2019 – Chapter One

 

Happy New Year! I hope everyone enjoyed their holidays and are looking forward to what 2019 might bring. For me, I know that I’m going to be doing some pretty kick-ass traveling, spending time working on making this blog what I originally envisioned it to be, heading back to school for the millionth time, seeing my not-so-guilty pleasure favorite boy band in concert, and welcoming my third niece or nephew to the world. There is so much that I can’t predict for the year, though. We love to set goals for ourselves at the beginning of the year, using January 1st as a benchmark for turning over new leaves or creating new habits, but life is unpredictable and sometimes the goals we set in January never get met. I try to keep mine as realistic as possible, but even then I can’t fulfill everything I want to do.

With that in mind, I am definitely setting some challenges for myself this year. I want to read at least one author per letter of the alphabet, read at least one nonfiction book per month, finish at least three of the series I’ve already started, and utilize my city library more. The most difficult of these will be the first two. My Goodreads Want To Read doesn’t currently have any authors for I, Q, U, or X, and I am far more drawn to fiction than non-fiction these days.

All of that said, I have cobbled together a pile of books I want to read throughout January, and have already finished two of them (albeit, they were short).

Finished

  • The Illustrated Herbiary by Maia Toll
    • I have a review of this posted on Goodreads if anyone is interested in checking it out. This is a guidebook for a set of oracle cards that comes with it. I love the illustrations and interpretations of the different plants used for the cards.
  • Tank Girl: Visions of Booga by Alan Martin and Rufus Dayglow
    • This was my second reading of this really short mini-series published early on in the mid-2000’s Tank Girl reboot. I enjoyed it when it first came out and still enjoyed it now, but I’d consider this mini-series to be quite tame when compared to other TG story lines.

Currently Reading

  • Ex-Purgatory by Peter Clines
    • This is book four of the Ex-Heroes series. Currently, Clines has five books out for the series, and he’s teased the possibility of releasing at least one more. I absolutely adore this series. It mashes together superheroes and zombies in a post-apocalypse Los Angeles setting. This is one of the series that I’m hoping to finish this year, even though I am not sure that I’m actually ready to be done with the books.
  • Perdido Street Station by China Miéville
    • Just as I start talking about finishing series that I’ve already started, I begin a brand new series. This is book one of the New Crobuzon series, which is a new weird/weird fantasy series set in a steampunk Victorian London-esque city that is home to humans and humanoids that get tangled up in a bunch of seedy plots.
  • Bitch Planet: Triple Feature by various writers and artists
    • Triple Feature is a compilation of comics that take place in the Bitch Planet reality but aren’t by the original creators.

Want To Read

  • Runaways: Find Your Way Home by Rainbow Rowell and Kris Anka
  • Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh
  • Sourdough by Robin Sloan
  • The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
  • Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
  • You Play the Girl by Carina Chocano

It’s a long list, but what’s the point of coming up with New Year’s goals if you aren’t a little ambitious about them, right?

Like the rest of the bookish internet community, I have a post planned with a breakdown of my reading from 2018 coming up, so stay tuned!

End of the Year Reading List – 2018

2018 has been flying by for me! Does anyone else feel like it’s still the beginning of the year, and not actually December? This has been a busy year and I’ve neglected a lot of hobbies while trying to balance work, classes, family, friends, travel, and 1,000 other things. Unfortunately, time for blogging was the first thing to be reallocated to other areas. But, as an early resolution for 2019, I’m bringing the blog back to life.

We’ll start simple, though. I have several post ideas that I’ve been kicking around, but they need more time for me to really flesh out before they land on the internet forever. Today, I’m just going to talk a bit about the books I want to read or finish reading by the time New Years Eve rolls around.

Currently Reading

  • The Plastic Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg
    • This is set in the same world as The Paper Magician trilogy, but seemingly long after the events for the third book. Holmberg did write in a brief cameo of the Mgs. Thane, and I believe that Alvie’s love interest’s teacher is the Folder that Ceony tested under in the third book. I’m about 50% of the way through The Plastic Magician and really enjoying that the tone is very different from the original trilogy.
  • Ghostly: A Collection of Ghost Stories edited by Audrey Niffenegger
    • I’ve been picking my way through this since October, but would like to finish it before the end of the year.
  • Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein
    • As someone with a BA in Philosophy, I was already aware that philosophers have the worst sense of humor before picking this up, and my opinion hasn’t changed since. I’ve been slowly making my way through this book since July. I’m finding that it’s a very shallow primer on various schools of thought and it isn’t doing a great job of either granting an understanding nor being funny. I’m probably going to be reading this well into 2019.

Want To Read

  • Tank Girl: Bad Wind Rising by Alan Martin, Illustrated by Rufus Dayglo
    • I’m making my way through the reboots of Tank Girl, in no particular order. I re-read The Gifting last month and already owned Bad Wind Rising, so despite being published a number of years later, Bad Wind Rising is next up.
  • Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: The Crucible by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Illustrated by Robert Hack
    • I’d like to read this before I watch the Netflix adaptation. Also, dark Sabrina makes me happy.
  • Anthony Bourdain’s Hungry Ghosts by Anthony Bourdain and Joel Rose
    • Did you guys know Bourdain wrote a comic series? I didn’t know this, and was floored to find it at an indie bookshop here in Philly.
  • Queer: A Graphic History by Meg-John Barker, Illustrated by Julia Scheele
    • I can’t wait to get started on this. I’ve had Queer on my wishlist for several months and bought it at the same bookshop I found Bourdain’s Hungry Ghosts.
  • MCSI: Magical Crime Scene Investigation edited by Michelle Stengel
    • This is a collection of 18 urban fantasy crime stories that I helped back on Kickstarter earlier this year. It’d be nice to read what I helped fund, wouldn’t it?
  • The Sisters of the Winter Wood by Rena Rossner
    • Rossner is an Israeli author and her characters are Jewish; it’s also currently Chanukah and I think it would be nice to read a book with Jewish characters during the holiday.

A lot of people around the internet are coming up with their end of the year reading lists, so if you have one, please feel free to share!

Mid-Year Wrap-Up

It’s almost the end of June, and I think it’s time to look back at the past six months of reading and see how it’s gone.

I use Goodreads’ Reading Challenge to track my reading through the year. I currently have a goal of 52 books, and I’ve read 29 books so far, which puts me four books ahead of “schedule”. One of the things that I really like about the Reading Challenge is that you can easily see all of the books you read during the year, which makes it very easy for me to break my reading down into some simple categories.

What I’ve read:

  • 7 ebooks
  • 18 paperbacks
  • 4 hardcovers

Of these 29 books:

  • 2 were poetry collections
  • 2 were graphic anthologies
  • 3 were nonfiction
  • 6 were YA or middle grade
  • 16 were fiction, horror, crime, or fantasy/magical realism
  • 48% were written by women, 45% by men, and 7% by self-defined non-binary or trans individuals
  • 3.5 were written by POC
  • 7767 pages read total

I’m okay with my gender breakdown, though I would like to see the non-binary and trans author count go up. I’m not happy with my overwhelmingly white author count. I will be trying to make an effort to diversify my authors for the rest of the year. I have several poetry collections and plays written by POC that I already wanted to read, but I will also be pulling more fiction titles written by POC. I’d also like to read more nonfiction.

Now that I’ve started this blog, I want to dedicate more time to writing reviews of the books I’ve been reading. So, a big goal of mine for the next six months is less about reading and more about writing. This will require some serious work, because writing a decent review takes time. But, because this is something I’ve been hoping to start working on for a long time, I’m definitely motivated!

I’ve had several really amazing reads so far, so it’s hard to pick which one I liked the best, but I think The Handmaid’s Tale is currently tied with The Blue Fox as far as deep thinkers are concerned. My favorite fun read is Tony Ballantyne’s Dream London, a series that I actually read backwards unknowingly. As far as the least enjoyed reads so far this year go, The Forest of Hands and Teeth takes first place. I was surprised by how invested I became in The Paper Magician trilogy, which makes up half of the young adult I read these last six months. This has been a pretty good last six months, with mostly four and five star reads, which I hope continues on for the rest of the year!

I’m currently working on a review for The Handmaid’s Tale, which was my book club’s June read, as well as a review for The Bird Box, which is a gripping horror novel (and it was a debut novel for the author, which is pretty amazing). Have a great reading week!