April Wrap-Up

As May begins, I’m taking time to reflect on my reading and blogging during the month of April. I blogged less and read more, but I learned a lot and am excited to make some changes moving forward! Read my blog post to learn more!

Top 5 Saturday: Top Books of 2018

Welcome to Top 5 Saturday! This is a weekly challenge hosted by Devouring Books, and for this week’s challenge I’m reminiscing on the best books I read in 2018!

I couldn’t find the actual topic for this week, so I just decided to come up with my own! I tried brainstorming what kinds of bookish topics really interested me and that would be different than what I usually post about. I feel like I typically blog about books I’ve read more recently since it’s easier to write about books that are still fresh in my mind. However, there are so many great books that I’ve read before starting this blog!

2018 may seem like an oddly specific and random year to choose for this. However, this was a special reading year for me. During college, I went through a period where I nearly stopped reading. It wasn’t intentional, but as I was taking a gap year between college and grad school, I realized that this was a part of myself that I had kind of lost over the last few years. Reading has always been such an important part of my life, and it made me sad to realize how much I had let it go during college. Therefore, in 2018, I made an effort to begin reading again and take back my identity as a reader. That’s why this year-in-books stood out to me and why I decided to single it out for this post! The books on this list are the books that helped me fall back in love with reading as an adult. Also, just to clarify, these are books that I read in 2018, and not necessarily books that were published in 2018. And full disclosure – there are actually seven books on this list instead of five! I just couldn’t narrow it down any further. In no particular order, here are my top seven books of 2018!

Book Review: “We Should All Be Feminists” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

We should all be feminists: A controversial statement that shouldn’t be controversial.

This very short book by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie certainly packs a punch. In this book, she gracefully tackles the concept of feminism and the stigma that surrounds it.

With many personal and relatable anecdotes, Adichie takes down the criticisms of feminism (both a a word and as a concept) one-by-one. I also found that there were many indirect connections to the arguments surrounding the BLM movement, which I liked! In the classroom we call that a text-to-world connection; I thought it was great that I was able to learn and think about so many things in such a short amount of time.

Spoiler-Free Review: “We Should All Be Feminists” is a short but powerful rebuttal to those who have misconceptions about the concept of feminism. In this quick manifesto, Ngozi Adichie shares many…

March Wrap-Up

Happy April everyone!

Did March feel really long to anyone else?

I’m experiencing some big changes in my job, and I think the stress just felt never-ending this month. But oh well! It’s a new month full of new opportunities and new books! Change is always scary but I’m hopeful it’ll lead to some positive things.

Unfortunately March wasn’t my greatest month of reading. My stress led to more TV and videogame time than usual, and there were even two books I DNF (did not finish), which literally never do. I hate giving up on a book before finishing it, but I realized that I deserve to read books I enjoy, and it’s not worth it to spend time reading something that I dread (or end up not reading at all because I dread it that much).

I think part of the reason I wasn’t super thrilled with my March picks was that I chose to focus on middle grade books this month. I took many books home from my classroom to read during quarantine, and I want to be able to read and return them to my classroom before the end of the school year. While I love middle grade books, I tend to get a little restless when I read too many in a row.

I’m excited for my April reads though! I’m planning on reading the next book in the Uglies series (which comes out in less than a week) and I’m also hoping to read The Glass Castle. Other than that, I plan on just reading whatever I’m in the mood for!

Without further ado, here is my wrap-up of all the books I read in March:

Book Review: “Dust Tracks on a Road” by Zora Neale Hurston

It’s finally Spring Break! Over the last couple weeks, it’s been hard not to think about where I was at during this time last year. We had just begun our abrupt transition to online learning. It was scary, confusing, overwhelming, and so stressful. I had a hard time sleeping at all over the break. This year, while the overall state of things is much better, there are still so many unknowns and changes that it makes it hard not to be anxious. However, I’m trying my best to take things one step at a time and enjoy my break because I deserve to rest and take care of myself!

I’m really looking forward to reading as much as I can over the next week! And I have to say, I’ve thoroughly been enjoying the increased amount of nonfiction I’ve read so far this year. I made a goal to read more since I don’t often choose to pick up nonfiction books, and I’m so grateful that I made this my goal for this year. I already feel like I’ve learned and grown so much.

My most recent nonfiction pick was “Dust Tracks on a Road,” which is the autobiography of Zora Neale Hurston. What an incredible and inspiring woman! This book left me feeling like I wanted to learn even more about her life, and also wanting to read more of her work (other than just “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” which is one of my all-time favorite books). I will say, I think I’ve discovered that I prefer memoirs to autobiographies, but this was still a wonderful read that I would highly recommend!

Spoiler-Free Review: “Dust Tracks on a Road” is the powerful and inspiring autobiography of Zora Neale Hurston. Hurston lived…

Top 10 Tuesday: (Audio)books on my Spring 2021 TBR

Welcome to Top 10 Tuesday! This is a weekly challenge hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, and this week’s challenge is about books on my spring 2021 TBR!

As dorky as it sounds, one of my favorite things to do when I’m bored is stare dreamily at my bookshelves and think about when I can read all of the books on my shelves. You’d think this time would be better spent actually reading said books (and you’d be right), but oh well! I just can’t help myself. That being said, I don’t set a specific TBR list for myself. Within each genre on my shelves, I have certain books that are a higher priority than others. But still, I keep that in mind when picking my next book to read, but in the end decide to read whatever I’m in the mood for. At first, I wasn’t sure how to approach this prompt because of this. I was thinking about just listing my “top priority” book for each genre, even though I definitely won’t get to all of those in spring (maybe not even in 2021).

However, then I remembered that I do follow a more structured TBR for my audiobooks! For the most part, I just go in the order in which I purchased them (with exceptions here and there). This year, I’ve been doing this, but while also following a set pattern to help me reach my reading goals for 2021. Basically, I go to the “bottom” of my library (I scroll down to the oldest, not-yet-downloaded book), start there and then work my way up in this order: fiction, nonfiction, classic, repeat. Therefore, I have a pretty predictable line-up for my spring 2021 audiobooks. I certainly won’t follow this exactly, especially with Spring Break coming up. I typically listen to audiobooks while I get ready for work and sometimes when I do chores, so over Spring Break I might choose some other, shorter audiobooks to focus on instead simply because I’ll have less time to listen to them. We shall see! But for now, here are my top 10 audiobooks on my spring 2021 TBR!

February Wrap-Up

Happy March everyone!

February was a short month, but one in which I managed to do more reading than usual. I was in kind of a reading slump in January, but luckily I managed to break out of that in February!

I think part of the reason my motivation to read improved last month was because I was reading with purpose. Due to it being Black History Month, I decided that I wanted every book I read to be written by black authors. Of course, I’d like to note that I strive to read from a diverse selection of authors year-round, but I really wanted to focus some extra energy and attention on this during February.

And WOW! I really discovered some great books this month. I even read some genres that I don’t normally explore!

Without further ado, here is my wrap-up of all the books I read in February…

Top 5 Saturday: Books with a Unique Format

Welcome to Top 5 Saturday! This is a weekly challenge hosted by Devouring Books, and this week’s challenge focuses on books with a unique format.

I had a lot of fun with this one! I enjoy finding books to read that are out of my comfort zone, and one way I do that is by finding books to read with a format that is “atypical” for me. For this post, I decided to sort it by format rather than by specific book, as there were several categories for which I was able to think of multiple examples. So here we go! Here are my top five categories of unique formats for books (in no particular order)!

Book Review: “The Story of Human Language” by John McWhorter

I consider myself to be something of an armchair linguist (in other words, a total amateur but I love the topic!), so I was really excited to check out this audiobook! I was also nervous, though, because this audiobook was over 18 hours long. While it did take me almost the entire month of January to get through it, it was totally worth it! I’ve actually had this one in my Audible library for quite a while, but I’ve been putting it off due to being intimidated by its length and afraid I would get bored at some point. However, I never did. I’ve always loved school, and as much as I love teaching I oftentimes miss getting to be a student! This lecture was the perfect cure for that. For anyone with any interest in languages, how they’ve changed over time, and how they interact with other languages around the world, I highly recommend this audio lecture!

Spoiler-Free Review: “The Story of Human Language” is a series of recorded lectures about language: how it started and how it’s changed over time. While it does…

Top 5 Saturday: Books with Weapons on the Cover

Welcome to Top 5 Saturday! This is a weekly challenge hosted by Devouring Books, and this week’s challenge focuses on books with weapons on the cover.

Honestly, I really struggled with the prompt for this week. The kinds of books I read don’t typically feature weapons, and if I were to be shopping for books and I saw a weapon on the cover, that would actually be a turn-off for me and I would be less likely to add it to my cart. However, I managed to come up with a list that includes some books I’ve read and some on my TBR that feature weapons in some way on their covers. Here is my top five (in no particular order)!