April’s TBR bookshelf

Every month I decided to pick out the print books I want to get to sooner rather than later. Sometimes there’s a theme. April is a free for all.

April’s TBR

  • Behind the Scenes at the Museum – Kate Atkinson
  • The Elegance of the Hedgehog – Muriel Barbery
  • Kindred – Octavia Butler
  • Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
  • In Real Life – Cory Doctorow
  • Henna House– Nomi Eve
  • Trigger Warning -Neil Gaiman
  • The first Bad Man – Miranda July
  • The Secret Life of Bees – Sue Monk Kidd
  • The History of Love – Nicole Krauss
  • We Are Called to Rise – Lauren McBride
  • Becoming Madame Mao – Anchee Min
  • Sacré Bleu – Christopher Moore
  • Island of a Thousand Mirrors – Nayomi  Munaweera
  • The Audacity of Hope – Barack Obama
  • Dept. of Speculation – Jenny Offill
  • The Quick – Lauren Owen
  • The Geek’s Guide to Dating – Eric Smith
  • A Hundred Secret Senses – Amy Tan
  • Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

Of course this doesn’t count comics, ebooks, or audiobooks I might want to get to. Because that ALWAYS happens.

What books are you hoping to read this month?

TBR Time.

I get a lot of book email. I even have a separate email set up for my bookish stuff. Lately it’s Out of Print, telling me they’re having a sale and I need new shirts (I’m hiding my credit card right now). Or it is all the publishing houses telling me to read this awesome book coming out. Which I generally do. Which kinda works with the email I just got for TBR Time.

Screenshot 2015-03-25 17.37.39
Sorry it’s kind of blurry!

 

I click on it and it tells me to put in my current TBR, my total read count from last  year and then my age.

Screenshot 2015-03-25 17.50.41
I know!

 

 

I put in 800 books. That’s the number on my Goodreads account as we speak. This number is ALWAYS fluctuating. Last year’s count was 275. And for at least a little while longer, I’m 31.

Screenshot 2015-03-25 17.53.58
You get the gist.

My results are as follows.

  • Reading 800 books will take: 2 years and 10 months
  • You will finish your TBR pile on: January 18, 2018
  • And you will be: 34 years old

So there you have it, folks. I won’t have to read anymore after January of 2018. What will I do with all that free time? Obviously we know this isn’t going to happen. We add to our TBRs all the time. Either with new books that are just being published or old books that we’re just discovering. I reread stuff all the time too. Also there’s the fact, right now I’m not in the mood for Middlemarch. I might not be in the next two years.

Is this an exact science? Of course not. I doubt it’s really offered as one. Is it fun though? Absolutely.

What does your TBR Time say?

 

Task #2 A book written by someone when they were over the age of 65: Home

Home is my second Toni Morrison book (the first was Beloved) and I really loved it. I didn’t realize how short it was until I started reading it. It was so smooth to read that I finished in one sitting. I kind of wish I would have taken more time with it now, but it was so easy to turn the next page. I read Beloved in 2013 and while it was interesting, it didn’t go on my favorites list. Reading Home makes me continue reading more Morrison. I have The Bluest Eye, Sula, and Paradise so I’m sure I’ll be doing those later. Then of course there’s the new one coming out this year.

Home also is my second diverse book of the year (the first was Pissing in the River about a punk rocker who happens to be lesbian). I’m doing a few rereads that I’m not really going to talk about on here, but as far as my first time reads, I’m 2 for 2 for diversity. That makes me super happy.

It’s hard to talk about Home without giving away a lot. It is complex in spite of the short length of it. Could Morrison given even more depth to the story and her characters? Probably, but Home doesn’t need it. The adage short and sweet is the closest I can come to describing the story except the story really isn’t sweet.

Have you read Home? If you’re doing the #readharder challenge, have you finished any tasks yet? What are you working on?

Task #4 Indie Press: Pissing in a River

I really don’t want to do a full on review of each book I finish for Book Riot’s Read Harder challenge, but I do want to share some thoughts.

I just finished my first book for the challenge Pissing in a River by Lorrie Sprecher in the Indie Press category. It also could have easily been in the category for book about or by a member of the LGBTQ+ community, but I have some others for that one whereas this is my only indie book on hand. I’m trying to get some of the books I have here to fit the bill first before buying or borrowing others.

Pissing in a River was pretty great. I don’t listen to punk music, but even I recognized some of the bands that is mentioned. I loved the characters. They were flawed, gorgeously written women who cared for one another even while disagreeing. The relationships felt organic, both the romantic and platonic ones. I fell in love with the way Amanda tried to emulate the British slang.

I will gladly pick up Sprecher’s first book, Sister Safety Pin at some point and I’m interested to look at Feminist Press’s other titles.

 

Last post of 2014: Book Goals

I had this great post all written up…except it got ranty. Not on other people, just on myself. Let’s see if I can fix that.

I decided to throw away my total number reading goal for 2015. I would rather read more diversely. I read a total of 275 books and only 11% were by POC. I know I can do better. If you’re one of those who says “I don’t look at the authors, just at what sounds good,” I’m going to have to direct you to another book blog. I’m not your girl and I don’t feel like arguing why I am choosing to broaden my horizons. Book Riot does a great job of arguing the point far better than I.

Of the 275 books, 67% were female so that makes me pretty happy and 24% of those were new to me authors.  I don’t have the numbers of how many were not either from the US or the UK, but I know I can definitely do better.

To help, I’m doing the Book Riot Read Harder challenge. I’m trying to add another layer on some of the categories by making sure the book is not only, say a book of poetry, but also by a POC. I also am trying to add in books I already own or have instant access through e.g. my Oyster subscription. I’m looking at two bookcase of TBRs and my Kobo/Kindle apps.

I’m also doing a few other challenges through a book group on Goodreads. I also want to read things I usually wouldn’t. I need to do less rereading this year, saving a few favorites for serious book slumps (The Night Circus I’m looking at you. Also Bad Feminist and The Queen of the Tearling).

I did pretty good keeping up with the new releases I was seriously interested in, but there are some backlists I’d like to explore, namely Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s. I read The Mistress of Spices this month and fell in love with her writing.

Are you doing a reading goal next year? It can be a total books read, total pages, more diversely? More nonfiction? More romance?

 

End of the Year

I am making my vow right here. Next year I’m going to do better at writing this blog. I’m not sure I want to put a definite amount of times a week I’m going to be posting, but I have to do better than what I’m doing now.

Here we are in December and I’m on my second stretch goal. This year didn’t go as planned in the sense that I made goals that were ridiculously overambitious in the sense that I was trying to read a lot of the bigger, tougher books. Nothing wrong with that, but it took on the guise of being ‘assigned reading’ at that point. I ditched the list about halfway through the year and while I ‘missed out’ on some, I picked up some amazing books this year that were so much fun or that are going to stick with me in one way or another. For the sake of clarity I’m going divide my favorite books between books published this year and backlist.

Books published in 2014

  • An Untamed State and Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay. For me, this was the Year of Roxane. She rocked my world with both these books in two completely different ways. I can’t take about one without talking about the other. An Untamed State was breathtaking. I had to remind myself to breathe the whole time I was reading it which I did in one sitting because I couldn’t bear to put it down. Bad Feminist is one that spoke to my ideals. I want to give a copy of this one to everyone I know.
  • Station Eleven by Emily Mandel. I was resistant to this one because I generally don’t do the whole dystopia thing as a rule, but Station Eleven was so much more than that. Mandel really delved into the plight of humanity instead of focusing on the event of the flu epidemic.
  • The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen. I had to force myself to put TQotT down so I could savor it. I’m anxiously awaiting book two of the trilogy. Strong female protagonist, strong world building, and a gripping plot all made it work for me.
  • Yes Please by Amy Poehler. I listened to this on audio and she made me almost want to go back and binge on Parks and Rec (my husband and I are probably the last people to watch it). She’s amazing and inspirational.
  • The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriques. Can we have more books about the immigration experience like this? I need to go back and read everything in Henriques’s backlist now.
  • As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes. My husband introduced me to The Princess Bride when we first started dating. My parents were more rom coms and Stallone type action movies. I was an instant fan so I felt pretty great getting the audio narrated by the Cary Elwes and the surviving cast (except Mandy Patinkin and Fred Savage). We loved the hell out of this. It’s a great bit of nostalgia where you relive great moments but find out there was more going on than you realized. The bits about Andre the Giant were the best.

Backlist

  • Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Achidie. I also read Half of a Yellow Sun and watched Achidie’s TedTalks. I know I said it was the Year of Roxane, but I would be remiss in also naming it the year of Achidie as well in terms of making me think of things in a different, better way.
  • Rat Queens Vol. 1: Sass and Sorcery by Kurtis J. Wiebe. I credit this trade in getting me into comics. something I always wanted to do, but was super intimidated by. Rat Queens led me to Saga, Sex Criminals, The Wicked and the Divine, among many others that have been fun to lose an afternoon in.
  • The Gentleman Bastard series by Scott Lynch. So much fun. A fantasy series that has amazing world building, strong interesting characters and my new favorite quote. “A boy may be as disagreeable as he pleases, but when a girl refuses to crap sunshine on command, the world mutters darkly about her moods.”
  • Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. I had read American Gods last year, but Neverwhere was amazing. Coupled with the BBC radio performance starring James MacAvoy, I was blown away by the fantastical characters and setting.
  • The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka. To be honest, the way Julie Otsuka wrote this threw me off at first; first person plural is a rare method, but it brought the book together nicely. I couldn’t help, but be drawn into the plight of the women in the story.
  • Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley. I love books about books. This is a gem of a book that  isn’t that well known as far as I know. It made me want to buy a bus and fill it with books and drive around the United States.

I also kept up on a lot of series that are auto buy for me. I wasn’t disappointed in any of the newest installations of any of them. Seanan McGuire’s October Daye and InCryptid series, the last book in Kim Harrison’s The Hollows series, Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles, and Chloe Neil’s Chicagoland Vampires all were everything I have come to expect from them.

I really don’t want to talk about the disappointments I’ve had in books. The good far outweighed the bad this year. I did better about not forcing myself to finish books I wasn’t connecting with. I’m seven books away from finishing my stretch goal of 300. I’m thinking I’m going do some rereading since the month tends to get busy with Christmas and vacations. Next post I want to tackle next year’s goals and books I’m looking forward to. So get your thinking caps on now for yours as well.

What were some of your favorite books this year, either backlist or published this year?

August Autobuys

Autobuys is about books that I am already having on preorder or definitely planning on buying. 

August is a good time for my weakness which I call snark and violence otherwise known as Urban Fantasy. It’s not high brow I know, but I’m not going to apologize for it either. Like Amy Bloom’s answer to ‘what books are you embarrassed you haven’t read,’ “I’m a grown woman.” Me too, Ms. Bloom. This is going to be a fun month for being a grown woman.

Blood Games (Chicagoland Vampires, #10)

Blood Games by Chloe Neill (Aug 5)

Chloe Neill is the epitome of snark and violence for me so I’m totally looking forward to the latest in her Chicagoland Vampires series.
Bad Feminist: Essays

Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxane Gay (Aug 5)

I flat out loved An Untamed State and then I started following Gay on Twitter. What a freaking treat that is. I look forward to reading her Ina Garten live tweeting, her romantic unrequited relationship with her UPS man, and really everything she tweets. Bad Feminist is something I want in my hot little hands yesterday.

Cursed Moon (The Prospero's War, #2)

Cursed Moon by Jaye Wells (Aug 11)

Another contender for the S&V crown Cursed Moon is the sophomore installment in Well’s newest series that combines urban fantasy with crime procedural.

The King's Curse (The Cousins' War, #6)

The King’s Curse by Philippa Gregory (Aug 14)

I adore Gregory. I have sense I discovered The Other Boleyn Girl and quickly read her backlist. I’m anxiously awaiting the last in her Cousins’ War series.

Visions (Cainsville, #2)

Visions by Kelley Armstrong (Aug 19)

I devoured Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series and have faithfully followed her into her latest Cainsville series. While nothing like her previous urban fantasy series, Cainsville is a mix of part fantasy, part mystery and I like it.

The Wicked + The Divine #3

The Wicked + The Divine #3 by Kieron Gillen (Aug 20)

Comics are books dammit and I’m reading this. It’s on my pull list so I’ll be driving my happy ass there to pick it up probably the next day. This one is about gods who become pop stars every ninety years only to die two years later.

-Kurtis J. Wiebe

Rat Queens #8 by Kurtis J. Wiebe (Aug 20)

Let’s just assume every month I’m going to put TW+TD and this one in my autobuys. Otherwise it’ll get old really quick. But now you know. This series about a group of kick ass warrior women who have zero fucks to give and you need to be reading it now. The newest cover isn’t available, but here they are in their awesome glory.

There are probably some others that will be bought, but these are my pregame. Any books that you have preordered or will automatically buy?

To Be (No Longer) Unread: Backlist

At the beginning of every month I like setting out a few backlist books that I’m trying to get to sooner than later. Sometimes I get to them, sometimes I get distracted and read a book about snark and violence (my weakness).

This month’s tentative picks:

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris

A book about a man whose identity gets stolen only to have the impostor living his life better than he was doing it? I was already intrigued. Now Ferris is on the long list for the Man Booker. Time to move it up the TBR list. I know it’s technically not backlist, but it’s my list so I get to make the rules.

The Remains of the Day

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

This will be my third Ishiguro. I’m not in love with his stories, but there is something about his writing that keeps me coming back. (Plus I need an “I” for one of my spell it out challenges.)

Ghana Must Go

Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi

I just finished Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (I just love typing her name out) and feel like continuing the theme of learning more about regions I know very little about.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon

Now that I’ve dived headfirst into comics I feel like this is the right time to read this one. I still feel bad I pulled a DNF with The Yiddish Policemen’s Union (the want was there, the action, not so much).

The House Girl

The House Girl by Tara Conklin

I have no other reasons than it just called to me from the shelf. I’ve got to respect that.

The Forty Rules of Love

The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak

I adore Rumi. I found a book of his poetry when I was in high school and started collecting them ever since. I got my husband into him to the point when my husband travels he takes a copy with him as a kind of talisman. In fact when any of us travel we take a copy. I even put a volume in my young sons’ suitcase when they went to their grandparents’ house for three weeks this summer. So this historical fiction about the Sufi poet? I’m in.

 

What books are you hoping to put on your “no longer UNread” pile?

 

Book Goals: The Immortal Crown

*Book Goals is where I give some brief thoughts on the books I’m reading for the year. It will not be including my rereads on the most part. These are not full reviews, just random thoughts and feelings about each book.

 

The Immortal Crown (Age of X, #2)

I am a sucker for books that deal with mythology and this one was no different. I’d read the first book in the series, Gameboard of the Gods last year and while I enjoyed it, this one is so much better. More dealings with the various pantheons. Mead did a good job of tying up some loose ends while still leaving you questions for the next book. She’s not letting all these plots get out of control. And I love that Mae is the physical one and Justin the more intellectual. Not that Mae’s not intellectual, but it tends to run in these kinds of books that the MAN is all macho and is worried about the little woman getting hurt whereas in this series, Justin is fully aware that Mae is stronger than him and is more than happy with her dealing with the baddies.

There was bit of real world meets fiction when Justin and Mae get into Arcadia where women are treated as second class citizens. It eerily resonated all too well on a day like today with the SCOTUS ruling.

I eagerly await the next installment of the series.

 

Book Goals: Sixth Grave on the Edge

*Book Goals is where I give some brief thoughts on the books I’m reading for the year. It will not be including my rereads on the most part. These are not full reviews, just random thoughts and feelings about each book.

Sixth Grave on the Edge (Charley Davidson, #6)

This is a weird series for me. I find it lacks the darkness of some of the other series, but makes up for it in smart assery (yep) and fun. It’s the Urban Fantasy better version of Stephanie Plum. Charley is as goofy as Stephanie Plum, but where SP just comes off completely inept, Charley might stumble, but she generally knows what she’s doing. This latest installment tied up a loose end or two, then unraveled a few more. The author has stated on her Facebook that the series is ongoing and she has planned up to #10. With that in mind, it makes me wonder her timeline due to the ending of this book (no, I won’t spoil it). Curiouser and curiouser.