#ShelfLove 2016

Shelf Love Challenge 2016
I’m joining the Show Your Shelves Some Love Challenge again!  Below are my goals.

My Goals

  • Read at least 51 books from my personal library that I got before January 1, 2016 (my shelves and I are going steady).
  • With the exception of one book, I can only buy books using gift cards.  I can “buy” as many free books as I would like, accept ARCs, and enter giveaways to my heart’s content, but I may only use my hard earned cash to buy one carefully chosen book.
  • The one book I buy this year must be purchased with the funds I raise from selling books to the used bookstore.
  • Participate in the monthly discussion posts.


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These are, of course, only my physical books, and not all of them are books I haven’t read yet, but the majority of them have never been opened. Total, I have approximately 400 unread books sitting on my shelves or in my Kindle and Nook.  One of my projects this year will be to update my TBR shelf on Goodreads to get a more accurate total (none of the ebooks on my Nook are on it).

#ShelfLove – End of Year Check-In


This is it!  The last month of the #ShelfLove No Book Buying Challenge!  Those of us participating are discussing how we did.

For those of you who don’t remember, I chose not to purchase any books this year.  Free books, of course, didn’t count.  I made one exception, but other than using gift cards I received for Christmas and my Birthday, and getting books from the Boyfriend as a prescription against insanity, I didn’t buy a single book.  Not spending my own money on books took some creativity on my part and generosity on the part of others, but I can at least say I was successful.

I also succeeded in reading at least 51 books that were already on my shelves…or in boxes…in a storage unit.  Yeah, lots of books, itty bitty living space.  There, my friends, is where I flailed.  You see, despite not buying books with my own money, I still managed to bring a lot of books home with me this year.  In fact, I have less space on my bookshelves than I did before the challenge started, and that’s after taking several boxes of books to the used bookstore to earn enough money to buy the Outlandish Companion, Vol. Two.  I earned that book, darn it, so why isn’t there any space on my shelves?!  Well, between the Boyfriend showing he loves me through books, a couple of subscription boxes I get, and all the giveaways I’ve won this year, I not only replaced the books I sold but ended up filling every last nook and cranny of my bookcase.

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I have so many books and so little space for them that when the Boyfriend asked me what I wanted for my graduation present, I told him, “NO BOOKS!”  I then checked myself for a fever because that is the first time in my life I’ve ever turned down the opportunity to get books.  It turns out this challenge has been a sort of 12-Step program for me.  So, I plan on participating again next year, but that’s for another post.



#ShelfLove – Thankfulness


This month, those of us participating in the #ShelfLove No Book Buying Challenge are discussing whether or not we’re thankful for taking on the challenge and whether or not our book buying and reading habits have changed.

Am I thankful for the #ShelfLove challenge?  Oh yeah, and I have reasons:

  • I came up with several ways to get books for free, and I started listening to serial and short story podcasts.
  • I’ve fallen in love with audiobooks thanks to discovering the free audiobook website, podiobooks.com.
  • I became much more discerning about the books I purchased with the gift cards I received for Christmas and my Birthday.  The same goes for the books I chose when the Boyfriend made an agreement with me to help me survive the Spring semester.
  • I finally got my Goodreads shelves updated, created a spreadsheet of all my unread books, and made TBR jars.
  • I cleared out enough books from my collection to earn enough money to buy the one book I had been looking forward to for most of the year.
  • I’m finally ok with not buying books.  I’ve also come to prefer book-related gifts instead of bookstore gift cards.  Why?  I own more books than can fit on my shelves.  Despite all the books I took to the used bookstore, my shelves are no less stuffed than they were at the beginning of the year.  In fact, I have even more books thanks to the Boyfriend, gift cards, and winning giveaways.

#ShelfLove – Organizing the Shelves


This month, those of us participating in the #ShelfLove No Book Buying Challenge are discussing how we organize our books.

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Dresden likes to keep one of his toy mice on top of the boxes for safe keeping.

I have too many books to keep in the apartment I share with the Boyfriend.  Because both of us have large personal libraries, but only so many walls to place bookshelves against, most of my books are in boxes in storage.  Only two of my book boxes are in the apartment instead of my storage unit.  They hold my Harry Potter books as well as all my books from Anne Rice’s “Vampire Chronicles” and the “Lives of the Mayfair Witches.”  Since I’m re-reading all those, I decided to keep them at home rather than having to go to my storage unit every time I finish one of the books.  There are several other books in the boxes as well, but I simply don’t have space on my shelves.

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My overcrowded bookcase.


With a few exceptions, all the books on my shelves are books I’ve never read.  Also, I have them organized by height and from hardcover to mass market paperback.  The disadvantage to organizing them that way is that, whenever I get a new book, I have to rearrange the shelves.  You might think I would also have the problem of finding specific titles, but there is a large part of my brain dedicated to the books I have and where they are at any given time.

Even though we have four floor-to-ceiling bookcases, I only have the use of one of them.  That might seem unfair, but they’re his bookcases, and he made room for me when I moved in with him.  However, my books were creeping into other parts of the apartment, such as the table and floor next to my desk, which was in the living room until a couple of weeks ago.  Now that Summer is over, and Texas finally got the memo, I’ve moved my “office” into the dining room (the air conditioning never quite makes it there).  We aren’t planning on renewing our lease, so I decided to take over the room until we move into a place with three bedrooms.  I also have a shelf that contains all my French books, and I’ve loaned him several of my books so I can keep them on one of his shelves instead of mine.  Clever, huh? 😉

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One of the Boyfriend’s bookcases post-organization. Can you tell he likes ducks?

After our trial period of living under the same roof assured us that we could share living space without committing double homicide, I convinced him to let me organize his books.  The closest he got to being organized was having all of his Jim Butcher books on one shelf.  He culled books to go to the used bookstore while I began grouping the ones he decided to keep into genres, more or less.  I also kept any series together and in order, and then I organized by height whenever possible.  Since we’re both writers with decent sized collections of reference books, we decided to combine them on one shelf with a bookend in between.  We’re just not at the point in our relationship where we feel comfortable completely integrating our libraries.  Right now, it’s enough to know that we have similar tastes and many of the same books in our separate collections.


#ShelfLove: The Perils of Book Hoarding


This month, those of us participating in the #ShelfLove No Book Buying Challenge are discussing the pros and cons of owning a significant number of books.  For myself, I’ve only seen having a large personal library as positive, with one exception: moving.  I’ve been packing and unpacking my belongings throughout my entire life, and I don’t even know the number of times I’ve moved.  I’m uncomfortably familiar with the general workings of Uhaul rentals and storage units across the country and during one move I managed to double the weight of my poor Nissan.  I’ve also hurt my back a countless number of times from overfilling boxes with my book collection.

You would think I would have learned by now and tossed the majority of my Smaug worthy hoard.  Think again.  Despite my efforts to pare down the number of books I own, my library has only expanded in size.  Thanks to ebooks, and the No Book Buying Challenge, that’s no longer happening exponentially, but it’s still happening.  I have bought with gift cards or received as gifts, more physical books than I’ve read this year.  The books I have at my apartment are double stacked on the shelves, I have several more boxes in storage, and the Boyfriend and I are planning to move next year.

The boxes of books are the ones I hope always to own.  The ones at home are mostly books I’ve never read; which has led me to think that perhaps there is another con to book hoarding.  I’m not getting any younger and tomorrow is never a guarantee.  Either I need to make peace with the idea of never reading many of those books, or I need to make a decision.  Do I cull my collection (again) or develop the discipline to choose a book I own instead of a library book or one borrowed from the Boyfriend’s shelves? I think I’ll just throw my hands up in the air in frustration when I move again, just like I’ve done every move before *sigh*

#ShelfLove: The Best Bookish Gifts


This month, the hosts of the #ShelfLove No Book Buying Challenge want us to share the best bookish gifts we’ve given or received.  While I was thinking about the various gifts I’ve gotten over the years, I realized that, with the exception of bookstore gift cards, my family doesn’t get me bookish gifts.  The Boyfriend and his family?  They’re considerably more thoughtful when it comes to gift giving.  It’s not that I don’t appreciate bookstore gift cards.  Oh, trust me, I do. The one my Mom got me for Christmas allowed me to get The Outlandish Companion, Vol. 1 by Diana Gabaldon (and several ebooks) without going against the No Book Buying Challenge.  However, gift cards don’t require much thought.

In the almost two years the Boyfriend and I have been together (our anniversary is next month! <3), I’ve received the following thoughtful and bookish gifts from him and his family:

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This was half of my gift for our first anniversary.

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This is the second half of my anniversary gift.  Though it’s not technically bookish, it replaced a computer chair that my best friend gave me, which was by that time completely worn out and beginning to cause me quite a bit of back pain.  There’s no way I would be able to get everything done for this blog and my college classes every day without this chair.

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These are some of the stocking stuffer gifts that the Boyfriend’s Mom put in my Christmas stocking.

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This is a metal Celtic bookmark that Pete, the Boyfriend’s Mom’s husband, gave me for Christmas.  Though he didn’t know it at the time, I had been eyeing bookmarks like this for awhile, but wouldn’t buy one because they cost about as much as a paperback.  He said he got it because every time he saw me, I was always reading.

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Probably the best bookish gift I’ve ever gotten from anyone is my Kindle, which the Boyfriend got me for Christmas.  He also got me the USB power adapter, and that was the first gift from him that I opened.  You’ve never seen a girl get excited over an adapter unless you saw me when I realized it meant the other box was a Kindle.

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The second best bookish gift is this Kindle cover, which anyone who loves Doctor Who will recognize as River Song’s journal.  I have the Best.Boyfriend.Ever.2015-08-13 01.16.23

For my Birthday last year, the Boyfriend got me these beautiful editions of Grimm’s Fairy Tales and The Arabian Nights.  He got me several other books as well, but these are special for two reasons.  One, he knows I love fairy tales, and two, I rarely ever buy myself hardcover editions despite having to stop myself from drooling over how substantial and permanent they look on the shelf.  Hardcovers say, “Here’s a private book collection to be passed down to future generations.”  My budget says, “That’s at least FIVE mass market paperbacks from the used bookstore.”

Though I haven’t pictured it here, one very thoughtful gift my Dad gave me for no other reason than he knows how much I love to read, but don’t have the money to buy books.  It’s a disc full of free ebooks.  I don’t count them in my TBR because there are too many books for me to read in a lifetime.  There are also a lot of genre books on the disc that I know I’ll never read.  However, I’ve discovered quite a few books on there that are great and I likely wouldn’t have found otherwise.

My BFF and I have gotten into the habit of gifting each other with books ever since she got in a scarily bad accident and was in the hospital with far too much time on her hands.  I immediately bought a tote bag full of books to keep her mind busy and got her hooked on a new series in the process.  Now she and her husband keep an ear open to the books I wish I could buy and get them for me for Birthdays and Christmases.  The most recent one was Seraphina by Rachel Hartman.  Somehow they managed to pick up a copy right in front of me without my seeing and then gave it to me when we were out of the store.  I’m pretty sure they’re secretly ninjas.

#ShelfLove: Update and My Fave Book So Far


I finally got around to scanning all of my physical TBR books into Goodreads late Friday night, and I spent most of Saturday putting together a master list of all of my unread books in every format.  I discovered that I have a whole lot more ebooks than I thought.  It turns out I have over 300 of them.  Combined with my physical books, I have over 400 books I’ve never read!  It’s going to take me a long time to read all those books.  I’m now in the process of making a couple TBR jars so that I have a constant reminder of just how many books I already have to choose from when I’m looking for something “new”.

“Somewhere in this process you will come face-to-face with the sudden and shocking realization that you are completely crazy.  Your mind is a shrieking gibbering madhouse on wheels barreling pell-mell down the hill utterly out of control and hopeless.  No problem.  You are not crazier than you were yesterday.  It has always been this way and you just never noticed.  You are also no crazier than everybody else around you.  The only real difference is that you have confronted the situation they have not.” ― Henepola Gunaratana

Now that I know my TBR pile is more of a small library than anything else, I’m even more likely to stick to my goal of not buying any books this year.  The exception to that is The Outlandish Companion, Vol. 2 by Diana Gabaldon.  I haven’t taken any more books to the used bookstore, so I’ve still only got $21.67 saved up towards buying it.  However, my box of books is nearly full, so I’m sure I’ll have enough money to order it by next month.

Speaking of “Outlander,” is it any surprise that my favorite qualifying #ShelfLove book so far this year is The Fiery Cross?  Click on the title to read my mini-review.  Also, let me know your favorite book (or books) of the year so far in the comments.  If you have a review of it, leave the link, and if I already own that book, I’ll move it up on my list of books to read sooner rather than later.

#ShelfLove: Mid-Year Check-In


Six months down, six more to go for the #ShelfLove No Book Buying Challenge, and I swear I haven’t gone insane….yet.  Actually, these first six months have been easy for me; at least until the Spring semester ended, and I was no longer getting a paperback of my choice from the Boyfriend every week.

As many of you know, the Boyfriend made a deal with me that I would get a new book every week I completed all of my assigned writing.  It was a way to both motivate me and keep me from having a nervous breakdown, and it worked.  I didn’t realize just how much those weekly trips to the bookstore had helped me until they were gone.  A trip to the library resulted in me lugging home seven books, which helped.  However, the problem is that I tend to pick books that I then want to buy, so my wishlist is only growing.

I also realized that I truly do have a book buying habit.  I’d call it an addiction, but so far I haven’t spent any money on books to get that “fix”.  However, I’ve used all my gift cards, I choose the slowest shipping option when I buy anything on Amazon to get the $1 credits, and I frequently “1-click” free ebooks.  I also compiled a huge list of sites for free books.  Because of this, my digital library has expanded exponentially, and I’ve listened to quite a few audiobooks, all for the low, low price of free.  I’m ok with that though since those books aren’t taking up space on my shelves or in my storage unit.

Speaking of my physical books, I removed an entire box worth of books from my life and sent them to the used bookstore.  I’m trying to earn the money to buy The Outlandish Companion, Vol. 2 by Diana Gabaldon.  I got $21.67, and I’m putting together another box from books that have been sitting in storage for years, thanks to moving at least once a year and living in increasingly smaller apartments or overseas.  My apartment is bigger now, but I’m sharing it with the Boyfriend and both of us have the problem of not having enough shelving or the wall space to add more.  If it were just me, I’d get rid of the couch and replace it with two shelves, but that’s not the case, and it’s not my couch.  So, instead, I’m participating in this challenge.

So far, I plan on participating again next year, but I already know I’ll do things a bit differently.  I’ll have graduated from college and should have a decent paying adult job by then.  So, I’ll set some goals for myself to “earn” money, including activities such as finishing physical books and exercising.  Until then, I’m going to continue doing what I’ve been doing and hopefully won’t end up in a straight jacket.

#ShelfLove: Pretty Please?!

showyourshelves_zps8f6e8b06-png320x480For May, those of us participating in the #ShelfLove No Book Buying Challenge are supposed to give our best “sales pitch” for why we should be allowed to buy a certain book.  So, just this once, I’m amending my decision to not buy any books this year, with the exception of using gift cards, IF I convince you, dear readers, to give me permission.  There’s a poll at the end of this post where you will have the chance to tell me “aye” or “nay”.

The book:  The Outlandish Companion, Vol. 2 by Diana Gabaldon

Outlandish 2

Why I want to buy this book:

  1. I’m obsessed with Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series (Jamie and Claire are my OTP.)
  2. I’m obsessed with all things Scottish (Except whiskey.  I’m a rum girl.)
  3. I already have Volume 1.
  4. It would help me in completing my Outlander collection.

Why I should be allowed to buy this book:

  1. It would help complete my collection.
  2. It doesn’t come out until October of this year, so it’s a present that I can look forward to getting.
  3. I will be using the money I get from my box of books that I will be taking to the used book store (My original plan was to take the box in at the end of the year for next year’s book budget).  Since this is a brand new hardcover book, that means I’ll have to fill the box, and then some, to have enough money.  In other words, I’ll be clearing off shelf space (the whole purpose of the #ShelfLove challenge) in order to buy it.  The last I checked, it was just over $28 as a pre-order.

The poll closes a week from now, and I’ll post the results in the next “Monday’s Minutes”.

#ShelfLove No Book Buying Challenge: Avoiding Relapse

showyourshelves_zps8f6e8b06-png320x480This month’s #ShelfLove topic is all about how well we’re sticking to our goals and what we’re doing to refrain from caving to the temptation of buying books.

Honestly, I feel like I’ve got it pretty easy so far.  The Boyfriend has been buying me one book of my choice, as long as it’s not a full-priced hardcover or new release, every week that I get all of that week’s writing finished for my research papers.  Not only is the agreement motivational, but it’s keeping me sane.  It’s also making this No Book Buying Challenge a breeze.  So, check back with me around mid-May, when I’m not getting a book every week.

Besides the Boyfriend’s amazing gift of books, I’ve been making do with the books I already own but have never read, as well as the books I get through Netgalley, and I just recently used up the last of my gift cards.  I’ve also done quite a bit of “buying” and downloading of free books offered around through so many different websites besides the major book sellers, and checking out the occasional book that grabs my attention from the library.  Other than that, I don’t have any special strategy, which is why I’m a little worried about what I’m going to do when the semester is over and the Boyfriend is no longer enabling my habit.

The problem is that I’m addicted to bookstores, and not just to books.  Bookstores, with their mostly quiet and peaceful atmospheres and organized shelves, calm me down, but I have difficulty leaving them without buying at least one book.  Even when I lived in South Korea, I would find something to read in the smallest of sections dedicated to books in English.  It doesn’t matter if I’m also buying a magazine or something to eat or drink from the store’s cafe, I will come across a book that will call out to me and beg me to take it home.  After this semester is over, if I want to make it through this challenge, I will have to stay away from bookstores, unless I have adult supervision.  I have no idea how that will affect my mental health, but I plan on trying to mitigate any craziness by making frequent trips to the library, since it has a similar calming effect.