Category: Features

I’m still watching Booktube

My Booktube consumption took a bigger hit than my book blog reading when the pandemic hit. Not only were my usual contexts for watching gone (putting makeup on in the morning being the main one), but there was something about it, as a medium, that felt more frivolous than blogs. It certainly didn’t fit in with my new daily YouTube schedule, consisting of Justin’s morning chat at 9:00 am, and the Chief Medical Officer’s daily scolding at 3:30 pm.

For the first few months, I would mostly just peek at random channels, to see who was keeping up with the grind of wrap ups and TBRs despite it all, and who was adjusting their content. Now, I’m slowly getting back into watching, but the urge to create is pretty much gone. Never say never, but… it might be a never. There are plenty of reasons for that, most of which have nothing to do with the pandemic. Here are some of the channels that I’m still watching:

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I’m still reading book blogs

This post by The Paperback Princess has me thinking about how my reading has changed, six months into the pandemic.

I don’t think my *book* reading has changed much at all, except in quantity. That was already on a downward trend. In 2019, I read 64 books, far my usual 90+. The reasons for that are here. This yearI’m trending towards forty books. The reason for that, briefly, is that…

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20 Books of Summer 2020

Embarking on a quantity-based reading challenge in the midst of a pandemic-induced reading slump? What could go wrong?

Fortunately, Cathy, our fearless 20 Books of Summer leader, is very flexible. This challenge will be less about quantity for me, and more about making time for some books I’ve been meaning to get to, and hopefully, posting reviews here. I had so much fun in 2019, writing about disgusting teen boys, Puritans, cannibals, and yes, Jonathan Franzen (and he’s back this year!)

Here’s the stack, and a quick note about each book’s providence:

  1. The Collected Schizophrenias by Esmé Weijun Wang – purchased at Glass Bookshop‘s Valentine’s Day sale
  2. Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid – Coles, bought “for my husband”, no he hasn’t read it
  3. Give War and Peace a Chance by Andrew D. Kaufman – Garage sale, I think?
  4. Green Darkness by Anya Seton – not a clue, had this for many years
  5. Female Chauvinist Pigs by Ariel Levy – Garge sale
  6. Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner – Chapters
  7. River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay – Coles
  8. This Marlowe by Michelle Butler Hallett – from the publisher, years ago (sorry)
  9. The Life of Charlotte Brontë by Elizabeth Gaskell – Wee Book Inn
  10. The Known World by Edward P. Jones – borrowed from my mom
  11. In the Skin of a Lion by Michael Ondaatje – a long-ago library sale
  12. The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrente – an emergency same-day delivery from Glass Bookshop
  13. Three Women by Lisa Taddeo – borrowed from a coworker
  14. Milkman by Anna Burns – Wee Book Inn
  15. Quartet by Jean Rhys – antique mall
  16. Dangerous Liaisons by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos – Blackwell’s
  17. Real Life by Brandon Taylor – Glass Bookshop
  18. The End of the End of the Earth – Coles
  19. Nerve by Eva Holland – Glass Bookshop
  20. Weather by Jenny Offill – Glass Bookshop

Given that I haven’t even read 20 books this year, the chances of me reading, let alone reviewing, this whole list is slim. Expect DNFs, random order, round up reviews – you know, the usual.

Are you ready? Let’s see those stacks!

How to read the 2020 International Booker Prize longlist in Canada

Once again, I have rashly decided to follow the International Booker Prize. I learned some harsh lessons in 2018 about how difficult it is to get new and obscure UK books in Canada, and I’m back to share my wisdom (and spreadsheet) with you.

This year’s longlist looks a bit easier to manage than the 2018 edition. I found at least one way to access each book in Canada. I was able to start Faces on the Tip of my Tongue immediately on my Kindle, for the low price of $5.59, and I will use an Audible credit for one of the three audio titles available, perhaps starting with the The Memory Police, which appears to be the most straightforward plot (that’s saying something, given TMP’s surreal premise.)

If you’re in Canada, take a peek at my spreadsheet for a variety of options, including bookstore cover prices, plus ebook, audio, and international ordering. For books that aren’t published yet, I noted the publication dates, though hopefully some will change – one book isn’t published here until September!

A few other things to note:

  • I didn’t include library options here as it will vary by system, but always check the library first! In my library, two titles are on order and one is available but waitlisted. See if you can request titles that aren’t in your library’s catalog.
  • I took my cover prices from Amazon and Chapters, but you should of course avail yourself of your favourite local indie bookstore.
  • I included Blackwell’s as my international ordering option because I’m not a fan of Book Depository, but it’s probably safe to assume anything at Blackwell’s is available there too.
  • Direct-from-publisher prices were converted to CAD by me, your credit card company may have different ideas.
  • Feel free to make a copy of my sheet and use it to track your progress.
  • I am not responsible for any TBR explosions or book budget overruns that may result from irresponsible use of this spreadsheet.

Canadians, and Americans of North, Central, or South varieties: are you reading the IBP this year? How are you getting your books?

2019 Year in Review

I didn’t do a Goodreads challenge this year. I didn’t even use Goodreads (looking up one-star reviews of books notwithstanding), but I was keeping track of my reading, and as the the year went on, I could tell something was amiss.

I’ve never cracked 100 books in a year, but I usually get close. By Novellas in November time, I start doing calculations, and look for super-short novels to speed things along. This year, I was barely past 50 books read on November 1. No amount of novellas was going to get me out of this one.

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Novellas in November 2019: a novella for every occasion

With Novellas in November mere days away, it’s been brought to my attention that there are people who intend to read things other than novellas next month. And other people might get distracted by book prizes. The good news is that there’s a novella for just about every occasion. Here are some suggestions if you insist on participating in other types of reading in November.

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In the Year 2000…. (Choose the Year Booktag)

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. The Oilers made the playoffs, but got eliminated in the first round. The Sopranos was on the air, but I had to watch it with my parents because I still lived at home. I was reading chick lit and dude bro memoirs, but not Harry Potter. Let’s take a closer look at the books of the year 2000!

Mel of the booktube channel Mel’s Bookland Adventures created a tag that’s more of an open invitation to explore books from a year of your choosing. Many on booktube are choosing their birth years, but there’s something quaint and strange about the year 2000 that I wanted to revisit.

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Literary Fiction Book Tag

In a book blog/booktube cross pollination initiative (sounds very official!) headed up by Rachel and Claire, this is a tag that originated on booktube, now making the rounds in blogland. If you have pivoted to video, you may watch me blather on for 17 minutes here:

And for reference, the original version of this tag is by Jasmine’s Reads:

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Clearing the decks and caveats: 20 Books of Summer 2019

Clearing the decks

We are less than a week out from the start of 20 Books of Summer, so of course I’m in the middle of a bunch of books. I’m trying to clear the decks so I can start my first book, Paul Auster’s Winter Journal, with a clear schedule (see my full TBR here). Here’s what I have to deal with first:

Monkey Beach by Eden Robinson

For Mel’s Read Around the World Book Club, which I am taking part in for the first time. Reading an author I’m familiar with, and who lives in my hometown, seems a little contrary to the spirit of “reading around the world”, but I’m glad to finally take part. Mel is a favourite on Booktube, and recently made a video just for me, after I publicly announced my incompetence when it comes to video editing. The book itself is a tricky one: I DNF’d it a few years ago, and this time around, I was well past 100 pages by the time the story started to click. I would recommend Son of a Trickster over this one.

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