April 22, 2016
I’ve been a bit preoccupied lately and so I didn’t even realize that Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon was happening this weekend until I got the Twitter notification that a bunch of people were talking about it. But I’m always down for a bookish party, so I quickly registered and am now throwing together my readathon stack o’ books.
As luck (or, you know, my predictable browsing habit) would have it, I just picked up three books from the library that I’ve been dying to read. They’re all a fairly manageable length and super interesting. It also helps that they’re all different genres (and one is a collection of short stories), so I’ll have a book for every mood.
Pandemic: Tracking Contagions, From Cholera to Ebola and Beyond by Sonia Shah
The Penny Poet of Portsmouth: A Memoir of Place, Solitude, and Friendship by Katherine Towler
Scary Old Sex by Arlene Heyman
To round things out and be my usual over-ambitious self, I’m also going to keep Uprooted by Naomi Novik and What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi nearby (also because I’ve been meaning to read Uprooted for ages and I love everything Helen Oyeyemi writes).
And in case that wasn’t enough, I’ve got a few e-books as well. I’m currently in the middle of The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion and I have Aziz Ansari’s Modern Romance and Loving Day by Mat Johnson sitting on my kindle app.
Given that I am lacking in both a time-turner and superpowers, I don’t actually expect to finish even a fraction of this stack. Since I didn’t remember that the Readathon was happening, much of this weekend is double booked (see what I did there). I don’t really mind though. I’ll get through what I get through and that will likely be more than it would otherwise be. Also, it’s always fun when the bookish community gets to rally and pour all our enthusiasm into an event like this, so seeing everyone else’s posts will also be great.
If you want in on the action, it’s not too late! You can sign up here and also follow the progress of the Readathon through the 24 hours.
To follow any progress that I do make, you can check my Instagram and Twitter feeds (I’m @poindextrix on everything) as that’s probably where I’ll be updating. Also on Litsy, because that is my new obsession. It’s like a mix of Instagram and Goodreads, so how could I not love it?
So who else is participating? What are you reading? Inquiring (bookish) minds want to know!
February 26, 2016
I kept hearing about this book. I kept meaning to read it. I finally got around to it. Now I get it.
Zen Cho’s Sorcerer to the Crown is the magical feminist fantasy novel I’ve been waiting for. It’s funny and fun and smart. Every time I thought there was something that was going to make me groan unhappily, it got flipped on its head. My only complaint is the continued use of “female” as a noun, and I think that might just be a pet peeve of mine.
The characters are strong and relatable and, occasionally, ridiculous. The plot is engaging and the writing is great. I wanted to keep reading — not only to find out what would happen next, but because it was an enjoyable experience.
Seriously, this book is delightful. It has something for everyone. I whole-heatedly recommend it. It’s the first in a trilogy and I don’t even care that I have to wait (OK, I care a little bit). I’m all in.
February 19, 2016
Midway through 2014 I started hearing about a book of poetry entitled Poisoned Apples. Just a few comments here or there at first, but eventually the positive twittering turned into a roar of approval.
Christine Heppermann’s slim volume melds contemporary feminism with familiar fairy tales to produce modern, provocative poetry that speaks to the teenage experience. Fairytales! Feminism! Poetry! On paper, this book sounds like it was made specifically with me in mind.
And yet… I didn’t love it. Maybe it’s that it was playing to the YA audience, maybe it was a little too modern, but this poetry just did not do it for me.
The fairytale adaptations felt strained and gimmicky — like they were trying too hard to hit the feminism and wink at the story. I do think part of the letdown was that I had extraordinarily high expectations for it, and that is perhaps unfair.
In any case, it was a quick read and it was fun, it just wasn’t everything I hoped it would be. On the bright side, I think that reading this helped get me out of my reading rut, so that’s something.
Has anything you’ve read ever suffered from inflated expectations? I feel like I don’t read enough poetry, even though I love it. Leave your poetry recommendations in the comments!
February 4, 2016
If you were to look at my “currently reading” shelf on Goodreads right now, you might raise a skeptical eyebrow. See, the thing is, I am “currently reading” seven books (OK, I’m really actively reading six, but that seventh is there because I’ll get back to it one of these days).
It isn’t particularly uncommon for me to be reading a couple of books simultaneously, but I don’t generally read this many all at once. Every so often though, I go through this weird book juggling phase and I have no clue what triggers it. Normally it’s just a different way for me to read, but right now it’s kind of stressing me out.
It isn’t that the books I’m reading don’t hold my interest (they do when I’m reading them!), but for some reason I’ve recently felt this drive to keep starting new books. Heck, I’ve actually had to stop myself from starting some other new ones even as I struggle to finish the ones I’ve got going right now.
I’ve been making better progress in the last couple of days, so it’s possible I’ll be out of this phase soon, but if not, I might just let myself abandon some for now. After all, I can always go back to them later, right?
Do any of you go through these kinds of book juggling phases? How do they make you feel? Do they stress you out, or do you just go with the flow? How do you jumpstart your reading and get back to “normal”?
January 19, 2016
Sooooo I kind of failed spectacularly at my first attempt at the #24in48 Readathon.
I could make excuses, but basically, I just suck at planning and so it didn’t really work out.
I still had a decent amount of fun reading and posting and following along with other participants, so it’s not like it was a complete bust.
During the readathon I finished Undermajordomo Minor and read the majority of Bad Feminist, as well as bits of Missoula and the Alexander Hamilton biography.
Like I said, I had fun. Maybe I’ll try again. Or maybe I’ll just stick to regular reading weekends.
December 31, 2015
Yep, I’m jumping on that bandwagon and presenting you guys with my own list of best books of the year. Since I haven’t read anywhere near all the books (or even all the buzziest books) published this year, my list is pulled from the books I’ve read in the past year. Some of those are 2014 or 2015 books and some are super backlist.
These are all books I enjoyed or that made me think. There isn’t that much more of a method than that. So in no particular order…
The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez
The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman
Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter by Nina McLaughlin
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Half-Resurrection Blues by Daniel José Older
A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson
Slade House by David Mitchell
The Girl Who Slept with God by Val Brelinski
H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, and Brooke A. Allen
Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue DeConick, Valentine De Landro, Taki Soma, and Robert Wilson
The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee (OK, technically this is a 2016 book, but since this is a list of the best books I read in 2015, I’m counting it).
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche
Rabid: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus by Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy
The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
The Known World by Edward P. Jones
Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson
2 a.m. at the Cat’s Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino
Stiff by Mary Roach
Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson
The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
Now I’m off to ring in the new year in (relative) style. Happy New Year to everyone and I’ll see you in 2016!
I’ve been meaning to write about Alexander Chee’s The Queen of the Night for a while, but I kept getting distracted. If the title sounds familiar, it’s possible that you’re a Book Riot fan and heard Liberty proclaim that she would eat James Patterson if this book doesn’t do well.
Well, I’m a lucky duck with *connections* and I managed to get my hands on an advance copy.
Guys, I think James Patterson is safe.
The Queen of the Night is so good. So. Good.
I love historical fiction and I love sort of epic, sprawling tales that follow characters through radically different stages in life. This book scratches all of those itches for me. I love how the protagonist is able to shift and adapt to new situations — she’s a strong, if somewhat selfish character. She is complicated and intense and I really liked seeing her story unfold. I also enjoyed how opera plays an ongoing role in the book. It added an extra sense of depth to the story. That being said, I don’t think that an interest in/knowledge of opera is necessary to enjoy The Queen of the Night.
I don’t want to say any more about it at this point (other than it’s fantastic and you should read it) because I want you to really be able to take it all in fresh when you read it.
It comes out in February 2016. Plan accordingly. Once you start reading it, you might not want to stop and it’s a hefty-ish book. But yeah, read it. Make sure James Patterson is safe.