Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Why We Can't Wait by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Civil Rights Book
Yes, I finished reading my fifth read for the month of February 2018! I chose to read the paperback edition of Why We Can't Wait by Martin Luther King, Jr. for so many reasons as follows.

Last month was the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday here in the USA, which was on January 15th. This year, the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday actually fell on Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday. Martin Luther King, Jr. would have turned 89 years old this year if he was still with us today.

Sadly, it occurred to me over the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend that I only had a very basic understanding of who Martin Luther King, Jr. was. I was familiar with Martin Luther King, Jr. as being a Civil Rights Leader and his famous, 'I have a dream' speech. I was also aware that he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, and of his assassination on April 4, 1968... Along with a few other basics of his life. So, I was inspired to learn more about Martin Luther King, Jr.'s life. 

For me personally, I figured I could read all the basic biographical information about Martin Luther King, Jr. I wanted to know about him online. My main interest was learning more extensively about Martin Luther King, Jr.'s views and leadership during the Civil Rights Movement and how he helped to organize and propel this movement forward. 

So, when I came across Why We Can't Wait by Martin Luther King, Jr., I knew this would be the book for me to read and chose to read it during the month of February for Black History Month.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Why We Can't Wait by Martin Luther King, Jr. I feel like this book is a MUST read book for ALL AMERICANS!! 

Here's what I really enjoyed learning about over the course of reading Why We Can't Wait by Martin Luther King, Jr.:

* Learn the Civil Rights Movement through Martin Luther King Jr.'s words and perspective.
* Read a detailed history of the Civil Rights Movement with special emphasis on Birmingham, Alabama, which in 1963 was the most racially segregated city in the USA at the time. 
* MLK, Jr. goes on to describe why 1963 was the right time for the 'Negro Revolution' to begin and he also emphasized why the Birmingham Campaign was the perfect starting point for this revolution.
* MLK, Jr. also describe's what direct nonviolent action is, why it was used, and why it is so powerful.
* Read MLK's letter from jail in Birmingham, Alabama, which was his response to a published statement by eight clergymen who felt King's activities at the time were 'unwise and untimely'. Not everyone agreed with how to proceed/move forward, which is also discussed in the book
* MLK, Jr. emphasized 'Why We Can't Wait' was so important.
* The afterward by Jesse L. Jackson was also worth the read as well.
* And so much more!

I really learned so much through reading Why We Can't Wait by Martin Luther King, Jr. The information I've learned through reading Why We Can't Wait has only enriched my understanding of American history as it pertains to the Civil Rights Movement.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination. I can't help wonder what he would think about America today and the progress we've made moving forward.

I'd also be curious to learn Martin Luther King, Jr.'s thoughts regarding President Donald Trump. President Trump has made many racist, xenophobic, and sexist comments. Last month, in fact, Trump referred to Haiti and African Countries as 'Shithole Countries'. No President of the United States of America should be making such racist comments.

Anyway, I can't help but feel like Why We Can't Wait by Martin Luther King, Jr. is still a relevant book to read today. 

The following is the publisher's summary of Why We Can't Wait by Martin Luther King, Jr. found on Amazon:
In 1963, Birmingham, Alabama, was perhaps the most racially segregated city in the United States. The campaign launched by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Civil Rights movement on the segregated streets of Birmingham demonstrated to the world the power of nonviolent direct action.

In this remarkable book—winner of the Nobel Peace Prize—Dr. King recounts the story of Birmingham in vivid detail, tracing the history of the struggle for civil rights back to its beginnings three centuries ago and looking to the future, assessing the work to be done beyond Birmingham to bring about full equality for African Americans. Above all, Dr. King offers an eloquent and penetrating analysis of the events and pressures that propelled the Civil Rights movement from lunch counter sit-ins and prayer marches to the forefront of American consciousness.
Since its publication in the 1960s, Why We Can’t Wait has become an indisputable classic. Now, more than ever, it is an enduring testament to the wise and courageous vision of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Includes photographs and an Afterword by Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.
I am giving Why We Can't Wait by Martin Luther King, Jr. a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 stars. Don't wait, read this book!

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top 20 Books I Want To Reread!!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader GirlTop Ten Tuesday was originally created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

I am not sure there is any SINGLE book I could reread forever. However, I do have a LONG LIST of books I'd love to reread again.

In an effort to curb my long list of rereads for this week's post, I've chosen to focus on ten nonfiction and ten fiction books I'd like to reread sometime in the future.

Below (in no specific order) is my list of twenty books I'd enjoy rereading again.

1. Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior by Temple Grandin
2. The Master & Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
3. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
4. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden 
5. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
6. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
7. The Assassination of the Archduke: Sarajevo 1914 and the Romance That Changed the World by Sue Woolmans & Greg King
8. The Dispatcher by John Scalzi

9. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
10. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
11. This Common Secret by Susan Wicklund 
12. My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem 
13. The Soloist by Steve Lopez
14. Power of the Habit by Charles Duhigg
15. The Forty Fathom Bank by Les Galloway
16. People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
17. The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers
18. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Burrows and Mary Ann Shaffer
19. The Scent of God by Beryl Singleton Bissell
20. Stoned: Jewelry, Obsession, and How Desire Shapes the World by Aja Raden

Share with me in the comments section below a few books you'd like to reread again!!

Monday, February 26, 2018

March 2018 Take Control of Your TBR Pile Challenge ~ My Sign-up Post

Kimberly over on Caffeinated Reviewer is hosting a month long reading challenge during March 2018 called the Take Control of Your TBR Pile Challenge!! This is the 6th year this challenge will be taking place.

Below is a quick blurb about the March 2018 Take Control of Your TBR Pile Challenge from the Caffeinated Reader website:

The rules are simple: for the entire month of March, you focus on reading/listening to books in your TBR pile released before March 1, 2018. They can be eBooks, physical books or audiobooks. Let’s clean off those shelves and finish those series and trilogies!
This is one of my favorite events as my to-be-read pile is often neglected. For those with a backlist of ARCs have no fear, as long as they have already published you can count them!
I will provide motivation with a grand prize of a new release of your choice. I am giving you time to clear your calendars and sort through your TBR piles by posting early, so no excuses..we can do this! Open to all participants as long as Book Depository ships to your address.
Are you ready to accept the Challenge?

Click on the above link to read the official rules for March 2018 Take Control of Your TBR Pile Challenge and to sign up!

This will be the first time I will be participating in the Take Control of Your TBR Pile Challenge. I look forward to reading some of my older books during the month of March.

I plan to read five books by five different women writers as March is Women's History Month. I will not be choosing books that focus specifically on women's history or women's issues, but at least I am choosing to read books written by women during the month of March.

Here are the five books I plan to read in March 2018:

1. All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker (Advance Reader Edition)
2. Where The Lost Girls Go by R. J. Noonan (Received for FREE through Goodreads)
3. Pack of Two: The Intricate Bond Between People & Dogs by Caroline Knapp (I need to finish reading this book)
4. The Devil, The Lovers, & Me: My Life In Tarot by Kimberlee Auerbach (I need to finish reading this book)
5. The Fortune Cookie Chronicles by Jennifer 8. Lee (I need to finish reading  this book)

I hope you'll be joining me in reading books from your tbr pile in March!

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

The Danger of the Single Story ~ A Ted Talk with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

After reading, We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a friend of mine recommended watching The Danger of the Single Story ~ A Ted Talk with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. 

I promptly watch The Danger of the Single Story ~ A Ted Talk with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, which is approximately 20 minutes in length and was blown away once again by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's wisdom!

My favorite quote from the above video of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is: "The single story creates stereotypes and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story." 

Diversity is key and knowing all sides of a story is crucial in understanding the world around us.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Paperback Nonfiction
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a short book that is 52 pages in length. It's a nonfiction essay dealing with the specific topic of feminism. I was able to read this book in one sitting!

I've been wanting to read We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for quite awhile and had planned to read it next month for Women's History Month. However, I simply couldn't wait to read it sooner rather than later... I'm glad that I decided to read We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie earlier than anticipated.

Although I thoroughly enjoyed reading We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, I felt like several ideas discussed in Adichie's book, were ideas I was already familiar with through reading other feminist texts. However, that doesn't mean that I didn't learn anything new at all or that I didn't enjoy the powerful message contained between it's covers.

What I enjoyed most about reading We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is that it is very readable, yet contains a very powerful, straightforward message about the importance of being a feminist. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie also makes a great case on why it is important to begin raising our children differently without the usual gender stereotypes/biases. 

I think We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie should be read by everyone, men and women alike. We all have the power to change our views and outlook to make the world a better, more inclusive place for all.

Below is a synopsis of We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie from Amazon:
The highly acclaimed, provocative New York Times bestseller—a personal, eloquently-argued essay, adapted from the much-admired TEDx talk of the same name—from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, award-winning author of Americanah. Here she offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century, one rooted in inclusion and awareness. Drawing extensively on her own experiences and her deep understanding of the often masked realities of sexual politics, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman now—and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists.
I am giving We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie a rating of 4 stars out 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

An Untamed State by Roxane Gay

ebook Edition ~ Fiction
I finished reading the novel An Untamed State by Roxane Gay earlier this afternoon and it is the first work written by Roxane Gay that I have actually read... I've had the eBook edition of An Untamed State in my 'to be read' pile on my Kindle for roughly 2 years before I decided to finally read it. I had been putting off reading A Untamed State as I'd heard that it is a difficult novel to read due to the nature of the events that take place in the novel itself.

So, let's start from the beginning. I am really glad that I read An Untamed State by Roxane Gay. I completely and fully understand the accolades that Roxane Gay receives for her writing prowess as An Untamed State is skillfully and solidly written. There isn't a thing I would change about the way this novel is written... The characters, storytelling, plot, themes, pace, flow, and so on are amazingly well done!! An Untamed State is a captivating novel from start to finish. 

As much as I truly enjoyed reading An Untamed State by Roxane Gay, it is a difficult novel to read due to the nature of what happens to the leading character, Mireille Duval Jameson... If you are at all squeamish reading about a violent kidnapping, brutal mental, emotional, and physical assault and rape/gang rape + the aftermath of moving forward and putting one's life back together, then maybe this isn't the novel for you to read.

I think Roxane Gay does an exceptional job writing about privilege and the juxtaposition of crushing poverty.  Gay touches upon the theme of fairy tales and that fairy tales can easily be destroyed. There is no sugarcoating what happens to Mireille Duval Jameson's character in this novel. Gay paints a very multifaceted portrait that not only shows how the kidnapping effects Mireille, but how it effects her entire family. 

It took me ten days to read An Untamed State by Roxane Gay. It's a novel I could have easily finished reading much sooner. However, I found myself needing time to process what I was reading... Plus, other activities in real life cropped up that need to be addressed as well. 

So, far An Untamed State by Roxane Gay is my favorite read for the month of February 2018. 

As a fun side note, last year, I was lucky enough to hear/see Roxane Gay speak at the 2017 Bay Area Book Festival in Berkeley, California. Her talk was amazing!! I was able to have Roxane Gay sign two of her books for me. So, now I have Difficult Women and Bad Feminist to read by Roxane Gay as well. I look forward to reading both books.

The following is a plot summary for An Untamed State by Roxane Gay from Amazon:
Roxane Gay is a powerful new literary voice whose short stories and essays have already earned her an enthusiastic audience. In An Untamed State, she delivers an assured debut about a woman kidnapped for ransom, her captivity as her father refuses to pay and her husband fights for her release over thirteen days, and her struggle to come to terms with the ordeal in its aftermath.
Mireille Duval Jameson is living a fairy tale. The strong-willed youngest daughter of one of Haiti’s richest sons, she has an adoring husband, a precocious infant son, by all appearances a perfect life. The fairy tale ends one day when Mireille is kidnapped in broad daylight by a gang of heavily armed men, in front of her father’s Port au Prince estate. Held captive by a man who calls himself The Commander, Mireille waits for her father to pay her ransom. As it becomes clear her father intends to resist the kidnappers, Mireille must endure the torments of a man who resents everything she represents.
An Untamed State is a novel of privilege in the face of crushing poverty, and of the lawless anger that corrupt governments produce. It is the story of a willful woman attempting to find her way back to the person she once was, and of how redemption is found in the most unexpected of places. An Untamed State establishes Roxane Gay as a writer of prodigious, arresting talent.
I am giving An Untamed State by Roxane Gay a rating of 5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

9 Books Donald Trump Really Needs To Read

President's Day has officially come and gone, but I couldn't help but notice and read an interesting article on Bustle's website titled, 9 Books Donald Trump Really Needs To Read, From 'Between The World And Me' To 'I Am Malala' by Melissa Ragsdale.

In the article, Melissa Ragsdale wrote the following:
It's been more than a year since Donald Trump became president, and in that time, he has shown a phenomenal distaste for reading of any kind. Recent reports claim that he doesn’t read his top-secret intelligence reports. Full Frontal with Samantha Bee even did a segment that jokingly theorizing that perhaps the president can't read at all.

This is a problem for many reasons. As president, Trump’s goal ought to be to represent all of America, and one of the easiest ways to understand the hearts and minds of people whose experiences are different from yours is to read widely.
It's pretty unlikely that Trump will see this list, let alone follow my recommendations. But even if he can't or won't read these books, these books are essential reading for every American. The more knowledge we spread, the better equipped we all are to make the world a better place.
I've already read three of the books mentioned in Melissa Ragsdale's article ~ I Am Malala, Night, and Nasty Women ~ and agree that all three books are most definitely worth the read for a better understanding of the world around us. 

I also have added a few of the other book titles to my ever growing reading wish list.

Whether the books listed in the above article are the best ones out there to be be read by President Trump or not, is irrelevant to me... I simply question whether the message contained within in each book would make any positive impact on President Trump at all. 

I think the books listed in Melissa Ragsdale's above article would make for great reading whether the President reads them or the rest of the nation reads them. 

Reasons Why Not to Use the Phrase 'The Great American Novel'

I came across an article on Bustle's website titled, "The Great American Novel" Doesn't Do Justice To The Breadth And Greatness Of Literature In The U.S. by Kristian Wilson. In the article, Kristian Wilson makes a great case why we should avoid using the phrase "The Great American Novel".

In the above mentioned article, Kristian Wilson writes the following:
When he first coined the phrase "Great American Novel" in the title of an 1868 essay, John De Forest probably didn't imagine that people would still be running down his dream 150 years later. Writing for The New York Times in 2015, Cheryl Strayed pointed out that most of us mistake De Forest's intention. She argues that, rather than a single, definitive book — a "picture of the ordinary emotions and manners of American existence" — De Forest's essay was intended to inspire "not one Great American Novel, but rather the development of a literary canon that accurately portrayed our complex national character." Can one book do that? I don't think so.
I'd tend to agree with Kristian Wilson that it would be difficult for one novel to capture the complexities of our nation in one tome. 

I also think Kristian Wilson offers the following wisdom by writing the following in her article as well:
So let's cut the pursuit of the Great American Novel and focus on what really matters: producing and promoting literature written by people at every intersection of the American experience.
What are your thoughts??

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Are You A Fan Of True Crime Podcasts?? Then You Need To Check Out 'West Cork' On Audible!!

Yesterday, I discovered that Audible has an original true crime podcast series called 'West Cork' AND this podcast sounds amazing!! Read the following summary about 'West Cork' from Audible:
This much we do know: Sophie Toscan du Plantier was murdered days before Christmas in 1996, her broken body discovered at the edge of her property near the town of Schull in West Cork, Ireland. The rest remains a mystery.
Gripping, yet ever elusive, join the real-life hunt for answers in the year’s first not-to-be-missed, true-crime series. Investigative journalist Sam Bungey and documentarian Jennifer Forde guide listeners through the brutal, unsolved murder and the tangled web of its investigation, while introducing an intricate cast of characters, a provocative prime suspect, and a recovering community whose story begs to be heard.
There have already been over 2,400 ratings for 'West Cork' on Audible from audio listeners with an overall average rating of 4.2 stars. 

Additionally, I've learned that 'West Cork' is FREE to download from Audible through May 9, 2018. Plus, 'West Cork' offers an online interactive feature on their website as well. Pretty cool stuff, right!?

I've already download 'West Cork' and look forward to listening to it.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Audible Is Producing Plays As Podcasts

I love listening to Audible productions. Earlier today, I read an article published on Bustle's website titled, Audible Is Producing Plays As Podcasts, And You Can Listen To Them In A Single Sitting by Kristian Wilson. In the article, Kristian Wilson wrote the following:
If you have a favorite play you'd love to own as a portable recording, this audiobook platform might have you covered. Audible is now producing audio plays for listeners to enjoy, and the starting lineup looks downright inspirational. Here's what you can expect from this new endeavor. 
Audible recently designated $5 million to bankroll the work of 15 up-and-coming playwrights, who will write audio plays with no more than two characters. This new format means that you can swap out your evening podcast for a full-length play you've purchased through the Audible platform. Although the inaugural class of artists was "chosen by an advisory board of judges," according to the Observer, The L.A. Times says that "[f]uture Audible commissions will be announced on a rolling basis . . . relying on an open-submission process in conjunction with input from an advisory board."

Seventy-three percent of the inaugural class of Audible playwrights are women and people of color. 
These plays look promising to listen to for sure!!  

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day to All My Blogging & Reading Friends!!

May your day be filled with love and 
surrounded by those you hold dear...

May you also find some quiet time
to devote to the joys of reading a book!!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Ten Very Hot & Steamy Romances!!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader GirlTop Ten Tuesday was originally created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

With Valentine's Day happening tomorrow, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite hot and steamy romances!

1. Kentucky On The Rocks by Gwendolyn Grace
2. Black Mark's Resistance by Ebony Olson
3. Bone Deep by Bonnie Dee
4. Pure Sex by Lucinda Betts, Bonnie Edwards, & Sasha White
5. Ivan (Her Russian Protector #1) by Roxie Rivera
8. Sexy In Stilettos by Nana Malone
9. First Night by Lauren Blakely
10. Luca's Mate by Kristina King

Do you have a favorite hot and steamy romance read? If so, please share the title and author in the comment section below!

Monday, February 12, 2018

7 Books Which Serve to Remind Us That Life Goes On for Women After 70!

I came across an interesting article on Electric Lit titled, 7 Books to Remind You That Life Goes On for Women After 70. In the article it says:
It’s rare to see senior women on TV at all, let alone dating, doing drugs, running a business, and having fun with their friends. If you’re hungry for more content like Grace and Frankie, you may be out of luck on the small screen—but we’ve rounded up seven novels whose over-70 protagonists do more than just reminisce and wait to die. If you are, know, or just want to become a fierce old lady, start here.
I found myself loving the title of the above article and also curious as to which 7 books listed in the article. I will be adding a few of them to my ever growing reading wishlist. 

I am a middle aged woman myself. Although, I rarely define myself as having reached middle age.... However, I digress. I mainly wanted to write that I feel like women, especially elderly woman, are not portrayed very often in leading roles in novels. I think it's important to see more older women featured more prominently in novels in a positive light. I say this because woman in the baby boomer generation (ages 51-69) and older, make up a large sector of the population. So it would make sense to see more novels with positive, elderly women role models as leading characters. I think it is important to celebrate the wisdom older women have to offer. 

Books People Refuse to Read and the Books Selected May Surprise You!

I just came across an article on Buzzfeed titled, 34 Books People Refuse To Read That Will Surprise You by Jarry Lee. In the article, Jarry Lee wrote the following:
We asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us what books they will never, ever read.
Most of the books that made the list were a surprise to me! I'll admit that I am completely uninterested in reading Donald Trump's book, The Art of the Deal... Frankly, I would rather watch paint dry!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Love In A Nutshell by Janet Evanovich & Dorien Kelly

I've had the hardback edition of Love In A Nutshell by Janet Evanovich & Dorien Kelly in my collection since 2013!! I purchased Love In A Nutshell from the remainder section at a big box store. This book has been sitting around too long in my 'to be read' pile, so I finally decided to read it this month in honor of Valentine's Day and all things L-O-V-E related!

Well, I wasn't overly impressed with this novel. It's not like I loved or hated this book, but I felt like Love In A Nutshell by Janet Evanovich & Dorien Kelly was easy reading... It's pure fluff, plain and simple!!

Essentially, Love In A Nutshell by Janet Evanovich & Dorien Kelly is the perfect beach read/novel to read while traveling/on vacation if you enjoy reading romance novels with a touch of mystery. Love In A Nutshell by Janet Evanovich & Dorien Kelly has the predictable ending with mediocre characters.

The following is a plot summary for Love In A Nutshell by Janet Evanovich & Dorien Kelly from Amazon:
Number one bestselling author Janet Evanovich teams up with award-winning author Dorien Kelly to deliver a sparkling novel of romantic suspense, small-town antics, secretive sabotage, and lots and lots of beer.
Kate Appleton needs a job. Her husband has left her, she's been fired from her position as a magazine editor, and the only place she wants to go is to her parents' summer house, The Nutshell, in Keene's Harbor, Michigan. Kate's plan is to turn The Nutshell into a Bed and Breakfast. Problem is, she needs cash, and the only job she can land is less than savory.
Matt Culhane wants Kate to spy on his brewery employees. Someone has been sabotaging his company, and Kate is just new enough in town that she can insert herself into Culhane's business and snoop around for him. If Kate finds the culprit, Matt will pay her a $20,000 bonus. Needless to say, Kate is highly motivated. But several problems present themselves. Kate despises beer. No one seems to trust her. And she is falling hard for her boss.
Can these two smoke out a saboteur, save Kate's family home, and keep a killer from closing in…all while resisting their undeniable attraction to one another? Filled with humor, heart, and loveable characters, Love in a Nutshell is delicious fun.
Love In A Nutshell by Janet Evanovich & Dorien Kelly is an okay read. I am giving Love In A Nutshell by Janet Evanovich & Dorien Kelly a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Saturday, February 10, 2018


Who wouldn't want to visit literary cafes and bars from around the world where famous writers hung out?? 

I enjoyed checking out the 35 bars and cafes mentioned in Emily Temple's article on Literary Hub's website titled, A VISUAL TOUR OF 35 LITERARY BARS AND CAFÉS FROM AROUND THE WORLD. In the article, Emily Temple writes:
In our habitual fantasies, writers do nothing but sit at small café tables, sometimes meeting with their friends, other times gazing wistfully into a pint or swirling an espresso before they scribble down their latest brilliant thought. It may have worked for Hemingway, but I’m here to tell you: that’s not usually what writing looks like. But hey, it’s Friday. So what better time to indulge our daydreams and salivate over a few of the bars and cafés that famous writers frequented in days of yore? I mean, writerly fantasies aside, I wouldn’t mind reading for a while in any one of these. Of course, this is nowhere near a complete list of every place a famous writer ever drank—not least because in the interest of avoiding the New York/Paris/Dublin trap, I’ve limited the choices to one per city—so feel free to add on to the list. Now, without any further ado: 35 literary watering holes in 35 cities. Which one would you visit?
So, click on the top list to see which cafes and bars made the list! 

Thursday, February 8, 2018

How to Donate a Book Just by Posting a Selfie On Instagram!

Want to donate a book to a worthy cause?? This is an easy way to do so and it won't cost you a cent!

Here's the scoop! I came across an article online through Real Simple's website titled, How to Donate a Book Just by Posting a Selfie by Katie Holdefehr. In the article, Katie Holdefehr wrote the following:
If you’ve ever followed along with Reese Witherspoon’s book club, then you already know that the star loves a good book. And yesterday, Witherspoon announced on Instagram that she’s teaming up with Disney and A Wrinkle in Time to support an important cause: providing books to children in need.
Want to help the cause? Witherspoon explains how easy it is in the caption on her post: “Post your #shelfie with the hashtag #MagicOfStorytelling and @Disney will donate a new book to a child in need through @firstbookorg ! ” It’s that easy—and it won’t cost you anything to contribute. If you're wondering what a shelfie is, check out #MagicOfStorytelling for inspiration. It typically means a photo of a beautifully styled shelf (and there are plenty of those that have been submitted), but if you don’t want to spend time revamping your bookshelves, don’t worry—the official entry rules ask for a selfie taken with a book. And it doesn’t have to be A Wrinkle in Time, but any title of your choosing. Then, just remember to tag it #MagicOfStorytelling, and Disney will donate a book to First Book, a non-profit that provides books and other educational resources to kids in need.
So, let's hop to it and post our selfies on Instagram with the requisite book in the photo and appropriate hashtags in the post to make sure a child in need has a book to read!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Books That Have Been On My TBR the Longest and I Still Haven’t Read

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader GirlTop Ten Tuesday was originally created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week's topic is all about the books that have been in my 'to be read' pile the longest, but I still haven't read! I have so many books that I've had for years!! I can't remember exactly how long I've had many of them. But below is a list of books I've had with me a long time and still have not read to this day.

1. Special Topics In Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl (Since 2006ish)
2. Riven Rock by T. C. Boyle
3. You Had Me at Woof: How Dogs Taught Me the Secrets of Happiness by Julie Klam
4. Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron
5. The Year of The Flood by Margaret Atwood
6. Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese
7. Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee
8. Room by Emma Donoghue
9. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
10. An Eagle Named Freedom: My True Story of a Remarkable Friendship by Jeff Guidry

So, which books have you had for a long time, but have yet to read?

Monday, February 5, 2018

The Boy Next Door by Katie Van Ark

Paperback Edition
I received an Advanced Reader's Paperback Edition of The Boy Next Door by Katie Van Ark through Goodreads Giveaways back in early 2015 (????). I finally decided to pull it out of my 'to be read' pile and read it this month in honor of Valentine's Day.

The Boy Next Door by Katie Van Ark falls into the Young Adult Romance Genre. 

Below is my honest, unbiased review of The Boy Next Door by Katie Van Ark.

What I loved about The Boy Next Door by Katie Van Ark:

* I love young adult novels and romance novels, so this novel was a perfect blend of two genres I like.
* I love the entire ice skating theme of this novel and it plays a major part in this novel.
* I liked the main characters of Maddy & Gabe.
* I liked the short alternating chapters. Each chapter focusing on either Maddy's viewpoint or Gabe's viewpoint.
* Igor, the ice skating coach, was another favorite character.
* The tension/drama that happens in this novel between the main characters before the main characters finally come together and make their romance work.
* The life lessons learned by both Maddy & Gabe by the end of the novel make it worthwhile.
* The sweet ending of this novel. 

What I didn't love about The Boy Next Door by Katie Van Ark:

* It takes too long for Gabe to figure out his feelings for Maddy.
* Just when you think Maddy & Gabe are good relationship wise, more drama ensues.
* It takes a tragedy to make them realize how they really feel about their relationship.
* The ending of this novel, although good, was too short.

The following is the plot summary for The Boy Next Door by Katie Van Ark from Amazon:
Family conflict, changing relationships, and questions of identity are at the heart of this engaging spin on the classic romance plotline.
Maddy Spier's been in love with the boy next door forever. As his figure skating partner, she spends time in his arms every day. But she's also seen his arms around other girls―lots of other girls. How can she make him realize that they can be partners off the ice as well?
Gabe's relationship with Maddy is vital. He can't imagine skating with anyone else, and together they have a real chance at greatness–maybe even making it to the Olympics someday. So he's decided to think of her as a sister. After all, family is forever, and he's never dated anyone for more than two weeks.
Then their coach assigns a new romantic skating program, and everything changes. Will this be the big break that Maddy's been hoping for or the big breakup that Gabe has always feared? 
Chosen by readers like you for Macmillan's young adult imprint Swoon Reads, debut author Katie Van Ark’s novel The Boy Next Door is full of competition, misunderstandings, and of course, plenty of romance.
I am giving The Boy Next Door by Katie Van Ark a rating of 3.5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Online Book Clubs You Can Join Right Now!!

I discovered an article on Bustle's website titled, 14 Online Book Clubs You Can Join Right Now by Charlotte Ahlin. In the article, Charlotte Ahlin writes the following:
I don't know about the rest of you, but whenever I'm reading a good book, I spend every waking moment wanting to talk about that book. The trouble is, most of the people around me are not reading the same book, and they have no interest in hearing all my feelings about Octavia Butler over a glass of wine at 11 PM. That's where book clubs come in. Book clubs are the perfect way to keep reading, talk about what you're reading, and make friends with other readers. And you don't even have to leave your house to join one. Here are some of the most popular online book clubs to get you started.
I mean, yes, starting a book club with your friends or your co-workers or your mom's friends' co-workers is still very much an option. But if it's hard for you to get together with your fellow readers in the analog world, or if you're looking for some new reading inspiration, these are the book clubs you should know about. From diversifying your personal bookshelf to helping incarcerated readers get access to reading material, these book clubs are creating communities and changing the book club paradigm.
I've been wanting to join a book club for awhile. Perhaps an online book club would work best for me. 

Saturday, February 3, 2018

The 10 Most Well-Read Cities In The United States

Yes, it's really cool to see which cities are the most well read cities in the USA. So, when I came across an article on Bustle titled, The 10 Most Well-Read Cities In The United States Aren't What You Would Expect by Kristian Wilson, I couldn't wait to see which cities topped the list.

I was expecting Iowa City, Iowa to make the list, but it didn't make the top ten list. Instead, Ames, Iowa made the list!!

Click on the above link to see which US cities made the top ten most well read cities.

Friday, February 2, 2018

50/50 Friday ~ Best/Worst Book Read in January 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.

This week's topic is your Best/Worst Book Read in January 2018!

Best Book Read in January 2018

(click above link to read my review of this nonfiction book)

Worst Book Read in January 2018

(click above link to read my review of this dystopian novel)

So which book was your Best/Worst Book Read
in January 2018?

Thursday, February 1, 2018

We by Yevgeny Zamyatin

Dystopian Fiction ~ eBook Edition
I graduated with a BA in Russian Language from the University of Iowa. I have a deep fondness for Russian classic literature.

I haven't read much in the way of Russian literature in recent years. So, I have decided to branch out a bit and explore new to me Russian writers... Hopefully, I'll read more works from Russian writers later this year.

I've been wanting to read We by Yevgeny Zamyatin for quite a while now. We is a dystopian novel set in the distant future. It is a short read at approximately 134 pages in length. 

I learned through Wikipedia that We "became the first work banned by the Soviet censorship board" in 1921. I also learned from Wikipedia that We by Yevgeny Zamyatin directly inspired the following works:
One of the main reasons I read We by Yevgeny Zamyatin is because it was the first banned book in Russia... I'm always curious as to why certain books are banned and eventually end up wanting to read many of them. Usually, banned books make for really great reads!

However, if truth be told... I really struggled in reading We by Yevgeny Zamyatin. By the time I was around 25-30% into this ebook, I wanted to quit reading it altogether and move on to my next read... I didn't care for the formatting contained in my ebook edition of We. The formatting was way off, making it difficult to follow the storyline and conversations between characters. Also, many words were omitted that would have make the a sentence sound/feel complete... Also, I wonder if a better translation could have been done for We, as the words used in this novel made it sounded dated and old fashioned. 

Also, the main character, D-503, became annoying to me over time... We is written as a series of journal entries told through the eyes of D-503. I liked the concept of reading a series of journal entries, but D-503's character is an annoying main character and with all the other issues I've mentioned, I simply stopped caring about what was going on in this novel or what message the author was trying to convey to readers. I just wanted this novel to be over with, period. Maybe if I'd read a different translation of We with better formatting and editing, I would have enjoyed reading this dystopian novel much more than I did.

The following is a plot summary for We by Yevgeny Zamyatin from Amazon:
We is set into the far-flung future well after a war that had lasted two-hundred years. 
D-503 lives in the One State, a lone city constructed almost entirely of glass so that the State can keep an eye on the citizens at all times. 
Life is organized by the hour in order to maximum proficiency and maximum output from every inhabitant. 
People walk in step with each other and wear identical clothing with badges with their numbers/names for easy identification by the States agents. 
'I' is not allowed. Only 'We' exists. 
People do not have names, they have a serial number. 
A permit is needed for times to have intimate relationships in order to lower the shades on the glass buildings the city is composed of. 
There is total surveillance of every person. 
While the final work to put the One State not only as an Earthbound government but to make it an interstellar one as well, D-503 begins to live a life of rebellion and secrets.He is in a fight against time as the One State has developed a procedure to eliminate Imagination in order to make all the people of the One State more efficient and less distracted.
I am giving We by Yevgeny Zamyatin a rating of 1 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!