Snow and the Backlist Reading Challenge

snowflake book

While I was compiling my Backlist Reading Challenge, I started noticing that a few of the books had “snow” in their title. Coupling this with the beautifully written piece by Nick Ripatrazone, writer at The Millions, about “snow” being the story, I thought I would pull out those titles and show them here.

It also has me considering these three should be the first in line to read from the backlist as we’re deep, deep in the dark, frozen depths of this “Polar Vortex” and “Alberta Clipper”.  These books with snow in their titles would make for the perfect winter read.

Excuse me while I go stoke the fire and grab my comfy blanket (and my two dogs)…..

Snow Child  Snow Hunters  Bird in Snow

Penny’s Backlist Reading Challenge

Keep Calm

Keep Calm and Think What to Read Next: now you know that can be a difficult thing to keep calm about over here with the amount of book hoarding that goes on! So many lists for 2014 have already had me hurriedly adding to the TBR lists, but then I started looking at allllll those books sitting on my shelves, the Kobo, on the “For Later” shelf at the library, etc. and decided that I needed to create some kind of “Backlist Challenge” for myself.

I’ve compiled lists (that seemed to keep growing) broken down by “Category” from Library titles, Kobo titles, NetGalley titles and Home titles. Now the challenge for me is how to choose from each of those lists and how desperately not to stray tooooo much from them. The book covers only are showing below, they are not linked to anything, only to give a visual of what I put on my lists. I would ask for suggestions but then I’m so afraid I would quickly fall off track! Your comments are always welcomed however on what you think my selected titles.  Continue reading

How My “Reading Schedule” is Progressing

Back near the end of March, I posted a new reading schedule for myself. This is a marvelously helpful tool that keeps me on target for reading the review copies provided, the book club picks and then the books where I can’t stop myself from putting on hold at the library.

So here were the books as listed in the March post that I was to read over the next coming months. The first five (5) below are the ones from the original list that I completed, or well, sort-of completed.

  1. All this Talk of Love, by Christopher Castellani: Finished this one, loved this one, this was a very good read! My review can be found here.
  2. LoveStar, by Andrei Snaer Magnason: This was for the Critical Era bookclub. Didn’t finish. Too out there for me. It was SciFi and again, it demonstrated why I have never been a fan. My “Did Not Finish” review is here.
  3. Smoke Portrait, by Trilby Kent: This was an easy-going, comfortable kind of read. I enjoyed it. You can read my full thoughts on it here.
  4. Studio Saint Ex, by Ania Szado: This one…it was just okay for me. It was a fictionalized account of the author of The Little Prince, his wife and his amour/muse/third wheel? It was a love triangle, but I found this triangle to be trivial. However, I will say Szado’s prose was a delight to read, just the overall impression of the book wasn’t anything that I was enamoured with. Full thoughts are here.
  5. Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler: The cover, oh so stunning, so striking! The story, for me, not as much. I was reading this while travelling for work, so I had plenty of time on planes and in hotels to read it, but I found that I had to put it away. I won’t be finishing it. Briefly, truth be told, I admittedly know nothing of Zelda Fitzgerald, but from reading Z, I see she was a well educated, born into an affluent Southern family, her father being a judge. Yet, Fowler’s Zelda came across as un-educated, extremely naive and her personality just didn’t seem to suit her upbringing? It was unfortunately not a story I wished to continue with, so I’ve put it away. It’s okay, it happens sometimes.

Zelda  8698c094e148f38313be3954b5db2d4b

Now, from the original schedule, this still leaves the following books:

Pictures at Exhibition  The Lion Seeker  The AFtermath  Red Joan

Geepers! That’s still a lot of books to finish! I’m currently reading (and enjoying so far) Pictures at an Exhibition. This was sent to me by the author, Camilla MacPherson and is about a woman that comes across letters written to her husband’s grandmother during WWII.

But, that must mean there were other books that popped up during this time, right? So, which did find their way in to my hands that had me deviating slightly from my schedule and not allowing me to get to those three other books listed above?

  1. 15803175 This was the other book for the Critical Era bookclub. We also spoke with Teddy Wayne about The Love Song of Jonny Valentine. I had no plans to actually read this one, but I’m very glad I did. I was surprisingly sucked right in to this one and read it in no time! Teddy Wayne’s book club talk on the other hand left me wanting. One got the feeling he was felt far superior to us and the time spent talking to him about the book (that is soooooooooo much about Beiber but apparently “irks” Wayne when that comparison is made) left me not finding any charm or wit in Mr. Wayne. And, um, I’m sorry, but when you so thinly disguise Beiber’s life (right down to the hair, the girlfriend and the heart-shaped swing, etc, etc., for the list goes on and on) and demeaningly impress upon your readers it has nothing to do with him and that you find this so bothersome, you come across as a douche sir. Sorry, there it is. I couldn’t hold that opinion back any longer. But, overall, this was a very, very enjoyable read! You cannot deny that one. My review is here.
  2. GLOW Glow, by Jessica Maria Tuccelli came to us from Penguin/Viking to review and also to offer a giveaway on our site. I thought it only appropriate to read it while the giveaway was going on. Wow, this was an excellent read. This novel gave me no problem or guilt in deviating from the original reading schedule at all! You can read me gush about Glow here.
  3. 15814504 All The Light There Was, by Nancy Kricorian was originally advanced to us by NetGalley. It came in as a PDF so I waited for it to come in from the library. Again, here’s another wonderful, wonderful book that had me deviate from my schedule, but gave me absolutely no guilt in doing so. This is a beautifully, emotionally and well-written story of an Armenian family surviving daily life in Nazi-occupied Paris during WWII. In particular, it is about Maral. She is a admirable heroine. I lovingly wrote of All The Light There Was here.

In terms of audiobooks, well I read a number of those during this time too. Here is the list and links to the reviews:

  1. Frances and Bernard, by Carlene Bauer. Fabulous audiobook! Full thoughts here.
  2. Little Wolves by Thomas Maltman. Unfortunately, this novel would be best appreciated in its book form. The audio did not encourage enjoyment of Maltman’s gorgeous prose. Link to review here.
  3. Chanel Bonfire, by Wendy Lawless. Narrated by Wendy Lawless. A story at times far too close to home, but all very good! My thoughts here.

17557792 Currently, I’m listening to An Inquiry into Love and Death by Simone St. James. I really enjoyed St. James’ first novel, The Haunting of Maddy Clare. It is characterized as Maisie Dobbs meets Ghost Whisperer. Hello. I was all over it. Again, St. James takes us on a ghost-hunting adventure. I actually won An Inquiry into Love and Death from St. James’ website but when the audiobook came up, I went with that format instead. Unfortunately, all too often I’m left thinking I may have to switch over to the book format. Rosalyn Landor simply isn’t doing it for me here. Jillian is a young student at Oxford and Landor makes her sound as though she’s 42, and not the 22 she actually is. Also, I really, really, really cannot stand forced male voices. It completely denies me the ability to focus and listen to the story, rather, I’m too focussed on overcoming my frustration at an awfully read male voice. And, again, the dashing and handsome Inspector Merriken is a young man but under Landor, sounds like a 65-year-0ld stodgy fart.

So there you have it. This is how I’ve progressed so far in my reading schedule. Since then, more and oodles of books (wonderful, wonderful titles) have come in! I want to get to them all! But, I will still see myself to the end of this reading schedule first. Then, I can move on and get to all those other goodies!

What Made (Makes) the Literary Hoarders Unhappy

sad-face-wallpapers_13395_1280x960-u32suyYesterday, our friends over at Typographical Era called our attention to a major news announcement made by Goodreads. You can see that announcement here in full.

While Goodreads may be celebrating, over here at Literary Hoarders we are not. 😦

What we enjoyed most about Goodreads was their independence and autonomy from the giant corporations that dictate where, what and how you make your purchases, what you read and what is promoted or catalogued. It was an excellent book cataloguing system but also a tremendous way to independently share your thoughts and reviews about books that you loved, you wished to read, and the ones that you found didn’t float your boat. Also, it was a wonderful discovery tool to find that next great read, and it connected us to wonderful other bookish people and groups. To say that the Hoarders depended greatly on Goodreads is an understatement.

Unfortunately, with their major news announcement on now being wholly owned by Amazon, it has caused quite the kerfuffle here at Literary Hoarders.  It has caused us to run around and seek out alternative, independent online book catalogues, or at least haul ass and remove anything the LH’s have to do with Goodreads. Now, whatever we (and you!) post will be owned by Amazon. Your reviews and your friends and your information will be available to exploit by Amazon in any manner they see fit. No thank you.

Will Amazon have access to all of the Goodreads users’ data?
 “Goodreads is or will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Amazon, so on one level, yes. Are things going to happen in the background without customers understanding it? I think the answer to that is no….We’ll make it very easy for someone to say, ‘Yeah, I’d love it if you could import all of my Amazon or Kindle purchases into my Goodreads shelf.’ We’ll make it very easy for people to do, but they’ll be aware of what’s happening.”
Users already have the ability to export their data from Goodreads, and they’ll continue to be able to do so.

None of us read on the Amazon-owned Kindle and none of us are interested in having Kindle-only books pushed at us. Amazon has Shelfari. They sucked at it. We fear they will now slowly drain and suck the life out of all that was great and wonderful with Goodreads. How unfortunate that the lure of the almighty dollar has enticed them to allowing for their being swallowed whole by a monster corporation. We simply fear that what made Goodreads so great will vanish in the coming months. What’s funny to note is that Goodreads was exclaiming from the rooftops around December 2012 about how much their membership increased. We could only stack that against the fact that they took on Amazon with this whole “book cover” debacle and maintained their independence. Thumbing their nose at Amazon be it as it may. I’m sure membership increased due to the fact that they were an independently run site. Now, they are jumping in to bed with Amazon. Tsk. Tsk. Like us, I’m certain there are many others that will now flee the sheets and find some new bed to snuggle in to.

You will notice that we have removed each of our Goodreads Reading Challenge over to your right. We have also gone in to our Goodreads profiles and removed anything with the Literary Hoarders stamp on it. We will no longer post our reviews on to Goodreads, linking you back to here. Why? Because what we write here at the Literary Hoarders is indeed that. It is what WE‘ve written, not Amazon. You’ll find, for now, that when we’ve completed the book and given it our 1-5 star ranking, we’ll post that information, but that’s about it.

We certainly hope you stay tuned to the Literary Hoarders site for reviews – we do love you – we just don’t love handing over our thoughts and words to someone else.

In the coming months, the Literary Hoarders will also unveil their own, independent website. We are incredibly excited about it and can’t wait to unveil a bold new look for us. We hope you stay tuned!


The Literary Hoarders: Elizabeth, Penny and Jackie.