Mini-Review Recap

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?

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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?

 

 

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.

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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.

Mini-reviews because I’m way behind

Y’all I’m behind and there’s no way I’m catching up, so let’s do some mini-reviews! These are all books I read in December, so I guess this would be my normal monthly review/recap post, except I’m not going to talk about stats since I already did my 2016 wrap-up. Anyhoo, I read a lot of good things at the end of the year! So if you’re somehow still holding on to bookstore gift cards that you got for Christmas, you might want to consider using them on some of these.

I’m Judging You: A Do Better Manual by Luvvie Ajayi – This, like many recent books by funny ladies, is a worthwhile humorous read in which Luvvie talks about how her friend’s need to choose better boy toys but also how we need to be better people in general – less homophobic, less racist, etc. There were some pieces that absolutely cracked me up and I highlighted and read out loud to people, but one of the bits that sticks out in my mind the most is when she talks about the teachers and kids in her (mostly white) school basically refusing to learn how to say her name (Ifeoluwa), and how her last name gives people so much trouble they barely try, but yet we can all pronounce Schwarzenegger with no trouble. I didn’t read this on audio, but I heard it’s GREAT, so maybe you should do that.

The Good Immigrant edited by Nikesh Shukla – This is a collection of essays by British immigrant and POC authors about their experiences. Since I live in the US, the conversations and news about race are usually centered on American experiences – and weirdly, trying to Google to find out the race issues that other countries are struggling through doesn’t turn up much useful information. I’m so glad I got to read this, which gave me insight into some of the prejudices and microaggressions that are ingrained in British culture. This isn’t available to purchase in the US, even on Amazon, but you can get your copy from The Book Depository easy peasy.

Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare – I haven’t loved a Regency historical romance this much in a long, long time. Charlotte is trying to avoid being thrown in front of eligible bachelors by her match-making mama, because she just wants to go on a traveling tour with her bestie. Piers is a marquess but also secretly a spy, who certainly has no interest in marriage unless it’s necessary to keep his cover from being blown. One night Charlotte and Piers are caught alone in a room together and mistakenly taken to be secret lovers. They’re engaged, unless Charlotte can prove who the real mystery lovers are. I giggled SO MUCH reading this, and actually really liked Charlotte and Piers – the character-building was fantastic and the romance was realistically built up. I can’t wait to read more Tessa Dare (if you’ve read more of her novels PLEASE give me recs on which ones to read next.)

How to Make White People Laugh by Negin Farsad – I saw Negin speak at Book Riot Live and immediately went to buy her book. She is an Iranian-American-Muslim lady, and her book talks about her growing up and wanting to be involved in activism and advocacy, and how she does that by trying to make people laugh. She discusses being a “hyphenated” person in a white-dominated society, and her work to use comedy to combat the irrational fear that some Americans have of anyone who identifies or looks Muslim. I really want to watch her documentary The Muslims Are Coming! soon.

The Wangs vs The World by Jade Chang – This totally deserves all the praise it’s been receiving. Chinese immigrant Charles Wang was a massively successful businessman who made his fortune in make-up- that is, before the recession of 2008 hit. Now the once-wealthy Wangs are broke and on a road trip across America, and it’s a bumpy, funny, heart-warming ride. The Wangs are flawed but quirky and I had a great time with them, and was sad when the book ended.

Ghost Girl in the Corner by Daniel Jose Older – This is just a short little novella, but if you enjoyed Shadowshaper then it’s a must-read (especially since it’s only 99 cents.) I’m not going to go into any details because it’s such a quick read, but figured I’m mention it here in case you like Daniel Jose Older’s other books but didn’t know about this.

Have you read any of these?

November Recap

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Alright, November was awesome for a few reasons (trip to DC, trip to NYC for Book Riot Live, Thanksgiving, etc) but it was not awesome in terms of reading time. I was hella busy and I managed to read 4 books. And I finished the fourth one, the audiobook The Clancys of Queens, at like 9 pm on the last day of November which I was happy about but then led to a heated discussion between me and the honeyman about whether or not that “counts” as reading a book. I may or may not have threatened to stab his kneecap with the pen I was holding.

Anyways, let’s see what I read!

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The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey – Such a surprisingly lovely book about zombies! There are zombie children in this book that function like normal children except you know, they have a hunger to eat people. I thought it was great and I really enjoyed reading it. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I have some feels about the race-switching in the casting.

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Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley – I read this, my first Walter Mosley, partly because of Luke Cage and partly because I knew he was going to be at Book Riot Live! I missed him at BRL, but this was a really great read. Mystery isn’t so much my jam, but I enjoyed Easy Rawlins and the social commentary in the book enough that I’m definitely going to be picking up the second book.

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Let It Shine by Alyssa Cole – Pretty sure I already had this e-book, but I bought the print copy for Alyssa to sign at BRL (she was so sweet!) and I sat down to read it over a relaxing Thanksgiving weekend. Wonderful, short little historical romance about an interracial couple falling in love and fighting for civil rights. I think I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for Sofie and Ivan.

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The Clancys of Queens by Tara Clancy –  I saw Tara speak at a panel at BRL and she was just SO great and made everyone laugh and then cry a little bit (myself included) and so I grabbed this on audio ASAP. It’s about her growing up in wildly different environments as a child – working class and kind of broke most of the time, but also spending weekends in the rich Bridgehamptons. It’s very much a love letter to her big, crazy family and so many of them reminded me of my family (I have Italian family members) and you should definitely listen to it on audio because her voice is distinct and she’s a great storyteller.

 

STATS – BOOKS

Books read: 4

Female authors: 2 (50%)

Non-white authors: 2 (50%)

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

STATS – COMICS

Issues read: 1 (This was the Adulthood is a Myth collection of comics by Sarah Andersen, ALSO from Book Riot Live.)

Female authors/illustrators: 1

Non-white author/illustrators: 0

Format breakdown: Print.

 

Okay then! I’m just realizing how BRL-influenced my reading was this month, holy crap. I can’t believe I didn’t read basically ANY comics this month. My stack is over-flowing, I tell ya.

September Recap

 

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I don’t know what it was, but I kicked September’s ass. I read 8 books and 21 comics. I even reviewed most of the things I read. Maybe it was my super low expectations? Or my tendency to choose reading over unpacking/cleaning/doing anything active or productive? Who knows, but it was awesome. 

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Playing Dead by Elizabeth Greenwood – She kind of lost be when she started talking about whether or not Michael Jackson is still alive, but the parts that focused directly on pseudoside were was kind of fascinating and it’s great on audio.

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The Rise of Io by Wesley Chu – More action-filled awesome from Wesley Chu. I can’t wait for the next one.

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Here Comes by Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn – Really engrossing but also very heartbreaking, seeing these female characters struggle through life and how hard tourism impacts life in Jamaica.

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The Hike by Drew Magary – Weird and delightful, had a little bit of a video game quest vibe going on. But I like the other’s other novel, The Postmortal, better.

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You Can’t Touch My Hair by Phoebe Robinson – Phoebe tackles racism and sexism while talking about her own experiences as a young black female comedian, and she does it while making you laugh out loud. VERY psyched she’s going to be at Book Riot Live in November!

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Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina – Nora’s growing up in NYC during the Son of Sam’s reign of terror, but the things she’s dealing with at home – an increasingly violent brother, and a mother barely scraping by – are almost as horrible. Nora is one of the better depictions of those turbulent teen years that I’ve seen in YA.

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The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins – Absolutely bizarre and a little creepy. I don’t think it lived up to the hype I heard, but it was a decent read.

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The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer – I am really pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed this. I’m hoping to do a full review soon, but it was funny and poignant. Awesome on audio.

 

STATS – BOOKS

Books read: 8

Female authors: 5 (63%)

Non-white authors: 4 (50%)

Format breakdown: 2 e-book, 2 audiobook, 4 print

STATS – COMICS

Issues read: 21

Female authors/illustrators: 0  😦

Non-white author/illustrators: 2

Format breakdown: All print.

This is such a late update, but man September was awesome. So far October has not been so awesome – more busy, less reading. But my focus is basically to read ARCs and books by authors that will be at Book Riot Live in November.

How was your September?

August Recap

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I read 4 books in August, same as July… So I’m glad that I managed at least that, even with moving and stuff. In all fairness one of them was a short play, but still. Oh, and 19 issues of comics.

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Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova – This YA novel just came out this week, but I read the e-galley. Honestly, it didn’t live up to my high hopes, but maybe the sequels will strengthen it a bit?

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling – I liked Scorpius, but otherwise this didn’t really feel like a HP story. I would’ve been okay without it.

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Signal Boost by Alyssa Cole (Off the Grid #2) – Second in the author’s post-apocalyptic romance series, this focuses on John falling for the man trying to steal from their vegetable garden. Looking forward to starting the third book!

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The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead – Damn, I still haven’t gotten around to writing an actual review of this. Basically, I went and bought the hard copy before I even finished reading the e-galley. It’s fantastic. This is my third Whitehead novel and he rocks.

 

STATS – BOOKS

Books read: 4

Female authors: 3 (75%)

Non-white authors: 3 (75%)

Format breakdown: 2 e-book, 2 print

STATS – COMICS

Issues read: 19

Female authors/illustrators: 7

Non-white author/illustrators: 4

Format breakdown: All print.

Some goals for September – read at least 5 books (almost done with my 2nd, so should be possible) and catch up on blogging things. Now that my book room is all set up at home, and I have a new laptop, this should be a breeze.

How was your August?

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