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september 2018 book club

Posted in Entertainment by

Like last month, September was a slower month of reading. I didn’t read as many books, but I think the page length evened out as I read some longer books this month. It also featured a re-read, which maybe shouldn’t even count! As the year starts to end, I’m assessing the holes in the reading challenge I still need to fill, while also keeping up with my library requests which are coming in fast and furious now.

My boyfriend got me a Kindle last fall, and turns out that has been the key to unlocking voracious reading. Dani and I also created our own reading challenge this year to increase our reading: 51 categories to prompt us to pick up books we wouldn’t typically read (or books that have languished in TBR-land for too long.) Here’s what I read this month, including what you should pick up and what you should let lay!

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry: Neil deGrasse Tyson is such a gift. He narrates the audiobook (which I listened to in one sitting on the way to and wandering around Riot Fest) and presents these huge concepts in really relatable, digestable bites. It’s also short enough that anyone could read (or listen to) really quickly, so it’s definitely worth picking up!

Broad Band: The Untold Story of Women Who Made the InternetThis book was amazing. I can’t say enough how highly I recommend it. I’ve heard Grace Hopper’s name, but I never knew she was essentially responsible for modern programming. I didn’t know that “computers” were actually a job at first, all computations done manually, and usually by women. I had never heard of the ENIAC 6, or about so many other things in this book, and so many women who kind of blazed a path and a place for women on the internet, in computer science, and technology.

Like reading on your computer or mobile device? Check out Scribd – thousands of eBooks, audiobooks, magazines and more on your device!

Night Moves: Hoooo boy, did I have feelings about this book. I really wanted to like it. I wanted to let go of some of my recent opinions about Jessica Hopper. Some backstory: I was a really big fan of hers in college, and basically up until last year. And then during a run of shows I attended by my favorite band, she wrote some not-so-nice tweets about girls in the front row of those shows (saying she wanted to write a “fanzine” about us, and insinuating we were victims of the patriarchy and brought to these shows by men rather than attending on our own volition.) So I really wanted to put all that aside and go back to liking her and her writing again… but I just couldn’t. That band is featured in this book (really the only one that is name dropped at all, which feels out of place) including incorrect facts about what band member plays what instrument. We get it, you know the band. No one is impressed. Ugh. There was also a real absence of women, and I get that it’s supposed to be a journal based around that time in her life and that maybe she only had one friend of a friend who was a girl, but it felt lacking to me. Maybe someone else would like it, but it didn’t work for me.

I do agree with her on one thing, though – Chicago truly is the city that doesn’t give a shit.

The Year of Less: I put off reading this for a long time. It’s written by Cait Flanders, a PF blogger I used to follow religiously (she was formerly Blonde on a Budget, then later rebranded to her own name once she was no longer writing anonymously.) This is another book I was skeptical of, and I’lll totally cop to why – I was jealous of her. I’ve been jealous of a long time. Her blog was wildly successful, she was able to become a super successful freelance writer, and she’s a minimalism dream. So I didn’t want to read the book because I didn’t want my nose to feel “rubbed” in it. I listened to the audiobook on Hoopla (Cait narrates it) and ended up loving it. She likens consumerism to other kinds of addictions, talks about skeptical family members, and even the emotional connection to stuff and things. I really enjoyed it, and I’m looking forward to my own six-month non-essential shopping ban starting next year.

@dessa is as always funny, smart, charming, inspiring, and a lot of other superlatives, idk. #MyOwnDevices is such a good book, go get it and read it and post about it and buy it for everyone you know so she can write me another one.
and also so she can buy me a bobby pin to replace the one I let her borrow in LA.

My Own Devices: This is a re-read, and I normally wouldn’t include that here, but this book came out recently so I wanted to hype it again. Dessa’s creative non-fiction book of essays is well-written, touching, and thought-provoking. She strings one story thread throughout the book – through different essays and sections, the story of her long-term relationship and how she finally used science to get over him. She gave a talk here a few weeks ago and I got to ask her some questions. If you’re anywhere near the book tour, I definitely recommend going – Dessa is super intelligent and I felt so inspired throughout. (And if you check out the next Chicago event, you’ll see me there!)

The Book of Essie: This YA book has been getting a lot of buzz and was a Book of the Month club pick, so I was pretty excited about it. The family in it seems to be based loosely on the Duggars, and it’s a story about their baby girl who gets pregnant and appears to not have a say in the choice that’s made for it. It’s an interesting perspective, and I liked how the manipulation in it wasn’t necessarily negative.

Wondering how I read so much? My libraries use Libby – see if your library has a partnership, and check out the mobile app!

Bitch Planet Vol. 1: Evan suggested this to me months ago, but I just got around to it. I’ve never read comics before (except the Archie comics when I was younger) so it was a little hard for me to adjust to. It took awhile to get into the flow of not only reading it, but piecing out how the story started. I did really love it though, and definitely recommend!

An American Marriage: I read this to fill our prompt for “An Oprah book club pick” and because there’s just been so much buzz about it being the book of the year. I found it to be… just okay. The story itself is of course infuriating – a black man accused by a white woman, then prosecuted without evidence – but I found one of the main narrators so unlikeable for the start that I almost quit reading. I powered through and I did like the ending, but it was a challenge to get there since I disliked one of them so much.

What else should I read next?

October 1, 2018
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how to save money on reading

Posted in Living by

Yesterday was national reading day! After a few years of not reading very much at all, I’ve been voracious for the past few months. I read almost everything – chick lit, YA, short story collections, memoirs, true crime (of course.) As much as I would love to go out and purchase physical copies of everything, I don’t have that kind of spare cash. I’ve found a bunch of ways to feed my desire at a much lower cost other than the traditional library trips. There are a lot of ways to read a lot for free, or at least for a very low cost!

Library: Okay, I know I said ways other than going to the library, but they’ve really advanced with technology. You can drive over to the library to pick up your “to read” list, but you can often check out digital books online as well. Chicago Public Library partners with Overdrive, which allows you to check out eBooks for your tablet or Kindle. My favorite is that they also have eBooks you can read from your computer as well! I know there’s nothing like snuggling in bed with a physical book, but sometimes when you’re tired of reading all the bad news out there it helps to just pop open a new tab and go to a different place.

A lot of libraries also have partnerships with Hoopla, which I’ve spoken about plenty in the past. Hoopla features eBooks, audiobooks, music and TV and movies in their app. I discovered my favorite book and author on Hoopla, listening just because I liked the cover! This app alone let me hit my Goodreads book goal for 2016 because I would listen on my long drives from Nashville to Michigan to Chicago.

Riveted Lit: If you’re a YA fan, Riveted Lit is awesome. Every week, they put up free full-length books you can read on your computer or mobile device, and the selections change every Monday. They have a variety of genres within the YA space so whether you’re looking for a light read or something dystopian, chances are good they’ll have something for you this week. They also post extended excerpts of their upcoming releases and host giveaways as well.

Simon and Schuster: Along with other publishers, Simon and Schuster offers a free eBook when you sign up for their mailing list, which brings me to…

Glose: This is the service that Simon and Schuster use to fulfill their free eBook offer. It’s compatible with desktop and mobile devices, and offers an app for Apple and Android. In addition to the paid books you can purchase on the platform, they also have a library of free books (mostly classics) accessible in their library.

Noisetrade: Started as a way for musicians to connect with their fans, they recently expanded to offer audiobooks and eBooks in exchange for email addresses. There are a ton of books in a lot of different genres by both new and established authors.

Enter Giveaways: At some point in the last month, I entered a giveaway from Riveted Lit. By entering it, I agreed to recieve newsletters from all of the authors involved in the giveaway. All of them that I’ve recieved emails from have sent at least one free eBook – though none of them have been my speed, if you’re open to reading anything, this could be a way to stockpile fast! Amazon also has a giveaways section – they have products there, but also a ton of books for both e-readers and physical copies.

Goodreads: There are a couple of ways to save on Goodreads – the first is their Deals section, where they post discounted book prices and email you when something on your “to read” list is a match. They also have a Giveaways section – they’ll email you when something you’re interested is listed here, too, but you can also page through and enter to win anything you might be interested in. I’ve actually won two books here!

Scribd: I used to be a super avid user of Scribd, but their model has changed a bit. They used to offer a lot more books and audiobooks per month for their subscription fee, but now you can check out three books and one audiobook per month. They offer a lot of books that aren’t on Hoopla yet, and if your library card doesn’t get you in to Overdrive, it can be a great way to access digital books.

Subscription Boxes: If you can’t sacrifice the feel of a physical book in your hands and struggle with finding the best thing to read next, there are tons of subscription services out there that will deliver books to your doorstep every month. Uppercase Box is geared toward young/new adult books, and Quarterly offers two options based on the type of books you’re interested in. These are just a few – a quick Google search can turn up even more!

Amazon: There are a couple different ways to save on books on Amazon, and it’s not just the significant discounts most of their books carry. Their Kindle Unlimited program lets you borrow books, read magazines, and stream audiobooks from the Kindle app for $10/month. Prime also offers a similar program (even including audiobooks now), if you’re a member ($100 annually.) There are also plenty of free eBooks in the Kindle Store as well!

OpenLibrary: An online lending library, OpenLibrary has a wide range of books that can be read as PDF or ePub files. Focusing mostly on classic titles, they do have some recent, more modern books available as well.

Used Bookstore: I love having copies of my favorite books, so I’ll always try to hunt them down in used bookstores. It’s also a great way to roam around and find new books that could be your next favorite!

Do you like reading? How do you prefer to read?

April 24, 2017
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