Graphic Novel Reviews: Raina Telgemeier

Over the past few months, I devoured five of Raina Telgemeier‘s graphic novels: the entire Baby-Sitters Club graphic novels collection and Drama.

I was a huge BSC reader back in the day, so I was excited when I first saw/heard about the graphic novels. I was interested to see how Telgemeier was going to translate the diary-heavy first-person texts to the page. Also, as someone who loved and read The Truth about Stacey approximately 8923473 times, I was really, really interested to see how Telgemeier was going to address the bedwetting thing.

What’s really sad is I had Kristy’s Great Idea on my shelf for over a year before I read it. Over a year! I have no idea why I was so resistant to starting it because I loved it. In fact, I loved all of them. The biggest surprise to me was how much I loved Claudia and Mean Janine. I didn’t remember much about it going in, but the Mimi story hit me particularly hard. My grandmother passed away earlier this year after having a stroke, so every single frame about Mimi dealing with the frustration of the stroke’s effects kind of made me want to cry. So I found that book particularly touching/moving.

Which leads me to the illustrations. I love Telgemeier’s style. Her characters are so expressive, and the drawings are sharp. The background detail adds to the story. And, obviously, she captures emotionally heavy moments really well (see above re: wanting to cry).  And that’s just in black and white!

Drama by Raina TelgemeierIn color,  Telgemeier’s drawings really pop. Drama was more fun to look at for that reason. Nice, bright colors really make the pictures, story, and characters come alive. Which was really great for Drama because it was about theater and middle school and a musical! So much fun to read, really breezy. I love the diversity of the characters Telgemeier includes in the story.

I should also mention that my daughter devoured Drama after I finished reading it as well.

In conclusion, if you haven’t read any of Raina Telgemeier’s work, you really should. She creates memorable and vibrant characters.

Oh, and I would love a page from Claudia and Mean Janine as a gift. I’m just saying.

Sources: I own Kristy’s Great Idea, got the rest from the library.

Mini Book Reviews: Summer Fiction


Parents are too easily frightened by the world their children live in. We have to protect them from harm, keep them safe as long as we can, no matter how we feel about them. It’s our duty.

The Girls of No Return by Erin Saldin: Set in Idaho at the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area, The Girls of No Return is narrated by Lida who has been sent to the Alice Marshall School because she has a Thing. I have mixed feelings about this book. Mainly because most of the other girls at the camp are far more interesting than Lida. In fact, I spent most of the book wondering why on earth Lida was telling the story. I will say, though, that Saldin does pretty deftly show why Lida’s story is important when the climax and resolution occur. And I thought it was cheating that Lida’s Thing isn’t revealed until really late in the narrative.

On the plus side, the story was beautifully written and easy to read. Loved the setting. LOVED. The wilderness just sounds beautiful and awe inspiring. I wish Saldin had used the majesty of the setting even more. Especially because Lida talks about feeling so good out in the wilderness. And! I want to know how that translates into her life after Alice Marshall, especially since the framing device is her writing about the events after the fact.

Source: Library

It’s like being in love, discovering your best friend.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein: Ah, there is so much I want to say about this book, most of which is spoilery. I will say that it took me a long time to read/finish (maybe because I was in end of the semester hell), and I almost put it aside. But when I got to that line about best friends, I had to finish. I just had to.

I’m glad I stuck with the book. The plotting is ace, and I found myself flipping back and forth from the end to the beginning to pick up clues I had missed about some of the twisty elements. I love that this book looks at non-traditional roles of women in the war effort (on both sides) and how it plays with expectations. Mostly, I love it because it’s about best friends and their fierce love for one another.

Also, it just cannot be said enough that war sucks so hard.

Source: Borrowed from a member of book club

“I’m going to tell you a secret. Our lives are shaped by the future, not by the past. Once you decide how you want your life to be, all you need to do is live into that future.”

Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall by Wendy Mass: This book was a lot darker than I thought it would be (the cover and title are cutesy), but I enjoyed it so much. Told in verse, the story recounts Tessa’s life through different items she got from the mall (where both of her parents work). Hanging in the balance between life and death, Tessa has a lot to learn about herself and how she wound up in a coma from a dodgeball accident.  That makes it sound heavy, but it’s really not. Everything is handled with a light touch and, while I understood Tessa’s disconnect, she wasn’t hopeless as a character or narrator.

I love Tessa. She’s so flawed and honest. The way she feels about her family and the way they treat her are brought out in really interesting ways. The book also has one of the best opening lines ever, endorsed by Judy Blume. So there’s that.

Source: Library

If I couldn’t name it, would I even know what it is? Would I even feel it at all?

Matched by Ally Condie: I am on a dystopian fiction hiatus, but this was a book club choice. I enjoyed it for what it was. I mean, making it a romance with a bonafide love triangle was the certainly the way to go to keep my interest. So I appreciated it for that alone. I also appreciated that this book is more like The Giver in its setting (we’re keeping you from pain!) than some of the darker dystopian fiction that’s out now (kill all the children!). That said, I won’t be seeking out the other books in the trilogy.

Oh, and I’m Team Xander. Obviously. Although I have nothing against Ky.

Source: Library


“It was a mistake,” you said. But the cruel thing was, it felt like the mistake was mine, for trusting you.

The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan: Gah, this is a book experiment done right. The book chronicles a relationship in the form of dictionary entries, in alphabetical order. I love this book so hard. I love that it’s non-linear. I love that it’s heartbreaking and painful and joyous. I love it. Love, love, love it. Such a great read.

Source: Library

The Princesses of Iowa by M. Molly Backes: I read this book a while ago, so I’m iffy on the details, but I know it deals with the aftermath of a bad accident which left one friend exiled to France, one disabled, and one physically unscathed. I had a hard time with this book, though there are things I like about it. Mainly, the girls’ focus on being elected Homecoming Queen and campaigning for it and how much the mother cared and that they were preparing for it their WHOLE LIVES just never connects with me–mostly because that’s so opposite of the experience I had in high school. Any book/movie/TV show with that sort of popularity contest at its core makes me roll my eyes, unless it’s played for ridiculousness. I do appreciate that the main character is over it all, but all the role playing and campaigning and angst about it with the perfect hair and perfect boyfriend stuff just…whatever.

But, on the plus side, this is a book about the impact of an inspiring English teacher and I can’t help but love that kind of plot/character. Not that I’m biased or anything. And! It’s about female friendship! So another mixed feelings book.

Source: Netgalley


Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce: My first Tamora Pierce! Ever! I was underwhelmed by the book, and I’m not sure if I would’ve loved it as a kid. (Probably.) Everything just moved kind of fast, and I didn’t really care about Alanna that much. In that sense, the book felt more like a plot outline, especially because the characterization was so flat. The premise is so cool, though.

Off the Shelf: 6/30

Source: My shelf

Now and Zen by Linda Gerber: Story of a Japanese-American girl who goes to Japan and finds herself. Liked the look at Japan. Everything else was pretty forgettable.

Off the Shelf: 5/30; POC Reading Challenge: 5/25

Source: My shelf

I mean, if my mother were introducing us she would say, “My daughter Jill, the actress. My son Douglas, the musician. My son Dennis; would you like to hear him do the Anacin commercial?”

But when she got around to me, what could she say? “And this is Laura. She’s twelve.”

And This Is Laura by Ellen Conford: Ellen Conford is so great! She takes this idea of a girl who feels invisible in her family, gives her a special gift (she’s psychic! maybe!) and then still manages to make it all so realistic and like it’s happening right next door. So, clearly, I need more Ellen Conford in my life.

Off the Shelf: 4/30

Source: My shelf

Book Review: The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success

So I am pretty sure this book just changed my life.

That’s a weird statement to make, especially when I found most of the The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra to be kind of blah. In my experience, most books on spirituality teach the same basic things. Each book just takes a different tack or use different language to get the same point across. So while I was reading, I had that reaction of “yeah, uh huh, heard that before, read that before, don’t I know it” throughout.

And then I got to the last chapter: The Law of Dharma.

Dharma just means purpose of life. Chopra takes it a little further and says it’s also about serving others and not just yourself.

Quite a few things in the chapter stood out to me, but here’s the biggest:

Ask yourself, if money was no concern and you had all the time and money in the world, what would you do? If you would still do what you currently do, then you are in dharma, because you have passion for what you do–you are expressing your unique talents. Then ask yourself: How am I best suited to serve humanity? Answer that question, and put it into practice.

I am very, very blessed in that I am in dharma. I love my job. I LOVE IT. I love it, I’m good at it, and I know I’m serving humanity. Teaching makes me so happy. Which led me to thinking about other things in my life. Are they making me happy? Am I serving myself and/or humanity?

Probably not.

One of the things I want to work on is “should”ing on myself. That idea that I should be doing this or that, whether it makes me happy or not. So when I read this last chapter, everything just sort of clicked into place for me. I want to be in dharma in all areas of my life. I mean, yes, we all have obligations and I’m not knocking those, but I have to remember to take care of myself, and if I’m doing that, I am best suited to be in service to other people. Which leads to another quote from the chapter:

I am going to discover my unique talents, and finding my unique talents, I am going to enjoy myself, because the process of enjoyment occurs when I go into timeless awareness. That’s when I am in a state of bliss.

Again, teaching does that for me. I have often lost track of time while teaching (aka why I now set the timer on my phone with a five-minute warning), and I sometimes feel like I could do it all day. I love interacting with my students. I love prepping for classes, I love deciding on assignments, I love picking course materials.

Ah, bliss. I want it all the time. I want to get back to losing myself in things I love.

And that’s why this book has changed my life, even if I found quite a bit of it not to have an impact. Amazing how that works.

Off the Shelf: 4/30; POC Reading Challenge: 4/25

April Mini-Reviews

Since I am so behind on book reviews, it’s time for mini-reviews! Here are some books I’ve read but have yet to review:

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie: Along with The Count of Monte Cristo, this book is a Revenge inspired read. The EW recapper floated an Agatha Christie theory [full of spoilers for Revenge and Orient Express] that–even though the show is based on CoMC–maybe the writers are layering in an Orient Express element of revenge as well. I won’t spoil the book, but I liked the idea, so, of course, I had to read Murder on the Orient Express after reading the article.

I think I read this book when I went through an Agatha Christie spell in high school/college because I was not at all surprised by who did it and how. Plus, everything about the book felt really familiar. So it was good, but unsurprising. If you want to read it, I recommend going in cold and trying to figure it out with Hercule Poirot. It’ll be more fun that way.

Also! This book counts for the TV Challenge because there totally used to be a Poirot TV series! I’d call that a win.

TV Addict: 2; Classic Double: .25

Source: Library

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi: A quick read about a girl who boards a ship whose crew members attempt a mutiny. Charlotte is smart and clever. If you think about it too hard, her transformation, as a review on Goodreads says, isn’t well foreshadowed in her character’s background. But I didn’t think about it until after I read that review, so I bought her transformation. Love Charlotte.

Off the Shelf: 3

Source: personal collection

In the end, my hope is that you’ll learn that Angry Management ain’t really where it’s at. When the rage has got ya, it’s got ya. But if you learn to tell your story, an’ tell it loud, your angry won’t get you so often.

Angry Management by Chris Crutcher: You know what’s sad? I totally started a review for this book, but never finished. That is SAD.

Anyway, it’s a collection of three short stories–excuse me, novellas–all based on some of Crutcher’s other works. Really, what Crutcher does is write fanfic of his own novels. Can you do that? Sure, if you cross, say, the world of Sarah Byrnes with that of Angus Bethune, especially when they live nowhere near each other or exist in different times. I mean, Crutcher doesn’t even have to come up with a plausible scenario for these two to meet/live near each other (oh, right, except the frame for all of the stories is that the kids are all in group therapy together, but, except for Sarah/Angus, the stories seem to exist outside of that framing device. I just went with it. Because, really, what else can you do?) but they do! So they become friends. AU fanfic right there. And, let’s face it, we all know that Crutcher is a big fan of his own books. As well he should be.

The three novellas are:

  1. “Kyle Maynard and the Craggy Face of the Moon”: Sarah Byrnes and Angus Bethune (from Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes & Athletic Shorts, respectively)
  2. “Montana Wild”: Montana West and Trey Chase (from a book/books I never read)
  3. “Meet Me at the Gates, Marcus James”: Marcus James, Mr. Simet, Matt Miller (set in the same town as Whale Talk with Mr. Simet from Whale Talk and a kid mentioned briefly in Deadline)

I liked all of the stories, but the third was probably my favorite. Matt Miller is totally literary boyfriend material. I LOVE HIM.

Man, what do you do when you know the truth, when it’s stretched out in front of you, silent?

If you’re Matt Miller, you totally do the right thing. So much love.

POC Reading Challenge: 3

Source: Library

Book Review: Jane

To expend some of my energy, I wandered the grounds and saw, for the first time, the wreck of the chestnut tree. It was black and split down the center. The two halves clung to each other, the firm base and strong roots keeping them upright. But the tree was clearly dead; one good storm would knock it over. For now, though, they formed one tree — a ruin, but an entire ruin.

I read Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre three times between high school and undergrad. THREE. Not because I wanted to, but because it was required reading. Truthfully, though, I much preferred it to Wuthering Heights, so, you take what you can get.

The point is: when I found out that April Lindner wrote Jane, a retelling of Jane Eyre, (nerd alert!) I was immediately intrigued. The premise is relatively simple: What if Jane Eyre fell in love with a rock star?

Lindner obviously respects the original novel. She makes sure to hit all the major points of the book (even managing to get in a nod at the red room). Jane is still an orphan, still all alone in the world, still detached and removed. And, of course, Jane still manages to fall for Mr. Rathburn, her much older and experienced employer.

Ultimately, though, the downfall of the novel is how little Lindner is willing to play with the narrative. Reading Jane felt JUST LIKE reading Jane Eyre, in terms of plot and tone. In any retelling, I expect the author to hit on the major points of the narrative, but I do not want to feel like I might as well be reading the original — which is how I felt reading Jane. Although, to be fair, Lindner’s Jane feels slightly less plucky than Brontë’s.

I really wanted to like this book, but somewhere around the middle, I found myself reading just to see it through to the end. (I did, after all, need to find out if Lindner ended with “Reader, I married him.”)

I admire Lindner’s ambitious undertaking. Jane Eyre is freaking long and not entirely conducive to modernity, which is why I was excited to see a retelling of it. I just wish Lindner had been a little less faithful to the original by playing around with the narrative and the characters.

I feel like by saying that I should give some examples of retellings that do what I’m talking about, so:

  • The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan
  • Kill Bill, Vol. 1 (movie), a retelling of Sleeping Beauty
  • Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, retelling of Cinderella
  • Bride and Prejudice (movie), retelling of Pride & Prejudice
  • Wuthering High and the Bard Academy novels by Cara Lockwood, retelling of Wuthering Heights and many other classics

What are some other successful retellings that play around with the originals? Let me know in the comments!

Off the shelf: 3/30

Book Review: The Romantic Obsessions & Humiliations of Annie Sehlmeier by Louise Plummer

I don’t like being an immigrant. I think of coarse-faced peasants in burlap pants carrying a couple of chickens in  a basket and leading a goat down a gangplank when I hear “immigrant.”

I picked up The Romantic Obsessions & Romantic Humiliations of Annie Sehlmeier by Louise Plummer at the library book sale because I really enjoyed The Unlikely Romance of Kate Bjorkman, which I picked up on a whim. So! Why not spend ten cents on an author I enjoyed before?

This book is about a girl whose family immigrates to the US (specifically, Utah) from Holland and what happens to her during their first year in the US.

There’s nothing about the book I didn’t like, so some highlights:

– I realized that I really want to read more realistic fiction that deals with slice of life stories. By which I mean, no heightened craziness, no wacky stuff, just…life. So I really appreciated this story for that.

– I loved the look at what it’s like to live with a senile grandparent and how difficult it is–especially dealing with the feelings of loss, anger, resentment, and sadness.

– Bras are for old women!

– The romances and obsessions of Annie and her sister, Henny, are fantastic. I loved that Annie could really like one boy and enjoy his company, but also be completely infatuated by the complete pretty and charm of another boy.

– Great exploration of sisterly relationships and, again, more resentment, but also forgiveness and love. Annie is the favorite, which causes, understandably, lots of issues.

– Awesome female friendship stuff here.

– Plummer also covers concerns of immigrants. Annie and Henny speak English, but their parents and grandmother don’t. They also had more money in Holland than they do in the US. The way the homes are laid out is different, the streets, the schools. Also, the pain of translation when doing homework is addressed. Annie has to translate all of the directions before she can do her work, so her math homework especially winds up taking her hours and hours even though she can do the work and understands the concepts. Oh, and the bra thing of course. Annie is pissed she has to wear a bra.

– I really love every single thing involving Oma, heartbreaking as they may be.

– Annie and Martha read The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCollough and suh-woon over the steaminess of it all.

– The cover fits the story perfectly. Perfectly.

Off the Shelf: 2/30

Book Review: Fatherhood

I finished Fatherhood by Bill Cosby last week, but I didn’t really know how to review it aside from saying Bill Cosby is great! I love him! He looks just like my grandpa (RIP, GRANDPA)! (No lie, kids in the store would always do double-takes when they saw my grandpa, all, “Is that MR. COSBY????”) Oh, and this book is the blueprint for The Cosby Show and also features bits from his stand up act.

With that in mind, I have decided that the best thing to do would be to just provide links to videos that parts of the books reminded me of. (I put the running time of each vid because I hate, hate when people link me to YouTube stuff without letting me know how long it’ll take to watch the video.) (Like my friend who linked me to a video of her kid saying “shh” for 8 minutes. Eight! And I kept waiting for something to HAPPEN. But I digress.)

1. Bill Cosby – “Chocolate Cake for Breakfast” (His wife tells him to make the kids breakfast; he makes them chocolate cake.) (9 minutes 28 seconds)

2. The Cosby Show – “It’s Not Easy Being Green” (Rudy tries to play her parents against each other so she can wear a dress.) (4 minutes 23 seconds)

3. The Cosby Show – “The Night of the Wretched” (Claire tells Vanessa to “shut up” and “answer me!” all at the same time.) (2 minutes 16 seconds)

4. The Cosby Show – Theo and Monopoly money (Theo says “no problem”; Cliff gives him a lesson in money.) (4 minutes 28 seconds)

5. The Cosby Show – “Vanessa’s Bad Grade” (Cliff discovers Denise has been wearing his clothes to school.) (4 minutes 41 seconds)

So that’s what the experience of reading the book was like for me: it constantly made me think of Cosby’s stand up or TV show.

Off the Shelf: 1/30

Mini book reviews: November and December

I am currently eight (!) books behind on reviews, so it’s time for some mini-reviews, yes? Yes.

The Daily Show’s Five Questions from Comedy Central: Back when Craig Kilborn hosted TDS, he had a segment in which he asked the celeb guests five questions. This book chronicles his favorites or the most memorable, I guess. I have no real opinion of this book. I read it in the bathroom, and that’s about all I have to say about it. That, and the book was worth the ten cents I spent on it at the library book sale.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling: I really, really, really want to hang out with Mindy Kaling. I think she’d be a lot of fun, and not just because we’re the same age. I liked the longer, more personal essays in this book, but the short vignettes were cute, too. I think I’d have liked this better if it were more of the longer essays or if it leaned more specifically to either personal or comedic essays. Either way, reading the book made me feel like I was sitting down and swapping stories with a good friend. A friend who I could talk about *NSYNC with.

Support Your Local LIbrary: 39; POC Reading Challenge: 23

Astronaut Academy: Zero Gravity by Dave Roman: There is a lot going on in this little comic book–a lot. Tons of characters are introduced as well as scores of conflict. In the end, though, more world building than anything went on. I felt like this book was really to get me ready for the next book in the series since the major plotline wasn’t really resolved. Great characters, though. GREAT characters.

POC Reading Challenge: 24; Graphic Novels: 9/10; Off the Shelf: 12

How Al-Anon Works for Families and Friends of Alcoholics by Al-Anon Family Groups: The first half is an outline of the program; the second half is packed full of personal stories about various experiences with Al-Anon. A great primer if you’re interested in the program. The book really told me a lot about my life as well as showing me that exploring Al-Anon is something I need to do right now.

Off the Shelf: 13

I Hate Being Gifted by Patricia Hermes: As someone identified as gifted in elementary school, I was interested to see what, exactly, the main character hated about being gifted. Turns out she was upset because the gifted class took her away from her friends and then they made new friends. HOW COULD THEY? I couldn’t really connect to or relate to the book because the focus was on friendship and cliques and sixth grade mean girls. Also, the main character was kind of whiny. It’s not like I was the most mature 12-year-old or anything, but I guess I just didn’t see what the big deal was.

Off the Shelf: 14

Best Friends Tell the Best Lies by Carol Dines: Let me just say that the cover art on my copy of the book (another library book sale find) is totally misleading. It shows three people smiling and having a snowball fight, and that did not happen at all! There was no smiling in the snow, only heartache and crying and yelling. I mean, yes, I knew this book was about lying best friends so I didn’t expect all roses and sunshine, but it was really sad. My favorite thing about the book is probably that the ending is really kind of bleak. The characters are well drawn, the conflict is solid, and the plot is realistically messy.

Off the Shelf: 15; YA Challenge: 38; YA of the ’80s and ’90s: 8

Reading Challenges 2012

My brain is so fried from grading that I am currently incapable of posting any reviews. I wish I were joking, but alas. Every time I think of writing a review, my brain just kind of shuts down, like, “Seriously? You want me to think right now? Do you know what I’ve been doing for the past three weeks?” And then I go take a nap.

So! I will post instead about the reading challenges I’m going to do next year.

At first, like Vasilly, I was all, “I’m not doing any challenges. Imma read what I wanna read.” But then I read this post she linked and had an a-ha moment. The issue for me wasn’t signing up for challenges; the issue was the type of challenges I signed up for. I mean, signing up for gimmes isn’t really challenging. Yes, I read almost exclusively YA so why sign up for a YA challenge? Same with the library book challenge, etc. Also, I was lowballing my numbers, which is not really a challenge either.

On the flip side, when I signed up for the Women Unbound challenge, that really pushed me to seek out and read books I might not have otherwise. So, with that in mind, I’m participating in the following challenges:

Off the Shelf: My bookshelves are ridiculously full of books I haven’t read yet. I mean, it’s kind of a problem. I really want to cull my shelves, especially since I’m moving this summer. So that means I’m going to do the Making a Dint level, 30 books.

  1. Fatherhood by Bill Cosby
  2. The Romantic Obsessions & Humiliations of Annie Sehlmeier by Louise Plummer
  3. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
  4. Jane by April Lindner
  5. The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra
  6. And This Is Laura by Ellen Conford
  7. Now and Zen by Linda Gerber
  8. Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce
  9. Kristy’s Great Idea by Raina Telgemeier

TV Reading Challenge: I love reading books that have been turned into other media, and I’m already planning to read The Count of Monte Cristo (see: Revenge on ABC), and this challenge will finally give me an excuse to read Peyton Place. Normally, I don’t list the books I’m reading in advance, but well, there go two right there. I’m doing the Series level, 3-4 books.

  1. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
  2. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Tea & Books Reading Challenge: Since I was already planning on reading CoMC, which is a bazillion pages long, I thought this challenge, which focuses on books with more than 700 pages might be fun. Because I don’t really read long books, I’m going for the Chamomile Lover level, 2 books. Second book TBD, obvs.

  1. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Classic Double Challenge: It’s possible that CoMC might also qualify for this challenge–as long as I can find a corresponding contemporary retelling. Can I just say I had a slight nerdgasm when I saw this challenge? SUCH A NERD. I’ll probably be taking most of my cues from the book From Hinton to Hamlet, but I could be lying. WE’LL SEE. I mean, Melissa has her own pretty comprehensive list up, so I may let that guide me. I’m doing Medium, 4 pairs of related books.

  1. The Count of Monte Cristo/Murder on the Orient Express/”Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption”

2012 Audiobook Challenge: I am all about some audiobooks, and this is kind of a gimme, except I’m going to push myself by signing up at the Going Steady level, which is 12 books. This year, I read ~8 books on audiobook, so that’s a good push. One book a month. I think I can handle that.

  1. Seriously…I’m Kidding by Ellen Degeneres
  2. Let It Go by T.D. Jakes
  3. Invisible by Pete Hautman
  4. Matilda by Roald Dahl
  5. Jeremy Brown: Secret Agent by Simon Cheshire
  6. Go the Fuck to Sleep by Adam Mansbach

And that’s it unless some super sexy challenge comes along in the next week or so. Oh, and the people who run the blog haven’t said whether or not it’s coming back, but I’m all aboard the People Of Color Reading Challenge train if it does. So I’ll just leave this here as a placeholder until it’s official.

And it’s back! I’m doing Level 5, 16-25 books.

  1. Fatherhood by Bill Cosby
  2. No Crystal Stair by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
  3. Angry Management by Chris Crutcher
  4. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
  5. The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra
  6. Let It Go by T. D. Jakes
  7. Now and Zen by Linda Gerber
  8. Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio
  9. Claudia and Mean Janine by Raina Telgemeier
  10. A La Carte by Tanita S. Davis

Mini Reviews: September

September was not a great month for books for me. I read quite a few, but none made that big of an impression, so it was hard to get motivated to blog about them, especially when I had so many other things to do. Like grade. The grading never ends.


Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge: I won this graphic novel from Vasilly, host of the Graphic Novels Challenge. It was, by far, my favorite of this batch. Not only does the book win for having a protagonist named Paige Turner (her parents love books!), but I loved the illustrations and the storyline. Paige moves with her family from Charlottesville, VA to Brooklyn, NY and has to learn how to navigate the big city and make new friends. There’s a great mix of styles, the characters are ace, and Paige, of course, comes of age with aplomb.

YA Reading Challenge: 28; Graphic Novels Challenge: 8/10

Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler: I won this a book in a contest hosted by Sara Zarr. I was going to say that she sent it to me because we’re besties, but, unfortunately, that’s a lie. She has commented directly to me on her blog, though. I’ll take what I can get.

But I digress. The point is not my fictional friendship with Sara Zarr. The point is this book! Which I thought was just okay. I liked the exploration of family and family secrets, but I found all of the characters pretty flat and didn’t feel like I even know/understood the main character that much and hers is a first-person narrative. I was also disappointed in the way the relationship with the mother was handled. Elements of the book are great; I just wish they had been executed better.

YA Reading Challenge: 29; Off the Shelf: 10

I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron: A collection of essays about aging that I picked up at the library book sale because I saw it mentioned on a few blogs. This one was strictly a bathroom book. Though, I did love the essay about purses. And this quote:

Every so often I look up from the book and see a roomful of people waiting for me to make a decision…and I can’t believe they don’t understand that what I’m doing is Much More Important. I’m reading the most wonderful book.

Off the Shelf: 11

Workin’ It! RuPaul’s Guide to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Style by RuPaul: This book is worth it for the pictures alone. Seriously.

I wanted to like it more than I did. Ru focuses on how to look and feel good. He also tells his beauty secrets and! I learned how to tuck. Which I don’t need to know, but, you know, for those who wonder. The big issue I have with the book is that it’s kind of all over the place. Is it how to be the best drag queen? How to have confidence out of drag? The secret of Ru’s success? All of those things but in no real cohesive style or order.

Fun fact: Ru refuses to dress up for Halloween on principle. Because why is it not okay every other day of the year? Love.

Like I said, the pictures are fantastic. Get it, Ru!

Support Your Local Library: 32; POC Reading Challenge: 18