Review: Shrill by Lindy West

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Shrill: Notes From A Loud Woman

Published: May 17th, 2016
Publisher: Hachette
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9780316348409
Source: Owned
Challenges: Read My Own Damn Books, Read The Books You Buy

 

This is probably one of the most relevant and important books of the year. I got to see Lindy speak at the Printer’s Row Lit Fest a few weeks before I read the book, and I had heard about it so much but did no research before going to see her speak. She’s funny, she’s unapologetic, she’s honest. This memoir is a compilation of essays in which Lindy discusses and breaks down this prevailing culture of fat-shaming, internet-trolling, harassment, and good old-fashioned sexism. The titles of the essay had me snort-laughing, its content did not. Lindy gets real and gives no fucks. She talks about growing up as a fat girl, having to make herself smaller, tinier, quieter- because that’s such an ingrained ideal trait across cultures for women, and I related so much with that. It’s that terrible intersection of being a woman and being fat. There’s just no winning, because people would rather die than be some obscenely fat and uglyThey also think you should die because you are a smear on everything our society is working towards- to be thin is to be beautiful

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Review: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Or…how I devoured 200 pages of a book in a day so that I could gush about it at book club the next day.

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Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Published: June 7th, 2016
Publisher: Knopf
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781101947135
Source: Owned
Challenges: Read My Own Damn Books, Read The Books You Buy

 

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Review: The Association of Small Bombs

I’ve been on the fence about writing a review for this book, particularly in light of the Stanford rape and the Orlando tragedy. Context is everything, and I know people are still grieving and struggling, so I do not want to cause anyone any more pain. Here’s my disclaimer/trigger warning: This book talks about a “small” bombing, is an attempt to understand how people coped with the aftermath of the tragedy, as well as an attempt to understand the motivations of the bomber. You are not obliged to read any more at this point if you don’t want to. 

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Review: Before We Visit The Goddess

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Before We Visit The Goddess by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Published: April 19th, 2016
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781476792002
Source: Owned
Challenges: Read My Own Damn Books, Read The Books You Buy, Smash Your Stack 

 

I read The Mistress Of Spices back in high school and remember enjoying it, although back then I just devoured books without any thought to analyzing the plot, storyline, writing style, or any of that. I read for the sake of reading, and only as an adult have I made any effort to account for these factors when reading a book. Does it make it less fun to read? I don’t think so. Blogging sure is making me more vigilant about it, I now make notes for a book as I’m reading if I decided I’m going to talk about them here. 

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#SmashYourStack: Read Your Own Books In May 2016

Hey booknerds!

So I was doing semi-decently with my book-buying ban in April, until I went to sidewalk sale the day after readathon and it all kinda went to hell (I bought 6 books). Proceeds were going towards literacy programs, so how could I not?

As always, Andi is here to the rescue, and has a solution for people like me with all the well-meaning intentions and none of the self-management success. She and Melissa (another one of my internet faves) are hosting this next month:

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Once again, they have fairly easy and self-made options to work with:

  • Set a percentage of your own books to read for the month
  • Pick a number!
  • Go hard and read ALL your own books!

I am going to be realistic, and say, between digital and print, I will commit to reading 15 of my own books in May. Seems fairly realistic. Dewey’s Readathon helped me get a few out of the way, and I just rearranged my bookshelf, so we have some momentum going.

If anyone else out there needs a challenge like this to make progress with books you own, let’s be stack-smashing buddies! I love cheering people with whatever reading goals they want to achieve, and I know I could use some of that encouragement. Join me, won’t you?

-J

Dewey’s Readathon (4/23/2016): Halfway Mark

Heyo,

As predicted, this readathon is FANTABULOUSSSSSSS!

Here are my responses to the mid-event survey:

1. What are you reading right now?

  1. The Vegetarian by Han Kang
  2. The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling (on audio)
  3. The Bad-Ass Librarians Of Timbuktu: And Their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts by Joshua Hammer (on audio)

2. How many books have you read so far? Four.

  1. Margaret The First by Danielle Dutton
  2. The Sorrow Proper by Lindsey Drager
  3. What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi
  4. Study Hall of Justice (DC Comics: Secret Hero Society #1) by Derek Fridolfs, Dustin Nguyen (Illustrations)

 

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?

  1. The Moor’s Account by Laila Lalami
  2. The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone by Olivia Laing

4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?

I had put my phone on silent when I started the readathon so I only took scheduled breaks and it was going fine. I’m noticing that as the day is progressing I’m checking my phone more frequently. It is stressing me out but I’m also telling myself that it’s okay to take a break, so I might actually end up watching an episode of a TV show or even taking a 20 minute nap or something at some point when my eyes start hurting.

5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?

The sheer number of people that are dedicating the day to reading. It gives me joy to know that there are more folks like me out there. Most people I know in real life don’t understand how or why I would read so much or even participate in such an event, but looking at everyone else online wholly participating in it and sharing my excitement and enthusiasm makes me feel good.

Other data I’m taking (behavior analyst= data nerd. It comes in handy):

Reading time: 9:50:17

Page count (including audiobook guesstimate): approx. 1197

Meet-up: A few of us Chicago readathoners met up at Brü Chicago, and it was actually really nice to sit together and read in silence. Going to coordinate group silent reading time more often for sure. 

Cheerleading: I have spent about 35 minutes cheering on twitter so far. GO TEAM PENGUIN!

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Mini-challenges: I haven’t been stressing out about these, mostly because all the books I’ve been reading today are so good that I haven’t been able to put them down to do much else other than tweet and ‘gram. I think I’ve participated in 3 so far. 

Okay, getting more snacks and back to reading! Hope everyone else is having as much of a blast as I am! RahRahReadathon!

-J
 

“My name is Janani and I’m a book-buying addict”

I buy books. A LOT of books. So many, many, MANY books. Along with library books, audiobooks, and borrowed books, it is impossible for me to catch up with my TBR stack at the moment. I live in an apartment with a roommate, my room is relatively small, we don’t really have a lot of shelf space in and around the house. As a result, there is a corner of my very small room that looks like this: 

 

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Yeah, it’s starting to become a problem. The growing pile of unread books is stressing me out (especially in the last few days because I haven’t had any time to read). These aren’t just backlist bumps, these are books that are out now that everyone is reading and talking about, and the longer it takes me to get to them, the more it stresses me out because “I want to read all the books and talk about all the things!”. Also, I have a significant move coming up in the near future (either in or out of the country), and the last time I had to move I spent an indecent amount of money moving my books, so I would like not to have to do that this time. 

The solution? I am going to actively participate in #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks, courtesy the fabulous Andi. The rules are pretty straightforward:

  • Read my own books. 
  • Try to knock off 100 in 2016 by either reading them or ditching the ones that are DNF. 
  • I can’t buyyyy myself any books until I’ve read a significant amount of my own- This part of the challenge is something I will be tackling monthly (shaping that behavior and all that). 
  • If I’m itching for newness…use the library- Or reach out to my amazing bookish friendships. 

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Putting it out here means accountability, so I’m relying on you guys to help me out. I’m going to be realistic about this, and check progress monthly. I know we’re a week into April, but this is the first month I will be making a sincere effort toward this challenge. If anyone out there is already participating and needs cheerleading via the internet, let me know! I love being an interwebz supporter. 

Wish me luck!

-J