Posts Categorized: Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading This Week?

August 18, 2014 Books, Meme 2

HAPPY MONDAY!!!!!!

Do I sound excited? For a Monday? Yeah, I thought so. I don’t get to start today like planned, dang HR department and their forms, so I get a couple days off before starting my job. It’s okay, I’ll take them.

Bout of Books starts today!!!! I’ll be reading the day away, while doing some neglected chores. Bah.

Exciting news!

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A More Diverse Universe

One of my most favorite things in the blogging world and Aarti just made it even better because it is longer!

Info:

It’s time to sign up to participate in A More Diverse Universe!  Thanks to the glorious talents of Sandstone78, we have loads of buttons and banners for you to use wherever you would like.  Use any of the ones you see on this post and go crazy!

For those who have not heard about #Diversiverse before, it’s a very simple challenge.  For those of you who have participated in the past, it’s even easier this year.  The criteria are as follows:

  • Read and review one book

  • Written by a person of color

  • During the last two weeks of September (September 14th – 27th) 

I’m going to be going through my shelves to find a few books to read.  A few have already come to mind. Come on, click the link above and join in!

Happy reading!

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Hosted weekly by super-awesome Sheila from BookJourney.

 

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Bout of Books 11

August 14, 2014 Books, Reading Challenges 8

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Y’all! It’s that time again! You know I can’t miss a good readathon. Assuming I’m of sound mind to read next week, here’s my pool. Plus maybe a couple others. You know how I roll.

I’ve already started Gutenberg’s Apprentice, so that will probably be my main book, but, as I do when I’m reading loooooong books (and yo, this book is SUPER LONG), I’ll be going back and forth between it and another. I’m already reading Tiny Beautiful Things as well, so that will be my starting go-between. I definitely want to hit up Sweet Tooth, to get Andi OFF MY BACK ALREADY, and figure Sweetness #9 will be a good followup to that. I’m still digging the nonfic, so I threw It Looked Different on the Model to stir things up a bit. Lastly, RIP starts NEXT WEEK, so I threw in something that looks a wee bit spooky; The Supernatural Enhancements. All in all, I think this is a good mix of books and dude. I CANNOT WAIT. Join me?

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The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 18th and runs through Sunday, August 24th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 11 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

 

 

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading This Week?

August 11, 2014 Books, Meme 8

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OMG Y’all. I’m so excited and I just can’t hide it. I’m so excited; I CAN’T EVEN READ.

I start a new job next Monday. At a university. I’m so excited. Seriously.

I AM SO EXCITED.

I did manage to finish The Paper Magician last week. I enjoyed it very much. This week, I’ve been puttering through East of Eden (THAT CATHY! GRRR.) and I started Blood of My Blood by Barry Lyga, the last in Jasper Dent trilogy. When I sit down and read it, it holds my attention, but then my mind wanders and it’s all over. I just can’t concentrate for long.

I’m so nervous and excited and worried and, well, just being typical Heather. Hopefully I’ll settle down soon, but I doubt it.

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Hosted weekly by super-awesome Sheila from BookJourney.

 

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The Fever by Megan Abbott

August 8, 2014 Book Reviews, Books 10 ★★★★

The Fever by Megan AbbottThe Fever
by megan abbott
Published by Little Brown and Company
on June 17th 2014
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
four-stars
The panic unleashed by a mysterious contagion threatens the bonds of family and community in a seemingly idyllic suburban community.

The Nash family is close-knit. Tom is a popular teacher, father of two teens: Eli, a hockey star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie's best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school and community.

As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town's fragile idea of security.

 

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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As we read in Ms. Abbott’s guest post yesterday, The Fever deals with hysteria and how it is a “woman’s disease.”

There’s no easy answer to that question and no easy way to talk about the long and twisty history of hysteria and women.  On the most basic level, how many women out there have been told, when expressing anger, or even a firmly held opinion, has been told they are being “hysterical”? It’s a loaded term, and it always will be.

The Fever, set in a small town high school, is the perfect place to breed rumors and panic. When Deenie Nash’s best friend Lise collapses in the middle of class, no one knows what to think. The hospital won’t release any information. No one is allowed to see Lise. Then Deenie’s friend Gabby has a similar episode. Then another girl. Then another. Before the fever is spreading like wildfire among the girls at the school and parents are panicking. Could it be the nasty local lake? Is it the HPV vaccine? Is it a virus? ARE THEY ALL GOING TO DIE?

I read The Fever on my vacation and it was the perfect time to do so. As soon as I picked it up, I didn’t want to put it down. From the beginning of the book, there are questions that I couldn’t wait to have answered. What happened to Lise? The other girls? Is there a disease spreading amongst the school and why is it only the girls? And why is Deenie the only girl NOT getting sick? Abbott keeps the narrative tight and twisty. It was a delight for me, a reader who likes the occasional dark plot line and has a morbid sense of humor. This pretty much made The Fever a delight for me and Megan Abbott is now officially on my watch list.

Would you like to win a copy of The Fever? The publisher was kind enough to give me an extra copy of the book, so I’m giving away BOTH. Fill out the Rafflecopter and enter to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Guest Post: Megan Abbott, author of The Fever

August 7, 2014 Books 4

Guest Post: Megan Abbott, author of The Fever
The panic unleashed by a mysterious contagion threatens the bonds of family and community in a seemingly idyllic suburban community.

The Nash family is close-knit. Tom is a popular teacher, father of two teens: Eli, a hockey star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie's best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school and community.

As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town's fragile idea of security.

Please join me in welcoming Megan Abbott, author of The Fever! She gracious provided me with this amazing guest post with her thoughts on hysteria and women.


In recent weeks, since The Fever has come out, more than once someone has started to ask me a question about hysteria, then stopped him or herself and rephrased the question, or put the word in “air quotes.” One asked me, cautiously, when I myself used the word, “Isn’t that a sexist term?

There’s no easy answer to that question and no easy way to talk about the long and twisty history of hysteria and women.  On the most basic level, how many women out there have been told, when expressing anger, or even a firmly held opinion, has been told they are being “hysterical”? It’s a loaded term, and it always will be.

The preferred medical terms for the kind of hysteria I write about in The Fever are conversion disorder, which refers to uncontrollable and very real physical symptoms deriving from a psychological cause, and mass psychogenic illness for instances when these symptoms then spread to multiple individuals. (Conversion disorder is the individual diagnosis; when it spreads, it’s called mass psychogenic illness). In many ways, both are much more sophisticated and serious versions of conditions we all understand: you’re nervous about public speaking and you lose your voice. You’re under stress at work and you become nauseated. And, in terms of the mass variation, someone sneezes or yawns, and so do you. Or, in a more extreme form, someone smells a strange odor at the office and becomes ill. Soon enough, others smell it too. Become dizzy. Become sick. Hysteria, right?

Yes, and no. The word hysteria has in fact out of favor among health/mental health professionals. Perhaps because of its complicated history and definitely because it’s a term that has been used to describe so many different nervous conditions and it’s so culturally laden that it’s become meaningless. The primary reason for rejecting the term “hysteria” is due to its complicated history during which, for centuries, it was used to punish and pathologize women.

Hysteria as a term dates back at least as far as 1900 B.C., when “hysteria”— a nervous disorder with symptoms including seizures and a feeling of suffocation— was believed to be caused by the movement of the uterus from its normal place within the body (the word itself derives from hystera, the Latin word for womb). In ancient Egypt, cures were proffered:  perfumes could fumigate the woman’s body to draw the uterus back up into position, or potions could be taken orally to drive the uterus back down into position. Plato even writes of the displaced uterus as caused by women’s lack of sexual activity. The remedy? Marriage and pregnancy

Over the centuries it has taken many forms, but hysteria has consistently been considered a “women’s disease” and each era’s interpretation seem to reflect that era’s own anxieties about women. In the Middle Ages, hysteria was blamed on witchcraft and demonic possession. In the 17th century, hysteria was thought to be a brain disorder: women easily “catch” hysteria because they have more delicate constitutions. In the Victorian era, in many ways the “heyday” of hysteria and a time of particularly conservative gender ideals, the condition took on moral overtones with many doctors blaming hysteria’s prevalence on troubling female sexual behavior and the woman’s innate capacity to deceive.

At the end of the nineteenth-century and into the twentieth century, Sigmund Freud intervened and offered a different interpretation, seeing hysteria as the result of emotional crisis. He believed “hysterics” had suffered some kind unresolved trauma or intense conflict that then took physical form: nervous tics, losing one’s voice, etc. Working with patients, he strove to trace hysteria back to its first onset as a means of cure. Uncover the trauma and begin to work towards healing. Much of Freud’s work with “hysterics” still suffered from the prejudices of the era and Freud’s own strict notions of sexual development, but he did free hysteria from past associations with immorality or degeneracy. He believed so-called hysterics were normal people who suffered from a blocked or fragmented thinking caused by trauma. And women were more likely to suffer because they suffered greater social repression.

In The Fever, the role trauma may play in the condition “seizing” the girls—including Deenie’s close friends—emerges slowly. But in terms of the way the condition spreads, I was very compelled by theories suggesting why conversion disorder and mass psychogenic illness are in fact more common among women and girls (even if it’s not exclusive to them). There are many theories, including that these conditions are more common in repressive or restrictive environments and women, historically, have been placed more commonly in these environments. Or that mass cases occur among girls and women because they are more likely to empathize with one another. Or that it’s not necessarily more common among females; it’s just that women may be more likely to seek help for their conditions. Sociologist Robert Bartholomew, an expert in mass psychogenic illness, told me that at least part of it has to do with “how females are socialized to internalize stress.” Further, pointing to the dramatically high prevalence of mass psychogenic illness cases in Malaysia, he notes that females there are “taught to obey authorities, and believe they are mentally inferior to males … They are also at the bottom of the power hierarchy.” Ironically, the outbreak becomes a way for females with no voice to have a voice. During an outbreak, suddenly everyone begins listening to them.

(One sidenote: one must also consider the role of gender bias in diagnosis. There have been many studies about conversion disorder in men, particularly veterans. Further, cases of MPI have been known to occur among men in the military, further suggesting gender has nothing to do with it, but repressive/restrictive atmospheres and individuals under stress and in close proximity may be the real culprits.)

I’m barely scratching the surface here in terms of the complicated relationship between women and hysteria, and The Fever only considers a corner of it, but it’s fascinating to think more about it and I’d love to hear what you all think.

Thank you, Heather!

Thank you Megan! Come back tomorrow for my review of The Fever AND a giveaway!

 

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Audiobook: Thirteenth Child by Patricia C. Wrede, read by Amanda Ronconi

August 5, 2014 Audio Books, Book Reviews, Books 5 ★★★★

Audiobook: Thirteenth Child by Patricia C. Wrede, read by Amanda RonconiThirteenth Child
by Patricia C. Wrede
Narrator: Amanda Ronconi
Length: 9 hours, 32 minutes
Series: Frontier Magic #1
on 06-05-13
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Pages: 344
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
Goodreads
Buy the Book
four-stars
Eff was born a thirteenth child. Her twin brother, Lan, is the seventh son of a seventh son. This means he's supposed to possess amazing talent -- and she's supposed to bring only bad things to her family and her town. Undeterred, her family moves to the frontier, where her father will be a professor of magic at a school perilously close to the magical divide that separates settlers from the beasts of the wild.

If I could tell you about this book in a mathematical sentence, it would be:

Harry Potter + Laura Ingalls Wilder = Thirteeth Child.

OR, if you listen to the audiobook:

Harry Potter + Laura Ingalls Wilder + Firefly = Thirteeth Child.

To my tired and angsty ridden summer induced coma of a brain, this book was a breath of fresh air. The magical aspects aren’t really as IN YOUR FACE as they are in Harry Potter and the frontier life isn’t as IN YOUR FACE as Laura Ingalls Wilder. They come together in a brilliant way that I found highly enjoyable though.

Eff comes from a large family. So large in fact, that she is a thirteenth child and her twin, Lan, is a fourteeth child. If you know your magic, you’ll know that seventh sons are typically a powerful bunch. Lan, is a seventh son. He’s also the seventh son OF a seventh son. This makes him extra special powerful in the eyes of all the magicians around him. Also, if you know anything about the number thirteen, you’ll know it’s typically considered unlucky.

Eff is considered unlucky. Very, very unlucky.

The prejudice surrounding Eff in the town and her own aunts, uncles, and cousins, who are certain she will “go bad”, aids in prompting her parents to move out to the frontier with the children who haven’t left the family home. Here is where “Laura” meets “Harry”; Eff’s father takes a job as a professor of magic, at a frontier school. For magic. So the family heads off to the wild frontier where mammoths roam, steam dragons soar, and where Eff will learn just who she is and what she will become. I loved the way Wrede played with prejudice and preconceived notions and how the ideas of others can interfere with the idea one has of oneself. Poor Eff. She’s called unlucky, evil, and even told that her parents should have killed her as a baby before she can barely talk. She has no confidence in herself or in her abilities. She’s terrified to let anyone know what she really is. What happens in the course of the story, which is basically a coming-of-age-story for Eff, is, well, I can’t exactly tell you that, can I? Do you want to know if Eff finds the courage to accept herself and to see if she tries to find out what she can become?

You know the drill. Read it!

Or better yet, listen to it! Amanda Ronconi was the PERFECT choice for reading this novel. Her voice had the perfect amount of midwest twang. I swear, she reminded me so much of Kaylee from Firefly, which, yeah, made me love it more. Just a fantastic read and I can’t wait to listen to the next one.

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading This Week?

August 4, 2014 Books, Meme 8

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Goooooooooooooooooood morning friends! It’s Monday! And I had a fantastic reading weekend! It’s like, all I did. Really. And laid on the couch complaining about wicked things like gluten.

Yes, I ate something I shouldn’t have. Remind me to never do that again.

So, to the good parts of the weekened. I read almost two books. One, Spoiled Brats, was freaking hilarious. The other, The Paper Magician, is, so far, pretty dang awesome. I’m still listening to East of Eden, and will be for awhile (!), but don’t let that bit of snark fool you – I’m pretty much loving it.

Cinnamon and Gunpowder fell to the wayside a bit. Probably a mood thing, but I’ll get back to it.

Next, I’m not sure what I’m reading. These next few weeks are going to be a little turbulent for me, nothing to worry about and more news on that later, but I’m going to be a bit scatterbrained. Er…well, moreso than usual. Reading will definitely be whatever grabs me by the hair and won’t let go because I’m pretty sure I’ll have the attention span of a sugar crazed 5-year-old in the candy store.

What are you reading this week? What has GRABBED YOU BY THE HAIR? I may need ideas.

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Hosted weekly by super-awesome Sheila from BookJourney.

 

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Monthly Wrap Up – July 2014

August 1, 2014 Books, Monthly Wrap Up 5

OMG y’all! It’s August! Whiskey Tango Foxtrot! I can’t believe it. We’re over halfway to Christmas! …. Wow. That was depressing. Let’s review my awesome July instead.

62. The Book of Life (All Soul’s 3) by Deborah Harkness
63. The Green Mile by Stephen King
64. Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
65. Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman
66. The Insects of Love by Genevieve Valentine
67. Y the Last Man, Deluxe Edition, Book 3 by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra
68. The Fever by Megan Abbott
69. Thirteenth Child by Patricia C. Wrede
70. I Was Told There’d be Cake by Sloane Crosley

I am so happy with my July! My favorites were easily The Green Mile and Saving CeeCee Honeycutt. Y the Last Man 3 was great. I can’t wait to get the next one. The Fever was better than expected (more on that next week) and Thirteenth Child (also more next week) was wesome. I Was Told There’d be Cake was a riot. The only disappointments was Doroth Must Die really.

What will August bring? And end to East of Eden for sure. I think I’ll be sad to finish that one. I hope to finish Cinnamon and Gunpowder, which I’m loving. I have so many books to read, as usual, that I don’t quite know where I’ll land after ever book, but I’m hoping August is as good as this month!

How was your reading month? What was your favorite book of July?

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East of Eden , Discussion 1

July 31, 2014 Books, Reading Challenges 1

EastofEden
 
Yesterday was the first installment of our East of Eden Readalong with the Estella Project! Holy cow you guys! I’m loving this novel!
 
Watch out a few spoilers from the first section.

1. What do you think of the style of Steinbeck’s writing? Readable and awesome or slow and slogging?

I’m enjoying the heck out of it. I swear I am and I’m so shocked! I’ve tried to read this book before but never got anywhere. Maybe it’s because I’m listening to it this time and the reader is awesome? Yeah, that is probably it. It’s readable and awesome now.

2. We have a wicked case of sibling rivalry going on here. What are your thoughts on Adam’s and Charles’ relationship thus far? Their father’s influence?

Wow, that a contentious relationship. I would have been crazy scared of Charles if I’d had to grow up with him! It all seems to come down to Cyrus and his obvious affection for Adam and lack thereof for Charles. Charles so clearly adored his father and was mostly scorned. Adam was terrified of Cyrus and Cyrus adored him. Justa recipe for disaster when you have a kid as screw-loosed as Charles!

3. Just….Cathy. Expound.

What a beast! I can’t wait to learn more about her. She’s just diabolical. She has no reason to be so nutty. She had good parents (who maybe “spared the rod” a bit too much?) and a good upbringing. By all appearances, she didn’t want for anything. So, she was obviously born psychotic. So I’m looking forward to figuring how where her machinations come from.

4. It remains to be seen how Samuel Hamilton’s brood will play into the story. Any guesses?

Oh, I love Samuel! I want more of the Hamiltons! I keep wondering about them, as we’ve had such small teasings about all of them. Seeing as how Samuel Hamilton is based on Steinbeck’s own maternal grandfather, I see them having a huge part soon. Can’t wait!

See you next week for the next installment!

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading This Week?

July 28, 2014 Books, Meme 12

Woooo Monday! Here you are again! And today will be a good Monday, WON’T IT MONDAY?

This past week as been all about getting back from the beach. Unpacking, washing, finding what’s missing…so that’s why I was missing. Just didn’t have time to blog! Ugh! But, things seem to be settling into some sort of normal disorder, and yo! I have time! So! What have I been reading?

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A mixed bag. I was on the verge of a funk. So, I picked up some nonfiction, of the narrative sort. I Was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley was just what the doctor ordered. So completely funny. If I ever wrote a book of personal essays, I would hope it would be this good.

Last night, while the iPad charged, I picked up a stack of books to read through and, surprisingly enough, the first book grabbed me despite myself. I started This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers. Honestly, I kept wanting to put it down, but I just kept reading until I’d read 58 pages. In less than 30 minutes, which for me, is fast. I’m going to have to stick this one out because I HAVE TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS. Did you know this book is about a suicidal teen living during the Zombie apocalypse? How do you put that down?

Lastly, since I finished listening to Thirteenth Child by Patricia C. Wrede, I finally dove into East of Eden by John Steinbeck. I’ve tried to read this book several times and I am now further than I have ever been before. I’m surprised by how much I’m enjoying it, so I will happily keep going.

Up next, I hope to get through the first two books (East of Eden will take FOREVER), so I can start…something. If the funk is cured, I want to start either Sweetness #9 by Stephan Eirik Clark or The Future for Curious People by Gregory Sherl. If not, I have some more narrative nonfiction laying around to try. Here’s hoping it’s cured!

What are YOU reading this week?

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Hosted weekly by super-awesome Sheila from BookJourney.

 

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