Posts

Showing posts from 2017

Weekend reads and it's cold and sunny like my mood...

Image
It's been a week. On Wednesday, we euthanized my 19-year-old cat Olivia. It was sudden, but necessary, and I'm grateful we were able to do it at home where no one was stressed. We're now a cat-less house, and both Unabridged Toddler and I are planning visits to local shelters because we're not ready to be without animal vibes around.

The weather is decidedly fall here in Boston: blazingly sunny but crystal cold. The house is chilly because we haven't pulled out the AC units, so I'm having to bundle up which is not my favorite way to stay warm. (In this sense, hygge isn't really my jam. Candles and cocoa and roaring fires, yes; wool sweaters and socks, no ma'am.)

I'm in that weird place where I've got, like, seven books started, and I'm probably not more than fifty pages into any of them (other than Middlemarch). I blame work, and stress over the cat, but I'm looking forward to biblio-comfort. 

I'm really digging A Secret Sisterhood: …

What's the unbelievable horror?: secret society of power-hungry magicians or relentless, unabashed racism?

Image
First line: Atticus was almost home when the state trooper pulled him over.

This ended up being my book club's October read, and I'm glad, because it's been on my TBR since it was released last year.

And I'm wicked conflicted about it.

On one hand, this was a really, really entertaining read, a mix of family history and supernatural drama. On the other hand, I struggled (and am struggling) with the author's identity as a white guy, and his depiction of characters of color.

The novel was originally pitched as a tv show, which shows, as it is a series of interconnected vignettes that feels like a tv episode. Which isn't to say it's not good, but it only goes so deep.

The detail Ruff explores most is the repressive violence the main characters face as people of African descent. Which is good, and, brings to mind Kara Brown's piece "I'm So Damn Tired of Slave Movies":

"I’m tired of watching black people go through some of the worst pain i…

"Someone's come in and killed Father!": An interview with Erika Mailman

Image
I'm thrilled to share my interview with novelist Erika Mailman. Erika wrote Woman of Ill Fame, which I read in 2013 and uh-dored. (I actually can't believe I read it four years ago - it's so vibrant in my mind I would have sworn I read it last year!)

Now Erika is looking at the infamous Borden family murders with her book, The Murderer's Maid. I'll be reviewing this one soon (could there be a more perfect October read?!).

While you wait for my inevitable squees, here's an interview with Erika about her writing of this book (question three shows she is far, far more brave than I could ever be!).

What scene or character surprised you while you were writing?

I had to track down the story that Lizzie Borden had fainted during her trial at the sight of her father and stepmother's skulls. I knew the person showing the skulls was Dr. Draper, but the court transcript during his testimony didn't show her fainting. I started to think the story was apocrypha, but a…

Weekend reads and fall is here...

Image
After being a weird, steamy 80 for a few days earlier this week, it's not Uber Autumn out: sunny but brisk, clear and fragrant. I love this weather, which is a bummer, because I'm juggling two good reads and on deck for a few more!

I forget how Marissa A. Ross's Wine. All the Time.: The Casual Guide to Confident Drinking crossed my radar, but I immediately requested it from the library and it is so good we're going to buy a copy to keep. Ross is funny and approachable and her whole attitude about wine is so normal and refreshing. It's like having your cool but not snobby friend teach you about wine.

I'm also reading Matt Ruff's Lovecraft Country, which is this month's pick for my book club. It's a great read and one that I'm so conflicted about. Set in the 1950s, it's a series of interconnected stories of an African-American family who gets embroiled with a white family obsessed with secret societies and arcane secrets. Ruff is unabashed in…

A twenty-eight second walk with me this morning...

Image

The Lady Travelers Guide to Scoundrels & Other Gentlemen is a guide I wish were real...

Image
I love romance novels for the fluff escapism: tame drama, happy-ever-after, armchair time travel, appealing sexytimes.

This first book in a new series did that for me, and if you like tame, slow-burn romances, this one is for you. Our heroine, spinster India Prendergast, is convinced the Lady Travelers Society is a scam. Her beloved aunt has disappeared, and the women running the society are unable to locate her. Worse, Derek Saunders, famed bad boy, is related to one of the women who run the society, and he has taken it upon himself to "help" "find" India's aunt.

Obviously, their instant dislike for each other means they're going to fall madly in love (and that was fine by me).

Normally I wolf down romances in a matter of days, but I actually took a break from this one because it's pretty slow moving. The mystery was a little tiresome because there was an intentional can't-tell-the-truth-for-this-rather-flimsy-reason plotline and it did stretch on…

Book Arrivals, October 9

Image
A quick video for a Monday: another batch of library holds came in this past week, and I got two books in the mail, so hooray for new reads! Have you read any of these? Got any good new books?

Weekend Reads, and it's all toddler all the time

Image
I meant to do a weekend reads video for my stuff, but Unabridged Toddler had other ideas!




A speculative novel about cloning, Jamaica, an alternative United States, and secret agents was remarkably boring...

Image
I really ought to have loved this speculative short novel but I didn't, and it bums me out!

Set in an alternative now, where the US is broken into smaller countries -- Five Civilized Tribes, which is a conglomeration of US Indian/Native American tribes (I believe), the industrialized Tejas and puppet state of Albion, among others -- the story follows a Jamaican secret agent, Desmond Coke, who has smuggled a young boy from Jamaica in hopes of keeping him safe from a variety of nefarious forces.

It takes most of the novel to learn why they're being pursued and it's an intriguing premise. Desmond's work is hampered by geopolitical drama and some good old-fashioned double crossing, and with the 'Old West' ambiance and technology, it has the feel of Firefly or other weird West style stories.

And yet...I wanted more. I think were this a full length novel, it would have worked; the novella format didn't serve the setting or characters. (Full disclosure: I've …

Mood Ring Recommendations: Feeling... Changeable

Image
My current mood is influenced by the changing seasons and the slide into October (possibly my favorite month), so, for this week's Mood Ring Recommendations, my mood is ...

~ Changeable ~
First, the mood I've picked isn't precise, because I'm not exactly sure what mood I'm trying to express. Something that's more than what's on the surface; something duplicitous (but not always bad); one thing and then another. What's one word for all that?

Whatever the word is, these reads all came to mind when I started thinking about stories with a character who wears a mask, is different than we think, or changes midway once we thought we knew them.



Eleanor Hallowell Abbott, Molly Make-Believe: This sweet novel is from 1911, and it's the only positive novel featuring misdirection and misapprehension. It reads like The Shop Around the Corner and other sweet rom-coms, and it's a really lovely, light romance.

Louisa May Alcott, A Long Fatal Love Chase: Pretty m…

Book Arrivals, October 1

Image
A quick booktube video of some of the books that have arrived over the last few weeks, both review copies and some free-range reading library arrivals. (Including a classic better known as a film than a book!) Have you read any of these?



Creepy kids are creepy, especially when they ought to know better...

Image
In our house, this book is practically a sacred text (my wife uh-dores Shirley Jackson). My book club selected this as our read for May, and I was thrilled for the reread because this book surprises me every time.

Our narrator, Mary Katherine (or Merricat, as she's called) lives in her dilapidated house with her sister and uncle. The town shuns them after a terrible family tragedy that resulted in the death of most of her fmaily. But Merricat likes the little life she has, and she does what she needs to in order to protect all of them. And as you might expect, when her happy world is threatened, she gets to work.

I'm being vague to ensure you get the pleasure of Merricat and her story. If you're only familiar with Shirley Jackson through her short story "The Lottery", you need to get this novella. It's a great, atmospheric read -- very quick at 160ish pages, depending on your edition -- and the creepiness crawls over you.

Jackson's Merricat is so sweet …

Wordless Wednesday: But the little things need to be quality

Image
Today's Wordless Wednesday is a response to my Wordless Wednesday from last week.

Basically: $2 stickies have no sticky and now I have learned my lesson. But life isn't over because last night my wife made caramel apples because it was Tuesday.

Teaser Tuesday, September 26: Happy birthday, Gloria Anzaldúa!

Image
"I want freedom to carve and chisel my own face, to staunch the bleeding with ashes, to fashion my own gods out of entrails."
I came across Gloria Anzaldúa in college, after stumbling across the above quote. It electrified and shocked me, as did the passage around it (from her book Borderlands/ La Frontera: The New Mestiza), which provided more context:
"So don’t give me your tenets and your laws. Don’t give me your lukewarm gods. What I want is an accounting with all three cultures—white, Mexican, Indian. I want freedom to carve and chisel my own face, to staunch the bleeding with ashes, to fashion my own gods out of entrails. And if going home is denied me then I will have to stand and claim my space, making a new culture—una cultura mestiza—with my own lumber, my own bricks and mortar and own feminist architecture." You can read a few more powerful excerpts at She's Got the Mic.

Mood Ring Recommendations: Feeling...Indecisive

Image
I'm going to start a new series I'm calling Mood Ring Recommendations, in which I'm going to share recommendations and reviews for books (or other things?, if I feel like it) that relate to the mood. It's an experiment; let's see if it's any good!

Since I'm in the midst of angst-ing about what to do with this blog (I even gave myself a tarot reading for advice!), today's mood is going to be:

~ Indecisive ~
These recommendations are reads that immediately came to mind when I started thinking about making choices (or not), hesitating or being impetuous, or otherwise dithering about doing something.


Kage Baker, In the Garden of Iden: When you can live forever, you have lots of time to wonder about the choices you've made. This book is the start of a thirteen book series (or something like that), but it's a fabulous standalone novel, set during Elizabethan England, with a woman who is more cyborg than human (but she still struggles between head and h…

Tarot Reading: On continuing to blog...

Image
As I shared on Friday, I've been seriously considering closing my blog, since I'm feeling sort of 'eh' about the work it takes to keep it up. And yet, that doesn't feel quite right to me, so I decided to give myself a tarot reading about what to do.

I used the Biz Spread created by New Age Hipster and the Ostara Tarot deck, consulting my two favorite tarot books right now, Melissa Cynova's Kitchen Table Tarot and Jessa Crispin's The Creative Tarot.

Essentially, to my surprise, I think this reading is telling me not to quit! I'm a little fuzzy on some of the cards, but what jumped out to me was this sense of waiting, needing more time, and rejuvenating.

The first card, about where one's business is at, is the 7 of Coins. Crispin interprets sevens as determining what we really want, and 7 of Coins about not rushing to harvest/call it quits. That really struck me because while I've been thinking I'm being honest with myself, it may be that I&#…

Weekend reads and considering closing the blog...

Image
I'm not sure what provoked it, but was struck very strongly this week that I should consider closing this blog.

I think it's maybe that I'm trying to renew my work on it -- I'm trying out different review formats, attempting some YouTube vids, hoping to integrate my tarot and woowoo research -- but I'm so aware of how little interaction I have through it all. I know -- or 'know' -- many bookish folks online, but my interactions are fleeting and quick. I started my blog to connect with other readers -- a virtual book club, I imagined -- and I'm just not doing that.

Reviewing books to help authors and publishers promote them has become the meat-and-potatoes of my blog, and I'm not that excited about it. Certainly my free-range reading of these last few months have been refreshing and fun, but even writing about those reads feels like I'm talking to myself.

So, if that's the case, why continue here?

This post is kind of me "thinking out l…

Wordless Wednesday: It's the little things

Image
Decided to dress up my work game. $2 from Target -- like I could resist!

Check out more Wordless Wednesday posts!

Creepy kids are creepy, especially when they survive plane crashes

Image
My wife was listening to this on her commute and I got hooked, and we spent the last four nights listening to it at home after dinner while halfheartedly doing dishes and whatnot.

Four airplanes crash on the same day, and unbelievably, in three of the accidents, one child survives. But the world is changed by Black Thursday, as the day becomes known, as the children garner international interest and panic. We learn about what happens through Black Thursday: From Crash to Conspiracy, a book that details the events in the days and weeks that follow, and of course, what happens after this book comes out.

I found the premise suuuuuuuper intriguing and I'm a sucker for found documents/ephemera/books-within-books narrative structure, so all that worked for me; but I did get a bit tired near the end of the drawn out mystery.

My wife said this felt like an overpadded novella; I kind of agree. Maybe in book form, when I could have read faster, it might have raced more, but listening, it d…

Booktube: Library Haul, September 14

Image
A quick vid of some of the free-range reads I snagged from the library recently!


Teaser Tuesday, September 12: Middlemarch!

Image
My Teaser Tuesday for this week comes from Middlemarch!...which I am still reading. What are you reading today? Have a teaser to share?


Weekend reads and my first vlog!

Image
It feels like summer is over in Boston -- it's brisk and beautiful and while I love it, I'm also mourning the end of summer because I don't feel like I did enough summer stuff!

So, after fumbling with many different apps, I've made my first vlog/booktube, below. Don't judge me too harshly; I decided to just do it and not agonize, and I'll figure it out along the way. (But helpful tips always welcome!)

My weekend reads are more of Middlemarch as well as The Other Alcott by Elise Hooper. What are you reading this weekend?


A novel about E.M. Forster not getting some is surprisingly moving

Image
I grabbed this book from the library in my usual, arbitrary way: I liked the spine and the binding, and the cover; then I saw it was a Europa Edition and decided to check it out. Then I never got around to reading it, and had forgotten about it until noticing it on my Overdrive wishlist.

Arctic Summer is biographical novel of English novelist E.M. Forster; it's mostly about Morgan's desperate search for love and companionship and sex, and how he basically didn't get those things. It's gorgeous and emotional and restrained, and I loved every word.

Overwhelmingly, this novel is just bittersweet. Morgan is so sweetly likeable (I know it's trendy these days to want unlikable characters, but there's something to be said for characters you also just want to squish) but his life so empty despite the people, jobs, and travel that fill it. He finds some intense emotional relationships, a few that translate into physical/sexual ones, but all seem lopsided and unequal -- s…

Book Review: The Family Plot by Cherie Priest

Image
First line: Yeah, send her on back.

I love a good haunted house story and this one is just perfect. (Hot tip: save this for October and thank me later!)

Reminiscent of The Haunting of Hill House and Insidious, this novel features a tough, slightly damaged heroine who didn't make me eyeball roll once; serious place as character; and creepiness in spades.

The plot is pretty simple: Dahlia, whose family runs a salvage business, is tasked with tearing apart an old estate in a matter of days, a job which requires her and her small crew -- cousin Bobby, Bobby's son Gabe, and new colleague Gabe -- to sleep in the house while they work at all hours to salvage what is can be resold.

The house has other ideas, obviously.

While some of the ghostliness of the story was predictable, I found the anticipation upped my eager jumpiness. But Priest surprised me with a ghostly encounter I'd never considered before, and it has made me even jumpier when I'm alone. The book's narrative …

Monday....musings? August 28

Image
The things that feel summery-y for me are coming to an end: our summer hours at work, which end after this week; vacation for school kids; college kids moving into the dorms; a kind of shift in the weather from muggy heat to tolerable heat; the farm in full harvest mode.

We went camping this weekend, and it was really perfect; I finished Ship Fever which was unbelievable. I love historical short fiction in a way I don't always love short fiction generally -- and while a few of Barrett's stories were too neat, the titular story was un-believable. I'm currently in the throes of Damon Galgut's Arctic Summer, which was a free range reading find, and now confirms I'm just going to browse the library or catalog subject index until a title or book cover catches my attention. (I'm still struggling to finish Middlemarch for my 9/21 bookclub!)

Inspired by Andi of Estella's Revenge, I'm starting to think a little more -- creatively -- about what I want to do with …

Bout of Books, Day 2 and Wordless Wednesday, August 23

Image
Yesterday I started, and nearly finished Arctic Summer by Damon Galgut, a short novel about E.M. Forster. It's just beautiful! and so poignant! and bittersweet! and sad! and talks about exoticization (this is a word, right?) of people of color and repressed homosexual impulses and writing and travel and moms and ... basically, it's working for me and has lured me away from my other current reads which is ... good?

My Wordless Wednesday offering is today's Bout of Books challenge: book spine rainbow!

My rainbow is less rainbow-y than it should be, I realize, but it was the best I could do between making dinner, getting toddler to bed, and, obviously, reading! (It's very blue-y which I vaguely recall reading somewhere is the most used color for book covers, maybe because it's a popular color? or something...? Any book cover/design nerds care to weigh in?)

Bout of Books Update, Day 1 and Teaser Tuesday, August 22

Image
My teaser for this week's Teaser Tuesday comes from the volume of short stories I'm reading: Ship Fever by Andrea Barrett.

It's a fabulous volume (winner of the National Book Award in 1996) and though I'm naturally disinclined toward short fiction, they're working for me now. I'm a little overtired and suffering from allergies, so these short, subtle stories are perfect for distracting me.
During our brief courtship, I told Richard only the things that I thought would make him love me., from "The Behavior of the Hawkweeds".#boutofbooks Day 1 Update

I managed a little reading yesterday -- more Middlemarch and more Ship Fever -- and I hope tonight to finish the latter. I did my six-word intro on Instagram yesterday.

Bout of Books!

Image
Like a cat and cardboard box, I can't pass up a readathon. Plus, I'm in a reading funk but recently got a stack of library books so ... Bout of Books, here I come!

Here's info about this readathon:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 21st and runs through Sunday, August 27th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 20 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

Are you participating? I'm hoping to finish Ship Fever tonight and then think I'll start my new Penelope Lively novel.

Weekend reads and some free-range reading...

Image
After going through a glut of reads compelling enough to keep me reading, I've hit a dry spell.

Despite being on the hook for a number of reviews, the galleys and digital ARCs just haven't grabbed me. So I did some browsing through my library's online catalog and made some impulse requests, and so far, the experiment has worked!

My weekend reads is Andrea Barrett's short story collection, Ship Fever, which has been recommended to me more than once by a variety of readers I trust. I grabbed some books that I'm familiar with -- a Penelope Lively I haven't read, The Girl from Rawblood which crossed my radar sometime in the last twelve months -- as well as some I've never heard of -- Silvina Ocampo.

I'll resume Middlemarch on Monday.

What are you reading this weekend?

Muddling through Middlemarch...

Image
I'm muddling my way through Middlemarch, a read I've long had on my TBR and am finally getting to because my book club selected it for our September read.

I anticipated loving it for ... reasons ... and at times I'm enjoying it, while other times I feel like it's going over my head. It's been a long time since a book has hit me this way, so I'm trying to roll with that -- and for good and for bad, there isn't another book clamoring to be read. Middlemarch it is.

Have you read Middlemarch? Love it? Hate it? Reading anything great right now?

Book Review: The One That Got Away by Melissa Pimentel

Image
First line: It was Monday night.

Persuasion is my all-time favorite Jane Austen, so when I came across this Persuasion-inspired romantic comedy, I had to have it. It ended up being a very zippy read, super fluffy, the kind of thing you can dip in and out of easily.

Our heroine, Ruby Atlas, comes from a small town in Massachusetts where her father amassed a wealth in real estate. Her sister Piper is high-strung and snobbish. Before heading to her first grown up job after college, Ruby meets Ethan Bailey, son of a mechanic, who bartends at a neighborhood dive. It's instant chemistry between them. But not perfect.

In the now, Piper is engaged to be married, and Ruby is her maid of honor. Only hitch? Piper is marrying Ethan Bailey's best friend, and Ethan is no longer a poor kid from the wrong side of time. He's a billionaire tech inventor, lauded and sought after, and Ruby is in agony at having to see him again. The novel alternates between this story line and that of their ti…

Weekend reads and feeling witchy...

Image
Another week in which I didn't land on something to read; I've got nine? ten books going -- and by going, I mean, I've started and have read a few pages and then moved on to something else -- and I keep perusing others in hope something sticks.

In the meantime, I'm deeply distracted by a new tarot deck -- the Ostara Tarot -- which is gorgeous. So my weekend reads is ... reading for me!

What are you reading this weekend?

Book Review: River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey

Image
First line: Winslow Remington Houndstooth was not a hero.

I wanted to love this book so badly, and I'm so unhappy that I didn't even like it.

It has all the things that should make it a book I adore -- premise, characters, setting -- but the end result is weirdly flat, predictable, and boring. (It took me about three weeks to push through 120ish pages!)

Gailey's story imagines a US where hippopotamus ranches exist -- the result of a historical proposal that was rejected in our world, but was embraced in hers. The delta of Louisiana is home to hippo ranches and swamps full of violent, vicious feral hippos. A crew of criminals and misfits is hired to do some job (I'm still fuzzy on what it was, precisely, they were to do!) and it doesn't go to plan.

In a nutshell, I don't think Gailey had enough space to really stretch out and run. Everything in this novella smacked of shortcuts and assumption of goodwill, as if the reader has already bought into this ragtag bunc…

Weekend reads, and I got nothing...

Image
I'm late with this post -- which also pretty much has nothing to do with books -- because of allergies and the migraine that came with them.

Goodreads says I'm currently reading 9 books, which sounds both totally possible and really quite ridiculous.

What are you reading this weekend? Anything I should pick up that would rattle me out of this fug?

Teaser Tuesday, August 1: Hippos!

Image
My teaser for today comes from River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey. It's a novella that imagines 1890s Louisiana as if an insane idea had really been brought to fruition: hippos were bred in the Delta for meat.

Our hero, Winslow Houndstooth, is a hippo rancher, hired to do a mysterious job in a part of Louisiana thick with violent, feral hippos. He assembles a crack team, and as you can probably tell from my summary so far, it's a bananas story. (But so, so intriguing!)

"I think you've only been retired for a year, and already, you'd poison a stranger just to break up the monotony." (p22)
The sequel, Taste of Marrow, comes out next month.

So, what do you think? Would you read more? What are you reading right now?

Mailbox Monday, July 24

Image
It's been a long time since I've done a Mailbox Monday post, but I've gotten some fun arrivals, so I thought I'd share.

Have you gotten your hands on any of these? What new arrivals are you excited about?



The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily by Laura Creedle



The Velveteen Daughter by Laurel Davis Huber
A Secret Sisterhood: The Literary Friendships of Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, and Virginia Woolf by Emily Midorikawa



Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon



Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan
Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker



The Resurrection of Joan Ashby by Cherise Wolas
Yesterday by Felicia Yap

Book Review: See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

Image
First line: He was still bleeding.

This book is delicious.

It's also so bonkers. But delightfully so.

This debut novel explores the infamous Borden murders, opening with when the first body is found. The novel then shifts to two days before, and eventually, the days after the murder, and the story unfolds through Lizzie, her sister Emma, their maid Bridget, and Benjamin, an itinerant stranger.

Everyone in this book -- save for Bridget -- are awful. If one couldn't think of a reason for the murders, Schmidt offers a handful. The novel is creepy but not gory (just right for me), and there's a wonderfully claustrophobic feel to the narrative. It's a story, too, about frustrated ambitions and passions, petty jealousies and dysfunctional love. (I was reminded a bit of Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle, which made me wonder if Jackson was inspired at all by the Borden murders and if Schmidt had been inspired by Jackson...)

My only complaint about this …

Book Review: The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

Image
First line: A young man walks down by the banks of the Blackwater under the full cold moon.

I wanted to read this book the instant I heard about (shortlist for Baileys Women's Prize, I believe), and my hunger for it was justified because now, a week after finishing, I'm contemplating whether I can reread it before it's due (and if I can justify buying it).

Set in 1893, the novel follows Cora Seaborne, a new widow, who has a voraciously hungry intellect and a naturalist's passions. Freed from her cruel husband, she goes to Essex on a friend's suggestion, where she meets William Ransome, the parish vicar. Expecting him to be brutish or comfortably corpulent, she instead finds a mind like her's, hungry for knowledge -- but where she honors science, he honors faith.

The wild stories of the Essex serpent -- blamed for the deaths of livestock and children -- shape the landscape, the people, their experiences. Cora hopes to find it while Will believes it to be imagina…

The Essential Guide to Jane Austen

Image
Today is the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's death. I'm sipping coffee out of my ginormous coffee mug emblazoned with an L.M. Alcott quote, my new copy of Middlemarch by my elbow, and I plan on mainlining every Austen-inspired movie I own, so ... crushing it?

Penguin Random House/Signature Reads has made an Essential Guide to Jane Austen, a 29-page compilation with short pieces about Austen and her beloved works, and it's a fabulously fun way to get your Austen fix without having to call out of work because of an urgent need for an Austen reread.

If you end up paging through it, here are some of the things I want to discuss via comments or on social media:

Liz Kay's "6 Jane Austen Novels Ranked by Their Sexiness" (I 100% agree with her 'Peak Sexiness' ranking as it is my favorite Austen.)Charlie Lovett's "Pride and Prejudice on Film: The Best –and the Not-So-Great" (He dislikes the 1980 version that my wife so adores, which is fine by…

Book Review: Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal

Image
First line: Why did Mindi want an arranged marriage?

I pretty much started hungering for this book the moment I learned its title. How can you resist?

The premise of this book is equally fun: Nikki, a young Londoner from a Sikh family, is casting about for direction when she becomes a writing instructor at a Sikh community center. At odds with her family, Nikki's foray with the Sikh widows in her class ends up centering her within a serious tension in their community, even as their wild class liberates the women and reveals the deep passion many -- including widows -- hunger after.

This book was swimming with laugh out loud moments, especially early on, when the class discusses their thoughts on passion, seduction, and romance. Jaswal includes excerpts of the erotic stories the widows pen, and they're fun.

The feel of this book will be familiar to anyone who watches contemporary British comedies like Bend It Like Beckham or Calendar Girls ("charming" keeps coming to …

Weekend reads and weather moodiness...

Image
Boston has had full on weather mood swings: 90 degrees and steamy one day; 60s and chilly another. Today is a gray day, but it remains to be seen if it'll be cold or muggy.

This weekend, I hope to finish up the wonderfully funny  Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal, and I plan on starting Coming of Age: The Sexual Awakening of Margaret Mead by Deborah Beatriz Blum.

What are you reading this weekend?