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?

My One Little Word for 2017 + Goals

Today is the last day of the holidays here in Italy, we’re celebrating Epiphany and then, tomorrow, we’re going to put down all our Christmas decorations. *sighs* January 7 is probably the saddest day of the year for me, since I was a child! I finally took some me-time during the last few days to think about my word for 2017 and I’m happy to report I finally found one: magic.

As you probably already know, I’m a big fan of Ali Edwards and I’ve taken her course called One Little Word in 2015 and 2016, but I noticed I skipped a bunch of prompts, because they didn’t reasonate with me and my style, since I prefer doing it on a journal instead of a scrapbook. It wasn’t an easy decision (I was so tempted to use my Christmas money!), but I ended up not purchasing the class for 2017. I’ll feel myself lost in a couple of weeks, I already know it, but I really wanted to save my money and go on through the previous prompts to find the ones that were right for me and repeat them with my new word.

Now, why MAGIC? Well, my previous words have been IMMERSE and LESS and they had been chosen because I needed some guidance with my studies and future career. I had to immerse myself into my bachelor thesis in 2015 and give myself less distractions in order to study more efficiently in 2016. I’d still need some guidance in this part of my life, but I wanted to choose a word only for myself and, hopefully, magic will help me to reconnect with my own passions in 2017.

I got burned out during the last few months and I ended up consuming consuming consuming without creating anymore. I stopped writing (here and on Middle-earth News) and I procrastinated reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and the 3 Pottermore ebooks, plus I postponed my rereading of The Lord of the Rings, to name a few. I only watched the Extended Edition of The Battle of the Five Armies once and, wow, it’s not like me! Finally, I panicked a little bit after realising I wasn’t excited for Fantastic Beasts as much as I hoped to be. Which is weird, because my fandoms are what actually makes me happy and they always helped me during difficult moments of my life, I can’t let them go this way!

I decided to set some goals in order to help myself sticking with the MAGIC project.
  1. Reread The Lord of the Rings in March to celebrate #MiddleEarthMarch with fellow Tolkien lovers on Instagram
  2. Follow Corey Olsen’s lectures on a regular basis (I already added them on my calendar!)
  3. Read more books about and by Tolkien (I have a whole Amazon wishlist dedicated to it)
  4. Play LOTRO during my free time instead of feeding my addition for YouTube videos about planners. They basically took away the majority of my free time in 2016 and made me spend too much money in stationery, because I constantly felt the need to own more pretty stuff and have more planners.
  5. Finish Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and read the Pottermore ebooks
  6. Follow Pottermore on a regular basis
  7. Surround myself with fellow Potterheads and Tolkien fans (shoutout to Ziba on Instagram and Cherry on YouTube)
  8. Downsize my TBR list of books I purchased on my Kindle

Here are my personal goals, but concerning my blog and social media, I decided to carry my 2016 word with me a little more to help myself caring LESS about my fear of missing out (FOMO).
  1. I’m going to write here on the blog when I’ll feel like it, without treating it like a job anymore. I’ll try to publish my blog posts every Tuesday, but you could expect less of them (or more), I don’t want to force myself with a rigid schedule this year.
  2. After many thoughts, I decided to let go my obsessive schedule and marketing strategy on Twitter and I’m going to use it to communicate with fellow bloggers and book lovers and share my thoughts, like I used to do a couple of years ago.
  3. Pinterest will remain, but I don’t know if I’ll be very active there again.
  4. Instagram is going to be my main focus and the best way to reach me out. I finally came back to my old username @alicegreenleaf and I’m really enjoying the Stories feature now that I have a new smartphone, I’m trying to use it for little announcements (like new blog posts) and BTS. Way easier than trying to build an audience from scratch on Snapchat, that’s why I keep it private.
  5. Finally I’m going to keep publishing my productivity posts (new and old) on Medium once a week, or so.
I know it’s a lot to read! I hope you arrived here without falling asleep, but I really wanted to write a “state of the biz” at the beginning of the year to let you know what to expect from the Burrow and myself.

I made so many new blog friends in 2016 and I couldn’t be more grateful! Thank you for supporting me and my craziness, you’re absolutely the best! ❤

Now I want to know YOUR goals! :) Feel free to share them down below.

Project Life | November and December Pages

I can't believe my second year of Project Life is finally completed! I've been able to stick until the end thanks to the amazing app that Becky Higgins released, also, I've been in her Creative Team this year and I couldn't be more grateful! Such a wonderful experience.

I usually recorded my weekly happenings every Sunday, I was thinking about changing things up this year and make monthly layouts, but I'm still not sure, also because the new Project 52 kit is beautiful and perfectly fits my style.

2016 has been though, but I'm grateful for all the happy memories. Wish you all an amazing 2017!

December Daily 2016 | Day 20 to 25

I can't believe Christmas is come and gone! This past week has been crazy and I didn't manage to publish my December Daily posts, but I kept documenting it in my Traveler's Notebook. Here is a one photo per day for the last week, I hope you enjoyed following my days, I'm happy I've been able to stick until the end with this little project of mine, without giving up after few days!

I'm going to take it easy this week enjoying the holidays, but I hope to be able to share my November and December Project Life pages before the end of the year.

Happy Holidays, friends!