September is Finally Over

Books read in September: 7
Books started but not completed in September: 10
Books-I-Own completed in September: 3

Oh my GOD, September.

This month was not good for my reading. Part of it was circumstantial: The first three books I read this month were on planes, and therefore read very quickly; otherwise, everything took much longer for me to read, either because I was working on other things (like that initial #blogathon weekend where I made it through writing three posts here), or because I…couldn’t. There were nights I scrolled through Twitter for hours, or watched hours of tv. There were days I read a few dozen pages of multiple books and then just went to bed. I tried to do #diverseathon. I “succeeded”, but not nearly to the extent that I’d planned.

25256386I don’t know what kind of overwhelm I’m going through this month. Part of it, I imagine, has to do with the intensity of the few books I am making it through. Out of Darkness, for instance, is one of those books that is not difficult to read, but is tragic and terrible in its beauty. I only took three or four days to read this, but I didn’t pick up another book for two days after I was done. A whole weekend, gone.

I willingly cleaned the bathroom instead of reading that Saturday. I went at the tub with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser with one hand and focused on a menial task in the silence, not even an audiobook or Hamilton keeping me company.

Reading such a dark, hopeless book right after finishing Marie Lu’s The Rose Society, the second book in a dark fantasy trilogy that, as many second books do, left me in a place of darkness and uncertainty, was probably not the best idea. But when someone tells you to read it immediately (and you got it from the library and need to give it back soon after) you read it, reset be damned.

Yes, I usually reset after reading something dark and unsettling. It can be the short version of my longer reset post-Out of Darkness with a little tv, a little writing, or some mindless SM time. Or it can be a couple days reading an adorable story with a guaranteed HEA and a promise of witty barbs and clever quips. I made the mistake of not doing that and suffering severe book hangover for the next week.

28450966I did end the month on a happy note, though. Liz Braswell’s As Old As Time, the third book in her Twisted Tales series finally showed up on my holds list on Friday, and I read the whole thing on Saturday. I was not disappointed; in fact, I think even without my much closer connection to Beauty and the Beast, I was more satisfied with the way this book played out than A Whole New World, the first in the series. I still haven’t gotten around to Once Upon A Dream…I have an ARC, which I grabbed after getting crosseyed trying to make it through the formatting issues with the eARC, but I wasn’t drawn in the way I was with the other two. And now…I don’t know if anything she writes can top As Old As Time.

And Braswell even got better at showing the development of love, as opposed to AWNW in which Aladdin and Jasmine have three conversations and then magically he’ll do anything for her…which…um…actually…

Hey, I guess that’s technically canon. Shoot, that’s actually better than the development of their relationship in the movie, founded on three conversations throughout.

I dunno.

27214426This last week has involved a lot of stops and starts, including Behrouz Gets Lucky, which has become my Long Read. It’s a very intense read, not just because of all the very dirty sex but because the language is dense and the chapters are long. I should be able to finish it in another few sittings or so, which is amazing considering how small the book looks from the outside.

But for now, I’m working my way into October with The Soldier’s Scoundrel, a book that will not mark off any checks on any of my reading challenges, but will do me a hell of good.

To Sum Up:

Books Completed:

Tell Me Something Good by Jamie Wesley
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Love On My Mind by Tracey Livesay
The Rose Society by Marie Lu
Out Of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez
As Old As Time by Liz Braswell
Batgirl, Volume 3 by Cameron Stewart et al
The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

Books Carried into October:

Behrouz Gets Lucky by Avery Cassell
Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich
When The Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore
A Change Of Heart by Sonali Dev
Beethoven’s Hair by Russell Martin
The Secret Sky by Atia Abawi
The Tiger Claw by Shauna Singh Baldwin
The Soldier’s Scoundrel by Cat Sebastian

Books Set Aside:

Into White by Randi Pink
DC Trip by Sara Benincasa

We’ll see what happens as I move into October. I’m trying to read more backlist and fewer of the ARCs that are strewn about my house, but if the books from this year are the happier ones in my unread collection, those are the ones that will be read.

Or maybe I’ll just read the rest of the Wallbanger books. I finally got the second one, which was all that was holding me back.

 

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Wrap-up: My Second Dewey’s 24-hour Readathon

My alarm went off at 4:30 on Saturday morning, and to no one’s bigger surprise than mine, I was wide awake. I put on comfy clothes, got my stack together, grabbed my snacks and store-bought Starbucks drink thingy, and got settled on the couch. Hubs was still asleep, obvi, so I didn’t put on any music or turn on the tv for reading company. It was just me, one lamp, and the darkness. I did some tweeting and instagramming, and then 5:00 hit.

[stack]

It was time to read.

I’d fallen asleep Friday night trying to finish Cecilia Ahern’s Flawed, which I’d been iffy about earlier in the week and all about by Friday night. So that was my first readathon completion.

If there was one thing I learned from the last Dewey’s, it was that while reading comics is a great idea in theory, it’s super mentally exhausting. My brain can only intake so much in a 24 hour period. BUT! I had some comics that I wanted to get through, so the plan was to alternate between comics and prose.

I started reading Gene Yuen Lang et. al.’s new Superman trade right before sunrise. It’s no surprise that the art was absolutely perfect; but the current DC universe outside of the connected Batverse is…odd. I don’t read continuously, so I spent most of my reading just learning what the characters were like in this iteration. Call me a purist, which is weird because I love non-canon more than the average person, but it feels really weird to read about a Clark/Superman and Lois who are actively not together, and are perfectly fine with that. A lot happened, but I didn’t get a lot out of it. I did however make a discovery about my own internal voice:

Just me? I dunno. I watched the animated series well into my teens, and he has a very distinct voice.

Back to prose.

Before this weekend, I had never read any Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I have been vaguely interested, but was intrigued when I read the blurb for Memories of My Melancholy Whores somewhere, and had been keeping my eye out for a copy, which I found a couple months ago at Bookmans, my favorite local chain ever. It’s really short and straight fiction, so I figured I could get through it pretty quickly. I did, for the first 94 pages… and then…the mailman woke me up.

If having a dystopian society, Superman, and a weird old man in my head when falling asleep can do one thing, it’s give you weird dreams. I won’t go into detail, but I’m sort of sad I woke up when I did, because now if I find myself being chased around a never-ending train in an underground tunnel (also never-ending, I think?) I don’t know how I’ll win.

I got right back into it after some phone-scrolling and more fake latte drink, and man. Garcia Marquez is weird. And this particular book doesn’t even have magical realism. But the writing is gorgeous, even in translation, so maybe I’ll try something longer.

In need of something completely different, I moved on to We Are Robin.

God. Damn.

That was definitely the highlight of my comics reading this year. I didn’t know any of these people, but I was immediately emotionally involved in their story. This diverse group of young people with diverse problems, different backgrounds, attitudes, and strengths. I will probably collect this one.

I had to take a break three issues into We Are Robin to go to Mayhem rehearsal, which was all kinds of great. But that’s another story for another day. I will mention, however, that I stopped for a giant cold brew at Starbucks, and my Starbucks is apparently one of the ones piloting beer and wine + small plates? It’s weird, but we’ll see how it goes.

Back from rehearsal with soda and more snacks, I went back to the Robins, who did not disappoint in their final issues. I was just sad that there wasn’t more.

After I was done with that, it was time for the central focus of the night: Hamilton: The Revolution. Being the complete libretto of the Broadway Musical, with a true account of its creation, and concise remarks on hip-hop, the power of stories, and the New America  (yes, that is the full title of the book. The chapter titles are equally wonderful and hilarious). Jeremy McCarter’s skillful essay writing contrasted perfectly with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s annotated libretto, and both were equally effective at making me severely emotional.

Photos are everywhere, and they include production photos, backstage candids, those amazing portraits you might have seen on Facebook and Twitter, and all kinds of other things. As someone who has been and will continue to be unable to see the stage play in its current form, these photos not only expanded my experience of reading the book, but also will continue to influence my listening to the cast recording. I’m listening to it as I write, actually. Right now. There is one particular photo of Anthony Ramos as Philip Hamilton pointing his pistol in the air, and he just looks so young and afraid; I won’t be able to forget that. (Nor will I be able to forget the next several pages, covering the next few songs. The essay before “It’s Quiet Uptown” was incredibly moving; I couldn’t continue immediately. Yes, I cried. That was not the first time while reading, and it wasn’t the last. But I laughed too, sometimes just as hysterically, so we’re good.)

I took a break around 9 because I realized I hadn’t had any real food all day, and I didn’t want to get anything on my book.

I finished Hamilton around 2, and was totally emotionally wrecked. But I wanted to continue with the readathon, so after a bit of reflection, writing my reviews on Instagram, Litsy and Goodreads, I wondered what I might be able to handle reading.

I started out with Virgin, since I had added it to the original stack as fun prose. I wasn’t digging it, so I sort of did some page hopping, and set it aside. I really wanted to do just prose, so I didn’t try Lumberjanes (also, since it was already 2AM, I didn’t think I had capacity for reading visually). This is the third readathon (first Dewey’s, then 24in48) in which I have added Lumberjanes to my stack and then not gotten to it. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Instead I broke out the iPad and scrolled until I found something that looked fun.

I started reading about a girl who somehow ended up on a desert island with five celebrities, and then, once again, I woke up. I’d fallen asleep on the couch, and it was almost five. I rolled myself to bed and got some real sleep.

THE END.

Numbers:
Books completed: 5
My Own Damn Books: 3 (yay!)

RMODB: #24in48

While in the process of joining reading challenges and just being bookish on twitter, I came across the 24 in 48 readathon, which I’d read about last year but had been unable to join. For this readathon, which is put on multiple times a year, participants make an attempt to read for 24 hours out of a 48 hour timeframe. They can do it however they wish; audiobooks, in small batches between midnight and midnight, or for one giant long reading session. I did something in-between: I set a few goals for myself, and then had breaks once I reached them on both days.

Goal Number One: Get the library books out of the way!

I have been trying to be more discerning in which books I actually put on hold as opposed to just adding them to my “for later” shelf on the library website. But the damn things keep showing up, and I have to at least check them out; and if I’m going to check them out then I might as well read them.  And I really wanted to read everything I had checked out. So, best to get those out of the way first!

I’d started reading Gail Carriger’s Manners & Mutiny earlier this week, so my first benchmark was to finish reading that. It was the final book in the series and super satisfying, so I had to take a mini break to recover before I moved on to Star Wars: Before the Awakening. That was a quick, easy read, but I had made the mistake of putting on the movie Across the Universe while I was reading, because it had been too quiet in the house after hubs left for work. But I’d forgotten how strange that movie was, and began to get easily distracted. It was over by the time I got around to reading Suffrajitsu, but I just wasn’t in the right mindset for a graphic novel—interesting, considering the last readathon I did was almost completely comics—and I didn’t enjoy it as much as I might have some other time.

But Suffrajitsu had been the last of my library books, so I’d hit that mark with plenty of time left in the evening!

And it was around this time that I broke to eat and plot my next move:

Goal Number Two: #CleanYourReader

Since it had already been a goal of mine to get through my Nook books this year, I saw no harm in joining the Clean Your Reader reading challenge for the first quarter of the year. With that in mind, I made one Nook book my second readathon goal. I still hadn’t made much progress in Masque of the Red Death, so that made for an easy choice. And it was gripping enough that I didn’t pay much attention to the sportsball that was on my tv during hubs’ split-shift waiting period.

And then it was time for him to leave and I wanted to make sure there would be noise (because I am particularly suspicious of the nighttime without sound). So I did what any discerning person of the book would do: I put on Pride & Prejudice. I’d started out with the 2005 movie version because I was lazy and it was on Netflix. But the changes in dialogue for pacing’s sake were more distracting than anything else, so I ended up putting on the DVD of the 1995 BBC/A&E version. AKA, the Essential Pride & Prejudice. Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle, my first OTP.

Sorry…distracted.

Masque of the Red Death turned out not to be a standalone as I’d expected it to be, but it ended in a good spot and I did not end up going in search of the next book at midnight. So that was good. It was just as compelling as it had started out to be, but I feel no need to acquire the others just yet.

Day Two was a late start. I woke up pretty early but was feeling some indecision. I posted a photo of my to-read corner in distress. What was I to read?  A friend had a solution:

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That turned out to be Daughter of Gods and Shadows, a book I definitely bought for its cover several months ago. Thankfully, it lived up to expectations.

When I finished that, I made another expedition to the to-read corner and pulled out a couple of things for the home stretch. The first was Missed Connections, which is a quick, adorable read, and then In It to Win It, a baseball player/sportscaster second-chance romance I bought at the Dreamers’ Tent at the Tucson Festival of Books in March of 2015. That one was a little more dense than I’d expected, so it carried me right on through to the end.

All in all, I had a successful readathon. I read a few of my Own Damn Books; I got all of my library books read for return on Tuesday, and I read cross-format, which is not always something I remember to do (even though I have a million books in both formats). I hope I am able to participate in the next one, if it is on another three-day weekend.

Cause now, I have tomorrow to do all the stuff I didn’t do this weekend. Uy.