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Showing posts from 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

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

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

Top Ten Books I'd Like for Hanukkah

Hanukkah starts Tues. Dec. 12 this year, so I'm jumping ahead from this week's Top Ten Tuesday over at the Broke and the Bookish ! Top Ten Books I'd Like for Hanukkah 1.  Brave New Girls : Stories of Girls Who Science and Scheme Ed. Paige Daniels and Mary Fan I found the first  Brave New Girls  book at Shore Leave con, where I met Mary Fan.  I loved every. single. story.  They were strong, adventurous scifi tales with female protagonists and next to zero romance. I hope the second anthology is just as strong! 2. Steles of the Sky by Elizabeth Bear I need to finally finish this trilogy! 3. L'Appart: The Delights and Disasters of Making My Paris Home by David Lebovitz The Sweet Life in Paris makes me laugh so hard, and I've reread it so many times. I hope this is more of the same! 4. Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski I enjoy watching my husband play the Witcher game that's based on this n

NaNoWriMo 2017

This year, I hit not quite 29k. Better than last year, but no 50,000 word win. I'm not feeling as disappointed as last year, however. As opposed to last year, I didn't restrict myself only to the novel, and so I've written a number of shorter pieces that I could edit and publish. Plus, I've learned that I need more research, and have a better idea of the details I need to finish.  NaNoWriMo has been helpful in getting me to just write, and I realize that, even if 1, 667 words a day is unrealistic for my life right now, 500 or so daily words are achievable.  I'm looking forward to writing more for the rest of this month and in 2018. The adventure continues. 

NaNoWriMo Update

It's Day 24 (secret Day 26), and I'm over 26k, already better than I did last year . However, I don't think I will hit the 50k goal. This writing process has been messier and less productive, but it's taught me that I can write in a "pants" as well as "plan" style, although my hypothesis that planning works better for me remains supported. After this month is over, I plan to see if my hypothesis that I needed more research for this project is accurate. I'm not sure how much I will need, but one month of research was clearly not enough. Three months? Perhaps. I've found that updating my word count is extremely motivating for me. Competing for my personal best compels me. When the word counter ends on Nov. 30, I'll try tracking number of research hours, since hour-tracking is a new option on the WriMo dashboard. As all the motivational messages sent to my inbox remind me, at the end of the month, I'll have more words written tha

NaNoWriMo and Research Books Pic

Day 6 of NaNoWriMo (really, Day 8, for me), and I'm up to 11, 112 words. I'm writing in bits and pieces, and I don't know what's coming each day, so it's a much more nerve-wracking process than the first time around, but it's working so far. Below is a picture of my research books, all nonfiction from my novel's time period, with the exception of The Book Thief , which I've meant to read for years, and now turned out to be the perfect moment. My favorite of the nonfiction so far is Victims and Neighbors, a study of the surviving Germans and Jews from one small town in Germany: the author's grandparents' hometown. Highly recommended to anyone with an interest in the subject.

Ten Characters Who Would Make Great Leaders

It's Top Ten Tuesday over at the Broke and the Bookish ! Top Ten Characters Who Would Make Great Leaders (I tried to think mostly of characters who are/were not actually leaders...yet) 1. Jo March 2. Harriet the Spy 3. Hermione Granger 4. Felicity Merriman 5. Kestrel 6. Faramir 7. Eowyn 8. Lauren Olamina 9.

Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts

Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts hosted by Bookishly Boisterous 1. I'm planning to start NaNoWriMo this weekend since Nov. 1 is a Wednesday. However, although I did a fair amount of research (I'll add a pic of my research stack later), I'm feeling anxious because I didn't finish 50,000 words last year. 2. I'm continuing the same historical novel from last year, but also have a couple of other writing projects in mind just to stimulate word count. However, although I finished my first NaNoWriMo with 50,000 words, finished the novel in under three months, and hardly even felt blocked, maybe this model doesn't work for this kind of book for me.  It was so cool for me to be like --OMG I can just WRITE a novel--but maybe I have to realize that I won't always be able to just bang out a novel! 3. I'm reading The Wizard of the Crow by Ngugi wa'Thiong'o right now, and I unfortunately forgot it for lunch today, and can't wait to get back to

Things I Want to (Want to) Write About

It's been awhile since I've written here, but I haven't stopped reading. 1. In fact, as of yesterday, I finished my Goodreads goal to read 52 books this year: I didn't know about the nifty 'Completed' sash, but it sure feels satisfying. After my first year of Goodreads, I'm overall satisfied but not impressed. The most addictive quality of Goodreads is ticking off your self-set reading goal one-by-one, similar to NaNoWriMo's word counter, but otherwise, there's less functionality than I thought in terms of categorizing books, and I've found Goodreads' recommendations less helpful than finding books from other bloggers or browsing in the library. Still, I'll probably continue for next year at least; I'm contemplating the slightly loftier goal of 54. 2. Similarly, after my first year of The Economist , I'm satisfied, but not impressed, this time, with my own reading abilities. I had hoped The Economist would provide more wor

Top Ten Books on My Fall TBR List

Happy Top Ten Tuesday over at the Broke and the Bookish ! Fall is always the big TBR when all the big doorstop bestsellers come out...but this year, I'm doing pretty well with what I wanted to read and feeling pretty laidback about the rest. Three books out this fall   are from folks I know: in   real life,  The Cooking Gene by Michael Twitty ; in blogging life, Reading People by Modern Mrs. Darcy and Smitten Kitchen Everyday by Smitten Kitchen . Top Ten Books on My Fall TBR List 1. The Cooking Gene by Michael W. Twitty Been waiting to read this for at least a year, maybe more, and now I'm almost finished! 2. Reading People by Anne Bogel Also just finished this one, which I also preordered. I wasn't sure exactly what it would be like, but it was like a group of blog posts on different personality tests, which I did find interesting. A handy guide to dip into when I want to reflect on aspects of my personality. 3. Smitten Kitchen

Reading Life Continued

Finished This Past Week: I found this at my local Little Free Library just a couple of days before I embarked on a train journey over Labor Day Weekend. It was the perfect slim size to bring with me and to read on the train. My second book of poetry in only a couple weeks. Highly recommend Adrienne Rich, and looking forward to reading more of her collections. Currently Reading: I'm about halfway through reading The Cooking Gene by Michael W. Twitty, my former Hebrew school teacher turned African American culinary historian. Twitty uses his own family to define and describe the intertwined African American cultures and food, and as I was when I learned from him, I'm impressed by his bravery in confronting the horrors visited upon his ancestors. He doesn't shy away from the rape of his foremothers nor from claiming those white male fathers as his ancestors as well. Although his food typically has a healing, collaborative message, he also includes recipes for

More Reading Life

Finished This Past Week: It's hard for me to talk about how I feel about poetry. But I read this straight through, and even though I liked some poems better than others, I was feeling the whole spirit of this anthology. After a run of unusual reads for me (nonfiction, short stories, poems), I got back to my roots with an Octavia Butler science fiction novel. Fledgling was her last book and it didn't disappoint. Butler turns the myth of vampires among us into a thought experiment on mutualism and group marriage sustained by chemical bonds, plus darker skin as a genetic advantage. Like a lot of her other books, it thinks about how humanity and relationships would be different with different types of chemical and biological relations. Shori, a vampire-type creature known as an Ina, which in Butler's version is a distinct species, needs to drink human blood to survive, BUT her human symbionts benefit from pleasure, longer life, and improved healing. Both Shori a

Reading Life

Recently Finished: I finished Wedding Toasts I'll Never Give by Ada Calhoun on the plane back from Boston. I bought it that day at Porter Square Books in Cambridge. Although it's not at all what I expected (I thought it would be snarky toasts about her friends' misguided love lives), I devoured her reflections on the realities of her own marriage. As a newlywed, I enjoyed it and I'm sure others will too. Almost Finished: I enjoy travel writing, but these are overly focused on remote corners of Africa and Alaska for my taste. I did enjoy the story about saving the books of Timbuktu and the story involving writers and libraries in the American South. Next Up: Also purchased at Porter Square Books, I've already started dipping into these timely poems.