Category Archives: Booking Through Thursday

Booking Through Thursday: Lists


Do you keep a list of the books you’ve read? Books you want to read?

Yes! Goodreads is my jam. I was reluctant to join at first because it seemed just like Facebook for books. Then I realized that it was the solution to a problem I’ve had for a long time: electronic book cataloguing for normal people (i.e. not libraries).

When I was a kid (I can’t have been older than 10), I attempted to create my own electronic personal library database. I have absolutely no idea what program I was using, but I remember that it compiled all the information on virtual cards. It was a computerized version of writing everything on index cards and sticking them in a card box. This was in the days of Windows 95, so that was super cool. I have a vague recollection of also writing short reviews.

My virtual index card project quickly grew unwieldy. I think I gave up after a few weeks. In high school, I was inspired to go low-tech before unplugging was a thing, and I started just making a list in a spiral notebook with a red cover. I was in the tenth grade; I started with To Kill a Mockingbird. I gave my list of books the brilliant title “Book List” and kept track of each book’s title, author, and date completed. That lasted for years and years. I still have that notebook, actually.

Facebook became a thing shortly after I started college. I made a half-hearted attempt at using weRead in 2007, when it was only a Facebook application. It didn’t quite captivate me, although I did like the concept of “chucking a book” at a friend to recommend it. It was later acquired by an all-around retailer, so it appears that leaving was a good decision. I started using Goodreads instead (also as a Facebook application), and I haven’t stopped since.

Somehow, I knew that someday I would be able to just scan the barcodes of all my books and have a list of my complete library. I just needed to wait for the technology to catch up with my idea. Then I got a iPhone and the Goodreads app. Problem solved. I had my entire collection catalogued in minutes. One winter when I was home with my family, I scanned all the books I’d left there, too. My mom recently got rid of most of them, though, so I had to whittle my whole childhood down to a couple of boxes. #sadtimes #adulting

I have also found that Goodreads makes reviewing almost effortless. There’s a very simple 5-star system: 1 star for “didn’t like it,” 2 for “it was okay,” 3 for “liked it,” 4 for “really liked it,” and 5 for “it was amazing.” I struggle over 2 stars versus 3 sometimes, but the other definitions work for me. I also started writing reviews very quickly, because a short review is more helpful than none at all. Longer, more thoughtful reviews wind up at ATX Catholic.

A few weeks ago, I was doing an assessment of my online information storage and panicked thinking that Goodreads would suddenly disappear and take all my data with it. They have an export function, so I’m good now. I’ll just be refreshing my backup once a month. Goodreads might not last as long as that red notebook has.

For more short queries about books and the reading life, visit Booking Through Thursday.

Booking Through Thursday: Springing


Spring is coming unusually fast this year (at least here in the Northeast). Do your reading habits change as we get into the warmer months?


That’s probably not enough answer for a whole post. I have never considered changing my reading habits to match the weather. I do like to read when the power goes out, but that’s because so many of the things I would be doing otherwise are unavailable when there’s no power. That is the main way physical books will always triumph: they never need charging. All the cries of “you can’t read e-books in the bath!” make me wonder how often people actually read in the bathtub. (I relax by napping, not by soaking.) I feel like it would more convincing to say, “You won’t be able to charge your iPad during the new Dark Age!” Now that’s scary.

Keeping up with my ATX Catholic column hedges in any flexibility I might have to change books on a seasonal basis. I chose that life, though. Several weeks ago, Brigid and Elise from the Caritas podcast were outlining their plans for Lent, and I think they both mentioned plans to read specific books. I love my seasonal reflections, but I guess I’ve never really considered those little booklets “real books.” If they count, then I guess I do change my reading as winter begins (Advent) and ends (Lent). Then again, Austin does not have seasons so much as weather, so I guess it’s all relative!

For more short queries about books and the reading life, visit Booking Through Thursday.

Booking Through Thursday: Multiples


Do you own multiple copies of any books? Why? Is it the format? Size? Just because you love it?

I have the worst time with Goodreads over my duplicates. On the one hand, it is fantastic that they automatically detect such a thing. On the other hand, sometimes I have more than one copy, I am okay with that, and I don’t want to be bothered about it.

Goodreads did make writing this post really easy, though.

I own two copies of two of the Harry Potter books. I can’t let go of my paperback of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone because that’s how it all began. That was the one I loaned to friends when I wanted to get them hooked, too. It’s like keeping an old love letter… except that if you don’t marry the writer, you should probably throw it away. I did that with my actual love letters. The book can stay.

I got the hardcover Sorcerer’s Stone once my HP love got real. I like all of my books in a series to have matching covers. Real book lovers know the heartbreak that comes when publishers change a cover design midstream. I only had one Unwind book left to buy! Why, Simon & Schuster, why?

I also own two copies of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The first I got at midnight on the night of the last book release. I also got a very large poster of the cover with the bookstore’s logo on it. (You might remember a little outfit called Borders.) My friends and I went straight home as fast as possible to start reading. I stayed up until my eyes were burning, then slept the bare minimum and kept reading, not even stopping to eat. That poster is now framed, and I will never forget that magical night.

The other copy is the British first edition. A friend was in England for the release, and he brought it back for me from a Waterstone’s across the street from the hotel where J.K. Rowling finished writing her manuscript. I’ve read that copy, too. When I came across the expression “like a budgie under a blanket,” I actually had to pull out my U.S. edition to figure out what she meant! (A budgie is a pet bird. They hide like that when they’re scared.)

Finally, I have two copies of The Man Who Was Thursday. That is an excellent book. I compared the beginning to a steampunk rap battle. One of my copies is a paperback that is technically on long-term loan from a friend, and the other is an e-book. I read the paperback; I haven’t actually read the e-book version. (Yet?)

For more short queries about books and the reading life, visit Booking Through Thursday.

Booking Through Thursday: 2015 Favorites


What were your favorite books of 2015? How many books did you read this year? Are you happy with the amount of reading you got done? Wish you’d had more time? (I know I always do!)

I’ve gotten accustomed to only reviewing things when they’re completely finished, so I guess it makes sense that I’m just now writing this BTT, the prompt for which was posted yesterday and which I totally had time to do since I was off from work. It gives me an easy win for posting on the first day of the year, though!

I managed to finish one last book on December 31, so my final count for books read in 2015 is 29. Eight of those were children’s books, which I think ought to count since I’d never read them before and I did read them cover-to-cover. One was a Bible, which I did not read cover-to-cover. (I’m good, but I’m not that good.) That brings my real, no-arguing total to 20, which was exactly the goal that I set for my Goodreads challenge. Hooray!

Mustache Baby was probably my favorite book of the year. It was so charming! I think I enjoyed it even more than my godson, and he liked it so much that I got him the sequel for Christmas. Godmothers give books; that’s just what we do.

I also really enjoyed Bible Basics for Catholics and New Testament Basics for Catholics. I may not have made it all the way through the Bible yet (never give up!), but I understand it much better since I stumbled across covenant and kingdom theology. Those books were not my first exposure, but they were a great way to expand my knowledge at my own pace instead of in a group Bible study.

Of course I wish I had more time for reading! I’m satisfied with the way I’m spending my time these days. I got sucked into the Pinterest black hole last night, and sometimes I get distracted with extraneous videos when I’m gathering resources to go with my notes from dance class, but holding down my column for Austin CNM keeps me reading at a good pace.

For more short queries about books and the reading life, visit Booking Through Thursday.

Booking Through Thursday: Gifts


What books are/were you hoping to get as gifts this holiday season? Which books did you get?

There was a third part to the question, but it sounded ungrateful, so I left it out. It’s not quite Christmas yet, so I haven’t received any gifts so far. Well, that’s not 100% true. My roommate gave me an unexpected present as I was packing for home, but it looks too big and square to be books. And I went shopping with my mom and brother for some gifts they’re giving me, but those weren’t books. The days of a bookstore in the mall are long gone.

Had there been such a store, I would have snagged UnDivided in paperback. Although I struggled with the pacing of the third book in the series, UnSouled, I care just enough to finish it. I can buy that one for myself, though. I prefer picking out my own books, and I get so many review copies for Austin CNM that I barely have time to read anything else, let alone something I have to purchase.

As my friend Brogan once put it, giving someone a book is like giving them a job. I guess I like that job; I just want to apply for it when I’m good and ready!

For more short queries about books and the reading life, visit Booking Through Thursday.

Booking Through Thursday: Audiobooks


I’m guessing most of you like reading (or why would you be here?) How do you feel about audiobooks?

For me, “reading” means using my eyes, not my ears. As much as I acknowledge their usefulness while doing chores or using your hands, I only ever use audiobooks for the rare long drive—listening, no matter how pleasant, is not reading, yet people persist in telling me they like to read and that audiobooks are their favorites. Am I the only one to feel that’s just not the same thing?

No, Deb (host of BTT), you are not alone. I hear the Bible read out loud to me every Sunday, but that doesn’t count as reading. I prefer not to read along, although that is an option, but that’s a different story.

I just don’t like audiobooks. The last time I remember liking them was when I was so little that my books on tape were reading to me. (People of a certain age still call audiobooks “books on tape.”) That was because I couldn’t read yet, though. I’m a grown-up now. I can read. I read my own books. Listening is such a different experience that I just can’t bring myself to do it. Even on long drives, I would rather sing along to music. (I occasionally talk with my fellow passengers, but that’s because I rarely have passengers.)

I do have a long commute, though. My coworkers have recommended audiobooks, but my antidote to that daily dead time has been podcasts. Those are designed to be listened to. Books are not meant to be listened to. There was a weird genre of French plays written specifically to be read and not performed, but with that exception, works are best in their original form.

For more short queries about books and the reading life, visit Booking Through Thursday.

Booking Through Thursday: Nostalgia


What book (or books) from your childhood do you think about most often? Which had the [greatest] effect on your life?

I have a faint memory of a colorful book that I was reading out loud to my friends one day. We were sitting in the grass behind our central mail delivery unit. (The book is the faint part of the memory; everything else is vivid.) I was happily reading when I felt a tickle on my other hand, the one that was not holding the book. I looked over and saw a hornet perched right on my palm. I panicked. It stung me.

And you thought reading a book was a nice safe activity. Wrong!

The other standout childhood book is my picture Bible. I don’t remember when I got it, but I held on to it for a long time. It was a gift, and it was the only Bible I owned until eighth grade. (True story.) I would open it up to the beginning and look at the impressionist paintings of Adam naming the animals in Genesis. Sometimes I would flip on a few pages to Cain’s murder of Abel, or even all the way to Samson pushing the pillars down to crush his enemies.

It was years before I knew that the Bible is not really meant to be read cover-to-cover like a novel. As a child, though, I knew that the end of the “book” was really scary. Those pages had pictures of a raging fire. I didn’t like that part. Currently, I am nearing the end of a Bible study on the Book of Revelation. There’s not as much fire as Little Lindsay thought. There’s some fire, but there’s also the New Jerusalem. That part is pretty sweet.

For more short queries about books and the reading life, visit Booking Through Thursday.

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