Sunday, January 31, 2016

January 2016 Wrap-Up: I Read My Own Damn Books!

Wheeee! I've had a great start to 2016 with lots of great books this month! Titles in blue were my own damn books and count toward my self-challenge. If you're participating in the challenge, even unofficially, feel free to link up reviews, wrap-ups, or commentary about #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks here! 


Something New: Tales From a Makeshift Bride by Lucy Knisley is her newest work, and I can't wait to review it closer to publication time! This one is definitely a fave. 

The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham is that special kind of classic that totally grabbed me by the hair and threw me into a reading slump for a minute or two (ok, a few days). 



 

While I had my doubts about it, I absolutely loved Captain Marvel: Higher, Further, Faster, More! by Kelly Sue DeConnick and David Lopez. I'm not one for capes and tights much of the time, but this was such great storytelling. KSD owns me. 

Monstress #1 by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda was impeccable. This fantasy story about a girl who turns into a monster kept me on the edge of my seat, and this first issue is super long, so it's a great buy. 

Y: The Last Man Deluxe Edition by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra, et al. has been on my TBR for a silly long time. Heather got it for me for Christmas in 2014, and here I am, finally getting my head out of my ass to read it. Really interested story about a plague that erases huMANity from the earth. Women are left to run the place except for Yorick...seemingly the last man. 



Giant Days Volume 1 by John Allison, Lissa Treiman, et al was AMAZING. Heather had already recommended this one to me when I received it in a Landfall Freight box, and I sucked it right down. While it doesn't have the fantasy elements, it reminded me a bit of Lumberjanes for an older set with its female friendships and quirky characters. 


The short stories were a mixed bag this month. American Housewife by Helen Ellis was snarky and clever, but it lacked some of the emotional heft I prefer in my fiction. 

The Unfinished World by Amber Sparks was odd and whimsical and also very emotional, so it was the big winner this month. 


Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed is a blogger favorite. While I read this one in bits...having started it a year or two ago, I dove back in with glee. I loved Strayed's responses to her fans, but by the end this one wasn't quite enough to keep me engaged. 

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen is definitely the book furthest from my comfort zone this month, but it really affected me in a big way. To say I went on an organizational jag is an understatement, but that's fodder for a future post. 

On the opposite end of the spectrum, one of my #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks goals is to ditch books that are not working for me and cycle them out of my collection. This month I DNFed...


Freedom Fries and Cafe Creme by Jocelyne Rapinac. I just couldn't handle the stilted writing and sterile feel of these stories. 

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys is another blogger fave, but this YA novel about prison camps and Stalin's extermination lists was too much of the same. I've read SO many of these kinds of books from this period of time, it takes something very different (like The Book Thief) to keep me going until the end. 

Not a bad start if you ask me! Out of 12 books read, 10 were my own! Of the other two, one was my husband's audiobook (Getting Things Done), and Giant Days came in my latest Landfall Freight subscription box. 




42 comments:

  1. amazing books you have read! and so many as well! well done!
    have a fab february!

    X Claire
    http://BooksWithClaire.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks, Claire! I was surprised at myself. After such a long time slumping, it's refreshing to bust through this many in a month. I hope it keeps up!

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  2. Great start to the challenge! I really would like to read The Unfinished World after your rave :)

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    1. Oh gosh, I hope you get to it, Katie. It's so so good, and I think it might fit your likes just perfectly.

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  3. Oooh, I love that cover of The Painted Veil! I liked Between Shades of Gray but I didn't love it and passed it on to a friend who ended up liking it a lot more than I did (wahoo!). You had a super month! I read about half what I usually read in January but I'm okay with that because some, like Lolita, were challenging reads. Your challenge is definitely helping me think about reading my own damn books . . . a gradual mind-set change, as you said in that last post, yep. :)

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    1. Isn't it pretty? I ordered it special from Book Depository because I just had to have this Vintage edition. Lolita is an especially challenging read. I haven't read much more Nabokov...only Pnin...but I loved it and it was a very different, much lighter kind of book but equally well done. Right on re: graduate resetting of the mind.

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  4. Wow, Andi! That's a lot of #DAMN books! I'm off to a slow start, but hey I've got the entire year!

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    1. LOL, you do indeed have the entire year. Beginnings!

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  5. American Housewife looks like fun! Happy February!

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    1. It was fun. Not as hard-hitting as I would've liked but definitely clever.

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  6. Great start! Looking forward to the new Knisley book.

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    1. Thanks, Stacy! I think you'll love the new Knisley. It's so fun and dips into some more serious topics, too. A good mix.

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  7. Good job!! I loved The Painted Veil, but have never seen that cover... kind of makes me want to buy another copy ;-)

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    1. Hahah! Book Depository! I couldn't resist it. I can't wait to read more Maugham now!

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  8. You did so well! First, you read a ton of books and most of them were your own! Congrats.

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    1. Thank you, Natasha! I'm hoping this beginning-of-year boost will keep me going!

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  9. I really need to stop adding more graphic novels to my library queue......

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    1. Ohhhh no ya don't. lol But I"m biased since comics and graphic novels are the exception to my #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks buying restrictions.

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  10. Yay for reading your own books. I must go through what I read this month and see what I read of my own books. Happy reading in February!

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    1. I hope you read some good ones this month!

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  11. That's great that you were able to read so many of your own books! I have got to look at my shelves more often although of course I wen to the library this weekend to pick up more holds! yikes :)

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    1. I can really tell #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks has given me the urge to look at my shelves more often, and I find myself getting much more excited about the books there. I know at some point I'll probably flee to the library or Scribd for a refreshed list, but right now I'm content.

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  12. I bought the original GTD in hardback before it came out in paper. So, I've been at it a long time. The In Box, Tickler, and Weekly Review are still a big part of my organizational scheme. The context to-do lists never worked quite as well -- I don't have that many contexts and I need to keep my to-do items more in touch with my projects or the motivation dries up.

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    1. I need to go back and review the Tickler bits. That really didn't stick for me (so far), but it's a work in progress. I'd love to know more about your process!

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  13. Damn, you're a reading fiend! I couldn't get through Between Shades of Gray myself -- too depressing, not weird enough. It's the weirdness that made The Book Thief work for me, I think.

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    1. And I can't say that very often, so I'm shouting it from the rooftops this month. lol I know exactly what you mean about The Book Thief's weirdness. It's so tough for a book of this ilk to stand out to me, and it needs a slightly different, unexpected angle.

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  14. Wow, you did great this month! I like David Allen's GTD concepts. I don't stick to them exactly as he presents them but I use most of his ideas and they work well.

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    1. Yeah, I'm starting with the GTD concepts as a completely new user, but I can see them being tailored really well to different professions and personalities. I know my process still needs work.

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  15. I'm been hearing lots of buzz about the Amber Sparks - glad you enjoyed it! And - someone who didn't adore Tiny Beautiful Things - I thought I'd never see the day! I haven't read it yet..not sure why I always seem to avoid picking it up.

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    1. It was so lovely and weird and still emotionally grounded. That doesn't come along every day. Tiny Beautiful Things is lovely but hammering through it in a few sittings was probably not the best approach. Dipping in and out is more effective in my experience.

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  16. Way to go, Andi! The reading gods must have been in our favor this month. I stuck to my goal of reading nothing but books from my stacks and managed to finish 8 books! I'm pretty sure that's a record for me, at least since I started working full-time at B&N. Sorry Between Shades of Gray didn't work out, but I know what you mean about reading so many books of this type. I doubt I'll ever find one that wows me the way The Book Thief did.

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    1. I think you're right! I haven't had a month this good in a very long time. Hopefully that bodes well for 2016. So happy that you managed to complete 8 books! I truly believe the books on my stacks are shining stars (for the most part) waiting to be appreciated.

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  17. What a great start! It puts me to shame, but there are 11 more months left of the year, right? :)

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    1. No comparisons here! My reading is SOOOO up and down. It seemed like all of 2015 was a down, so I'm just hoping this bodes well for 2016. :)

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  18. Well done Andi! I just finished the first Ms. Marvel and I freaking loved it. Now I'm very curious about Captain Marvel

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  19. Ooh, The Painted Veil is one of my favorites!

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  20. Wow! What a wrap-up. You have some really great reads here and I just started The Unfinished World. That first story was amazing and if the others are the same then I'm in for a ride!

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  21. Wow! What a wrap-up. You have some really great reads here and I just started The Unfinished World. That first story was amazing and if the others are the same then I'm in for a ride!

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  22. Oh my goodness... Getting Things Done is my new handbook for life. I just finished it recently, and I'm seriously nerding out about it.

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  23. Wow, awesome job reading your own book so far this year! I'm pretty sure I only read one of my own books this month, but that's enough to keep my on track for my goal :)

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  24. Y: The Last Man gave me so many feelings. I STILL HAVE THEM (I read it years ago). I can't wait to hear what you think of it.

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  25. You are off to a great start!

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