Ten Books New to My TBR... and the Bloggers Who Put Them There

My TBR list (non-existent, amorphous beast that it is) has always been long, long, long. But that's never kept it from continuing to expand. Below, ten books I've recently added to my TBR stack (and the bloggers/publicists who put them there...):

Week in Reading: March 28th

March is currently not cooperating with the "out like a lamb" portion of the old adage, so most of my weekend was spent curled up inside in front of the fireplace (again) with a book (or four).

week in reading march 29th: book covers for under the bus by caroline frederickson; just like us by helen thorpe; that's not english by erin moore; re jane by patricia park; the summer prince by alaya dawn johnson; cloud atlas by david mitchell

Book Review: I Am Not a Slut, by Leora Tanenbaum

This review originally ran in Shelf Awareness for Readers.

In I Am Not a Slut: Slut-Shaming in the Age of the Internet, Leora Tanenbaum returns to the subject of her 1999 book Slut!: Growing Up Female with a Bad Reputation, updating her research on slut-shaming and name-calling to reflect the changes in the social and digital landscape over the last 16 years. She explores the differences between slut-bashing and slut-shaming, the myriad ways teens and young adults use the Internet and social media to shame young women and the ever-evolving ways that gender norms shape our images of sex, sexuality and sexual assault.

The information that fuels I Am Not a Slut is based as much on the dozens of interviews that Tanenbaum conducted with women and girls across the country--ranging in age and race and sexuality--as it is on quantitative data and scientific studies. The resulting arguments are all the stronger for the anecdotal evidence that accompanies them. In many instances, however, Tanenbaum uses absolutes, making claims about "every woman," "all men" or things that happen "always," which weaken her otherwise thoughtful arguments. She is at her strongest when dealing with double standards of sex and sexuality (how, for example, men are expected to have many sexual partners while women are criticized for exactly the same thing) and how the prevalence of slut-shaming amplifies a culture of victim-blaming.


A copy of this title was provided by the publisher for review.
I Am Not a Slut | Leora Tanenbaum | Harper Perennial | Trade Paperback | February 2015

Day in the Life: Take Two

Blogger previously ate this post, but since the text was still displaying in Shaina's feedly, she was kind enough to send me the text of my own post so I could re-post it without having to start from scratch. THANK YOU!


Trish at Love, Laughter and Insanity is asking bloggers to share a day in the life. See other bloggers' daily lives over at her master link-up!

This particular day was Wednesday: A weekday with no out-of-the-house meetings, in the middle of a week when my husband was traveling for work, so I had a pretty quiet, to-myself kind of routine going:

Book Review: Our Kids, by Robert Putnam

This review originally ran in Shelf Awareness for Readers.

In Bowling Alone, political scientist and Harvard professor Robert Putnam took a close look at the evolving landscape of community in the United States. With Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis, he turns to a distinct but inherently related topic: the dissolution of the American Dream and the many ways that class mobility in the U.S. has stagnated in the 50 years since Putnam himself was a child. Putnam explores the "myths and realities" of the American Dream before analyzing the various factors that he claims are preventing young people today from achieving upward class mobility, which involve family structure, parenting, schooling and community.

When Maureen Corrigan & Ann Patchett Talk on Stage, They Recommend Books

One of the things I'm love-love-loving about my new hometown is the bookish community that lives here. I've joined two book clubs and gotten to know some of the staff at the ever-incredible, well-curated indie in town, Curious Iguana. I've joined the (very large) public library. And this week, I attended the kind of author event I've always longed for without knowing what I was longing for: Ann Patchett (indie bookstore owner and bestselling author of such novels as Bel Canto and State of Wonder) and Maureen Corrigan (NPR anchor, book reviewer, and author of last year's So We Read On) in conversation.

This wasn't an "author talk." Patchett and Corrigan are friends (a fact that Patchett seems thrilled about, and yet disappointed because it means Corrigan won't review any of her future books), and so watching the two on stage, tucked in wingback armchairs, discussing books and storytelling and writing and privilege and imagination was like watching someone's afternoon tea time, only with an audience.

Patchett and Corrigan were charming and interesting and witty and bold; I expect that some of the questions they raised for each other (Is there a limit on what an author can right about? Can Patchett, for example, write about the African-American experience?) will continue to stew in my brain and ultimately become fodder for a future post. But in the meantime, I figured I'd share with the world the books they mentioned specifically and recommended to the audience*:

This Week in Reading: March 23

entomology of a bookworm this week in reading: crooked letter, crooked letter by tom franklin; the fishermen by chigozie obioma, half of a yellow sun by chimimanda adichie, that's not english by erin moore; the listener by rachel basch; under the bus by caroline frederickson

I hit a bit of a reading slump in recent weeks, which left me scrambling to meet some review deadlines in a way that made reading some very excellent books very... not excellent. Luckily, my last two selections--The Fishermen, by Chigozie Obioma (on sale April 14th), and Half of a Yellow Sun, by Chimanda Ngozi Adichie--seem to have broken my ho-hum streak. I can't recommend either enough, and am not sure I can find the words to do either justice. So. Read those.


Bloggiesta is this week, and what better time to do some much-needed maintenance around these parts? I've never participated before, despite always wanting to do so. I'll be updating this post along the way with progress, and then will post a culmination at the end of the week.

Book Review: The Bullet, by Mary Louise Kelly

This review originally ran in Shelf Awareness for Readers. 

For a much more in-depth review of The Bullet, as well as an interview with author Mary Louise Kelly, see the February 25th edition of Maximum Shelf. 

In Mary Louise Kelly's second novel, The Bullet, Caroline Cashion goes for an MRI to assess what might be causing a persistent pain in her wrist and is shocked when the technician asks her how she came to have a bullet in her neck. Though Caroline chalks it up to a mistake, further x-rays reveal that, yes, she has a bullet in her neck--and absolutely no memory of how it got there. She naturally turns to her parents, with whom she is very close, for an explanation, and is startled to learn that she is adopted, that her biological parents were murdered, and that the bullet in her neck is in fact the same bullet that killed her mother.

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh!* (Or, Happy St. Patrick's Day)

I've got an Irish name and a stack of Irish books, and I studied Irish (history, literature and language) in college, so let me tell you: this is my holiday. Not in the green beer, car bomb (please think about car bombs in the context of Irish history and then think about not calling them that anymore), get-wasted kind of way, but in the celebrate Irish heritage and Irish literature and Irish food kind of way. I'm planning a lunch with Dubliner cheese (it's a thing, it's at Costco, and it's divinely zingy cheddar), dinner with potatoes (and yes, let's be honest, probably Jameson) and you know I'll be stocking up on super-sale corned beef and cabbage tomorrow. One for the slow cooker, one (maybe two) for the freezer.

I've written before about some timely Irish-themed reading in honor of the holiday. It's impossible to consider Irish lit without considering Joyce, of course; though I haven't read (and am not sure I will read) Ulysses, Dubliners remains one of my favorite short story collections. I first read it in college and have a slim, lime green copy I may revisit this week.

Week in Reading: March 16th

I should just re-name this blog the "week in reading" blog and be done with it, eh? Sadly, the reading situation is no better this week than the blogging situation, though I did finish Kevin Kruse's One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America. The book is an exploration of how America (and Americans) came to identify as a Christian nation, with specific attention on the spat of action in the world of public religious traditions seen in the 1950s. It's interesting and unexpected, and I had the chance to interview Kruse this morning about the work, which made it all the more fun. Stay tuned for review and interview in Shelf Awareness.

Week in Reading: March 10

It's been a quiet week in this little blogosphere, and unfortunately a quiet week on my reading front as well. I've been celebrating family birthdays, traveling, and have some upcoming drives for work, so anticipate that things will continue to be quiet here for a bit... but I've got some excellent books to keep me company while I flit up and down the East Coast.

Week in Reading: March 2

I'm flabbergasted at the whole it's-March-phenomenon, but even more flabbergasted by the it's-still-snowing-and-icing status in Maryland at the moment. Not cool, climate change. Not cool. The chilly temperatures meant I spent most of Friday night curled up with Orhan's Inheritance (April 7th, Algonquin Books). It's a powerful novel about the Armenian genocide that is haunting me in all the best ways that good books do.

Looking Back: February Reading & Writing

February gets me EVERY YEAR, dammit. How can it be almost March?

Despite the shorter month, I had some great reads. I'm feeling a bit burnt out keeping up with deadlines, so trying to get a bit ahead and manage my time better moving forward... plus, I do like to read things for fun, too, not just for review. But that doesn't mean what I have read hasn't been great:

Trigger Warning, by Neil Gaiman: Ya'll know I'd never pass up an opportunity to read Gaiman's short stories, and this collection did not disappoint. It's like a map of Gaiman's incredible imagination, sure to delight long-time fans and those new to his work alike. Full review.

Find Me, by Laura Van Den Berg: I *still* haven't managed to read VDB's short stories, despite having checked them out from the library multiple times, but I did pick up her novel, and proceeded to devour it. Her words! Her language! Her ideas! The story of Joy's experience in a post-plague United States is not as post-apocalyptic as you might imagine, and therein lies the strength of Van Den Berg's debut novel. Full review.

Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China, by Laurie Chang: This was the second pick for Curious Iguana's Our Women, Our World book club, and though it wasn't what I expected, I did enjoy Chang's account of migrant culture in China. Chang's approach is very matter-of-fact: here are the facts, make of them what you will, and at times, I longed for more in-depth exploration of some of the topics she breezes past (prostitution? unwanted pregnancies? the Cultural Revolution?). The book club seemed to agree, but overall, I'd call this educational--and never dry.

My Sunshine Away, by M.O. Walsh: Walsh's debut novel has been getting lots of praise, and for good reason. It's a compelling story of memory and guilt and friendship and first loves and small-town America. Full review.

Geek Love, by Katherine Dunn: I'm reading this for the Estella Society readalong, and I'll be the first to admit I won't be finished in time. I'm still not sure what to make of Dunn's strange story; it's interesting, weird, and a little stand-offish--though I think perhaps that's the intent. More thoughts to come.


So far this year, I've finished:

Of the 27 books I've picked up so far:

  • I've finished 17
  • 4 were DNFs (the rest I'm still reading... shit, am I really in the middle of six books right now?)
  • 16 were by female authors, 11 by male authors
  • 25% were written by non-US authors
  • 22% were written by non-white authors


Other February activity (here and elsewhere):


What were the best things you read in February?