Sunday, 14 January 2018

Sunday Sundries

What is this?! Some kind of consistency?! Witchcraft!

That's correct, I am here, without a clear aim but with some kind of urge to really honestly and truly make blogging a habit (again), to some degree! Just look at me go! If only I had an interesting life to tell you all about, everything would be fine.

Let's see... I handed in my notice at work, which means that I'm basically just waiting out the time I have left there until I can finally leave and move on to a better place *dramatic face work*. It's always a bit of a strange time, I guess, since there's a limit to how much I can care about things, but I still have to care about things because otherwise, to be frank, they just won't get done. But anyway, I'm just doing my time, keeping my head down, and hoping it goes quickly.

Outside of work, I've been trying to use my time as effectively as possible, and it's actually going quite well. This is kiiiiind of a new year thing I guess, but I'm trying to ignore that and genuinely just make changes to my life slowly and steadily. This all sounds really dramatic, when all I'm really talking about is like, trying to do yoga as soon as I come in from work, instead of putting it off and just not doing it, and reading instead of watching TV, and doing my writing prompt every single damn day.

I have been doing my writing prompt every single damn day, by the way, with varying degrees of engagement and success. By which I mean, some nights I have basically no time or energy to do it (see: Thursday night when I got in at about 11pm, or Friday night when I had a few glasses of wine after work) but I still get something down, and it's really starting to feel less like a chore, and just a fun thing to look forward to after work (I KNOW). This was really the point of the writing prompts (for me, anyway) so I'm pretty pleased with the results thus far!

As for reading, I have been doing some but probably less than usual because of the aforementioned other activities. I say this mainly because I have only finished two books this year BUT I keep forgetting that the main reason for this is because I'm reading a 700+ page Stephen and Owen King behemoth which makes me feel like NOTHING IS ACHIEVED. Is reading all about achievement? Not even a little, and I would do well to remember that while I constantly ignore all of my giant books so I can read three smaller ones instead. Like, seriously, that's a problem for me and I need to fix it.

But anyway. Working on it by reading giant book so everything is going to be fine. Plus, this weekend, I found Simpsons Chess in a charity shop, so everything really is going to be fine!
See what I mean about no clear aim? But hey, we got through it relatively unscathed, right? I hope you all had excellent weeks and weekends, and let's face the new week with courage and dignity and whatnot...

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Sunday Sundries

That's right, I'm really really trying to bring blogging back. Make things habits and all that jazz...

This week, I'm not entirely sure I woke up at all. Sort of sleepwalked through work and tried not to make weird decisions or break things, and in that I was pretty successful! It was remarkable only in two ways- first I had to train a new person which is one of my least favourite things, but was actually fine, albeit a little bit, well, exhausting; but secondly, I GOT A NEW JOB, which is great and means that my time teaching people things and also being taken advantage of are soon to end (for a bit, until I've learnt my new job, I am sure).

Some notes on the new job though- it's in a different department at my current workplace and is actually just one door down from my current office, so when I start I imagine I will sail straight past the right door about 80% of the time because that's just what I'm like as a person. I had my interview for it just before Christmas, and then things were a bit up in the air over the Christmas break which meant there was just a teensy part of me that didn't quite relax, so if nothing else I'm relieved to know what kind of work I'll be doing this year! And, obviously, that it went the way I wanted it to!

That's just work though, and if I'm completely honest, I think of work as a means to an end rather than as my everything. It pays the bills but my interests lie in other places that don't earn money *looks lovingly at blog* *and books* *etc*. My best friend and I have been sending each other writing prompts every day in an attempt to improve our writing and think more creatively and all of that sort of good stuff, and although I thought it was going to be a new year thing for a couple of days, it's still going and I realise it's only been a week BUT STILL. It takes 3 weeks to form a habit, so no matter how tired I am, I'm doing this writing thing, dammit.

I have also been trying to get back into yoga but got slightly derailed this week by a horrible journey home from work- it's still on my mind to do it though, so watch this space (for when I tell you more, week by week, that I haven't done any yoga).

I moved in September last year (I probably briefly mentioned it but eh, who can remember?) and one of the excellent side effects of this is that my bedside table is now a little bookcase. This is partially a money saving option (my previous bedside table was a chest of drawers- but like a big one that you put all your clothes in) and partially a thing where there wasn't really any other space for the little bookcase. Either way, it's worked out great for me because I get to make a pile o'books to read imminently and instead of them just forming a big, dangerous pile on the floor, I put them on my bookcase and just take them out as I want.

The other two shelves have books and comics that I want near me at all times, but that's neither here nor there (except it is here and they are near me and I love them.

And here is the stack for the next... little bit of time, pre-shelving:
 So little colour in the spines...
Just to pick a few out, I really want to read The Dud Avocado because Greta Gerwig is my current obsession and I read something about it being a big inspirational book for her, so SOLD. Dorothy Parker is my favourite wit that I have actually read none of, so I'm trying to rectify that, and I have had Talk Talk by T C Boyle for approximately forever- I keep buying his books because I read The Tortilla Curtain once and it was great, but never reading them, so I'm trying to rectify that. Also Margaret Atwood is Margaret Atwood, and if Alias Grace is good then I can watch the TV show which is great because I think Anna Paquin is excellent.

And also I guess some other books I want to read and stuff.

Not pictured are my challenge book for the month (Hidden Figures) and the book I'm actually currently reading- the behemoth that is Sleeping Beauties by Stephen and Owen King, and which, as soon as I leave the house, will not be my sole read anymore because woahhhh I like having a functioning spine, thank you.

Now tell me everything- how have you been? Did you sleepwalk through the week too? (Tell me it's not just me!) How about these books, huh? Huh? 

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

A Challenging 2018

What is this madness, three posts in three days?! It must be a new year or something or other. 

The title of this post refers not to my life challenges for 2018 (but, for reals, I have 3 family weddings to attend and no doubt do things for so there are many challenges ahead!) but reading challenges! Of which I want to do literally one, so I guess a reading challenge is what I should have said but never mind. 

When I first started blogging, I signed up for a load of challenges at the start of the year and got burnt out and bored and basically just rebellious within about a month or so. This kind of defeated the object so I stopped signing up for things, and have pretty much just been doing RIP each year (which isn't a challenge for me at all, really!) and reading all the Stephen King. Now that I have read all the Stephen King, and in an attempt to get me blogging semi-not-never again, here is my newest challenge:

The deal with this challenge is basically that I asked on twitter for a pretty low key reading challenge that didn't involve reading, like, 52 books in a year, because of my general lack of commitment to being told what to read in any way. Elena suggested this challenge, and when I checked it out it sounded PERFECT.  It's just one book a month for the year, and each category is so broad, it's almost not a challenge at all except it is so it's all good! I feel like I might decide at the start of each month what to read for the challenge, so let's start that this month!

The prompt for January is:

Diversify your reading- Kick the reading year off right and shake things up. Read a book with a character (or written by an author) of a race, religion, or sexual orientation other than your own.

See what I mean about it being pretty broad?! Realistically I'd actually like to read a lot of books fitting that description, but the specific book I'm picking for it issssss:

Hidden Figures! Ostensibly because, ya know, I really really liked the film, but also because it's about three women facing racism and sexism and it seems like a good way to read widely. It's also written by a black lady, which doesn't hurt.

My aim for this challenge is pretty much to review each book I read for it, even if I review nothing else all year (which is NOT my aim, I should add, but could easily happen because me). So watch this space if you really want to know about Hidden Figures. And join meeee cause this challenge feels fun already!

Monday, 1 January 2018

Things I Read In December

Happy New Year! Happy two posts in two days! Happy lots of things!

Even though I pretend it means nothing to me, I actually like new years. I always feel fresher and a little cleansed on the first day of a new year, even though nothing has really changed. My body always seems to feel like it has, and that's good enough for me. I don't really believe in making new years resolutions, but I do believe in living each day to the fullest, whatever that means for that specific day, and I do pledge to do more of that in the new year.

Firstly, though, a recap of December reads. I also thought that, as it's an end of year thing, I'd pick my favourite book from each month of last year, just for the funsies. But first, the things I read in December:
Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas, The Heart of a Woman, All God's Children Need Travelling Shoes and A Song Flung Up To Heaven by Maya Angelou
I should probably look at the individual merits of each of these books, but, you know, I only have one more day off work and I really don't want to be blogging ALL day. These remaining books in Angelou's biography (which, if you'll recall, were basically the only books I wanted to finish in December!) span her tour with Porgy and Bess, her second marriage, her time spent living in Africa, and her time back in America, including the deaths of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.

There's a fairly common consensus that I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings is the best of the 6 books that make up Angelou's memoirs, and I would agree but I also wouldn't have missed these books for anything. Angelou's life sounds complex and difficult and exciting but more than anything just completely human and relatable. These books cover the time from Angelou's childhood to when she was 40 and asked to write her memoirs, and I'd give anything to read her account of her remaining 46 years. I pretty much read these because I was considering reading all of the books of My Struggle (which I will still read, don't get me wrong) but thought I should probably read the actual struggles of a black woman than the travails of a middle class white man, and boy do I not regret that decision. Get your hands on these, read and live and learn. It's what Maya would want.

Harry Potter: Magical Places from the Films by Jody Revenson
Not pictured, because I borrowed this from my buddy at work, and I'm not even sure if I should review it because, like, it's kind of a coffee table book? Regardless, here I go- This is a very good coffee table book, and if you're into the Harry Potter films, boy are you going to want to read more about the locations and whatnot. I am not into the films which fully explains why I have been on the studio tour four times (oh, Laura...) but I still found this very pretty to look at, even if I feel as though I am getting a little bit of Harry Potter (movie!) fatigue, if I'm completely honest. Still, a very well put together coffee table book, and definitely worth borrowing from a colleague if not spending what I'm sure was a huge amount of money on.

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay
I got this book for Christmas and read the whole thing on December 27th. I didn't read the whole thing because it was exactly a pleasure to read, but more because I physically couldn't stop reading, couldn't stop enjoying Gay's prose even as I was reading all of the horrible things that have been done to her. Hunger is a memoir (obviously) of Gay's relationship to her body (also probably obviously) and of the horrible divide that happened when she was gang raped aged 12, which she refers to as before and after she was broken. Gay writes about so many things in this book- the desire to make herself large so as to be unattractive, and so undamaged by, men, the self-sabotage and panic that arises from losing weight, the paradox of being a feminist and wanting to not be ashamed for taking up space, but being ashamed anyway but also unable to change anything. Or, not everything.

I love Gay's writing (and am now finally knuckling down to Bad Feminist because she is so good), and I especially loved her almost disclaimer at the start of the book- that something terrible happened to her, but she hasn't really talked/written about it because she doesn't want to be defined by the thing that happened to her because she just has so much more to say that isn't related. At the same time, though, Gay takes the steps to realise that although she won't be defined by it, it has shaped a lot of her life, and you have already realised before she says it at the end of the book, that writing it has been like a kind of therapy for her. Facing demons and releasing them, and all of that good stuff. Read it in a day, would happily read it again today, this is really very very excellent writing.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
I love this book, and I love that it's my book that closes off the year. I was reading this all through November and December (which is to say, not reading it), I think partially in preparation for the Little Women miniseries that I watched 10 minutes of and had to turn off, but mostly just because, I really love Little Women. I understand, fully, that it's problematic, but I think what you have to understand is that I don't care. I read Little Women for the first time as a pre-teen, so it's not even a book anymore so much as a part of me; the characters aren't so much characters as my own family, my four sisters I can visit at any time. I realise that this is very non-literary critical of me (did I ever mention why I'm not an actual academic..?) but, once again, I don't care. Little Women is life, and I love it as much now as ever.

And that was December. I read a lot more than I was expecting too because of christmas things, and so I consider it a complete success. I also consider it a complete success because I only read books by women (and nearly all by non-white women) so long may that continue!

BONUS: My favourite books of the year, by month:

January
Real Artists have Day Jobs - Sara Benincasa

February
The Vegetarian - Han King

March

Chavs - Owen Jones

April
11.22.63 - Stephen King

May
If This Is A Woman - Sarah Helm

June
Miss Buncle's Book - D E Stevenson

July
On Beauty - Zadie Smith

August
My Struggle I: A Death in the Family - Karl Ove Knaussgard

September
The Talented Mr Ripley - Patricia Highsmith

October
The Sun and Her Flowers - Rupi Kaur

November
Manhattan Beach - Jennifer Egan

December
Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay (duh)

Sunday, 31 December 2017

End of Year Wrap Up and Everything

Hi, Hi, Hi! Here I am, limping in on the last day of the year like I've been here all along, did you miss me so much or what? As always, I come without promise of any kind of posting consistency in the new year, but with much enthusiasm for the year just passed.

Having looked back on this post from last year, I can see that I got a little out of control with the word count, mainly because of, you know, having to fit the news of a whole year into one post because hey, remember me? I am the girl who is bad at updating her blog. This year, I'll try to keep it brief, but who can promise about such things? Definitely not me.

So, 2017. The biggest personal thing for me was moving away from the house I'd been in for 4 years, and moving in with my boyfriend! This is definitely not what I expected at the start of the year, but it has so far turned out to be the best big life decision I've made since... Well, the last time I moved! Work wise, things haven't been so good, but I may have news regarding that soon so watch this space (which, you know, I will try to update hopefully maybe more often but who knows).

Life this year, though, has really been all about spending all the time with my boyfriend that I can (he has had three different jobs and all of them have had weird ass hours), making good use of my network railcard to visit him until we lived in literally the same place, and the rest of the time trying to see friends and family and generally having a balanced life and stuff. I guess it makes sense that the year feels like it's been split into two (uneven) halves, but it's strange to think that at the start of the year I was living in a completely different place, newly in love and going about my usual daily business and now I'm basically just a cohabiting partner, innit?

Reading wise, it's also been a split year. To start with I was really spending a lot of time with my boyfriend and so practically forgot that books existed, and now I spend over an hour on buses every day which has been so good for my reading I can't even tell you. It's also the year I discovered Rupi Kaur, finally, FINALLY finished my Stephen King challenge, and ALSO finally read all of Maya Angelou's memoir series. I guess it's been a year of finallys, in that sense, and I feel like I can face the new reading year with less things to feel guilty about not reading, and more things to look forward to reading.

Shall we look at some stats? I think we should.

Number of Books Read: 80
Number of Pages Read: 27,720
Fiction vs. Non-Fiction: 59/21
New Reads vs. Rereads: 74/6
Men vs. Women: 36/44
White vs. Non-White: 62/18 (ooof)
Translated vs. Not: 6/74
Digital vs. Physical: 3/77

I think from that, we can pretty much ascertain that I read physical books originally written in English by white men or women. I'm fairly proud that my women reads outweigh men this year (this might be the first year that's happened because of Stephen King reasons) but overall MUST DO BETTER. I'm thinking of maaaybe doing a challenge or two this year though, so that might spur me on to read better. You know, maybe.

And and and can we look at this little thing because I have NEWS:

So last year, I didn't do so well with this challenge. I read my own books, sure, but I also bought a lot of books to replace the ones that I had read. That was not the point AT ALL, so nice work, me. This year, yes, I still bought books. Of course I did. However, I definitely tried to stay conscious whilst in a bookshop and only buy books that I REALLY wanted, rather than ones that just sounded kinda interesting. Of the books I've bought, I would only count 29 as outstanding, which means less than 30 books added this year to the books left to read, which I don't think is so bad. More importantly, though, let's talk about this figure. I started the year with 338 books left to read, and I am ending the year with, wait for it, 256! Still an obviously ridiculous number, but let me tell you, moving does wonders for getting rid of a whole load of books you're probably never going to read. And that's not all- out of 80 books read this year, 58 of them were books I had already owned, and I am very very ok with that number.

In 2018, I'm still completely focusing on reading my own damn books, and because I kind of want to try and save some money a little, I kind of don't even want to buy any books (she says now)? I'm not enforcing any kind of strict ban, but at the same time I'm just trying to be sensible and also read all of the lovely books I've already bought! I have very very very many obligation things to do next year (THREE WEDDINGS!) so who knows how much I'll get to read, but, you know, I can guarantee it'll be something...

Friday, 1 December 2017

Things I Read In November

IT IS DECEMBER AKA THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR! (I'm a little bit into Christmas, can you tell?) Before delving into December and Christmas wonder though, let's talk about November! November was a mixture of a whole load of hard work, very very necessarily lazy weekends and then a much needed holiday spent basically sitting and knitting and buying Christmas things. The last two days of the month, however, I've been off work sick because URGH stuffed up head and sore throat and I just cannot. I haven't been reading much because urgh head but I have watched a whole load of Gilmore Girls and I'm finally watching The OA (IT IS SO COULD, how have I not watched this earlier, I love Brit Marling!)

Anyway. It hasn't been a super eventful month, and evidently not much blogging has happened, but that's ok, I was just preparing myself for CHRISTMAS MONTH. Let's see what I read in the meantime.

Fat Is A Feminist Issue by Susie Orbach
I went into this expecting a feminist text, and instead I got... Not that. I don't really know how to feel about this book, because it seems like in the 70s/80s, it was probably revolutionary to people that emotions affect your eating (the book mostly looks at solving compulsive eating) but now it really just... isn't. This book also suffers from age, in the sense that self acceptance is such a thing now that the feminist issue IS this book, rather than the way the book approaches the topic. I also only read the first part of the book, as the second part is more of a self help guide to overeaters, which I didn't really feel the need for, personally. For me, fat absolutely is a feminist issue, but not in the way Orbach identifies it, and dammit I want to read the ACTUAL way in which fat is a feminist issue. Someone write THAT book, please.

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan
This book is not A Visit From The Goon Squad, nor, I think, should it be expected to be. This book is, however, the only Egan book other than Goon Squad that I could actually see myself reading again at some point. This is very strange because it's a work of historical fiction (!!!) but it is also the story of a young woman who becomes the first female diver during WWII as well as so many other interlinking, awesome things. I was so enthusiastic about this 400+ page hardback that I carried it around with me and actually missed a bus stop once because I was so busy being absorbed by the world of the story. That is pretty much the reason I read, so yeah, you could say that I liked this book.

Bright Lights Big City by Jay McInerney
This book has a great title, but unfortunately that's pretty much the best thing about it. Firstly, it's written in the second person (EYEROLL). Secondly, the 'you' that you're supposed to be is a whiny, entitled (I assume) white man who has a pretty good job that he just can't get his shit together to actually do. I found it really hard to empathise with his self-pitying, self-sabotaging bullshit, and even though there's a pretext for all of his behaviour that you discover at the end, it was too little too late for me to actually care.

The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence
I was surprised by The Universe Versus Alex Woods, because I wasn't that into it until about 60% through when things took a turn for the assisted suicide and I remembered how much I support that and how emotional old men make me and yeah, it's kind of good, I guess. It's narrated by the titular Alex Woods, who I didn't really like as a character (he's described at some point as being older than his years in intelligence and younger emotionally/in life skills which is pretty much it but I found it annoying because... why?) but I enjoyed his friendships and relationships and generally being in his world. It's not a book I'm going to keep and cherish forever, but I liked it a whole bunch.

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
I have had Maya Angelou's 6 part biography for the longest time, but have only ever read this, the first book of the collection. I started reading this because, after starting My Struggle by Karl Ove Knaussgard, I feel as though I shouldn't be reading the 'struggles' of a middle class white man before I read about the actual struggles of an African-American woman. Maya has too much grit and class to describe her life as a struggle, though, and even though her childhood was filled with the unimaginable, there is always a sense of positivity to her writing that probably buoyed her through her life. This is one of the last books I read before starting blogging, and it's just as good as I remember- so honest and heartbreaking and the writing is just so good. It's in required reading territory, so if you haven't read it yet, I don't know what you're waiting for.

Gather Together In My Name by Maya Angelou
And so, for reals, I have a goal to finish all 6 parts of Angelou's life story before the end of the year. This is the second part of her life story, and it feels unflinchingly honest, even when it doesn't show Maya in the best possible light. She technically runs a whorehouse, and becomes a prostitute herself to 'save her man' (ick), so you see what I mean by unflinchingly honest. The only thing that is maybe surprising about this book is that Angelou doesn't really ascribe any judgment to some of her more questionable choices, but I guess it's not so surprising when you think of one of her most famous quotations: "I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.' Maybe judging her past seems pointless when it involves a teenager's decisions, and it's interesting to me in a sense that maybe we shouldn't judge ourselves and our pasts at all, but in fact we should all just 'do better'.

And that was November. I've been working pretty hard at trying to finish Little Women, but that's going to have to be a thing I read in December, along with, I hope, the rest of Angelou's biography. Other than that, I hope that Book Riot are going to have a brand new literary advent calendar for me to enjoy this year, and if not, I shall just have to read A Christmas Carol and watch Elf a whole load of times. What are your December plans, reading or otherwise?

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Things I Read In October

IT IS NOVEMBER how did this happen? I know, I know, time passes and life happens and yadayadayada. My October was bookended by the loveliness of seeing Les Mis with my best friend of 10 years (yes we had a friendiversary, what of it?) and going on the Harry Potter Studio Tour with my most excellent friend and most ardent Harry Potter admirer yesterday. The in-between parts have been mixed at best- I've felt a lot of work stress since I've lost half of my team but have the same amount of work, and my living situation has been confusing and mildly upsetting since I've been waiting for my boyfriend to properly move in which finally, finally happened this weekend.

So November is looking up! I finally have my honey here and I'm learning to treat work as the (underpaid) job it is and not as the end of the world. I have no winter reading plans yet which feels weeeeird, but I'm assuming at the moment that it'll involve the library books that I've paid money to reserve but obviously have not read yet (I'm a monster). My October reading, however, did involve a great deal of library books, so that's a contribution, right?! Right. See?
Bookies! Yay. Let's talk.

The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur
So for reals, I never pre-order books because I feel too guilty about all of the books I still haven't read that live in my flat. I made a very clear exception for Rupi Kaur because Milk and Honey, her previous collection, was literally my everything when I read it in February. This was no different- I felt the feels and still have all the admiration for Kaur's writing. I can't get enough, and completely did not stop reading this until there wasn't a poem left. Read ittttttttt.

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
I can't really remember what motivated me to re-read Norwegian Wood, other than the desire to see exactly what it was about it that I loved so much. It's probably still a little indefinable, but I know that I still love and admire it, and how it captures both hopeless and hopeful love.

Black Hole by Charles Burns
I... Didn't like this so much. I got it out of the library because comics! Yay! but it turned out not to be as interesting as I wanted it to be. It's essentially the story of a (sexually transmitted) virus affecting teens that turns them into mutants, but less interesting than that sounds. I felt as though too much time was dedicated to telling the teens (kinda dull) individual stories, rather than talking about the virus as a larger and more widespread issue. Maybe I'm too old, or maybe it just wasn't that good, but for me there was definitely something missing from this.

Dark Tales by Shirley Jackson
Hey, I already reviewed this! But if full reviews are a bit too TL;DR for you then just rest assured that I LOVED this collection of short stories- I couldn't get enough of them, even more than the normal way I can't get enough of Jackson. THESE ARE SO GOOD AND HORRIBLE, ya know?

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
I enjoyed this book a lot, and would have reviewed it for RIP had I not run out of time (and totally read too many books for it already). It's about a woman who, for the past 24 years, has been living with the hellscape of the knowledge that her brother murdered her mother and two sisters. when this is thrown into doubt though, she really starts living, and examining what happened that night and whether or not her brother is actually innocent. I enjoyed this in a lot of ways- I love the tension that Flynn brings to her novels and with this being told in the past and present, it presented a lot of opportunities to guess what had happened which is always exciting. I also loved that our narrator and survivor of mass murder isn't entirely relatable or loveable- she's sharp and mean and very selfish, and it's refreshing that she's not presented as someone deserving of all our sympathy just because she's been through something terrible. It's very good stuff, and I think it might actually be my favourite of Flynn's (so far).

From Hell by Alan Moore
Oh hey, I've reviewed this too! This is genuinely amazing, and I had expected nothing less from Moore because I always find his work exceptional. It's SO MUCH BETTER than the film, and considering Johnny Depp's face isn't in it, that's saying something.

The Night Watch by Sarah Waters
I picked this up because I mistakenly believed it was a scary book, but this turned out to be one of the non-scary Water's books. It also turned out to be really good- it's told backwards which is really interesting, and it covers women's stories during WWII which is an area that I have pretty much read nothing about but am of course incredibly interested in. There's really everything in this book- lesbian relationships (of course), women risking their lives as paramedics during bombings, dangerous abortions, a gay man in prison... What isn't there?! Overall, though, the characters are so engaging and interesting and everything about this book was really just excellent.

Paper Girls Vol 1 by Brian Vaughan
I really didn't know very much about Paper Girls before getting it from the library, but that is the luxury of just grabbing free books. This turned out to be great though- it's literally about a group of paper girls who get dragged into a conflict they don't understand and that I didn't really understand except that I know I liked it? VERY engaging stuff, and I read it during the readathon which was perfect.

Paper Girls Vol 2 by Brian Vaughan
Not so surprisingly, I read the second volume straight away. Surprise! It was just as good as volume 1, if not better. There is time travel involved in these comics, and this is something I enjoy A LOT about a comic, so I am all over these really. Can someone get me volume 3, please?

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
I have mixed feelings about Mindy Kaling in that I usually think she's funny enough but sometimes I'm not too into it? This is why I haven't seen that much of the Mindy Project, and it's why I liked but didn't LOVE her other books. Nonetheless, I got this from the really out of the way library near my work (a nightmare because it's open for 3 days a week and I can never remember when they are/be bothered to take it back). THE POINT anyway is that I enjoyed this for the most part, and I can sidestep the parts I didn't because yeah, Mindy is pretty funny, I'm into it.

Fresh Complaint by Jeffrey Eugenides
Jeffrey! I love Jeffrey! I feel like I knew a really long time ago that Eugenides' next book was going to be short stories, but I managed to forget it and thought I was getting a novel. I'm not sure if I was excited or disappointed when I realised I was actually getting short stories (because, for reals, I loooove short stories) but I can tell you that I wasn't disappointed by the stories themselves. I mean, what can I say? Eugenides can write and I don't even know how to be critical of him really because I love him too much. I found all of the stories in this book so well written and covering all sorts of different areas of life and the world (although a lot were from a white male perspective but whatcanyoudo?) Basically, you should obviously read this because Eugenides the end.

Um, so yeah. I read quite a lot this month, huh? Readathons and, still, lots of bus time will do that for you! Here's to some more excellent November reading.