First Charity of 2019 is…

I told y’all my intention is to donate to different non-profit organizations each month with the goal of donating $1000 for the calendar year. I’ve selected my first one. The Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation.

Their primary focus is to have Houston area children reading at grade level by third grade. They’ve created an online tool that enables anyone to find literacy-related volunteer opportunities in their area. And my favorite of all, children can create a wish list of books they want and the organization will work to fulfill the wish list by working with partners and donors.

They have a high rating on both Charity Navigator and Guidestar.

Very happy to support an organization tackling literacy in my city and will use their online tool to volunteer later this year!

Broken Promise, But Not Really

I haven’t made a goal of not buying any new books in 2019. Which means I’m almost certainly going to buy some. I have a disease. 😂

Besides my favorite authors and series, whenever I enjoy an adaptation before reading the book I always want to go back and read it. Every single time. I know I’m not the only one, and don’t yell at me for not reading the book first to begin with. Sometimes we don’t even know there’s a book until afterward.

Recently I’ve watched two adaptations I really enjoyed. One was a movie and one was a series. Now I want both books. But I’m stingy. I never pay regular price and prefer to have Half Price coupons when I go. They only come out four times a year. Hmm.

Do you always read the book first when there’s an adaptation out or on the way?

How Many of 2018’s Bestselling Books Did You Read?

I told y’all I bought a grand total of one book last year. So I’ll be the first to answer my own question. Uno! Only because it was an old one that wasn’t a new release.

But I was curious to know which books made it among the bestselling.

Even before looking up the list I already knew Michelle Obama far outpaced everyone else, but those other political books making this list were a bit surprising. Although when I really think about it, it isn’t surprising at all.

If I recall, book sales were up in 2018 over 2017. With that in mind I was also expecting just a few more titles over the 1 million mark. But let’s be honest, a million books is A LOT of books. So maybe I’m just silly.

How many of the bestselling books of 2018 have you read? (The list isn’t mine, so if you find a different one with different rankings, okay by me).

Why, Marie Kondo, Why?

If you spend any time browsing Netflix, then you’ve seen that Marie Kondo has a new show that recently debuted. I can probably use some help tidying up, but I have no interest in the show.

But when you follow literary accounts on Twitter it’s hard to not hear about book-related “controversies”. Apparently she’s advising people to throw out their books and the internet of readers is having none of it.

I live in a small apartment by myself. And I’ll most likely have to get two new bookshelves this year. It hasn’t once crossed my mind that instead of new bookshelves I should just rid myself of my books. I just…can’t. Even though I’m not exactly sure where I’ll put the new ones when I have them.

But maybe I’m crazy.

Travel…Books?

I learned yesterday that I have about a month and a half of paid time off in 2019. Since I only work weekdays, that actually comes out to 6 9-day trips if I want it to. And oh boy, I think I do.

I’ve never read a travel book. I can think of a few super crazy popular ones off the top of my head. But now I’m curious. Are they any good? Honestly, I almost think a travel IG account would be more interesting than a book. Not those accounts with attractive people that get thousands of likes and followers because people find them attractive. But more of the regular person who gets to travel around and documents those activities through photos.

But back to books. Have you read any travel books? Secondly, have you read one before/after a trip and thought it would have created and better experience?

So It Begins

I started reading my first book of the new year last night. I know what it takes to reach my goal. I just have to actually do it.

A few years ago in the midst of my busiest semester in college I came closest to hitting my annual target of 50 books. I read 44 even though I had several calendar months of no reading at all.

I know the simplest way to look at a 50 book goal is essentially to read a book a week for the duration of the year. That’s the easy way, but unrealistic for me. No matter how much I read, I know there are going to be blank periods. It’s just how I am. My focus is to read as much as I can during my active periods because a down one is around the corner.

What’s your reading goal for this year and is it the same every year?

Bad Reviews Not Allowed?

I came across something on Twitter recently. A prominent author said that if you are going to tweet something negative about an author’s work, do not @ them. I thought this was a bit silly, but I know for any celebrity any thread can turn into absurdity really fast, and ultimately have nothing to do with the work. So, okay.

But then the author referenced negative reviews in general. She said negative reviews should never be written unless the work is causing real harm. And many prominent authors and critics were in agreement.

I find this troubling. We criticize the work of politicians. We criticize the work of artists. We criticize the work of athletes. We criticize the work of everyday people we work with. As humans we criticize EVERYTHING. Is the criticism always fair? No. But how does it make sense to say negative book reviews should never be written?

I understand if she’s saying as a prominent author, she won’t write something negative about another book because of her status in the publishing world. But I vehemently disagree with the notion that no one should write negative book reviews.

There are people who have very little disposable income who love books. And I know many of them use reviews to determine what to spend their money on. If we live in a world full of 5 star reviews, then there’s no point in writing reviews at all.

I still have my booktube channel, though I haven’t posted in a really long time, and I’ve been completely honest when discussing books I’ve enjoyed and books I’ve hated. Why in the world would an author encourage anything different?

I don’t understand the logic and I will continue to be honest about what I read.

Is It Really All About Money?

I’ve read this week about two lawsuits currently pending. They both concern the work of authors who have died. And in both cases it’s one part of the family suing another part.

One of the lawsuits concerns the work of John Steinbeck. The other is about Tom Clancy.

What happened to preserving the legacy of authors once they die? So many times lawsuits are filed almost immediately upon the death of an author. I guess this is no different from other types of celebrities who leave their families to fight over large estates. But it’s still a bit disappointing.

I think Robert B. Parker did it best. He left his series in the hands of other authors he knew. Though I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to read a Spenser or Jesse Stone novel written by another author, at least there was no fight when Parker died unexpectedly.

Do you think it immediately becomes all about the money involved once an author dies?

Thirteen Reasons Why: A Comparison

Earlier this year I happened upon the adaptation of this book on Netflix. I was just minding my business scrolling through the menu and happened to see it as a new release. I knew nothing about it. But I recall it being an early Saturday afternoon and I was doing nothing. One episode wouldn’t hurt. I watched. Again. Again. And again. Until I’d managed to get through the entire season the following evening.

Soon thereafter I bought the book. I made it halfway through and then simply stopped. It wasn’t because I was not interested or it was poorly written, I just have these periods almost every year.

I finished it last night.

I’d rate the show as five stars. I know some call it controversial, but I’m not part of that faction. I’m of the opinion that we need to have a conversation about the topics discussed in the book. All of them. But we aren’t. Not until it’s too late and tragedy has struck. The show began one of those conversations.

But this is one of those extremely rare cases in which the adaptation is better than the original. At least in my opinion. Clay Jenson comes off as accusatory throughout the book. He almost appears to blame Hannah for everything that’s led her to make her final choice. The book also focuses entirely on Clay’s perspective, whereas I think the show gives a bit more from the other involved characters.

I won’t get into every single detail in the book I had an issue with. I still rated it three stars. The show showed us the anguish and isolation Hannah experienced. The book struggled to do the same.

The (Un)Importance of Books

Oh boy.

I love books. I love reading. Y’all know this. But I’m realizing that they’re really taking a backseat. And I’m okay with that.

I just recently hit six months with my employer. I love this company and the opportunity I have. The people are great and the atmosphere could not be more conducive to growth.

I’m completely focused on my career. For the first time I’m really looking ahead. I’m not worried about where my paycheck is coming from. I’m not worried about having to look for work. I’m focused on what I can do to reach where I want to reach.

I know some would say I can still make time for reading. 45 hours a week in the office. An additional 2 hours a day commuting. Sleep. My off days are not back to back. Gym. Girlfriend. All of that leaves little time to sit back and read. And that’s okay. Also, moving in two months. So there’s that, as well.