My daughter’s high school graduation is in a couple of hours, so now seems like the perfect time to write a wrap-up post for May.
But first! Exciting bookish news:
1. My friend Jasmine’s book, The Wedding Planner, is available for preorder. Did you know it has FAKE DATING in it, which is one of my favorite tropes ever? Well, it does. So you should read it. If you are a #DiverseBookBlogger who likes romance, you will especially like it.
2. My former minister and still friend Vince (the one whose new church was featured on the Today Show) is co-editor of a devotional called Rise Up!: Spirituality for Resistance. You know, if you were ever wondering What Would Jesus Do? re: these modern times. (My favorite devotion title so far is “Naps of the Bible” because…well, naps.) Anyway, this book is also available for preorder, and there is also a preview of the book available so you can know if it’s for you (it is).
3. Not news, but: This tribute Rick Riordan wrote for his wife warmed my heart all the way through. Just..ALL THE WAY THROUGH.
Okay, now I can get to the wrap up.
1. April was all about the Blogging from A to Z Challenge around these here parts wherein I posted every day in April (except Sundays but on the last Sunday) about something that corresponds to a letter of the alphabet. My theme was gratitude, and you can find all of my posts here. I’ll be doing a full reflection post, as requested by the challenge admins, on May 8.
2. April was also all about the end of the semester, which means I AM DONE. This is the first time I have *ever* not taught during the summer, ever. EVER. Even in grad school, I taught every summer. That’s twelve years with no actual summer break. However, that all changes this year. SUMMER VACATION.
So, I said that I want to read these 24 books in 2017:
I have read exactly two of them:
1. March was all about the Slice of Life challenge. I posted every single day in March, and, if you missed any, you can find them all here.
If I were still doing the challenge, I might have posted yesterday about going to the NCAA regional semifinals for gymnastics which was pretty cool. I would have complained about the lack of distinctive leotards and how bars seemed to be every single team’s nemesis and also the awful, awful music used for some of the floor routines. Also the price of stadium food. I would have gloated about spending time with a super cool lady friend and that our team made it to the finals. But then I would have possibly made a sadface as I described how me and my friend figured out there’s no way we can make it to the finals.
2. In February, I read five books:
So, January passed pretty quickly. I mean, it dragged emotionally but I can’t quite believe it’s already February. Things are going well here; they’re just busy as all get out. I have a ton of grading (shocker, I know) along with some prep and then there’s my life that’s not work: I’m serving on a search committee for our church’s new minister. That’s not even counting my support groups, bible study, working out (of which I have not done nearly enough), or, oh, I don’t know, being a mom or a person who lives in a house that I would like to enjoy.
1. I watched the premiere of Riverdale (The CW). While I liked some parts of it, I did not love it. Nor did I like it enough to keep watching. The main reason is that it took this bright poppy bubblegum comic:
And turned it into this dreary and aesthetically displeasing bleakness:
Number Of Books You Read: 92
Number of Audiobooks: 6
Number of Rereads: 5
Number Unfinished/Abandoned: 8
Best in Books
1. Best Book You Read In 2016?
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Okay, so I listened to this on audio, which I think made it just that much more amazing.
Leah is a complete badass and spills ALL THE TEA. All of it. Every last drop. My girl names names and everything. ALL OF THE NAMES.
I love this book. Love, love, love. Remini is fierce and funny and also a little hood, which I completely appreciated.
Read Harder 2016: Read a book about religion (fiction or nonfiction)
I read 11 books this month!
- Alex + Ada, Vol. 2 by Jonathan Luna
- Raven the Pirate Princess Book 1: Captain Raven and the All-Girl Pirate Crew by Jeremy Whitley
- Scrum by Jeff Sutherland
- The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan
- Royal Wedding Disaster by Meg Cabot
- Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card
- A Hero Ain’t Nothin’ But a Sandwich by Alice Childress
- Sweet Sixteen by Linda A. Cooney
- The Boy Who Drank Too Much by Shep Greene
- Now That I Know by Norma Klein
- Necessary Roughness by Marie G. Lee
Some good news/other observations:
1. I am finally at 50% books by or about people of color, which means I am on track for my Diversity on the Shelf reading goal. YAY.
2. I joined Andi’s Smash Your Stack reading challenge on May 18 through the month and more than half of my books count toward that.
3. I decided as part of smashing my stack to do Jenna’s Take Back Your Shelves Readathon over the weekend, which helped me commit even harder to actually reading my own books while I sat by the pool. (It’s a hard life I live, I tell you.) Three of the six smash my stack books were read during that.
4. No five-star books this month, but I did give five of the books four stars (and one three), which means I really liked pretty much half of them. I’ll take it.
5. I’m getting tired of reading my own books because now that’s starting to feel like required reading (which…I have pretty much declared it so since I am trying to finish the books in anticipation of my move). It might be time to take a break from that Or at least read the rest of them in a different order (I was going alphabetically because that’s how my shelves are organized). Also, I realized that I have some of my friend’s books that I should probably read before SHE moves out of town. Forever. So.
This month, I finished seven books:
- A Tangle of Gold (The Colours of Madeleine #3) by Jaclyn Moriarty
- The Adventures of Superhero Girl by Faith Erin Hicks
- The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
- Princeless, Vol. 3 by Jeremy Whitley
- Princeless, Vol. 4 by Jeremy Whitley
- Demigods & Magicians by Rick Riordan
- Necessary Endings by Henry Cloud
I did way better reading toward Diversity on the Shelf this month. I’m at 47% of books read so far counting towards the challenge, which means I’m much closer to my 50% goal than I have been. Also, 5 out of 7 of the books I read this month count. I’m not counting Tangle of Gold, though I probably should. There’s a great commentary on Ko and her dad’s race/ethnicity in the book, and since she is a POV character and owns my heart, I really really should count it. My hesitation is just that it comes so late in the series. But still. I’ll have to give it a little more thought.
I was going to say I feel vaguely dissatisfied about my reading, but that’s not true. I think it’s just that I’m not excited about reading anything else yet. I have book club books lined up, which is both a plus and a minus because, usually, once the semester is over, I do not want to do ANY assigned reading of any sort, even if I had a hand in choosing the books. So we’ll see how that goes. But I have nothing that I’m super looking forward to reading. I should probably change that.
Most of my April books had a real touch of whimsy and fun to them, and I want to keep that going. I NEED FUN BOOKS. I need whimsy, darn it.
I also probably need a nap.
Looking ahead, I have signed up for this year’s Armchair BEA. If I learned nothing else from the A to Z Challenge, I now understand the importance of planning ahead, so I am going to start working on those posts this week. Right after I finish prepping for my summer course that starts next week (on Monday!). And writing my A to Z wrap-up/reflection post.
This past week, I finished:
Great book. Well-drawn and sympathetic characters…even when I didn’t want them to be.
3/31/16: I got to pick for book club (finally!) and picked this one. I feel the exact same way about the book that I did the first time, so yay for that. These characters break my heart.
View all my reviews
It is really, really, REALLY hard for books or movies or TV shows to surprise me, and this book did. Also, Princess Ko is the absolute best. I 100% love her, and she has entered the pantheon of my favorite female characters, the likes of which include Ella from Ella Enchanted.
Overall, I give the entire series five stars, and The Cracks in the Kingdom is my favorite in the trilogy.
Last month, I read:
This past month I finished seven books, two of which were rereads and two that fulfilled categories in the Read Harder challenge (book about religion, historical fiction). I’m at 12 books out of 31 for Diversity on the Shelf, which means I still haven’t achieved 50% of the books I’ve read being by or about people of color. I definitely need to do better there. Oh, and Goodreads tells me I am three books ahead of schedule for their reading challenge.
Last week, I posted:
I signed up for the A to Z reading challenge, which means there’s quite a bit of activity here for the next month. Here are the posts I’ve made for the challenge so far:
[wrap-up-posts week=”13″ year=”2016″ category=”Blogging A to Z” listtype=”ul”]
As of today, I’m reading:
Yep, I’m still making my way through Necessary Endings. I started The Adventures of Superhero Girl by Faith Erin Hicks (it started as a webcomic) on the suggestion of a coworker. We were having a prof dev session on building a web presence, and I showed him this blog. Apparently, we read a lot of the same things, so he thought I might like ASG. It’s pretty cute so far, so he wasn’t wrong.
I was traveling this weekend and checked out The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin for my Kindle. I’m only about five or so pages in, so I have no idea how I feel about it quite yet. We’ll see how it goes the rest of the week.
Happy reading, everyone!
This is actually a combo post! It’s a day late, so an It’s Tuesday! What Are You Reading? deal instead of IMWAYR. Plus, the monthly to-do. Let’s get to it.
This past week, I finished:
This was super cute and fun, even though I hate both the title and the cover. There is a smidgen of fake dating in this book–but not enough to make it a fake dating book. I will say, though, that every single one of the fake dating scenes filled me with glee. Fake dating for everyone!
Janette Rallison is now one of my go-to authors when I need something fun and light to read, for sure.
The first half of this book bored me and the second half infuriated me.
I could buy that a woman out of her mind with grief and living in isolation could think a baby washing up on shore was the answer to her prayers.
I could buy that her husband would feel guilty and responsible for his wife’s loss and isolation and go along with not reporting the found baby.
However, I could not buy that (view spoiler) I mean, SERIOUSLY. That is where the book 100% lost me.
Anyway, the book club discussion was lively, so there’s that.
So, all in all, February was:
A solid reading month. I finished 7 books, which is actually more than I thought I had read. Granted, I did DNF one book (Re Jane) and another one was slow-going (The Light Between Oceans), so it happens.
I read three books for Diversity on the Shelf, which is about half of my reading for this month, so I met that goal for the month. However, I’m at 8/21 for my overall reads, which is not keeping me on track to my goal of 50% by or about POC for the year. I’m sure it’ll correct itself eventually, but that’s where I am.
After giving it some thought, I’m going to count Proposal by Meg Cabot for the Read Harder Challenge. It’s not by or about a POC, but, quite frankly, I don’t see myself reading any other non-kid lit books under 100 pages any time soon. If I do, I’ll note it, but for now, I’m good.
That means I’ve completed the following categories for that challenge:
- Read a middle grade novel
- Read a biography (not memoir or autobiography)
- Read a book under 100 pages
- Read a non-superhero comic that debuted in the last three years
- Read a food memoir
- Read the first book in a series by a person of color
I’m feeling pretty good about my progress there. I was kind of stressing out about it at first, but then I remembered that I basically read from all of the categories last year, so if I just read the way I usually read, I’ll probably wind up doing the same if I don’t overthink it. There are a few categories that take me out of my comfort zone, and I have to be more aware there, but I am confident that I’ll complete the whole challenge.
As of today, I’m reading:
My hold on the Leah Remini audiobook came in at the library yesterday, and I am loving it so far. She narrates it herself (of course!), and it’s stellar. If you want to know how cults work, definitely check out her book. Not only that, but she’s funny and real and raw. And so, so Brooklyn.
I read Something Rotten by Alan Gratz (Hamlet retelling) years ago and remembered the other day that I never read the second book, which is why I’m now reading Something Wicked, a Macbeth retelling. I like how Gratz is playing with the names and characters so far (Macbeth is Mac, Lady Macbeth is Beth, and there’s a dog named Spot–obviously, at some point, Beth is going to have to tell Spot to get out of something, and I am super looking forward to that moment).
One of the Read Harder categories is historical fiction set before 1900, and I absolutely 100% did not want to read a book about slavery. Enter Destiny’s Embrace by Beverly Jenkins. (Thanks to my friend Jasmine for the rec!) I just started this today, and it’s working for me so far.
I’m on spring break this week, and I think I may wind up reading more than these three, but we’ll see. Happy reading, everyone!