Monday, October 16, 2017

What I've Been Reading When I Have No Time to Read

You guys know I have started my stint as a full-time teacher and am currently completing my internship as a student teacher. Because of this, I have not had a lot of time to read my own thing. I read a lot of student writing and materials for class, and after that, I'm ready for bed. No joke, it's a win if I'm still awake at 8:00 p.m.

But, with that being said, I have manged to read a few things here and there since September. Here's a look at the types of reading material I have been reading while I've had no time to read.

  • Short Stories
Short story collections are great when you don't have a lot of time to dedicate to reading. I found myself with the energy to read for about twenty minutes some nights, which was the perfect amount of time to read one or two stories from Almost Famous Women. I find it so annoying when I am reading a regular fiction novel to read in sporadic and short bursts; as I feel like I can never remember what is going on. With short story collections, you are able to finish an entire story arc in a shorter amount of time, which makes for satisfying reading. 
  • Nonfiction
Nonfiction is another genre that is usually suitable for short reading bursts. I find that the pressure is lifted to remember every detail of a nonfiction piece because I know that it's not possible, and quite frankly, just not the point of nonfiction. I'm more forgiving of myself when I can't remember details from the previous chapter of a nonfiction novel than a fiction novel. 
  • Audiobooks
Audiobooks couple very nicely with the above genre. I have found myself eager to listen to nonfiction audiobooks on my communicate to and from school. I really enjoyed Astrophysics for People in a Hurry and am about ready to start a new selection for my commute. I'm thinking Trevor Noah's Born a Crime will be next. 
  • Throwbacks 
The final category of books I have been leaning towards are throwbacks. I recently picked up a copy of The Babysitter by R.L. Stine for a quarter at my library's book sale and sat down and read it while I was home alone for the weekend. It was the perfect combination of nostalgia and classic creepy, and it's got me in the mood for some more throwback horror and creepy quick reads. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Diversity Bingo Update #3

I haven't updated my Diversity Bingo board in a while, so I thought it was about time for an update post. Admittedly, I haven't marked off many squares since my last update in July, but that's because teaching has slowed down my reading quite a bit. Nevertheless, I have some squares to mark off for book I've read over the past three months or so, and I do plan to cross more of before the end of the year.

If you have any recommendations for books that would fulfill any of my empty squares, please let me know! 

Update #1
Update #2

Newly Competed Squares and Reviews:
MC With an Underrepresented Body Type: The Upside of Unrequited, Becky Albertailli (Plus size MC) 
Arabic MC (Own Voices): The Rose and the Dagger, Renee Ahdieh 

Monday, October 2, 2017

Recently Read: Almost Famous Women

Author: Megan Mayhew Bergman
Genre: Short Stories- Adult Fiction
Page Count: 230
Publication Date: 2015
Rating: 3.5/5

Add on Goodreads

The stories of women on the brink of fame, including Oscar Wilde's niece, Lord Byron's illegitimate daughter, an aging artist, and Edna St. Vincent Millay's sister, are imagined in this short story collection. These women are connected by their bravery, their proximity to fame, and the sadness that is coupled with being an almost famous woman.

I have had this collection on my TBR for quite some time. The premise and the beautiful cover sucked me in and I knew this book would be right up my alley. I picked it up as I have been so busy with teaching this month,that I thought a short story collection would be easier to get through than a novel. The stories in this collection range in length, some are only three pages, others are twenty-or-so, and I loved reading one or two stories a night before bed. 

Each story features an image of the woman it is about as well as suggested reading material about that woman in the author's note. I loved this touch, and found myself itching to research the real lives of these ladies. Bergman uses a close companion or third party as the narrator for most of these stories, which really helps to build a common thread through the collection and commentary on what it was like to be a woman breaking the mold. These women were never given the opportunity to tell their own stories, and gossip runs wild about a woman challenging society's standards, so being once removed from each title lady was the perfect way to convey these ideas. 

I enjoyed all of the stories in this collection; I felt like each story was equally as good as the last, but I didn't feel like any of the stories particularly stood out as amazing. I really loved the idea behind this collection and thought it was very well executed. I will definitely be spending some time researching more about these ladies!   

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Feminist Nonfiction Haul (I mean, you can't say your surprised)

In this post, I talked about how out of control my feminist nonfiction TBR list was, so naturally, I bought some of the books off of it. I thought it was about time I got around to reading some of these books, and the first step to that is having them on hand. I've now got quite a pile on my unread shelves, but I have been really loving reading nonfiction lately. I think nonfiction is easier to read than fiction when I'm super busy because I can go a week without picking up my book and not feel totally lost. Here's a look at the three new nonfiction additions to my immediate TBR.

I've had my eye on this doorstop of a novel about this mother-daughter literary duo for a while now. 650 pages seems about right for these two literary ladies who had such exciting literary and love lives. I am really interested in both authors personally, as well as their works, so I think I will really enjoy this one. I can see this one being the perfect winter read. 

My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem
I actually had this one out from my library as an ebook and read fifty pages before I knew I had to own a copy of this because I was itching to mark and tab every chapter. I loved how insightful Steinem is in this novel, and I am really looking forward to reading more about her and her work. I'm also looking to pick up her essays sometime in the near future. 

Savage Beauty  by Nancy Milford
Yet another doorstop of a biography I have had my eye on for ages. Millay is one of my all-time favorite poets and typing up my Literary Look post on her had me itching to read more about her. I know she was pretty unique for her time and I'm really interested to read more about the tidbits I already know and learn completely new things. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Happy Banned Books Week!

Artwork courtesy of the ALA

As per tradition, I'm here to share a quick post in support of Banned Books Weeks sponsored by the American Library Association. I have always been a reader of banned and challenged books, but as of this year, I am also a teacher of banned and challenged books. In our current political climate, which seems to be made up of extremes, discussing censorship and information withholding is more important than ever. 

Looking at the list of the most frequently challenged books of the past year from the ALA website, makes it clear that book challenging is not about protecting children as it is so often sited as, but about restricting reader's abilities to see themselves and others that differ from themselves in literature. Of the top ten, half were challenged because of their honest portrayal of gender and sexual orientation diversity. While this is not surprising, it is disheartening. 

As always, I encourage you to check out the American Library Association's website (linked above under the picture) and I will leave the link to report the removal or ban of a book or piece of work in your area.

Have a happy week (and life) of reading banned books! 

Banned Books Week Posts:
2016 Here and Here

Monday, September 25, 2017

Recently Read: Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

Author: Neil DeGrasse Tyson
Genre: Nonfiction
Page Count: 222
Publication Date: 2017
Rating: 4/5

Add on Goodreads

I put in a hold for this audiobook from my library when the book first came out, and it finally came in a week or so ago at the perfect time. I have a half-hour commute to and from my school and I just couldn't take the radio anymore. I listened to this in about a week and I loved it. It is narrated by Neil DeGrasse Tyson, who of course has a lovely narrator voice, and contained just enough information about a range of topics to be interesting without being boring.

I am both terrified and fascinated by space. I took an astronomy class in college to fulfill my science credit, and I lost some sleep that semester over the scary happenings of space, but I was also so fascinated by space and the idea of humans working so hard to find the answers to the biggest questions concerning us. This book covers a range of space topics in a shallow way that makes for easy reading (or in my case listening) I did not understand everything in this book (and probably never will) but not because of the way it was presented, just because that is the nature of  the science of space. Neil DeGrasse Tyson uses beautiful metaphors and humor to make the complexities of space more manageable. This book is the perfect mix of science, theory, and antidotes. Tyson makes science sound like an art form, which I really loved. 

My thoughts and thinking about science has really changed over recent years. Past me would have turned my nose up at science as something that I just couldn't understand, relate to, or even care about. But in the past two years or so, I have begun to see the beauty and poetic nature of science; it's not at odds with art or other forms of human creation. My language and literature centered brain can in fact appreciate and understand elements of the scientific world. 

If you are interested in astronomy at any level, I recommend this book. This is a book I can see myself rereading in the future in order to experience Tyson's beautiful metaphors again as well as to receive the information again to help it stick. Listening to this book while driving to work in the dark of the early morning was a great way to start my day and has cemented my desire to pick up more audiobooks for my commute. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: My Fall TBR

I'm not sure how much reading I will be getting done this fall as I have just started teaching. I am writing up this post quite far in advance, so I have no idea how much reading current me is doing! Here's some books that I would like to curl up with this fall. You'll notice I crave historical fiction and mysteries in the fall and winter seasons!
Hosted by: The Broke and the Bookish

1. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J.K. Rowling 
I have been working my way through this series, and this is the next in line. I really want to dive into this one and continue with this reread, but the size mixed with my limited reading time is making me hesitant. I might find myself diving into this comfort read in the midst of things anyways.

2. Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor, Stephanie Barron
Fall is the perfect time to read mysteries! I have been wanting to dig into this series where Jane Austen solves mysteries for a while because it sounds so cute! I think fall will be the perfect time to start this series.

3. More than This, Patrick Ness
This book has been calling my name from my shelf for a long time.


4. A Tyranny of Petticoats, Jessica Spotswood
I really think I will love this collection, but for whatever reason, I haven't dug into it yet. With a second volume coming out next year, I really want to get into this one!

5. Sleeping Giants, Sylvain Neuvel  
This book is number one on my buy list right now! I've heard that this is a decent start to the series but that the second one is better and I really want to dig in! I've really been craving some quality science fiction lately.

6. The Gentlemen's Guide to Vice and Virtue, Mackenzi Lee
I've been hearing lots of great things about this one, and I love the sound of the premise. I really want to pick this one up and dig in!

7. Dust Tracks on a Road, Zora Neal Hurston
I've been loading up my TBR with feminist nonfiction, and this is one I want to get to very soon!

8. Tipping the Velvet, Sarah Waters 
I loved Water's Fingersmith so I'm eager to read more from her. Her books always have a mysterious element to them, and a great historical atmosphere, which screams fall to me.

9. Other Voices, Other Rooms, Truman Capote 
I've been meaning to read more of Capote's fiction since I have only read his short stories. I think this novel will be perfect for fall as it sounds a bit creepy and strange.

10.  All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doer
Another book that has been on my TBR forever and would be perfect for the fall weather!