Sunday, July 25, 2021

Review: The Startup Wife

The Startup Wife The Startup Wife by Tahmima Anam
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"No one wants to be married to the guy everyone thinks is going to save the world."

Asha is a skilled coder and drops out of a PhD program to start an app with her high school crush, at the same time they decide to marry on a whim. Cyrus only wants to be involved if they can "do things differently," and goes on to be the guru-CEO of their company that helps people create rituals and connect outside of a traditional religious background.

I like the combination of start-up culture with marriage dynamics, the guru persona and what it's like to be connected to it, and then the author even writes in the pandemic (which works perfectly with this start-up!)

You may recognize the author from historical fiction novel A Golden Age which is set in 1971 East Pakistan; I read that at the end of 2019. Both books include women who are in a high-stress situations but they have very different feels and sensibilities.

I had a copy of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss, which I sought out after seeing it on The Millions' list.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Review: The Personal Librarian

The Personal Librarian The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Belle la Costa Greene was J.P. Morgan's personal librarian (and rare books and art collector) who went on to run The Morgan Library after his death, converting it into the public serving institution he always planned. Her story is fascinating, having to pass as white to live/work/move in the circles she did, how this issue separated her parents, etc. The authors did a great job at blending research with imagination; Belle may have burned her personal papers but all the people she wrote to and did business with over the years did not!

An interview with the authors will come up on the podcast but in the meantime I can recommend this book of historical fiction!

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Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Reading Envy 224: School's Out with Elizabeth

Elizabeth is back, and on a school break, when she can read more of the books she has been meaning to get to. We also solve a literary mystery before the end of this episode.

Download or listen via this link:
Reading Envy 224: School's Out

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Books discussed:

Book covers that are discussed in this episode (list follows)

The Push by Ashley Audrain
The Sunlit Night by Rebecca Dinerstein (Knight)
Show Me a Sign by Ann Clare LeZotte
The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo
One Long River of Song by Brian Doyle

Other mentions:

The Overstory by Richard Powers
Bewilderment by Richard Powers
The Hidden Life of Trees
by Peter Wohlleben
The Heartbeat of Trees by Peter Wohlleben
Tides by Jonathan White
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
Hex by Rebecca Dinerstein Knight
Helen Keller
El Deafo by Cece Bell
Nick by Michael Farris Smith
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Mink River by Brian Doyle
The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
How to Carry Water by Lucille Clifton
Rememberings by Sinead O'Connor
The Cold Millions by Jess Walter

Related episodes:

Episode 033 - An Undulating Thrum with guests Ruth and Elizabeth
Episode 051 - Dreaming in Books with Karen
Episode 061 - Never Do That to a Book with Elizabeth
Episode 136 - Six Pack with Elizabeth
Episode 160 - Reading Plays with Elizabeth
Episode 201 - Wrestling with Complexity with Elizabeth and Laurie
Episode 202 - Jacket Flap with Chris and Emily

Stalk us online:

Elizabeth at Goodreads   
Jenny at Goodreads
Jenny on Twitter
Jenny is @readingenvy on Instagram and Litsy

All links to books are through, where I am an affiliate. I wanted more money to go to the actual publishers and authors. I link to Amazon when a book is not listed with Bookshop.

Monday, July 12, 2021

Review: Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch

Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch by Rivka Galchen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is my last read for the Tournament of Books Camp ToB, and I think this is my favorite, although none were five-star reads for me.

Johannes Kepler is known for his astronomy discoveries but the context of that work is the era of the plague, and people not understanding disease, much less the universe. His mother Katharina is accused of being a witch in her old age and this is the (fictionalized) story of the trial, largely told through testimonies of her neighbors, who looking back now blame all ailments, failures, and deaths on her. There are also letters from Katharina to her son and others. It is historical fiction, recentering a female character, with some humor and conjecture. The ending was rather fun.

The audiobook is narrated by Natasha Soudek she does a lot of different voices for the characters.

And kudos to me for making it through a historical fiction novel, which is just usually not my thing. 🥴

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Sunday, July 4, 2021

Review: The Seed Keeper

The Seed Keeper The Seed Keeper by Diane Wilson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you loved Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants, this is a novel along similar themes. When Rosalie's husband dies, she returns to her father's home in Minnesota on Dakhota land, a place she has not been since she was removed and placed into foster care as a child. The timeline moves back and forth and sometimes the pov switches to another character as it tells the story of a people, the land, the seeds, and those who keep them.

CW for those already experiencing trauma surrounding residential schools, foster care, and the general removal of culture and home that so many endured.

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Thursday, July 1, 2021

Books Read June 2021: 142-165

I read slightly less in June, but also bailed on a few books I wasn't into. I should have bailed on more! The absolute highlight is The Actual Star by Monica Byrne - I can't wait for more people to read it when it comes out in September.

A gentle reminder that all reviews can still be seen on my Goodreads profile (the review will be with the book; the format will be specified unless it's in print.) And the books with green outlines are my 5-star reads for the month!

142. Milkman by Anna Burns, narrated by Brid Brennan ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
143. The Bookshop of Second Chances by Jackie Fraser ⭐️⭐️⭐️
144. Even As We Breathe by Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
145. Fifty Miles from Tomorrow by William L. Iggiagruk Hensley ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
146. The Mountain and the Sea by Kwame Dawes, narrated by Paula-Anne Jones ⭐️⭐️⭐️
147. We Are Satellites by Sarah Pinsker ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
148. Sansei and Sensibility by Karen Tei Yamashita ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
149. Getaway Girl by Tessa Bailey, narrated by Joe Hempel and Lori Prince ⭐️⭐️⭐️
150. The Sunlit Night by Rebecca Dinerstein (Knight) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
151. Whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri, translated by Jhumpa Lahiri; narrated by Susan Vinciotti Bonito ⭐️⭐️⭐️
152. The Sunrise by Victoria Hislop ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
153. Folk Stories from the Hills of Puerto Rico by Rafael Ocasio ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
154. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, narrated by Jake Gyllenhaal ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
155. Songs in Ursa Major by Emma Brodie ⭐️⭐️⭐️
156. The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
157. The Road Trip by Beth O'Leary ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
158. The Courage to Teach by Parker J. Palmer ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
159. Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters, narrated by Renata Friedman ⭐️⭐️⭐️
160. The Actual Star by Monica Byrne ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
161. nîtisânak by Lindsay Nixon ⭐️⭐️⭐️
162. Hang the Moon by Alexandria Bellefleur ⭐️⭐️⭐️
163. Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro, narrated by Sura Siu ⭐️⭐️⭐️
164. Art for the Ladylike by Whitney Otto ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
165. Strange Planet by Nathan W. Pyle ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

Total Books Read: 24


audio: 7
eBook: 10
print: 7

borrowed: 1
library: 5
personal copy: 9
review copy: 8

Around the World: 4
Erin & Dani's Book Club: 2
Europe 2021: 2
Read the World 21 (Scandinavia): 1
Tournament of Books: 5
Upstate International Book Club: 1
Work book club: 1

Graphic Novel/Comic: 1
Memoir: 3
Music: 1
Nature: 0
Poetry: 0
Translated: 1
Women in Translation:1


Tuesday, June 29, 2021

So you want to appear on the podcast... v.2

This is an update to the original version, posted in 2015. Times have changed! 

I am perpetually hungry for podcast guests! Here are some frequently asked questions.

Who are you looking for to be on the podcast?
Most guests are people who read - all ages, all genres.  The books you read do not have to be new releases.

How can I get on the schedule?
Contact me, readingenvy [at] gmail. We will discuss the particulars. Since I post an episode every two weeks, I try to record every two weeks. I have Thursday nights blocked out for recording but am completely flexible - otherwise I would not be able to have podcast guests from overseas!

Can I bring a friend?
Yes! I think the magical number is three people at once, including me. If you have another reading friend who wants to be on the podcast at the same time, that would be great. I have at times paired strangers together.

How are the episodes recorded?
Right now I record in Zoom.  If I record in person, I record directly in Audacity.

What are the technical requirements?
It works best if each person has at least a headset mic and is plugged into an internet connection (not just wireless). That said we have successfully recorded podcasts using internal mics, cellphones, etc.  If we are new to each other, we might decide to test the connection ahead of time.

If you live within an hour radius I will probably try to record in person, because the sound quality is better without the internet involved.

How can I prepare for the episode?
This depends on how many people are on the episode. If it is just two of us, each of us will bring three books to talk about. These should be books you liked and read recently enough that you can discuss them. Please don't feel like you have to pick the THREE GREATEST BOOKS OF ALL TIME because that really isn't the point. If there are three of us, each person only needs to bring two books. Be able to summarize the book and find an excerpt to read if possible (some books are not as conducive to excerpting, and if you have an advanced reader copy of a book, we can't include excerpts.)

I also ask guests who are new to the podcast about what they like to read in general, and let guests plug any online presence or project they want to, as long as that isn't their sole reason to appear.

I've never done anything like this before and I'm hesitant/nervous
Don't worry! I remember my nerves the first time I was on the SFF Audio podcast. Sometimes things go wrong - Siri will start talking, a dog will bark, a phone will ring. I can edit that kind of thing out. I also edit out awkward pauses and people that go on too long. Ha. I'm not just posting raw audio to the internet. I don't record on separate tracks so if one person's noise covers up another person's comments, that can be more difficult. We will try hard to overcome all obstacles, but I'm a big fan of the "good enough" philosophy. You love to read? We'll make it work.

Some people have used the strategy of a nickname, and that is always fine. Nobody has to know it is you.

Another suggestion I make is to listen to a few episodes. It will give you a sense of format, scope, and depth.

I'm an author/publisher/editor and want to pimp my latest project. Are you interested?
I have had authors from time to time, but usually I am asking them because I think they have an interesting perspective or I already know I enjoy their work and want them to talk more about it. I also try to stick to the concept of authors-who-read.  So probably not, but you can ask.

Since we're on the topic, will you review my book?
You can ask, but I only take review copies for books that interest me. I already have several avenues to acquire review copies and still want time to read non-review books. I also do not talk about every book I read on the podcast, because I read over 200 books a year.