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?

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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!

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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!

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!

Cake Flavored Book Tag!

I am participating in my first book tag! I was tagged for the Cake Flavored Book Tag by Danielle over at The Introverted Bookworm. Thank you, and you should check out her blog 🙂

CHOCOLATE CAKE: A dark book you absolutely love

This is probably a cliche, but I really love Macbeth. I’ve only read it and seen some of the Patrick Stewart adaptation in school, but it’s certainly one of my favorite Shakespeares from what I’ve read so far and one of my favorite dramatic/tragic plays. I just love how the the dramatic irony that makes you feel that impending sense of doom and how the darkness is personified by supernatural occurrences. And witches!

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VANILLA CAKE: A light read

I can’t say I read a lot of books that are completely or mostly “light”–I like my hard-hitting subjects and emotion–but one of my favorites that certainly fits is The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and its series! I’m aware this isn’t for everyone and it’s certainly light on plot, but not only does it have a lot of iconic phrases, but much of the humor comes from wacky situations and images that result from the precise placement of words (it was originally a radio series, after all–great example of word-level humor).

marvin hitchhikers

RED VELVET: A book that gave you mixed emotions

I’ve got to go with a book I read this year: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. I’d heard for years about how AMAZING this was and I bought it on Kindle when it was on sale, and then I met someone who never stops talking about it because it’s his favorite book. So I finally read it, and…I didn’t love it. There were certainly things I liked about it, but I had conflicting feelings about the characters (many were not very memorable to me), and there was something missing in the plot and world that would have kept me reading. I did really love the ending, though. I hope I can get back into fantasy one day…this just wasn’t the book to do it.

CHEESECAKE: A book you would recommend to anyone

I always worry about recommending books, especially ones I love, because I know everyone has different tastes. That said, I think I’m going to go with the play of The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde. I’m sure not anyone wants to read a play, but it’s got both great one-liners and situational comedy to make for an entertaining–and quick–read. Also, the main reason I chose this was because it’s one of my favorite books I read for class AND everyone (seniors in high school) also seemed to really like it, which is pretty rare to see. (It’s also likely I’ll be trying to teach it in the future!)

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COFFEE CAKE: A book you started but never finished

I don’t DNF very often, and if I do it’s sometimes a case of “I have this out from the library but don’t want to read it right now so I might as well return it and read it some other time,” but one I did DNF recently (like, 2-3 years ago) was Angelfall by Susan Ee. I thought this was going to be a quick ebook read, but it really wasn’t, and I found myself not enjoying it as much as everyone else seemed to be. Something about the main character and the angel character I didn’t enjoy, and I realized post-apocalyptic writing is probably

CARROT CAKE: A book with great writing

toni morrison.jpgI just finished reading Beloved by Toni Morrison, and while I loved her turns of phrases in The Bluest Eye, I gained even more appreciation for her writing in Beloved. It’s a tough book to follow, but I’m amazed at how Morrison weaves in many perspectives, supernatural forces, and flashbacks, jumping from one to another effortlessly. She alters the writing style based on the character or situation, and it’s also a great story to boot.

TIRAMISU: A book that left you wanting more

To Kill a Mockingbird, hands down. I was expecting more of a reflection on Jem’s emotional fallout as a result of the ending. It was also really disappointing that (SOME SPOILERS, if you care) the white lawyer and sheriff were like “so, one of these two white people killed a man, but that guy was most definitely bad, so let’s just let them off the hook” without a hint of self-awareness that this was a result of the hasty judgement and incarceration of a black man…between that and Jem, the ending raised so many questions for me and not a bit of resolution. This also kind of ties into my frustration about how this book is so often taught in schools, much more than books by African-Americans, and if you’re going to pick one book about racism to teach…you should probably choose one actually written by a black person. Teaching this feels like a nostalgia-tinged way to please everyone.

CUPCAKES: A series with 4+ books

I’ll be honest: I’m not very good at reading series right now, especially ones that are longer than trilogies! Harry Potter is a bit too obvious (though, plotting-wise, one of the best IMO), and I already talked about Hitchhiker’s (“a trilogy in five parts”), so I’m choosing something that I haven’t finished but is absolutely a recent favorite: the Fairyland series by Catherynne M. Valente! Starting with The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making his is not only a cute and fun middle grade series, but it’s a love letter to fairytales and kidlit with plenty of satire and real-world comparisons that makes it great for older readers, too. I confess I’ve only read the first 2 but need to finish it

fairyland

FRUIT CAKE: A book that wasn’t what you anticipated

I want to choose a positive one for this, so I’ve got to go with one of my all-time favorites: The Great Gatsby. I had to read this my freshman year of high school (and recently reread it in college–appreciate the writing even more now) and in the beginning and based on the back synopsis, I assumed it would be a traditional love story. So when I got to Chapter 7 and (SPOILERS, obviously) everything goes DOWN and it all blows up in his face, I was riveted. I was at a point in my life where I was starting to realize relationships weren’t simple, people were complicated, and the image you have of others is often not who they actually are.

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I tag…

Bluestocking Bookworm

Cassie from Cassie’s Library

Ash from For the Love of Books

And anyone else who wants to do this tag!