#BookishBloggersUnite

#BookishBloggersUnite :: International Women’s Day

Welcome to our weekly #BookishBloggersUnite post! #BookishBloggersUnite is a meme that started when a bunch of book living bloggers decided it would be fun to get together each week and talk about some of our favourite bookish things. Everyone is welcome to join in, and we take turns hosting – Bron super excited to be this week’s host!

In honour of International Women’s Day we’re celebrating women writers, and if you’d like to join I’d love for you to tell me about three women:

  • one who is a favourite, whose writing you love and love to recommend,
  • one whose work you’ve read some of and would like to read more, and
  • one whose work you haven’t read of but you really want to (darn those giant TBR lists!)

If you would like to join in please add your post to the linky on Bron’s page =)

I’m running a bit late on this week’s prompt (sorry) but I’m going to try to avoid naming most of the authors I noted in last week’s Book Bloggers Unite post.

A favorite author, whose writing I love and love to recommend

IMG_5271Celeste Ng blew into my life with Everything I Never Told You and came back to break me with Little Fires Everywhere.  She’s only got the two novels, but I’ll read anything she decides to put out in the future.  She’s also a great Twitter follow with her #smallacts tag and ideas.

A funny story – when Celeste came to town on tour for the paperback release of EINTY, we conversed briefly on Twitter about how I was coming to the reading. (Yay!) However, because I use a picture of my cat Chaucer as a Twitter avatar Celeste didn’t know what I looked like…and asked several people ahead of me in the signing line if they were balletbookworm on Twitter.  LOL.  Someday I’ll get a stick mask with my avatar on it and carry it around at book events.

An author whose work I’ve read some of and would like to read more

Lauren Groff is an author I would love to read more from.  I was part of an early reader group for The Monsters of Templeton way back when.  I just couldn’t get into that book for whatever reason (I think because I didn’t quite like the main character, but it’s been a minute). So I didn’t read any more of her books until Fates and Furies was due to publish and I downloaded the galley on a whim to read on a trip – without knowing anything about it – and it totally blew my socks off. Right after, Arcadia popped up as a Nook deal so I bought that and read it. Also an excellent read.  Clearly, I have missed something with Lauren Groff so I need to pick up more of her work.

An author whose work I haven’t read of but really want to (darn those giant TBR lists!)

Ok, so don’t throw things at me but…..

*whispers* I’ve never read anything by Octavia Butler. *ducks*

I really should. I know I really should.  I own Kindred, the Xenogenesis/Lillith’s Brood trilogy, and Seven Stories’ Press’s new editions of Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents. So I have no excuse except lack of time and zero brains to remember.

And that’s it for this week (until Friday, haha)!

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#BookishBloggersUnite

#BookishBloggersUnite – Kicking off US Women’s History Month

Hello everyone!

Bookish Bloggers Unite was formed when a group of like-minded writers decided they want to talk about books together.

Sue at Doddy About Books is hosting this week’s tag which is Favourite Women Writers Across Multiple Genres. Pick your favourite genres and tell us about your favourite female authors writing within them (or around them or across them!) Anyone can play – just pop your link in the linky at Sue’s page.

ja cassie drawingClassics

Jane Austen, 5ever. I will never tire of re-reading Austen’s work, from the ridiculousness of her Juvenilia to the beauty of Wentworth’s letter in Persuasion. Even the letters, because I always want to kick Cassandra in the shins for destroying so many letters. There are so many layers to her books I will never find something new on each reading.

Other perennial favorites are Anne Brontë, Charlotte Brontë (sorry, Emily fans – don’t @ me), George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell (oh, North and South, I do love thee, also your adaptation), and Edith Wharton.

PossessionbookjacketLiterary Fiction

This is where I lose my bananas over Possession by A.S. Byatt. It is by far my favorite novel by Byatt. On each reading I am convinced anew that Randolph Henry Ash and Christabel LaMotte are not merely derivatives of Robert Browning and Christina Rossetti invented for the purposes of the narrative but real poets who actually existed in Victorian England. Possession allows you to time travel, with out actually using the time travel trope by moving brilliantly between the Victorian and late twentieth-century settings. It is a literary mystery hidden within a poetry collection within a love story. All of Byatt’s novels and stories have these deeply textured, rich characters and settings – The Children’s Book, The Virgin in the Garden, Angels and Insects, and so on.

Another favorite lit-fic author is Margaret Atwood. If your only exposure to Atwood is from The Handmaid’s Tale (social dystopia), try the Maddaddam trilogy (environmental dystopia, which didn’t start out with that trilogy name), Alias Grace (ghost story), Hag-Seed (retelling of The Tempest as part of the Hogarth Shakespeare series), Bodily Harm (woman trying to keep her life together), or Surfacing (a thriller….perhaps?).

Georgette_HeyerRomance

I can’t mention the romance genre without introducing you to the Grande Dame and Grandmother of the historical romance genre, Georgette Heyer. She is the woman who conjoined the social novel of Jane Austen, with all attendant historical details, to the marriage plot of the twentieth-century. The modern historical romance machine owes its existence to the woman who gave us the Duke of Avon (think the Vicomte de Valmont from Dangerous Liaisons but not a jerk and also English) in These Old Shades. Start with Venetia (Regency) or The Convenient Marriage (Georgian) and if you can get the audiobooks read by Richard Armitage (aka Thorin Oakenshield and John Thorton), do that.

I have a laundry-list of authors who I auto-buy in the romance genre: Eloisa James, Tessa Dare, Sarah MacLean, Maya Rodale, Cat Sebastian, Alisha Rai, Alyssa Cole, and Elizabeth Hoyt. Probably more. The Nook account, it explodeth with goodness.

Agatha_ChristieMystery

Y’all, I do not need to explain Agatha Christie to you. Some of her books don’t age as well (I forget that some of the plots turn on some casual racism and then I am that literal grimace face emoji) but the brilliance of plots like Murder on the Orient Express4:50 from PaddingtonAnd Then There Were None, and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd can never be equaled. Now, if you like Christie novels, and want to stay with a contemporaneous writer but want sleuths with more flaws, I recommend Dorothy Sayers, creator of the shell-shocked Lord Peter Wimsey (The Nine Tailors will give you a mini-education in the uniquely English art of change-ringing) and mystery writer Harriet Vane (Gaudy Night contains a capsule portrait of a women’s college at Oxford in the 1930s).

Some of my favorite modern mystery writers are Tasha Alexander, Laurie R. King, and P.D. James (who I share a birthday with).

Science Fiction and Fantasy

Have you met Ann Leckie? Check out Ancillary Justice, the revenge plot of a massive starship AI now contained with in a single, fragile humanoid body. This is an genre where I’m a little light on “favorites” because I own loads of SFF books….but just haven’t read them. Or I’ve read one book from an author, but not any others. Project Overdue Reads, you are being paged.

22710140Comics

Dana Simpson burst into my reading lineup last year with her Phoebe and Her Unicorn webcomic series. You can start with the first actual OGN, The Magic Storm, but I totally recommend just going back to the beginning – they read VERY fast. Other favorite writers/illustrators include Lucy Knisley and Sarah Andersen.

A favorite writer of comics is G. Willow Wilson, creator of the awesome Ms. Marvel series, and I will read anything she writes. A favorite illustrator I’ve followed from series to series is Fiona Staples.

Non-fiction

Because this post is getting very long, I’m going to do a quick round-up of favorite non-fiction writers spanning memoir, humor, personal essay, science, and women’s studies.

Roxane Gay – Bad Feminist is a warm-up for the most wrenching book I have ever read, Hunger
Jenny Lawson – be prepared to laugh forever with Jenny as she uses her droll and dry humor to discuss everything from her mental health to her fascination with taxidermied rodents dressed in people clothes
Sarah Vowell – Assassination Vacation is one of my favorite road-trip audiobooks
Alison Weir (her history, I’m not the biggest fan of her novels) – Tudors forever, though I really love her book about Eleanor of Aquitaine
Terry Tempest Williams – When Women Were Birds always
Mary Roach – you want this book about the science of sex, you are welcome

And that’s it for this week! Kick off Women’s History Month with some of your favorite authors.

#BookishBloggersUnite

#BookishBloggersUnite – It me.

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#BookishBloggersUnite is a weekly hashtag that a group of bookish friends participate in to talk about books. Posts will go up on Friday (or whichever time works best for our time zone!). This first post is about introducing who we all are. Katy is hosting our first week.

Who/What got you into reading?

My parents. It’s all their fault, hahahaha. Not only did they read to me, a lot, as a small child they modeled reading and we had tons of books in the house on all sorts of subjects. I was also encouraged to entertain myself with a book or to bring a book and “read” to my mom while she was busy with my baby brother long before I could read on my own. So books have always been part of my life.

What are your favorite genres?

Well…I definitely lean more “literary” in my fiction as well as classic literature but I also really enjoy breaking up my serious reading with romance and comics.

What are your least favorite genres?

Religion, politics, business, and Westerns.

If you had to choose between bringing a mediocre book series or one great standalone book to a deserted island, which would you pick?

One great standalone I can read over and over again. This island has sticks and sand, right? If I get bored I’ll just write my own.

How do you organize your bookshelves? Do you even have any organizational system?

Mostly by imprint/publisher, because I love how the colophons line up on the shelf, and then sort of by subject. So all my Penguin Black Spines are together, my Deluxe Classics are together, my Vintage International are together, BN Classics, Best American, etc. Unless it’s a Penguin Drop Caps or New York Review of Books edition, those are by Roy G. Biv, and I keep most of my signed books together in one bookshelf.

What’s the next book on your TBR that you’re excited about?

Ummm…..All the Names They Used for God by Anjali Sachdeva

Have you ever gone to any book signings? Which was your favorite?

Lots of signings. I think my favorites were Jasper Fforde, Celeste Ng, and Alexander Chee (three times, once at BRL and two with amazing interviews conducted by Garth Greenwell). And a signing for my friend Valerie, because having an actual award-winning poet friend is pretty awesome (shameless plug for Valerie’s poetry because it is really, really good, go read some).

Hardcovers or Paperbacks or eBooks or Audiobooks?

Both. But nevermind the bread please. (Pooh has a response for everything.)

I read across all formats. I do default to paper formats if it’s a book that I’m going to have a conversation with and scribble all over (like the new translation of The Odyssey from Emily Wilson).  I will say that I loathe mass markets and avoid them if at all possible – the consequence is that almost all my romance and other genre reading, if no other paper format is available that I might like, is done as ebooks. Light nonfiction is often done as audiobooks borrowed from the library Overdrive site. A lot of times I read the digital galley ahead of publication because #booksellerlyfe.

What is your favorite book to recommend that isn’t a common recommendation to new readers?

What We See When We Read by Daniel Mendelsund – an interesting meditation from a graphic designer on how our brains fill in detail while we read.

What does the ideal reading day for you look like?

Coffee. Couch. Blanket. Kitteh snuggles. My Reading playlist on the stereo. (There’s probably a nap in there somewhere.)

What makes you DNF a book?

It has to really make me feel like I’m wasting my reading time (like Tom Hanks’s book – y’all, I have some screen shots of some really eye-wateringly bad writing), since I’m usually pretty good at avoiding crap books in the first place. Otherwise, if I start a book, and it’s not really doing it for me, I’ll put it in “hibernation” – and then years later I’ll finally decide to DNF it.

What book are you most excited about in 2018?

The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer, The Recovering by Leslie Jamison, Celestial Bodies by Laura Jacobs, and Too Wilde to Wed by Eloisa James.

Which series/book to you revisit for self care/nostalgia?

Winnie-the-Pooh is my “can’t function, can only lay in a ball” self-care read. I also revisit Jane Austen’s novels, Little Women, and the Thursday Next series (especially on audio).

IMG_3696Do you have a bookish pet?

This is my Chaucer-kitteh. Named not quite for the actual author of The Canterbury Tales, but mostly because I read a romance novel in high school (The Wedding by Elizabeth Bevarly) in which a secondary character, who was a professor of Middle English, had a horrible, nasty, beastly tabby cat named Chaucer. I wasn’t sure about the adjectives, but I thought a tabby cat named Chaucer would be lovely. Years later, I acquired one.

Until last Saturday, I had a Dante-kitteh, too. We miss him a lot.

Do you enjoy readathons? If so, which ones can people find you participating in?

An excuse to read as much I as I want all weekend? Yes, please! I usually participate in Dewey’s 24-hour Readathon and the 24-in-48 Readathon.

What is one part of bookish life you enjoy that isn’t reading?

The swag. We are living in an era of excellent t-shirts, pins, buttons, cross-stitch, knitting patterns, stickers, jewelry, and so on for book-loving people. Bookish podcasts are a huge part of my life, too. (Woo, all the Book Riot podcasts.)

Is there a genre you wished you read more of?

Philosophy. I really wish my eyeballs wouldn’t run screaming from my head when I tried to read the actual text instead of a precis/summary.

What is your favorite book cover of all time?

This is hard, because there are SO MANY absolutely beautiful book covers roaming around on my shelves. I will say that Penguin’s graphic design department is hitting it out of the park with the Deluxe Classics, Black Spines, Drop Caps, and Clothbound series. I think the Henry Holt anniversary re-jacketing of the Lloyd Alexander Prydain Chronicles series is one of my favorite redesigns (The Book of Three).

And that’s it! Visit Katy’s site or follow the tags to see who else is participating.

IMG_3100Bonus picture of the Chaucer-kitteh, because I found it while deciding which picture to use above and I couldn’t resist. He is sound asleep here.