Sunday, February 21, 2021

The Sunday Post #263

 

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The Sunday Post is a chance to recap the past week, talk about next week, tell you what I’m reading, and share news. It’s hosted by The Caffeinated Book ReviewerReaderbuzz, and Book Date.

 

 

 

The Sunday Post #263

 

 

 

 

On The Blog Last Week

 

 

 

 

 

On The Blog This Week

 

  • On Saturday there’s a book haul.

 

 

 

 

In My Reading Life

 

Last week, I finished A Great And Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray. Someone needs to tell me if I should continue with this series. I found the book entertaining, but I’m not sure if I liked it enough to read the next one. It’s young adult historical fantasy about girls at a proper English boarding school. One of the girls discovers that she can open a portal to another world and bring back temporary magical powers. I love the humor and the complicated relationships between the main characters. The “frenemies” girl group reminds me of the slightly abusive friendships I had when I was a teenager. I like that the story is about teenagers discovering how powerful they can be. I was less interested in the fantasy realm. I know the fantasy world will become more developed as the series progresses, but in the first book, it’s shallow and generic. There’s an evil force and a “chose one” girl who has to stop it. I’ve seen these tropes before. Whenever the girls were in the fantasy realm, I was impatiently waiting for them to go back to the boarding school because that setting was more developed and complex. So . . . I don’t know. It’s a funny, escapist book that I read quickly, but I’m not sure if I want to read the next one.




I also finished a short story collection called How To Breathe Underwater by Julie Orringer. These stories are bleak and oddly fascinating. Have you ever read a plot twist that horrified you so much that you set the book down and backed away slowly? Yeah, that feeling sums up these stories! They’re all coming-of-age tales about girls or young women. The main characters either do something horrible or have something horrible happen to them. The stories are beautifully written and surprising. They come together in ways I didn’t see coming. I didn’t always know how the author would tie the disparate themes and plot threads together, but almost all of the stories ended perfectly. I will definitely reread this collection. I think it’s the kind of book you can read a dozen times and notice something new with each reread. The characters are complicated; the plots are intricate. My only complaint is that the main characters are too similar. They’re morally gray, depressed, slightly na├»ve, often Jewish young women. By the end of the book, they all felt like the same person to me. Still, it’s an excellent collection. If you can handle bleak, shocking stories, I recommend it.




Right now, I’m reading another bleak book! It’s There There by Tommy Orange. It’s a hard book to summarize because it doesn’t have a plot, but I understand the hype! The writing is stunning and the characters are very real. I guess I’d call the book a composite novel? Or character sketches? Or maybe a loosely connected batch of essays and short stories? I don’t know. It has a similar structure to The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. It focuses on an event called The Big Oakland Powwow. Each chapter stars a different Native American character who is attending the powwow. I promise it’s not as boring as I just made it sound.




I’m also reading An Ember In The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. It’s a chunky young adult fantasy/dystopia novel. So far, it’s violent and confusing. I guess I’m intrigued? I’ve only read 50 pages, so I don’t really have an opinion.



 

 

 

In The Rest Of My Life

 

Five things that made me happy last week:

 

  1. It was Baby Brooklyn’s birthday on Tuesday. She turned two. Her current hobbies include incessantly singing “Baby Shark” and acting like a tiny dictator who talks about herself in 3rd person, has dramatic mood swings, and bosses everybody around. I love her. She doesn’t understand what birthdays are, but she enjoyed the cake and presents.
  2. It was my mom’s birthday on Friday. She understands what birthdays are and would probably murder me if I told you how old she is. We ate fried chicken and cornbread to celebrate.
  3. Have you been following the Mars rover stuff? I have! It makes me wish I was smart enough to work on space projects. The picture at the top of this post is a drawing of the rover and drone on Mars (plus cold Bernie Sanders because he’s been Photoshopped into every image on the Internet, apparently).
  4. I took a two-day break from blogging. I usually work on the blog every single night. Not looking at it for two days was weird. What do non-bloggers do at night? I ended up watching posh and unhelpful cooking tutorials. It’s hard to believe that people spend a ton of money on lobster, truffles, and fancy meat, then spend a whole day cooking it. If I spent that much money on ingredients, I’d expect them to come with Gordon Ramsey to cook them for me. Maybe cooking posh food is what non-bloggers do at night?
  5. I’ve been very good at not buying books recently. There’s actually empty space on my TBR shelf!

 

 

 

 

Obligatory “Begging For Followers” Part

 

 

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Take care of yourselves and be kind to each other. See you around the blogosphere!





23 comments:

  1. Two celebrations in one week! Sounds like fun. Cake, fried chicken, and corn bread all appeal to me. Brooklyn sounds like a trip. Little kids can be really funny sometimes. I only read the first Gemma Doyle book, so I have no advise. I do remember liking it though.

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  2. Two birthdays in a single week is hectic fun. I love your daughter's age - every week is an adventure... I hope the coming week is a peaceful, healthy one:))

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  3. My mom's birthday was on Thursday! Happy birthday to your mom and Brooklyn - I love that birthdays give me an excuse to cheat on my diet with yummy food.

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  4. Fried chicken, cornbread, cake... I want to come to your house. I've heard great things about An Ember in the Ashes but have never read it myself.

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  5. I'd say, if you aren't sure about continuing a series, you should stop while you are ahead. Though I've not read any of that particular series.

    I read There, There just before the author came to speak in Houston (I literally was reading the book in the parking garage that evening). Here's a bit from what I wrote about it: "I feel the same way I did when I read The Things They Carried: sitting in deep admiration for the beauty of the writing and certain of the truth of the words, but, nevertheless, scarred by the reading..."

    We are fascinated with space here. We are eagerly watching everything to do with the Rover.

    Happy birthday, Brooklyn. Happy birthday, Mom.

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  6. Hi there AJ! A great and terrible beauty does sound good and I agree with you - the magic part will also not be quite my scene, but the boarding school part will draw me big time.

    I wish I had time to spend on the blog every night, but there are normally books that need to be marked, or planning for the next day or just generally passing out from tiredness! But I try to get to it as much as possible.

    Happy Birthday to your mother and your baby girl. She sounds quite like the little entertainer!

    Have a good week AJ and take care!

    Elza Reads

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  7. I will have to check out How To Breathe Underwater. I am on the lookout for good short story collections. I don't read much YA these days, but am planning to read An Ember In the Ashes! Congratulations on making some empty space on your shelf. I have been doing a lot better about reading what I have lately too.

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  8. I watched the Mars landing and found it really exciting! And I thought There, There was an excellent book so I am glad to hear you enjoying it.

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  9. Yay for the birthday fun! The Mars stuff is really interesting. I think An Ember in Ashes is narrated by my absolute favorite narrator in audio. So it's on my tbr. Back when I didn't blog, I still read books at night.

    Anne - Books of My Heart This is my Sunday Post

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  10. I've read the first two books in An Ember in the Ashes. It's pretty good but I do remember it taking me a while to really get into it.

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  11. Bernie on Mars lol.

    Happy b-day to Brooklyn and your mother!!!

    "What do non-bloggers do at night?" Right???

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  12. Oh please, please give us examples of Brooklyn talking about herself in 3rd person!!!! I need that in my life.

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  13. I hope you enjoy the Ember series more than I did! I LOVED the first book so much, but they got much more meandering and convoluted as they went on. Happy birthday to your mom and Brooklyn!

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  14. Sounds like a fun week of birthday celebrations. I read A Great and Terrible Beauty and the sequel years ago and don't remember a thing about them. I must have enjoyed them at the time since I did read the second. I seem to blog in fits and starts. I'll write a few reviews and then abandon the blog for days. When I'm not on my blog I'm reading or listening to audiobooks so that I have something to blog about. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

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  15. Happy birthday to Baby Brooklyn!

    I am curious about There There.

    Enjoy your week, and here are my WEEKLY UPDATES

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  16. If in doubt, no doubt: DNF and go to some really fascinating books that have been waiting for you.
    That top picture is awesome! The Chicago Adler Planetarium did an amazing live program on youtube that day, in coordination with the Nasa feed. These people know to explain complex concepts to simple people like me, it was really fascinating.
    My post is here https://wordsandpeace.com/2021/02/21/sunday-post-39-2-21-2021/

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  17. Happy birthday to your Mom and Brooklyn ! And congratulations on the empty shelf space ^^ I haven't read that series, but if the first book didn't make you yearn for the rest, I say move on to another book. Enjoy your week ;)

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  18. Happy birthday to Brooklyn and your mum. Well done for not buying many books recently. I'm doing okay at that too, but only because I'm broke.
    I'm also following the Mars rover on Twitter and getting strangely attached to it.

    I might check out How to Breathe Underwater. I really like short story anthologies as I can easily dip in and out of them and so many of them end with a juicy twist.

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  19. Happy birthday to your mom and Brooklyn!! If I'm not doing blog stuff, I'm probably reading, or half reading and watching something random on TV. It's an exciting life. LOL

    Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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  20. I cannot believe that Brooklyn is already 2! She was just a tiny baby like 5 minutes ago. Happy Birthday to your mom and Brooklyn! I hope you enjoyed your blogging break. I feel like I spend all of my free time either working on posts, working on Instagram, and returning comments. I hope you have a great week!

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  21. I wish I'd had more of a clue about making a career out of my interests! I'd love to be working in a special effects studio or studying volcanoes or sharks or dinosaur stuff!

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  22. Happy birthday to mom and Brooklyn! I love that she's a tiny dictator, BOW BEFORE HER.

    I read Ember in the Ashes. I liked it but not enough to dedicate myself to a serise.

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  23. An Ember in the Ashes was a book that I became obsessed with but weirdly by the time the last one came out I was over it and didn't pick it up.

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