Friday, March 30, 2012

Feminists, Read this, FOR REAL

Feminism FOR REAL
Feminism FOR REAL
Deconstructing the Academic Industrial Complex of Feminism
Edited by Jessica Yee

This book is SO GOOD. SO GOOD.

The only thing that kept me from giving it five stars was that, as with pretty much any anthology or short story collection, some of the pieces in Feminism for Real are stronger than others. (Maybe I should have given it five stars, but my ratings are typically a gut reaction and once I make them I don't really like to go back and change them). There were no real duds, just some selections that didn't speak to me so much, but overall the collection did what it said towards "deconstructing the academic industrial complex of feminism." This book is what I was hoping for from bell hooks' "Feminism for Everybody." The writers are a diverse group of people, mainly Indigenous and/or Canadian. They talk about how ivory tower feminism has failed them, and how they work anti-oppression principles into their everyday lives and activism.

Editor Jessica Yee's interview with anna Saini on sex work and feminism was one of the best pieces in the collection. Admittedly, it contained many ideas that I'd read elsewhere, but they bear repeating, especially since Saini's perspective is not one that gets much mainstream coverage. Here's an excerpt:
i agree that the missionary slant that feminist "saviors" of sex workers adopt is a modern form of colonialism. Sex workers are the contemporary Venus Hottentot for all the fascination that white feminists have with fetishizing our work.... If they really wanted to help, they would work to correct the racist, capitalistic, abelist and patriarchal power structures that force too many women into sex work, but because they have a stake in these structures they are willfully ignorant to this perspective. 
And I love this:
i don't think anyone is defined by what work they do for pay. In an ideal world, "job" is synonymous with "passion". i can envision this world in my art and the work in those in my communities, but in the mean time we need to respect the rights of people to identify with what they love rather than how they survive financially. We need to see beyond the confines that white, capitalist, patriarchy place on our humanity.
This is so, so, spot on. Identifying people with the work they do is inherently a classist paradigm that erases the reality of so many people. It also places a premium on a person's ability to work at all. So many people cannot enter the workforce, despite wanting and/or needing to, because they are physically or mentally disabled in some way. Is someone who can't work less than fully human? Surely not.

Okay, I could go on and on and on about all the pieces I really liked, but this review is already being posted so much later than I wanted, so this is what you get. But read it. Seriously. Maybe I'll post a review "part II" at a later point.

Want more like this? Try:

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday Salon: On Goodreads and Abandoned Books

I've mentioned before, maybe on the blog, maybe elsewhere, that I tend to finish books. I don't typically discard them, even when I'm not enjoying them. The reasons why are not really the point of this post - it's just an explanation of my reading style. Another part of my reading style is that for the rare books I don't finish, I don't count them as "read." Maybe that's because if I do give up on a book, it's usually within 50 pages. I'm not going to read 150 pages of a 200 page book and then stop. That's just me.
Book cover, Legends of the Fall by Jim Harrison. Movie tie in version.
A recent DNF. Even Brad Pitt's face
on the cover couldn't save it.

However, since starting to use Goodreads last year, this has presented me with a bit of a problem. I have to count books as either "to read," "currently reading," or "read." Where's my option for "dnf" (did not finish)?

Well! I figured out how to account for those books. I was tinkering around on the site (when really, I should have been reading) and I came across a solution. Apparently you can mark a shelf as "exclusive." A book can only be on one of the "exclusive" shelves at a time. I created a dnf shelf and marked it "exclusive." Voila:

Notice how the dnf shelf is above the shelf divide? Now when I add a book, goodreads automatically asks me if I want to add it to the "read" "currently reading" "to read" or da da dum "dnf." This has made me disproportionately happy, for some reason. Why, I really don't know, since as you can see there are exactly zero books on my dnf shelf. But now it's there the next time I need it. I guess I could go back and add books to the shelf, but I'm not feeling that at the moment. Although it would be nice to see how many books I abandon this year. There's been one (maybe two?) already.

So tell me: Am I the last person to have discovered this? Do you even use Goodreads (probably, if you got this far)? Do you count abandoned books as "read"? Are you outraged I couldn't finish Legends of the Fall? Did you discover any little tip or trick this week - related to books or not? Feel free to weigh in on any of that, or whatever else you may desire :-)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Wild Magic

Wild Magic
Wild Magic
The Immortals, Book 1
Tamora Pierce

I really like Tamora Pierce. I wish I'd read her books as I was growing up, because I know I would have lovedlovedloved them at a younger age - especially this book. A magical teenage girl with a gift with horses? Yes, please!

Wild Magic is in Pierce's Tortall universe, where several of her other books are set, including the Song of the Lioness  and Beka Cooper series. I recently read the first two books in the Beka Cooper series, and thought they were very good. It's fun to be in the same universe, although much later in time, to see how things have progressed.

In Wild Magic, a teenage orphan named Daine gets a job working with the horses of Tortall's Queen's Riders. She discovers that her talent for working with animals is actually a kind of magic. With the help of a mage named Numir, Daine learns how to control her magic without letting it overpower her.

Along the way, she makes many human and animal friends. She helps save her new home from invaders, who take advantage of Alanna's absence to attack Pirate's Swoop. Her ability to harness her magic and communicate with the animals is pivotal to the successful defense.

I'm interested to read the rest of Daine's story and discover where her adventures take her.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I ♥ the Strand

My haul from the Strand this week: 
I know the picture isn't the clearest, so here are the titles:
  • George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss
  • Aphra Behn, Oroonoko, The Rover, and Other Works
  • Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence
  • David Benioff, The City of Thieves 
  • Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children
  • Philip Roth, I Married a Communist
  • Christine de Pizan, The Book of the City of Ladies
I did very well sticking to my list of books I want to tackle soon for various challenges and my book club. The only impulse buy was the Philip Roth. I was looking for the Rushdie and found I Married a Communist. It's one of Roth's Zuckerman novels. I read American Pastoral a couple years ago and LOVED it. This is related, I guess, although I'm not sure exactly the connection. Whatever. Hopefully it will be good, especially as it was one of the more expensive books (and the only one whose price I didn't check, or course!). All in all, the damage wasn't too bad. Seven books for just over sixty bucks.

On a related note, one of my friends posted this video on facebook yesterday. I was pretty excited, since I had literally been at the Strand like an hour earlier. I thought the video was really cute, and did a good job revealing, and maybe poking a bit of fun at, NYC's book culture. Of course, non-NYCers should find plenty to enjoy, too!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sunday Salon

I've been having a slow reading spell. I wouldn't call it a slump, as I've been reading, but not actually finishing much of anything. According to goodreads, I'm even behind my goal of reading 100 books this year:

This is after starting off the year  at a pretty fast pace. I read twelve books in January! In all of February and so far in March I've read seven.

Actually, now that I've said that, it doesn't sound that bad. That's still about a book a week for February and March. Yes, it's behind the nearly two books per week pace I need to average to make my annual goal, but still, overall not too shabby.

Such is my anxiety when I start to focus on numbers. I cannot read twelve books every month. I don't want to read twelve books every month. Okay, I'm going to breathe deeply and recall my "live thoughtfully" mantra from earlier this year. I've been enjoying the books I'm working on, and have been enjoying being back in New York. Those are good things. I'm going to my favorite bookstore on Monday, armed with a list of books to buy.

Speaking of lists, I've been busy making them. I joined the Classics Club, along with about a trillion other bloggers. (Okay, not a trillion. I think there are about 70 of us, but more are always welcome!) I also posted a list of my ten favorite classics and a bunch of quintessential New York City books.

How have your bookish endeavors been lately?

Friday, March 16, 2012

I Discover Charlotte Perkins Gilman

The Yellow Wallpaper
The Yellow Wallpaper and other Stories
Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Wow. I am so, so, glad I picked up this slim little volume of short stories last week at Bluestockings. A sticker on the front said "$2.50 - What a Steal!," so I couldn't pass it up. And it certainly was a steal. The title story is an excellent piece of psychological horror, rating up there with The Turn of the Screw  and  The Lifted Veil.

The gist of "The Yellow Wallpaper" is that a young wife and mother is suffering from postpartum depression (or something similar), and is prescribed a period of quiet rest, free from intellectual pursuits, so that she may recover her nerves. Instead, the lack of stimulation helps her spiral further down into the depths of her illness. She becomes obsessed with the repugnant yellow wallpaper plastered in her sickroom.
     ...There is a recurrent spot where the pattern lolls like a broken neck and two bulbous eyes stare at you upside down.
     I get positively angry with the impertinence of it and the everlastingness. Up and down and sideways they crawl, and those absurd, unblinking eyes are everywhere. There is one place where two breadths didn't match, and the eyes go all up and down the line, one a little higher than the other.
It is excellent, as are the other stories (which sometimes read as parables) in the collection. "The Yellow Wallpaper" is probably the least directly preachy, but Gilman still gets her message across loud and clear. Honestly, though, even when she's at her most instructive feminist self, I remained in awe at the pure radicalness of her ideas. Talk about ahead of her time - she's ahead of where we are in the United States today.

I'm interested in learning more about Gilman. She wrote an autobiography, The Living of Charlotte Perkins Gilman. There are at least two biographies of her life: To Herland and Beyond: The Life of Charlotte Perkins Gilman, by Ann J. Lane, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman: The Making of a Radical Feminist, by  Mary A. Hill. Unfortunately, her wikipedia page shows that for all her awesome radical views on gender, she held some seriously problematic beliefs regarding race/ethnicity (why, 18th century feminists were you so full of fail when it came to intersectionality?)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: My Favorite Classics

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. For today's theme participants pick the 10 best of the category of their choice. I've gone with "Classics," since they've been on my mind lately. I'm participating in a few classics projects at the moment, including a new 5 year plan to read 50 classics. So, if you ask me in a year or so, this list will probably have changed! Of course, that's part of the fun of making lists like these.

Winesburg, Ohio, Sherwood Anderson. I love this little novella of interconnected short stories.

Middlemarch, George Eliot. This is a chunkster, but it is so worth it. Eliot was such a fascinating personality, too.

Catch-22, Joseph Heller. The absurdity of war, perfectly captured.

The Wasteland, T.S. Eliot. Poetry! Yes, poetry. I appreciated that my copy had lots of notes, as that certainly helped my understanding.

Sister Carrie, Theodore Dreiser. This book felt so modern. The main character has premarital sex! The scandal! I love it :-)

Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf. One day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway, a London housewife planning a party. It sounds trite, but it's not.

The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde. Seriously funny play.

As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner. It took until I was a good third of the way into this book before it clicked and I just flew through the rest.

For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway. One of the first Hemingway novels I ever read, it remains one of my favorites.

A Mercy, Toni Morrison. This book made me fall in love with Toni Morrison. Now I want to read all her books!

Monday, March 12, 2012

No Ordinary Matter

No Ordinary Matter
No Ordinary Matter
Jenny McPhee

Lillian and Veronica are two sisters who have always been close, despite the usual friction between siblings close in age. Now grown, with lives in New York City, they make sure to meet once a month at the Hungarian Pastry Shop.

Veronica is a writer for a soap opera, and she often consults her neurologist sister on the correct terminology when one of the characters is stricken with amnesia or a brain tumor or some other soap staple.

The two sisters' lives begin to imitate their art when Lillian decides she wants a baby. She scouts out her chosen mate, seduces him, employing purposely faulty birth control, and voila! pregnancy results, the father none the wiser. It gets a bit more complicated when Veronica realizes the unwitting father is the new "doctor" on her soap opera. The two of them seem to have a magnetic connection. Is it because of the secret zygote, or something else?

Family secrets and over the top coincidences abound in this novel. At times, I was annoyed by this, before reminding myself that it was obviously on purpose. There's an exchange between two characters where they discuss movies that manipulate the viewer. The one says something along the lines of "I don't mind when I know I'm being manipulated - it's when it's a surprise that I don't react well." This is definitely the former, but I still can't fully embrace the manipulation.

I liked that the dialogue seemed realistic in a way that it seldom does in books. It wasn't always so directly tied to the central conflict, but it managed to propel the action forward while sounding close to the way people actually talk to one another. For example:
"Maybe everybody is a novel," Veronica said, pleased she had been able to get them off the subject of Alex. "I read the other day about how they've been able to encode all of Dickens onto one strand of human DNA, and I started having a science-fiction fantasy about how our DNA is actually literature and that humankind is some other civilization's history."
What a lovely idea.

Another thing I liked? Pretty much all of the characters, especially Lillian. She's not written as the most likable character, but I just thought she was awesome. I loved how she tried so hard to project this aura of invincibility, but could be hurt by things just like anyone else. And I loved how she did unexpected things with her life and career as kind of an "f-you" to anyone you thought she had to follow some proscribed path. Go Lillian!

Jenny McPhee's written two other novels, A Man of No Moon and The Center of Things, both which look pretty interesting. I certainly like this one enough that I'll be on the lookout for those.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Classics Club

Jillian over at A Room of One's Own has started this little (ha) project called The Classics Club. (***Update: now at The Classics Club Blog***)  I've decided to join at the lowest level - 50 books in 5 years. Most of my choices are novels, but there are a couple plays and some nonfiction. She encourages everyone to give themselves a prize at the halfway or endpoint, but the only thing I'm thinking I'll do is contemplate a long bubble bath. I'll probably need it!

Goal Date: March 9th, 2017(!)
Most looking forward to:  Lady Susan, Jane Austen. I actually am not much of an Austen fan, but this one sounds really interesting.
Most scared to attempt:  The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov. The Russians scare me.

Here's my list:
I've reordered this list grouped roughly by date after Amy commented that my list skewed towards modern classics. I noticed a bit, but not completely, so I thought I'd look up the publication dates just for curiosity.  So yeah - it definitely skews modern, although I'd argue that anything pre-1950 should probably be separated out from anything more recent. But whatever! There's always these kinds of discussions when it comes to choosing "classics."

The Ancients
  • The Iliad, Homer (8th century BCE)
  • The Odyssey, Homer (8th century (BCE)
  • Metamorphoses, Ovid (CE 8) 
Pretty Darn Old
  • Belinda, Maria Edgeworth (1801) 
  • Mathilda, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1820, posthumous pub. 1959)  
  • Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë (1847) 
  • The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Anne Brontë (1848)  
  • Narrative of Sojourner Truth, Sojourner Truth (1850) 
  • Cranford, Elizabeth Gaskell (1851) 
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe (1852)
  • The Mill on the Floss, George Eliot (1860)  
  • Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Harriet Jacobs (1861)
  • Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases, Ida B. Wells-Barnett (1892)  
  • Up from Slavery, Booker T. Washington (1901) 
  • The Golden Bowl, Henry James (1904) 
  • The Scarlet Pimpernel, Emmuska Orczy (1905)
  • The Souls of Black Folk, W. E. B. Dubois (1903)
  • The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton (1920) 
  • An American Tragedy, Theodore Dreiser (1925) 
  • In Our Time, Ernest Hemingway (1925) 
  • Orlando, Virginia Woolf (1928)
  • A Room of One's Own, Virginia Woolf (1929)
  • Death in the Afternoon, Ernest Hemingway (1932) 
  • Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier (1938) 
  • The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank (1944, posthumous pub. 1947) 
  • Black Boy, Richard Wright (1945) 
  • The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway (1952)
  • Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury (1953)
  • Palace of Desire, Naguib Mahfouz (1957)
  • Sugar Street, Naguib Mahfouz (1957)
  • Pale Fire, Vladimir Nabokov (1962)
  • Silent Spring, Rachel Carson (1962)
  • A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway (1960?, posthumous pub. 1964) 
  • Islands in the Stream, Ernest Hemingway (1951, posthumous pub. 1970) 
  • The Garden of Eden, Ernest Hemingway (1961, posthumous pub. 1986)  
  • The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov (1966) 
  • The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison (1970)
  • The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, Ernest J. Gaines (1971) 
  • Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison (1977)
  • Ceremony, Leslie Marmon Silko (1977) 
  • If On a Winter's Night a Traveler, Italo Calvino (1979)
  • Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie (1981) 
  • Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez (1985)
  • Beloved, Toni Morrison (1987) 
  • The Color Purple, Alice Walker (1982)
  • The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro (1989) 
Pretty New, but hey, it's Gabriel García Márquez: 
  • Memories of My Melancholy Whores, Gabriel García Márquez (2004)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

New York, New York

In honor of being back in New York, I'm bringing you some books that feature the city in some significant way. Not all of these are books I've loved, but they are ones that revealed at least one slice of life in this amazing city. I apologize ahead of time for the over-emphasis on Brooklyn and Manhattan. If you have suggestions for more dealing with the other boroughs, suggest them in the comments!

Here is New York
 Here is New York, E.B. White. What, you thought he only wrote children's stories? First published in 1949, this is a love letter to the city that seems just as current today as when it was first written.

The Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe. This is gritty, 80's New York, showing the class divisions between the monied elite of Manhattan and those struggling to live in the Bronx. It's not my favorite book, as it tends to sum everything up with a pat "See, everyone is just as bad, so why bother changing" attitude, which I find aggravating. Still, it manages to capture segments of the city, which is what this list is about.

Let the Great World Spin, Colum McCann. Multiple narrators reveal their portions of New York, including how they're connected in unexpected ways. One key event is Philippe Petit's 1974 unauthorized tightrope walk between the Twin Towers. I'd never heard of this, and had to watch the documentary Man on Wire afterwards to learn more. I'm not as much of a fan of this book as a lot of other people were, but it's still pretty good. It won some big prizes, including the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the National Book Award.

Anna Wintour. Credit
The Devil Wears Prada, Lauren Weisberger. What's New York without fashion? This thinly veiled critique of Vogue's Anna Wintour is not exactly a flattering portrait, but it does show what kind of power she yields in certain circles. For those who've seen the movie, Meryl Street and Anne Hathaway do wonderful jobs, but really, there's no comparison to the book.

Assata, Assata Shakur. I read and reviewed this last year. In addition to being an all around awesome book, there some some great New York scenes, like when Assata is in her wig disguise, riding on the subway with similarly dressed women.

Cutting for Stone, Abraham Verghese. This is another book I liked, but didn't love. Still, one of my favorite scenes was when Marion, the narrator, arrives from Addis Ababa. He's struck by the particular cultural force that is New York from his very first steps in the airport.

Motherless Brooklyn, Jonathan Letham. A detective story featuring a main character with Tourette syndrome. The action takes place in both Brooklyn and Manhattan, and it's fun to see the differences between the neighborhoods.

Wait 'Till Next Year, Doris Kearns Goodwin. I think this may be the only book my grandfather ever read - at least as an adult. He insisted that I read this, and I'm so glad he did. This memoir of a young girl growing up with an all consuming love of the Brooklyn Dodgers, bonding with her father over their home team, brings New York in the 1950s to life.

And a couple I'm looking forward to reading in the future:

Moses with model of proposed project. Credit
The Power Broker, Robert A. Caro. Ever since I watched the HBO documentary The Ghosts of Flatbush, about the Brooklyn Dodgers, I've wanted to learn more about Robert Moses. This thousand-plus page 1974 biography won the Pulitzer, so I figure it can't be a bad place to turn.

The Island at the Center of the World, Russell Shorto. Manhattan back when it was New Amsterdam. Yay history!

Sleepers, Lorenzo Carcaterra. I've seen the movie, but haven't read the book. This one isn't for the faint of heart. Four boys grow up in Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan, where they begin to get into some trouble. They are sent to a home for boys, where they suffer awful abuse. Years later, they take revenge on the guards that tortured them.

Monday, March 5, 2012

In which I try another audiobook with Come In and Cover Me

Come In and Cover Me
Come In and Cover Me
Gin Phillips
Narrated by Angela Brazil

I remember buying Gin Phillips's first book, The Well and the Mine, back when I was in college.* My roommate and I liked to go down to the local Barnes & Noble and wander around, looking for books to read. We didn't always buy something, but we always had fun. Ever since them I've been waiting for her to come out with another book. Well, she finally has.

Come In and Cover Me is the story of Ren, a talented and respected archaeologist who made an important discovery of Mimbres pottery early in her career. She has a secret, though - her discovery was made with the help of the spirit of a young Mimbres woman, the artist herself. Or so Ren thinks.

When she's called away from her desk job at a museum to evaluate pottery at a new dig site, Ren is eager to see if more of "her" artist's work has been uncovered. She finds more than just sherds of pottery, though. She finds Silas, another archaeologist, who seems to know that Ren's hiding something about who she makes her discoveries.  Will she reveal her secret? If she does, will he believe her just think she's imagining things and turn away?

As much as I liked parts of the book, other parts just didn't work. Like the characters. They seemed to act, well, out of character. Ren, in particular does things that don't seem in keeping with an archaeologist who's been working in the field for nearly twenty years. Nothing major, just little things here and there. And Silas - he's like the all-knowing genius who knows everything. (Yes, I know that's repetitive. So is the book.) Really, you have all the answers?

Speaking of Silas, I just really disliked him. He seems okay from Ren's point of view, but once the point of view shifts and you hear from him more directly - wow, what a douchcanoe. There's one instance where he's thinking about the Mimbres people and wondering what they'd think of modern humans disturbing their burial grounds. He's thinking of the usual reasons given - it's for posterity, to gain knowledge. Then:
“He did not think the dead woman would know those words.”
Ugh. Okay, I get the point. The culture they're digging up would not necessarily be happy with being dug up. But seriously, a modern educated white guy thinking that a long dead Native American woman would not "know those words" - posterity, knowledge - bugs me. Especially from Silas, who as I may have mentioned, knows all the things.

I did enjoy Phillips' descriptions of the physical, tangible aspects of the novel. You could feel the dirt in your hands, the rocks under your feet, the sun beating down. I even thought the sexyparts were well done - and this comes from a reader who'd prefer those things be hidden under a blanket. At first, I thought someone reading those sexyparts to me would be weird and uncomfortable, but I liked how Angela Brazil was just very straightforward and matter of fact. It worked.

On the other hand, I wasn't thrilled about the voices for the characters, particularly Ren. She sounds too delicate and precious. Also, the voices aren't consistent throughout the novel. Sometimes the characters sound too much alike, which gets confusing.

Overall, while I wasn't blown away, I enjoyed it, and was happy to have the chance to try another audiobook. I do hope that Gin Phillips doesn't wait so long to write her next book.

*I just looked up the publication date for The Well and the Mine, and it seems like it actually came out in 2008, which would be after I graduated. I swear that I read this in college, though. Hmmm...

This copy graciously provided to me by AudioGO.

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Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Sunday Salon: Back in New York!

Yes, this blog is once again being brought to you from the Big Apple (at least until I transition to my cousin's in the Garden State later this week.)

ATA pilot training
Two female pilots in 1942! Credit
I woke up at the ungodly hour of 4am this morning to make my 6:40 flight. No problems to report - the flight, which was helmed by not one but TWO "lady pilots," as my chipper flight attendant gleefully told us, went smoothly, and we touched down at JFK right on time. I don't think I've ever ridden on a plane with one female pilot, much less both the captain and co-pilot. It made me unaccountably happy.

I managed to get a little reading done on the plane, but I was pretty sleepy, so it was hard to concentrate. I'm really enjoying Nuruddin Farah's Maps, though, so I'm looking forward to digging into it more when I have a better opportunity.

I didn't see that meany people reading on the place. I think it was too early for almost everybody. There was one family of four book lovers sitting near me. At some point all of them pulled out a book. The 13 year old girl was alternating between The Book Thief and something on her e-reader, the dad was reading Bill Bryson's At Home, and the mom had The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. I couldn't see what the boy, aged about 10, was reading.

Anyway, I'm glad to be in New York, even if it is cold and gray. It's temporary for now, but who knows? Maybe something will happen to make it more permanent.

In recognition of  being in the city, I've got a post planned for later this week featuring 10 quintessential New York books. Be sure to come back and check it out!

How's your Sunday so far?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

February in Review

Cross stitch of February in pink thread on grey background with hearts and an envelope
Not sad to see you go, February.

I read a decent amount in the beginning of the month. I think it was the momentum from January propelling me forward. I read three books for the POC Reading Challenge, and one for the Africa Reading Challenge. I also read another audio book - woot woot! That makes four all time. Soon I'll have to start using my other hand to count them :-) I'm still adjusting to the format.

The second half of the month... not so much. I started two other books, including another for the Africa Challenge, but I haven't made too much progress. Most of my reading the last couple of weeks has been legal essays, in preparation for the bar exam. I'm happy to report that the exam is OVER (it was February 28 & 29) and legal studying has ceased! I'm hoping to never have to take another bar exam in my life. I'll find out if I passed on April 23rd. *Crosses fingers*

Here's to renewed reading in March!

My February breakdown:

6 books total
3 fiction                50%
3 nonfiction          50%
4 female authors  67%
1 translated           17%