Zero-By-2020: To Be Read in March

I hope it’s not weird that I’m starting this in March. I just found a lot of cool library books in February, and I’m W E A K. (Which I ended up returning most of them unread so I could tackle something bigger, my TBR.)

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If you’re not sure what Zero-By-2020 is, it is this new project I’m starting where I’m going to reduce my physical To Be Read pile to zero books by 2020. I’m going to make monthly TBRs, wrap-ups, perhaps participate in challenges and read-a-thons to help get my TBR to zero or at least a more manageable number. I am also planning on creating challenges that you can participate in too! Throughout my journey, I am going to share my struggles, my tips and tricks, and my thoughts on these books.

My physical TBR stands at around 200 books; I’m not sure of the exact number as I unhauled books and hauled more afterwards. Seeing as I only read about 34 books last year and about 28 the year before, I’m not sure how I’m going to accomplish this project. But, I am going to try my best to take a stab at it.

Without further ado, let’s begin with my TBR for March!

Book One: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (550 pgs)

19063 It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.

By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.

In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

I feel like I’m one of the only people in the book community who has not read The Book Thief yet. I’m really interested in the history of World War II and this book has a really cool concept, so I have no idea why I haven’t picked it up. In March, I will though!

Book Two: Bluets by Maggie Nelson (99 pgs)

 Bluets winds its way through depression,

coverdivinity, alcohol, and desire, visiting

along the way with famous blue figures, including Joni Mitchell, Billie Holiday, Yves Klein, Leonard Cohen and Andy Warhol. While its narrator sets out to construct a sort of ‘pillow book’ about her lifelong obsession with the colour blue, she ends up facing down both the painful end of an affair and the grievous injury of a dear friend. The combination produces a raw, cerebral work devoted to the inextricability of pleasure and pain, and to the question of what role, if any, aesthetic beauty can play in times of great heartache or grief.

Much like Roland Barthes’s A Lover’s DiscourseBluets has passed between lovers in the ecstasy of new love, and been pressed into the hands of the heartbroken. Visceral, learned, and acutely lucid, Bluets is a slim feat of literary innovation and grace, never before published in the UK.

This book came heavily recommended by Jen Campbell, on YouTube. I was very intrigued by its small size and buttery cover. I’m so excited to dive into it!

Book Three: The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood (216 pgs)

thepenelopiadNow that all the others have run out of air, it’s my turn to do a little story-making.

In Homer’s account in The Odyssey, Penelope—wife of Odysseus and cousin of the beautiful Helen of Troy—is portrayed as the quintessential faithful wife, her story a salutary lesson through the ages. Left alone for twenty years when Odysseus goes off to fight in the Trojan War after the abduction of Helen, Penelope manages, in the face of scandalous rumors, to maintain the kingdom of Ithaca, bring up her wayward son, and keep over a hundred suitors at bay, simultaneously. When Odysseus finally comes home after enduring hardships, overcoming monsters, and sleeping with goddesses, he kills her suitors and—curiously—twelve of her maids.

In a splendid contemporary twist to the ancient story, Margaret Atwood has chosen to give the telling of it to Penelope and to her twelve hanged maids, asking: “What led to the hanging of the maids, and what was Penelope really up to?” In Atwood’s dazzling, playful retelling, the story becomes as wise and compassionate as it is haunting, and as wildly entertaining as it is disturbing. With wit and verve, drawing on the story-telling and poetic talent for which she herself is renowned, she gives Penelope new life and reality—and sets out to provide an answer to an ancient mystery.

I really like Margaret Atwood and Greek Mythology so this is definitely a good mix!


For now, I’m just going to pick three books to read as I’m not sure how many I will get through in the month. Next month’s TBR is going to be pretty cool so keep an eye out for that!

 

 

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My 2018 Resolutions

Yes, it’s February. And yes, I said a while ago on Twitter I would most likely be posting a video of my 2018 resolutions (both bookish and not), but I’m here writing a blog post. I’m kind of discouraged with my YouTube channel at the moment, but I’ll be talking about that later in this post.

Without further ado, let’s get into the resolutions!


2018-Resolutions

Bookish

1) Read at least fifty books.

Last year I got close to my goal; though I read 35-ish books out of my goal of 50. I’m of course going to be counting audiobooks and rereads. I chose this number because I know that it is not unachievable for me. I won’t be upset if I don’t reach the goal in 2018, but I’m going to try my best.

2) Read more audiobooks.

I read some excellent audiobooks in 2017. I started listening to them on the tail-end of December 2016, and it was probably the best decision I have ever made. Audiobooks are excellent for commuting, as I don’t have a car, and doing chores. In 2018 I want to consume even more audiobooks, as to up my reading count. I usually get audiobooks from Overdrive via my public library.

3) Set a monthly book buying budget/buy fewer books.

I’m definitely going to be working on this goal for the rest of this year. In January I ended up buying so many books, most of them being from Christmas gift cards, but still, it seemed like a lot when I really kept track. I also unhauled over 100 books from my shelves recently, most of them being unread, so I want to reduce my book buying so I can read more of the books that I buy and not just let them sit on the shelf.

4) Write a review (or film one) for every new book I read.

This is sure to be one of my hardest resolutions for this year. But, I really want to flex my writing muscles and have more of a variety of reviews on Reading Arsenal. Also, if I get my YouTube channel up and running again, I might film video book reviews.

5) Write at least one blog post each month.

I don’t want to leave my followers completely in the dark when I go months without posting something. I’m still working up the courage to figure out stuff related to my YouTube channel, so I haven’t included it in this resolution.

6) Use my public library more.

So far, at least in the month of January, I have been using my library quite a bit. Along with borrowing audiobooks, I have been borrowing physical books as well as e-books. I am also planning on volunteering (if I can get a spot) with the Friends of the Library. If you did not know, I have a Library Technician diploma. Therefore, any library-related experience would help me in my field.

7) Attempt Zero-By-2020.

You may have heard of the “Zero TBR By –” challenge, but if not, basically it means I want my physical to be read pile to have zero books by 2020. I was inspired by Amanda Center on YouTube, as she attempted Zero By 2017 (or 2018, I think). My current To Be Read count is currently set at around 200 books, so it is sure to be a great feat for me to try and do this.

8) Decide some things about my YouTube channel.

You may have noticed I haven’t been posting a lot on my YouTube channel lately, whether you are subscribed or are pledging to my Patreon. Life got away from me as I mentioned in my previous life update. The short of it is that I have overcome a whole lot as of now, but I’m still not posting videos like I would like to. I guess it’s my perfectionism, or perhaps I’m not used to editing or being in front of the camera.

Anyways, the decisions I’m going to be making, due to my changing feelings are:

Is making videos enjoyable for me anymore or is it just a chore? Am I comfortable enough with my abilities and confident enough to do the entire process? And finally, do I want to continue making videos?

I have been feeling this way for a few weeks now. I hope it just a phase because I remember really loving the entire process of making videos, even when I wasn’t able to make videos. I’m still wishing to be creative, but I honestly don’t know how to go about it anymore.

Does anyone have any tips for getting out a creative lull? Leave a comment below!

Life

9) Find a job.

I’m currently unemployed, so I don’t have a large income coming in. Luckily I have some money saved away, but that probably won’t last me for long. Currently, I’m finding it difficult to find positions, especially in retail (which is the only place I have experience) due to possibly the minimum wage being risen where I live and fewer jobs are being posted.

10) Stop lurking; start posting.

This goal is related to social media, such as Twitter and Instagram. I don’t post as often on Twitter as I used to, same with Instagram. If I try to post more, I think I can stretch my creative muscles with both writing and perhaps creative photography. I also want to occasionally start posting bookish related things on my Instagram.

11) Practice creative writing.

I love writing, seeing how long this post is. But, I really want to confidently say that I’m a creative writer. I haven’t been really writing creatively lately, but I definitely want to start. A far off dream of mine is to perhaps become an author, of what I’m still not sure. But, I still want to practice and hone my skills.


I hope you enjoyed my resolutions! Have I inspired you to start on your own resolutions? Would you like to share a few? Leave a comment down below!