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Currently | Visions of the Summer Ahead

currently may 3 2015.jpg

Time and Place | About 9 a.m. on my favorite chair in the living room.

Eating and Drinking | We had our first “official” dinner on the deck on Friday night — steak, potatoes, broccoli and new summer cider. Hooray for beautiful weather.

Reading | I went totally off plan this week thanks to the arrival of an ARC of Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen. This is the second in a planned trilogy (I think) set in a distant future country that’s returned to feudal rules and technology. Instead of books I “should” be reading, I reread the first book, Queen of the Tearling, then flew through the second. But I have seriously mixed feelings about them! On the one hand, I love the characters and, to an extent, the story. But I feel like the rules of the world that Johansen set up aren’t clear and, when magic is involved, there are no established rules. That makes it hard to settle in, or feel like the plot has any logical place to go… I want to talk about these with people!

Watching | We went to go see Avengers: Age of Ultron last night, and it was awesome! It had everything I love in super hero movies. I loved the way they built out some of the Avengers backstories — Hawkeye, for example, had more dialogue in this movie than in all of the other Marvel movies combined — and that there were lots of jokes. Good job, Joss Whedon.

Listening | I’m still making my way through Missoula by Jon Krakauer. This one is great, but very hard to listen to for a length of time.

Blogging | This week I shared five novels that I’d recommend (and when you should read them), as well as took a look back at my reading in April.

Promoting | I was interviewed about my life as a book blogger by Freya at Freado Blog. You can read all about how I started blogging, my routine as a blogger/editor (not much of one at all), and my biggest book blogging pet peeve.

Hating | April. April was terrible. Good riddance.

Loving | My friend Erin came to visit this weekend, so we’ve been hanging out and exploring my small town. It’s fun to explore a place you know well with someone new, to see it with fresh eyes.

Loving II | This week has just been beautiful, warm and sunny but without the high humidity we can expect when summer arrives. I’m trying to soak it all in as much as possible.

Anticipating | Today Erin and I have a long day of laziness planned. I took tomorrow off work so we can go shopping and exploring in a bigger town about 45 minutes away. Yay.

Happy Sunday, everyone! What are you reading today?

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April 2015 Reading Wrap Up and a Look to May

April was a pretty stressful month on the personal side, but pretty darn good when it came to reading. Thanks to the Readathon on Saturday, as well as some time spent with comics, I managed to finish 12 books this month:

  1. Gooch, Brad: Smash Cut (memoir)
  2. Battles, Matthew: Palimpsest (nonfiction)
  3. Stevenson, Noelle: Lumberjanes, Vol. 1 (comics)
  4. Stevenson, Noelle: Lumberjanes, Issues 5 – 8 (comics)
  5. Daum, Meghan: The Unspeakable (essays)
  6. Simison, Graeme: The Rosie Project (fiction)
  7. Dean, Margaret Lazarus: Leaving Orbit (creative nonfiction)
  8. Palfrey, John: Biblio TECH (nonfiction)
  9. Wilson, G. Willow: Ms. Marvel, Vol. 2 (comics)
  10. Whitehead, Colson: Zone One (fiction)
  11. King, Lily: Euphoria (fiction)
  12. Johansen, Erika: The Queen of the Tearling (fiction)

There were a lot of pretty great books on the list. I really enjoyed Lumberjanes, which I read as a trade paperback and some single issues on Scribd (an ebook subscription service). I think there’s a few more volumes out, but I wanted to wait until I could read them in a chunk.

My other two favorites for the month were probably Leaving Orbit by Margaret Lazarus Dean (May 19 from Graywolf Press) and Euphoria by Lily King. I wrote about Euphoria earlier this week, and I’m planning a review of Leaving Orbit closer to the publication date. Rereading The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen was pretty great too – I can’t wait for the second book in the trilogy!

A Look to May

I’ve gone a little crazy at the library over the last few weeks, so I have many books checked out. I’m hoping to get to a lot of them before they need to go back during the middle of the month. A few on the pile are:

  • Bachelor Girl by Betsy Israel – A look at how single women have been portrayed in popular media over the last 100 years.
  • Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast – A memoir about how a woman and her parents dealt with aging.
  • How We Got to Now by Steven Johnson – “Six innovations that made the modern world” from one of my favorite authors.
  • The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert – A Pulitzer Prize-winning look at the five mass extinctions in world history and how humans are starting to cause the sixth.

What books are you excited to read in May?

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Although I’ve mostly written about nonfiction this year, I’ve actually been reading quite a number of great novels over the last several months. While I wouldn’t recommend all of them to every reader, they all seem like perfect reads in certain situations.

euphoria by lily kingEuphoria by Lily King

Euphoria is the story of a love triangle between three young anthropologists studying tribes in New Guinea. It’s based loosely on the biography of Margaret Mead (and, not surprisingly, made me want to grab a biography of Mead ASAP). I’ve heard many people say they fell into the book and read it in one sitting, which was almost my experience. Whatever voodoo Lily King uses in her writing made the pages just fly by.

Recommended For: When you need a book you won’t want to put down.

the lost boys symphony by mark andrew fergusonThe Lost Boys Symphony by Mark Andrew Ferguson

I love books that blend genre elements with literary fiction. This book does just that, telling the story of a young man who is kidnapped by future version of himself after breaking up with his girlfriend and experiencing a mental breakdown. The plot of this one is bonkers, but at the core it’s a really heartfelt story about friendship and responsibility in the face of mental illness. I liked it a lot and can’t wait to see what Mark Andrew Ferguson writes next.

Recommended For: When you want a book that will make you pay close attention.

crazy rich asians by kevin kwanCrazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Crazy Rich Asians is a Pride and Prejudice inspired satire about the lifestyles of the rich and the astronomically rich families living in China, Singapore and Hong Kong. I enjoyed a lot about this novel – the humor, the story and the writing – and I’m curious about the sequel coming out soon. But I also couldn’t help feeling that if the book had been written by a woman, it would have been marketed as chick lit – that’s not a bad thing, just an observation about gender in publishing and marketing.

Recommended For: When you want something frothy and funny.

find me by laura van den bergFind Me by Laura Van Den Berg

I think I read Find Me at the wrong time, a time when I was not in the mood for a literary, psychologically complex dystopian novel. The book is set in a hospital in the middle of Kansas where a group of survivors is quarantined from a plague affecting the rest of the world. Yet things are not all they appear, and eventually the protagonist has to make a choice about what to do next. The writing is just beautiful, and although the novel as a whole didn’t quite land for me, I still liked reading it.

Recommended For: When you want a book with beautiful sentences and complicated psychology.

the walls around us by nova ren sumaThe Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma

This book has lots of awesome things – multiple narrators, ballerinas, a prison for teenage girls and ghosts. I loved the shifting narration, the careful use of magical and supernatural elements, and the honest story that Nova Ren Suma tells about the complicated world of the friendship of teenage girls. This one creeped me out and made me laugh and kept me guessing until the end of the novel.

Recommended For: When you need a reminder that teenage girls can be scary and awesome.

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Currently | The “Readathon Hangover” is Real

currently april 26 2015

Time and Place | It’s about 2 p.m. and I’m sitting in my favorite chair with the windows wide open behind me. It’s a beautiful day and I’m a little brain dead so this is going to be short!

Reading | I read a lot yesterday. Thank you, Readathon. I’m not sure how much I will read today, but if I do pick up a book it’ll be Lesser Beasts by Mark Essig (May 5 from Basic Books) or The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert.

Watching | My current favorite show is iZombie on The CW. It’s delightful. And, for the moment, the actor who played Arthur on Merlin is on the show in a recurring role. He’s damn charming. The boyfriend and I are also watching the third season of Orphan BlackTatiana Maslany continues to be amazing.

Listening | I’ve got two audio books going at the moment, Missoula by Jon Krakauer and God Help the Child by Toni Morrison.

Blogging | In addition to post about the Readathon yesterday and sharing my potential book stack, I wrote about an awesome memoir — It’s What I Do by Lynsey Addario.

Hating | I’m tired of having bad things happen to good people. It’s been like six weeks of bad news and I am just over it. Work last week was also pretty stressful, so that’s put me in a mood.

Loving | Two things that made me happy this week: Disney songs remixed as 90s slow jams and Obama’s anger translator showing up at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner.

Avoiding | I need to get my eating habits back in shape… but I just made chocolate chip cookies. So… yeah.

Anticipating | We’re supposed to have gorgeous weather this week… maybe even into the 80s by next weekend. I anticipate many long walks and an evening or two eating outside. Joy.

Happy Sunday, everyone! What are you reading today?

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Happy Spring 2015 Readathon!

read-a-thonHooray, it’s finally time for the spring 2015 edition of Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon! I can’t tell you how much I need a day devoted to reading and generally nerding out with fellow readers. It’s going to be great.

I’ll be doing most of my Readathon updates on Twitter (@kimthedork) and Instagram (kimthedork). I’m also planning to update this post with other notes using Storify, which I’ve used for the last couple of Readathons (and wrote about on the Readathon blog). You should be able to see the embedded Storify below, but if not follow this link. The most recent updates from the day will be at the top of the feed.

Happy Readathon, everyone!

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