My Current Bookshelf - April 2017

April is a busy month but despite that, I managed to keep my reading going and even finished three physical books.  

Demystifying Dissertation Writing: A Streamlined Process from Choice of Topic to Final Text by Peg Boyle Single

Book Cover - Peg Boyle Single - Demystifying Dissertations
Obviously, there's a particular audience for this type of book (doctoral students), but it is a solid book with some clear and direct tools to use in order to prepare for the path down the dissertation.  I strongly recommend it for students who are about to enter a doctoral program as though I am still finding it helpful, I think having it (and following its recommendations) from the start, I would be in a much better place.  I appreciated how Single's method moves you from ideas to a focus statement to an outline to detailed outline to mini-papers to full-blown work.  Beyond the structural approaches and considerations, Single also drops different hints and hacks that can be helpful for the doctoral student (such as putting a "To-Do" list at the top of any dissertation document to work through what needs to get done).  Like many other books, she iterates the fact that it's essential to create a writing habit that doesn't consist of trying to find the large-chunks of time.  Now, if we can have a book on how to perfect that that works well, I think I'll be all set!

Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living by Jes Baker

Jes Baker is just amazing and delightful to listen to (seriously, the audiobook blows the book away because she reads it herself).  Baker confronts head on the challenges, judgments, discrimination, and disregard that Western culture (particularly the U.S.) has for fat girls (the term she uses and in a standard method of cultural resistance, reclaims as a badge).  Her approach is multifaceted from calling out the questionable literature around health issues related to fat people to critiquing the de-normalizing of larger bodies by consumer culture, particularly fashion--she even makes room to discuss the intersectionality of size and other elements of identity.  Besides laying down a critical framework around deconstructing fat in the US, she also repeatedly finds ways to speak to fat girls in particular but really, everyone dealing with self-image, self-acceptance, and self-love issues, to argue fiercely that everyone deserves the right be feel perfectly natural in their bodies.  Despite the book's title, this book is for everyone.  No, really.  Yes, Baker focuses specifically on the internal and external challenges of life as a fat girl, but her core message is that whatever one wants in the world, what we need more than anything is compassion and love of ourselves.  It reminds me in many ways of Brene Brown's work (which I really love) but with an edgier, wittier and more bad-ass kind of approach.

The Serpent Bride by Sara Douglass

Book cover of The Serpent Bride by Sara Douglass
About five years have passed since the fall of Tencendor to the Time-Keeper Demons and the conclusion of Douglass's previous (and second) trilogy, Wayfarer Redemption.  But rest of the largely unexplored world continues.  King Maximillian of Escator has been offered a bride from Ishbel, a woman who comes from the Serpent's Nest, a curious cult with macabre practices.  Meanwhile the Tyrant of Isembaard is beginning to put into an action that will ruin the kingdoms to the north, including Maximillian's.  Powerful forces are at play which results in the return from the world beyond of Douglass's premier hero, Axis Sunsoar and even, his father, Stardrifter.  There's a lot that is happening in this novel and like many of Douglass's works, she keeps the story going; it's not like other epic fantasies where you can go hundreds of pages without anything happening.  In this first of the trilogy, the world is turned upside down again and we get to enjoy seeing a different side of Axis--a more human one not seen since BattleAxe, the first book in the entire series.  What I like even more about this book is that  Douglass interweaves her two single novels (Beyond the Hanging Wall and Threshold) as integral parts of this story.  One does not have to have read them to fully understand as she does create opportunities for readers to get filled in, but it certainly helps.  Finally, it's also becomes a recurring (and insider joke for those who have read the previous trilogies), about the havoc that always comes in the path of people (particularly, women) who associate with the Sunsoars; in many ways, this feels like Douglass's wink to avid fans and their critiques.  If you're looking for an enjoyable and active epic fantasy, Douglass is definitely the read to go with.  

Check out other reading recommendations from 2017 (and you can always look at all of my books that I've read on GoodReads):


  • Demystifying Dissertation Writing: A Streamlined Process from Choice of Topic to Final Text by Peg Boyle Single
  • 147 Practical Tips for Synchronous and Blended Technology Teaching and Learning by Rosemary Van Den Berg
  • The Serpent Bride by Sara Douglass


  • Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living by Jes Baker
  • Dear White America: Letter to a New Minority by Tim Wise
  • The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1) by Patrick Rothfuss
  • The Castle in the Mist by Amy Ephron
  • The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell: Tales of a 6' 4," African American, Heterosexual, Cisgender, Left-Leaning, Asthmatic, Black and Proud Blerd, Mama's Boy, Dad, and Stand-Up Comedian by W. Kamau Bell
  • Thanos: Death Sentence Prose Novel by Stuart Moore
  • Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries by Kory Stamper


  • Invincible, Vol. 23: Full House by Robert Kirkman

What about you reader?  What book recommendations do you have for me?

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