May Wrap Up

May was a good month for reading both in quality and quantity.

  • God Help the Child by Toni Morrison (print, library)
  • I am not a Slut by Leora Tanenbaum (ebook, own)
  • A Kiss at Midnight by Eloise James (ebook, Scribd)
  • When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James (ebook, Scribd)
  • The Duke is Mine by Eloisa James (ebook, Scribd)
  • Insatiable by Asa Akira (ebook, Oyster)
  • Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own by Kate Bolick (print, galley)
  • A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab (print, own)
  • Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente (print, own)
  • The Ugly Duchess by Eloise James (ebook, Scribd)
  • The Duchess War by Courtney Milan (ebook, Scribd)
  • Once Upon a Tower by Eloisa James (ebook, Scribd)
  • Blankets by Craig Thompson (print, borrowed)
  • Every Day is for the Thief by Teju Cole (print, library)
  • The Heiress Effect by Courtney Milan (ebook, Scribd)
  • The Countess Conspiracy by Courtney Milan (ebook, Scribd)
  • How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran (print, library)
  • The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy by Sam Maggs (print, own)
  • Mademoiselle Chanel by C.W. Gortner (print, own)
  • Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self by Danielle Evans (print, library)
  • Redefining Realness by Janet Mock (print, own)
  • Inferno by Dan Brown (print, own)
  • No Matter the Wreckage by Sarah Kay (ebook, own)

My diversity count could have been better this month. I managed only 26%. It was all those romance novels that did me in so that’s to be expected. I did have 86% female count so there’s that. I managed five non fiction which is higher than my usual number and one book of poetry!

Some of my favorites were

  • No Matter the Wreckage: I haven’t been moved by poetry in a long time. After seeing Sarah Kay’s TedTalk I quickly picked up this book. It’s so great. The poems she does in her talk are also in the book!
  • Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self: What I said about poetry I also feel about short stories. More often than not, I read them feeling dissatisfied. Not so with this collection. I need to pick this one up for my own library.
  • How to Build a Girl: This one reminds me of my sister. Not that she’s a sixteen year old Lady Sex Adventurer, but she could have been. I had to recommend this book to her as soon as possible.
  • A Darker Shade of Magic: Such a fun book. I look forward to the next one. Actually I really want it now.

There was only one miss on the list and I don’t really want to call it out because I feel like the author’s followers would troll me. It was pretty bad and could have used an editor…or maybe a ghost writer. I finished it because for some reason I kept hoping it would get worse. It didn’t. No, it wasn’t the Toni Morrison.

What books did you read in May? Any favorites? Any letdowns?

 

March at a Glance

As I summed up before, I used March to get into books by diverse authors. I read a couple urban fantasy books that were just released as well that I’d been waiting for, but the rest were by PoC. The majority were by women of color or about women of color as it was also Women’s History Month. I didn’t get to as many as I thought. I recently discovered an interest in cross stitch and that sewed up my time. (What? Stop groaning. It wasn’t that bad.)

Here is what I read in March.

  • The Twentieth Wife and The Feast of Roses by Indu Sundaresan. Both were about Empress Nur Jahan and Emperor Jahangir. The first is about them before their marriage and the latter is during their marriage. There is one more in the trilogy that I want to get to as well.
  • A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers by Xiaolu Guo. Told by a Chinese woman who goes to England to learn English and finds herself in a relationship with an Englishman, this was amazing to read. I already have a few of her other novels on my list.
  • Come Together, Fall Apart by Cristina Henriquez. I read The Book of Unknown Americans last year and it made me sob. This collection of short stories didn’t do that, but it did give me a case of the feels. I generally don’t seek out short stories, but it is stories like these that start convincing me to.
  • Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler. I started reading PotS for the new speculative fiction by ladies book club I am in. My very first Octavia Butler and I see what all the fuss was about. I read it in probably a day and then immediately sought out the sequel, read that in a day then went out and bought Kindred which I hope to get to this month.
  • Self-Inflicted Wounds by Aisha Tyler. I had heard of Aisha Tyler and read raves about this book, so when I found it on Scribd as an audiobook I decided it was time. I swapped between the audio and ebook, mostly because of the fact the audio wasn’t one for my kids to listen to, but I totally recommend the audio if you can. Tyler narrates and pushes her own humor into her stories. Since then I’ve seen her on an episode of Table Top playing Cards Against Humanity and then started listening to her podcast Girl on Guy. I think she’d be a blast to hang out with.
  • Half-Resurrection Blues by Daniel José Older. I had bought HRB on ebook when it came out, but never got around to it, then I started following him on Twitter, found out he was going to be at Book Riot Live, and got a paperback copy of HRB in my Quarterly box. The stars aligned. I read a lot of urban fantasy and it’s hard to impress me these days. This book did. The storyline was fresh. The hero was intriguing. There was a wide cast of supporting characters who were diverse and fleshed out. I want book 2 in my hands right now! Until then I have a collection of his short stories Salsa Nocturna to keep me busy.
  • The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro. I have a weird relationship with Ishiguro novels. I’ve read Never Let me Go and An Artist of the Floating World. I don’t hate them, but I don’t love them either. They’re not bad books. I want to stress that. I keep reading them though, and I’m never sad that I do. TBG is another I didn’t hate, didn’t love, but I’m glad read it.
  • We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo. For a debut novel, Bulawayo did amazing. I really felt like I was seeing the world through her protanist’s eyes to see how it might feel to live in Zimbabwe and then move to America. I definitely look forward to anything else she will write.
  • The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae. I saw Issa Rae on the Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. As I have an affection for fellow geeks, picking up her book seemed like a no brainer. I’ve yet to watch her show after the similar name, but reading her book moved me closer to doing so (I generally don’t get into a lot of the youtube content). She shared pieces of her life that were hilarious at times as well as poignant.

I’m definitely not going to stop reading so diversely, but I am going to be less strict about the other books I want to read. I still have a few books on my To Be Read Sooner Rather Than Later (RBRSRTL doesn’t really roll off the tongue, does it?). I still want to read China Dolls by Lisa See, A Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan, and Sula by Toni Morrison in April. And I’m sure there will be others that I decide to add in.

How was your reading in March?

Special Shelfies 

For a reader, part of our personality is our bookcases. How we organize them. What kind of bookcases to get (I want built-ins so badly). What we put on them. I found that along with my regular categories (fiction, nonfiction, classics) I needed some special categories. Or ways to make my TBR more manageable. Not pictured are my unread and read shelves. I have two bookcases in my living room of my unread books. Then I have three bookcases in our game room of books I’ve read.

This shelf is on the bookcases in the living room where the unread books live. Since I decided to read more diversely this month I thought it would be easier to pull the related books from my shelves so I could see them all at a glance. Also on the shelf are my unread comics. Mostly because this is the emptiest shelf. This shelf will change depending on what short term reading goal I’ve adopted. I didn’t pull all my diverse titles, but the ones that appealed to me the most.

On the two shelf bookcase that used to belong to my father, I have my long term book goal. When Book Riot announced their #readharder challenge, I spent about an hour pulling books that could possibly fit the categories. I pulled multiple titles for each category to give me some options. The reason the shelf looks kind of empty is I’ve either put back books that no longer appealed to me or already read a category and put its corresponding book back. I need to go back and curate this shelf I think.

My comics shelf which is below my #readharder shelf. Both my husband and a friend of mine commented on a picture I posted on Instagram of my stack of comics telling me I needed a shelf to keep them separate from my other books. My husband apparently doesn’t live in the same house as I do because this is that shelf. One I’ve had for awhile now. To be fair he stays out of the library/game room, so there is a little forgiveness there. Since I’m still a newbie at the comics game, it’s sort of empty, but also I’ve lent a few comics out (including two-thirds of Y: The Last Man). I figure I’ll expand it to the #readharder shelf, moving those books either back into my collection or cull a bit to make a new empty shelf.
Do you have any special shelves?

Reading Snapshot

Every once in while I’ll share what I’ve got going on book-wise.

Right now I am reading

IMG_0147

  • Gulp by Mary Roach (print) : MICROHISTORY task
  • Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed (print -I really wanted to read it = two print books) : SELF HELP task
  • Dragonfly Dance by Denise K. Lajimodiere (Oyster) : POETRY task
  • Marvel the Untold Story by Sean Howe (audiobook) : AUDIOBOOK task
  • Civil War (Marvel Unlimited) : because I broke down and bought a MU subscription during its last sale.

What are you reading?

 

*Update: corrected an author’s name.