book reviews

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?

 

 

Stuff I’ve Read – The Reluctant Fundamentalist and You’re Never Weird on the Internet

Hey, I’ve read some stuff! And I’m actually blogging about it! It’s a miracle.
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The Reluctant Fundementalist by Mohsin Hamid is one of those books I’d heard of in an abstract way but never really got around to seeking it out. I happened to grab it at the library when I was looking for some slimmer reads for the last readathon, but left it sitting on my table until I heard Book Riot mention it on their podcast. (Some idiot student objected to this book and others required for the Literature of 9/11 course offered at the University of South Carolina.)

I’m glad I finally read it. The main character is from Pakistan, a man named Changez. He tells his story to an American visitor as they eat in a cafe in his hometown, and talks about his experiences as a young man in America – his desire to succeed at a prestigious company in NYC, and of falling in love with a distraught young woman. It takes place before and after 9/11, so you can see the shift that occurs in him once the towers are hit.

My thoughts on this are still percolating, and feel free to disagree with me at any point because at this point I’m kind of musing out loud. It feels like a very real look at how 9/11 led to an increase in prejudice, and how that prejudice has affected others. It looks at the impact of American foreign policy, and how it affects other country’s feelings and perceptions. It demonstrates that it’s possible to object to American foreign policy even while loving America and it’s people. Definitely a thought-provoking book and worth the read, even though I didn’t love the kind of non-ending it had.

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Has anyone reading this ever seen Felicia Day’s show The Guild? I haven’t – I didn’t know who Felicia Day was until I saw Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog for the first time – but I totally want to check it out now. (She also has a book club called Vaginal Fantasy – check it out on Goodreads and Youtube. I don’t have much interest in this month’s picks, but I want to join in on it soon).

Anyways, You’re Never Weird on the Internet! and Felicia is pretty right about that. I just want to hug her. She seems like the COOLEST person. And I found her career so awe-inspiring – not really getting the acting jobs she wanted, she eventually made herself sit down and write something and it turned into a super popular web show that totally changed her life. She has so much tenacity and determination and I need more of that in my life. I love the feeling of THE INTERNET IS SO AMAZING WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE and I feel like it’s going to be a theme in a lot of memoirs in the coming years – so many amazing people are famous and doing incredible things now just because of the internet. And because the internet is so cool, I’m going to check out The Guild soon and start reading some Vaginal Fantasy book picks so I can cyber hang out with Felicia Day.

Also, if you haven’t watched Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog then you need to do that ASAP. It’s like 45 minutes long, I know you can squeeze it in.

~Sarah

Let’s Talk: Bookish Influences

Lets Talk Lets Talk: Book Influences

Let’s Talk is a weekly meme created by Smash Attack Reads and A Book Obsession in which you talk about whatever the topic is. And if there’s one thing you know I love to do, it’s blab.

Today’s question:

Do reviews often influence your book choices, or are you someone who doesn’t read reviews until after reading the book?

I’m a bit mixed on this. I read some reviews, but honestly, not all of them. I follow a LOT of blogs, so unless it’s a favorite blogger, or the cover sounds interesting, or it’s a book I’ve heard of before – I might not even look at it. But I do read some reviews, and they can definitely make me decide whether I should read a book or not. The book I’m reading now, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, I discovered because a blogger did a mini-review of it and it sounded fun (which it is, so far. I’m kind of loving it.) The mini-reviews can be kind of perfect – they don’t give much away, but can definitely entice you to read that book. Also, they’re quick to read and I know that’s a plus for me.

Sometimes I know that a book is supposed to be really shocking or is full of plot twists, so I avoid the reviews if I want to read it because I want to avoid spoilers. I want my face to be like this when I read that kind of book:

shock gasp

 

Which is why I think I’ve only read one review of Gone Girl (thank goodness, it was very vague). I still haven’t decided if I want to read it or not, but if I do I bet I will be very, very surprised.

So how about you guys? Do you read book reviews, or do you avoid them so that the review doesn’t taint your opinions while reading?

~Sarah

Sarah Sunday!

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Good morning ya’ll!

Sarah update: Not much, I suppose. I had a nice, lovely 4 days off this past week. I was actually able to finish a book during my days off, which hardly ever happens. But, this week did of course fly by. We had game night, which was fun and lovely. It’s basically the only time I ever get to play Call of Duty anymore, but surprisingly enough I’m usually still good at it. I also got to hang out with my sister Heather and Emma and Josh (my niece and nephew) on Wednesday. I did some flashcards with Josh for his homework, and he did a pretty good job, but Emma surprised us all by shouting out some of the math answers and reading some of the cards. She’s only 4, so yay for her! And then me and Heather started watching season 2 of The Big Bang Theory and ate possibly one of my favorite new desserts – coffee ice cream with mini cannolis. And I borrowed TBBT and will probably finish this season while I’m at work. Luckily, I already have season 3 from the library.

Oh, and naturally the other big thing this week was in the news – zombie-like incidents. While I’m a skeptic and obviously there isn’t a huge outbreak right now… I’m also suspicious. Cause I’ve never really heard of “bath salts” being a hot drug and it’s weird that all of the sudden several cases where it turns people into crazy cannibals just sprung up out of no where. I guess we’ll see. The honeyman and I are definitely going shopping for some more apocalypse-survival stuff soon, cause we’re paranoid (and smart) like that.

Anyways, this coming week is actually looking not that great. It’s the week where I only have 3 days off (booooo) and my sis Amanda is coming for a night with baby L. Which is great cause I miss them, but will take up a lot of time because I’m driving her around on Tuesday to look at cars for sale. This means probably definitely cancelling game night this week, plus I’m going to be scrambling to keep up with stuff online; It’s Armchair BEA this week, and not only am I participating but I’m also on the commenting committee, so I’m going to be online a LOT this week. Bad timing for Amanda to come, but oh well. She does really need a car, so how can I say no? Plus I get to see L 🙂

Oh, and Gabby has been nuts this week. She woke me up Monday morning by attacking my face, and she’s just been super hyper and wanting to rough house a bit. She’s also learned that by using her sharp little kitty claws, she can climb all the way up me when I’m standing in the kitchen. She thinks anytime I’m in the kitchen is time to give her food, so even when I’m doing dishes or making the honeyman’s lunch for work, she’s climbing up me. And it’s starting to wear on my jeans a bit. Very bad kitty. But she’s also had her super sweet moments this week, when she takes naps with me or waits at the door for us to come home, so I can’t stay annoyed with her 🙂

My god, I’m one of those people who can’t stop talking about their pet.

Bookish update: I finished 3 books this week, and DNF-ed another. I finished Maus 1 & 2 by Art Spiegelman, A Night Like This by Julia Quinn, and American Gods by Neil Gaiman. I DNF-ed The Duke is Mine by Eloisa James, and wrote a post about my reasons for quitting it. That’s a lot of books in one week for me! I have to say that thanks to the Bout of Books readathon earlier in the month, May has been my best reading month of the year. I think I ended up finishing about 13 books, which is awesome. I hope I can keep it up through June.

Oh and this week started the Married With Zombies scavenger-hunt readalong and it is SO much fun. The scavenger-hunt part is what makes it the most fun (besides me getting to re-read this awesome book) and I’m really enjoying it.

What else… I also got a TON of books from the library this week. I put like 10 on hold, and sure at $1 a hold that added up but it’s worth it. I got a bunch of physics books out, that I’m probably going to look through to see if I want to purchase them or not and if I’m lucky, I’ll get to read 1 or 2 before returning them. I also got some fiction books out that I’m really excited about, but I’m too lazy to remember them all right now. It was very exciting though, almost like real book shopping.

Oh and I’m still reading Visions of the Multiverse, which is good so far but I’m not going any farther in it until at least after Amanda leaves this week. It’s about to go into some more complex topics about quantum physics and I don’t want to start it and then forget it while I’m busy doing other stuff.

OK folks, that’s all the updating I have in me today. I’m going to go warm up some breakfast and spend most of the rest of my shift watching The Big Bang Theory. Yay!

Hope everyone has an awesome week!

~Sarah