Behold the Dreamers, Reign, Sleeping at Last

I’m on a tablet, so posting pictures takes a trillion years so I’ll just be doing text. Apologies!

I’m going to try a year of blogging. Possibly. Or at least a while of blogging. This time I’m broadening things up. While books will be my primary content source, I’ll also start bringing in some of the work I do around books as well as other snippets of life and enjoyment of “things”.

Starting up will be a little update on my reading, watching, and listening!

I am reading… Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue. What a title!And how fitting of a title! I will be devoting an entire entry to this lovely book, but it covers SO much ground, is engaging, and I love it’s placement in time. Setting really plays a big part of the book, and I enjoy that. Also the audio is *fantastic*.

I am watching… Reign. My friend suggested it, and I have been eating my way through this. I love the soundtrack so much. And the clothing is SUPER interesting. It’s like they’ve thrown in more contemporary details with the older and the combination of everything works really well.

I am listening to… Sleeping at Last. They are doing this neat project of trying to encapture aspects of life via song. They are titling the collection Atlas. They are on Year Two of it right now, and I have been listening to that collection the most– I think Sorrow is one of my favorites so far. However, all of them have incredible lyrics.

“And I’ll run the risk
Of being intimate with brokenness
Through this magnifying glass I see a thousand finger prints
On the surfaces of who I am”
-Son, Sleeping at Last

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Top Ten New-To-Me Favorite Authors I Read For The First Time In 2015

B L O G M A S   D A Y   8

Every Tuesday The Broke and the Bookish hosts Top Ten Tuesday in which they ask a question and you list your top ten answers.

Today’s Question:

Top Ten New-To-Me Favorite Authors I Read For The First Time In 2015

One thing I’m so proud of myself is how much I’ve stretched my reading this year. As a result, I’ve read a LOT of authors I’ve never read from before. I haven’t read more than one book from most of them, so there is a chance it was more of the author+the book that made them my favorite new-to-me authors, but I’m going to give me and them the benefit of the doubt. 🙂

  1. Fredrick Backman. He has this unique way of storytelling that adds so much magic. I listened to the audio, and I just remember going on super long walks just listening to A Man Called Ove and it was the best thing ever.
  2. Lauren Groff. She wrote Fates and Furies and MAN. Can she write. She is fierce. In Fates and Furies she created this larger than life story that bursts out of the book and drags you into the complicated world she created. My coworkers and I talked non-stop about her for like a good month.
  3. Kate Forsyth. She wrote Wild which is a historical fiction about the girl who told several of the fairy tales to the Grimm brothers which were put in their Fairy Tale collections. Forsyth’s tone reminds me so much of Juliet Marillier- beautiful and filled with hope, yet melancholy and so tragic.
  4. Pierce Brown. I’ve only read Red Rising by him, but I love his world-building skills and the way he balances action with taking breaths for the reader to get to know the characters.
  5. Claudia Rankine. I love her poetry– how it feels like they stand on stable ground, yet still reaches beyond for symbols and metaphors. I like how she doesn’t hold back and how her words are so sharp.
  6. Haruki Murakami. Finally!! I’ve only dabbled in the out skirts of his writing, but I am closer to making the plunge further to some of what he is known for. What I’ve read so far is a lot more accessible than I expected it to be, and I’m enjoying what I think to be his personality shine through.
  7. Tamara Ireland Stone. I think she wrote my favorite YA book of the year that I read. The book she wrote, Every Little Thing followed a girl with OCD so closely that the character sort of seeped into you. Her ability to get inside of the character’s head is so powerful.
  8. Lauren Holmes. I read her newest short story collection Barbara the Slut and I love how she lingers on the details. I like the humor and the commentary– the ridiculous situations and how she is able to make something small and seemingly mundane into a larger interesting part of a story.
  9. Chris Abani. Oh man, this man. I read Becoming Abigail by him and somehow in the span of this novella he just ripped my heart apart. He mixes poetry with fiction and it’s beautiful and he certainly does NOT stray from super hard subject matters.
  10. Anthony Marra. I read his short story collection The Tsar of Love and Techno and I like how he takes these little bits of threads and string them together for a larger message. I still haven’t read his first novel, but it’s definitely on my to-read list!

 

On Listening and Stories

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In United States news, this week brought the verdict that the police officer Daniel Pantaleo will not be indicted for using a choke-hold on Eric Gardner, an unarmed non-violent black man, and killing him. This is right after the similar news that police officer Darren Wilson will also not be indicted for killing Michael Brown, an unarmed black man. Something about me continuing to merrily post on my way has really been weighing on my mind, so today’s Blogmas post is going to be a lot more harrowing and somber than normal.

I’ve thought about where my role and voice fits in in this situation, and truthfully? My voice doesn’t really fit in this. I am a white baby-faced woman who cannot even begin to understand how it feels to not be a white baby-faced woman and not treated as such.

But what is my role, especially here at Jenny Likes Books where I spend a lot of time talking about things I like and/or I think other people might like? It is to continue what I am doing: reading a lot and talking about what I read.

BUT.

I need to be more expansive in my reading.

Reading is important for a WHOLE bunch of reasons, but one of these reasons is that reading gives people an avenue to see life from a different perspective. The problem I find with MY reading though, is I unintentionally tend to gravitate toward just white, younger woman writers in America. Guess who I am? A white younger woman in America. As a whole, the experiences I live and the experiences I read originate from a very narrow frame of reference.

Through social media, talks with a friend, and branching out a TEENY bit more with my reading, I feel like this year I have grown to understand just *how much* my interpretations of the world and the life around me is based upon my own experiences. I’ve known this on a surface level, but this understanding is finally starting to seep into every part of me. What a limited view of the world. What a limited understanding of the people around me. What a limited understanding of social issues and just daily life. I am not comfortable with that. I am not comfortable with that at all.

So right now? What can I do? I can’t change who I am, but I can read. I can listen. I can seek out stories different than mine.

For the rest of this post, I wanted to share a few of the twitter feeds/tumblrs/blogs that I have been reading the last few months. This is by no means meant to be some sort of exhaustive where to get your information from or who to follow list. These are just a few individuals in a very large conversation voicing their experiences and shining light on other people’s experiences.

Franchesca Ramsey’s Blog

Ryan Reilly’s Twitter

Atane Ofiaja’s Tumblr 

Shaun King’s Twitter

Antonio French’s Twitter

Zeba Blay’s Twitter

Book Blogger Blogmas? MAYBE.

D A Y   1

For the past few days I have been thinking about this thing called blogmas. For those of you that don’t know, blogmas is where you blog every day in December starting December 1st-December 31st. I am still not sure if I have decided to do it. BUT. I have decided to pretend that I am and maybe perhaps also do join in?

I am so non-committal in this. Ha!  Winters are routinely messy for me in many ways which is why I’m hesitating, BUT I really have blog business I want to attend to, so I am loosely declaring that I am doing blogmas.

Where is my head at right now?

My chief motivation is the blog business I stated above. I am trying to figure out what I want to do with this blog- whether to continue as I am or sort of adjust the content. For the past four-five months, my strategy of doing this is sort of thinking about it off and on, and waiting for that IDEA to strike. As you all can probably see, that has been working out great in the sense that the blog is becoming a nonexistent blog where I don’t actually blog. (How many times can I say the word blog in this post?)

So instead, I have decided to do the exact opposite and just churn out lots of different content, and see what sticks. The timing of this is wonderful, in that it will pop me right out into the new year, which I am pretty sure is my 5th anniversary for this bugger! (oh my gosh time flies) (at least I think it’s my 5th. It could be my 6th. I am suddenly very aware that in a blink of an eye I am going to be 80 years old.) Plus, I am hoping it will get me into the spirit of holiday things.

Which brings me to my next point/motivation: getting into “the spirit.”

I have no clue what that means really, but this holiday season is the first holiday season where I am not in grad school and/or working retail and/or going through really big things, and I want to see what this is like. I love the idea of the holidays, but truthfully I am usually more of a scrooge at this point.

So here is my maybe attempt.

I am going to end this here, because every time I add another sentence it turns into a sappy mess, so let’s see what happens!

(and whew, I am doing this with 45 minutes to spare before midnight!)

Belated 24in48 Thoughts and Reading Ruts

A friend of mine asked how 24in48 went for me, and it made me realize I never gave an update anywhere with how that went.

For those that don’t know what I am talking about, it was a readathon lasting 11/15/2014-11/16/2014 in which participants read 24 out of the 48 hours. You can read more about it here and also take a look at my original post about it.

I ended up not successfully completing the 24 hours and  only completed 8 hours. Truthfully? I am one-thousand percent fine with that. While in that time I finished a book I’ve been wanting to finish and read a new book I have been wanting to read, what was more important to me was it helped me figure out what the heck has been going on with my reading lately.

I have been having a really hard time trying to figure out what I am in the mood to read, to the point where reading anything had been feeling like work or just something to check off that I’ve read on Goodreads. There are a lot of things I have read recently that I liked alright or maybe even a lot, but it didn’t hit that *SPOT.* You know? There is this moment where a writing style, a plot, a time of your life, and your mood just align and  BAM you have the perfect storm of everything you love about reading. That perfect storm has not been happening for me, and I have been desperately seeking it.

I did not reach that perfect storm that weekend, but giving myself permission to spend a HUGE chunk of my day just reading and allowing myself to start and stop books as I liked helped me figure out more of what exactly I am craving and helped me figure out what I am most definitely NOT wanting to read right now.

As a result, I am in a much much better reading place right now, because I have figured more of what I need out of my books and am able to select titles better suited to that. I am happily enjoying myself in the midst of three different stories and have just finished one this weekend that I have been thinking about constantly (How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran).

So maybe I didn’t achieve the exact goal I had set out to achieve, but what I did achieve was more important: I managed to make my passion for reading burn a little brighter. Best of luck to anyone else that has been experiencing similar difficulties! Getting out of these ruts is different for everyone and different every time, but just remember there is no right way or wrong way to read.

#24in48

So I have trepidly but fullheartedly finally decided to join in on the #24in48 readathon hosted by Rachel Manwill. You can read more about it HERE but essentially you read 24 hours in a 48 hour time period! I am soooooo behind in my reading and I am hoping this will satisfy that desire to just sink away into books and also my nerves of “falling behind” (whatever that means!).

So my proposed list:

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This very well might change, but I am going for things I already own or have checked out from the library already.

I also have been craving poetry for some reason, so I stuck some Louise Gluck in there. Oh my goodness, I am excited.

I don’t know how I am going to be updating things but I may be using my twitter and/or instagram.

Happy reading to those choosing to participate or not choosing to!

*note- I am posting this from my phone for the first time, so apologies if this post ends up being all wonky. New adventures!  Haha

Reading hopes this week :

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If you notice I am still reading North and South. My friend and I are reading it together- it’s a great way to keep in touch and revisit our English major days.

I am also about halfway through book 2 of the darkest powers series. It is keeping me on my toes! I was worried I’d lose interest in the series but so far so good.

The book club I am in is reading Jasper Fforde’s Shades of Grey. I am hoping to make some progress. We arent meeting until later in February so I am not too worried if I don’t though.

The green thing is my nook! I am super pumped to read an e-arc of Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy. I have been eagerly anticipating this for like a year.

Lastly is The Darkest Mind. I keep running into it places for some reason, so I thought I’d give it a try.

Side note: if the format of this is wonky I apologize! I am posting this from my phone.

Let me know if you’re planning on reading anything super good this week!