Shockaholic by Carrie Fisher

Image Description: the book-cover Shockaholic by Carrie Fisher. In the background is a light-pattern that resembles the Aurora borealis, in the foreground is a plastic doll of Princess Leia with the palms of her hands covering her eyes.
Imsge Description: the book-cover Shockaholic by Carrie Fisher. In the background is a light-pattern that resembles the Aurora borealis, in the foreground is a plastic doll of Princess Leia with the palms of her hands covering her eyes.
Title: Shockaholic
Author: Carrie Fisher
Social Media: Twitter and Goodreads
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Format and Price: Ebook at $11.99
Rating: 5 out of 5

About The Book:
Bad news… for anyone who thought Carrie Fisher had finally stopped talking about herself. This time, the electro-convulsive shock therapy she’s been undergoing is threatening to wipe out (what’s left of) her memory. But get ready for a shock of your own. Not only doesn’t she mind paying the second electric bill, she loves the high-voltage treatments. It’s been a roller coaster of a few years for Carrie since her Tony- and Emmy-nominated, one-woman Broadway show and New York Times bestselling book Wishful Drinking. She not only lost her beloved father, but also her once-upon-a-very-brief-time stepmother, Elizabeth Taylor, as well as over forty pounds of unwanted flesh, all the while staying sober and sane-ish. And she wants to tell you, dear reader, all about it. She wants you to someday be able to remind her how Elizabeth Taylor settles a score, how she and Michael Jackson became friends, or how she ended up sparring with Ted Kennedy on a dinner date. And she especially wants to preserve her memories of Eddie Fisher. Shockaholic is laugh-out-loud funny, acerbic, and witty as hell. But it also reveals a new side of Carrie Fisher that may even bring a pleasant shock your way: it is contemplative, vulnerable, and ultimately, quite tender.

General Observations:
~Diverse Books 2017: Alongside Wishful Drinking, I’m nominating this book for the “Main character with an Invisible Disability” category. In this memoir, Carrie Fisher talks about her struggles with addiction, which is connected to her adult-diagnosis of Bi-polar. It was comforting to read about Carrie Fisher’s struggles because, in a way, they were familiar and foreign at at the same time. We need more people like Carrie Fisher in the world, more people who are willing and able to talk about their struggles with mental health because the more we talk about our struggles, the more accessible they become, and gradually our collective stories will destroy the stigma of mental health.

~Expansion Pack: Wishful Drinking kind of gives a basic overview of things, Shockaholic goes into more details on some of the significant events in Carrie Fisher’s life, like waking up next to her white-republican-gay-friend and the sequential drug-addiction problems and, unfortunately, when it comes to addiction, sometimes you have to get to really bad place before you realise something needs to change. Fortunately Carrie Fisher was able to get the help she needed and it eventually lead her to pursue Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) and hence the name of the title. Carrie Fisher also uses her book to dispel some of the myths surrounding Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT), acknowledging her own previous bias towards it, but she also talks about some of the side-effects as well, such as problems with short term memory.

~Right In The Feels: Her chapters that feature her friendship with Michael Jackson and her relationship with her previous step-mother Elizabeth Taylor were amusing, interesting and insightful, however, it was the chapters that focused on her relationship with her father Eddie Fisher (who she cared for in his later years until he died) was the one that had me tearing up. It was bitter-sweet that Carrie and Eddie were able to reconnect and have the relationship Carrie always wanted with her father later in life. There’s an especially touching moment in the book when Carrie starts talking about how she has a recording of her father singing preserved in her phone, that way she’ll always be able to remember.

In conclusion, just go read it, it’s highly entertaining and you’ll whizz straight through it (I certainly did).

Available for Purchase: Amazon | Audible | Book Depository | Kobo Books

Image Description: A pink and purple coloured button with the text ‘Read Diverse Books 2017’ in white text with the word ‘Diverse’ written in rainbow coloured text. there is also the white outline of a clip-art picture of a laid open book
Image Description: A pink and purple coloured button with the text ‘Read Diverse Books 2017’ in white text with the word ‘Diverse’ written in rainbow coloured text. there is also the white outline of a clip-art picture of a laid open book

Reading Like A Writer by Francine Prose

Image Description: book cover of Reading Like A Writer by Francine Prose
Title: Reading Like A Writer
Author: Francine Prose
Social Media: Facebook and Goodreads
Publisher: Union Books
Rating: 3 out of 5
Source: Supplied by Collins Booksellers – Bacchus Marsh

About The Author:
Francine Prose (born in 1947 in Brooklyn, New York) is an American novelist. She graduated from Radcliffe College in 1968, and received a Guggenheim fellowship in 1991. She has sat on the board of judges for the PEN/Newman’s Own Award, and her novel Blue Angel, a satire about sexual harassment on college campuses, was a finalist for the National Book Award. She is now teaching at Bard College.

About The Book:
In her entertaining and edifying New York Times bestseller, acclaimed author Francine Prose invites you to sit by her side and take a guided tour of the tools and the tricks of the masters to discover why their work has endured. Written with passion, humor, and wisdom, Reading Like a Writer will inspire readers to return to literature with a fresh eye and an eager heart – to take pleasure in the long and magnificent sentences of Philip Roth and the breathtaking paragraphs of Isaac Babel; she is deeply moved by the brilliant characterization in George Eliot’s Middlemarch. She looks to John Le Carré for a lesson in how to advance plot through dialogue and to Flannery O’Connor for the cunning use of the telling detail. And, most important, Prose cautions readers to slow down and pay attention to words, the raw material out of which all literature is crafted

General Observations:
~Academic: This is a great academic reference for people studying writing or doing literature studies at University, I definitely recommend it on those grounds. Unfortunately, the fact that it’s an academic resource did make for dry reading, I honestly think it’s difficult to make a subject like this interesting, so this could just be a problem with myself (especially since I’m easily distracted).

~How Long Is A Piece of String?: There are some literary ideas that translate well into short-stories or short essays, but don’t translate well into an entire novel, a short-story is easy to read and justify but a novel is a commitment of time and effort. I can’t help but feel that the author made their main point within the first few chapters and that this was better off being a long essay than an entire novel. The novel doesn’t appear to have an easily traceable thread to follow, when I read this novel, I couldn’t tell how the books interconnected together (apart from being considered University level-readings or books considered classics) into an overall theme or arch.

In conclusion, a good acedemic reference that was a little too dry and aimless for my interests, however, I would still be happy to recommend it to others interested in this field of study.

Havering: End of Year Survey for 2016

Image Description: a black and white photo of a pile of books with a pair of glasses on top
Number Of Books You Read: 16 out of 20
Number of Re-Reads: 2
Genre You Read The Most From: IDK, my list for this year is a bit all over the shop

Best Books of 2016:
1. Best Book You Read In 2016?
Unfortunately, I don’t have a book I can place above all the other books, this year was a little chaotic for me.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Image Description: book cover of Beneath A Darkening Moon by Keri Arthur
Beneath A Darkening Moon by Keri Arthur – I didn’t have high expectations going into the book but there were some really questionable elements involved I hadn’t anticipated and I was left quite disappointed with the way the Unfortunate Implications were handled, or rather weren’t handled.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
Image Description: book cover of In The Woods by Tana French
In The Woods by Tana French – I had gone into this book with high expectations, Tana French was highly recommended to me, but the first book in the series was surprisingly meh and I felt the ending was a bit of a cope-out, but as Tana French is a best-selling author, I’m guessing that’s just me.

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
Image Description: book cover of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – I bought this for my younger sister (although it was a copy of the book with the movie-version as the cover, which I truly detest, but moving on), she seemed genuinely interested in it and I figured the movie was something she and my father could watch together (my father is major history enthusiast).
Image Description: book cover of Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – I got this for my younger brother for Christmas last year and he began to read it immediately, which is unusual because my younger brother isn’t a big reader, I also got him a copy of Gemina for this Christmas.

5. Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016?
Image Description: book cover of Every Breath by Ellie Marney
The Every Series by Ellie Marney – I’m looking forward to reading this series in 2017

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2016?
the-last-necromancer
The Ministry of Curiosities series by C.J. Archer – An Australian author writing about necromancy and steam-punk, sounds great 😀 I look forward to reading this series in 2017

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
Image Description: book cover of Game Day by Miriam Sved
Game Day by Miriam Sved – I have zero interests in sports, and I don’t usually read Contemporary, but I had to read this one for a University class and it was the one I suppose I had the least mixed feelings about (despite the fact that I have little to no interest in the subject). To me, this is a book for people who are not me and need someone to highlight some of the problems that emerge from Australia’s fanatical football culture.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
Image Description: book cover of Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley – fast paced narrative and engaging realistic characters with some tough emotional baggage to deal with, highly recommended.

9. Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
Image Description: book cover of Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss
Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss – It’s an editing resource so I’ll probably read it again.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016?
Image Description: book conver of Sapphire Skies by  Belinda Alexandra
Sapphire Skies by Belinda Alexandra – The cover and the fact that it’s written by an Australian author was the primary reason I picked it up.

11. Most memorable character of 2016?
Image Description: book cover of Crooked Words by K. A. Cook
Darius from the short story Certain Eldritch Artifacts in Crooked Words by K. A. Cook – Darius is the reason I investigated this book in the first place, and it’s so great to see his character development here, in comparison to how he is in The Unnatural Philosophy of Kit March, go check it out if you’re a fan of the Fantasy genre like I am

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016?
Image Description: book cover of Beloved by Toni Morrison
Beloved by Toni Morrison – Although technically I haven’t finished it, Toni Morrison is one of the most poetic novel writers I’ve ever read, she possesses an amazing awe-inspiring skill with words.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016?
Beloved by Toni Morrison – it’s just one of those books you have to read

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read?
Image Description: book cover of Sweet Damage by Rebecca James
Sweet Damage by Rebecca James – I had meant to read this for ages and only got around to reading it this year

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2016?
Unfortunately I didn’t have one outside of a few one-liners from Bossypants by Tina Fey

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016?
Shortest: The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White with 105 pages
Longest: The Dark Between the Stars by Kevin J. Anderson with 660 pages

17. Book That Shocked You The Most (Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)
Probably a tie between The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood and Did She Kill Him?: A Victorian Tale of Deception, Adultery and Arsenic
by Kate Colquhoun, I just didn’t expect those books to end the way that they did.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
I don’t have one this year, but I like all the couples in Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
Bossypants
Tina Fey’s relationship with her dad as described in her memoir Bossypants

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
Crooked Words by K. A. Cook – I’ve read other short stories of Kim’s and enjoyed them.

21. Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:
Image Description: book cover ofComing of Age: Growing up Muslim in Australia by Amra Pajalic and Demet Divaroren
Probbably Coming of Age: Growing Up Muslim in Australia by Amra Pajalic and Demet Divaroren – I picked this book purely because my associates from Professional Writing and Editing recommended it to me. I’ve met Amra Pajalic via my Professional Writing and Editing course and Demet Divaroren is now teaching subjects from the Professional Writing and Editing course.

22. Most Unique Book You Read In 2016?
Loaded
Loaded by Christos Tsiolkas – it’s an interesting story structure and it’s written without any speech tags and in a simple style, but that doesn’t mean the subject is simple, in fact, it’s very complex.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
Image Description: book cover of The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood
The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood – I just didn’t like the ending of the book, although that may have been the author’s intention.

Book Blogging
1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2016?
Happy Indulgence – an Australian book-review blog

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2016?
Probably Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
My Bruno’s Farewell post, I was so anxious about the night leading up to it and on the night (pretty much pacing around the house for an hour before Kim and their mother were due to pick me up), I was certain I would mess it up somehow and I was mildly worried Bruno wouldn’t like the post, but of course he liked it

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
Again, Bruno’s Farewell Evening at The Twilight School

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2016?
I actually managed to have some great comments and referrals on Twitter this year. Also, all of my pictures of Things Made By Kim all get liked and receive positive comments on either Facebook or Instagram, I honestly can’t ask for more than that.

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
Getting the balance between blogging, work and university. But hopefully this year things will be easier.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
Game Day by Miriam Sved (which I find a little confusing)

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
The Editing Process of Self-Publishing – I put so much effort into that post

9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
We Need Diverse Books and Disability in Kidlit

10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I tried reading 20 books this year, but unfortunately I only managed to read 16. I’m involved in a few Reading Challenges like the Australian Women Writer’s challenge and the RMFAO Genre Challenge. This year I’m also going to merge the 2017 Diverse Books Campaign into my blog as well (because I clearly have too much time on my hands)

Looking Ahead To 2017
1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2016 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2017?
Image Description: book cover of Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Illuminae and Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2017 (non-debut)?
Image Description: book cover of The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

3. 2017 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
You’re Welcome Universe by Whitney Gardener – It sounds fascinating

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2017?
I’m hoping to finish a few series this year, like the Coroman Strike series, the Every Series and the Skulduggery Pleasant series.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2017?
I’m hoping to complete reading at least 24 books and have a rough draft of my next book ready by the end of the year

6. A 2017 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:
Image Description: book cover of History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera
History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera – Although I haven’t read this book yet

Links:
~The Perpetual Page-Turner: 7th Annual End Of Year Survey – 2016 edition!!

Ambiguous Pieces: End of Year Book Survey for 2016

Image Description: a picture of an open book with red and yellow string in the shape of a heart
Number Of Books You Read: 14
Number of Re-Reads: 0
Genre You Read The Most From: Non-Fiction/Memoir

1. Best Book You Read In 2016?
Image Description: the book cover of Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson
Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Image Description: book cover of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
Image Description: book cover of Red Rising by Pierce Brown
Red Rising by Pierce Brown – At first glance it didn’t seem that much different from all the other Young Adult Dystopian trilogies coming out so I was hesitant to read it at first, especially since Divergent and Matched were such boring disappointments, but I really enjoyed the book and flew straight through it, I’m looking forward to completing the trilogy.

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
Image Description: book cover of Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson
Image Description: book cover of Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
Furiously Happy and Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson – I bought both of these as Christmas presents and the friends I gave them to started reading them immediately.

5. Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016?
Image Description: a collection of four books on a green blanket, the books are The Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce
I’ve only just started to read the Shade of Magic series by V.E. Schwab (I know, I know, I’m so very behind) but I’m also going to be starting to read The Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce for 2017

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2016?
Jenny Lawson

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
Image Description: cover of Saga, a graphic novel, volume one
I keep saying memoir is the genre I don’t find most comfortable or read a lot of, but in the last two years, the vast majority of the books on my list have been memoir books, so I’ll have to pick a genre I really like by rarely read from, which is the graphic novel/comics genre and the Saga comic series by Brian K. Vaughan (Writer) and Fiona Staples (Artist). I know it will sound cliche on the surface, especially with the inclusion of literal star-crossed lovers, but it’s really good and I can’t recommend it enough (also read from the beginning or it won’t make a lick of sense). I used to read graphic novels all the time, but kinda stopped, so I’m trying to get back into it.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
Tie between the Saga comic series and A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

9. Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
The Saga Comic Series

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016?
Image Description: book cover of Rebel of The Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
Technically this is cheating as I haven’t read it yet, but I did buy it this year so I think it still counts, I just adore the cover of Rebel of The Sands by Alwyn Hamilton, it’s beautifully embossed and I love running my hands over the cover.

11. Most memorable character of 2016?
Image Description: A royal portrait of an alien Prince who has a TV for a head
I’d have to say Prince Robot IV from Saga and Holland from A Darker Shade of Magic – both characters had really strong “Alas Poor Villain!” qualities, I didn’t agree with what they were doing, but I really felt for them.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016?
IDK, I don’t think I’ve got one for this year

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2015?
Furiouly Happy by Jenny Lawson

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read?
Image Description: the book cover of Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling
Image Description: the book cover of Why Not Me by Mindy Kaling
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) and Why Not Me by Mindy Kaling – they were quick and easy reads but highly enjoyable, I don’t know why I put off reading them.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015?
My favourite chapter of Furiously Happy which is when Jenny and her husband Victor go to Japan and Victor ends up chasing out people “trying to break into their hotel room” in nothing but a pair of boxer shorts and a katana-sword.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2015?
Shortest: We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 49 pages
Longest: Red Rising by Pierce Brown 434 pages

17. Book That Shocked You The Most
(Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)
Probably a tie between The Night Circus (bad reasons) and Red Rising (good reasons)

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)
I dunno, I still feel a bit meh about most of the couples I’m reading about

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
Image Description: book cover of The Crossing by Michael Connelly
Harry Bosch and Mickey Haller (they’re brothers) from the Harry Bosch series and The Lincoln Lawyer series (they occasionally cross-over) by Michael Connelly

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
Michael Connelly

21. Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:
Image Description: book cover of A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Probably A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab, everyone was saying how great it is (which is true) I kind of felt I had to read it, but I’m super glad I did, although I did procrastinate a bit because of the hype.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?
IDK, didn’t really have one.

23. Best 2016 debut you read?
Image Description: book cover of American Housewife by Helen Ellis
American Housewife by Helen Ellis – it’s a comedic collection of short stories, it’s worth a read.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson and A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
Furiously Happy and Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2016?
Image Description: book cover of M is for Autism by The Students of Limpsfield Grange School
Most of the memoirs written by funny ladies had sharp painful moments, but M is for Autism by The Students of Limpsfield Grange School is the one that hit me in the feels the most

Book Blogging 2016
1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2016?
Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson – Everyone I know will eventually get a copy of this book

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2016?
The Night Circus by Erin Morganstein – I had been struggling with the book for so long, I was just so glad it was finally over and I could move on from it.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
This is hard for me to evaluate, but I’m glad I began the “Things We Don’t Talk About” series of blog-posts, they may not be popular but I don’t write those posts for popularity.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
Probably The Beautiful People writing prompt created by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2016?
Self-publishing my first Ebook, Canis Major: Volume I in the Pushing Boundaries series (yes, I will shamelessly plug my own book)

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
Getting the reading and writing balance, I was trying to read and review 20 books this year, but my Ebook pretty much took over, which is fine, but I wish I had handled it better.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
The Beautiful Books – NaNoWriMo 2016

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
IDK, I was a little all over the place this year

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
We Need Diverse Books and Disability in Kidlit

10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I aimed to read 20 books this year, but changed it to 10, I managed to read over ten books, but it still feels like cheating a little. I managed to self-publish my first Ebook with Kim’s help (Kim is amazing) and I also managed to graduate this year from University (some how? It’s all a bit of blur at this stage)

Looking Ahead to 2017
1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2016 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2017?
There are so many books I intended to read but had to discard, I’m going to try and remedy that this year.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2017 (non-debut)?
The Princess Bride (Book VS Movie) and The Last Unicorn (Book VS Movie)

3. 2017 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
Image Description: book cover of Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab
Image Description: book cover of A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab
Our Dark Duet and A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2017?
I’m hoping to finish the Hunger Games trilogy and the Red Rising trilogy by the end of the year

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2017?
Getting back to regularly commenting on the few book blogs I follow

6. A 2017 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:
Probably the Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab

Links:
~The Perpetual Page-Turner: End of Year Book Survey

Crooked Words by K. A. Cook

crooked-words
Title: Crooked Words: A Collection of Queer, Transgender and Womanist Writings
Author: K. A. Cook
Social Media: Goodreads, Patreon and Tumblr
Publisher: K. A. Cook via Smashwords
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Format and Price: E-Book for free

About The Author:
K. A. Cook is a masculine-presenting genderless pansexual feminist queer driven to write about non-binary and unconventional souls, mental illness, chronic pain and strong women. Currently a Professional Writing and Editing student, K. A. dreams of starting an e-press publishing queer non-romance genre fiction. In the meantime, K. A. spends their time collecting swap cards and fashion dolls, writing long and reflective blog posts, and coming up with ever more inventive ways to turn their life experiences into fiction.

About The Book:
A young transgender magician travels the world on a quest for a mystical talking sword. A witch wonders why her would-be lovers can’t date her the old-fashioned way. A cross-dressing man meets a suit-clad soul whose gender defies definition. A non-binary zombie wishes ze were the hero in science-fiction stories. A genderqueer manservant tries to save her mentally-ill lover with a deck of tarot cards. A boy looks at himself in the mirror and ponders the fear of telling his family that his name isn’t Susan.

Crooked Words is an eclectic collection of short fiction in pursuit of the many different shades of what it means to live queer.

General Observations:

~Misaimed Audience: I will put in a cisclaimer here, I’m a cis-woman reading and reviewing a book meant for a Transgender and/or Queer audience, so there might be things I haven’t picked up on or maybe I’ve missed something (please let me know in the comments). I’m also far from an expert on this topic, but I enjoyed the book and I figured, if I could enjoy it despite not being the target audience, than perhaps other cis-people could enjoy it too.

~Book Structure: As I’m a primarily plot-orientated writer and/or reader and Kim is primarily a character-orientated writer, I would have preferred to read “Everything in a Name” before I read “Blue Paint, Chocolate and Other Similes” (I’m assuming these stories are connected, this might not be the case). The character state of mind in “Everything in a Name” (awkward, nervous and walking-on-eggshell social interactions with straight cis-gendered people) versus “Blue Paint, Chocolate and Other Similes” (confident, happy and safe social interactions with other MOGAI people) would have had a bigger impact in my mind. As a plot-reader, a character-orientated writer has to prove to me “why should I care about this character?” and “What is this character’s journey?”. With those two stories, I can see the direction of Chris’s future character development, but I also need those interconnecting story points to be a little more obvious, but perhaps that’s just me.

~The Unnatural Philosophy of Kit March: Now, the first story of the anthology is “Certain Eldritch Artefacts”, which has recently been revised, here’s the link (I recommend readers who enjoy fantasy to go check it out). Some readers might think Darius’ chapter is a small slice of a larger narrative, and they would be right! In fact, the reason I read Crooked Words in the first place was to read the prequel “Certain Eldritch Artefacts”. Although there are many enjoyable short stories, “Certain Eldritch Artefacts” would have to be my favourite.

~Adventures in Port Carmila: I’m assuming that “The Differently Animated and Queer Society” takes place in the Port Camila universe along Death Is Only A Theoretical Concept (my apologies if this isn’t the case), like with “Certain Eldritch Artefacts”, I get the feeling that “The Differently Animated and Queer Society” is a smaller chapter that is apart of a much bigger narrative (and not a self-contained short-story), but I don’t think this is a negative thing. Especially since it does contain amusing references to Centrelink and discussions on sci-fi representation (the more Farscape mentions the better, as far as I’m concerned).

In conclusion, Crooked Words claims to be “an eclectic collection of short fiction in pursuit of the many different shades of what it means to live queer” and I think the novel fulfills that expectation with the added Australian sub-text and references thrown in for good measure. The characters are engaging and authentic and Kim shines when it comes to understanding emotions and empathy for their characters. I enjoyed reading Crooked Words and I’m happy to recommend.

Links:
~Top 10 books by transgender authors featuring trans characters by John Hansen

~I Found Myself Reading: How to Review a Trans Book as a Cis Person

~The 21 Best Transgender and Gender Non-conforming Books for Kids by Em & Lo

Monthly Forecast: August 2016

Contemporary
kənˈtɛmp(ə)r(ər)i
adjective
1. Living or occurring at the same time.
“the event was recorded by a contemporary historian”
2. Belonging to or occurring in the present.
“the tension and complexities of our contemporary society”

noun
1. A person or thing living or existing at the same time as another.
“he was a contemporary of Darwin”

Hello, I am back from my month long hiatus in order to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo, now while I wouldn’t consider my July Camp NaNoWriMo a success, it was significantly better than my April Camp NaNoWriMo attempt. However, the month is now August, this means I shall be reading Contemporary fiction for the month.
Which is a good coincidence because, due to VU and time-table problems, instead of doing Screen and Script (something I was really looking forward to), I am now doing Reading Contemporary Fiction. These are the books I’m going to attempt to read this month, though I offer no guarantees.

Beloved Beloved by Toni Morrison
Goodreads and Book Depository

Game Day Game Day by Miriam Sved
Goodreads and Book Depository

Loaded Loaded by Christos Tsiolkas
Goodreads and Book Depository

The Natural Way of Things The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood
Goodreads and Book Depository

My Sister Rosa My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier
Goodreads and Book Depository

I know I probably won’t get through all of those within the month, especially since I still have so much work on my Writing Project to complete, but I figured I’d give it a go. Let me know if you’ve read any of the books mentioned or if you would like to read any of the following books mentioned in the comment section below.

Now, time for some Shameless Plugging!

My friend Kim has written articles for Twilight School: These Are The Words, One Little Word and Tears of Inclusion please go check them out and share them (if possible). Kim has also published one of my articles on the Twilight School website as well. The article is Open Letter to a Teenager, the article was previously published in an edition of Platform, you don’t have to check it out, in fact Kim and Bruno think it’s fine if you read it but I’d rather people read Kim’s stuff.

One of the class units I’m taking this semester is Writing From The Edge: Creative Non-Fiction and one of my lecturers for my class unit is Natalie Kon-Yu, she has co-authored and co-edited Just Between Us and Mothers and Others. Both these novels are short story anthologies from a collection of Australian Women Writers, so if you’re interested in those topics or like to read short stories by Australian Women Writers, then I recommend you check them out. Natalie Kon-Yu will also be involved with the Melbourne Writer’s Festival, here’s a link to the events she will be involved in.

Did She Kill Him? by Kate Colquhoun

Did She Kill Him by Kate Colquhoun
Title: Did She Kill Him?: A Victorian Tale of Deception, Adultery, and Arsenic
Author: Kate Colquhoun
Social Media: Goodreads and Twitter
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Rating: 3 out of 5
Source: Supplied by Collins Booksellers – Bacchus Marsh

About The Author:
Kate Colquhoun was born in Ireland in 1964. She is married to literary agent David Miller and lives in west London. They have two sons.

About The Book:
In the summer of 1889, young Southern belle Florence Maybrick stood trial for the alleged arsenic poisoning of her much older husband, Liverpool cotton merchant James Maybrick.

‘The Maybrick Mystery’ had all the makings of a sensation: a pretty, flirtatious young girl; resentful, gossiping servants; rumours of gambling and debt; and torrid mutual infidelity. The case cracked the varnish of Victorian respectability, shocking and exciting the public in equal measure as they clambered to read the latest revelations of Florence’s past and glimpse her likeness in Madame Tussaud’s.

Florence’s fate was fiercely debated in the courtroom, on the front pages of the newspapers and in parlours and backyards across the country. Did she poison her husband? Was her previous infidelity proof of murderous intentions? Was James’ own habit of self-medicating to blame for his demise?

Historian Kate Colquhoun recounts an utterly absorbing tale of addiction, deception and adultery that keeps you asking to the very last page, did she kill him?

Aspects I Liked and/or Enjoyed
~Vivid Descriptions: Though I’m not a reader that enjoys lots of description, the author described everything in such a detailed way that I had no problems visualizing the era (food and fashion seemed to be the most prominent) and the environment (the Battlecrease House was often described and the author included a map). I suppose it also helps that I’m a massive Downton Abbey fan

~Detailed Research: The author has clearly done a lot of research, there’s a huge amount of effort put into the book, with footnotes and references at the end, there’s also direct quotes from people (written in italics).

~The Feminist Agenda: Lets be clear about one thing, the reason Florence Maybrick is on trial in the first place is because of the time-period, Victorian society’s attitudes towards Adultery (which is still a problem in modern British society) and the civil and legal rights of Women (which at the time were pretty non-existent). This trial would never have occurred in modern society, regardless of whether she was guilty. It was pretty clear that Florence Maybrick was on trial for Adultery and not Attempted Murder.

Aspects I Had Problems With
~Slow Plot: It took a long time to get into the flow of the plot and key elements, like Florence’s pregnancy and miscarriage, were not always clear. It took ages to get the trial stage, which was were I felt the novel had most of the momentum.

~Forgone Conclusion: In my opinion, James Maybrick’s arsenic addiction sort of made it a moot point, it didn’t matter if she killed him because he was going to kill himself anyway. As the author established, there was literally arsenic in everything during the Victorian era and very little technological ability to either improve/combat the situation or conduct conclusive testing. While I don’t think Florence Maybrick killed her husband, from my perspective she didn’t stand to gain anything from his death but would have gained a lot by keeping him alive, it was only a matter of time before James Maybrick’s death by arsenic occurred.

Overall, it’s a detailed and comprehensive read, however while I enjoy crime and mystery, I’m not a big fan of the true crime genre, which is generally more depressing (I read books to get away from reality, not to be reminded of it). However, I am happy to recommend it to either true crime enthusiasts or readers interested in gender studies.

Interview with Kate Colquhoun

RMFAO Genre Challenge 2016