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Reading progress

I found a solution for my next-book indecision. When I’m having trouble deciding what to read, all I have to do is pull a title out of this kimchi jar. Voilà! Problem solved.

What are you currently reading?

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Mid-Year(ish) Update

Hi fellow readers and bookworms! We’re well into July now, and how time flies! School and work have kept me pretty busy, but I’m grateful for all the reading opportunities I’ve had this year. Since it’s summer, I think this is a good time to pause for a moment and reflect on my progress.

I’m working through a category reading challenge with an added twist: in January I promised myself that I would read harder. This year that means reading more books by women and/or people of color (POC), and being mindful of how those specific voices are presented (or not) in every day life (i.e., trips to the bookstore, what people around me are reading, etc.).

Continue reading “Mid-Year(ish) Update”

saturday morning

Update: books bought in the last three days!

The wonderful thing about having your boyfriend in town is that every day becomes a “treat yo’ self” kind of day, or in my case, a “treat yo’ shelf” kind of day.

Two cities, three days, four bookstores, and thirteen books later, I present to you: my recent loot.

Powell’s City of Books (Portland, OR)

On Sunday I spent a good chunk of time exploring the many lovely floors of Powell’s City of Books in Portland, Oregon (I would be lying if I said the distance to Powell’s didn’t factor in my decision to attend school in Washington).

This bookstore is fantastic in more ways than one, but I especially appreciated how they tagged books written by Writers of Color (WOC) throughout the store. Given my reading goals this year, it made it easier to head for the content I was really interested in.

Continue reading “Update: books bought in the last three days!”

New books!

Now that Spring Break is here, I have more time to read for fun, yay! Finished up my seventh book today (The Mystery of the Pantomime Cat by Enid Blyton), and will be choosing the next one soon.

Have you read either The Circle or Dear Ijeawele? What did you think?

Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Brief synopsis (Goodreads): The nation of Panem, formed from a post-apocalyptic North America, is a country that consists of a wealthy Capitol region surrounded by 12 poorer districts. Early in its history, a rebellion led by a 13th district against the Capitol resulted in its destruction and the creation of an annual televised event known as the Hunger Games. In punishment, and as a reminder of the power and grace of the Capitol, each district must yield one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 through a lottery system to participate in the games. The ‘tributes’ are chosen during the annual Reaping and are forced to fight to the death, leaving only one survivor to claim victory.

When 16-year-old Katniss’s young sister, Prim, is selected as District 12’s female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta, are pitted against bigger, stronger representatives, some of whom have trained for this their whole lives. , she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.

Rating✈  Travel companion

Long story short (no spoilers): On the whole I thought this was a very enjoyable read. The premise was equal parts intriguing and horrifying, making me very curious to know more about it. After reading this I’m eager to find out what happens in the next book.

So, let’s get into it!

What I liked:

  • A complex female character takes center stage. I always find it refreshing to see a female protagonist be the hero of a book/TV show/movie that would usually fall under the “roles for boys” category. While representation is getting better, there still aren’t very many leading action roles for women, so it’s still an important achievement to celebrate. In particular it’s Katniss’ complexity I like; not only is she a match for her adversaries in the Hunger Games, but she is more than just a “strong female” archetype. She is also resilient, empathetic, lonely, and disillusioned. And that makes for a much interesting protagonist.
  • Themes in the book are (sadly) relatable. Voyeurism, materialism, desensitization, wealth inequality, tyrannical oppression…I’d go on, but it’s too depressing.
  • Good pacing, good action. The amount of time spent on each stage seemed fitting. The book is divided into two parts: the first comprises Katniss’ introduction, the Reaping, and getting ready for the Hunger Games; the second follows the actual Hunger Games and is almost three times as long as the first part.

What I didn’t like:

  • The limited perspective. A minor vexation, but it would have been nice to know how other characters were dealing with their respective circumstances, specifically Peeta, Gale, Prim, and Haymitch. It would have added to their development throughout the book as well as allowed us to get a more complete understanding of Katniss through their eyes.

Keep reading for a spoiler book and movie review!

Continue reading “Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins”

Review: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

Brief synopsis (Goodreads): Somewhere within our crowded sky, a crew of wormhole builders hops from planet to planet, on their way to the job of a lifetime. To the galaxy at large, humanity is a minor species, and one patched-up construction vessel is a mere speck on the starchart. This is an everyday sort of ship, just trying to get from here to there.

But all voyages leave their mark, and even the most ordinary of people have stories worth telling. A young Martian woman, hoping the vastness of space will put some distance between herself and the life she’s left behind. An alien pilot, navigating life without her own kind. A pacifist captain, awaiting the return of a loved one at war.

Set against a backdrop of curious cultures and distant worlds, this episodic tale weaves together the adventures of nine eclectic characters, each on a journey of their own.

Rating🌴 Island collection

Long story short (no spoilers): This was such a fun book to read, and to think it may never have been published were it not for Kickstarter! Okay, well it may have been published eventually, but I’m glad it was sooner rather than later.

Chambers created a wonderful new galaxy and filled it with some of the most interesting and honest characters I’ve ever encountered. I appreciated the realness of the writing (the dialogue and actions stayed away from classic cliches), and I particularly loved that the character development was the primary focus of the novel more so than the story. That did slow down the pacing of the narrative, but I welcomed the tradeoff. There are also some pretty cool issues that are discussed including species/race relations, laws regarding artificial intelligence and genetic tweaking, and the consequences of cloning.

If you enjoyed watching Firefly, you’ll likely enjoy this book.The next book will focus on some of the secondary characters introduced in this novel. I am SO looking forward to it! Have you read The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet? Is it on your TRL? Let me know in the comments!

Currently reading…

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Have you read it? Thoughts?

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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