2018 Book Memories Challenge

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019


 

I don’t think this challenge is still technically a thing, but I enjoy it, so here we go! Caution: thar may be spoilers ahead.

P.S. Wasn’t Mags something? I sure am gonna miss photographing you with appropriately-named books, old gal. BFFs 5EVER.

 

  1. Wayward (Wayward Pines #2) by Blake Crouch (2013)

    “I think he’s trying to preserve our way of life.”
    “For who? Us or him?”

    A millennium without air or light pollution made for pitch-black skies. The stars didn’t just appear anymore. They exploded. Diamonds on black velvet. You couldn’t tear your eyes away.

  2. My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf (2012)

  3. The Last Town (Wayward Pines #3) by Blake Crouch (2014)

    “It’s strange,” Ethan said. “The world belongs to them now, but we still possess something they don’t have.”
    “What?”
    “Kindness. Decency. That’s what it is to be human. At our best at least.”
    Ben looked confused.
    “I think this abby is different,” Ethan said.
    “What do you mean?”
    “She has an intelligence, a gentleness I haven’t seen in any of the others. Maybe she has a family she wants to see again.”
    “We should shoot her and burn her with all the rest.”
    “And what would that accomplish? Feed our anger for a few minutes? What if we did the opposite? What if we sent her out into her world with a message about the species that once lived in this valley? I know it’s crazy, but I’m holding tight to the idea that a small act of kindness can have real resonance.”

    “The funny thing is, as bad as I am, I don’t have it in me to murder her husband. Is there a fate worse than being halfway evil?”

  4. Kim Reaper, Volume 1: Grim Beginnings (Kim Reaper #1-4) by Sarah Graley (2018)

  5. The New Hunger (Warm Bodies #1.5) by Isaac Marion (2015)

    Hours pass. Then his eyes remember how to focus, and the world sharpens. He thinks that he liked the world better before he could see it.

    It’s a strange feeling, being judged by a child. He’s seven years old; where the hell did he get a moral compass? Certainly not from his parents. Not even from her. She supposes there must be people in the world who stick to their principles, who always do the right thing, but they are few and far between, especially now. Where does a child get an idea as unnatural as goodness?

    Everyone living in these times knows the most important rule of conservation: if you have to kill someone, make sure they stay dead. It may be a losing battle, the math may be against the Living, but diligence in this one area will at least slow down the spread of the plague. Responsible murder is the new recycling.

    He finds a riot helmet and crams it down over his springy hair. “Halt!” he orders in cop-voice, and Nora smiles through a sudden rush of bittersweet sadness that takes her a moment to understand. She feels ashamed when she realizes it’s nostalgia. She has already begun missing him.

    Thirty-four miles north of the police station, a young girl who recently killed a young boy is watching beige houses flicker through the headlights of her family’s SUV. Her father’s eyes are tight on the road, her mother’s on everything around the road, pistol at the ready should anything incongruous emerge from this idyllic suburban scene. They are traveling later than they usually do, later than is safe, and the girl is glad. She hates sleeping. Not just because of the nightmares, but because everything is urgent. Because life is short. Because she feels a thousand fractures running through her, and she knows they run through the world. She is racing to find the glue.
    Thirty-four miles south of this girl, a man who recently learned he is a monster is following two other monsters up a steep hill in an empty city, because he can smell life in the distance and his purpose now is to take it. A brutish thing inside him is giggling and slavering and clutching its many hands in anticipation, overjoyed to finally be obeyed, but the man himself feels none of this. Only a coldness deep in his chest, in the organ that once pumped blood and feeling and now pumps nothing. A dull ache like a severed stump numbed in ice – what was there is gone, but it hurts. It still hurts.
    And three hundred feet north of these monsters are a girl and boy who are looking for new parents. Or perhaps becoming them. Both are strong, both are super smart and super cool, and both are tiny and alone in a vast, merciless, endlessly hungry world.
    All six are moving toward each other, some by accident, some by intent, and though their goals differ considerably, on this particular summer night, under this particular set of cold stars, all of them are sharing the same thought:
    Find people.

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2017 Book Memories Challenge

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018


 

  1. The Furies by Natalie Haynes (2014)

    ‘It doesn’t matter that I spent my whole life doing it. What matters is that I spent his whole life doing it. I would take it all back, Robert. Every moment I spent trying to be a fucking director, trying to make people happy, trying to be good at something. If I could go back in time, I wouldn’t do any of it. I’d just stand next to Luke every fucking second and when anything bad looked like it might happen to him, I’d get in the fucking way and I would keep him safe. And when people asked me what I did for a living, I’d say I loved him. That’s what I wanted to do. I thought it was the background, and it was everything. Everything.’

    […] I was so consumed with carrying the weight of Luke. My lungs felt tight with it sometimes. The world was heavier without him in it, and slower, and darker, and it took energy, actual physical energy to move through it. And I didn’t want to let go of it, either. What other way did I have to keep him real? Carrying his dead weight was better than forgetting him. Grieving was better than waking up to realise I couldn’t remember which of his eyes had the brown fleck in it.

    Besides, I had lost patience with therapy after Luke died. I was referred to a grief counsellor who was every kind of idiot. Her capacity for trying to look on the bright side made my mother look like Sartre. I tried not to hate her and everything she stood for, but it was one struggle too many. I didn’t want to be cured of my grief, I wanted to wrap myself up in it like a comfortable old coat which I’d first put on when my father died.
    I wanted to wear it every minute of the day, to sleep in it and wake in it, and never to be rid of it because it was the only thing keeping me warm. I gave up talking to my friends, to Luke’s friends, because everyone wanted to try to make me feel better, to talk about the healing qualities of time and what Luke would have wanted. But what Luke wanted didn’t matter any more. That’s what happens when you die. And I didn’t want time to heal my wounds. I wanted to pick at them until fat bubbles of dark blood formed on my skin, and then I wanted to watch them scab over and pick at them again.

    (More below the fold…)

2016 Reading Bingo

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

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So I didn’t participate in many book challenges this year – no time or patience! – but Novel Heartbeat’s 2016 Reading Bingo Challenge was one of ’em. I did better than I expected; I hit 23/24 squares, with the only miss being one I saw coming a mile away: “A book with a steamy romance.” Romance, not really my bag.

It was pretty fun; not super-challenging to the point that I forced myself to read books I’d rather not, but challenging enough that I really had to reflect on the books I did read. It was kind of like a treasure hunt: “Okay, where’s the cat? The shifter? Does anyone have an antihero?!?”

Anyway, after the jump is my completed card (I stamped it with snowflakes! ‘Tis the season!) and a rundown of the books that met the criteria. I had multiples for most of the squares, but just picked one each for simplicity’s sake.

 

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2016 Book Memories Challenge

Monday, January 2nd, 2017


 

So I started doing the Book Memories Challenge last year, and enjoyed it so much that I continued in 2016 – even though Grown Up Fangirl doesn’t look to be hosting it anymore. (Enter: my own shiny header!)

Anyway, the basic premise is this: for every book you read, jot down your favorite quotes on a slip of paper. Stow ’em all in a jar and, at the end of the year, look back and see which ones made you laugh, cry, or shake your fist in anger. (Preferably number one.) Of course, my penmanship is a shitshow, so I opted to record them in a blog post instead. This also allowed me to go a little overboard, but I’ll leave it to you to decide if this is a net positive or negative.

This year’s WP file got so bloated that I’m typing this intro in its own window, on account of there’s such a delay on the original. Maybe next year I’ll post the first batch of quotes at the end of June? Or maybe at the end of each quarter? Thoughts?

Either way, I shall leave you with one of my all-time favorite quotes, one that’s been hanging heavy on my mind thanks to one of my final reads of the year. (The One Hundred Nights of Hero by Isabel Greenberg.) TELL THEM STORIES. I think good storytelling might be the one superpower we need most in the coming year.

 
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2016 Reading Challenges & Goals

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

2016 Reading Challenge

2016 Reading Challenge
Kelly has
read 1 book toward her goal of 105 books.
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A new year, a whole new stack o’ books to devour! I decided to set my Goodreads goal the same as last year – 105 books – since the ~100 mark seems to be my sweet spot. January was front-loaded with some longish books for review, so I’m off to a rather slow start…but things should pick up once I dive into my ever-multiplying stack of comic books!

 

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As for reading challenges, I decided to keep it simple. I had a blast with the Dive Into Diversity challenge last year, but it looks like it was a one-time thing for the hosts, Reading Wishes and Rather Be Reading. Thankfully, Mishma of Chasing Faerytales and Shelly at Read.Sleep.Repeat. are taking up the mantle for 2016 with the Diverse Reads Book Challenge.

Last year I was naive enough to come up with a reading list. I think I read three of the titles, maybe four. Out of 36! It’s not that I didn’t read diversely, I just got sidetracked and didn’t get to anything on my list. (Once again, I blame NetGalley and Edelweiss.) So this year I’m winging it.

 

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This is my very first reading bingo challenge (yay!), and it’s courtesy of Jessi at Novel Heartbeat. There are a bunch of these cards going around, but I chose this one because it looks so clean and simple and do-able. I’d like to say I’m aiming for a coverall, but I suspect the animal sidekick might come back to bite me in the ass.

2015 Dive Into Diversity & LGBT Reading Challenges: December Recap

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

This month’s Dive Into Diversity & LGBT Reading Challenge roundup comes with the usual disclaimer: In several instances, I’m not 100% certain that the book’s diverse enough to be included in the challenge (for example, how to judge a book of short stories? Is one or two diverse tales out of a dozen or more acceptable?) – so I’ve included a brief note about each book’s qualifications at the end of the post, so you can judge for yourself.

Pro tip: these notes may contain spoilers.

 

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2015 Real Book Challenge: December Recap

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016


 

So I flamed out pretty early with this challenge. I set a goal of 50 “real” books and only managed 37, resulting in a dismal 74%, despite the fact that I surpassed my overall reading goal of 105 by 17 books. Oy.

I blame Netgalley: 2015 was the year I discovered the joy of eARCs, and I went all in. Nearly all of my reads were on an ereader. That’s okay though! I love my Kindle: it’s great for traveling and reading in low-light environments; you don’t have to worry about hoarding, since the books take up zero space; no more relocating entire bookcases full of books when that one corner of the house floods YET AGAIN (okay, maybe that’s just me); and ebooks are wee bit cheaper, especially if you wait for the deals. Plus my Kindle is easy to hold up from the bottom of a dog pile, so there’s that.

But comics and “crafty,” heavily illustrated books? I still prefer the real thing for those. Buffy just doesn’t look the same on an iPad, okay. Which is my roundabout way of saying that I plan on participating in the Real Book Challenge again this year …. just with a more realistic goal. 25, maybe?

 

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  • Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix (2014)

     

  • 2015 Book Memories Challenge

    Sunday, January 3rd, 2016


     

    So technically I think I’m supposed to jot down my favorite quotes on slips of paper and store ’em in a jar for this challenge, but. My penmanship is a horrorshow, and copying and pasting from my Notes is so much easier (ebooks yay!), so I decided to go the high-tech route instead. I think I may have gotten a little heavy-handed with the quotes (so hard to choose just one!), but I don’t mind if you don’t.

    I actually had a great time with this one: after finishing a book, I’d flip through my notes in search of choice quotes for the challenge; this also gave me a chance to go over the material and gather my thoughts, which is super-helpful when writing a review. It’s a win-win!

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    2015 Dive Into Diversity & LGBT Reading Challenges: November Recap

    Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

    This month’s Dive Into Diversity & LGBT Reading Challenge roundup comes with the usual disclaimer: In several instances, I’m not 100% certain that the book’s diverse enough to be included in the challenge (for example, how to judge a book of short stories? Is one or two diverse tales out of a dozen or more acceptable?) – so I’ve included a brief note about each book’s qualifications at the end of the post, so you can judge for yourself.

    Pro tip: these notes may contain spoilers.

     

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    2015 Real Book Challenge: November Recap

    Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015


     

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  • Those Left Behind (Serenity #1) by Joss Whedon, Brett Matthews, and Will Conrad (2006); reviewed here

     

  • 2015 Dive Into Diversity & LGBT Reading Challenges: October Recap

    Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

    This month’s Dive Into Diversity & LGBT Reading Challenge roundup comes with the usual disclaimer: In several instances, I’m not 100% certain that the book’s diverse enough to be included in the challenge (for example, how to judge a book of short stories? Is one or two diverse tales out of a dozen or more acceptable?) – so I’ve included a brief note about each book’s qualifications at the end of the post, so you can judge for yourself.

    Pro tip: these notes may contain spoilers.

     

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    2015 Real Book Challenge: October Recap

    Wednesday, November 4th, 2015


     

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  • Bitch Planet, Vol 1: Extraordinary Machine (Bitch Planet #1-5) by Kelly Sue DeConnick (2015)
  • Blood and Salt (Blood and Salt #1) by Kim Liggett (2015)
  • Mad Max: Fury Road (Mad Max: Fury Road – Prequels #1-4) by George Miller, et al. (2015); review coming soon
  • Dr. Horrible and Other Horrible Stories by Zack Whedeon et al. (2010)

     

  • 2015 Dive Into Diversity & LGBT Reading Challenges: September Recap

    Thursday, October 1st, 2015

    This month’s Dive Into Diversity & LGBT Reading Challenge roundup comes with the usual disclaimer: In several instances, I’m not 100% certain that the book’s diverse enough to be included in the challenge (for example, how to judge a book of short stories? Is one or two diverse tales out of a dozen or more acceptable?) – so I’ve included a brief note about each book’s qualifications at the end of the post, so you can judge for yourself.

    Pro tip: these notes may contain spoilers.

     

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    2015 Real Book Challenge: September Recap

    Thursday, October 1st, 2015

     

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  • Plumdog by Emma Chichester Clark (2015); reviewed here
  • A Cup of Water Under My Bed: A Memoir by Daisy Hernandez (2015); review coming soon

     

  • 2015 Dive Into Diversity & LGBT Reading Challenges: August Recap

    Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

    This month’s Dive Into Diversity & LGBT Reading Challenge roundup comes with the usual disclaimer: In several instances, I’m not 100% certain that the book’s diverse enough to be included in the challenge (for example, how to judge a book of short stories? Is one or two diverse tales out of a dozen or more acceptable?) – so I’ve included a brief note about each book’s qualifications at the end of the post, so you can judge for yourself.

    Pro tip: these notes may contain spoilers.

     

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    2015 Real Book Challenge: August Recap

    Tuesday, September 1st, 2015


     

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  • Learning to See Creatively, Third Edition: Design, Color, and Composition in Photography by Bryan Peterson (2015); reviewed here
  • The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich (2015); review coming soon
     

  • 2015 Dive Into Diversity & LGBT Reading Challenges: July Roundup

    Friday, July 31st, 2015

    This month’s Dive Into Diversity & LGBT Reading Challenge roundup comes with the usual disclaimer: In several instances, I’m not 100% certain that the book’s diverse enough to be included in the challenge (for example, how to judge a book of short stories? Is one or two diverse tales out of a dozen or more acceptable?) – so I’ve included a brief note about each book’s qualifications at the end of the post, so you can judge for yourself.

    Pro tip: these notes may contain spoilers.

     

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    2015 Real Book Challenge: July Roundup

    Friday, July 31st, 2015


     

    Long story short: I finally signed up for NetGalley and Edelweiss this spring, and ooops! There goes my Real Book Challenge. In the past three months, I’ve only managed to read one physical book. (In Wilderness, my sole contribution for July.) I guess the good news is that I was so far ahead to begin with that I’ve only fallen one book behind – and hopefully I’ll soon be able to make those numbers up, now that I’m almost caught up on all those digital galleys. (*fingers crossed*)

    If not … there are always comic books. (Cue evil laughter.)

     

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  • In Wilderness: A Novel by Diane Thomas (2015); reviewed here

     

  • 2015 Dive Into Diversity & LGBT Reading Challenges: June Roundup

    Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

    This month’s Dive Into Diversity & LGBT Reading Challenge roundup comes with the usual disclaimer: In several instances, I’m not 100% certain that the book’s diverse enough to be included in the challenge (for example, how to judge a book of short stories? Is one or two diverse tales out of a dozen or more acceptable?) – so I’ve included a brief note about each book’s qualifications at the end of the post, so you can judge for yourself.

    Pro tip: these notes may contain spoilers.

     

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    2015 Dive Into Diversity & LGBT Reading Challenges: May Roundup

    Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

    This month’s Dive Into Diversity & LGBT Reading Challenge roundup comes with the usual disclaimer: In several instances, I’m not 100% certain that the book’s diverse enough to be included in the challenge (for example, how to judge a book of short stories? Is one or two diverse tales out of a dozen or more acceptable?) – so I’ve included a brief note about each book’s qualifications at the end of the post, so you can judge for yourself.

    Pro tip: these notes may contain spoilers.

     

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