It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? (1/23/17)

January 23, 2017 It's Monday! What are you reading? 40

Hosted by The Book Date.

After a scattered reading stretch, I started to find my stride this week…and I seem to be devouring short books at the moment.

On a more contemplative note, I spent some time last week thinking about Sarah’s Book Shelves and where I want to take it. I’ve been in the same routine (3 posts per week: Monday update, a list or discussion post, and a book review or mini reviews) for well over a year now and things are starting to feel a bit stale (at least to me). I’ve been thinking about this for quite awhile, but I’m finally feeling motivated to take some action.

Here’s what I know:

  • What I really love about being a book person is the matchmaking; recommending the right books to the right people.
  • My least favorite part of the running the blog (other than making graphics!) is writing book reviews…they also are my least viewed types of posts.
  • I’d like to make this blog (or something it ends up growing into) a career at some point. It’s the first thing I’ve ever done that I’m truly passionate about.

As a first step, I’m planning to test run a small project on the blog around Mother’s/Father’s Days. It’s more book recommending rather than reviewing, and if people seem interested in it, then I’ll try to role it out on a larger scale.

And, as readers and participants in this space, I’d love your feedback on what you want more of, less of, and what you’d like to see from this blog. Feel free to share in the comments or email me directly at sarahsbookshelves@gmail.com.

I finished reading…

Always Happy Hour, Mothering Sunday


Always Happy Hour
 by Mary Miller (January 10, 2017)
Last week I mentioned these stories were running together in my head a bit, despite the fact that I was enjoying them. In the second half, each story started to stand out more and my favorite two stories came near the end. Mini review to come.

Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift (April 19, 2016)
This tiny book about an affair between a maid and the heir to the neighboring estate in 1920’s England was completely unique, yet not weird and gorgeously written. It had a bit of a Downton Abbey feel. You can read it in a day…and you should!

Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

I’m currently reading…

Most Dangerous Place on Earth, Lindsey Lee Johnson


The Most Dangerous Place on Earth
 by Lindsey Lee Johnson (January 10, 2017)

I always get sucked into demented high school novels, yet often end up disappointed (recently by Girls on Fire and Dare Me). But, this one is bucking the trend so far (about halfway).
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

I tried, but wasn’t feeling…

The Antiques, Kris D'Agostino


The Antiques
 by Kris D’Agostino (January 10, 2017)
Last week I said “the success of this book will depend entirely on the writing, though, so we’ll see how it pans out.” Well, the writing didn’t exactly pan out. I bailed at 13%.

Upcoming reading plans…

Swimming Lessons, Claire Fuller


Swimming Lessons
 by Claire Fuller (February 7, 2017)
I’ve been hotly anticipating this sophomore novel from the author of Our Endless Numbered Days (one of my favorite debuts of 2015). This time around, Fuller untangles the mystery of a marriage.

How was your reading week? And, please share any thoughts you have on blog in the comments. Thank you!

Get Weekly Email Updates!

40 Responses to “It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? (1/23/17)”

    • Sarah Dickinson

      I did the same thing and am wondering if I should pick up her latest since it seems to be a departure from what she’s done lately.

  1. Lory @ Emerald City Book Review

    I think you do an excellent job with all your content, so you should just focus on whatever brings you the most satisfaction and meets your own goals. I tend not to read your reviews so much because I hardly ever read contemporary fiction (even though I should really make an effort there). Your “recommendation” idea sounds interesting. Can’t wait to hear more!

    • Sarah Dickinson

      Thanks for the feedback – and I can see how my reviews would not be that interesting if you don’t read contemporary fiction! But, they’re definitely the least satisfying things I write 🙂

  2. KatieMcD @ Bookish Tendencies

    Excited to see what’s to come on your blog. I enjoy your content a lot, rarely skip post, and am always amazed at how much reading you get done on a consistent basis. I love your “lists” as well as your discussion posts the most.

    I feel like we all know book reviews are the least enjoyed (probably on both sides of the computer screen), least viewed, etc… but I’m not sure how to get around it completely. I like your “Read This, Skip That” and few of your more unique review formats, and think you’ve got this blogging thing down for sure.

    I say, push forward and “you do you”… whatever that looks like, that makes you happy in this space.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      Thank you 🙂 The lists and discussions are my favorite posts to write.

      And I agree about not being sure how to completely get around reviews. I still want to talk about books and share enough info so readers know whether a book I recommend is right for them…not just for me. Just not sure yet how to do that outside of the review format…but thank you for your feedback on my minis features.

  3. Carmen Perez

    I enjoy and most times read your posts even when I don’t read contemporary fiction on a regular basis. If you plan to make a career out of this (as I would like but don’t see how :-)) you should definitely test ideas until you come up with a winning concept. I’ll be reading you no matter what; I like your voice.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      The career thing is definitely a long shot, but I don’t really have anything to lose, so am going to play around with a couple things.

      And thank you for your thoughts 🙂

  4. Susie | Novel Visits

    I’m looking forward to seeing what changes you’re going to try. I’ve already found how frustrating the review part can be, especially when you work hard on one and then it gets few views! Recommendations vs. reviews? I’m super curious about how you’ll handle that. I love your blog, but you know what works best for you. The discussion posts that you and others do are great (I really enjoy them), but maybe they’re more for other bloggers? Being happy with what you’re doing is most important, so follow your instincts.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      I agree that the discussion posts are more for other bloggers…and I have a sense much of my audience is just regular readers…it’s just the bloggers that always comment, so it’s easy to focus in on them. I need to be better about that!

      And I’d love to bounce some things off of you over email about the recommendations vs. reviews thing if that’s ok with you.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      Definitely read Mothering Sunday – it’s so short, but so great!

      And your theory seems to already be reflected in my pageviews (the most viewed types of posts are the ones I most enjoy writing) 🙂

  5. bermudaonion (Kathy)

    I made some changes on my blog this month as a test and I’m finding it a lot less stressful for me. I hope you find something that works well for you.

    You’re not the first person to say good things about Mothering Sunday. I need to pick it up soon. I really want to get to The Most Dangerous Place on Earth soon.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      Good for you! I like your new Week in Review posts and am glad to hear the changes have reduced your stress.

      Hope you do get to Mothering Sunday – Joann at Lakeside Musing was the one who got me to pick it up.

  6. Kay

    I enjoy everything you post here, though I will admit that your reading and mine don’t cross paths very much. I say do what seems the most satisfying and fun for you. We’ll all still be around regardless.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      Well, thank you for continuing to read, especially given our reading doesn’t overlap that much!

  7. JoAnn @ Lakeside Musing

    I’m so glad you enjoyed Mothering Sunday! I’ve mentioned that it was a favorite of mine last year… now I want to read all of Swift’s novels. I think we’ve all come to the same conclusion about review posts and am curious about your ideas for recommendations. This week I put a short review in my weekly update. Might give that a try for a while.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      You were the one that got me to read it! Let me know what Swift novel you try next…I’d love to delve into his backlist.

      I liked your short review in the update format and I know the review conundrum is an ongoing issue with many bloggers. I wonder why we all keep writing them if they don’t do as well and we don’t love writing them…maybe b/c we feel like we owe it to publishers?

  8. Michelle

    I’ve been hearing the most amazing things about The Most Dangerous Place on Earth. I hope it continues to be a strong read for you!

    Good luck with your changes! As long as you are happy with the content you are providing, the rest of us are happy too.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      It’s different than I expected (in a good way)…not as much of a twisty page turner, more about the characters.

      And thank you!

    • Sarah Dickinson

      Haha – it’s got great GR ratings, so maybe it was just me. I’d try the sample at least if the premise appeals to you.

      And – thank you and I agree refreshing periodically.

  9. Judy Krueger

    I have been following your blog for about a year. It looks great, always. I agree that writing reviews is the hardest part but that is mostly what I read blogs for. It does take more concentration and time to write and read reviews but I feel that blogs are so good for very personal reactions to books, a purpose that many other book/literary sites don’t serve. But for sure, you should do what keeps you inspired!

    • Sarah Dickinson

      Thank you for the feedback! Yours is definitely a different perspective. And it makes sense about the personal reaction to a book. You’re right – they do take more time and concentration to read and write and maybe that’s part of my issue. I have less larger blocks of non-chaotic quiet time than I used to (I have young children and used to have this 3 hour naptime where I wrote my reviews in peace, which is now down to 1.5 hours to get lots done).

  10. Tara

    Oh, wow! I’m so glad that the short story collection panned out for you (and Mothering Sunday sounds like a great pick, too) because I’m interested in trying it out. I’m selfishly glad that The Most Dangerous Place is holding your interest (so that we might discuss) and I’m so curious to hear your thoughts on Swimming Lesson; I may be the outlier on that one. You know, the bottom line, for me, is that if you’re not having fun sharing things on your blog (whatever they might be) then it’s going to feel stale and yuck; do what sounds exciting! Change is good (if you want…or not – ha!), so do whatever you need to do but keep up the great posts because I love them all!

    • Sarah Dickinson

      I really think you’d like Always Happy Hour…I think they’re up your alley. And I’m almost done with Dangerous Place on Earth – we shall debrief soon!

      It’s not that I haven’t been having fun…I still want to be doing this and am not planning to walk away…it’s just that I feel like I’ve been doing the same thing for awhile now. Time to shake things up a little…and try to answer some questions I’ve been wondering about for awhile now (by trying different things out).

      • Sarah Dickinson

        And one more thing…I was energized by the blog last month with all the fun end of the year stuff (and not writing a single book review) and then was letdown a bit once January hit and I resumed my regular routine. That’s kind of where some of this is coming from.

  11. Gabby

    Sarah, your blog is honestly one of my favorites, and one that I find genuinely both inspirational and aspirational. Whatever direction you take with it, I’m sure with your voice behind it, it’ll be wonderful!

    • Sarah Dickinson

      Awh – thank you so much – that means a lot. And my voice will definitely not be changing 🙂

  12. Anita

    Lots of new titles to me, one of the things I look for most in blogs I love. I like your ideas for change. I am finding my own way back to blogging and I’ll continue to read yours for the simple reason that it educates me and entertains me.
    Happy Reading! I have a thing for books with high school drama too…ha ha.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      I noticed you’ve been popping up in my feed more frequently lately – glad to see you back!

      And thank you for your kind comments – I’ll take educating and entertaining any day!

  13. Gins

    I’m finishing Mothering Sunday today and I totally agree with your assessment! I’ve been meaning to get ahold of Swimming Lessins!

    • Sarah Dickinson

      Yay – glad you loved Mothering Sunday too! I feel like I haven’t seen it around too much.

  14. Catherine

    You’re reading The Most Dangerous Place! I’m curious to see what you think.

    It’s Wednesday not Monday, but on Monday I was reading The Shore which I just finished and now have to go and find all my bookish BFFs reviews! WTH?!

  15. Katie @ Doing Dewey

    Although my book reviews are also some of my less reviewed posts, I’m keeping them so far because I like writing them, not because I feel like book blogs have to have them. I think if you want to do something a bit different, that could be a lot of fun. Book recommendations sound super helpful!

    • Sarah Dickinson

      Lucky you that you like writing book reviews! And – I love a number of blogs who rarely post book reviews, so I think it’s doable. Just have to figure out how it could work in practice for me.

Leave a Reply