Reading list for your period!

Guess what, internet? I’m menstruating right now! GASP! I know, right!? Shocker! Let’s talk about it! At the moment I am on day 1. Day 1 is the worst. Part of me wants a Java Chip Frappucino, part of me wants sleep, and part of me wants to bend in half backward because, for some reason, I feel like if I do that, the jackhammer that is currently hammering away on my lower back will stop. I took a shower but I still smell weird, I did a workout, and now I’m writing this post! How normal!

A while back, several bloggers wrote some great posts about how there should/should not be more mention of menstruation in books, specifically in YA. I’m not going to talk about that because my simple opinion is that, yes, we need more of it. But this post, this post, and this post are all great if you want to read some opinions on fictional periods (or lack thereof). I was someone who had pretty abysmal sex education growing up, so I am all for anything that helps people feel more knowledgeable and comfortable in their own bodies.

Instead, let’s talk about us! Many readers out there have periods, too! So what do you read when you’re being visited by Auntie Flow? I usually don’t read anything special other than my current reads, but you know, sometimes you just need to break out the comfort books or the books that make you feel empowered. So for anyone with a period, here’s a reading list for your time of the month – or let’s be real, anytime, really.

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Bookish things I’m thankful for

Happy Thanksgiving! Before I stuff myself with food and drink and remain in a stupor for the rest of the day, I want to make a list of things I’m thankful for, within the boundaries of the bookish theme of my blog. And here they are:

  • Finally having (almost) enough shelf space for my home library.
  • Used book sales: how I acquired the bulk of my fiction section.
  • Libraries and librarians, providing free information and reading material for all.
  • My right to read whatever I want, in a country where people can publish whatever they want.
  • Goodreads. And WordPress. Thanks for making me able to combine my 2 great loves: literature and the internet.
  • Free bookmarks from indie bookstores. I love them.
  • My parents reading to me as a child. Mom reading me the essential children’s books, and Dad the literary classics.
  • All of my English teachers. Every single one.
  • J.K. Rowling.

And THANK YOU for reading! 🙂

Half-finished books

WE ARE HALFWAY THROUGH NABLOPOMO, PEOPLE! It has gone by very fast, and so far I’ve been doing well. Thank you to all who have been reading, and good luck to all of you bloggers who have made it this far! It’s all down hill from here…

Today I am going to make a list of books that I only half-read. We’ve all done it. I try to not do it, but sometimes life gets in the way, we discover a new book that looks more interesting, or we just plain abandon a book because we don’t like it. Here is a list of books and book series (in no particular order) that I never fully finished:

  1. The Story of Stuff: The Impact of Overconsumption on the Planet, Our Communities, and Our Health – And How We Can Make It Better by Annie Leonard: This book was chosen as my university’s “One Book, One Campus” book during my sophomore year of college. I bought the book and began to read it in order to review it for the campus blog I was writing for at the time, which unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) no longer exists. Being a nerdy English major who did all assigned readings, it was hard for me to find the time/sanity for extra reading in college. I managed to get almost halfway through the book, which was enough to write about it for the site. I’d like to finish it one day, because it was interesting, but it’s not a priority.
  2. The Difference Engine by Bruce Sterling and William Gibson: I know, right!? Steampunk fans gasp! I am ashamed to say I never finished this book because it got me confused and frustrated. I honestly couldn’t keep track of the plot and the characters. I’m not really sure why; I do remember that I was very busy at the time I was trying to read it (also during college), so there would be long stretches of time between picking it up. I really do want to start it fresh again, because it’s a seminal Steampunk classic, but again, it hasn’t been on my priority list lately.
  3. A Voyage Long and Strange: Rediscovering the New World by Tony Horwitz: This book sounded interesting, but didn’t pull me in enough to prevent me from getting distracted by other books. It’s about a guy who travels across America to rediscover its untold early history. This is another book I’d like to pick up again at some point.
  4. On the Road by Jack Kerouac: Unlike the previous 3 books, I will not be picking this one back up again. You can read more of my thoughts about the book in this post, but in short, it just wasn’t my taste. I tried to slog through it and got over halfway done, but I decided it wasn’t worth the time if I didn’t like it.
  5. Little (Grrl) Lost by Charles de Lint: I know that de Lint is like a big name in urban fantasy, especially YA urban fantasy, but I just didn’t like this book. I think I had gotten to the point where I was too old to be enticed simply by the story and wanted a little more from the prose. It failed to capture me, so I gave up. The narrative style was so dull. I know a lot of people like de Lint, and I have one of his other books on my self, but I haven’t picked it up yet because of my poor experience with this one.
  6. A Song of Ice and Fire Series by George R.R. Martin: I read the first book, but I’m in no hurry to read the rest since he’s clearly in no hurry to write them. (HEY-OOO!)
  7. The Chronicles of Narnia Series by C.S. Lewis: I’ve read 5 of the 7 in chronological plot order (cause that’s how my giant tome with all 7 books is set up). So I’ve got The Silver Chair and The Last Battle left to read. I’m definitely going to do this before the next film comes out (although after the Dawn Treader film totally sunk – PUN INTENDED, HEY-OOOO! – my expectations are low).
  8. The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini: I read books 1 and 2 and was actually a big fan of them. I think not finishing was just a problem of waiting for the next book to come out and moving on with my reading life in the interim. Also, the film. Dear God, that film.
  9. The His Dark Materials Trilogy by Phillip Pullman: I am ashamed. Books 2 and 3 are actually pretty high on my priority list, so I’m hopefully going to get on this soon. In fact, I’m going to stop writing this post now and read something to cover my shame…

Bookstore bucket list

I’ve mentioned this before, and now I’ve actually written it! Here it is, my bookstore bucket list! I’ve also included famous bookstores I have already visited (it always feels better when you write a to-do list and include some things you’ve already done just to cross them off – we all do it). The criterion for bookstores I included on my “visited” list was whether or not the bookstore was ever featured on any sort of “Bookstores you need to see” lists (which I read often). Also, I made sure that the stores on the to-visit list are attainable – because let’s face it, I probably won’t make it to too many foreign countries in my lifetime. Without further ado:

To-visit:

  • Shakespeare and Company, Paris, France
  • Basically the entire town of Hay-on-Wye, Wales
  • The Last Bookstore, Los Angeles, California
  • Bart’s Books, Ojai, California
  • Powell’s City of Books, Portland, Oregon
  • Strand, New York City, New York
  • John K. King Used and Rare Books, Detroit, Michigan

Visited (links are to posts I wrote about the store):

There’s probably a lot of gems out there I don’t know about, so let me know what I should add!

Beasts I want to see in “Fantastic Beasts”

As you know, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is being made into a movie trilogy written by J.K. herself. The first images of the film were released today, so I thought I’d do a post about it. (Also, the movie comes out on my birthday! Which is not the first time that’s happened with an HP movie. Thanks, Warner Bros.!) The movie is set in New York in the year 1926. Knowing that, most of the beasts on my list probably won’t be in the film due to where they live, but I wanted to make this list anyway, cause how cool would it be to see these on film? Of the 75 in the book, here are 9 beasts I want to see on film:

  1. Augurey – also known as the Irish Phoenix, this is a greenish-black bird resembling an underfed vulture whose cries are said to be a harbinger of death (but are actually just a harbinger of rain). I’m a sucker for darkly misunderstood creatures.
  2. Billywig – basically a bright blue Australian top. It has wings which make it spin so fast that it is almost invisible. If you get stung by one, you will suffer from “giddiness and levitation.”
  3. Crup – this is a dog for wizards. It’s a Jack Russell Terrier with a forked tail that loves wizards and hates Muggles No-Majs (Also, NO-MAJ? REALLY!?). Magical man’s best friend!
  4. Erkling – a German elfish creature that attacks children. I’m imagining something straight out of the Brothers Grimm.
  5. Fwooper – an African bird with crazy colorful plumage whose song will literally drive people insane.
  6. Jarvey – an overgrown ferret. Who can talk.
  7. Jobberknoll – a tiny blue bird who is silent until the moment of its death, when it screams out every sound it has ever heard, backwards.
  8. Mooncalf – I have to quote this one directly in order to describe it properly: “Its body is smooth and pale grey, it has bulging round eyes on top of its head, and four spindly legs with enormous flat feet.” It also dances at the full moon, which is apparently quite the sight to see.
  9. Nundu – said to be the most dangerous of beasts. A giant leopard who moves silently and whose breath wipes out entire villages. Bad. Ass.
If you marvel at J.K. Rowling’s creativity in the Harry Potter series, pick up a copy of “Fantastic Beasts” and you’ll be reminded all over again just how crazy amazing she is. All hail the queen!

What your reading position says about you!

In the wake of all the silly listicles on our beloved internet, I wrote a thing.

Cross-legged, wrapped in blankets, or sprawled on the sofa, where and how you read can actually reveal surprising things about your personality!

Laying on your stomach, book open on the ground in front of you: You are enjoying a leisurely read and have very few cares in the world at the moment. If your feet are crossed and hooked together in the air, you are in love. If they are in the air, but not crossed, you are open to the new changes coming your way. If your feet are not in the air at all, you are a grounded person who won’t let this blissful time in your life weaken your sense of the harsh, crushing bitterness of reality.

Cross-legged under the covers with a flashlight: You are probably a child who stayed up past your bedtime reading and don’t want your parents to know about it. You are most likely reading a fantasy novel and have an open-mouthed smile on your face, wide eyes staring down in wonder. There may or may not be magic sparks flying out of your book. You may or may not be a promo photo model for a children’s publishing company.

Sitting on a park bench with an open newspaper that covers your face: You’re hiding something. I don’t trust you.

Laying on your back, holding your book up above your face: I don’t know how people actually read like this. You must work out. Books can be heavy. How long have you been in that position? Can I have your number?

Hunched over a desk in a poorly-lit room with several open books: You are probably a scholar of some sort. Pouring over some long-forgotten texts from the stacks that no one has checked out since the 1930’s. I know you are very serious about your work and wish not to be disturbed, but make sure you get up and stretch out that back once in a while.

Wrapped up in blankets: You are cold.

Reclining on a chaise lounge, the sun streaming through an open window: You are either upper-class, in a Jane Austin novel, or both. You are most likely either reading Voltaire or a self-help book on finding your inner goddess. Just make sure you close the curtains soon, or else your delicate, pale skin might be burned by the outside world.

On the beach, in one of those chairs with the hole for your face so you can lay on your stomach with your book on the ground while you get your tan on: You are not afraid of looking like an idiot on the beach. Way to be you!

In a chair, straight-backed, both feet planted firmly, holding your book in front of you: No one reads like that. You don’t exist.

[Censored] Book List

It’s banned books week!  In celebration of the freedom to read whatever the hell you want, here is a list of some of my favorite banned books:

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Scary Stories (series) by Alvin Schwartz

Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling

Looking for Alaska by John Green

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

ALSO, you should totally go check out the YouTube channel for Banned Books Week, which has lots of cool videos from readers and banned authors (some of whom I mentioned above!) reading and talking about banned books!

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