Saturday, October 21, 2017

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge

Host: Becky's Book Reviews (sign up)
Duration: January 2018 - December 2018
Inspiration: It is a good rule, after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between. If that is too much for you, you should at least read one old one to every three new ones. C.S. Lewis
# of books: readers decide

Sign up by leaving a comment! I do have comment moderation on because the amount of spam comments is overwhelming.

1. Decide if you want to set a monthly, quarterly, or a yearly goal for this challenge. You might start out with a monthly goal to see what works best, and then modify it throughout the year.
2. Set your goal of books. You might want this challenge to cover all the books you read this year. OR. You might want this challenge to cover a specific area of your reading. Either is fine.
3. Decide if you want your balance to be 50% new to 50% old OR if you want your balance to be 75% new to 25% old.
4. Set your qualifications. How will you be defining "new"? How will you be defining "old"? Do you view "new" and "old" solely in terms of publishing dates? Or do you prefer to see it as "first time reads" and "rereads." Either interpretation works for me.
5. If you read broadly--audience, genre, etc. You might want to set guidelines on how you want this challenge to work for you.
6. If you blog, you might want to write a sign-up post with your goals and perhaps a structured post or two that you can continue to update throughout the challenge. Share links if you want.
7. If you are on Goodreads, you might want to create two bookshelves. One for keeping track of old books. One for keeping track of new books. Feel free to share the links if you do.
8. I am on twitter if you want to follow me. @blbooks You may leave your twitter in the comments if you'd like.
9. Combine with other reading challenges if you like.  
10. DO ask questions, especially before the challenge begins and in the first few months. 

Some examples:

Goal: I want to read 100 picture books. I intend to read 75 new picture books. I intend to read 25 old (or classic) picture books.
Goal: I want to read 12 biographies or autobiographies. I intend to read 9 new biographies and 3 old biographies.
Goal: I want to read 4 cookbooks. I intend to read 3 new cookbooks and 1 old cookbook.
Goal: I want to use the Good Rule only when reading my favorite genre--romance. There are so many I haven't read but want to read that I want to go for 50% new and 50% old.
Goal: I want this challenge to count EVERY book I read. I don't like to set goals. But I will commit to staying with this balance no matter how many--or how few--books I read this year.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Week in Review: October 15-21

Wishtree. Katherine Applegate. 2017. 224 pages. [Source: Library]
Among the Impostors. Margaret Peterson Haddix. 2001. 172 pages. [Source: Library]
Castle Richmond. Anthony Trollope. 1860. 500 pages. [Source: Bought]
Hug This Book. Barney Saltzberg. Illustrated by Fred Benaglia. 2016. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
Tinyville Town: Gets to Work! Brian Biggs. 2016. Abrams. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Baby Goes to Market. Atinuke. Illustrated by Angela Brooksbank. 2017. Candlewick. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Picture-Book Check In 

Imagine That! How Dr. Seuss wrote The Cat in the Hat. Judy Sierra. Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes. 2017. Random House. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Board Book: I'm Sunny. (My First Comics) Jennifer L. Holm. 2016. 22 pages. [Source: Library]
Board book: I'm Grumpy. (My First Comics) Jennifer L. Holm. 2016. 22 pages. [Source: Library]
Found Dogs. Erica Sirotich. 2017. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
Follow the Track All The Way Back. Timothy Knapman. Illustrated by Ben Mantle. 2017. Candlewick. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
World Pizza. Cece Meng. Illustrated by Ellen Shi. 2017. 32 pages. [Source: Library]

Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World. Eric Metals. 2017. Viking. 416 pages. [Source: Borrowed from friend]
Sword of the Wicked. Richard Sibbes. 1577-1635. [Source: Bought]
Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night. Barbara J. Taylor. 2014. 320 pages. [Source: Library]
Creation. Cynthia Rylant. 2016. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
Nativity. Cynthia Rylant. 2017. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
Psalm 119 #6
Psalm 119 #7
Psalm 119 #8

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Hug this Book

Hug This Book. Barney Saltzberg. Illustrated by Fred Benaglia. 2016. 32 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: You can read this book to a hippo. You can read this book in the bath. If you read this book being tickled, I dare you not to laugh! You can kiss and hug and smell this book. That might sound sort of silly. You can wrap this book in a sweater, if it ever gets too chilly.

Premise/plot: The children in this book have found a book that they LOVE, LOVE, LOVE.

My thoughts: Who hasn't wanted to hug a book? Be honest. Aren't there some books that you really do love in a crazy, over-the-top way? The question isn't have I ever really, truly loved a book. The question is do I feel that way about Barney Saltzberg's Hug This Book?! I can appreciate the over-the-top nature of the book. It's very silly. But the thing is that I really do find myself loving the rhythm and rhyme of it. I think the text just works really well when read aloud. That being said, do I love the art? Not really. In fact, I really don't.

Text: 5 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 8 out of 10

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Friday, October 20, 2017

On Reading Challenges

Saw Christine's post on reading challenges, and thought I'd take a look at my own reading challenge.

 She writes, " I love the idea of so many of the challenges, but I struggle with the follow-through. And I'm starting to wonder if participating is actually helping improve my reading life -- which was the whole point to begin with!

So I've decided that needs to be my litmus test of whether or not to re-join a challenge for 2018: has this particular challenge helped my reading life in the past? No matter how worthwhile the goal is, or how interesting the set-up, a reading challenge that hinders my reading life is not serving a worthwhile purpose for me."

Goodreads Challenge: YES. This isn't a no-maintenance reading challenge. You do have to add the books to Goodreads and be sure to add the date you finished it. But essentially, Goodreads does ALL the work. They even tell you how many books you're ahead or behind for the year. Since it's almost a sure bet that I'm on Goodreads at least a couple times a day, this one is an obvious yes.

Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge. MAYBE. I've incorporated the alphabet into my picture book challenge and my middle grade challenge. I don't know if I'll be striving to read the alphabet in christian books in 2018. I've also done this one several years in a row, and you run out of books starting with difficult letters after a while. It may be time to take a break from this one. Maybe.

For this year, I lack the letters J, X, and Z in (Juvenile, MG, YA, Adult) and E, Q, V, and Z in (Christian Fiction and Christian NONfiction).

Back to the Classics. YES. This is one of my favorite, favorite, favorite challenges.

Birth Year Reading Challenge. No. I had good intentions. But this is a lot more challenging than it first appeared.

Blogger Shame Reading Challenge. NO. Again with the good intentions. But it turns out that shame is a HORRIBLE motivator. Or else I'm not really ashamed of anything I read or don't read at any given time!!! Let's go with that for the win.

Charity Reading Challenge. Yes. I love this one. I do. Yes, I'm the host. Yes, I could do a lot better at this one in terms of keeping up with what I've reviewed. But I love it. 

European Reading Challenge. Maybe. This one is super-challenging, and I think luck has just as much to do with whether I get five books read or not. I definitely like seeing what I accidentally read that counts toward the challenge. But I'm horrible at planning ahead for this challenge.

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge. Maybe. Probably. Historical is one of my favorite genres. I can read scores of historical novels in one year. The chances that I'll keep track of them on my post about the challenge? 50/50. The chances that I'll share my links at the host's site? NIL.

Old School Kidlit Reading Challenge. Maybe. Probably not. I love the idea of reading vintage kid books. I adore that aspect of it. I'm HORRIBLE at challenges with monthly themes. It will come down to a couple of things. Is it being offered again in 2018? Will the graphic be just as adorable? Are there monthly themes?

Paris in July. Probably Yes. If it's offered, then I'll probably join again. I rarely read a lot for this challenge. But it can include non-bookish things. 

Picture Book Checklist. Yes. I love picture books. My goal is to read 100+ picture books a year.

RIP. Maybe. If I do it's more for nostalgia than actual interest. This was one of the first reading challenges I joined. And in the first few years, there was a definite sense of community.

Russian Literature. Maybe. I'm not sure it will even be offered again. It was in celebration of an anniversary--1917. But I am thankful I joined this year. I discovered a new favorite author!

Sci-Fi Experience. Yes. Some years I do better than others. But it isn't a challenge, it's an experience.

Share-a-Tea Reading Challenge. YES. I host this one. I love it. I celebrate it each and every day.

Victorian Reading Challenge. Yes. I love, love, love my Victorians ;)

War Bingo. No. I hosted it this year. Didn't even participate in my own challenge. Won't be hosting it again.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Tinyville Town: Gets to Work

Tinyville Town: Gets to Work! Brian Biggs. 2016. Abrams. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Good morning! Welcome to Tinyville Town.

Premise/plot: In the town of Tinyville, everyone has a job to do. But one day, no one can do their job. The mayor asks why. The answer: TRAFFIC JAM. The solution: a new bridge! This picture book shows everyone in town working and coming together.

My thoughts: I liked this one. I like the board book series perhaps even better. But. I liked it. I love the illustrations. I like seeing all the details. If your little one loves construction stories, this one is worth reading.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out of 5
Total: 8 out of 10

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

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