February Recap

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Late, as per usual.

Okay, I read 6 books in February, and 20 comics, but I was in a slump. I almost kind of still feel in a slump. Most of the books I read felt like they took FOR-EV-ER to get through. Oy. Anyways, here’s what I read.

Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching by Mychal Denzel Smith – This is Smith’s recounting of how he grew up to be the black man that he is – the culture he immersed himself in, how he was raised, and how he became more and more aware of socioeconomic and discriminatory issues. I loved that he talks about his realization that most of the media he was consuming were by and about men, and that he needed to seek out the female perspective. And he’s about my age, so I got almost all his pop culture references and reminisced along with him when it came to big musical artists (Outkast!) and Kanye telling us on TV that the president didn’t care about black people.

Bad Idea by Damon Suede – I read this for the Read Harder challenge – an LGBT romance, and I made sure it was by a gay author as well. Romance blooms between a comic artist who lacks confidence and a FX make-up guy who has swagger to spare but really has that charming good-mannered Southern boy thing going on. I loved Trip and Silas – their relationship evolved in an entirely realistic way without some of the ridiculous shenangians that romance novels tend to get bogged down in.

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah – Oh em gee you guys, you need to get this audiobook. Trevor talks about growing up in South Africa before and after apartheid – he’s insightful and serious, but also hilarious. The accents he does for the little boy version of himself and his mother are just awesome. I don’t re-listen to audiobooks often, but this is definitely going to be one I come back to.

A Movie in My Pillow / Una pelicula en mi almohada by Jorge Argueta – This is a kid’s book of poetry in English and Spanish, about the author’s experience coming to America from El Salvador and remembering things about his home country. Probably a great book for kids. I read this for the Read Harder challenge (read a book of poetry in translation about a theme other than love) and I totally admit I went the kids book route because I dread poetry a bit.

Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn – This was my re-read for the Read Harder challenge because it is DELIGHTFUL, re-reads are great when you’re in a reading slump, and the sequel comes out this summer. I can’t wait! If you like bad-ass women who fight demons and books that focus on lady friendships, this is the book for you.

The Last Days of Jack Sparks by Jason Arnopp – I’m so easily sucked in by cool covers. This is a relatively new book, and I grabbed it on sale for the Kindle a while back, and finally read it. It’s about a douchey, druggie famous guy who is out to write a book about how the paranormal doesn’t exist. It’s weird and mysterious and then gets extra creepy halfway in, and now I’m a little paranoid about going in my basement. So it was entertaining, but I’m kind of mad I read it now because I’m ridiculous. (This is why I don’t watch horror movies.)

Alrighty, so lets see how February added up.

STATS – BOOKS

Books read: 6

Female authors: 1 (17%) what how did that happen??

Non-white authors: 4 (67%)

Format breakdown: 2 print, 3 e-book, 1 audiobook

STATS – COMICS

Issues read: 20

Female authors/illustrators: 3

Non-white author/illustrators: 3

Format breakdown: All print.

So yeah. Um clearly I need to read more ladies in March, and I need to take better advantage of having Marvel Unlimited, dammit. When I do this next month I better have more digital comics in my numbers (and more ladies and POC too). I know part of the problem is I’m reading a TON of Fables right now. I’m on Volume 16 right now – I’ve been flying through them and I’m determined to finish the whole series this year. OH and also it’d be great if I wrote some damn reviews or something. I’ve been seriously slacking on that.

Anyhoo – how was your reading last month?

 

 

Sarah Sunday

This was a weirdly busy week, capped off my a surprise visit from my mom and nephew! Which is great, of course, except yeah my reading is really suffering this month.

Reading: I still feel like I’m in a slump, but I finally settled on re-reading Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn so that at least I’m working on a Read Harder challenge. Plus it’s a super fun book and the sequel comes out this summer so I’ll be all refreshed for it!

Watching: American Horror Story (ugh, season 5) still, but also some of The Office. On Valentine’s Day night we made a pizza together and then watched Valentine’s Day episodes of The Office, which was pretty great.

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Listening: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah still. If I try really hard, I’ll be able to finish it this month – I have about 4 hours to go. I only have 3 hours of commuting left of the month (my drive is only a measly 20 minutes, barely), and that’s my main listening time. Maybe if family isn’t around I can take walks after work, because the weather this week is supposed to be in the high 40’s (so warm!)

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Eating: Gummy bears! Also I drank basically nothing but coffee and wine this weekend, so I really need to hydrate on Monday.

Thinking: Things. I really can’t go into more detail than that.

Citizening: I called my reps twice this week. I also bought Celeste (who runs http://itstimetofight.weebly.com) a coffee because really, the work she’s putting into the site is so valuable.

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Anticipating: Iron Fist coming out on Netflix on March 17? I guess? Actually I have very mixed feelings. I’m looking forward to it because Netflix / Marvel has been doing an awesome job with these shows. I’m NOT looking forward to it because I feel like this is going to be the weakest of the bunch. I’m disappointed that they didn’t pick an Asian actor to play Danny Rand. They had a chance to do something really great there, especially after the white-washing bullshit in Doctor Strange and the racist bullshit in Daredevil season 2, but they didn’t. “White dude becomes the best at Asian martial arts” is a tired old storyline that I have no interest in. BUT – I want to watch The Defenders, which is going to include Iron Fist, so I’m going to watch it.

Exercising: As per usual, I went twice during the week and not at all over the weekend. I mean if I can at least maintain that, I can try to build on it, right?

Hope your weekend was delightful.

Sarah Sunday

I can’t handle how quick this weekend flew by. Oy. And work has been busy again, so yeah time is just flying right now. We’re basically halfway through the month already!

Reading: I finished Bad Idea by Damon Suede, a M/M romance novel. Other than that though, BASICALLY NOTHING. I lost my mojo. I keep picking up a book, reading 15-20 pages, and putting it down and then picking up another book. There’s at least 10 books on my coffee table right now and I just can’t seem to fall into any of them. UGHGHGHGH.

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Watching: Well, we finally finished American Horror Story: Freak Show and now we’ve started Hotel. So far, not loving Hotel… kind of like Coven, I feel like it’s just a lot of shock factor with (so far) really weak character and storyline development, but whatever. I don’t know why we’re bothering, nothing will be as good as the first season.

Also, last weekend I watched the entirety of Santa Clarita Diet in one day. It’s funny, in case you’re wondering. I’m gonna re-watch at some point.

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Listening: Okay, I did start listening to Born a Crime by Trevor Noah and that’s fantastic, so I guess I’m reading that right now. But I don’t have a paper copy to follow along when I’m not driving and honestly I wouldn’t want to miss his narration, so.

Eating: Coffee!!! It’s all that matters. Also we’re going to make pizza for Valentine’s Day this week and I’m pretty psyched about that.

Thinking: About how I can’t wait to dye my hair. I’m going to go for a silvery-grey-blonde color sometime in the next few weeks. I’m sick of growing out my hair and that color is just getting me. Google “silver blonde hair” or “grey blonde hair” and you’ll see kind of what I’m meaning. And I told my little brother about how I’m gonna turn thirty and look all saucy with my cool new hair and apparently saucy is now some sort of weird new slang that means something different than how I meant it?

Citizening: So, since I skipped updating last week – I made calls the week before, but this last week I didn’t make any. I just kind of felt burnt out. But I did donate to She Should Run when I got paid, and I’m going to pick up the phone again this week to talk about upcoming confirmation votes and the refugee/immigrant ban.

Anticipating: My birthday at the end of the month because I’m going to give myself a 4-day weekend and ENJOY that shit. And also my family might come into town the week after that for my Mom’s birthday! Yay!

Exercising: I went twice during the week but weekends continue to elude me. Keeping that confidence up though!

 

 

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Alright, I gotta go dive into some comics. Comics will save me from this slump, right?

January Recap

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I basically kicked January’s ass. I read 9 books and 34 comics. Whaaaat??? I know, crazy. My goal for the year is 60 books, so I mean… that’s a pretty big dent.

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Be Not Afraid by Alyssa Cole – I bought this at BRL and Alyssa Cole signed it for me! This was my first read of the year –  two black protagonists who are on opposing sides of the Revolutionary War fall in love. Some serious topics packed into this short little romance and it’s great.

All Our Wrong Todays

All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai – This comes out tomorrow, and if you like interesting time travel mishaps this will be right up your alley.

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Battle Hill Bolero by Daniel Jose Older – Conclusion to the Bone Street Rumba series! Except I kind of refuse to acknowledge it’s the end because I don’t want to leave these characters.

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The Magpie Lord by K.J. Charles – So this is a m/m romance, but reads more like a dark, gritty regency fantasy novel. And I’m pretty sure the author is a straight woman, so even though the story was good, the sexy bits felt a bit off. I re-read a couple paragraphs trying to figure out the sexual logistics of what she was describing. I’m not going to count this for “LBGTQ romance” for the Read Harder challenge, I’m going to find something #ownvoices instead.

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Freedom is a Constant Struggle by Angela Y. Davis – I’m not sure a collection of speeches and essays was the best intro to Davis. But basically we need to connect with movements on an international level, G4S is evil, and she’s very pro-Palestine (which I don’t know nearly enough about to have my own opinion on yet).

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Breasts by Florence Williams – This was both terrifying, funny, and informative. Definitely highly recommend, even if it now has me second-guessing myself every time I put lotion on or use scented body wash or basically do anything that could affect my ladies in the slightest.

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Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty – One of those really hyped up books that sounded like basic chick lit and I let it sit on my Kindle for 2 years, but it turns out it was kind of worth the hype. I was surprised as how much I got into it.

Sweet to the Taste by Alyssa Cole – Listen, you basically need to read ALL the Alyssa Cole, okay? Especially if you find diversity sexy (and if you don’t I’m not sure you’re in the right place).

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Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – CNA is a bombshell. This focuses on four people, all connected in some way, as they make their way through the Biafran War, AKA the Nigerian Civil War. I was totally sucked into the minutiae of their lives. This is definitely my second fave CNA novel (first being Americanah).

STATS – BOOKS

Books read: 9

Female authors: 7 (78%)

Non-white authors: 5 (56%)

Format breakdown: 5 print, 4 e-book

STATS – COMICS

Issues read: 34

Female authors/illustrators: 8

Non-white author/illustrators: 10

Format breakdown: 33 print, 1 digital

So yeah, off to a pretty strong start for 2017! I need to read more comics on Marvel Unlimited, I have it for a year and I’m totally not using it enough. I also need to write more actual reviews… I’ve been writing review blurbs on Litsy but that’s basically it. On the other hand, I wrote hardly any reviews and read a bunch of books… so maybe that’s where my time is better spent. We’ll see.

Sarah Sunday

Late with my Sarah Sunday post once again because the weekend was ridiculous (car issues, argh).

This was also week 1 of the new presidency. In one week, our new president attacked healthcare, reproductive rights, the environment, Native people and lands, science, jobs (which also hurts veterans), refugees, immigrants, Mexico, and voting rights. That is a fucking LOT to take in and try to fight against. The only thing that gives me hope is seeing the many ways people are resisting – by donating money, by calling their representatives, by volunteering, by protesting. Every small act we do to fight against what is happening is important.

If you are interested in getting involved in even the tiniest of ways, one of the things you can do is call your reps. These are some of the tools I’ve been using:

It’s Time to Fight is an AWESOME site for scripts and information. Celeste P. updates it and you should definitely be following her on Twitter as well.

https://whoaremyrepresentatives.org/ is perfect for finding out who your reps are. Save their numbers in your phone, trust me it makes calling them so much easier. Save local office and DC office numbers if you can.

The 65 is what used to be that “We’re His Problem Now” Google sheet. I’ve been using Celeste’s more, but this is also super useful and updated regularly.

5 Calls is another one that I’ve seen pop up lately – spend 5 minutes, make 5 calls. I haven’t used it yet, but I know lots of people have.

And if you’re interested in throwing some dollars to good causes, this article has a great list.

On a slightly lighter note – I installed the Make America Kittens Again extension in Chrome and it’s great. It turns most pics of DT into pics of adorable kittens instead. It doesn’t catch them all, but it’s nice not to be bombarded with images of his face as I read about all of the horrible things happening. Just one of those little things that’s helping me stay sane.

Alright, onto other stuff now.

Reading: I finished Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimiamanda Ngozi Adichie yesterday, and it was great. I think probably my second favorite novel of hers so far – first being Americanah and the third being Purple Hibiscus. And today I’m just reading Fables: Volume 13 and OMG tomorrow is February. Woah.

Watching: Still working through American Horror Story: Freak Show, but also been watching a few random episodes of Bob’s Burgers and man I forgot how freaking funny it can be. Tina!

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Listening: I’ve been putting my whole track list on random because my moods are all over the place this week.

Eating: My mom’s homemade baked macaroni and cheese 🙂

Thinking: I mean mostly about the horrible political landscape we’re in. But also I had some car issues this weekend trying to get it stupid inspected and like $250 later, that’s finally mostly taken care of. But I’ve decided that around this time next year, I’m going to try to sell it to pay off the rest I owe on it, and then I’m going to lease a new car. I fucking hate owning a car. HATE it, don’t want to do it anymore.

Citizening: I called my reps about a few issues, including senate confirmations, which I’m getting more comfortable with it except just trying to find a good time to do it, because I work the same hours as their offices basically. And because it was a pay week for me, I made some donations. This time I chose the Standing Stone Legal Defense Fund, the National Immigration Law Center, and the Southern Poverty Law Center. #smallacts y’all. I made my donations on Friday, and I was very happy to see later on that the NILC was filing suits to stop refugees or immigrants who were arriving at airports over the weekend from being automatically deported or sent back. The ACLU was also involved, and they had an incredible leap in donations this weekend. Every little bit we can do helps.

Anticipating: Honestly, just forward movement. More books read, more money saved or paid down on my credit card, more working out, more citizen work. OH also I got a NYPL library card and that’s very exciting and one of the e-books I have on hold should be available soon.

Exercising: Only twice last week. I skipped out all weekend yet again, but trying not to feel too crappy about it because I was dealing with car stuff. I have to get an alignment done this coming weekend and I scheduled it for 10 so I can go to the gym first. BUT, for the two days that I did go last week, I ran more than I’ve been able to in months so that’s good. Still an embarrassingly small amount, but still.

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Stay strong, kittens.

Sarah Sunday

This has been a pretty fabulous weekend. The only downside is that I didn’t go to the gym at all, but I did read a bunch, and books that I ordered when I was having some very bleak feels on Friday (Inauguration Day) showed up today, so that’s cool.

I didn’t attend any of the Women’s Marches happening, but man it was WONDERFUL to see the worldwide participation all over the internet. I know I’ll hear a lot of “so stupid, just get over it, what does protesting even do” but screw that. It was a global showing that women are here and not going to stand for the shit that our new president and Congress are going to try to pull on us. I just hope that everyone stays that pumped up and continues to do good work – call representatives, donate to good causes, learn now to vote in ALL elections, and most importantly be there and stand up for the more marginalized groups. These are things we ALL have to get better at, me included. Every little bit helps.

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Reading: Woo! Okay, I read March: Book Three (yay John Lewis) and the final volume of Chew. I finished Breasts by Florence Williams earlier this week, and I don’t know if I’ll get a review up but basically if you have them it’s totally worth the read. And the author makes it an engaging, funny read, kind of like a toned-down Mary Roach. She doesn’t quite reach so hard for the jokes but they’re great. And I finished Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty – I’ve had it on my Kindle for years but kind of avoided it because it seemed very rich white people problems. And it is, but it was gossipy and the women touched on some really serious issues that actually affect all women and it was kind of really great. I’m looking forward to checking out the show at some point. And now I’m starting Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie because she’s amazing and it’s going to count as my “book about war” for the Read Harder challenge.

Watching: Ugh, trying to finish watching season 3 of Blacklist. I might drop it after we finish this season, I don’t like the direction it’s taking.

Listening: Sticky Fingaz. I finally put music on the new laptop and back on my phone so I’m enjoying lots of older music right now.

Eating: Garlic-stuffed kalamata olives, marinated mushrooms, and roasted garlic on bruschette toasts. Mmmmm.

Thinking: Normal “I don’t want to go to work tomorrow” feels. And how I should really get back to reading.

Citizening: I did call my reps this week – my senators to encourage them to vote against Betsy DeVos, and my House rep to express my feelings about the H.R. 490 bill that was introduced to committee, which if passed would basically outlaw abortion – it’s a national heartbeat bill. And if our new president puts a far right conservative in the Supreme Court, then it has a chance of being upheld. I’ll be calling a lot about this.

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I don’t even understand the life we’re living right now.

Oh, and I made a small donation to First Book on Friday. Because buying myself diverse books and donating money to kids for books felt like actionable things I could do to try to curb the despair feels I had going on.

Anticipating: My next paycheck. Definitely shouldn’t have gone on that book-buying binge, but oh well. I got some really awesome books – the last volume of Chew, The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin, The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu (partly because Obama read and liked it, I admit) and Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi which is going to be a long, hard read but I bet it will be well worth it.

Exercising: Only went to the gym twice this week. I am too good at talking myself out of going on the weekends, damn it. I gotta get better at that. You’d think weekends would be easier than the two 3:30 am weekdays, but so far that’s not the case.

Alright loves, I gotta get back to my books and take advantage of these last few weekend hours. Have a great, productive week!

All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

All Our Wrong Todays

Thanks to Dutton and Edelweiss for the e-galley! And of course, all views in this review are 100% my own.

“Lionel Goettreider read Cat’s Cradle and had a crucial realization, what he called the “Accident” – when you invent a new technology, you also invent the accident of that technology. When you invent the car, you also invent the car accident. When you invent the plane, you also invent the plane crash. When you invent nuclear fission, you also invent the nuclear meltdown.”

“But I have a theory too: The Accident doesn’t just apply to technology, it also applies to people. Every person you meet introduces the accident of that person to you. What can go right and what can go wrong. There is no intimacy without consequence.”

You know how we look at movies like Back to the Future and kind of laugh at how back in the day, everyone thought the future 2016 was going to be crazy futuristic? Hover cars and weird clothes and food in pill form and all that? Well, it really happened! And Tom knows it really happened because that’s the 2016 he grew up in. The Goettreider Engine in 1965 gave the world free, clean energy and propelled the globe into an era of amazing technology. But even in this ridiculously amazing techno-utopia Tom is having a rough time, and then he makes it worse when he has a time travel accident and changes history, landing himself stuck in the crappy version of 2016 that we’re all used to. All he wants is to set the timeline straight and get back to the existence he knows – but at the same time, there are some aspects of his life that are definitely better in our 2016. What’s a wayward time traveler to do?

I had a blast reading All Our Wrong Todays – I flew through it in about 2 days, and it’s definitely one of those books that I had to describe in detail to my husband because I needed someone to talk to about it. It’s super interesting to see Elan Mastai’s version of this ideal world where technology has basically freed us from our daily worries – food, health care, housing, and other necessities of life are now a fact of life, available for all. In this techno-utopia we’re free to focus on the work that we truly want to do – but that doesn’t necessarily erase all of the problems in life. I loved reading about this theory of time travel and how exactly it finally works. Tom is a great narrator – at times juvenile and frustrating, but also incredibly relatable, funny, and poignant. Even when he gets in his own way, I felt myself rooting for him.

One other note – I saw some reviews on Amazon that said something about the women in Tom’s life only being there to help him achieve his goals, and I have to disagree on that. While Tom does some typical crappy guy things, the women in the book DO matter, and I think it becomes more and more apparent as the book moves on just how much those women matter to Tom. So yeah, if you see those reviews… I think one in particular didn’t actually read much of the book, and maybe just try it and see for yourself.

This book comes out on February 7th – mark your calendars so you can get your hands on it right away.

Sarah Sunday 

As always, the weekend is going by too fast. But right now I’m home, doing laundry, with nothing pressing to do for the rest of the day so I’m feelin pretty alright.

Reading: So many things, I swear. I finished 3 books this week – Battle Hill Bolero by Daniel Jose Older, Freedom is a Constant Struggle by Angela Y. Davis, and The Magpie Lord by K.J. Charles. I’m listening to Hidden Figures on audio, I’m still in the middle of Hope in the Dark,  and I’ll probably start another book or two later today. My reading is all over the place right now.

Also, today was the first meet-up for my local Read Harder group! We had four today (in all our glory in the picture below) and hopefully will have more next month. It was a blast.

Watching: We saw Hidden Figures last Sunday night! It was so great, which is why I’m currently listening to the audio. Also watched Obama’s farewell speech, and the clip of him giving a medal to Joe Biden, so there’s been some sad sobs this week.

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Listening: Hamilton. Because of course. One Last Time is just killing me right now.

Eating: Junk! And some salad. I’d really like to make a lamb stew or something this week.

Thinking: About this proposal in Tennessee that would prohibit food stamp recipients from buying “junk” food and sweets, and would fine people who use their food stamps to buy the banned items. I cannot even articulate the fucking rage I feel towards this. If you live in TN, please make sure to call your reps and lawmakers to fight this. As I mentioned in my rant about this on Twitter last night, you do NOT impose fines on a group of people who already need assistance to feed their families.

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Because they want to create a pipeline to put more poor people in prison, Monica, and it’s super fucked up.

ALSO, they say something in the article about people on assistance using “taxpayer money” shouldn’t be buying junk food – as if people that get food stamps have never, or aren’t currently, or won’t ever paying fucking taxes. Guess what you can’t afford on a minimum wage income? Food. Partly because a portion of your check is being eaten up by taxes.

Citizen-ing: I called and emailed my reps this week – my Congresswoman to urge her to vote against the budget proposal in order to try to save the ACA, and my senators to thank them for voting against it in that sneaky midnight session. It passed both anyways, cause you know – Republican majority. One of the senators in particular made a pretty passionate plea, but of course it fell on (mostly) deaf Republican ears. And because it was payday this week I donated to the Ali Forney Center, which helps homeless LGBT youth.

Anticipating: Spring. I am very done with this winter shit already. But sadly there’s at least another 3 months to go.

Exercising: Yeah! I did the thing three times this week, which a massive improvement from the week before. Getting up early on Tuesday and Thursday seems to be okay. Weekends might end up being more of a struggle, weirdly, but I’m gonna try to stick with it. I did skip this morning so that I could do laundry before the Reader Harder meeting – whoops.

And on that note, I’m going to cuddle up with my Gabby and read more books.