#unreadshelfproject2019

Alright folks – we are back! When I wrapped up the Unread Shelf Project 2018, I said that I wasn’t sure if I’d do it again, but here we are. I think this is a great challenge for me because it gives me the kick in the butt to read the books on my shelf, whereas some of the other challenges out there would probably motivate me to read different/new that I don’t own yet.

One thing is different about this year’s challenge: she released all the challenges up front! So I’m going to run through what I’m thinking for the challenges for this year.  I’m hoping to read two books from my unread shelf per month so I’ll try to list two books here where that applies. I have my work cut out for me!

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January: Start reading

Starting the year fresh and full of energy by reading two recently purchased books from my indie bookstore. The feeling of reading a book immediately after you buy it always helps to get me out of reading slump!

February: A book gifted to you by a friend

This past year, I met my match reading-wise! My friend Chistine and I have nearly identical reading taste and speed! It’s been great to exchange books with her. Lonesome Dove was a gift from her for my birthday and Sing Unburied Sing is a way overdue loan from her!

March: The book that’s been on your shelf the longest

These are two of the books I purchased when I randomly won a $50 amazon gift card at work! I had been eyeing up these books so I knew exactly what to do when handed free money. Unfortunately, I haven’t read them yet, but March will be their time!

April: The most recent book you purchased (I bought these three at once, so it’ll be a toss up between which ones haven’t been read yet!)

I purchased these three last week with a gift card I recieved for Christmas. If I haven’t read these by April, these will be top priority!

May: A book you bought because of the movie adaptation

I don’t have any of these, so I’ll make this books I bought for the instagram/book review hype!

June: A travel book or a book set in a country you haven’t been to

I love that this category got separated in to travel OR a set in a new to you country. This category really challenged me last year, but this seems more attainable based on my bookshelves. If you’re thinking to yourself why Less? Well I’m counting “running away from your problems” as traveling 😉

After June, let’s just be honest, I have no idea what I’m going to read! The challenges past June are a little more abstract, and also it’s just far away. So I’m going to list the challenges here in case you are playing along, and I’ll probably be back to decide on those later in the year!

  • July: A book from a series on your shelf
  • August: A book voted for by followers on instagram
  • September: A book you can buddy read with someone
  • October: A book that scares you – for length of content
  • November: A book from your favorite genre
  • December: The shortest book on your shelf

Will you be participating? Do we have any overlapping books on our unread shelves? Buddy reads and words of encouragement are happily accepted. Happy Reading!

 

What I’m Reading: December

While November was full of nonfiction books for me, I’m looking forward to an entertaining (fiction filled) December. I had been holding off on getting new Book of the Month books until I read the two I had, but I was eager to get two selections this month! So I’m thinking of doing a bit of a Book of the Month Readathon this month with titles I’m really excited about —

Circe by Madeline Miller

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I got this from Book of the Month when I got The Silence of the Girls. Apparently I was feeling the Greek Mythology Retelling genre that seems to have sprung up recently!

Calypso by David Sedaris

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I got this one back in July I think! I was so excited to see it as a selection and immediately added it to my box. David Sedaris is a favorite author of mine, I find all of this work absolutely hilarious and am excited for this new collection, which I hear is a little more serious than his others.

Severance by Ling Ma

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This one was a December pick for Book of the Month, but not a recent release. When they took this strategy last year, I ended up with Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and I’m so glad I did. I’ve been seeing Severance around #bookstagram and decided to give it a go despite not always totally loving the distopian thing. I hear great things about this one!

For Better or Worse by Margot Hunt

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This was a November selection for Book of the Month that I passed up on mostly because I hadn’t heard anything about it and wanted to read a few reviews first. The reviews were great and now I’m excited to add it to my library, and a marital thriller sounds like an entertaining way to end the year!

Have you read any of these? Let me know what you’re planning to read next month!

What I’m Reading: October

I have been talking about “all the books I’m going to read in October” since…. July? Pretty much since I found out that July – September would be totally crazy busy and I didn’t set my hopes very high, outside of reading books from publishers. Well OCTOBER is finally here and I’m so excited to get cozy with some of the books on my shelf! This month is all about BOOKS FROM OTHERS. Borrowed, Traded, and Gifted!

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Borrowed

Having been focused on books from publishers over the summer, I made my grand return to the library last week for two books I’ve been waiting on for what feels like a while.

Our Homesick Songs by Emma Hooper

I love reading contemporary fiction in the fall. Maybe it’s because everyone in my family has a September birthday but it seems like a good time to reflect on family. I’ve seen a few great reviews of this book, and am excited to read it.

Goodreads Description: The Connor family is one of the few that is still left in their idyllic fishing village, Big Running; after the fish mysteriously disappeared, most families had no choice but to relocate and find work elsewhere. Aidan and Martha Connor now spend alternate months of the year working at an energy site up north to support their children, Cora and Finn. But soon the family fears they’ll have to leave Big Running for good. And as the months go on, plagued by romantic temptations new and old, the emotional distance between the once blissful Aidan and Martha only widens.

Between his accordion lessons and reading up on Big Running’s local flora and fauna, eleven-year-old Finn Connor develops an obsession with solving the mystery of the missing fish. Aided by his reclusive music instructor Mrs. Callaghan, Finn thinks he may have discovered a way to find the fish, and in turn, save the only home he’s ever known. While Finn schemes, his sister Cora spends her days decorating the abandoned houses in Big Running with global flair—the baker’s home becomes Italy; the mailman’s, Britain. But it’s clear she’s desperate for a bigger life beyond the shores of her small town. As the streets of Big Running continue to empty Cora takes matters—and her family’s shared destinies—into her own hands.

Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

This book is the hot book of the moment — after being selected for Reese Witherspoon’s book club in  September, this book has been on everyone’s radar. I’m proud to say that I requested it from the library before it was chose, but here we are. Part beautiful scenic writing, part murder mystery – I’m ready to have all the feels!

Goodreads description: For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

Traded

I love doing book swaps with friends! Both of these are were traded to me (temporarily) by friends who read and loved them, in exchange for a book I read and loved!

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

I borrowed this book from a neighbor months ago after raving about The Great Alone by the same author. I have heard nothing but amazing things about this book, and I think Hannah’s writing style combined with a WWII backdrop, will make for a beautifully gripping novel!

Goodreads description: In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France…but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When France is overrun, Vianne is forced to take an enemy into her house, and suddenly her every move is watched; her life and her child’s life is at constant risk. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates around her, she must make one terrible choice after another. 

Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets the compelling and mysterious Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can…completely. When he betrays her, Isabelle races headlong into danger and joins the Resistance, never looking back or giving a thought to the real–and deadly–consequences.

Sing Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward

Ok – I have been hoping to read this book for SO long. I tried listening to it on audio twice, but couldn’t focus. But I heard incredible things from friends, and I mean, it won the National Book Award, so I plan to persevere and read the hardcopy a friend lent me.

Goodreads Description: Jojo is thirteen years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man. He doesn’t lack in fathers to study, chief among them his Black grandfather, Pop. But there are other men who complicate his understanding: his absent White father, Michael, who is being released from prison; his absent White grandfather, Big Joseph, who won’t acknowledge his existence; and the memories of his dead uncle, Given, who died as a teenager.

His mother, Leonie, is an inconsistent presence in his and his toddler sister’s lives. She is an imperfect mother in constant conflict with herself and those around her. She is Black and her children’s father is White. She wants to be a better mother but can’t put her children above her own needs, especially her drug use. Simultaneously tormented and comforted by visions of her dead brother, which only come to her when she’s high, Leonie is embattled in ways that reflect the brutal reality of her circumstances.

When the children’s father is released from prison, Leonie packs her kids and a friend into her car and drives north to the heart of Mississippi and Parchman Farm, the State Penitentiary. At Parchman, there is another thirteen-year-old boy, the ghost of a dead inmate who carries all of the ugly history of the South with him in his wandering. He too has something to teach Jojo about fathers and sons, about legacies, about violence, about love

Gifted

I love getting books as gifts, and I usually try to read them soon after I get them. One of these is new and unfortunately, the other I’ve been dragging my feet on for almost a year.

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

For my birthday last week I said “no books!” when my boyfriend asked what I wanted. So what did I get? A graphic novel! I’ve never run one of these, but I’m really excited about this one. It’s the graphic novel behind the Tony winning musical, so you know after I read it, I’m gonna be listening to all the tunes!

Goodreads Description: Distant and exacting, Bruce Bechdel was an English teacher and director of the town funeral home, which Alison and her family referred to as the Fun Home. It was not until college that Alison, who had recently come out as a lesbian, discovered that her father was also gay. A few weeks after this revelation, he was dead, leaving a legacy of mystery for his daughter to resolve

Playing Through The Whistle by S. L. Price

I got this book as a Christmas present last year and it really is right up my alley – you may not know this about me but I’m form Pittsburgh and I love the Pittsburgh Steelers. This book is about a football town across the river from were I grew up which is notorious for producing stars from an underprivledged community. I’ve been swamped with other books I want to read this whole year, but I think it’s time for me to pick this one up!

Goodreads Description: In the early twentieth century, down the Ohio River from Pittsburgh, the Jones & Laughlin Steel Company built one of the largest mills in the world and a town to go with it. Aliquippa was a beacon and a melting pot, pulling in thousands of families from Europe and the Jim Crow south. The J&L mill, though dirty and dangerous, offered a chance at a better life. It produced the steel that built American cities and won World War II and even became something of a workers’ paradise. But then, in the 1980’s, the steel industry cratered. The mill closed. Crime rose and crack hit big.

But another industry grew in Aliquippa. The town didn’t just make steel; it made elite football players, from Mike Ditka to Ty Law to Darrelle Revis. Pro football was born in Western Pennsylvania, and few places churned out talent like Aliquippa. Despite its troubles—maybe even because of them—Aliquippa became legendary for producing football greatness. A masterpiece of narrative journalism, Playing Through the Whistletells the remarkable story of Aliquippa and through it, the larger history of American industry, sports, and life. Like football, it will make you marvel, wince, cry, and cheer.

What are you reading this month? Are you usually good about reading books lent/gifted to you??

 

July: What I’m Reading

In June I read SEVEN books! Horray! In order of ranking (reviews linked where available!)

Looking in to July, I have a basic TBR but still a little scattered. (I also just found out I have to study for an engineering licensing test this month so, if I read 3 books I’ll be happy!)

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New Heartbreaking Literary Fiction

If you’re new around here: heartbreaking literary fiction is my jam. I’m not totally sure why I do this to myself but I love a good book that gives me all the feels.

Top Priority: The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai. Sarah from Viking Books kindly sent me a copy of The Great Believers so I’m excited to read and review this book. It came highly recommended by Liberty Hardy of Book Riot who said readers of The Hearts Invisble Furies would love it. (Me!) The plot also includes the AIDS epidemic in the 80s and a cult, so ….  sign me up!

On My Radar: A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza. This book has been all over the place recently with many of my favorite bloggers claiming it as their favorite of 2018 so far! I’m dying to read it but hesitating to pick it up until the exact right time!

Books from Favorite Authors

I’m trying to read more books by favorite authors! It’s a great way to explore older titles that I missed in earlier years.

Top Priority: The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah.loved The Great Alone so much that I knew I had to add this to my TBR. My neighbor lent it to me recently and nothing bumps a book to the top of my TBR than having it lent to me by a friend!

On My Radar: Calypso by David Sedaris. David Sedaris is definitely a favorite author of mine. I recently sung his praise on my post about my Top 4 Favorite Authors, so I won’t repeat myself here, except to say that expectations are high for this collection!

ARC’s!

I’m so grateful to the publishers who sent me ARCs and I’m trying to get through each of them by their pub date. I currently have three that come out August 21st, so luckily I have some time!

Top Priority: Boomtown by Sam Anderson. This book sounds downright fantastic — who’s ever heard of a nonfiction about the history of a midwestern city being described as “a fantastical saga”. I cannot wait to learn more! Bonus points: This was listed as a top Galley for August in the NetGalley newsletter and the neighbor mentioned above is from OKC, so I can’t wait to discuss with them!

On My Radar: The Distance Home by Paula Saunders. Since moving out west last year, I’ve been trying to read more books set in the American West — and not just LA or San Francisco. This novel sounded amazing by description, and since recieving it from Random House, it’s been nominated for the Center for Fiction First Novel Award. I’m excited to read this one!

A Book from my Unread Shelf!

I’m waiting for Whitney to announce the challenge for July, but top contenders are Modern Lovers by Emma Straub, Playing Through the Whistle by S.L. Price, and What Happened by Hillary Clinton! If you want more on the Unread Shelf Challenge, check out my page for that here.

Book of the Month

I skipped this month! None of the choices stuck out to me except for Ghosted which I had already read! You can read my review here if you’re interested 🙂

Let me know what you’re excited to read next month!