Top Ten Tuesday: What I’m Thankful For

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Thanksgiving is very much an American (and Canadian!) holiday, but the entire concept of being thankful, and spending the day with family, friends, and good food, is something we can all relate to.

I’m thankful for a lot this year. Mostly, I’m thankful that I’ll be moving home, after years overseas, next month.

But keeping with the blog theme, here are a few bookish things that I’m thankful for this November (in no particular order):

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books on the Screen in 2016 (and beyond)

top-ten-tuesday-textThis weekly meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

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Love ’em or hate ’em, but Hollywood is really loving book adaptations right now. And it’s not just the silver screen that’s getting the literary treatment; Game of Thrones is one of the most-watched shows in the world, and The Magicians and Shadowhunters are coming to cable very soon.

Here are ten book adaptations that I can’t wait to see (in no particular order):

The Magicians (TV: SyFy), based on the books by Lev Grossman

The college version of Harry Potter, only Grossman pulls no punches. This is a world of sexuality, violence, and the horrible realization that childhood dreams aren’t all that they’re cracked up to be. The show has aged the characters from undergrad to graduate school (for logistic reasons, as the books cover several years after graduating), but the characters look stunning!

The Scorpio Races (Movie), based on the book by Maggie Stiefvater

I am an unapologetic Stievater nut. So the upcoming adaptation of her YA fantasy novel is pretty high on my list of MUST SEES! There’s no official release date yet, but I’ll definitely be at the midnight showing.

Suicide Squad (Movie), based on the DC comics

I’m not a huge DC fan, but this movie looks amaaaaaazing, and I’ve heard great things about the comics that its based off of.

Deadpool (Movie), based on the Marvel comics

But I am a huge Marvel fan, so let me ramble for a second about Deadpool. It’s going to be violent. It’s going to be filthy. It’s going to make you want to touch yourself. Probably. And they’re sticking to the comics in a big way… the director just emphasized in an interview that Deadpool will be played as pansexual!

American Gods (TV: Starz), based on the book by Neil Gaiman

There’s not a lot of information available yet about this series, but we know that it’s being directed by Bryan Fuller of Hannibal and Pushing Daisies fame, and Gaiman is writing the script. They’ve spoken about being true to character descriptions, too, so I have very high hopes for this show!

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Movie), based on the book by Ransom Riggs

We still have 13 months until this movie hits the big screen, but with an all-star cast (Samuel L. Jackson, Eva Green, and more), and an amazing text to pull from, I’m really excited for what I hope will be an eerie, gorgeous movie. AND IT’S TIM BURTON DIRECTING OMG!

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Movie), based on the book by J.K. Rowling

I know, you’re wondering why this wasn’t the VERY FIRST THING on my list. Two reasons: one, thinking about it too hard makes me want to cry because I WANT IT NOOOOOOOW, and two, I’m still freaking out about seeing the Cursed Child stage play in London next July.

But OH MY GOD, IT’S BEAUTIFUL. 1920s, magical creatures, and Eddie Redmayne? Oh gods yes.

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The B.F.G. (Movie), based on the book by Roald Dahl

I literally just heard about this the other day, and quietly freaked out. There’s next to no information available for it, other than a summer 2016 release date and the fact that Jemaine Clement (from Flight of the Conchords!!!) will be in it.

I’m just going to hold my breath here until next summer. (PLEASE DON’T RUIN IT. PLEASE DON’T RUIN IT!)

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair (Movie), based on the book by C.S. Lewis

IS THIS A RUMOR? I have no idea. I can’t find ANYTHING about it, other than an IMDB page, but I’m including it because I really love the first three Narnia movies. I have them all on DVD, and watch them when I need a comfort film. In fact, my collection of the books is one of my most prized possessions (a hard-to-find edition given to me in bits and pieces by family members as they found books from the set in used bookstores over several years).

Shadowhunters (TV), based on the books by Cassandra Claire

While I personally am not anticipating this series, I know that a lot of people are. It starts up soon, and I’ve seen a lot of promo for it:


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What TV and movie adaptations are you looking forward to?

Top Ten Tuesday: Waiting on Book Number Two

top-ten-tuesday-textThis weekly meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday features authors who write an amazing first book… and now we’re just waiting for Book #2 to come along!

And please drop me a comment with a link to your Debut Authors list, and let me know what authors you’re looking forward to seeing something new from!

1 through 3

Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus

This is without a doubt one of my favorite novels of all time. No sign of a second novel just yet, but I keep hoping!

Renée Ahdieh, The Wrath and the Dawn

A stunning debut novel, thankfully we don’t have to wait too long for Ahdieh’s second novel! The Rose and the Dagger is due out on May 3, 2016!

Roan Parrish, In the Middle of Somewhere (My Review: ★★★½)

A new author in the M/M genre, her first novel definitely caught my attention, and she wrote a short story in the Lead Me Into Darkness anthology that just came out!

4 through 6

Noelle Stevenson, Nimona

Noelle has been writing for a few TV shows, as well as the immensely fabulous Lumberjanes comic, but I think she’s at her best when she writes and illustrates. Hopefully we’ll see another series from her solo soon!

Alex Gino, George (My Review: ★★★★★)

Alex really caught my attention with their debut novel, about a transgender middle school child. I hope they’ll write more books about LGBT+ for children soon, because it’s a niche that desperately needs to be filled!

Becky Albertalli, Simon and the Homo Sapiens Agenda (My Review: ★★★★★)

I haven’t seen any news about a second book from Becky, but Fox 2000 just acquired the rights to the movie! AHHHHHH!!!!!!

7 through 10

Andy Weir, The Martian

Okay, it’s been made into a hilarious and brilliant movie with Matt Damon, so…. where’s the next book from the incredibly talented Mr. Weir? Rumor has it that Zhek will be published sometime in 2016…

Lori A. Witt,The Tide of War (My Review: ★★★★

Okay, this is definitely cheating if you know the M/M genre at all… because Witt-Gallagher writes a ton of amazing books under four separate pen names. Lori A. Witt is the science fiction arm of the mastermind, but I absolutely adored her debut scifi novel, and can’t wait for more under this pen name!

Nicola Yoon, Everything, Everything (My Review: ★★★★★)

This book shows what it means to truly live, as opposed to just being alive, and I loved her unique voice and quirky characters. I hope Nicola’s next novel has the same great combination of text and art!

Caitlyn McFarland, Dragonsworn (My Reviews: ★★★★★★★★)

Yes, definitely cheating now… because Caitlyn’s second novel came out in September, and the third book in her Dragonsworn trilogy releases in December. But with three book published in six months, I think she still counts as “debut”, right?

Top Ten Tuesday: Books to Read in the Dead of Night! (Creepy Halloween Edition)

top-ten-halloween-bannerAs always, this weekly meme is hosted by the Broke and the Bookish!
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I’m a HUGE WUSS, I’ll be the first to admit it. Reading a horror novel leaves me curled up in bed with the lights on, unable to sleep. But I love a good, creepy novel that sends chills down your spine!

Here are ten books to read to get you in the Halloween spirit!

1. House of Leaves, by Mark Z. Danielewski

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Probably one of the most terrifying books I’ve ever read. It’s a story within a story within a story (confused yet?) set in a house that’s bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. But this isn’t a TARDIS; there’s something more sinister and mysterious at work. And it uses typography to convey both motion and emotion (like in the image above).

Of course, neither Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Will Navidson nor his companion Karen Green was prepared to face the consequences of that impossibility, until the day their two little children wandered off and their voices eerily began to return another story — of creature darkness, of an ever-growing abyss behind a closet door, and of that unholy growl which soon enough would tear through their walls and consume all their dreams.

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2. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs

More eerie than outright scary, this book comes complete with photos that vary between weird and nightmarish. The way the story is told means the mystery unfolds piece by piece, which I really love. I haven’t read the sequel yet, though!

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And it’s being turned into a movie by the King of Creepy himself, Tim Burton!

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3. Josh of the Damned series by Andrea Speed

Josh knew the night shift at the Quik-Mart would be full of freaks and geeks—and that was before the hell portal opened in the parking lot.

Definitely not creepy, but still really gloriously brilliant and absolutely hilarious! This is my kind of horror, where zombies shuffle into the gas station store to buy frozen burritos and werewolves are like mangy rats in the parking lot. You can read my five-star review of the series here!

speed(Buy from Riptide Publishing)

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4. Salem’s Lot, by Stephen King

I thought about putting It on this list instead, because evil clowns are definitely horrifying, but I’ve never actually read it (because, seriously, evil clowns! Enough said). So this is the scariest Stephen King novel I’ve ever read, and I don’t think you can have a list of scary novels without having the King of Horror on your list. Plus, it has creeptastic vampires!

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5. Interview with the Vampire, by Anne Rice

Speaking of vampires, this book gave me ALL OF THE NIGHTMARES when I first read it at age 13. The novel itself isn’t horrifying, but the entire plot with Claudia freaked me out. The idea of a doll-like little girl who basically goes insane? Yeah… *shivers*

Anne Rice wrote vampires before they sparkled, and Lestat will always be one of my favorites!

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6. The Whyborne & Griffin series, by Jordan L. Hawk

I’m recommending the entire series because I can’t pick out just one scene, or one book, that qualifies as “creepy”… instead, it’s the general vibe of the entire story! Whyborne and Griffin battle monsters, gods from the deep, and evil warlocks while trying to defend their town. Here’s our heroes’ first encounter with a monster, from Widdershins (Book One):

The beam of my lantern revealed a thing for which I had no words.

My mind flailed, trying and failing to make sense of what filled the doorway in front of me. It had four limbs, more or less, a shape which overall suggested some perversion of humanity. But its naked body was horribly misshapen, the limbs of uneven length, the joints distorted. Thick, coarse skin covered it for the most part, but certain protuberances sprouted scales, and something horribly like human teeth jutted out of an elbow.

Its head was worse, however. Thanks to Christine, I’d spent many an hour bent over the art of ancient Egypt and its animal-headed gods. Those gods had a strange nobility and completeness to them. This thing seemed a mockery of the ancient deities. Its misshapen skull retained traces of humanity, but was hideously flattened and distended into an unmistakably crocodilian form.

Beady eyes fixed on me: blue irises punctured by reptilian pupils. Its jaws opened, the gape huge and lined with savage teeth, and it let loose a howl like something from the lowest pit of Tartarus.

I couldn’t move, couldn’t scream, couldn’t do anything but stare. Had I been alone, it would surely have ripped me to shreds.

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7. Coraline, by Neil Gaiman

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Neil Gaiman is a master of creepy. What makes this even more horrifying is that it’s a childrens’ book. I was actually just talking about this with Vane at Books With Chemistry (go check out her review!), and about how this book is way creepier to read as an adult than it was when I was a teenager.

The incredibly talented Dave McKean did the illustrations for the book (I have SO MUCH of his art, he’s ridiculously good!), but the movie did a pretty amazing job!

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8. The PsyCop series, by Jordan Castillo Price

Once upon a time if you told doctors you heard voices, they’d diagnose you as schizophrenic, put you on heavy drugs, and lock you away in a cozy state institution to keep you from hurting yourself or others.

Nowadays they test you first to see if you’re psychic.

Victor Bayne is a psychic cop (hence PsyCop!) who sees dead people. And not just ghosts, either, but full-on, technicolor, graphically dead walking spirits. He teams up (both in the field and in bed) with a non-psychic named Jacob to solve murders by interviewing the dead spirits… when they’re willing to cooperate, that is.

You know there’s some Grade A level creepiness when even the psychic who sees dead people on a daily basis gets freaked out!

“Victor, back there in that basement, when the zombies were… were… moving around on those tables…. Twitching? And dead? You didn’t even blink.”

“This is nothing like those zombies.”

“No shit. Because this time, you’re scared—beyond scared. You’re terrified. And whatever’s got you scared? I don’t want any part of it.”

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9. The Gashlycrumb Tinies, by Edward Gorey

The most horrifying alphabet book ever written. This isn’t for teaching your toddlers their A, B, C’s…

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Gorey’s art is eerie and, yes, gory. But look, it even rhymes! Adorable, right?!

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10. The Tell-Tale Heart, by Edgar Allan Poe

Everything he writes is brilliant and creepy, and he’s inspired dozens of mystery and horror novels. This is one of the opening paragraphs from The Tell-Tale Heart, one of my favorites:

It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night. Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! yes, it was this! He had the eye of a vulture –a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees — very gradually –I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever.

Poe was one creepy, creepy guy. Stories about burying people alive, about insanity, and about guilt… definitely the stuff of nightmares! Even his death is a creepy mystery!

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What are you reading this Halloween?

Top Ten Tuesday: Wishes from the Book Genie

genie-top-ten-headerAs always, this weekly meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

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I’m walking down the road, and a lamp falls out of the sky. No, seriously, an honest-to-god lamp. Like, tarnished, gold, looks pretty old. No idea where it came from, but I’m just glad it didn’t hit me on the head.

And hey, beneath that tarnish it’s not all that ugly. Maybe if I just give it a good scrub with my sleeve, I can get a few bucks for it at the pawn shop. Let’s see now…

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What the heck is this? A genie? Wait a second, I know this story. I mean, I read a ton of books, surely you don’t think I’ve read some with genies in them? So alright then, Mr. Genie, I get a few wishes, right?

Wait, ten wishes? I get ten wishes? Oh man. *rubs hands together* Alright, Genie, let’s get to wishin’!

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1. I wish for… more good book-to-screen adaptations! I love seeing my favorite stories come to life, and there are some very promising upcoming adaptations, like Lev Grossman’s The Magicians (SyFy, early 2016) and Neil Gaiman’s American Gods (2016).

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2. Dear Genie, please bring me… The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater. NOW! Please?

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3. And while you’re at #2, Genie… can I have the sequel to Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo? Pretty please?

4. Genie, I wish… for more ace and trans romance novels. There are so few of them out there, and I would love some new ones! I just saw that L.A. Witt is writing an asexual romance, though!

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5. I wish, I wish, to… win a shopping spree in a bookstore. Seriously, gimme a blank check and a few hours in a bookstore, and I will be the happiest person in the world. Or, hey, maybe a lotto win? SO I CAN BUY MORE BOOKS, OF COURSE!

6. Wishing upon a magic lantern for… a few of my Dream Author Teams to collaborate on books?

7. I wish that… American book covers weren’t so ugly compared to overseas book covers. Yeah, this comes out of left field, but it’s SO TRUE! I mean, just look at the US vs UK cover for Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch (published in the US as Midnight Riot for some ungodly reason):

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8. I wish, oh great Genie, for… eBooks that aren’t ridiculously over-priced. Why would I pay $15 for an eBook when the hardcover is only $17? (Yes, Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith, I’m looking at you!)

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9. I wish that… authors were treated with the same level of awe and fame as football players. I mean, one of these professions transports you to another world, and the other involves a bunch of sweaty dudes in spandex throwing balls around. (Also, let’s throw teachers in with the authors on this wish, if you don’t mind!)

10. For my last wish, Genie… I wish you were free! Oh, wait, you already are? Well, okay then, I wish for the simple pleasure of a good book, warm blankets, tasty snacks, and the sound of rain on my window.

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Top Ten Tuesday: My Dream Author Teams!

top-ten-tuesday-textAs always, this weekly meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Batman has his Robin, and the Avengers work better together than apart. Since authors are basically superheroes in my mind, it makes sense for them to team up for a book (or two), right? I mean, you have Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett combining literary forces to write Good Omens, and John Green and David Levithan co-wrote Will Grayson, Will Grayson. In fact, a quick glance at my bookshelf shows a handful of co-written novels, including Illuminae (which I just reviewed yesterday).

Since co-writing novels seems to be “the thing” to do these days, here are five teams of authors that I’d love to see team up!

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1. Maggie Stiefvater and John Green

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Obviously they have a healthy rivalry on the race track, but Stiefvater and Green also have the young adult world wrapped around their little fingers. Apart, the authors of The Raven Cycle quartet and The Fault in Our Stars (respectively) are wildly popular. Together? Well, I’m pretty sure there would be a shortage of tissues world-wide, to say the very least!

I want a book with Stiefvater’s magical realism and Green’s crushing realism. I want a book with emotions that will feel like a punch in the chest, characters that are witty and sarcastic, and a thread of fantasy twisting down the center. If their powers combined, the YA genre wouldn’t know what hit it!

2. Anne Rice and Stephen King

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Yes, it’s obvious. But they’re two of the biggest names in horror. And I’m not talking the new horror, that’s sole purpose is to freak you out with sudden revelations and gruesome images. Rice and King are masters at the slow-build horror, the creeping chill that runs its icy fingers up your spine late at night.

King has plenty of experience dabbling in the paranormal horror genre, so I’d love to see a book from the two of them with mythical creatures. Like, Supernatural if it were actually scary!

3. Garrett Leigh and Heidi Cullinan

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In the M/M romance genre, there are no authors that I trust more than Leigh and Cullinan when it comes to writing beautiful, realistic characters. Leigh’s Misfits is at the top of my recommendations list, and Cullinan’s Love Lessons series is RITA nominated and achingly perfect.

If these authors paired up to write a novel, I hope it would be as poignant and heart-breaking as everything else they’ve written, with characters who leap off the pages and romances that are as close to perfect as any I’ve ever read.

4. Anna Zabo and A.J. Rose

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Two of the most amazing BDSM authors in the M/M genre, Zabo and Rose are both on my to-re-read list. Zabo wrote Takeover and Just Business (one of my favorite books of the year so far!), about the power dynamics in the boardroom and the bedroom. Rose wrote the Power Exchange trilogy, about a cop investigating a series of BDSM-related murders who finds himself attracted to the lifestyle.

If these two authors paired up, I would be camping out to buy their books. They both write excellent, realistic BDSM romances. The power exchanges are gorgeous, the characters are interesting, and the books themselves are a blast to read over and over!

5. Neil Gaiman and Anyone

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Is this cheating? Meh, I don’t care! Neil Gaiman is a phenomenal and incredibly versatile author. He writes short stories that make you laugh, children’s books that inspire, and novels that have you gasping for breath. While most of his previous collaborations are with artists (particularly Dave McKean, who is brilliant!), he’s teamed up with a few authors in the past.

Gaiman has a really unique voice, and I think that could be combined with several authors with amazing results. Imagine him writing a historical magic novel with Susanna Clarke or Zen Cho, or an urban fantasy with Maggie Stiefvater? I’d even love to see a collaboration between him and his wife, Amanda Palmer. YES PLEASE!


Who are your dream team authors?

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Top Ten Tuesday: “I wish I knew how to quit you…” — or, Ten Bad Book Habits

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This weekly meme is hosted by Broke and Bookish.

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We all have them. Bad book habits. Maybe you lick your finger before turning a page (ew, germs!), or fold a corner down to mark your spot. Or perhaps you have the unfortunate habit of starting books and never finishing them. Today’s Top Ten topic is all about the bookish things that you want to quit. So without further ado…

Here are the ten book habits that I wish I could quit.

1. Joining book clubs

It sounds like a great idea: You get to meet up with other book nerds once a month, you sit around and talk about books for a few hours, coffee is consumed, and horizons are broadened. But I have the consistently bad luck of joining awful book clubs. Either the books they choose are boring (let’s read Anna Karenina because Oprah said to!) or there are hour-long debates because no one can decide what to read next. And, let’s be honest, there’s always that one guy (or girl!) who likes to hear the sound of their own voice a bit too much. Yawn!

2. Starting series halfway through

I’m impatient. When I see a new book that I desperately want to read, I don’t want to go back and read the first two books in the series… I just want to dive right in! Sometimes this works out, especially in series that are set up specifically for this purpose (serial mysteries, for example). But most of the time I end up missing out on important key events from previous books, so I don’t enjoy the book as much as I could.

3. Not finishing a series

I’m a serial book dater. I pick up a book, start reading it, and then move on to the next one without looking back. Remember the part about how I’m impatient? Waiting for the next book in a series is like torture. There are so many other great books to read! Why would I wait around a year or more?

4. Following the “cool kids”

You know that one popular blogger who pops up over and over again? The one with the ~amazing posts that get a billion likes? They just posted about the newest release, and I’m immediately drawn to it. “If this very popular blogger loves it, I probably will too!” I think. NOPE. I keep falling into this trap, but I feel like I rarely love books that are wildly popular, or that are recommended by big name bloggers.

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5. Reading books before seeing the movie

I have this rule, where I try not to see book-to-movie adaptations unless I’ve read the book first. It’s why I won’t see The Martian yet. But the movie rarely lives up to the book, and actually tends to ruins the book for me. I form mental images in my head of what characters and settings look like, and those images don’t match up to Hollywood’s concepts. (I can’t re-read The Hobbit anymore without picturing movie-version-Thorin… which does not at all match the book description!)

I just need to choose. Book or movie. Not both.

6. Buying books without reading the sample chapter

Especially when I find a new author on Amazon with an interesting book summary. I actually had to return a book that I’d purchased last month, because the writing was so terrible that I couldn’t make it past Page 20… but the blurb seemed so promising! Dear self: read the stinkin’ sample chapter!

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7. Hesitating on hitting the “buy” button

Most indie ebooks cost between $2 and $6 (and most big-publisher ones cost less than $10). I spend more than that on a Starbucks drink that lasts me twenty minutes. Why, then, do I hesitate to buy a book that will give me hours or days of entertainment?

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8. Starting a new book right after finishing an amazing one

Maybe it’s ‘hair of the dog’ for book nerds, but when you have a really amazing book hangover and immediately dive into another book, it’s not fair to the next read. I’m still emotionally compromised by whatever I’ve just finished, and I know nothing will compare, so I’m pretty much doomed to not enjoy the next book I pick up. I need to give myself more time to process after finishing a really fantastic novel.

9. Judging books by their covers

I am THE WORST at this. I literally put off reading a book for over a year one, because the cover was so stupid. When I was finally bored enough to give in and try it, I ended up loving it so much that I couldn’t put it down. I’m still infinitely more likely to pick up a book with a pretty cover over one with a boring/plain/poorly-done cover.

10. Picking books over people

I’m an introvert. Socializing is exhausting, people are overwhelming, and I would rather curl up with a book in bed than go to the bar. This is something that I’m getting better at, though! Even if I’m in the middle of an amazing book, I still make myself go out and be around people, even if it’s just for an hour over dinner in the mess hall. But my favorite “socializing” is always going to be sitting on my friend’s couch, book in hand, while she reads on the other couch across from me.

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What bad book habits do you have?

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