Top Ten YA Books I Want to Read While Social Distancing

Today, I am joining in with Top Ten Tuesday. When this COVID-19 crisis first unfolded, I originally expected to read a lot during it. I love reading. Now that we’re not under complete lockdown as of yet, I love going outside even more though. I love taking long’ish walks and seeing my Fitbit activity tracker stats rise.

Still, I do read more than I used to. I’m a slow reader and don’t devote nearly as much time to reading as I’d want to. There are only 24 hours in a day, after all. Then again, this crisis is probably going to last for another while still to come and I’m expecting a complete lockdown at some point.

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is a genre freebie. Young adult fiction about real-world issues is my favorite genre. For this reason, I’m listing ten YA books I’d like to read during this time of social distancing.

1. Heroine by Mindy McGinnis. I already started on this one and am loving it so far.

2. Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott. This title is fabulously appropriate for the time we’re living in now. Though this situation isn’t what the book is about (the author couldn’t predict it), I just have to smile to myself.

3. Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann. I am on the asexual spectrum myself, being demisexual, so I love it that there’s a contemporary YA novel out there about asexuality that’s also pretty popular. I’m curious to see how it unfolds.

4. My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga. I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while, but so far never got down to it.

5. More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera. This is the only non-contemporary book on this list. It is set in a dystopian near future. I found it by looking for books featuring LGBTQ+ characters on Goodreads and it fascinates me.

6. Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg. Another queer-centric book, but who cares? I found this book on another Top Ten Tuesday participant’s list a few months back and it looks cool.

7. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. This book was first published in 1999, but the twentieth-anniversary edition came out last year. I discovered it a few months ago on Goodreads I think.

8. Risking It All by Sm Koz. This book sounds so interesting.

9. The Silence Between Us by Alison Gervais. Another book that was recommended by a book blogger (sorry, I can’t remember who). I love reading books about disability and this sounds like a really cool read.

10. Throwaway Girl by Kristine Scarrow. This book has literally been on my TBR list for years. I bought it back in like 2014 or 2015, but it crashed my Adobe Digital Editions and became unuseable then. Thankfully, I can now read it in Apple Books.

Have you read any of these? I’d love to hear your opinions.

Reading Wrap-Up (March 16, 2020)

Okay, so clearly I didn’t make a reading wrap-up a regular feature. In all honesty, I didn’t read much over the first two months of the year at all. Thankfully, I got back into the mood for reading just in time for the near-complete lockdown due to the coronavirus this week.

My day center is still open, but tomorrow will most likely be the last day for the duration of the lockdown. The staff and management need this day to be able to decide on staffing issues, as normally the homes aren’t staffed during the day. We’ll see where this goes.

I am linking up with #IMWAYR again, as well as Stacking the Shelves (hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and Reading Reality). Lastly I’m linking up with the Sunday Post.

What I’ve Been Reading

I started reading Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan in January, so it hasn’t made it into a reading wrap-up yet. I finally finished it on Friday and wrote a review on Saturday.

I finally moved along in Left Neglected by Lisa Genova. No, it’s not finished yet (no, still not!), but with the day center closing soon, I’ll have more time on my hands to read and should be able to finish the book this week.

I’ve also been reading Heroine by Mindy McGinnis, which so far I’m really enjoying.

Stacking the Shelves

Firstly, of course I’ve been stocking up on journaling books again lately. The ones I downloaded are free though. I’ve also been downloading a few books of quotations and Bible verses. Then come some handbooks on intellectual disability and autism that I only intend for reference.

With respect to fiction, I added two books to my shelves in the past week, both downloaded from Bookshare. The first is All the Water in the World by Karen Raney. I got interested in it looking for White Oleander by Janet Fitch, which I’ve been wanting to read ever since it came out some twenty years ago and was recently mentioned on another blogger’s reading list. I couldn’t find that one on Bookshare, so am considering buying it from Apple Books as either an audiobook or eBook. Then I saw All the Water in the World in the related books section.

The second is The Institute by Stephen King. I haven’t read any horror so far yet, but this title really intrigued me. I’m also still looking for horror stories about deadly viruses or pandemics or whatnot. I know, we’re living it now, but that’s exactly why I want to read some of this type of fiction. If anyone has any recommendations, please share them in the comments.

What have you been reading lately?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (March 15, 2020)

Hi and happy Sunday evening to you all! I’m joining in with #WeekendCoffeeShare, although I’m not inviting anyone over for a real coffee. Like I said yesterday, it was recommended that my husband do not visit me for the duration of the anti-coronavirus measures. Two of my fellow clients still got visitors today, so I was feeling a bit jealous. Then this evening after the prime minister held another press conference, the staff decided people can’t visit here unless they really need to at all. Day activities are still going on as far as I know, but that might change. So anyway, you’ll need to grab a virtual cup of coffee.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you how amazed I am at the virtual community building this coronavirus pandemic does. I mean, never before have I felt so much in common with my blogger pals from all over the world. Of course, I have a handful of blogger friends with whom I have a lot in common anyway, but with the #WeekendCoffeeShare community and the wider blogosphere in general, I don’t. Now we all over the world share in a common experience, no matter how tragic.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this week has been pretty awesome in the exercise department. Though I only went on the elliptical once and never reached my daily step goal, I did get 316 active minutes over the week. That’s more than five hours! I did go for regular walks almost each day. Here’s hoping that the coronavirus crisis won’t ever keep me stuck indoors. I’ve heard in Italy people aren’t allowed to go out on the streets at all, but they sit on their balconies anyway.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I did some great reading over the past few days. I’m not reading as much as I would ideally want to, but I’m at least picking up books again (figuratively speaking, that is, as I don’t raise my Braille display while reading eBooks).

If we were having coffee, I would share that my husband has been making great progress on living room renovations. We at least used to have softboard on the ceiling, which isn’t fire-resistant. My husband told me he took it all off.

He is a truck driver, so despite the coronavirus management measures, he’s expected to go to work tomorrow. He said it’d be crazy.

If we were having coffee, lastly I would tell you that I spoke to my sister on the phone this evening. My sister works in a restaurant, which is closing for three weeks at least. Her husband can thankfully work from home.

I hadn’t spoken to my sister in a while. She has a six-months-old daughter. I was amazed to learn about my niece’s development. I last saw her in November and apparently she’s making great strides.

How are you all doing amidst the coronavirus craze?

Five of My Bookish Habits

I’m once again joining in with Top 5 Tuesday. This week, the topic is bookish habits. Some of these are probably rather common, but some might not be.

1. I tend to read multiple books at a time. It’s rare that I finish a book before another one captures my interest, so I usually have at least three books I’m in the process of reading at the same time.

2. I almost exclusively read eBooks. Okay, so to those who know me, this may be obvious. I am blind and Braille books are extremely clunky. Then again, I hardly ever listen to audiobooks either. The reason is my poor English listening skills. Oh yeah, I hardly ever read books in any language other than English. This may seem obvious to those who don’t know me, since then you might not know that Dutch is my native language. I don’t seem to like Dutch books though.

3. I can’t do anything else while reading. Can’t listen to music or have the TV on or the like. I’m trying to train myself to listen to whale sounds or other white noise while reading. Otherwise I’m unable to read at day activities and I’d love to be able to do that.

4. I’m a true book collector. Especially now that I am a Bookshare (U.S.-based accessible book service) member, I download a lot more books than I actually read. I mean, when I was younger, my parents or later I myself would have to manualy scan print books for me, so I had an incentive to read all books on my shelf. Now I have a ton of textbooks and self-help books I only ever page through. My fiction bookshelf also has a lot on it I haven’t read. Conversely though, my Goodreads TBR list is rather short. The reason is I hardly use Goodreads.

5. I’m obsessed with checking book length and my progress percentage once I decide to read a book. I’m a slow reader, so I often want to know if I’m progressing nicely.

What are some of your bookish habits?

Top Five Books That Exceeded My Expectations

I am once again in the mood for books and book blogging. Today I discovered a new to me bookish meme called Top 5 Tuesday. Today’s topic is about the books that exceeded your expectations. Now I must say that I don’t usually read books I don’t expect to really like. For this reason, last week’s topic of books that weren’t what I expected, is a lot easier for me. Still, particularly in the last few years, I’ve come to read a few books that are outside of my admittedly rather narrow comfort zone and that I did end up loving. Here they are.

1. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Well, let’s start with a book I read many years ago. I read this in high school for no other reason than it being in the public domain so easily accessible to me as a blind girl from a non-English-speaking country. I ended up really liking it, unlike the other books I read for English literature.

2. Don’t Wake Up by Liz Lawler. This was really outside of my comfort zone. I usually read YA and had never read a thriller before. The blurb spoke to me though. I ended up finishing this book in a few days, which is extremely rare for me.

3. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. Though Fangirl has been on my TBR forever, I decided to read Attachments first. It is outside of my comfort zone too, as I rarely read romances or adult fiction in general. I really liked this one though.

4. Cruel to Be Kind by Cathy Glass. Of course, I need to include a memoir in this list, as that’s my favorite genre. I was told about Cathy Glass’ books many times by my trauma survivor friends in the UK and Ireland, but never got to read her books until I picked up this one in 2017. It isn’t the best book of hers I’ve read since, but it was the book that got me into Cathy Glass.

5. Unspeakable by Abbie Rushton. Will I ever have a top five list without this one on it? ☺️ This was a book I really expected to like, but it turned out even better. I loved the plot. It’s a shame I still haven’t read Consumed yet.

#WeekendCoffeeShare (January 4, 2020)

Even though I don’t join in nearly every week, I really missed the #WeekendCoffeeShare crowd over the holidays. I’m so glad the linky is back, so I’m joining in today. Grab a cup of your favorite hot or even cold beverage and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d say that I prefer water or green tea today, as I’m sick with a nasty cold or mild case of the flu. I can still drink coffee, but it doesn’t taste as good as does water or green tea.

My father-in-law was sick with the flu over the Christmas break. He ended up needing to go into hospital on the 27th for dehydration. Thankfully, he’s back home and slowly recovering. Then over New Year’s, my husband got sick. I seem to have caught it from either of them, but my mother-in-law says it’s a “men’s flu”, in that women don’t get it nearly as bad as men do. I’m hoping she’s right, although of course I hope my husband and father-in-law make a speedy recovery too.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that despite the flu going round my family, we had a good New Year’s. My husband and I went to his parents. One of my sisters-in-law joined us after dinner. I spent the evening mostly reading, while still sitting in the same room as everyone else, so that occasionally I could socialize.

If we were having coffee, I’d say that my 2020 is off to a pretty good start. I came back to the care facility early Wednesday afternoon, because my husband needed to drive me back. I relaxed some over Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, although on Thursday and Friday I did have day activities.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I’m feeling productive in regards to finding a solution for getting to my husband by public transportation. I had a bit of a crying fit last night because I thought we wouldn’t find a solution and I would struggle to see my husband regularly. My support coordinator E-mailed the behavior specialist though to help us think out a solution.

If we were having coffee, I’d want to share all about the books I’m looking forward to reading. I didn’t read at all today, but over the holiday break, have truly been enjoying reading. Of course, my virtual shelves are still stacked much fuller than my slow reading pace can follow, but so what? I’m a collector at heart, after all.

How have you been this past week and over the holidays?

My Hopes for 2020

Hi everyone and a happy new year to you all! I’m wishing all my readers the best for 2020. May this year be filled with health and happiness.

Like last year, I don’t really do new year’s resolutions. That is, I’m calling them “hopes” as to have them give me less pressure. This may be a stupid mind trick, so that if I fail at all of them at the end of the year I can just say I wasn’t really meaning to stick to them. Well, anyway, here goes.

1. I hope to find a way to keep my marriage as strong as it’s now whilst I’m living in the care facility. This mainly means I need to find a way to keep seeing my husband despite the fact that I won’t have the ParaTransit to travel one way even once every other week. I really need to find a way to learn to travel by public transportation. The thought of which overwhelms me. Then again, the consequences of not making this work, are far, far worse. I have very conflicting feelings about this whole situation, which I won’t be sharing here.

2. I hope to settle in at the care facility, both the home and the day center, and find a routine that keeps me happy.

3. I hope to keep going for a healthier lifestyle. I first hope to be more mindful of my food choices. I mean, I did okay’ish over the holidays, eating far less than I would have had I not had it in mind that I ultimately need to lose all the pounds I put on. However, I still ate more than I should have.

I hope to stick to my habit of drinking two liters of fluid each day. I have occasionally lost track when at my husband’s, but did welll over the past month otherwise.

I really want to get into an exercise routine. I have a gym in mind that I may want to join in February (because everyone else joins the gym in January).

4. I hope to stick to a regular writing and blogging schedule. I won’t push myself to blog everyday or the like. I mean, I could be joining in with #JusJoJan again and I know the rules aren’t strict so this post counts too, but I think I’d rather jump in when a prompt speaks to me. I aim for a minimum of two posts a week, unless illness or technical problems get in the way.

Dreaming bigger, I hope to write another essay that could be published in an anthology in 2020. I mean, I’m still excited about the one piece I had published in 2015, but there must be more in store for me.

5. I hope to read more. The year is off to a good start, as I finished a book (okay, one I’d started reading in 2019) today. I really want toventure out into the book blogosphere, even though I have zero intention of becoming a real book blogger.

6. I hope I can get into a better self-care routine. This is really an excuse for me to explore more of mindfulness, essential oils, relaxation, etc. I often think that I need to be productive all day. Then recently I listened to a Podcast in which the presenters explained the importance of daydreaming. They linked a lack of it to dementia, which has me scared like crap, because whenever I’m not doing anything in particular, I tend to fall asleep. They didn’t say whether you can train yourself to daydream or whether this helps, but it can’t be bad.

What do you hope to achieve in 2020?

Reading Wrap-Up (December 30, 2019)

It’s Monday again. Last week, I didn’t have much to share in the reading department, so I skipped my reading wrap-up. Then again, I’d never promised this would be a weekly feature. Today, I’m once again joining in with #IMWAYR, Stacking the Shelves and the Sunday Post.

This week was rather hectic. Of course it was, since it was Christmas time. I fully intended on spending a lot of my free time reading, but ended up sleeping some of it away instead. I also of course spent some time celebrating with family.

What I’ve Been Reading

First, I have to confess that I still, yes, still didn’t finish Left Neglected. I’m not even close, as my book app says I’ve read only 37%. I didn’t even read any further in Pictures of Me by Marilee Haynes. It probably proves how much of a mood reader I am, since this middle grade novel has been on my to-be-read list forever.

I did, after all, actually read an entire book. I finished A Baby’s Cry by Cathy Glass yesterday. It was a fascinating read! I have to say the more I read from Cathy’s fostering memoirs, the more I love them. This was an older book, having been published in 2014, so I’m not sure my readers would be interested in a review. I may post one anyway.

I’m really on the fence as to what should be my next read. Of course, I should be finishing Left Neglected, but I’m not sure I’m in the mood for adult fiction much right now. I could be starting one of the young adult books I added to my shelves recently, but I’m not sure I’m in the mood for fiction at all.

Stacking the Shelves

Like I said two weeks ago, I discovered Apple Books recently. The app has been behaving more or less as it should. Since I’m used to Kindle, I may still prefer that, but I am glad I have a choice now. Besides, Apple Books accepts payment through my Apple account, which makes it easier for me to buy books if I want to. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, will remain to be seen.

I added a bunch of free journaling books to my collection in Apple Books. Some of them cost money on Kindle, albeit only like €0,99, so I’m wondering what the catch is.

Then I added some books to my Bookshare collection. These include:


  • Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. I got the twentieth-anniversary edition that was published this year. It’s somewhat humbling to see young adult books were published in English twenty years ago, when I was thirteen. Of course they were, but I was an avid reader of Dutch YA at the time and read English only when I had to.

  • Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson. The Dutch translation was on my to-be-read list before I’d gotten on Bookshare or had even discovered accessible eBooks, but I’m really looking forward to reading the original English.

  • Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott. I saw this book among the Goodreads Choice Awards nominees in the YA section and thought I’d like it.

What have you been reading?

Reading Wrap-Up (December 16, 2019)

I am not primarily a book blogger, like I’ve said more than once. However, I do love reading and at any given time have a huge pile of books I still want to read. I have always loved sharing my love of reading, even though I don’t move fast. I mean, I usually take several weeks to complete a book. This may be due to the fact that I usually read more than one book at once.

I enjoy participating in book-related memes. I love to discover new books to add to my TBR pile and I’m sometimes even surprised at how many I know, given that like I said I’m a slow reader and don’t devote the majority of my time to books. Today, I’m joining in with a few book-related memes.

First, I discovered Stacking The Shelves just today. This is an awesome meme that lets you share what books you’ve added to your collection, whether digital or physical. It doesn’t require that you actually read them. Then, I’m joining in with It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (#IMWAYR). I joined in with that linky last August intending to make my recent reads a monthly feature. I’m not promising I will this time. There’s a kidlit version of #IMWAYR too, but I can’t seem to link up there, so I’m just sharing my kidlit stuff here too. Finally, I’m joining in with the Sunday Post.

Life Update

This past week was hectic. I was triggered during most of it due to the phone conversation with my mother last Monday. I didn’t even share the most upsetting parts of it on my blog. Then over the week-end, my husband and I had several miscommunications, which led to the week-end being less enjoyable than it could’ve been. Then this morning, I had a brief but bad meltdown at day activities. I guess it’s time to retreat into books.

What I’ve Been Reading

Like I said, I tend to read several books at once. This past week, I finally moved past the first chapter in Left Neglected by Lisa Genova. I still think it’s a pretty boring read so far. Hoping it’ll get more interesting as I move along.

I added Pictures of Me by Marilee Haynes to my Bookshare collection a few weeks ago. This Christian middle grade novel has been on my to-be-read list forever and I finally started reading it last week. So far, its Christian focus doesn’t seem to be overdone and I like it.

Stacking the Shelves

Books I’ve added to my collection recently include:


  • Everyday Healing with Essential Oils by Jimm Harrison. I know, this one isn’t interesting for fiction lovers and I doubt I’ll even ever read it in full. I like it as my little reference guide though for when (if?) I’m going to create my own aromatherapy blends.
  • More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera. I don’t know whether I’ll like the dystopian aspect to this one, but it’s also intriguing at the same time.

  • My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga. This sounds like a truly fascinating story.

  • A Baby’s Cry by Cathy Glass. I still haven’t asked my husband if I can use his credit card details for my Amazon account. I was planning on it this week-end, but due to said communication mishaps, I didn’t. I instead bought the book on Apple Books.

What have you been reading lately?

Eight Ways in Which My Reading Life Has Changed Over the Years

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is all about ways you have changed, particularly as a reader, over the years. I am not a book blogger, since posts about books make up not even ten percent of my total posts. I don’t read nearly enough to be a book blogger. This may be one reason I haven’t participated in #TTT for a while. However, I loved this week’s theme. Here are some ways in which my reading life has changed over the years.

1. I read because I want to, not because I have to. As a child and teen, I didn’t like reading much. Especially not the assigned literature we were supposed to read for school. For this reason, in my young adult life, I didn’t read much at all. Over the years though, I discovered a love of reading and now read for pleasure. Sometimes I still feel like I have to finish a book, but then it’s me creating the pressure.

2. I read almost exclusively English-language books. The book famine, ie. the lack of accessible books to people who are blind or otherwise print disabled, is still pretty severe in Dutch-language literature. In English, almost every book I want to read is available in an accessible format nowadays. This is one reason I enjoy reading books in English far more than in Dutch.

Another is the fact that I blog in English and, to be honest, I don’t do much in life (except for peeing and sleeping and eating) without some motivation related to my blog. I love to venture out into the bookish blogosphere at times.

3. The way in which I read, has changed. As a child, I almost exclusively read audiobooks. Oh and the occasional large print book suited for children much younger than me, because with how poor my vision was, ordinary large print was too small for me. I hated reading Braille, so unless I was forced to, I didn’t touch a Braille book.

Now I read almost exclusively by touch. I recently bought a few audiobooks, but to be honest am quite a bit disappointed in the narrators.

4. I discovered eBooks. As a teen, I read books my parents scanned for me. Then I didn’t read much at all as a young adult. In 2013, I found out that Adobe Digital Editions, the main program at the time to read EPUB eBooks, had been made compatible with screen readers. I read EPUB from then on, although I no longer use Adobe Digital Editions. I use the iPhone’s book app instead.

5. I joined Bookshare. Bookshare is the U.S.-based online book service for the print disabled. In 2005 and 2006, when I first started reading English-language books for pleasure, I was a member of the UK’s National Library for the Blind. I for a short while read physical Braille books then. That didn’t work out due to shipping issues. Bookshare, though it existed back then, wasn’t available to international customers at the time. It became available to those outside of the U.S. sometime around 2015. I joined Bookshare in mid-2016.

6. I found out about Kindle. That’s another eBook format that didn’t use to be very accessible. Back in like 2015, there was the accessibility add-on to Kindle software, which would read the content of the book aloud. Like I said, I’m not a fan of audiobooks and I’m certainly not a fan of the robotic-sounding voice of the Kindle accessibility add-on. Sometime in 2018, I found out that the Kindle app for iPhone, and to a lesser degree Kindle for PC, now support screenreaders and most importantly Braille displays. I still don’t buy Kindle books very often, as Bookshare has a wide selection of books too, but I know that if I really want to read a book, I can.

7. A larger percentage of the books I read is fiction. Roughly ten years ago, I only read a bit of teen fiction and mostly read biographies and other nonfiction. Now about half of the books I read and the majority of the books I finish are fiction.

8. I read a wider variety of books. Though most of the fiction I read still belongs in the young adult category, over the past few years I’ve ventured out into other genres as well. I love reading a diverse selection of books now.

How has your reading life changed over the years?