In April, it occurred to me that I was getting nowhere fast on my TBR jar or on my Goodreads Challenge to read 25 books in 2016. Four months into the year and I’d read…three. And while I love buying books, I have way more than I really need and hate to just continue adding to the problem. And then, it hit me. What about going to the library? I’d half-heartedly looked into the possibility of being able to check out ebooks through my libray, but didn’t really understand how it worked and it looked suspiciously like my library wouldn’t actually be able to do that. But, surely I could check out actual books, right? So, off I went. I got my first library card in like twenty years and went directly upstairs to the YA section to see if I could find any Rainbow Rowell books. And lo and behold, they had some! And lo and behold they had Eleanor & Park! Woohoo!
I came home with two books that day. I wanted to check out all of the things, but figured if I’ve only read three books in four months I should probably assume I can’t get through more than two books in the three weeks I had to read them. Of course I started with E&P first. I’ve read a couple of Rainbow Rowell books before (Fangirl and Attachments) and loved them.
“Eleanor was right: She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.”
I read this book in basically three days. Rainbow Rowell may well be one of my favorite authors. I love her writing, I love her characters, I love that she makes me feel like I felt at sixteen. I love that she made me dig out mix tapes I haven’t listened to since high school/college. I love that although her books are shelved with the YA books and that at first glance they appear to be nothing more than a simple romantic love story – it’s the complexity of her characters and their inner thoughts and feelings and struggles that speak to me. Each book I read of hers becomes my new favorite. If you haven’t read her books, you should start one today.
After finishing Eleanor & Park, I started Anna and the French Kiss. So many people had recommended this book to me (probably because of my love of all things Paris and romances), so I was happy to find it at the library.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and read it in about three days because I had a hard time putting it down. A story of an American girl sent to the American School in Paris who begins to fall in love with the city and a boy. I loved her passion for cinema (a passion I share) and the exploration of Notre Dame, the Latin Quarter, etc. made me long to return there. I have so many regrets about my time in Paris – so many things I didn’t see or do – and this book just made the city come alive for me again. This one was well worth a read and I’m looking forward to reading her others.
I’ll be back next time with more books!
At the end of 2015 I started thinking about my plans for my 2016 reading and decided I would try something new and fun. Enter the TBR (To Be Read) jar. I’d seen this marvelous invention on Instagram and loved the idea so much I had to do it too. I’d set my annual Goodreads challenge at 25 books for 2016 (we won’t talk about that’s been my goal for the last several years and I’ve not even come close), so I wanted to keep my TBR jar selections around the 15-20 range. I chose a mix of books that have been sitting on my shelves forever (including one that I’ve started but never finished), books I don’t own but really want to read, and I gave myself a **Free** selection (meaning I can pick any book I want to read whenever that one gets drawn). My plan was to draw my first book on January 1st and get started. Oh, and I made myself a fun Harry Potter-inspired jar too!
I ended up holding off on pulling my first selection from the jar on January 1 because Eric bought me Lara Casey’s book for Christmas, which I’d been dying to read. As you already know from my previous posts, I worked my way through this book and thoroughly enjoyed it. I actually started it on January 1 and fully expected to zip through it because it’s not a very lengthy book. This book, as Lara says herself, is an action book rather than a reading book. It took me awhile to work my way through it because it does require a lot of introspection, questioning, actioning, and praying. This book is part autobiography, part guidebook to really focusing on what matters. What makes Lara’s guidance so valuable is that not only has she been where you are, but she shows you how she started to make things happen in her own life – making changes that sometimes worked and sometimes didn’t. Her authenticity and continued journey that comes through on her blog and on Periscope really strike a chord with me. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to start making things happen in their own life. Not only did this book help me define what matters most to me, it also provided me with clear and actionable steps to move toward those things.
I took a small break from Make it Happen to read something light. Despite being a freebie ebook, I really enjoyed this. It reminded me a bit of Rainbow Rowell’s writing. A story about being awkward, which I think we can all relate to, and learning to love what makes each of us unique. Once I finished up Story of Awkward, I decided to go ahead and pull the first selection out of my TBR jar. My first draw was Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. Since it wasn’t a book I own I was going to have to procure it, so I wouldn’t be able to start it immediately. I sat that aside and went back to Make it Happen.
After going back to Make it Happen and finishing it up – more about that book in my other posts – I picked up The Lake House by Kate Morton. Lake House wasn’t a book that was on my list to read and I actually hadn’t ever heard of it. I was watching a knitting podcast (Fiber By Design) and this was the Feb/March book for the Oh Loops! book club on Ravelry. I decided to jump in and thought it would be fun to discuss the book, so I grabbed the kindle edition and got started. I haven’t read any Kate Morton previously, but I will definitely be reading her other books. This book kept me guessing, as all the best mysteries should, while carrying me along with the storyline. I loved that the story was woven between the 1930s and the 2000s, with Alice fusing the two timelines together. I really really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.
So, those are the three books I started off my 2016 with. I’ll share more next time!