Sunday, March 30, 2014

2014 Reading: A Sea of Threes

2014 reading...I'm right on track to reach my goal of 80 books. I've accepted a few ARCs this year. More than usual. I've stayed up too late reading a couple of times.

But with all of these positive developments, I still feel like my reading is just "meh." I'm stuck in a sea of threes, you see. 3 of 5 stars, that is. I'm not a stickler for rating my books, but I do stick those stars on with the option to change them later depending on how the book "ages" with me. Can I remember the plot? Does it sparkle in my memory?

Typically, the books that garner the highest ratings from me are the ones with the most emotional AND narrative impact. I have to cry and love what the author has achieved in writing, basically. And there just haven't been any fives in my life in 2014. Some fours. But mostly threes. In fact, I've had some pretty big disappointments, but mostly just a lot of, "That was good...enough."


Last year was exceptionally full of fives. And most of them came from my TBR. Which tells me I need to be turning to my TBR more often! 

Which books have tickled your five-star fancy lately?





50 comments:

  1. I'm SO stuck in a solid 3.5 to 4 right now and I want something to light my hair on fire! It's driving me CRAZY.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one! Maybe we can both break out "meh" streaks soon, Shannon!

      Delete
  2. I know what you mean, too many 3s and 3.5s can be demoralising. I think going back to your TBR is a great idea. I'm having quite a bit of luck with the Baileys long-list at the moment too, I think it's going to be a cracking year for the prize.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So far so good since I've started Beloved. I've been dying to read it for a while now, so I'm glad I decided to follow my gut and pick it up! The Baileys had some great-looking books on the long list! Enjoy, Sam!

      Delete
  3. Coming up on my list -- I've heard incredible things about it -- is The Storied Life of AJ Fikry. I'm reading The Midnight Witch right now and really enjoying it! Check out The Weight of Blood. Also Vintage while it was not 5 stars was a good palate cleanser. Fallen Beauty is incredible! That's all I have for the moment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm seeing that book mentioned EVERYWHERE! Maybe it's a sign. lol Thanks for all the recs, Jennifer!

      Delete
  4. I just finished The Storied Life of AJ Fikry. So good!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aha! So many people love this!

      Delete
  5. I'm in the same boat as you so there's not much I can do to help. Half the time I'm wondering if my "it's okay" feeling is the result of the book or me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Trisha, I feel the same way. Would the BEST book still be "meh" to me right now? Maybe.

      Delete
  6. I've been struggling to find anything to read after finishing 'The Word Exchange' (eleven days ago now...) I just can't seem to get excited about anything. I agree it gets hard when you're awash in meh books.

    I'm also with you on the right to change ratings depending on how the book ages with me. Example: Eat, Pray, Love I rated five stars right after I read it, for the life of me I can't figure out what made me feel so connected with that book when I read it... (not that I've reread it.)

    Thanks for linking up with Spread the Love!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Everyone is talking about that one and saying it's amazing! Should add it to my list. Sounds like you have a bonafide book hangover, April!

      I don't change ratings too often, but sometimes I just can't help myself.

      Love Spread the Love! :)

      Delete
  7. I started last year just like you; with not-so-good books, but then it went better.
    Anyway, I sometimes find books I love (5 stars) among the ones that are not new releases, or even among re-reads. For example, one of my last fives was "The horse whisperer".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I started last year with just "ok" books but it picked up near the end of spring. Here's hoping this year follows a similar pattern! And backlist books, and books from my TBR, seem to be the highest rated books I read. I love backlist!

      Delete
  8. I think there's nothing worse than being stuck in a sea of threes. :-( Reading this post, I looked at my own reading this year and came up with only three five-star books. Reading from your own tbr pile sounds like a good idea.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amen sister! At least you've had a handful of 5-star reads. Here's hoping they continue to pile up!

      Delete
  9. I came here to suggest The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry and I see that Jenn has beat me to it :D I don't give star ratings (anymore) but I was inspired to give that one 5. It was bookish and funny and moving and did I mention BOOKISH?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have an old ARC of that, that I got from our library director that she got from a conference a while ago, I guess I need to read that, huh? :)

      Delete
    2. Haha! That is THE book right now! :) I love bookish. You know I do!

      Delete
  10. Reading authors that I've loved in the past is my best path to a book that delights me. Of course, on the rare occasion that they disappoint, it's a crushing disappointment. But that doesn't happen too often.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's an excellent idea, Joy. One of the many reasons I decided to pick up Beloved, by Toni Morrison, and it seems to be working!

      Delete
  11. I just read Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink for book club and would give it five stars. It is nonfiction, but I appreciated her descriptive journalism.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That one sounds fantastic, Christine! And I always have a love of descriptive journalism. Oftentimes a well-placed non-fiction book like that can really bust me out of a slump.

      Delete
  12. LOL! The "womp womp" in the image totally made me laugh!
    I'm sorry you've had a slew of 3's though. :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww, thanks, Monika! I'm hoping to bust out with Beloved!

      Delete
  13. Frog Music was my last 5 star read, and it was delicious. Full of hookers and smallpox and penny farthing bikes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL, that sounds AMAZING, Katie!

      Delete
  14. I have to read A.J. Filkry pronto! Ditto for Frog Music. My reading has been kind of meh lately too, but I did just really enjoy Lovers at the Chameleon Club,Paris 1932.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right? That's the most recommended book of the day!

      Delete
  15. I hate that so much. At least if it's a really terrible book, you have some strong feelings. But a bunch of o.k. books is just frustrating!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly! I'm tired of "meh!"

      Delete
  16. Some people have already beaten me to it - but seriously, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is INCREDIBLE! Definitely the best of what I've read so far this year. The Martian by Andy Weir and Night Film by Marissa Pessl are my other two 5 star reads in 2014.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That one is going at the tippy top of my MUST GET list! It sounds fabulous. I finished reading The Martian a few weeks ago, and I really liked it. Only 4-star liked it, but it did stand out from the sea of threes.

      Delete
  17. I know what you mean. My reading has been pretty mediocre lately - nothing great has stood out at all. Until I read Jhumpa Lahiri's The Lowland and Thirty Girls by Susan Minot. Those two books helped to remind me why I love to read. Hope you come across a brilliant read sooner rather than later :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a Lahiri (The Namesake) on my TBR Challenge stack for 2014. Maybe I should bump that one up, too!

      Delete
  18. I agree with everyone else about A.J. Fikry -- 5 stars for sure. So good I had to reread it. My other 5 star book of 2014 is All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (due in May).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awesome! The votes for Fikry just keep piling up! :)

      Delete
  19. the tell tale heart by jill dawson was one of those shiny books that is a pleasure to read, thought provoking....not a word out of place.....

    ReplyDelete
  20. I find a lot of 3s come from books that I am asked to review - I tend to be a mood reader and enjoy books if I am reading what I feel like reading. However, it doesn't always work that way when you accept books for review.

    A recent couple of great reads was Under the Dome by Stephen King and And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup, me too! That's why ultimately I prefer for other bloggers to try the books first and I buy them backlist! lol I have better luck that way. I'm itching to read some Stephen King! I have a couple of his books on my ereader. Hmm....

      Delete
  21. I'm right with you! I had a couple of months of really stand out books but right now everything's just okay. Not bad just blah. I really enjoyed The Tyrant's Daughter by J.C. Carleson that I read a couple of months ago. It was a totally different perspective and kind of jolted me out of my last reading slump! Hope you find a 5 star book soon!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Katherine! I'm gonna burrow into my TBR and see what I find!

      Delete
  22. I read both of Laura Hillenbrand's books this month, Seabiscuit and Unbroken. Both were five-star all the way. I can't recommend them highly enough.

    (And I was even unintentionally hip with my timing of Unbroken. I didn't realize Angelina Jolie had just announced that she was making it into a movie.)

    Other than that I'm stuck in a sea of 4-stars (that should probably be 3-stars!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's awesome, Carrie! I'm bad about not reading the same author's works close together. Sometimes it's a good thing and sometimes it backfires for me.

      Delete
  23. I don't rate things... I would have to go back through my list... January was good, but I have been kind of meh since.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I think I've read two books that really stand out this year and more 3s. But, like you said, sometimes books grow with you too.

    ReplyDelete
  25. 2013 was such a good reading year for me, but 2014 hasn't been too shabby either. Not a ton of five star reads -- but I rarely give five stars to a brand new book anyway -- but definitely a lot of books I'm planning to circle back around to in the future.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I thought Labor Day was a bit better than a 3 but I hear ya. I read a really good one the other day, Casebook but some on Amazon only gave it three stars. I don't see how they could but I am in a funny nostalgic mood and that one centers around a kid growing up in Los Angeles so for me, it was a lot better than a three. I still have to write-up my review.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Not a lot of 5/5 ratings for me. Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger came close, but it didn't make me cry or have a lot of lyrical passages, so not a perfect rating. The Ocean at the End of the Lane comes close, too, but not a perfect 5.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to comment! Blogger has been a beast lately, so I hope you do not have any troubles leaving your thoughts.

 
Images by Freepik