Posted in Books

Finally Fall Book Tag

Last night, all of my body parts were warm at the same time.

I have been freezing my ass off at the office for the last two years. Now I’m working from home and feel, dare I say, comfortable?

Riddhi @ Whispering Stories tagged me in the Finally Fall Book Tag. I love fall, so HERE WE ARE.

Man, this “being warm” thing is really freaking me out.

In fall, the air is crisp and clear.

Name a book with a vivid setting

I read the Rairarubia books in sixth grade and assumed they went out of print because I could never find them using Google.

I finally switched up my spelling and found the books I’ve been searching for for OVER A DECADE.

Rairarubia by W. Royce Adams: Second Edition

In the first book, a girl and her father start making up stories about a kingdom called Rairarubia, known for its rare air and rubies.

Somehow their stories bring the world to life.

It’s awesome.

There are book worlds I’ve wanted to live in, but Rairarubia made me feel like I was already there.

Nature is beautiful…but also dying.

Name a book that is beautifully written, but also deals with a heavy topic like loss or grief

How about two books for the price of one?

“Atmospheric” is the best word I have for Ghost Wood Song.

Ghost Wood Song by Erica Waters: Some secrets aren't meant to stay buried

I’ll be honest, I don’t think of Florida as a woodsy place, so reading a novel about ghostly woods in Florida has been a trip.

For all my problems with Burn Our Bodies Down, I thought the writing was gorgeous.

Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power

There’s a strong undercurrent of emotional abuse in the book that is pretty painful to read at times. Serves me right for expecting a simple spooky story, I guess.

Fall is back-to-school season.

Share a non-fiction book that taught you something new

Surprise: racial identity development is fascinating.

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race (Revised and Updated) by Beverly Daniel Tatum, PhD: Twentieth Anniversary Edition

The official title for Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? is absurdly long and the text itself is dense – it took me months to finish.

I will say it was worth it. I learned a lot about history, culture, and multiracial identity.

In order to keep warm, it’s good to spend some time with the people we love.

Name a fictional family/household/friend group that you’d like to be a part of

Oh COVID-19, you hateful shit.

I don’t mean that fondly. Isolation sucks.

I loved the friend group in When We Were Magic.

When We Were Magic by Sarah Gailey

The teens were so aware of each others’ baggage and flaws and loved each other anyway.

I was awed by the amount of support and acceptance they gave each other.

Listen, the book opens with a murder and that fact has a negligible effect on the group’s friendship.

THAT’S LOVE.

The colorful leaves are piling upon the ground.

Show us a pile of fall-colored spines

I had to work a stupid amount of overtime not too long ago. I finally gave in and ordered the new Lunar Chronicles box as motivation.

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer box set with 2020 illustrated covers: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Winter, Stars Above, Fairest

It’s here and it’s so beautiful.

These books look more wintry than anything, but we are going to GO WITH IT.

Fall is the perfect time for some storytelling by the fireside.

Share a book wherein someone is telling a story

The framing device for If We Were Villains involves a newly-released prisoner telling the “real story” of his crime to the detective assigned to his case.

It’s not a quick story.

If We Were Villains: A Novel by M. L. Rio

I feel a bit silly for loving this book so much.

It hit me in a really deep place and I’m not totally sure why.

I cried MUCH.

If I don’t think about the ending, it can’t hurt me.

The nights are getting darker.

Share a dark, creepy read

What if instead I shared THREE dark, creepy reads because I have NO SELF-CONTROL?

I’m reading Mexican Gothic currently and it is LIVING UP TO ITS PROMISED CREEPINESS.

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I am FULLY CREEPED.

Ninth House is a popular creepy read with some very grim story elements.

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Even though I have a ton of books on my proverbial plate right now, I’d like to reread this one.

I just finished Bunny by Mona Awad and OH WOW.

Bunny: A Novel by Mona Awad

I don’t normally scream while reading new books.

I SCREAMED A LOT OF TIMES WHILE READING BUNNY.

It reminded me of a more horrifying version of Sourdough by Robin Sloan.

Bunny leaned more on creative writing class tropes than Silicon Valley stereotypes, for which I was very grateful.

Anyway, I will NOT be attending grad school now or in the future.

The days are getting colder.

Name a short, heartwarming read that could warm up somebody’s cold and rainy day

Like most Nina LaCour books, Watch Over Me broke me.

Watch Over Me by Nina LaCour

The topics in this book are fairly heavy, so don’t go in expecting a frothy fun time.

I was really moved by the themes of found family and healing in this book.

Watch Over Me is understated and a little spooky. It’ll revive your tired heart when you least expect it.

Fall returns every year.

Name an old favorite that you’d like to return to soon

My list of rereads is out of control.

Scorpio season is upon us; thus, it is time to reread The Scorpio Races.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

I’m still salivating over The Starless Sea.

The Starless Sea: A Novel by Erin Morgenstern

If I can locate my copy, a reread will be imminent.

As I mentioned before, I have the Lunar Chronicles box set now. I just finished Cinder, so Scarlet is next on the list.

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer, 2020 cover

(Scarlet is my favorite book in the series, so I am EXTRA EXCITED TO REREAD IT.)

Fall is the perfect time for cozy reading nights.

Share your favorite cozy reading “accessories”

I just spent a good minute agonizing over the spelling of both “cozy” and “accessories.” WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME??

Lately, I’ve been snuggling up with wool socks, comfy sweatshirts, and the Pendleton wool blanket my aunt bought me for Christmas.

More about this blanket: I don’t understand how it’s so thin and yet so warm? It’s miraculous.

I also like a cup of tea with my books when I’m not guzzling water.

Lastly, my brother sent me a wooden book page holder that he purchased in Georgia (the country, not the state.) It allows me to read one-handed and makes me look like a scholar.

The warmth is wearing off a bit, so I’m off to round up some socks and a cardigan.

Happy fall/Halloween/what have you!

Stay warm, all of you!

Posted in Books

My Favorite Books of 2019

I meant to publish this yesterday for Top Ten Tuesday.

Instead, after three family Christmases and a miserable four-hour ride in a cramped truck, I stayed in bed and read all day.

As a consequence, some last-minute books snuck their way onto my Top 10 list.

It’s a Cinderella story and a plot twist all in one!

2019

Texts From Jane Eyre and Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters by Daniel M. Lavery*

I liked this book enough to gift copies to my friends.

The Little Women conversation was very gratifying. I felt seen.

Laurie + Jo or Single Jo. These are the only options.

Get Friedrich out of here.

 

* Lavery initially published this book under a name he no longer uses, hence the lack of accompanying book image.

 

Magic For Liars by Sarah Gailey

Magic for Liars

Technically, I finished this at 12:45 AM on January 1st, 2020.

Since I read the bulk of it in 2019, I’m counting this as a 2019 read.

I appreciated this book so much.

So many books I read have interesting premises but no soul.

This book had a lot of feelings in a world that I didn’t want to leave.

I know I read this on the LAST DAY of 2019, so recency theory is at play, but this book had one of my favorite endings of the year.

Bittersweet, just the way I like it.

Also…THERE WAS A BI BOI. Or a pan boi.

Either way, a NON-MONO BOI.

 

How to Be Alone (If You Want to and Even If You Don’t) by Lane Moore

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This book touched some really deep places in me.

It gave me closure for an awful 2017 friend breakup that I hadn’t been able to process.

I am forever grateful.

 

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell

Laura Dean

I don’t want to oversell one of the plot twists, but…

…I SCREAMED.

I read a lot of great graphic novels in 2019. This was the best one.

The emotional honesty was really refreshing.

 

Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake

(CW: rape, sexual assault)

Stars

I had to lock my feelings about this book in a box and put them away. Otherwise, I would not have been able to function.

This book has nuance and commentary and excellent representation.

It’s heartbreaking and so well-done.

This book gave me the words I needed to come out, so of course it’s going on the list.

 

Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Brittney Cooper

(CW: racism, rape, misogynoir)

Eloquent Rage

Every single one of the sentences in this book is a gorgeous work of art.

I finished this book very recently and I’m struggling to verbalize the impression it left.

All I can say is, “Wow.”

If you want a comprehensive understanding of intersectionality, this is your book.

 

Astro Poets: Your Guides to the Zodiac by Alex Dimitrov and Dorothea Lasky

Astro Poets

I chose a number of “fun” books for this list because they made me laugh and provided a helpful distraction.

Dimitrov and Lasky gave me a joyful breakdown of the zodiac, which was what I needed after the chaos of NaNoWriMo.

This book was fun and fast and helpful. It earned a spot on my “Nonfiction/Reference” shelf.

 

In the Dream House: A Memoir by Carmen Maria Machado

(CW: physical and emotional abuse)

In the Dream House

Super ambitious, very well done.

I’ve never read a memoir in this style; Machado killed it.

This book was creative without being gimmicky and very brave in its content.

I am in love with the writing style.

 

Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

RWRB

WHAT DO I EVEN SAY??

This book covered a lot of territory, but it did it right!

The ending ACTUALLY made me weep. I WAS NOT EXPECTING THIS.

This book gave me so much hope for 2020.

My heart is full.

 

Technically, You Started It by Lana Wood Johnson

TYSI

This is the only new favorite I reread this year.

The rep is SO GOOD.

The anxiety rep is really moving, but what really got me was the on-the-page demisexual rep.

Johnson likened demisexual attraction to turning on a dimmer switch, which made me cheer. Yes! Accurate! This is how it feels!

Then Martin the Surprise Bi described his attraction to different genders and I loved it. More bi bois!

I’m so glad this book came out.

2019

That’s my list. I’ll have more 2019 posts coming in the next few days.

See y’all later. I’m off to watch Cats.