July Book Selection: Nimona

This month we are doing something a little bit different! Our book selection is a graphic novel, which I am really stoked about; there are some truly phenomenal stories being told in this medium and I’d love for us to explore them a little more. So in that vein, our first graphic novel for the Young Adulters Book Club is Nimona by Noelle Stevenson.¬†young-adulters-book-club-becoming-jessica-nimona

As well, as I mentioned in the June book discussion post, I am going to be experimenting with a new discussion format this month. Carlia had a great suggestion to do a live cast where everyone can participate, perhaps on Facebook Live or Periscope, and then post the audio on the blog afterwards for others to interact with and post comments, etc. I haven’t quite ironed out all the kinks yet but I will be sure to let you know when I do!

As always, happy reading and feel free to post any thoughts you have during that process here. ūüôā

July Book Selection: Nimona

June Book Discussion: The Lies About Truth

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  • I liked the way this book dealt with grief. How Sadie was wrapped up in her own experience and didn’t really realize that Gina and Gray were going through their own stuff, too. I liked that it treated grief like the individual experience that it is.
  • I wished that Trent hadn’t turned out to be gay, simply because I loved the idea of there being a very strong male-female friendship that didn’t involve romantic feelings. But it certainly added an interesting dimension to the story, such that people are kind of unknowable, and even when we think we know them better than anyone, they can still surprise us.
  • I thought the author did a great job of capturing the before and after of the accident, even though I didn’t love the extended flashbacks. It was important for us to see how life had changed for Sadie, Max & company.
  • I liked that the adults were real characters, too, though it would have been nice for there to be a bit more of Max and Trent’s parents. I liked the relationship that Sadie had with her parents, and how supportive they were of her, while also pushing her to get better and get through the really hard time she was having.

What did you guys think? Did you enjoy this book?

Vote for July’s book here.

Also. I have been thinking that I want to change up the format of the discussion a little bit. I am currently planning on having a sort of podcast type thing where I will talk about the book in an audio file which I’ll post and then you guys can respond to that. It would be nice to be able to have an actual discussion with someone, though, so if anyone is interested in potentially Skyping in for a discussion or something like that, let me know!

June Book Discussion: The Lies About Truth

June Book Selection: The Lies About Truth

With 60% of the votes, this book won by a (tiny) landslide. It sounds interesting and I am excited to get my copy from the library. Hopefully it is a bit more of a crowd-pleaser than the last one. ūüôā

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As usual, feel free to post your thoughts and feelings and reactions on this post while you are reading, just be sure to mark any spoilers clearly so people can avoid them if they want to. Perhaps consider indicating which page you have read up to so everyone else can determine if they are where you are or not. ūüôā Happy reading!

June Book Selection: The Lies About Truth

May Discussion: A Darker Shade of Magic

young-adulters-book-club-a-darker-shade-of-magicOh, guys. Guys, guys, guys. I have failed as your leader again. I¬†could not finish this book. I promised myself a long time ago that I would not waste my time with books I wasn’t enjoying, but¬†I tried. I tried¬†so hard.¬†I just…didn’t care. Couldn’t care. In the slightest. I’d read five pages and just stare at it, thinking,¬†But why is nothing happening?¬†

Some of my thoughts:

  • I was deeply disappointed by my inability to get into this book because the premise is¬†so good. Four Londons, all stacked on top of each other, all with a vastly different relationship with magic that plays out in myriad, unpredictable ways?¬†Fascinating!¬†A pair of magical individuals, night and day of each other, but with the same abilities and the same goal?¬†Compelling!¬†But in execution, it just left so much to be desired. By page 170, which is nearly halfway through the book,¬†nothing¬†had happened. NOTHING.
  • I wish I could have connected with Lila as a character. Intrepid, brazen, convention-breaking female? Everything I love. But she just felt so flat to me. Like, she wanted to get out. But that was it. What else did she want? I couldn’t get a read on her, I didn’t feel that blazing, burning,¬†wanting¬†from her. All of the characters felt like cardboard cutouts to me, actually. Except for, funny enough. Rhy, who was barely in the book (at least the part that I read) at all. He seemed¬†real¬†to me. Genuine. Like I could reach out and touch him. But he was the only one.
  • There wasn’t enough information about Black London for me to feel interested in their journey there. There was a vague sense of foreboding, but that was about it. Oh, boy, there’s a stone and we have to take it back. ….Oh…kay?
  • It got a little bit more interesting once Lila and Kell had gone from Grey London to Red London. Particularly the bits where Lila was lost and alone, trying to find her way in this strange new place, with no idea at all of the ways and customs of the place that she had stumbled into. Still. It wasn’t enough to hold my attention.

I am, however, looking forward to hearing your thoughts! Perhaps there will be something in them to convince me to continue and finish the book. Is anyone going to go ahead and read the second one? Let the discussion begin in the comments below!

Also, make sure you vote for June’s book selection here.

May Discussion: A Darker Shade of Magic

April Discussion: These Shallow Graves

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That was something a little different! I really relished the murder mystery and the experience of Jo breaking out of the confines of her restrictive society. The juxtaposition of the high society life she had and the life she began to lead with Eddie was startling and really underlined how few options women had in those days. I know I’m way more grateful for the freedoms that I have now!

  • I totally thought it was Theakston who murdered her father. I mean, isn’t it always the butler?
  • The romance between Jo and Eddie was very realistically rendered. And Jo was such a typical teenage girl! “I saw him with another girl, instead of asking him about it, I’m going to get engaged to another man in a fit of pique. Whoops, that girl was his sister and now I feel like a fool.”
  • I loved all the gritty details of New York life in the late 19th century. Donnelly’s descriptions were so vivid, I felt like I was there.
  • The Tailor, though not a huge character, was certainly a convincingly drawn villain. The scenes with him made me quite anxious!
  • As Jo was telling her uncle about everything that she had discovered, I was quite concerned that she was going to end up in Darkbriar herself. And, lo and behold, I was right. There was no way that her uncle was going to just BELIEVE her (especially because WHOA he was the murderer). Donnelly did such a great job, too, of making me question everything up until that point:¬†had¬†Jo just made it up in the middle of a nervous breakdown? Why would Eddie and Oscar have said they never met her? Just to protect her, right?¬†But maybe not!¬†
  • I love that Jo did her damndest to save herself. And that, when it came time, it wasn’t Eddie or Oscar or Bram or another man who saved her when her wits and wiles proved to be not quite enough. It was Fay. And then it was Jo herself who made the decision to come forward with the truth, to tear down her entire life, and start over. Freedom. It is the best thing.

What did you guys think? Did you guys enjoy this book as much as I did? It is my favorite that we have read so far, for sure. By far!

What should we read next month? 

April Discussion: These Shallow Graves

Freedom is Deleting All of My TBR Books

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Yesterday, I did something that felt crazy: I went onto Goodreads and I deleted every.single.book from my To-Read shelf. It went from¬†To Read (1655)¬†to¬†To Read (0). It took nearly an hour and the first few times I hit delete a huge part of me was screaming, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!!” As the number whittled down, though, it became easier and easier to breathe.

No regrets. It has been a long time since my reading life has felt this free.

A few months ago, we were at our friend Thomas’s house and I was perusing his shelf of books. I found several that I wanted to read and took them home with me that night. I added them to my pile of books to be read; that I’ve borrowed, that I own, and that I’ve taken out of the library. I immediately felt a pang of anxiety: there were just so¬†many¬†of them. It seemed like an impossibility that I would ever get through all of them.

Let me say that again: I felt anxiety while looking at a pile of books to read, when reading is my favorite way to spend my time.

Clearly, I was doing something wrong.

I can’t remember the last time I went to the library and spent any time actually browsing. Picking up books that caught my eye because of their title or their cover or the book jacket description. For months, I’ve pushed through the crowd of smokers outside the front door, bee-lined straight for the holds shelf, picked up the 3-10 holds waiting for me, slid them through the self check-out and power-walked right back out of there.

Well. Those are joyful trips. I never even wanted to look at the shelves because I could see that huge number, 1655, flashing behind my eyes every time I did. I didn’t want to add more books to it! It was already too huge for me to tackle over the next ten years, let alone if I kept adding to it! I walked around with book blinders and hoped I never saw a book¬†that I wanted to read.

The other day, I’d had enough. I’d had enough of sucking the joy out of something that I love. I had read a post about culling down a to-be-read list and I spent a couple of hours going through my shelf, reading descriptions, checking out exerpts, deciding which books would stay and which would go. After almost three hours, I’d looked at nearly 800 books and gotten down from 1655 to 1542. That was a lot of progress, but there was still so far to go.

And then a crazy idea struck.

What if I just…deleted them all?

Immediately, the idea wrapped itself around my brain and would not let go. I had to do it. I was hypnotized by the image of a completely empty shelf that would never fill up again. Of being able to wander aimlessly through the library and pick out a new book to read that I’d never heard of before and not experience a single pang of anxiety when I decided to take it home. Of once again¬†stumbling¬†upon things instead of planning out every second of my reading life.

Sure, I will miss out on a lot of those books that were on my to-read shelf. There’s no way that I could remember even a fraction of them. I am sure that a lot of them are really great books. Some of them are probably even exceptional. But will I miss them?

Definitely not.

I can’t say that I will never add another book to my to-read shelf again. But going forward I will definitely be far more selective about what makes the cut. And if I have to? I’ll delete them all again.

Freedom is Deleting All of My TBR Books

March Discussion: Across the Universe

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Well! That turned out to be a pleasant surprise. For the first, oh, three quarters of the book, I was banging my head against a wall, wondering why I was wasting my time. But then, around page 300, things started to pick up, and I raced through the last 100 pages quite happily.

There are so many things to talk about with this one! Let’s get started. Obviously, here by spoilers, so if you haven’t finished the book and you care about that sort of thing, maybe come back later.

  • I felt so bad for Amy when she realized that she was not going to see her parents again. On top of knowing that she would never see earth again. That is just cruel! Talk about leaving your entire life behind.
  • What do you think about the ethics of what Eldest did? The ethics of treating a whole population as though they were animals, keeping them as domesticated and docile as possible, even controlling their reproduction. The whole idea was so skeevy to me. (Also, I’m no prude, but the whole Season made me vastly uncomfortable.) And that they were called Feeders?! That is some next level creepy stuff. But do you think that there was some merit to Eldest’s methods? Elder seems to think so, and I am not sure that I entirely disagree. Their situation is a strange and precarious one: a population stuck on a ship, nowhere to go, no ending in sight. That’s tough. But I also wonder what would have happened if they didn’t know about Sol-Earth OR Centauri-Earth. If they just knew that this was their lives and that was that. Would that have been better?
  • Not to brag or anything, but I totally called that Orion was the previous Elder (just ask my mama!). I did think the cloning aspect was a bit much, but it does bring up some interesting questions about cloning and whether or not it is possible for a situation like that to arise, where three people with the exact same DNA turn out to be so different. I don’t know enough about DNA to even begin to make a hypothesis about it, but I am interested.
  • Harley. Broke my heart. That is all.
  • I actually think I might read the rest of the series! The me of even yesterday would be shocked, but there you have it.¬†Across the Universe¬†actually turned out to be as good as I was expecting, despite a really lackluster beginning.

AND NOW! Over to you guys. What are your thoughts?

(Also, vote for next month’s book selection here. Remember, if you don’t vote, you can’t complain about what we read!)

March Discussion: Across the Universe

March Book Club: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Hello, my beautiful young Adulters! I am so pleased to announce (late, my bad) that our book club selection for March is Across the Universe by Beth Revis. This is something that is totally different from anything we have read so far (cryogenically frozen people?! spaceships?! murder?!), and I can’t wait to dive in!

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One of the responses that I received to my book club survey (which you can find here if you haven’t done it yet) was that it would be nice to have a place to comment on and discuss the book as we are all reading it, not just at the end of the month. So this is an experiment: I am going to post an announcement post at the beginning of each month, where you all can talk about your thoughts and experience of the book as you read it, as well as a discussion post at the end of each month, and we’ll see how it goes! Let me know what you think of it, and happy reading! ūüôā

March Book Club: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

February Discussion: Code Name Verity

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Truth time, guys. I haven’t read the book yet this month. None of it. I don’t know what happened. I got it out from the library at the end of January, and it has been sitting by my bed for weeks, but every time I look at it, I just…pick a different book to read. I¬†have¬†read it before, but it was three years ago, and so I am fuzzy on the details of the plot and characters. I¬†do¬†remember that I loved that the book centered around a strong, complicated female friendship. I do remember that. But other than that, my brain is a big ol’ blank, so I took to the internet to provide me with some discussion questions for you.

  • Do you think having two narrators detracts from the story or strengthens it?
  • Is Julie a reliable narrator? How much of her story do you think is true?
  • What did you think of Anna Engel? Sympathetic? Reprehensible?
  • Our modern world is rife with conflicts and wars. How is Code Name Verity relevant to these present day struggles?

I hope that you enjoyed this book! And if you didn’t, I can’t wait to hear why not. As usual, discussion in the comments, and vote for next month’s book here.

February Discussion: Code Name Verity