Made my pilgrimage to Powell‘s City of Books today! Eeee!!
So I‘m doing a shameless plug...today I am debuting my first #instanovelette (an Instagram Story that‘s a story), A Fairly Conventional Tale!!! It‘s about an office worker who discovers that her new place of employment is not as conventional as she expected—it serves as a counseling center for fairy tale characters. If you‘re on Instagram, come check it out! I‘m at alysonimagines. Making this was a blast, and if you do read it I hope you enjoy! ❤️
I love the author‘s description of his first-generation Indian parents adapting very readily and eagerly to their new home country of America. This is the way I want to live, always! ❤️
As the last novel Charles Dickens completed before his death, Our Mutual Friend displays the author at the height of his sharp wit and observation of human nature. No shortage of evocative descriptions, colorful dialogue, and magnetic characters here. So overall I give this a thumbs up, although it‘s not my favorite of his. Like most Dickens novels, the gist is: characters scheme and suffer, and a lucky few make it to a (relatively) happy ending.
Today‘s #bookhaul from Half Price Books. When the heat index is 104 F, not much to do other than stay inside and...buy more books! 🥵 Been curious about Middlemarch and was excited to find this lovely hardcover edition for $12! Also curious to read more stories by the author of “The Yellow Wallpaper.” #hpbhaul
In honor of National Book Lover‘s Day, here is a bookish quote from one of my most favorite books of all time. It‘s the sweetest coming of age novel I have ever read, and every summer I laugh and cry my way through it like catching up with an old friend. To add to MC Sarah Nelson‘s astute observation here, I believe the best books, like this one, get better and better each time you read them. ☺️❤️📚
THIS is the epic Japanese mythology series I have been looking for all my life. Oh. My. Sugoi!!! I loved the first book, but I loved this gorgeously cinematic sequel even better. The magic is darker, the enemies are more dangerous, and the battles are more intense. Yet the fierce loyalty of half-kitsune (fox shapeshifter) Yumeko and her intrepid companions on a quest to save their friend is out of this world inspiring. Mad, mad love. 👊🖤
CJ‘s family motto is Katsuyamas Never Quit. It‘s a lot to live up to when her mom is a high-achieving career climber and the only thing CJ feels she‘s good at is working at her aunt‘s flower shop. But CJ is about to bloom with her own brand of moxie. This book packs a lot of tough issues—racism, teen pregnancy, LGBTQ equality, and the dark legacy of the WWII Japanese-American concentration camps—while also being boldly optimistic and funny. 🖤
OK, I‘m a big scaredy-cat. I don‘t usually read horror. But I have been curious about Stephen King. So I decided to try this 1,000-page thriller and wow. This confirms King‘s rep as a master storyteller (who likes to throw in lots of blood and severed limbs). Reading Under the Dome was like trapping a group of humans in a jar and watching how quickly they turn on each other. A horrifyingly fascinating study of human nature—good and very, very bad.
If you like your Indian mythology with generous dollops of adventure, friendship, humor, and Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings references, then start reading the Aru Shah series, like, yesterday! What I love about this second book is that both the heroes and the villains have baggage, and you can‘t paint anyone as purely good or evil. The characters are real and relatable, while the magic is delightfully over the top. So much fun! And wisdom too.
OK, I am officially rebranding my book review backlog as a Book Review Roundup. Because I have come to accept that this is just how I roll: I inhale three or four books and then finally come up for air to jot down a few thoughts about them. And after all, I‘m a Texan, and Texans round things up. So I‘ll be rounding up some reviews here shortly, y‘all! Yee-haw! 🤠📚
So excited I got to see Hamilton in my hometown Austin last night!!! And extra excited I got to meet Marcus Choi aka George Washington!! Representation really does matter—I can‘t express how thrilling it was for half-Asian me to see an Asian actor playing this part. I teared up at his first entrance. And his performance was fantastic! Such a commanding stage presence. 🇺🇸🎶
Still trying to process that I actually got to see Hamilton in my hometown Austin last night!!! And I got autographs! Nik Walker (Aaron Burr, sir!)—ok, there are a lot of really great actors in the #philiptour but he was on fire!! Tremendous stage presence.🔥 Aaaand Marcus Choi (George Washington), who also commanded the stage with powerful presence and rocked that #asianrep. 👊
As France enters World War II and Nazis invade the country, two sisters—one a rule-follower, the other a rebel—struggle to make the most of the few choices they have in this difficult time, even when none of the choices are ideal. Which sister is the braver one? Which sister is the Nightingale? I dare you to decide by the end of this heart-wrenching, cinematic feast of a page-turner. P.S. Be prepared for some ugly crying.
I‘ve never read anything quite like The Emissary. The story revolves primarily around the viewpoints of Mumei, a frail but vivacious boy, and Yoshiro, his spry great-grandfather, who are living in a post-apocalyptic Japan where the elderly never die and the children age prematurely. More stream-of-consciousness than linear narrative, this book is sad, bizarre, and satirical by turns, but maintains a dreamlike and surprisingly lighthearted tone.
I could say this is a story about numbers. The Professor is an elderly mathematician whose memory only lasts 80 minutes (the result of a car accident in 1975), and he navigates life through numbers. He encourages both the Housekeeper who looks after him and her son to see the poetry of math as he does. But this quietly moving story is really about the enduring friendship these three characters develop and the family they become for each other.
In this essay collection, young refugee women from around the world share the hardships of fleeing their home countries. What struck me most is that every girl carries something precious: her faith, her childhood memories, the love of a relative she had to leave behind. All carry fragile hope for a better life, and many carry an abiding love for their country. Fleeing one‘s home is not a choice, unless personal safety is considered a choice.
Woo-hoo! Made it to the 25% mark. 🙌 I am really enjoying the experience of reading this in manageable daily issues via the Serial Reader app. Tackling Dickens 15 minutes at a time! (And not completely unlike the way his original readers would have experienced the book in serial print issues.)
Do you have a plethora of interests that don‘t fit neatly into one job or hobby? Still not sure what you want to be when you grow up because choosing one thing feels like the kiss of death? You may be a multipotentialite! And you don‘t have to choose just one thing. Emilie Wapnick is a fantastic guide who walks the reader through many possible paths to building a life of meaning and variety that also pays the bills. Read this and set yo‘self free!
I 🖤 this book so hard! Never read a biography of any of the Brontes before, and their story is even more enchanting and tragic than I could have imagined. It‘s delightful to know the Bronte sisters often wrote and read their work to each other at home, and heartbreaking that all their lives ended so soon. Claire Harman tells the story of my fave Bronte with such sparkle and poignancy that it reads like a novel. More wonder that it‘s all true.
Yikes! I am about a month behind on book reviews. Just lots of life happening lately. But at least I have been reading. I would not survive for a month without sticking my nose in a book! So I will be playing catch up for a while...better late than never. 🐢📚
The nice thing about having my books on actual bookshelves again (instead of buried in plastic bins in my closet) is that I‘m picking up titles I haven‘t read in years, like this old favorite. I chose this for a quick binge read yesterday and really enjoyed it. Such a simple yet captivating YA mystery, and it‘s got a touch of Jane Eyre gothic, if Jane Eyre were 12 and went to work for a moody employer in the Berkshires instead of Thornfield Hall.
Hooray, my first #shelfie!!! As of last night, I finally have bookshelves in my room for the first time in approximately a million years! I know it might sound crazy to other book nerds that I‘ve gone so long without them, but I used to move every few years and I just got used to hauling my books around in giant plastic bins. It‘s so nice being able to see my books on display and not have to dig through bins in my closet anymore! More below...👇
”The energy of book titles and the words inside them are very powerful. In Japan, we say that ‘words make our reality.‘ The words we see and with which we come into contact tend to bring about events of the same nature. In that sense, you will become the person who matches the books you have kept.” Came across this advice while waiting for my new bookshelves at the Container Store. Never thought about this, but there might be some truth to it. 🤔
BFF and I took a field trip to the brand new, woman-owned Lark & Owl Booksellers in Georgetown, TX for Independent Bookstore Day! It‘s gorgeous—beautiful interior design, nice bookshelves and displays, and a great selection of bookish gift items, both sweet and snarky. We enjoyed exploring the space and meeting and talking to some of the store co-owners. Definitely worth the drive from Austin, and we want to visit again!
“The dining room at the Parsonage had been turned into something like a book factory, as the sisters paced round the table, reading, listening and discussing each other‘s work, and sat bent over their portable desks for hours, writing.” ⬅️This is so much better than my wildest dreams about the Bronte sisters! 💜💜💜
Yep! I can go deep and shallow in the same convo. 😂
I loved Austin Kleon‘s Steal Like an Artist and Show Your Work, so I had to read his latest. Each of his books tackles a different aspect of creativity, and this one addresses the timely dilemma of how to keep making art when you “feel as if the world had gotten dumber and meaner overnight.” A pep talk both inspiring and practical, illustrated with Kleon‘s newspaper blackout poems and other art, plus lots of great quotes.
What a beautiful spring day! I think I‘ll go to Half Price Books. 😂🌼📚 #bookhaul
Decided to go to Book People on my lunch break this beautiful spring day and look what I found in the clearance section! Charlotte Bronte helped me survive adolescence, so I had to give this book a good home. 🖤 Now when will I squeeze this into my overbooked TBR? 😂📚📚📚
My #bookhaul from the Blanton Museum of Art‘s Block Party yesterday. This is my kind of block party: free museum admission, free live music, delicious food, AND free art books. Yes, that‘s right: these hardcover coffee table beauties were totally FREE. People were snatching them up like piranhas! (Myself included.) 😂📚📚📚
This book is high voltage. Naomi Alderman portrays a world very much like the real one with a cataclysmic twist: women are stronger than men, awakening the ability to generate shocks from an organ in their bodies. Although some aspects felt like poetic justice to me as a woman, this is still a dark dystopia. As long as any people group is oppressed, justice cannot be complete. Most terrifying are the parallels this book points to in our own world.
I finally pushed myself to read this, and I‘m glad I did. What I expected: a terrifying dystopia. Check. What surprised me: how beautifully Margaret Atwood paints this dark world. It‘s like reading a novel-length prose poem. The language Atwood uses is painfully exquisite, as if the MC sees for the first time the beauty of life and love that has been stolen from her—which makes the dystopia she lives in more bleak and horrifying in contrast.
I decided to start Women‘s History Month 2019 with two powerful women authors who portray fictional histories that point to real injustices and oppression in our world: a #bookpairing of The Handmaid‘s Tale by Margaret Atwood and The Power by Naomi Alderman. Two very different worlds, both terrifying dystopias at opposite ends of the spectrum. Separate book reviews to follow...