reading diversely

October Monthly TBR

Man, I haven’t posted a Monthly TBR here since June! Which is a damn shame, but whatever. I’m jumping back in. I might even do a September recap post later because I read 9 books and some of them were pretty awesome.

Most of my TBR for this month is digital, but here we go with the physical from top to bottom:

  • Changing Planes by Ursula K. le Guin – I’m about halfway through this and hoping to finish it this month. I’m reading it because it’s been on my shelf for like a decade and seemed short and good enough for the “collection of stories by a woman” Read Harder task. I got really pissed at it the other morning through because it literally had short stories WITHIN short stories. Arghhh.
  • Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler – One day I’m going to be really sad that I’ve read all of Butler’s works, but then I guess I’ll just start reading them again. Anyways, looking forward to this one because I’ve heard amazing things.
  • Shadowhouse Fall by Daniel Jose Older – Yayyyyy, been waiting for this for a while! (The sequel to Shadowshaper.)

Digital:

  • Betty Boo by Claudia Piñeiro – This is a crime novel, written by (what Google tells me) is Argentina’s most popular crime writer. I’m using this for one of the Read Harder tasks and I’ve been looking forward to it for ages. Luckily it was available to borrow on Overdrive through NYPL.
  • Infomocracy by Malka Older – So I think this is a sci-fi novel about technology and elections or something? I’ve been wanting to read it for a while but it also seemed like maybe I needed time to distance by emotions from last year’s election.
  • Bonfire by Krysten Ritter – I was very pumped to get this through NetGalley, and started it almost immediately… and then stopped around 30% in to read something else. I haven’t exactly had the itch to go back to it but I’m gonna try. It comes out November 7th.
  • The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman – This prequel to Practical Magic comes out next week! I have an e-galley for it, and I’m going to try hard to buckle down and read it this month… I started it and it’s very quaint but also seems repetitive.
  • Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History by Katy Tur – I’m listening to this an audio now, and have about 5 hours left in it. I only vaguely remember hearing Katy’s name during the election season, but as she states in her subtitle – it was crazy. The only downside so far is the lack of citations/notes, I even checked the hard copy in the store. I guess it’s meant to be more memoir-ish, but it would’ve seemed easy to put in a list of sources somewhere for some of the things she’s recounting. Decades later, this probably won’t be a book people picked up to learn about this presidential election.
  • Sagitta by Ruby Lionsdrake – You guys, this is the third in a space romance series I’ve been reading and I’m really psyched about it. It is so insanely nerdy.

Aaaand there are also some books coming out in October that I’m looking forward to, and will try to squeeze in. Dewey’s readathon is also this month so I mean, I should be able to read a ton, right?

  • 10/3/17 – The Bloodprint by Ausma Zehanat Khan
  • 10/10/17 – Lady Killers by Tori Telfer
  • 10/17/17 – Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve and/or Ruin Everything by Kelly and Zach Weinersmith

If you’ve read any of these, let me know how you liked em!

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June Monthly TBR

May was super sucky because of this DAMN SPRAINED KNEE (it’s been 4.5 weeks but who’s counting) but I did manage to read 8 books and 17 comics, so at least there’s that. It feels weird because I definitely went through like 2 slumps, but then I guess I’d just sit and read a bunch of books in a row so it kind of made up for it, I don’t know.

My TBR for June isn’t too ambitious, and part of me even hopes that I fail hard at it because that would mean my knee would be back to normal and I can do normal shit again like laundry (can’t carry it down the stairs, too unsteady), going for walks, and even maybe even running someday ever.

Le sigh.

On the Kindle:

  • Wallbanger by Alice Clayton – So Alice Clayton somehow came on my radar because she has a new romance novel out called Buns and that just cracks me up. However, neither of my libraries have that available yet so instead I’m trying this one out. I actually checked out the sample first and it seems humorous and fluffy with some sexy times thrown in.
  • Too Fat Too Slutty Too Loud by Anne Helen Petersen (e-galley) – Comes out June 20th, and I’ve already started it! Good job, me. This is about the women in the public eye that the public loves to hate on (Kim Kardashian, for example) and the sexism that goes into some of these ridiculous critiques. The first chapter is on Serena Williams, and it’s really interesting so far.
  • The Refrigerator Monologues by Catherynne M. Valente (e-galley) – This is a collection of stories about the women in comics who were kidnapped, tortured, murdered, and otherwise given the “women in refrigerators” treatment in the name of advancing the male superhero’s storyline. Comes out June 6th!

In the stack:

  • Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson – I ALSO have this on audio and Neil himself is the one reading, so I’m psyched about that. (I tried another one of his books on audio and I just couldn’t do it because it wasn’t his voice!) This will be my next audiobook but I like having a hard copy to make notes in too.
  • Borne by Jeff VanderMeer – I only ever read the first book in that other trilogy this author has out, but this sounds really weird and interesting. Liberty described it on All the Books and got me interested.
  • When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon – I’ve been looking forward to this for AGES and a big Amazon splurge I went ahead and pre-ordered it. It sounds like a YA rom-com between two Indian-American teens who’s parents are in cahoots to get them together.
  • Touch by Courtney Maum – Also part of my Amazon splurge (it was a costly splurge, you guys), I threw this in. The cover was pretty and it’s something about how a woman who has made a job out of catching trends as they’re about to happen realizes that people are going to start turning away from technology and embracing “in real life” experiences again.
  • Fables: Volume 20 but also if I can manage it, 21 and 22 and then I’ll be done with the whole series!
  • First Crush by Yinka Rose Reed-Nolan – This hasn’t actually arrived yet, but it’s from Hyacinth Girl Press and I’m going to read it for the Book Riot Read Harder challenge, for the micropress category.

What are you looking forward to this month?

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?

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.

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.

All Our Wrong Todays

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.

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!