My Year in Books 2017

My Year in Books 2017

Overall, I wish I’d read more books and hit my goal of 50. I tended towards lengthy books this year and tackled several series, which definitely slowed me down. Audiobooks were a little over a third of my reading.

Goals for 2018: Decrease social media use. Set weekly reading goals. Read 3-4 books a month. I’m going to keep my overall goal at 50 books, despite not reaching it this year. I know it’s an achievable goal for me, especially now that I’m more savvy at checking out free audiobooks from the library via Hoopla and Libby (by Overdrive).

How was your 2017 in books? What are you pleased with? What do you want to change in 2018?

Hughes Reviews has moved!

Hughes ReviewsWelcome to the new home of Hughes Reviews (and other wordy stuff)!

I’ve been wanting to make the change from Blogger to WordPress for awhile now.  I use WordPress for my teacher website and found it to be more user-friendly and to have a more streamlined appearance.

There are a couple different ways you can follow my new site:

  • Subscribing by email (sidebar to the right)
  • Liking my new Facebook page (also to the right)
  • Following me on Twitter @wordyhughes
  • WordPress users can also “Follow”

Choose the one that’s best for you, and I look forward to restarting my blog and sharing my love of books with you  🙂

MIA: Beach & Reviews to Come

I realize I’ve been dead on the blogosphere.  I’d intended to have a few days at home before heading to the beach, but then had some car issues that forced me to change my plans.  I’m currently vacationing at the beach where we have no internet service.  (I’m blogging from Panera right now.)  I have my iPhone, and have been reading lots of wonderful blog posts that I’m eager to comment on, but commenting is not convenient via iPhone.  Can someone please invent an app for that?!?!

I’ve been reading loads, and will have lots of reviews to type up when I get home. Here’s what reviews will be coming soon:

Across the Universe by Beth Revis (much delayed from grad school)

Feed by MT Anderson (much delayed from grad school)

Iron King by Julie Kagawa (finished reading)

Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa (finished reading)

Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa (in progress paperback)

Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa (purchased)

Falling For Hamlet by Michelle Ray (in progress hardback)

Souless by Gail Carriger (in progress eBook)

And here are a few pics from my vacation:

Tanning on the Beach
Eating Crabs

MIA: Going to Harry Potter World

I’m going to be missing from the blogosphere for the next week because I’m going to Harry Potter World in Orlando, Florida!!!  I’m stoked.  I’ve been bugging my family to go since it opened and we’re finally doing it (and a week before my birthday, how awesome is that?!?!)  My grandparents also live down in Florida during the winter and I’ll get to spend some quality time with them, too.  Plus, 80 degree weather is way better than 20 degree weather. I am definitely going to need it, because this week I’m working two 14-hour workdays because of parent conferences.

So I won’t be around much.  All I’ll have is my iPhone for internet access.

I’m excusing myself from writing this week, which hopefully means I’ll knock a few books out and post some reviews when I get back.

And I’ll definitely have pics and a full review of Harry Potter World!  Wheeeee!

Anyone been to HP World already and have some tips to share?

Joined Twitter!

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I’d been waiting until I had an iPhone to join Twitter.  I’m really looking forward to connecting with bloggers and the book world in a whole new Twitterific way  ^_^

Woot Woot!  I’m trying to find everyone, so if I haven’t found you, follow me and I’ll follow you back!

Thoughts on Feeling Spoiled

Yes, I’m at grad school.  And yes it’s a lot of work.  And yes sometimes I feel overwhelmed.

But when it comes down to it, I’m spending my days lounging around reading books.  Whether comfortable in a porch rocking chair or cuddled on a couch in the library, it struck me that not many people can afford to spend their days like this.  Reading for 3-6 hours at a time.

And when I drive around down here, it becomes glaringly clear that the opportunities I have would be considered luxurious to a lot of the people around me.

I don’t know why I’ve been given such a good life.  Good family.  Good home.  Good education.  Good health.  It probably has a lot to do with this good country I live in.  So as much as I complain about the politics and the current state of education, I do see how lucky I am.

Happy 4th of July everyone.

Packing, Packing, Unpacking

The last three days have been LONG.  Packed up my classroom, packed a car full of stuff to take to graduate school, and unpacked a two car loads (one brought, one bought).  I want to say I slept soundly last night, but instead I was so excited to be here and start classes that I woke up practically every hour thinking: I’m here!  This is nice!  I want to go to class!  I want to write in the library!

No internet access right now due to some glitch on campus with Macs not being able to connect to the WiFi.  I came to Panera to log on briefly (I needed dates and times of all these meetings I have to go to… which were e-mailed to me… go figure).

I should have a long post coming up telling all about my first day of classes.  🙂

And the internet being down might be a good thing… no Facebook to distract me from reading and writing!

Countdown Tip

My home page is iGoogle, which allows me to have all these lovely little gadgets.

I love the countdown gadget the most because it lets me countdown the days to awesome things like vacations, last day of school, Deathly Hallows…

But I’ve also discovered a fantastic other use for it.  I’m inputting important conference registration dates and grant application dates.  For example, there’s a local conference that fills up quickly in the fall, so I put in the registration date, and now I can keep track of how many days until I can start checking of registration info (still 87 days to go).  There’s also a grant I want to apply for through SCBWI, but I can’t submit the application til February, so I put in a countdown for that too.

And yes, I could just do this on a calendar or in a planner.  But I’m not terribly good at using either.  I try.  I use my computer every single day.  I figured this was an excellent way to keep these dates in my sphere of attention.

Anyone else struggle with keeping track of dates?

Harry Potter cookies

The reason I did not get any writing done tonight…

I run a Harry Potter club after school, and tomorrow is our last meeting of the year.
The HP logo and the snakes were the hardest.

My brother suggested I do a Gryffindor lion in red icing…  Ummm.  NO.

PS- I listened to A Very Potter Musical while creating these cookies.  If you don’t know what that is, your life is not complete and you’re not a true Potter fan.  Click below.

A Very Potter Musical Act 1 Part 1

You’re welcome.

If I could make it happen… I would

If you want to write children’s literature, you should join SCBWI (Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators).  They send you all kinds of awesome newsletters and info about the world of children’s publishing.  You can join even if you aren’t a published author.

I joined this year after a recommendation from one of my grad school professors, and have been really impressed with everything they’ve sent me.

They also hold two BIG conferences each year.  The summer conference is in Los Angeles.  The winter conference is in New York City.

Just to show you what caliber of speakers are at these conferences, here are the keynote speakers for the Summer 2011 conference: Laurie Halse Anderson, Libba Bray,  Bruce Coville, John Green, Norton Juster, Donna Jo Napoli, Mary Pope Osborne, Gary Paulsen, Jerry Pinkney, Jon Scieszka and David Small

Yeah.  They’re all kind of a big deal.

Downside: The conference is expensive.  Registration is $425 for SCBWI members and $525 for non-members.  That’s just registration… there’s also airfare, hotel…

And then there’s this optional extra day of workshops you can sign up for (for another $200).  I was curious what kind of workshops they offered, so I opened their cute little flyer… and see…

One workshop is taught by Arthur A. Levine.
The editor who did Harry Potter.
Arthur A. Levine
Arthur A. Levine
Arthur A. Levine

O. M. G.

The workshop was already sold out.
Not that I would have the $1,000 dollars it would cost to fly out to LA and go to this thing.
Especially not after the $8,000 worth of grad classes this summer.

But if I could make that class happen… if I could take a class with the guy who published Harry Potter… I would.