Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: September 7-13, 2020

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope this week has treated you and your loved ones well.

Online school isn’t terribly fun, but being able to see your cats curled up on the couch next to you just makes it *puts fingers close together* that much better.

This week’s been okay. Our school started the hybrid/100% online schedule (I’m in the latter), and I’m slowly starting to get used to it. I’ve had a good week as far as reading goes; with the exception of Four Dead Queens, I’ve liked all of my library books so far! I have a bunch more on hold as well, so I’ll get to pick those up later in the week. And speaking of the library, I went to my first day back volunteering this week! It’s so wonderful to be back.

Other than that, I’ve steadily been watching more Raised by Wolves with my family, working away at my new Radiohead puzzle, and doing a lot more drawing and writing. I’m right in the middle of the climax of my paranormal WIP, and the slump seems to be fading away. I guess soundtracking your emotional tension with Nine Inch Nails just does that.

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Four Dead Queens–Astrid Scholte (⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Four Dead Queens (9780525513926): Scholte, Astrid: Books

The Black Kids–Christina Hammonds Reed (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Black Kids | Book by Christina Hammonds Reed | Official Publisher Page  | Simon & Schuster

The Good Neighbors, vol. 1: Kin–Holly Black and Ted Naifeh (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Graphic Novel Review: The Good Neighbor - Kin - The Nerdy Bird The Nerdy  Bird

The Infinite Noise (The Bright Sessions, #1)–Lauren Shippen (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: The Infinite Noise: A Bright Sessions Novel (The Bright  Sessions (1)) (9781250297518): Shippen, Lauren: Books

Raybearer–Jordan Ifueko (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Raybearer eBook: Ifueko, Jordan: Kindle Store

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

The Spaceship Next Door–Gene Doucette

Amazon.com: The Spaceship Next Door (9781328567468): Doucette, Gene: Books

Dune–Frank Herbert

Check Out the Artwork for a New Edition of Frank Herbert's Dune | Tor.com

Today’s song:

[looks up this song and sees the new Dune trailer pop up as the third result] “This…does put a smile on my face…”

That’s it for this week in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Books

Nobody’s perfect, but that doesn’t excuse privilege: Carve the Mark, Mosquitoland, and being a more conscious and careful reader

Happy Friday, bibliophiles! I’ve been writing out this post in my head since Tuesday night, so here goes nothing…

The other day, I was reading Aditi’s post about 20 of the most popular YA books on Goodreads. Veronica Roth’s Carve the Mark was among the ranks, and she mentioned that there had been several reviews saying that it had some racist elements, and had a problematic depiction of chronic illness. I had to do a bit of a double take; I read that book at least two years ago, but I didn’t remember anything like that. My whole memory of the book was hazy, really, and even though I’d given it a four star rating back then, it was probably one of those books I just sped through because I was just thinking something along the lines of “haha sci-fi go brrrrrrrrrrr”

Carve the Mark eBook by Veronica Roth - 9780062348654 | Rakuten Kobo United  States

And so I read some reviews–some from bloggers that I follow, some from strangers, and there were indeed a lot that pointed out several problematic elements and stereotypes. I found myself being incredibly ashamed of my past self for not noticing them. I’ve been going back and forth between removing my rating, and I never got to the sequel and thought Divergent was overrated, so I doubt I’ll be picking up a Veronica Roth book in the future. But I ended up putting myself between two spaces:

First off, nobody’s perfect. As much of an intersectional feminist that I strive to be, I still make mistakes. We all do. I’m sure everybody’s had an instance like this one.

But secondly, I still must acknowledge that I have privilege, and that this privilege is part of why I didn’t spot the highly questionable elements there. And since I am privileged, I have to do my best to better myself, and read more carefully, and become better at spotting and making note of problematic elements.

Amazon.com: Mosquitoland (9780147513656): Arnold, David: Books

I’d like to think that I’ve gotten better at reading carefully since I read Carve the Mark, but this example also jumped out at me as something that’s controversial. I read Mosquitoland a few months back; I thought it was a well-written novel, but there is some highly questionable–and I mean HIGHLY questionable and offensive representation of Down syndrome, and some problematic elements regarding the depiction of Native American characters, as well as some poor handling of sexual assault. I still hold the writing highly, but I know that I have to also recognize that Mosquitoland, though powerful, is still a deeply flawed novel. No matter its impact, there is NO excusing some of the content of this novel. (if you’re interested in someone else’s thoughts on the matter, I’d highly suggest checking out The Inside Cover’s Mosquitoland, Three Years Later: A Coda.)

All this got me thinking about reviews. Part of what’s key to reading/picking your reads more carefully is reading reviews before you dive in. Of course, you have to be careful to avoid reviews that have been paid to get a 4-5 star rating (for bias); the 3-2 star range is usually the most reliable source for me, as they usually cover the good and the bad in equal amounts. (1 stars tend to dive into rants, which I fully admit to doing, but it’s better to see both the pros and cons, personally.) It’s just like checking your news sources: seeing both sides of the argument, and getting perspectives from reviewers who have lived some of these experiences. It’s what made me take The State of Us off my TBR, and a few others.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing: A Novel (The Carls): Green, Hank:  9781524743444: Amazon.com: Books

And sometimes, there’s no way out of it. I went into An Absolutely Remarkable Thing expecting a read as great as everybody seemed to say it was, but I ended up being infuriated by how poorly the bisexual representation was handled. (Personal opinion, here) Hardly anyone (except for one reviewer, so shoutout to them) noted the bury-your-gays trope, as well as the killing off of most of the POC characters (all but one or two) in Four Dead Queens. There will always be times when we’re roped into something problematic, even if we’ve read a variety of reviews.

Four Dead Queens - Astrid Scholte - 9781760524418 - Allen & Unwin -  Australia

The bottom line? Don’t beat yourself up about reading a problematic book, but don’t brush the problematic parts aside like they don’t exist. If you see something uncomfortable depicted in a novel, talk about it, whether it’s in the comments of a review or in a review of your own. Let your voice be heard, but recognize that all of us have at least a little bit of privilege.

Alright, let me step off the soapbox for a minute. I also have a short announcement: I have A BUNCH of books that I’d like to review soon, so as well as my Book Review Tuesdays, I’ll be packing several books into mini-reviews, starting next week. So stay tuned…

Today’s song:

That’s it for this post! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Books, Top 5 Saturday

Top 5 Saturday (8/22/20)–Young Adult Books 😃

Happy Saturday, bibliophiles!

Sorry that I’m a little bit late for this post (but hey, it’s still Saturday). I’ve just been busy all day, but I’ve had a lovely day.

Time for another Top 5 Saturday! This was originally started by Devouring Books, and it sounded like such a fun post to take part in. Today’s topic is YA books, to which I say…

BOLD OF YOU TO ASSUME THAT 80% OF WHAT I READ ISN’T YA…

[ahem] so this prompt will be a lot of fun. I’ll mix things up today and pick some YA from my TBR.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE FOR AUGUST: 

8/1/20—Enemies to Lovers

8/8/20—Underrated Books/Hidden Gems

8/15/20—Recommended Reads

8/22/20—YA Books

8/29/20—Detective Books

Rules!

  • Share your top 5 books of the current topic– these can be books that you want to read, have read and loved, have read and hated, you can do it any way you want.
  • Tag the original post
  • Tag 5 people

Let’s begin, shall we?

TOP 5 SATURDAY (8/22/20)–YA Books

Crownchasers, Rebecca Coffindaffer

Crownchasers (Crownchasers, #1) by Rebecca Coffindaffer

This one comes out this September, and I am ECSTATIC to read it! Plus, we can’t deny how gorgeous that cover is…

Summer Bird Blue, Akemi Dawn Bowman

Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

I’ve been meaning to read this one for quite a while after reading Starfish.

Four Dead Queens, Astrid Scholte

Review: Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte – Novel Heartbeat

This one seems to have gotten quite a lot of hype last year when it was released, so it’s only a matter of time until I can see if it lives up to it…

We Are Lost and Found, Helene Dunbar

Amazon.com: We Are Lost and Found (9781728206998): Dunbar, Helene ...

This cover has the BEST vibes…

The Spaceship Next Door, Gene Doucette

Amazon.com: The Spaceship Next Door (9781328567468): Doucette ...

In the world of YA sci-fi, this one sounds like a hidden gem–hopefully it is!

I TAG ANYONE WHO WANTS TO PARTICIPATE!

Go Ahead GIF by Chelsea Handler

Today’s song:

[sweats profusely] I NEED A BATTLE SCENE IN A MOVIE OR A TV SHOW OR SOMETHING WITH THIS SONG IN THE BACKGROUND

That’s it for this week’s Top 5 Saturday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!