It’s Monday September 22nd, What Are You Reading?

September 22, 2014 2014, it's monday, what are you reading? 10

brief history of seven killingsI’m back from a fantastic few days at SIBA, which I’ll be recapping later this week, and I even had some time to squeeze in a bit of reading yesterday. It feels like Fall is here to stay and I’m getting super excited for some of the books I have lined up. I’ve been hearing great things about Charles Blow’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones since BEA and finally picked it up. If you’re curious about the book, Charles shared an incredible selection in the New York Times over the weekend. I just barely started A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James, but it’s already so rich and complex. I’m really excited to have a book I can spend some good, focused time with.

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?


E-Reading Woes

September 21, 2014 2014, discussion, e-books 64



I’ve had a huge shift in my reading over the past year, where I went from reading almost exclusively in e-book to full on paper. While I just assumed my preferences were gradually changing, and still feel quite convinced they have, I’ve recently started to wonder if my e-reader might be to blame.

Kelly from The Well-Read Readhead posted about her reading habits last week, and after commenting I had a bit of a light bulb moment. I was reading on an old Kindle 3 in my high usage e-reading days. It was bare bones, but super easy to download books and really lightweight. The downside? No backlight to read in bed at night. I had planned to upgrade to a Paperwhite for its backlight, but Barnes and Noble started to discount their tablets and I snagged a Nook HD+ for just a few dollars more.

Did I need a tablet? Not really. But I figured it would be nice to have the added features for almost the same price. Looking back over the past year, I’ve never used the tablet for anything other than reading. I’m just not a tablet person. I use my laptop wherever I need to in the house and my phone when I’m out. That means I’ve basically been using my Nook as a dedicated e-reader, but unfortunately it’s not very practical. It’s way too big to just throw in my bag and just feels heavy when reading. No wonder my e-reading has slumped.

I’m thinking I might try to sell the Nook and jump down to either a Paperwhite or a Kobo Glo. I know the rest of the world is leaving their dedicated e-reader in the dust, but I’m starting to think it might be just what I need.


Have you noticed your e-reading changing depending on the device you use?



Rank Your Reading: Plot, Style and Character

September 18, 2014 2014, discussion, lists 42



In a recent episode of The Bookrageous Podcast, the group attempted to rank the importance of plot, style and character in the books they read. Obviously, each element plays a critical role in fiction, but most of us do tend to favor one over the others in our reading. The discussion (which begins at roughly 25:30) is quite interesting and definitely worth listening to.

It took about two seconds to pinpoint style as my most important element. I will happily sacrifice plot and characters in order to read well-crafted sentences. I can fall into a great, character-focused or well-plotted novel, but writing will always be my first love. The podcast also had me thinking about recent books that won me over with a specific element, as well as those written with a fantastic combination of all three.


Ancient Oceans of Central Kentucky by David Connerley Nahm

Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offil


Want Not by Jonathan Miles

Mrs. Hemingway by Naomi Wood


The Fever by Megan Abbott

Love Minus Eighty by Will McIntosh

A Delicate Balance

An Untamed State by Roxane Gay

All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld


What’s most important to you in a book? Do you favor stand-out passages, memorable characters or page-turning plots?



Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood

September 17, 2014 2014, ARC, reviews 28

Stone Mattress by Margaret AtwoodStone Mattress by Margaret Atwood
Published by Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group on 9/16/2014
Source: Publisher
Pages: 288
Buy From IndieBoundGoodreads


Leave it to Margaret Atwood to take two things I’m quite ambivalent about—short stories and elements of fantasy—and make me fall in love. Though I went into Stone Mattress hesitant, by the collection’s third story I felt a strong connection to the thread linking “Alphinland”, “Revenant” and “Dark Lady”, along with the irresistible pull of Atwood’s prose.

I often find myself struggling with anything that strays too far off the beaten path, but Stone Mattress finds a perfect balance between its solid footing in reality and a sly, twisted nod to mythical elements. Atwood herself describes the story collection as removed “at least slightly from the realm of mundane works and days, as it evokes the world of the folk tale, the wonder tale, and the long-ago teller of tales.” That slight shift takes many forms, like the mind of a science fiction writer or a murderous wife, but consistently serves as a link between the collection’s stories and rather than a distraction.

“There’s only so long you can feel sorry for a person before you come to feel that their affliction is an act of malice committed by them against you.”

The tales are also linked by the looming presence of age, which pushes some characters close to death and simply reminds others of their mortality. But many can’t face the future without a last look at their past. In the darkest of her stories, Atwood ‘s characters use the advantage of age to seek revenge for life’s injustices, often with pointed commentary.

Now part of an absolutely dizzying body of work, Stone Mattress is a testament to Margaret Atwood’s ability to continuously thrill and surprise readers while holding fast to the style and substance we love.


Give Me Some of That Backlist, Baby

September 16, 2014 2014, Top Ten Tuesday 39


It’s been a while since I jumped in on a Top Ten Tuesday post, but this week was calling to me: authors I’ve only read once, but need to read again. So, here are ten authors that have me itching to jump in their backlists.

Wilton Barnhardt

After falling hard for last year’s hilarious romp, Lookaway, Lookaway, I heard amazing things about Barnhardt’s backlist chunkster Gospel, which I have waiting for me on my bookshelf.

Anthony Doerr

I’m still learning to love short stories, but the short chapters in Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See were like a preview of his ability to write in a short space. Other readers have mentioned how great The Shell Collector is, so I’d love to give it a try.

Jonathan Evison

After I read The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, I needed anything Jonathan Evison had ever written. Even though West of Here has a wide range of reviews, it sounds like it’s right in my wheelhouse.

Tom Franklin

I know, I know. I’m way overdue for Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter. But I did read and love The Tilted World.

Laird Hunt

Neverhome totally blew me away, and I had no idea Laird Hunt was hiding so many novels under his belt. Kind One sounds particularly incredible.

Lorrie Moore

After falling head over heels for Anagrams last year, I’m determined to take a deep dive into Lorrie Moore’s classic Birds of America.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I read Americanah earlier this year, but already miss that reading experience. I’ve heard nothing but good things about Half of a Yellow Sun and would love to give it a read.

Wallace Stegner

I guess I was hiding under a rock until I read Crossing to Safety at the end of last year and it totally rocked my world. Now I need Angle of Repose.

Daniel Woodrell

I flew through The Maid’s Version during a recent readathon, but I definitely need to go back and read Woodrell’s infamous Winter’s Bone.

Simon Van Booy

The Illusion of Separateness was so incredibly beautiful that I might have created a bit of a Simon Van Booy stockpile since reading it. I think I’m going to tackle The Secret Lives of People in Love first.

Are there any author backlists you want to dig into?



It’s Monday September 15th, What Are You Reading?

September 15, 2014 2014, it's monday, what are you reading? 29


It was a weekend full of movie-going (The Drop and Boyhood), but I did get started on a few new books. The cover of Rainey Royal has been calling to me since I first saw it at BEA, so I’m excited to finally pick it up, along with The Way Inn by Will Wiles. Since Brown Girl Dreaming is part of a readalong (through Tumblr’s Reblog Book Club), I’m working at it slowly, which is exactly how it should be read. It’s beautiful.

I’m super excited to be heading to the SIBA Trade Show this Friday and Saturday, but will be missing Bloggiesta while I’m gone. I’d definitely recommend checking it out if you haven’t participated before! Hopefully I can at least pop in on Thursday’s Twitter chat.

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?