It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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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.

It’s Monday again, phew time flies! I have my thesis deadline coming up at the beginning of March, so the next few weeks will be quite stressful and sadly not filled with much fun reading. We’ll see how we’ll I’ll do with blogging until then. I can’t wait for having guilt-free reading time again!

Last Week

indexing

I finished Indexing by Seanan McGuire, a sort of procedural urban fantasy about a law enforcement agency for fairy tales. I really enjoyed McGuire’s October Daye and the premise sounded fantastic, so I read Indexing looking for fun escapism. And that’s what I got. Sadly the characters were a bit unrelatable, I wasn’t really invested in any of them and the execution of the story didn’t live up the brilliant premise. But it was still an enjoyable read and I will definitely give the sequel a chance.

Currently

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We’re in the middle of our The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo readalong, so I’m still reading that one. It’s gotten very suspenseful now and it’s a tough read with all that’s going on, but I’m very curious about the ending now.

hp audio

I’m currently rereading Harry Potter on audiobook, it’s so nice to start again with the first book. The wide-eyed wonder, the magic, Hogwarts, Hermione! I love listening to this one before bed, it helps me calm down after a stressful day.

black skin white coats

My current non-fiction read is a fascinating account of the decolonization of Nigerian psychiatry and the globalization of psychiatry. If you’re interested in colonialism, the history of medicine and social sciences, you’ll find this one worth the read. I’m an academic, so maybe I’m biased but I think Heaton’s writing is clear and accessible.

Reading Plans

I have so many plans, but that’s for after graduation. For the next few weeks I hope I get to read period. I’m eyeing shorter works, comics and comfort reads, maybe along the lines of:

wells and wong

Murder Most Unladylike is the first Wells & Wong mystery. Set in the 1930s, the two girls Hazel and Daisy set up their very own secret detective agency.

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Continuing with the brilliant Lumberjanes, they always cheer me up!

jackaby

Started Jackaby in December I think, but right at the beginning we got to learn about the brilliant brilliant genius dude and turned me off real quick. Have been assured it’ll get better and the female character will not be starstruck sidekick throughout the novel.

What have you been reading? Any special reading plans?

Thoughts: The Sisters Are Alright by Tamara Winfrey Harris

sisters are alright

The Sisters Are Alright is first of all a love note Tamara Winfrey Harris has written to other black women. It’s a warm, welcoming book that celebrates their complexities and humanity. I hope Harris’ book will be a gift given to many young black girls. I read this book to understand the specific lived experience of black women in the United States, become a better ally and just rejoice in the celebration of women of color.

“Black women’s stories look a lot different from what you’ve heard. And when black women speak for themselves, the picture presented is nuanced, empowering, and hopeful”

Some of you might know the author from her blog What Tami Said or from her editor work on Racialicious. In her first book, Harris starts by introducing the history of propaganda against black women and the major harmful stereotypes that were introduced during slavery and have become the backbone of the current racist, sexist society of the US. This first part will be very educational for anyone not part of the target audience, but it is tough reading as Harris covers everything from Sapphire to the welfare queen and the Moynihan Report to hurtful current beauty and marriage double standards.

Harris shows how stereotypes of the ‘angry black women’ are still pulled out even on successful women like Shonda Rhimes or Michelle Obama. Or how the myth of the ‘strong black women’ hurts black women emotionally or physically, causing stress and serious health issues when they try to appear strong all their lives.

But Harris writes engagingly and encouragingly, dismantling these misogynoir traps and interspersing them with little boxes called ‘Moments in Alright,’ which shows that black women are indeed alright. Here Harris presents snippets about black women as successful business owners, achieving amazing educational goals and more.

There’s one caveat, but Harris is very upfront about it, the women she interviewed and focused on are largely well-off middle-class and for the most part straight. Make sure to read about these experiences, too. Recommendation: Black Girl Dangerous on Race, Queerness, Class and Gender by Mia McKenzie.

If you’re on a tight budget, like me, the book is even available on Scribd. And isn’t the cover the best thing ever? The Sisters Are Alright is also my first read for the Diversity on the Shelf Challenge this year.

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

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo- READALONG Part 1

girl with the dragon tattoo readalong

Excuse my tardiness, I’ve been sick and around the doctor caroussell, which usually ends with some lame diagnosis of stress. So that’s been a bit frustrating, but I finally managed to get my readalong post up.

Deepika, Lucia and I are currently doing a ‘We’re the last ones to read it’- readalong of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and you’re  welcome to join in! So, here are my impressions on the first 7 chapters, which kinda include spoilers, but I’m going to assume everyone’s already read it :D

Larsson starts his book of with an intriguing prologue of two old dudes talking about the yearly gift of a flower one has received.Which is apparently related to an unsolved case, so dum dum dum.

Unfortunately, the next bit was not really for me. I don’t get economic intrigue and white somewhat rich dudes tripping each other up in their clever spider’s nests is BORING. That time is better spent reading critiques of capitalism. But maybe the boring details will tie into the rest of the story in a satisfying way. Who knows? Okay probably everyone but the three of us. I laughed at the nickname Kalle Blomkvist though and felt all proud I didn’t need the reference explained, because I grew up with Astrid Lindgren’s children’s literature.

Mikael Blomkvist doesn’t leave much of an impression on me, I have to admit. He blew the whistle, turns out he was tricked, he gets to pay a huge libel fine and maybe spend a couple months in prison. Apparently he’s a good guy, with a complicated non-manogamous  off-again on-again relationship with Erika, the co-partner of their magazine.

Oh and we finally get to meet our heroine, Lisbeth Salander, who is very young, broken somehow and extremely smart and capable. Of course she is attractive apparantly despite the everything-but- her- skin black she rocks. Hopefully the other women characters get more showtime soon, they are intoduced and I want to know more about the feminist lawyer sister etc, but, as of yet, Salander looks like the typical ‘only female and therefore superawesome’ character. Hope it doesn’t turn out this way though. Also, her boss’ thoughts of her are just plain creepy, but at least it looks like it took an okay turn with his protective angle. But so far Salander is interesting, I love her concern for others and her skills and I’m half-afraid of finding out all the shit that probably happened to her.

And then Blomqvist gets offered a job with Vanger, to solve the mystery of Harriet’s disappearance. So, the mystery part can begin and I’m curious about it. I want to see much more of Salander and hopefully there won’t be too much of the business intrigue stuff.

What’s most interesting to me is that the work’s original title is “Men Who Hate Women,” did that make the  US/UK publishers panic? There’s two quotes of statistics about violence against women and domestic violence against women in Sweden written on the part 1 and part 2 title pages. So now of course I want to see more of how Larsson handles this, is he successful in his ambitions?

On to the second part! What did you think, Deepika? Lu? Everyone else, did you enjoy The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo when you read it (probably ages ago)?

Most Exciting Releases of 2016

Watch out 2015, 2016 is gonna be awesome, too! The beginning of the new year is always exciting, because of wonderful book releases to look forward to. I read mostly contemporary literature, but rarely just-released books. I still love to browse websites and publishers catalogues, noting down the most exciting titles in my journal. Even if it takes me a while to read recent works, there’s always a few that I won’t wait long for. That’s usually sequels of a favorite series or a new work by a favorite author.

2016 book releases

Fiction:

The Hanging Tree (Ben Aaronovitch) – June 16th

Murder and fantastical mayhem in Mayfair’s villas. This is book 6 in the Rivers of London series about police officer/magician’s apprentice Peter Grant. Highly recommend the audiobooks read by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith!

What is yours is not yours (Helen Oyeyemi) – March 8th

A collection of intertwining short stories centering around real and metaphorical keys. Oyeyemi has been on my list for ages, maybe I’ll start with this one.

Blackass (A. Igoni Barrett) – July 9th

One day Furo Wariboko wakes up white. Except for his ass that is. The book follows the changes and privileges of his new life as a white man in Nigeria.

This Census-Taker (China Miéville)– January 12th

New Miéville out this year. This novella is about a boy living with his increasingly deranged parents, when a stranger knocks at the door. I’m sure it’ll be all kinds of weird.

The Obelisk Gate (N. K. Jemisin) – August 16th

Sequel to The Fifth Season will be out this year, hurrah!!! That was really quick and the wait is somewhat bearable.

The Winged Histories (Sofia Samatar) – March 15th

A new book by the author of A Stranger in Olondria! Which I still have to read. However this one sounds amazing: Four women- from soldier to poet- are caught on different sides when war breaks out. I think this is set in the same world as A Stranger, but it doesn’t appear to be a sequel. Correct me if I’m wrong.

The Girl Who Raced Fairyland All the Way Home (Catherynne M. Valente) – March 1st

This is the fifth book in the fairyland series, I should start with book 1, but it’s always nice to see that when I do start I can just spend the next month in one world and don’t have to wait! This book is about September inheriting the Kingdom.

Indexing: Reflections ( Seanan McGuire) – January 12th

Book 2 of the Indexing series, where fairytale stories become real – with often disastrous results – and the ATI Management Bureau steps in. Still have to read book 1 (notice a theme?), but I might want to cuddle up with both for a long weekend as I loved her October Daye book and really like urban fantasy.

Non-Fiction:

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body (Roxane Gay) – supposedly June 14th

Gay’s not-a-weightloss-memoir about food, weight, shaming and taking care of yourself. It’s Roxane Gay, and also a very important addition to current weight and health debates.

Black Dove (Ana Castillo) – May 10th

Memoir of brilliant Chicana activist and writer Ana Castillo about social injustices through the lens of race, gender and family.

The Feminist Bookstore Movement (Kristen Hogan) – sometime 2016

About the feminist bookstore movement in the 1970s to 1990s and its lesbian, feminist, and antiracist networks. Feminism + bookstores = awesomeness

Blood Sugar: Racial Pharmacology and Food Justice in Black America (Anthony Ryan Hatch) – sometime 2016

“How contemporary biomedicine has shaped race and racism as America’s health disparities increase” (Minnesota UP). This sounds right up my street!

What releases are you looking forward to this year? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

Favorite Books I Read in 2015

favorite books 2015

Happy New Year everyone! It’s a brand new year and here I am looking back at 2015. But I can’t do a favorite reads post of a year, when that year isn’t over yet. I might read a favorite in the eleventh hour!

comics faces

I read more comics than usual in 2015 thanks to my Scribd subscription. One of my favorite comics was Princeless by Jeremy Whitley, starring one of my favorite new characters Adrienne and her side-kick dragon.

Another huge hit with everyone everywhere probably was Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson. I adore the diverse and so-well drawn characters, their feminist exclamations and how they encounter everything including dinosaurs! (yes I was that kid)

fave ya

2015 was also the year I made a reluctant attempt at reading some YA literature. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell was snarky, suspenseful and hilarious and Penelope is a new favorite character. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz was beautifully-written and both books had romantic elements that I didn’t even mind so yay, I will continue reading YA this year.

nonfiction faves

I read lots of nonfiction for my thesis in 2015, but since it was mostly excerpts, I didnt count them in. Some of the non-fiction I read for fun was amazing and I wish I could include them in my thesis. I highly recommend Feminism and War if you understand feminism to be intersectional and as implicated in Western imperialism. If you don’t, it’s probably even more important that you read it.

Jared Ball’s I Mix What I Like tackles hip hop and the decolonial possibilities of mix-tapes. He investigates mainstream hip hop’s ties to empire and looks to mix-tapes and such for new ways of antiracist activism.

okorafor fave

As I’m sure you’ve noticed Nnedi Okorafor is a new favorite author of mine. I loved both her novella Binti and her first-contact novel Lagos. Both position women of color and Nigeria as central to science fiction and are wonderfully imaginative.

I also loved Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson. I’ve found myself drawn to urban fantasy and this one adds women of color, post-apocalyptic Toronto.

general faves

Some of my favorite suspenseful reads were the latest Rivers of London book Foxglove Summer. I think this one was one of the best in the series, and I didn’t even balk at the addition of fairies and unicorns!

Another wonderful book was Annihilation, the first in the Southern Reach trilogy. Somehow it was both exciting and slowly paced, very creepy and had an all female explorer team.

One of the most hyped books of 2015, The Girl on the Train really was as good as everyone said. I loved the unlikeable protagonist Rachel and the different perspectives. Also one of my very first audiobooks!

 more faves locke ortiz skin

A lot of my favorite works of 2015 were written by women of color or put women of color at the center of the story. I tried a horror story by Tananarive Due for the first time, never ever read The Good House before bed! I adored everything about The Cutting Season and will try more by Attica Locke this year. Sadly the only novel by Sabrina Vourvoulias so far, I loved the dystopic vision of Ink, so plausible and terrifying is her vision of the future. I rarely read whole books of poetry, but I raced through Amalia Ortiz’ Rant.Chant.Chisme. If you’re looking of powerful Xicana poetry, try this one. Or better yet watch her spoken word performances!

What were your favorite read of 2015? Let me know in the comments!

 

Reading Challenges 2016

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I have to admit that I have a sort of off-again- on -again relationship with reading challenges. On the one hand, I hate assigned reading and feel immediately restricted in my reading choices, on the other hand I love the community effort in challenges and that they help me stick to reading resolutions, if I make them.

After finally getting back to blogging regularly halfway through 2015, I feel a bit more confident that I’m here to stay and I missed the book blogging community, so I want to participate in a few more events and challenges. So, for 2016 I want to commit to 2 all-year challenges and then see what smaller events happen during the year.

girl with the dragon tattoo readalong

I decided to start 2016 with a bang and catch up with one of the hyped books I still haven’t read. So for January wonderful Deepika of Worn Corners and I will be doing a readalong of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Everyone’s welcome to join in!

book riot

The 2016 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge sounds fantastic. I’ve been following the 2015 challenge and it looked like a blast plus this one challenges you to read more diversely and outside your comfort zone and since I had a wonderful time exploring new genres this year, I want to continue in 2016. Here’s a list with the 24 tasks, which challenge you to read a collection of essays, a book from the Middle East and a book by/about a transgender person among others.

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Diversity on the Shelf Challenge, hosted by Akilah of The Englishist

I read a good amount of literature by and about People of Color already, but I’m going for 3/4 of all books I’ll read in 2016, so I thought I’d join in this important challenge. There’s 5 different levels, so everyone can take part really, and I’ve decided to go for the 5th Shelf: Read 25+ books.

Here’s 5 books on my tbr that would count for the challenge, but I know I’ll have lots of fun looking for all the works that would count for this challenge, so be prepared for more list posts.

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dirty river

bambera

haritaworn

Ashala wolf

What’s important to me is to read books by authors of color and non-white non-Western authors and not just books where white authors include characters of color. Hopefully I’ll read mostly books that are intersectional in their approach and include other axes of oppression, such as gender, sexuality, disability and empire. And I’m sure there’ll be lots of fun books, I know now that I’ll definitely find such diverse books in fantasy and YA literature.

I think 2016 will be a great reading year. Have a wonderful start to the new year!!! And let me know about your reading plans in the comments!

I’m over at ‘Postcards from Asia’ today

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Image via Flickr by Abhi Sharma

Today I’m over at Postcards from Asia, answering Delia’s questions about all things bookish in my life. I ‘met’ lovely Delia this year (via Vishy’s blog, I believe), when I finally returned to blogging regularly and loved her reviews for German Literature Month. Seeing how I was ready to explore more fantasy, Delia also recommended Robin Hobb’s Farseer Trilogy to, which I’m excited to try in 2016.

Be sure to pop over and check out Delia’s writing as well as her wonderful guest post series, I’m in such good company!

Thanks so much for inviting me, Delia! :)

Readalong: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, January 2016

girl with the dragon tattoo readalong

I’m so often wary of hyped books that it takes me ages to recover and give them a try. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy is complete, there’s even another book (not by Larsson obviously) and a good friend with impeccable taste urged me to read it. And so I got the book from the library, thinking I’m the last one to read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. But no, turns out lovely Deepika of Worn Corners hasn’t read it either. Which can only mean one thing: Readalong!

Here’s the schedule:

January 8th: Chapter 1 – 7
January 15th: Chapter 8 – 14
January 22nd: Chapter 15 – 22
January 31st: Chapter 23 – the end

We’ll be posting our thoughts weekly and do a wrap-up post at the end of January.

If you’re one of the last people left who haven’t read the book, if you’re in the mood for a reread or just want to have a good laugh at our reactions to plot twists etc, you’re welcome to join us!

#AMonthofFaves: This is How I Read

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December means it’s time for Tanya’s #AMonthofFaves over at Girlxoxo and this year the event is co-hosted by Estella’s Revenge and Traveling with T.

Today’s topic is all about how we read, what we do after we finish and how we choose our next book.

How do you read?

I love reading actual books, preferably paperbacks. Sadly, I have a small budget and a badly-stocked library, so that doesn’t usually work out, so now I read around half my books on the Kindle or on my tablet via Scribd. This year, I also started listening to audiobooks, they are wonderful for long journeys and before bedtime.

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How do you pick your next book?

That’s a tough one. I sort of have a tbr on Goodreads, where I always add titles I come across, and so I often browse my ‘to-read’ shelf. I also love looking through older posts from my favorite blogs for inspiration. Often there are a couple of can’t-wait-to-read books, so the choice is easy. And sometimes I’m just in a mood for something very specific and Book Riot often delivers on my strangest search terms!

What do you do after you’ve finished reading a book?

I usually go on Goodreads to mark the book finished (as I’m totally the person to read the book one month later wondering why it all sounds so familiar, if I don’t do this) and put down a rating. I do end up reviewing many books on my blogs, but it might take ages a while.

Sometimes, I immediately start the hunt for the next read or have one to read next. But often I have a book hangover and really don’t want to dive into another world just yet.

Where do you get your books from?

A lot of the physical books I read were gifts or I bought them with a voucher. I usually order them from the Book Depository or order them from a local store if they can get a copy. Every month I go to the library to return books and then just brose through the shelves, in the eternal hope I come across a new, interesting title. And these days, most of my books come from the Scribd online library or audible.

Now you know about me. How do you read? Let me know in the comments!

#AMonthofFaves: Books on My Winter Reading List

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December means it’s time for Tanya’s #AMonthofFaves over at Girlxoxo and this year the event is co-hosted by Estella’s Revenge and Traveling with T.

Today’s topic is our winter reading list, yay for more lists even if it’s doubtful I’ll follow any of them! I’ll be busy writing large chunks of my thesis this winter so let’s see what fun reading I can squeeze in. We’re having freaky mild temperatures over here, so who knows when winter will really start. But these are some of the books that I’ve been gazing at longingly and I would love to read in the next 3 months (all links to goodreads out of the goodness of my heart/ being way too lazy to do summaries myself):

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The Book of Phoenix (Who Fears Death 1) by Nnedi Okorafor. I’m sure you’ve noticed how hard I’ve fallen for Okorafor’s writing, so I will definitely be reading more of her works soon. And Nikki’s review of this one made me drool.

uglies

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. I’m the last one to this party, but I somehow got the impression this was teen melodrama without much point to it. I’ve heard many good things since, and found a copy at the library sale, yay!

three body problem

The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu. Awesome sci-fi from China, finally translated. I am intrigued.

sophia

Sophia by Anita Anand. One of the most interesting non-fiction titles I’ve come across recently. The Suffragette movie stirred up all kinds of controversy by pulling the usual no people of color were involved shit. What is new to me is the role of Princess Sophia from India, in exile in Britain she’s exotic guest at all the right parties, but then turns suffragette and calls for revolution.

shadowshaper

Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older. More urban fantasy, I know there’s a ton of it, but I feel there’s never enough quality lit. Caribbean mythology and party-crashing by zombies. Also, me trying more of this YA thing.

Print

Hair by Kurt Stenn, will be released in February. A history on the cultural role of hair, I can’t wait! *this is not sarcasm, obv.*

Ashala wolf

The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin Kwaymullina. Aboriginal post-apocalyptic lit, I’m in! Apparently, I am now also combining my new excursions into fantasy and YA by finding YA fantasy/sci-fi reads. Well done, me!

dirty river

Dirty River by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha. You may also know her awesome poetry. Queer women of color memoir for the win. Also, much queer anarchopunk love.

baru cormorant

The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson. More fantasy! Awesome fantasy about empire with a queer woman of color protagonist. Will even take on the rumored tragic romance for that.

dragon tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. Fine, I will give this a go and probably prove the hype right. On the upside, I waited so long, even my podunk library had acquired this one.

Now you know what I might be reading this winter. What about you? Let me know in the comments!