Review: Kaleidoscope Song by Fox Benwell

Kaleidoscope Song

Genre: YA contemporary

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publication date: September 19, 2017

kaleidoscope songSouth Africa is loud. Listen. Do you hear the song and dance of it? The chorus of Khayelitsha life? Every voice is different, its pitch and tone and intonation as distinct as the words we choose and how we wrap our mouths around them. But everybody has a voice, and everybody sings…

Fifteen year old Neo loves music, it punctuates her life and shapes the way she views the world. A life in radio is all she’s ever wanted.
When Umzi Radio broadcasts live in a nearby bar Neo can’t resist. She sneaks out to see them, and she falls in love, with music, and the night, but also with a girl: Tale has a voice like coffee poured into a bright steel mug, and she commands the stage.

It isn’t normal. Isn’t right. Neo knows that she’s supposed to go to school and get a real job and find a nice young boy to settle down with. It’s written everywhere – in childhood games, and playground questions, in the textbooks, in her parents’ faces. But Tale and music are underneath her skin, and try as she might, she can’t stop thinking about them.

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Fall TV Shows I’m Looking Forward To

It’s September, and the fall TV season is upon us. Honestly, I used to watch mostly older shows on streaming, I and I am STILL up to my ears in shows to watch on streaming (hello, Battlestar Galactica), but last year I started watching and following some more recent shows. So here’s what I’m looking forward to that’s

The Good Place S2 (Sept. 20)

This was my favorite new show of last year, although it’s difficult to explain why I’m especially excited for this new season because it involves spoiling quite a bit of the first. (it is on Netflix now, though, go watch it!) Nevertheless, this is a show that’s delightfully wacky and inventive with lots of twists. We’ve been given very little information about this season, too–most promo clips use footage from the first season. And one of the things we do have is a picture of a clam chowder fountain (see below). So.

good place clam chowder

Star Trek Discovery (Sept. 24)

star trek discoveryLook, yes, I’m a little frustrated this is only on CBS All Access, and I do like the episodic nature of the previous Trek series (okay, I admit I watched mostly Next Generation, which is close to my heart). But I am a fan of character-based stories, and THIS CAST. I can’t wait to follow Sonequa Martin-Green’s character’s journey, and one of the supporting characters is played by Anthony Rapp, who is one of my favorite performers (even if he won’t be singing). He and Wilson Cruz’s characters are also the first gay characters Star Trek has had and that makes me so happy. This will be the first Star Trek series I watch as it airs and I’m so excited to have one for this generation.

The Gifted (Oct. 2)

I’ve always been interested in the potential metaphors implicit in X-Men, although I admit I haven’t read the comics and the only movie I’ve seen is the first one, and that was just this year. But I did love Legion, and while this doesn’t seem similar at all, I love the idea of exploring adolescence through the X-Men.

The Mayor (Oct 3)

This is a comedy about a rapper who runs for mayor as a publicity stunt and wins.

Mindhunter (Oct. 13)

I don’t normally watch dark prestige TV shows on Netflix. This show is basically what my dad would watch if it was on network TV. But it has Anna Torv (who played my favorite character ever, Olivia Dunham on Fringe) and Jonathan Groff (Broadway) in it, so…

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend S3 (Oct. 13)

I don’t think I enjoyed the second season as much as the first, but there are sure to be great music parodies and shenanigans. I miss Greg, though.

Stranger Things S2 (Oct. 27)

Like everyone else, I watched Stranger Things last year. I’m usually not up on the current buzz, but it was the summer and I saw that it was only 8 episodes and rated TV-14, aka, “I can comfortably watch this in the living room in front of my family.” I love that the teen and child characters are treated seriously and are as developed as the adult characters, not to mention played wonderfully by skilled young actors. I’m exciting to see what’s up the writers’ sleeves this season.

stranger things season 2.jpg

What shows are you looking forward to?

I’m being published! And you can preorder!

harmonious heartsI don’t think I’ve properly mentioned this in its own post, but I am going to be published for the first time! A short story of mine, “Entrances and Exits,” was a winner for the 2017 Young Author Challenge by Harmony Ink Press, and will be published with the other winners in an anthology of stories about LGBTQ characters aged 14-21 written by 14-21 year olds. (They do this every year, so it’s definitely a great opportunity for some of you out there!)

I’m a bit nervous because between this and a workshop I did last fall (I originally wrote this in a class), it’s gone through a lot of edits and is a little blurry in my mind. But I did learn from class that I shouldn’t make changes that compromise the integrity of what I want to say. It’s also a little experimental, written with an “objective”/observer POV and entirely taking place in a foyer. But it comes from a place very dear to my heart–not just because the main character is also bisexual, but also because of the observations on heteronormativity and college admissions. (That said, the experiences and relationships definitely differ from my own!)

And now the anthology is officially available to preorder! It will be released on October 24. I’m excited to read everyone else’s stories! (I haven’t properly checked out the author’s portal yet but I do believe I have or will have access to an ebook early, but I don’t think I’ll review it because that feels a little biased!)

The official blurb for my story is as follows:

The foyer of the Huxtable family home has seen its share of struggles. It bears witness as siblings Pippa and Mike try to strike a balance between their dreams and the expectations of well-meaning parents. As Pippa grows up, she realizes the influence of everyday heteronormativity on her life, while Mike cannot seem to escape his driven sister’s shadow.

I’m very excited to properly start my publishing career, and this has been a great opportunity to gain experiences working with editors.

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Synopsis:

brown girl dreaming.jpgJacqueline Woodson, one of today’s finest writers, tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse.

Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.

Brown Girl Dreaming, a memoir-in-verse by Jacqueline Woodson, was released in 2014 and showered with awards including a Newbery Honor and National Book Award. So naturally, I wanted to read this as a part of exploring middle grade and for reading more books by and about African-Americans this year.

Woodson covers her early childhood and adolescence in the book, and in that short span of time she has plenty of history and perspective to cover. She’s a black girl born during the Civil Rights movement to a Southern mother but a proud Northern father who divorce when she is a baby. She’s raised in the South with her grandparents, but then her mother leaves for New York, and she and her brother and sister are raised as Jehovah’s Witnesses by their grandmother. When her mother comes back to take them to move to New York (Brooklyn), they continue the practice, and they experience the contrasts between the North and the South through constant visits. Later, she becomes very aware of the 1970s movements that surround her, particularly feminism. Plus, there are quite a few references to the music of the times, which I enjoyed.

As much of the book covers a time when Woodson was quite young and naturally doesn’t remember everything, the verse form allows her to imagine her family at moments she would not be able to see or remember. It’s a creative blend of memoir, hope, and commentary. I also loved to see Jacqueline’s growing love for writing and poetry. Her older sister was the quick-learning, book-smart one, so she felt like she disappointed teachers, but she begins to find her own voice and it’s lovely.

I sometimes struggle with free-verse book form–I think I like single poems more, and particularly poetry that experiments with form, sound, rhythm, rhyme. I like longer “single” poems, and in a lot of popular collections they are quite short and structurally simple. (And just to clarify, I’m not saying those collections aren’t poetry. I just don’t enjoy them or get as much out of them.) But Woodson here has some longer lines and variations in her poems, and the style works very well for that blend of what she remembers and what she imagines.

Brown Girl Dreaming is a great book for the upper elementary and above, especially if you’re interested in writing, poetry, African-American history and perspectives, Jehovah’s Witnesses experiences, or are just a fan of Jacqueline Woodson in general. I’m interested in reading her latest, Another Brooklyn, although that one is a fictional novel for adults. As some of her life in Brooklyn in the ’70s is chronicled in Brown Girl Dreaming, it will be interesting to see how her life influenced that story.

Teaching Shakespeare: Best Play to Start?

I’ve been thinking about Shakespeare a lot recently–I’ve been getting into theater, I saw Something Rotten and read Twelfth Night this summer, I’m getting deeper into learning to teach English, and now my brother’s in high school and will be reading Romeo and Juliet this year.

When I heard that last item, I was a little disappointed…I saw a production of it my freshman year of high school, and there’s certainly a lot of dramatic momentum and memorable words, but it’s gained a bit of unfair stigma as a trivial, quick love story between teenagers (which is basically societal reflection on teenage relationships and the romance genre anyway). I’m worried my brother wouldn’t enjoy it as much as, say, Macbeth.

So this prompted me to reflect and I’d like to share my experience with Shakespeare in school and open up the discussion to those who have read more than me. Please comment!

  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream (freshman year): This was a great introduction. It’s wacky, fun to act out, a good exercise in keeping characters straight, and we got to say “ass” a lot and act out a play within a play.
  • Much Ado About Nothing (sophomore year): We watched the movie of this first (the 90s one), which definitely helped when we read it. This we were less concerned with the language and everything, anyway. Less wacky, but still fun?
  • Macbeth (senior year): On the serious side, here’s a lot of blood and murder and witches and dramatic tension and irony. Captivating and fun to act out.

I also had a good although not immersive experience (because I spent less time on it) with Twelfth Night this summer–definitely another fun, wacky one, and its use of gender can certainly open up discussions, engagement, and inclusivity in general.

What has been your experiences with Shakespeare in school? What plays engaged you and with what activities?

 

The Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag

I made an effort to space out tags and as a reslt, this is coming a little after the middle of the year. I was tagged by Sarah at Book Hooked Nook (I LOVE her blog title) so be sure to check her out!

1. Best book that you’ve read so far in 2017

This is hard, but because some of my other favorites are mentioned below, I’m going to go with Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. I had to read this for class and I read it all in one day–and not because I waited until the day before it was due! (It was actually several days before that.) I just love how Bechdel draws lots of literary comparisons to try to make sense of her life and family…it’s exactly how I think through things!

2. Best sequel that you’ve read so far in 2017

Honestly, I barely read sequels and series anymore, but I did start the Ms. Marvel (2014-) trade paperbacks and did enjoy the second one, though perhaps not as much as the first.

3. New release that you haven’t read yet but want to

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue…I currently have it on hold on my library’s Overdrive, though! I’m also reading it as a part of an online book club, in a way.

4. Most anticipated release for the next half of 2017

If I have to choose, I think I’ll go with Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore (out October 3rd) because I haven’t read a book by her yet and I’m eager to explore her magical realism stories, beautiful writing, and queer characters that I’ve heard so much about!

wild beauty

5. Biggest disappointment in 2017

Waiting for Godot…I love that I’ve found I enjoy reading plays, but there are some plays that are much more effective when seen. This would be one of them.

6. Biggest surprise in 2017

The Attention Merchants by Tim Wu–this is a trade-published nonfiction book (aka less academic than some) that I had to read for a class, and I didn’t really expect to like it because it was focused more on the business and advertising side of entertainment, but I actually really enjoyed it! There were so many little tidbits of things I learned, and it also drew important and thoughtful connections.

7. Favorite new author (debut or new to you)

Colson Whitehead, because a) I really liked The Underground Railroad and b) I got to see him speak and despite that novel’s serious subject matter, he’s actually got a hilarious dry sense of humor talking about his life. His other books look to be more absurdist and funny and I’m looking forward to getting to them.

He also signed my copy of The Underground Railroad!

8. Newest fictional crush

Honestly, I rarely get fictional crushes, sorry! It might be partially what I read and mostly how I interact with others, real and fictional. Sorry! **shrugs**

9. Newest favorite character

So I both read and watched the recent National Theatre Live performance of Angels in Amercia, and Harper Pitt is now one of my dream roles even though I don’t really do theatre. She gets some of the best, wacky monologues and she’s at once a tragic yet hopeful case.

10. A book that made you cry

Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin…there’s so much sadness and melancholy running through this one, as it’s about living with a heck of a lot of internalized homophobia and other issues, but the part that really got me was when he is hugging his (female) fiance but there’s no love in it…because it reminded me of a time I was on the other end of that hug.

11. A book that made you happy

Star-Crossed by Barbara Dee is just this adorable middle grade about a girl with a crush on another girl and loving theater.

star crossed

12. The most beautiful book you’ve bought or received in 2017

I picked up a used hardcover of All the Light We Cannot See and it’s such a beautiful, shimmering book.

all the light we cannot see

13. What books do you need to read by the end of 2017?

I just wrote a post about that!

 

Since this tag is a little untimely, I’m not going to tag anyone specifically. But if you still want to do it, go ahead!

 

How has your reading year been so far?

At-College TBR for Fall 2017

Hi all, so I’ve been a bit absent because I finished up my summer job, shopped and packed, and moved back to college! I’m so glad I’m back. And this semester I’m especially excited, because I have a lot of free time in my schedule compared to last semester, so I should have more time to focus on reading, blogging, writing, and hopefully YouTube.

So, I’m going to compile a (probably) ambitious list of books I plan on reading this semester, especially because I only have 1 regular English class! I’m mostly focusing on books I already own, because I’m on a self-imposed book buying ban. Let me know what you think of them, or if you have any more recommendations!

Books for Class

  • For my literary history class (not sure if I’m reading these in their entirety, either…): Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, “Wife of Bath’s Tale” (part of Caterbury Tales I believe), Doctor Faustus, Spencer’s Faerie Queen Book 1, Paradise Lost
  • For my “What is Good Education?” class (don’t know if I’m going to read all of these yet…): “They Say/I Say”: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing (because this is also a writing course) and Seeking Common Ground: Public Schools in a Diverse Society
  • I’m also taking a class about teaching YA in a diverse society (yay!!) but there isn’t a book list, so I’m hoping we get to choose and I’ll probably choose some of the books further down this list.

Soooo naturally I’m looking to have some fun reading in between all of that!

Books Coming Out this Fall

There are a couple of books I am definitely going to preorder. It’s by no means an extensive list of all I’m excited for, however–but if I read anything else sooner/before paperback, it’ll probably be from the library. At least, that’s the plan I hope to stick to.

  • They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera (Sept 5)–Wow, this is coming so soon!!
  • 27 Hours by Tristina Wright (Oct. 3)–I was actually contacted by the publisher to review a finished copy of this
  • Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore (Oct 3)
  • Turtles All the Way Down by John Green (Oct 10)–I’m not the biggest fan of Writing!Green, but this  tackles OCD based on his own experience, and I’m 100% here for anything in that very small category of books
  • La Belle Sauvage by Phillip Pullman (Oct 19)–I’ve waited so long for this!!

Others

  • Books I’m currently in the middle of: Brown Girl Dreaming, The Mother Tongue: English and How it Got That Way, TV: The Book, and a collection of essays by George Orwell
  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr: I told one of my good friends and fellow English nerd to pick a physical book I should bring with me and read this semester, and she picked this one.
  • Ghost by Jason Reynolds
  • The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by MacKenzie Lee–reading as a part of an online book club (though I’m interested in it!)
  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  • The Glass Castle by by Jeannette Walls–I don’t know if I’ll see the movie, but I’ve got the book and want to read it soon.
  • Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
  • Enter Title Here by Rahul Kanakia

…And I should probably stop myself there. Have you read any of these? What are you planning to read soon?

 

Anything But Books Tag

I like talking about much more than books, so I’m glad Sarah from Book Hooked Nook tagged me in the Anything But Books Tag! Check her out!

Q1: Name a cartoon(s) that you love?

I’ve never been too much of an avid cartoon watcher, but the Winnie-the-Pooh TV series and movies/videos were always my favorite and I still love it!

tumblr_ndhzt2GQeE1soax2qo1_500

Q2: What is your favorite song right now?

I’ve been on a musical kick for like a year now, and right now I’m wowed by “Origin of Love” from Hedwig and the Angry Inch (specifically the Neil Patrick Harris version)…I still haven’t listened or watched any of the rest of it, but this song is just a BEAUTIFUL rock song mash-up of mythologies with great lyrics. And then I’m also obsessed with “What Would I Do?” from Falsettos (2016 revival recording specifically) because ALL THE EMOTIONS and THOSE NOTES.

Sadly there aren’t any official performance videos of these, though Falsettos will be on PBS later this year!

Q3: What could you do for hours that isn’t reading?

Listen to music, watch (scripted) TV, falling down Wikipedia rabbit holes…

Q4: What is something that you love to do that your followers would be surprised by?

I don’t know if this is surprising, but I can speak a good amount of French! I took it all 4 years in high school, full-immersion, and even though it’s been a year and a half I think I still remember a fair amount. I can at least read and understand it and communicate decently, probably. I hope to take a trip to France when I’m student teaching in England in a little less than 3 years!

Q5: What is your favorite, unnecessarily specific thing to learn about?

Haha, I feel like this covers basically all of my interests. Here’s some: Postmodernism, espeically literature and TV. TV history and how the business and storytelling collide. All the ways different versions/performances of musicals or other theater pieces differ from each other based on (probably) scant footage and performances on the Internet. The history and art of the HIV/AIDS crisis.

Q6: What is something unusual that you know how to do?

I’ve bowled most of my life and even though I’ve had my struggles with it, I’d say I know how to bowl strategically! Which ball to use, where to stand, how to adjust, etc.

Q7: Name something you’ve made in the last year?

I wrote a short story for a class that got workshopped and revised, and I sent it off to Harmony Ink Press’s Young Author Challenge, and I made it into their anthology! It’s going to be my first official (and paid!) published work and it’ll be out in October. I’m sure I’ll be talking about it again later.

Q8: What is your most recent personal project?

In addition to a couple writing projects, I’m planning to start making videos/YouTube soon. I want to do both educational videos and tips/recommendations (such as for studying and organization) that might require more of a visual. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while, but I don’t think the traditional booktube is for me…though I’m sure books will always be there

Q9: Tell us something that you think of often

Right now: FALSETTOS (see #2 above. Also, this post). Like, not only are there a lot of motifs you notice as you listen to it more and more that are commentary on gender roles and revealing of complex characterization, but it’s also so catchy? Well, and emotional. But still often fun and worthy of dancing around the house to.

falsettos dance

Q10: Tell us something that’s your favorite, but make it oddly specific

I really love dogs, but specifically, I love MY dog!!

 

I tag…

Linda

Cassie

Ash

And anyone else who wants to do it!

Me and Marvin Gardens by Amy Sarig King

Me and Marvin Gardens by Amy Sarig King

Genre: middle grade, surrealism/absurdism(?)

Release Date: January 31, 2017

Publisher: Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic

marvin gardens.jpgObe Devlin has problems. His family’s farmland has been taken over by developers. His best friend Tommy abandoned him for the development kids. And he keeps getting nosebleeds, because of that thing he doesn’t like to talk about. So Obe hangs out at the creek by his house, in the last wild patch left, picking up litter and looking for animal tracks.

One day, he sees a creature that looks kind of like a large dog, or maybe a small boar. And as he watches it, he realizes it eats plastic. Only plastic. Water bottles, shopping bags… No one has ever seen a creature like this before, because there’s never been a creature like this before. The animal–Marvin Gardens–soon becomes Obe’s best friend and biggest secret. But to keep him safe from the developers and Tommy and his friends, Obe must make a decision that might change everything.

In her most personal novel yet, Printz Honor Award winner Amy Sarig King tells the story of a friendship that could actually save the world.

Amy Sarig King is better known as A.S. King, one of my favorite YA authors. This is her middle grade debut, so naturally I was doubly intrigued to not only read it but to see how she would write for a different audience. I admit it took me a bit to get into, and like all her books it’s not going to appeal to the mainstream, but it definitely won me over by the end.

Me and Marvin Gardens is your boy-and-a-dog story except the “dog” in question is a completely unknown and strange but friendly creature who eats plastic and poops brightly-colored toxic waste. Yes, you read that right. This is a book about environmentalism, as Obe picks trash out of the creek, ponders pollution facts his cool science teacher writes on the board every day, and has watched his family’s land be turned into a housing development. The changing of the Earth with time was distilled to a microcosm perfectly in this setting. It also has a lot to explore about toxic masculinity, as Obe’s father reminds him frequently that boys don’t cry, and Obe’s former friend has turned against him to fit into the meaner crowd of boys who make a list of girls to kiss without their consent (and the book has a GREAT discussion on this with Obe, his sister, and their parents).

So, yes, this doesn’t have the pacing of your usual middle grade. Obe’s a very internal character and the conflict with Marvin Gardens (the nickname for the creature) and the neighborhood builds slowly. And yet, King has unquestionably tailored her style to suit middle grade. There’s still the surrealism/abusrdism (I don’t know what to call it because unlike some of her others this isn’t magical realism, as Marvin is definitely not treated as a normal thing in the world), but it’s much more linear than her other narratives. Obe occasionally reflects on what it was like 100 years ago when his family began to lose the land, preserving King’s narrative style of having excerpts in different styles from the main narrative–but again, it’s more approachable.

Another delightful aspect of Me and Marvin Gardens is the friendship. Obe grows closer with his friend and bus seat-mate, Annie, as she lets him in one what’s been going on, defends her against his ex-friend’s nonconsensual kiss, and brings her to his creek for her to collect rocks (she wants to be a geologist) and, eventually, to meet Marvin. They get teased a little bit, but their bond remains platonic, which is refreshing. (YA does tend to pair characters more than middle grade, but often MG will feature budding relationships.)

I also really loved the ending, which isn’t a surprise if you know me. I don’t want to spoil it, but it does involve a positive view of teaching as a profession!

As always, I’m looking forward to what A.S. King comes up with next.

The TBR Tag

I’m back for another tag! This one I’m taking a cue from the lovely Fernanda at The Waderlust Reader because she kindly tagged anyone who wanted to do it. My TBR certainly needs some reflection so I thought this was something I should do!

How do you keep track of your TBR pile?

I keep a pretty liberal list of “to-read” books on Goodreads of books I’m interested in. Many haven’t been released, are recently released, or are smaller books I just didn’t want to forget about.

I recently used my journal (actually the blank pages in my Passion Planner) to keep track of my owned books that I need to read. It’s unfortunately long, thanks to my problem with Kindle ebook deals. See below, because I wanted to show off my beginner’s journaling skills 🙂

Is your TBR mostly print or ebook?

I’m not gonna do the math, but as you can see from above, many I currently own are Kindle (marked with a “K”) ebooks. I really like ebooks, not just because of portability, but also because they are often easier to read for me–it’s easier to get into a comfortable position and prop open, and the text size adjustment is really useful. Some books I definitely want to own in physical copy, however, usually depending on how much I like the actual object, wanting to support the author, and if I feel it’s an “important” book I’ll revisit and/or proudly display.

Some books I also find easier (and cheaper) to get from the library, and sometimes I’ll also get them as ebooks from the library–especially if I’m out of town at college but still have access with the Overdrive app!

How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?

Honestly, I don’t have much of a system It’s a combination of what I’ve owned the longest (often in print) and what I’m excited about. Of course, that can all get shaken up if I take a trip to the library and see something from my TBR.

A book that has been on your TBR the longest?

I think the book I own that I’ve had the longest is The Celebrated Jumping Frog and Other Stories by Mark Twain, a cheap paperback I got in like 5th grade that I still haven’t read (so about 9 years ago). On Goodreads, the book I’ve had on my to-read shelf the longest is Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, though I own it now and will hopefully get to it soon(ish)!

A book that you recently added to your TBR?

Goodreads: The Truth About Twinkie-Pie by Kat Yeh, because I’d seen it recommended as a really good middle grade book, and I’m always interested in exploring more current MG reads as it’s a genre I often write in.

Owned: Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff. This was an ebook deal recently and it was a pretty big book in 2015 so it has been on my radar. Plus, my friend read another book by her (Arcadia, which I also have on ebook) and really liked it.

A book on your TBR strictly because it has a beautiful cover

I honestly don’t do this very often, but I seem to remember adding Things That Surprise You by Jennifer Maschari to my TBR when I saw the cover released, and I don’t even think Goodreads had a synopsis then. It just looks like the kind of middle grade book I would have wanted as a kid, and maybe similar to the kind of stories I write.

things that surprise you

A book on your TBR that you never plan on actually reading

I think it has to be Uncle Tom’s Cabin. This is on my TBR because a friend gave it to me for a Christmas present a couple years ago because I like classics, but I’m not too interested in picking it up. I’m familiar enough with its historical and literary context and impact, and it’s not like it’s a quick read, either. Besides, when I want to read about American’s troubled history with race, I’d rather read something from an African-American author.

A book on your TBR that you are excited for

I think this refers to an upcoming release, so I’m going to go with The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night by Jen Campbell (out November 2). If you’re not familiar with Jen, she’s a writer/poet and former bookseller who makes videos all about books and writing and she’s super lovely and inspirational. This is going to be her first majorly published fiction for adults (and first short story collection) and I’m so excited to read more of her work–she’s very into fairytale retellings and magical realism, and I love the way she talks about those topics! That kind of magical blending of fantasy and reality might be my favorite genre short stories, too.

 A book on your TBR that basically everyone has read but you

The Raven Boys…especially because a couple of my real-life friends have loved it recently. I picked it up once but returned it to the library because I didn’t want to read it right then, but I think I’ll still give it a try. Mostly for the promise of dream sequences.

A book on your TBR that everyone recommends to you

…I’m going to go with Game of Thrones because my cousins have been obsessed with the books and the TV shows and think they’re the best thing ever. I have the first book on my Kindle from a deal (what a surprise!) but honestly I’m not sure it will live up to the hype for me. I have no doubt Martin can weave the subplots of lots of complicated characters together well, but the excepts I’ve seen of his writing do not thrill me on a word-by-word level. I also haven’t had much luck with reading series in a while. Besides, there are a lot of other TV shows I’m more interested in watching first.

A book on your TBR that you are dying to read

Right now,  Ghost by Jason Reynolds. Reynolds is EVERYWHERE right now in the YA and middle grade community and I haven’t read anything by him yet, and what better place to start than a middle grade? Plus, it fits right into my effort to read more books by and about African-Americans this year. I have it on my Kindle so I’m probably going to read it when I go back to college! (Trying to read physical books while I’m still at home.)

The number of books on your Goodreads TBR

…849. Yeah, I know. This is what happens when you read a very wide variety…

I was about to add another based on recommendation, too, but then I saw I’d somehow already added it…so that’s a plus.

I tag…

Lea from Outer Spades

Bluestocking Bookworm

Anyone else who wants to do the tag!