ramblings

On My Nightstand: January 2018

So many books, so little time!  Here’s a look at some of my upcoming reads, which are currently sitting on my nightstand, demanding to be devoured.

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
was one of the most talked-about books last year, so it’s about time I read it!  I’m currently two chapters in and I’m finding it hard to put this one down.

Swing Time by Zadie Smith
has been on my radar since it was first announced, though I have to admit I’m a bit skeptical because it’ll be my first Zadie and I’ve heard it’s not her best.

The Mothers by Brit Bennett
is probably the book I’m most excited about on this list!  Not only is the cover absolutely stunning, but so is Bennett’s prose.

The Girls by Emma Cline
was THE book of the summer in 2016, and for some reason I never got around to it.  I’m still looking forward to this Manson-esque coming-of-age story that Random House reportedly acquired in a seven-figure, multi-book deal (quite a feat for a debut novelist).

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
is one that I really don’t know too much about other than it won a Pulitzer, but the publication of Egan’s newest release, Manhattan Beach, has gotten me curious about Goon Squad.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
will be my first Chabon, and it’s an absolute behemoth, but it’s his most popular and I’ve heard it’s a good one to start with.

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
seems like the quintessential love-it-or-hate-it book, but I’m hoping my own reading experience is the former.

The Sellout by Paul Beatty
won the 2016 Man Booker Prize, so it’s been on my to-read list for a while.  As with Goon Squad, I know virtually nothing about The Sellout, so I’m anxious to pick it up.

Have you read any of these books?  Which one do you think I should read first?  Let’s chat in the comments!

xx,
Hannah

My Favorite Books of 2017

I didn’t read as much as I would’ve liked to this year, between adjusting to college and starting my first part-time job, but the books I did manage to read were some that will definitely stay with me.  Below are four of the best books I read in 2017.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
is hands down the best book I read this year, and one of my all-time favorites.  It’s been nearly a year since I first picked it up, but I can’t stop thinking about it, and I’m dying for a reread.

The Nix by Nathan Hill
is brilliant and unputdownable, an outstanding, well-crafted debut novel from a talented new writer.  It absolutely blew me away!  More thoughts here.

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
is my most recent read, and one that surprised me in the best way possible.  A compelling story complete with memorable characters, The Interestings kept me reading well into the morning hours.  More thoughts here.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt
is the ultimate campus novel, an engrossing and eerie tale.  I read it during an eight-hour train ride through upstate New York, perhaps the best setting to engage in Tartt’s work.  The Secret History will suck you in and keep you hooked until the end.

Cheers to a great reading year!

xx,
Hannah

How Blogging Changed my Reading

I began blogging a little over two months ago, but in that short period of time my reading has undergone some changes.  Since starting Hannah and her Books, I’ve noticed that I’ve been reading more, reading with an analytical eye, and reading diversely, but I’ve also been feeling pressured and stuck.

I read more.
When I started college, my excessive workload forced me to put reading on the back burner.  However, starting this blog has made reading a priority again.  I am always carrying a book, and I make sure to set aside reading time every day, either right after I wake up in the morning, right before I got to bed, or other random times throughout the day such as between classes or during lunch.

I read analytically.
Since I started blogging, I’ve looked deeper into the books I’ve read to really understand what I like and dislike about them.  Reading has become more than just simply absorbing books, but rather taking them apart like a puzzle and examining the pieces and how they work together.

I read diversely.
Blogging has allowed me to discover so many books I never would’ve found without being a part of this online community of bibliophiles.  I’ve stumbled upon so many different novels and authors across a wide variety of genres, and I’ve been picking up books written by POC, like Homegoing and Behold the Dreamers.

I feel pressured.
One of the cons of book blogging is all the pressure that comes along with it.  There is the pressure to read “popular” books, the ones that everyone else is talking about, so that I can stay relevant.  There is the pressure to read new books, even though it means less rereading, which I used to do all the time!  I also feel pressured to read as much as everyone else, even if I don’t have the time; I’m happy if I manage to finish two or three books a month, but others are reading fifteen or twenty.  Lastly, there’s the pressure to write positive (read: dishonest) reviews, because no one likes a Negative Nancy.

I feel stuck.
I feel stuck in the sense that I am always reading books I’ve heard of before.  When I shop for books, either in person or online, I find myself buying books that I recognize, compared to when I was a young girl and I just perused the shelves for a book that looked good.  Not to say there’s anything wrong with that, but I guess I just miss being surprised by a book.

Overall, blogging has been a rewarding experience thus far; it has definitely changed the way I read, perhaps for the better.

xx,
Hannah

The First Post

Hey there and welcome!  I’m Hannah, an eighteen-year-old college student and bookworm.  I really like to talk about books so I started this blog (finally) as a space to share my thoughts.  I’m striving to write atypical reviews, focusing more on what the books made me think and feel rather than a strictly-formatted, star-rated “book review.”  I’ll probably throw some quotes and pictures in there too.

I’m hoping that through this blog I can help people connect with books they might like, but I’m also excited at the chance to improve my writing skills. Plus, being an English major is time-consuming, so I need an excuse to read books that aren’t required for class!  Hopefully this blog will do just that for me.

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you stick around.

xx,
Hannah