Why I removed thousands of books from my library
Reading Life / February 28, 2017

Straight to book hell. On a bus. I am doomed by my actions. Yet, I am unrepentant. We’ve all broken a few of the rules of the bibliophiles, committed a few venial sins such as claimed we read a classic when we didn’t, secretly hated the book everyone loved, spoiled a mystery for someone (or ourselves — but I don’t get that particular kink). Some of us even belong to a more heretical branch of book devotees: e-book lovers, audiobook ‘readers’ or comic book readers, but ultimately, we are still part of the faithful, the devotees of bibliolatry. Given that as a community we can be judgmental (we rate books, covers, genre’s, we review, we rank, we recommend) it doesn’t shock me that all it took to for people to stare in horror, call me a blasphemer, and question my status as a bibliophile was to commit the mortal, grievous sin of ridding myself of the bulk of my library. (I hear the hisses, the sharp intakes of breath as you read that…) Let me confess. Working class roots meant a stable but modest home life. Dad worked shifts in a mill, mom in a bank. Mom read to us…

Reading Stats: Sharp Objects
Reading Stats / February 26, 2017

I read this during Dewey’s 24 in 48 Readathon in 3 sessions over 2 days.  My reading pace, and more or less reading it from cover to cover with few interruptions, is, I believe, typical for me in the genre. By tracking my stats, I’ll know more at the end of the year. To read my review, click on the image or here: Review: Sharp Objects

Review: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
Fiction , Reviews / February 26, 2017

Title: Sharp Objects Author: Gillian Flynn Genre: Fiction Publisher: Broadway Books Release Date: November 25, 2014 Format: Kindle Pages: 272 Source: purchased Reluctantly returning to her hometown after an eight-year absence to investigate the murders of two preteen girls, reporter Camille Preaker is reunited with her neurotic mother and enigmatic, 13-year-old half-sister and discovers secrets of her own past. By the #1 best-selling author of Gone Girl. Reprint. Admittedly late to the phenomenon that is Gillian Flynn, I decided to start with her first novel, Sharp Objects.  Her debut novel is no slacker in the thriller genre and she tackles not one, but two tough mental health issues in a sensitive manner, allowing the reader to sympathize with the main character. Flynn has created a flawed, often unlikable narrator that one can empathize with even as the reader shudders at the life she returns to and teeters on the edge of falling into her own past. Camille, a Chicago reporter fresh off a stint in a mental health facility, is asked to return to her hometown to report on a murder of a young girl. Her relationship with her mother and the death of her own sister wear on her…

Reading Stats: The Diabolic
Reading Stats / February 26, 2017

I read The Diabolic in 5 sessions from 27 December 2016 to 02 January 2017.  The book was engaging and I remained moderately faithful (although lower engagement isn’t necessarily the root cause of my readultry.)  My reading pace was steady at about a page per minute.  I’m not a fast reader of fiction as I tend to hear the narrative in my head.  (This may explain why I enjoy audiobooks so much…) If you want to read or return to my review, click the image or here: Review: The Diabolic

Review: When She Woke by Hillary Jordan
Fiction , Reviews , Throw-back-Thursday reviews / February 23, 2017

Title: When She Woke Author: Hillary Jordan Genre: Fiction, Sci-Fi, Dystopian Publisher: Algonquin Books Release Date: 2011 Format: Hardcover Pages: 344 Source: purchased In the future, abortion has become a crime as a series of events threatens the existence of the United States. One woman wakes up to discover that her skin color has been changed to red as punishment for having the procedure done. Now she must embark on a dangerous journey in order to find refuge from a hostile and threatening society. With When She Woke Hillary Jordan has written a powerful dystopia that tackles, among other ideas, our attitude towards criminal justice, and what it means to pay for one’s crime, separation of church and state, and freedom.Combining Hawthorne’s public humiliation of sinners (even the protagonist’s name, Hannah Payne, echoes Hester Prynne and the opening chapter is titled “The Scaffold”) from The Scarlet Letter with reality TV, abolitionists’ Underground Railroad, the extreme religious/political right, big brother technology, and a personal awakening story, Hillary Jordan gives us a scary glimpse into an all too possible near future. The novel opens with two great sentences: When she woke, she was red. Not flushed, not sunburned, but the solid, declarative red…

Best Dystopian Novels
Fiction , Listicles / February 21, 2017

Whether we read them with a wary eye to the future, or as a reminder of the good we have today, dystopian novels have been around for ages.  Here is a list of my favorites — some well-known classics and more contemporary pieces.*     10.  Station Eleven — Emily St. John Mandel A well-done novel that moves through the beginning of the destruction of society, back to before, then 20 years after a plague wipes out most of humanity. Mandel threads connections through various characters that we see before the plague and after.  The book however doesn’t focus on the world, but on the individuals and how they have come to view what it means to live in this world. Read my review            9. When She Woke — Hillary Jordan A creative novel where, in order to shame and ostracize those who commit acts society feels are morally wrong, chemically alter the skin so the person is forced to ‘wear’ their shame.  Relevant in today’s world of social media shaming and religious intolerance.  See: Review: When She Woke by Hillary Jordan         8. V for Vendetta — Alan Moore One of the great…

Review: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Title: Never Let Me Go Author: Kazuo Ishiguro Genre: Fiction Publisher: Vintage Books Release Date: 2006 Format: Kindle & Audiobook Pages: 288 Source: Purchased A reunion with two childhood friends draws Kathy and her companions on a nostalgic odyssey into their lives at Hailsham, an isolated private school in the English countryside, and a confrontation with the truth about their childhoods. Ishiguro, a master of subtle and understated prose, has another excellent novel in Never Let Me Go. The narrator, Kathy tells the story of her friendship with Ruth and Tommy, from their earliest days at their private boarding school to adulthood, through its ups and downs, until only Kathy is left. While many come to the novel knowing what makes these characters special, even those without prior knowledge should figure it out with little difficulty, early on. While never stating things explicitly, the clues are in plain sight, even if Ishiguro never tackles the topic head-on. What is the true focus and brilliance of Ishiguro’s novel isn’t the what, but rather, the how. The reader follows these three characters, raised to this purpose that unnerves contemporary audiences. In a masterful play on top of the dramatic irony, shocks us…

Reading Stats: Never Let Me Go
Reading Stats / February 16, 2017

At the time I read this novel, I only used the app “Read More”.  This gives some different stats compared to Bookout, but with a bit of combining, I can get mostly the same information.  This book was completed in audiobook format so, by nature the book takes longer to finish.  I listened to this book at 1.25 speed if I remember correctly, so I only averaged 32 pages an hour.  9 sessions from 21 January to 29 January. (Unlike how many physical or ebooks I have going at the same time, I tend to only listen to 1 book at a time.) To read my review, click the image or here: Review: Never Let Me Go

Reading Stats – The Confessions of Young Nero
Reading Stats / February 7, 2017

I received this as an ARC, so I had a limited amount of time to complete.  I started the book on 06 Jan and read in seven sessions, finishing on 04 Feb.  This is typical that I’ll start a book and read as the mood strikes me.  I’m a dreadful readultress and can’t stick with a single book.  My page per hour number for this book is low, but I think that has to do with the genre.  I tend to get lost in the details of the historical world. To read my review, click the image or here:The Confessions of Young Nero