Happy Thanksgiving, on a more somber note

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Hey everyone. I just wanted to leave a quick note to say Happy Thanksgiving. I’m not really going to list out everything I’m thankful for (though I kind of did that above), but I’m thankful that I have everything I need, and more.

This Thanksgiving, my thoughts and wishes are to those in Ferguson right now, as well as to the protesters in other cities. This Huffington post article from August (10 Ways You Can Help the People of Ferguson, MO) still has a lot of good points – most importantly, be aware of just how privileged you are. Don’t bite your tongue when you encounter prejudiced attitudes; racists deserve to be ostracized and shamed. Even if you don’t believe Mike Brown’s shooting and the handling thereafter has anything to do with race (which is naive, at best) – support laws that require police to wear cameras while on duty. We’ve heard too many stories of people shot and beat who didn’t deserve it, of women attacked and sexually assaulted by police officers. I appreciate the work that the police do, but cameras will help weed out the ones who should not be in that position of power, and hold them accountable for their actions.

On a final note, before you go crazy with Black Friday shopping, consider donating to the Ferguson library – you can donate through Paypal. Even just the cost of a cup of coffee helps, and shows your support to a community struggling.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody. I hope it’s full of family, food, and love.

~Sarah

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Might Read This Winter

the broke and the bookish

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

Hey you guuuuyyyyssss! It’s Tuesday. The topic this week is Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR, which may seem a bit early, but not really – I’ve already had to brush snow off my car, so it’s here at least in my neck of the woods. Winter basically lasts from November to April, it’s bullshit. Anyways, here’s some of the books I want to read in that time period.

1. Harry Potter re-read – Yeah, this is happening. Seriously, like starting this weekend. I can’t wait.

2. The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss – Rothfuss is giving us a treat while we’re anxiously waiting for the third book in his Kingkiller Chronicles. This is a short little novella all about Auri, and I’m soooooo excited to read it.

3. The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber – I think this is about religion and space, kind of like The Sparrow, but different. It sounds like something I’m going to love.

4. The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion – This comes out at the end of December, and I SOOOO can’t wait. I absolutely loved The Rosie Project.

5. PRO: Reclaiming Abortion Rights by Katha Pollitt – I think I have this on my Christmas list. If not, it’s going to be one of the books I use my Christmas gift cards on.

6. Saga: volume 4 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples – SAGA! I don’t think needs explaining.

7. Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen – I say this mainly because I got the Kindle version for like $3 and I’ll probably get around to reading it… It’s fantasy, from what I hear there’s a good lady main character. Should be interesting.

8. Captain Marvel comics – She’s gonna have her own movie in several years, so I need to start reading all the comics NOW. I’m really psyched.

9. Authority (The Southern Reach #2) by Jeff VanderMeer – I do want to continue on with this series, so I’ll get this from the library or a Kindle sale at some point.

10. Being Mortal by Atul Gawande – Non-fiction about getting old and the healthcare system and length of life versus quality of life… I can’t wait to read this. I have so many feelings already.

Yeah, I’ll get to all of these by the spring… maybe. What are you looking forward to reading this season?

~Sarah

Graphic Novel Week – a TBR

Graphic Novel Week

Today kicks off Reading in Winter’s Graphic Novel Week, which I’m pretty excited about – mainly because it gives me an excuse to read more comics this week and yay, more reading in general. Comics and graphic novels are kind of perfect for sneaking reading into short free periods of time throughout the day – whether it’s a break during work, or reading a comic or two before you get dressed in the morning, or something to read for a few before bed. Anyways, here’s a look at what I’m looking to dive into this week.

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  • Single issues: Legenderry 3, 4, & 5 – Penny Dora and the Wishing Box 1 – Captain America and the Mighty Avengers 1.
  • In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang – The only thing in this pile that’s a true stand-alone graphic novel, and I’ve heard great things about it.
  • Astonishing X-Men volume 2 – REALLY excited to finish this run. Volume 1 was so much fun.
  • FBP volume 2 – The first volume of Federal Bureau of Physics was interesting, but I wasn’t completely sold… we’ll see how this goes.
  • The Flash volume 1 – I’m behind in watching the show, and I really want to read comics to learn some more backstory.
  • Age of Ultron: The Complete Event – With the new Avengers movie practically around the corner, I really wanted to read this arc before seeing it. I flipped through it and the Hulk is red, Wolverine is around… I have no idea what’s going on, but I can’t wait to dive into this. Also, KUDOS to my library system for actually having this.

I’m hoping to read at least… 3 or 4 of these things this week? Sure.

thats the plan

What graphic novels or comics are you reading this week? Read any lately that you would recommend?

~Sarah

Sarah Sunday

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That bottom picture of Gabby has been cracking me up all week. Happy Sunday! I’m a bit tired (just got back from the gym, nbd), so bullets it will be:

  • If my life this week could be described in one word, it would be this: Blacklist. I lost a bet with the honeyman, so I had to start watching this show and OMG I got sucked in so fast. I’m going to finish the last three episodes of season 1 tonight. Reddington is my favorite.
  • Buffalo, a (crappy) city about an hour away from me, got a literal crap ton of snow this week. Something like 70 inches, I think. We got maybe 2 inches? It was crazy – people died, people’s front doors caved in from the snow, cars were buried. Just nuts.
  • My heart basically broke last night when I heard that Roc Upchurch was arrested a couple weeks ago for domestic abuse. For those of you that don’t know, he’s the co-creator and artist of Rat Queens, which is like the second favorite comic series. Kurtis Wiebe, co-creator and writer, announced that Roc Upchurch is being kicked off of Rat Queens and a new artist will take over, though no announcement yet as to who. I’m so, so, so angry and disappointed. Upchurch’s artwork is really fantastic, and that he’s the kind of man that would hit a woman is both infuriating and saddening. I’m really glad that Wiebe is taking him off of the comic, and I hope the series continues to be awesome.
  • Speaking of disgusting situations, there STILL has not been a grand jury decision to decide whether to charge the Ferguson police officer that shot and killed Mike Brown. Let’s face it, I’m not expecting that they’re going to make the right decision anyways (which would be indicting his ass), but I always have a teeny sliver of hope. In the mean time, protests are still happening, some officers are apparently still not wearing name tags, and police were still arresting journalists as recently as last night.
  • It’s shit like this that just makes me hate people. Ugh.
  • On to happier things I guess… we watched A Million Ways to Die in the West last night, and that was pretty funny and sweet, though it would have been better without some of the toilet humor. I like Seth MacFarlane.
  • Thanksgiving is this week! I trying to think of a Thanksgiving-y post that isn’t the same as all the years past… hoping Epic Rap Battles of History comes out with a new one tomorrow that will be appropriate at least.
  • I’m really, really, really glad that this is going to be a 3-day work week. And I get to decorate on Friday! Hooray!
  • I want to go see Big Hero 6 sometime soon.
  • This is pretty funny:

 

Alright, I have other posts to write and I really need a shower. How is everyone else’s weekend going?

~Sarah

 

Dataclysm by Christian Rudder

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I’ll be honest – even though Dataclysm sounded super fascinating, when I put it on my November TBR I wasn’t sure I’d actually get to it. I mean, I was putting a lot of non-fiction on my list this month and this has teeny tiny print, and it’s about data, so it didn’t seem likely that it would keep my engaged enough to actually finished.

WRONG.

So Dataclysm is about how people behave online when they think no one is watching. If we know that people are likely to see our answers (in dating profiles or in our Facebook timelines), we answer one way. But when we think our responses will be hidden from people we know or may want to know in the future, we may answer completely differently. It’s also about a bunch of other data research that can pinpoint things more accurately than ever – a more true percentage of the gay population, the geographical impacts of natural disasters as they happen, word usage and the evolution of language, etc. There is SO much information to take in, but it’s all fascinating.

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Page flags galore!

Christian Rudder is one of the founders of OkCupid, and therefore has access to SO MUCH data. He doesn’t rely solely on this data – he makes use of other dating website’s data to compare trends, and he uses data from Google pretty frequently. Dataclysm is unique is that it’s not based on any sort of surveys or questionnaires – it’s a look at data that already exists, thanks to websites saving your answers to every little questions, your search history, your Facebook network, etc. The early chapters are heavily focused on relationships – for instance, the age range of women that men SAY they would like to date, versus the average age of the women they message. Most interesting is anytime the data touched on race – how open-minded people said they were, versus what their actual behavior online shows. Rudder uses Google Trends to plot the search of the “N” word of the course of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign (big shocker – there was a huge jump on the night of the election). There’s just so much to explore. Reading all of this can be interesting and horrifying, but the charts that Rudder includes often visually bring his point home.

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Ooo baby, look at all that data chart-y goodness.

I really appreciated that Rudder usually makes notes of what data he’s using, what controls he’s used, and his process for how he’s getting to these numbers. He also has a good thirty-page batch of notes and citations at the end, for anyone who wants to look closer into his work. While the idea of data is still kind of scary – businesses and the government have access to it all – this book left me a bit more hopeful. I’ve always liked data (it’s why I log my own reading habits), seeing the ways in which passive data can shine a light on heavily debated or taboo subjects was really exciting. I’d love for Rudder to publish a book with just a bunch of pretty data charts of every topic he could think of. I’d gobble that up in a heartbeat.

And now, a couple quotes – mainly for my own benefit, because I have to remove the page flags and return this lovely book to the library and even though I own it on my Kindle, it’s just not the same, you know?

“There used to be two ways to figure out what a person really thinks. One, you caught her in an unguarded moment. You snooped around, you provoked, you constructed some pretext in a laboratory, you did whatever you could to get your subject to forget she was being watched. […] on a large scale, it was impossible. So for data en masse, you had only option two: to ask a question and hope for an honest answer. That’s been the popular standard since Gallup formed the American Institute of Public Opinion in 1935. […] And often the ugliest, most divisive, attitudes remain behind a veil of ego and cultural norms that is almost impossible to draw back, at least through direct questioning. It’s a social scientist’s curse – what you most want to get at is exactly what your subjects are most eager to hide.”

“The era of data is here; we are now recorded. That, like all change, is frightening, but between the gunmetal gray of the government and the hot pink of product offers we just can’t refuse, there is an open and ungarish way. To use data to know yet not manipulate, to explore but not to pry, to protect but not to smother, to see yet never expose, and above all, to repay that priceless gift we bequeath to the world when we share our lives so that other lives might be better…”

Sarah Says: 4.5 stars 

 

Coming Up… Graphic Novel Week!

I almost forgot about this, so this post is to remind myself as well as to spread the word! Kristilyn at Reading in Winter is hosting Graphic Novel Week from November 24- November 28. I think that reading and talking about a bunch of graphic novels and comics in the busy week of Thanksgiving sounds like a perfect idea, don’t you?

Graphic Novel Week

 

I’m excited for whatever Kristilyn has planned, and I’ve been thinking about what I’ll be reading that week… I’ll probably post a reading goal list or something later this weekend. Go sign up and read comics with us!

~Sarah

Sarah Sunday

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What a week!

  • Another long week… I took a half day on Friday, and I STILL had 43 hours when I clocked out.
  • I took a half day on Friday because I was hosting a jewelry party for my sisters… which really ended up being just family and a couple friends sitting around eating food and ordering some stuff. I hate these things. On the plus side, I have a lot of leftover wine, and my apartment is super clean.
  • Yesterday I worked out for the first time in weeks. I may start including workout/weight loss updates here again… the 8 lbs or so I’ve gained back in the last year is REALLY bugging me. I’m toying with the idea of posting a daily My Fitness Pal update on Instagram or something, to keep me accountable… which would be really annoying for all of you, I’m sure, but I need that motivation right now.
  • I also took my sister and her kids to the comic book store (that’s them up top posing in front of a superhero poster) and they were kiiiind of excited? Emma not so much, Josh I think was more overwhelmed and just wanted to read.
  • And THEN we went to the Rochester Children’s Book Festival, and they met a bunch of cool authors (the ones that do Fancy Nancy, and the Five Little Monkeys books, and others…) and got books signed and did crafts and Emma and Josh had a blast. I grabbed a mass market book called Cretaceous Sea by Will Hubbell, which has time travel and dinosaurs so I’m sure I’ll love it, but the author wasn’t at his table to sign it, of course. Oh well. It was a lot of fun, and I never get to go to bookish events. I did have a headache by the end though. SO many children.
  • Josh slept over last night, so we could play Black Ops 2 together and read comics and watch X-Men: Days of Future Past. He’s still passed out right now. I have to have my niece stay over some time soon. It’s exciting that they’re getting older and I can do fun stuff with them now. I can’t wait till all my nephews and niece are at least like 11.
  • I’m SO ready for Christmas. Not actually, in that I’ve barely started shopping, but I’m in a very cheerful, Christmas-y mood lately. There’s been some snow flurries already, I’ve been singing along to Christmas music, and I bought a tiny cheap tree for our tiny apartment. I can’t wait to decorate on Black Friday!

  • I finished a book! Dataclysm by Christian Rudder, and hopefully I’ll get the review up for that soon. I’m still plugging away to Yes Please by Amy Poehler on Audible. And I think I may start Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future today, or maybe I’ll just read comics all day. Who knows.
  • My sister and I are toying with the idea of a real-life monthly book club. On the one hand, I kind of hate socializing. But on the other hand, I would really love to be able to talk to people about books more. I think keeping it relatively small would be best… I don’t know. It’s an idea, but wouldn’t happen any time soon anyways with the holidays and whatnot. And I’m going to be doing my Thanksgiving – 2015 Harry Potter re-read.

Okay. I think the nephew is finally waking up. Time to play video games while I do laundry. Sundays are awesome. How is yours going?

~Sarah

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

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Station Eleven surprised me.

I’m not much one for literary fiction, and end-of-the-world stories are starting to become a dime a dozen. For some reason though, I heard Book Riot raving about this one and the idea of a book taking place 20 years after a super flu kills off 99% of humanity and the story being about a traveling theater group just grabbed my interest, and I’m glad I splurged and bought it.

I’m going to use the Goodreads summary, since it does a good job:

“One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time-from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains-this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet. Sometimes terrifying, sometimes tender, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.”

This book took me too long to finish, but that was really my fault because I was busy at work. I’m starting to think that worked in this book’s favor though – I’d read in bed and fall asleep with some heartbreaking or curious thought about the characters in my head, and it kind of haunted me in that beautiful way that well-written books has. Despite the narration being split between several different characters, I have the feeling that they’ll be staying with me. Their experiences were fascinating.

And now I admit, I’m trying to hurry through this because I want to get it posted so you all can be immediately convinced (because my powers of persuasion are that awesome) to read this. Bullets!

Things I really loved:

  • One of the female characters drew her own comics, which I personally delighted in since I’m such a new comics fan.
  • Seeing people persevere and continue on with the performing arts, despite the world essentially ending.
  • This end-of-the-world story was both bleak and hopeful.
  • Have I mentioned the beautiful writing? Pretty beautiful writing.
  • SO many quotable passages. I’ll stick some of my favorite quotes near the end.
  • How all of the characters are interconnected, and how if even one of them was removed or one of their stories had happened in a different way, it would have completely changed the trajectory of the story.

One tiny thing that kind of bothered me:

  • The basically complete lack of electricity and power. It’s been 20 years. Did NONE of the 1% who survived think to figure out how to A) either keep power running or B) figure out how to use other ways to generate power? Solar, wind, water… even a stationary bike can be used to generate power. In all fairness, the Symphony travels from town to town and maybe it just so happens that the small towns they visit haven’t managed this at all. But come on, the bookstores and Amazon warehouses are full of information to be learned and used. Stores and companies that sold and/or produced solar panels are just sitting there with stock to utilize. At one point, I think two characters are discussing some scientific theory… how the internet works, or multiverse theory, or something. And they’re debating it. I wanted to shout “GO TO A BOOKSTORE AND LOOK IT UP”.

Overall, this was a pretty fantastic book. Get your ends on it, read it, muse over the strength of humanity to survive. And now, some of my favorite quotes:

“Hell is the absence of the people you long for.”

“Jeevan found himself thinking about how human the city is, how human everything is. We bemoaned the impersonality of the modern world, but that was a lie, it seemed to him; it had never been impersonal at all. There had always been a massive delicate infrastructure of people, all of them working unnoticed around us, and when people stop going to work, the entire operation grinds to a halt.”

“I stood looking over my damaged home and tried to forget the sweetness of life on Earth.”

Sarah Says: 4.5 stars

Comics… What I’ve Been Reading (Deadpool, Inhuman, Nailbiter, Borderlands)

I’ve been working my way through some massive stacks of comics. I still have not thought of a good way to review single issues or even good themed batches… so here’s just a jumbled together thing of comics I’ve been reading.

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Deadpool Classic (Volume 1) 

Deadpool is a character that I’m so intrigued by that I decided to start at the beginning. My comic shop ordered me this volume – it starts with the first appearance of Deadpool and then jumps into Deadpool’s own series that start in the mid-90’s. I had some  concerns that maybe I wouldn’t enjoy this because of the older-style art and because they’re comics that are like 20 years old at this point, but that turned out not to be the case. I LOVED this. The stories were interesting and fun, Deadpool was a great amount of ridiculous and jerk, and there were some parts that made me feel really bad for him. My least favorite was the very end, #1 of a Deadpool run in 1997 – the story didn’t hook me in and the newer, cleaner, bolder art seemed cartoonish. In all fairness though, that was only a first issue of a longer run – I need the next volume of Deadpool Classic to see how it turns out. But basically, I <3 Deadpool.

 

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Inhuman (# 3-7)

The Inhuman series is so easy to get sucked into. I’m all caught up now since issue #7 just came out, and I can’t wait for more. I can’t say too much, because spoilers, but you should pick this up if you’re enjoying Ms. Marvel. I REALLY like Queen Medusa, and that the Avengers frequently make an appearance, and that New Attilan (the home of the Inhumans and new Inhumans alike) is kind of sitting right in the Hudson River. Some really interesting dynamics come from that, and there was a big reveal in the last couple issues, and I can’t wait for #8. And I can’t wait to see what they do with the movie that’s set to come out in 2018.

 

 

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Borderlands: The Fall of Fyrestone #3

Play Borderlands, and read all the comics. If you like the games even a little, the comics are a HUGELY awesome thing. This most recent one is no exception.

 

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Nailbiter (# 3-5)

Nailbiter is some messed up shit. It’s still fall-time, which makes it the perfect time to get into this series. There are some wonderful scary, suspenseful pages and the story is moving along surprisingly quickly. I finally added this to my pull list, because I missed issue #6 and need to get it on comiXology so that I can continue on with the series. Don’t want to risk that happening again.

Ms. Marvel # 9 (not pictured)

Kamala finds out more about her origins and meets some new potential allies. Seriously, this series is the epitome of a good time.

 

So yeah… that’s a lot here. And I have more trades and single issues sitting on my coffee table, just beckoning to me…

~Sarah

Some October Mini-Reviews (Think Like a Freak, Seconds, Honor’s Knight)

I don’t have the energy for full-length reviews right now, and some of these are library books that need to go back, and I finished them all over a week ago. So, mini-review time! Luckily, they’re all pretty fabulous books.

 

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Think Like a Freak by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner (audiobook)

Oh, the Steve Freaks. I read Freakonomics YEARS ago and loved it. I kind of ignored Superfreakonomics when it came out, and then last month when I was trying to decide how to use my Audible credit, I landed on their newest book, Think Like a Freak. Basically, it was SUPER interesting and now I can’t wait to go back and read their second book. Think Like a Freak was a lot about different ways of thinking, analyzing, and getting data and patterns to emerge. But it was so much more fascinating than that! I listened to the audiobook to and from work. There were MANY days that I came home and told the honeyman about how slave traders used to lick slaves possibly to test their saltiness and why Van Halen had a thing about there being no brown M&Ms backstage and why the Nigerian scamming emails are still a thing… I’m rambling. But that’s what happens when I read this book! The best things about these books – great random conversation tidbits to keep in your arsenal.

 

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Honor’s Knight (Paradox #2) by Rachel Bach

The sequel to Fortune’s Pawn, Devi is an awesome bad-ass character, these are just fun, easy, space-y, sci-fi books and I love them. I already have the third book waiting for me.

 

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Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley

This graphic novels probably deserves it’s only review… but I’m lazy. It’s about a chef named Katie who wants to open up her second restaurant, but it’s going badly. Plus, boyfriend problems, FWB problems, and one of her co-workers gets hurt. Things suck. Then she’s visited by a creepy girl who gives her instructions to help – write down your mistake, eat this one mushroom, go to sleep, and all will be different when you wake up. Things DO get better, but then Katie finds more than her fair share of magical mushrooms and things get out of control from there. I really liked the art, and that Katie often argued with the unseen narrator, and it was just a good read. Go get it.

 

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

~Sarah