Ease / August Playlist

  1. We the Monsters / Her Heels
  2. Tennis System / Esoteric
  3. Dayplayer / Caveman
  4. Rogue Wave / Per Anger
  5. BRONCHO / Class Historian
  6. Tennis System / The Summer After
  7. Dayplayer / Peak
  8. Rogue Wave / Bird On A Wire
  9. We the Monsters / Message to Home


Bout of Books Wrap Up

I only completed the first two challenges, which you can find in my readathon check-in post.

Fudoki / Kij Johnson
To Kill A Mockingbird / Harper Lee
55 pages of Teach Us to Outgrow Our Madness / Kenzaburo Oe


Fudoki | Kij Johnson

TITLE / Fudoki

AUTHOR / Kij Johnson


DATE OF PUBLICATION / October 1, 2004

NO. OF PAGES / 316


This is fantasy as I've never read it before.

Kij Johnson's Fudoki follows an aging imperial princess Harueme as she clears out her belongings so that she can retire to a monastery to live out her final days. As her attendant Shigeko sorts through trinkets, robes, and burns old notebooks full of writing, Harueme writes down the story of a young cat and the adventure that sends her away from her home in the capital and on a long journey to the other end of the empire. As Harueme also muses on her own life and her past encounters with her one love, a guard from a far off province named Domei, she writes a story that has our little cat girl facing kami (gods) and having to readjust to life after mysteriously turning into a human woman called Kagaya-hime.

When I first heard about this over on Mercedes' YouTube channel, I immediately added it to my to read list. I didn't know much about the plot, other than the obvious based on the cover. But I have honestly never encountered fantasy quite like this before, and now that I've written that out I'm starting to wonder if this should be more correctly classified as historical fiction, or historical fantasy. The story felt so authentic and seamless that it was easy to see that the author did her research and did it well.

The tale Harueme tells of Kagaya-hime is so compelling not only because of the tragedy the young cat faces and overcomes, but because of how it serves as a reflection and extension of Harueme's own life. One of the great takeaways for me was how much this novel reveals about court life in 12th century Japan, particularly that of a woman. There is a heart-breaking passage where Harueme, recalling her brief attempt to run away from the court and her would-be husband, admits:

"walking is hard. It had been twenty? twenty-five? years since I had walked with vigor; and then I'd been a girl" (254).

This about broke my heart. Harueme's life has been one of confinement and constant scrutiny, never more than earshot away from her attendants or a screen away from a man who would share her bed. She has never really seen the streets of the capital, let alone the different provinces or roads throughout the empire. It really is no wonder that she would craft a tale about a little cat who becomes a woman that is completely independent and able to not only fend for herself, but can actually best men at their own sport of war.

In addition to the plot and characters, Kij Johnson's writing is a joy in itself. She manages to capture the very soft, lyrical quality that is characteristic of Japanese literature, making Fudoki read like an authentic Japanese myth rather than a work of modern fiction. The pacing is also quite similar to Japanese literature; the plot is gripping, yet the pace is as steady as Kagaya-hime as she journeys on the Tokaido. Although I found I could put this down for hours at a time without feeling the burning desire to pick it up again, the novel also continued to linger in the back of my mind and I never really stopped thinking about it.

All in all, I am glad that Kij Johnson has written another novel in this same universe (The Fox Woman), because I don't think I'm ready to leave it entirely. Fudoki is definitely one of the best books I have read all year.


Bout of Books 14 Progress Check

Hello, fellow readers! Welcome to my Bout of Books 14 progress check. I'll be the first to admit, I haven't been doing the best job reading this week, even though that's the point of participating in the readathon. Even though I haven't had that much work, I keep finding something else that needs to be done or captures my attention. So reading wise, I don't have too much to report.

Fudoki / Kij Johnson / read the last 114 pages
To Kill a Mockingbird / Harper Lee / as of 8:30 p.m., read up through page 185
Total Page Count So Far = 299 pages

I'm starting to wonder if To Kill a Mockingbird was a bad choice for a readathon, because I have been reading it in shorter spurts than I normally read, say, more contemporary novels. But I just kept thinking about it and I highly doubt I'd be able to focus on anything else. Just because I like being a tease, I won't say how I'm enjoying it so far. That'll have to wait for my readathon wrap up.

I've also participated in some of the challenges, though I honestly haven't done much better than in my reading. I missed the challenges for days 2 and 3, but enjoyed doing the day 1 and 4 challenges quite a bit!


Day 1 - Fictional World Travel
1. Northanger Abbey / Jane Austen / England
2. Things Fall Apart / Chinua Achebe / Nigeria
3. A Book of Common Prayer / Joan Didion / fictional "Boca Grande" in South America
4. The Girl Who Played with Fire / Stieg Larsson / Sweden & Eastern Europe
5. The Yellow Birds / Kevin Powers / Iraq
6. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet / David Mitchell / Japan

Day 4 - Four Seasons Book Covers
Winter / Ranger's Apprentice Book 3: The Icebound Land / John Flanagan
Spring / The Awakening / Kate Chopin
Summer / The Island of the Blue Dolphins / Scott O'Dell
Fall / The Hobbit / J.R.R. Tolkien

And that's all I've got to share, folks! I will, of course, be sharing a wrap up video some time next week. Until then, what have you been reading?


Shortcomings | Adrian Tomine

TITLE / Shortcomings

AUTHOR / Adrian Tomine

PUBLISHER / Drawn and Quarterly

DATE OF PUBLICATION / October 2, 2007

NO. OF PAGES / 108



Bookish Instagrams You Need to be Following

Nicole shares her love of all things bookish across several different platforms, namely this Instagram account and her blog. She's even started making BookTube videos! If you like all things nerdy, beautiful composition (think a Tumblr inspired), and books upon books upon books, I would definitely suggest you check Nicole out in one of her capacities!

Although this is a relatively new bookish Instagram account, it is honestly one of my favorite. The photography features mainly literary fiction in beautiful compositions and situations. What makes this account different from all the others, however, is that each picture is accompanied by a brief and equally beautiful mini review. Or, maybe I should call them tiny because, you know, TinyBookReviews! And yes, I'm aware that my humor is painful.

If you like pictures of bookshelves, Ashley is your girl. Also the brilliant mind behind the identically named Climb The Stacks BookTube channel, Ashley mostly shares pictures of library and bookstore shelves and stacks of the books featured in her upcoming videos. My favorite part of her Instagram account, however, is the pictures she takes of the books she brings with her on her many hiking adventures.

Obviously, there are so many more book-related Instagram accounts out there; these are just some of my current favorites. Hopefully I'll be making more of these posts in the future, but I'd love your help.

What are your favorite bookish Instagram accounts?


Bout of Books 14

Bout of Books

You gotta love summer readathons! This past week was the Booktube-A-Thon and in little more than a week's time, Bout of Books 14 will get under way. This is my first time "officially" participating with an announcement post and everything, but this is a readathon that I have followed for the last few years with enthusiasm.

If you'd like to sign up for Bout of Books yourself, head over to the Bout of Books blog. If you want more information on what Bout of Books is all about, see the blurb below.

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 17th and runs through Sunday, August 23rd in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 14 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog.
--From the Bout of Books team

TBR coming soon!


July Reading Wrap Up

1Q84 / Haruki Murakami
The Gate / Natsume Soseki
Manhattan Mayhem / Mystery Writers of America, edited by Mary Higgins Clark

Shortcomings / Adrian Tomine


Road Trip Reads

I went on a very brief and rather impromptu road trip this weekend for a family event up in San Francisco. It's about an eight to ten hour drive on a good day, which means that I pack quite a few different things to keep me entertained. I made a video about this a few years ago but today I thought I'd share what I'm bringing with me this time.

First of all, the books! I am only going to be gone three days but, given that I can be quite the indecisive reader, I brought two of the books I recently took out of the library (and my Kindle). That might seem like overkill, especially once I talk about the rest of what I'm bringing, but that's just how I roll.

I'm also bringing along my computer because I have quite a few videos filmed that need editing. If I can find a good internet connection along the way, I won't hesitate to upload! And last but certainly not least, I've packed the seriously long outline and rough draft of my current writing project. Hopefully being stuck in the car will inspire me to make some progress!