10 Books I Enjoyed But Will (Probably) Never Reread

In February, I shared 10 books worthy of multiple reads.  Today I'm approaching the idea of rereading in a different way by sharing 10 books I enjoyed reading but (probably) don't ever plan to revisit.

I like to add in the "probably" because I don't actually know that I'll never reread these books.  I could join a book club that happens to choose one of these for discussion and I might want to refresh my memory.  Or I could just decide that I'm in the mood for that particular book ... Stranger things have happened.

As of right now, though, I don't really have any desire to read any of these books again.

1.) House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

It took me about six months to get through this book when I read it ten years ago.  It was an extremely challenging book on many levels, and I don't know that I have the patience to read it again in the future.  That being said, it's still one of the most unique and interesting things I've ever read, and I plan to keep my copy (so there's always a chance I'll change my mind one day and read it again).

2.) The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath by Sylvia Plath

I've been a fan of Sylvia Plath's work since I first read one of her poems back in college, so it's not too surprising that I enjoyed reading this collection of her personal journals.  This was another book that took me months to get through, mostly due to the intensely personal way so much of it touched me.  It was emotionally exhausting.  There's a lot to be said about reading the right book at the right time, and this was very much one of those "right time" books.  I'm not sure it would have the same emotional impact if I read it now, and that's the main reason I may never reread it.

3.) Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi 

I enjoy reading the occasional true crime book, and Helter Skelter is my absolute favorite in this genre.  It was written by the prosecuting attorney in the Charles Manson murder trials, so the research is extremely thorough and allows the reader a very in-depth look at everything that happened.  While it was fascinating, it was still true crime -- and I just don't really feel the need to reread books that fall under that category.  I've learned what I could, so it's time to move on.

4.) American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

I've watched the movie version many times (probably too many since I tend to quote it sometimes), but I don't know that I could stomach the book a second time.  There are plenty of things in the book that never made it into the movie (for good reason) that I still cannot get out of my head.  (I read this book twelve or so years ago, by the way.)  When words on a page are that powerful, that's damn good writing ... But I still don't have any desire to pick it up again any time soon (if ever).

5.) The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

This book almost made it onto my list of 10 books that surprised me (in a good way), but was edged out by some of the others.  Even though it didn't officially make that list, it was still a book from outside my reading comfort zone that pleasantly surprised me.  But, although I really enjoyed it, it's not a book I could imagine ever wanting to read again.  Sometimes a book is pretty much ruined once you know what happens -- for me, this is one of those books.  (I'd still be willing to watch the movie, though, just to see how it compares.)

6.) Don't Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon

Although I hated the ending, I gave this book a five star rating when I read it three years ago.  The story was so captivating that I just couldn't put it down -- I had to know what was real and what wasn't.  It surprised me that I enjoyed it so much since there are a lot of magical/supernatural elements (and I usually hate that).  It's a book I still think about from time to time.  Unfortunately, this is another book that's not really worth reading multiple times ... Once you know what happens, it won't have the same effect.

7.) The Martian by Andy Weir

Like most people, I really enjoyed The Martian.  I flew through it in a couple of days and quickly began recommending it to others.  The thing is, I don't think I'd enjoy it as much the second time around.  It's not necessarily a suspenseful book, but there's enough uncertainty that any subsequent reads would be spoiled by the knowledge of what happens in the end.  I still haven't seen the movie (and I'm not opposed to seeing it in the future), but I really have no interest in reading the book again.

8.) I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

This book made it onto a list I shared of some of my favorite thrillers.  But, as much as I enjoyed reading it, the thing that made it worthy of that list was the fact that it offered some great twists I never saw coming.  There have been very few books that have managed to take me so completely by surprise, and reading this book again would mean losing what made it so amazing the first time.

9.) The Pact by Jodi Picoult

I remember really liking this book when I read it a few years ago (though it's still the only Jodi Picoult book I've read).  One of the main reasons I enjoyed it was the storytelling: pieces of the puzzle were revealed throughout the book until the reader could finally see the whole picture and understand exactly what happened.  Because of this, I think reading it multiple times would be disappointing -- there would be no mystery left.

10.) The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

I absolutely loved this book, and it stuck with me long after I'd finished the last page.  Very few books have made me cry as much and for as long as The Nightingale -- and that's exactly why I'll probably never read it again.  I love books that make me feel real emotion, but those books are also tricky to reread because they almost never produce the same feelings.

Linking up with That Artsy Reader Girl for Top Ten Tuesday!

March 2018 Reads

I began last month's book review post by complaining that February was a slow reading month for me.  Unfortunately, March was much of the same.

I actually feel like it's kind of crazy that I read the same number of books in both February and March.  I mean, five books wasn't that terrible for a short month ... But March feels so much longer (even though it's really just three more days), so I feel like I should have been able to squeeze in more than five books.

In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't really matter how many books I read in a month.  But, since I'd like to hit my overall goal this year (and delete a decent amount of books from my out of control "To Read" list that just keeps growing), I know I need to pick up the pace.  I'm also sick of having to return books to the library without reading them and then hopping back onto the huge waiting list.  (This has happened twice in the last two months.)

I know that most people probably don't want to read my complaints about my slow ass reading issues, though, so I'll move on to the reviews.  I'll be linking up with Steph and Jana tomorrow for this month's Show Us Your Books link-up (and adding about a million more books to the aforementioned "To Read" list).  I'm looking forward to checking out what everyone else has been reading lately!

Amazing Books I Highly Recommend

This is the second month in a row that I haven't read any amazing, five star worthy books.  This could definitely be part of my reading rut issue.

Very Good Books That Are Worth A Read

We Are All Completely Fine by Daryl Gregory
Completed: 03/09/18
My Rating: ****
Challenge Category: N/A

This is a very short book (a novella, really), but I think I would have sped through it in a couple of days even if it was considerably longer -- it captured my attention from the start, and didn't loosen its grip on me.  This book had been on my "To Read" list for a really long time, and I'm glad that it didn't disappoint.

I was actually kind of surprised I enjoyed We Are All Completely Fine as much as I did because it contains several supernatural/fantasy elements, and that's just really not my thing at all.  (I usually hate or at least dislike most books that rely on fantasy and the supernatural to tell the story.)  In this case, though, it worked -- the story is told in such a way that I was easily able to suspend my disbelief and imagine that these characters were real people who had experienced some very traumatizing things.

I really liked all of the characters, and found each of their stories fascinating.  My only major complaint about the book was that it was too short -- I would have liked more time with these characters to learn even more about them and their pasts.  That being said, I think the author did a great job delving into each character's story in such a small amount of space -- I didn't expect to learn as much as I did about each of them.

This is a very weird book, so I don't think it's something I'd recommend to just anyone.  But if, like me, you're a fan of really strange, dark entertainment, this book is probably for you.

Sweetgirl by Travis Mulhauser
Completed: 03/13/18
My Rating: ****
Challenge Category: N/A

I added this book to my "To Read" list a while ago after Jana gave it a glowing review, and, after reading it, I can understand why she enjoyed it so much.

Sweetgirl almost seemed cinematic in its delivery: I could definitely imagine all of the action taking place on a screen.  The story sucked me in immediately, and it held my interest throughout.  Most of the events take place within a couple of days, and the author did an excellent job maintaining a fast pace to allow the reader to feel at least some of the pressure and intensity the characters were experiencing.

The main reason this wasn't a five star read for me was the fact that I never truly connected with any of the characters.  I really wanted to fall in love with the main character, Percy, since she had so many great qualities that usually make a character a "favorite" for me ... But I just didn't.  I also didn't feel overly moved by the story, which was really surprising given the subject matter.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read.  I liked the dark humor throughout the book, and that it offered an interesting look at a way of life I've (thankfully!) never experienced.  If you like fast-paced, gritty stories, Sweetgirl is worth checking out.

Decent Books That May Work For You

The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich
Completed: 03/07/18
My Rating: ***
Challenge Category: A true crime book for the 2018 PopSugar Reading Challenge

I really liked that the author created a true crime/memoir hybrid with this book -- it was a unique twist on two nonfiction genres, and I appreciated that it was unlike anything else I've ever read.

That being said, while I understand the reasoning behind intertwining her own experiences with a murder committed by someone else whom she had no contact with prior to learning about the crime, at times it felt a little weird ... Especially considering that she reconstructed many of the events related to the murder using her imagination.  (This is something she freely admits throughout the book.)  It made the true crime portions ring less "true" for me.

The book itself was well-written -- the author definitely took the "creative nonfiction" approach to make it feel more like a story.  Unfortunately, some parts of the book felt a little repetitive.  I understand emphasizing certain things to make a point, but sometimes I felt like I was being beaten over the head and I didn't like that.

In general, I have a hard time rating nonfiction (memoirs in particular) higher than three stars.  I usually enjoy reading about another person's life, but it's not something I'm overly eager to pick up or something I really think about a lot once it's over.  While I think this book is probably worth reading if you're a fan of true crime and/or memoir, it's not something I'd recommend pushing to the top of your reading list.

The French Girl by Lexie Elliott
Completed: 03/20/18
My Rating: ***
Challenge Category: N/A

I didn't really have any expectations going into this book, and I think that allowed me to appreciate it a little more than I might have otherwise.  (Maybe ... As you'll see, I really can't figure out why I felt this book was worthy of a three star rating.)

When it comes to thrillers, I can enjoy them regardless of whether the story is incredibly fast-paced or more of a slow burn ... But I also know that some people dislike slower moving thrillers, and are quick to quit the book if it's not keeping them on the edge of their seat.  If you're one of those people, you will not like this book.

I was actually surprised that I liked the book enough to give it a three star rating.  There was nothing overly special about it, but it held my interest and entertained me.  I knew I'd have a hard time writing a review for this book because I could never really pinpoint what it was that made me like it and want to continue finding out more.  As far as thrillers go, it wasn't overly suspenseful and it didn't deliver any major surprises or shocking twists.  I feel like this would normally make me go off on a crazy rant about how shitty and horrible the book was ... But, for whatever reason, The French Girl did just enough to work for me.

This book is most definitely not for everyone.  (I'm not even sure why it was for me.)  If you add a lot of books to the "DNF" pile, don't even bother -- I can almost guarantee you won't be finishing this one.  I found it entertaining enough, but it's nothing special.  If you're dying to read it, you should give it a shot.  Otherwise, use your best judgment: if it sounds like something you might enjoy, read it.  If the synopsis doesn't intrigue you, you're probably better off skipping it.

Mostly Awful Books I Wouldn't Recommend

Lie to Me by J.T. Ellison
Completed: 03/31/18
My Rating: **
Challenge Category: N/A

I struggled with this book on so many levels, from simply getting through it to finding the right rating and words to express how I felt about it.

On the surface, this book seemed perfect for me: it's a psychological thriller, there's a missing person involved, the two main characters are writers (for some reason I love reading books and watching TV shows/movies about writers), the narrators are pretty unreliable, and there are a ton of surprising twists throughout the book.  Unfortunately, having all the right elements just wasn't enough.

There were several things about this book that literally made me angry.  I initially gave it a three star rating because I knew that some people would probably enjoy it, but I changed my rating the next day after realizing just how pissed off I was about this book.

Because I always avoid spoilers in my reviews, I can't share several of the things that pissed me off ... But I'll talk about what I can.

The first section of this book felt like a Gone Girl rip-off.  You know how a ton of book summaries annoyingly tout them as "the next Gone Girl?"  Well, Lie to Me actually tried to be the next Gone Girl ... And let me just say, Gillian Flynn's book is far superior.

After I slogged through the first section, I just kept getting more and more annoyed with the story.  The characters were supposed to be intelligent, but they kept making idiotic, unrealistic decisions.  And the twists?  It basically felt like the author was like, "Let's see how many crazy ass things I can throw into this book."  It didn't matter if they made sense in the grand scheme of the story (or if they made sense at all, for that matter).

I haven't felt this angry about a book in a while.  I've read a couple of lackluster books this year that I wished I hadn't wasted my time on, but I feel like Lie to Me is an entirely different animal.  The only reason this book managed to get two stars out of me is the same reason I gave it a higher rating to begin with: I think it could appeal to some people.  (I mean, that's pretty clear given the number of three, four, and five star ratings on Goodreads.)  For me, though, this book was a shit show that wasn't worth the paper it was printed on.

Books That Should Never Have Been Published

If Lie to Me didn't have such mass appeal, it would have landed here.  Thankfully I didn't read anything else last month that would deserve a spot under this category.

My challenge tallies for the month of March:

Book Challenge by Erin 8.0:
0 books completed
0/200 total points
Total books completed (January-March): 9 books
Total points (January-March): 170/200 points

2018 PopSugar Reading Challenge:
1 book completed
Total books completed (January-March): 3 books

A Month in Review: March 2018 Edition

It's time once again to link up with Kristen and Gretchen (and a bunch of other bloggers, of course!) and share what's been going on with me during the past month.  (And just to be completely transparent: it may take me a little while to get around to commenting on a lot of the blogs and responding to comments.  I'm already incredibly behind with reading blogs and responding to comments, and we're doing a lot of family stuff this weekend ... So I won't be around as much until Monday.)

Like February, March wasn't overly eventful.  I spent most of my time relaxing at home with Eric, and I was very much okay with that.  I've been pretty busy at work, so it's been nice to just be able to come home and chill out.  Our weekend schedules were pretty open as well, which was nice.  While it's definitely fun to get out and do things, it's also nice to enjoy stress free weekends with no real plans.

Basically what I'm saying is that I'm old and boring and I like to stay at home.  (Okay, maybe not exactly that ... But it's not that far from the truth.)

March's "highlights" are actually going to be a mixture of random things since there really weren't a lot of major things to highlight:

- I know I mentioned this already in this post, but Eric and I got tickets to see Radiohead in Chicago this July!  It's worthy of mentioning here because it was one of the more exciting moments of the month, and because I've been dying to see them live for 21 years now.

- I was doing a great job of sticking with working out at least three times each week until last week, when I finally fell off the workout wagon.  I worked out last Monday, and then I just ... Stopped.  I'm a little frustrated with myself over this, but I'm trying not to get too hung up on it.  We all have bad weeks/months.  Last week was one of mine.  (I also haven't been spending as much time on my workouts in general, but that's another issue.)

- We made a lot of new recipes at home, and I took some pictures specifically so I would have something to put in this post.  (Sad, isn't it?  These are actually the majority of the pictures I took during the month of March.)  We made vegetarian roasted chickpea and cauliflower tacos, Persian sausage and potato skillet, chicken fajita stuffed baked potatoes with this cilantro lime sauce (this is actually a picture of Eric's plate since his looked prettier than mine ... I didn't use cheese), skillet enchilada meatballs, cajun salmon with red beans and rice, chicken panang curry noodle bowls, Italian sausage and brussels sprouts pasta, vegetarian enchilada casserole (I made quite a few changes to this), and crockpot shredded beef tacos (I've made shredded beef in the crockpot plenty of times, but I'd never used this recipe).  As you can probably tell, I've been on kind of a spicy kick lately.

- Eric and I didn't go out for a date night at all last month.  I don't think either of us really even thought about it ... It just didn't happen.  (I actually didn't even realize it until I sat down to write this post.)  We'll be going out more this month when we visit my family, though, so maybe it's a good thing we cut back a little last month.

- I've still been sticking with my savings goals, and I'm pretty proud of myself for that.  It's not that hard for me to just set the money aside in a savings account instead of spending it, but sometimes I do just want to go a little crazy and buy all the things -- so it's good that I've managed to fight those urges so far.

Now I'll share my goals for March.  I'm just going to go ahead and tell you that I failed every single one.  It's fine, I know ... But it's still a little disheartening/embarrassing to post my results when they're basically just a sea of red fails.

March Goals:

- Read 7 books.

Fail - I set a reading goal for myself each month in order to try to keep myself on track for hitting my bigger yearly goal.  (This year my goal is 70.)  I thought it would be pretty easy to get through 7 books since March is a long month (and I didn't really have a lot going on), but I kept getting distracted with other things or just picking books that didn't really work for me ... So I finished the month with a mere 5 books read.  I'm currently one book behind schedule (according to Goodreads), so hopefully I can pick up the pace.

- Try a new exercise class at the gym.

Fail - This one is kind of laughable considering it was a struggle to even make it to the classes I was already taking on a regular basis.  I walked outside on a few nicer days and did some yoga videos at home (in addition to attending some of my yoga classes), but I definitely didn't venture outside my workout comfort zone last month.

- Organize/purge my portion of our master bedroom closet.

Fail - I can't say I'm surprised I didn't bother to do this, but it really does need to be done.  It's going to just keep making my list of monthly goals until I do it.

- Finish Erin's reading challenge.

Fail - I literally only have one book left (and have only had one book left since the middle of February), and I even have it checked out from the library.  The problem is that I keep getting other books from the library that I have to prioritize because they have long waiting lists and/or I just feel like reading other books I have checked out instead.  (I haven't been doing a great job with prioritizing books either ... I've already had to return one without reading it, and may find myself returning yet another unread book next week if I don't get my reading shit together.)  I have until the end of this month to complete the challenge, so I should be able to do it.  Hopefully.

- Finish all lessons and the final exam for my creative writing online course.  (Deadline to finish is 04/06/18.)

Fail - I didn't think I'd have trouble keeping up with this, but I did.  Between being super busy at work almost every day (i.e. staying late most days), getting distracted with other things like blogging and reading and watching TV, and general life stuff, I just fell really far behind.  I thought I could catch up, but I honestly didn't have the motivation to do so after a certain point.  The class was free, so I'm not too upset about it ... But it's annoying because it's unlike me to just say, "Oh well, I'll just give up on this and maybe I'll try again later."  It sucks, but at this point I'm too far behind to finish by Friday.  It wasn't really what I was expecting, and I think that was also part of the problem.  Maybe if I try taking it again (and there's no reason I couldn't), I'll do a better job with it because I'll be more prepared.

And, as always, here are a few statistics from last month:

In March:

- I read 1432 pages.
- I completed 5 books.
- I earned 4007 Swagbucks (including earnings from referrals).
- I drank 94 glasses of water.
- I worked out for a total of 7 hours and 58 minutes.

... And that was March.

Cover Me: Covers That Are As Good (or Better) Than the Original Song

When I shared some of my favorite sad love songs back in February, I didn't think I'd want to share another music-related post for a while ... So I kind of surprised myself by continually coming back to this idea when I was trying to come up with post ideas for this week.

As I mentioned in that February post, I used to make monthly playlists on my old blog.  That wasn't something I wanted to carry over to The Book Life, but I did keep an old list of playlist theme ideas in case I wanted to either make one for myself or for my blog.  

One of my favorite playlist themes is the one I'm sharing today: covers that are as good (or better) than the original song.  

I know that some people hate it when a band/artist covers one of their favorite songs.  I don't.  If they can inject new life into the song, offer a unique spin, or just make it sound amazing, I don't see the issue.  

That's not to say that I love every cover of a song I like -- this may be an unpopular opinion, but I stand by my feeling that the original "Hurt" by Nine Inch Nails is superior to the Johnny Cash version.  I'm not annoyed or angry that Johnny Cash chose to cover the song ... I just don't care for it.  That's fine.  That's just my opinion.

When it comes to some other songs, though, I sometimes prefer the cover to the original.  Several of those are included on this list (Tool's version of "No Quarter," for instance).  And then there are covers that I love just as much as the original (like City and Colour's cover of "Nutshell").  

Basically, if I think a cover is as good or better than the original, it's on this list.

"No Quarter" by Tool (Led Zeppelin cover)

This song gives me chills every single time I hear it.  The guitar solo has actually made me cry because it's so beautiful.  (And yes, I know how weird that sounds.)

"Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Tori Amos (Nirvana cover)

I love the original Nirvana version, but Tori Amos really gets to the heart of the song and makes it sound more like it probably should: dark and haunting.

"Nutshell" by City and Colour (Alice In Chains cover)

I listened to the original on repeat after Layne Staley's death way back in 2002.  It has always been one of my favorite Alice In Chains songs, and it seemed incredibly fitting for that particular moment.  When I discovered that Dallas Green (better known as City and Colour) covered the song, I was beyond excited.  It was just as beautiful as I'd hoped it would be.

"I Want You" by Fiona Apple ft. Elvis Costello (Elvis Costello cover)

Is it considered a cover if you're performing it with the original artist?  I'm going to say yes. (And I really love this song, so it needed to be shared here).  This is one of the most powerful performances I've ever seen/heard, and it just reinforces my belief that I need to see Fiona Apple live.

"Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)" by Marilyn Manson (Eurythmics cover)

I'm not an Annie Lennox/Eurythmics fan, so I would never have fallen in love with this song if this version didn't exist.  It's also the song that first put Marilyn Manson on my radar, and I still love listening to it.

"Turn the Page" by Metallica (Bob Seger cover)

This is another song that I likely would never have heard had it not been covered by a band I like.  I love Metallica's version, and I always thought their take on the story of the song (as seen in the video) was really interesting (and sad).

"One" by Chris Cornell (Metallica/U2 cover)

This goes above and beyond just putting your own unique spin on a song.  Mixing the music of U2's "One" with the lyrics of Metallica's "One" (two very different songs, if you're not familiar with them), Chris Cornell created his own, very distinct version of "One."  Amazing.

"Because" by Elliott Smith (Beatles cover)

Elliott Smith was a huge Beatles fan (and therefore did a lot of Beatles covers during his lifetime), but this one is probably my favorite.  It's beautiful in its simplicity, and, if I didn't know it was a cover, I would believe it was an Elliott Smith original because it very much becomes his song.

"Fiddle and the Drum" by A Perfect Circle (Joni Mitchell cover)

I know this is the second Maynard James Keenan cover to make this list, but at least this is with another band.  (And, trust me, it was hard to choose just one A Perfect Circle cover to include!)  This version of the song makes me all teary every time I hear it -- it's so beautiful and powerful.

"Tonight, I Am Going to Wash the Hippy" by Alexisonfire (Moneen cover)

If I can have two Maynard James Keenan songs on this list, I can have two Dallas Green songs as well.  (Again, different projects.)  The title of this song is a silly play on the original title ("Tonight, I'm Gone ...") and a nickname for one of Moneen's band members ("Hippy"), but don't write the song off based on that.  The song itself is awesome, and is actually one of my favorites.

"Baba O'Riley" by Pearl Jam (The Who cover)

I've had the pleasure of experiencing this song live, and it definitely gets the crowd going.  I love a song that you basically have to sing along with when it's played live, and this is one of those songs.  The Who version is great, of course, but I've always loved the energy Pearl Jam brings to it.  (A very close second favorite Pearl Jam cover is "Rockin' in the Free World," originally by Neil Young.)

"The Headmaster Ritual" by Radiohead (The Smiths cover)

More than anything, I'm impressed that Radiohead completely nailed this song.  They may not have made a ton of changes, but it's a hard song to do well.  (Though I guess if anyone could pull off those vocals, it's Thom Yorke.)

"Feeling Good" by Muse (Nina Simone cover)

I actually had to do a little research to determine where this song originated.  (I just knew it was a cover.)  The song actually debuted in a musical called The Roar of the Greasepaint - the Smell of the Crowd, but it was first recorded by Nina Simone in 1965.  (There's your music trivia for the day.)  I've just always loved Muse's version of this song, and I'm not too embarrassed to admit that I love singing it at the top of my lungs in the car.

"Red Right Hand" by Arctic Monkeys (Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds cover)

Like my admission about "Hurt," this may be an unpopular opinion: I'm not a huge fan of the original version of this song.  It just doesn't do it for me.  This cover, though?  It's perfect.  If I'd never heard the original, I would assume this was how it was supposed to sound.

Would any of these songs make your list of best covers?  I'd also love it if you shared some of your favorite covers in the comments!

A-Z Book Survey

To say I've been feeling a little uninspired lately would be a massive understatement.  And, unfortunately, this has crept into all areas of my life (not just blogging).  I've been trying to just go with how I feel, not forcing things and taking a step back when I need to ... But sometimes it's hard to do that.

I'll be sharing a little about this last month in Thursday's post (spoiler alert: it won't be that exciting), so you'll probably notice that I pretty much failed when it came to sticking with goals and getting stuff done.  I'm trying not to be too hard on myself (I mean, that's not going to change the fact that I just didn't put the time and effort into completing the goals I set for myself), but sometimes it's hard not to feel at least a little disappointed in my lack of motivation.

Anyway, the reason I'm starting this post off with talk of my lack of inspiration and motivation is because I found myself searching for some blog post inspiration online yesterday and found plenty of things to write about when I'm feeling like I've been feeling.  I wish I were one of those bloggers who plans well in advance and always has several completed posts sitting in drafts for those times when I'm too busy/too uninspired to come up with new content ... But I'm not.  Maybe I'll get there eventually (that would actually be a great goal for 2019!), but right now I'm definitely not.

So that brings me to today's post.  I didn't feel like writing a lot (which is kind of funny, considering I actually just wrote a pretty long introduction), and I wanted to post something light and fun -- and that led me to this A-Z Book Survey.

Let's get to it, shall we?

Author you've read the most books from:

My Goodreads account isn't an accurate representation of this since I obviously read plenty of books before I started using the site regularly in 2015.  I think I've read more books by Chuck Palahniuk than any other author (even though I haven't read anything after Pygmy ... Yet), with a grand total of 12 books read.

Best sequel ever:

I don't read a lot of series, so I didn't have a lot of options for this.  I'm going to go with The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood because it felt like its own book and not simply a continuation of Oryx and Crake.

Currently reading:

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney.

Drink of choice while reading:

I'm usually either drinking coffee or water while I'm reading (if I'm drinking anything at all).

E-reader or physical book:

I always prefer a physical book, even if it's less convenient to carry around.  I did really like using my Kindle on our last vacation, though -- I got multiple e-books from the library before we left, and it was so nice to have options on a long flight without carting around a bunch of heavy books.

Fictional character you probably would have actually dated in high school:

I don't know if I read enough YA to come up with a good response to this.  I guess if I had to choose, I'd say Finch from All the Bright Places.  It's probably kind of an odd choice, but I was often drawn to the damaged yet sensitive, tortured soul types in high school (and after).  Eric is not like that at all, by the way.  I always tease him that he must be special because he's so unlike the "type" I usually go for.

Glad you gave this book a chance:

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.  I obviously wasn't put off by the reviews (I can't remember ever seeing a negative one), but historical fiction isn't usually my thing and I was worried the romance elements mentioned in the synopsis would overpower the story.  I'm glad I didn't let those things deter me from actually reading it -- it's one of the best books I've read in the last few years.

Hidden gem book:

A Thousand Cuts by Simon Lelic.  I don't remember ever seeing another blogger mention this book (or this author, for that matter).  This book completely captivated me, and would have received a five star rating if I'd been using Goodreads when I initially read it.  I own a copy, so I'll likely revisit it in the near(ish) future.

Important moment in your reading life:

Getting a library card as an adult.  When I was a kid, my mom and I visited the library pretty much every week.  As I got older, I tended to buy more books or just pick books off my mom's shelves that interested me.  After graduating college, I never went to the library anymore -- I moved around to several different cities in several different areas, so I was never in one place long enough to justify getting a library card (at least in my opinion).  I actually didn't get a library card in Omaha until 2015, which is crazy considering I've lived here since 2009.  I was under the impression that they wouldn't have many of the books I wanted to read, and I have no idea why.  Sure, they don't have every book I want to read (especially since my tastes can be a bit weird sometimes), but they probably have at least 90% or more.  Since I got my library card, I've been reading significantly more.

Just finished:

Lie to Me by J.T. Ellison.  I'll be posting the reviews for my March reads next week for Show Us Your Books.

Kinds of books you won't read:

I try to be open enough to give most books a fair shot, but there are definitely some genres I like significantly less than others.  I'd say the only things I actually would never read are the crazy scary religious books (like the ones I've seen on Goodreads lists for "disturbing books" that focus on "turning your kid straight" and things like that) and romance novels.  I just honestly have zero interest in reading romance novels of any kind.

Longest book you've ever read:

I consulted Goodreads for this one, and I think the winner is Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy at a whopping 864 pages.  In a close second: The Way the Crow Flies by Ann-Marie MacDonald (848 pages).

Major book hangover because of:

I really don't know.  I can usually start a new book the same day I finish one (or a day later) regardless of how much I enjoyed my last book.  I do, however, remember spending a lot of time in my younger years attempting to find something similar to Geek Love by Katherine Dunn, and feeling disappointed that I could never find anything that would give me quite the same feelings.

Number of bookcases you own:

Technically five, though only three of them house books.  One shelf is exclusively for our DVDs (that we rarely watch), and the other, smaller one is where we keep a few random things like our Blu-ray player, Bluetooth speaker (though that's portable and moves around occasionally), a clock, etc.

One book you have read multiple times:

I've reread several of my favorite books (and plan to do this in the future as well), but I don't think I've read any book as many times as I've read Geek Love by Katherine Dunn.

Preferred place to read:

Lying on the living room couch.  Obviously the living room is very much a shared space, but Eric and I kind of think of the couch as "mine" because I always set up shop there.  It's where I watch TV, blog/write, take naps, and most often spend time reading.  He uses the couch too, of course ... Just not as much as I do.

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you've read:

Luckily, I recently shared a post featuring some of my favorite book quotes, so that made answering this one pretty easy.  

"This is what they don't tell you about losing someone: It doesn't happen once.  It happens every day, every moment they're missing from.  You lose them a hundred times between waking and sleep, and even sleep is no respite, because you lose them in your dreams, too." - Cam Girl by Elliot Wake (published as Leah Raeder)

Reading regret:

I wouldn't really say I regret reading any specific books, though I've definitely read some really shitty ones that make me wish I had those precious hours wasted back.  I guess my only real "regret" is sometimes choosing books I know I probably won't like just because they fit a certain reading challenge category.  Some categories are really difficult for me, but I should probably spend a little longer thinking about them and searching for a better book than just picking the first thing that fits and is available at my library.

Series you started and need to finish (all books are out in the series):

As I mentioned earlier in this post, I don't read a lot of series.  The main thing that comes to mind is the MaddAddam trilogy by Margaret Atwood.  I read both Oryx and Crake (one of my all-time favorites) and The Year of the Flood ages ago, but still haven't gotten around to reading the final book.  Since I can use it for a category in the 2018 PopSugar Reading Challenge, I'm pretty sure I'll finally read it this year.

Three of your all-time favorite books:

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk

Unapologetic fangirl for:

While I'm definitely not as much of a fangirl as I used to be, I'd have to go with Chuck Palahniuk.  Some people love him, some people hate him, and some (like me) are fans who have been disappointed with some of his more recent work.  Even so, his books got me excited about reading again back in college, and I was constantly amazed by the creativity that went into his (admittedly) often outlandish story-telling.  Oh, and I also once drove three hours to see him on one of his book tours.  I got my book signed, and also took this oh-so-lovely picture with him in which I look like a deer in the headlights:

Very excited for this release more than all the others:

There are a lot of upcoming releases on my radar right now, but, since I've been talking about Chuck Palahniuk, I'll go ahead and name his upcoming book, Adjustment Day, as my most anticipated release this year.  He hasn't published a new novel in several years, so I'm hoping that he spent that time crafting something amazing.  I know I shouldn't go in with such high hopes, but I am.  I may even go ahead and preorder this one even though I know they'll have it at the library.

Worst bookish habit:

This is tough.  I think maybe my inability to quit books.  I will suffer through no matter how fucking terrible it is.  On the upside, sometimes my reviews are more interesting if the book made me want to rip it to shreds and feed it to a fire.

X marks the spot - start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:

The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison.

Your latest book purchase:

I haven't bought any books in a really long time.  I still have a few on my shelves that I haven't read yet, and I keep picking up new books from the library.  There are several books on my wish list that aren't available at the library, but I haven't ordered any of them yet.  I'd say I haven't bought any books since ... 2016 maybe?  I think I ordered several from Amazon that year, but I don't remember what they were.

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up way late):

I thought it would be easy to answer this one, but it's not.  I've been watching more TV with Eric before bed lately, so I haven't been as tempted to stay up late and read.  So, as strange as it feels for me to say this, I can't remember.

This was surprisingly long for such a simple post.  If you read through all of that, thanks for sticking around!  

Please feel free to steal this (just be sure to credit The Perpetual Page-turner!).  I'd love to see other people's responses to these questions!