#theUnreadShelfProject2018

Yes.. I know that a week ago I was pretty anti-bookstagram trends and cliques and giveaways (still kinda against those things…) but can’t deny that I said it here first – I will read books from my own shelf this year!

So when I allowed myself to go back on Bookstagram after a holiday break, I was so happy to see The Unread Shelf Project of 2018. If you haven’t heard of it, head over to @theunreadshelf and check out her highlighted stories! I’ll highlight the challenges so far below

Challenge 1: Count and make a list of all your unread books!

My total is 16! That’s a lot for me to read in a year since I’m sure I’ll also want to read a whole bunch of new books, but I think I can aim for one per month.

Challenge 2: Feature one unread book every day!
Where you got it? Why you got it? Do you still want to read it?

I shared three on my stories, but then thought a post would be even better! So here we go!

My top seven unread books are… drum role please!

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1. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Where I got it
Book of the Month!

Why I got it
I wanted it as soon as it came out as a BOTM (January 2017) but was intimidated by the length, but then, the desire to read it never went away so I added it to my box in December 2017.

Do I still want to read it?
Yes! In fact, as I’m writing this I’m 250 pages in. Can’t wait to get back to it after I finish this post!

2. Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

Where I got it
My mom!

Why I got it
This one was also a BOTM that I never hit “Add to my box” on. I saw it from one of my first months in 2016. I saw that my Granny was reading it and she got it from my cousin Patty, who often shares book recs with my mom. I reccomended to my mom that she ask my Granny to borrow the book and she did and loved it — so when she visited me in San Diego she gave it to me to read!

Do I still want to read it?
Yes! It was my idea in the first place right 😉 . Only joking – it actually sounds like a great book and I know a lot of people who loved her other book The Paris Wife.

3. The Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon

Where I got it
Amazon Prime

Why I got it
I saw this on Bookstagram once and thought the plot sounded amazing – and the cover was beautiful! Then it was Amazon Prime Day and books were on sale and I had no self control

Do I still want to read it?
Yes! I was nervous because I didn’t like The Alice Network at all and thought I was not a historical person anymore. But reading Pachinko is restoring my faith in historical fiction. I also read Behold The Dreamers in November 2017 and loved it! I think I’m ready to dive back in to the historical fiction pool

4. What Happened by Hillary Clinton

Where I got it
Amazon Prime

Why I got it
Honestly, Bethany at @bethanyslibrary posted excerpts in her instagram story and I loved the writing she was showing! Also my birthday was coming up so….

Do I still want to read it?
Yes! I love owning this book and I don’t think I should continuing owning it without reading it – plus I already have a strong indication that I’ll love the writing!

5. Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo

How I got it
The @ardentbiblio holiday book exhchange!

Why I got it
Well this one wasn’t my choice, but Chelsey at @hereadsshereads stalked my instagram feed and mailed me a book she thought I’d like! (I think she nailed it!)

Do I still want to read it?
Yes! I’m not sure if Chelsey saw on my instagram story, but I actually got Stay with Me from the library but didn’t have time to read it and had to return it! I saw Rachael at @booksforbrunch raving about it no more than a week later and was kicking myself for returning it.

6. Playing Through the Whistle by S.L. Price

How I got it
This one was a Christmas gift from my sister and brother-in-law. They are the biggest non-fiction readers I know!

Why I got it
Playing through the Whistle is set in Alliquippa, Pennsylvania — on the other side of the river from where I grew up, and a huge football school. A lot of the students who go through Alliquippa High School play for Pitt or even the Pittsburgh Stelers. I am a Pittsburgh football lover so after my sister and brother in law loved it they got it for me (and my dad)!

Do I still want to read it?
Yes! I do love football and Pittsburgh, so this is sounds like a perfect pick for me. It’s not screaming my name at this EXACT minute, but I think I’ll get in to it as the year moves on — maybe once the steelers win the superbowl and I’m missing football in my life!

7. Modern Lovers by Emma Straub

Where I got it
The Denver Airport! 

Why I got it
I finished my book on the way to Denver and still had a train ride and flight back to worry about, so I grabbed a couple books in the airport to read on my trip! 

Do I still want to read it?
Yes! Picking it up and feeling it in my hands still brings me joy – I love the weight of it, and the colors on the cover, and the memory of the weekend before I left New York City going to Books are Magic, which is owned and curated by Emma Straub. I’m waiting for a warm month and a nice vacation to read it! In my mind, I think I’ll read it on my June trip to Savannah, GA for a bachelorette party!

So there we have it — My goal is to read these 7 [and review them all] and post an #unreadshelfproject2018 recap post in the end of the year! Here’s to a great year of reading!

 

Review: Missoula

Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer
Published: 2015
Genre: Non-fiction
FLW Rating: 5/5

A couple months ago, I had a conversation with a coworker about some of our favorite narrative non-fiction authors and Jon Krakauer was at the top of that list. So the next time I found myself in a bookstore, I decided to check out out what books he had written aside from Into Thin Air. I posted a photo of his book Missoula and that photo became my most popular post by far in terms of comments. So many people said that they read it, were so affected by it, and that I should absolutely read it next. I requested it from the library and read it in two days over Christmas break – not exactly cheery Christmas reading, but when the writing is as good as this was, it’s easy to make an exception.

In Missoula, Krakauer tackles the tough issue of rape on a college campus. Most rapes that occur in the US today happen in private homes between acquaintances, making the cases notoriously difficult to prosecute, causing even more trauma for the victim.

Krakauer follows the cases of two women who decide to pursue charges against their alleged rapists. He documents their stories from the first friendly interaction, all the way through the justice system proceedings. For brevity, some sections of the court proceedings were left out, but the latter half of the book feels as though the reader is a fly on the wall in the court room, so crudely exposed to the arguments of both the prosecution and the defense. The language used is blunt because it is factual – no euphemisms are used to soften the blow of accused actions. I think this language and the unrelenting use of it throughout the court proceedings are what cause many readers to cringe and warn others about the challenges associated with reading this book.

However, as Krakauer is so famous for, he masterfully weaves together the experiences of these two women to tell their stories in a way that isn’t dry nor boring. I felt captivated and invested in the outcome of the cases, which kept me flying through the pages the whole time.

Missoula is thoroughly researched and rich in statistics – statistics that I wish more people knew. One of the facts often cited about rape is that 45% of rape accusations are fabricated. Krakauer, through his research, discovered that the two papers which cited for this statistic were debunked soon after publication. The true statistic of false accusations ranges from 2-10%. Similarly, a DOJ study found that 2% of women in America experienced rape, however a more inclusive study conducted by the CDC found that the number is a much more staggering 19.3%. And worst of all, if someone is raped in this country, the rapist has a 90% chance of getting away with no penalty while the victim will suffer from a lifetime of psychological effects.

There are many dimensions of this book worth exploring – from the role of the local prosecutors, to the varying obligations of the prosecution and defense in the court room, to the role of the universities, but it would take too much time to dive in to them here. While these topics may seem very technical, Krakauer makes them a part of the story, so that they are both understandable and interesting to the reader.

I would highly suggest Missoula to another reading looking for a social justice narrative non-fiction read – or really anything to make you feel engaged and fired up.

Have you read it? Let me know below in the comments!

Review: The Ninth Hour

Author: Alice McDermott
Published: September 2017
Genre: Historical Fiction
NPR Concierge Staff Pick 2017
FLW Rating: 2/5

This book feels like a book from another age – like when you read an excerpt from an older book in a new nonfiction, and you have to reread the text a few times because the writing style feels so foreign. As much as most readers appreciate the philosophy of ‘show, don’t tell’ this book felt like it could use a little more telling.

The book opens with the suicide of a married man who was recently let go from his job, while his wife, Annie, is out at the shops. Several Sisters of the Poor, respond to the death and bring Annie, who is expecting their first child, in to the nunnery. The story thereafter is told second-hand by the couple’s grandchildren as they discover the history of their parents and grandparents.

The writing just didn’t work for me, and while the book was only 247 pages long, I felt like I was putting in a lot of extra effort to get through each page. Part of my distance may have been how unfamiliar I am with nunneries of the early 1900s, but I just felt constantly like I was missing the plot despite my best efforts to understand it.

I may still recommend the book so someone a bit older, with more of an interest in nunneries and the Catholic Church, but to me, the plot, the characters, and the writing all fell flat. If you’re someone who prefers fast pace literary fiction, this is one I’d skip.