Redhead Reading

I'm a librarian-in-training who loves history and literature.

TBR Conundrum

I am once again considering totally deleting my TBR. This is a semi-regular internal debate that I have with myself, triggered by the fact that I read a book that was not on my TBR.

 

I always feel guilty when I read books that were not on my TBR, even though I realize that this is silly. I'm never going to read all the books I want and I'll die someday with having books on my TBR. So what does it matter?

 

But I still feel guilty.

 

And then I think, "Well if I deleted everything, I could read whatever and feel no guilt."

 

And then I think, "But if I delete everything, I'll forget about some great books."

 

And THEN I think, "Well if you forget them, are they really worth reading?"

 

And on and on and then I never make a decision.

 

I don't think deleting my TBR is really a good idea. I think I need to just get over this guilt of reading new releases and/or books that aren't on my TBR. 

 

My TBR isn't even that big when compared to a lot of people's--I have 137 books on there at the moment. I started the year with 136, so an increase of 1 book over the year isn't that bad. I just need to accept that there are books that I haven't gotten to and that I might not get to for a long time. It's not like languishing on my TBR for years hurts the book's feelings....    

Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham

Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between) - Lauren Graham

I received the paperback edition of this book with a new bonus chapter from LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers program.

 

I read this book in a combination of audio and physical book. I recommend this because Lauren herself narrates the book and she is great at emphasizing the funny parts so that you laugh out loud. However, the book also contains pictures, so when she says “See Picture 1,” it’s nice to be able to go to the physical book and look at the picture.

 

The book is a fairly standard celebrity memoir--there’s biographical information, gossip about her shows Parenthood and Gilmore Girls, and then random chapters about dating, dieting, and other lifestyle topics. Gilmore Girls is obviously the main focus of the book with details about the show initially being picked up, a behind-the-scenes diary of the revival, and then a section where Lauren rewatched the entire show and commented on various things in each season.

 

The book, as I mentioned, is laugh-out-loud funny, but Lauren also discusses things like why she’s uncomfortable with public nudity and her fear that technology is negatively impacting our ability to have personal relationships. There’s a nice balance between silly and serious.

 

The bonus chapter is detailing Lauren’s experience doing press for the book and I didn’t find it particularly added anything to the book. However, it was interesting to hear that she was really sick while appearing on the Late Show as I didn’t notice a thing when I watched her interview. 

 

On the whole, I feel that this book will be rather dated in a few years’ time, but while it’s relevant, it’s a fun read that’ll keep you entertained the whole way through.

2017 End of the Year Reading

I have determined that to finish the reading challenges I started this year and to finish the various academic books I have out from my university library, I will need to read 19 books by December 31. I was going to list them all in this post, but I decided to make a 2017 TBR shelf instead if you want to see my list. 19 is not a huge amount, but my reading has steadily decreased throughout the year due to school and work. I upped my reading goal to 90 books because I've read 72 so far and 19 more would make 91 for the year.

 

Will I read all these books? Perhaps, although the academic books are dense and take me longer to read. I'm also taking 2 classes, working part-time, and, because I'm graduating in 2.5 months, I'm also meant to be dedicating a lot of time to looking for full-time work. And I think I have to return the academic books by early December to graduate, so it's more likely I end up taking them back unread and either pay to get them through Inter-Library Loan later on, or remove them from my TBR completely.

 

 

 

 

She Who Is by Elizabeth A. Johnson

She Who Is: The Mystery of God in Feminist Theological Discourse - Elizabeth A. Johnson

She Who Is is an academic nonfiction book explaining the crucialness of using feminine metaphors and descriptions when speaking about God and the mystery of God. Historically, masculine metaphors and descriptions have dominated discussion of God, which contributed to the growth and continued promotion of the patriarchy.

 

Johnson is a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph, as well as being a professor at Fordham University. Her Catholic background leads her to use many examples and references to images that are not used in the Protestant church. Primarily, her discussion of the use of Sophia-Wisdom as a title for God relies heavily on verses from the Book of Wisdom, an apocryphal book that I had no prior experience with. This made it difficult at times for me to understand her arguments.

 

I put this book on my TBR after a friend from my high school youth group stated it was a book he wanted his toddler daughter to read some day. This friend is a Methodist minister and read this book for a class in divinity school. This book is definitely a book meant for trained theologians, as there were numerous terms and concepts that I had to look up. Some of them I still don’t understand completely. The book also suffers from that typical academic book trait of discussing minutiae that literally no one else thinks is realistic--in one part of the book, she proposes that the term “God” needs to be retired as a descriptor for the Creator as that term has been used to justify religious atrocities. Like ok, in most parts of the world referring to God as “She” is a controversial thing, much less removing the most common English term as a descriptor.

 

Despite the difficulties, I found a lot of Johnson’s arguments compelling. She discusses how the dominance of masculine descriptors for God not only makes it difficult for women to realize their full potential in the church, it reduces God to a certain idolatrous male image. Her discussion of how the Trinity traditionally has been viewed with the Holy Spirit as sort of a “lesser being”, despite all 3 aspects being equal, was fascinating. This view is particularly harmful as the Spirit has traditionally been given female characteristics, implying again that patriarchal structures have played a role in its reduction of status. She discusses how the classical view of God sees God as a distant male figure apart from the world and how that relates to human relationship and suffering. She shows how God should be seen as a mother figure as God has great creative powers that closely follow female creativity in birth and mothering.

 

I can’t say I recommend this book for everyone--it’s dense and it took me 3 weeks to read its 316 pages, even with 40 of those pages being notes/references. But I learned a lot and I will definitely be looking more closely at the language I and my religious constituents use in referring to God.

When Dimple Met Rishi

When Dimple Met Rishi - Sandhya Menon

I should start off by saying that I do not typically read YA. I have always been more inclined to read adult fiction, even when I was the target audience for YA. Thus, when I do read YA, I try to judge lightly. I know I'm not the target audience and I know it's not my usual thing.

 

I decided to pick up When Dimple Met Rishi because two different ladies on Booktube praised this book as being a NEW type of feminist YA. "Dimple's into coding!!" "She's letting nothing--not even a boy--stop her from pursuing her dreams!!" "She don't need no man!!"

 

A YA book about a strong female character pursuing a career in coding with feminist themes? OK cool. I'm game. I put myself on hold at the library and wait.

 

When Dimple Met Rishi is the story of Dimple, an Indian-American 18-year-old who is headed off to a coding camp the summer before she starts college at Stanford University. Her parents have selected a husband for her and believe college is merely a stepping stone in her preparation for marriage, but Dimple is not into their plans. Her focus is to go to coding camp and create an app to win the camp prize: a mentorship with her idol, app designer extraordinaire Jenny Lindt. 

 

When she arrives at camp she discovers that her parents agreed to pay for camp only because her husband-to-be Rishi is attending as well. At first, she is furious and even more so when she discovers she and Rishi have to be partners for the entire summer. But Rishi is eager to please and a short time later (like a week later), they are developing feelings for each other. Soon, Dimple is reconsidering what she really wants out of life.

 

So how was the NEW type of YA book? It was very anti-climatic.

 

There's a brief discussion of the coding camp and the coding project Dimple and Rishi are working on at the start of the book and then a mention of them working on it in the middle of the book. We also spend a few chapters on the end of the coding project as part of the denouement.   

 

The rest of the book is spent on Dimple and Rishi's relationship and also on a talent show that is held at coding camp.

 

I can't tell if the Booktube ladies called this feminist YA because they truly think it is or if the usual YA they read is so completely ridiculous that this seems like a breath of fresh air.

 

I did like reading a book about Indian-American characters written by an Indian-American author, but otherwise this YA seemed rather typical, insta-love included. I mean both of these characters are 18, but they're acting like they have their whole lives figured out! It boggles my mind!

 

I liked the book, but I didn't love it. It was a fast read and it was cute, but overall it was a letdown for me. Le sigh, the problem of buying into the hype.

BookTubeathon Update #2

I have now completed 3 books and started a 4th.

 

1/ Read a book with a person on the cover. -- A Fine Imitation by Amber Brock
2/ Read a hyped book. -- Quiet by Susan Cain
3/ Finish a book in one day. -- A Fine Imitation by Amber Brock or The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
4/ Read about a character that is very different from you. -- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
5/ Finish a book completely outdoors. ??? (Nimona?)
6/ Read a book you bought because of the cover. -- Heidi by Johanna Spyri
7/ Read seven books. ??? (probably not)

 

I'm counting Quiet as a hyped book due to the fact that it's referenced in a lot of other books, including For the Love by Jen Hatmaker, which I read in June. Plus, it's been on my TBR since January 2014 when Anne Bogel gushed about it on her blog and it's about time I got to it!

 

I also have Nimona, a graphic novel by Noelle Stevenson, out from the library and I could probably get that whole thing read while enjoying a cool drink outside. That would only leave 2 more books if I finish Quiet, but I'm not going to try to cram books in. I want to enjoy my reading, not rush to finish books.

Booktubeathon Update #1

I wasn't planning to do Booktubeathon--I didn't make a TBR or anything. To "win" Booktubeathon you have to read 7 books in 7 days, which likely will not happen for me. But I do have a lot of free time this week so I figured I'd give it a go informally.

 

I have already read one book--The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which was so funny, yet insightful. I could count this for the "read a book in a day" prompt or the "book about a person who is different than you" prompt or both. I'm now reading Heidi for the "book you got because of the cover" prompt.

 

I also put a hold on Jackaby by William Ritter and We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche at the library, so I can use those for prompts if they come in. I also got Nimona by Noelle Stevenson.  

 

I'm not sure how many people on Booklikes know of Booktubeathon, but it runs July 24-30 and the 7 prompts are:

 

1/ Read a book with a person on the cover.
2/ Read a hyped book.
3/ Finish a book in one day.
4/ Read about a character that is very different from you.
5/ Finish a book completely outdoors.
6/ Read a book you bought because of the cover.
7/ Read seven books.

I figured out the missing book! Woooo! Took a lot less effort than I expected too!

So my Booklikes is now 100% up to date. Maybe my next post will be more substantial.

Le sigh again

Reblogged from Redhead Reading:

I had my Booklikes shelf exactly matched number-wise with my Goodreads shelves, but then I found a duplicate. Wah. Now I'm one short and I don't feel like trying to match the missing book. I am pleased with how fast the Booklikes site is now though!

 

I have read 50 books this year and my goal is 78, which means 5 books a month for the rest of the year--totally doable if the fall semester isn't too crazy.

 

I'm currently reading One Summer, America 1927 by Bill Bryson, which has been on my TBR since April 2014.

Le sigh again

I had my Booklikes shelf exactly matched number-wise with my Goodreads shelves, but then I found a duplicate. Wah. Now I'm one short and I don't feel like trying to match the missing book. I am pleased with how fast the Booklikes site is now though!

 

I have read 50 books this year and my goal is 78, which means 5 books a month for the rest of the year--totally doable if the fall semester isn't too crazy.

 

I'm currently reading One Summer, America 1927 by Bill Bryson, which has been on my TBR since April 2014.

Le sigh

Why is it so difficult to find duplicates on Booklikes? I have 787 books on here and only 750 over on GR. Whyyyyyy

 

In actual reading news, I finished Romantic Outlaws by Charlotte Gordon, a dual biography of Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley. Really quick read despite having 649 pages. I'm now reading Almost to Eden by June Hall McCash, which I've owned since 2015.

Booklikes Back?

Booklikes has apparently got their servers working again! I've tried a couple times in the past few months to get my bookshelf in order, but the site just lagged too much. But now things seem back on track! Woot, waiting for my import from Goodreads to finish and then I'll get things all fixed up. Looking forward to being active on Booklikes at last!

Moriarty

Moriarty - Anthony Horowitz I really enjoyed this despite the lack of Holmes & Watson.

A Wrinkle in Time (Time, #1)

A Wrinkle in Time (Time, #1) - Madeleine L'Engle I enjoyed this, but like many middle-grade books I've read as an adult, I think I would appreciated it more as a middle schooler. There were several aspects of the world not really adequately explained. (I mean why can't the Mrs. Ws go with them to fight IT?? They never give a reason.) Also, the ending was incredibly rushed and rather simplistic.

Also not related to the book itself, but after reading this, I'm really worried about good the movie will be. Reese Witherspoon does not match my mental picture of Mrs. Whatsit at all. Also Chris Pine as Mr. Murry?? He's supposed to a nerdy scientist who's been trapped in prison for who knows how long--not a buff, attractive dude. Also, because it's Hollywood, they'll probably get rid of all the Christian references, which will weaken the story. I'll be try to be positive about the movie, but my comparison of the book vs. casting is not hopeful.

The Baby-Sitters Club: Kristy's Great Idea

The Baby-Sitters Club: Kristy's Great Idea - Raina Telgemeier, Ann M. Martin I read this on January 12 in one sitting and I loved it! I'm definitely checking out the other editions that my work has. It is so 90s though--Stacey just moves in from NYC and is automatically accepted as a valid babysitter with no proof of any experience or certifications at all. Also, she moves just because she has diabetes?? What?? Never thought about how ridiculous that is before.

The Civil Wars of Julia Ward Howe

The Civil Wars of Julia Ward Howe - Elaine Showalter This is a study of the life of Julia Ward Howe, first through the lenses of how she was suppressed by her strict father and then by her domineering husband. It then shifts to show how through publishing her poetry and giving talks on philosophy and, later, women's rights, she came into her own talents and became a beloved American icon. Of course, this rising fame came predominantly through her poem, The Battle Hymn of the Republic.

This book is super-engaging and reads quickly--my copy only had 300 pages, the last 50 being references/notes/index. I finished it in 3 days, so I would recommend it to anybody looking for a fast-paced nonfiction.

My Transcendentalism-loving heart enjoyed this book due to the fact that Julia and her husband were very much on the fringes of Transcendentalism. Julia interacted with Louisa May Alcott (who found Julia snobby!), Margaret Fuller, Theodore Parker, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and basically all your Transcendentalist faves.

On the whole, Julia was a privileged women with a love for socializing and the finer things in life who eventually found a passion for speaking out for underprivileged groups, including women, slaves, immigrants, and more.

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald - Therese Anne Fowler I enjoy the writing quite a bit, but I just felt angry for Zelda through a lot of it--the times she lived in and the people she surrounded herself with stunted her talent and it's just sad. Also, there was SUCH excess in this book--too much alcohol, too many fancy parties, too many people. It's the complete opposite to my nature and values, so I found it hard to relate.

Currently reading

Disciple: Becoming Disciples Through Bible Study (Study Manual)
Richard B. Wilke
Systems Analysis for Librarians and Information Professionals, 2nd Edition (Library and Information Science Text)
Margaret Nakamura, Larry Osborne