My Favorite Overdrive and Library Tips (and Books I Read in April 2015)

Before I jump into the books I read in April, I have to give my local library system a shout out.  I touched on how awesome it is when I posted about how to find new books to read.  I could go on and on about how fantastic the King County Library System is (it's like Redbox for books!), but I'll refrain and just urge my local yokels to USE THE LIBRARY.  NEVER BUY BOOKS AGAIN!  I have not spent money on a book (for myself, anyway) in years.  Here are a couple tips that have helped me out over the years to get the books I want, when I want them.  

The beautiful Seattle Public Library visit during The Blathering last month.
First, if I learn of a book I really want to read that's yet to be published, I immediately start a search on the library's website.  As soon as the library orders copies of a book, you can put a hold on one.  With highly anticipated ones, they usually order many copies.  So, if I get in the queue early, I'll most likely get the book within a few days of it's release.

Another tip for locals: the 'choice reads' section is a goldmine.  There are usually popular titles on these shelves readily available.  No waiting on a hold because they aren't filed in the system by the author/title, but rather by a unique choice reads of the month code.  This is also very handy if you find something that you want to read, but have a huge stack to get through at home.  You can go ahead and pick it up since holds can't be placed on choice reads.  Therefore, you can renew away!  Well, for three months like any other book.

I snatched up Queen of the Tearling from this shelf, as it's been in my to-read list for awhile.  

My best tip is handy for both hard copy AND ebooks on Overdrive.  (If you have not started borrowing ebooks from your library, OMG WHY!??  Here's a very handy tutorial from Janssen at Everyday Reading on how to get started.)  Put as many books as you can on hold and then SUSPEND the hold.  Even if you suspend your holds, you still move up in the queue!  Then when you're ready for some new books, take off the suspension and voila - you're book should be ready for you within a few days.  I did this with a number of ebooks over the last few months and just took a few off suspend in order to have a nice stack of e-reading for our Vegas trip next week!

On to the books I read last month:

How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran

The main character Johanna (alter ego Dolly Wilde), while perhaps being a bit hyper realistic, is absolutely unforgettable.  Big hearted, crazy, hilarious and insecure, she reminds me a bit of a teenage Bridget Jones if she were to be the young reporter in Almost Famous.  It's a supremely witty and heartfelt coming of age story, full of so many quotes that resonated.  I think it's the first time I ever took a picture of the text in a book.  Loved it.

Atlantia by Ally Condie

I enjoyed Condie's Matched trilogy, so I thought I'd give this a go.  It started out really cool.  It parallels one of my all time favorite YA books: The City of Ember.  Full of wonderful imagery, I could very clearly picture this underwater society.  I was sucked into the intrigue of the story until the last quarter of the book.  Then it got a bit 'woo-woo', with too much unexplained magic.  I'm down with magic and fantasy (obviously, or I wouldn't have picked up the book).  But the way it's employed just seemed to quickly wrap things up to a slapdash conclusion.

Life Among Giants by Bill Roorbach

Yeah, so this came across to me like a mash up of Running With Scissors and The Great Gatsby.  Weird and emotionally unavailable characters - to each other as well as the reader.  Even though I enjoyed the aforementioned books, I just really didn't care about anyone in this novel.  The beginning is promising, with what seems will be a murder-mystery plot.  However, that doesn't really get addressed until the last tenth of the book in a convoluted way.  At several points I thought, eff this book - I'm gonna stop reading.  But it was short enough to muddle through.  I know lots of people found this to be a triumph, but I think they are the same people that love Donna Tartt.  So, if that's you - read Life Among Giants!


I Was Here by Gayle Forman

Much like If I Stay (which I LOVED along with it's sequel - Where She Went), this novel really delves into the subject of life and death.  Definitely a heavy read, as the main character Cody is mourning the loss of her friend who committed suicide.  The pace was quick, as it read like a mystery while Cody learned that she didn't know everything about her best friend.  But, as much as I love Gayle Forman's books (see also the Just One Day books) it felt a bit flat. 


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