Monday, May 26, 2014

ArmchairBEA 2014 - Day 1 (Intro & Literature)

It’s 2014 Armchair BEA homies! I seriously thought I’d be at the actual BEA conference this year, but timing and finances just didn’t work out for that. Has anyone out there looked at how much it actually costs to go to BEA? Eesh! And so this is my third year participating in Armchair BEA. Last year I was a cheerleader, and while I really hoped to get to do that again this year, we had a major work project go into production just two weeks ago which means that it wasn't a good time to take off work or really put as much time to visiting other blogs this year as I did last year.

Now let’s get into these introduction questions. Here’s a link to my introduction from 2012’s Armchair BEA and 2013’s Armchair BEA just in case you’re interested in more about me. I decided to go for the more “random” introduction questions this year.


  1. What was your favorite book you read last year? And what has been your favorite book you’ve read so far this year?
    Oh boy. What a tough question. Out of the 130+ books I read last year, I only rated 6 of them as 5 Stars: Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul by John and Stasi Eldredge, Losing Hope by Colleen Hoover, Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein, The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey, This Girl by Colleen Hoover, and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. It’s hard for me to pick a single book out of those becaue each one is so different. But it would be between Captivating or Rose Under Fire.
  2. Out of the books I’ve read so far this year (62), I’ve only rated two of them as 5 Stars. Reason to Breathe by Rebecca Donovan and Easy by Tammara Webber (which I haven't reviewed yet).

  3. Spread the love by naming your favorite blogs/bloggers (doesn’t necessarily have to be book blogs/bloggers).
    I always feel like I’m going to leave someone out. But I’ll do my best, if I forgot you, I’m truly sorry. I follow A LOT of blogs—as I’m sure most of you do. But here are my favorites: Beauty:The Small Things Blog, Jaclyn Hill (YouTube), Essiebutton (YouTube), Nicole Guerriero (YouTube), and Missglamorazzi (YouTube); Home/Organization: Clean Mama, A Bowl Full of Lemons, Organization Made Fun, The Handmade Home; Spiritual: Brightly Salted, A Wordy Woman, Chasing a Lion; Books: Words Fueled by Love, Caffeinated Book Reviewer, A Librarian’s Library, Anna Reads, YA Romantics, Paper Cuts, and currently EmmaApproved (YouTube).

    My blog followings have changed over time. When I first started book blogging, I followed almost a completely different group of bloggers. This changes based on my preferences as I change with time as well. I could seriously keep naming, but I needed to stop.

  4. Share your favorite book or reading related quote.
    I think my readers know me well enough to know that I have a hard time sticking to any given number (my Top Ten Tuesday posts can range anywhere between top 9 to top 20), so I’m going to give two quotes, but like everything else, I have MANY more.

    I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone, I think and plan. Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes? I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice when they would be lost on others. Too good, too excellent creature! You do us justice, indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating, in

    F. W.

    I must go, uncertain of my fate; but I shall return hither, or follow your party, as soon as possible. A word, a look, will be enough to decide whether I enter your father’s house this evening or never. (Persuasion by Jane Austen)


    You have to understand. I am no one special. I am just a single girl. Five feet two inches tall. And I am in between in every way. But I have a secret. You can build walls all the way to the sky and I will find a way to fly above them. You can try to pin me down with a hundred thousand arms, but I will find a way to resist. And there are many of us out there. More than you think. People who refuse to stop believing. People who refuse to come to Earth. People who love in a world without walls. People who love into hate and refusal, against hope, and without fear. I love you. Remember. They cannot take it. (Delirium by Lauren Oliver)
  5. What does your favorite/ideal reading space look like?
    You guys, I’m not a real fancy kind of gal. I like the simple things in life. And while I would LOVE to have a library inside my home one day complete with comfy reading chairs, my absolute favorite place to read in reality is on the couch beside my husband. He watches TV. I read. Close enough for physical contact. Comfortable. Perfect. Of course, I don’t mind reading by the pool or on the beach either. I can't find a picture of me reading at either location at the moment, so here's one on a family fishing day.
  6. What is your favorite blogging resource?
    Cause I can’t just name one….It’s a tie between Goodreads and my lovely, nerdy Excel Spreadsheet. I’d be lost without these two resources. Having access to all the books I’ve read and want to read from anywhere at any time, Goodreads might take the cake. But my spreadsheet keeps up with all my important blogging information: all the books I have in my possession that need to be read, future Waiting on Wednesday picks, a list of review books I have in order of release date, books read this year, reading challenges, books available to me from the library, series that I’ve started (the remaining books in the series that I need to read), series DNF, books my friends have that I need to borrow, books I need to buy. It’s color coordinated. And I just keep adding pages to this spreadsheet. Oh crap, and Google Calendar. I’d be lost without it too. It keeps up with my scheduled posts. I’m usually scheduled anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months ahead on posts. Google Calendar is also something I can access anywhere.

So that’s me. Are you participating in Armchair BEA? Leave me a link so I can return the visit. Not participating? I’d love to see your answer to some of these questions in the comments!


Armchair BEA asked: What do you think of when you think of literature? Classics, contemporary, genre, or something else entirely? We are leaving this one up to you to come up with and share the literature that you want to chat about the most. Feel free to share a list of your favorites, break down your favorite genre, feature your favorite authors, and be creative about all things literature in general.

When I hear the term "literature" I think high school English/Literature class where we were forced to read "classics" which were hardly ever stories that I was interested in at the time. While I have read several classics and several more are on my TBR list, the ones I was forced to read in high school were never really ones I would have chosen. Let's year it was The Crucible by Arthur Miller. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley wasn't so bad. Julius Caesar and Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. While both of those are stories I'm glad that I've read, I can't say that I got too much out of them at the time. That period language is almost painful to read for me. And then of course Beowulf. What teenage kid wants to read that mess?

Because we read books on our own and not just as a class, I also found myself reading Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen for the first time. And Tarzan by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I also read abridged versions of many others, but that doesn't really count does it.

These days I actually want to read certain classics, but I guess the point is that when I hear "literature" I think of classics that I didn't enjoy or don't really have any interest in reading. I guess for me that means "literature" has become a slightly negative word. While I know that my immediate reaction to the word isn't completely accurate--or at least, not all encompassing--I find myself struggling to change the thoughts I've associated with the word.

What about you? What do you think when you hear "literature"? Let me know!


  1. I love that little peek into your blogging Excel spreadsheet; looks busy!!

    Happy Armchair BEA Monday!!

    Sunrise Avenue

  2. I am really excited to be participating in Armchair BEA for the first time this year!
    I've read Easy last year, but for me it was just an okay book. It's always difficult chosing one book for these sort of questions.
    The couch also is my favourite reading spot, it might not sounds like anything special, but it's comfy.
    I don't keep an excel sheet, I actualy use goodreads for keeping track of my review books and google calendar for deadlines and scheduled posts. I do think having some sort of system for this is important.
    I hope I have time to drop by later on in the week to read the rest of your Armchair BEA posts!

  3. Laura @ Shabby RabbitMay 26, 2014 at 8:26 AM

    You are one voracious reader!! I wish I came anywhere close to your numbers! I'm in love with your spreadsheet.

    I love finding new literary classics. I think TFiOS will prove to be that. Olive Kitteridge, The Wind Up Bird Chronicles (weird but literary), Beautiful Ruins. I love finding things that speak though impression and emotion to the state of the world, culture and our beliefs and loves. :)

  4. most definitely IS busy. But I know what's going on with it, so that's what counts, right? :) Thanks for stopping by!

  5. I'm excited you're participating too! I'll have to check in with you throughout the week for your posts too! Sorry you didn't love Easy. It was a breath of fresh air for me. I completely agree with you, having a system is so important for blogging. When I first started I was almost in panic mode all the time because I didn't have my system established yet. Thanks for stopping by Lola!

  6. I feel the same way about other bloggers/readers. I just decided to set a goal and embrace what I can do. Plus audiobooks help. I'll talk about that tomorrow. ;) I haven't read The Wind Up Bird Chronicles, but it sounds like i need to check it out. Thanks for stopping by Laura!

  7. Where would book bloggers be without spreadsheets? I tried to go without one this year and chaos ensued. I don't recommend trying it.

  8. KatrinaBookishThingsMay 26, 2014 at 11:04 AM

    Spreadsheets are awesome! I love them. I love the quote from Delirium. It stuck with me for a long time. I think the same thing about classics. Although, I did actually enjoy Beowulf. I think I'm just odd though. lol

  9. I'll have to check out some of your favorite list... haven't read any of them yet. Loveyour reading spot too!

  10. Meg-A Bookish AffairMay 26, 2014 at 7:11 PM

    Hahaha, your perfect reading setup sounds like mine. There are many evenings that find me on the couch reading while my husband watches tv right next to me!

  11. Like most readers, I also have a hard time picking favorites. I actually skipped that question because it was just easier that way! I think it's great that you're so conservative with your five star ratings. I almost feel like I need something better than five stars, since I generally give a five star rating to anything which I can find no flaws with and which I found emotionally moving. There are definitely books that go beyond that and really blow me away, but I don't currently distinguish those.

  12. Absolutely loving your preferred reading spot. :-) I must agree that reading next to the spouse is great.

    Also, from your description of your blogging resources, it sounds like you have this thing down to a science. Hats off, right there!

  13. I agree on the connotation of "literature." I wonder why they continue to teach the books they do, since it seems like most (not all, but most) students are either turned off reading, or become readers in spite of books like this, not because of them. And even readers who enjoy classics as an adult admit they couldn't appreciate them as a teen.

  14. Ooh, I want to read Rose Under Fire and Easy but haven't gotten to yet! And oh my gosh, I love those quotes! Persuasion is one of my favorite books, and Captain Wentworth's letter is just so darn romantic! I swoon every time. I LOVE Delirium toooooo. Also, that's an insane spreadsheet! I'm so impressed. :)

    Aww, I was just reading along, and there I am!! You are too sweet! I love your blog toooooo!! :) :) :) :) Oh my gosh, don't you love Emma Approved? I'm so ready for the hiatus to be over!

  15. Haha...exactly! I would be absolutely lost without my spreadsheet! Haha! Thanks for stopping by Tanya!

  16. The Delirium quote and the Persuasion quote are the only two that have stuck with me like that. I think you might be the first person I've heard that enjoyed Beowulf, but hey...we all have our preferences. Thanks so much for stopping by commenting Katrina!

  17. Thanks Meg! Being on the couch with the hubby is the best! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  18. Haha...skipping the favorites question was something I thought about, but I had a hard time finding 5 questions I wanted to answer so that one ended up in there. Rating books are very difficult sometimes. But yeah I agree with you sometimes there are just those books that blow you away. Thanks for stopping by Katie!

  19. Thanks Alisha! Haha...I don't know that I have anything down to a science. I do have a system that works for me. But there's always room for improvement, right? Thanks for commenting!

  20. Rachel at PaperCuts that I mentioned above actually did a post on the books taught in school recently. It was a great post about getting people interested in reading and then exposing them to the classics. But I agree with you. Thanks for stopping by Charleen!

  21. Oh both of those were just really, really good--obviously since they're on my favorite's list. :) Persuasion is so much less popular than Pride and Prejudice, but the build is so good. But yeah, I crack myself up with my spreadsheet. It's a way nerdy, but it works for me.

    Definitely! I MIGHT like Emma Approved better than The Lizzie Bennet Diaries...maybe! I may or may not have June 2nd marked on my calendar with a reminder so I won't miss anything. (Okay I definitely do have it marked.) Thanks so much for the kind words and for stopping by!

  22. Hm...then perhaps down to an art? :-) Goodreads is awesome, but it only does so much... you take it a lot further, for the better.

    Have you heard of the website FictFact? Awesome resource for readers of book series.

  23. Holly @ Words Fueled by LoveMay 27, 2014 at 9:29 PM

    Wow - out of 130 books only 6 were rated 5 stars? That's not very many at all. I bet you had a lot of 4 and 4.5 stars though - which are almost just as good, just missing that final umpf to make it over the 5 star line. Some of my "favorites" from last year were 4 or 4.5 stars (in addition to the 5 star ones).

  24. Haha...yeah I'm a bit stingy with my 5 Stars. :) It has to be a special kind of book that stays with me. But yeah, I definitely had a lot of 4 stars and some 4.5 Stars that I THOUGHT I had given 5 Stars to. :) Whoops!

  25. Haha...I'll take it being an art! :) I haven't heard of FictFact, I'll have to check it out! Thanks for the recommendation Alisha! And thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  26. I am extremely envious of your organization skills. No spreadsheet here. I can't even keep my shelves organized on Goodreads!

  27. Hey to each their own. I try to be organized in as many areas of my life as I can. It's a control issue. But if that's not what works for you then laid back is good too. ;) Thanks for stopping by!