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Showing posts from January, 2019

Wordless Wednesday, Jan 23

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My Wordless Wednesday offering for this week: my newest read, Alyssa Cole's An Extraordinary Union, which I've wanted to read for forever and it ticks one of the boxes for this year's Read Harder challenge. Woot!

Survived my first super snowy weekend in our new place, and I'm enjoying rural-y snowy views rather than my usual quickly-muddy urban slushy ones.

What are you reading right now?

Nancy Bilyeau's The Blue

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If it were not for his love for me, none of this would have taken place.

Porcelain. Not what I thought would make for exciting reading, but in this fabulous book, it's a commodity that drives politics, espionage, and obsession.

The Blue by Nancy Bilyeau
Endeavor Quill, 2018
Review copy from publisher

I'm a longtime fan of Nancy Bilyeau's books: rich with drama and unforgettable characters, they are the kind of books that just sweep you up. Here, Bilyeau makes an industrial endeavor -- the 18th century passion for blue porcelain -- a captivating, dramatic story, centered on a winning heroine.

Genevieve Planché is a descendant of French Huguenot refugees. A talented artist, she hopes to be mentored by William Hogarth, but her grandfather wishes her to work as a artisan at the Derby porcelainworks. Her rebellious childhood sweetheart leads her, instead, into a mystifying, increasingly deadly world of industrial espionage -- and us readers into a fascinating world where the sci…

Weekend reads, or finally a quiet weekend!

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Finally a weekend that's almost entirely free of obligations! After almost eight weeks of busy weekends -- moving, holidays, family and friends, appointments, work -- I'm finally facing two days that are relatively open!

As part of Book Riot's Read Harder 2019 challenge, I'm starting my first manga this weekend, Kaoru Mori's Emma. I never thought manga would interest me, so it was a delight to learn there's a number of historical romance-y ones out there. I've got my coffee, a plush blanket, and this book. Bring on the weekend!

What are you reading this weekend?

Oyinkan Braithwaite's My Sister, the Serial Killer

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Ayoola summons me with these words—Korede, I killed him.

Between the book's title and its opening lines, you know what you're going into with this read.

Happily, there's no gore. No horror. So if you're squeamish, no need to worry. It's just a darkly delicious read that verges, knife's edge, on being funny but is also just realistic enough, razor blade thin, to be chilling.

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
Doubleday, 2018
Copy from public library

Our heroine, Korede, is serious, responsible, deliberate. Her sister Ayoola is gorgeous, irresponsible, and unrepentant.

Recently, Ayoola's developed a habit of killing her boyfriends.

The deaths all seem accidental enough, but Korede is worried. Her family weathered trouble and all Korede wants is to protect her sister and mother, do her job, and find love -- hopefully with the dreamy doctor at the hospital where she works. So when Ayoola notices that dreamy doctor, well...

I inhaled this read …

Sarah Perry's Melmoth

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Oh my friend, my darling—won't you take my hand? I've been so lonely!

I told my wife this book reminded me, in a way, of the tv show, Hannibal. Not because of any actual plot similarity (Perry's novel is devoid of serial killers) but more in the opulent, baroque, and ominous style in both.

Melmoth by Sarah Perry
Custom House, 2018
Copy from public library

It's extravagant. Melodramatic. Wuthering Heights and mezzo-sopranos dying on stage. Tea-and-rainy-day moody. A bit like Byatt's Possession, only far more brief. It has all the atmosphere and setting of a book I love, so I'm especially crushed that I didn't love it!

Inspired by a Victorian novel about a man named Melmoth, Perry instead imagines that Melmoth is a haunted woman who sees people's sins and invites them to spend eternity with her. Helen, ex-pat in Prague and suffering self-imposed punishment, learns about Melmoth from a friend, who learns about Melmoth from a friend. An urban legend of sorts…

Weekend reads, or it's that time of year...

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This weekend I won't be reading since my family will be attending the New Bedford Whaling Museum's annual Moby Dick Marathon, a weekend event where passionate fans read Moby Dick aloud.

Moby Dick is my wife's all time favorite book so when we discovered this event, it immediately became an annual affair for us. This is our fifth year going, and my wife is an official reader for her second year in a row. She's very excited.

I'm not a Moby Dick fan but I do love geeks, and it's impossible not to enjoy this when surrounded by passionate fans. The read happens at the museum, which only enhances the story, and there are all kinds of fun nods to the story -- there's a celebrity Ishmael to open the reading every year, the mayor reads the section of Ishmael walking thru Bedford, and the worship scene happens at the Seaman's Bethel, etc.

So, it's not my preferred read, but it'll do. What are you reading this weekend?

Top 10 Reads of 2018

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It looks like I've read 33 books this year, which is five less than last year. But given the crazy amounts of stress and drama that hit me in 2018, I'm frankly delighted with this count.

Ten of my 33 reads were by authors of color. Six of my 33 reads were penned by male-identified authors. Nine reads were not novels: one play, three volumes of poetry, two memoirs, two collections of essays, and a graphic novel.

Three of my reads were for my book club (Things Fall Apart, Borderline, and The Changeling), which is embarrassing since we've done 9 books for the year and I run the club!

I achieved a wopping zero on reading challenges, which I aim to change in 2019. Mostly by committing myself to two (Read Harder and Historical Fiction) and really diversifying my reading. And reading more, you know, than I had this year. (Re-frame: This year I knit 8 items, which is a 2000% improvement over other years. So, small perk of reading less!)

And for this top ten...I'm actually rea…