In this blog post, I’m going to strongly disagree with this post from Brenda at Daily Mayo, so I’d like begin by saying that I think that she wrote a wonderfully provocative post and asked a great question. Although I disagree with her conclusion, I think she makes a lot of good points along the way. However, I think she also accepts some biases which it’s important for readers to challenge. She points out that women authors are taken less seriously than male authors, with everything women write often being lumped in the chick-lit category, and suggests that women authors should respond by writing less romance. I have a number of problems with that statement, so I’m just going to run through them one by one and will include some direct quotes I’m referring too.
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 18th and runs through Sunday, August 24th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 11 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog.
Author: Hampton Sides
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Summary: My favorite narrative nonfiction this year! Well-researched and packed with details that bring this more fantastic than fiction adventure story to life.
The north pole was the late nineteenth century’s final frontier. Popular belief suggested that an undiscovered group of people might live at the pole in a region kept habitable by warm ocean water flowing under a surrounding ring of ice. After a rescue mission in which he acquitted himself heroically, navy man George Washington De Long was the obvious choice to lead the next expedition. With funding from eccentric newspaper owner Gordon Bennett, he led a team of 32 men (including a reporter) on a voyage aiming for the pole. However, as their ship was first trapped in ice and then smashed to pieces, it quickly became clear that the men of the expedition would be lucky to make it home alive.
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We’re up to chapter 20 and things are really picking up! Be warned, spoilers below. So far, the experience of reading this book for me has been very different from anything else I’ve ever read. I feel emotionally invested in Johanna. I care when she’s sad and get excited when she’s happy and do all the worrying she should be doing about STDs and unwanted pregnancies and pervs she might encounter going home with random guys. However, I also feel like an outside observer who’s just really, really curious where this is all going. Johanna’s life is so crazy and different from mine and I can’t wait to see what happens. Read more »
This is a book I would probably give 5 stars if I weren’t comparing it to the first book in the series, The Way of Kings. The plot is similarly complex, interesting, and expansive. There is once again great character growth, with personal plots nested within the overall story. The magic and worldbuilding retain their internal consistency. However, while I wouldn’t say this suffered too much from second book syndrome, I did feel as though less happened than in the first book. Read more »
Title: Toms River
Author: Judith Frank
Source: from publisher via NetGalley
Review Summary: This book was engaging and easy to follow, a perfect mix of science, history, and human interest stories.
Toms River had been a dumping ground for chemical pollutants for years before anyone suspected anything might be wrong. However, watchful parents soon noticed a disturbing increase in local cancer cases. It took years of unceasing efforts by residents for an investigation of chemical dumping in Toms River to begin. Even then, it was difficult to impossible to determine the different chemicals dumped in Toms River over the past half century and even more difficult to determine whether that dumping influence cancer incidence. Although families were convinced pollutants were the problem and a settlement was reached, the exact nature of the pollutants dumped at Toms River and their relationship to cancer there may never be known.
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Title: Big Little Lies
Author: Liane Moriarty
Source: from publisher for review
Review Summary: Liane Moriarty has outdone herself, creating three believable women who face some of the toughest challenges women commonly face then combining their moving story with a riveting mystery.
We begin Big Little Lies with the knowledge that someone has died at the parent trivia night under suspicious circumstances. Through flashbacks we get the perspectives of several characters, but the story focuses on three friends who are intimately involved in what happened that night. Madeline is concerned about her daughter choosing her ex-husband over her, still hating him for walking out on her when their daughter was born. Jane is a timid single mother, secretly worried her son might not be as sweet as he appears, given her past. And Celeste and her husband, with the perfect life and perfect marriage, might just be hiding the darkest secrets of all.
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We’re up to chapter 15 in our read-along this week, so be warned – spoilers below! What surprised me most about this section was how beautifully sentimental some of the quotes were. Especially at the beginning of the section, I really enjoyed how happy Johanna was and how much fun she had traveling. I was a briefly heartbroken for her when she stopped hearing from the magazine, but finished the section feeling reasonably hopeful. I mean, I’m sure she’s going to get herself into a bad situation the way she’s going. I also think her coworkers probably think she’s completely ridiculous. But she’s having fun again and exploring who she is and I’m excited to go along for the ride. Read more »
Many authors do one thing exceptionally well: world building, character creation and growth, or an intricate plot. Brandon Sanderson does an incredible job at all three. The world is very unique, with creatures and a magic system I never could have imagined. The world and the magical system are also notable for their internal consistency. The creatures described seem like the sort that would evolve together. The magical system follows clear, consistent rules. The world building take place through slow, constant information sharing, in parallel with both an epic, world-wide conflict and moving personal stories. The story wasn’t always straight forward or predictable and I loved the unexpected obstacles which forced every character to grow and change in order to succeed. Read more »
I am now 10 chapters into How To Build a Girl and it’s time to check in again. Beware spoilers through chapter 10 below. So far, things are still going well! I definitely have a girl crush on Caitlin Moran who is both the reason I consider myself a feminist and the reason I’m happy to tell you I consider myself a feminist. In How To Be a Woman, she had me in stitches almost the whole book – an impressive feat given that she also made me think about many important issues. How To Build a Girl is living up to the hype that created for me much better than I expected. Caitlin’s same sense of humor is there, perhaps slightly less often given the need for narrative, but there are definitely parts that have me laughing out loud. Even though this is fiction, I feel like Caitlin’s character’s story has the same refreshing feel of raw honesty found in her memoir. I know it’s not real, but it’s such an intimate look at a character’s life, I still feel like she’s a real person telling me her story. Read more »