Tag: reading challenges

Sunday Salon: #boutofbooks Edition: On a Monday

Posted 17 August, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in blogging, memes


Time // 7:14 PM EDT

Motivation // Hahahaha. So. I totally couldn’t rev myself up to write a post yesterday, so here we are now. I totally forgot about #boutofbooks starting. Though I’d like to think that I’m going to read this:

IMG_0010I’ll probably end up reading this:


A crate full of case files.

I’m not bitching. I’m enjoying the work and it’s good to be doing something useful, but I’m about to start feeling overwhelmed.

Because // We found a house. The inspection didn’t turn up anything too concerning, so we should be closing sometime next month. It’s closer to my work so maybe I’ll have more energy for all sorts of things… like reading, blogging,… family. Who knows.

It’s pretty much taking everything I have not to make a list of things I need to do here for my own edification. How was your week Reader? Plans for #boutofbooks?


April @ The Steadfast Reader




Posted 22 March, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in blogging, books and publishing, memes, Reading


Time // 9:08 EDT

Place // As if you had to ask, couch perch.

Stuff // TONS of things coming up/happening. Let’s take them one at a time.

The Socratic Salon


The Socratic Salon

A collaborative project between me, Monika at Lovely Bookshelf, Catherine at The Gilmore Guide to Books, Shannon at River City Reading, and Jennifer at The Relentless Reader. It’s a new bookish community where our goal is to engender deeper discussions into the books that we read. The site launches in earnest tomorrow (teaser today!) and we’re aiming for our first discussion, on Hausfrau, to go live on Wednesday. Keep your eyeballs peeled because you are probably the most important part of this collaborative effort. (Click on the picture or the title to get to the site.)





Go get your copy now, because Katie at Bookish Tendencies and I are about to get this ball rolling! You can find the tentative schedule for our fabulous readalong of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas on Katie’s blog here. Can’t wait for you all to join us!




Last but not least, Bloggiesta starts next week. Despite my busy work schedule and all the other stuff happening I’d like to take part as much as I can. So. Goals.

  • Keep plugging my old reviews into the UBB plug-in.
  • Get a few posts written so I have stuff in the queue.
  • Tweak the theme as necessary.
  • Work on some posts for The Socratic Salon with my co-founders
  • Make it to a few Twitter chats!
  • Take a peek at some mini-challenges that might do me some good.
  • Disable Bloglovin’ from posting on Twitter.
  • Backup the blog.
  • Check out and make sure that the blog is interacting with other social media platforms correctly.


Whew! I told you there was a lot going on. How’s your week looking, Reader?


April @ The Steadfast Reader



Sunday Salon: Feeling, Worrying, and Bout of Books

Posted 11 January, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in

Time // 8:38 A.M. EST

Place // My perch on the couch with the gas fireplace running. (Don’t judge, my house is unbearably drafty.)

Feeling // Largely relieved. I was afraid of how a post that I posted this week was going to go over. I’m aware of nothing but an outpouring of support from the blogging community and for that I am thankful to all of you.

But I’m also feeling anxious. Next week my job search must resume in earnest. The legal job market is terrible right now, this is compounded by the fact that I’ve been out of work for two years, mostly because of my husband retiring when I graduated law school, therefore we had uncertainty on where we were going to land. He had a six month period of contract jobs that took us around the country before something permanent turned up here in Atlanta. All of this was further complicated by a family illness that forced me to take more time to stay at home in order to stabilize the situation. This kind of thing is a heavy hit on my resume and I have no idea what to do about it. Well, no idea but to network heavily and continue to volunteer. I’d like to volunteer in an actual legal capacity – but believe it or not those unpaid jobs at my experience level are also difficult to come by. I miss the Air Force.

Considering // More school. This ties in with the job search. An LL.M in tax would greatly improve my qualifications for certain jobs that I’d like to have, but I’ve never paid for school before and I’m not sure I want to start now.

Blogging // I have approximately a million reviews I need to write. Also, Andi’s post today on tracking diversity in reading has me thinking of another post. We’ll all have to wait and see if any of that comes to fruition.

Reading // ALL THE THINGS! I’d really like to read all of the short-listed Tournament of Books books before March. My progress is coming nicely, but there are a few that I just don’t think I have much interest in (but feel I should at least try them) and also The Bone Clocks which I am irrationally afraid of. Also hoping I can finally finish the audio for Underworld in the next few weeks. I am not particularly enjoying it.

Bout of Books // This seems like a good place to put my semi-final Bout of Books stats, obviously this doesn’t include today.

  • Number of books completed: 5
    • An Untamed State by: Roxane Gay (Tournament of Books)
    • Adam by: Ariel Schrang (Tournament of Books)
    • All the Birds, Singing by: Evie Wyld (Tournament of Books)
    • The Lost World by: Michael Crichton
    • Jurassic Park by: Michael Crichton
  • Books I’m still working on: (Started during Bout of Books)
    • Annihilation by: Jeff VanderMeer (Tournament of Books) I’ll probably finish this today.
    • Redeployment by: Phil Klay (Tournament of Books) I MIGHT finish this today.
    • In Cold Blood by: Truman Capote (1001 Books to Read)
  • Total Pages as of right now: 1,891. I suspect I can hit 2,000 before the end of the day.
  • Total Audio: (All from DeLillo’s Underworld) ~4 hours (equaling 8 hours of the book)

What about your week, Reader? Tell me about it.

April @ The Steadfast Reader



Year in Review: Bookish Stats and Other Miscellanea

Posted 31 December, 2014 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in musings

Let’s start with the relevant fun stuff, bookish stats! I’m not trying to toot my own horn but:

Goodreads Challenge:
  • Goal set 1 Jan 2014: 100 books and 25,000 pages.
    • Actually read: 120 books and 36,391 pages (the page count excludes audiobooks)
The Breakdown:
  • 4 audiobooks totaling 5.11 days of listening (not including DeLillo’s damnable Underworld which I’m still listening to.)
  • 62 books written by men and 57 by women.
  • 107 different authors read with 91 being new to me authors.
  • 7 graphic novels
  • 15 YA novels
  • 31 non-fiction books
  • 42 physical books and 75 e-books
  • Average rating was 3.5 stars
  • 19 books from the library *sad face*
  • 33 books from NetGalley
  • 6 books that were gifts
  • 5 books from new book stores other than Amazon
  • 26 books from Amazon
  • 4 books from Edelweiss 
  • 23 books from publishers (other than from Netgalley/Edelweiss)
  • 3 books from Project Gutenberg
  • Money spent on books (just books that I actually read this year… not all the others): $337.54
Not so ‘tootable’ stats:
  • I only read 6 of the 10 books that I pledged off my 1001 Books to Read list
  • I failed miserably at reading chunksters this year. I’m not sure, but I think the only chunksters that I ‘read’ this year were on audio.
I don’t create my ‘best of lists’ until June, for two reasons: one, you’ve been over inundated at this point with best of lists and two, it gives me six more months to read the 2014 titles. Here’s my 2013 list. What I will tell you is the best book that I read (and was published) in 2014. I’m pretty confident that it’s going to stay there. You must remember. You must know. *drumroll*
I just loved this book so much. Review here.

New Years Eve: What are your plans? Our tradition is to sit on the couch and watch Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin on CNN in Times Square. It’s better when AnnaSaurus Rex is here, but hey you can’t have family around all the time.
How was your reading year? 

April @ The Steadfast Reader



A Month of Favorites! With Stats and Covers

Posted 3 December, 2014 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in blogging

A December event hosted by GirlxoxoTraveling with T and Estella’s Revenge, that will include fabulous bookish (and sometimes not-so-bookish) experiences from throughout the year.

So, naturally I’m always late to the party and fail to play by the rules.. but here it is! My introduction post! Bahahahaha!
My Reading Year (so far)
  • I’ve already overstepped my Goodreads challenge by 7 books. I’m at 107.
  • 35,600 pages.
  • 56% of the authors that I’ve read are male, which leaves 44% female.
  • 82/96 New to me authors
  • 6 graphic novels
  • 14 YA novels (I feel like there were more!)
  • 65 eBooks… though I WISH THERE WERE MORE!
  • My favorite book for the year?? Hm. It has words in it. 😀 BIG ONES.
Let me display some of my favorite covers… 
    (Mostly) Great books with great covers… what do you think, Reader?

    April @ The Steadfast Reader



    Stephen King Saturday: Happy Birthday Carrie!

    Posted 21 June, 2014 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in Reviews

    Stephen King Saturday: Happy Birthday Carrie!Carrie by Stephen King
    Published by Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group Genres: Fiction, Horror, Occult & Supernatural
    Pages: 192

    Stephen King's legendary debut novel about a teenage outcast and the revenge she enacts on her classmates. Carrie White may have been unfashionable and unpopular, but she had a gift. Carrie could make things move by concentrating on them. A candle would fall. A door would lock. This was her power and her sin. Then, an act of kindness, as spontaneous as the vicious taunts of her classmates, offered Carrie a chance to be normal and go to her senior prom. But another act--of ferocious cruelty--turned her gift into a weapon of horror and destruction that her classmates would never forget.

    Carrie turned forty this year, so I thought it was a good time to give her a re-read. 

    She blew my socks off!

    The problem with classic Stephen King movies is that they are always sad reflections of the books. No matter how wonderful Sissy Spacek’s Carrie was or how amazing Jack Nicholson’s Jack Torrance was – they still don’t hold a candle to the original source material for these characters. Unfortunately it’s easier to experience a two hour movie than it is to sit down and read the original – so the movie is inevitably what gets stuck in our head.

    This book is about way more than cruel teenage girls throwing tampons, though interestingly enough, this incident is the catalyst to the entire rest of the novel and it happens almost as soon as you open the book. 

    Carrie, like a few different early-era King novels, focuses on the feeling of being a misfit as an adolescent. But Carrie doesn’t just have her general weirdness working against her, she has possibly the worst mother in contemporary literature. All of that leads her to the spark of her unknown tele-kinetic power. 

    I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. It actually has withstood time very very well. The most dated thing about it is teenage Sue’s pondering how her future husband will eventually move up in the world when he moves to a ‘five-figure’ earning bracket. 

    All the themes in this book felt current and stylistically it is pretty modern. It’s written through the eyes of a few different characters, but also includes excerpts from fake academic papers on ‘The Carrie White Incident’ and newspaper clippings. I’d say it’s definitely gotten better with time. Worth the read.

    I haven’t seen the new Carrie movie, should I? What book have you come back to and been surprised how much you still liked it, Reader?

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    April @ The Steadfast Reader



    Bout of Books 10: Proper Mid-Week Update

    Posted 14 May, 2014 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in

    Bout of Books

    So it’s time for a proper Bout of Books 10 update. Let’s revisit my goals. They were intentionally vague. Other than the fact that I had four cups of black tea yesterday and literally have not slept, things are going well.
    Final Completion Update:
    Total Books Read: 7 and some change
    Total Pages Read: 1,836
    Total Audio Book Time: ~3 hours 15 minutes

    Let’s aim for all ARCs all the time. Wipe them out, right? Some sample titles:

    1. A Year Without Sugar
    2. Alias Hook
    3. Jesus > Religion
    4. The Rise and Fall of Great Powers
    5. Sous Chef
    6. Use All the Crayons
    7. Never Pray Again
    Let’s aim for at least six books.


    Monday, 5/12
    Books Read Today: 
    The String Diaries by: Stephen Lloyd Jones (partial – 60 pages)
    A Year Without Sugar by: Eve O. Schaub (320 pages)
    Alias Hook (92 pages)
    The Book Barbies: If X, then Y 
    Total Books Read: 1+
    Total Pages Read Monday: 472

    Total Pages Read: 472

    Tuesday, 5/13
    Books Read Today: 
    Alias Hook by: Lisa Jensen (277 pages read today) 
    The Idiot by: Fyodor Dostoevsky (audio: ~45 minutes)
    River City Reading: Books You’re Looking Forward To
    My Life in Books: Bookish Battle Royale
    Total Books Read: 2+
    Total Pages Read Tuesday: 277
    Total Pages Read: 749 (excluding audio)
    Wednesday, 5/14
    Books Read Today: 
    Never Pray Again by: Aric Clark, et. al. (160 pages)
    The Idiot by: Fyodor Dostoevsky (audio: ~30 minutes)
    Shovel Ready by: Adam Sternbergh (176 pages)
    My Overstuffed Shelves: This Made Me Think of That 
    Total Books Read: 3+
    Total pages read Wednesday: 336
    Total Pages Read: 1,085 (excluding audio)
    Thursday, 5/15
    Books Read Today: 
    Shovel Ready by: Adam Sternbergh (67 pages)  
    Use All the Crayons by: Chris Rodell (162 pages)
    Sous Chef by: Michael Gibney (27 pages)
    The Idiot by: Fyodor Dostoevsky (audio: ~2 hours)
    Kimberly Faye Reads: The Spell it Out Challenge
    Total Books Read: 5+
    Total pages read Thursday: 256 
    Total Pages Read: 1,341 pages (excluding audio)
    Friday, 5/16
    Books Read Today: 
    Jesus > Religion by: Jefferson Bethke (240 pages)
    Sous Chef by: Michael Gibney 
    Total Books Read: 6+
    Total pages read Friday: 240 
    Total Pages Read: 1,581 (excluding audio)
    Saturday, 5/16
    Books Read Today: 
    Sous Chef by: Michael Gibney

    American Gods by: Neil Gaiman

    Doing Dewey: Show an Author Love
    Total Books Read: 6+
    Total Pages Read: 1,581 (excluding audio)
    Sunday, 5/17
    Books Read Today: 
     Sous Chef by: Michael Gibney  (240 pages)
    American Gods by: Neil Gaiman (15 pages)
    Total Books Read: 7+

    Total Pages Read Sunday: 255

    Total Pages Read: 1,836 (excluding audio) 

    April @ The Steadfast Reader



    Feminist Friday: Good Bones and Simple Murders

    Posted 9 May, 2014 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in Reviews

    Feminist Friday: Good Bones and Simple MurdersGood Bones and Simple Murders by Margaret Atwood
    Published by Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group on June 8th 2011
    Genres: Biography & Autobiography, General
    Pages: 176

    In this collection of short works that defy easy  categorization, Margaret Atwood displays, in  condensed and crystallized form, the trademark wit and  viruosity of her best-selling novels, brilliant  stories, and insightful poetry. Among the jewels  gathered here are Gertrude offering Hamlet a piece  of her mind, the real truth about the Little Red  Hen, a reincarnated bat explaining how Bram Stoker  got Dracula all wrong, and the  five methods of making a man (such as the  "Traditional Method": "Take some dust off  the ground. Form. Breathe into the nostrils the  breath of life. Simple, but effective!")  There are parables, monologues, prose poems, condensed  science fiction, reconfigured fairy tales, and  other miniature masterpieces--punctuated with  charming illustrations by the author. A must for her  fans, and a wonderful gift for all who savor the art  of exquisite prose, Good Bones And Simple  Murders marks the first time these  writings have been available in a trade edition in the  United States.From the Hardcover edition.

    Can I just use all the adjectives to describe this collection? It’s brilliant, funny, surprising, troubling, sad, witty, and amazing all at once. Like all short story collections there are good stories and bad stories. 

    The first story that made me sit up and go ‘huh.’ was called ‘Unpopular Gals’ – it was a few vignettes written from the perspective of female fairy tale villains. The evil queen in Snow White, the wicked stepmother in Cinderella – it was delightful in the way that Gregory McGuire’s Wicked is delightful with reimagining these one dimensional women, giving them depth, and making them sympathetic.

    ‘Simmering’ was flat out funny, creating an alternate universe where the kitchen is solely and completely in the realm of men. It’s a fantastic piece that embodies what the feminist movement is about – and that’s choice. To stay at home, to have a family, to be single, to work. 

    ‘Liking Men’ is a difficult piece about the struggle of rape survivors to feel some normalcy in intimacy after their attack – and just how long that can take. 

    ‘Hardball’ is a dystopian story – that if I ever talk to Hugh Howey, I’m going to ask him if it was a starting point of inspiration for his Silo series (You might know the first one as Wool) because it felt very familiar to that. Except, cannibals. 

    I took notes on a few more stories that really stuck out for me, if you’re just leafing through the collection I’d recommend that you check out ‘The Female Body’ and ‘Cold-Blooded’ as well. Fantastic collection.

    What about you, Reader? Have you read any great collections of short stories recently? How about the short story as a form, do you like it? 


    April @ The Steadfast Reader



    Spread the Love 2.0: Lucky Number Thirteen

    Posted 4 May, 2014 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in

    Lucky number thirteen! Is anyone weird with that? 

    Well, it’s May and I have a ton of ARCs I need to get through so I am joining up with Angie at Angela’s Anxious Life and Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer for their first annual(?) Clean Sweep ARC Challenge. I haven’t quite settled on my goals yet – but as soon as I finish up Scarlet and Confessions of a Paris Party Girl it’s going to be nothing but ARCs for me all month long. Maybe I’ll even finally finish All the Light We Cannot See. Who’s with me? 
    Okay, let’s get to the important stuff!
    Last week the most clicked on link was: 

    A TIE!

    Becca from Lost in Books showcased some of her bookish art dabbling.

    Go get your button!

    Your turn! Showcase your favorite post this week!
    Would you like a friendly reminder on when 
    The Spread the Love Linky Party is going live? Wanna grab some buttons? 

    • Link up your greatest book review, bookish post, DIY tutorial, craftiness, green post or whatever is fabulous this week (or before!) that you want to show to the world!
    • The only thing I ask is that you avoid linking up other parties, directly to Etsy shops, and posts that are just to a giveaway. If you have a book review or an author feature or… anything else that happens to have a giveaway as well, that’s A-OK.
    • Spread even more love – Click on at least one other link that interests you (and others!) and say something nice! It’s a fantastic way to learn about a new blog and see an amazing post that someone is really proud of! We all love nice comments, so this part is important, take a minute and spread the love!
    • By linking up, you are granting the party hosts permission to promote you and and image from your site in a featured post or on social media. Meaning, if I or anyone else thinks that your post is super fabulous, it might get promoted! This is totally a win-win, don’t you agree?

    April @ The Steadfast Reader



    April Readin’ Roundup

    Posted 2 May, 2014 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in

    This month I had some good, bad, and ugly. But let’s start with everyone’s favorite part – the stats!

    I completed 12 books. Dept. of Speculation and Cinder not pictured above.

    The page tally is technically 2997 because I finally ended my long suffering by finishing the audio version of The Count of Monte Cristo. Review forthcoming, but I really didn’t care for this book.

    I actually kept up with most of my reviews!

    My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag
    The Myth of the Spoiled Child
    Little House on the Prairie
    Dept. of Speculation

    I didn’t review Lolita, however I did participate in the discussions hosted by Love at First Book. I may or may not write a review. I found this book to be complex, but detestable.

    Part One
    Part Two

    The Door is a poetry collection by Margaret Atwood that I read in honor of National Poetry Month – I shared a poem called Gasoline from this collection. I’m still not sure how to go about reviewing a collection of unconnected poetry. 

    Good Bones and Simple Murders was an amazing collection of short stories by Margaret Atwood, I can’t wait to write my review… except of course, I haven’t.
    Finally, there was Pastrix which is quite simply one of the most amazing books that I’ve read all year. It’s queued up for review. But I’ll tell you right now, you need to go read it.
    What about you, Reader? How was your bookish/reading April?
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    April @ The Steadfast Reader