Sunday, May 8, 2022

The Sunday Post #305

 

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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 #305





On The Blog Recently






In My Reading Life


I read two "quiet" science fiction books, and they were both great.

The first was The Unseen World by Liz Moore. It's set in 1980s Boston and follows twelve-year-old Ada and her father, a brilliant computer scientist. When her father starts losing his memory, Ada discovers that he may have been keeping secrets. Maybe he's not who he claims to be.

I wasn't sure about this book at first. The plot is slow and meandering, and Ada is kind of boring. Then I finished the book, and I couldn't stop thinking about it. It's the type of novel that sticks with you. The story is a compelling blend of real history and unsettling futuristic artificial intelligence. It's a realistic (and somewhat heartbreaking) look at a young woman who's grappling with her father's past and the ramifications of the work he'd done. While she's uncovering his secrets, she's also learning to live with a foster family, developing friendships and crushes, and watching her father's mind deteriorate. Ada doesn't have much personality on the outside, but there's a lot going on under the surface.

I was surprised by this book. I felt kind of "meh" about it while I was reading, but it keeps creeping up on me and ambushing my thoughts. That makes it worth reading. I don't think I'll forget this one anytime soon.




The other sci-fi book I read was The School For Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan. This is a new release that caught my attention because it's being called "The Handmaid's Tale for mothers." That's a valid comparison. The Handmaid's Tale has better writing, but there is a lot of overlap in the themes. Both books are about the cruelty that women face because of unfair laws and the judgmental behavior of other women.

The School For Good Mothers is a dystopia about Frida, who has a very bad day. She's so stressed out that she makes a series of terrible decisions that end with her leaving her two-year-old home alone for several hours. The kid is okay, but the government is not amused. Child Protective Services sends Frida to a special school where she has to raise a robot child. The robot toddler is sometimes too lifelike, and sometimes not lifelike enough. If Frida can successfully parent the robot, she'll get her real child back.

This story raises a lot of interesting questions. Frida is not a likeable character. She doesn't always make good parenting decisions, but she loves her child more than anything in the world. It makes you wonder what "good mother" means and who gets to decide. Frida is the child of Chinese immigrants who had a different parenting style than the white, middle-class parents in their neighborhood. Frida has problems, but she survived, so are her parents good or bad?

The book also raises questions about punishment. Frida messed up and (probably) deserves to be punished, but when does the punishment become worse than the crime? Should her daughter be taken away forever? Will that do more harm than good?

I love the ethical questions that this book examines, but I was less thrilled with the plot and writing style. The plot gets repetitive, and the writing style puts a lot of distance between the characters and the reader. I never truly cared about Frida, and sometimes she gets lost in the crowd when the author drifts away from her to focus on other characters. None of the characters felt fully developed to me.

I still think this book is worth reading. It's entertaining and captures the pressure that women feel to live up to the "perfect mother" stereotype.




Right now, I'm reading The Familiars by Stacey Halls. It's historical fiction about a couple who is desperate to have a child and turns to a potential witch for help. It's well-written and intriguing so far.






In The Rest Of My Life


Five things that made me happy recently:


  1. Who watched Heartstopper on Netflix? It's adorable! Watch it if you enjoy happiness.
  2. I don't have COVID. I had to do an at-home COVID test for the first time ever because I'm sick. I'm still sick, but it's not COVID. So. . . yay?
  3. New books!
  4. I started my new job and got to meet my coworkers. Park rangers are nice people. A lot of them have a morbid sense of humor, so we'll get along great.
  5. Nachos!





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









33 comments:

  1. I'm sorry you aren't feeling well, but glad it's not Covid. Good luck with your new job. It's always important to work with nice people. Have a great week!

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  2. Yay fot not having COVID! I hope ypu do feel better soon. I have always wanted to read "School for Good Mothers.

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  3. Feel better soon - but yay for not-Covid!

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  4. Yay for it not being Covid! (I guess!) Hope you feel better soon! :) <3

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  5. A new job - how exciting! I love a book that still has you thinking, and maybe changing your mind, even after you have put it down.

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  6. Heartstoppers! yay! Hope you feel better soon.

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  7. So, yeah. That last comment was from me. Heartstoppers was just a good as the graphic novel :-)

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  8. I found all those books so interesting, and I'm already struggling with not adding even more books to my list haha. Good luck with your new job!

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  9. I had nachos last week with the kid and would not mind having some right now. I did a home Covid test last night, but went to the pros for a PCR today. Still hoping it's a head cold. Awesome news about your co-workers. It's always great to be part of a nice team. When I read your summary for The Familiars, I couldn't help but think of the baker and his wife from Into the Woods.

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  10. Well, I just tested positive this morning for Covid. I have already passed through the sore throat and fever and now a small annoying cough has appeared. I would make sure you test again in a couple days since I was negative yesterday.

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  11. I was sick the entire month of February and several people felt the need to keep telling me "well at least it's not Covid." Yeah I'm glad it's not Covid, but I'm still freaking sick. Hope you feel better this week. Yay for cool coworkers who get your humor. :)

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  12. Glad to read it's not COVID. I got a bad case of the flu a few weeks back. It totally sucks. I'm glad your new coworkers seem to be nice. ;) I definitely hope to see Heartstopper soon.. I just want to read the book first. :D Happy reading.

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  13. I didn't notice that park rangers had a morbid sense of humore AJ! LOL And I hope you'll feel better veyr soon.

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  14. Hi AJ! Also sick, but not Covid. So yea to both of us I guess. The School for Good Mothers sounds really good. I never read The Handmaid's Tale. Couldn't get into it....

    Glad to hear you like your new colleagues, I think it normally helps to have people who you have things in common with. Even if it's a morbid sense of humor.

    Have a great week ahead!

    Elza Reads

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  15. Congrats on not having Covid! And on the job. I have a relative who works for the parks service (I don't know if he's really a ranger per se, but he does a lot of outdoorsy stuff).

    Nachos!

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  16. That's great that your coworkers are nice! That's always a risk you take when you start a new job!

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  17. Sorry you're sick but it's good that it's not Covid!

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  18. So great it's not COVID! I hope you enjoy the new job and are feeling better.

    Anne - Books of My Heart This is my Sunday Post

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  19. Ha ha! I love that blender quip. I can relate to that so much. I'm glad you don't have COVID and I'm sorry you're sick. I hope you feel better soon.

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  20. Glad you don't have COVID, but I hope that you get better soon.

    Here’s my Sunday Post!

    Ronyell @ Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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  21. I hope you feel much better soon!

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  22. Glad it's not covid, but sorry you're not feeling 100%. Not sure I could handle The School for Good Mothers at this point... sigh.

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  23. Rest up so you feel better. Glad your new job is going well. I completely relate to that meme you've got to start the post. Not looking forward to screaming tomorrow.

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  24. I think we all are remembering what an old fashioned cold feels like.
    Still processing the blender quote...

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  25. So sorry you’re sick but so glad it’s not Covid. Good luck with your new job!

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  26. I hope you are feeling better. I’m glad to hear the job is going well.
    I was curious about The School for Good Mothers so thanks for sharing your thoughts

    Wishing you a great reading week

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  27. Hope you feel better soon! Nice to hear that you like your new co-workers. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

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  28. Glad the new job is going well! I hope you feel better soon but yay for no Covid. And I still need to watch Heartstopper.

    Lauren @ www.shootingstarsmag.net

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  29. I'm glad you don't have Covid but sorry you're still sick. I'm also glad that your new coworkers are nice though I'm not surprised Park Rangers can have a morbid sense of humor! I hope you are having a wonderful week.

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  30. Relieved you don't have Covid and I hope you feel better soon, AJ. How lovely that you have bonded with your co-workers and share a sense of humour - that's so important! I was fascinated by both the books you read - and while The School for Good Mothers isn't one I am tempted to read right now, I think the issues it raises about motherhood, who gets to judge when it isn't being done well and how to fix that - is vital. Because I surely don't think we've got that balance right at present... Thank you for sharing some interesting books - The Unseen World sounds like one I'll be tracking down when I'm feeling better! And I hope you are having a good week:).

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  31. Yeah Liz Moore is a good author. I've read three of her novels including the one you just read. They're all quite good. Long Bright River is my favorite. I liked your reviews of both.

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  32. Oh no, I hope you'll feel better soon, sending you all the love and strength! And yay for the new co-workers being nice, I hope your new job will be alright :) Have a fantastic week and take care! x

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  33. Sorry you're sick. I hope you've started feeling better, and I hope your new job makes you happy... although if you are making blender noises it seems not? 🤔

    I've added the first two books to Goodreads. I really liked The Familiars. 📚

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