February Mini-Review Recap

Alright, I guess February wasn’t a COMPLETE fail. I read some… just not as much as I wanted to. Work got really busy, and between that and missing the honeyman all the time, I needed bigger distractions than books. Like Friends, The Flash, and Borderlands 2. And sleep. So let’s see what I read… I didn’t do reviews for most of these yet, because I’ve been busy and lazy, but I may do them sometime this month if I feel so compelled.

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PRO: Reclaiming Abortion Rights by Katha Pollitt – Basically a wonderful reminder that hey! Abortion is NOT a bad word, or a bad thing. Love it, recommend it.

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Half-Resurrection Blues by Daniel Jose Older – First book in the Bone Street Rumba series, and I am already excited for whenever the next one comes out. If you’ve read Salsa Nocturna, this is a book series focusing on the main character of those short stories, Carlos. It takes place before the events in Salsa Nocturna, and I kind of loved seeing characters I was already familiar with popping up and being introduced to Carlos. Mr. Older is going to be a favorite fantasy author.

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An Untamed State by Roxane Gay – Alright, so this has been a very popular book, and I just finished a few nights ago at like midnight. I can’t say I loved it – it’s about a woman being kidnapped and horribly raped, so it’d be weird to say I really liked it. And besides that – something about it didn’t really click for me. It was sad, and outrageous, and tragic, and ultimately hopeful – but I didn’t feel really sucked into the story. It was a good book, and I’m looking forward to more from Gay.

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Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit – Another one I have mixed feelings about. This is a collection of essays, all surrounding the topic of how women have been silenced by men, in various ways. Some essays were really great and packed a punch – others fell a little flat. Overall, it was a good read and made me slightly more aware of the discreet, underhanded ways in which men undermine women.

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March: Book One by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin – This is kind of a graphic memoir, of which there will be more (I think Book Two is already out). It’s written by Congressman John Lewis, and recounts his personal life and growing up during the civil rights movement – taking part in sit-ins, listening to MLK Jr. give speeches. I found Book One really captivating and heartbreaking, and I’m looking forward to reading the next books. For the sake of the stats below, I’m counting this one in the comics part.

 

STATS – BOOKS

Books read: 4

Female authors: 3 (75%)

Non-white authors: 2 (50%)

Format breakdown: 2 print, 2 e-book, and 0 audiobooks

STATS – COMICS (including writers and illustrators)

Issues read: 33

Female authors/illustrators: 9

Non-white authors/illustrators: 12

Format breakdown: 27 print, 5 e-book

 

Still not doing too bad on the stats front! I’m surprised I didn’t finish my audiobook, because it was only 6 hours long, but I still have 2 hours left of it so I’ll finish it this month. It’s a good audiobook, but I listen to podcasts too, and music, and I only drive to and from work so many times during the month…

Anyways, those are some tiny blurbs about the things I read. Most of them were good, and hopefully I’ll get around to doing more in-depth reviews… we’ll see. Thoughts? Suggestions?

~Sarah

Sarah Sunday…

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Heyyyy, everyone. Long time, no type.

February was flipping ridiculous. I’m so glad to be done with it. First month without the honeyman and working about 50 hours a week was a bad combination, I think. Let’s see…

  • I’ve had three cold sores in the last month. I had gone YEARS without one beforehand.
  • I seem to have developed a lovely predisposition to heartburn.
  • Sleep kind of sucks. I can fall asleep, because I’m tired, but it wasn’t really restful.
  • Apparently my body physically doesn’t handle stress or overwork as well without the honeyman. My body is a jerk.
  • This has been my default setting:

blank stare

  • I haven’t been reading much. I only read 4 books last month. This is partly a time thing – I was barely actually taking my lunches at work, and even then I didn’t feel like reading anything lengthy, so I read a bunch of comics this month. They suck me in, but in small intervals and yeah… they’ve just worked out better for me lately. I immediately failed at the War and Peace readalong. I started and stopped some other books, and it’s hard for me to start a book right now and let myself get sucked into it completely.
  • Therefore, I’ve also been playing more video games. They’re AWESOME for distraction purposes. And running around in Borderlands 2 blowing shit up and whatnot is fun. I can focus completely on the game and not have anything else running through my head. And it’s noisy, so the house isn’t so damn quiet. Plus, I did want to finish some games while the honeyman is away, so you know… progress?
  • On the plus side – it’s March! One month down!
  • We have a new temp and he’s working out really well so far – fingers crossed that fifth time is the charm. My hours should be going back to normal soon too.
  • I’m looking forward to working out more in March. I think it’ll help with the stress levels enormously. And you know… I want to look all hella good when the honeyman gets back.
  • Oh yeah, it was my birthday on Friday. That was okay. I went out for dinner with my sister and friends, and then we all played a game and watched Cougar Town and hung out.
  • I’m going to try to read more this month, because not reading bums me out. And ideally you’ll see me around the internet more as well. My Bloglovin reader is ridiculous right now, but I’m slowly working through it.

And I think that’s all the updating I have in me right now. Things have been sad, but okay. I’m really looking forward to March – to more time not working, to catching up on all the things I love, and to hopefully some better weather because I am really sick of this horrible winter wasteland bullshit. If you’re reading this, thanks for not running away crying tears of boredom. You deserve a gold star.

How have you guys been??

~Sarah

March Monthly TBR

February was a big fat fail. I really should have seen that coming, honestly. I finished 3 books, 1 graphic memoir, and read 32 issues of comics. I’m almost done with An Untamed State, and I’m almost done with the audiobook of Stuff Matters… but still, that’s so sad.

 

Anyways, March should be better, reading-wise. At least for the sheet fact that I shouldn’t be working as much. But who knows, really. So my pile is not TOO ambitious, and has a bit of carry-over from last month. February TBR 2.0, kind of.

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From the top…

  • Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie – Because I feel like a comfort read right now, and as much as I’m yearning to just start re-reading Outlander again, I’m not going to do that because it’s a long series and I just read it last year. I haven’t read Bet Me in a few years, so that should do the trick.
  • Zone One by Colson Whitehead – I really did enjoy The Intuitionist by this author, and this weekend I saw this in the used library bookstore. Score! It didn’t get great reviews on Amazon from what I noticed earlier, but I’m trying it anyways. I think it’s about zombies.
  • Heaven’s Queen by Rachel Bach – I’ve been having trouble getting really good and sucked into a book lately. I bet this will work. I flew through the first two in the series. (Carry over from Feb)
  • Welcome to Braggsville by T. Geronimo Johnson – A new book that I’ve heard great things about lately. Apparently it’s kind of funny and satirical and about racism and it sounds just like my type of thing.
  • Saga: Volume 4 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples – Sagaaaaa! I’m re-reading the first three volumes (aka “deluxe edition volume 1″) on my Kindle Fire right now, can’t wait to read the new one.
  • Fables: Volume 1 by Bill Willingham and Lan Medina – I have been meaning to start this series for AGES, and I’m finally gonna do it. Honestly, my main motivation (besides everyone loving it) is that Telltale Games as a video game out that’s based on the series called A Wolf Among Us that looks good, but I want to read some of the comics before I eventually get to the game.
  • The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg - I renewed it at the library, so it’s gotta happen. But man, it’s so large. (Carry over from Feb)

Comics not listed…

  • Newest issue of Rat Queens comes out this week!
  • Deadpool Classic volume 3 should be coming in for me at the comic shop.
  • Chew volume 9!! Just ordered it with the gift card my sister got me for my birthday. I am SO EXCITED.

And I’m sure I’ll read random things on Oyster or Kindle as I come across them… trying to be kind of laid back about my reading this month. Pretty good mix of race and gender in my to-read pile though, so that’s good. Even though I’ve been slacking in my reading, I’m still being aware.

What’s on your list to read next? What new books are you excited about?

~Sarah

Comics – What I’ve Been Reading (Captain Marvel, ODY-C, Squirrel Girl, Borderlands)

Another batch of comics I’ve been reading, mostly lady-centric… I swear that’s not the only thing I read (not that there would be anything wrong with that, mind you). I have to write a post about Nailbiter, Inhuman, and some others too. But here’s this batch for now…

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The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1 and #2 by Ryan North and Erica Henderson

I admit, I wasn’t that excited to try out Squirrel Girl. I know almost zero about her character in the Marvel comic universe, but you know… quirky comic with a female lead. Of course I’m gonna give it a shot. I’m happy I did! It’s so fun! It’s always nice to see a normally-sized girl of normal beauty in heroic role, but Doreen has lovely, blunt, fresh-faced optimism and sass that I LOVE. I adore her cat-and-knitting-obsessed roommate Nancy, and her squirrel sidekick Tippy-Toe. I just love it all so far. SO adding to my pull list.

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Captain Marvel: Volume 1 and Volume 2 by Kelly Sue DeConnick and various artists

Sure, the Captain Marvel movie isn’t going to be out for like 3 years or so, but I wanted to learn more about Carol Danvers. I also wanted to read more Kelly Sue DeConnick (who is doing Bitch Planet right now and kicking ass at it). I ordered these right after Christmas, and just recently finally started to flip through it – I ended up devouring these! The writing is fabulous and feminist-y and genius. The art, at least for most of the series, is BEAUTIFUL. Dexter Soy did an absolutely gorgeous job. I am less of a fan of Emma Rios and Filipe Andrade’s art (I kind of hated Andrade’s… sorry, but it didn’t work for me in this). Anyways, I loved learning more about Captain Marvel and I’m excited to take on the newer run, which I believe it currently still going.

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Borderlands #5 and #6 by Mikey Neumann and Augustin Padilla

The Tannis and the Vault arc is so much fun. I love these comics for how closely they resemble the video game, but I’m really enjoying learning more and more about the characters. Tannis is insane and sad and fun – actually kind of perfect for my mood right now.

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ODY-C #1 and #2 by Matt Fraction and Christian Ward

The Odyssey, but with all-female characters and set in space. Sounds genius! Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m going to continue on with this one. I appreciate the amount of work that clearly went into it… but the art is too weird and psychedelic for me, and the story is very passable to me right now. It’s very… detailed and expansive. Maybe I’ll try again later when it has a volume out, but the writing just isn’t hooking me. It’s also possible that I’m just not a Matt Fraction fan – I read 7 or 8 issues of Sex Criminals but gave up because I felt so “meh” towards it.

Have you read any of these? Or are any on your to-read list?

~Sarah

Sarah Sunday

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  • I’ve been quiet on Twitter and whatnot this week. We have a new temp at work now (so far so good) and so that’s taking up ALL my time. I got in 53 hours this week – already failed at my “I don’t want to work more than 50 hours a week” thing. Nice.
  • I did manage to finish two books this week – Half-Resurrection Blues by Daniel Jose Older, and Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit. I MIGHT be able to write a review or two today, but I’ve finally started An Untamed State by Roxane Gay and it’s calling to me.
  • Oh yeah, yesterday was Valentine’s Day. My older sister came out my way to run my tons of errands, and we shopped and had lunch at Moe’s. I FINALLY bought new black dress boots for work. It was nice, but I didn’t get home till 5 pm and was beat. I passed out on the couch I think before 9 last night.
  • On the plus side,  I woke up really early this morning and went to the gym. And now I’m staying inside the rest of the day because it’s super crappy outside. I hate winter.
  • I forgot to mention it last week, but Harper Lee has a new book coming out (Go Set a Watchman) and though I have some misgivings about how it all came about, I’m excited to read it. Come onnnn, July. I think I should re-read To Kill a Mockingbird before that though. I’ve only read it once.
  • No letter from the honeyman this week, which sucks. I don’t know how their mail system really works, but I know the honeyman said last week that he mailed something, so I was hoping. I really want his address so I can start mailing my letters to him. But, my fingers are crossed for a call today.
  • I’m all caught up on The Flash! I purposely caught up on it so that I could cancel Hulu, but now that I watched so many… I want to be able to keep watching it, so maybe I won’t cancel Hulu? Damn subscription services are so tempting.
  • I have chicken taco chili in the crockpot right now, and that’ll be my dinner basically all week. Last week it was vegetable lasagna. Really no sense in making myself small regular dinners, especially when I’m working late too. But by the end of the week, I definitely get sick of eating the same thing and will go splurge on a sub or something.

Okay, I’m going to go cuddle up with Gabby and read. Poor kitty, she’s so attention-starved right now. How has your weekend been? Did you all have a lovely V-Day?

~Sarah

Genius by Marc Bernardin, Adam Freeman, and Afua Richardson

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Genius is a mini-series that came out in August of last year. I actually remember seeing it at the comic store but not trying it, since I hadn’t heard any buzz and was still kind of getting comfortable with comics. Seems silly in hindsight. All five issues were part of the Image Comics Humble Bundle that I purchased recently, so I decided to finally check it out.

Genius is about a teenage girl from South Central Los Angeles named Destiny – she’s a master at military strategy, and she is able to unify all of the local gangs together with the goal seceding their few blocks from the US – by deadly force. Destiny grew up among poverty and institutionalized racism – now, she’s ready to make a change and fight that system.

To reiterate my point, this is a comic about:

  • A young black female protagonist
  • who is hyper intelligent and a strategic savant
  • who is leading her community in a fight against corrupt, racist government officials

If you don’t see how amazing and unique that is right off the bat, I don’t know what you’re doing here. One of the authors, Marc Bernardin, did an interesting interview for Wired in which he talks about how hard it was to sell this premise. Given the recent incidents involving police officers and the black community, Destiny’s story rings particularly relevant and timely. She’s a girl who grows up experiencing events just like the ones we’ve been reading about (Ferguson, Eric Garner, and many others), and she sets about methodically building a way out for herself and her neighborhood. While not only tackling issues of racism, there’s a great portion of the book early on in which the police force is trying to figure out who’s organizing this revolution, and they’re assuming the whole time that it must be some young guy who had a rough childhood. They completely overlook the possibility that it could be a woman. I was thrilled that the authors touched on gender stereotypes as well.

Each issue packed SUCH a punch. I gasped, I stared, I hurried on to the next issue. Actually, I forgive myself for not buying the single issues as they came out, because the wait would have been driving me nuts.

Now, let’s talk about the art. Afua Richardson did a phenomenal job here, and I really hope to see more of her work in other comics. Everything was very vivid and layered, and characters sometimes had outlines, almost like colored auras, that really made them pop off of the pages. It’s visually arresting – the kind of comic book art that ensures you’ll spend an extra few minutes per page soaking it in.
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Trust me, you WANT to read Genius. As for me, I want more. Yes, this is a five-issue series and it’s nice that it’s finished and has a concrete beginning and end. But whether it’s more of the same setting and characters, or whether Marc Bernardin, Adam Freeman, and Afua Richardson team up again for something else, I want more. I read these digitally and I’m glad I have them in that format, but I’m going to be buying myself the paperback trade when it comes out in June – it’s one of those “must own” books. I highly suggest you check Genius out for yourself (I know it’s available on comiXology), but be forewarned – I don’t think you’ll be able to buy just the first issue and stop there.

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~Sarah

PRO: Reclaiming Abortion Rights by Katha Pollitt

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 “Unless they are very brave, women who seek abortion have been pushed back into the shadows. It’s one thing for a rape victim to speak up, or a woman with a wanted pregnancy that has turned into a medical catastrophe. But why can’t a woman just say, This wasn’t the right time for me? Or two children (or one, or none) are enough? Why must women apologize for not having a baby just because she happened to get pregnant?”

Katha Pollitt’s book PRO is a fabulous, refreshing book on abortion – the history, the illogical views of those who support abortion restrictions or want it made illegal, and the importance of it today and always. As others have said, this is not a book that any anti-choice person will probably willingly pick up, and even so, they’re not likely to be convinced of anything – their position is so steeped in political dogma that you cannot convince them otherwise. But it IS a great read for any on-the-fence kind of person, and it’s definitely a fabulous book for women who are pro-choice, but whisper it rather than proclaim it. Or for the women who have had an abortion, but don’t ever speak of it for fear that others will judge her. This book is one giant reminder that abortion is NOT a shameful thing, and that we should not speak of it in the context of it being a “necessary evil”.

And I hope that pro-choice activists take notes as they read it – I’m tired of hearing about how important abortion is for women who have been raped, or whose life is in danger – obviously it’s important that abortion be available in those situations. But it’s just as important, if not more so, for abortion to be available for women who simply don’t want to continue that pregnancy, whatever their reasons. Their reasons are no one’s business. I want pro-choice activists to talk about how abortion access is critical for ALL women, not just those in more extreme situations.

“I want us to start thinking of abortion as a positive social good and saying this out loud.”

 The only way abortion stops being a taboo subject is to continue to talk about it in a frank, unapologetic way, until people get the message that is a part of life and not something shocking and tawdry. How can society as a whole feel comfortable about abortion if we are not comfortable even saying the word?

I could go into further detail – I could type out all of my favorite quotes. I had about 100 of those little book flags sticking out from the pages.  At the very least, this is a great read to get a little background on the historical and social context of abortion rights. Pollitt’s tone is direct, concise, and her frustration is evident, and mirror’s my own. I think that’s probably the best thing I got out of this book – that the author was articulating so many things that I feel often.

Sarah Says: 4.5 stars

Sarah Sunday

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Two of the best things happened this week: On Tuesday, I got my first letter from the honeyman. I sat on the stool that I keep next to the stove and read it, and then read it out loud to Gabby (and then maybe read it a couple more times before bed). It was just a short quick letter, but it was exciting and wonderful. And THEN, on Wednesday, the honeyman got to call! We spoke for less than two minutes, but it was just the best thing ever to hear his voice. He said he’s sending me his actual address now, so as soon as I get it I can start mailing him the letters I’ve been writing.

What else… we got a bunch of snow early in the week, so we left work early on Monday and I got to come home and play Borderlands for a couple hours. Of course, I haven’t gotten around to playing since, which sucks. My sis came over Wednesday night and we ate and watched Friends and played games. I came home Thursday night and was REALLY tired, so I ate food and started catching up on The Flash, which is pretty exciting. Hulu removed some of the episodes I hadn’t seen (so annoying that they do that now), but I just jumped back in at episode 8 and it was fine.

I started War and Peace early in the week for the readalong, but now it’s time for the first week update and I’m not even close to finishing the first section. Ugh. I started The Rosie Effect and I’m a little more than halfway through it… and I’m thinking of DNF-ing. Maybe I’ll pick it up again some day, but I’m just not feeling it right now. Maybe it’s because it’s about them having a baby, which is not a topic I love, and there are a couple things that have bugged me a bit… I don’t want to keep reading and ruin the characters for myself. Maybe I’ll just not finish it and The Rosie Project will live forever in my head as a great book.

This week went by too fast, and I feel like I got hardly any reading and relaxing time in. I picked my nephew up yesterday, ran a whole bunch of errands with me, and he slept over. I’ll drop him off this afternoon, then I have to go to the honeyman’s mom’s house, and then I really, really should go shopping for boots to wear to work, because mine are literally falling apart. I HATE shoe shopping. And I’d really just rather hang out at home with Gabby, ya know?

Anyways, here’s to hoping that we get a new temp started this week at work, that I get more letters from the honeyman, and that my nights are laid-back and quiet so I can catch up on my stack of books. Anything you’re looking forward to this week?

~Sarah

 

Comics – What I’ve Been Reading (Bitch Planet, Ms. Marvel, Rat Queens)

I’m going to start doing regular “comics I’ve been reading” kind of posts, I think. I’ve been catching up on my comics reading a lot (reading around the holidays never works out well for me), so I have a whole bunch to talk about. For now, some of the lady-centric comics.

 

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Bitch Planet #1 & #2 – by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro

I think I talked a bit about Bitch Planet when the first issue came out… or maybe I just blabbered my excitement on Twitter and Instagram. Either way – here’s what happened. I hadn’t heard of this new comic until the day it came out and suddenly everyone on the Internet was talking about how amazing it was. I bought it on comiXology to see what the fuss was about, and then immediately called my comic shop and asked them to set a copy aside for me to pick up that weekend. It’s SO. GREAT. Men, in their ways of ruling everything (goddamn patriarchy), are sentencing women for being “non-compliant” and sending them to an off-planet prisoner. Non-compliant, of course, can mean anything from theft or murder to giving your husband shit for cheating on you. I know my frame of reference isn’t huge, but Bitch Planet was the best first issue I’ve read. It’s just so full of feminism and sass, and there’s this righteous anger both simmering behind these scenes and bursting out right in your face. I love it. And I love how many female readers are totally embracing it. There are already women would there proudly getting the “NC” non-compliant logo tattooed on them. I’m not quite there yet, but it’s close.

 

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Ms. Marvel #10 – by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona

Kamala! This series is so much fun. In #10 she inspires a bunch of brain-washed teens to turn against their captor- showing them that their generation is important and valuable, and she does it with wit and a little bit of snark. Ms. Marvel is the bomb.

 

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Rat Queens Special: Braga #1 by Kurtis J Wiebe and Tess Fowler

This was a fantastic issue for a number of reasons. Firstly – Rat Queens recently had an issue with the original artist and a domestic violence incident resulted in him being kicked from the comic. While I applaud the penalty, I was deeply upset about the whole thing. Sad and angry that such a fabulous artist had done a very bad thing, and sad and nervous for the future of the comic. I mean, the art was AMAZING. The writing was fabulous too, but what if it just wasn’t the same anymore?

Well, this special issue about the Orc known as Braga eased those fears. Tess Fowler did the art on this one (I believe the artist who will be on the regular series will be Stjepan Sejic), and it came out beautifully. We learn more about Braga’s background – the most notable part being that Braga was Broog, and the series has it’s first (as far as I know) transgender character. Braga’s story is touching but not overdone. I love that this series treats women and their sex lives as just normal things. That the ladies kick ass, maybe do some drugs, and hook up is just a fact of life. Now, as great as this one-shot was, I’m eager to return to the regular story. Rat Queens #9 should be released a couple days before my birthday. It’s almost like Image is trying to give me a present.

Are you reading and loving these as much as I am? If not – well why not?!

 

~Sarah

The TBR Tag

Yes, yes… another survey post thingy. Blame Brandie. And the fact that I have a book to review (PRO by Katha Pollitt) but I’m still working on it and trying to get all the words the way I want them. You know how that goes.
1. How do you keep track of your TBR pile? Yea… I don’t really have a system. I have an apartment full of books and comics, and an ever-growing list in my head and on Goodreads.

 

2. Is your TBR mostly print or eBook? It’s not really set like that. Ideally, I’d have access to all of my TBR books in both formats. I like paper, but man digital is convenient sometimes. I’ve definitely read a book both on paper and on my Kindle, because reading on the Kindle is so much easier in bed. For comics I usually prefer print, but there are some comics that I like, but don’t feel the need to own physical copies of. And of course, once in a while the comic shop is out of an issue I want to read, so digital services like comiXology come in handy there.

 

3. How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next? Mostly mood, but I try to keep it mixed up and this year I’m really aiming for diversity.

 

4. A book that’s been on your TBR list the longest? I’m not 100% sure, so let’s just go with Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. It’s my last Austen to read, I just haven’t brought myself to do it yet.

 

5. A book you recently added to your TBR?

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This one, The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson. It’s fantasy/sci-fi set in a futuristic Brazil.

 

6. A book on your TBR strictly because of it’s beautiful cover. Yeah I don’t think I have one of these right now…

 

7. A book on your TBR that you never plan on reading. Um?

 

8. An unpublished book on your TBR that you’re excited for. The Rebirths of Tao by Wesley Chu. It’s the third in the Tao series, and it comes out in April. I’m SO excited.

 

9. A book on your TBR that basically everyone has read but you. The Fables series by Bill Willingham (and others).  The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell.  The Night Circus by Erin Whats-her-name.

 

10. A book on your TBR that everyone recommends to you. Ummmm… I don’t know off that top of my head. People recommend a lot of books to me.

 

11. A book on your TBR that you’re dying to read. Basically all of them, duh. I really need it to be my full-time job. I really want to read March: Book One by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin right now. I’m tempted to order it on my Kindle now so that I can start it on my lunch.

 

12. How many books are on your Goodreads TBR shelf? 150 or so. And that to the unread books I have at home and my TBR is actually about… a bajillion books.

And as always, I’m not actually going to tag people. If you need something to occupy yourself, please feel free to join in. No judgement.
~Sarah