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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2015 Dive Into Diversity & LGBT Reading Challenges: April Roundup

Saturday, May 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: April Roundup

Saturday, May 2nd, 2015


 

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  • Vegan’s Daily Companion: 365 Days of Inspiration for Cooking, Eating, and Living Compassionately by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau (2011); review coming soon
  • Capture the Moment: Inspiration and Techniques for the Modern Photographer by Sarah Wilkerson (2014); reviewed here
  • The Shark Curtain by Chris Scofield (2015); reviewed here
  • Church of Marvels: A Novel by Leslie Parry (2015); review coming soon
  • City of Savages by Lee Kelly (2015); review coming soon
  • Go Ahead & Like It by Jacqueline Suskin (2015); reviewed here

     

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

    Wednesday, April 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: March Roundup

    Wednesday, April 1st, 2015


     

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  • Empress of the World (Battle Hall Davies #1) by Sara Ryan (2003); reviewed here
  • Pretty Deadly, Vol. 1: The Shrike by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Ríos (2014); reviewed here
  • Wonder Woman, Vol. 1: Blood by Brian Azzarello, Cliff Chiang, and Tony Akins (2012); reviewed here
  • The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbook for Girl Geeks by Sam Maggs (2015); review coming in May
  • The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman (2015); review coming soon
  • Your Family in Pictures: The Parents’ Guide to Photographing Holidays, Family Portraits, and Everyday Life by Me Ra Koh (2014); reviewed here
  • Etta and Otto and Russell and James by Emma Hooper (2015); review coming soon
  • The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons (2015); review coming soon
  • Last of the Sandwalkers by Jay Hosler (2015); review coming soon

     

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

    Sunday, March 1st, 2015

    After careful consideration, I’ve decided to roll these two challenges into a single monthly wrap-up post, given that there’s just so much overlap. I’ll begin with each challenge’s logo, followed by a cover gallery for that month’s books. At the bottom of the post you’ll find a bullet list of titles, along with some notes on why I think they qualify (or might qualify; a few of the books are a little iffy) for the challenge. Easy enough, right?

     

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    2015 Real Book Challenge: February Roundup

    Sunday, March 1st, 2015


     

    Ten books down, forty to go!

    By the way, Kindred? So good I can’t even. I should really write a review, but truth be told I’m kind of afraid to. There just aren’t enough words in the English language, okay.

     

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  • Diverse Energies edited by Tobias S. Buckell and Joe Monti (2012); reviewed here
  • Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol (2011); reviewed here
  • Kindred by Octavia E. Butler (1979/2004)
  • Bloodchild and Other Stories by Octavia E. Butler (2003); review coming soon
  • Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock (2014)

     

  • African American Readathon: 2015 Wrapup

    Monday, February 23rd, 2015

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    So here’s the final count for the African American Readathon: I read three Octavia Butler books (Kindred, which is amazing, as well as the short story collections Bloodchild and Other Stories and the posthumously released Unexpected Stories). I also started (but didn’t quite finish) Janet Mock’s memoir, Redefining Realness. Reviews forthcoming.

    2015 LGBT Reading Challenge: January Roundup

    Sunday, February 1st, 2015


     

    Same deal as with the Dive Into Diversity challenge: a cover gallery, followed by a list of titles and a brief explanation as to why I included them on this list. May contain spoilers. Some of the titles, such as Winterspell and A Murder of Crows, are a little iffy for me, but you can be your own decider person.

     

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    2015 Dive Into Diversity Challenge: January Roundup

    Sunday, February 1st, 2015


     

    So I’m off to a strong start for the year – every single one of my January reads was diverse in some way! Occasionally the diversity came as an unexpected, pleasant surprise (such as in Stitching Snow and Winterspell), while other times I thought it was a good start, but one that had me yearning for more (e.g., A Murder of Crows). In some cases, 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.) I briefly considered making an “honorable mentions” category, but I’m just way too indecisive for that.

    Seeing as there’s so much overlap with the LGBT Challenge, I’ll just copy and post the relevant titles to that list; same deal.

     

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    2015 Real Book Challenge: January Roundup

    Sunday, February 1st, 2015


     

    I’ve been kind of stumped as to how to best compile the monthly roundups for all these challenges I’ve committed to, especially since there’s so much overlap. In order to keep things simple, I think I’ll try writing a post for each separately. Let’s see how it goes, shall we?

    I managed five real books in January, which is a pretty solid start toward my overall goal of 50! I especially enjoyed Winterspell and These Walls Around Us. Spoiler alert: both will make an appearance on the diverse challenge lists (yay!).

     

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  • Fist of the Spider Woman: Tales of Fear and Queer Desire edited by Amber Dawn (2009); reviewed here

  • Winterspell by Claire Legrand (2014); reviewed here
  • Prayers for the Stolen by Jennifer Clement (2014); reviewed here
  • A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev (2014); reviewed here
  • The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma (2015); review coming in March
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    African American Readathon, February 19th – 23rd

    Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

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    During Black History Month, the National Council of Teachers of English hosts an annual African American Read-In (#aari15), with events scheduled around the country. Luckily, for those of us who can’t attend, Meghann at Becoming Books is holding an online version from February 19th through the 23rd. You can sign up (as late as 2/23!) here.

    There’s no minimum on the number of books you can read, and any genre counts. The only stipulation is that the books must be authored by people of African (but not necessarily American) descent:

    Up for reading are any books authored by people of African heritage/decent. This includes African American authors and other who may identify as being Black without being American. All genres count! YA, MG, Adult, Fiction, Nonfiction, etc. For a list of book suggestions check out the NCTE website and Goodreads listopias.

    I’m hoping to use the opportunity to tackle a few more books in my Octavia Butler collection: so far I’ve yet to read Kindred, Fledgling, and Seed to Harvest. Ditto: her short story anthologies – namely, Bloodchild and Other Stories and Unexpected Stories. Not that I can tackle them all in just five days, but it leaves me with plenty of choices.

    And if I fancy more, there’s always Sherri L. Smith’s Orleans or Nalo Hopkinson’s Brown Girl in the Ring, both of which are on my Dive Into Diversity reading list.

    If you want to participate – or just learn more – go check out the sign-up post. There will be mini-challenges, prizes, and twitter chats. And hopefully lots of diverse book pushing.

    2015 Reading Challenges

    Monday, January 5th, 2015

    Since I had so much fun participating in the 2014 “Real Book” Challenge, I decided to take on a few more in 2015. There are an astounding array of book challenges out there – everything from reading A to Z (books with titles that start with every letter of the alphabet from A to Z) to POPSUGAR’s epic reading challenge checklist – so to keep things simple, I’m sticking to just three: the Real Book Challenge, along with two new-to-me challenges that promote diversity in literature. Plus one pledge and a quote challenge. No biggie!

     

    2015 Reading Challenge

    2015 Reading Challenge
    Kelly has
    read 0 books toward her goal of 105 books.
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    Overall Goals

    My goal for the year is a handy 105 books – 2 a week, plus one for good luck – which I’ll keep track of on Goodreads. I killed it in 2014 (148 books!), but I don’t know how long I’ll be able to keep up this pace, if at all. So I’m being realistic!

     
     

    2015 “Real Book” Challenge

    I’m shooting for 50 real books, which is nearly half my overall goal, and is the same as my revised goal for last year. This puts me right on the border between a Real Book Hoarder (accurate) and a Queen. I won’t even bother trying to list all the books I’d like to get to this year, since my to-read pile can only be described as “outrageous.”

     
     

    Dive Into Diversity Reading Challenge 2015

    Challenge hosts Rachel (Reading Wishes) and Magan and Estelle (Rather Be Reading) use the following guideline for choosing books for the Dive Into Diversity Challenge (courtesy of the We Need Diverse Books tumblr): “We recognize all diverse experiences, including (but not limited to) LGBTQIA, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities.” They challenge participants to read at least one diverse book a month, or 12 in a year.

    Since there’s going to be some overlap with the LGBT Challenge (see below), I’m shooting for at least 24 diverse books – 12 which feature LGBTQI protagonists/authors and another 12 featuring people of color, people with disabilities, and/or ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities. Seeing as I already gravitate towards books featuring female protagonists and those written by women, and thus could easily ace this challenge without changing my reading habits at all, I won’t bother including those titles in this challenge unless they’re diverse in other ways.

    Here are just a few of the books I hope to tackle for this challenge*:

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    LGBT Challenge 2015

    Last but not least is the LGBT Challenge, now in its second year at Niji Feels. For this challenge, participants can read any book “that falls under the L(esbian) G(ay) B(isexual) T(ransexual) T(ransgender) Q(ueer) Q(uestioning) I(ntersex) A(sexual)+ spectrum.”

    With the help of the following titles, I’m shooting for Omnivorous Bookglutton: 10+ LGBT books from any genre. Or 12, in my case.

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    2015 We Need Diverse Books Pledge

    We Need Diverse Books HQ is also challenging folks to diversity their reads in 2015. This one’s more of a pledge than a challenge, though, so I won’t bother doing a monthly wrap up post like I will with the others. Besides, the Dive Into Diversity challenge pretty much covers it! You can download a badge for twitter, tumblr, and instagram here; since 24 wasn’t an option, I rounded up to 25 – a number I’m fairly confident I can beat!

     
     

    2015 Book Memories Challenge

    I spotted this one on tumblr at the eleventh hour and just couldn’t resist! I’m probably too lazy to go the book jar route (plus my handwriting is dreadful, so there’s that), but hopefully I’ll have a nice, shiny roundup to show you guys this time next year.

     

    * The Saga and Tankborn covers look so purty together! I just wanna frame ’em and hang ’em on the wall, pop art styley.

    2014 Real Book Challenge: December Roundup

    Friday, January 2nd, 2015

    I finished the year on a strong note with six real books (yay!) – pretty impressive considering all of the holiday prep (decorating, shopping, baking) I also did in my spare time. This brings me to a grand total of 59 books, or 118% over my goal of 50.

    I had so much fun doing the Real Book challenge that I plan on participating again in 2015, and am also adding a few new reading challenges to my roster. See you next year, y’all!

     

  • The Last American Vampire by Seth Grahame-Smith (2015); review coming soon
  • Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion, #1) by Aimee Carter (2013); reviewed here
  • Captive (The Blackcoat Rebellion, #2) by Aimee Carter (2014); reviewed here
  • Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling (2011)
  • The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (2015); review coming soon
  • Breathers: A Zombie’s Lament by S.G. Browne (2009)

     

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  • 2014 Real Book Challenge: November Roundup

    Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

    This was a pretty slow month, real book-wise: I only read two of the suckers. There was also a children’s book in the mix (Edgar and the Tattle-Tale Heart) as well as one DNF (Lucy Lied), neither of which I included since it feels a little too much like cheating. Seeing as I’ve already passed my goal for the year, there’s no need to fudge the numbers anyhow! (wink, wink)

     

  • The Walled City by Ryan Graudin (2014); reviewed here
  • To Find a Mountain by Dani Amore (2014); reviewew coming soon

     

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  • 2014 Real Book Challenge: October Roundup

    Saturday, November 1st, 2014

    The bad news: I only read three “real” books this month.

    The good news: I’ve already surpassed my revised goal by one whole book!

    That, and I have a bunch of physical books for review slated to arrive soon (including The Walled City, which I’m super-excited about!), so November is sure to be a busier month, real book-wise.

     

  • My Year of Meats by Ruth Ozeki (2003); reviewed here
  • The Murder Complex (The Murder Complex #1) by Lindsay Cummings (2014); reviewed here
  • The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu (2014); review coming soon

     

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  • 2014 Real Book Challenge: September Roundup

    Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

    I read four whole “real” books this month! I know, I know; so sad. But I was sick for the good part of two weeks, preoccupied with VeganMoFo, and doting on two foster dogs who were soon on their way home. Full plate, I had one. Still 11 books ahead of schedule though. 50 books, I will beat you yet. As in next month.

    By the by, if you have a chance to read The Underground Girls of Kabul? DO IT! It’s easily one of the best books of 2014.

     

     

  • The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan by Jenny Nordberg (2014); review coming soon
  • Swan Wreck by Casey Renee Kiser (2007); review coming soon
  • Zenia by J. Gallagher (2014); review coming soon
  • Camp Utopia and the Forgiveness Diet by Jenny Ruden (2014); review coming soon

     

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  • 2014 Real Book Challenge: August Roundup

    Sunday, August 31st, 2014

    All nine of my reads this month were “real” books; this puts me at 44 for the year, which means I surpassed my original goal of 39 books. Yay me! Since I already bumped up my total goal to 101, I decided to increase my Real Books goal to an even 50. Still ahead of the game, yo!

     

  • The Fever: A Novel by Megan Abbott (2014); reviewed here
  • The Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne (2014); reviewed here
  • Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes (2014); reviewed here
  • The Wraith (Welcome to Christmasland #1-6) by Joe Hill and Charles Paul Wilson III (2014); reviewed here
  • Fault Line by Christa Desir (2013); reviewed here
  • The Harlem Hellfighters by Max Brooks and Caanan White (2014); reviewed here
  • The Half Life of Molly Pierce by Katrina Leno (2014); review coming soon
  • The Chance You Won’t Return by Annie Cardi (2014); review coming soon
  • The Secrets of Life and Death by Rebecca Alexander (2014); review coming soon

     

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  • 2014 Real Book Challenge: July Roundup

    Friday, August 1st, 2014

    Just two real books to speak of this month. I know, so sad! I have a stack of ’em lined up for review in August, though, so I’m sure to do better this month!

     

  • The Mountaintop School for Dogs and Other Second Chances by Ellen Cooney (2014); review coming soon
  • Umbral Volume 1 by Antony Johnston, Christopher Mitten, John Rauch, and Jordan Boyd (2014); reviewed here

     

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  • 2nd Annual Beat the Heat Readathon: August 11th – September 1st

    Friday, July 25th, 2014

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    Phantasmic Reads and Novel Heartbeat are hosting the 2nd Annual Beat the Heat Readathon from August 11th through September 1st. Basically the idea is to hang out in an air conditioned building – or maybe the beach, if it isn’t too toasty – and read your little heart out. Who cares about the reading on the thermostat when there’s a girl on fire demanding your attention!?!

    You can set the goal – for me, that’s six books – and there will be some min-challenges, too. You have until August 25th to sign up (here!).

    Once 8/11 arrives, you can track my progress on this post. Six books doesn’t sound terribly impressive, but at two a week (and not counting kid’s books or short stories!), I think it’s enough to keep things interesting. At least on my end anyway. (Hey, I’ve already exceeded my goal for the Summer Reading Program, so you never know!)

    Let’s do this thing!

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    Update, 8/31/14: I beat my goal by one book! Yay me!