The June Burlesque Press Reading Challenge Update by Jeni Stewart

IMG_5144Hi all!  This month I’ve got some new titles to add to the list of books I’ve read towards my 50 books in 2014 goal.  I’m curious what you all are reading though, and how far you’ve progress towards your own goals?  We’re about halfway through the year, so check in!  You can either comment directly on the blog here, or tweet us your update on Twitter @1burlesquepress.

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain  Most of you are probably aware of this book, as its been around for awhile.  And as a food and fine dining lover, I really don’t know why it took me until now to read it.  Bourdain is known for his somewhat macho, anti-vegetarian irreverent style, both in the kitchen and on the page.  Its a good read – even though I AM a pescetarian, and therefore probably beneath notice by the bad ass Bourdain.  The book actually feels a bit dated now, though I still loved reading the descriptions of the chaotic kitchen life, and reading about the ins and outs of restaurant success and failure.  I still love brunch, though 🙂

Delicious by Ruth Reichl  Perhaps not the most literary of books, I still found this a delightful, quick read that made me eager to make – and devour – cheese soufflé.  Ruth Reichl is an unparalleled food writer, though this is her first novel. It was delightful to spend a few hundred pages seeing, and tasting, with her characters.

by Brandy Colbert
 This is a YA book to make you retain everything you think you know about the genre.  In short, I think this is one of the best books I’ve read so far this year.  Told from the perspective of a talented teenage ballet dancer, this book tackles eating disorders, sexual assault, and coming of age.  What I think I admire most about the book is the voice of the narrator – it’s at once childish, jaded, and wholly believable.  While the book tackles some difficult subjects – which we are apparently supposed to state as trigger warnings now – it’s handling of them is adept, respectful, and never prurient.  I highly recommend this read.


don’t look back by Jennifer L. Armentrout  I think this book suffered by following directly after Pointe.  While a fast paced and engaging read, I didn’t connect with the narrator in the same way I did with Pointe, and it felt like a borderline read. This book open with the rescue of the main character – who has no memory of what has happened to her.  She discovers she’s been missing for days, along with her best friend, and yet no one, including her, knows what happened.   If you’re looking to read more YA, or want a fast paced read, though, its a good go to, though I have to say I found the “twist” at the end a bit predictable, even for younger readers I’d say.


Dancing Through It: My Journey in the Ballet by Jenifer Ringer This is a non-fiction memoir by Jenifer Ringer, the ballet dancer who attained notoriety even outside the ballet world for being criticized by a New York Times ballet reviewer for her fuller dancer’s physique.  In a world that prizes slim-to-the-point-of-bony figures (and do I mean the ballet world or the wider world in general?) the criticism had an extra sting for Ringer because she had, indeed, recovered from an eating disorder.  In the book she discusses her introduction to the world of ballet, her early and ongoing success, her struggles with food and stress, and her marriage and two subsequent pregnancies as a dancer.  This much of the book is a fascinating insider’s look into a world not many ‘lay people’ get to see.  What made this a particularly difficult read for me, though, was the author’s endless prattling on about her faith, and her Christianity.  It runs past the point of being obsequious, and becomes, for me at least, frankly annoying.  Read only at risk of “I’m a Christian, hear my prayers” overload.


Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 by Francine Prose – Set in 1930’s Paris, this tale tells of a female cross dressing Nazi spy, and evokes the chaotic world of Paris pre-WWII.  Though I found this book difficult to get into – so many different narratives!  It eventually grew on me, and the descriptions of Lou Villars, our cross dressing athletic, racing, Nazi Super Spy visiting Hitler’s Germany for the Olympics are page-turner good.  And so is the prose.  Well worth a read!


So at last count I’d read 19/50 books. Adding in these 6 that brings my total to 25/50 in the #read50booksin2014 count. Phew!  Halfway through to my goal and halfway through the year!  For my #readwomen2014 count, I had 9 women to 3 men. At present I have increased that to 19 women and 4 men.  I’ve also added in a couple of nonfiction books, which is good, because my reading is often all fiction.  Did I do that because of this challenge?  Not really, though I am glad to be able to balance out my list a bit!

3 thoughts on “The June Burlesque Press Reading Challenge Update by Jeni Stewart

  1. Reblogged this on The Incompetent Writer and commented:

    At the start of the year, Jeni Stewart, Director of Burlesque Press, gave herself a reading challenge: 50 books in 2014. She also planned to monitor how many of those books were written by women. Now, halfway through the year, she reports on the books she’s read most recently, and reveals how far she has got to her target. Take a look!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have had “Kitchen Confidential” on my list of books and still have not read it either! No idea why as it’s sitting there on my Kindle…Anyway…I am really enjoying now “Mr. Mercedes” by Stephen King. Not his usual thing, a straight up thriller. Gripping so far. Great list!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thats great! I do recommend reading Kitchen Confidential, although honestly, it already feels a bit dated. The culinary world has changed so much since he wrote KC that I feel it could be updated. I still enjoyed the read though! And I haven’t read much Stephen King lately, though I used to read quite a bit. I’ll check that one out!


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