CHOCOLATE BOOK CHALLENGE

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetI’m not even going to lie, when Kacie tagged me in her post, my first thought was “How could you do this to me? Now I really want some chocolate!”

However, that’s no different from the other 23 hours and 59 minutes of the day, so.

Like I am with chocolate to eat, I’m constantly on the lookout for something interesting or new to read. Generally, “interesting” trumps “new” but when you are like me and you do have a dependence on the written word, well. In addition to chocolate and interesting stories, I also crave opportunities to share the books I love with everybody.

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(I did change some of the chocolate prompts from the original post because I have fun with stuff like that, but Kacie has the original chocolate prompts in her post, if you’d like to see them)

Dark chocolate; or A Book With a Dark Subject | I first heard about Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward from a Tumblr post by another author I admire (I want to say it was Roxane Gay). I had previously read one of Ward’s novels, Salvage the Bones, about a Mississippi family in the days leading up to Hurricane Katrina before reading Men We Reaped, which is a memoir Ward wrote to commemorate five young men she knew, including her brother, who died early. It feels tacky to say that Ward writes beautifully about hardship, but her writing leaves me wordless and teary-eyed.

White chocolate; or A Favorite Lighthearted Read | When I tell you this, you’re going to look at me funny, and I’m going to say, “I know, I know.” The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. There, I said it. And you’re probably thinking, “But isn’t that book about Dracula?” And yes, yes it is, and I’m still going to tell you that this book is super-duper fun. It’s got something for everybody. For you Dan Brown fans out there, it’s got a conspiracy. For supernatural fans, it’s got the Vlad the Impaler/Dracula/vampire element. And seeing as it takes place throughout areas of Cold War-era Europe, it definitely isn’t without its appeals to adventure fans, either.

Milk chocolate; or A Book That You’re Dying to Read; or A Book that Makes You Thirsty | The former rather than the latter, but I wanted to point out that nothing makes my mouth dry the way  milk chocolate does. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a book I have been longing to read for a minute. The authors I like to read have said very nice things about it.

Chocolate with a caramel center; or A Book that Makes You Feel Gooey Inside | In 2012 I was 21, working 3 jobs, and living with 2 roommates who were swooning over 50 Shades. Once I discovered Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell on a “Michigan Authors” table at the local Schuler’s, I also got to swoon over a book. I’ll take your Katniss Everdeen and raise you one Margo Crane, because that’s really how I feel. Margo has had a rough time of it; her mother abandons her at a young age, her uncle has raped her, her father is killed in an accident. Her response is to steal a gun from her uncle’s locker and to take her rowboat out onto the river. And she further continues to be fucked over by men. But she changes, she survives. And I just cannot stop praising this book.

Chocolate chilli pepper; or A Book that Surprised You | Books can surprise a person on a few different levels. Outcomes, I find, are rarely surprising. More often than not, though, I can find myself surprised by how much I like a book. I enjoy books about people and the secrets they keep, something readers of Kate Morton probably also enjoy. The Secret Keeper surprised me not because of the outcome (the actual outcome should occur to you by the time you’re halfway done) but I did enjoy it, which is generally more than I can say for Morton’s other works. The pace was perfect, and it didn’t reveal too much all at once in the last few pages, which is a mistake I see in a lot of books.

Trader Joe’s dark chocolate almonds; or a Book You Are Just Nuts About | Really, I’d rather call this “Author You Are Just Nuts About” but I’ll throw out a book by my favorite author instead. How’s that sound? When I was in  junior high school, I discovered Tracy Chevalier (and it’s ScarJo’s fault for doing Girl with a Pearl Earring). She’s best known for having written Girl with a Pearl Earring, but shortly after reading that I read Falling Angelswhich made such an impression on me that I could still to this day call it my favorite by her. For one, it’s centered around a cemetery. Two, Edwardian society. Three, suffragettes! Did I mention there’s a cemetery? It’s fantastic.

Hot chocolate with marshmallows (but only the colorful ones); or A Comfort Read | You’re going to get tired of hearing me talk about it, but The Red Tent by Anita Diamant has been one of my all-time favorite books since I was a senior in high school. While it draws on stories from Genesis (specifically the stories of Jacob and Joseph), you don’t have to be religious to appreciate or enjoy it. At its heart, The Red Tent is a story of female relationships and family, birth and death, and love and loss. One person I’ve recommended it to commented that they never felt so fulfilled by a book’s ending before. And really, that couldn’t be more true. Every time I finish reading it, I take a moment to hold myself, because it’s like I might burst if I don’t.

That’s it for today! As part of the challenge, I need to tag 5 people to complete the challenge next! So, I’m going to say that I want to see what Meg, Desiree, Harper, Gwen, and Lydia have to say for their favorite chocolate-book pairings! Friends, please take your time to construct your lists or plow through them (I took my time… a lot of it)!

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What chocolate goes with your favorite book?

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041715_1Hi, all! I hope you had great weeks and that your weekend plans go off without a hitch! I have a friend from high school coming to visit until tomorrow morning, and also, I am SO PSYCHED for the new season of Orphan Black, which is premiering tomorrow night on BBC America and all AMC networks! Toni is coming over to watch with me, so it’s gonna be a great time!

(Also shout out to my little booger, Boone, who turned two this week! It’s like he came home just yesterday! I’ll never forget how BIG his paws were in relation to the rest of his little puppy body!)

Meg and a friend are creating a new chapter of Geek Girl Brunch… in Grand Rapids, MI!

Kacie did the Chocolate Book Challenge, which pairs two of my favorite things together: reading and chocolate! Reading is so delicious!

This BookRiot essay about why it can’t be necessary to sugarcoat YA (I have never been so happy to read a piece about YA in my life)

There was an article in the NYT that demonized Millennials and sang praise for a generation of kids just barely out of high school… and makes me want to scream

My little cousin has been vlogging and last week he and my grandma came to visit me. If you go to 6:14 you can see what he thinks of me. I think he sums me up pretty accurately. (It is hard for me to accept his lumberjack beard though because he’s my baby cousin)

If I’m going to share links to videos, I can’t share this one often enough!: a short film by my friend Erin Cohen and her friend Imogen Hopper about a girl whose dream is to be on Shark Week

ALSO: I review nonfiction books for IGGPPC, and there is definitely no shortage of nonfiction books out there but I wanted some suggestions, if you have any, of books whose subject matter falls outside of the United States. I would love for my nonfiction selections to become more diverse and to include works by authors whose first language isn’t English, or more generally, who are not from the US or Western Europe. If you have any suggestions, tweet at me or give them in the comments below!

What caught your attention this week?

 

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Processed with VSCOcamHey, everyone! How are you this week? This week was pretty exciting for me: I had more visitors to my apartment, I made some pretty awesome chicken (recipe to come next week!), and it looks like my baby plants are finally showing some signs of life (as seen above)! Here are some links to keep you busy for maybe an hour this weekend. Good stuff, these:

*first things first* THERE IS AN EXCERPT OF THE UPCOMING PRINCESS DIARIES BOOK (due out June 2) ON WATTPAD (!!!!!)

HERE HAVE ANOTHER ONE (!!!!!)

AND ANOTHER (!!!!!)

as Harper points out in her April to-do list, April is STD Awareness Month and the CDC wants you to know that; I encourage you to get tested, as well as talking to your partner about your sexual history and being honest about it!

it’s 90s Week on Like Gwen Stacy, where Gwen’s waxing nostalgic about fashion, toys, music, and more!

this glitter mug tutorial from BUST

this BookRiot piece about Johnny Tremain (which I used to wish people would write more fanfiction about… I’m not making this up!) and its relevance to the 1940s when it was published

this discussion of YouTube and its need to promote diverse content, but more specifically the work of POC

in light of Dear Kate’s “First Time” ad, media outlets are speculating whether the conversation around periods is finally changing

What links caught your eye this week?

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I cleaned out my purse last night. All those papers were IN MY PURSE IN ENVELOPES. My purse now feels 11 million pounds lighter.

I cleaned out my purse last night. All those papers were IN MY PURSE IN ENVELOPES. My purse now feels 11 million pounds lighter.

Oh, boy! What a busy week! I am still in the process of winding down from my move last week (I HAVE SO MANY TOILETRIES! HOW DID I GET SO MANY TOILETRIES?!) and winding down from how unbelievably AWESOME the season finale of The Walking Dead was. There was some good news, too, for someone else in my family: my little sister was accepted into a graduate program!

There were a lot of things this week that caught my attention. Enjoy your weekend reading, guys!

this chocolate recipe by Emily at Dairy Free Since ’03

this piece Jessica Valenti did for the Guardian about men, Instagram, and the female body

Bookriot’s post about ways you can support female authors

folks at my alma mater, Michigan State University, had a short-lived riot & threw bagels at the cops after we made it to the Final Four (I have laughed about this pretty much every day this week)

Cards Against Humanity launched a science pack AND formed a full-ride scholarship to women seeking undergraduate degrees in STEM

This article about the Rez Condom Tour supplying condoms to the Navajo Nation

What caught your eye this week?