Bookish Goals: The Wins and Losses

  • Complete Goodreads Challenge of 60 books
    • I completed my challenge at the beginning of October, and I’m currently reading book number 70. Quarantining provided plenty of reading time for me. This year will mark the most books I’ve read in a single year since I started tracking my books on Goodreads in 2014. Of course, it also helps that I’ve been reading more graphic novels, and those tend to be shorter in length. 
  • Read more nonfiction
    • This wasn’t hard to do because I think I only read two nonfiction books in 2019: Becoming by Michelle Obama and Shortest Way Home by Pete Buttigieg. In 2020, I read several social justice and race titles, a book about introverts, Educated, a book about discussing politics, and a book detailing a piece of journalism. I can thank my church’s two book clubs for most of my nonfiction reading this year. I ended most of these books feeling like I had learned something from them. I don’t think nonfiction will ever be my go-to, but I’m going to keep encouraging myself to read from this genre. 
  • Watch TV/film adaptations of books
    • Last year, I did such a good job of watching books on the big screen. I watched Ready Player One, The Hate U Give, The Handmaid’s Tale (Season 1), Every Day, Wonder, and a few episodes of A Discovery of Witches. In 2020……….nothing. You’d think being stuck at home for months on end would have given me time to watch some movies – but I am also a mom to an only child. I got to entertain a kindergartener every day, all day long. The only movies we watched were Trolls World Tour, Onward, and whatever kids movies we could borrow from the library once it opened up again. I want to renew this goal for 2021.  
  • Read physical books I’ve borrowed, bought, or been gifted
    • It’s no secret: I love my kindle fire. At least 75% of the books I read are from the OverDrive app, which I read on my kindle. I have many lovely hardcover and paperback books in my house – either through my own purchases or from gifts – but I have a hard time making myself read them. A kindle is just so handy! I love highlighting favorite lines while I read, I like using the dictionary function to look up words I’m unfamiliar with, and I love the ease of holding it. I’m really only good at reading physical books when they are graphic novels. While I’ve read a fair share of graphic novels on my kindle, it’s definitely easier to read them and to view the artwork when it’s a real book. Again, I plan on keeping this goal for next year. 

What bookish goals have you set for yourself? How successful were you in completing them in 2020? What bookish goals will you set for 2021?

From the Book to the Big Screen

While I usually go into a book-to-film adaptation with the caveat that “the book is better,” I’m always hopeful that the movie will do the book justice.

Here are the adaptations I managed to see this year:


Big Little Lies

Book: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

How I Watched: HBO On Demand

  • While I didn’t actually read this book, I read two other books by Moriarty, so I felt like I knew this would be another mystery thriller with lots of characters and storylines intertwining. This mini-series was fantastic – I mean, the cast alone knocked my socks off: Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley, and Zoë Kravitz, just to name a few. Each episode, I thought a different person was the killer and the victim! It kept me guessing all the way to the end. I highly recommend this one (but for grown-ups! Even though Zoe and Shailene are in this one, this is NOT a YA series).

The Circle

Book: The Circle by Dave Eggers

How I Watched: Amazon Prime, Kindle Fire

  • I read the book and watched the movie shortly after. I was a little disappointed by the film, because I was hoping it would more clearly illustrate the dangers of social media giants and privacy rights. The movie wasn’t quite creepy enough or as satirical as the book. The book brings up important questions that we’ll have to answer as we become more and more reliant on technology: Where do you draw the line between keeping people safe and allowing people to remain free? Where do you draw the line between endless amounts of data and being able to quantify it and really use it for good? Where do you draw the line between public and private? The movie didn’t feel quite as thought-provoking, and I’m not sure why that was.


Everything, Everything

Book: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

How I Watched: HBO

  • This movie stays pretty true to the book. It even figured out how to film conversations where the characters aren’t even in the same room in interesting and artsy ways. I even liked how the film cut out a part that I found unnecessary in the book! I’d tell you what part it is, but I don’t want to give away any spoilers. So, if you liked the book, I think you’ll like the movie, too.

Crazy Rich Asians

Book: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

How I Watched: In the movie theater *gasp* with my husband!

  • Again, I haven’t read the book yet, but the movie was so delightful that I plan on reading this series in the future. The movie was just so cute and highly enjoyable. I loved Henry Golding as Nick Young – I can’t wait to see him in more movies. It’s hard to believe that this was his first movie. I also loved seeing Michelle Yeoh from the Memoirs of a Geisha movie. She’s so stunning and regal in this film. What surprised me the most about this film was the music. There were well-known pop songs, but some parts were sung in Chinese, among other languages. I just love multicultural inclusiveness! In one scene, a bride walked down the most dreamy aisle to “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and it was gorgeous. I highly recommend this film and hope there will be a sequel.


To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

Book: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

How I Watched: Netflix (thanks to my sister)

  • Ok, so I’ve been a fan of this series for a long time – even creating my own casting suggestions way back in 2015. I also gushed about the books here. And here. So I was bummed when the movie skipped the theaters and went to Netflix because I don’t have Netflix! Frustrating! Luckily, my sister has an account, so I finally got to watch the movie in September. The film was not as light and bubbly as the books. Lara Jean was more serious than I imagined her, and she didn’t do near enough baking. But the actor chosen to play Peter Kavinsky did a better job than I expected, and I adored John Corbett as the dad. So, I was personally a tiny bit disappointed, but also happy that so many other people loved it.

Sharp Objects

Book: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

How I Watched: HBO On Demand

  • I read this book years ago, because like many others, I read Gone Girl and had to read all of Gillian Flynn’s other novels, too. Flynn is a smart, crazy writer, so if her name is attached to a project, you know you’re in for quality work with twists and darkness. The mini-series was just as creepy and chilling as I remembered, but felt much too slow and disjointed. I just wanted everything to happen faster. Since I’d read the story so many years ago, I actually couldn’t remember “whodunit,” so the series was just as suspenseful for me as the first time around.


Did you see any of these adaptations? What were your thoughts?

Casting Chaos Walking

As is the way with fantastic YA novels, Patrick Ness’s Chaos Walking series may be getting the film treatment. According to an article posted in October 2011, Lionsgate acquired the rights for the Chaos Walking trilogy. I hadn’t realized the series was that old! Turns out the first book was published in 2008 and the third book was published in 2010. I can’t believe it took me so long to stumble upon these books. A more recent update (if you can call August 2014 recent! – See newer updates down below) notes that the project will have a new screenplay written by Jamie Linden. Robert Zemeckis will direct (Back to the Future and Forrest Gump are among his notable films). We’ll see if this movie ever comes to fruition. Until then, here are a few casting suggestions I came up with.

chaos_castingAfter reading the novels, who would star in your dream cast?

~ Interested in Chaos Walking? Read about my gushing review of the series here and read about its awesome villain here.

Update on movie news according to IMDB and

Daisy Ridley from Star Wars: The Force Awakens will play the lead role in the film. Tom Holland, who we will soon be seeing a lot of based on his IMDB page, will play Todd Hewitt. As I mentioned above, I thought that a movie version would cast both Viola and Todd older than they are in the book – but I’m a bit worried at just how much older these actors are. Ridley is twenty-four years old and Holland is twenty years old. In the book, the characters are only thirteen or fourteen years old. Ridley and Holland are supposed to be love interests in the books, but they don’t look the same age to me in real life. It’s also interesting to note that IMDB lists the title of the movie as Chaos Walking. Does this mean the movie will merge all three books together instead of creating a trilogy of films? Also, I’m realizing now that my casting is super white! I hope the actual movie will be more culturally diverse than what I originally came up with. Because really, if this is in a future when the earth is so troubled that people are being sent to colonize other planets, the people would most likely be quite diverse. (Updated 1/3/17)

Have you read any of Patrick Ness’s books yet? What did you think?

3 Film Adaptations I’m Excited About


If I Stay– Written by Gayle Forman, If I Stay is a 2009 novel about a teenager named Mia who has an out-of-body experience after her family is involved in a tragic car accident. Throughout the book, Mia thinks back to special moments with her family, her surprising relationship with Adam, and her future as a classical musician. Family and friends visit her in the hospital—some urging her to fight and live, and others telling her that it’s okay to let go. Ultimately, Mia must decide whether to wake up or not.

I read this book fairly recently, so it is still fresh in my mind.  I caught the trailer while watching the season premiere of Awkward on MTV. The first time I saw the trailer, it gave me chills. It looks like the film has been beautifully and lovingly adapted for the screen. Bring the Kleenex to the theater when you go see this film in August.



Gone Girl – This is the first book by author Gillian Flynn to be brought to the big screen, but others are already on their way. Flynn’s psychological thriller was one of my favorite reads this past year. It kept me guessing all the way through, and I can’t wait to see it brought to life.

Early on in the novel, Nick Dunne discovers that his wife, Amy Dunne, has gone missing on their fifth wedding anniversary. Nick becomes the prime suspect in the case. Doubts begin to pile up as to whether Nick is innocent or not. Amy’s diary documents the couple’s declining relationship. Flynn twists the novel upside-down in the second half of the novel when it’s revealed that Amy may not have been as innocent or as honest as she once appeared. If you haven’t read this book yet, put it on your TBR list. You have until the beginning of October to get it read!



The Maze Runner – James Dashner’s YA Lit Maze Runner series was on a lot of people’s reading lists this year. The books (The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure, and The Kill Order) are a bit frustrating as Dashner builds suspense by giving the reader only teeny, tiny bits of information. The book starts with Thomas arriving in a place called the Glade, but he has no memory of how he got there, or memories of life before the Glade. An organized community of boys live in the Glade. Some of the boys venture out into a giant maze each day in order to find an escape route from wherever they are—but they must return before nightfall. Massive doors keep the Glade protected from disgusting, mechanical slug creatures called Grievers that would kill the boys. Their structured way of life is soon interrupted when a girl shows up in the Glade.

You’ll be scratching your head as you read this novel. While I wouldn’t call myself a big fan of the series, I did read all four books because I had to know what on earth was going on! I was, however, impressed with the trailer of the film adaptation. I might even go so far as to say that this may be one of those rare occasions when the film is better than the book!  Check this movie out mid-September.

Which book to film adaptations are you looking forward to in 2014?

A Wrap-up of Recent Reads



The Fault in Our Stars by John Green:

I put a hold on this book on Overdrive way back in August, and I finally got the e-mail saying it was available this week! Needless to say, I downloaded the book right away and started reading it. I’d heard such great things about this book, and I was hoping it was as good as all the hype.

In case you haven’t read the book yet, it stars Hazel Grace, a teenager living with terminal cancer. Hazel is intelligent and witty. She attends community college since she completed her GED already, but she also likes to binge watch America’s Next Top Model. But besides support group and attending her classes, Hazel leads a sheltered life. Her parents are her best friends. One day at support group, she meets a boy named Augustus Waters and everything changes. Augustus had a leg removed to get rid of the cancer in his body. Augustus is full of life and immediately takes to Hazel. Hazel doesn’t want Augustus to become too attached to her because she doesn’t want to hurt him when she passes away. She calls herself a grenade since she is living on borrowed time. Augustus cares for Hazel so much that he uses his Wish (a cancer perk) to take her to Amsterdam to meet an author she idolizes. I don’t want to give away any more of the story than that. What you need to know, however, is that you will both laugh and cry while reading this book.

So did the book live up to its hype? Sort of! I enjoyed the book and gave it a 4/5 on Goodreads, but it wasn’t the best book I’ve ever read. I’m not oohing and ahhing over it. I preferred Eleanor & Park and plenty of other books over this one. But does it take on an interesting and complex topic and spin it in a new way? Yes. It was a smart, well-written book with plenty of vocab words I was glad my Kindle Fire could help me out with! Hazel was a well-developed character and I feel like we had some things in common—like watching ANTM marathons and wanting to visit your favorite authors to demand answers from them! Will I go see the movie, coming out this June, starring Shailene Woodley? Perhaps! Not sure if I could manage to drag my husband to this one—I might have to catch it on video instead. Are you a Fault in Our Stars lover? What drew you to the book?


The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert M. Edsel:

This was another book I had been waiting for on Overdrive. You may remember seeing trailers for the film version which was in theaters this past February. The film, starring the impressive cast of George Clooney, Matt Damon, John Goodman, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, Jean Dujardin, and Hugh Bonneville, had me intrigued because WWII is such a fascinating time period. I decided to skip seeing the movie until I had read the book, but perhaps I didn’t make the right decision there…

The book explains how Adolf Hitler began hoarding Europe’s art treasures. He catalogued the art pieces he wanted—intending to create a new cultural center—as well as the art work he wanted destroyed. A special force of American and British museum directors, curators, and art historians was formed to prevent the further destruction of art pieces, and to search for and reclaim the missing art work. These Monuments Men were not properly equipped, dealt with time-wasting bureaucracy, and sometimes weren’t even armed, yet they passionately strove to preserve thousands of years of culture.

The book, written by Robert M. Edsel, was more historically based than any novel I had ever read. WWII was always one of my favorite units in school and I’ve read several books that take place during the time period, but I had never heard of the Monuments Men. I was interested to find out more about these men and the work they did. Edsel included massive amounts of footnotes, actual photographs, and copies of war-time documents. But one thing the book was sorely missing? Dialogue! I’m assuming the film’s screenwriter took a lot of creative liberties when turning the book into a script. There was no dialogue in the book, and the characters all had their own chapters—rarely were they seen in the same place at the same time. The Monuments Men were really working on their own, mainly relying on the locals to get work done. Without dialogue, the book was dull and slow moving. Here’s my take on what the book sounded like:

George was a tidy man who somehow managed to keep clean, even while living through a war. He looked around at the village in front of him, ripped apart by bullets and looting. He gazed up at the old church. Bullet holes were scattered throughout the pale stone. The wooden front door was miraculously intact, but a large hole exposed the building’s interior. George put up a sign in front of the building to make sure people knew to keep out of the ruins.

Sad to say, the book’s seven day loan expired well before I had completed reading the book. I have no intentions of checking the book out again to finish it, and I’m not so sure I want to see the film anymore either. Has anyone watched the film? What did you think of it?