Nonfiction November: Book Pairings

The prompt for week 2 of Nonfiction November is "Book Pairing" (hosted by Julz of Julz Reads), where we pair up a nonfiction book with a fiction title. I've got three book pairings for you today! The fiction titles I've chosen have the same subject matter as their nonfiction counterparts. C and I have been reading through the young people's version of Neil deGrasse Tyon's Astrophysics for People in a Hurry and are enjoying his goofy sense of humor and knack for explaining huge concepts in an easy-to-understand manner. I recently read To Hold Up the Sky by Cixin Liu [my review], which incorporates a lot of astrophysics and quantum physics in its hard sci-fi short stories. Some of those…

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Book Titles That Would Make Great Song Titles

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today's theme is: Book Titles that Would Make Great Song Titles This was a super fun prompt! I went by book title alone when making this list—not book description. (For example, I know Delia Owens's book takes place in North Carolina, not Louisiana. But that title!) I went ahead and included the music genres I imagined with the titles, too. 1. Where the Crawdads Sing (Delia Owens) is a song you hear when you're driving through southwest Louisiana and your car radio happens upon a station dedicated to zydeco. 2. Let's listen to some old-school 90s goth and put Cemetery Boys (Aiden Thomas) in the tape deck. 3. Bellweather Rhapsody…

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Novellas in November: Contemporary Fiction

I know I'm already doing Nonfiction November, but I couldn't resist jumping in on Novellas in November, too. This event is hosted by Rebecca at Bookish Beck and Cathy at 746 Books. The theme for week one (hosted by Cathy) is contemporary fiction novellas. I found varying definitions of what "contemporary fiction" actually means, so I probably stretched it a bit with some of the speculative and sci-fi picks. I went more with a "fiction published in a contemporary times" sort of theme. . This World Is Full of Monsters by Jeff VanderMeer (38 pages) - Surreal, strange, and terrifying. This is the kind of story that doesn't get old because there's endless nuance for your mind to explore. If…

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Nonfiction November: 2020 Year in Review

Nonfiction November week one is hosted by Leann of Shelf Aware. This week, we're taking a look back at our year of nonfiction and reflecting on the following questions: What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year? This is always a tough question, but I'm going to have to say Children of the Land by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, a memoir about growing up undocumented in the United States. I didn't end up formally reviewing it because I had so many feelings after reading it, everything in my head was a jumbled mess. It's a tough, heartbreaking, often frustrating read (frustrating in a way that only bureaucracy can achieve). But Castillo's writing is absolutely dazzling and there is joy, too.…

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Adventure by Chicken Bus by Janet LoSole

Janet LoSole's Adventure by Chicken Bus is a memoir/travelogue following the author, her husband Lloyd, and their two young daughters, Jocelyn and Natalie, on an 18-month long homeschooling field trip backpacking through Central America and, for a short while, living in Costa Rica. From the start, Janet and Lloyd were adamant about participating in community-based travel, supporting the local economy instead of corporations that gentrify the area. From the epilogue, community-based travel focuses on: 1. Benefiting the local community and its natural environment. 2. Respecting the culture of the host community. 3. Relying on local, family-owned businesses for food, shelter, and transportation. Travel memoirs like this can easily devolve into poverty tourism. The writer must remain aware of this at…

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Non-Bookish Hobbies: Crochet

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today's theme is: Non-Bookish Hobbies One of my favorite non-bookish hobbies that I don't get nearly enough time to do is crochet. I especially love to make amigurumi, which are small stuffed dolls or creatures. You crochet these "in the round," like a spiral, and the stitches need to be tight enough that the stuffing doesn't show through. They can be any size. I'm in awe of people who crochet the really tiny amigurumi, because my eyes just won't allow me to right now. If you happen to knit or crochet and want to connect on Ravelry, here's a link to my profile. For today's prompt, I'm going to highlight…

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Creatures by Crissy Van Meter

I'm so thankful Algonquin approached me about being on the blog tour for Crissy Van Meter's novel, Creatures, because this debut was one of the best books I've read this year. The story centers around Evie, beginning on the eve of her wedding, and her dysfunctional family. We feel the long-lasting impact of growing up with neglect, abandonment, and parentification. How it affects a child's future self and future relationships. The deep, never-satiated ache for parents who aren't what they should be. The struggle to break the cycle. This is going to be a tough read for anyone raised by parents with addiction or Cluster B personality disorders, but wow, will those readers ever feel seen. I think, in a…

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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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