September Wrap-Up (it’s been a while, folks!)

Well, when I last posted a wrap-up, it was the end of June and the beginning of Summer… I wish I could say that I just took a summer hiatus, but really, there’s plainly no excuse for why I didn’t post July or August wrap-up blogs. But onward and upward I always say!

A Quick Word about the Pandemic…

For those reading my page and saying “please God! not another pandemic rant!”… feel free to skip to the next heading. Here in Ontario we’ve just been told that we are officially in the second wave and that means more lockdowns, no more close contact with anyone outside of your home, etc.

In the spirit of Canada’s Thanksgiving (which, by the way is next weekend), I’ll start with some gratitude. I am grateful and very lucky to have a good job with a steady income throughout this pandemic. I am grateful that (so far) no one I love has been touched by this terrible illness or by the debilitating recession it has created. I am grateful to have young (not too young) children, that I can cuddle and hug whenever I do feel the need for human contact. And I’m grateful that I’m a natural introvert. There are actually so many things that I would like to hibernate away and do that it would probably fill several pandemics or at least a few more waves of this one. I’d love to read more – oh, so much more, be on here blogging more, exercising more, cooking from scratch more, cleaning my house more, hanging out with my kids more, watching movies with my husband more… so many things… But I acknowledge that these simple pleasures do make it so much easier to give up things like big family outings, vacations, community events. But I truly do feel for those who don’t have those things in their lives. Those who are going through real tragic events during this pandemic or who are feeling isolated and lonely. I do think that the next few months of varying lockdowns, less ability to get outside and enjoy the fresh air, less connection with loved ones as we stumble head-first into the holiday season will take a toll and while I’ve never been very good at expressing empathy, if you are struggling at this time, please take heart and know that I feel for you, am happy to speak with you about what’s going on, either through the comments on this page or more directly, if you need to and that we will get through this and see the rainbow on the other side of it. Hopefully as a more kind and resilient world community.

Back to the Books…

Enough ranting… here’s the goods – the September statistics:

Total Books Read: 12
Total Books Finished: 11
DNF: 0
To Be Continued in October: 1
Total Pages Read: 4,314
Average Pages/Day: 143
Hard Copy Books: 1
E-books: 6
Audiobooks: 5

September saw two 5-Star Reads, four 4-Star Reads, three 3-Star Reads and two 2-Star Reads. It was clearly the month of the audiobook, which after having not listened to any almost all summer long, I started off with “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo”, but then totally dove into “A Very Punchable Face” by Colin Jost and was hooked.

Review-Worthy Books

There were quite a few winners this month, some of which, however, were re-reads, which I won’t go over again. My faves were.

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

This book is my TOP READ for September and I wish I had the hard copy to lend out to friends and family – might have to be a Christmas plan.

The story follows a group of sisters (and one brother) who are taken from their river-shanty of a home and sold into adoption. It focuses both on the events leading up to and including the adoption and skips to their late-lives and subsequent generations and the discovery of the secret lives of their grandparents. It is a touching and disturbing tale at the same time. Even the picture on the cover of this book just reaches into my heart and squeezes. It’s definitely one to make you want to go into your kids’ bedroom in the middle of the night and squeeze them tight (in a non-stalker way of course)…

A Very Punchable Face – Colin Jost

This book was my second 5-Star Read of the Month. If you know and like Colin Jost or are a fan of Saturday Night Live, you’ll probably enjoy this quirky tale. I listened to it on audiobook and thoroughly enjoyed hearing Colin narrate his own stories. It was just a super-fun read. There were some laugh-out loud moments (and with headphones on, I’m sure I looked a little crazy) and some poignant stories that made me cry. I really enjoyed it and it was the key to my renewed interest in both audiobooks and autobiography / biography content.

The Rainbow Comes and Goes by Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt

Although this book didn’t quite make it into my 5-Star Category, I couldn’t leave the blog without talking about this wonderful audiobook, the unique letter-writing format of the story and the wonderful stories and insight that this book brought into my life. It was simply a joy to listen to. I did a lot of extra driving around in my car to get through this book in record time, only to find myself wishing I had stretched it out more. It was a joy, especially considering it was about two people that I didn’t really know much about at all. Thank you for this glimpse into your lives and hearts.. It was wonderfully appreciated.

Closing Thoughts

I’m not even going to try to create an October TBR at this point – the draw towards “spooky” tales hasn’t yet taken hold of me (even after last year’s disappointing reads – maybe I’ll expand on that next time) and looking back at my July TBR created at the end of June, I don’t want to jinx my next reads.

I will be trying to get more content on my site and maybe do a site re-vamp over the next month. It has been fun sharing with you and I really enjoy the writing. I truly wish you all the best and hope that everyone stays safe and makes the most of the fall – here’s hoping for a bunch of cozy afternoons watching the leaves fall and the rain come down.

Take care…

2020 Goals and TBR

Okay, call me a cheater…

Is it fair to write your 2020 goals and tbr post more than halfway through January??? Sure it is… Maybe not a January goals and tbr but there’s no extra points for posting early and at least I’m past the post-new-years-resolution phase of the year.

A Little of my Reading History

I was a cute, young, avid reader… I remember reading the Little House on the Prarie Series in grades 1 and 2, jumping into the Anne of Green Gables Series and buying / reading such literary gems as Sweet Valley High and The Baby-Sitters Club through my middle grade years… I read, I wrote, I loved EVERYTHING literary… Through high school I read a lot of Stephen King and through university I took english and classics classes just to continue on my literary journey while pursuing an engineering degree…

Needless to say, I loved reading… But once I got into a career and motherhood, it was all downhill from there… I can probably count on my fingers (both hands though) the number of books I read in 2018.

Mid-2019, I was perusing youtube looking for new and interesting romance tv-series excerpts I was addicted to watching and I came across a video referring to “booktube”. Now I’m not OLD, but I’m old enough that I wasn’t sure if that was part of youtube or a separate app.

Well I figured that out and watching that lead me to downloading goodreads and I set a challenge to read 1 book per month (which I thought was a lot)… Reading 1 book lead to reading 2, lead to reading quite a few, ending 2019 with a total of 32 books read.

The moral of this very long, unfocused rant, is that I don’t have a ton of context by which to set my 2020 and beyond reading goals.

Finally, get on with the 2020 goals already

I’ve watched a lot of youtube videos and read a lot of blogs about people’s various 2020 reading goals. As much as I like some of the laudable goals of reading more of certain genres, authors, new reads, clearing tbrs, etc., I accept that I don’t really know enough of my own reading style to clearly set such challenges… So for me this year, it really all comes down to the numbers. On January 1 I set my goodread goals at 52 (1 book / week – I know, I’m not all that original)… By the first week, I was 4 books in and knew that I could do WAY better than that… So I changed it to 78 (1.5 books / week)… Now 3 weeks in and I think I can… I think I can… I think I can:

100 Books

Yes, you read it right… I said it… I’m trying to go from less than 10 to 100 books per year in less than 2 years… It will take a lot of commitment, but there are SO MANY BOOKS I want to read, I would be cheating myself if I didn’t try… And I’m certainly not someone who wants to set a goal that is easy / almost certain to be achieved.

So that’s it… there are lots of books that I’m interested in reading. I want to complete Cassandra Clare’s “The Dark Artifices” series, I want to get into “The Diviners” and lots of other books that I have gleaned from all my youtube / blogging watching. By next year I should know enough about what I want to read to be able to established more varied and colourful goals.

Thanks for reading this unending rant… best wishes to everyone for a successful, book-filled 2020… I’d love any reading suggestions for either 2020 released or older books, as I have a lot of years to make up for…