Reading inbox-outbox: Week of 2 March

Last week I decided that in March I wanted to put a major dent in my TBR pile by reading all the “short” books (<350 pages) that I’ve purchased at (almost) full price but haven’t read yet. There were six total. I finished two of them this week. I also went a little crazy with the book buying… But, it is National Reading Month, so what do you expect? 🙂

Inbox (books acquired)

  • A Great and Terrible Beauty (The Gemma Doyle Trilogy Book 1) by Libba Bray — I don’t even remember how I heard about this book, but I probably saw it mentioned on Book Riot (I’m really enjoying that website, btw). Anyway, at some point I added it to my someday/maybe watch list. When I saw the price drop, I re-read the synopsis and took a peak at the first few pages via “look inside this book” and decided to take a chance on it. I’m somewhat fascinated by India, and I have a soft spot for boarding school books, and I (usually) like magic and Victorian dramas, so I think this one might be a winner.
  • The Crown of Embers (Girl of Fire and Thorns Book 2) by Rae Carson (Kindle) — I took advantage of a price drop to pick up the second book in this series. I read the first book last year and I liked it, but I decided to hold off on reading the rest of the series. It also features magic, and some pretty unique characters and world-building (compared to many of the popular YA novels featuring heroines that came out around the same time…). I am excited about reading this, but I probably will hold off for a while.
  • Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (kindle) — Okay, I finally bought this book. I’m still going to wait to read it until after I finish all six of the books for my March TBR challenge. BUT! As I mentioned last week, I’ve been paying close attention to the buzz around this book and I am very much looking forward to reading this one…
  • Lock In by John Scalzi (Kindle, library) — My hold came up at the library! YAY! I’ve been wanting to read something by Scalzi for a while. I’ve had Redshirts on my watch list forever, but then I got excited about Lock In after watching him talk about it at Google. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to attend in person (I was busy that day), otherwise I would already have a copy of this book. The talk is posted here — it’s good. If you have any interest in reading this book, I’d recommend watching it. I will be breaking into my March TBR challenge to read this because I only get 21 days to finish it. Even without the library loan time limit, I’m so excited to read my very first Scalzi book that I will probably dive into this one today.

Outbox (books finished)

  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (Kindle) — This is short and has drawings. It’s geared toward ~ 8th grade boys. I’d say “middle school” in general, but there is some swearing, violence, and discussion of the drinking and drinking-death related problems common on reservations. So, it’s one of those books that’s really good for kids to read, but probably one that their parents don’t want them reading. I have to say, given the weird “politically correct” climate during whichI went to school, I cringed a lot while reading this book because the author directly addresses many stereotypes, which in his experience were (sadly) true. The book is loosely autobiographical. It’s not a happy book, but contains a dark humor, and it’s about hope. The conclusions he comes to as a young boy (basically that you have to leave the reservation to survive) make me sad. It’s one of those books where I’m left with all the feels, but no idea what to do.
  • Sword by Amy Bai (Kindle) — This one is a fantasy book from a small press that features three main characters (two girls and one boy) who take on somewhat non-traditional gender roles. The title character, “Sword,” becomes Captain of her country’s army, sworn to defend her best friend who becomes the queen. Her brother, meanwhile, becomes a bard. The world building is awesome. The storytelling relies much on how these characters feel about each other and events. Sometimes that made the writing feel a little too vague and/or emo, but it’s never saccharine or simple, and the overall effect actually enhanced the world-building and drama. I really enjoyed this one. It had a relatively conclusive end (not really a cliffhanger), but I suspect a sequel is coming, and I can’t wait for the next book in what I’m expecting will become a series.

Queue (what I’m reading next)

I’d say I’m doing a good job celebrating National Reading Month, wouldn’t you?