick up and read Go Set a Watchman.

What are everyone else’s opinions on the matter?

(Or at least temporarily suspended)

Well, dear blogging friends, it has come time to say goodbye to my book buying “ban!” It helped accomplish some of what I was hoping these past summer months, but now fall is here and so is the end of the “ban.” You may be wondering why since until this post I was doing well, and the answer is simple: book events!

The month of September (which is not over yet) has been filled with book events. With more to come! As such, I have visited a number of bookstores and bought quite a few (read: A LOT) of books. This week alone I have come home with a total of eleven books! So, yes, this “ban” is no longer very effective!

That is not to say I have completely given up the idea of ever going on a “ban” like this again, I just know that with all the upcoming events, which include Brooklyn Book Festival and Boston Book Festival, there is no way I can continue with it. I do plan, however, on revisiting the situation in January and may instate a new one as a sort of New Year’s resolution!

In the meantime, stay tuned for posts dedicated to the events I have been going to lately and immerse yourself in my bookish adventures!

Before I was a blogger, when I would tell people I liked to read I would invariably be asked the same two questions. First, what did I like to read? When I was little, I would go for a simple answer, saying something along the lines of ‘witches’ or ‘magic.’ As I grew older, I would go more in depth, talk about genre, mention fantasy, magic realism, and books such as Harry Potter and/or Percy Jackson. The second question was always, what was my favorite book? At times, harder to answer, but in later years – even if I thought of something else – I would say Harry Potter. Not necessarily because it was my favorite (although the series is among my tops), but because it was a popular book that everyone had heard of and this way I wouldn’t get that blank stare and a ‘huh?’ when I mentioned a more obscure title.

Now that I’m a blogger, those two questions continue to be asked, but more questions have also come into play. Who is my favorite author? What is my favorite age group? What is my favorite genre? Who is my favorite publisher?

My head swims with possible responses to all these questions.

Book? Harry Potter is amazing, but everyone says that. Ella Enchanted? Better not, they might know the movie and not the book and the book is so much better! The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time? Oh, but that was so sad! The Da Vinci Code? I do love art and mysteries, but… Way too many, moving on!

Author? Um… J.K. Rowling? No, Rick Riordan. No, no, Gail Carriger! Wait, no, Philip Pullman! But I’ve only read one series of his… PASS!

Age group? Well, I read Middle Grade the most, so let’s go with that!

Genre? Stick with fantasy, that was always a good answer! Wait, better mention contemporary, and definitely explain what magic realism is if they don’t know. I’m not all about full-on fantasy books!

Publisher? Wait… what?

Yes, the questions go from the traditional to the ‘how is that even a question?’ range.

Well, at least for me.

Read more…

I had a very bad day the other day. It was filled with walking long distances in the sun and heat and resulted in me getting a sunburn on my face and arms. All of this was exacerbated by the fact that I don’t do well in heat and I have very fair skin (I’ve been told multiple times I look like a vampire, which, believe it or not, is not always received as a compliment). In the end, I was so utterly exhausted and in such a foul mood, all I could concentrate on was getting home, collapsing on my nice, comfy bed, and blasting the air conditioning. While I did just that, I could not simply let myself relax. I couldn’t stop thinking about the problems sunburns bring, the pain I was in, etc.

But then I caught sight of all the wonderful books lining my bookcases. Not just books I’ve read and loved throughout the years, but all the ones I’ve yet to read and fall in love with – I would add ‘or hate’ except I usually tend to be optimistic when it comes to books. As I started thinking about my books, as well as the ones I don’t yet own but are on my ‘need to read’ list, my mind started focusing on them rather than my awful day and I forgot about the pain I was in. Ultimately, as my mind started waking up and I felt more relaxed and at peace, I stopped thinking about all the books and instead focused on just one, my current read.

I didn’t get much farther in my current read, The Giver by Lois Lowry, before I fell asleep, but it was enough. Enough to forget about the day I’d had for, enough to think about the world Lois Lowry created, enough to fall asleep and stay asleep through the entire night…

Simply put, I don’t know how I would have fared without my books the other night. Although I was sore and in pain the next morning, it could have been a lot worse if I hadn’t felt that relaxing calm that only being completely sucked into a book can give you.

Look, 3 weeks in one!

This month has been rather busy for me so far, and I’ve gotten way behind on my blogging when I had planned on finally getting caught up. Well, best intentions, right?

On the other hand, my book “ban” is going well in my opinion. I’ve now read 118 books and am in the middle of reading two more. In terms of what I’ve bought…. Well, I went to two book events at Books of Wonder in New York City and wound up getting seven books between both visits. Technically I needed to buy five books between them because that’s how many books I brought from home with me, but me in a book store dedicated entirely to children’s books? I should not be allowed in there without supervision.

I had two books on pre-order last week. First was a signed copy of Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods by Rick Riordan (all ready read and loved!), and the second was The League of Seven by Alan Gratz. The League of Seven actually came signed and with an exclusive short story thanks to a promotional offer at Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe. I love offers like this because it lets me support indie stores I might not otherwise have heard of in other communities (this one was in North Carolina), and get cool swag/exclusives! I also bought a signed book from Mysterious Galaxy and received an ARC of The Young World by Chris Weitz with it.

And if all that wasn’t enough, I also received three other books for review! Lots of reading to be done! But I am up to the task!

What’s coming up for me? Let’s see, I have at least six bookish events to look forward to next month, including the Brooklyn Book Festival! This will also mark my blog’s first anniversary! And believe me, I’ve got some fun stuff planned for that! I also will be hosting my first tour with France Book Tours on Tuesday September 2nd I cannot wait!

So, yes, September is going to be a very exciting and busy month, hopefully with more frequent updates!

And we’re in week 6! Though with my wacky posting schedule, it might be closer to week 7 by now.

My total new-to-me books read count is currently up to 110, which is most definitely not shabby, I just need to get my reviews written count numbers up. I’m hoping to sit down somewhere away from my computer and other distractions within the next few days and see if I can at least knock one or two out of my brain.

In the past week I got a total of seven books – I received two in the mail for review and then bought myself Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid and the boxed set Pooh’s Library by A.A. Milne. I kind of consider Pooh’s Library as one book, though, because I could have bought the complete treasury edition but the size of the set means it will will look (and fit) so much better on my shelf plus I read all four of them in about 26 hours – with sleeping time included. As far as Let’s Get Lost is concerned, I decided to try out the e-book sample of it last week because I saw it was an extended preview and then, well, I fell in love with it and was like ‘I need this now’ so…. yeah.

What’s upcoming? Well, I was informed by the lovely Emma of France Book Tours on Friday that I won the July giveaway! So I will be receiving a copy of From Here to Paris by Cris Hammond sometime soon! Like I mentioned in my last update, my next pre-order to arrive will be Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods by Rick Riordan which is going to be released on the 19th, but I wound up changing my pre-order to Books of Wonder because I found out I could get a signed copy! I’m also going to be attending a bookish event next Wednesday, August 13th, at Books of Wonder and since I already have the books, I’m going to be picking up at least one (if not two… or three….) to show my support while I’m actually there. Let’s see how well I can contain myself!

I don’t know how much detail I’ve gone into this previously, but I am a scaredy-cat. A big one. I had nightmares thanks to the Disney movie Hocus Pocus every time I managed to gather up the courage to watch until I was in my teens (and a few times after that as well), stayed downstairs with all the lights on until my parents woke up after watching The Ring when I was almost eighteen, and most recently (as in, just a few weeks ago) had a couple of nightmares thanks to watching multiple episodes of the 1960s sitcom The Munsters.

So, now that you know approximately how much things can scare me and why I will go out of my way to avoid scary movies and tv shows – by my definition of others’ – it’s time to talk about what has made me decide to address this topic here.

Back in June, I read The Merciless by Danielle Vega – a YA horror novel about a group of girls performing an exorcism on a classmate – and, surprisingly, liked it enough to rate it 4 stars on Goodreads despite the aspects that did result in leaving my nightstand lamp on and a few nightmare-filled nights. I also plan on reading the sequel, if Danielle Vega plans to write one.

The Merciless is one of the few full-on horror novels that I can truly remember liking as much, and there are a few more on my Goodreads to read shelf that I now want to read sooner rather than later. These include (but are certainly not limited to) Say Her Name by James Dawson, Inland by Kat Rosenfield, The Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith Donohue, and Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix. Meanwhile my brain is filled with thoughts of “why?”

Yes, I did make it an unofficial goal to read more books outside of my comfort zone, but I had meant to read more non-Middle Grade/YA novels set in the fantasy genre, not… this. And, yes, I am very glad that I am slowly peeking my head out of my scaredy-cat shell, but the idea of me reading multiple horror novels in a year flabbergasts me.

Anyone else ever find themselves becoming interested in that one genre (or subgenre) of books that they would normally avoid like the plague?

Well this update is going to be a bit different from my previous ones given in my last one I mentioned possibly going to a book sale over the weekend. The book sale I went to boasts it is the biggest in New England, and from my past experiences at book sales over the years, I will say it is definitely the biggest of the ones I’ve been to in New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut. I can’t say for sure about New England, however.

Before I went, I made sure to put a limit on the number of books I would buy rather than a price limit due to the low prices. I decided on now more than ten, if not less, and wound up getting eleven. The eleventh is a bonus because while the others are ones that have been on my ‘want to read’ list (Goodreads or mental) for at least a few months, the eleventh is one I already own and have read – The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald. This version matches my copy of its sequel and, as such, I’m now going to get rid of my original copy.

As to the rest of this past week (including today), I did very well and did not buy any other books. I did, however, receive my August book of the month from Soho Teen and one of my two France Book Tours reads, I Looked for the One My Heart Loves by Dominique Marny.

I also, finally, finally reached 100 new-to-me books on my Goodreads challenge and am currently on my way to 104. This entitles me to two new books as per the rules of my “ban,” but since I bought two books before reaching my goal as well as going to the book sale on Saturday, I’m not going to buy another book until I reach 106 books which will hopefully happen by the end of the week. Meanwhile, my next pre-order to be released is Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods by Rick Riordan on August 19th and I’m expecting one more book in the mail for France Book Tours. We’ll have to wait and see what happens over the next three weeks, however – especially once I reach 106 books and step in a bookstore with the purpose of finding just one book!

I’m late, I’m late, I’m late!

Things are still plenty hectic here for me, but I’m seriously hoping that this week everything will finally calm down.

Anyway, my update!

First, I did incredibly well at the Christopher Healy event last week, no books for this girl! I also found out about Barnes & Noble’s incredibly cool Get Pop-Cultured celebration which just started, but more on that in a bit.

I still haven’t read 100 new-to-me books, but I am one away at the moment and  over a third of the way through both The High King by Lloyd Alexander and Obsidian Curse by Barbra Annino, so I’m getting closer and closer to the point where I am allowed to get a book. However… I did wind up breaking down and buying one yesterday, which is where Barnes & Noble’s Get Pop-Cultured celebration comes in.

Since I knew with the preview weekend they were holding there was going to be some awesome swag and chapbook previews for some highly anticipated releases available, I went to Barnes & Noble yesterday to see if I could find anything related to some books I’m thinking of buying later on this year but am not entirely sure about. Of course I found a few including Marie Lu’s The Young Elites and a bind-up of the first five chapters of both Mistborn and The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. As such, I felt a bit weird about leaving with only the freebies, so I browsed the bargain section for a bit and picked up a hardcover copy of The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott for six dollars.

Not a big deal, one complete, finished copy of a book, but, yeah, I did break my ban. If I want to get back on track (since this is the second time I broke it, for a total of two books), I could simply wait until I read 106 new-to-me books to buy another one, but I don’t know if I’m going to make it that long. Already this no books at all thing has been going on for a month now and there are so many good books coming out each week and preparing to tempt me!

So I’m not going to decide on that right now, I’ll simply wait however many hours it takes for me to finish one of the books I’m reading and hit that triple digit!

As far as what is in store for me this upcoming week… I’m still waiting on the two books I mentioned last week, but most troubling is that my mom wants to go to a book sale next weekend so she can look at cookbooks and CDs. Right there, the temptation for fabulous books at low, low prices! What is an avid reader and book buyer like me to do? Stay home while my parents are in Connecticut having a grand ol’ time and risk my doing something stupid like browsing an online book store or actually going to a physical book store, or do I go with them and try and control myself when there are going to be loads of books for no more than $3? Either way, I don’t think it can end well for me.

Woohoo! Week 3 was a success!

I was very anxious about this week because, as I mentioned in my last update, I was going to be stepping in a bookstore for the first time since I put myself on my “ban” and I was afraid I would go crazy seeing all those lovely, lovely books. But I didn’t! What really worried me as well was originally Hannah was going to the launch of Rainbow Rowell’s Landline with me and she has promised to help keep me on track, but then she went out of town and couldn’t make it. Thankfully, however, by the time I arrived at Barnes & Noble for the event, there was already a huge crowd and so I quick had to buy my copy of Landline and then go grab seats for myself and my friends Brian and Kelly who also attended. There was no time for browsing, and then afterward we all left right after having our books signed to get coffee and hang out elsewhere. Yay for things working out!

This does not mean that Landline was the only book I got this week, however. In the mail, I got my monthly read from Soho Teen (this month we got to choose our own titles rather than everyone being sent the same one, so I chose Projection by Risa Green) and my copy of The Book of Beasts by John Barrowman & Carole E. Barrowman finally arrived from the UK after having pre-ordered it back in March. Today my new boss gave me a copy of her book, a spiritual memoir. While it isn’t something I would normally pick up on my own, I’m really looking forward to reading it and getting to know more about her and her thoughts and feelings on God and her faith!

I also bought the first book in The League of Princes trilogy by Christopher Healy in hardcover as I had previously only had it in paperback and since I am going to his signing on Saturday, I wanted to have a matching hardcover set signed. Of course, this event is more worrisome than the launch for Landline as I am going to it by myself and it’s being held at the Barnes & Noble with the used section…. Send positive thoughts, please!

I also bought three books yesterday while at a signing for William Shakespeare’s The Jedi Doth Return by Ian Doescher, but they were not for me! I got my brother the trilogy and, since my dad accompanied me (I refuse to drive over the GW Bridge by myself and this event was in Long Island), he got them signed. So sometime soon I shall be sharing the joys of William Shakepeare’s Star Wars with my brother! Maybe if he comes home for a visit we can read some scenes together….

As for what is coming up next and whether or not I’ll be able to continue with this “ban,” sometime soon I will be receiving a copy of Lies Told In Silence by M.K. Tod for a blog tour in September, and a signed copy of Conversion by Katherine Howe which I pre-ordered before starting this “ban.” Also, I have finished 97 new-to-me books so I will be able to go and buy myself a treat in just three short new-to-me books! So for now I’m doing well and I truly believe I can continue with this!

Just make sure you send me positive thoughts for Saturday, though!

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