I can’t believe November is over! Reading-wise this has been an incredible month, but also my mental health worsened somewhat (no worries, I’m taking care!) so reading as if it would save my life was to be expected, as it is my coping mechanism. I hope as things improve for me personally, my reading will worsen! Yay?
November Wrap Up
My planned TBR for this month was (the books I read are marked in bold):
Milk Fed by Melissa Broder
Lovely War by Julie Berry
Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore
The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi
The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida by Clarissa Goenawan
Little Gods by Meng Jin
The Endurance: Schackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition by Caroline Alexander (Portuguese Edition)
The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story by Hyeonseo Lee
Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness by William Styron
Welcome to A Game, a Movie, a Book, in which Clio and I collaborate once again because there’s a pandemic, we’re bored and too creative for our own good. So we came up with ideas of what to do during the long Winter days while we’re all encouraged to stay home!
The idea is to spend a full day, or a big chunk of your day, immersed in the theme of your choice, exploring it through different media and different points-of-view. You can choose to do it in a more light and entertaining way (Whodunits! Italian Food! Wine!) or in a more cultural/educational sense (Victorian times! Ancient Rome! Jane Austen!). The beauty of this is that all you need is creativity: you can choose to go all in and wear costumes, prepare special food, perhaps decorate a room, convince your partner/friends/family (do remember to be pandemic-responsible!) or you can simply sit down by yourself and spend the day having nerdy fun.
The premise is simple: choose a game, a movie, a book and spend a day playing, watching and reading! This works especially well if you have someone at home with you, but also works if you live alone, or if you can do this online. We’re focusing here on board games (because it’s Clio’s Board Games, not Clio’s Whatever Games), but you can of course choose a videogame or whatever you like. We have selected three ideas to inspire you, and if you like this post, we can give more ideas on future posts (we know you’re wondering about the Italian Food theme). We’re all stuck at home this Christmas, might as well have fun with it!
Space travel is one of the most exciting things to happen in real life and it captures people’s imaginations for a good reason: it’s beautiful, mysterious and full of possibility. To add a little something extra to a space-themed day, you can check out Pinterest for food ideas, download a star-gazing app (we like this one) and attempt to spot the ISS, do a virtual tour on space museums (like this one), plus choose whether to focus more on science fiction or non-fiction. It’s such a fascinating and versatile theme!
Synopsis: Eighteen years old, pregnant, and working as a pizza delivery girl in suburban Los Angeles, our charmingly dysfunctional heroine is deeply lost and in complete denial about it all. She’s grieving the death of her father (whom she has more in common with than she’d like to admit), avoiding her supportive mom and loving boyfriend, and flagrantly ignoring her future.
Her world is further upended when she becomes obsessed with Jenny, a stay-at-home mother new to the neighborhood, who comes to depend on weekly deliveries of pickled-covered pizzas for her son’s happiness. As one woman looks toward motherhood and the other toward middle age, the relationship between the two begins to blur in strange, complicated, and ultimately heartbreaking ways.
Bold, tender, propulsive, and unexpected in countless ways, Jean Kyoung Frazier’s Pizza Girl is a moving and funny portrait of a flawed, unforgettable young woman as she tries to find her place in the world.
I received an advance copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: One afternoon, in a town in southeastern Nigeria, a mother opens her front door to discover her son’s body, wrapped in colorful fabric, at her feet. What follows is the tumultuous, heart-wrenching story of one family’s struggle to understand a child whose spirit is both gentle and mysterious. Raised by a distant father and an understanding but overprotective mother, Vivek suffers disorienting blackouts, moments of disconnection between self and surroundings. As adolescence gives way to adulthood, Vivek finds solace in friendships with the warm, boisterous daughters of the Nigerwives, foreign-born women married to Nigerian men. But Vivek’s closest bond is with Osita, the worldly, high-spirited cousin whose teasing confidence masks a guarded private life. As their relationship deepens—and Osita struggles to understand Vivek’s escalating crisis—the mystery gives way to a heart-stopping act of violence in a moment of exhilarating freedom.
We finally had a bit of sunlight last week, after endless weeks of fog (yay, November), so I gathered some courage and went running and whew, I’m so unfit now it’s a miracle I survived that weak-ass run. I’m hoping to go a bit more often now, even with the cold (I actually like running in the cold, 1000x better than in the heat). I read a LOT this week, mostly because I listened to audiobooks on my preferred unreasonably-fast speed & mostly listening to short books (~5h), so I ended up finishing 6 books (I only had like 20min left on Evil Has a Name and 10% or so of Vivek Oji) and starting 2 more.
This week I received from Netgalley:
This week I bought:
I’ve already read Bad Blood but wanted a physical copy to re-read at some point! I also bought Mostly Hero a while ago, but forgot to haul it here, apparently.
It’s nearly the end of the month and a lot of us have been affected by Pandemic-related slumps, and are starting to fall behind on our reading challenges… so help with that, I’ve compiled eight books I enjoyed and one I’d love to read ASAP which are fast, engaging reads, from non-fiction to horror and magical realism.
Synopsis: The elves come for two things: war and wives. In both cases, they come for death.
Three-thousand years ago, humans were hunted by powerful races with wild magic until the treaty was formed. Now, for centuries, the elves have taken a young woman from Luella’s village to be their Human Queen.
To be chosen is seen as a mark of death by the townsfolk. A mark nineteen-year-old Luella is grateful to have escaped as a girl. Instead, she’s dedicated her life to studying herbology and becoming the town’s only healer.
That is, until the Elf King unexpectedly arrives… for her.
Everything Luella had thought she’d known about her life, and herself, was a lie. Taken to a land filled with wild magic, Luella is forced to be the new queen to a cold yet blisteringly handsome Elf King. Once there, she learns about a dying world that only she can save.
The magical land of Midscape pulls on one corner of her heart, her home and people tug on another… but what will truly break her is a passion she never wanted.
A Man by Keiichiro Hirano, translated by Eli K.P. William
Categories: Mystery, Translated Fiction
First Publication Date: 1 June 2020
Synopsis: Akira Kido is a divorce attorney whose own marriage is in danger of being destroyed by emotional disconnect. With a midlife crisis looming, Kido’s life is upended by the reemergence of a former client, Rié Takemoto. She wants Kido to investigate a dead man—her recently deceased husband, Daisuké. Upon his death she discovered that he’d been living a lie. His name, his past, his entire identity belonged to someone else, a total stranger. The investigation draws Kido into two intriguing mysteries: finding out who Rié’s husband really was and discovering more about the man he pretended to be. Soon, with each new revelation, Kido will come to share the obsession with—and the lure of—erasing one life to create a new one.
It’s been quite a week – I am so ready for Christmas vacations. I’m on a good way to getting my TBR below 170 books, although I’ve been deviating a lot from what I planned to read.
As a way to control my TBR while also not losing track of books that are vaguely on my radar but I’m not very decided about, especially those I keep adding and then removing from my TBR, I created a “on-my-radar” list, where I am gleefully adding books (I added 60 in like… 2, 3 days?) so I no longer have to debate whether to add something to my TBR or not. As a result, my TBR is smaller and consists of stuff I actually want to read, plus a “shadow” TBR of stuff I might want to get to at some point but don’t feel actually pressured to read. I think this will work well!
Synopsis: They are Hazel, James, Aubrey, and Colette. A classical pianist from London, a British would-be architect turned soldier, a Harlem-born ragtime genius in the U.S. Army, and a Belgian orphan with a gorgeous voice and a devastating past. Their story, as told by the goddess Aphrodite, who must spin the tale or face judgment on Mount Olympus, is filled with hope and heartbreak, prejudice and passion, and reveals that, though War is a formidable force, it’s no match for the transcendent power of Love.