July Book Haul

I was doing really well on having nothing to haul until I went to Nova Con. It's a first year con here in northern Virginia (NoVa). I chatted with some WWE wrestlers and some 501st members. I also bought some books.

The Lumberjanes/Gotham Academy crossover, signed by one of the inkers. I still need to read this series which kind of makes this worse.

The first three trades for Lovecraft and Tesla by John Reilly. It's been option for TV and will be making its tabletop RPG debut at Gen Con this year. Yes, I got him to sign all of them.

Behind the Avril by Indi Martin which she described as X-Files-esque but Scully is brilliant and Mulder is a PITA*. It was $10 and she signed it.

That's 3 more books bringing my annual total to 48. Yes, I'm counting the L&T trades as one.

* = That's a delightful acronym for 'pain in the ass' ICYMI

Casual Reading Challenge Update

Another 2 months, another crop of books.

PopSugar Reading Challenge

  • On my TBR for way too long – Leaving Megalopolis
  • Involves travel – Black Mad Wheel
  • Published in 2017 – My Fairy Godmother Is a Drag Queen
  • Eccentric Character – Squirrel Girl Beats Up the Marvel Universe
  • Recommended by an author you love – Suck Less
  • Wilderness – Hikertrash
  • Based on mythology – Cautionary Fables and Fairytales: Africa

Megalopolis has been on my TBR for at least 2 years and I am kicking myself for waiting so long to read it. Wheel involves traveling to Africa and some really trippy stuff going down. God Mother is a modern retelling of Cinderella where Cindy and the prince are both young men. Squirrel Girl is definitely eccentric but fun for the whole family. SG gets duplicated and her double isn’t quite as nice as the original.

NPH wrote a very fun memoir where you could choose an alternate ending to his life. He wrote the forward to Willam’s book Suck Less so I’m counting it here. Yes, I am kind of reaching. No, I don’t care. Hikertrash is a memoir about thru-hiking the PCT. You don’t get much more wild than that. In Africa, each story is a graphic retelling of an African folktale.

 

Book Riot Read Harder Challenge

  • Book about war – Black Mad Wheel
  • YA by LGBT+ author – My Fairy God Mother Is a Drag Queen 
  • Superhero comic with a female lead – Squirrel Girl Beats Up the Marvel Universe
  • All-ages comic: Cautionary Fables and Fairytales: Africa

Wheel deals about the horrors of war and the fear of a weapon that could stop all of our wars. Did I mention Africa was appropriate for a variety of ages?

GoodReads 52 Books

  • Title Does Not Contain the Letter E – Prison Island
  • NYT bestseller – Hyperbole and a Half
  • Fictional Location – Leaving Megalopolis
  • Past suggestion (Favorite color on cover) – Chain Mail Bikini
  • Recommended by a favorite author – Suck Less
  • Chilling – Little Monsters
  • Takes place in the Southern Hemisphere – Cautionary Fables and Fairytales: Africa

I’ve been wracking my brain for a book title that didn’t have the letter ‘e’ (the most common one in the English language). It wasn’t until I was going over the lists and comparing them against what I’ve read that it hit me, I’d already done it. Hyperbole was a beautiful and fast read. I got the feels and laughed out loud. I can’t wait for the next installment, whenever it may appear.

Monsters takes place during a Wisconsin winter, involves a teen who goes missing, and has a ton of twists and turns. The story and the setting are very chilling. Africa, do I really need to explain this one?

Diversity Bingo

  • Retelling with an LGBT+ MC: My Fairy Godmother Is a Drag Queen
  • Non-binary MC (own voices): Chain Mail Bikini
  • Diverse Nonfiction: Suck Less

Once again, I’m surprised to have something to check off. I hadn’t planned on it but reading a nonfiction book by a drag queen made a teen retelling of Cinderella involving a drag queen sound like fun. Bikini is a nonfiction graphic anthology about girl gamers. A good portion of the stories are by artists who are trans and/or gender queer.

Suck Less deals with doing drag, being gay, and handling your shit. I would absolutely classify it as diverse along with weird and a tiny bit pervy (I have never seen someone do that with a square reader).

I’m actually really close to a bingo with row C. That’s a tiny bit exciting.

Nerdy 30 Activity 17: ereading

I have 4 ‘read for 3 weeks’ challenges. The one I want to conquer in August is reading on my ereader. There’s just one problem: I like reading ebooks significantly less than physical books. We retain information better when we read them on physical books. Ebooks are great in a lot of ways but they will never trump physical books for me.

That is why I want to make a minor adjustment to my ebook activity. I will focus heavily on my ereader for the entire month of August but will allow the following physical books to give myself a break:

August Nerdy 30 Book
August is Mental Health Awareness and I don’t have any ebooks for that. I’ve got a couple in mind so we’ll see what the library has available when the time comes.

Adirondack Book
One book I picked up while in the mountains in previous years. I expect to have a lot of downtime in the mountains so I thought I’d finally read one of the many books I’ve acquired there over the years.

Graphic Novels
I have the old Kindle Keyboard so it’s got e-ink. I’ve got a lot of graphic content collecting dust I can’t read on there anyway.

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
A much-lauded minimalist tome

Essential: Essays by The Minimalists and Everything That Remains by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus
I have one of their books on ebook and the other two are available at my local library. I got tickets to see them in November.

Any physical book I’m at least 50% through.

July Wrap-Up & August TBR

I spent July trying to read what was on my shelves.

July Wrap-Up

Little Monsters by Kara Thomas
I’m not a huge fan of YA contemporaries so I expected to be underwhelmed by this mystery. It was the complete opposite. This book kept me guessing to the very end. Highly recommend. 5/5

Confessions of a Wedding Planner by Tamryn Kirby
A memoir from one of Britain’s bigwigs in the wedding industry. This was a great blend of stories from the job and Kirby’s personal life. Kirby’s experience runs the gamut but it made for great summer reading. 4/5

Hikertrash by Erin Miller
I imagine this book was a bit like hiking the trail itself; enjoyable but took slower going than anticipated.

 

DNFed

Ninja Versus Pirate Featuring Zombies by James Marshall
The giant run-on sentence that was the prologue ground my gears but I kept going. I made it to page 18 before I decided this was not my jam.

Found by Bree Loewen
I gave the book 35 pages before I quit. We dive straight in which, knowing nothing about rescues or the region, was not ideal. We also hear a bit about Loewen’s husband who doesn’t sound great. If you know the Pacific NW or are an avid hiker, give it a whirl. If you’re uninitiated like me, skip it.

 

August TBR

My August TBR is based on the fact that I’ll be focusing on my ebooks for the month. While they’re will be some wiggle room (detailed in a different post), I’m going to try to get this TBR down.

Minimalism: Living a Meaningful Life by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus
I need to be more minimalist in my life and I’ve been enjoying their recent content.

Brimstone Angels by Erin M. Evans
I’m getting more into D&D so I thought I’d expand more into the universe.

Suicide Forest by Jeremy Bates
I’m fascinated by the Aokigahara forest and this cheap, cheesy horror story sounded like fun.

Jim Harold’s Campfire Collection
This is from a podcast I sporadically listen to where people share spooky stories. Several volumes were compiled together and I’d like to make a bigger dent in them.

Doctor Who: The Stealers of Dreams, The Way through the Woods, Forever Autumn, and The Doctor Trap
I own several Doctor Who novels on ebook but because I don’t use my ereader very much, I still haven’t gotten to them.

Fatshion Struggles

BuzzFeed posted a great list about the fashion struggles of being fat. These struggles are real and frustrating.

We are limited in where we can shop. I had a say she was jealous I could still shop in Torrid. You get the entire rest of the mall so pipe down size 6. This is the same friend who had me tag along with her and one other person to a store that stopped at a size 12. It was an hour of me sitting bored out of my mind in the husband chair while they shopped.

Lots of department and big box stores like to shove the fat clothes off in some far-off corner. It’s even worse if it’s directly next to maternity. Nice subtext assholes. Only pregnant women should be this fat. How kind of you.

The price thing is so fucking annoying. Yes, I’d like a shirt that will fit my body. Oh, it’s an extra $5? Well, fuck you then. Every time I discover I can buy something in a non-fat store, I feel like I just got one over on them. That product wasn’t meant for me but I get it anyway. Mwahahahaha Madewell. Your tees are belong to me.

Needing to try things on before committing is a huge pain. It’s part of why I am semi-brand loyal to some unethical fashion retailers. I can go online, order wicking capris or a pair of jeans and know it will fit. I got a pair of black bootcut jeans off Poshmark this way. Or I’ll go into a store, try a ton of stuff on, and buy nothing just so I know for later. In a glorious display of masochism, I did this with jeans, bras, and bathing suits in the same store.

Most of my pants are tailored because of my waist to hip ratio and the dreaded butt gap. It got to a point where my old alterations place would see me and prep the changing area. I went to have a maxi skirt hemmed and the 2 inches I needed taken in would make it shorter in the back. I’d just like to not trip over it in the front. #bigbootyproblems

Chub rub is real so I must wear shorts under skirts. I finally figured, if I need to wear shorts anyway, why not just cut out the middle man? I’ve had 2 pairs of jeans die on me in the last couple of years and it was because the wore out on the inner thigh. On the plus side, my need for shorts and leggings has ensured I never get dresses riding up where they don’t belong.

Button up shirts are a nightmare because I have big upper arms and broad shoulders. Even the fat people ones just don’t work on me. This also goes for blazers and jackets. Some of my hoodies are men’s/unisex because I know the shoulders will fit.

When I was a kid, other kids called me fat. That alone was never enough to get to me. My attitude was “Fat? Is that the best you’ve got?” As an adult, it’s just an adjective. I had a very skinny friend correct when I said I was fat. I’m not a TLC-special super-fat but I’m not skinny either. Besides, I said I was fat, not ugly.

Nerdy 30 Activity 16: The Movie and The Book

A while back, I read The Girl with All the Gifts by M. R. Carey. It was a fascinating take on a zombie apocalypse with a fungus taking over humanity. Children who were somewhere between human and infected were kept and studied which is how we meet Melanie. I’ll stop there because surprising little info has leaked about this book and the less you know, the better.

I don’t know if that was why the movie was never screened in America but it may have been a factor. The trailer was the spoiler for me in that it concerned zombies. It only got a theatrical released in Europe and I don’t think it was very big over there even then. It is available on DVD which is how I managed to see it.

One of the starkest differences between the film and the movie are that Melanie and Miss Justineau swap races. How pale Melanie is and Justineau’s dark skin are regular things she makes observations about in the book. Another big change was how much of the activity at the base was condensed or cut out entirely. Little details were squished in like a tube of gel on the ground or a side conversation about squad changes. I still think it didn’t do the stories any favors.

There was a scene where hungries needed to be distracted. In the book, it was a wild fox who hadn’t learned to fear humans. In the movie, it was a dog that used to be someone’s pet. It was a small terrier that didn’t have a prayer of outrunning the hoard of hungries. As a crazy dog lady, this was very upsetting for me.

Overall, the movie did a good job but I hated how they changed the ending. It went from facing a harsh reality to making a choice. The end result was the same but how you get there matters, especially with the message of the movie. It was a decent representation and an enjoyable movie but the book was a lot better. 4/5 for the book and 3/5 for the film.

I’ve done this particular challenge multiple times. It creates added pressure and, much like this time, the movie winds up being a faster but shallower than the original. I’ve started thinking about what next year’s challenge might be and I don’t think the movie/book combo will be on it.

Nerdy 30 Books 19 and 20

Today we have a two for one special on Nerdy 30 challenge books read!

National Wilderness Month

Since July didn’t have any good themes, I borrowed from September. I finished a memoir about a husband and wife who decided to thru-hike the Pacific Crest Trail. I started Hikertrash by Erin Miller a few months ago but didn’t feel like I was making enough progress. I was enjoying it but it was king of slow going. [Insert PCT metaphor here : P]

I put it down and picked it back up when I realized how perfect it was for the theme. It also bothered the crap out of me to have a half-finished book sitting there staring at me. For some reason, leaving and coming back seemed to make the second half go by much quicker. My excitement at finishing the book matched Miller’s nearing the end of the trail. I wanted to hear more about the shell shock of returning to the real world.

It didn’t have the detail of a how-to but had the personal touches of a memoir. It was enjoyable but I didn’t love it. I think you need color photos to truly appreciate the majesty of nature. 3/5

Non-Western Mythology/Fairytales

As part of my July of reading my shelves, I read Cautionary Fables and Fairytales: Africa edited by Kel McDonald. This is a graphic anthology of various pieces of African folklore from the famous Anasi to the silly skull who took a wife. The different art and story styles were great. I loved this collection. I think it stayed very close to its African source material while the authors and artists gave each tale their own spin. 5/5