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Books

Spring Book Reviews

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As I suspected in my Winter Book Reviews, I have, in fact, ended up in a reading slump. Not because my reading pace is slower (that, I don’t really mind), but because I just haven’t been feeling the motivation to read. I think my switch to primarily non-fiction may have something to do with it, so I want to read more fiction in the upcoming seasons to see if that helps.

I read 3 books in March, 2 books in April, and 2 books in May. Out of the 7 total books I read in spring, 2 were from the library, and 5 were books I bought, already owned, or received for review. Only 2 out of 7 were fiction, the rest non-fiction.

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Books Minimalism

Books I’m Getting Rid Of

I’ve been putting this off for the longest time, but I may finally apply minimalism to my book collection (at least a little bit).

I’ve always said that my book collection is excluded from my minimalist lifestyle. I was working hard towards a massive home library that had each and every book I had read in my lifetime, whether I enjoyed the book or not. I spent hours hunting down the books I read in childhood, so I could add them to my Goodreads profile and have the number of books I’d read be complete.

I no longer feel like this fits me. I still want to have a massive home library, but when I look at my shelves, I want to see books that I remember having read. Books that I rated at least 3 stars, books I enjoyed. Books that mean something to me. Books I’d consider re-reading. It may take me a little longer to have my three IKEA Billy shelves all filled up, but it’s worth it if it means I can look at my book collection and feel joy.

I will make sure all of these books find a good home, whether that’s through selling them, or donating them to Better World Books.

If you’re curious about why I got rid of certain books, keep reading.

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Books

Winter Book Reviews

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In the winter of 2017-2018, I didn’t read nearly as many books as I did last season. I’m afraid I might have gotten into another reading slump… Still, I managed to read 1 book in December, 3 in January, and 3 in February.

I’m okay with that. One of my goals for 2018 was to read more consciously. When I first discovered young adult fiction, I read between seventy and a hundred books a year, and I barely remember anything from those books. It’s too early to tell now, but I hope that in a year from now, I’ll still remember enough to be able to talk about them with people. I’m also reading more non-fiction, with the goal to learn something new every once in a while.

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Books Minimalism

Book Review: Goodbye, Things

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Goodbye, Things: On Minimalist Living
by Fumio Sasaki

Age Group/Genre: Non-Fiction
Publication date: April 11th, 2017 (first published in Japan on June 12th, 2015)
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 256
Format: Paperback

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Synopsis

Fumio Sasaki is a writer in his thirties who lives in a tiny studio in Tokyo with three shirts, four pairs of trousers, four pairs of socks and not much else. A few years ago, he realized that owning so much stuff was weighing him down — so he started to get rid of it.

In this hit Japanese bestseller, Sasaki explores the philosophy behind minimalism and offers a set of straightforward rules — discard it if you haven’t used it in a year; be a borrower; find your uniform; keep photos of the things you love — that can help all of us lead simpler, happier, more fulfilled lives.

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Books

Book Review: Together at Midnight

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This post includes affiliate links.

Together at Midnight
by Jennifer Castle

Age Group/Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publication date: January 2nd, 2018
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 352
Format: ARC

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Synopsis

What does it really mean to be kind… and why does it sometimes feel like the hardest thing in the world to do?

High school senior Kendall, who just returned from a life-changing semester in Europe, and Max, who is drifting his way through a gap year before college, struggle with these questions when they witness a tragic accident in New York City during the holiday season. Racked with guilt, the two accept a dare to perform random acts of kindness to strangers. The challenge pulls these two teens, who have a history together from back home, closer and closer as they explore a vibrant city filled with other people’s stories and secrets.

Kendall and Max can’t deny their growing bond, even though they both have other romantic entanglements and uncertain futures. As the clock counts down on New Year’s Eve, will they find themselves together at midnight?

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Books

Autumn Book Reviews

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As some of you may know, I used to write a book blog called Lauren Reads YA. I decided to quit book blogging in the beginning of 2017 because I wanted to focus on service dog training, but when my first attempt failed (second attempt is in the works — not giving up yet!), I was right back where I started: at home with nothing to do, having given up one of my most time-consuming activities.

I made this new blog a personal/’lifestyle’ one because I didn’t want to be restricted to just writing about books, but I also didn’t want to quit book blogging entirely. So I hope those of you who followed my book blog will continue to follow my bookish posts (and others!) on here.

At the moment, I read less than I did when my book blog was at its peak: then 70-100 books a year, now 52 (one for every week of the year — that’s the idea).

My taste has also dramatically changed: I read less young adult fiction because I feel like I’m — for lack of a better phrase — ‘growing out of it’. I’m currently on a non-fiction kick, especially reading lots about autism because I got my official diagnosis this year and want to get to know myself as best as I can. Fiction-wise, I haven’t really figured out what I’m into at the moment so I haven’t been reading much, but I’m hoping to add some more fiction to my 2018 reading list.

I have a weird relationship with book reviews as they sometimes disclose too much about the contents of the book. In most cases, all I need to know is if the book is ‘for me’. And that’s what I want to give you in this post — and upcoming posts in winter, spring, and summer. These will not in-depth reviews, just some thoughts on the book and whether I would recommend it.

Please let me know if you have read any of these books and what you thought about it! I’d love to discuss.

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Books

How To Survive a Book Buying Ban

This post was originally published on my book blog Lauren Reads YA in March 2014.

  1. Think of all the money you will save. Maybe challenge yourself to get your bank balance as high as you can during your buying ban.
  2. Promise yourself a reward. (Books? Maybe?)
  3. Avoid bookstores at all costs. In extreme cases, download an application (SelfControl for Mac, FocalFilter for Windows) and block all the sites where you buy your books.
  4. Avoid reading about new releases.
  5. Make sure you have enough books on your TBR so that you’ll feel guilty buying more. Put a giant pile of books you still need to read somewhere you look at every day, like your bedside table or next to your computer.
  6. Go to the library.
  7. Talk to a friend whenever you want to buy books and explain your problem. Ask them if they want to help you, even if it means literally dragging you out of the bookstore. (Yes, this has happened to me. I don’t want to talk about it.)
  8. Keep these thoughts in your mind: Do I actually need this book right now? Do I even have time to read this book before my ban ends? Is it really so bad to get it a little bit later?
  9. Make a list of books on your TBR that you want to read, and if you’ve read them all (make it a realistic but not too short amount), you can end your ban early.
  10. Avoid Goodreads, BookTube, and book blogs. They’ll only make you feel sad for not being able to buy books.
Books Minimalism

On Book Blogging, Physical Copies, and Minimalism

This post was originally posted on my book blog Lauren Reads YA in March 2016.

‘BookTube’ and ‘Bookstagram’ has made some significant changes in the way we — bloggers, readers, Goodreads users, BookTubers, etc. — think about our books. The book blogging community that existed before BookTube was a thing didn’t have this problem, because book blogging seems to be more focused on the inside of a book rather than the outside, whereas BookTube is very much about showing off your books and filming book hauls in front of your enormous bookshelves and all that. That’s partly, of course, because it’s such a visual medium, and you want to have something to show that is not just a book cover taken off Google Images.

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Autism Books

Book Review: The Reason I Jump

This review was originally posted on my Tumblr blog in September 2017.

Written by Naoki Higashida, a very smart, very self-aware, and very charming thirteen-year-old boy with autism, it is a one-of-a-kind memoir that demonstrates how an autistic mind thinks, feels, perceives, and responds in ways few of us can imagine. Parents and family members who never thought they could get inside the head of their autistic loved one, at last, have a way to break through to the curious, subtle, and complex life within. 

Using an alphabet grid to painstakingly construct words, sentences, and thoughts that he is unable to speak out loud, Naoki answers even the most delicate questions that people want to know. Questions such as: “Why do people with autism talk so loudly and weirdly?” “Why do you line up your toy cars and blocks?” “Why don’t you make eye contact when you’re talking?” and “What’s the reason you jump?” (Naoki’s answer: “When I’m jumping, it’s as if my feelings are going upward to the sky.”) With disarming honesty and a generous heart, Naoki shares his unique point of view on not only autism but life itself. His insights—into the mystery of words, the wonders of laughter, and the elusiveness of memory—are so startling, so strange, and so powerful that you will never look at the world the same way again.

Oh, dear. I knew that when I started reading about autism, I was going to eventually find something horrific. I just wasn’t expecting it to be this one.

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