Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag

I was tagged by Linda over at Linda’s Little Library to do the Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag. I’m a little late for this because I was on vacation, so I’m not going to include anything I’ve read so far in July, since the end of June marked the middle of the year.

1. Best Book You’ve Read So Far

ivy aberdeenI think I have to say Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake! This is such a beautiful, heartfelt middle grade story about a girl whose house has been destroyed by a tornado, and in the aftermath she works through her feelings for other girls and her relationship to her friends and family. It has so many important messages and the tone is perfect.

2. Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far

I haven’t read many sequels this year, but I have to say Ms. Marvel Vol. 6: Civil War II. I actually read Volumes 3-6 (so far!) this summer and I LOVE them, and they just keep getting better and better. The sixth volume has some really interesting ethical debates (it’s part of a larger Civil War II arc I think) and serious consequences for the characters.

3. New Release You Haven’t Read Yet, But Want To

hurricane childI really want to read Kheryn Callender’s Hurricane Child, which came out in March, but I also want to own it and I’m trying not to order books right now. We’ll see how long I make it. This is a middle grade book about a girl born during a storm, considered unlucky (it takes place in the Virgin Islands), who is determined to find her mother. It’s magical realism and I believe the main character is also discovering her sexuality. Also, isn’t the cover beautiful?

4. Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year

There are several, but I think I’m going to have to go with What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera. I love their individual works and found the first chapter to this one (at the end of Leah on the Offbeat) adorable. Most of all, I’m excited for all the Broadway references that have been promised!

5. Biggest Disappointment

Not counting July, I’ve got to say King Lear. There are too many characters and the ending was pretty unsatisfying because the showdowns you wanted to see all happened offstage! C’mon, Shakespeare!

6. Biggest Surprise

Another Shakespeare play, Cymbeline. This is a very strange one and I’m not sure I would consider it “good,” but it was definitely entertaining. It felt like Shakespeare was becoming self-aware of all his tropes and it was pretty ridiculous. And then Jupiter descended!

7. Favorite New Author (Debut or new to you)

I usually consider questions like this to be referring to authors who I’ve read more than one work by, but there hadn’t been any new ones to me that I read more than one book from through June. So for those I’ve read one thing from so far: Anna-Marie McLemore (Wild Beauty) or Ashley Herring Blake (Ivy Aberdeen).

8. Newest Fictional Crush?

I always draw a blank on these and frankly, this just isn’t something I look for when reading. So, no one?

9. Newest Fictional Character

I suppose this isn’t completely new, since I read the first two volumes last year, but I have SO MUCH love for Ms. Marvel/Kamala Khan right now. I care so much about her and her story and her friends and family.

10. Book that made you cry

Honestly, I don’t think I have a true answer to this because I don’t remember crying to any book yet (it’s not that I’m not a crier…I just didn’t read anything that got me?), but I will say that I was reading Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro and about halfway through a THING happened and I was pretty shaken. I still haven’t finished it, although I plan to. It just wasn’t the book I wanted to read at that time.

11. Book that made you happy

wild beautyI cheered myself up by reading Ivy Aberdeen next, which did make me very happy, but you’ve already heard about that so I have to say Wild Beauty. That book is so beautiful and lovely with great commentary.

12. Favorite book to film adaptation you saw this year

…So, I still haven’t seen Love, Simon, because my plans kept falling through and I haven’t bought it yet. I honestly don’t watch too many movies. I think my pick will have to be Carol, because even though I didn’t read the book I did enjoy the movie and I watched it on Netflix in like January.

13. Favorite Review You’ve Written This Year

Does this count? I’m really behind on reviews because during the school year I didn’t read much outside of classwork, and now it’s the summer I’m reading lots and can’t keep up.

14. Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought/Received This Year

Well, I have been avoiding buying books, so I don’t have too many to choose from here. That said, I LOVE the Ivy Aberdeen cover (above) with all my heart.

15. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

Yikes. So, excluding books for school (lots of 18th-19th century stuff, some contemporary stuff), here’s what I REALLY DO want to read by the end of the year; the rest I’ll be more flexible with, hopefully. Things always are up in the air once I get to school, but I do want to stay focused.

  • Hamlet (currently reading. Yes, I’ve never read it before.)
  • Finish Anger is a Gift
  • 100 Years of Solitude
  • The Empathy Exams
  • Beneath the Sugar Sky
  • Sadie (ARC)
  • Unbroken (anthology, ARC)
  • How to Make a Wish

I’m not going to tag anyone because it’s a bit too late for this…but feel free to do it if you want to!

 

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Shuffle the Music Tag

Music is something I should talk about more, and I’ve got a great opportunity because Ash at For the Love of Books tagged me in the Shuffle the Music Tag!

Here are the rules, although I’m going to modify them a bit:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you for this tag and link to their blog.
  2. Shuffle your entire music library (no matter how old songs the songs are) and talk about the FIRST FIFTEEN* songs that come up (anything like why they are there, if they signify something, any story, why you like them, etc.)
  3. Mention the songs as well as the artists.
  4. Tag 7 people or more to do this tag and please let them know!

*Ash did 20 songs, so I’m doing 20. Also, my library is split between iTunes and Spotify, so I’m going do 10 from each. Long story short, iTunes has a lot of older music I would listen to, some bought, some on CDs from my parents. It’s probably also a smaller collection. Spotify, meanwhile, I got more recently and now use frequently, though I think I’ve mostly saved (and listened to) musicals. So this will be interesting!


iTunes

1. “The Long Run”: The Eagles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This song wasn’t on our Eagles greatest hits CD, so I remembered I ended up buying it on iTunes, maybe toward the end of middle school or early high school. The Eagles often sound somewhere between rock and country, and while I don’t really listen to the latter, I find the Eagles’ songs catchy. “The Long Run” is definitely one of their hits, all about taking a chance on a relationship and seeing what happens.

2. “Daniel”: Elton John

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a kid, I resisted my dad trying to get me into Elton John for a long time, but let’s be honest, he fits very easily into my musical tastes. “Daniel” became one of my favorites…I realize now it’s a pretty sad song about the narrator’s brother, a Vietnam vet, but it’s just so pleasant and breezy to listen to?

3. “Rent”: Rent, film version (Jonathan Larson)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was the last album I purchased on iTunes before I was hacked and basically lost my account (though I still had the music downloaded on my laptop as I do own it). I actually much prefer the Broadway version because it’s less stylized, introduces more characters (not to mention has actual context before it), and has more of an ensemble focus…but overall this has been one of my favorite songs recently. “How do you document real life when real life’s getting more like fiction each day?” is basically how I feel watching the news, and I love the lines about trying to focus on the future and escape feelings from the past. Let’s be honest: this isn’t about the actual rent, but the burdens of society on those looked down upon (Roger can’t escape HIV+ and his mistakes that led him to that diagnosis, Collins gets mugged, etc). It’s angry and such a rousing opening number; when I saw this live during the 20th anniversary tour, that opening riff’s volume took me by surprise and I thought, “Yep, this is a rock musical, all right.”

4. “I Have Confidence”: The Sound of Music, film version (Rogers & Hammerstein)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apparently my iTunes does have quite a bit of musicals on it! I’ve had this CD since my childhood…I was in a (minor) car accident when I was 5 and was mostly worried if this CD, which had been in the car’s player, was okay. This movie got me into loving musicals and singing back then and I’ve never looked back. While I might generally prefer stage productions to movie musicals now, but I still return to this one regularly and it holds up thanks to the wonderful dialogue and performances. “I Have Confidence” is such an empowering song, and a great scene in the movie–even though my dad annoys me with it sometimes.

5. “59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)”: Simon & Garfunkel, live Concert in Central Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Simon & Garfunkel Concert in Central Park CD from the titular 1981 concert was a regular listen on car trips when I was a kid, and I fell revisited and fell in love with it in early high school, I think (it has a better version of “Sound of Silence” than the original, IMO). The soft rhythms and their lovely harmonizing is certainly present in this carefree song. (Fun fact: my dad was at this concert back then. It was free.)

6. “You Don’t Mess Around With Jim”: Jim Croce

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clearly there’s quite a bit of folk-rock songs in my foundation. While not my favorite Croce song (that would be “Bad Bad Leroy Brown” or “Time in a Bottle”), this is again something introduced to me by my parents’ CD collection and radio channels. It’s just SO CATCHY and casual with plenty of dropped -g’s, humming, lyrics like “ba-da-bee,” sort-of monologue, and good advice (don’t spit into the wind!). Also this is about some sort of gangster named Jim Wailker, not about Croce himself! This song creates a fully-realized world and legend in less than 3 minutes.

7. “Guinnevere”: Crosby, Stills, and Nash (and Young??)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I really got into Crosby, Stills, and Nash (sometimes with Neil Young) during middle school as I discovered my love for soft songs with lovely harmonies. “Guinnevere” is certainly one of them: slow, some parts almost whispered, close harmonies. And yes, it’s about comparing a woman to the King Arthur character.

8. “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da”: The Beatles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: YouTube didn’t have an easy-to-find original version of the song, so instead please have this amusing choir arrangement because I am also choir geek.

The Beatles were another band my parents introduced me as a kid and accompanied us on our long car rides to family. I remember this one fondly, of course, because what kid wouldn’t like the nonsensical chorus of this song? And it certainly remains fun. LIFE GOES ON…BRRRAAA!

9. “Katmandu”: Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another car trip favorite was Bob Seger. This song is heavier than some of his others and so it sticks out…K-K-K-K-Katmandu! Unfortunately, I didn’t learn/remember where Katmandu actually is until much later in life. I always thought of it as mountains in the Western U.S. for some reason?

10. “We Go Together”: Grease, film soundtrack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think Grease is kind of a bizarre movie, from the first time  I watched it in like middle school to rewatching it this year. But that’s another topic, and regardless I’ve always liked the music, because the 50s style was something I listened to when I was younger. “We Go Together” is definitely one of those I would listen to…I know all the words, and some aren’t really “words.” One of these days, I will go to an old-fashioned sock hop!


Spotify

1. “No One Mourns the Wicked”: from Wicked (Stephen Schwartz)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, this is saved because it was initially one of the musicals I intended to listen to when I first got Spotify, as several of my friends really love it. While I know some of the songs, and there’s a chance I might have heard snippets of this one somewhere, I still haven’t listened to the whole musical and honestly it’s so popular that I’ll probably see it someday and so I don’t feel an urgency to.

2. “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”: U2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know U2 gets a bad rap nowadays, mostly because of their iTunes gift that became difficult to delete because of iTunes’ updates (and now they have another new album??), but I really like their older classics like “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” Bono’s vocals are great, and the slow build of the instruments leading into a steady melody provides an immersive experience. My favorite version, though, is probably this, a three-part harmony sung by Broadway and Smash stars (though I haven’t seen that show) Andy Mientus, Krysta Rodriguez, and Jeremy Jordan.

3. “I Love My Daughter” (But Not In A Creepy Way)” from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, how your song parodies make me laugh. This one’s from an early first season episode and it definitely helped win me over on the show. Nothing beats Darryl’s coming out “Gettin’ Bi” song, but he’s genuinely one of my favorite characters and any song with him is a gift. This one satirizes common themes and aesthetics in country songs to a cringeworthy but funny effect.

4. “Imitation of Life”: R.E.M.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

R.E.M. is in that collection of music my dad introduced me to as a kid and that I generally grew up with, but that was mostly limited to their big hits and Automatic for the People (one of my favorite albums). But last year I discovered some of their other work on Spotify, probably because I was searching for more of that ’80s-’90s angsty political rock with great vocals like Rent (their album Lifes Rich Pageant was the answer to that). “Imitation of Life” stuck out to me because it’s just plain catchy and I would get it stuck in my head, though the central idea of “imitating life” does have plenty of weight to it. (Also I just watched this video for the first time and…what??)

5. “Take A Byte”: Janelle Monáe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Surprise, a new, non-musical song! This doesn’t happen very much at all. Dirty Computer was actually one of the first albums I really anticipated, mostly because a friend made me listen to the Prince-style catchy “Make Me Feel” when it came out, and I was intruiged by the style of that and the singles that followed, especially as it all made a sci-fi storyline with queer representation. “Take a Byte” isn’t one of my favorites on the soundtrack, but the electronic feel at the beginning definitely highlights the technology theme of the story, and it can definitely be read as queer desire in context.

6.”Many Meetings”: Howard Shore from Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring soundtrack

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lord of the Rings music is absolutely memorable and great background music. This track has atmospheric elvish (I think?) singing, and the Hobbiton motif that just reminds me of nature and a sense of belonging/home keeps repeating…it’s really beautiful.

7. “Encore: Our Shot”: from Spamilton

 

 

 

 

Although I don’t have much of a personal connection to it because it was so popular and I didn’t quite come to it on my own, I love Hamilton. What a surprise, I know. But did you know there is an off-Broadway parody? Some of it’s great, some is less so, and some of it relies on knowledge of other musicals and actors, but if you love Hamilton it’s worth the listen. This track is just a little ending piece to the tune of “My Shot” about how now their voices are shot and they need a drink. Probably what every performer thinks after a show!

8. “Not Too Bad”: from Fun Home (Jeanine Tsori & Lis Kron)

 

 

So, like Wicked, here’s a musical I intended to listen to but still haven’t. I’ve heard some of the songs, but I had to read the book for class last year and I loved it, and I’m just not ready to experience an adaptation of it because what I liked about the graphic novel was so intrinsic to its form and voice. But I’ve heard it’s good. (Also let’s be honest, a song from this started playing once and it was too sad I just couldn’t listen to it.)

9. “Telekenetic Energy”: Chris Tilton, from from Fringe Season 4 soundtrack

 

I love the TV show Fringe (which, alas, is a subject for another time), and I discovered it has a pretty good score to listen to as background music, so of course I added the albums when I got Spotify. My favorite thing is that most of the titles are puns, including this one! This piece is very tense initially but then evens out (albeit with a heartbeat-like thumping in the background) and grows quieter…definitely like the main character Olivia gaining control of her telekenetic powers! (Maybe. Not sure when this was used specifically.)

10. “I Am Playing Me”: from [title of show] (Jeff Bowen)

And here’s another musical I haven’t listened to, although this one I fully intend to because it’s lesser-known and I don’t really know the storyline. Apparently it’s about the creators of a musical, so it’s very meta, which is the kind of stuff I love.


Wow, iTunes went really well with lots of childhood memories and Spotify was…not nearly as expected. I think I tend to save musicals to listen to them later and what I haven’t listened to is larger than what I have

I tag…

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?

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!

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!