Category Archives: reading challenges

Book Beginnings and Friday 56 – The Hate U Give (Jan 26)

the hate u giveFor this week’s combo post I have chosen The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. I received a free copy of this earlier this week (I won it as part of a 2017 reading challenge). I haven’t started it yet, but plan to do that tomorrow, as long as I get my current read, Rowan & Eris, finished. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this book, so I’m looking forward to getting it started. GoodReads has the following description:

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Now for this week’s excerpts:

bb-buttonBook Beginnings is hosted by Gilion at Rose City Reader, who invites anyone to join in, saying: ‘Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.  Please remember to include the title of the book and the author. Leave a link to your post.  If you don’t have a blog, but want to participate, please leave a comment with your Book Beginning.’

The beginning of The Hate U Give:

I shouldn’t have come to this party.

An interesting start. I wonder why not?

friday-562.jpgThe Friday 56 is a book meme hosted by Freda’s Voice and the rules are as follows:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.

It’s that simple.

From page 56 of The Hate U Give:

Momma gets up and hugs him. “Thank you.” She walks him down the hall, toward the front door. “Be safe, okay? And text me when you get home.”

“Yes, ma’am. Sounding like our momma,” he teases.

“Whatever. You just better text me—”

“Okay, okay. Good night.”

Sounds like someone better not forget to text! Hopefully I’ll get into this one tomorrow. It sounds like it’ll be a great one anyway.

Advertisements

Bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts (Jan 17)

IMG_1199.JPG

‘Bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts’ is hosted by Christine at Bookishly Boisterous. It’s just a round-up of bookish and other things from the previous week or so. Share a link there if you want to participate.

1. It’s a New Year and so far so good. I posted a few thoughts at the start of the year about my goals and they are going well. I’ll keep revisiting it from time to time and see how I’m getting on.

2. I signed up for a bunch of reading challenges again this year and am looking forward to getting some diverse reading done this year. I also pledged to read 75 books at GoodReads and the 50 Book Pledge.

3. The above picture is some free book mail I received today. The Shane Peacock book is from Early Reviewers at LibraryThing. The other two are a couple I won through one of last year’s reading challenges (Full House Reading Challenge 2017). I’m waiting on another one to come from that challenge.

4. Our Christmas was fairly quiet, once the crazy busyness of our work was over. Our daughter was home from university for a couple of weeks, which was great. We didn’t do much or go far, but stayed in and watched a few movies, caught up on some TV, did some reading, and played a few board games. It was a nice relaxing time anyway.

5. I’m still keeping up with my bookstagram stuff on Instagram. I enjoy joining monthly challenges there and playing along with some of the tags. I’ve made some new ‘friends’ and met some interesting people.

6. Thanks to one of my friends in Elliot Lake I got a couple of free tickets for a Leafs game last month. So my son and I got to see the Leafs beat the Sharks in a shootout at the start of the month. It was an exciting evening.

7. I’m looking for something to binge watch on Netflix now that I’ve finished Stranger Things and This Is Us. I started watching Friends, as I have never ever watched an episode of it before. It seems to be OK, but I’m thinking of binging on Fargo next, as it is back on Netflix in Canada again. There’s also a bunch of movies that have been added that I might need to check out. Speaking of movies, we went to the theatre during the week between Christmas and New Year to see The Last Jedi. I wasn’t disappointed.

Top Ten Tuesday – 2018 Bookish Resolutions/Goals (Jan 16)

TTT-Big2Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that was formerly hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. It is now being hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week a different topic is posted inviting the participants to come up with a list of ten things to do with the topic.

This week’s topic is ‘Bookish Resolutions/Goals’. Obviously I enjoy reading, but I also like to challenge myself each year by setting a few goals and signing up for some challenges. Some of these are easy to do and help me keep on track, whereas others sometimes take me out of my comfort zone and stretch me a bit, which isn’t a bad thing. Here are some of the reading goals I set for 2018:

1. Read at least 75 books. This is the same goal  I set for last year and I surpassed it by 2 books. I thought about increasing it this year, but in the end decided that 75 is a good number.

2. Write better reviews. One thing I started last year, which was fairly successful, was that I decided to write a short review on GoodReads of every book I read. Some of these were very short and said very little. So, this is something to work on.

3. Take my TBR lists more seriously. At various points during the year I share my TBR lists, but more often than not many of the books on these lists end up not being read. This year I’d like to think that I could read at least 75% of the books on these list. Otherwise, what is the point of compiling them.

4. Read the books I borrow from the library. At a rough estimate, I probably read about a quarter of the books I borrow from the library. Either I need to read more of the books I borrow or cut back on the number I take out.

5. Finally read ‘In the First Circle’. I have owned In the First Circle, by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, for about 8 years. Each year since I bought it I have put it on TBR lists and vowed that this would be the year I read it. It seems quite intimidating, but I’m determined that this will be the year it finally gets read.

6. Keep up with my reading challenges. Last year I got behind with my challenges and managed to only complete 3 out of 4 that I signed up for. This isn’t the end of the world, but I’d like to be able to keep up with them better this year. It was mad dash in December to try and finish them all and I don’t want that to happen this year.

7. Read more of the books that I own. Like many book lovers, I buy more books than I read. Although I’ll probably never realistically get all my books read, I need to take a look at my shelves and try to read some of the ones that have been unread there for too long.

8. Only request review books that I am going to read. There are so many places out there to get free review books that it can be tempting to over request. This year I need to not be tempted so much, although I won’t stop requesting altogether.

9. Read more of my Penguin Classics. I collect Penguin books, but often I never get round to reading many of them. A few years ago I received the 80 Penguin Little Black Classics as a gift. So far I have only read 9 of them. This year I’d like to try and read at least one of them a month. I also need to look at my Penguin shelf and pick a few out to read.

10. Enjoy reading. This is probably the most important goal on this list. There’s no point in reading if it’s not enjoyable, so I need to make sure that in the midst of all the challenges and goal I have lots of fun along the way. Happy reading!

SaveSave

Another year has come and gone

tolkien quote

Hello to 2018 and farewell to 2017. Last year wasn’t a bad year. It had its moments, but on the whole it was a decent one. In some ways it was a year of change for us, but in other ways there were many constants in our life as well.

The biggest change for us was our daughter leaving home and starting university. Thankfully she is only about an hour away, but it was still something to adjust to. She seems to have settled in well and is getting on fine there. With her not being too far away we see her fairy often and she has been home for the holidays these past couple of weeks, which has been great. Other than that, not much else has changed in our lives.

I was looking over my goals for last year earlier today and was surprised that I actually made not too bad progress on most of them. I actually managed to complete most of my reading challenges, which I’m quite pleased about. There was only one that I didn’t complete, but it was one that I wasn’t too bothered about anyway.

I still haven’t fully worked out my goals for 2018 yet, but hope to get them finalized in the next couple of days. I have pledged to read 75 books again and have signed up to do this at both GoodReads and the 50 Book Pledge. I’m also hoping to sing up for two or three individual book challenges as well, but haven’t worked these out fully yet.

Once I’ve worked out my personal goals and my book challenges I’ll post about them here. In the meantime, Happy New Year. May 2018 be a great year for you.

Bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts (Dec 27)

IMG_1151

It’s been over two months since I did one of these. Time really must fly when you’re having fun, or maybe the last couple of months have just been too busy! ‘Bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts’ is hosted by Christine at Bookishly Boisterous. It’s just a round-up of bookish and other things from the previous week or so. Share a link there if you want to participate.

1. We survived another busy lead-up to Christmas. With all the busyness, and stress that goes with it, each year where I work, I usually end up feeling fried by the time the 25th comes around. This often ends up in me feeling that my family have been cheated somehow. This year I was determined not to allow things to get to me, especially with things that I have no control over. It seemed to work and the last few days have been more relaxed than in previous years.

2. For a little while there in the fall I thought that I was going to fall flat on most of my reading challenges. I got over the slump and got back on track. I reached my target of 75 on the 50 Book Pledge with time to spare, and I completed two of my other four challenges, with the chance that I may still finish at least one of the other two. The one that I might not finish is the Mount TBR challenge, which I’m not that worried about. I am now trying to work out which challenges I’m going to enter in 2018.

3. For a change this year I gave my family a Christmas wish list of books from bookoutlet.ca to choose from. I was surprised by receiving nine of them on Christmas morning. I’m looking forward to getting stuck into them soon. I also received a $50 gift card for Chapters/Indigo, which I’ll get around to spending eventually.

4. Since I last did one of these posts I enjoyed watching two Toronto sports teams win their respective championships. First there was the Argos winning the Grey Cup at the end of November on a very snowy night in Ottawa. This was followed by TFC winning the MLS Cup a couple of weeks later. Her’s hoping the Leafs can go deeper in the Stanley Cup play-offs this year. Speaking of the Leafs, I have a couple of tickets for their game against the Sharks next Thursday, courtesy of a kind friend of ours from up north.

5. I seem to have watched a ton of movies this year, close to 120 movies at this point.  I still have to see the new Star Wars movie and have been trying to avoid any spoilers on social media. We are hoping to see it yet before the end of the year. As far as TV goes, I did manage to watch Stranger Things 2, which was awesome, and have binge-watched half of the first season of This Is Us on Netflix, which has been a lot better than I thought it would be. I started watching The Mist, but gave up on it as I found it to be too disappointing.

6. I haven’t done much blogging this year and at one point considered closing down this blog altogether. Maybe in 2018 I’ll try to get some inspiration and post here more often. One bonus in 2017 was that I wrote a small review on GoodReads of every book that I read.

7. Overall, 2017 hasn’t been a bad year. There have been some highs and some lows, but I think the highs outscored the lows. Our daughter left home to start university and seems to have settled in well. It’s been great having her home for the holidays. She’ll be returning to university next week, but at least she is only about an hour away. Work has brought some challenges, but we have been here over two years now and are starting to find our groove.

Here’s hoping that 2018 will be a good year and, if you have made it this far, I wish you a Happy New Year too!

Bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts (Sept 27)

IMG_0957

 

‘Bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts’ is hosted by Christine at Bookishly Boisterous. It’s just a round-up of bookish and other things from the previous week. Share a link there if you want to participate.

1. September seems to have come and gone so quickly. In some ways it seems to have been a fairly busy months, but I’m not that sure if I’ve accomplished that much or not. We’ll be on holiday for a couple of weeks from the end of next week. I’m looking forward not only to the time off, but also the fact that we’ll get to spend the time with family visiting from Scotland.

2. I was under the impression that I was getting back on track with my reading, but I’ve only managed four books this month so far. According to 50 Book Pledge I’m on track for 65, which is a decent number, although I pledged to read 75. I’ve enjoyed doing my book challenges for the year, but of the four I’ve tried I’ll maybe only get two completed. I’ll see how it goes, because there are still three months to go.

3. Although we moved here over two years ago, we only finished unpacking last weekend. We finally managed to sort through the final ten boxes or so that had remained untouched since we got here. I was reunited with a lot of books and CDs, among other things. I also found the ornaments pictured at the top of this post that I had almost forgotten about. They are a reminder that I delivered mail in my previous life before moving to Canada. It’s hard to believe that it is 23 years this month that I moved to Canada and 34 years this December that I started my job with the Royal Mail.

4. We finally got around to watching Silence on Sunday. It was as good as I thought it would be. Now I need to get the book read, as it has been on my TBR pile for far too long. I have also started watching Ozark on Netflix. It’s pretty dark, but I’m really enjoying it so far. I’m hoping to be able to go and see It soon, but I’ll probably have to see it on my own, as my wife is definitely not interested in seeing it. It’s a long time since I read the book, but I don’t have time right now to reread it. I was a little surprised to find out that the latest movie is only part one.

5. I haven’t thought that much about my Christmas book wish list yet. There are a lot of good books due to come out in the next few weeks, but rather than latest releases, I’m toying with the idea of coming up with a list of books available from Book Outlet for my family to choose from. That idea may change, but it’s one I’m seriously thinking about just now.

SaveSave

Bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts (Sept 20)

IMG_0849

 

‘Bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts’ is hosted by Christine at Bookishly Boisterous. It’s just a round-up of bookish and other things from the previous week. Share a link there if you want to participate.

1. I can’t believe that we’re more than halfway through September. Where has the summer gone? Having said that, with the temperatures we’ve been having this week it almost still seems like summer.

2. I had hoped that I’d do better with my reading during the summer, but I got into a rut there and was hardly reading much at all. Recently I’ve got back to more reading again and, hopefully, I’ll get back on track. I put together a TBR pile for fall yesterday and I’ll be happy if I get at least half of them read. I always get sidetracked by other books anyway.

3. Lately I’ve been a bit more grateful for living in a small town where very little happens. There’s a lot of crazy things happening out there in the big world – hurricanes, earthquakes, crazy world leaders playing games of chicken with deadly weapons – but life here just seems to tick along regardless.

4. We made a quick trip to the Book Outlet store in St Catharines last month, but I was very restrained only picking up five books for myself. I made up for it last week when visiting our local thrift store I managed to pick up ten Clive Cussler books. I’m trying to put together a reading plan for getting through my Cussler collection. I read a few of his books when I was a teenager, but he has written at least 70 books that are part of 5 different series. I think I’ve managed to work out a way forward with them. It’ll take a few years, but it’ll be worth it.

5. We dropped off our daughter to the University of Waterloo for her first year at the start of September. She’s only an hour away, but it’s really strange not having her around and we miss her. Her younger brother has some mixed feelings about the situation, though. She’ll be home for Thanksgiving in a couple of weeks time and we will also have family visiting from the UK at the same time.

6. I’m still enjoying my foray into #bookstagram and have been enjoying trying to keep up with some daily challenges. You can check out my pictures HERE.

7. Christmas is just over 3 months away, so I’ll need to start thinking soon about putting together my Christmas book wishlist together. I have no idea what to ask for yet, but I’m sure I’ll manage to come up with plenty ideas.

P.S. The picture at the top is from the wonderful meal we had at Pazzo in Stratford to celebrate our 27th Wedding Anniversary in August. It’s a great place to eat if you’re ever in the area.

WWW Wednesday (May 24)

www-wednesdayWWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Here is what you have to do to participate:

Answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments section the host page for others to look at.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading:

I’m currently reading the above three books, which are:

  1. Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly. One of my book challenges this month is to read a book that was made into a movie. I bought this one round about the time the movie came out, but am only getting around to reading it now. Once I’m finished it I’ll try to check out the movie.
  2. Are You Seeing Me? by Darren Groth. This is one of three books I received from LibraryThing for review, so I need to get on with this one as well.
  3. Grounded: Finding God in the World. A Spiritual Revolution by Diana Butler Bass. I started this one last year and never got it finished. Now that I’m back to it again I’m really enjoying it and should be finished it soon.

Recently Finished:

I finished the above two books during the past week:

  1. You Will Not Have My Hate by Antoine Leiris. I borrowed this little book from the library. It was written by the husband of one of the women killed in the Bataclan Theatre terrorist attack in Paris in late 2015 and is his account of the days following the loss of his wife, and how he will not let what happened cause either himself or their 17 month old son to hate. It was a fairly emotional read, but well worth reading.
  2. Finding God in the Waves: How I Lost My Faith and Found It Again Through Science by Mike McHargue. This was one I had been looking forward to reading for a while and it did not disappoint me. I’ve been listening to a couple of podcasts that Mike is on – ‘Ask Science Mike’ and ‘The Liturgists Podcast’ – for a while now and it was great to finally be able to listen to his story.

Up Next:

I have a couple of review books to get to, as well as a graphic novel I borrowed from the library, so it could be any of them. I’d also like to get into Richard Rohr’s The Divine Dance. So many books and not enough time!

WWW Wednesday – May 10

www-wednesdayWWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Here is what you have to do to participate:

Answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments section the host page for others to look at.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

I was doing well for a little while there, but it’s almost two months since I did one of these posts. So it’s time to get started again! Here are my answers for the past week:

Currently Reading:

Three books that I have on the go at the moment are:

  1. How to be Here by Rob Bell. I’d wanted to read this one for a while, but only picked it up last month. It’s a great read so far.
  2. Are You Seeing Me? by Darren Groth. I received a review copy of this from LibraryThing early reviewers and am hoping to get it read soon. It’s been pretty good up to this point.
  3. Liturgy of the Ordinary by Trish Harrison Warren. I got a little behind in my reading for the Renovaré Book Club, but I’m almost caught up now and should be finished this one soon.

Recently Finished:

wenjackThe only book I finished in the last week was Wenjack by Joseph Boyden. It’s a sad little book based on the true story of Chanie ‘Charlie’ Wenjack, an Ojibwe boy runs away from a North Ontario Indian School, not realizing just how far away home is. He never made it home. It’s a book every Canadian should consider reading, in order to educate ourselves about the dark aspects of our history that should never be allowed to happen again. I also recently read the graphic novel Secret Path, by Good Downie and Jeff Lemire,  that is another adaptation of the life of Chanie Wenjack. It’s worth checking out as well.

Up Next:

I’d like to get into any of the following books next:

  1. Finding God in the Waves: How I Lost My Faith and Found It Again Through Science by Mike McHargue. This one has been on my TBR for a while. I got it for my birthday last mont and am looking forward to reading it soon.
  2. Silence by Shusaku Endo. I had stared this one, but got sidetracked. I’d like to get back to it as one of my book challenges for this month is to read a book that has been adapted into a movie. Once i’ve read it I’ll try to see the movie, as it has just been released on DVD.
  3. The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation by Richard Rohr with Mike Morrell. I just picked this one up and really want to read it soon.

Bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts (May 4)

IMG_0603I seem to have hit a kind of wall lately when it comes to updating this blog. I’m always looking for ways to kickstart it again and found this weekly meme, which might be a way to get things going again. It’s called ‘Bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts’ and is hosted by Christine at Bookishly Boisterous. It just seems to be a list of updates and things from the previous week, some about books, some not. So I think I’ll give it a go and see what happens.

1. After a couple of slow months I think I’ve got my reading back on track again. I started off the new year pretty well, but somewhere in March things started to slow down a bit. Currently I’m enjoying Rob Bell’s How to Be Here, and am also finishing off a few others. I’m a little behind on a couple of my book challenges, but there’s nothing to worry about yet. It won’t take too much effort to catch up. The main thing is that I’m enjoying my reading again.

2. U2 announced yesterday what their special subscription gift is this year. It’s going to be The Joshua Tree Singles Vinyl Collection: 1987 & 2017, and it’ll be shipping out later this year. I’m looking forward to getting it then. Plus, it’s only 50 days until I see them in Toronto.

3. Finally Netflix put up some episodes of shows that I had been waiting for. I binge-watched season two of Better Call Saul in less than a week and I’m current getting through seasons 3 and 4 of Father Brown. I was disappointed that Netflix won’t be showing season 3 of Better Call Saul until next year, but I just discovered that the first four episodes are up on the AMC website for free (so I know what I’ll be watching for the next couple of days). *EDIT: I was only able to watch the first episode of the season for free. In order to watch the rest I would have to be subscribed to the channel on my cable service. Frustrated!*

4. Although my TBR pile keeps on growing, there’s a few good books coming out in the next couple of weeks that I’ll have to add to that pile. One that I’ll be getting for sure is Rob Bell’s What is The Bible? by Rob Bell. Hopefully I’ll be finished How to Be Here by then.

5. Today is, of course, May The Fourth day, when we celebrate all things Star Wars. With it being a week day we decided to hold off on watching anything Star Wars. Tomorrow night we are planning to at least watch Rogue One, which is fine because tomorrow is becoming known as Revenge of the Fifth day.

6. It was exciting watching the Leafs in the play-offs this year, even though they only lasted six games. Better days are ahead, I think. I’m not sure how much further the Raptors are going to go, as they are already 2 games down to the Cavaliers. Thankfully TFC are starting to find some rhythm now after a shaky start. They’re on a three game winning streak at the moment and it’s been great watching them recently. Thankfully Rangers first season back in the Scottish Premiership will be at an end soon. It’s been torture watching them recently, especially last Saturday’s game. Things can only get better and we’ll see if Pedro is the answer or not after the summer transfer window opens.

7. I decided to try a bookstagram challenge on Instagram this month. It’s a Seinfeld themed challenge hosted by The Nocturnal Reader’s Box. If you want to check out my feed I go by @wcs53 on there.

%d bloggers like this: