October Wrap-up & November TBR

Welcome to another monthly wrap-up and TBR post!

October was a pretty good month for me. I finally got my Little Free Library installed and it’s been a huge hit with kids in the neighborhood. I’ve been trying to keep it stocked with lots of children’s books and I’ve even had some friends who were kind enough to send donations. This ended up going up just a few days after the Little Free Library founder, Tod Bol passed away. I was sad to hear of his passing but honored to be a part of something beautiful that he started. I love Little Free Library’s mission and it’s been so lovely to see kids getting excited about reading.

I also attended a Barnes and Noble book club night for the first time. There were a grand total of three attendees at the location I picked, but it was a pretty good discussion even so. It was definitely a big change of pace from my normal book club, which normally has around 20 girls attending. And I won a signed copy of the book club’s selection, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, by Hank Green!

Now on to the recap of October’s reviews! All hyperlinks in book titles will lead to my reviews.

Books I reviewed in October…

The standout books for this month were Not That Bad for nonfiction and Muse of Nightmares for fiction.

Not That Bad is a collection of essays about rape culture, and Roxane Gay took great care to select people from a wide variety of backgrounds. This is the epitome of intersectional feminism.

Muse of Nightmares is the sequel to Strange the Dreamer and I’ve been dying to read it since the moment I finished the first book. Laini Taylor’s writing is absolutely gorgeous and I loved how this book explored a characters other than Lazlo and Sarai more deeply than the first installment did.

And now on to November…

I don’t actually have a ton planned ahead of time this month, but there are a few ARCs I’d like to finish in November.

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The Gilded Wolves, by Roshani Chokshi (young adult fantasy)
The Only Woman in the Room, by Marie Benedict (historical fiction)
Before We Were Strangers, by Brenda Novak (mystery/thriller novel )
The Girls at 17 Swann Street, by Yara Zgheib (fiction, CW for anorexia)

But right now my #1 priority is my most anticipated 2019 release: Daisy Jones and the Six, by Taylor Jenkins Reid! I’d pretty much given up hope on getting an ARC of this one, but BookSparks and NetGalley came through for me and I’m so excited to read it!

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 And as always, I have this month’s Girly Book Club selection, On a Cold Dark Seaby Elizabeth Blackwell. Here’s the blurb:

“On April 15, 1912, three women climbed into Lifeboat 21 and watched in horror as the Titanic sank into the icy depths. They were strangers then…

Con artist Charlotte Digby lied her way through London and onto the Titanic. The disaster could be her chance at a new life—if she hides the truth about her past. Esme Harper, a wealthy American, mourns the end of a passionate affair and fears that everything beautiful is slipping from her grasp. And Anna Halversson, a Swedish farm girl in search of a fresh start in America, is tormented by the screams that ring out from the water. Is one of them calling her name?

Twenty years later, a sudden death brings the three women back together, forcing them to face the impossible choices they made, the inconceivable loss, and the secrets they have kept for far too long.”

Lastly, a few links to some great content I saw around the web this month!

Author Shannon Hale’s Tumblr post on gendered assumptions when it comes to how we treat children’s literature.

The Radical Notion of Afro-futurism and Blackness in Sci-Fi, by jasmineshea1992.

The Girly Book Club’s author talk with Balli Kaur Jaswal, author of Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows. This book was such an unexpected delight for me. I don’t read erotica, and there were sections of that in this book. I thought it’d take away from my enjoyment of the book, but it was such a lovely character-driven story. It was wonderful to get to hear the author talk about her work.

That’s it for today. Thanks for reading! What was your favorite book that you read in October? Are there any new releases you’re looking forward to reading in November? Share in the comments!

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Top Ten – Books I’m Most Anticipating on my TBR

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If you follow my blog, you’ve probably seen me complain about the over 100 books sitting on my shelves as TBR. For today’s post, I’m listing ten of the books I’m most looking forward to reading.

  1. The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addison
    This is a steampunk fantasy novel about a half goblin boy, pushed into the role of emperor unexpectedly after the sudden death of his father. It was recommended to me about a year and half ago by a friend and I still haven’t read it because I’m a horrible person with no time management skills.
  2. The Lacuna, by Barbara Kingsolver
    The Poisonwood Bible, by the same author, is one of my all-time favorite books; I read it years ago and I’ve been dying to read more by Kingsolver ever since.
  3. The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern
    “The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.” I’ve heard so much about this book! There are so many rave reviews online, and girls at my book club have repeatedly recommended it. It sounds magical.
  4. Alias Grace, by Margaret Atwood
    I love Margaret Atwood, but the last book I read by her was The Heart Goes Last, and I just… didn’t love it. I need another Atwood book to remind me why I love her.
  5. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman
    “No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine.” This is another one that’s had so much hype around it. I broke my self-imposed book-buying ban recently to pick up a copy of this, despite how out of control my TBR is.
  6. The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah
    I adore historical fiction, and this one is so well-rated. This would be my first Kristin Hannah book.
  7. What Alice Forgot, by Liane Moriarty
    “Alice Love is twenty-nine, crazy about her husband, and pregnant with her first child. So imagine Alice’s surprise when she comes to on the floor of a gym and is whisked off to the hospital where she discovers the honeymoon is truly over — she’s getting divorced, she has three kids and she’s actually 39 years old.” This is from the same author as Big Little Lies, and I really love the concept.
  8. Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness, by Susannah Cahalan
    “In a swift and breathtaking narrative, Cahalan tells the astonishing true story of her descent into madness, her family’s inspiring faith in her, and the lifesaving diagnosis that nearly didn’t happen.” I studied psychology in college, and mental health is endlessly fascinating and important to me.
  9. Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers, by Lillian Faderman
    I’ve been randomizing my TBR lately, but I might break the rules for this one in honor of Pride Month. This is another non-fiction book. “Lillian Faderman tells the compelling story of lesbian life in the 20th century, from the early 1900s to today’s diverse lifestyles.”
  10. Manhattan Beach, by Jennifer Egan
    More historical fiction! I know very little about this book, but I bought it at the recommendation of a member of my book club.

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What books have you purchased that you’re most anticipating? Any thoughts on the books in this list? Share in the comments! 🙂

June TBR & My Frankly Embarrassing Book-Buying Habits

Hello, friends!

In an effort to clear out the one hundred and twenty-three unread books taunting me from my shelves (yes, you read that right), I’ve put myself under a book buying ban and randomized by TBR with a jar full of titles. Several years of buying books just slightly faster than I’ve been reading them combined with constantly grabbing whichever book is shiny and new has left me with loads of books lying around for a frankly embarrassing amount of time without being touched. Oops.

So I’m letting The Jar decide what comes next, no exceptions, and if I’m hating a book a hundred or so pages into it, it’s gotta go. Time to clean out these shelves or I’ll never buy a new book again.

The Book Jar has spoken, and next up on my TBR…

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Swear on This Life, by Renee Carlino. This is one that my book club read before I joined, and after months of listening to the other girls talk about books I haven’t read, I’ve made it a goal to go back through the ones that I missed on my own.

A Separate Peace, by John Knowles. I feel like I’m the only one who never read this in high school. Am I wrong? I took a lit class once where the class was split in half and we got separate book assignments, and the other half got this one.  I’ve been left with some weird sense of obligation towards it ever since.

The Pearl That Broke Its Shell, by Nadia Hashimi. This was another book club pick before I joined.

Battle Royale, by Koushun Takami. I’m honestly dreading this one and it may end up donated before the month is through. I tried to start it once before and I don’t remember how far I got into it, but I could not get into it. Maybe I’ll make it further this time. People seem to love this book, and I really want to get what they see in it.

I’m also listening to these audio books for this month:

 

Strange The Dreamer, by Laini Taylor. YA is not normally my thing, but I’ve been seeing this book everywhere and I had to see what the hype was about. And fantasy is very much my thing, so I’m thinking I’ll like this one. I’m just a couple of chapters into it now, but I have high hopes.

Alexander Hamilton, by Ron Chernow. I’m a Hamilton geek. Enough said.

I’ll end on this, my current read:

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This is How it Always Is, by Laurie Frankel, a story about a trans child and her family, which is still using male pronouns 100 pages in, when it is crystal clear at this point that this child views herself as and wants to be treated as a girl. I don’t know if this choice is a product of the author or of the characters she’s writing not being sure how to deal with the transition, but it just strikes me as an odd narrative choice, and it’s beginning to irritate me. The parents are still chugging along, calling her by a female name and male pronouns. I’m struggling to decide how I feel about this book, but I guess I’ll wait and see. So far, I have very mixed feelings.

What are you reading this month? Have you read the books referenced here? Please feel free to share your thoughts on them in the comments or to link to your own TBR posts. 🙂 Happy reading!