Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Turn-offs

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week the theme is top ten things that will make me instantly NOT want to read a book. This is a hard list to come up with, as I don’t like sweeping generalizations. So there may be an exception or two, but in general, these are the things I usually avoid when picking out a book!

  1. Zombies. I hate zombies, and they give me nightmares, which is why I avoid The Walking Dead and almost all books that are primarily about the undead who walk around in the night.
  2. Womanizing, misogynistic men – If the primary character in a novel is a complete douchebag, especially in a romance, I will avoid it. If the male character glorifies women as objects and this is written by the author as romantic, I will not be a happy reader.
  3. Christian fiction – nothing is wrong with this genre, it’s just not for me.
  4. Apocalyptic contagious viruses – I love dystopian novels, but write a book about a flesh-eating virus that kills 99% of the population, and I will run far, far away.
  5. I find out the author is problematic – if an author says or does something that is sexist, racist, etc. I am not very inclined to pick up one of their books again.
  6. Same goes for the content – If a book is glaringly problematic in its treatment of PoC, people with disabilities, religious minorities, etc., I will avoid it, unless I am reading it for critical analysis purposes.
  7. Princess stories – I have never been into the pink, pretty princess books. Throw a huge, beautiful dress and crown on the cover, and I might never pick it up.
  8. Sappy animal stories – I love my pets dearly, but I’m not very interested in reading books about how much other people love their pets (or how much their pets love them). Therefore, I have never read Marley and Me, The Art of Racing in the Rain, or A Dog’s Purpose.
  9. Master/slave, or Nazi/prisoner “Romance” – I HATE this. See #6.
  10. Crafting books – I struggled coming up with #10, but there are a ton of non-fiction topics I don’t like, and crafting is pretty much at the top of the list!

What are the things that instantly turn you off from a book? Happy Tuesday!

Top Ten Tuesday: Fandoms

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week the theme is Top Ten Fandom Freebie.

This will be my last post for the next week or two, as I will be taking a hiatus for Spring Break. And what a fun topic to talk about before going on a break..FANDOMS!!! Narrowing it down to my Top Ten was quite a challenge, so I have a few runner-ups as well.

Studio Ghibli

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I love all of Studio Ghibli films, and have for years! For those who haven’t heard of Studio Ghibli, you will probably recognize at least one of the movies that they have made: My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Ponyo, The Secret World of Arietty, Spirited Away and Kiki’s Delivery Service. A majority of the films made by the studio are written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki.

Harry Potter

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I am most definitely still a Potterhead, ever since I read the first Harry Potter back in college, not too long after it was first published. I love the books and movies.

Superheroes

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Okay, I’m cheating by combining Marvel and DC together, but I love them both! Although, Marvel definitely has a slight edge. My current favorites in the superhero universe are: Ms. Marvel comics, Wonder Woman (especially the upcoming movie!), Supergirl, Flash, Doctor Strange, Thor….okay let’s just say that I love them all (except for possibly Hulk).

Hamilton

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There are times I feel like I live, breathe, and sleep Hamilton. The music is on in our home 24/7 some days, and it just gives me all the good feels when modern-day politics make me want to hurl. And with the recent release of a new batch of tickets, I am so excited that I will FINALLY be going to see it on Broadway!!!

Once Upon a Time

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The last two seasons have really grated on my nerves, but I still have a soft spot for a show based around fairy tale retellings. If Lana Parilla (Evil Queen/Regina) ever leaves OUAT, though, I’m out.

Jane Austen

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“How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book.” ~Jane Austen, 1813

More than two centuries after the publication of her most well-known book, and she still inspires millions. Preach it, sister.

Star Wars

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I have to admit to leaving this fandom during the dark years that were The Phantom Menace and Revenge of the Sith. Honestly, I still don’t particularly like any of the prequels. But I was won back, and then some, with The Force Awakens. And Rogue One was also pure amazingness. I’m still devastated that we lost Carrie Fisher last year.

Lost

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This one is more of a flashback and paying homage to a past fandom that has fallen by the wayside since Lost wrapped up. I used to have so much fun thinking and hypothesizing about each and every episode! I still love when Lost characters pop up elsewhere, and I like tuning in to Hawaii Five-O occasionally just to get my Daniel Dae Kim and Jorge Garcia fix. When I first spotted Henry Ian Cusick on Scandal, I was SO thrilled, and equally disappointed when he left the show. Naveen Andrews will forever be my favorite, despite his underwhelming adventure that was Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.

Lunar Chronicles

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Some of my favorite fanart I have ever seen is done by those in the Lunar Chronicles fandom!

Gilmore Girls

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What bibliophile doesn’t love Gilmore Girls? I still have the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge tucked away that I chip away at every so often, and I have always loved the fast-talking duo, and all the pop culture references that get worked into the show.

Runners-Up:

There are three hugely popular fandoms that I am incredibly late to the game for, but slowly getting drawn in:

  • Game of Thrones
  • Sherlock
  • Doctor Who

I know, where have I been?

And a few other fandoms that just missed the cut:

  • West Wing – I will always, always love West Wing. Now I’m regretting not putting it in the Top Ten!
  • My Little Pony (I enjoy this one with my daughter)
  • Friends
  • Hunger Games
  • Lord of the Rings
  • Percy Jackson

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Books on my Spring TBR

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week the theme is Top Ten Books on My Spring TBR. There are…ahem…a ton of books that fall into this category! But I will list the ones that I truly hope to finish by the Summer Solstice, and I am not including the two books that I am reading right now.

The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda. I have an eARC from Netgalley, and Megan Miranda also happens to be one of my neighbors, so I absolutely hope to have her latest book finished by the April 11th publication date!

The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova. Another book set to be published on April 11, and I also happen to have an eARC of this one. I really enjoyed The Historian, so I have high hopes for Kostova’s latest novel.

The Murder on the Links and The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie. Both of these are part of my long-term personal challenge to read all of Agatha Christie’s mystery novels in publication order.

A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin – I had planned on reading the first few books in the Game of Thrones series this year, but for some reason I keep procastinating…especially when the shiny eye candy of new releases draws my attention away from older fantasy series (ahem…Conjuring of Light). We’ll see what happens with these two, but I do hope to at least have read the first one by the start of summer.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan – I am slightly ashamed to admit I have never read any of David Levithan’s novels, and this is one of two that were on my list for this year. I already know and love John Green!

Every Day by David Levithan – Both of these two books will also hopefully help meet two of the categories in the #DiversityBingo2017 Challenge that I am participating in this year.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. I keep hearing so many great things about this book, I need to read it NOW.

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon – This contemporary YA novel will be published in May, but I already have my name on the holds list at the library!

Happy Tuesday! I look forward to seeing what is on your TTT this week. Please feel free to leave a link in the comments!

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Gratitude

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The Broke and the Bookish have decided to take a well-deserved break, so I thought I would focus this week’s freebie on gratitude. I feel we could all use a dose of positivity these days!

Top Ten Things I Am Thankful for Today

  1. For the delicious Bosnian food and new friendships found at last night’s fundraising dinner for Carolina Refugee Resettlement Agency.
  2. The recent discovery that I have two amazing half-sisters. My heart is so full over this one.
  3. My 30 minutes of quiet in the morning spent drinking tea and reading a book, or listening and watching the birds in our backyard.
  4. For my 9-year old daughter offering to help me out in a moment of stress.
  5. For Victoria Schwab; I am knee-deep in A Conjuring of Light right now, and loving every minute of the journey (a few heart palpitations aside).
  6. The exhilarating feeling knowing that today is the last day of February, and one of my favorite months of the year is coming up next!
  7. For my husband, who planted a bunch of lovely flowers in the backyard over the weekend.
  8. The solidarity and show of support from the greater community after our JCC received its second phone-in bomb threat yesterday.
  9. The excitement on M’s face when she found out she will be playing the part of Esther in our synagogue’s upcoming Purimspiel.
  10. Lastly, I am grateful for the Chocolove Salted Almond Butter in Dark Chocolate bar.

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Top Ten Tuesday: My Favorite Libraries

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is Ten Books I Loved Less/More than I thought I would. I’m going a bit off on the side rails with a variation this week…Top Ten Libraries I Love More Than Anyone Else (Because libraries are my favorite thing in the WHOLE WIDE UNIVERSE!).

I have lived in a lot of places. And when I travel, I am also known to wander into a nearby local library. It may known to occasionally drive my husband batty. “Why do you want to spend hours in a library when you already have that at home?” he says. “Who wouldn’t?!” I reply.

As you see, I am completely serious when I say I love libraries more than anyone else! And below, you will find my Top Ten Favorite Libraries That I Have Ever Visited.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Libraries That I Have Visited

Rosenbach Museum and Library

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I wanted to live at this Museum/Library during our time residing in Philadelphia. The Rosenbach is located within two 19th century townhouses at DeLancey Place in center-city Philly, and houses almost 400,000 rare books, manuscripts, and other fine arts and objects. From 1968 – 2014, the Rosenbach was also the sole repository for Maurice Sendak’s picture book illustrations.

The collection at the Rosenbach is AMAZING. Bram Stoker’s notes and outlines for Dracula; dozens of personal letters written by George Washington; William Blake first editions and original drawings; a first edition of Cervantes’ Don Quixote….I could go on and on with the treasures contained within the Rosenbach!

Princeton Public Library

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For three years, we lived about 15 minutes away from Princeton, in North Brunswick, New Jersey. This was my absolute favorite public library in the area, having only opened a few years before we moved to NJ. I loved the open layout, with lots of natural sunlight, and an incredibly fun tile mosaic at the entrance.

Cotsen Children’s Library

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Princeton definitely knows how to do libraries. The Cotsen Children’s Library, located on the campus of Princeton University (and just down the street from the Princeton Public Library) is a magical wonderland for kids. M loved climbing into the tree book nook and curling up with me to read a good book or two…or ten. The Wishing Well was another fun reading spot.

Maison de la littérature

Located in Québec City, Canada, The Maison de la litterature promotes Québec literature and authors. Housed in the circa 1848 Wesley Temple, the interior is gorgeously modern.

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

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Right next door to my undergrad alma mater, the University of Pittsburgh, and so much more beautiful than the dated Hillman Library, I used to occasionally ditch Hillman and head to either the Cathedral of Learning or the Carnegie Library to study. Anyway, everyone knew that the Hillman was THE place for not getting ANYTHING done.

State Library of Queensland

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One of the newer buildings on this list, it’s hard to beat the State Library of Queensland, located adjacent to the Brisbane River, near South Bank, my favorite spot in Brisbane.

New York Public Library

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NYPL speaks for itself. A visit to NYC isn’t complete without stopping by the NYPL, at the very least, to say hi to the lions, or visit the infamous Rose Room.

Folger Shakespeare Library

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By Julie Ainsworth – Folger Shakespeare Library Digital

Everything Shakespeare! And randomly, considering it’s location in Washington, D.C., also home to the world’s largest collection of Shakespeare’s printed works. This is the library that introduced me to the wonderful world of William Shakespeare.

Martin Library – York, PA

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This is the library where it all began. It’s nothing spectacular or special, but it’s where I fell in love with books. The Martin Library gave me my first library card, and my weekly trips to pick out new books as a child was one of the highlights of my week. This library will always hold a special place in my heart.

Charlotte Mecklenburg Library – North County Regional Branch

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This library isn’t very pretty, but it holds a wealth of treasure inside. We visit the North County Regional library at least once a week, and I hope M has as many fond memories of her childhood library visits as I do of mine. The librarians know her by name – and her reading tastes. We can always count on them for a great recommendation. And lucky for us, our branch is getting a multi-million dollar interior makeover next year!

Top Ten Tuesday: M’s Favorite Graphic Novels

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is Favorite Graphic Novels. We all love graphic novels in this family, but there is one person who consumes them more than anyone else at the moment: my 9-year-old M. So, this week, I bring you M’s favorite graphic novels! I’d say she has pretty good taste, wouldn’t you?

Sisters, Smile, Drama, Ghosts…Everything written by Raina Telgemeier! Her whole list would be dominated by Raina’s books, so we decided to group them into one category. I believe she has read all of them, including the reinvention of The Babysitter’s Club in graphic novel form (she reads the original Babysitter’s Club books, too).

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Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm. M just read this for the first time last week, and it was a big hit. It is also quite relevant to her life at the moment. Sunny Lewin is packed off to Florida to live with her grandfather for the summer…in a 55+ retirement community. My parents just moved into one such community last year, The Villages in Florida, and we visited for the first time in December. M could relate quite well to Sunny’s feelings in the book – especially in regards to the pull-out couch!

Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi. I’ve talked briefly about the Amulet series on my blog before. Actually, a few of the books in this TTT were also featured on my Back-to-School TTT in August! The illustrations in Amulet are breathtaking, I love Kazu Kibuishi’s artwork. The story is great, too!

Thea Stilton Graphic Novels by “Thea Stilton”. M came to these late, and they fill the need for quick and easy fluff books. I’m not the biggest fan, but I get her need for comfort books that can be read quickly.

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El Deafo by Cece Bell. Another graphic novel enjoyed by both of us. You can find my review here.

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Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson. During the Scholastic Book Fair, M’s 3rd grade teacher picked out this book for the classroom library specifically with M in mind. Isn’t that sweet? This was one of her favorites over the summer, and she is currently waiting patiently for a classmate to finish reading it so that she can borrow it from her teacher again.

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Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust by Loic Dauvillier. I have to admit I was a bit surprised, and pleased, to see this gentle but important graphic novel make her Top Ten list. Our family was directly affected by the Holocaust; my husband’s grandmother made it out of Germany in time, but most of her family did not. M knows about this, but she is a sensitive kid who relates very strongly to her Jewish identity, so we tread carefully with books about the Holocaust. She has been asking to read The Diary of Anne Frank lately, but we decided to start with this book first, and the I Survived book that also takes place during WWII.

Superman Family Adventures by Art Baltazar. A fun series that brings in the whole Super family (Superman, Supergirl, Jimmy, Lois, etc) for an all-ages audience.

Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson. Another amazing series the whole family loves! We’re currently up to Volume 6. You can find my earlier review here.

Heavenly Nostrils by Dana Simpson. The covers and titles for these graphic novels are too cute! How can you not love a series featuring a unicorn named Marigold Heavenly Nostrils?

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Have you read any of these, or do you have a child/niece/nephew/relative who has? I look forward to reading your TTT posts, and feel free to leave a link in the comments!

Top Ten Tuesday: Latest Books to Make my Goodreads TBR List

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s theme is a freebie, which is exactly what I needed! I have had to take an unplanned mini-break from blogging since this Tuesday, after I received some amazing, overwhelming, emotional, conflicting, and practically impossible news!  I’m not ready to go into details yet, but if you have ever watched This Is Us….let’s just say I have been a walking, talking episode, playing the part of Randall. Plus, the latest book to be added to my TBR queue will give you another big hint of what’s going on.

For this week’s freebie, I chose to focus on the last ten books added to my Goodreads TBR list.

The Ten Latest Books to Find Their Way On to My Ginormous Goodreads TBR List!

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This Is My Lemonade: An Adoption Story by Robert Mulkey. Added 22 January 2017. (Non-fiction memoir)

Why did it make it on to my list? Okay, I’ll give a tiny bit more info. On Thursday, a DNA test I took two years ago matched to someone who turned out to be a half-sister I didn’t know existed!!! In the hours that followed, I was connected with a large portion of my biological family, including two younger half-sisters who are also adopted. This is HUGE, and I am still processing everything that I have discovered in the past few days. Searching for someone who has gone through a somewhat similar experience, I stumbled upon this book.

This is My Lemonade,” a memoir by Robert Mulkey, follows an unusual 34 year adoption journey. It is an international story involving identity, acceptance, abuse and redemption and the uncomfortable intricacies of not one, but three families.

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Allergic Girl: Adventures in Living Well With Food Allergies by Sloane Miller. Added 19 January 2017. (Non-fiction memoir).

Why did it make it on to my list? In addition to the news mentioned above, I was also finally diagnosed with a coconut allergy last week. I’ve suspected for years, but never had any food allergy testing done. What have I realized? Coconut is in everything. I’m now on the FODMAP diet to look for other food insensitivities, intolerances, or possible allergies. Hence, the addition of this book to my TBR list.

Food allergies affect nearly 12 million people in the United States, including 1 in 17 children under the age of three. Allergic Girl offers the reader practical and helpful advice for identifying and coping with food allergies. Sloane Miller’s anecdotal commentary about her own food allergy trials and tribulations teaches and directs readers how to live well with food allergies.

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A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley. Added 18 January 2017. Non-fiction memoir.

Why did it make it on to my list? I promise, not every book is going to be a non-fiction memoir! I want to read Saroo’s book before watching the movie based on it, Lion, which I have heard wonderful things about. Lion also stars Dev Patel, an amazing actor who confronts the issues of stereotyping and a lack of diversity in the entertainment industry head-on. I’m a big fan.

At only five years old, Saroo Brierley got lost on a train in India. Unable to read or write or recall the name of his hometown or even his own last name, he survived alone for weeks on the rough streets of Calcutta before ultimately being transferred to an agency and adopted by a couple in Australia.

Despite his gratitude, Brierley always wondered about his origins. Eventually, with the advent of Google Earth, he had the opportunity to look for the needle in a haystack he once called home, and pore over satellite images for landmarks he might recognize or mathematical equations that might further narrow down the labyrinthine map of India. One day, after years of searching, he miraculously found what he was looking for and set off to find his family.

A Long Way Home is a moving, poignant, and inspirational true story of survival and triumph against incredible odds. It celebrates the importance of never letting go of what drives the human spirit: hope.

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White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg. Added 17 January 2017. Non-fiction, Politics, History, Sociology.

Why did it make it on to my list? When I started reading Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance, I quickly realized that I had the wrong impression of the book, and it was more memoir than sociological analysis. Many reviewers of Hillbilly Elegy mention this book in their review – also recently published in 2016 – as an alternative to Vance’s memoir.

In her groundbreaking history of the class system in America, extending from colonial times to the present, Nancy Isenberg takes on our comforting myths about equality, uncovering the crucial legacy of the ever-present, always embarrassing––if occasionally entertaining––”poor white trash.

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When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon. Added 17 January 2017. YA Contemporary.

Why did it make it on to my list? I have heard so many great things about this book on Book Twitter, and I am planning on reading it for #DiversityBingo2017.

A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.

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Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of The Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly. Added 16 January 2017. Non-fiction, History, Science, Biography.

Why did it make it on to my list? The movie was absolutely fantastic, and made we want o go out and immediately buy the book!

Set against the backdrop of the Jim Crow South and the civil rights movement, the never-before-told true story of NASA’s African-American female mathematicians who played a crucial role in America’s space program—and whose contributions have been unheralded, until now.

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An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. Added 12 January 2017. YA Fantasy, Dystopia.

Why did it make it on to my list? Because I should have read it last year!

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

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The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera. Added 12 January 2017. YA Contemporary.

Why did it make it on to my list? This is another book that I have been hearing a lot about on Book Twitter.

Pretty in Pink comes to the South Bronx in this bold and romantic coming-of-age novel about dysfunctional families, good and bad choices, and finding the courage to question everything you ever thought you wanted—from debut author Lilliam Rivera.

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This Is An Uprising: How Nonviolent Revolt is Shaping the Twenty-First Century by Mark Engler and Paul Engler. Added 14 January 2017. Non-fiction, Social Justice, Activism.

Why did it make it on to my list? I have been a human rights activist and participant in non-violent protests for more than a decade, most recently attending one of the Sister Women’s Marches and a BLM protest. This book, published in 2016, really caught my eye when I happened upon it on a reading list recently.

There is a craft to uprising—and this craft can change the world

From protests around climate change and immigrant rights, to Occupy, the Arab Spring, and #BlackLivesMatter, a new generation is unleashing strategic nonviolent action to shape public debate and force political change. When mass movements erupt onto our television screens, the media consistently portrays them as being spontaneous and unpredictable. Yet, in this book, Mark and Paul Engler look at the hidden art behind such outbursts of protest, examining core principles that have been used to spark and guide moments of transformative unrest.

With incisive insights from contemporary activists, as well as fresh revelations about the work of groundbreaking figures such as Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Gene Sharp, and Frances Fox Piven, the Englers show how people with few resources and little conventional influence are engineering the upheavals that are reshaping contemporary politics.

Nonviolence is usually seen simply as a philosophy or moral code. This Is an Uprising shows how it can instead be deployed as a method of political conflict, disruption, and escalation. It argues that if we are always taken by surprise by dramatic outbreaks of revolt, we pass up the chance to truly understand how social transformation happens.

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Swing Time by Zadie Smith. Added 10 January 2017. Contemporary Literary Fiction.

Why did it make it on to my list? I loved White Teeth and hated On Beauty. So it has taken me a while to give Zadie Smith another chance. I think I’m ready again.

Two brown girls dream of being dancers–but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, about what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It’s a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either.

Dazzlingly energetic and deeply human, Swing Time is a story about friendship and music and stubborn roots, about how we are shaped by these things and how we can survive them. Moving from northwest London to West Africa, it is an exuberant dance to the music of time.

What was your theme for TTT this week? I look foward to seeing all of the different approaches for this week’s freebie!