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text 2020-03-21 22:17
Master Post for #StayHome24in48 Readathon
Juliet Takes a Breath - Gabby Rivera
Golden in Death - J.D. Robb

Status #2:

Got another 3 hours and 15 minutes of reading in and finished Juliet. I also listened to the FB Live event for COYER - we are not having a summer edition; instead they are going to go the full year, starting with COYER Quarantine theme, starting in April and going through August. After that, another theme for the next few months. They were planning on going to a full year COYER in 2021, but thought now was the time since some people are home a lot more to read. I'm in!


Also during my social media break from reading I found out my kids' school is moving our Spring Book Fair (which was supposed to start tomorrow) online, so family/friends of students can purchase books as well as parents. Hopefully, we can still meet our goal - we have a new school building being built right now and new books are needed to fill those shelves!


Up next, Golden in Death (In Death #50) by JD Robb. It came in through ILL on Thursday and I picked it up Friday. I need the comfort of the return of the In Death gang but I am not one for re-reading, so this installment came at the right time. And of course it's not in the book database here at BL. *SIGH*


Status #1:

Woke up and made tea, let the dog outside to do her thing. Got all nice and settled while the house was still quiet. Read for one hour, then took a break to make myself some breakfast and a second cup of tea. Currently reading Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera for the Book Riot Read Harder challenge. It's also due back at the library soon; even though the library is waiving all fines during the isolation period, I just can't shake the rule follower in me and I want to give the book back on time. I'm at 32% read and will probably finish by the end of the afternoon. 


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url 2019-12-07 23:01
Book Riot's Read Harder Challenge 2020

I decided to try my hand at the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge for next year because it is only 24 items (as opposed to the usual 50+ items on other reading challenges) and it seemed to be do-able with a mix of library books and what I own. And the owners of the challenge allow for one book to fulfill more than one prompt, which is nice. 

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review 2016-05-02 18:00
The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories by Marina Keegan
The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories - Marina Keegan

I get stuck on the titles of books and this one got me. The cover is great too. I know it's just a picture of the author, but her pose and expression and body language were endearing. It was like she wasn't sure if this was a good idea but needed to say what she needed to see. She had to send it out into the ether and hoped for an echo that she doubted would come. Then I opened the book to discover that she had passed before it's publishing and it was published by her family for her. She had wanted to make it in this business and they really honored that. It's not a spoiler, it's right in the forward, written by one of her teachers at Yale. 

Most of the book is comprised of her short stories, which were rather good. I enjoyed each one for different reasons. I appreciated the way she looked at people, the way the stories were about their interactions more than anything else. They were clearly about the way people moved together or ground against each other. I think I would have enjoyed a novel had she had the opportunity to write one. 

The essays were interesting for the same reason. They were snapshots of life when they were about people, but there were a few that were existential. Her opinion on the sun and the future of the planet were interesting. They certainly put a different spin on things for me. Her essay on having Celiac disease was perfect. It perfect encompassed the difference between dealing with something on your own and dealing with something as a parent. I hope her mother appreciated reading it, that before the end, Keegan was beginning to understand why it affected everything the way it did. I loved her thoughts on being special, on being heard, on sending something out to the ether. 


I wish there could be more. Perhaps my appreciation is tainted by knowing there never could be, but I don't think so. It's nice to get a perspective on possibility from someone in their youth and I think I would have wanted to know how she felt about it down the road, but it just isn't possible now. Perhaps someone else will take that torch. Until then, I'll recommend Keegan.

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text 2016-04-30 01:00
The Happenings - April

What a month! I've been experimenting with posting to Booklikes and Wordpress and it's been interesting. Not everything goes completely in both directions, but I like getting the book covers from Booklikes instead of Amazon Affiliates, since that's where I used to get them. I hate feeling pressured to sell stuff just to so the covers can appear on posts about the books. Irritating, but I don't have to do it anymore! It's been nice, but definitely an adjustment. 


What I'm reading - 

I picked up The Opposite of Loneliness for the Read Harder Challenge. It counts as my book of essays, though it has more short stories than essays and I'm not passed the stories just yet. Keegan's writing style is beautiful, it's unfortunate that we won't have more from her in the future, but the preface includes that the book was published posthumously. 

The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories - Marina Keegan


All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel - Anthony Doerr, Zach Appelman,Simon & Schuster Audio


I know I normally read women authors, but the title All the Light We Cannot See was just too compelling and there was such notoriety around it not too long ago, I just couldn't help myself. 


Read this month

Fiction: The Yellow Wallpaper, Heartburn, The Bell Jar, Euphoria, and Manners and Mutiny. It's been quite the month for older fiction. It wasn't until just now that I realized all of my fiction was either written a long time ago or takes place a long time ago. It's pretty odd for me to not have books that take place in the future on this list! 


Non-fiction: Between the World and Me and First They Killed My Father. 


Bible Project:

We got through Joshua and even started Judges!

I'm starting to feel like I'm getting a handle on this project and it might scare me a little. Again, this is to take a look at the Bible, the primary religious text of Christians, and see just how misogynistic it really is. Or isn't. Sometimes people read that into it and it can come from either side of the argument. The Old Testament isn't exactly a girl's best friend, but I have a hard time seeing where anyone gets the idea that this is the basis of how to treat a woman these days. Not so far. 

But I do see how bad it all can be when people think it's okay to pick any line out of any spot and recite it as if that line is representative of the whole work. That's a problem, and a big one for more than just women. 

I also see that the treatment of women at the time that the Old Testament takes place isn't great, but it isn't altogether awful. The lack of agency for women so far is a problem, but in a time without good and consistent birth control, I can see how it would be easy to have traded agency for security, or for it to be taken. The women may not be mentioned nor does most of the conversation seem to include them or their point of view, and that may be sexist but it's not inherently misogynistic. No one appears to be hating on women. Even the whole red tent thing seems to be more about a time before adequate feminine products and germ control, but that takes me back to Leviticus and Deuteronomy and we're in Judges now, so I need to stop.   


Femme Fridays: 5 TBR Memoirs, Arab American Heritage Month Crossover, Brene Brown and Written by men. 



Read Harder (brings total to 13 books read!): 

The Yellow Wallpaper - a book under 100 pages

The Bell Jar - a book with a main character that has a mental illness

Euphoria - an audiobook that has won an Audie Award

First They Killed My Father - a book by an author from Southeast Asia

Yes, you may have noticed from previous posts that I had to change the Audie award book because Heartburn did not actually win, it was a finalist. 


Reading Women of Color (brings total to 8 of 20 books read!): 

First They Killed My Father by Luong Ung


Should I count the whole Shatter Me Collection or each book individually? It feels like cheating because I devoured them like one long book and I have the collection listed in my shelves as one. Eh, I'll leave it to future Heather to decide. 


Life and Feminism: 

You really must check out the Feminist Texican Reads.  I found her down a string of posts in the Our Shared Shelf group on Goodreads when a discussion was talking about April's book, How to Be a Woman - Caitlin Moran. There is some debate as to it's merit as a feminist manifesto. I've read it, it wasn't a bad read, but it has it's feminist flaws. All of my complaints are hashed out by the Feminist Texican when she reviewed here. My issue with the discussion is that we must read all kinds of books, even problematic ones in our quest for a more unified feminism. It's when we rant and then agree on a new foundation that progress is really made and this book definitely brought up LOTS of discussions and brought people together on the problems facing feminism. I support Watson on that it was a good idea to read, despite not being the best book in the world. If you want to know why, check out the above Feminist Texican review. Seriously, I can't say it better than she did. 

As for the next book in the Our Shared Shelf group, I'm totally looking forward to it and actually have easy access to it! (I'd already read April; have a hard time with non-ebooks these days because clutter, so March was out; was not incredibly interested in February, no judgement, it just didn't excite me; and I was in the middle of a book by the same author in January, so I didn't feel the need to read the exact one) Okay, I'm a fan, but not a follower, so sue me. I am gonna try to get with them on this one because you may recall me mentioning one Friday that this is one of the memoirs I want to read anyway.

Anyway, how's your book-loving or feminist life?


See you next month!  

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review 2016-04-18 23:00
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath,Maggie Gyllenhaal,HarperAudio

I know, it's disgraceful that I could call myself a feminist and hadn't read this yet. Well, not entirely, but I totally get it. I finally picked it up as part of my Read Harder list, character with a mental illness.  As with most of my fiction, I actually listened to the book rather than read it and I couldn't be happier about it. I'm sure reading through it would have been perfectly wonderful but there is something about hearing it in Maggie Gyllenhaal's voice that was just fantastic. 

It's easy to see why this is the feminist classic that it is. Esther Greenwood, our protagonist, is embarking upon what sounds like a normal life for the time. The beauty of the book is the way Plath relays her feelings about it which was more like she's staring down the barrel of a life she doesn't want. Looking at it that way just makes sense out of her increasingly difficult time handling it. Her progression into illness was written beautifully. It was so easy to follow her thought process and reasoning for so long that it took me by surprise how far into illness she was when I realized it. Now, I knew the book was about mental illness but the slide appears so easy that it gives me a whole new appreciation for the depression questionnaires I have to fill out every time I'm at the doctor's office. 

Perhaps I just identified too well with her plight. Any girl still could because a lot of the issues she had with things had to do with the balancing of social expectations and gender roles that still won't quit. Would she have been more likely to be able to get a job and a little more freedom today? Sure, but she would probably still hate Buddy Willard and loathe the life that he represents for her. 

I loved every minute of this book and thought it ended on a perfect note. I'm also glad that I waited to read it. I feel like the extra years gave me a better appreciation for it. The book looks back on the character's illness as a nineteen year old. I think if I read it as I looked forward to that timeframe, I wouldn't have understood what her problem was. Looking at the world now, I remember those weights and the way they seemed like weights everyone had to carry. 

Of course, not everyone is as blind to the world as I was at 19, and I can see how teenagers falling in and out depression could relate easily to it. Or teenagers that recognize the weights and how ridiculous they really are. Definitely a must read, hopefully by 40. 

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