Read Harder 2017

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?

 

 

2016: Wrapping It Up, Thank Goodness

Happy New Year’s Eve! 2016 is finally over (finally!) and now I can do the fun stuff, like dive deep into data about my reading and book-buying and stuff.

I’m pretty excited about my Top Ten Favorite Books of 2016, because man they were stunning.

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  1. Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
  2. The Mothers by Brit Bennett
  3. Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn
  4. Let It Shine by Alyssa Cole
  5. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
  6. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
  7. Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
  8. Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare
  9. Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger
  10. Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward

Narrowing down my top ten felt extra hard this year, which is why I did a Top Five Runner-Ups post. And I don’t know if I’ve ever had romance in my top five before, but I read some exceptional ones this year.

So, my reading goals for last year were mostly the same as the year before:

  1. Read 50% non-white authors.
  2. Buy more books / spend more dollars on non-white authors.
  3. Maintain roughly 50% gender stats

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Another one of my goals was also for 75% of my reading to come from my own shelves or Scribd, and I failed horribly at that, so let’s just move on now.

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So, a couple notes:

  • I read fewer books and fewer comics this year than in 2015, which is a bummer. I’m pretty sure I read so many fewer comics (501 in 2015) because I read hardly any digital ones this year. I got rid of Scribd earlier in the year when they changed with model again, and I didn’t get Marvel Unlimited until November. And this was just a really busy year, so I’m not surprised the number of books I read decreased. I’m actually surprised it only decreased by 5.
  • I tried to go on a book-buying ban for 6 months, and that failed and backfired. I ended up buying about 60 more books this year than the year before.
  • My page count is actually higher than last year – probably because I re-read the first four Outlander books this year.

So we all know that 2016 was a garbage fire for many, many reasons, but I do want to point out a couple awesome things that happened for me this year:

  • Got married to the honeyman!
  • Visited Washington, DC for the first time.
  • Went to Book Riot Live! (This was also one of my 2016 goals, woohoo!)
  • Moved to a bigger apartment.
  • Got two new tattoos (vault symbol and arrow – the arrow is the only thing my family could agree on when we decided to get a matching tattoo)

So, even though 2016 sucked on a massive, general scale – I had lots of good things going on.

And now, I have some pretty simple goals for 2017.

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All right you guys. Have a wonderful night tonight, and let’s go into 2017 positive and determined to kick ass!

Happy New Year!

Sarah Sunday – where I’ve been (literally)

Holy shit it’s been a busy November. I have finished exactly 1 book this month. It’s tragic. BUT things have been super busy, and instead of my usual brief survey-ish post I’m going to ramble about what I’ve been up to.

First I was in D.C. – extra exciting because 1) I never go anywhere and 2) it was my first time riding a plane. We stayed in the Phoenix Park Hotel (I recommend it, it was right in the Capitol near Union Station and it was lovely, even if the room was a bit small but who cares about that?) and I did lots of walking around and looking at things – the Capitol Building, the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress, the White House, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, etc etc etc. And it is all GORGEOUS, it’s such a pretty city. And of course, I went to as many bookstores as I could. I’m bummed I didn’t get to go to Politics & Prose, but you know it was only a weekend and Uber trips start to rack up, so. And in case you’re wondering, no I didn’t particularly enjoy flying, but I was much less afraid than I would have been at 18. The view is pretty but otherwise it’s stressful and take-off/landing make me nervous.

Book acquired: John Henry Days by Colson Whitehead (from Capitol Hill Books) and The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert (from Kramerbooks)

THEN I was in NYC for Book Riot Live! Well, actually then I was home and worked 36 hours in three days and THEN I was in NYC, but whatever. Also, second plane trip (well, third and fourth flight if we’re being very specific). I got to see my mom and sister and nephew, and I loved Book Riot Live – being in the room with so many other book lovers, people that I talk to online all the time, and seeing BR staff all over the place. I made myself go up and say hi to Rebecca Schinsky, and I did my first ever author signings – Alyssa Cole signed two of her books for me (she was so kind and funny) and Valentine DeLandro signed volume 1 of Bitch Planet for me (intimidating but he was very nice). The panels were mostly fantastic, and so many books went to the top of my to-read list.

And I got to see Alley! Hi Alley! And also Victoria, Dani, and Kenya – all lovely ladies 🙂

Books acquired: Too damn many to type here, but some are visible in that picture below. (My wallet hurts just thinking about it.)

Then I came home and spent some time with my Gabby cat ❤

Outside of all of this travelling, work has been absolutely bananas and I’ve been working 10+ hours a day and I’m really sick of it. This big rush should be over for the most part, but I’m kind of done with this working all the time crap. This is a three-day week because of Thanksgiving, and I’m not staying past 4:30 any of those days, dammit. My right eye has been twitching, which isn’t so unusual when I’m dealing with a lot of stress, but it’s been weeks and I’m actually starting to get concerned.

In other news – the election was a disaster, the Hamilton Mixtape tracks are coming out a couple at a time and it’s delightful, and I have family coming to visit in two weeks! Also, the aforementioned Kenya and I are thinking about a Rochester area book group based on Book Riot’s Read Harder challenge (for 2017, I guess, since 2016 is just about over), and I’m psyched about getting together with other book people on a more regular basis. And in the spirit of trying to find other local readers and to join Alice’s #ReadUp group (because you can never be in too many social justice book clubs, amirite?) – I’m back on Facebook. I rejoined VERY reluctantly because I loathe it, which is why I spent the first half hour blocking as many family members and co-workers as I could find, because it’s going to be for bookish purposes only.

OKAY that was a lot of catch-up, but that’s where I’ve been. In other cities, and buried in work. How’s November treating the rest of you?