T5W: Books I need to read, dammit

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Top 5 Wednesday (T5W) is a Goodreads group hosted by ThoughtsonTomes that curates weekly Wednesday top 5 lists. This week the topic is “Books You Want to Read Before the End of the Year” and of course I cheated. I have been reading a hell of a lot more lately than I have for the first four months of 2018 and I have many plans for myself.

  1. Wild Beauty by Anne-Marie McLemore | I think my goal for 2018 is to bring up Anne-Marie McLemore in every single blog post. But also, like, why is it taking me so long to just read this damn book?
  2. The Callahan Chronicles by Spider Robinson | I just picked this up from our library book sale and I NEED to read it. I don’t know that much about it besides bar in space, but that’s all I needed.
  3. The Martian by Andy Weir | Everyone else in the entire world has already read this book, so this one probably isn’t too exciting for anyone else besides me, but my husband and I saw the movie in theaters and it was good. This is only relevant because my husband hates going to the movies and he was the one who wanted to see this one.
  4. The Weird Fiction Review #8 | I just bought this and posted about it, but if I don’t set a goal for myself I feel like I won’t pick it up ever. This is internet evidence that I will read this collection before the end of the year.
  5. All lastly, all these are books that I started in 2017 and put down for no reason other than “book slump”:
    1. The Scarlett Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy
    2. Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
    3. Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm by Philip Pullman

The end! What should I read next? Was your answer The Weird Fiction Review? Because that’s what I chose immediately after taking this picture.

#becausedragonsrat TBR

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The #becausedragonsRAT is a fantasy readathon that will take place July 1st through 7th this year. I’m going to try to actually participate in this one because I am actually excited about all these books and I shouldn’t have any crazy plans that week. (edit: I just checked and I lied, I’m always busy in the summer on weekends. ‘Tis adulthood.) On to the challenges!

Challenge #1: Read a fantasy with red on the cover.

Challenge #3: Read a fantasy with a strong friendship.

For these challenges I chose Kiki’s Delivery Service by Eiko Kadono and translated by Lynne E. Riggs. I had no idea this was a book before I found it at the library book sale a couple months ago, but from the reviews on Goodreads it seems to be rare to find in the States. As for the challenges, it does have red on the cover and features a friendship between Kiki and her cat Jiji. I figured a book aimed towards children would be a perfect easy read for a readathon, and I’m interested to see how it is different from the movie.

Challenge #2: Read a fantasy based on a mythology you’re unfamiliar with.

Challenge #4: Read the last fantasy book you acquired.

I decided to go with Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente for these two challenges. I’m not hugely familiar with Russian folklore besides the figure Baba Yaga. I also just bought this book last weekend specifically for this challenge because I realized I was lacking in books based on mythology in general. See my most recent haul post if you’re interested.

Challenge #5: Read a fantasy with dragons!

As I was looking for dragon books on my shelves, I realized I am severely lacking in dragon books. Recommendations are welcome, if you have any favorites. I ended up choosing Emperor Mage by Tamora Pierce, the 3rd book in The Immortals series. I’m in the midst of a Tortall re-read and just happened to be on this series, which works perfectly. I won’t spoil anything, but our main protagonist, Daine, ends up befriending a dragon.

T H E   E N D

And there we have it! That is my TBR for the next readathon I am participating in. I think I can tackle these books within a week’s span, but we shall see. Let me know if you’ve read any of these or if you are interested in any of them, and I was serious about those dragon recs!

Zine-tastic June Book Haul

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So…I bought some more books. This month I went to a huge neighborhood-wide yard sale, my favorite Chicago book store, and ordered a couple things online. I also went to my library’s book sale, but I’m embarrassed to say I picked up quite a stack and figured it was best to give that it’s own post. Oops.

Z I N E S

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I picked up quite a few zines at both the aforementioned yard sale and Quimby’s, a bookstore that I cannot visit Chicago and not go. They have walls and walls full of zines of every style, genre, and medium. It’s one of the coolest places just to hang out in and they have one of the few working analog photo booths left in America. Even my non-reader husband found zines and items to purchase. A couple of these are poetry collections, some are informational packets, and some are personal, scrapbook-style journals. My favorite is the issue of Found Magazine, which includes random scraps of paper and letters and drawings that people find. It’s a fantastic idea and beautifully put together, but it annoys me that only a few editions of the magazine are on Goodreads, so I can’t add it to my shelves. Nerd rage!

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T H E   R E S T

Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente | I don’t remember why I originally put this book on my TBR, but I was going through my Goodreads to-read list and rediscovered this one. I then realized I needed a book for the #becausedragonsRAT readathon (taking place 7/1 – 7/7) and I didn’t need another excuse. I’m including part of the Goodreads description below (you could click on the Goodreads link I always include, but you’re on the internet and I know you’re too lazy) because it just sounds incredibly interesting:

Deathless, however, is no dry, historical tome: it lights up like fire as the young Marya Morevna transforms from a clever child of the revolution, to Koschei’s beautiful bride, to his eventual undoing. Along the way there are Stalinist house elves, magical quests, secrecy and bureaucracy, and games of lust and power. All told, Deathless is a collision of magical history and actual history, of revolution and mythology, of love and death, which will bring Russian myth back to life in a stunning new incarnation.

Feminism Unfinished by D. S. Cobble, L. Gordon, and A. Henry | This is a nonfiction book my younger sister threw in my face because she is not usually a reader of nonfiction, but bought this anyway. My goal (eventually) will be to read this and get her excited about it or find another educational feminist book for her to read. She’s high school-age and if anyone has suggestions for her, please let me know!

The Weird Fiction Review Vol. 8 | I found this periodical recommended at the Weird Lit subreddit and it seemed like a good introduction to the genre. This edition features an artist who was one of the original Dungeons and Dragons illustrators, so I snatched it right up.

Goliath by Tom Gauld | I recognized the creator’s name while at Quimby’s and picked this up. When I got home I realized I’ve been meaning to pick up his book Mooncop, but this book shall do. The illustrations are just so cute.

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang | This is a graphic novel that weaves together three separate stories centered around the struggle of fitting in (I assume). I haven’t been reading too many graphic novels because I’ve been craving stories with more “substance” I suppose. Not that comics are bad, I mean I adore them, but this might be a good fit for what I’ve been in the mood for.

Japanese Masterworks: Paintings from the Indianapolis Museum of Art | I found this one at the yard sale. My husband and I are members at the art museum and my best friend and I had just spent an extraordinary amount of time in the Asia section the weekend before we went to the yard sale. I grabbed it thinking I would flip through it before the next time we go back. If you’re ever in Indy, our art museum is pretty awesome.

T H E   E N D

Congrats! You made it! Thanks for bearing with me and my recent purchases. Technically only three of them I bought brand new and one of them was on sale, so I’m pretty proud of myself all in all. Used books are life. Did any of these books pique your interest? Have you read any of them and recommend them? Let me know in the comments!

Monthly Recommendations: Audiobooks

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Audiobooks are tricky for me. I know there are some people that listen to multiple audiobooks a month at double speed, but I am way too picky for that. If I’m listening to an audiobook, it’s mostly for the experience so I need it to be engaging and interesting enough for me to continue listening on my own time. I am lucky to have a very short commute to work every day, so most of my audiobook and podcast listening occurs when I’m at home doing chores (and I’m a bit lazy). At the moment I’m obsessed with The Adventure Zone podcast, a D&D playthrough, so I am not currently listening to an audiobook.

Monthly Recommendations is a Goodreads group created by Kayla Rayne and Trina from Between Chapters, and obviously this month’s topic is audiobooks. The following are the audiobooks I have listened to and adored, as well as a couple I plan to listen to in the future.

 

C U R R E N T   F A V E S

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman (BBC Radio 4) | I absolutely love both of these authors and was obsessed with this book in high school. I listened to the BBC Radio show to see if it held up, and it didn’t matter anymore because the cast is fantastic. It’s been a minute since I’ve listened to this one, but the fact that it includes a cast of characters, sound effects, and music was fantastic.

Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris | This is a recommendation for anything by David Sedaris, really. He has a dry voice which works perfectly with his dry, humorous essays. Here’s an example of a story about his French class attempting to explain Easter to a Moroccan student in their limited French. My words can’t do him justice, so just listen to that clip to get the full effect. His narration brings his stories to life and I can’t read his physical books anymore without hearing his voice.

The Diviners by Libba Bray | Oooh this audiobook, man. It’s narrated by January LaVoy who gives every single character their own unique voice in a way that sometimes I would forget it was all the same narrator. The story takes place in 1920’s New York City with a diverse cast of characters, and I found myself using 20’s slang and accents while I was listening to this one

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee | I’m not gonna lie, I picked this one up solely because I heard it was narrated by Christian Coulson, who I found out was the kid who played Tom Riddle in the Chamber of Secrets. Such a cutie. And his voice worked perfectly for Monty.

 

P R E D I C T E D   L O V E S

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman | I tried listening to one of Neil Gaiman’s short story collections and got too busy to finish it. While I’ll probably go back to it eventually, I’ve been interested in mythology and Neil Gaimain also narrates this book. His book is so gravelly and nice and I love it.

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher | I started this one last year and got too busy again, but here is another audiobook narrated by Carrie Fisher. The hour I listened to was extremely interesting, but pretty sad every time you remember it’s the last book she wrote before she and her mother died. I’m saving this one for a memoir day.

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkein (BBC Radio Drama) | Who would’ve thunk, it’s another BBC Radio Dramatization! I just love the in depth productions, particularly for these epic fantasy stories. I’ve been in a Lord of the Rings kick lately, and would love to re-read The Hobbit in a new way because I’ve been wanting to actually finish the trilogy. As a kid I read to about halfway through the Return of the King.

 

So there you have it! I hope you’ve discovered some audiobooks that piqued your interest and if you see any of your favorites please let me know! As always, any recommendations you may have are gladly accepted.

 

Book Blog Newbie Tag

I’m back! It’s been a few days since I’ve posted anything. Oops! June is the busiest month and probably not the best time for a new blog. I have two weddings, my mom’s 50th birthday party, and a major cabin trip with friends. I literally have no weekends free until July. Is this what adulthood feels like? At any rate, I found this tag on hatterell’s blog. And on to the questions!

Why did you start this blog?

I would like to join the book community! I was in a major years-long reading slump and just last year discovered this amazing community. I’m falling back in love with reading and I’m trying to push myself into talking about it. Not very many of my irl friends read the same books I do, so here I am.

What are some fun and unique things you can bring to book blogging?

My adorable cats! …I’m only partially joking. I hope to bring a fresh perspective on some amazing books, or at least to spread the love of reading and share my favorite books to my fellow bookworms

What are you most excited about for this new blog?

I am excited to build my corner of the internet. I have eventual personal plans (mostly dreams at this point) that I would like to work out on this blog. I’m also pumped to share my bookish art projects eventually!

Why do you love reading?

Why don’t I love reading? I love escaping and learning about people through reading.

What challenges about starting a book blog do you think will be the hardest to overcome?

Ugh, staying on schedule is definitely it. I’m trying to post at least once a week for now, but eventually I would like to set up a regular schedule and post on consistent days each week.

When did you start reading?

When I left the womb. My mother was always a huge reader and my father was the best storyteller. My dad had all the best voices and the best jokes. Most of the time he was too tired from his jobs to give us the full effect, but dad story night was the best night and that definitely shaped my love of reading.

Where do you read?

I don’t have a specific reading spot, but my favorite is to read in new places. I love to travel in the summer and I always have a book with me. Be prepared for some book/lake shots on Twitter! (I’m trying to do this whole social media thing)

What kind of books do you like to read?

Since I’ve been getting back into reading, this has changed quite a bit. My favorite genre will always be fantasy, it’s the closest to my heart. I’ve been trying to read more sci fi and I always end up reading raunchy romance instead. I also have the occcasional horror or thriller burst and do read the rare contemporary here and there. I have a soft spot for flowery language and genre-bending. If you have any suggestions for me, please let me know!

That’s it for the tag, but thank you for reading! I’m always welcome to any feedback or constructive criticism. Have a great day!

Sunday Spotlight: “Bregalad’s Song”

O Orofarnë, Lassemista, Carnimírië!
O rowan fair, upon your hair how white the blossom lay!
O rowan mine, I saw you shine upon a summer’s day,
Your rind so bright, your leaves so light, your voice so cool and soft:
Upon your head how golden-red the crown you bore aloft!
O rowan dead, upon your head your hair is dry and grey;
Your crown is spilled, your voice is stilled for ever and a day.
O Orofarnë, Lassemista, Carnimírië!

–Bregalad the ent to Merry and Pippin, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (explanation, performance)