It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading

The meme that we use to share what we read this past week and what our plans are for the upcoming week. Now hosted by The Book Date.

Last Week

Despite readathon the week before, I still got some books read last week. No readathon hangover for me this time, yay!

ghost summer

I finished Tananarive Due’s short story collection Ghost Summer, of which I read the novella included during readathon.I loved almost every story in this and can absolutely recommend it to fans of atmospheric, slow horror and Southern Gothic.

And then I was in the mood for more creepy reading and read Rin Chupeco’s The Girl from the Well. It was pretty creepy though not luckily not enough to give me bad dreams and I don’t think readers of horror will be too scared. Maybe warning for the author not being Japanese.

chupeco

I also managed my typical 3 posts a week and apart from last week’s IMWAYR post, I published a review of the comic Paper Girls and I blogged about food-related non-fiction works.

And then yesterday, I was in the mood for something cozy, so I got out my mom’s Miss Marple book and curled up with freshly-baked scones and ginger-curcuma tea.

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Currently

Yesterday was the start of Deepika’s R.K. Narayan readalong and so today I started reading his novel The English Teacher. Really enjoying it so far, thanks so much Deepika!

narayan

I’m also reading Durrow’s The Girl Who Fell from The Sky, which is fascinating so far. Less about being biracial than I’d thought, but I’m still enjoying it a lot.

girl who fell

And I’m juggling some non-fiction reading, still, but dammit this week I will finish at least one of them! I’ve set myself a deadline!

Soon

No major events or plans for me except for preparing for the oral final exam. So my reading next week will probably include these:

 

What was your week like? And what are your plans for this one? Let me know in the comments!

Non-Fiction Friday: Critical Food Studies and Intersectionality

NonfictionFriday

Here’s the next round of non-fiction reads and I have to confess there are lots of academic texts in this post. Funny thing is, for all that my city’s library is so badly stocked, I have access to a university library and cheap ILL. That means it’s often easier for me to get my hands on academic books than the latest fiction and so I like to indulge. Of course it takes me ages to actually read them cover to cover, but don’t worry, I’ll soon bore you with a review. But never fear, it will involve dinosaurs! (yes I never grew out of that phase)

After focusing on the body in my last post, I want to list some intriguing titles from critical food studies. I almost went into that direction with my thesis, but it’s a pretty new field over here and I would have had no guidance. Didn’t keep me from ogling food studies publications though. Critical food studies is an interdisciplinary field of study in the social sciences and humanities, examining food-related issues from cooking and eating to production and foodways. Important work also pays close attention to how gender, race and class amongst other axes of oppression are implicated in these issues. Thus, necessary systemic critique comes from feminist and anti-racist directions in critical food studies and subsets further connect with animal studies. My own interest comes in at these intersections of intersectional feminism and critical food studies. This is not an introductory reading list but just 3 works from different directions that have caught my interest:

sugar

Sugar. A Bittersweet History by Elizabeth Abbott is a social history of one of our most important food products today. I have a soft spot for these microhistories that take one product/aspect as a critical entry point to demonstrate that these can never be taken outside of the social context. Like chocolate, sugar is an important aspect of the world’s history of racism and slavery. This is a Penguin publication but I’ve heard people saying the writing is somewhat dry. I can’t really say that I agree, but maybe I have a high threshold or the history of racism is never dry to me. Perhaps readers should know that this is a history of the slave trade, examined through sugar. Consider yourselves warned I guess.

racial indigestion

Racial Indigestion by Kyla Wazana Tompkins, too, focuses on the food-related racial history of the 19th century. However, Tompkins takes a literary and media studies approach to this. As the title reveals, she focuses on consumption and calls for a turn to “critical eating studies.” Can you hear the echo of bell hooks’ “Eating the Other” in this!? Tompkins analyses case studies where Black Americans and especially Black women become posited as consumable in the eyes of white supremacy. I’ve only read excerpts of this text but I’m looking forward to having the time to finish this one. You’ll like this one if you enjoyed Building Houses Made of Chicken Legs.

cultivating

Cultivating Food Justice is a collection about food production and distribution, focusing on how low-income and communities of color are disproportionately hit by current policies of the industry. Thus, the food system reproduces hierarchies of race and class and these effects can be see in access to food, health and environmental issues. By and large the face of the food movement had been presented as white  and this collection seeks to challenge this image and bring a social justice perspective to food studies. I especially like that this book gathers work from activists who work in the food justice movement and not just academics!

What are your favorite food-related non-fiction reads? Let me know in the comments!

Note: I wanted to make non-fiction post something regular and while googling about non-fiction in the book blogosphere, I stumbled on the wonderful Non-Fiction Friday series by DoingDewey. It seemed perfect and so here I am joining in on the non-fiction love.

Thoughts: Paper Girls Vol. 1

paper gilrs

As you can see, I’m still in my exploratory comics phase. This time I have even tried a comic set in the 1980s! I know, right! Not at all my favorite decade. But I was told there’d be dinosaurs, so here I am.

Paper Girls is another work by popular writer Brian K. Vaughan, he of Saga fame, wonderfully drawn by Cliff Chiang and with the most amazing color palette courtesy of Matt Wilson. Started in 2015, this volume collects the first five issues, and the story is apparently already plotted with quite a few more issues planned.

Set in 1988 Ohio, the story stars a group of 12-year-old girls who deliver the newspaper on their bikes. Mac, Tiffany and KJ are joined by “new kid” Erin and they make their rounds together in groups. The story drops us right in the middle of Halloween night and it soon becomes apparent that very strange things are at work.

First, our protagonist Erin has a weird apparently recurring dream about an apple and aliens and a sibling in hell. I had no idea what was going on and to be honest it just got a lot more crazy as I read on, so I still have only an idea of what all is happening. The paper girls crew saves Erin from some teenage dude who is harrassing her, sadly with unnecessary use of homophobic slur. At least Erin intervenes, educates Mac on this issue and there’s a nod to LGBT history. Still could’ve done without this. Cue some weird wrapped up ghost speaking an unidentifiable language stealing one of the girls’ walkie talkies, cause this is he 80s. There’s strange technology and some new strangers appearing in astronaut-like gear, barding it up in some futuristic Shakespearean language and riding pterodactyl! Which is super cool, but they also appear to be the villains. We’ll see!

As you can see craziness in plot abounds! The imaginative world-building is awesome, but it’s also a lot of stuff piled up and we don’t get to see it go anywhere much at the end of the volume. I can only hope that volume 1 is similar to a pilot and the next issues will show a clearer path with more concrete plot lines. But I’m willing to suspend judgement and wait how it all unfolds.

paper girls

Our main characters are a group of very different and happily somewhat diverse preteen girls. This is pretty great as this group doesn’t get much limelight in comics to my knowledge. Their dialogue is spitfire, and lively, but apart from Mac’s hardened attitude they are not yet round enough characters to rest the crazy plot on. I really enjoyed seeing a bit of their complicated home lives and in the case of Mac, what’s behind the front she puts up. The cliffhanger at the end of the volume shows that we might be confronted with different sides to these girls and hopefully this will make them stronger characters, #6 needs to step on it!

Considering this a long pilot, I will give Paper Girls Vol. 1 a generous 3.5 star rating. The preteen protagonists and the different groups of strangers as well as the apple(icon) disk the girls find hint at a generational conflict of epic and timey wimey proportions. I’m really interested in finding out how this plays out, so if I manage to get my hands on the next issues, I will definitely read on.  But don’t go into this expecting something epic like Saga, perhaps Paper Girls will develop into an amazing comic but it’s not there yet. Being a science fiction comic about four girls, I’m also disappointed to see that the creative team is made up solely of men. They write and draw these girls well, but there are currently enough men publishing comics, it’s time to let women tell their stories.

Are you a fan of the 80s? What’s you favorite book set in or from that time?

Have you reviewed this work? Let me know and I’ll add a link!

Source: I received Paper Girls Vol. 1 as an egalley, thanks to NetGalley and Image Publishing. But I’ll remain my opinionated self!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading

The meme that we use to share what we read this past week and what our plans are for the upcoming week. Now hosted by The Book Date.

Last Week

Readathon! I had a blast following everyone’s progress on instagram, I guess I do have a preferred social media app. Pretty happy with the books I managed to read, even if I slept a solid 7 hours and spent 3 more cooking and cleaning the kitchen. Maybe I’ll lock myself in next time, but the quiche was definitely worth it and this time I managed to get a picture:

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Here’s my readathon wrap-up picture.

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My faves in order:

Nimona – so much love for this perfect comic

Ghost Summer – I read the novella and it was wonderfully creepy and atmospheric

Bitch Planet – such an amazing feminist comic! Bit violent for my taste, but fits the subject

Every Heart a Doorway – such wonderful imagination, loved the imagery and asexual mc

Uglies – super readable and love the discussion of beauty and norms, not sure I’ll read the sequel though

Currently

I’m making my way through the rest of the short stories in Due’s collection. She’s made me a fan of the Southern gothic.

ghost summer

I’m also read Paper Girls Vol.1, whoa the colors are amazing!

paper gilrs

And then i need to get through all my non-fiction reads, so this week I want to concentrate on this one, cause dinosaurs:)

articulating dinoaurs

Soon

Deepika’s readalong of RK Narayan starts next Sunday, so there’s still time to join in on the fun!

malgudi days

And then I’ll also start making my reading list for my oral exam, so be prepared for Chican@ lit!

What are you all reading? Let me know in the comments!

Dewey’s Readathon 2016

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Whoop! Readathon is here! I finally put together my bookstack and no way will I manage to read all of these, but there’s plenty choice and enough comics for some quick reading. I didn’t really buy snacks because last time I didn’t really need that many. Also, my dad just got back from a longer trip so tonight I’ll take a reading break and spend some quality time with the family. Also, I’m cooking, so that’s another break. But maybe this time I will manage to get a picture of the vegan quiche before the family descends😀

I got lots of tea so that I always have a cup on hand and will probably switch to green tea and maybe even black tea the later it gets. Usually I tend to drink lots of fennel tea throughout the day.

In case the picture is too small, here is my bookstack on Scribd:

ghost summer

every heart a doorway

on a station drifting

girl who fell

ocean gaiman

As you can see I will have plenty to choose from! I won’t blog today probably, but you can follow my progress on twitter and instagram if you like. Are you participating? Let me know and I’ll try to get a few cheering rounds in! Happy reading!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading

The meme that we use to share what we read this past week and what our plans are for the upcoming week. Now hosted by The Book Date.

 

Last Week

It’s been a busy week, I had lots of paperwork stuff on my list and I’m starting to prepare for my defense and oral exam. So you might soon find my reading following some themes not part of a challenge:)

I got some baking done and found the perfect mix of glutenfree flour. So yay bread is back on for breakfast (I’m German so bread is life!:) ) and nope I’m not gluten intolerant just have to watch what I eat. It doesn’t look as pretty as normal bread loaves, but it tastes pretty awesome:

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On the reading front, I managed to finish two books and that means my book juggling is slowly getting more manageable:

Gut was a quick and easy read, despite it being non-fiction. Enders presents a quick informative overview of the gut and its importance to our health in general but also with regard to bacteria influencing mental health. Who knew! It’s written in an accessible style and accompanied by charming illustrations made by the author’s sister.

Brown Girl Dreaming was a tougher read with regard to the subject matter but I absolutely love it. It’s written in verse but I dare say it will appeal to non-poetry people as well. I listend to the audiobook narrated by the author and it was such a cool ‘reading’ experience. Highly recommended!

I also got some blogging done though I dropped the ball on my schedule. Oh well, so many of you were nice enough to drop in anyways! I posted a list of books that make for perfect uninterrupted weekend reading, so if you have a free weekend soon take a look at my post. And then I also recommended lots of novellas for Saturday’s readathon or in case you want to get some quick reading in.

Currently

So this morning I realized my only fiction read was the Issa Rae memoir as audiobook but I only listen to it before bed. That means I can finally get to my Once Upon a Time book list and it’s about time as I’ve only read 1 out of 5! I started with Somatar’s book and so far I’m really enjoying it.

olondria

Soon

So soon, in fact next Saturday: It’s readathon time, yay!

readathon

Hope lots of you are joining in, it’s such a fun event! You can still sign up here.

Also, I will soon (probably in May) start with my uni reading and one of my topics is Chicana lit. So anyone wanting to drop some recommendations or join me in my prep reading, let me know in the comments. I fear I’ll have to stick to the classics but we’ll see.

Hope you’re all having a great start to the week! We actually had a nice sunny but not too warm day over here and I spent some time reading in the garden. What are you all reading?

10 Novellas for Readathons

10 novellas for readathons

Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon is next Saturday! Who’s excited!? I’m still fiddling with my readathon stack, I never manage to read that much, but I like to have a good selection. It’s always motivating if you manage to finish a few things and so comics and novellas are really ideal reading material if like me, you are not one of those amazing speed readers. So, if you’re still looking for readthon books or you just love shorter works, here are 10 novellas you should put on your tbr:

Binti-Nnedi-Okorafor

1.Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

I read this last readathon and fell utterly in love with Okorafor’s imaginative writing. Binti is the first of her people to attend Oomza University, but to go there she has to leave behind her community and be among strangers with different customs and an ongoing war with the Meduse.

wildeeps

2.The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps by Kai Ashante Wilson

More TOR, I’m a huge fan of their novellas. This one is on my readathon stack even if it’s apparently tragic and a romance. Caravan brothers, Black demigod love story, lots of play on language

every heart a doorway

3.Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire

McGuire’s newest work just so happens to be a novella and deals with a home for children who have been returned from magical lands and only wish to return. Which is just such a cool turn on the usual entering other worlds things.

red station

4.On A Red Station Drifting by Aliette De Bodard

Okay, half of this list is fro my tbr:) Prosper Space Station is at a crossroads with its AI’s mind ravaged by disease and many of its people called to the long war against the Dai Viet Empire.

redemption

5.Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord

Leaving her fool of  husband, Paama is given the Chaos stick by the djombi. Unfortunately one djombi with indigo skin wants the stick for himself. A trickster tale, a modern fairy tale, a Senegalese folk story. This promises to be epic and sounds like a great Once Upon a Time read, too.

cisneros

6.The House On Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

Cisneros’ story of Esperanza and growing up poor Mexican in Chicago is always good for a reread. This is basically a collection of vignettes but oh so readable.

we_have_always_lived_in_the_castle_cover

7.We Have Always Lived In The Castle by Shirley Jackson

No list without one of my favorites:) Creepy thriller, plot twist included, you won’t be sorry to try Jackson’s story about sisters Merricat and Constance Blackwood after the deaths of most of their family.

emperors soul

8.The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson

Shai the forger is the empire’s only hope. Sentenced to death for trying to steal the emperor’s sceptor, she is given the chance to redeem herself by copying the emperor’s soul. Sanderson has been on my list for ages, a novella seems like a great way to start.

ghost summer

9.Gost Summer by Tananarive Due

Yes, this is a short story collection, but the titular story Ghost Summer is actually a novella. Don’t read this late at night, Due is brilliant at scary horror, I learned this the hard way!

reluctant

10.The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid

Hamid’s now probably classic story of the young Pakistani-American Muslim Changez, identity, belonging and fundamentalism in the wake of 9/11. Always good for a reread, too, to evaluate how far things have gone since then.

What are your favorite novellas? And are joining the readathon next Saturday?

Weekend Reads

weekend reads

It’s Friday! And thus usually the time I get most of my reading done. I’m a bit more flexible about my hours during the week at the moment but it’s still the weekends where I often save a book I’m really excited about for some serious reading time. Sometimes I make plans to read a specific book or reread an old favorite and close the door on the hectic world. So I expect weekend reads to be epic adventures, new worlds to explore or a mystery to figure out. If you want to loose yourself in a book this weekend, let me recommend some weekend reads to you:

tooth and claw

1. Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton

Family drama and money intrigue, Victorian era, Pride and Prejudice with dragons!, social commentary, dragons!

fingersmith

2. Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

Victorian London, Dickens with lesbians, super twisty, class, thievery

niko

3. Niko by Kayti Nika Raet

Please don’t judge the book by its cover, post-apocalyptic wasteland, this is how you do diversity, body horror, kick-ass heroine

the between

4.The Between by Tananarive Due

Floridian horror or is it a mystery or a thriller, Black family history, what is going on, warning for Due always delivers on the creepiness

sorcerer to the crown

5. Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

Ye stuffy olde England now upgraded with magic, familiars, diverse characters, and the best heroine ever. You can read this in a day and then lament the wait for the sequel.

Do you make reading plans on some weekends? What are your favorite weekend reads?

 

 

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading

The meme that we use to share what we read this past week and what our plans are for the upcoming week. Now hosted by The Book Date.

Last Week

Yay, I finally managed to finish some books! I’m feeling much more acomplished as a result😀 My fiction read was Liu’s The Three-Body Problem, such an intriguing book so I’m glad there’s a sequel. Then I also finished one of my audiobooks, the short but powerful Citizen by Claudia Rankine.

On the blog, I stuck to my three posts a week schedule and I think it’s working out well for me. How often do you blog? And often do you like to see new posts? Last week I posted IMWAYR of course, but also a review of Coffee Will Make You Black by April Sinclair and for the first time joined Non-Fiction Friday and posted about three works that examine the body through a  cultural history lens.

In other news, last week I baked more vegan cupcakes for a friend’s birthday party and finally discovered a great vegan quiche recipe. Sadly no photos cause my non-vegan family eats everything!

Currently

The embarrassing juggling of too many books is still ongoing, but there’s a few new ones at least. My current audiobooks are still Issa Rae’s memoir and for the Reading Africa challenge I started We Need New Names. I’m also still reading the two non-fiction books about Monsanto and Dinosaurs in political anthropology. Because obviously that is not enough I started two other books. I think that makes four non-fiction reads currently, yikes! I’ll soon be graduating but it looks like this only exacerbates my interest in non-fiction reading.

With chronic illness you find that lots of doctors aren’t always as much help as you’d expect, this is doubly true for gastroenterology which has now finally taken notice of the gut, prebiotics and bacteria that natural healers have emphasized for ages. Thought I’d learn and laugh at the same time, thus Enders’ book which was a huge success in Germany.

And then posting about non-fiction works about the body reminded me that I really enjoyed two of Gilman’s books and also love the Oxford UP biography of illnesses series. Which is why I started Obesity, which is a quick first overview of the history of obesity as a concept and the different attitudes towards it. At least I’m halfway through both of these.

Soon

I have neglected my Once Upon a Time reading and so I plan to turn to these books soon:

Are you doing this challenge, too. What’s on your reading list?

How have you all been? What have you been reading? Let me know in the comments!

Non-Fiction Friday: Cultural History and Body Parts

NonfictionFriday

Now, I apologize for the somewhat gruesome-sounding title! But it does capture best what this post is about. Hope you weren’t scared off, or were you intrigued?😉 I’ve been thinking about posting more on non-fiction and since many of you weren’t opposed to the idea and everyone seems to love listicles, I thought I would gather some books about the cultural history of parts of the body, and to clear up the mystery: By this I mean works that focus on the cultural history of hair for example, or teeth, and do not simply present a biological account but in keeping with my specific interest (and hopefully it will interest you as well) examine how societal norms shape how we wear our hair for example or how haircuts can be political statements and/or are tied up with issues of race and gender to name but a few. Here are 3 books that look like promising investigations of the body and its cultural history (please note that I have only read the first book and the other two are still on my tbr, so I cannot vouch for them):

gilman- making the bodyA few years ago, I stumbled on this very important book by Sander L. Gilman (another academic crush!) and was most interested in the chapters on noses. Now what with self-optimization being common nowadays, something that is occuring too often is the nose job. If, like me, you’ve ever been told that you have an ‘ethnic nose,’ then this becomes not just an issue of beauty but of race as well. In much of this book, Gilman examines how the nose throughout (especially recent) history has been racial. And some of the in-depth analyses focus on the Jewish nose. Probably all of you have heard of this issue and it was horrifically prominent in the third Reich. Then, we also see that Black women working and living in the public eye may attempt to change their noses to fit into Western beauty standards or women with such preferred noses are given preferance. Now, will you ever think of noses in the same way again?

plucked

Another entry point for understanding how social and cultural issues are tied up with bodies is of course hair, or in this case the wanted lack of hair. Of course gender comes to mind here as one of the most obvious issues, but I’m thinking race and religion could be important issues as well, for example: The hipster beard vs muslim men deciding not to wear a beard because of the current climate of Islamophobia. Herzig takes a look at the importance of hair removal throughout history, from being considered ‘mutilation’ to the not-so-subtly enforced beauty standard that requires the hair removal by women in Western societies. This looks to be an impressively-thorough investigation of hair removal, which also pays attention to how scientific advancement, race and the medical field are implicated in this issue.

the vagina.literary and cultural historyFinally, Emma L. E. Reese provides another investigation of the importance and meaning of the vagina through literary and cultural studies. After the publication and following reception of Naomi Wolf’s book on the same topic, this seems like a timely addition. Rees is a scholar of the renaissance I think and that part of the book appears to be extremely well researched and definitely something I hardly know anything about. Rees’ work, however, reaches into the present as well and this seems a lot of ground to cover in one book, but I’m very interested in how the meaning and approach to the literary and cultural vagina has changed throughout history. It doesn’t get too many pages apparently, but it is worth mentioning that Rees does not appear to make this a cis-story of the vagina but looks at trans* issues as well. Yay for that!

Now, what are your favorite books on the cultural history of the body? Or which part of the body would you most like to see covered in non-fiction? Let me know in the comments!

Note: I wanted to make non-fiction post something regular and while googling about non-fiction in the book blogosphere, I stumbled on the wonderful Non-Fiction Friday series by DoingDewey. It seemed perfect and so here I am joining in on the non-fiction love.