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August Book Haul!

Hello everyone! I’m writing this post from my new home in Seattle! I moved over the weekend, well ahead of the start of the school quarter, to give myself time to explore my new neighborhood. After fixing up my room for the better part of three days, I treated myself to some new books this morning at my local bookstore. You’ll have to wait until the end of the month for that haul list, but here’s mine for August!

  1. The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon
  2. Birds of a Feather (Maisie Dobbs, book 3) by Jacqueline Winspear
  3. The Mapping of Love and Death (Maisie Dobbs, book 4) by Jacqueline Winspear
  4. The Case of the Missing Books (Mobile Library Mystery, book 1) by Ian Sansom
  5. Mr. Dixon Disappears (Mobile Library Mystery, book 2) by Ian Sansom
  6. The Summer we Read Gatsby by Danielle Ganek
  7. The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
  8. Birds of a Lesser Paradise: Stories by Megan Mayhew Bergman (Kindle)
  9. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald (Kindle)
  10. The Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries: Whose Body?, Clouds of Witness, and Unnatural Death by Dorothy L. Sayers (Kindle)
  11. Annihilation (Southern Reach Trilogy, book 1) by Jeff VanderMeer
  12. Acceptance (Southern Reach Trilogy, book 3) by Jeff VanderMeer
  13. The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism by Naoki Higashida
  14. Unabrow: Misadventures of a Late Bloomer by Una LaMarche
  15. Emma by Jane Austen
  16. Cabin Fever by Mandy Smith
  17. Motorcycle Diaries by Ernest Che Guevara
  18. When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
  19. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
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An eighth month update

When I began my 2016 reading challenge, I wanted to know what kinds of books I was naturally drawn to. Did I mostly read authors based in the USA? Did I prefer reading fiction to non-fiction, paperback to hardcover?

Throughout the year I’ve been keeping track of who and what I’m reading to try and answer these questions. At the moment I’m allowing myself to read any book I want (as long as it follows the reading challenge rules) so that I become aware of my biases. My goal for next year is that I challenge myself to read harder by focusing on one or more criteria that I find lacking.

Here’s a quick summary of my reading stats so far:

  • I’ve read 23 out of 40 books
  • 12 were written by male authors and 11 by female authors
  • 3 authors have been people of color
  • 12 authors are from the USA; 7 are from the UK; 1 each is from France, Nigeria, Iran, and Germany
  • 35% of the books are 0-300 pages; 65% of the books are 301-500+ pages
  • I’ve read 14 paperback books, 5 hardcover books, and 4 Kindle books
  • 17 books were fiction, 6 books were non-fiction

Based on these results I want to focus on increasing my POC readership, and I’m considering doing an “around the world” reading challenge next year where I find and read books written by authors from different countries.

Do any of you try to read outside of your comfort zone?

June and July Book Haul!

It’s been a while, but in honor of National Book Lovers Day, I thought I’d share my June and July book haul!

June was especially fun because I got a chance to spend a couple of hours at the Bay Area Book Festival in Berkeley (one of the perks of living in such a fun city!). There were so many tables hosted by small businesses and local publishers, and I was happy for an opportunity to support Asian and Asian-American authors.

festival1
They had a printing press so I made a small notebook!

July was a little slower because I was traveling. However, to prep for my trip I bought a couple of things for my Kindle. I finally finished A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings on plane and train rides, so that was exciting!

Let me know if you’ve read or are planning to read any of these!

Continue reading “June and July Book Haul!”

BRB!

I’m traveling around South East Asia for the next month meaning my reading updates will be extremely unreliable. Don’t worry though! I’ve packed enough book-things to fill in all those hours on and in-between the plane, bus, and tuk-tuk rides.

If you’re curious about where I’m going and what I’m doing, you can follow along. And feel free to email me your mailing address if you want a postcard 🙂

Hope you all are well, and I shall catch you on the flip-side. Happy reading!

I got some new books, yay!

Hello, hello! After a very lazy week spent on the warm shores of sunny San Diego, I am back home, forced to confront the tedious reality of packing and moving out of my apartment. Booorriiingggg.

BUT! I did come back to two very exciting items waiting for me:

#1: A fourth book from my Facebook book chain! I have heard amazing things about Terry Pratchett and I’m very much looking forward to Equal Rites.

Screen Shot 2016-06-18 at 11.54.16

#2: My third and final book from Book of the Month subscription box! World War II, spies, and the Galapagos Islands will make this novel a very interesting read indeed…
botm

Have any of you read these books? Let me know what you think!

Review: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Brief synopsis (back cover): Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than her tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair-bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and he is not interested in exploring a new one. Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, Lou sets out to show him that life is still worth living. Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart? 

Rating🏡  Left behind / ✈  Travel companion

Long story short: This book is a little tricky to rate because some parts I liked and others…not so much.

I loved the insights Moyes offered into quadriplegia and assisted suicide because these are two topics I know very little about and the latter has become quite contentious over the years. I have no experience in these areas so I can’t say how accurately either were depicted (the book has been criticized for romanticizing suicide), but it was a change from what I usually read and I enjoyed learning something new.

Through Louisa we’re introduced to caregiving and all the difficult and wonderful moments that come with it. She is spunky and kind and always trying to do the good thing, the right thing, for other people. There is a particular instance in the novel where we get to see the root of her personality—why she is who she is—and it’s a vulnerable time for her. While the set up was done well I wished Moyes took more time drawing Louisa out of her shell. She was definitely my favorite part of the story.

Continue reading “Review: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes”

May Book Haul

May book haul
Not pictured: Swamplandia! by Karen Russell, American Gods by Neil Gaiman, and Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart

I got my hands on more books than I expected to this month. Most were from local bookstores, three were given to me by friends, two were e-books from Amazon, and one was from Book of the Month. As much as I could I tried to balance getting books that are on my TBR lists and new titles I hadn’t heard of that piqued my curiosity.

It’s hard to decide what to read first, but I’m most excited for 2666 by Roberto Bolaño, Delicious! by Ruth Reichl, and Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh.

May Book Haul titles:

  1. Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
  2. Paula by Isabele Allende
  3. Wizard of the Crow by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o
  4. Party Headquarters by Georgi Tenev
  5. 2666 by Roberto Bolaño
  6. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  7. The Fun Parts by Sam Lipsyte
  8. Swamplandia! by Karen Russell
  9. Hip: The History by John Leland
  10. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
  11. A Man For All Seasons by Robert Bolt
  12. Delicious! by Ruth Reichl
  13. Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
  14. Cleaning Up New York by Bob Rosenthal
  15. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  16. The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
  17. Holy Cow by Sarah Macdonald
  18. Naked by David Sedaris
  19. Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman
  20. Amor and Psycho by Carolyn Cooke
  21. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
  22. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
  23. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
  24. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
  25. The Naked Pint by Christina Perozzi and Hallie Beaune
  26. Heat & Light by Jennifer Haigh
  27. Think Like a Freak by Stephen J. Dubner and Steven Levitt
  28. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  29. Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart

Review: Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi

lolita

Brief synopsis (back cover): Every Thursday morning for two years in the Islamic Republic of Iran, a bold and inspired teacher named Azar Nafisi secretly gathered seven of her most committed female students to read forbidden Western classics. As Islamic morality squads staged arbitrary raids in Tehran, fundamentalists seized hold of the universities, and a blind censor stifled artistic expression, the girls in Azar Nafisi’s living room risked removing their veils and immersed themselves in the worlds of Jane Austen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Henry James, and Vladimir Nabokov. In this extraordinary memoir, their stories become intertwined with the ones they are reading. Reading Lolita in Tehran is a remarkable exploration of resilience in the face of tyranny and a celebration of the liberating power of literature.

Rating: ✈  Travel companion

Long story short: As a professor and a writer Nafisi expounds on what she knows best: trying to make sense of her reality through works of fiction. She juxtaposes literary analysis and narrative to help reshape her life under the Islamic Regime in Iran, to reassemble parts of her identity that had been broken or stripped away because of the religious fanaticism that engulfed the country.

Continue reading “Review: Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi”

New TRLs are up!

I’ve added a handful of new TRLs to my page, so check them out if you’re stuck in a reading rut and don’t know which book to devour next.

New additions include:

  1. Lady Adventurers—women traveling the world and overcoming all sorts of obstacles
  2. Books and travel
  3. South East Asian authors—writers originating from and writing about Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, East Timor, Brunei, Christmas Island, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.
  4. Enchanting—for people who have read Harry Potter a billion times
  5. Books every feminist should read

The lists can be found at the top of my page, under the “Reading Lists” tab. If there’s a book you think should be on one (or more) of those lists, let me know!

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