books and reading · pop culture

October 2017 Recap

I can’t believe October is over and we’re into November. I’m sad that my favorite month of the year has come to a close. Here’s how October shook out:

Books:

Total: 34
Picture Books: 25
Middle Grade: 2
YA: 3
Adult: 4
Fiction: 34
Non-Fiction: 0
Audiobooks: 2
Total Pages Read: 3079

Favorite Reads in October: 

31931941Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia: I just loved this sweet story about a weird girl and a weird boy who meet and form a friendship. I loved the exploration of the online world merging with the real world, and I thought that Zappia did a nice job of blending two very different stories together. I think this is one of the best YA books I’ve read this year.

The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare: A super fun regency33259027 romance featuring two strong characters and genuinely scorching chemistry. This wasn’t my first Dare novel, and it won’t be my last one, either. The first in a new series, this is definitely one to check out, even if you’re not a regular reader of romance.

 

Viewing

Total Movies: 2
New: 2
Re-Watch: 0

Favorite Movies in October: 

None. I watched 47 Meters Down and Kong: Skull Island, and both were DUMB.

Other Things I’ve Been Watching:

I’ve been re-watching Sex and the City, and I’m up to season 4. The show is still funny in many ways, and I do love the female friendships that center the series, but there are things about it that have not aged well at all. It’s really transphobic, and it’s still maybe the whitest thing on television?

We’re still watching The Office, and we’re in season 6, which apart from Jim and Pam’s wedding, is a pretty unremarkable season. It’s starting to be a slog, but I think we’re both determined to finish it.

 

I’m hoping to get a few more movies in this next month (I’ve come to terms with the fact that there’s no way I’ll meet my year-end goal), and read some more titles on best of lists.

 

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books and reading · pop culture

September Recap

September was a busy month, which meant considerably less reading and watching of all sorts of things. Here’s how the month turned out:

Books:

Total: 15
Picture Books: 6
Middle Grade: 1
YA: 4
Adult: 4
Fiction: 14
Non-Fiction: 1
Audiobooks: 1
Total Pages Read: 2169

Favorite Reads in September:

25062038Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert: Colbert’s sophomore novel about a girl back from boarding school for the summer who is grappling with her brother’s mental illness as well as her own burgeoning bisexuality could be a heavy-handed “issues” book, but it isn’t. The novel is actually an understated, compelling look at a bunch of things that happen when you grow up. It’s a strong second book, and Colbert continues to be an author to watch.

You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner: A 25701463compelling story about a deaf girl being mainstreamed at a hearing school after getting booted from her Deaf one, Gardner’s smart novel about street art, passion, and feeling like an angry outsider had me turning pages waiting to see how it shook out. I think this is one of the best YA books of the year and will resonate with a lot of readers.

Viewing

Total Movies: 3
New: 3
Re-Watch: 0

Favorite Movies in September: 

the_big_sickThe Big Sick: I loved loved loved this fictional take on Kumail Nanjiani and his now-wife Emily’s relationship when she got really sick with an infection. It’s funny, sweet, weird, and heartfelt, and I found it totally charming. I watched it twice in a row, I loved it so much. One of my favorite movies of the year, absolutely.

 

Other Things I’ve Been Watching:

I watched all of season 1 of The Good Place and absolutely loved it. I think it’s smart and funny and totally weird, and I can’t wait to get more into season 2.

We’re still watching The Office, and we’re in season 4, which is definitely a creative slump for the show. But there’s still some good stuff coming, so I’m hopeful the boyf will stick with it (his track record is not great when it comes to finishing shows.

I also watched 3 seasons of You’re the Worst and looooved it.

That’s it, really. I’m hoping to read more genre fiction in September, and try to squeeze in a few movies, too. My movie watching ratio is absymal.

books and reading · pop culture

July 2017 Recap

This is how the month of July shaped up for me in terms of reading books and watching movies (okay, a lot of TV).

Books:

Total:  51
Picture Books: 33
Middle Grade: 1
YA: 5
Adult: 12
Fiction: 46
Non-Fiction: 5
Audiobooks: 2
Total Pages Read: 5568

Favorite Reads in July:

 

32195204The Weight of Lies by Emily Carpenter: I’ve already extolled the virtues of this one, but it’s still a stand-out read for the month. I think it would make a great movie, too.

This House, Once by Deborah Freeman: A great picture 30312840book with sparse text and gorgeous illustrations. There was something so beautiful and simple about this one. I just loved it.

Perennials by Mandy Berman: I think this was a 32148219really strong debut, and Berman will be an author to watch. There’s a lot of good stuff here, and the characters have stayed with me long after I finished the book.

 

 

 

Viewing

Total Movies: 4
New: 4
Re-Watch: 0

Favorite Movies in July: okja
Okja: My mom emailed me after watching this late once night and told me I had to watch it immediately; then she called me that night to talk about it some more. So, I watched it. And I loved it. It’s sad and beautiful and weird and sneaky and wonderful. It’s definitely worth your 2 hours.

Other Things I’ve Been Watching:

I’ve been slowly slogging my way through ER Season 2, and that’s been an experience. Everyone looks so young, and every episode feels so long!

Because I’m a masochist, I’ve been rewatching Dawson’s Creek, mostly as background noise while I do other things. It’s still terrible, and every character is total garbage except for Pacey, and yet somehow I can’t quit it.

 

 

 

books and reading · pop culture

February 2017 Recap

This is how the month of February shook out for me. These are the things I watched and read:

Books:

Total:  39
Picture Books: 35
Middle Grade: 0
YA: 2
Adult: 2
Fiction: 37
Non-Fiction: 2
Audiobooks: 0
Total Pages Read: 2848

Favorite Reads in February:

23613983Run by Kody Keplinger: A lovely story about two best friends on a journey of self-discovery, this novel treated a slew of difficult topics with respect and care. Disabilities, GLBTQ issues, and socioeconomics are all explored in this novel, and Keplinger continues to grow as a writer. I really enjoyed this one.

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems: A 490867lovely, funny, too-true story about a little girl and her stuffed rabbit. This one was a total hit at storytime, and I loved reading it on my own, too.

28818921Difficult Women by Roxane Gay: This short story collection, like virtually all short story collections, has some knock-out chapters and some forgettable ones, but on the whole it’s a captivating look at a bunch of deeply flawed, deeply human women. Not every story here works, and there are times when virtually all of the men in all of the stories are completely one-dimensional monsters, but on the whole it’s compelling stuff.

 

Movies:

Total: 5
New: 5
Re-Watch: 0

Favorite Movies in February: 
lion_ver5Lion: I ugly cried through most of this one, but on the whole I also loved it. Sunny Pawar is great as the young child in the first half of the film, and Dev Patel is great as the older version. There’s some gorgeous shots of scenery throughout the film, and the narrative is compelling enough that I placed a hold on the memoir that the film is based on.

My reading and watching of new movies was way down in February, which is disheartening. I can blame stress and life changes, but it’s also just laziness. I’m hoping that March is a better month for the consumption of new media, but since I’m also packing and planning a move for April 1, I’m not…optimistic.

books and reading · reviews

Best Books of 2015

 

These are the best books I read in 2015.  Links go to my review, if I wrote one.  Without further ado:

21853636All the Rage by Courtney Summers: I said in my review that Courtney Summers is a damn treasure, and that remains true.  Her writing grows and gets stronger with every novel she publishes, and this is her best one to date.  Gritty, raw, furiously angry, and emotionally resonant, this is a heart-stopper of a book that will grab readers and won’t let go until the last page is turned.  Put this in the hands of teenagers and adults alike, everywhere.  This one tackles rape culture, girl culture, and everything in between.

 

 

18369851Infandous by Elana K. Arnold: One of the most striking, disturbing novels I can remember reading in quite some time, Elana K. Arnold’s Infandous is not for the faint of heart.  It is, however, a huge success of a novel, full of absolutely gorgeous writing, solid characterization, and the all-too-real pain of growing up.  Interspersed in the narrative of Sephora Golden are versions of fractured fairy tales that will have readers clamoring to seek out other versions.  All of this works exceedingly well, resulting in a novel that is beautiful, upsetting, memorable, and kind of perfect.

18304322Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy: Julie Murphy’s book is notable for many reasons, but perhaps it’s most noteworthy for its enormous heart.  Willowdean is a refreshing narrator, full of love for herself and her weird Texas town.  Full of heart, humor, and a ton of great romance, this is a fun read with a great message for teens, and it will be gobbled up by readers because it’s so much fun to read.  A true delight of a novel, Murphy is an author to keep an eye on.25330323

 

See You Next Tuesday by Jane Mai: I just
discovered Mai’s work in December, but she’s already made a huge impression on me.  Working from her own life, Mai crafts mini-comics about her depression, anxiety, bowel movements, and her dog, Stinky.  The result is a hilarious, sad, and brilliant look into a mind full of chaos.  Mai is one of my best discoveries of 2015, and I hope she publishes more work soon.

18659623Through the Woods by Emily Carroll: This is a graphic novel with teeth and more than a little bit of a bite.  Carroll wrote and illustrated all five stories in this collection, and she draws from folk and fairy tale, but provides sharp twists and takes on each of the stories.  Creepy, memorable, and wholly engrossing, the illustrations are striking and the sparse prose will keep readers up at night.  This is a lot of fun and offers a lot to think about late into the night.

 

books and reading · pop culture

October 2015 Recap

Reading:

Best Book of the Month:  Infandous by Elana K. Arnold

Books Read: 21
Adult: 0
MG: 0
YA: 21
Children’s: 0
Fiction: 21
Non-fiction/Memoir: 0
Graphic Novel: 0
# of Pages Read: 5343

Thoughts on October’s Reading: 

I read a lot of books but still feel like I could have read more.  I love reading for the Cybils, but work has gotten unexpectedly busy and life is getting in the way consistently.  I’m hoping to at least match the number of titles read for November, but we’ll see.

October was a bad month for watching stuff.  I watched a few movies and marathoned The Good Wife, but nothing to really report on here, which is embarrassing.

Goals for November:

  • At least 20 more books read for the Cybils.
  • At least 10 movies that are new to me.  I need to get out of the habit of re-watching shows/movies I’ve already seen.  It’s easy to do when you’re a distracted viewer and like to multi-task, but it’s wreaking havoc on my pop culture goals.

 

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Nominate Some Books for the Cybils!

Have you nominated books for the Cybils Awards yet?  Looking for some suggestions?  I have some.

As of this posting, these books haven’t been nominated for the Cybils yet and deserve some love:

YA Fiction:
The Devil You Know by Trish Doller
Cut Both Ways by Carrie Mesrobian
No Parking at the End Times by Bryan Bliss
A Step Toward Falling by Cammie McGovern
Paper Hearts by Meg Wiviott
Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
Kissing Ted Callahan by Amy Spalding

YA SF/F:

Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham
Slasher Girls and Monster Boys by April Genevieve Tucholke, et al

These are the ones that spring to mind immediately.  If you have favorites that haven’t been nominated yet, let me know.  And check out the #cybils hashtag on Twitter for other people tweeting about this fun award and nomination season!