Sarah Sunday

Last week was THE WORST, a bunch of people were on vacation so work was crazy busy. I’m really bummed that it’s already Sunday.

Reading: Playing Dead by Elizabeth Greenwood (audio), Seven Skeletons by Lydia Pyne (e-galley), and Signal Boost by Alyssa Cole (e-book).

Watching: Scrubs and basically nothing else. Not a lot of TV-watching happening over here because we’ve been diving into Borderlands a LOT. I’m working on my Maya character.

Listening: Playing Dead, and sometimes some In the Heights or Hamilton to mix it up. My niece and nephew finally discovered how awesome Hamilton is so I’m extra looking forward to watching them all next weekend.

Eating: I had a breakfast empanada at the public market yesterday and it was SO GOOD and dammit why don’t we have more empanada places in this town?

Blogging: I really need to wrote reviews for The Underground Railroad and Labyrinth Lost, it just hasn’t happened yet.

Thinking: About working out, which probably won’t happen today because I got up late and I’m doing laundry and already showered… but I have new workout clothes that I’m really excited to wear, so soon.

Anticipating: Getting the keys to our new apartment on Friday! Woohoooooo!!!

How has your week been?

~Sarah

My tiny #boutofbooks to-read list

So, Bout of Books 17 starts next Monday – I signed up, even though I suspect my reading will be prettttyyyy darn limited since I’m moving soon. But I’m hoping to do the Twitter chat on Monday night, and maybe this will motivate me to make sure I don’t skip lunches at work, and maybe read instead of playing the crap out of Borderlands in my down time.

(Also, I’ll be posting on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat for Bout of Books – SarahSaysRead on all three if you wanna socialize during the readathon!)

So, here’s what I’m currently reading – if I get a chance to finish these before Monday that’d be great, but it’s not likely, so they’ll be part of my focus for BoB:

Seven Skeletons by Lydia Pyne – I’m reading an e-galley of this that kind of got approved at the last minute (it came out this Tuesday). It’s about the 7 most famous fossils and while it IS interesting, I’ve only read it in 10-minute little scraps before bedtime so far.

Playing Dead Audiobook

Playing Dead by Elizabeth Greenwood – This book about death fraud is SURPRISINGLY interesting, and the audiobook is really great so far. Makes for a really fascinating, morbid commute but I’m kind of loving it.

And here’s a couple potential reads for BoB – not currently reading, but I might pick them up for funsies:

Saga: Volume 6 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples – Would be great to sit down and blast through. I kept a stack of single-issue comics and a couple of trades unpacked in the hopes I’d squeeze them in.

The Rise of Io by Wesley Chu – You had NO idea how psyched I was when this NetGalley request got approved. I love the author’s Tao series and this is an offshoot of that. Yessssss.

Alright – let’s be realistic and just call that my complete “pile” (downside of having books packed and reading a lot e-galleys – no pretty pictures of book stacks). What’s your to-read list looking like for Bout of Books?

Sarah Sunday

Happy Sunday there, folks. I packed and moved furniture and boxes around a LOT yesterday, so today is going to be mostly about relaxing.

Reading: I finished Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova, and I started reading The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. I’m a little annoyed at Oprah getting the release date for it, because I had an e-galley and was about to start reading it to prep for next month’s release. Anyways, I started the e-galley and it’s so good I went and bought the hardcover yesterday, so.

Watching: Yeah, we watched Stranger Things in it’s entirety this weekend. Damn, Netflix is good. And I know everyone kept going on about Winona Ryder being in it, but I’m pretty sure Dustin was the star of that show. OMG that kid.

If I have a kid in some parallel universe, I hope he’s like Dustin. LOLs forever.

Listening: Podcasts mostly. And I tried The Partly Cloudy Patriot on Audible, but I had to return it – Sarah Vowell narrates herself for the most part and it was a bit rough to listen to. And her books seem PERFECT for audio, so that was disappointing. SO instead I got Playing Dead: A Journey Through the World of Death Fraud by Elizabeth Greenwood on Audible, and I admit that my decision was based like 95% on the fact that Mindy Kaling Instagrammed about it. (The other 5% was me listening to the sample and deciding that I could handle the narration.) Excited to start it.

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Eating: The honeyman is making me breakfast sliders right now.  :-)

Blogging: HA. My blogging is all over the place – I can’t get on a set schedule with work being so crazy busy that sometimes I stay late and then trying to deal with packing stuff at home. But I’m not abandoning my blog so I guess that’s all that matters right now.

Thinking: About those sliders. And how I should go to the gym, but I think staying inside and reading and doing laundry sounds a lot better.

Anticipating: Book Riot Live! I think I’m going to buy tickets this week, and trying to get my sister to go with. Anyone reading this gonna be there? It’ll be the first time in all my years of blogging that I’ll be able to go to a big bookish thing and meet people IRL!

For reals, let me know. Now how is your weekend shaping up?

~Sarah

Things I’m Looking Forward to This Fall

August is a big old mess. We’re moving at the end of the month to a bigger apartment and I am excited about that, but that means that my focus and time for reading are super limited and I’m busy and just ahhhh I can’t wait for the month to be over. 

I know I’m going to miss the summer once it’s gone, but here’s what I’m looking forward to in the fall…

 

New apartment – Well duh. A two-bedroom townhouse with a basement and everything. GONNA HAVE TO MUCH MORE ROOM YESSSSSS. And we’ll be getting a washer and dryer, like adults dammit!

Reading outside – Our new place has a deck right off of the kitchen. I am so looking forward to reading on the deck, even if it means being bundled up in sweaters and a blanket and drinking coffee or tea.

Non-fiction November – I ALWAYS forget about this, but not this year! I have an Amazon wishlist going of non-fiction books to choose from for November and I am so excited about it.

Rebecca Schinsky of Book Riot. I hope she doesn’t mind me using this.

Book Riot Live – One of my goals for this year was to go to Book Riot Live and I’m about 90% sure that I’ll be buying tickets soon. So if you are going, PLEASE TELL ME SO WE CAN SAY HI!

Book Riot Live reading – I also made an Amazon wishlist to keep track of the authors that will be there and their books, so I can attempt to read some before going. Very excited about the line-up so far.

The election being over – I am terrified that Trump will win, but at the very, very least the anticipation and worrying about the results will be over.

Chicken pot pie – I only make chicken pot pie from September to March/April. Also looking forward to chili, stews, etc. COMFORT FOOD!


Decorating for Christmas – Since we’ll be in a bigger place, I can bring my really big Christmas tree back out again. It’s been 3 years. Last year I didn’t even put up the little tree because it seemed like too much work for such a small space. 

Luke Cage – September 30th, baby! Gonna binge watch the crap out of it.

And I’m sure there’s more, but this is a pretty fantastic list right here. What are you looking forward to once fall hits?

~Sarah

Sarah Sunday

Weekends are going by way, way too fast.

Reading: I finished Harry Potter and the Cursed Child last night, it was very meh. Scorpius was a great character though. Now I’m just focusing on my ARCs for September where I can, so right now I’m reading Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova.

Watching: A ton of Scrubs. And we went to go see Suicide Squad this morning… it wasn’t nearly as bad at Batman vs Superman, but still not good. DC just has no idea what the fuck they’re doing in these movies. But I did like Harley a lot.

Listening: I’ve been listening to In the Heights on Amazon Prime – I had to read the storyline on Wikipedia to get kind of an idea of what’s happening in some of the songs, but it’s still good and I have the opening song stuck in my head right now.

Eating: Salads for lunch and sandwiches for dinner. But also the honeyman has been making these chicken sliders and they’re SO GOOD. So far he’s done chicken barbecue and chicken parm ones and they’re so yummy. He’s promised me that BREAKFAST sliders are next.

Blogging: Trying to keep up, but with packing and all my reading time is suffering. Well, maybe not reading time – but in the down time I do have, I’ve been playing Borderlands 2 with the honeyman instead of reading because it’s more mindless and my brain is having trouble focusing on books at the moment. Also, kind of in the realm of blogging / social media – Instagram has a feature that is basically Snapchat and while I’m enjoying it, they need to steal some filters and Bitmoji from Snapchat for it to really be complete. Those are basically the only things that would keep me tied in some way to Snapchat. I really like Instagram’s neon drawing tool thing.

Thinking: About the asshole at the military picnic thing we went to yesterday who made some fucked up statement about how white dudes can’t join  police forces now because of affirmative action/diversity requirements and that’s the second time recently I’ve heard that and I kind of just wanted to punch his teeth in.

Anticipating: MOVING! In like 3 1/2 weeks and that still seems like sooooo long. I can’t wait to get out of this tiny apartment.

How has your weekend been?

~Sarah

The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race by Jesmyn Ward

Many thanks to Scribner/NetGalley for giving me the chance to read this and post my thoughts.

“No one need an eighty-year-old carpenter, no matter how clever he was: he’d worked hard but had made next to nothing. California had once been fertile ground for him, but in the end it, too, was bound to the country that had long seen him and us as subservient human beings. But my grandfather preferred not to focus on that sort of thing. What Baldwin understood is that to be black in America is to have the demand for dignity be at absolute odds with the national anthem.” – Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah in “The Weight”

This is a brilliant collection of essays collected by Jesmyn Ward about what it means to be black in America today, in the aftermath of Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, Rekia Boyd, and countless others whose lives have been treated as disposable – whether you’re old or young, born here or from afar, light or dark, man or woman.

I’m not necessarily the intended audience for this this book, but as a white person who thinks a lot about race and the issues in our country, I was eager to read it and learn from it, and it is just as haunting and thought-provoking as you would expect. I highly recommend it.

A few essays in particular stood out. There’s a really powerful essay written by Garnette Cadogen about the difference between being a black man walking in Jamaica versus walking in America that blew me away. I’m married to a black man, and there is a part of me that worries every time he walks out of the door, and this is precisely why. Because even walking while black is perceived as threatening. Cadogen’s perspective as someone who was born in a country that is mostly black and then comes to America and experiences this for the first time just struck me right through to the bone.

Emily Raboteau wrote about the struggle of raising black children, and trying to find that time when she should talk to them about the particular dangers they will face, the racism that will come their way if it hasn’t already, and how horrible it is to even have to have this conversation. But she also brings it around to a series of murals spread throughout the boroughs of New York City that are gorgeous but also serve to remind people of their rights when dealing with police – that they have the right to record police activity, to record an officer’s badge number if they are stopped-and-frisked, but to also remain calm and to not resist, even if they believe they are innocent… She seeks out each mural and photographs each one and writes in detail about the message being given.

“The past few months have forced us to confront our place in a country where we were enslaved for far longer than we have been free.” – Isabel Wilkerson in “Where Do We Go From Here?”

So many other essays included here are well worth the read and have so much to ponder. Other contributors to this collection include Daniel Jose Older, Kiese Laymon, Claudia Rankine, Kevin Young, and many others. If you have books like The World Between You and Me, Citizen, and The New Jim Crow on your shelf, this anthology will be a valuable addition. If you don’t, then this is as good a book as any for a starting point to learn about the current black experience in America. Go buy it, read it, encourage others to borrow it.

~Sarah

July Recap

So, July was alright! I didn’t read a lot, but I probably should’ve seen that coming cause dude, I’m busy. I read 4 books, 1 graphic novel, and 8 issues of comics.

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Being Jazz: My Life as a Transgender Teen by Jazz Jennings – Funny and interesting and eye-opening, and I particularly recommend the audio version.

Voyager by Diana Gabaldon – My ongoing Outlander series re-read is going swimmingly. And Voyager was perfect for the super hot weather we’re having, because high sea adventures and pirates.

Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson – Interesting and a little haunting. The main character really wears her grief.

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The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers – Such a pleasant surprise – it’s sci-fi and set in space and the crew members are a varied bunch of humans and aliens and it was just great. Listening to those Book Riot recommendation/new books podcasts really pays off.

Something New by Lucy Knisley – Her graphic memoirs are just the BEST. And having gotten married myself earlier this year, I was super into it.

 

STATS – BOOKS

Books read: 4

Female authors: 4 (100%)

Non-white authors: 1 (25%)

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

STATS – COMICS

Issues read: 8

Female authors/illustrators: 2

Non-white author/illustrators: 2

Format breakdown: All print.

 

So – not great, but not terrible… I’m glad I finally read a memoir by a transgender person and want to read more – can any one recommend other transgender authors? Non-fiction or fiction?

How was your July?

~Sarah

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’d Buy RIGHT NOW If I Had All That Money

the broke and the bookish

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

The topic this week is Ten Books You’d Buy Right This Second If Someone Handed You A Fully Loaded Gift Card. It’s almost too easy.

The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee – Okay, I actually have this book on Audible – but I feel like I need a print copy too, so I can switch between the two and highlight and make notes.

The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America by Andres ResendezJenny wrote a great post about this book and I really want to get my hands on it.

The Story of Jane: The Legendary Underground Feminist Abortion Service by Laura Kaplan – Are we seeing a trend here? I really like to have non-fiction in print specifically. This sounds FASCINATING.

Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach – How have I not read the Mary Roach sex book yet??? I’ve even taken it out at the library a couple times but I never seem to get to it before I have to bring it back.

The Hike by Drew Magary – This actually comes out today! And it’s by the authors that wrote The Postmortal, which I loved, honestly I don’t even know what this book is about but I’m so here for it.

Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn – This has been receiving ALL the praise and I want to read it so bad. It is very tempting to go to the bookstore and get this right now, gift card or no.

Plucked: A History of Hair Removal (Biopolitics) by [Herzig, Rebecca M.]

Plucked: A History of Hair Removal by Rebecca M. Herzig – Back to the non-fiction! So I actually read the Intro to this book when I had it out from the library, and I realized that it’s more in-depth and serious than I had anticipated, so I stopped b/c I knew I was going to need my own copy to highlight the crap out of. You think it’d just be about silly human hair rituals, but she talks in the Intro about the ethics of forcing detainees at Guantanamo Bay to shave when it violates their religious principles and oh man, I want to dive into this.

The Pirates! by Gideon Defoe – I have and read the first two in this delightfully goofy, bonkers series but I really really need the other ones.

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai – I have heard so many wonderful, courageous things about Malala and this is one of those books that I really should have read by now.

Periodic Tales: A Cultural History of the Elements, from Arsenic to Zinc by Hugh Aldersey-Williams – I mean I feel like I don’t even have to explain at this point. But science! The elements!

 

Now for funsies, let’s do a comics list!

Jessica Jones: Alias (volumes 1-4) by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos – I borrowed these from the library and devoured them and they’re so good, much have for my shelf.

Jessica Jones: The Pulse (complete collection) by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley – I have not read these yet, but they come next for Jessica Jones so obviously I need.

March: Book Three by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin  – This also comes out today! The third (and final, I believe) installment about John Lewis’s involvement in the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement.

Preacher: Volume 1 by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon – I want to read because I want to watch the show. Duh.

APB: Artists against Police Brutality: A Comic Book Anthology by Bill Campbell and Jason Rodriguez – Needs no explanation.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl (all the volumes) by Ryan North and Erica Henderson – Do I have basically all of the single issues? Yes. But she’s so dear to my heart that I need the trades.

Locke & Key (volumes 1-5) by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez – This series is SO SO GREAT. I borrowed most of them from the library but had to by the last volume to finish the series – now I need to backtrack and buy the rest because they totally deserve my shelf space.

 

What books have you itching to go on a crazy spending spree?

~Sarah

August Monthly TBR

Happy August! The last month of summer. How sad.

July was a great month (found a new apartment, celebrated 9 years with the honeyman, NYC trip, etc) but I didn’t really get much reading done. I read 4 books, 1 graphic novel, and 9 issues of comics.

I’m not expecting to get much reading done in August either, since I’ll be packing in a lot of my free time, but here’s what I’m going to try to fit in this month. It’s all e-books, since all of my print books will be in boxes soon.

 

  • Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova – This is a YA novel coming out soon about a teenage bruja (witch) who rejects her powers and in doing so accidentally vanishes her family. I’ve tried to start this a couple times lying in bed but I’ve been so worn out the Kindle just falls on my face. Next time I have a couple free hours, this is what I’ll be diving into.
  • Time Salvager by Wesley Chu – I can’t believe I haven’t read this yet, since I love Chu’s other series. I want to get this read because I think the sequel is coming out in a couple months.
  • A.D.H.D Nation by Alan Schwarz – Another review copy for an upcoming release, and this is about the over diagnosis and medication of children under the ADHD label.
  • The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead – Comes out in mid-September and I CANNOT WAIT to sit and have a go with this.
  • Signal Boost by Alyssa Cole – This is the second in Cole’s post-apocalyptic romance series, and I’m looking forward to seeing these characters again and figuring out what caused the power to go out.
  • Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen – I have this AND the second book on my Kindle, and it is so ridiculous that I haven’t read it yet. I know the third book comes out in October, so now’s the time, right? I don’t know why I keep hesitating, these books have been getting fantastic reviews.

The ONE print book I might get to this month is Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, if I can get to it within the next week or so. Here’s hoping I can get some down time to sneak it in soonish.

What are you hoping to read this month? Any new releases you’re excited about?

~Sarah

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