spontaneous train ride & a chess obsession | Bi-Weekly Update

New book posts:

Other books I’ve been reading:

  • None, because exams coming up. Ah, scratch that, I read the short Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh (m/m, fantasy with myhtology & fairytale vibes).

Added to TBR:

  • The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley (mystery, thriller, dark academia): a group of old Oxford uni friends (or frenemies), a cabin in the Scottish Highlands & murder
  • The Truants by Kate Weinberg (mystery, thriller, dark academia): untrustworthy characters, manipulation, a mysterious star professor
  • Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse (fantasy, sci-fi, lgbt)
  • Dearly by Margaret Atwood (poetry); it’s a new release and I didn’t realize as suddenly I saw pieces of her poetry all over
  • Maurice by E. M. Forster (classics, lgbt; m/m)
  • Harleen by Stjepan Šejić (graphic novel): found it as one of the goodreads award nominees
  • Piranesi by Susanna Clarke (fantays, magical realism, greek mythology): found it as one of the goodreads award nominees

Three things on my mind:

  • I might have woken up one thursday morning, opened my eyes and thought “I want to take the seven hour train and bus ride back home, in the middle of studying for exams, and exchange this tiny room in a flat of fifteen to be in the house alone” then did so the next day, but I did not expect the immediate return of stress-baking as a coping mechanism. Or my suitcase-wheels breaking off, meaning I had to drag it through the snow in soaking wet, cold sneakers. Then, on the train I learned my tiny village of 940 people is having it’s first outbreak of corona virus (don’t know how bad yet) and also all the snow made the power go out in the whole village, meaning my dinner was one nice, cold pita with nothing on. Still, I don’t regret the decision one bit (yet), even though my poor body is hurting all over because my joints wasn’t well to begin with because of the newly discovered ~rheumatism~.
  • I’ve started procrastinating by watching chess again. I don’t really like to play regular chess myself, only to make the calculations while in-game or just watch the play if it’s rapid or blitz chess as it’s mesmerizing how fast it goes, as well as very apparent when a player realizes they’re in deep trouble. I mean, as a norwegian, of course I have to follow Magnus Carlsen’s play, but he truly is interesting to watch more so because he seem to understand the next move so quickly, no matter the pace of the chess.
  • This fake-deep correlation struck me; I’ve started to think of this past semester as a blind chess game, constantly trying to remember all the moves of the people around me for the past ten days and then do the calculation of whether I’m safe enough around them as someone in the corona risk-group.
  • Let’s end with some positives; I got the power back in time to play among us for the first time ever, with friends. It was terrifying as a non-gamer. This house has a bathtub that I’m spending too much time in already, procrastinating and trying to return some heat to my body surrounded by this snow. My local store is bringing food to everyone’s door both because of how the elderly shouldn’t have to wander in the heavy snow and because of the corona outbreak, so I used this on the slight chance I could’ve brought corona from the city and I’m so happy they’re making it easier for everyone to isolate themselves. And also enabling the stress-baking. Cheers from me, the wine bottle I left last summer and the bread in the oven. I’m also so excited to hug my mom when she arrives.

The Dark Academia Book Tag

I first saw The Wolf and Books do this tag and it looked fun! It seems to be (partly) made by emmie.

1. What is your favourite “academia” or “dark” book + movie?

I truly have yet to watch a dark academia movie I like (at least as I can remember right now)

2. What dead poet would you like to have a drink with?

I would say Mary Oliver, who rather recently died. But she does not seem like a person who would spill her secrets or innermost thoughts in one meeting. It would still be nice though. I could ask life advice in general, hahhha. Her life seemed calm and filled with love as she got into old age.

3. What is your favourite painting and/or sculpture?

As a norwegian I think I was over-exposed to “Skrik”/ Scream (1910) by Edvard Munch, but then I slowly also fell in love with it and the expressions through the colours and the motive.

4. What is your favourite architectural marvel?

The pyramids of Giza. I mean, they were built in 2550 to 2490 B.C. and that has always fascinated me, as everyone else. I think ancient egyptian civilization as a whole takes up a certian part of my brain just for being mindblowing and existential about how long humans have been very intelligent.

5. What Shakespeare play would you want to be the lead in?

I know too little of Shakespeare, but obviously Hamlet.

6. How many languages do you speak and which language would you most like to learn?

First language norwegian, fluent english, very much not fluent in spanish as I took it at school for five years, but truly only two somewhat-productive ones at that. I would like to learn spanish better at some point. At one point in my life I want to learn Northern Sami because my grandmother, who started her life as a sea-sami, spoke it. Mainly to learn more about that culture from sources in their own language, because that’s a barricade I’ve met researching even a small bit sometimes. Other than that, I don’t take to languages easily and while it would be really cool to know russian or something with a completely different alphabet than mine, it just won’t happen anytime soon.

7. What is your favourite quote (from poetry, prose, plays, etc.)?

Lately it’s been –

You don’t want to hear the story

of my life, and anyway

I don’t want to tell it, I want to listen

to the enormous waterfalls of the sun.

And anyway it’s the same old story –

a few people just trying,

one way or another,

to survive.

Mostly, I want to be kind.

And nobody, of course, is kind,

or mean,

for a simple reason.

Quote from Dogfish by Mary Oliver

8. Which fictional character’s death is your ideal way to go?

Immortality, of course.

9. What university/college would you most like to attend?

I am at university, so this feels like cheating. But then again my university has handled corona badly this autumn, so I don’t feel that bad. I truly considered Edinburgh university for a while, pre-corona, as exchange or further into my degree. But it was definitely more for the city than the university.

Where I truly would want to go is Bennington College back in 1982 which Esquire described as “Among the druggies, rebels, heirs, and posers: future Gen X literary stars Donna Tartt (The Secret History), Bret Easton Ellis (American Psycho) and Jonathan Lethem.” The article is fascinating, if kind of unbelievable. It’s not got the same reputation for eccentricity today, unfortunately. Or fortunately?? I think if that image was real, places like that make or break people; a few truly achieves a potential, a lot end up with drug problems and similar things.

10. What is your murder weapon or murder method of choice?

Poison is a classic

11. What mythology would you most like to apart of?

I’m guessing we’re thinking as if a god in this “universe” type of scenario; Norse, because of Loke and the shit he’s up to. I just want to see the reactions of that family as they realize.

12. If you had to do a PhD what would you choose to do it on?

I’m in physics, so hopefully physics?

13. Which fictional character would you die for?

No. Something the characters of the books I read have in common is that they often make choices that leads them to uncertain situations, and it’s most likely their fault? And they’re fictional.

Rapid-Fire: Pick One

1. Leather bound or cloth bound books

Cloth – no ethical things to research.

2. Dog-earing pages or highlighting pages

Highlighting

3. Sculptures or paintings

Paintings

4. Piano or violin

Piano – I claim to be able to play it, but none I live with have yet to hear it because I’m so out of practice.

5. Films or theatre

Films

6. Poetry or prose

Poetry

7. Museums or bookshops

Bookshops

8. Smell of books or smell of coffee/tea

Smell of tea

9. Fountain pen or typewriter

Fountain pen – I own one

10. New or used books

Used has extra charm, but I don’t have easy access to good used book stores.

Exciting New Book Releases Autumn 2020 (part two)

I made a weird summer/autumn mix of new releases last time, so I’ll call it a part one.

Watch Over Me by Nina LaCour

Release date: September 15th 2020

Why I want to read it: Ghosts, a beautiful remote farm, trauma & loneliness. Same author as a lot of other amazing books; like “We Are Okay” and “Everything Leads To You“.

Burning Roses by S. L. Huang

Release date: September 29th 2020

Why I want to read it: A queer girls retelling of Red Riding Hood and the Chinese mythological archer Hou Yi (which I’ve not read about before), along with a few others mixed into this mashup. Same author as the badass Cas Russell series!

The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton

Release date: October 6th 2020

Why I want to read it: The title was what drew me in tbh. Then I realized it was the same author as another book I want to read; “The Seven and a Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle”. Not to forget the synopsis’ promise of: “A murder on the high seas. A detective duo. A demon who may or may not exist.”

What Saves Us: Poems of Empathy and Outrage in the Age of Trump

Release date: October 15th 2020

Why I want to read it: I first found it because Ocean Vuong is one of many writers in this anthology. I think a lot of poems of empathy & outrage from diverse voices is very much what I need right now.

Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth

Release date: October 20th 2020

Why I want to read it: same author as “The Miseducation of Cameron Post”. It promises horror, boarding all-girls school and most importantly sapphic (or lesbian) dark academia

Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco

Release date: October 27th 2020

Why I want to read it: sicilian twin witches, set in 1800s. Murder, vengeance, a sarcastic bad-boy demon princes and dark magic. And I’ve seen people enjoy it so far.

A Court of Silver Flames (ACOTAR #4) by Sarah J. Maas

Release date: October 27th 2020

Why I want to read it: I’ve gotten so far into the series that I want to get through with it, tbh. I’ve mainly given up on still liking this author, it’s like her writing & choices plot and character-wise have declined the last books, probably because of popularity and publishing quicker.

Those Who Prey by Jennifer Moffett

Release date: November 10th 2020

Why I want to read it: dark academia set in college, lonelines, cults, manipulation and at least one death.

Rhythm of War (The Stormlight Archive #4) by Brandon Sanderon

Release date: November 17th 2020

Why I want to read it: IT’S THE STORMLIGHT ARCHIVE, IF IT’S ANY BOOK I EVER HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR IT IS THIS ONE! so excited.

How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories by Holly Black

Release date: November 24th 2020

Why I want to read it: It’s a somewhat short story from the Folk of the Air series, so it’s more to complete it than anything else. I’ve always liked Jude better than Cardan since The Cruel Prince.

Ruinsong

Release date: November 24th 2020

Why I want to read it: I’m kind of on the fence for this one, because, while I truly wanted to, I never got into The Seafarer’s Kiss by the same author because personally the writing didn’t fit me. But this one has enemies to lover vibes and promises sapphic (lesbian) characters, not to mention underground rebellion, so I’m willing to give it another try.

 

hospital stay & new tbr books | Bi-Weekly Update

New book posts:

Other books I’ve been reading:

  • The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel A. van der Kolk (non-fiction, metal health)
  • When I Arrived at the Castle by Emily Carroll (queer graphic novel)
  • A great, short book in norwegian about magic/shamans in sami culture and especially the “witch trials” in the north of Norway. It’s strange the darker parts we learn of other countries’ history in school, but not so much our own.
  • Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse (urban fantasy, post-apocalyptic, author is familiar with Navajo culture through her husband & the protagonist is Navajo)

Added to TBR:

  • Beneath the Dead Oak Tree by Emily Carroll because I read & liked her other graphic novels “When I Arrived at the Castle” and “Through the Woods”
  • Peace Breaks Out by John Knowles because I read & liked Knowles’ other, much more well-known novel “A Separate Peace” and both are set at the same boarding school, so I expect all of the classic & dark academia vibes, maybe even more homosexual undertones. I’m going to enjoy writing my queer take of a review on A Separate Peace, because although the author has denied it, there’s some definite “I’m in love with my bestfriend” moments there. As I mentioned on tumblr as I read this book in one night; “I’m 47 pages in, and had to google it to make sure since the main character is once again remarking on very specific things, like how much this athletic boy’s skin radiates, like you know – boys being boys often do ??”
  • The Magus by John Fowles (classics, mystery) because why not. And the intriguing promise of “a young Englishman who accepts a teaching position on a remote Greek island, where he befriends a local millionaire. The friendship soon evolves into a deadly game, in which reality and fantasy are deliberately manipulated, and Nicholas finds that he must fight not only for his sanity but for his very survival.”
  • Red Dragon (Hannibal Lecter) by Thomas Harris (horror, psychological thriller) – yeah, two weeks ago I wondered whether “rewatching two seasons of Hannibal in two days are not what you should do when you’ve been sick” before having to reconnect with society and actual people. I did survive going into society, if barely – like truly, corona made its upswing again where I lived just as I stepped my foot out that door. But now that I’m stuck with myself again, why not read Hannibal as well.
  • The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton is a mystery/thriller I’m sceptical if I’m going to like, I’ve seen reviews that leads me to believe it’s a very hit or miss type of book. But many of them describe it as ‘devilish’ because everyone is unreliable, which I see as a positive and what I’m looking for right now.
  • A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin because I always say I need to read more of her work, which are classics of the fantasy/science fiction genre, but I never seem to get around to it.
  • Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (fantasy) because while it was released last year, it’s gotten so many good reviews (goodreads average 4.20!!!) and I’m definitely here for the queer necromancers.
  • A Winter’s Promise by Christelle Dabos (YA fantasy, dark academia), recommended to me by a friend.

Posts I’ve loved by other bloggers:

I started reading through more blog posts from others again prior to the hospital visit, but it did give me time to spend and I found some enjoyment through posts like these –

  • ONLINE BOOKSHOPS TO SHOP AT INSTEAD OF AMAZON: BREAKING UP WITH AMAZON (PART I) by arub unwritten: I rarely buy books now and they’re mostly from norwegian bookstores. But I have also automatically bough books from bookdepository for the convenience, before I started to feel bad about that. Then I found this post which gives a pretty neat introduction, especially to other stores to look into. And it includes which places the stores ship too! Should be a requirement, jeez. Hive was pretty empty (for me at least) considering the corona-struggle of shipment, but I’ll definitely check in with them in the future again.
  • Ink-Stained Forest’s Literature Journey where they talk about exactly that, but it was a familiar & beautifully written type of journey, an example of what place and function literature can have in your life, and how it can vary over time. It also made me want to sit down and truly look at if I also have these almost episodic changes to what type of book or genre I read and the function that fills. Even if I switch between reading both for reflection and enjoyment, without always going into a book knowing which one I’ll most likely get more of.
  • Fall Reads by your reading needs by forgot second breakfast (which is a unique & impressive name): a good, short list of fall reads that gives you spooky, adventure, athmosphere & romance and reminds me I want to get to Gideon the Ninth soon.
  • Mathematical science fiction books from Book Riot: I’ve been looking for lists like these for so long! I cannot tell you accurately enough the struggle to find these types of books (or fantasy), then separate the bad mathematics from the badly promoted mathematics, but the part it plays in the book is good enough. I’m not talking about brilliant even, just good enough!! I can vouch for Zero Sum Game being good (I haven’t sat down researching all the math topics mentioned, but it seems legit and has a fun kind-of-supernatural part), although you might have different problems with that one if you’re not ready for a lot of bloodshed and morally gray characters.
  • Favorite Villains by Mary Drover: I’ve been too into villains this autumn and here was a few new ones I’ve yet to put on the never-ending TBR list of them, hahha.

Three things on my mind:

  • I had to start this week off by going to the emergency room at 5 am for major stomach pain, then I was at the hospital for five days. I’ve just been released, but they did not find out what happened even with a lot of tests. So I’ve yet to eat proper food without throwing up, meaning I was let go with a “come back if you don’t get better”. I have crohn’s disease already, which can affect your entire intestine, as well as a gallbladder diagnosis, and lung trouble that we don’t yet know the cause of – so it could be basically anything is what I’m saying. I wrote a mini-post about it just now, surprisingly it’s very reflective on illness, empathy & friendship. If there’s something I’ve done this week it’s spending a lot of time thinking, staring out into nothing. And while very original thoughts doesn’t appear right then, I’ve found it does start up this process and suddenly you find yourself with new insights, ideas and opinions.
  • An extremely specific hospital-college crossover pro-tip; if going to the hospital for closer to a week, send a message to the people you live with or, if you’re like me and extremely drugged on pain killers & pain, have one of them message the others explaining the situation. Because if not you end up with my scenario where one of the people you talk most to just happens to have a strange week where he doesn’t see the others that much and suddenly it’s been three days and he’s like “where are you?” and oops, you realize the mistake. It’s already a funny mistake, but jeez, I feel bad for both of us in this scenario… It took three whole days!
  • My friend & roommate is reading Harry Potter for the first time and discovering book fandoms. Mainly draco tiktok, which my slytherin self had to realize how many good content creators was behind it. So she is talking about wanting to write fanfics. I have to admit I’ve never written fanfiction, but I don’t know how to tell her I genuinely put a lot of effort into writing through high school. I sent the message “what do you think the chance is that I’ve ever written 50k words on a project?” and got “you? never” instantly in reply. For reference my WIP is about four times that (and needs to be cut down considerably to be useful for anything). Mostly because, looking back, you can truly see the quality of my writing progress through which parts are written first and years later, because I write weird (that’s for another time). But oh, how much this made me rethink how much of a book-nerd I seem in real life; even with the amount of books I own, apparently not a big enough one. We’re mostly all nerds here at my uni, but I am truly a book nerd as well and it’s going to be a more difficult time proving it than I thought.

the return of autumn and corona, i guess | Bi-Weekly Update

New book posts:

Other books I’ve been reading:

  • The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel A. van der Kolk
  • Paper Girls vol. 1 – 6 by Brian K. Vaughan
  • The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller
  • Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
  • When I Arrived at the Castle by Emily Carroll

Added to TBR:

  • Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse (urban fantasy with anti-heroine)
  • Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant (horror with mermaids, f/f)
  • Merchants of Doubt by Oreskes and Conway (science, climate change)
  • Enchantée by Gita Trelease (set in Paris 1789, historical, witches)
  • Plain Bad Heroines by emily m. danforth, same as the author of “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” (horror, boarding all girls school, sapphic dark academia)
  • Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft (short stories, witches, queer characters)
  • Kingdom of Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco (young adult fantasy with witches)
  • Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, same author as Mexican Gothic which I would like to read as well (horror with vampires, set in Mexico City)

Three things on my mind:

  • Maybe rewatching two seasons of Hannibal in two days are not what you should do when you’ve been sick (with a sinus infection, not corona, I’ve done two tests) the whole week and only just gotten good enough to walk out of the house for food, but it did feel worth it at the time. I’m going to have to reconnect with the outside world and actual people again now, so wish me luck there.
  • I have since starting writing this rejoined society and I wasn’t aware of how much I was missing (of course my friends but more specifically) older students and the motivation they bring by just existing and being passionate about their degree or certain physics fields. This semester I’ve found myself constantly questioning why I’m doing this and not just taking a year off, because the constant struggle between hospital visits, bad health and trying to complete my second year during a pandemic is tearing me down. I feel I’ve reached some kind of personal conclusion now, but I do think we need to remind each other than no matter what one person is going through right now they’re also going through a pandemic. It’s difficult to support one another when we’re not supposed to socialize outside of friendgroups, but I think it’s something we need to find creative solutions for fast.
  • Speaking of it; Corona has made a comeback here this week. I’m so deeply tired of it, as we all are of course. We’re again stuck in the middle of not knowing how bad this outbreak is right now before it’s been another ten days or so. Motivation is sinking among the student body, or at least my friends. I have a whole lot of hospital appointments for chronic illness this fall and I’m worried that they’re going to be postponed, but at the same time I’m passed the point of worry for much of this. I’ve lived in such a heightened state of awareness as a young person in the risk group that I don’t know how I’m going to react this time around if (at least partly) lockdown happens, but it will definitely be different, because it’s become our new normal to such a degree.

Procrastination Book Tag

I’ve done this tag over two periods of time; taking two exams some time ago and trying to catch up a week’s work in a couple days. Since it was the perfect time for this procrastination this book tag that was too good to pass on. I can vouch on how I procrastinated on finishing the tag as well, love/hate that 90% done feeling. Also the graphics of the questions were so cute.

The Rules …

  1. Thank the person who nominated you. 
  2. Give credit to the original creator of the tag (Kate @ Cover to Cover Book Blog). 
  3. Link back to the original post.
  4. Nominate other bloggers whose procrastination preferences you’d like to know! 
  5. You DO NOT have to wait for a nomination to do this tag! Nominations are optional.

Cue me searching up what epistolary means. (It’s a novel written as a series of documents according to wiki). Truth is I rarely like romances and I rarely like epistolary novels so I don’t have a favourite epistolary romance book. (One of the reasons I really disliked Illuminae tbh).

I have read a small part of the great & strange House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski, which I think of as more of a horror novel, but has surprisingly also been categorized as a love story by the author – I didn’t get to that part. Definitely would like to continue it someday.

Red White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuinston (full review) is the cutest enemies to lovers story ever feautyring one gay royal and one bisexual son of the US president.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid (full review) is about the fabolous, dramatic life of a fictional movie star that feels so real I was constantly wanting to google details on her. Also has f/f romance and queer characters.

The Selection by Kiera Cass (full review) is just a classical YA story with a prince looking for a future princess through a reality show of sorts, but it has enough essence to it to be interesting and a quick & fun read.

My twitter (@esoffee); mostly book-related stuff and cute animals, I think.

Do any of us truly like twitter? I thought I did and then corona happened and the answer was no. Follow Hank Green, I guess?? He’s a good one. And read his new book A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor, it’s worth it.

Before book blog there was book tumblr and it’s still up & going. I would take so many more book photos if I didn’t get physical book so much more rarely now (all these photos are old).

Zero Sum Game by S. L. Huang (full review) truly surprised me as I knew it was about an anti-heroine going in, but didn’t anticipate the high level of action plot and bloodbath mixed with math references and unique superpowers. How can you both like and dislike a main character that much at the same time??

I mean – most of them? If we want to add a part of “but also sucked”; I started reading the twilight series very young as they came out, like definitely younger than nine years old, because I remember it was before the last book was published. I truly enjoyed reading the first books, but by the last one me & my friends was just reading it together and laughing at it. It’s dear memories even so.

Of the ones I truly enjoyed that still has too much brainspace even though I read them a long time ago is “The foxhole court” and the rest of the series by Nora Sakavic.

I have a list of Mermaid & Siren Book Recommendations, where I found out I truly enjoyed the process of focusing more on reading about a specific fantasy/mythology creature and should make more different ones, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. Auto-Buy Authors was a good one that represents me & my fav authors.

Because the theme is bullet journaling this list of The Eleven Books I Never Seem to Finish (Part One) (and Part Two) fits perfectly as well. I think it’s awesome when people talk more about the books they struggle with going through as well, we’re not perfect and lose interest or concentration.

In the non-book-related sphere I really liked how to (not) do your first year at uni (physics major) turned out, even if it was truly a pain to write because the things I added here was things I was telling the new students arriving in real life as well, at the same time, and I wanted to get it as right and helpful as I could, while trying not to be preachy.

Any fantasy series by Brandon Sanderson, but especially “The Way of Kings”. I want to make a post of ‘here’s where to start with reading brandon sanderson’ included (not that you can’t find it online), but Mistborn is a good first book to start with as well. It got the epic-ness of multiple POV’s that Game of Thrones have, but in a more (not-medieval) sci-fi/fantasy and magical world and with a completely other feelings, but truly still brilliant.

A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor by Hank Green is a sequel so I won’t say much about it, but the way multiple POV’s was used here really warmed my heart and soul, it was so good.

I truly love this trope of enemies to lovers, but I’ve only now started its own goodreads shelf so I can answer just this question quicker. The Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic and Red, White & Royal Blue (review here) is to great ones.

I truly love great books with great friends, a strong focus on platonic relationships gets me over romantic ones every time. Books like that is I Think I Am in Friend Love with You by Yumi Sakugawa (my review), Wilder Girls by Rory Power (my review), The Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic (yes again, but it’s the best complicated friendgroup), Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson (my review). And not to forget The Secret History by Donna Tartt, the ultimate dark academia classic-loving friendgroup that goes too far and does bad shit together. Did make me look at manipulation in friendgroups in a different light afterwards, which is fun and terrifying.

Anyone who wants to is happily welcome to refer back to me and claim I tagged them, because I’ve procrastinated getting this done too long to take the extra step there. I think that fits (too much) with the theme.

Hp & the deathly weapons made my week | Bi-Weekly Update

New book posts:

Other books I’ve been reading:

  • Love and Math by Edward Frenkel
  • A Poetry Hanbook by Mary Oliver

Added to TBR:

  • The Lottery by Shirley Jackson (classics, short story, horror)
  • Pedagogy of the oppressed by Paulo Freire (nonfiction, pedagogy, politics)
  • Chilling adventures of Sabrina vol. 1 by Aguirre-Sacasa and Hack (graphic novel)
  • The Little Friend by Donna Tartt: not that excited by this book synopsis or the lack of knowledge I’ve got of it even while being a big Tartt reader, but still – I got to give it a try
  • Lanny by Max Porter (magical realism, small-town)
  • American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis: because my deep down on him, Donna Tartt and their time at Bennington College has interested me enough to actually read his book even though I do believe he’s a high grade idiot at his older days from the clips I’ve seen.

Three things on my mind:

  • I always know I’m going to be offline when starting a new semester, but this time a lot was thrown at me in a row. Do you ever get the feeling that if you knew beforehand how much you would have to go through in a short amount of time – you would just not be able to? I’m not so sure I want to be able to tell the future, is what I’m saying. Anyway, I’m leaving those two massive physics exams, then writing a majorly important letter of complaint bc of misdiagnosis (in hopes of an apology or at least that the doctor not make that mistake again) the last possible day before it would be out-dated like its own “statue of limitation” kind of thing. It was then followed by a week filled with every major hospital appointment at once (bc everything was postponed until now that corona is less of a problem here) and an abrupt total worsening of my autoimmune disease. Also during those three weeks I had signed up to welcome new students, so I went to a couple social gatherings, which made me even more tired, but also might have brought the break of normalcy to save my brain a little (well, a lot).
  • Ahh, a book blog this was supposed to be. Well, there’s been a lack of book blog posts, but it’s coming. Until then I would highly recommend writing some of Mary Oliver poetry on a sheet and hang it on the wall, reciting each one as many times you want until you feel comforted enough to sleep. My favourites recently has been “Wild Geese”, “I go down to the shore”, “An old story” and “Dogfish” (link here!).
  • HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY WEAPONS! Why hadn’t I heard of this fanedit of the first hp movie that turns every wand into a gun along with more clever & fun additions to scenes? I had doubts, thinking it would be overwhelmingly much, but it’s just far enough between the altered scene that it’s just easter-egg kind of surprises to a movie you (hopefully) already love. (I realize after some research that I didn’t know about it until now because it came out a month ago … in which I was as mentioned prev. very offline.) Here’s more info.

university has become my home | Bi-Weekly Update

New book posts:

Other books I’ve been reading:

A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor by Hank Green (it was so awesome)

Added to TBR:

  • Starlight by Richard Wagamese (ownvoices for indigenous)
  • The end of everything (astrophysically speaking) by Katie Mack (science, physics): I’ve followed Mack on twitter for a while and she’s this great astrophysicist, so I’ve been truly looking forward to this book
  • The winter duke by Claire Eliza Bartlett (YA fantasy, lgbt; f/f & nonbinary characters)
  • Spellbooks of the lost and found by Moira Fowley-Doyle (magical realism, lgbt; bi): I do truly love good trios, especially if they’re witches
  • Mexican gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (horror, historical fiction, gothic, set in Mexico)
  • The city we became by N. K. Jemisin (urban fantasy, lgbt)
  • Burn by Patrick Ness (dragons!!!, fantasy)
  • Crescent City by Sarah J. Maas (fantasy): because I should give up on her by now, but everyone seem to like this (finally) adult book and I can’t help being interested/hopeful
  • Kingdom of souls by Rena Barron (fantasy, set in West Africa)
  • A thousand splendid suns by Khaled Hosseini (historical fiction, Afghanistan)
  • Rooftops of Tehran by Mahbod Seraji (historical fiction): I’ve actually wanted to read this for a long time, but never added it to my TBR somehow?? I’ve seen some amazing quotes/paragraphs from here out of context.
  • Earth and ashes by Atiq Rahimi (historical fiction, war, Afghanistan)
  • PET by Awaeke Emezi (YA fantasy, trans mc, Nigerian author)
  • Passenger to Tehran by V. Sackville-West (travel, memoir-like, set in 1926): I fell down a rabbit hole reading about her life dating both men and women and this book written as a diplomat’s wife seems very interesting
  • Honeybee by Trista Mateer (poetry, lgbt, smalltown)
  • SHOUT by Laurie Halse Anderson (poetry, sexual abuse)
  • Rosewater by Tade Thompson (sci-fi, fantasy, set in Nigeria)
  • Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi (sci-fi, fantasy)

Three things on my mind:

  • I read too little of non-bookblog articles about books I guess, but a lot of the new books I wanted to read above came from an article from Tor publishing on 25 most anticipated sci-fi & fantasy books of 2020
  • It was another quote from an article that set me out on a deep rabbit hole; Esquire’s “The Secret Oral History of Bennington”. It’s about the college in the 80’s, producing a group of famous artists, including Donna Tartt (the author of two of my favourite books; The Secret History & The Goldfinch) and American Psycho’s Bret Easton Ellis. There’s so many good quotes in that article, and I’ve rarely trusted a group of people less to say the truth accurately and not have a skewed perspective because of their heightened sense of self-worth. Doesn’t make it any less fascinating to look into, though.

TODD O’NEAL: The Secret History isn’t so much a work of fiction. It’s a work of thinly veiled reality—a roman à clef. When it came out, Claude and Matt and I got endless calls. Everybody was saying, “Oh, did you know Donna just wrote a book about Claude and you all? And Claude is Julian and Matt is Bunny and you’re Henry.”

Todd O’Neal was another student at the college Tartt attended
  • I booked my tickets back to university, finally. I knew more people would travel by train because of corona making planes more unsafe, but I didn’t realize 95% of the tickets would be sold out for the next week and a half during what’s still summer! We don’t start up school again truly for another three weeks guys! Seems like everyone is like me and have decided that five months away from my dorm is already too long. The fact that it’s still summer also means that they’re working on the tracks, so instead of eight hours, it’s a twelve hour train trip. And I’m truly sick from an sinus infection (I tested negative for corona, no worries), so that will be hell on earth, no matter how much I love train-rides. I went on a hunch that the earlier train at the end of the week was the right one, and a minute afterwards my new roommate (and friend) texts me, turns out we’re on the same one train by accident.

If there’s something I’ve learned in my personal life this week is the reinforcement of this idea – find your support anywhere you can, trust those people even if it will hurt if they break that trust, create your own family through friends. It goes with the story that I’m leaving earlier than expected because shit went down, that I’m lucky to have a mom that loves me, and that I’ve experienced a lot of rejections from family in the last five months. I miss my uni family, so deeply. Soon I will again use my insomniac nights sending my rants on literature, in this case it would be Bennington College and the type of elitism there, to the other insomniac directly across the hall until we both give up and meet for a nightly snack in the kitchen.

I went into my first year of university knowing that I could count on no one to be there to catch me if I fell. I’m going into the second year of university having stumbled and fallen a lot these last five months, but always having the hope that I would be back home soon, where people are so different in how they show they care – but they all do. Only four days left.

Tv series w/ flowers, bookclubs & bloodshed| Bi-Weekly Update

New book posts:

Other books I’ve been reading:

  • A lot of graphic novels! Post coming up.

Added to TBR:

  • The music and the mirror by Lola Keeley (lesbian ballerinas)
  • First position by Melissa Brayden (more lesbian ballerinas)
  • The lady’s guide to celestial mechanics by Olivia Waite (historical lesbians)
  • Almost home by Madison Kuhn (poetry)
  • Please don’t go before I get better by Madisen Kuhn (poetry)
  • Shame is an ocean I swim across by Mary Lambert (poetry, queer, tw for suicide and rape and probably more)
  • Her royal highness by Rachel Hawking (f/f romance, ya, enemies to lovers trope)
  • A matter of disagreement by E. E. Ottoman (m/m romance, trans mc, fantasy)
  • Wolfsong by T. J. Klune (fantasy, m/m romance)
  • Aphrodite made me do it by Trista Mateer (queer poetry)
  • Valkyrie by Sophia Elaine Hanson (poetry)
  • Damage control by Jae (lesbians)

Three things on my mind:

  • I’ve fallen in love with aesthetics like dark academia, light academia and cottagecore all over again. Mainly because I miss my homes, both the one in the valley village I left for university (cottagecore all the way), and the new one I created at university studying physics (where academia longing sets in).
  • In the same mindset I recently found two TV series and then the inspirations behind those, and didn’t realize before later how polar opposites they are. For the first time in a while I’ve been posting on my tumblr (same name) again, mostly about these.

Deadly Class” is extremely violent and (kind of) dark academia, just with assassins and found-family trope. What got me hooked on this series is how much the main character reminds me of Neil Josten when arriving to the team in The Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic. They’re equally lost, traumatized & untrusting of everyone. The comics are simply multiple bloodbaths (truly, be warned!) as they continue where the cancelled-after-one-season TV series left it. Definitely search up trigger warnings before getting into it. It’s as far from young adult things you can come while also taking place in a boarding school.

“Anne with an E” is the polar opposite, just pure periodic drama, which isn’t usually my thing, but this has enough queer rich aunts and a girl who can’t stop creating stories, along with flowers and cottagecore aesthetics ft. a lovely bookclub hut built in the forest. It certainly has its darker hardships as well as a farming community tries to survive, but I have one season left and I’m going to savour it. Newly added to my favourite TV series.

  • I wrote about platonic love in my review of the graphic novel I Think I Am In Friend-Love With You by Yumi Sakugawa and since it’s been roaming around my head. I really think we need more platonic love things and reminders. Like I love the found-family trope, but it doesn’t really dive deep enough into that special bond that exists usually. There’s a reason many love the “I would die for you” friendships of the Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.

Let me know how your quarantine is going! Link a post talking about it if you want to.

If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio

Pages: 370

Genre: contemporary mystery, set in a college

Synopsis

On the day Oliver Marks is released from jail, the man who put him there is waiting at the door. Detective Colborne wants to know the truth, and after ten years, Oliver is finally ready to tell it.

Ten years ago: Oliver is one of seven young Shakespearean actors at Dellecher Classical Conservatory, a place of keen ambition and fierce competition. In this secluded world of firelight and leather-bound books, Oliver and his friends play the same roles onstage and off: hero, villain, tyrant, temptress, ingénue, extra. But in their fourth and final year, the balance of power begins to shift, good-natured rivalries turn ugly, and on opening night real violence invades the students’ world of make believe. In the morning, the fourth-years find themselves facing their very own tragedy, and their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, each other, and themselves that they are innocent. 

Audiobook review

The narrator is good, except for how he’s trying to do the female voices. Every heard one narrator dub tv series? It’s hilariously bad. Also there’s a lot of characters in the friend-group to meet all at once at the beginning, so I actually picked up the text version the second chapter and went back to really understand who each of them is, because there’s no good separator in the audiobook (except for bad female voices). I would recommend physically reading this one, I was packing for a trip and wanted to get throught it.

My thoughts

Four out of five stars

Rating out of five: three

I picked this book up because of its college/university setting and saw it recommended for those who liked “The secret history” by Donna Tartt. That book is much better than this one, in a lot of ways. They both do have a “dark academia” vibe – which I recently learned was a thing and I love it. I wanted to give it an extra star for that alone, but then I saw that ending and thought hell no, I was bored through too many parts of this book.

I’m happy I read the book, because it had its entertaining points as the characters uncover dark things about the others and themselves. It’s very centered on the characters and who’s friends and enemies as they all attend the same class. So it’s dark and dramatic, which also comes through in the greek plays they perform. The theater parts were very nice details, going through the whole book and giving it more texture and depth. You can see how the characters are pushed to excell and that they know that themselves, before they start to unravel from guilt. Still, I didn’t feel the characters was given enough space to show how supposedly three-dimensional they was. Instead the author seemed to make them do things out of character, playing on “well, you don’t know when they’re acting or not” which sure is an explanation, but doesn’t help on feeling that connection for the reader.

I both loved and hated the writing at points. On one hand it has some really pretty lines, like “Dense forest surrounded it on all sides except one, the north shore, where the trees were thinner and a strip of sandy white beach shimmered like diamond dust in the moonlight.” On the other hand, so much annoyed me. Mostly the author’s choices, like the ending or having Richard be described as a person everyone hated, which then made us miss out on later feeling sorry for him. The characters in this book doesn’t feel like villains because there were no sense of feeling sorry for Richard, because his character was so violent. The bolder choice would’ve been to make him sympathic. I just felt like a lot of depth was missing, there were hilariously little moral dilemmas for the reader watching this play out. I get that it’s part thriller and part mystery, but as I didn’t think who killed him was such a big mystery, a more cohesive and focused history or plot would’ve been better.

What I felt reading this book: mostly entertained and intrigued, annoyed at writing choices. And I was laughing at myself for chosing to read this hours before a weekend of partying with classmates. It was a nice weeked, but I did think of this book as we were driving into the snow-filled forest.