Popsugar Ultimate Reading Challenge

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A book based on a fairy tale: The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

A National Book Award winner: 

A YA bestseller: All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

A book you haven’t read since high school: Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell

A book set in your home state:

A book translated to English: In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri

A romance set in the future:

A book set in Europe: A Rogue By Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean

A book that’s under 150 pages: Jagannath by Karin Tidbeck

A New York Times bestseller: 

A book that’s becoming a movie this year: Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

A book recommended by someone you just met: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

A self-improvement book:

A book you can finish in a day: The Queen by Tiffany Reisz

A book written by a celebrity: 

A political memoir: 

A book at least a hundred years older than you: 

A book that’s more than 600 pages:

A book from Oprah’s book club: Sula by Toni Morrison

A sci-fi novel:

A book recommended by a family member:

A graphic novel: Fun Home: A Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

A book published in 2016: Your Heart Is A Muscle The Size Of A Fist by Sunil Yapa

A book with a protagonist who has your occupation:

A book that takes place during summer: Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

A book and its prequel: Midnight Taxi Tango/ Half-Resurrection Blues by Daniel José Older

A murder mystery: No One Knows by J. T. Elliot

A book written by a comedian: 

Dystopian novel: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

A book with a blue cover: 

A book of poetry:

The first book you see in a bookstore: My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

Classic from the 20th century: 

Book from the library: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

An autobiography: 

A book about a road trip: 

A book about a culture you’re unfamiliar with: The Vegetarian by Han Kang

A satirical book:

A book that takes place on an island: 

A book that’s guaranteed to bring you joy: Ramona The Pest by Beverly Cleary

 

Panels Read Harder 2016

Read a self-published comic:

Read a feminist comic: The Wicked + The Divine Vol. 1: The Faust Act by Kieron Gillen

Read a comic featuring one or more teenage protagonists: Gotham Academy vol. 1 and 2 by Becky Cloonan

Read a superhero comic whose race or gender has been swapped from the original or traditional hero:

Read a complete run of a comic:

Read a comic based on a book and the book it’s based on:

Read a graphic biography: Fun Home: A Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

Read a comic that was originally published in a language different from your own:

Read a comic set in space: Star Wars: Darth Vader, vol. 1: Vader by Kieron Gillen

Read a collected webcomic: The Legend of Wonder Woman #1-21 by Renae De Liz

Read a comic with at least one creator of color: Ms. Marvel vol. 1-4 by G. Willow Wilson

Read a comic set in Asia by an Asian creator:

Read a superhero comic NOT of the Big Two: Faith #1-3 by Jody Houser

Read a slice-of-life comic not set in the U.S.:

Read a comic that has been adapted from a T.V. show or movie (not vice versa):

Read a comic about a real-life historical event: March #1 by John Lewis

Read a black-and-white comic: Drawing The Line: Indian Women Fight Back! by Priya Kurian

Read a watercolor comic:

Book Riot Read Harder 2016

Read a horror book: The Turn Of The Screw by Henry James

Read a nonfiction book about science: Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

Read a collection of essays: This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color by Cherríe L. Moraga (Editor), Gloria E. Anzaldúa (Editor), Toni Cade Bambara (Foreward)

Read a book out loud to someone else: We Gon’ Be Alright: Notes On Race And Resegregation by Jeff Chang

Read a middle grade novel: George by Alex Gino

Read a biography (not memoir or autobiography): Notorious R.B.G: The Life And Times Of Ruth Bader Ginsberg by Irin Carmon

Read a dystopian or post-apocalyptic novel: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Read a book originally published in the decade you were born: Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

Listen to an audiobook that has won an Audie Award: Not My Father’s Son by Alan Cumming

Read a book over 500 pages long: The Queen Of The Night by Alexander Chee

Read a book under 100 pages: The Day I Swapped My Dad For Two Goldfish by Neil Gaiman

Read a book by or about a person that identifies as transgender: All The Birds In The Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

Read a book that is set in the Middle East: The Wrath And The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Read a book that is by an author from Southeast Asia: Inside Out And Back Again by Thanhha Lai

Read a book of historical fiction set before 1900: Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

Read the first book in a series by a person of color: Half-Resurrection Blues by Daniel José Older

Read a non-superhero comic that debuted in the last three years: Bitch Planet Volume 1 by Kelly Sue DeConnick

Read a book that was adapted into a movie, then watch the movie. Debate which is better: The BFG by Roald Dahl

Read a nonfiction book about feminism or dealing with feminist themes: Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution by Mona Eltahawy

Read a book about religion (fiction or nonfiction): Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

Read a book about politics, in your country or another (fiction or nonfiction): Lafayette In The Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell

Read a food memoir: Dinner With Edward: A Story Of An Unexpected Friendship by Isabel Vincent

Read a play: Hamilton the Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarthy (fight me, I dare you)

Read a book with a main character that has a mental illness: The Vegetarian by Han Kang

Reading Challenges 2016

Hello folks,

Okay, first of all, I can’t believe that it’s April because HOLY COW where did the last three months go? Anyway, I’m still figuring out how to use WordPress and mess around with themes and the like ( I have been told my learning celeration is at least a solid x2 so I’ll get there fast, I promise). Over the weekend I came up with a bunch of ideas for blog posts, quickly became overwhelmed trying to decide how to go about them, and currently taking 20 minutes out of my workday to type this in my basement office-space while drinking coffee (it’s all about multi-tasking, baby).

The point of all this is to say that I put a pin on all of the time-consuming blog posts for a second and just do a quick summary of the reading challenges that I’m participating in this year. This is not an exhaustive list, as I keep adding to them, but I will figure out a better way to organize this, I promise (i.e., new friends and blogging experts, your suggestions are most welcome!)

The roster (Note- these are the annual challenges only, there’s others like Weirdathon, 245in48, and Dewey’s 24 hour marathon that I participate in as well):

  1. Goodreads 2016 Reading Challenge: I started out this year with a goal of 75 books, pushed that to a 100 by the end of January, and then pushed it to 150 at the end of February. I have come to accept that this reading goal will shift as I progress through the year.
  2. Book Riot Read Harder 2016: This one is going pretty well so far, since it has been the primary factor that has shaped my reading behavior in the last year.
  3. Panels Read Harder 2016: I’m very new to the comic-book world, and all of my comic interests are governed by kickass female protagonists, minority protagonists, non-conforming characters, graphic novels, etc., making this the perfect challenge for a newbie.
  4. Read My Own Damn Books: (Ha, this one took a hit in the first quarter of the year but I’m going to make a sincere effort in April, goddammit). Edit: I forgot that I actually need to sign-up for this with a blog link, oops. It has been added to my to-do list.
  5. Popsugar Ultimate Reading Challenge: I started this challenge at the beginning of the year because at that time I had only committed to doing Book Riot’s challenge. Since I have been reading more than I did last year this challenge doesn’t seem too daunting, so I’m plugging away at it along with everything else.
  6. Read The Books You Buy Challenge 2016: I discovered this challenge 20 minutes ago, and will make my commitment post at some point today in order to sign up, but this goes well with the RMODB challenge because man I have been book-shopping a LOT.

I think that’s it, I could be wrong. Like I said, I’m still working out how best to organize these in order to keep them updated. If you don’t want to see my brains explode all over the blogosphere, please feel free to chime in with solutions/suggestions!

Also, I’m having a solid case of the Mondays (feelings of overwhelm resulting in avoidance, classic), and I’m hoping I snap out of it soon.

Current mood:

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Hope y’all are heading into a wonderful week 🙂

-J

Weirdathon round-up

So as I was emerging from my reading slump, I discovered reading challenges and readathons. As I discovered by following book bloggers and bookworms on twitter, there’s quite a few of these floating around. I participated in my first one January which was the 24in48 Readathon hosted by Rachel Manwill (incidentally, she’s also the curator of the 2016 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge and the 2016 Panels Read Harder Challenge). It was a beautiful weekend filled with books, reading, interacting with other participants, and a general sense of belonging with the bookish community which was a potent reinforcer of my reading behavior. I also attended my first Read Harder Book Group in Chicago (Yes, I was pleasantly surprised to have been ‘featured’ in their recap). Clearly, interacting with the bookish community in person or online is functional in maintaining high rates of reading. 

Then in February, Lotte hosted the #5books7days readathon, which unsurprisingly was a lot of fun. I did attempt to curate a stack, but obviously didn’t stick with it. It was the challenge that lead me to reading my first Daniel José Older book, for which I’m grateful. 

Along came March, and the wonderful Julianne (Outlandish Lit) hosted a month-long Weirdathon.

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The challenge was pretty straightforward: “Read as many weird books as you can during March.” It has been real fancy- with tasks, giveaways, weekly weird-offs between book bloggers, and tons of awesome recommendations. I participated, and although I didn’t cross of all the tasks, I thought I’d do a short *snort* recap of the weird books I did read:

1. Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older:

shadowshaperFirst of all, Daniel José Older is amazing at writing POC characters. Second, I wish this book had existed for me to read back in high school or even college, because I would’ve eaten it right up back then as I did now. The main character Sierra is such a kickass protagonist. Weeping murals, supernatural order that connects with spirits via music, paintings, and stories, once-friendly-now-turned-evil-and-greedy-Shadowshaper, it’s everything I wanted to kick-off this ‘thon. I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Anika Noni Rose, who did a brilliant job with the narration and gave life to the characters. I definitely recommend you get your hands on this book.  

 

2. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Fairyland #1) by Catherynne M. Valente

fairylandTwelve-year old September’s ordinary life in Omaha takes a turn when she is invited on an adventure one day by the Green Wind, who alludes to her services being required in Fairyland. Once there, she meets a very fickle Marquess who requires her to retrieve a talisman from the enchanted woods…or else. Through her journey, she meets and befriends several creatures, including a book-loving Wyvern (my personal fave).

Looking for an Alice In Wonderland sort of reading experience? Look no further. 

 

3. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

night circusH.O.L.Y. S.H.I.T. HOW HAD I NEVER READ THIS BOOK BEFORE. 

“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices plastered on lampposts and billboards. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.”

(Hmm, I sort of don’t want to summarize this one.)

Basic plot: Two young illusionists are in competition with each other, and the circus is their playing field. They’ve been trained all their lives for this by their respective masters. The “game” can only end with the last man standing.

I refuse to say anything more. Just go to your nearest book source and read this ASAP if you haven’t already. SO GOOD. This made my all-time favorites list. 

 

4. The Wicked + The Divine Volume 1: The Faust Act by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie (Illustrations), Matt Wilson (Colorist),Clayton Cowles

wic div.jpg“Just because you’re immortal, doesn’t mean you’re going to live forever.”

Once again, I am reluctant to give too much away. So here’s the premise: Every ninety years, twelve gods incarnate as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead. A friend had lent me their copy and it had been sitting on my shelf for months, so I decided that weirdathon was as good a time as any. Boy, this absolutely fits the bill. Gorgeous illustrations. Needless to say, I’ve got the rest of them waiting to be read. Kieron Gillen is a fucking genius. 

 

5. All The Birds In The Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

all the birds.jpgAh science fiction. Gotta love it. Brings worlds together.

The shelf-talker at the bookstore said that this book brought Hermione Granger, Artemis Fowl, and Marvin (from Hitchhiker’s) into the same universe. That’s pretty much the best description I could offer to you.

Go read it, sci-fi nerds. You’ll love it. If you’re not a sci-fi nerd, I recommend you take a peek.

 

 

6. Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

jane steele.jpgI don’t know if it’s just me, but it seems like retellings have been in-style recently. There’s several reasons why I was looking forward to this book. Feminist protagonist? Check. Brontë sister? Check. Reimagining Jane Eyre? DOUBLE check. 

“Reader, I murdered him.” 

Jane Steele, our protagonist, is a Jane Eyre fangirl, and her life eerily mirrors our Brontë heroine. Dark humor, gothic fiction, pertinent POC characters, a murdering  protagonist, and a dash of romance- this book had me at the edge of my seat and gasping audibly, especially those last 100 pages. Plot lines, character development, structure, and writing were A++++. GO READ THE BOOK.*

 

That’s about it, I think. Thanks to Julianne for hosting such a great readathon! I enjoyed reading ALL of the books, and my favorite part of the whole thing were the weekly weird-offs (good old-fashioned book bloggers duel, what’s not to love?)

*Disclaimer: There will be a lot of times in this space where I shall urge you to GO READ THE BOOK because I absolutely loved it. I make no apologies. 

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Until next time, folks! 

 

-J

 

You gotta start somewhere, yeah?

After a lot of hemming and hawing, I’m entering the blogosphere. For anyone who’s known me for a while, feel free to skip this post.

For those of you that are interested, here’s a rough timeline:

I was born in India but spent the first 17 years of my life in Muscat, Oman (don’t stress about having to Google that, I’ve got all the information you need right here). I moved to India to do my undergrad, and then moved to Chicago in 2013 for grad school.

In the process of all of these things, I read a LOT (reading under the duvet using a flashlight past my bedtime was a nighttime ritual that began in middle school). Then grad school happened, and I was swamped with so much academic reading that I barely had the time, or energy to read much else. However, with the people I was fortunate to meet in-person and/or interact with in the twitterverse, I became more cognizant of the social justice movement and engaged in educating myself in causes that I was passionate about (diversity, intersectional feminism, etc).  

Since the beginning of this year, I have gained some of my previous reading mojo which has led to several awesome things- creating interventions for my reading behavior, reading mindfully, connecting with members of the bookternet, geeking out about books with fellow booknerds, actively participating in readathons and reading challenges, and in general making my reading more meaningful and fulfilling. For all of this, I have to thank the good folks over at Book Riot, who are doing phenomenal work for the bookish community. They’ve (inadvertently) been pivotal in this whole attempt-to-put-thoughts-about-books-onto-paper thing. 

Anyway, I don’t really know how I will be going about this. I mean, talking about books I’m enjoying- it shouldn’t be too hard yeah?

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Anyway, if you stumbled on this page on your way to read things written by people who know what they’re talking about, thank you for making it all the way to the end of the post. Feel free to say hi! 

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Books completed (2016)

This is a running list of the books (prose only, maybe graphic novels) I’ve finished reading in 2016. You can click on the title to be redirected to its Goodreads page: 

January

February

March

April

May

June

July