October in Books

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

October was a great reading month for me, I managed 10 books (counting 5 Lumberjanes issues as one book). Mostly this success is due to the readathon, my first one and which was a lot of fun.  Sadly, with the end of October also comes the end of two reading events: Diversiverse and R.I.P. X.

For Diversiverse, I read Attica Locke’s The Cutting Season and Also by Mail by Olumide Popoola. But I read more works by authors of color: The Good House by Tananarive Due, Binti by Nnedi Okorafor, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. Of course I won’t stop reading non-white authors now that the event is over and luckily there are tons of amazing recommendations to be found in the #Diversiverse tab on Aarti’s blog, take a look at this wonderful growing archive!

For me the creepy reading season basically goes till February, so I’m sad that R.I.P. X is over already. But I’ll continue with the suspenseful, eerie, creepy and terrifying…mwuahaha 😀 My creepy R.I.P. X reads in October were The Cutting Season (overlap with Diversiverse) and The Good House by Tananarive Due, and also the first Zombillenium comic. And I guess my Halloween reads The Walls Around Us and Halloween Party count as well. I’m only sad I didn’t manage to write up all the reviews, but hopefully that’ll get done in the next few weeks.

Looking at my list of books read, I just cannot pick a favorite. I enjoyed them all, and loved quite a lot of them. I knew I would love The Cutting Season and Also by Mail, but Aristotle and Dante really surprised me. Turns out I can do YA romance after all when it’s amazingly written LGBTIQ+ of color and about friendship. I also fell hard for Lumberjanes.

I don’t really have grand reading plans for November. I’m still pacing myself with The Fifth Season, which I fell for at the dedication page already. And then my birthday is on Sunday, so maybe there’ll be some new books for me to enjoy 🙂

Hope everyone had a great October! Any reading plans for November?

September in Books and a Peek at October

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

September was a good reading month for me, as it’s been ages since I managed 6 books in one month. September also marks the start of the R.I.P. X challenge and I completely immersed myself in creepy fall reads. I hope to manage separate reviews for most of them, so this’ll be just a quick overview. I read Lockhart’s hyped work before signing up for the challenge and can recommend it as a YA mystery-ish quick read.

During my last migraine, once the absolute worst was over and before I even managed to face the house outside my bed in sunglasses, I tried listening to The Body in the Library, an old comfort read, on audible. Earplugs were out, but the narrator was great and the story a very familiar one and so it was nice to drift in and out of the migraine haze with a cozy crime. I haven’t really given the newer tv adaptations of the Marple books a go, but I think they’ll be great fall tv (even without a fireplace). If you’ve watched them, let me know how you liked them! What with my goal to read more YA literature and fantasy, I chose Cinder and Rosemary and Rue for the R.I.P. challenge and enjoyed them both quite a lot. I’ll post a review of Cinder sometime this week, and I’ve already put both series on my tbr.

September was also the month I discovered e-book flats and I managed to finish two books on Scribd: The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls and NOS4A2. The first was a children’s book I think, but it was creepy as hell along the lines of Coraline, so I maybe kid’s are much tougher than I am. But it was a great read and I’ll definitely try more of Legrand’s works. NOS4A2 was even creepier and at times a tough read, but it was a quick read despite the 450 something pages and had a great main character.

Now in October, I’ll be continuing with my R.I.P. list and this month I’m also taking part in Aarti’s Diversiverse challenge. The challenge is a simple but important one: Read and review and book written by a person of color during October 4th and 17th. I already have the new Jemisin book The Fifth Season and Due’s The Good House on my R.I.P. list, so if I’m short of time, I might combine both challenges. But I’ve been thinking of what would make my reading more diverse and also be more connected to my own context and place and so I thought I’d read a book by a German woman of color:

Popoola-Also-by-mail_rbg_web

Also by Mail is a comedy-drama by London-based Nigerian-German author, speaker and performer Olumide Popoola. It’s about two Nigerian-German siblings traveling to Nigeria to bury their dead father, fitting in with their Nigerian family and their grief and loss as well as being racialized in Germany. I chose this work for how it resonates with me and also because it’s available in English.

This month I will also be continuing my Scribd trial and I have so many books on my wish list, I think I will continue the e-book flat. At the top of my list is The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley, I’m about 200 pages in and love it so far. This is what I want from fantasy and speculative fiction more generally, complex ‘other’ worlds to explore matters of multiple genders, colonialism and genocide and trump the horn for social justice matters.

That’s it from me, how was your September? And what’s on the tbr for October?

April in Books

It’s been a while since my last Month in Books post, either I wasn’t blogging or I had hardly read anything but articles. April is the first month in a long time that I’ve managed to reach my old monthly minimum of four books and this post is kind of a digital fistpump. Also, wordpress has since added a gallery so yay!

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It’s also been roughly a month since my first real attempt at listening to audiobooks, as mentioned before, my new commute sees me taking the motion sickness inducing bus and audiobooks have been a real highlight. Despite the noise from traffic and the bus drivers singing along to the radio, I was able to follow the story and it actually helped distract me from awful stop-and-go traffic and nausea. Though I did miss my stop once, caught up in all the excitement of Veronica Mars taking on Neptune once more.

So two of my books in April were audiobooks, Before I go to Sleep by S. J. Watson and A Thousand-Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham. Before I go to Sleep is another suspenseful thriller and the narrator worked well for me. I’m sure you’ve all read the book or watched the movie already, but I was a bit distrustful of the hype. It’s been enjoyable enough for a thriller, but don’t expect exciting things on the character development front.

A Thousand-Dollar Tan Line, though strangely enough not written in the first person, gets extra points for being read by Kristen Bell. I think choosing this as an audiobook was the best decision, it was like listening to the show and Bell is amazing at doing all the other characters’ voices. The mystery is great, too, so it should work for those who are not fans of the show (why not???) and it’s set in good old seedy Neptune.

My two literary fiction reads were amazing as well, I’ve blogged about them here Life After Life and here Ink. I’m so glad I discovered Sabrina Vourvoulias, hopefully she’ll write more novels.

 

Hope you all had a great April! What books did you read?

September in Books

I feel ancient saying this, but why does time have to fly!? I can’t believe it’s October already! This means it’s the last semester ever for me and between freaking out over writing my thesis and looming unemployment we’ll see where that will leave my fun reading.

Here’s what I read in September:

Frenchman’s Creek (Daphne DuMaurier), for Jo’s readalong. My third book by DuMaurier and I’m already looking forward to reading My Cousin Rachel.

Ten Little Herrings (L. C. Tyler) is a super fun cosy crime and an homage and parody of classic mysteries. Hope I’ll manage a quick post about it this week.

I read Strangers (Taichi Yamada) for Bellezza’s Japanese lit challenge which was wonderfully eerie and makes me want to try so much more Japanese literature.

The Case of the Man Who Died Laughing (Tarquin Hall) is the second Vish Puri book, the Indian Poirot. I had as much fun with it as with the first instalment, maybe a bit more as it was more lighthearted. I hope there’ll be more of Vish Puri’s investigations.

Little Hands Clapping (Dan Rhodes) was weird and wonderful, though I do think that most books advertised as strange are much more conventional than they may at first appear.

I still have a pile of books on my nightstand, from my last LL, so that and uni will keep me busy this month. I’m also reading the truly wonderful Sita’s Ramayana, a gift from my amazing friend Vishy.

What is everyone planning on reading this month?

August in Books

Considering my current uni workload and a reading slump I’m surprised I managed to read six books in August. It’s not a huge number of course, but I’m quite happy with it and most of those books were pretty great reads.

The News Where You Are by Catherine O’Flynn is her second novel and one I enjoyed immensely. Her first, What Was Lost, will remain my favorite though.

The Agency: A Spy in the House by Y. S. Lee was sadly not what I expected, but I think that’s all my fault and I know a lot of people enjoyed this one.

DreadfulWater Shows Up was a great read and I did not regret taking a break from British cosy crime. Hope there’ll be a book 2 soon!

Rack, Ruin and Murder is of course a British cosy, I’m still trying to figure out how much the cover art of these books influences me 😀 This one is the second book in her new Campbell and Carter series and I like it much more than the Mitchell and Markby books.

The Strange Case of the Composer and his Judge I wrote about here. And then when the reading slump hit and I was feeling meh about every book, Wodehouse to the rescue. Something Fresh or Something New is the first in the Blandings Castle series and I can tell the Threepwoods and I are going to be great friends.

Hope everyone had a great August, any plans for September? I know I will be reading (or am currently reading) Frenchman’s Creek for Jo’s readalong.

June in Books

How is it July already? I somehow managed to read 9 books in June, though I hardly read anything in the last week. There’s a ton to do what with semester break looming and finding new roommates and I couldn’t seem to settle down enough to focus on one book. Does that happen to any of you, too? It makes me feel guilty for looting so many books that I won’t get to read soon and keeping others from reading them.

Here’s what I read in June:

The Case of the Missing Servant: Vish Puri 1(Tarquin Hall)

Rattling the Bones (Ann Granger)

Borges and the Eternal Orangutans (Luis Fernando Verissimo)

When Will There Be Good News? (Kate Atkinson)

The Red House Mystery (A.A. Milne)

The 13th Element: The Sordid Tale of Murder, Fire and Phosphorus (John Emsley)

Daddy-Long-Legs (Jean Webster)

A Prayer for the Dying (Stewart O’Nan) – reread

Dead Clever (Scarlett Thomas)

There’s the usual large chunk of mysteries, be it cosy, serious or postmodern, an apocalyptic read to shake off the lingering coziness, an epistolary novel and my sudden craving for a book on a chemical element (and for some reason I turned to phosphorus). Only three of them have I posted about as of yet, but my review about The 13th Element should be up soon. And don’t worry, the book is neither dry and boring nor as melodramatic as the title makes it out to be!

I’m trying not to make any plans, I hardly ever stick with them, but I want to try to read another myth book, Baba Yaga Laid an Egg is at the top of the list.

What has everyone else been reading and what are your plans for July?

May in Books

I read the following books in May:

Ann Veronica (H.G. Wells)

Alton Locke (Charles Kingsley)

Hallucinating Foucault (Patricia Duncker)

Gigi (Colette)

American Psycho (Bret Easton Ellis)

Palestine (Joe Sacco)

The Penelopiad (Margaret Atwood)

Seven books means it was a good reading month for me and I’m happy with the variety of the books I read.

Ann Veronica was an interesting example of Wells’ other works, I had only been familiar with his science fiction books before. But in Singled Out, Nicholson refers to Ann Veronica and luckily my library had a copy.

Alton Locke is another industrial novel which I read for uni. It is very interesting to see how the middle class viewed the political situation but often unsatisfactory resolved in the novel, or not resolved at all.

I chose Hallucinating Foucault because I really enjoyed another of Duncker’s works, Miss Webster and Chérif, before. And I was not disappointed, if you enjoy dark and twisty novels with an academic touch, try this one. Though these books always make me want to start smoking and dress all in black 😀 No worries, I settled for coffee and chocolate instead!

I have a collection of three of Colette’s works on my shelves, but I decided to savour it and read her famous Gigi. It’s fantastic and perhaps now I could try watching the film. I didn’t want to spoil my reading experience by watching it before, you never know they decide to make out of a book.

I also reread American Psycho and I have to say there is something to be said for rereads. I hardly remembered anything of the book, it’s been a couple of years, I only knew that I had liked it despite the gross parts. This time around I had a great time and laughed a lot, which I hope doesn’t mean I’ve grown psychopathic tendencies! Though I can’t recommend reading it on the commute; a woman sitting next to me read with me over my shoulder and since I had just gotten to the psycho slaughter porn, this made me feel more than a little self-conscious! Note-to-self: Remember to choose your commute reads more carefully!

Then I read my first comics journalism book, Joe Sacco’s Palestine, and as if the library felt that I should continue with Sacco’s oeuvre, they acquired two other books by him, in English. I knew there was a reason I liked that library.

And finally, I actually managed to read a book for my own challenge, The Penelopiad. Only took me 5 months, so embarrassing!

Hope everyone read some great books, anything I need to know about?

March in Books

Better late than never, here’s my wrap-up for march. I read six books, which is not a lot but it’s not a bad number for me, considering I spent most of my time behind the laptop writing a paper. Here’s the list:

The Ladies’ Paradise (Emile Zola)

The Way Things Are (E. M. Delafield)

Travels with my Aunt (Graham Greene)

Cathedrals of Consumption (Jaumain, Serge and Geoffrey Crossick, eds.)

The Odd Women (George Gissing)

The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher (Kate Summerscale)

 

Cathedrals of Consumption is a non-fiction work I used for my paper, if you’re at all interested in the department store phenomenon of the 19th century give this one a try. Not only is it a fascinating subject (I could start gushing now, but I’ll save that for my review of Zola’s The Ladies’ Paradise), but this collection gives a great overview of the department store in Europe and also situates it in context by including an article about the retail development from the 18th century and an outlook on the concept of the mall of the 20th century.

The Way Things Are was certainly an interesting insight into the life of a housewife during the late 20s. I know there’s tongue-in-cheek humour, but really, I couldn’t appreciate this much as I was too depressed by Laura’s life. Travels with my Aunt was pretty great, though I kept re-checking the author’s name as it made such a change from Greene’s other works! And I did manage to read through The Odd Women which really wasn’t long at all despite the size of my edition, and I now feel like I have to read everything else by Gissing! (I can hear my tbr list groaning, poor thing)

And finally a typical read for me, The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher. And yes, I loved it! Apart from being an amazing mystery, Summerscale also made it a fascinating account of the dramatic changes that took place during the 19th century, from the industrial revolution to the establishing of a detective department.

What did you read in March? Anything that really needs to go on my tbr?

February in Books

I’m pretty happy with my reading in February, eleven books is a lot for me. Here’s the complete list:

The Blindfold (Siri Hustvedt)

Embroideries (Marjan Satrapi)

The Winter Garden Mystery (Carola Dunn)

Howl’s Moving Castle (Diana Wynne Jones)

High Wages (Dorothy Whipple)

The Manual of Detection (Jedediah Berry)

Aya (Marguerite Abouet & Clément Oubrerie)

When Ladies Go A-Thieving: Middle-Class Shoplifters in the Victorian Department Store (Elaine S. Abelson)

A Rare Interest in Corpses (Ann Granger)

Crime, Gender and Consumer Culture in Nineteenth- Century England (Tammy C. Whitlock)

Bury Her Deep (Catriona McPherson)

 

I’m also glad about the variety of these books. I read two comics, Embroideries and Aya, which I both enjoyed a lot. I’m actually proud of myself for finally reading comics without feeling like a fish out of water.

Then I read two non-fiction, academic works (for my paper mostly): When Ladies Go A-Thieving and Crime, Gender and Consumer Culture. Both were fantastic, and between them I have most of the shoplifting going-ons during the 19th century in the USA and England covered. I suppose I’m moving from fictional crime to its social history 😀

Doesn’t mean I neglected mysteries though, I read the first Lizzie Martin mystery, A Rare Interest in Corpses, which is also set in Victorian England (my mother didn’t quite believe the research argument here) and then the third Dandy Gilver book, Bury Her Deep, and started another series with Dunn’s Daisy Dalrymple, though The Winter Garden Mystery is not the first installment.

The Manual of Detection is also something of a mystery, very post-postmodern, and though the ending could’ve been better, I loved most of it. The Blindfold is really the only book I didn’t like too much, perhaps Hustvedt’s later works are better, but the summary of this one was more exciting than the actual story. Though if you’re a fan of Auster’s writing, you might love it.

My favorite of the month is Howl’s Moving Castle, how great is that book and why did I only recently find out this book existed? And I finally got my hands on a Whipple novel, High Wages was fantastic, and I even found out more about retail and consumption. Luckily, my expectations were completely met and all the hype is deserved.

This month I hope to put a dent into my LL pile, and finally write-up some reviews.

 

What was your reading month like? And what are your plans for March?

January in Books

I read eight books in January, not a bad start into the new year. What I apparently suck at is writing up reviews! Here’s the complete list:

Singled Out (Virginia Nicholson)

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (Jonathan Safran Foer) -reread

Les Aventures Extraordinares d’Adèle Blanc-Sec: Momies en Folie (Jaques Tardi)

Ripley’s Game (Patricia Highsmith)

Skulduggery Pleasant (Derek Landy)

One Good Turn (Kate Atkinson)

The Magic Toyshop (Angela Carter)

Saturday (Ian McEwan)

 

I think the comic thing might actually stick, I’m getting better at reading them and that makes me enjoy them more of course. Have I told you all how fantastic Tardi’s Adèle comics are? If you enjoy adventure stories, don’t have a problem with mummies and dinosaurs returning to life, want a witty and kick-ass heroine and Paris pre-WI, then please try them!

I’ve also been considering reading more (or, let’s face it, any) YA fiction, and decided to try the first Skulduggery Pleasant book. I thought a sarcastic skeleton would fit my sense of humor very well, and I did enjoy Skulduggery and Stephanie’s banter.The story was fun and moved quickly and I think I’ll read the rest of the series as well. But why does fantasy (it is fantasy, right?) nearly always have some kind of epic war looming? Please recommend some YA books to me where that is not the case (and which also skip the swoony love story plot).

Then I also read one non-fiction, Singled Out, which was great and made me want to read up on all the novels about spinsters. I basically added the bibliography to my tbr list. Of course I didn’t neglect my crime reading, One Good Turn is the second Brodie book and as good (or perhaps even better) that Case Histories. Also, it’s subtitled A Jolly Murder Mystery, how great is that? Atkinson’s observations of people and their interactions is just so caustic, but apt. Then I really had to read Highsmith’s Ripley’s Game for uni, and Ripley is really one of the greatest anti-heroes around. I’ll definitely read the other Ripley books. It was also weird to read about the mafia hanging out in my city! 😀

January also meant Virago Reading Week which was really great though I couldn’t keep up with everyone’s posts and mostly lurked. But it did introduce me to Angela Carter, who might just become one of my favorite writers! I’m still lugging Mad, Bad and Sad (a 500 page hardback, that already killed one bag) around with me and yes, it’s a must-read!

Saturday and Extremely Loud were both for uni. I’ve suffered through Extremely Loud twice now, both times assigned reading, if you can believe it; one more time and I’m going to scream. But Saturday was good, so now I’ve read three McEwan books and loved one, enjoyed one, and the other exasperated me. Either McEwan’s versatile writer or I’m just weird.

 

What was your reading month like? Doing good on your resolutions?