Tuesday, June 5, 2018

May, or barely breaking even


My #readmyowndamnbooks plan was so simple. Read more books than I bought every month. So simple. For added challenge, read more nonfiction and some classics.

It's not that I'm not reading plenty each month, but my ARCs and my library books are keeping me from reading my own books. I'm not really behind on my reading (I'm already at 96/100 books for my Goodreads challenge), but it definitely feels like I am when my TBR's net loss is 0 for a month.  

So I will be changing my library usage this month. I've been keeping somewhat obsessive records of my reading this year (because spreadsheets are super fun) and about 20% of my reading material has come from one of my two libraries. This isn't a bad thing at all (libraries are wonderful!), but if my goal is to finish my books this year, then this needs to stop temporarily. Not stop using the library, but stop checking out things to read (because libraries are more than books, y'all).

Much whining to say that my #readmyowndamnbooks plan has plateaued. Oh well.

Now onto the good part!


1. Text Me When You Get Home by Kayleen Schaeffer

What female hasn't said this, or some variation, to her friends before parting ways for the night? While safety has always been my number one concern, Schaeffer emphasizes the unexpected bonus of it. When your friend says she's home safe, it's an opening for the night's conversation to continue. It's an opening to continue the relationship. From examining times when our only friend was supposed to be our spouse to today's squad goals, Schaeffer makes a compelling case for finding not just our person, but our people.

2. Get Well Soon by Jennifer Wright

Plagues are disgusting. It's just a rule that people dying everywhere is not sexy, no matter what historical fiction would have us believe. Yet Wright manages to tone down just enough of the disgusting (don't worry, there's a section at the back with all the photos you could want) to paint a fascinating picture of what plagues can teach us about humanity. From the ways to react to it to the people we listen to during it, we can learn from our mistakes and hopefully, maybe, not make them again.

3. Daughters of the Winter Queen by Nancy Goldstone

My first question when I picked this up was, "the Winter Queen who?" because my European history knowledge is not as well-rounded as I'd like it to be. But that's okay! We have to start filling up the gaps somewhere. And this is a fun book to start with. After Elizabeth I died, the English crown passed to the Stuarts of Scotland. Elizabeth Stuart, daughter of James I, was married off quickly after that and sent off to be the Electress Palatine in Heidelberg. Except her father was aware that her husband might have a chance to grab power and suggested he'd help if that came to pass, which it did and he didn't. And so started the Thirty Years' War. There is a ton of drama, lots of family scandals, and so many snarky footnotes (read the footnotes, seriously), plus you'll learn a lot about the political climate of Europe during the 17th century.


1. Shakespeare's Sonnets

I'm going to say maybe don't read all of his sonnets as a collection. Shakespeare wrote some great poems, but he also wrote some mediocre ones and repeated himself thematically. When they're all put together in one volume, the repetition really dulls the shine of the great ones.


1. Princeless: Raven the Pirate Princess by Jeremy Whitley

At the center of this story is a revenge plot. Raven was set to inherit her father's pirate ships because her grandmother wanted a matriarchal pirate society, but her jerk brothers talked him into giving them to him. So she's going to take it back with her amazing pirate crew of strong, diverse women. Not just Spice Girls diverse, either, but women who are bisexual or lesbian, are deaf, wear a hijab, are different races and species diverse. She even recruits her former best friend (and love interest) Xiomara, a super cute cartographer. I love this comic and can't wait for the fifth volume next month!

Best of the Rest:

1. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

I wanted to read this from before it was published. Laini Taylor was a guest at the Texas Teen Book Festival in 2016 (which I wrote about here) and included a quote from her then-forthcoming title about Lazlo Strange, a librarian. SOLD. It does take a bit of time to fully fall into the book, but it was a quick read once I did. Lazlo is a dreamer and librarian who wants to know everything he can about the lost city known only as Weep. From his earliest memories as an orphan to his days at the library, he hunts and compiles as much information as he can about it. When visitors from the city come asking for help, he offers himself, using everything he has learned about the city to plead his case. Once there, he begins to learn things that weren't in any of his books.

2. Jessica Jones, Volume 3 by Brian Michael Bendis, illustrated by Michael Gaydos

Jessica Jones is one of the best heroines Marvel has, but I especially loved this new run with the original creators. Jessica is back with all the problems she has always had (so flawed, still wonderful), but in a relationship with Luke Cage and they have a baby. She's an adult and also has superhero problems, which is awesome. But this run was especially sweet, since it was the conclusion of the Bendis/Gaydos Jessica Jones pairing. They bring back her ultimate villain Kilgrave (The Actual Worst), but also use their last issue to give Jessica one really good day. I am sad this run is over.

3. The Highwayman by Craig Johnson

This novella stars Walt Longmire out of his domain, aiding another sheriff in figuring out a possibly supernatural mystery. While westerns are not really my thing, I enjoyed The Cold Dish (the first in the series) and like to have things to talk to my Dad about, so here we are. A new deputy has been assigned a stretch of canyon and keeps hearing a distress call from another officer at 12:34 AM. The catch is that this officer has been dead for a very long time, though tourists have said they've seen him and he's helped them change tires or given them a lift. The officer hearing these distress calls has started feeling crazy, giving this an unreliable narrator feel. Of course, Walt gets to the bottom of it, but not before some excellent and spooky drama.

That's all, folks! I'll be back next month with plenty of new recommendations (and hopefully a tan because I could use some sun). 

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