a bit of a reading slump | Bi-Weekly Update

New book posts:

Other books I’ve been reading:

literally none.

Added to TBR:

  • Mona Lisa Smile by Deborah Chiel (dark academia)
  • The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern (fantasy, m/m relationship)
  • The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli (classic from 1532, politics)
  • The Tradition by Jericho Brown (poetry, lgbt)
  • Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno (YA, magical realism, lgbt)
  • Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward (magical realism)
  • Strange Planet by Nathan W. Pyle (graphic novel)
  • The Once and Future King by T. H. White (fantasy, historical fiction)

Three things on my mind:

  • I’ve been more and more unsure about using goodreads. Like I’ve never used it much as a social media platform, only from time to time, but I have over 1400 books on there and it’s been great to catalogue books, especially as I’ve moved twice, left books behind in one house and used to use the library a lot. I tried out The Story Graph which is marketed as an alternative, even if in beta-version. It’s interesting & fun especially with their recommendations, I would recommend checking it out. But the biggest criteria I have for a similiar book platform is reliability and I don’t think I’m going to find a similiar enough platform that has that, for a while. I used to use a norwegian alternative, way way back, but there’s just so many books and I think that having a big community that adds these in for you is one of the great features that distinguish the different sites. Please let me know if there’s any cool alternatives to goodreads I should check out though!
  • I’m frustrated a lot, recently. My exams back in May was a struggle for multiple reasons that I’m tired of thinking about, but now it seems I might have outright failed one exam as well. This is a bit strange as I’m above the ‘fail’ percentage in most ways they could have marked it, as is a handful of my friends in the same situation, so we’ve all sent in our complaints. The thing I suspect happened is that more than usual got high grades (bc open-textbook exam and possibility to cheat by cooperation), and they changed the criteria for failing based on that without notifying us (which is strange as well). We’ll see when our complaints are processed, I guess. Still, it both gave me a renewed motivation to do better, but at the same time totally wrecked my self-esteem in a way I truly didn’t expect. Of course, a huge part of this is that my health isn’t getting that much better, even though I’ve had plenty of time to relax this summer break. We’ll see I guess.
  • I watched & cried over several movies, for once. I’m back in my home-‘village’ (it’s actually classified as village based on population number), in the house we took over from my late grandparents. And my grandmother was Sami, which has made me particularly interested in finally watching the prize-winning “Sami Blood” (2016) movie. It was as breath-taking and real as I expected, with the main character played by this amazing sami actress Lene Cecilia Sparrok, who really brought all the nuances into the story. It’s set in Sweden and isn’t my grandma’s story, but there’s many similiarities anyway. Being norwegian, I’ve learned of the horrible supression and racist policies put in place against Sami people, but we need movies like this to bring it to the attention to even more people. Let’s never forget the past enough to let it happen again.
  • I also watched the new USA gymnastics documentary; “Athlete A”. It highlighted the many ways Larry Nassar’s abuse was allowed to continue by people in charge, showing a culture at the olympic level with a high degree of various abuse being normalized, and how it all affected his victims. The last part features the more recent, high-profile Maggie Nichols, bringing up the question of if she lost her olympic chance because of reporting him. I wish all the best for her and all the other (there’s so many) victims, and overall it was a great documentary.

Queer Poetry Collections | Short Reviews

I thought I’d already reviewed these poetry collections and then realized that I forgot I saved them up for pride month seeing as I ‘acidentally’ read poetry collections from only queer authors there for a while.

Night Sky with Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong

Favourite poems: ‘Notebook Fragments’, ‘Prayer for the Newly Damned,’ ‘On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous’, ‘Trojan’ – nearly all of them in other words

I’d heard a lot of good things about this queer author, but I truly didn’t imagine the vividness he brought. Everything in here contains so many aspects, like when looking at violence. Vuong brings another level of honesty and delicacy to it, while not softening that violence or its consequences either. Vuong is extremely good at looking into and describing the different layers of his story; of being mixed, coming from a refugee camp in the Philippines to America, the Vietnam war and how this all plays out in the dynamics of his family and relationships. I think I’ll reread this after I finish his newer debut novel ‘On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous’, because it so far gives more backstory to where he’s coming from and I like it even more.

Felicity by Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver is my all time favourite poet, basically, and I wrote a whole post on it this pride month. ‘Felicity’ is one of her later works (even if it’s from 2005 so … not that recent), which I seem to prefer generally. I truly enjoyed this collection as well; it’s about love, memory, being oneself, belief and loss. It’s still a bit outside of her usual work, as love is so much a general thing to try to write about, and Oliver usually finds her excellent moments that carries the poems in the small things, inspired by nature or humans alike. Meaning it’s not the collection I would recommend someone to start with, but it’s still good and gives a better perspective on Mary Oliver as a person and her relationship to her late partner Molly Cook. In trying to describe something so universal as love, she reveals more of herself than before.

Soft Science by Franny Choi

I was so into the concept (from the synopsis) of: “explores queer, Asian American femininity” and “how to be tender and feeling and still survive a violent world filled with artificial intelligence and automation”. Unfortunately, I just didn’t understand most of the poems because of the fragmented style. The reason I make short reviews of poetry often is that, as someone who’s not a poet, reviewing poetry is strange because it feels more up to personal-taste than any novel. Still, I would shy away from not recommending a collection to someone, in hopes they get something from it.

Running with Lions by Julian Winters | Book Review #PrideLibrary20

I’m joining in on some of the #pridelibrary20 prompts, hosted by The Library Looter, Michelle Likes Things and Anniek’s Library throughout June. Here’s a link to a summary of my posts from last year.

Today’s prompt is black queer authors. Btw I missed yesterdays post with transgender or nonbinary characters, but I think I will make a post later in the summer instead, because there’s so many trans/nonbinary mc books on my TBR that I want to get to.


Bloomington High School Lions’ star goalie, Sebastian Hughes, should be excited about his senior year: His teammates are amazing and he’s got a coach who doesn’t ask anyone to hide their sexuality. But when his estranged childhood best friend Emir Shah shows up to summer training camp, Sebastian realizes the team’s success may end up in the hands of the one guy who hates him. Determined to reconnect with Emir for the sake of the Lions, he sets out to regain Emir’s trust. But to Sebastian’s surprise, sweaty days on the pitch, wandering the town’s streets, and bonding on the weekends sparks more than just friendship between them. 

My thoughts

Rating out of five: four stars

The bisexual guy main character, the team sport aspect (and often not very queer-friendly to put it lightly) that is soccer, but with several queer characters along with the dynamic writing and wholesome vibe – it all is brought together in this great book. Sometimes these books might get boring, but not when executed in this way. It reminds people of what could be and what should be, especially in very masculine sports.

It’s a diverse cast of characters in multiple ways, like the romantic interest Emir being a British-Pakistani muslim, but they have one thing in common besides sports and that’s being a cast of disasters. I mean, I related too much to the main character as being the disaster bisexual of the group. I think the best way to describe this book is very emotional, but with a undertone of fun? And the fun comes from the high and lows of the game, of the intensity of discovering yourself, but mostly about doing it all surrounded by friends and rivals. It’s also chasing victories and perfection and falling apart and having to pull each other back together again. And not to mention, being brave enough to tell people you love them, regardless of their gender.

Sebastian’s ready for whatever Emir’s got. He is so exhausted, trying to fix busted-up relation- ships while other friendships circle the drain. He’s tired of trying to be this amazing version of a guy that everyone else sees but Sebastian can’t find when he stares in the mirror. If Emir punches him, he’ll knock Sebastian off this damn pedestal he never asked to be on in the first place.

Julian Winter ends with these words in the acknowledgment and it backs up his intentions with this book clearly; “To every LGBTQIA+ person who has questioned their place in life: You’re strong. You’re important. You’re a lion. Let the world hear you roar.” I’m excited to read his other books “How to Be Remy Cameron” and “The Summer of Everything” (to be released this fall) as well!

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo | Review

Pages: 370

Genre: Poetry, young adult, lgbt characters


A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. 

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.

So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.

The audiobook

The narrator was fantastic, some of the best I’ve ever heard. And of course she was, I thought as I realized towards the end it was the author and slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo narrating the audiobook as well. I fully recommend listening to it! As the book is written in verse/poems (hard to say having only listened to it), it’s “only” three and a half hours as well, completely worth it.

My thoughts

Rating out of five: four


It’s a strong and beautiful story of a quiet girl finding her voice, letting out all the thoughts she’s not been allowed to tell and finding good friends, through slam poetry. She’s growing and finding her way to deal with romance, family, religion and need for a bit of freedom. 

It’s obvious reading/listening to the book that the author knows what she’s writing. She’s a slam poet, she’s seen people find their voice through it most likely. The way she tells the story is stunning, from the first page I was sold. This is the way to tell that story. 

There’s not much else for me to say about this book, which is rare. It’s more young adult novel than I realized going into it, and I would absolutely recommend giving it to young girls. I became a bit frustrated in the middle part of the book, when Xiomara wasn’t doing poetry out of fear, and nothing moved along. Had to realize the story isn’t something unexpected – the plot is only going one way – but it’s still important and told great. What really brought me in again was Xiomara and the mom coming to the height of their conflict, and how impactful the writing was in that moment. The ending was very wholesome, setting the tone of the whole book’s message. It’s so tough being a kid with little control over your own life, trying to find it as you’re becoming older, with opinions of your own. This book conveyed that.   

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland | Review

I haven’t written a review in a month and a half, so I’m pretty sure I’ve forgotten how to.

Pages: 418

Genre: young adult, historical fiction, zombies


Jane McKeene goes to Miss Preston’s School for Combat in Baltimore because zombies have taken over the cities and girls like Jane are needed to stop them. The civil war of America never really ended, the two sides needed to decide the undead had become their biggest enemy. Being the coloured daughter of a white Southern woman has always made Jane’s life difficult, but now people with her skin is treated like they’re disposable, fighting the undead to protect wealthy white people. With her curiousity, spontaneity and fighting skills Jane is caught up in a big conspiracy as families in the town are going missing and certain political groups are promising the return to safety.

My thoughts

Rating out of five: three

I’d heard a lot of good words before the release of this book and was pretty excited to read about zombies and girls who are awesome at fighting with weapons. My opinions on this book is kind of mixed, both because of not personally matching with the surrounding plot and other things that confused me. It’s still a book I would recommend!

My big problem with historical books and westerns – which this book was going towards the last half – is that it’s so boring to read over and over that the girl is constantly put down. Like there’s no feminism, we get it, stop mixing it into every other sentence. And this book created this balance so well, it made points out of how different this society was from ours, without making it completely unenjoyable reading experience, because Jane and her friends were awesome girls who knew their courage and value. The way it dealt with racism was the same, in that racism was everywhere, as it was one of the main parts of the story. But you still got to see these pockets of coexistence carved out, like the estate Jane left, and how horrifically it could go when someone bigoted and racist was introduced to them. There’s so many horrifyingly racist scenes in here, showing how it tears at the characters, and I think that’s very well done and important.

I love politics in books, usually. But I don’t think this book went deep enough that it mattered much. I’m still confused about how I feel about thins. Maybe I feel like the book alluded to things all the time, but I didn’t really get any message from it except maybe how quick racism can develop in crises when someone need to be blamed and how dangerous division is. It’s certainly a book with a awesome, black heroine. It’s not just a book about zombies, though, but it didn’t quite switch over to politics within the story and like the bigger conspiracies either. I think the mix is what I didn’t like personally – it goes from mystery and boarding school to sudden danger and a more western-like survival story with religious fundamentalists everywhere to full-on war with zombies. With funny, snarky Jane moments sprinkled in there. It sounds interesting, but it’s a lot. While I liked some parts, it felt like others weren’t completely cohesive, which contributed to the feeling of it being a lot put into one book.

I’ll most likely read the next book because I’m curious about where it’s going to go, with Jane and Katherine. I liked Jane sometimes, but the mix of grave danger and humor makes me compare her to like Percy Jackson-type lead characters. I can’t really think of any flaws Jane has that messes up or otherwise interact with the story. Like she talks back to teachers, that’s it. She always takes charge, to great sucess, and while it was a relief to see things go down well, the knowledge that it would because of her drew me out of the story.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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Police brutality is a controversial topic and I picked up this book because I heard a lot of praise of it. I couldn’t have predicted how hard-hitting this book would be, not only with the importance of the story, but the way it was coveyed. Some say it will become a classic, I can only hope so.


Starr (sixteen year old girl) witnesses her best friend Khalil get murdered by a police officer, she’s the only one in the car with him, making her the only witness. The murder makes national headlines and protests erupt. Starr is trying to lay low, but there’s divide in her mostly white private school along with her poorer neighbourhood, some druglord is after her family because they interefered and she has to deal with a more and more hostile police.

My thoughts


the writing

The writing is straight-forward, the cleverness of the banter and dialogue balances out some of the darker side of the story. It makes it seem realistic and relatable, however surreal (or too real) the story is. It’s well written and pretty straight-forward, making it easier to follow for more people. I’m not american, I can’t vouch for accuracy or much of anything, but I loved the community aspect of the story, it’s one of many good ones.

i love this book but

I did a horrible thing and looked at the reviews on goodreads. This book has gotten a lot of praise, but the first review in my feed argumented how wrong to point out a “white cop killed her”, that this book enforced “white-guilt” and that a person should be judged on their actions so “why does skin-color matter” in reference to police killing black kidsTo those who think this is some “pc bs”; the whole thing about this book and the characters in it is that they say stupid and ignorant things, both black and white people and eventually they all learn. Well, most of them do, some kills kids. Starr’s father disapproves of her white boyfriend, at first. Everyone have their own problems and prejudices here. It’s just when they’re not a police officer pointing a gun at a teenager, their prejudices doesn’t mean life or death in that moment. Don’t people see the difference? That kind of ignorance is predicted and talked about in the damn book, in a conversation between Starr and one of her private school friends.


We need more of these books, that’s what I’m getting from all this. I hope the author gets all the praise and love she deserves for putting this out there. Would recommend it to everyone, despite your political opinion of preferred genre.