Reading Shakespeare

Shakespeare the Complete Works

Shakespeare
Shakespeare

Below is a list of all the plays, at least the ones we know of that the Great Bard wrote.  I have a book with the complete works and this is the order it lists them.  I’m working very slowly through these.  I would like to finish all of these in 2016, but the chance of me completing these and the BBC 100 are low.

Progress: 9/46 or 20%

  1. Two Gentlemen of Verona
  2. The Taming of the Shrew
  3. 2 Henry VI – Part II
  4. 3 Henry VI – Part III
  5. 1 Henry VI – Part I
  6. Titus Andronicus
  7. Richard III
  8. Venus and Adonis
  9. The Rape of Lucrece
  10. Edward III
  11. The Comedy of Errors – August 10, 2014
  12. Love’s Labour’s Lost
  13. Love’s Labour’s Won
  14. Richard II
  15. Romeo and Juliet – January, 1998
  16. A Midsummer Night’s Dream – July 7, 2014
  17. King John
  18. The Merchant of Venice – July 30, 2014
  19. 1 Henry IV – Part I
  20. The Merry Wives of Windsor
  21. 2 Henry IV – Part II
  22. Much Ado About Nothing – August 28, 2014
  23. Henry V
  24. Julius Caesar – June 20, 2015
  25. As You Like It
  26. Hamlet – January 2013
  27. Twelfth Night
  28. Troilus and Cressida
  29. Sonnets and ‘A Lover’s Complaint’
  30. Poems
  31. Measure for Measure
  32. Othello
  33. King Lear
  34. The Life of Timon of Athens
  35. Macbeth – August 19, 2011
  36. Antony and Cleopatra
  37. All’s Well That Ends Well
  38. Pericles, Prince of Tyre
  39. Coriolanus
  40. The Winter’s Tale
  41. King Lear
  42. Cymbeline, King of Brition
  43. The Tempest – August 20, 2014
  44. Cardenio
  45. All is True
  46. The Two Nobile Kinsmen

Print Book Sales are Up!

Book Sales Up
Book Sales Up

Good news, according to Publisher’s Weekly the sales of print books are up.  Not dramatically, but still this is good news.  For the second year in a row sales are up.  2.8% over last year and the year before that it was up 2.4%.  Thats the right direction!

So, whats driving the growth? Independent and chain bookstores, as well as Amazon lead the growth with an increase of 5.4%, which offset a drop of 8.8% from mass retailers like Walmart.  Looks like people are turing away from buying their books at Target and increasingly buying at Amazon.

US Book Sales by Channel
US Book Sales by Channel

I have to say I love getting a view of these numbers.  As a reader and someone who wants to promote reading, this is great news.  The article at Publisher’s Weekly had some analysis and tables, but I think seeing these numbers graphed helps tell the story better.

Below is the sales broken out by Category.  We can see the fall in 2014 in Adult nonfiction and the increase again in 2015, although not quite to the point it was in 2013.  Thats a shame, I love nonfiction.  Fantastic to see Juvenile non fiction grow like this year over year.  A 11.7% increase year-over-year!

Books Sales by Category
Books Sales by Category

One more graph and then I’m done, promise.  I read all formats of books, print, audio, ebook, etc.  But here is the sales for the last 3 years broken out for your perusal.

US Print Book Sales by Format
US Print Book Sales by Format

I’m very happy to see hardcover sales up, this means, to me at least, that people are purchasing copies to keep and re-read.  They are building their libraries, hopefully, not just for themselves but for everyone in their family to enjoy.  Board books are up the most at 14.5% year-over-year.  This is very encouraging.  This means to me, that people are buying books to read to their very small children.  Start them young on a hobby (nay life choice) that will forever change them for the better!

Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy
Guardians of the Galaxy by Dan Abnett

I think I know why I don’t read many graphic novels.  I don’t feel like I’ve really gained anything by reading them.  With non-fiction there is an obvious additional of knowledge gained.  With Fiction (at least good fiction) I come away feeling I have accomplished something and learned an interesting story.  With most graphic novels, I think I feel guilty.  Guilty that I’ve wasted my time reading something purely because it looks pretty.

Maus by Art Spiegelman
Maus by Art Spiegelman

Of course, with graphic novels like Maus, that is not the case.  That was a deep and serious work, that was by far my favorite graphic novel of all time.  However, with something like Guardians of the Galaxy by Dan Abnett, I don’t feel as though I am gaining any additional insight or learning from the story.  But I still enjoy it.

After this, I’m definitely going to take a break from graphic novels for a bit.  It may be time for some serious non-fiction to cleanse my palate so to speak.  I checked this out from the local library and saved $21!  Yeah!

Okay, so now that I am done with this, Im totally going to read more graphic novels.  Not only was the art awesome, the story was really good.  A little difficult to follow for me.  I find it hard to figure out the reading order of the word bubbles in comic books.  I guess I’m so used to the linear reading in regular books this throws me.

We are going to the library tomorrow, and I will be stoping at the graphic novel section again.  Even though my to read pile is dwarfing my house right now.  This gets 4 stars, because nothing can ever be better than Maus.

Lucy the Reader

I ran across this, I forget how, but tell me how cute is she?  I think it is the accent!  I just love watching her videos!  I’ll be stuck watching these for the rest of the week now!

You can find her on youtube and her blog.

Reading War and Peace

War and Peace
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Yep, I’m doing it.  I’m going to read the mother of all books.  The big one, the doorstop, the massive tome know as War and Peace the Russian that looks a little like Rasputin to me, Leo Tolstoy.  But don’t worry I have a plan.  I’ve gotten the full, unabridged audio version, all 48 CDs and 61 hours!  The library had that.  Boom, savings of $44 bucks!  I picked up the Cliff Notes too, again from the library.

However, so far, I have been reading it mostly on my phone.  Strange huh?  The chapters are pretty short from what I’ve read.  I’m only on chapter 8.  I’m reading slow.  My 2 year old loves to listen to me read it at her bed time.  It puts her to sleep quickly, 😉

I did borrow the paper version from the library too, but had to give it back quickly, it is just too thick to hold and read for any long amount of time.

War and Peace Progress
War and Peace Progress

Pitiful, I know I’m only 2.5% completed with the book.  I’ll update you as I go along, but so far the book is not boring.  It is not what I would call a page-turner either though.  The goal is to finish the book by the end of this year.  I’m not even sure if I’m on pace for that or not.

I do have ankle surgery coming up and will be unable to put any weight on my foot for at least 2 weeks, so that should give me some time to put into reading this.  Next, you will ask, why I’m reading this.

Well readers love lists and this is on one of the only list I have been working on for the past several years.  The BBC 100.  I need to post that list up here and my progress on it too.  Thats all for now, I’ll keep you updated on how it is going when I make some progress on the thing.  For now, back to reading!

Isle of the Lost

Isle of the Lost
Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz

I’m reading Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz with my daughter who is 7 years old.  She loved the made for TV movie Descendants.  We have only read the introduction so far, but it seems to be, from the goodreads description, a prequel to the movie.  We also had to get the soundtrack for this for our daughter and she has some of the dolls as well.

That seems to be what happens when she sees a movie that she likes.  She wants the dolls and soundtrack.  I’m really happy that with this movie there are follow-up or prequel books to read with her.

Wonder Woman: The Circle

Wonder Woman by Gail Simone
Wonder Woman by Gail Simone

UPDATE:  I didn’t think I would finish this book so soon.  I forgot how quickly graphic novels are read.  I loved the art in this book and the story was better than most of the Wonder Woman graphic novels I have read.  I would recommend this for Wonder Woman fans.  It is a strong 3 star read.

I started Wonder Woman: The Circle by Gail Simone last night.  I originally got this after finding out that one of my local libraries has a very large collection of comic books, or graphic novels.  Will someone tell me what the difference between a comic book and a graphic novel is please.  I’ve always used comic book when talking about just one individual copy and graphic novel when referring to something like this book which is a collection of issues combined into one book.  Someone please set me straight in the comments.

Anywho, the library, Yorba Linda Library, had this and I’ve always been into Wonder Woman, I mean she’s hot right?  Last year I read The Secret History of Wonder Woman by by Jill Lepore, which was a little slow, but a great foundation to really understand the origins of Wonder Woman and those who created her.  I was never into the early comics and I think I would have found them disappointing as Gail Simone points out in the introduction of this book.

It’s around $19 on Amazon so this goes into 2016 savings bucket!  I saved $19 already this year on books because I got this from the library.  Last year I saved over $800 on books because I borrowed them from the library.  I really need to do a post on that as well.

I borrowed this in part because I’ve been slowly getting more interested in comic books in the last few years.  I have been attending comic-con regularly with my dad (it’s kind of a tradition with us, and no we don’t dress up).  Also, with the new Star Wars movie out, I know that a lot of what happens between episode 6 and 7 is being covered in the comic books and regular novels.  I want to know everything so I’ve put somethings on hold and I also have plans to check out the local comic book stores soon.

There are a lot of Wonder Woman comics out there and I find it confusing to figure out where this one lies in the Wonder Woman timeline.  I looked on wikipedia and I’m having trouble finding something that lays it all out on a timeline like the Star Wars novels are laid out on Wookiepedia.

I picked this up to read over the winter break, I took vacation from work, and I haven’t gotten to it until now because I was reading Shade Me.

What’s This?!

What's This?
What’s This?

This is my new blog to post about the books that I am reading.  I’ve been thinking of doing something like this for years and now finally here it is.  I’ll be writing about the books I’m reading and writing reviews for those that I finish.  More detail is on my about page.  I read a lot so hopefully there will be lots of content on here.  I read 87 books last year, let’s hope I can hit 100 in 2016!

Goodreads Stats
Goodreads Stats – Number of books read each year

I’ve been trying to hit 100 for years.  I almost got there in 2011 and I’m very excited to write about all the books I experience this year!

The Best Books I Read in 2015

Book Lust
Book Lust. Sums 2015 up well.

Just as in previous years I’m writing a post about the books I read in 2015. I read 87 books in total, below is the breakdown. This year I’m adding a few metrics which I think will be interesting. Like, how much I saved by borrowing books from the library ($807.40) and what percentage of the authors I read were men (67%).

Fiction was the majority of my reading at 60%. Fantasy (20%) and Science Fiction (21%) being the largest portion of all genres. Read a few series this year, meaning I read 8 books by Holly Black (Spiderwick Chronicles), 3 from C.S. Lewis (Chronicles of Narnia), 2 from Timothy Zahn (The Thrawn Trilogy) and 2 Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson). Paperback was the least popular binding at on 17% of my reads.

Most of my books came from the library (37%). Longest audio book I listened to was Capital at 1,503 minutes (25 hours), shortest was The Hamburger: A History at 180 minutes (3 hours). Total audio listening was 11,751 minutes (196 hours, 8.2 days).

Longest book I read was Hadoop in Practice (536 pages), which was for a class and I didn’t read every page. Next was All the Light We Cannot See at (530 pages). Shortest was 30 pages, a short story called Percy Jackson and the Singer of Apollo. In all I read 14,560 pages.

The longest it took me to get through a book was Capital (195 days), Michelle and I listened to it in the car. Shorts books included a lot of the Spiderwick Chronicles, in all I finished 12 books the same day I started them.

I finished the most books in July (20). The most popular book (according to goodreads) I read was The Perks of Being a Wallflower. The least was Valkyrie.

So how does this year compare to previous years? Well, I read the most I have in the past 3 years, but still not as much as 2011, when I read 96 books. That big 100 is still just out of reach. Maybe this year…

Some of my favorite books of the year were:

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

Dracula

Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader

Falling Up

Tuck Everlasting

The Nixie’s Song

How Reading Changed My Life

The Wrath of Mulgarath

Siddhartha

The Field Guide

Departure

Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason

The Read-Aloud Handbook

Dark Force Rising

The Last Olympian

Shade Me Review

Shade Me
Shade Me

So I read Shade Me by Jennifer Brown. Before we get to the spoilers let me just say quickly that this is a very strong 4 on a 1-5 scale. The only reason I held back on 5 is because of a bit too much teenage angst for my liking. Although, not nearly as much as the Twilight books. Also, there were a hand full of times, that I caught myself thinking, come on Nikki really, that’s dumb, don’t do that. But this actually might be a reason to give it more stars not less because if you are talking to yourself while reading the book, its got you. Full disclosure, I entered a contest on EpicReads and was sent this book for free. It doesn’t get officially published until 1/19/16.

**Spoilers Below**

Continue reading Shade Me Review