So, January passed pretty quickly. I mean, it dragged emotionally but I can’t quite believe it’s already February. Things are going well here; they’re just busy as all get out. I have a ton of grading (shocker, I know) along with some prep and then there’s my life that’s not work: I’m serving on a search committee for our church’s new minister. That’s not even counting my support groups, bible study, working out (of which I have not done nearly enough), or, oh, I don’t know, being a mom or a person who lives in a house that I would like to enjoy.
1. I watched the premiere of Riverdale (The CW). While I liked some parts of it, I did not love it. Nor did I like it enough to keep watching. The main reason is that it took this bright poppy bubblegum comic:
And turned it into this dreary and aesthetically displeasing bleakness:
Number Of Books You Read: 92
Number of Audiobooks: 6
Number of Rereads: 5
Number Unfinished/Abandoned: 8
Best in Books
1. Best Book You Read In 2016?
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Okay, so I listened to this on audio, which I think made it just that much more amazing.
Leah is a complete badass and spills ALL THE TEA. All of it. Every last drop. My girl names names and everything. ALL OF THE NAMES.
I love this book. Love, love, love. Remini is fierce and funny and also a little hood, which I completely appreciated.
Read Harder 2016: Read a book about religion (fiction or nonfiction)
I read 11 books this month!
- Alex + Ada, Vol. 2 by Jonathan Luna
- Raven the Pirate Princess Book 1: Captain Raven and the All-Girl Pirate Crew by Jeremy Whitley
- Scrum by Jeff Sutherland
- The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan
- Royal Wedding Disaster by Meg Cabot
- Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card
- A Hero Ain’t Nothin’ But a Sandwich by Alice Childress
- Sweet Sixteen by Linda A. Cooney
- The Boy Who Drank Too Much by Shep Greene
- Now That I Know by Norma Klein
- Necessary Roughness by Marie G. Lee
Some good news/other observations:
1. I am finally at 50% books by or about people of color, which means I am on track for my Diversity on the Shelf reading goal. YAY.
2. I joined Andi’s Smash Your Stack reading challenge on May 18 through the month and more than half of my books count toward that.
3. I decided as part of smashing my stack to do Jenna’s Take Back Your Shelves Readathon over the weekend, which helped me commit even harder to actually reading my own books while I sat by the pool. (It’s a hard life I live, I tell you.) Three of the six smash my stack books were read during that.
4. No five-star books this month, but I did give five of the books four stars (and one three), which means I really liked pretty much half of them. I’ll take it.
5. I’m getting tired of reading my own books because now that’s starting to feel like required reading (which…I have pretty much declared it so since I am trying to finish the books in anticipation of my move). It might be time to take a break from that Or at least read the rest of them in a different order (I was going alphabetically because that’s how my shelves are organized). Also, I realized that I have some of my friend’s books that I should probably read before SHE moves out of town. Forever. So.
This month, I finished seven books:
- A Tangle of Gold (The Colours of Madeleine #3) by Jaclyn Moriarty
- The Adventures of Superhero Girl by Faith Erin Hicks
- The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
- Princeless, Vol. 3 by Jeremy Whitley
- Princeless, Vol. 4 by Jeremy Whitley
- Demigods & Magicians by Rick Riordan
- Necessary Endings by Henry Cloud
I did way better reading toward Diversity on the Shelf this month. I’m at 47% of books read so far counting towards the challenge, which means I’m much closer to my 50% goal than I have been. Also, 5 out of 7 of the books I read this month count. I’m not counting Tangle of Gold, though I probably should. There’s a great commentary on Ko and her dad’s race/ethnicity in the book, and since she is a POV character and owns my heart, I really really should count it. My hesitation is just that it comes so late in the series. But still. I’ll have to give it a little more thought.
I was going to say I feel vaguely dissatisfied about my reading, but that’s not true. I think it’s just that I’m not excited about reading anything else yet. I have book club books lined up, which is both a plus and a minus because, usually, once the semester is over, I do not want to do ANY assigned reading of any sort, even if I had a hand in choosing the books. So we’ll see how that goes. But I have nothing that I’m super looking forward to reading. I should probably change that.
Most of my April books had a real touch of whimsy and fun to them, and I want to keep that going. I NEED FUN BOOKS. I need whimsy, darn it.
I also probably need a nap.
Looking ahead, I have signed up for this year’s Armchair BEA. If I learned nothing else from the A to Z Challenge, I now understand the importance of planning ahead, so I am going to start working on those posts this week. Right after I finish prepping for my summer course that starts next week (on Monday!). And writing my A to Z wrap-up/reflection post.
This past week, I finished:
Great book. Well-drawn and sympathetic characters…even when I didn’t want them to be.
3/31/16: I got to pick for book club (finally!) and picked this one. I feel the exact same way about the book that I did the first time, so yay for that. These characters break my heart.
View all my reviews
It is really, really, REALLY hard for books or movies or TV shows to surprise me, and this book did. Also, Princess Ko is the absolute best. I 100% love her, and she has entered the pantheon of my favorite female characters, the likes of which include Ella from Ella Enchanted.
Overall, I give the entire series five stars, and The Cracks in the Kingdom is my favorite in the trilogy.
Last month, I read:
This past month I finished seven books, two of which were rereads and two that fulfilled categories in the Read Harder challenge (book about religion, historical fiction). I’m at 12 books out of 31 for Diversity on the Shelf, which means I still haven’t achieved 50% of the books I’ve read being by or about people of color. I definitely need to do better there. Oh, and Goodreads tells me I am three books ahead of schedule for their reading challenge.
Last week, I posted:
I signed up for the A to Z reading challenge, which means there’s quite a bit of activity here for the next month. Here are the posts I’ve made for the challenge so far:
[wrap-up-posts week=”13″ year=”2016″ category=”Blogging A to Z” listtype=”ul”]
As of today, I’m reading:
Yep, I’m still making my way through Necessary Endings. I started The Adventures of Superhero Girl by Faith Erin Hicks (it started as a webcomic) on the suggestion of a coworker. We were having a prof dev session on building a web presence, and I showed him this blog. Apparently, we read a lot of the same things, so he thought I might like ASG. It’s pretty cute so far, so he wasn’t wrong.
I was traveling this weekend and checked out The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin for my Kindle. I’m only about five or so pages in, so I have no idea how I feel about it quite yet. We’ll see how it goes the rest of the week.
Happy reading, everyone!
This is actually a combo post! It’s a day late, so an It’s Tuesday! What Are You Reading? deal instead of IMWAYR. Plus, the monthly to-do. Let’s get to it.
This past week, I finished:
This was super cute and fun, even though I hate both the title and the cover. There is a smidgen of fake dating in this book–but not enough to make it a fake dating book. I will say, though, that every single one of the fake dating scenes filled me with glee. Fake dating for everyone!
Janette Rallison is now one of my go-to authors when I need something fun and light to read, for sure.
The first half of this book bored me and the second half infuriated me.
I could buy that a woman out of her mind with grief and living in isolation could think a baby washing up on shore was the answer to her prayers.
I could buy that her husband would feel guilty and responsible for his wife’s loss and isolation and go along with not reporting the found baby.
However, I could not buy that (view spoiler) I mean, SERIOUSLY. That is where the book 100% lost me.
Anyway, the book club discussion was lively, so there’s that.
So, all in all, February was:
A solid reading month. I finished 7 books, which is actually more than I thought I had read. Granted, I did DNF one book (Re Jane) and another one was slow-going (The Light Between Oceans), so it happens.
I read three books for Diversity on the Shelf, which is about half of my reading for this month, so I met that goal for the month. However, I’m at 8/21 for my overall reads, which is not keeping me on track to my goal of 50% by or about POC for the year. I’m sure it’ll correct itself eventually, but that’s where I am.
After giving it some thought, I’m going to count Proposal by Meg Cabot for the Read Harder Challenge. It’s not by or about a POC, but, quite frankly, I don’t see myself reading any other non-kid lit books under 100 pages any time soon. If I do, I’ll note it, but for now, I’m good.
That means I’ve completed the following categories for that challenge:
- Read a middle grade novel
- Read a biography (not memoir or autobiography)
- Read a book under 100 pages
- Read a non-superhero comic that debuted in the last three years
- Read a food memoir
- Read the first book in a series by a person of color
I’m feeling pretty good about my progress there. I was kind of stressing out about it at first, but then I remembered that I basically read from all of the categories last year, so if I just read the way I usually read, I’ll probably wind up doing the same if I don’t overthink it. There are a few categories that take me out of my comfort zone, and I have to be more aware there, but I am confident that I’ll complete the whole challenge.
As of today, I’m reading:
My hold on the Leah Remini audiobook came in at the library yesterday, and I am loving it so far. She narrates it herself (of course!), and it’s stellar. If you want to know how cults work, definitely check out her book. Not only that, but she’s funny and real and raw. And so, so Brooklyn.
I read Something Rotten by Alan Gratz (Hamlet retelling) years ago and remembered the other day that I never read the second book, which is why I’m now reading Something Wicked, a Macbeth retelling. I like how Gratz is playing with the names and characters so far (Macbeth is Mac, Lady Macbeth is Beth, and there’s a dog named Spot–obviously, at some point, Beth is going to have to tell Spot to get out of something, and I am super looking forward to that moment).
One of the Read Harder categories is historical fiction set before 1900, and I absolutely 100% did not want to read a book about slavery. Enter Destiny’s Embrace by Beverly Jenkins. (Thanks to my friend Jasmine for the rec!) I just started this today, and it’s working for me so far.
I’m on spring break this week, and I think I may wind up reading more than these three, but we’ll see. Happy reading, everyone!
My eye issue has mostly resolved, so I should be able to keep up with blogs more from now, which is a definite yay. I missed posting last week, so this is a two-fer (though, technically, I guess it’s a three-fer). I read some books is what I’m saying. Let’s get to it.
This past week, I finished:
4.5 stars, rounding up
I love everything about this book (okay, almost everything, hence the 1/2 star deduction), including the cover. So fun! It gave me a happy.
The week before that, I finished:
Harriet Tubman is your OG, and you will respect her as such. Harriet Tubman is a complete and total badass. This book is A++ in showing that and giving an overview of her life. Two thumbs up, fine holiday fun.
Nathan Hale’s art is amazing, and he presents slavery in an unflinching and honest way, which is important given discussions around how children’s books are failing to do that right now.
Read Harder 2016: Read a biography (not memoir or autobiography)
This was solid.
I only have two complaints: (1) There were a couple of glaring typos in the first couple of pages and (2) the art work in the epilogue is completely different from the other chapters and it was my least favorite of all the art.
Otherwise, intriguing and an interesting/fun new take on Holmes.
Read Harder 2016: Read a non-superhero comic that debuted in the last three years
When I first started this book, I didn’t care much for the art–a little too dark and muddled. However, as the story progressed and Jessica’s came out of her depression, the art work shifted. It was subtle, and it worked.
I like Jessica. I liked this. And that ending? Man.
2.5 stars, rounding down
So. Here’s the thing. Marcus Samuelsson has led a fascinating life, and I enjoyed reading about it. But at one point, he reveals that he has a daughter, and he decides to be an absentee father while he pursues his dreams. Which, you know, is fine if that’s the choice he wanted to make. But all I could think as he was talking about his time gallivanting around the world as a chef is “Yeah, but what about Zoe?”
WHAT ABOUT ZOE, MARCUS?
So that tempered my enjoyment quite a bit.
Also, hot tip to all the absentee/deadbeat parents in the world: do not thank the parent who actually did the work of raising the child. That probably annoys me more than women who say their husbands are “babysitting” the children.
Read Harder 2016: Read a food memoir
So, all in all, January was:
A good reading month! I read 15 books, 5 of which counted for the Diversity on the Shelf challenge. I am running at lower than 50% reads by/about POC, so I want to improve on that next month. We’ll see how it goes. I also read three 5-star books. Wouldn’t it be nice if 20% of my reads this year turn out to be 5-star reads?
As of today, I’m reading:
The Light Between Oceans is slow-going so far, but it’s for book club so I shall power through. I am not sure yet how I feel about Re Jane. I dig a lot of the changes the author has made (I especially love how she deals with the madwoman in the attic–brilliant!) (also, love the word play in the title). However, this Jane is planning to do something original Jane just would not do AT ALL, so I am not sure if I’ll be able to keep reading if this Jane does something the original Jane wouldn’t. I am not even particularly enamored of the original, but I guess even I have my limits. So. We shall see how that goes.
Happy reading, everyone!
This week, I finished:
- The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy (children’s lit, chapter book) – super cute and not as dark as the movie
- Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon (YA) – started out strong but the ending annoyed me so so so so so so so much
- Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova (middle grade, graphic novel) – extra super cute with the best newspaper reporter ever
- As If!: The Oral History of Clueless… by Jen Chaney (adult, non-fiction) – FINALLY.
- The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender (adult) – this one will stay with me for a while, in a good way
That puts my total books read for the month at 13. I am back in business, y’all. The school year has finally gotten its foot off my neck.
Other books read this month:
- Till You Hear from Me by Pearl Cleage (adult, audiobook)
- Ghetto Cowboy by G. Neri (middle grade)
- Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia (middle grade)
- Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall (children’s picture book)
- The Birthday Ball by Lois Lowry (middle grade, audiobook)
- I Love You, I Hate You, Get Lost by Ellen Conford (YA, short stories)
- The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron (adult non-fiction, self-help)
- Creating Unforgettable Characters by Linda Seger (adult non-fiction)
This month, I posted:
[wrap-up-posts date=”October 2015″ listtype=”ul”]
I did get a bunch of posts written (11 total!), three of which haven’t even gone live as I’m writing this. Hint: this is one of the three. So I’m calling it a success, especially since my goal was to, you know, just write something. Success!
Typically, I would say what I have started reading, but November is NaNoWriMo. I had decided when I finished up The Artist’s Way that I was going to participate by using the month to write a script, which, obviously, is not a novel but a different type of writing challenge. Apparently, there used to be a thing called Script Frenzy that ran concurrent to NaNo, but NaNo stopped supporting it. However! There is now a thing called Zero Draft Thirty for screenwriting, so I am doing that.
So that’s a really long-winded way of saying that I’m probably not going to update during November because I’ll be participating in Zero Draft Thirty, which means I have no idea what I’ll actually start and finish. But! Here’s what I have out from the library:
- Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
- Monster: A Graphic Novel by Guy Sims (an adaptation of Walter Dean Myers’ book)
- The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan
Not to mention Winter by Marissa Meyer also comes out this month.
Of course, I have no idea where my reading whim and fancy will take me throughout the month. But I do look forward to finding out.
Anybody else participating in any of the month’s writing challenges? If so, I’d love to hear which ones!
As predicted, I did not get many books read in September. In fact, I finished three:
- Smek for President! by Adam Rex (middle grade, audiobook)
- Lois Lane: Fallout by Gwenda Bond (YA)
- Mindset by Carol S. Dweck (adult, nonfiction)
I just have to accept that I will never get more than 3 or 4 books read in September. Oh well.
I do plan to review all three books, and, as a challenge to myself on that front, I am signing up for the Blog Ahead challenge.
Participants are supposed to have 31+ posts scheduled by the end of the month (the number of scheduled posts you already have + 31), but let’s be real: I am probably not going to hit that goal. For one thing, I rarely, if ever, schedule posts. Secondly, I don’t even think I have 31 post ideas. Not to mention, the posts that count have to go up on Nov. 1 on later. Considering I have nothing scheduled for October and it’s the first week of the month, I can’t honestly say the posts I schedule will be for post-October. Oh, and my life is hectic and I barely have time to watch a half-hour comedy. But I’m going to give it a shot. After all, some is better than none. And if I can schedule some posts that actually get into November? So much the better.
I’m also looking forward to Aarti’s A More Diverse Universe Challenge, which starts tomorrow.
I just have to pick up the book I’m planning to read from the library. Which, I promise, is not happening today. Because I have declared today a Nothing day, which means I’m not leaving the house (maybe to get some food…maybe). So what will I do today? I plan to write a couple of posts, read, and watch some TV. I started my Nothing day last night when I finally finished S1 of the The Flash, so I’m looking forward to getting into more of that kind of fun.
Apparently, I was wrong about July being my slow month. August was the slowest. I only read three books in August. Three. Three! And I only reviewed two. (Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is from July.)
[wrap-up-posts date=”August 2015″ category=”book reviews” listtype=”ul”]
The other book I read was Screenplay by Syd Field, which was a reread. Coming off the reading deprivation and then moving into course prep for the fall didn’t leave me with a real interest in reading, alas.
September is not looking any better so far, to be honest. I haven’t really found a book that I can get into yet. I’m sure that once I do, I’ll pick up the pace and explode my reading goal. (Goodreads says I have met it, but I know that’s inaccurate since you have to shelve a book in order to mark it as unfinished, which is just dumb, but whatever.)
So here’s hoping I get a reading block busting book soon.