August ’18 Reading Recap

All right, here’s my last back-dated reading recap.

Reminder for everyone to read Martha Wells immediately.

Rereads this month were all of the Ilona Andrews and all of the audiobooks.

Fiction:

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare (2/5 stars)

Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews (4/5 stars)

Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews (4/5 stars)

Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews (4/5 stars)

Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews (5/5 stars)

Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews (3/5 stars)

Squirrel Meets World by Shannon Hale (4/5 stars)

Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly (3/5 stars)

Artificial Condition by Martha Wells (5/5 stars)

Star Wars: Bloodline by Claudia Gray (2/5 stars)

Witchmark by C.L. Polk (4/5 stars)

Running With Lions by Julian Winters (no rating)

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley (4/5 stars)

Last Shot by Daniel Jose Older (2/5 stars)

Graphic Novels:

Poe Dameron: Legend Found by Charles Soule (2/5 stars)

Legend of Korra: Turf Wars Part Two by Michael Dante DiMartino (3/5 stars)

Nightschool Vol. 1 by Svetlana Chmakova (5/5 stars)

Han Solo by Marjorie M. Liu (5/5 stars)

Hawkeye: Kate Bishop: Masks by Kelly Thompson (5/5 stars)

Hawkeye Kate Bishop: Family Reunion by Kelly Thompson (4/5 stars)

Star Wars: The Screaming Citadel by Kieron Gillen (4/5 stars)

Real Friends by Shannon Hale (4/5 stars)

Fruits Basket: Another Vol. 1 by Natsuki Takaya (4/5 stars)

DC Bombshells: Allies by Marguerite Bennett (4/5 stars)

DC Bombshells: Uprising by Marguerite Bennett (4/5 stars)

The Broken Vow by Scott Westerfeld (5/5 stars)

Nonfiction:

Wallflower at the Orgy by Nora Ephron (3/5 stars)

Audiobooks:

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater (4/5 stars)

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell (3/5 stars)

Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner (4/5 stars)

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July ’18 Reading Recap

I’m still catching up on these monthly reading recaps. I was trying to finish off some series and trilogies I started a long time ago, with some success. Rereads were In Other Lands, Timekeeper, and Chainbreaker.

 

Fiction:

Perfect Lies by Kiersten White (3/5 stars)

True Letters From a Fictional Life by Kenneth Logan (3/5 stars)

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi (1/5 stars)

History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera (4/5 stars)

Bright We Burn by Kiersten White (5/5 stars)

The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa (3/5 stars)

Dragon and Liberator by Timothy Zahn (4/5 stars)

How to Seize a Dragon’s Jewel by Cressida Cowell (5/5 stars)

The Fourth Wish by Lindsey Ribar (1/5 stars)

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi (4/5 stars)

The Aspern Papers, The Beast in the Jungle, and The Jolly Corner by Henry James (5/5 stars)

Little Man, Little Man by James Baldwin (5/5 stars)

Rebel by Amy Tintera (3/5 stars)

How to Betray a Dragon’s Hero by Cressida Cowell (4/5 stars)

How to Fight a Dragon’s Fury by Cressida Cowell (4/5 stars)

Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake (3/5 stars)

Thrawn: Alliances by Timothy Zahn (5/5 stars)

Graphic Novels:

Lumberjanes: Stone Cold by Shannon Watters (3/5 stars)

Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet Vol. 3 by Ta-Nehisi Coates (4/5 stars)

Black Panther: Avengers of the New World Part 1 by Ta-Nehisi Coates (4/5 stars)

Black Panther: Avengers of the New World Part 2 by Ta-Nehisi Coates (5/5 stars)

DC Bombshells: Enlisted by Marguerite Bennett (4/5 stars)

The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars Part One by Michael Dante DiMartino (3/5 stars)

Spinning by Tillie Walden (4/5 stars)

Nonfiction:

The Portland Black Panthers by Lucas N. Burke (4/5 stars)

The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi by Phil Sztozak (4/5 stars)

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (5/5 stars)

Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown (5/5 stars)

The Art of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story by Josh Kushins (5/5 stars)

Really Old Stuff:

Electra and The Phoenician Women by Euripides (4/5 stars)

Audiobooks:

In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan (5/5 stars)

Penric’s Mission by Lois McMaster Bujold (4/5 stars)

Mira’s Last Dance by Lois McMaster Bujold (3/5 stars)

Timekeeper by Tara Sim (4/5 stars)

Chainbreaker by Tara Sim (4/5 stars)

 

 

June ’18 Reading Recap

It’s been months since I’ve blogged, but I do want to catch up on my reading recaps in case I want to look back at them later.

Rereads were The Return of the King, The Do-Over, and The Song of Achilles.

Fiction:

Point of Sighs by Melissa Scott (5/5 stars)

Silver Bullet by Melissa Scott and Jo Graham (4/5 stars)

Windraker by Melissa Scott and Jo Graham (4/5 stars)

Charlotte Sometimes by Penelope Farmer (4/5 stars)

Forces of Destiny: Daring Adventures Vol. 2 by Emma Carlson Berne (3/5 stars)

The Leia Chronicles by Emma Carlson Berne (3/5 stars)

Now I Rise by Kiersten White (5/5 stars)

The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien (5/5 stars)

The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths and Magic by F.T. Lukens (4/5 stars)

Graphic Novels:

Patsy Walker, AKA Hellcat! Vol. 1 by Kate Lethe (3/5 stars)

Nonfiction:

The Book Group Book ed. by Ellen Slezak (4/5 stars)

il Colosseo by Angelo Bottini (4/5 stars)

A Journey to Rome by Daniele Ohnheiser (5/5 stars)

Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube by Blair Braverman (4/5 stars)

Really Old Stuff:

Three Greek Romances trans. by Moses Hadas (3/5 stars)

Ajax, Women of Trachis, Elextra, and Philoctetes by Sophocles (4/5 stars)

Alcestis, The Heracleidae, Hippolytus, Hecuba, Andromache, and Ion by Euripides (4/5 stars)

Audiobooks:

The Do-Over by Jon Acuff (5/5 stars)

The Power of Vulnerability by Brene Brown (5/5 stars)

Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold (4/5 stars)

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (3/5 stars)

Winterfair Gifts by Lois McMaster Bujold (5/5 stars)

 

Currently Listening: Do-Over by Jon Acuff

My friends will tell you that I’m a real bad listener…at least when it comes to podcasts, audiobooks, sermons, lectures, and other valuable educational experiences.

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Nope. I didn’t.

I have to be doing something with my hands while I listen and even then my comprehension and retention levels are NOT GREAT.  I get frustrated if I miss something, I get frustrated if I get distracted, I get frustrated if I space out, and most of all, I hate not knowing how to spell characters’ names (this is a huge problem in SFF or if the reader has an accent).

Basically I’m a big baby.

But I am trying to do better. Here’s what I’ve learned works the best for me to get some audiobook listening in:

Bahnreads’ Top 3 Ways to Find an Audiobook She Can Actually Listen To:

  1. Choose really really suspenseful or compelling fiction: Marie Brennan’s A Natural History of Dragons series was a hit for me (although I still don’t know how to spell most of the character’s names) because there is so much going on and lots of questions raised.
  2. Listen to books I’ve read before in paper copy: This is a really fun way to reread old favorites or books I particularly enjoyed. It also means that if I miss something or get distracted, I don’t get stressed out because I’ve read it before and I know what’s going on.
  3. Listen to books with dramatized casts: The variety of voices holds my attention better and helps me to differentiate characters. The audiobook of Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner is a great example; I’ve actually listened to that one MORE THAN ONCE.

So all of that leads to the book I’m currently listening to, which is Do-Over by Jon Acuff. This audiobook falls under Way #2. I read Do-Over last year in hard copy and found it full of really good information for strengthening or building any career. I like Acuff’s positivity and empathy. I appreciate his emphasis on showing generosity to others but also placing smart boundaries for yourself so you aren’t taken advantage of. Listening to it on audiobook is helping me to internalize the information more and repetition is always good for learning, right?

Jon Acuff also reads his own audiobook. Authors narrating their audiobooks doesn’t always have great results but Acuff does a good job and makes it more personal as if he’s imparting the information directly to you in a conversation.

Do you enjoy audiobooks, and if so, why? What audiobooks are you most drawn to?

May 2018 Reading Recap

I read SUCH GOOD THINGS THIS MONTH. I love them all.

I’m now done with The Books of the Raksura series so everything is sad in my life now.

The only reread was The Two Towers.

Crazy facts: I only read ONE comic this month, and I listened to an audiobook! Boom accomplishment.

 

Short Stories/Novellas

Dance, Princes, Dance! by Tansy Rayner Roberts (4/5 stars)

Pet by C.S. Pacat (5/5 stars)

Stories of the Raksura Volume 1 by Martha Wells (4/5 stars)

Stories of the Raksura Volume 2 by Martha Wells (5/5 stars)

 

Novels

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (no rating)

Hamilton’s Battalion: A Trio of Romances by Courtney Milan, Rose Lerner, and Alyssa Cole (3/5 stars)

Hamster Princess: Whiskerella by Ursula Vernon (5/5 stars)

Steel Blues by Melissa Scott and Jo Graham (4/5 stars)

The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien (5/5 stars)

 

Nonfiction

A Little History of Dragons by Joyce Hargreaves (4/5 stars)

The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy by Sam Maggs (3/5 stars)

 

Graphic Novels/Comics

The Unbeatable Squirrel: I’ve Been Waiting for a Squirrel Like You by Ryan North (4/5 stars)

Audiobooks

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (5/5 stars)

It’s Music You Can Read 2

Previously on It’s Music You Can Read To I recommended 5 music albums for listening to while reading.

I’m back with more reading music ideas!  As I said on the first installment, I’m not a musical expert in any way, so I chose these based on 1. my level of enjoyment while listening and 2. its ability to float in the background without demanding center stage of my attention.

X-Men: First Class score by Henry Jackman

What I like about this soundtrack, besides that all of it is really good, is that there are a lot of different Moods and they’re all really intense. You have the triumphant “First Class” theme, along with the pensive and sad “Would You Date Me?,” the chilling “Frankenstein’s Monster,” and the resigned “Mutant and Proud.”

Pair it with: something with a lot of Feels like Snowspelled by Stephanie Burgis.

Panic by Caravan Palace

And now for something completely different! Caravan Palace is a French electro-swing band. I don’t know anything about French electro-swing, but I do love this band. They do have a varying degree of vocals in their songs, especially their newer album, so Panic (2012) is my favorite. Here is one of their tracks if you want to check them out.

Pair it with: a steampunk adventure like Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

The Phantom Menace score by John Williams

This is one of my favorite Star Wars soundtracks. Don’t @ me.

Like all things Star Wars, there are multiple editions so I’m referencing the “Ultimate Edition.”

Besides the epic-but-overplayed “Duel of the Fates,” there are few tracks I especially love, including the eery “Swimming to Otoh Gunga,” pretty much any of the Trade Federation battle songs like “Activate the Droids,” and the surprisingly happy Tatooine tracks like “Anakin, Podracer Mechanic.” There’s a lot of variety in this score, making it easy to put on repeat while I’m reading.

Pair it with: an interesting biography like Alexander of Macedon by Peter Green (you didn’t really think you’d get through this without some Alex, did you?).

The Best of Chopin

Frédéric Chopin is pretty obscure so you probably haven’t heard of him. If I want some soothing piano background music, Chopin’s definitely one of my top three choices (spoilers the other two choices involve Nobuo Uematsu).

Pair it with: a volume of 19th c. poetry, Christina Rossetti perhaps?

Last Exile score by Dolce Triade

How much I love this score definitely has nothing to do with how much I love the anime of the same name. I don’t know what you’re talking about. But seriously, this score has a plethora of trumpet fanfares (“Silverna”), suspenseful battle music like “Naval Affair” and quirky flutes like in “Brave Willing.” Plus “Cloud Age Symphony” is just a lot of fun.

Pair it with: an alternate history like Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

 

Until next time on It’s Music You Can Read To!

 

Bahnreads Overseas: My Favorite Bookshops

It’s good to be blogging again! I returned a few days ago from a long trip overseas, with stops in London, Dublin, Rome, Venice, and Florence (with a tiny stop in Keflavik). While I didn’t do any sort of comprehensive tour of libraries or bookshops, I did my best to visit and explore them when I could. In this post I’m going to share my favorite bookshops I found while traveling. In a later post, I will share about other literature-related places I visited, including a certain fantastic library.

London

IMG_7828Okay, it’s not technically a bookstore, but the Globe Theater gift shop sells a lot of books by William Shakespeare. The theater is a reconstruction of the Globe Theater that Shakespeare worked in and wrote his plays for. We were able to do a tour as well as see a show. I highly recommend the experience! As far as books are concerned, the gift shop sells many different editions of the plays and sonnets, including big fancy folio-like reproductions.

I also managed to visit Forbidden Planet, which has been on my list for a while. If you like science fiction or fantasy, this is a magical place. The ground floor is entirely non-book nerd gear: toys, games, shirts, etc, from alllll the franchises. The Star Wars wall was really delicious. The basement floor is all books! They had many signed editions, along with a fantastic selection. Yay Forbidden Planet!

Dublin

Manor Books Limited in Malahide (just outside Dublin) was a fun little shop. They had a lot of Ireland-related books and books by Irish authors. What I love about independent bookstores is that I discover books I would never otherwise know the existence of. I bought a book here titled How the Irish Invented Slang: The Secret Language of The Crossroads (by Daniel Cassidy). I haven’t read it yet, but our tour guide at Malahide Castle mentioned quite a few common expressions that supposedly came from Ireland, so I’m very intrigued!

The Winding Stair Bookshop was one of my favorite finds on the trip. It’s pretty small, but very carefully curated to include both new books and used, with an emphasis on feminist books and Irish authors. I found a tiny little book titled A Little History of Dragons by Joyce Hargreaves, but there were a bunch of other books I wanted to carry off with me.  It’s also right next door to The Winding Stair restaurant.

I went into at least one branch of the Dubray Books chain. Besides being a decent all-around bookstore, they always had sizeable displays on Irish authors and Ireland-related topics, which, as a tourist, I really appreciated.

Rome

So the thing about Italy is that they speak and read Italian there, and I don’t. We went into a couple of little bookshops but the only place I bought books was actually the Colosseum gift shop, where I found a delightful little book called A Journey to Rome that had beautiful watercolor illustrations paired with quotes from famous literary people who visited Rome. Not to worry: I definitely plan to visit Rome again and next time I will plan my bookshop visits a little better.

Venice

Okay, first of all, Venice is surreally beautiful and probably not even a real place. Second, it contains a bookshop called Alta Acqua that is also probably not real. I have photographs of it and I’m still not sure. They keep many of their books in waterproof flotation devices, whether it be a gondola, a bathtub, or a canoe. I didn’t actually buy any books here, although they did both English and Italian. Enjoy the photos, and visit this place if you can.

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Florence

Right outside the Accademia Gallery (which is awesome, you should go there) is a bookshop called Libreria Gozzini. I definitely only saw like four rooms when I was there, so I was surprised to look it up online and be told there are multiple floors and 23 rooms! We really missed out. However, we did find a few shelves of English books and I found a couple of tiny old copies of Shakespeare plays, one of which I took home with me (Romeo and Juliet). Besides beautiful shelves of books, there were many old prints and drawings, which were fun to look through.

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Overall, I really enjoyed my trip. But being in a strange place can be disorienting, and it’s always very comforting to hang out with books in between eating delicious food and seeing the sights. What are your favorite bookshops you’ve found while traveling?