Tag Archives: fall

Auld Lang Syne, Already!

Happy 2016, book lovers and other ne’er-do-wells! Another year, another post about how quickly each year seems to go, etc. Last I checked in with the book blog, I had just completed and reviewed Sharp Objects as the summer started to wind down. A lot has happened since then! This past fall I started taking art classes at a local community college. I also did my first makers’ fair downtown and my first gallery showing (the same week, to boot!). I recently got a promotion at work, too, so I have been making a few preparations for that. 2015 ended on a high note for me, though I know it was a hard one for many. Love and light to everyone in this brand new year, I hope it is kind to each of you. ♥

I managed to complete ~12 books this year! What with all the drawings and night classes and side hustles, I think that’s actually rather good. Here are the last ~6 books I read in 2015, and a few notes on each one:

#7. Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham: I did not think I liked Lena Dunham after my annoyance with Tiny Furniture at SXSW several years back, but this book is very good. I feel like she has grown a lot as a person since that film’s premiere, and she talks about that in the memoir. I listened to this book via Overdrive (of course!), which was extra enjoyable, as she narrates her own life story with earnest humor and warmth. Dunham weaves personal vignettes together to create a surprisingly universal understanding of girlhood, womanhood, and the in-between spaces of awkwardness and hope.

#8. Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple: This book’s format is quite inventive! Constructed out of seemingly unrelated emails, advertisements, and newspaper clippings, the story highlights one young girl’s attempts to locate her mother after she disappears from a cruise ship bound for Antarctica.

#9. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger: My favorite fiction novel of the year! Above all else, it is a very affecting love story, and if you’re into that kind of thing I recommend you stop what you are doing to read and/or listen to it at once. (Again, Overdrive.)

#10. Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan: A nonfiction memoir based on medical research, family and friend accounts, and her own bizarre writings from the period of time Cahalan was in the throes of undiagnosed Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis. The disease caused drastic system upheavals, hallucinations, violent outbursts, and memory loss. The book details the process of her diagnosis, treatment, and recovery.

#11. Tampa by Alissa Nutting: One of the reviews of this book is that it is “sly and salacious storytelling” and it certainly is. A young English teacher is way too into her prepubescent male students. Chaos ensues.

#12. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo: This is my favorite nonfiction book of the year, and probably the one that has truly affected my life the most. The #KonMari Method has changed the way I do laundry, buy goods, clean house, and value the things I own. It has affected my views on pretty much everything material about my life! The basic premise is this: only keep things in your home that bring you joy. Make the most of your space by making sure you actually love the things surrounding you. It is amazing how much stuff we hold onto that has already gone well beyond serving its purpose. My husband Joe has embraced the method alongside me, and I can tell you that our closets, cupboards, and shelves have never been in better shape. The tidying has had obvious physical benefits — yay, fewer daily chores! — but it has also had an influence on our spirits. We have felt much lighter and freer, depending less on our possessions. It is an excellent little book to have at your side if you have ever felt overwhelmed by clutter.

Honorable Mention: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by  Alan Bradley. I almost finished this one by the end of 2015. (I seriously have less than 2 hours on the audiobook!) It’s a fun little period piece, a postwar British murder mystery as told by a poison-obsessed eleven-year-old.

May this year bring you great stories and plenty of piping hot tea!

reading into 2016

xo – Sarah


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Fall Favorites: #21. The Gates & #22. The Long Halloween

fall fave booksI took a break last week from American Gods to read some Halloween fare: The Gates By John Connolly and The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale. The Gates is an entertaining story about a young boy named Samuel who stumbles upon a demonic plot to overthrow Earth while trick-or-treating three days before Halloween. (He feels his early attempts will be admired for his “initiative.”) A portal to the gates of Hell is opened when a “bit” out of the Large Hadron Collider flies off and winds up in the basement of bored suburbanites performing strange rituals, you know, just to liven things up a bit. Samuel spends the next three days trying to warn the town about the oncoming disaster and ultimately turns to his friends, his small dog, a misplaced minor demon named Nurd, and the CERN team in Switzerland to help vanquish his monstrous foes. This is is a fun, lighthearted, read that’s great for Halloween or any pleasant fall weekend.

The Long Halloween is a Batman graphic novel that takes place shortly after the events of Batman: Year One. A mysterious serial killer shows up on the scene who murders mob members and corrupt officials on major holidays, starting with Halloween night. The Holiday Killer eludes Gotham police, DA Harvey Dent, and Batman himself for nearly a year as they struggle through each calendar month, anticipating the next strike.

This novel explores Batman’s rogues gallery of madmen and supervillains as Gotham’s criminal element moves away from organized crime and more into the chaotic crime sprees of Joker, Poison Ivy, Scarecrow, and others more typically associated with Batman’s canon. Gordon remarks to Batman, as they walk through Arkham Asylum, “So many are here. Nearly double from when you first appeared. Not that there is a direct correlation, but…do you give it any thought?” To which Batman, guided so intensely by his desire to rid Gotham of the evil that runs through the city’s veins, simply answers, “No.” The idea that Batman has created his own most diabolical enemies is a long-running one, and such a dark implication in Batman’s pursuit of justice only deepens the complexity of his character. The illustrations are mind-bogglingly stylized, and I especially love the massive foliage design of Poison Ivy. Batman fans, either new to the world or dyed-in-the-wool, must read this story.

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