A personal update….

I wish I had a better explanation for my absence other than “I’ve lost the drive to blog” recently, but I don’t have another excuse. I’ve still been reading, but with working and looking for a real job, and my great love for sleep, blogging hasn’t been a priority. It started to feel like just one more thing I had to worry about either at the beginning of my day or after a long day on the sales floor.

With my absence, however, has come some progress in my reading (and an almost unnoticeable dent or scratch in my TBR list). Since my very last post, my book review of Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray, I’ve only read three more books on my TBR list and one of those I just finished today. But in the midst of that, I re-read Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass series before finally cracking into Queen of Shadows. I can say with pretty strong confidence that series is my favorite that is still being published. I love The Lunar Chronicles with a fiery passion, but even with some of those I wasn’t 100% in love with each book. Throne of Glass I am. Each and every book. I couldn’t find a large enough critique that would bring any books even down to 4-stars on Goodreads. They’re all 5-star reads for me, including Queen of Shadows!

What am I looking for in my next book? And now, it’s October, which means a relentless craving for spook-tacular reads. Good thing I’m a hoarder of books because I have a good amount of those that I have yet to read! Also, I have the illustrated edition of Harry Potter coming to me today; I am a notorious tracker of shipments and I see that package is out for delivery! I’ve flipped through the edition in stores before, but I can’t wait to really sit down and absorb all the visual magic.

What television has been distracting me lately? Guys, Doctor Who is back in a big way. I haven’t made it a secret that I thought series 8 fell a little flat after the magnificent adventures of Amy and Rory and Eleven and Clara in the second half of 7. And that fiftieth anniversary special? Come on. That was FANTASTIC. So where was that explosive entry for Capaldi in series 8. ANYWAY, I digress. Series 9 is a bomb of awesome and I am so so happy. And I can’t help but add that a re-watch of Sherlock has grabbed my attention lately. Especially “A Scandal in Belgravia”. I just watched that episode (again) a week ago and already I am craving a revisit. Irene Adler as a dominatrix is genius and Sherlock’s reactions are priceless. How about some gifs of some small but splendid moments?

Speaking of….why I sometimes find it hard to participate in my favorite bookish memes

There is one thing that I find annoying in any way, shape, or form, and that is sameness. I don’t necessarily hate it all the time, but I always notice it: when a parent dresses their young children in identical outfits even if they’re not twins/triplets, similar logic in arguments (I just like to hear different opinions, different points of view), same starred-reviews of books that touch on very similar points, etc. Much of the time when it comes to memes like Top Ten Tuesday I find choices in books and/or characters, depending on the week’s topic, all too similar from blogger to blogger. And then I become discouraged because I would’ve made the same picks! So what would I have added to the conversation by posting my own TTT? I guess that’s why some bloggers read the topics ahead of schedule and queue up their post, but for whatever reason I can’t bring myself to have that kind of foresight. Maybe I need to give it a harder shot because otherwise, I love memes! They make it easier to get a discussion going (as long as your readers comment occasionally) and, if you’re the kind of person who links up your meme post to the original post — I don’t usually because I constantly forget that this is actually a thing! — it will add to your blog’s visibility on the internet.

How do you guys feel about memes? In general? Do you queue posts or write them the day of?

Speaking of…. attaching the right genres/subgenres/age group suggestions (from now on I’ll just say “group”, okay?) onto a book

This stems from reading two discussion-type posts within a matter of minutes that both lumped Sarah J. Maas’ book A Court of Thorns and Roses in with “Young Adult” after literally every review I’ve read has said the book sits firmly within the “New Adult” group. For me, the “New Adult” descriptor fits perfectly: the book features younger characters (Feyre is 19) but contains content more mature than one would generally find in any YA book. When I came across these couple of discussions that describe it as “Young Adult”, I couldn’t help but become frustrated for the sake of teen readers. Personally, I think teens should be able to read what they like as long as it’s not harmful to them, but I do think that they deserve to know what they’re getting into, especially if there’s more explicit content than most books in the YA section. I’ve seen ACOTAR sitting on the YA shelves at B&N and almost wanted to explain why it might be a little better marketing to put it in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy section. Yes, Ms Maas has a teen series, but that’s all the more reason to separate the two to me. At least if that were to happen, readers might question the reasoning rather than stumble blindly into what might be uncomfortable content written by an author they liked.

I really don’t think that NA books should be sitting on YA shelves, but what do you guys think? Point out any holes in my logic! [But nicely, please (: ]

Looking Back: May 2015

When this posts I will be on my way to Meridian, MS, the first stop on my long drive up to my new home in Arlington, VA. You could say that May was a heck of a month. When it started, I didn’t even have a clear move-out date. Yup, apartment/housing listings make you move THAT quickly.

In May, I read a total of 12 books:

  • Ensnared (Splintered #3) by A. G. Howard
  • A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire #5) by George R. R. Martin
  • The Winner’s Crime (The Winner’s Curse #2) by Marie Rutkoski
  • The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (#1) by Michelle Hodkin
  • Undertow (#1) by Michael Buckley
  • The Mime Order (The Bone Season #2) by Samantha Shannon
  • The Infinite Sea (The Fifth Wave #2) by Rick Yancey
  • Trickster’s Queen (Daughter of the Lionness #2) by Tamora Pierce
  • The Grim Grotto (Unfortunate Events #11) by Lemony Snicket
  • The Penultimate Peril (Unfortunate Events #12) by Lemony Snicket
  • The End (Unfortunate Events #13) by Lemony Snicket
  • Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

I see a bit of a pattern: finishing or continuing series. Once I knew I was moving, I wanted to read the books that made the most sense to leave at home, which were series enders or mid-series installments. Sometimes my logic interferes with my thinking too much -.-

Elsewhere on the interwebs, I found….

  • Bookish Broads’ points of interest in NYC while in town for BEA (the post is from April but I didn’t read until May… Oops)
  • bookiemoji’s handy chart on breaking up with book series — because we all probably need to do it a little bit more for our sanity.
  • A Page of Heaven’s review of The Young Elites

I hope you guys have started off your week well, and as always HAPPY READING! Tell me if you have any reading recs, whether on the interwebs, in books, or otherwise!

Speaking of…how on earth do I choose which books to take with me when I move??

I need the help of any and every book lover who has ever accumulated enough books to create a problem moving them to a new home. My own personal philosophy in moving my books is to take my absolute favorites (i.e., Harry Potter, Throne of Glass), read as many on my TBR shelf as possible before I leave, and box up the rest of my TBR shelf to take with me. My logic there is that with the majority of my books at my new home being books I haven’t yet read, my thirst for buying more books will stay (pseudo) quenched a little while longer. Any books that I have the desire to reread I could probably ask my mom to ship them at some point. (Just not too many at once because heavy books make it expensive!)

Is this sound logic? Do any of you book lovers have any other recommendations? I’d love to hear ‘em!

Speaking of…multiple POVs

Hopefully everyone knows that not-so-elusive narration that accompanies more and more YA literature (and beyond) these days: dual point-of-view and multiple point-of-view stories like Allegiant by Veronica Roth, the Under the Never Sky series by Veronica Rossi, The Fifth Wave series by Rick Yancey, Rick Riordan’s few Demigod series, etc. sometimes they’re done exceedingly well, sometimes they’re…well, not.

Like most things, I tend to sit in fairly middle ground when it comes to narration from more than one point of view: if the premise of the book(s) sounds like something I’ll really enjoy, then I’ll give it a shot. Overall, however, I strike out more often than I fall in love with the book. I thought Allegiant was the weakest of the Divergent books. Under the Never Sky I could take or leave, though they were still fun. And The Fifth Wave books just confuse the crap out of me. I’m about 50 pages into The Infinite Sea and cannot for the life of me figure out who is speaking when. Very confused.

For me, it really makes a difference when you have characters that are easily distinguished from one another; it helps the story run seamlessly without bluntly advertising whose POV the section is in. I think this is my biggest problem with The Fifth Wave: the characters come together because of the apocalypse and all learn how to survive. They’re all teenagers. They all think with their survival instincts. There’s just nothing distinctive enough to have the POVs make a smooth “ombré transition” instead of a jerky “multi-colored tie-dye transition”.

How do you like your books: singular POV, dual, or multiple? What drives you toward one or the other?

Speaking of….Tatiana Maslany’s interview in Rolling Stone (5/7/15 issue)

It’s been some time since I’ve flipped through a Rolling Stone, more because I tend towards reading books rather than magazines. But the Hulk on the cover grabbed me, and then I found a small feature with Tatiana Maslany and her many characters in Orphan Black. At the end of the feature, she made the comment that to use the phrase “strong female character” is reductive because we never hear “strong male character”. That got me thinking.

I’ve used that phrase, “strong female character”, often in my posts and now that I think about it I’m not sure why. Obviously those characters are my favorite because they’re empowering, but how often do I actually run across a WEAK female character? Is it really necessary to specify, or is it actually reductive?

It’s still something that I need to think on a bit; this post is more like a vehicle to bring a conversation to the table so I can absorb more views (please share yours!). For my favorite genres, fantasy and science-fiction, however, I do feel that it’s somewhat necessary to specify only because of the perceived history of female characters within the genres. Science-fiction and fantasy have been thought to have a largely male fanbase which then leads to more male characters than female. When I think of classic fantasy I immediately think Lord of the Rings: a predominately male character base with a few females here and there who mainly serve as love interests….until Peter Jackson made the movies and [spoiler alert] Eowyn destroys the Witch King of Angmar instead of Merry.

Help me out here: what classic science-fiction and fantasy books can you think of that have females who do more than fall in love with the men? Who actively work to better or fight for their crumbling (or even flourishing) society/kingdom? And what do you think of Tatiana Maslany’s comment?