As I think about my reading in 2021, I’ve set a few goals.
One is a goal for number of books via Goodreads, where I’m aiming for 60 total books read. I’ve mostly hit that number for some years… except in 2020 when all bets were off!
Another is to read all or most of the books I’ve accrued on my Net Galley account! Doesn’t mean I won’t add more, but maybe I can catch up with some of my backlist! (I’ve actually kept my percentage pretty high, which is something.)
Finally, I chose a hosted reading challenge. I considered several, but wanted to keep it really simple and flexible this year. So, I will be participating in:
Looking through my past posts, I realized it has been over a year since I’ve published a Book Notes review! Since I just finished reading a heartwarming novel that I really enjoyed, there’s no time like the present to offer up a new one!
The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay is a women’s fiction novel that I was fortunate enough to get from Net Galley last spring… and somehow I hadn’t read it until now! Here’s a description:
Hello, friends! It has been a long time since my last update, and I’ve taken a much needed break from the blogging world. In recent days, the whole world has been grappling with time, intentions, and priorities. The world we live in right now bears little existence to the one we were in just a few short months ago. And it gives us all the opportunity for thought.
How are we spending our time?
Are we making room for the important things?
When the hustle and bustle of life is cleared away, what’s left?
Raise your hand if you love reading… but you feel like you read the same type of book all the time. Or you always pick a book off the standard bestseller list. Or maybe you read whatever a certain friend or family member chooses and tells you about. But sometimes you probably wonder… what else is out there?
Since I’ve started The Biblio Blonde, I’ve gotten a fresh look at the huge array of books available to us. Literally thousands of new titles are released every year. The bad news is that in our human life spans, we can’t possibly read every book that’s ever been written. The good news is, we can read a LOT of them and our choices are endless.
So are you looking to spice up your reading life? Read some things you wouldn’t normally pick up? Here are three ways to look beyond your usual choices, and intentionally seek out something new!
Find books in new places
It’s easy to look to the same source over and over again for our reading options. But there are so many places to look for inspiration! Here are a few ideas, and I’ll plan to expand on some of these in the coming weeks to feature some of my favorites:
If you normally use the library or order books online, visit a small independent bookstore in your area. They usually have more titles by local/regional authors, and feature books that are delightful but not quite as well known. These establishments also typically have a small but dedicated and knowledgeable staff that would be all too happy to point you toward your next favorite!
You can get great recommendations right from your favorite comfy chair at home by exploring book blogs! Bloggers read a LOT, and we feature every type of book out there. Some bloggers only review cozy mysteries or YA titles… some read a wide variety and talk about everything book related. Find a few new blogs to follow and try some titles that these book lovers rave about. (Might I suggest starting with the blog you’re currently reading? 😊)
Maybe you’re more visual, and love pouring over pretty pictures of fabulous books. (I mean, who doesn’t?) If that’s the case, #Bookstagram is your cup of tea. Bookstagrammers host a subsection of Instagram dedicated to books, books, and more books… you’ll find colorful book stacks, shots of books and readers out in beautiful scenery, and great recommendations all the way around! (And did I mention the props? Bookstagrammers can take any theme or decorative item and make a book picture.) You can start by following my Instagram account, and I’ll help point you toward more great book lovers!
Take up a challenge!
One of my favorite ways to branch out a bit with books is to take on a reading challenge. You can find boatloads of these, and the beauty of each is that in checking off items on the list, you seek out titles you might not have otherwise considered!
Although I’ve participated in many challenges over the years, one that I’ve discovered more recently and highly recommend is the Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge. Modern Mrs. Darcy is Anne Bogel’s website… I’ve made no secret of being a huge fan of hers (see my review of her latest book) and the challenge is no different. It’s not overwhelming, and it hits that sweet spot of making you intentionally choose some titles but leaving you a lot of space to personalize it. Later in the year, I’ll post about some of the books I’ve been using to check off this list. Here’s a graphic of this year’s challenge:
Join the club!
Books are always better when shared with other readers. So if there’s a book club in your area, why not try it out? You’ll meet other book lovers, and even if a title chosen isn’t one you might not have considered on your own, you may find a new favorite author or topic!
There are, of course, all kinds of small book clubs out there based around a neighborhood or group of friends. If you have access to one of these, try it out! If not, another option is to check out your local library… most hold monthly reading discussions of all types of books.
One new club is through one of my favorite stores! The Barnes and Noble Book Club began last year, and has since started meeting every month to discuss a new title. The book selections have so far tended to be newer fiction. What better way to spend an evening than hitting up B&N for a book discussion, some shopping, and a treat at the cafe?
If you’re not much on joining real-life groups (leaving the house can be so overrated!), how about a virtual one? Many online book clubs are available too, including group reads by Modern Mrs. Darcy, The Pingel Sisters (who also offer monthly reading challenges), and more!
There’s never been a better time to be a reader… make the most of it and explore the bounty of titles out there! Happy reading, friends!
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