Friday, December 9, 2016

Dream Book Panel

I'm working on my Hawaii post (cos hey, I was just in Hawaii and that was swell) but in the meantime I got an email from Eventbrite, with a post topic about my dream book panel and after not finding a catch I thought that was a pretty cool topic and I'm looking for writing prompts so yeah, let's do this thing. And also you guys should write up your panels cos I am super interested to hear who you would have or what questions you'd ask. Everyone play!

The prompt is "What if you could plan the perfect panel of authors or characters to speak at a conference?" OK here's my panel

Christopher Moore, Jasper Fforde, and all of my favorite authors get together to talk about how cool I am and also send me all of their future books as they're released. Oh also Bill Watterson decides to write new Calvin & Hobbes and that is how society will begin to heal. Right? That sounds fun for everyone.
OK FINE, let's do this thing for real.

Since I am deep into my feminist rant reading, let's take the topic of feminism with maybe some intersectionality thrown in there because yeah, we need that. And since this is my perfect panel, I'm thinking this can include both dead authors as well as characters. LET'S SEE HOW THIS GOES
Up first: Octavia Butler. I need to hear her thoughts on everything really, but particularly her thoughts on gender and race because she has some thoughts here, if her books indicate anything. Plus she was a black female author writing science fiction starting in the '70s, which I know, sounds like THE most welcoming environment.

Next Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie because have you read We Should All Be Feminists yet? Or seen her beautifully shut down the idea that Drumpf is not racist including the line 'As a white man, you don't get to define what racism is." And also all of the other line and laughter. It's wonderful.

How about some Sarah Vowell to add some history to the mix? Plus I feel she would bring some levity to the proceedings, cos things could get real heavy.

Speaking of people who can balance the serious and the funny, let's have Roxane Gay join as well. She will have lots of insightful things to say and then she can bring up House Hunters when we need a break. (But seriously, her live tweeting of HH is amazing.)

And then let's add Hermione because one, wouldn't it be awesome for Hermione to be on a panel? Also I think she could learn something. Yes, maybe she would bring some interesting thoughts to the mix but I would also like her to learn a bit about maybe not seeing herself as a white savior (thanks, Witch, Please)

Then let's include Celeste Ng because while I haven't written it yet I very very much enjoyed Everything I Never Told You and think she could bring some interesting thoughts about race and family and what is expected/allowed of women.

Crap, should there be a dude here? Umm, OK, Chuck Wendig cos from his blog and social media he seems like he gets it. He can come too.

Alright, I should probably stop here. But yeah, this seems great and if this could happen, that would be SUPER KEEN.
Thanks for the post prompt, Eventbrite, and hey people, if you need to manage an event or conference, they seem like a way to help with that so maybe check them out.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Pretty excited about my current to read list

I just got approved for a couple NetGalleys and, you guys, I am preeeeeeetty excited about my current reading stack and thought I would share. Plus this buys me some time to work on my Cuckoo's Calling review, which I should really get to. #procrastinationftw

But anyway, check out my current "I am reading this" list:

The Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik (this one isn't a NetGalley but I'm reading it now and it fits)
It's Up To The Women by Eleanor Roosevelt

Virgin Envy: The Cultural (In)Significance of the Hymen by Jonathan Allan, Cristina Santos, and Adriana Spahr

I am going to be SO MUCH FUN. The books are all on my ereader so unfortunately people won't get to see the covers but maybe people will ask me what I am reading. And then regret interrupting me.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

November Reading Wrap-Up

November. You were the 2016th-iest of all the months, weren't you? But hey, there was Thanksgiving and that's always fun because food is delicious and there were puppies.
They were all interested in something just to the side of me
Let's focus on the stats

Total books read
The DUFF by Kody Keplinger
China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan
Danse Macabre by Stephen King
Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit

Total pages read


Female authors

White authors

US authors

Book formats
ebook - 50%
paperback - 50%

Where'd I get the book
borrow - 25%
indie - 50%
Kindle - 25%



Blogger reco


Books by decade
1980s - 25%
2010s - 75%

Books by genre
Essays - 25%
Horror - 25%
Rom Com - 50%

Resolution books
Not 80% from last month but hey, not too shabby
Danse Macabre was published in 1981 so hey, published before 2000
China Rich Girlfriend is by a non-white AND non-American guy so double win

Alright, December. Be better. For reading but also just in general.

Monday, November 28, 2016

You are a servant of Destiny, not its agent. Get over yourself

Have I mentioned before how much I love Christopher Moore? Because it is a lot.* So of course I picked up Secondhand Souls, the sequel to A Dirty Job, which is one of my favorite Moore books. More Charlie, more Minty, more Lilly and Sohpie and the hellhounds and the Emperor and all of those other fun characters? SIGN ME UP.

But here's the thing, I felt like the book was lacking a bit of...soul
HA, I'm hilarious. But seriously though, there was a lot of stuff going on here, with a bunch of subplots and set up and it just felt like there was so much it was trying to do that it didn't get a chance to really spend much time in any area so things weren't as developed as I hoped. A Dirty Job focused a lot on the idea of death and loss and was really moving in between the funny and, yeah, sophmoric humor. There was a depth to the story. Here it seemed that he was setting things up so more would be at stake but ultimately I cared less about everyone this time around.

I was going to say there are some spoilers here for the first book, but I'm not giving away anything the back of Secondhand Souls doesn't already tell you, so I guess mild spoiler warning.
In A Dirty Job, beta-male Charlie Asher is dealing with the death of his wife Rachel, who died giving birth to their daughter Sophie. As if that wasn't enough to throw at a guy, it turns out he's a "little death". He's not the Grim Reaper but he's sort of like a mall Santa, collecting souls and helping people pass on. His daughter, it turns out, is Big Death (the Luminatus) and there are a group of creatures looking to take over San Francisco and Charlie saves the day but gives his life in the process (again, spoilers all revealed on the back of this book so).

This time around, Charlie is back, his soul being housed in one of the creatures his girlfriend Audrey, a Buddist nun, managed to create. He's hidden away while they try to find a body to move his soul into. But in the meantime, it seems that souls in San Francisco aren't being collected and something bad is brewing in the city's underbelly.

While that sounds simple enough, there are a lot of subplots jammed in (Audrey's creatures deciding maybe they could have something better, the Morrigan are back, a big black guy dressed all in yellow seems to know something is going on, souls aren't being collected, a bridge painter at the Golden Gate Bridge starts talking to ghosts, Sophie has lost her hellhounds, Charlie trying to get a body, Lilly and Minty break up but is there still something between them) and while these do tie together, none of them really get a chance to breath.

There was actually one subplot that I think if it was more the focus of the book, it would have been more successful. A painter for the Golden Gate Bridge is strapped into his harness when he's visited by a ghost. She tells him her story about her life and how she died and she believes there's a reason he can hear her and wants him to listen to the stories of other souls who seem to be trapped in the bridge. I'm still not 100% sure how the stories of each of the ghosts he talks to tie into this main story, but I would have liked more of that and maybe less of the other subplots going on.

In the end, it's still Christopher Moore and I still enjoyed it. It was just not a favorite. Perhaps I'll go read A Dirty Job again.

Gif rating:
*What are some of his other books that I've reviewed? Oh well I'm glad you asked: Bite Me: A Love Story, Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story, Coyote Blue, Fool, Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove, Practical Demonkeeping, Sacre Bleu, The Serpent of Venice, The Stupidest Angel, You Suck: A Love Story

Title quote from page 2.

Moore, Christopher. Secondhand Souls. William Morrow, 2015.

Thursday, November 24, 2016


For those celebrating, hope you have a happy and non-stressful Thanksgiving full of good food and minimal fighting.
There are good things out there or things you can do to make good things happen, so let's focus on that.

And also the pie. Let's all focus on pie.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

I see [the Icarus story] as a lesson about the limitations of wax as an adhesive

Do you know the xkcd comic series? Because if not, I recommend it. Even if there are many comics that are extra science/mathy and go over my head. And if your wondering, I started clicking around on that site and got distracted for like 10 minutes, so maybe go to that link after reading this review. Yes, that's it.

ANYWAY, Randall Munroe, creator of xkcd wrote a book! And instead of it being just a collection of webcomics, which still would have been pretty awesome, he takes ridiculous hypothetical questions and uses science to answer them. If you're wondering most of the answers are "We would die horribly" but it's OK because it's pretty fun to see in stick figure webcomics. And don't worry, he doesn't just end there but gives detailed answers for exactly what would happen.
Door busted WIDE open
What are these questions, you ask?

  • What would happen if the Earth and all terrestrial objects suddenly stopped spinning, but the atmosphere retained its velocity? (Nearly everyone would die. Then things would get interesting)
  • What if I took a swim in a typical spent nuclear fuel pool? Would I need to dive to actually experience a fatal amount of radiation? How long could I stay safely at the surface? (Assuming you're a reasonably good swimmer, you could probably survive treading water anywhere from 10 to 40 hours. At that point, you would black out from fatigue and drown. This is also true for a pool without nuclear fuel in the bottom.)
  • What if everyone actually had only one soul mate, a random person somewhere in the world? (What a nightmare that would be.)
  • Is it possible to build a jetpack using downward-firing machine guns? (I was sort of surprised to find that the answer was yes!)
And of course, being an artist, there are the comics. I had been waiting to pick up a physical copy of the book but it was on sale for Kindle and sales win. Luckily, even on my old Kindle, the images formatted fine so I got to enjoy stuff like this:

See. Delightful. 

The book is funny AND informative.

Gif rating:
Title quote from page 141, location 1873

Munroe, Randall. What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014. Kindle