Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Summer Reading


I posted a little while ago on Instagram about what I've been reading lately - most of it nonfiction about the Holocaust and the Second World War - and while meaningful and necessary, it has been grueling.  I'd been searching for books to read along with them which were a bit lighter, and which provided an escape from the heavy material.

Strangely, the ordered world of mystery novels fit the bill exactly, and I finally made it through The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling) and have started in on the second novel in the series.  Is it always the most well-written? No.  I enjoyed reading it on my phone (!) as I waited for the train and while at 30,000 feet - I ended up getting it through 3M, quickly and efficiently, which is how my library mostly does e-books.

My more pressing concern: I know the characters fall into certain tried-and-true categories, but I would love to see Ms. Rowling write a mystery novel where the female character isn't the blonde secretary or the doddy/anxious stay-at-home mom.  I sometimes thought it would have been a more interesting read if Cormoran Strike were a woman - a veteran, not conventionally attractive, an amputee, slightly overweight, not always agreeable but focused and valuable... How many female protagonists have we read like that?

And yet. Are there publishers who would go for that sort of woman? Are there any books out there like that now? I can only really think of the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovitch.  I'll be on the lookout for more.


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Websites I Love That Aren't About Books

This week's Top Ten Tuesday was a breath of fresh spring air - ten websites we love that have nothing to do with books.  Well, I can't say these sites never mention books, but they're ones I go to again and again for a variety of different reasons.  Without further ado, and in no particular order...

When I want something minimalist without going crazy:
Reading My Tea Leaves

When I need to slow down and listen to a slightly silly podcast:
Slow Your Home

When I want to read an essay that speaks to my humanity:
C. Jane Kendrick

When I want some inspiration for being more financially savvy:
Budgets Are Sexy

When I want to feel luxe:
Bois de Jasmin

When my roommate talks at extreme volume and I need to work:
Coffivity

When I want to love the city I'm in, without spending all my $$:
the skint

When I need some new threads*:
ThredUp

When I need a different perspective:
Colorlines

When I'm in the mood for a virtual trip abroad:
Aspiring Kennedy

What non-bookish websites do you love?

*referral link! means if you click and end up buying something, you get $10 and so do I - not too shabby. 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Hello from the other side!

My first year of graduate school is done, which is incredible and almost unbelievable.  I'm genuinely happy to have chosen my program, and while the past year has been mental, it's also been more wonderful than I had thought it would be.  There have been lots of busy days and nights, lots of uncertainties, but also real strides and progress.

So...so far so good.

But what have you been reading, Cornelia?!

Well, this is the part where I flop.  Not much - lots of rereading books, since after long, long days filled with different kinds of reading assignments, I was too exhausted to try anything new or stick with it.  Magazines hit the spot on very early weekend mornings before doing a million things.  However, I have been dabbling, thanks to browsing around once a week at the library.

I started to read The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith/JK Rowling and am sticking with it.  Having read many a detective-crime novel, I don't see what everyone went crazy-angry about.  This is a mystery - it's not meant to be another Harry Potter.  The characters are engaging and different, relatable and also captured well (classic JK Rowling) and I like the plot so far.  The only downside is the hardcover is a door-stop and hard to carry around.

I've also begun Until We Are Free by Shirin Ebadi.  I read Iran Awakening in 2003, and as a young teenager found her account of her life and work to be inspiring, compelling, and frightening.  I haven't picked up her work since then, until I saw this one sitting out at the library.  A Nobel Peace Prize winner and phenomenal woman - if you haven't heard of her, check out her work and her writing.

That's all from me - still getting used to the change in season.  Life is more relaxed but still busy, and I'm relieved that the weather is finally nice enough to read outside.

What are you reading this first Monday in May?

Monday, April 25, 2016

National Poetry Month: Fourth


This April, in honor of National Poetry Month, I'm posting a poem a week.  There are too many good ones out there to post them all, but this one stuck into me when I read it.  Short and to the point.  It's by Ko Un, called Asking the Way.

Monday, April 18, 2016

National Poetry Month: Third


In honor of National Poetry Month, this April I'm posting a poem every Monday. This week it's one by Meena Alexander, from Raw Meditations on Money, 1. She Speaks: A School Teacher from South India.  Go read something good for your soul.

Monday, April 11, 2016

National Poetry Month: Second


In honor of National Poetry Month, I'm posting a poem a week instead of my usual post.  This week it's Covenant by Alan R. Shapiro - a long one, and a bit of a doozy, but intimate and almost Norman Rockwell-ish in the way it immediately captures family and siblings.

Monday, April 4, 2016

National Poetry Month: First


In honor of National Poetry Month, this April I'm going to be posting a poem (or a link to a poem) a week instead of my usual post.  I've only got four weeks, but I hope I'll get in some good ones, on and off of the blog.  First up is Maya Angelou's Awaking in New York, over at the Poetry Foundation website.  Go read something good for your soul.