Aster’s Good, Right Things by Kate Gordon

Aster's Good, Right Things is an important book about kids dealing with seriously heavy issues that, in a perfect world, they should never have to deal with. But this is reality for some kids in our very imperfect world, and this book will make these kids feel less alone. It has real potential to provide a sense of hope as well. Oh, Aster. What a lovable character you are. I felt for her right from the start. Aster feels bad—not just bad; fearful—about feeling happy. She's 11 years old and living with an anxiety disorder, and though it isn't specifically named in the book, it reads just like obsessive-compulsive disorder (she acts on compulsions—doing good, right things—to manage her anxiety…

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How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America by Kiese Laymon

With the exception of his essay in The Fire This Time, I had yet to really sit down and read Kiese Laymon's writing, until now. Halfway through the essays in How To Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, I paused to head over to Goodreads and add his entire backlist to my to-be-read list. Laymon's writing is so commanding. Even when talking about sports (something I don't care much about), I had trouble putting this book down because, in Laymon's hands, the essay is never about "just sports"—or "just" anything. He digs in far beyond the surface and creates connections people often miss (due to privilege, lack of interest, white supremacy, or any number of reasons). I highlighted so…

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Anarchy Works by Peter Gelderloos

I read Anarchy Works a couple years ago, but apparently only posted my review on Goodreads. There's been a lot of talk recently, both in the news and on social media, about "anarchists" that either misunderstands the philosophy or is flat-out wrong. This book corrects that misinformation with a hopeful, down-to-earth tone, and encourages solidarity and unity. Anarchy Works is set up Q&A style, addressing common arguments people make against non-hierarchical societies based on egalitarian principles, voluntary, non-coercive interactions, and mutual cooperation. Gelderloos addresses these arguments and backs up his points with examples from all over the world, past and present. Best of all, he challenges a colonized worldview right from the start, This book covers a lot of history…

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Books I Read Because Someone Recommended Them to Me

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today's theme is: Books I Read Because Someone Recommended Them to Me Ahhh book recommendations, my favorite part of book blogging, and the reason my TBR list is hopelessly out of control. I chose two books each from five sources where I've gotten fantastic book recommendations. Lori/TNBBC I can't remember how Lori and I first connected (maybe back in her CCLaP days?) but she's a champion of small press titles. Seriously y'all, if you love small press titles, you have to follow her. I never skim Lori's emails because I know she's going to have something unique for me to try, something that will push me out of my comfort…

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To Hold Up the Sky by Cixin Liu

If you're in the mood for a hard sci-fi short story collection, To Hold Up the Sky by Cixin Liu (translated by Joel Martinsen, Adam Lanphier, John Chu, and Carmen Yiling Yan) certainly delivers. Liu's writing style often makes these stories feel very present-day even when they're obviously not, and his prose is beautiful. Many of these stories read like fables reminding us not to underestimate humanity, showing us the larger-scale impact of seemingly small gestures and our (compared to the universe) fleeting lives. "The Time Migration" reminded me of all the philosophical stuff I love about Star Trek: The Next Generation, Doctor Who, and The Little Prince, but 10x more in depth. "Ode to Joy" is where sci-fi meets…

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Book Blogger How-To: Requesting Physical ARCs from Publishers

I've seen some expensive book blogger-focused online "courses" floating around social media. I'm finishing up my 8th year of book blogging. I've learned so much over the years from fellow book bloggers, trusted publicists, and my own trial and error. I feel this kind of information should be freely shared among the book blogging community. That said, if you find this post useful and want to buy me a coffee, I won't refuse the treat! 😉 So today I thought I'd talk about requesting a physical ARC (Advance Reader Copy) from a publisher, based on my own process. Why This Book? The first step in requesting physical ARCs from publishers is to think about why you're requesting a particular book.…

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Super Long Book Titles

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today's theme is: Super Long Book Titles This was a fun prompt to put together! Some of these are books I've read, and others are future releases I'll be requesting from their publishers. I've put these super long book titles in order from shortest-long to longest-long. The Phone Booth at the Edge of the World by Laura Imai Messina Seven Kinds of People You Find in Bookshops by Shaun Bythell What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami [my review] How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America by Kiese Laymon The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon Colorless Tsukuru…

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Book Covers with Fall Vibes: Cozy Mystery Edition

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today's theme is: Book Covers with Fall Vibes Every now and then, I get a hankering for a cozy mystery. I love how some of the series have an overall theme (a food, a craft, etc.) and I love the goofy puns in the titles. The books are usually inexpensive, they're quick reads, and there's comfort in knowing what to expect going into each story. When the "book covers with fall vibes" prompt came up for this week, I knew I could find a ton of options in the cozy mystery genre. Here are ten of my favorites: Aren't these covers a hoot? Festivals, Oktoberfest, pumpkins, Halloween, crocheting cozy blankets,…

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