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.

Rereading All For The Game Series by Nora Sakavic

The Foxhole Court – The Raven King – The King’s Men

What do you do when you’ve got five exams looming over you? Reread 1225 pages, divided over three books and two days. Yeah, I’m not a person to have many regrets, but that doesn’t mean it was a good idea.

I love this book series so much! And not everyone does. It’s a book series that people seemingly more often either love or hate.

There’s a few things you have to suspend your belief over to enjoy these books (which are clearer to me now that I’ve read it more than three times); one of the guys, Andrew, is on medicines that doesn’t make sense. Also the sport – exy – is made up. Which is great because you don’t need to know anything about it! It’s self-published and a bit rough around the edges as a book, but also that’s part of what makes it so great.

TW for rape. I’ve seen this book compared to the Captive Prince trilogy by C. S. Pacat, but I’ve read both and think that comparison is complete bullshit. Captive Prince was violent if a whole different way and full of excuses for that violence. The only thing similiar is how actions in the first book of both series are looked at differently after finishing the third book. Which is a good reason to reread it!

The characters are what I love most about this series. It’s a group of misfits being forced to cooperate and in the process forming a family, a type of book I’m a sucker for. I like the second and third book better than the first one, just because Neil is developing into putting his trust in a few people and you also see how close they’ve become. I’m also posting my first review of the foxhole court; written in 2016, but it still portrays my feelings rereading it.

Neil Josten

I still relate too much to this main character. I mean, Andrew is interesting in a way that I’ve found all characters like him. After this book I read Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater, where Ronan Lynch is another character with tendency to be scary that I love. But Neil hits me still in a different way, where he has this urge to run away all the time and have created unhealthy coping mechanisms out of necessity. This book is just about how fucked up abuse can make you. His circumstances is soo very unlikely and special, like out of a hollywood movie, but if you take it down a few levels it’s themes that I’ve not found as central in other books I read. Especially not in this YA-ish format (it’s not young adult though).

Short Reviews: Fencing & Geeks

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

DNF at 25%. I went into this book wanting to love it, but while I’m a huge nerd I don’t immediately relate to this type of geek culture, especially if it’s (this I’ve just realized is a huge pet peeve) based on a made-up fandom. The protagonist seem great and the anxiety so well portrayed, I just didn’t like the writing, which would’ve continued to be a problem. Would still recommend others to give it a try and make up their own mind.

The main character is bisexual, also has character who have asperger’s & dealing with anxiety, and queer love. Ownvoices for anxiety and Asperger’s.

Fence vol. 1-3 by C. S. Pacat

I was very intrigued by the characters, the sport aspect and the conflict. I wanted to love it so much. But then the graphic novels just delivered a row of fencing matches, in beautiful art style, but with little other excitement. There were mentions of stakes and motivation, but in the end, for someone who isn’t into fencing, they’re just two people lunging until one lose. And it’s not like it was given extensive back stories on each of the players, so you’re really rooting for them. In that way it felt like a «final tournament» to something we’ve not been there for the beginning of? What am I missing? Why is everyone liking this? The gay vibes are great, of course. I just wanted to know more about the characters, so I could follow this with some more interest.

My Fight / Your Fight by Ronda Rousey | Audiobook Review

“If you can’t dream big, ridiculous dreams, what’s the point in dreaming at all?”

This book was ridiculously inspiring.

Genre: memoir

Rating out of five:

fire

My thoughts

This book is a lot about fighting, about Ronda’s routine, mindset and training, which I expected, but also about her background in judo and life growing up, dealing with struggles like her dad’s accident and then suicide, and all setbacks she’s had fighting and in life in general. Have in mind that it was released before she lost her champion title, I’m just late reading it.

 

Things I learned about Ronda Rousey:

(I already knew she was a strong superhuman)

She can tell a story. I listened to the audiobook, which might’ve increased this even more, but there’s so much power behind her words and looking over the writing afterwards it’s written just how she would express herself. It feels like a nine hour motivational speech/documentary, with tough as well as good times, and it was amazing. I mean –

“The kind of hope I’m talking about is the belief that something good will come. That everything you’re going through and everything you’ve gone through will be worth the struggles and frustrations. The kind of hope I’m talking about is a deep belief that the world can be changed, that the impossible is possible.”

I never realized how emotional Ronda is, even if she clearly says so at the beginning. She cries a lot, and with each time my respect for her grows. It must be difficult to cry in a room with fighters, and then say it to the world with such confidence.

She’s had some shitty boyfriends. Not all shitty, some just with their own alcohol/drug problems, but I wanted to punch most of them. Telling her to be more feminine? Get the fuck out. Who did they think they were dating? Another ex-boyfriend took nude photos of her without permission, which is all kinds of fucked up. Not wanting to let him have that control of her, never knowing if he really deleted them in the end, she did a nude photoshoot.

 

– her backstory –

There has also been some very bad times in Rousey’s life. At one point she had walked out from home while everyone was sleeping, was between gyms and eventually thrown out from friend’s house, without much money. All after being in the olympics. How the fuck can’t olympic athletes earn money to sustain themselves?

When I all of a sudden realized how alone she was, without real possibilities to turn to or even work towards, it was heartwrenching. Had to remind myself it would get better, obviously knowing she ends up in the ufc someday. That’s what Ronda seems to focus on too looking back, that she’s earned good things out of the bad times. She’s never complaining or bitter, but still emotional about certain things.

“You have to fight because you can’t count on anyone else fighting for you. And you have to fight for people who can’t fight for themselves. To get anything of real value, you have to fight for it.”

– MMA career –

Other things I noticed was how much anger, or maybe agressiveness, is shown at times, and I certainly understood why she’s a fighter. I’ve always wondered how much of the focus in her mma career was on the sport and being the best fighter she could be and how much was show and entertainment.

Turns out she already had more experience than I thought fighting in judo, and she also was aware it also was about giving a show and personality people that people could be captivated by and cheer for. A good mix, then. She was the first female champion in the ufc, and the one who opened up a lot of possibilities for others.

It’s interesting listening to her future plans and movie roles, from the future knowing she lost the way she did. But in the book she even admits it all might end some day, in an instant. And how she describes every other loss she’s had through her career, I don’t doubt that losing the champion title was extremely hard for her as well.

 

– fighting and bulimia –

In many ways this book is made for a broad audience, but also fighters, becase she describes in detail her pre-fight routines, food and weight loss. She’s quite open about her problems with bulimia early on in her career, but with the more professional team in ufc she got an expert on food around her, which made her realize she could eat nearly normal and still make weight.

She doesn’t say it outright, but there’s clearly tension on the contsraint and unprofessionalism fighting in judo, in comparison to mma. Which makes sense because it’s where the attention and money lies, but it’s still weird.

“Once you give them the power to tell you you’re great, you’ve also given them the power to tell you you’re unworthy. Once you start caring about people’s opinions of you, you give up control.”

– final thoughts –

It’s a book I would recommend to everyone interesting in fighters and sport, or just looking for inspiration to work hard to achieve something. The audiobook was the best kind, a memoir told by the person it’s about, and I would completely recommend that as well, I can imagine it would be great listening to it while working out.