OMG! By the time you read this post, I’ll be back at the Iceland Writers Retreat!! 😀
I have to admit, though: The past two months have been a whirlwind. A big part of that was launching my business Heart of the Story Editorial & Coaching Services in February. Since then, life has been a juggling act between that, the day job, preparing for the Iceland trip, preparing for the ACES Conference (more on that shortly), and some unexpected things in my offline life, including a relative’s health emergency. And I’m aware that while I’m keeping up with my blogging schedule, I’ve fallen behind in just about every other area of this part of my life. 😦
In a way, I knew this was coming… and once I’m back from Iceland, it might be time to slow things down here and finally get the Heart of the Story blog up and running. But for now, let’s focus on the good that’s happened since the previous edition of What’s Making Me Happy. And as always, feel free to share the things that have made you smile recently in your comments on this post!
Let’s begin with…
Did anyone else have a weird season of reading? For my first few books of 2019, I’d love or enjoy one book, then be disappointed by the next one. I was even worried that I’d fall into a reading slump – and I think we can agree that those are never pleasant.
Luckily that back-and-forth didn’t last long. (Hooray!) So out of the 10 fiction books I read over the winter, I’m highlighting seven of them in today’s post. And I have to admit, I like this season’s round-up a LOT. It features a great mix of genres, a couple “hidden gems” that deserve more attention, and a couple early contenders for Favorite New Book of 2019. 😉
Ready for some new book recommendations? Let’s start with…
Are you one of those readers who challenges yourself to read a certain number of books every year? I’m… well, not one of those people. (*lol*) But I do have a consistent reading habit, and the reading goals I set for myself are more or less to guide my book choices throughout the year. For example, I try to prioritize brand new releases I’m interested in so I can stay on top of my favorite genre’s current market. And, as I shared in this post last year, I read at least one poem per day to help me comb through my extensive collection of poetry books.
But what about other goals, like finishing series I’ve already started? Or borrowing books from the library periodically? Yeeeeaaahhhh…. I haven’t been nearly as good with those. So I decided to organize my next year of reading with LOTS of goals. Ten, to be exact. I was a little afraid that creating so much structure could sap the fun out of reading. But now that I see what’s in my queue, these goals might help put a dent in my TBR pile and keep things interesting. Yay!
Without further ado, here are my reading goals for 2019:
Recently, a Facebook friend tagged me on the Seven-Day Book Challenge. I finally got around to it a few weeks ago and “double-teamed” it through FB and Instagram. And then I thought, “Why not share it on the blog, too?”
The rules of the Seven-Day Book Challenge are simple: For seven days, you share a photo or image on Facebook of a different favorite book and nominate another friend to carry on the challenge. There’s no set theme to follow, and you don’t need to write a caption or explanation for why you choose each book. You simply share the photo, tag a friend, and reply to any comments. But for this blog post, I think I’ll “break” one of those rules. 😉
Here are the books I chose for the Seven-Day Book Challenge, and why I picked each one.
In early January, I was at a local bookstore when I came across Ursula K. Le Guin’s most recent book, No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters. This collection shows Le Guin, who excelled at writing a wide range of literature (fantasy, science fiction, children’s stories, essays, poetry), exploring yet another form of writing: blogging. Yes, No Time to Spare is a collection of blog posts, in which Le Guin shares her thoughts on family, the publishing industry, society and the world at large – and, perhaps most notably, aging. And I knew, just from holding the small blue hardcover and perusing the pages within, that it would be different from any UKLG book I’d read before.
Yet there was no question in my mind that I’d buy it. Because, after all, it’s Ursula K. Le Guin, my favorite writer ever. I’ve loved everything I’ve read from her in the past, and the thought of bringing No Time to Spare home was like opening my inner circle to a new friend whom I felt I’d known forever.
How fitting that this book, where Le Guin was contemplating the final frontier of life, was the last one she published, and the last one I bought by her, before she passed away.
Isn’t it fun to look back on the books you’ve read in the past year? I always enjoy doing this, though I also prefer to wait until January to share my lists of favorites. Somehow the books I read around Christmas and New Year’s have a habit of shaking up those lists – and that certainly was the case again!
Out of the 56 fiction books I read in 2017, I’ve narrowed my favorites down to a top 10 of brand new books and a top 10 of previously published books. Plus, like with my Favorite Reads of 2016 post, I’ve added something fun for readers at the end of this post. 😉 So let’s dive in!
After learning that Ursula K. Le Guin, my all-time favorite author, had recently published a new book of essays, I was inspired to go back to her speech at the 2014 National Book Awards, where she was awarded the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. It’s so well crafted and full of truth about writing and publishing that I thought readers would enjoy it as well. Plus, at just under 6 minutes, it’s fairly short. Enjoy!
(Look for this week’s #WeeklyWriterWisdom questions after the jump.)
How’s this for a blog hop challenge? Fellow blogger and writer friend Joanna Maciejewska tagged me on the Three Books for a Desert Island Blog Hop, which she created over the summer. The idea is to choose three books in your collection that you’d bring with you if you had to travel to a deserted island. It’s a neat idea, and a tough one, too – it took me a couple months to figure out which books I’d bring with me! But now I’m ready to share my choices. 🙂
First, let’s go over…
This Sunday, July 9th marks my eighth blogoversary! And based on the results of this recent poll, this year’s celebration is going to be… giveaways! (Many thanks to everyone who voted, btw!) This is perfect, because blogoversaries aren’t just a time of virtual cake, confetti, and fireworks. They’re also a great opportunity to thank readers for their friendship and support, no matter how long they’ve been following you. So, consider this week’s and next week’s posts my gift to you guys. (*bows in gratitude*)
For this first giveaway, I wanted to do something bookish, but something different from the usual “favorite reads or authors of all time” theme. Then I read these recent Top 10 Tuesday posts by Sarah J. Higbee and The Bibliosanctum, and a lightbulb turned on. So, here are Ten Unique Reads I Highly Recommend, along with links to my reviews at Goodreads. At the end you’ll find a Rafflecopter link and instructions for how the giveaway will work. Sounds like a plan, yes? 😀
(Look for this week’s #WeeklyWriterWisdom questions after the jump.)