{Book Review} The Girl With All the Gifts

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Melanie lives in the bunker and knows very little of what exists outside the little world of her cell, showers, and classroom. She spends most days studying math, science, literature, and history while locked in a wheelchair–the only bright spot in her days being when her teacher is Miss Justineau. She doesn’t know a different life so her limited experience is not strange to her. There are times, however, when she is curious about the outside world and the secrets those at the bunker are obviously keeping from her.

Unfortunately for them all, Melanie will have the opportunity to discover them.  

The Girl With All the Gifts is an action-packed, popular Sci-Fi novel in the vein of Blake Crouch’s Dark Matter or Wayward Pines series. These books are emphatically not thoughtful, character-driven novels. They’re plot-driven, high concept rushes–perfect for movie or TV series adaptations and people needing an engaging, quick read (i.e. they’re great reading slump busters). None of that’s not a bad thing. Sometimes you need fluff with teeth. I certainly did when I picked up this book.  

M. R. Carey (a.k.a. Mike Carey of comic book writing fame) never lets us readers take a breath or forget the high stakes in The Girl With All the Gifts. You know the very lives of Melanie, Miss Justineau, and their companions are on the line as things go from bad to worse at the bunker and you’re waiting for something truly awful to happen to them. In that respect, you might be disappointed. There’s not *quite* so much death and mayhem here as you might like (okay, I might like), but what Carey’s novel lacks in excessive blood and gore, it makes up for in the mounting terror that infects each of the characters. The most frightening aspects of The Girl With All the Gifts aren’t violent but rather psychological because, while the writing is reminiscent of Blake Crouch, the story is cousin to Invasion of the Bodysnatchers and Childhood’s End.

What I liked most about the novel was watching Melanie’s limited experience of the world widen. As she learns more about humanity and what happened to the England outside of her cell, it’s fascinating to see how she deals with the logical ramifications of her knew knowledge. Melanie might be a child, but she is fearless in the face of mounting danger and is a genius who is able to extrapolate truths from the facts she learns from her companions. Both of those things make her dangerous–both to her enemies and possibly even to her friends.     

While Melanie’s story in The Girl With All the Gifts is thoroughly entertaining and frightening, it doesn’t quite make for the perfect action juggernaut. There are plot holes and the characters’ depth is shallow at best (most notably with the onenote villain). The plot maybe relentless, but the first act is a slow enough burn that it’s difficult to get through if you don’t already know where the story is going. None of this makes the book unreadable. It just makes it no shocker that I struggled through the first 150 pages but read the remaining 250 in one day. There are obviously worse faults to have, but I don’t think The Girl With All the Gifts is a book I’ll reread because of them.

If you like thrilling Sci-Fi/Horror or are looking for a book to break you out of that reading slump, definitely give The Girl With All the Gifts a chance. It’s not a perfect read, but it will wrap you up in it’s chilly embrace and refuse to let go.
Do you have any books you’d recommend to end a reading slump?

{Book Review} A Feast For Crows by George R. R. Martin

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It didn’t take me quite as long to read A Feast for Crows, but my enjoyment level between it and A Storm of Swords can’t even be compared. Once I struggled through the first three hundred pages of A Storm of Swords, I reached the wonder that was simultaneous road trips and Jaime and Brienne BFFing all over the place. A Storm of Swords quickly became my favorite book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series thanks to the antics of Jaime, Tyrion, and Brienne so it came as a shock to find the next book such a trudge.

A Feast for Crows focuses on the stories of the Lannisters (sans Tyrion), the female Starks, the Grejoys, and the Martells. There’s a handful of other characters and families in the mix, but A Feast for Crows keeps it’s eyes on Cersei and her struggle to keep Tommen on the Iron Throne. There’s plots concerning Myrcella, Greyjoys restless for power, Littlefinger playing the long game, and discord in the Lannister House.  The familiar characters plot and scheme while the rest struggle to stay alive.

It’s the same old game of thrones–expect nothing earth shattering happens until the last fifth of the book.

While A Storm of Swords was filled with character development, forward plot momentum, and lots of main character deaths (bye, Joffrey), A Feast for Crows seemed content to drag itself along like a half dead auroch. I struggled and struggled through chapters concerning the Greyjoys (Dear George, please kill these characters off forthwith), and nearly threw the book against the wall whenever Jaime and Cersei’s viewpoint chapters failed to move the plot along whatsoever (I love you, Jaime, but fulfill the prophecy and kill you sis already). It was ridiculous the level to which the plot kept being bogged down with endless characters giving endless history lessons and no one doing anything.

To me, Samwell Tarley’s storyline was the only one with proper character development, emotional stakes, and a plot period. Sam’s never been one of my favorite characters, but I found myself longing for his chapters in A Feast for Crows because I wanted to know what happened next to he and Gilly on their journey to Oldtown. I can’t say I looked forward to reading any other character in this entire book and that’s a shame.

What A Feast of Crows really needed was a heavy hand when it came to editing. So much of this book felt unnecessary and indulgent. I understand that some fantasy readers might love the breadth of his worldbuilding, but George R. R. Martin allowed backstory to bog down his actual story and it was problematic. If George R. R. Martin had cut a significant chunk of this book or simply consolidated chapters (which he absolutely could have done), it could have combined with A Dance of Dragons–which I can only assume has it’s fair share of filler too.  I’ve always been of the opinion that splitting one book or movie into two leads to trouble (hello, The Hobbit films and Connie Willis’ All Clear series), and A Feast of Crows did not change that opinion.

Now, it might sound like I absolutely loathed A Feast for Crows, but I didn’t. I still fangirled over Jaime even when his story went nowhere and I worried about Sansa, wishing for her to be reunited with Tyrion. I even adored the last one hundred pages and whooped with joy when Cersei finally got some comeuppance. I love these characters and their stories so much that I would absolutely struggle through all manner of Greyjoy chapters for their sake. I just wish I didn’t have to.

Who is your favorite Game of Thrones character? Do you struggle through these books for their sake too?

{Book Review} Eligible: A Modern Pride and Prejudice Retelling

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Mhairi McFarlane’s retelling of Pride and Prejudice spoiled me. I read Here’s Looking at You two years ago, and I still can’t stop thinking about how perfectly it updated Jane Austen’s most popular work to modern day sensibilities. McFarlane impressively managed to keep the spirit of Jane Austen’s writing–the romance, humor, social commentary–without keeping every plot point of the novel in place. Too many of Jane Austen’s revisers slavishly stick to the source material without wondering whether the plot points transition believably to a story set in the 21st century.

One such revisionist is Curtis Sittenfeld, but even as Jane Austen acolytes go, I don’t think I’m completely off-base in calling her Pride and Prejudice retelling, Eligible, a particular train wreck. Unlike McFarlane, Sittenfeld forgoes the spirit of the novel in favor of transcribing the plot and inserting unnecessary twists for shock value.

In Eligible, Liz Bennet and her sister, Jane, leave New York City for Cincinnati after their father has a heart attack. Liz and Jane–the only vaguely respectable and responsible ones in the Bennet family–are forced to take over their father’s care and the maintenance of their parents’ crumbling house since their three sisters and mother claim to be unable to help.

Liz, a writer-at-large for a feminist beauty magazine, spends her days in Cincinnati trying to get an interview with icon Kathy de Bourg, sorting out her father’s astronomical medical bills, and trying not to dwell on her married boyfriend, Jasper Wick.

Jane, on the other hand, has bigger worries. She’s nearly forty and still single so she’s been trying to get pregnant from via artificial insemination. This may or may not have complicated repercussions when she begins falling for the star of a Bachelor-like reality show, Chip Bingley.

With Jane more than preoccupied with her own drama, Liz struggles to keep the family afloat while trying not to get too distracted by the pompous neurosurgeon, Fitzwilliam Darcy–who just so happens to know more about her boyfriend’s past than he’s revealing.

Things go from bad to worse for the Bennet clan over the course of Eligible as couples are ripped apart, spiders infest their already declining home, and Lydia runs off with her boyfriend, Ham–who has a Secret with a capital “S.”

Spoilers Ahead.

Curtis Sittenfeld’s Eligible has many problems, but the greatest of these is Liz Bennet herself. Somehow, Sittenfeld manages to make one of the most vivacious heroines in English Literature pitiful and annoying. Mostly, this is because she chooses to have Liz pine for scumbag Jasper Wick (our Wickham stand-in) for FOURTEEN YEARS. Unable to move on with her life during that time, Liz allows Wick to string her along through his various marriages until he finally notices her a decade and a half later(!!). They then begin an affair. For me, lead characters having affairs with married men is an absolute deal breaker, but somehow, Sittenfeld manages to make my standard deal breaker even more repellent by having the affair be really, really sad for Liz. She waited for this guy–who is the ABSOLUTE WORST, by the way–for so long. What does that say about her? Nothing good. It makes her come across as weak and pitiful–two words one wouldn’t generally think of as describing Elizabeth Bennet.  

To top that off, Liz is super sarcastic and mean about her sisters. She speaks ill of them to Darcy in a way that I *suspect* is supposed to be self-deprecating but is actually just awful. There’s shockingly none of Elizabeth’s wit present in Liz. Instead, her snarkiness is simply uncomfortable to read and makes her seem like a fifteen year old rather than someone who is thirty-eight.

While on her own Liz’s characterization is enough to make me loathe this novel, it didn’t help matters that I also hated how the other Bennets were presented (so cliched and predictable), the entire Bachelor plotline, and the incredible boringness of Darcy. As a Jane Austen retelling, Eligible is really one of the worst, but it doesn’t help matters that it doesn’t work on it’s own as a Contemporary Romance either. Dull Darcy and Elizabeth simply have no chemistry. I sincerely doubt their relationship would last beyond the last chapter of the novel–which isn’t the feeling I want to have at the end of a romance novel.

I definitely wouldn’t recommend picking up Eligible unless you are in the mood for a hate read. It really was only my rage and morbid curiosity that kept me going to the end of this book. If you like being fueled by rage, by all means, read this book. Otherwise, give it a hard pass and read Bridget Jones’s Diary or Here’s Looking at You instead.

What are your deal breakers in romance novels? Do you have a favorite Jane Austen retelling?

Five Books About Fascinating Women in History

Your Visual Travel Guide (5).jpgGoing back through my Goodreads categories, I discovered something surprising. Once upon a time, I’d read non-fiction regularly–particularly non-fiction of the ladies-in-history sort. Mostly, I picked up these types of books right out of college when I was missing all my History and English courses and looking to expand my horizons. I wasn’t drawn to the dry stuff though (I had gotten enough of that in school). I preferred histories with some scandal and lushness to them.

I blame watching a lot of biopics on the Tudors for this.

So, if you’re looking to expand your horizons and read more about prominent (and not-so-prominent) ladies in history, these books are a good place to start. Especially if you don’t mind a bit of outrageousness.

Five Books About Fascinating Women in History

Elizabeth and Leicester by Elizabeth Jenkins

Funny story time: In college, I was sitting on a bench reading this book about the scandalous romance between Elizabeth I and Dudley when some random dude walked up and told me I was beautiful. Me, being the very picture of tack, said “Thanks” before promptly returning to my book. (I was that girl in college who sat on benches and read and had to listen to people walking past me whispering in horror “Is she reading a book?!?!?” Basically, I am Rory Gilmore.) Gossipy historicals are completely my thing and so a book about one of my favorite historical couples (thanks entirely to Anne-Marie Duff’s Elizabeth miniseries) was pretty much un-put-downable. While it is more about the relationship between Elizabeth and Dudley, there is a lot of information about the early years of Elizabeth’s life to be had within its pages. Sadly, this book is ancient, but you just might be able to find it through the library. If not, there’s a book of the same name by Sarah Gristwood that might be worth checking out.

Bride of Science by Benjamin Woolley

Speaking of gossipy non-fiction, Woolley’s biography of Ada Lovelace is gloriously chatty about all the scandalous goings on of Ada’s life. I started reading this book entirely thanks to the webcomic Lovelace and Babbage and I wasn’t disappointed. While there might not be as much of a focus on the science-y aspects of her life, it was interesting to get a picture of what she was like as a person. I especially remember there being some focus on the relationship between Ada’s mother and Byron–which really is fascinating in and of itself.

Princesses Behaving Badly by Linda Rodriguez McRobbie

There are plenty of books out there compiling biographies of kings, queens, bad marriages, and scandal. (Surprisingly, I don’t read as many of those as you might think.) Princesses Behaving Badly was one book of that sort I couldn’t pass up. Just reread that title! It’s so easy to overdose on toned down princess stories, but this was definitely not toned down. If you want stories of princesses who murder, cheat, and rule countries with an iron fist, this is the book to check out.

Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff ~ While not heavy on the melodrama (for once), Cleopatra’s a fascinating read. (Except maybe the parts about agriculture and the economy.)  I loved taking courses on world history in college and Schiff’s book totally satisfied that longing for more information about the ancient world. I’m really looking forward to reading Schiff’s new book about the Salem witch trials. How interesting will that be!

Wild Romance by Chloe Schama ~ Back to the melodrama for a moment. If you want to get mad about the plight of women in Victorian England, this is the book to read. It reminded me of the book/miniseries He Knew He Was Right because it was all about marriage, divorce, and who’s telling the truth. Theresa Longworth isn’t famous–like most of the others on this list–but her story was cool to read none-the-less.

What are some of your favorite non-fiction books? Any slightly gossipy histories to recommend?

Ten Bookish Items I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree

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Joining in on The Broke and the Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday yet again!

It’s usually fairly easy for me to think of ten books I’d love the have for Christmas, but this year, I keep coming up with only half a dozen. That’s fine, really, because that means I’ve been reading unread books from my own shelves since my birthday in May!

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Twenty-sixteen really was the year of rereads and shelf-cleaning for me. It might not be surprising then that a lot of the items I’m longing for are related to my Harry Potter reread. It’s still shocking to me that I managed to reread all of the Harry Potter books over the Summer and Fall. The last three books were a challenge but I got them all done (thanks to a little binge-reading) the day before Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was released. The one downside of my reread, of course, is that my stack of Harry Potter collectibles has grown exponentially since I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in May. I have a burgeoning Harry Potter Funko Pop collection and a desire to replace all those Harry Potter DVDs I got rid of a year ago.

I have a feeling my shelves will be in troubles–especially if I get a few of the things on this wish list.

 Ten Bookish Items I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree

christmas-wish-list.jpg1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Illustrated Edition / 2. Harry’s First Spell Q-Fig / 3. The Ladies of Grace Adieu by Susanna Clarke / 4. Hermione Ornament / 5. Labyrinth Tales by Cory Godbey / 6. Harry Potter with Hedwig {Hot Topic Exclusive} / 7. A Dance With Dragons by George R. R. Martin / 8. Jacob Kowalski Funko Pop / 9. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Illustrated Edition 

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10. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay

What bookish items would be in your letter to Santa?

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Top Five Literary Classics on My TBR

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About once a year, I tackle a classic novel. In 2016, I reread Jane Eyre and in 2015, A Christmas Carol. While these rereads were pleasant enough, it’s a shame that it’s been several years since I attempted a new-to-me work of classic literature. The burnout from my years as an English Major are finally dissipating so, hopefully, in 2017, I can change that.

I don’t expect to read all the classics on my TBR, but I’d love to raise my count to two or three classics next year. It shouldn’t be too hard, especially since I’ve been longing to reread Persuasion for months.

Yes, I might even allow myself one more reread before the real work begins!

Top Five Literary Classics on My TBR   

Rob Roy by Sir Walter Scott ~ Ivanhoe is one of the most enthralling novels I read during the course of my English degree. I attribute that mostly to the fact that I pictured Richard Armitage (in his Robin Hood leathers) as Bois-Guilbert as I read it. Beyond that, I loved the swashbuckling, adventure of Ivanhoe. It’s a shock, really, that I haven’t picked up Rob Roy already.

Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens ~ Choosing one and only one Dickens novel to add to my TBR was difficult. There are several Dickens I’d like to read–Little Dorrit and Bleak House among them–but his books are too long for me not to narrow down my goal a bit. Our Mutual Friend caught my attention more than the others because (1.) I like the story and (2.) I can picture “Creepy Colonel Brandon” a.k.a. David Morrissey as Mr. Headstone as I read it.

Sylvia’s Lovers by Elizabeth Gaskell ~ I’ve read Gaskell’s Wives & Daughters, Cranford, and North & South. It’s about time I moved on from her books which have been adapted into miniseries and ventured into unknown territory. Sylvia’s Lovers is her take on historical fiction and I’m curious to see if it holds up to her more well-known novels.

Daniel Deronda by George Eliot ~ My relationship with Daniel Deronda is a fraught one. I’ve watched the miniseries twice, and I’ve come to realize there are few characters I loathe as much as Daniel Deronda. I want to read the novel because I’m curious if my hatred simply rests on Hugh Dancy’s version of the character or on the character himself.

Cecilia, or Memoirs of an Heiress by Frances Burney ~ I’ve read Frances Burney’s Evelina twice. It’s ridiculous and fun and weirdly addicting for a 500 page epistolary novel about a socially inept girl. Burney’s definitely the predecessor to Jane Austen–which means I need to get on with reading the other two novels of hers I own. Cecilia, an “usual love story and deft social satire,” according to Amazon, seems the best bet for my second venture into her oeuvre.  

Are there any classics you’ve been wanting to read?

Read Like a Gilmore: A Starter’s Guide to Rory’s Reading List

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Rory is a hardcore reader–at least in the first several seasons of Gilmore Girls. As the show progresses, she reads less and less AND YET she still manages to read and/or name drop 339 books over the course of the series. That’s a lot of books, particularly when you take into account most of them are Literary Fiction, Classics, or Nonfiction. Those genres lend themselves to hefty reads.

The whole, wild list can be found here. Check it out and take in all those titles. I may have read a lot of Epic Fantasy and Literature in high school and college, but I certainly didn’t read that much–even as an English Major!

Thanks to the sheer overwhelmingness of the list, I decided to make my own abridgement to it. I haven’t read everything Rory has, but I’ve read enough to give a starter’s guide to some of the best of the best on her bedside table. (I’ve actually read a good amount of these books this year so I can attest they hold up outside of a college classroom!)

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Read Like a Gilmore: A Starter’s Guide to Rory’s Reading List

The Fun Stuff

  1. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  2. Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
  3. The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
  4. The Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling

The Spooky Stuff

  1. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  2. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  3. The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson
  4. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
  5. Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales & Poems by Edgar Allan Poe
  6. Carrie by Stephen King

The Awesome Women’s Stuff

  1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  2. Emma by Jane Austen
  3. The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker
  4. A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
  5. The Awakening by Kate Chopin

The Other Stuff

  1. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  2. Sonnets by William Shakespeare
  3. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  4. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  5. Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi

What’s Your Favorite Book On the Rory Gilmore Reading List?

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{Top Ten Tuesday} Ten Books Recently Added to My TBR

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It’s been awhile but I’m actually joining in on The Broke and The Bookish‘s Top Ten Tuesday this week.

I’ve discovered one of the bonuses of working at a library is that the librarians let you look at through their Publisher’s Weekly and Booklist catalogues. I say “bonuses,” but I guess that depends on how long my to-read list gets in the future. For now, it’s manageable–only ninety-one books according to Goodreads.

Ninety-one might seem like a lot (not to most book bloggers, I suppose, but to some people) but, knowing me, ninety-one books will be culled down to twenty once I actually start reading what’s on my TBR.

My reading taste can be finicky, and I drop books for no better reason that sentence length annoying me.

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The books on this list will hopefully be lucky ones that get read. I’m certainly excited to give them a chance.

Top Ten Books I’ve Added to My TBR Lately

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Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones ~ Wintersong is a YA novel with more than a little in common with a certain film called Labyrinth. Obviously, I’ve been dying to read this book ever since I heard it included a Goblin King. *Dance, Magic Dance!*

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth ~ I couldn’t finish the Divergent series. I just couldn’t. That doesn’t mean I’m not interested in trying Veronica Roth’s newest novel. It’s a political drama with space and superpowers. Definitely sounds up my alley.

The Gilded Cage by Vic James ~ When someone describes a fantasy novel as being similar to Downton Abbey, you know it’ll be high on my list of to-reads. The Gilded Cage is deals with class conflict and magic. I’m hoping it has more than a little in common with Zen Cho’s Sorcerer to the Crown.

Cordelia’s Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold ~ I’ve been meaning to read the Vorkosigan Saga forever. I even started Cordelia’s Honor once years ago but never got far in it. The first book in the saga just made it back onto my to-read list because I decided that I’m going to finally try to tackle the series. It’s so popular. I want to know if I like it or not.

Crosstalk by Connie Willis ~ To Say Nothing of the Dog is one of my favorite Science Fiction novels of all time so when I found out Connie Willis had a new book–not in her Oxford Time Travel series–coming out, I figured it was about time I branched out and read her other work.

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All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders ~ I’m a fan of Charlie Jane Anders articles on io9. While novels aren’t exactly the same thing as website posts, I’m excited to try her book about friends, magic, and science!

The Stars are Legion by Kameron Hurley ~ Somehow I’ve never read a book by Kameron Hurley. I’ve followed her on Twitter and read her articles, but I’ve never picked up an actual book by her (not even Geek Feminist Revolution!). The Stars are Legion sounds like a book I’ll enjoy–yet another book about space, politics, and a tough-as-nails heroine.

Half-Resurrection Blues by Daniel Jose Older ~ Urban Fantasy’s a genre I go back to when I feel the need for a quick, engaging read. Older’s Bone Rumba Street series is one of the more popular of the genre that I haven’t tried yet. I actually can’t believe it wasn’t on my TBR earlier.  

Summerlong by Peter S. Beagle ~ I adore Peter S. Beagle’s writing. I’ve only been putting off reading Summerlong so I can keep up with Science Fiction novels for SciFi Month. As soon as December hits, I’m diving it! (Truthfully, I don’t even know what this books is about, and I don’t care: It’s Peter S. Beagle.)

Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hern ~ One of my friends from work recommended this series to me. She said it was a fantasy which takes place in Japan, and that’s really all I needed to know.

What Books Have You Recently Added to Your TBR?

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{From My Shelves} Fall TBR

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Somehow, I’ve managed to get over two thirds of the way through my reading goal this Summer. It was rough. As per usual, Summer was the season of reading slumps and depression. I’m hoping Fall will be better. I can usually get through more books once the weather turns cool and I finally feel up to relaxing afternoons with a cup of tea and my beloved electric blanket.

Meanwhile, I’m trying not to get my expectations up too high. I have some classics and nonfiction that I’d love to get through before the end of the year, but I’m not including them on this TBR because I don’t want to set myself up for failure. (I tried to get through The Mill on the Floss this Summer, but I just couldn’t do it–in spite of loving George Eliot’s writing.) Instead, I thought I’d pull books from my shelves that would help me complete my reading challenge, get me ready for a new Fall show, and just plain entertain me.

We’ll see how it goes.

From My Shelves: Fall TBR

  • Death by Darjeeling by Laura Childs ~ My easy book for the TBR! I always try to include at least one lightweight to keep myself from freaking out over all the heavy tomes on my list and Death by Darjeeling is that one for Fall. At the last library book sale, I grabbed a bunch of cozy mysteries–figuring I’d need to have some on hand for when I wasn’t feeling up to something denser. Most of the ones I picked were about books, tea, or cats–which just feels right to me.
  • The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco ~ If I had to guess, I’d say I’ve owned The Name of the Rose for at least seven years. Most books that I’ve had that long and haven’t read have been culled from my shelves in the past year. For some reason, I held onto Eco’s novel. I’ve heard it’s fantastic so I really have no reason (besides how incredibly hefty it appears) to put off reading it any longer.
  • In Cold Blood by Truman Capote ~ For my Reading Challenge, I have to read one True Crime novel. True Crime is one of the few genres that I have absolutely no interest in so I figured I might as well stick with a classic. I’ve read Truman Capote before thanks to Breakfast at Tiffany’s (which is MUCH better than the film, by the way). I figure his foray into crime writing will be entertaining enough to allow me to check one more item off my Reading Challenge To-Do List.  
  • When Did You Last See Your Father by Blake Morrison ~ I’ve had this novel on my shelves forever. I bought it solely because David Nicholls wrote the screenplay for the adaptation–which, on reflection, seems like a weird reason to read a book written by a different author. Still, it’s a small book. It’s time I got through it and sent it back to the library.
  • Elizabeth the Queen by Sally Bedell Smith ~ The Crown premieres on Netflix on November 4th. To prep, I figured I might as well read a biography of the Queen. I’m not holding my breath that the book will be terribly interesting (I don’t expect a whole lot of trashyness), but I’m still curious about her thanks to watching the *almost* completely fictitious A Royal Night Out this Summer.

There are my five books. What are you planning to read this Fall?

My Fall To-Do List

Hamilton Songs On Repeat (2).jpgSweaters, electric blankets, hot chai, and new TV shows. Fall IS my season. I know you’re not supposed to wish your life away, but Summer is the worst and I’m so glad it’s over.

I cannot wait to eat all the (gluten free) pumpkin things!

Like with Summer, I figured I’d do a proper to-do list for Fall. Looking back, I can say I did alright on my Summer list. *Maybe* I didn’t get to any beach reads, but I did dash through Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and see Top Gun in the theater so the season wasn’t an entire waste. Also, I went to three new coffee shops and an artisan Ice Cream parlor. Living my best life right there.

My plans for Fall mainly include watching Gilmore Girls with my mom, but I figured it’d be nice to make a more ambitious to-do than just getting through seven seasons of a show before November 25th.

Okay, the list isn’t incredibly more ambitious than that, but Fall is the season for books, tea, and coziness. I don’t want to do too much adventuring when I could be reading the next A Song of Ice and Fire.  

My Fall To-Do List

  • Carve Pumpkins ~ I’m terrible at carving pumpkins (because sharp objects and myself do not mix), but I love it anyway. The last two years I’ve missed out on carving but not this year! I will carve something wonky into a pumpkin’s side and display it proudly for trick-or-treaters.
  • Star Wars Watch-Through ~ Last year, I rewatched all of the Star Wars films in the Spring. I wish now that I’d waited until right before The Force Awakens came out so it’d all have felt more fresh. That’s why, this year, I’ve been waiting and waiting to start my rewatch for Rogue One. Originally, I’d planned to try watching it in “Machete Order” since I’ve only ever watched the series chronologically starting with the prequels. I’m not entirely sure that’s the best way to go since that would mean watching A New Hope (the film closest chronologically to Rogue One) first. I’ll probably just go with “Chronological Minus The Phantom Menace” as per usual.
  • Art Museum Trip ~ I’ve only been to the Cleveland Art Museum once. I was up in the city for an interview and was able to spend *maybe* an hour there–which meant that I got through the Egyptian exhibit and very little else. I’ve been longing to go back for a second visit, and Fall seems like the perfect time to wander through galleries.  
  • Reread Jane Eyre ~ Is it just me, or is Fall the perfect season for reading the Brontes? I might make that association thanks to my English Major days, but the gothic setting of Jane Eyre feels October-y to me. I haven’t read Jane Eyre since high school, and I’m well aware that I didn’t understand it at all back then. I need to go back and be more open minded about Rochester (unlikely) and more accepting of Jane (much more likely).
  • Go to a Craft Show ~There are indie craft shows ALL THE TIME downtown where I work. Unfortunately, a lot of them occur on Saturday so I end up working through them. I want to take advantage of one of the few Sunday fairs, even if that means venturing downtown on a day I’m not actually working.
  • Find a New 3DS Game to Play ~ So, I bought a 3DS last Fall and I’ve only purchased three games for it–two of which I hated (Disney Infinity and Animal Crossing). Right now, I’m playing through Legend of Zelda: An Ocarina of Time and I’m enjoying it. . .kind of. I have to use a walkthrough to get through the story–which can get incredibly frustrating. I want to find a game with more of a puzzle aspect to it. I loved computer games that had a nice balance of story and puzzle when I was a kid (like Torin’s Passage and Dr. Brain). I’m sure there’s something out there along a similar line. If you have any recommendations, please let me know!
  • Drink Spiced Apple Cider ~ Pumpkin Spiced Latte’s aren’t my thing. They’re too sweet and not pumpkin-y enough tasting for me. Spiced Apple Cider is the real deal. Every once in awhile, I even get to drink apple cider from the apples we’ve grown–which makes it even better!
  • Play More Games ~ I own a decent amount of board games, but this year, I’ve been terrible about actually playing them. I still haven’t touched my copies of Munchkin, Iota, or Diamonsters. Before Christmas, at the very least, I need to give them all a shot (then I don’t have to feel guilty if I ask for a game or two for the big day).
  • Watch Horror Movies ~ I’m a complete wimp when it comes to horror movies. I’ve always loved horror TV shows (Hannibal <3) and novels, but films just seem so much more intimidating. I have a short list of movies I want to watch in October (The Ring, The Host, Cabin in the Woods, etc), but I could definitely use recommendations for horror films that are scary but not terribly gory–which means do not recommend a Saw film! I will not watch it. 
  • Bake a Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie ~ I already have a recipe picked out. This will happen!

What’s on your Fall To-Do list?