Monday Musings | Book Buying Habits

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I guess it comes as no surprise that my book buying habits have changed over the years, but as I was celebrating a great find at the library (yes, I’m a nerd), I wondered if everyone has a list of criteria that determines whether they buy a book or not. Or, more realistically, what those criteria are.

When I  grew up, the books I “bought” were the ones I successfully convinced my parents and relatives to buy for me. When I started having a (small) allowance, I was very picky when it came to actually biting the bullet and buying a book with my limited funds. At this point in life, I mostly bought books that I had already read but loved. But once I moved into my own place and started my first “grown up” job, there was no stopping me. I started buying books that I really wanted to read immediately, regardless of price and format. Well, let’s just say that that kind of buying isn’t sustainable and now I’m back in the “pull back” mode of buying where I have to really think carefully about the books I’m buying as I’m running out of space.

So, I normally follow a set of guidelines when I decide whether I want to buy a book: a) how badly do I want to read this book? b) do I want to read it right now? c) can I buy this as an e-book instead? d) might I find it in the library?

I find these guidelines have served me well so far, and when I see an anticipated read at the library, it’s extra exciting.

Do you give yourself any guidelines when deciding whether or not to buy a book? How have your book buying habits changed throughout the years?

#RHCBloggerPreview: 10 Spring/Fall Titles to Put on Your Radar

Random House Canada RHC Blogger Preview

There are many reasons why I love being a book blogger, and one of them is being able to find out about new and exciting titles before they’re published. Last night, the wonderful ladies at Random House Canada (Lindsey, Aliya, and Jessica) hosted a blogger preview at their Toronto offices and it was a wonderful night learning about some of their upcoming books, chatting with fellow book-lovers, and munching on delicious pizza! I definitely left the event feeling super excited about the books they told us about, so I thought I would share my enthusiasm with you all. So, here is a list of 10 books that I think should be on everyone’s radar!

1. In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume (June 2nd, 2015)

Judy Blume In The Unlikely Event Book Cover

Let’s just dive right in, shall we? I grew up reading (and loving) Judy Blume, so I couldn’t be more excited to hear that she is releasing a brand new adult novel. Based on true events that witnessed a series of passenger airplane crashes within a three-month period, In the Unlikely Event “bring[s] us the lives of three generations of families, friends, and strangers who will be profoundly affected by these events, either directly or indirectly.” Read more on Goodreads here.

2. The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro (March 3rd, 2015)

Kazuo Ishiguro The Buried Giant Book Cover

It’s been a decade since Never Let Me Go, but Kazuo Ishiguro is back with The Buried Giant! I’m really looking forward to reading this as I thoroughly enjoyed the #RemainsReread with Random House Canada last year where we read (or re-read) The Remains of the Day. (Read part 1 of my re-cap here.) This has been described as “a story of a marriage” as well as a “myth-like.” Aliya made a particularly great point about Ishiguro: (Paraphrased to the best of my ability!) “His books are not always easy, but they are always worth it. He never writes the same book twice.” Yep, I’m in. Read more on Goodreads here.

3. Boo by Neil Smith (May 12th, 2015)

Boo Neil Smith Book Cover

Lindsey introduced this book as “Lord of the Flies meets The Lovely Bones.” Intrigued yet? “In an afterlife exclusively for thirteen-year-olds, an oft-bullied social misfits makes the friends he never had on Earth in this charmingly quirky coming-of-age novel.” In parts a murder mystery, I think this book will have everyone buzzing when it comes out in May. Read more on Goodreads here.

4. We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen (May 12th, 2015)

We Are All Made of Molecules Susin Nielsen Book Cover

I have raved about Susin Nielsen before, but I couldn’t help squealing when We Are All Made of Molecules came on the screen at the conference. I have actually had the privilege of reading this book already, and it is amazing. Seriously, I have never disliked a Susin Nielsen book ever. This book is a “hilarious yet deeply moving story [about] a sweet, awkward boy and a not-so-sweet girl.” It has the perfect balance of laugh-out-loud funny and serious topics. SO. GOOD. Read more on Goodreads here.

5. Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin (March 17th, 2015)

Gretchen Rubin Better Than Before The Happiness Project

You may have heard of Gretchen Rubin before, as she is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness Project. In Better than Before, Rubin “tackles the question: How do we make good habits that are easy, effortless, and automatic?” I  am definitely a creature of habits (some of them bad), so this seems like just the book for me! Plus, I’m making it a point to read more non-fiction this year, so Better Than Before kills two birds with one stone. Score. Read more on Goodreads here.

6. A Robot in the Garden by Deborah Install (August 4th, 2015)

A Robot in the Garden by Deborah Install Book Cover

Everyone who has read A Robot in the Garden already seems to be enamored with it, and it’s not hard to see why. Described as “Pixar-esque” and “if Up and Wall-E had a baby” (credits go to Siobhan), this is a “funny, touching, charming, wise, and a bit magical novel that explores what it is to be a man, a sentient being, and even a parent.” It seems like Tang the robot will be one of those characters that we will love long after the book is done. Read more on Goodreads here.

7. His Whole Life by Elizabeth Hay (August 11th, 2015)

His Whole Life Elizabeth Hay Book Cover

I have an embarrassing confession to make: I have never read anything by Elizabeth Hay. It’s never too late to start though, right? His Whole Life is sure to be a big Canadian release, and I can’t wait to read this book that “[starts] with something as simple as a boy who wants his dog [and] takes us into a richly intimate world where everything that matters to him is at risk: family, nature, home.” Lindsey called this book “a story of a family” and “really accessible,” so I’m excited to make this my first book by Hay. Read more on Goodreads here.

8. Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella (June 9th, 2015)

Finding Audrey Sophie Kinsella Book Cover

My heart started doing crazy things when this book was introduced. If you know me, you’ll know that I love the Shopaholic series, so it’s no surprise that I’d be excited for Sophie Kinsella’s venture into writing for young adults. I’m especially interested in Finding Audrey as it deals with anxiety disorder and psychological recovery. Plus, how amazing is that cover?? Read more on Goodreads here.

9. Snow White and the 77 Dwarfs by Davide Cali; illustrated by Raphaelle Barbanegre (April 14th, 2015)

Snow White and the 77 Dwarfs Davide Cali Raphaelle Barbanegre Book Cover

What if Snow White didn’t have to entertain 7 dwarfs, but 77? This is a picture book reimagining of the famous Snow White tale “with hilarious results.” It’s “a funny, twisted retelling for fans of The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka and The Three Pigs by David Weisner.” We were shown a few of the illustrations at the conference, and I thought those alone made the book worthy of picking up. I’m intrigued by this one! Read more on Goodreads here.

10. Good Food, Good Life: 130 Simple Recipes You’ll Love to Make and Eat by Curtis Stone (March 10, 2015)

Good Food, Good Life Curtis Stone Recipe Book Cover

We all agree that Curtis Stone has a “media-friendly” (read: attractive) face, but that’s not the only reason to check Good Food, Good Life out. As someone who always struggles to find recipes that are both easy to make and delicious, this sounds like just the book for me. “Recipes include Butternut Squash with Sage Brown Butter, Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Alabama BBQ Sause and Asparagus, …” I’m drooling just thinking about it. Read more on Goodreads here.

Honourable mentions (Fall titles!):

  • The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood. It’s a new Margaret Atwood book. What more do I need to say?
  • Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon. Aliya loved “everything, everything” about this book. It’s about a girl who is allergic to everything and has to live a sterile life. What will happen to her when she falls in love with the boy next door? What intrigued me the most about this one is that there is artwork throughout the book. Ooooooh!
  • The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald. This sounds similar to The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry and is a must-read for book lovers. I think the story speaks for itself. I’m sold.

So there you have it! It was so difficult to choose only 10 books, but somehow I managed. Are you excited about any of these upcoming titles? Are there any other books that should be on my radar?

*Thank you again to Random House Canada for hosting this fun event!

Monday Musings | Review Slumps

One More Page Weekend Blogging

Well friends, I think I’ve seen it all now. I’ve been through reading slumps, blogging slumps, and now, more specifically, a reviewing slump. It’s not even that I’ve been reading sub-par books; it’s been quite the opposite, in fact. I finished Vanessa and Her Sister, The Gallery of Lost Species, and the touching It Was Me All Along last month and while I enjoyed them all in different ways, I feel like I don’t have the words to review them properly.

Have you ever felt this way? My reviewing process has always been an up and down thing, and I think my biggest weakness when reviewing is that I try to do too many things at once. I simultaneously want to inject my own personal connection to the story while exploring its themes, message, and symbolism. I want to sound like a blogger but also like a “professional reviewer” at the same time. I want to be both personal and formal. These opposing approaches are often what makes me stall the most. So, moving forward, I feel like I need to make up my mind about how I continue to review books. I want my reviews to be engaging, thoughtful, and informative. Once I can figure out a way to accomplish that, I’m sure I’ll be out of my slump in no time.

Have you ever been in a reviewing slump? How did you decide on the format of your reviews? Do you enjoy writing reviews?