Thursday, August 25, 2011

52 Books in 52 Weeks - #1

Well good job blog. Today the blog has served its purpose everyone!

In preparing to create a post about my reading challenge for the year, I decided to take some pictures of our home library.  Upon walking into the room, I realized that the photos on the walls were still of the nephews and nieces from my first marriage. Collin has been asking me for the last five years why I haven't changed them. Well...two reasons really...#1 - those kids are super cute (seriously, half of them could be the photos that came with the frames)...and #2 - I'm really just that lazy. So sad really.

I realized that I just couldn't post pictures of the room until it had been updated properly. It would have driven me nuts. So a project ensued. This morning I took down all ten frames and removed their photos.

I can't tell you how freaked out I was that there were glass frames sitting on the floor.
I was totally worried I'd step on them. I'm just that graceful.

I searched for replacements, printed them, trimmed them and put everything back together. I decided what order they would look best in. Then (after a few curse words and the realization that I don't have as much depth perception when wearing my glasses as I do with my contacts) I put them all back up on the wall. Tada. A five year project completed in about an hour. Crazy.

And so now we can move on with the post and I can show you pictures of my library. Fantastic.

Now...back to the matter at hand. As most of you know, I set a few resolutions for myself this year just to see what would happen. I'm not a regular resolution maker. In fact, this is the first year I've really set one. And I set 4! One of these resolutions is to read 52 books this year. I have to say, I'm doing pretty awesome on this one. As of today, I have read 32 of my 52 books.  According to Goodreads, this puts me 1 book behind my goal assuming an even pace. I don't think that will be a problem.

If you'd like to see the entire list of books I've read so far this year, or if you'd like to add me as a friend on an already existing Goodreads profile, you can find me here. I honestly don't think I'd be doing as well as I am if it weren't for a combination of this site and the fact that I got a Nook for Mothers' Day. Goodreads lets me build a list of books I want to read, keep track of the books I've already read and find new books by seeing what my friends and other people like me are reading. It's great.  The Nook is just crack for readers. It's awesome. Now, don't get me wrong. I still love books. I still love buying actual paper and ink copies of books. If you don't think I love books, well then you weren't paying attention when I told you earlier that we have a home library.

Note the new photos. There are three more on the left wall and five on the right.

Technically, the library is a bonus room. The prior owners used it as a storage room.  Me...I bought nine oak bookshelves and made my brothers and dad help me haul these ridiculously heavy couches up from the basement to the top floor. I believe the quote after that by one of them was "These are getting sold with the house when you move. I'm not doing that again." But they're oh so comfy.

So this is my testament to my love of reading. Second to the scrapbook room, this is my favorite room in the house. Darian is fond of it too. He refers to it as his "secret hiding place" and likes to sleep on the couch in a sleeping bag. Yup. He's weird. He fits right in.

To illustrate the intensity of my OCD, I'll even be nice enough to show you around and give you a little mini tour...

All books are arranged by section and then by author, with the exception of the preschool/elementary shelf.

To the right of the door. These are all of the childrens' books. Preschool/elementary age on the right, preteen on the left.

This is Darian's section of the room. When he and Collin first moved in I already had a good chunk of these shelves filled. I have all of the old books from when I was a kid, including the awesome Sesame Street books that my Mom bought for us when we were little. The left hand shelf has grown some, but has novels that are just right for Dar now. He's currently reading the fifth Harry Potter. If you look closely at the shelf, you can see that there is only a sleeve where the book should be. 

He's turning into a pretty good reader and he's pretty happy to let you know that he reads above his grade level. (He made sure to tell his teacher this on "Meet the Teacher" night at school on Tuesday. He's so humble.)

Fiction shelves.

This is the section that gets read from the most often.  These are all adult fiction novels...again arranged by author.  My favorite authors in this section include Jane Green, John Grisham and Jodi Picoult.  No, the telescope does not really belong in here. Darian got that for Christmas and there's not really a good spot for it in his room, so this is where it ended up. The bunny on the chair is from my old bedroom at my parents' house. He used to sit on my bed when I was a kid. The chair is quite possibly the most comfy thing you'll ever find. In college I housesat for some friends who had one just like it and I LOVED it. I had to have one of my own.

Non-fiction shelves.

This is more or less the reference section. It's made up primarily of books from college and grad school. They get used on occasion, but mostly just gather dust. The bottom right shelf is full of yearbooks in case I have a nostalgic need to see how nerdy I looked in Junior High.

If you were counting, you've by now noticed that only seven of the nine bookshelves have been shown. Well, there is an eighth tucked to the left of the door than has only a few books on it - those that pertain to project subjects like sewing and quilting and some sheet music. I don't use it much because it's awkward to get to.  The ninth is actually not in this room, but was relocated to the crop room and holds scrapbook albums and boxes of photos, ephemera and projects in process. Basically what happened is that I estimated incorrectly in my guess at the dimensions of the room when I bought them. Whatever. This works.

This year's resolution has forced me out of the relative safety and comfort of my library and has made me search out other ways to find and read new books. I started by using the book list that was floating around Facebook a while back entitled something like "100 Books to Read Before You Die". It's a bunch of classics and those mandatory reads for high school and college English courses. Not a bad start, but I knew I wouldn't make it if I had to read nothing but Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. I like them both, but I needed a little more variety. That's when I found Goodreads thanks to a couple of Facebook friends. (Social media is so darned helpful). My "to read" list has now ballooned to 150 books and I keep adding new ones each week.

I use the "to read" shelf in helping me figure out what to read next, but I don't follow it's order.  I tried that to start with. It failed miserably. I live in a small town. Our public library is sometimes lacking. That was the first road block. I couldn't find one of the books on the list so I started skipping around. I also have to mention that this year is the first time I've used my public library card since about 2002.

The trouble finding books was eased somewhat with my Nook. I can borrow books through the Lend Me feature, trade books with friends and get free books online in addition to purchasing them from multiple sites. It's awesome. I've read only books from my Nook since my experience with Les Miserables.  That book nearly ended this whole saga. It took me forever to read and the library wouldn't let me renew it again without first having it turned in for twenty-four hours. Lame. So...I switched over. I put it on my Nook, turned the book back in, and I haven't looked back. Darn you library.

Since I find it most useful to find new books through the recommendations of my friends, I'm going to share that experience with you. I'll be presenting the books I've read so far this year a few at a time and giving you my take on each one of them.  And just because I think it makes things more fun, I'll even present each book with an award based either on it's plot or my experience with it.

If you have suggestions for books I should read, leave me a comment or sign up for Goodreads and send me a note. If you want my opinion on books other than the ones I've read this year - don't worry...I'm sure we'll get there (if you just can't wait then I guess you can request one early).

Reading is fun people! Let's all get a little smarter and well rounded together!


  1. This is awesome. I have never been a big reader but just recently decided that I should be reading and have finished 2 books in 2 weeks and started my third on Saturday. It is really enjoyable. I have to learn to balance all the other things I do with the reading and make it work. Thanks for sharing. I am your newest follower on GFC. I have a crafty blog at We do a lot of paper crafting, card making and scrapbooking. I am glad to have found you and am going to check out goodreads. It sounds interesting.

  2. Thanks Michelle! I think it's a pretty good challenge. I highly recommend GoodReads if you're going to undertake a challenge of your own. It's been super helpful for me. I'm looking forward to checking out your blog! We'll have to swap some ideas.


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