Wednesday, May 1, 2019

April Reading Wrap Up

I thought this might be my most prolific month (in pages anyway) since the monster's appearance, but alas, second best only. Still, this was fairly successful and almost entirely due to audiobooks. Good thing they are an option or I'd never get any reading done.
Obligatory baby picture
Of course, the challenge with audiobooks is what you're doing while you're listening to them. In my case it's a lot of commuting and then cleaning up around the house. The cleaning part is no big deal but driving. If anyone was looking closely, I'm sure they were wondering why this lady is crying in her car at 8am while sitting at the stoplight because it doesn't matter how many times I read it, The Graveyard Book brings up EMOTIONS. Something I hadn't considered when I started listening to it

Books read
5
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Act Natural: A Cultural History of Misadventures in Parenting by Jennifer Traig
Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
Strange Weather by Joe Hill
The Dispatcher by John Scalzi

Number of pages read
1,676

Fiction
80%

POC Author
0%
It's no good. I know. I will try to do better.

Female authors
20%

US authors
60%

Rereads
20%

Book club/readalong
20%

Book format
audiobook - 80%
ebook - 20%

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

Decades published
2000s - 20%
2010s - 80%

Resolution books
40% both for being non-US authors (Neil Gaiman and Anthony Horowitz) BUT they're both UK authors so it meets the resolution but like, not that impressive, especially considering how bad some of those other stats are

Monday, April 15, 2019

September 2018 Mini-Reviews

I am so close to being done with the mini-reviews for 2018. How exciting is that? Will I get to some actual, for real, full reviews sometime soon? It's always possible! Don't expect full reviews of all of these books I've done mini-reviews for. More likely I will pick and choose those I wish to write more about. Cos it's my blog and I get to do what I want.

Also, for those who are paying close attention to these posts, you may notice that the last time I did mini-reviews, it was for stuff I read in May and June. And then this post is for September. So it would seem I am missing a couple months. EXCEPT, July happens to be when the goblin showed up so my reading over that month and the following tended to be sparse and re-reads.*

Speaking of the goblin, he keeps trying to stand now and it is both exciting and terrifying all at once, which his basically how this whole baby thing has gone.
He's so proud and yeah, the mattress was lowered that night. 

Blood, Bones and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton
You know those books that you just see a lot and the cover is interesting and it sort of wears you down so you finally pick it up and read it? That's basically what happened here. So good job to the cover designer. The book itself was...fine. It was fine. It's a memoir, I like those. About a woman (yay) in what is often a man's world (chef) though she doesn't much address this. There's much talk about food and I like food so the ingredients are there, but it didn't really come together for me. She's not the most likable narrator which and sometimes it was hard to sympathize with her, when clearly that's what the story was looking for. She comes off as arrogant a number of times, but without the charisma to bring you to her side so even if she has the talent, you sort of get to the point where you don't want to admit it. But her writing is engaging, at least when she's focused on the kitchen and the food.
Gif rating:


Choose Your Own Disaster by Dana Schwartz
Another memoir! What can I say, when I'm looking for a comfort read, memoirs are the way I go, especially memoirs from funny ladies. This is written like a cross between a Buzzfeed quiz and a choose your own adventure book, which was fun but a little gimmicky and sort of a pain on Kindle. About being a white lady in NYC in your early twenties, covering mistakes from bad relationships to eating disorders. The book was funny but ultimately not that memorable. Or at least I can't remember a lot of it now but in Schwartz's defense, I read a lot of it during middle-of-the-night feedings and in general there was a lot of sleep deprivation going on, so this may not be the book's fault. Entertaining but not all that unique (format notwithstanding).
Gif rating:

*Full list of reads July - September 2018
July
Agorafabulous by Sara Benincasa
August
Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies and the Making of a Medical Examiner by Judy Melineck
Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell
September
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

Monday, April 1, 2019

March Reading Wrap Up

March is always a pretty neat month cos it's got my birthday and Tom's birthday in it. We spent my birthday hanging out in Central Park, since it was finally a nice day. We ate lots of food which is how I love celebrating things. And besides, I got to spend it with these two, so that was pretty much the best.
Reading-wise was sort of...it was fine. A lot of audiobooks and I find I have a hard time getting into fiction audiobooks so that caused some slow downs with reading but I did it and it all turned out good. Plus there was Kid Gloves which I'd been waiting for since at some point when I was pregnant and heard Knisley was doing a book about pregnancy and was VERY EXCITED. I might even write a real review for that one. Who knows. Spoiler alert: so good!

Let's get to those stats, shall we.

Books Read
5
How to Be Good by Nick Hornby
Kid Gloves: Nine Months of Careful Chaos by Lucy Knisley
Early Riser by Jasper Fforde
Sakina’s Restaurant by Aasif Mandvi
A Mind of Her Own by Paula McLain

Number of Pages Read
979

Fiction
60%

POC authors
20%
Not great but not nothing so I’LL TAKE IT

Female authors
40%

US authors
40%

Rereads
0% - that’s been a while

Book Format
Audiobook: 60%
Paperback: 40%

Where’d I get the book
Chain bookstore: 20%
Indie: 20%
Kindle/Audible: 60%

Decades published
2000s: 20%
2010s: 80%

Resolution books
60%
How to Be Good and Early Riser are by UK authors (Nick Hornby is English and Jasper Fforde Welsh)
Sakina’s Restaurant is by a POC author

Monday, March 25, 2019

May and June 2018 mini-reviews

Posting and reading seems to ebb and flow but I am trying to work out a rhythm. I mean, life keeps trying to throw me off said rhythm but still. Rhythm is attempted.

I'm still making my way through mini-reviews from last year, so hey, let's see how that's going

May Reads
And a Bottle of Rum: The History of the New World in Ten Cocktails by Wayne Curtis
This was an impulse buy while looking through rum related cookbooks and then I brought it on vacation when we went to Hawaii last summer because it seemed like a good beach read. I mean, it's a history book, sure, but the focus is on rum, so that's a fun way in. And hey, there's a section all about tiki drinks and yeah, they aren't actually from Hawaii but they pretended to be so it was somewhat environmentally relevant. If you need a gimmick to get you to read about history (I tend to need a gimmick) then this was entertaining. And an older gentleman staying at our hotel had read the same book so there. Building bridges.
Gif rating:

June Reads

Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan
This was so scary. But it's not a horror novel. It's a memoir. Not even a true crime memoir. No crime, just the human body deciding to go nuts in the weirdest way. It's never good when you hear doctors going "Huh. That's...interesting." Though I suppose it's an improvement over doctors not believing you. Fascinating read and while it does go into medical terminology, it was still easy enough for a layman (aka, me) to understand.
Gif rating:


Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
Dystopian? Science Fiction? Lit fic? See, this is why I hate trying to categorize what genre a book falls into because what if it falls into so many? Like this one, about an unnamed middle eastern country that people are desperate to leave. There are people who can get you out but there's a cost and of course risks. And doors that will lead you...somewhere. There's a love story, two people who find each other right as things reach a crescendo and fleeing is the best option.
Gif rating:


Hope Never Dies by Andrew Schaffer
Biden and Obama, detective duo. Listen, if you aren't sold on that description, I don't know what to tell you. Is it the best detective novel? It is not? Is it entertaining as hell? Yes of course it is. And it makes people stop on the train to laugh at the cover. Plus the story stays juuuuuuuuuust this side of ridiculous, so you could almost believe this is what Biden and Obama are doing now that they're "retired".
Gif rating:

So there you go. Pretty good couple of months.

Full May & June reading lists
May
And a Bottle of Rum: The History of the New World in Ten Cocktails by Wayne Curtis
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
The Glitch by Elisabeth Cohen
June
Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
Hope Never Dies by Andrew Shaffer
People I Want to Punch in the Throat by Jen Mann 

Friday, March 8, 2019

February Reading Wrap-Up

So I wrote this post just before February ended. And yet. I still couldn't get it posted in time. Because I'm just that organized. Well, an attempt was made at least.

Another month down and February was quite an eventful month. Or I guess there was really one main thing, that is starting a new job, but that's a big thing and since I hadn't started a new job in over a decade, CHANGES. I mean, there were changes at the old job, but it was the same company and even when I changed departments it wasn't like changing jobs.

I expect my audiobook consumption to increase even more than it has over the last few months. Previously, my old commute afforded me lots of time to read while on the train. Now that I am driving to work, it really wouldn't be in anyone's best interest if I were reading a book, so I'll be listening instead.

In goblin news, he's 7 months and that is crazy to me. I mean, I get how time works and such but still.
Number of books read
7
Life at the Dakota: New York's Most Unusual Address by Stephen Birmingham
Noir by Christopher Moore
Texts from Jane Eyre by Daniel Mallory Ortberg
Earpedia: Animals by Sue Perkins
Bill Bryson's Appliance of Science by Bill Bryson
Relish by Lucy Knisley
Killer by Nature by Jan Smith

Number of pages read
1,253

Fiction
43%

POC authors
0%
Female authors
43%

US authors
71%

Rereads
29%

Book format
audiobook: 57%
ebook: 29%
paperback: 14%

Where'd I get the book
Indie: 14%
Kindle/Audible: 86%

Decade published
1970s: 14%
2010s: 86%

Resolution books
43%
Life at the Dakota was published in 1979. Had some whiplash while reading it when he referred to John Lennon in the present tense
Earpedia: Animals and Killer by Nature are both by UK authors (Sue Perkins and Jan Smith).

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Mini-Reviews: April 2018

Look at me, moving right along with these mini-reviews.
Sorry, now I have that song stuck in my head. AS I WAS SAYING

Look at me, moving right along with these mini-reviews. At this rate, I may even finish reviewing 2018 books before 2020. Crazy talk? Maybe but we shall see.

April was apparently a good month for me, since 2 of my favorite reads from 2018 happened that month, so that's swell. Of course, that also means I sort of already did a mini-review for them. Like just a couple days ago. I suppose I didn't think these posts through entirely. My bad. So there will be some repetition here. I guess...feel free to skim a bit? Or I mean, you're free to do that whenever. How would I even stop you? I'm not going to be forcing quizzes to make sure you did the reading. That's a silly idea, why would you even suggest it?

This post is getting away from me, so why don't we dive into the mini-reviews? Great idea, good job, me.

The A to Z of You and Me by James Hannah
I won this book from Book Riot and I honestly can't remember why because I got it and then it sat on my shelf for a while. As you do. The main character, Ivo, is in hospice care, slowly wasting away with no visitors except the hospice nurses. To keep his mind sharp, one of the nurses encourages him to play a game where he goes through the alphabet naming a body part and a memory to go along with it. And thus we learn the story of Ivo's younger life, how he ended up where he is, what happened with his love Mia, and why he is alone, mostly due to a series self-destructive decisions. It is a depressing book. I guess, it could have been more depressing except a lot of the characters (Ivo, his friends, his sister) are pretty unlikeable so while I'm not saying you want him to be in pain and dying, it also doesn't feel like grief porn. This wasn't a cold uncaring world dumping on this guy, but a guy who regrets making a lot of bad choices. Would he regret them if he wasn't dying? Probably not. So the book was fine. Not great, but not terrible. I don't remember that much about it, but I'm pretty sure it didn't make me cry, despite the depressing nature. And if you're curious, yes I DID cry over Opportunity, the Mars rover "dying", so that's all it could take to get me to cry.
Gif rating:

Texts from Jane Eyre by Daniel Mallory Ortberg
This book was so funny. So great and nerdy and a quick read. When I was writing about it for my best of 2018 reads post, I skimmed through it again to get a feel. And then decided "I should just read this again because it's SO GOOD". And then I did. It was a good choice. It is a hilarious collection of what it would be like if various characters and literary figures could text each other, usually with one of them being a hot mess of a person and the other playing the straight man. And sure, that could get a little repetitive but also, shut up, it's funny every time.
Gif rating:

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley
Oh look, another favorite read of 2018. It's a memoir about food. Memoirs are fun, food is GREAT. And Knisley loves food. Her mom was a chef (is a chef? I dunno what her mom is up to these days) so she grew up appreciating food. I was going to say "grew up around food" but like...yeah. We all did. Or else we starved. Anyway, graphic memoir about growing up and food and there are even some recipes and I'm getting hungry thinking about it and also should I stop writing this and reread this book right now? Yes, maybe.* That sounds like a good idea. Sorry, this wasn't helpful. But read it, how bout that?
Gif rating:

*Fact: I did exactly that and thus it took me basically an extra day+ to finish this post. Worth it.

Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops by Jen Campbell

This was fun and I’m pretty sure I read the entire thing in one sitting while hanging out at a sbux. It is about, surprise, surprise, weird things that customers say in bookstores. It’s short and sweet and a very quick read, so reading it in one sitting isn’t actually that impressive but whatever. ALSO the book contains a submission from a certain book blogger and all around awesome person Emily (As the Crowe Flies and Reads) so you know this book is Quality.
Gif rating:

Monday, February 11, 2019

Best Books Read in 2018

So one of my last post was my general stats for 2018 reading. I was going to write a little something about the best books I read last year as well but as the post was getting a bit long, I figured it would make more sense to split this into two posts. Plus then I get two posts out of this so wins all around.
Since I did a LOT of rereading this year (42%), I'll split the best reads into rereads and new rereads. Because obviously if I'm going to reread something, it's a book I love. Why would I spend my time rereading a book I was lukewarm about? That'd be dumb. Don't do that.

Also I suppose this will end up being more mini-reviews? Except I think even shorter cos there are a lot of great books I read last year. Mini mini-reviews. At this rate I'm going to get to posts where my book reviews are a single word. Not a helpful word like "Good" or "No" but something that does not tell you anything about whether you should read the book or not. "Effervescent". "Lilac".

Anyway, hey here are some good books

Fav reads of 2018 (new to me books)
The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas
This was so good and/but also made me cry several times in public. Excellent

Herding Cats by Sarah Andersen
Hilarious webcomic about awkwardly adulting. Yes plz

Texts from Jane Eyre by Daniel Ortberg
Also hilarious but instead of webcomic it is famous literary people/characters texting each other nonsense and the Hamlet chapters(?) are the best because 100% what he would be like (i.e., a pain the ass)

Relish by Lucy Knisley
You know, I said I do not care for graphic novels or graphic memoirs and such, and yet here is a second one on this list. I don't know what I'm talking about, is what I'm getting at. ANYWAY, Knisley's stuff is great and this is about food so doubly great.

Becoming by Michelle Obama
This made me sad to listen to, given the current political climate, BUT when not making me sad, it was a wonderful memoir.

Fav reads of 2018 (rereads)
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
I should really, read more mysteries. Or maybe more specifically, more Christie cos I have basically just read this one but it's so so good.

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell (which I reread TWICE in 2018 alone)
I just love this book so much. It's so funny and it is as much about female friendship as it is a rom com and I want to hug it.

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard
It's ridiculous and absurd and hey, this is the second Hamlet-referenced thing on this list, so that's fun.

World War Z by Max Brooks
I've already re-listened to this in 2019 because it's that good, always.

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
I think...I think the movie might be better than the book. BUT the book is still excellent, it's just that the movie is soooo good. I read this in anticipation of the movie, mostly while sitting by a pool in Hawaii, which enhanced the re-read experience that much.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
You know, I don't think of myself as a rom com fan, and yet here is a third one that is funny and sweet.

Notes from a Small Island / Neither Here Nor There / I'm a Stranger Here Myself by Bill Bryson
This is technically 3 books, except I got an audiobook copy of all of them together as one, but they were abridged versions so. Bryson is great, love his travel experiences and his curmudgeonness

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

January Reading Wrap Up

Hot on the heels of my 2018 reading stats are the stats for January 2019 because yes, that's how far behind I am. I really meant to get that 2018 stats piece out before January ended but alas, that did not happen.

I thought I'd get more reading done in January. I had more train time, the goblin was in daycare, but getting back into a routine (even a routine of reading, something I enjoy) takes more effort than I assumed. Also I spent a lot of the month re-listening to old episodes of How Did This Get Made when I suppose I could have been listening to another book, but if it feels like homework, is it really how I want to spend my limited free time? It is not, let me laugh.

Oh and I don't have any clothes with seasonally themed icons on the bum, but I DO have this picture of the lil one dressed in a bear snowsuit, so I suppose that will have to do
Anyway, stat-y stat stat stats, here we go

Number of books read
4
The Diary of a Hounslow Girl by Abreen Razia
The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan
Lullaby by Jonathan Mayberry
World War Z by Max Brooks (a yearly re-listen)

Number of pages read
981

Fiction
100%

POC authors
25%

Female authors
50%

US authors
75%

Rereads
50%

Book formats
audiobook: 75%
ebook: 25%
Even with all the podcast listening, it's still mostly audiobooks cos turns out it's easiest to listen to books now that my time to just sit around has been cut down
Where'd I get the book
gift: 25%
Kindle/Audible: 75%

Decades published
2000s: 25%
2010s: 75%

Resolution books
25%
Diary of a Hounslow Girl by Abreen Razia is both by a POC author and by a UK (aka, non-US) author

Monday, February 4, 2019

2018 Reading Stats

This is a bit of a cop-out post, but whatever, it's my blog and I'm making the effort to post more. Even if this is a post that's not heavy on substance and also late to the game. Anyway, I'm thinking I should do a 2018 year in books review, even though we're almost now in February and this is really the type of thing that should be done in early Jan or even before the new year. But given the way my blogging has gone as of late, I think we can all agree it's impressive I'm getting this written before June.
I was going to do an infographic, cos pretty BUT since I'd need to use a different computer to do some of it and that computer is over there ::gestures to computer not 4 feet from where I'm sitting:: and I'm over here, that is just way too much work. Perhaps I'll finally get an infographic out comparing my reading in 2018 to previous years.

But for now, let's look at some 2018 book stats to get us started!

My reading volume wasn't terrible, considering all I had going on (i.e., making a person) but stats were down because my reading definitely got lazy as I did a lot of simple re-reading, and mostly what I had digital copies of so I could read it on my phone (which is not a way I had ever read things before but became a necessity in the later half of the year). Of course, that isn't really an excuse and is a bit upsetting to think that if I don't make any effort I backslide into white, US-born, recently published pieces.

My resolution percentage isn't as bad as I would have thought given some of the other stats, but I've found that's largely due to UK authors (mostly white UK authors).

Number of books read
48

Number of pages read
13,525

Fiction
52%

POC authors
16%
Female authors
60%

US authors
83%

Rereads
42%
Review books
15%

Book format
audiobook: 23%
ebook: 48%
hardback: 4%
paperback: 25%

Where'd I get the book?
Borrow: 2%
Chain bookstore: 4%
Gift: 13%
Indie bookstore: 15%
Kindle/Audible: 52%
Netgalley: 15%

Books by decade:
1930s: 2%
1960s: 2%
1990s: 10%
2000s: 13%
2010s: 73%

Books by genre:
Biography: 2%
Essays: 2%
Graphic Novel: 4%
History: 7%
Horror: 7%
Humor: 4%
Lit Fic: 13%
Memoir: 13%
Mystery: 4%
Play: 2%
Rom Com: 9%
Satire: 2%
Science: 4%
Self-Help: 4%
Sociology: 2%
Thriller: 2%
Travel: 7%
YA: 4%
YA Fantasy: 7%

Resolution books:
44%
13 books were by an author from somewhere other than the US
8 books were published before 2000
7 books were by POC authors

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (non-US author, published before 2000)
Where the Line Bleeds by Jesmyn Ward (POC author)
Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard (non-US author, published before 2000)
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (POC author)
Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lillian Li (POC author)
The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui (POC author, non-US author)
The A to Z of You and Me by James Hannah (non-US author)
Meaty by Samantha Irby (POC author)
Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores by Jen Campbell (non-US author)
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan (POC author, non-US author)
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (POC author, non-US author)
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (non-US author)
Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson (published before 2000)
Neither Here Nor There by Bill Bryson (published before 2000)
I'm a Stranger Here Myself by Bill Bryson (published before 2000)
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by JK Rowling (non-US author, published before 2000)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling (non-US author, published before 2000)
The Tales of Beetle the Bard by JK Rowling (non-US author, published before 2000)
Where Should We Begin? The Arc of Love by Esther Perel (non-US author)
Becoming by Michelle Obama (POC author)
Stephen Fry's Victorian Secrets by Stephen Fry, John Woolf, Nick Baker (non-US author)