BookRiot’s Read Harder Challenge 2017

RHC_cover_pinterestWell, after flirting with some Litsy reading challenges for a while, I decided to only do the BookRiot Read Harder Challenge this year.

Now, as a voracious reader and bookseller who acquires many galleys, I don’t need to do it to read more. I wanted to do it to promote more books and try to give incentive to YOU guys, people who do want to be more challenged with their reading goals. But I am getting something out of it too.

For example, below are the books on the Challenge that will be the hardest for me to read:

  • A book about sports – HAHA no way! Not for me! But then I was recommended a book about swimming called Swimming Studies, so that may be it for me.
  • A book you’ve read before – I’m not a re-reader unless I’m feeling super nostalgic, so I’m thinking it’s been a while since my last Inkheart read (my favorite book from childhood). Although I could have picked something shorter!
  • A non fiction book about technology – this sounds more like one for my husband, who is going to try to read 12 books on the Challenge. Still stumped on what I will pick!
  • A book where a person of color goes on a spiritual journey – this one is going to be the Alchemist for me, especially since I just bought it and have been hand selling it to customers for a while!

Which ones have I completed so far? As far as having read the whole book, I’ve only finished two: A classic by a person of color and a book of short stories by women, which were Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe and The Dark and Other Love Stories by Deborah Willis respectively. I’ll be keeping you posted throughout the year though, and promoting galleys and books being published soon that fit the categories over at Magers & Quinn in the coming months!

Will you join the Challenge with me? Or are you doing a different challenge of your own? Let me know in the comments! 



What I’m Currently Reading (March ’17)

Well guys, it’s 2017 and we made it through January and February. While I probably don’t need to tell you how derailed I was from reading, blogging, and generally being motivated to give my 100% to celebrating books, now that I’m back from Italy and my activism has settled to a happy medium, I’m diving back into blogging again (huzzah!)

Get ready for some great posts coming up, including (hopefully) a giveaway or two!! Also, April is shaping up to be a FANTASTIC month of literary events, so get ready to hear about a bunch of those too.

So, what am I reading right now? Well, being in a bit of a funk, I’ve had to pick up many books that I’ve only made it a few pages into…

exit west

Exit West
by Mohsin Hamid (Riverhead Books)

This book came out this month and I was NOT prepared. Having not brought any print galleys with me to Italy, I picked this up the day before it was released and fell in loooooooove. (But then promptly lost my motivation to read but we won’t speak of the why). About a man and woman in an undisclosed Middle Eastern country/city, they fall in love and are transported to other places across the world through portals, though I haven’t gotten to that part yet. The sentences are gorgeous and the prose is so poetic it doesn’t feel like I’m even reading a novel. Pick this one up, guys. It’s also very short at only 240 pages!

indigenous peoples historyAn Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

I’ve been slowly making my way through this one for a few months, ever since I saw Roxanne speak at an event here in Minneapolis! She’s an amazing person and it was moving to hear her talk amidst so much turmoil happening at Standing Rock. This is an excellent read to give you context if you’re involved at all in the peaceful protests or want to show your support beyond donating. Education is important! I’ve already learned so much in just the first chapter.

impossibleThe Impossible Fairy Tale by Han Yujoo (Graywolf Press)

This is a book by one of my favorite independent presses that came out last week! It’s the story of a nameless Child and another little girl and I really can’t say much before spoilers become an issue. It’s creepy, beautiful, but not for everyone. I haven’t finished it yet since I started reading it before leaving for Italy!

love medLove Medicine by Louise Erdrich

This is the book for my bookclub coming up soon! (If you’re interested in coming, let me know!) I can’t believe it’s my first Erdrich. Unfortunately though, I haven’t gotten very far in it, so wish me luck!

difficult womenDifficult Women by Roxane Gay (Grove Press)

Roxane Gay will always be one of my favorite writers after I read Bad Feminist, but this collection of short stories about women is a treat. I started reading this in Italy and realized how much I love short story collections. These stories about women are raw, moving, and visceral, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this to anyone a fan of Roxane Gay and others like her.

what we do nowWhat We Do Now: Standing Up For Your Values in Trump’s America by Dennis Johnson (Melville House)

I’ve been reading this smart book of essays one by one. It’s different from the Trump Survival Guide that I read right around Inauguration Day because this is not written by one author but many. I’ve been hearing a lot of great feedback about this one, and it’s excellent so far.

the passageThe Passage (The Passage, #1) by Justin Cronin (Ballantine Books)

I started reading this thriller/horror apocalyptic novel about VAMPIRES (never thought I’d be reading another one of those) while in Italy because it was on my Kindle for $2 and because I can’t stand looking at that beautiful cover and not reading it. But it’s soooo loooong. I read maybe 1/6th of it before I had to quit because it was too depressing to be reading while on vacation. I’ll return to it soon!

why i'm not a femWhy I Am Not a Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto by Jessica Crispin (Melville House)

This is a difficult read for me, and one I may not finish. I’m all about reading the other POV to gain knowledge and learn criticism, but I can’t help but think that feminists and women don’t need more flack than they already get. I do understand why she has qualms with mainstream feminism though, which is why I wanted to read it. Perhaps I’ll return, perhaps not, but know it’s going to be a controversial one for every feminist or woman who wishes she could call herself so.

That it’s for now… though knowing my reading habits, I’ll probably pick up a new book tomorrow. Until then, happy reading!

What are you reading right now? Leave me a note in the comments! 


Review: Scratch by Steve Himmer

scratchReview: Scratch by Steve Himmer (Dark House Press, 200 pages)

Goodreads synopsis: Martin Blaskett moves to a small town to oversee construction of a housing development, where he encounters a shape-shifting figure from local legend—Scratch. He is taken under the wing of his new neighbor, a retired hunting guide named Gil Rose, and befriends a local woman named Alison. Along the way, trouble ensues as Scratch feels threatened by changes to the landscape, luring locals out into the woods, including Alison’s son. As the blame for a range of events falls at Martin’s feet, he is beset by increasingly inhuman dreams, and comes to doubt his own innocence. A literary novel of wilderness noir that engages the supernatural elements of folklore in the manner of magical realism, Scratch explores the overlapping layers of history, ecology, and storytelling that make up a place.

Recommended for: Nature lovers, readers of creepy, surreal, horror, or mysterious books, books perfect for October.

This enchanting book follows main character Martin via a mysterious, unknown and unreliable narrator. The reader meets Martin just as he’s come to a small town to build a housing complex in the woods nearby, and he lives in a trailer next to Gil, a retired hunting guide. He learns of the legend of Scratch, a strange, shape-shifting creature in the forest whose presence many blame for people’s disappearances, until someone actually goes missing. What happens next as Martin’s dreams become more and more surreal and indistinguishable from reality is dark, philosophical, and completely unexpected.

Himmer does a lot with the legend of Scratch and expertly so, weaving magical realism, supernatural wilderness, and the thrill of a nature horror novel together to create this captivating story. He sets up the story well, and though at moments it gets slow and may disappoint readers more accustomed to traditional horror, the imagery captures expertly the psychological darkness Martin experiences in the forest at night. Though Martin is not particularly the most likeable character, through Himmer’s stunning prose the reader is transported to the forest too, experiencing all the uncomfortable sensations Martin is going through right along with him.

This is an intriguing, beautiful tale of the mysteries of natureparticularly the forestand mankind’s role amongst the creatures who make the woods their home. Part literary, part noir, part horror, Scratch is gripping tale of perfection that will thin the line between man and beast and leave you wanting more.

Many thanks to the publisher for the review copy from the publisher Curbside Splendor via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.