I saw this great tag on Reader Gal’s blog. Her blog is awesome, so make sure to check it out. Original credit for this tag goes to A Book Lovers Playlist. Since we all sometimes put our books on hold to binge a show on Netflix, I think this makes for a fun tag. Here goes nothing:Recently Finished- the last book you finishedIt was either Venators: Magic Unleashed by Devri Walls or Hollow Men by Todd Sullivan (my review). I actually think I finished them both on the same day. I really need to make more of an effort to mark my books “read” on Goodreads the day I finish them.Top Picks- A book that was recommended to you based on books you have previously readDreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style was suggested to me by Irresponsible Reader (follow his blog!) based on my review of A World Without “Whom”: The Essential Guide to Language in the Buzzfeed Age (review here).Recently Added- the last book you boughtI grabbed The Library of the Unwritten, which I’m dying to read. Have I started it yet? Um…Popular on Netflix- Books that everyone knows about (2 you’ve read and 2 you have no interest in )I read and loved both The Ten Thousand Doors of January and Daisy Jones and the Six. I think both of those are ubiquitous at this point. I have absolutely no interest in The Gilded Wolves or Gideon the Ninth.Comedies- a funny bookFowl Language: Winging It had me in stitches. That little duck really understands parenting.Dramas- a character who is a drama king/queenCity of Bones. Both Clary and Jace rate pretty stinking high on the drama-o-meter.Animated- a book with cartoons on the coverI’m not sure if this counts, but I’m going with Thornhill (click on book name to get review).Watch It Again- a book/series you want to rereadI reread both The Night Circus and The Dragonlance Chronicles every year.Documentaries- a non-fiction book you’d recommend to everyoneI loved For the Love of Books: Stories of Literary Lives, Banned Books, Author Feuds, Extraordinary Characters, and More . Okay, the name is a bit much. Actually, it’s way too much. The book is excellent, though.Action and Adventure- and action-packed bookKings of the Wyld is chock-full of action. It also has amazing writing, and a sense of fun that it seems a lot of fantasy has been missing lately. I highly recommend it.Well, there it is. What do you think of my answers? I’m not going to tag anyone here, but I’ll probably bug a few people on Twitter. Ha ha! If you do participate, please tag me,so I can see your answers.
As language evolves faster than ever before, what is the future of “correct” writing? When Favilla was tasked with creating a style guide for BuzzFeed, she opted for spelling, grammar, and punctuation guidelines that would reflect not only the site’s lighthearted tone, but also how readers actually use language IRL.
With wry cleverness and an uncanny intuition for the possibilities of internet-age expression, Favilla makes a case for breaking the rules laid out by Strunk and White: A world without “whom,” she argues, is a world with more room for writing that’s clear, timely, pleasurable, and politically aware. Featuring priceless emoji strings, sidebars, quizzes, and style debates among the most lovable word nerds in the digital media world–of which Favilla is queen–A World Without “Whom” is essential for readers and writers of virtually everything: news articles, blog posts, tweets, texts, emails, and whatever comes next . . . so basically everyone. (take from Amazon)
This book is funny and smart. It’s also a bit snarky, which I loved. My husband gave this book to me for Christmas, knowing my penchant for good grammar, as opposed to “online gunk.” I’m beginning to realize that this “online gunk” also has its place.
For example, according to this book, I’m a perfectivist who wants to be a descriptivist. Basically, I write the way I speak. However, the way I speak is pretty antiquated. I loved the little asides on “OK/ok/okay” (for the record, I’ve always used “okay”), as well as the reasoning behind changes in the rules.
As someone who had to have the meaning of “rofl” explained, realizing that there’s more to writing than grammar rules and the oxford comma (gulp!) is both cringe-worthy and interesting. Being that I’m currently working toward eventually going into book editing, this book will be a valuable asset. I loved this book, and I know I’ll come back to it again and again.
I highly recommend this.
I’ve already uploaded posts with some suggestion for great picture, middle-grade, and YA books (click on the colored word to read those posts). Now I’m moving on to nonfiction. It’s a genre that I’m just dipping my toes in, but I’ve come across several nonfiction books that I enjoyed. Here goes:
For the Love of Books: Stories of Literary Lives, Banned Books, Author Feuds, Extraordinary Characters, and More by Graham Tarrant
The only thing I don’t love about this book is its ridiculously long title. It’s full of the most interesting facts about everything literary. For example: apparently, Norman Mailer feuds with almost everyone. This is a book I’ll come to again and again. It would make an excellent gift for any reader.
The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers
This is the story of a Yemeni man who learns the history of coffee and how his people are involved. He leaves the U.S., traveling to Yemen, to see the roots of this history with the end goal of becoming a coffee entrepreneur. However, he becomes trapped in Yemen as war engulfs his homeland. This book read like a thriller and I was engrossed. This is one worth reading!
The Library Book by Susan Orlean
In 1986, the Los Angeles Public Library caught fire. Thousands of books were destroyed, including one-of-a-kind treasures. This book examines the tragedy. What happened? Was it purposeful? While the book-lover in me winced over the loss of all those wonderful books, it was an absolutely fascinating book. It was written with such enthusiasm that I couldn’t tear myself away. This would be a great gift.
Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: a Sortabiography by Eric Idle
This book is so much fun! It’s full of possibly-true reminiscences by the hilarious Eric Idle. He does drop names liberally, but it’s very true to brand. If you want a nonfiction that will give you a laugh, this is a good choice.
Dragon Art: Inspiration, Impact, and Technique in Fantasy Art by Graeme Aymer and John Howe
In case this book doesn’t give it away, I love dragons. If you have a fantasy-lover in your life, this would be an amazing gift. The art is incredible and many fantasy art greats have been included in this book: John Howe and Larry Elmore, to name a few.
Well, here you have it. Are you planning on giving some nonfiction books this year? Do any of these catch your fancy?
This is one of those many books that I decided I wanted to read…then never got around to. I finally did, but only after seeing the movie by the same name. I rarely read a book after seeing the movie (I prefer to do it the other way around), but the movie was so well done, I was dying to read the book and compare. My wonderful husband kindly let me read his copy while he was also reading it.
The book did not disappoint. It’s about Tommy Wiseau, the writer, director, producer, and star of the cult classic movie The Room. I haven’t seen The Room, and I probably never will. Based on the few clips I’ve seen, it’s embarrassingly terrible. That’s what makes The Disaster Artist so compelling. As much of a train wreck as the movie was, it’s become a phenomenon. And Tommy Wiseau is fascinating. Despite having some serious scumbag moments, I couldn’t help but like him. He’s an incredibly private person, and there are so many mysteries to unravel. Where is he really from? How on earth does he have so much money to throw away on a passion project? How old is he actually?
Another interesting thing is the unlikely relationship between Greg Sestero, the co-author, and Tommy. It’s engrossing. One difference between The Disaster Artist book, and the movie by the same name, is that Dave Franco portrays Greg as a naive, kind, boy-next-door character. In the book, Greg came across as manipulative, self-centered, and lazy. I wonder if he’s aware that he seems that way.
This book will stay with you long after you finish it. I ended up looking up acting clips of the real Tommy Wiseau, searching to see what the main characters are doing now, and basically dissecting the entire thing over and over in my mind.
The verdict: Read this book! Put it on top of your “to be read” pile! Once you’ve read it, see the movie with James and Dave Franco. Tell me in the comments what your thoughts are. I would love to discuss this book!
On New Year’s Day 2013, two-time Pulitzer Prize–winner Gene Weingarten asked three strangers to, literally, pluck a day, month, and year from a hat. That day—chosen completely at random—turned out to be Sunday, December 28, 1986, by any conventional measure a most ordinary day. Weingarten spent the next six years proving that there is no such thing.
That Sunday between Christmas and New Year’s turned out to be filled with comedy, tragedy, implausible irony, cosmic comeuppances, kindness, cruelty, heroism, cowardice, genius, idiocy, prejudice, selflessness, coincidence, and startling moments of human connection, along with evocative foreshadowing of momentous events yet to come. Lives were lost. Lives were saved. Lives were altered in overwhelming ways. Many of these events never made it into the news; they were private dramas in the lives of private people. They were utterly compelling.
One Day asks and answers the question of whether there is even such a thing as “ordinary” when we are talking about how we all lurch and stumble our way through the daily, daunting challenge of being human. (taken from Amazon)
Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion. It will be available on October 22nd.
I was immediately drawn to the idea of this book. I love things that remind us that, although the world is big, we are all part of it and we affect each other’s lives- often in ways we never even know about. When it comes right down to it, the world isn’t as big as it often seems. We all love, fear, grieve, and hope. This books is an excellent reminder of that.
At the beginning of the book, the author lamented the day that was picked. It was during what is normally a slow news week, and nothing of note was known to have happened on that day. However, as this book proved, there is no such thing as an unimportant day.
This isn’t a light read. It will make you think. It will make you question every interaction you’ve had during the day. Was that smile you gave a stranger what gave them the courage to call a suicide help-line? How do “insignificant moments” affect lives down the road? We will never know what’s going on with others around us behind closed doors, what people keep private, but we aren’t islands. This book was a reminder of that.
The writing was superb, the lengths the author went to in order to get first- hand accounts was astonishing, and the book was wonderful. This would make a great Christmas gift. While you’re at it, pick up a copy for yourself.
It’s been a pretty dang good reading year so far. Sure, there have been some less than satisfactory reads, but those have been few and far between. Being a newbie blogger (less than a year old), I’m still getting into my groove, but a mid-year post sounds fun and encouraging. So, without further ado, here goes:
According to the lovely Goodreads page, I’ve finished sixty nine books so far this year. I haven’t been counting books I read to my kids, or anything I’ve read for school, but it’s a pretty accurate count of my “me time” progress.
I’ve seen other posts listing top three books read, or even one favorite, but I don’t think I can possibly pick just one. Instead, I’m listing my top reads below, complete with links to any posts I’ve written. These are not in any particular order.
Duckett and Dyer: Dicks for Hire by Ganesh Nair: blog post forthcoming.
The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep by H.G. Parr: you can find my blog post here.
Two Like Me and You by Chad Alan Gibb: You can read my glowing review here.
Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan: I waxed enthusiastic about this book. You can read my post here.
Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky: Read the many wonderful things about this book here.
For the Love of Books: Stories of Literary Lives, Banned Books, Author Feuds Extraordinary Characters, and More by Graham Tarrant: The only thing I didn’t love about this book is its name. Read my review here.
Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid: This book has shown up on many lists of favorites I’ve seen, for good reason. Here is one more glowing review.
Changeling (the Oddmire Book 1) by William Ritter: This book is fantastic and I loved every minute of it. Read why here
The Return of King Lillian by Suzie Plakson: The one is wonderful! Its release date is next Tuesday and I highly recommend it. Read my review here.
The Twisted Tree by Rachel Burge: This was a fun, spooky book. Check out my blog post here.
There are several other books I’m looking forward to reading this year, not to mention any unexpected treasures that I’m sure to meet. Happy reading!
A love for food and travel, but riddled with apathy from a mundane routine; surely there’s a way to be happier and combine the things you love in life?
The dull working life inspired this enticing travelogue on how food and culture influence the varied regions across Latin America with a backpacker’s voice. Travelling from Mexico down to Patagonia in Argentina, Simkin takes a profound look into the Latino culture with enthusiasm and pragmatism. Stepping away from the gringo trail and exploring everything from islands to jungles, mountains, beaches, favelas and cities.
Simkin recounts his adventures with vivid detail and honesty through the journey, whilst reflecting on his life and girl back home, affectionately called the GBH.
The story of how food reflects the culture across the continent makes this a relatable and unique story for food, culture and travel lovers alike. (taken from Amazon)
Thank you to Matt Simkin and the publisher for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion. This book is available for purchase now.
I haven’t traveled much at all, and I’ve been asked to stay out of the kitchen on numerous occasions, so I came into this book a little unsure what to expect. I found it highly enjoyable. Matt Simkin decides to leave the daily grind behind him as he heads across Latin America, immersing himself in the food as well as the culture.
I liked how honest this book was. While it was overall an amazing experience for the author, he also mentioned when it was…slightly less than amazing. I laughed a little at his comments regarding a group of self-righteous, hypocritical hippies. I felt like I was traveling along, albeit from the comfort of my home.
The headers of each entry were fantastic: “Tikal- Best served with termites, and Ushuaia- Best served at the end of the world” were a couple of my favorites. There was a sense of humor as well as a genuine appreciation for each part of his adventure that was refreshing to read.
Oh- I need to mention that Matt Simkin was trekking all over the place with a broken foot! That was impressive! All in all, I quite liked this incredibly unique and entertaining book.
I thought I’d try my hand at a my own book tag, for the first time. Of course it has to be Firefly-related, to make my nerdy heart happy. So… take me out to the black, tell ’em I ain’t coming back!
Malcolm Reynolds- A Book with a Conflicted Character
“Mercy is the mark of a great man.” (stabs defeated opponent)
“I guess I’m just a good man” (stabs opponent again)
The Dragonlance Chronicles by Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman: Tanis is a very conflicted character. He’s often at war with himself, just like Mal. He’s also in a leadership role and feels that weight immensely.
Zoe- A Book With a Hardcore Female Character:
Mal: “Well, look at this! Appears we got here just in the nick of time. What does that make us?”
Zoe: “Big damn heroes, sir!”
Mal: “Ain’t we just.”
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake: Each of the three queens is strong in her own way, although at the moment Katharine (the poisoner queen) comes to mind.
Wash- A Character or Book With a Good Sense of Humor:
“We’re all doomed! Who’s flying this thing?! Oh right, that would be me. Back to work.”
Kill the Farm Boy by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne
This book is so stinking funny, and its sequel is even better. I love clever humor and this book has it in spades.
Jayne: A Violent Book or Character
“You know what the chain of command is? It’s the chain I go get and beat you with ’til ya understand who’s in ruttin’ command here.”
Red Rising by Pierce Brown
One of the many things I love about this series is that no character is safe. The body count builds rather quickly. When revenge turns into revolution, things tend to get messy.
Kaylee- An Optimistic Book or Character:
Mal: “I don’t think there’s a power in the ‘verse that can stop Kaylee from being cheerful. Sometimes you just wanna duct tape her mouth and dump her in the hold for a month.”
Kaylee: “I love my captain.”
The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chobsky:
Okay, hear me out on this one. This book deals with some incredibly heavy subjects. It makes me cry every time (and I reread this one a lot), but it ends on a feeling of hope. I can’t really explain it. If you read it, you’ll get what I mean.
Inara: A Book or Character that’s mysterious:
Mal: “How’s business?”
Inara: “None of yours.”
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern: One of the many things I love about this book is the air of mystery and impossibility of the Cirque Des Reves, as well as the characters.
Shepard Book- A Book or Character involving faith
“You don’t fix faith. Faith fixes you.”
Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman: I don’t read a lot of faith-based books, just my Bible. But this book really resonated with me.
Simon Tam- A Book or Character that’s highly intelligent:
” I don’t care what you’ve done, I don’t know what you’re planning on doing, but I’m trusting you. I think you should do the same. ‘Cause I don’t see this working any other way.”
The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford-English Dictionary by Simon Winchester
This book is fascinating, and I definitely learned some things while reading it. Who knew the dictionary had such an interesting beginning?
River Tam: A Book or Character that’s a bit creepy:
“Also, I can kill you with my brain.”
Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chobsky:
I’m about two thirds of the way through this book, and I can honestly say it’s given me the wiggins. I am loving it so far.
Well, that’s it for my first attempt at a book tag. If you want to try it with your choices, please be sure to tag me as the creator. I’d love to see what you come up with!
**This post discusses mental illness and might include something upsetting. Please continue at your own discretion.**
Here’s the thing: I live with mental illness. Along with many, many others, I don’t often talk about it. Why? Stigma. It’s hard to talk about something that is often belittled or disbelieved. Over the years, I’ve gotten some seriously odd (and at times, harmful) comments regarding my bipolar. But I’ve realized something: there is absolutely no reason for me to feel ashamed or embarrassed by my mental illness. Yes, sometimes I am fighting a battle with myself. But I’m fighting, which I think I should be proud of.
Being me, I have several books that I’ve read over the years that portray mental illness in a way that helps me. Here are a few of them. And please know this: if you struggle with mental illness, you are not alone. You are not lesser than. You are not a burden. Not ever.
It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini : inspired by Ned Vizinni’s own mental hospital stay. It discusses suicide, depression, and finding hope.
“People are screwed up in this world. I’d rather be with someone screwed up and open about it than somebody perfect and ready to explode.”
If You Feel Too Much: Thoughts on Things Found and Lost and Hoped For by Jamie Tworkoski : Written by the founder of To Write Love on Her Arms, these emails and poems discuss depression, drug use, faith, and accepting help.
You are more than just your pain. You are more than wounds, more than drugs, more than death and silence.There is still some time to be surprised. There is still some time to ask for help. There is still some time to start again. There is still some time for love to find you. It’s not too late. You’re not alone. It’s okay –whatever you need and however long it takes- its okay. It’s okay. If you feel too much, there’s still a place for you here. If you feel too much, don’t go. There is still some time.” -Jamie Tworkowski, If You Feel Too Much
An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison : Jamison’s autobiography is incredibly uplifting because, not only did I completely relate, but she is a talented mental health professor despite (because of?) her illness.
I have seen the breadth and depth and width of my mind and heart and seen how frail they both are, and how ultimately unknowable they both are. – Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind
The Perks of Being a Wallflower Stephen Chobsky: This beautiful book discusses ptsd, depression, possible unspecified mood disorder, and drug use.
So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.- Stephen Chobsky, Perks of Being a Wallflower
Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher: talks mainly about bipolar disorder.
“One of the things that baffles me (and there are quite a few) is how there can be so much lingering stigma with regards to mental illness, specifically bipolar disorder. In my opinion, living with manic depression takes a tremendous amount of balls. Not unlike a tour of Afghanistan (though the bombs and bullets, in this case, come from the inside). At times, being bipolar can be an all-consuming challenge, requiring a lot of stamina and even more courage, so if you’re living with this illness and functioning at all, it’s something to be proud of, not ashamed of.
They should issue medals along with the steady stream of medication.”
Are there any books that you feel portray mental illness well? What are they? I’d love to get a list going!
I have yet to see Endgame (please no spoilers!), but this tag looked like fun. I saw it over at theorangutanlibrarian’s blog. Check it out! If you know who the original credit goes to, please let me know so that I can add that to this post. Here goes:
Iron Man – a book that made you laugh out loud: I am America and So Can You by Stephen Colbert
It’s been a while since I’ve read it, but this book made me full-on guffaw.
Captain America- A Book that Sends a Positive Message: Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher
“One of the things that baffles me (and there are quite a few) is how there can be so much lingering stigma with regards to mental illness, specifically bipolar disorder. In my opinion, living with manic depression takes a tremendous amount of balls. Not unlike a tour of Afghanistan (though the bombs and bullets, in this case, come from the inside). At times, being bipolar can be an all-consuming challenge, requiring a lot of stamina and even more courage, so if you’re living with this illness and functioning at all, it’s something to be proud of, not ashamed of. They should issue medals along with the steady stream of medication.”
Having been diagnosed with Bipolar 1 several years ago, I find this book incredibly empowering. The fact that it’s also often hilarious is an added bonus.
Thor- A Book With a Character Whose Strength You Admire: Oddmire: Changeling by William Ritter
I love the twins’ mom in this book! She charges into the Wild Wood after her sons with no thought for herself or her safety, simply because they might be in danger. She’s a hardcore mom and I love seeing that kind of bravery represented in a book. Being a parent is definitely not for the weak.
Black Widow- A Book With a Hardcore Female Protagonist: Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto
Veronyka pretty much rocks. I mean, she is willing to disguise herself to join the phoenix riders, fight while on the back of a giant bird, as well as defy her very manipulative and controlling sister (which might be the scariest of all).
Hulk- A Book that Made You Incredibly Angry: Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare
I went into the reasoning behind my absolute disgust with this book at length in its review (which I will link at the end of this post, if anyone is interested). Suffice it to say, it was so bad that it ruined the entire trilogy for me.
Hawkeye- An Underrated Book that You Think More People Should Pay Attention to: The Twisted Tree by Rachel Burge
More people need to read this book. It’s a fast read, with a deliciously eerie feel to it. This is a great one to read on a stormy day.
Loki- A Book With a Twist or Surprise that Tricked You: The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
I’m not sure I’d believe anyone who told me that they’d called every twist in this book. It was absolutely wonderful.
Reviews I’ve done:
Oddmire: Changeling by William Ritter
Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto
Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare
The Twisted Tree by Rachel Burge
The Seven and a Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
If you decide to participate, please link back to me. I’d love to see what your answers are!