Monday, March 31, 2014

March 2014 Reading Update

My original plan for this blog was to have 4 genre-focused weeks a month. That leaves us with some extra weeks in between. I thought I'd take this week to interject one of my old-fashioned Reading Updates and miscellaneous posts while I work on some upcoming things for April.

On my time away from this blog, I still did my usual reading, though I didn't keep up with the reading updates. At this point, there are far too many books to do a 3-month collaborative update, so I'll just stick to March.

I didn't spend much of this month exploring. Reading one David Sedaris book led to an addiction. And starting two different comic book series, led to more.

Keep reading to find what books have been occupying my time.

(all photos below courtesy of Goodreads)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

NON-FICTION | Book Review: Lean in: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

I'm starting to get into best-selling non-fiction, the stuff propped up front right when you walk into a Barnes & Noble. It was never really my thing (I tried one Malcolm Gladwell book and was disappointed- also, Gretchen Rubin's ever-so-popular The Happiness Project was a bust), but I'm not too adventurous with non-fiction, so best-sellers are an easy go-to.

Lean In caught my eye simply from the title. I was browsing through my library's front page, saw this title, thought "hmm, this could be interesting," and checked it out. And here begins my story.

**Disclaimer: I haven't listened/watched any of Sheryl Sandberg's speeches prior to reading this book.  

Title: Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
Author: Sheryl Sandberg
Genre: Non-Fiction > Business
Pages: 217
Release date: March 11, 2013
Links: Amazon | Goodreads

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars


I wanted to insert the ending to Sandy Sandberg's introduction to her book. It's a bit lengthy, but I think it's important to understand what this book is about, and who it is for. I highlighted parts I will reference later.

"This book is not a memoir, although I have included stories about my life. It is not a self-help book, although I truly hope it helps. It is not a book on career management, although I offer advice in that area. It is not a feminist manifesto-okay, it is sort of a feminist manifesto but one that I hope inspires men as much as it inspires women. 

Whatever this book is, I'm writing it for any woman who wants to increase her chances of making it to the top of her field or pursue any goal vigorously. This includes women at all stages of their lives and careers- from those who are just starting out to those who are taking a break and may want to jump back in. I am also writing this for any man who wants to understand what a woman- a colleague, wife, mother or daughter- is up against so that he can do his part to build an equal world.

This book makes the case for leaning in, for being ambitious in any pursuit. And while I believe that increasing the number of women in positions of power is a necessary element of true equality, I do not believe there is one definition of success or happiness. Not all women want careers. Not all women want children. Not all women want both. I would never advocate that we should all have the same objectives. Many people are not interested in acquiring power, not because they lack ambition, but because they are living their lives as they desire. Some of the most important contributions to our world are made by caring for one person at a time. We each have to chart our own unique course and define which goals fit our lives, values, and dreams.

I am also acutely aware that the vast majority of women are struggling to make ends meet and take care of their families. Parts of this book will be most relevant to women fortunate enough to have choices about how much and when and where to work; other parts apply to situations that women face in every workplace, within every community, and in every home. If we can succeed in adding more female voices at the highest levels, we will expand opportunities and extend fairer treatment to all."

Thursday, March 27, 2014

NON-FICTION | Author Spotlight: David Sedaris


My introduction to David Sedaris took place several years ago when I was taking a creative non-fiction course. As a class, we read one essay, and though I can't recall the essay title at this moment, I consciously bookmarked his name for future reading.

For those of you not familiar with David Sedaris, he is most well known as a humorist essayist. His non-fiction works cover a variety of topics with his family life being a big recurring topic. Once you start reading a couple of his essays you quickly catch onto his sense of humor. For some people, he is not of their taste. But for others, he is adored.

But back to my story...
Last year, I decided to read a work a fiction by Sedaris, Squirrel Meets Chipmunk. Though it was okay, it was at that level of "just okay" that deterred me from immediately reading more of his works.

Despite this, I bought Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls when it came out (2013) and stored it for the future (a bad habit, really). And aside from reading one essay within it, I didn't officially sit down and read the whole thing until a few weeks ago. But once I did, I was hooked.

I read one book after another, after another.
I was a chain smoker, but without the offensive cigarette smoke all over my clothes. Instead, I inhaled and exhaled David Sedaris. I didn't just read the essays once. For my favorites, I read them at least 2-3 times each. And following those, I looked up audio recordings and listened while David read them back to me.

But that quickly concludes my introduction. This will be a short post, but I wanted to discuss a few things:
1. why I fell for David Sedaris,
2. who I think won't enjoy/appreciate David Sedaris, and
3. which of his compilations is my favorite

Monday, March 24, 2014

NON-FICTION | Book Review: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

Hello everyone~
I think Non-Fiction week is going to be my favorite week for March. I have so much I want to discuss, starting with this book review for Mindy Kaling's Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns).

I'm not generally a fan of "celebrity" memoirs, but a few years back I read Tiny Fey's Bossypants and enjoyed it. I give Fey more credit though, because in addition to be an actress and director, she is a writer. I also had the same thought that led me to this book. Mindy Kaling, as I first knew her, was a writer for The Office, one of my old favorite TV series. She wrote some of my favorite episodes, so I likewise thought this would be better than your average biography/autobiography on a celeb. Not only would it be written by a professional writer, but a comedian. Double score.

But enough with the intro, let's get into the review!

**ALL MY BOOK REVIEWS ARE SPOILER-FREE (though slightly irrelevant to this review)

Title: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and Other Concerns)
Author: Mindy Kaling
Genre: Non-fiction > Memoir
Pages: 222
Released: November 1, 2011
Links: Amazon | Goodreads

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

SUMMARY (snippet courtesy of Goodreads):

"In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls. Mindy Kaling really is just a Girl Next Door—not so much literally anywhere in the continental United States, but definitely if you live in India or Sri Lanka."

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

COMICS | Book Lists: Comic Series I'm Currently Reading

The title for this one is pretty self-explanatory.

I have recently found myself in the midst of some great comic series and wanted to share how I've been liking them.

It's mostly a mixture of fantasy and science fiction, so be prepared for that.

(All photos are courtesy of Goodreads)


Monday, March 17, 2014

COMICS | Book Rave: Locke & Key, Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft

I love writing Book Raves. I find ranting about something I like is much more enjoyable than ranting about something I hate.

Today's Book Rave is going to be on the first installment of a comic series I just started. I've only finished the first volume, but I can already tell it's going to be an amazing ride.


Title: Locke & Key, Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft
Series: Locke & Key
Author: Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodriguez
Genre: Fantasy/Horror
Pages: 158
Release Date: September 29, 2008
Links: Amazon | Goodreads

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

SUMMARY (courtesy of Goodreads):

"Locke & Key tells of Keyhouse, an unlikely New England mansion, with fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them. Home to a hate-filled and relentless creature that will not rest until it forces open the most terrible door of them all..."

Thursday, March 13, 2014

CHILDREN'S | Book Lists: If You Love Your Children

On this monthly segment I intend to list some book recommendations for your children/future children/nieces & nephews/friend's kids/etc. The recommendations will vary, ranging from books you can read aloud, to elementary/middle school chapter books.
Even as an adult, I love reading children's books and keep a list of books I want to pass on to my children (when the time comes).

Keep reading to discover my Children's recommendations and/or rediscover old favorites.

Monday, March 10, 2014

CHILDREN'S | Book Rave: Wonder

This past weekend has been a crazy one (two sisters birthdays!), so I haven't had time to work on much, but I'm hoping to get back on my already-flexible schedule.

Today, I have my first post for my Children's theme, a Book Rave for a book I read back at the beginning of 2014, Wonder by R.J. Palacio.


Title: Wonder
Author: R.J. Palacio
Genre: Children's
Pages: 315
Release date: January 1, 2012
Links: Amazon | Goodreads

My rating: 4.25 out of 5 stars

PLOT SUMMARY (courtesy of Goodreads):

"August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?

R. J. Palacio has written a spare, warm, uplifting story that will have readers laughing one minute and wiping away tears the next. With wonderfully realistic family interactions (flawed, but loving), lively school scenes, and short chapters, Wonder is accessible to readers of all levels.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

FANTASY & SCI-FI | Book Lists: I Love Time Travel

Book Lists, the segment in which I make lists, because lists are fun.

I love time travel books. So for today's list I will be ranking the time travel books I've read, as well as a list of time travel books on my prospective reading list.

Before, I jump right in, I want to rant for a bit on what I consider a "time travel" novel. It is not a book that contains time travel in it; rather, it is a book in which the main plot (subjective, I'm sure) revolves around the aspect of time. It's a difficult perspective to explain, but I hope it makes sense.
Henceforth, what I don't count as a time travel novel would be the likes of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling), Fortunately, the Milk (Gaiman), and not even Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children (Riggs), though arguably, I can understand if you do.

In this Book Lists post, I will go over the ranking of the only 5 books I've read that I consider to be "true" time travel novels, and discuss further readings in the genre.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

FANTASY & SCI-FI | Book Rave: All Our Yesterdays

March is here and so begins my new adventure in blogging.
Each week I will feature a different genre. And within each week I will have different segments.

This week's book theme will focus on the Science Fiction & Fantasy genres.
And our segment today will be a Book Rave. Book Raves will be a common segment that are nearly identical to Book Reviews, except you'll know prior to read it that it will be a full-on glowing review.

This particular book review will be on Cristin Terrill's All Our Yesterday's.


photo credit

Title: All Our Yesterdays
Series: Book #1 in the All Our Yesterdays series
Author: Crisitn Terrill
Genre: Science Fiction > Time travel
Pages: 360
Release Date: September 3, 2013
Links: Amazon | Goodreads

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

PLOT SUMMARY (courtesy of Goodreads):

"What would you change?

Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside.

Marina has loved her best friend, James, since they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it... at least, not as the girl she once was. Em and Marina are in a race against time that only one of them can win.

All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice."