Posts Tagged ‘reading’

The one that dreams and schemes of reading the year away.

February 11, 2021

It’s no big secret – in fact, it’s not a secret at all – that every day would be Book Day if I had my way. Since a balanced approach is a more sensible way to go about things, I probably won’t be able to spend all day, every day reading, no matter how much I might want to. A twenty-four/seven reading-life would make it easier to find books to review every week, but something tells me I’ll find a way.

Some things will always be the same: I dream big when it comes to my reading life, and my reading goals for 2021 aren’t that different. 200 books. Heh, or maybe I should make it 221 books in 2021, just because I have a sense of humor. Half of which need to be new (to me) titles. That seems fair.

Another piece of the puzzle that doesn’t need to change: I want my reading selection to be varied. Diverse topics by diverse authors. Do you know one of the ways I ensure that happens? By reading harder.

This is the seventh (!!) year that Book Riot has published its Read Harder challenge, and every year I’m proud to count myself as one of the participants. Once a month I’ll share a blog update about how I’m doing, or you can also follow along on my Twitter or Goodreads account to see how my personal challenge is faring.

I might be six weeks behind in my first steps, but I’m excited to see what challenges lie ahead! Shall we?

  1. Read a book you’ve been intimidated to read.
  2. Read a non-fiction book about anti-racism.
  3. Read a non-European novel in translation.
  4. Read an LGBTQ+ history book.
  5. Read a genre novel by an Indigenous, First Nations, or Native American author.
  6. Read a fanfic.
  7. Read a fat-positive romance.
  8. Read a romance by a trans or nonbinary author.
  9. Read a middle grade mystery.
  10. Read a SFF anthology edited by a person of color.
  11. Read a food memoir by an author of color.
  12. Read a work of investigative nonfiction by an author of color.
  13. Read a book with a cover you don’t like.
  14. Read a realistic book not set in the U.S., UK, or Canada.
  15. Read a memoir by a Latinx author.
  16. Read an own-voices book about disability.
  17. Read an own-voices YA book with a black main character that isn’t about black pain.
  18. Read a book by/about a non-Western world leader.
  19. Read a historical fiction with a POC or LGBTQ+ protagonist.
  20. Read a book of nature poems.
  21. Read a children’s book that centers a disabled character but not their disability.
  22. Read a book set in the Midwest.
  23. Read a book that demystifies a common mental illness.
  24. Read a book featuring a beloved pet where the pet doesn’t die.

I can’t wait to see what this year has in store for me. Finding new favorite books has always one of of my favorite things. I can’t hardly remember what it was like before I had The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo in my life, or that exact moment in between chapters when I went from why do people like Pride & Prejudice, exactly?! to Ohhhhh, THAT’S why! Who knows what what the rest of 2021 will have in store for us. But I hope that I can look it in the eye, even if it’s just while I’m glancing up from turning the page of the book that’s inevitably in my hand.

Here’s to another year of good time, great books, and even better bookish discussions!

Book reviews: The one with the delusional gunman, delusional grandmas, and a soldier who knew how to stand up for us all.

June 20, 2019

Just because I’ve been quiet lately doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading. My goal is 250 books this year, and I might not make it, but so far Goodreads says I’m on pace. (Barely on pace, meh meh meh.) The thing is, it doesn’t feel like that because so many of the books I’ve read this year have barely made an impression on me. They’re bland. Or stupid. Or so not my thing.

Despite all my whinging, I’m pretty sure I can find a few to review for you.

A Small Revolution, by Jimin Han (Little A, 2017, 208 pages, digital, Kindle Unlimited). I’ll confess: the reason I was first drawn to Han’s debut novel was because it featured a shooter in a college setting; the way I process these atrocities is to submerse myself in fictional reiterations so I can play it through to the end and find the answers. It’s whack, I know. But it’s one of my solutions. This short, compact novel was both jam-packed with details, beautifully authentic college-aged vignettes filled with things two people of that age, who were in love, would say to each other. It examines the “third wheel” scenario in Yoona Lee and Jaesung’s love story, and why Lloyd – poor, delusional, cuckoo-in-the-membranes Lloyd – insists holding Yoona and three of her friends hostage is how to solve his problem. His problem? Dead Jaesung isn’t dead. It’s a lot of information, but Jimin Han handled the nuances with aplomb found usually not until the author is far more experienced. The way Han bounced between flashbacks of how the three (Lloyd, Jaesung, and Yoona) met in South Korea, and scenes of the tense stand-off led by the crumbling madness of Lloyd and increasingly terrified hostages. I ripped through the pages, rushing towards the present. Maudlin and tense, intense and beautifully care-free and innocent. And yet, full of violence.  4 of 5 stars.

Louisiana’s Way Home, by Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick Press, 2018, 240 pages, paperback. Middle-grade readers). I picked this up during my Mother’s Day splurge because it had a beautiful cover. The barrette, like the ones my sister and I used, it sealed the deal. The plot: a girl (Louisiana by name) deserted by her Granny in a town off the map (but really in Georgia), somewhere between Florida (home, where Louisiana must return!) and Kansas, where their family’s curse originated and must be broken. Lousiana’s grandma sounded pretty YaYa, the way she stuffed Lousisana’s head full of colorful stories – like that her parents performed in the circus! and how they met and fell in love! and, and, and – only all of the stories Lousiana’s grandma told her turn out to be Not True. Louisiana had to figure out if this mattered and changed who she is – or not. DiCamillo poured so much magic and grace into her characters, and a bucket of spunk into Louisiana. Questioning who she is and who she wants to be is a question many kids handle – and DiCamillo snuck lessons into her characters’ adventures the way parents sneak nutrition into their kids’ food. The result is as wholesome, full of laughs and heart bumps along the way. 3 1/2 of 5 stars.

Formation: A Woman’s Memoir of Stepping out of Line, by Ryan Leigh Dostie (Grand Central Publishing, 368 pages, digital library loan). Wow. What a gut punch. I had to stop for a minute and just breath. Dostie’s memoir is proof of how women are punished severely for doing, saying, even looking at or like someone at the wrong time. We aren’t in charge. Not only are the assholes who are raping us sending this message home; it’s also the Chinese handcuffs set like traps throughout the system that men set up to report when men (or anyone else) stepped out of line. Dostie saw this. And was brave enough to step out of how she was supposed to act, yanked her finger out of the chinese handcuffs, and said to hell with this. I WAS RAPED. AND MY GOVERNMENT, MY COMMAND, MY POST, MY MILITARY – NO ONE CARED. No one stepped up to help her. She stood up. Helped herself. And spoke up. It was one way to help battle the PTSD she suffered from on the outs. No one seemed to be in her shoes. Reading about Dostie’s journey filled me with so many emotions – admiration, awe, shame, anger, anxiety, triggered, wanting to fight. Good stories do that, and Dostie’s narrative had me from the first page to the last. Trigger Warning, obviously for rape, for PTSD. But if you want to read a story about a soldier who deserves every bit of admiration and support – Formation is a damn good book to start with. 5 of 5 stars.

What books have you been reading? Send me your best recommendations – I’m feeling  a little antsy to mind my Next Great Read, something that will light me on fire the way YaYas did, or Evelyn Hugo did with all seven of her husbands. Tell me! And I’ll be back next Thursday to tell you about a few more of mine.

Book Reviews: The ones with suspects and prisoners, strippers and school shooting survivors.

February 28, 2019

Morning, peeps! (We should all be so lucky to be marshmalloy shapes covered in gobs of colored sugar…) Today I have quite a few books to choose from because: 1) I’ve been killin’ it with my reading pace lately, and 2) because I haven’t done my book reviews in awhile! So let’s get to it!

MarsRoomThe Mars Room, by Rachel Kushner (2018, Scribner, 338 pages, digital loan). I picked up The Mars Room because it’s a contestant in this year’s Tournament of Books, but I’ve read The Flamethrowers, which I remember hating the cover of, wanting desperately to love, and then putting down a thousand times because I just couldn’t quite enjoy the telling of. So you’d think once I remembered that, I wouldn’t have been so keen on Mars Room. I loved the cover, by the way, and fell just as hard for the pitch: unreliable narrator Romy Hall is in prison for two consecutive life terms, away from the city of San Francisco, which bound her in a way much different than her young son Jackson. The storytelling was smartly done: I loved watching Romy navigate life at women’s prison, broken and cursed. I kept thinking the fifth season of Orange Is the New Black meets Breaking Bad with the grittiness of a Leonardo DiCaprio or Jack Nicholson film. Only the difference here is that Romy got thrown in jail for being one of the other poorer characters, not Piper or Alex, but she navel-gazes like she was Piper. That could be a little distracting, I do have to admit. As much as I loved seeing the reality of prison laid bare before the readers, I loved even more – surprisingly – the way Kushner showed readers what a cursed dystopia San Francisco is to those who can’t keep swimming fast enough and are drowned by the tide. 3 1/2 of 5 stars.

ParklandSpeaksParkland Speaks: Survivors from Marjorie Stoneman Douglas Share Their Stories, by Sarah Lerner (editor) (2019, Crown Books for Young Readers, 192 pages, paperback)
Parkland: Birth of a Movement, by David Cullen (2019, Harper, 400 pages, hardcover). I bought these books on their publication dates (just a week apart) because, like many of us, I was so strongly drawn to the lessons of hope and of activism these high school students have fought so hard to teach us. Ridiculously, this is what feels like the thousandth school shooting in collective memory because there is no clear cut answer – at least that the country can agree on. That’s where the argument seems to stall. The survivors of Parkland say that’s not enough. Parkland Speaks is catharsis bound between a beautiful soft jacket cover. Essays, poems, cartoons, artwork – it is the collective hope of the students, teachers, and others impacted by the tragedy, edited by Ms. Sarah Lerner, an English teacher who watched events unfold from an uncomfortably close perspective. The collection is intimate and gorgeous; one that will help us not just pinpoint the moment the revolution was born, but also reflect on our own losses as well as love those still around us.
ParklandParkland: Birth of a Movement was written by the same journalist who penned the go-to book about the school shooting at Columbine, giving him a unique perspective for his newest project. Whereas Columbine ushered in a horrifically new era and kind of mass shooting, you can’t help but feel that Parkland might usher in the answer for the same. The reason you feel that way is because of the hope these students embody, as the world has borne witness, but also a mighty, present kind of activism MSD students have rolled out with a roaring battlecry: NEVER AGAIN. If you think 400 pages of politics and activism sounds a bit thick, you haven’t read anything by Cullen; he captures the day-to-day – sometimes moment-to-moment – activities of the students and their families so closely, intimately, powerfully that you feel the wind of the carousel as it whips you around. How many times after a school shooting have you thought Stop this ride, I want to get off? Parkland convinces you these kids are going to show us how. 5 out of 5 stars; highly recommend as paired reading.

TheSuspectThe Suspect, by Fiona Barton (2019, Berkley Books, 416 pages, hardcover). I purchased this book as a Christmas gift for myself. So many good books were published in the beginning of January by authors I’ve come to love and rely on. Fiona Barton was one. I stumbled upon her debut, The Widow, at the library. I had no idea it was her first book. It’s your basic psychological thriller: the story is set up, you get hooked, there are twists and turns, and then BAM! the surprise ending. There are bad ones, and then there are good ones. Barton wrote very good ones. Maybe not Gone Girl good, her books are a little formulaic, but good enough to keep me guessing. I love the way the point-of-view shifts, and the way that even I, after alllll these books I’ve read in my life, can’t guess the big reveal. Ooh, and also that while the books are all linked through the reporter, Kate Winters, each book is truly a stand-alone. (I’m not kidding; there was such a gap between when I read the first book and the second that I forgot Kate had been in both til halfway through!) At least, that’s how the first two were. The third one – The Suspect – was set up the same way. Only this time Kate’s son is the title character, unfortunately. The dynamic is shifted a bit, and that was a bit muddy. I found it a bit confusing, along with all of the pov shifts that I normally love. And there was something about the story just I just couldn’t hook into. Normally I race through Barton’s books – that’s why I finally just bought the third one. This time, of course because I bought the hardcover, it failed to catch me. I kept checking the page count and found I was reading fewer and fewer pages each time I sat down. I finished it in the end, but I was very disappointed. Even the big reveal was a bit dodgy and meh. So. Would I recommend? Maybe not this book. But I’m definitely still watching for the next in the series. Barton’s allowed the sophomore slump…even if it took a bit to catch her. I have hope. 2 1/2 of 5 stars.

So there you go – the books themselves are all over the place, from Cali, to Florida, to D.C. and across America, to London, and Thailand. But somehow we’ve all centered around crime. Crazy, huh? Reading is magical. And full of hope.

Book Reviews: The ones with separation because the world died and total immersion in your own little world.

February 7, 2019

That’s a much better title than, Book Reviews: The ones with hardly anything to say. because that was straight up what I typed at first. No, really, it was our working title for a good paragraph until I realized that was a little much.

But… It’s still true.

It was a slow reading week for me. Just two books. I slept for most of this past weekend – still working on getting my anti-insomnia meds just right – and I spent a lot of time reading a book by an author I usually devour, but this thriller just isn’t thrilling. I like when the main character is a reporter outside the story, not so much in it. Anyway. You’ll hear more about The Suspect next week. For this week, we have…

SeveranceSeverance, Ling Ma (2018, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 304 pages, library loan). Severance was starred in my Little Black Book since I penned it in. It’s a The Stand plot-alike, with the world decimated by illness after getting sick from some mystery illness. See? Sounds great, right? Except while the story opens on the office where our main character (a 20-something coughMillenial Chinese daughter of immigrant parents who is delightfully awkward and dedicated to her job despite loathing it) is in the middle of an office scene, a problem that our MC describes in painstaking detail. [I have to add, too, that Severance sounds at times like it’s narrated by Velma from Scooby Doo and at times like Meg Ryan’s typewriter-loving boyfriend in You’ve Got Mail.] Rather than wrapping up the office-y bits, the story stalls there. Rather than let the office bits give us a basis for who our characters are and inform their later choices while sojourning from their origin to the meeting point after the apocalypse, Ma chooses to flip the drill. The apocalypse informs the office novel. She jumps between scenes from the office, and scenes from the journey, which I found terribly confusing, trying to get my bearings. The settings were obviously easy to figure out, but the characters, and where in the MC’s growth, and WHAT was going on – all confusing. Exacerbated by the fact that there were no quotation marks – a problem half my books from last week had too. Ugh. Sooooo, I’d say overall I liked Severance okay, and the idea to flip the script was different and cool, it just wasn’t the book I was trippin’ over myself with excitement to read. 3 of 5 stars.

DictionaryAnimalLanguagesThe Dictionary of Animal Languages, by Heidi Sopinka (2018, Scribe, 320 pages, digital library loan). This was another Tournament of Books selection, and honestly another book I only would have read because of that contest. It is gorgeously written, the language is like the world’s most comfortable bed you can sink into, surrounded by pillows and down comforters in blues and greys. Lush, but overcast in tone. That’s the best way I can describe this book: I could tell it was expertly done, that the quality was top shelf…it just wasn’t for me. It should have been – I love war stories, lives interrupted or formed in the cracks of what must be and what is happening all around them in WWI and WWII Europe. It’s fascinating! So this should have been a book for. Perhaps it was the wrong time. I just couldn’t engage, skimming and surface reading, never connecting with any of the characters or plot points. I didn’t care about older Ivory, out there in Siberia by herself (well, with Skeet), so I couldn’t care about her earlier Ya-Ya life. Or how she could possibly have a grandchild without a child of her own. I have no idea how to rate it. 2 out of 5 because a story should grab you? or 4 out of 5 because the writing was gorgeous and I think I picked a bad time to read it? Gah. It gets both. I can’t even compromise on 3 of 5 because that jumps it in the middle without explanation.

What is everyone else reading? I mentioned I’m halfway through The Suspect by Fiona Barton (that I pre-ordered for Christmas). I’m reading My Year of Rest and Relaxation by the crazy-talented Otessa Moshfegh. And I have a riot of books I bought – Becoming (technically a gift), The Bear and the Nightinggale (a re-read so I can read the rest of the series), On the Come Up (gooooooo! Angie Harris!!!!!!!), CJ Tudor’s follow-up horror novel, and all. the. library books! Ugggggh, I need to not be sleepy so I can read!! Activate Reader Superpowers!

The reading hour idea that wasn’t even mine.

February 6, 2019

Maybe you do or maybe you don’t know, but the past couple of years, Reading Hour at my house has been met with some boos.

What is Reading Hour, you may ask?

Reading Hour was the idea I started when the girls were really little – 3 and 5 maybe? because I think think that’s how old they were when I started Harry Potter – during which I would (you’ll never guess) read to the girls for thirty minutes. Aaaah, see? tricked you there! The girls would sit on the floor, chair, me, whatever’s available, and I read to them for 30 minutes. There were not phones to distract them (or me) and no laptops, etc. They had to listen.

We’ve read some amazing books over the years – the entire Harry Potter series, Bunnicula, Little House on the Prairie, Ready Player One, The Hate U Give… I’m sure tehre are so many more. There are nights they complained, but they got through it. And as for me – that mad magical thirty minutes was what I lived for!

The past year or two, the complaints have skyrocketed. We fell out of practice, and when I remembered, the girls didn’t want to be bothered. And dang they’re vocal. It wasn’t a battle I wanted to die fighting for, so I gave it up.

Until I got my clarity back.

The girls were still adamant about not wanting to have to listen to a book for thirty minutes. I was adamant that they needed to. They might not know it, but we are desperate for some family time. Game night and pizza on Friday nights is one thing. Coming together to read for just 30 minutes a night – that’s something else altogether. It was important to me. We were at an impasse I was about to use my veto on.

Until The Flu-ish One resolved the issue. We were sitting at the doc-in-the-box. She was thinking; I was busy fuming over how long they were making us wait. Two hours in the waiting room, an hour in her room before the doctor saw her… I needed to recenter myself while still rather stuck with The Flu-One.

And then Gracie spoke.

(Well…whispered. Because: throat)

“What if instead of reading one book, we all ready our own books?” she asked.

“How would I know everyone was really reading?” I asked, “instead of getting distracted by socks, fiddly pages, and dust motes.” cough:Bee Hey, I was just thinking what we were alllll thinking!

“You could ask us to read a sentence after some time had passed and see if we had really turned pages,” Gracie added.

Hmmm. She had something there. If I did sentence checks every so often, I could check in to make sure the girls were reading their books. And it wouldn’t matter how slow or fast someone read, they could all go at their own paces, so long as they were making progress and not messing around. At the end of our 30 minutes, we could all give a summary of what we read. That way, we would have the benefit of all the books! It might not be the same as making the girls read(hear) stories I absolutely needed them to read and knew they wouldn’t get to on their own, but it was a good compromise.

Sunday night, I pitched the idea for our new and improved Reading Hour. It went over REALLY, really well! Bee asked, “Do graphic novels count?” worried, I’m sure, that her books wouldn’t be “approved.” “Of course!,” I told her. “When have I ever not let you read graphic novels?” She beamed. “Even audiobooks!” I added. “…so long as you don’t fall asleep!” Everyone laughed.

So it sounds like we’re all in agreement! As soon as The Flu-ish One gets over herself, we’ll acquire our books and begin. NEW ADVENTURES! Let’s gooooooooo!

Thursday Recaps with allll the ‘Tournament of Books’ books.

January 31, 2019

Good morning, starshines! Today is Thursday (right?), and you know what that means… book reviews!

Since I’m catching up still, and I haven’t posted on Thursday since the new year has started, I have quite a few books to choose from. 17 books in fact! (I read double that number last year, but let’s cut me a break this month, considering what I had going on. Mkay?) I’ll just grab a couple of them and see how this goes…

A Very Large Expanse of Sea, by Tehereh Mafi (2018, HarperTeen, 320 pages, Hardcover library loan). I know Ms. Mafi from reading her bestselling novel Shatter Me, which seems to have started a well-to-do series. I expect a series soon and I am here for that!!! For those who haven’t read it, briefly, Shatter Me is a dystopian horror/romance in the same vein of Divergent and Hunger Games. It was fantastic! When the plot felt a little shaky, Mafi’s voice was there to rescue it, strong enough to carry everything asked of it. Given that, I was curious how Mafi would handle teen romance. Expanse is about Shirin, a bright, sarcastic, nearly-mute, Iranian, Muslim girl whose family moves constantly, so Shirin never puts down any roots or tries to talk to anyone at school. It would be pointless. Until this year. It’s just after 9/11, Shirin’s having to navigate alllll the hate that – if you remember – was even more terrifying and devastating than ever before. Shirin and her brother also start a breakdancing club at school. I loved that Mafi was breaking stereotypes by letting a strong female lead enjoy an activity we typically see associated with men. Mafi drew on her past experiences to do so, and I loved the social commentary bit…but the actual talking about breakdancing was a little boring for me. It either needed to be the entire focal point of the book and just go there, or else the technical aspects needed to be trimmed. Otherwise, a very strong showing. 4 of 5 stars.

Call Me Zebra, by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi (2018, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 304 pages, Digital, Tournament of Books finalist). Ohhhhh I so much don’t even want to talk about this book. Zebra has lost every around her, but that doesn’t matter anyway (hmpf!) because she’s a booklovin’ atheist anarchist on a mission to retrace the journey from Iran to the states that she and her dad took waaaaaay back in her childhood. (Pretty hand, huh?)  Dude = there was so much philosophical bullsheep that I couldn’t even barely make it halfway. This book was WAYYYY NIOT my cuppa. So I’m putting that out there. 2 of 5 stars – I could tell there were flashes of brilliance (probably more than a few) even if it wasn’t my thing.

My Sister the Serial Killer, by Oyinkan Braithwaite (2018, Doubleday, 226 pages, Hardcover library loan, Tournament of Books finalist). This book is hot, hot, hot right now and I’m so glad it made the cut for the ToB, even if it’s as this year’s Hot YA Book That Will Make Us All Think. My Sister is about two sisters, Korede (our narrator) and Ayoola, the title character. Korede feels like she’s the smart, ugly sister who is constantly bailing out her beautiful, dumb sister – I mean, she has had to help her sister cleanup after quite a few messes. Even though My Sister is a slim book, it packs a wallop, and I thoroughly enjoyed unpacking everything Braithwaite had to say about sisters – these two, and others. I mean, look at the title – even there, one can’t exist without the other: Korede is unnamed, only seen because she’s claiming her sister, but she gives her sister the big lights as subject and object. It’s glorious! The rest of the book is like that, quick little jabs in short chapters you’ll swallow whole – all the way to the sucker punch ending! 4 of 5 stars.

Census, by Jesse Ball (2018, Echo, 241 pages, Digital loan, Tournament of Books finalist). I have to be straight with you: I hate Jesse Ball. I hate him so much that I thought I would need to leave this book for last – that kind of hatred and judging the book by its author. But let me tell you this, too – I’m glad I read it, Census, because it was actually a really good book! It tells the story of a father who has found out he is dying. His wife has already passed. And he has a son he loves fiercely, a son with Down Syndrome. Clearly the only answer is to help the government take roll call. Adventures throughout England’s gorgeous countryside ensue, and if you don’t need tissues, knowing how everything will wrap up, well…you have a sterner constitution than I.  3 of 5 stars.

That’s all for this week! Have you read any other Tournament of Books finalists? I’ve also read The Parking Lot Attendant (3 1/2 of 5 stars) A Terrible Country (2 of 5 stars), and America Is Not the Heart (2 of 5 stars). I’m still looking for that one book… Every year the ToB gives me one book that surprises me and I fall in lurrrve!!! That hasn’t happened yet, but I’m patient. (Crazy idea, I know.) Give me your recs!

A little bit of why.

July 10, 2018

To know me is to really, really know that reading is my jam. At the moment, I’m devouring Gabby Rivera’s Juliet Takes a Breath. Right?! Right.

It’s life-changingly, gorgeously, unabashedly mine in all possible ways.

So there’s this quote I’ve read about 47 times in a row that goes something like,

Read everything you can push into your skull. Read your mother’s diary. Read Assata. Read everything Gloria Steinem and bell hooks write. Read all of the poems your friends leave in your locker. Read books about your body written by people who have bodies like yours. Read everything that supports your growth as a vibrant, rebel girl human. Read because you’re tired of secrets. ~Raging Flower

And I’m just like: yes. YES. This is just a little bit of why. It’s why I read and why I write.

Because, to me, it’s as essential as breathing.

#24in48: Challenge Complete.

January 29, 2018

Wheeeeeeeeeeeew, what a weekend! It was filled with books and reading and social media commenting and more reading and scrambled eggs and library books and still more reading. But I did it! Between midnight Friday night and ending at exactly 5 p.m. Sunday night, I read for 24 hours, well within the 48-hour window. Let’s see how I managed to pull it off.

Keeping track. I used a cool checklist that I mistakenly attributed to someone else (who, it turns out, stole the idea), designed originally by Kristin Isabelle (@FierceFabFemme), let’s give credit where credit is due! Somehow I finished my checklist last night, and then forgot to snap a pic! Gah! And managed to leave my planner on my desk at home. Good one, Katie. Here’s one of my earlier check-ins, though:


Check-ins and Challenges. I had a blast on social media! I participated in 4 or 5 challenges, and checked-in via the 24-in-48 web site, my blog, Facebook, and all. day. long. on Twitter! In fact, I had so much fun cheering everyone on that I asked our hosts if I could help admin the next one. SO MUCH FUN!

Here are two of my challenges:


That was for the first and last books on your shelves. No dead white authors on these shelves. (Okay, there are but love that there aren’t that many in the pool.)


Here we have favorite and least favorite covers. I would frame a print of Wolves. But the Rebecca is sooooo bland! Who would want to pick that book up?!

And speaking of check-ins – here’s a picture of me at my battle station. I have about four books open, my laptop booting up, my Book of Books (my reading journal/master list) and my planner with my checklist are all open. Plus a whopping plate of scrambled eggs precariously balanced on top of everything! Love it!



Bookish clothing: Yeah, I got myself in the mood by rocking some rad bookish gear. Saturday I wore my Hermione shirt that reads, “When in doubt, go to the library.” (Which is exactly what I did on Saturday.) I had on my blue library card socks, too. On Sunday I wore my red “Read more books!” shirt from BookRiot, and my “Let the wild rumpus begin!” socks, but I didn’t take a picture of my shirt, alas.


Mugs. I started out each morning right: with a pot of coffee and a different bookish mug. I have about a dozen bookish mugs (mugs are my weakness), so it was difficult choosing my victims. But coffee was hanging in the balance, so it didn’t actually take me all that long, you understand.


Books, pages, and all that stuff. In the end, I read six whole books, most of another, and half of yet another.

  • The Polygamist’s Daughter, by Ana LeBarron (3 of 5 stars)
  • A World Without Whom, by Emmy Favilla (3 of 5 stars)
  • We Are Never Meeting in Real Life, by Samantha Irby (4 of 5 stars)
  • Search and Rescue, by Christopher Van Tilburg (2 of 5 stars)
  • Dream Big Dreams, by Pete Souza (5 of 5 stars)
  • 84, Charing Cross Road, by Helene Hanff (4 of 5 stars)
  • Most of Turtles All the Way Down, by John Green
  • Half of My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry, by Fredrik Bachman (re-read)

That’s…okay, I’m not really going to tally the pages for you. I thought I was going to, but no. Nope. Not gonna.

I had a blast! I read a lot of books. It was great motivation to put my foot up and actually rest it. I don’t know that I would have done that without the 24-in-48 Challenge. Honestly. So thank you, ladies, for hosting, and I can’t wait for the next one! (Seriously…is it this weekend? Huh? Can it be? please??)

#24in48 Check-in (and Challenge!) post.

January 28, 2018

It’s been a night (and a day and a night) filled with lots of lovely reading, so I thought it would be a good time for a check-in post!

(Also, there’s a challenge that requires a bit of photo-posting, so what better place?)

First, the check-in:


That snap was taken this morning, so I am actually 19 hours in, 3 challenges (plus the one to come here in a minute), and 6 check-ins.

I’ve read half of two books – John Green’s Turtles All the Way Down (which I thought I’d finish first) and a re-read of Fredrik Backman’s My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry; and all of three others – Pete Souza’s photo-memoir, Dream Big Dreams; Helene Hanff’s 84, Charing Cross Road; and Anna LeBaron’s The Polygamist’s Daughter. I guess this was one of those readathon’s when you read everything except what you thought you would. SQUIRREL!

In between all of the reading, I’ve done a lot of cheering online to keep my motivation up. I’ve also participated in a few more challenges than I usually do, which was another one of my goals for this go-round. Including this one: post a picture of the first and last books on your bookshelves. Keeping in mind that my shelves still aren’t reassembled from Christmas, when I move everything so I can show off the Christmas decorations, here’s what I currently going on right now:


My top shelf is filled with copies of my All-Time Favorite Reads. Harriet the Spy will always make that list, even if I do rather wish the copy I owned weren’t a movie tie-in. (Lesson: never, ever loan you “real” copy out to friends in a bid to make them read it. Buy loaner copies.) That shelf is pretty static. My last shelf, however, will change after I rearrange my shelves into their usual year-round selves. But right now, my last book is Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch. I’m half-tempted to dive into it now, because have you heard about the casting for the movie adaptation?! I am over-the-moon with excitement!

How is everyone else faring? We’re nearly to the finish line, keep your heads down in the books and your spirits up!

#24in48 Readathon Update: Hour 15.

January 27, 2018


No, not the readathon – we’re not even halfway through with that yet. I survived a trip to the library while using my crutches! (I am serious about trying to get this Jones fracture to heal itself!) Not only that, the library police let me live to loan another day. Double score!

And wait til you see my haul!


So many awesome titles! It was one of those weird days when some books I’d been longing for – like Artemis by Andy Weir or 84, Charring Cross Road by Helene Hanff – were finally available, sitting there, just waiting for me. Others, like Search and Rescue and A World Without Whom I didn’t even know I needed.

But here’s the crown jewel, the one that nearly caused me to topple over, because I couldn’t carry it and crutch and carry a backpack filled with all my other books! But I managed. Truth be told, I would have crawled for this:


That’s possibly the best library book I’ve ever lucked into!

And so now if you’ll excuse me…I’m gonna go try not to drool on it…