#ShelfLove Discussion: May I? Oops, I already did!

For April, the #ShelfLove Challenge participants are discussing the books they want to buy this year and why it’s so crucial they be allowed to buy them. This is going to be a very short post because I already pre-ordered this book, breaking my own book-buying rules.

Its publication date will be November 23rd of this year, and I have no regrets. I also have no shame. Regardless of the Shelf Love Challenge, I was going to pre-order Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone as soon as it was available to do so. There was just no telling when it would finally be announced. Us “Outlander” fans have been waiting for what feels like forever.

What are the books you want to buy this year? What books have you already bought in spite of your book budget or buying ban?

#ShelfLove 2021 – Still the Oldest Books

For March, the #ShelfLove Challenge participants are discussing the oldest books on our shelves.  I decided to look back to the books I had written about in 2017, and discovered that I had only read one of the books I had mentioned, and the rest are still on my TBR. The book I’ve owned the longest and still haven’t read has moved from place to place, country to country with me since 2005!

  1. The Holy Barbarians by Lawrence Lipton – This book was mentioned in an episode of Gilmore Girls.  It wasn’t an easy book to find at the time, especially since I was living in Korea, but I tracked a copy down through a used bookseller that didn’t have a problem shipping to an APO.  I was a bit obsessed with the Beat Generation and majorly obsessed with all things Gilmore Girls; otherwise, I wouldn’t have gone through all the trouble of finding it.
  2. Memory Mambo by Achy Obejas – After my Abuelo passed away, I began finding and buying any book that might bring me a little closer to the Cuban part of my family.
  3. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne – This book, and the next three, were bought free on my brand spanking new first-generation Nook right before I deployed to Iraq in 2009.
  4. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  5. The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
  6. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins – Though I started reading this one last year, I never finished it, so it deserves to stay on the list.
  7. Book Lust by Nancy Pearl – Always a fan of books about books, as soon as I saw this offered on Nook, I snatched it up.
  8. Hiking Alone by Mary Beath – I purchased this while on a road trip in 2011.  I had stopped for the night in Albuquerque, NM and when I got up the next morning, I realized my hotel was just across the street from the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center.
  9. The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens – I bought this from a little independent bookstore and coffee shop in Utah during that same road trip.  Their largest cup was “The Hagrid” and I’ve wished that coffee and tea shops everywhere offered “Hagrid”-sized drinks ever since.
  10. The First Pillar by Roy Huff – This one is the oldest on my Want to Read list on Goodreads. Though I know there are books I have owned for far longer, this one, along with 22 others, is from when I started tracking my TBR in 2014.

Since half of these books are in storage right now and the others are ebooks, I’m probably not going to get them off my TBR this year. The only exception to that might be The First Pillar since one of the prompts for a reading challenge I’m participating in is “Oldest on TBR.”  

What are some of the oldest books on your shelf?

Thursday’s Things: Freebies!

1001 Things
                Original Image: Viktor Hertz

“Thursday’s Things” is a roundup of book-related links I’ve come across while wandering down the rabbit hole that is the internet.

I’m on a book buying ban for this year’s #ShelfLove Challenge.  The Boyfriend and I are also packing up the apartment to move across the country, so any new books I acquire have to be free and digital. Since this month’s discussion for #ShelfLove is all about where we find free books, here is a list of 20+ websites where I have gotten my book shopping fix for free:

  • The Online Books Page – There are over 2 million free books on this website, thanks to the University of Pennsylvania.
  • Read Print – Here are a few thousand more.
  • The Baen Free Library – and here are even more.
  • Bookyards – …and some more.
  • International Children’s Digital Library – Looking for free kid’s books?  Here ya go.
  • Storyline Online – How about famous actors reading children’s books aloud?  There are tons of videos on this non-profit site.
  • Library of Congress – Of course, there’s always the Digital Collection of the Library of Congress.
  • Planet eBook – Need to find that Classic you’ve been meaning to read since forever ago?  There are over 80 Classic Lit books on this site.
  • ManyBooks – This site boasts that they have over 33,000 free books.
  • Project Gutenberg – Most serious readers know about this one, but I have to list it because this is the go-to place for the Classics, and it will save your wallet if you’re a Classic literature addict or a member of The Classics Club.
  • Internet Archive – I LOVE this website!  It’s got so much more than free books, so make sure you’ve got some time to kill because you might not leave this site for a while.
  • Open Culture – This site has a ton of free downloadable media, including ebooks and audiobooks.
  • Open Library – You don’t have a library card?  First of all, shame on you!  Second, go to the Open Library and sign up for a free account.  Third, start borrowing ebooks to your heart’s content.
  • LibriVox – Free audiobooks.
  • Lit2Go – Another site for free audiobooks, but many of the books also have a free downloadable PDF.
  • Free Classic Audiobooks – in case you need yet another site for finding free downloadable audiobooks.
  • Classic Short Stories – Look through the list to find the short story you want to read, and click on it to download.
  • East of the Web – This site has short stories you can read online, but you can also click on the “Printable Version” link and then save it as a PDF.
  • Nightmare Magazine – This is a Horror and Dark Fantasy short story magazine I recently discovered.  You can read the short stories online or download the audio/podcast.
  • Storynory – This is a Children’s audiobook site that, amongst so many other kid-friendly downloads, includes Classic Children’s literature.
  • Kiddie Records – If you’re looking for children’s records from the 1940s and ’50s, this is the site to check out.  The downloads, including a Winnie the Pooh story, are all free.
  • BookBub – This is actually a website/newsletter to find out about the free (and on sale) books being offered under the genres you’re interested in by major booksellers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  I’ve discovered quite a few free books that I felt were worth downloading, but be careful since there is the temptation of .99 books.

The 2021 #ShelfLove Challenge!

Back in 2015, one of my favorite book bloggers, Terri from “Second Run Reviews” hosted the “Show Your Shelves Some Love” no book buying challenge. I recently caught up with Terri, who moved on from blogging to working in the book industry and now owns her own bookstore, Swamp Fox Bookstore! She gave me the go-ahead to host my own version of the challenge. Read on to find out the details!

Goal: Abstain from buying books or set a book buying limit – and focus on clearing your physical and virtual TBR bookshelves for the entire year.

Challenge Dates: January 1st – December 31st, 2021


  • Abstain from spending money on books for one calendar year or set a book buying limit (whether that’s monetary or the number of books you may buy).
  • Gift cards are OK as well as any Audible credits you already have in your account.
  • Encourage other challenge participants via blog comments and social media.
  • Participate in the monthly discussion posts. The link-up is on the #ShelfLove challenge 2021 page.
  • Library books do not count for this challenge. This challenge is only for books you already own.
  • Netgalley, Edelweiss, or other ARC books can count for this because you have the book, so read it!
  • Read books that are in your personal library that were obtained before January 1, 2021.
  • Yes, there will be a giveaway. Read the #ShelfLove challenge 2021 page for the giveaway details!


  • 1-10 books: shake hands with your shelves
  • 11-20 books: pat your shelves on the back
  • 21-30 books: give your shelves a warm friendly hug
  • 31-40 books: regular date night with your shelves
  • 41-50 books: your shelves are now your BFF
  • 51+ books: your shelves and you are going steady – I’m choosing this goal because my reading goal for 2021 will be more than 50 books.  I’m a member of the Fantastic Strangelings book club, so I am allowing myself to continue my subscription. These books, plus whatever books I check out from the library should be more than enough, but the key is to stay away from the book stores!


  • Create a sign-up post that includes your chosen goal on your blog or any social media platform (Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Litsy, etc.).
  • Don’t forget to use the challenge hashtag #ShelfLove.
  • Go to the #ShelfLove challenge 2021 page to link your post and enter into the giveaway!

NO BOOK BUYING CHALLENGE STEP 3: Monthly Discussion Posts(Optional)

  • December 2020/January 2021: I’m joining in the #ShelfLove Challenge 2021! Tell us your goals for the challenge this year.  Will you be going on an all-out book buying ban or are you setting a book buying limit? Share pictures of your TBR piles or link up to your GoodReads Shelves.
  • February: Free books! Where do you get free books?
  • March: The TBR pile. Tell us about the books that have been on your shelves the longest.
  • April: May I?! Tell us about one book you want to buy this year and give your best “sales pitch” for why you should be able to buy it.
  • May: Organizing the shelves! How do you organize your books? Alphabetical by title or author, by color, genre, or some other way?
  • June: Mid-year check-in post. How are you doing with the challenge? Look back at your January post and let us know how you are doing.  Share an updated picture or list of your TBR pile.
  • July: Dear Author. Show some love to the authors of your favorite books.
  • August: The perils of book hoarding! What are your pros and cons of owning a lot of books?
  • September: Library Love! Tell us about your local library.
  • October: Best bookish gifts! What are the best book-related gifts you’ve received?
  • November: Thankfulness. Are you thankful for taking on the #ShelfLove challenge? Do you have a greater appreciation for the books you own or for wherever you get free books?
  • December:  End of the year check-in post. Look back at your June and January posts and let us know how you did this year.  Share an updated picture or list of your TBR pile. Would you do the challenge again in 2022?

I can’t wait to read all y’all’s sign-up and discussion posts throughout the year!

Show Your Shelves Some Love: A No Book Buying Challenge


Show Your Shelves Some Love, No Book Buying Challenge 2015. You got ‘em, now read ‘em!

  • Hosts: Chapter Break and Terri from Second Run Reviews.
  • Social Media: #ShelfLove
  • Goal: Abstain from buying books (or set a monthly book budget) — and focus on clearing physical and virtual to-be-read book shelves for the entire year.
  • Challenge Dates: Jan 1, 2015 – Dec 31, 2015.

The Guidelines:

  • Abstain from spending money on books for one calendar year (or follow a monthly book budget).
  • Gift cards are OK, audible account is OK, but no buying extra credits.
  • Encourage other challenge participants via comments, social media, and emails.
  • Participate in the monthly posts. (The link up post will go live on the first of each month and be open for 30 days.)
  • Library books do not count for this challenge. This challenge is mainly for books you already own.
  • Netgalley books can count for this because you have the book, so read it!

No Book Buying Challenge Step 1: Select your goal

  • Black-Belt: 51+ books: my shelves and I are going steady – I’m choosing this goal because my reading goal for 2015 will be higher than the 50 books goal I set for 2014.  Over the past couple of years, my way of handling book buying was to save up all the books I had read, and didn’t want to keep, in a box.  After the box was full, I would take it to Half Price Books, and then buy books with whatever money I got from selling that box-full.  This year, however, I want to tighten my spending belt further and not buy any books at all.  Instead, I’ll wait until next year to take my book box(s) to the store, and then put that money into savings.  I’ll probably allow myself to buy a couple books as a reward, but only if I don’t spend a single penny on books in any format for the whole year.  I know I can do it, but the key is to stay away from the book stores!

Will you be participating in the No Book Buying Challenge?