Category Archives: 2017 books

2017.11 – Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Somewhere in late 2016, I saw a list of hot new books released in early 2017. I immediately got onto the holds list from the library. A few of them I had to recommend to the library e-collection. Recommend means they don’t have it in their collection, but it alerts them that I’m interested. Somehow, maybe once they have enough requests, they will purchase the book and I’ll receive an email. So, I got on the waitlist, and waited.

Caraval and a couple other books came up for me at the same time. Usually, I’m good at suspending my holds (stay on the holds list, but it wont check out to me until I unsuspend the hold–definitely a pro move!), but I got too busy and forgot. Now I have a whole lot to read in 3 weeks!

I started Caraval, and wasn’t so sure about it at first. The story was a little slow and the characters seemed to drag out a bit. Then, after about 25% through the book, I started getting really into it! In fact, I started reading on Saturday afternoon when I was at about 35% completed…and binge read the rest of the book!

All you need to know for this book: if you love Breakout EDU and/or escape rooms, then you’re going to go nuts over this book! Scarlett has always dreamed of the magic of the Caraval, a cross between a game and a performance where reality and fantasy are often a thin line. When she and her sister, Tella, are whisked away to the game, Tella is kidnapped, and Scarlett must navigate magic, heartbreak, and twists in order to save her before the five days are up.

This is one of those books where I read a few chapters, then have to get up and walk around. It was fairly intense, but even more confusing and complex.

At the end, I was left in the fogginess, suspended between fantasy and reality. I look around, and try to piece my life back together, remembering who and where I am. I call this experience a book hangover. (Makes sense after a reading binge, right?)

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2017.7 – Heartless, by Marissa Meyer

I was so excited for the new book by Marissa Meyer, Heartless. You may know her from The Lunar Chronicles series–book 1 is Cinder. I just loved The Lunar Chronicles, all based around fairy tales. I listened to all of the Lunar Chronicles books on audiobook in 2015, except for Stars Above, which was released in 2016.

When I saw that Marissa Meyer was coming out with a new book, I made sure to get on the holds list from the library as soon as I could! Success! I was one of the first in line for the Heartless audiobook! This is a new book (hopefully a series?) based on Alice in Wonderland. Without giving anything away, let’s just say I was shocked by a few of the plot twists.

Let’s talk audiobooks in general
Just like I become a fan of specific authors and their books, I’m also a huge fan of certain audiobook narrators. For example, Jim Dale narrates all of the Harry Potter books. Even if you’re not a Harry Potter fan, you need to listen to at least one of the audiobooks–Jim Dale has a different distinct voice for each character in all 7 books. Talk about making a book come to life!

Rebecca Soler narrates the Lunar Chronicles series, and returned for Heartless. As soon as I heard her voice, I felt a surge of happiness and excitement. It’s amazing how a voice can bring back so many happy book memories. She does a great job portraying the characters and adding anticipation and excitement as she narrates.

When I’m recommending audiobooks to friends, I consider both the book itself, and who narrates it.

What are your favorite audiobooks and audiobook narrators? 

Books! Books! Books!

Passion projects are fun, so are hobbies. Reading is one of my passions and hobbies, so I’m going to blog about my reading journeys this year. (I blog semi-regularly about teaching and education here.)

I’ve been keeping track of what I read since 2011, and it’s been incredible to look back at all the wonderful adventures. In 2011 and 2012, my lists are on paper. Starting in 2013, I kept a list in Evernote. Unfortunately, Evernote has become less functional–it doesn’t automatically sync, and they always want me to upgrade to premium. At the end of 2016, I switched my lists over to Google Sheets, with a new tab for each year. I’m slowly importing my data, making fun graphs, and keeping track of my own analytics. Now in 2017, I’ll have some robust reading data (nerd alert!). 
2011 – 18 (?)*
2012 – 32 (?)*
2013 – 54 (54 books, 0 audio)
2014 – 82 (52 books, 30 audio)
2015 – 58 (41 books, 17 audio)
2016 – 66 (49 books, 17 audio)
My 2017 goal is the same as 2016. Read 100 books, including audiobooks. Of this, I’d like at least 52 to be books, and no more than half to be audiobooks. Really, that’s 1 book + 1 audiobook per week, which is very manageable. 
I’m not entirely sure what this blog will become in 2017. Here’s to new adventures! 
*Gotta double check the numbers. My paper lists are 500 miles away. Will update when I’m back home.