Summer Reading

Summer is sadly coming to a close. I will miss the sandals, short sleeves, and the sunny warmth. But this summer hasn’t been too bad. I remember as a kid that the highlight of my summer (besides no school) was the summer reading programs at the library.

We lived in Myrtle Beach for a good long while and there was an AWESOME library there. My mom would take us at least once a week. The best summer reading program was here. The goal was to read 30 hours. For every 5 hours, your name was put in a box for a drawing. If you reached 30, you got a medal at a large party in the party at the end of summer. Those were the days.

I moved up to the teen reading program, and it wasn’t that great. Not as much to offer as the children’s one. And now I’m an adult. When I first signed up for the program at my local library, I stated my goal for 50 hours. My mom laughed and said I could do that in three weeks. Well she was about right. I read a total of 220 hours over the course of 2 months. My name was even picked for a drawing and I won 2 books! That was probably the highlight of my summer!

Local libraries have so much to offer, even beyond their bookcases. More on libraries later.

Planner Love

It’s weird to know that I have graduated from college and will not be returning to school. I was always so

excited to start school, my favorite thing being school supplies. My grandma always sent us money for

school things and Mom always wanted us to get what we wanted. I would look for the coolest school

supplies and be so excited to use them.

My most important item was my planner. As long as I had gotten ‘that’ planner, everything else was

going to be ok. I’ve used the Target hardcover planners for a several years, and I just love the layout. It’s

convenient, has plenty of space to write assignments, and looked super chic. My senior year, I caved and

got a Kate Spade planner. I loved the cover design (books! Lol) and how ‘adult’ it looked. But it did not

have a monthly spread in a convenient place. I like having an overview of the month in the middle of the

weekly calendar. The Kate Spade one just had a week to week layout.

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This year, though I am not in school, I bought a Lilly Pulitzer planner. I went with the smaller size so that

it conveniently fits in my bag. I don’t write assignments in it, but I do write appoints, events, important

dates, etc. on the days. I also use it as a ‘one line’ journal. I am a total journal writer, but some small

insignificant things that I don’t put in my journal goes on my planner. I but down when I finish a book,

what I ate for lunch, movie dates with Rose (follow her blog her), when I wear a really cool outfit, etc. It

gives me a tiny snap shot of my day that I can go back and see what I did on that specific day.

So far, I am really loving my Lilly planner. It has the layout that I prefer, as well as a bit of sophistication

for an older me. It keeps me organized and focused on my priorities.

Book Club! (For Real)

At the beginning of summer, I thought it would be cool to join a real book club. I never really thought of doing one before and I thought that book clubs just did not exist anymore. I Googled book clubs in my area, and low and behold, there was a book club! I was so so excited! I immediately went out and bought the first book and read it in only a few days. After discussion, everyone goes out to a restaurant to eat and continue talk on books (my kind of dinner).

This particular book club has been going on for (wait for it. . . ) 11-12 years. YEARS. And I think to myself, ‘Why have I not heard about this? I could have been doing this for my whole college career!!’ I’ve really been missing out. This club is independent from my local library, but they still use the meeting rooms. I arrived early, and was literally bouncing on the inside (‘I’m in a book club!!!’). The first book was The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawking. It was published this year, so many people were interested in the book. We sat in a circle and went around, introducing ourselves and giving our opinion of the book. Since there were so many of us, we took up the whole hour going around. There were discussions that popped up as the opinions continued. It was a lively discussion all around. Before I knew it, the hour was up and it was time for dinner. Not many people came to dinner, but the conversation was all about books (I was in heaven!).

The next month, there was less people, but conversation was still good. The organizer of the book club brings discussion questions. When the discussion lulled, the organizer would ask a question that she got off the internet.

The books are chosen 6 months at a time. Recommendations are made every 6 months and we vote on what books we want to read. It’s quite simple. If the book is being made into a movie close to the time we read the book, we will all go to the movies.

So one question is probably ‘Why join a book club?’ I joined because I wanted to meet people who loved books as much as I do. The discussions about symbolisms in books that we’ve read has really fascinated me. I read for pleasure and enjoyment, sometimes for enhancing myself intellectually, but most of the time I do not see the connections or symbolisms. Why did the author have the mentally handicapped Frederick draw spirals all day in All the Light We Cannot See? Every word of an author means something, and without book club, I never would have realized that.

Another reason I joined book club is to branch out my reading genre. We read The Lady in Gold and it was not a book that I would have just picked up off the shelf. It’s a nonfiction book about stolen art from the Austrians in WWII. The cover wasn’t really appealing nor the summary. But I enjoyed the book and it encouraged me to read more nonfiction. I’m having discussions and reading books that I never thought I would do.

Book club has been a great thing for me. I only wish that it was more than once a month.

Goodreads

At the beginning of the summer, I really started exploring the website Goodreads. I had joined a few years ago, but didn’t really get into it (like Pinterest), but now that I’ve explored the site I cannot live without it.

Goodreads is a site for people who love books! And that is perfect for me. All the books I’ve ever read are on there and I can add it to my profile, rate it, write reviews, note if you own the book, etc. It’s a way that I can keep track of all that I’ve read. And my friends can see the books too and add the books if they want to read.

There are all kinds of lists on the site that you can rate books. There is a list for top Young Adult books, lists for Historical Fiction, any list you can think of. Most of the books that I have added to my ‘To-Read’ virtual shelf have been from lists. The site also makes recommendations based on what you’ve read, want you want to read, and what you are currently reading. You can also keep track of your page numbers in books you are currently reading.

My favorite thing about the site is the yearly challenge. You set your goal, and it keeps track of how many you read in the whole year. My goal was a modest 50, I wasn’t sure how busy I would be with this new chapter in my life, so I kept it low. I have read 45 of 50 books so far. And I’m positive I will meet my goal.

So go check out Goodreads and see if it enhances your reading experience.