Sunday, December 9, 2018

9 Literary Party Games For Avid Readers!

Still looking for the perfect gift for the literary lovers in your life? Then check out the following article from Electric Lit titled, 9 Literary Party Games for Your Brainiest Friends by Frances Yackel. In the article, Frances Yackel wrote the following:
It’s hard to combine literature and socializing. Reading a book is usually a solitary act. Sure, there’s book clubs, but there’s always that one guy who monopolizes the conversation. And don’t even get us started on literary twitter.
In our opinion, one of the best way to bond with fellow-lovers is to engage in some friendly competition. With these 9 literary party games, you can (finally) put your English degree to good use and have a fun time.
Here is a list of book-themed games for those who love literature and socializing.
Click on the above link to read the entire article! 

Saturday, December 8, 2018

10 Lesbian Novels for Your TBR

Since I recently read and reviewed, Passing Strange by Ellen Klages, I thought I'd look into other lesbian novels worth the read. 

I came across the Ink & Books vlog on YouTube, which highlights 10 lesbian novels to add to one's 'to be read' pile. 

Interestingly enough, I've already read and reviewed two of the novels listed in the video (Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters and Passing Strange by Ellen Klages), but the other 8 novels are new to me and sound like fabulous novels to read as well. So, now I have more novels to explore in the future.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Passing Strange by Ellen Klages

I had the lovely opportunity to hear Ellen Klages read some of her writing earlier this year at the American Bookbinders Museum in downtown San Francisco in June at the SF In SF event. It was at that time that I became interested in reading some of her novels.

I'd added Passing Strange by Ellen Klages to my reading wishlist on Bookcrossing. A short time later, I was surprised with a used paperback copy of Passing Strange by Ellen Klages from another Bookcrosser in September 2018. The joys of bookish surprises from other avid readers is phenomenal!

Passing Strange by Ellen Klages is a novella that falls into the LGBT and science fiction/fantasy genres. I really liked this novella a lot. The writing is solid. I enjoyed the characters immensely and the storyline as well. The ending for Passing Strange by Ellen Klages was funny, but it left me wondering what happened to two of the main characters, Haskel and Emily, that I thought would be explained with the ending of the novel.

The following is a plot summary for Passing Strange by Ellen Klages, which I found on Amazon's website:
Inspired by the pulps, film noir, and screwball comedy, Passing Strange is a story as unusual and complex as San Francisco itself from World Fantasy Award winning author Ellen Klages, and a finalist for the 2017 Nebula Award for Best Novella
San Francisco in 1940 is a haven for the unconventional. Tourists flock to the cities within the city: the Magic City of the World’s Fair on an island created of artifice and illusion; the forbidden city of Chinatown, a separate, alien world of exotic food and nightclubs that offer “authentic” experiences, straight from the pages of the pulps; and the twilight world of forbidden love, where outcasts from conventional society can meet.
Six women find their lives as tangled with each other’s as they are with the city they call home. They discover love and danger on the borders where magic, science, and art intersect.
I am giving Passing Strange by Ellen Klages a rating of 3.5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

50/50 Friday - Best/Worst Read of November 2018

50/50 Friday is a meme hosted by Carrie @ The Butterfly Reads and Laura @ Blue Eye Books. This fun themed meme focuses on the opposite sides of books (best/worst, differing opinions, etc). Every week a new topic will give bloggers the chance to showcase their answers.

Best Read in November 2018

The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy
(click on above link to read my review)

Worst Read in November 2018

Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot
(click on above link to read my review)

I find in it interesting that my best and worst reads of 
November 2018 happened to be memoirs!

Share with me your Best/Worst Read of November 2018
in the comment section below!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Devil, The Lovers, & Me: My Life in Tarot by Kimberlee Auerbach

This year I've been wanting to read many of the books that have been sitting far too long in my 'to be read' pile. The Devil, The Lovers, & Me: My Life in Tarot by Kimberlee Auerbach is a memoir I've had in my 'to be read' pile since December 2010!! 

I actually purchased this memoir on a whim from the bargain book section on Amazon. I'd never heard of The Devil, The Lovers, & Me: My Life in Tarot by Kimberlee Auerbach before. I liked the quirky title and am always up for a good memoir, so decided to purchase it.

As far as a memoir goes, I like how this book is set up! The author takes us through a tarot reading... It's like we're sitting in on the tarot reading with her. Each chapter is titled with the name of a card from her reading and focuses on the meaning of each of the cards. Each tarot card stirs up memories of the author's past, which is shared in each chapter as it pertains to the card's meaning... This makes for an interesting concept for a memoir.

Overall, I thought The Devil, The Lovers, & Me: My Life in Tarot by Kimberlee Auerbach was a good read and funny in parts. Ms. Auerbach's memoir is definitely a journey of self discovery. Trusting your inner wisdom/voice is a must. I also enjoyed reading the author interview at the end of the memoir along with the discussion questions in the reader's guide.

As a side note, The Devil, The Lovers, & Me: My Life in Tarot by Kimberlee Auerbach is the fourth memoir I've read this year that I can recall. In fact, all four memoirs I've read so far this year have been written by women!

The following a summary for The Devil, The Lovers, & Me: My Life in Tarot by Kimberlee Auerbach from Amazon:
Kimmi Auerbach has been in therapy. She’s seen a Reiki Master. She’s even given hypnosis a try. Nobody can give her want she wants—to know her future is going to be bright, that everything will be okay. So she makes an appointment with Iris Goldblatt, “tarot card reader and mirror to the soul.”

Instead of predicting the future, each card sparks a memory—like the time Kimberlee tried to be wild, and instead caught crabs from an Argentinean painter; or the time her father “proposed” at Morton’s Steakhouse (presenting her with an engagement ring for her boyfriend to use); or the moment she found the strength to kick out her freeloading ex.

In a Wizard of Oz like twist of fate, Kimberlee realizes she had the answers all along…and that it’s not about looking into the future, it’s about trusting yourself along the way.
I am giving The Devil, The Lovers, & Me: My Life in Tarot by Kimberlee Auerbach a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

13 Libraries For Book Lovers To Follow On Instagram!!

I am on Instagram and I love libraries... So when I discovered an article on Buzzfeed titled, 13 Libraries Book Lovers Need To Follow On Instagram by Kirby Beaton, I quickly read the entire article! 

I enjoyed reading about which 13 libraries are worthy for book lovers to follow on Instagram and why they are so worthy to follow.

Goodbye for now! It's time to login to my Instagram account and start following some libraries through social media. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

And the 2018 Bad Sex in Fiction Award Goes to.... James Frey!

Frankly, I didn't realize that James Frey was still writing books! I've never read any of his books and don't plan to do so ever. 

However, with that said, I've been aware that there is an annual literary award for Bad Sex In Fiction. According to an article I recently read on the Independent's website, James Frey has won the 2018 Bad Sex In Fiction Award for his novel, Katerina.

According to the article titled, Bad Sex in Fiction Award: James Frey 'honoured' to win 2018 title for novel 'Katerina' by ClĂ©mence Michallon, it stated the following:
The aim of the dreaded prize, awarded since 1993, is to draw attention to poorly written, perfunctory or redundant passages of sexual description in modern, non-pornographic, non-erotic fiction.
Until my next post, happy reading! 

Monday, December 3, 2018

12 Literary Nonprofits to Support This Holiday!!

If you're a member of Goodreads, you may have already seen and read the following article on their website yesterday titled, Do Good: 12 Literary Nonprofits to Support This Holiday posted by Cybil. In the article it says the following:
At Goodreads, we believe in the power of books to change lives. And throughout the year, we highlight various literary nonprofits our members can support. Now that the holidays are upon us and we're in the season of giving, we're rounding up 12 of our most recent "Do Good" recipients.
Click on the above link to see which literary nonprofits made the list! 

Sunday, December 2, 2018

The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food by Jennifer 8 Lee

Used Hardback Edition
Yes to reading a nonfiction food related book!! I love Chinese food... I have loved eating Chinese food almost my entire life... In fact, I can't remember a time in my life when I didn't like Chinese food. So, when I learned about The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food by Jennifer 8 Lee, I looked forward to reading it one day. 

I finally added this book to my ever growing book collection a few years ago when I found a used hardback edition for sale at the local FOL Used Bookstore in Carpinteria, California for $2. What a bargain!

I am so glad that I read The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food by Jennifer 8 Lee, even if it took me several years to finally get around to doing so. 

The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food by Jennifer 8 Lee is well researched, fun to read, and contains a plethora of information regarding the history of Chinese food in the USA, the history of the fortune cookie, the history of chop suey, the history of General Tso's Chicken, the history of soy sauce, the greatest Chinese Restaurant outside of China, and so much more. Be prepared to be entertained and gain a wealth of knowledge about Chinese food.

The following is a summary for The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food by Jennifer 8 Lee from Goodreads:
If you think McDonald's is the most ubiquitous restaurant experience in America, consider that there are more Chinese restaurants in America than McDonalds, Burger Kings, and Wendys combined. New York Times reporter and Chinese-American (or American-born Chinese). In her search, Jennifer 8 Lee traces the history of Chinese-American experience through the lens of the food. In a compelling blend of sociology and history, Jenny Lee exposes the indentured servitude Chinese restaurants expect from illegal immigrant chefs, investigates the relationship between Jews and Chinese food, and weaves a personal narrative about her own relationship with Chinese food. The Fortune Cookie Chronicles speaks to the immigrant experience as a whole, and the way it has shaped our country.
Also watch the following YouTube video of Jennifer 8 Lee giving a Ted Talk about Chinese food!

I am giving The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food by Jennifer 8 Lee a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile

I discovered author, Natalie Baszile, earlier this year when I listened to an episode of Pen & Place (a podcast). The Pen & Place podcast showcases the real world places that inspired each author's work. After listening to the Pen & Place episode featuring Natalie Baszile, I knew I had to read her novel, Queen Sugar!

I decided to listen to the unabridged audio version of Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile and narrated by Miriam Hyman. I downloaded it from Audible. Listening time for Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile is 13 hours, 42 minutes.

I really enjoyed listening to this novel! I enjoyed the characters, the plot, and storyline very much... And my listening experience was only enhanced by Miriam Hyman's superb narrating skills.

I liked that Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile was not only an entertaining read, but one that made you think as well. Racial issues/injustices play a large role in Queen Sugar in many different forms. How this effects the different characters is played out in different ways that are still so very relevant in lieu of today's current issues. 

I also liked how the main character, Charley Bordelon, starts her life over by moving to rural Louisiana from Los Angeles with her daughter and becomes a sugarcane farmer after inheriting the farm from her father. Charley faces many challenges and adversities in becoming a sugarcane farmer that go way beyond being a woman and an African American... But the fact that, Charley overcomes many difficult challenges and makes the best out of one bad situation after another showed grit and determination. She never gave up, when it would have been so easy to do just that early on in this novel... Reinvention, perseverance, and a lot of hard work + luck all played a hand in helping Charley become a successful sugarcane farmer. Charley finds a team of experienced people to help her succeed in sugarcane farming. Plus, the start of a budding romance makes the novel fun to read as well.

Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile is also filled with a cast of colorful characters not to be missed. I liked most of the characters in Queen Sugar... Prosper Denton had to be my character hands down... And Ralph Angel was my least favorite character in Queen Sugar.

The following is a plot summary for Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile from Audible:
A mother-daughter story of reinvention - about an African American woman who unexpectedly inherits a sugarcane farm in Louisiana.
Why exactly Charley Bordelon's late father left her 800 sprawling acres of sugarcane land in rural Louisiana is as mysterious as it was generous. Recognizing this as a chance to start over, Charley and her 11-year-old daughter, Micah, say good-bye to Los Angeles.
They arrive just in time for growing season but no amount of planning can prepare Charley for a Louisiana that's mired in the past: as her judgmental but big-hearted grandmother tells her, cane farming is always going to be a white man's business. As the sweltering summer unfolds, Charley must balance the overwhelming challenges of her farm with the demands of a homesick daughter, a bitter and troubled brother, and the startling desires of her own heart.
Penguin has a rich tradition of publishing strong Southern debut fiction - from Sue Monk Kidd to Kathryn Stockett to Beth Hoffman. In Queen Sugar, we now have a debut from the African American point of view. Stirring in its storytelling of one woman against the odds and intimate in its exploration of the complexities of contemporary southern life, Queen Sugar is an unforgettable tale of endurance and hope.
I am giving Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!