Showing Posts From: Bookish Life

19 Feb, 2018

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

/ posted in: Bookish LifeReading

 

Finished This Week

 

 

What Am I Reading?

 

 

The first three were all library holds that came in.  The last one is a follow up to a book I tried to read out loud on a road trip because I knew the step daughter would enjoy the story.  She had always hated being read to even as a little kid but I figured she was trapped in the car.  She got really mad and then put her headphones on to block me out. The husband loved the story though. The day this book came he appeared with it at bedtime and demanded one chapter read to him before bed.  Yes, this is the same husband who gets snarky every so often about people reading anything other than nonfiction who wants a middle grade book read out loud to him.  Don’t try to apply any logic to this situation.

Him after the first chapter – “That’s it?  But there was no Millie.  Where are my friends????”

Me – “This was introducing you to new friends.  New friends are nice.”

Him, fake pouting and holding the book to his chest – “I like my old friends.  I missed my old friends.  (Deep breath)  Ok, new friends are nice.  New friends are nice.”

People ask if I regret choosing to not have children.  I have no idea what they are talking about.

What Am I Listening To? 

 

In 1972, when she was seven, Firoozeh Dumas and her family moved from Iran to Southern California, arriving with no firsthand knowledge of this country beyond her father’s glowing memories of his graduate school years here. More family soon followed, and the clan has been here ever since. Funny in Farsi chronicles the American journey of Dumas’s wonderfully engaging family: her engineer father, a sweetly quixotic dreamer who first sought riches on Bowling for Dollars and in Las Vegas, and later lost his job during the Iranian revolution; her elegant mother, who never fully mastered English (nor cared to); her uncle, who combated the effects of American fast food with an army of miraculous American weight-loss gadgets; and Firoozeh herself, who as a girl changed her name to Julie, and who encountered a second wave of culture shock when she met and married a Frenchman, becoming part of a one-couple melting pot.

 

 

 

12 Feb, 2018

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

/ posted in: Bookish LifeReading

 

Finished This Week

 

 

What Am I Reading?

Bethan is the apprentice to a green healer named Drina in a clan of Welsh Romanies. Her life is happy and ordered and modest, as required by Roma custom, except for one thing: Silas, the son of the chieftain, has been secretly harassing her.

One night, Silas and his friends brutally assault Bethan and a half-Roma friend, Martyn. As empty and hopeless as she feels from the attack, she asks Drina to bring Martyn back from death’s door. “There is always a price for this kind of magic,” Drina warns. The way to save him is gruesome. Bethan must collect grisly pieces to fuel the spell: an ear, some hair, an eye, a nose, and fingers.

She gives the boys who assaulted her a chance to come forward and apologize. And when they don’t, she knows exactly where to collect her ingredients to save Martyn.”

 


What Am I Listening To? 

 

Food writer Jonathan Kauffman journeys back more than half a century—to the 1960s and 1970s—to tell the story of how a coterie of unusual men and women embraced an alternative lifestyle that would ultimately change how modern Americans eat. Impeccably researched, Hippie Food chronicles how the longhairs, revolutionaries, and back-to-the-landers rejected the square establishment of President Richard Nixon’s America and turned to a more idealistic and wholesome communal way of life and food.

From the mystical rock-and-roll cult known as the Source Family and its legendary vegetarian restaurant in Hollywood to the Diggers’ brown bread in the Summer of Love to the rise of the co-op and the origins of the organic food craze, Kauffman reveals how today’s quotidian whole-foods staples—including sprouts, tofu, yogurt, brown rice, and whole-grain bread—were introduced and eventually became part of our diets. From coast to coast, through Oregon, Texas, Tennessee, Minnesota, Michigan, Massachusetts, and Vermont, Kauffman tracks hippie food’s journey from niche oddity to a cuisine that hit every corner of this country.”

You know I am loving this one.

 

05 Feb, 2018

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

/ posted in: Bookish LifeReading

 

Finished This Week

 

 

What Am I Reading?

 

 


What Am I Listening To? 

 

 

On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold walked into Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. Over the course of minutes, they would kill twelve students and a teacher and wound twenty-four others before taking their own lives.
For the last sixteen years, Sue Klebold, Dylan’s mother, has lived with the indescribable grief and shame of that day. How could her child, the promising young man she had loved and raised, be responsible for such horror? And how, as his mother, had she not known something was wrong? Were there subtle signs she had missed? What, if anything, could she have done differently?

I’m not sure if I’m going to make it all the way through this book.  It isn’t really giving me the information that I was looking for.  I may fast forward a bit and see if the focus of the book changes.  I’m not particularly interested in what happened before the shooting.  I’m looking for specifically what happened to the family afterwards. 

29 Jan, 2018

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

/ posted in: Bookish LifeReading

 

Finished This Week

 

Spoilers for The Little Bookshop on the Seine – I wanted to like this book but I realized that I had missed the point.  I thought we were firmly in the “woman realizes she has horrific boyfriend who undermines her confidence so she gets rid of him” plot until the very end of the book when they suddenly reaffirm their love for each other for reasons that absolutely baffle me.

What Am I Reading?

 

 

DNF This Week

I’m a big fan of debt free living.  I especially like memoirs from people who have achieved this creatively.  But this guy….  He basically was a middle class white dude who coasted on that until his junior year of college.  Then he decided that he liked learning and wanted to keep going to school and learning things.  He doesn’t want to be tied down to any job that he could get with a liberal arts degree.  He wants to be free.  So he goes to Alaska and works a low pay job that provides room and board.  He throws all his money at the debt from his student loans.  That’s all fine.

The problem is that he is callous to anyone who isn’t him.  He talks about one guy in Alaska who he knows is beating his Native girlfriend every night.  He mentions it casually like it was the color of his hair.  There is no attempt to help her.  Eventually the guy gets fired when he beats her bad enough to make her bleed from her ears.  The author recounts this in a section that talks about why people were moving on.  There is no compassion for her. 

He talks about people pouring water on sleeping sled dogs at night in the Arctic as an example of people being weird.  His friend from back home sends emails about having to work in “the ghetto” with a “stereotypical black man”. 

Yeah, DNF.   I did have an absolutely lovely time reading the 1 star reviews on Goodreads of this book.  They are hysterical.  Click on the picture to go there.

What Am I Listening To? 

In celebration of the one-year anniversary of Women’s March, this gorgeously designed full-color book offers an unprecedented, front-row seat to one of the most galvanizing movements in American history, with exclusive interviews with Women’s March organizers, never-before-seen photographs, and essays by feminist activists.

22 Jan, 2018

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

/ posted in: Bookish LifeReading

 

Finished This Week

 

 

What Am I Reading?

Grace Owens danced her feet bloody to become the finest en pointe prodigy of her generation, but the only accolade she longed for—her father’s approval—never came. Finally, broken and defeated, she cut ties and fled to London to live life on her own terms.

Now, after four years as an actress in London’s smaller theatres, a last-minute production change lands her right where she never wanted to be again. Front and center in the ballet—and back in toe shoes.

From his perch on the catwalks, machinist and stagecraft illusionist Isaac Caird can’t take his eyes off Grace. A woman who wears men’s clothing, but not as a disguise. An exquisite beauty who doesn’t keep a lover. A skilled dancer who clearly hates every pirouette.

The perfect lines of her delicate body inspire him to create a new illusion—with her as the centerpiece—that will guarantee sold-out shows. Maybe even attract a royal’s patronage. But first he has to get her to look at him. And convince her the danger is minimal—especially within the circle of his arms.

Featuring a gender-fluid ballet dancer, an amateur chemist who only occasionally starts fires, and an old rivalry that could tear them apart.”

What Am I Listening To?

In this memoir, Ken Ilgunas lays bare the existential terror of graduating from the University of Buffalo with $32,000 of student debt. Ilgunas set himself an ambitious mission: get out of debt as quickly as possible. Inspired by the frugality and philosophy of Henry David Thoreau, Ilgunas undertook a 3-year transcontinental journey, working in Alaska as a tour guide, garbage picker, and night cook to pay off his student loans before hitchhiking home to New York.

Debt-free, Ilgunas then enrolled in a master’s program at Duke University, determined not to borrow against his future again. He used the last of his savings to buy himself a used Econoline van and outfitted it as his new dorm. The van, stationed in a campus parking lot, would be more than an adventure—it would be his very own Walden on Wheels.

 

 

15 Jan, 2018

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

/ posted in: Bookish LifeReading

 

Finished This Week

 

 

I’m not going to waste a review day on Fire and Fury because everybody knows what is in it by now so here’s a mini review.  For me, there weren’t any real revelations in here.  I’ve always been of the opinion that he is too stupid for public office.  I’ve never been able to take the leap of faith that makes some people think that he is some kind of master manipulator who just wants you to think that he’s stupid.  This book confirms what I previously thought. 

It was sort of helpful to read this to help get a sense of the timeline.  There have been so many bad actors in this story already that you find yourself getting them confused.  Reading this book helped set me straight a few times when I found I was confusing who was who. 

I was disappointed that there wasn’t any coverage of the effects of protests.  There was no mention of the Women’s March.  No mention of response to the airport protests and apparently the repeal of the healthcare bill failed purely because of Paul Ryan and not millions of phone calls made to Senators.  So much was made in the book about him just wanting everyone to like him that I would have loved to see something about the effects of the protests on him.

 

What Am I Reading?

Sundown Towns – In a provocative, sweeping analysis of American residential patterns, Loewen uncovers the thousands of “sundown towns”—almost exclusively white towns where it was an unspoken rule that blacks could not live there—that cropped up throughout the twentieth century, most of them located outside of the South. These towns used everything from legal formalities to violence to create homogenous Caucasian communities—and their existence has gone unexamined until now. For the first time, Loewen takes a long, hard look at the history, sociology, and continued existence of these towns, contributing an essential new chapter to the study of American race relations.

Son of a Trickster – Everyone knows a guy like Jared: the burnout kid in high school who sells weed cookies and has a scary mom who’s often wasted and wielding some kind of weapon. Jared does smoke and drink too much, and he does make the best cookies in town, and his mom is a mess, but he’s also a kid who has an immense capacity for compassion and an impulse to watch over people more than twice his age, and he can’t rely on anyone for consistent love and support, except for his flatulent pit bull, Baby Killer (he calls her Baby)–and now she’s dead.

Jared can’t count on his mom to stay sober and stick around to take care of him. He can’t rely on his dad to pay the bills and support his new wife and step-daughter. Jared is only sixteen but feels like he is the one who must stabilize his family’s life, even look out for his elderly neighbours. But he struggles to keep everything afloat…and sometimes he blacks out. And he puzzles over why his maternal grandmother has never liked him, why she says he’s the son of a trickster, that he isn’t human. Mind you, ravens speak to him–even when he’s not stoned.”

What Am I Listening To?

 

Yeah, still.  I had a weird week.  My office (my less than a year old, beautiful office) flooded because of a water pipe break on an upper floor.  We were off work for most of the week because of drying out and the repairs.  So, I didn’t drive to work and that’s when I get most of my audiobook time.  That’s why this one is taking a while.

I also listen to audiobooks when I sew but I found some other entertainment.  I listened to a radio play version of Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys done by the BBC.   It was wonderfully done and you can listen to it for a while longer.  I’ve also started listening to The Wicked Wallflowers podcast featuring interviews with romance authors.  

08 Jan, 2018

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

/ posted in: Bookish LifeReading

 

Finished This Week

 

 

What Am I Reading?

 

What Am I Listening To?

 

“On ship-tracking websites, the waters are black with dots. Each dot is a ship; each ship is laden with boxes; each box is laden with goods. In postindustrial economies, we no longer produce but buy. We buy, so we must ship. Without shipping there would be no clothes, food, paper, or fuel. Without all those dots, the world would not work.

Freight shipping has been no less revolutionary than the printing press or the Internet, yet it is all but invisible. Away from public scrutiny, shipping revels in suspect practices, dubious operators, and a shady system of “flags of convenience.” Infesting our waters, poisoning our air, and a prime culprit of acoustic pollution, shipping is environmentally indefensible. And then there are the pirates.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

30 Oct, 2017

My Year in Nonfiction – Nonfiction November

/ posted in: Bookish LifeReading

Week 1: (Oct 30 to Nov 3) – Julie @ JulzReads: Your Year in Nonfiction: Take a look back at your year of nonfiction and reflect on the following questions – What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year? What nonfiction book have you recommended the most? What is one topic or type of nonfiction you haven’t read enough of yet? What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?

I LOVE Nonfiction November!  I definitely think that nonfiction books don’t get enough love.

One thing that I notice when I do my monthly wrap ups is that when I read fiction it is overwhelmingly by female authors and about 1/3 POC authors.  My numbers change a lot when I’ve been reading nonfiction books though.

Here’s what I mean for the books I’ve read in 2017.

POC Female Authors (3 East Asian, 2 Black, 1 Middle Eastern, 1 South Asian)

POC Male Authors (1 Middle Eastern, 1 South Asian, 1 African-American)

White Female Authors

White Male Authors

See what I mean? It is way off balance.

I’m not saying that these books by white men aren’t good. Most of them were outstanding and I’d highly recommend them.  But, I’m not getting the variety I like.

So, for this month my challenge will be to read nonfiction only by authors who aren’t white males. 

In memoirs this is pretty simple but it gets more challenging when you are looking at history and social science books.  I’ve updated my Diverse Nonfiction page if anyone else is looking for recommendations but even there a lot of the books especially about racial issues are written by white people .

Since I started this post I’ve picked up some nonfiction books that I couldn’t wait until November to read.  It’s a start.

12 Sep, 2017

The Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards 2017

/ posted in: Bookish LifeReading

On September 7, 2017, I was able to attend the awards ceremony for the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards in Cleveland.

 

A post shared by (@dvmheather) on

Cleveland poet and philanthropist Edith Anisfield Wolf established the book prizes in 1935, in honor of her father, John Anisfield, and husband, Eugene Wolf, to reflect her family’s passion for issues of social justice. Today it remains the only American book prize focusing on works that address racism and diversity. “

The list of winners by year is an excellent reading list for understanding the history of diversity in literature in the United States.

The winners this year were absolutely amazing.  I was especially glad to get to hear these speakers.

The chair of the jury is Henry Louis Gates, Jr. I love to watch all his documentaries.

P1040568

The ceremony started with young Cleveland poet Con-Yai Smith powerfully reciting her poem “Cheetah.”

P1040567

P1040566

Poetry – Tyehimba Jess for Olio

P1040569

Tyehimba Jess is the first African-American man to win the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. In his award acceptance speech he imagined what it must have felt like to own nothing but the words that come out of your mouth as a slave. Is that why spirituals and African-American music is so powerful?


Fiction – Peter Ho Davies for The Fortunes

P1040571

The Fortunes is about four points of Asian-American experience in the United States from the building of the western railroads until today. Peter Ho Davies is British but has lived in the U.S. for 25 years. He is half-Welsh and half-Chinese. He talked about the importance of finding a feeling of belonging as an immigrant. He pointed out that as important as it was to him as a legal immigrant from a native English speaking country who is comfortably well off in his life, it will be even more important to refugees to find even scraps of belonging and acceptance here.


Fiction – Karan Mahajan for The Association of Small Bombs

P1040572

The Association of Small Bombs was inspired by a bombing in a market in India near Karan Mahajan’s home when he was 12. After 9/11/2001, he had a lot of anger that he worked through by researching terrorism and the mindset of terrorists and victims. He discussed the importance of remembering that even when stupid things are going on, Americans still get a lot of things right. He is continually surprised by the generosity of Americans and by the fact that the government gets anything done in a timely manner (unlike what he experienced in India.)


Nonfiction – Margot Lee Shetterly for Hidden Figures

P1040573

She talked about the importance of remembering history and being a role model for the people around you. She read a selection from Hidden Figures about how even if opportunities are available, the people most in need may not be in a position to hear about them.


Lifetime Achievement – Isabel Allende

P1040576

Much has been said about the sad events in her life (political exile, death of her daughter) but she wants people to remember that there is also joy. Her parents are still alive at 101 and 97 years old. She is 75 and has a new boyfriend. She said that it felt stupid to call him a boyfriend when he is 74 so she is going to call him her new lover. She also pointed out the strangeness of having the “meet the parents” time when everyone is this age. Her step-father’s reaction to her new beau? “Another one?!”


If you’d like to see the whole ceremony, it is on YouTube.

22 Jul, 2017

24 in 48 Readathon

/ posted in: Bookish LifeReading

This is my update page for the 24 in 48 hours Readathon.  I’ll be posting through the day with the time I’ve been reading, what I’ve been reading, and any challenges I enter.

Hour Time Read Elapsed Time Notes
0 – 12:00 AM  8:18  8:18  Frogs and Kisses
1  9:03  17:21  Frogs and Kisses 
2      
3      
4      
5  25  42  Audiobook
6  1:00:00  1:42:00  Audiobook
7  1:00:00  2:42:00  Audiobook
8  1:00:00  3:42:00  Audiobook
9      
10    4:30  
11    5:28:13  2nd audiobook
12 – noon Sat.      
13      
14      
15    6:30:43  Good friday. .
16      
17      
18      
19      
20      
21    11:13:48:48  
22      
23      
24 – midnight      
25      
26      
27      
28      
29      
30      
31 – 7 AM      
32      
33      
34      
35      
36 – noon      
37      
38    18 hours  
39      
40      
41      
42      
43      
44 – 8 PM    21:00:00  
45      
46      
47      
48    Done at 11:35 PM!
 
Totals      

IMG_0744

Screenshot_20170723-115242.png

I had two timers over the course of the weekend so you need to add them together to see that I made it! Barely. It was 11:35 PM when I finished.

11 Jul, 2017

Is Playster Worth A Listen?

/ posted in: Bookish LifeReading

playster

playster

I’ve been seeing ads on Twitter for Playster. I was interested in the audiobooks that they offer. Would this be a suitable replacement for Audible?

The Hook:

  • Only $9.95 for unlimited audiobooks and ebooks.  I’m paying $14.95 for one audiobook a month from Audible

 
Playster offers music, movies, books, audiobooks, and games. I chose a free trial subscription of just the books and audiobooks. You can’t get audiobooks only. When you go to the audiobook page on Playster you are offered playlists in addition to being able to search for books.

Screen Shot 2017-07-07 at 1.30.10 PM

One of the playlists under Genre and Mood is Hungry. Yes, they have a whole section dedicated to Foodie Books!

Screen Shot 2017-07-07 at 1.30.33 PM

These are the categories under Hungry.  There is a fairly good selection in each one. 

Do they have the books that I’m going to want to listen to?

I checked the books that I’ve gotten from Audible in the last six months.  Playster had all the nonfiction but was missing a few of the urban fantasy books. 

The Listening Experience

The Android app is a bit of a mess.  It is pretty but it is not easy to navigate.  I think on an audiobook listening app there should be a huge button as soon as you open it that says, LISTEN TO YOUR BOOK.  This app has….nothing.  It took me a while to figure out how to play the books. 

I ended up saving any books I downloaded to the My Audiobooks tab.  Then I could open that and select them to play.  There is no place I could find to just access books that you’ve downloaded.  That is my biggest complaint.

Once you find your book on the app, it works well.  It remembers where you left off.  It puts a bar on your homescreen so you can access it without digging through the app until you shut down the app.  It plays well through the bluetooth connection in my car. 

Pros:

  • Less expensive for more audiobooks than Audible.  I haven’t even started exploring the ebooks that it comes with too.

Cons:

  • Slightly annoying audiobook app but the work-around isn’t too cumbersome.
  • You don’t own your books like on Audible.  That doesn’t matter to me but might to other people.
  • Selection might be smaller than Audible.  I could still find a lot of books on here that I would be interested in.

My decision

I am going to keep Playster instead of Audible after my free month because of the cost savings and being able to listen to more than one audiobook a month.

I think this site is what Overdrive could be if my library subscribed to more audiobooks and I didn’t have to wait for other people to be done with them. 

Has anyone else tried Playster?  What did you think?

03 Jul, 2017

Feeding the Free Libraries

/ posted in: Bookish Life

What do you do when you have a lot of books that you need to move on to new homes?  A lot of the books I wanted to donate were ARCs so they can’t go to thrift stores.  I decided to feed my local Little Free Libraries.

I have been donating to the one in my neighborhood but it couldn’t handle the volume of books that I wanted to donate on its own.  I used this map to find other ones around me.

20170626_120924.jpg

I started by donating these books to my neighborhood library, which isn’t even registered on the map.

Then I found this one nearby. It had mostly kids’ books so I added what YA books I had and a few adult books.

20170627_141303.jpg

This library was hidden in the wandering roads of a subdivision near my house. I had to turn around a few times to find it.

20170627_142337.jpg

I got rid of about 20 books in these three libraries. I still need to go through my upstairs bookcases and purge some more.

Of course I had to see what books were already in the libraries. It would have been rude not to! I only picked up three books which I figured was a pretty good trade off.

20170701_111145.jpg

Do you donate books to these Little Free Libraries? Do you get books from them?

Have you seen the Instagram feed? There are so many adorable libraries!

UA-56222504-1