Tag - books

Show us your books: April 2017

During the months that I wasn’t blogging but thinking about what I would do once I relaunched the blog, I realized that I miss the blogging community at large. Most of the people I used to follow and comment on are no longer blogging regularly or at all. I get it, it’s tough to keep trying to tell new stories. I also found myself reading blogs but not commenting on them, which makes me part of the blogging community problem. (I am usually my own biggest problem.)

Found in the Philadelphia Free Library sexuality section. VERY clever!

In that spirit, I’ve decided to start participating in some more bloggy linkups. And rather than dribbling out book reviews as I read them, I’m going to do the monthly Show Us Your Books linkup hosted by Life According to Steph and Jana Says. Two blogs that I read but rarely comment on because I’m a problem.

Read in March:

Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler
Gah. Just … ugh.

I *thought* it was going to be a more restaurant-centric story. Or at the very least, we’d see main character Tess’s growth from New Girl to Server. But those stories which could have been compelling were tucked deep in the background behind all of the characters getting drunk, high, drunk and high, screwing each other, and screwing up. Including Tess, who spends the entire book making very bad decisions. I’m too old for that book.

Nicotine by Nell Zink
This was a batshit-crazy book filled with really troubled people who are just trying to do the best they can in strange situations. It was a fun read, and had a few laugh-out-loud moments with regard to “activism.” It hints at child rape/molestation but not in a violent way, so if that’s a trigger for you, maybe not pick this one.

The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza
I read this book in almost one sitting, when I happened to be sitting in a plane on my way to vist Dad in Florida.

Imogen Tate is the 42 year old Editor in Chief of Glossy, a popular fashion magazine. Upon return from a medical leave, Imogen finds out that her whole magazine has been turned digital, and the woman who was once her assistant is now her boss. When long-forms are replaced by listicles (spell check wants that word to be testicles), can Imogen hang or will she be forced into early retirement?

After reading Sweetbitter, this book was a balm to my soul. It’s a fun, fluffy, revenge story with a lot of snort-out-loud references to how bizarre new media is.

Currently reading
Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay by Nancy Milford
I’m enjoying this so far, which is interesting since I am not a poetry person. If you close your eyes and picture a woman named Edna St. Vincent Millay, you’d likely picture a dour matron. Hoo boy, she was not.

Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination by Neal Gabler:
I have been reading 5 pages at a time since December, which isn’t getting me anywhere because this is a huge book. I think I’m at peak Walt Disney biography saturation, having read at least a dozen of them in the last 15 years.

Where do I find my books?
Savage Beauty was an ebook on sale for $1.99 that I found through the BookBub daily email newsletter. It’s damaging to your pocketbook, but only a little at a time.

I find other suggestions via Book Riot’s All the Books podcast, which I listen to every Sunday while I prepare lunches for the coming week. For books I can’t check out for my Nook ereader, I walk my ass to the Philadelphia Free Library every few weeks from Spring – Autumn.

I keep track of all of my reading on Goodreads.

What are you reading?

Life According to Steph

Reading catchup

Thanks to my 30-minute train commute each way and my lazy, lazy ass, I read 48 books in 2016.

2016 books

The longest book I read was Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton. It was a nice cherry on top of my Hamilton-fixation sundae last year.

I rated 8 books as five-star books:

  • Kitchens of the Great Midwest
  • Hamilton: The Revolution
  • Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History
  • Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space
  • The Broken Kingdoms (Inheritance, #2)
  • Love Walked In
  • Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person
  • The Light of the World

A whopping THIRTY of those 2016 books were written by female authors. This isn’t something I initially aimed to do in January of last year, but once I started seeing the trend, I tried to continue it as best I can. I’m pretty proud of that.

I’m learning about new books via the All the Books podcast from Book Riot.

My goal this year is to read 50 books, which seems ridiculously high to me.

All of my reviews are on Goodreads, and if you’re a more visual person, I’m kimberussell on Litsy!

Alexander Hamilton book review

Alexander HamiltonAlexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I, like many, am caught up in the giant swirl of love for the musical “Hamilton.”After listening to the soundtrack dozens of times, I was ready to dive into the source material.

This is a very long, very well-written, very exhaustive biography of Alexander Hamilton, one of our founding fathers who simultaneously made great things, and HUGE mistakes, with his overactive pen and mouth. After a crappy childhood in the West Indies, A.Ham (with the help of benefactors) made his way to the British colonies in America. He fell in with the right group of people, and the rest is history. Literally!

I’m not a history person, and the only part that made me almost quit was the Federalist Papers. Luckily, there wasn’t a test at the end of the book, so I accepted that I didn’t have to memorize this stuff, just appreciate it. And I did.

What struck me most is that the Founding Fathers were making it all up as they went along. They were flawed men with large egos who preached that doom would happen if opponents were listened to. So, pretty much JUST like today.

I chuckled at how our leading thinkers ripped each other to shreds through “anonymous” newspaper essays and letters. Those writings are the building blocks upon which today’s newspaper comment sections are built!

Joking aside, Chernow did a fantastic job of not only describing the events of Hamilton’s short and brutish life but making sure we knew that all of the players were human.

Also, Eliza Hamilton had a hell of a second act. I’m glad her story was told, too.

View all my reviews on Goodreads!

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