August TBR

Wow August already? My oldest starts second grade toward the end of the month. I’m not sure I’m ready to get back to the grind. Anyway, no theme this time, just titles that caught my interest for one reason or another. I’ve done a good job making some room on my shelves. Maybe September’s theme will be all ebooks so I can catch up there. Without further ado…

  • Bobbed Hair and Bathtub Gin by Marion Mead
  • Born With Teeth by Kate Mulgrew
  • My Age of Anxiety by Scott Stossel
  • I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
  • The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
  • Kindred by Octavia Butler
  • Lexicon by Max Barry
  • The Bees by Laline Paull
  • Henna House by Nomi Eve
  • Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor
  • Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-eight Nights by Salman Rushie
  • The Shadowed Sun by N.K. Jemisin
  • My Real Children by Jo Walton
  • A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev
  • Super Mutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki
  • The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty
  • The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
  • The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Dickinson
  • The Night Watch by Sarah Waters
  • Paradise by Toni Morrison

I know, I know. There are a few titles that have carried over a few months (Lexion I’m looking at you). I’m going to double down on getting to them. I swear. There are a few on my Kindle/Kobo apps that I know I’ll be delving into as well. Jennifer Estep’s new Elemental Assassin, Spider’s Trap for instance. I’ve also started The Novice by Taran Matharu. I’m barely in the beginning of it, but so far I like where it’s headed.

What books are you hoping to get to this month?

Week Between the Pages

This week has been pretty fucking good for books. I loved every single one (one exception but it is strongly in like).

Finished:

  • Come As You Are by Emily Nagasaki. I’m going to keep coming back to this one. I can feel it. It’s already made me realize things about myself that I had no idea about. I want to buy a stack of them and hand them out to both the women AND the men in my life.
  • Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee. A great story. I might finally getting on the YA bandwagon if there are more books like this one. A girl friendship that doesn’t involve them tearing each other down and actually helping each other? Sold.
  • Hammer Head by Nina MacLaughlin. An interesting read about a woman who quits her job in books (I can haz?) to become a carpenter’s apprentice. I didn’t love it, but I applauded her bravery. It’s scary to quit something you’re good at to to something brand new.
  • How to Start a Fire by Lisa Lutz. This one was my favorite of the week. Possibly the month. All the books I read after this one have quite the challenge to overcome. It takes place, among other locations, in Santa Cruz which is my town. Lutz uses real streets and it was fun to go, yup I’ve been there. Another book about friendships between friends, this one is a lot more complicated than Under a Painted Sky’s as adult friendships inevitably become although it felt a lot more real than some of the other ones where it’s over some weird misunderstanding or jealousy. Did I mention I loved this book?
  • The Calligrapher’s Daughter by Eugenia Kim. My knowledge of Korea is sorely lacking I realized as I read this one. I have been trying to get to this book for awhile now and I’m glad I finally did. It’s beautifully written and the main character’s struggle with her family’s traditionalism and religion and her own desire for education and progression is well developed.

Currently reading

  • The Inheritance Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin. For some reason I was thinking this one was YA and I was resisting it because I wanted fantasy with some steam, not just some stolen kisses. I’m not far enough for the steam, but I read on Goodreads Tiffany Reisz was raving about the first book so I’m thinking if my personal kink hero loves it, it has to have something naughty in it. This is 3 books plus a novella so I might be in trenched in it for awhile.
  • Desperate Duchesses by Eloisa James. I devoured her fairy tale series and wanted to try more. There is something about this one that keeps turning me off though. I’m going to try to read a bit more, but so far, it’s not hitting the right notes.

Books Acquired

  • The Marriage Game: a novel of Queen Elizabeth I by Alison Weir. I have been trying to keep my book acquisitions to a minimum right now, but I couldn’t resist a book about the Tudors. They’re a weakness. I don’t know why. There’s just something about this family that sparks my interest. Also it’s a library book so it makes it easier that it’s not here to stay.

What has your reading week been like?

Book Riot Live and Dystopias

OMFG. If you follow me on Twitter you probably know where I’m going with this. I was not only one of the first 250 people, but one of the first 100 people to buy Book Riot Live tickets when they went on sale at 10am (PST) yesterday morning. I also got tickets to the event where you get to drink with some of the Riot staff and speakers at The Strand. This is amazeballs for me.

I not only get to go to New York City for the first time, but I also get to hang out with really cool bookish people (I know, seems redundant). Next on the list will be buying plane tickets and finding a place to stay. We’re going for longer than the event so you know we’re going to try to fit in some sight seeing as well.

After that excitement I devoured Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler for the WoC Scifi/fantasy book club I joined. I can’t go to the first meeting, but I still wanted to read the book. And it was glorious. I recently read Station Eleven and found a lot of similarities. One was that there wasn’t a lot of focus on what caused the world to decline, but on the survivors. On how they dealt with the world changing. Written in 1993, the book takes place in 2026-2027 and it made it all too real reading it in 2015. Butler doesn’t do anything insane. She wrote a future that was realistic. Terrifying, but completely something I can see happening. I loved it. Luckily Scribd has Parable of the Talents, the next book so I’ll be starting that shortly.

I also spent some time with Come Together, Fall Apart by Cristina Henriquez which I’m also having a great time with. I generally struggle with short stories, but Henriquez gives me just enough story that I don’t feel short changed. I’m struggling with a sinus infection right now complete with a nice headache and blurry vision so I had to give it a break, but hopefully tonight I’ll delve into more of the story.

What did you read today? Are you going to BR Live?

Month of Reading Diverse meet Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month. I love reading about women and the things they have accomplished, the lives they lived, and shade they may have thrown. Why am I going on about this? Welp, remember when I said I was going to read only authors of color this month? It seems I forgot about Women’s History Month. To fix this, I decided try and make sure all the authors I read are not only of color, but women of color. Also I’m making an effort to read about women of color in history. This makes things a bit tougher because we all know how the publishing world has been supporting their ladies of color…and that’s to say not at all.

Coincidently I finished The Twentieth Wife by Indu Sundaresan which is a historical fiction about Mehrunnisa who becomes the 20th and last wife of Emperor Jahangir who is the father of Shan Janan who built the Taj Mahal when his wife died (who also happened to be Mehrunnisa’s niece. I just moved onto The Feast of Roses the second book in the trilogy which follows Mehrunnisa, now called Nur Jahan, through her marriage to the Emperor. I’m having a fantastic time reading about the royal family and probably will try to dig up some non fiction about them.

I also have Sophia: Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary by Anita Anand on my reader as well that I plan to get to. Any other recommendations?

Making March Count

I did one of those things where I stopped paying attention to my diversity count and the inevitable happened. My ratio dropped to 15%. In my defense I was binging a couple series so it was bound to happen, but it proved to me that it’s true how the publishing world doesn’t reflect the percentage of authors of color that are out there. To get my numbers up and to challenge myself I have decided to dedicate March to reading AoC. The only exception will be a couple series books that come out that I can’t bear to wait on. Here’s a list of books I already own or have easy access to (Thanks Oyster and Scribd), plus a stack I picked up at the library.

Come Together Fall Apart by Cristina Henriquez, A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers by Xiaolu Guo, Mona in the Promised Land by Gish Jen, and Frog by Mo Yan
Come Together Fall Apart by Cristina Henriquez, A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers by Xiaolu Guo, Mona in the Promised Land by Gish Jen, and Frog by Mo Yan

Possible March AoC books (in no real order)

  1. The Twentieth Wife by Indu Sundaresan(scribd) – I’m actually working on this one right now, but I doubt I’ll finish by Mar 1st so I’m counting it.
  2. The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai (oyster) – Same same
  3. Sophia: Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary by Anita Anand (kindle)
  4. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (kindle)
  5. Half Resurrection Blues by Daniel José Holder (kobo)
  6. The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi (kobo)
  7. The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri  (kobo)
  8. The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie (oyster)
  9. Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Achidie (oyster)
  10. Becoming Madame Mao by Anchee Min (oyster)
  11. Wild Ginger by Anchee Min (oyster)
  12. In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner (oyster)
  13. The Mountain of Light by Indu Sundaresan (oyster)
  14. Three Sisters by Mahmoud Dowlatabadi(oyster)
  15. Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord (oyster)
  16. Thirst by Mahmoud Dowlatabadi (oyster)
  17. The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar (oyster)
  18. Skeleton Women by Mingmei Yip (oyster)
  19. Secret of a Thousand Beauties by Mingmei Yip (oyster)
  20. Rules for Virgins by Amy Tan (kindle)
  21. Brick Lane by Monica Ali (scribd)
  22. Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos (scribd)
  23. Kickboxing Geishas: How Modern Japanese Women Are Changing Their Nation by Veronica Chambers (scribd)
  24. The Sleeping Dictionary by Sujata Massey (scribd)
  25. Pearl of China by Anchee Min (print)
  26. The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama (print)
  27. Moth Smoke by Mohsin Hamid (print)
  28. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (print)
  29. And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini (print)
  30. The Calligrapher’s Daughter by Eugenia Kim (print)
  31. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (print)
  32. Sula by Toni Morrison (print)
  33. Paradise by Toni Morrison (print)
  34. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushie (print)
  35. The Moor’s Last Sigh by Salman Rushdie (print)
  36. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie (print)
  37. China Dolls by Lisa See (print)
  38. Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi (print)
  39. The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak (print)
  40. On Beauty by Zadie Smith (print)
  41. The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan (print)
  42. An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine (print)
  43. No Longer at Ease by Chinua Achebe (print)
  44. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez (print)
  45. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez (print)
  46. We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo (print)

I can’t even begin to tell you where I’m going to begin, besides the library books and the two I’ve already started. I’ve been averaging about 30 books a month so I think I can make a good dent. There are so many that have been sitting on my shelves for so long. I also forgot to add I’m reading Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler for a Scifi/Fantasy by AoC book club I just got invited to today. I definitely am going to read at least one Toni Morrison, Gabriel García Márquez, Salman Rushdie, and Zadie Smith. Which ones I’m not sure yet. I’m up for suggestions.

Any others off of the list I should get to sooner than later?

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?

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?

 

#24in48 Book Stack 2nd Draft

The moment you’ve been waiting for has arrived. I had some books come in from the library, but I still have the book sale tonight so this is only round two, not the finished stack.

2nd Draft picks
2nd Draft picks

From the top:

  • Save the Date by Jen Doll
  • The Wilde Passions of Dorian Gray by Mitzy Szereto
  • A Short History of Women by Kate Walbert
  • The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan
  • The Mistress of Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni *addition
  • Persepolis 2 by Marjane Satrapi *addition
  • Inferno by Dan Brown
  • The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak
  • China Dolls by Lisa See

I cut On Beauty, not because I don’t want to read it, but as I guessed, it’s pretty heavy for a readathon for me. Also Under the Tuscan Sun and Rules of Civility didn’t make the second round. I have no real reasons except I wanted to keep the stack at around 10 and I wanted to read Persepolis 2 and The Mistress of Spices more. What really impresses me about this stack is that it’s full of diverse authors. All but dear old Dan, I have a mix of women and AOC. This makes me happy. I really didn’t do it on purpose, which makes me happy that it turned out that way. These books organically fell into my lap, where before I had to search them out or make an effort.

My digital book stack really hasn’t changed. I am reading Station Eleven right now and I doubt I’ll finish tonight so I am almost positive it will be my first book of the readathon.

How is your book stack looking if you’re participating? Anything I should keep my eye out for at the library book sale?