#TheReadingQuest Sign Up

Hello everyone! My hiatus is still ongoing, although I am sorting out my life and things are looking much more positive at the moment. I won’t be posting much for the next couple of weeks because – drumroll – it’s Worldcon!!! And because things have to get back on track sometime, I am joining another reading challenge by the wonderfully creative Aentee from Read at Midnight. It will start on August 13th, just as Worldcon ends.

This challenge lasts for an entire month, so although I may be starting late, I will have enough time to catch up on all the books I neglected these last two months. As you may have guessed, although I pretty much stopped reading and reviewing, I have been busily buying new books the entire time and my TBR has reached heights that I would call seriously threatening.

Continue reading

#ReadDiverse2017 – An Update and a TBR Pile

I am so happy I found the Read Diverse 2017 Challenge! I have been reading and reviewing books for this challenge since January and have discovered so many new authors, books, and bloggers.

Normally, I am super motivated to read all the books for a challenge right away but then I lose interest. Not so with this challenge! Because the goal isn’t to read one type of book or genre but simply to take a closer look at the authors and books you want to read anyway.  Turns out – and I’m sure this is true for most people with a big TBR – I didn’t even have to buy new books for this challenge (although I did anyway) because many of my unread books were written by marginalised authors and featured diverse characters. And because the experience has been so much fun, I wanted to share the books I’ve read for the challenge and the books I have lined up for the next few months with you guys. May your wishlists grow.

What I’ve read so far

I have read a total of 16 books in 2017 so far, five of which were written by LGBTQI authors and/or featured LGBTQI characters. Five books were written by Authors of Color and/or featured POC main characters. Two books had protagonists with a disability, and five were #ownvoices books.
There was oviously quite a bit of overlap and in reality, I read only 10 books for this challenge so far. But 10 out of 16 is a pretty amazing ratio if you ask me.

And for anyone who believes that I am changing my reading habits or forcing myself to read certain books for the sake of diversity, I can only say that all of these books (except for Peter Darling which I discovered through the challenge) were already on my TBR and I would have read them anyway. The Read Diverse 2017 challenge only pushed them a bit further up on my TBR pile, that’s all.

Here are my diverse reads so far, all of which I would recommend. My full reviews can be found behind the links.

  • Emma Donoghue – Kissing the Witch
    A short story collection retelling fairy tales, most of which feature lesbian protagonists, and all of which focus on women.
  • Zoraida Córdova – Labyrinth Lost
    This book is a wonderful story about a young girl, dealing with her cultural heritage, her place in her family and witchcraft. After messing things up she tries to fix her dire situation. Incudes a trip to the underworld with a fantastic bisexual protagonist.
  • Leigh Bardugo – Six of Crows
    Not so much a heist story as a character study of six amazing, diverse, and absolutely lovable protagonists. Kaz is disabled and walks with a cane, Inej is dark-skinned, and I suspect (though don’t know yet) that at least one character is gay. I loved all of them!
  • Mishell Baker – Borderline
    This is such an amazing book. Millie is a double amputee after her attempted suicide who suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder. She also starts to work for the secret Arcadia Project which polices the traffic between our world and Fairyland. And it’s set in Hollywood. Everything about this book was perfect.
  • S. L. Huang – The Little Homo Sapiens Scientist
    A retelling of The Little Mermaid that gets really dark and broke my heart into a million pieces. The protagonist is a lesbian who falls in love with a “mermaid” and trades her voice for fins. But trust me, it’s much better and more sinister than I make it sound.
  • Helen Oyeyemi – What is Not Yours is Not Yours
    A story collection by the brilliant Helen Oyeyemi that features a diverse cast of characters, most of all highlighting women. I didn’t love all the stories but the collection overall was solid.
  • Marissa Meyer – Wires and Nerve
    Meyer’s first graphic novel, set after the Lunar Chronicles, finally gives Iko her own story. The protagonist android loves her body (which is a Woman of Color) and she deals with questions of identity, feelings, and friendship. It’s a lovely, quick comfort read and I need the sequel now!
  • Catherynne M. Valente – Palimpsest
    Valente’s characters in this book may not all be bisexual, but pretty much everyone sleeps with everyone in this luscious tale of a sexually transmitted city. There are no graphic or particularly steamy sex scenes here, but instead there are breathtaking descriptions of Palimpsest. The language and imagery are stunning, but you should like flowery prose if you pick this up.
  • Austin Chant – Peter Darling
    What if Peter Pan grew up as Wendy Darling? In this very short novel, Peter is a transgender man who comes back to Neverland as an adult. To my utter delight, he and Hook fall in love. I had some problems with this book (there was just not enough of it) but overall, I enjoyed it.
  • Nnedi Okorafor – Binti: Home
    I adored Okorafor’s Binti and couldn’t wait for this sequel. Binti, who has run away from home to study at a university far away from her home planet, has returned. She has to deal with her own identity, her past, her family’s culture and the life she wants for herself. The only thing I didn’t like about this book is that it ends on a pretty mean cliffhanger. Review to come.

What’s on my TBR

I have SO MANY BOOKS! Seriously, there is no shortage of diverse books in my home, but I do have a few lined up that I want to read very soon.

  • Yoon Ha Lee – Ninefox Gambit
    I’m already reading this and as much as the beginning tried to break my brain, I am completely in love with it now and can’t wait to find out how the story continues. If you start reading this, please don’t give up. Push through the first chapters and you will be rewarded!
  • S. Jae-Jones – Wintersong
    I am not sure if I will finish this book. I read half of it and it’s a huge disappointment. A whiny heroine who wallows in self-pity, a bland “romance”, and no plot to speak of. Maybe I’ll write something even if I DNF this book… we’ll see. For now, it’s on hiatus.
  • Heidi Heilig – The Girl From Everywhere
    This book just sounds soooo good. Time travel, maps, a biracial protagonist, a romance, and ships! Plus, the sequel is out already (I think), so if I love it I won’t have to wait for the next book.
  • N. K. Jemisin – The Obelisk Gate
    I actually saved this book up because I know it will ruin any book that is unfortunate enough to follow it. Jemisin is a phenomenal writer and this world is her most complex and ambitious yet. The cast ist effortlessly diverse and Jemisin’s writing is always stunning.
  • Rhoda Belleza – Empress of a Thousand Skies
    I’m a bit on the fence about this but people have said it has lots of diverse characters and a fast-moving plot. So I hope this book leaves away all the YA tropes and delivers an exciting space adventure.
  • Madeline Miller – The Song of Achilles
    I’ve wanted to read this for ages but somehow, every time I choose a new book to read this one slips my mind. Must remember this time.
  • Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett – Dragon Soul
    I love this series so much! The first book told (among other plot lines) a beautiful romance between two very different men, and all the characters are superb. Can’t wait to continue reading about this world of steampunk dragons, and the crazy people who fly them.
  • Caitlín R. Kiernan – Agents of Dreamland
    I love everything Kiernan writes and most things Tor.com publishes, so this is a book that is practically a guaranteed hit.
  • Ann Leckie – Ancillary Sword
    I am SO behind on this series. The first book was my favorite the year it came out but then I never caught up with the sequels. It’s time to rectify that situation! If you don’t know this series, it’s about a former space ship AI, now existing in one human body, who uses all-female pronouns because it’s an AI and doesn’t know or care about gender. Also, it’s a super exciting space adventure with amazing characters.

The way I know myself, this reading plan will probably be thrown away pretty fast, especially with the amount of exciting recommendations this reading challenge produces. But then, I read for fun. So I’ll do my best to stick by this TBR but if I stray, so be it. 🙂

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

2016 Challenges – Fairy Tale Retellings

Mel at The Daily Prophecy has been hosting this challenge for a while, but last year I was too late to sign up. I will not miss it again! Not only do I love Mel’s writing about books, her bingo cards, challenges, and other posts, I also owe her my gorgeous copy of Naomi Novik’s Uprooted which I won in one of her givaways. Thanks again, Mel!

(Fairy Tale) Retelling Challenge – Level: Goose Girl

Retelling Challenge 2016

If you don’t like fairy tale retellings, other retellings are also allowed – mythology, folklore, classics, and so on.

For what is probably the first time ever, I resisted the urge to aim for the highest goal (or the coolest sounding level) and went for something realistic. Here are the challenge leves (from Mel’s blog):

There are 6 different levels you can aim for:

-Enchanted Moura: 1 – 4 books.Retelling Challenge Goose Girl
-Goose Girl: 5 – 9 books.
-Evil Queen: 10 – 15 books.
-Wise princess: 16 – 20 books.
-Kuma Lisa: 21 – 25 books.
-Cheshire cat: 26+ books

See? I’m reasonable for once. I totally wanted to go for Cheshire Cat because it’s the highest level and also IT’S CALLED CHESHIRE CAT! Don’t ask me how I resisted, but for 2016, I shall simply be the Goose Girl.

And because no sign-up post is much fun without a list of some sort that I create with great care and thought only to dismiss once the year has arrived, here are some books I plan to read for the challenge:

#Diversiverse – A More Diverse Universe Reading Challenge (October 4-17)

It’s Diversiverse time again! The reading challenge A More Diverse Universe is hosted by Aarti at Book Lust and will take place from 4th to 17th October this year. If you want to participate, just click on the banner and sign up.

diversiverse 2015

The rules for the challenge are really simple:
  • Read and review one book
  • written by a person of color
  • during the first two weeks of October (October 4th-17th)

It’s a low-pressure challenge without genre restrictions. You can read any type of book you  like. For me, the difficulty is not in finding books but rather in finishing them during the challenge. But two weeks is a good amount of time to read one book, even if your day job eats up most of your time. I’ll up my personal challenge game and aim for two books, because ambition.

Here’s the list of novels I came up with spontaneously. I’ll pick and choose from these or any others that I might think of in the meantime.

  • N.K. Jemisin – The Fifth Season
  • Karin Lowachee – The Gaslight Dogs
  • Ken Liu – The Grace of Kings
  • Jennifer Marie Brissett – Elysium
  • Zen Cho – Sorcerer to the Crown
  • Hiromi Goto – Half World
  • David Anthony Durham – Acacia
  • Helen Oyeyemi – White is for Witching
  • Miyuki Miyabe – Brave Story
  • Nahoko Uehashi – Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit
  • Nalo Hopkinson – Brown Girl in the Ring
  • Aliette de Bodard – The House of Shattered Wings

Those are just the ones I could think of off the top of my head. While I am mostly a reader of SFF, I don’t believe that any genre lacks writers of color. They may not get the same promotion from their publishers as others, but they are there. And Aarti’s challenge is all about realising this and trying to read books by people from cultures other than our own – or maybe to finally find a book written by someone with experiences more like your own.

There’s still enough time to sign up to the challenge, find books that sound good to you, or maybe browse other people’s lists to find out what they plan to read. I hope for many participants for purely personal reasons – because those participants will point me in the direction of many new books. And there can never be too many books.