Kubi’s March in reading

Terry Pratchett died. I cried silently in bed, wrapped in blankets and the early morning haze. I sent a text message to my oldest friend, who shares a love of Discworld with her father. We talked about how Sir Terry passed and I thought of an old blog post I’d written about him and Neil Gaiman. Later that week, I bought his non-fiction collection A Slip of the Keyboard, wanting to hang on to more of his words.


I read the rest of Lev Grossman’s Magicians Trilogy, which made me think about my own growing pains. The second of the series, The Magician King, marked my return to reading after the desert that was February. I realized long ago that fantasy novels help me regain my reading mojo. The heft of these tomes anchor my wandering attention span, preparing me for the relatively long-term (in this day and age) commitment of finishing a book.

After Magicians, I read Astragal by Albertine Sarrazin. Sarrazin was a French-Algerian writer, a storm of a woman who wrote two novels while serving time for armed robbery. Astragal is about a prison break and all the hiding that ensues. A young woman named Anne escapes prison by climbing over the compound’s wall and, in the process, falls and breaks her ankle – the astragalus bone. She meets a kindred spirit named Julien who helps her and the two fall in love. Patti Smith wrote the foreword to this new reprint of the novel, saying how Albertine and “her luminous eyes led [Smith] through the darkness of her youth.” So it was that I came to read Smith’s Just Kids, the story of her life with the artist Robert Mapplethorpe in New York City around the late 60’s and 70’s. The prose was an absolute delight, poetic but not too flowery, honest but somehow still nostalgic. One reviewer remarks on how Smith managed to maintain an air of innocence throughout the memoir and I agree. They were, after all, just kids.

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So, all for now wombats. I’m looking forward to the promise of summer reading. I’ve got the rest of the Outlander series to work on for the next couple of months (Happy Outlander Day!), as well as a few essay and short story collections. What are your summer reading plans?

Kubi’s March in reading

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.


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.


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?

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!


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


  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


Here, belatedly, are my favorites for 2014:


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

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


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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

It’s Monday! What are you reading?