Thursday, December 29, 2016

2017 Reading Challenge (27/40)

I am a sucker for stickers and badges. I thought I had outgrown them, but what is a to-do list other than a list of things you can give yourself a sticker for doing? How good does it feel to put a line through that thing and to loudly proclaim, "I did that! I accomplished that!"

My favorite list of all is the "books to read" list. Mine has gotten completely out of control thanks to GoodReads, my Kindle, Half Priced Books, and constantly being obsessed with new things. But you know what can help a person sort out all of their goals? A LIST! And what makes the list fun? A CHALLENGE!

But what kind of a challenge? In general, there are a lot of good ones out there. The POPSUGAR one is probably the most fun and well known, which of course I know because I like to read about reading almost as much as I like to read. Don't worry about it. Anyway I like it because it is well balanced for fun, diversity & trying new things! I get stuck in a reading rut because I've read too much of the same thing. And Lord knows Amazon, GoodReads, and every other algorithm out there just throws the same stuff at me over and over again (read one John Green novel and you will never escape the angsty teen bestsellers again).

If you want to play along, comment with your list and we can help each other complete the challenge. :) If you want a clean copy, follow the link here

2017 Popsugar Ultimate Reading Challenge
1. A book recommended by a librarian Empress of a Thousand Skies (3/20/17)
2. A book that's been on your TBR list for way too long A Clockwork Angel (11/13/17)

3. A book of letters

4. An audiobook Small Great Things (1/16/17)

5. A book by a person of color The Underground Railroad (1/07/17)

6. A book with one of the four seasons in the title

7. A book that is a story within a story
8. A book with multiple authors My Lady Jane (2/1/17)
9. An espionage thriller Six of Crows (6/27/17)
10. A book with a cat on the cover They All Saw A Cat (6/28/17)
11. A book by an author who uses a pseudonym
12. A bestseller from a genre you don't normally read The Boy on the Bridge (9/2/17)
13. A book by or about a person who has a disability Turtles All the Way Down (11/8/17)
14. A book involving travel
15. A book with a subtitle Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood (4/10/17)
16. A book that's published in 2017 Renegades (12/23/17)
17. A book involving a mythical creature The Mark of the Mage (1/28/17)
18. A book you've read before that never fails to make you smile Pride and Predjudice (11/18/17)
19. A book about food
20. A book with career advice Teaching to Transgress (10/4/17)
21. A book from a nonhuman perspective
22. A steampunk novel
23. A book with a red spine The Guineveres (7/27/17)
24. A book set in the wilderness Ever the Hunted (2/21/17)
25. A book you loved as a child Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (July 2017)
26. A book by an author from a country you've never visited Americanah (01/02/17)
27. A book with a title that's a character's name Borne (7/10/17)
28. A novel set during wartime A Torch Against the Night (does it count if it's fantasy?) (2/6/17)
29. A book with an unreliable narrator A Discovery of Witches (12/16/17) - because I want to believe that character should not have changed the way she did and is therefor magicked and unreliable.
30. A book with pictures Du Iz Tak? (7/6/17)
31. A book where the main character is a different ethnicity than you Flight (4/15/17)
32. A book about an interesting woman The King's Curse (7/29/17)
33. A book set in two different time periods
34. A book with a month or day of the week in the title
35. A book set in a hotel
36. A book written by someone you admire We Should All Be Feminists (10/8/17)
37. A book that's becoming a movie in 2017
38. A book set around a holiday other than Christmas
39. The first book in a series you haven't read before Scthe (5/1/2017)
40. A book you bought on a trip Be Boy Buzz (8/7/17)

1. A book recommended by an author you love
2. A bestseller from 2016
3. A book with a family member term in the title
4. A book that takes place over a character's life span
5. A book about an immigrant or refugee
6. A book from a genre/subgenre you've never heard of
7. A book with an eccentric character
8. A book that's more than 800 pages
9. A book you got from a used book sale
10. A book that's been mentioned in another book
11. A book about a difficult topic
12. A book based on mythology

Not listed: a lot.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Ready Player One (5)

I hope you all had a wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving. I hope you spent time with family and only screamed about politics a little. If you would like to take a little bit of the edge off of the current national screaming match, perhaps pick up this book and escape into a world where things are even more screwed up. 

Ready Player One

Wade Watts is a poor kid in an ugly time in history. Basically everything has collapsed: the economy, the climate, civilization in general. Fortunately, most people spend all of their time in the vitural world of the OASIS, a free digital utopia where you can hang out with friends, go to school, work, game, the possibilities are endless. Of course, the most exciting part of the OASIS is searching for creator James Halliday's hidden easter egg. Whoever finds it first will inherit James Halliday's entire fortune and control of the OASIS itself. 
I just finished the audiobook to this one. I actually listened to it with my husband, which is probably the nerdiest thing we have done. Do other people have the conversation, "Honey, do you want to sit around the house this Friday and listen to Ready Player One?" Or is it just us? 

If you generally are into nerds solving puzzles and going on adventures, you will love this. I was originally told that it's all about 80's pop culture and video games, so I thought I wouldn't be able to follow it and it wouldn't be my cup of tea. And while it is all about 80's pop culture and video games, you can totally follow it even if you know approximately nothing about either. 

BONUS: You have approximately 18 months to read it before you see the movie, which should premiere in spring 2018. 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

My 8 Favorite Books of the past 18 months

Since I last wrote a blog post, I:

1) Finished my first year of teaching

This is my favorite video to show first year teachers. It is SO FUNNY when you've hit a level of tired and stress that has you rethinking all of your life choices. 

2) Got married

Because it's important to maintain your dedication to stress during those summer months.

3) Bought a house

Print on Etsy
The start to a new school year is an exciting, challenging time for everyone. I chose to do it on hard mode and close on a home and move because who would want to ACTUALLY feel less stressed during the start of their second year teaching? Clearly not me, that's who.

4) Performed in 3 plays

 Gretchen in Boeing Boeing got me through the beginning of school.

 Josie in Proposals helped me survive winter.

And Dodie in Wild Mushrooms helped me feel really, really smart in April.

5) And of course, read 74 books

From Thrive Magazine

But I'm not going to tell you about all 78 because that would be ridiculous. I'm just going to pick my 8 favorites and tell you the tiniest of bits about them. 

Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline
science fiction

Reading this book is like playing a video game, but with more jokes. It reads a bit like a Joss Whedon movie/TV show. I listened to the audiobook, which is narrated by Wil Wheaton, who incidentally has been elected President of the USA in the book. Delightful, best selling, award-winning science fiction. I can't believe it took me this long to read it.

Red Rising, by Pierce Brown
dystopian science fiction

Everyone says this book is basically a cross between The Hunger Games and Ender's Game, and that's really what you need to know. I thought the first quarter was the most boring and depressing thing I had ever read, but eventually I pushed through it and got to the arena and then I stopped talking to the world until I finished the book. Dystopian science fiction

A Court of Mist and Fury, by Sarah J. Maas
fantasy, romance

This is the second book but is so much better than the first book I wish I could tell you to just skip the first book but you need the context. So I guess we start with A Court of Thorns and Roses, which is basically a Beauty and the Beast retelling, but with faeries. Then A Court of Mist and Fury takes all of that world building, shakes it up, dives deeper, and gives you way more interesting characters and plot. I gobbled this book up and cannot wait for the third book. 

How To Be A Woman, by Caitlin Moran
nonfiction - feminism

I like to think of this book as a how-to guide to be a good person in the modern world. How to love yourself and all the women around you, and how to discuss what feminism is. It's both hilarious and poignant, and gives a rallying cry to the modern woman about why feminism is still important. 

I stumbled onto this book through Emma Watson's Feminist Book Club - Our Shared Shelf. And while I have fallen off the wagon pretty hard with keeping up on these books, every single one has been excellent. The group seems to now do one book every two months, which gives me a prayer of actually finishing them in time. 

Carry On, by Rainbow Rowell

First, Rainbow Rowell wrote Fangirl. In Fangirl, the main character was writing her final fan fiction of the Simon Snow series. She also starts her first year of college and falls in love and whatever, but readers loved the Simon Snow chapters so much that Rainbow Rowell decided to write that book as well. Simon Snow is basically Harry Potter, and the fanfiction created a world in which the Harry Potter character fell in love with his arch nemesis, the Draco Malfoy character. I am not selling this book well, because I thought the premise was likely going to be stupid. I love Harry Potter. Carry On felt like reading a brand new Harry Potter book, but also totally different. I....I....I..... love it more than Cursed Child, which didn't even make it on this list because I can't decide how I feel about it.

I'll Give You the Sun, by Jandy Nelson
Young Adult fiction

I read that this book was for fans of Rainbow Rowell, and as I have read all of her books, I was forced to pick this up instead. If you like Rainbow Rowell and/or John Green, you will love it. If you do not, then you will not. 

Ms. Marvel: No Normal, by G. Willow Wilson (author), Adrian Alphona (artist)
Graphic Novel/Comic

I would need to be a lot more awake to really talk about why this comic is so great. 

Heartless, by Marissa Meyer
Fantasy, fairy tale retelling

Heartless is the origin story for the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland. I am completely obsessed with Marissa Meyer. I've talked about CinderCress, & Fairest on here. And while I loved Cinder and the rest of The Lunar Chronicles, Fairest is definitely the book that convinced me that Marissa Meyer is an amazing author. Heartless manages to combine all that I loved in all of her previous books, but went above and beyond to smash my heart into a million pieces. 

Writing about books...

is exhausting. Sitting and reading and escaping is so much easier. I do hope I managed to persuade you that one of these is something worth reading. I would work harder on making this a more publishable piece of writing, but I have a movie to see. 

Have you read any of these books? Leave a comment telling me what YOU liked about it! And don't forget to tell me about what book you're currently loving.