Apartment Book Club Round 1

About a year ago my roommates and I decided to start a book club together. I don’t remember who or what prompted it, but the rules were simple: each person picks a book, we draw the titles out of a jar, and then after about a month or so we’ll go out to dinner and discuss it. 

The four of us have somewhat similar tastes in what we like to read: fiction, YA, fantasy, fun tropes, magic. But we chose books new to all of us and each pick could vary wildly in how much others like it. Sometimes we’ll choose books from our TBR lists, other’s recommendations, or if we heard enough good things about it. It’s an interesting mix, and the books from Round 1 definitely felt like a grab-bag of miscellany, but that’s what makes our book club fun.

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Well hello 📚

My name is Lily, I’m an indie bookseller so I decided to create a specific place to share my thoughts, reviews, and other book-like writing. I’m also a firm believer that Amazon is evil, so please shop at your local indie!

Currently reading: Because Internet by Gretchen McCulloch and Female Masculinities by Jack Halberstam. 

Follow me on The Story Graph: LRugoReads and Readerly @LRugoReads.
L.Rugo Reads is my book blog, for my other projects visit my Link Tree.
If you’re in the Boston area check out my book club, Boston ABG: Asian Book Group.

OMG can you believe “Anna K”? Because I’m not sure I can

Perfect for fans of “Crazy Rich Asians” and not just because both books feature attractive young Asian people with too much money.

I know it’s unpopular to pitch new things––books, movies, TV shows, etc––relative to how it’s alike to other already popular things. It’s not fair to say that every new magical book series for kids is the “next Harry Potter” when really the only thing in common is some magic wands. I get that. However. Jenny Lee’s YA debut book, Anna K really is the next Crazy Rich Asians (but teenagers).

Continue reading OMG can you believe “Anna K”? Because I’m not sure I can

Finding representation in Vanessa Hua’s books

About a year ago, journalist and author Vanessa Hua reached out and asked me to write a review of her two books, the short story collection Deceit and Other Possibilities and then-newly published novel A River of Stars. Now nearly twelve months later, her novel just came out in paperback, my review got turned down by a number of outlets, and here I am. But I enjoyed her books, and after hearing her at a reading in Boston I wanted to make sure some form of a review made it into the world somewhere.

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“Artemis” from Andy Weir only checks the boxes without any depth

I read a book by a white guy and I regret it.

For a while now I’ve made a conscious effort to read books not written by white men. But I’d seen enough reviews of Andy Weir’s sci-fi novel Artemis that when it came through my library holds I stopped what I was doing to check it out. And now I’m sad. It was exactly the kind of book I’d been avoiding: trying too hard to be edgy, featured a flat female lead, and with a diverse set of characters just to have them there.

Continue reading “Artemis” from Andy Weir only checks the boxes without any depth

Apparently 2017 was the year of the Chinese adoption books

Looking at Little Fires Everywhere, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, and The Leavers.

I always thought I had an understanding about adoption. Never questioned much, just accepted everything I was grateful for. After reading Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See, and The Leavers by Lisa Ko, I’ve started thinking about it again.

It hasn’t been easy, or particularly fun (I should probably talk to a professional about this, but blogging will suffice in the meantime.) I set out with the goal to compare the three, and while reading them back-to-back-to-back started to weigh on me, it’s been enlightening too. Reading them together put into words a lot of the feelings I didn’t realize I even felt. By the end, finishing with Lisa Ko’s The Leavers, I had a new clarity on the topic. But I never felt like any one of them told a complete story of adoption. Here, let me explain each one a little better.
(Warning, spoilers ahead.)

Continue reading Apparently 2017 was the year of the Chinese adoption books

A fresh, needed perspective from a living female rock critic

Jessica Hopper’s book, “The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic” goes beyond the simple story of a review or profile.

After years of music criticism, Jessica Hopper assembled her best work to plant a flag in pop culture criticism with her second book, The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic. Her dry humor and honest reviews make this First Collection an enjoyable read, but Hopper’s refreshing point of view on female musicians and fans really make these essays cultural criticism. She took each artist, body of work, and the overall culture to contextualize it within her own perspective.

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A dependable fantasy in “A Darker Shade of Magic”

A magician, a thief, and an intriguing world.

A few weeks ago, I was bored and felt nostalgic for some bad steampunk. I found a cheap YA steampunk novel (it was indeed bad but I enjoyed it anyways) and when I finished it my friend asked, “Do you want a book that doesn’t suck?” With that introduction, she handed me V. E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic.

Prepare to be dazzled by a world of parallel Londons — where magic thrives, starves, or lies forgotten, and where power can destroy just as quickly as it can create.

Continue reading A dependable fantasy in “A Darker Shade of Magic”

The Simplicity of “Heroine Complex”

Truly diverse characters, leading female protagonists, and a fun ride — it’s not complicated.

“Diverse” has become such a buzz word recently that it’s pretty much lost its meaning. Diversity went from a desire to see more representation in media to a chore or a check box. As more TV shows and movies desperately try to jump on board the diversity train, books are really the best place to look for representation in media. My personal suggestion? Sarah Kuhn’s new urban fantasy novel Heroine Complex.

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