Friday, April 29, 2016

Planning

My Summer Reading Plans

As you all will know, I just finished my first year of University and now I am free to read and do everything that I wanted to do this school year. Here are my plans for this summer! I am going to try to catch up on all the reading that I have missed out on this year, if you all have any suggestions for me to check out please leave them in the comments.

Plans: 
  • I plan to begin Les Miserables, though I understand that I will not be able to finish this huge tome this summer but any chance I have at making progress on it is better than nothing. 
  • I want to complete the rest of the Booktube SFF Awards books:
    • Saga volumes 1-5 By: Brian K Vaughn 
    • The 5th Season By: NK Jemisin 
    • The short work nominations
    • Nimona By: Noel Stephenson
  • Sort through my shelves and get the books that I am not interested in reading donated and off my shelves, so be sure to check out the blog for giveaways.
  • I am also going to try to read The Origin of Species by: Charles Darwin, since I am studying biology and this is a cornerstone work in my field I would like to read it and know what this primary text says. 
  • I am also going to be reading and catching up on so many of the series that I have been unable to finish during my school year. These books include: 



My summer of reading has begun! I cannot wait to share my experiences with all of you, hope you stay along for the ride :)

Happy Reading...





Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Currently Reading

Currently Reading/ Updates

Hello everyone, I realize that I have been posting on weird days and times recently and would like to apologize for the lack of contact I have had with the book community lately. I am as I have stated many times in my last week of exams for University year one so I am a bit frazzled with that at the moment. I have been trying to bring you posts every scheduled day, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I am bringing this post in to replace Monday and Wednesday of this week; shockingly there will be a Friday post as well even though I am moving out that day.


I am currently in the middle of three books, and I thought I would update you all on my progress and thoughts. 

The List:
  • A Brief History of Seven Killings 
    • By: Marlon James 
    • Page 126 of 686
    • I am loving James' style of writing, it is gritty and realistic unlike many books I read. I find the setting of Jamaica to be entrancing and confusing all at once, with the tropical paradise we all envision is turned upside down. Characters to root for and hate, this book has it all. I am hoping to finish this one within the first few weeks after I am done University.
  • The Fifth Season 
    • By: NK Jemisin 
    • Page 244 of 449
    • I am reading this for the booktube SFF Awards live show, and I am thoroughly enjoying it, however I wish I could sit down and become truly immersed instead of just reading bits here and there. I am again hoping to finish this within the first week after finals!
  • Nimona
    • By: Noel Stephenson 
    • Page 100 of 256
    • This graphic novel is also a part of the Booktube SFF awards and I am actually not enjoying it as much as I had hoped to. I think the artwork is okay but nothing special and as of right now the story is slow and very childish. I am hoping to complete this on Thursday after my exam. 

These are the books that I am currently reading and hope to finish soon! What are you all reading out there in the world? See you again on Friday for a summer plans post!


Happy Reading!
~Wil From MyBookishEmpire

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Writing Reviews

Writing Reviews:
School vs. Blog 

I do not know how many of you know this about me, but I am a Biology major in university at the moment and with the end of the semester next week I have had projects out my ears. I recently was required to read two scientific books on a topic called Sociobiology, which is just a field that uses biology and social sciences to analyze human behavior. When we completed these books we had to write a 10-20 page book review/analysis for the fields reputability, and while writing this paper I realized how much I genuinely don't like writing scientific reviews compared to the ones you all see here. So todays late post for Friday is a discussion on why I enjoy blog format reviews better than scientific journal review writing. 

Blog reviews:
  • I am writing about the fictional books of my choosing, which makes writing and discussing them all the better!
  • I have bookish people reading them and getting to see my thoughts, and not necessarily critiquing my work as will be done in the journal reviews I have to write.
  • You guys can talk back, though you often do not comment I still have hope you guys are enjoying the content. 
  • I am able to discuss themes that I find within the novels and relate them to modern day. 
  • Recommending books is my JAM! I love having the chance to show you guys what great books that I have read in hopes that you will be able to pick them and read them and enjoy them too. 
Science Journal "style" Reviews: 
  • I dislike how my work is going to get critiqued and graded by my peers and professors. 
  • I enjoy the fact that the majority of my in real life friends can read them and we can discuss my field of study, sometimes at a heated level. 
  • Writing them allows me to take on another role as the scientist and theoretical critic, which I do not often get to do but I love getting the chance to discuss and theorize within my field. 
  • The intellectual challenge: This is something that I despise while writing, but when I am complete it gives me a great sense of accomplishment. This feeling is similar to tackling a new 800 page book.
Needless to say these are two very different aspects of my life that I wanted to discuss with you all and see what your opinions were on writing for a blog or for fun compared to writing for school of any kind. I am indifferent, because I write each for different reasons therefor comparing them is quite hard to do. Writing is a finicky thing, in many ways you can make your own mark wth writing, however with school assigned writing you are forced to write for a specific topic thus removing most of the creativity.

This week the posts will be going up live on Monday Wednesday and Friday at 1PM EST, due to finals week.

I hope all is well and that you guys are reading some great things, even though studying has eaten my life. 

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Discussion

The Pressures of a Reader
Discussion post 4-20-16


I have recently been thinking a lot about why I read, and write this blog. In doing this I have found that there are so many reasons that I read and blog, although there are also a few pressures that I feel as well.

One of the major issues that I face as a blogger and reader, is the pressure that I need to always be reading and thinking of new posts. Do not get me wrong I love reading and writing posts, however I also feel at times that I am pressured to read all the time so that I am able to bring you all reviews. I enjoy reading and wish that I could be doing it all day every day, however I am a university student at this point in my life and sometimes find it hard to get the motivation to read after I complete all the homework I have assigned for an evening, this is not an excuse. I know many may say that I am making excuses. I am not trying to because I really just want to pick up books and read them from cover to cover, but with work and school it gets tricky sometimes. These conflicts are only temporary though, because summer is only a week away! 

The expectation that you will be an expert in the genres you read, is another pressure that I feel. I am just starting to feel like I can tell you what I enjoy in a book, I still have a lot more exploring to do in different genres before I can tell you what I love in them also. Science fiction is a genre that I would love to get further immersed in, however the amount that I am able to read limits how many books I get through making this process take even longer. I will be branching out my genres that I read this summer to find what I like outside the fantasy genre, I am doing this because I feel that I have a very limited view of the bookish world at this time. If you have any favorite books at all that you would like to see my opinions on, leave them in the comments and I will try to work them into my reading pile for the summer. 

I love reading because of the people I meet along the way, and the ideas that we get to discuss based on the themes and events in novels. Reading is my escape, my fun, my relaxation and with spring being here all I could hope for is the chance to take a pack with food and a good book outside and read for hours. In books I am able to be someone who is experiencing issues and topics that I will never get to see, hence why I love the fantasy genre! These experiences allow me to understand the complex issues that are in our world, even though some I wish we would not have to try to understand like war and violence.

While this blog and reading is stressful at times to keep up with, I would not trade it for anything in the world. I am always going to have reviews up for anyone who will read them! This summer is going to be full of reading and reviewing so you all should stay tuned for the next months and see where the blog rockets off into! 

Questions: 
  • Do you guys ever feel pressured to read?
    • How do you deal with the pressure, do you cave and read or go outside? 
  • If you had to give a person who has just finished Firefly for the first time advice on what to read that is similar what would it be? 
  • What is your favorite thing about reading, and the community it has built?
Answer these questions in the comments, let's get a conversation started! 

p.s I am going to be posting for the rest of this week and then for next week during final exam week, I will still be posting but the posts may go up later in the day. 

Happy Reading!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Songs and Books

Danika Portz Tag!
Original 


This was an idea that I had when the singer song writer Danika Portz came to my University a few weeks ago. Her music combines the heart and soul of country music and the spunk and fun of pop. These are her songs combined with some bookish questions! I will link all of her AMAZING songs down below.

Greatest Show on Earth

  • Name your favorite book to film adaptation. 
    • The Game of Thrones HBO show, I have only been watching the first season until I read the sequel. This is one of the best adaptations that sticks very close to the books, which is always great when a book does that. 
That's What You Get
  • Name a book that left you hanging and wanting more. 
    • The Long Way to A Small Angry Planet, by: Becky Chambers
      • This book did not leave the reader on a cliff hanger, I just was craving more from this world and these characters! 
Set this World On Fire
  • Name a book that made you feel empowered and ready to take on anything.
    • The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
      • This book is sad and somber, however the ending and the determination of our young main character allows the reader to root for him and have some shred of faith in humanity when the book is done. Absolutely recommend everyone picks this one up.
Hurry Home
  • Name your favorite fictional crush who you want to "Hurry Home" to you. 
    • Lady Vin from the Mistborn trilogy, you guys know how much I fell for Vin and those books so it should not surprise you at all. 
Just Try and Stop Me
  • Name a book that you are determined to read.
    • Oddly enough my pick for this is Ulysses by James Joyce. I am sure you are all very confused as to why I want to read this behemoth, but the reason I want to read this is because of all the people who tell me it is too difficult.
And He Is Waiting 
  • Name a favorite pairing between characters. 
    • The couple from Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. These characters are great together and show just how much love can survive through, it if a sci-fi that everyone should get to!
Feet Run Out
  • Name a book that made you want to travel.
    • Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid 
      • This book is about a road trip and all of the peculiar things that happen along the way and I just wanted to jump in my car and drive to see where life would take me!
You can find the rest of her songs on Youtube, at



I hope you guys love her music as much as I do, I will be back later this week with some more bookish fun. 

Happy Reading!









                                                          



Friday, April 15, 2016

Review

We Should all be a Feminist
By: Cimamanda Ngozi Adichie 
Review!


        This book is a small little book that has some big things to say. In this novelization of Adichie's Ted talk about feminism, readers will see some side of culture that they have never seen before. The many small acts that are done in society that ultimately lead to unequal livelihoods between men and women. Some of these are unable to even be detected unless you are looking very closely, including: 
  • Men paying for dinner or Movies.
  • Men having to come up with the best gifts.
  • Women being expected to marry, especially in foreign countries.
  • The gender roles within the house, man comes home stereotypically and sits down to relax while the woman goes and cleans and prepares dinner. 
  • The way women are treated as lessors in the work place: examples include if a man and a women come up with the same ideas and the women presents her idea she is more likely to be brushed off even though if her male counterpart were to present the same idea he would be praised and rewarded. 
All of these things happen in the modern world, whether we are going to acknowledge them or not they are still going to occur unless we step in and try to change the culture. This culture change can be gradual because as Adichie says "All of us, women and men, must do better."(48) In this concluding line I am able to see that there is a way to fix the issues at hand, however we must step in together and attempt to right the wrongs that we see in society. 
        Back to how I liked the book, I enjoyed the quick little read that it was although I would say that this is not something you read for the prose or language, it is something you read for the ideas and experiences that it exposes. If you see this book in stores you should pick it up and have a flick through it or just add it into your cart because for the money you have to pay this little book packs a punch. I am also sincerely curious about the other books that she has written now, because of the poignant messages she was able to pack into this very small book my mind is reeling to think of what she could fit into a full length novel.
     
 This is a very tough thing to recognize and consciously do in the modern society we live in today, however it is something that we must step in and change. My views prior to reading this book may have been a little muddled in the feminism department, I was thinking that feminism only dealt with the issues of equal rights, and pay; which it does encompass but that is not where it stops. I also saw that as much as I would like to hide it I have committed some of the offenses against the feminist movement, when my girlfriend and I go out for food or a movie I often will pay out of "chivalry", getting presents for each other I try to out do what she can do, however I believe that these are out of common courtesy most times. I know that society has a long way to go when it comes to this subject, so in this post I am going to be linking Emma 
Watson's He For She campaign website and I want us all to go and sign the pledge and begin the fight against anti feminist actions. I am also going to leave Adichie's full length Ted talk on the subject down bellow and hopefully you are able to take the time and listen to the words she has to say about the way society is and how we can change it. 


I have signed the pledge and now you have the choice to stand up and make a change in our society. 

Happy Reading!

I hope that I did not offend anyone with this post, it was my intentions just to put my thoughts on feminism and this tiny little book out there for you all to see. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Reading in College

Reading, while living with a friend...

This is an activity that I have had to deal with this year, moving from home to a dorm room in college with a friend constantly around. This method of reading has some very strong benefits and cons associated with it, they are: 

My Roommate: 

  • I in no way want this to turn into a roommate bash, my roommate is probably the nicest guy you will every meet. 
  • Childish behaviors tend to occur in times of stress, limiting the amount of quiet reading time that you have. 
    • When we get stressed in University the first thing that happens is my friend group (always in my room) will look up memes and begin to pester me until I look at them. Even if I am reading, they just don't get it. 
  • Weird sleeping patterns:
    • My roommate goes to sleep long after I have and is often times awake and being the annoying little brother figure he is around the times I like to read. 
    • He will sleep from 1-9am and I will try to read when he is sleeping then. 
  • Spontaneous Adventures
    • My roommate is great at wanting to go and see what there is going on, often he will get the urge while I am reading and then continually ask me when I am reading... 
    • Other times I just do not feel like reading because I would love to go out and explore the area around my campus. 
My Lessons: 
  • The main thing I have learned, is that I must get in the reading time around his sleeping patterns and when no one else will be in the room in order to get any done. 
  • Trying to avoid his questions just leads to more pestering. 
  • Walking away does not work, as I will then sit outside and people watch instead of reading. 
  • People who can read in loud areas and with distractions are SAINTS!
This is in no way me saying that my roommate is bad or has single handedly harmed my reading progress, UNI has also cut down on the time I have to read for pleasure. 

I just thought you all might like a glimpse into my life at university with classes and work outside of that I am still aiming to find time to read but these are some reasons I have been slower in the reading front this year. 

Sample Semester schedule: 
  • Chemistry 1
    • With a lab and discussion course.
  • Genetics 
  • Intro To Calculus
    • With a discussion course. 
  • English 
Discussion Question:
How you you all get through the day when you are surrounded by people and are rarely able to be alone?

Happy Reading!

Monday, April 11, 2016

TBR!

GenreThon 2016!

This read-a-thon has been flying around Youtube and the Bookish community it was created by these lovely booktubers: 


This readathon was created in a way to make people read genres that they would normally avoid. So I naturally have decided that my life is not crazy enough and that I should try to participate in this readathon during my already jam packed week! I have picked three books total to read for the week and one to continue on with. 

TBR: 
Fantasy: 
  • The Fifth Season, By: NK Jemisin
    • I am 180 pages into this and need to finish this during the week!
Graphic Novel
  • Nimona, By: Noel Stephenson 
    • This is a nomination for the Booktube SFF awards, that I have to read and I know it will be a quick read this week.
Non-Fiction 
  • We Should All Be Feminists, By: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 
    • I need to broaden my views on feminism and what it actually qualifies as, therefore I am going to be reading this and a selection of other books and posting about what feminism means to me. 
Total Page Count: 592

Lets see if I am going to be able to read these this week with everything going on in my academic life. What are you all going to be reading this week for the Genrethon readathon? I am very excited to announce my participation in this readathon, and my goal of reading more in my busy schedule.

(Photo by Me)

Friday, April 8, 2016

Tips


Tips: Buying Books Secondhand
Discussion 

I often get many of my books second hand because I am a broke college student, so I thought I would tell you how I get the best editions for cheap. These are tips that I have found useful and honestly some of them that I need to stick to more regimentally. 

Physical Bookshops:
  • Speak with the seller if you know you are looking for a particular editions of a book.
  • Search the shelves for as long as possible looking for the books.
  • Check all of the tags for discounted versions and "slightly damaged" copies.
  • Go in with a list
    • Not having a list can be dangerous to your pocket because it is a given that you find more than you have money for. 
  • Stick to your plans deviation can kill your TBR and any hope of a budget :)

Online: 
  • Again go in with a list, and don't deviate from it!
  • Give a few websites a shot before ordering the books you want.
    • Check Abebooks, Thriftbooks.com (Be careful if you want a specific edition on this site), then you can check BookOutlet.com for the book. 
    • Prices can change on each site, be a true bargain shopper and find the best deal for each book you want, in order to save up for that new release hardback you want. 
  • Get all of your adult hardcovers used if you can. 
  • If you are skeptical about your enjoyment of a book, buy it used!
This is how I buy my used books, I do this quite frequently and I cannot get enough of the deals, if only I could create a lot of time to read them all :) 


Discussion Questions:
  • I am curious how do you guys shop for used books? 
  • Do you have any tips to share with a broke college student? 
  • What are your favorite use bookshops? 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Booktube SFF Babbles

Babbles 4-7-16

Todays babbles post is to recommend some great Sci-Fi books that are great places to start in the genre. However I myself have just recently gotten into the genre my self so I am twisting the goal of todays babbles post!

Books I Recommend:
  1. The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet
    1. By: Becky Chambers 
      1. This book is Firefly in a novel! A great cast of unique and fun characters will have you dreaming you could meet these amazing people! This cast and amazing "galaxy" building will haunt you from page one, it is great!
      2. BookDepository Link
  2. Illuminae 
    1. By: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff 
      1. This book is a riveting rocket ride through space and time! I love the characters again, however the formatting of this book is what makes it amazing! This book is written in a group of files and typography that makes this book fly by.
      2. BookDepository Link: Illuminae


Discussion:
  1. What Sci-Fi books would you recommend to a person who was wanting to get into the genre more?
  2. What are your favorite Sci-Fi books, and why?
  3. What are you all currently reading?
    I am currently reading The Fifth Season by: NK Jemisin, and liking it a lot, I cannot wait to review this for you all!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Review

Descender Vol. 1
By: Jeff Lemire

Plot: 
This book is a space chase at its finest! Mystery and intrigue lace the pages along with the most amazing artwork I have ever seen in a graphic novel!

General Thoughts:
  • The plot of this graphic novel is riveting and very fun to read!
  • Graphics in this book are stunning watercolors that will make you envious of the illustrator, Dustin Nguyen has.
  • The characters are funny and quirky to say the least.
  • Each character has a distinct voice and style of speaking in this book which I thought was a good point of this because I am not always able to distinguish the voices of characters in a graphic work. 

Characters: 
  • Unique, quirky and cool. 
  • Distinct voices paired with kitchy and cool ways to move the plot line forward. 
  • This being the first volume of hopefully many I can see that this is a great set up and introduction to all of the characters in the story.
  • The scavengers are despicable and gross even in the best of light. 
  • The Bots are fun and cool, in particular the destroyer bot who wants to kill all humans. 
  • Tim-21 is something that I can see being developed in the future for society so that the elderly would never actually be alone. 
    • If I am able to live to that age I would love to see these technologies brought into our world, although the ideas are unique and slightly ethically wrong when you are talking about giving robots a sentient state of mind.
Art Work: 
  • This artwork is very fluid and unique.
  • I have been unable to find a graphic novel  illustrated with such a large amount of detail. 
  • STUNNING! Case and Point!




 Rating: 5/5
Links:
Amazon


Monday, April 4, 2016

Tag

NY Times by the Book!


I have seen this tag all over youtube, and would love to give my answers here! I saw this on Max from WellDoneBooks on youtube and I thought it was brilliant, unfortunately I do not know who created this tag. This tag literally takes the NY Times questions that are asked to authors and allows us to answer them in the book community!

The Tag!:
  1. What book is on your nightstand right now?
    1. The Fifth Season By: NK Jemisin 
      1. I am reading this for the booktube SFF and am loving this so far I cannot wait to see the story unfold on the page!
    2. A Brief History of Seven Killings By: Marlon James 
      1. I began this book on my way back to school from spring break, this book has begun to hit me in the gut with the atmosphere and hard hitting style of patoix. 
  2. What was the last truly great book you read?
    1. Illuminae By: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
      1. This is not something that has a hard hitting literary device, or in depth story although the typography and ideas of sentient AI's and love. This book blew me away with the character development and action it held with this unique story telling style.
  3. If you could meet any writer, dead or alive who would it be, and what would you ask them?
    1. I would love to meet Harper Lee.
      1. I would not ask her anything, I would just love to chat with her and tell her how much To Kill a Mockingbird has impacted me and just thank her for writing it.
  4. What books might we be surprised to see on your shelves?
    1. We Should all Be Feminists By: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 
      1. This is something that I am not used to reading anything in the feminist genre or really the literary genre so I am trying to branch out into these genres and give my blog a bit of diversity.
  5. How do you organize your personal library?
    1. I tend to try to keep my books segregated by author and then hardcovers and paperbacks.
  6. What book have you been meaning to read for a while, but have yet to read?
    1. Persuasion By: Jane Austen 
      1. This is a classic and an author that I have meant to read for many years, I just need to stop and try to read what I want, and not what I feel like I should, i.e keeping up with new releases.
  7. Disappointing, over-rated, just not good: what book did you feel you were supposed to like but didn’t?
    1. I feel like the last book that I did not truly like it would have to be Binti By: Nnedi Okorafor, I feel like it was seriously lacking length and a form of character development.
  8. What kind of stories are you drawn to? What do you stay clear of?
    1. I am drawn to the longer heavily character development plots, set in locations that are exotic and completely different from where I live now.
    2. I try to stay away from straight up romance novels, they just don't interest me they also can portray very unhealthy relationships.
  9. If you could require the President read one book, what would you recommend?
    1. I would recommend that he read The Martian By: Andy Wier, because I feel that he would need the enjoyment and fun that this book encompasses in order to unwind.
  10. What book are you planning to read next? 
    1. I really would love to focus on A Brief History of Seven Killings By: Marlon James.


Friday, April 1, 2016

Discussion

How I keep my Books...

So I recently saw the video on TheWordsOfAReader on Youtube, she speaks of how she keeps her books in near perfect condition. This video caught me off guard and made me think of how well I intend on keeping my books and got me thinking and curious about how you all keep yours?

How I keep mine: 
  • Pristine
    • This is the condition I strive to keep my books in, I really love the way a clean and crisp book looks on the shelf. Equally though I love the way a used and very tattered collection looks like. 
    • I love the way a tattered shelf looks like because it is showing a unique state that no other book will have in the world. However I physically cannot bring myself to dogear or break my spines on my books it give me anxiety to even think about it.
  • Organized 
    • I have a particular order I like to keep my books in for an aesthetic reason, and nothing more. I organize by color and height on occasion, with authors and series lined up together.
  • Quirky 
    • I have many editions and size formats, all of which are segragated to their own positions on the shelf but I love the variety and style my Bookcases can have when I put in the effort to clean them up.
  • In short I am very picky about how my books are kept and displayed, not to the point that I completely obsess over it though. The idea of having a great collection makes me extremely happy however it sometimes hinders how I read large paperback books.

Questions:
  1. What condition do you keep your books in?
  2. Why do you keep them this way, does the wear add to the "charm" for your shelves?
  3. Do you tend to break the spines and bend the pages, or do you buy them very used?

Please respond to these questions in the comments box bellow, I would love to know about how you keep your books... 

Happy Reading :)