April Recap

Why yes, we are basically three weeks into May and I’m just now recapping April. April ended with me spraining my stupid knee and having to sit around doing nothing, which you would think would make for a ton of internet time but you would be incorrect. I just didn’t feel like doing anything but all of the things I couldn’t do, of course, like taking a walk or going up the stairs like a normal person instead of a toddler.

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But actually as far as reading goes April was pretty swell so let me tell you about that. I read 5 books, and 49 comics. I definitely utilized the 24-hour readathon to plow through a whole stack of comics that I had built up and it was awesome.

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid – Nadia and Saeed fall in love as their country falls into war and chaos. This was so beautifully written and I’m so glad I bought it.

Gumption by Nick Offerman – Thanks to becoming recently obsessed with Parks and Rec, I knew that spending my commute listening to Offerman’s voice would be an A+ choice and it was. He talks about people he thinks are great. It’s more interesting in the beginning when he’s talking about historical figures. Near the end he talks about famous people or people who made movies and it’s not quite as exciting, but still good.

Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan – This comes out on May 23rd and it’s the third in Kwan’s series about mega rich Asian families. If you haven’t read these books you should check them out, they’re funny and perfect summer reading.

Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution by Mona Eltahawy  – This is what the Social Justice Book Club read in April and it was a fantastic pick. Equal parts horrifying and motivating, even though I didn’t see eye-to-eye with the author on quite everything.

Skulduggery Pleasant: The Faceless Ones (Book 3) by Derek Landy – I have the rest of the series on my shelf and I think I’ll pick up the fourth one soon. These books are fun because Skulduggery and his young teen sidekick Valkyrie are snarky, and this one ended with kind of a bang.

As far as all of those comics I read – some highlights were Saga Volume 6, Lady Killer issues 3 and 4, Black Panther and The Crew issue 1 (which, annoyingly Marvel has already cancelled because they’re assholes), and Fables Volume 19.

STATS – BOOKS

Books read: 5

Female authors: 1 (20%)

Non-white authors: 3 (60%)

Format breakdown: 2 print, 2 e-book, 1 audiobook

STATS – COMICS

Issues read: 49

Female authors/illustrators: 27

Non-white author/illustrators: 18

Format breakdown: 19 print, 3 digital

I never got around to posting my May TBR on the blog either, but it’s on Instagram and pretty short and I’m making progress on it but somehow there’s only like a week and a half left in the month. How did that happen already?? Last week was Bout of Books and I stayed on the couch all weekend, and ended up reading 3 whole books so that was awesome.

Have you read anything interesting lately?

March Recap

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So, as I was going through my spreadsheet and uploading photos for this post, I realized I forgot to add a book to my sheet and I actually read 9 books this month instead of 8! Woohoo! And also 22 comics. Way to go, March.

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami – Murakami has been running daily for about the last 23 years – at time that he wrote this, which was 10 years ago. He talks about why he runs, and recounts a few interesting stories like the time he ran SIXTY TWO MILES IN ONE DAY. I might have to get my own copy of this some day.

Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Short but so worth it, especially if you’re a person worried about how to raise a feminist daughter.

Skulduggery Pleasant (Books 1and 2) by Derek Landy – This middle grade series about a skeleton detective and his preteen sidekick named Valkyrie is so fun that I went and ordered all 9 books off Amazon. I’m reading the third one now.

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Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison – Not my favorite Morrison, but one that gives plenty of food for thought. This was the first book by her that I’d ever heard of and that was like 12 years ago, so I feel like I finally accomplished something by FINALLY reading it.

A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers – This is the follow up to The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet and it was so delightful. There’s so much goodness about what it means to be a person and how people that are different can be accepting all against a sci-fi setting and I just really need Becky Chambers to write more things please.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas – Such a great, heartbreaking book and much needed right now. Starr sees her friend die and her story deals with what it means to be that witness, how to reconcile the person you knew with facts about their life, the emotions of leading almost two separate lives based on race and class… it’s just fantastic. I’m sure it will be on a lot of school reading lists, and I’m sure it will get challenged constantly.

Binti and Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor Binti: Home came out in March, so I re-read Binti first to refresh my mind. It seems like there will be another one, hopefully soon? These novellas are perfect little gems of sci-fi/fantasy.

STATS – BOOKS

Books read: 9

Female authors: 6 (67%)

Non-white authors: 6 (67%)

Format breakdown: 4 print, 5 e-book

STATS – COMICS

Issues read: 22

Female authors/illustrators: 6

Non-white author/illustrators: 2

Format breakdown: 19 print, 3 digital

So not too bad of a month! Maybe one of these days I’ll actually write some complete reviews. Also, I’m now at 24 books so far for the year so if I can keep up this pace, I actually have a shot at reading 100 books this year. Not that numbers matter to anyone but me, but I haven’t read 100 books in a year since 2013. I’ve been hovering around 60-70 for the last several years, and it’d feel so nice to get into at least the 80’s in 2017.

Have you read any of these? Let me know your thoughts.

February Recap

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Late, as per usual.

Okay, I read 6 books in February, and 20 comics, but I was in a slump. I almost kind of still feel in a slump. Most of the books I read felt like they took FOR-EV-ER to get through. Oy. Anyways, here’s what I read.

Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching by Mychal Denzel Smith – This is Smith’s recounting of how he grew up to be the black man that he is – the culture he immersed himself in, how he was raised, and how he became more and more aware of socioeconomic and discriminatory issues. I loved that he talks about his realization that most of the media he was consuming were by and about men, and that he needed to seek out the female perspective. And he’s about my age, so I got almost all his pop culture references and reminisced along with him when it came to big musical artists (Outkast!) and Kanye telling us on TV that the president didn’t care about black people.

Bad Idea by Damon Suede – I read this for the Read Harder challenge – an LGBT romance, and I made sure it was by a gay author as well. Romance blooms between a comic artist who lacks confidence and a FX make-up guy who has swagger to spare but really has that charming good-mannered Southern boy thing going on. I loved Trip and Silas – their relationship evolved in an entirely realistic way without some of the ridiculous shenangians that romance novels tend to get bogged down in.

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah – Oh em gee you guys, you need to get this audiobook. Trevor talks about growing up in South Africa before and after apartheid – he’s insightful and serious, but also hilarious. The accents he does for the little boy version of himself and his mother are just awesome. I don’t re-listen to audiobooks often, but this is definitely going to be one I come back to.

A Movie in My Pillow / Una pelicula en mi almohada by Jorge Argueta – This is a kid’s book of poetry in English and Spanish, about the author’s experience coming to America from El Salvador and remembering things about his home country. Probably a great book for kids. I read this for the Read Harder challenge (read a book of poetry in translation about a theme other than love) and I totally admit I went the kids book route because I dread poetry a bit.

Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn – This was my re-read for the Read Harder challenge because it is DELIGHTFUL, re-reads are great when you’re in a reading slump, and the sequel comes out this summer. I can’t wait! If you like bad-ass women who fight demons and books that focus on lady friendships, this is the book for you.

The Last Days of Jack Sparks by Jason Arnopp – I’m so easily sucked in by cool covers. This is a relatively new book, and I grabbed it on sale for the Kindle a while back, and finally read it. It’s about a douchey, druggie famous guy who is out to write a book about how the paranormal doesn’t exist. It’s weird and mysterious and then gets extra creepy halfway in, and now I’m a little paranoid about going in my basement. So it was entertaining, but I’m kind of mad I read it now because I’m ridiculous. (This is why I don’t watch horror movies.)

Alrighty, so lets see how February added up.

STATS – BOOKS

Books read: 6

Female authors: 1 (17%) what how did that happen??

Non-white authors: 4 (67%)

Format breakdown: 2 print, 3 e-book, 1 audiobook

STATS – COMICS

Issues read: 20

Female authors/illustrators: 3

Non-white author/illustrators: 3

Format breakdown: All print.

So yeah. Um clearly I need to read more ladies in March, and I need to take better advantage of having Marvel Unlimited, dammit. When I do this next month I better have more digital comics in my numbers (and more ladies and POC too). I know part of the problem is I’m reading a TON of Fables right now. I’m on Volume 16 right now – I’ve been flying through them and I’m determined to finish the whole series this year. OH and also it’d be great if I wrote some damn reviews or something. I’ve been seriously slacking on that.

Anyhoo – how was your reading last month?

 

 

Sarah Sunday

This was a weirdly busy week, capped off my a surprise visit from my mom and nephew! Which is great, of course, except yeah my reading is really suffering this month.

Reading: I still feel like I’m in a slump, but I finally settled on re-reading Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn so that at least I’m working on a Read Harder challenge. Plus it’s a super fun book and the sequel comes out this summer so I’ll be all refreshed for it!

Watching: American Horror Story (ugh, season 5) still, but also some of The Office. On Valentine’s Day night we made a pizza together and then watched Valentine’s Day episodes of The Office, which was pretty great.

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Listening: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah still. If I try really hard, I’ll be able to finish it this month – I have about 4 hours to go. I only have 3 hours of commuting left of the month (my drive is only a measly 20 minutes, barely), and that’s my main listening time. Maybe if family isn’t around I can take walks after work, because the weather this week is supposed to be in the high 40’s (so warm!)

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Eating: Gummy bears! Also I drank basically nothing but coffee and wine this weekend, so I really need to hydrate on Monday.

Thinking: Things. I really can’t go into more detail than that.

Citizening: I called my reps twice this week. I also bought Celeste (who runs http://itstimetofight.weebly.com) a coffee because really, the work she’s putting into the site is so valuable.

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Anticipating: Iron Fist coming out on Netflix on March 17? I guess? Actually I have very mixed feelings. I’m looking forward to it because Netflix / Marvel has been doing an awesome job with these shows. I’m NOT looking forward to it because I feel like this is going to be the weakest of the bunch. I’m disappointed that they didn’t pick an Asian actor to play Danny Rand. They had a chance to do something really great there, especially after the white-washing bullshit in Doctor Strange and the racist bullshit in Daredevil season 2, but they didn’t. “White dude becomes the best at Asian martial arts” is a tired old storyline that I have no interest in. BUT – I want to watch The Defenders, which is going to include Iron Fist, so I’m going to watch it.

Exercising: As per usual, I went twice during the week and not at all over the weekend. I mean if I can at least maintain that, I can try to build on it, right?

Hope your weekend was delightful.

Sarah Sunday

I can’t handle how quick this weekend flew by. Oy. And work has been busy again, so yeah time is just flying right now. We’re basically halfway through the month already!

Reading: I finished Bad Idea by Damon Suede, a M/M romance novel. Other than that though, BASICALLY NOTHING. I lost my mojo. I keep picking up a book, reading 15-20 pages, and putting it down and then picking up another book. There’s at least 10 books on my coffee table right now and I just can’t seem to fall into any of them. UGHGHGHGH.

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Watching: Well, we finally finished American Horror Story: Freak Show and now we’ve started Hotel. So far, not loving Hotel… kind of like Coven, I feel like it’s just a lot of shock factor with (so far) really weak character and storyline development, but whatever. I don’t know why we’re bothering, nothing will be as good as the first season.

Also, last weekend I watched the entirety of Santa Clarita Diet in one day. It’s funny, in case you’re wondering. I’m gonna re-watch at some point.

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Listening: Okay, I did start listening to Born a Crime by Trevor Noah and that’s fantastic, so I guess I’m reading that right now. But I don’t have a paper copy to follow along when I’m not driving and honestly I wouldn’t want to miss his narration, so.

Eating: Coffee!!! It’s all that matters. Also we’re going to make pizza for Valentine’s Day this week and I’m pretty psyched about that.

Thinking: About how I can’t wait to dye my hair. I’m going to go for a silvery-grey-blonde color sometime in the next few weeks. I’m sick of growing out my hair and that color is just getting me. Google “silver blonde hair” or “grey blonde hair” and you’ll see kind of what I’m meaning. And I told my little brother about how I’m gonna turn thirty and look all saucy with my cool new hair and apparently saucy is now some sort of weird new slang that means something different than how I meant it?

Citizening: So, since I skipped updating last week – I made calls the week before, but this last week I didn’t make any. I just kind of felt burnt out. But I did donate to She Should Run when I got paid, and I’m going to pick up the phone again this week to talk about upcoming confirmation votes and the refugee/immigrant ban.

Anticipating: My birthday at the end of the month because I’m going to give myself a 4-day weekend and ENJOY that shit. And also my family might come into town the week after that for my Mom’s birthday! Yay!

Exercising: I went twice during the week but weekends continue to elude me. Keeping that confidence up though!

 

 

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Alright, I gotta go dive into some comics. Comics will save me from this slump, right?

January Recap

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I basically kicked January’s ass. I read 9 books and 34 comics. Whaaaat??? I know, crazy. My goal for the year is 60 books, so I mean… that’s a pretty big dent.

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Be Not Afraid by Alyssa Cole – I bought this at BRL and Alyssa Cole signed it for me! This was my first read of the year –  two black protagonists who are on opposing sides of the Revolutionary War fall in love. Some serious topics packed into this short little romance and it’s great.

All Our Wrong Todays

All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai – This comes out tomorrow, and if you like interesting time travel mishaps this will be right up your alley.

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Battle Hill Bolero by Daniel Jose Older – Conclusion to the Bone Street Rumba series! Except I kind of refuse to acknowledge it’s the end because I don’t want to leave these characters.

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The Magpie Lord by K.J. Charles – So this is a m/m romance, but reads more like a dark, gritty regency fantasy novel. And I’m pretty sure the author is a straight woman, so even though the story was good, the sexy bits felt a bit off. I re-read a couple paragraphs trying to figure out the sexual logistics of what she was describing. I’m not going to count this for “LBGTQ romance” for the Read Harder challenge, I’m going to find something #ownvoices instead.

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Freedom is a Constant Struggle by Angela Y. Davis – I’m not sure a collection of speeches and essays was the best intro to Davis. But basically we need to connect with movements on an international level, G4S is evil, and she’s very pro-Palestine (which I don’t know nearly enough about to have my own opinion on yet).

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Breasts by Florence Williams – This was both terrifying, funny, and informative. Definitely highly recommend, even if it now has me second-guessing myself every time I put lotion on or use scented body wash or basically do anything that could affect my ladies in the slightest.

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Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty – One of those really hyped up books that sounded like basic chick lit and I let it sit on my Kindle for 2 years, but it turns out it was kind of worth the hype. I was surprised as how much I got into it.

Sweet to the Taste by Alyssa Cole – Listen, you basically need to read ALL the Alyssa Cole, okay? Especially if you find diversity sexy (and if you don’t I’m not sure you’re in the right place).

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Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – CNA is a bombshell. This focuses on four people, all connected in some way, as they make their way through the Biafran War, AKA the Nigerian Civil War. I was totally sucked into the minutiae of their lives. This is definitely my second fave CNA novel (first being Americanah).

STATS – BOOKS

Books read: 9

Female authors: 7 (78%)

Non-white authors: 5 (56%)

Format breakdown: 5 print, 4 e-book

STATS – COMICS

Issues read: 34

Female authors/illustrators: 8

Non-white author/illustrators: 10

Format breakdown: 33 print, 1 digital

So yeah, off to a pretty strong start for 2017! I need to read more comics on Marvel Unlimited, I have it for a year and I’m totally not using it enough. I also need to write more actual reviews… I’ve been writing review blurbs on Litsy but that’s basically it. On the other hand, I wrote hardly any reviews and read a bunch of books… so maybe that’s where my time is better spent. We’ll see.

All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

All Our Wrong Todays

Thanks to Dutton and Edelweiss for the e-galley! And of course, all views in this review are 100% my own.

“Lionel Goettreider read Cat’s Cradle and had a crucial realization, what he called the “Accident” – when you invent a new technology, you also invent the accident of that technology. When you invent the car, you also invent the car accident. When you invent the plane, you also invent the plane crash. When you invent nuclear fission, you also invent the nuclear meltdown.”

“But I have a theory too: The Accident doesn’t just apply to technology, it also applies to people. Every person you meet introduces the accident of that person to you. What can go right and what can go wrong. There is no intimacy without consequence.”

You know how we look at movies like Back to the Future and kind of laugh at how back in the day, everyone thought the future 2016 was going to be crazy futuristic? Hover cars and weird clothes and food in pill form and all that? Well, it really happened! And Tom knows it really happened because that’s the 2016 he grew up in. The Goettreider Engine in 1965 gave the world free, clean energy and propelled the globe into an era of amazing technology. But even in this ridiculously amazing techno-utopia Tom is having a rough time, and then he makes it worse when he has a time travel accident and changes history, landing himself stuck in the crappy version of 2016 that we’re all used to. All he wants is to set the timeline straight and get back to the existence he knows – but at the same time, there are some aspects of his life that are definitely better in our 2016. What’s a wayward time traveler to do?

I had a blast reading All Our Wrong Todays – I flew through it in about 2 days, and it’s definitely one of those books that I had to describe in detail to my husband because I needed someone to talk to about it. It’s super interesting to see Elan Mastai’s version of this ideal world where technology has basically freed us from our daily worries – food, health care, housing, and other necessities of life are now a fact of life, available for all. In this techno-utopia we’re free to focus on the work that we truly want to do – but that doesn’t necessarily erase all of the problems in life. I loved reading about this theory of time travel and how exactly it finally works. Tom is a great narrator – at times juvenile and frustrating, but also incredibly relatable, funny, and poignant. Even when he gets in his own way, I felt myself rooting for him.

One other note – I saw some reviews on Amazon that said something about the women in Tom’s life only being there to help him achieve his goals, and I have to disagree on that. While Tom does some typical crappy guy things, the women in the book DO matter, and I think it becomes more and more apparent as the book moves on just how much those women matter to Tom. So yeah, if you see those reviews… I think one in particular didn’t actually read much of the book, and maybe just try it and see for yourself.

This book comes out on February 7th – mark your calendars so you can get your hands on it right away.