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Showing posts from April, 2016

Do You Ever Promote New Books Over Classics to Level the Playing Field?

I'm a big fan of classics. There's a reason for that. Those were the books I read in school, parents and relatives recommended, and I read on lists, first in library pamphlets and then on the Internet. Classics are classics for a reason is an old adage, but more and more we're calling into question what that reason is. The We Need Diverse Books movement argues that books by and about women and minorities have consistently been overlooked, and that if we make a conscious effort to include them, we will find material that is just as good or better than the traditional classics. From my own research and opinion, I know that at least some of the works of 16th century women writers, who were not read or studied for centuries, is just as thoughtful and entertaining as the work of some of their male contemporaries,whose work has been closely studied and promoted for centuries. I'm not making an argument about diverse books here, necessarily, although I include those, but I am

Top Ten Books That Will Make You Laugh

Happy Top Ten Tuesday over at the Broke and the Bookish ! Books that make me laugh are not always books that make other people laugh (I think Romeo and Juliet is hilarious), but I'll try: 1. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain 2. Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare 3. The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz 4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams ... That's all I can think of. I can think of other books with funny characters (Silk from David Eddings' Belgariad and Malloreon ) or funny turns of phrase (Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union) , but I don't read a lot of books just for laughs. Maybe I should.

Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts

1. I'm now reading Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential-- I know it says "Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly" but I was not prepared for the level of drugs and criminality. With some of the stuff he talks about, I'm surprised this book didn't end up with him six feet under, even though he does change names. Wow. 2. Wedding dates--how do you choose? Do you ask your friends and family first? The rabbi? The venue? What comes first when picking a date? I'm so confused. 3. Are engagement parties really necessary? I know people have them, but I didn't realize it was, like, de rigeur. There's a budget for it in all of the wedding planning books/sites I've looked at, and it just seems really unnecessary? Especially if a bridal shower is also required/expected? Who came up with this madness? 4. I think I officially DNF'd Empress of the Night , just have to return it to the library. Next audiobook up: The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler

Top Ten Books Every Gamer Should Read

Happy Top Ten Tuesday at the Broke and the Bookish ! Disclaimer: I am not a big gamer myself, but my boyfriend is and he agrees with me on most of these (and hasn't read the rest). 1. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline For anyone nostalgic for the '80s and early '90s. 2. Armada by Ernest Cline This is the only one I haven't read, but my boyfriend read and liked it, although he did say it wasn't as good as Ready Player One . 3. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card For fans of shoot 'em up games in space, like XCom. 4. You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day For WoW fans or recovering addicts, also fans of Geek & Sundry and/or Felicia Day. 5. Dune by Frank Herbert For fans of space or other colonization games, like Space Engineers or Civilization. 6. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin For fans of fantasy games, like Dragon Age and the Elder Scrolls. 7. Range of Ghos

Books Read in March

12. Peony in Love by Lisa See  Lisa See brings another little known (at least in the Western world) phenomenon from Chinese women's history to life. Peony, the character and the book, is representative of a historical cohort of women who fell in love with a fifteenth century opera,  The Peony Pavilion , and, in imitation of the main character, wasted away from 'lovesickness.' Read my full review here.  13. The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson 14. The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson Like the first book, A Girl of Fire and Thorns , the second and third books in this compelling trilogy, show that author Rae Carson is not afraid to pull the hard punches. The novels continue to be strong on character development, especially for the main character Princess Elisa, and world-building, set in a mostly desert world with a fascinating religious backstory. Overall, I think the first book is my favorite, but I'm glad I continued to follow Elisa&

Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts

Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts is hosted over at Bookishly Boisterous ! 1. I'm reading The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon and I love it, but I'm not sure how to break down how I feel about it. I'm definitely one of those people who has more difficulty describing why they loved a book than why they hated it. So glad I gave him a second chance after Wonder Boys , which I was not a big fan of. 2. I'm listening to the audiobook of  Empress of the Night by Eva Stachniak, which I had been looking forward to. I loved the first book, The Winter Palace . However, I really want to DNF it and can't figure out entirely why. Maybe Stachniak's writing seems better in print than audio? Or maybe it's the change of character and also a plot device I find annoying that the first book didn't have. The first book is from a fictional character's perspective and this book is from the perspective of Catherine the Great. Also, it's supposed

Challenges of Setting Up Literary Magazine Subscriptions for Success

One of my goals for this year is to read more literary magazines , but I haven't really gotten far on this yet. Since April is National Poetry Month, it's an opportune time to start, which I would like to do by subscribing to at least one literary magazine. First, there are a few challenges to consider. One, which literary magazine to pick? I took a look at this list of the top 50 literary magazines , which is a little overwhelming! I've read issues of The Missouri Review, Ploughshares, McSweeney's , and more in the past, but I don't know that I have a clear preference (also McSweeney's does something very different from more traditional literary magazines). I also want to consider supporting the arts locally, which means I might not pick one of the "top 50" so that I can support poetry in my community. I used to subscribe to #1 on the list above, The New Yorker , but I discontinued my subscription for a few reasons. First of all, I don't live

Book Review: Tarnish by Katherine Longshore

15. Tarnish by Katherine Longshore Katherine Longshore has accomplished that wonder of wonders and created a fresh version of the Anne Boleyn story. I could only have expected such a feat from the author of  Gilt  and  Brazen,  who created such vivid and modern portraits of Henry VIII's fifth wife, Catherine Howard, and of Henry Fitzroy's wife, Mary. But neither of these historical characters suffer from the barrage of rumors, books, poems, portraits, movies, and TV shows that have characterized Anne Boleyn throughout history. For this reason, I put off reading  Tarnish , certain it could not live up to its lively cousin books. However, it caught my eye in the library and as I began to read, I realized, happily, that I had underestimated Longshore. This is not the story you think you know. In fact, it's a story that likely has little grounding in fact, though rich in contemporary literary allusion. Instead, this is a tale of an outspoken teenage girl who struggles to fi