Hello friends! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? The past several months certainly passed by in a blur! Between life happenings and a massive reading/creative slump (and, to be completely honest, struggling with my mental health), blogging has taken a backseat for a while. In early June, I completed my Bachelor of Arts degree at long last. My undergrad journey spanned 8 years in total and was full of ups, downs, and even lower lows, so reaching the finish line felt like a momentous accomplishment as well as a huge relief. I’m immensely thankful for the friends and loved ones who’ve supported me through it all.
Even without classes, this summer has been nonstop. First up, I had a virtual internship that went from the beginning of June until early August. In mid-August, I started a new job working in education. I also decided to return to community college to complete my previously started Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education, and the semester began the same week as work. Now that things are settling into a semi-regular rhythm, I’m hoping to spend more time back in my own little corner of the blogosphere.
The theatreathon, hosted by my friends over at teatimelit to celebrate the upcoming Tony Awards, is in full swing! I thought that participating would be the perfect way to get back into a reading groove. Not to mention, I couldn’t say no a readathon that combines my love for both books and theatre! Since I’ve been slumping for the past few months, I decided to make it a bit easier on myself by choosing books that count toward more than one of the prompts. While I’m very much a mood reader, I’ll do my best to stick to the following list!
Note: It’s taken me a while to finish writing this post, so I actually started my reading for theatreathon a bit earlier in the month.
A Clash of Steel by C.B. Lee
Prompt: Best Musical – A Classic or a Retelling of a Classic
I remember reading Treasure Island for a book report when my third grade class did a unit on pirates. From then on, I was captivated by tales of swashbuckling, seafaring adventures. While I may not remember too much about the original story, I’m a sucker for diverse retellings! With the promise of sapphic pirates and found family, A Clash of Steel sounded right up my alley! Based on all the praise I’ve heard and the absolutely gorgeous cover, I’m incredibly excited to dive into this book!
Are Prisons Obsolete by Angela Y. Davis
Prompt: Special Tony Award (lifetime) – A Nonfiction Book Centered Around a Subject You’re Passionate About
Part of my overall goal for 2021 is to read more nonfiction and radical texts. Since I admire Angela Davis’ work in education and activism but haven’t read all of her books, I decided to read another one for this prompt. I’m looking forward to learning/deepening my understanding of decarceration and the prison abolition movement by reading her words.
Blackout by Dhionelle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon
Prompt: Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical – A Book by Two or More Authors
I tend to enjoy anthologies, so I am excited to read Blackout. I’ve previously enjoyed books by some of these authors, but I’m eager to discover new-to-me authors as well! Since New York is one of my favorite cities and I am enamored with the concept of human connection, these interconnected tales of love sound like something I will adore.
Not Here to Be Liked by Michelle Quach
Prompt: Best Newcomer – A 2021 Debut; Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical – A Strong Female Character
Although the book is titled Not Here to Be Liked, it has an Asian MC and diverse cast, a rivals to lovers dynamic, a school newspaper, feminist themes, and baseball references. All of which I very much do like. Not to mention, I’ve had several friends give high praise and recommend it. Suffice it to say that I am super excited to read this book!
Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko
Prompt: Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for Theatre – A Book with Beautiful Prose
Raybearer has been on my overall TBR since before it came out, but I tend to take a while to get around to highly anticipated books (or end up putting them off for ages due to some sort of anxiety). The premise sounds fantastic, and I don’t think I could ever get enough of diverse fantasy. The stunning cover and all of the stellar reviews have only added to my excitement. I can’t wait to get to this one!
Rise to the Sun by Leah Johnson
Prompt: Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical – A Book with More Than One POV; Best Sound Design of a Musical – Read an Audiobook
After being charmed by Leah Johnson’s debut novel, You Should See Me In a Crown, I eagerly awaited the release of Rise to the Sun. The summary mentions “the remarkable power of music to heal and connect us all.” As a music lover and former musician myself (also, again, the theme of human connection!), it sounded like this book would really strike a chord with me.
She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan
Prompt: Best Scenic Design of a Musical – A Book That Takes Place in a Country Outside of Your Own, Best Book of a Musical – A Popular Book You Haven’t Read
She Who Became the Sun has been such a hyped read for me long before it came out! Then, I started seeing it all over social media. The buzz around this book was palpable, so I knew I would have to read it at some point. I host Literasian Book Club (join us on Discord here!) with my friend Cossette of teatimelit. When She Who Became the Sun was selected as our September pick, I knew the time had come at last!
The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta
Prompt: Best Orchestrations – A Book Written in Verse
I admittedly haven’t read a great many novels in verse, but I’ve enjoyed the ones I have! So, I thought this prompt would make the perfect excuse for me to pick up another one. Shoutout to Scribd’s audiobook selection for getting me through when my brain is too tired to process printed words. I especially love listening to novels in verse on audiobook, because hearing the words spoken aloud adds to the experience. This one is a Stonewall Book Award winner, so I feel sure it will be a powerful read.
The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould
Prompt: Best Lighting Design of a Musical – Read a Dark/Scary Book
While I don’t read often read thrillers, I appreciate a good bit of mystery and suspense. Plus, my friends in Storyseekers have spoken so highly of this one! There aren’t nearly enough sapphics in the genre either, so that was another aspect that lured me in. If there’s a perfect time to read a haunting book, autumn is probably it! I’m somewhat scared to read this, but I can’t wait to read a story my friends have been so excited about.
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
Prompt: Best Revival of a Musical – A Reread of a Favourite
I’ve reread The Starless Sea a couple of times now, but I’m endlessly in awe of depths it holds. I feel like there will always be another remarkable detail to uncover no matter how many times I read it. It’s been a while since I last did, so I can’t wait for the connections I will make and rediscover this time. In this book, Erin Morgenstern has so perfectly captured the magic of stories and what it’s like to love them. It will be such a comfort and adventure to sail the starless sea once again.
This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron
Prompt: Best Costume Design of a Musical – A Book with a Gorgeous Cover
I’ve been fascinated with plant powers/magic since my phase of being obsessed with the movie Sky High in elementary school, and this book’s cover is stunning! This Poison Heart is another book that I’ve been meaning to read for a while. It’s also one of Tea Time Reads‘ September Picks, so I’m extremely excited to finally get around to it!
When You Get the Chance by Emma Lord (ARC)
Prompt: Best Choreography – A Book about Performing Arts
As an Emma Lord fan, I was ecstatic to win an ARC giveaway of her upcoming novel, When You Get the Chance! When I was looking over the prompts for theatreathon, I knew that this would be a perfect addition to my TBR. With the comp to Mamma Mia, the mention of theatre joy, and a rivals to romance, how could I resist?
Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles
Prompt: Isabelle Stevenson Award – A book Over 450 Pages
Confession time: I preordered a copy of Where Dreams Descend, but I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. This gorgeous book has been sitting on my shelf waiting to be read for more than a year now! I was—and still am—excited to support another Filipino American author and now the sequel is about to come out, so it’s really about time! Moulin Rouge has also been one of my favorite movies since I was a child, so seeing the book compared to it definitely piqued my interest!
It’s a bit of an ambitious list given I struggled to read two books last month, but we’ll see where the rest of September takes me! I’ll check in again at the end of the month with an update on how everything went.
Are any of you participating in theatreathon too? Have you read any of the books on my list? Otherwise, is there anything you’re planning to read before October? Let me know in the comments!