Archive

Posts Tagged ‘blog’

Reading Goals and Changes for 2016

December 31, 2015 4 comments
awesomewolf

Source: yenn87 on DeviantArt

Hello my lovely readers!

As I mentioned in my 2015 reading stats wrap-up, I decided to break out my reading goals into a separate post this year because I also have some changes to announce.

As long-time readers know, I had two big life events in 2015. I married my best friend and my father passed away.  You may not know that in 2016 I’m turning 30.  These three personal events have combined to make me really evaluate my life, my time, and my goals.

I feel a real sense of both how fleeting time is and how important it is to me to build a good life and family with my husband.  I want to live with intention and forethought, while holding on to the new ability I’ve found with my husband to embrace the unexpected and do things that are not planned.  That’s a pretty wordy way of saying I want to live mindfully.

My sense of time passing has made me realize that I don’t have forever to write the books I want to write in my lifetime.  And that means I need to stop claiming all of my reading time is contributing to my writing. While it’s true that a writer must read, a writer must also consistently write.  A writer cannot simply read.  I have writer friends who have said before they had to dial back some of their reading to make time for writing, and I now understand why that is so.

This same sense of time passing has made me realize that I no longer wish to spend my time reading books I don’t enjoy.  My whole life I have almost always finished not just every single book I’ve started but most books I’ve acquired as well (with a few exceptions that I got rid of when my now husband moved in with me).  Since my father passed away, I realized life is too short for that.  I went through my books and got rid of any that didn’t make me feel the spark of a happy reader when looking at them or their description.  I’ve also started a few books that I simply stopped reading and got rid of.  I’ve also finally been honest with myself about certain types of books I enjoy that I was once a bit ashamed of.

What does all of this mean for Opinions of a Wolf? Well, many things, actually.

1) Expect there to be far fewer 2 and/or 1 star ratings.
With the exception of books I accept for review (ARCs), if I start a book and am not enjoying my time reading it at any point, I am going to put it down (for good). I am still not comfortable reviewing books that I haven’t read in their entirety.  So I will simply not be reviewing these books.  Don’t take the sudden lack of lower star ratings to mean that I am no longer being honest.  I am just choosing to spend my time in a different manner.  It is still possible for there to be low ratings, though, if a book disappoints me at the end (goes off the rails, as it were) or if I’m reading it because it’s akin to watching a train wreck, haha.  I will still finish any ARCs I accept, however.  To this end…..

2) Books submitted to me for the annual review were accepted in a different manner this year.
This year instead of setting a number I would accept, I only accepted however many books actually appealed to me.  I also required submissions with excerpts, so I could read the first few pages and see how I felt about the writing.  I am hoping the combination of these two means that my review of indie ARCs will serve both for me to find more obscure books I will enjoy and to offer good indie authors beneficial reviews.  Again, though, if a book winds up disappointing me, I will finish it (since it is an ARC), and I will give an honest review.

3) The genres I read are going to change. Some.
I’ve always had a secret thing for humorous (usually British) chick lit.  In fact, the last two books I read this year fit in this category perfectly.  I am not just done hiding this genre, I am also done hating on it.  I feel a lot of the hate comes from a culture-wide judgment of femme things (because of judging women).  I would rather build it up as the respected (albeit silly/not serious literature) genre it should be, rather than participate in ignoring it.  Similarly, before I started the book blog, I read quite a bit of self-help.  I still read it sometimes but I didn’t want to read it too much, worried about what people might think of me.  I’m not going to seek it out, but if one appeals to me, I am going to pick it up and not worry about what people might think.  One thing that won’t change is the love of scifi/fantasy, that will stay.  However, my husband noticed my growing collection of older scifi/fantasy paperbacks by women authors and commented on how cool that was.  I hope to feature these books more in some way yet to be determined on this blog.  I’m even going to be dedicating a whole bookshelf in our studio apartment to it.  I also will be doing more reading of nonfiction I need to read to research my writing, rather than reading things that I think will help make me look smart or that I think I *should* read.  Basically this whole section is saying: I’m done caring about what people think of me. I’m gonna be real. Fuck it.

4) I’m going to be spending more time writing.
Whether this will impact how much I read is yet to be seen, since I tend to read faster when I actually enjoy what I’m reading.  I am working on incorporating writing into being a daily habit and, if I have enough material, I may start publishing some shorts or flash on here.  Alternatively, there may just be a few more publication announcement posts.  Or, I might just do a recap of writing accomplishments in some fashion.

5) I’ve adjusted the Mental Illness Advocacy Reading Challenge to be more flexible.
You may now sign up for ongoing or annual versions of the challenge.  I realized for me personally reading books featuring characters with a mental illness in a positive light has become just something I seek out in my reading. It’s not a number I strive for annually.  I figured, why not add that as a more casual option for folks.  You can see more details on the dedicated page.

So that’s what to expect in 2016.
Expect things to be a bit more real around here and hopefully to see more of a mix of reading and writing.  I’m excited to see what 2016 will bring.

Blog Updates

March 6, 2015 4 comments

Hello my lovely readers!

I just wanted to take a moment to let those of you who subscribe via RSS feed or email that my blog now officially has its own url.  It is now opinionsofawolf.com not opinionsofawolf.wordpress.com.  Don’t worry, all links to the old .wordpress.com address are set to automatically forward to opinionsofawolf.com.  I’m excited to be taking this leap forward.

I have also decided to focus my free time more in on my writing.  Long-time readers know I am also a writer (see my Publications page here).  In light of this, I have decided to close up my Etsy shop.  I enjoy cross-stitching and designing patterns, but I would like to revert it back to being a hobby.  However, I have made all the patterns I designed available on my Cross-Stitch page, and I will add more as I design them. At my leisure.

I have also designed and synced an author’s twitter to this blog.  There is a link in the sidebar, or you may follow it here.  This is a public twitter that anyone may follow.  I primarily focus on tweeting about writing, books, and links to things that interest me, as well as retweeting anything I find humorous.

I also hope to start doing a monthly reading and writing reflection post.  We will all see how that goes!

Happy reading!

Friday Fun! (January: Freezing Cold and Baking)

February 1, 2014 1 comment

breadHello my lovely readers!  I hope all of your new years started off well.

I’m sure most of you are aware of the intense cold snap that hit the United States this month, and Boston was certainly no exception.  There were a few nights where, even with our heat cranked all the way up, it still wasn’t exactly what you’d call warm inside our apartment.  The few times it did warm up, we got snow.  In fact, the month rolled in with quite the blizzard.  I got to get some exercise in shoveling out our steps and portion of the sidewalk, not to mention my boyfriend’s car (obviously, this was a joint venture).  With it being so cold and me having a 30 minute walk as part of my evening commute home from work, I’ve had to get creative in how I bundle up.  My dad had bought me some fleece-lined tights, and those have become my base layer.  So cozy!  Like wearing your jammies under your work clothes (but looks professional).  However, when I tried to get more, I couldn’t find any for less than $20 plus shipping, so I’m stuck washing them a lot.  Thankfully, today was our first warm day in weeks (43 degrees F!!) Yayyyy

Since it’s been so cold, and also since my dad gave us a Kitchen Aid for Christmas, I’ve been doing a lot more baking.  Basically anything that will let me run our oven for justifiable reasons, since that heats up our studio apartment.  I’d been struggling with getting my bread to come out right, so when we visited my dad back at Thanksgiving, he went over the process with me and caught two errors.  First, I wasn’t letting the yeast grow enough before adding the flour (I’m an impatient person), and second, I wasn’t kneading it long enough.  Well, the second problem was easily addressed with the Kitchen Aid.  The first was addressed by setting a timer with a set amount of time to wait before adding the flour.  My first loaf done with these tweaks and the Kitchen Aid came out perfect!  I was very excited.  Another recipe I finally perfected this month was vegetarian Thai red curry.  I read a tip that combining soy sauce with seaweed replicates the flavor of fish sauce better.  I also started using full fat instead of low fat coconut milk.  It came out much more authentic.

Coming up on the blog this month, I’m hoping to read another one of my 2014 review copies and offer up another giveaway (enter the one currently running if you haven’t had the chance yet).  I’m also hoping to read another book for the MIA Reading Challenge.  I’m glad I already got one read for the challenge and enjoyed it!  I’m also hoping to make an announcement this month of another project I’m working on, but I need to finish up some behind-the-scenes work first.

Happy reading!

Friday Fun! (Where the Hell Has This Weekly Meme Been Anyway?)

March 30, 2013 2 comments

Hello my lovely readers!

So, I knew I hadn’t written a Friday Fun post in a while, but was floored to see it hadn’t happened since November 16, 2012.

o_O

I know we all hate it when bloggers talk about their crazy busy lives, even though it’s true, because, hello, we all have busy lives!  Suffice to say, what I thought was a busy phase is actually the new stasis of my life.  I’m proud of the fact that I’m still managing to find time to blog, because I do love book blogging.  But I want to continue to touch base with you all periodically.  Weekly is just too overwhelming though.  So I’ve decided to move Friday Fun to just occurring on the last Friday (or Saturday) of every month.  Treating it more like a special event instead of a weekly meme will help me keep up and enjoy it.  I hope you all enjoy the new change!

On a similar note, I am still closed to review requests, and I don’t expect that to be changing anytime soon.  I still periodically request ARCs, if I’m highly interested, but that is a rare occurrence.  I also, you may have noticed, switched my reading from about 50% things I felt I “should” be reading (for ARCs, to better myself, etc….) down to about 10%.  This means 90% of my reading is for funsies, because frankly I need that stress relief in my life.  Reading “should’s” worked great when I was in a life limbo and needing to fill the time with actual things to do that made me feel like I was accomplishing something.  But now when I read, I want it to be for fun.  I need it to be a stress reliever.  Something that helps give me a few moments of internally-focused peace in my day.   So any changes you’ve noticed in the books being reviewed here reflect that choice I made at the beginning of 2013.

As for my non-blog life!  The holidays happened.  I taught my first library orientation by myself for the incoming class of one of the schools affiliated with my library.  I created my first library tutorials.  I finished my first archival finding aid.  Those have been the big-hitters in work life.  In regular, non-librarian Amanda life I went on vacation with my boyfriend to an off-the-grid cabin!  We snowshoed and built fires in wood stoves and generally thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  I went home to visit my dad in Vermont and learned how to make the perfect grilled cheese.  I got an iPhone.  I became addicted to Instagram and taking photos in general.  I survived Blizzard Nemo and got my first real snowday in *years*.  I learned how to play the Call of Cthulhu tabletop game.  Finally, I just last week joined my gym’s 60 day fitness competition, and I am loving how much it has reinvigorated my passion for fitness.  And I’m still trying to figure out how to be a part-time indie author in amongst all of this.

How was everyone’s March?  Ours came in like a lion and out like a lamb, just like the old saying goes. 🙂

Reading Goals for 2011

January 5, 2011 16 comments

It’s that time of year again!  Time to think about my reading goals for the year.  Since reading is pretty much my favorite hobby, I don’t like to limit it too much, but I do like to encourage myself to broaden my horizons and be practical.  To that end, let’s first take a glance at my goals from January 2010.

Successful:

  • Read one book of poetry. I read Beowulf.  Not quite modern poetry, but still counts as poetry.  🙂
  • Read at least 3 graphic novels/manga.  I wound up reading 8 and discovered a new format I love!

Unsuccessful:

  • Read the books left over from undergraduate classes.  Yes. Um. I only successfully read two of them.  There’s still more left than I care to admit…..
  • Read more nonfiction.  There were only 7 out of 63, and all but one of those were memoirs.
  • Control books owned by using Swaptree.  Hah!  I actually switched to PaperBackSwap, and my TBR pile has become…..daunting.

Goals for 2011:

  • Frugality! This may be my favorite hobby, but I can be frugal about it.  My TBR pile currently has 69 books on it, and that’s just the physical books.  Let’s not even get into the eBooks awaiting me. So.  My rule is to really think about my acquisitions before I acquire them and hopefully get the TBR pile back down so it fits on one shelf of my bookshelf.
  • Read 100 books. Ok.  I got to 70 this year.  I think since I’m out of grad school now I should be able to do 100, yes?
  • Travel the 7 continents.  Since I can’t afford a real vacation, I want to take a virtual one around the world.  For the inhabited continents, I want to read something set on that continent written by an inhabitant of the continent.  So, no travelogues by old British dudes.  Antarctica may be challenging…..but, hey, there are scientific expeditions there, yes?  also, for North America, the US is not allowed.  It has to be Canada or Mexico.

So, that’s it, but I think they’ll be challenging enough for me!  Of course, I’ll also be reading books that count for the Mental Illness Advocacy challenge I’m hosting.  🙂

Any special plans for 2011 reading?  Advice on keeping the TBR pile more controllable?

Friday Fun! (Welcome, Thanks, and Ramblings)

September 24, 2010 6 comments

Hello my lovely readers!  I want to pay a special welcome and hello to my new subscribers acquired over the course of BBAW.  I know personally the overwhelming number of new blogs I was exposed to myself, so I’m honored you found me interesting and unique enough to stick around.  I want to let you know that this has been an off couple of weeks for me on the blog as things are a bit rough personally right now.  Normally my posts are a bit better written (at least I think so), and a bit more frequent, so, sorry about that.  Thanks for hanging in there!  I also want to say thanks to my friends who’ve been there for me the last couple of weeks in various ways.  If you guys happen to be reading this, I want you to know that you rock.

Fall weather has finally come to Boston, and I am so grateful.  With fall you get cool weather but no nasty storms to deal with.  It’s the best of both situations.  I have yet to go apple picking, but I did have cider for the first time of the season last night.  (Ok, ok, hard cider, but it still counts).  Grad school continues to be evil and suck the life from me.  I can’t wait until I can be just a librarian instead of a librarian and a grad student.    Tomorrow I’ll be volunteering at a local food event with my friends Nina and E.  Hopefully, it’ll be nice weather.

Next week should see an uptake in the number of reviews.  I’m currently about half-way through The Dark Tower, and it’s such a chunkster, I plan on reading a short, quick read after it.  I also plan on having some me time on Sunday, which besides exercising and cleaning my apartment will most likely include curling up on the couch with my kitty and watching a movie.  I know.  I am so exciting.  In any case. Reviews.  You will have them next week.

Happy weekends everybody!

BBAW: Future Treasures

September 17, 2010 7 comments

Treasure chest opening.Although it’s officially the end of BBAW, my participation is definitely going to extend by at least a few days.  Since I was sick and generally having a crappy week, I didn’t get to go visit other blogs to the extent that I wanted to, and that’s at least half the fun of BBAW!  So I plan on doing that over the next few days.  Expect to have belated visits from me on your blogs, folks.

Today’s theme is to share what we enjoyed about BBAW and future goals for our blog.  I have to say, what I’ve enjoyed the most is just how nice everyone has been!  Everywhere I’ve gone for BBAW–my own blog and others–everyone is just so supportive and nice and excited.  It made me so pleased to be part of this mish-mash, loosely tied community.  Whether or not you all like reading the same books I like or the books I can’t stand, it is abundantly evident that we all love reading, and we love books.  We love reading fiction and nonfiction.  About vampires and about spirituality.  We love reading paperbacks, hardbacks, and electronic copies.  But what ties it all together is that we love reading, and we love talking about the stories we’ve read and the things we’ve learned.  It’s so nice to find a social place online to share one of my favorite hobbies with other people, and although I was viscerally aware of the community of book bloggers, participating in BBAW really revealed it to me for the first time.

As for my future goals for my blog, I want to keep the posts flowing at a nice, consistent rate.  I hope to eventually find another weekly feature in addition to Friday Fun that works for me.  So far, nothing else I’ve tried has garnered enough thoughts from me to warrant a weekly posting or it’s been too much work to do every week.  Additionally, I know it may be hard to believe, but I haven’t been able to afford to do a giveaway yet.  Hey, I’m a broke student.  So, I hope to do my first giveaway in the next year.  I’m planning on doing one through the Book Depository so it can be open to my international readers as well!  That’s pretty much it.  Stay consistent and personable.  Find a good second weekly theme.  Do a giveaway.

I hope you all had as much fun as I did participating in BBAW!