The 5 Stages of Deciding What to Read

Imagine this: you’ve just wrapped a long day at your job or school and feel the need to wind down. You mindlessly scroll through Netflix for a crazy amount of time before giving up, Then, an idea strikes. Reading! You hop off your favorite chair or spot on the couch and dash to your book storing location. But where to start? Now you find yourself in a difficult situation. How do you decide what to read? If you’re a reader, you know this challenge well. In the end, all readers go down this same path at some point when choosing a book.

  1. Consult your bookshelf for previously read books

Stage one: we go for the obvious. Do you even remember what books you do have? Maybe there’s a novel you want to reread? A reader’s first stop is always home base. After staring at your selection for a bit, you may find a book to read instantly. Well done! You’ve accomplished a difficult feat and are possibly a unicorn. You go you reading unicorn genius! If you stuck like most readers, it’s time for stage two.

  1. Stare for way too long at your “too read” pile

Time to consult the new books who are clamoring to be read. Do you want that new mystery you’ve been dying to start? Or the tongue-in-cheek autobiography? When they were purchased, you promised to read them right away. Let’s be honest, it’s been at least a week since you mentally filed it into the to-read section of your mind palace. Why not read the back of the books again and again to narrow down your options? It doesn’t matter how many to-read books you have, this inevitably happens. If you choose a book in this step, you deserve a high-five. Congratulations! Hop off this train and enjoy. If you are frustrated at your current disinterest in these books, never fear! That’s when it’s time to improvise. 

  1. Listen to the call of the new books that you need to read

If none of the books you have are calling your name, it’s time to consult your wishlist. If you have it written down or stored online somewhere, consult the list of books you want to read. They are currently not in your possession, which makes them oddly more appealing. After zipping through your list, a book may call your name. If you are blessed with an open library or money to purchase said book, you can answer the call immediately. Mission accomplished! Maybe you hit a roadblock that brings your quest for this new book to a grinding halt. Drat. Time to go back to your bookshelf.

  1. Read the back of some of your books to narrow down your pile…

It doesn’t matter if you did this in stage one and two. Inevitably, the backs of these books will be consulted until you have narrowed down your list to a few books. If you are lucky, this will be the end of the journey for you. You may find a book you love to reread, or remember one that you loved which you were meaning to revisit. You might have found a spark this round for one of your new books. Either way, you did it! No money spent, no book left unread. Sometimes this doesn’t work out. For some reason all the books in your house, in your electronic reader, and anywhere else you keep books don’t hold anything of interest. If you are truly at wits end, you may give up and grab a random book, or give up on the book search entirely. Other times, it’s time to do some quick mental math. You could skip a coffee or a Postmates order to appease your book hunger. You may scour your library’s website for books to rent online. Then, inspiration!

  1. Ignore all the books calling your name and get a new one! 

It’s time to appease the book hunger, and that book you found online won’t stop wiggling its way into your mind. Time to cave and purchase it! If you’re lucky, you can find it for a good price or free in the magical world of the internet. Ignore the disappointed sounds of the books you own and get them a friend to join their ranks. If you prefer the feeling of pages between your fingers, it may be a bit longer before you get your prize to enjoy. Either way, more often than not readers find themselves here. If you are like me, it’s a side effect of your increasing book addiction that drives your parents/you to invest in the glory of a library card. However, my library is closed. I can’t escape this pull to give money to Bezos for some instant gratification at 10 pm. This is a constant conflict for me as a book lover. Sure it’s fun to get a new book, but don’t forget about the ones on your shelf! They want to be read too after all. 

Do you find yourself going through these stages when deciding on a book to read? Or do you have a different strategy? Let me know in the comments below! I love learning about people’s different reading habits. I hope that this made you smile a bit, even if it’s a bit too relatable.  Now it’s time to start this process myself. Hopefully I’ll find a book that brings me as much joy as the below GIF of Matilda being relatable to readers everywhere. Happy reading everyone!

10 Tips to Smash your 2021 Goodreads Goal

It’s finally 2021! It’s time to set tentative goals for the year and get that motivation going. As someone who loves lists, I’ve already made a list of my own goals. One of them involves taking on the Goodreads challenge yet again. This is the third year I’ve done this, and I am very lucky to have hit my goal two years in a row. When I set my goal for this year, I started thinking about myself the first year I did this challenge. I had no game plan, and no idea how to tackle my goal. I thought I was an experienced reader, but my challenge kicked my butt. If you are in that same boat, don’t worry! Here are 10 tips that can help you smash your Goodreads goal.

  1. Set a realistic goal

This is one of the most important things to consider when setting a goal. Be realistic about how many books you can read with your lifestyle. If you are a busy parent who can barely listen to a book tape, 50 books might be a bit much. Instead, take a mental tally of how many books you read the previous year. If you want to keep up your reading habit, you can set a goal for the same number of books that you read the year before. If you want to challenge yourself, try upping that count by 2-5 books. That will give you an attainable goal that also pushes you to read a bit more. If you are coming back to the challenge this year and need a new goal, take the same considerations into account. If you read 30 books last year and can feasibly see yourself reading 35, go for it! If you hit your max reading goal last year, renew it again. Don’t feel like you have to read 50 or 100 books just because so many other people are. That’ll add additional stress and suck the fun out of this challenge. This is supposed to be fun, not stressful!

  1. Keep a list of favorite books and authors

Something that has helped me in the past two years is my favorites list. Keep a list of favorite books and authors to reference when you run out of ideas. There are even books built for this, where you can track your favorites in one place. If you prefer an easy to access list, create a Google doc with these lists and keep the app on your phone. If you are out of ideas at the bookstore, you can pull it out and search for similar books. Also, most online booksellers have a suggested reads list. If you really liked a book, look it up on one of these sites and take a look at the recommended list. You can also use this feature to look at your favorite author’s novels. You can also go to an author’s site to see what books they’ve written and tackle their books. 

  1. Ask friends and family for book recommendations

This option can be a great or terrible idea, depending who you ask. Take that into account when consulting your peers for book recommendations. If you are a fiction lover and cringe at the thought of nonfiction, maybe don’t ask your aunt who loves nonfiction for advice. Instead, consider people who have reading interests that overlap with yours. You can find books that you know you’ll like, and maybe even a few that’ll surprise you. If you want to expand your reading world, then consider talking to that aunt or uncle who likes different books than you. This is great if you’re getting into a new genre with no idea where to begin. Let them know your preferences and dislikes and they can help you translate that to their favorite genre. It’s also a great bonding experience for you and the person you’re consulting. A win win!

  1. Audiobooks are your friend

Audiobooks are a great way to keep yourself on track for your goal. Many people have different obligations that make it hard to sit down and read a book. You can listen to audiobooks while you work, while you drive, and more! You can get audiobooks via Audible, Youtube, CDs, and your library. I’m a fast reader, so I tend to listen to Audible audiobooks at 1.25x speed. You can also do this on Youtube as well if you want a speedier read. If you use a platform like Audible, I would recommend listening to a sample of the audiobook before purchasing it. This will help you determine if the reader’s voice is grating or nice to your ears. You don’t want to get an audiobook version of a book you’ve been dying to read, only to find that the voice gets on your nerves. If you find a reader’s voice that you like, try searching their name to see what other books they’ve read. You might find some new books that way!

  1. Keep a written list of book ideas

This is an obvious strategy, but I had to mention it. I often forget to write down books that I find interesting. If you carry a notebook like myself, dedicate a page to books that interest you. Google docs are also a great way to keep this list. You can format the list to include book recommendations and books that you come across on your trips to the bookstore. If nothing tickles your fancy on your bookshelf, consult your list for ideas. Try to include books of all your favorite genres so that you have options for any mood. If you find a book in a series that you want to read, include the other books in that series on your list as well. Series are a great way to increase your number of books read. 

  1. Follow book blogs for recommendations

Book blogs are your best friend when it comes to recommendations. The odds are that every book blog has at least one book recommendation on their blog. Research some blogs to follow that you find fun to read. If you can find blogs that specialize in certain genres, they’re a great way to find your preferred books. It’s also a great way to learn more about a genre that you want to try reading this year. I would also recommend following Booktubers for the same reason. It is important to note that this option involves some trial and error. You may start out reading a blog that you think might be promising and then find it disappointing. Don’t be discouraged! There are a lot of great ones out there. You’ll eventually find a few that will be great resources. If you want to check out some of my book recommendations, you can look at my book content here.

  1. Goodreads itself!

Again, another obvious point that needs to be mentioned. Goodreads is a great way to find books. They have an option where you can select your favorite genres. Based on this information and your previously read, they will have a list of book recommendations catered to you. You can also keep track of your want to read on their site, as your account has a shelf for that reason. If you have Goodreads friends, you can also see what they are reading and check out those books. The reviews are usually varied enough that you can use them to determine if the book is right for you. They usually have links to buying the book as well. If you are someone who needs to watch your budget, you can use the links to buy the books on Kindle. 

  1. Ask a worker at your local bookstore

This is a tried and true way to find a book. Bookstore workers, especially at independent bookstores, are a great resource for finding books. Make sure you come to them with a specific title or genre that they can work off to help you find books. If you want to try something new, ask them about their favorite book and see if that sparks inspiration for you. Independent bookstores usually have the worker’s favorite books highlighted in some way. Try looking for those and write them down in your book list if any strike your fancy. You can also ask them about recommendations based on authors to see if they know of any similar authors that they have in stock. 

  1. Consult the classics

If you feel burnt out on your current favorite genres, try taking a look at classic novels. It can be hard to separate these from your dreaded school days, but they are worth checking out. I used to dread the classics because of my mixed experience with highschool English. Once I could choose the classics and could read them without dissection, they were way more fun to read. If you are unsure what classics you like, consult a list on Goodreads or Google a list of classics and go from there. The genres of classics may seem small, but there are many different options to choose from. I always recommend checking out Mary Shelly or Jane Austen’s work for some dynamic storytelling. If you are concerned with the language getting in the way, they are good ones to read. It isn’t too formal and can get you used to reading the writing styles of the time. The more you read the classics, the easier they get to read. If you want to check out some of my favorite classic novels for some ideas, you can read this post

  1. Repeats of your favorites are okay!

If all else fails, don’t be afraid to repeat some favorites from 2020 or the years prior. I don’t believe that reading the same book twice in one year counts, but that doesn’t apply to books you’ve read in years past. You can add multiple dates read for a book. This is great for me, because I have some go to books that I love to read at certain times of the year. If you aren’t sure what to read, consult your old Goodreads reading challenge lists and write down the ones you remember liking. If you like to read certain genres at certain times of the year like me, you can map out when to read these books. This can be super helpful if you want to reread a longer book. You can plan accordingly by upping your book count in a different month so that book doesn’t get you behind on your goal. This also a great option because you can look at how long it took you to read them the last time and can plan accordingly. 

With these tips, I hope you can kick your 2021 goal’s butt and come out victorious. However, don’t forget to give yourself some leeway. Last year was a whirlwind and that might make it hard for you to get moving with a new goal right away. If that’s the case for you, focus on one book at a time and don’t stress too much about your goal. What tips would you add for people wanting to complete their Goodreads goals? Do you have any book recommendations for me or a fellow book lover to read this year? Let me know in the comments below! I’ve just gotten started on my own challenge and am looking forward to all the great book ideas to add to my list. Thanks so much for reading everyone, and good luck!

Goodreads 2020: Thank Goodness That’s Over

Hello my wonderful readers, and happy almost-end to 2020! Many of us are counting down the days until this year is over. While most of this year was an absolute dumpster fire, there were some silver linings. For me, my silver lining was books. Books are awesome anytime, but this year they were especially needed. Because of this, I found my Goodreads challenge way easier to complete than I would have thought. Tired of doom scrolling? Book time. Did I need something to distract myself when I lost my job for a few months? You guessed it, book time again. Due to this whirlwind, I ended this year with one book more than my goal! I somehow managed to read 41 books by Christmas. To give y’all an idea of my yearly progress, I thought I’d take a page out of Spotify’s book. Get ready for some stats!

  1. My Goal 
  1. Longest and Shortest Books that I read in 2020
  1. Favorite new books that I read

If you want to check out these books, visit the nonfiction book here and the fiction book here

  1. Favorite book that I reread

This one was so hard to choose, so I had to go with a series. If you have not read this series yet and you are a fan of mysteries, you must check it out here!

  1. My most popular genres of the year

Since the results aren’t in yet on this particular fact, I pulled the genre tags for each book I read and used a word frequency counter to pull which ones were referenced the most. Here are the top three!

  1. My 2021 goal!

Finally, it’s time to take a look into the future. With all of the things on my plate in 2021, I have a more flexible goal this year. I’m going to add on five more books to this year’s goal, with the intention of shooting for 40 in case the year gets away from me. Still, I’m determined to get cracking and hit my reading goal!

Did you complete your Goodreads goal this year? Have you seen some trends in your reading in the last year? Let me know in the comments below! If you have any favorite books that you have read for the first time or reread this year, please let me know. I’m always looking for new books to ready. Especially with an extra five to read this year! If you are shaking your head at your own Goodreads progress, don’t stress. This has been a stressful year for us all, and reading doesn’t help everyone combat that. Instead focus on next year, and how you can ace your next Goodreads goal. In fact, I might have a few tips up my sleeve that can help you cross that finish line. Tune in next week for those tips! Thanks so much for reading everyone, and I hope you have a Happy New Year!

5 Holiday Poems to Read this Season

It’s a great time of year for themed content. Whether you’re hoping for some Christmas cheer or a great winter aesthetic, the options are endless. There are movies, books, videos, songs, and more. With all of these great options, it can be overwhelming to choose. Like my posts for Halloween, I wanted to highlight some poems that perfectly fit into this time of year. Some you might have never heard before, and others might surprise you. Here are a few great holiday poems to get you into the world of festive poetry.

  1. “A Visit from St. Nicholas”– Clement Clarke Moore

If you are like me, then the title of this poem was not familiar. Once you read the poem itself, however, it becomes one of the most famous stories told at Christmastime. In fact, many people can probably recite some of this poem from memory. Many know “A Visit from St. Nicholas” as it’s more recent name “The Night Before Christmas”. It was first published back in 1823 anonymously in a New York paper. Many argue that this is the origin of the American image of Santa Claus. It’s also a lovely story to tell your family while curled up in front of a fire. If you want a safe way to get your family or friends into the festive spirit, try hosting a cozy get together over zoom and have a reading of this poem! With hot chocolate of course. 

  1. “The Feast of Lights”– Emma Lazarus

This poem by Emma Lazarus tells the story of the Feast of Lights, also known as Hanukkah or Chanukah. Hanukkah is a Jewish festival that spans over eight days and celebrates the restoration of the Temple. This was thanks to the Maccabees, who Lazarus mentions in this poem. She tells the story of their fight against the Syrians to regain control of their Temple and bring the light back to the Jewish world. She also mentions the menorah, which has become one of the famous symbols of Hanukkah. As someone who is not Jewish but is interested in learning more about the history behind Hanukkah, this was a beautiful source of information. You can feel the pride and excitement in this poem that the Jewish people must have felt when they reclaimed their Temple. If this poem has you curious about the Feast of Lights and the history behind it, there’s some great information about the holiday here

  1. “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”– Robert Frost 

This poem is not what you would consider festive. Instead, it perfectly captures the feeling of winter. Amidst all of the celebrations, it is still a very dark and cold season. If you find yourself growing tired of the festive season and wishing for some quiet, this poem is perfect for you. It’s atmospheric nature allows you to just stop and be in a moment. This poem holds a special place in my heart because it reminds me of the quiet feeling of watching snow fall in the woods. It reminds you of the beauty of nature, despite its dangerous chill. When you read it, you can almost hear the snow fall and the chill of the air. Also because it is one of my sister’s favorite poems that she loves reciting from memory on cold evenings. It’s by a man whose last name is Frost, which never ceases to entertain my pun-loving brain. This is a poem to read in the midst of a silent, snowy night. 

  1. “[little tree]”– E.E. Cummings

When I first read the title of this poem, it made me think of the tiny Charlie Brown tree. In fact, the first few lines of the poem made me wonder if it was truly a baby tree that would flop over from one ornament. It also reminds me of decorating Christmas trees as a child. Pulling out the bright and sparkling decoration and carefully hanging them on each branch. Of course, that was before I was tall enough. Most of my decorating duties were limited to the gingerbread and popsicle ornaments. The voice of this poem sounds like a child like myself talking to the tree as if it was a person. I love how it sounds like a child comforting something through an event that clearly must be scary. My favorite section is when the speaker says “then when you’re quite dressed/ you’ll stand in the window for everyone to see/ and how they’ll stare! /oh but you’ll be very proud”. I can imagine the scene unfolding through a child’s eyes, which is a great way to view the holiday season. So many things are more exciting and beautiful when we channel our inner child, after all.

  1. “For Christmas Day: Hark the Herald Angels Sing”– Charles Wesley

When I stumbled across this poem in my research, I was surprised to see it. I know this poem well, but not written this way. This is a popular hymn to sing in the Christian church during Christmastime. In fact, it is one of my favorite religious Christmas songs. It celebrates the birth of Jesus and talks about what that means for the community celebrating. The poem’s title and repeating lines also reference the angels who sang in celebration when telling the shepherds of Jesus’ birth. It was written in the 18th century by Charles Wesley, who was a Methodist preacher and brother of John Wesley, of the founders of the Methodist denomination in the U.K. He published this work in a collection of hymns and poems in the late 1730s. If you are someone looking for a Christian poem to read for this season, I recommend this one. You can read it and sing it! 

Have you read any of these poems before? Do you have a favorite festive poem that wasn’t on this list? Let me know in the comments below! I hope that all of you have a safe and happy holiday season. I’ll be back next week to celebrate the last Tuesday of 2020! Aren’t we all glad that is a sentence we can say. I’ll be recapping my book and writing goals for the year, and take a look at the year to come. Until then, happy reading and happy holidays!

5 Reason’s Why The Muppet Christmas Carol is the Best Christmas Carol Adaptation

We are currently in the throngs of the most festive months of the year.  In honor of the festive season, I have been binging movies, baking cookies, and decorating my little heart out. After completing decorating part 1 at my sister’s house, we plopped down on her couch and began the festive movie train. In honor of our jovial mood, we selected a recent classic; The Muppet Christmas Carol. Anyone who has seen this movie knows exactly why we had to start off the season with this movie. It is truly a classic that was not in my life until a few years ago. Thanks to the righteous indignation of my roommates, it has now taken a place in my Christmas-loving heart. In fact, I consider it one of the best adaptations of A Christmas Carol, if not the best. Don’t believe me? I’m sure these things will make you reconsider just a bit.

  1. The humor

If you’ve ever watched a Muppet movie, then you know that they have a distinct humor and tone in all their stories. This one is no exception. Among the classic storytelling of Dickens are the quips and visual gags that the Muppets are known for. My own favorite is the heatwave joke, seen in the GIF above. There are boundless great moments with Gonzo and Rizzo as the storytellers. Gonzo takes the role of Dickens, but Rizzo is just along for the ride as himself. They make many jokes about this dynamic that don’t feel overdone or too silly. Just the right amount of situational humor to tie it all together. The most important thing is that the humor doesn’t take away from the story. Many times a joke will drop in before a heartfelt moment, but it leaves enough space for you to appreciate both moments. 

  1. The Songs

The Muppets always have songs that bring a smile to your face. The songs in this film are great at moving the story along and giving you information about the characters and settings. The first song illustrates how disliked Scrooge is in his town before he even mutters a word. It really sells his first “ba humbug” of the film. Other songs teach Scrooge himself about the joys of Christmas and help him grow as a person. The songs also help you sympathize with the Cratchet family. The first time you see Bob and Tiny Tim together, they’re singing a jolly Christmas song. It shows that they already have the joy of Christmas in their hearts, and really sells the sad scene that the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come shows Scrooge. 

  1. The puppets as main characters!

It’s no surprise that The Muppets are in main roles of the story. It is their way after all! Like I mentioned earlier, Gonzo plays a role that many versions of A Christmas Carol don’t include: Charles Dickens! This is a great way for the filmmakers to stay more faithful to the book by having Dickens narrate some of the moments that might not be able to translate to screen. It’s also a great way to keep audiences of all ages engaged in the story. It leads to some great gags with Dickens and Rizzo as they follow Scrooge around. Kermit also makes a great Bob Cratchett. He delivers the wholesome vibe and kindness that the character represents.  

  1. The design and overall vibes

There is a great whimsy to The Muppets version of London. It has the dark and slightly dirty touch of London in that time period that makes it feel real. However, there’s a lot of color and textures to make it feel cheerful for the season. They also have great color contrasts in the puppets that bring light to the set. The houses are all slightly crooked and cartoon-y looking to make the puppets fit in well with the setting of the movie. Somehow the people fit in as well, with their bright colors. Surprisingly, this was the first movie that Brian Henson directed. He did an amazing job at bringing Dickens world to life, with a Muppets twist. 

  1. The true meaning of the story shines through

Something that I really love about this movie is it’s faithfulness to the story’s message. Despite all of the crazy puppets and slightly cartoonish set, the story and themes ring true to Dicken’s story. There are often lines taken directly from the story. The songs add to the source material to further the themes and the plot as I previously stated. Most importantly, it conveys the message of Christmas. Henson worked very hard to make sure that every detail emphasizes the themes of goodwill toward fellow men and changing for the better. It also makes sure to deliver the themes in a way that makes it easy for a younger audience to understand without speaking down to them. It tells all creatures of all ages about the joys of compassion and caring for our fellow man!
What are your thoughts on The Muppet Christmas Carol? Which is your favorite Christmas Carol adaptation and why? Let me know in the comments below! After writing this post, I can’t get the songs from this movie out of my head. I guess I’m due for another rewatch! I am so excited to rewatch other holiday movies and read more holiday-themed books. If you have any movie or book suggestions, let me know in the comments. I hope all of you are staying safe and healthy during this holiday season. Thanks so much for reading everyone, and happy holidays!

10 GIFS That Perfectly Represent NaNoWriMo

Welcome to another week of writing and stress! This week has been an eventual one. Thanks to that, I have no interesting NaNoWriMo updates for y’all. I had a feeling that reading another post about a girl’s stress during this year wouldn’t be very helpful. I didn’t do any writing this week, so it seemed silly to blab for a few paragraphs about my lack of writing. Instead, I’ve decided to highlight some relatable moments of taking part in NaNoWriMo. What better way to highlight these moments than my favorite medium, GIFs! 

  1. When you first sit down for a writing session
  1. When you get a breakthrough on a story idea.
  1. When you’re cheering on your writing buddy and their awesome work.
  1. After someone asks how your writing is going during a rough patch.
  1. When you roll into your local chat to check up on your writing friends and accidentally walk into peak chaos. 
  1. Cheering on the writers who have completed NaNoWriMo.
  1. When someone asks you to give more details on your story idea. Details who? We don’t know her
  1. Me trying to get through this while doing work and holiday stuff.
  1. When the writer’s block hits you hard.
  1. After finally completing this crazy month.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels that last gif deeply. If we all play our cards right, our food comas can line up perfectly with our post NaNoWriMo naps. Don’t forget my fellow WriMos, we’re halfway there! So exciting. Whether you’re chugging along or have barely scratched the surface, taking part in this is still a great thing. You’re powering through the craziness to put words on a page, and I think that’s pretty awesome. Good luck with this next week of NaNoWriMo and happy writing to everyone!

5 More Poems to Get You Into the Halloween Spirit

It’s the spookiest week of the year! In a few short days it will be Halloween, the day I take my final spooky form. It is also sadly the last week of spooky season. In honor of this fun time, I’m back with one last week of spooky content. This week we’re continuing with the wonderful world of poetry. It’s part two! This time we have a mixture of poems outright spooky, and those that capture the eerie vibe of the season. 

  1. “To — — –. Ulalume: A Ballad”- Edgar Allen Poe

It’s no surprise that part two of this list features another Poe poem. He is the king of gothic poetry after all! The tale told in this poem has a melancholy and mysterious vibe that is perfect for spooky season. Poe is great at creating the atmosphere  and setting for this poem. By the time he introduces the characters of this poem, you have a vivid idea of the world around them. He is also great at building suspense. You find yourself wondering what happened that night in October. Then, the poem beautifully brings us with the speaker back into the past when he lost his love. It’s a sad but beautiful poem that is worth checking out. If you want to read this poem,  check out the link in the poem’s title.

  1. “Windigo”- Louise Erdrich 

This poem’s title is named after the supernatural creature from Native-American folklore. The wendigo is a terrifying creature that is created after a human resorts to cannibalism. It wanders with the eternal hunger for human flesh. This poem is from the perspective of this creature. A fascinating way to build suspense and create the eerie tone that makes this poem so great. It’s also a very interesting glimpse into the lore of the Chippewa tribe. Eridich builds a vivid world within this poem. You can hear the woods and touch the objects described in the poem.  If you want a twist on the eerie side of legendary creatures, check out the link in the poem’s title.

  1. “Little Orphant Annie”- James Whitcomb Riley

This poem is a mixture of a nursery rhyme and a Brothers Grimm story. In this tale, an orphan named Annie tells stories to scare the kids of the family who employ her. We have another goblin poem, of course. Goblins are perfect supernatural creatures for the spooky season. This poem is a great example of a poem written phonetically. You can almost hear the speaker’s accent as they remember Annie’s tales and personality. I love this one because, as I said earlier, it reminds me of the Brothers Grimm tales that used to spook me as a child. If you want to dramatically read a spooky poem to a younger sibling or child, this is a perfect option. It is the fun side of spooky, and is fun for all ages! As long as there are night lights nearby, of course. If you want to read this tale to your friends, check out the link in the poem’s title.

  1. “The Haunted Wood”- Issac McLellan 

This poem tells the story of a haunted wood, as you could probably guess from the title. It is another poem with a great atmosphere. McLellan even uses language that reminds me of a story that is recited around a campfire on a cool autumn night. He also uses great language to make the world of this poem vivid. This poem gives us a glimpse into the stories of the souls who are buried in the wood. You can hear the echo of these characters as you read on. As a sucker for an atmospheric spooky tale, this is a great poem. If you want to take a trip into the woods, check out the link in the poem’s title. 

  1. “Beyond the Last Lamp”- Thomas Hardy

This list wouldn’t be complete without more ghosts. In this poem, Hardy takes us on a journey down a lane. A lane that brings the speaker to a common sight…or is it? If you could not tell by the rest of this list, I love spooky poems that have a vivid setting that adds to the eerie feeling. A lane itself is not eerie. A lane past the last light during a dark, rainy night adds a new edge to this story. Anyone who has walked in a rainy, dark wood knows how it elevates any normal situation. Add in some specters and you’ve got a poem perfect for the Halloween season. If you want to go down the mysterious lane, check out the link in the poem’s title.

What did you think of these five poems? Are there any spooky poems that you love to read that I didn’t mention? Let me know in the comments below! We are just a few days from the spookiest time of year! I hope you are able to celebrate it safely. I recommend having a movie marathon or a spooky reading session. Let me know in the comments what your plans are for this Halloween. Next week starts NaNoWriMo, also known as National Novel Writing Month. In honor of my third year, I’ll be doing NaNoWriMo themed content for the month of November. Join me next week for the start of my 2020 writing adventure and possibly a snarky writer’s woes. Thanks so much for reading and happy Halloween!

5 Poems to Get You Into the Halloween Spirit

It’s spooky season time! If you have read any of my blog posts this month, you’ve probably noticed that I love Halloween. With Halloween, comes a lot of spooky content that is sure to get you into the spirit. Whether you are a movie fan or a book lover, there’s something for you. There’s more than movies and books to get you into the Halloween spirit, though. Throughout history, there’s been enough spooky poems to make even Edgar Allen Poe happy. I’ve found a few that will get you into the spooky spirit!

  1. “The Raven”– Edgar Allen Poe

It wouldn’t be a spooky poetry list without mentioning Mr. Poe at least once. This is one of his most iconic poems. It also includes one of his most iconic lines, where a raven speaks the words “Nevermore”. This is a great poem to check out if you are in a mood for a spooky story. It channels the eerie feeling of a foggy Fall evening. The mood that Poe does so well, and it prevalent in almost all of his poems. If you want to continue down this eerie aesthetic, Poe is the perfect place to start. If you want to read more of this poem, check out the link in the poem’s title.

  1. Goblin Market”– Christina Rossetti

“Goblin Market” is a different kind of vibe from “The Raven”. This poem reminds me of old fairy tales like those written down by the Brothers Grimm. There’s a mixture of a seemingly light-hearted character and a dark situation. The poem tells the tale of two sisters who come across a goblin market. It is said that those who eat the fruit of the goblins are never the same, and yet one girl is still tempted to visit these mysterious creatures. If you are a fan of that Grimm vibe and goblins, this is a poem for you. It’s spooky factor falls in the risk of this tale instead of straight horror. Still, it’s worth a read during this season. If you want to take a safe trip to the market of goblins, check out the link in the poem’s title.

  1. “Song of the Witches” from Macebeth– William Shakespeare

Like Poe, my list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning this poem from the scottish play. This poem is what people imitate when they pretend to be witches. Shakespeare’s influence can be seen through the witch costumes  and bubbling cauldrons we see on Halloween night. His poem also is a bit more light-hearted compared to the others on this list. Maybe not in the context of the play. Outside of the murder plot, this poem is a fun thing to recite when you’re passing candy to children. Bonus points if you are dressed as a witch. Even if we can’t trick-or-treat this year, you can still enjoy the fun side of Halloween with this poem. If you want to read the full version of this spell, check out the link in the poem’s title.

  1. “Mary’s Ghost: A Pathetic Ballad”– Thomas Hood

Now we take a sharp left from more light-hearted to super dark. If you aren’t a fan of bones or graves, turn back now. This poem was written by Thomas Hood in the 1820s. During this time, there was a surge of medical students robbing graves to study anatomy. There were even a few students who decided to make their own corpses. In this tale, Mary is the poor victim of one of these grave robbings. This poem goes a bit into what they have done with poor Mary’s bones through the eyes of her ghost. Her ghost appears to a young William, who has to wake up to all this terrible news. Not a fun way to wake up, I’m sure. This poem has a good mixture of dark Regency era history and a bit of spooky vibes. If you want to take a trip into the darker side of history, check out the link in the poem’s title.

  1. “Ghost House”– Robert Frost.

Last but not least, this wonderful poem by Robert Frost. We’ve talked about witches and skeletons, now it’s time to hit on another common symbol of the spooky season; the haunted house. This poem does an awesome job of painting a picture of this decrepit house. It feels like you are walking through an old house full of dust and creaky floorboards. What remains is something that feels eerie in the dark, even if it was once a lovely house. This poem is told from the point of view of a mysterious presence, who may not be alone. It’s an interesting spin on spooky old houses and the ghosts that live within them. If you want to visit this eerie house, check out the link in the poem’s title.

Have you read any of these poems? Is there a poem you love to read during the Halloween season? Let me know in the comments below! I’m sure many of you will be thinking “what about this poem” or “how could she forget this amazing work?” Well friends, I might have a solution for you. This is only part one of my poetry list. It was so hard to narrow it down to five, that it ended up being ten wonderful poems that I had to split up into two parts. In two weeks we’ll be taking another trip to spooky poetry land, so get ready! Any spooky poetry recommendations are still encouraged, of course. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog, and happy reading!

4 Reasons Why You Need to Read Good Omens this Fall

Fall is one of my favorite times to read books. This is when I can let my mystery and fantasy nerd run wild in the spirit of spooky season! These books can be read year-round, but there’s a great atmosphere when reading them between the months of September and November. One of the books I love reading this time of year is the classic by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, Good Omens. This book is full of attributes that make it a fun read when the leaves start to turn. Not convinced? I have four reasons why you should reconsider!

Image from Giphy

  1. Crowley and Aziraphel’s dynamic 

Crowley and Aziraphale are the main characters of this story, and an unlikely duo. Crowley is a demon formerly known as the snake in the garden of Eden, and Aziraphale is angel previously on guarding duty.  A demon and an angel? Friends? It’s an interesting dynamic that Gaiman and Pratchett play into well. These two are a bit like a celestial odd couple, sassy remarks and all. Crowley and Aziraphale have known each other for roughly 4,000 years, which adds an interesting layer to their relationship. They make many quips about “my side vs. your side”, but they’re still fond of each other. These two create a good bit of the humor and plot points that make this story exciting. So many quotable moments are ahead of you with these two. 

Image from Giphy

  1. The humor

I must give a disclaimer when discussing the humor of Good Omens. This book is written by two English authors. That means the humor is very British, aka dry and sarcastic. If that is not your scene, then the humor of this book may not be for you. As a lover of British content and sarcastic humor, I gravitated towards this book like a moth to flame. A lot of this humor comes from the twists that the authors concoct. I don’t want to give everything away, but the obstacles put in the characters’ paths are both interesting and funny. Another thing that adds to the humor of this book is the character dynamics. There are many characters in this story, all of whom play a part in the coming apocalypse. As the characters come together, you get a fun mesh of different personalities playing off each other. And, of course, the word choices are perfect to add that dry British humor to this story.

Image from Giphy

  1. So many ways to enjoy the story!

Are you a reader? A fan of booktapes? Or maybe you prefer to enjoy storytelling through tv or movies? Well, this story is for you! One of the awesome things about Good Omens is the many ways you can enjoy the story. There’s the classic novel, which is a great way to enjoy the story. If you are more of a book tape fan, Audible has multiple versions that you can enjoy. The BBC has a dramatized version of the book tape told by different actors. It has also been adapted for the screen! Amazon Prime recently released a miniseries version of Good Omens starring David Tennant and Michael Sheen. The miniseries has some changes, but it’s still a very faithful adaptation of the book. Pick one, or all, and you’re sure to have a great time!

Image from Giphy

  1. The world building 

While this story is about the end of the world, it still has a great use of world building. The book and the miniseries are great at introducing you to the world Crowley and Aziraphale live in. While the setting is England, the world of these characters involves a good bit of supernatural and otherworldly entities. For example; the story does a great job of describing Heaven and Hell, as well as those who inhabit them. My favorite version of this is when the story goes on to describe how, if ever, angels and demons dance. This is even better in the miniseries, where they use visual gags to add humor and get the point across. They also use verses from Revelations as a jumping off point. Often they flip them on their head as well, which adds a fun depth and twist to the world. 

Good Omens has been a fun part of my life since I first read it in college. I was happy to join the multitude of fans who love this book. It’s a fun, satirical book that is a perfect read to enjoy on a cool fall day. Or any day, really. Have you ever read Good Omens? What did you think about it? If you end up watching or reading this story in the future, please let me know. I’m excited to hear more people’s thoughts. Also, if you have any books that you have to read every fall, please let me know in the comments below. I would love some new book recommendations. Thanks so much for checking out my post, and happy reading!

A Reader’s Mystery Challenge

I love Agatha Christie. If you have visited this blog before, you’ve probably gathered that. Her sharp wit and intriguing plots called to me when I delved deeper into the world of mysteries. I knew of her, as many people know of Arthur Conan Doyle and Shakespeare. Just the main facts and a bit of knowledge about the stories that made them famous. As I lived with a Sherlock Holmes lover for many years, I knew a fair amount about his creator. But I didn’t get into Agatha’s world until later in my reading career.

Agatha Christie lived an extraordinary life, and had a writing career that many writers would dream of. Overtime she wrote 66 detective novels, 14 short stories, plays, and romance novels. How the woman managed to create and solve that many mysteries still baffles me. She is an inspiration to me both as a writer, and as a woman. She traveled all over the world and wrote these locations into her novels. She even disappeared when she was younger and evaded the police for eleven days before reappearing. What an awesome lady! In some ways, I hope to be like her when I grow up.

This year marks the 100th anniversary for the release of her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles. The first time the world met the eccentric but lovable Hercule Poirot. The man whose sharp wit still attracts readers today. I didn’t have the chance to read this Poirot story until very recently, when I was able to listen to an Audible version. It certainly started him off with a bang! In honor of this anniversary, I have revisited a goal that I jokingly made one November evening. I had just finished The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, which I threw across my dorm room because of my frustration with Agatha. Not at her lack of plot or writing style, far from it. I was livid that she was so good! I couldn’t figure out how she managed to put her red herrings in the perfect spots. I imagined her laughing to herself, thinking about how I, around 90 years later, would suspect the correct culprit. But I would be thrown off by a tiny nugged she planted, and ignore the other signs until the final shoe dropped. After that evening, I set a goal for myself. Before I die, I want to read all of her work.

This goal is not a crazy one. There are people the same age as me, or younger, who have already completed this goal. But the vast world of books is large, and so is her catalogue. Still, I want to go on this reading quest. At first, I foolishly believed I could read all of these works by my 26th birthday next March. Seeing as I have only read 8 of her books and plays so far, that was a dumb idea. Instead, I decided to push the date to a slightly more feasible time. Before I turn thirty, around five years from now, I want to finish these books. Five years seems like a long time to finish 70-something books, especially when I try to read 40 books a year. But, like many readers, I have books I want to read every year. And many of her novels feel at home in the crisp autumn air more than the balming heat of summer. This means many of the mystery novels I read aren’t opened again until the first of September. Despite all of this, I am determined to read all of these stories. I can do it! And you can too!

Have you read all of Agatha’s stories? If so, which ones were your favorite? This list is a bit overwhelming, so a few suggestions would be a great jumping off point! If you’ve never read an Agatha Christie, I highly recommend checking them out. Especially if you love mysteries with a good plot twist. You might even decide to join me on this quest to read them all. Trust me, I have a feeling it will be worth it. Happy reading everyone!