I’ve always had a sticky relationship with book goals and Goodreads challenges. Since becoming a bookstagrammer in particular, I find myself comparing my book counts to others, wondering why I can’t reach the same goals.
Not anymore, folks.
In 2022, I plan on not setting a number goal. I am just going to read and see what happens.
With a baby on the way in 7 short weeks, I know that life as I know it will change. Will I be able to read 50-70 books like I usually do? Who knows? I plan to read a lot during my maternity leave (print and audiobooks), but the last thing I want to do is pressure myself and then come to resent my favorite hobby.
Ever since I was a little girl, reading has been my escape. While other kids played outside, I was indoors reading The Chronicles or Narnia, or under a hammock reading the newest Harry Potter book. I have such fond memories of reading as a child…and as an adult! I have met some wonderful friends through my love of reading, and that won’t change if I read 50 books or 20 books!
So, my bookish goals for 2022 are simple: I want to read books and I want to read books I enjoy. I want to expand my bookshelf to include more diverse authors across all genres, particularly first-person narratives. I want to take time researching a book and its author before auto buying. I want to ask myself, “am I really interested in this book, or am I just getting it because it’s hyped on the internet?” before purchasing. I want to enjoy reading and tracking my books on a new app, The Storygraph. I want to talk about books and write about books on my blog. So, I will do just that!
What are your bookish plans for 2022? Do you have a reading goal set? Share in the comments below.
Today is my 29th birthday. My last year in my 20s!
It’s interesting. Someone recently asked me if I was dreading entering my 30s next year, and the answer is no! I think it is a privilege to age, and with our little one coming in February, and more babes to come (hopefully), my 30s will be my most challenging and rewarding years yet.
So, as I ring in another trip around the sun, here are 29 truths that I’d like to share:
Make your bed every day — even if it’s right before you get in it.
Set boundaries. Get comfortable saying “no.” If the person you are setting boundaries with does not respect you, tell them.
Your family doesn’t get a free pass for toxic behavior.
That being said, you choose your own family and circle. Sometimes your friends are more loyal to you than your own family. Embrace that. Welcome them in.
If you can’t find something, clean up the clutter.
Be proud of your body. It protects you, nourishes you, and keeps you safe. Love yourself.
Your health comes first. It comes before any job, any person, family or friend. Take care of yourself and put yourself first.
It is more than OK to watch the same movies and TV shows over and over again if it brings you joy.
The book is, in many cases, always better than the movie.
Write down what you are grateful for each day.
Read lots of books. You’ll love it. And start that book blog and bookstagram! You’ll make some lifelong friends there.
Know your worth.
If you recognize that someone needs help, reach out to them. Don’t put it off until the next day.
Travel when you can — even if it’s within your own state.
Success is not measured by material things.
Fight for the things you believe in.
Don’t compare yourself to others.
If you are with loved ones, put the damn phone away and be present.
Try new foods!
Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. And, remember, failing isn’t always a negative thing.
Don’t Google things when you are pregnant. Just call your doctor.
Basic human rights is not something you can, or should, “agree to disagree” on.
Eat that slice of cake.
Trust your doctors — not a random man on YouTube or articles you find on Facebook.
Recognize your triumphs. Never be afraid to toot your own horn.
Have those tough conversations. They are uncomfortable, but you will feel free.
Everyone has a story.
Light a few candles when you are down … it really helps!
Never forget your truths.
What are some of your truths? I want to hear them!
It’s November, and that means it’s the start of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short).
I have always been captivated by NaNoWriMo. I’ve been following its social media pages for years, wanting to join in, but never feeling like I had the talent or the resources to start.
This year, I’ve decided to do it. I’ve decided that it’s time to start working on a book idea I’ve had for years — and I am so excited!
Wait. What is NaNoWriMo again?
NaNoWriMo is a nonprofit organization that aims to inspire the writing community, providing them with resources, community forums, workshops, seminars, and more. National Novel Writing Month started in 1999 with the challenge for writers to complete 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days.
It is. As someone who has never written a book before, I am very hesitant to get started. What if I don’t reach my goals? What if I can’t dedicate time to my book every day? What if it plain old sucks? How am I supposed to come out of this writing the next Water for Elephants or The Night Circus? Should I even do this?
The answer is yes. Yes, I should.
I realized that it’s not about what comes out my project, but what I make of it. I am closer to finishing this book than I’ve ever been before. I’ve drafted a storyline and characters. I’ve started sketching the first few chapters of the book, and hey, that’s something I am already proud of.
So, while I won’t realistically write 50,000 words by Dec. 1 (hey, anything can happen!), I do plan to write the first 5 chapters of the book by the end of the month. Between work, homeownership, pregnancy, and the holidays approaching, I am setting an achievable goal from the start.
I hope to write at least one hour a day, perhaps more on the weekends if my work schedule does not allow me to dedicate an hour on weeknights. I have a feeling I can achieve this goal, and, who knows? Maybe I’ll even surpass it!
I just want to write. I want to sit down and come up with a story. Even if it’s the worst story ever. Even if I sit there and go, “Ugh. What was I thinking?” That time will not be considered wasted. Writing creatively is something that I’ve missed doing, and to be able to create a story, craft dialogue, and sketch a world that I imagined is so rewarding.
Stories matter. I will do my best to remind myself that though it may not be perfect, I am flexing this creative muscle that I’ve wanted to exercise for years.
I am looking forward to this journey, and I plan to update my blog with milestones throughout the month. Maybe I’ll even share an excerpt or two?
Write on, creative nerds.
Anyone participating in NaNoWriMo? What project are you working on?
This is awkward. I kind of disappeared the past few months because …
We are going to have a baby! Our first child is due in early February. The first trimester was very rough, and I did not come up for air and feel better until a month ago. So, I am slowly returning to “normal” until the third trimester takes over again.
Seeing that I have a good excuse … I am forgiven, right? I can move on to the books?
This is going to be a long one, folks. I have read 15 books since I wrote last, and I am going to list them out below with a few sentences on each.
And awayyy we gooo …. (sorry, I am super jazzed as I write this)
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Without a doubt my favorite book so far this year. I absolutely loved this story. The story world, the characters, the fast-moving plot. It was so good. So, so good. If you weren’t a fan of Shadow and Bone and really want to give Bardugo another try, pick up Six of Crows.
Beth & Amy by Virginia Kantra
Virginia Kantra’s retellings of Little Women are just OK. I am not a big fan of retellings anyways because why mess with perfection, but then again, She’s the Man and 10 Things I Hate About You slaps. I was not expecting anything groundbreaking or anything insightful with this one, so I did not feel disappointed reading it. They are cute and easy reads, but I wouldn’t highly recommend them.
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows #2)
This one wasn’t as good as Six of Crows, but I loved revisiting these characters and learning more about their stories and what happened next. I felt that this one dragged a bit — it could have benefitted from some good editing and cuts. Otherwise, I finished the duology really loved them!
Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas
A full Throne of Glass series review is forthcoming once I get over my book hangover. I finished this book in June and golly, what an adventure. This book is THICK, folks. Lots going on. Lots of storylines to wrap up. It got a little too much and I started to lose track and interest. I mostly finished to finish the series, and that’s disappointing. Again, I will do a longer review of the series soon!
Survive the Night by Riley Sager
This was one of my most anticipated thrillers of the year, and I devoured it in one sitting. But I will tell you … I didn’t love it. The plot was a little too familiar to me, and I got super bored with all the movie references. The main character was beyond unlikable and the ending beyond unpredictable. The small twist barely made me gasp. Underwhelming.
Watching You by Lisa Jewell
I was super bummed after reading Survive the Night, and then I was super bummed after reading Watching You. Again, the main character was unlikable (which is usually OK in books, don’t get me wrong), but I was not even interested in how much I disliked her. And the ending, like Sager’s, was not surprising. Bleh.
People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
After reading two dull thrillers, I moved to a genre I almost never read: contemporary romance. I wanted to switch it up and hopefully get out of my “meh” reading slump. This one did not disappoint. I loved it. If this were made into a movie, it would be my favorite movie ever.
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
When I saw that TJR was coming out with a new book this summer, I sighed with relief. Great. One of my favorite authors will release another book that will change my life. Unfortunately, Malibu Rising (or as I call it, Mali-boo Rising) did not make the cut. I was engaged the first 100 pages, but TJR lost me after that. I didn’t care about most of the characters, and all of their troubled storylines seemed so hurried and fragmented. There was a lot of unnecessary drama, and the “big ending” was about 3 lines. Just underwhelmed. Again.
The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner
The cover alone pulls you in, right? I was hoping to read a whimsy, mystical, witchy-esque book to kick off spooky season a little early, but again, found myself going “meh” at the end. While I enjoyed the parts about the apothecary and murders (yep, you read that right), there was too little of that and more focus on a present-day, two-dimensional, boring character. I just closed the book wanting more.
The World of Pooh by A.A. Milne
What can I say? I’m a pregnant woman who wanted to read some Winnie the Pooh. Loved every moment and cannot wait to read this to my little one.
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
…No idea what I even read. If there’s anything I’ve learned about Donna Tartt, it’s that she is a superb writer. But while she is a fantastic writer, she is also the world’s biggest flexer. This book is her flexing her writing skills paired with her knowledge of the Greeks and other snooty things. Not to mention this book is dripping with homophobia, antisemitism, racism, sexism (any kind of ism … throw it in there), and lots of triggers. I read the entire book with interest, but I didn’t like it.
The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine
Because I am having a baby girl, I wanted to reread a book all about female brains. This is a good one for anyone who wants to learn about how the female brain works. She also has one on the male brain which I read that is much shorter. She makes a joke about why it’s shorter. I bet you can guess why.
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
I’ve been on a children’s book kick lately and oh my goodness, this book. Please be advised: If you are pregnant, do not read unless you want to sob on your couch for hours. This book is written in-verse and it is truly a masterpiece. I loved it!
Blackbird House by Alice Hoffman
You kind of already love this book because of its cover, right? Hoffman writes a series of short stories circled around this one grand house, Blackbird House. It is witchy, whimsical, and magical…but also kind of … boring? I liked some stories more than others, but it was a good witchy book to kick off the season.
Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult
When I got Picoult’s new book as an ARC (advanced reader’s copy) I dropped my witchy books and read this in two days. And … well … I hated it. I am a big Jodi P fan, don’t get me wrong, but this book was just not right. I will let my Goodreads review (with some spoilers, mind you) speak for itself.
So, while I was nauseated and encountering my first trimester, I WAS reading! See?!
What did you read these past few months? Share in the comments below!
Check out these posts to see what I’ve read this year: