Audiobook Review: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

Audiobook Review: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

  This book is delightful. First of all, it’s a story told in stories, which makes it one big love letter to stories. Second, it’s based on Chinese folklore, which makes it a love letter to folklore. Third, Minli is pretty amazing, and I love her. She is up there with Ella of Frell for me. She’s smart and clever and kind. I love her, basically. The book also has an awesome message of the importance of gratitude and how to avoid sowing bitterness. It also shows why bitterness isn’t just bad for the bitter person, but those around that person. Plus, it’s a quest/road trip, which means meeting lots of interesting characters along the way. I also really enjoyed the narration in this book and the production of the narration. Janet Song gives the book a lyrical quality, almost like she’s reading a lullaby. Plus, there’s a little bit […]

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Recommendation Wednesday: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Recommendation Wednesday: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

I really liked this book. The voice is so great–it really makes the novel. I also thought the humor was kind of random and spot on. I laughed several times while reading, though I wouldn’t be able to do a pull-quote. Most of it was contextual, and the way everything built up into a moment. The book is also not a traditional narrative; it’s told in lists and in screenplay format and regular prose. Playing with the format also adds to the voice. What I think really works well about this book is that though it’s about a boy who befriends a girl with cancer (she is the dying girl, obviously.), it’s not about cancer. It’s about how this kid (Greg) who is really closed off emotionally and pretty high strung and selfish processes and deals with someone he knows having cancer. His actions aren’t pretty and he’s very self-involved, […]

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Audiobook Review: The Conch Bearer

Audiobook Review: The Conch Bearer

  In an effort to expand my reading horizons, I decided to go through my Goodreads TBR and check out books listed there. Since I was looking for audiobooks, if the book I had listed wasn’t available, but another book by the author was, then I checked out that book. My plan, then, was to read Mistress of Spices, so that’s how I came across The Conch Bearer. I had no idea this was a middle grade fantasy book when I started the novel (not that it matters–I love middle grade), so I thought the book was going to deal with magical realism, not be straight up fantasy. However, I found that I liked the fantasy elements, especially since Anand’s experience with the conch seems to really be about someone who receives a spiritual calling. This book is not about religion, but when Anand communicates with the conch, it responds […]

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It’s time for Battle of the Books!

It’s time for Battle of the Books!

Posted 25 July, 2015 by Akilah in Real Life / 1 Comment

Every summer, our local library hosts a Battle of the Books for the teens from all the branches to come together and compete over books they read. IT IS AWESOME. Unfortunately, my daughter and I won’t be able to attend this year, so I decided to write this ode to the Battle of the Books instead. Okay, I just realized that’s misleading because it sounds like I’m going to write a poem about the event, and I’m not. But I am going to tell you why it rocks so hard.     1. It’s a battle that’s all about BOOKS. So basically it’s book nerdvana. There’s your auto-win right there.   2. The teens pick which three books they’re going to read. They vote! It’s very democratic.   3. They read all the books. This is probably the best part.   4. They get together to practice, which means nerding […]

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Adventures in Coloring

Adventures in Coloring

Posted 23 July, 2015 by Akilah in Uncategorized / 1 Comment

1. There are a lot (A LOT!) of coloring books for grown-ups out there. 2. Picking which coloring books to buy is an exercise in frustration AND fun. 3. Some of the books have so many details that it’s a little overwhelming. 4. However, I discovered that I actually do like the coloring books that have more detail. 5. I do not, however, have any interest in coloring pictures of nature, animals, or patterns. (Unicorns do not count as animals; they are jerks.) 6. Listening to audiobooks while coloring is A+++ (another idea I got from Andi!). 7. It is very, very easy to spend hours coloring. This is not necessarily a bad thing. 8. I can think a picture looks a hot mess while I’m coloring, and, in the end, it turns out fine. I think/hope I will get better at picking colors that go well together. 9. Coloring […]

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Audiobook Review: The Living

Audiobook Review: The Living

Okay, here’s the deal. I do not read a lot of post-apocalyptic fiction nor am I the target audience for this book. The latter is really important because I found this book to be extremely predictable, though I know a lot of teenagers will not. It’s just that I read a lot of stories, and I have watched a lot of movies, so I pretty much called everything that was going to happen. My biggest issue with the book, though, is that I felt like it could’ve been a lot shorter. There’s just a lot happening in the beginning to lay the foundation for everything that happens after The Big One hits, and so much of it felt extraneous–especially when Shy will have a conversation with someone and then recap that same conversation in the next breath. I get why so many characters are introduced (they do become important later), […]

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Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity

Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity

Posted 21 July, 2015 by Akilah in Memes / 19 Comments

Ah, a topic near and dear to my heart. Obviously, I think books that feature POC or are written by POC qualify for this, so I have lots of choices. But I really want to focus on books that celebrate diversity in the sense that they show within the narrative why different viewpoints/experiences are valuable as opposed to just opening us up to different viewpoints and experiences, if that makes sense.   1. The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer — Cinder and her merry band of misfits are going to save the world, and they each have a special skill set that will help them accomplish that goal. 2. The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan — The Greek and Roman demigods are going to save the world, and they each have a special skill set that will help them accomplish that goal. (Heeeeeey, wait a minute.) 3. […]

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The Artist's Way & the Artist Date

The Artist's Way & the Artist Date

Posted 10 July, 2015 by Akilah in Adult Lit, Lesson Plans, Nonfiction / 3 Comments

This fall, I’m teaching a fiction writing class for the first time, and I’m super excited. Because I’ve never taught the class before, I’m using a co-worker’s syllabus. (Sidenote: I was going to build the class from scratch but another co-worker talked me out of that, which is probably a good idea–especially considering that I have to build my two other core courses over again.) So, since this co-worker uses The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron for the class,  I will, too.

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May in Review

May in Review

Posted 8 June, 2015 by Akilah in Uncategorized / 2 Comments

I have sucked so hard at blogging. School got out and then there was all the prepping for summer, and now it’s summer, and I am deep in the throes of my summer class (only two weeks left! It went so fast!).  So, yes, my blogging has suffered, but my reading has not. I read 9 books in May. (I started 12, though.)

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