How I decide on my next read.

I feel like I’m pretty structured when it comes to the books I choose to read each month, but when I look at the books I’ve been reading lately it’s clear that there are a lot of factors that go into making those choices. I tend to choose books based on book clubs, my mood, and if anything on BookTube or podcasts has piqued my interest.

I’m a member of two in-person book clubs and two online clubs through Goodreads. This could easily become overwhelming, so I make it a point to only make an effort with the books I’m sincerely interested in reading. In fact, the online book clubs are more of supplemental reading. I try to squeeze them in when I can.

My mood tends to change depending on the weather, the season, or just things that are going on in my life at the moment. For example, October is the one month where I read horror/thrillers or books about witches. Also, last week I attended a health education conference, so the book I took along was The Health Gap: The Challenge of an Unequal World by Michael Marmot.

Though I try to keep a running list of the books I intend to read each month, nothing is set in stone (unless I am leading the book club that month). I update the list often, but it’s more of a way for me to prioritize the books I’d like to get to first. Come to think of it, it’s just a 2016 TBR list broken down by month.

How do y’all chose what books to read next? Let me know in the comments below!

Rainy day reads.

Today was a lovely Sunday full of cool weather and light rain. I’m sad winter is over so quickly, but I couldn’t help but enjoy the cool breeze on my skin. This got me thinking about my go-to books for gloomy or rainy days. For me, gloomy weather puts me in a really good mood, so the books I choose for these days tend to be comforting and put a smile on my face.

  1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling – this is my favorite of the series simply because of the happiness Harry Potter feels in finding out he has a guardian and someone who could possibly care for him other than the Dursleys.
  2. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – this book simply gives me “the feels” and I love it.
  3. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle – this book has been one of my favorites since I was a kid. It’s a great story and I love Meg and Charles Wallace.
  4. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott – again, another favorite.

Do y’all have any rainy day reads? Or does any particular kind of weather get you in the mood for a certain kind of book? Let me know in the comments below!

Making progress.

As you may remember, a couple of my goals for 2016 were to purchase less books and to read more of the books I already own. These are the specifics: 1) 50% of the books I read this year should be owned by me; 2) I am allowed to buy 1 book for every 5 books I read (not including my Book Riot Quarterly Box subscription).

413V2DNNmlL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_I’ve read 5 books so far this year, and I owned 3 of them. I went to Half Price Books yesterday with the intention of purchasing a book and of selling 5 books that I decided I didn’t want anymore. I was able to put that money toward my book purchase so it was extra sweet. The book in question is Health Gap: The Challenge of an Unequal World by Michael Marmot. I’m a sucker for these kinds of books that explore the social determinants of health and how they contribute to health disparities. I’m thinking I might read this one while I’m at a health education conference in March/April.

I know it’s only the first month, but I’m pleased with my progress so far. Are any of you working on buying less books or reading more of the books you own? How are you doing so far? Let me know in the comments below!

2016 reading goals.

This year I was much more deliberate about the books I chose to read. This was in part because I started reading more this year and had the opportunity to explore different writers, genres, and styles. I was also participating in Book Riot’s 2015 Read Harder Challenge. I would like to continue this next year. However, I have a few reading goals for next year that I would like to work on in addition to the reading challenge:

  • 50% of books read should be owned by me
  • Must read five books before I can buy a new book (“Five to buy” strategy from Read Susie Read)
  • Read at least one book written in Spanish
  • Read at least two books by Latino writers

The first and second goals have to do with the fact that I’ve purchased so many books these past few years, and have read a very small portion of them. Most of the books I read this year were checked out from my local public library. I live in a small apartment and have only one bookcase, so I need to be more strategic about my book-buying habits. That is why these goals focus on tackling the books that I already own. I purchased them because they are books I interested in reading, so I might as well get to it!

I’ve only ever read one book written in Spanish and it was for a high school Spanish class. I really enjoyed the experience and would like to read more books written in Spanish. I also don’t speak Spanish on a daily basis as I should, and so I believe reading in Spanish would help strengthen my vocabulary. I also believe it is important to make sure I am reading books by Latino/Hispanic writers in order to explore writing from people with backgrounds similar to my own or that of my parents.

Apart from these four goals, I will also participate in the Goodreads Reading Challenge as I do every year, and will participate in Book Riot’s 2016 Read Harder Challenge. I try not to become obsessed with these challenges and goals, but I find them to be a fun way to strengthen myself as a reader. Have you set any goals for yourself or do you plan to participate in any reading challenges next year? Let me know in the comments below!

Childhood favorites.

This year I have been making an effort to read more; to read as much as I want to. I’m careful not to say I want to read “as much as I used to”. In my pre-college and pre-grad school days I used to read a lot and whenever I felt like it. I never kept track of exactly how much I read, but I remember reading pretty much  all the time. I used to read all the Harry Potter books every summer, I would read while in the car on road trips, and pick up a book every weekend. Since I no longer have summers of and I now have to drive myself, it’s fair to say that it’s challenging to read as much as I used to. I still have those days where I can’t help but devour a book in one sitting, but those days are far and few between. There is nothing wrong with that, as long as I’m still reading because it’s something I enjoy doing.

I’ve realized that a lot of my reading energy went into series. Funnily enough, I now find myself avoiding series in order to catch up on stand-alone books on my TBR. These are some of the books that were my favorites and go-too books as a child (in no particular order):

  • Nancy Drew
  • Babysitter’s Club
  • Sweet Valley Twins
  • Little House on the Prairie
  • Magic Treehouse
  • Ann of Green Gables
  • Dear America
  • American Girls
  • The Boxcar Children
  • A Wrinkle in Time series
  • Books by Elizabeth George Speare
  • Harry Potter
  • Dr. Seuss books
  • Amelia Bedelia books

These are just most of the series I can remember. It’s harder for me to remember the stand-alones that I read all those years ago. Are there any childhood favorites that really stand out to you or that you think I missed? Let me know in the comments below!

Reading during the holidays.

One thing I love about the holidays, aside from spending time with family and eating great food, is that I usually have the chance to catch up on some reading. Life gets really hectic at work (or school) just before the holidays as things start wrapping up, projects have to be completed, and reports written. Then comes a couple of weeks where I get to go home to spend time with family that I only see once a year. I take advantage of my short-lived freedom from responsibility and settle down to do some serious reading. I usually end up reading 3-4 books in the span of two weeks. That’s usually what I manage to read in 1-2 months.

It’s not like I completely ignore my family for the entire two weeks. I do most of my reading in the first few days I get home, before my family arrives for Christmas. I also try to squeeze in an audiobook on the trip to or from home. I also tend to read YA because that is what I’m itching for this time of year, and I choose books that won’t take me very long. Last year I read Let It Snow, Eleanor & Park, and Say What You Will. I also listened to Yes Please as an audiobook. I basically just take the opportunity to read some lighthearted, fun books that will put me in a good mood. I’m planning to read Fangirl this year. Not sure what else I will get to, but I’ve had my eyes set on that book for a while now.

Are there books you’re looking forward to reading this holiday season, or certain books you like to read this time of year? Let me know in the comments below!

Comic books.

I was never exposed to comic books while growing up, and as a result I perceived comic books as just something that young boys liked to read and tat were usually about male superheroes like Superman, Spiderman, and Batman. Last year, I began to hear about different comic books through Book Riot and BookTube. I was pleasantly surprised to find out about all the different kinds of comics with female leads and complex plots that are out there. Based on what I heard, I decided to read Ms. Marvel earlier this year. Ms. Marvel was the first comic book I had ever read and I really enjoyed it. Two other comic books that I hear about over and over from different people I follow are Bitch Planet and Saga. I was very intrigued by the things I’ve heard about these two books, so I decided to go ahead and purchase the first volumes while visiting a bookstore today. I’m very excited to read them.

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Another comic book I’ve heard great things about is ODY-C, so I will probably be picking that one up as well. Are there any comic books you’d like to recommend? Let me know in the comments below!