meme · this week in books

This Week in Books: April 30-May 6

This week is Golden Week in Japan, and I’ve got the whole week off from work. Sweet, right? Extra blogging time!

Nah. I’ll be at Dyke Weekend from today until Thursday – no WiFi – and then there’s Tokyo Rainbow Pride. (I’m running the Stonewall Japan booth on Sunday, so stop by and say “hi.”)

So I won’t have much time to blog, but I will have more time to read!

I haven’t quite finished last week’s books; I’m a slow reader, and there were a lot of them. I’m nearly finished with Come As You Are, and I’ve requested the The Girl with No Shadow audiobook for the third time (sigh) so hopefully I can finish that soon…

(I’ll admit, that makes these memes hard for me. There was a time when I finished a book (or more) every week, but now I have a full time job, my own apartment, I cook all of my work lunches, and there’s always Tokyo to explore… This “having a life” thing is great, but it does put a dint in my reading time.)

Like I said, I’m still working on everything from last week. The Gauntlet is due back in four days, and I haven’t even had a chance to start it yet. I’ll have to get on that real quick, especially if I want it ready to recommend for the local book award (nominations are due by May 8).

I’m going to pack a print book for my little Golden Week getaway, too; either My Mixed-Up Berry Blue Summer or Good Omens. Depends on how I feel when I pack… in about an hour.

Reading on my phone is so convenient, but it’s not quite as peaceful as sitting around, looking out at the mountains and drinking tea with a real, ink-and-paper book in my hand.

First I’m gonna catch up with all this stuff. I shouldn’t even be thinking about what I want to read next.

… but lately I’ve been in the mood to reread either The Silmarillion and/or The Drawing of the Three (which is my favorite Dark Tower book).

This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy at Lipsyy Lost & Found.

this week in books

This Week in Books: April 23-29

This is This Week in Books, a weekly feature to let you know what I’ve been reading!

I dropped Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady’s Guide to Sex, Marriage, and Manners, because it wasn’t funny or informative. Expect a scathing review soon.

I’ve temporarily set aside my reread of The Magician’s Book: A Skeptic’s Adventures in Narnia, but I’ll get back to that as soon as I catch up on some of my library holds.

I had one of those #bookwormproblem weeks when suddenly, everything I’ve put on hold over the last several months came  in… at once. So I’ve got The Girl with No Shadow and The Princess Diaries on audio; Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life, Ireland: A Shot History, and The Gauntlet in ebook; and My Mixed-up Berry Blue Summer in print.3427448

Phew! I actually returned Ireland, and The Princess Diaries almost as soon as they came in, because I knew, realistically, I could never finish all of those books at the same time – especially the audiobooks – so I’d go to the back of the line and let someone else have them.

In a way, I’m grateful for the sudden glut: not only do I have several books to bounce between while I can’t focus, but it’s forced me to drop books that actually weren’t that good. If I’d picked up Unmentionable at any other time, I probably would’ve slogged through it for want of anything else.

First, I’m gonna get through this mess of holds, and then I’ll get back to The Magician’s Book.

Plus, who knows? I’m always finding things to read that aren’t on my TBR, and never getting around to reading things I added ages ago. I like to live dangerously.

This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy at Lipsyy Lost & Found.


waiting on wednesday

Waiting on Wednesdays: An Enchantment of Ravens

30969741 Let’s start by saying that everything about this book sounds amazing, and that cover. It’s beautiful.

Here’s the Goodreads summary:

Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized among them. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes – a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love, violating the fair folks’ ruthless Good Law. There’s only one way to save both their lives, Isobel must drink from the Green Well, whose water will transform her into a fair one—at the cost of her Craft, for immortality is as stagnant as it is timeless.

Isobel has a choice: she can sacrifice her art for a future, or arm herself with paint and canvas against the ancient power of the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.

An Enchantment of Ravens is due out on September 26, 2017, and I already have a request for it in at my local library.

Waiting on Wednesdays is hosted by Jill at her blog, Breaking the Spine.

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Things that Make Me Want to Read a Book

toptentuesdayIt’s time for Top Ten Tuesday, and today’s topic is “top ten things that instantly make me want to read a book.”

The truth is, I’m quite picky about my books. There’s almost nothing that will guarantee I’ll read a book. I’ll add anything that looks interesting to my TBR, but then read something I’ve never even heard of instead, because it caught my eye or just happened to be in at the library when I needed something to read.

  1. urban fantasy
    I’m a sucker for urban fantasy, but I’ve gotten picky in my own age. Still, I feel like this deserves a mention because for years, I would read anything in the “urban fantasy” genre, regardless of quality.
  2. microhistories
    I love microhistories? Seriously, they are my jam right now. I’ve read histories of single women in America, swearing, heterosexuality, the Boston molasses flood, Superman, colors, Beanie Babies, and I’m always looking for more. I love the way microhistories bring history into focus, drawing connections between major events and everyday lives.
  3. exiles from Narnia

    I love this stuff. What happens to you after you’ve been the protagonist of a fantasy novel, and have to return to the real world? Something like Every Heart a Doorway, or The Whisper, and I’m already excited about the 2018 release The Weight of Worlds. (I used to love The Magicians, but now I do not.)
  4. fun story time reads
    Some books are meant to be private reading, and that’s OK. Some books are best for parents to read to their children at night before bed, but aren’t great for a librarian to read to a whole class. That’s OK, too. But if a book is a good read aloud for me to share with 20+ kids during class story time? Perfect. My favorite kinds of chapter books to read out loud with kids are voice-y first person narratives, or adventure stories. Our current class reads are Capture the Flag and From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess.
  5. graphic novels
    Sometimes, you want to sit down and get through an entire story in one sitting. And if you’re a slow reader like me (it’s true), then sometimes the best way to get that kick is graphic novels. Graphic novels are really having a heyday right now, so there’s some good stuff out there. Boxers & Saints was a gut punch. Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant was a delightful romp. I can’t wait until the new Lumberjanes gets to the library.
  6. it’s something new (to me)
    One of my favorite books of the 2016-2017 school year so far is Dear Mrs. Naidu, which is set in India and written by an Indian author. What do I know about school life in India? Nothing. I loved this book for so many reasons, and one of those reasons was that it was just unlike anything else I’ve read, even though I’ve read school stories before! Or Akata Witch, like, I love fantasy, but I’ve never read a fantasy story set in Nigeria before.
  7. it’s there at the right time 

    1039Buying books is expensive. Buying English-language books in Japan is even more expensive. Plus, I live in a small apartment and I’m not sure I’ll live here forever, so I don’t buy every book I want to read. I wait for them to come in, either at the library where I work or on the Overdrive sites for CLAMS or Boston Public Library. So sometimes, I just read whatever’s available right at that moment and looks interesting.

  8. recommended by someone whose taste in books I trust
    This is exactly what it sounds like. If a book gets a good review from someone whose taste in books I trust – whether that’s a professional reviewer or a friend with similar (or just very good) taste, then I’m much more likely to pick it up.
  9. LESBIANS! 🏳️‍🌈  (or really any queer women)
    I had a few books about queer people when I was in high school, but most of them were bad (LunaWhat Happened to Lani Garver) or fanservice-y (my entire BL collection), and I still feel like I’m making up for lost time. This is how I found both my 2016 favorite, Not Your Sidekick, and my 2017 unfavorite, We Awaken.
  10. rereads
    love rereading books. It is perhaps one of the chief pleasures of reading for me. There’s nothing better than snuggling up with an old favorite. I listen to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone at the dentist and pick up Redwall or Lord of the Rings when I’m nostalgic.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted at The Broke and the Bookish.

diversity spotlight

Diversity Spotlight Thursday: October 3, 2016



The Jumbies, by Tracey Baptiste

Goodreads summary: Corinne La Mer isn’t afraid of anything. Not scorpions, not the boys who tease her, and certainly not jumbies. They’re just tricksters parents make up to frighten their children. Then one night Corinne chases an agouti all the way into the forbidden forest. Those shining yellow eyes that followed her to the edge of the trees, they couldn’t belong to a jumbie. Or could they?

When Corinne spots a beautiful stranger speaking to the town witch at the market the next day, she knows something unexpected is about to happen. And when this same beauty, called Severine, turns up at Corinne’s house, cooking dinner for Corinne’s father, Corinne is sure that danger is in the air. She soon finds out that bewitching her father, Pierre, is only the first step in Severine’s plan to claim the entire island for the jumbies. Corinne must call on her courage and her friends and learn to use ancient magic she didn’t know she possessed to stop Severine and save her island home.


28502749.jpg Rad Women Worldwide: Artists and Athletes, Pirates and Punks, and Other Revolutionaries Who Shaped History, by Kate Schatz

Goodreads summary: In Rad Women Worldwide, writer Kate Schatz and artist Miriam Klein Stahl tell fresh, engaging, and inspiring tales of perseverance and radical success by pairing well researched and riveting biographies with powerful and expressive cut-paper portraits. Featuring an array of diverse figures from Hatshepsut (the great female king who ruled Egypt peacefully for two decades) and Malala Yousafzi (the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize) to Poly Styrene (legendary teenage punk and lead singer of X-Ray Spex) and Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft (polar explorers and the first women to cross Antarctica), this progressive and visually arresting book is a compelling addition to women’s history.


A mysterious benefactor donated this to the library earlier this week and I can’t wait to read it.

Diversity Spotlight Thursday is a weekly book blogging meme hosted by Bookshelves & Paperbacks.

this week in books

This Week in Books: October 27-November 2

THEN: The Answer, by Rebecca Sugar

The only book I’ve read since last week’s slump was the Steven Universe tie-in picture book, The Answer. (I reviewed it here.)

NOW: The Purity Myth: How America’s Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women. by Jessica Valenti

I’ve been meaning to read The Purity Myth more-or-less since it came out in 2007 and somehow, I never got around to it until now. (I love library ebooks.) I’m glad her memoir, Sex Object, didn’t turn me off from her writing. If I hadn’t meant to read this for so long, would I have picked it up after that? I don’t know.

This has been a good read. I’m back on my “women’s studies 101” kick.

NEXT: The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien; Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar, by Cheryl Strayed

Both of these came in from on hold a little too late, but I think I’ll read them anyway.

I have a lot of sewing to do if I’m going to get these Christmas presents finished on time, so The Lord of the Rings audiobook will be good for that – though I doubt I can get through the whole thing in the two week borrowing limit.

Tiny Beautiful Things is a re-read. I wanted some self-help to read over my autumn vacation, but since Radical Self-Love was such a let-down, I decided to go back to an oldie but goodie that I knew wouldn’t disappoint.

This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy Lost & Found.

diversity spotlight

Diversity Spotlight Thursday: October 27, 2016


5394086Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution, by Ji-ji Jiang

Goodreads summaryIn 1966 Ji–li Jiang turned twelve. An outstanding student and leader, she had everything: brains, the admiration of her peers, and a bright future in China’s Communist Party. But that year China’s leader, Mao Ze-dong, launched the Cultural Revolution, and everything changed. Over the next few years Ji–li and her family were humiliated and scorned by former friends, neighbors, and co–workers. They lived in constant terror of arrest. Finally, with the detention of her father, Ji–li faced the most difficult choice of her life.

Told with simplicity and grace, this is the true story of one family’s courage and determination during one of the most terrifying eras of the twentieth century.

I’ve read Red Scarf Girl three times: for the first time, in sixth grade, when I’m not really sure how I got my hands on it; for the second time, in my sophomore year of college, when I reread it for my undergrad thesis* on who gets to tell the stories of the Cultural Revolution in the U.S.; and a third time, last year, when a fourth grade teacher asked me to review it and help decide whether or not it was acceptable for her advanced fourth graders to read during their unit on governments.
(*Don’t write your undergrad thesis as a sophomore.)


27134953What is Obscenity? The Story of a Good for Nothing Artist and her Pussy, by Rokudenashiko

Goodreads summaryA graphic memoir of a good-for-nothing Japanese artist who has been jailed twice for so-called acts of obscenity and the distribution of pornographic materials yet continues to champion the art of pussy. In a society where one can be censored, pixelated, and punished, Rokudenashiko asks what makes pussy so problematic?

The trials and tribulations of Rokudenashiko have always fascinated me. Her vagina kayak was “obscene,” but the barely pixelated pornography in every convenience store is totally A-OK?
(Books like this are also why I don’t blog under my real name. I’m a grown-up; I read grow-up books, but I don’t really need my students searching for my name and finding this.)

Diversity Spotlight Thursday is a weekly book blogging meme hosted by Bookshelves & Paperbacks.