miércoles, 17 de febrero de 2016

BBAW: Book Bloggers Have the Best Recs

This is part of Book Blogger Appreciation Week (#BBAW), which is an event created to acknowledge the hard work of book bloggers and their growing impact on book marketing and their essential contribution to book buzz in general. Think of it as a retreat for book bloggers and a chance for us to totally nerd out over books together. And of course, shower each other with love and appreciation.

Be it a good book or bad, bloggers recommend books every day of the year. Sometimes we take their advice and it’s great! Today, tell us all about the book or books you’ve read because of a book blogger and be sure to sure to spread the blame around.

I'm quite slow when it comes to actually reading the books I buy or add to my wishlist. But my wishlist hasn't stopped growing ever since I started book blogging. It's awesome, although my bank account doesn't quite agree.

And I'm also terrible at keeping track of whom has recommended a particular book. But I know for sure I have to blame:

Thanks to all of you for your fantastic recommendations. Even if I forgot to mention you here, your enthusiasm has changed my reading life.

martes, 16 de febrero de 2016

BBAW: Interview Day

This is part of Book Blogger Appreciation Week (#BBAW), which is an event created to acknowledge the hard work of book bloggers and their growing impact on book marketing and their essential contribution to book buzz in general. Think of it as a retreat for book bloggers and a chance for us to totally nerd out over books together. And of course, shower each other with love and appreciation.

Still one day behind: increased workload + different time zones is not a good combo. But that's okay because you still get to meet Amber! She's one of the sweetest book bloggers I've ever met and I'm very happy that we got paired for BBAW. She wants to be a writer and is named after a book character. And we both studied in Salamanca! How cool is that? Small world indeed.

Mindful Musings

Let Amber introduce herself...

I taught middle school English for 2 years (that's what my degree is in), but now I work at a pregnancy help center as their Development Manager. I've always loved books. I would love to be a writer some day if I can get up the courage to do it. 

I live in Michigan, USA. I'm married to a microbiologist who is currently getting his PhD in virology. I plan on going back to school for a Masters in Written Communication this fall. And I wish I was smart enough to understand math and science.

Me: What are your favorite genres?

Amber: I love many genres, everything from Star Wars books to mythology to Jane Austen. I review mostly YA novels but like to throw in adult fiction every now and then. 

Me: Why did you start blogging? How did you start your blogging partnership?

Amber: I started blogging for a couple reasons. My friend Natalie had been blogging at Mindful Musings for quite awhile and I loved hearing her talk about it. It sounded like so much fun, and I thought it was so cool that she would get ARCs from authors (I didn't know much about the process at the time). When she went to get her PhD, she knew she wouldn't be able to keep up with school and the blog so she asked me if I was interested in taking it over (for the most part. She still posts every now and then). I was so honored and excited when she asked me! She is the one who showed me the ropes, got me connected, and let me become a part of this community. 

The other reason I started was that my education was in teaching English. But when I got into the workforce, I had middle school students (13 and 14 year olds). I wasn't in a very good district, and the job just kind of ate me alive. I had to quit after two years because I couldn't handle it any more. But I loved books and missed talking about them and discussing them with friends. Natalie asked me to blog with her just a few months after I stopped teaching. It gave me a creative "Englishy" outlet while I tried to figure out what my new dream would be. 

Me: How does your experience sharing a blog differ from solo book blogging?

Amber: I think the main difference between solo blogging and team blogging would be that I didn't have to create all of my contacts on my own. Natalie already had followers and a network of people that read her posts. I didn't have to start from scratch, which I think was a huge confidence booster at a time that I really really needed one. I manage the blog mostly on my own now just because Natalie doesn't have the time. But I think when she finishes her PhD, we might blog together more often. 

Me: What got you fascinated with reading?

Amber: I was read to from a young age. I am actually named after a book character (Amberle from The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks), and I've always loved diving into a story and living there for awhile. Books are a way to travel to places where anything is possible. As a kind with a big imagination, books were my place of creativity and escape. Characters came to life and were my friends and enemies. I guess I got this fascination from my parents, but by the time my brother came along, I was reading to him constantly whether he wanted it or not! 

Me: How many languages do you speak/read in?

Sadly, English is pretty much it. I can speak/read enough Spanish to have a conversation and get by in a Spanish speaking country on my own, but I can't say I've ever done much "fun" reading in any other language than English. Hopefully someday I will learn enough to be able to enjoy books by Hispanic authors in their native language. 

Me: What was your favorite book as a kid?

That is a very difficult question (sorry to have sprung it on you first!). I loved kids books like Go, Dog Go! and anything by Dr. Seuss. Tacky the Penguin was my brother's favorite book and I read it to him so many times that I literally had it memorized as a kid... and could still probably recite a book portion of it! I was also a huge Nancy Drew fan. My grandma had a ton of old Nancy Drew novels that she would send me, and I'm pretty sure that I read just about every Nancy Drew book at my public library growing up. I wanted to be a detective at that point in my life, and the thrill of crime drama and mysteries (on TV and in books) never left!

Me: What genre do you find yourself reading most recently?

Hmmm... I read a lot of YA fiction for the blog, mostly because I really like it and enjoy the imaginative side of YA lit. I've read a few Ann Aguirre books (adult sci-fi and paranormal lit) recently and a few James Patterson novels for fun. I just finished my ARC copy of The Passenger by Lisa Lutz and loved it! I guess I still read crime and mystery books! 

As you can see, Amber is quite cool herself, so you can expect her blog to be the same! She has a unique feature called Wine about Wednesday where she pairs the book she's currently reading with a beverage. Her reviews are in-depth and read as if a friend was telling you about the latest book she's read and loved. Read her review of Laura Tisdall's Echoes to see what I mean!

So I suggest you go to her blog and take this chance to get to know an awesome blogger. Or meet her on twitter!

lunes, 15 de febrero de 2016

BBAW: Introduce yourself

This is part of Book Blogger Appreciation Week (#BBAW), which is an event created to acknowledge the hard work of book bloggers and their growing impact on book marketing and their essential contribution to book buzz in general. Think of it as a retreat for book bloggers and a chance for us to totally nerd out over books together. And of course, shower each other with love and appreciation.

An unexpected surge of work has turned this week into a tough blogging week, but I just can't miss BBAW!

Better late than never, here go the five books that say the most about me. It was very difficult to choose, except for number one on my list:

1. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
This was a case of reading the right book at the right time - the story of Lyra and Will weaves fantasy, mythology, folklore and religion in a tale of romance and adventure. It was one of the first books to make me cry. It opened my eyes to what life and literature could be, and changed me, plain and simple. It will always have a place in my heart. Years later I read it aloud to my partner, and that experience only increased the love I feel for this trilogy.
Bonus: The Ocean at the End of the Lane recaptured this experience.

2. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Brontë
One of my favorite classics. I enjoy reading classics and they constitute a good portion of my reading diet. But some times you have to read against the odds: difficult language, racial and social prejudices, or misogyny come to mind. Jane Eyre is the first book that showed me classics can be feminist, too, and Jane was one of my first heroines.

3. If On A Winter's Night A Traveller - Italo Calvino
I'm one of the weird book nerds who can actually choose a favorite book. So I thought I'd include it here because at least it tells you something about me - I haven't read enough to really have it tough to choose just one. I should keep on reading! But really, I fell in love with Calvino's masterpiece because it's a love letter to reading and readers, and because he uses postmodern devices to great effect. I like books, and books that comment on literature and do it wittily make my knees weak.

4. Watchmen - Alan Moore
I read comics. Often. And not only the lauded graphic novels, memoirs and non-fiction, which I enjoy quite a lot, but also cape and tights, from Marvel no less. I've probably had more discussions about superheroes than about the Brontës. They do have their problems, and Alan Moore, being his intelligent and experienced self, uses a comic with superheroes to tell you about these problems and to make a critique of society in less than 500 pages.

5. Good Evening, Mrs. Craven - Mollie Panter-Downes
Short stories are bite-sized pieces of literature. I admire the craft to write a successful short story - it's more difficult than writing a novel. This collection is about the Home Front during World War 2, one of my favorite historical periods. In my free time, I explore the history and literature of the anglophone world, mostly the UK, and WW2 was a very interesting period indeed. And this was published by Persephone Books, and indie press charged with publishing forgotten literature usually written by overlooked women. This is my niche: women, literature and the price of war on the individual.

What books would make your list?

sábado, 13 de febrero de 2016

Reluctant Romantic: It's Complicated

Have you had a bad experience reading this genre before?

Last year I tried my first romance novels and it went quite well, but I'm still trying to find my footing in this genre. As in any other there are indeed flops, clichéd and badly written books. My problem is twofold: romance writers are very prolific, y'all, and I don't know how to separate the wheat from the chaff, as I'm not familiar with the writers. 

Do you have any negative perceptions of the genre you’re reading? If so, have you had any experiences so far this month that have challenges those perceptions?

I'll be completely honest: I'm also kind of ashamed to be seen reading romance. People think all sorts of wrong things about romance readers and the covers don't help! I'm fighting hard against those prejudices, since what I've read doesn't really support what I though I'd find. While the love interests are all too good-looking to be believable (can't fat people fall in love?) and the writing is never going to land a Pulitzer, the novels are quite more than fluff. They explore the breadth of human feeling, and that's no easy task. We should give more credit to romance.

Reluctant Romantic Review: Deep in the Valley (Grace Valley Trilogy #1) - Robyn Carr

June Hudson grew up in Grace Valley, the daughter of the town doctor. Leaving only to get her medical training, she returned home and followed in her father's footsteps. Some might say she chose the easy, comfortable route... but June knows better. For June, her emergency room is wherever she's needed - or wherever a patient finds her. Always on call, her work is her life, these people her extended family. Which is a good thing, since this is a town where you should have picked your husband in the ninth grade. Grace Valley is not exactly the place to meet eligible men - until an undercover DEA agent suddenly starts appearing at all sorts of strange hours.

My first Reluctant Romantic read was Robyn Carr's Deep in the Valley. After reading Virgin River last year and rather enjoying it, I decided to start safely with an author I've already read. I decided to start with the original trilogy, Grace Valley, because I'm one of those persons who need to read everything in order or go nuts. In this case, it was a bad idea.

Deep in the Valley is really light on romance. In fact, shelving it as romance is probably a mistake. It's more like a mashup of small town and medical novels, if those were genres at all. The undercover DEA agent who is going to be the hero? Doesn't appear until midway through the novel. And he interacts with the heroine a grand total of three times. He has no more than ten sentences on the whole book! It's not a relationship in which one can become invested, definitely. If I hadn't read Virgin River first, I couldn't care less about the budding romance between June Hudson and Jim Post.

The rest of the novel is all over the place and unfocused. The first half drags and it's a bit boring. There are too many characters with similar names and similar voices, and it's difficult to keep track of everyone. Then things finally start happening: an adulterous pastor, a secret pregnancy, two cases of abuse, a DEA raid, a rough birth, the heroine possibly saved by an angel... It was enough to keep me entertained, but it's ultimately a forgettable novel. 

Where Carr really shines is in the short romance scenes. She's really good at conveying true emotion - it's easy to believe the characters are really falling for each other. However, as she gives the hero no room for characterization, he comes across as quite stalkerish. I mean, if someone I've just met twice before entered in my house while I'm gone and left flowers on my pillow, I would lock myself inside the house and install alarms asap. And he is 'an impatient lover', which is something June finds very attractive, but that together with his stalkerish stroke and his lack of sentences, makes him look a bit like a psycho.
There was nothing quite so sensual as impatience, nothing so titillating as a man with a weak grasp on self-control, as a lover just dying to posses.
That sentence has the honor of being the first in my newly created collection of awkward romance quotes.

Verdict: I should have kept on reading the Virgin River series.

miércoles, 10 de febrero de 2016

Little Women RAL: Chapters 1-17

Suey at It's All About Books is hosting the first check-in of the Little Women Read-Along! A bunch of us are reading Little Women and Good Wives during February (you can still join and catch up for the second check-in, which will be on the 19th!).

It's not the first time I read Little Women. My first time was almost 20 years ago (please, no comments on that, ha!), but I remembered it as a shorter book. After searching around, it turns out my edition didn't include Good Wives, which is now considered #1.5 of the series and is a standard addition to modern editions of the classic.

I loved this book when I first read it. It was one of the first to make me very angry, too. I won't be spoilery for the sake of all you who haven't read it, but there were two events that made me literally throw the book against a wall (against a pillow, really - I can't bring myself to damage books).

I'm enjoying this re-read, but not as much as the first time. The book has many flaws - it has a slow start, can be overly preachy and sappy, and is definitely manipulative. Yet I'm enjoying myself immensely. I guess my opinion could be colored by my childhood memories. One thing hasn't changed, though: Jo is still my favorite - she was one of the first bookworms I encountered in a book, and I can't help identifying with her. Yes, even with her quick temper!

One thing has positively surprised me - this is a very bookish book! Bookish references abound, and not only concerning Jo. Everyone reads and acts, and all of them write with varying degrees of accomplishment! I love when books point me to other books.

Enough babbling! Suey has kindly thought of some questions to spark conversation.

1. What's your opinions so far about each of the girls? Do you identify more with one or the other of them? Do you like them, or do they get on your nerves in a way? Which one do you think would be your friend?
I think Meg is too vain and Amy is too spoiled, but I love Jo and Beth to pieces. As I don't have to behave as a lady any longer, they don't make me feel too bad - when I was a child I couldn't fathom how they all were so good. My temper was very much like Jo's, but it has taken me longer to conquer it. I think we would get on very well, and if Beth let me talk to her, we could be good friends too!

2. What do you think of Mrs. March aka. Marmee? What's one of your favorite pieces of advice or lessons she's taught the girls so far?
I really like her, and I'm appreciating her more in this re-read. Although she is too good to be true. Let's say Little Women is presenting an idealized version of family life. Even with her many trials she seems unfazed!
My favorite piece of advice:
"Money is a needful and precious thing, and when well used, a noble thing, but I never want you to think it is the first or only prize to strive for." 
It's unbelievable the number of people that don't grasp this concept at all.

3. Do you think that the characterization of these girls and this family is realistic? Explain.
I have just answered this question! Of course not. Louisa May Alcott was basing the Marches on her own family and I refuse to believe any family can be so saintly. Even when they're at their worst, they're still darlings! That simply doesn't happen.

4. What's your favorite scene or incident so far? And why?
This one's tough. I really liked the theatre piece, but as Laurence wasn't included it hardly seems fair. The P.C. and P.O. is very sweet, but I'm torn between that little club and Camp Laurence. Or maybe when Beth interacts with old Mr. Laurence? There are just too many!

5. If this is your second (or third etc.) time reading this story, what stands out to you this time?
The bookishness and the foreshadowing. The narrator is always giving clues of what's to come!

6. How do you feel about Jo cutting off her hair? Was this incident surprising to you? Do you think it's symbolic of anything?
The first time I read this it was shocking, but now I understand it. It's not only her wish to help, which is her main motivation, but also her wish to be herself. To display herself as the man of the house - not by having short hair, but by taking decisions to benefit her whole family.

7. What's your feeling about the inclusion of poems, letters, stories, plays and etc. into the story? 
They are quite gimmicky, but I like them nonetheless. In fact, one of my favorite chapters is The P.C. and P.O.

8. Any thoughts in particular on the male characters in this story?
Except for the Laurences and Mr. Brooke, the rest seem to be kind of jerky. Specially the Moffats. Ugh.

9. Are you liking this reading experience?
Very much!

And now, under a cut to stop all of you for wanting to kill me after all my chattering, here is my blow-by-blow review of this first part:

sábado, 6 de febrero de 2016

Reluctant Romantic: Genre Speed Dating

What genre are you getting to know this month? Why do you want to give it a chance?

I've decided to try romance. You can see the books I'm thinking about reading here.

Once upon a time, I was a lit snob who only read classics and lit fic. I looked down on my teen loves, YA, fantasy, comics and scifi. I had lost the joy of living, clearly. And of course I scoffed at those who read romance or mystery, or worst of all, cozies! If it was fun and light, it wasn't real reading! It's as ridiculous as it sounds, I'm afraid. But I'm slowly recovering. Now my reading diet is more varied and it includes a healthy portion of genre literature.

Romance is a genre with a reputation and I think it's unfair. It's not better or worse than any other genre literature (I guess).

I hope the Challenge helps me decide my true opinion about romance so that I stop spewing prejudices as if they were universal truths.

jueves, 4 de febrero de 2016

The Secret History - Donna Tartt

Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality their lives are changed profoundly and for ever.

The Secret History is one of those books that appears in every reading list ever. A modern classic. So of course, I've been wanting to read it for what feels like forever, but I really didn't know what I was getting myself into. It was better than I was expecting: grisly murders, paranoid college students, and luscious campus and country descriptions.

The Secret History is very much like a fairy tale where Richard Papen, our (quite bland) protagonist, goes from rags to riches by virtue of a miracle - or a murder, in this case. He tries to escape the commonalities of Plano, California by joining a tight-knit, elitist group of Greek students and faking a tragic and romantic character. As in any fairy tale, he gets more than what he bargained for when he's admitted to the inner sanctum. The glamour leaves way to an ugly mess. 

But in no way is this novel a mystery, as I thought I was. It's not even a whydunnit. From the start, the reader knows that Richard and his group of friends have killed Bunny Corcoran. The novel is not an explanation of why they did it, which becomes fairly obvious by the middle of the book, but of the transformations that occur within the characters to be able to commit a crime and to regard the murder as the natural and inevitable consequence of their actions. Each of the college students embodies a vice and the final death of Henry is only the fulfillment of fate. We are, in fact, reading a greek tragedy in the form of a contemporary novel.

The story is deliberately written as atemporal, although drug use and the scarce pop culture references point to the late 80s or early 90s as a setting. This is what lends the story a universal feeling, a prerequisite for being labeled as classic. Although the setting is very particular, the story explores friendship, love, jealousy, atavic fear and specially the dichotomy of restraint vs. freedom - all of them universal themes. The supernatural tinges only enhance those themes.

Verdict: 4/5. It's a manipulative narrative with a very satisfactory ending. 

martes, 2 de febrero de 2016

Reluctant Romantic: A Tentative Reading List

During February, Katie at Doing Dewey is hosting The Reluctant Romantic, a challenge to get you acquainted with a genre you've been meaning to read but never seem to make time for, or maybe with a genre that scares you without having tried it. It's an opportunity!

I've decided to try romance. I've been amassing romance recommendations for a while, but any rec is very welcome, specially if it's a standalone! Without further ado, I leave you with my list:

1. Deep in the Valley (Grace Valley Trilogy #1) - Robyn Carr
I've read Virgin River and enjoyed it quite well. In it the main character meets some couples from Grace Valley and they make references to this trilogy. As I thought the couples were very endearing, it could be nice to read the Grace Valley Trilogy first.

2. The Dark Queen (The Dark Queen Saga #1) - Susan Carroll
Katie, who is also trying romance during February, recommended me this one. The synopsis makes it sound like historical fiction, which is a genre I already like. And at the same time there seems to be some fantasy involved, too, which is another genre I enjoy. Genre mashups like this one make trying romance less scary.

3. A Rogue by Any Other Name (The Rules of Scoundrels #1) - Sarah MacLean
I've only heard good things about Sarah MacLean. In fact, her books have been reviewed by Book Riot roughly saying something along the lines of "Did you think romance was badly written and full of clichés? You have not read Sarah MacLean." And in fact I haven't read Sarah MacLean, so I guess I should remedy that.

4. Romancing the Duke (Castles Ever After #1) - Tessa Dare
More or less the same has been said about Tessa Dare, with the added bonus that this book involves storybooks in its plot.

5. Sweet Enemy (Veiled Seduction #1) - Heather Snow
Ifi, a friend from GR, has recommended me this one specifically since the heroine is a scientist! In Regency England! I'm cautiously excited.

6. Sweet Filthy Boy (Wild Seasons #1) - Christina Lauren
It's more like new adult, so I think it will be very different from the rest of the books in this list. Again, a glowing Book Riot review made me add it to my wishlist.

7. Asking for It (Asking for It #1) - Lilah Pace
Apparently, this is the BDSM romance/erotica book you have to read if you want controversy on your plate. It's right there in the title. Everyone says it's well written and thought-provoking. This book is so far from my comfort zone that I may as well have to take a plane to go and read it, but at the same time is the one I'm most curious about. If I get to this one, none of you will ever say that I didn't try!

Of course, I reserve the rights (1) not to finish a book if I'm not enjoying it, (2) not to finish the list, and (3) go on reading a series if I feel like it instead of starting a new one.

What do you say? Is this too bold for a newbie?

lunes, 1 de febrero de 2016

January in Mini-Review

When I said back in December that I wanted to blog differently, I meant it. One of the things that were stressing me were reviews. I enjoy writing little comments about what I read for my perusal. My memory is not good at all, and my reviews come to help when I want to recall what a book was about. 

But sometimes I just don't have so much to say about a book, or a short paragraph is enough to convey my opinion. The solution came to mind this week: I can do monthly mini-reviews! And if I want to talk more about a book, I can always publish a more extensive review anyway. So here we go with a hound from hell, a teenage alien killing spree, a villain trying to escape a mental prison, and a voyage around the world.

1. The Hound of the Baskervilles - Arthur Conan Doyle (1902)

What is it about? A hound from hell is haunting the Baskerville family mansion in the moors. After the recent death of Sir Charles Baskerville in mysterious circumstances, his only heir contacts Sherlock Holmes to banish the curse that has been troubling his family for centuries.

Why did I read it? On one of my many rewatches of Sherlock, that masterpiece of British television, I decided I wanted to reread every Sherlock Holmes book. I added them to my Classics Club list and have currently finished #5 out of 9, putting me past the equator.

What did I think? It's more entertaining than I remembered, specially compared to the other slow-going Sherlock novels (I think the short stories are superior in every aspect). The novel is very atmospheric, with ominous moors and a hint of the supernatural, and has a very gothic plot, full of secret wives, secret children and not one, but two murderers. It's a bit of a romp. The only downside is that it's narrated mostly through extracts from Dr. Watson's diaries and Sherlock doesn't appear as much as I would have liked.

Verdict: Solid 4/5. I really enjoyed. If you are a newbie to Sherlock, I recommend starting with The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and then following with this novel.

2. Marvel Boy - Grant Morrison & J.G. Jones (2000)

What is it about? I wish I could tell you! Ha. Okay, it's about Noh-Varr, aka Marvel Boy, a teenaged Kree alien from planet Hala who's seeking vengeance on the petty humans who have killed his family and friends just for profit and then tried to enslave him and experiment on him. The problem is that instead of focusing only on Dr. Midas, the madman behind this tragedy, he's decided to vent his wrath upon all humankind - or at least, New York.

Why did I read it? This is a question I'm still comtemplating, as this was so lame! When I was a young kid, I used to read old Marvel issues from when my dad was a teen and thought they were a blast. But I never bought new ones myself because I thought the world of superhero comics was too sprawling and complicated to know where to start. I was also a victim of being A Woman in a Comic Shop, which is something I hope none of you have to suffer. Enter the Internet! And the democratization of comics knowledge! I found Comic Book Herald's Complete Marvel Reading Order Guide and armed myself with a Marvel Unlimited subscription, ready to have fun.

What did I think? As you probably have guessed, I loathed it. Marvel Boy is what it says on the tin: the ultimate white male teenage power fantasy. I had been led to believe Grant Morrison could write comics. Specifically, controversial and culturally-relevant comics. Well, this is complete bullshit. 

Verdict: negative stars. It's the second worst Marvel comic I've read to date.

3. Doom - Chuck Dixon & Leonardo Manco (2002)

What is it about? Franklin Richards, son of Reed Richards (aka Mister Fantastic from the Fantastic Four), has imprisoned Doctor Doom, their nemesis, on a realm of his prodigious mind. Doom tells the story of how Doctor Doom escaped.

Why did I read it? Next in the Marvel ROG. But I was dreading it. Why, you ask? Chuck Dixon has the honor of having written the worst Marvel comic I've read to date, Marvel Knights.

What did I think? It's terrible. Badly written, full of plot holes, everyone is out of character. It was so bad it was unintendedly funny! If you want to see some panels to see what I'm talking about, click here.

Verdict: 1/5 stars. I disliked it, but not so intensely as I hated Marvel Knights or Marvel Boy.

4. Around the World in Seventy-Two Days - Nellie Bly (1890)

What is it about? Elizabeth Jane Cochrane, better know by her pen name Nellie Bly, was an American journalist during the Victorian era who decided to beat the fictional record of Phileas Fogg of going around the world in less then eighty days. This is the account of her travels.

Why did I read it? I am participating in The Classics Club's Women's Classic Literature in 2016, and my plan is to read a book a month. I am also very interested in kickass women from history, and am particularly attracted to explorers and adventurers. Nellie Bly fits the bill, so I decided to give this a try.

What did I think? It was a fantastic read, better than I was expecting. Nellie Bly has an endearing journalistic voice and reading her exploits is very entertaining. She's also quite against the grain when it comes to what a lady should have been - she presents herself as not the most gracious woman out there, and indeed she has quite a foul mood when she enconters adversities in her travelling times. Her descriptions are luscious without ever incurring on self-indulgent blabbering, which I think it's because of the journalistic nature of her endeavor. Unfortunately, the book is not without problems. Nellie is subject to a colonialistic point of view which leads her to see POCs as inferior per nature, although in her defense I'll say that for being Victorian she fights her own prejudices quite well.
After reading this, I want to know more about her, because she was quite a woman. I actually suspect she could have been queer, since she keeps rebuffing men throughout the book while her descriptions of women are well, of questionable innocence. No less than three times she longs to kiss or caress different women. She eventually married a man who was over 40 years her senior, and they never had kids. Of course this doesn't indicate one thing or the other, so I'm quite curious about what her biographers have to say about her.

Verdict: 4/5 stars. Her descriptions of 'coolies' and 'Chinamen' are off-putting, but historically coherent, so I thought I would warn you just in case.