It’s time for part 1 of my quarterly review. Was I active enough in my reading life?
Participate in at least one read-a-thon – Emojiathon
Listen to a new podcast about books – Modern Mrs. Darcy
Give away a long time TBR resident – FBI memoir
- Read 6 books that have been sitting unread on my shelf for too long
- Donate to a bookish charity
- Visit a famous library
Attend a book themed party – Library ball
- Read the rainbow
Shop in an indie bookstore – Kramer’s after the Women’s March
- Be read to
Create a book tag – Halestorm
Only read from home for a 3 weeks – March 6-27
- Only read from the library for 3 weeks
- Only read from my Kindle & computer for 3 weeks
- Only reread books for 3 weeks
Dress bookishly for a week – January 10 – 16
- Read a banned book
- Attend an event at the library
- Read a book by an author from a country I’ve never imagined visiting
Sign up for a book box – Moth Box
- Post an elaborate bookstagram
- Read a book for a holiday
- Read the book, see the movie, debate
- Attend a bookish event
Do at least one book purge – Of 40+ books
Smell a book – Winnie the Pooh
- Make a bookish playlist
- Use a TBR jar
- Chosen for me
I’m wrapping the quarter having done 11 activities on this list. Well done me. I really enjoyed making a book tag so I might have to try that again sometime. Emojiathon was pretty easy since it only had to be 4 books in a month. I still plan on participating in a few other readathons this year so I’ll let you know when those happen.
Part 2 of the Book Box will be in April with the Nocturnal Reader’s Box as well as my library reading (more on that shortly). My library also has it’s big book sale which is a 4 day event. Looks like my activities won’t be slowing down any time soon.
It’s been 3 months into the challenge. How am I doing?
January: Weight Loss and/or Human Trafficking – Stranger Here
February: African American History Month – Negroland
March: Women’s History Month – Bad Girls throughout History
- April: Autism Awareness Month
- May: Asian Pacific Heritage Month
- June: LGBT+ Pride Month
- July: National Wilderness Month (borrowed from Sept)
- August: Mental Health Awareness (borrowed from May)
- September: Hispanic Heritage Month
- October: Disability Awareness Month
- November: Native American Heritage Month
- December: Non-Christian Faith/Culture
Stranger was underwhelming and Negroland was just frustrating. Bad Girls was beautiful in are, cover, and meaning as well as being quite fun.
Big Name Press – The Nest
Indie Press – Cautionary Fables and Fairy Tales
Old – Night Music
New – The Handsworth Times
- Short –
- Long –
Near – The Day of the Donald
- Far –
The Nest was published by a subsidiary of HarperCollins publishing. The Day of the Donald is a gloriously ridiculous tale of what life might be like under a Trump presidency. It was funny and set inside the nation’s capital. Cautionary was fun because of the different takes on the tales and the various art styles. Handsworth shows grief and desperation in a realistic way that impressed me.
- Award winner/nominee
Recommendation – NPCs
- Non-western mythology and/or fairy tale
Genre I typically avoid – Barons of the Beltway
Library book – The Trees
- Book from a TV show
NPCs was great fun since I’m in a D&D campaign and we’re getting attached to our NPCs. Barons dealt with an important topic in such a biased way that I couldn’t trust if what I was seeing was actually true. Trees was a lovely tale of magical realism that shows the depth and height of the human spirit.
Last night I started reading Your Illustrated Guide to Being One with the Universe by Yumi Sakugawa (My library is freaking awesome). One of the things it instructs you to do is try to shut down distractions and focus on what the universe is trying to tell you. You’ve heard me talk about taking a pay cut and working with dogs but weddings (and life) are expensive so I’ve put that on hold to get my finances straight.
This morning as I was leaving, I ran into one of my dog friends in the building, a brown cocker spaniel named Milo. His owner asked me if I’ve ever dog sat because he really seems to like me. I gave her my name and number so we’ll see what happens. Less spiritual people would say it’s a coincidence but I’m choosing to believe otherwise.
In case I missed the point the first time, I have another dog friend in a building near my train stop. She’s a black lab and every time I acknowledge her, she yanks her owner over to say hello. This dog is always super happy to say hi and get petted.
I was going over my progress on my various challenges when I realized I had read book for I’ve owned for more than a year but didn’t realize it at the time. I have loved everything I’ve read by John Connolly so the fact that I seemed to put off reading his second collection of short stories baffles me. I knew I was going to love it so why didn’t I dive straight in? I still have no idea why I do this but once again, Connolly delivers.
This collection really encompasses his range as an author. You can see how he can charm with The Caxton Private Lending Library and its partner story Holmes on the Range. You see how he can create something dark and beautiful with The Haunting and Hollow King. The Fractured Atlas and Children of Dr. Lyall show how his curiosity of the world beyond us can add another layer to his horror. The Lamia, The Blood of the Lamb, and Razorshins are much more straightforward but no less entertaining in their horror.
The essay at the end was a bit meandering and self-serving but if his fiction continues to be this good, I can live with that. I adored this collection. Even if you’re not a horror person, there is something to be enjoyed here. 5/5
I have finished the first quarter. How have I done in the last 2 months?
Pop Sugar Reading Challenge
- By a person of color – Negroland
- Difficult topic – Good Riddance
- Set in two different time periods – Night Music
- Book with Pictures – Dog Years
- MC is a different ethnicity – The Handsworth Times
- First book in a series new to you – NPCs
If you missed my review of Negroland, you can check it out here. Good Riddance is a graphic memoir about divorce. I meant to read it alongside This Is Why We Broke Up but I had no desire to read over 100 pages about a month long relationship so Copeland’s book got to fly solo. Night Music has short stories from a variety of time periods, some connected and some not. If nothing else, the Caxton library stories are from different times so it absolutely counts. Dog Years is all about pictures but gives you enough narrative to provide context.
Book Riot Read Harder Challenge
- From a micropress – NPCs
- All POV characters are POC – The Handsworth Times
- A character of color goes on a spiritual journey – Number 13
NPCs is from a place that specializes in self-publishing. It doesn’t get much smaller than that. Handsworth is from my Moth Box and it’s about an Indian family living in England and how they cope with the loss of a child. Detailed review is here. 13 is a dystopian comic I got at a sidewalk sale. 13 is a young boy of color who must decide if he wishes to be the weapon of mass destruction he was created to be or an agent for good. I’m reaching a bit but I think it works.
52 Books in a Year
- Nonfiction book – Barons of the Beltway
- Written by a POC – Negroland
- Magical realism – The Trees
- From someone else’s bookshelf – NPCs
- Meant to read in 2016 – Night Music
- Published outside the big 4 – The Handsworth Times
I did a full review of Barons here and NPCs got its own review as well. I’ll go more into Night Music in my wrap-up but I got in 2016 after much anticipation and read it in pieces but didn’t finish it until this month.
- Black MC (own voices) – Negroland
- Indian MC (own voices) – The Handsworth Times
I got to check something off on diversity bingo. I didn’t realize either of these books would check so many boxes when I read them.
I’m using shopping at an indie bookstore to feed my March reading requirements. I picked up Bad Girls throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed the World by Ann Shen after the Women’s March. Is there a better time to read it than Women’s History Month?
Bad Girls is a very pretty book with it’s smooth cover, full color pages, and larger than average size. It has an attractive presence. I love the font used for the names and blurbs about the remarkable woman in question. The art is great; realistic while still pretty. The way the book was laid out and how it used space made me think about how much work went into the design and layout. It’s not an aspect of books you typically notice but in this one, I couldn’t not.
Each woman has a portrait with a blurb or quote to go along with her one page bio. You get enough information to appreciate each woman and learn something about what she did without getting overwhelmed. It was inspiration to look into more works about their lives if you were so inclined. They came very close to running out of room for Eleanor Roosevelt given all of her accomplishments. I’m very interested in finding a good biography on her in the future.
While it may look like it’s oriented for children, it deals with ritual cannibalism, birth control, and a variety of other adult topics. Just because it’s cute doesn’t always mean it’s for kids. This is definitely a new favorite. 5/5
Something Good by Seth MacFarlane
Sanctuary by Terrence Howard
What’s Up Doc? by Shaq
I Like It Loud by Carmen Electra
Stars Are Blind by Paris Hilton
Superficial by Heidi Montag (She was on The Hills in the early 2000s)
Look in My Heart by Alyssa Milano
Recreational Vehicle by Jeff Daniels
Take Your Love and Shove It by Joe Pesci
You Send Me by Brian Austin Green
Jusqu’au Bout by David Charvet