2014 #TBRChallengeRBR Checkpoint 4!

2014TBRbuttonWelcome, TBR Pile Challengers!

Happy Spring! It is April 15th and we are now at Checkpoint #4 for the 2014 TBR Pile Challenge!  Can you believe we are already 1/3 of the way through the year and this challenge?!

Many of you have been making great progress through your challenge lists – congratulations to you all! Even one book is an achievement (says the guy who has read only one book!).

The semester ends in a few weeks, thank goodness.  Although I will be teaching and taking a course this summer, I do plan to get caught up on plenty of my own reading! My plan for the rest of the year is to make slow & steady progress and to, hopefully, double-up during the weeks in summer when I really do have a break from coursework.

How are YOU all doing? What have been your favorite and least favorite reads so far for this challenge?

Below, you’re going to find the infamous Mr. Linky widget. If you read and review any challenge books this month, please link-up on the widget below. This Mr. Linky will be open until April 30, so any books that you complete this month (and post thoughts for), can be linked-up in this first checkpoint. Any that you read/write about in May can be linked-up on May 15th, when the new widget opens.

Giveaway: This month’s check-in comes with a giveaway! Any books read and reviewed for this challenge, and linked-up below by April 30, will earn you an entry. If you haven’t yet finished/reviewed a book for the challenge, a checkpoint post of your own also counts. This giveaway is open only to official, pre-registered participants of the 2014 TBR Pile Challenge. The prize is a book of your choice, $20USD or less, to be shipped from The Book Depository.  Good Luck!

LINK UP YOUR REVIEWS April 1 – April 30

Ten Influential Books in My Life

Yesterday, Jillian of Random Ramblings posted her “Most Influential Books” and asked me if I would share mine, too.

I really love her particular spin on this, which is that we share without giving any sort of explanation whatsoever.  It’s harder than it sounds! When I love a book, I want to tell everyone why & try to convince them to read it.  But, I can also see the beauty in sharing these favorites and allowing others to discover them completely on their own, and maybe fall in love with them for their own reasons.

So, here is a list of 10 books that have affected me greatly, for various reasons. I desperately want to say something about each of them, but I will refrain.  I challenge you all to give this a shot on your own blogs, and I especially challenge you to read a title from this list that you haven’t, yet!

In no particular order:

  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  • The Confidence-Man by Herman Melville
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
  • Dream Boy by Jim Grimsley
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  • Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Care to share any books that have had a profound affect on your life?

2014 #TBRChallengeRBR Checkpoint 3!

2014TBRbuttonWelcome, TBR Pile Challengers!

Happy (early) St. Patrick’s Day! It is March 15th and we are now at Checkpoint #3 for the 2014 TBR Pile Challenge!

I know many of you have been making fantastic progress through your challenge lists already – so congratulations to you!

Due to work and school obligations, I still sit at just one completion for this challenge so far.  It’s a bit of a bummer, but I’m glad to have finally read The Complete Poems of Walt Whitman, especially as I will be using it for two academic projects this year.

Last year at this time I was further along in this challenge.  I was looking to summer this year to make up a lot of ground in my personal reading, but I’m now scheduled for an independent reading course in preparation for my doctoral exams in January, so my original plan is probably out-the-window!

My plan for the rest of the year is to make slow & steady progress and to, hopefully, double-up during the weeks in summer when I really do have a break from coursework.

How are YOU all doing? What have been your favorite and least favorite reads so far for this challenge?

Below, you’re going to find the infamous Mr. Linky widget. If you read and review any challenge books this month, please link-up on the widget below. This Mr. Linky will be open until March 31st, so any books that you complete this month (and post thoughts for), can be linked-up in this first checkpoint. Any that you read/write about in April can be linked-up on April 15th, when the new widget opens.

Giveaway: There is no giveaway this month, but congratulations to Christina @ The Literary Bunny who won last month’s giveaway! She chose a copy of J.R.R. Tolkein’s The Silmarillion!

Keep up the great work and best of luck to you in the coming months. Happy Reading!

LINK UP YOUR REVIEWS March 1 – March 31

So Long, February.

Hello, readers, friends, lurkers and whosiwhatsits!

Here in the Midwestern United States, we have been suffering through a brutal, never-ending winter.  It is the worst in my memory, and it has certainly taken its toll on me, physically and mentally.  I have come to discover something about myself in the last few years, which is that I am really an outdoorsy, summertime kind of person. I desperately await the arrival of spring so that I can get back outside and do things – even if that doing is simply taking a long walk or reading a good book out on my deck. It has been hard to stay motivated after four long months of bitter cold and snow, snow, snow. But I’m doing my best.

As you may have noticed, things have been rather quiet here at Roof Beam Reader.  There are a number of reasons for this, including but not limited to my teaching schedule, my doctoral studies, and my new position as About.com’s Classic Literature Expert.  I have also been taking some time to do my own private writing and personal reading – I have found that I get through much more material these days if I do not feel pressured to review every book I’ve read.

That being said, I’m not gone! As you will have noticed (hopefully) February was still a busy month here at the blog.  There were multiple giveaways and, of course, the second check-in for the 2014 TBR Pile Challenge.  Here are some things to note:

Giveaway Winners:

Books I Read in February:

The month of February was entirely devoted to reading non-fiction (LGBT History and Literary Terminology reference books).  Surprisingly, I enjoyed all of these reads, to varying extents. I missed reading fiction but I feel I learned more this month about my field of study (Gay Studies) than I have in any one block of time, and it has really encouraged me to keep digging and to get myself positioned to submit my candidacy proposal and reading list. In fact, I’m in the process of doing that, and establishing my doctoral committee. 108295

  • A New Handbook of Literary Terms by David Mikics (3 ½ of 5 Stars)
  • Coming Out Under Fire: The History of Gay Men and Women in World War II by Allan Bérubé (4 of 5 Stars)
  • Gay L.A.: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power, Politics, and Lipstick Lesbians by Lillian Faderman (4 of 5 Stars)
  • The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Government by David K. Johnson (4 of 5 Stars)
  • Handbook of Literary Terms: Literature, Language, Theory by X.J. Kennedy (4 of 5 Stars)
  • A Glossary of Literary Terms by M.H. Abrams (5 of 5 Stars)
  • Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World 1890-1940 by George Chauncey (5 of 5 Stars)

Articles Posted on About.com:

As the new Classic Literature Expert for About.com, I will be posting about 10 articles per month, on various topics. Some of the content will be author profiles, reviews of classic literature, “best of” lists, and whatever else comes to mind. In my first month, I published 10 articles on a range of topics, from Black History Month to Shakespeare’s influence on contemporary phrases.  Please feel free to visit me and any/all of my new publications! Here they are:

If you ever have any thoughts/suggestions on things you would like to see me write about for About.com’s Classic Literature page, please feel free to comment or email me. I’m always open to questions, feedback, suggestions and ideas!

11515362Now that March is here, I have tried to fit some short fiction and poetry into my reading schedule. I have finished two very short pieces and will finish a third today.  I’m also reading some additional non-fiction (another literary terminology guide by Sharon Hamilton as well as Eminent Outlaws: The Gay Writers Who Changed America by Christopher Bram). I’m working on a historiography of Walt Whitman this semester, and I am researching the concept of “pastoral” literature, so in a week or so (with the arrival of spring break) I will probably dive more heavily into those directions.  I’m trying to have some fun where I can!

So, that is my reading life, currently.  What are YOU up to these days?

#TBRChallengeRBR Checkpoint 2!

2014TBRbuttonHello, TBR Pile Challengers!

Happy Belated Valentine’s Day! It is February 15th and we are now at Checkpoint #2 for the 2014 TBR Pile Challenge!

I know many of you have been making fantastic progress through your challenge lists already – so congratulations to you!

I have currently read 1 of my required 12 books, The Complete Poems of Walt Whitman, but I haven’t reviewed it, yet. It’s a tough book to try to review, you know?

Last year at this time I was much, much further along in this challenge, but I plan to do a lot of my reading over the summer this year. 

My plan for 2014 is to make slow & steady progress and to, hopefully, double-up during the summer months, so that I can finish before December (with at least 12 of the 14 possible books).

763798I have also started reading my next challenge book, To a God Unknown, by John Steinbeck, which is not very long.  I hope to get it finished (if not reviewed) before the end of the month so that I am at least on track with my reading of one challenge book per month, even if I haven’t reviewed any yet.

How are YOU all doing? Better than I am, I hope! How many books have you completed? We are now almost two months into the challenge, so do you have any favorites, yet? Or any that are coming up soon that you are pretty excited about?

Below, you’re going to find the infamous Mr. Linky widget. If you read and review any challenge books this month, please link-up on the widget below. This Mr. Linky will be open until February 28th, so any books that you complete this month (and post thoughts for), can be linked-up in this first checkpoint. Any that you read/write about in March can be linked-up on March 15th, when the new widget opens.

Giveaway: This month’s check-in comes with a giveaway! Any books read and reviewed for this challenge, and linked-up below by February 28th, will earn you an entry. If you haven’t yet finished/reviewed a book for the challenge, a checkpoint post of your own also counts. This giveaway is open only to official, pre-registered participants of the 2014 TBR Pile Challenge. The prize is a book of your choice, $20USD or less, to be shipped from The Book Depository.  Good Luck!

So, onward! Keep up the great work and best of luck to you in the coming months.

Happy Reading!

LINK UP YOUR REVIEWS FEB 1 – FEB 28