O.W.L.s readathon wrap-up…

Today was the final day of the O.W.L.s Readathon hosted by Book Roast, and I’m still of the opinion that this is one of the most fun reading challenges ever. And maybe that’s what spurred me on to receive the highest possible passing grade of “outstanding” which required passing five subjects. To be perfectly honest, I was really hoping to do even better and complete all twelve of the exams, but well, that just didn’t happen. I did, however, pass eight subjects which should give me lots of options when Book Roast hosts the N.E.W.T. Readathon/Challenge in the future. These are the subjects which I sat for and  passed, along with the book I used to complete it:

  • Ancient Runes (a book with a symbol on the cover)–Bygone Badass Broads by Mackenzi Lee.
  • Arithmacy (a book with a number on the cover or in the title)–Zone One by Colson Whitehead.
  • Astronomy (a sci-fi book)–Dawn by Octavia Butler.
  • Care of Magical Creatures (a book that includes magical creatures or features one on the cover)–Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling.*
  • Defense Against the Dark Arts (a book about or featuring a secret society/club)–The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart.
  • Herbology (a book with a nature-related word in the title)–The Earth Moved: On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms by Amy Stewart.*
  • Potions (a book about or with alchemy)–The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss.
  • Transfiguration (a book that deals with transfiguration/shapeshifting or a book with a cat on the cover)–Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling.*

*Denotes a book where I read a different book than I originally planned.

my master post for Dewey’s Readathon April 2018…

Pregame:

–The Pool. As usual, it’s far larger than it has any need to be. But, options. And I’m thinking about approaching things a little differently. Instead of working my way through entire books, I may be a bit more of a dipper this go round. I *love* the “read a million pages” goal for this installment of Dewey’s Readathon! And I think Dewey would have loved this idea, which makes it sound even more special. And counting pages over counting books finished makes dipping sound all the more enticing.

  • The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science by Natalie Angier. Have this one on the go already, and would like to read the next-up chapter, the one on chemistry.
  • The Awakening by Kate Chopin. While I’m not as terrified of classics as I once was, I know myself well enough to realize that I still tend to take them slowly. So I’d like to at least get a start on this one, with the hope that I will finish it up in May.
  • Pandemic by Sonia Shah. Another non-fiction selection, but one I haven’t yet started. I likely won’t read this entire book during the readathon, but I suppose it’s not out of the question. I’ve previously read Shah’s The Fever, and found her writing very accessible and compelling, so it’s possible I won’t want to put it down.
  • Good Bones and Simple Murders by Margaret Atwood. I currently have this checked out from the library. It’s a collection of short pieces, and should be perfect for slipping in between other books.
  • Stargirl by Jerry Spinneli. Something about Dewey’s Readathon tends to make me crave middle grade and YA fiction. Should that craving strike, I’ll be prepared.
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling. Rich and I are currently rereading this one on audiobook, so there’s a chance we could find some time for this. Since we have a physical copy, it will be easy enough to keep track of the number of pages.
  • I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara. I’m also listening to this on audiobook, and should I spend any time with it this readathon, I think I can figure out the page count by looking at the table of contents on Amazon.
  • The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang. I Am Alfonso Jones by Tony Medina, Stacey Robinson, and John Jennings. SuperMutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki. The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks. Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani. Comics for the win. Of course.
  • The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey. I threw this one in the pile because I get the impression that it is gripping reading, and thus may work well to keep me awake for a bit longer before giving in to that inevitable call of the slumber gods. Back during the first couple readathons with Dewey at the helm, I fought to actually read the entire time, but these days…yeah, just doesn’t happen.

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–Cozy clothes are set out. Including socks. And backup socks.

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–Foodstuffs. I don’t think it needs to be said that this is pretty much as important as the books. Variety is key as we want to make sure we’re prepared for any mood. Rich is running out in the morning to stock us up so no picture yet, but these are some of the possibles/probables:

  • fruit salad
  • donuts
  • cheese and crackers
  • chips, rotel dip, salsa
  • nuts
  • pizza
  • coffee
  • tea
  • pop
  • lots and lots of ice water

–My reading buddies this year include both Rich and Max. Yay Max! This is akin to a miracle, if we’re being honest here. And of the non-human variety, the most likely lap buddies include one wild hound, one needy cat, and one sweet/mischievous guinea pig (not all at once, as the wild hound considers all others “lunch”).

–And finally, I’ve got my bullet journal pages set up.

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Wrap up:

–Books read in full or part:

  • Finished Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban reread with Rich. But we only had one chapter left to finish…
  • Finished The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart. Was a little less than halfway through before readathon began.
  • Started and finished Good Bones and Simple Murders by Margaret Atwood. A short story collection.
  • Started and finished I Am Alfonso Jones by Tony Medina, Stacey Robinson, and John Jennings. The best graphic novel I’ve read this year. I cried through much of it.
  • Read one small chapter of The Canon by Natalie Angier. Despite the fact that her writing is accessible and humorous, it was still incredibly slow reading for me. Not the best choice for readathon.
  • Started The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey.

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–Notes:

  • I am still and forever the slowest reader on the planet, clocking in only 648 pages, despite only sleeping for 4 hours (2:30-6:30am).
  • Unsurprisingly, I have fucked with the improvement I was starting to feel with this flare up. I knew it would happen, and I’m not going to stress about it. Also thinking I managed to catch the boys’ cold.
  • Loved having a fire for most of the day.

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  • And really loved having Rich and Max reading with me much of the time!

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  • I feel enormous amounts of gratitude to Andi and Heather for all the hard work they put into keeping Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon alive and thriving! And am grateful too, to all those who generously donate their time to help Andi and Heather. I don’t doubt for a second that Dewey would be proud of what it’s become.
  • And finally, my heart feels simultaneously full to the brim for having had Dewey as a dear friend and missing a vital piece in her absence. I will love you and miss you forever.

April’s book pool…

Just a little bit (ha!) late in posting my potential reads for April. I’d started a post at the beginning of the month and then plum forgot all about it. Damn middle aged brain. Turns out I’m actually glad I hadn’t posted it though, because I heard about the most fun readathon/challenge yesterday, so I’ve adjusted the month’s book pool accordingly. More on that after I share the portion of my book pool not associated with said fun-ness.

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*Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi.

Why: Because I just bought it and am so bloody freakin’ excited to read it.

It begins: “Pick me.”

*The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie.

Why: Another I just bought. The first of the Miss Marple series, of which I’ve read none. Annie tells me this is a good one.

It begins: “It is difficult to know quite where to begin this story, but I have fixed by choice on a certain Wednesday at luncheon at the Vicarage….”

*Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson.

Why: Again, I just bought it, and am obviously keen to read it.

It begins: “I wasn’t prepared to meet a condemned man….”

*Dawn by Octavia E. Butler.

Why: Yep, keeping that theme going–I just bought it. Lilith’s Brood actually contains three books, the first of which is Dawn.

It begins: “Alive!”

*Bygone Badass Broads: 52 Forgotten Women Who Changed the World by Mackenzi Lee.

Why: Okay, for the last time–because I just bought it. And yes that brings me to the end of the purchases made with my birthday gift cards.

It begins: “In college, I was a frustrated history major.”

*The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science by Natalie Angier.

Why: Holdover from last month. Really want to finish some of the books that I’ve already got started.

It begins: “When the second of her two children turned thirteen, my sister decided that it finally was time to let their membership lapse in two familiar family haunts: the science museum and the zoo….”

*Every Living Thing: Man’s Obsessive Quest to Catalog Life, from Nanobacteria to New Monkeys by Rob Dunn.

Why: Homeschool. And it sounds interesting.

It begins: “The idea of this book came to me in the middle of the Amazon….”

*Remarkable Plants that Shaped Our World by Helen Bynum and William Bynum.

Why: Again homeschool. And again it sounds interesting.

It begins: I have no clue, because my hold has not yet come in at the library.

*The Awakening by Kate Chopin.

Why: Homeschool. And because frankly I’m ashamed of myself for not having read this book already.

It begins: “A green and yellow parrot, which hung in a cage outside the door, kept repeating over and over: ‘Allez vous-en! Allez vous-en! Sapristi! That’s all all right!”‘

*The Ballad of the Sad Cafe by Carson McCullers.

Why: Ditto previous book.

It begins: “The town itself is dreary; not much is there except the cotton mill, the two-room houses where the workers live, a few peach trees, a church with two colored windows, and a miserable main street only a hundred yards long….”

And here is where things get super fun! I’m going to sit for my O.W.L. (Ordinary Wizarding Level) exams. 🙂  Yes, thanks to the lovely Book Roast on youtube, we can all participate in a challenge (running from April 2nd through April 29th) based on the classes at Hogwarts. The link to her introduction to the readathon/challenge is here.  In a nutshell: Choose which exams you’d like to take, and read a corresponding book. To pass with an “acceptable” you must complete two exams, with an “exceeding expectations” you must complete three exams, and with an “outstanding” you must complete five exams.” There are 12 classes you can choose to sit for their exams. And if you’re at all interested in this challenge, I encourage you to go watch the intro post–she explains it all in more detail, including how there will be N.E.W.T.s later, but you must have sat for the O.W.L. exam in your chosen subjects to take them. Not only that, but her giddy excitement is just delightful to see. 🙂

I’m not sure how many I will end up completing. In a wonderful, all-you-have-to-do-this-month-is-read world, I’d complete them all. Realistically I know that won’t happen, but I think I’ve still got plenty of time to pass with a grade of “outstanding.” I have, however, chosen a book for each of the exams…just in case. The courses and their requirements are as follows (and are followed by my particular choice of book):

  • Ancient Runes–Read a book with a symbol on the cover.

I didn’t need to search out a book for this one, because one of the books already in my tbr pool qualified. (Bygone Badass Babes by Mackenzi Lee.)

  • Arithmancy–Read a book with a number on the cover or in the title.

For this one, I’m using Zone One by Colson Whitehead, which I’ll be reading as an audiobook.

  • Astronomy–Read a science fiction novel.

Already have this one covered with Dawn by Octavia Butler.

  • Care of Magical Creatures–Read a book that includes magical creatures or features a magical creature on its cover.

I chose The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne M. Valente for this one.

  • Charms–Read a fantasy novel.

I’m choosing a reread for this one, The Sisters Grimm: The Fairy-Tale Detectives by Michael Buckley.

  • Defense Against the Dark Arts–Read a book about/featuring a secret society/club.

I’m not 100% sure this fits the subject, but from my recollections of talk about it when first came out I think it does. The book is The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart.

  • Divination–Read a book featuring prophecies.

Finally! going to read Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.

  • Herbology–Read a book with a nature related word in the title.

Already have this one covered with Remarkable Plants that Shaped Our World by Helen Bynum and William Bynum.

  • History of Magic–Read a historical fiction.

I’ve chose A Mercy by Toni Morrison for this exam.

  • Muggle Studies–Read a muggle non-fiction book.

A good excuse to move a book from last month’s tbr pool over to this month, I’m going with Pandemic by Sonia Shah.

  • Potions–Read a book about or with alchemy.

I’ve chosen The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss, which if I get to will be on audiobook.

  • Transfiguration–Read a book that deals with transfiguration/shapeshifting OR a book with a cat on the cover.

Glad she included that second option, as it allowed me to pick Tamsin by Peter S. Beagle which I’ve been meaning to read for years.

 

So there it is, another way too big tbr pool for the month. But thankfully, Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon will be happening on April 28th, just in time to squeeze in some last minute books for the month.

 

 

 

 

books read in March…

 

  • Deadly Beautiful: Vanishing Killers of the Animal Kingdom by Liana Joy Christensen. Definitely enjoyed this book. I usually prefer my natural history type book a little more focused and in-depth, but sometimes a book like this really hits the spot. Christensen divides the book into nine chapters, each focusing on a category of animals that people tend to think of as dangerous. For example, there’s a chapter on snakes and a chapter on bears and so on. And each chapter contains many small sections, each a page or two or three long, which focus on one aspect of the animal(s) in question. It’s immensely readable, light natural history, and yet still contains a lot of important information. And she is extremely respectful of all the animals, including us humans. (I’m using this book for #6–a book about nature–of Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge.)
  • My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness by Nagata Kabi. This manga memoir has an almost painful innocence to it. The author shares her story dealing with depression and eating disorders and her sexuality and her need to break away from the expectations of her parents with such openness and honesty.
  • So you want to talk about race by Ijeoma Oluo. There are so many outstanding books about race these days. Living steeped in white privilege, I don’t think it’s possible for me to read enough of them. Because honestly, the more I learn, the more I realize how much more there is to learn. I borrowed this from the library, but will *definitely* be buying a copy to own. Because not only would I like to read it again from start to finish, but Ijeoma Oluo wrote this book not just to educate but as a real practical guide to help us all be able to talk about race and racial oppression. And then she shares ways to go beyond talk to begin to dismantle the systemic racism and white supremacy in our country. I feel confident in saying this will make my best books list at the end of the year, no matter how I choose to define  best, be it “favorites” or “most important” or “unputdownable.” (I’m using this for the racism category of my dig deeper reading challenge.) A quote that I think will stick with me forever:

Often, being a person of color in white-dominated society is like being in an abusive relationship with the world. Every day is a new little hurt, a new little dehumanization. We walk around flinching, still in pain from the last hurt and dreading the next.

  • Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi. It’s hard to know what to say about this sort of memoir, a memoir by someone who witnessed and lived through such horror. While books about the inhumanity that humans are capable of are never easy to read, they are so profoundly important. Primo Levi shares meaningful insights about human nature in sharing the stories of his time in Auschwitz. And at times his writing is just so beautiful, and thus is so incongruous with the subject.
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. This is the first fiction book I read this month, which is a bit odd. It’s also odd that I made it this far into the month before deviating from my monthly tbr pool. I’ve meant to read this since it first came out and everyone was raving about it, but well, there’s that whole too-many-books-too-little-time thing. I picked it up now because Max really wants to go to the movie when it comes out. (This is one of the very few books that that reluctant reader offspring of mine has voluntarily read in the past few years.) Anyway, it was really what I needed after a string of less than happy nonfiction. I was sucked in completely by the story. And while I wouldn’t say it was perfect, I will say that I loved it in spite of the few moments that made me cringe.
  • A Human Being Died That Night: A South African Story of Forgiveness by Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela. I honestly don’t know what to say about this book, but I am glad I finally read it. And I suspect much of what Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela discussed will stick with me and leave me pondering for a long time. She writes this book from the perspective of a clinical psychologist and a person who served on South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission and a black woman who grew up under apartheid and a human being. She tells of her meetings in prison with Eugene de Kock, who commanded the state-sanctioned death squads. But it’s not really a book about his horrendous actions so much as it’s a book about how people move forward after overwhelming atrocities. She makes a case for empathy and forgiveness. As unfathomable as that sounds on the surface. (I’m using this book for #5–a book set in one of the five BRICS countries–of Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge.)

…There were times when he described details of his violent past with a vividness that was frightening. He had belonged to a world that created violence, I to a world that was the object of this violence; he belonged to a world where morality meant the same thing as hate, and I to a world that knew the difference. Our worlds were the black and white of lies and truth, and yet as de Kock spoke, the boundaries of our worlds did not always seem so clear.

  • Good Bones by Maggie Smith. A collection of poetry that shares the fierce, protective nature of motherhood and the anxiety that comes from living in this world. As is the case with most poetry collections, not every poem resonated with me in quite the same way or with quite the same intensity. Yet still this collection felt so very cohesive. A few of these poems will sit in my soul for eternity, and to ask any more from a poetry collection seems greedy. A few lines from one of my favorites, “Let’s Not Begin”:

I’m trying, I am. For her.

If list everything I love

about the world, and if the list

is long and heavy enough,

I can lift it over and over–

repetitions, they’re called, reps

to keep my heart on, to keep

the dirt off. Let’s begin

with bees, and the hum,

and the honey singing

on my tongue, and the child

sleeping at last, and, and, and

  • Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines edited by Alexis Pauline Gumbs, China Martens, and Mai’a Williams. This essay anthology was so awesome. Written by a variety of marginalized women, every essay had something to teach me. I found myself in turns awed and broken-hearted and humbled. There were points made and stories told that I so very much related to, but there were more times when I found myself schooled about things that my white privilege had allowed me not to see. While it’s true that I am a mother, I don’t think one needs to be to benefit from these essays. I truly loved this book hard. Thanks Bina, for bringing it to my attention! (I’m using this book for #22–an essay anthology–of Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge.)
  • Queer: A Graphic History by Meg-John Baker and Julia Scheele. An excellent introductory book on queer theory. While it contains a lot of information, it is extremely accessible. I not only enjoyed this a great deal, I definitely also learned quite a bit. (I’m using this for the red spine of my reading the rainbow challenge, and for the racism category of my dig deeper reading challenge.)
  • 11/22/63 by Stephen King. Enjoyed this one more than I expected to. Honestly not sure why, but this is one of King’s books that never called out to me. I think it’s the time travel thing–I tend to let my head get tied up in tangled knots when it comes to time travel. Anyway, I ended up loving this book! As is always the case with King’s books, it’s the characters who steal the show for me. He writes what I usually consider thoroughly compelling, page-turning stories…but still it’s the authentic, flawed, lovable or hatable characters who make me treasure his books. I cried probably half a dozen times for the characters in 11/22/63. Not that this is unusual for me, but a book that makes me care enough to bring tears generally earns a few extra points from me. (Thank you, Michelle, for urging me to pick this one up this month!)
  • Binti  by Nnedi Okorafor. This little novella was a taste of pure sci-fi fun. It felt so fresh. Sometimes a novella feels more like a short novel and sometimes more like a long short story. This felt more like the latter to me. I’m not even sure if that makes sense outside my head. Anyway, I am looking forward to spending more time with Binti in the next two books in the series. (Using this for #15–a one-sitting book–of Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge.)

Eleven books for March, down from the both January and February, but still pretty good for me. For some reason my reading really slowed down toward the end of the month. So You Want to Talk About Race and Revolutionary Mothering were my favorites, and in a very different way, I really loved 11/22/63 as well. And there wasn’t a single book that I didn’t enjoy, so I’m calling it another great month!

Some random thoughts:

  • Marginalized voices made up just over half of my reading, which disappoints me a bit, as I’d like that percentage to be higher. (5 books by authors of color, 3 by lgbtq+ authors, and one disabled+ author, obviously with some overlap)
  • I seem to have been on a non-fiction kick this month, though it wasn’t deliberate. 8 of the 11 books I read were non-fiction. Nature, memoir, poetry, social justice.
  • One audiobook. Nine physical books. And 11/22/63 I read partly as a physical book, but then broke down and bought the ebook because I was having too hard a time holding the massive hardback.
  • Five were from my own shelves, one I borrowed from Max, four were from the library, and the audiobook of Binti was from Scribd (which I just rejoined when I heard they’d gone back to unlimited books).
  • A book of poetry and a book of essays this month. Two graphic nonfictions.
  • As I’ve mentioned before, I sort of suck at assigning genre, but I think all three of the fiction books I read this month could be classified as sci-fi. That is definitely not the norm for me.
  • The longest book for me this month was 11/22/63, at 849 pages in the hardback version. And the shortest was Binti, at 96 pages in the paperback version (though I listened to the audiobook).

my extensive book pool for March…

No, I do not actually believe I will read all of these books this month. I won’t even come close. But making this TBR pool is just for fun–not some kind of means of cracking the whip. I won’t even guarantee I’ll stick strictly to this list; if my moods take me in completely different directions, so be it.

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(The couple not shown are ebooks.)

But this is a pile of books that are currently calling to me:

*Deadly Beautiful: Vanishing Killers of the Animal Kingdom by Liana Joy Christensen.

Why: Because I’ve already started it and am frankly enjoying the hell out of it.

It begins: “Personally, I always thought it was far more sensible to fear bees than sharks….”

*Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi.

Why: Technically for homeschooling. But I’ve wanted to read it for quite some time. It will be my first of Levi’s books.

It begins: “It was my good fortune to be deported to Auschwitz only in 1944, that is, after the German Government had decided, owing to the growing scarcity of labour, to lengthen the average lifespan of the prisoners destined for elimination; it conceded noticeable improvements in the camp routine and temporarily suspended killings at the whim of individuals.”

*A Human Being Died That Night: A South African Story of Forgiveness by Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela.

Why: It was years ago that this book came to my attention through Eva, and I knew it was a book I needed to read. I finally thought of it during a library visit, and searched it out.

It begins: As I drove the last half-mile of the road that leads to South Africa’s notorious Pretoria Central Prison, I felt a dread unlike any I had felt in my earlier visits….”

*Stage Fright by Ellen Hart.

Why: Because I read the first two in this series in February and am still quite keen to read more of Jane’s sleuthing adventures.

It begins: “Torald Werness was annoyed….”

*A Killing Cure by Ellen Hart.

Why: It follows Stage Fright in the series, and I happened to see it at the library so I grabbed it.

It begins: “It was just the kind of evening Charlotte Fortnum loved….”

*Eating Wildly: foraging for Life, Love and the Perfect Meal by Ava Chin.

Why: Impulse grab from the library shelves.

It begins: “I am walking along a secluded wooded path in a park in Brooklyn–my favorite place to forage for wild edibles in the city….”

 *Queer: A Graphic History by Meg-John Barker and Julia Scheele.

Why: Bought this one this Christmas money, and I can’t wait any longer to read it.

It begins: “Writing an introduction to queer theory poses something of a challenge….”

*The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science by Natalie Angier.

Why: I started this book years ago, and I was really enjoying it, but it got set aside due to other obligations. I’d really like to finally finish it. Luckily each chapter covers a different topic, so there won’t be any need for me to start the book over.

It begins: “When the second of her two children turned thirteen, my sister decided that it finally was time to let their membership lapse in two familiar family haunts: the science museum and the zoo….”

*Pandemic: Tracking Contagions, from Cholera to Ebola and Beyond by Sonia Shah.

Why: Because I just love reading about infectious disease. And I loved Shah’s book The Fever.

It begins: “Cholera kills people fast….”

*Sula by Toni Morrison.

Why: Hanging my head in shame, I must admit that I have not yet read anything by Toni Morrison and that needs to be changed.

It begins: “In that place, where they tore the nightshade and blackberry patches from their roots to make room for the Medallion City Golf Course, there was once a neighborhood….”

*I Have the Right to Destroy Myself by Young-Ha Kim.

Why: It’s on my list for the Official 2018 TBR Pile Challenge, and I’m already a little behind on that.

It begins: “I’m looking at Jacques-Louis David’s 1793 oil painting, The Death of Marat, printed in an art book….”

*Food & Spirits by Beth Brant.

Why: I missed having a short story collection in my reading last month. And Beth Brant is one of my favorite short story writers in the world.

It begins: “Her face is wide, innocent, clear….”

*Deep Secret by Diana Wynne Jones.                                                                                         

Why: For Kristen’s #marchmagics event, which celebrates the works of Diana Wynne Jones and Terry Pratchett.

It begins: “I may as well start with some of our deep secrets because this account will not be easy to understand without them.”

*The Merlin Conspiracy by Diana Wynne Jones.

Why: It’s the sequel to Deep Secret.

It begins: “I have been with the Court all my life traveling with the King’s Progress.”

*Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett.

Why: Also for #marchmagics.

It begins: “This is a story about magic and where it goes and perhaps more importantly where it comes from and why, although it doesn’t pretend to answer all or any of these questions.”

*The Gender Games: The Problem With Men and Women…From Someone Who Has Been Both by Juno Dawson.

Why: Just one of those books that I’ve wanted to read since I first heard of it on Simon’s youtube channel, SavageReads. It’s one of the books I bought this morning with the Barnes&Noble gift cards I got for my birthday.

It begins: “It was a balmy, sticky night in mid-July, the type of weather Yorkshire calls ‘close’.”

*Don’t Call Us Dead by Danez Smith.

Why: It sounds so incredible, and I’m in the mood for some poetry.

It begins: “somewhere, a sun….”

*Good Bones by Maggie Smith.

Why: As I said, I’m in the mood for poetry. And I just received this from my dear friend Chris as a not-birthday gift.

It begins: “It’s only technically morning….”

*My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness by Nagata Kabi.

Why: Because my library hold finally came in–yay!

It begins: “Here I am, twenty-eight years old….”

*So you want to talk about race by Ijeoma Oluo.

Why: Again, because my library hold finally came in–and again yay!

It begins: “As a black woman, race has always been a prominent part of my life….”

*11/22/63 by Stephen King.

Why: Okay, so I had totally planned to stop at 20, I really truly did. In fact, if I’d been able to pick up my library holds last evening instead of waiting for Rich to pick them up on his way home today, I would already have published this and not had a chance to add this one. (I haven’t because I want the first lines from those holds.) So what happens today–I discover a new-to-me book tuber (Liv J Hooper) whom I’ve fallen in love with so I’ve been doing a bit of a binge while I clean and type up some stuff for school. And despite the fact that I’ve had this book on my shelf since it first came out, listening to her talk about it was really the first time I’ve been tempted to actually pick it up. So what the hell, to the pile it goes.

It begins: “I have never been what you’d call a crying man.”

Yeah, guess I’d better get reading here…

 

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books read in February…

 

 

  • The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris. I enjoyed this book, as I enjoyed Red Dragon when I read it last year. The stories are well told and compelling and suspenseful. At times I found myself caught off guard by a the beautiful way Harris would write something. Surprised because I don’t really expect beautiful writing in a suspense/thriller/serial killer type of book. All that said, I have a big problem with these stories–between the two books, there have been three different serial killers. And two of them had some sort of deformity. This is just NOT okay. This linking of “bad/evil/etc.” with deformity or disfigurement or disability needs to effing stop. So yeah, I enjoyed these books, but they are also extremely problematic. (I used this for the serial killers category of my dig deeper reading challenge.)
  • Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur Volume 1: BFF, Volume 2: Cosmic Cooties, and Volume 3: The Smartest There Is by Amy Reeder, Brandon Montclare, and Natacha Bustos. Oh my gosh–I can’t believe I haven’t heard more about this comic. I found it positively delightful! Lunella Lafayette is a brilliant nine-year-old girl with spunk and determination…and a major worry. She knows she carries the Inhuman gene and wants nothing more than to find a way to avoid being turned into Inhuman. She finds a device that she thinks could possibly stop it, but when it is accidentally activated I time portal is opened and her new best friend arrives. Though it is not clear at all to Lunella (tauntingly called Moon Girl by her classmates) at first that Devil Dinosaur is anything but a terrifying trouble-maker. This comic has pretty much completely charmed me, and I cannot wait to see what adventures these new best friends will encounter.
  • Saga Volume Eight by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples. Not sure what else to say about this series, other than I think it just gets better and better. My only complaint is that I have to wait for the next volume…
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander. This book floored me. The breadth of my ignorance about how completely fucked up our criminal justice system and the War on Drugs is astounded me. Of all those books we tend to label “should be required reading,” this book should be at the top of that list. I honestly believe every person in the United States, if they care even one iota about justice, should make this book a priority. (Yay–first book knocked off my Official 2018 TBR Pile Challenge list. Also used this as my book for #14–a book of social science–of Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge and for the prison category of my dig deeper reading challenge.)
  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. This book was the perfect companion to The New Jim Crow. In a personal letter written to his son, we get a glimpse of what it is like to be a black man in a country that refuses to see black men as human. I know that I cannot truly know what it is like to live in skin that isn’t “white,” and that makes it all the more important for me to listen to as many black and brown voices that I can. (Used this for the racism category of my dig deeper reading challenge.)
  • Tender Points by Amy Berkowitz. This is a painful book. And a book about pain. Chronic physical pain. And emotional traumatic pain. Fibromyalgia, rape, patriarchy. Prose poetry. Small vignettes. Her story is my story, but her story is very different from my story. A reminder of the importance of many stories. (Using this for the indigo spine in my reading the rainbow challenge, for the chronic/invisible illness sufferer category in my identities reading challenge, and for the invisible illnesses category in my dig deeper reading challenge.)
  • Blackout by Mira Grant. The final in the Newsflesh trilogy. While I am glad to have finished the series, I can’t claim to have loved this volume as much as the first. Though I did enjoy it more than the second. The excessive repetition that got to me in the second book continued to annoy me in Blackout, but I found myself more drawn into the story again. Grant definitely writes a unique, compelling story, but as with the Parasitology trilogy, I think she drags them out too much. But that is very likely just me–while there are definitely series I adore (hello, Chaos Walking trilogy), I generally tend to prefer stand-alone books…and my feelings about both these trilogies may well be a consequence of that preference.
  • Hallowed Murder by Ellen Hart. Okay, so if I’m not a fan of series, why the hell did I go and start another one? lol. But this is not the trilogy sort of series that tells one bigger story, but is more of an episodic mystery type series. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and hope to read more. I love Jane Lawless, our amateur lesbian sleuth. And her best friend Cordelia is the sort of person who would completely intimidate me in real life, but I found her sort of fun despite her grouchiness. Not without its problematic moments, however: selling humps to be worn at a Richard III party and some fat stereotyping. Also, Trigger Warning for rape. I *truly* wish someone would have spoken up a bit more vehemently when it came to the aftermath of this rape (don’t want to say more for fear of spoilers). So yeah, it definitely wasn’t perfect, but I enjoyed it and am hopeful that some of these types of problems will disappear in later books. *fingers crossed* (Used this for #21–a mystery by a person of color or an lgbtq+ author–of Book Riot’s Read Harder challenge.)
  • An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. Oh my god–I loved this book! I don’t tend to read a lot of general/realistic/literary fiction, but this book might just change that. I certainly want to pick up every book Jones has written! It’s a story of injustice and a story of love and a story of heartache and a story of family and a story of people trying so hard not to hurt people they love but finding no way around it and a story of trying to hold onto the past and a story of looking ahead to the future and a story of maybe just maybe learning to live in the present. (Used for the “nationality” category in the What’s in a Name? challenge, for #13–an Oprah Book Club selection–of Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge, and for the prison category of my dig deeper challenge.)
  • Orange: The Complete Collection, Volumes 1 and 2 by Ichigo Takano. This was such a sweet, sweet manga. I seriously just wanted to hug these books. The group of six friends in this story were just so easy to love, so kind and caring of one another. It was not a story without sadness, however. Trigger warning for suicide. (Used for the “fruit or vegetable” category of the What’s in a Name? challenge and the “orange” title in my reading the rainbow challenge.)
  • Vital Lies by Ellen Hart. The second in the Jane Lawless series. Again, I very much enjoyed. In this episode, Jane and Cordelia are spending the week of the winter solstice and Christmas at an old restored Victorian style inn owned by an old friend of Jane’s. Odd, frightening events have been occurring at the inn for the last two months, and her friend Leigh is hoping that Jane can help her get to the bottom of things.
  • Ghost World by Daniel Clowes. I can’t be the only person silly enough to hoard away books they’re sure they will love until that “perfect moment.” Or maybe I am. Who knows. Anyway, the reasonable portion of my brain tries to tell me that this is downright ridiculous, that I should read those books that I’m sure I’ll love now instead of saving them for some mythical perfect time. This book gave that reasonable brain portion more ammunition…but in a totally unexpected way. Turns out that I haven’t been denying myself the pleasure of this book for all those years it sat on my shelves–instead I found that I’ve been letting it take up valuable real estate for no good reason. It may be that I just had this book so built up in my mind, but damn, talk about disappointed! I was completely underwhelmed. Oh well, you win some-you love lose some, right?

Fifteen books. That’s a pretty high number for me. Granted almost half were comics as it was #comicsfebruary. Two months in a row with much higher than usual number of books read. And again, the thing that really matters–quality–was definitely not lacking. The New Jim Crow is possibly the most important book I’ve ever read; it’s definitely in the very top few. I discovered Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, a comic series that totally makes my heart happy. And also discovered, thanks to Memory, a fun new mystery series featuring lesbian sleuth Jane Lawless. I became an instant fan of Tayari Jones with An American Marriage. So yeah, I’m feeling good about February’s reading.

Sort of random notes:

  • Marginalized voices made up far more than half of my reading, so hooray for that! (8 books by authors or artists of color, 3 by lqbtq+ authors, 1 disabled+ author)
  • Three of the books I read were nonfiction. I’m a terribly slow reader, and tend to read nonfiction even slower, so I’m okay with this ratio. Honestly I guess I don’t care how much nonfiction I read, as long as I’m reading some.
  • I listened to one audiobook and read four ebooks (which includes the three Dino Girl comic collections)–I will probably always lean more towards the physical book.
  • Only six of the books I read were from my own shelves–I would really like that percentage to be higher. I did at least give away two of the books from my shelves after reading them so that’s something.
  • Seven comics, one book of prose-poetry, one book a letter from a father to his son.
  • I sort of suck at assigning genre, but of the fiction–mystery, sci-fi, dystopia, and general fiction were all represented. Nonfiction was largely social justice.
  • Seven new-to-me authors.

 

books read in January…

 

 

  • My Soul to Keep by Tananarive Due. The first in her African Immortals series. Eva asked me if this was her “vampire” book, and I was a bit confused because I never once thought vampire while reading it. But I guess once mentioned, I can see it. If this is Due’s take on vampires, its a very unique one. And it was a very enjoyable read for me. While I’m generally not a big fan of series, I suspect I’ll eventually continue on with this one. I think the territory we’ll be heading into will be quite fresh as there is really no going back. Due’s characters feel authentic, and the story moves along at a nice, if slightly uneven pace. The suspenseful parts of the story are great. If supernatural-type stories were my passion, she would almost certainly be one of my favorite authors.  This is the second of Due’s books that I’ve read (the other being The Between), and I think it’s safe to say that she’s an author I trust for a well-told, unique and interesting story.
  • Koko Be Good by Jen Wang. I loved the art in this book–Wang is amazing with facial expression. And the overall story was quite sweet and charming, but not in a sappy, saccharine way–in fact, it had quite a bit of bite to it, and I really appreciated that. But ultimately this was somewhat of a meh book for me. I found it hard to follow at times, and found myself wishing for a little more depth. While this might have been more of a miss than a hit for me, I suspect many others would completely disagree. (Used for #18–a comic that isn’t published by Marvel, DC, or Image–of Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge.)
  • The Decagon House Murders by Yukito Ayatsuji, translated by Ho-Ling Wong. With a definite nod to Christie’s And Then There Were None, this was quite the fun little locked room murder mystery. A group of students from a university Mystery Club, all of whom go by nicknames of famous mystery writers from the past, set off to spend a week on an island with a notorious past. There is no way to contact the mainland (yep, pre-cell phone days), and sure enough, one by one, they’re picked off in various and sundry ways. And I fully admit that I did not figure it out. (Used for the “shape” category in the What’s in a Name? challenge and for #19–a book of genre fiction in translation–of Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge.)
  • Becoming Naomi León by Pam Muñoz Ryan. Oh my goodness, this book is such a treasure! Loved it hard. I sometimes forget how much I can adore middle grade books. The characters, the story, the writing…all of it, just perfect in my opinion. (Used for yellow spine category for my Reading the Rainbow challenge.)
  • Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge. This book was excellent! It begins with a chapter on race relations in the U.K. and illustrates how this history continues to inform the present. There are wonderful chapters on the intersections between race and gender and class. I highlighted so many passages in this book to return to. But honestly, I think it would be worth my while to read the entire book again. (Used for identity I don’t hold–black woman–of my identities reading challenge and for racism category of my dig deeper reading challenge.)
  • The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld. After watching Amanda’s youtube video about her favorite read of 2017, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book. And I’m so grateful that I did. This is a book full of brutality. The brutality isn’t spelled out in graphic detail, but somehow that just makes it infinitely more powerful. It is a story of broken systems and broken people. Set in a prison, we meet death row inmates, a woman hired to help try to get death sentences commuted for inmates, the warden, a fallen priest. No one is whole and all are human. I think the author’s choice to leave the vast majority of the characters unnamed was also a powerful one. And all of it is told in such beautiful language…and this somehow makes the book all the more unsettling. (Used for prison category of my dig deeper reading challenge.)
  • If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson. Oh. My. Goodness. What a little treasure of a book. Thus far I’ve only read a few of Woodson’s books, but every single one I have read has been wonderful. A heart-breaking, heart-expanding story of first love. Honestly, I want to pick it right back up and read it again right now. (Used for #10–a romance novel by or about a person of color–of Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge and for racism category of my dig deeper reading challenge.)
  • Zodiac by Robert Graysmith. I don’t read nearly as much true crime as I once did. And quite honestly, this book didn’t make me want to change that. The first half of the book felt much stronger than the latter chapters. And to some extent that’s just the nature of the Zodiac story, where so much is still unknown to this day. But to some extent, it also felt to me that the writing in the later part of the book didn’t feel as tight and well-organized. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me. But overall the book just failed to wow me. (Used for the starts with the letter “z” category in the What’s in a Name? challenge and for #2–a book of true crime–of Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge and for serial killers category of my dig deeper reading challenge.)
  • The Illustrated Treasury of Fairy Tales designed by Rita Marshall. This book collects a dozen fairly tales from a variety of sources (Grimm, Perrault, Andersen, and more) and pairs each with a different artist. The result is wonderful. I admit that I wasn’t fond of all of the art styles, but I think that is part of the charm–there’s bound to be selections to please nearly everyone. These are a few examples from my favorites:IMG_3003From “Beauty and the Beast” illustrated by Swiss artist Etienne Delessert.

IMG_3005From “Hansel & Gretel” illustrated by Swiss artist Monique Felix.

IMG_3007From “The Fisherman & His Wife” illustrated by Canadian illustrator John Howe.

IMG_3009From “The Fir Tree” with photographs by Swiss artist Marcel Imsand.

(Used for fairy tale category of my dig deeper reading challenge.)

  • Feed by Mira Grant. This book sucked me right in, I tell you. But then I’m a total sucker for post-apocolyptic/dystopian reads. I previously read Grant’s Parasitology trilogy, and figured it was time to give the Newsflesh trilogy a go. I adored this book every bit as much as I loved Parasite (the first book in the Parasitology trilogy)…and obviously this is a good thing. And I plan to continue with this series, but I do so with the realization that the following books may not hold up to the initial one, as that’s what happened for me with the Parasite books. (Not that I disliked the remainder of the series, just that I didn’t love them with a passion like I did the first book.) Grant writes a unique story, which probably isn’t easy to do in the wealth of zombie stories out there. And she makes me care deeply about her characters. There were tears. (Used for #17–a sci-fi novel with a female protagonist by a female author–of Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge. And for identity I do hold–bisexual–of my identities reading challenge.)
  • Rats: Observations on the History & Habitat of the City’s Most Unwanted Inhabitants by Robert Sullivan. While I largely enjoyed this book, it wasn’t quite what I had hoped for. Which is solely my fault, not the fault of the book. I was hoping for a lot more natural history, but if I’d have paid attention to the subtitle I should known better than to expect that. I certainly learned a lot about quirky little bits of NYC history. While I wouldn’t call the writing dry by any means, I also can’t claim that it possesses that engaging quality that makes some non-fiction so unputdownable. Overall, I’m not sorry I read it, but neither do I feel I would have been missing out had I not. (Used for the “word ‘the’ used twice” category in the What’s in a Name? challenge.)
  • The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night by Jen Campbell. I need a new word to describe the stories in this book. Because if the perfect word already exists, I simply don’t know it. These stories are magical and lyrical and whimsical and delightful…and yet. And yet there is a darkness to them. And sometimes a heartbreaking sadness. And that combination is so compelling. It’s been a while since I’ve loved a short story collection quite this much.
  • Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet, Books One-Three by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Brian Stelfreeze. I’m not extremely well-versed in the Marvel Universe, and have not before been introduced to Black Panther or Wakanda. But I enjoyed this series a lot, and would now like to go back and read some of the earlier chronology. (Used for #8–a comic written or illustrated by a person of color–of Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge.)
  • Black Panther: World of Wakanda by Roxane Gay, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Alitha E. Martinez, and Roberto Poggi. Okay, as much as I enjoyed A Nation Under Our Feet, it doesn’t compare to the love I had for this one! Because Aneka and Ayo! *swoon* I’d like to say that I can’t believe that this series was cancelled…but yeah, sadly, of course I can.
  • “A Problem from Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide by Samantha Power. It probably goes without saying that this wasn’t the easiest book in the world. But it can be said that it’s an important book and a powerful book. It’s quite a well researched book and Power lays it out in a clear, accessible way. I’m grateful that I finally made the time to pick this book back up and read it in its entirety. (Used for #24–an assigned book you hated or never finished–of Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge. And technically this is cheating–it’s a book I assigned to Gray for homeschooling but never finished myself because other things got in the way…but I’m pretty sure I finished all my assigned books from decades ago when I was in school.)
  • Deadline by Mira Grant. The second in the Newsflesh trilogy. Another fast-paced compelling read, but for me it ultimately fell short of the awesomeness of Feed. I found myself a little irritated by some of the repetition. And I literally rolled my eyes at the ending. If Grant doesn’t come through with a believable explanation of that in the third book, I am going to be seriously disappointed. And yes, I will be reading the third book.

Wow–I realize eighteen books read in a month is peanuts to some people, but it’s a stellar month for me! But of course what really made it stellar was the quality–I really read a lot of books I truly loved.

Random notes:

  • Marginalized voices made up more than half of my reading, and that definitely makes me happy…though I’d like it to make up even more. (10 books by authors of color, 5 by lgbtq+ authors, 1 by disabled/disfigured author–there is some overlap)
  • Four of my eighteen reads were non-fiction. I’m okay with that ratio.
  • I listened to three audiobooks, which might be a record for me. I often go months between audiobooks. I also read one ebook, which while not rare is not exactly common for me either.
  • Ten books were from my own shelves, and most of those I’ve owned for more than a couple years, so hooray for knocking down the physical TBR pile a bit. And I gave four of them away after reading them, so yay that too.
  • Five of the books were comics. One was a fairy tale collection. One was a short story collection.

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49×4 dip deeper challenge…

Yep, yet another personal challenge. Forty-nine topics/four books each. Both fiction and nonfiction allowed. No time limit.

The topics, with books filled in as read:

  • American imperialism
  • beverages
  • birds
  • bisexuality
  • Burma
  • climate change
  • colonialism/post-colonialism
  • death
  • effects of war
  • endangered species
  • epidemics
  • evolution
  • fairy tales
  1. The Illustrated Treasury of Fairy Tales designed by Rita Marshall (January 2018)
  • garbage
  • gardening
  • fat
  • Haiti
  • hiking
  • HIV/AIDS
  • human trafficking
  • immigrant experience
  • India
  • insects
  • in the courtroom
  • invisible illness

1. Tender Points by Amy Berkowitz (February 2018)

  • Madagascar
  • Native Americans/First Nations
  • natural history
  • OCD
  • parasites
  • Palestine
  • plants
  • poverty/classism
  • prison
  1. The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld (January 2018)
  2. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander (February 2018)
  3. An American Marriage by Tayari Jones (February 2018)
  • racism
  1. Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge (January 2018)
  2. If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson (January 2018)
  3. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (February 2018)
  • sea creatures
  • serial killers
  1. Zodiac by Robert Graysmith (January 2018)
  2. The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris (February 2018)
  • sex
  • the arctic
  • the Great Lakes
  • the human body
  • the Yugoslav wars
  • transgender
  • travel
  • trees
  • Victorian life
  • water
  • winter
  • women in science

identity reading challenge…

This is another personal reading challenge I’m giving myself, inspired by a post at Book Riot. I am picking 10 personal identities that influence how I see the world and 10 identities that are not mine. And then hope to read a book by an author with each of those identities. Many of my potential reads are nonfiction, but there are some fiction choices mixed in as well. This might just be the challenge I’m most excited about.

Categories and potential reads:

Identities that influence how I see the world–

Anxiety sufferer: 

  • Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
  • Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety by Daniel Smith

Atheist:

  • Nothing: Something to Believe In by Nica Lalli
  • The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins

Bisexual: *completed*

  • An Untamed State by Roxane Gay
  • Feed by Mira Grant
  • Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution by Shiri Eisner

Chronic illness/invisible illness sufferer *completed* (for me that is endometriosis, fibromyalgia, IBS, but author need not have same constellation of illnesses):

Environmentalist:

  • The Rarest of the Rare by Diane Ackerman
  • Arctic Voices edited by Subhankar Banerjee

Fat:

  • Dietland by Sarai Walker
  • Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living by Jes Baker

Maker:

  • 52 Projects: Random Acts of Everyday Creativity by Jeffrey Yamaguchi
  • How to Be an Explorer of the World by Keri Smith

Mother:

  • Of Woman Born by Adrienne Rich
  • The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson

Rape victim/survivor:

  • All the Rage by Courtney Summers (I don’t know if Courtney Summers is a rape victim/survivor herself, but from all I’ve heard, this is a powerful book about rape culture, so I’m including it as a possible read.)
  • Lucky by Alice Sebold

Woman:

  • A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
  • I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron

Identities I do not hold–

Asexual:

  • Viral Airwaves by Claudie Arseneault
  • The Bone People by Keri Hulme

Autistic:

  • Born on a Blue Day by Daniel Tammet
  • On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis

Black Woman: *completed*

Immigrant:

  • The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir by Thi Bui
  • The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears by Dinaw Mengestu

Latinx:

  • When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago
  • Before We Were Free by Julia Alvarez

Muslim:

  • The Unquiet Dead by Ausma Zehanat Khan
  • The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid

Native American:

  • Food & Spirits by Beth Brant
  • Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich

Polyamorous:

  • Love You Two by Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli
  • Queer: A Graphic History by Meg-John Barker

Transgender:

  • Redefining Realness by Janet Mock
  • She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders by Jennifer Finney Boylan
  • The Gender Games by Juno Dawson

Veteran:

  • Battling the Storm Within by Stephanie J. Shannon
  • Love My Rifle More than You: Young and Female in the U.S. Army by Kayla Williams

 

 

 

reading the rainbow…

Just a personal reading challenge. In two parts:

1. read a book that contains in its title one of the colors of the rainbow (7 books total)

2. read one book whose spine represents each of the colors of the rainbow (7 books total)

Categories and potential reads:

“Red” in title:

  • The Red Tree by Caitlin R. Kiernan
  • Red Rosa by Kate Evans
  • Chasing Redbird by Sharon Creech

“Orange” in title: *completed*

“Yellow” in title:

  • Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Yellowcake by Margo Lanagan

“Green” in title:

  • Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
  • Freaky Green Eyes by Joyce Carol Oates
  • Green Grass, Running Water by Thomas King
  • Green Witch by Alice Hoffman

“Blue” in title:

  • The Bluest Eye  by Toni Morrison
  • Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie
  • Born on a Blue Day by Daniel Tammet
  • Blue Covenant by Maude Barlow

“Indigo” in title: 

  • Indigo’s Star by Hilary McKay
  • Sassafrass, Cypress, & Indigo by Ntozake Shange

“Violet” in title:

  • Violet & Claire by Francesca Lia Block
  • The Purple Violet of Oshaantu by Neshani Andreas

Red spine:

  • Sula by Toni Morrison
  • Troublemaker and Other Saints by Christina Chiu
  • Family by Ed Sanders
  • Queer: A Graphic History by Dr. Meg-John Barker and Julia Scheele

Orange spine:

  • Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
  • The Coming Plague by Laurie Garrett
  • Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan
  • Birdology by Sy Montgomery

Yellow spine: *completed*

  • Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros
  • The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
  • The Armless Maiden: And Other Tales for Childhood’s Survivors edited by Terri Windling
  • Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
  • Becoming Naomi Leon by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Green spine: 

  •  Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
  • All Families Are Psychotic by Douglas Coupland
  • Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas by Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks
  • Still Missing by Chevy Stevens

Blue spine:

  • The Diving Pool by Yoko Ogawa
  • War Dance by Sherman Alexie
  • I Hadn’t Meant to Tell You This by Jacqueline Woodson
  • Asleep by Banana Yoshimoto

Indigo spine: *completed*

  • The True Deceiver by Tove Jansson
  • Wild Seed by Octavia Butler
  • Living, Loving and Lying Awake at Night by Sindiwe Magona
  • The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
  • Tender Points by Amy Berkowitz

Violet spine:

  • Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Tell No Tales by Eleanor Taylor Brown
  • Nocturnes by John Connolly
  • Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters