2018 Texas Book Festival

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I decided that this would be the year that I attend my first book festival, and the Texas Book Festival in Austin did not disappoint. There were so many different authors from so many different genres and activities for all ages. When you want to attend all the sessions, it is hard to narrow down your must see/do list. I was fortunate enough to attend the book festival with a friend, who help me have the best experience. Here is what we experienced:

DAY ONE – SATURDAY 10/27

Meet the Indie Next Authors! Featuring: R.O. Kwon, Tommy Orange, Nicole Chung

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Book signing

Earth and Beyond: A Conversation with Scott Kelly in the Texas State Capitol

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Litsy Meetup on the lawn of the Texas State Capitol

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Book signing with Sarah McCoy

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Souvenirs – thanks to Texas Book Festival and Book People Bookstore

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Lit Crawl Austin – American Short Fiction authors play Ex Libris at Stay Gold, featuring Jamel Brinkley, Rita Bullwinkel, Rebecca Makkai, Jennifer duBois, Owen Egerton and Tommy Orange

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Lit Crawl Austin – Noir at the Bar where crime fiction authors read from their recent their novels at Stay Gold, featuring Lou Berney, Max Booth, Meg Gardiner, Mike McCrarry and Scott Von Doviak

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Won a crime fiction novel raffle with signed copies!

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DAY TWO – SUNDAY 10/28

Alternate Realities: Sci Fi in 2018 with V.E. Schwab and John Scalzi

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John Scalzi taking a selfie wearing V.E. Schwab’s cat ears

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The last presentation was amazing, and we were too tuckered out to continue with any more sessions, so we wandered around Austin a bit longer and then hit the road back to Houston. All the author/presenters we listened to were amazing, personable and friendly. We just wanted to be friends with all of them. Now I have to find a place in my house for all my lovely new books!

 

 

A Booklover’s Birthday – 2018

This is going to be a bit of a birthday brag, but this, my friends and fellow booklovers, is what I consider the best way to spend a birthday….surrounded by new books you were presented with.

I received some love from my #JustBecause (#JB) Litsy pen pal group with lots of cards, stickers, bookmarks, and the following packages.

My parents clearly understand my love of Jane Austen and coffee. Plus, who doesn’t love a good tote bag!

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I recently spoke to my BFF about my obsession with Netflix’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and my disappointment that I hadn’t read the book first. I also stated that I refused to see the Crazy Rich Asians movie until I had read that book. She decided to help me rectify this situation.

Last but definitely not least, my husband got my three books. He got me Proust’s In Search of Lost Time from my favorite bookstore in Paris – Shakespeare and Company. He also got me two amazing and beautiful first editions that include Dicken’s Nicholas Nickleby and L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, which is one of my favorite books of all time.

I am so grateful for friends and family that truly appreciate my love of books! Can’t wait to read all of these!

Fall Reading – 2018

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Fall is officially here. There are so many fun events in the world of books during the fall, with book festivals (I’m really hoping to go to the Texas Book Festival in Austin, TX this year), readathons (like Dewey’s 24 hour readathon), and PBS announcing the Great American Read. With all these fun things happening this fall, I am hoping that this will inspire me to get through the following (or at least a majority of the following) reads:

NetGalley Reads

  • The Royal Runaway by Lindsay Emory 
  • I Hate You, I Love You by Elizabeth Hayley 
  • One Day in December by Josie Silver
  • The Library Book by Susan Orlean
  • Girls on the Line by Jennie Liu
  • Broken Ground by Val McDermid
  • Killer Classics by Kim Roberts
  • Tiffany Blues by M.J. Rose
  • A Christmas Date by Camilla Isley

BookishFirst Reads

  • Murder Mile by Lynda La Plante 
  • Laurentian Divide by Sarah Stonich

Goodreads Giveaway

  • Postcards from a Stranger by Imogen Clark

Book Club Reads

  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  • Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz √ 
  • Strange Things Done by Elle Wild
  • Out by Natsuo Kirino √ 
  • The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  • The Devil in the White City by Eric Larson

Other

  • Different Seasons by Stephen King – ebook
  • The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn – book
  • Bonfire by Krysten Ritter – book
  • Rooms by Lauren Oliver – book
  • The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware – book
  • Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan – book
  • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han – book
  • Raven and Other Favorite Poems by Edgar Allen Poe – book 
  • Sadie by Courtney Summers – book
  • Fear: Trump in the White House by Bob Woodward – audiobook
  • I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai – audiobook 
  • Kiss Me, Kill Me by Ann Rule – audiobook 
  • My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan – audiobook √ 
  • Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann – audiobook
  • Endurance by Scott Kelly – audiobook
  • The Personality Brokers by Merve Emre – audiobook 
  • The Real Lolita by Sarah Weinman – audiobook 
  • Decluttering at the Speed of Life by Dana K. White – audiobook √ 
  • Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright – audiobook √ 
  • The Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington – audiobook 
  • The Atomic City Girls by Janet Beard – audiobook 
  • Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson – audiobook

What are you looking forward to reading this Fall?

Hope you all have a productive Fall Reading season!!! Happy Reading!!!

Completed My First BoB Readathon

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As part of my attempt to continue my reading life while working a full-time demanding position, I decided to try to participate in as many readathons, readalongs and book club meetups as I could. I am happy I found the Bout of Books readathon. This was a week-long readathon.

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My main goal for this readathon (stated in this previous post) was to read 700 pages (an average of 100 a day). On a normal day, I tend to read an average of about 50 pages a day, so I thought this was going to be a real challenge, but I surprisingly accomplished this goal without a problem. I actually read a total of 962 pages and completed 2 books (see picture above). I also have started and made progress in The Dry by Jane Harper, We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby and An American Marriage by Tayari Jones (see picture below).

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I had the privilege of attending a book talk and signing event for one of the books that I read during this readathon. Paula McLain, well-known author of The Paris Wife, came to my local independent bookstore to discuss her new book Love and Ruin, another historical fiction about one of Hemingway’s wives and their love affair. Here are some pictures from the event:

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Overall, I had a fantastic week of reading. It was just what I needed to help me catch up with my reading backlog, prepare for upcoming book clubs and relax before a very stressful work period. Bout of Books will be hosting another readathon in August, so maybe I’ll see y’all then.

Until the next readathon….

Bout of Books 22 – May 2018

As part of my plan to keep up my reading life, while adjusting to a new full-time (a bit stressful) job, I have decided to participate in as many readalongs and readathons as possible (on top of the few book clubs I attend). So even though I just participated in Dewey’s 24-hour Readathon a couple weeks ago (see my post here), I’m excited to continue my new trend with the Bout of Books read-a-thon, which begins tomorrow .

Here is an official description of this read-a-thon:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 14th and runs through Sunday, May 20th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 22 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

I intend to at read at least 700 pages. These will be the books I hope to read (or at least start) during that time:

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HAPPY READING!!!!

 

Completed Another 24-hour Readathon!

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Another Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon has come and gone. As always, it was so much fun! I was even so fortunate as to get to take my reading outside for a bit this time (see above photo). As I mentioned in my previous post, I had already decided not to attempt the full 24 hours. It just takes too much out of me, and with a new job, I just don’t have the same recovery time. However, I still read for almost 20 hours and that was more than expected.

So…how did i do on my readathon goals? Let’s find out:

  • I want to read for at least 15 hours today. I actually read for 19 1/2 hours.
  • I want to complete 3 books. I did in fact complete 3 books (2 physical books and 1 audiobook).
  • I want to read at least 600 pages. I read 650 pages.
  • I want to complete at least 8 mini-challenges. I did complete 8 mini-challenges.

HOORAY! I accomplished all my readathon goals! Now let’s get to the fun part…this is what I read:

COMPLETED

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I had a bit of a true crime theme going. After finishing The Road to Jonestown and then I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. I became a bit paranoid in the dark, so reading something light like the classic Charlotte’s Web was necessary. SPOILER: However, was it really necessary for E. B. White to actually mention that Charlotte died all alone?!!! It was already implied. Why state it?! Made it not just sad but depressing.

Anyway, while I enjoyed the audiobook of The Road to Jonestown, it was very long…17 1/2 hours long. I listened to at least 7 hours of that yesterday. I admit I knew very little about Jim Jones and the Peoples’ Temple, but I feel this book had way too much detail. There were so many characters mentioned that I could not keep them all straight, but I guess in the end that didn’t matter, because (Spoiler again but I feel like we know this one) most of them died in the end.

My most anticipated read and my favorite was Michelle McNamara’s I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. I put this down a month ago to finish some book club reads, however, with the recent news about the Golden State Killer (GSK), I felt it was necessary to go back to it. So glad I did, but boy was it horrifying. A bit of wisdom to those who haven’t read it yet – don’t read it right before bed or in the dark by yourself. I so wish that guy was caught 40 years ago, but I am happy that he will at least rot in prison for the rest of his days. I’m really glad that McNamara and many California detectives did not give up their search for the GSK. People say their decades-long search was an obsession, but I think it was necessary. I just really wish McNamara would have lived to see the GSK caught.

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I did also start an ARC of Paula McLain’s Love and Ruin (see picture above). I’m only a little bit into it right now but am loving it so far. It comes out for the public on Tuesday (May 1st).

I did have a difficult time with this readathon. There were too many 20180428_092722distractions (see picture on the right that shows my two awesome garage sale purchases from the community garage sale). I hope to avoid these distractions next time. I also didn’t do a great job of preparing my cozy reading nook with everything accessible. My organization left much to be desired. However, I think the leaders of this readathon did a fantastic job. The option to do mini-challenges at any point during the 24 hours was a much nicer solution. Mini-challenges use to disrupt my reading zone now I can do them as a break between books. I will admit though that I didn’t even look at the readathon scavenger hunt. Maybe next time.

Hopefully I’ll be doing the 24-hour readathon again October 20, 2018! Until then….

HAPPY READING!

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