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Reviewlettes: Three Fun Comics

One of the (many) things I love about my local library is that they’ve been doing a lot to expand their collection of comics. When I stopped in before the Readathon, I managed to walk out with quite the stack to choose from. I had to return many of them unread — I’m trying to clear the shelves before vacation — but realized I’ve still read quite a few excellent comics so far this year. Today I was to share three of them that I’d highly recommend.

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

american born chinesePretty much no one needs me to tell them that Gene Luen Yang is an incredible comic talent and that his books are necessary reading (just to read my friend Andi’s piece about his work on Panels if you don’t believe me). American Born Chinese was my first of his comics, but it certainly won’t be the last. He does an amazing job bringing together Chinese myths and a current experience of being Asian American in a creative and unique way. It was so great.

Cat Person by Seo Kim

cat person by seo kimI picked up Cat Person at the library on a whim, since I am a crazy cat lady. And it was perfect. Kim has this goofy, sketchy style that works perfectly with the short little vignettes she puts together about weird specifics of life with a cat. Other sections are just sort of goofy, everyday life observations that somehow managed to perfectly capture moments of my life right now. I gave this book to the boyfriend after I finished reading it and he really enjoyed it too. I was totally delighted.

Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

sisters by raina telgemeierI bought a copy of Sisters last fall when my sister and I were traveling in Europe – a comic about two sisters traveling together just seemed too perfect. When I read it during the Readathon last month, it made me really nostalgic for the family vacations we took when I was a kid. Like Telgemeier, I have a younger sister and brother, and like their family we took an epic road trip out west when we were about those ages – all the feelings! It’s a charming book, drawn beautifully in full color. I loved it. I loved it so much, in fact, that I immediately checked out another one of her books, Drama, from the library. That was delightful too. 

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links through Amazon. If you make a purchase through any of those links, I will receive a small commission.

April 2016 Reading Wrap Up

Thanks especially to the Readathon, April was a pretty stellar month of reading. I finished a total of 13 books across a range of genres and formats – it’s quite a list!

  1. Girls and Sex by Peggy Orenstein (nonfiction)
  2. American Housewife by Helen Ellis (short stories, audio book)
  3. Rain by Cynthia Barnett (nonfiction)
  4. Spinster by Kate Bolick (nonfiction)
  5. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee (fiction)
  6. The Regional Office is Under Attack by Manuel Gonzales (fiction)
  7. The Red Parts by Maggie Nelson (memoir)
  8. Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhink (nonfiction)
  9. The Book of Unknown Americans by Christina Heinríquez (fiction)
  10. Sisters by Raina Telgemeier (memoir, comics)
  11. Saga, Vol. 5 by Bryan K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples (comics)
  12. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stievfvater (YA fantasy)
  13. The Expatriates by Janice Y.K. Lee (fiction)

Honestly, I’m having a hard time picking favorites. Girls and Sex was a really important read, and one I’m eager to discuss with other people. I flew through Spinster, which also got me thinking a lot about gender and family. The Regional Office is Under Attack was such a fun read, as was The Raven Boys. And both The Expatriates and The Book of Unknown Americans were glimpses into contemporary worlds I’ll never get to experience.

The one read of the month I really, really didn’t like was Go Set a Watchman, which I picked up for our local library book club. The writing and pacing was just so poor, I had a hard time getting past that to think more carefully about what Harper Lee might have been trying to say about growing up, coming home, and facing your childhood in a new way. It could have been a really different – and potentially more complicated – novel than what To Kill a Mockingbird eventually became… I’m sad we didn’t get that.

#ReadMyOwnDamnBooks Update

I’ve finished 37 books so far this year, 20 that were books I own. Of those, 14 were books purchased before 2016. So… that’s a decent bit of shelf-clearing so far this year (if you ignore the number of books I’ve bought and not read yet… but shh!).  

A Look to May

I have three review copies on my reading pile for this month, one fiction and two nonfiction:

I started LaRose over the weekend and wow, I can already tell it’s going to be a good one. I can’t wait to dive into the other two.

The most exciting thing to look forward to this month is going to Chicago for Book Expo America next week. There are going to be a lot of great books at the show – I’m sure my reading plans are going to be derailed by something unputdownable that I pick up there.

For now, though, I’m going to keep making my way through the next two books in The Raven Cycle – The Dream Thieves and Blue Lily, Lily Blue. I’m glad I didn’t start the series until it was completely published (the final book, The Raven King, came out last week) – I’m going to binge straight through!

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links through Amazon. If you make a purchase through any of those links, I will receive a small commission.

currently may 1 2016

Briefly | It was a rough week — I was kind of frazzled and didn’t sleep well at all — but the weekend has been calm and productive. I’m trying to enjoy it before diving back into the fray tomorrow. Yay, weekends.

Reading | I thought my reading would take a dive after the Readathon last weekend, but that has not been in the case. I finished two books this week — The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater and (finally) The Expatriates by Janice Y.K. Lee. All the buzz about The Raven King, the last book in Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle quartet, got me excited about the series, so I decided to give it a whirl. YA fantasy will be good for the few days of vacation reading I have coming up. And The Expatriates was really great, such an interesting exploration of motherhood and family and the roles women play at different times in their lives.

Watching | The boyfriend and I are excited that summer tv has started back up again — we’re into Game of ThronesSilicon ValleyVeep (that’s more me than him) and Orphan Black.

Listening | I’m super close to finishing up The Caped Crusade: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture by Glen Weldon. Florinda (The 3R’s Blog) had good things to say about it, and I tend to agree with her review. Batman isn’t among my favorite superheroes, but the book is really smart in the way it explores how our feelings about Batman reflect broader changes in the pop culture landscape and the differences between “nerds” and “normals.”

Cooking | I’ve got all the ingredients to make Creamy Parmesan Zucchini Rice from Iowa Girl Eats later today. We grilled steaks last night and have some leftover, which I think will pair pretty well with this side.

Blogging | This week I shared some thoughts on Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhink and linked up to an epic Book Riot post — 100 Must-Read Memoirs.

Promoting | Our Book Bloggers at BEA 2016 Facebook group has been busy this week. I’m so looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting new bloggers at the conference (it’s coming up so fast!).

Hating | My Chromebook touchpad is being wonky this morning… it’s super annoying!

Loving | Yesterday morning I finally sat down and looked through the schedule for BEA and made some notes about session I want to attend and books I’d like to try and get. It’s nice to feel like part of my vacation next week is organized.

Avoiding | Ice cream? I started logging food again in attempt to get my eating back under control and try to drop a few pounds. It’s good, but also super annoying.

Anticipating | Vacation! On Friday after work the boyfriend and I are leaving to go to Milwaukee to spend some time with his mom. Then I’m heading down to Chicago for BEA while he heads home. I really excited about the trip… but not all the stuff that needs to get done before I can go!

Happy Sunday, everyone! What are you reading today?

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links through Amazon. If you make a purchase through any of those links, I will receive a small commission.

Book Riot: 100 Must-Read Memoirs

100 Must-Read Memoirs

A couple of weeks ago, I had a pretty epic post go up over at Book Riot — 100 Must-Read Memoirs. It was such a fun post to put together, especially because it made me realize how much the genre has blossomed, especially in the last couple of decades. As I wrote in my introduction:

I know quite a few readers who credit reading a memoir as their gateway into other nonfiction. While I certainly love memoirs for that, it’s also a genre that stands well on it’s own. A great memoir takes a reader into a different world, bringing them along as the author faces struggles big and small. Memoirs can make you laugh, cry, think and yearn to explore new ideas.

I thought I was pretty well-read when it comes to memoirs, but as I put together this list of 100 must-read memoirs, I realized the explosion of the genre of late has left me with a lot of catching up to do.

I hope you’ll jump over to Book Riot and check it out!

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notorious rgbThe most surprising fact I learned about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg – aka Notorious RBG – this weekend is that her reputation as a fiery dissenter on the Court is a product of just the last 10 to 15 years of her tenure. For most of her storied career, RBG has been someone who works to develop consensus, fighting for equality in the law through incremental steps and focused decision-making.

I’m so glad that I finally picked up my copy of Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhink during this weekend’s readathon. This breezy, informative, and well-produced biography was fun to read and piqued my interest to dig more into the issues that were part of her career as a pioneering lawyer and judge.

And of course, the book is filled with many more fun facts than that: RBG works out regularly and (at 83) can do 20 push-ups. She has a particular jeweled collar she likes to wear when reading dissents. She was the first tenured female professor at Columbia Law School. She lives on coffee and can get away with just a few hours of sleep every night. She wrote a book about civil procedure in Sweden. She’s basically a super woman.

In addition to just being boundary-breaking in her life and career, RGB worked to secure equal rights for women as co-founder of the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project in the 1970s. Reading about the cases RBG helped lead filled me with feminist rage (in a good way). You guys, it’s almost ridiculous to think that within the last 50 years a woman could be fired for getting pregnant and widowers weren’t entitled to Social Security benefits because men weren’t acknowledged as caregivers for their children. Through her early career as an attorney, RBG led a focused, incremental dismantling of laws that hurt women, working towards a more egalitarian vision that saw men and women as equals. There’s a lot to admire in her strategy.

The only drawback of Notorious RBG – if you can even call it a drawback – is that it’s so brief. As I was reading, I wanted to keep learning more about the various movements, organizations and moments that RBG has been part of through her career. So of course, I started putting together a Notorious RBG Reading List:

If you enjoy feminist biographies, Tumblr, kick ass ladies or legal drama, Notorious RGB might be right up your alley — I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links through Amazon. If you make a purchase through any of those links, I will receive a small commission.