Discussion, Shelf Tour

Bookshelf Tour Part 1

For the first time since I started my book blog, I can finally share my bookshelves! Over the next few months, I’ll be sharing one my bookcases! Here is the first of four bookcases…

We start with the top of the bookcase and my friendly stuffed bears

The top shelf holds my library books, plus my zen items

On the left are the books from the Everett library system and the books on the right are from the Snohomish library system.

 

The next two shelves are the books that I have read and want to keep for re-reading {or are part of a series I am still working on}. The first of these two shelves is my YA keepers

 

The second keeper shelf has my adult fiction books and my nonfiction books

 

And the final three shelves are my current TBR… the books that I hope to read over the next year-ish

   

So that is my first bookcase… there are three more to go… including two more that are entirely comprised of TBR!

 

Discussion

On Regaining Balance

Over the last couple of days, I have been feeling really out of balance. Since moving in November, I have been stressed out and exhausted, so I feel like I need to change something to feel like myself again.

I have been trying to figure out ways that I get my head on straight again and feel better about where I am. I decided that I needed to put together a plan to bring things back in balance…

Cut Back

The first step is to cut back on what I’m trying to do. Less books, less Netflix shows, less projects, less commitments. Most of what is on my plate I put there myself, so I need to take a step back and do less instead of more. This will help to create more balance in my life.

So instead of trying to read from 5 books every day, I’ll read from just one per day. Same with Netflix, just one show each day. And instead of trying to work on every project that’s left to be done at home, I’m just focusing on one per area: setting up my stereo and CD collection, hanging pictures, etc.

Step Up Self Care

Where I need to cut back on my projects, I feel like I need to step up on my self care. In addition to getting good sleep, staying hydrated, journalling, stretching and yoga, I want to add in some more light exercise, such as walking a couple of times per week (of course with this weather my walks may initially be in the mall where I work). I also want to try to plan some time into my schedule to get near water on a more regular basis. I am a water sign and feel most calm when I am near water… luckily in Western Washington there is a lot of water to be had! I haven’t found a lake near where I’m living yet, but we aren’t too far from Lake Washington, and I should be able to get into Seattle at least once a month to spend some time on Elliott Bay… and if I can get in a ferry ride, that’s a bonus!

Eat Better Food

In some way this is part of self care, but I think at least part of the reason I’ve been feeling so exhausted is that I’ve been relying on a lot of processed foods. My grocery budget has been a little slim over the last couple of months while I’ve been paying deposits on utilities and all of that good stuff. Because of that, I’ve been stocking up on things that will last a little longer, but are not necessarily as healthy. Now that I am in a place where I can start doing regular shopping again, it’s time to get back to actually cooking and doing food prep… actually eating salads and fruit, actually making dinner instead of opening a box.

What do you do when you need to regain balance?

Discussion

On the Accumulation of Stuff

I swear that I am not a hoarder, but if you looked at my apartment right now, you just might think that I was lying. It’s always around the time that you move that you really see just how much stuff you own and have to wonder… why?

And I’m not talking about books. Just because I own enough books to fill 4 bookcases, doesn’t mean I have too many. It’s all the other stuff. The things that I went through phases and was interested in, got a ton of stuff, then my interest waned… or shifted. And the sad part is that I used to own even more stuff!

When I left San Diego to move to Washington, I got rid of furniture, books, all of my kitchen stuff, and so many other things it’s crazy. But I kept a lot, then got more while living in Seattle. When I left Seattle to move to Oregon with my family, I got rid of a bunch more… more books, stuffed animals, memorabilia, decor items, etc. And now that I’ve moved back to Washington and I’m unpacking in my tiny living room, I can see that I didn’t cull anywhere near enough stuff the last time I packed!

So where did all of this stuff come from? I get excited about things and want to get my hands on everything to do with them… books, collectibles, whatever. Over time this has included NASCAR, various forms of crafting, music, movies, books to an extent, and a myriad of other things. I used to keep cute pens from Disney when they ran out of ink! One thing isn’t so bad, but more than that and there is just way too much.

As I have been unpacking, I have been culling things even further {though I now have a ton of stuff to take to a donation center}. The cow collection that started when I was 16 {so 30years ago} has been cut down to just those that I love or have true sentimental value. The same goes with stuffed animals {aside from my Build-a-Bears, I work there, so I fall in love a lot}. That huge collection of NASCAR collectibles is down to 3 cars. My supply of crafting materials has been trimmed to just the crafts I really love… painting paper mache boxes and wooden bird houses. My closets and drawers have been cleared of all the things that don’t fit or I’ll never wear again. Even my books have been culled again {only books that I have read and don’t see myself re-reading, or nonfiction topics that no longer interest me}. Once I get them all to the donation center, I’ll feel so much better… and lighter.

So how do I keep from accumulating so much stuff going forward? I really don’t know! I’m already collecting a ton of props for Bookstagram posts now that I have somewhere to shoot pictures. And I’m finally putting up a gallery wall and have been collecting things I love for there. And then there’s the library decor that I’ve coveted for years and am finally collecting. {All of this thanks to the discovery of Hobby Lobby last year, I did mention an addiction in an earlier post}.

I guess I need to look at things in two ways. I need to not go overboard, and focus on pieces that I love and will enjoy using {or looking at}. And I also need to recognize when it’s time to let things go and not keep holding on to them. As I’ve gotten older, I hope that I am better at recognizing this than I was before.

What things do you have a problem accumulating?
How do you handle having too much stuff?

Discussion

On Finding My New Normal

Originally I was planning on posting an apartment tour today, but unfortunately the apartment is really not ready to be shown yet! So instead I decided to talk about finding my new normal in all of the craziness that has accompanied this transfer/promotion and move.

I read somewhere that what you do on January 1st is what you will be doing all year. If that’s true, then 2018 will be the year of unpacking for me! Really though, I do like the idea of this year being about sorting through all of my stuff, both physical and emotional, and creating order. And I have a lot of stuff!

But in addition to that, I committed to myself that this year would be about taking better care of myself, so I made sure to focus on that on January 1st as well. I made time to rest, time to read, and time to focus on my blog in addition to all of the unpacking and cleaning required with the move. It helped to keep me balanced through the bulk of it. And that’s really what normal is about for me… balance.

I am a creature of routine. I like it and I find comfort in it. I have my morning routines before work, my evening routines when I get home, my routines that I follow on my days off, and as long as I am sticking to my routines and balancing that with adventures, my life is good.

Even while I was transitioning, I noticed that I naturally developed a routine in each situation I was in… I had a routine for doing things while I was in the hotel, a routine while I was staying at my friend’s house, and a routine for being in the apartment sans furniture. Now that everything is here, it’s important to find my new routine. Lately it has been revolving around the unpacking and clearing process, but once that is complete, I’ll be able to fill that space with more reading and exercise.

So what do I want my new normal to look like? I want to balance my time between work, blogging, reading, living a healthy lifestyle, and fun. And a lot of those overlap, so I think that will naturally help with the balance. And now that I am not driving a minimum of 2 hours every day, I can focus more on the things I need to be happy.

What does your “normal” look like?

Challenges, Discussion

On Challenging Myself for 2018

In 2017, I participated in a lot of challenges. Originally, my plan for 2018 was to join in a bunch of challenges as well… maybe not quite as many, but I was still planning on participating in several. And then I started thinking about all of the books that I have in boxes in storage and all of the books currently hanging out on my Kindle, and all of the eARCs I have yet to read and review. So I decided that instead of joining in with a whole bunch of challenges this year, I was going to challenge myself to read the books I actually own and catch up with what I have before taking on something new. So here is my plan for 2018.

Reading:

Total Reading Goal {Goodreads}: 150

Physical books from my shelves: 50
New physical books: 10
eBooks already on my Kindle: 25
New eBooks: 10
ARCS: 25
Audiobooks: 10
Library books: 20

Considering I bought over 200 new books this past year, most of them physical books, clearing out 75 books from my shelves actually won’t make that big of a dent! But it’s a start on getting through what I already own before diving into more new stuff. But I can get some of the new stuff through the library if needed. (Yay for having library access again!) My focus will include finishing series that I have already started before starting new ones.

Blogging:

I will be continuing with many of the memes I’ve participated in this year and may add a few more in as well, though I am combining many of my memes together into a couple of weekly post, rather than multiple posts each day. I’ll be doing more book shelf features, since I will actually have all of my books and shelves. And I intend to post monthly TBR lists this year… though how well I’ll stick to them, I’m not sure.

As far as goals, I want to get better at commenting… both replying to comments on my blog and commenting on other blogger’s post. I want to work on including more discussion posts, and I want to try some new things… unboxings, vlog posts, etc. And of course, I want to continue to schedule my posts out in advance as much as possible.

Other Stuff:

My health and finances are also going to be a big focus in 2018. I may include some updates in my monthly or weekly updates, I haven’t yet decided.I also want to meet more people and get more active in the world around me.

But I will be getting back into a regular fitness routine, including walking, yoga, weights, and maybe some fitness classes. With the move, my recumbent bike will be coming out of storage, plus my complex has a fitness center with treadmills. There’s also a gym near my work, but with all of the equipment I have available, I need to determine if it really fits into my budget to join a gym just for classes, especially if I can find some elsewhere.

2017 was a year for starting to turn my finances around, and I really need to continue that in 2018. I did a lot more spending than I should have done and less saving last year, so living within a budget and saving for emergencies and the future are both high priorities. I will also continue to work on improving my credit limit and paying off past debts.

And while I already know some people in the area, both through work and friends from when I lived here before,  I would like to expand my circle a little more and find some people I can hang out with from time to time. I want to look into joining some clubs or taking some classes in the area.

So how are you challenging yourself for 2018? And would you be interested in reading about my non-bookish goals and progress??

Discussion

On Reflections of the Year Gone By {2017}

As the year comes to a close, I wanted to look back at what 2017 has meant to me in terms of books, reading and the blog.

Challenges:

I signed up for a lot of challenges this year. I mean A LOT. Some of them I just bombed completely, others I excelled at, and still a few others were somewhere in the middle. I’ll be posting a final update on how I did with each individual challenge at the end of the month. I will say that I am not going to participate in as many challenges next year. I just had way too much fun signing up this year!

ARCs:

I didn’t request a lot of new ARCs this year, mostly because I am so far behind on getting my reviews done! And I feel so much guilt at not reading them and getting reviews up at the time that the books are published. But I am determined to review every ARC I’ve received, and to not request any new ARCs until I have cleared at least 75% of my current load.

Audiobooks:

This was the year of the audiobook for me. The majority of the books I read were in audio format. With my long commutes and work trips, I was able to finish an average of 2 audiobooks per week this year. This was far and beyond what I ever expected to accomplish.

Library:

I rekindled a love of the library at the end of 2016 that carried into 2017, until it was sadly cut short by the elimination of the libraries in the county where I lived. Now that I’ve moved back to Washington, there are a multitude of great public libraries, so I will once again have access to this wonderful resource.

Book Buying:

I bought a lot of books this year, probably at least twice as many as I read. Part of this was because for the last several years I was on such a strict budget that having extra money to spend immediately translated into buying all the books. I can’t wait to share my shelves with you in the new year!

Blogging Ahead:

I had no idea when I participated in the Blog Ahead challenge in October 2016 that I would be hit with the need to blog ahead quite so much, but at busy times like now I am so thankful that I was. As of this writing, I have every post for the end of 2017 written and scheduled, aside from 2 discussions and the weekly updates. I also have about 60 posts written and scheduled for 2018.

Discussion

On Organizing Books

There are so many ways out there for people to organize their books, and I have tried a lot of different ways! I wanted to share my favorite organizing techniques and which ones just don’t work for me.

Row of Books in Shelf

Alphabetical by Author
I think this is pretty standard and is a format I used for a long time, but when you own as many books as I do it gets really hard {and tedious} to have to reorganize the shelves every time you add a new book.

Alphabetical by Title
While this method works really well for my DVD collection, it would be even more tedious to add new books than rearranging the shelves by author!

Woman Reading Book

By Genre
I have never actually sorted by books based simply on genre before, though I do use a loose method of this in my current organization plan. I think it might be fun to break things down by romantic suspense and YA fantasy, but I think there are too many books that could be categorized in multiple genres for it to really work for me {I have tried this with my DVDs and ran into this problem}.

By Series
I use this method somewhat in my organization. I hate to have a series divided, but I also hate to have authors divided, so when it comes to a series that has multiple authors contributing, I have a hard time knowing where to put it.

Free stock photo of books, room, library, bookcase

Rainbow by Cover
Aesthetically, this method is gorgeous and I love looking at pictures of rainbow shelves. Realistically, for myself and my OCD about this type of thing, it just doesn’t work. It would separate my authors, series, genres, etc. and I just couldn’t deal with that.

Wherever they Fall
This is the easiest organization method to maintain, because you essentially just books the books on the shelf wherever, with no need to keep authors or series together. I use this method for my CD collection because I like to mix up my music, but definitely not for my books.

Free stock photo of books, library, indoors, information

Spines Hidden
This is something new that I have just started seeing {as of this writing, approximately 3 months ago}. People organize their books on the shelf with the spines hidden, so you see the pages and not the spine. This way it’s a surprise when you pick your next read.

My preferred style is kind of a mix…
I start with separating books that have been read from books that have not been read. All read books that I am keeping are kept together regardless of category or genre. I then do a rough separation of unread books by genre category: YA fiction, Adult fiction, Memoir and Nonfiction. From there I sort my nonfiction further by category, but everything else is sorted by author, but not alphabetically. I have all of an authors works together, but the authors are in random order on the shelves, as are their books {with the exception of series, which are in order}. Because I’ve been reading- and collecting- adult fiction much longer, this category takes up the largest section of shelves. Memoirs take up the smallest section.

How do you organize your books?

Discussion

On My A and B List Authors

I tend to classify authors in my head into a few different categories. There are the A and B list authors that are pretty much always going to get added to my TBR with a few notable exceptions. Then there are C authors, New authors, and No authors.

Now, my A, B and C classifications actually stand for: “Automatically add to TBR”, “Bet you’ll add to TBR”, and “Could possibly add to TBR”. I decided I wanted to share my A and B authors with you, just for fun!

Woman Reading a Book

The A list is relatively short, but these are authors who have produced a body of work I have loved from start to finish. I have read all or most of the books published by these authors and have not been disappointed.

A List Authors, aka they could write a phone book and I’d read it:

Nora Roberts/JD Robb
Jayne Ann Krentz/Amanda Quick
John Green
Cherry Adair
Christina Lauren

Letter Cookies

My B list authors are one whose work I’ve enjoyed, but I haven’t read enough to consider them an automatic read. For some of these I’ve only read one series from them, for others I’ve read a few stand-alones. This list is constantly growing.

B List Authors, aka I probably wouldn’t read their version of the phone book, but I might*:

Rick Riordan
Cora Carmack
Cindy Gerard
Suzanne Brockmann
Catherine Coulter
Sophie Kinsella
Matthew Quick
Cassandra Clare
Eoin Colfer
Gayle Foreman
Johanna Lindsey
Rainbow Rowell

*This is not a complete listing, just a selection of the authors on this list.

Who are your A List Authors?

Discussion

On Reading in Different Formats

I used to be a strictly physical book reading type of girl. And then I started blogging about books and everything changed! I now read in all 3 formats that are currently available {at least as far as I know}.

Physical books will always be my tried and true go-to for reading. And definitely my preferred method for collecting beloved books. But they can be heavy, take up a lot of room, and can be expensive. So in order to have access to more books and to be able to take more books with me when I travel, I caved and got an e-reader {Kindle Fire in my case}. These two formats let me happily spend hours and hours reading. Then I got a job an hour away from where I live and realized my commute was costing me valuable reading time… so I added audio books to the mix.

Macbook Pro on Brown Wooden Desk

So now I read using all three genres and am able to experience books more fully than I ever have before. Physical books still allow me the pleasure of feeling the page, digital books allow me the portability of taking my books with me without having to bring a separate bag just for books, and audio books allow me to turn commute time into productive reading time.

I think that opening myself up to additional formats allowed me to open my entire reading experience. I feel like I get a fuller experience overall because there are so many ways that I can enjoy my favorite activity and I can always have a books available to me in one form or another.

Do you read from multiple formats?

Discussion

On Why I’ll Never Conquer My TBR

I think I’ve pretty much covered all of the reasons why I’ll never conquer my TBR in other posts, but wanted to pull them all together in a nice comprehensive list for all to see…

~ I read from multiple genres
Which means that there are so many amazing new books being released every month! If I only read from one genre, there may be 3 or 4 really good books released during the average month that I want to add, but with so many genres to choose from, that goes up exponentially!

Free stock photo of books, bookshop, school, ladder

~ I read in multiple formats
And I look for different books in each format. Physical books are the ones I really love and will probably want to keep. These are my top authors and series… and ones with pretty covers I find at the book store. Ebooks are those that I want but don’t necessarily want to pay a lot for, so can get for free or pretty cheap through Kindle sales. This is where I try out new authors and series that look good. And then there’s audiobooks, which is pretty much anything that looks remotely interesting and is currently available through Kindle Unlimited.

~ I buy a lot of books
I love them and if I have any extra money {and sometimes when I don’t} I buy books. I would rather buy books than clothes or shoes or makeup like many women do. The only things that I buy with an regularity that comes even close to books is nail polish and hair accessories.

Free stock photo of books, room, library, bookcase

~ I like everything
Seriously, I enjoy most books, so I like everything and am pretty willing to try almost anything {I have some taboo topics}, so I want to add all the books to my TBR.

~ Blogger friends recommend so many books
Because I like everything, I also read a lot of blogs and follow bloggers who specialize in different genres and therefore see recommendations of so many good books I haven’t seen on my own. I therefore must add all of these books to my TBR immediately.

Free stock photo of wood, person, woman, relaxation

~ Life gets in the way
This is the biggest obstacle to ever completing my TBR. If only I could read all day long, but there’s that thing called work, and everything that comes with it. Maybe someday they will actually pay bloggers for all of the work we do to share the books we love!

What are the reasons your TBR is beyond control?