August Wrap-up!

I am tired! I haven’t felt like blogging too much this last month, and I’ve tried not to pressure myself into it because I had a lot going on. I still got lots of reading, done, though!

Reads for August

Here’s all I read in August:

A Dark and Twisting Path by Julia Buckley (ARC) — 4 of 5 stars

Stunning by Sara Shepard — 2 of 5 stars

How to Be Miserable by Randy J. Paterson — 4 of 5 stars

Finding Yvonne by Brandy Colbert — 5 of 5 stars

Burned by Sara Shepard — 2 of 5 stars

The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu by Joshua Hammer — 4 of 5 stars

Crushed by Sara Shepard — 2 of 5 stars

Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham — 2 of 5 stars

Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram (ARC) — 5 of 5 stars — review here!

Deadly by Sara Shepard — 2 of 5 stars

Archie: Volume One by Mark Waid, Fiona Staples, Annie Wu, and Veronica Fish — 4 of 5 stars

Toxic by Sara Shepard — 1 of 5 stars

Wicca’s Charm by Catherine Edwards Sanders — 1 of 5 stars

Vicious by Sara Shepard — 2 of 5 stars

This Book is Overdue! by Marilyn Johnson — 4 of 5 stars

Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson (ARC) — 5 of 5 stars

Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman — 5 of 5 stars

The Librarian’s Book of Quotes by Tatyana Eckstrand — 5 of 5 stars

Dream Country by Shannon Gibney (ARC) — 4 of 5 stars

How to Speak Cat by Aline Alexander Newman (ARC) — 4.5 of 5 stars

Like Never and Always by Ann Aguirre (ARC) — 4 of 5 stars

 

Reading stats:

  • Number of books read: 21
  • Number of nonfiction books: 7
  • Number of ARCs: 6
  • Number of books by marginalized authors: ~4
  • Number of library books: 8
  • Number of books that WEREN’T part of my monthly TBR: 1

I did a REALLY good job of sticking to my TBR this month! The only book that wasn’t on my TBR that I read was a book I preordered, so I’m okay with this. I AM frustrated at how sticking so close to my TBR this month caused me to read so few books by marginalized authors. I do recognize that by having a large chunk of my reading dedicated to #SummerOfPLL I already set myself up to read fewer marginalized authors, and I’m also seeing that the library books I’m picking up are also pretty white, abled, and non-queer. Maybe this is why I felt like I enjoyed fewer books overall that I read this month than I usually do. I’ll need to be more aware of this in the future.

On The Personal Side…

I’m still exercising more, which is nice. My pool is shutting down for maintenance for the next three weeks, which sucks, but I’m so far still planning to go back after they reopen late in September. I’ve also been zooming through levels in Pokémon Go, although I stopped to do a raid on a city lawn and my Fitbit lost a fight with a sprinkler earlier in the month so I had to get a new one… I love this weather right now, and I’m really going to miss it when it’s gone.

I have a driving test scheduled at the DMV for the day after my birthday this month! If all goes well, I SHOULD get my license and I’ll be able to actually use my car to go get groceries! That’s all I want. To be able to drive to the grocery store and back. That’s it. That’s all I need.

#ARCAugust was a bit of a bust, so I’ll be moving quite a bit of ARCs on my TBR over to my September TBR. I decided that I’m going to try to keep having a TBR each month for a while just to see how it goes. I’ll have a post up about my September TBR pretty soon.

Also, if you like my content, there are new ways in which you can support me now!

The best way to support me is by becoming a Patron on my new Patreon page! My Patrons will be receiving lots of bookish and cat-related content from me and my cat, Coco, so please check it out! We really appreciate it!
https://www.patreon.com/librarybenni

If you’d prefer one-time or occasional donations, that’s okay too! I have both a Ko-fi and a Paypal.me set up, and you are welcome to use either, if you wish! (I have a rather large vet bill coming up for Coco next month, so a little extra help would be VERY appreciated.)
http://ko-fi.com/librarybenni
http://paypal.me/librarybenni

Rather support me with items rather than with cash? I have an Amazon wishlist, too! There are both fun things and necessities on this list, and I’d love to receive any of them!
http://a.co/arrvEe3

The last couple months have been kind of rough, so I really appreciate any support I can get!

How was your August? Any fun plans for September? Let’s talk in the comments!

ARC Review: Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

Image of book cover from Goodreads
Image of book cover from Goodreads

Title: Darius the Great is Not Okay

Author: Adib Khorram

Category: YA Contemporary (LGBTQIAP+)

Publisher/Date: Dial Books/28 August 2018

Edition: eARC

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37506437-darius-the-great-is-not-okay

Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/Darius-Great-Okay-Adib-Khorram-ebook/dp/B077WZ46TC/

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/darius-the-great-is-not-okay-adib-khorram/1127582464?ean=9780525552963#/

Darius doesn’t think he’ll ever be enough, in America or in Iran. Hilarious and heartbreaking, this unforgettable debut introduces a brilliant new voice in contemporary YA.

Darius Kellner speaks better Klingon than Farsi, and he knows more about Hobbit social cues than Persian ones. He’s about to take his first-ever trip to Iran, and it’s pretty overwhelming–especially when he’s also dealing with clinical depression, a disapproving dad, and a chronically anemic social life. In Iran, he gets to know his ailing but still formidable grandfather, his loving grandmother, and the rest of his mom’s family for the first time. And he meets Sohrab, the boy next door who changes everything.

Sohrab makes sure people speak English so Darius can understand what’s going on. He gets Darius an Iranian National Football Team jersey that makes him feel like a True Persian for the first time. And he understand that sometimes, best friends don’t have to talk. Darius has never had a true friend before, but now he’s spending his days with Sohrab playing soccer, eating rosewater ice cream, and sitting together for hours in their special place, a rooftop overlooking the Yazdi skyline.

Sohrab calls him Darioush–the original Persian version of his name–and Darius has never felt more like himself than he does now that he’s Darioush to Sohrab. When it’s time to go home to America, he’ll have to find a way to be Darioush on his own.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via Penguin’s First to Read program. This book has content warnings for racism/xenophobia, homophobia, fat-shaming, depression/depression-related ableism, bullying, terminal illness in a family member, and strained family relationships.

This is one of those books that, after reading it, you want absolutely everyone to read it. Darius is such an intriguing main character, and Khorram managed to balance how Darius doesn’t feel like he fits in with either side of his family in a very delicate manner. Darius feels disconnected from his Persian heritage because he wasn’t taught to speak the language from birth like his younger sister was and because the culture doesn’t really “approve” of his medication for depression, and he also feels disconnected from his white father who doesn’t seem to approve of Darius’s life, constantly policing him for being fat and for choices he makes in his life. The feeling of being a teenager, especially a fat teenager of color, who doesn’t seem to fit in anywhere was very well-done, and I really empathized with Darius.

As someone with depression, I also really loved the depression rep and the discussions around mental health in this book. Many people who don’t have depression don’t understand that it’s not a matter of “just being happy” and getting shamed for trying to treat it can be incredibly overwhelming. This part of the book in particular was one that I felt very deeply; it almost felt like a weight was dragging my shoulders down as I continued to read because this kind of talk is SO common and so harmful for someone who is just trying to seek help.

The romance in this book was very light and sweet, and I’m actually rather glad that it kind of took a backseat to the other themes in the book because this book covered so much ground and I think was stronger for having the romance be a little less prominent. This is a story about a gay boy, yes, but it’s a story about that gay boy’s Persian heritage and his family and how he’s viewed as a fat person, and I’m really glad that those things took the stage in this one.

I absolutely adored this book. If you haven’t picked it up yet, you really should.

Final rating: 5 of 5 stars

August To-Read List!

I don’t usually do to-read lists because I’m kind of a mood reader and tend to throw these lists out the window, BUT I have a few distinct piles of books that I need to read and I want to make sure I touch upon all of them. I have LOTS to read, and I think that listing out what I’m hoping to read this month will help!

Pile 1: #SummerOfPLL reads

The first half of #SummerOfPLL is over, and I’ve surprised myself by staying on course with this for an entire month without reading anything early or late. At all. Which is very Not Me. So, despite that the second half of this series so far is DEFINITELY going downhill when the first half wasn’t anything particularly special to begin with, I’m determined to keep on track through August, too! Here’s my PLL reading list for August:

  • Stunning
  • Burned
  • Crushed
  • Deadly
  • Toxic
  • Vicious
  • Alison’s Pretty Little Diary
  • Pretty Little Secrets
  • Ali’s Pretty Little Lies

Pile 2: Library Books

So, while volunteering at the library I spent about 6 hours over the last couple weeks shelving nonfiction books… And I KIND OF usually find a lot of stuff I want to read while I’m shelving things… So… I KIND OF checked out a giant pile of library books at once… Good job, me! Here’s my library book pile:

  • The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu by Joshua Hammer
  • Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham
  • The Librarian’s Book of Quotes complied by Tatyana Eckstrand
  • This Book is Overdue! How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All by Marilyn Johnson
  • How To Be Miserable: 40 Strategies You Already Use by Randy J. Paterson, PhD
  • Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
  • Wicca’s Charm: Understanding the Spiritual Hunger Behind the Rise of Modern Witchcraft and Pagan Spirituality by Catherine Edwards Sanders
  • Archie: Volume One by Mark Waid, Fiona Staples, Annie Wu, and Veronica Fish

Pile 3: ARC August!

Since it’s August and I have A VERY LARGE NUMBER OF UNREAD ARCS, I’m going to make a concentrated effort to catch up on as many of them as possible this month! Here’s all of the unread ARCs I have that have a release date in September or earlier (not all of my ARCs, though… Good luck, me):

  • Harbor Me by Jacqueline Wilson
  • Darius The Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram
  • Dream Country by Shannon Gibney
  • Disbanded Kingdom by Polis Loizou
  • How To Speak Cat by National Geographic Kids
  • Like Never And Always by Ann Aguirre
  • Scream Site by Justina Ireland
  • Rules of the Ruff by Heidi Lang
  • Love Letters to Jane’s World by Paige Braddock
  • The Adventures of Wilhelm: A Rat’s Tale by Maria Ritter
  • The Lost Art of Reading by David L. Ulin
  • The Splintered Light by Ginger Johnson
  • Big Words Small Stories: The Missing Donut by Judith Henderson
  • The Ghost Road by Charis Cotter
  • Zora and Me: The Cursed Ground by T.R. Simon
  • Unbroken Anthology
  • Black Diamond Fall by Joseph Olshan
  • Trans Teen Survival Guide by Owl Fisher and Fox Fisher

Considering that my total August TBR is now at 35 books, I have NO illusions about actually finishing all of these things this month. Ideally, though, I would at least like to get through a large chunk of them (and I know that some will take me longer to review than they will to read, as a few of my ARCs are picture books). I feel that this list at least puts me in a good starting place for getting many of the books I actually NEED to read… well, read!

What’s on YOUR reading list for August? Let me know in the comments!