Book Related Topics

Our 2020 Reading Goals + Giveaway Winner!

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Leggy:

Happy New Year, everybody! Hope the holidays treated you well and you got to spend time with people you love and who love you back! Last year was such a busy work year for me that I barely completed my Goodreads reading challenge. I set my goal for 70 books and read exactly 70 books. One of reasons I continue to set number of books goals is that it pushes me to turn to reading when life gets busy instead of just turning to my TV screen . This year my Goodreads challenge will still be set at 70 books as it has been for the past 3 years because it is a number I feel comfortable with but as usual, I’ll try to always do better. We’ll see!

I had two big reading goals last year, both of which I failed miserably at.

1. I was supposed to read more self help books and actually try to apply them – didn’t read more self help, therefore failed woefully at applying any new principles.

2. I was supposed to finish Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. I picked up this book from the bookstore, read 100 pages, raved about it on twitter, stopped reading it for a bit and then never came back to it.

This year, I’m going to finish Anna Karenina and that’s the only reading goal I’m setting this year!

Taynement:

Taynement did not have a good reading year in 2019. You are probably tired of hearing this. I take responsibility into why this is the case and maybe because just like Leggy, I failed miserably in my goals. I know there are people who look down on people having goals, much less reading goals but it helps me focus and like Leggy said helps me do better with my reading life. I tend to read books I otherwise might not have.

Last year, I had a goal of 35 books and actually thought I didn’t meet it as I did not count books I started and did not finish due to being uninterested (a good habit I picked up last year). I ended up with 37. I read quite a number of memoirs (a fact I found interesting, I definitely didn’t set out to do that) and I answered my question from last year’s goal wondering how audio books would fare. I definitely read more audio books. I think life got too hectic for me to sit and get into an actual book. Following a goal of reading 3 books by the same author let me know that I am not a Curtis Sittenfeld fan. I did try to read a classic and started Little Women but never got to finish. Yay for trying?

Well this year, I reduced my goal to 30 because the year is already looking like it will be something. I honestly don’t know if I have any different goals. I want to diversify my genres. I am always envious of how vast Leggy’s tastes span. When I deviated from my old faithful, fiction and read Malcolm Gladwell’s Talking to Strangers, I really liked that so I should put it out here that this is the year I make it a goal to finally read Red Rising, the fantasy book that Leggy has been trying to make me read. I should probably start reading synopsis and this will inform better choices in my reading. I intend to read books that I have seen on 2019 Best Of lists repeatedly and see which I agree with.

Wish me luck!

AND NOW WHAT YOU ARE HERE FOR!

THE WINNER OF THE GIVEAWAY IS…

 

 

 

 

 

CURIOUSSHE!

Congratulations!!! Send us a DM on our twitter page and we will follow up with you on next steps on receiving a book of your choice.

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY!

LEGGY & TAYNEMENT

 

 

 

 

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Our Best and Worst Books of 2019 + Holiday Giveaway!

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It is kind of crazy that we have somehow reached the end of the year again. With it comes our annual mention of the best and worst books we read this year (You can see last year’s here). In addition, and in lieu of the holiday spirit, we will also be doing a giveaway as a thank you to all our readers for supporting us this year. Rules of the giveaway will be at the end of our best/worst list. Be sure to read and enter and good luck!!!

Taynement’s Best:

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I struggled this year, reading wise. I didn’t read a lot of books that really tickled my fancy and I hope I have better luck next year. The best book I read this year was Trevor Noah’s “Born a Crime” but it was a back list I read later, so I didn’t think it qualified so then, my favorite book this year was Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. You can find my thoughts on it here. It is also being adapted to a tv series with Riley Keough as lead.

Other favorites:

  • Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed (Review here)
  • Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane (Review here)
  • Notes from a Young Black Chef by Kwame Onwuachi
  • The Farm by Joanne Ramos (Review here)

 

Leggy’s Best:

A Woman Is No Man

The best book I read this year, hands down – A Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum and you can read my full thoughts on it here. The day I read this book, I told Tayne that it would be my best book of the year and here we are at the end of the year and nothing has knocked it off.

Other favorites:

  • The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winters (This was my favorite fantasy read of the year. Full review here)
  • The Flatshare by Betty O’Leary (Favorite romance of the year, full review here)
  • The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead (Full review here)

 

 

Taynement’s worst:

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Absolutely terrible book. Terrible writing. Terrible retelling. This book propelled me to be serious about dropping a book if it is not doing it for me. You can find my review on it here.

Leggy’s Worst:

Waiting for Tom Hanks (Waiting for Tom Hanks, #1)

Hands down, the worst book I read this year was Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey. I’ve never met a more annoying and delusional heroine in my entire life and I’ve read some pretty out there romance. You can read my full review here. I also gave this book one star on good reads.

GIVEAWAY

Okay so the rules are simple – Leave a comment listing your favorite and worst book of the year and interact with us on twitter (@2nightstands) or instagram (nightstands2). Whether it’s a like, retweet, comment, repost – your choice. We will announce the winner when we return next year and the winner gets to have the book of their choice purchased for them. Easy peasy!

Happy Holidays!!!

Taynement & Leggy

Book Related Topics

‘Tis The Season – Gift Ideas For The Book Lovers In Your Life

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It’s officially Christmas season. The malls are packed, you can play Christmas music without being judged and the decorations are up. Finding gifts for the book lovers in your life can be tough, so we’re going to give you some ideas on what to get!

Subscriptions:

Everyone knows about Audible, Book of the Month and Scribd which are amazing services and you should definitely consider it but we want to introduce you to some cool literary services like

  • Owl Crate – This is a subscription service for young adults and people who enjoy YA books. Not only do you get a new YA book every month but you also get really amazing bookish accessories too! It’s $29.99 per month.
  • Bawdy Bookworms – This is for the romance readers in your life and the price is quite steep ($44.95 a month)! This subscription box is definitely exclusive for adults because you get one steamy romance book and a couple sexy adult surprises. If the book lover in your life only likes closed door romances then this is not the box for them but otherwise, go wild!
  • My Thrill Club – This is for the thrill readers in your life. Do they enjoy thrillers, horror, mysteries? They’ll love this box! For just $18.99 a month, My Thrill Club sends you 2 books, an e book and a few extra surprises every month. This is such a great bang for your buck!

Cookbooks:

There were so many great cookbooks out this year and it’s easy to figure out which one the book lover in your life already has.

Some of our favorites this year:

  • The Pioneer Woman Cooks : The New Frontier by Ree Drummond
  • Cali’flour Kitchen by Amy Lacey (one of the few healthy and plant based cookbook, I didn’t find annoying!)
  • Life is a Party by David Burtka (Husband of Neil Patrick Harris)
  • Midnight Chicken by Ella Risbridger (This is the cookbook I’m personally getting myself this Christmas! – Leggy)

Also, you can find stocking stuffer cook books for Keto, Air Fryer and Instapot recipes online or at your nearest local bookstore! (images appear bigger than they really are, they are really bite sized)

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Coffee Table Books:

I can’t wait to grow up, actually decorate my apartment and get a coffee table book for my living room. Anyway, these are our recs for the holiday!

  • The Rihanna Book by Rihanna – A visual autobiography of the star’s life
  • 21 Nights by Prince -(This includes the book and a CD)
  • Black is Beautiful by Kwame Brathwaite
  • The NASA Archives: 60 Years in Space by Andrew Chaikin and Piers Bizony

Stocking Stuffers:

All the bits and bobs you can gift the book lovers in your life!

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Good Old Books:

It’s hard to find someone the perfect book especially when it’s a gift. You have to find out what they enjoyed, what they didn’t and the genre they’re usually most comfortable in and then hope they don’t already have whatever book you come up with.

We have a lot of recommendations on the blog and you just have to search the genre tags to see what we thought of whatever book you’re considering. Celebrity memoirs from people they are fans of,  is always a safe bet. Also, getting them books on subject matters they’re actually interested in.

Some general book recs that are not already on our blog are:

  • Movies (And Other Things) by Shea Serrano
  • Game of Thrones: A Guide to Westeros and Beyond, The Complete Series by Myles McNutt
  • I’ll Be There for You: The One About Friends by Kelsey Miller
  • The Complete Novels of Jane Austen
  • Michelle Obama: Her Essential Wisdom edited by Carol Kelly-Gangi

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Giving back (Bonus):

The Stacks Podcast is currently doing a book drive that will benefit the kids of Rocketship Delta Prep in California. The students in this school come from extreme poverty and rarely ever have access to actual, hardcover or paperback books, most of their books are photocopied. This Book drive strives to provide these kids with an amazing Christmas present. They have a book list received from some of the teachers and are asking people to buy at least one book each! Also, you automatically get entered into a giveaway by participating in this book drive. You can read all about it here!

This was a fun post to curate for us and we really hope you find something your loved ones will truly enjoy. If all else fails and you can’t decide what to get, you can always fall back on a good ol’ trusted gift card, so they can get whatever they want for themselves. Happy shopping and hope you have a lovely holiday season!

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Leggy & Taynement

 

Book Related Topics

My Book Picking Process

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Every time I get in a book rut, I can’t help but think that I have no one to blame but myself because I must be picking the wrong books. I took a moment to think about my book picking process was and decided to share and also see how everyone else does it. I think insight to my process can probably be gleaned from my reading habits post.

I think the fact that I go into a lot of books blind i.e not knowing a synopsis or what the book is about, probably doesn’t help my cause. Back in the day, I used to keep a running list of books that I wanted to read. This list was informed by anything. A recommendation, a TV segment, a review etc. At the time of addition, I may or may not have an idea of what the book is about but, by the time I scrolled down the list to see what was available in the library, I almost didn’t remember why I added it.

These days, I have given up on that list for two reasons. Increase in FOMO and joining Instagram. Our timeline is full of fellow book lovers and publishing houses, so I can’t miss any of the books that are currently on people’s radars and I always want in to join the conversation. The books on my list were at least a few years old and I’d just rather something newer. This is why most of my reads are current reads vs. back lists.

Since they are current reads, they are popular, so instead of adding to a list, now I go straight to my library and join the wait list and wait the endless weeks till it gets to me. Like I mentioned, if I see a book over and over on my TL and it comes with raves, I probably will get on that. See: Daisy Jones & The Six, The Farm, Ask Again Yes – all products of FOMO.

The other way I decide on picks is through my magazines. I subscribe to two magazines that come with book review and every now and then I take pictures and save them in a “Book Album”. I rarely come back to the album but coincidentally my FOMO books end up aligning with books I have added to the album.

Genre plays a big part. Most of my reading genre is fiction. If it’s historical, sci-fi or fantasy, I probably won’t touch it. I am a tad bit turned off by YA but I know there are some good ones out there. Celeb memoirs intrigue me, so I read a decent number of them.

The last method is simply, Leggy recommends to me.

I wish my methods were more exciting but for someone who doesn’t read physical books, I don’t go through the emotions of seeing a book cover (like maybe in an airport) and being intrigued or excited to pick up a book and read it. I love walking through bookstores but most of the time, I am already familiar with the covers and get more excited if its a different variation of a book cover I am familiar with.

In summary, the ways in which I pick a book are: FOMO, Instagram, Magazine Reviews and Leggy.

How do you decide on what books to read?

Taynement

Book Related Topics, Fiction, Young Adult

Favorite Childhood Books

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I was a voracious reader as a child. The fourth of six kids,  I read so many things way earlier than I should have. I started reading Mills & Boons in Primary 4 (4th grade) because my older sisters had them lying around. I looooved romance novels. Growing up, I consumed so many of them which is why I’m surprised I grew up to be an adult who doesn’t love romance novels.

Anyway, in between all that debauchery, I actually read some age appropriate books and I want to share my favorites growing up. I hope when I have kids someday that they love these books too! Also, you’re never too grown up to reread these books to see if they stand the test of time or to read one of these for the very first time!

  • Mallory Towers by Enid Blyton – I read A LOT of Blyton growing up in Nigeria and these books were my absolute favorites. They were so funny, relatable and painted such a fun picture of boarding school that made me want to go to one so bad (my mother vehemently said no!). This was the first school series I ever read. The characters were all fully developed and even the antagonist (Gwendolyn! what a brat!) had a great arc through out the book. This is one I have never reread, I want to do this on audio soon, to see if it holds up but I remember it with such fondness and nostalgia for my childhood days.
  • From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler – I reread this book last year and it was just as fantastic as I remember it being. I was so glad that 7 year old Leggy had great taste in books. Claudia Kincaid is tired of being the older sister in her family so she decides to run away. Being the very resourceful and clever girl that she is and knowing her younger brother Jamie has money and thus can help her with a serious cash-flow problem, she invites him along. These two kids successfully run away in New York City to the MET! This is such a fun read and I think even adults who are looking for a palate cleanser would enjoy it.
  • Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene – I have read every Nancy Drew novel that has ever been written! My mom really liked these books, so she bought so many of them for us. There was always a Nancy Drew novel available to read and as soon as I could read, I devoured them. Carolyn Keene was so adept at keeping a young girl’s attention – there was just the right amount of mystery, very mild romance and innocent fun as Nancy and her pals sleuthed around solving not-so gruesome mysteries and murders. I would always beg my mom to let me read just one more chapter but would end up staying up all night to read the entire thing because every chapter pretty much ended on a cliffhanger and I just had to know what happened next! I have not read these books as an adult, I probably won’t get to them anytime soon but I adored them as a child. I’m just going to trust 7 year old me that they were good.
  • The Baby Sitter’s Club by Ann Martin – I loved these books growing up, I have tried to go through the series description to find one that I did not read and I couldn’t find any. My mom bought these books anywhere she could find them because she knew we were guaranteed to love them. This book is about a group of friends who decide to start a baby sitting business in their home town. We followed them through puberty, diabetes, parents getting divorced, moving away and of course, BOYS! These books were just such easy reads but I wonder if they’d really stand the test of time today. I somehow doubt it but they were great to 7 year old me.
  • Famous Five by Enid Blyton – The famous five included Julian, Dick, Anne, not forgetting tomboy George and her beloved dog, Timmy! These books made me feel like a grown up. There were actually high stakes involved unlike Nancy Drew, I actually felt like they were in actual danger of being hurt. After reading these books, I’d beg my older sister to play detective with me but she’d say no because sisters are horrible! I loved George, she was my favorite character. It’s so amazing how progressive her character is by today’s standards to balk at gender roles and expectations and just be herself.

Just as an aside and bonus hot take, you know a book that everybody loved but 6 year old me absolutely hated? Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. I just did not see what the fuss was all about. Wow, I really was a young tough critic.

What are some of the books you enjoyed reading as a young ‘un? I want to know in the comments! Have your read them again recently? Did they stand the test of time? Sound off in the comments, we love reading them!

Leggy

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Our 2019 Reading Goals

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Taynement

Happy New Year, everyone!! New year, new reading goals. Last year, I went rogue and was saying I had no goals and yada yada but this year in my life, I have a goal of being intentional and I am applying it to everything in my life, including my reading.

Majority of my reading is mostly newly released fiction/memoirs so this year so, I want to try and be all inclusive with stuff on my backlist. My dirty little secret is that, I have not read a lot of classics. So this year, I am going to try and include 2-3 classics and get in with the cool crew.

Going through Leggy’s books for the year, I admire how diverse a reader she is because I can acknowledge I am not (y’all I told you I am a fraudulent reader!). She is also very big on fantasy books and *say it with me* I am not. Last year, she had a goal to make me read Red Rising and she failed with that, so I might humor her and read it and add another fantasy book.

I did not change my number of books for the year and left it at 35. I anticipate audio books will be a big part of my reading this year, so I wonder if it’ll be more or less. Oh, one last thing, I joined a reading challenge to help in diversifying my reading. I don’t think I will do all of it but these are the guidelines:

a book you’ve been meaning to read
a book about a topic that fascinates you
a book in the backlist of a favorite author
a book recommended by someone with great taste
a book you chose for the cover
a book by an author who is new to you
a book in translation
a book outside your (genre) comfort zone
a book published before you were born

Leggy

I enjoy picking a number of books on goodreads every year because I think it challenges me to read more and try to make or beat my number. Last year, I picked 70 books and ended up reading 83 books. This year, I’m still going to leave it at 70. I think this is a comfortable number for me where I do not feel too much pressure but also a big enough number where I feel challenged to read more books every year.

As usual, every year I always try to have goals in mind. Last year, one of my goals was to read more female and minority writers which is a goal we as a blog collectively achieved. I read a lot of women last year and I’m super proud of that. I also finally tackled “The Count of Monte Cristo” by Alexandre Dumas which is a super readable book if anyone is looking to put it on the TBR for the year.

This year, my two big goals are:

  • Read self-help books more intentionally. I don’t read a lot of self help but I do want to be intentional in the way I pick these books and then try to apply them more or at least actually take one thing away from the books that I read. The first book that I already finished this year is “Crucial Conversations” by Kerry Patterson and I hope to incorporate some of their tips into my every day discussions.
  • And as always, tackle a classic. My classic this year is Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. Last year, my second option was “War and Peace” by Tolstoy but I never got around to it but who knows? Maybe this year?

Other than that, I really hope I have a good reading year.

Happy reading year everybody!

Do you guys make reading goals? Tell us what they are in the comments!

 

Leggy&Taynement

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Related Topics

End of Year Housekeeping: We Want Your Feedback!

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It’s been a year since we started this blog and we hope you have enjoyed reading it as much as we have enjoyed writing it. It’s been a labor of love, library runs and book acquisitions this past year. Also, a learning process for us, as we try to build an audience and make a space on the internet for ourselves and our love for reading.

We want to always check in with you guys to make sure we are giving you the best we can on this blog. As this is our last post of the year, we are using this opportunity to give you guys a chance to let us know what you would like to see from us next year.

Are there any particular type of reviews you would like?

If we started a book club would you participate and how would you like us to conduct it? Via twitter? or comment sections? How often would you like to have it?

How can we make our posts more interactive? What would make you more likely to leave a comment?

How can we improve our social media presence? Is there something you’d like to see on our instagram or twitter that we are not doing now? (please follow us on instagram @nightstands2 and twitter @2nightstands and tell a friend to tell a friend)

Any personal questions you’d like to know about us? Get to know us as bloggers!

Let us know in the comments because we want this blog to be your go-to destination to express your love for books and your feedback will help us build a better community of like minded people.

Thank you!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Hope you guys come back next year for a wonderful year of all things books!

P.S We were a little disappointed that no one shared their best and worst books of the year 😦 We were looking forward to seeing what everyone else thought and also adding to our TBR lists. So if you so feel inclined, it’s never too late to let us know 😀

Leggy & Taynement