New Site, New Year

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Hello and welcome to my new blog! I’m so excited to get this year going with some fun stuff – for more about what you may find around here, check out my bio.

One of the most exciting things about the new year – at least in my house – is getting around to some things that we didn’t do last year. This year, we knew we needed to spoil our kittens (brothers Frank & Beans) even more than we already do. So – Zach and I invested in a lovely new cat tree for their enjoyment. While they’re thrilled, we also knew it would displace some living room furniture in our cozy (read: small) apartment. Alas – our (read: my) main bookshelf has now been booted to the bedroom.

While moving the shelf was such a drag (literally – we had to drag the damn thing to another room!), it was also a very exciting opportunity for me to ~rearrange~ all of my books. It also presented the perfect moment for me to unhaul some books I truly will never pick up (or have already read and really don’t need to hang on to). Of course, I just as quickly spent some holiday gift card money on more books, so while the unhaul didn’t really create any new space for me, my shelves remain full of awesome books I’m eagerly anticipating reading in 2018.

Presenting: Kayla’s January Haul and Unhaul

First off: saying bye to these titles – off to my local Little Free Library they go. I know they’re basically all red and yellow, but I swear I don’t have anything against red and yellow books!

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Warriors Don’t Cry by Melba Pattillo Beals: Bye, little secondhand (more likely, fourthhand) copy with green pen scribbles on the cover. Beals was one of the original Little Rock 9, the nine students who integrated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957. Beals was 16 when she began attending the all-white school and faced harassment, violence, and vitriol every day as she walked the halls. Assigned to me during my undergraduate civil rights studies, this memoir of Beals’ time at Central High, particularly integration and the tense period following it, makes for a compelling, emotional read. Historical facts about school desegregation cannot illuminate what it’s like to be an ‘other’ in the way that reading Beals’ memoir can. I highly recommend it, but I won’t pick it up again.

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens: Truly one of my most hated high school reads. I couldn’t get through it then and have no desire to get through it now. Also, the binding on this ugly mass market copy is breaking. Bye!

Straight Man by Richard Russo: This was a good faith attempt last year to read something a little bit escapist, and I tend to like a good campus/university novel. I don’t read a lot of fiction written by white men with a white male protagonist – some sexism expected, inevitably. Russo’s humor was sharp in this work about an English professor who faces absurd scenarios in his marriage and professional life, but it just wasn’t the most relatable for me. Next.

Violence by Richard Bausch: I know nothing about it other than my sticky fingers boyfriend decided to buy it on a whim and never pick it up again LOL.

Big Girls Don’t Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women by Rebecca Traister: Unfortunately, sometimes I get caught up in political nonfiction and forget that I don’t need to read every work ever published. At a glance, Traister’s work seems to hit on themes I’m fascinated by, but its analysis of the 2008 Presidential election is now a bit dated and exists in a publishing space that has exploded with more timely gender & politics works in light of the 2016 election. Also, I received this copy from BookOutlet, and it’s a backward misprint with funky margins. Definitely didn’t make the cut.

While America Sleeps by Russ Feingold: Again, more seemingly irrelevant political nonfiction. His analysis of a post-9/11 America is surely out of date, and frankly I just don’t care enough about Feingold’s opinions.

The Personality of the Cat edited by Brandt Aymer: I love my cats but I don’t have the time nor the inclination to read story after story involving felines. I don’t even know where I got this…

Now the Fun Haul Bit (or, as I always say, the FHB):

I was so excited to nab these 3 nonfiction books at my local Half Price Books, where my ashes will surely be scattered after death (just kidding. not really).

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All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation by Rebecca Traister: Now – I know what you’re thinking: I’m ditching one Traister book and adding another! Well – I’m particularly excited for this (newer) analysis of marriage, gender, and political leanings & participation. Much hand-wringing has occurred about declining marriage (and rising divorce) rates in the last few decades in the US, and I’m eager to get some stats so I can talk about this much more knowledgeably. I will probably also count this toward the social science challenge in the 2018 Read Harder Challenge.

The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple by Jeff Guinn: I was pumped to find this brand new hardback for half off list price. I’ve heard such good things about this book as both a biography of Jim Jones and a work of true crime. Also I’m always down for reading about cults. Any day. Give me the cults.

Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer: Growing up around Mormon friends, and then learning more about Mormon faith tenets and history in college, I’ve always been fascinated by Mormonism, its outgrowths, and its policies. I’m also such a sucker for a good true crime work, and Krakauer’s book seems to be a combo of so many things I’m interested in. Oh, and it was on the clearance pile – I couldn’t turn it down. This book, along with The Road to Jonestown, could both count for the true crime Read Harder Challenge.

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Let me know if y’all have read any of these books I’ve hauled and unhauled – I’m curious if my nonfiction picks will live up to my expectations!

2 thoughts on “New Site, New Year

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