#WorldBookDay2020

According to Twitter, today is World Book Day. I thought about just listing all the books I’m reading right now, but then I realized that I have a blog where I can talk about all of them and post the entry to Twitter! Because I am currently reading 13 different books. Well, reading may be a strong word to use for some of them…

The Sum of All Fears
by Tom Clancy

At the end of last year I decided to read Cardinal of the Kremlin because I didn’t remember reading it of those early Jack Ryan books. After I finished it, I just went for a read from the in-series chronological order. Right now I’m up to The Sum of All Fears which I don’t think I read before. As with most of the Jack Ryan books, I’m really enjoying it.

Unlearn: 101 Simple Truths for a Better Life
by Humble the Poet

I picked this up for free on Kindle between it being on sale and having credits. This is great for reading a chapter or two when I need a break from everything. It’s a great read. It is spiritual and so refreshing.

Alexander Hamilton
by Ron Chernow

This has been on my “currently reading” list for the longest. I picked it up back in March 2016. The only reason it has taken so long to read is I don’t have time to get absorbed by the amazing writing and spend hours reading it. Chernow is a wordsmith and is able to bring history to life in a way that I had not experienced before.

Introducing Cultural Studies
by Ziauddin Sadar, Borin Van Loon, and Richard Appignanesi

This is part of the Graphic Guide series that gives an introduction to different scholars, areas of study, and theories in a graphic novel way. I love the combination of illustration with the words, as well as another scholar’s take on things. This book has really been interesting because it talks about Cultural Studies in different countries, not just the idea of cultural studies in one context or another. It’s given me a better grasp on what Cultural Studies can mean, as well as what most people think of here in the US.

They Say/I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing
by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein

This is the one book that I have assigned to read this semester. In it they talk about how to bring in sources into your argument while still maintaining your voice in your work. It is going to be really helpful when I get to that point in my dissertation writing. Right now it’s a lot of the “I Say” side of things, which is just as important as the “They Say” and bringing the two together. I highly recommend it for anyone who is doing academic writing.

The Craft of Research, 4th Ed
by Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, Joseph M. Williams, Joseph Bizup, and William T. FitzGerald

I also recommend this for academic writers. It was recommended to me by my theory professor way back when I started my PhD work. This is actually my second or third time going through. They break research down into the steps and then break those steps down and give really useful advice. It makes the research process feel less overwhelming and more possible to do. I’m probably going to reread it every time I have a research project, because each project is different and I get something different from it each time I read it.

From Dissertation to Book
by William Germano

This book was recommended to me by the editor of a publishing company that I really love. I had asked for advice about turning my thesis into a book and she, and the rest of the panel, suggested this book. I haven’t read much, but it has also been helpful in helping me with my dissertation. What I’ve read so far talks about the differences between a dissertation and a book. I turns out I had been thinking about my dissertation like a book instead of a dissertation. Seeing those differences explained really helped me get started in the writing process and just getting the chapters figured out.

Reading Comics: How Graphic Novels Work and What They Mean
by Douglas Wolk

I’ll admit, it’s been a while since I got back to this book. I do remember it wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but it’s really interesting for a comic scholar.

Batgirl Vol. 3: Death of the Family
by Gail Simone

This is an important chapter in Barbara Gordon’s life, especially in this post-New 52 world. This addresses the trauma that she went through and how it still affects her. It is really important for me to read, especially since I’m writing a book chapter on Oracle!

House of X/Powers of X
by Jonathan Hickman

When they announced that this big change was coming, I made the conscious decision to wait for this book before moving forward. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to keep reading, especially as a researcher. It is an interesting read so far. They alternate the series by number, so it’s the number one of each, then the number two, and so on. I think I’m getting what’s going on in this part, but I’m continuing, hoping that I get an idea of where the franchise is going and whether I want to start reading any of the comics again.

X-Men comics were one of the first comics series I read. But now it’s become more of a search for how it works with my argument about their correlation to Deaf Culture. There is little to none of that when they’re not in relation to humans. Then again, I always like the storylines that were more about the X-Men and their culture and everyday lives than the stories that took place in space or were focused on on baddie.

Metaculture: How Culture Moves Through the World
by Greg Urban

This is the main theory that I am working with in my dissertation. I am working on building on it, making connections to other related works to expand on it, using Hamilton as my example, as the focus of those connections. It has taken me years to get his work to click, but when it did, I realized that this has been a huge part of my research. I simply didn’t realize it. It is a very intense read.

Signifying Rappers
by David Foster Wallace and Mark Costello

My dissertation chair/advisor strongly suggested reading this, because of its perspective on rap and hip-hop by white guys in Boston. I’ve only gotten through the first chapter so far, but its an interesting read. I just need to figure out how it fits into things.

Liveness: Performance in a Mediatized Culture
by Philip Auslander

Another book recommended by my chair/advisor. He recommended this back when I was arguing about the importance of seeing it live, in the theater and how that differed from other ways of seeing it. I think I can still use it to talk about that difference, but in a different way. I think realizing the bigger picture that I am writing about has changed how I interact with this text. I may have to start it over again.

This whole pandemic and quarantine has changed so many things. It’s part of why my list has grown. I keep forgetting how many books I already have started and pick up something new. I’m trying to get refocused, get these books read so I can make that progress and move forward.

Finished! The Signature of All Things

The Signature of All Things audiobook cover
Goodreads

The Signature of All Things is a novel by Elizabeth Gilbert. It follows the life of Alma Whittaker from her birth to the later years of her life. It even goes into the details of her father, Henry Whittaker, leading up to her birth. The details of Henry’s life help to explain a lot about his intelligent daughter. Alma grows up to follow in her father’s footsteps as a botanist. In the book we follow her as she grows in knowledge, years, experience, and relationships.

This book takes you all over the world and back again. There were times I felt if I were reading it, I might have gotten a little bored. Just because of the lull in the action, so to speak. But being an audiobook, the narrator did an amazing job of reading, and it kept me engaged the entire time. This is one of the few times where I do not feel the need to read the book. Most of the time I enjoy the audiobook, but crave the immersion that reading a book gives me. Again, the narrator does such an amazing job, I felt completely immersed while I was listening. Well, as immersed as one can be while driving.

Book hopping

Yesterday when I posted my plan to read The Dresden Files as completely as possible, I mentioned something about clearing up my reading list. I thought I’d share what that is right now. Or more accurately, what I’m reading right now.

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

Audiobook cover of The Signature of All Things
Image from Goodreads

This is what I’ve been listening to in the car for a little over a week now. I’m about 61% done and am really enjoying it. It’s a wonderful piece of historical fiction that looks at science and biology before the Civil War in the US. It will probably go through the Civil War, but I’m not up to that point.

I’m looking forward to having the time to sit down and read this later. I love audiobooks, but it is a different experience than sitting and reading the book. Which brings me to my next book.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Cover of Ready Player One
Image from Goodreads.

This past weekend at Marcon, I saw this on a dealer’s table and knew that I should just finally buy the thing. I love listening to Wil Wheaton read this book, but I’ve really been wanting to read, and own, this book. It’s become my “at home” book. I’ve got it with me all the time, but I’m feeling like the place to actually read it is at home. I started to pick up a different book, but found myself really wanting to read this instead. It’s been a while since I’ve had that desire. I missed it.

By reading it, it gives me the time to write down lines that really hit me. It also gives me the time to write down all the cultural references that aren’t explicitly pointed out. I want to see how many I can find myself. I’m hoping to be able to find them all, eventually.

Feed by Mira Grant

Cover for Feed.
Image from Goodreads.

Feed was that other book that I was starting to read when Ready Player One insisted I pick it up.

I’m honestly not sure how often I’ve read this book. Especially since I bought it for my Kindle. Granted, this time I’m a bit inspired by debuting my Becks costume at Marcon this weekend. But this book and the two that follow it are simply so good and well-written that they need no justification to reread multiple times.

I think part of why I enjoy this book so much is that while it’s about zombies, it doesn’t focus on them. It’s about how George and Shaun and Buffy are living in this world where threat of zombie attack is a real thing. Brilliant book.

The Abide Guide by Oliver Benjamin and Dwayne Eutsey

Cover of The Abide Guide.
Image from Goodreads.

After finishing The Dude and the Zen Master, the logical book to read next was The Abide Guide. All that talk about zen and the Dude inspired me to brush up on my Dudeist teachings.

This is a great book. If you enjoy The Big Lebowski and are open-minded when it comes to religion and philosophy and just different ways of living one’s life, then you should read this book. Personally, Dudeism is more of a way of living than a religion for me. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I consider myself a Catholic Dudeist. The two go together really well.

Really, Dudeism goes well with any religion or belief system. Which makes a lot of sense when you think about it. But don’t think too much. If you find yourself tensing up, have a White Russian, relax and just abide.

Skin Game by Jim Butcher

Cover of Skin Game.
Image from Goodreads.

Yes, Skin Game isn’t out yet. (May 27th!!!) But as usual, Jim is posting the first five chapters on his website. So I’m reading those as they get posted. Next week is when chapter five gets posted, but the week after that is when it arrives on my Kindle! Yes, I have pre-ordered the Kindle version of the book. I learned with Cold Days that if I want to read the book anytime soon after it comes out, just getting the Kindle version is the best way. Of course, I’ll also get the paperback when it comes out.

And I will definitely be reading it asap. I can’t continue on with my Dresden Files project until the newest one is read!

So that’s everything I’m reading right now. It might seem like chaos, but I’m loving it!

Read shelf: April

I was just a little busy this past month.

Akira Vol. 1 by Katsuhiro Otomo
Maggie Without a Clue by Kasey Michaels
Undecorate: The No-Rules Approach to Interior Design by Christiane Lemieux
The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Brain Droppings by George Carlin
X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga by Chris Claremont
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
Princess Jellyfish, Vol. 10 by Akiki Higashimura
Napalm and Silly Putty by George Carlin
More Napalm and Silly Putty by George Carlin
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Babe in Boyland by Jody Gehrman
The Red Tent by Anita Diamanat
When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops? by George Carlin

15 books! That’s one book every two days! I have not read that many books in one month since I started keeping track. Possibly ever. Well, at least since I started reading chapter books.

Busy Bookworm: Carlin Crazy

I have been just absorbed by books this week. Four books and two audiobooks in one week! Somehow my bookworm side was tired of being ignored and would no longer take it.

Napalm and Silly Putty by George Carlin More Napalm and Silly Putty by George Carlin
Napalm and Silly Putty, More Napalm and Silly Putty by George Carlin
These two audiobooks are wonderful. They’re mostly bits of his from his shows and albums, but this time he reads them with a calmer voice and as more of the thinker that he is. I love them!

The Jungle Book by Rudyard KiplingThe Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
It was really nice to reread The Jungle Book after many, many years. I was first given the book at Christmas when I was in the 6th grade, and I loved it then. My favorite story of both books, not just this one, is “Rikki Tikki Tavi”. I can’t put my finger on exactly why, but it was and remains my favorite story.

I do find it amusing to read it and see how much Disney sugar-coated Mowgli’s story. I think this was the first time in my life I had that realization. Now I know, Disney makes a movie, know that it’s covered in layers of sugar.
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The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen ChboskyThe Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
This book is sadly a case of watching the movie and noticing in the credits that it was based off the book. Yet again, I have to say that The Book Was Better. There are certain aspects of the book that I can understand being left out. But there was so much more that was conveyed better by the book than the film. It was an amazing film. It is one that I will still be able to fully enjoy after reading the book because it was adapted well, but I do wish I had read the book first. The ending of the book was much better than the movie, in my honest opinion. I’d say more, but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. Go and read it and watch the movie for yourself!
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Babe in Boyland by Jody GehrmanBabe in Boyland by Jody Gehrman
“I need to come up with the most amazing article ever. I know! I’ll become a boy for a week and go to the local boys academy.” That is the premise for this whole book. And you know what, it’s great! This is a great book for all teenagers, boys and girls. Although I can see more girls reading this than guys. But it’s a great book that gives you a good perspective on the opposite gender, no matter what your gender is. I’m almost 30 and it reminded me to simply be myself and not let the expectations of my gender determine who I am. It is a wonderful read.
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The Red Tent by Anita DiamanatThe Red Tent by Anita Diamanat
I loved this book from the moment the audiobook began. This is my first time actually reading the book. It is just as wonderful. It gives you a whole new way of looking at the Old Testament and gives you a better context to put it in.

A look back at April, May, and June

Yeah. Somehow I forgot to post this for three months! I guess I was so focused on getting the SBC done that I totally forgot. Well, it’s done now and I’m not even trying with the SuBC. I’m personally going to keep track of what would fit where, but I doubt I’m going to bother with the challenges again. No matter how hard I try I just can’t get it finished. So I’m simply going to read for me and enjoy myself.

Anyway, here’s my book breakdown for the past three months:
April
Barefoot Gen, Vol. 4: Out of the Ashes by Keiji Nakazawa
The White Dragon by Anne McCaffrey
Ranma 1/2 Vol. 1 by Rumiko Takahashi
Peach Fuzz Vol. 2 by Cibos & Hodges
Legends of the Dark Crystal, Vol. 1 by Barbara Randall Kesel
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour by Brian Lee O’Malley
In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan

May
Feed by Mira Grant
Wide Awake by David Levithan
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
And Another Thing… by Eoin Colfer
Deadline by Mira Grant

June
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi
The Yiddish Policeman’s Union by Michael Chabon
Blackout by Mira Grant
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein
Barefoot Gen, Vol. 5: The Never-Ending War by Keiji Nakazawa
Barefoot Gen, Vol. 6: Writing the Truth by Keiji Nakazawa
Barefoot Gen, Vol. 7: Bones into Dust by Keiji Nakazawa

Now I get to sit back and read whatever I want at whatever speed I want. Yay!

Finished! Catch-22

Synopsis from Goodreads:

At the heart of Catch-22 resides the incomparable, malingering bombardier, Yossarian, a hero endlessly inventive in his schemes to save his skin from the horrible chances of war. His problem is Colonel Cathcart, who keeps raising the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. Yet if Yossarian makes any attempts to excuse himself from the perilous missions that he is committed to flying, he is trapped by the Great Loyalty Oath Crusade, the bureaucratic rule from which the book takes its title: a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but if he makes the necessary formal request to be relieved of such missions, the very act of making the request proves that he is sane and therefore ineligible to be relieved.

Review:
That is an interesting book. There’s only one way to truly describe it. It is a book about the insanity of war. It really reminding me of M*A*S*H. The ridiculous, the serious, the funny, the depressing. It’s all rolled together into one cohesive view of war.
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Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Rating: 4 stars

Doubt

I’m really starting to doubt that I’m going to finish the SBC. That darned 700+ page book task is probably what’s going to kill it for me. I’m only a little over halfway through The Yiddish Policeman’s Union. Even if I can finish that and Blackout by next Saturday, it’ll leave me two weeks to read The Hobbit and His Dark Materials. I’m not giving up, but when I finish The Hobbit and there’s less than a week to go, I’m not even going to try for His Dark Materials. This is definitely the closest I’ve ever gotten though!

Progress

I am so glad I took a break on Catch-22. I’m really getting back into it and I might be able to get it done by Monday. That would be wonderful! It would leave me with just 4 books to read next month, and I know I’ll blow through Blackout. I just don’t know if I’ll be reading our copy or seeing if the library has it.