#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.

[polldaddy poll=8835124]

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.


#ShelfLove: Free Books!


This month’s #ShelfLove No Book Buying Challenge discussion topic is all about where we get our free books.  We might have stopped buying books, but we still need that “hit” we get from acquiring new books, right?!  Sure, you could search for free books on Barnes & Noble or Amazon, but more often than not, you’re going to come across books that aren’t free that you’ll wish you could buy.  Like window shopping when you’re flat broke, it sucks, and will wear down your willpower until you’re at the bottom of a pint of Ben & Jerry’s (studies show that being bombarded with ads and enticing store fronts leads to increased calorie consumption.)  Instead of breaking your book buying ban or eating half a pizza, check out the links to all the wonderful sites on the internet offering free books that I’ve discovered over the years.  If this lengthy list doesn’t keep you neck-deep in books, figuratively speaking, then I don’t know what will!

  • ManyBooks.net – This is a searchable site to find and download free books, from every genre, in your prefered format.  At the time I wrote this post, there were over 200 free Fantasy books being offered!
  • Podiobooks –   Until very recently, I had no idea podiobooks existed.  I subscribe to a couple podcasts that are short stories, so I got a bit excited when I found out there are whole books in podcast format, and they’re FREE!
  • 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.
  • Online Books Page – Another website to find the Classics.  There’s some overlap with Project Gutenberg.
  • 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 awhile.
  • 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 1940’s and 50’s, 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.

#ShelfLove No Book Buying Challenge: Finances



It’s February, which means those of us participating in the No Book Buying Challenge are supposed to share their book budgets, or what the money saved from not buying books will be spent on.  As you all know, my goal for this challenge is not to spend any money at all for the entire year, but gift cards and free books don’t count.

I got $75 in gift cards for Christmas and my Birthday this year.  I’m also earning gift cards by using a few different online rewards programs.  On top of that, the Boyfriend made an agreement with me that for every week I get at least 2 pages written for each 20 page research paper I have to write for my classes this semester, along with whatever other papers I have due, he will buy me one book of my choosing, as long as it’s not a hardcover.  His reasoning for this agreement is partly motivational, but also because going to the bookstore and seeing all those organized shelves of books is relaxing for me, and he wants me to keep my sanity throughout the insanity of this semester.  That’s what I call love <3

I’ve spent most of the money on my gift cards, but I’m saving the rest for the new edition of The Outlandish Companion by Diana Gabaldon that comes out in March.  I’m close to earning my 1st $5 Amazon gift card through one of the rewards programs, and I’ve also downloaded several free ebooks that I’ve come across.  I’ve earned 2 books so far from the agreement with the Boyfriend.  So, overall, I’m not feeling at all deprived for books.  However, I do have to repeatedly tell myself when I’m at the bookstore that I don’t have to buy every book on my wishlist right now because they’ll still be there when I’ve earned them.  I don’t know where that sense of urgency comes from, but I do know that my self-discipline and willpower are growing 🙂  I’ve read 5 books off of my TBR shelves towards my goal of 50, which means that if I’m able to keep that up, I’ll have met my goal by November.

I don’t have any plans for the money I’m saving from not buying books, but I will be taking the books I’ve read and decided not to keep to Half Price Books at the end of the year.  The money I get will go towards my book budget for 2016.  By then, I should have my degree and hopefully an adult job, but I want to continue spending as little or no money on books until I’ve got free space on my shelves.