#SmashYourStack: Week 1 Update

The goal is eight books. So I should have read two…

I read two!


I started the week with Paper Girls: Volume 1 written by Brian K. Vaughn of Saga fame. There may be time travel and aliens and a group of bad ass paper girls. It rocked my world. I can’t wait for volume two.

the cover of paper girls volume one

Look at that beautiful art.

I purposefully chose short books to get through this weekend and jump start my reading stats for #SmashYourStack Week 2 and in preparation for #BoutofBooks. More on that in another post.

These are the shortest books I own (each under 200 pages). I decided to start with The House on Mango Street. It was the shortest, contained vignettes, and is set in Chicago. That sound you hear are all my bells ringing. Cisneros did not disappoint. Esperanza, the narrator, is so perfect. I totally identified with her. I knew that pain, that joy. Yes and yes.

I’m going with Sula next because I am in the mood to have my life changed. This is my fourth Morrison, after The Bluest Eye, Beloved, and A Mercy. I feel it my duty as a black person, a woman, a book nerd, and a Howard University alumna to read all of her books.

I met up with some of my book club people on Sunday afternoon for reading and general nerdy socializing and, of course, drinks. It was a great way to wrap up the week.

Here’s to two more books next week!

Still Drinking #Lemonade-Third Digest

I am still sipping on this ice cold, refreshing #Lemonade that Beyonce served us all. Some profound writers and thinkers are drinking it too.

Brittany Luse, a fellow Bison, wrote for Refinery 29

Roxanne Gay via The Guardian

Janet Mock gave me chills with her epic rundown of Lemonade, Their Eyes Were Watching God, and the burden of black womanhood.

The New Yorker even had commentary

Also, April 27th, marked 100 days until the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I love the Olympics. The Olympics ads are, to me, just as good as the Superbowl ads. P&G has been winning for several years with their Thank You Mom campaign. The SoChi ad is still available here, but the one for the 2016 Summer Olympics is heavier and brought me to tears at my desk at work. It’s amazing. Not only is P&G sending a powerful message about the strength and importance of mothers, but they do it by showing ALL the moms (read: colorful moms). This is way to make ads people. Follow them.

#IndependentBookstoreDay was April 30th. J and I spent the day on a self-made book crawl. It may have been the best thing to happen to me this year. So many good books! It’ll get a separate post soon.  Here’s J’s post and we were together, so it’s kind of the same.

Hot drinks and new books. That is living your best life

Me going into The Book Cellar. Third Bookstore of the day.

That’s all for me. Have a great week!

P.S.: If you have an iPhone, I set up a Litsy account. Litsy is the child of Goodreads and Instagram. It’s great. You can find me there as Lucky_LaDee.

#SmashYourStack Read Your Own Books in May

I am not the best at spending money wisely. I am really bad at impulse buying and my favorite implies buy are books. In the last six months, I’ve attended three huge book sales and acquired too many books to count or store. I have got to do something so I’m at least reading and then, hopefully, giving away all these books.

Enter Andi, Melissa, and their pragmatic book challenge. 

smash your stack challenge art
The concept is simple:

Set a percentage of your own books to read for the month. 

Pick a number!

Go hard and read ALL your own books!

Considering that I have library holds I have to read in May as well, I’m setting my goal at six books. It seems low, but I like to under promise  and over perform. If the first half of the month goes well, I’ll increase my goal. I know that’s technically cheating, but it’s all I got.

Shoutout to The Shrinkette for bringing  this challenge to my attention when I truly needed it.

Let’s see how this goes!

January #24in48 Readathon Wrap-Up

#24in48 was amazing!

Here’s my original stack:

    1. Midnight Taxi Tango
    2. The Rogue not Taken
    3. All the Bright Places
    4. The Night Wanderer
    5. I Thought It Was Just Me
    6. Feminism Unfinished (finished)
    7. Career of Evil
    8. Beastly Bones
    9. The Round House
    10. Fences

On my e-reader I also have:

    1. Giant Days: Vol. 
    2. Giant Days: Issue 5
    3. Giant Days: Issue 6
    4. Lumberjanes: Issue 9
    5. Lumberjanes: Issue 10
    6. The Color Purple
    7. Cure for Dreaming

Final tally: 16 hours; 3 books, 1 graphic novel, and 2 comic book issues.

My favorite part was checking in on Twitter with my fellow readers. I don’t have access to a group of book lovers to talk to very often, so this was a welcome change. The hashtag really worked well. I just kept a tab running on Tweetdeck and checked-in every couple of hours.

I did need a better way to track my time. I was constantly forgetting to start/stop my timer. I’m going to figure out a better way to measure time read for the next #24in48 readathon on July 23-24th. This time I have plenty of time to plan. *marks calendar*

#24in48 Readathon

I’m participating in my first Readathon this weekend. 

I’ve been in a slump for about two weeks; which is really disappointing, because I started my reading year very strongly. I heard about #24in48 from BookRiot’s Liberty Hardy and thought it was so cool.

The goal is to read for a total of 24 hours during a 48 hour period, 12 a.m. on Saturday to 11:59 p.m. on Sunday. I’m so freaking excited. This challenge allows me to sleep, which is critical. It’s also helpful that Monday is a holiday and I don’t work. 

I’m hoping to use it to finish a few books I’ve started, but not finished and a few that are due back at the library shortly. Plus, it gives me even more reason to ignore the world and that’s something I definitely need to do for myself this weekend. 

The stack of books I am reading for the readathon

Here’s my stack for #24in48

My stack (from top to bottom):

  1. Midnight Taxi Tango
  2. The Rogue not Taken
  3. All the Bright Places
  4. The Night Wanderer
  5. I Thought It Was Just Me
  6. Feminism Unfinished
  7. Career of Evil
  8. Beastly Bones
  9. The Round House 
  10. Fences

On my ereader I also have:

The first five are comics and I plan to use them like palette cleansers and reading during meal breaks.

  1. Giant Days: Vol. 
  2. Giant Days: Issue 5
  3. Giant Days: Issue 6
  4. Lumberjanes: Issue 9
  5. Lumberjanes: Issue 10
  6. The Color Purple
  7. Cure for Dreaming

See y’all on Monday!

Early 2016 Reading Preview

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I am five days in 2016 and have already finished two fantastic novels: Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta and Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy.  I’ve already been so sad that I cry into a book and so frustrated that I’ve thrown a book.

In preparation for a jam-packed reading year, I’ve gathered a few books from early 2016 that I am anticipating very highly.

This COVER! Midnight Taxi Tango (TODAY! Jan. 5) is the second Bone Street Rumba novel. The first, Half-Resurrection Blues, was one of my favorite books of 2015. I was never interested urban fantasy until I heard Daniel Jose Older on the Reading Lives podcast. He was brilliant, so I decided to try his book. I’ve since read his YA novel, Shadowshaper, also excellent. I’ve been counting down to today since February 2015. I will be tearing into this one over the weekend.

13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl (Feb. 26) is one of Bustle’s most anticipated fiction books of 2016.  It feels like a natural follow-up to Dumplin’. Thank you Chicago Public Library for the motivation of non-renewable due dates! I want to continue with reading books with body-positive themes. 13 Ways… is a collection of connected short stories about Lizzie and her experiences with weight, body image, and self-worth.

A Steep and Thorny Way (Mar. 8) was recommended to me by Goodreads after I finished Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman. I realized I like Westerns. A Steep and Thorny Way was written just for me it seems. Hanalee is a mixed race woman living with her mother and step-father in 1920s Oregon. Shenanigans ensue which cause Hanalee to consult her dead father, a “haint” a.k.a. ghost that roams the streets at night. I am so fudrucking excited about this book.

It’s gonna be a phenomenal reading year (quarter)!

Poverty and Privilege

Yesterday, I read a Washington Post article, A Lonely Road, about a young, black, mother, who lives in poverty and the struggles she — and others in similar situations — face as she searches for employment.

This paragraph stood out to me particularly:

“The others in Scott’s life were largely out of touch. One of Scott’s siblings had just gotten out of prison; another was in the military. Scott’s old boyfriend — Za’Niyah’s father — was who knows where, out of contact for a year and probably for good. Scott, who long ago lost contact with her mother, spent many years in the foster system and several more with her grandmother, sharing the home Immediately after I read this paragraph, I realized that I was something I would have never considered myself — privileged. with 15 others.”

“A Lonely Road,” is a beautifully written long form article that made me hyper-aware of my own privilege as a child of educated, employed, middle class, parents. I have a vast network of employed family and friends, many of whom would be willing and are assisting me in various ways. I realized my situation would be much more similar to this woman’s were it not for that network. I’m very grateful.

Literary Event of 2015 and it’s Only February

Harper (the publishing company, subset of HarperCollins) is publishing a SECOND novel written by Harper Lee in July of 2015. The story released last week from AP says that the novel was found recently by Lee’s lawyer and is scheduled for release on July 14. The publisher first print run is 2 million copies. To put that in perspective, the best selling novel of 2014, The Fault in Our Stars, sold 1 million copies and it’s sales were certainly influenced by the movie.

That’s it. The author of one of the most well-read novels in American literature, notorious recluse, suddenly, and out of the clear blue sky is publishing a second novel.

Excuse me while I go find a paper bag to breathe through until July.

The cover of Harper Lee's new novel Go Set a Watchman scheduled for release on July 14 2015.

The cover of Harper Lee’s new novel Go Set a Watchman scheduled for release on July 14 2015.


The Key to this is Diversity: Digital Humanities

Today was the first day of a new quarter at DePaul for me. I’m taking two electives, both centered on digital humanities, one in theory (pray for me) and one in practice. I’ll post a lot about it for at least the next 10 weeks [fair warning].

I didn’t even know what digital humanities was when I registered for these courses, but I have used my time at DePaul to try to gain as many new skills as possible. See my design struggles. My interest in libraries and library science and other social sciences in general lead me to digital humanities.

I’ve since done some reading and learned that digital humanities is the study of the integration of digital tools into the humanities [I think]. How humanities professional use digital tools in order to research, collaborate, and publish. All I could think was… so COOL! I knew I was attracted to this course for a reason.

In a way, digital humanities is sort of subcategory to new media studies, which is just the study of the integration of digital tools into society as a whole. Not a far throw from the stuff I study regularly, so after a lot of initial trepidation, I’m ready to jump in head first.

The other thing I love about digital humanities is its interdisciplinary nature. I hate working and studying in homogeneous groups. That is boring! I expect that these classes will allow me to meet and share scholarship with students from all around the humanities. That makes for great discussions and debates and that is the key to this.

Book Review: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

The reason I thought I should share my love for this book on my blog is because the characters, like many of my peers, are steeped up to their eye balls in new media. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is about a young man, Clay, who gets a job at a 24-hour bookstore, only the store is just a front for a secret society. His attempt to update the bookstore’s online presence and stir up more clientele sweeps Clay into a mystery as old as the printing press, with the bookstore and its proprietor at the center. Clay’s boss, Mr. Penumbra goes missing and Clay seems to be the only one who notices or cares. In his search for Mr. Penumbra, Clay discovers that the bookstores he works in is really a front for a secret society that has been working on the world’s oldest brain teaser. Clay, his best friend, and his girlfriend, Kat, who works at Google — that’s a awesome enough reason to read it right there– take some serious risks to figure it out.

Here are three reasons I think it’s a great read:

  1. The cover GLOWS!! It freaked me out at first but after a while, it is really really cool.
    The cover of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

    The cover of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore


  2. It’s like 007 for nerds and I’m a self- embracing nerd so I don’t mean that badly. Amazon calls it a “technothriller.” I think that’s a very appropriate description. Designers, hackers and engineers all get to be the hero in this story. It’s refreshing. Clay’s character is endearing. He is clearly still trying to find his way and life and is struggling with the idea that he is not as traditionally successful as some of his peers. This investigation of his boss’ disappearance seems to really be a journey for Clay to find himself. It’s interesting to see him grow up. I learned some things about myself along the way.
  3. Robin Sloan offers a behind-the-scenes look at Google. Like I said above, read it for just that. Kat offers to assist Clay on his quest by offering Google’s book scanner. So Clay goes to visit Google’s campus in Silicon Valley, CA. I was amazed. I’m not sure if Sloan’s description of Google is accurate but I’m certainly curious to find out now.

This book has a lot of technical jargon but don’t give up. It is also full of mysteries, twists, romance, and happy endings. It is so worth it in the end.