Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Reading Envy 165: Delightful Reads with Claire Handscombe

Claire Handscombe joins Jenny to discuss recent reads, bookish podcasts, and Claire talks about what brought her to DC, her writing project, and the bookseller's life. Be sure to check out Claire's podcast, blog, and books, all linked at the end of the shownotes.

Download or listen via this link: Reading Envy 165: Delightful Reads with Claire Handscombe

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Books discussed:



Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Flights by Olga Takarczuk; Translated by Jennifer Croft
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman
The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
Summerlings by Lisa Howarth
Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson


Other mentions:

Reading Glasses podcast
Book Riot "main" podcast
East City Bookshop
Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Evidence of the Affair by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Homesick by Jennifer Croft
Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Takarczuk
Piglettes by Clementine Beauvais
Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson
The Rehearsal by Eleanor Catton
The Traveling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa
Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner
Trust Exercise by Susan Choi
Mina by Kim Sagwa, translated by Bruce and Ju-Chan Fulton


Related Episodes:

Episode 155 - Books About Music Recommendations Episode with Thomas


Stalk us online:

Jenny at Goodreads
Jenny on Twitter
Jenny is @readingenvy on Instagram and Litsy
Claire on Twitter
BritLitPodcast on Twitter
Link to UNSCRIPTED
Link to WALK WITH US: HOW THE WEST WING CHANGED OUR LIVES 

Monday, September 9, 2019

Review: Permission to Feel: Unlocking the Power of Emotions to Help Our Kids, Ourselves, and Our Society Thrive

Permission to Feel: Unlocking the Power of Emotions to Help Our Kids, Ourselves, and Our Society Thrive Permission to Feel: Unlocking the Power of Emotions to Help Our Kids, Ourselves, and Our Society Thrive by Marc Brackett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Earlier this year, I read Emotional Intelligence 2.0 and took the accompanying test, testing lower than I would have liked to. Reading Permission to Feel helped me understand that emotional intelligence is something that must be modeled and taught intentionally (so that explains a lot.)

I appreciate this book because it can be read from a lot of perspectives - for personal growth, as a parent, an educator, or just a human in the world. Brackett unpacks emotional intelligence in the first part of the book, then introduces a tool he likes to use. He uses RULER - Recognize, Understand, Label, Express, Regulate - and there are chapters on each of those skills. The final section addresses emotional intelligence in schools, homes, and work.

It was interesting to read the failures of his work - they started by trying to teach educators how to teach emotional intelligence but quickly discovered that the teachers themselves needed to be trained and improve their own first (as is often the case with most pedagogy!)

I read it from the perspective of working in higher education, but found more to reflect on for myself. Not too surprisingly, mindfulness is a component of both recognizing and regulating ones emotions, so I appreciated the connection to a practice I already have.

Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy my way. This came out September 3, 2019.

View all my reviews

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Review: Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl

Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl by Andrea Lawlor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is such a perfect capture of various lgbtq+ communities in the United States in the 80s & 90s that I'd recommend it for that aspect alone. But the main character, who has the ability to shapeshift gender to move more easily within these spaces, really makes for a unique read. It's so hard to believe this is a debut novel because it feels so elegantly written (often about not so elegant topics!) I laughed a lot especially at the beginning.

This book came out 23 April 2019, but I did recently acquire a review copy through NetGalley from the publisher because it was available still AND one of my Goodreads groups was having a fascinating discussion of it and I felt left out.

View all my reviews

Friday, September 6, 2019

Review: Cantoras

Cantoras Cantoras by Carolina De Robertis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was late to a scheduled podcast recording Sunday because I just had to finish this book first. It is beautifully written about five women living in Uruguay, building a found family to live as who they really are, despite dictators, trauma, and fear. Some of the story comes from research the author did on the first LGBTQ+ spaces in Uruguay, not in the city but on the very edge of the country between ocean and sand dunes. The five women in the novel buy a shack that becomes their escape. Each character is unique, they all have individual connections with the other characters, and the time spans 1970s to 2013. I also noticed the tension created by coming out in a time of extreme oppression such as a dictatorship, and the long-term damage that can do. This feels like a story that runs deep for the person writing it as well.

I had a copy from the publisher through NetGalley, it came out September 3, and this is one of my top reads so far this year.

View all my reviews

Monday, September 2, 2019

Books Read August 2019: 184-205


Pictured: August's 5-star Reads (both come out later this year, whoops)

184. American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson **** (personal copy; my review)
185. Space Invaders by Nona Fernandez ***** (print ARC; my review)
186. Outspoken by Veronica Reuckeurt **** (eARC from Edelweiss; my review)
187. Bunny by Mona Awad **** (library copy; my review)
188. Honestly, We Meant Well by Grant Ginder *** (eARC from NetGalley; my review)
189. Blow: A Love Story by Tracy Ewens **** (eARC from NetGalley; my review)
190. Atlantic Winds by William Prendeville *** (eARC from NetGalley; my review)
191. Everything Under by Daisy Johnson **** (library copy; my review)
192. Concrete Island by J.G. Ballard **** (library copy; my review)
193. Self-Portrait in Green by Marie NDiaye **** (personal copy; my review)
194. 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World by Elif Shafak **** (eARC from NetGalley; my review)
195. The Delight of Being Ordinary by Ronald Merullo *** (personal copy; my review)
196. Turbulence by David Szalay **** (eARC from Edelweiss; my review)
197. Maresi Red Mantle by Maria Turtschaninoff **** (personal copy; my review)
198. Blood Sisters by Kim Yideum **** (eARC from Edelweiss; my review)
199. The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang **** (Hoopla audiobook; my review)
200. Flights by Olga Tokarczuk **** (personal copy; my review)
201. The Islanders by Meg Mitchell Moore *** (eARC from Edelweiss; my review)
202. Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson ***** (print ARC; my review)
203. Vivian by Christina Hesselholdt **** (eARC from Edelweiss; my review)
204. Mina by Kim Sagwa **** (personal copy; my review)
205. Thaw by Elyse Springer **** (personal Kindle copy; my review)

Total Books Read: 22

Audiobooks: 1
eBooks: 10
Print: 11

Library copy: 4
Personal copy: 7
Review copy: 11

Asia 2019 goal: 3
NetGalley Reviewathon: 4 (plus a bunch of cookbooks)
TBR Explode project: 1
Women in Translation Month: 7


Friday, August 30, 2019

Review: Frankissstein

Frankissstein Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Okay I waited as long as I could to give in and read this ARC. I read all 352 pages on the night which also happened to be Jeanette Winterson's 60th birthday. She interweaves Mary Shelley with a 21st century transgender doctor named Ry - both are obsessed in different ways with concepts of bodies and creation. Themes of gender, found families, sex, creation, and love flow throughout but it's delightful to read and I devoured it. Please keep Winterson for the short list, Man Booker judges.

I received a copy from the publisher. It doesn't come out in the United States until October!

View all my reviews

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Reading Envy 164: Character Driven with Carol Ann

Carol Ann is back to talk books with more reading in her rearview. We each talk about books we've liked lately but also end up talking about cheese at the end. Jenny did feel she'd spoiled too much for one book so that discussion has been removed!

Download or listen via this link: Reading Envy 164: Character Driven with Carol Ann

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Books discussed:



The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy
Bunny by Mona Awad
News of the World by Paulette Jiles
American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson
The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell
Everything Under by Daisy Johnson


Other mentions:

Plainsong by Kent Haruf
John Irving
Barbara Kingsolver
Beach Music by Pat Conroy
My Reading Life by Pat Conroy
The Great Santini by Pat Conroy
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
The Color of Lightning by Paulette Jiles
The Captured by Scott Zesch
The Pat Conroy Cookbook by Pat Conroy
Tillamook Cheese Cookbook by Kathy Holstad

Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner
Maresi Red Mantle by Maria Turtschaninoff


Related Episodes:

Episode 099 - Readalong: The Secret History
Episode 103 - Duchess Potatoes with Carol Ann Ellison
Episode 116 - Make Margaret Atwood Fiction Again with Jeff Koeppen
Episode 118 - Reading Envy Readalong: To the Bright Edge of the World 
Episode 161 - Women in Translation Month Recommendations with Lauren


Stalk us online:

Jenny at Goodreads
Jenny on Twitter
Jenny is @readingenvy on Instagram and Litsy
Carol Ann at NovelGobblers
Carol Ann at Goodreads
Carol Ann is @thebookandbeyond on Instagram 

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Review: Flights

Flights Flights by Olga Tokarczuk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've been reading this book off and on for two months, finally finishing it before the end of Women in Translation month - I wouldn't really call this a novel as much as it is fragments with some shared themes. I enjoyed some of the writing and was glad one of the stories came back to conclude in the end. There are themes of travel, moving, death, relationships and what you can/can't control, and home.

Flights won the Man Booker International Prize that awards the author and translator equally, so I should say I rarely thought about how this was originally Polish, except for some obvious Polish themes... That's to the great credit of the translator, Jennifer Croft.

A few of the bits I marked:

"There are countries out there where people speak English. But not like us - we have our own languages hidden in our carry-on luggage, in our cosmetics bags, only ever using English when we travel, and then only in foreign countries, to foreign people. It's hard to imagine, but English is their real language! Oftentimes their only language. They don't have anything to fall back on or to turn to in moments of doubt. How lost they must feel in the world, where all instructions, all the lyrics of all the stupidest possible songs, all the menus, all the excruciating pamphlets and brochures - even the buttons in the elevator! - are in their private language. They may be understood by anyone at any moment, whenever they open their mouths. They must have to write things down in special codes. Wherever they are, people have unlimited access to them - they are accessible to everyone and everything!"

"What [the tyrants] want is to create a frozen order, to falsify time's passage. They want for the days to repeat themselves, unchanging: they want to build a big machine where every creature will be forced to take its place and carry out false actions... What they want is to pin down the world... Move. Get going. Blessed is he who leaves."

"All you have to do to become invisible is be a woman of a certain age."

View all my reviews

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Review: Turbulence

Turbulence Turbulence by David Szalay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is what I think is called a "fix-up" novel, where a string of short stories link together somewhat to form a larger hole. The characters are briefly introduced in relation to a flight they are taking, and another character leaves from that airport and flies to another. Of course by the end there are some connections, but you don't necessarily get a full story from any of the characters, which I ended up feeling was a bit of a shame, because I felt interested in them.

I know the author was a finalist for the National Book Award (USA) but I haven't not read that book. I enjoyed his writing and it sustained me through insomnia last night so win/win.

Thanks to the publisher for approving my request through Edelweiss. The book came out July 16, 2019.

View all my reviews

Review: 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World

10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World by Elif Shafak
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A sex worker in Istanbul has been murdered, and as her brain releases her life, the reader is transported to specific memories and stories. Her life is revealed alongside five close friends (like a Turkish cast of Rent) who play a bigger role in the second half of the story.

This is on the Man Booker Prize longlist for 2019, but I must say it isn't the best book I've read by this author. Still it is quite readable and is based on an interesting structure.

I had a review copy from the publisher through @netgalley which unfortunately removed all double "ff" and sometimes "ffi" as well as all numbers. This broke my momentum on reading the story every time. And at one point it completely removed the meaning of a street name that seemed important, and some back stories seemed connected to specific years, which I could not tell you the importance of at this point. Luckily I know quite a bit of Turkish history and culture because of my year of reading Turkey. So I do feel like I have a bit of an incomplete experience.

Thanks to the publisher for granting me access via NetGalley; the book comes out December 1, 2019 in the states but is already out in the UK.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Reading Envy 163: Fainting Goats with Lauren

If you're a fan of the show, you have already heard the episode with Lauren and Jenny recommending books for Women in Translation month. We recorded this episode earlier in the summer but still talk quite a bit about regional book goals, translated works, and the wonder of lingering in a place through our reading. This is the first posting of this episode, Jenny was just rearranging the furniture a bit behind the scenes, so when Lauren says "last month" she means June and not July. Don't trip over that table!

Download or listen via this link: Reading Envy 163: Fainting Goats with Lauren

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Books discussed:



Slave Old Man by Patrick Chamoiseau, translated by Linda Coverdale
Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay
Zoobiquity by Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and Kathryn Bowers
If, Then by Kate Hope Day
Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami
Bangkok Wakes to Rain by Pitchaya Sudbanthad


Other mentions:

Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi
Caribbean American Heritage Month and #readCaribbean
Notebook of a Return to the Native Land by Aime Cesaire
Patsy by Nicole Dennis-Benn
Wildhood by Barbara Natterson-Horowitz
Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers by Robert Sapolsky
Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? by Frans de Waal
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Don Giovanni by W.A. Mozart (opera)
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang
Children of Dune by Frank Herbert
Vessel by Lisa A. Nichols
Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut
Exhalation by Ted Chiang


Related Episodes:

Episode 097 - Blank Spaces with Lauren Weinhold
Episode 123 - Godlets and Forests with Lauren Weinhold
Episode 133 - To Understand the World with Lauren Weinhold
Episode 138 - Shared Landscape with Lauren Weinhold 
Episode 147 - Bonus Poetry Recommendations with Lauren
Episode 161 - Women in Translation Month Recommendations with Lauren


Stalk us online:

Lauren at Goodreads
Lauren is @end.notes on Instagram
Jenny at Goodreads
Jenny on Twitter
Jenny is @readingenvy on Instagram and Litsy 

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Reading Envy 162: Heat Rating with Sara DeSantis

Sara used to only read self-help books but now has shifted to being a major romance reader, especially in audio. Jenny has reformed from her early skepticism (it might have been a certain royal wedding) and decided to talk about some of the romance she's read and liked lately.

Download or listen via this link: Reading Envy 162: Heat Rating with Sara

Subscribe to the podcast via this link: Feedburner
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Or listen through TuneIn
Or listen on Google Play
Listen via Stitcher
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Books discussed:



Suddenly Royal by Nichole Chase
Red, White, & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez
The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai
To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
P.S. from Paris by Marc Levy, translated by Sam Taylor


Other mentions:

Reluctant Royals series by Alyssa Cole
The Princess Diaries (film)
V&A (Victoria and Albert) Museum
Forbidden Hearts series by Alisha Rai
American Hookup by Lisa Wade
To All the Boys I've Loved Before (film)
P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han
Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han
Always Be My Maybe (film)
Just Like Heaven (film)
Kiss and Break Up by Ella Fields
American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson


Related Episodes:

Episode 056 - The Wall of Romance
Episode 074 - The Books We Didn't Love in High School with Blaine DeSantis

Stalk us online:

Jenny at Goodreads
Jenny on Twitter
Jenny is @readingenvy on Instagram and Litsy
Sara is @hotreads_librarian on Instagram