2019 Reading Goals

I am going to attempt to the Book Riot reading challenge. It will be an enjoyable challenge and broaden my reading horizons. Crazy I know. But, I think I can do it. It has been forever since I read a romance book #16 and I don’t think I have ever read a cozy mystery #14. Hell, I am not even sure what a cozy mystery is? (I am taking advice from my fellow lovely cozy mystery bloggers)

  1. An epistolary novel or collection of letters
  2. An alternate history novel
  3. A book by a woman and/or AOC (Author of Color) that won a literary award in 2018
  4. A humor book
  5. A book by a journalist or about journalism
  6. A book by an AOC set in or about space
  7. An #ownvoices book set in Mexico or Central America
  8. An #ownvoices book set in Oceania
  9. A book published prior to January 1, 2019, with fewer than 100 reviews on Goodreads
  10. A translated book written by and/or translated by a woman
  11. A book of manga
  12. A book in which an animal or inanimate object is a point-of-view character
  13. A book by or about someone that identifies as neurodiverse
  14. A cozy mystery
  15. A book of mythology or folklore
  16. A historical romance by an AOC
  17. A business book
  18. A novel by a trans or nonbinary author
  19. A book of nonviolent true crime
  20. A book written in prison
  21. A comic by an LGBTQIA creator
  22. A children’s or middle-grade book (not YA) that has won a diversity award since 2009
  23. A self-published book
  24. A collection of poetry published since 2014

I am also going to read 100 books this year. This is my standard reading challenge every year. I have been pretty good and accomplishing it except for when I had pregnancy brain. If I don’t hit it, that is ok. It is all about the content of what I am reading.


Additionally, I will be setting up a personal challenge regarding graphic novels. I will be reading one graphic novel/comic from every decade since 1900. There are so many wonderful and beautiful works out there to discover. Lots of fun and discovery in all the beautiful works out there to check out. Let me know if you want to do it with me!

So thats the long and short of it. It looks like it is going to be a remarkable and wonderful year. Cheers to 2019!

Announcing the Graphic Novel Through the Ages Challenge #AgesofGraphicNovels

Two panels for the price of one!

For this challenge it is pretty simple, read a comic or graphic novel from every decade from 1890 till now. Comics and graphic novels have had a giant impact on politics, culture, history and marginalized people’s rights.

I have some great resources on hand if you are looking for inspirations:

1001 Comics to Read Before You Die – I have been steadily chipping away at this list for a few years now, and I have learned so much.

I have written some reviews of some classic comics that I have found endearing or interesting. Dream of the Rarebit Fiend, Max und Moritz, The Upside Downs, and The Adventure of Obadiah Oldbuck.

I will also be writing a monthly column on a classic comic. Feel free to join along. Most of these are fairly short.

How to join the challenge?

First off just declare it in a blog post and/or on twitter linking me and #agesofgraphicnovels.

That’s it! Let’s go have an adventure and learn something about classic comics.

Please feel free to use the challenge image in your announcement post and social media posts. Spread the word! Please link back to this blog.

Saturday Book Cook Up – Deadpool or “I can say Chimichanga in seven languages.”

Deadpool vs. Cable #13

According to wikipedia “Chimichanga (/tʃɪmiˈtʃæŋɡə/; Spanish: [tʃimiˈtʃaŋɡa]) is a deep-fried burrito that is popular in Tex-Mex, Southwestern U.S. cuisine. The dish is typically prepared by filling a corn tortilla with a wide range of ingredients, most commonly rice, cheese, beans, machaca (dried meat), Carne adobada (marinated meat), Carne seca (dried beef), or shredded chicken, and folding it into a rectangular package. It is then deep-fried and can be accompanied by salsa, guacamole, sour cream or cheese.”Deadpool loves it citing multiple times throughout the various comics and movie that he loves some chimichangas or more importantly, he enjoys saying the word chimichanga. Also beloved are pancakes, enchiladas, and tacos.  All are welcome in his twisted world.

Fun Fact: Chimichangas possibly came about in the 1920s when an owner of a Mexican restaurant, when dropping a burrito in the fryer accidentally, began to curse. Having stopped herself before the cursing came to fruition, she said the word chimichanga. 


Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 can (16 ounces) refried beans
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce, divided
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 12 flour tortillas (10 inches), warmed
  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies
  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped jalapeno peppers
  • Oil for deep-fat frying
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

  • In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in the beans, onion, 1/2 cup tomato sauce, chili powder, garlic and cumin.
  • Spoon about 1/3 cup of beef mixture off-center on each tortilla. Fold edge nearest filling up and over to cover. Fold in both sides and roll up. Fasten with toothpicks. In a large saucepan, combine the chilies, peppers and remaining tomato sauce; heat through.
  • In an electric skillet or deep-fat fryer, heat 1 in. of oil to 375°. Fry the chimichangas for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with cheese. Serve with sauce.
Nutrition Facts

1 chimichanga: 626 calories, 41g fat (9g saturated fat), 37mg cholesterol, 1094mg sodium, 46g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 6g fiber), 19g protein.

Originally published as Beef Chimichangas in Quick Cooking May/June 1998

Graphic Novel Review of “American Gods Volume 1: Shadows (Neil Gaiman’s American Gods: The Shadows #1-9)”

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Russell, P. Craig et al. American Gods.

Stats

4 out of 5 Stars
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published March 13th 2018 by Dark Horse Books
Original Title American Gods, Volume 1: Shadows
ISBN 1506703860 (ISBN13: 9781506703862)
Edition Language English

Summary

“What I say is, a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it’s got a bookstore, it knows it’s not foolin’ a soul.”

― Neil GaimanAmerican Gods

30430From the publisher, “Shadow Moon gets out of jail only to discover his wife is dead. Defeated, broke, and uncertain where to go from here, he meets the mysterious Mr. Wednesday, who employs him to serve as his bodyguard–thrusting Shadow into a deadly world where ghosts of the past come back from the dead, and a god war is imminent.

Collecting the first nine issues of the American Gods comic book series, along with art process features, high res scans of original art, layouts, character designs, and variant covers by BECKY CLOONAN, SKOTTIE YOUNG, FABIO MOON, DAVE MCKEAN, and MORE!”

My Thoughts

“Hey,” said Shadow. “Huginn or Muninn, or whoever you are.”

The bird turned, head tipped, suspiciously, on one side, and it stared at him with bright eyes.

“Say ‘Nevermore,'” said Shadow.

“Fuck you,” said the raven.”

― Neil GaimanAmerican Gods

6050678-07Reading “American Gods Volume 1” was a challenge for me. It wasn’t due to the source material or anything like that. It is hard for me to remove my personal bias towards anything that is not the book. I have a similar difficulty with movies where I love the book. American Gods is a brilliant bit of urban fantasy. I mean it is Gaiman, so of course it is. Everything the man touches is fantastic.  The man could write a jingle for a used car salesman, and it would be magic.

This graphic novel was able to add magic to an already magical and well-done story. Since the prose is pretty much word for word of the source material, the magic was in the form of the stupendous graphics that were done by Scott Hampton and many others.

Much like a cinematographer, Hampton added atmosphere and aura to the words and gravitas of the scenes. He used a combination color palette of muted colors and psychedelic hues.  Some scenes, depending upon the action going on took a somber tone that matched the narrative. Other scenes, when the magic was buzzing, the images blaze off the page like a kaleidoscope of otherworldly colors. The whole story seems like a fever dream in a lot of ways. It is beautifully done and effective.

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Other illustrators took a hand in this volume, and they read like a who’s who in current famous comic illustrators and designers. They drew various vignettes and variant covers in their respective styles. Becky Cloonan from “Gotham Academy” fame and Fabio Moon who designed one of my favorite graphic novels of late, “Daytripper, ” among others.  The story lends itself well to many design interpretations, and this was demonstrated well here.

Conclusion

“All your questions can be answered if that is what you want. But once you learn your answers, you can never unlearn them.”

― Neil GaimanAmerican Gods

Volume 1 is grandly done. If you are a fan of the book or TV show, it can only add to your personal experience, and that is saying something. Most of the time, movies, and graphic interpretations screw it up. “American Gods Volume 1” is thankfully not one of those instances.

Cook with me! The Weekly Cookup

Starting on 29th of December of 2018, I will be starting a fun series called, “Weekly Cook up.” In this series, I will talk about a book that features food of some sort and relates it to an actual recipe. There are rules:

  • It has to be based on a graphic novel or book passage. 
  • It has to actually taste decent.
  • It has to have available ingredients.
  • Doable for the home cook.
  • The recipe needs to be able to be scaled. 

This is not so much a review of the book or graphic novel featured, but a fun offshoot for a passage mentioned in the book. I know I love cooking and I am sure some of you out there do as well.

If anyone has any ideas about fun recipes you would like me to feature, let me know!

I am linking up this post to Booktastic Link it Up Thursday!

Book Blogger Insider Tag

Thank you, Paul, over at Pauls Picks for being very supportive since I started this book blogging thing! And, also thank you for talking about such great books. It is increasing my TBR list tenfold.


1) WHERE DO YOU TYPICALLY WRITE YOUR BLOG POSTS?

Usually, at my desk in an office I share with my husband. I am surrounded by a ton of books, my drafting table, and craft stuff. It is my happy place.

2) HOW LONG DOES IT GENERALLY TAKE YOU TO WRITE A BOOK REVIEW?

Depends on the review and what I am trying to get across. Sometimes an hour, sometimes four. I have a review coming up for a graphic novel called 100 months that I rewrote 3 times and it took me two months of thinking. It is a crazy book.

3) WHEN DID YOU START YOUR BOOK BLOG?

I have had a blog since 2016, but I didn’t start writing book reviews till earlier this year and I didn’t start trying to meet the community on twitter and stuff till November. This is all pretty new to me.

4) WHAT IS THE WORST THING ABOUT HAVING A BOOK BLOG IN YOUR OPINION?

So, so many books I want to read and not enough time to read every single thing. We live in a golden age of writing and I want to read it all. Also, I focus a lot on graphic novels. They are passion of mine and not many people read them which is a shame and something I am trying to change.

5) WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT HAVING A BOOK BLOG IN YOUR OPINION?

I get to wax philosophical about books whenever I want to.

6) WHAT BLOG POST HAVE YOU HAD THE MOST FUN WRITING SO FAR?

O’Children – The Orphans of Harry Potter

I love Nick Cave and Harry Potter. You can’t get better than that.

7) WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE TYPE OF BLOG POST TO WRITE?

Straight up book reviews. I love getting into the guts of a novel.

8) WHEN DO YOU TYPICALLY WRITE?

Whenever I can. I have a 4-year-old. It can be challenging.

9) DO YOU REVIEW EVERY BOOK YOU READ?

No. If I don’t have anything constructive or if it was just meh I am not going to review it. Authors don’t need me telling them that I thought their work was derivative or crap. I like to think that I am not an asshole.

10) HOW DO YOU WRITE YOUR BOOK REVIEWS? WITH A CUP OF COFFEE OR TEA? WITH NETFLIX? CUDDLED WITH YOUR FUR BABY?

I drink a ton of coffee. All…the…time.

11) WHEN DO YOU WRITE YOUR BOOK REVIEWS? RIGHT AFTER FINISHING THE BOOKS? TWO WEEKS AFTER FINISHING THE BOOK?

Always right after I finish or it might get too misty in my brain.

12) HOW OFTEN DO YOU POST?

I have posted almost every day since I got into twitter and things, but after the new year starts it will be M/T/TH/F/SA. Every day is impossible insanity to keep up for me.

Here are some lovely people I am tagging. No pressure.

Shohinee at Trails of Tails

Nicole at Nicole’s Notebook

Laurie at Laurie’s Bookshelf

Samantha at Fictionally Sam