Monday, December 31, 2018

End of Year Survey 2018 Part 2: Bookish/Blogging Life

Every year, Jamie at the Perpetual Page Turner puts together a survey to help you reflect on your year as a bookish blogger. I split my survey up into two parts. In part 1, which you can find here, I talk about some of the most interesting books I read this year. Today in part 2, I'll reflect a bit on my blogging and bookish life.

1. New favourite book blog/Bookstagram/YouTube channel you discovered in 2018?

I don't know! I'm not great at keeping up with or discovering new blogs these days. Any recommendations? I'm especially on the look out for book bloggers not in the US or Canada, or CanLit bloggers!

2. Favourite post you wrote in 2018?

I think probably the post Begin Again. I liked experimenting a bit more this year with more creative non-fiction type posts (even if they weren't as popular), and I think that post is probably my favourite. I like how it captures how I felt in the midst of and then after coming out of a years-long writing slump. I like writing about the more difficult side of writing, and I hope it helped at least a few people to know that they aren't alone in their struggles.
3. Favourite bookish related photo you took in 2018?

I have way too many pictures of my cats, but that's book-related, right? Cats are the ultimate reading companion. Here's a picture of my cat helping me with my 2 day poem contest entry.

4. Best bookish event you participated in this year?

I didn't blog about it (which now thinking about it is really silly), but I actually volunteered at a local writer's festival this year (it's one of the reasons I got so into poetry in the latter half of this year). It was probably the best thing I did. I got to meet a lot of fellow writers, both published and unpublished, and I actually called myself a writer out loud, in public.And everyone was so incredibly warm and welcoming. It also solidified for me the notion that writing is something to be shared and is not a solitary thing. I also went to an author event for Eden Robinson at my local bookstore, which was super fun.
5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2018?

 I don't know, I can't pick! Interviewing Kate Hart was pretty cool. So was having Shvaugn guest post for my Local Book Nook series. So was having incredible Canadian children's author Sheree Fitch follow me on Twitter! I love it all, and I can't wait to do more in the next year.

6. Most challenging thing about your blogging or reading life this year?
For blogging, I would say balance, as always. This time not with school but with writing. Now that I've gotten back into writing pretty consistently, I have to figure out how to prioritize between that and this blog. I definitely think that's something I need to figure out for this upcoming year.

And another thing I've been thinking about is just, what do I want? It's a question I ask myself every year, and now that I'm done school I'm considering committing more to this blog, making consistent posts and really trying to grow it a little bit. Ideally I'd like it to reach a bit wider of an audience, but I also want to keep the core of it - which is doing something that I enjoy and that I'm proud of. Just... I want to be a bit more consistent is all. 

7. Most popular post this year on your blog?

The interview I did with Kate Hart, which I'm so glad. I hope that interview helped at least a few more people find Kate Hart and her book, After the Fall, because she deserves all the attention. That interview was a long time coming, too, so I'm glad it did well.
8. Post you wished got a little more love?

All of them! :) They could all use some more love, but especially my poem project post. I'm really proud of that project and want more people to see it. If you're curious about my writing style, you might want to check that out.
9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc)?

I'm not sure if this works, but this year I got heavily into Critical Role and the collaborative storytelling that is Dungeons and Dragons. Both Critical Role and D&D have opened my eyes to new and different ways of telling stories, and have helped me in my own writing as well. I'm really excited to see where it goes.
10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

My goals for this year were pretty vague, but one of the things I talked about was sharing more of my own writing and writing process. I think I did that a bit, although I'd still love to do a bit more. I'm also sad that since I was traveling so much this summer I didn't get to do as much stuff for Women in Translation Month this year. But there's always next year! I'll talk more about my goals for the upcoming year in my New Year's post like I always do.
11. One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your blogging life in 2019?

I'll talk a bit more about this in my New Year's Post, but like I said, I want to start being way more consistent with my posts. Like maybe actually make a calendar or something. I'd also like to really commit to Women in Translation Month, and start up doing Local Book Nook posts again. (By the way, if you want to talk about local books, hit me up!)
Stay tuned for tomorrow when I'll go over last year's goals and look ahead to what's to come!

Sunday, December 30, 2018

End of Year Survey 2018 Part 1: Books I Read This Year

Every year Jamie over at The Perpetual Page Turner does a survey to see what you read throughout the year. Here's a short review of some of the books I read this year, including a few that I didn't get the chance to do reviews of!

2018 Reading Stats
Number of Books You Read:
Number of Re-reads: 11 so far. I think I re-read pretty much all the YA romances I own, plus all my favourite fantasy books.
Genre You Read the Most From: Thanks to my re-read of YA romances, YA contemp, but fantasy (both YA and adult) is close second. I'm predictable if nothing else. I read in 11 different genres, and read a lot of poetry books this year for the first time which is fun!

1. Best book you read in 2018?

Definitely A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. It just somehow fulfilled everything that's always on my wishlist - great, world-sweeping imaginative sci-fi, and a focus on interesting, unique characters. Add in commentary on cross-cultural interaction and I am sold. I have been putting off re-reading it because I don't want it to be over again. You can read my overly gushy review here.
2. Book you were excited about and thought you were going to love more but didn't?

After reading Katherena Vermette's North End Love Songs, I was really excited to read her first novel, The Break, but it just didn't affect me as much as I expected it to. Still a good read, though, and an interesting look into family dynamics in the North End of Winnipeg.
3. Most surprising (in a good or bad way) book you read this year?

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin! Big fat fantasy novels scare me sometimes just with all the new lore and stuff you have to learn at the beginning, but I just couldn't put it down. And there's lots of really interesting twists in it. I'm so annoyed that the sequel isn't available in the library yet! I want to read it now!!

4. Book you pushed the most people to read (and they did)?

I definitely pitched A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet to a lot of people, because I really think anyone would enjoy it. And actually, my review got both of my parents to buy the book and re-read it! Doing my job right. :)
5. Best series you started in 2018? Best sequel of 2018? Best series ender of 2018?

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin! I think the series if called the Broken Earth trilogy? I haven't read any new series sequels this year, but I did re-read Crooked Kingdom and man. That book is genius.
6. Favourite new author you discovered in 2018?

Looking back over my book log, I actually discovered lots of cool new authors! Becky Chambers and N.K. Jemisin I already mentioned, but I also fell in love with Claire Kann, Eden Robinson, Joshua Whitehead, Becky Albertalli, Alice Oseman, and a whole bunch of really cool poets.
7. Best book from a genre you don't typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

Most of the books I read this year that were out of my comfort zone I didn't really like... although I did read Eden Robinson's Son of a Trickster which is sort of fantasy/horror-esque. Creepy books are not my thing, but Eden Robinson does it so well. I'm so curious to read her newest book, Trickster Drift.
8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

Most action-packed, definitely Leigh Bardugo's Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom. But even it wasn't really action-packed, the most unputdownable was Alice Oseman's Radio Silence. I have no idea how a great friendship story is written in such an intense way. I stayed up way too late reading that book way too many nights. I need to get my hands on more of her books.
9. Book you read in 2018 that you're most likely to re-read next year?

A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet! I think that one might become one of my yearly re-reads it was that good.
10. Favourite cover of a book you read in 2018?

I love the cover for Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman. So gorgeous.
11. Most memorable character of 2018?

All of the characters in A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet! They were all so unique and interesting. But if I had to pick one, I'd probably say -- actually never mind. I was going to pick one but then I was like - but that one's so interesting! So yeah, sticking with all of them. Read this book, people!!
12. Most beautifully written book of 2018?

Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead is a beautifully written, poetry of sadness book. But if I can pick a poetry collection, I would say This Wound is a World by Billy-Ray Belcourt. Every single poem in that collection knocked the wind out of me.
13. Most thought-provoking/life-changing book of 2018?

I read a lot of interesting, thought-provoking books this year, but one that I keep coming back to is a biography of Nelson Mandela called Nelson Mandela: The Revolutionary Years by David James Smith. This biography focused less on Mandela's career and activist work, and more on his family and how it affected them (spoiler alert: terribly). It painted a picture of how Mandela's activist work pretty much destroyed his family, and it really made me think about activist work in general and how it is way more gritty than the heroic narratives of history make it out to be. It's made me think a lot about my own life choices as well. If you can get your hands on it, I'd recommend it.
14. Book you can't believe you've waited until 2018 to finally read?

Becky Albertalli's books! Simon Vs. The Homo Sapien's Agenda has been on my radar for years, and I finally read through it (and Leah On The Offbeat) this year. They're now on my go-to list for fluffy contemps to re-read when I'm in a slump.
15. Favourite passage/quote from a book you read in 2018?

I didn't write down any specific quotes this year, but I think my favourite passage is a passage at the end of A Long Way to A Small Angry Planet where two friends tell each other what they mean to each other. It's beautiful.

16. Shortest and longest book you read in 2018?

Longest book - N.K. Jemisin's The Fifth Season (although it still seemed too short), shortest probably dodie's book Obsessions, Confessions and Life Lessons (also way too short).
17. Book that shocked you the most?

I don't think any of the books I read this year really shocked me... but I enjoyed them nonetheless!
18. Favourite book you read in 2018 from an author you've read previously?

Probably Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman. It was a different kind of fantasy novel, but beautiful and engaging nonetheless.
19. Best book you read in 2018 that you read solely on a recommendation from someone else?

Oh! I read Sea Foam and Silence by Lynn E. O'Connacht based solely on a recommendation from Laura. It's a verse retelling of the little mermaid. I'm not usually one for verse novels, but I really liked this one, it was beautiful and nuanced and made me consider maybe reading some more verse novels. (Now that I'm a poetry connoisseur I think I would enjoy this even more!)
20. Best 2018 debut you read?

Let's Talk About Love by Claire Kann!

21. Best worldbuilding/most vivid setting you read this year?

A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet has the best world-building I've seen in a long time. It's so good.
22. Book that put a smile on your face/was the most FUN to read?

Let's Talk About Love by Claire Kann was just the perfect amount of fluff and fun for me. Becky Albertalli's books came in a close second.
23. Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2018?

All the gorgeous poetry I read, but mostly Billy-Ray Belcourt's This Wound is a World. It's so good it hurts. In the best way.
24. Hidden gem of the year?

Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson! More people should be reading her work, because I think a lot of people would really enjoy her haunting fantasy world. 

25. Book that crushed your soul?

See number 23.
26. Most unique book of the year?

Maybe What to Do When I'm Gone by Suzy Hopkins and Hallie Bateman? A graphic memoir/love letter to your mother. 

27. Book that made you the most mad?
My review of Demi-Gods by Eliza Robertson says "I got literally nothing out of this book."

Well that's it for Part 1, check out Part 2 here and stay tuned for my 2019 goals!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Reflections of a NaNoWriMo Newbie

November has come and gone, which means that NaNoWriMo is officially over. I started the beginning of the month with some trepidation and uncertainty, but I finished it - and accomplished writing 50,000 words in a month - calmly and without fanfare.

But I did it! I completed my first NaNo, and it was pretty great. I just thought I'd share some of the things I've learned, and where I'm planning to go from here.

1. Slow and steady wins the race

NaNoWriMo is often associated in my mind with a desperate rush to the finish where you're writing 10,000 words per day to make your goal. I don't know why I thought this would be me, since I'm not a last-minute kind of person. In my five years of university, I never pulled an all-nighter. I just can't do that. Some people need the pressure of the finish line looming to complete things, but I don't. Basically, NaNo was a reminder that I really should be writing at least a little bit every day. On good days, I would write more than necessary and get a little bit ahead so I could relax on the days when I just couldn't squeeze in more than a few minutes of writing time. By the time November 30 rolled around, I only had an easy 500 words to finish off.

2. Writing in community is always better

Having so many people with the same goal as you, cheering each other on, is so valuable. Like I've said before, I've realized over the past few years that writing shouldn't be a solitary thing. It's so much more fun and purposeful if you have people writing alongside you, struggling with the same things, and have an understanding of what you're doing and why you're doing it. I also had people IRL cheering me on (if they slightly misunderstood), and that helped too.

3. Writing consistently is key

Having written in between homework and school stuff for so long, I'd often go for weeks without writing anything, and it's really hard to get back into wherever I was thinking for the story and characters after a few day or week break. It's much easier to keep a pulse on where I want the story to go when I'm immersed in it almost every day.

These are all definitely lessons that I've talked about before, but they're definitely things I need to keep reminding myself. And mostly that I just need to write. I just need to get words on a page, and after that everything comes more easily. It's kind of weird, how I've been writing for years but I feel like I'm only just starting to figure out how to be a writer.

As for what's next... well I now have two drafts of things sitting for a bit until I go back to touch them up and then do the scary part... sending them off to people I trust for edits. In the meantime, though, I've got some ideas for a fantasy story so I think I'm going to take some time to do some world-building this month. Anyone have any world-building tips or tricks? How was your NaNo experience? Do you find NaNo valuable if you do it?

Thursday, October 25, 2018

My First Time Doing NaNoWriMo

I am terrified.

That's what NaNoWriMo does: strikes terror into my heart. 50,000 words in a month, the goal of writers everywhere for November's dubbed National Novel Writing Month, is a lot. A LOT.

I've had many different relationships with NaNoWriMo. I've made excuses. I've publicly declared disgust for such an arcane practice so I could more easily get away with not doing it. I've used school, I've used work, I've told myself and others that's it's just too much, it's not for me. (And to be honest, if I was still in school, I would never do NaNo; November is an awful month for students. But that's another discussion.)

I've done less ambitious NaNos before. I've written 30,000 words in a month, twice. I've done Camp NaNoWriMo in summer (highly recommend for students). I've written two drafts in the past two years, more than I ever have, and if I happen to finish this current draft this November, I will have written TWO books in ONE year, which I don't think I've ever done. Ever.

I should be ready for this! Why am I not ready for this?

Maybe it's because I look at the month of November, think, 1,677 words a day.... I can't do this. What if I can't do this? I'm already behind! I'm not one of those writers that can write ten thousand words in one sitting! Sometimes I can't even get out five hundred! 

I can't do this.

But then I yell back at that doubting, panicking voice: it doesn't matter. I'm going to try. Self-doubt has plagued me before and has made me not want to write for years. I have a story I like, characters I like, and a great couple of critique partners currently to back me up. And, hopefully, I have you! If I've learned anything the last few years about the solitary activity of writing, is that it SHOULDN'T be solitary. It should be done in community with other like-minded, passionate individuals, interested in creating stories; with people who understand the ups and downs of this type of creative work. If you want to add me as a writing buddy, I'm asherlockwrites, or tweet me and we'll do sprints together or something!
Let's do this thing.

(also if you have any experience with NaNo whatsoever, please give me advice or tips, anything, thank you!!)

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Review: Whenever You're Ready by Shawn DeSouza-Coelho

I am not a huge theatre nerd. In school I loved watching the musicals that my friends were in, but I never had any desire to get more involved than that one time I volunteered to do stage crew work. Then during the first show I forgot to move a prop off so the cast could do their dance properly, and that was it for my stage career.

However, Whenever You're Ready made me want to immediately move to Stratford, buy a lifetime membership to the Stratford Festival, and start working towards my new career in the theatre.

Whenever You're Ready is a biography of stage manager Nora Polley, who worked for 52 years at the Stratford Festival in Ontario. It's hailed as one of the only stage manager biographies around, and I'm sure people who know way more about Canadian theatre than me would devour it. But I enjoyed it immensely and I hadn't even heard of most of the people mentioned in this book (which I sorely regret now; they all sound like fascinating people).

Whenever You're Ready is a unique biography, in that it's actually written in first person, as if Nora Polley herself wrote it even though the authorship credit is given to Shawn DeSouza-Coelho. If you believe the afterword that everything is true to Nora Polley's experiences, it has the effect of a beautiful, immersive dive into Nora Polley's life, character, and career.

And what a career. Whenever You're Ready covers her first foray into the festival, to what she gets up to after her retirement with an amazing collection of fascinating theatre stories and the trials and tribulations of stage management in between.

While Whenever You're Ready is the biography of a stage manager, and it does contain many stage management anecdotes and things Nora learned along the way, it also profiles many other theatre people; actors, artistic directors, and other people involved in the theatre scene. Nora Polley's character shows through in the way she describes the people she worked with; her admiration for them and their work shines, and makes you wish you knew these people as she did. But you do get a glimpse of these incredibly unique, creative people as you read about her own career. In her first person biography, Nora Polley shines through as someone humble and hardworking, but also someone imperfect, human, and often unsure of her next step.

In any case, Whenever You're Ready paints a fascinating picture of an era in Canadian theatre, one filled with entertaining anecdotes, fascinating people, and one rock of a stage manager there to witness and work through it all. I think anyone who enjoys interesting life stories and has even just a passing interest in theatre should pick this up.

Whenever You're Ready on ECW Press
Whenever You're Ready on
Whenever You're Ready on
Whenever You're Ready on Goodreads

Thursday, September 27, 2018

5 Strategies to Actually Enjoy Reading Poetry (+ Recommendations!)

Yeah, I don't really "get" poetry. Poetry is too complicated. Poetry goes over my head. It's pretentious. It's for English major nerds. It's definitely not for me.

These phrases or variants of them are probably things you've either said sometime in life, or you've heard someone else say. I have definitely both said them and heard them said. Poetry is often thought of as complicated work that is hard to understand and inaccessible to most people.

Well, I'm hear to tell you, no longer!

I've gotten a lot more into reading poetry lately, mostly the result of a writer's festival I'm volunteering for. A lot of the writers I was unfamiliar with, so I thought I should read some of their work. Most of them turned out to be poets, so I ended up checking out a bunch of poetry books from the library and fell in LOVE.

Anyway here are some things I've kept in mind while reading poetry that have helped make it an entirely more enjoyable experience*:

1. Just read 

Read poetry as you would any other book - for enjoyment, line by line, taking in the words. You don't have to worry about extracting a certain meaning from the text because this is your reading time. Don't worry too much about trying to understand the poem either, just kind of let the words wash over you how they will. Getting frustrated that you aren't getting something is a sure fire way of taking the fun out of reading poetry.

2. Skip poems you don't like

Is there a poem that puts you off, or is just way too out there for you no matter how many times you reread it? Instead of feeling like a failure for not understanding great art, acknowledge that subjective experience is a thing and you won't click with every poem. The fun thing about poetry books is they include a whole bunch of poems - some that will click with you and make you feel like you were punched in the gut, and others that you'll breeze through and never think about again.

3. Let them connect with you where you're at

One of the cool things about poetry is how they can really deeply speak to someone's experience. A certain poem you read may really impact you and speak to where your life or mindset is at the moment, and that's the really powerful, fun part of reading poetry. Hold on to those moments. Save your favourite poems to reread later when you're in that emotional space.

4. You don't have to read everything

Just like anything else, not all poems are for everyone! Find poems that *you* enjoy reading. There are so many different ways of writing poetry out there. Some styles might annoy you, so just stay away from those! Your pretentious artist cred won't be damaged if you skip over poems you don't like for ones you enjoy. Maybe you like T.S. Eliot. Maybe Rupi Kaur's simple but elegant style is more for you.

5. Don't care what other people think

Poetry is often given a bad image (mainly from terrible high school English classes, at least in my experience). In some literary circles, you can be put down from liking certain kinds of poets or liking poets that use language in a more direct way. You can be made to feel stupid for not understanding or liking old classic poets (probably old white men anyway), or childish for following your favourite Instagram poets. But I say poetry should be consumed and enjoyed, whatever way you might wish to do that. So don't care about the pretentious literary snobs. They aren't having as much fun as you.

So, now that you're super excited to get into poetry, where should you start? Well, I've got some great recommendations for you:

#IndianLovePoems by Tenille K. Campbell is a collection of poems on Indigenous intimacy, sexuality, love and family, interwoven with Indigenous cultural images. The poems are quick and easy to read, but they are also hilarious and bold. It's a stunning and confident collection which you should go read right now.

This Wound is a World by Billy-Ray Belcourt knocked me off my feet from the very first poem. I would dog-ear the entire book if I wasn't borrowing it from the library (I will buy it asap don't worry). These poems focus on themes of Indigenous and queer identity, and the sadness that can be encompassed in that, but also the beauty of feeling that sadness. Belcourt says in his afterword that his book is "nothing if not a tribute to the potentiality of sadness" and that sharing the feeling of being lonely or alone is a way to make new forms of collectivity. His poems are absolutely heartbreaking but in the best, most cathartic way.

questions i asked my mother by Di Brandt was a book that shook up Mennonite communities when it was first published, and it still has the potential to speak to religious communities today, with commentary included in her poems on traditional religious roles, traditional communities, patriarchy, women’s speech and sexuality. It presents these themes in beautiful unstructured poems that have incredible depth to them.

Unstable Neighbourhood Rabbit by Mikko Harvey is an absolutely fascinating collection of poems that turns the world on its head. These are the kinds of poems that after you've finished them you feel like you've been punched in the gut because they turn out to be about something different than you originally thought. I had the opportunity to hear the title poem of this book read aloud by Harvey, and after he finished it you could literally hear the audience exclaim under their breath in awe and wonder.

Well, there you have it. You now have all the tools to be a poetry connoisseur, and be exposed to some great, world-changing writing.

*Disclaimer: while these strategies can be useful for enjoying poetry again, they should not be used for poetry analysis for classes. Although I've found knowing how to analyze poetry actually aids in my enjoyment sometimes! However, this is basically just a guide to remove some barriers and get you started. 

Monday, September 17, 2018

Review: Nobody Cares by Anne T. Donahue

On the back page of Nobody Cares is the catch phrase "Just a girl, standing in front of  a reader, reminding them they aren't alone." That line pretty much sums up the feeling of the book: a simple book of relatable personal essays.

Nobody Cares is based off Anne T. Donahue's online newsletter of the same name, and you can definitely feel that Donahue has an internet audience in mind throughout her book. While none of the personal essays really hit me hard, it was partly my own expectations, and I still enjoyed it enough to read the entire book fairly quickly. In some parts I did wish she dug a bit deeper, but I don't think that's what this book is trying to do.

The personal essays in Nobody Cares are light, short personal lessons that the author has learned over the course of her life. Basically each one is in the style of an inspirational online article. It's half advice column, half diary entry. They cover a variety of situations in Donahue's life, from friendship and dating to just things you learn growing up. A lot of her essays also focus on her personal experiences with anxiety, and learning that "nobody cares." Donahue's honest voice and ability to laugh at herself makes Nobody Cares an entertaining read.

I think this book would be a good gift book for anyone in your life, perhaps especially people who suffer from anxiety since a lot of Anne's personal essays focus on that. It was very much a feel-good book of essays. A good quick, easy read for a sunny day.

Nobody Cares on ECW Press
Nobody Cares on
Nobody Cares on
Nobody Cares on Goodreads

Saturday, September 8, 2018

I Accidentally Started and Finished a Poem Project

I'm not quite sure how it happened. One year, I had created a mostly dormant Instagram account solely to see photos of my friend's baby, and I named it asherlockwrites because that was already my username on Twitter. I didn't really use it much until this summer, when, inspired by a few friends I started posting more ~artsy~ posts (check them out here, here and here). And I reminded myself of my goal to share more writing this year, everywhere and anywhere.

And my username was a. sherlock writes after all. May as well use it to do some writing.

So I started this project on a whim of inspiration and a healthy dose of "just do it." I started with a quick little thing I wrote, inspired by a beaver my dad and I saw on a bike ride one day in early spring.

After that, I saw the string of words that I had displayed on my wall, words that were reminders for me of things I'd learned over the past year. I had drawn them with watercolour paints and displayed them so I would be reminded daily of these things. What if, I thought... what if I created a poem for each word, trying to express the lesson I had learned? And if I alternated the words with like, scenery or something? That also included poems?

This project started as a kind of accidental waterfall where I ended up just going with the flow. But it became an exercise in vulnerability, being okay with imperfection, and making myself actually sit down and write. All the poems are pretty rough still, and I'm definitely not 100% happy with all of them, but that wasn't the point. The point was saying: just post it. Stop caring about it being perfect, being ready. Just get it out there.

And you know, I ended up quite liking sharing my poem project this time (the other time I did a poem project like this, I didn't share it). I like the comments and connections I made, the knowledge that maybe some people got what I was trying to say, or maybe they were reminded of something or learned something from lessons I had learned previously. Vulnerability, I've been learning this year, can be pretty powerful.

So I present to you a selection from my summer poem project, lessons & travels. You can read the complete project at

(also please read them on Instagram because otherwise the formatting of the poems gets messed up! This is what I get for using social media to post poetry, I guess.)

More posts from this year's writing series:
Begin Again, about how to start again after writing slumps
Scared of Being Afraid about how rewarding it is to share work
You, about the loveliness of everyone's unique writing style

Saturday, August 18, 2018

WITMonth Roundup - Resources, Book Lists, Discounts!

August is Women in Translation Month but unfortunately I have been way too disorganized and busy traveling this summer to prepare any reviews for this month. Instead, I thought I would go through a bunch of WITMonth posts and put together a round-up so that I can go through it later and fill up my TBR, because reading women in translation definitely should not stop at the end of August. Hopefully it can help you navigate WITMonth as well, and if you have any suggestions for links to add, please let me know!


 Of course you should be following the official Twitter of Women in Translation Month, @Read_WIT, as well as the #WITMonth hashtag. These are great places to find reviews and recommendations of women in translation. (Most of these links come from Twitter, but I'm sure there's lots of great stuff on Instagram, Tumblr and BookTube as well!)

Translated World , news and reviews about literature in translation, also tweeted quite a bit about WITMonth, as did Asymptote Journal. Also make sure to check out the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation page which has lots of news, recommendations, and other resources as well as being the home of one of the first prizes for women in translation! 

And of course if you haven't read any posts by Meytal Radzinski, the founder of the movement, you should get on that right now.  I especially like her posts about why WIT Month should be about works translated into English from other languages, and why the focus should be on writers and not translators. An earlier post but still a favourite of mine, Meytal Radzinski discussing how the feminist movement needs to be international to be intersectional, to which I wholeheartedly agree (and is part of my motivation for my Local Book Nook series, currently on...hiatus..)

And I also think you should check out the wonderful WITMonth Bingo by Borrowed Bookshelf if you're not quite sure where to start with this read-a-thon/movement.


 Fill your TBR!

Meytal Radzinski's Day 14 round-up includes lists of Indonesian writers, medieval poets translated into English, 100 books(!) of women in translation, Latin American literature by women in translation, and more - please check out her post to get the links to these awesome curated lists!

And of course check out Meytal's own curated lists of WITMonth new releases, poetry, historical fiction, and non-fiction.

BookRiot has a bunch of posts for WITMonth, including some recommended reads and some summer 2018 reads for WITMonth. 

Pop Matters features a list of short stories of women in translation.

The Lost in Translation podcast has a recommendation episode for WITMonth, and you can find all their recommendations in their show notes as well.

Global Literature in Libraries Initiative posted a list of Contemporary Turkish Women Writers Available in English Translation.

ArabLit also has a bunch of great posts for WITMonth, including Best of New Translated Arabic Lit by Women and Beirut's Feminist LIbrary Picks 5 WITMonth Reads and Arab Women's Kidlit in Translation! This is one of the few kidlit lists I came across, I'd love to see more! 

Smoking Tigers has a list of Korean Women in Translation.

Women's Web has a list of Indian Women Authors in Translation.

Princeton Public Library curated a 3-page list of WITMonth recommendations which includes more than just recent releases. 

Penguin UK posts about 9 classics to celebrate women in translation.

*EDIT* Some people posted sci-fi and kid-lit lists so I had to add them!

Meytal Radzinski's sci-fi and fantasy recommendation list.

Some fantastical teen reads by Pushkin Press.

A list of Japan kidlit women in translation!

Do you have a list of WITMonth reads to add? Let me know! I focused on finding lists with multiple recommendations, but you can also find lots of individual reviews and recommendations in the hashtag!


Are you worried about the dent in your wallet from purchasing all the books from the awesome lists above? No worries! A whole bunch of publishers are giving discounts for WITMonth! Some of these discounts have quite a wide application, so I would encourage you to try to purchase books by women writers if you do end up taking advantage of the discount codes. (*Note I couldn't always find when the discounts end, but I assume most of them go until the end of the month.)

And Other Stories has a WIT Month book bundle you can find here.


Well I hope this round-up will help you navigate WITMonth posts a bit better, and add a plethora of books to your TBR to keep you reading women in translation all year long. 

One thing I did notice when trying to find book lists and recs is that I'd love to see more women in translation being recommended from countries in Africa, as well as more YA, romance, sci-fi and fantasy recommendations. After a while spent going through the hashtag you see the same few books cropping up over and over again, and I'd love to see way more variety! Next year I hope to be more a part of that. :) In the meantime, happy reading!


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