What I’m Reading Next

pexels-photo-460554.jpeg

The school year is wrapping up and I’m finally reclaiming my time to read as voraciously as I want to. While most of my colleagues are planning their vacations or how they’ll spend time with family, or what shows they’re going to binge on Netflix, I’ve been working on my list of summer reads.

To be fair, I’ve planned all of those other things, as well. I’ve found a cabin to rent on a lake in the middle of nowhere where I intend to read by the water and get a tan and turn off my cell phone. I’ve already planned to watch my way through The Mary Tyler Moore Show this summer. So it just came down to books.

I have a stack of books I have on my TBR and I can’t wait to tear into them. But the books I’m most excited to tear into are ARCs I’ve received that I haven’t had time to read. I can’t wait to spend my days with debut authors and brand new characters.

My next few books on my TBR (in order of release date) are:

The Handsome Girl and her Beautiful Boy by B. T. Gottfred
Just Under the Clouds by Melissa Sarno
Sell All the Stars by Kit Frick
Fresh Ink: An Anthology edited by Lamar Giles
Things I’d Rather Do than Die 
by Christine Deriso

This is on top of the several thousand unread books in my Kindle. (Maybe it’s not that much, but it feels that way when I remember that there are so many and new books coming out every week.)

What’s on your list? What are you excited to read? Give me more recommendations!

Love,
The Plucky Reader

Review – Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

This weekend, I had the immense pleasure of turning 30 and then immediately throwing out my back. It was exactly as much fun as you can imagine. Lying on the couch with no WiFi for hours on end until the repairman could come out. Staring into the void and pondering life’s great questions: Why are we here? Why do we love? Where does that other sock always disappear to?

28870210_10101363046236831_9178162242385489596_n

Bright side, my Kindle was fully charged and loaded with unread books. I’m way behind on my reading for the year–like I need to read eight books in three weeks to catch up behind–so I figured there was no time like the present.

In my muscle relaxer haze, I started Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire.

I’m going to caution you REAL fast. DO NOT READ THIS PARTICULAR BOOK ON A MUSCLE RELAXER. IT WILL NOT BE PRETTY. WHAT DID I DO?

28576196_10101362827100981_4789205672413168984_n

Every Heart a Doorway is a quick read. Seriously. An hour and a half to two hours, if you’re not also enjoying a technicolor joyride of pure, medicated bliss. If you do happen to be falling asleep every few pages, then it may take you longer.

The premise of the book is interesting and captivating and totally not my style, except that it has been recommended highly by literally every one of my favorite book podcasts.

Every Heart a Doorway is about a boarding school for children who have through doorways into other worlds. They have all found their own Narnias, Wonderlands, and 100 Acre Woods in which to dwell. They have also all been unceremoniously forced back into our world.

This school, run by Eleanor West, functions as a support group and rehabilitation center for the victims of Doorway travel. They are taught how to reintegrate with our world and how to deal with the loss of their Doors. The students are offered a loving environment surrounded by people like them, in which to recover from the experiences and learn how to deal with the shock of being sent back.

For a short book, it’s really a complex concept that was beautifully executed.

The story focuses on Nancy, a girl who has recently returned from The Hall of The Dead. From the beginning, the reader gets the sense that Nancy is desperate to return. Nancy is forced to room with a girl named Sumi who seems to be Nancy’s complete opposite. Nancy is describe as statue-like in her stillness, while Sumi is always in motion.

Just as Nancy starts to settle into the school, Sumi is murdered and dark events are set into motion.

Review

I really enjoyed Every Heart a Doorway. It was fast paced and concise. There’s something nice about concision, especially when you need a quick read. McGuire is very conservative with the details in this book and with the character selection of this book. While we get the feeling that the school has a fairly large student body, only the students who are directly involved in the story are mentioned. There are no wasted words for peripheral characters.

I was captivated by this premise. There was something very clinical about McGuire’s presentation of it. It almost read like an allegory for something greater, for some conversation about mental health. There were layers to this very short novel that made me want more, and somehow feel completely satisfied with what it gave me. Maybe that’s the muscle relaxers talking. But still, I loved every minute of it.

Plucky’s Rating?

3.5 stars. It was a fast, but not light read. It was a well-spent afternoon. Nothing life changing. Nothing world altering. But good.

Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge 2018

This year I took part in the 2017 Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge. In fact, I took on the challenge of completing both lists, which was a stretch for me. Somehow, blessedly, I finished both lists and feel like a rock star for it. This year, it seems there’s only the one list and I can’t wait to start figuring out which books I’m going to select for this list. I’ve already picked a few, but I will update this post as I finish up my selections.

The list and more information about the reading challenge can be found here.

reading-challenge-2018-01

Below I’ll list the books I’m selecting for the challenge (and will mark them off as I read them.)

A classic you’ve been meaning to read
Persuasion by Jane Austen

A book recommended by someone with great taste

A book in translation
The Neverending Story by Michael Ende

A book nominated for an award in 2018

A book of poetry, a play, or an essay collection
The Fire This Time edited by Jessamyn Ward

A book you can read in a day
Ferals by Jacob Grey

A book that’s more than 500 pages

A book by a favorite author
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

A book recommended by a librarian or indie bookseller

A banned book
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

A memoir, biography, or book of creative nonfiction

A book by an author of a different race, ethnicity, or religion than your own

First impressions: I’m going to have the most trouble with a book I can read in a day, a book that’s more than 500 pages, and a book by someone with great taste. I’m worried about a book I can read in a day because I’m actually a pretty slow reader. And I’m worried about a book with more than 500 pages because I’m a slow reader. I’m worried about reading a book recommended by somebody with great taste, because I hate everybody’s favorite books.

There was a time when nonfiction would have scared me, but I’ve since found nonfiction books that I love. I’ve found that Laura Hillenbrand reads like a novel. I’ve found that some memoirs are not so bad. (But memoirs on audiobooks can sometimes be insufferable.)

I’m excited to start this challenge this year. Are you taking it? Which books are you including in your challenge? Which books should I include in mine? Leave a comment below!

Yours,
The Plucky Reader

My Year in Books

luke-palmer-305434

A year ago, I graduated with my master’s degree in Reading and Literacy. And I read a surprisingly small amount of books in those two years, considering it was a degree in Reading and Literacy. By the end of the program, excluding the books I had to read for required reading, I’d read twelve books in two years. It was embarrassing, considering books are such a big part of my life.

So I challenged myself to read 25 books this year. That seems like a small goal, I understand, but I work the equivalent of two full-time jobs, so I’m not just swimming in spare time. Also, after two years of really not reading, I wasn’t sure how hard it would be for me to get back into my reading groove.

I joined a reading club. I tracked on Goodreads. I kept track on my MMD Reading Log from her 2017 Reading Challenge. I committed to completing both reading lists. I really worked to make this goal happen.

And some amazing things happened over the course of that year. I read. And I kept reading. And I read and I read and I read. And it was glorious. I listened to audiobooks when I drove and cleaned house and painted. I read before bed and on my lunch break and anytime I had a spare minute.

And right now I’m at 43 books and 13,215 pages for the year. I read poetry and nonfiction and YA. I read memoir. I previewed unreleased books. I had the best reading year. (I will probably end the year with 45 books. I’m in the middle of The Giver on audiobook and All the Light We Cannot See.)

So here is my bookish year in review:

Be Frank With Me by Julia Caliborne Johnson
Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly
News of the World by Paulette Jiles
Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Nevin
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
The Whistler by John Grisham
Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue
The Stranger Beside Me: Ted Bundy The Shocking Inside Story by Ann Rule
The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote
Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies by Michael Ausiello
I Hate Everyone But You by Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin
The Scribe of Siena by Melodie Winawer
The Wright Brothers by David McCullough
The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg
The Glass Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg
The Master Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg
Reading People: How Seeing the World Through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything by Anne Bogel
Nine Stories by J.D. Sallinger
Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile
Solo by Kwame Alexander
Landscape with Invisible Hand by M.T. Anderson
Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
Love Poems by Pablo Neruda
Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave
1984 by George Orwell
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
Starry Night: A Christmas Novel by Debbie Macombie
The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig
The Poetry of Jack Kerouac: Scattered Poems, The Scripture of Golden Eternity, and Old Angel Midnight by Jack Kaerouac

If you’re counting, yes, this is only 42 books. I reread When Dimple Met Rishi because it was just such a fun read. I am a big rereader.

saz-b-484397

So for next year, I’ve challenged myself to read 50 books. I’m doing the Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge this coming year. I’m also going to try to preview a book for every month of the year. It’s a tall order, but I’m going to challenge myself. That’s how we grow and evolve. That’s how we make ourselves into better versions of ourselves.

How was your reading year? Do you feel successful in your endeavors? Tell me all about it.

Yours,
The Plucky Reader