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.

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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.

BOOK REVIEW: Nicola Yoon “Everything, Everything”

22053372_1813520378678045_2121720862_nTitle: Everything, Everything

Author: Nicola Yoon

Genre: Contemporary

My Rating: 4/5 stars

 

Madeline has a rare disease which makes it impossible for her to go outside. Basically, she is allergic to the world. So she lives a confined life with little-to-no social interaction, which she is satisfied with. That is, until the new neighbors move in.

She watches the family next door and memorizes their daily schedules. Madeline watches the wife garden in the morning, the husband come home every day with anger in his eyes, looking for a reason to attack his family. She watches the daughter leave cigarettes in the front yard, and then watches the son. His comings and goings. His lack of routine. She watches him climb onto the room, where she’s unable to see him anymore. And occasionally, she watches him watch her.

Madeline and Oliver eventually connect via email, typing IMs to each other. A special relationship blossoms between them, and suddenly, Madeline is no longer satisfied with her life indoors. She decides she wants more.

This was a sweet story, and I loved seeing Madeline and Oliver’s initial interactions via IM. I loved it when they met for the first time, the nervousness and the flirting.

Oliver’s character was well-developed, and I was so glad that there was more to him than “bad boy next door neighbor, likes to wear black”. I love that he never gave up on Madeline and his genuine love and concern for her wellbeing. He was more worried about her being healthy than being able to have a normal relationship with her. He was willing to settle for zero physical contact and 30 minute visits if it meant that she would be alright, so he was selfless and caring.

Madeline was also an easy character to like. She wasn’t totally pleased with her health situation, but she was living with it, which is a lot better than I would be doing. But she was also strong and when she finally started thinking for herself, she stuck to her guns and she did what she needed to.

Unfortunately, I predicted the ending, but was still relatively satisfied with it. This was a quick, adorable read, and I can’t wait to see the movie now!

 

Nicola Yoon: Website | Tumblr | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

BOOK REVIEW: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows “My Lady Jane”

22016296_1813520372011379_1081536989_nTitle: My Lady Jane

Author(s): Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows

Genre: Historical Fiction/Fantasy

My Rating: 3/5 stars

 

If you don’t know the tragic backstory of Lady Jane Grey, it doesn’t matter. All you need to know is that her young life was extinguished much too soon. She was eventually seen as a victim and martyr, poor thing.

Don’t be so mad, I haven’t spoiled the end for you.

In this story, our narrators Hand, Ashton, and Meadows attempt to rewrite history in a fun, clever way. Not only that, they give the story a happy ending, which is what I’m here for. If you know me at all, you’d know that I hate a sad story, and I was so excited to read a book where a tragic history gets retold.

This story has some serious fantastical elements to it, so there is no doubt that this is fiction. Instead of a religious tension between Catholics and the Protestants, this is a story about a division between people who can change into animals, Edians, and those who can’t, Verities. It’s so silly, it borders on ridiculous; yet somehow it works. The language in the book seems a little too contemporary, but I suppose when one of the main characters is a horse, you can afford to be a little lenient?

Jane Grey is arranged to be married to Lord Gifford Dudley (who also happens to be the horse mentioned above). She doesn’t discover this crazy secret until the morning after her wedding night, when she awakens to find her hungover husband has turned into an animal. He can’t control the change, unfortunately, and is doomed to be in equestrian form during the day and a man only at night.

Our newlyweds also despise each other, although surprisingly, this has nothing to do with the fact that the groom is a horse. (Can I mention this enough?) This is something that I can’t help but love: when two characters that seem to hate each other eventually catch feelings. It’s a popular trope, and maybe an annoying one to some, but I will always think it’s adorable.

I can’t say much about our King Edward because he had no personality. He was so tasteless and charmless and boring to read. And unfortunately, this was what eventually killed the story for me; although I found it funny and sweet and entertaining, the story only got slower and slower. I wanted to be into it, but I just kept skimming.

Also, another thing I thought was irritating: every time a character changed from animal to human form, they would be naked. It makes complete sense and I know this was vital to the story, but the characters wouldn’t shut up about it. Someone would change and all they could talk about was how naked they were. Like okay, we get it, they’re naked. Grow up.

All in all, it was entertaining and crazy enough to pique my interest, but not enough to keep me hooked. I’ll read any sequels just to see what happens, but they won’t be a priority read for me.

BOOK REVIEW: Marissa Meyer “Heartless”

22014888_1813520375344712_1765749739_nTitle: Heartless

Author: Marissa Meyer

Genre: Fantasy

My Rating: 3/5 stars

 

Before I begin this review, let me just say that if you’re looking for a story where all the characters live happily ever after, you should pick up something different.

I mean, come on. The book is called Heartless; what does that tell you? It’s a story about Wonderland before the Queen of Hearts began her reign. This is literally her origin story. In what universe does she get a happy ending? I wish I could say this one, but I can’t.

Summary:

The book begins with our main character, Lady Catherine Pinkerton, in the place she loves the most: the kitchen. She loves to bake and loves to make people happy with her delicious confections. It’s widely known that hers are the best goods in all of Hearts, and she hopes to open her own bakery.

Unfortunately, she runs into a bit of trouble.

It seems that she has caught the eye of the King of Hearts, an older, shorter, very silly man. When Catherine learns that he intends to make her his bride, she’s not the least bit thrilled. When Catherine meets the handsome court joker, Jest, she’s given even more reason to detest the King and her parents for pushing her into a marriage that she doesn’t want. She feels pressured to live a life that she knows could never make her happy, and when she begs her parents to consider the alternative, they insist that a lady has no place in business, or in the kitchen.

My thoughts: 

It’s obvious that Marissa Meyer has a talent for fairytale retellings, based on both this and her Lunar Chronicles series. Even though she’s pulling from a world that has already been created, she describes it beautifully, and she’s so clever and creative with her references. It was very interesting to see her interpretation of both the Queen of Hearts, who was not yet queen and not yet evil, and the Mad Hatter, who was not yet mad.

I will admit that the story is frustrating. Catherine’s parents are restricting and she’s so limited, given the era and how women were treated at the time. It seems they don’t have much of a say in their own lives, whether you are a lady or a maid. It’s incredibly disheartening to see Catherine’s simple dream being waved off as silly. I want to say that her parents had her best interests at heart, but did they really? Were they really so unaware?

Still, as easy as it was to sympathize with our main character, I can’t say I actually liked Catherine. She never did anything particularly noteworthy or honorable. She let her parents and everyone else push her around. Jest, the joker that she falls in love with, however, was a perfectly lovable character. He was mysterious and interesting and charming and so much fun to read. He definitely made the reading experience easier, but somehow also harder, considering his fate couldn’t possibly be a good one.

The ending was rather predictable. I’m sure that by reading the summary, most people could tell you how the story ends based on that, regardless of the fact that we know how that Queen of Hearts turns out. Still, the final sentence gave me chills, and I still must commend Marissa Meyer for her lovely work. She definitely knows how to write a villain (I still get the creeps just thinking about Fairest.)

Feel free to answer the discussion question in the comments; there are no right or wrong answers. Have a good day, book people.

Why is a raven like a writing desk?

Introducing Myself

Good morning from Hawaii! My name is Devyn Guerra, and this is blog number 5 or 6 that I’ve started now? I’m the absolute worst about remaining focused on one topic; sometimes I’d love to write about my life. Sometimes I’d love to write fantasy. Sometimes I write fan fiction. And sometimes I like to post my bookish opinions on the internet.

So here I am.

I was born in South Carolina 21 years ago and I lived there for 9 years. Still, those were never really the formative years from me, and so I’ve always considered Texas my home. I lived there non-consecutively for about 8 years total, but they were some of my most important. Sure, I moved away junior year to live in Nevada for three years, but I eventually ended up back in the Lone Star State.

Unfortunately, I didn’t live in a very pretty part of Texas. While I would absolutely love to live somewhere like San Antonio, my dream city, I ended up in a dumb town called Harlingen, and I love it. It’s where I’ve made some of my most important friendships, suffered my greatest losses, and where I met the love of my life.

I’m grateful for all the moving around I’ve done in my life because it has prepared me for a lifestyle I never saw myself living: the military life. A little less than a year ago, my boyfriend proposed to me, enlisted in the Army, and shipped off for basic training, all in the matter of about one month. It was all very fast, but we decided it was the quickest way for us to be married and to start receiving a steady income. So far, the long separations have been very difficult, especially considering I am probably the clingiest person alive and require constant reassurance, but we’ve made it work and are now happily married and stationed in Oahu.

Now, I find myself with loads of time on my hands. I’m not in school (yet), and I’m not working. So what does that leave me to do? I hope to begin building up a legitimate internet presence with my newfound time and to actually use this opportunity to write. I find that I always run out of steam about a month into a new blog, but it’s always been because I’m so tired from work or school. I would come home after a long day and find that it was easier to relax in front of Netflix than to actually write anything. So all my blogs before have fizzled out. So this is my chance to finally do something I love.

I hope that you’ll follow me and that you’ll enjoy future blog posts. Comment with any questions that you have for me, and contact me if there is a specific book that you’d like for me to review. Mahalo!