TTT – Bookish Items I’d Love to Own

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. She has a list on her page of everyone participating, so go check that out for more bookish goodies! I only got to seven items before getting sick, so here’s what I’ve got!


The first two things are things I’ve actually asked for for Christmas this year. Storiarts has an amazing collection of scarves, gloves, tote bags, and pillows printed with excerpts from literature. I really want their scarf and writer’s gloves printed with e.e. cummings’ “I carry your heart” poem. They have so many items with so many different classics to choose from. If you have a favorite piece of classic lit, they probably have something with it printed on it!

This skirt is absolutely adorable. There’s also a dress in the same print!

I want this print for my future reading nook.

I’m also a big fan of enamel pins, and these three are perfect to go with the Hufflepuff pin, introvert turtle pin, and feminist pin that are already on my bag. I Like Big Books / It’s Not Hoarding If It’s Books / Books Are My Happy Place



TTT – Top Ten Books about Witchy Ladies!

the bone witchTop Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, and this week, because Halloween is tomorrow, the theme is Halloween freebie! So I’m doing my top ten on awesome witchy ladies. These are strong-willed women who have magic and use it with intent. They know what they want and they use the tools at their disposal to get it.

My first recommendation here is one that I’ve been recommending left and right since I read it – Rin Chupeco’s The Bone Witch. The second book, The Heart Forger, is also out, and the third book (The Shadow Glass) comes out in March! The main character in these books is Tea, and she’s a necromancer, and she is AMAZING.

poppy warSecond is The Poppy War, which is being followed by The Dragon Republic in May. Rin is a shaman, chosen by an extremely powerful god, and she’s about to just burn it ALL down to make things right. Excellent military fantasy.

toil & troubleOne I just finished reading (Review up soon, I promise!) is Toil & Trouble – 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft. It’s a YA anthology about witches and it is fantastic. It includes stories by authors I’ve previously read, authors I’ve heard of, and one author I’ve actually met! These women are badass.

girl who drank the moonThe Girl Who Drank the Moon isn’t exactly badass, but it is an amazing book about witches, and how perceptions and traditions don’t always get things right. It could probably pass for a middle-grade read, but it’s still involved enough to be enjoyable for adults.

trail of lightningNow Trail of Lightning is badass! Maggie Hoskie is a Native American monster hunter, and Coyote himself has taken an interest in her. This book is part dystopia, as it takes place after an apocalypse, in which magical walls rose around the reservation to protect it. It’s chock-full of Native American legends and language and traditions and it’s absolutely amazing.

CirceIn a list of powerful, knowing witches, I certainly can’t leave out Circe. This was a Book of the Month several months ago, and a follow up to Song of Achilles. I still haven’t read Song of Achilles, though it’s on my Kindle. Circe, however, blew me away and sent me into a reading slump because what could possibly follow that?!

forest1kForest of a Thousand Lanterns is a re-imagining of Snow White, but in an Asian-inspired world, and it’s the story of the evil queen instead of Snow White. The sequel, Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix, is out November 6th and follows the evil queen’s stepdaughter. I can’t wait!

crown's fateIt’s got more of a Christmas/winter feel to it than a Halloween feel, but Evelyn Skye’s The Crown’s Game and The Crown’s Fate is a duology on Russian magicians duking it out to become the Tsar’s Magician. Along the way, they discover they shouldn’t be fighting each other but are in too deep to stop. It’s a heartbreaker but it’s gorgeous.

fallenBack in the realm of necromancer ladies, we have Reign of the Fallen, built on the odd premise of a country where necromancers constantly resurrect people – so no one truly dies, but if resurrected people are exposed at all (they were voluminous shrouds all the time) they devolve into mindless monsters. Of course, this starts happening a lot, and the main character has to track down the cause. Looks like Reign of the Fallen is getting a sequel in January called Song of the Dead.

thepowerI’m going to end this list with a book that isn’t necessarily about witches, but is about women wielding a magical power – The Power, by Naomi Alderman, is a dystopia wherein women have evolved an electrical shock that they can shove into people by touch. This results in an overturning of the world order, where women are the physically more capable gender. I wish the book wasn’t quite so intent on the gender binary, but other than that, it was a really amazing book.



TTT – Bookstores or Libraries I’ve Always Wanted to Visit

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, and this week’s topic is Bookstores or Libraries I’ve Always Wanted to Visit. She has a link-up on her page where you can visit everyone participating this week! I’m going to try to focus on bookstores and libraries that I could realistically visit.

So first on my list is probably The Library of Congress. Despite living in Maryland for six years now, I still have not made it there. I’ve been to several other tourist attractions in DC, but just haven’t managed this one. I should probably plan an excursion to go do so! Maybe sometime this winter, when it’s not tourist season.

baldwin book barnMy husband and I are spending Thanksgiving Weekend in Philadelphia this year, as there’s a concert Friday night we have tickets to, and I’ve never been to Philly. I think I’ll try to convince him we should stop off at the Baldwin Book Barn on the way home, because it looks amazing.

Another local bookstore I haven’t made it to yet is Red Emma’s Bookstore and Coffeehouse. They’re a local co-op specializing in radical literature, so they have a lot of books on civil rights, socialism, feminism, racism, class structure and the like. The cafe serves vegetarian and vegan responsibly sourced food. They’re one of the sponsors of the Baltimore Book Festival every year, and their stage is always full of important topics around racism and civil rights.

Speaking of sponsors of the Book Festival, The Ivy Bookshop is another store in Baltimore. They’re the main sponsor of the Book Festival, and had satellite tables at every stage selling the books of the authors presenting at each stage. They have an event calendar with lots of author events, so I’ll be keeping an eye on that to see if anything relevant to my interests pops up. I’ve never been to their actual shop. They actually have an event Halloween evening with two authors I met at the Book Festival, and one of them is Sam Miller. I wanted to buy Blackfish City and get it autographed at the Festival, but they were sold out by the time I went to get it. Sam said he’d sign a copy for me someday, so this might be my chance!

braddock libraryThe Braddock Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh was the first Carnegie library in the United States, and the building looks amazing. I actually visit Pittsburgh once a year, but Sunday would be the only day available to visit the library, and it’s closed on Sundays. Finding time during the rest of the weekend would be exceedingly difficult, sadly. It doesn’t surprise me that the building is beautiful, though, since the entire town of Pittsburgh is awesome.

My husband and I have talked a lot about visiting Toronto, and I’ve just discovered Bakka Phoenix Books, in Toronto, which specializes in science fiction and fantasy. That would definitely be one of our destinations!

Middle East Books and More is a bookstore in DC specializing in, obviously, Middle Eastern books. They also have pottery, food, oils, toys, DVDs, and other things related to the Middle East. They look fascinating!

I’m going to cheat on these last three and list places I’ve already BEEN but want to go to again.

First, a place I definitely WILL go to again, probably multiple times. The Book Thing of Baltimore is three large rooms full of free books. Donated books are put out on the shelves as fast as they can process them and make room on the shelves, which are always pretty full! There’s a pile of boxes in a corner for people to put their finds in, presumably from the stacks of boxes of donated books in their backroom. The place is only open on weekends, because it’s run by all volunteer labor. It’s amazing, and I always leave with a full box of books. The Book Thing was actually destroyed by a fire a few years ago, but it’s back up and running now, and one of my favorite places in Baltimore.

The last two are both back home in Oregon, one in Portland and one in my hometown of Eugene.

In Portland, of course, is Powell’s. Powell’s is the largest independent bookstore, taking up an entire city block, and has at least three floors of books. It really is an experience.

smith family booksLess well-known is Smith Family Books in Eugene. The location I usually went to was on the second floor of a building down by campus, across a hall from my friendly local game store, Emerald City Comics. Smith Family Books was two floors of mostly used books, with a few new ones mixed in. Shelves double-stacked with novels, stacks on the floor, corners over-running with books – Smith Family Books was one of my favorite places to idle away an afternoon. They have a second location that I’ve also been to, but the one down by campus was my favorite.

I can’t wait to see where everyone else wants to go! Have you been to any of these locations?





Top Ten Tuesday – Longest Books I’ve Read

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, and this week’s topic is the longest books I’ve ever read. I typically read books between 400 and 600 pages, so I tend towards the long end of the spectrum anyway, but when I start creeping towards 1000, that’s notable, even for me.

Knocking out 4 spots are books #2 through #5 of the Song of Ice and Fire. A Clash of Kings clocks in at 768 pages, A Feast For Crows is 753 pages, and A Storm of Swords is 973 pages, making it the third longest book I’ve ever read. The second longest book I’ve read is #5 in the series, A Dance with Dragons, clocking in 1056 pages!

The rest of these I’ll list in order of size. The longest book I’ve ever read – I think – is actually one long poetry book, Gooberz, by Linda Goodman, back when I was going through my astrology phase. It was 1081 pages! Inheritance by Christopher Paolini is the fourth-longest book I’ve read, at 849 pages. Power, Faith, and Fantasy by Michael B. Oren, on American’s involvement in the middle east, is 832 pages.

From here we drop back into the 700s, with Orcs by Stan Nicholls (769 pages), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (759 pages), and Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook, at 752 pages.

I don’t think I’ve forgotten anything longer than these, but it is possible. There are several I’ve read in the lower 700s that only barely didn’t make the cut.

Update, after checking other people’s Top Tens: I should have included Patrick Rothfuss’s The Wise Man’s Fear! There also seems to be a lot of variance in actual page counts on some of these books. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix seems to actually be longer than Deathly Hallows, by some counts. So that should have been on here too! Whoops.



TTT – Authors I’d Love To Meet

I actually got to meet a ton of authors this last weekend at the Baltimore Book Festival – several of which I didn’t know I wanted to meet until I met them! (Na’amen Gobert Tilihun, Sam Miller, Zoraida Córdova, and Charlie Jane Anders all come to mind, as well as Kenneth Rogers Jr. and Nibedita Sen!) But authors I’d love to meet that I haven’t met yet?

john and hank green

John (left) and Hank Green

Well, John Green and Hank Green, first. I’ve been watching them on Youtube forever – I’ve read most (maybe all) of John’s work, and I have Hank’s debut novel, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, on my side table to read this month.

seanan mcguire

Seanan McGuire

Because I’ve been following her on Twitter, Seanan McGuire, oh my god. She is an absolute riot and a fabulous human being. Even if I come away from the meeting covered in glitter, it would be worth it! (She wrote Into The Drowning Deep as Mira Grant.)

I’d love to chat with S. A. Chakraborty and Rin Chupeco and Julie Dao. Strong women who write strong women! (Pictured in order, left to right.)

obamasDoes Barack Obama count? He’s written books. So has Michelle, I suppose, and I would LOVE to meet them both.

I’d also love to meet Ellen Oh, Meghan Maclean Weir, and Heidi Heilig. (Pictured left to right.) I keep hoping some of these authors will have events near me, but the closest most of them come is Boston! There’s been a few events scheduled in DC, but it’s really hard for me to get down into DC. I wish Baltimore attracted more author events! That’s part of why I enjoyed the Baltimore Book Festival so much, but it’s only once per year.

TTT – Books by My Favorite Authors that I Still Haven’t Read

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, and this week’s topic is “Books by My Favorite Authors that I Still Haven’t Read.” This is actually a little difficult for me; I’ve either read absolutely everything from authors I like, or I’ve stopped being interested in that author, or I’ve read one or two and want to read their entire back catalog. Finding authors I love that I’ve read everything but one or two things? Harder than it sounds.

I came up with a few.

I’ve read Circe by Madeline Miller but not yet Song of Achilles, so I think that probably counts. I adore Neil Gaiman, but have yet to read his newest, Norse Mythology. And I’ve read several of Brandon Sanderson’s books (though I never read The Wheel of Time – Ain’t nobody got time for that!) but I haven’t read the Stormlight Archive yet.

shadow and boneIn that same vein, I’ve read the Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom duology, and her Wonder Woman: Warbringer book, but I haven’t read the rest of Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse. I’ve been shying away from the epic fantasy giant trilogies/series lately. They’re amazing, don’t get me wrong, but they take so long to digest!

cocaine bluesI read Kerry Greenwood’s Delphic Women novels, and then realized sometime later that she’d written Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, after I’d watched the AMAZING show based on them. I’d kind of like to go back and read those sometime.

I love Seanan McGuire writing as Mira Grant, and after falling in love with her Twitter, I REALLY need to read more of her back catalog, because she is an absolutely fabulous person. The same is true of Bill Bryson – I adored A Short History of Nearly Everything, and should really read more of his books.

the fairy godmotherMercedes Lackey’s The Five Hundred Kingdoms series has been on my To-Read list for a long time, but somehow I still haven’t read it, despite having read almost everything else she’s written.

That’s only eight authors, but considerably more books, so I’m going to stop there! (Like I need MORE BOOKS on my To-Read list…)