2014 End of Year Book Survey Part II

See my answers to Part I here. Questions still from The Perpetual Page-Turner.

Bloggish/Bookish Life

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2014?

The most recent book blog I’ve discovered is Thoughts and Afterthoughts, and I am finding all the posts delightful. Joey has a great style. I don’t actually keep track of WHEN I find blogs to follow, so that’s why the most recent blog will always win.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2014?

Ugh, I’m not super in love with any of my book reviews this year. I think they’re all fine, but nothing stands out as a favorite. Skipping this one.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

5 Strategies for Reducing Student Email! Spring semester is about to start, so I’m really thinking about how to be as clear as possible in my writing so students can get their questions answered by the materials I provide.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

I really had a lot of fun with A Month of Favorites. I found some new blogs to follow and actually posted some good content. Apparently, having predetermined topics to write about helps a lot because I can plan ahead.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2014?

Marissa Meyer did a talk at our local library and part of the swag she gave away was some awesome postcards. Since my friend’s daughter is a fan, I got one signed for her, and mailed it to her. The effusive thanks I received for that surprise gesture really warmed my heart.

Continue reading “2014 End of Year Book Survey Part II”

2014 End of Year Book Survey Part I

Questions courtesy of The Perpetual Page Turner

Reading Stats

  • Number Of Books You Read: 80
  • Number of Re-Reads: 2
  • Genre You Read The Most From: realistic fiction

Best in Books

1. Best Book You Read In 2014?

I gave the following books five stars on Goodreads:

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Page — I could only make it halfway through this book, alas.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2014? 

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn — I figured out the plot twist, but I was not prepared for the batshit insane stuff that happened in that book.

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2014?

I convinced my book club to give Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple a go. They did not like it, unfortunately.

5. Best series you started in 2014? Best Sequel of 2014? Best Series Ender of 2014?

The only series I started that I’m interested in finishing is His Fair Assassin by Robin LaFevers. Oh wait! I forgot that To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han has a sequel coming out next year. Add that one on, too.

Best sequel would have to be a tie between Marissa Meyer’s Scarlet and Jaclyn Moriarty’s The Cracks in the Kingdom. Obviously.

Since Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan is the only series ender I read this year, it wins by default. I’m glad I liked it, though.

Continue reading “2014 End of Year Book Survey Part I”

Goals for 2015

This post is a Top Ten Tuesday/A Month of Favorites hybrid!

1. Forcing myself to post every week along with my students has really gotten me back into the groove/interest of blogging, so I’m going to definitely keep that up as much as possible in 2015.

2. I will keep not-reviewing every book! That worked really well for me. Goodreads for every book, blog for books I have lots to say about. Took off a lot of the self-imposed pressure.

3. I did not talk about teaching as much as I thought I would/wanted to, so I will probably try to do more of that.

4. I definitely want to create a header for my blog (or find someone to do it for me). I know exactly what I want, so it’s just a matter of doing it. Maybe during Bloggiesta?

5. I definitely need to do more discussion/opinion posts.

Continue reading “Goals for 2015”

Recommendation Wednesday (on a Monday): Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Let me just start by saying that I was going to recommend the WHOLE SERIES, but since I haven’t read the other books yet (except Cinder, of course), I don’t think that’d be prudent. I mean, there are five of them after all. But this book has effectively made me want to read every single word that Marissa Meyer writes in The Lunar Chronicles (and possibly beyond), so take that as you will.

Scarlet by Marissa MeyerNow. Let’s talk about Scarlet.

SCARLET. Oh, man. This book.

I honestly don’t know where to begin. So, a (non-spoilery) list.

1. The characters are so great. SO GREAT.

I found Scarlet herself infuriating in the best possible way. She’s so headstrong and determined and desperate, but she is also so caring and honest and FIERCE.

Cinder and Kai show up in this one, and they are just as delightful as they were in the first book. Also, [spoiler] Iko is back, and she is THE BEST, and I love her, so obviously that made me happy. [/spoiler]

Scarlet’s grandmére is so badass and amazing. She was a pilot in the military! She chases people away from her door with a shotgun! Also, she is the kind of person her granddaughter would absolutely die for, and she raised a complete badass, so, you know. Grandmothers, man. Also, I kind of love badass old people (see also: Grandpa Noirtier from The Count of Monte Cristo).

Continue reading “Recommendation Wednesday (on a Monday): Scarlet by Marissa Meyer”

A Month of Faves: Picking Favorites #3

A Month of Faves

So I really enjoyed all of the 5 Books I Almost Put Down and I’m Glad I Didn’t posts, so picking from one of those would be well nigh impossible. I would just say to check out the whole linky on that one.

As for the other topics, the stand out for this past week was definitely MG’s Christmas at Project Gutenberg for reminding me of such a great resource. I haven’t really gotten anything from over there since I read The Count of Monte Cristo, so I really could be getting way more use out of it. I tend to forget it’s there, alas.

Book Review: The Blood of Olympus

The Blood of Olympus by Rick RiordanWell, that was just delightful.

The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan is the last book in the Heroes of Olympus/Percy Jackson series, and while I will miss the characters, I did enjoy this last installment.

There was much to like here! BUT. I will concede that the final battle was a smidge rushed, and I do wish we had seen a little bit more from all of the narrators. However, I know the latter would have been pretty impossible, and I do feel as though all of the characters’ journeys/narrative arcs were sufficiently wrapped up and satisfactory.

So, here is what I did like a lot:

– Reyna. I love her. She is proud and strong but also a little lonely.

– Leo. Of course. I love him. This is well-documented.

– Piper. GUYS. THIS IS HUGE. I spent most of the books in this series totally annoyed by Piper, and I actually really liked her in this book. I LIKE PIPER NOW. I am confused but also happy.

– Annabeth and Piper’s relationship. There’s a whole scene about how sometimes logic is best and other times going with your gut/feelings is best, and so the two girls learn to work together and trust one another and then they’re FRIENDS and COMRADES, and it gives me a happy.

– Oh, and also Reyna, Annabeth, and Piper get to pow wow and be amazing together as well. YAY FOR FEMALE FRIENDSHIPS! Yay for varied levels of badassery and acknowledgement of the different ways one can be a total badass.

Continue reading “Book Review: The Blood of Olympus”

A Month of Faves: Picking Favorites #2

So I just need to accept that picking a favorite out of all the fantastic posts is going to be hard. There’s just too much good to choose from is the thing.

A Month of Faves

I’ll say the standout for me this week is Wesley’s 5 Favorite Travel Tips posted over at Library Educated. I’ll be doing some traveling next week, so those tips are right on time and handy. I especially need to remember to always have food. You’d think I’d know better by now. I mean, honestly.

5 Strategies for Reducing Student Email

Today’s A Month of Favorites topic is five most useful digital lifehacks, so I’m going to talk about something that has made my digital life easier: reducing the number of emails I get from students.

Email, email, email

Student emails can’t be avoided, but the problem with most student emails is that they tend to be thoughtless and rushed, which winds up making more work for me in the end. I don’t like doing extra work. Like, at all. So here are some things I’ve done so that I spend less time answering student emails and more time doing, well, anything else.

1. I teach effective email strategies on the first day of class.

As I mentioned, student emails tend to be thoughtless and rushed–even more so now that a lot of them send emails from their phones and treat emails like text messages. So on the first day, I review audience and purpose with my students, especially as it relates to email. I remind them that they usually want their professors to take them seriously, so it’s important that they send respectful emails that make it seem like they actually care. We go over subject lines and signing emails and making sure to use correct grammar and spelling.

I also make sure my students know that I do not check my email at all hours of the day. I explain that I do not check email on my phone, and that, for me, email lives in the computer, and I do have a life outside of work. (This helps for the students who expect an instantaneous response.)

I forgot to do it this semester, but next semester I am also going to go over problem solving (i.e., don’t email me with a problem; email me with a possible solution to the problem.) I figure that will eliminate some back and forth as well.

Continue reading “5 Strategies for Reducing Student Email”

2014: A Year in Books

Today’s topic for A Month of Favorites is a look at our reading over the course of this year.

A Month of Faves

I’ve tried this a couple of different ways, and I’m stuck, so I’m just going to go with the questions from the prompt.

What month did you…

1. …read the least?

January. Poor January. I only read two books. I think that’s largely because of the back to school blitz, which makes sense because my September reading was also pretty low (4 books).

On the plus side, I really enjoyed both books I read!

They were:

  • The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
  • The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling)

2. …read the most?

July. I read 9 books in July, mostly because of my weekly book club, but also because I read a couple of graphic novels. To be fair to the other summer months, though, I read 8 in May, June, and August, so it was almost a four-way tie. But, you know, July won by a book.

3. …read the book you liked LEAST for the year?

Also, July! The book was Kick-Ass by Mark Millar. Great artwork and an interesting story, but there was some casual and obnoxious racism and misogyny that I just couldn’t overlook. Blech.

(I should point out that it’s the book I liked least that I actually finished. I’ve DNF-ed around five books so far this year.)

Continue reading “2014: A Year in Books”

A Month of Faves: Picking Favorites #1

A Month of Faves

Today’s Yesterday’s topic was a post we’ve loved from someone else this week.

This one was hard! I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read so far from all the participants. One in particular that stands out to me from this past week is Alysia’s “5 Favorite Audiobook Narrators” over at My Little Pocketbooks. It immediately got me thinking about the narrators I love–enough so that I started curating a list of my own. It was also timely because Trisha over at eclectic/eccentric had a question about audiobook narrators, and I was totally ready to chime in with some recommendations. So, props to Alysia for helping me prepare for a moment I didn’t even know I was training for.