#AMonthofFaves 2019: Popular Books Worth The Hype

All this month, I’m joining Girlxoxo and Traveling with T for their annual #AMonthofFaves blog event – a fun way to recap the year that was. They have a schedule of topics planned out for 14 days and while I don’t plan to have a post for each topic, I do plan on having a post for several of them. To see the entire list, visit #AMonthofFaves 2019 [Blog Event] Announcement. Today’s topic is the first for the month: Popular Books Worth The Hype (And/Or Not Worth The Hype).

For me, popular books worth the hype that I read this year were five:

  • The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
  • Born A Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
  • Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen
  • Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay
  • The Library Book by Susan Orlean

None were published this year as I usually am at least a year behind, if not more, in reading popular books. Born To Run and Born A Crime were published in 2016; Hunger was published in 2017; The Library Book and 7 1/2 Deaths were published in 2018. The one I had on my shelf the longest was Born To Run, one I had gotten in a Christmas blogger gift exchange a few years ago. After reading it, I’m wondering why it took me so long to read it.

Each in its own way exceeded my expectations:

  • The 7 1/2 Deaths was more than just a mystery. It also was a mixture of science fiction, which I really, really want to like, but usually don’t. As a teen, I loved science fiction, especially Isaac Asimov.
  • Born A Crime was not your typical memoir from a comedian. By the end, I was in tears.
  • Born To Run wasn’t just about the music, but was about much more than that, including depression. Yes, admittedly, it did help to be a fan, but I was impressed with his writing, which I shouldn’t have been surprised after hearing his songwriting, but still was.
  • Hunger: I didn’t think I’d like it based on trying to read one of her other books and not liking it. However, this one was different and her incredible honesty at telling her story won me over.
  • The Library Book: Based on what I had read from others about the book, I thought it was going to be more true crime, which I am not a fan of either, but it wasn’t just that and delved into the history of libraries, especially in L.A

How about you? Whether or not you’re participating in A Month of Faves or not, what popular books did you read this year that were worth the hype and/or those that weren’t worth the hype?

#AMonthofFaves 2018: This is How I Read (What I Read Too) and Blogged This Year

Again today, I’m joining hosts  GirlxoxoTraveling with T and Estella’s Revenge for their annual #AMonthofFaves blog event – “a fun way to recap the year that was” with “every day of the event (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) planned out” and  a link-up on all their blogs. Today’s topic is  “This Is How We Read and Blogged This Year.”

How I Read

In three words: 

Slowly and intermittently. 

By the numbers: 

  • 35 books. 
  • 2 nonfiction.
  • 6 books I rated 5 stars on Goodreads.
  • 20 I rated 4 stars. Most 3.5, rounded up.
  • At least 20 ebooks returned unread.
  • 6 DNFs counted on Goodreads.
  • At least 3 others that I DNFed.

In 2019, my goal as I mentioned in my last blog post is to read 50 books since this is the year that I turn 50.

What I Read

The 35 books were (in alphabetical order):

  1. All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot
  2. American by Day by Derek B. Miller
  3. American Street by Ibi Zoboi
  4. Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue
  5. Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet by by Ta-Nehisi Coates (writer), Brian Stelfreeze (artist), Joe Sabino (letterer), Manny Mederos (designer), Rian Hughes (logo designer), Jack Kirby (writer, artist), and Laura Martin
  6. Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke
  7. Colosseum: Poems by Katie Ford
  8. The Cruelest Month, the third Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, by Louise Penny
  9. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown
  10. A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny
  11. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
  12. The Frame-Up by Meghan Scott Molin
  13. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  14. Jar City by Arnaldur Indriðason
  15. The Last Kashmiri Rose by Barbara Cleverly
  16. The Late Show by Michael Connelly
  17.  Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli
  18. Life on Mars: Poems by Tracy K. Smith
  19. Normandy Gold by Megan Abbott, Alison Gaylin and Steve Scott (illustrator)
  20. Pago Pago Tango by John Enright
  21. Pines, the first in the Wayward Pines series, by Blake Crouch
  22. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
  23. Queenpin: A Novel by Megan Abbot
  24. Rebound by Kwame Alexander
  25. The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien
  26. Richard Stark’s Parker: The Hunter by Darwyn Cooke (author/illustrator), Richard Stark (source)
  27. Richard Stark’s Parker: The Outfit by Darwyn Cooke (author/illustrator), Richard Stark (source)
  28. Richard Stark’s Parker: The Score by Darwyn Cooke (author/illustrator), Richard Stark (source)
  29. Richard Stark’s Parker: Slayground by Darwyn Cooke (author/illustrator), Richard Stark (source)
  30. The River Why by David James Duncan
  31. She Rides Shotgun by Jordan Harper
  32. Still Life, the first Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, by Louise Penny
  33. Tangerine by Christine Mangan
  34. The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
  35. Wade in the Water: Poems by Tracy K. Smith

How I Blogged

In one word: Consistently, at least once a week.

By the numbers: 78 posts.

Most of them were Sunday Salon posts, with a few readathon posts, several readathon posts, and a few What We’re Watching Wednesday posts with my wife. With every blog I’ve ever had, I always try to write several blog posts a week and inevitably fail. This one is no different as once again this year, I attempted some new themes, but failed. I do better at one theme/meme: The Sunday Salon, with readathons mixed in. So in 2019, that’s what I’m going to stick to: Mainly one blog post per week with a couple of readathons mixed in, namely Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon and 24in48 Readathon.

How was your reading and blogging this year?

#AMonthofFaves 2018: Reading Goals for 2019

Again today, I’m joining hosts  GirlxoxoTraveling with T and Estella’s Revenge for their annual #AMonthofFaves blog event – “a fun way to recap the year that was” with “every day of the event (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) planned out” and  a link-up on all their blogs. Today’s topic is  “Challenges and Goals.”

I didn’t do any reading challenges this year and my personal goals/resolutions? I’m going to save those for a post January 1. Instead, I am going to look forward to my reading goals for 2019, including a collection of 10 books on my Kindle with which I want to start the new year. However, I will save my “First Book of the Year” for a post for January 1– and it will be a book in print this year.

My main reading goal this year, in what will be the year that I turn 50 (in June), is to read 50 books. This year, I read 35; in 2017, 48; in 2016, 44, so it is doable. Initially, with my 25 Things Before I Turn 50 post, my goal was to read a book a week and I was thinking of a book a week in the year that I turn 50, but then as I writing this, I realized why not just make it 50? So there it is.

In alphabetical order, the books I have on my books to read in 2019 collection on my Kindle are:

  1. Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
  2. All Things Bright and Beautiful and All Things Wise and Wonderful by James Herriot
  3. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson
  4. Crocodile on the Sandbank, the first Amelia Peabody mystery, by Elizabeth Peters
  5. John Adams by David McCullough
  6. Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan
  7. The Quiet Game, the first Penn Cage, by Greg Iles
  8. The Space Trilogy: Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis
  9. The Year of Less by Cait Flanders
  10. You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me by Alexie Sherman

A few explanations:

  • Technically, it’s 13 books, but I have the first Herriot books in one collection and The Space Trilogy that I recently bought as a Kindle Daily Deal.
  • I already have started the first three books on the list. I just haven’t finished them…yet.
  • The list is split evenly fiction and nonfiction as I want to read more nonfiction than I did this past year.

What are your reading goals for 2019?

#AMonthofFaves 2018: Favorite TV series and movies

Again today, I’m joining hosts  GirlxoxoTraveling with T and Estella’s Revenge for their annual #AMonthofFaves blog event – “a fun way to recap the year that was” with “every day of the event (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) planned out” and  a link-up on all their blogs. Today’s topic is 
 “On The Screen”.

Favorite TV series

These are some of my favorites, with some overlaps with my wife, but not all:

  • Aggretsuko
  • Alone Together
  • CSI
  • Father Ted
  • The Doctor Blake Mysteries
  • Kim’s Convenience
  • The Kominisky Method
  • Letterkenny
  • Miranda
  • Mozart in the Jungle (Season 4)
  • Psiconautas
  • Vicious

These are, or were, available on Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu. The highlights for me were the two Canadian shows: Kim’s Convenience and Letterkenny. If you’re offended by language, skip Letterkenny. But if you’re not and like quirky and offbeat, then watch. Unfortunately, if you’re in America, only the first two seasons are available (so far) on Hulu. 
Also quirky and offbeat are Alone Together and  Psiconautas. The most joyous of all of them is Miranda and both Kim and I loved all of the episodes.

Favorite movies

These are our favorite movies from this year in alphabetical order:

  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • BlacKkKlansman
  • Black Panther
  • Crazy Rich Asians
  • Deadpool 2
  • Eighth Grade
  • Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
  • Love, Simon
  • Mission Impossible: Fallout
  • Paddington 2
  • A Star is Born
  • Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

The ones I enjoyed watching the most were Deadpool 2 and Paddington 2, two movies on the opposite end of the spectrum, highlighted by this exchange on Twitter:

The ones, though, that I think were the most important were BlacKkKlansman and Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, the latter of which my wife and I cried through most of. The former solidified my love of the actor Adam Driver, whom I loved in Logan Lucky, and introduced us to a new love of John David Washington, Denzel Washington’s son, a formidable actor on his own.

What were your favorite TV series and movies that you watched this year?