Sunday, September 12, 2021

The Sunday Post #278

 

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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 #278





On The Blog Recently






In My Reading Life


I haven't written a Sunday Post in a while, so I have a lot of books to tell you about. I'll try to make it quick.

I listened to Gemina by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff. It's book #2 in The Illuminae Files series. I love listening to this series because it's like a radio play. There's a full cast of narrators, plus sound effects. It's easy to get lost in the futuristic spaceship setting. It's very atmospheric. It's also very funny. There's a character named Ella who's one of my favorite fictional people ever. She’s a fifteen-year-old computer genius who relies on a wheelchair and oxygen tanks to survive. Just like a real teenager, she’s quirky in a slightly annoying way. She tells jokes during deadly situations and doesn’t take anything seriously. Even though I've read this series before, I still laughed at her jokes. If you like science fiction, I highly recommend this series. It's fast-paced and fun in both audiobook and traditional book format.



Then I read Fatal Throne: The Wives Of Henry VIII Tell All. It's a novella (or novelette?) collection, so it's written by a bunch of authors. I have mixed feelings about this one. I love the concept. Each chapter is narrated by a different wife and written by a different author. The chapters are interspersed with short sections from Henry VIII's perspective. The book is like a historical "Tell All." The stories are written in first person, and the wives share everything about their marriages, even the scandalous parts. Since each chapter is written by a different author, I expected more variety in the stories. They're all disappointingly similar in tone, structure, and subject. I didn't like that because the stories blurred together in my head. I also don't think Henry's chapters added much to the narrative. I got a good sense of his personality from the wives' chapters, so his sections feel repetitive. This isn't a bad book, but I think there are probably better books about Henry and the wives he murdered.



Up next was The Ones We're Meant To Find by Joan He. Look at me, reading a recent release. Usually, I just hoard new releases and wait 3 years to read them. This is a science fiction book that's super confusing at first, but then comes together in surprising ways. If you enjoy plot twists, you need to read this novel. It's packed with them. It's about two sisters who are trying to find each other. One is trapped on a deserted island. The other is living in a futuristic eco-city while natural disasters destroy the planet. I love that the sisters are so different. Kay is an introverted, socially awkward, science geek. Cee is the opposite. She's confident and spontaneous with a lot of friends. You need a high tolerance for confusion to read this book. Even though I enjoyed it overall, I struggled with the beginning. The author takes a really long time to answer the reader's questions. I found it incredibly frustrating. If you don't mind being confused, please read this book! It has excellent characters and twists.



Then, I discovered an all-time-favorite short story collection. It's Smoke & Mirrors by Neil Gaiman. People, this is how you write fantasy short stories! They're dark and weird and bloody and magical. The author is amazing at weaving the mundane with the fantastical. The stories start out ultra-realistic, but then there's suddenly a demon or troll or something. It catches you off-guard, but it still feels entirely plausible in the story's setting. Of course there's a troll under a bridge or a demon attacking stray cats. I could not put this book down. As soon as I finished one story, I started another because I wanted to know what horrifying thing Neil Gaiman would think of next. He has a twisted imagination. I don't think I fully "got" all the stories, but I didn't hate any of them. This is a 5-star collection. It would be perfect for Halloween. Warning: This book is NOT safe for work. A few of the stories have gross, graphic, horror sex. You wouldn't want your boss walking in while you're listening to that awkward weirdness. No one needs a detailed description of a troll's floppy dick in the workplace!



Okay, last book. (It's very different from the previous book.) I read Zealot: The Life And Times Of Jesus Of Nazareth by Reza Aslan. If you're looking for a book that will put religion in historical context, check this one out. It's exactly what I wanted! I wanted to learn more about what was happening in history when the world's major religions started. In this book, the author reconstructs first century Israel/Palestine/Judea. He discusses a few of the groups who lived in the area and the massive conflicts they had with each other. He also talks about which bits of the Bible he thinks are historically accurate and which aren't. He then uses his knowledge of history to uncover the "historical Jesus."  The author mostly just shrugs at the miracles and resurrection stuff. He's more interested in the events that would have shaped Jesus's life. I don't know enough about history or religion to judge the accuracy of the author's claims, but I found the book fascinating. The writing style is very readable. This isn't a dry college textbook. I got through it in two days, which is much faster than I usually read nonfiction.





In The Rest Of My Life


Five things that made me happy recently:


  1. My dog is still alive! She had a bunch of seizures, and I was pretty sure she was dying because she's old, but nope. Still alive (and currently barking).
  2. I found this YouTube video about 500 years of historical hairstyles. It's a really long video (because of the 500 years), but it made me want to try old hairstyles. I wish there wasn't a pandemic so I could make myself historical fancy and strut around in public.
  3. My work hours got changed. Now I get slightly more sleep on weekdays! It's very nice not to hear my alarm at 3:45 in the morning.
  4. My dad fixed my shower! The temperature control thingy was broken. For several weeks, I had to live with whatever temperature water came out of the wall. I'm too spoiled for that.
  5. This sign at my job. It was used to promote an educational event. For two hilarious days, random strangers would walk up to me and say, "Aren't herps sex things?" So . . . cookies for you if you know what "herps" are. (Hint: They're NOT sex things.) (Edit: They're PROBABLY NOT sex things. I won't shame you for your . . . um . . . interests.)






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










33 comments:

  1. So glad your dog is ok!

    That sign is kinda funny :)

    Zealot: The Life And Times Of Jesus Of Nazareth sounds like a book I'd enjoy!

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  2. I like the sound of both Gemina and Zealot. For me, it's always characters over plot, and I am fascinated with the characters (both fictional and not) in those two books.

    Oh, yeah, I know about herps. There are whole segments of our naturalist groups that love herps. Contrast those folks to bird people.

    I need to pass on that video of historical hairstyles. I've always been intrigued with the old style of doing hair sculptures.

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  3. I am happy to hear your dog is still alive, but all the seizures must be scary. I loved the Illuminae Files and heard the audiobooks are great. I remember Kristoff saying you can hear the Lollipop song on them. You are spoiled being able to control the temperature of your shower like that. Whoa! Yeah for dads!

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  4. I died reading your description of Smoke and Mirrors, omg. xD I need to pick that up one of these days.

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  5. I'm glad your dog is okay. Your books sound good.

    Have a great week!

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  6. Such great reads! And, I'm so glad your dog is better and the shower temp was fixed! Two things to definitely be happy about. Have a great week!

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  7. Hi there AJ! So glad to hear you are reading the Illuminae series (is that spelling correct now?) on audible. I think that might work for me too. Will check it out.

    The Jesus book sounds interesting, might take a look too!

    And glad your dog is good.... My old labby female is 12 years old and she is really getting old now too. Some days you can see she's not all there anymore and her hips are giving her a lot of trouble.

    Anyways! Have a good week and yea for sleeping a few minutes later over the weekend.

    Elza Reads

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  8. I am curious about The Ones We're Meant To Find.

    So glad your shower is now fixed! I would definitely hate not controlling the water temperature.

    Enjoy your week, and thanks for visiting my blog.

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  9. So glad to hear your dog is okay. I want to read the Fatal Throne book, but will keep your thoughts in mind. I liked Illuminae but haven't read on in the series. Now I'm thinking maybe I'll try the audiobook, because that sounds like a good way to listen! Have a good week!
    Lisa Loves Literature

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  10. LOL!! Love that work tip!!
    OMG.. 03.45 a.m.? That's crazy! And I thought I was early with my alarm going of at 5 a.m.
    I'm happy to read your dog is still going strong.
    Have a great week and happy reading.

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  11. Fatal Throne does sound like an interesting book, but can see how it might not be the best book about Henry VIII.

    Glad to hear your dog is hanging in there. Seizures are scary.

    Have a great week!

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  12. That work tip is great. I'm glad your dog is okay. The Neil Gaiman sounds good, I'm a fan of his work.
    That sign! lol. Happy reading this week.

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  13. I really need to read Gemina! Glad your dog is doing fine.

    Here’s my Sunday Post!

    Ronyell @ Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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  14. That work tip is giving me life, lol. I want to re-read The Illuminae Files at some point and based on your comments, I think I'll be going the audio route. Glad to hear your dog is okay. :)

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  15. I loved Gemina so much. the little running tally when the bad guys were picked off was great. Plus the music that kept playing (it's been a while so my memory is a bit fuzzy)...

    I'm glad to hear your dog is doing okay.

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  16. I'm so happy your dog is ok and you get to sleep later. I want to read the Illuminae Files but it will definitely be the audio version.

    Anne - Books of My Heart This is my Sunday Post

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  17. I will confess that I do not know what herps are, but I will now go look them up. (And I do, at least, know that they are not the same as herpes). :-)

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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  18. Smoke and Mirrors is my fave too! Also really happy your dog is okay!

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  19. So glad your dog is okay!! Off to find out what herps are. LOL

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  20. So glad to hear your dog is doing better. Ok. I looked up Herps and think your work sign is great; I'm sure it got people talking (and, I hope, attending the session)

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  21. First I am glad your dog is ok and second that your shower is fixed. I cannot do cold..so yeah I'd die. LOL

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  22. So glad your dog is ok! The shower thing, well, every shower is a surprise, but yeah, no. lol I added 3 of those books to Planet TBR. Now, to make time... Also, I would totally listen to floppy troll dicks in the workplace. Or here at home so the kids have to hear it, too. Don't worry, they're adults. LOL

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  23. I do actually now what ‘herps’ are, (though my autocorrect has no idea and insisted I should be writing hero’s three times). My interest is definitely piqued by Gaiman’s book now, thanks!

    Wishing you a great reading week

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  24. I'm glad your dog is okay! That's some scary stuff. Yay for having normal shower temps too. It's rough when you can't control that. And waking up at 3:45 is so early!!! I'm glad you have some more time to sleep in now.

    Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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  25. That work tip... vert tempting some days! LOL Go Dad on fixing the shower. I could not handle a tepid (or cold) shower. That's just cruel and unusual punishment.

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  26. Glad your dog is okay. Interesting cover to Fatal Throne. Have a great week. https://cindysbookcorner.blogspot.com/2021/09/its-monday-what-are-you-reading-2.html

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  27. I'm glad your dog is doing ok. That must have been really upsetting.

    I had to go look up herps. Made sense as soon as I found out what they are, given the name of people who study them.

    People keep recommending the Illuminae Files series; I think I should add them to my TBR list. I might get around to them in a couple of years! I do that too -- get new books, or at least put them on my TBR list, and then don't get around to them for forever.

    Have a good week!

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  28. I'm glad your dog is okay. Your books sound good.

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  29. Herps.. like reptiles/amphibians? Herpetologists? Neat!! We just added a new creature to our little herp menageries - a pacman frog I named Freddie. Lol.

    I am glad to hear that your dog is ok! How scary!!

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  30. Nice variety of books! I'm glad you don't have to get up so early. I couldn't do it! I think anytime before 8AM is early. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

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  31. Great batch of books! I'm really curious about The Ones We're Meant to Find, but I've been putting it off cause of the confusing (I get excessively confused in general) and the whole "while natural disasters rage" thing.

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  32. Okay, it's so cool but I just watched that YouTube video about 500 hairstyles last week one morning while getting ready for class. It's a great video!

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  33. I am glad you ended up enjoying The Ones We're Meant To Find despite the beginning. I am considering reading that one. I've enjoyed everything I have read by Neal Gaiman. Smoke and Mirrors sounds good! I hope the new work hours are working out for you. More sleep is always good. I seem to get less these days and I need to fix that somehow. I hope you have a great week, AJ. Happy reading!

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