Christmas Music Monday and a Change

Life has been a bit crazy lately and I’ve realized Music Mondays aren’t that big of a hit for anyone but me. Rather than make myself crazy with what is essentially self-assigned homework, I’m giving you my Spotify playlist of funny, wacky, and different Christmas songs. It’s more than enough to last you the month.

In the future, I’m going to shift to Media Mondays which will have different forms of media including music but also podcasts and web videos. Media Monday won’t happen weekly but more sporadically when I have something to share. I’ll probably still do theme months like during February and October. For all 12 of you who care about this, thanks for tuning in.

 

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2018 PopSugar Reading Challenge

We’ve got one of the big reading challenges in the book community ready to roll for 2018!

First off, I love the art they used. It’s cute, girly, and fun. I looked over some past challenges and it’s definitely more visually interesting than any of their previous ones. I love that they repeated the advanced list idea this year as well.

They’re definitely tuning in to what’s happening culturally with ‘true crime’ and the world’s obsession with murder podcasts. I was also impressed to see a ‘current affairs’ variant on the advanced list. Checking off the diversity bingo you’re seeing in book culture: different country, LGBTQ+, POC, female author. They put their own spin on some of these but add in a translation and that’s the core of what I’ve started calling ‘diversity bingo.’

When they first started doing this, the challenge was a lot more basic. Page limits, cover color, Oprah’s book club, various genre fiction, graphic novel etc. Now on its fourth incarnation, PopSugar is getting a lot more creative. Set at sea, weather element in the title, local author, different planet, song lyrics, and heist are much more diverse and interesting. I’ve really like how this list has evolved.

I’m excited to have this as part of my Casual Reading Challenge next year. Especially with feminist and Halloween as categories. Read my mind much?

November Wrap-Up and December TBR

And so begins the season of rampant commercialism, family drama, bad TV movies, and the occasional sprinkling of good cheer.

November Wrap-Up

Rules for Resistance: Advice from Around the Globe for the Age of Trump

I wrapped this collection of essays on November 1st so it kind of counts. Informative and as topical as ever. A must read 5/5

#WeRateDogs by Matt Nelson

A collection of some of Nelson’s best tweets under this account. Cute and a fantastic happy palette cleanser 5/5

Intro to Alien Invasion by Owen King  

A fun and fast paced graphic novel about an alien invasion on a small liberal arts college. 4/5

Whiskey, Words & a Shovel I by R. H. Sin

This poetry collection spoke to me deeply and resonated in my soul. I posted some of my favorites on Instagram and can’t wait to read the other two in this series. 5/5

A Banquet for Hungry Ghosts by Ying Chang Compestine

A fun collection of short stories about different pieces of Chinese culture and history. Each tale reads like a fable or fairy tale which I loved. Each story had a recipe and background information. 4/5

Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History by Katy Tur

I was amazed and how quickly and easily Tur’s words just flowed. Another important read for these troubling times. I was hoping for some more personal details (relationships, gossip, shenanigans) but Tur, ever the journalist, stuck mostly to the facts. 4/5

Let’s Speak English by Mary Cagle

I kickstarted this collection of comics about Cagle’s post-college job of teaching English in Japan. 5/5

December TBR

Season of Wonder edited by Paula Guran

A Christmas anthology with a supernatural spin

Christmas Days by Jeanette Winterson

I wanted to read this last year but it was too in demand. I managed to grab it before the demand for it went nuts so I’ll get to enjoy it this year.

Krampus the Yule Lord by Brom

Because I’m kind of twisted inside.

Unholy Night by Seth Grahame-Smith

His guide to surviving a horror movie is hilarious so let’s see what he does with Christmas.

As has been well establish, my TBRs are more a list of suggestions than hard reading goals so we’ll see what happens.

November Read-a-thons

There were two month long challenges for this November in which I dabbled. How did I do?

Nonfiction November

There were four prompts for participants: Home, Substance, Love, and Scholarship.

Whisky, Words & a Shovel I by R. H. Sin

This poetry is very autobiographical so I’m letting it in for Substance. It deals with physical substance as well as emotional substance and fortitude.

Esther the Wonder Pig by Steve Jenkins

This counts for Love because Jenkins feel head over heels for this sad little piglet. That love kept her in his and his partner’s life despite the tantrums, legal restrictions, and house breaking hell. Their love for Esther lead to them going vegan and buying a farm to rescue other animals.

Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History by Katy Tur

This one is for Scholarship because Tur worked had to keep her facts straight and remember enough history to compose this important memoir. In an era where lying is almost as easy as breathing for our politicians, we must hold truth and knowledge sacrosanct.

Let’s Speak English by Mary Cagle

I kickstarted this because it sounded fun. I had no idea it was originally a webcomic. Cagle is a bit aimless after college and decides to go teach English in Japan. I loved Cagle’s humor and art as she tells us what it was like making Japan her Home.

Read-a-thin

This read-a-thon was a little harder to pin down given my perpetual library habit. I only read one book that was in my possession for the whole month. I read a lot of other stuff but it was mostly from the library. From my own shelves:

Esther the Wonder Pig by Steve Jenkins

Let’s Speak English by Mary Cagle

50% of Accessory to Marriage by James Walters

 

 

Nonfiction November Tag

There’s a book tag for Nonfiction November! This is my last shot to do it before next year so let’s go!

1. Nonfiction November is a great time to meet other nonfiction lovers. Give some shout out love to one of your favorite nonfiction Booktubers.

A Book Olive. I know she’s read fiction in the past but I’ve only ever seen her talk about nonfiction since I’ve discovered her channel.

2. Why do you read Nonfiction?

It’s interesting. There’s a lot of things in the world I’m curious about. I’ve also been reading a lot about current events and politics. Given our current political climate, it’s incredibly important to be knowledgeable about what’s going on and why it matters.

3. Home: Where in your home do you like to read the most?

The super comfy couch or, if I can leave the apartment, on the treadmill in our building’s gym.

4. Home: Give a nonfiction recommendation set in or about your home country.

Katy Tur’s memoir Unbelievable about her experience reporting on Trump’s campaign. For everyone overseas wondering “WTF America?” this may help. Also, Hillary Clinton’s memoir What Happened.

5. Home: Which book on your 2017 Nonfiction November TBR related to the word home are you most excited about?

Esther the Wonder Pig by Steve Jenkins. I got it at a library sale and it was a blissfully quick read and a very sweet story. It definitely reinforces my desire for a mini-pig. PSA: mini-pigs can range 50-100 pounds and you have to be careful to not get ‘surprised’ with a regular pig. It happened to Hubs’s cousin.

6. Love: What do you love to read most in the nonfiction field?

Memoirs. I love hearing people’s stories, especially when they’re different from mine.

7. Love: Give a nonfiction recommendation related to the challenge word, “love”.

The Dog Merchants by Kim Kavin. Dogs are extremely beloved but it’s a complex industry and Kavin sheds important light on.

8. What love-related nonfiction recommendation are you most excited about reading?

Accessory to Marriage has been collecting dust on my shelf for too long. It’s a memoir of a wedding photographer and I’m about halfway through it.

9. Substance: Nonfiction is a great way to introduce us to people that inspire us to be better, name a person of substance you have loved reading more about.

Trump is not a person of substance but I think reading about how he came to power, his history, and what we can do about it is extremely important. I have enjoyed reading more about it in the sense that it is helping me be a better part of the resistance.

10. What book would you recommend to people that has a lot of substance to it?

Any book of r.h. Sin poetry. It struck a chord with me and I’ve been sending one of my favorites around to people going through a tough time.

11. What book related to the substance word are you most excited about on your nonfiction TBR?

I didn’t do a hard TBR for this but I wound up loving Whiskey, Words & a Shovel I by r.h. Sin. It’s autobiographical poetry that spoke to me very deeply.

12. Scholarship: Nonfiction can teach us a lot, what subjects and topics have you really learned about because of your reading?

Dogs and politics. Politics because I live in this world and I don’t like how it’s become and dogs because I want to center my life on that.

13. Scholarship: Which book would you recommend that would teach somebody something well?

Hyperbole and a Half does a fantastic job of showcasing what living with mental illness is like. I think anything that will help humanize that pain and struggle is worth reading.

14. What book related to “scholarship’ are you most excited about reading for this nonfiction November?

Katy Tur’s memoir about Trump. I know my answers are repeating but that’s what happens when it’s almost the end of the month the tag is themed on. I’m more than halfway done and hope to finish it ASAP. It’s great and I want to get it back into circulation for other inquiring minds.

All Holidays Matter Read-a-Thon

This was inspired by Emojiathon’s Minimoji read-a-thon to create my own holiday read-a-thon. This will run for the entire month of December. You can double up on challenges for a book as needed since this time of year is crazy for everyone.

The name was inspired by a comedian (I don’t recall who) saying that when someone is a jerk about saying “Merry Christmas,” respond with “All holidays matter.” Since all non-Christmas related things get overshadowed, I decided to have some fun with that idea. There’s even a Google Doc if you want to share.

Winter Solstice – Read the shortest book in your TBR

The Spirit of Giving – Read a book you received as a gift.

Kwanzaa – Read a book about a culture different from yours

Quality Time – Read for 60 minutes without touching your phone

Hanukkah – Read a book with stars or flames on the cover (candle, roaring fire, etc.)

Humbug – Read a book about Krampus or a dark holiday tale

Christmas – Read a book about Christmas, Santa, and/or general holiday kitsch.

Star Wars – Freebie! Read whatever you want.

Thankful

Another post I’m late on but better late than never. I have several things to be thankful for this year.

My husband

He is my favorite person. He is kind, funny, interesting, and silly. We can have adventures and be just as pleased staying  in on the couch. I’m excited for the rest of our lives together.

My new family

Hubs and I were together for 4.5 years before getting married so I’ve gotten to know his family. They are good and kind people. If I can say “I’ll warn you, there is consensual butt sex between a man and a genie” and Thanksgiving dinner can keep rolling, I’ve found my people.

My new job

I’m really excited to start the next part of my life working with dogs. My working interview went well and my first real shift is in a matter of hours. I’m still only part-time for now but I hope it will go well enough for me to transition into full time.

My local library

It’s phenomenal. There’s rarely a book or DVD they don’t have or won’t get. They have several excellent community events and are just a wonderful asset to our community.

Northam won

Virginia had an election for governor recently and the republican candidate was Gillespie. Gillespie’s ads were completely from the Trump school of campaigning. Hubs and I were watching American Horror Story and Gillespie’s ad about sanctuary cities and MS-13 gang violence was so similar to the show, we didn’t realize it was a separate thing until we heard Northam’s name. Northam had a great history of public service and all of his ads addressed his policies; Gillespie’s ads were nothing but fear mongering and misleading conjecture. I was very glad to see Trump’s tactics fail and hope that message resonated with other republican politicians.

There’s a lot in my life to be thankful for and I hope to keep working to have plenty of things to bring me joy in the future.