A Guide to Stop Book-Hoarding

As a book lover and someone who has dreamed of someday having my own library, I know that we all want something that looks a little like this:

beauty-and-the-beast-library-1024x576

What’s not to love? Of course I want to dedicate a room in my house to just books.

Yet recently, I found myself feeling overwhelmed by the amount of books that I owned and had not read. I had been so focused on accumulating that I had allowed my unread shelf to pile up until it was completely unmanageable. It caused me to stagnate, and when it came time to pick my new read, it was impossible to choose.

If you’re not the kind of person who gets stressed by unread books on their shelves, then go crazy, kid. Buy all the books you want. You are your own person and you are free to own all the books in the world and read them at your own pace. I envy you!

However, if you’re like me and feel the need to purge and start fresh, then this post is for you.

One of the first things that I did was purge the books that I had already read, but may not have liked very well. Personally, I threw out any book that I had given 3 stars or lower, but you can do it however you’d like! I found this to be a great starting point for me because it was good practice in letting go for a person who tends to hoard everything.

Next, I got rid of any books that I owned that I wasn’t interested in reading anymore or anytime soon. Maybe I was when I first bought it, but some time has passed and my interests have changed. So that book that’s been sitting on your shelf, collecting dust for 5 years? Chuck it. You don’t need that weight in your life.

I did this in waves, because I’d go through my books one time and find a few that I wanted to part with. Then I’d look through them again and find a few more. I did this 3-4 times until I felt satisfied that everything left on my shelf was either a book that I’d read or a book that I was definitely planning to read in the near future.

The most important thing to do is make rules for yourself so that this never happens again. You may say, “No, I’ll do better. I won’t buy as many books.” But old habits die hard, and soon you’ll be drowning in unread books again.

I have two guidelines for myself when it comes to buying books now: either I’ve already read it and I gave it 4 or 5 stars; or I haven’t read it, but it’s by an author that I have read and liked at least 75% of the time.

For example, I’m interested in reading Markus Zusak’s newest book, Bridge of Clay. I have read The Book Thief, which was amazing, and I Am the Messenger, which was not so much. Because I’ve had two different experiences with this author, I don’t want to take a chance and waste money on a book I may not enjoy.

For this reason, I’ve put Bridge of Clay on hold at my library. If I end up enjoying it, then I can purchase it and add it to my personal library. If I don’t, then no harm is done and no money is wasted.

I want a big library just as much as the next bookworm, but I want to fill it with books that I love. But, this is just the way that I do things; if you read strictly from the library, that’s absolutely fine and doesn’t make you any less of a bibliophile. If you buy all the books in the world, it doesn’t make you any more of one. We all love to read, and that’s all that matters in this community: not the size of your library or the amount of books you read.

Advertisements

BOOK REVIEW: Hank Green “An Absolutely Remarkable Thing”

An-Absolutely-Remarkable-ThingTitle: An Absolutely Remarkable Thing

Author: Hank Green

Genre: Science Fiction

My Rating: 5/5 stars

 

If you’re familiar with John Green’s work and expect this to be similar, you’re going to need to undergo a complete mind-wipe before digging into this masterpiece of a book. Not that John isn’t fabulous in his own way, but Hank’s style is so distinctly his.

Plus all of John’s books are about angsty teenagers who talk like hipsters in their mid-thirties. And Hank’s debut novel is science fiction with an extremely complicated adult main character.

So that’s one thing that needs to be cleared up right away: Hank’s novel is marketed to adults, although it can be a great bridge from YA to adult. The content isn’t necessarily too adult, but all of the main characters are grown-ups well out of college.

This story follows April May, who happens across a sculpture on her way home from work late one night. She’s captivated by it and on a whim, she calls up a friend of hers to come take a look. April tells him to bring his filming equipment, and the decide to make a video featuring their new friend, who they lovingly name Carl.

The next day, April wakes to find that their video has gone viral. Not only that, but their’s isn’t the only Carl; there are 63 others circling the globe, and nobody knows how they got there.

So this starts out as a look at sudden fame and how different people deal with it. April and her friend are immediately thrust into this world of interviews and social media, and they both have to learn how to adapt. It’s interesting to see how April reacts, regardless of how little she cared for media and the news before her newfound celebrity status. She makes some poor decisions throughout her journey, and while it sometimes makes her unlikable, it makes her feel very real.

However, some new information comes to light and the world slowly begins to realize that the Carls are not of their world.

So, aliens.

This makes April’s position, right smack in the middle of it, suddenly all the more interesting because not only was she one of the first to discover the existence of the Carls, she also may have been the first to make contact. The story shifts from being a human examination to an almost Ready Player One-like mystery, where the entire world has to work together to discover what the Carls want and why they’re there.

It’s absolutely fascinating, and I adored this book. I had doubts going into it, and the beginning was a little rough. I also wasn’t a fan of some of Hank’s style choices: unnecessary exclamation points and some ALL CAPS that made the writing seem more juvenile. However, once I got into the meat of the story, I forgave those things immediately in favor of an absolutely remarkable journey.

The characters were all relatable and likable (although as previously mentioned, not all the time). Hank seems to know humans very well because the events of the story unfold in such a way that I believed it could all actually happen. The pacing of this story was excellent and I was never once bored; in fact I read it cover to cover in less than 24 hours because I was so engrossed.

I laughed, I cried, I was on the edge of my seat. Those last 50 pages had me losing my mind. The ending was fantastic and it was the perfect bridge between this and the sequel. Yes, a sequel! I thought this might be a standalone but once you get to the end, you’ll agree that if Hank doesn’t give us a second book fast, we’re going to have to go to his house and force his hand.

Not really, Hank! I would never do that!*

This was a wonderful book and it’s the kind of story that stays with you after and makes you think about it for days. So naturally I’ve been bugging my husband about it ever since and he’s about done with me. Sorry honey, it’s what you signed up for when you married me!

 

*Seriously though, I will riot if I don’t get that sequel.

BOOK REVIEW: Sarah J Maas “Kingdom of Ash”

9781619636118Title: Kingdom of Ash

Author: Sarah J Maas

Genre: Fantasy

My Rating: 5/5 stars

 

There are going to be major spoilers in this post so if you haven’t finished Kingdom of Ash yet, leave for your own good. GOODBYE NOW.

Okay, I’m starting now.

Can I first just say holy crap???? Like, what a journey, am I right? This series has been a favorite of mine since the very beginning, and I’ve been following Throne of Glass since practically the beginning. It’s been a wild ride, and I have always said that each book gets better than the last one. Sarah J Maas ups the stakes somehow, or introduces new, awesome information.

Say what you will about Maas, but she can write one detailed high fantasy, which can’t be said for many established fantasy authors out there. I know that Maas is criticized almost constantly, but I have to say that I think she’s an incredibly talented writer. She had to have done a ridiculous amount of research in writing this series, and it shows. She can write a great romance, but have you read any of her battle scenes?

So do I think she gets a bad rep for no reason? Kind of. I understand some of the complaints that people have, I do. But if you don’t like her books, then don’t read them. But I’ve seen so many people talking crap about her books, who haven’t liked her from the beginning yet keep reading them? I mean, to each their own I suppose, but typically if I didn’t like the first book of a series, I just quit and leave it at that. These people need to get a life.

*I* don’t even like all of her books. I’m not a huge fan of her ACOTAR series. I’ve always been partial to Throne of Glass, but I can at least acknowledge the huge fan-base that ACOTAR has and recognize that she must be doing something right.

Anyway, this wasn’t supposed to be a Maas defense post, this is a review of Kingdom of Ash.

I’ll start with the bad: Maas apparently has a problem with killing of her characters. Not to say that I’m mad or anything, because of course I’m thrilled that all of my favorites lived; but I also know that it’s not realistic. I definitely expected someone important to die in this book, and I’m almost disappointed that no one did. It seems like the last crucial character she killed off was Nehemia, and that was ages ago.

I gotta reiterate: I ain’t mad. I’m so happy that all my characters ended up happy in the end. But also not? Like isn’t it so convenient that everyone ended up paired off and married by the end? I can’t say I’m mad about that either because yay love! Yay marriage! Yay for my ships that ended up together! But also, not realistic.

If Maas hadn’t killed off Manon’s Thirteen, I probably would have been a little more peeved by all of this, but that scene was heart wrenching. I admit that when Manon and the Thirteen were first introduced, I wasn’t the biggest fan. I was still obsessing about how amazing Aelin’s character was becoming and how hot Rowan was.

However, by this last book, I was definitely on board with the Thirteen, particularly Asterin, and I ship Manon and Dorian forever.

Maas has written some of the most interesting, fleshed out characters in all of YA fantasy, and I am going to miss them with my whole heart. When Aelin said her goodbyes to Dorian and Chaol, I thought my heart was going to fall out of my chest. Such an iconic trio, there from the beginning! It’s the end of an era! Literally kill me!

Was the book maybe a bit too long? Um, yeah. Come on, Sarah, are you trying to kill me? Yet this was the perfect conclusion to an awesome series, and I can’t say I would have changed a thing.

Why It’s Okay to DNF Books

If we’re not all familiar with the term, here’s a fact for you: DNF means “did not finish”. The abbreviation has become a verb in the bookish community: “I didn’t like this book, so I DNF’d it.”

People tend to turn their noses up at people who DNF books, especially if they proceed to review it/give it a rating on Goodreads, or any platform really. It’s a tough call, but I believe it’s completely okay.

woman wearing brown shirt carrying black leather bag on front of library books

Photo by Abby Chung on Pexels.com

There is literally an immeasurable amount of published books in the world, and thousands more are published every year. It’s become my philosophy that if I’m reading a book and I’m not enjoying it, I shouldn’t have to suffer my way through it. I’ve got dozens of other books on my TBR (to be read) shelf that are calling my name. If this one book that I’m reading is making me miserable, or taking me forever to get through, there’s no shame in putting it down and picking up something more interesting.

Because here’s the thing: it’s your life. You can do whatever you want. You can read whatever you want. Screw what the snobs tell you; if you don’t like that book, you don’t have to read it. Simple as that.

Now when it comes to reviewing the book on Goodreads, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with leaving a short explanation as to why you weren’t into it and why you DNF’d it, because those feelings are completely valid. However, I have found that for books that I DNF before the halfway point, I will leave off a star rating as a respect to the author since I didn’t complete the book. If you read more than half the book though, I think that can be up to you if you’d like to give it a rating or not.

You are the reader, and if you’re not happy with a book, pick something else! You should not have to put yourself into a slump to make other people happy. Make you happy.