using kindle samples to test my tbr, part one

This post is inspired by my try a chapter posts, as well as by Inge – who is a wonderful human being and part of the Of Wonderland team. The past few years, I’ve created a habit of buying books on my Kindle because they are cheap and never actually reading them. There are now quite a few unread ebooks on there, and it’s stressing me out. Then, a few months ago in our Twitter group chat, Inge mentioned that she’d be downloading a Kindle sample of a book she was interested in.

It blew my mind. How had I completely forgotten about the existence of Kindle samples? It would save me so much money and stress if I learned to try out a sample before buying anything. That brings me to today’s post.

I have downloaded Kindle samples of every book that is on my to-read or interested-in-reading list. The only ones that I did not consider for this test are sequels to books I love, novels that haven’t been released yet, and ones that are unavailable on Kindle. Today, I’m going to pick 5 random books off this list, read the samples, and decide whether it’s a book I want to buy or whether it’s one to remove off the TBR.

If this works out the way I want it to, the Kindle samples test should a) lower my TBR, b) save me money, and c) help me make smarter purchases.

madness in civilization: the cultural history of insanity

madness in civilization

Through twelve chapters organized chronologically, from antiquity to today, from the Bible to Freud, from exorcism to mesmerism, from Bedlam to Victorian asylums, from the theory of humours to modern pharmacology, Andrew Scull writes compellingly of the manifestations of madness, its meanings, its consequences and our attempts to treat it.

my thoughts on the sample

While this was a very interesting introduction to the book, I don’t think I will purchase it at the moment. It is a nonfiction book I would want to pick up at some point in time, but I don’t see myself getting to it in the coming year or two. Therefore, it shouldn’t be added to my shelf just yet. I’ll leave it on my to-read shelf on Goodreads, but I’ll mark it as a not-to-buy in my Google Sheet.

darius the great is not okay

darius the great is not okayDarius Kellner speaks better Klingon than Farsi, and he knows more about Hobbit social cues than Persian ones. He’s about to take his first-ever trip to Iran, and it’s pretty overwhelming–especially when he’s also dealing with clinical depression, a disapproving dad, and a chronically anemic social life. 

my thoughts on the sample

Darius the Great Is Not Okay is going on my to-buy list immediately. I’m not sure yet whether I’ll buy a hard copy of this book or listen to the audiobook instead, but I’m going to pick this up and read it this year. In the short amount of the novel I read, there were a lot of mentions of tea and Lord of the Rings, which makes it sound like the perfect book for me. I feel like Darius’ voice is one I’ll really enjoy reading from, and I do love family-oriented novels.

one word kill

one word killIn January 1986, fifteen-year-old boy-genius Nick Hayes discovers he’s dying. And it isn’t even the strangest thing to happen to him that week.

my thoughts on the sample

The sample was definitely not what I expected, but I find myself intrigued nonetheless. I don’t actually know all that much about One Word Kill, other than it being a science fiction novel written by Mark Lawrence, and that the entire trilogy will be released in 2019. I’m pretty sure the first book and sequel were released within a month of one another? Anyway, from the sample I now that it’s 1986 and Nick has just been diagnosed with leukemia. The science fiction elements haven’t come into play yet, so this could have been the introduction of a contemporary novel if I hadn’t known better. I’m adding this to the to-buy list because I think it’s fascinating to have a main character who is suffering from cancer and is the hero (I presume) of a science fiction story at the same time.

dracul

draculThe prequel to Dracula, inspired by notes and texts left behind by the author of the classic novel, Dracul is a supernatural thriller that reveals not only Dracula’s true origins but Bram Stoker’s–and the tale of the enigmatic woman who connects them.

my thoughts on the sample

I’m not sure what I was expecting from Dracul, but I hoped it would be spooky, atmospheric, and mysterious. The sample was none of that. In all honesty, it was quite boring. It’s about Bram Stoker’s life, and the first few chapters or so talk about him as a sickly child. No one knows what ailed him, and the disease disappeared at a certain point in his life. His nanny took care of him as a sick child, and there was this pattern where he would get better and she would be sick for two days, then he would get worse again. I honestly don’t really care, and I think this isn’t a book for me. I won’t be buying this one.

the color of our sky

the color of our skyA sweeping, emotional journey of two childhood friends—one struggling to survive the human slave trade and the other on a mission to save her—two girls whose lives converge only to change one fateful night in 1993.

my thoughts on the sample

This was so beautiful! I wish I could keep reading, to be honest. I think this is a novel that’ll end up making me cry… I’m definitely going to buy a copy of The Color of Our Sky. Probably a paperback too, because I feel like I’ll want to annotate this book as I read it. I can just tell there will be tons of quotes and passages I’ll want to highlight. Ones that moved me, others that sparked a discussion within me. I’m so glad I’m doing this experiment, because this novel is one I’d kind of forgotten about after adding it to my to-read shelf on Goodreads. Now, it’s going on the priority to-buy list.

Have you read any of these books? Do you use Kindle samples?

try a chapter part 2 (more books to unhaul?)

3 weeks ago, I did a ‘try a chapter’ post in which I read the first chapter of 5 books and then decided whether to keep the book or to unhaul it. I had originally picked 10 books off my shelves for this post, but kept it down to 5 in my original post because I didn’t want it to be too long. Today, I’m back with part 2! Let’s see whether I’ll keep any of these, shall we?

 the gunslinger

the gunslinger

In the first book of this brilliant series, Stephen King introduces readers to one of his most enigmatic heroes, Roland of Gilead, The Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting figure, a loner on a spellbinding journey into good and evil. 

my thoughts on the first chapter

I finished reading this chapter, and have honestly no idea what on Earth I just read. My brain did not retain anything other than the word ‘ideograph’ being mentioned 2 times in one chapter, as well as ideogram. Had no idea what that meant, and had to look it up, which is why I remembered. King fans, please don’t kill me. I’m getting rid of this… Sometimes,  you don’t get along with the writing style of a novel, and this is one of those times. Another (minor) gripe is that his chapters never start on a new page. I don’t know why that bothers me so much, but it does.

the dinner

the dinnerA summer’s evening in Amsterdam and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant. Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. Together, the boys have committed a horrifying act, caught on camera, and their grainy images have been beamed into living rooms across the nation; despite a police manhunt, the boys remain unidentified – by everyone except their parents.

my thoughts on the first chapter

I’m not sure how I feel about this book yet. I think I might get rid of it, and try reading it in the original language later. My library does have a copy of the Dutch version, so I could do that for free. I want to know whether the ‘odd’ writing style is due to the translation or whether it’s the author himself. I do want to know what the boys did, even if I already dislike the main male character (the father of one of the two boys).

the keeper of lost causes

the keeper of lost causesCarl Mørck used to be one of Copenhagen’s best homicide detectives. Then a hail of bullets destroyed the lives of two fellow cops, and Carl—who didn’t draw his weapon—blames himself. So a promotion is the last thing he expects. But Department Q is a department of one, and Carl’s got only a stack of Copenhagen’s coldest cases for company.

my thoughts on the first chapter

I read the prologue and first chapter of The Keeper of Lost Causes, as I thought it only fair. I would never skip a prologue when starting a novel either. Both were quite captivating, which makes for an easy decision. I’m definitely keeping this book. I want to know what happened in the murder case that got his colleagues shot, and I need to find out what happened to the liberal politician who disappeared. She seems like a fighter.

lock in

lock inFifteen years from now, a new virus sweeps the globe. 95% of those afflicted experience nothing worse than fever and headaches. 4% suffer acute meningitis, creating the largest medical crisis in history. And 1% find themselves ‘locked in’ – fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. A few rare individuals have brains that are receptive to being controlled by others, allowing those who are locked in to occasionally ‘ride’ these people and use their bodies as if they were their own.

my thoughts on the first chapter

While the premise of this book does sound interesting, I can’t seem to connect to the book itself. I bought Locked In a few years ago, and read about 80 pages at the time. I don’t remember any of it at this point in time, which made it a perfect book for the try a chapter post. After reading the first chapter again, I think I’m just going to unhaul it. Despite the intriguing synopsis, I’m not very interested in actually reading this.

the lake house (aan de rand van het meer)

aan de rand van het meer

A missing child, an abandoned house, an unsolved mystery. Living on her family’s idyllic lakeside estate in Cornwall, England, Alice Edevane is a bright, inquisitive, innocent, and precociously talented sixteen-year-old who loves to write stories. But the mysteries she pens are no match for the one her family is about to endure.

my thoughts on the first chapter

I bought the Dutch translation of The Lake House at a garage sale, but haven’t picked it up yet. It’s quite an intimidating book, because it’s around 500 pages and has the tiniest font ever. After reading the first chapter, I’m still not quite sure what to do with it. It was fascinating, and it does sound like a story I would enjoy reading. However, I’m quite intimidated by the size of this novel and the genre being somewhat out of my comfort zone. Is that really a reason to get rid of it, though? I’m keeping it for now, but may revise my opinion later…

Have you read any of these books? 

try a chapter part 1 (in which I try to decide whether to keep these books)

I’ve seen a few videos recently in which people read the first chapter of a book to decide whether they’ll keep the novel on their TBR shelves or whether they’ll donate it instead. There are a few books on my shelves I bought because they were cheap or on sale, ones I’m not sure I’ll ever get to. So I decided to do a “try a chapter” post myself!

As I don’t want to make this post incredibly long, I’ll split it up. I have 10 books to reach a verdict on with me, so they’ll probably fit nicely in two posts. Let’s get started!

the boy with the porcelain blade

the boy with the porcelain blade

“The first in an ornate yet dark debut fantasy series, set in an original and beautifully imagined world, and populated by unforgettable characters.”

my thoughts on the first chapter

I was a bit terrified the first chapter wouldn’t be very telling, as this is a fantasy series. Fantasy novels often require a fair amount of chapters of set-up so the reader can get used to the entirely new world they’ve just been dropped in.

However, the first chapter of the boy with the porcelain blade was quite interesting. From what I can gather, this is an Italian-inspired fantasy novel about a boy called Lucien. He’s one of the Orfano, who are all marked. Lucien has entirely black nails. The first chapter is him mentally preparing for a Test, which I presume is swordfighting or fencing? Either way, I’m into it. Definitely keeping this one!

riders

riders“Nothing but death can keep eighteen-year-old Gideon Blake from achieving his goal of becoming a U.S. Army Ranger. As it turns out, it does.”

my thoughts on the first chapter

When I started this, I was fairly sure I would unhaul it after finishing the first chapter. I bought a translated copy of Riders a while ago in a sale, and hadn’t picked it up yet. I so rarely read books in Dutch anymore, and it’s clearly going to take a while to get used to. I think I’ll write a post in the future on why I seldomly read in my first language. 

At first, the fact that it was translated took me out of the story. However, by the end I was intrigued enough to want to continue. Surprisingly, I’m deciding to keep this book! Reading the first chapter made me more excited about picking this novel up than I’ve been since buying it.

the graces

de graces

Everyone said the Graces were witches. They moved through the corridors like sleek fish, ripples in their wake. Stares followed their backs and their hair. They had friends, but they were just distractions. They were waiting for someone different. All I had to do was show them that person was me.

my thoughts on the first chapter

I can already tell from the very short first chapter that I will get rid of this.

It literally had an I’m-not-like-other-girls moment, and the female main character spent multiple paragraphs demeaning other girls. Might it be that this is related to the plot, or that she grows to be better? Sure. Still not interested in reading it, though. The first book of this experiment to be added to my unhaul pile! It had to happen at some point, I guess. 

the king’s last song

the king's last song“In the shadow of Angkor Wat archaeologists make an astonishing discovery: the memoir of Cambodia’s greatest king, preserved on leaves of gold for centuries. When the treasure is stolen, two ordinary Cambodians, a young moto-boy and a middle-aged ex-Khmer Rouge, join forces to recover it.”

my thoughts on the first chapter

Honestly, I couldn’t even finish the first chapter of this book. I picked it up during a library sale 3 or 4 years ago, which I apparently shouldn’t have. 

I do not get along with the writing style of this book. It was so hard to concentrate on, and felt so unnatural to me. I don’t even know how to explain why I dislike it so much! Sometimes, you come across an author whose works simply aren’t for you. Geoff Ryman is one of those for me. Added to the unhaul pile.

altar of bones

altar of bones“From the frozen wastelands of Russia, to the winding maze of Paris’s backstreets, from Washington D.C, through America’s mid-west all the way to San Francisco, THE ALTAR OF BONES is a gripping global thriller that spans the generations and unearths the dark secret behind one of the biggest conspiracies of all time.”

my thoughts on the first chapter

Another one I picked up during a book sale and promptly forgot about. After finishing chapter one, I’m absolutely kicking myself for that. I just read the prologue, and was so captivated by the story already!

I actually wanted to keep reading after the prologue, even though I had to a) write this section of the post, and b) go to sleep because I have to go to work tomorrow. I’m definitely going to read this book soon, because it was so compelling. If it wasn’t obvious already, Altar of Bones is going in the ‘keep’ pile!

My first ‘try a chapter’ post ended in me keeping 3 books and unhauling 2. Not bad, right? I’m so happy I decided to do this challenge. Not only does it help me weed out the books I’m not that interested in, it also reignites my excitement for books I had forgotten about.

Have you ever done this challenge? Have you read any of these books?

 

series I don’t plan on finishing

A few weeks ago, I realized I used to write posts on series I don’t want to finish. The last time I posted one of those lists, however, was in September 2016! It’s been more than 2 years since that post, and I definitely have more series to talk about.

As someone who reads a lot of fantasy books, I read a lot of series. I have had to admit to myself that there’s no way I’ll be able to read all the series I’ve started, as well as the ones I want to start in the future. I’ve become more strict with DNFing series. I used to wait before declaring series as a DNF because I couldn’t shake that what-if feeling. What if I ended up loving the next book? I never would have known if I had quit reading the series! I don’t do that anymore.

I don’t have time to waste on books I don’t think I will love. I don’t want to start a book knowing I’ll end up giving it 3 stars because it was just another okay read. All I want in life are spectacular books that blow my mind. So I’ve learned to say goodbye to series I didn’t really love.

Today, I am sharing a few series I have recently decided not to finish. I’ll probably end up writing more of these posts again, as there are plenty of possible picks for them. Don’t kill me if these are some of your favorites…

an ember in the ashes

Read > An Ember in the Ashes
Author > Sabaa Tahir

I read the first book in the series last September, after years of putting it off. There was so much hype surrounding this series before the first book was even released. It scared me because I didn’t want to be let down by the book. In 2018, I decided it was finally time to give the series a go. It is pitched as a young adult fantasy novel set in a Roman Empire-inspired world. I absolutely loved the setting and the brutality of it, but hated that the first book was pretty much 80% “romance”. We’re talking love square here. I just can’t deal with it, and it turned a captivating fantasy novel into a meh book for me.

the wrath and the dawn

Read > The Wrath and the Dawn
Author > Renée Ahdieh

Same story as above, to be honest. I put off reading this duology for years because of the hype. I finally gave it a try a few weeks ago, and was so disappointed. It wasn’t bad at all, just not as good as I was hoping it would be. We went from “he’s a monster who kills a woman every day” to “he’s such a handsome guy and I want to be with him” WAY too fast. As the relationship between the characters bothered me, I couldn’t seem to enjoy the rest of the book either.

the iron druid chronicles

Read > Hounded and Hexed
Author > Kevin Hearne

This series is an entirely different story than the previous two. I actually quite enjoyed the first two books, which you can see in my Goodreads ratings. However, in the second book there was a scene that made me incredibly uncomfortable. After finishing it, I read that there’s quite a lot of sexism throughout the series – and things I even missed in the first two. I just don’t have time for that, to be honest.

southern reach

Read > Annihilation
Author > Jeff Vandermeer

Another series I actually enjoyed! I read the first book years ago and absolutely loved it, even though it was so weird I could barely understand what was happening. I have since watched the movie as well, which I would recommend. I have simply lost interest in finishing the series since then. I’m okay with not having any answers whatsoever, which I never thought I’d say.


I won’t be finishing these 4 series, I’m finally admitting defeat. Have you read any of these? Which series will you probably never finish?

learning to appreciate my local library (+ acquisition requests!)

I’ve had an off-again-on-again relationship with my local library for years now. I was a frequent visitor in high school, and could often be found browsing the shelves. In those days, I primarily read in Dutch, making my library an absolute treasure trove of books. As I got older, I started seeing the merit of reading books in their original language. After all, things do get lost in translation from time to time. I started picking up more books in English, and by the time I started university, it was the sole language I read in.

Unfortunately, that also meant that my library had lost a little bit of its magic for me. It didn’t have much of an English section, which is to be expected from a small(ish) town in Belgium. There wasn’t much that called my name anymore, and I stopped visiting for years. These past 2 years, I’ve started to build my relationship with the library back up again. While I’ve wanted to started reading in my own language again, I haven’t managed to pick up many Dutch books. However, my library has been expanding their English section. It’s still quite small, but has some unexpected gems in it.

I figured that if I never showed my appreciation, and never borrowed the type of books I wanted to read, they’d never know there was any interest in those stories. So I started borrowing more (English) books. From adult mysteries to YA contemporaries and science fiction, I tried it all. When new releases that were hyped up in the bookish community started appearing, I borrowed those too. If they knew there were people out there interested in these books, they might add more of them to the collection.

At the start of the year, I wanted to give the acquisition requests a try. For years, I had seen that button on the home page of the library network, but never given it much thought. Stuck in a rather negative mindset, I was convinced my requests would never get approved anyway. In January, I realized that it couldn’t hurt to try, and set off to requests some books I really wanted to read, but didn’t necessarily want to buy.

To my utter astonishment, most of my requests were approved within a week! A few weeks after I got the approval email, I could pick the books up in the library as they’d been set aside for me. I was ecstatic. In February, I requested another book – and got approved for that one too. In March, the same thing happened.

I’m going to continue to request certain purchases from my library for the rest of the year, and update you on how this went throughout the entirety of 2019. At the moment, I couldn’t be happier. I have some books I’ve wanted to read for ages, and I didn’t have to pay anything for them.

Are you curious to see which books I’ve requested and received? Let’s take a look at them together!

Skyward (Skyward #1) by Brandon Sanderson
While I adore Brandon Sanderson’s writing, I didn’t want to buy a copy of Skyward yet. I’d heard some mixed reviews, even from his fans, which made my wary of spending so much money on it. My library doesn’t have many science fiction or fantasy books in English, so I figured this would be the perfect addition to the collection. I picked it up sometime in February or March, but still haven’t managed to read it.

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1) by Laini Taylor
When I first heard of this book, I thought I would end up buying it immediately. However, on its release date only the hardcover copy was available – which is annoying as it’s both more expensive and less handy to read than a paperback. I waited ages for the paperback release of the beautiful cover, but the urgent need was no longer there. For some reason, I’m terrified I won’t like this which is why I chose to put in an acquisition request. In case I don’t like it – at least I didn’t pay for it.

The Three-Body Problem (Remembrance of Earth’s Past #1) by Cixin Liu
Another book that has been on my to-read list for absolute ages! I think the reason I haven’t bought it myself, is because I’m intimidated. I’m still slightly scared of not understanding science fiction novels, even though I’ve been reading more of them lately. Add that to the fact that it was translated from Chinese, and it makes for an intimidating read. I’m always scared of translations, guys, especially when I am unable to read the original for myself. I have high hopes for this though.

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
After hearing quite a few people go on about The Silence of the Girls, I knew I wanted to read it pretty soon. However, I’ve been trying to buy less new books, and this adult fiction novel isn’t very cheap either. So how could I get my hands on this retelling of the Iliad without spending any money? You guessed it. I asked the library to spend money for me. I immediately read it after picking it up, and have since written a review.

P.S. I feel so accomplished with this acquisition request, because someone already reserved the copy 1 day after I had picked it up. I made a good decision!

The Wicked King (Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black
Late last year I discovered my library had a copy of The Cruel Prince, which was so surprising. I borrowed it, read it, and thought it was okay. Definitely good enough to continue the series, but not captivating enough to want to buy. I figured that if they’d seen the merit in the first book, they might consider getting the sequel too. Like with The Silence of the Girls, I read it immediately after picking it up and have since written a review.

Fire & Blood (A Targaryen History #1) by George R.R. Martin
Listen, Martin’s books are extremely expensive. Adult fantasy novels are very expensive in general! I haven’t read anything by him since the last A Song of Ice and Fire book, which was 8 YEARS AGO. I’m kind of scared this will feel too much like a textbook history on the Targaryens, which is why I didn’t want to buy my own copy yet. It’s been in my possession for a while now, and I’ll probably have to return it soon, but I still haven’t read it. Sorry!

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
Another recent release I wanted to read so badly, but didn’t buy in order to lessen the amount of new books I get. To be honest, this was the most surprising approval of the bunch to me. I never thought they would approve my request and buy it immediately, since it’s a) a very new release, b) expensive, and c) fantasy, a genre my library doesn’t have that much of. I can’t wait to dive into this one soon, and then put it on the shelf for others to discover!


Do you have a local library? If so, what do you think of it? Have you gone through any similar experiences? Let me know if you’ve ever made a library request! Or if you have any recommendations for my next request.

When the hype fails you | books I didn’t end up loving

In the bookish community, we’re well aware of the dangers of the hype train. It’s incredibly exciting to see people anticipate a book’s release, or to hear all your favorite bloggers and vloggers talk about the same book. It peaks your interest in the book too, and might lead to you discovering a new favorite novel. Some of my favorite books are ones I never would have picked up without a little push from the online community.

However, there are downsides to hyped books as well. We’ve all picked up a book everyone raves about, and ended up disappointed because it just didn’t read our high expectations. Can you really blame us for expecting the best, though? When it seems like every person you know has given a certain book a 4- or 5-star rating, you expect to fall in love with it as well. It’s those high expectations that do us in, people. The book might be good, but we were expecting something great.

Today, I’m talking about some books that disappointed me. These may not be bad books, but I just didn’t end up loving them as much as I was hoping or expecting to.

 

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
This is a very recent read for me. I picked it up after seeing it was one of the nominees for the Goodreads Choice Awards in the mystery and thriller category, which is one of the genres I want to read more of. I somehow find it really hard to be truly captivated and thrilled by mystery/thriller books, and this was no exception. It wasn’t necessarily boring, but I was just annoyed with the main character throughout the majority of the book. She kept saying that she needed to prove that she was right, and that she would figure it out on her own, while downing bottles of wine and abusing medication at the same time. “I need to keep a clear mind! This bottle of wine will help.” Yeah, sure.

An Ember in the Ashes (Ember in the Ashes #1) by Sabaa Tahir
An Ember in the Ashes is such a hyped book! I find that YA novels, especially YA fantasy, are very susceptible to the hype train in the online bookish community. When this first released, everyone kept raving about it. They adored the Roman Empire-inspired world, the brutality, and the romance in this novel, and it popped up in quite a few favorite books of the year lists. I finally read it in 2018, and was quite disappointed. I did love the world and the brutality, but was not a fan of the ratio of action and romance. The romance took over here, and I was not on board with it.

 

The Girls by Emma Cline
I think this was a case of misunderstanding what the novel is actually about. When this released, so many people were talking about it. It was a historical fiction about a girl who got involved in a cult – like the Manson family. I’ve always been fascinated by cults (don’t judge me), and that synopsis really sold me on this book. However, I believe this novel is more of a coming-of-age story that involves a cult. The actual Manson family stuff doesn’t come in until 70% of the way through, and I was very uncomfortable with the focus on sex this book had since the main character was only around 14. I understand that may have been (historically) accurate, but it made me uneasy either way.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
For a while in 2017, this book was everywhere. It was one of the most read thrillers, not to mention the amount of times the trailer for the movie was shoved down my throat. I finally decided to read it when I saw a copy at my local library. Wow, am I glad I borrowed it from the library instead of buying it. This book was so utterly boring. Just like The Woman in the Window it features a female protagonist who is only unreliable because she’s an alcoholic.

 

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Classics are probably some of the most hyped books, as generations of people have loved them. I haven’t read many English/American classics because I grew up in Belgium where they obviously aren’t required reading. When I first wanted to give them a try, I figured I’d start with The Great Gatsby. It’s a very short book so I thought it would be a somewhat easy read. Boy, was I wrong. It took me 3 days to read about 140 pages because this book is so utterly boring. Nothing happens! At all.

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
At this point in time, Milk and Honey has received some mixed reviews. When it was first released, however, everyone loved it. I haven’t read much poetry because I always feel like it goes way over my head, but I do want to broaden my reading horizon and include more poetry works in that. Why not start with one of the most popular collections right now? Sadly, this book didn’t work for me. I didn’t connect with the poems, and I guess I’m not a fan of the incredibly short poems that are just one sentence. Nothing against this style of poetry – we all like different things – but I didn’t love it.

 

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Like The Great Gatsby, this book seems to be universally loved. People adore the novel, and they adore the movie adaptation of it. All of the praise it has received made me pick it up and try it for myself. To be honest, I thought this was just okay. I don’t really understand why everyone loves this book so much? If this is one of your favorite books, please message me on Twitter or email me so we can talk about this! I simply don’t understand.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany & Jack Thorne
We’re going out with a banger. Oh, this book… Or should I say, this play? Before everyone comes at me, I know this is a play and that it wasn’t written by J.K. Rowling. I also knew that before starting it. That still doesn’t make this a good book/play. It invalidates so much of the original series out of convenience which is just lazy writing. Don’t even get me started on the obvious queerbaiting in here. I can’t deal with it.


In all these instances, the hype surrounding these books partly caused my disappointment in them. I think that if I hadn’t gone into these with high expectations, I would have enjoyed them more – aside from The Cursed Child. Have you read any of these books? Which books were negatively impacted by the hype for you? How can be battle the hype? Waiting for years to read the book clearly didn’t help me either, because that’s what I did with An Ember in the Ashes… I could use your tips!

2019 reading predictions

Every year so far, I’ve made a post on my reading goals for the coming year. Today, I’ve changed that post from goals into reading predictions. I feel like the word ‘goals’ only makes me feel pressured, and leaves me disappointed when I don’t reach them by the end of the year. The predictions, on the other hand, are just fun. Let’s talk about 2019!

I’ll read around 70 books

I started tracking the amount of books I read per year in 2013 through the Goodreads Reading Challenge. It’s the easiest way for me to keep track of what I read, as I tend to update my Goodreads often. For the first few years of doing this challenge I read about 140 books a year, which I only achieved because I was a university student and read when I’m stressed.

Ever since graduating, I’ve read somewhere around 70 books a year. I think 2019 will see the same trend as well. There are months in which I read 15 books, and months in which I don’t read anything. That’s what works for me at the moment, and doesn’t stress me out.

I’ll read more translated books

This ties in to the challenge I’ve set myself of reading a book from every country in the world. This means written by an author with that nationality. I didn’t set a timeline for the challenge, but it’s definitely something I’ll keep in mind the coming years. Since I only speak Dutch and English well enough to read a full novel/book, I’m going to read a lot more translated books than I have in the past.

reading a variety of genres

I’ve actually already noticed a difference when it comes to genres in my reading in 2017 vs my reading in 2018. In 2018, the vast majority of books I read were fantasy. In 2018, I read a wider variety of genres and decreased the amount of fantasy books. Don’t get me wrong, fantasy will always be my favorite genre. But there are so many other interesting books to discover, and I don’t want to limit myself so much.

I’ll get my physical TBR to around 75

I guess you could see this as a goal? Right now, my physical TBR is around 99 (as I’m typing this). I did read a lot more of my own books in 2018, but I also bought a few thanks to YALC and used bookstores. The good news is that most of the books I bought were heavily discounted. The bad news is that I feel like I’m never going to get around to reading some.

I think getting my TBR to 75 or 80 might be what I’ll achieve in 2019. I’ve become really good at unhauling books, going to the library more, and only buying books I am genuinely interested in.

the majority of my book buying will be secondhand 

Obviously, this doesn’t apply to new releases. But I’ve truly fallen in love with used bookstores in the second half of 2018, and I don’t see that trend ending soon. I ordered from Better World Books and got so many great books for such a low price level! Then I rediscovered Pêle-Mêle, a used bookstore in Brussels, too.

I’ve never been someone who needs her books to be in pristine condition, so I don’t really care about having books that look used. I actually break the spines of my paperbacks too (GASP) and like that it makes them look read and loved. Besides, I have found some really interesting books for such a low price!

If this does come true, it’ll save me so much money and help me towards reading a wider variety of genres and books I haven’t heard of before.


Those are my reading predictions for 2019! What do you think of goals vs predictions? What do you think your reading year will look like?