Top Ten Tuesday: Fellow Book Nerds

One thing I've realized while compiling this list: I don't read enough books about people who love books. (Note to self: It's about time you read The Book Thief, yes?) Because of that fact, thinking of bookish characters beyond the first 3 was difficult, hence why there's only 8 characters on this "top ten" list. 

 

Hermione Granger (Harry Potter)

It could have to do with my recent binge-reading of Harry Potter, but honestly, what is a list about book nerds without Hermione Granger?  Hermione is pretty much synonymous with books and reading. She's not "the brightest witch of her age" for nothing. Her first stop in any conundrum is the library and she always has a book with her. I mean, homegirl brought books to the battlefield, literally. She made being reading and being the smart girl cool and I owe more than just my love of reading to her character.  

 

Cath Avery (Fangirl)

Maybe this book is just on my mind because I'm reviewing it on Thursday, but Cath is the definition of a bookworm. She basically lives between the pages of her Simon Snow (her world's Harry Potter) books, having burrowed into the books so hardcore that she spends every moment writing Simon Snow fanfiction. In fact, Fangirl is very much a story about Cath learning how to live outside of books.

 

Elizabeth Bennett (Pride & Prejudice)

I feel like I don't have to say much about Lizzie Bennett. Aside from the fact that it's in the sitting room surrounding by books where she begins to fall for Mr. Darcy despite herself, she's also attributed one of the best bookish quotes ever: "I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book!... When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library." Word, Lizzie. I feel ya.

 

Tessa Gray (The Infernal Devices)

At the first, we know that Tessa loves books. This love of books is what makes her one of my favorite characters. It's the only thing that gets her through her days of imprisonment early in the series. She reads books multiple times and has a full-on fangirl moment when she sees the Institute's library for the first time. Her love of books is what bonds her to the next character on this list.

 

Will Herondale (The Infernal Devices)

Will Herondale is every YA booklover's fictional crush because he too appreciates the gift of a good book. He and Tessa flirt via witty banter about books (and it's the cutest thing ever!) and then he goes and says one of my favorite quotes of the series: "It was books that made me feel that perhaps I was not completely alone. They could be honest with me, and I with them". As if we weren't swooning already!

 

Chubs (The Darkest Minds)

I'm not sure if Chubs really counts for this one - he happens to live in a dystopian world where only one book is really available to him. But in my head, Chubs would be a book nerd if he could be. Throughout the entire novel (if I remember correctly), he's the one who reads the map because as someone who has superior knowledge he is seen as the smart one of the group. Also, I distinctly remember him being described as a reader, carrying around a tattered copy of ___ and reread it all the time. 

 

Charlie (Perks of Being Wallflower)

Charlie is a bit of loner, which is pretty much the first ingredient in any book loving character. Because Charlie has a pretty difficult time connecting with people and making friends, he finds solace in books and characters. Through Perks, Charlie devours novel after novel his teacher gives him. I'm not sure Charlie would describe himself as a book nerd, but he definitely qualifies.

 

Matilda Wormwood (Matilda)

Confession: I didn't actually read the book Matilda, but I watched the movie multiple times as a child. And I'll never forget the library montage when Matilda gets her little red wagon and pulls it to and from the library full of books, growing older with each trip. It was like Matilda was growing up with every book she read and I wanted a wagon full of books just like her. Along with Hermoine, Matilda is at least partly responsible for my love of reading.

   

 

What are some of your favorite characters who love books? What books about book lovers should I read?

Book Review: Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Title: Yes Please

Author: Amy Poehler

Publication: 2014

Honestly speaking (or writing?), I really liked this book, I enjoyed it, but I wasn't blown away by it. It wasn't really what I expected, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but as the unexpected seemed to fall a little flat sometimes, it lessened my enjoyment of it slightly. I should disclose that I listened to this book as opposed to actually reading it. I haven't listened to a book in years and I'd heard that Yes Please, being read by Amy Poehler herself, was a  good audiobook to get. I think this added to the enjoyment of the book.

Now I may not have loved it, but there were quite a few things I really liked about the book. Some parts of it really resonated with me. 

In one of the beginning chapters, Amy writes: "I had already made a decision early on that I would be a plain girl with tons of personality." She follows this up by advising "Decide what your currency is early, let go of what you'll never have. People who do this are happier and sexier." Setting aside how this advice seems to hint that being the "pretty girl" is actual currency in life, I like what it represents. Embracing who we are, what we are good at can definitely save us from pointless painful attempts at what we are not. It also speaks directly to my struggle (and I'm sure the struggle of most girls) of living in a community that places such a high bounty on "being bad" or "having a body". (Bleh!) There are quite a few moments that feel very relatable in this way, which both surprised and delighted me. Further, listening to the book added a very personal touch to the experience. I didn't feel like I was reading a book about the greatest hits or accomplishments of Amy Poehler pushed at me as a ploy to get me to purchase something or another. I felt like I was sitting in my living room with Amy while she told me her life story, finishing bottle after bottle of wine as the tales became increasingly funny along the way. 

The unexpected is that Yes Please isn't clutching my stomach funny, which I expected as on the few occasions I've seen Poehler's comedy, I typically laughed my head off. But don't be fooled. There were quite a few lols and I found there was a general thread of amusement running through the book. There was an incident regarding an airplane conveyor belt that got rewound several times. A chapter entitled "The robots will kill us all" made me snort in laughter multiple times because it was so true. And a bit about Parks & Rec (which I regretfully haven't seen yet) between Poehler and creator Michael Schur is full of funny inside jokes that you don't mind because you're laughing too. Sometimes it felt like she was going off script, with funny asides and witty conversations she'd have with her guest stars, and that made it so personal. It was less like a comedian telling jokes for a laugh, and more like listening to a funny friend tell you a story. I loved that. 

Yes Please worked best when it wasn't trying too hard. When it would turn on a more serious note, it sometimes felt forced or fell flat because it felt out of place with Poehler's more lighthearted voice. But when Yes Please  took it easy, relying on Poehler's seemingly natural storytelling ability and easy, relatable brand of comedy, it was wonderful. 

                                                     4 stars =  Stay up late!

                                                     4 stars =  Stay up late!

If you're thinking about reading Yes Please, you should, especially if you can get the audiobook.

Literary Ladies Summer Reading Challenge Month #1

I have to admit it's kind of weird, hosting a check-in instead of checking-in to a reading challenge. It's like being invited into the teacher's lounge in school or listening in on your aunts' adult conversation at the kitchen table. Like "I'm totally not suppose to be here. Will they notice? Hehe". It's like I'm going to get caught and sent away - "hey you don't belong in here!" But I digress. I'll get over it :)

Regardless of how weird it is to be on this side of things, here I am, here we are, a month into the Literary Ladies Summer Reading Challenge and checking in with our progress. It will be short on my end considering I have not read many of the books. Eeep!

Now when I say I haven't read many of the books, I mean specifically those for the challenge. Because if you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you are fully aware: Homegirl has been reading like mad, just all the wrong books. In the past month, I've read over 2,000 pages in the form of 5 Harry Potter novels and I regret nothing. I loved each of them as much as I did previously, maybe more so (especially true of HP5) and I've loved jumping into the Wizarding World. However, this is bad news for my book challenge as I've only read one book from my preliminary list. 

Now technically, the Harry Potter novels could satisfy several of the challenge categories - they're young adult, written by a non-US author, recommended by everyone, were made into movies, are full of suspense and are associated with summer as they were released years ago every summer - but somehow that feels like cheating. In all fairness, I've only read one challenge book, Yes Please by Amy Poehler, which I technically didn't even read. I listened to it via audiobook and even with the constant distractions that play into me "listening" to a book, I feel like this was a great choice. I will be reviewing Yes Please on Thursday of this week, so I won't say much now other than, I liked it. It was funny and unexpectedly insightful and worth the read. 

*Edit: I just realized that I read Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone last month and it could count for the YA category of this challenge, so for now, let's count it as two books read.

My Progress: 2 out of 10

Categories completed: YA book & book written by a comedian

How did you do this month? Hopefully better than me!

If you are participating in the Literary Ladies Summer Book Challenge, link your update posts below. (Or alternatively, if you don't blog/don't want to: (1) fill out this form if you have finished the challenge, or (2) comment below with updates so far so we can add you in. You can also use Instagram to check-in using the #literaryladies). You can grab the button below to include in your post if you want!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Celebrating Diverse Books and Characters

Random fact about myself: I frequently forget what date it is. Not day. No. I know that it's a hot and muggy Monday night in the middle of the summer. But today being the 20th of July just didn't register until a moment ago. With that comes the reminder: Tomorrow is the 21st, the first check-in for the Literary Ladies Summer Reading Challenge and also a Tuesday so a Top Ten Tuesday, and ah, I can't do both! So I'm writing this post late on Monday night before writing my check-in post for tomorrow because I didn't want to skip anything. 

*Takes deep breath* Well, now that I've explained that in great, and probably unnecessary, detail...

Diversity in books. Seriously, the dedication of a Top Ten Tuesday doesn't even do this topic justice. I would need, oh I don't know, a whole series to talk about it! The diversity we need, the diversity we don't have, the diversity I hope, as a black woman and a writer, to bring to the industry. Nevertheless for now, I shall represent it all by the lovely #WeNeedDiverseBooks and my top ten diverse characters or books celebrating diversity. Also, I'm sure the fact that there are only 5 books on this list because I cannot think of 10 books touting diversity, that speaks volumes.

 

Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

I've sung this novel's praises numerous times but in case you missed it, here's my review. I love this novel. I feel like it has burrowed it's way into my heart and found a home there. I think of it frequently and I think of it fondly. It's sweet, loving, inspiring, and most relevantly, handles diversity in such a unique and masterful way that you forget it's about diversity at all. I won't go much deeper for fear of spoilers, but there's a reason it won a Printz Award. If you haven't read it, you must.  

 

 

Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

Throne of Glass isn't really a diverse book as a whole. However, it does have one of most lovely, astoundingly beautiful characters who happens to be a woman of color, Nehemia.... . Part of my appreciation for Nehemia comes from her characterization itself but part of it comes from the treatment of the character by Sarah J. Maas. Nehemia is the princess of Ellywe, a [nation]..., and is deep brown in complexion (as evidenced by Sarah J. Maas' Pinterest). She is rebellious and headstrong while also being a generous, self-sacrificing, stunning human being. She is a vigilante and a figurehead around which a rebellion can take place, and she truly, truly cares about her people, even to the detriment of herself. And the way Sarah J. Maas treats her... I'm not sure I can find words to describe it. To put it simply, and most definitely inadequately, she treats Nehemia like a queen, and it is so beautiful to see that it almost moves me to tears.     

 

The Lunar Chronicles Series by Marissa Meyer

For those of you who may not know, The Lunar Chronicles is a sci-fi series ... (see my review of the first two books here and here). Not only does each novel take place in a different location and culture, including a place called New Beijing with a culture that resembles that of [China], but the final installment is a retelling of Snow White centering around the life of Winter, ... Also, she happens to be black.  

 

Shadowhunter Chronicles by Cassandra Clare  

There are quite a few people who don't like Cassandra Clare's novels - I am not one of them. You could consider it my guilty pleasure except I don't feel the least bit guilty about it. Her novels include diversity within fantastical creatures as well as human beings. I very much enjoy reading both of her current series, The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices, I plan to read and enjoy her next two, The Dark Artifices and The Last Hours. Not only do I appreciate the authors inclusion of all kinds of people in her books, I greatly appreciate her demand of maintaining and even broadening said diversity in the adaptation of them.

 

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

I know, I know. What is this book doing here? Well, hear me out right quick. Yes, traditionally, the classic novel by Emily Brontë is not taught of as a diverse book or a novel containing much diversity worth inclusion in such a category. But after the recent film adaptation in which the character of Heathcliff was cast as a black man, my traditional view of the novel has changed immensely. As indicated in this post from last year, I reread the novel after seeing the recent film and it's like everything clicked into place. Of course! A black Heathcliff made so much sense for the situation. At the very least, we have to agree that Heathcliff was "other" in some way that made him an outcast. He was diverse for his time, so to speak. 

Do you know of any books celebrating diversity? Please, leave me them in the comments below!

Top Ten Tuesday: Last 10 Books

First thing's first, despite, the controversy surrounding the novel, hooray for Go Set A Watchman's releases today! Mockingbird shaped me as a teen so I have high hopes anyway. 

This week's topic couldn't have come at a better time. I have bought - cringe  - over 20 books this past month. I know, I know. Excessive. But I love books, books are life, I regret nothing (I say as my debit card jumps off the ledge. Eep!). 

So last ten books I've gotten? Piece of cake. 

A Court of Thorns and Roses

 

1. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

Affectionately known as ACOTAR, it's been at the top of my TBR list since months before its release when the author announced it on Twitter. It's just so pretty and it's a fairy tale retelling of one of my favs, Beauty & the Beast, so I had to buy it. 

Since You've Been Gone

 

2. Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Released last year, Since You've Been Gone seems like such a fun book and it has such a fun cover! I love the premise of the shy girl stepping out of her comfort zone under the (somewhat) guidance of her more outgoing BFF. I predict some super cute friendship moments, which is what makes it the perfect read for the "summer read" category in our Literary Ladies Summer Reading Challenge

Saga Volume 2

 

3. Saga Volume 2 by Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples

I read Volume 1 exactly a year ago and really liked it so I picked up Volume 2 for a quick, entertaining, "gotta hit my GoodReads challenge" read. Plus, as a teen who loved manga, I really appreciate graphic novels.  

Ruin & Rising

 

4. Ruin & Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Book Outlet is my book kryptonite. I log on and suddenly my cart's full of books I don't need and might not ever read but am going to buy anyway because, cheap books. Ive been trying to be more selective with my purchase because of that little impulse, but when I saw the final installment to The Grisha Trilogy for like $6 in hardback, it felt like a steal. Now that I have the entire trilogy sitting in my shelf there's not excuse not to binge read it. 

Ashes to Ashes

 

5. Ashes to Ashes by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian  

I read the first book in this trilogy earlier this year and I have the 2nd on my shelf ready to go. I'm hoping that having the final installment will motivate me to finish up the trilogy because I really did enjoy the first book.   

To All The Boys I've Loved Before

 

7. To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

The sequel, P.S. I Love You, came out sometime in May (I think) so when I caught the first book on BookOutlet for like pennies I had to buy it. Plus, a cute contemporary about a girl who writes letters to the boys she fancies, address them but put them under her bed, and then they miraculously all get sent out one day... it just seems like such a fun, summer read.

The Bone Season

 

8. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

I've had my eye on this novel for so long that I truly don't remember what it's about. I just knew that I really wanted it and it had been sitting in my BookOutlet cart for months.

The Rithmatist

 

9. The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson

Last week, I mentioned my embarrassment that I hadn't read a Brandon Sanderson novel yet. It's that same feeling that led me to pick up The Rithmatist because I caught it on BookOutlet in hardcover for pretty cheap (are we seeing a pattern here?). Although I don't think I'll read this as my first Sanderson novel, I'm glad to have it. 

Saint Anything

 

10. Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

Kind of a given considering it's the Literary Ladies Book Club book of the month for July. Despite my obsession with her novels in high school, I haven't read a Sarah Dessen book in quite a while. So I can't wait to read it this month and talk about it with everyone! (Twitter chat: 7/30, Review & link-up: 8/4)

What books have you gotten recently? Not that I need to buy any more books, for real :)

June Favorites + July Goals

You can blame Harry Potter for the delay and for the general lack of posts around here recently - I've been sucked into the magical world again and I. Can't. Stop. Reading. Send help! (Except not really. I'm perfectly alright.) 

It's basically mid-July already so the time for goal setting and monthly favorites has long past, but I didn't want to skip it all completely. I like documenting about goals because it makes me more likely to accomplish them, and I like being able to look back on my favorites as things I loved. So I figured I'd do a quick post about them both.

Monthly Favorites

Song(s): Ava by FAMY

The final scene of the Teen Wolf premiere last month (the heart-wrenching scene where Scott adds Alison's name to the Senior Scribe project) was complimented perfectly by this track. I mean, Teen Wolf usually has really great music but this song was such a perfect addition to that moment and I've been listening to it ever since. LOVE. These few lines, "My conscience burning, My eyes are too, Cuddled up with hard contempt, Does she love you? And, I swear I do", they about killed me. Real tears, guys. Real tears.

Scent: Salt Air by dementer

I have no doubt that this little roll on perfume oil is going to be a summer favorite for me for the entirety of the 3 months it is acceptable to wear it. It smells of the beach, the mixed scent of salt water and beach air nearly knocking you over as you walk along the boardwalk. And it is glorious :) 

Book: Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

I just. I loved this novel. It was real but also romantic, and both sad and exciting at the same time. It's about a high school girl with OCD who has friends she's grown out of ... I'm not explaining any of this right. I did much better in my review of it last month so check out my full review here! 

TV Show: Pretty Little Liars

It's back and just as mind-blowing as ever. After leaving us on a major cliff-hanger as always (Like wtf is Charles?!), PLL came back for it's summer installment this June and I'm loving it yet again. Really though, every season finale I complain that we're never gonna know who A is, yet every premiere I jump right back in to the insanity. PLL, why can't I quit you?


Monthly Goals

I didn't make much headway with last month's goals:

  1. Fitness - not completed. First 1/2 the month was great though!
  2. Write that novel - not completed. But read the entire MS (200+ pgs) so progress.
  3. Explore the city - started but not completed.
  4. Relaunch book club - YES. Check it out!
  5. Read more books - completed! Thank aforementioned HP kick for that one.
  6. Keep apartment clean - not completed.

Now for July (although it's like 1/2 over), some repeats and some newbies:

+ Get fit. For real, this is getting tired... 

+ Draft of my novel. June reconnected me with my dear MS, and although I've realized the story is much darker than I originally anticipated, I feel much more confident going forward. So July, be good to me & my baby, please? I'm looking to write a ton. Also, getting back on my IG prose series, I Feel Infinite, because damnnn.

+ Paperwork galore. I've got entirely too much paperwork to handle because I've put it all off far too long. Professional paperwork, personal paperwork, just all of it. I'm terrible at adult-ing. 

+ Book blogging. One look at my archives way back in September of 2013 (just 2 months after I started blogging) will reveal a love of stories and books. I've always known that books would play a large part in my blog because they play a large part in my life, but I didn't want to get stuck there. But, I can't deny that books is just where it's at, so I plan to blog at least 2x a week about bookish things in addition to plenty of other stuffs. Hopefully...

+ Monthly content from Skylights Magazine. For a few weeks, Mae and I struggled to find a system that works for us. When we began, we were treating Skylights like a blog, posting multiple times a week, because it's all we knew. But, you live, you learn. Although great to begin in blog format, magazine format (releasing all content once per month like a print magazine) suits our schedules and our potential audience much better. So this Wednesday, July 15th, we're kicking off with a mini-issue, and then a full Issue No.4 will be released on August 3rd. We'd love your support <3

Which of your goals have you met so far this month?