How to Choose What Books to Bring to College

Next Tuesday I leave home to move to college. I have many worries about moving in, and a few of those have to do with my books. I’m not necessarily worried about having enough reading material: I’ll be bringing my kindle and I can always check out ebooks from my home library. I am somewhat worried about having the right reading material. What if I want to re-read that one favorite book that I can’t easily get from the library where I am?

I also am worried about having enough material for my bookstagram. Probably the silliest sounding of my worries… But it’s a pretty big part of my life.

While I don’t yet know 100% whether I’ve made the right choices in the books I’m taking with me, today I’m going to be talking a little bit about my thought process in choosing books. Hopefully I can help out a fellow book blogging college freshman!

How many books do I really read in a semester?

On average, I read about 4-8 books per month. In my first semester of college I will be away from home for about four months: half of August, September, October, November, and half of December. By that count I should be bring about 20-40 books with me.

Okay, that number is ridiculous, and I know it’s ridiculous. I won’t be bringing 40, or even 20 books. For one, I can bring less because ebooks. Secondly, with my classes and extracurriculars I will probably be reading on the low end of my average.

Will I be acquiring any books while I’m there?

Short answer for me: No. There are really no bookstores where I’m going, and there is only one book being released soon that I know I will be buying.

Think about the space:

College dorm rooms are notoriously small. For me this is really not an issue. My dorm room is huge, (huge!) comes with a small bookshelf, and books are actually really easy to store. But if you have a really small room with little storage space it’s something to consider.

Which books do I bring? What will I want to read?

This is hardest for me because I am a huge mood reader. I’ve decided to bring a mix of my usually genres: middle grade scifi / fantasy, ya scifi / fantasy and contemporary, and one or two adult books.

I have also decided to bring pretty much all paperbacks and ARCs. They’re lighter, easier to carry, and easier to store.

Other things:

There you have it! My entire (not so) foolproof plan for choosing what books to bring to college. I’m not going to show you exactly what books I’m bringing because frankly, I’m not entirely decided yet, and I probably won’t be until the day I leave. It’s going to be weird not to have my bookshelves in my room… They might actually be one of the things I’m going to miss most about home.

What about you: Are you a college student? Do you bring books with you to school? How many? Do you have any tips on how to choose what to bring?

Why I Love the Olympics + The Olympic Book Tag


The olympics have long been one of my very favorite events to look forward to. There is just something about them: The camaraderie between competitors and countries, the bringing together of the best of the best athletes. It’s just amazing to me. I love hearing the life stories of the olympic athletes, and every year the olympics seems to bring about some sort of heartwarming story too.

I personally am an athlete myself, and as my sport is Synchronized Swimming, the summer olympics are kind of by default my favorite. I love to watch the swimming and diving events best, though the gymnastics and even the different races are great to watch to. Probably the high point in my time loving the olympics has been four years ago when I was able to go to the London 2012 olympics and see my sport competed live and in person.


This week when I saw that Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight had made an olympic themed book tag in honor of the summer olympics in Rio (which start tonight!!!) I had to jump on the chance to complete it just in time for the opening ceremonies happening half a continent away from me.

Opening Ceremony : A Book You Loved From the First Page

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. It starts out funny and it stays funny… While also becoming amazingly insightful and complex. I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone. Though be prepared a good part of it is simply made of satire.


July Wrap-Up + Harry Potter Release Party


Harry Potter Releasing

Unless you have had no access to the bookworm community lately you probably know that on Saturday night the bound script for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was released! With all of the local bookstores in Saint Paul I had a plethora of release parties to choose from, but I of course had to go to Red Balloon Bookshop’s: partly because I love their events, and partly because that is the store where I so many years ago attended the midnight release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. (I was 8, by the way)

The store was wonderfully decorated, everyone was dressed up, we participated in a fun scavenger hunt through the store, there was cake for Harry’s birthday, and we all counted down to midnight. Even though the series is over it was great for everyone to come back together in their love for it for this release. I guess you could say it was sort of ~magical~


At the very beginning of this month I came back from Nationals in New York, (we did moderately well) and then halfway through the month my family took a little trip to San Diego, California in which I learned to surf (!!) and took many pictures of palm trees. I also made a travel diary type video of the trip.

Packing for College

It’s happening. I don’t have everything together yet, but I have an idea of everything. I’ve been thinking about filming a “dorm haul” video and writing a post about the books I’ll be bringing, so you can look forward to that.

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What I’ve Been Reading

On the Blog

Mid Year Book Tag


My wonderful friend Jess from Princessica Of Books tagged me for the “mid year book freak-out tag” at the beginning of July and I’ve decided to do it since this seems like a great way to recap a half year of reading without only talking about books that were released this year. I’m going to keep these answers short and sweet so I don’t question my choices too much considering I have read many amazing books so far this year.

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2016:


The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson.

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2016:

The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6) by Brandon Sanderson. Sanderson is always good, and Mistborn is always good, but this one in particular was phenomenal.

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to:

The Inside of Out looks like a very interesting read! It’s been on my radar for a while now but just hasn’t happened.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year:

This would probably have to be Timekeeper by Tara Sim. I actually don’t have a ton of releases I’m waiting on this fall which is such a contrast from last year where I had a dozen books preordered…

5. Biggest disappointment:

Goldfish (aka ‘Girl Out of Water’) by Nat Luurtsema. A synchronized swimming book with poorly researched, non-existent synchronized swimming. Count me extremely disappointed and a little bit mad. I wrote a very frustrated review, too.

6. Biggest surprise:


I was actually pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed The Siren by Kiera Cass. I read The Selection by Cass because they’re kind of fun and silly books but I actually got rather attached to this standalone fantasy romance.

7. Favorite new author: (Debut or new to you)

Can I call the combination of Nina LaCour and David Levithan in You Know Me Well a new favorite author? Because I’m fairly convinced that they worked magic together.

8. Newest favorite character:

I seriously love Shallan from The Stormlight Archive. Such a funny, smart, damaged kid. 😩

9. Book that made you cry:

Some books make me tear up easier than others, but to truly make me cry I have to be very attached to the book. I cried a bit in both the middle and the end of Calamity by Brandon Sanderson because Reckoners was just one of those series I got amazingly attached to.

10. Book that made you happy:


I recently binge read the entire Eighth Day trilogy: I re-read the first two books and then read The Morrigan’s Curse by Diane K Salerni and this entire series, especially the endings of each book, makes me SO HAPPY.

11. Most beautiful book you’ve received or bought so far this year:

ALL MY BOOKS ARE BEAUTIFUL. But some of the more gorgeous ones have been: The Winner’s Kiss, Alcatraz Vs the Knights of Crystallia, Spells & Sorcery, The Diabolic

12. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

There aren’t any books super nagging at me, but I do plan to read: The Raven Cycle, Any Sanderson that I have not read yet, (aka Warbreaker) The Bronze Key (Magisterium #3), The Hammer of Thor (Magnus Chase #2), and any fall/winter ARCs that might come my way.

What books do you most want to read this year?

What Booktubeathon Taught Me + Booktubeathon Wrap-Up

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(a selection of the instagram challenges I completed for booktubeathon)

This past week was booktubeathon. A seven day long, booktube based, photo and video challenge making, reading extravaganza. I filmed and posted a booktubeathon TBR with books to account for all seven of the reading challenges… and finished approximately 5 of those books (4 graphic novels) and two of the reading challenges. My other goal was to complete all of the instagram and video challenges: I posted 4 of the instagram challenges, and filmed 4 of the video challenges. (1, 2, 3, 4)

But I am okay with what I did during this readathon because I feel like it taught me one important thing: my videos do not have to be perfect for people to enjoy them.

The nature of booktubeathon’s video challenges (and of my wi-fi connection) is that the videos need to be filmed and edited within a space of hours. The video challenge is released at midnight EST, and your finished and uploaded video must be submitted by midnight the next day. Factoring in an hour for export and color grading, around two hours for export, and a desire to get the video up in early afternoon… That doesn’t leave a ton of time.

Normally, I take days to put together a video. I think about what I’m going to talk about and what I want to say. I want the lighting and everything to be perfect when I do film, and I allow myself at least 45 minutes to film. I spend hours upon hours editing: making sure everything moves seamlessly, that I’ve cut out all the ‘um’s and ‘uh’s and that the audio is coded just right.

When it came to doing booktubeathon challenge videos, I had to let go of all that. I filmed in one take. I cut within the space of half an hour. They might have been shorter videos in the first place, but it was still sort of amazing. And the videos still turned out pretty well! They were far from perfect, but they didn’t need to be just right. They could just be alright and that was just fine.

I feel like for a long time I’ve been holding myself back a little creatively because I want everything I post to be exemplary. While I’m not going to continue creating videos in this rushed style I think I will take some of this with me and not feel like everything I make needs to be extremely polished. Maybe it’s better to make something “alright” instead of nothing at all.

Though, when it comes to instagram, I don’t think I will ever stop being a huge perfectionist with those pictures. But maybe that’s alright since those take a bit less time than a video in the first place. 😉

In the interest of a wrap-up, here are a few of the book challenges I DID complete:

  1. (read a book with yellow on the cover) Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
  2. (read a book only after sunset) Saga Vol 1-4
  3. (read a book that’s older than you) Jason and the Argonauts half completed
  4. (read seven books) The Eighth Day and The Inquisitor’s Mark by Diane K Salerni

After the readathon had ended I did also end up completing the challenge “read a book you discovered through booktube” by reading The Raven Boys for the first time! Better late than never, right?

Are you good at readathons? Have any favorite readathon experiences?