Tag: reading

Monthly Updates: February’19

And finally, I’m doing the monthly Updates post after a long, long time. I loved doing these posts before and I’m really excited to do it now. To be honest, these update posts help me in knowing exactly where I stand in terms of my writing and helps me plan ahead serving as the much-needed motivation.

February was a good month for me, not only as compared to January’19 but also as compared to all the months in the last year. I did have some good writing days last year, especially in the second half where I edited a lot and wrote a considerable number of words, but my muse only came in bursts of 5-7 days at a time and then faded away for good. But this February, I not only wrote consistently but was also able to work on posts for my blogs. This makes me feel like I’ve finally reached the headspace I wanted to be in order to complete the projects I’ve been working on for a while now.

Health-wise, it was a good month for me. I even started visiting with my dietician again and slowly getting back into my morning walk routine. Though Eva, my 1.5-year-old cat, got a liver infection probably because of the cat tree we got in January (it happened due to some chemical and we cannot think of anything else as the source.) She had to undergo a very extensive IV therapy which lasted more than a week. 4-5 days into the treatment and the poor girl started running away and hiding from Vishal and me whenever we tried to get close to her in the evenings thinking we might put her in the crate and take her to the vet. She continued doing this even after her treatment was over for around 1 full week. It was disheartening and I’m just glad that now we all are back to our merry old selves.

View this post on Instagram

Eva is feeling a lot better from last week as her liver infection is being treated. She has been taking the IVs from last 1 week and finally it looks like the infection is going down. She is playing more and her apetite is also getting better day by day, albeit a bit slowly. Our vet has asked us to put her on a new diet of liver-friendly food for the next 1 month and has given some liver-cleansing meds too. Hopefully, she'll recover from this stressful week soon! Katie is being a darling; she is very supportive and showering Eva with love by head-butting and nose-kissing Eva hundreds of times a day 💕 #catlove #catpic #catsofinstagram #cat #catmommy #catparent #sleepycat #beautiful #eyes #yelloweyes #goldeneyes #prettygal #prettyeyes #saturday #saturdaythoughts #saturdayinspiration caturday #catsforlife #pawsome #cats #catlove

A post shared by Author Heena R. Pardeshi (@crazycatwriter) on

Anyhow, moving on here’s what I was able to do this month:

Writing Updates:

  • Wrote around 10K words, not counting the scenes I wrote while plotting my projects
  • Plotted and planned the contemporary fiction novel I started working on last year. I call it the Unnamed Project (UP.)
  • Got a new story idea, a really good one! It’s more on the lines of slasher fiction – pure, mind-numbing gory fest. I have already written 8 chapters for it, which is big for me because it has been a long time since I wrote with such fierceness.
  • Learned new ways of plotting and story structures and will try and implement these in March for the projects listed above.
  • I didn’t work on Sinister Town this month as I was trying to distance myself from it in order to figure out an issue I’ facing with one of the characters and it seems like I’ve figured out what the issue is so distancing myself from it paid off. I’m planning to work on Sinister Town in March.

View this post on Instagram

It's time for Monthly Updates! Here's the gist of my blog post – . . 1) Feb was a great month for me writing-wise as I wrote around 10K words and worked on 2 new stories and an old one (more about it in my blog post.) . . 2) I learned a couple of new ways of plotting and I paln to try them out in March for my own stories. . . 3) I discovered an epic author who happens to be aclassical mystery legend – Anna Katherine Green. I'm listening to her 2nd audiobook and I'm totally in love with her already! . . To know more, especially for my blogger friends, visit my blog to read the details and some amazing book recommendations – link in bio. . . . . #amwriting #writingislife #writingcorner #writing #writingfiction #writer #novelwriting #novelist #fiction #novel #book #bookwriting #working #wtitingdesk #writingtable #authorlife #writerlife #writingcommunity #indianauthorsassociation #writingislife #ilovewriting #saturday #saturdayinspiration #write

A post shared by Author Heena R. Pardeshi (@crazycatwriter) on

Reading Updates:

  • Read 2 very disappointing reads: Stillwater Girls by Minka Kent and The Nightmare by Lars Kepler. I had big expectations from both these books: Stillwater Girls had a great blurb (because of which I requested it off NetGalley) and The Nightmare is the sequel to Hypnotist, a book I fell in love with. But both turned out to be very dissatisfying reads and I had to mark them as DNF reads, much to my dismay.
  • Read 4 decent reads by the authors I know: The Afterlives Of Doctor Gachet by Sam Meekings, Treading The Uneven Road by L.M. Brown, The Memory Tree by John A. Heldt and The Curse Of Time by M.J. Mallon. I’ve reviewed all these books on my book blog, The Reading Bud, so do check out my reviews there.
  • Apart from these, I read a book that completely changed the definition of Classics and Cosy Mysteries for me – The Leavenworth Case by Anna Katherine Greene. My very good friend and co-moderator of RMFAO, Dagny, introduced me to this author and after reading her book and biography, I’m totally blown away by the fact that I never heard of her before and that she is so underappreciated. I’m presently reading another one of her books, That Affair Next Door, and it even better than the one I read for Feb.
  • Overall, I read 7 books this month. Out of these, 3 were for RMFAO 2019 Genre Challenge‘s Mystery-Thriller month.

Movies & Series:

  • 8 episodes of the 6th season of Orange Is The New Black. It was good as usual.
  • Cargo on Netflix. Not good at all. They totally ruined a potentially good concept.
  • Tidying Up with Mari Kondo on Netflix. It was kind of a life-changing event and I will be doing a blog post soon on how I’ve adapted the Kon Mari method in my life and home.
  • In new releases, watched Gully Boy and Uri – two of the best movies till date in Bollywood.

Apart from this, I hosted a lot of guests (well, the same guests over and over a couple of times) and was busy in taking care of Eva. So the month went by in a flash. I’m just glad that I was able to get some writing done.

Hope February treated you all well. I’d love to know how you spent your month and what progress you made in your writing, reading and other aspects of life. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

Ciao ❤

8 Steps To Develop A Reading Habit

A lot of people love reading but when it comes to practising it on a regular basis most of them fail. Wonder why?

More often than not daily life, responsibilities and “important” things come in between you and your love for the written word. Oft times we get too involved or busy in other things that we have no time for something as “time-consuming” or as “frivolous” as reading. Right? WRONG. All these are nothing more than excuses! If you really want to read, you will read – simple as that.

If you love books then they should be important enough for you to make some place for them in your daily life. Reading is my first love and I manage to read anywhere from 5 to 8 books a month. I am a writer, editor in chief and  a manuscript critic, so sometimes work does come in the way, but so far as I can remember, in the last 7 years I cannot remember a time when I wasn’t reading something. Being a writer it is kind of a necessity for me, but the truth of the matter is that I would not have been a writer in the first place had it not been for my love of reading books.

Just like achieving anything else in life, it needs a bit of patience, effort and planning, and of course, the will to do it.

This article is for those book lovers who, for whatever reason, haven’t been able to cultivate a reading habit and need a little nudge, and for those who have somehow, fallen out of the habit of reading regularly and are looking for a way back in. This article is also for those parents who want to incorporate a reading habit in their child’s or teen’s routine.

8 Steps To Develop A Reading Habit

Reading should be fun, but sometimes to get into a habit you have to make a conscious effort until it comes naturally to you. As a writer, I have to do the same for writing in order to get work done and reading is no different. Please remember that this is only for those who actually love reading and want to develop a routine that’ll help them in reading the books they long to read and not for those who love the idea of reading and have no particular interest in it.

 

 

1) Make a reading list

Cultivating a consistent reading habit, or any other habit for that matter takes a bit of planning. Reading list, or as we bookworms call it TBR-list) is a list of books that you want to read. Preparing a list of books ahead would not only help you in knowing what exactly to buy, borrow or issue from the library but will also set the mood for a great start. Write down the names of books you’ve always wanted to read. They can be classics or the latest releases. Don’t forget to add the books whose movie adaptations you like because chances are the book would be a hundred times better than the movie.

Search the internet for the top ten books in genres you prefer and go through the first 5-10 lists you find and note down the books that catch your attention, or simply the ones that are common in all or most of the lists. If you want to research further, then read a couple of reviews of these books but be sure of spoilers. Throw some of these names too in your reading list. This way your list would have a nice mix of new and old books which will make reading more exciting for you.

 

2) Get the books in your reading list:

Check the pricing of the books on your reading list online, if you like what you see then buy the books in your preferred format. If the prices of paperbacks and hardbacks are too much, then try going for e-books; they are generally cheaper and can be read on any device including the most basic smartphones. If you don’t like what you see, then check your local bookstores or get the book from a library in your area (if you are in India, JustBooks is a very good library option and has a great online service too.)

Living in this amazing digital age provides us with so many options when it comes to book formats, so go crazy and try them all! You might love the snazzy new Electronic or Audio versions of books that you might have been sceptical about. Get at least two e-books and one audiobook. You can get free classic ebooks at Project Gutenberg (if you are in India, this link might not work, try this one instead.) For free classic audiobooks, you can visit LibriVox. Audiobooks are horrendously priced in India so this website is a great starting point if you are new to audiobooks. Though, you can try the free trial of Audible as well (I did and liked it so I buy a lot from there as they are pretty good.)

 

3) Create goals

Now that you have the books, chalk out your goals because without goals you won’t get far. Set a simple monthly goal or if you really want to be doing this, go for a yearly goal (once you get into the habit of reading, you can set weekly goals too.) For monthly goals, set the number of books you want to complete in a month and likewise for yearly goals. If you are just starting or re-starting after a long time, start with only one book as your goal. Then gradually go up from there. In setting an unreal goal you would only be setting yourself up for failure.

If you want to stick to one book a month only, then your yearly goal would be 12 books in a year, but that’s rarely the case because on your reading journey you’ll find some books you simply won’t be able to read fast enough and will end up finishing them earlier than planned and there will be some books that will turn out to be not as good as you expected them to be. Also, with each passing month, your speed will increase and so will your capacity, so there’s a good chance that you’ll be reading more than 12 books in the first year itself. I’d suggest setting 15 books a year as your first goal if you are serious about developing a consistent reading habit. A lot of my fellow book readers read 100, 200 and some even 500 books a year, so don’t underestimate yourself.

 

4) Create a routine

In order to develop the habit of reading, set aside anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour daily as your ‘reading time.’ It can be while you have your morning coffee or your breakfast, or in the afternoon just before taking a nap or with the evening tea/coffee or, my favourite, just before sleeping in the night – bed-time reading. Do note that this is the time you will be consciously putting into reading – which means for your ‘reading time’ you will deliberately sit, preferably in a comfortable chair or sofa or bed, and put a conscious effort and read the book you’ve picked up. Initially, you might not enjoy reading this way every time, but it’s okay to feel that way, just make sure to read for the minimum amount of time you’ve set for yourself. As the days will pass by and as you’ll start to take interest in the book you are reading, you’ll settle into the routine nicely. You can even set a number of chapters or pages to read every day instead of setting time.
Note that your ‘reading time’ should not be affected by any other times you might decide to read the book during the rest of the day. Treat these extra opportunities as a bonus.

 

5) Utilize weekends and holidays

Read twice or thrice the number of pages or chapters or minutes you generally read on the weekdays. If you have a book that is not too long, say 100-150 pages, then try and finish it over the weekend. It’ll be a great boost to your confidence and will help you ward off boredom which might otherwise settle upon you if you keep on following your routine for long periods of months.
Same way, try and use any unexpected holidays and vacations as an opportunity to get some extra reading time and finishing the book you started. A great way to make use of holidays is to listen to audiobooks while doing something mundane such as doing the laundry or gardening or cooking.

 

6) Always carry a book

This is like a thumb rule or a ‘mantra’ for all bibliophiles. It doesn’t matter if you’re going to work or just taking a walk to the local park or going to school or college or the mall or the movies; always carry a book with you. You should have a book at hand when you are out in the real world in case if you have to wait for someone at a cafe or classroom or if you get some free time on your commute from one place to another or maybe if the queue you’re waiting on takes a really long time to move? These and many more opportunities will always knock on your doors when you are outdoors and it is the best thing to have a book to indulge in at hand. It can be the book you’re already reading or some other book entirely. If carrying a book is physically impossible, then carry ebooks or audiobooks on your smartphones or tablet.
Most of the time I read more than one book at one time so I always carry my Kindle with me whenever I go out in addition to the audiobooks and ebooks that I can access on my phone through LibriVox Audio Books and GuteBooks Ebooks apps respectively.

 

7) Check off the books read and add new ones to the list

Check off the books you’ve finished on your to-read list – strike them off and I bet you’ll feel ecstatic doing it. Don’t forget to add new books to your list that you find along the way or that someone recommends you, but keep in mind not to add ten new books for every one book you read. It’ll only lead you down a path where you might get unnecessarily overwhelmed. Cut off one book and add another. Stick to this as much as you can. But again, don’t limit yourself entirely.
Once in a while, ditch your to-read list and pick up some random good book that you come across in a bookstore or a friend’s place or maybe a book whose adaptation is going to be released in the coming weeks.

 

8) Explore, experiment and enjoy

Once you have developed or at least have started with a reading habit, try to go for different genres. Explore new genres and revisit the old ones from your past. It’ll add another layer of self-indulgence to your reading experience. Also, try and connect with other readers amongst your friends or join online or local book clubs to be in the know of new releases and to discuss books you’re reading or want to read. I highly recommend that you join Goodreads because it is the best place to be online for any book aficionado. I myself run an online book club on Goodreads – RMFAO, and it has helped me and many others tremendously in reading a lot more and better books. I am also a member of a couple of book-dedicated Facebook pages and groups, such as Did You Read Today, and they are amazing and the interacting makes reading more fun as we share our progress, book hauls and random reading-related thoughts there with other like-minded bibliophiles.
Apart from that you can even join various reading challenges on Instagram (if yoou are a regular ‘grammer.) They greatly help in making the to-read lists more fun and diverse. You can also follow book-related accounts and hashtags like #bookstagrammers, #readingislife, and many, many more in order to get creative and fun ideas to make your reading a bit more rewarding.

 

In a couple of months, before you even know it, you’d be reading more than you ever imagined you could and that too without even trying too hard. You’ll just have to put in a little effort at the beginning and then once you develop the habit, you won’t even have to try at all. I followed these steps when I re-started reading 7 years ago and haven’t looked back since. I started with reading 1 book in 2-3 months and now can read up to 10 books in a month.

Reading is a beautiful adventure and it should be enjoyed thoroughly in order to experience it completely. keep these steps in mind only at the beginning, later, when you develop your reading routine, forget all the preconceived notions and follow your instincts. This article is just to get you started on the right track.

If you have any questions related to reading or want any book recommendations or want to share your bookish thoughts then feel free to comment below.

Happy Reading!

Ciao ❤

Note: All the images used in this article are my own (except for the featured image which was taken from Pixabay). Visit me @crazycatwriter on Instagram.

Reading Non-Fiction

For a long time I’ve evaded reading Non-Fiction books because… well, to be honest, I gagged at the idea of spending my time reading something that was not even remotely related to fiction. But when I started writing, I had to, although a bit reluctantly (read – a lot reluctantly), start reading non-fiction books on writing to understand the finer points of the craft and to hone my skills. And that was when I understood that I was not avoiding non-fiction books, but the label itself, having judged an entire genre without even knowing it.

This revelation left me pretty stunned because it was the absolute truth. I crazily judged not only non-fiction but its readers as well. I generally have a very polarising tendency, so either I hate an idea or I absolutely love it. And, as I realized a while back, in this case, I hated an entire literary genre without even understanding it completely.

As you can imagine it was an ugly realization, so, in order to make amends, I decided to start exploring this old yet new genre. Yes, I, for the first time in my life started reading non-fiction books willingly. I started late last year and since then I’ve read a couple of non-fiction books that include guide-like books which always have something to teach in elaborate details and some food books (both TLC kind and the recipe ones) and a couple self-help ones – mainly on the topic of dealing with anxious/nervous/over-active mind. I’ve also come across a couple of good business books which were actually offered to me for review for my book blog (being the wife of a businessman who hates reading books, I feel obligated to read whatever I can on his behalf and share whatever good bits I can gather from these books that might help Vishal in some or the other way.) Some other books I came across were some random books on Female Vs Male stereotypes, books on jokes, travel diaries/travelogues, various books on mental illness and some poetry, memoirs and essays. And seeing all these books made me realize how wrong it was of me to generalize and judge a genre.

Finally, I’ve come to believe and acknowledge that non-fiction is a whole world of literature in itself with a monumental amount of potential and a vast ocean of knowledge, all on its own. I am still exploring, I’m just getting started to be honest, but if you are anything like I was, then I urge you to explore this genre and to try and find the right sub-genre in non-fiction for your taste. I’m sure you’ll discover a whole lot of new books in the beautiful sea of this amazing genre.

How To Develop A Reading Habit

Reading is loved by many but practised only by a few. Ever wonder why?

More often than not daily life, responsibilities and “important” things come in between you and your love for the written (or the printed) word. Oft times we get too involved or busy in other things that we have no time for something as “time-consuming” or as “frivolous” as reading. Right? WRONG. All these are nothing more than excuses that we tell ourselves because if you really want to read, you will read – simple as that.
If you love books then they should be important enough for you to make some space for in your everyday life. Reading is my first love and I manage to read anywhere from 2 to 10 books a month. I am a novelist, editor and critic by profession, so sometimes work comes in the way (like it always does), but so far, in the last 7 years, I cannot remember a time when I wasn’t reading anything.

This article is for those book lovers who haven’t been able to cultivate a reading habit for some reason and need a direction to follow or have, for whatever reason, fallen out of the reading habit and looking for a way back in. This article is also for those parents who want to incorporate the habit of reading in their child’s routine.

How To Develop A Reading Habit

 

1) Sketch out a TBR list

Cultivating a reading habit, or any habit for that matter takes a bit of planning. TBR list is short for a To-Be-Read list – a list of books you want to read. Preparing a list of books ahead would not only help you in knowing what exactly to get but will also set the mood for a great start. Search the internet for top ten new releases, go through the first 10-12 lists you find and note down the books that are common in all or most of the lists. Then go through the blurbs of these books (the summaries at the back cover) and check out some reviews. You’ll know which ones you want to read.
Another thing you can do is rake the corners of your mind and try to remember what books (classics or otherwise) you’ve always wanted to read? Throw some of these names in your new TBR too. This way your TBR-list would have a mix of new and old books which will make the experience more exciting!

 

2) Get the books on your TBR pile

Check the pricing of the books online, if you like what you see then buy the books in your preferred format. If you don’t like what you see, then check your local bookstore or get the book from a library. If the prices of paperbacks or hardbacks are too much, then try going for e-books; they are generally cheaper and can be read on any device including the most basic smartphones. Lastly, try and get at least 1 audiobook. You can get the audio versions for free for almost all the classics, so you can try those instead of buying new ones.
Living in this amazing digital age provides so many options when it comes to book formats, so go crazy and try them all! You might love the snazzy new Electronic or Audiobook versions that you might have been sceptical about.

My latest books (January 2018)

3) Create goals

Now that you have the books, chalk out your goals because without goals you won’t get far. Set a monthly goal and a yearly goal (once you get into the habit of reading, you can set weekly goals too!) For monthly goals, set the number of books you want to complete in a month. To be on a safe side, start with one. Then gradually go up from there.
If you want to stick to one book a month only, then your yearly goal would be 12 books in a year, but that’s rarely the case because you’ll find books you simply can’t read fast enough and will end up finishing them earlier. Also, with each passing month, your speed will increase and so will your capacity, so there’s a good chance that you’ll be reading more than 12 books. I’d suggest setting 15 books a year at the least if you are serious about developing and sustaining a reading habit. Bookworms read 100, 200 and some even 500 books a year, so don’t underestimate yourself.

Read wherever you can!

4) Create a routine

If you want to really get into the habit of reading, set aside anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour daily as reading time. It can be while you have you are morning coffee or breakfast, or in the afternoon just before your power nap or with evening tea or, my favourite, just before sleeping in the night (bed-time reading.) Do note that this is the time you will be consciously putting into reading – you will deliberately sit in a comfortable chair or sofa or bed in the cosiest place in the house and put an effort and read the book you’ve picked up. Your reading time should not be affected by other times you might decide to read the book during the day.

 

A beautifully illustrated book of less than a 100 pages

5) Utilize weekends or holidays

Read twice (or thrice) the number of pages or chapters you generally read on the weekends. If you have a book that is not too long (under 150 pages) then try and finish it over the weekend. It’ll be a great boost to your confidence in your reading abilities.

Same way, try and use at least 2-3 days when you get some time off of work or household activities.

 

6) Always carry a book

No matter if you’re going to work or just taking a walk to the local park, or going to school or college, always (and I mean always!) carry a book. You should always have a book at hand in case if you have to wait for someone or if you get some free time on your commute from one place to another or maybe if the queue you’re waiting in, takes a really long time to move? These and many more opportunities always knock on your doors when you have a book to indulge in at hand. It can be the book you’re already reading or some other book entirely.

Always carry a book with you

7) Check off the books and add new ones

 

A couple of books I got while visiting a bookstore

Check off the books you’ve finished. Strike them through and I bet you’ll feel ecstatic doing it. Don’t forget to add new books that you find along the way or that someone recommends you, but keep in mind not to add 10 new books for every 1 book you read. It’ll be an overkill. Cut off 1 and add another. Stick to this as much as you can. But again, don’t limit yourself entirely.
Once in a while, ditch your TBR and pick up a random some good book that you come across or maybe a book whose adaptation is going to be released int he coming weeks. Or maybe ask a friend for some recommendation or their favourite book in general and give it a go – there are so many possibilities!

 

8) Explore

Something different from what I usually read

Now that you have developed or at least started with a reading habit, try to go for different genres. Explore new genres and revisit the old ones from your past. It’ll add another layer of self-indulgence to your reading experience.

Also, try and connect with other readers amongst your friends or join online or local book clubs to be in the know-how of new releases and to discuss books you’re reading or want to read. I myself run an online book club on Goodreads, RMFAO, and it has helped me tremendously in reading more and better books. I am also a member of a couple of Facebook reading pages and they all are amazing and the interacting makes reading more fun as we share our progress, book hauls and random reading related thoughts there with other like-minded people.


In a couple of months, before you even know it, you’d be reading more than you ever imagined you would and that too without even trying too hard.

Reading is a beautiful adventure and it should be enjoyed thoroughly in order to fully experience it.


Note: All the images used here are my own and can also be found at my blog's Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/thereadingbud/

Happy New Year – 2018

I’ve been continuously blogging over at TRB since December and also in the first week of 2018, so it feels weird to do my first post here SO LATE. Still, I have to do it to get past the “first-post-of-the-year” thing and get on with a much defined regular schedule of posts.

Late 2017 proved to be a really busy time for me as we shifted our home and got a kitten, Eva (more on this in my next post!) and everything just got overwhelming. Finally, things have settled into a steady rhythm and now I’m able to think of my weekly schedules and planning things.

For this blog, I’m reviving WOW – Word Of the Week so that at least I’ll have something to post regularly on the blog and also because I’m working on my vocabulary this year. So like before, WOW is going to be a weekly thing. I’m planning to post this every Saturday as Saturdays for me are quite relaxed.

I’ll try and post some short fiction or poems every month and will try and do a monthly round-up post, though I’m not promising anything.

I’m already working on my 2018 BuJo setup, 3 new story ideas and a couple of other things. I’ll be posting about random stuff more this year as my planned and scheduled posts take a lot of time for preps and stuff. And plus, I’ve discovered lately that I love random posts more than the planned ones.

Anyway, so here’s hoping that this year proves to be the best one for all of us. Cheers!

Ciao ❤

RMFAO 2018 Classics Catchup

Want to read more classics? Re-read an old favourite? A book you missed by a favourite author? Or just browse and discover a forgotten author? This year we are moving the general guideline up to pre-1950, but there are quite a few later books (mainly from the 1960s) that are also acceptable.

A wonderful bonus advantage for this Challenge is that it is easy on the budget since so many are available free in numerous formats (including audio!) from such sites as Project Gutenberg, ManyBooks and LibriVox. You do not need to choose your books ahead of time, you’ve got all year. Late-comers are welcome.

Please note that Classics Catchup was created and is run by RMFAO’s first moderator, Dagny. You can find here on Goodreads here or at her amazingly bookish blog, Vauquer Boarding House

We have different yearly levels for which you can go for. These are listed below.

Levels:

  • Level 1: Casual Reader: 2 books
  • Level 2: Frequent Reader: 3 – 5 books
  • Level 3: Bookworm: 6 – 8 books
  • Level 4: Scholar: 9 – 11 books
  • Level 5: Professor: 12 or more books

Who’s joining? All you have to do is post here saying you plan to participate. You can choose the Level you hope to achieve now, or wait and see how it goes. Don’t know what to read and need suggestions? Just ask!

RMFAO 2018 Classics Catchup Thread

Other challenges that you can participate in are:

If you’re as crazy about reading and books as we are then go wild combining all or any challenges to spice up your reading lists!

One of the coolest things about this challenge is that the mods are so awesome that they even tell you the sources and links to obtain free books available online legally. What else can a bookworm ask for!?

Join RMFAO

In order to participate, simply announce your participation on the main board of RMFAO 2018 Genre Challenge. Or if you have a blog just do a simple post announcing your participation and sharing details of the challenge (you can freely copy and paste from here with a due credit or reblog this post.) Don’t forget to leave a link back here.

RMFAO 2018 Genre Challenge

We are here with the 4th instalment of the most amazing reading challenge on this planet *drumroll* – RMFAO 2018 Genre Challenge.

For those who are new to this challenge, for Genre Challenge, we read one genre (sometimes even two when we have the alternate-genre month) every month. We post the genre list in advance (for this year’s genre list see below) so that we can plan our reads in advance. The focus of this challenge is not only to read more books in the genre you love but also to give you a chance to explore new, unfamiliar or lesser known genres. Not to mention the joy of reading with other book lovers and exploring new titles that they love and adore.

We don’t want to burden or restrict the participants by specifying sub-genres because that creates a set of problems that comes in between the actual reading. You can pick the sub-genres as per your convenience.

Another perk of this challenge is that don’t have to buy new books to participate in this challenge; all you have to do is go through your own books and organise your TBR-list as per the genres for this challenge. Simple!

One of the coolest things about this challenge is that the mods are so awesome that they even tell you the sources and links to obtain free books available online legally. What else can a bookworm ask for!?

[button size=”” color=”primary” url=”https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/147920-rmfao-reading-my-frigging-a-off?ref=nav_bar_discussions_pane_group” text=”Join RMFAO”]

In order to participate, simply announce your participation on the main board of RMFAO 2018 Genre Challenge. Or if you have a blog just do a simple post announcing your participation and sharing details of the challenge (you can freely copy and paste from here with a due credit or reblog this post.) Don’t forget to leave a link back here.

[button size=”” color=”primary” url=”https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/19118345-rmfao-2018-genre-challenge” text=”RMFAO 2018 Genre Challenge Thread”]

And now it’s time to unveil the Genre List!

RMFAO 2018 Genre-List:

‣ January – Science-Fiction
‣ February – Mystery-Thriller
‣ March* – Women’s Fiction or Westerns
‣ April* – YA or Graphic Novels
‣ May – Classics/Literary
‣ June – Non-Fiction
‣ July – Dystopian/Apocalyptic
‣ August – Contemporary Fiction
‣ September – Humour
‣ October – Horror
‣ November* – Historical or Steampunk
‣ December – Adventure/Fantasy

*Alternate-Genre Month - For these months, we have 2 genre options. You can pick and do either of the two or both!

Monthly Levels:

  • Level 1: Casual Reader: 1 book (easy)
  • Level 2: Frequent Reader: 2 books (moderate)
  • Level 3: Bookworm: 3 books (mildly strenuous)
  • Level 4: Bibliophile: 4 books (strenuous)
  • Level 5: Bookiopath: 5 books or more (challenging)

You can announce the level you’d be going for each month on the respective discussion threads.

Also, don’t forget to mention what type of books you’d be reading:

  • HB: Hardbacks
  • PB: Paperbacks
  • EB: E-Books
  • AB: Audio Books

PLEASE READ (especially for new members):

  1. You can read any number of books for the respective genre each month in one particular month.
  2. Take your time and go through your entire TBR-list before deciding the books to read.
  3. You can join the challenge at any stage (in any month.)
  4. You can drop out of the challenge any time you like.
  5. You can select different levels every month.
  6. Use this discussion board to share your reads with other members of the group.
  7. Please be active and don’t hesitate to ask questions or recommend books.
  8. We encourage social shares, so if you’d be sharing or mentioning this challenge on your social media, don’t forget to tag – #RMFAO and @thereadingbud

Other challenges at RMFAO:

If you’re as crazy about reading and books as we are then go wild combining all or any challenges to spice up your reading lists!

For any queries, you can post a comment below or send a message to the group or the mods on Goodreads any time. We’d love to hear from you!

Ciao ❤

RMFAO 2017 Reading Challenges

Hey, everyone. 2017 is almost upon us! It is December, the most magical time of the year, and more so because this is the month we decide and announce the RMFAO Reading Challenges for the coming year!

If you don’t already know, RMFAO is my reading group on Goodreads and it is co-moderated by my very dear friend, Dagny. We have quite a few reading challenges there and have around 300 members. We talk about books and reading related stuff and recommend absolutely amazeballs books to each other. It is a place to be for all the book lovers as you’ll meet some serious bookaholic bibliophiles there.

Back to the point, we just announced the 3rd installment of our most popular challenge on RMFAO – RMFAO 2017 Genre Challenge. In this challenge, we read as per the pre-decided Genre-List that changes every year. This year we’re doing it our old way by having 1 unique mainstream genre per month. The participants will just have to refer their TBRs and pick up the books of that genre for that month. This way you get to read 12 genres in one year while finishing off your TBR.7

The participants will just have to refer their TBRs and pick up the books of that genre for that month. This way you get to read 12 genres in one year while finishing off your TBR. Most of the times we end up reading the new recommendations and our TBR pile grows more than ever, but that’s how the life of a book lover is, isn’t it?

Anyway, in case if you guys want to participate, just join the group (if you haven’t already) and announce your participation on the main challenge thread. It can be found here: RMFAO 2017 Genre Challenge.

Apart from this, we have other fun Challenges too:

  • Classic Catchup:
    Hosted by RMFAO’s Classics’ Professor Dagny, this challenge gives you a chance to read the Classics. But the best part for me about this challenge is Dagny’s Classic recommendations. I’ve read so many different classics (so much more than I’d have ever read on my own) since I started joining this challenge. So if you’re a classic lover then this place is definitely for you, but in case if you’re like me who is not into classics and have no clue what to read, then is the place to start.classics-catchup
  • RMFAO 2017 Series Challenge:
    This challenge focuses on completing book series. You can either complete a series your started earlier and never got around to finishing it, or you can start a new one and try to finish it within the year.
    To participate all you have to do is drop by the thread (click the name of the challenge above) and announce your participation.series
  • RMFAO 2017 NetGalley Challenge: This challenge needs no explanation. If you are on NetGalley then you should definitely check this one out! The challenge will help you finish all those books that you requested and were accepted for once upon a time, and as a result, it will help you improve your Ratio. It can’t get better than this, can it?!netgalley

New members are welcome to join any time of the year, so don’t forget to drop by and have a look around! Also, feel free to share about these challenges with your friends and reading buddies. The more, the merrier.

Ciao ❤

Are you a “Professional Reader” at NetGalley?

Print

“Do you love to discover new books? Do you review and recommend books online, in print, for your bookstore, library patrons, blog readers, or classroom? Then you are what we call a “professional reader,” and NetGalley is for you. Registration is free, and allows you to request or be invited to read titles, often advance reading copies, on your favorite device.”

-NetGalley

First of all, let’s be clear what NetGalley really means. In the publishing world, a galley is the uncorrected or, in some cases, the corrected copies of the books that are not yet printed. And when these galleys are provided on the internet as e-books, you have what we call as NetGalley.

NetGalley offers a wide range of books for reviewers, journalists, librarians, professors, booksellers, and bloggers.

At NetGalley, publishers provide galley proofs to readers in order to get what they call as “feedbacks” and what we call as “reviews.” There are a lot of publishers, including some really big ones like Harlequin Enterprises, Penguin Books, Hachette, Harper Collins, Random House, Simon & Schuster, Pan MacMillan and many others in the US, Canada, UK and Australia.

As a voracious reader and a reviewer (with a book blog, The Reading Bud), I’m a “Professional Reader” at NetGalley. Initially, I was so mesmerised by the whole process and the simplicity with which a reviewer can get books, that I went on a crazy spree of requesting books. I requested pretty much all the books that caught me attention at that time and then I used to happily prance like this:

giphy

Then after a while, I started getting rejected by almost everyone for reasons unknown to me. My inbox started flooding with emails saying your request has been denied and for a very long time I was like:

Love-and-Other-Drugs

Then finally, I decided to get off my ass and learn the proper way of being a “professional reader.” I google-searched like crazy, totally high on my new-found enthusiasm but it took a while before I understood my mistake. My first mistake was that I dove head first into the endless sea of galleys and apparently was hit by a very sharp rock (so to say.)

It took me almost a year of horrible experiences to finally understand how to have a peaceful reading experience on NetGalley. Today, I have around 300 books on my NetGalley shelf and a good enough ratio of around 50% (that I always try to maintain, no matter what.) I have received more than a dozen invitations from publishers for reviewing specific titles and I’m auto-approved by more than 6 publishers so far (out of these 6 a couple publishers limit their books to some countries or continents only, still I made it to their lists.) Slowly but steadily I’ve learned to be very particular about requesting titles and maintaining a minimum ratio of 55% (give or take.). And honestly, now I’m having a lot more fun.

Here’s a screenshot of how my NetGalley profile looks like: (updated 14/07/16)

 

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 10.56.20 pm

If you are wondering how to improve your ratio or how to increase your chances of getting approved then read on, I’m sure this article will help clear your doubts.

How to make an impressive profile?

Your profile is the only deciding factor for publishers when it comes to NetGalley. So maintaining a great profile is the key to getting approval.

  • Always mention your email address. “Many publishers will only approve requests if they can view your email address, for future follow-ups,” says NetGalley.
  • Provide all the possible links where your reviews get posted or shared. Following order is considered good: Your blog, Tumbler, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit.
  • Make your Bio look professional, like a resume.
  • Add a good profile photo and not a Facebook photo of yourself eating ice-cream.
  • Don’t hesitate to brag about how many followers and subscribers you have for your blog.
  • Mention that you receive a lot of traffic through search engines.
  • Drop a line about how you are bold and honest about your reviews.
  • Maintain a high ratio (at least 50%)
  • If you are a member of any Professional Associations then don’t forget to mention it.
  • Make sure all the links you provide are working.
  • Make sure not to add a fake link, it may seriously affect your image as a reviewer.

What is it with the RATIO?

As far as I know, Ratio the most important thing to keep in mind for a reviewer. NetGalley Ratio is the Feedback to Approval ratio. The recommended ratio is 80%. So if you want to get approved for the books you really want, get ready to give a feedback for each and every book your read.

This poses a problem for reviewers like me, who take their own sweet time (sometimes even months) to post the review of a  particular book, either because they are lazy or as in my case, have a lot of books to review already (as I schedule review requests from authors and publishers first.) Here are some pointers for improving ratio:

  • Decide a limit for requesting books for each month and STICK TO IT.
  • Get to reading the approved books ASAP.
  • If you take time for reviewing then just write out a mini-review for the time being and submit it. Later on, you can edit it and write a proper one.
  • If you think the book deserves 1-2 stars then don’t waste your time writing a full-fledged review for it on your blog. Just write a short review for the feedback and copy-paste it on your Goodreads and then FORGET about it and move on to the next book. (Don’t do it for the publishers you really like as your blog review link is important if you want to read their books in future.)

Why were you rejected?

  • Territorial reasons- If below the request button some names are specified, like US, UK, etc, and youimages are not from these places, then there’s 90% chance that you’ll be rejected. But, if your profile is solid, there’s always a chance for you to get approved (however small it may be.)
  • Mentioning only Goodreads in your “sites” won’t get you accepted by most publishers unless you have more than a thousand friends on Goodreads.
  • Wrong links, incomplete profile and poor ratio are a recipe for complete disaster.
  • Don’t take the books on NetGalley for a given, they are someone’s hard work and unless you are planning on reviewing it, don’t request it just because you can request it by the press of a button (which almost every newbie does!)

The reasons publishers mention while declining:

  • They may have hit their maximum allowance for that title.
  • No company association.
  • Follower counts and website hit counts are important metrics. They prefer reviewers who have established, regularly updated blogs. They look specifically for blogs that have three months of recent, continuous posting of reviews. If your blog is primarily updated with giveaways, cover reveals, and other promotional posts, they will likely decline your request.
  • They do not issue ARCs to reviewers who primarily review on Goodreads, Facebook, Amazon, and other social media websites.

 How to get approvedapproved

  • Your profile should be really impressive.
  • Maintain a high ratio and your chances for getting approved simply doubles.
  • In spite of the territorial reasons, in my experience, if your profile is strong enough you still have a 5-10% chance of getting accepted. So apply for off-territory books only if you really, really want the book.

To wrap this up here are a few pros and cons of NetGalley:

Pros:

  • Huge range of books per say.
  • You can contact any big publisher and if your profile is good enough you’ll get approved.
  • Serious money saving on some fabulous books.
  • Direct download on your devices (Kindle, Nook, etc.), so no issues of transferring books (check out NetGalley’s device guide here.)
  • You get a cool badge that says “I’m a professional reader” (like the one in my sidebar.)

Cons:

  • Publishers mostly prefer reviewers who have book-blogs with the heavy following.
  • Reviews are a necessity if you want an endless flow of books.
  • Have to maintain the book-blog nicely.
  • Have to maintain the RATIO.
  • You might have troubles figuring out how to read “.ascm” files.

In spite of all the negative things about NetGalley, I really love it 🙂

National Readathon

Hi guys, this is a piece of news I came across on various blogs and Goodreads so I thought of sharing it with you guys and also to announce what I’ll be pledging to read. I read everyday but this feels like being a part of something bigger! So I’ve decided to participate inspite of being from a different country, after all reading is all that matters! I’ll be reading all day today. I’m planning to read Frozen (Heart Of Dread#1) which I’ve recieved from NetGalley upon my request, Duma Key issued from library and Almost Adept requested by author. I’ve already started these three books and I’m planning to finish them for this Readathon.

NetGalley

If you don’t already know about this readathon, then here are the details:

timetoread

Grab your latest book and charge your ereaders, bibliophiles. It’s time for the first-ever National Readathon Day. On Saturday, January 24, join readers nationwide to make #timetoread for four hours in solidarity for literacy. National Readathon Day, sponsored by Goodreads, The National Book Foundation, Penguin Random House and Mashable, is a nationwide marathon reading session on Saturday, January 24th from noon-4 PM (in respective time zones), and a fundraiser for The National Book Foundation’s literacy programs. You can get involved on Goodreads by pledging to read any book you’d like. Maybe you’re in the middle of something so good, you want four hours to finish it. Or perhaps there’s a novel that’s been on your to-read shelf for weeks that you’ve just been waiting for an excuse to start. If you need some suggestions, we’ve also shared our list of the best books of January. Once you decide, select the book you’ll be reading for the readathon on our Readathon Challenge page and click the “Pledge to Read” button to share your selection with the rest of the Goodreads community. We‘ll add the book you choose to your “to-read” shelf (if it’s not already there) and also add it to a custom ‟readathon-day-2015” shelf.

Tweet about this Readathon with #timetoread So are you participating? What are the books that you’re planning to read for this marathon (or otherwise.) Your thoughts are always welcome 🙂 Have a great day. Happy Reading!