top ten tuesday: book blogger confessions

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, a fun way to get yourself thinking and sharing about books and bookish things.

July 8: Top ten book blogger confessions

We all have dirty little secrets, I suppose…!

1. I actually like to see the movie version…
… AFTER I read the book, naturally. It doesn’t really bother me or screw up my previous reading experience. Of course, if I accidentally already saw the movie before I knew it was a book first, I end up with pretty much zero desire to read the book, no matter how great it’s supposed to be.

2. I have a post schedule but I can just barely keep to it.
It’s just a list in the notes app on my iPad. I am constantly futzing with it because I either take longer or quicker with a book than I expect to, things come up and I don’t have time to post, or I just flat-out change my mind and decide against posting whatever I had down for that day.

3. I get afraid of falling into meme- and review-only posts ruts.
I hope I’m not boring anyone! But on the other hand…

4. …I blog first and foremost for myself, just for the fun of it.
Yep, I don’t really pay too close attention to stats and the numbers game. Readers and followers are a wonderful and welcome bonus! I get a little ping of joy whenever I see that I have a comment, and try my best to respond to all of them.

5. Speaking of comments, I’m not awesome about commenting on other blogs.
I try and I want to, but I get distracted or I only have a minute to peruse quick before I have to do something else. And I’ve been largely off the computer on the weekends lately (which, confession, while I’m at it: has been AMAZING! You should all try it).

6. I feel like I’m a year behind other book bloggers…
I wish I could keep up with all the latest books that are out. I went on a bit of a retail therapy bender last year and I have a good handful of 2013 releases I still have to read.

7. …but I’m not really interested in ARCs or galleys much.
Once in a blue moon I’ll win an ARC in a giveaway contest online, which is awesome, but then I end up feeling pressure to readitrightnowandpostimmediatelyomg!!! and I just can’t commit to that kind of schedule.

8. I sign up for annual challenges knowing full well I’ll fail.
TBR Pile Challenge and Eclectic Reader. Failed last year, already know I’ll fail this year. It’s a good way to cull through old books though, right? If you can’t even be bothered with it in a challenge after a YEAR, maybe it’s time to release into the universe?

9. I don’t particularly like e-reading, but I keep buying ebooks.
Damn you, daily deal! $1.99! I could do a whole challenge on my ebook collection alone.

10. I’m not sure I’d read as much if I didn’t have the blog.
I never thought about it much before blogging—how many books I read in a year, what I was reading, what was new out there, got excited about discussing what I was reading. Once I started the blog it became really fun to “compete” against myself, to read more than I did last year, see how to diversify my reading, try new formats (ebook, audio), etc. I make a lot of time to read, and I wonder if I would do that if I didn’t have this space to track and share.

So how about it, I can’t be alone here, right? Bueller?

brief hiatus

Hi everyone! I’m sorry I’ve been MIA the last several days… I’ve been on a roadtrip and like I’ve mentioned before, this is the busiest time of the year at work for me. So, that means the blog falls on the ol’ priority list.

I have a rare free day this weekend though and I plan to get some posts written and scheduled for publishing through next week! Stay tuned for reviews of Andy Weir’s The Martian, Chuck Palahniuk’s Survivor, Timothy Egan’s The Worst Hard Time, Louise Erdrich’s The Round House (possibly, if I finish in time), and more! Thanks for hanging in there with me 🙂 In the meantime, I’m a little more active on my twitter account: @kristinshafel

Pictured: View of the Capitol across Lake Monona in Madison, Wisconsin, June 2011. That’s my next trip—back to Madison in July. Counting down the days!

top ten tuesday: authors i haven’t read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, a fun way to get yourself thinking and sharing about books and bookish things.

March 5: Top ten popular authors I haven’t read

I could basically have an entries here for “all authors of The Classics” and “authors of 50 million mysteries/thrillers/courtroom dramas” but that would be boring! Here are ten authors that I haven’t read, in no particular order:

1. Virginia Woolf
This is one that I feel like I have read, although I’ve never owned any of her books, and never read any in school. Maybe because I feel like by now I should have definitely read Woolf? I don’t know, it’s a weird feeling!

2. Anaïs Nin
My mother loaned me Nin’s Diary Vol. I years ago and it sat and sat and sat. Finally during my last move I gave it back to her (oh, the guilt!).

3. Franz Kafka
I’ve had a copy of The Metamorphosis and Other Stories on my shelves for longer than I care to admit (or can remember). If nothing else, I’d at LEAST like to get through The Metamorphosis, the story actually really appeals to me!

4. Michael Chabon
Everyone raves about The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, and I have a copy waiting (put it on my TBR Pile and Eclectic Reader Challenges this year).

5. Louise Erdrich
Last year I bought her The Round House and still haven’t read it! Another one on the “must read” list for 2014 for me.

6. J.K. Rowling
Don’t hate, people! I just have no interest in the Harry Potter series at all.

7. Jane Austen
Another one I’m just not interested in. Nineteenth-century Gothic romance is not my thing, I don’t even want to see the movie versions. It’s going to take a lot of will power to make myself read Brontë’s Wuthering Heights this year for my TBR Pile Challenge.

8. Salman Rushdie
Should I have read Rushdie by now? His genre seems up my alley and I’m a little fascinated by the whole Satanic Verses controversy, but I’m not sure I’m up for the effort (right now, at least).

9. Jodi Picoult
I’m not interested now, but My Sister’s Keeper might have been something I would have liked back in late high school (about 5 years before it was published).

10. Jonathan Franzen
Eh. Again people rave, but the synopses of his books seem bleak in a way that does not appeal to me (sometimes bleak novels appeal! what can I say). Not going to feel badly about not reading Franzen.

What popular authors have you not read yet, or are not interested in?

top ten tuesday: rewind!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, a fun way to get yourself thinking and sharing about books and bookish things.

February 25: Top Ten Tuesday REWIND!

Yay a freebie! I looked through the past Top Ten Tuesday prompts and decided to go with top ten books I read before I blogged.

1. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Atwood fan for life now.

2. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer 
Same with Krakauer—I’m working my way through his catalogue too.

3. The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
Eye-opening! I still think about this one, more than five years after I first read it.

4. The Road by Cormac McCarthy 
The first book my husband and I “bonded” over 🙂

5. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt 
I loved this book, and ‘Tis… I still have to read Teacher Man! It made me wonder about my Irish ancestors and what they may have gone through.

6. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
I read this my senior year of high school and was riveted at the time. In fact now that I’m thinking of it, I read this during a “pick-your-own” assignment—there were like 4–5 books we had to choose from and no one picked All Quiet, so I did.

7. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
Read during my freshman year of college and I was totally transported to the nasty slaughterhouses at the turn of the twentieth century and the horrible conditions of the immigrant workers there.

8. I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb
My first chunkster—900-some pages and I read it in like two days because I could hardly put it down. I had read She’s Come Undone before this one, but I’m hooked on Lamb now. I just got We Are Water for this last Christmas and it’s in the queue!

9. 1984 by George Orwell
I read this five times over about two years in late middle school/early high school, I loved it so much.

10. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
I think it was the stark, matter-of-fact prose detailing this shocking multiple homicide that rocked a small rural community that made this a page-turner for me.

Honorable Mentions: The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck, Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser, What Dreams May Come by Richard Matheson, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, The Red Tent by Anita Diamant, Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Princess Bride by William Goldman, Death Be Not Proud by John Gunther, Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, The Rest is Noise by Alex Ross, ARRGHCK and SO many more!!!

top ten tuesday: reasons i love blogging + reading

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, a fun way to get yourself thinking and sharing about books and bookish things.

February 18: Top ten reasons I love being a blogger/reader

After a few weeks of Top Ten Tuesday topics that didn’t appeal to me much, I’m jumping back in! Who doesn’t love gushing about reading anyway? 🙂 Here are my reasons, in no particular order:

1. Experiencing new worlds, places, and people
I don’t have the opportunity to travel too often, so reading is usually a great way to explore the world. And don’t you love “meeting” new characters, even the ones you love to hate? The escapism factor is awesome too—sometimes if you’re having a bad day in your world, getting sucked into a book for a few hours might be just the ticket.

2. Learning about all sorts of things
And no homework or tests! I’ve been out of school for six years now but through books have been able to continue my education just as a human being, from political military affairs to dead bodies to a social history of the processed food industry to natural disasters. Yay for non-fiction!

3. Libraries and bookstores
Don’t they just seem like magical places, full of possibilities? Plus coffee 🙂

4. Challenges
I’m naturally a competitive person, and I’m happy to funnel that through book reading challenges, like the Eclectic Reader and TBR Pile.

5. Conversations + community
I love being a part of a group, having interesting discussions, and I find that books and reading are great ways to connect and share with others in person and online.

6. Books as art
I haven’t gone ahead and created any art myself, but I enjoy how artful books have become. Cover art is endlessly creative and having a full shelf of books can almost be like having a little art collection.

7. Technology makes it easy
Thanks to audiobooks you can be reading (yes, I count it) doing pretty much any and everything. I’ve listened to audiobooks while driving, cooking, working out, walking, cleaning, and more in 2013. I can’t believe I didn’t “discover” audiobooks for myself sooner!

8. Critical reading, thinking, writing
Being a good reader strengthens your brain, and I’m sure it has made me a better writer.

9. Tracking reading
I started keeping track of my reading in 2008, the year I finished grad school. First, I would just mark my books read down in Goodreads, maybe write a few sentences about them, and it’s just grown from there. I like looking back at my year in reading, and in 2014 I plan to record even more data, like year published, page count, male/female author ratio, and more.

10. Discovering new blogs, new authors
Before I got into blogging, I would find new books by visiting a bookstore and picking something that appealed. Now with all the new blogs I’ve discovered and online tools/sites that intuitively let you know recommendations based on your personal tastes, it has been a very long time since I’ve done that (although I still think it’s a fun activity!). Still, I’ve discovered so many new people and new books I don’t think I would have ever found on my own.

Why do you love being a reader and/or blogger?

happy 4th blogging anniversary!

I was just thinking this morning that I didn’t have anything new to post today (still have 64 pages to go in The Shadow of the Wind, hoping to finish this weekend, though!) and then I logged into WordPress to this notification:

I truly had no idea which day my blogging anniversary was, and I sort of didn’t realize it has been four years—I know I started around 2008 or 2009 but basically took 2011 off and really didn’t get serious and consistent with posting until 2012. So anyway, whoo! I am happy to accept fruit, flowers, and/or appliances on this, my 4th anniversary 😉

I hope all of you, dear readers, have a lovely weekend and (if in the US) a fun Labor Day holiday! Thanks for stopping by my little slice of the internet from time to time 🙂