Bookworm Blogging

November 2017 Releases

Obligatory “I can’t believe it’s almost November???” comment because, uh, is it seriously almost November? While I have an existential crisis over the passing of time, y’all can check out the handful of books on my TBR that are coming out soon:

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Almost Midnight
November 2, 2017

Almost Midnight by Rainbow Rowell is a beautiful gift edition containing two wintery short stories, decorated throughout for the first time with gorgeous black and white illustrations by Simini Blocker.

Midnights is the story of Noel and Mags, who meet at the same New Year’s Eve party every year and fall a little more in love each time . . .

Kindred Spirits is about Elena, who decides to queue to see the new Star Wars movie and meets Gabe, a fellow fan.

Midnights was previously published as part of the My True Love Gave to Me anthology, edited by Stephanie Perkins and Kindred Spirits was previously published as a World Book Day title.

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Future Home of the Living God
November 14, 2017

The world as we know it is ending. Evolution has reversed itself, affecting every living creature on earth. Science cannot stop the world from running backwards, as woman after woman gives birth to infants that appear to be primitive species of humans. Thirty-two-year-old Cedar Hawk Songmaker, adopted daughter of a pair of big-hearted, open-minded Minneapolis liberals, is as disturbed and uncertain as the rest of America around her. But for Cedar, this change is profound and deeply personal. She is four months pregnant.

Though she wants to tell the adoptive parents who raised her from infancy, Cedar first feels compelled to find her birth mother, Mary Potts, an Ojibwe living on the reservation, to understand both her and her baby’s origins. As Cedar goes back to her own biological beginnings, society around her begins to disintegrate, fueled by a swelling panic about the end of humanity. 

There are rumors of martial law, of Congress confining pregnant women. Of a registry, and rewards for those who turn these wanted women in. Flickering through the chaos are signs of increasing repression: a shaken Cedar witnesses a family wrenched apart when police violently drag a mother from her husband and child in a parking lot. The streets of her neighborhood have been renamed with Bible verses. A stranger answers the phone when she calls her adoptive parents, who have vanished without a trace. It will take all Cedar has to avoid the prying eyes of potential informants and keep her baby safe. 

A chilling dystopian novel both provocative and prescient, Future Home of the Living God is a startlingly original work from one of our most acclaimed writers: a moving meditation on female agency, self-determination, biology, and natural rights that speaks to the troubling changes of our time.

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The City of Brass
November 14, 2017

Step into The City of Brass, the spellbinding debut from S. A. Chakraborty—an imaginative alchemy of The Golem and the Jinni, The Grace of Kings, and One Thousand and One Nights, in which the future of a magical Middle Eastern kingdom rests in the hands of a clever and defiant young con artist with miraculous healing gifts

Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles. 

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass–a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound. 

In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences. 

After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for . . .

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Not Now, Not Ever
November 21, 2017

Elliot Gabaroche is very clear on what she isn’t going to do this summer. 

1. She isn’t going to stay home in Sacramento, where she’d have to sit through her stepmother’s sixth community theater production of The Importance of Being Earnest.
2. She isn’t going to mock trial camp at UCLA.
3. And she certainly isn’t going to the Air Force summer program on her mother’s base in Colorado Springs. As cool as it would be to live-action-role-play Ender’s Game, Ellie’s seen three generations of her family go through USAF boot camp up close, and she knows that it’s much less Luke/Yoda/”feel the force,” and much more one hundred push-ups on three days of no sleep. And that just isn’t appealing, no matter how many Xenomorphs from Alien she’d be able to defeat afterwards.

What she is going to do is pack up her attitude, her favorite Octavia Butler novels, and her Jordans, and go to summer camp. Specifically, a cutthroat academic-decathlon-like competition for a full scholarship to Rayevich College, the only college with a Science Fiction Literature program. And she’s going to start over as Ever Lawrence, on her own terms, without the shadow of all her family’s expectations. Because why do what’s expected of you when you can fight other genius nerds to the death for a shot at the dream you’re sure your family will consider a complete waste of time?

This summer’s going to be great.

Am I missing anything good? What releases are you anticipating this month? Which of you have been lucky enough to grab ARCs of these?
(All covers and blurbs courtesy of Goodreads.)

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Down the TBR Hole #8

It’s Saturday and you know what that means — time to tackle my TBR list again.

The rules:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

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Mostly Void, Partially Stars

From the authors of the New York Times bestselling novel Welcome to Night Vale and the creators of the #1 international podcast of the same name, comes a collection of episodes from Season One of their hit podcast, featuring an introduction by the authors, behind-the-scenes commentary, and original illustrations.

Okay, I don’t usually do this, but I mostly just want this as a collector’s item. I think the covers of all the WTNV books are gorgeous and I just want them to sit on my shelf and look pretty. KEEP.

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The Princess Saves Herself in this One

A poetry collection divided into four different parts: the princess, the damsel, the queen, & you. the princess, the damsel, & the queen piece together the life of the author in three stages, while you serves as a note to the reader & all of humankind. Explores life & all of its love, loss, grief, healing, empowerment, & inspirations.

I don’t know how I don’t have this one yet. KEEP.

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Food: The Good Girl’s Drug

Sunny Sea Gold started fighting a binge eating disorder in her teens. But most books on the topic were aimed at older women, women she had a hard time relating to. Calling on top psychiatrists, nutritionists, and fitness experts, Sunny offers real advice to a new generation fighting an age-old war. With humor and compassion from someone who’s seen it all, Food: The Good Girl’s Drug is about experiences shared by many women-whether they’ve been struggling with compulsive overeating their whole lives, or have just admitted to themselves, that yes, it’s more than just a bad habit.

I have a complicated relationship with both food and my body, and I kind of don’t want to read this atm. TOSS.

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Alexander Hamilton

In the first full-length biography of Alexander Hamilton in decades, Ron Chernow tells the riveting story of a man who overcame all odds to shape, inspire, and scandalize the newborn America. According to historian Joseph Ellis, Alexander Hamilton is “a robust full-length portrait, in my view the best ever written, of the most brilliant, charismatic and dangerous founder of them all.”

Because I love Hamilton (the musical). KEEP.

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Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?

What separates your mind from an animal’s? Maybe you think it’s your ability to design tools, your sense of self, or your grasp of past and future—all traits that have helped us define ourselves as the planet’s preeminent species. But in recent decades, these claims have eroded, or even been disproven outright, by a revolution in the study of animal cognition. Take the way octopuses use coconut shells as tools; elephants that classify humans by age, gender, and language; or Ayumu, the young male chimpanzee at Kyoto University whose flash memory puts that of humans to shame. Based on research involving crows, dolphins, parrots, sheep, wasps, bats, whales, and of course chimpanzees and bonobos, Frans de Waal explores both the scope and the depth of animal intelligence. He offers a firsthand account of how science has stood traditional behaviorism on its head by revealing how smart animals really are, and how we’ve underestimated their abilities for too long.

People often assume a cognitive ladder, from lower to higher forms, with our own intelligence at the top. But what if it is more like a bush, with cognition taking different forms that are often incomparable to ours? Would you presume yourself dumber than a squirrel because you’re less adept at recalling the locations of hundreds of buried acorns? Or would you judge your perception of your surroundings as more sophisticated than that of a echolocating bat? De Waal reviews the rise and fall of the mechanistic view of animals and opens our minds to the idea that animal minds are far more intricate and complex than we have assumed. De Waal’s landmark work will convince you to rethink everything you thought you knew about animal—and human—intelligence.

It’s been ages since I read non-fiction, but this is TOTALLY my jam. KEEP.

Okay, so I didn’t do great this week. I still managed to get rid of one book, which is better than none. Next week I’ll have to put the pedal to the metal.

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(All covers and blurbs courtesy of goodreads.)

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Down the TBR Hole #7

Hi everyone! Apologies for missing my Thursday post this week. I guess I don’t technically have an “official” blogging schedule on here, but I’ve been doing Tues/Thurs/Sat pretty consistently for a month or two so I feel obligated to hold to that! I was away a couple weekends in a row and then came down with a really terrible cold, so I’ve had barely any time or energy to devote to reading and writing. I seem to be out of the woods with this, so hopefully I’ll be back to my regular schedule and will be able to tear through some books soon!

Anyway, here’s a little down the TBR hole post for y’all! Enjoy.

The rules:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

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As I Descended

Maria Lyon and Lily Boiten are their school’s ultimate power couple—even if no one knows it but them.

Only one thing stands between them and their perfect future: campus superstar Delilah Dufrey.

Golden child Delilah is a legend at the exclusive Acheron Academy, and the presumptive winner of the distinguished Cawdor Kingsley Prize. She runs the school, and if she chose, she could blow up Maria and Lily’s whole world with a pointed look, or a carefully placed word.

But what Delilah doesn’t know is that Lily and Maria are willing to do anything—absolutely anything—to make their dreams come true. And the first step is unseating Delilah for the Kingsley Prize. The full scholarship, awarded to Maria, will lock in her attendance at Stanford―and four more years in a shared dorm room with Lily.

Maria and Lily will stop at nothing to ensure their victory—including harnessing the dark power long rumored to be present on the former plantation that houses their school.

But when feuds turn to fatalities, and madness begins to blur the distinction between what’s real and what is imagined, the girls must decide where they draw the line.

I’m looking through the reviews and this is described as a spooky lesbian Macbeth. I don’t know anything about Macbeth, but this is calling to me. KEEP.

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Pure Magic: A Complete Course in Spellcasting

Pure Magic is a practical crash course for anyone who’s ever envied TV witches. Or women who always seem to get the job, apartment, or date they want. Or people who can make their dreams come true. Judika Illes has written a spellcasting primer in down-to-earth language. “I consciously set out to write a book that would be different from any other on the market,” Illes writes. “This book is jargon free. It contains information usually handed down from teacher to student. It focuses on the practical aspects of spellcasting in a clear and nonjudgmental way. . . . No specialized metaphysical training is required.” What is required is that we become aware of the natural rhythms, energies, powers, and patterns of Earth and her diverse inhabitants.

Pure Magic offers a plethora of individual spells, plus concrete advice on how and where to practice magic, to rightly use words of power, and to cleanse, protect, and enhance your magic self. Work your way through it’s easy-to-follow, step-by-step plan, and all will become clear. Learn to listen to Mother Earth, focus on your magical allies, gather the simple equipment Illes outlines, and follow the straightforward instructions, and you will soon be constructing your own spells and experiencing magic in your everyday life. Pure Magic is a book that beginners will follow rigorously and advanced spellcasters will refer to again and again for guidance and inspiration.

I added this back when I was getting really into witchy stuff. That interest is not as intense as it was before, but this has a high rating and still seems like an interesting read. KEEP.

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Red Queen

This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart.

I feel like the book community is so divided on this book, people either love it or hate it. And I need to read it so I can figure out which side I’m on! KEEP.

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Rape Is Rape

Such emotionally charged false accusations have convinced much of the general public and the media that acquaintance rape is a figment of the imagination. As author Jody Raphael reveals in Rape Is Rape, the more acquaintance rape is reported and taken seriously by prosecutors, judges, and juries, the louder the clamor of rape denial becomes.

Through firsthand interviews with victims, medical and judicial records, social media analysis, and statistics from government agencies, Rape Is Rape exposes the tactics used by the deniers, a group that includes conservatives and right-wing Christians as well as some controversial feminists. The personal stories of young acquaintance rape victims whom Raphael interviewed demonstrate how assaults on their credibility, buttressed by claims of low prevalence, prevent many from holding their rapists accountable, enabling them to rape others with impunity.

Rape Is Rape is an exposé of those using rape denial to further their political agendas, and it is a call to action to protect the rights of women and girls, making it safe for victims to come forward, and end the acquaintance rape crisis. A resources section is included for those seeking help, advice, or hoping to get involved.

This is an important topic and one very near and dear to my heart. The reviews are also all very good. KEEP.

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Saving Sammy

The summer before entering sixth grade, Sammy, a bright and charming boy who lived on the coast of Maine, suddenly began to exhibit disturbing behavior. He walked and ate with his eyes shut, refused to bathe, burst into fits of rage, slithered against walls, and used his limbs instead of his hands to touch light switches, doorknobs, and faucets. 

Sammy’s mother, Beth, already coping with the overwhelming responsibility of raising three sons alone, watched helplessly as her middle child descended into madness. Sammy was soon diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and later with Tourette syndrome. Unwilling to accept the doctors’ prognoses for lifelong mental illness and repeated hospitalizations, Beth fought to uncover what was causing this decline. Racing against time as Sammy slipped further from reality, Beth’s quest took her to the center of the medical community’s raging debate about whether mental illness can be caused by infection. With the battle lines firmly drawn, Beth searched until she found two cutting-edge doctors who answered that question with a definitive yes. Together, they cured Sammy. Five years later, he remains symptom free.

Driven by her desire to help others, Beth Maloney has infused every page of this triumphant journey with heart and passion. An important story, Saving Sammy is part manifesto, part medical mystery, but is at its heart the empowering and inspiring story of a mother’s determination to save her son, take on the medical establishmentand win.

An intriguing memoir. KEEP.

Okay soooo… I didn’t get rid of ANY books this week. Oh well. Everyone has off weeks, right?

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(All blurbs and covers courtesy of Goodreads.)

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Down the TBR Hole #6

The rules:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

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Exit, Pursued by a Bear

Hermione Winters is captain of her cheerleading team, and in tiny Palermo Heights, this doesn’t mean what you think it means. At PHHS, the cheerleaders don’t cheer for the sports teams; they are the sports team—the pride and joy of a tiny town. The team’s summer training camp is Hermione’s last and marks the beginning of the end of… she’s not sure what. She does know this season could make her a legend. But during a camp party, someone slips something in her drink. And it all goes black.

In every class, there’s a star cheerleader and a pariah pregnant girl. They’re never supposed to be the same person. Hermione struggles to regain the control she’s always had and faces a wrenching decision about how to move on. The assault wasn’t the beginning of Hermione Winter’s story and she’s not going to let it be the end. She won’t be anyone’s cautionary tale.

I’ve heard lots of good things about this and it’s right up my alley. KEEP.

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Warrior Goddess Training

It’s no secret that women today are juggling a lot. We now make up more than half the workforce in the United States and are busier than ever with partners, children, family and friends, often putting the needs of others ahead of our own.

And if we feel overwhelmed by it all or fall short of perfection, many of us have learned to be our own worst critic rather than our own best friend.

In Warrior Goddess Training, bestselling author HeatherAsh Amara provides the antidote to the flawed idea that you are not enough.

Direct, honest, and unapologetic, Amara will show you how to release the layers of expectations to finally see yourself for the authentic, perceptive, perfect woman you really are.

If you don’t love and honor yourself with every fiber of your being, if you struggle with owning your power and passion, if you could use more joyful play and simple presence in your life, then it is time for an inner revolution.

It is time to claim your Warrior Goddess energy.

Drawing on the wisdom from Buddhism, Toltec wisdom, and ancient Earth-based goddess spirituality, the Warrior Goddess path includes personal stories, rituals, and exercises that will encourage and inspire you to become the true warrior goddess you are meant to be.

I’m just not feeling this right now. TOSS.

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

I’ve heard such bad things about this and wanted to read it anyway to see, but why subject myself to that? TOSS.

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Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

Sophisticated, witty, and ingeniously convincing, Susanna Clarke’s magisterial novel weaves magic into a flawlessly detailed vision of historical England. She has created a world so thoroughly enchanting that eight hundred pages leave readers longing for more.

English magicians were once the wonder of the known world, with fairy servants at their beck and call; they could command winds, mountains, and woods. But by the early 1800s they have long since lost the ability to perform magic. They can only write long, dull papers about it, while fairy servants are nothing but a fading memory.

But at Hurtfew Abbey in Yorkshire, the rich, reclusive Mr Norrell has assembled a wonderful library of lost and forgotten books from England’s magical past and regained some of the powers of England’s magicians. He goes to London and raises a beautiful young woman from the dead. Soon he is lending his help to the government in the war against Napoleon Bonaparte, creating ghostly fleets of rain-ships to confuse and alarm the French.

All goes well until a rival magician appears. Jonathan Strange is handsome, charming, and talkative-the very opposite of Mr Norrell. Strange thinks nothing of enduring the rigors of campaigning with Wellington’s army and doing magic on battlefields. Astonished to find another practicing magician, Mr Norrell accepts Strange as a pupil. But it soon becomes clear that their ideas of what English magic ought to be are very different. For Mr Norrell, their power is something to be cautiously controlled, while Jonathan Strange will always be attracted to the wildest, most perilous forms of magic. He becomes fascinated by the ancient, shadowy figure of the Raven King, a child taken by fairies who became king of both England and Faerie, and the most legendary magician of all. Eventually Strange’s heedless pursuit of long-forgotten magic threatens to destroy not only his partnership with Norrell, but everything that he holds dear.

I still can’t believe I haven’t read this yet. The premise is super intriguing and I love the cover! KEEP.

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Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers

Lillian Faderman tells the compelling story of lesbian life in the 20th century, from the early 1900s to today’s diverse lifestyles. Using journals, unpublished manuscripts, songs, news accounts, novels, medical literature, and numerous interviews, she relates an often surprising narrative of lesbian life.

The reviews make it seem not very well-written and not very intersectional. I think I’ll put this one aside for now. TOSS.

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History of Madness

History of Madness begins in the Middle Ages with vivid descriptions of the exclusion and confinement of lepers. Why, Foucault asks, when the leper houses were emptied at the end of the Middle Ages, were they turned into places of confinement for the mad? Why, within the space of several months in 1656, was one out of every hundred people in Paris confined?

Shifting brilliantly from Descartes and early Enlightenment thought to the founding of the Hôpital Général in Paris and the work of early psychiatrists Philippe Pinel and Samuel Tuke, Foucault focuses throughout, not only on scientific and medical analyses of madness, but also on the philosophical and cultural values attached to the mad. He also urges us to recognize the creative and liberating forces that madness represents, brilliantly drawing on examples from Goya, Nietzsche, Van Gogh and Artaud.

Foucault can be difficult to read, but I really want to try to make it through this one. KEEP.

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The Girls

Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence, and to that moment in a girl’s life when everything can go horribly wrong.

Hmm, there are a lot of conflicting reviews on GR. I think I’m gonna pass on this one for now. TOSS.

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Year of Yes

The mega-talented creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal and executive producer of How to Get Away With Murder chronicles how saying YES for one year changed her life―and how it can change yours, too.

With three hit shows on television and three children at home, the uber-talented Shonda Rhimes had lots of good reasons to say NO when an unexpected invitation arrived. Hollywood party? No. Speaking engagement? No. Media appearances? No.

And there was the side-benefit of saying No for an introvert like Shonda: nothing new to fear.

Then Shonda’s sister laid down a challenge: just for one year, try to say YES to the unexpected invitations that come your way. Shonda reluctantly agreed―and the result was nothing short of transformative. In Year of Yes, Shonda Rhimes chronicles the powerful impact saying yes had on every aspect of her life―and how we can all change our lives with one little word. Yes.

Also a lot of conflicting reviews! This just isn’t appealing to me like it did when I originally added it. TOSS.

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Where Am I Now?

Mara Wilson has always felt a little young and a little out of place: as the only child on a film set full of adults, the first daughter in a house full of boys, the sole clinically depressed member of the cheerleading squad, a valley girl in New York and a neurotic in California, and one of the few former child actors who has never been in jail or rehab. Tackling everything from how she first learned about sex on the set of Melrose Place, to losing her mother at a young age, to getting her first kiss (or was it kisses?) on a celebrity canoe trip, to not being “cute” enough to make it in Hollywood, these essays tell the story of one young woman’s journey from accidental fame to relative (but happy) obscurity. But they also illuminate a universal struggle: learning to accept yourself, and figuring out who you are and where you belong. Exquisitely crafted, revelatory, and full of the crack comic timing that has made Mara Wilson a sought-after live storyteller and Twitter star, Where Am I Now? introduces a witty, perceptive, and refreshingly candid new literary voice.

I love Mara Wilson on Twitter and I can’t believe I STILL haven’t read this yet! I literally just went and put it on hold at the library in order to make sure I read it. KEEP.

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100 Days of Cake

There are only three things that can get seventeen-year-old Molly Byrne out of bed these days: her job at FishTopia, the promise of endless episodes of Golden Girls, and some delicious lo mien. You see, for the past two years, Molly’s been struggling with something more than your usual teenage angst. Her shrink, Dr. Brooks isn’t helping much, and neither is her mom who is convinced that baking the perfect cake will cure Molly of her depression—as if cake can magically make her rejoin the swim team, get along with her promiscuous sister, or care about the SATs.

Um, no. Never going to happen.

But Molly plays along, stomaching her mother’s failed culinary experiments, because, whatever—as long as it makes someone happy, right? Besides, as far as Molly’s concerned, hanging out with Alex at the rundown exotic fish store makes life tolerable enough. Even if he does ask her out every…single…day. But—sarcastic drum roll, please—nothing can stay the same forever. When Molly finds out FishTopia is turning into a bleak country diner, her whole life seems to fall apart at once. Soon she has to figure out what—if anything—is worth fighting for.

This sounds like it COULD be okay, but I just saw a review saying it contains some girl-on-girl hate and I’m not about that. TOSS.

Anyway, dang! I managed to cull SIX books from my list, which I think is a record for me. I’m proud of myself for managing to be so ruthless today. Have y’all cleaned out your TBRs lately?

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(All blurbs and covers courtesy of Goodreads.)

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Down the TBR Hole #4

Last week I cut my TBR down to 301, this week it’s at 308. It never stops growing. Time to trim some more off.

The rules:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

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Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

It’s first the story of two women in the 1980s, of gray-headed Mrs. Threadgoode telling her life story to Evelyn, who is in the sad slump of middle age. The tale she tells is also of two women — of the irrepressibly daredevilish tomboy Idgie and her friend Ruth, who back in the thirties ran a little place in Whistle Stop, Alabama, a Southern kind of Cafe Wobegon offering good barbecue and good coffee and all kinds of love and laughter, even an occasional murder.

I think I saw the movie a million years ago. But I’ve heard so many good things and it has incredible ratings. KEEP.

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This Is Where It Ends

10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.

Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

I was worried that this might be voyeuristic and from the very conflicting reviews I’ve read, it seems like it is. There’s a lot about how the shooter is one-dimensional and portrayed as straight-up evil and I’m not about that. TOSS.

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Am I Normal Yet?

All Evie wants is to be normal. She’s almost off her meds and at a new college where no one knows her as the girl-who-went-crazy. She’s even going to parties and making friends. There’s only one thing left to tick off her list…

But relationships are messy – especially relationships with teenage guys. They can make any girl feel like they’re going mad. And if Evie can’t even tell her new friends Amber and Lottie the truth about herself, how will she cope when she falls in love?

This book doesn’t seem bad, but there are some iffy reviews and I’m just not feeling it right now. And this whole feature is about prioritizing things. TOSS.

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P.O.W.ER

What would happen if women and girls joined their unique abilities together to change the world? In a world where access to the written word is reserved to men, Andra BetScrivener has been able to read and write ever since she was a little girl without anyone teaching her. She must keep her abilities a secret in the country of New North, or she could lose her hands, her eyes or her life. In fact, the only paths offered to her–and all young women–are to either marry or enter the government-run Women’s Training Program, where she’ll be taught “feminine” arts like drawing, painting, and homemaking.

On her seventeenth birthday, Andra discovers that her abilities extend beyond reading. She can write events to life. As she begins to explore her new ability, she must take care not to jeopardize her father’s job as head scrivener at the Ministry. Despite her efforts to keep her powers hidden, she comes to the attention of both the government and a rebel group, who each desire to use Andra for their own goals. At the same time, she begins to meet other gifted women who have never dared use their unique powers. With the help of her friends Brian and Lauren—who has the ability to read minds—Andra must find a way to unite the power of women to create change.

When one side manipulates Andra’s words into killing someone, and the other threatens her father’s life and her own freedom, Andra decides to use her writing to empower others to stop governmental oppression. But in a society ruled by lies, cruelty, and inequality her journey will not be easy or safe.

Good reviews. Seems interesting. KEEP.

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An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness and
Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide and
Exuberance: The Passion For Life

These are all mental health books written by the same author that I added at the same time, so I’m counting them as one book and saying KEEP.

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Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

This doesn’t even have a blurb on Goodreads and has a mere 37 ratings but I have to read it because I adore the movie. KEEP.

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Wink Poppy Midnight

Every story needs a hero.
Every story needs a villain.
Every story needs a secret.

Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbor girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blond bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee. Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. Two girls. One boy. Three voices that burst onto the page in short, sharp, bewitching chapters, and spiral swiftly and inexorably toward something terrible or tricky or tremendous.

What really happened?
Someone knows.
Someone is lying.

I think I was drawn in by the pretty cover and the intriguing title, but this just doesn’t seem like it’s for me. TOSS.

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The Way I Used to Be

In the tradition of Speak, this extraordinary debut novel shares the unforgettable story of a young woman as she struggles to find strength in the aftermath of an assault.

Eden was always good at being good. Starting high school didn’t change who she was. But the night her brother’s best friend rapes her, Eden’s world capsizes.

What was once simple, is now complex. What Eden once loved—who she once loved—she now hates. What she thought she knew to be true, is now lies. Nothing makes sense anymore, and she knows she’s supposed to tell someone what happened but she can’t. So she buries it instead. And she buries the way she used to be.

Told in four parts—freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year—this provocative debut reveals the deep cuts of trauma. But it also demonstrates one young woman’s strength as she navigates the disappointment and unbearable pains of adolescence, of first love and first heartbreak, of friendships broken and rebuilt, and while learning to embrace a power of survival she never knew she had hidden within her heart.

I’m really, really on the fence about this, but for now: KEEP.

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Night Film

On a damp October night, the body of young, beautiful Ashley Cordova is found in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. By all appearances her death is a suicide – but investigative journalist Scott McGrath suspects otherwise. Though much has been written about the dark and unsettling films of Ashley’s father, Stanislas Cordova, very little is known about the man himself. As McGrath pieces together the mystery of Ashley’s death, he is drawn deeper and deeper into the dark underbelly of New York City and the twisted world of Stanislas Cordova, and he begins to wonder – is he the next victim?

Meh? TOSS.

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Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

Most people want to avoid thinking about death, but Caitlin Doughty—a twenty-something with a degree in medieval history and a flair for the macabre—took a job at a crematory, turning morbid curiosity into her life’s work. Thrown into a profession of gallows humor and vivid characters (both living and very dead), Caitlin learned to navigate the secretive culture of those who care for the deceased.

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes tells an unusual coming-of-age story full of bizarre encounters and unforgettable scenes. Caring for dead bodies of every color, shape, and affliction, Caitlin soon becomes an intrepid explorer in the world of the dead. She describes how she swept ashes from the machines (and sometimes onto her clothes) and reveals the strange history of cremation and undertaking, marveling at bizarre and wonderful funeral practices from different cultures.

Her eye-opening, candid, and often hilarious story is like going on a journey with your bravest friend to the cemetery at midnight. She demystifies death, leading us behind the black curtain of her unique profession. And she answers questions you didn’t know you had: Can you catch a disease from a corpse? How many dead bodies can you fit in a Dodge van? What exactly does a flaming skull look like?

Honest and heartfelt, self-deprecating and ironic, Caitlin’s engaging style makes this otherwise taboo topic both approachable and engrossing. Now a licensed mortician with an alternative funeral practice, Caitlin argues that our fear of dying warps our culture and society, and she calls for better ways of dealing with death (and our dead).

I’ve heard good things. KEEP.

And that’s a wrap! I did better this time and tossed 4/10 books. I’m down to 304 on my TBR list. How’s your TBR list looking? Have you pruned it recently?

You can also follow me on Twitter and Goodreads.
(All covers and blurbs courtesy of Goodreads.)

Book Tags, Bookworm Blogging

Down the TBR Hole #2

Back at it again, kids! My TBR is currently at around 300 and I suuuper need to cut that down.

The rules:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

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Octopus: The Ocean’s Intelligent Invertebrate

The visually arresting and often misunderstood octopus has long captured popular imagination. With an alien appearance and an uncanny intellect, this exceptional sea creature has inspired fear in famous lore and legends – from the giant octopus attack in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea to Ursula the sea witch in The Little Mermaid. Yet its true nature is more wondrous still. After decades of research, the authors reveal a sensitive, curious, and playful animal with remarkable intelligence, an ability to defend itself with camouflage and jet propulsion, an intricate nervous system, and advanced problem-solving abilities.

In this beautifully photographed book, three leading marine biologists bring readers face to face with these amazingly complex animals that have fascinated scientists for decades. From the molluscan ancestry of today’s octopus to its ingenious anatomy, amazing mating and predatory behaviors, and other-worldly relatives, the authors take readers through the astounding life cycle, uncovering the details of distinctive octopus personalities. With personal narratives, underwater research, stunning closeup photography, and thoughtful guidance for keeping octopuses in captivity, Octopus is the first comprehensive natural history of this smart denizen of the sea.

If any of you know me, you’ll know I’m in love with cephalopods and that my apartments is plastered with octopuses. KEEP.

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The Wild Girls

It is the early 1970s. Twelve-year-old Joan is sure that she is going to be miserable when her family moves from Connecticut to California. Then she meets a most unusual girl. Sarah prefers to be called Fox and lives with her author dad in a rundown house in the middle of the woods. The two girls start writing their own stories together, and when one wins first place in a student contest, they find themselves recruited for a summer writing class taught by the equally unusual Verla Volante. The Wild Girls is about friendship, the power of story, and how coming of age means finding your own answers, rather than simply taking adults on faith.

Umm, this sounds beautiful and I absolutely still want to read it. I think I originally thought it was an lgbtqia book and it doesn’t appear to be canonically so, but I’m still moving it up on my TBR list! KEEP.

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This Is How You Lose Her

On a beach in the Dominican Republic, a doomed relationship flounders. In the heat of a hospital laundry room in New Jersey, a woman does her lover’s washing and thinks about his wife. In Boston, a man buys his love child, his only son, a first baseball bat and glove. At the heart of these stories is the irrepressible, irresistible Yunior, a young hardhead whose longing for love is equaled only by his recklessness–and by the extraordinary women he loves and loses: artistic Alma; the aging Miss Lora; Magdalena, who thinks all Dominican men are cheaters; and the love of his life, whose heartbreak ultimately becomes his own.

In prose that is endlessly energetic, inventive, tender, and funny, the stories in This Is How You Lose Her lay bare the infinite longing and inevitable weakness of the human heart. They remind us that passion always triumphs over experience, and that “the half-life of love is forever.”

I’ve heard many good things about this and am still intrigued by it! KEEP.

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The Eye of the World

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

I vividly remember a cute, drunken college student telling me how good this series was one of the first and only times I went out with the party kids during my undergrad career. I know it’s recommended to fans of ASOIAF and LOTR and I do enjoy the former, but feel like I probably won’t be committing to this series anytime soon. TOSS.

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A Guide to Being Born

A Guide to Being Born is organized around the stages of life—love, conception, gestation, birth—and the transformations that happen as people experience deeply altering life events, falling in love, becoming parents, looking toward the end of life. In each of these eleven stories Ausubel’s stunning imagination and humor are moving, entertaining, and provocative, leading readers to see the familiar world in a new way.

In “Atria” a pregnant teenager believes she will give birth to any number of strange animals rather than a human baby; in “Catch and Release” a girl discovers the ghost of a Civil War hero living in the woods behind her house; and in “Tributaries” people grow a new arm each time they fall in love. Funny, surprising, and delightfully strange—all the stories have a strong emotional core; Ausubel’s primary concern is always love, in all its manifestations.

UHHH, this cover is beautiful and these stories sound amazing!! This is moving up up up on my TBR. KEEP.

Aaaand, I only ended up removing one book, but I did move two to my TBR ASAP list! Which means they will hopefully be read and removed by the end of the year.

Have you read any of these? Do you plan to? You can also follow me on Twitter and Goodreads.

Book Tags, Bookworm Blogging

Top Ten Tuesday: Series on my TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly tag/meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is “top ten series I’ve been meaning to start but haven’t.”

Earth’s Children Series by Jean M. Auel
The series has 6 books and begins with The Clan of the Cave Bear. I’ve literally intended to start this series for years, but I finally got Cave Bear on kindle recently, so I should be starting it soon!

Six of Crows Series by Leigh Bardugo
This series hasn’t been out for too long but I’ve heard loads of good things and have been meaning to read it. I also got Six of Crows on kindle recently and hope to start it soon.

The Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan
This series is so intimidating–there are many books and from what I’ve heard it’s a huge commitment. I’ve also heard the series starts off strongly and then tapers off, so I at least want to read the first couple books.

The Scott Pilgrim Series by Bryan Lee O’Malley
I’ve read bits and pieces of this series, I think, but I’ve never actually read it, you know? Anyway, it looks cute as hell and I know so many people who love it, so I really need to finally get to it.

The Red Queen Series by Victoria Aveyard
Another series I’ve heard loads of good things about, but just haven’t gotten around to yet.

The Dune Series by Frank Herbert
Another intimidating series. I’ve heard these books can be somewhat dense, but I’ve always wanted to read them!

The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon
Again, another series I’ve heard some really good things about. This has come recommended to me several times, so I really need to get to it.

A Court of Thorns and Roses Series by Sarah J. Maas
I think literally everyone besides me has read this series.

Book Tags, Bookworm Blogging

Top Ten Tuesday: Father’s Day

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly themed post hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This is my first time doing TTT, and I’m excited! 🙂

This week’s theme is Father’s Day. This is perfect, because my dad has had a huge influence on my love of reading. My dad was also a reader for a very long time. He has a great love for Stephen King and all things horror, so now I have a great love for Stephen King and all things horror. For my Top Ten Tuesday, I’m going to list 10 books from my TBR list that remind me of my dad, and are topics that I think he’d enjoy to some extent. Here we go!

Nostradamus: The Man Who Saw Through Time by Lee McCann
My dad has always had a thing for Nostradamus and I got this book for free, so it’s perfect!

Fascinating glimpse into the life and career of the enigmatic physician whose books of prophecy have intrigued readers since their publication in the 16th century. Presents modern interpretations of his most astonishing prophecies-many imminent in the next ten years!

The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel
This is a series my dad has always loved, so I’ve been meaning to read it forever! I have his old copies of most of the series, but don’t have a matching copy of this one. I recently bought a kindle version when it was on sale, so I’ll probably get around to reading it soon.

This novel of awesome beauty and power is a moving saga about people, relationships, and the boundaries of love. Through Jean M. Auel’s magnificent storytelling we are taken back to the dawn of modern humans, and with a girl named Ayla we are swept up in the harsh and beautiful Ice Age world they shared with the ones who called themselves the Clan of the Cave Bear.

A natural disaster leaves the young girl wandering alone in an unfamiliar and dangerous land until she is found by a woman of the Clan, people very different from her own kind. To them, blond, blue-eyed Ayla looks peculiar and ugly–she is one of the Others, those who have moved into their ancient homeland; but Iza cannot leave the girl to die and takes her with them. Iza and Creb, the old Mog-ur, grow to love her, and as Ayla learns the ways of the Clan and Iza’s way of healing, most come to accept her. But the brutal and proud youth who is destined to become their next leader sees her differences as a threat to his authority. He develops a deep and abiding hatred for the strange girl of the Others who lives in their midst, and is determined to get his revenge.

Salem’s Lot by Stephen King
A classic Stephen King book, I don’t think I need to say more.

Thousands of miles away from the small township of ‘Salem’s Lot, two terrified people, a man and a boy, still share the secrets of those clapboard houses and tree-lined streets. They must return to ‘Salem’s Lot for a final confrontation with the unspeakable evil that lives on in the town.

Papi: My Story by David Ortiz
Okay, this one is a little off-genre, but my dad is a HUGE Sox fan, so it still makes sense.

David “Big Papi” Ortiz is a baseball icon and one of the most popular figures ever to play the game.  As a key part of the Boston Red Sox for 14 years, David has helped the team win 3 World Series, bringing back a storied franchise from “never wins” to “always wins.” He helped them upend the doubts, the naysayers, the nonbelievers and captured the imagination of millions of fans along the way, as he launched balls into the stands again, and again, and again.  He made Boston and the Red Sox his home, his place of work, and his legacy. As he put it: This is our f*ing city.

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson
My dad also loves space and science!

While you wait for your morning coffee to brew, for the bus, the train, or a plane to arrive, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry will reveal just what you need to be fluent and ready for the next cosmic headlines: from the Big Bang to black holes, from quarks to quantum mechanics, and from the search for planets to the search for life in the universe.

The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel
My dad lives in the woods of New England, has an unbelievable amount of wilderness survival skills, and would probably love to be a hermit, so.

Many people dream of escaping modern life, but most will never act on it. This is the remarkable true story of a man who lived alone in the woods of Maine for 27 years, making this dream a reality–not out of anger at the world, but simply because he preferred to live on his own.

The Book of Cthulhu edited by Ross E. Lockhart
Back to horror!

The Cthulhu Mythos is one of the 20th century’s most singularly recognizable literary creations. Initially created by H. P. Lovecraft and a group of his amorphous contemporaries (the so-called “Lovecraft Circle”), The Cthulhu Mythos story cycle has taken on a convoluted, cyclopean life of its own. Some of the most prodigious writers of the 20th century, and some of the most astounding writers of the 21st century have planted their seeds in this fertile soil. The Book of Cthulhu harvests the weirdest and most corpulent crop of these modern mythos tales. From weird fiction masters to enigmatic rising stars, The Book of Cthulhu demonstrates how Mythos fiction has been a major cultural meme throughout the 20th century, and how this type of story is still salient, and terribly powerful today.

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
My dad also loves learning about indigenous folks.

In An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, Dunbar-Ortiz adroitly challenges the founding myth of the United States and shows how policy against the Indigenous peoples was colonialist and designed to seize the territories of the original inhabitants, displacing or eliminating them. And as Dunbar-Ortiz reveals, this policy was praised in popular culture, through writers like James Fenimore Cooper and Walt Whitman, and in the highest offices of government and the military. Shockingly, as the genocidal policy reached its zenith under President Andrew Jackson, its ruthlessness was best articulated by US Army general Thomas S. Jesup, who, in 1836, wrote of the Seminoles: “The country can be rid of them only by exterminating them.”

Dune by Frank Herbert
Sci-fi! He also loves sci-fi.

Set in the far future amidst a sprawling feudal interstellar empire where planetary dynasties are controlled by noble houses that owe an allegiance to the imperial House Corrino, Dune tells the story of young Paul Atreides (the heir apparent to Duke Leto Atreides and heir of House Atreides) as he and his family accept control of the desert planet Arrakis, the only source of the ‘spice’ melange, the most important and valuable substance in the cosmos. The story explores the complex, multi-layered interactions of politics, religion, ecology, technology, and human emotion as the forces of the empire confront each other for control of Arrakis.

That’s only 9, but I kind of ran out of things I thought my dad would actually like. Regardless, I had fun doing this and can’t wait until next weeks’ TTT!

You can also follow me on Twitter and Goodreads.

Book Tags

down the TBR hole [tag]

Alright y’all, I’m pulling this tag from what the log had to say! Overall a good tag, I gotta go through my TBR to weed stuff out more!

The rules:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Here we go!

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
Yes yes yes yes I’ve still been meaning to read this so bad.

Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel
I still absolutely need to read this.

Syllabus: Notes from an Accidental Professor by Lynda Barry
Meh, it’s still a cool concept, but I don’t think I’m as into it as I was before. I’ll take it off for now.

Kissing the Witch: Old Tales in New Skins by Emma Donoghue
Pretty sure there’s some lgbtq stuff going on here, so it’s gotta stay!

Kraken: The Curious, Exciting, and Slightly Disturbing Science of Squid by Wendy Williams
I’m pretty obsessed with cephalopods, so this also has to stay.

You can also follow me on Twitter and Goodreads.