November has come and gone and, with it, it’s time for another recap. It’s weird to think this is my second-to-last one before my year-long index is complete.
I have been another painfully slow reading month. I’m making it through less than half the books per month as the beginning of the year. I’m definitely frustrated with myself, but life has been so busy and when I sit town to read, it has been so hard to focus.
Still, this month’s list has a lot of high ratings. I may not have finished many books, but I loved almost everything. I got to revisit one of my all-time favorites in Pride and Prejudice, delighted in the epic finale of Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series, and enjoyed some quality poetry by Lin Manuel Miranda.
- Number of books read: 5
- Number of pages read: 2,120
- Number of audiobooks listened to: 1
- Number of rereads: 1
- Longest book: Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas
- Shortest book: G’Morning, G’Night by Lin Manuel Miranda
- Highest rating: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
- Lowest rating: The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurine Goo
I’m frugal with my five-star ratings, but any book that can make me cry deserves all the stars.
When I first read The Book Thief at sixteen, I didn’t see what the fuss was all about. It was good, but not great. I liked the writing, the story, and enjoyed the characters well enough, but it didn’t make an impression.
This time around, the book absolutely wrecked me.
I picked it up for one of my summer grad school classes and it was love from page one. I opted for the audiobook and soaked in every minute of my daily commute. Zusak’s writing is incredible. The characters are well-formed, with realistic development and motivations. The book’s themes about the power of words and the inconsistency of humanity are so well-implemented, I can’t get them out of my head. It’s taken me a month to sit and write out this review because there’s just so much to think about.
Reading The Book Thief as an adult was also a very personal experience. I’ve recently experienced several deaths and this book helped me grieve. I finished the same day I learned one of my favorite library patrons had died and the last fifteen minutes of the audiobook had me sobbing uncontrollably on my way home from work. I was a total traffic hazard. For someone who doesn’t cry often, this kind reaction is noteworthy. I haven’t connected with a story on this visceral a level in a long time.
Overall, this is the kind of book that you can’t look away from. It’s the kind of story that haunts you for years after reading and keeps bringing you back for more. It’s the kind of story that worms its way into your being. It sounds strange, but I feel a more complete person after reading this book.
Last night, I had the chance to meet Leigh Bardugo, author of the Grisha Trilogy and Six of Crows duology. While I’ve only discovered her work this year, she’s quickly become one of my favorite authors.
Bardugo has been busy this fall, with two books released in September. At the beginning of the month, Wonder Woman: Warbringer (the first of the D.C. Icons series) came out. I just finished listening to it on audiobook and it was really fun. This week, A Language of Thorns was released, which is a beautifully illustrated collection of folktales set in the Grishaverse world.
As part of my job as a librarian, I frequently host author talks, but this was my first time attending one that is part of a national tour. I’m the kind of girl who gets nervous around people I admire and frequently feel like I make a total fool of myself. (Seriously, it’s the worst when talking to attractive guys… I get sooo awkward.) Thus, coming face to face with an author whose work I love was really intimidating. But this was too good a chance to pass up. Continue reading
Format: eAudiobook from Overdrive / physical book
My Rating: 3.5 / 5 stars for both books
Over the past few months, I’ve read quite a bit of Schwab’s writing. Recently, I finished her Shades of Magic series, which I adored. Several of my friends on Goodreads were reading her YA Monsters of Verity duology, so I jumped on the bandwagon. In this post, I discuss both books in a relatively spoiler-free fashion.
On the whole I was… underwhelmed by these books. While there were aspects I really enjoyed, there was quite a bit that just didn’t capture my imagination. I’m realizing more and more that dark dystopia might not be my thing.
A bit about the books: the series takes place in a dystopian America in which the states are split into territories named after virtues. The main action takes place in the city of Verity, where monsters roam at night keeping everyone in terror. Verity is a city split in two, held together by a tenuous agreement that is quickly fraying. The north is lead by Callum Harker, who reigns through fear and uses the monsters to his advantage. The south is held by Henry Flynn, an ex-surgeon who heads the military-like organization, FTF.
The series centers around Kate Harker and August Flynn, the children of these two leaders. Kate is reckless, impulsive, and on a mission to prove her worth to her father. August, quiet and sensitive, just wants to be human. Pushed together by circumstances, they forge a deep friendship.
When preparing this post, I realized that I had written way too much content. Since I’ve begun writing reactions/reviews/summaries in a notebook immediately after finishing a book, I’ve noticed that my comments have gotten a longer. So I decided to do some shifting around, giving some of the books where I had more thoughts posts of their own.
Here, you can find my thoughts about several of my recent reads. Keep an eye out over the next week for others–I’ve got a writeup for a fantasy novel primed and ready to go and, as soon as I finish Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab, I’ll give the Monsters of Verity duology their own post.
Here’s what I’m discussing this week:
Book talk time! I’m definitely not a full-fledged book blogger. I definitely have the reading stamina, but don’t have enough drive to do all the writing. But I do love informally sharing what I’ve been reading lately. I used to call these posts Inbox//Outbox, but from here on out will just call them “What I’m Reading”. Because, really, that’s much more to the point.
So here is what I’ve been reading over the past few weeks!
Hunger: A Memoir of My Body by Roxanne Gay
Other possible title for this book: In Which Roxanne Gay Bares Her Soul. I can only imagine how much courage it took to write this book. It follows the trajectory of her life–after being sexually assaulted at the age of twelve, Gay turned to food as a comfort and safety mechanism. In this memoir, she shares the story of her life thus far and the experience of living in her body. She covers topics like sexual assault, fat shaming, weight loss TV shows, dating, etc. The writing was articulate and brutally honest. It broke my heart more than once.
Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett
This book is the PERFECT summer read! It’s a soft retelling of You’ve Got Mail, only it takes place in California with surfers and film lovers. I adored the main characters, Bailey and Porter. The whole “we are arch enemies” aspect of the plot faded pretty frequently, transitioning to “we bicker all the time because we are super attracted to each other”. The plot was predictable, but that didn’t diminish the enjoyability of the book. Sometimes, it’s absolutely lovely to sit down with a fluffy book that you can finish in a day. That book was it for me.
I’m joining in Top Ten Tuesday once more, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is a summer freebie. I’ve decided to do my list around books that feel like summer–which, for me, means a lot of things.
Some summer reads actually take place in the sunny season–featuring fluffy, light romances that are prefect for reading on the beach.
Others are funny and fun, which put me in the mindset of summer no matter the season.
Something about summer always puts me in the mood for epic fantasy… or just something really long that I can sink into.
And then there are the books that are a summer tradition. Not a year goes by that I don’t listen to Tolkien on audiobook.
Here’s the list…
A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
THIS BOOK COMES OUT ON TUESDAY AND THIS IS ME RIGHT NOW:
I feel like I don’t even need to say anything else.
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
I keep seeing this book everywhere and am deciding to give it a go. While it looks pretty trippy and weird, it has a high Goodreads rating. And the main character is a librarian… which, of course, is awesome.
The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
This has been on my TBR list for ages… in a moment of weakness, I ordered the audiobook from the library. I love Sanderson’s fantasy books, but I honestly don’t know if I can handle listening to this one. It is 45 hours long–which is even longer than the Geroge R.R. Martin books I listened to earlier this year. So, while I still really want to read this book and am including it in my list this week… might not actually get to it for a while.
I continue to surge through my reading lists and here is a bit of what I’ve recently covered and what I’m reading next.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
An old favorite… I’m usually drawn to it at least once every year. This year, I’m listening to it on audiobook during my commute. Rowell is one of my favorite YA authors and this book brings back so much. As a former fan fiction author, I deeply relate with Cath’s obsession with fictional worlds. Her journey through her first year of college brings me back to my own lonely, often miserable time as a freshman. Continue reading
I’ve noticed this book every time I’ve browsed through the Young Adult Fiction section at Target and finally decided to give it a shot. Being a bit of a world explorer, I’ve always been drawn to coming-of-age-in-Europe tales and was excited to get a taste of Italy.
Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
“I made the wrong choice.”
Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.
But then she is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and even herself.
People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.