All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

February Reading Wrap Up

Total Books Read: 17
Fiction: 17
Non-Fiction: 0
Library Books: 2
Books On My TBR List: 5
Books in a Series: 2
Authors I’d Never Read Before: 9
Male/Female Authors: 1/16
Kindle Books: 0
Audiobooks: 2
Books I Owned or Bought: 4
Favourite Book(s): Crackenback by Lee Christine
Least Favourite Books: Just Another Silly Love Song by Rich Amooi and Lana’s War by Anita Abriel
Books That Qualify For Challenges: 11

I’m not sure what happened, but it feels like I blinked and February disappeared. I know it’s a shorter month than the others but it really should not feel like it makes a difference – however, it seemed to! I celebrated my wedding anniversary and a birthday in February, we went briefly back into lockdown for 5 days to smother (successfully) a potential outbreak of that virus and I did a little bit of reading. It was a better month than January numbers wise definitely but it wasn’t a particularly good month for several challenges!

I read a lot of really enjoyable books, I also have added a new category to things I track above – audiobooks. I listened to 1 in January and 2 in February so I figured it was probably time to start including it. But as you can see I read (well, listened to) only one book by a male author and that new kindle I got myself for Christmas? Didn’t even look at it! Oops.

Challenge check in!

Australian Women Writers Challenge: 14/50

Read Non Fiction Challenge: 0/6

Reading Women Challenge: 0/28

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge: 6/25

Okay. So, plenty of progress was made in my Australian Women Writers Challenge – I read 9 books that counted towards that in February! I also read 3 that counted towards my Historical Fiction Reading Challenge. But as you can see, still sitting on 0 books read for both the Read Non Fiction Challenge and the Reading Women Challenge. It’s not panic stations for the Read Non Fiction Challenge, after all that’s only 6 books to complete the goal I set myself but yikes, it’s already looking a bit grim in the Reading Women Challenge! I really have to start that – I’ve searched for a few titles I wouldn’t mind reading for it though and unfortunately my local library has basically well, none of them so I’m going to have to look for alternatives or start buying books!

Onto the March TBR!

I’m very excited about The Codebreakers – I really like Alli Sinclair’s books and this is Australian historical fiction. I’ve also read Susan Johnson before and really liked her work, although it’s been a long time!

This is a bit of a small pile, but there’s also a reason for that, because I also have this pile:

This pile is for a (currently) still top secret project that I will be undertaking! I’m very excited about it though. And the two piles put together make for a pretty busy reading month.

Hope you all had a wonderful February – if you have read anything from either of my TBR piles, be sure to let me know.

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August Reading Wrap Up

Total Books Read: 22
Fiction: 19
Non-Fiction: 3
Library Books: 6
Books On My TBR List: 12
Books in a Series: 5
Authors I’d Never Read Before: 12
Male/Female Authors: 3/19
Kindle Books: 10
Books I Owned or Bought: 0
Favourite Book(s): The Sister’s Gift by Barbara Hannah, The Secret Life Of Shirley Sullivan by Lisa Ireland, The Last Migration by Charlotte McConaghy, A Nanny Called Alice by Barbara Hannay and The Bush Telegraph by Fiona McArthur.
Least Favourite Books: I Give My Marriage A Year by Holly Wainwright
Books That Qualify For Challenges: 16

August was a mixed reading month! In the first 10 days, I had read 11 books. But in the 11 days after that, I read only 3. My husband went in for surgery on the 11th and remained in hospital for that 11 days and I found a lot of it quite stressful and I couldn’t really relax enough to read. The day he had the operation, it ended up lasting over 8 hours when for some reason, I thought that it would be much shorter. It wasn’t a very serious operation as such (other than all operations are serious and carry with them inherent risks, etc) but it was a very precise one with a plastic surgery and reconstruction component that ended up taking about 6 hours after the orthopaedic component. Because there was a huge risk of infection, his hospital stay had to be lengthy so he could be closely monitored and to avoid having to go back if anything did happen. Thankfully his recovery has been textbook, he’s been home for about 10 days now but I’ve had less time than normal to read because he’s not really able to do anything. He’s in a full leg brace and on crutches although his mobility is improving every day. So I did still read a lot of books for August, but mostly because I read so many in the first third of the month! Also a lot of the books I read were quite short – I’d say probably more than half a dozen were under 200p and there was probably almost nothing over 400.

We are still in Stage 4 lockdown here. Only allowed out for essential items like food/medical supplies and we can’t travel more than 5km from home for them. To be honest I pretty much haven’t gone anywhere. I arranged for some groceries to be delivered and I’ve made one trip to a supermarket for bread and milk. The weather has been slowly improving (today is the first day of spring here in Australia!) but we’ve also had some last kicks of winter too and it’s been all too easy to stay inside. We have about 2 weeks left of this Stage 4 implementation and the numbers have really been falling steadily although they will be cautious in lifting restrictions, I’m sure. They don’t want things to escalate and get out of control again and I’m 100% supportive of that even though it’s inconvenient and I know I’m coming from the lucky position of no one in my household having lost their job. There are many other people doing it a lot tougher.

Challenge check in!

Australian Women Writers Challenge: 64/50

Read Non Fiction Challenge: 7/12 {technically complete, upgraded the challenge to the top level and trying for all 12}

Reading Women Challenge: 14/26

I’ve fallen slightly behind on the bottom two challenges, I only read one book towards the Reading Women Challenge in August and nothing towards the Non-fiction challenge. I think that was largely because I was seeking a certain type of read in August and those types of reads don’t count towards those challenges. I did however, read 15 books that count towards The Australian Women Writers Challenge which means I’ve achieved my goal of 50 books read in 2020 although I’ll continue to count the books I read that qualify. I did deliberately pick a low number for that in terms of what I knew I’d read because I knew the other two challenges would be “more” of a challenge and require more time devoted to finding books that qualified. I’m going to need to read 3 books a month that count to finish the RWC and another five books in 4 months to complete the Read Non-Fic.

Here’s my September TBR pile and it’s a bit of a tower!

The pile on the left are ARCs for the month and the one on the right, The Thorn Birds is for the Rachael Johns Online Book Club September read. The club has almost 3000 members and there’s a dedicated book each month that we read and then there’s a discussion at the end of the month. Usually we choose a newer book but I think one of the choices was pushed back in publication because of covid so we ended up with a free month and there was a vote and this retro title won. I’ve never read The Thorn Birds although I have owned this copy for a few years and have intended to read it for ages. It’s a very large book though and as you can see, I have a lot to read throughout the month so my plan is to break it down into chunks and devote each weekend to reading a certain amount of the book.

Hope your July was productive and/or enjoyable! If you’ve read anything on my TBR pile, feel free to let me know – likewise if you see something you’d like to read. Stay safe everyone 🙂

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Top 10 Tuesday 12th May

Welcome back to another Top 10 Tuesday! Originally created and hosted by The Broke & the Bookish, Top 10 Tuesday now has a new home with Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl! This week our topic is…..

Top 10 Books I Abandoned

1. Milkman by Anna Burns. Every now and then I have these random whims to read either the longlist or shortlist of a bookish prize and almost every single time it turns out…..not great. In 2018, I read most of the Man Booker shortlist and guess which one was the winner? Yeah, this one….which was the one I DNF’d. I’ve seen lots of people lavish praise on this book but yikes, I would rather stick forks into my eyes I think, than read this. I lasted about 35 pages and honestly, that was probably 34 pages than I wanted to read. I found it painful to read. My brain hurt.

2. Absolute Proof by Peter James. I was sent this by the publisher and although I wasn’t really enthused about it, I said I’d give it a go. And I did. But a combination of the size of it (it’s a brick, large paperback form weighing in at 700 pages) and the subject matter (absolute proof of God’s existence, hence the title) I just could not get into it. I stumbled my way through a couple of chapters but I was pretty bored and abandoned it pretty quickly.

3. The Stephanie Plum Series by Janet Evanovich. This used to be my absolute favourite series. I’m talking about 20 years ago – I think I discovered it in the year 2000, when there were 6 books published. I absolutely loved them. Re-read them obsessively. I enjoyed it all the way up until about 12 I think? But then after that, for me, the quality of both the writing and the story went downhill fast. The endless circular plot got on my nerves. The animal moments were tedious and Lula took over far too much of the narrative. I stopped buying them around #17, limped along reading a few more from my library and finally gave up altogether a few books ago. I just do not care.

4. The Temperance Brennan Series, by Kathy Reichs. This is a very recent abandonment. I actually thought I was done with this series, it’d been years since I’d read one. Then I was sent one for review so I thought I’d give it one last go. It was probably a mistake. I did not enjoy it and it’s definitely cemented the decision to no longer bother reading books about Temperance Brennan and Andy Ryan, who are a shadow of their former selves.


5. The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness. A friend loaned me the first 2 books in this series and they sat on my shelf for ages before I decided to read the first one before the TV series aired here. Look, it was….okay. I enjoyed the history and mythology stuff but the romance? Yikes. It was not for me. Matthew is creepy as hell. I think I described him in my review as a grown up Edward Cullen. I didn’t much enjoy the TV series either and abandoned that only a couple of episodes in. Originally I planned to continue with this series but honestly I think now, in hindsight, there’s just too many other books I’d rather be reading.

6. The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling. Ooooh, controversial! So, book lovers everywhere used to look at me aghast when I admitted I’d never read the Harry Potter series. I was in my teens when the first book came out, I had zero interest in it and that interest got less, not more, over time. I’m aware it’s a b i g  g a p in my reading. I caved a little when my eldest son began reading the series and wanted me to read too. I read the first book. It was…..alright. Nothing special. The writing was honestly not as good as I was expecting. I was going to read the second book but then my son lost interest when he was part way through the Azkaban book so in the end, I just never felt the need to. I don’t feel like I’ve missed out. We own the box set, I can read them at any time if I choose, but I’ve just never really wanted to.

7. The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon. This was recommended to me a lot. I can recall one of my only childhood reading friends recommending me the first book in probably the mid to late 90s. But I didn’t end up reading it until about 9 or so years ago, after I’d started blogging. It was another one that just didn’t blow me away. I don’t like Jamie and I’ve no interest in the love story. I feel the same way about the TV series.

8. Nora Roberts Books In General. This one might also be a bit controversial? In my day I have read and enjoyed many Nora Roberts books, particularly some of her romantic suspense-style trilogies. However – I’ve also read a lot of Nora Roberts books that I did not enjoy and to be honest, the ones I’ve read more recently, just don’t feel fresh for me any more. I just can’t see myself picking one up now.

9. The Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning. The first few books in this series are fabulous. For me, everything that comes after that is an epic train wreck with proportions of the like I rarely see. I hate everything that comes after the end of Shadowfever, which is book 5. I hate Dani. I hate Ryodan. I hate Dani and Ryodan with the fury of a thousand suns. I hate Cruce. I hate how Mac and Barrons backtrack. I skimmed Iced and read through Burned and that was enough. I wonder if Mac is still invisible. Anyway. I don’t care. For me, this series ended with Shadowfever and I’ve wiped the rest of it from my mind.

10. Abbi Glines’ Books. I got sent an absolute plethora of these by the Australian publisher a few years ago. They were turning up what felt like every other day. I read a few of them and in the end I had to stop because a lot of her tropes are just really not for me. Manwhores and slutshaming abounds! Just not my thing – happy to abandon this author and move on.

Most of what I have abandoned are series’ that didn’t work out for me or that I feel have gone on too long/have lost their focus. I do tend to finish most books that I start, even if I just skim read to the end and it’s rare that I’ll DNF something once I’ve begun it. It does happen, as the first two books prove but it’s quite rare.

Do you finish books once you start them or is life too short for that?! Let me know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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April Reading Wrap Up

Total Books Read: 26
Fiction: 26
Non-Fiction: 0
Library Books: 2
Books On My TBR List: 6
Books in a Series: 6
Authors I’d Never Read Before: 9
Male/Female Authors: 0/26
Kindle Books: 7
Books I Owned or Bought: 4
Favourite Book(s): Shadow Study, Night Study, Dawn Study by Maria V. Snyder.
Least Favourite Books: Nothing below a 3 this month
Books That Qualify For Challenges: 10

April began a “new normal” in a way, for the foreseeable future. For the first two weeks, my kids were on school holidays and we enjoyed lazy sleep ins and then found ways to entertain ourselves inside as much as we could before fitting in a daily walk if the weather allowed, to get us out of the house for our permitted exercise. On the 15th, my kids started their ‘remote learning from home’ and…..it’s been going okay. The first day was a lot of setting up types of tasks – getting your learning area ready, creating a timetable, that sort of thing. And since then the work has been pretty manageable for them and most of the time they’ve been quite enthusiastic about it and cooperative.

April was noteworthy because I finished ALL of the books in my TBR pile, showcased in my March wrap up post here – and I finished them on the 17th April! This pretty much never happens – I have occasionally read everything on my pile before but nearly always there’s 1-2 books I don’t get to as I get distracted by other new shiny things. Well I can’t go to the library as such, I haven’t ordered anything online for now and the postal service has been a bit slow as well, so I found it quite easy to get my pile finished! I wasn’t quite sure what to do with the rest of April – I could get started on my May books and get a few of those read and reviews scheduled as well, be ahead of the game. I could pick random books off my shelves that I’ve had for ages and read those. I could tackle some of the eBooks that I have or grab a few newbies from NetGalley to read. In the end I decided to do a bit of all of that, trying to mix things up as much as possible in order to keep things interesting.

I do have a May pile however, so here it is:

Originally this pile was bigger…but there were a couple of books that had their release dates changed so I had to remove them from this pile and shuffle them to later in the year. Because I finished April so early, I have already read a couple from this pile, reviews to come next week of The Hidden Beach and Fool Me Once and a review of The Viennese Girl has already been posted.

Challenge check in!

Australian Women Writers Challenge: 28/50

Read Non Fiction Challenge: 5/12

Reading Women Challenge: 9/26

As expected, my challenge participation for 2 of the challenges continued to stall without my library usage or much purchasing. I didn’t read any nonfiction this month, so contributed nothing towards my Read Non Fiction challenge, however I do have a book on my pile this month (the Jacinda Adern biography) which I will use for the published in 2020 prompt as well as the biography prompt for my Reading Women Challenge. Which will enable me to make a little bit of progress! The Australian Women Challenge keeps trucking along though, I’m more than halfway through the goal I set for myself of 50 books at the beginning of the year.

However, I actually got around to downloading the apps my local library uses to lend both eBooks and eAudiobooks, so going forward, I should be able to source some non fiction and books that will help me complete my Reading Women Challenge. I had meant to do it ages ago, when my local library first closed its doors but I only got around to doing it in the latter part of this month. I was specifically looking for something, hoping that I’d be able to borrow it as it appears I cannot buy it in Australia but unfortunately, no luck. However I did discover that the range of material is pretty good and I borrowed 2 eBooks – The Sin Eater by Megan Campisi and From Alaska With Love by Ally James. I also requested a couple of others and so far, so good in terms of accessibility, ease of usage, etc.

I purchased one physical book in April! My local Dymocks is actually still open, because it’s also a newsagent. My kids had run out of books to read so we had to venture out into the world. They can read eBooks on their iPads but quite honestly they were spending enough time staring at screens so we went to the bookstore to pick up some actual physical books. The kids got a couple each and I chose The Glass Hotel by Emily St John Mandel. My husband got a book as well and I’d say we’ll make another trip there next week once the kids have finished the books they chose. I’d really like to see my 11yo choose something challenging and devote some time to getting stuck into a book but at the moment he seems to be choosing more easy reads. One of the books my 8yo chose he finished in 20 minutes so……I’d like to see him get something a little more challenging as well next time, something that will last a couple of nights of the 30m reading time they are supposed to complete each day.

I did read a ridiculous amount of books in April, including 2 re-reads of old favourites but it’s not a pace I expect to keep going forward. It’s just with nowhere to go and not much to do…..I chose to read to pass my time.

Wherever you are, I hope you had a good reading month for April….stay safe!

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What Have You Read? The Dymocks Top 101 Books For 2020

So every year Australian bookstore chain Dymocks hold a vote for our favourite books. It’s an eclectic mix generally, of new releases and old faves. There’s always something surprising in there and I always like seeing what I’ve read, what I’d like to read, what I hadn’t maybe thought about reading until now. You can get a printable or eCopy to tick off yours here.

So obviously I ticked the ones I’ve read which is 56 of the 101 – look, I did “cheat” a little bit. I ticked The Rosie trilogy even though I’ve only read 2/3, The Six of Crow duology even though I’ve only read 1/2 and the Nevermoor series even though I’ve so far only read 1. The ones with a green dot beside them are ones I want to read some day and the ones with a purple dot beside them are books I already own or have in my possession but I have not yet read. You can click on it for a bigger version in order to see what those are better.

I think the thing that surprised me the most was that The Book Thief was equal number 1. Not that it isn’t a wonderful book – it definitely is. I am surprised that it was so high as sometimes a lot of people vote for the books that are freshest in their mind that they loved. Obviously The Book Thief has made a really lasting impression on a lot of Australian readers who continue to vote for it, year after year or lots of new people are still finding it to read. I absolutely adored Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine so I’m thrilled to see it so high. Boy Swallows Universe was only published last year I think, so it’s obviously made a powerful impression on a lot of people. It won a swag of literary awards as well – I had borrowed it from the library but had to return it before I had a chance to read it. I do intend to still read it – I’ve seen a lovely hardcover copy that I might purchase at some stage. The author’s next book, All Our Shimmering Skies will be out later this year and I’m expecting that to be big.

There’s a few books on this list that I have on my shelves at home, that I’ve actually mentioned recently in terms of potentially using this time of self-isolation etc, to finally get around to reading them. One is A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara which I probably bought in 2015 or 2016, so that’s been kicking around on the shelves for a while now. It’s intimidating though, especially because a lot of people have mentioned that the content is emotionally quite traumatic and…well, are things not traumatic enough right now? I also purchased All The Light We Cannot See at the beginning of the year after having wanted to read it for a long time as well and maybe I need to finally read Lion: A Long Way Home so that I can watch the movie I recorded on my satellite tv harddrive about four years ago. I also borrowed The Dutch House from my local library before it closed.

I don’t always pay a lot of attention to lists etc but I know some people enjoy having a bit of direction in reading, when it can feel overwhelming trying to choose something. In fact I know someone who used to collect lists just like this one and then make her way through them until she’d read everything on it. And at the moment, I kind of understand being directionless – I have books to read, plenty of them, but I can’t always make a decision about what to read next! Things like this can give a bit of focus if needed or suggest books that you might not have thought of or been aware of. It can be a good way to find new reads that people are talking about. And there’s a little something for everyone here – classics, popular fiction, non fiction, YA, autobiographies, historical fiction, sci-fi/fantasy etc.

How many have you read? Is there something that you should think should be there and isn’t? Let me know!

 

 

 

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Top 10 Tuesday 30th July

Welcome back to another instalment of Top 10 Tuesday, hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. Today is a freebie topic where we can do anything we want. So I decided to go with –

Top 10 Chunksters I Tell Myself I Haven’t Got Time To Read

Years ago, before book blogging, before ARCs and NetGalley were a thing, when I was a poor university student who couldn’t afford food some weeks, let alone books, I enjoyed a chunkster. The more pages, the better. The longer I spent reading it, the more I felt it was worth my investment in it. I read a large number of books up to 1000p. But I’ve noticed a lot these days that I’ll reach for the the smallest book in my pile. That sometimes it’s become about just getting numbers of books read, because I receive a lot for review, because I buy more, my TBR pile is huge and sometimes it makes me feel a bit guilty looking at it. So I read those 300p books because I can knock them over in a few hours and move onto the next one. And the big ones languish on my shelf unread because aint nobody got time for that right now. So I’m going to shame myself into hopefully reading some of these by creating this post, because I’m sure they’re all going to be amazing books, I just have to let go of the idea that I don’t have time for them. I do.

  1. Obsidio by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff. 615p. loved the first two books in this series – and I read them for a challenge which I think really pushed me to finally read them (I was pretty late to the party). I bought this when it came out but I still haven’t actually read it yet. Part of it is the size but part of it is because I’m not sure I’m ready for what’s going to happen.
  2. The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton. 832p. I bought this when it won the Man Booker. I have this love hate relationship with prize winners. I want to like them but I so rarely do. Anyway, this is huge…..I actually picked it up one day, read the first page and went ‘haha, nope’ and put it away again. But I’m determined to get to it one day, to tackle these books that intimidate me.
  3. The Distant Hours by Kate Morton. 673p. I have a beautiful hard cover version of this book that I actually picked up in a second hand bookstore about four years ago now. It’s so pretty to look at and I’ve read several other Kate Morton books and I absolutely adore them. She writes such beautifully evocative books, with rich settings and generally quite large cast of characters. I have 2 books of hers I haven’t read yet (and there’s many more I haven’t read and don’t own) and I just need to incorporate them into my challenges so they get my attention!
  4. War & Peace by Leo Tolstoy. 1456p. Okay so I’ve read relatively little Russian literature in my life, but what I’ve read, I’ve enjoyed a lot more than I thought I would. Particularly Anna Karenina. It’s always been my plan to also read this absolute monstrosity and I know there are challenges that run every year that revolve around reading a chapter a day or something. This is on my ‘reading bucket list’ and it’s challenging and intimidating for a lot of reasons. But I still want to do it!
  5. The Seven Sisters The Storm Sister by Lucinda Riley. 628 688p. I was sent a copy of the second book for review and then shortly after, the first was free on one of the eBook platforms so I snatched it up. They’re now up to book 5 or so of these 7, so I’m way behind but I’ve heard some really good things about this series and it seems right up my alley with elements of romance and mystery and perhaps a bit of interwoven historical? But because there’s quite a few now, this becomes an even larger investment, time-wise!
  6. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. 720p. I bought this one forever ago now. I’ve heard amazing things about it but people also seem to find it somewhat psychologically traumatising as well, which makes me nervous. Books like that I need to be in the mood for, so not only is it intimidatingly large but it’s also potentially a difficult read emotionally. I want to conquer it though!
  7. Kingdom Of Ash by Sarah J. Maas. 984p. I want to read this, I just have to keep plowing through Tower Of Dawn first because I’m still yet to finish that thing. It’s also large enough to be included on this list but I have actually started it. I made the mistake of reading about 200p just before we moved house. Then we moved and I never picked it up again. I wish I’d just gotten it out of the way.
  8. Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver. 600p. Okay, interesting thing – I have never read a Barbara Kingsolver novel. We own maybe a half dozen and all have been on my ‘really must read these and soon!’ pile for years. Especially The Poisonwood Bible. But yet, I’ve never actually got around to picking any of them up. It’s a travesty.
  9. The Pillars Of The Earth by Ken Follett. 973p. I own a bind-up of the first 2 books (in eBook form, so it’s only 2000p electronically, which is a lot less intimidating than a print copy!) but I’ve never read this series, or even this author actually. They seem quite universally enjoyed and actually I’m not sure how I didn’t read these during my ‘bigger is better’ reading period!
  10. Hard Choices by Hillary Rodham Clinton. 635p. I really like Hillary Clinton and I thought What Happened was excellent. It really made me want to read her other books. I am sure she has a team of people helping her, but the voice in that book was really engaging and frank and actually made me like her even more than before. She has this book and also one from being First Lady I think, and I’d like to read them both at some stage. I own this one but not Living History yet. Also interestingly, there are so many books on Goodreads about Hillary Clinton that spell her name wrong. I know this because I accidentally spelled it wrong looking up the third book and ended up with nothing by her in the search but a bunch of books on her. How do you write and publish a book about someone and then spell their name wrong in the title? I find it interesting that she’s such a divisive figure – the people that hate her, really hate her and she seems far more controversial than even someone like Donald Trump. I have a lot of thoughts on this but probably best not to get into them in this post!

These are just some of the big chunky books I have on my shelves, demanding my attention. There are many others, over 500p making up the TBR pile! These are just the ones that I really feel like I should be making time for, to stop telling myself, hey you don’t have time to read them, you could read 2-3 books in the time it takes you to read that one book. It shouldn’t be about the numbers of books I can get read, but the sort of books I want to read. I try to keep telling myself that, but sometimes I succumb to the pressure.

I’d be interested to know if I’m alone here or if others feel the same way. Let me know!

 

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