Top Ten Tuesday: I Wish I Knew How to Quit You


The topic of this Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is Ten Bookish Things I Want to Quit Or Have Quit.

Be freeeeeeee. (aka I needed a graphic for this post and was out of ideas.)

Be freeeeeeee. (aka I needed a graphic for this post and was out of ideas.)

1 I wish I could quit…feeling like I’m so far behind on my reading because I can’t keep up with what everyone is talking about.

I want to read books for me, not to keep up with trends. I’m too old to worry about that shit. But it’s easy to feel buried in all the awesome new releases and feel like you have to read everysinglethingrightnow.

2 I wish I could quit…reading historical fiction novels that I enjoy in the moment but then ultimately become forgettable.

I read a lot of historical fiction. I always have. But recently it feels like a lot of those books leave me feeling…hollow. Like, they’re good for the time I’m reading them, but then I immediately forget them. They don’t stick. I think I need to read more nonfiction rather than these pointless, lightweight books.

3 I wish I could quit…buying books that I don’t have time to read.

Kind of tied to number 1. I have so many books crowding up the shelves, and then I start to feel guilty about not reading them, and then the guilt compounds.

4 I wish I could quit…reading when I want to be writing.

I have been trying to grow in my writing the past few years, and honestly it can be kind of scary and feel kind of fruitless. I’ve been going back and forth between larger projects, but a lot of times, instead of sitting down and getting my hands dirty and working through a problem, I give up and go read. I tell myself I’m doing research or giving my brain a break…but then a whole weekend afternoon, and all of its writing time, is gone.

5 I wish I could quit…more books that I don’t like.

Over the past year I’ve gotten much better at DNFing, but I still get to the end of too many books with a vague feeling that my life would be better if I had just stopped reading.

6 I wish I could quit…buying physical books.

I’m hoping to move within the next year, and it’s already giving me hives. Because: BOOKS. I have six bookshelves. They are all out of space. Most are, in fact, double-packed. I prune my collection at least once a month, yet it keeps growing. And growing. And growing. I want to switch a lot more of my books to my ereader, but that takes money I don’t have. And of course there are so many I just can’t give up the physical book for a screen.

7 I have quit…sticking it out to the end of the series.

There are too many books and too little time. If a series doesn’t catch me in it’s first installment, I’m not going to read any more. I don’t care if it becomes amazing in the second book.

8 I have quit…reading books about circuses.

I’ve read a lot of books about circuses, and I ALWAYS hate them. Like, universally, across-the-board. I don’t know why. I don’t care why. I finally put the moratorium into place: if the synopsis so much as mentions a circus, a sideshow, a fair…I’m out.

I have (mostly) quit…reading white men.

Look, there are plenty of good white, male authors. But I’ve gotten really fed up with some, even those who used to be my favorites. The pretentious MFA literati. The genre-trashers (and genre-stealers). The whitesplainers and the mansplainers. I have never picked up or avoided an author based solely on their gender or race–it comes down to the book, always–but I’m making a concerted effort to read many other authors. And avoid white men for a while, cause I’m tired of the bullshit, the trembling fear and insecurity from the top of ivory tower. We’ll see how I managed at the end of the year when I tally up my reading statistics, and then maybe I’ll be able to make a more realistic goal.

10 I have quit…loaning books.

Sorry kids. I have lost way too many books because I loan them to people and then, hey presto, never get them back. Or even worse- get them back with broken spines. I will literally buy you a book rather than loan my copy if I think it’s something you need to read right this second. Bad for my bank account, but good for my sanity.


Filed under Book Talk

Review: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

2195464Title: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

Author: Haruki Murakami

Rating: 4 stars

I picked up What I Talk About When I Talk About Running because of a vague goal to tackle Murakami’s nonfiction, as I already enjoy his fiction. I was not expecting it to be so personally inspiring, or the fact that would talk about writing almost as much as running.

This is a short volume (I read it in a few sittings over two days–although I was also sick, and had nothing else to do.)  Murakami talks about how he took up long distance running at age 33, how he runs a marathon every year, and about his training regimen and his experiences with specific races and triathlons.

I’ve been thinking about taking up running almost since my surgery. The reason being that after surgery my breathing vastly improved–I had literally no idea that I was living with impeded breath until suddenly I could breathe. It’s a big lifestyle change for me, and I basically have no stamina, but this book totally inspired me to start trying. If Murakami could do it at 33, surely I can at least try at 30.

But as I mentioned, there is as much writing advice in this book as there is talk of running. Murakami is a prolific novelist with a very distinct style. He talks here about how the discipline of running every day mirrors the discipline of his writing. There are a ton of interesting little tidbits and asides that I found quite interesting and surprising.

There are things in this book to appeal for a lot of different types of readers. Murakami is one of modern literature’s most interesting minds, and this slim memoir is an inspiring piece.


Filed under Book Review

Short Story Sunday: “Fabulous Beasts”


First line: “Eliza, tell me your secret.”

Fabulous Beasts” by Priya Sharma, published by

Leave a comment

Filed under Short Story Sunday

September Round Up



I finished 11 books in September…and, incidentally, hit 100! I’m working on goals for 2016 will help me read less, because honestly I’m kind of overwhelmed. But this is the earliest in the year I’ve ever hit a hundred reads, so…cool?

Reading Diversely 

7 of the books I read were written by women, 3 by men, and 1 was an anthology of many different writers. One book was nonfiction. The anthology was one of “World SciFi,” so it included translations and people of color, and one other book was written by a non-Westerner.


Sooooooooooo many rejections. Oh my god, you guys. So many rejections.

I’m dealing with some serious impostor system right now, to be totally honest. But rejections do mean that I’m getting my work out there, which is a big step from just a few years ago. So.

I’m still hashing out the novella that I thought would be done by now. It might not quite make it to novella length. But I’m enjoying it. If I could just finish it.

TV Junkie

How. To. Get. Away. With. Murder. Yaaaaaaas, Queen Viola Davis. I am so looking forward to this insane-seeming season.

Also enjoying Fresh Off the Boat. Other than those two shows I’m kind of trying to stay away from TV right now, though.


Wait what no one told me about Hamilton why not? Songs about historical figures are one of my weird things. A fucking hip hop musical about Alexander Hamilton and the Founding Fathers? THIS IS MY JAM.

No, seriously, guys. Go listen to Hamilton. Go now.

The other thing I’ve been listening to nonstop is (of course) Lana Del Rey’s Honeymoon. Perfection.

Leave a comment

Filed under Round Up

Where do you buy books?


So, I need some advice, guys.

I’m in the midst of a budget freeze. No purchases but gas and groceries until the middle of October. (Really, I should push it until the middle of November, but I haven’t bought anything outside of necessities for two whole months already and I’m kind of dying inside a little bit.) Because I’m going a little bit crazy with this, and because so many things are coming out in October, I’m already compiling a list of books to buy. (Which of course defies the point of my austerity budget…because I will spend too much money and then be stuck in the cycle all over again. C’est la vie.)

The main problem being: where the heck do I buy them?

I live in a one-bookstore town. Usually this is not a problem because I work in the damn library, but still. It’s a big-box store that sells more toys than books, and never, ever has the titles I’m actually looking for. Now I can go in there and come out with a full bag and a broken credit card, but they never end up being the purchases I planned on. (It’s not like I’m looking for a bunch of indie titles. They don’t even carry The Fifth Season. Their SFF section is one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen.)

And I’m increasingly anti-Amazon. I have used it in the past, and I probably will have to do so in the future for products you can’t find elsewhere, but it always makes me feel icky. There’s no specific reason, really. I’m just not a big fan of huge, world-dominating corporations. I don’t believe in Amazon, I don’t believe in Google, I don’t believe in Apple. I understand the necessity of using those things to get around in the world, but I don’t have to like it.

But when it comes to other avenues for online book shopping, I’m at a loss. I’ve used Barnes & Noble’s online shopping, and wasn’t really happy with it. I’ve heard a lot about The Book Depository, but I’m a bit confused by them, honestly. I’ve also heard about Powell’s. I’ve considered doing online ordering from the closest indie to me–Quail Ridge Books & Music–but it seems fairly expensive and, again, that they don’t always have the inventory that I want. Since I’ve never used these places and I only know of them through hearsay, I’m a bit iffy about all of them.

So I turn to you, denizens of the bookternet. Where is your favorite non-Amazon place to buy books online? Who has reasonable prices and reasonable ship times? I’m guessing that there are plenty out there that I haven’t even heard of. Help me out!


Filed under Book Talk

Review: The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood

24388326Title: The Heart Goes Last

Author: Margaret Atwood

Rating: 2.5 stars

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for a fair review.

When I saw a new Margaret Atwood book up on Netgalley, I pounced on it. I haven’t read all of Atwood’s work, but what I have read I love, and I was really excited to get to read this. Unfortunately, to me The Heart Goes Last ended up feeling kind of flimsy and flat, especially in comparison with Atwood’s other great works.

In a dystopian near-future, young married couple Stan and Charmaine find themselves living in their car, out of work, evading gangs of rapists and thieves. They sign up for the Consilience project, which initially seems to answer all of their problems. In exchange for spending every other month in a prison, they are given a house and jobs in a sort of gated community (Modeled on the 50s where everything was pure and innocent, naturally). Of course this all goes south relatively quickly, and their marriage vows are put to the test in the process.

The best aspect of this short novel was it’s dark humor. It was a little bit on the nauseating side for me (it includes such oddities as people having sex with chickens and teddy bears), but it was funny. The voices of the story were well realized. The problem was that I didn’t like any of the characters. Sometimes that’s ok–an advantage, even–but here I feel like you really need to connect with the characters or else the whole thing feels like a pointless farce.

Charmaine is a scatter-brained idiot. A funny one, but after a while it got tiring laughing at her. Stan is a gross asshole. These are your “heroes”, and everyone else is either flat as cardboard or exaggerated to unreal proportions.

I also didn’t enjoy the dystopian element much. It felt needlessly convoluted and complex. It got to a point where it felt like Atwood was moving characters around just for the sake of it. The plot did not serve the characters, the characters were not changed meaningfully by the plot.

Perhaps if I was married I would approach this book differently. Perhaps it says profound or witty things about the institution of marriage. I suspect not, but I’m willing to concede the possibility.


Filed under Book Review

Short Story Sunday: “Red Run”


First line: “Hinahon didn’t belong in that hotel.”

Red Run” by AMJ Hudson, published by Lightspeed.

1 Comment

Filed under Short Story Sunday

Top Ten Tuesday: Fall TBR


The topic of this Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is Top Ten Books On My Fall TBR.

184618231. N K Jemisin- The Fifth Season

I feel like I have been waiting on this book forever. When I’m allowed to buy books again in November (I’m gonna make it through the budget freeze. I am. I AM.), this is the first one I’m going to get.

2.Marrisa Meyer- Winter

Finally, finally, finally, finally! In all truth, I probably won’t be able to crack into this until 2016, but I’m glad it’s finally (almost) published.

3. Rainbow Rowell- Carry On

I’ve already got a bad case of the squees. It’s so pretty. I just love it already. Plus:


(it’s Rainbow Rowell. Of course it is.)

4. Naomi Novik- Uprooted

Everyone is talking about it. I’m jumping on the bandwagon. (if I can find a copy.)

5. Wilkie Collins- The Moonstone

This massive monster is my Halloween book this year. I hope it’s spooky!

6. Haruki Murakami- Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

I haven’t read Murakami in so long I’m a little bit worried, tbh. I picked this one up because it’s small and I think I’ll like it. Hope that’s the case.

7. Jo Nesbo- Police

So. Almost. Done.

8. The Apex Book of World SF

I recently bought a bundle including all three volumes of these anthologies. Gonna try to start with the first and see how it goes!

9. Jhumpa Lahiri- The Lowland

I’ve been putting off this book and I’m not sure why. But I’m going to power through it, I promise.

10.Ann Leckie- Ancillary Mercy

I really hope I don’t put off book 3 as long as I put off book 2!


What are your plans for Fall?


Filed under Book Talk

Short Story Sunday: “Madeline”


First line: “Madeleine remembers being a different person.”

Madeline” by Amal El-Mohtar, published by Lightspeed.

Leave a comment

Filed under Short Story Sunday

Top Ten Tuesday: Picture Books


The topic of this Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is a FREEBIE — your choice!

I process all of the children’s and YA books at my library. With so many books coming across my desk, I get a chance to look through all the beautiful picture books and fall in love with them. Most of my friends have kids in the infant/toddler stage…so I am getting pretty familiar with building libraries for pre-reading kiddies.

So this week, here are some of my favorite picture books! Many of them are books that have come across my desk very recently, but some are books that I loved way back when I was a kid, too.


1. Bob Shea- Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great

Sparkly Unicorn + Grumpy Goat = Magic. I really like Shea’s illustration style, and this book is all sparkles and color and cuteness overload.


2. Yuyi Morales- Nino Wrestles the World

Lucha libre! This feisty luchadore can defeat any threat, except his nemeses, Las Hermanitas!


3. Susan Eaddy- Poppy’s Best Paper

When Poppy grows up she wants to be a famous writer. So how come her best friend is the one who’s papers are being read aloud in class? This book (with freaking adorable illustrations) is a really great exploration of jealousy, procrastination, and other not-great behavior, and even though I’m thirty I kindasorta identified with it?


4. Adam Rubin- Dragons Love Tacos

Everyone loves dragons. Everyone loves tacos. But make sure you don’t give your dragons spicy salsa, okay?



5. Joe McGee- Peanut Butter and Brains

zomg, adorable zombies. This is about a little zombie who dares to be different, and dreams of one day tasting that culinary delight, PB&J. It is so. Stinkin. Cute.


6. Marjorie Flack- The Story About Ping

A bunch of oversensitive grumps on Goodreads are whining about Ping promoting spanking. Please. It’s a cute book about a cute little duck and a boat with a face. I loved this when I was little, and I still do.


7. Verna Aardema- Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain

I have always loved this book for the colorful illustrations of African animals.


8. Polly Cameron- “I Can’t,” Said the Ant

The line illustrations are simple and very retro. I’m having trouble finding this book still in print. It was absolutely my favorite book ever when I was small and I wish I could find it to share with new generations.


9. Andrea Beaty- Rosie Revere, Engineer

This is a book about experiencing failure but not quitting. Full of clever rhymes and whimsical inventions.



10. The BabyLit board books

These board books are introductions to classic literature for pre-literate children. They range from counting primers to Spanish language primers, and they are completely adorable. BabyLit will probably bankrupt me, honestly, because I buy them for everyone. (For what it’s worth, among the toddler set in my circles, it seems that Jabberwocky is the hands-down favorite.)


Filed under Book Talk