Month: August 2015

August update & September TBR

Well, as promised, I have definitely been having a harder time writing anything for the blog in the last two weeks. I did finish reading A Spool of Blue Thread this past weekend, and I also began and finished Amy Poehler’s Yes Please. I’m going to review the first one, but I don’t know how I feel about reviewing a memoir-non-fictiony kind of book. TBD.

So in August I did pretty well, considering I stopped reading for pleasure almost entirely for the last two weeks of the month. I read 14 books, and 7 of them were on my original TBR. I spent some time this month reading A Little Life, but I had to give up on it. Reading books like that (e.g. 800 pages) is not practical when I just don’t have as much time to read. It seemed good though? Anyway, I feel like I should just give up on TBRs, because obviously I am far too impulsive to decide weeks ahead of time what I’m going to read.

But, on the other hand, I like being organized and making lists of things. So here it is, my much more realistic TBR for September:

  1. Nimona – Noelle Stevenson
  2. The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer – Sydney Padua
  3. Early One Morning – Virginia Baily
  4. The Beach Hut – Cassandra Parkin
  5. Lila – Marilynne Robinson

I think I can handle this. Two of them are graphic novels, which have recently become more interesting because A) I am more pressed for time, and B) I like to look at them. Real deep stuff.

I also keep buying books like it’s going out of style, or like I can keep up my summer rate of one book every couple of days. Which I can’t, and is totally insane.

On another note, I’ll soon be writing a post about grad school and how it’s really fucking hard and I love what I do and I am loving the class I teach and I’m fairly convinced that I have the best group of students I possibly could have gotten, but it’s still really freaking hard. I ran into a friend of mine in the hallway outside our office and she told me about having to drop a class and she started crying and it’s the second week of the semester. We are both the kind of people who say yes to everything, and in a place where opportunity abounds, that can lead to disaster of the psychological and time-management variety.

To any readers in higher education or in classes in general, how do you manage to find time to read for pleasure? Or do you read for pleasure at all?

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When you know too much about your favorite authors

Sometimes, with books and with music, when I know anything about the creator it can really screw up my appreciation of their work. I know that technically this shouldn’t happen; people are free to be egotistical or fascists or whatever it is that they are. Just because they make something for public consumption doesn’t mean that they must live up to my or anyone else’s high moral standards. It’s just pretty difficult to separate an artist from their work, and I can’t help that learning something unpleasant about someone makes me appreciate their work less.

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How semesters effectively put my life on hold

So today marks the beginning of the year at my university. I’m sure this is nothing new to others who study/work in higher education, but it can be a real time sucker.

Usually at the beginning of the week I have the whole week’s worth of posts written and scheduled, but this past week I haven’t read a single book. My total for August is still pretty good (somewhere around 13 books) but I have definitely been impeded, shall we say, since I had to start preparing for this semester in earnest.

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Uprooted – Naomi Novik

Published: May 19th, 2015
Format: Library/Hardcover
Genre: Fantasy

A quick summary: in a valley surrounded by the Wood, every ten years a wizard called the Dragon choses one girl to take from her family. When she returns ten years later she is refined, learned, and he has given her a small fortune, but no one wants to marry the girls that the Dragon takes, and they no longer feel like they belong in the valley. The year that the Dragon will come chose a girl is approaching, and everyone knows that he will take Kasia because of her beauty and bravery. In fact, since birth her mother has been preparing her to be chosen. However, he ends up choosing her plainer friend Agnieszka. The whole book is told from Agnieszka’s perspective, and though the process of choosing a girl is mysterious to the people in the valley, once Agnieszka gets to his home it becomes apparent that the Dragon takes girls who have the gift, and he trains them to become witches. (I swear I’m not spoiling anything – you learn all of this information by page 25 of 438.)

Uprooted

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On reading multiple books at once

At the beginning of this summer I had two books on my “currently reading” list on Goodreads that I wasn’t actually reading. One I had begun a year before, and the other a couple of months before. It was driving me crazy, and this is merely one reason why I don’t like the idea of reading more than one book at a time.

First thing, reading more than one book at a time is damn near impossible. If you pick up a book and read a few chapters and then don’t come back to it for a month, can you really say you will be able to get everything out of it? I have trouble remembering all of the characters of a book that it takes me two days to read, so… This is especially a problem with books that have more than 5-ish main characters.

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Burn Girl – Mandy Mikulencak

Publication date: September 1, 2015
Format/source: eARC
Genre: Contemporary YA

Burn Girl is the story of a 16-year-old girl in Colorado who has lived a really rough life and had to grow up way too fast. At one point in the book I wondered if it should even be YA, but there were definitely familiar elements of the genre, and in the end Arlie was still a child.

Burn Girl

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