Friday, September 30, 2022

Best of the Bunch (September 2022)

Best of the Bunch header

Today I'm sharing the best book I read in September.

I had a pretty slow reading month! Of the 7 books I read this month, I had no 5-star reads, and only one 4.5-star read, so that's my Best of the Bunch.
Platonic: How the Science of Attachment Can Help You Make—and Keep—Friends is a great summary of the research on friendship, interspersed with memorable stories from Franco's own life and other people she knows or interviewed for the book. Through chapter topics like generosity, anger, and affection, Franco goes through the actual day-to-day experiences that build and sustain friendship, grounded in true stories. As someone who's been focused recently on maintaining the friends I have and finding new ones, I felt like this book really forced me to take a hard look at my own behavior, feelings, and motivations in my relationships. I think this is a well-researched and well-written dive into the real-life experiences of friendship and would be valuable for almost anyone to read!

What is the best book you read this month? Let me know in comments, or write your own post and link up below!

Looking back:
One year ago I was reading: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and Know My Name
Five years ago I was reading: All Things Bright and Beautiful and After the Funeral
Ten years ago I was reading: God Believes in Love

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Monday, September 26, 2022

Ten Typographic Book Covers

I'm linking up with That Artsy Reader Girl for another Top Ten Tuesday.

This week's theme is book covers with a design that is all or mostly all words. Here are ten that I have read!
1. An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
2. The End of Policing by Alex S. Vitale
3. Fed Up by Gemma Hartley
4. Good Talk by Mira Jacob
5. Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall
6. How to Read Now by Elaine Castillo
7. How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t with Your Kids by Carla Naumburg
8. How We Fight For Our Lives by Saeed Jones
9. The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie
10. Women, Race & Class by Angela Y. Davis

What other covers fall in this category?

Looking back:
One year ago I was reading: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, The Backyard Animal Show, and A Psalm for the Wild-Built
Five years ago I was reading: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Bleak House
Ten years ago I was reading: God Believes in Love

Monday, September 19, 2022

Top Ten Books on My Fall TBR

I'm linking up with That Artsy Reader Girl for another Top Ten Tuesday.

It's time to share our seasonal planned reads! I still have two books left over from my summer TBR list, so those are here along with another eight I plan to read this fall.
1. The Art of Gathering by Priya Parker
I've heard this book come up again and again, and as I was planning a gathering this summer for the first time since COVID, it occurred to me that I could use some guidance on how to make such an event as good as possible for my guests. Of course, the holds list for this book was extremely long, so it wasn't until now that I have a shot of getting to it within the season.
2. Burnout by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski
This is a carryover from summer. I'm still on the holds list but nearing the top!
3. Girls Auto Clinic Glove Box Guide by Patrice Banks
This is also a carryover, and I hadn't put a hold on the ebook at my library since the only copy wasn't checked out and I figured I'd check it out when I was ready to read it. Apparently I waited too long because my library no longer has that book via OverDrive, so I've had to put a hold on the hard copy now!
4. Greywaren by Maggie Stiefvater
Finally, the conclusion to the Dreamer Trilogy comes out next month! I literally checked my library's site every day until OverDrive added the audiobook as an option to recommend so I could recommend it and then be at the top of the list when they finally bought it, haha :D
5. The Heartstopper Yearbook by Alice Oseman
I'm a sucker for anything Heartstopper at this point, so I was excited to see that this book diving deep into the characters, their world, and the writing of the series would be coming out next month.
6. The Lazy Genius Way by Kendra Adachi
I've heard this recommended over and over again, and where I'm at in my life now, if there's any way I can better optimize or prioritize my time and energy so I'm not exhausted all the time, I'm here for it!
7. Matrix by Lauren Groff
The hype on this one hasn't died down, and reading another book recently that profiled Christian women going back to the 11th century made me even more interested to pick up this feminist novel about 12th century nuns.
8. Nick and Charlie by Alice Oseman
As I said — sucker for anything Heartstopper. I read This Winter this summer (ironic, yes, haha) and this is the next novella from that universe.
9. The Under Dog and Other Stories by Agatha Christie
My quest to read all of Agatha Christie's published works continues!
10. The Wright 3 by Blue Balliett
This book was recommended to me, but I had to read the first book in the series first, of course, because that's how I roll. It wasn't my favorite, but it was good enough that I'm interested to pick up this one still.

What do you plan to read this fall?

Looking back:
One year ago I was reading: Somebody's Daughter, The Space Mission Adventure, Information Dashboard Design, and The House of Broken Angels
Five years ago I was reading: Leviathan Wakes and Bleak House
Ten years ago I was reading: I Will Teach You to Be Rich

Thursday, September 15, 2022

What I've Been Reading Lately (Quick Lit)

Today I'm linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy's Quick Lit to bring you some short and sweet reviews of what I've read in the past month. For longer reviews, you can always find me on Goodreads.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones: I appreciated the complicated themes this book explored, while never finding myself invested in the relationship at its center or finding opportunities to fully empathetize with any of the characters' decisions.

50 Women Every Christian Should Know: Learning from Heroines of the Faith by Michelle DeRusha: I found this collection of biographies an interesting tour through Christian history of the past millennium, even if I thought DeRusha's conclusions of what we should take away from each woman's life were unnecessary.

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork: This is my third time reading this book, and I still love so much about it, though this time through, I had a much deeper understanding of the autism spectrum and some of the problems with the way Marcelo talks about himself and others talk about him in this book.

Wayside School is Falling Down by Louis Sachar: This book was weirder and darker than I remembered, but on the whole it was still good entertainment for me and my 7-year-old.

How to Read Now: Essays by Elaine Castillo: It took me a while to get through this because Castillo provides a lot to unpack in every essay, but there are a lot of important ideas here about both our engagement with media and the way we talk about media (especially books, especially "diverse" books).

This Winter by Alice Oseman: This was sweet, even if it didn't have much substance, being a short story that's essentially a chance to check in on the Solitaire/Heartstopper characters for a night. I liked that it was a combination format, with both written chapters and illustrations (including text messages).

I Survived The Sinking of the Titanic, 1912 by Lauren Tarshis (graphic novel adapted by Georgia Ball): This was a successful introduction to reading graphic novels with my 7-year-old. The seriousness of the disaster was conveyed without excessive gore, and we were able to have a conversation about things like people with less money being treated poorly.

Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters by Mark Dunn: I liked this more than I expected. The way it's composed (with a decreasing number of letters available) works as a gimmick, but the story is also entertaining and lends itself to discussions of deeper themes of censorship and dictatorship.

She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan: This is an impressive work of historical fiction, not only imagining every step of how the real-life founding emperor of the Ming dynasty, Zhu Yuanzhang, rose to power out of poverty, but also making this character a woman disguised as a man. I wish it hadn't been so hard to keep all the characters and their power structure straight through this 14.5-hour audiobook.

Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett: This book was fine but a bit disappointing; it's good as a way of getting kids interested in 17th century art, but as a "mystery" it relies more on magical realism than on deduction. I'd still be open to reading the sequel.

Looking back:
One year ago I was reading: Somebody's Daughter, The Space Mission Adventure, Information Dashboard Design, and Strange the Dreamer
Five years ago I was reading: Leviathan Wakes and Bleak House
Ten years ago I was reading: I Will Teach You to Be Rich

Monday, September 12, 2022

Ten Books with Geographical Terms in the Title

I'm linking up with That Artsy Reader Girl for another Top Ten Tuesday.

This week is a straightforward one: books with titles containing some geographical term. I chose "mountain," "valley," "island," and "ocean" from among the books I've read. Here are ten!
1. And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
2. Five on a Treasure Island by Enid Blyton
3. Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin
4. Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker
5. Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende
6. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
7. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
8. Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder
9. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
10. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

What other books have these terms in the title?

Looking back:
One year ago I was reading: Somebody's Daughter and Strange the Dreamer
Five years ago I was reading: Leviathan Wakes and Bleak House
Ten years ago I was reading: The Time Traveler's Wife

Monday, September 5, 2022

Ten Books I Loved So Much I Had to Get a Copy for My Personal Library

I'm linking up with That Artsy Reader Girl for another Top Ten Tuesday.

This week we're talking about books we got for our personal library because we loved them so much. If you don't already know, this is more or less my entire personal library; I try not to have more than a couple physical books I haven't yet read (only ones I can't get through the library), so almost everything I own is books I selected because I loved them and wanted to own them. There's obviously a lot of overlap here with favorites that I've talked about in the past!
1. 168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam
I originally read this on audio, but I found it so incredibly helpful that I got a hard copy so I could refer back to her various prompts for defining how you want to spend your time (and figuring out how you're currently spending it).
2. The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield
I absolutely love this book that most people haven't heard of, and since Wingfield hasn't published another book since this one, I'm a little worried it will go out of print, so I'm glad I have a copy!
3. How to Talk So Little Kids Will Listen by Joanna Faber and Julie King
I've mentioned my fondness for the How to Talk books around these parts a number of times now. There are so many practical examples and helpful guidelines that feel realistic and empathetic, and I wanted to make sure I had a hard copy of this one for reference.
4. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
This book — part biography, part science history, part memoir — is one of my all-time favorite works of nonfiction and one that I will recommend to a wide variety of people, so I definitely wanted to have a copy on hand!
5. Precious Little Sleep by Alexis Dubief
This is the sleep book to end all sleep books for parents. I've already lent it out to two different friends with kids and I have referenced it multiple times for my own baby (now toddler).
6. The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
I originally read this on Kindle and was completely blown away by it. I don't know if I'd actually reread it in hard copy, but it's one I'll keep on my shelves for people to get interested in and maybe borrow!
7. Small Animals by Kim Brooks
This was the most validating book I've read on parenting in the modern era and having a copy is a good reminder of that. A lot of readers have said they couldn't relate to her anxiety around other people's judgment of her parenting, but after she was literally charged with "contributing to the delinquency of a minor" for leaving her child in the car for a few minutes on a temperate day, I think she has good reason to worry!
8. Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee
While Tash's experience of asexuality doesn't exactly match my own, I appreciated that this was a realistic YA depiction of that identity that wasn't just a plot pasted around an Asexuality 101 lesson; it has a solid plot in its own right about the perils of internet fame, and there's a lot of diverse representation beyond Tash's sexuality.
9. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
I read this for the first time on audio, which I don't recommend — despite the excellent narration — because of the need to remember where you are in time. This is another one that I may or may not reread in hard copy, but I'd definitely lend it out to those who I think would enjoy it.
10. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
I've read this twice now and loved it both times, so it seemed worthy of a spot on my bookshelf. I'm not going to share anything about the plot because it's too easy to spoil a major piece of this book, but I recommended it to my book club and told everyone to read it without any context and people seemed to like it a lot!

Which favorite books do you own?

Looking back:
One year ago I was reading: The Sun Is Also a Star, Womanist Midrash, and Strange the Dreamer
Five years ago I was reading: Infinite Jest and Taken at the Flood
Ten years ago I was reading: The Art of Racing in the Rain