Most Wanted Reads for Spring

Since I missed yesterday’s Top Ten Tuesday, I’m just going to post 10 of my most anticipated reads for this coming spring, in no particular order. Enjoy!

Fiction

Queenie – Candice Carty-Williams (March 19)

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The Other Americans – Laila Lalami (March 26)

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A Woman is No Man – Etaf Rum (March 5)

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Lot – Bryan Washington (March 19)

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The Dreamers – Karen Thompson Walker (January 15)

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Nonfiction

Shout – Laurie Halse Anderson (March 12)

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The White Book – Han Kang (February 19, US Edition)

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What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker – Damon Young (March 26)

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Young Adult/YA

Internment – Samira Ahmed (March 19)

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With the Fire on High – Elizabeth Acevedo (May 7)

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Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Podcasts

Another boring designated Top Ten Tuesday topic has ensued this week, so today I’ll talk about my favorite podcasts. Why podcasts? Because they’re interesting. There’s a myriad of great apps out there to search, save, and listen to them depending on whether you’re an iPhone or Android user. I use the Stitcher app and I get an updated stream of my favorite podcasts in my car, sitting at my desk at work, or at home over my Bluetooth speaker. I find podcasts to be a very powerful storytelling medium in the same intellectual space as the books I read.

Before reading this, please note that I tend to be partial to news-heavy content and true crime. So yes, here goes…

My Top Ten Favorite Podcasts

This American Life – Oldest, longest running, and pretty much the gold standard of podcasts, hosted by Ira Glass. A new episode comes out every Sunday, and they’re always chock full of just plain interesting stuff.

Reveal – Another highly engaging podcast that fuses high-quality investigative reporting with great content. A lot of great topics are covered here: immigration, racial discrimination, advances in technology, education, etc.

Monster – A must, especially if you’re into true crime shit like I am. This season is about the Zodiac killer, last season was about the Atlanta child murders. Killer synth music too.

Cults – A great podcasts all about, well, cults. Christian cults, occult cults, Satanic cults, Buddhist cults, cults that kill, secret cults…you get the picture. It’s great.

Ear Hustle – Very cool podcast that’s actually written, researched, produced, and hosted by inmates at San Quentin maximum security prison in California. Lots of criminal justice issues discussed here, along with the daily goings on of people behind bars. It’s not always depressing, it’s actually very informative and funny.

Crimetown – Another great anthology-style podcast all about crime and corruption in a particular American city. Last season, the featured city was Providence, Rhode Island, this season is Detroit, Michigan. Very detailed investigative reporting.

Serial – Another gold standard, with hype surrounding it that’s completely deserved. Each season is different, though I must say that this past season was probably the best. In this season, the host takes an in-depth look at the criminal justice system in Cleveland, Ohio.

Generation Why – Weekly podcast with two hosts (Aaron & Justin) that break down and discuss theories and details surrounding selected topics. Not just true crime, they take on murder cases, disappearances, conspiracies, supernatural stuff, controversies, and good, fun mysteries.

Lore – Another gold standard, bi-monthly podcast that breaks down mysteries, the supernatural, nightmares, and just plain dark stuff. I compare listening to Lore with the feeling you used to get with the book “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” with the creepy pictures back in grade school.

The Trail Went Cold – Very cool, DIY-ish produced podcast that discusses missing persons and cold cases. A lot of the topics the host covers were previously discussed on NBC’s Unsolved Mysteries, so there’s heavy nostalgic value here, especially if you were a fan of that show. The host is Canadian (I think), so hearing him say words like “house” (sounds to my American ear like “host”) is funny. Anyway, I love this show…

That’s it for now, though there’s a bunch more. Maybe I’ll do another favorite podcasts, part 2 soon. Until then…

xoxo, K

Reading Confessions

I’m tiiiired of talkin’ about 2018, so I’m not gonna do the prescribed Top Ten Tuesday post for today. What I’ll talk about instead are some of the methods to my reading madness, which I’ll call my Reading Confessions...

*plays scary organ music*

  1. Reading Confession #1: I generally will not read a book over 350 pages long. I can, of course, and yes, I have before…but honestly, who has time for all of that? It must be super-intriguing for me to devote that kind of time commitment these days, and I just don’t give it away lightly. Perhaps this is why I’ve never gotten into Harry Potter–it’s just way too long in print. Perhaps I am old and just don’t have the stamina anymore, perhaps I just prefer to pack light. Audio is better, which is why I’ve found myself gravitating more and more toward this medium–it saves time.
  2. Reading Confession #2: I will usually stick with a book that has an unlikable character. As a matter of fact, I prefer asshole characters. For me, not liking a character is not a reason to quit a book. Sure, you may not like what they do and say and think, but ask yourself: why? Is it because they’re challenging you? Irritating you? If they are, so what? Why are you so sensitive about it? Characters are states of being and do not have to meet my standards of neatness, sanity, or politeness. You cannot create a world where everything is to your liking, so why do people demand this when they read?
  3. Reading Confession #3: As much as I hate to admit it, I do like books with nice covers. It’s like a first impression on a first date. If you’re ugly on the outside, why go any further? Answer: you don’t.
  4. Reading Confession #4: If I find a random book that’s been dog-eared (at the library, around the office, etc), I will quickly un-dogear it. Yes. Make the world a better place.
  5. Reading Confession #5: I actually got into a physical fight in the 5th grade with the girl in the desk across from mine because she ripped out a page of one of my Babysitters Club books. And no, I’m still not sorry. Bitch. 

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Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2019

Books I’m extra extra excited about, coming out in the first six months of 2019.

Fiction

1. Inspection – Josh Malerman (23 April)

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2. Adele – Leila Slimani (15 Jan)

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3. Daisy Jones and the Six – Taylor Jenkins Reid (5 March)

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4. Diary of a Murderer: And Other Stories – Young-Ha Kim (16 April)

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Nonfiction

5. The Body Papers – Grace Talusan (2 April)

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6. Where Reasons End – Yiyun Li (5 Feb)

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7. The Collected Schizophrenias: Essays – Esme Weijun Wang (5 Feb)

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8. The World According to Fannie Davis: My Mother’s Life in the Detroit Numbers – Bridgett Davis (29 Jan)

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9. The Source of Self Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations – Toni Morrison (12 Feb)

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YA

10. Brave Face – Shaun David Hutchinson (21 May)

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Top Ten Tuesday: The Best of 2018

Even though 2018 isn’t officially over, I wanted to take the time to do a quick round up of all of the five star reads I’ve come across this year. Most of these have been previously reviewed here (as shown with a link), and if they haven’t, the review will be forthcoming in the next few weeks.

BTW, there are more than 10 here. In no particular order, they are:

  1. American Prison: A Reporter’s Undercover Journey into the Business of Punishment – Shane Bauer
  2. The Circuit – Francisco Jimenez
  3. We the Animals – Justin Torres
  4. In My Father’s House: A New View of How Crime Runs in the Family – Fox Butterfield
  5. What Girls Are Made Of – Elana K. Arnold
  6. Any Man – Amber Tamblyn
  7. The End of Eddy – Edouard Louis
  8. A Lucky Man – Jamel Brinkley
  9. My Year of Rest and Relaxation – Ottessa Moshfegh
  10. Heavy: An American Memoir – Kiese Laymon
  11. Brother – David Chariandy
  12. Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? – Kathleen Collins
  13. Illegal – Eoin Colfer

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I’d Like to Have Tea With

I’ve decided that not only do I want to meet these authors, I’d like to have tea and crumpets with them. As long as they pay, of course.

  1. Zora Neale Hurston
  2. Edgar Allan Poe
  3. Roxane Gay
  4. Ottessa Moshfegh
  5. Angie Thomas
  6. Tiffany D. Jackson
  7. Katherine Faw
  8. Jason Reynolds
  9. Toni Morrison
  10. Haruki Murakami

Top Ten Tuesday: Notable Book Mashups

Ok, so today’s Top Ten Tuesday is technically “Books You’d Mash Together.” Since no one is paying me to write fiction ideas here, I’m going to suggest a few plot mashups that I’ve found noteworthy over the past few years.

  1. I Am Still Alive – Kate Alice Marshall. Currently reading this, it’s about a teenage girl surviving in a remote section of Canadian wilderness after the murder of her father. Mashup: The movie The Revenant and Gary Paulsen’s novel “Hatchet.”
  2. I Stop Somewhere – T.E. Carter. I personally didn’t like this book, but it’s deals with sexual assault, its aftermath, and the afterlife. Mashup: Alice Sebold’s “The Lovely Bones” and Jay Asher’s “Thirteen Reasons Why.”
  3. The Ritual – Adam Nevill. Four buddies go hiking in the wilds of Scandinavia and find a murderous Satanic cult. I read this book long before it became a semi-scary movie on Netflix, btw. Mashup: The Blair Witch Project (minus the irritating teenagers) meets Stephen King’s “Children of the Corn” meets The Wicker Man meets Deliverance.   
  4. Boo – Neil Smith. A young boy wakes up in heaven, then discovers that he was the victim of a school shooting. Even worse, his killer may also be in heaven. Mashup: Alice Sebold’s “The Lovely Bones” and Mark Haddon’s “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.”

        Not Quite Mashups, but Similar in plot…

  5. City of Saints and Thieves – Natalie Anderson —–> Ocean’s 11 (film)
  6. Crimes in Southern Indiana – Frank Bill ——> any episode of “Breaking Bad”
  7. The Cook Up: A Crack Rock Memoir – D. Watkins ——> HBO’s “The Wire”
  8. Bleed Like Me – Christa Desir ——-> Sid and Nancy (film)
  9. The Fates Will Find Their Way – Hannah Pittard ——> Jeffrey Eugenides’ “The Virgin Suicides”
  10. Brother – Ania Ahlborn ——> The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (film)