wrap up: September 2019

 

  1. Frankissstein by Jeannette Winterson ★★★★☆ | review
  2. The Liar by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen, translated by Sondra Silverston ★★★★☆ | review to come for BookBrowse
  3. The Need by Helen Phillips ★★☆☆☆ | review
  4. The Door by Magda Szabó, translated by Len Rix ★★★★☆ | review
  5. Valerie by Sara Stridsberg, translated by Deborah Bragan-Turner ★☆☆☆☆ | review
  6. A Spell of Winter by Helen Dunmore ★★★★★ | review
  7. Lanny by Max Porter ★★★☆☆ | review to come

Favorite: A Spell of Winter by Helen Dunmore
Honorable mention: The Liar by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen
Least favorite: Valerie by Sara Stridsberg

SEPTEMBER TOTAL: 7
YEARLY TOTAL: 87

Other posts from this month:

September was also the month that Hannah and I hosted our very halfhearted readathon which Laura Frey dubbed ‘ARCS of Shame.’  Basically the idea was to read as many ARCs as possible in 2 weeks.  This did not go particularly well.  I managed 3 – Frankissstein, The Liar, and The NeedValerie was also an ARC though I didn’t manage to finish it in time.  3 ARCs in 14 days was… not my best work, and none of them became instant favorites, but at least I managed to knock out a few!  Anyway, I know a couple of you participated in this readathon, so thanks for joining us and I hope you did better than Hannah and I did!

Life updates:

Literally nothing.  I mean, I went to NYC for a weekend, but I already talked about that in my belated August wrap up.  The highlight of the rest of my month was probably seeing the Downton Abbey movie.  Which I did not think was a particularly good movie, but, I am overly invested in that show and in Thomas Barrow in particular, so… I was satisfied.  Oh, and I have become addicted to Love Island UK, thanks to Claire, who is the only person whose television recommendations I will be taking from now on.

OH, what am I talking about: the most important thing I did this month was create the Twitter account BadGoodreads with Ally and Rick, to… as Rick puts it, to ‘celebrate’ the Goodreads search engine.  Please follow us!

Currently reading:

 

Unbelievable by T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong on audio (loving this), Cassandra by Christa Wolf (also loving this – but I put it aside for a little while because I was in this weird semi-book slump this month and the lack of chapter breaks in this book was not at all suited to what I was in the mood for – but I’m getting my reading inspiration back, slowly but surely), and Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb, which I’ve been reading for months now and which I’m determined to properly get back to in October.

What was the best book you read in September?  Comment and let me know!

P.S. Follow me!  @ Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram | Letterboxd | Ko-fi

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wrap up: August 2019

  1. The Bird Tribunal by Agnes Ravatn, translated by Rosie Hedger ★★★★★ | review
  2. But You Did Not Come Back by Marceline Loridan-Ivens, translated by Sandra Smith (audiobook) ★★★★☆ | mini review
  3. The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang ★★★☆☆ | review
  4. The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa, translated by Stephen Snyder ★★★★★ | review
  5. Notes of a Crocodile by Qiu Miaojin, translated by Bonnie Huie ★★★☆☆ | review | buddy read with Claire Reads Books
  6. Purge by Sofi Oksanen, translated by Lola Rogers ★★★★☆ | review
  7. We, The Survivors by Tash Aw ★★★★☆ | review to come mid-September for BookBrowse
  8. Isolde by Irina Odoevtseva, translated by Brian Karetnyk and Irina Steinberg ★★★★☆ | review

Favorite: The Bird Tribunal by Agnes Ravatn
Honorable mention: The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa
Least favorite: Notes of a Crocodile by Qiu Miaojin, I guess?

AUGUST TOTAL: 8
YEARLY TOTAL: 80

80 was my incredibly arbitrary Goodreads goal, so yay!  Also, 6/8 of these were by women in translation.  I did want to read more for #WITmonth but I think I did okay.

Other posts from this month:

Life updates:

So, like I said, I didn’t read as much in August as I had planned, but I ended up being kind of busy so I guess I’ll forgive myself.  For the first half of August I was cat-sitting and I ended up having a lot to do that week, and then this past weekend (technically the beginning of September, but whatever, it’s the reason this wrap up is late so I’ll talk about it now) I went to New York for the long weekend.

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It included many highlights: I went to the US Open and saw Naomi Osaka play Coco Gauff (which was wonderful); I saw the current production of Oklahoma which positively blew me away (I am not an Oklahoma fan so I did not have very high expectations, but seriously, if you have a chance to see this production, DO IT); I saw Sleep No More for the fourth time (I’m obsessed); and I met Matthew Sciarappa for brunch, after which we went to The Strand and he picked out books for me and my friends to buy.  I ended up with a copy of Compass by Mathias Énard, which I recently mentioned on here that I’m dying to read.  It was such fun.  Matthew was lovely and it was great to see my NYC friends again (New York is where my main irl friend squad lives, hence the fact that I return there so frequently).

Currently reading:

I’m failing miserably at my and Hannah’s readathon, but the Women in Translation show must go on!  I still need to finish these three books before I can pick up anything else: Cassandra by Christa Wolf (loving it), The Door by Magda Szabo (loving it), and Valerie by Sara Stridsberg (not loving it – sorry – though it is technically an ARC, so, win for me).

What was the best book you read in August?  Comment and let me know!

P.S. Follow me!  @ Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram | Letterboxd | Ko-fi

wrap up: July 2019

  1. Stubborn Archivist by Yara Rodrigues Fowler ★★★★☆ | review
  2. Permission by Saskia Vogel ★★☆☆☆ | review | buddy read with Matthew Sciarappa
  3. Walk Through Walls by Marina Abramović ★★★★★ | review
  4. Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah ★★★☆☆ | review | buddy read with Matthew Sciarappa
  5. Rough Magic by Lara Prior-Palmer ★★★★☆ | review
  6. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce, audiobook narrated by Colin Farrell ★★★☆☆ | review to come, maybe
  7. Lock Every Door by Riley Sager ★★★★☆ | review
  8. Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk ★★★★★ | review to come mid-August for BookBrowse
  9. A Girl is a Half-formed Thing by Eimear McBride ★★★★★ | review | buddy read with Callum, Hannah, Naty, Sarah, and Emily

Favorite: A Girl is a Half-formed Thing by Eimear McBride
Honorable mention: Walk Through Walls by Marina Abramović
Least favorite: Permission by Saskia Vogel

JULY TOTAL: 9
YEARLY TOTAL: 72

Other posts from this month:

Life updates:

Another relatively uneventful month for me, though I did have to go up to Montreal for a few days to attend a press check for work.  If you’ve read Severance by Ling Ma, you’ll know what that entailed; it’s basically just overseeing the printing process for our books.  Kind of boring, kind of interesting, depending on your perspective.

I also finally got to meet an online friend who I’ve known for a couple of years, Claire Andrews, who I’d never met irl despite the fact that we live an hour away from each other.  So, I hung out with her for a day the other week and that was nice!  She also took me to a bookstore that I’d been meaning to visit for years, so that was another win.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Finally, I started a ko-fi page earlier this month, so if you ever feel the strong desire to support my blog by means of a hot beverage, there it is!  I want to stress that this isn’t something I view as an expectation – Jen Campbell refers to her Patreon account as a ‘tip jar’ for creators, and I like that comparison.  The very, very minimal monetary compensation I receive from this blogging endeavor is so helpful and so appreciated, but I’m happy just to be here chatting about books with you all.

Currently reading: The Granta Book of the Irish Short Story edited by Anne Enright, The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang, and Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb.  I was hoping to finish all of these before #WITmonth, but it was not in the cards.  I may finish the Kuang later today, but that’s a bit optimistic.  I’ll definitely finish it by the end of the week though.  The other two I may put aside for the rest of the month… who knows!  Enjoying them all, there just aren’t enough hours in the day and I really want to focus on women in translation for the next couple of weeks.

What was the best book you read in July?  Comment and let me know!

P.S. Follow me!  @ Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram | Letterboxd | Ko-fi

wrap up: June 2019

I feel like I blinked and the second half of June was over so I’m kind of scrambling to get this wrap up together, but… thankfully I didn’t read very much?

 

  1. The Fire Starters by Jan Carson ★★★★★ | review
  2. Devotion by Madeline Stevens ★★★★☆ | review
  3. We Went to the Woods by Caite Dolan-Leach ★★★★☆ | review
  4. Human Chain by Seamus Heaney ★★★★★ | review
  5. Country by Michael Hughes ★★★★☆ | review
  6. The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See ★★★☆☆ | review
  7. Constellations by Sinéad Gleeson ★★★★★ | review to come

Favorite & Honorable mention in no particular order: The Fire Starters by Jan Carson & Constellations by Sinéad Gleeson
Least favorite: The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See – but 3 stars isn’t bad!

JUNE TOTAL: 7
YEARLY TOTAL: 63

Also, I’m not going to make a whole post about this but since we’re halfway through the year, here are my top 5 books I’ve read so far in 2019:

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*Not pictured: Maus by Art Spiegelman.

Other posts from this month:

Life updates:

Nothing much – I’ve fallen behind on blogging again and particularly replying to comments and reading other people’s posts, but thankfully I have a whole week off work so I’m hoping to catch up soon!

 

Currently reading: The Granta Book of the Irish Short Story edited by Anne Enright, The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce (audiobook narrated by Colin Farrell), and Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb.

What was the best book you read in June?  Comment and let me know!

P.S. Follow me!  @ Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram | Letterboxd

wrap up: May 2019

Happy Colin Farrell’s Birthday, everyone!  Another month, another reading wrap up:

  1. Night Sky With Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong ★★★★★ | review
  2. Good And Mad by Rebecca Traister ★★★★★ | review
  3. A Natural by Ross Raisin ★★★★☆ | review
  4. Swan Song by Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott ★★☆☆☆ | review
  5. So Sad Today by Melissa Broder ★★★★☆ | review
  6. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong ★★★★★ | review to come
  7. Remembered by Yvonne Battle-Felton ★★☆☆☆ | review
  8. Tell Them of Battles, Kings & Elephants by Mathias Énard ★★★★★ | review
  9. Spy Princess by Shrabani Basu ★★★☆☆ | mini review (read for work)
  10. The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America’s First Superhero by William Kalush and Larry Sloman ★★★☆☆ | mini review (read for work)
  11. Forest Bathing by Qing Li ★★★☆☆ | no review (read for work)

Favorite: Tell Them of Battles, Kings & Elephants by Mathias Énard
Honorable mention: Good and Mad by Rebecca Traister
Least favorite: Swan Song by Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott

MAY TOTAL: 11
YEARLY TOTAL: 56

Other posts from this month:

Life updates:

I’m still settling into the new job and trying to find the optimal work/life/blogging balance, so again, apologies for falling behind on here, but I’m working on it!  Not having as much free time has also forced me to think about my blog content and the kind of posts I want to be writing, other than my book reviews which will always be my staple, so ironically enough I’m actually more inspired than ever regarding my blog content, I just need to carve out the time to sit down and write.

The reason my On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous review is being held up is that it’s actually a commissioned review, my very first!  You’ll be able to read my piece in mid-June, so apologies for the wait to everyone who’s been asking for my thoughts on that book.  Spoiler alert: it was good!

Also, this probably won’t be of any interest to anyone but oh well: after two straight months of car troubles, I am very excited to announce that this afternoon I am picking up my brand new car.  This is the first new car I’ve ever bought and excited is honestly an understatement.  I feel like I haven’t gone a single month without some car problem or other in the last decade, so I’m very excited to have a clean slate on the car-repair front.

Currently reading: The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See (lol, I’m working on it), The Granta Book of the Irish Short Story edited by Anne Enright, The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang (it’s good!), The Fire Starters by Jan Carson (it’s marvelous!).

What was the best book you read in May?  Comment and let me know!

P.S. Follow me!  @ Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram | Letterboxd

wrap up: April 2019

  1. Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lillian Li ★★☆☆☆ | review
  2. Where Reasons End by Yiyun Li ★★★★☆ | review
  3. Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett ★★★★☆ | mini review
  4. Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli ★★★☆☆ | review
  5. Medusa by Pat Barker ★★★★★ | mini review
  6. Praise Song for the Butterflies by Bernice L. McFadden ★★☆☆☆ | review
  7. Maus by Art Spiegelman ★★★★★ | review
  8. The Missing Years by Lexie Elliott ★★★☆☆ | review
  9. Bottled Goods by Sophie van Llewyn ★★★☆☆ | review
  10. Lie With Me by Philippe Besson, translated by Molly Ringwald ★★★★☆ | review

Favorite: Maus by Art Spiegelman
Honorable mention: Lie With Me by Philippe Besson
Least favorite: Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lillian Li

Medusa is a short story published in The New Yorker, which I’m only including in this wrap up because I added it on Goodreads to share some interest over there, and I want my numbers to match.  You can read it here.

APRIL TOTAL: 10
YEARLY TOTAL: 46

Other posts from this month:

Life updates:

Well, for once there’s a kind of big one… I got a new job!  The company I’d been working for since 2013 went out of business in February and I was hired mid-April as an editorial assistant for a local (but also kind of low-key very well known) publisher and I am so thrilled about it.  I was already working in publishing, but I really hadn’t been expecting to find a position like this without having to relocate, so it was just a wonderful case of the timing working out perfectly.  It’s been a bit of an adjustment though, which is why I haven’t been posting as regularly; for the past year I’ve been working from home which obviously allowed me ample blogging time, and having to write posts in the evening is exhausting as I’m sure most of you know.  But I’m going to try to get back into the swing of my reading life in May, not least of all because I’m still looking for the the 5 star novel that’s been eluding me all year.

Also, unrelated, but my friend Chelsea also visited for a weekend and got me a VERY COOL belated birthday gift: she had Sally Rooney (my queen) sign a book for me!

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So, that was neat.

Currently reading: The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See, Swan Song by Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott, Good and Mad by Rebecca Traister (audio), A Natural by Ross Raisin.

What was the best book you read in April?  Comment and let me know!

P.S. Follow me!  @ Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram | Letterboxd

wrap up: March 2019

Happy birthday to me!  In honor of turning 27 today here is… a monthly wrap up!  Exciting!

  1. Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid ★★★★☆ | review
  2. When All Is Said by Anne Griffin ★★☆☆☆ | review
  3. An American Marriage by Tayari Jones ★★★☆☆ | review
  4. If, Then by Kate Hope Day ★★★☆☆ | review
  5. The Club by Takis Würger ★☆☆☆☆ | review
  6. Color and Light by Sally Rooney ★★★★★ | review
  7. Mr Salary by Sally Rooney ★★★★★ | review
  8. Troubles by JG Farrell ★★★★☆ | review
  9. Young Skins by Colin Barrett ★★★★☆ | review
  10. The Killer In Me by Olivia Kiernan ★★★★☆ | review
  11. Faith Healer by Brian Friel ★★★★★ | review
  12. Ordinary People by Diana Evans | almost done, rtc

Favorite: Faith Healer by Brian Friel
Honorable mention: Sally Rooney!
Least favorite (possibly of my life): The Club by Takis Würger

MARCH TOTAL: 12
YEARLY TOTAL: 36

You’ll notice that everything I read in March fell into one of three categories: ARCs, Women’s Prize longlisted titles, and Irish lit.  Regarding that last one, I just want to give a quick shout-out to Cathy for doing a superb job hosting Reading Ireland Month along with her co-host Niall.  If you’re even slightly interested in Irish lit, there is a wealth of resources over on Cathy’s blog, so do go check out her posts if you haven’t already!

Some of my other posts from the month:

My March reading was… okay.  I feel like what’s been missing from my 2019 reading is a novel that I really adore.  All of my favorites so far have been nonfiction, plays, or short stories… which is ironic given that one of my reading goals of the year was to read fewer novels and read more of everything else!  But I’m finding that I’m really craving a novel that just pulls me in and doesn’t let me go, something I haven’t really found with anything I’ve read so far this year.  The Friend by Sigrid Nunez has come the closest, but I’m not sure that’s a new all-time favorite.  What’s the best novel you’ve read recently??

Currently reading: I may move Cleopatra: A Life over to my ‘on hold’ shelf on Goodreads as I don’t see myself picking this back up before May… but soon I will return to it!  Unfortunately, despite being a Lisa See superfan I’m finding The Island of Sea Women to be a bit of a slog – I’m only 20% in but I haven’t touched this in weeks.  I’m hoping to finish it by mid-April though.  And finally, I’m working through Swan Song as one of my Women’s Prize reads.

Finally, I’m having such fun reading through the Women’s Prize longlist with Hannah, Callum, Sarah, Steph, and Naty – if you want to be added to a group chat on Twitter where we discuss our progress on these 16 books, please let me know!  (You do not need to read the entire longlist to join in, this is a very unofficial chat.)

What was the best book you read in March?  Comment and let me know!

P.S. Follow me!  @ Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram | Letterboxd