Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Top Ten Series I've Been Meaning to Start But Haven't

Top Ten Tuesdays are over at the Broke and the Bookish.

I feel like I used to have a lot of these, but I'll give it a go...

Top Ten Series I've Been Meaning to Start But Haven't

1. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor










2. Dies the Fire by S.M. Stirling










3. Thursday Next by Jasper Fforde










4. The Broken Earth by N.K. Jemisin










5. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir










6. The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin










7. Defy by Sara B. Larson










8. The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan










9.

10.

I'll see if I can remember more later!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts


Meme over at Bookishly Boisterous!

1. Especially towards the end of wedding planning, looking at wedding magazines made me sick and wedding advice columns made me sick with dread. It didn't stop me from reading, but what's surprising is that I've continued reading after the wedding--and I'm enjoying it! Ideas for weddings make me smile, conundrums inspire sympathy. The Practical Wedding column where the sister wears the white dress still leaves me flabbergasted--my sister/MOH wore an awesome gold jacket.

2. I have much more interest in wedding planning than I did before. Prior to mine, it was something I'd never thought about. Though it was stressful, afterward, it was kind of cool.  I'm not interested in planning a wedding or large party again, but I appreciate the experience because I have sympathy for my friends and relatives who are about to or may at some point go through it, and I like feeling like I could be of help to them

3. We got incredibly lucky. We had perfect guests--nobody's RSVPs were illegible, everyone replied who received their invitation (another story),and nobody brought a last-minute extra. We did have a few who replied yes and didn't make it, but they all let us know at least a few days ahead. Our families and bridal party were all phenomenal: they showed up, looked great, were extremely helpful. Like, one of my bridesmaids produced a sign in
Hobbiton Brushhand the morning of (Pro tip: if you're a bride having a daytime wedding, don't plan to do anything other than hair/makeup that morning). We got many comments on the warmth and love of the day, and we both felt loved and supported.

4. After we got back from the honeymoon, I reached a personal record and finished a journal I had for only three months (mostly, you guessed it, wedding stuff). In a desperate B&N run for a new blank journal, I also snatched up this Everyman Pocket edition of Wedding Stories that seemed like kismet, or, most likely, a cannily timed wedding season end table. I love the handsome hardcover with the built-in ribbon bookmark in and of itself, but I'm also enjoying every wedding story from A.A. Milne to Kelly Link. It's an apt post-wedding read, especially since I've got four more to attend this year, starting this weekend!

5. I'm super proud of myself for ordering photo books from Shutterfly less than a month after the wedding. They're the first Shutterfly photo books I've ever ordered, and while I'm happy, there are some things I would take back. For example, I regret all the one and two page spreads, which didn't end up looking good (fortunately, there were only a few). Also, Shutterfly warned me about putting too many photos on a page, but I honestly would have been okay with more photos on fewer pages. Anyway, we have awesome photo books!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Top Ten Fantasy Books I Recently Added to My TBR

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

Top Ten Fantasy Books I Recently Added to My TBR

I haven't read any of these yet, but they're all books I've added to my TBR in the past six months or so. Most are recommendations from other bloggers.


1. Mangoverse series by Shira Glassman













2. Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton














3. Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton















4. All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders













5. The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman














6. Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel














7. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi














8. Everfair by Nisi Shawl













9. The Crystal Ribbon by Celeste Lim













10. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julia C. Dao


Sunday, May 28, 2017

On a Reading Roll

Post-wedding, I've been on a reading roll. Finished The Scar and The Magician King from Bookmooch, took out a ton of library books, and made some purchases at the Gaithersburg Book Festival.

I enjoyed The Magician King and look forward to finishing the trilogy with The Magician's Land. I better appreciate now Lev Grossman's  transmutation of fantasy tropes, not to mention his D&D references--he casually refers to characters using "cantrips" and "Magic Missile." The protagonist Quentin, a snarky teenager for most of the first book,  is truly becoming the hero he felt entitled to be. It was also interesting to see Julia's story, although the essence of it was given away in the first season of the TV show. There were some differences, and I wonder if the show will go where this book does with her story. We haven't finished the second season yet, so don't tell me!

I found some longtime TBR books at the library and have finished two already--Amanda Palmer's The Art of Asking and the audiobook of Lauren Graham's Talking As Fast As I Can. Neither were quite what I expected. Both are general memoirs more than they are about the topics I picked them up for--though I still enjoyed them. Palmer's memoir does coalesce around themes of asking, trust, and community. It clarified to me again that "your audience" typically isn't people you don't know, but rather your family and friends. Those are the people you are writing for, singing for, making art for. Those are the people who want to help you. Graham's memoir, while it does cover her time on Gilmore Girls and Gilmore Girls again,  dips more whimsically throughout her life as an actor. I'm glad I listened to the audiobook. It was a treat to listen to her voice, and although I love both characters, it's clear she has more Lorelei Gilmore in her than Sarah Braverman.

At the Gaithersburg Book Festival, I purchased Wangs vs. the World after attending a panel with the author Jade Chang as well as the author of All Grown Up, Jami Attenberg. I enjoyed the readings and repartee from both authors. That's probably next up on the list.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts

1. We got married! It was beautiful and perfect and it's over :-)

2. We went on our honeymoon to Colonial Williamsburg, which was also pretty perfect, and I picked up Everlasting Syllabub and the Art of Carving by Hannah Glasse, an 18th century cookbook intended to be for the servants and thus not written in the "high polite style." Although I don't think I'll be attempting any of her recipes, it is a fascinating read.

3. While I was gone, a pair of books arrived from Bookmooch, The Magician King by Lev Grossman and The Scar by Sergey and Marina Dyachenko. I gave up on the former at the library, so now I've got two handsome hardcovers to call my own. I read The Scar first, and enjoyed it immensely. It's a fleshed out fairytale about an arrogant man from a militaristic culture, who receives a scar that turns him into a coward. It has strains of Beauty and the Beast, now that I think about it, and I liked it much better than A Court of Thorns and Roses. Plus, I love that it's a standalone fantasy novel. I will definitely be reading more from Sergey and Marina Dyachenko, a husband and wife team whose award-winning fantasy novels and stories have been translated from Russian to English.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Bookish and Not So Bookish Thoughts

1. I finished reading A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, but I didn't like it as much as I wanted to. A fantasy fairytale retelling should be right up my alley, especially one of my favorites, Beauty and the Beast. But the power differential between Tamlin (the Beast) and Feyre (Beauty) rubbed me the wrong way, and I couldn't get past it. Maas creates a dark fantasy world where humans live apart from monstrous, bloodthirsty, and powerful faeries, including nearly omnipotent immortal High Lords like Tamlin. Worse, although Feyre is a huntress, she's a nearly physically powerless and illiterate mortal. That huge power discrepancy made their love story icky to me, and the book is at least as much romance as fantasy. I got through it, but I'm reevaluating whether to read any more of her books.

2. Next up, Fairest by Marissa Meyer, a fairytale background retelling I'm almost certain to like.

3. Both of these books are due back to the library AFTER my wedding! Gulp!


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Reading Update

If wedding planning loomed before, > three weeks out and it dominates my non-work life. I'm feeling accomplished at that moment though, as some looming wedding tasks are done or on their way there, and I just finished reading Get Your Sh*t Together by Sarah Knight.

Although I enjoyed perusing it in the bookstore and Knight's irreverent tone is amusing in and of itself, my biggest takeaway from the book is that I'm perhaps better at adulting than I thought. For example, I can do my taxes all by myself (sorry Sarah Knight!). Small manageable chunks and converting to-do to must-do lists are my daily cup of tea, so even though my apartment isn't decorated and I haven't yet done my hair trial (tomorrow!), I'm feeling calmer.

Contributing to my calm may be a recent spurt of feel-good reads. I finished The Winner's Kiss, the third in the Winner's Curse trilogy, and in my opinion, each book got richer and deeper. I thought the characters were bland at first, but both Kestrel and Arin grow and change in response to the obstacles they face. I especially like the device in the third book where the author refers to Arin's warlust as a deity ("his g-d grinned inside him"). I wish the device were used throughout the series to be more consistent, but oh well.

After I finished the trilogy, I sailed right into Marissa Meyer's Heartless, the imagined backstory of Wonderland's Queen of Hearts. Meyer does refashionings of fairy tales mindblowingly well. I adored the main character, Cath, and was mesmerized by the story (and although most elements were obvious, that's what's satisfying about a fairy tale). In the end, you're rooting for Cath and Jest...but knowing that she becomes the Queen of Hearts, a sick part of you wants to see how that happens. It's an interesting twist in writing about villains...you think you want to root for the protagonist, but, really, you just want the story to have the 'right' ending. I wonder what that says about us, or just about me =P.

In other news, I just finished the March 25 Economist...I'm only like three behind? But I do feel much more informed about the world. And now that you're more informed about mine, goodnight!