vivaciousreads-com-3
Image

Top Ten Fall Reads

This week on Broke and the Bookish, we’re talking Fall TBR lists! Fall is a time for magic, for history, and a time for love gone wrong – or at least that’s what I always end up reading this time of year. A few I’ve already finished or reading now, but even so, these are sure to be some of my favorite reads of the season!

Books Read:

27507117

The Trees by Ali Shaw

Adrien Thomas has never been the hero. Quite the opposite, the very image of candles burning near a table cloth is more than he can take, and after years struggling with anxiety and listlessness, his wife has finally convinced him to give up teaching in pursuit of something better… but that was more than a year ago. Now, while his wife is away on a business trip, his only plans are Spaghetti westerns and greasy Chinese food, until the trees decide otherwise. Without a warning, his serene suburb is transformed into a monstrous woodland, but not just his tiny town, but the entire world, taken by the trees and sending Adrien on the journey of his life.

27917957

To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey

Commissioned to explore and navigate the impassable Wolverine River across the uncharted wilds of the Alaskan frontier, Lieutenant Colonel Allen Forrester sets off with a small group of men to face the unknown. Leaving his newly wed wife alone and with child, his journey is marked with uncertainty from the start, a dread only deepened by his witness to inexplicable spirits who haunt the canyon beyond.

294300121

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Following the life of Count Alexander Rostov, his story begins in 1922 when the Count is deemed “unrepentant” and sentence to house arrest, but rightly assumed as “the luckiest man in Russia”, Count Rostov is to live out his sentence in the grandeur of the Metropol Hotel. As the years go by, so life continues for the Count, and as Russia undergoes revolutionary changes, so does life in the Metropol. Written much in the fashion of Anna Karenina and rich with Russian history and culture alike, A Gentlman is sure to be one of my favorite reads this year.

The Fall TBR:

29429934

Little Nothing by Marisa Silver

Born a dwarf to a peasant family at the beginning of the last century, Pavla is scorned for her physical deformity. A beautiful story of war, of magic, of what it is to be alive, Pavla’s story is extraordinary, defying all odds as her desires lead to incarceration. A truly unique, daring tale I can’t wait to read!

22065080

Vassa in the Night by Sara Porter

Vassa in the Night gives the Russian fairy tale, Vassilissa the Beautiful, new life. Retold in modern day Brooklyn, Vassa has one last gift from her late mother: the magical, tough-talking doll, Erg. Together, they’ll need sharp wits and a cunning ferocity to break the witch’s curse and save the neighborhood.

28664920

The Mischling by Affinity Konar

Revealing one of the darkest stories in human history, Mischling defies all expectations “to show us the way toward ethereal beauty, moral reckoning, and soaring hope.” A World War II story unlike any I’ve read, the novel tells the tale  of twin sisters from the unknown terrors they’re subjected to as part of the experimental population of Auschwitz to regaining their freedom in a new world. A must read this season.

26797014

The Ballroom by Anna Hope

“Set over the heat wave summer of 1911, the end of the Edwardian era, The Ballroom is a tale of unlikely love an dangerous obsession, of madness and sanity, and of who gets to decide which is which.” A lover’s tale in the midst of an insane asylum, sure to be a fantastic fall read!

29245653

Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood

A re-visiting of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and the fourth installment in the Hogarth Shakespeare series, Atwood’s novel takes place as a play within a play as theatre director Felix finds himself with the boot and lands teaching theatre at the local prison. With the newfound possibility of revenge, he and his unusual cast find themselves taking part “in an interactive and illusion-ridden version of The Tempest that will change their lives forever.”

29430755

The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa

At the start of the war, Hannah’s charmed life would change forever. No longer welcome in Berlin, her family fled Germany in hopes to find asylum overseas, but what begins as a celebratory journey to safety shortly turns to desperation as their ship is denied entrance to the United States and sets sail for Cuba.

27876488

A Hero of France by Alan Furst

Though released back in May, I’ve finally landed a copy of A Hero of France. Full of espionage and suspense, Furst captures Paris at the height of the Nazis occupation, but the leader of the French Resistance has returned, gathering support from courageous citizens to make history.

What will you be reading this fall?

Happy
Image

Weekly Reads: Week 38

**Welcome to Weekly Reads! Each Monday I’ll share reviews for my most recent reads. For more reviews, please visit my page, The Reads: From A to Z.**

It’s been a busy week! I only made it through one audiobook this week, and not quite a full novel – I’ve been reading A Gentleman in Moscow for ages now, but there’s so much to note/google! It’s an amazing novel, but definitely not a quick read. I’ve been putting off my post in hopes I would finish in time, but alas, there’s simply too much to love, there’s absolutely no rushing this one. Hopefully I’ll get my copy in the mail soon so I can finish – I only have 10 hours left with my library copy!

17564519

Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

The starting novel of the Gold Seer trilogy, Walk on Earth a Stranger follows the harrowing journey of Lee Westfall. Following the death of her family, Lee struggles with the decision to claim her family land as her own, knowing her uncle would certainly have something to say on the matter, or leave for better riches in golden California, but the decision is not an easy one. To stay would mean certain danger, but to leave would risk exposure of her gift: just as a bee with honey, Lee can sense the presence of gold, no matter how small the nugget. With her parents’ murder behind her, she sets her sights on the California Gold Rush in hopes of a better life, but she’ll have to survive the journey first.

“Men can be relentless,” she agrees, “when they think a woman belongs to them.”

While not the most prosaic writing, Walk on Earth a Stranger was the perfect western adventure for a busy work week – I listened to the audio version, and it was definitely the right choice! With a strong southern accent and a determined voice, the narrator, Erin Mallon, brings the story to life as Lee faces the worst of life’s turns. Though not shy of hard work, Lee must abandon every ounce of femininity she has in order to make the journey as a man, an added measure of protection. Though, she often makes mistakes, adding a sense of reality in her magical tale. It was truly refreshing to find a fantasy novel that strays from the typical queen in peril or princess in hiding tale we read (and love) time and time again. The added historical element makes for a wonderful adventure – I can’t wait to see what California has in store for her in the next installment!

Rating: 4 Stars          Goodreads

 What have you read lately?

Stockholm (2)
Image

Links to Love

Happy first day of Fall!!

Even though it’ll be another month (or two) until Houston has any fall weather, I can’t help but want a hot pumpkin spice something and surround myself in burnt orange leaves. Fall seriously can’t come soon enough, but until then, here’s what I’ll be loving:

New Amazon Prime Perks!!

If you’ve got Amazon Prime, then you now have access to Audible Channels! And on top of that, free audiobooks on rotation! All easily accessibly via the Audible app. Right now, you can enjoy Dracula, read by an all-star celebrity cast, the American classic Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns, and many, many more as well as Audible originals. Enjoy!

How Long Did You Say?

Ever wondered how long it took Tolkien to write the Lord of the Rings trilogy, or Gillian Flynn to write Gone Girl? Check out this ingenious infographic showing how long it took to complete some of your favorite novels! Of course, seeing now that it only took Stephanie Meyer 3 months to write Twilight, I can see why I have some issues with the language she used…

A Few Sturdy Stews…

There’s nothing better than a warm stew when a cold front blows in! This fall I’m I’ll be trying out a couple new recipes to add to my usual mix (I can’t go more than a couple days without making some kind of soup/stew!) like the French classic, Coq Au Vin, simplified by blogger Vikalinka. She makes it look so easy, and it’s a one pot dinner! I also plan on making this beef and bean soup recipe by She Wears Many Hats – it looks so good!

Cookies!

Instead of the usual gingerbread snaps and oatmeal cookies, try something a little different, perhaps a little more traditional, Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies, brought to you by Money Wise Moms! But, warning, these guys are hard to resist, better double your batch.🙂

Fall Décor Made Easy

I’ve been scouring the Pinterest boards for weeks looking to add a few simple fall touches to the apartment, and of course there are WAY too many beautiful arrangements and cute pumpkin crafts to choose from, but I think I’m going with one of these:

They’re gorgeous and completely customizable! The arrangement on the left is via an old Pier One item (no longer on their website) and the right is an arrangement by Adventures in Decorating – it’s from one of her older posts, but she also has a recent fall themed post with even MORE ideas! And, with such a plain pitcher, you could easily swap it for a different arrangement to match the new season.

How are you celebrating this Fall?

Happy
Image

Top Ten Enriching Audiobooks

This week on Broke and the Bookish, it’s all about that audio love, and what better topic is there!? I love audiobooks! They fill my day with joy – a break from the monotonous tasks of work, strengthening my patience during the usual Houston traffic, and the cherry on top of a good day spent in the kitchen… they’re an absolute necessity in my everyday life.

My favorite audiobooks are those that take the story to another level, not merely reciting the story, but making me apart of it, enveloping me in the raw emotion the characters are experiencing, painting the scene with an enriching enunciation, differentiating characters by voice, taking on the required accent…. these are the things that make an audiobook great!

Here are a few of my favorites from this year:

(most of them just happen to be sad and deeply emotional)

1294471

A Blessing on the Moon by Joseph Skibell
Narrated by Allen Lewis Rickman

One of my favorite novels, as y’all probably know by now if you’ve seen any of my previous posts, A Blessing on the Moon is also an amazing audiobook. Full of hope and harrowing sadness, I was completely overwhelmed by the story, and all because Rickman’s stunning performance.

19063

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Narrated by Allan Corduner

Pretty sure this is on everyone’s list – as it deserves to be. Beautiful. Just beautiful.

1971304

City of Thieves by David Benioff
Narrated by Ron Perlman

I just finished listening to City of Thieves, and was left completely overwhelmed. The story itself is emotional, as is any WWII novel, but Perlman captured the spirit of a young man in such extreme conditions, sneaking in hints of humor as a means of coping.

The Passage by Justin Cronin
and The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
Narrated by Scott Brick

Such a great narrator! He’s one of the few narrators that can keep my attention at all times, even during those slower moments in the story.

 

16143347

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Narrated by Ariadne Meyers

While I only gave the novel 3 stars, the story as read by Ariadne Meyers is completely heartbreaking. Her performance is so real – I totally lost it at the big reveal (which, honestly, I didn’t see coming..)

My Lady Jane by Cynthia HAnd, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows
and The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
Narrated by Katherine Kellgren

Kellgren is absolutely HYSTERICAL with her narration of My Lady Jane! While there’s some humor in Tearling, her narration is more dramatic, accentuating Kelsea’s bravery as she grows from a young girl into a queen. If I were reading a story to a young child (or my inner child) I would definitely be hearing her voice in my head.

12401556

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
Narrated by Emily Janice Card

This was such a strange story, the world left in turmoil as the Earth’s rotation comes to a slow, but Card captures the heart of the novel perfectly. In my review, I touched on how the story really isn’t about the bizarre phenomenon so much as the continuation of normal, every day life in the face of such an event – Card’s narration plays well into this theme, accentuating the dramatic realizations a teen would have in normal times, and those brought on by the extreme circumstances.

26109391

Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley
Narrated by Robbie Daymond, Julia Whelan

Both have narrated some of my favorite YA novels. You might recognize Daymond from the narration of Everything, Everything and Whelan from Gone Girl or Maybe in Another Life.

What are your favorite audiobooks/narrators?

Happy
Image

Weekly Reads: Week 37

**Welcome to Weekly Reads! Each Monday I’ll share reviews for my most recent reads. For more reviews, please visit my page, The Reads: From A to Z.**

Leaves are actually falling here in Houston, I can’t believe it! Usually our fall season is tragically late, but this year it seems to be right on schedule. In case you didn’t know, the first official day of fall is this Thursday, September 22nd – time to bust out the pumpkin spice!

Fall decorating is going into full effect this coming weekend, and there might even be some cookie decorating! Do you have any favorite fall crafts?

27917957

To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey

Commissioned to explore and navigate the impassable Wolverine River across the uncharted wilds of the Alaskan frontier, Lieutenant Colonel Allen Forrester sets off with a small group of men to face the unknown. Leaving his newly wed wife alone and with child, his journey is marked with uncertainty from the start, a dread only deepened by his witness to inexplicable acts of the spirits who haunt the canyon beyond.

“But what makes the questions of cultural loss the most uncomfortable, and difficult for me to address, are the inherent definitions built into it. If a group of people is described as existing in a state of loss, it is necessarily therefore lesser, and those that took greater. It’s such a limiting and two-dimensional idea. Who defines wealth and success? How can we say this person is valued less or more, is better or worse, because they are a part of one culture or another, and why would we want to?”

Loosely based on the party led by Lieutenant Henry Tureman Allen in 1885, very little was known about Alaska prior to his exploration. So much so, the U.S. purchase of Alaska from Russia became known as Seward’s Folly, for what value could this vast wasteland hold? Though the story is mostly fiction, it also follows much of the rich history of Alaska, from its vast wilderness to its indigenous cultures. It’s truly fascinating to see the exchanges between the men and the natives as they struggle to understand one another, followed by Forrester’s reports and their mixed reception by the American press. In one part of the novel, Forrester is walking the outskirts of the native village they’re staying at, but as he crests a certain peak, he finds himself bombarded and led away. He must be a captive, he thinks….but as it turns out, he was walking the wrong way, and into danger, and they were merely directing him to the correct path. It’s incredible how the simplest of exchanges can be so complicated when a common language hasn’t yet been established, how each movement can take on new meaning.

“That is excitement. We catch only glimpses, a burst of movement, a flap of wings, yet it is life itself beating at shadow’s edge. It is the unfolding of potential; all of what we might experience and see and learn awaits us.”

Part history, part love-story, and part natural wonder, each layer of the story will leave you truly breathless. The heart of the novel is the exploration into the unknown – as Forrester and his men journey deeper into the canyon, they’ll leave all traces of their modern world behind for the harsh realities of the wilderness. They’ll face hunger, despair, snow storms, and dangerous temperatures, relying on the hope that the natives they’ll encounter will be friendly, and willing to help. Each step of the way, the men are haunted by an old man, a puckering raven that cares only to expose the secrets of nature and the will of the forest, sending them into the mythological world of the indigenous peoples they meet. From the mysterious birth of a motherless child, who grows to be a great man among his people, to the fierce independence of women who conceal themselves as geese – each occurrence is interwoven so deeply into the natural world around them, that it must be real. The bellowing spirits of the canyon beating upon them in the midst of the snowstorm…the mysterious sickness that overcomes them after eating the medicine man’s food…they’ve witnessed it all, leaving the reader to deicide for themselves, reeling with inspiration and natural wonder.

Rating: 4 Stars        Goodreads

28110852

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

An epic new middle grade fantasy about an enmagicked young girl raised by an old witch, a bog monster a perfectly tiny dragon who must learn to control the magic buried within. Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave an offering to the witch of the woods: the youngest child of the realm, and every year, the witch finds an abandoned baby in the same peculiar spot. Taking the child under her wing and to a loving new family, each year, she feeds the forgotten babe by starlight, until one year, she mistakenly pulls moonlight instead, filling the child with an extraordinary power. As the child’s magic grows, so is it drained from the witch, and with Luna’s power unchecked, the witch decides to lock it away until the child is old enough to understand her lessons, until she’s ready to live without her loving new grandmother.

“Hope and light and motion, her soul whispered. Hope and formation and fusion, Hope and heat and accretion. The miracle of gravity. The miracle of transformation. Each precious thing is destroyed and each precious thing is saved. Hope, hope, hope.”

A beautifully written and inspiring coming of age story, I was completely charmed by The Girl Who Drank the Moon – between the teeny tiny dragon who always wants to play and the cranky old bog monster that instantly turns to mush with one smile from Luna, each character is perfectly delightful. Full of wisdom and clever humor, it’s a fairy tale story for any age, but it could be a little long for someone just starting the middle grade level, but it’s a story about stories and not a word is gone to waste. A perfect read for the coming season!

Rating: 4 Stars         Goodreads

What have you been reading lately?

Book
Image

Hastings Book Haul!

I can’t even remember the last time I did a book haul – it’s been that long! But, now that I have plenty of room in the new apartment, I can go a little crazy with my book collecting. Ok, so I could probably use a few more shelves and weed out a couple unfavorites… but even so, there’s always room for more!

While visiting some family, I was able to sneak away for a bit to the local Hastings for their going out of business sale. It’s unfortunate their stores will be closing – especially in towns where it’s the only bookstore around. That said, you can’t miss a good sale on books!

img_20160911_165312

I really hit a gold mine this time! I was able to pick up a few books that I loved reading/can’t wait to read, and a couple unknowns – definitely the best kind of book haul there is.🙂

1294471

A Blessing on the Moon by Joseph Skibell

Caught between an eternal limbo and the horrors of World War II, Chaim Skibelski awakes to find himself buried by bodies of friends and neighbors, brutally murdered by Nazis, but finding himself very much alone, he gathers his courage to face his own death as he searches for the souls of his lost loved ones. A harrowing tale of the unspeakable acts committed during the war, Skibell blurs the line between reality and magic with vivid imagery and robust gallows humor, weaving a tale of deem familial meaning and cultural significance. This is on of my favorite books, and I’m so glad I found a copy!

15819028

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

Chava, a golem made by a disgraced rabbi, and Ahmad, a jinni trapped in an ancient copper flask by a Bedouin wizard, are magically brought together in the streets of New York, forging an unlikely friendship. Though different by nature, their bond will be tested by a powerful threat, “challenging their existence and forcing them to make a fateful choice.” Featured on my recent Fairy Tale Reading List, this was an obvious purchase the second I laid eyes on it. I can’t wait to read this novel!

12913325

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

One of my favorite reads this year is undoubtedly Salt to the Sea, so of course I instantly went for her earlier novel, Between Shades of Gray, when finding it at a discount. Another YA novel following a young Lithuanian girl during the harsh winter of World War II, Lina is just like any other girl in her town, spending time on favorite hobbies and driving the boys mad, until the arrival of Soviet officers tears everything apart. Lina and her family are forced, under Stalin’s command, to cross the Arctic Circle until reaching a work camp in the far reaches of Siberia, a harrowing journey in the cruelest conditions, spanning 6,500 hundred miles in the icy snow.

12040405

No One is Here Except All Of Us

This has been on my TBR for a while now – you know I can’t resist a beautifully written WWII novel. Another journey into Magical Realism, an eleven year old girl has escaped her remote Jewish village on the eve of WWII to find herself in a world where “danger is imminent in every direction, and the territory of the imagination and belief is limitless.” The surviving villagers ultimately decide to reinvent the world, rewriting destiny as they know it, but as the girl grows into adulthood, she’ll have to travel from one world to another in order to save her family. An inspiring and imaginative tale exploring what it is to live in a community and the power of being an individual.

2562860

The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz

I absolutely LOVE Lisa Lutz – I’ve read two of her novels this year, The Passenger, a thrilling mystery, and How to Start a Fire, an endearing and heartfelt contemporary novel. So finding the first in her YA mystery series, of course I had to get it! Isabel “Izzy” Spellman is a private investigator with a checkered past, full of booze and romantic escapades alike, but when it comes to her work, she’s absolute perfection. But when her when her own parents hire an investigator to check up on her new love interest, she’s ready to quit the business for good – at least after her last case.

1850102

The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff

Lauren Groff’s debut novel, I’d be interested in comparing this to Fates and Furies (an earlier breakup this year). Still, I won’t let my lack of interest in her latest work deter me – the premise of The Monsters of Templeton is too intriguing. Returning one early morning to her small hometown, Templeton, New York, Willie Upton witnesses the resurgence of a 50-foot-long monster rising from the depths of the town’s lake. She’ll unearth long hidden secrets following an increasingly complicated family tree and long forgotten letters, but what other monsters will she find?

15811505

Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi

A modern portrait of family and the importance of home, Ghana Must Go is a “sweeping narrative… that teaches the truths we speak can heal the wounds we hide.” (Goodreads) The death of a renowned surgeon and failed husband, Kweku Sai, takes his family by storm, and as the family is reunited, old secrets and crimes must be dealt with. The striking cover is definitely what led to my purchase, and for less than a dollar, there’s no risk in trying a lesser known title.

15811554

Honor by Elif Shafak

Another beautiful cover – I couldn’t help myself! Honor is a dramatic tale of family, love, and misunderstandings that ultimately change the course of destiny for twin sisters born in a Kurdish village. Following separate paths in life, the sisters will have to face the time old question: to remain loyal to tradition or follow suit with modern times?

What new books are you excited to read!?

BEST
Image

Read Harder Check-In #2

I can’t believe how quickly the year is passing – it seems just yesterday we were ringing in the new year, and now it’s almost fall!! This year I decided to really up my reading game after realizing how many books I had on my TBR (not to mention it’s always growing!). So far this year I’m at 154 out of 200 (a good half are audio!) and surprisingly almost finished with Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge.

Here are the tasks I’ve already completed:

Read a horror book:

  • Dracula by Bram Stoker
  • Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Read a nonfiction book about science:

  • Inheritance: How Our Genes Change Our Lives by Sharon Moalem

Read a book aloud to someone else:

  • The Pearl by John Steinbeck (read to my cat. Does that count?)

Read a Middle Grade Novel:

  • Salt: A Story of Friendship in a Time of War by Helen Frost
  • Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit

Read a biography:

  • Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff

Read a Dystopian or post-apocalyptic novel (12):

  • Brave New World by  Aldous Huxley
  • The Scorch Trials (2) by James Dashner
  • The Kill Order (4) by James Dashner
  • The Passage by Justin Cronin (unfinished)
  • Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
  • The Chimes by Anna Smaili
  • The Fireman by Joe Hill
  • The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
  • Bird Box by Josh Malerman
  • This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
  • The Death Cure (3) by James Dashner
  • The Trees by Ali Shaw

Read a book originally published the decade you were born (1990):

  • Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gayman
  • The Pearl by John Steinbeck
  • The Witches by Roald Dahl
  • Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Listen to an audiobook that has won an Audie Award:

  • Euphoria by Lily Kong

Read a book over 500 pages long (9):

  • Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
  • City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg
  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  • The Lure of the Moonflower by Lauren Willig
  • Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
  • The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee
  • The Court of Mist and Fury by Sara J. Maas
  • The Fireman by Joe Hill
  • The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Read a book under 100 pages long:

  • The Pearl by John Steinbeck
  • The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • The Great American Dust Bowl by Don Brown
  • The Grownup by Gillian Flynn

Read a book by or about a person that identifies as transgender:

  • The Danish Girl by David Ebbershoff

Read a book that’s set in the Middle East:

  • A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Read a of historical fiction set before 1900 (18):

  • The Known World by Edward P. Jones
  • The Chimes by Charles Dickens
  • Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
  • After Alice by Gregory Maguire
  • Betrayal of the Blood Lily by Lauren Willig
  • A Room with a View by E. M. Forester
  • The Lure of the Moonflower by Lauren Willig
  • The Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • The Lady of the Camellias by Alexandre Duma-fils
  • The Relic Master by Christopher Buckley
  • The Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks
  • Jane Steele by Lindsay Faye
  • Longbourn by Jo Baker
  • The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee
  • My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows
  • Salt: A Story of Friendship in a Time of War by Helen Frost
  • To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey
  • Currently Reading The Visionist by Rachel Urquhart

Read a graphic novel:

  • The Great American Dust Bowl by Don Brown

Read a book that was adapted into a movie. Debate which is better:

  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (both versions are amazing, but book always wins)
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (I watched the version with Tom Hardy which was pretty good, but I can’t really decide seeing as I kind of just detest the story no matter the version)
  • Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King (the movie was pretty good!)
  • The Danish Girl by David Ebbershoff (actually, the movie was better)

Read a nonfiction book about feminism or dealing with feminist themes:

  • Currently Reading Shrill by Lindy West

Read a book about politics:

  • White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson

Read a book about religion (fiction or nonfiction):

  • Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Alan
  • The Relic Master by Christopher Huckley

Read a play:

  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by Jack Thorne

Read a book with a main character that has a metal illness:

  • Black Hole by Bucky Sinister
  • Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman
  • Dear Fang, With Love by Rufi Thorpe
  • A World Without You by Beth Revis
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

Looking Back:

My first thought each time I look over my Read Harder list or my Reading Log always seems to be how many genres I’ve read over the year. After so many weeks primarily reading fantasy novels, it’s hard to believe I’ve actually read so many historical fiction novels or even a graphic novel. I’m so proud of myself! My male to female author ratio has even flipped! I’m now at a steady 40% male and 60% female ratio! It really goes to show that once you make the decision, and once you actually start looking and paying attention, how easy it can be to follow through, how my habits are actually changing.

Even though there’s always room for improvement, I’m proud I can look back and see how my reading has become more diverse. Now, to focus on setting, so many of the novels I read are set in America or Britain. I’d like to read more about the world and how life is different, or even the same… I don’t know what I’ll find, but there’s only one way to find out!

Do you consider yourself a diverse reader? What does that mean to you?