Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Thursday, March 2, 2017
|Tournament of Books 2017
Thoughts - Progress - Updates 2
Hello again! So glad you came back. Last time I gave you a little update on why I've been away for some time and now I'll divulge on that a little further. I had so many changes this past year: job, relationship, moving. I am now happily living in Newington, have a new boyfriend (who gets me surprisingly well) and might even have an opportunity to snag a part-time book related job (something I've been trying to do for a very long time).
Back to the books. As I mentioned last time, I've been slacking in the reading department (due to all the distraction). I gave some thoughts on a few of the ToB books that I enjoyed so far. I wish I could say I've kept the momentum up, but I haven't. I think this might be due to the fact that the last few books have been letting me down, sadly.
I've also picked up "All the Birds in the Sky" by Charlie Jane Anders and this was a book that I should have LOVED. Filled with magic, a little science fiction, child narrative mixed with coming of age... how did I not like this? I didn't. Ugh, very frustrating. Part of me thinks it's because I wasn't in the mood or something... but that's not it. Talking it over with a few readers in the ToB Goodreads Group (check it out and join if you haven't already), a few mentioned something about the similarities with this and "The Magicians" by Lev Grossman. After that was brought up... things clicked... Yes, that's it! That's the frustration I was having. It just so happens that I read "The Magicians" very recently with a group of my friends (Arianna, Marsha and Jess). We not only read it but hashed it out. I don't think ANY magical school "potteresque" book would have a chance with me after such a recent breakdown of "The Magicians".
So after reading two books that didn't do it for me, I am finishing up "Sweet Lamb of Heaven" by Lydia Millet (another "okay" book) and I've started listening to "My Name is Lucy Barton" by Elizabeth Strout (which so far has been pretty darn good). I'm hoping things look up for me (in the reading department). Next up on my list will be "Version Control" by Dexter Palmer, which should be another book that has all the bits I love and crave (science-fiction, current events, technology, physics, scientific philosophy). Hopefully this one will be that itch I've needed scratching.
Have you read any of the books yet? Any you'd recommend for me to pick next? Which book do you think will take the win? So far, I have no clear book to cheer for... this is the first tournament that it's happened this way. I can only cross my fingers and hope I find that gem before the tournament starts!
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Thursday, February 23, 2017
|Tournament of Books 2017
Thoughts - Progress - Updates
Hello everyone!! I've missed you. I think Arianna has mentioned our hiatus and I think this was a much-needed break for both of us. It's kinda funny that we both had so much going on at the same time but you can never predict where life takes you.
So... I'm not going to lie... I've been pretty bad about reading as well as blogging during this time away. My reading lately has been all for the Tournament of Books. Yep, it's that time of year again and I'm SO behind. Normally, when the shortlist comes out I've read at least a few of the books on that list. This year? Only ONE. Ugh....
What else? I read "The Vegetarian" by Kang Han earlier in the year. That was a solid 4-Star read but I'll admit that it's been too long for me to elaborate on what I liked about it. I am looking forward to revisiting it during the ToB.
Oh, and "Moonglow" by Michael Chabon, which I am sad to admit is the first I've read from him. Parts of it punched me and other bored me to death. The Grandfather and his existential angst told through his war experiences as well as his love for space - positively brilliant. The family stuff, the Grandmother... most of that didn't come together for me. I want to write more about this and perhaps I'll come back later for a fully formed review but my initial gut reaction was to give this 3 Stars... a few days later 4 Stars. That one part of the book - when he finds the rocket and talks about life, this planet, and the fragility of the human race - I felt so moved... I wish Chabon focused entirely on THAT. However, to be fair, this book was based on stories from his father on his deathbed. I did see glimpses of "The Tsar of Love and Techno" with this one and maybe that's my biggest disappointment... the stories didn't come together like they did for that book. I am a huge fan of that contender. However, the brilliance of this book can be seen in one of my favorite quotes from the book:
"The rocket was beautiful. In conception it had been shaped by an artist to break a chain that had bound the human race ever since we first gained consciousness of earth's gravity and all it's analogs in suffering, failure and pain. It was at once a prayer sent heavenward and the answer to that prayer: Bear me away from this awful place."I have read a few more from the list and would love to get into that but I think that'll have to wait until next time. Stay tuned for my thoughts on a few of my LEAST favorite ToB picks so far.
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Hi, gang! This one's gonna be a short post, because I don't have much to report - I'm still in the middle of a bunch of books:
The Color Purple, which I flew through. Celie is an amazing character, and one I won't soon forget. I wish I had been older to see the talk about this book when it was first released.
I'd love to say more, but I just don't have the time today. Sorry this is such a lame post! I hope to have more (or at least better!) updates next week. Until then, happy reading!
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
I had to admit, though, I was a bit frustrated by this author who seemed to really know SO MUCH (I loved how many casual references he threw into the book - I learned a lot!) and probably researched everything, but he didn't bother to find out that Vassar doesn't have sororities. Never has. That irked me. But, I know, such a small part in the grand scheme of things...
Anyway, with that behemoth under my belt, that means I'm only in the middle of TWO huge books now: Anna Karenina and The Goldfinch. Making slow but steady progress on both.
The Color Purple for Black History Month, because that's been on my to-read for what feels like ever! So far (maybe 80 pages in) it's fantastic. A bit difficult to get used to Celie's writing, but once you do, the book flows wonderfully. I think this will be a pretty quick read for me, despite some difficult subject matter. I'm so glad I've finally gotten around to it. And, I'm looking forward to seeing Whoopi's portrayal after I finish reading!
I also picked up an ebook I'd let languish for a while while trying to get through City on Fire by reading it on my phone (originally I'd started with the ARC we received at BEA 2015, but I just don't find as much time for picking up books these days, unfortunately!). So my current phone read (started last November!) is The House We Grew Up In, which I received as an ARC via Netgalley ages ago - I'm trying to get through some Netgalley backlog before I request any more materials there. (I mean, the book was published at the start of 2013! That's how behind I am.) It's an intriguing British family story that revolves around this fascinating, perpetually childish matriarch who is a hoarder, and the effect that her problem has on her family - which includes the tight-laced eldest daughter with her reactionary cleanliness bug, the defeated husband who's divorced her but lives next door, and the lost-at-sea younger siblings. I am also really flying through this book; it's a nice break from the denser stuff I've been reading, but it's no fluffy novel, either. I do enjoy these close examinations of families and how these people - who might not have otherwise connected, but are forced into closeness because they were born into the same family - learn to grow together.
I hope you all are having lovely reading lives, these days. I feel like mine is really starting to pick back up!
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Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Hi! I unfortunately haven't finished a book since my last post, but I wanted to check in anyway, as part of a new style of posting we're experimenting with.
Oh, wait! I have finished a book: Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians! That was a fun YA adventure. I don't think I'll continue with the series, but it definitely might be something I recommend to my daughter when she is older. It was a great divergence from regular YA, and I do love that there was a strong female character (a warrior, who protected the protagonist). Again, the "Evil Librarians" part had me loving the book more than I might have otherwise, I must admit. But definitely a worthwhile read; I'll have to check out more BranSan, but now I'm thinking more The Way of Kings.
And what has replaced my morning commute audiobook, then, you might ask? Well, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. This is an audiobook borrowed from my
sister, although I had been wanting to read it. I have a soft spot for pop psychology books! (I'm not huge into business advice books, but this one doesn't tread that much into that sort of territory, so I think it's safe.) I'm fascinated by the stories Duhigg tells of people who have changed their lives significantly by simply altering a habit (it all seems very Pavlovian to me, really), as well as the stories he told of those with brain damage who were able to maintain somewhat normal lives through the power of habit. I am about 1/3 of the way through right now, and reading about football - which normally would bore me to tears, but I'm eagerly reading about it in this book!
Otherwise, I'm just chugging along through the other books I mentioned in my last update post. City on Fire is actually becoming really engaging again during the last 100 pages, so I hope it holds up through the end! And I still can't put The Goldfinch down. I hope soon I'll have some more finished-book updates for you. Until then, happy reading!