Inferno: New Tales of Terror by Ellen Datlow ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2
The Other People by C.J. Tudor ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2
From the Ashes by Jesse Thistle ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
We Have Always Been Here by Samra Habib ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Radicalized by Cory Doctorow ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club by Megan Gail Coles ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Raven Boys by Maggie Steivwater ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2
The Fated Sky by Mary Robinette Kowal ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Men Explain Things to Me by Revecca Solnit ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2
Home by Nnedi Okorafor ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen MAria Machado ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2
The Glass Universe by Dava Sobel ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I Crawl Through it by A.S. King ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2
Female Husbands by Jen Manion ⭐️⭐️ (DNF at 46%)
This wasn’t a bad month. The ratings aren’t bad, but that makes me wonder if I’ve been too generous with my ratings. The lowest rating was 2 star, but that was a DNF. The next lowest was six 3.5 star books. Then I had eight 4 star books. That leaves two 4.5 star books and four 5 star books. That means ~6 exceptional books. All in all though the month still feels mediocre, so I might need to stop with the 3.5 star books. I’ve been using my rating scale, and most of these ratings are pretty fixed, meaning, slight changes in one area don’t usually change the rating. I still prefer that approach.
Welcome to Nightvale by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor
Carter & Lovecraft by Jonathan L. Howard
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman
My Real Children by Jo Walton
Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King
The Conquest of Happiness by Bertrand Russell
Provided by NetGalley and/or publisher for a fair and honest review.
I fell behind and didn’t read all the review books I was given last month, so I need to read those first thing this month. I will say, eight days into the month, I have had a very slow start. That said, I am aiming for smaller TBRs. My goal is 15 books a month, then if I have time I will fit in others. I am planning a few readathons where I want to read other books. Although, I will reassess my progress when they arrive. If you are wondering which readathons I will be doing it is Dewy’s 24 hour readathon and the intermediate reading rush. Next Month, I may be even more conservative and go with 10 books for my TBR then leave a big gap for other readathons or booktube ideas.
The Battle Cry of Freedom by James M. McPherson ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2
Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (Blackathon Cont. Challenge) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (Reread) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2
Beloved by Toni Morrison (Blackathon Scifi Challenge) ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2
Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Not That Bad edited by Roxane Gay ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor Lavalle ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones (Blackathon Cont. Challenge) ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2
Heavy by Kiese Laymon (Blackathon Cont. Challenge) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2
Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor (Blackathon Scifi Challenge) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (Blackathon Scifi Challenge) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Lagurdia by Nnedi Okorafor (Blackathon Scifi Challenge) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Singin’ and Swingin’ and Gettin’ Merry Like Christmas by Maya Angelou ⭐️⭐️⭐️
March by John Lewis et al. ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2
The Color Purple by Alice Walker ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2
Let’s Play White by Chesya Burke ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2
This was a great month, I enjoyed all the books I read with a few that were a little disappointing. However, there was a large fraction of 4-5 star books which prove it was an objectively good month of quality reading. If you look back on my February TBR post, you’ll see another ~5 books or so that I wanted to read, and it is disappointing that I wasn’t able to read all of them. Moving forward, I am going to try and take it a bit easier on my plans because I don’t like stressing about the books I want to read. This is meant to be fun.
Still: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Motherhood by Emma Hansen*
Female Husbands by Jen Manion
Conjure Women by Afia Atakora
The Other People by C.J. Tudor
The Fated Sky by Mary Robinette Kowal
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Her Bodies and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor
I Crawl Through It by A.S. King
Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire
The Glass Universe by Dava Sobel
Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman
Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit
Inferno by Ellen Datlow (Backlist readathon)
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (Backlist readathon)
Wenjack by Joseph Boyden (Backlist readathon)
Provided by NetGalley and publisher for a fair and honest review.
*Provided directly by publisher,
This month, I have several e-arcs that I want to tackle before they are published. I’m also doing a reading challenge of 5 more books (to be released), but I still made this list with the intent of being more conservative. The total number of books I’m aiming to read are ~20 books, but many of them are very short. After this month, I am going to try very hard to read even less. I want to feel a bit less pressure to read so I can spend more time writing my blog posts and doing YouTube videos. I have fallen behind on my blog.
Provided by NetGalley and publisher for a fair and honest review.
This was a great month, but I was worried. I started off slow while I traveled. Then I got the flu for a week. January AYearAthon really saved me (getting me back in the pattern of reading). I think I had a pretty good spread of books. If you saw my 2020 ongoing post, you’ll know I am trying a new rating scheme, and I think it is helping me rate books more concisely. I really like thinking about each piece of it as I think about the score it deserves. Now, I did DNF two books this month, Underland and The God of Small things. I am still counting them because I was over 70% through them; it was enough. This is another sign of a good start to the year because I can really struggle to DNF a book I am not enjoying or getting into. On top of that, I hit 500 likes on my blog, so exciting! I also started Josh’s Bookish Voyage, my new Booktube channel. I talk all about that in my 2020 reading log as well.
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (Blackathon Cont. Challenge)
Beloved by Toni Morrison (Blackathon Scifi Challenge)
Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
Not that Bad edited by Roxane Gay
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
Joplin’s Ghost by Tananarive Due
Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor Lavalle
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones (Blackathon Cont. Challenge)
Heavy by Kiese Laymon (Blackathon Cont. Challenge)
Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor (Blackathon Scifi Challenge)
Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (Blackathon Scifi Challenge)
Lagurdia by Nnedi Okorafor (Blackathon Scifi Challenge)
Singin’ and Swingin’ and Gettin’ Merry Like Christmas by Maya Angelou
March by John Lewis et al.
Harriet Tubman: The Life and the Life Stories by Jean Humez
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
You can hear all my thoughts in my video above, but these are the books I am reading this month. I didn’t mention The Color Purple in the video because I ordered it and forgot to mention it. I have made a very ambitious goal this month, especially since it is a short month. Of course, it is Black History Month. I talk all about that in my video and how I am participating in #Blackathon2020. Check out the link to learn more. In doing that, there are some challenges I will be completing. I am identifying as team science fiction; I’ve marked the books I am reading for that in red above. However, I am reading enough books to satisfy some of the contemporary team (Cont.) which I’ve marked in blue. I will be one short sadly.
I’m aiming for 3 audiobooks a week which I think is my normal speed. On top of that, I will be completing the Blackathon book-tag and Instagram challenge where I am going to plug seven books. I’ve decided to treat that like a week long “readathon” where I will try to read these all over the course of one week. I will be doing it the week before the actual Instagram challenge due to personal things.
That comes out to 9 audiobooks (3 weeks) plus 7 for the “Readathon” week. That comes to 16 audiobooks (the exact number of audiobooks I have above). My physical reading assumes I can finish each book with reading on the bus plus a bit of personal time. If I don’t complete a book, that is really where it is most likely to happen. However, I only have two real books with two comics to enjoy. If you want to hear more about my thoughts for each book, check out my YouTube video above!
Provided by NetGalley and publisher for a fair and honest review.
This month has been busy as hell. I’ve heard people talk about the holidays being a rough time to read, and it really is. I got must of the books I was planning to read. The books I struggled with were mostly during the readathon which was just bad timing. It was my first readathon not finishing everything on my TBR. I finished Before the Coffee Gets Cold after it ended, but I DNFed Watership Down. That was not out of dislike; I was short on time and it wasn’t working. I want to return to it after some time has passed.
I still struggled after the readathon. Traveling makes it harder to read due to time and routine. Reading is very much about the pattern I’ve taught myself, and it is harder to stick to that when I am doing things so sporadically.
Nevertheless, I completed 19 books, and one short story. That isn’t as much as November, but it is still a great amount! This month I learned about NetGalley, and I’ve got 6 or so books lined up that I need to read. I don’t include those here because I am more casual with my ebook/physical reading than my audiobook TBR. I think it will help me read more because I have the NetGalley Deadlines to work with. It is also getting me to explore new releases so I have a better idea of what is coming out. In doing so, I get to start trying books entirely on promotion without the bias of external review. Comments on books aren’t bad, but I like the idea of trying a few without too much info. Ideally, this will also set me up to win e-ARCs for bigger books that I have heard of.
A lot of people give stats at the end of each month. I haven’t done that this year, but I will be doing an end of year stats post. Then moving forward, I intend to provide monthly stats as well.
Underland: A Deep Time Journey by Robert Macfarlane
The Power by Naomi Alderman
It’s a new month, a new year, and a new decade! I don’t know if my new found reading habit will last the entire decade, but I am going to continue until I can’t. I am in grad school. Sometimes will be busier than others; the most important thing for me, is that I don’t let that stop me from reading when I can. However, I think this is like riding a bike. I may stop for a while, but I figured out how to do an ambitious reading routine before. I can do it again!
This year, I have a goal of 100 books on Goodreads. If I keep up my pattern of 15-20 books a month, then I should be able to do that easily, even if I have slow months where I am busy. This month, I had my wonderful partner help me select (~half) my TBR for the month. She choose the right 5 books off my TBR shelf. Then I choose another 5 or so I wanted to read too. I just thought it would be really fun! Of course, this idea comes from the delightful Books and Lala.
I decided to make it only 5 books because there are still a lot of books I really really want to read. This is just to help me get to books I am only moderately excited for (but still excited!). I decided my TBR in mid December before I left my home to visit family for the holidays. I’ve gotten a lot of new books. Some of them I just can’t wait for! So, I’ve adjusted the TBR slightly from I posted on Instagram. I hopefully will be able to read all these, but I moved The Power down the list because it is a book I am okay postponing in place of my new ones.
I am very particular with what I want to read because I am planning long term. I intend to devote my reading in black history month to black history. That will be primarily black writers (with one exception). So that leaves anything I don’t read this month to March, and that may be a month of only women since it is international women’s month (I haven’t decided if I will make a month long thing).
I may or may not read Underland. I really want to read it, and if I don’t do it this month it may be April before I can read it. I will still aim to read the Power, but it would also fit in Women’s month. One thing is for sure, I will be dropping one of those last three.
Look for my end of year update and stats! Also keep an eye out for my January Readathon.
This is by far the most I’ve ever read in a month, at least by book count. I somehow managed to meet my goals. I can easily listen to 2 books a week, so I push for three. 3 x 3 = 9 plus 5 – 7 in a readathon the 4th week. Where then does the rest come into play? I pushed extra hard for the two books on time which were not planned. This was Time Reborn and From Eternity to Here. I found myself a momentary peak of interest with time, so I couldn’t help myself from reading it. It wasn’t planned, but luckily I managed to make it work.
Then I finally finished Maya Angelou’s second autobiography. In fact, I even fit in one more book I didn’t even intend, Kindred the Graphic Novel. The Buzzwordathon taught me how great reading on the bus is, and now I want one for the bus all the time. Then, bus reading tends to lead to more reading outside the bus. Hence my finishing Kindred; I got over half way then finished it on the weekend. All of the books I am listing below are planned for audio, so I still have to decide what book (or books, but likely just one) I will read physically. I leave on the 19th, and I don’t want to bring a book. That means I want something I can finish in three weeks. At the same time, I don’t want another graphic novel right after the last. I guess we will all have to wait and see what I pick in the moment!
In any case, this has been a great month for reading. It is as if, the more I read, the more excited I become for other books because my plans become more ambitious. Then its less my love for any one book that keeps me going. Its more the desire to read all these other books I now have waiting on my list! I want to read them all now, but I can’t. That means I work harder to work my way toward them. This way, I am constantly motivated to keep going!
Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King
Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
The Farthest Shore by Ursula K. Le Guin
The Goldfinch by Donna Tarrt
Gone Girl by Gillian Finn
Queenie by Candice Candy-Williams
Arguable Essays by Christopher Hitchens
I’ll be honest. I don’t know if I can do this. Comps is approaching, and my evenings are becoming more monopolized by work. Worst case, I see myself listening to 2 books a week. I am planning to participate in a very merry readathon, but that will include another set of books (also impossibly long). I’ve moved a few stories I had planned on reading this month anyway to that TBR list to make room for more here. Whether I finish is TBD. Right now, there a few books that I consider hopefuls but am okay dropping if I have to.
The first is Queenie. I only just bought this, so I am okay with it sitting on my shelf a bit longer. However, I can see it never being read if I wait too long and lose the initial interest I had (its an eye popping cover, I don’t know much about it). The other is Arguable Essays because I want to finish it after I started it earlier in the year. That may not happen, but I will try. I had been responding to each easy. For the sake of time, I may leave the rest (less interesting topics) for a more general discussion for the sake of time. I plan to listen to individual stories, spread out between books. Hopefully, that will help me get through it.
Other than that, these are books that have caught my eye (An Ocean of Minutes and Never Let me Go). Then there are series I want to continue (The Farthest Shore and Beneath the Sugar Sky). I’m on the third book in the Earthsea Cycle, and I really want to get through all six ASAP because I bought the entire illustrated series, so I want to put it on my bookshelf even if it isn’t my favorite. Don’t judge me! I also want to read more Atwood even though her books don’t stand out so far as premise, so I decided to choose one and hope I enjoy it. Then the rest are books I’ve been meaning to read. I bought the Poppy Wars a year ago, and I am finally getting around to reading it. Then the Goldfinch and Gone Girl are both very popular books I’ve never gotten around to reading, nor have I seen the film adaptions.
Buzzwordathon is a series of readathons that chooses common buzzwords used in book titles. Then readers choose books with that buzzword and tries to read as many as possible. The goal of this readathon is to read books you have been putting off, but most of my choices are new books I’ve wanted to read. It’s happening November 18-24.
The only books here that I have owned for a while is the Thirteenth Tale. I have been pushing it off because I am not a fan of Victorian settings, but I love the concept of the book. The others are books I’ve heard great things about on Booktube. A Thousand Ships is the only book I will be physically reading. It is decidedly longer than White is for Witching which I read last month for Spookathon. I am eager to read it, and this is the perfect excuse!
I am a little worried about the size of the list. This is about 300 more pages than I read for spookathon, but my estimate is it will only take ~6 more hours of my time. It is okay if I don’t get to the last book or if I have to finish it after the readathon ends. I feel confident in my ability to read the first 6. Last time I estimated my listening and reading was ~49 hours. With my physical read being a bit longer, I estimate this to take ~52 hours. It’s more but still manageable. I also read two 500+ page books for Spookathon.
Honestly, it was really hard to pick books for this. It isn’t a buzzword for no reason. I wanted to read Slaughterhouse Five because that is a classic I’ve been putting off merely due its revolving around war which I am not a big fan of. I also considered both The Fifth Season (a reread) and The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms because I’ve been wanting to try give N. K. Jemisin another try after not really loving The Fifth Season.
Then there’s The People’s Future: 15 stories about the future of the United states which features a lot of diverse authors I’ve been wanting to give a try, but I ended up dropping that for the same reason as The Three Body Problem. I think I will enjoy those more if I give them more time. I think I am more likely to get through more reading if I limit myself to a majority of fun quick reads that don’t too much thinking. Not that I don’t want that, but there is a balance!
End of Readathon Commentary
This was a fairly enjoyable readathon. It got me to try a few books I didn’t feel all that excited for. I still feel iffy about Taylor Jenkins Reid, but I really enjoyed Evelyn Hugo. I didn’t think I’d love Evelyn Hardcastle, but that was massive fail. I really disliked it. The others were good, but most none of them became all time favorites. That’s excluding Dear Ijeawele which was great, but in a different way.
My stats come in at a total of 2335 pages of reading. 1983 pages of that was on audio, and 352 pages was read via my hardback copy. I’m a PhD student, so my time is limited. That means most of my reading has been done via multitasking (travel, chores, tedious tasks). One day, maybe I’ll try a readathon without a single audiobook.
I may not be so aggressive on my next readathon because I did struggle in the end. Although, I think part of that blame lies on the low quality of Evelyn Hardcastle. I at least had the forethought to place it last in my reading plans, but I need to work on allowing myself the freedom to DNF a book. Overall, this readathon got me to try new things and read a book I had put off a very long time. Plus my read pile for November just doubled!
Discussing my TBR
A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes
I’m really exited to read this! Of course, I am excited for all of these, but I am glad I am reading this one physically. It was not my plan originally. It is only availble on CD and at ~$40 USD, so I decided this would be my physical read of choice. It’s length is daunting. That is okay because I think I am really going to enjoy it assuming the writing style isn’t too out there.
This is the story of the Trojan War, told from the perspective of the women that are largely ignored in the Greek myths. I enjoy greek and roman mythologies, but it isn’t a big thing I read about. Hopefully, this and Circe will change that (as well as Jean Bookishthoughts who studies ancient history and has lots of recommendations).
This is a fictional story about a band in the 70s or 80s and their experience. It is supposed to be an emotional roller coaster which isn’t something I usually seek out in books, but I am here for it. This book has gotten so much praise on Booktube. It is probably the most talked about book on Booktube. No pressure Taylor Jenkins Reid! I’m sure I’ll enjoy it; the question is: will it make me love it?
This book has been on my shelf for so long. I even bought it on Audible way back hoping I’d read it. In the end, I never did out of fear of for the Victorian setting. Now I have the perfect excuse to choose it despite my hesitation. To be clear, I love the concept: a story about stories and books. It is very similar to Setterfield’s most recent novel, Once Upon a River which I struggled with but loved overall. I hope the same is true for the Thirteenth Tale.
I choose Once Upon a River originally to be during this readathon, stretching “once” as a number, but my hesitation for her Victorian settings couple with its near 500 page count motivated me to read it sooner. I am glad I did! I think I am really going to enjoy it if it’s anything like Once Upon a River.
This is a semi post-apocalyptic story about people preparing to go to space to survive. That is all I know. I am reading this because BooksandLala loved it. I tend not to like high science fiction, and I think this type of moderate science fiction is what I like. The story was a nominee for several awards. Plus, my one of my favorite books this year was a semi-apocalyptic story about getting to space (Calculating Stars).
You can now see my review of Station Eleven! Also, it turns out this wasn’t about space. I was way off on that one.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
This is a story about a woman who had a lot of husbands. Booktube says it is well told, so I think it will be a fun contemporary read. Again, like Reid’s other story, it isn’t what I normally read. However, I think I’ll enjoy it. I don’t have this in my picture above because the copy I bought was in the US and sent it to my mom’s to save on shipping. I’ll be listening to the audiobook, so it doesn’t matter anyways.
Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
There are a lot feminist collections I’d like to read. I just haven’t for whatever reason. I almost didn’t include this one because I hate the idea of rushing through it, but it is very short and likely not that much work. I also want to read Roxanne Gay. If I don’t get to her soon, I’ll definitely be including her in my February Black History Month TBR.
The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
This is my lowest in expectation. I want to read this because the concept sounds intriguing. I love time travel and time resets. There is nothing special about as far as what I’ve seen. It’s just a book I think will be fun, but if I have to drop a book, or finish one later, it will be this one.
I’ve linked to each review, but Wizard’s of Earthsea will be discussed in an Earthsea Cycle post at a later date. There were a couple things I didn’t get to finishing. That is, my physical reads outside of the readathon did not make much progress, but my audiobook progress was fantastic. I made it through these books much faster than I anticipated.
I was writing a book post and began to discuss my feelings about what and how much I read, but I felt like it fits better here in my reading update. I have been doing so well lately. Past years I have done as much rereading as I do new reading, and I never counted that toward my “yearly” reading numbers. It just felt like cheating. My desire to read more now isn’t that I can’t make time for rereads and new books exactly. It is more a fear that I won’t be able to keep up my reading pace and/or passion. It’s better to keep my momentum on new book experiences so that when I finally (and inevitably?) fall back into reading less new books, I’ll have larger selection of favorites to choose from. This is me getting in my head. It is frustrating, but it feels impossible to escape my own fear of “failure” as I have arbitrarily defined it.
I have a very ambitious TBR this month. Several of these are very short, to be fair, but I am not sure I will have time to read everything I want to read. The problem is, the longer these take, the longer I have to wait to read the ones I want to read in December!
I also have to face the fact that my Comprehensive exam is coming. My nights may grow long, and other than a couple hours each morning and night, I may not get much reading. I won’t let that hold me back though, at least not my goals. Aim high but be prepared to under achieve. For me, it’s enough to be excited about so many new books.
Booktube has introduced me to a wide range of books of different genres, so it will be a nice variety of readings. This month I am going to participate in Buzzwordathon. I will be reading books with numbers in the title. That post is pending! That will take a week, which means I need to read 3 books a week to keep up. I’m comfortably reading two a week, so we will see. Plus, three of these are very short.
Update 11/7/19: I’ve begun including series in my monthly reading to 1) pace myself and 2) get me to finish the series’. Another problem I have with books is my wanting to read science books and always pushing it off. I think I want to try a new approach of adding at least one science “classic” I’ve wanted to read every month. This month I am going to work in
I remember in August, when I realized I was pushing through books like crazy. I thought there was no way I could keep that up. Well, boy have I set some pretty unattainable goals. 15 was my goal. I got it. I changed that to 20. I got that. Now I am thinking 29 the year I turn 29. Next year maybe I can do 30 x 2 (if I can keep it up). This month I have read 10 books. I thought 5 would be a lot, 7 books ago. Clearly, I can’t keep this up (probably), but I don’t have to. I am learning how to find more reasons to read (I like to talk about the books obviously), but there are more ways as well.
I came across this amazing thing called BookTube, which is just a cheesy name for YouTuber’s who talk about books. I never much cared for YouTube, but needless to say it is growing on me. Not only has it given me ideas (readathons: spookathon and kingathon), it has also shown me that I am not the only random person talking on the internet to now one about books. My favorite blogger is probably BooksandLala for two reasons. 1) great content (i.e. see this absurd bit of book fun below) and 2) we have similar book tastes. I have a lot of books I want to read now.
A big problem for me in Booktube is that a lot of the most popular people aren’t into the darker, more mature adult fiction and/or fixate on YA (young adult) books. Luckily there are a few exceptions (like here). I love the readathons and I love Bookstagram (i.e. posting pics on Instagram of books and reading). I don’t get the impression many people care, but I like doing it anyway. I decided to try my own readathon with #kingathon which I hope to make a yearly thing for King’s birthday. I read several books that I was not particularly interested in because it was bit of an experiment for binge reading. It was a very positive experience, and I came away enjoying much faster speeds (1.8x vs <1.3x, another thing I got from BooksandLala). Also, who knew bookoutlet.ca was a thing?
October TBR (To be read)
So I have had a TBR for the year, and it continues to change, so I am going to start looking at a list of TBR on month to month basis. I will start with #spookathon because that is the most obvious. I want to get through a couple anthologies I have (starting with Fearful Symmetries), and I need a break from books for a bit. I am also going to make a point to read books I already own on hard copy. I think 2 to 1 ratio of owned to not is good because I have so many books I haven’t read.
I need to finish Gather Together in My Name; #kingathon kept me from reading it at all. The readathon was a my focus. I intend to finish it, so I guess that will back it an October read. For the rest of the month, I may read Kindred Graphic Novel or short stories in Weird by the Vandermeers. I won’t list weird because I don’t intend to finish it this month.
Update: I have decided to do a month long reading challenge alongside #spookathon. Check out my post to see how that changes my October TBR.
I am making great progress! 12/15 books read, not including incomplete anthologies. In fact, the Murderbot Diaries are 4 in one, so you might say I have beat that goal (but I won’t). I have made it through 6/14 of my new list which I think is a major accomplishment. Of course I am not ruling them out, but I have reached the point where I am diverging from my list. This is especially true with Halloween approaching.
After reading Datlow’s Devil and the Deep, I have invested in a list of horror anthologies I want to read (more than I can really manage in two months probably). I have started Fearful Symmetries. I am ~half way though. I won’t publish this just yet. I’d like to save it for when I am closer to being done with my review/reading. In addition to this anthology, I am going to read Dark Dreams (see #4 in my list of ongoing collections).
I attended a very interesting panel at Dragon Con that discussed women of color in science fiction and in part women of color writers. In particular, they pointed out how it tends to be select few who get what may be best described as the “token” marketing treatment. Look at Children of Blood and Bone and the hype its gotten. The panelist I saw spoke about many women of color not getting much of any attention. Therefore, I am trying to dig for more stories from women of color. I am finding that most obscure authors aren’t on audio, my preferred mode of reading, but I can work with what is available.
In addition to this panel, I have started listening to some episodes of Writing Excuses, a podcast cohosted by the amazing Mary Robinette Kowal (of the Lady Astronauts) that discuss what writers need to think about when writing. It is a really interesting and is making for a great guide on how to appreciate good writing. One story was on reading outside your box. This essentially goes back to me looking for more diverse writers. A few years ago I limited myself to women authors for reasons to do with bias. I could redo that, but I am not ready to commit to that just yet. Although, I am making an effort to explore more diverse writers.
Right now, Brandon Massey has a couple anthologies I am going to try out, Dark Dreams being the first. Then his wife, Tananarive Due has a few horror novels I want to try. First, I am starting the House of Dies Drear about a haunting dating back to slavery by author Virginia Hamilton, who is one of the many names mentioned by a few *lists* of black women horror writers.
However, I still intend to finish Fearful Symmetries, and I want to start at least one other anthology of Datlow’s. Which one is TBD, but if I had to choose (if you had to choose, its a tie!) I would probably say Inferno because I love me some demonic stories. Others include, Haunted Legends or Dark (Ghost stories). Then there is still A Head Full of Ghosts, but that is Paul Trembley (white male). An alternative would be the collection of stories by native American Stephen Graham Jones, After the People Lights Have Gone Off.
In case this needs to be said, it isn’t enough for me to go on what seems interesting. Not only do I desire to broaden my understanding of the different walks of life and the different ways of perceiving the world, I also have a desire to experience the best literature that is out there. Literature that will not necessarily make its way to me as a result of my own biases and the biases of other (e.g. look at my attention to the list of Hugo books). There is a world where I am spending my fall reading Stephen King (new and old), and I can’t help but be thankful that I am not so limited in my selections and styles.
So to finish up, I have 2 collections and 2 novels that I want to read for Halloween (preferably more of course). That gets my tally up to 16 books, over my 15 goal. With November and December to go, I think 20 is a reasonable goal to strive for now. If I can keep this up, maybe I can manage 30 next year. Scratch that. I am turning 30 next year. 30 books my 30th year. That is going to happen.
I recently finished Mapping the Interior (★★★★★). I won’t be including it in my lists of completed books just yet because it is so short. I will probably tack it on to another book by Stephen Graham Jones if I get around to one of his. You can read my thoughts at the link here.
There are a couple horror anthologies I want to read. They’re a lot shorter than the Time Traveler’s Almanac (TTA), so I think I may try to work them in with the other stories. The goal being to finish them before the year is out! I love Stephen King, and a lot his best works are short stories. That plus the TTA gave me the idea to check out some horror anthologies. It looks like Ellen Datlow is an award winning editor, so I’ve chosen a couple of her works that appeal to me.
I am finding my 5hrs per week goal an easy target to meet. I am not keeping up with all my podcasts :-/, but I am enjoying what I am reading. I’ve begun reading short stories and essays. Although, I am doing it in my podcast app, jumping between stories, and that makes it more difficult to track my time. I am pretty sure I did at least, probably more, 24 hours of listening/reading. The goals are going well, but I like to set myself up to fail. I am going to bump my weekly reading to 6 hours. The summer is coming, so its doable.
I am enjoying the essays and short stories. They are an easy way to pick something interesting without needing to dedicate a huge amount of time to it. It also means I am reading a large diversity of things which I love. It may mess up my yearly goals just because they are large collections. Obviously, I can’t count them each as a book, but I am reading them individually and may not read the entire volumes.
With that in mind, I am trying to make sure I give myself some time dedicate to single book/story. To Say nothing of the Dog is my current read. See that section for more.
As I ended the first week, I found myself with ~.5 hr to go for my 5hr per week goal. I did that last night as I cooked and cleaned. Although, this is on the week of the book club where I rushed to finish to the Dry, so we will see how well I am able to stick to it. I still like the 5hr goal. It is a good motivator because I know how well I work with a clear quota and/or outline to follow. I am over an hour in this week which is a good start, but I think part of that has to do with how great the 15 lives of Harry August is.
February was not a great month for reading. I did a good bit towards the First 15 Lives of Harry August in the early parts, but I’ve since not gone back. I started the Dry only recently because I know the book club is coming up. The Dry, I’m pushing through it at 1.6 times the regular speed. That’s how little I like it. For a bit of context, I am listening to The 15 lives of Harry August (a book I am loving) at 1.3 times the regular speed, which I try to do to get through them more quickly.
As we get closer to April, my audiobook time is waning. In addition to my game of thrones rewatch, I am pushing through the several recap shows I listen to along with it. When it finally arrives, I will be listening to 4-5 different recap shows of GOT, so I am going to have to try extra hard not to forget about my reading time. That’s really my listen so far here; I need to be aware of how much I am reading and make a point to do it when I am going a long time without it.
Moving forward, I am going to set a 5 hour per week quota, with a ~24 hour monthly quota. I’ll adjust that as I start to get a better feel of how much I am currently listening (as I begin to track it quantitatively).