June Wrap Up – A Collection of Mini Reviews

 

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June was a fruitful month for me. After literal months of a reading slump, I immensely enjoyed most of what I read this month. Yay me.

N O V E L S

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green | ★★★★☆ | I enjoyed this much more than I thought I would, honestly. I’ve learned since I’ve started reading again that I’m not a huge fan of YA that takes place in high school, but I took a chance on this one since it’s John Green. See my full review here.

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne | ★★★★☆ | “It’s a corporate truth universally acknowledged that workers would rather eat rat skeletons than participate in group activities.” This is an adorable hate to love romance story about two office workers and their slow burn romance. I definitely had the flu while reading this and barely remember it, so maybe one day I’ll re-read it and see if I feel differently. However, I do remember the moments of the fetishization of classic masculinity. For example, the protagonist compares her ex who couldn’t lift her, to her current love, who can pick her up and carry her places. It just rubbed me the wrong way as someone who doesn’t like hyper-masculinity, hence the 4 stars instead of 5.

The Diviners by Libba Bray | ★★★★★ | I listened to this as an audiobook and highly recommend it in this form. I had tried reading it ages ago in book form, but couldn’t pay long enough attention. The audiobook, though? Oof. Yas. The narrator does an absolutely fantastic job of representing each character uniquely. I will definitely be listening to the next book in audiobook form.

The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett | ★★★★★ | “They think all writing is magic. Words worry them. See their swords? They glow blue in the presence of lawyers.” I fucking loved this series as a kid. This is Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching sub-series within the Witches series within the Discworld universe. One of my personal goals is to continue reading all the Pratchett I can get my hands on because it’s pure genius. For anyone that is unfamiliar, the Discworld novels are kind of a huge fantasy version of the Hitchhiker’s Guide in terms of comedy and snark. There are many reading guides, since there are just so many books and I recommend reading them thematically, starting with whichever series snags your interest.

Wild Beauty by Anne-Marie McLemore | ★★★★★ | “The woman who insisted Fel call her Abuela Lila told him that, between the flower beds, the blossoming trees, and the sunken garden, there were more petals in La Pradera than souls in the world. Everything here bloomed. The clouds of hydrangeas and lilacs. The arbors and trellises. The beds of lilies and hyacinths.” This book and author 100%. I have read all of her published works and they have all impressed me. Full review incoming. Wild Beauty definitely leaned more towards fantasy than her other magical realism books. I adored the garden imagery and her dreamy writing style. It’s a fantastic story of love and loss and family and fitting in.

P O E T R Y

Falling Up by Shel Silverstein | ★★★☆☆ | Don’t hate me for giving a Shel Silverstein book 3 stars. I got this at a library book sale for like 50 cents, remembering it as pure genius when I read it at 6 years old. It’s definitely a book for 6-year-olds.

Pansy by Andrea Gibson | ★★★★☆ |Andrea Gibson is lovely. I love that she can combine poems about love and sexuality with humor and light-hearted jokes. The video below is her performance of one of my favorite poems in this collection.

Envelope Poems by Emily Dickinson | ★★★★☆ | This poetry collection was visually very cool. It’s not really a book you read though. I kept expecting a summary or some bit of history, but no. It’s literally just a collection of photographs of bits of paper she wrote poems on and then a digital representation of the piece with words that are easier to read. Very cool though, it definitely humanizes Dickinson.

G R A P H I C   N O V E L S

Explorer: The Mystery Boxes | ★★★★☆ | I’m not sure what I expected from this collection, but it was very cool. My favorites were Emily Carroll’s (of course) and Kazu Kibuishi’s.

T R A S H   R E A D S

Cum For Bigfoot by Virginia Wade | ★★☆☆☆ | Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Chuck’s Unicorn Tinglers Vol 1 and Lonely Author Pounded By Dinosaur Social Media Followers by Chuck Tingle | ★★☆☆☆ | “‘All of you?’ I shout, throwing my hands up in the air. ‘Each and every one of you is just a gay dinosaur?’ The crowd of reptilian beasts nods. ‘And I’m just a character in a book? Even though I wrote a book about that very idea?’ I continue, exasperated. The dinosaurs nod again. ‘Then who is writing this book?’ I ask. Bunter steps forward. ‘Chuck Tingle.’ He says.” I don’t–I don’t know what this is. I got these ebooks from a Humble Bundle and then watched this video where Cam from Wolfshot Publishing (jokingly) calls him the best author ever and… I was intrigued. It’s weird, though.

 

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.

Birthday Book Haul

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T H E   H A U L

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Stardust and Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman |I found these absolutely stunning covers on Book Outlet and knew I had to have them. I haven’t read any Gaiman since high school, but Stardust is still one of my favorite books/movies of all time. This is one of the few movies that I can rewatch constantly and I am, in fact, watching it right now. I don’t quite remember Neverwhere, but these covers are still fantastic. They’re very 70’s mass-market fantasy cover and I’m living for it. Here is some more info from Gaiman’s blog.

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones | This book/movie was one of my favorites as a kid and I remember loving the whimsical, fantastical writing style. I’ve been re-reading all my old favorites lately (Harry Potter, the Tortall series, etc.) and this one has made the list, so I can see how it’s held up since it is another movie that I can rewatch constantly and never get bored. Also, my cat’s name is Calcifer. I may eventually purchase the last two books in the series, but again, this one happened to be super cheap on Book Outlet.

Geisha, A Life by Mineko Iwasaki | The trend so far is books that remind me of young Sarah, and this one is not an exception. In high school, I was obsessed with Memoirs of a Geisha, the book, and the movie. I even did a major project in my history class about the history of geisha as a result. Since then, I learned about some inaccuracies and fabrications and have been wanting to pick this up for a while. Mineko Iwasaki is the woman that Arthur Golden interviewed for his book, but she was upset with his portrayal and so this book was produced. I’m super excited to read it.

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore |If you like/are interested in magical realism in YA, this is your girl. I read her book When the Moon Was Ours last year, then promptly read her first book, then ordered this one. She weaves beautiful stories about family and love and growth with diverse characters and poetic imagery.

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe | I was looking up road trip books one day (I had a craving) and stumbled upon this recommendation, then eventually realized the title of this book was in the lyrics of this song:

If I have to be honest, that’s the main reason I bought this book when I saw it in my favorite used bookstore. I may read it this October when my husband and I rent a van in California to road trip to a couple music festivals.

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A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle | My most amazing, beautiful, wonderful, generous best friend in the whole wide world gifted this copy to me for my birthday. We’ve fallen in love with the Folio Society editions of books, but they’re pretty pricey so I haven’t pulled the trigger yet. Of course my best blob came through.

Legendary Ladies by Ann Shen | My other bestie gifted this one to me. It’s a collection of goddesses in different cultures and contains the most beautiful art. I’m pretty pumped to see what’s in it.

Let Them Eat Chaos by Kate Tempest | Kate Tempest is an amazing poet/musician/writer/artist in general. This collection is paired with her album of the same name and the song above is one of the tracks. It’s definitely worth a listen, but beware because you’ll become super jaded.

erotic poems by e. e. cummings | This one I bought for the story. My husband was with me at my favorite bookstore and asked me if the author’s name was a joke. The title combined with the poet does seem made up, I’ll give him that.

The Pleasures of the Damned by Charles Bukowski | Lastly, I broke down and bought a Bukowski poetry collection. I know, I know, he’s a misogynistic asshole. I liked his poetry in college and hey, he’s not alive to take my money so at least I’m not supporting a total asswipe of a human being. Thanks, Book Outlet!

I N   C O N C L U S I O N

I had a very successful birthday month! Only two of these were actual gifts, the rest were gifts to myself because I’m worth it.

June TBR

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PSA: This TBR list is subject to change drastically. This is my first month setting a TBR for myself and who knows how it will go.

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne | (ebook, not pictured) This one I have already read and will review it in my wrap up later this month! I read it because of Chelsea from Chelseadollingreads on BookTube, check her out.

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green | I started this one a few days ago. I’m not a big fan of YA comtemporary novels, but thought I would make an exception for the new John Green. I was a huge vlogbrothers fan back in the day, and loved his books in high school. I bought it right when it came out, so I need to read it before it’s no longer relevant.

The Diviners by Libba Bray | I started this one last month on audiobook, I just happen to have a physical copy as well. It’s absolutely fantastic, it just takes me a while to finish audiobooks sometimes. Last I checked, I have 4 hours left and I need to just finish it and get to the next one.

The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett | This one may be replaced with any fantasy book, I’ve been in a fantasy mood lately. This one in particular is part of the Tiffany Aching series, which is Pratchett’s YA Discworld books. This is the book I read in high school that started my interested in Pratchett.

Pansy by Andrea Gibson | I bought this book a few months ago when Andrea Gibson was going to be in my city, but I never got to make it to her book signing. I’m familiar with her spoken word on Youtube, but I’ve never picked up any of her collections before and I’ve been in a poetry mood lately.

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore | I just bought this book as a birthday gift to myself last month (haul blog post coming soon). I’m obsessed with McLemore and am so excited to read this one. I need more magical realism recommendations because I can’t get enough. I know it’s not for everyone, but flowery words are my jam. McLemore writes a lot about family and love and lgbtq+ characters and it’s always beautiful. I actually don’t know what this one is about, but that’s not a big deal to me.

Deadly Class (#1-4) by Rick Remender | Honestly, I don’t know much about this series. My best friend let me borrow all her Rick Remender graphic novels and I’ve only read Strange Girl so far. I know this one is about an assassin high school, so we’ll see how it goes.

I N   C O N C L U S I O N

Let’s see how this month goes! After all that, I’m already thinking I may DNF Turtles and skip to something I’m more excited about reading. After my Tamora Pierce month I just want to read more fantasy.