Book Riot Read Harder: August

I’m doing the 2016 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge, and you should, too! (Click the link to see the challenge, and to download a PDF of the challenge list.)

book riot

To quote the article: “We encourage you to push yourself, to take advantage of this challenge as a way to explore topics or formats or genres that you otherwise wouldn’t try. But this isn’t a test. […] We like books because they allow us to see the world from a new perspective, and sometimes we all need help to even know which perspectives to try out.”

  • Read a book of historical fiction set before the 1900s.

Under a Painted Sky; Stacey Lee.

under a painted sky

This is historical fiction, and set in 1849.

Samantha dreams of becoming a musician and opening a conservatory. Annamae just wants to be free and united with her family. Together, these two girls disguise themselves as boys and head for the frontier, where they meet a group of cowboys who just might provide safety through bandit, snake, and law-infested lands. Or there might not be any safety to be found.

It’s tough not to admire “Sammy” and “Andy” as they struggle to adapt to life on horseback, riding and camping across cattle country. It’s also a little tough not to laugh at their attempts to be boys–which aren’t really the best, though they put a lot of effort into them. And that might just as well, because there’s not too much else to laugh at. Their situation is pretty grim, and their pasts full of hurt. The world, you’re reminded, is not kind or fair sometimes. But there’s also a bit of romance, and plenty of friendship, and lots of horses and mules and the wide open spaces that some people love (and some snakes.) These are quite the characters, and riding along with them is an adventure from start to finish.

  • Read a book about politics, in your country or another (fiction or nonfiction).

One Child; Mei Fong.

one child

This is nonfiction about China’s politics as they relate to the one child law.

The Communist Party adopted the one-child policy in 1980, planning that lower birth rates would improve the lives–and economic health–of their citizens. In 2015, they shifted it to two children, but the damage may have already been done. The author traveled for years, speaking to people affected by the policy, measuring its cost–an aging population, the single child supporting their parents, greatly decreased birth rates, a gender imbalance, unregistred children, and a booming business in fines. And she looks to the future, trying to track how the situation will develop as the years pass, while dealing with her own issues with fertility.

I already knew a little about this policy and its effects, but the detail woven into the personal stories told me a lot more. It explains a great deal about how the policy came to be in effect, and why it stayed in place so long, as well as the reasons why lifting the one child limit hasn’t resulted in very many more babies being born. The stories of parents are heart-rending, from people who lost their only child to disaster, to forced abortions and adoptions. Some benefits did come from the policy, Fong points out. In the end, we have no choice but to wait and see–to see if these changes can be compensated for, because, as the author points out, the parents of these single children will continue to grow older. That, at least, is inevitable.

 

 

Top Ten Tues: TBR Pile

Top Ten Tuesdays are hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, and feature lists related to all things bookish–characters, authors, titles, and favorites. They’re an excellent way to find new interesting books on a variety of topics, and to find bloggers that love the books you do.

Check out their blog for their top ten and lists of other bloggers who participate!

top ten tues

August 23: Ten Books That Have Been On Your Shelf (Or TBR) From Before You Started Blogging That You STILL Haven’t Read Yet (this is going to be sad considering how many of those I have unread six years later…)

Only a few of these are older than my blog, but here are some of the books that have been on my list for the longest.

Goodreads TBR List

thorn emberlain2

1. The Thorn of Emberlain; Scott Lynch. (2013) Patiently awaiting publication.

2. Ebon; Robin McKinley (2012) This book isn’t even out yet.

clockwork lies

3. Clockwork Lies; Dru Paliasotti. Not sure why this one has been waiting so long, other than I have to get it through inter-library loan.

4. The Aztlanian; Brandon Sanderson (2013) And one more not yet published book.

Library Wish List

white cat

5. White Cat; Holly Black (2014) All these are series I haven’t started yet, and are waiting for me to make progress on my ‘partially completed series’ list first.

bangkok 8

6. Bangkok 8; John Burdett. (2014)

fledgling

7. Fledgling; Sharon Lee. (2013)

mistborn

8. Mistborn; Brandon Sanderson. (2013)

TBR Shelf

beautiful ashes

9. The Beautiful Ashes; Jeanine Frost. (2014) I was waiting for the next book in the series, so I could read them together, then it got delayed.

strong rain falling

10. Strong Rain Falling; Jon Land. (2014) I got the latest book in a series I hadn’t even started, signed. It’s waiting for me to catch up, and I’m almost there.

Weekend Writing Warriors: 8/20

This 8-10 sentence blog hop is hosted by The Weekend Writing Warriors. (Click the link for the list of participants, or rules if you want to join!)

This is a WIP, NaNoWriMo 2015, Forest Wed. Adann and Kaie (who was engaged), are married as symbols of their gods, and 2 weeks into their marriage, the gods’ blessing and the town are suffering, so they are sent on a hunting trip with two experienced hunters (Rui and Corliss). On the third day, Kaie and Adann  trap a kien (snake and anteater monster), and are trying to kill it.

weekend_writing_warriorsveteransbadge

Adann slung shot after shot, aiming for the eye facing her, and on her third try, she hit her target.

Roaring, the kien lunged at Kaie, though with less accuracy, the swipe of its wicked claws notably to the side.

Adann would have liked to take out its other eye, but she didn’t think she had the time to maneuver around it. She aimed the largest stone she could at the joint where its leg met body, hoping to damage the lightning agility they were so dangerous for.

The stone hit, and the monster shrieked. Light glinted on the green-brown of the scales dotted between the kien’s fur, as it whipped around its long snout, baring its fangs at her.

Pressing forward, she jabbed at the monster with her spear, trying to keep the monster in the trap, or offer Kaie a shot at a killing blow.

This close, she could smell the monster, a mix of the dry, sharp smell of snakes, and the musky odor of the anteater. It hissed at her, lunging again, snapping its jaws. Adann jumped back, avoiding those potentially deadly fangs, and jabbing again with her spear.

*    *    *

Beikife is a small town in something like the Amazon rain forest, protected by a pair of married gods. The gods are represented by human avatars, two young people chosen and married by divine power. The strength of the marriage represents the bond between the gods’ blessing, so the new forest wed must find a way to connect to each other, or the crops will fail, the rivers will flood, and the cursed monsters that live in the forest will claim many lives.

Invulnerability of Rain Boots

It’s been raining for days where I live…

Image from Wikimedia by Erikamthompson

Image from Wikimedia by Erikamthompson

Invulnerability of Rain Boots

Landmine puddles sprawl across sidewalk and asphalt

stirred up silt making equal

an inch

or a foot of rainwater, to sudden sodden surprise

water seeping slowly into cloth or leather

dampening socks and spirits alike

but the rubbery stomp

of rain boots slide through shallow and deep alike

parting the waters graceful as a ship’s prow

indifferent

contained

with warm and dry soles sheltered inside

 

Top Ten Tues: Setting

Top Ten Tuesdays are hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, and feature lists related to all things bookish–characters, authors, titles, and favorites. They’re an excellent way to find new interesting books on a variety of topics, and to find bloggers that love the books you do.

Check out their blog for their top ten and lists of other bloggers who participate!

toptentuesday3

August 16: Top Ten Books With X Setting (top ten books set near the beach, top ten book set in boarding school, top ten books set in England, etc)

I chose London, magical or otherwise.

midnight riot

1. Midnight Riot; Ben Aaronovitch.

paddington

2. A Bear Called Paddington; Michael Bond.

oliver twist

3. Oliver Twist; Charles Dickens.

adventures sherlock holmes

4. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes; Arthur Conan Doyle.

cuckoos calling

5. Cuckoo’s Calling; Robert Gailbraith.

neverwhere

6. Neverwhere; Neil Gaiman.

frederica

7. Frederica; Georgette Heyer.

un lun dun

8. Un Lun Dun; China Mieville.

Jekyll and Hyde

9. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; Robert Lois Stevenson.

dorian gray

10. The Picture of Dorian Gray; Oscar Wilde.

 

 

Weekend Writing Warriors: 8/13

This 8-10 sentence blog hop is hosted by The Weekend Writing Warriors. (Click the link for the list of participants, or rules if you want to join!)

This is a WIP, NaNoWriMo 2015, Forest Wed. Adann and Kaie (who was engaged), are married as symbols of their gods, and 2 weeks into their marriage, the gods’ blessing and the town are suffering, so they are sent on a hunting trip with two experienced hunters (Rui and Corliss). On the third day, Kaie and Adann  climb a tree and talk about their future.

weekend_writing_warriorsveteransbadge

 

Below them, something scream in rage and pain.

The traps were designed, if possible, to kill the animal they trapped, but if they failed, it was the hunter’s task to bring swift mercy. As quickly as they could, they scrambled down the branches, helping each other as they went, until they both stood on solid ground.

“Over there, right?” Kaie asked, pointing.

Adann nodded, and they raced towards the source of the scream, Kaie’s longer legs outpacing her. She skidded around the last corner of the trail to find Kaie stabbing at a kien, a monster that combined a snake and an anteater, which had one of its hind legs trapped in the noose.

Wincing at their terrible luck, Adann noticed that the kien’s sharp claws had already damaged the reinforced leather of the snare. Soon enough, it would break free, and they’d have an even worse fight on their hands.

The kien screamed again, showing off its fangs. Liquid beaded off the curved daggers, catching the light.

*    *    *

Beikife is a small town in something like the Amazon rain forest, protected by a pair of married gods. The gods are represented by human avatars, two young people chosen and married by divine power. The strength of the marriage represents the bond between the gods’ blessing, so the new forest wed must find a way to connect to each other, or the crops will fail, the rivers will flood, and the cursed monsters that live in the forest will claim many lives.

Little Free Library: Verb Garden

I love finding Little Free Libraries wherever I go. They’re in more places than you might think, and it’s so wonderful to feel like a part of a bibliophile community. Take a book, leave a book– we all share our love of words.

lfl austin verbs

Someone with a green thumb got creative with the “verb garden.” So beautiful! This is one of the more special libraries in the way of decoration outside of the library itself.

lfl austin metal

This white one is a bit more simple, but I like the banner–and the divided shelves you can just see inside. Have to have plenty of book room!

lfl austin red door

A splash of red for color on this library’s door. It gets the job done–helps people spot the LFL while out walking, etc.

Do you have any Little Free Libraries near you?

Top Ten Tues: Rewind

Top Ten Tuesdays are hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, and feature lists related to all things bookish–characters, authors, titles, and favorites. They’re an excellent way to find new interesting books on a variety of topics, and to find bloggers that love the books you do.

Check out their blog for their top ten and lists of other bloggers who participate!

toptentuesbookcase

August 9: Top Ten Tuesday REWIND — go back and do a topic you missed over the years or recently or a topic you really want to revisit — I’ve made a handy spreadsheet to help (currently in the process of finishing it)

I chose Top Ten OCD Bookish Habits (from 7/10/12).

alpha (2)

 

1. Alphabetical. My books are shelved alphabetical by author’s last name, and in chronological order of each series.

bookmark

2. Bookmarks. Though I’ve collected far more bookmarks than I really need, I keep them organized and rotate the ones I use.

3. Holds. I check my library’s weekly acquisitions email as soon as possible, scanning through my favorite genres to be the first (or close) on the popular books, often hitting the hold limit.

calendar

4. Library Books. Due dates are written on a calendar and checked off when the book is returned, and books are kept in order from oldest to newest. Helps prevent late fees!

5. Order. If I get a book out of order, I’ll check out another and read them both, or return it. I never read out of order on purpose.

6. Re-reads. If I re-read a series, I always start from the first and read all the way to the most current. If I’m missing part of a series, no re-reading happens.

7. TBR list culling. I have no self-control when it comes to adding books to my digital TBR list. So I balance that out by going through the list every several months, and removing any titles I’m not still interested in reading.

tbr pile aug 16

8. TBR pile order. My TBR pile (the physical stack on my shelves) is kept in the exact order I got the books in, and do my best to read from oldest to newest. Unless I get a really good new book. I also try to make it fit in one pile, with mixed results.

window

9. Window Shopping. While in a bookstore/ at a library I will look up books on Goodreads and add them to my TBR list, but if I have less time, I just take a picture of the cover for later.

10. Wish lists. My library allows you to create digital wish lists of books to put on hold. I usually have between 3 to 5 of them at a time.

Weekend Writing Warriors: 8/6

This 8-10 sentence blog hop is hosted by The Weekend Writing Warriors. (Click the link for the list of participants, or rules if you want to join!)

This is a WIP, NaNoWriMo 2015, Forest Wed. Adann and Kaie (who was engaged), are married as symbols of their gods, and 2 weeks into their marriage, the gods’ blessing and the town are suffering, so they are sent on a hunting trip with two experienced hunters (Rui and Corliss). On the third day, Kaie and Adann  climb a tree and talk–Adann’s last line is that the hunters only need to check on them tree times a day or so.

weekend_writing_warriorsveteransbadge

 

“They’re not very good teachers, are they?” Kaie asked.

“I don’t think they’re here to teach us–right now they’re worried about one thing.”

“Me.” He sounded so hopeless, Adann’s eyes stung with tears.

She blinked them away, keeping her gaze trained on the treetops, worried that if she turned toward him, she might start crying. “Not you, us.  This is a two person problem, and it must be a two person solution.”

“I…” He fell silent for a long time,and she waited, because he seemed to be thinking.

“You’re right,” he said, finally, and nothing more for a long time.

*    *    *

Beikife is a small town in something like the Amazon rain forest, protected by a pair of married gods. The gods are represented by human avatars, two young people chosen and married by divine power. The strength of the marriage represents the bond between the gods’ blessing, so the new forest wed must find a way to connect to each other, or the crops will fail, the rivers will flood, and the cursed monsters that live in the forest will claim many lives.

Book Review: Secret Loves of Geek Girls

I got this book from a Kickstarter, but it’s being released worldwide by Dark Horse in October 2016. So if it sounds like your geeky cup of tea, keep an eye out for it! The new version will have a different cover, foreword, and some more stories, too.

secret loves of geek girls

This is a collection, so I liked some stories more than others, but none of them really fell flat for me. And I think the reason for that is this book is really inclusive–both in sexuality and identity of the writers/characters, and in the sense of geekiness. There is, as you likely know if you are a geek, many different ways to be a geek. What you love can vary widely, and how you express that love as well.

And that’s what makes my geeky heart happy. Feeling connected to people, not just through what we like, but how we feel. Sometimes alone, sometimes part of a group. But always enthusiastic about something–people use the term as a negative, to describe the socially inept and outcast–and sometimes that’s true, but it isn’t the whole truth. We love learning, at least learning about the things we love. We can quote most of a movie, or cite all the minor characters, or draw them, or whatever.

But we’re smart and we know our stuff, and we’re proud of that.

The loves in this book are sometimes fictional, and other times based in reality–from first crushes to long-term relationships. Dating, ships, fanfiction, writing, acting, drawing… pretty much everything that can be, is in these pages. At turns it’s funny, sweet, and tragic–but overall has a warm feeling of friendship and love.

There are short stories and longer stories and comics, and illustrations scattered throughout in various art styles. The whole thing is quite nice to look at, with plenty of color and a nice mix of text to images. And I’m sure the reprint will be even better.