Bout of Books Wrap-Up (And Days 6&7 Updates)

So that’s a wrap for Bout of Books! It’s always fun to have a readathon going to help inspire you to read more than you normally would. I definitely wouldn’t say I got a crazy amount of reading done this week, but I think I did a decent job and most importantly have (for the most part) really enjoyed the books I chose.

On Saturday, I had a very productive readathon day. I did have to work, but I listened to the audiobook of Trainwreck: The Women We Love to Hate, Mock, and Fear..and Why by Sady Doyle on my commute and also while running a bunch of errands afterwards, so my day was doubly productive. When I got home, I finished reading The Beauty by Aliya Whiteley, which turned out to be very good and even weirder than I expected it to be (which is a good thing in my book). It also had more plot twists than I anticipated, so I couldn’t have stopped reading it even if I’d wanted to. I meant to pick up another print book after that, but I started getting some things done around my apartment while listening to Trainwreck and couldn’t stop; it’s very short as far as audiobooks go, and the subject matter is super absorbing. I actually finished it late Saturday night and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a feminist nonfiction read.

Sunday was Mother’s Day, so I spent most of the day with my family and didn’t get quite as much reading done. I did start a new audiobook, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert, but only got a little bit into it. I also read a little more of Windwitch by Susan Dennard, which is slower-paced than I had expected.

Here are my stats for the readathon as a whole:

Total books read: 3

Pull Me UnderThe BeautyTrainwreck: The Women We Love to Hate, Mock, and Fear... and Why

Total pages read/audiobook time: 432 pages and 464 minutes of audio

Books started, but not finished: 3

Windwitch (The Witchlands, #2)The LoverBig Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

And here are my stats for the last two days of the readathon:

Day 6

Pages read: 237 minutes of Trainwreck, 74 pages of The Beauty

Books started: None

Books finished: The Beauty, Trainwreck

Day 7

Pages read: 12 minutes of Big Magic, 37 pages of Windwitch

Books started: Big Magic

Books finished: None

 

How did Bout of Books turn out for you guys? Let me know!

Bout of Books Updates: Days 3-5

Here are my updates at the end of day 5 of this round of the readathon! I’m still having a great time doing Bout of Books, although it hasn’t been perfect: in the past 3 days, I managed to actually finish a book (!) and started a new audiobook, but have been struggling a bit with my physical book reading. My goal for the readathon was to finish 3 books, so I definitely have a ways to go if I want to accomplish this.

Wednesday was my day off from work and I thought I’d be able to get a ton of reading done; I ended up being busier than expected but still managed to get through a decent chunk of Kelly Luce’s Pull Me Under and Susan Dennard’s Windwitch. To mix things up a bit, I started The Beauty by Aliya Whiteley, a short novel set in an isolated community of men after a pandemic has killed all of the women in the world. It’s definitely a very strange story, but the writing is skillful and lyrical.

On Thursday, I finally managed to finish Pull Me Under, a book I’ve been meaning to read for the past 6 months. For most of the book I was enjoying the story, particularly the discussions of Japanese culture, and was thinking about rating it 4 stars; however, for me the book really fumbled with how it handled the main character’s emotions and growth toward the end and it ended up being only a 3-star read. I also read a bit more of The Beauty, which quickly took a very odd turn; I’m really curious to see how the author handles things going forward.

Because I was listening to the audio version of Pull Me Under during my commutes to and from work, I was left without an audiobook on Friday. There were a few available from my library’s Overdrive app that I was interested in, but I ended up choosing Trainwreck: The Women We Love to Hate, Mock, and Fear…and Why by Sady Doyle and narrated by Alex McKenna. The narrator was a big reason I picked this one up; McKenna also narrated Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler, which has been one of my favorite audiobooks to date. I got completely sucked into this nonfiction book on Friday and listened to it for several hours, which is super rare for me as I struggle with paying attention to audiobooks. This book offers really interesting cultural criticism about why we tear famous women down while discussing tons of examples, both historical and modern. It’s so good that I may even finish it in the next few days.

 

So here are my stats for days 3-5:

Day 3

Pages read: 86 pages of Pull Me Under, 28 pages of Windwitch, 11 pages of The Beauty (125 pages total)

Books started: The Beauty

Books finished: None

Day 4

Pages read: 63 pages of Pull Me Under, 14 pages of The Beauty (77 pages total)

Books started: None

Books finished: Pull Me Under

Day 5

Pages read: listened to 215 minutes of Trainwreck

Books started: Trainwreck

Books finished: None

 

How is everyone else’s Bout of Books so far?

Bout of Books Days 1&2 Updates

We’re two days into Bout of Books! Things started off really well for me–I kicked off the readathon late Sunday night (technically after midnight on Monday) by starting The Lover by Marguerite Duras, a short novel that was on the top of my readathon TBR. It ended up being a bit different than I expected; instead of a fast read, the writing is actually very complex and I found myself rereading a lot of her sentences. Her style is complex and disjointed; each few paragraphs the narrative jumps forward and backward in time, so it’s definitely not a quick type of read. I still would really like to finish it during the readathon if I can, although I was only able to get through about 15 pages.

During the day on Monday, I listened to the audio version of Pull Me Under by Kelly Luce (I also have the physical book and I’ve been alternating between the two) during my commute to and from work; I’m really enjoying this story so far. It’s about a woman who killed her bully as a child and has since completely reinvented her life; however, when the death of her father brings her back to Japan, the country of her childhood, she’s forced to confront a lot of things she has kept buried.

I had a long day at work and when I got home I wasn’t feeling ambitious enough to pick up The Lover, so I read a bunch of Windwitch by Susan Dennard instead. This book is the second in a series focusing on two female friends with different magical powers; one can always tell truth from lies, and the other can sense the emotions and connections between other people. I’m definitely liking it so far; another viewpoint character has been added and I really like her, which means that I’m very into four of the five viewpoint characters (one of the love interests really rubs me the wrong way, but I still like the series a lot overall).

Unfortunately, Tuesday wasn’t nearly as successful of a reading day. It ended up being an absolutely crazy day at work, and I had plans to see a movie with friends right afterward (Guardians of the Galaxy 2!Β  It was such a fun movie). The only reading I got done was a brief audiobook session of Pull Me Under during my lunch break. Wednesday is my day off, however, so I’m hoping to make up for some lost reading time today.

Here are my stats:

Day 1

Pages read: 15 pages of The Lover, 64 pages of Pull Me Under, and 30 pages of Windwitch (109 pages total)

Books started: The Lover

Books finished: None

 

Day 2

Pages read: 10 pages of Pull Me Under

Books started: None

Books finished: None

 

How is everyone else’s Bout of Books going so far? Let me know in the comments!

April Reading Wrap-Up

Here’s my (belated) reading wrap-up for April!

I was actually really impressed with the amount I read during April. I feel like as it keeps getting warmer, hopefully I’ll be reading more and more since I love to read outside. This month, I participated in two readathons, Tome Topple and Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon, and both were really wonderful experiences; I’m looking forward to the next Tome Topple sometime this fall and the next round of Dewey’s in October.

Here are my stats:

Number of books read: 7

#readmyowndamnbooks: 6

Book Riot Read Harder Challenge tasks completed: I think zero 😦

When did I buy the books I read? April 2016 (The Age of Miracles), July 2016 (Sweetbitter), December 2016 (The Queen of the Night), January 2017 (The Grownup), February 2017 (Truthwitch), April 2017 (Replica)

So here’s what I read:

 

Sweetbitter by Stephanie DanlerTruthwitch by Susan DennardThe Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson WalkerThe Queen of the Night by Alexander CheeThe Grownup by Gillian FlynnReplica by Lauren OliverSaga, Vol. 7 by Brian K. Vaughan

Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler (4.25 stars) – I loved this, I really did. For me this was one of a very few books that was really enhanced by listening to it on audio; the narrator’s husky voice and perfect accents really made the characters come alive. But beyond that, I loved the rich language and immersion in Tess’s world. There were a few points where the writing missed the mark for me, and I didn’t love how certain things were handled towards the end, but otherwise this was such a great reading experience and one I’d definitely recommend.

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard (3.5 stars) – I was really pleasantly surprised by this YA fantasy. I went in with low expectations and ended up really enjoying the strong female friendship at the heart of this story. I also really liked three of the four main characters; the fourth had these disturbingly sexist moments with abusive overtones that really bugged me

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker (2.75 stars) -I thought the premise of this book, that the Earth begins to slow its rotation which has devastating consequences for life on the planet, was really interesting, but I wish it had been told from a different perspective.

The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee (3.75 stars) – this is sort of a hard book to rate. I absolutely loved the first half of the book and was completely immersed in late 1800’s France; the second half, unfortunately, had some plot twists that I really disliked and things started to drag somewhat there. The writing, however, was gorgeous and the historical period was obviously meticulously researched.

The Grownup by Gillian Flynn (4 stars) – a perfect twisty, absorbing short read. I’m hoping that Flynn will have another novel out soon since I do like her writing style.

Replica by Lauren Oliver (3 stars) – this was a fun, fast-paced YA read with an unconventional format; however, it wasn’t great.

Saga, Volume 7 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples (3 stars) – at this point, this is the only graphic novel series that I’m following, and it’s still consistently good–although I didn’t think this one was quite as good as some of the earlier volumes.

Bout of Books Readathon TBR

Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 8th and runs through Sunday, May 14th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional.Β For all Bout of Books 19 information and updates, be sure to visit theΒ Bout of BooksΒ blog.Β – From the Bout of Books team

 

I love it when Bout of Books happens right after (or almost right after) Dewey’s Readathon; that way, if you don’t read as much as you would have liked to during Dewey’s, or if you’re sad that the readathon has ended, there’s another chance right around the corner. Usually with Bout of Books I tend to focus on books that are fast-paced but not necessarily short in length, YA, and graphic novels; this time, I’m going to instead focus on some very short books on my TBR list that sound really intriguing. Also, I usually go with library books for the majority of my Bout of Books reading, whereas this time I’d like to ideally stick to my physical TBR shelf as I continue to try to #readmyowndamnbooks.

So here’s my Bout of Books TBR:

 

The LoverThe BeautyPull Me UnderBloodchild and Other Stories

The Lover by Marguerite Duras – This book was published in the 1980’s and depicts an affair between a French teenager and an older Chinese man in what was previously known as French Indochina (now Vietnam). I found a copy at a used bookstore in D.C. when I was there for the Women’s March; it’s only 117 pages long, and Roxane Gay gave it a 5-star rating on Goodreads. Seems perfect for a readathon.

The Beauty by Aliya Whiteley – this is a short novel, around 100 pages, about a future in which all of the women in the world have died and the remaining men are attempting to preserve their history using oral storytelling.

Pull Me Under by Kelly Luce – This book was actually my first Book of the Month pick and I keep putting it on TBRs and not reading it. It’s about a woman who was bullied as a child in Japan and accidentally kills the child who was bullying in her; I believe the novel mostly takes place when she is an adult and trying to come to terms with what she has done.

Bloodchild and Other Stories by Octavia Butler – Octavia Butler is one of my favorite authors, and this collection of short stories and essays sounds like it will be absolutely amazing.

 

So, that’s what I have planned for Bout of Books, which starts on Monday. As far as my reading plans go in the meantime, my main goal is to finish the books I’ve been reading for awhile prior to the readathon. This morning I was able to finish Perfect Little World by Kevin Wilson, which I’ve been reading forever (it turned out to be pretty meh), and I’m about 2/3 of the way through Difficult Women by Roxane Gay, which is AMAZING so far.

Difficult WomenPerfect Little World

After that, I’d like to start one or more longer books that I will likely only be able to begin before the readathon and likely finish afterwards, although I also like having the option of a longer work to pick up during the readathon if I’m not in the mood to read only short books. These three are at the top of my list; ideally I’d like to finish them all sometime in May.

Windwitch (The Witchlands, #2)The Lonely Hearts HotelA Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3)

 

Is anyone else planning on participating in Bout of Books? What’s on your TBR? Let me know!

Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon Wrap-Up

april2017

And that’s a wrap on this round of Dewey’s! I’m very late with this wrap-up post (oops) but I had a wonderful time devoting my day to reading on Saturday. I luckily didn’t have too much in the way of conflicts so I was able to focus on reading better than I normally can for long periods of time. Of course, I didn’t read for the entire 24 hours (I never do) but it was overall a really fun bookish day and I very much enjoyed it.

The Grownup by Gillian FlynnReplica by Lauren OliverSaga, Vol. 7 by Brian K. Vaughan

Here’s my closing survey:

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?

Hour 17. At about 12:30 a.m. I started to totally crash. I’m normally a night owl, but as it got later I was having a harder time focusing on my physical books, so I ended up switching to audio for the last few hours I spent reading.
2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a reader engaged for next year?

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel, The Grownup by Gillian Flynn, Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire, Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Aimee Kaufman, Kissing the Witch by Emma Donoghue, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson, Forest of Memory by Mary Robinette Kowal
3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next season?

Nope! I love the readathon as is.
4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?

Everything?
5. How many books did you read?

I finished 3 books and read a bit of a fourth, for a total of 833 pages.
6. What were the names of the books you read?

The Grownup by Gillian Flynn, Replica by Lauren Oliver, and Saga, Volume 7 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples were the books that I finished during the readathon. I also read/listened to some of Perfect Little World by Kevin Wilson.
7. Which book did you enjoy most?

Surprisingly, my favorite book of the readathon turned out to be The Grownup by Gillian Flynn. It was twisty, atmospheric, and impossible to put down. I wish it had been longer!
8. Which did you enjoy least?

I didn’t not enjoy any of my readathon books, but I wasn’t blown away by Replica. It was fun and fast-paced but it did lack a lot of depth for me and I wasn’t into either of the romantic plotlines.
9. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?

I’m very much looking forward to the next round of Dewey’s in October!

Halfway through Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon Updates!

 

I can’t believe we’re halfway through Dewey’s! The day goes by so fast whenΒ  you devote it to reading. My readathon has been really lovely so far and I’m hoping to stay up quite late tonight if possible, but we’ll have to see how that goes. Here’s my mid-event survey:

1. What are you reading right now?

I’m currently reading Replica by Lauren Oliver, which is a science fiction YA read that is told from the perspective of two girls and deals with human cloning. The book is actually separated into two books, and you have to choose which story to start with and whether you alternate between the two storylines or read one and then the other straight through. So far I’ve been alternating between the two girls’ perspectives in chunks and it’s worked well to help mix up my reading.
2. How many books have you read so far?

So far, I’ve finished one book and read about 3/4 of another, for a total of464 pages.
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?

Hmm…I’m really looking forward to finally picking up the most recent volume of Saga by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples, but I’m also getting this urge to go rogue and pick up a book that’s not on my TBR. After I finish Replica I feel like I’ll be all over the place.
4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?

I woke up late (the readathon starts at 8 a.m. my time, and I am physically unable to force myself to wake up that early when I don’t have to work) and I’m planning on taking a reading break soon to work out. I feel like as it gets later I’ll get more and more distracted with interruptions, so we’ll see.
5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?

I haven’t been as easily distracted as I thought I’d be! I haven’t spent this much time in one day reading since, well, the last round of Dewey’s, but so far I really haven’t gotten bored or restless or anything. I think it’s partly because I was really looking forward to a reading-centered day after a few weeks of craziness, and partly because I picked out good choices for my TBR.

I write about nontraditional beach reads for nontraditional readers