Thursday, May 22, 2014

Bout of Books 10.0 Wrap Up

Alright, I was originally planning on doing a video for this, but due to life being entirely insane. A blog post seemed to be appropriate. These books will also be covered in my May Wrap Up video, though. So keep an eye out for that!

So Bout of Books 10.0, which went from May 12th to May 18th, was a crazy week for me. I had a great start and I actually kept up with my goal of a book a day for the first few days. As the week went on, unexpected things came up, and I certainly did not reach that goal. (Or the goal of staying off Tumblr I might add.) However, I did get a pretty good amount read and my days went as follows.

Monday kicked off with Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger, book 1 in the Finishing School series, which happened to be my first real steam punk novel. (I've read short stories in the past, but never full length novels.) I didn't even know it was steam punk when I picked the book up! It took me a good hundred pages or so to really get into this book, but when I got into it I got into it. I really flew through this book and fell in love with Carriger's writing and this series and steampunk. Needless to say, I had a great first day of reading bringing me in with 307 pages. I may have gone to the library and picked up her entire Parasol Protectorate series, which is her adult steam punk series. Total Page Count: 307

Tuesday, if possible, was even better than Monday - because Rebel by Amy Tintera was released. This is the 2nd and final book in Tintera's Reboot series. I read the first novel, Reboot, last month and absolutely loved it, but I was very cautious about what would happen in the second novel. I was worried about the direction Tintera would take the novel and if it would be cliche or entirely ridiculous or just fall off plot-wise. It did none of these things. It did everything right. I ended up giving this book the my favorite book of 2014 so far award. It was that awesome. The action started on page 1 and didn't end until the book did. I'm a little sad that this series is only a duology, but I'm also very satisfied with the series as a whole. 352 pages. Total Page Count: 659

Wednesday was school reading day. I had to diverge from my original TBR to read a book for my literature class - Girls, Visions and Everything by Sarah Schulman. As per usual, I enjoyed the book enough for it not to feel like homework, but I didn't find myself jumping at the book dying to know what happened next. This is pretty common for a literature class reading though, because I'm generally focused on analyzing and all that fancy schmancy stuff. As it wasn't a long book, it took very little time to read, but it remained the only thing I read that day. 178 pages. Total Page Count: 837

Thursday I didn't have a whole lot of time to sit down and open a book, but I had a great amount of time to finish up listening to Life, the Universe, and Everything by Douglas Adams on audiobook. I was about halfway through this book already, but I had a good long time to listen throughout the day. I must admit, though, as a serial TV watcher/reader multitasker, I find it really weird to listen to a book. I have already read this book, and the entire series, multiple times, but obviously I love it and enjoyed Martin Freeman reading me this series just as much, if not more. Since this is an audiobook, I can't do exact pages, but my physical edition of this is 200 pages long and I went through half of the audiobook, so I'm just going to tack 100 pages onto my page count. Very official. Total Page Count: 937

Friday, Saturday and Sunday is when life got very hectic and I only got through one book over the weekend. It wasn't on my original TBR, but it goes with the book I read at the very start of the week. As I mentioned, I went to the library and picked up a bunch of Gail Carriger books, including the second in the Finishing School series, Curtsies and Conspiracies. I immediately got into this one, and now I'm left saddened that this is the last one currently published in the series. This will always be known as the Bout of Books I found steam punk and absolutely fell in love with it. I'm way to excited to read Parasol Protectorate and anything else I can get my hands on. If there was any doubt I was still in a reading slump, steam punk has recovered me from that. Total Page Count: 1247

For some crazy reason, I don't actually feel like I read a ton over this Bout of Books, but looking back, I only missed 2 days of my goal for finishing a book a day. I even caught up to my 100 books in a year Goodreads challenge which was a kind of unspoken goal for this week. Definitely my favorite and most memorable Bout of Books so far. Definitely looking forward to the next one!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Red: The Next Generation of American Writers - Teenage Girls - On What Fires Up Their Lives Today

Amy Goldwasser

Genre: Non Fiction, Essays, Women's Studies
Publication Date: 8th November 2007
Number of Pages: 288
Source: Library - Want to Purchase
My Rating: 

In this eye-opening collection, nearly sixty teenage girls from across the country speak out, writing about everything from post-Katrina New Orleans to Johnny Depp; from learning to rock climb to starting a rock band; from the loneliness of losing a best friend to the loathing or pride they feel about their bodies. Ranging in age from 13 to 19, and hailing from Park Avenue to rural Nevada, Georgia to Hawaii, the girls in RED-whose essays were selected from more than 800 contributions-represent a diverse spectrum of socioeconomic, political, racial, and religious backgrounds, creating a rich portrait of life as a teen girl in America today. (Goodreads)

As a book with a total of 53 essays, it'd be ridiculous to say I would give 5 golden stars to every essay in this book. Red, as a whole, however, is another story. This is a honest, down-to-earth (and sometimes not so much) essay collection from real teenage girls from all sides of life. I couldn't necessarily relate to every single story in this book so well I was sitting there going "Yes! That is me!" But the internal struggles and hopes and desires to succeed that shine from all of these essays really made that connection. It also helped me understand lives from other perspectives just a little bit better.

I found I was surprised at times that I was being insanely inspired at 1 in the morning by an essay written by a 13 year old girl titled "Ms. President". I was crying alongside a victim of Hurricane Katrina and her loss of more than just possessions ("New City"). I wanted to reach through the pages and hug almost all of these young women and tell them they aren't the only one. But that's kind of the purpose of this book. Or at least much of what I took away from it. The desire to do good, to help others, to succeed, to just be happy, admiration of others, they are all things that many, if not all, of us feel.

Would I recommend this book to everyone? No. I can't really see my father picking up this book and being as inspired by this book as a fifteen year old high school girl would be.

But I still come away with that feeling that this book gets a golden five stars. The amount of diversity and raw emotion and stories this book holds is just amazing. One quote in one of the final essays, "New City", really summed up this book for me and I'll leave you with that:

"You cannot hide forever, though you may try. I have heard the stories you tell. You can go out into the world and show others. They will feel less alone because of you, they will feel understood, unburdened. But to share with them you must wear shoes. You must go out and it will be harder. You must face jealousy and sometimes rage and desire and love, which can hurt most of all because of what can be taken away."

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Bout of Books 10

Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 12th and runs through Sunday, May 18th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 10 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

It's that time of year again and that time of year is the Bout of Books read-a-thon 10.0! It's happening from ther 12th to the 18th of May (which also happens to be the week before my birthday). Thankfully that reading slump I've been in seems to have gone away so I have high hopes for this read-a-thon. I'd like to get through about a book a day, but we'll see where that goes.

At some point in a week, or maybe the day right before, I'll upload a video for my official TBR, but until then. This is me saying. Yes. I will be participating in May Bout of Books.

Let me know in the comments if you are too!