Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: May and June 2015

We know, we know. It’s been ages since our last post. But we promise we’ve been reading! We had a lot to deal with these past few months: school, work, boredom, excruciating heat, household chores, catching up on movies and TV shows, family get-togethers, personal issues, among others.

Kubi and I have read plenty of brilliant books for the past two months, and these were our favorites:

MAY

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Hanna’s Favorite May Read: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Runner-up: The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman

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Kubi’s Favorite May Read: Green Lantern: Rebirth by Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver
Runner-up: I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

JUNE

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Hanna’s Favorite June Read: The Once and Future King by T.H. White
Runner-up: The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett

What were your favorite books from the last couple of months? What are you looking forward to reading this July?

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Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: May and June 2015

Hanna’s May in Reading

May was restless and temperamental. It was a struggle to juggle work and play and emotions and life, which explains the crickets and lack of updates, but I think I did a pretty decent job in terms of squeezing in a bit of reading time.

I went to Manila on the first weekend of the month to visit my best friends, eat good food, fangirl over Marvel’s Daredevil and The Avengers: Age of Ultron, raid Kubi’s bookshelves, and inhale comic books on Free Comic Book Day.

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IMG_2558FCBD haul: Trese by Budjette Tan & Kajo Baldisimo, and Saga by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples (photographs courtesy of the sister)

While I was there, I found The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman and Chris Rydell on Kubi’s bookshelf and devoured it in one sitting. I also read Lem’s copy of Comic Books 101: The History, Methods and Madness by Chris Ryall and Scott Tipton, as well as Kubi’s Mythspace, Vol. 1 by Paolo Chikiamco.

As for this month’s YA fix, Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun was a heartbreakingly beautiful read, while Sarah Dessen’s Saint Anything surprisingly had more depth and less of the romance that has become a staple in her novels.

Among the books I borrowed from Kubi is a slim novel called Light Boxes by Shane Jones, which kept me company on an uneventful summer afternoon. I’ve also been on a Harry Potter fix lately – a direct result of a spontaneous movie marathon of all eight films. I’ve been re-reading the novels as well, and I’ve just finished Prisoner of Azkaban, which still managed to make me burst into quiet sobs.

Anyhoo, the latest issue of Lumberjanes (#14) was still a riot, while Saga #28 could only be described as holy fuck.

My Civil War reading mission is still going swimmingly, thank you very much, although I read most of them on the last day of May because I wanted to take my mind off the harrowing Outlander season finale. I’ve also crossed out a few more items from my Eclectic Reader’s Challenge reading list, such as Jim Butcher’s Storm Front and Matthew Quick’s Boy21.

But my favorite May read is Emily St. John Mandel’s spectacular Station Eleven, which was dark and wonderful and eerie and touching. It also made me miss my Shakespeare class and being involved in theater productions. I wish I could articulate my feelings about this book, but I can’t at the moment. It’s frustrating, but I’m in the middle of attempting to finish my writing projects and that takes up most of my time these days.

That’s it for now, duckies. Happy reading!

Hanna’s May in Reading

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Hell-o, multiverse.

I let myself be gutted and finally finished reading Cheryl Strayed’s Tiny Beautiful Things. It was soul-smashingly beautiful, and it needs to be required reading for me and you and everyone we know.

In other news, my Civil War reading mission is going swimmingly, and I managed to read five more books from the list.

A progress update on this year’s Eclectic Reader ChallengeSaga, Vol. 1 was abso-fucking-lutely brilliant. Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples are, to borrow a phrase from Cheryl Strayed, “über-cool sparkle rocket mind-blowers,” and I loved every tiny beautiful thing about it.

I am currently reading T.H. White’s The Once and Future King, which has been sitting on my shelf for far too long. I almost feel ashamed that I have not read it sooner, but I’m just glad that I’m reading it now. This week, I plan on devouring more titles from Marvel’s Civil War, and read more about the magnificent omnishambles in Saga.

All for now, duckies. Have a wonderful reading week!

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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!

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Of Lists, Monster TBR Piles, and Frittering

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Illustration by Ping Zhu for The Oyster Review

Earlier this month, The Oyster Review put together a list of 100 best books published since 2010. I’ve read only four of the books in the top ten: Patti Smith’s Just Kids (#2), Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life (#3), Paul Murray’s Skippy Dies (#6), and Jennifer Egan’s A Visit to the Goon Squad (#7).

A multitude of my favorites showed up on the list, but I still have a lot of catching up to do. Looking through the entire list, I felt like Rory Gilmore in The Road Trip to Harvard, when she found out about the number of books in the Harvard Library:

I’m a failure. I am stupid. I am uninformed and ignorant and… I can’t even think of a second synonym for uninformed. I suck. Thirteen million volumes? I’ve read like, what, three hundred books in my entire life and I’m already sixteen? Do you know how long it would take me to read thirteen million books?

It’s impossible not to feel like I’ve been frittering away my whole life when my TBR pile is of gargantuan proportions, and there are lists, such as this one, that remind me of the number of books that I still have yet to read.

Anyhoo,  how many of The Oyster Review‘s 100 books have you read? What books would make it to your top ten? If you’re looking for excellent book recommendations, check out the list and let us know what you plan on reading.

Of Lists, Monster TBR Piles, and Frittering

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

March has churned out one delicious read after another, and it’s been an absolute pleasure. Last week was spent mostly devouring graphic novels such as Lilli Carré’s Heads or Tails and Scott McCloud’s The Sculptor. The former is a collection of short tales of whimsy and beautiful illustrations that look like graphic representations of one’s dreams, while the latter is a visual rumination on art, time, love, and life.

Some of my favorite ladies also managed to worm their way into my reading list: Felicia Day in The Guild, Tatiana Maslany as Sarah Manning and Helena in the first two issues of Orphan Black, and the hilarious trio of university students (Susan Ptolemy, Esther de Groot, and Daisy Wooton) in John Allison’s Giant Days.

Speaking of complex and fabulous ladies, perhaps my favorite thing in the world at the moment is a series called Lumberjanes from Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, and Brooke Allen.

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It chronicles the lives of a wildly disparate group of girls at a scout camp, where things aren’t what they seem. This happy potion is like an ingenious combination of some of my favorite things in life: Scooby Doo, Gravity Falls, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Happy Campers, and The Baby-Sitters Club. I read twelve issues in one night, and I still want MORE. Molly, Mal, April, Ripley, and Jo are the best, and I just really want to be in their girl gang, okay?

Anyhoo, I am about halfway through Daniel O’Malley’s The Rook, which features secret societies, supernatural forces, an amnesiac protagonist, and cheeky British humor. I’ve also been reading This One Summer, a graphic novel from Jillian and Mariko Tamaki. It tells the story of Rose and Windy in quiet observation and gorgeous shades of blue.

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On my TBR list for this week are Batman: Year One by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli, Runaways by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona, and a few books from my Eclectic Reader Challenge reading list. Kubi and I are also considering reading Dragonfly in Amber, the second book in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, in preparation for the return of the TV adaptation in April.

That’s it for today. Cheers, duckies. Have a great reading week!

*

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

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

The Eclectic Reader Challenge 2015

This year, I’ve decided to sign up for The Eclectic Reader Challenge 2015 hosted by Shelleyrae at Book’d Out. It is a fun challenge that encourages readers to explore different genres, discover new titles, and come up with a diverse selection of books for a richer reading experience.

You can learn more about the challenge here.

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These are the books I’ll be reading for the 2015 Eclectic Reader Challenge:

  1. A Retelling
    • Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
  2. A book set in a country starting with the letter S
    • The Forgetting Room by Nick Bantock (Spain)
  3. PI Crime
    • The Dresden Files #1: Storm Front by Jim Butcher
  4. A novel published before you were born
    • Pet Sematary by Stephen King
  5. Contemporary romance
    • Landline by Rainbow Rowell
  6. Fiction for foodies
    • Gourmet Rhapsody by Muriel Barbery
  7. Microhistory
    • The Girls of Murder City: Fame, Lust, and the Beautiful Killers who Inspired Chicago by Douglas Perry
  8. Science Fiction set in space
    • Saga, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
  9. Sports (Fiction or Non fiction)
    • Boy21 by Matthew Quick
  10. Featuring diversity
    • Ms. Marvel # 1: Meta Morphosis by G. Willow Wilson & Adrian Alphona
  11. Epistolary Fiction
    • Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple
  12. Middle Grade/YA Adventure
    • When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
The Eclectic Reader Challenge 2015

2014 Year-End Review: A Belated Post

How now, multiverse?

2015 was a stealthy little bugger. We’ve failed to write anything new this year, because LIFE, but we promise we’ve been reading!

KUBI:

Here, belatedly, are Kubi’s favorite books for 2014:

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  1. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  2. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
  3. Beware of Pity by Stefan Zweig
  4. Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
  5. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  6. Edge of Tomorrow by Hiroshi Sakurazaka
  7. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami
  8. Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill
  9. Mourning Diary by Roland Barthes
  10. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
  11. Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed
  12. Levels of Life by Julian Barnes
  13. The Prestige by Christopher Priest
  14. The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman
  15. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

HANNA:

Here, belatedly, are my favorites for 2014:

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A huge chunk of last year was spent hoarding books, worrying about shelf space, attempting to restrain my impulses, devouring YA novels like cake, and making feeble attempts at writing substantial posts.

I had the good fortune to find and hold in my hands some of the most gorgeous works of art such as a signed first edition of Sacré Bleu: A Comedy d’Art by Christopher Moore, which is a thing of beauty and a rollicking good read, and Griffin & Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence by Nick Bantock. Someone at work thrust the latter into my hands after learning that I love to read, and I’ve been in love with this series ever since. Nick Bantock is one of my favorite visual artists, and it’s always a delightful treat to find his books on display.

Another one of my favorite artists is Chip Kidd, who is responsible for some of the most clever and unforgettable book covers. I am always in awe of Chip Kidd’s work, and he did a masterful job with the art direction and design of The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami. It is a deliciously terrifying book, and I loved everything about it.

Sometimes, you come across a book that seems thoroughly in tune with your thoughts that it seems as if the universe conspired to have you read it at that particular moment, just when you needed it the most. Both The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet by Reif Larsen and Daytripper by Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba cut me from all angles and provided a much needed catharsis. These books are two of my favorite things on this planet, and I thank my lucky stars that they have made their way into my little corner of the world.

2014 also took me on a wild romp across space and time with stellar fantasy novels such as the unbefuckinglievably fantastic Vicious by V.E. Schwab, and the wonderfully silly Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman. Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor provided a satisfying conclusion to the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, which introduced me to Karou and her magnificence.

I was fucking stunned by the sheer genius of The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. I love Locke and the Gentlemen Bastards with all of my heart, but I especially love the book’s language, wit, and magnificent cussing. Scott Lynch is a word painter, and I can only dream of writing something as perfect as this:

“Some day, Locke Lamora,” he said, “some day, you’re going to fuck up so magnificently, so ambitiously, so overwhelmingly that the sky will light up and the moons will spin and the gods themselves will shit comets with glee. And I just hope I’m still around to see it.”

Speaking of sublime writing, I loved Just Kids by Patti Smith for its shockingly beautiful prose, and I underlined the bejeezus out of Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt. I savored every gorgeously written sentence of Jenny Offill’s Dept. of Speculation, which provided heartbreakingly beautiful vignettes about a long relationship and a faltering marriage. I unabashedly adored The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin for its charm, exploration of relationships, and emphasis on books and reading. Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger is damn near perfection, and I will always be in awe of how each story was written in such easy grace.

Finally, Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor was the perfect happy potion for a year in shambles. It is every bit as lovely and magical as it sounds. Laini Taylor has a beautiful way with words, and I devoured all of it with great relish.

It fills me with pleasure that I didn’t miss any of these books, each of which is a gift to this world, and made last year a little bit nicer.

2014 Year-End Review: A Belated Post

Currently Re-reading: American on Purpose by Craig Ferguson

I’ve been reading several books simultaneously for the past few days, but at this moment, I am revisiting this delicious memoir from my favorite cheeky monkey, Craig Ferguson.

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“Life got in the way, or, more accurately, I got in my own way. I was sidetracked and waylaid by my own demons…” – Craig Ferguson, American on Purpose

This was a post by Hanna, who is dreading Tuesday.

Currently Re-reading: American on Purpose by Craig Ferguson