my favorite songs of 2019

You might remember that I usually include a music section in my monthly wrap ups, talking about the songs I listened to most or fell in love with during said month. Music is a huge part of my life. I honestly don’t know what I would do without my Spotify subscription… I listen to music constantly: when I get ready, when I commute to work, during work, while cooking, while working out… There’s an appropriate song or playlist for everything. So I figured I would share some of my favorite songs of 2019. The ones that had an impact on my year, and I can vividly remember listening to on repeat.

BTS – Dionysus

Let’s start with my most listened to song of 2019, shall we? I fell in love with this dynamic song from their latest album. It’s so energetic and gets me ready to take on the day. I find with BTS that it’s well worth listening to all the tracks on their album thoroughly, because I often find myself loving the other tracks more than the title track (not that I dislike Boy With Love, don’t worry).

A.C.E – Under Cover

The song that started my love for A.C.E. This song is so my style that I knew I would end up listening to it non-stop within the first few seconds. The combination of rock and hiphop is fantastic. Catch me listening to it on repeat in 2020 as well.

Taemin – Want

Listen, Taemin is the king of sexy songs. This came out in February 2019 and I still listen to it pretty much every day. It just doesn’t get boring! If you haven’t watched Taemin’s solo songs (which would surprise me), please do. You’re truly missing out.

Jonas Brothers – Sucker

It’s the return of the Jonas Brothers!! Need I say more? This video is so adorable as well, and it makes me happy to see how well these men have found their way in life. They are loved, happy, and making music together again. What more could a fan want?

BTS – Pied Piper

I know that this is not a 2019 release, yet I can’t leave it off the list. It’s another one of my most listened to songs of last year. I guess they did their job well, creating a song that you cannot resist 😉

MAMAMOO – Hip

Listen, these women are incapable of creating bad songs. They are so talented, work so hard, and deliver at every point in time. I might have a crush on every single member. Especially Wheein.

Angèle – Balance Ton Quoi

Angèle is a queen. This is an incredible song, both in terms of the music itself and the lyrics. If you don’t speak French, please turn on the English CC! You can’t miss out on the meanings in this feminist anthem. I wish I could have gone to her concert, but it sold out immediately. Next time!

ONEWE – Regulus

Ever since their debut Reminisce About All, I kept my eye out for this band. I adore bands, and I don’t know enough Korean ones. This song absolutely blew me away. It wasn’t what I expected whatsoever, yet it’s so good. I can’t wait for their next release, whenever that may be.

Stray Kids – Chronosaurus

Chronosaurus might be my favorite Stray Kids song to date. It’s so hauntingly beautiful. I absolutely love this group. They are not afraid to experiment with their songs and albums, sometimes resulting in a song that seems chaotic at first until its brilliance hits you like a brick.

Seventeen – FEAR

A more recent release, but another favorite from SEVENTEEN. I can’t wait to see these guys perform in March! Their songs are always epic, their choreographies growing more impressive with every comeback. They have never let me down.

DAY6 – Time of Our Life

DAY6 is one of my all-time favorite bands. They are also incapable of creating a bad song. I saw them live last January, and will see them live again this January. Worth every single cent, it was one of the best concerts of my life. It may seem ridiculous to you but one of the reasons I love this upbeat song so much is that they all seem so happy while performing.

ONE OK ROCK – Stand Out Fit In

Lindsey actually introduced me to ONE OK ROCK in one of her monthly wrap ups. I always look at her wrap ups because a) she’s one of my favorite bloggers and b) our taste in music is so similar. I was blown away by Stand Out Fit In, and proceeded to listen to their entire album (Eye of the Storm) on repeat. I love literally every song on there, and according to Spotify it is one of my most played albums of the year.


I have so many other songs I could have included here, but I tried to narrow it down a number close to 10. It ended up being 12, which I’m quite happy with. I think I want to create some more music related posts this year, maybe my favorite bands, solo artists, female artists, groups, male artists, etc. Please let me know if you’d be interested in that! I want to create the posts, but would feel kind of sad if no one actually cares. 

Which songs made your 2019? 

10 big books I’d like to read in 2020

I’m not participating in this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, as I don’t feel like I have to contribute much to this week’s topic (bookish discoveries of 2019). Instead, I want to talk about 10 big books I want to read this year. Like many others, I find books over 500 pages quite intimidating. They take up a lot of time to read, and I don’t have much reading time at the moment. They’re a scary commitment. However, I do end up loving the majority of big books I read! So in 2020, I want to overcome that fear and read the following lengthy novels.

Words of Radiance (Stormlight Archive #2) by Brandon Sanderson
Is this cheating? I’m actually currently reading this book, on page 108 as we speak. Considering that this book is 1310 pages long, that’s not very far into the story. I adore Brandon Sanderson’s works. He’s both fantastic at word building and character development, and I’m fairly certain this book will end up on my favorites of the year list.

The Mad Ship (Liveship Traders #2) by Robin Hobb
I started this series in 2017 (!!) and still haven’t continued. This book has 906 pages, which is why I haven’t read it yet. It’s scary when every book in a series is so long, even if I’m fairly certain I’ll adore it. I really need to continue the series though, before I forget everything that happened in book 1.

Kushiel’s Dart (Phèdre’s Trilogy #1) by Jacqueline Carey
I’ve heard people rave about this book for absolute years, on every platform. This is one of the most praised fantasy trilogies, and I’m desperate to find out why. An adult fantasy novel about a women, written by a women, well-beloved, 901 pages long, and published in 2001? Interesting. Give it to me.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
I’m not ready to cry my eyes out. That’s why A Little Life is still on my shelf of unread books. I know I’m going to be devastated after finishing it, even though I have no idea what this novel is actually about. I want to go into this one blind, not knowing what to expect. It’s 720 pages long.

The Dragon Republic (The Poppy War #2) by R.F. Kuang
The Poppy War was one of my favorite books of 2019, and I can’t wait to read the sequel. I’ve seen it on so many favorites of the year lists, elevating my expectations even more. This is an epic Chinese history-inspired fantasy series that doesn’t shy away from the brutality of war. This sequel is 654 pages long.

The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan
I picked this nonfiction book up in a secondhand bookstore last year because it had been on my to-read list for quite a long time. My knowledge of The Silk Road is very minimal, so I’m excited to dive into this one. It’s 636 pages long.

The Kingdom of Copper (Daevabad #2) by S.A. Charkaborty
Another sequel to one of my favorite books of 2019 on this list! Clearly, I have loved long books before and quite a few have ended up on my favorites lists. The first book, The City of Brass, was one of the most atmospheric fantasy novels I have read in a long time. If you haven’t picked up the series, please do! While I’m excited for this novel, the 621 pages do intimidate me.

Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse #1) by James S.A. Corey
I want to read more science fiction in 2020, specifically more space opera. Science fiction is a genre I’ve been slowly falling in love with the past 2 years. I’m excited to find out what it has to offer. I’d also like to watch the TV show adaptation of this series called The Expanse, but I need to read at least the first book before doing so! It’s 592 pages long.

The Dark Forest (Remembrance of Earth’s Past #2) by Cixin Liu
I read the first book, The Three-Body Problem, in 2019 and definitely want to continue the series. While a lot of the physics talk went way over my head, it was one of the most fascinating novels I’d read in a while. It combines video games and VR with astrophysics and an alien race. Insane, isn’t it? I can’t wait to see what The Dark Forest brings, even though it’s 512 pages long.

The Emperor’s Blades (Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne #1) by Brian Staveley
This book has probably been on my shelf, unread, since 2015 or 2016 which is kind of embarrassing. It’s a high fantasy novel, in which the emperor has just been murdered. His son, who is training for the empire’s deadliest fighting force also suffers several ‘accidents’, is also in danger. Then there is also the emperor’s daughter, who hunts for her father’s murderer and navigates court politics, and the heir to the empire who is studying in a remote monastery. It sounds SO GOOD, so why has this been on my shelf for so long? I have no idea. I need to read this 568 page long book in 2020. Someone hold me accountable.


Is this ambitious? Yes. Will I give it my all? Absolutely. These are all books I’m really excited to read, so I hope 2020 will be kind to me and give me the time to pick these up. Have you read any of these books? Which ones should I read first?

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 > RenĂŠe 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.