BOOKENDS: 2020

I have realized since creating the feature “Bookends” that I do not have the mental capacity or energy to do a post every weekend, so my monthly/yearly wrap ups have been renamed to Bookends! I’m not going to change/adjust any of my previous posts, but from here on out, my end of the month/year posts will be filed under this!


CURRENTLY READING

I knew I wasn’t going to finish The Big Book of Science Fiction, but I was hoping to finish A People’s History of the United States and The Penguin Book of the Prose Poem. I am making an effort in January to finish both of those (as well as The Rush’s Edge) so that I at least finish out this month with finishing up the books I read in 2020. It’s a new year, so I need a new start! But the SF one is HUGE and it is kind of fun to pick through and read stories from it every now and then. I do want to read the fantasy ones, so I need to finish this! At this point, I’m not really reading anything new as I just finished my first two books of 2021, so I think I’ll leave this as is until the January post!

📚 bookshelf pick  |  📓 physical review copy  |  📱 digital review copy | ⌛️ library/borrowed | 💾 ebook  |  💞 reread

📚 A People’s History of the United States – Howard Zinn (29%)
📚 The Big Book of Science Fiction – edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer (15%)
📚 The Penguin Book of the Prose Poem: From Baudelaire to Anne Carson – edited by Jeremy Noel-Tod (8%)
📓 The Rush’s Edge – Ginger Smith (17%)


FINISHED READING

I read twelve books in December! I really enjoyed the books I read this month, and I think that’s because I leaned into my whims and read what I wanted to read. I did manage two arcs and one published review copy, so I’m pleased with that! I’m trying to use my library more, and three of these were library titles too. I am pleased to be completely caught up (until February) with the ACOTAR series as I’ve had A Court of Wings and Ruin and A Court of Frost and Starlight unread on my shelves for far too long. TBH I think I was just tired of Rhys and Feyre by the middle of book three that I didn’t particularly care (or see a true need) for the novella. I am very excited about Nesta’s continuation, though! 2021 is going to be bringing changes with me, and I am ready for my own ‘tidying festival’ and letting go of a lot of things in my life, including so many of my possessions.

📚 bookshelf pick  |  📓 physical review copy  |  📱 digital review copy | ⌛️ library/borrowed | 💾 ebook  |  💞 reread

📚 Slow Days, Fast Company: The World, the Flesh, and LA – Eve Babitz (4.5/5 stars)
⌛️ Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies – Tara Schuster (4/5 stars)
📓 One Writer’s Beginnings – Eudora Welty (4.5/5 stars; thank you, Scribner!)
⌛️ Mortal Arts – Anna Lee Huber (4/5 stars)
📱 Ruinsong – Julia Ember (4/5 stars; thank you, Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR))
📚 The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue – V.E. Schwab (5/5 stars)
📓 A Princess for Christmas – Jenny Holiday (4/5 stars)
📚 The Little Bookshop on the Seine – Rebecca Raisin (3/5 stars)
📚 The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying-Up – Marie Kondo (4.5/5 stars)
⌛️ Spark Joy – Marie Kondo (4.5/5 stars)
📚 A Court of Frost and Starlight – Sarah J. Maas (3/5 stars)
📚 Ex-Libris: 100+ Books to Read and Reread – Michiko Kakutani (4/5 stars)

 


ON THE HORIZON

All of these are physical copies because I ended up buying Persephone Station with a gift card I had! I had an e-arc, but the more I read about the book, the more I wanted a physical copy for my shelves. Last year, I enjoyed Mike Chen’s A Beginning at the End, so I’m curious to see how this new one stacks up! Doors of Sleep was sent to me by Angry Robot, and I’ve been enjoying their newest titles! Laziness Does Not Exist appealed to me on several different levels, and one of my unofficial 2021 goals is to read more nonfiction of all different sorts. Everyone and their mothers is reading and rereading the Bridgerton series, and I ended up buying the whole series on Thriftbooks before the series was released on Netflix. I’m glad I did now, because it’s impossible to find! The Heiress: The Revelations of Anne de Bourgh sounds like something right up my alley because I always love some further explorations of Pride & Prejudice, especially some of the background characters.

📚 bookshelf pick  |  📓 physical review copy  |  📱 digital review copy | ⌛️ library/borrowed | 💾 ebook  |  💞 reread

📚 Persephone Station – Stina Leicht
📓 We Could Be Heroes – Mike Chen (Thank you, Mira!)
📓 Doors of Sleep – Tim Pratt (Thank you, Angry Robot!)
📓 Laziness Does Not Exist – Devon Price, Ph.D. (Thank you, Atria!)
📚 The Duke and I – Julia Quinn
📓 The Heiress: The Revelations of Anne de Bourgh – Molly Greeley (Thank you William Morrow!)


WHAT I ACQUIRED

Me, trying to be on a book buying ban: LOL

I bought too many second-hand romance and fantasy at thrift stores because romance basically got me through some tough times in 2020, but I also need to read the many books I bought last year before I really start doing this thing again… but there’s that meme floating around that book buying and book reading are two completely different hobbies… In addition to the books above in the On the Horizon section, I also bought/received the following. Some were on sale 50% at work, some (like Mrs. Dalloway and The Great Gatsby) were released in editions I collect, some were monthly picks for the store, etc, etc. I really enjoyed the e-arc I read of The Guinevere Deception, so I had to order it in hardcover to match The Camelot Betrayal!

📚 bookshelf pick  |  📓 physical review copy  |  📱 digital review copy | ⌛️ library/borrowed | 💾 ebook  |  💞 reread

📚 Becoming Duchess Goldblatt – Anonymous
📓 Craft in the Real World – Matthew Salesses (Thank you, Catapult!)
📚 Eva Evergreen: Semi-Magical Witch – Julia Abe
📚 Mrs. Dalloway – Virginia Woolf
📚 Pretty as a Picture – Elizabeth Little
📓 Single and Forced to Mingle – Melissa Croce (Thank you, Atria!)
📚 Star Wars The High Republic: Light of the Jedi – Charles Soule
📚 The Guinevere Deception – Kiersten White
📚 The Camelot Betrayal – Kiersten White
📚 The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
📓 The Mission – David W. Brown (Thank you, Custom House!)
📚 Winterborne Home for Vengeance and Valor – Ally Carter


ON SCREEN

GAMING: I played Animal Crossing for a bit, but I haven’t had the mental space for a lot of video games this past month. I’ve even been sporadically logging into World of Warcraft, so I don’t have many updates there except for I think I burnt myself out leading up to Shadowlands.

TV: I still have two episodes of The Mandalorian to watch, and then I’m going to finish out Dark and start Bridgerton.

MOVIES: WW84 was disappointing, but I’m seeing it next week in theaters now that they’re open again and maybe that will change it for me..


PERSONAL

I read 118 books in 2020, didn’t finish or even nearly complete any of my challenges, so I decided to go easier on myself in 2021. I’ll have a post coming soon with some goals I want to try to do by the end of the year, but I’m still working on figuring out what those are!

What did you think of your 2020 reading year?

WRAP UP: November 2020

The end of the year while working in retail in the middle of a pandemic is not the best time to try to bring back a blog and instagram with any regular frequency, but HERE I AM. I’m TRYING. And that’s all that we can do, really. I read a little bit more in November than I did in October, but I didn’t really write any posts, so I’m making up for it now.


CURRENTLY READING

I’m still picking at A People’s History of the United States and The Big Book of Science Fiction (because they’re stuck under a stack of books and I’m too lazy to dig them out), and I’m reading a few prose poems a week out of The Penguin Book of the Prose Poem. They make me think about writing and prose poetry’s space in it all, so I’m enjoying savoring it. I also have a problem with waiting until the last minute to read my digital library loans, so I’m working my way through the next Lady Darby mystery, Mortal Arts. Angry Robot sent me a copy of The Rush’s Edge which I’m enjoying! And Scribner’s rerelease of One Writer’s Beginnings is a perfect winter read about writing.

📚 bookshelf pick  |  📓 physical review copy  |  📱 digital review copy | ⌛️ library/borrowed | 💾 ebook  |  💞 reread

📚 A People’s History of the United States – Howard Zinn (29%)
📚 The Big Book of Science Fiction – edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer (15%)
📚 The Penguin Book of the Prose Poem: From Baudelaire to Anne Carson – edited by Jeremy Noel-Tod (8%)
⌛️ Mortal Arts – Anna Lee Huber (25%)
📓 One Writer’s Beginnings – Eudora Welty (10%)
📓 The Rush’s Edge – Ginger Smith (17%)


FINISHED READING

I read nine books in November! Most were okay, but some felt like a slog to get through. ACOWAR took the longest for me to read, and I feel like up until the 400th page or so, it was just the same cycle of action and inaction, really, that could have been condensed into a much smaller book. Wuthering Heights was one I’ve struggled with for years, and I just decided at the end of the month to read it and be done with it. The atmosphere was great, but I wasn’t expecting that level of emotional and physical violence and also why people consider it a love story. I’ve been in a nonfiction mood because I don’t really have to use my brain power to follow a linear story, and The Rise and Fall of Dinosaurs and Time Travel: A History were great science reads.

📚 bookshelf pick  |  📓 physical review copy  |  📱 digital review copy | ⌛️ library/borrowed | 💾 ebook  |  💞 reread

📚 Nooks & Crannies – Jessica Lawson (4/5 stars)
📚 The Breakthrough – Daphne du Maurier (3.5/5 stars)
📚 A Court of Wings and Ruin – Sarah J. Maas (3.5/5 stars)
📚 A Duke of Her Own – Eloisa James (2/5 stars)
⌛️ Flyaway – Kathleen Jennings (3/5 stars)
📚 Lady Bridget’s Diary – Maya Rodale (3/5 stars)
⌛️ The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs – Stephen Brusatte (4/5 stars)
⌛️ Time Travel: A History – James Gleick (4/5 stars)
📚 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte (3/5 stars)


ON THE HORIZON

I’m keeping this short and to the point because setting lofty TBR goals has never been one of my strong suits, but I really, really, need to read Real Life, I can’t resist rereading The Princess Diaries after seeing these new covers, and I want to start picking away at my neverending digital galley pile and Ruinsong is calling out to me the most.

📚 bookshelf pick  |  📓 physical review copy  |  📱 digital review copy | ⌛️ library/borrowed | 💾 ebook  |  💞 reread

📚 Real Life – Brandon Taylor
📚 The Princess Diaries – Meg Cabot
📱 Ruinsong – Julia Ember (thank you, Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR))


WHAT I ACQUIRED

I am putting myself on a book buying ban from like… now until the end of 2021, because as I was sorting through my shelves this week and weeding a few titles out, I have too many unread books. I will still make a few requests here and there to publishers and check out books from the library, but I have to stop accumulating so much stuff. The first three books in Sanderson’s The Stormlight Archive were on a really good deal, and I couldn’t pass them up. I’ve been holding off on starting this series, but I am also kind of in the mood for fantasy like this. Orbit Books had a great ebook sale over Black Friday weekend, so I picked up The Bone Shard Daughter, Nophek Gloss, and We Ride the Storm as they’re all books I’ve been anticipating reading! (And I also need to get back in the habit of reading things on my kindle/phone, so…) From Atria, I received Astrid Seeds All and To Love and to Loathe (I loved Waters’ debut! So I am excited for this one), and from Hachette, I received Culture Warlords. I’ve been following Talia Lavin on Twitter for a while now, and I enjoy her online presence and the work she’s done, so I’m curious to read her book now.

📚 bookshelf pick  |  📓 physical review copy  |  📱 digital review copy | ⌛️ library/borrowed | 💾 ebook  |  💞 reread

📚 The Way of Kings – Brandon Sanderson
📚 Words of Radiance – Brandon Sanderson
📚 Oathbringer – Brandon Sanderson
💾 The Bone Shard Daughter – Andrea Stewart
💾 Nophek Gloss – Essa Hansen
💾 We Ride the Storm – Devin Madson
📓 Astrid Sees All – Natalie Standiford (thank you, Atria Books!)
📓 Culture Warlords – Talia Lavin (thank you, Hachette Books!)
📓 To Love and to Loathe – Martha Waters (thank you, Atria Books!)


ON SCREEN

GAMING: I just hit 60 in Shadowlands on my main, and I think I’m going to give tanking a try with the new Death Knight I rolled on the Alliance side.

TV: I finished The Golden Girls, and I kind of don’t know what to watch next. I’m still keeping up with The Mandalorian, and I’m enjoying where that series is going!

MOVIES: Disney’s live-action Mulan was entertaining but it fell flat in a lot of places for me. I also rewatched Trainwreck because it’s one of those movies I watch to cheer myself up.


PERSONAL

Life has been busy with work, adjusting to new policies and enforcing them with customers, and just carrying on with life when it’s so… weird and all up in the air. I know it won’t immediately get better in 2021, but for the first time in a long time, I have hope.

WRAP UP: August 2020

Halfway through September is a good time to do an August wrap up, yes? Time is such a weird thing with the pandemic, and I’m also still struggling about how I want to do this blog, but the more I think about it, the more I just need to do what I want, when I want, and if there’s a week of posts every month, then that’s the case! I know I wanted to do some writing for blog posts and otherwise last week, but with how things lined up at work, I ended up working nine days in a row with little to no time to myself, so that threw me off. I want to try to do three or four posts a week, and if I can schedule/write out a post or two a night, I can keep things on track.

Lately with the weather here in Colorado getting colder, I find myself more interested in keeping up this blog (but who knows how long that enthusiasm will last??), but I have to keep reminding myself that I’m writing for me and really no one else, because I like looking back on what I’ve read and how I thought about the things I read. I think ultimately I’m struggling with social media and Instagram in particular, because while that’s easier in a sense, I don’t feel like I’m getting much out of it anymore. I know I like buying books and collecting books, but I need to actually read them too. I also am making plans to clear out my shelves, reorganize, and weed out everything so that I feel motivated to read what I haven’t read and get rid of what I know I won’t read any time soon. With the library and places to buy used books, I know that if I ever want to read what I’ve let go of I know there will be opportunities to read them again in the future.

I’m also in the process of planning out my 2021 book bullet journal and tying in a book thoughts journal to go with it. I read a lot of books I don’t end up reviewing for one reason or another, but I would like to keep a personal book journal to have a physical thing to refer to in the future if anything happens to the internet!

I haven’t made much progress on any of my challenges and have been reading what I’ve been drawn to, and in August, that was a lot of shorter, easier reads because August felt more stressful with more full days than other months.

In August, I read:

  • The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addison
  • Letter From Birmingham Jail, by Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • The A.I. Who Loved Me, by Alyssa Cole
  • The Binding, by Bridget Collins
  • The Duke’s Stolen Bride, by Sophie Jordan
  • Television Was a Baby Crawling Toward that Deathchamber, by Allen Ginsberg
  • Sisters of the Vast Black, by Lina Rather
  • The Times I Knew I Was Gay, by Eleanor Crewes
  • Sex and Vanity, by Kevin Kwan
  • The Scandal of It All, by Sophie Jordan

WRAP UP: June & July 2020

I can’t believe how fast the summer is flying by! I’m glad to have read as much as I have though, and I’m working on incorporating more works by non-white writers and am really excited to read some of the titles I bought in June and July. I have been struggling a little bit with my place on the internet and what I want to do with my blog/Instagram, and a lot of this came from the allegations coming to light in the SFF community. I had promoted some of those writers and now feel weird about having done so without being more aware. And then there was the whole terrible hosting of this years’ Hugos that reinforced our need to move forward and do better as a community. I know nobody is perfect, and no piece of writing is free from bias, but I know we can do better as writers and readers to promote a healthy perception that allows for growth and change.

Now onto the reading!

In June, I read:

  • Normal People, by Sally Rooney
  • The Glass Magician, by Caroline Stevermer
  • Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins
  • Midnight Robber, by Nalo Hopkinson
  • Where Dreams Descend, by Janella Angeles
  • Head Over Heels, by Hannah Orenstein
  • Witchmark, by C.L. Polk
  • Little Weirds, by Jenny Slate
  • Romancing the Duke, by Tessa Dare
  • Medieval English Lyrics, ed. Thomas G. Duncan

In July, I read:

  • How to Be an Antiracist,by Ibram X. Kendi
  • A Court of Mist and Fury, by Sarah J. Maas
  • Branwell, by Douglas A. Martin
  • The Penguin Book of Japanese Short Stories, ed. Jay Rubin
  • The Fire Next Time, by James Baldwin
  • On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, by Ocean Vuong
  • Mexican Gothic, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  • Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, vol. 1, by Naoko Takeuchi
  • March Sisters: On Life, Death, and Little Women, by Kate Bolick, Jenny Zhang, Carmen Maria Machado, and Jane Smiley
  • What Cats Want, by Dr. Yuki Hattori
  • The Echo Wife, by Sarah Gailey

Some of my favorite reads were Mexican Gothic, The Fire Next Time, Little Weirds, and Witchmark. I can’t stop thinking about Mexican Gothic and I’m going to be recommending this for a long time. I’m looking forward to reading Moreno-Garcia’s other/future work, and I have Gods of Jade and Shadow and Certain Dark Things on my kindle already! I haven’t really read anything from my personal challenges, and I’m looking at the calendar thinking there are only a few months left of the year, so I need to get on those!

What have you read in the last month that really stuck out with you?

WRAP UP: February & March 2020

I really dropped the ball in February and March, but with everything going on and a small uptick in hours at work tied up with literally everything else going on in the world, blogging didn’t feel like much of a priority. However, now that I am at home 99.9% of the time with lots of time on my hands, I’m making an effort to schedule some posts out and keep my blog and Instagram updated a little bit more. I also got Animal Crossing at the end of March and have been playing that quite a bit as well.

In February, I read:

  • The Contact Paradox, by Keith Cooper (4.5/5 stars)
  • An Illusion of Thieves, by Cate Glass (4/5 stars)
  • Show Them a Good Time, by Nicole Flattery (3/5 stars)
  • Mistress of the Ritz, by Melanie Benjamin (3/5 stars)
  • This Earl of Mine, by Kate Bateman (4/5 stars)
  • Upright Women Wanted, by Sarah Gailey (5/5 stars)
  • The Genius of Women, by Janice Kaplan (4/5 stars)
  • Bonds of Brass, by Emily Skrutskie (4.5/5 stars)

In March, I read:

  • Nottingham, by Nathan Makaryk (4/5 stars)
  • Tragedy, the Greeks, and Us, by Simon Critchley (5/5 stars)
  • How We Fight For Our Lives, by Saeed Jones (5/5 stars)
  • A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness (4/5 stars)
  • The Ten Thousand Doors of January, by Alix E. Harrow (5/5 stars)
  • A Study in Scarlet Women, by Sherry Thomas (4/5 stars)
  • The Glass Hotel, by Emily St. John Mandel (4.5/5 stars)

Overall, I was really happy with the reads I chose for the last two months, and I’m hoping April will be better! I’m carving out time each day to focus on reading, because schedules are still a little necessary.