2020 Resolution Review

I’ve had an interesting year of reading. There have been a few lows and some definite highs. I’ve read blissful and entertaining books, as well as downright depressing ones. The full year has been a whirlwind, but I did manage to get in some solid reading. Let’s take a closer look at my stats as of Dec. 26, 2020:

  • Read 10,230 pages from 30 books — Goodreads for the win again — compared with 10,904 pages across 31 books the year before (though I’m trying to finish one more before Jan. 1, which would put me at my goal for the year).
  • Averaged 341 pages per book.
  • Explored 14 different genres with three new ones on BLLshort stories, essays, and environmental fiction.
  • Dug into two authors twice — Jojo Moyes and Jasmine Guillory — and read 22 authors for the first time in my literary life.

The above stats do include one book that I’ve finished but haven’t yet reviewed (coming January 2021). Once, I include that one, my average flameworthiness for the year will be 3.9 flames, just higher than 2019. Now let’s take a look at the individual rankings:

  • Read my first one-flame book with The Book of Lost Friends.
  • Flipped through one two-flame book, which is a huge improvement from 2019’s five.
  • Finished six three-flame books, which matches last year’s total.
  • Enjoyed 14 four-flame books, which is more than 2019’s 11.
  • Indulged in seven five-flame amazing reads, which is two less than last year.

Anybody else love stats and data and totally nerding out on it, especially when it’s related to books? Nope? Just me? Well OK then. In that case, it’s time for the most important part of my 2020 bibliophile review: assessing my resolutions that I set for myself back in January. Did I hold myself accountable and obtain my goals?

Here are some of my most-liked photos on Instagram for the year.
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Thankful

Nobody will ever forget 2020; it’s one for the history books unfortunately. Yes, things have been a garbage fire, but — with everything — there’s always a silver lining. For example, in 2020, I finally decided to go to therapy and invest in my mental health; being quarantined together has been the ultimate validation that Kyle and I are true partners and can get through anything together; and the world has even given the environment a break — albeit a small one.

With so much self-reflection, it’s impossible to not reflect on all of the positives in 2020. One bright spot is that all this time at home has given me a new appreciation for books and allowed me to see new literary themes that bibliophiles and the world over need. With Thanksgiving coming up, I wanted to express my literary gratitude to the books, the authors, and the readers who made a difference this year.

Some stellar book photography from and of yours truly plus one heck of a design.
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TBF: The Lies That Bind

Since we were sprightly little teenagers, my cousin Kaitlyn Wibbenmeyer and I have bonded over our shared love of books. And in particular, we’ve been fond of (re: obsessed) with one author in particular: Emily Giffin. So I knew when Giffin’s latest novel, The Lies That Bind, was released early this year, Kaitlyn and I would have to discuss. And boy, did we have a lot to say.

In the latest episode of The Biblio Files, Kaitlyn and I chat about Giffin’s amazing and relatable characters; how she brought 9/11 into her fictional tale in such a sensitive yet powerful way; and how her writing has matured and improved over the years. (Yes, somehow it’s possible to keep getting better when you are already so good.) We even make the claim that The Lies That Bind has set a new Giffin standard. And yes, we fangirled … hard. We left our love for Emily Giffin on this recording, and we are not afraid to admit it.

(We’re currently accepting applications for the EG fan club as we speak.)

Listen to our conversation about The Lies That Bind on your preferred podcast platform. Don’t forget to share and subscribe and to also visit Anchor where you can become a supporter of The Biblio Files. Enjoy!

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TBF: An Interview with John Vercher

When I started The Biblio Files in February, I made a goal to interview one author in the first year. Thanks to the amazing book Three-Fifths and its author, John Vercher, I’ve reached that milestone.

In the first author interview of this podcast, I had the pleasure of chatting with John about everything from racism in America and the unfortunate circumstances that make his book “timeless” and to his complex characters and their heartbreaking ending. We had a fascinating and enlightening conversation, and I’m excited for his future work to hit the bookshelves.

You can listen to our conversation wherever you consume podcasts or via Anchor, the platform I use to publish every episode. While on Anchor, you can also subscribe to and support The Biblio Files. Check it out now!

John Vercher
Source: John Vercher
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TBF: Normal People TV Show

You may remember that I was not a fan of the book Normal People, but, as discussed in the an episode of The Biblio Files, my friend Layne Coffman was. Interestingly enough, I liked the show immensely more (you should check out the toe-to-toe matchup), and we both had many thoughts on it. So Layne and I decided we needed one more conversation about Normal People.

In this new episode of The Biblio Files, her husband, Nick, joins us as we regale our fierce opinions on this now-Emmy-nominated TV show. Tune in as we compare both forms of media, discuss the show’s thirstiness, and opine on a second season.

Check it out now on your preferred podcast platform or on Anchor where I publish all of my episodes. And don’t forget to subscribe, share, and support!

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TBF: Normal People

So Normal People wasn’t one of my favorite book of the past few years; really, it wasn’t even close. But it did provide a lot of great content to discuss. It only made sense, then, that I’d discuss it on The Biblio Files with one of my best friends and the woman who bought the book for me: Layne Coffman.

In this episode, Layne and I chat about a lot of topics, including the light Normal People sheds on mental health, my weird feelings about existentialism, the mark of a good book, and even our first kisses. That’s right: It gets deep on this episode. (Don’t worry; I promise it’s completely relevant to the book and associated conversation.)

Click on this link to listen to this episode or search for The Biblio Files on your go-to podcast platform. If you do the latter, make sure you still check out my Anchor profile to learn how you can support your favorite bibliophile.

PSA: This episode contains explicit language and obnoxious laughter that no amount of editing could subside. This is just who we are.

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TBF: City of Girls

City of Girls is one of the best books I’ve read in 2020. I laughed and smiled while reading it more than any other novel in recent history, and I’m very grateful this five-flame book came into my life. I have my dear coworker and friend, Sakshi, to thank for that.

Back in April, at the beginning of quarantine, I called Sakshi to have a lovely conversation about this book that we bonded over. During our chat, we covered the literary and New York gamuts. From the contradictory idea of being both a good person and an interesting person and how our literary opinions can change over time to our obsession with New York City and our personal stories of moving to this new place we call home, we covered it all.

Click on this link or search for The Biblio Files on your favorite podcast platform to listen to our conversation. And make sure you subscribe and check out Anchor to see how you can support this podcast.

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TBF: The Shadow of the Wind

When I found out my colleague Sabrina loved books as much as I do, I knew I’d found a new soul sister. Now we spend many minutes during our work day chatting and calling via Skype about the books we’re reading. This often carries over to text after we complete our work day.

Many of those chats, calls, and texts in the past two months revolved around one book in particular: The Shadow of the Wind.

Sabrina was a superb guest in a preceding episode of The Biblio Files when we chatted with her friend Meghann about our shared love of libraries. I knew I’d have to snag her for another episode to discuss this superb book. In the latest, we explore the themes of family, friendship, love, mysteries, loyalty, book culture, and Barcelona in Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s masterpiece. We also go on a travel tangent about European churches. You certainly don’t want to miss that.

Click on this link or search for The Biblio Files on your favorite podcast platform to listen. And, as always, don’t forget to subscribe and check out Anchor to see how you can support your favorite bibliophile.

TBF Shadow

TBF: The Beautiful World of Libraries

Just like the books they house, libraries change lives. It’s just a fact. Yes, they completely open our eyes to new worlds and new perspectives through books, but they also provide countless resources for everyone who visits them. In the latest episode of The Biblio Files, I sit down with my dear friend Sabrina and her friend Meghann (who I can’t wait to meet) to profess our love for libraries and discuss how they’ve changed our lives. Meghann also tells us about the cool work she’s doing in Kansas City with the Mesner Puppet Theatre and The Rabbit Hole. Check them out!

To tune into the episode, which I know you’re dying to do, click on the Anchor link below or search for The Biblio Files on your favorite podcast platform. Don’t forget to subscribe!

And if you’re looking for more links to click, check out my homepage on Anchor to see how you can support The Biblio Files.

Libraries

Pictured at the top are Sabrina and Meghann.

Little Fires Everywhere: Series Finale

Say what? Little Fires Everywhere is over?!

Sadly, yes, but not before you listen to one more episode of The Biblio Files to dissect this incredibly lit TV show. In the third podcast episode in this series, Dana, Hilary, and I dive into the ending that everyone is talking about, the “challenge to “well-intentioned white women,” being a product of our environments and time period, and that snarl from Reese.

Tune in now to listen by clicking on the link or searching for The Biblio Files on your favorite podcast platform.

And don’t forget to subscribe! You don’t want to miss future literary discussions.

(Below represents my range of emotions while watching this show.)

LFE Series Finale