ReadUp Greenville 2016 Recap

Today, a YA & MG book festival launched in my city. I have many, many feels about this, but let me try to convey them in some semblance of coherence.

The Significance

group of authors at read up bookfest

Some of the authors. (Photo from @readupbookfest, with permission)

The previous (and first) book festival I attended was 5-6 hours away. I got a hotel room and drove all by myself to meet authors and attend panels. Growing up, I didn’t know that festivals like this existed. I never imagined that I would meet an author, much less many of them. I never imagined that they would give me writing advice and geek out over my Doctor Who t-shirts. So now, to have this festival in my city? That is a dream I didn’t even know to dream for so long.

The Line-up

jay asher author speaking

Jay Asher, the opening keynote presentation (photo from @readupbookfest, with permission)

Read Up featured 27 authors. I was familiar with about half of them. Major draws for me: Continue reading

May Reading Recap

book-2869_1920Guys, May was a REALLY GOOD reading month. But before I get into all the excitement, let me review my goals for this year.

  • 150 books total.
  • 50,000 pages.
  • 40 non-fiction.
  • 10 classics.
  • 10 books translated into English (excluding those on my “classics” list).
  • 15 books outside my comfort zone.
  • 22 books off my TBR list.

My reading so far this year has been a bit slim (grad school and all that), so I hit May reading hard. Really hard. Continue reading

Poetry to Share: Charge of the Light Brigade

I know this poem is super sad, but it’s one of my favorites from childhood. It has a good rhythm, is easy to memorize, and is incredibly dramatic.

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
   Rode the six hundred.
“Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns!” he said.
Into the valley of Death
   Rode the six hundred.

Continue reading

January Reading Recap

As part of keeping book resolutions, I’ve decided to write monthly recaps. It helps me pay attention to how I’m meeting those goals.

For context, here are the goals I set:

  • 150 books total.
  • 50,000 pages.
  • 40 non-fiction.
  • 10 classics.
  • 10 books translated into English (excluding those on my “classics” list).
  • 15 books outside my comfort zone.
  • 22 books off my TBR list.

This month, I read: Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday: Recently Added to My TBR list

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

I’m not sure this is a good topic for me, because I tend to use my TBR list for more obscure stuff. I’ve addressed this before, but I’m normally so close to the YA or fantasy genres that I don’t need a list to remember what I want to read. So my TBR list is just the stuff I wouldn’t remember.

So I’m mixing this one – 5 from my actual TBR list and 5 from the TBR stacks sitting around my house. It seems fair.

When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi

This was a recommendation from Brain Pickings, the thought-provoking weekly email from Maria Popova. Full of ruminations on death, life, literature, and biology, it promises to be a deep read.

How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Power of Character – Paul Tough

Read an article about this book in….Farnam Street, I think. Based on the title, I think I already agree with him, so maybe his book will give me some scientific arguments for what I already think. Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday: Gateway Books/Authors

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. I didn’t like this week’s topic, so I picked an old one. Basically, these are some of the books/authors that hooked me on reading or particular genres. Frankly, I don’t remember a lot about when I started reading (around 7, I’m told), so these are just books I remember really enjoying as a child.

Lloyd Alexander

My dad is actually the one who recommended Lloyd Alexander to me, thereby introducing me to my favorite author (I did name my blog after his character….). From Prydain to Westmark to the Gawgon, Alexander’s writing entranced me, his characters spoke to me, and his stories lifted me up. Most of his books are written for children, but not at children. They are smart, funny, and aware in the innocently skeptical way kids are. And his female characters are….real. They are not “strong female characters.” They are dynamic, intelligent, inquisitive, hurt, annoying, fierce girls who felt like someone I would want to be.


A Little Princess

This is the first book I remember loving. I don’t know how many times I’ve read it. I’ve watched countless movie versions in much frustration. And I have no idea how many hours I spent recreating and fantasizing about this book in daydreams. It remains one of my favorite children’s classics, and one I ought to revisit. If you’re wondering, my absolute favorite adaptation is the 1986 film series.

Critically thinking, the story is somewhat unrealistic and certainly moralistic, but I refuse to allow analysis to remove the magic.

Marguerite Henry

If you don’t know, Marguerite Henry authored a multitude of horse books, including Misty of Chincoteague and King of the Wind. I read every single book of hers in our library. My favorites were King of the Wind, Guadenzia, Pride of the Palio, White Stallion of Lipizza, Mustang, Wild Spirit of the West, San Domingo, the Medicine Hat Stallion, and One Man’s Horse. Her books are very educational about horses, history, and geography. For a crazy horse girl (as most middle school girls seem to be), her books were perfect.

Asimov’s Robot stories (sci-fi)

What better introduction to science fiction than one of the top 3 authors from the Golden Age of Science Fiction? Asimov’s Robot stories were a particularly good beginning for me. I love psychology and logic, so his combination of the two created an irresistible style and world. Asimov was a genius and everyone should read some of his work. (The Robot world is introduced in short stories, mostly, making it a good place to start.)

Agatha Christie (mystery)

I’ll admit, I haven’t read much Christie. But I made the effort to acquaint myself with Murder on the Orient Express and And Then There Were None (arguably her most notable works) and Continue reading