Monday, June 22, 2015

Books on the Nightstand Bingo

Well...I'm a sucker. I'm sure that's already been well established, but I'm going to go ahead and confirm it for everyone again.

There have been more than a couple of book bloggers out there showing off their bingo cards for different events (yes...there is more than one book bingo event out there). Julianne over at Outlandish Lit tipped the scales for me. Sooo...add on yet another bookish thing. Gah. Sucker.

I am now officially taking on the Books on the Nightstand Bingo.

This here is my randomly generated card:

There are a nice handful of categories that seem manageable. With any luck, I'll be able to line some of them up into a successful bingo.

Apparently, this particular bingo event started Memorial Day and runs through Labor Day, so I'm getting a bit of a late start. You can make a bingo in any way you see fit. I love the freedom that affords. Heaven knows I need some fudge room.

Want to play along? Head over and grab your own randomly generated bingo card here.

Thanks a lot Julianne...

48 Hour Book Challenge Wrap Up

My weekend wound up being busier than I had planned for. Even though I knew I wouldn't get much reading in, I still expected more than I accomplished. I blame the nice weather. That seems reasonable, right?

I'm also slightly ashamed to admit that I did no social media interaction over the weekend. I hoarded the minutes I had for reading instead. Antisocial reader, party of one.

The good news is that I finished a book. I'm pretty happy about that. I also accomplished more reading than I would have if there had not been a read-a-thon going on. That's a plus.

In the end, here's what I wound up with :

Minutes Read: 222 minutes (3 hours, 42 minutes)
Pages Read: 279
Books Finished: 1

The Lost Wife

How was your weekend? Did you get some good reading in?

Friday, June 19, 2015

It's Time to Do a Little Reading. What's on Your TBR?

This weekend is going to be a busy one. We have plans for a round of golf, dinner with best friends, and of course celebrations for Father's Day on Sunday. But in any moments of down time, my attention will be occupied by a book. It's a big reading weekend!

Tonight I'm starting the 48 Hour Book Challenge. The challenge is hosted by Mother Reader and is a nice social event with lots of reading. I'm starting mine at midnight and rolling on through 11:59pm Sunday evening.

At the same time, this weekend it's time for a #FlashReadathon. There's no host for this, it's just a free-for-all. Everyone reads and socializes about in on the social media platform(s) of their choice. They've already taken pretty heavily to Twitter this evening. I'm getting antsy to join in.

It's always fun to read with a bunch of my bloggy friends.

While I do love reading and socializing, sometimes I find it hard to find a good book. This is more often because there are too many to choose from than too few. Like most serious readers, I have a TBR. A TBR is a "to be read" list. In my case, the TBR contains about 2,000 books -- including both those housed in my home library that haven't been read and the books I've shelved on my "to read" shelf on Goodreads.

Becauese I'm also a bit of a mood reader, I tend to be pretty indecisive. I like to have a plan and very frequently keep a stack of books in my nightstand. But if the mood doesn't strike right, I'll often find myself frustrated and not feeling into a particular kind of book. That can spell disaster and send me into a book drought where nothing sounds good. It's a bad, bad thing.

To help me combat this problem (and to help keep books from getting buried deep within the TBR and forgotten) I decided to make myself a TBR jar.

I created a spreadsheet with the names of all of the books on my TBR and their authors. I then printed it out. Each strip was then cut and folded.

Originally, the plan was to use a large mason jar since I have several prettily decorated ones leftover from our wedding. But after folding only a small portion of the strips, I soon realized that there was never going to be enough room. I considered only placing in a handful of selected books and replenishing as the supply grew low, but decided that just wasn't what I wanted.

After a search of the house, I found a large container that used to house indoor tulips. It's a 7" diameter cylinder that stands about 15" high. Basically, it's ridiculously large for something like this.

After folding, and folding...and folding. It's now around 3/4 of the way full. And I'm not done. I have a handful of strips left to cut and fold. Man, that's a lot of books!

It's been a pretty long undertaking, but I'm excited for what it will allow me to do. I'm pretty giddy for the moment I reach into it and pull out the first strip. The plan isn't to lock myself into something. The plan is to give me a random idea of what to read. I've made the decision that (at most) I will allow myself to pull out three strips when I'm stuck and don't know what to read next or when I'm just not feeling the book I'm reading. From those three strips will come the choice for my next read. If any of the strips happen to be a book I've already read somewhere along the way, they will be tossed and replaced by another fish in the jar. I'm hoping that will allow me more diversity in my reading, as well as prevent me from getting in reading slumps.

There is a good mixture in there. There are children's books, memoirs, humor, YA fiction, historical fiction, and much more. Most genres are represented. It's a fun new toy, but a daunting reminder of all the books I want to read...a daunting reminder that will no doubt grow as I find more books to add to my TBR, to my Excel sheet, and to my jar. It's amazing how many wonderful works of literary art there are out there for me to get my hot little hands on.

If only I could read them all...

How many books are on your TBR? Do you keep a separate TBR for immediate planned reads or do you lump it all together like I do? Do you have a TBR jar?

I'm ready for my crazy weekend, especially all of this reading. I'm ready to break out the books and to maybe have the moment arrive where a dip in the jar is taken. Hooray for reading! Off I go!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Top Ten Books on My TBR for Summer 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly event hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, created due to a fondness for lists. Each week they post a new Top Ten topic. After that, it's bloggers UNITE! Participate with your own Top Ten post, have fun, and get to know your fellow bloggers.

This week's topic is the Summer TBR. For you non-bibliophiles, TBR stands for "To Be Read". It's the list of books a reader plans to take on. For me, it's the insurmountable mountain that I continue to grow by the day.

I'm a bit of a mood reader, so there is no real plan when it comes to the order that I read things in. Or rather, I attempt to make a plan of what I want to read, but inevitably my plan gets interrupted by spur of the moment choices based on what is feeling right at the moment. I kind of play it fast and loose. (We'll talk a little more about this on Friday.)

I do, however, have a pile of books that top my list -- including a few choices that are currently being housed in my nightstand, on deck for their turn. So, to make my Top Ten list this week, I mixed books I'm planning to read and have easily accessible with those I have high hopes and dreams for obtaining and reading before the summer ends.

In no particular order...


1. Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
2. Paperweight by Meg Haston
3. P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern
4. The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins
5. The Opposite of Maybe by Maddie Dawson
6. At The Water's Edge by Sara Gruen
7. Nothing Like Looking by Chris Van Hakes
8. Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid
9. Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor
10. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

What great books are on your summer TBR?

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Bloggiesta Day 2: Official Wrap Up and Unofficial Continuation

The mini-Bloggiesta is rolling to a close. It may officially be ending here in a couple of hours, but I haven't finished everything I want to yet, so I'm planning to continue for the next couple of evenings until I have my projects all finished. I have a good flow going--no sense leaving things half done.

The Twitter chat was great today, but it wound up giving me more things to do. We had quite a lively discussion on Pinterest, and I wound up heading over there and reorganizing my board covers to make them more attractive. That took a bit of time. I also found myself perusing the blogging boards of a few other Bloggiesta participants. It will be helpful, but it took a pretty decent chunk out of my afternoon.

1. Update reading challenge pages.

2. Update bucket list challenge pages.

3. Participate in Sunday's Twitter Chat at 3pm EST.

4. Redesign blog planner.

5. Sort through Goodreads emails and update TBR.

6. Create TBR jar. (in progress)

7. Create project jar. (in progress)

8. Create blog post idea jar. (in progress)

9. Write Top Ten Tuesday posts for June/July/August (at least some...).

10. Visit other Bloggiesta bloggers and comment. Be social!!

**  Reorganize Pinterest board covers.

I hope everyone else's Bloggiesta was as productive!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Bloggiesta Day 1: In the Thick of It

The first day of Bloggiesta is halfway over and I'm trucking along with the goals I've set for myself. I've been a little slower this afternoon as I managed to get a little distracted by things like my iPad, YouTube, and Facebook. Oops. The good news is, success is still being had - just in smaller quantities.

I made a really dumb mistake earlier today that totally worked out in my favor. I was just sitting here tooling along on a few items when I realized that it was 1:45pm...3:45pm EST. In a quick panic, I pulled up TweetDeck, certain that I was missing the Twitter chat. turns out I just don't know how to read. The chat is tomorrow, not today. I'll get a second attempt at showing up on time. Phew.

The good news is that I have managed to finish one more item on my list and I'm in the midst of four (yes...four) others. Okay, really I guess it's five if you count reading other Bloggiesta posts and commenting, because I've been doing a little of that too.

Here's where I'm at right now...

1. Update reading challenge pages.

2. Update bucket list challenge pages.

3. Participate in Sunday's Twitter Chat at 3pm EST.

4. Redesign blog planner.

5. Sort through Goodreads emails and update TBR. (in progress)

6. Create TBR jar. (in progress)

7. Create project jar. (in progress)

8. Create blog post idea jar. (in progress)

9. Write Top Ten Tuesday posts for June/July/August (at least some...).

10. Visit other Bloggiesta bloggers and comment. Be social!! (TOTALLY happening!)

I'm quite thrilled that I completed #4. I really did love my blog planner when I put it together a little over a year ago, but it was too big and too bulky and wound up just sitting in a drawer instead of getting properly used. Then I started writing things down in other notebooks and on scraps of paper and it all just turned into a chaotic mess. It was time for a streamlined change.

Here's what I started with:

Excuse the horribly grainy picture. The iPad can't be trusted...
The large original planner binder, the smaller green planner, miscellaneous printer papers, a legal pad, the blue project design notebook, and a steno notebook. Meanwhile, the binder was stuffed with all kinds of weird, loose papers.

And here's what I ended up with:

Ahh. One nice and tidy, portable-sized green planner.

I compiled everything into this cute little planner that I got at Staples. I use one of these for my regular daily planner as well (it's the ARC system in case you're curious...and no, this isn't a sponsored post - I just like my planners). 

I have things divided by tabs to keep track of my "to do" list, the upcoming topics for Top Ten Tuesday, my read-a-thon schedule, plans for the year's pumpkin display, plans for holiday gift projects, and the plan for next year's A to Z Challenge (among other things). I'd show you the individual pages secrets and all of that. I can't be just showing you everything! (You do have a bit of a sneak peek of a wall collage I have planned. Does that help?)

I'm sooooo much happier. This cutesy little planner measures about 9" high and 6" wide. It's about 1 1/2" thick and has to be held closed by a band since I stuffed it with pages (the system does have the option of larger rings, but I didn't have enough of them left).'s about 1000 times better than the gigantic 3" 3-ring binder (and other assorted accouterments) I was using before. This is much more portable and accessible. It also helps that Bloggiesta projects 6-8 are allowing me to remove some items from the planner that were previously taking up a lot of real estate.

What do you think? Do you use a blog planner? What are the essential pieces of your planner that you can't live without?

Friday, June 12, 2015

Bloggiesta Day 1: The Beginning.

It's Bloggiesta time! I'm hard at work attacking the blog and cleaning up things behind the scenes. I'm working on a lot of organization this time, trying to make it easier for me to write posts and finish projects to share on the blog.

Since this is a mini-Bloggiesta, I'll be doing a few midway posts to keep things updated and share what I'm working on. Right now, we're technically about 3 hours in on Bloggiesta. I've already tackled a couple of items on the list.

1. Update reading challenge pages.

2. Update bucket list challenge pages.

3. Participate in Saturday's Sunday's Twitter Chat. (I really need to read more carefully.)

4. Redesign blog planner.

5. Sort through Goodreads emails and update TBR.

6. Create TBR jar.

7. Create project jar.

8. Create blog post idea jar.

9. Write Top Ten Tuesday posts for June/July/August (at least some...).

10. Visit other Bloggiesta bloggers and comment. Be social!!

Yup...steps 1 and 2 are complete! The Twitter Chat is at 1pm my time tomorrow, so I'm planning on having at least one more step completed by early afternoon. I'm hoping to share the blog planner redesign tomorrow evening and then the jars for steps 6-8 on Sunday night. Fingers crossed that I can keep on completing tasks successfully!!

How's your Bloggiesta going?

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