Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: April 2015

KUBI’S APRIL READS:

kubi-april-reads

Favorite April Read: To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
Runner-up: The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison

HANNA’S APRIL READS:

hanna-april-reads-1

hanna-april-reads-2

hanna-april-reads-3

Favorite April Read: Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
Runner-up: Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

What were your favorite books from last month? What are you looking forward to reading this May?

 

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Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: April 2015

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: March 2015

march-reads-hanna

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Favorite March Read: Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, and Brooke Allen
Runner-up: Lexicon by Max Barry

kubi-march-reads

Favorite March Read: The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman
Runner-up: Just Kids by Patti Smith

What were your favorite books from last month? What are you looking forward to reading this April?

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: March 2015

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. It’s a fun way to keep track of current reads and to find out what other people have been reading. There is a linky thing at the end of the post, so go forth, visit new reading blogs, and add to your to-read list!

monday reads

HANNA:

Salutations, fellow rabid readers! It’s been ages since the last Monday post, but we promise we’ve been reading!

September churned out two book reviews: one for V.E. Schwab’s Vicious, and the other for Christopher Moore’s Sacré Bleu: A Comedy d’ArtI also wrote a rather lengthy book loot post, which was a visual representation of my lack of self-restraint.

loot

As for my recent acquisitions, I finally have my own copy of Jessica Zafra’s Womenagerie and the hardcover edition of The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. The most important decision I made yesterday was to grab the Starz tie-in edition of Outlander by Diana Gabaldon because I want Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe in close proximity.

library

flowers

In other news, I borrowed the littlest sister’s copy of Sophie Divry’s The Library of Unrequited Love and I am fascinated. I am also enthralled by William Lychack’s lovely collection of short stories entitled The Architect of Flowers, which was a gift from the sister’s boyfriend. The title story is my favorite one so far.

Lately I’ve had the sudden urge to brush up on my history, which is why I’ve been devouring Robert Lacey’s Great Tales from English History: The Truth About King Arthur, Lady Godiva, Richard the Lionheart, and More.

My TBR pile is still of gargantuan proportions, and I fear for the current state of my bookshelf.

KUBI:

How now, wordlings? Still, I trudge. Thesis writing continues to rule my existence. I haven’t been a very good reader lately what with the attention span excusing itself at the end of the day. Buy when I’m not being catatonic, I do manage to squeeze in the odd book. I recently read Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s All You Need is Kill, which was the inspiration for the secret (just to me?) sci-fi hit Edge of Tomorrow. I’d heard good things about the film and didn’t know it was a book until I saw photos of the movie tie-in edition. I was intrigued so I did a back-to-back reading/ viewing. They were both spectacularly entertaining and I have not been able to shut up about either. So yes: read/ watch Edge of Tomorrow.

I also just read The Serpent of Venice, Christopher Moore’s follow up to his Fool, which I loveThe Serpent of Venice is an amalgam of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado and William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice and Othello. It was a feat but Moore somehow got it all to work. Plotting and conniving ensue, the odd wank is thrown in, and there is always a bloody ghost! It’s so irreverent and unhinged, it’s a bit of a shock to read Moore’s afterword where he talks lovingly and quite calmly about the source materials and how he stitched them together to bring his lively abomination (his word, not mine) to life.

Anyway, getting to the point. There are a few books on my nightstand these days. Reading time is precious so I’m wading into as many pools as I can (does that even make sense?).

The Bone Clocks is in stores, so I unearthed David Mitchell’s number9dream from the bowels of my bookcase. I’ve always gotten the impression that his books have a bit of a fantasy flavor so I’ve resolved to finally get my Mitchell on.

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I also have my toes in Scott Lynch’s Red Seas Under Red Skies, the sequel to The Lies of Locke Lamora (read it now if you haven’t). I also have Outlander by Diana Gabaldon because, gawd, that show. I don’t know if I ever would have picked up the book without a nudge. I’d seen it before and would always kind of pass it over. Hanna wouldn’t get off my case and I’ve finally seen the error of my ways. Duly rectified. I cannae wait for all the Jamie adventure.

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Finally, Wild by Cheryl Strayed is within reach because a lot of the time these days, I feel like I’m always at the foot of a new mountain to scale. Here’s to finding some clarity.

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All for now, lads and lassies. Read on and read strong 🙂 Have a great week!

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. It’s a fun way to keep track of current reads and to find out what other people have been reading. There is a linky thing at the end of the post, so go forth, visit new reading blogs, and add to your to-read list!

monday reads

Hullo, earthlings! On our last It’s Monday! What are you reading? post, I talked about revisiting Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, and falling in love with Laini Taylor’s Lips Touch: Three Times.

Since then, I’ve devoured YA novels like cake and ruminated on the stigma of young adult literature.

The skies have been weeping for several days now, and all this rain makes me want to curl up in bed and read for hours.

cozy mysteries

The gloomy weather calls for cozy mysteries, and I fully intend to become wrapped up in Lawrence Block’s The Burglar Who Thought He Was Bogart and Joanne Fluke’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder—both of which appear on a recent, and rather lengthy, book haul post.

For now, though, Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life has me enthralled.

life after life

Have a fantastic reading week ahead!

This was a post by Hanna, who still wishes for uninterrupted reading time.

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. It’s a fun way to keep track of current reads and to find out what other people have been reading. There is a linky thing at the end of the post, so go forth, visit new reading blogs, and add to your to-read list!

monday reads

KUBI

How now, weblings? Hanna has been holding down the fort while I keep my head down to write for school. Things are Coming Along, but I still have many miles to go before I sleep. This is a quick break before the week begins in earnest.

Love in the Time of Cholera

I’m currently reading Love in the Time of Cholera to mourn the death of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. My copy was a birthday gift from my folks on my 20th birthday, so it’s basically been on my TBR for nearly a decade. I regret that I waited this long to read it, but wonder if that might somehow be appropriate for the occasion.

I didn’t expect it to be funny at all, but found myself chortling in mingled embarrassment and delight, pitchy oh-my-gods squeezed out of my constricted throat, watching Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza plunge feverishly, clumsily into love. In this sampling, he hands her his first letter:

Florentino Ariza, with a white camellia in his lapel, crossed the street and stood in front of her. He said: “This is the greatest moment of my life.” Fermina Daza did not raise her eyes to him…

“Give it to me,” she said.

…She raised the embroidery frame so he could put the letter on it, for she could not admit that she had noticed the trembling of his fingers. Then it happened: a bird shook himself among the leaves of the almond trees, and his droppings fell right on the embroidery.

Ah, the humiliation of young love. I am completely won over when it is finally pointed out that “the symptoms of love [are] the same as those of cholera.” I’m reading slowly – a chapter at a time – for fear that my pre-occupied brain will miss something.

zweig anderson

On Ender (my Kindle), I have The Society of Crossed Keys, a collection of Stefan Zweig’s writing that served as the inspiration for Wes Anderson’s most recent confection The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Since I last wrote here, I finished The Year Of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion, Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor, and Tiny Beautiful Things: Lessons on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed. One of these days, I’ll write a special post just for these books because they proved me wrong when I was sure I would never finish a book again. They each struck a chord in me, and I want to hear the rest of the song.

Here are a couple of the books I intend to read in the near-ish future:

catton et al

  • Case Histories by Kate Atkinson: I give the woman love whenever I come across her books at the store. It’s not yet a full-blown operation, but yes, it seems I’m procuring her entire oeuvre. That’s just how much I love Life After Life.
  • Torch by Cheryl Strayed: I’d been thinking about this book since finishing Tiny Beautiful Things, and ended up finding it in a used bookstore this weekend. I also own Wild, so I definitely have a lot of Cheryl Strayed in my future.
  • The Rehearsal by Eleanor Catton: When a girl my age wins the Man Booker Prize, it is practically a given to obsess about her. I want to give her debut a shot before I even attempt her epic The Luminaries.

HANNA

Salutations, beautiful creatures!

Last week was a blur of days spent sifting through piles of work, frolicking outside to thwart the evil forces of the sun, catching up on sleep, stocking up on snackage, hanging out with the crazy mother before she flies back to work, discovering a shared obsession with the cousin, and preparing a feast for the senses for the father’s birthday.

As for my reading exploits, I have just finished reading The Doll’s House, which is the second volume in Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman.

I have to say that I’m really glad that I started re-reading this series. I devoured it when I was still a little bit too young, but my mind was blown in every way possible. Reading it slowly this time around made me appreciate everything about it even more. It also reinforced my adoration for Gaiman’s work and the crazy inner workings of his twisted mind.

The Doll's House

Reading Laini Taylor’s Lips Touch: Three Times was a heady experience. I am absolutely in love with her prose, and her use of words and description is sheer genius. It’s a collection of two short stories and a novella, which revolve around a kiss.

This book was enchanting, and I savored every word of it like relishing a piece of the best damn chocolate in the entire universe.

Lips Touch

My favorite story is Goblin Fruit, which centers on a girl named Kizzy and her utmost desires. Its first few lines were so seductive that I just had to keep on reading:

There is a certain kind of girl the goblins crave. You could walk across a highschool campus and point them out: not her, not her, her. The pert, lovely ones with butterfly tattoos in secret places, sitting on their boyfriends’ laps? No, not them. The girls watching the lovely ones sitting on their boyfriends’ laps? Yes.

Them.

The goblins want girls who dream so hard about being pretty their yearning leaves a palpable trail, a scent goblins can follow like sharks on a soft bloom of blood. The girls with hungry eyes who pray each night to wake up as someone else. Urgent, unkissed, wishful girls.

Like Kizzy.

Oh, it was wonderful and absolutely delicious.

The other two stories, Spicy Little Curses Such As These and Hatchling, were marvelous and breathtaking, but it was Goblin Fruit that really made an impression on me.

Each story also featured beautiful illustrations by Jim Di Bartolo, who made the stories come alive.

I know I didn’t get to read much this week, but I thoroughly enjoyed every single minute I spent with these two books. I’m still scanning my shelves for my new companions in the coming days. In the mean time, here’s a photo of David Tennant reading a book with a penguin:

David Tennant

Have a lovely reading week, duckies.

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. It’s a fun way to keep track of current reads and to find out what other people have been reading. There is a linky thing at the end of the post, so go forth, visit new reading blogs, and add to your to-read list!

monday reads

HANNA:

It’s been two weeks since our first Monday post, and in my absence, I waved goodbye to James Whitman (Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets by Evan Roskos), endured annoying text speak, (The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson), jumped into a boat with peculiar children (Hollow City by Ransom Riggs), ate Halloween candy and used a Ouija board (Teen Spirit by Francesca Lia Block), was in danger of going bald from pulling out all of my hair in frustration (Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi), and discovered a happy potion to thwart the evil Monday blues (Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill).

I also read a couple of short stories as part of Deal Me In 2014, but was unable to write my reviews in time for the weekly wrap-up.

Real Life has gotten in the way of my reading, you guys. I wanted to squeeze in as many books as I could devour in what little free time I had, which is why I’ve mostly read short stories and young adult fiction.

In other news, the bookshelf is finally done and I devoted an entire day to arranging my books into categories. Some of my books are still locked inside a closet in strawberry fields, and I’m afraid of running out of space for any of them.

Monday reads

This week, I plan on getting lost in the language of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice for the second time. As soon as I’m done with Pamela Moore’s Chocolates for Breakfast, I’ll be able to sing the body electric with Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. Hopefully the universe will grant me more reading time this week so I can hop aboard a magical mystery tour with the second book in Clive Barker’s Abarat series, Days of Magic, Nights of War.

Alas, my friends, the time has come for me to get back to work. To quote the great Miss Rory Gilmore, “Sat and forever am at work here.”

KUBI:

Ho fellow readers. It’s been a good week in reading. In our last It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? post, I was lamenting the state of my attention span. I felt that whenever I opened a book, I was stealing time. I was trying to come to terms with not being able to read Literary Things while writing my thesis. But late last week, due to certain circumstances, I suddenly came into an abundance of time. My days are still devoted to writing but I’ve loosened my grip a little. I spend my breaks making soup (sustenance!) and reading (sustenance!).

It took some doing but I finished Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell. There were ups and downs, but mostly ups. Favorites include “Reeling for the Empire,” where young Japanese girls undergo a metamorphosis while working as silk factory workers in the Meiji era; “The Graveless Doll of Eric Mutis,” where a group of friends discover a doll that looks disturbingly like a classmate they used to bully; and the title story, where an undead couple bears the weight of what it means to be together forever.

It felt good to finish a book so I rode that momentum into my next read, which was Libriomancer, the first book in the Magic Ex Libris series by Jim C. Hines. The boyfriend was reading a fantasy anthology called Gamer Fantastic and had really liked Hines’ “Mightier Than the Sword,” a short story about a man who could magically pull things out of books. It turns out that the short story eventually evolved into the Magic Ex Libris series (my friend Macy has written great reviews of the books here). Libriomancer is every fantasy geek’s dream: nods to fantasy and science fiction classics (“[…] had locked the book to keep the ring of power from escaping.”), references to newer series (“I had nearly given myself carpal tunnel trying to levitate that damn feather.”), love for Firefly and the Doctor (“What is it with you and brown jackets?”), and progressive women. I see the sequel Codex Born  in my near future.

magic ex libris

For now, though, I’m wrapped up in Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. Afraid of how it might draw me in, I had taken to studying it warily from a distance (i.e. the half meter from my desk to the shelves). Last night, we had words and I gave in. I’m often giddy, struck by how fortunate the world is that this book exists. It’s witty (“Oh god, it’s funny,” I wanted to tweet, but stayed my hand and kept reading instead), skillfully constructed, and surprisingly easy to read. I’m currently three quarters of the way in and have been wanting to sing its praises from the rooftops. It is just so good.

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Here is the book trailer, which freaks me out a bit (and also, maybe, it’s a little spoiler-y so beware):

I guess that’s it for now. My science beckons. Have a great reading week, all!

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Deal Me In 2014: A Short Story Reading Challenge

This year, we’re participating in Deal Me In 2014, a short story reading challenge hosted by Jay over at Bibliophilopolis

deal me in logo

Here are the mechanics as seen on the site:

What is the goal?
To read 52 short stories in 2014 (that’s only one per week)

What do I need?
1) Access to at least fifty-two short stories
2) A deck of cards
3) Less than an hour of reading time each week

Where do I post about my stories?
1) on your own blog or website if you have one (I will link to your post at the bottom of my weekly post. I currently plan to do my weekly post on Sundays)
2) if you don’t have a blog or website you may comment on my weekly post, sharing thoughts on your own story – or start one at WordPress or blogspot – it’s easy and free to create a basic blog.

How do I pick which stories to read?
(The 52 stories themselves are totally up to you.) Before you get started, come up with a roster of fifty-two stories (you can use any source) and assign each one to a playing card in a standard deck of cards. It can be fun to use different suits for different types of stories, but that is optional. Each “week,” (if you’re like me, you may occasionally fall a story or two behind) you draw a card at random from your deck and that is the story you will read.

Links to our short story lists:
Click here for Hanna’s list.
Click here for Kubi’s list.

This challenge is a fun, novel way to discover new authors and stories, to explore different genres, and to jumpstart the reading habit. We’re really excited to begin and we hope that you can join us!

Deal Me In 2014: A Short Story Reading Challenge