Smugglivus Smugglivus Guest Blogger

Smugglivus 2012 Guest Blogger: Amy of Amy Reads

Welcome to Smugglivus 2012! Throughout this month, we will have daily guests – authors and bloggers alike – looking back at their favorite reads of 2012, and looking forward to events and upcoming books in 2013.

Who: Amy of Amy Reads, an eclectic blogger who reads fiction and non-fiction with a love for African (especially Nigerian) and GLBTQ literature. She is also involved with awesome projects including
A Year of Feminist Classics– make sure to check them out.


Here today celebrating the last day of Smugglivus as well as her birthday, please give it up for Amy, folks!

Happy Smugglivus to all! I am honoured to be here on my birthday to share in the Smugglivus cheer. In celebration, I had big plans of sharing some of sharing some of my favourite reads, but I’ve become a slight bit distracted lately. I’ll still share a few of my favourite finds in 2012, but I also have to talk about my latest crazy reading kick.

Wild Seed by Octavia Butler

Wild Seed

Will someone please remind me that I really ought to read more Butler? This was my second read by her and I absolutely loved it. The way she writes, and the ways in which she brings so many issues – race, gender, nationalism, incest, rape, abuse, and more – into play in her writing are all sure to make me fall for all of her books.

Live Through This: On Creativity and Self-Destruction edited by Sabrina Chap


Without fail, a Seven Stories Press book is always on my list of favourites. They publish such a wide range of books that I could probably focus entirely on their catalogue and not feel I was missing out. This book contains essays by a number of well-known as well as lesser known artists, writers, and musicians. They all talk about their struggles with self-destruction and how it has been so linked with creativity for them. The book talks about struggles such as eating disorders, cutting, abuse, and more.

In the Orchard, the Swallows by Peter Hobbs


This slim book was easily the most lyrical and well written of all my reads in 2012, and perhaps even of all my reads ever. Hobbs took his own experiences of being stuck in one place (through illness) and used it to write the most convincing story of a man wrongfully imprisoned in Pakistan, where every agony and longing is perfectly captured.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N K Jemisin

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

This was a new author for me, and Jemisin suffered not at all by being read back to back with Octavia Butler. Her story kept me intrigued, and she also plays so well with gender and race in her writing in a way that makes me want to read more. Her take on mythology was also a lot of fun.

Two Whole Cakes: How to Stop Dieting and Learn to Love Your Body by Lesley Kinzel


This book takes on our cultural ideas of dieting and obesity and examines them, rips them to shreds, and presents an alternate way. Kinzel talks about many things in this book including health (and how health and weight are not as related as the sound-bites like to claim), the dieting industry, and fashion, among others. This is a manifesta that we all need to read, because our culture tells us all that we are all broken and ugly and less than perfect, and we need help to ignore it and love ourselves.

And the book I’m most excited for in 2013:

A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson


(Re)reading this series is part nostalgia and part perseverance for me. I first started reading it back in High School, and I continued to read through the books as they were published until Jordan’s death. At that point I, along with countless others, mourned and screamed and railed against the fact that we would never get to know the ending. When Sanderson started completing the series, I was excited enough to begin a reread which fizzled out by book 5. This time though, this time I WILL complete it! I started shortly before the Christmas holidays, and so far I’m on book 6. Wish me luck!

Thank you so much, Amy!

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  • Stephanie Scott
    January 6, 2013 at 10:37 am

    I’ve heard of Octavia Butler but haven’t read any of her books. I’m trying to add some variety to what I read this year, so I’ll definitely add her to my list.

  • Eliza
    January 6, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Happy Birthday, Amy. This is the 3rd time this week that one of Octavia Butler’s books has been recommended. I think the universe is telling me to read her books. Next time I go to the library I’ll pick one up.

    Butler fans: Which one do you recommend I start with?

  • Megan
    January 6, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    Happy Birthday, Amy! I’ll have to check out some of these reads – In the Orchard, the Swallows and Two Whole Cakes sound particularly interesting.

    Eliza – My first (okay, only, but I’m planning to change that soon!) Butler was Kindred, and it’s absolutely fantastic, so I’d recommend starting there.

  • Amanda W
    January 7, 2013 at 6:32 am

    Good luck with your Wheel of Time reread, Amy! My husband is doing the same thing — he also started reading the series in high school. It helps that he drives a ton for work, so he can listen to a lot of it on audio and get extra “reading” time in that way.

  • Bookgazing
    January 7, 2013 at 8:25 am

    I want to read two whole cakes, but worry it will make me want to eat two whole cakes…which the book would probably tell me is not a bad thing?

    And YAY you and N K Jemisin. I just finished the book before the one I scooped up while with you at the book shop (her new SF two parter, which is really good).

  • Shannon H
    January 7, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    Read A Memory of Light early. Good. Stuff. Great stuff. Worth the wait. Wonderful. Fabulous. Prepare for the 50,000+ word chapter in there haha

  • Eliza
    January 9, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Megan – Thank you. I’ve added Kindred to my library list, along with Wild Seed and The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. Looking forward to lots of great reading.

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