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!

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Books I’m embarrassed I haven’t read.

I was looking through my to-read list on Goodreads the other day, and realized there are many books I feel like I should have read by now. It’s all in my head, of course, but I can’t help but feel a bit of shame when I see certain books on my list. Here are some of the books that bring me the most shame:

  1. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen – I’ve picked this book up twice in the past few years, and I just can’t seem to get very far into it. I enjoyed the writing, so I’m not sure what’s holding me back. I would like to try to listen to it as an audiobook this year (specifically the version narrated by Rosamund Pike).
  2. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath – Many of the people I follow in the bookish community absolutely love this book. I was never assigned this book throughout school, so I only started hearing about it recently. I also hope to get to this one this year.
  3. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini – I saw the movie and would love to experience the written story. I even bought the book, I just haven’t read it.
  4. Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner – Another popular book that I purchased but never read.
  5. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – I’m curious about this book and it was recommended by a close friend. I’m not sure when I’ll pick it up, though.
  6. Beloved by Toni Morrison – I’m actually ashamed that I haven’t read any of Toni Morrison’s work. She is an author that I just learned about in the last couple of years. I need to get to this one soon.
  7. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – This is also a book that was never assigned reading for me so it’s fairly new in my world. I went ahead and purchased a copy to read this winter.
  8. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot – This particular book came up in many of my public health classes. I bought a copy while in college and just never got around to reading it. This is more of an academic shame and I plan to read it soon.
  9. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee – This is one of those books that everyone and their mom has read. I’m not sure why my teachers never assigned this book, but I feel like I missed out on something. Now I’m a little afraid to pick it up in case I don’t like it as much as everyone else does.

These are just some of the books that I feel bad for not having read and I plan to read soon (in the next year or so). Are there any books on your TBR that you feel you should have read by now? Let me know in the comments below!

Ten books on my spring TBR

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they post a new Top Ten list and everyone is welcome to join. This week’s theme is “Ten Books On My Spring TBR”. I’m really excited for this TBR list as it includes some books I’ve been wanting to read for a while, and some that I just recently discovered.

  1. The Health Gap by Michael Marmot
  2. Bonk by Mary Roach
  3. Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  4. The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma
  5. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  6. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
  7. Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
  8. The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz
  9. On Beauty by Zadie Smith
  10. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

What books are you looking forward to reading this spring? Let me know in the comments below!

Books I plan to read in February.

I know this post is a week late, but I’d like to write it now if you don’t mind. Somehow my January and February TBRs have been packed and I’m not sure how that happened. Originally, I hoped to read 2-3 books each month in 2016, but for these first two months it’s looking more like 5-6 each month. Yikes. So, these are the books I’d like to get to or finish this month:

  1. My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem – I have been listening to (and loving) this on audiobook because of Emma Watson’s Our Shared Shelf book club on Goodreads. I hope to finish this in the next couple of days.
  2. Come As You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life by Emily Nagoski – I’ve been wanting to read this book for the longest time and I’m so happy to finally be reading it! I also hope to finish this book in the next couple of days.
  3. A House of My Own: Stories from My Life by Sandra Cisneros – This is the February pick for brunch book club. I’ve read The House on Mango Street and hope to read Caramelo later this year. I’m definitely excited to get to this one in the next couple of weeks.
  4. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert – I have this checked out as an audiobook more out of curiosity than anything. I read Eat, Pray, Love and really enjoyed it. I thought this nonfiction would be a good audio read and it was finally available at my local library.
  5. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams – After reading and loving The Martian and Ready Player One with my fiancé, we’ve been looking for our next read. I’ve heard a lot of great things about this book, mostly that it’s hilarious. Again, I’ve borrowed this as an audiobook from my local library. It’s about 5 hours long which is perfect for our drive to our hometown next weekend!
  6. The Color Purple by Alice Walker – I’ve also been  meaning to get to this book for a good while and I just saw that it’s the February pick for Our Shared Shelf. That’s a good enough reason for me to pick it up now. I have this one as an e-book so I’ll be able to squeeze in reading here and there throughout the week.
  7. The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler – This pick is from the Banging Book Club on Goodreads led by Hannah Witton and her two friends. I’ll admit, this one is last on this list because it won’t be a big deal if I don’t get to it. It’s mostly on here out of curiosity and in case I need a backup book for the month.

What are some of the books you’d really like to read in the month of February? Have you read any of the books on my list? Let me know in the comments below!

Audiobooks I’d Like to Listen to in 2016

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they post a new Top Ten list and everyone is welcome to join. This week’s theme is a freebie, so I decided to do “Audiobooks I’d Like to Listen to in 2016”. I finished listening to an audiobook last week, and I realized that I can easily read an additional 5-10 books this year if I take advantage of audiobooks. I do plenty of driving, especially because I drive to my hometown that’s 5 hours away every month or two. I also listen to podcasts, but there are times where I want to listen to something else. Listening to audiobooks would help add variety to that. Here are some of the audiobooks I would love to listen to this year:

  1. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
  2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  3. Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
  4. Bossypants by Tina Fey
  5. Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari
  6. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (narrated by Rosamund Pike)
  7. David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell

As you can see, I prefer to stick to nonfiction when listening to audiobooks (for the most part). This is a fairly new world for me, so I’d appreciate any recommendations. What is your favorite audiobook? Let me know in the comments below!

Ten Books I’ve Recently Added to My TBR

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they post a new Top Ten list and everyone is welcome to join. This week’s theme is “Ten Books I’ve Recently Added to my TBR”. I’m constantly adding books to my TBR because of recommendations through podcasts, YouTube, and blogs. I tend to put a lot of consideration into the books that I want to read, but somehow that doesn’t slow down the pile-up. Here are my most recent additions to my to-read list on Goodreads:

  1. Asking For It by Louise O’Neill
  2. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
  3. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
  4. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  5. A House of My Own by Sandra Cisneros
  6. My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem
  7. Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach
  8. The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
  9. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
  10. The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff

On reading anxiety.

While I was in graduate school I added many books to my to-read list on Goodreads. Once I graduated last May, I began to tackle that list. I managed to read 24 books from my TBR last year, but my list on Goodreads is up to 150 books as of today. Before last year, I used to read between 11-14 books each year. Last year I managed to read 31. I’m hoping to keep that up and read at least 25 this year. Even then, I get anxious just thinking about all the books I’d love to get to, but don’t have the time.

This year I’m making an effort to read more books that are physically on my shelves. That’s because I’ve only read a small percentage of the books I own. I bought a lot of books in the last few years, but more than half of the books I read in 2015 were checked out from the public library.

Basically, I just feel anxious because I know that even if I keep up my reading level, I add new books to my TBR too often to ever truly bring it down. And I usually add books to my TBR because of the recommendations from people I follow via blogs, YouTube, or Book Riot (along with my level of interest in the book). Do y’all ever feel anxious about your TBR or certain books you’d like to get to in the near future? What do you tell yourself when you feel this way? Let me know in the comments below!