Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Mini-Reviews: Wrapping up 2017

I realize 2018 is almost done and I'm just getting through the last of the mini-reviews for 2017 but that is what it is. Will I be able to catch up on 2018 before 2019 is over? Only time will tell.

To see the first part of December mini-reviews, check out the last mini-review post and man it has been a lot longer than I thought. October was a blur of, honestly, watching a lot of Disney movies on Freeform. They showed Monsters, Inc and Monster University about every other day and I think I watched at least part every single time. #priorities

December 2017 (part 2)

Almost Midnight by Rainbow Rowell
This is made up of two short stories by Rowell, one of which (Kindred Spirits) I had read and reviewed previously, and which I loved and have reread a few times. Midnights is an equally adorable sweet love story about high school friends Margaret and Noel at an annual New Year's Eve party growing together each year. The dialogue is fun and cute, something Rowell does oh-so-well. And the stories are short so really, there's no reason not to read this. I may go reread them right now...
Gif rating:

Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor
While I haven't listened to the podcast in awhile, I still have a special place in my heart for Welcome to Night Vale so I was pretty excited to read the book. First things first, you should probably listen to the podcast before reading this. At least some of it. You don't need to get all caught up (cos there are soooo many episodes) but at least get a feel, learn who the main characters are, get a feel for the style. Because I don't think the book will make any sense without some background. Not that it makes a huge amount of sense anyway, but that's Night Vale. The book was...fine. Overall, I'd rather listen to Cecil's comforting tones instead of reading it so maybe the audiobook would be better? But I also wasn't 100% into the story. I prefer getting these small glimpses into the lives of the Night Vale residents via community radio. A longer story delving deeper didn't really work for me since it got fairly tedious.
Gif rating:

You Don't Have to Like Me: Essays on Growing Up, Speaking Out and Finding Feminism by Alida Nugent
I don't remember when I first started following Nugent as the Frenemy but I was a fan and hey, this is a book about feminism and funny stuff and collections of essays from hilarious ladies is my jam so yeah, of course I was gonna check it out. So I enjoyed it but also, at this point, I honestly don't remember much of it. I liked it at the time but it didn't really stick with me. I may give it a reread (or at least skim through it). So I guess, if you like this sort of thing, check it out? Maybe from the library or something. Entertaining if not super memorable.
Gif rating:

Now onto the 2018 mini-reviews

*Full list of December 2017 books read
Reset: My Fight for Inclusion by Ellen Pao
Neurocomic by Dr. Matteo Farinella and Dr. Hana Ros
Almost Midnight by Rainbow Rowell
Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor
You Don't Have to Like Me by Alida Nugent

Thursday, November 1, 2018

October Reading Wrap Up

Time is flying and that's crazy. I mean I realize that's what time does and it marches forward* and all. Anyway, October is done and once again I had almost no Trick-or-Treaters (except two children who came to both my front and back doors and were legit surprised when the same person answered both) so I have a big bowl of candy and what oh what will I do with it? The goblin had his first Halloween wherein he spent most of the time looking around confused and/or napping. But what an adorable piece of sushi he was.
At some point I will stop adding pictures of him to the top of the blog posts. But not yet. 

Anyway, October reading. I messed up the pattern I had going (1 book in July, 2 in August, 3 in September) by reading too many books in October. Or reading/listening since audiobooks played a part in this. Mildly disappointed, though since I read 5 in October I could go for a Fibonacci sequence pattern instead. Except I'm not going to do that. 8 books in November. Ha. 

Let's get to those stats, shall we?

Number of books read
5
My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag by Jolie Kerr
Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach
Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson

Number of pages read
1,711

Fiction
20%
Turns out when I'm looking for easier reading, I turn to nonfiction. Probably because it's easier to put down and pick up again without having to remember lots of characters and plot points. 

POC authors
0%
I'm mad at me too

Female authors
60%

US authors
100%
Rereads
40%

Readalong/Book club selections
20%

Book formats
audibooks: 60%
ebooks: 40%

Where'd I get the book
Kindle/Audible: 100%

Decades published
1990s: 40%
2000s: 20%
2010s: 40%

Resolution books
40%
Which sounds impressive but it is only because 2 of the books I read were published before 2000. Both Bryson books, ones I have read many many times, although this is the first time I listened to them so that was fun.

Oh November, what will you bring? 

*Unless you're in the afterlife which, according to The Good Place (which you're watching, yes? Because it is super fantastic) is Jeremy Bearimy instead of straight.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Kids Books, I Have Thoughts

Since the little guy came along, I've been reading a lot more kids books. Because obviously I'm reading to him already. And we have lots of children's books due to excellent gift choices from friends and family AND the fact that my mom saved our children's books. I've already gone through 2 of those boxes and have a few more to dig through so there will be many books for the boy and right now the biggest problem is lack of bookshelf space. So far I have a large stack of Dr. Seuss books and dinosaur books. So many dinosaur books. Really hope he's into dinosaurs because that is definitely a theme in these books (And clothes. And music.*)
No dinos here, but look at this face
But here's something I've come to realize reading a bunch of children's books out loud after not having done that for many years: a lot of these books are so bad.

There are those that aren't great in terms of content. So far I haven't come across any in our collection that are SUPER terrible but there are pieces of some that I'm like "perhaps we'll skip this section". Or some that are just outdated in terms of facts (turns out dino books from the '70s don't have the whole evolution thing down yet). Or the Berenstain Bears book about how everyone is either a "he" or a "she" that maybe we won't be reading.

There are those stories that don't have the most...exciting plots, but I'm not worried about those. Tell me all about animals on a farm or about picking up a friend at the airport**.

But the books that bother me the most are the ones that are just poorly written. If you're going to write a children's book that rhymes (as so many do and I am down with that), yes, you need to make sure the words rhyme, but maybe lets pay some attention to meter and foot as well. You don't need a PhD for this, just try reading your stuff out loud and if it sounds off. Because this stuff is going to be read out loud.

So let's see, what books have been a success (at least from my pov. The boy isn't yet voicing his opinions in any reliable way)

Anything Dr. Seuss. I had a lot of his stuff growing up (including a couple that were my dad's growing up) and there can be some small parts here and there that are a bit...outdated. But overall I don't find myself cringing while reading them and Seuss understands the importance of making them sound good, of finding the rhythm to the words. Current fav is Yertle the Turtle.

In My Heart: A Book of Feelings by Jo Witek, illustrated by Christine Roussey. It's an adorable book about all of the feelings (sad, happy, silly, angry) that you can have and that it's OK to have these feelings.
A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss presented by John Oliver of Last Week Tonight. LGBT love story about bunnies at the White House and voting out the stinkbug in charge who does not want two boy bunnies to get married and this is the type of stuff we need right now.
Little Feminist collection (Activists, Artists, Pioneers and Leaders) by Emily Kleinman, illustrated by Lydia Ortiz. The board books are short (1 sentence per page, about 4 pages per book) which is about the attention span he has right now.
Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd. A classic about a mom following around the little bunny who wants to run away (without being like that other book where the mom breaks into her adult son's house) and it is cute and also mentioned in Where'd You Go, Bernadette which is just bonus points.


There are more we've read and enjoyed but the goblin stirs so we'll have to stop here. Oh and if you have recommendations for children's books, I'm all ears!


*Did anyone else have the Wee Sing series growing up? Because they were swell.
**Legit the subject to one of the books we have and big fan when we learned THAT'S what the book was about. Sometimes life is mundane, but it is nice to pick up friends at the airport. So those are two good lessons

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

September Reading Wrap Up

Hey, did you know that September ended? Like over a week ago. Turns out days and weeks and months start to blend together on maternity. But he's started smiling and making noises so it's give and take.
I mean, look at this face
I have also continued to increase the amount of reading I'm getting done. One book in July, two in August and now three in September. I mean, not counting children's books, which I am also reading to the little one but not keeping track of. AND I finally got a library card so getting back into a good reading groove. Or at least working my way back that way.

Stat time? Stat time.

Number of books read
3
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith
Blood, Bones and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton
Choose Your Own Disaster by Dana Schwartz

Number of pages
933

Fiction
33%

POC Authors
0%
Female authors
67%

US authors
100%

Rereads
33%

Book formats
ebook: 100%
Still doing most of my reading on my phone given how much easier it is to read with one hand while I'm holding something in the other hand (baby, bottle, pacifier, etc. Life is super exciting now)

Where'd I get the book
Kindle: 100%

Decades published
2010s: 100%

Resolution books
0%
I will get better here. Hopefully soon

Let's see how October goes! Better ? Maybe

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Mini-reviews: November & December (part I) 2017

So let's try again for these mini-reviews. Those reviews that I already wrote and then were lost, probably to end up with all the missing hair ties and socks the dryer eats.

I was saying that I am impressed with how quickly I am getting through these mini-reviews. It helps that right now I'm on maternity and it's not that I suddenly have TONS of time because maternity is like a vacation (it is NOT) but the munchkin does do a lot of sleeping which gives me some down time. Sure, writing these posts happens in bursts but I'm getting more done than when I was pregnant and had more time but lacked the mental energy (dammit work, for zapping that). We'll see what happens with posting once work starts up again but hopefully I'll be able to catch up with the mini-reviews before then.

It turns out in November 2017 I only have one book I read that I haven't already reviewed*, but there are a bunch in December, so here are the reviews for November plus half of December.

November 2017
Gabi, A Girl In Pieces by Isabel Quintero
Excellent coming-of-age book about Mexican-American high schooler Gabi dealing with a number of things: parental and cultural expectations, dating, a gay friend dealing with discrimination, another friend who is pregnant, a drug-addicted father, a pregnant mother, a brother getting into all kinds of trouble, and self-image, as Gabi spends a lot of time emotional eating. There's a lot going on, with some heavy topics, but it feels natural, not overwhelming.
Gif Rating: 


December 2017, part I
Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change by Ellen Pao
Memoir of Ellen Pao's life and especially her gender discrimination case against the venture capital firm she used to work for as well as her time as interim CEO at reddit, working to get rid of some of the seedier parts of the site. She talks about her upbringing, her accomplishments (degrees in Engineering, Law and Business from Princeton and Harvard) before getting to her time at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. She talks about how intense the work is and what she has to do, as a woman to be taken seriously, while being passed up for promotions and being shut out of opportunities that were set up for men only. I enjoyed the content and believe Pao but the writing isn't great. It's not terrible but it can be repetitive and there are times where Pao really hammers in her degrees and accomplishments. Important topic but not my favorite writing.
Gif Rating: 


Neurocomic by Hana Ros and Matteo Farinella
Graphic novel about the inner workings of the brain, told as something of an Alice in Wonderland type story. It gets into the science of dopamine and neurotransmitters and some of the history of how we know the things we know. Or they know. I dunno how much of the science I've retained but that may be more on me than the book and the way the information is presented. Fun story and hey, maybe you'll learn something. And if not, hey, there's a giant squid at one point, so that's fun.
Gif Rating: 


*Full list of November 2017 books read:
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore
Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero
Why Have Kids?: A New Mom Explores the Truth About Parenting and Happiness by Jessica Valenti

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Mini reviews were written and now they're gone and I am not happy right now

Guess what. I wrote an entire post of mini reviews. Book covers. Links. Gifs. The whole works. And then Blogger decided to get rid of all of it (after confirming 2 saves) and now I'm annoyed because I only have so much time to write this stuff so this is just a post to tell you I HAD a mini review post done and it is not gone and I am feeling all sorts of annoyed

Rewriting it will have to happen at some other point since the little one stirs