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.

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.

 

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.

 

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!

 

September 2015 Recap

Reading:

Best Book of the Month:  Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Books Read: 14
Adult: 8
MG: 0
YA: 6
Children’s: 0
Fiction: 12
Non-fiction/Memoir: 2
Graphic Novel: 0
# of Pages Read: 5,022

Thoughts on September’s  Reading:

  • I read a fair amount in September, and I read fairly evenly between adult/YA titles.  I read a lot of stuff that was merely okay, and a few knockout titles.
  • I’m participating in the Cybils again this year, which means an increase in reading volume for October-December, but it will all be YA fiction, so I should probably kiss goodbye the adult titles I still have sitting on my nightstand from the library.

Watching:

TV:

  • I’ve mostly been re-watching shows I love, like Parks & Rec, The Office, and Buffy, so I haven’t marathoned anything new this month.
  • Fall TV is here, and I’m really into Fear the Walking Dead, Switched at Birth, and am enjoying Blindspot and Quantico.

meearlMovies:

Best Movie in September: Me & Earl & the Dying Girl
Total Movies Watched: 12
Theater Trips: 0
Re-Watch: 1

Thoughts on Movies: 

  • I’m doing an unofficial fall movie challenge, so my movie watching is up this month.  I watched a fair amount of stuff, but the best things I watched included Me & Earl & the Dying Girl (SO GOOD) and Belle.
  • I also watched Welcome to Me, which I liked a lot, and The One I Love, which was weird and sort of wonderful.

 Goals for October:

  • Watch at least 15 new movies
  • Read, read, read.  It’s Cybils time, so this is pretty much a given.

August 2015 Recap

Reading:

Best Book of the Month:  From Where I Watch You by Shannon Grogan

Books Read: 8
Adult: 4
MG: 0
YA: 4
Children’s: 0
Fiction: 6
Non-fiction/Memoir: 2
Graphic Novel: 0
# of Pages Read: 2641

Thoughts on August’s Reading:

  • Way down on reading this month, for some reason.  I have a ton to read and very little motivation to do so.
  • I’ve read considerably more YA this month, which is good.  I still have a lot to catch up on.

Watching:

TV:

  • Still chugging away at Beverly Hills, currently stuck in the 8th season.  Don’t get me wrong: this has never been a good show, but we’re well past jump-the-shark territory, and now it’s kind of boring.
  • Definitely ready for fall TV.

Movies:

rickiBest Movie in August: Ricki and the Flash
Total Movies Watched: 1?
Theater Trips: 1
Re-Watch: 0

Thoughts on Movies: 

  • Embarrassingly, I didn’t track movies watched in August, but I’m not sure I watched any with the exception of Ricki & the Flash.
  • I have goals for September, but I’m still hammering out the details.  Obviously more movies and less TV (it’s just so easy to marathon Royal Pains).

 

 Goals for September:

  • Watch 5-10 movies.  Seriously.
  • Read at least 10 books.
  • Keep up with keeping track.

July 2015 Recap

Summer is hard, guys.  I don’t read as much as I think I will and a lot of my movie-watching ends up being half-hardheartedly watching TV while doing other activities.

Reading:

Best Book of the Month: Rad American Women A-Z by Kate Schatz

Books Read: 12
Adult: 9
MG: 0
YA: 2
Children’s: 1
Fiction: 5
Non-fiction/Memoir: 7
Graphic Novel: 0
# of Pages Read: 3544

Thoughts on July’s Reading:

  • A bizarrely large amount of non-fiction this month, due in part to the fact that I’ve been reading a lot about weight-lifting.  We all need hobbies, guys.
  • Much of the non-fiction I read was great, and some was just sort of forgettable.  But I’m glad to be branching out.

Watching:

TV:

  • I’ve been watching Everwood from start to finish, which has been interesting.  It’s not a show that has aged well, and it’s also not as compelling as it thinks it is.  It lacks many of the things that a show that relies on a slow-burn needs to be really compelling: strong writing, actor chemistry, etc.  But I keep watching.
  • Still chugging away at Beverly Hills, currently enmeshed in the 6th season.  It’s just all so ridiculous.  I love it.
  • Every once in a while, I dip into an episode of Pretty Little Liars, but the show seems to be giving viewers the exact same story every week.  It’s a mystery that people keep tuning in (this applies to me, too).
  • Definitely ready for fall TV.

Movies:

infinitelypolarBest Movie in July: Infinitely Polar Bear
Total Movies Watched: 11
Theater Trips: 3
Re-Watch: 8

Thoughts on Movies: 

  • Three theater trips in July, and all three were solid choices.
  • I rewatched Beyond the Lights (it’s on Netflix and you should go watch it) and still love it.  I watched a couple documentaries near the start of the month, including Blackfish and Hot Girls Wanted.

 

 Goals for August:

  • Watch 5-10 movies.  Seriously.
  • Read at least 10 books.
  • Keep up with keeping track.