Sunday, August 28, 2016

MRS by Noa Grey

Title: MRS
Author: Noa Grey
Publication Date: August 16, 2016
Length: 271 pages

After advice columnist Hope Jackson dies, women everywhere are struggling to figure out their relationship and life problems without her guidance. MRS tells the stories of three such women: Mims, whose daughter died of suicide and whose husband has been distant ever since; Rory, who just lost her job and her boyfriend in the same day; and Sarah, whose husband is in jail and whose kids seem to hate her.

Each of these women goes through huge changes over the course of the book, rediscovering themselves as they search for solutions to their problems. I really enjoyed the hope and optimism in this story; even as bad things happen to the characters they seem to be constanting growing and moving towards achieving happiness in their lives.

I was expecting the characters' lives to be a little more intertwined, based on the summary (which actually uses the phrase "intertwined lives"). They actually don't even know each other, though they each have indirect connections to each other through mutual friends, and the ending does tie them together a bit more. It was really almost like reading three separate stories and jumping between them. However, I did like reading each of the stories involved, and really felt for Mims, Rory, and Sarah.

4 stars.

Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this ebook from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Reading Through Dewey Decimal: An Ongoing Personal Challenge

I started working at a library as a shelver in 2015, and I constantly see books on the shelves that I want to read. Working there makes me want to read about every subject and learn all kinds of new things. So I got the idea to read a book from every division of the Dewey Decimal Classification system!

The DDC splits information up into 10 classes (eg. the 200s are Religion, the 400s are Language, etc.), which are further divided into 100 divisions (eg. the 180s are Ancient, Medieval, and Eastern Philosophy, the 660s are Chemical Engineering, etc.). The 040s are unassigned, which leaves 99 divisions to read from.

I don't read anywhere near 99 non-fiction* books in a year (I don't know if I've read 99 non-fiction books in my life...), so this will be an ongoing challenge with no real deadline.

(* Note: Technically the DDC covers fiction, too, but I'm sticking to the non-fiction section of the library, since they don't use Dewey Decimal for fiction. There is, however, fiction in the non-fiction section, mainly in the 800s (Literature). So some fiction may be included in this challenge.)

This is just a personal challenge I'm doing, but if you're doing something similar please let me know in the comments below! I'll be curious to see what people find to read, particularly in areas that aren't in one's normal areas of interest.

I will be tracking my progress on the Reading Dewey page of this blog.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

Title: Boy Meets Boy
Author: David Levithan
Publication Date: September 9, 2003
Length: 6 hours (audiobook)

Boy Meets Boy is a sweet teen romance story that takes place in a town that has more than the average amount of acceptance for LGBT+ people. Gay students are totally accepted by their peers, and a trans girl named Infinite Darlene is both the homecoming queen and the quarterback. The story is told by Paul, who meets the new boy, Noah, and falls head over heels. Of course, complications ensue, including an ex-boyfriend who suddenly needs Paul's help, and a best friend (Joni) who starts dating a total jerk.

I enjoyed the setting of this novel. While it's often described as utopian, David Levithan has said that he intended it to be basically the real world as it is currently becoming. Basically it's one town in which progress has been made to the point where LGBT+ people are just accepted for who they are. (It's not the whole world; just one town over is Paul's friend Tony, whose religious parents are more familiar to people living in the real world.) It was refreshing to read a story about gay characters whose biggest problems are misunderstandings with new boyfriends.

Tony was one of my favourite characters, showing the most growth over the course of the story. He goes from hiding his whole life from his parents to finally standing up to them and forcing them to see him as he really is.

One warning: I'm assuming it's because this book is over a decade old, but the treatment of Infinite Darlene is not the greatest. Throughout the story she seems to be pretty clearly portrayed as a trans girl, but then near the end they suddenly call her a drag queen. So, that was weird. In my mind she will remain definitely a girl, no matter how much football she plays.

On the audiobook: I listened to the Full Cast Audio production of this book, and it was excellent. I've read reviews of this book saying that the narrative was flat, but I think it's impossible to see it that way when hearing it read by Nicholas Robideau, who portrayed Paul in this edition. Good acting, music, and other sounds combined to make this better than the average audiobook I've listed to.

4 stars.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon: The Late Hours (23:00-4:30)

Well, for the first time ever, I gave up early on a read-a-thon! From 11:00 until perhaps 2:00 or so, I was reading The Girlfriend by R.L. Stine, and it was sufficiently scary and suspenseful to keep me awake. However, when I finished that one and switched to The Prairie Dog Conspiracy by Eric Wilson, the exhaustion hit me. I also wasn't feeling great, so I decided to call it a night a couple hours early. I think that my everyday level of exhaustion lately was just too much for staying up for 24 hours to be physically possible! By the next read-a-thon, I will have substantially less homework, and hopefully will be better rested and able to complete the whole thing.

Total books read: 3.5
Total pages read: 833

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon: The Busy/Grumpy Hours (11:00-23:00)

So, I ended up being out of the house for a lot of the daytime hours. I carried a book with me and read when I could. Over the last 12 hours all I read was the Spike Omnibus, which is 465 pages long. I chose that book for the busy hours because I figured the graphic novels would go faster so I'd feel like I was making progress even when I wasn't reading steadily. I didn't take into account that this was also the longest book on my pile!

So basically I spent a chunk of this time out and about (granted, having fun with friends and with babies!) and another chunk of this time grumpy that I wasn't able to spend the whole read-a-thon at home reading. Oh well. Time to make the most of the overnight hours, when no one's awake to distract me! :D

Total pages so far: 614
Total books so far: 2

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon: The Early Hours (7:00-11:00)

Happy read-a-thon day!!!

I'll be updating sporadically throughout the day. I have a few places I have to be today (Alas, the whole world refuses to pause for the read-a-thon! What gives?), but I'll still be reading for the majority of the 24 hours.

Behold, my TBR pile!

So far, in the first 4 hours (parts of which were very sleepy), I have read The Attack (Animorphs #26) by K.A. Applegate, which is 149 pages long, so that's my total as of now! Not terribly impressive, but the first hour I was barely awake and after that there were constant minor interruptions! So hopefully my speed will improve and I'll make it through my pile by the end. :)

Happy reading everyone!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

2016 Diversity on the Shelf Challenge

I'm happy to see someone's hosting this challenge again! This will be my third time participating. The first time made me realise that almost everything I read is by white people. The second time made me a little more aware of that and I did a bit better, but still way off balance. In hopes of continuing this trend, I'm moving up a level this year to 2nd shelf, challenging myself to read 7-12 books by or about people of colour.

I'll list the books I read for this challenge below.
  1. Stealing Nasreen by Farzana Doctor
  2. Sugar Falls: A Residential School Story by David Alexander Robertson
  3. Princeless, vol. 2: Get Over Yourself by Jeremy Whitley
  4. Princeless, vol. 3: The Pirate Princess by Jeremy Whitley
  5. Princeless, vol. 1: Save Yourself by Jeremy Whitley
  6. Amulet, vol. 1: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi
  7. Amulet, vol. 2: The Stonekeeper's Curse by Kazu Kibuishi
  8. Amulet, vol. 3: The Cloud Searchers by Kazu Kibuishi
  9. Twin Spica, vol. 1 by Kou Yaginuma
  10. The Good Little Book by Kyo Maclear
  11. Twin Spica, vol. 2 by Kou Yaginuma