Quick Review: Difficult Women by Roxane Gay

I don’t usually do reviews, but I might be changing that and this was a great book to maybe start the trend. I’m not going to waste time with bad reviews, so I’ll be only posting the books I really loved. I read Difficult Women both as a print galley as well as in digital format. It’s out January 3rd! Go get it.

Difficult WomenDifficult Women by Roxane Gay

The women in Roxane Gay’s recent short story collection are indeed difficult women. They are real women. They are multidimensional and flawed. As usual, Gay is able to use her talent to give distinctive voices to each woman in their respective stories. Once again I’m floored by how visceral her writing is, in the best way possible. These short stories make you feel a barrage of emotions, from discomfort to grief, to pity, to empathy and everything in between.

 

WWW Wednesdays 7/27

WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

Every week I’m going to jump on here and talk about the week’s books. So let’s get to it shall we?

What are you currently reading? It’s been a crazy week so due to lack of time I’m just going to name off my current reads. I’m not really far enough into any of them yet to give a lot of commentary. Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity by Julia Serano. Before the Fall by Noah Fawley. The Truth About Him by M. O’Keefe. Supergirls: Fashion, Feminism, Fantasy, and the History of Comic Book Heroine by Mike Madrid.

What did you recently finish reading? Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi is pretty much one of my top books of 2016. It was heartbreaking, but fantastic. I also read Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer which was another hard read, but an important conversation we need to have with our society. I also listened to The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life by Anu Partanen with my husband. It was enough to make me want to move to Finland, cold be damned (especially with the upcoming election).

What do you think you’ll read next? I have The Veins of the Ocean by Patricia Engel and Shrill:Notes from a Loud Woman by Linda West from Book of the Month. I picked up Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Lui since Lui will be at Book Riot Live so I was excited to see his writing.

What does your book life look like this week?

WWW Wednesdays 6/15

WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

Every week I’m going to jump on here and talk about the week’s books. So let’s get to it shall we?

What are you currently reading? I’m currently reading The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye. I’m not loving it, but I’m not hating it. I admit to being a bit biased since the concept of the book is two magicians competing using their magic. Sounds a bit like The Night Circus and in my opinion, the latter did it with more imagery and heart. So far, I’m not feeling very interested in any of the characters. I’m disappointed because I wanted to love it. I’m also reading Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger. I’m only a few chapters in, but I’m really loving it. A Chinese-American protagonist, alcohol created superpowers, creepy things in the night? What’s not to love?

What did you recently finish reading? I finished a few recently. The Great 2016 Challenge has been working pretty well for me. The most recently finished was The Star-Touched Queen by Roshabi Chokshi, which I found to be really well written with lovely imagery and an engaging plot. I also read two sad books, What Lies Between Us by Naomi Munaweera and  An Unrestored Woman by Shobhaa Rao respectively. I expecting a sad read, but the content of that sadness was something I wasn’t ready for. I don’t want to give things away, just that these normally would be books I avoid. They were wonderfully written so I don’t want to dissuade anyone from reading it. It was just the subject matter. I have to say especially for An Unrestored Woman, I loved the way it was written as paired short stories. My main complaint with short stories is that I want more, this fulfilled that need. I also finished a nonfiction with Pistols and Petticoats: 175 Years of Lady Detectives in Fact and Fiction by Erika Janik. On the whole it was filled with a lot of cool facts and references, but it could have been so much better. It seemed to focus mostly on white ladies only and I think the author would have benefited from looking at comics as well for her examples of lady detectives. Especially to show the difference between the roles of the lady detectives in the beginning with the ones in modern times. Jessica Jones in comparison to Nancy Drew? Lots of food for thought there.

What do you think you’ll read next? Technically I’m kinda reading We Were Feminists Once: From Riot Grrl to Covergirl, the Buying and Selling of a Political Movement by  Andi Zeisler already, if you count I’ve read the introduction. I’m really interested to read the points about commercializing feminism. I love books about art in all of its forms so Roses and Rot by Kat Howard sounds like it’s totally in my wheelhouse.

What does your book life look like this week?

WWW Wednesdays 6/8

WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

Every week I’m going to jump on here and talk about the week’s books. So let’s get to it shall we?

What are you currently reading? I’m continuing the great 2016 Hardback Challenge with What Lies Between Us by Naomi Munaweera and Pistols and Petticoats: 175 Years of Lady Detectives in Fact and Fiction by Erika Janik.

What did you recently finish reading? I just finished First Women: The Grace and Power of America’s Modern First Ladies by Kate Andersen Brower. I wasn’t overly thrilled with it. It came off super gossipy and sort of catty. Brower used a lot of anonymous sources saying one first lady said awful things about another first lady. The cattiness seemed to take up most of the book instead of really focus on the women themselves and their lives. Or she would use one First Lady’s faults to bump up another which is a serious no-no in my book. I also finished Before We Visit the Goddess, the latest by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. I adored Mistress of Spices, Queen of Dreams, and Leaving Yuba City: Poems. When I reviewed it for Litsy, I kept going between Pick or So-So. It just felt a little underdeveloped for me, but on the whole I did enjoy it. I’m a big fan of mother/daughter stories.

What do you think you’ll read next? An Unrestored Woman, a debut novel by Shobha Rao that I picked up at the Bay Area Book Fest last weekend. The bookseller promised me a tragic story and it feels like I’m ready for one right now. Also for my fantasy needs, I’m going to read The Star-Touched Queen by Roshabi Chokshi. I have heard such wonderful things.

What does your book life look like this week?

WWW Wednesdays 5/25

WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

Every week I’m going to jump on here and talk about the week’s books. So let’s get to it shall we?

What are you currently reading? I’m reading The Children’s Home by Charles Lambert in a probably doomed attempt to read all my 2016 hardbacks before they go to paperback. So far, I’m into it.

What did you recently finish reading? Just finished Ancient, Ancient by Kiini Ibura Salaam for the book club.Wasn’t overly fond of it. I also finally finished All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders. I’m putting it solidly in the so-so category. I didn’t hate it, but it also didn’t blow my socks off. The characters all felt particularly overwrought. I know there was some crazy environmental stuff going on, but wow.  Also right before publishing this post I read The Earl Next Door by Charis Michaels. I love renovation romances, but I was disappointed there wasn’t more of the renovation in this one. The overall plot was pretty good though so I’ll forgive it this time.

What do you think you’ll read next? I’m gonna try to pick up Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape by Peggy Orenstein again. I got kicked out of a nonfiction mood the last time I tried reading it. I’m okay now.

 

What does your book life look like this week?

WWW Wednesdays 5/18

WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

I’m trying to get more into the habit of writing on here and thought this blog hop might be a great way to do it. Every week I’m going to try to jump on here and talk about the week’s books. So let’s get to it shall we?

What are you currently reading? I’m working on a story a day from Ancient, Ancient by Kiini Ibura Salaam for my book club. It’s going very slowly. The prose is not my usual so I’m taking my time breathing it in.

What did you recently finish reading? Truthwitch by Susan DennardI love the portrayal of a friendship between two teen girls, but the book didn’t blow me away. There was no real interest for me in the main plot, which really didn’t seem like it was much of anything.

What do you think you’ll read next? The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye. I was lucky enough to meet Evelyn through a mutual friend and I was able to go to her book launch of this YA fantasy novel about two magicians that are dueling to the death in Imperial Russia. Off the cuff it sounds like a YA version of The Night Circus meets A Darker Shade of Magic, both books that I loved so hard. I can’t wait to jump into this story.

 

What does your book life look like this week?

The Not so Long and Very Short of It

February. The month where I declared I would read a bunch of essay and short story collections. I did! I almost cleared my physical shelves. I never actually got to any on my Kindle. C’est la vie. How many did I actually get to, you’re probably asking. Seven. Four essay and three short story collections. And knowing me as you do, that six books is not all I accomplished, you’re now asking, what else did you read? Five nonfiction books…and a lot of romance novels. Also there were a couple lit fics in there as well and a graphic novel. I can’t help it. I wouldn’t go as far as to say I am giving up on short stories and essays as I enjoyed the ones I did read, but they definitely aren’t my one true love.

Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri. I love Lahiri. So much. This collection of short stories was no different. I actually forget how much I love her, then read something of hers and am blown away. My favorite were the three linked stories at the end. Heartbreaking, but poignant.

 


 

Ghost Summer: Stories by Tananarive Due. It’s been forever since I’ve been scared by a book. While not at the level of nightmare inducing, I was definitely creeped by Due’s stories. From ghosts to zombies, the stories were excellent. Ghost Summer, the title story, was one I’ll think about for awhile.

 


 

 

Naked by David Sedaris. My first Sedaris. I’ve been wanting to get started. I wouldn’t say I was disappointed, but maybe Sedaris isn’t for me. There were some funny things, but then some that missed entirely for me.

 

 


 

Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris. Try, try again. This one felt a bit better, however none of the stories stood out for me.

 

 


When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris. I decided to get them all done at once (I still have Me Talk Pretty One Day, but I’ll save it for now). Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls was better than this one. I found myself drifting off pretty easily.

 


 

Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall by Kazoo Ishiguro. I have read a few Ishiguro. I’ve liked them. This is the first I’ve really loved. I loved the theme of music. Pardon the pun, but the writing was lyrical.

 


 

How to be a Heroine: Or, What I’ve Learned from Reading Too Much: by Samantha Ellis. This was recommended to me from a bookseller. I wanted to love it. A lot of the fault is going to land on me here, since I haven’t read most of the classics she mentioned. I was hoping to get some extra insight so that maybe I would want to? This only happened in a couple situations. I’ll be honest, I skimmed the second to the last two essays, I just got kind of bored. However, she ended strong with the last one.

Did you read any essays or short stories?

TBR Shelf February: Shorts Stories and Essays

As you know, I’m really fond of theme reading. It clears my bookshelves and helps me get some genres read that I’ve been meaning to try. This month I thought I’d jump on my short story and essay collections. I have been accumulating them apparently. I’m going to try for the ones I own and if I get through those I’ll reach out to what I have on Scribd and get some recommendations from you guys (throw them in the comments, I’ll try to get to them). I read 34 books in January and I don’t think I have that many essay/short story collections on my shelf so it’s possible. I’m not only reading these, since The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee is coming out tomorrow! (Side note: This took all my willpower not to capitalize all of that and add all the exclamation points.)

Here’s my physical shelf.

  • Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie
  • Trigger Warning by Neil Gaimain
  • Nocturne by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson
  • Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
  • Naked by David Sedaris
  • Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
  • Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris
  • How to be a Heroine: Or What I’ve Learned by Reading Too Much by Samantha Ellis
  • Ghost Summer by TananariveDue (also my horror pick for my Read Harder Challenge)

On my digital shelf

  • Beyond Belief: The Secret Lives of Women in Extreme Religions edited by Cami Ostman (my religion pick for #readharder)
  • Dear Mr. You by Mary-Louise Parker
  • A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories by Lucia Berlin
  • Bitchfest: Ten Years of Cultural Criticism from the Pages of Bitch Magazine edited by Lisa Jervis (possibly my #readharder feminist pick)
  • Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie
  • Dangerous Books for Girls: The Bad Reputation of Romance Novels Explained by Maya Rodale

Do you have any recommendations for me? Read any of these? Any I should read sooner than the others? Talk to me, people!

Potential Read-a-thon Books

I scoured my TBR shelves and decided I had a wealth of books to choose from so that being said tomorrow is going to be an all print books all the time day. You know I love my ebooks, but my print books are starting to pile up so it’s time to make some room.  


I definitely won’t get to all of these, but I like to have a bit to choose from. I decided to go with short story and essay collections, as well as some historical fiction which usually are quick reads for me as long as I don’t fall down the rabbit hole of looking up the real people on wiki as I read. I threw in a YA book and a few just shot books. More bang for my buck really. 

From bottom left

  • Inferno by Dan Brown 
  • The Rook by Daniel O’Malley
  • Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
  • Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
  • The Book of Madness and Cures by Regina O’Melveny
  • Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King
  • The Lottery by Shirley Jackson (hidden under Moore)
  • Sacré Bleu by Christopher Moore
  • Henna House by Nomi Eve
  • Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self by Danielle Evans 
  • The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
  • The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason
  • The Emperor’s Children by Claire Messud
  • Pearl of China by Anchee Min
  • When Women Were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams
  • Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman
  • Dark Places by Gillian Flynn (hidden under Gaiman)
  • Honor by Elif Shafak
  • The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan
  • The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
  • Vanessa and Her Sister by Priya Parmar
  • The Calligrapher’s Daughter by Eugenia Kim

Any recommendations for books off the piles that should get higher priority? Any that you are also wanting to read? 

Mid Week Shuffle

I’m hoping to get some posts up soon, but we swapped internet providers kind of (we went from Comcast business to Xfinity) and we’re still working out the kinks. I just wanted to stop in and do a little book check in.
On Sunday my husband went in to start the outline of the sleeve tattoo he’s masterminding (it’s going to be intense) so for eight hours it was just me and the spawn. They were allowed a day of Wii-U and I settled down with a stack of books I’d been neglecting. I got so much finished! Some had been ones I’d been working on for awhile and some I managed to finish in one sitting.

  • Sex Criminals Vol 2. by Matt Fraction(print)- Another solid installment. I like saving SC as a trade. It’s definitely one of those binge comics for me. If I didn’t do the trade I totally see myself letting it stack up until I had the complete arc anyway.
  • Ms. Marvel Vol 2. by G. Willow Wilson (print) – MM is the same for me. I like having this chunk of storyline to read instead of just a sliver. Loved the Wolverine cameo.
  • The Geek’s Guide to Dating by Eric Smith (print) – I thought it was a mostly fun read. The friend zone section kind of made me sad, but all in all, I’m glad it wasn’t of another pick-up-artist nature.
  • In Real Life by Cory Doctorow (print) – I used to play World of Warcraft years ago and this one struck a cord with me. Go for the art and stay for the message.
  • Island of a Thousand Mirrors by Nayomi Munaweera (print) – This was an impulse buy from my local when I saw it on their signed shelf. I was not disappointed.
  • Dark Debt by Chloe Neill (ebook) – This is the latest in Neill’s Chicagoland Vampire series. I’m pretty sure the series is getting close to finishing up and I’m still hooked. I like a lot of snark with my violence so this was on the mark as usual.
  • War Dances by Sherman Alexie (print)- My first Alexie! I was enthralled which says a lot since I have a hard time with short stories. I need to pick up some of his other ones next.
  • Men Explain Things To Me by Rebecca Solnit (Scribd) – Loved this collection of essays. Like Bad Feminist it struck a lot of cords with me.

That was just one day! In the last few days I also finished a few.

  • Empress by Shan Sa (Oyster) – I was almost 50% through before I remembered I’d read this before. I wasn’t sure because it’s similar to Empress Orchid by Anchee Min which I’ve also read. I finished it anyway because I couldn’t exactly remember how it ended. Well worth the reread.
  • The Fair Fight by Anna Freeman (ebook)- Amanda from Book Riot has been RAVING about this one. Still, silly me, I took her ravings with a grain of salt. Silly me. I kept getting mad when I had to put it down to help out the kiddos with something. It’s probably one of my favorites of the year so far. Go get it. Now!

What’s your reading been like so far this week?