Posts Tagged: reading

Dreaming of Reading Rooms

July 18, 2017 Reading 0

I think we’ve all had that dream that one day when we are all grown up we will live in a castle with a beast, talking candlesticks and a beautiful library all of our own. Ok, so maybe not the beast or the candlesticks but definitely yes to the library!

But as we get a little bit more realistic maybe it won’t be so much a gigantic library as a reading nook. And that’s still pretty cool because it’s a space all of our own to fill with bookish love and settle down to an adventure in a fantasy world or a romance that will sweep us off our feet!

So what do we need to make the perfect reading space? A comfy chair of course, some decent lighting and a pretty bookcase. Sounds about right. So I went in search of some things that would definitely be in my reading space.

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Things That Are Guaranteed To Make Me Pick Up A Book

April 19, 2017 Top Ten Tuesday 3

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke & The Bookish.
Each week they release a Top Ten Theme and invite everyone to join in and make their own Top Ten List.

Ok, so technically it’s Wednesday but shhhhhhh!

I was super lucky that as part of the Easter weekend work gave me Tuesday off as well, but it mean that my internal calendar got a bit confused over the past 5 days and I totally forgot about TTT!

This weeks topic is all about the things that are guaranteed to make us want to read a book. I put my list together quite quickly and then read back over it and realised how varied it is!

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Most Recent Reads That Massively Disappointed Me

February 21, 2017 Top Ten Tuesday 4

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke & The Bookish.
Each week they release a Top Ten Theme and invite everyone to join in and make their own Top Ten List.

So I’ve been a little MIA the past few weeks due to an amazing holiday in Australia and then the horrendous jetlag that followed. But I’m back in the right time zone, with a computer with actual internet access so thought it would be the perfect time to jump back into TTT

This weeks topic is Ten Books I Loved Less/More Than I Thought I Would. I actually thought that I was going to struggle to come up with ten of either so was going to do a mix of both, but then when I started to put together my list of books that I loved less I just couldn’t stop adding books to my list!

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Challenges I’m Hoping to Actually Get Close to Completing in 2017

January 5, 2017 Challenge 2

New Year, New Challenges!

2016 started really well for me, but what with the end of the year taking a massive dive personally I ended up having to take a break from the blog and my reading goals suffered massively. Hopefully this year will be more positive, but even so I have been a bit more careful with the amount of challenges I have chosen for myself this year and also the goals I have set.

Goodreads

I actually only missed out on my goal last year b a couple of books, so I’m keeping the same goal and hoping to read 50 books in total in 2017.

Keep up with my progress here.

 

Bookopoly

After months of planning and prep I finally announced my very own bookish challenge: Bookopoly! Make you way around the board completing both the reading challenges and the bookish activities (which includes a library selfie!)

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Book Cataloging, Are You Doing It?

October 7, 2016 Reading 0

I saw an article a little while ago about various ways to catalog books and it’s honesty not something I’ve thought about before.

My bookcase ranges from very organised to very messy every few weeks and that seemed like for than enough effort for me without having to make a catalog of all my books too.

But then the article mentioned apps, and I don’t know about you but I LOVE apps! If there is an app that will somehow make my life a little easier, even in the smallest of ways, then I have it! So I did a bit of searching, downloaded about twenty different cataloging apps (and then realised this was way too many and brought it down to just 3!) and tried them all out so I could give you my opinion on which one is the best!

What Do I Want From the App?

  • Firstly I want it to be free. I’ve not got tons of money and I knew that there would be more than enough free options available .
  • I want to be able to see which books I have as physical books and which are eBooks.
  • I want to be able to filter my books and look at them by genre
  • I want to be able to see which books I have on my shelf and which I have lent out to people and when.

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Library Thing

Does it have what I want?

  • Free? Yes
  • Book format? Yes
  • Filter by Genre? No
  • Check out books? No (but could write it in comments)

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Things I Liked:

Firstly this app had it’s own barcode scanner, for free which works really well and is super speedy (as long as you have a good internet connection!) but if you don’t have a barcode on your book then you can also search for the book instead. Also on this app you are able to edit the book cover so if you don’t like the featured one, or your copy is different then you can take a picture of another cover and use that instead.

Things I Didn’t Like:

There is a lot of information you can edit on this app (see list below) which some people may love, but for me it was just WAY too much. To edit you are taken to a new page on which everything is tiney tiny and if you are using it on your phone it meas a lot of zooming in and fidling with tiny boxes. I updated everything I could but was disappointed to see that only a 3 of things came through and everything else I would have to view on the page with tiny text!

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Editable info on this appcover, title, author, tags, your rating, your review, other authors, media (format)-tons of choice, pub date, publisher, isbn, number of volumes, number of copies, pagination, dimensions, language (primary, secondary, original), reading dates, date acquired, classification, comments, identifiers (barcode, ean, BCID etc)

My Rating & Reasons Why:

3-star

I couldn’t arrange it by genre nor did it let me “check out” lent books. I found editing information really difficult with the tiny text. Plus WAY too much information for just one book!

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Book Buddy

Does it have what I want?

  • Free? Yes
  • Book format? Yes
  • Filter by Genre? Yes
  • Check out books? Yes

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Things I Liked (Sorry, there’s a lot!):

Multiple ways to add a new book: scanner, search online and add manually. All of which are super easy to use.

You can change the book cover image. But they actually provide you with different images for it (eg. the different editions) so you don’t have to search online and find it yourself. You can also use your own photo if you want.

Everything I wanted to know about my book was there and easy to edit. There are default fields that automatically appear with the book and then others which you can add (see list below). The list of fields you can add is pretty substantial so you could think I’m going to complain about too much information again, but I got to actually choose which field I wanted, so it didn’t feel like too much at any point.

There were so many ways to view my books: by title, author, genre, tags (that I created), rating…basically any field that you have added to your books you can search for them by that!

You can add books that you have borrowed (from the library or friends) to the ‘Borrowed’ option which is pretty cool. The app also has a ‘Wish List’ which you can add books to by barcode scanning, searching online or adding manually. This would be perfect for a bookstore trip!

You can link the app and your list to a dropbox account, so it automatically saves there, no hassle on your half.

As well as viewing your own information, there is an option to view ‘Online Info’ which when clocked on takes you to Google Books, and shows you tons of reviews and ratings from other people who have read the book.

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Things I Didn’t Like:

Only one thing, I couldn’t figure out how to remove a field once I had added it to the book. I think that this is something that you can only do with the full app (which costs £3.99). To get around this with the free app I had to delete the book and then re-add it to my list.

Sometimes when you search for a book (to add) it brings up the same book multiple times. I was slightly confused at first why this was and which one I was meant to choose I quickly discovered that whichever one you clicked on didn’t matter because they all ended up selected but would appear as just 1 boo on my library. I think maybe they were different editions?

Editable info on this appcover, title, favourite, series, subtitle, author, publisher, genre, rating, status, loaned to (can chose phone contact or add a name), date added to library, tags, notes
All of the above are default fields but the following additional fields can be added:
illustrator, narrator, translator, date published, edition, editor, summary, guided reading level, lexile measure, grade level equivalent, DRA, interest level, word count, original title, number of pages, format, dimensions, weight, list price, language, dewey decimal, LCC, OCLC, physical location, quantity, condition, reconmend by, purchase date, purchase place, purchase price

My Rating & Reasons Why:

5-star

It has everything I wanted. It is clear any easy to use, looks nice and has bonus stuff on it which I never even thought of but LOVE!

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Libib

Does it have what I want?

  • Free? Yes
  • Book format? No
  • Filter by Genre? No
  • Check out books? No (but could write it in notes)

libib-1 libib-3

Things I Liked:

It looks nice and is pretty easy to use.

You can add reviews to each book which would be great for remembering what you thought of each book if you can’t remember.

The app is also great for cataloging your movies or games.

Things I Didn’t Like:

There is the option to scan, but if don’t want to or can’t scan the barcode of your book (eg. ebook) then you have to enter the information manually. There is no other option and it takes ages.

There are no book covers, nor any option to add any kind of image to your book.

There are not enough options for information to add (see options below). Even basic of things like book format or date read.

There is the option to allocate each book a group, which I used for genres, and it does list them alphabetically by genre/group, but they are not separated in anyway so the different groups don’t stand out, it’s just one big list and so the grouping just doesn’t help in the slightest.

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Editable info on this apptitle, author, description, ISBN 13, ISBN 10, Pages, Publisher, Date Published, status (read/unread), rating, number of copies, notes, review

My Rating & Reasons Why:

1-star

I don’t feel like this app would be useful in the slightest. It would take me forever to add all my eBooks to it manually and even then it doesn’t feature any of the information that I would want or find useful.

My Thoughts Overall

The above thoughts for each app are mine alone and are based on what I would be looking for in an app, however I do think that from my thoughts you are able to see all the various features of all three apps and what does and doesn’t work.

For my Book Buddy was the stand out app by far. It had everything that I wanted, plus more. But even my favourite app came with it’s drawbacks and there are a few minor limitations that can only be fixed by paying for the full app. At the beginning of this post I said that I wanted a free app, but looking at Book Buddy and seeing just how useful it is I would be happy to pay the £3.99 in order to fix this minor thing should it become more problematic down the line.

Libib just felt empty of anything helpful and was about as useful as a list of books written on a piece of paper. But it was laid out nice and easy to use, unlike Library Thing which I found fiddly and hard to use when it came to editing my options on a page with tiny writing.

These are only 3 apps of many and if you are wanting to start cataloging your books using an app I would definitely suggest downloading a couple and having a play before committing to one to make sure you find the best fit!

Do you catalog your books? Do you use an app?

If not, would you consider using any of these? Which one?

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Sunday Funday: Condensing Books

July 10, 2016 Sunday Funday 0

Sunday Funday Logo

The weekend is almost over, which means back to work tomorrow for most of us. So to cheer you up (and myself) I am going to be giving you a little bit of bookish fun every Sunday, to make the end of the weekend that little bit easier!

This week has been such a laaaaaaazy week. My parents have been away on holiday and because of the amount of stress I ended up this time last year when they were away (due to having to look after the dog, the house and my dads 2 businesses) I decided  to take some leave from work this year. It’s been great only working half days and being able to come home and have time to get everything done but still have time to chill out too. I have read 3 whole books this week, which I think for me is some kind of record because I haven’t read that many in such a long time, I really miss it.

Anyways, I found an article about a nifty little app for reader, when you don;t have tons of time, and thought it was totally appropriate and decided to share it with you and hopefully get your views on it.

The app is called Joosr and basically it condenses books (non-fiction) into summaries that can be read in just 20 minutes.

I know what you are thinking, what is this madness?!!! I was dubious at first, but then I looked into it a little further and I’m slowly coming round to the idea.

Take, for example, A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. A big, dense book about all things physics which for some of us is just a little too much. I wan’t to know what he is chatting about without having to struggle with the entire book.

That’s where Joosr comes in, it turns the book in to summaries, capturing the most important information from the book and giving it to you in bite size pieces. And don’t worry, it doesn’t dumb it down, you still get the same information written in the same intelligent way. You just don’t get as much of it.

For me, it seems like a really good alternative, for some people, to big chunky non fiction books and I can definitely see myself checking out some of the denser books that I have been too scared to read in the past. However I can only hope that they don;t try this with fiction, because how can you capture an authors voice and the emotion of the story when it’s only 20 pages long?!

Have you heard of Joosr? Have you ever read a condensed version of a book? What do you think of the concept?

Enjoy your Sunday and have an excellent week!

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At What Point Do You DNF A Book?

May 9, 2016 Discussion 5

April was a really bad reading month for me, like REALLY bad! I have been reading 2 books simultaneously but haven’t reached the end of either. I hate it when I can’t read, it puts me in such a rubbish mood and also results in me having nothing to review on my blog! (hence the slightly quiet month!)

One of the books that I have been reading is Firstlife, a book which I was super excited to read and had seen some pretty good reviews for. The whole concept of the book is really unique and I was excited for some really cool world-building. Plus I LOVE the cover.

But I have been reading this book for an entire month and I still haven’t reached the end!

Basically this entire book is about Ten, our MC who needs to pick a side: Myriad or Troika. The problem, she can’t decide and would rather go through months of torture then actually make a decision. And the really frustrating thing, she never actually tells us why she wont decide, she just keeps telling us that she wont. (Plus, there is kind of a love triagle but it’s not even the slightest bit lovey and the whole thing just annoys me!)

Now, I’m all for authors making us wait for the big decision/exciting moment a little bit, but I’m at 64% and other than a couple of slightly action moments nothing has really happened and this girl has STILL not made a decision.

I made myself continue reading because I kept thinking that she would eventually decide, but she hasn’t, and now it’s gotten to the point where I don’t think I actually care what she decides. Sadly there is nothing about this book which makes me want to continue reading it, and I’m thinking that it’s that time when I should call defeat and put the book down.

But then if I do that I feel like I have wasted an ENTIRE month on only 64% of a book that I am never going to read the ending to.

Maybe I should have just given up earlier? But then if I had given up at say 20% then would I have spent the rest of time wondering if I had just read another 10% then I might have actually gotten to a good bit and totally fell in love with the book?

So here’s my question: When is the right time to DNF a book?

Do you give yourself to a certain % or number of pages? Or do you stop if the author writes something unforgivable?

Also, has anyone actually read all of Firstlife and can tell me which she chooses?!!! (in a private message! No spoilers on this blog!)

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Prescribing Books for Mental Health

April 15, 2016 Discussion 2

So I was meant to be posting a review today, but then one of my friends shared an article with me and it was something that I really wanted to talk about.

The article, which you can read here, spoke about how GPs (as well as counselors and school nurses) can now prescribe certain books to young people suffering with mental health issues. The ‘Reading Well for Young People’ campaign, launched by the Reading Agency is aimed at ages 13-18 year of which it is estimated that 1 in 10 suffer from some form of mental illness.

  

The list includes books like I’ll Give You the Sun (Jandy Nelson), Every Day (David Levithan), The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (Mark Hadden) and The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky).

You can find the full list here.

“The list can be recommended by GPs but also you can explore it at your own pace, which I think is really good because if more people educate themselves and have better understanding of mental health generally, it will make a difference.”

One thing I really like about the list is that it’s not full of self-help or non fiction books although there are some great non fiction books included. But there is a whole pile of fiction in there too with books about characters going through things like depression, anxiety and identity issues.

  

Novels are not written to educate or impart advice and there will be a lot of young people who find it easier to read about a character going through the exact same thing as them with the emotional connection to them too.

Another great thing about this list is that it heavily features books which are YA. There are a lot of skeptics out there that consider YA to be a lesser subset of “real books”. But they could not be more wrong! YA is just as diverse, has just as many talented writers and is just as worthy of being recognised as any other non YA book and now it will be, and as something that can help young people.

“I think fiction, if anything, works better for young people – a lot of young adult books deal with things young people go through, and through relation to the characters, it can be a way of getting advice without being told [what to do],”

I’ve quite a few books with feature mental illness, especially over the past year, and I think one of my favorite has to be My Heart and Other Black Holes which deals with suicide and which I think would make a great addition to this list.

Mental illness is something very real that we will all come into contact with at some point in our lives (whether ourselves or through people we know and love) and I think it’s great that this campaign has been started to help people even more. I’m not saying that books are better than medication but I just think it’s a great additional way to support people.

“Books can be a safe space – it’s so much easier to talk about the characters in, say, The Perks of Being A Wallflower than to say ‘I’m depressed’.” (Juno Dawson) 

There have been so many times in the past that I have had a really bad day and I’m feeling particularly down about something, and without even thinking about it the first thing I do is pick up a book. Reading is like therapy to me. It calms me down, it lets me escape, but it also lets me see how blessed I am with my life when I read about people in worse off situations than I’m in. Plus I have learnt so much through reading.

So what do you think? Do you think the right book could help someone with a mental illness?

What do you think of the approved list? What would you add to it?

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