11/30/17

Reading Round-up - November

It's Christmas next month.  CHRISTMAS.  This year has flown by so incredibly fast!  November was a pretty good reading month for me.  I started off thinking that I might actually hit 100 books this year, but then I slowed down and read some chunkier books, so we'll see where I end up at the end of the year.  I'm not too concerned either way.


1. Little Fires Everywhere
This book was INCREDIBLE.  I saw rave reviews popping up all over, and the hype is so so SO deserved for this book.  It centres around two families in a suburban town, and I was riveted from page one.  I already can't wait to re-read it; hopefully, with the Badass Book Bitches (my new reading crew on Instagram).


2. Felicity by Mary Oliver
Every since I read Love Her Wild during the summer, I've been searching for another poetry book to blow me away.  This one was very good!


3. The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
After I finished Little Fires Everywhere, I could feel a reading slump coming on because I couldn't decide what I was in the mood to read.  I tried picking up The Name of the Wind and the second Mistborn book, but couldn't get into any of them.  Then I thought I felt like a contemporary, but couldn't settle on one.   So Marko picked a book off the shelf for me, and he chose this one.  I read The Shadow of the Wind on my honeymoon and LOVED it, but hadn't picked up either of his other two books.  I'm so glad it read this one, as it evoked a lot of the magic that the first book did.  I'll definitely be picking up the third book in the not-too-distant future.


4. For One More Day by Mitch Albom
The Five People You Meet in Heaven is one of my all-time favourite books and, although I've enjoyed each of his other books, I still haven't quite hit that WOW factor that I found in Five People.


5. Shadowlands by Kate Brian
So I randomly realized the other day that I picked up a cheap ebook of this book AND my OTSP Secret Sister bought me a copy, so reading this book knocked a book off both TBR piles.  And HOLY SMOKES this book was unputdownable.  It was amazing content-wise, but once I started I raced through to the end.  And then put the next two on hold at the library.


6. The Power by Naomi Alderman
I have a new reading group on Instagram called the Badass Book Bitches.  An amazing group of inspiring ladies, and we're dedicated to feminist reads.  As I've likely mentioned on here before, I have a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Women's Studies, so I've read a lot of feminist texts or read texts through a feminist perspective, but university was a long, long time ago, and it's been refreshing to discuss with these ladies and really delve deep into a text.  The Power was good, but not amazing, but our conversations were truly the highlight of the reading experience.


7. We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
My book club picked this one, and I listened to it on audio.  The beginning was really dull and I contemplated DNFing the book, but it got better as it went on.  Although reading from the perspective of the mother was interesting, I think Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult did a better job of tackling the concept of school shootings and, possibly, no other book on the topic will ever compare?


8. It Happens All the Time by Amy Havatny
I picked this one up on a whim because I was buddy reading The Power and took my ereader to work, but needed another book to read after I'd finished the week's allotted reading.  I flew through the book, absolutely enthralled by the story and the dual narration.


9. Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
OMIGOSH THIS BOOK.  It's been hyped all over, but totally lives up to the hype.  It's the book that I wish I could have read as a teen, because it's full of feminism and grrrrrrl power and all the things I wish I'd been exposed to at a younger age.  BUT, with that being said, I'm just happy that teens today can be exposed to this book and its awesomeness.


10. Shopgirl by Steve Martin
At the time of typing this, I'm not 100% sure I'll finish this by month end, but considering the fact that it's only 130 pages, I think it's possible.  I picked this up on a whim at a used bookstore, when I asked the bookseller for a recommendation.  At first I thought, Steve Martin, like the funny guy, and thought it couldn't possibly be that good; however, Steve Martin can WRITE.  It's very well written and I'm totally caught up in the plot line already.


11. Flora & Ulysses by Kate diCamillo
I was looking for an audiobook and wasn't quite sure what I wanted to spend my Audible credits on, so I hopped onto Overdrive instead and saw this.  Kate's other books, The Tale of Despereaux and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, are high up on the list of my all-time favourites, so I always have high expectations for her books.  This one is good, and the narrator is delightful, but I realized halfway through that the book is illustrated, and I think I might be missing out on the full magic of the story because the illustrations aren't a part of the audio experience.  SO, while I will finish this one (I only have 45 minutes left in the audio), I know that I'll revisit it in print format.

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11/27/17

Marko Monday [25] -

Lately, Marko has been into snakes.  For his birthday last year, he acquired a large plush snake, and has acquired three more since then.  On weekend mornings, we can hear the rattle of his rattlesnake's tail as he brings all four plush snakes down the hall and climbs into our bed.  Then we all have to "squeeze up like a happy family" with him and his snakes in the middle.

So when we stumbled across this book at Value Village one day, we had to grab it and it's been a favourite lately.  The story is told from the boy's perspective and the snake's perspective, and the book is flipped upside down when switching perspectives (front to back, and then back to front). It's a cute story, because the boy is scared of the snake, and then when the snake tells the story, he's scared of the boy.  As a mama who wasn't super fond of snakes to begin with, this is a good reminder that they're probably just as scared of us as we are of them.


It's hard to believe that we're closing in on this little man's fifth birthday.  He's growing like crazy and has lost some of his short stockiness, as he's quite tall and a bit lankier now.  He loves imaginative play as well as curling up on the couch with a book or watching a movie together.  Cuddles are harder to come by these days as sometimes he's "too busy" but it just makes them all the more enjoyable when he does slow down for just a minute to snuggle.  I always want to grab him and squeeze him and demand that time slow down, just a little bit.  But he squirms away and races off to fight some more bad guys before dinner.  For "just one more minute, okay Mama?"

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11/16/17

Tome Topple - Round 5

My favourite part of November is Tome Topple, especially as I always seem to feel myself burning out on reading towards the end of the year, as I try to catch up on reading challenges and read all the things I'd planned to read.  Generally, by November I've either realized that I'll get it all done in time, or I've completely given up hope.  This year it's the latter, and I'm fully ready to curl up with a tome or two for the last half of November, and just enjoy reading.

Tome Topple was created by Sam @ Thoughts on Tomes and you can watch her announcement video here.  The challenges for each round of Tome Topple are the same and as follows:

1. Read more than one tome.
2. Buddy read a tome.
3. Read a graphic novel.
4. Read a tome that is part of a series.
5. Read an adult novel.

I've never managed to complete all five challenges for this readathon, mainly because the focus is on reading larger books and I'm always impressed with myself for getting through one book!  In order for a book to count as a tome, it has to be over 500 pages.


For this round of Tome Topple, I will be reading Janet Fitch's new release The Revolution of Marina M.  To say that I'm excited about this book would be an understatement as Janet Fitch is, without a doubt, one of my favourite authors of all time.  I read White Oleander when I was 17 and loved that book so much that I flipped back to page one as soon as I was finished because I couldn't bear for it to be over.  I absolutely cannot wait to get lost in her writing again, and this book is a BEAST -- 800 pages!  Perfect for Tome Topple.

If I feel like a second book, I'm considering either the second book in the Mistborn trilogy or The Cuckoo's Calling, both of which count as a book in a series.  BUT we'll see.  One massive tome will likely be more than enough =P

Are you participating in Tome Topple?  What are you planning to read?  Let me know in the comments below, and good luck with your reading goals!

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11/15/17

Looking Back ... At Six Years of Blogging

Six years ago, I shared a post called Hello World and dove into the world of blogging.  To say it's been a whirlwind adventure would be an understatement, but I wouldn't change a moment of this adventure for the world.  I thought I'd share a few highlights of the past six years, including some of my favourite posts.  Thank you to all of you that have been on some or all of this adventure with me.  From reading my words to leaving thoughtful comments ... your presence and support mean the world to me.  Here's to another six years!


  • Meeting Evie @ Bookish (unfortunately, right before she moved away!)  She was so lovely and supportive and encouraging for a new blogger, and I know that she's one of the reasons that I kept blogging in the earlier years
  • My first blog award (are these even a thing anymore?) because it meant that someone was validating what I was doing
  • My first Bloggiesta, where I made a friend who showed me how to make a blog roll
  • Announcing a reading slump .... caused by pregnancy!
  • Meeting Lisa Genova, and the first time I posted a picture of myself on the blog
  • Sharing our how we met story (spoiler: it was in a bookstore!)
  • I meet Lauren @ Lose Time Reading through The Broke and the Bookish's Secret Santa -- and we're still friends today!
  • My beautiful baby boy, Marko, arrives
  • Losing my e-book virginity
  • The first Marko Monday
  • Summer of Standalones -- a fantastic readathon hosted by Cass @ The Casserole, and one that I've found myself unofficially doing every summer since
  • I made a series-ous decision to conquer my list of unfinished series
  • My first round of blogging blahs
  • My most personal review ever, Me Before You, where the story of my dad's accident and his strength
  • My first If We Were Having Coffee post -- despite the above-noted personal review, this was the first time that I really felt like my book was about ME and not just books
  • I started hosting The Prequel & Sequel Challenge with Jessi @ Novel Heartbeat.  Despite the fact that we don't talk regularly, and the fact that I've been the crappiest co-host, I still consider Jessi to be one of my bestest blogging buddies
  • Meeting Marissa Meyer
  • My blog gets a makeover
  • Wrote one of my favourite posts about ARCs
  • Revisited the series-ousness of my physical TBR -- I loved putting together the stats on this!
  • Shared my first (and only) Reading On My Mat post -- I will bring this series back soon
  • Shared the beginning of my Reading Journey -- another series I plan to continue
  • Lauren @ Lose Time Reading and I were SO EXCITED about our Lose Time RRReading Readathon -- it was a bit of a flop, but I'd love to try it again someday
  • One of the worst reading slumps in my life, but the comments on this post warmed my heart
  • Had one of the most amazing Secret Santa experiences with the incredible Tiff @ Mostly YA Lit
  • Joined the OTSP Secret Sisterhood, and met Jessica @ Novel Cravings and Amanda @ Books, Brains and Brawn in my first round -- friends forever!
  • Participated in the first of many rounds of Tome Topple
  • Received and reviewed my very first physical ARC (I still squeal internally when I remember opening this package from Random House)
  • Participated in #Bookmas, while moving houses (I'm still amazed that I posted so much this month considering all the hecticness that was my life at the time!)
  • Although this year was my second time participating in the Love-a-Thon, it was the first time that I really felt that I joined in
  • My dear friend Jessica @ Novel Cravings hosted the All the Short Ones Read-a-thon and I read SO MANY BOOKS
  • Went through a blogging identity crisis (in all honesty, I think I'm still there!)
  • Participated in Spook-a-thon and, although I can't link it here, I posted on Instagram for all 30 days of the challenge!
  • Shared 25 Bookish Facts About Me -- a recent post, but another one that I'm quite proud of!

In addition to all of the things that I've linked above, I've participated in a lot of other fun things, like Top Ten Tuesday, Life of a Blogger and much, much more.  I'm so grateful for the friendships that I've made through blogging, and the opportunity to share a little bit about myself in this little corner of the internet.  I'm eternally grateful for each one of you that takes the time to stop by my blog (yes, you, you wonderful person!) and I cherish each and every comment.  I'm excited to continue blogging -- who knows where this blog will be in six more years?!?

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11/13/17

On Dusty Books

Last week, I shared a list of books that I've bought this year, and was pleasantly surprised by the fact that I've read about half of the books in the same year that they were purchased.  A few years ago, I tried my own version of a book buying ban, where I promised myself that I'd only buy a book if I planned to read it right away.  There's something exciting about coming home from the bookstore and diving into a new book right away, rather than sticking it on the shelf and forgetting about it.

One of my reading goals this year is to get my physical shelves to less than 100 unread books.  Currently, I'm sitting around 115 so it feels doable by the end of the year.  I've also unhauled a few old ARCs that were gifted to me that I have zero interest in reading, to help bring my numbers down. I have a few short books that I was thinking of blitzing through, as it'll get the numbers down quickly and, if I don't like them, I can just immediately drop them into the unhaul pile.  But there's something holding me back.

I have had a truly incredible reading year.  Truly, truly incredible.  For a while, it felt like every book that I was picking up was blowing me away and I was marvelling at how few DNFs I had this year.  This is precisely what's holding me back from picking up some of these older titles -- I'm fairly certain that they're books that aren't my cup of tea anymore; however, I don't want to just unhaul them without giving them a shot first.  BUT, since I'm having such a stellar reading year, I also don't want to pick up and DNF a string of books in a row, just to get my unread numbers down.  There's always a little part of me that thinks that I might love the book, if I read it at a different time in my life.  For example, I used to read a lot of middle grade, so I have about 20 unread middle grade titles on my shelves.  I don't read much middle grade anymore, which isn't to say that I won't enjoy those books, but I probably would have enjoyed them more if I had read them ten years ago.  Or maybe I'll enjoy them in another five years.

In conclusion, I probably won't sweat my reading goals and will just keep picking up the books that I want to read when I want to read them.  I read 13 books last month, so finishing off 15 more from my shelves in two months doesn't seem unreasonable.

What about you?  How do you deal with dusty books that you're not sure you are interested in reading?  Do you keep them for a rainy day or try them and DNF or just unhaul them?  I'm interested to hear your thoughts, so let me know in the comments below -- and thanks for stopping by!

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11/8/17

25 Bookish Facts About Me

I saw this tag over at Confessions of a Book Geek a long, long time ago and, although I wasn't tagged, I just had to participate.  What a fun way to share bookish things with you all!

1. My name is literary.  My parents picked Melissa because they were watching Little House on the Prairie while my mom was pregnant, and they liked Melissa Gilbert's name (the actress who played Laura on the show).  My mom's middle name is Ann, which she wanted to pass along to me, but she preferred "Anne with an E" from Anne of Green Gables, so that's how she spelled it.

2. I loved Rachel's story of how she started reading Harry Potter, so I thought I'd add my own.  I was a Girl Guide leader at the time, and the girls were OBSESSED with talking about Harry's adventures and I had to figure out what Quidditch was.  I had only planned on reading the first book, just so that I'd understand what the fuss was about, but quickly binge read the four books that were released at that point ... and never looked back.

3. Speaking of Harry Potter, I worked at the launch of the sixth book and was in line for the seventh book at midnight.  I have yet to find another series that has impacted me so profoundly, although some of the adult fantasy that I've picked up this year has come pretty close.

4. I don't write in my books or dogear pages, but I haul my books around in my purse and they get pretty beaten up while I'm reading them.  Even though I recently scored a Book Beau in an Owlcrate, I still find myself shoving my book into my purse ... alongside the Book Beau *hangs head in shame...*

5. I'm not too concerned about the wear and tear on my books, but I despise it when I lend a book out and people don't care about how they treat the borrowed book.  I once lent a book to a coworker who spilled a glass of water on it, and then returned it without either acknowledging the damage or even apologizing.  I'm not super concerned about the wear and tear on my books, but I think that people should be super considerate and careful with borrowed books, and if accidents happen at least say sorry!

6. It bothers me a little when my series don't match, but I would never really consider spending the money on books that I already own.  In that vein, I don't own multiple copies of beloved books.

7. Further to number 6 above, the one series that does irritate me is Harry Potter.  I'm slowly replacing my mismatched set whenever I stumble across one of the original Canadian hardcovers.  So far, I've got my original books six and seven, and I found book four a few weeks ago.

8. Again, further to number 6 above, I also recently bought the third illustrated Harry Potter book, and plan to pick up the first two if my lovely husband doesn't pick them off my wish list this Christmas!  So, I will own multiple copies of the Harry Potter series, but I think I'll cap that at two copies per book.

9. I can't WAIT to read the Harry Potter series aloud to Marko!!!  This is the sole reason that I've purchased the illustrated versions.  Reading them aloud with the pictures is going to be MAGICAL.

10. I don't own any funko pops (is that what they're called?) and don't have a desire to.  I'm not a fan of things that I have to dust, except my books.  I think that makes me a bit of an anomaly in the bookish world, but I'm okay with that =P

11. I have yet to find a bookshelf organization system that works for me.  I've organized my shelves purely alphabetical, but later reorganized by genre so that my husband's sci-fi and horror wouldn't be sitting with my books.  I later shuffled by size so that I could fit everything together, and lost the alphabetical order.  After our recent move, I unpacked books into read and unread shelves, and I hopeful that splitting up my unfinished series will motivate me to reunite the books!

12. I sometimes wish that I could start my Goodreads shelves all over again, but I have way to many books on my shelves and it would take HOURS to reorganize it all.

13. I love the idea of doing a rainbow shelf organization, but I know that it would take FOREVER to set up, and would promptly drive me bonkers.

14. I met my husband in a bookstore!  He was a customer and I worked in the store.  And we lived happily ever after.

15. We had a bookish wedding (I'll link my post with our how we met story and a few pics of the wedding, if you're interested!)

16. I spend an hour and a half commuting to work, and another hour and a half commuting home.  The way Vancouver is laid out, the only place to make a decent salary is downtown, and the only place one can afford to purchase a home is waaaaay east, so most people have a similar commute.  But you know what, I kind of love it.  I drive half an hour with my husband, who drops me at the train station, and then I blissfully sip my coffee and have some uninterrupted reading time!

17. Due to the reasons above, it's entirely possible that I may finish 100 books this year -- gasp!

18. I recently stumbled across a video of myself explaining my 2010 New Year's Resolutions.  In the video, I explained that the previous year I'd planned to read one book a month, but in 2010 I was planning to read two books a month.  In consideration of the item noted above, my first thought was WHO IS THIS GIRL AND HOW IS SHE POSSIBLY A PAST ME?

19. I recently subscribed to Owlcrate and, although it's been fun getting bookish mail, I'm not 100% sure I know what to do with all the "stuff" that comes in the box.  Last month's box was good because the items were all functional (tea, mug, coaster, etc.) but I may cancel my subscription if there's too many trinket-y things.  As mentioned above, I don't clutter my shelves with candles and bookish things.  There's just books and framed photos on my shelves.

20. I'm only a few days away from my sixth blogoversary.  I still can't believe that I've been doing this for SIX YEARS.  If you want a good laugh, here's my first post -- it still makes me laugh to this day.

21. When I stumble across a new blog, the first thing I do is read the blogger's very first post.  I like to see where people began, and I especially love it when the first post is a "welcome to my blog" or similar introductory post, rather than a review.

22. If Marko doesn't love reading when he's all grown up, it'll probably shatter my soul.  No seriously, it probably will.

23. I totally judge books by their covers.  (Shhh, I won't tell anyone that you do too).  As a result, there are a few books that I probably would have totally passed over because the covers didn't wow me (like Me Before You or Turtles All the Way Down), so thank goodness for people raving about these books online and convincing me to give them a shot!

24. Speaking of covers, my biggest cover pet peeve is putting a real person's face on the cover.  I don't want the publisher to tell me what the character looks like; I want to imagine it for myself.

25. For the very reason noted above, I will search high and low for the original printing of a book in order to avoid buying a movie tie-in cover.  NO THANK YOU to Hollywood actors on the front of this girl's books!

Well, there you have it -- 25 random bookish facts about me!  This post sat in my drafts for WAY TOO LONG (as with many other posts lately!) but I'm happy I finally finished writing it.  Let me know some bookish facts about you in the comments below, or leave a link to your post and I'll stop by!  I love learning about other people's weird (or totally normal) bookish idiosyncrasies!

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11/6/17

An Entire Year's Book Haul -- in one post!

Book hauls are my favourite posts to write and to read; however, I actually haven't shared ANY this year!  I thought I'd wrap up my year's worth of purchases in post ... since I stop buying for myself November 1st, this will be all I buy this year!  The next one of these will be my Christmas haul.

Books Bought and Read

  • Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer
  • A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
  • A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
  • A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
  • The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord
  • Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare
  • Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han
  • The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
  • The Best of Adam Sharp by Graeme Simsion
  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • The Life Intended by Kristin Harmel
  • The Girl in 6E by A.R. Torre
  • Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas
  • The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  • This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
  • Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab
  • Love Her Wild by Atticus
  • Turtles All The Way Down by John Green

Books Bought and Not Yet Read

  • A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
  • Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare, et al
  • The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
  • Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
  • Once and For All by Sarah Dessen
  • The Ministry of Almost Happiness by Arundhati Roy
  • All Our Wrong Yesterdays by Elan Mastai
  • Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo
  • It Happens All the Time by Amy Hatvany
  • The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
  • The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
  • Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
  • The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne
  • The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom
  • Before She Rises by Jodi Meadows
  • Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore
  • Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
That's a long list of books, but I'm actually quite proud of the fact that I've read about half of what I've bought this year!  There are quite a few that I still hope/plan to read before the year is up.  Do you see any favourites in my list?  Let me know if there's a book that I should prioritize!

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11/1/17

November TBR

I decided that I was doing away with monthly TBR lists, but I've also kind of changed my mind on my fall reading since I posted my fall TBR list ... so here I am, back with another monthly TBR list!

Towards the end of June, I planned out the rest of my reading for the year, thinking that if I focused on certain books, I might be able to get through the 17 books that I planned to read in 2017, as well as the ten series that I had planned to finish.  At this point in the year, I've tossed that all out the window.  At last count, I believe that I have four of the 17 books still to read, and plan to read one this month, possibly two.  Finishing all but two of that list is WAY better than I did last year, so I'm pretty proud of myself!  And, in all honesty, the two books that are left (The Bone Season and Graceling) are books that I'm not sure I'm even interested in reading at all anymore, but we'll see.  Maybe next year.



1. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
This book is my top priority this month.  At 21 pages per day, it might take me all month to finish it, but that's okay.  I'll probably pair it with some contemporaries, just to lighten the mood.  Books that are currently calling my name include...

2. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
3. The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne
4. The Elegant Gathering of White Snows by Kris Radish
5. Mercy or Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult
In all honesty, I'm not sure which of these I'm in the mood for.  I just picked up The Elegant Gathering of White Snows and I've been sucked in so far, but I'm also battling a head cold, which always makes reading a little trickier!  Edit: After finalizing this post, the audiobook for Little Fires Everywhere came in at the library, so looks like I'm picking that one up first!

6. Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood
I don't know if I'll read this one in November or December, but I would like to pick it up before the year is over.  I've been eyeing Alias Grace on my shelves as well, and I have PVRed the show to watch after I read the book, but Robber Bride is a little bit shorter so I think I'll start with this one, and then move to Alias Grace later.  I've been craving another of Atwood's books since I reread The Handmaid's Tale earlier this year.

7. We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
I've always been intrigued about this book, but equally terrified by it as well, especially now that I'm a mother.  I'm listening to it on audio, and I'm about two hours in and it's not as sad as I thought it would be?  It's our next book club book, and I can already tell that this will be a book that some love and some hate, which always makes for excellent discussion.

Plus, I'm also contemplating another Mistborn book, since I ordered the rest of the series.  Another round of Tome Topple starts mid-month, so stay tuned for a TBR post if I decide to participate!  We'll see how The Name of the Wind is coming along, and whether I just blast my way through that, or tackle another tome!  Who knows, maybe it might also be time to pick up A Little Life?  Oh, who knows -- I'm all over the map with my reading!!!

How about you?  What are you reading this month?  Have you read any of the contemporaries that I listed above?  I need some help deciding what to read along with The Name of the Wind!
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