Subscribe to #LitGoals Mailings!

* indicates required

Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Joy and Luck of a Book Club

Morning All,

Can we talk book clubs for a moment? I personally belong to two, one that I run and one that I participate in, and then I have a Book of the Month subscription which sort of counts. The club I run is a Historical Fiction book club that was born many years ago thanks to a course on the MOOC site Coursera. Our January book is America's First Daughter by Laura Kamoie and Stephanie Dray. The one that I just participate in is new and one of the Litsy Goes Postal groups (#CoverToCover). #CoverToCover is a little more mysterious, I get to read books selected by 12 other amazing women, write my thoughts in a notebook, send it off to the next person, and get the book and notebook I send out back sometime next year before the cycle starts again.

Now I know the BOTM subscription isn't actually a book club, but A LOT of the books I'm using for the #LitsyAtoZ challenge came from BOTM. Knowing that I have 12 mystery books coming to me means that someone may send me something to fill in a gap on any of these challenges is fascinating to me, and running a club means I get to steer the selection towards something I need if needed. Granted for the HF book club we vote on books, but I'm the one that puts up the selection. February's book is The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict, which I'm using as my "A book I was excited to buy but haven't read yet" book.

There's also just a magic about having a collection of people who are all reading and discussing the same books, especially when one of them is your absolute favorite. I like the conversations that I've had thanks to book clubs, and I love it when people say they hated the book. It is perfectly okay to not like the book! What book club decided that it wasn't?

When you've found your passion about something, regardless of what it is, you want to share it. Books take my breath away, give me far to many emotions, consume me, and sometimes annoy me; and yes I've read books I haven't liked or just couldn't get into, it happens to the best of us.

So find someone to talk to about the books you're reading. I'm sure you'll find it exhilarating and exciting when you see someone else light up the way you did, or when you get into a passionate or loud discussion about why the book was bad in your opinion. Find or create a book club, in person, online, through the mail even! You won't regret it.


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Crisis of X and the Curse of Netflix

Hello Internet,

As you may know I am participating in the #LitsyAtoZ book challenge in 2017, (to learn more about it check out some other posts like this one or this one.) The gist is 26 books, with the titles corresponding with a letter of the alphabet, and our English alphabet has some pretty weird letters; namely the letter X. X is weird and random and sounds like an E or a Z depending on how you say it or how something is spelled. However! I proved successful in my endeavor to find a book beginning with X, the lucky winner was/is Xanadu by John Mann. I was able to find a high quality copy for only a few bucks off of Thrift Books (which is amazeballs) and waited to receive my holy grail. First I got a Spanish edition of "Prisoner of Heaven" by Carlos Zafron, a truly fantastic novel I already own in English. After they corrected their error I did in fact get the book I'd ordered. With one very small exception, the title had changed. When ordered it was a lovely gold cover that bore the name XANADU by John Mann, and this is not what I got.

Turns out that Xanadu became the source material for the show on Netflix about Marco Polo and his adventures. Yay for the author, but it has left me in a pickle. Can I continue using this book because it can be found under the right letter? Do I find a new X book because the new title doesn't match? Silly as it seems I'm quite flustered by this. I feel like I could get away with it, in the manner that Starbucks gets away with having you pay for $5 worth of coffee, but giving you a cup that wasn't quite full because of "foam" or "whipped cream". Technically it was what you asked for and wanted, but you somehow still wound up gypped.

Thankfully I have time before I'll read my Marco Polo book, and maybe I'll replace it with a different X book, maybe this one will fit in somewhere else in the midst of all these challenges. Maybe I'll let it stay where X marked its spot in the first place.

Who really knows? The Shadow?


The Insta List

Morning All,

Today is the last Wednesday of the ridiculous year of 2016; and last night I found a book challenge list on Instagram that blends in beautifully with all the other #LitGoals for 2017 and will be simple enough to incorporate. This is listed as the 2017 Reading Challenge: Reading for Fun: Put the oomph back in your reading life! (Do people lose the oomph? Is that a thing? Should I worry about that?) 

The challenges are as follows: 
  • A book you chose for the cover
  • A book with a reputation for being un-put-down-able
  • A book set somewhere you've never been but would like to visit
  • A book you've already read
  • A juicy memoir
  • A book about books or reading
  • A book in a genre you usually avoid
  • A book you don't want to admit you're dying to read
  • A book in the backlist of a new favorite author 
  • A book recommended by someone with great taste
  • A book you were excited to buy or borrow but haven't read yet
  • A book about a topic or subject you already love

Hmm... On second thought this may be tougher than I imagined, how do I pick ONE book I'm excited to read or borrow and haven't read? 

Can't wait to see how this one turns out! 


Decisions, Decisions

Happy New Year All!

To kick off this new year I am doing a book reading blitz. Between today and tomorrow I plan to read as many challenge books as I can! There are about 10 on my master list that are nice and short, unintentionally, yet this is making my blitz that much more doable.

The blitz had been planned for awhile, but the books kept bouncing around. Actually deciding what to read sometimes is hard! I am one of those who can simultaneously want to read any and everything, while still not being able find anything to read.

For the blitz I have chosen the shorter books on my list which will let me start off with a bang. Over the next couple of days I'm aiming to get through about 8 books; each meeting a different challenge requirement.

Am I insane? Yes. But this will also be great practice for the 24in48 January Read-a-thon later this month. (Check it out and sign up!)

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Book Riot's 2017 Read Harder Challenge!

I'm crazy excited for this one! When I saw the categories for this years challenge I knew that it would actually be difficult for me to do. I love my "book ruts", I read what I like and I know I tend to like a limited scope of books. The beauty of this challenge though is that in order to complete it I have no choice but to expand my horizons, bookishly speaking.

The list is as follows:

  • Read a book about sports
  • Read a debut novel
  • Read a book about books
  • Read a book set in Central or South America written by a Central or South American author
  • Read a book by an immigrant or with a central immigration narrative
  • Read an all-ages comic
  • Read a book published between 1900 and 1950
  • Read a travel memoir
  • Read a book you've read before
  • Read a book that is set within 100 miles of your location
  • Read a book that is set more than 5000 miles from your location
  • Read a fantasy novel
  • Read a nonfiction book about technology
  • Read a book about war
  • Read a YA or middle grade novel by an author who identifies as LGBTQ+
  • Read a book that has been banned or frequently challenged in your country
  • Read a classic by an author of color
  • Read a superhero comic with a female lead
  • Read a book in which a character of color goes on a spiritual journey.
  • Read an LGBTQ+ romance novel. 
  • Read a book published by a micropress
  • Read a collection of stories by a woman
  • Read a collection of poetry in translation on a theme other than love
  • Read a book wherein all point-of-view characters are people of color
See what I mean? 


Going Postal for the New Year!

Good Morning All,

I am ridiculously excited to be a part of a Litsy Goes Postal group. 13 books, 13 months, 13 people. I can't wait to get each book, see if I have similar tastes to anyone, see if my mind is opened to something new. Perhaps one or two of these books will even fall into a challenge category! How serendipitous would that be? I'm sending out one of my very favorite classics, one that I've been obsessed with since I first read it as a kid. There is something to be said for sending a classic, and I do hope that this group of readers gets my love of the book. I so easily fall for literary monsters, I see love stories where most see horror, and the monster in the book is never the monster the author meant it to be. I'll chronicle my postal readings here, but keep them vague, or send a link to their GoodReads page. I'm so excited to start the new year!


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Books and Math

Good Afternoon All,

One thing that I have always loved about books is that they are decidedly un-mathy, unless you're reading a book about math. Since I was never very good at math, numbers and I just don't get along. However it occurred to me that these reading challenges are going to be a numbers game. By the end of next year I will have (hopefully) read between 84 and 108 books; 26 from the #LitsyAtoZ challenge + 40 from PopSugar's 2017 Challenge + 12 additional PS challenge books + 12 books for my Historical Fiction book club + 12 Book of the Month Club books + 6 to make the total nicely divisible by 12. All said and done it is 108 books, the minimum to meet the challenges will be 84. I'm still presuming that there will be some cross over as 9 books in a month is quite a bit. Though, when you factor that some of these books will be in audiobook format it seems more plausible somehow. I'm excited for this undertaking. I've bought a second book log to keep track of EVERYTHING I read and listen too next year, whilst keeping my TARDIS log for the challenges.

The more thought and preparation I'm putting into my Lit Goals for 2017 the more excited and nervous I'm getting. Help me along, won't you? Tell me what your favorite book is, or one you think would fit any of these challenges, or one that makes you happy, one that you think the world should read; I'd really love to know.

All the best,
Brainy Heroine

Saturday, December 3, 2016

The Hunt Begins and Ends in Geekdom

Evening All,

Today was a day spent trying to find the one, singular, most perfect item to aid me in the coming year of literary challenges. Today I made it my mission to find a book journal. Now there are several available for purchase online, Amazon has a great selection, Moleskine has a seemingly good one at a great price too boot. However I find these sort of things to be challenging to purchase online. When it comes to journals in general I prefer to feel them, smell them, see if the thickness of the pages will hold or smear the ink of my favorite pens. I love looking for journals that are purse sized, ones that I will carry with me every where, or find ones that are large, perfect for desks or nightstand writings. My husband found me a truly beautiful one the other day, an 8x10 Blue Sky marble looking hard back thing of art. Honestly though? I just need something that feels right, is cute, and will keep me committed to it, and an excuse to spend hours in Barnes and Noble to find something that meets ALL the above criteria and then some (and just time spent in B&N) doesn't hurt anything either.

With a solid goal and budget in mind I set about to find my magical item. The first trip through B&N didn't yield a winner, then again I wasn't giving anything a fair enough chance. B&N is my go to place to physically buy Moleskine notebooks, I was looking for the book journal, didn't find it, and found 5 discount books to soothe my soul. At Ross I was able to find a perfect 2017 planner, and thought I found a great notebook to match, but flaws were found. The realization of the coupon magic that was had at B&N meant a trip back to purchase a Christmas gift, and to give the other journals a second chance.

As I'm looking at them, seeing their Dapper Fox, sloth, and motivational journals I grabbed some contenders and sat down to really pour through them. As I began putting them back I found the one. The only one like it. The Doctor Who TARDIS 6"x8" Journal.  "You want weapons? We're in a library! Books! Best weapons in the world! This room's the greatest arsenal we could have. Arm yourself!" - The Doctor, played by David Tennant While I'll have to implement my own organizational structure, dealing with some trial and error on that end, it felt right.

A reading challenge, or a series of them is something at its very core is meant for the Nerd/Geek/Dorkdom's of the world. And books are like the TARDIS, they are bigger on the inside and can transport you
  anywhere you could ever want to go.

So this is what I wound up with, and I'm excited to see where it leads me next year.

Thanks for reading,
Brainy Heroine

Thursday, December 1, 2016

#LitsyAtoZ Book List

Below are the books I've decided to use for this challenge. I've posted title, author and page count. All said and done it is 26 books and a whopping 10,654 pages! 

Title of BookAuthorPage Count
All The Ugly and Wonderful ThingsBryn Greenwood352
Behold the DreamersImbolo Mbue400
The Couple Next DoorShari Lapena313
Dark MatterBlake Crouch354
Eligible Curtis Sittenfeld 512
Fallen Founder: The Life of Aaron BurrNancy Isenberg560
The Geek Feminist RevolutionKameron Hurley288
Hidden FiguresMargot Lee Shetterly373
I Let You Go Clare Mackintosh384
January 1973: Watergate, Roe v. Wade, Vietnam, and the Month that Changed America ForeverJames Robenalt420
KatherineAnya Seton500
The Lost SisterhoodAnne Fortier608
Missing, PresumedSusie Steiner369
The NestCynthia D'Aprix Sweeney368
The Ocean at the End of the LaneNeil Gaiman256
Pleasantville Attica Locke433
Queen of the NightAlexander Chee576
Rise of the Rocket GirlsNathalia Holt352
Seven Skeletons: The Evolution of the World's Most Famous Human FossilsLynda Pryne288
The TrespasserTana French464
The Unraveling of Mercy LouisKeija Parssinen336
The VerdictNick Stone512
What She KnewGilly McMillian699
Xanadu John Man352
You Will Know MeMeg Abbot352
Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald Therese Ann Fowler375

The PopSugar 2017 Reading Challenge List

For those of you wanting to do this one yourself, I'd recomend reading the fantastic article about it first over on PopSugar! For those of you familiar with the challenge, or want a copy of the list to follow along with, then here you go!

The List

  • A book recommended by a librarian (school, public, etc)
  • A book that's been on your TBR list for way to long
  • A book of letters 
  • An audiobook
  • A book by a person of color
  • A book with one of the four seasons in the title
  • A book that is a story within a story
  • A book with multiple authors
  • An espionage thriller
  • A book with a cat on the cover
  • A book by an author who uses a pseudonym
  • A best seller from a genre you don't normally read
  • A book by or about a person who has a disability
  • A book involving travel
  • A book with a subtitle 
  • A book that's published in 2017
  • A book involving a mythical creature
  • A book you've read before that never fails to make you smile
  • A book about food
  • A book with career advice
  • A book from a nonhuman perspective
  • A steampunk novel
  • A book with a red spine
  • A book set in the wilderness
  • A book you loved as a child
  • A book by an author from a country you've never visited
  • A book with a title that's a character's name
  • A novel set during wartime 
  • A book with an unreliable narrator
  • A book with pictures
  • A book where the main character is a different ethnicity than you
  • A book about an interesting woman
  • A book set in two different time periods
  • A book with a month or day of the week in the title 
  • A book set in a hotel
  • A book written by someone you admire
  • A book that's becoming a movie in 2017
  • A book set around a holiday other than Christmas
  • The first book in a series you haven't read before
  • A book you bought on a trip
Advanced (12 bonus books!)
  • A book recommended by an author you love
  • A bestseller from 2016
  • A book with a family- member term in the title
  • A book that takes place over a character's life span
  • A book about an immigrant or refugee 
  • A book from a genre/subgenre that you've never heard of
  • A book with an eccentric character
  • A book that's more than 800 pages
  • A book you got from a used book sale
  • A book that's been mentioned in another book
  • A book about a difficult topic
  • A book based on mythology

Challenge(s) Accepted

Hello there,

You seem to have stumbled across my book blog, either by accident or by following a link from somewhere. Thank you for stopping in! I'm so excited to share Lit Goals with you and to blather on about #LitGoals2017. This is all such a passion project, something that will be fun, make a great log of the books I've read in 2017, and the place to track my progress for the reading challenges I've accepted. Last year I accepted two reading challenges and had them both finished by March, I added a third and was done with it by August. I am an avid reader and listener of audiobooks. Yes! AUDIOBOOKS COUNT AS BOOKS. Some may disagree however and they are allowed too. I am so thrilled to explain this coming year's challenges and I encourage you to participate in them! They'll be great fun and sometimes you just need that extra motivation to read a book.

Oh, you're probably wondering who I am. That's an easy one. I'm Ami Rebecca, a native to Las Vegas, NV. I graduated from Nevada State College in 2015 with a BA in History and a concentration in Pre-Law. I'm married to my amazing husband who is currently in a Ph.D. program at UNLV for Radiochemistry. (He wants to save the planet.) Presently I am not in school, but have goals to obtain my masters and Ph.D. in History, focusing on the Habsburg Monarchy, Medieval Spain and Hungary, and Erzsebet Bathory. When they said find a niche I took them quite literally. I don't have kids, but I do have a cat, and during the day I work for a law firm helping the disabled. Reading has always been a passion of mine. I was that kid who got in trouble for it, always did the reading for class, and knew every librarian by name. There is something soothing about books, the way that you can find the one you need, the way they find you, they're truly magical. Many of those historic moments in my life, many of those big decisions can be traced directly back to the books I've read.

As an avid reader I've accepted many book challenges over the past few years. There is only one I didn't finish, but that was because the book was creepy and giving me nightmares. I'll get back to it someday. The particular book challenges I'm following in 2017 are simple. The first is the #LitsyAtoZ challenge created by fellow Litsian BookishMarginalia (if you Litsy, follow her and join the challenge! If you're on Litsy follow me too! BrainyHeroine). The rules are simple, she had three veins you could choose from, either alphabetically read books by author's last name, book title, or both. I've chosen to go the route of A to Z book titles. I'm looking forward to branching out and reading more non-fiction and even reading fiction books I normally wouldn't think twice about. Challenges are about expanding ones horizons after all.

The second challenge that I'm doing is one I've done before, it is the PopSugar 2017 challenge. The rules for this one are simpler, just read one of everything on the list. For those who are quick readers they even have an additional 12 items! That would equate to one book a week, but there are people who can do it. 

The last challenge I'm doing is the Goodreads Shelf Challenge, an easy peasy numbers game. I'm going to tell Goodreads a number of books I plan to read, and then by the end of the year I should hopefully have read that many. The challenge there is remembering to log them in, and as a bonus challenge to myself I'm going to start reviewing the books I've marked as "Read."

It is going to be an exciting year of reading, and yes there will be some cross over between challenges, there isn't any rule saying that there can't be. If you're curious about the #LitsyAtoZ books I'll be reading fear not, a list is posted (right under the header, you can't miss it; once I read a book I'll delete it from the list) and you can search the Card Catalog on the side bar for #LitsyAtoZ. posts and book posts. I'll also be posting my Book of the Month Club choices, my Audible of the month choice, and what I'm currently reading, letting you all stay in the loop! (Side note, if you'd like to stay in the loop even faster you can submit your email address in the side bar and get an alert with each posting!) You can also follow my Litstagram on Instagram and my Goodreads page as well.

Have any questions? Want a review of a book? Want me to read and review your book? Email me at and I'll be more than happy to strike up a conversation about books!

Happy Reading!