Tuesday, January 16, 2018

2018 Bookish Resolutions and Goals

Top Ten Tuesdays are now hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl.

1. Read at least 54 books.

2. Read more books on Jewish themes and/or by Jewish authors.

3. Read more books on African American themes and/or by African American authors.

4. Read more books about other cultures, including majority cultures outside the U.S.A. and minority cultures within and without the U.S.A.

5. Write at least 50,000 words during the year (not including November).

6. Interview at least one person for my book.

7. Reach out to thank at least one author for their book.

8. Bake (and cook) more recipes from my cookbooks.

And I'll leave a couple to grow on :-)

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Top Ten Books I Meant to Read in 2017 But Didn't Get To/Want to Read in 2018

Happy Top Ten Tuesday over at the Broke and the Bookish!

This week's topic is "Ten Books We Meant to Read in 2017 But Didn't Get To," however, since I can only think of a few, I'm also listing books I intend to read in 2018. 

Books I Meant to Read in 2017 But Didn't Get To

1. The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin

2. Steles of the Sky by Elizabeth Bear

3. Brave New Girls: Stories of Girls Who Science and Scheme ed. Paige Daniels and Mary Fan

Books I Want to Read in 2018

1. L'Appart by David Lebovitz

2. If All the Seas Were Ink by Ilana Kurshan

3. America's First Daughter by Laura Kamoie and Stephanie Dray

4. Crimes Against a Book Club by Kathy Cooperman

5. The Tiger's Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera

6. The Gatekeepers by Jen Lancaster

7. He, She, It by Marge Piercy

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts

Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts are hosted at Bookishly Boisterous

1. Today is a snow day! Although I was expecting to face the polar vortex that is the East Coast right now, it wasn't certain if we would get snow, and I certainly didn't expect to have the day off, so this is nice!

2. So far, I've managed to take my dog out for a quick pit stop, and read some of Pie Love by Warren Brown, which I received as a gift. Baking may or may not ensue today.

3. I'm planning to visit Nora Roberts' Turn the Page bookstore this weekend. We'll see if the polar vortex obliges.

4. I'm thinking about reading and writing goals for this year, and I'm newly excited for blog posts in 2018. This time last year, I was all caught up with wedding planning, now I can focus on whatever I want!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

2017 Reading Stats

Happy New Year! I'm starting off with a roundup of my reading from 2017!

2017 Reading Stats

As usual, borrowed and modified from Boston Bibliophile.

How many books read in 2017? 64, 12 more than my goal of 52!

How many fiction and non fiction? 40 fiction, 21 nonfiction (who am I???), and 3 books of poetry. 

Male/Female author ratio? 40 women, 21 men, 1 multi-author poetry collection, 1 multi-author short story collection, and 1 book by a husband/wife team

Writers of Color/Minority Writers? 17 writers of color/minority writers, 14 of whom are Jewish, including one African American Jewish author (my former Hebrew school teacher, Michael Twitty)

Favorite book of 2017? The Magician King and The Magician's Land by Lev Grossman. After taking such a long break since reading the first book, which deeply and painfully affected me, it was incredible to see the development of Quentin as a character and of The Magicians itself as a world. 

Also, Victims and Neighbors: A Small Town in Nazi Germany Remembered by Frances Henry deserves a special mention because I'm still thinking about its lessons, which unfortunately reverberate today. All my other favorite books read in 2017 are listed here. 

Least favorite? 

The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop Cafe by Mary Simses and The Cake Therapist by Judith Fertig. These both caught my eye because of their delicious covers, but apparently I should know better. What I thought would be books about baking were more contemporary romance, which others may enjoy, but is not typically my cup of tea. 

Any that you simply couldn’t finish and why? I DNFd Voyager by Russell Banks. I was looking for travel writing, but didn't relate to his personal stories. Again, just not my cup of tea.

Oldest book read? Friday the Rabbi Slept Late by Harry Kemelmanpublished in 1964 

Newest? Mandelbrot the Magnificent by Liz Ziemska, published in Nov. 2017

Longest and shortest book titles? 

Shortest title: Warp by Lev Grossman

Longest title: The Jewish Feminist Movement in Germany: The Campaigns of The Judischer Frauenbund, 1904-1938 , by Marion A. Kaplan

Longest and shortest books?

Longest:  The Wizard of the Crow by Ngugi wa Thiong'oat 768 pages.

Shortest: Diving into the Wreck by Adrienne Rich, at 72 pages.

How many books from the library?

18--not as well as last year's 32, but including all 12 audiobooks I listened to this year.

 I also read 5 books found at my local Little Free Library, as compared to last year's 8. 

Any translated books?

Spark Joy from Japanese. Otherwise, not too well on translated books. 

Which countries did you go to through the page in your year of reading?
Nigeria, a fictionalized Kenya, a tour through the history of the Southern United States and several parts of Africa including Nigeria and Ghana (The Cooking Gene), Fillory, a lot of Nazi-era Germany, Nazi-era France, a fictionalized 1960s Boston suburb, Denmark, Philip Pullman's Oxford, a Slavic fantasy world, and more. 

Most read author of the year, and how many books by that author? 
Four books by Lev Grossman, counting my read of the entire Magicians trilogy, plus Warp.

Any re-reads?
The Magicians by Lev Grossman and Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert

Favorite character of the year? 

Quentin Coldwater

Which book wouldn’t you have read without someone’s specific 


I read Purple Hibiscus because it was the One Maryland, One Book, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie came to speak near me. I wanted to read Mandelbrot the Magnificent when I heard about it on Tor.com.   

Which author was new to you in 2017 that you now want to read the entire works of?

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Which books are you annoyed you didn't read?

Again, there wasn't anything specific I wanted to read this year, beyond research for my book, which I did, so I"m pretty happy!

Did you read any books you have always been meaning to read?

The Book Thief had been on my TBR list for a long time, and The Wizard of the Crow had been on my TBR shelf for a while as well.

How many books did you read on your ereader?

Like, 3. Hopefully, I'll do better on that next year. 

How many SFF books did you read? 

15. Specifically, 13 fantasy, which I think is more than it's been the past couple years.  

Sunday, December 17, 2017

My Reading Life

Just Finished

I finished listening to the audiobook this week. It was enjoyable, but I'm not sure whether or not I will continue the Dresden Files series. On the one hand, I'd like to learn more about protagonist Harry Dresden's world of technology-disrupting wizards; batlike, skinwearing vampires; and summonable demons in contemporary Chicago. On the other hand, I'm annoyed by Dresden's casual sexism and apparent belief that women are somehow different from people. I wonder if his character evolves in his conception of women throughout the series, or it's just an uninterrogated feature.

Currently Reading

Still enjoying this collection of Norse poetry and mythology! I didn't realize how big frost-giants were in the lore, or how many names Tolkien took from the Edda--Durin the father of dwarves is straight out of here; there's also a Greybeard, Gudrun, and many similar-sounding names. Also, didn't realize that Freya was a male god, who is not the same as the goddess Frigg/Freyja. Very much in the vein of Homeric poetry and Greek myths, but honestly, cooler.

I started listening to this audiobook from the library. It's historical fiction, narrated by the prophet Nathan, about his experiences with the Biblical King David, and so far does a lot of skipping back and forth in time, which is harder for me with audiobooks, but I'm willing to keep reading for now.

Up Next

My parents got me these books from my list for Hanukkah, so the hardest part is deciding what to read first!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Top Ten Favorite Books I Read in 2017

Happy Top Ten Tuesday over at the Broke and the Bookish!

Top Ten Favorite Books I Read in 2017

1. Resistance, Rebellion, Life 50 Poems Now ed. Amit Majmudar

2. The Cooking Gene by Michael W. Twitty

3. Fledgling by Octavia Butler

4. Wizard of the Crow by Ngugi wa Thiong'o

5. Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
6. Victims and Neighbors by Frances Henry

7. Diving into the Wreck by Adrienne Rich

8. The Magician King and The Magician's Land by Lev Grossman

9. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

10. Small Changes by Marge Piercy

11. Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

Sunday, December 10, 2017

My Reading Life

State of the Book-Buying Ban

My pre-NaNoWriMo  book-buying ban remains intact. I've bought no books for myself since late October, and plan to continue the ban at least through New Year's. As a result, I've been hitting my TBR shelf and the library...

State of the TBR shelf

I've made some progress since I took this picture in August 2016. Recently, I read and enjoyed Wizard of the Crow, and I finished the two Oz books not too long after this picture was taken. However, some of these books and others not pictured have remained unsullied on the shelf.

Just Finished

I finished Warp by Lev Grossman, which deserves its status as a little-known forerunner of The Magicians trilogy (to be clear, it's not a prequel, but I can see where its talents and influences bloomed into The Magicians).

I finished Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, a library audiobook, and now I see what the fuss is about. It's a clever mash-up of fantasy, contemporary, and romance set in a college environment. I especially loved how Rowell explored the world of fanfiction, and it read so real to me that I didn't realize she didn't grow up with fanfiction the way the protagonist, Cath, does, which makes it even more impressive.

I also DNF-ed The Sweet Dove Died by Barbara Pym. The writing style was delicious, like a twentieth-century Jane Austen, but I didn't care for the characters and couldn't find anything redeeming in them or particularly interesting in their actions.

Currently Reading

Currently, I'm listening to another library audiobook, Storm Front by Jim Butcher, the first in the Dresden Files series. So far, it's okay, although I'm not loving the narrator/protagonist Harry Dresden's "old-fashioned guy" persona (he goes on a rant about how opening doors for the 'fairer sex' can't possibly be wrong) in this day and age.

I'm also currently reading a translation of The Elder Edda, an ancient compilation of Nordic myths. So far, I'm enjoying it!