Looking Back: October Reading

I took a few weeks off from this little blogosphere, so it was a fairly quiet month here... but that's not to say there wasn't a hell of a lot of reading.

Contemporary Nigerian Voices

This piece originally ran in Shelf Awareness for Readers.

Until recently, I'm ashamed to admit, my reading of Nigerian authors was limited to the works of Chinua Achebe (which are certainly worth reading, if you haven't already). I had been overlooking a host of more recent fiction from Nigerian voices, all of which work to highlight the complex and often misunderstood history and culture of this unusual country.

Week in Reading: October 26, 2015

It's the last week of October (somehow?) and I'm basking in the relative relaxation of a slow review month. This week, I devoured Salvage the Bones, Jesmyn Ward's National Book Award-winning novel from 2011; it was the kind of beautiful, cruel, heartbreaking novel that made me want to set it down and not continue but left me unable to look away. Truly, truly, truly excellent. I also finished Margaret Atwood's The Heart Goes Last, which I liked, but not as much as some of Atwood's previous works.

Book Review & Interview: The Food Lab, by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

I just realized that despite my gushing over this book, I failed to post the review and interview here that I did for Shelf Awareness for Readers. So, without further ado, a great many words on what I will call the best cookbook of 2015 (and the first cookbook I've ever sat down and read cover-to-cover).

This review and interview originally ran in Shelf Awareness' Maximum Shelf on August 26, 2015.

Running Recap: Freedom's Run Half Marathon

Antietam National Battlefield

I've mentioned in a few posts and on Twitter that I've been training for a half marathon this summer and fall, and now that race is solidly behind me. My hip flexors have stopped throbbing, my glutes don't scream every time I go up the stairs, and the taper madness that set in the two weeks before my race has abated (taper madness: it's a real thing).

While this wasn't my first half (I did a few in 2011-2012), it was my first in several years--and my lazy butt was working back up to 13 miles from couch potato. The first few weeks of training were the worst both mentally and physically (see an earlier post where I questioned whether I could actually finish a 5-mile run), but over time, I gained confidence as I gained muscle memory, and running became (mostly) fun again.

Week in Reading: October 19

Last week's reading didn't go exactly according to plan: a few sneaky deadlines crept up on me resulting in some last-minute changes to my reading schedule. I devoured Ashley Bell, the forthcoming thriller/suspense novel from Dean Koontz (and got to interview him about the book, to boot! Look for that in Shelf Awareness later this month). I sat down the next evening to read Bohemian Gospel and stayed up until well past midnight to devour it in one sitting; this book is breathtaking (look for it from Pegasus in November; review to come). A few hours into Cleopatra on audio, I remembered why I never listen to non-fiction on audio--I absolutely cannot pay attention to it. I hope to pick that up in print eventually, because what I did manage to catch was quite good.

#Readathon Mini-Challenge: A Recommendation Engine

One of my favorite parts of the 24-Hour Readathon (or, ok, any reading event, really) is seeing so many new-to-me titles floating around the blogosphere. With that in mind, I thought we could use this mini-challenge to not only see what others are reading (and loving), but provide recommendations to them. It's pretty simple:

#Readathon:The Master Post

It's here! #Readathon is upon us. I'll be using this post as my "home" for the day, with updates on my reading stack, schedule, snacks, etc. 

I'll be tying a donation to my count of pages read & books completed to this awesome Bookstagram Team raising funds for Pencils of Promise. More info below.

Hour 16 (11pm):

I didn't get so much reading in in the last 4 hours, but I had an absolute blast stepping in to co-host the Readathon for two hours (most of which I spent on Twitter!) and then sat down to dinner and dessert with The Beard. I'd have taken a picture of the apple tart he made for dessert but I didn't think to do that until after I'd eaten half of it (and it wasn't nearly as pretty then). 

  • Books Read: 
    • Fates and Furies (complete)
    • Citizen (completed)
  • Pages Read: 551
  • Hours Read: 6hrs, 45min
  • Dollars Raised: $32.55

Review: The Dead Ladies Project, by Jessa Crispin

This review originally ran in Shelf Awareness for Readers. Reprinted here with permission.

Discover: This collection of personal essays follows one writer as she studies the lives of artists and writers who built new lives for themselves.

#Readathon: The Reading Stack

The October 2015 Edition of Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon is nearly upon us! As with every reading event ever, I've got my eye on far more books than one person can possible hope to read in one day. Here's what I'm eying:

Week in Reading: October 12

I'm back to my old shtick this week: talking about books, books and more books. Part of that is prep for this weekend's Readathon (are you signed up? Might you be interested in cheering on readers?) and part just the normal autumnal run of things in this bookworm's household. On deck this week:

I'm Baaaaaaack

Wellllll hello there! I'm back after a brief hiatus for travel and work and generally preserving my sanity, but I've missed ya'll and all our talk of books. I'm gearing up for the Readathon this weekend (are you participating? If not, fix that here! Oh, and you can also sign up to cheerlead here.) and can't wait for an entire day dedicated to reading, reading, and more reading.

The past few weeks have been hectic but generally good. A short photo summation:

Wedding in CT

Conference in AZ
This was the first work conference I've ever attended where I had a moment of pure clarity, knowing I was doing what I wanted to be doing and happy in my choices.

Half Marathon in MD
BOOM. Beat my previous half PR by a little over 5 minutes, and this course was damn freaking hilly.

Oh yeah and in between all of that, the cat went missing for a few days--but she's home now and no worse for wear. Thanks to all for the well wishes and support and shares while she was a-wandering.

I didn't read all that much these past few weeks, just barely keeping my head above water on review deadlines. I did read (and love) The Japanese Lover, the newest by Isabel Allende, and I devoured Hotels of North America on the flight home from Arizona (told as a series of hotel reviews, it's a fascinating construction for a short novel and totally works, especially if you like novels that break the rules a bit on format and structure). Look for both in November. On my headphones, I cycled through Uprooted--a refreshing take on classic magic myth stories--and Sharp Objects, by Gillian Flynn--a messed up story of family and murder that had me hooked to the very end. In between, I'm still reading bits of The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood, mostly because I'll read anything and everything Atwood writes.

What's everyone else been up to? Reading anything fabulous? Prepping for anything amazing, in reading or in life?