Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (2/7/23) – The Midnight Library

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

I’ve had this book on my radar for a few years now, but I wanted to read it after the ocean of hype died down. I forgot about it for a while, and I found a copy at my college’s library, and figured that it might be worth a try—I read The Humans, also by Matt Haig, and thought it was decent, so I decided to take a stab. I lowered my expectations to average from all of the hype, but The Midnight Library ended up being even worse than I thought—insultingly un-nuanced and a wholly frustrating read.

Enjoy this week’s review!

The Midnight Library – Matt Haig

Nora Seed has reached what seems to be a dead end in her life. All of her childhood dreams never came to fruition, and now she’s stuck in her thirties with nowhere to go. But after she attempts to take her own life, Nora finds herself in the Midnight Library, where every book on the endless shelves contains an alternate life—lives where she pursued different dreams, different boyfriends, and every other imaginable outcome. As she travels through a multitude of alternate realities, Nora must come to terms with herself and how she wants to live her life—full of regrets, or full of hope?

TW/CW: suicide/suicidal ideations, animal attack, loss of a loved one, depression, panic attacks, animal death, substance abuse, cancer

A recurring thought that came to me while reading The Midnight Library was that it was like if you sucked every ounce of nuance and complexity out of Everything, Everywhere, All At Once. I know full well that Everything came out two years after this novel, but my point still stands. In the abstract, the message of The Midnight Library was good, but it had all the subtlety of a sledgehammer to the face, which made for an exceedingly unpleasant reading experience.

The Midnight Library is a case study in the effect of good or bad execution of a story idea. If you have a good idea but don’t execute it well, the idea itself gets bogged down in all of the structural flaws of the writing itself. The message that Matt Haig tried to get across was a good one—focusing on living your life, not getting bogged down with regrets, and giving yourself a chance to change—but it was so ham-handed in its delivery that all of the nuance (of which there was SO much potential) was erased entirely. It was so clear that The Midnight Library was trying to say something, but without any complexity, it ended up spitting out nothing that we haven’t heard before.

For instance, in one life, Nora Seed is a world-famous rockstar selling out arena shows all around the world. However, as Nora progresses through this alternate timeline, she realizes that this alternate self is feeling empty inside, and that fame has left her a barren shell of what she once was. That’s all well and good, and it’s a good message that fame does not automatically equal happiness. But at the end of the chapter, this message was digestibly packaged into a short platitude, right above Nora’s hypothetical follower count on social media. It was almost insulting how it was delivered—what was the point of that when Haig showed it through his writing just a page before? Even if you’re not a writer, if you’re ever taught about writing in school, “show, don’t tell” is one of the first principles that you’re taught. As a reader, it feels insulting to one’s intelligence: I got the message just fine, why be that redundant and blatantly obvious?

Furthermore, a lot of the potential lives, even though they were neatly and obviously packaged to the reader to teach them a lesson, ended up contributing nothing to the plot. When they did contribute, the message was reiterated by the all-knowing librarian, as if I’m watching a children’s show, each episode ending with an “and what did we learn today, kids?” kind of message. The Midnight Library isn’t all that long of a book, but a good quarter of the misadventures through Nora’s alternate lives didn’t serve any purpose, even though that was the obvious intent.

Lastly—Matt Haig isn’t at fault for this first part, but dear lord, do not let the synopsis fool you. This is not a feel-good book. The inciting incident for The Midnight Library is Nora attempting suicide, and that got glossed over so much in the marketing of the book. For the first part of the book, I feel like Nora’s mental health issues, although they aren’t explicitly named, were dealt with respectfully, but once it got to the end of the book, it took a turn for the worse. As if by magic, Nora’s depression is cured, and she now has the will to live again, after glimpsing all of her alternate lives. It really felt harmful—yes, this is a sci-fi/fantasy book, but depression and other mental health issues don’t magically disappear after a romp through alternate realities. Downplaying something as serious as depression and suicide really didn’t sit right with me, and it felt like the ending of the book erased something that should have been acknowledged far more in this book.

All in all, a disappointing book that decided to take its well-intentioned message and knock you over the head with it, thereby erasing all attempts at nuance and complexity. 2 stars.

The Midnight Library is a standalone, but Matt Haig is also the author of The Humans, How to Stop Time, The Radleys, and several other books.

Today’s song:

I like this one even more than Panopticom—I can’t wait to see what else this album brings!!

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

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Posted in Sunday Songs

Sunday Songs: 1/15/23

Happy Sunday, everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful week.

Winter break is over for me, but I’m assuming that the first week back to college will be low-key (ish? probably lots of syllabuses…syllabi?), so I should be able to keep up the schedule for a little while. In the meantime, here’s another mishmash of my music. Still sort of in the maroon/burgundy colored aesthetic for the second week running, I guess. Whoops.

Enjoy this week’s Sunday Songs!

SUNDAY SONGS: 1/15/23

“Angel” – Gavin Friday

I’d consider this song to be one of many mainstays of my childhood; if I think of being in my dad’s car at night, watching the moon pass by my window and wondering why it seemed to follow me, or even just pulling up to the bank parking lot, chances are, I’ll find this song lurking there. Even if it hadn’t been there for most of my life, “Angel” would be a memorable song either way. I’ve only heard a handful of Gavin Friday’s songs (and half of the ones I can think of are covers), but I can safely say that he has one of the most unique singing voices that I’ve ever heard; he can switch from a breathy, ethereal hum to a thick wail in a matter of seconds, and it dips down to a raspy whisper in the quiet moments in between. (“Shag Tobacco” comes to mind for the latter.) The musical range in just 6 minutes perfectly matches his mercurial voice, from the twinkling, starlike notes at the beginning to the humming synth undercurrent. It’s a musical patchwork quilt, but one so seamless that you couldn’t see the stitches in between each scrap of fabric. Beautiful.

“She’s My Collar (feat. Kali Uchis)” – Gorillaz

I tried. I tried not to double up on Gorillaz after “Left Hand Suzuki Method” last week. They’re just so good………guys……………..guys….

From what I know of the general opinions around Gorillaz, the fandom seems to direct a fair amount of ire towards this album, Humanz; most of the criticism seems to have come from the excess of collaboration that the band is now known for. My question is how that wasn’t applied to the hit-or-miss Song Machine Season 1, an album that heavily relied on…the exact same thing? Okay?? And yet, every single song I’ve heard off of Humanz has had me in a vice grip at some point or another—I haven’t listened to the whole album yet (soon, I swear), but songs like “Momentz (feat. De La Soul)” and “Charger (feat. Grace Jones)” feel like Gorillaz embracing the infectious, instantly danceable fun that makes their music almost never fail. “She’s My Collar” is another prime example—pushed along by a driving drumbeat that makes it impossible not to nod your head, Damon Albarn’s breathy vocals make for a song with the power to instantly cheer you up. My only minor nitpick is Kali Uchis; I don’t know a whole about her, granted, but her verse did feel slightly weak and almost off-key in places. Luckily, when her voice fades into the synths with a ghostlike quality, making itself as much an instrument as anything else in the background, it brings the song back to its cohesive, catchy glory. It’s been…three days now, I think, and I’ve barely been able to listen to anything else.

“Buses Splash With Rain” – Frankie Cosmos

It’s the classic sadgirl setup: “I’m the kind of girl/Buses splash with rain.” But like the Zentropy album cover, with its crusty white dog wearing a knitted hat and “Frankie Cosmos” written in bright, neon colors, Greta Kline juxtaposes her self-deprecating lyricism with her characteristic musical whimsy and brightness. Frankie Cosmos songs can be deceptive that way; although I haven’t listened to Zentropy in full, their songs often pair melancholy with the kind of instrumentation that brings to mind cartoon doodles of frogs and suns drawn on the corner of the page with little squiggly lines for the rays. Although this is only their first album, it’s easy to see from “Buses Splash With Rain” that Greta Kline and company had already begun to master what has become their signature style—short, bright indie pop songs that seem to radiate pastel colors amidst lyrical boredom or melancholy. The only downside to their music is that, because they’re so short, they sometimes blend together, but this one is certainly memorable enough to stand out from the barely two minute long crowd.

“Panopticom (Bright Side Mix)” – Peter Gabriel

Peter Gabriel’s releasing a song from his new album every full moon this year? Are us Peter Gabriel fans just werewolves now? Not that I’m complaining. Lycanthropy sounds fun. Maybe.

The news broke recently that Peter Gabriel would be releasing his first album in over 20 years this year, and what else should I have expected than for him to come straight out of the gates, bouzouki in hand, with relentless creativity at the ready? It’s been a week since “Panopticom” came out, and it’s taken a little while to grow on me—to be fair, with how much of a chokehold songs like “Come Talk to Me” and “Not One Of Us” have had on me, he’s inevitably got big shoes to fill. But once it sunk in, Gabriel’s musical powers became all the more evident. The concept itself stands out as an antithesis to the concept of the panopticon, rather a means of us observing the theoretical Big Brother figure instead of the other way around. Surrounding it is an unexpected collage of music, beginning with lighter synths and descending into driving guitars that recall his earlier works. It’s songs like these that make me want to be somebody like Peter Gabriel once I’ve reached his age, continuing to be creative when I’m much, much older. You go, dude. We’re all waiting until the next full moon very anxiously…

“I Can’t Stand the Rain” – Ann Peebles

Two songs with ‘rain’ in the title? In one week? It’s more likely than you think.

After realizing last week that this is the sample from Missy Elliott’s “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly),” I have NOT been able to stop listening to it. Once the famous sampled section at the beginning starts to fade is where it kicks in—right at 0:18, with its chorus of steady drums and slowly rising brass. It’s an instant head-nodder that makes it impossible to move at least some of your body while you’re listening the second that the band invites itself in. Peebles’ crooning voice soars all the way through, selling every feathery waver as she calls to mind the pitter-patter of rain against a windowpane as she remembers an ex-lover. The only song that this song commits is being so short, but maybe that’s how it’s meant to be—a perfect, short-and-sweet classic. Without knowing much else about Ann Peebles, it’s easy to see how this became her biggest hit—it’s consistently catchy and pleasing to the ears in every way. Given how short it is, I won’t be surprised if this comes up in my apple replay once it starts up…this and “She’s My Collar” are gonna be WAY up there, I can’t stop listening to either of them…

Since this post consists of all songs, consider all of them to be today’s song.

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

Posted in Monthly Wrap-Ups

December 2022 Wrap-Up 🧣

Happy Saturday, bibliophiles, and happy New Year’s Eve!

Whew. This strange, chaotic year is coming to a close, but what matters most is that despite everything, we’re still here. Whoever you are, I’m proud of you for making it through another year. You did it!

GENERAL THOUGHTS:

December was certainly a little stressful at the beginning, what with my first finals season in college. Most of my classes were fine, seeing as all of my English *finals* were mostly essays and portfolios, but stats and bio anth were a little tougher. But in the end, I got out with good grades, and I won’t have to take a math class again in my college career. You have no idea how happy I am about that.

The great thing about being in college (in my case, at least) is that we have a really long winter break! After the chaos of finals, I’ve had a lot of time to settle down, relax, and spend the holidays with family. I’ve been in a major reading slump since finals, but the combination of some finds from my dad’s comic shelf, some Christmas gifts, and the haul from my Barnes & Noble gift card, I’m back into my regular reading rhythm! I’m so excited to read the rest of my haul!!

Other than that, I’ve been drawing more, putting together a puzzle (of David Bowie, who else would it be), watching Andor (SO GOOD), Glass Onion (I cannot stress enough how wonderful this movie is), and Decision to Leave (I still don’t completely know how I feel about this one), seeing The Smile live (CRYING CRYING CRYING), and enjoying spending time at home with my family over the break.

And yes, I know it’s New Year’s Eve, but there is a MUCH more important holiday going on today, and that’s Ringo’s first birthday!! My boy turns 1 today!! Everybody say happy birthday to Ringo

Also, I figured it might be fun to share some highlights from my apple music wrapped, sorry, replay—I’ve always wished that apple music had a wrapped equivalent, so, uh, Christmas miracle, I guess?

unsurprising, given that I spent a 2-hour plane flight listening to “Metal Guru” on repeat and nothing else 🥴
I am nothing if not predictable (David Bowie was #6 and Radiohead was #7 lol)
PFFFFFFFF ROCKY HORROR MADE THE CUT
Do I get Welsh street cred for this one?

READING AND BLOGGING:

I read 15 books this month! It was my worst reading month as far as reading goes, but it was also finals week, so it’s all fine. I completed my reading challenge of 200 books and read 224 books in all this year!

2 – 2.75 stars:

Aces Wild: A Heist

3 – 3.75 stars:

Hellboy: On Earth as it is in Hell

4 – 4.75 stars:

House of Hollow

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH: Gleanings: Stories from the Arc of a Scythe – 4 stars

POSTS I’M PROUD OF:

POSTS FROM OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE THAT I ENJOYED:

SONGS/ALBUMS THAT I ENJOYED:

fantastic on its own, but it was incredible to hear live with The Smile!!
unpopular opinion—this is my least favorite Blur album that I’ve listened to so far, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it. this is certainly the best track
I never thought I’d say this in my lifetime, but new Sparklehorse just dropped?? and it’s not sad??????
again, this was so much fun live, but it’s great to finally hear the album version!!
I stumbled upon this one while trying to cite On a Sunbeam for my final comics paper—according to Tillie Walden, this is the song that inspired the title! fits the vibe of the comic for sure
SUCH a creative cover, wildly different from the original but in the best way possible
a great album to end the year on!

It’s been a scary and jarring year, but it’s been wonderful too. I graduated high school and started college, and I pushed myself out of my comfort zone more than I have in ages. I made new friends, I went to so many amazing concerts and read so many fantastic books. It’s been weird and uncertain (and I cried a lot), but in the end, what matters is that we got through it. No matter how good or bad of a year you had, I hope 2023 brings hope, love, and good things to each and every one of you. We got this.

Have a wonderful new year. Spread love, be kind to each other.

— madeline

Today’s song:

came for the Gorillaz, stayed for the Suzuki flashbacks

That’s it for this month in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, take care of yourselves, and have a happy new year!

Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (11/15/22) – She Gets the Girl

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles! Even more snow today…

I initially put She Gets the Girl on my TBR because of so much buzz from my fellow bloggers, and I like to go for a queer romance every once in a while. I read it recently and I liked that it was from the perspective of a freshman in college (hey, it’s me!), but beyond that, it felt more like a mess of unlikeable characters and uncomfortable peer pressure instead of feel-good romance.

Enjoy this week’s review!

She Gets the Girl – Rachael Lippincott and Alyson Derrick

Alex Blackwood is entering college on the heels of a nasty breakup. Molly Parker is looking for love, and she’s in luck—her longtime crush, Cora Myers, is attending the same college as her. Problem is, Molly’s hopelessly awkward, especially around people she likes. When she and Alex have a chance encounter, they hatch a plan for Alex to polish up Molly’s flirting skills so that she can get the girl. But when Molly starts falling for Alex instead of Cora, the end goal becomes hazy…

TW/CW: alcoholism, toxic relationships, internalized racism, substance abuse

It’s all fun and games until the romance you picked up because you wanted it to be somewhat “feel-good” turns out to be…more uncomfortable than feel-good. It’s even harder when you hate one of the characters, and harder still when the two main characters seem to have hardly any chemistry. That’s the story of She Gets the Girl—a romance with an easy enough concept that was dragged down by forced and unlikable elements.

I’m sorry, I just have to get it out of the way: I hated Alex Blackwood. Hated her. It was clear that the authors were trying to make her a rough-around-the-edges character that would a) contrast Molly’s uptight and awkward personality and b) push her out of her comfort zone, which was a good enough pairing in concept. Key words here are “in concept.” What Alex ended up being was a total hypocrite—she’s so intent on being the opposite of her toxic ex, but turns around and manages to be just as toxic, just in a different way. And the whole concept of pushing Molly out of her comfort zone so that she can get with Cora? Most of it just ended up being Alex forcing Molly to do things that she was deeply uncomfortable with.

Thus, Molly and Alex had almost zero chemistry. Their entire relationship was built on the shaky foundation of knowing that they would end up together by the end of the book, and not much else. Everything was just…so forced. It’s heavily implied that Cora wasn’t a good option either since, yes, it as forced, but…I really don’t think dating Alex would’ve been a great option either, seeing as how much of a manipulative jerk she was to Molly. Proposed third option: Molly just takes off and finds better friends/lovers that…y’know, aren’t toxic?

That brings me to the weird message of this book. Throughout the book, all of the things that Alex pushes Molly to do to win Cora’s love involve changing herself in some way: changing her wardrobe into things she would normally be uncomfortable wearing, going to events that you have no experience in just to fit in with Cora, etc. It was sort of resolved by the relationship with Cora not working out, but Alex’s “advice” boiled down to Molly changing herself so that Cora would like her. I suppose they were trying to go with a “be true to yourself” message, which I really would’ve liked, but they resolved it by…pairing Molly with Alex, the one who was trying to force Molly to change in the first place. And Alex never apologizes for any of that—they just fall in love and then move on. Hence—no chemistry. No repercussions, save for the fling with Cora not working out. All that really happened was Alex’s manipulative actions being rewarded, which really rubbed me the wrong way. Even though Molly and Alex got into an argument about that, there was no sense of Alex taking responsibility for forcing Molly into all that uncomfortable stuff. I really wish Lippincott and Derrick had handled their relationship—and the message—better. She Gets the Girl had an easy way to send a good message, but it ended up bungling it all in the end.

There were a few aspects of She Gets the Girl that I did like. It’s always nice to have a mixed race character, and having Molly be mixed race really freshened things up, as well as some of the discussions about internalized racism. Even though I still despise Alex, the way they handled the situation with her mother was also respectfully handled—hard to read, but it seemed genuine to me. However, a lot of this ended up being overshadowed by how much of a mess the rest of the book was.

Overall, a romance that stumbled and fell when creating chemistry between the two characters, making for an uncomfortable book—and an uncomfortable message. 2 stars.

She Gets the Girl is a standalone, and the first and only book that Rachael Lippincott has written with her wife, Alyson Derrick. Lippincott is also the author of Five Feet Apart and All This Time (both co-written with Mikki Daughtry), as well as The Lucky List.

Today’s song:

listened to the whole album yesterday! it was one of those cases where I listened to all of the best songs beforehand so the rest of the album wasn’t *as* good (still good though), but it’s a great album

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

Posted in Monthly Wrap-Ups

July 2022 Wrap-Up 🫠

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles!

As you can see above, the melting emoji represents my slow melting, a la the Wicked Witch of the West, because July in Colorado always threatens to melt me into a slushy puddle. At least we got some rain. (And hail, one time? got enough that it looked like snow in certain parts of the yard…)

GENERAL THOUGHTS:

Hot as it was, I’d say that July was another good month of summer. I’ve had tons more time to read and relax, and even though college is always on my mind nowadays, the time off has been good to collect my thoughts. I’ve gone hiking a few times, seen some fun movies, and tried to exercise a little more.

I got to read tons this month, and although it was generally a mixed bag (a lot more books in the 3-star range than usual), I still found some gems in the mix. For Disability Pride Month, I tried to focus on books with disabled characters, and I’ve found some reads with great disability rep—including the first book I’ve ever read with SPD rep! (Thanks, Carolyn Mackler!!) Camp NanoWriMo is nearly over—it’s had its ups and downs (couldn’t find the stats page for a while and fell behind on my word count, hit command v instead of command b and accidentally pasted the whole Pinnochio trailer into my document), but I’m so close to 45,000 words now!!

Other than that, I’ve just been playing my guitar, recovering from the last two episodes of Stranger Things (OW), seeing Thor: Love and Thunder (pure Taika Waititi fun), drawing, and listening to an excess of Peter Gabriel.

Also, I figured I’d give everybody an update on Ringo, since I haven’t posted about him much since we got him; he’s 7 months old now and even more of a menace to society, but he has the sweetest face…

the face of a serial foot biter

READING AND BLOGGING:

I read 25 books this month! This is probably gonna be the most books I’ll be able to read in a month, since it’s the middle of summer. It was a mixed bag, as always, but I found a few amazing 5-star reads in the bunch.

1 – 1.75 stars:

Among Thieves

2 – 2.75 stars:

Fortune Favors the Dead

3 – 3.75 stars:

Breathe and Count Back from Ten

4 – 4.75 stars:

Not If I Can Help It

5 stars:

The Reckless Kind

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH: The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects – 5 stars

The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects

POSTS I’M PROUD OF :

POSTS FROM OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE THAT I ENJOYED:

SONGS/ALBUMS THAT I ENJOYED:

yeah spoiler alert I did listen to more Peter Gabriel
Kate Bush is hit or miss for me but when she hits it for me she HITS it
going through an 80’s period this month I guess??
HOOOOOOOOOOOWEE time go to back to my sad girl roots
I haven’t listened to much Japanese Breakfast but I fell in love with this one INSTANTLY
MORE PETER GABRIEL BC I LOVED SO
I really need to listen to more IDLES bc I’ve loved every song I’ve heard of theirs

DID I FOLLOW THROUGH ON MY JULY GOALS?

  • Read at least 20 books: 25!
  • Get through Camp NaNoWriMo: We’ll see about that later tonight…

GOALS FOR AUGUST:

  • Get through the first few weeks of college (AAAAAA)
  • Enjoy my birthday (which also happens to be on the first day of classes…yeehaw😀)

Today’s song:

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

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: July 11-17, 2022

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope this week has treated you well.

Everything’s been coming into perspective as far as college goes (AAAAAAAAAA) this week, so there have been Feelings aplenty…but I picked out my choices for classes and I’m picking them officially tomorrow, so hopefully I’ll be able to get the ones I want. (There was a whole comics class??? need that) I’ve been able to hike a little bit more this week as well, so that’s always nice to get outside when it’s warm. And not getting mosquito bites this week from said hiking was a relief.

I read a whole bunch last week and my momentum slowed down a little this week. The first two books I read were good, but the last two I’ve read have been underwhelming. I got a big batch of promising looking books at the library yesterday, and I know I say that every single week, but one of them happens to be the only book I’ve managed to find with SPD rep (Not If I Can Help It), so I’m hoping that’s good.

I’m halfway through Camp NaNoWriMo now! It took me an embarrassingly long time to find the stats section of the website, so it turned out I’d gotten behind on my word count; I found it eventually, and I’ve been able to get back on my feet and get back on track.

Other than that, I’ve been drawing, playing guitar, rewatching Raising Arizona (insert John Goodman screaming here) and watching Thor: Love and Thunder (always fun), and continuing to listen to an excess of Peter Gabriel. (I listened to all of So while cleaning the bathroom yesterday…of course I ended up getting choked up listening to “Don’t Give Up” while scrubbing the sink down 💀)

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Mean Little Deaf Queer: A Memoir – Terry Galloway (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The King and the Corpse – Heinrich Zimmer, edited by Joseph Campbell (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Circus Infinite – Khan Wong (⭐️⭐️.5)

The Space Between Worlds – Micaiah Johnson (⭐️⭐️.5)

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

Not If I Can Help It – Carolyn Mackler

The Final Strife – Saara El-Arifi

Follow Your Arrow – Jessica Verdi

Fortune Favors the Dead – Stephen Spotswood

Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling – Lucy Frank

Today’s song:

my favorite song on So – lots of sweet memories of my parents playing this in the car when I was little

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

Posted in Books

YA Books for Nonbinary Awareness Week

Happy Thursday, bibliophiles!

This week, July 11-17, is Nonbinary Awareness Week, and today, July 14, is International Nonbinary People’s Day! I’ve done a few specific lists for books with different identities within the LGBTQ+ community, but I don’t think I’ve done a specific nonbinary one. Given that it’s the perfect time to do it, I figured I would shine a light on books with protagonists (and sometimes authors!) with nonbinary and gender non-conforming identities. Representation always, always matters, especially for a community who face scrutiny even from within the LGBTQ+ community. 💛🤍💜🖤

Let’s begin, shall we?

THE BOOKISH MUTANT’S YA BOOKS FOR NONBINARY AWARENESS WEEK

I Wish You All the Best, Mason Deaver

GENRES: Contemporary/realistic fiction, romance

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

All at once heartbreaking and tender, I Wish You All the Best is an incredibly powerful story of a nonbinary teen’s journey of acceptance and self-love.

Lakelore, Anna-Marie McLemore

GENRES: Magical realism, fiction, romance

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Anna-Marie McLemore never misses, and this beautiful story of two nonbinary, Latinx, and neurodivergent teens and a secret world beneath a lake is proof.

Mooncakes, Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu

GENRES: Fantasy, paranormal, urban fantasy, romance

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

An absolutely ADORABLE graphic novel about a nonbinary werewolf and a hard-of-hearing witch!

The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea, Maggie Tokuda-Hall

GENRES: Fantasy, romance

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea features a powerful genderfluid pirate as one of the main characters! There’s another prominent side character who is nonbinary as well.

The Ghosts We Keep, Mason Deaver

GENRES: Contemporary/realistic fiction

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

Though I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I Wish You All the Best, The Ghost We Keep is still an incredibly powerful exploration of grief. It’s also one of the only books I’ve seen that features a protagonist that uses multiple pronouns—Liam uses he/they pronouns!

Under Shifting Stars, Alexandra Latos

GENRES: Contemporary/realistic fiction, romance

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Clare, one of the twins featured at the forefront of Under Shifting Stars, is genderfluid!

Mask of Shadows, Linsey Miller

GENRES: Fantasy, romance

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Mask of Shadows is a super fun fantasy novel featuring a genderfluid assassin!

TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK! Have you read any of these books, and if so, what did you think of them? What are your favorite books with nonbinary and gender non-conforming rep? Tell me in the comments!

Today’s song:

this is so creepy I love it

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

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: June 27 – July 3, 2022

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! Hope this week has treated you well.

Whew, it’s definitely been an eventful week—good and bad. On the bright side, I went shopping for a bunch of stuff for my dorm room, and I had a lot of fun!! I also went to jury duty for the first time (nerve-wracking, to say the least), and I went on a hike on Friday…and we got charged at by a moose calf. Welcome to Colorado. (Don’t worry—it swerved into the woods as soon as it saw us lol)

As far as reading went, I’ve had tons of fun reading in the hammock, and most of what I’ve read has been decent, at least, save for one unfortunate DNF (as much as I enjoyed Gideon the Ninth, Harrow the Ninth was way more convoluted than necessary and just ended up being a chore to read). I got some more great books at the library, and they all look promising. And Camp NaNoWriMo started later this week, so I’ve been chugging along through my newest WIP!

Other than that, I’ve just been drawing, getting caught in the rain, listening to a bit too much Peter Gabriel, and watching the last two episodes of Stranger Things (NO SPOILERS PLEASE I’M WATCHING THE LAST EPISODE TONIGHT)

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea – Axie Oh (⭐️⭐️.5)

The Most Dazzling Girl in Berlin – Kip Wilson (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.25)

Just Your Local Bisexual Disaster – Andrea Mosqueda (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Atlas Six (The Atlas, #1) – Olivie Blake (⭐️⭐️⭐️.25)

Harrow the Ninth (The Locked Tomb, #2) – Tamsyn Muir (DNF – ⭐️⭐️)

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

Bluebird – Ciel Pierlot

The Ghosts We Keep – Mason Deaver

Alone in Space: A Collection – Tillie Walden

Among Thieves – M.J. Kuhn

Today’s song:

good GOD I’m obsessed with this song

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

Posted in Monthly Wrap-Ups

June 2022 Wrap-Up 🏳️‍🌈

Happy Thursday, bibliophiles!

It’s finally summer and 2022 is already a little over halfway gone…HOW?

GENERAL THOUGHTS:

June was a great start to my break; I took a trip to California (Yosemite and then San Francisco) early in the month, and I had so much fun! Once I got back, there was still a ton of stuff to do in preparation for college this August (AAAAAAAAA), so I’ve been slowly chugging away at that. Had my first jury duty summons yesterday, too…nerve-wracking, to say the least. And I’ve been sad and furious at the U.S. government (well…more than usual) for the past week. But even amidst that, I’ve really enjoyed the past few weeks. Summer is one of my favorite times of the year, and the weather is finally warm enough here that I can go outside and read in my hammock. Bliss.

After school let out, I’ve had so much more time to read as well! I focused on LGBTQ+ books this month, and I found some great reads. My brother also lent me his Fantastic Four comics (after we saw Multiverse of Madness and he realized that I hadn’t read them), so I had a lot of fun with those too. As far as writing goes, I’ve been polishing my outline for my Camp NaNoWriMo project, and I’m so excited to get writing again!! Soon…

Other than that, I’ve just been watching the new season of Stranger Things (my least favorite season so far, but I am F R I G H T E N E D for vol. 2), Jurassic World: Dominion (came anticipating no plot, only dinosaurs, but there were…very few dinosaurs 🫥), and the new season of The Umbrella Academy (I’m only halfway through, no spoilers!!!), listening to too much Spoon, T. Rex, and Soccer Mommy, and making an excessive amount of playlists.

READING AND BLOGGING:

I read 20 books this month! Summer has given me a lot more time to read, and I am all the better for it.

1 – 1.75 stars:

A Lesson in Vengeance

2 – 2.75 stars:

The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea

3 – 3.75 stars:

Just Your Local Bisexual Disaster

4 – 4.75 stars:

“Wait, it’s all Fantastic Four?”

“Always has been…”

The Raven and the Reindeer

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH: Flex Mentallo: Man of Muscle Mystery4.5 stars

Flex Mentallo: Man of Muscle Mystery

POSTS I’M PROUD OF:

SOME POSTS FROM OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE THAT I ENJOYED:

SONGS/ALBUMS THAT I ENJOYED:

NEW YEAH YEAH YEAHS IN SEPTEMBER OMG
ugh what a fantastic album
love this album so much
you ever just listen to one song on repeat for an entire plane ride? couldn’t be me, no way…never…
NEW GORILLAZ WOOHOO
man I need to listen to more Peter Gabriel
LOVE THE NEW SOCCER MOMMY AAAAAAAAH

DID I FOLLOW THROUGH ON MY JUNE GOALS?

  • Read at least 20 books: 20!
  • Enjoy the first month of summer/pride month!: As busy as it’s been, I’ve had a lot of fun!

GOALS FOR JULY:

  • Read at least 20 books:
  • Get through Camp NaNoWriMo!

Today’s song:

forgot about this song 🥲

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

Posted in Music

WE – Arcade Fire album review

Happy Thursday, bibliophiles!

Welcome to another installment of “2022 is the year that the music gods have blessed us”…

Arcade Fire has been a fairly constant presence in my life for as long as I can remember; for years, I’ve been hearing and loving songs from Funeral and The Suburbs in my car, and I nearly got to see them live on their last tour (the concert was on the same day as a school trip I had 😭). So I was so excited to hear that they had another album on the way a few months ago—and now that I’ve listened to it, I love it!

Enjoy this album review!

(note: I will be excluding track 3, “Prelude,” from my review, as it’s only 30 seconds long of vague bonking noises and static.)

WE – ARCADE FIRE ALBUM REVIEW

Track 1: “Age of Anxiety I” – 8.5/10

Right off the bat, I was so impressed by this song! One of my favorite songs on the album, and the perfect opener too. With its steady beat and timely lyricism, it perfectly sets up the landscape of the rest of the album—love it!

Track 2: “Age of Anxiety II (Rabbit Hole)” – 7.5/10

Continuing the momentum from “Age of Anxiety I,” “Rabbit Hole” keeps its steady pace. As long as it is, it manages to keep itself afloat for the full seven minutes and still be consistently listenable throughout. Not as good as I, but still a wonderful continuation.

Track 4: “End of the Empire I-III” – 8/10

“End of the Empire I-III” takes a turn into slower, more introspective territory. Its lulling and waving melodies feel immersive and welcoming, and it demonstrates the extent of Win Butler’s lyricism, the intense introspection and reflection that makes Arcade Fire stand the test of time.

Track 5: “End of the Empire IV (Sagittarius A*)” – 8/10

Most of the songs on WE have at twin of some sort, and I’ve noticed a pattern—they’re never interchangeable, but they’re nevertheless inextricably connected. In the instance of “Sagittarius A*,” it’s a continuation of the slow, measured reflection of the strange mess of the world in the last two years. The lyrics are far more on the nose here (repetition of “I/we/she/etc. unsubscribe[s]), but they’re nevertheless timely. I love the little electronic strains at the end as well.

Track 6: “The Lightning I” – 8.5/10

The two “Lightning” songs were the first singles to come out of WE, and this one reminded me of why I love Arcade Fire so much. So many people, so many instruments, all in exuberant harmony—just the kind of energy that we need in these unpredictable times. Ties into the general theme of the album, from what I can discern—clinging onto hope and togetherness in a time bent on tearing us apart.

Track 7: “The Lightning II” – 8.5/10

It makes sense that the music video for the two “Lightning”s is all in one; unlike the other twin songs, this one is has the smoothest transition from one song to the other. And it continues its contagious, exuberant joy, bringing the album to a hopeful, explosive crescendo.

Track 8: “Unconditional I (Lookout Kid)” – 7/10

This is my least favorite song on the album, but it’s nonetheless sweet, especially considering that Win Butler wrote it for his kid. The lyrics are more than a little on the nose, but they’re lyrics that everybody needs to hear growing up, which is what makes them so lasting. Sweet stuff.

Track 9: “Unconditional II (Race and Religion) (feat. Peter Gabriel)” – 10/10

MORE REGINE CHASSAGNE PLEASE AND THANK YOU

I’ve had this on repeat for a solid week—my favorite song on the album! Régine Chassagne’s vocals have an infectious joy and excitement to them, and combined with the harmonious music and message, it makes for the best song on the whole album. It’s already the highlight of the album, but having PETER GABRIEL, FOR GOD’S SAKES—that makes it even better!

Track 10: “WE” – 7.5/10

A gentle, slow ease out of a fantastic album. Even though Arcade Fire’s strength is in their numbers and varied instruments, sometimes their acoustic pieces are almost just as good. That’s the case of “WE”—not the best song on the album, but a perfect segway out of an adventurous album and a softer comedown from “Race and Religion.”

I averaged out all my ratings from each track, and it came out to a solid 8.2! I feel like that’s an accurate portrayal of my thoughts; WE is, without a doubt, high in the ranks of my favorite albums of 2022 so far—timely, but still rife with the infectious joy that makes me love Arcade Fire as much as I do.

Since this is an album review, consider the entire album to be today’s song.

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