Saturday, October 12, 2019

What I've Read in August & September (I'm Not Gone, Just Busy)

Hi, everyone! Wow, I miss blogging. I miss sitting down and writing my posts that don't get much attention, but make me so happy to write. I miss reviewing. I miss commenting on blogs. If you didn't know I have recently entered my senior of college. I'm taking 18 hours, a member of the color guard/marching band, leading a Life Group, leading an intercession prayer ministry, and teaching part-time. It has been very busy. Not in a bad way, but it's been overwhelming. I read a lot of books for classes and don't really have much time to blog. If I'm being honest, something has to take the backburner and this is just what has been chosen for that. It doesn't mean I love this blog any less or plan to stop blogging, but I just have to learn to choose where I spend and pour my energy and free time. I have to do that wisely. I haven't talked about what I read since July, so here is wrap-up of everything I've read the last two months. Brace yourselves, it's a lot!

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The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula K. Le Guin- 4 stars This short story has stuck with me. I've read it in both August and September. I can't stay away from it. It draws me in and haunts me. Check out my review here.
Healing the Soul of a Woman: How to Overcome Your Emotional Wounds by Joyce Meyer- 4.25 stars This was a book full of healing. There were a lot of beautiful messages here and they were all relevant to what I was currently walking through in that season of my life.
Rachel's Tears by Beth Nimmo & Darrell Scott- 4 stars Rachel Joy Scott's story is one of the most heartbreaking stories from Columbine. It was heartbreaking but relevant to read this book. I'm glad I did. It packs a punch, but it is also the journals from a teenager and that's important.
Everyday Use by Alice Walker- 3.5 stars I read this with my students and the story has a lot of great cultural aspects of a family. Check out my review here.
The Sniper by Liam O'Flaherty- 4 stars I read this one with my students as well and they really loved the ending of the story. It has a great plot twist. Check out my review here.
The Conversation of Eiros and Charmion by Edgar Allan Poe- 4.25 stars This was the first story we read for my Post-Apocalyptic class and it was fun to read Poe in a different medium. Check out my review here.

Overall Thoughts: I read four short stories and two novels in August which isn't bad for how busy and stressful of a month August was. I didn't have any 5-star reads that month which is odd for me. I read some great stuff, but nothing that stood out.

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Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi- 2 stars I love the Disney movie for Pinocchio, but I never thought I would intentionally ever read the story it was based on. Well, this was the first book I read for my YA literature class and it was interesting. This book is gregariously violent and has a lot of elements of ridiculousness that make it hard to always enjoy. Not a favorite, but I did like the overall story.
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll- 3 stars (originally 3.75 stars) Another book for my YA lit class and a reread for me. I honestly just cannot fall in love with this story. When it comes to reading the book I am not enamored and always underwhelmed. It's not a favorite. I like it, but I don't love it. I actually walked away this time recognizing more faults than celebrating it. I was surprised that my rating went down. Check out my review here.
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells- 5 stars Now this is my kind of novel. I read this for my post-apocalyptic class and it was not at all what I expected the novel to be. It felt very Lovecraftian in world building and I loved the absurdity of the time travel but my favorite thing was how horrifying the world he travels to is. I was fascinated by the dynamic of the Morlocks and the Eloi. It was a fantastic novel! So happy this was a required reading for school.
Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire- 5 stars This is the only book I read for fun in September and even then I still used to write a paper for another class because I need a YA text outside of what we read in class. I love this book! The world that Jack and Jill travel to is engrossing and horrifying. The plot was beautifully woven and I am a huge fan of this series.
Second Variety by Philip K. Dick- 4.25 stars This is another post-apocalyptic novel, but it's set in an America that is ravaged by a nuclear war between the Soviet Union and the U.S. We follow a commander who walks through the wastelands and encounters the robots that have been used to kill and win the war. So many plot twists! This was a fun story. If you ever want to read some great short science fiction, do yourself a favor and pick this one up.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum- 4.5 stars I loved this one! I figured I would end up reading this for a class and I was right. The world of Oz is just so much fun and it's full of wonderful characters, interesting themes, and fun adventures. I think I want to continue reading the series for fun.
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie- 4 stars (originally 3.5 stars)  My rating for this one went up! It was completely unexpected, but that ending was beautiful. I ugly cried and it's probably because I'm no longer a child. I'm an adult and that makes me happy but also it grips me with a profound sadness that I did not realize I would encounter. Check out my review here.
Richard III by William Shakespeare- 2 stars I thought I would really love this one, but I was unimpressed. This play is inconsistent and while historical context can be fascinating the linear chronology is obscure and often times annoying. Huge plot points often happened off the page and then we would find out about them when people were talking. This play is a great example of telling and not showing because I didn't see half of what happened in outside of a bunch of people gossiping about the events.
Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut- 5 stars My boy Kurt Vonnegut never disappoints. This book is post-apocalyptic and it doesn't seem like it would be. The satire is witty. The humor crass. The plot entertaining and gripping (which is interesting because I find this is not a normal thing for Vonnegut). The themes and commentary were spot on. So happy I finally read this one. It's my third favorite Vonnegut book! Absolutely love it.
The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula K. Le Guin-4 stars That's right I read this short story again. It's just that good and worth picking apart.
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton- 5 stars (reread) This is going to books that I will forever give 5-stars to. This book is heartbreaking, real, gritty, violent, and smart. The characters in this novel are memorable and there's a reason why this book is still taught and talked about today. Stay gold, readers.
The Screwfly Solution by James Tiptree Jr. (Alice Sheldon)- 3 stars This story is wild. It's about a world where men start brutally murdering women and it is a roller coaster of weirdness. I will admit that I am not a huge fan of the story, but that ending. That last line. So brilliant. Also Sheldon's life is pretty interesting. I did some research on her and she was a spy for the US. She kept her identity as a man writing science fiction for so long that people were convinced the writer was a man. Sadly, her death is quite tragic. Since she murdered her husband and killed herself.

Overall Thoughts: The month of September was crazy busy. Wild, actually. My reading for pleasure is a mix of reading for school, so it makes it hard to read for fun since I am doing so much reading for classes. However, September was a month for fantastic books!
Here are my 5-star reads:
1. Cat's Cradle
2. The Outsiders
3. The Time Machine
4. Down Among the Sticks and Bone
 2019 TBR:
Total Read: 14

October TBR:

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I've already read five of these! I have to read all of these for classes. I've technically read seven books, but I'm rereading two of them.
Books I'm Reading, But Not Reading:
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 I've started all these. I may finish one or two of them, but I read so much for school that reading for fun is on the back burner at the moment.

Have you read any of these books? What has been going on in the publishing world and book community? Let me know down below in the comments!

What I've Read in August & September (I'm Not Gone, Just Busy)

Hi, everyone! Wow, I miss blogging. I miss sitting down and writing my posts that don't get much attention, but make me so happy to writ...