2017 Love-A-Thon Questionnaire

The Love-A-Thon is an event dedicated to spreading positivity and love, it’s hosted by Alexa of Alexa Loves Books, Cee of The Novel Hermit, Mel of The Daily Prophecy, and Kristin of Super Space Chick. It’s time dedicated to visiting other bloggers/Instagrammers/BookTubers, leaving a comment or two, making new friends and fostering positivity among the members of our amazing community.

Love-A-Thon is here! I’m so excited to participate again to this amazing internet event for book lovers and bloggers/instagrammers/youtubers. It has a special place in my heart, since it’s what finally made me deciding to start talking more about books last year. It’s a 2-day event and you can find all the info at Alexa’s blog, don’t be afraid to join it, even if it’s already started. Last year, I discovered it on Saturday evening and I jumped right in publishing posts on the go, without scheduling anything.

This event is supposed to be a way to make new bookish friends, so, assuming many new people will visit my blog during the next 48 hours, I’ll start with the introductory questionnaire.

An Introduction to You and Your Blog

1. What’s your name? Where in the world are you blogging from? My name is Alice, also known as Alice Greenleaf on the internet, and I’m blogging from northern Italy, my little corner of the Shire.

2. Tell us your history with reading. Were you always a reader? Were you a reluctant reader? I started reading in elementary school, after my mom bought me a cute book narrated by a funny mouse, Geronimo Stilton, because she was so desperate I wasn’t enjoying reading at that time. It basically started everything, my love for books and reading. My most productive period of time has been high school, I can’t even tell you how many books I’ve read during those years! (And I can’t actually, since I never tracked them, ugh.) Then, when I started University, I fell into a horrible slump, due to the amount of stuff I had to study, and I’m slowly recovering now.

3. Was there a book that convinced you to become a reader? I already reply to this one, but I should say that Harry Potter had a huge impact in my life when I was 11.

4. How did you get involved in the online book community? I always had a personal blog since 2010, but I discovered the bookish community only in 2015, when I participated to my first monthly photo challenge.

5. How did you choose your primary platform (blog, Instagram, YouTube, etc)? How did you come up with your blog name? I used to think about my blog as my primary platform, but I’m more active on Instagram at these days. I chose @alicegreenleaf because it was the nickname I was using as a Reporter on Middle-earth News and I already had a Twitter profile with that handle. The Geeky Burrow was born after a very long research, trying to pair words that could represent what I wanted to blog about (it was book and movie reviews at that time) and find available domains.

6. What’s your favorite thing about the online book community? Being able to geek out about my favorite books with other people without sounding silly to them.

7. What sort of posts can readers expect from you? I don’t usually write long informative reviews, I tried it in the past, but it’s not for me. I like to blog about my reading experience, my life surrounded by books, but also about productivity. I love task management apps.

8. What book genres do you talk about most? It depends on what I’m currently reading. I’d say Harry Potter and Tolkien, because they are genres, right? 😀

Favorites

1. Favorite food? Beverage? I’m italian and my mom is an excellent cook/baker, so I love all the food! Tea, hands down.

2. Favorite color? Blue.

3. Favorite things to do apart from reading? Watching TV series and playing LOTRO.

4. Favorite tv shows? My all time favorites are Friends, Lost and Desperate Housewives. I’m currently loving Once Upon A Time, Pretty Little Liars and Gilmore Girls (I missed this one when I was younger).

5. Favorite movies? This is so difficult! My answer would be Harry Potter and LOTR, but I’ll go fancy today: Pirates of the Caribbean, Home Alone, Hook, Bridget Jones’s Diary.

6. Favorite musical artists? I’m not a musical person.

7. Favorite places to shop? It used to be my local bookstores, but now I’d say Amazon AND my local bookstores!

Book Talk

1. Favorite childhood books? The Geronimo Stilton series (7-10 yo) and then Harry Potter (11 yo), followed by The Baby-Sitters Club and The Lord of the Rings (12 yo).

2. Favorite books read in the last five years? This is not very easy to tell, since I started tracking my books only from 2015. If I have to pick five, I’d say: The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, Getting Things Done by David Allen, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, and The Martian by Andy Weir.

3. Favorite genres? Fantasy, Mystery, Crime.

4. Underrated book, series or author you love? My guilty pleasure is the Murder, She Wrote series, nobody talks about it, but my mom and I are addicted (we’re also huge fans of the TV show, of course).

5. A book you want to see made into a film or tv show? I’d love to see a Once Upon A Time spin-off based on Red’s Untold Tale, which is a book about Ruby/Red (Red Riding Hood).

6. Book boyfriend/girlfriend? Book BFF? Book family? When I was in highschool, I fell in love with Bran from Son of the Shadows, the second book of the Sevenwaters series! While the Weasleys are definitely my book family.

7. Books you want to read in 2017? Oh, I have a whole blog post about it!

Hope you enjoyed reading more about me, feel free to introduce yourself in the comment section down below, I’d love to meet new bookworms! 🙂

How I Rate Books

Rating the books you read is not an easy job, there are so many factors to consider that you might end up spending a considerable amount of time to decide how many stars a book deserves and why.

I used to give 5 stars to the books I really enjoyed, but then I didn’t know how to rate those special ones like Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings, that basically changed my life. Another issue was the books I didn’t finish, should I give them 1 star or don’t rate them at all? What if the first chapters were okay and then they became super boring or bad? Should I have to consider this and assign them 2 stars instead?

Another thing I didn’t enjoy was writing long and detailed reviews. It took me so much time doing so that I was actually reading less or, even more stupid, I was afraid of finishing books because then I “had to” review them.

Mainly, it was Goodreads’ fault, because I was trying to use their rating system and be fair with my reviews at the same time, wasting so much time thinking about all the pro and cons of the books I’ve read.

Now, I use a much easier and simple rating system on Trello and my Moleskine reading journal:

  • good (green label)
  • so-so (yellow label)
  • bad (red label)
  • didn’t finish (black label)

I might add an “epic” rate with a purple label for the books that have a big impact in my life in the future, but for now I’m happy with this super simple system. But I’m still trying to figure out a way to simplify my life on Goodreads too.

I thought my easy rating system was a bit elementary, when I stumbled upon a social network that mixes Goodreads and Bookstagram together and uses a similar rating system: Litsy. I’m still a newbie and I don’t know if I should reshare my Instagram photos there or just focus more on the books snapping new ones without pretty backgrounds and props (like I see other users doing). I’m going to explore it more during the next few weeks. Are you on Litsy? I’d love to know if you have any advice and if you’re enjoying it! (You can find me as @alicegreenleaf there).

How do you rate books? 🙂

2017 Reading Challenges

After discovering the bookish community last year, I got super excited for all the reading challenges I kept stumbling upon. Aside from the Goodreads one, I didn’t know it was a thing, so I was very impressed by how many different kinds of challenges I could find. I tried to join some measurable ones, but I ended up forgetting about them and reading what I really wanted that moment instead of what I should.

This year, after raising to 25 books my Goodreads goal, I decided that my biggest challenge should be to downsize the list of unread books on my Kindle, trying to read them before buying new ones. Then, one of my favorite bloggers, Modern Mrs Darcy, launched her own challenge and it was too tempting to not join it. But, to make things easier for me, I decided to pre-plan it using the titles I already own. She offered two kinds of reading plans one for fun and one for growth. I chose the first one, because it applied more to my tastes and my own books, and I glued it in my reading journal writing the titles with my pencil, because they might change along the year.

Here is what I’m probably reading in 2017.

A book you chose for the cover:
The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

A book with a reputation for being un-put-down-able:
The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

A book set somewhere you’ve never been but would like to visit:
The Wrat and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

A book you’ve already read:
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling

A juicy memoir:
Agatha Christie’s autobiography

A book about books or reading:
Still have to find a book for this category!

A book in a genre you usually avoid:
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (I don’t like reading the script of a play)

A book you don’t want to admit you’re dying to read:
Your Digital Life by Carl Pullein

A book in the backlist of a new favorite author:
Landline by Rainbow Rowell

A book recommended by someone with great taste:
The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor (I spotted this book in one of those recommendation posts that Anne shares on her blog, Modern Mrs Darcy)

A book you were excited to buy or borrow but haven’t read yet:
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

A book about a topic or subject you already love:
Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

As I said, the title might change during the year, but I tried to pick everything from my Kindle TBR list, because I want to stop impulse buying books and hoarding them without even reading them. Also, I like having a plan, it makes me feel easier to keep reading.

Finally, here is a quick update of my reading journal. I loved Kristin’s video about hers and I decided to copy a couple of pages she shared to keep track of some stats this year for the first time. (The Ratings mean: Good, Bad, So-so, DNF).

Have you joined any reading challenges for 2017?

End Of Year Book Survey 2016

I’m so happy Jamie of Perpetual Page Turner brought back this nice survey! It was too late when I discovered it last year and I couldn’t wait to join it this December, since 2016 has been pretty good in my bookverse, I challenged myself to read a lot (for me, since I know people who manages to read 15 books per month!).

Number Of Books You Read: 27

Number of Re-Reads: 3, the first three Harry Potter books!

Genre You Read The Most From: probably non fiction, which is very surprising for me!

1. Best Book You Read In 2016?

  • Best re-read: Harry Potter and the Phylosopher’s Stone
  • Best non-fiction: Getting Things Done by David Allen
  • Best YA: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell 

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t? Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, everybody on the internet LOVED that book, but I’ve been rather disappointed by it!

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read? Probably Getting Things Done, in a good way, since I didn’t realize I needed to learn this stuff before reading about it, one of the concept that I loved the most is the one that says: “Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them”.

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)? Not sure about this one.

5. Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016? I only started one new series and I didn’t enjoy it very much, it was A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab, so I’m not sure if I’ll continue it.

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2016? Rainbow Rowell, hands down.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone? Radical Self Love by Gala Darling, I want to reread it soon!

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year? Sadly, nothing beated Harry Potter!

9. Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year? Again, Radical Self-Love and Getting Things Done, because they are so useful and packed with information.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016? Love the cover of Red’s Untold Tale!

11. Most memorable character of 2016? Cath of Fangirl, because she’s adorable and I totally get her. She’s my favorite introvert 🙂

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016? All the prizes to Fangirl!!

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016? I’m a broken record, Getting Things Done, it really changed the way I plan and organize my life, even if I tweaked the system a little bit. I’m so happy I’ve read this book, but I know it isn’t for everyone. If you’re not into productivity and organization, you might find it a little boring.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read? Pride and Prejudice, I’ve purchased the italian edition ages ago and it was just sitting on my shelf. Shame on me! I loved that book.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2016?
“Internet. It’s awesome. You get all the benefits of ‘other people’ without the body odor and the eye contact.” Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016? The shortest has been Kindred Spirits with 96 pages and the longest Pride and Prejudice with 592 pages.

17. Book That Shocked You The Most: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, it shocked me because it was very well written but the things and events described there were insane! I still don’t have the courage to pick another book by this author. Here you can read more of my thoughts about it.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!) Cath and Levi of Fangirl!!

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year: Considering that I’ve mostly read non fiction, I’d go with the classic answer: Harry, Ron and Hermione.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, I loved this story and I’m going to read more by this author, I even written a complete list of all her books inside my reading journal.

21. Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure: Fangirl! All my internet friends recommended it to me and I’m so glad I finally give it a go.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016? N/A

23. Best 2016 debut you read? N/A

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year? Even if I didn’t enjoy it so much, I would say A Darker Shade of Magic.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read? Nimona was such a funny reading!

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2016? N/A

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year? Red’s Untold Tale, I’m such a fan of Once Upon A Time that I really enjoyed reading some back story of my favorite character!

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul? Not sure…Fangirl? Haha.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2016? Let it Out by Katie Dalebout, because I had never read a book like that before. It’s all about journaling and journal prompts.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)? Harry Potter and the Cursed Child…I DIDN’T LIKE IT AT ALL AND COMPLETELY DISAPPOINTED ME.

You can see all my Goodreads stats here!

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2016? I discovered the world of book blogs in 2016, so basically all my new favorite people are book bloggers, but I feel like despite her huge number of followers, I never see people mentioning Modern Mrs Darcy. I totally love her blog! I’m going to join her reading challenge for 2017.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2016? Red’s Untold Tale, because it was the first one. I’m still not sure if I’m going to review more books in the future though.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog? The one about all the books I own and haven’t read yet.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)? Love-A-Thon 2016! It was the thing that made me realize how much I love talking about books on my blog. I really hope Alexa and the other girls will host it again next year.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2016? Reaching my goodreads Goal in time.

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year? I already talked abou that, but what burned me out was my attempt of following all the blogging rules, treating it like a job and comparing myself to the other book bloggers. I decided to step back to only a list of ideas now, rather than a full editorial calendar.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)? The post that got more view in 2016 was How I Organize My Books and Music with Trello. Glad that books and productivity made it. 🙂

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love? I’m A Seasonal Reader.

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)? Reading challenges, I always knew about the Goodreads one, but I didn’t know there were others hosted by bloggers.

10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year? Aside from the Goodreads challenge, I managed to consistently read more or less through the whole year. Sure, I had my moments, but not like the ones in the past.

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2016 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2017? Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2017 (non-debut)? N/A

3. 2017 Debut You Are Most Anticipating? N/A

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2017? N/A

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2017? I’d like to complete Modern Mrs Darcy’s reading challenge and, most importantly, blog only when I want to and not because I feel like I should do it.

6. A 2017 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone: N/A

That’s it! As you probably noticed I’m not very interested in new releases and things like that. What I didn’t mention during this survey is that my biggest goal for 2017 is to finally read a good part of the books I already own on my Kindle that I bought during some Amazon sales.

How was your bookish 2016, friends?

The Struggles of a Bookworm (Who Loves the Internet)

I was scrolling trough my Instagram feed last Saturday evening, after a totally unproductive day due to some sickness, and one of my favorite girls there shared her plans for the rest of the day: going home reading some books and then going to the cinema in the evening. I remembered that my first thought was: “OMG she’s so lucky, I’m healous of her plans” and then I realized that I’ve spent my whole afternoon catching up with the internet at the end of the week instead of using my free time differently. Like reading one of my 3 started books or organizing a movie night with a friend.

This is probably the most epic internal battle I’m currently fighting with myself. Why can’t I just stop scrolling through those feeds and start reading my books? The internet is so addicting to me. When I was in highschool, I had a long commute, I usually had lunch around 2PM because of that, I went to ballet school three times a week, my parents didn’t let me stay up late in the evening, I had tons and tons of homeworks and stuff to study, but, despite all, I read A LOT. The secret? There was only one computer in the house and it was my dad’s one (he used it for work) and I used it to play videogames only sometimes during the weekend, because the internet wasn’t a thing yet.

At the end of highschool, during the last year, Facebook became popular and everybody subscribed. I had just discovered the magical world of blogs, thanks to Windows Live Space, and I spent my free time chatting with my school mates on MSN…and suddenly books weren’t my thing anymore. This was eight years ago. Ten years ago I was living a “cleaner” life and, even if I was even a bigger procrastinator that I am now (!), my mind was less cluttered and I could spend my days of vacation listen to music, reading and journaling. No need to catch up with the latest blog posts or my inbox, because they didn’t exist yet.

This wasn’t intended to be a sad depressing post, but turning 26 last week made me reflect on a couple of things in my life.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on it, are you experiencing a hate/love relationship with the internet too?