The Long Way to A Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers


I’m so happy I picked this up! I heard about it on one of the Book Riot podcasts, and grabbed the trade copy from The Strand when I was in NYC last weekend because ‘fun space opera” stuck in my head. And that’s exactly what it is! Rosemary is (kind of) the main character, and since she’s running from some family stuff she gets a job as a clerk on a ship whose main function is getting work making wormholes through space. I know! They punch through the sublayer of space to connect distant locations, so cool.

I say Rosemary’s “kind of” a main character because though the book definitely starts with a focus on her, it ends up being about ALL of the crew, and man what a varied crew they are. There’s Ashby, the black pacifist captain of the ship who may or may not be in a taboo romance with an alien woman who he hardly ever gets to see. There’s Kizzy and Jenks, the off-the-wall talented mechanics of the ship (Kizzy reminds me a lot of Gaige from Borderlands 2). There’s Corbin, the annoying, abrasive algae specialist whose function is to basically fuel the ship. Sissix is the reptile-ish alien who pilots the ship. Dr. Chef is an big alien with 6 limbs and several throats whose function is being the doctor and the chef (hoho, bet you didn’t see that coming!) Ohan is the furry alien infected with a virus that allows them to view space in ways that humans can’t, hence making them the navigator. And, last but not least, Lovey is the ship’s AI who oversees everything in and about the ship. The group lives mostly on the Wayfarer, and generally part they get along swimmingly (except Corbin, that ass) until Ashby takes a contract job that’s bigger than anything they’ve ever done, and puts them in direct contact with the most hostile group of aliens known.

I’ll give a fair bit of warning here – this book is not super action-packed. Don’t get me wrong, some stuff goes down on more than one occasion, but it’s very much focused on getting to know the characters and for me, that was fun enough in of itself. I love the diversity among the different species. Some are gender and sexuality -fluid, some are very devout, some just want to cuddle, some can’t stand to be touched – they’re all so different and yet for the most part, seem used to functioning in a universe with each other. Technology is (of course) a huge aspect of life both in space and planetside, and that’s always fun to see, to imagine what those kinds of advances in technology would look like in our lives.

This is a crazy and fun ride through space, and I can’t wait to see what else Becky Chambers does for this world (universe?) she’s created. It looks like there’s already a new book slated for March – not necessarily a sequel, but a follow-up to one of the characters so don’t go reading the description for the second book because it will definitely ruin a piece of the first book for you. Anyways, I’ll be getting my hands on the second book as soon as I can.

~Sarah

Sarah Sunday

It’s the #24in48 readathon this weekend, and since it’s 8 o’clock at night now I’m guessing I’ll end it with maybe 4 hours of reading, which is just a damn shame. Between working out, running errands, being distracted by the internet, and spending time with the honeyman I just completely lost focus of the ‘thon, which sucks :-p

Reading: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers – I’m about 170 pages in and loving it. And I especially love that the author gently corrected someone on Twitter who said she pictured Captain Ashby as Matt Damon: “Not to commandeer your brain theater, but Ashby’s got brown skin, so I might suggest Laz Alonso or Henry Simmons.:)

Watching: Ghostbusters! Saw it twice this week. So awesome, so fun.

Listening: Nothing, really. I’ve been listening to podcasts and music all week, I don’t know why I haven’t bothered with an audiobook. But In the Heights is on Amazon Prime so I’m gonna start listening to that soon because I need all of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s work in my brain.

Eating: Gummy bears! For real though, I’m trying to eat a little better, trying to use My Fitness Pal again.

Blogging: I’m hoping to get a bit back on track with that this week. After getting back from NYC last weekend, then celebrating 9 years with the honeyman, and getting sick with some cold – blogging just wasn’t happening.

Thinking: About how I should get food ready for work tomorrow, and how excited I am to “sleep in” till 5:20 because the gym opens too late on Mondays to be able to go before work. On the other days, the honeyman and I are attempting to get up at 3:45 to go before work. (We managed twice last week, not bad considering all the stuff I just mentioned.)

Anticipating: Laying in bed and getting back to my book.

Hope your weekend has been restful! Any exciting plans for this week? (THE LAST WEEK OF JULY, OMG.)

~Sarah

Another Late Sarah Sunday

Yeah Sunday was a blur and mostly spent driving home, so I’m working on this while laying in bed this morning.

NYC trip was short, but fun. We went to a spa, got SOAKED in the rain getting to the Staten Island ferry, and spent Saturday walking around Manhattan. Also I got a Claptrap Yahtzee for only $10 because it was on clearance at the Think Geek store, and I am SO excited to play it. And of course we went to The Strand and I bought things, because that how I do.

SEE HOW COOL?!?

Reading: I started Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson while in NYC and read like 26% while waiting for my pedicure, which was awesome. It’s a great start, should finish it soon. I also started Something New by Lucy Knisley which I really need to finish ASAP because man I am racking up the library fines.

Watching: LOL nothing. Hopefully Ghostbusters soon!

Listening: I listened to a lot of Hamilton on the drive to and from NYC (thanks Heather for letting that happen!)

Strand loot, sisters, and me in the pretty spa bathroom.

Eating: Probably going to The Melting Pot tonight. It’s our 9 Year Anniversary and we’re not doing anything major this year since ya know, we got married in January, but I’m super excited to hang out with the honeyman tonight and eat fondue.

Blogging: YES. I am behind in some things, but I’ll hopefully have a review up for The Fire This Time soon.

Thinking: About how I really need to start going through stuff to get rid of and start packing since we’re moving at the end of August. (We finally found a place, super close to our gym, a 2 bedroom townhouse which I am SO excited about.) My sister is planning on a garage sale soon so I’m going to get together a bunch of stuff to bring over for that.

Anticipating: MOVING! Seriously, so psyched. I’m also really looking forward to the #24in48 readathon next weekend. I feel like that will be my last nice big chunk of reading time before the end of the month, and probably for the summer.

How was your weekend??

~Sarah

Books I might read in NYC this weekend

SISTERS WEEKEND!

My older sister (Heather) and I are taking off after work today to go visit my little sister (Amanda) in NYC for the weekend, and this is particularly exciting because NO KIDS. So the odds are I won’t have a ton of reading time – we’re gonna be running around eating and drinking and trying to see if we can get really cheap tickets to Avenue Q or something, but I might be able to fit some reading in during the drive, or maybe during our spa visit tomorrow morning. So if that opportunity presents itself, this is what I’ll turn to:

Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson – Bonus points if I get to read some of this WHILE in Brooklyn.

Something New by Lucy Knisley – The only physical book I’m bringing with me (let’s face it, I’ll be buying books at The Strand) and it’s SO overdue at the library so I really should read it.

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova – I’ve been kind of making myself wait to read this galley about a powerful bruja who rejects her magic and accidentally makes her family vanish, but I think it’s finally time. 

Time Salvager by Wesley Chu – I love Wesley Chu’s Tao series, and I’ve been meaning to try this other one. (And psssst it’s only $2.99 on Kindle right now.)

Finding Fraser by KC Dyer – I just finished re-reading Voyager (Outlander #3) yesterday, so I might dive into this novel about a girl packing up and moving to Scotland to find her own personal version of Jamie Fraser.

Now – any suggestions as to what I should buy if I do some book shopping? I want to get a print version of The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee, but man I don’t want to have to lug that giant ass book around. Also, any other bookstore recs? We’ll be stopping at The Strand but I’d like to hit another good bookstore if we can.

~Sarah

 

Being Jazz: My Life As a (Transgender) Teen by Jazz Jennings

I had no idea who Jazz Jennings is, but apparently she’s pretty famous. She’s well-known on her YouTube channel and she does activist work speaking out for LGBTQ rights, and she has a reality show on TLC called I Am Jazz. I’m kind of surprised I hadn’t heard of her before reading her book, but this was probably a good introduction anyways. I stumbled upon it on Audible and went with it because A) I’ve been wanting to read some books by or about transgender people and B) it was only 4 hours (lame reason, I know, but still).

So Jazz was born as a boy but growing up it was clear to her, and most of her family, that she was really a girl inside. At the age of 4 she was diagnosed with gender identity disorder, and her parents slowly started allowing her to make the switch to living her life as a girl – first at home, and then publicly. Her mom, realizing that there didn’t seem to be any resources to help her manage having a gender dysphoric child, took up the mantle and started reaching out and building those resources for other families with transgender children, and Jazz talks a lot about how she’s grown up with a family that loves, understands, and supports her.

I feel like I learned a lot from Jazz’s memoir – for instance, the terms “gender identity disorder” and “gender dysphoric”, and a bit about the hormone treatment options for transgender youth. I still have a lot to learn, obviously, but this was a good jumping off point. The audiobook was fantastic – it was like listening to a teenage girl chat with you for four hours about her life, and that was awesome. She also told a lot of funny horror stories involving throwing up and peeing her pants, and she talks about the less glamorous aspects of being on a reality TV show, like never being able to actually eat while on camera because chewing makes too much noise. Jazz makes it a point to talk about how if you want to know more about being transgender, do the research yourself instead of putting a transgender person on the spot. She has a great list of resources in her book (in the PDF, if you choose the Audible version). 

The one thing I can say is that Jazz is very young. Her memoir is full of positivity, and from the sounds of it her family really has done a fantastic job of advocating for her in school, sports, media, etc. But her youth makes me wonder a little bit if she felt the need to put a bit of a happier sheen on some things, and I’ll be really interested to see another memoir from her when she’s in her 30’s.

Sarah Says: 4 stars, totally worth the read

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Facts About Me

the broke and the bookish

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

I usually HATE “about me” questions, but I guess I can do okay if I make it bookish. The topic this week is Ten Facts About Me.

wp-1468329570696.jpg1 – I have bookish tattoos – Harry Potter stars on my wrists, “I’d rather be reading” on the top of my foot, the NC (non-compliant) logo from the Bitch Planet comics on my wrist, and you can even maybe count the Vault Symbol behind one of my ears since the Borderlands video games series ALSO has a comic series.

2 – It’s been about 10 years since I’ve worked in a bookstore. I miss working with books.

3 – I’ve purged a ton of books this year… and I don’t really miss any of them in particular…

4 – …But I’m moving to a bigger place soon and looking forward to hoarding more books.

5 – For about half of the audiobooks I start, I end up getting the paper copy and reading it both ways.

6 – This is my favorite GIF:

7 – I have no problem writing, highlighting, bending pages, breaking spines, or any other things people consider “damaging” to their books. Some of my favorite books I have on my shelves are ones that look like they’ve been through hell by the reading of them. (For example, the Hamilton bio by Ron Chernow. Notes in SO MANY MARGINS.)

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8 – I have a kitty, and I want another one. Me from a decade ago would’ve never believed that (I strongly disliked cats). I finally decided I wanted a cat because I wanted a pet to cuddle with when I read and it’s too much of a pain to have a dog in an apartment.

9 – I’m not a big “movie adaptation” person. I rarely get around to seeing the movie version of a book, and if a movie is coming out for a book I haven’t read, I’d rather see the movie first and then read the book. The exception is any comics movies, of course. Comics movies are awesome lately, and I will definitely try to read the comic arc before seeing the movie.

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10 – I have a bajillion copies of the Outlander series books. I have multiple copies of the books in various formats:  e-book, audiobook, hardcover, trade, and mass market.

What are some your bookish quirks?

~Sarah

Sarah Sunday

Good morning, early birds (if you count 8 AM on a Sunday early, which I kinda do.)

Reading: Keeping on with re-reading Voyager for my Outlander re-reads. I’m like 40% in, hoping I can finish this week before I go to NYC for the weekend. Man I love this series. And I have The Gene on audio to start… but likewise, I’m wondering if I really want to start this before I go to NYC next weekend, when I know I won’t have any time to listen to it. My sister damn sure isn’t going to listen to it while driving.

Watching: I haven’t had time to watch a damn thing this week, except for a couple episodes of The Boondocks with the honeyman the other night.

Listening: Not a thing. It’s quiet right now, and after having my mom and nephew over most of the week, it’s kinda nice.

Eating: I’m hard-boiling some eggs right now because they expire tomorrow… we really gotta go grocery shopping today.

Blogging: Between my family being in town, work being busy because some people were on vacation, and apartment-hunting – I’m honestly kind of impressed I managed to get three posts up. I’m hoping to use this morning to get some reviews scheduled so I’ll be back on track for that, but things will probably be a little slow during the next couple weeks since I’m re-reading Voyager. But that’s okay. It’s summer, it’s the perfect lazy time of year to be relaxed about those things.

Thinking: About how I really do want to get some reviews written, but Borderlands 2 is calling my name.

Anticipating: Going to see my sister next weekend! My big sister and I are driving to NYC to see my little sister, and there will be NO KIDS. I am so looking forward to this.

How has your weekend been?

~Sarah

Click, click

It’s been a while since I did one these, and I still need to write some reviews so let’s do a links round-up.

I woke up two mornings in a row to read about another black man being shot and killed by police.

Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. I don’t know what to say, because I’ve expressed my rage and frustration at this a hundred times. Hoping for some justice, but at this point not expecting it.

There’s a new federal lawsuit against Trump for a case of child rape back in 1994, and I’ve literally only heard about this on Huffington Post. It’s no where in my Twitter feed. You’d think it’d be talked about more, since we’ve seen constant articles on Hillary’s email scandal, but apparently this isn’t worth talking about… if you Google “Trump child rape case”, there’s not even a CNN link. Maybe they’re afraid of getting their press access revoked by the Trump campaign. I hate this election.

The new Iron Man is going to be a 15-year-old genius black girl named Riri. This is exciting for SO many reasons… but at the same time, it appears Bendis will be the writer and I wish he wasn’t. Why can’t Marvel hire a POC/WOC author to write this?? I like Bendis, I love his Miles Morales Spiderman comics, and if he wants to use his popularity and influence to bring more diversity to comics, I’m all for it… but he could do that by urging Marvel to hire more POC and women on their creative teams.

Snapchat is going to roll a new feature called Memories, to basically make it more like Instagram, and I’m curious to see how that goes. I still haven’t gotten the hang of Snapchat and I know there’s so many cool bookish things to do with it.

Lin-Manuel Miranda and J-Lo are recording a song together to benefit Orlando Pulse victims, and let’s face it – if Lin’s involved, I’m instantly like 1000% more interested in checking something like this out.

Last week, SCOTUS gave a 5-3 positive ruling in a major abortion case, effectively making bullshit rules and laws intended to force abortion clinics to shut down illegal. Hells to the yes.

Are there any note-worthy links you want to share? Please do.

I don’t know about you guys, but these past couple weeks have been flying by. Thank goodness tomorrow is Friday.

~Sarah

June Recap

Go June, you rock! I read 8 books and 52 issues of comics. Woot! So I have some bite-sized blurbs about what I read:

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The Fireman by Joe Hill – Probably my least favorite Joe Hill so far. It had some good elements but I was glad to finish it.

Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn – SO fun and feisty and superhero-y and I’m already looking forward to a re-read. (Released today!)

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Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean – Fun and fluffy romance, likable main character, but I will forever remember this as the “he ate her face” book.

Being Mortal by Atul Gawande – This was actually a quite fantastic read about growing old, quality of life, and dying. I didn’t review because it hit a little close to home on some stuff and I couldn’t separate that when I tried writing about it.

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In the Country We Love by Diane Guerrero – Awesome on audio, memoir about how when she was 14 this actress’s parents were deported and how that shook up her life.

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Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi – SO SO GREAT. Sad and infuriating and hopeful and will probably end up on my top ten of the year list.

Learning to Swear in America by Katie Kennedy – A little juvenile, which makes sense it’s a YA title. If you like the manic pixie dream girl thing, this is for you. (Also out today!)

The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race by Jesmyn Ward – A wonderful collection of essays about race in America by a wide range of authors including Daniel Jose Older, Claudia Rankine, Kiese Laymon, Garnette Cadogan, and many more.

STATS – BOOKS

Books read: 8

#Readmyowndamnbooks: 1 (13%)

Female authors: 6 (75%)

Non-white authors: 5 (63%)

Format breakdown: 1 audiobook, 5 e-book, 2 print.

STATS – COMICS

Issues read: 57

Female authors/illustrators: 5

Non-white author/illustrators: 3

Format breakdown: All print.

So June was a pretty great month! I need to catch up on some review-writing – apparently my ability to stay on top of reviews gets a little worse the more books I read in a month? I’ll try to get better at that, but I’m a busy lady.

How was your June?

~Sarah