Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Wish Had A Faster Pace

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Happy Tuesday!! Have you ever wished that a story would pick up the speed just a little bit? (Or maybe a lot?) If so, you’re not alone! In this week’s installment of Top Ten Tuesday I’m sharing ten books that I wish had a faster pace. While I do love slow-burning novels driven by character development, it can never hurt to have an exciting plot to keep readers on their toes!

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Do you ever wish that certain books were more fast-paced? What do you think of the books on my list? Any recommendations for fast-paced books? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday: 2017 Bookish Resolutions

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Happy Tuesday!! I know that today’s official Top Ten Tuesday theme is about our most anticipated 2017 debuts, but here’s my dilemma: I really don’t know any upcoming debuts being published in 2017. Due to an incredibly busy college semester I’ve been out of the bookish loop for so long that I haven’t been able to stay up to date with new releases. Rather than ramble on about books I know nothing about, I’ve decided to share my Top Ten 2017 Resolutions instead. (Look at me, starting off the New Year as a blogging rebel!)

1.Read 24 books. Though I easily surpassed this Goodreads Challenge goal in 2016, I’m nevertheless going to set the same overall reading goal for 2017. I like to have something to work towards, but I never want to feel pressured to read an impossibly and impractically high number of books. Two books a month feels just right!

2. Read more classics. Yet another resolution that I’m borrowing from last year’s list (I assure you, there’s a purposeful trend here). Over the past few years I’ve been really enjoying reading classics and I’d love to continue expanding the network of authors and genres within classical literature that I’ve read.

42003. Read something by Zadie Smith. 

Ever since reading her interview on the New York Times’ By the Book column I’ve had the itch to read something by Zadie Smith. Her most recent novel Swing Time has received fantastic reviews, but I think I might start with her debut novel White Teeth and then work my way forward from there. As long as get around to reading one book by this fascinating, highly-praised author this year, I’ll be happy!

Charles Dickens4. Read more by Charles Dickens. If this goal looks familiar, it’s because I sadly failed to accomplish it last year. I absolutely adored Great Expectations when I read it two (three???) years ago, but since then I have read nothing else by Dickens. I desperately need to remedy this in 2017! Any suggestions on where to start would be greatly appreciated! The only other book I’ve read by Dickens in A Tale of Two Cities, so everything else is fair game for a recommendation.

a game of thrones cover5. Read A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. That’s right: another goal that I failed to accomplish in 2016. I’ve honestly been meaning to read this book for years but for some reason my inner bibliophile is really intimidated by it, both in terms of size and content. A little pep talk, anyone?

6. Continue posting to my bookstagramCreating a bookstagram was one of the best bookish decisions I made in 2016. I randomly decided to make one over the summer and I’ve had a blast doing it every since! In 2016, I want to continue posting photos and exploring different themes and angles.

Bye bye, 2016! A huge thank you to all who take a gander at my bookish photos 💜 #bestnine2016

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7. Write more discussion posts. Lately I feel as though I’ve been getting into a blogging rut. My blog has been mostly tags and Top Ten Tuesday posts lately with the occasional review mixed in, so I want to make an effort to write more discussion posts in 2016. I was surprised and overjoyed by the positive and thoughtful comments left on my recent discussion post (Why It’s Okay to NOT Make Time for Reading). Discussions in the comments section always remind me how amazing the online book community is!

8. Be more engaged with the online book community. With my discussion post goal in mind, I would also like to be more engaged in the online book community in other ways. Recently I’ve been using Twitter (@peanutfreeisme) more, but I would also like to be more active on Goodreads and other platforms. Feel free to reach out and follow/friend me on any of these platforms!

9. Read slowly. As I recently mentioned when taking a look at my 2016 resolutions, reading slowly and taking the time to appreciate and absorb each book I read is always something that I can improve upon. It’s easy to feel as though we have to rush through books to achieve reading goals or read as much as possible, but where’s the fun in that?

10. Have fun!! As always, I include this final resolution as a reminder to myself that reading is for ENJOYMENT. I want to read to have fun, to learn, and to be inspired– not merely to check off books on a list or achieve a Goodreads challenge.

What are your 2017 resolutions, bookish or otherwise? What do you think of the goals I’ve set for myself? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

2016: How Did I Do?

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Today I’m taking a look back on the 2016 resolutions I made last January to see what progress I made on these goals. I honestly haven’t looked at these resolutions since I first made them, so this will be as much of a surprise for you as it will be for me!

untitled-design-21. Read at least 24 books. I definitely completely this one! As of right now I have read 67 books, which is a lot more than I initially expected to read. I would say that about half of these are probably books I had to read for school, but reading is reading!

untitled-design-22. Read more classics. I just did a quick count, and out of the 67 books I read this year 18 of them were what I consider to be classics. I’m really happy with that number, especially since they generally take me longer to read because I like to take my time with them.  

untitled-design-23. Read more nonfiction/memoir. According to another quick count, I read 23 nonfiction books/memoirs in 2016! I can definitely thank my coursework for that high number. I feel like I found a new appreciation of nonfiction in 2016, which to me is a success in and of itself.

Charles Dickensuntitled-design4. Read more works by Charles Dickens. SUCH A FAILURE. I have yet to read another book by Charles Dickens and it makes me so sad. (Hint: sneak peek of my 2017 resolutions!)

untitled-design-25. Read at least 3 books in Spanish. This past semester I took a Spanish literature class in which I read three novels and countless short stories in Spanish, so this goal has definitely been achieved!

untitled-design-26. Organize my bookshelves. YES. Though I still have to donate quite a tall stack of books that have been sitting on my bedroom floor for months, I recently organized all of the books that I do not. Also: I GOT A NEW BOOKCASE. It’s glorious and shaped like a staircase and I love it so much.

a game of thrones coveruntitled-design7. Finally read A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. ANOTHER FAIL. I just can’t seem to prioritize reading this book. (2017, I’m looking at you to pull through!)

untitled-design-28. Read more of the books I own. Though I have acquired quite a few books over the past year (I just can’t help but gravitate towards used book sales!), I have made a conscious effort to read the books I already own while on breaks from school. Besides the occasional used book sale, I have also tried to limit the amount of books I buy. For example, I didn’t ask for any books for Christmas (so much self-control!).

untitled-design-29. Read slowly. This goal will always be a work in progress for me, but I think it’s say that I did make some improvement in this area over the past year. For instance, I’ve consciously chosen to take my time reading longer books such as Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow and Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. It’s not perfect, but I’ll keep working on it!

untitled-design-210. Have fun! YES!! One of the ways I spruced up my bookish life in 2016 was by creating a bookstagram. I’ve had a blast taking photos and connecting with other readers on this fun platform. And, as always, blogging has made reading an amazing experience!

All in all, I’m really happy with the progress I’ve made achieving many of my 2016 resolutions. Hopefully I can be just as bookishly successful in 2017!

How did you do with your 2016 resolutions, bookish or otherwise? What were your most fun, challenging, and rewarding goals to work towards? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Cliches Book Tag

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Clichés are the best and worst things: though they can help you express your feelings quickly and easily, no one wants to hear the same old clichés over and over again. Luckily, the Clichés Book Tag puts a fresh twist on ancient sayings. Thanks so much to Ugne @ My Passion is Happiness for tagging me!

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky“Actions speak loud”: A book that wasn’t or couldn’t be better than the film.

This question is really difficult for me to answer because I’m usually a big proponent of books over their movie adaptations. However, I must admit that I think the movie adaptation of The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky is just as good as the book, if not better. Although I really enjoyed the book, I have such fond memories of going to see the movie in a theater with my friends in high school. I love everything about it: the cast, the soundtrack, and the climactic tunnel scene. For me, it’s the exception to the rule!

Great Expectations“The grass is always greener on the other side”: rags to riches, or a riches to rags, story.

How could I not mention my beloved Great Expectations by Charles Dickens? Not only is this a lovely bildungsroman, but it’s also the ultimate story of inadvertently climbing the socioeconomic ladder. The journey is certainly a winding, twisting road, but fortunately it all works out for poor Pip in the end.

the raven boys“The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”: A parent-child relationship you loved

No parent-child relationship is perfect, even in fiction. Still, I loved the relationship between Blue and her mother Maura in The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. This series has a strong family presence not often found in the Young Adult genre. Even more rare is that the family Blue lives with is all women– talk about female representation!

city of bones cover“You can’t judge a book by its cover”: A great book that NEEDS a better cover

Though I love Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series dearly, I have to be honest: I really dislike these cover designs! Models on covers are probably my least favorite design a book could have, and I think in this case it makes the covers look overdramatic and over the top. When it comes to cover designs, I believe that simple is always better!

My Antonia“You can’t please everyone”: A book you hated/loved that everyone else loves/hates

Last semester I was assigned to read My Ántonia by Willa Cather for my literature class and I immediately fell in love with it… the rest of my class, not so much. I loved the writing style, the almost ethereal ambience, the fascinating questions about nationality and gender performance that it raises.

16145154“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”: book you are better person for having read

Reading Seth Holmes’ ethnography Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies: Migrant Farmworkers in the United States last semester for my Introduction to Anthropology class made me realize the horrors, struggles, and hardships behind the fresh fruit on my kitchen table. This book has opened my eyes to the maltreatment of migrant farmworkers and the long road we have ahead of us towards changing this horrid, unjust system.

All the Light We Cannot See“Love is blind”: book with disabled character or actual “blind love”

Yes! Another excuse to mention my love for Anthony Doerr’s amazing historical fiction novel All the Light We Cannot See. Featuring Marie-Laure, a blind French girl living in Paris during World War II, this heart-wrenching story will captivate you from the very first page and not let you go until you’ve turned the very last one.

29069989“Ignorance is bliss”: A book you know is bad you don’t want to admit it, or a book you don’t want to read in case it’s bad

Even though I’ve already read it and I strongly dislike it, I’m still going to mention Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany. I went back and forth about reading this play for the longest time before finally giving in because I wanted to form my own educated opinion. I don’t necessarily regret my decision to read it, but I definitely could have lived my life without doing so. It’s safe to say that “disappointing” is definitely an understatement.

Jellicoe-Road-by-Melina-Marchetta_thumb“There is no time like the present”: Your favorite contemporary book

I’m going to go with my old standby favorite: Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. I’ve discussed this book countless times on my blog at this point, but that hasn’t stopped me from talking about it even more. If you haven’t read this book yet, do yourself a favor and pick it up ASAP!

a game of thrones cover“Better safe than sorry”: A book you don’t want to read in case it’s bad or vice versa

I’ve been contemplating reading A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin for what seems like ages, but I’m afraid that it’s going to be too graphic or unsettling for me. I’ve heard these things about the TV show and I can’t help but fear that it all stems from the original book series. If you’ve read this series, please let me know what your thoughts on it are!

What books do these clichés remind you of? What do you think of the books that I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday: Recent TBR Additions

foodie-facts-about-me-6Happy Tuesday!! Now that November is in full swing I’ve been itching to jump into the holiday season, which makes it even harder to focus on the mountains of coursework that keep getting taller and taller. Nevertheless, I’m hanging in there!

This week’s topic is pretty self-explanatory: I’ll be sharing the Top Ten Recent Additions to My TBR List. I’ve managed to add quite a few titles to my list since my last TBR update in September.

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I’ve only added eight books to my list since my last update, but I’d say that’s a pretty good amount!

What books have you recently added to your TBR list? What do you think of the ones I’ve mentioned here? Any recommendations on where to start? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books I’ve Read for Class

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Happy Tuesday!! Since this new semester is now well underway and this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is open-ended, I thought I would share with you all my Top Ten Favorite Books I’ve Read for Class (that’s a genre, right? Well, it is now!). Assigned reading often has a bit of an undeserved bad reputation. Sure, you’re not going to love everything that you’re assigned to read for school, but isn’t that the point? Being forced to explore different genres, authors, and texts can open your eyes to new perspectives and topics you never knew you would enjoy learning about. Some of my all time favorite books were originally assigned reading for classes!

In the spirit of the back-to-school season, here are my top picks in the order that I read them:

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Honorable Mentions: Lord of the Flies by William Golding {high school freshman}, Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer {high school freshman}, and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins {college freshman}

What are some of the best books that you’ve had to read for school? What do you think of the books on my list? How do you feel about assigned reading in general? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Set in the City

Foodie Facts About Me-6Happy Tuesday!! Once again we have some freedom with this week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme, since the prompt is “Books with X Setting.” I’ve decided to go with a rather broad one: Top Ten Books Set in the City. I live in a pretty rural area and, while I enjoy visiting cities for day trips and short stays, I don’t know that I would necessarily choose to live in one. I much prefer the quiet, peaceful countryside, but that’s just me! However, cities do make fantastic settings for stories, as these books certainly show.

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What are your favorite books set in cities? What do you think of the books on my list? Do you like cities? What’s your favorite city to visit? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books I’ve Read Recently

www.nutfreenerd.comIt’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! This week I’ll be showcasing the Top Ten Best Books I’ve Read Recently, AKA the ten books I’ve rated 5 smileys most recently. So far this year My Ántonia by Willa Cather is the only book that fits this bill, and the rest are from 2014 and 2015. As you can see, I read some fantastic books last year!

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What are the best books you’ve read recently? How often do you rate a book five stars? What do you think of the books on my list? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Soundtrack to My Life Book Tag

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I’m so excited to finally get around to doing the Soundtrack to My Life Tag! I’ve seen a bunch of people do this one before and it looks like so much fun, so I was so happy when I woke up one morning and discovered that I had been tagged. A big thanks to The Orang-utan Librarian for tagging me!

Let’s get on with the show, shall we?

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The BFG by Roald DahlWhen I was in fourth grade my teacher read us The BFG by Roald Dahl and I absolutely fell in love with the story. I wanted to meet my own Big Friendly Giant so badly! Since then it has always stuck with me and is the first book that comes to mind when thinking of myself as a young reader. It just goes to show that being read to is just as important as a child reading on their own.

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the hobbit coverThe Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien is one of those books that I always enjoy, no matter when I’m reading it or how many times I’ve read it before. I love the burst of nostalgia it gives me and the way it instantly takes me back to the first time I read it in fifth grade. There’s something about the exciting and fantastical sense of adventure that keeps me coming back for more. It’s one of my go-to books for battling those dreaded reading slumps!

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Great ExpectationsI read Great Expectations by Charles Dickens for my AP English class during my senior year of high school and absolutely fell in love with it. There are endless aspects of it to adore: watching Pip grow up and change with age, the bizarre quirks of Miss Havisham, and of course the captivating mystery that ties it all together. This book converted me into a lover of Dickens’ novels, for sure!

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John Green PIZZAI’m going to have to go with John Green for this one. Not only do I adore his books, but his books and videos were an integral part of my middle and early high school experience. John Green is such an inspiration and I love the work that he does both in regard to writing and in his personal life in general. DFTBA!

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A Darker Shade final for IreneI’m not a huge fan of action sequences or fighting in books, mostly because I usually don’t find them all that interesting. However, I have to say that A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab has some awesome fight scenes. The best part about them is the magic involved– a little spark of magic always makes everything more exciting!

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dairy queen coverI tried reading Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock over a year ago and I just couldn’t get through it to the end. I read maybe 50 pages of it– no more than 100 pages at the most– and it simply wasn’t clicking with me. I didn’t think the plot was exciting at all and I didn’t really feel for any of the characters. I ended up setting it aside altogether, and I don’t regret it!

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All the Light We Cannot SeeI feel as though I’m constantly recommending All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr to people, and with good reason: IT’S BRILLIANT. I mention it all the time (both on this blog and to people I know in person), but it honestly deserves every piece of praise that it receives. I read it over a year ago now and I still can’t stop thinking about it!

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tfiosOkay, so here’s the thing: I’ve never actually cried/sobbed while reading a book. Lately it’s been happening more with movies, but for some reason I’ve just never been that emotional of a reader. I certainly feel all of the emotions, but the closest I’ve come to crying is when I teared up at the end of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. If you’ve read it or have seen the movie, you definitely know why!

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harry potter and the sorcerer's stone coverTHIS IS SUCH A DIFFICULT QUESTION. There are so many series that I’ve loved over the years, but I since I’ve already mentioned Tolkien in this tag once (I absolutely LOVE The Lord of the Rings) I’ll go with Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling. It’s an obvious one, but it’s the truth! It’s been with me since I read the first book in second grade, and the magic never fades!

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looking for alaska5 years ago I was a freshman in high school (EEEK! I’m so old!!!), and my favorite book was probably something by John Green, most likely Looking for Alaska. It’s one of those books that has really stuck with me over the years, despite the controversy that sometimes surrounds it. There’s just something about it that makes me so nostalgic whenever I read it, which is usually in the summertime. Suspense-37and then there were noneI first read And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie when I was in fifth grade (was I a little too young for it? Maybe.) and I have read it countless times since there. It’s such a brilliant mystery and each time I read it I pick up on little details that I hadn’t noticed before. There’s actually a new BBC mini-series about it that I absolutely have to watch as soon as possible– I can’t wait to see how they adapt the story for to be told on-screen!

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jellicoe road coverAgain, Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta is one of those books that I’ve mentioned countless times on this blog, mostly because I’ve read it countless times and I’ve enjoyed it more and more each time I do. I love the intertwining story lines, I love the characters, I love the setting– I love everything about it! I can distinctly remember checking it out of my local library years ago to read it for the first time, and I’m so glad that I randomly picked it up off the shelf that day!

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Harry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixAccording to Goodreads, the longest book I’ve ever read is Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling, which has 870 pages. That surprised me at first, but I guess it makes sense because most of the long books I’ve read recently have been somewhere in the 600-700 page range at the most. Kudos to the Harry Potter series for being composed of numerous tomes!

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Mockingjay by Suzanne CollinsIt’s been years since I first read Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, but nevertheless I still remember distinctly hating the ending. It seemed so forced and emotionless. Perhaps that was the point of it, but either way I didn’t enjoy it in the slightest. It just had so much potential that was wasted on a rushed epilogue! I’m interested to see how it’s handled in the movie.

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the handmaid's tale coverThe first book that comes to mind when I think of epilogues is The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret AtwoodI won’t say much about it specifically because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but it puts a completely different perspective on the entire novel. It’s definitely one of the best epilogues I’ve ever read and certainly makes your head spin a bit!

And there you have it! Boy, that was a long tag! I’m not going to specifically tag anyone else because at this point I’m not sure who has already done it and who hasn’t. If you feel like doing this tag, please do!!

What books would you want on the soundtrack of your life? What do you think of the books I’ve chosen? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

 

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday: 1-Day Wonders

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Happy Tuesday! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is a FREEBIE, which means that we can make lists about whatever our bookish hearts desire. As I was scrolling through past TTT posts from The Broke and the Bookish, I stumbled upon one that was done back in 2012: Top Ten Books to Read in a Day. I’ve never made a list like this before, so I figured that there’s no time like now to write one! Without further ado, here is my list of ten great books that you can (potentially) read in a day!

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Some of these page counts might seem fairly high for one day, but the stories are so good that you can’t help but gobble them up all at once!

What are yours favorite books to read in one day? What do you think of the books on my list? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY