We’re in the middle of exam season so I’m trying to not read much else, because I lose too much time at once, hahha. I have the bookshelf of high fantasy books I want to read when sometime maybe finally vacation comes around.
Added to TBR:
Journal of a Solitude by May Sarton. Memoir.
The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson. Thriller, crime.
I Don’t Want To Kill You (John Cleaver #3) by Dan Wells. Exactly the type of horror/thriller book it sounds like
Know My Name by Chanel Miller. Nonfiction, memoir, true crime. Recommendation by Naty’s Bookshelf made me want to read it!
Comradely Greetings by Slavoj Žižek and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova. Nonfiction, philosophy, politics. Based on letters between philosopher Žižek and pussy riot member Tolokonnikova as she was in jail in Russia.
Alien Oceans: The Search for Life in the Depths of Space by Kevin Peter Hand. Nonfiction, science, astrobiology.
Harrow the Ninth (The Locked Tomb #2) by Tamsyn Muir. Queer fantasy/sci-fi.
A Dowry of Blood by S. T. Gibson. Fantasy, horror, vampires. lgbt; bi/pan characters.
Let’s start with a light-hearted, fun thing. I’m looking into which science communicators and scientists (within math and physics mainly) to bring into our university’s science festival. And we already have a list to take from, but I can message whoever I want for the most part and that’s one of the reasons I suddenly found more science books to read again.
I’m kind of tired of myself lately.But life doesn’t stop being weird, and I’ve had some of the most surreal days. So many hospital visits, so little studying in comparison even though exams are just around the corner. Doctors who can’t keep things straight, like the one medicine I was put on and there to talk about? My mom, on the other side of the country, had an allergic reaction and no one would treat her for too long?? Had she not have extensive medical experience with two sick kids and the help of a very frightened young doctor, her anaphylactic shock could have gone very badly. It’s all been very strange and nervewracking. On the bright side, I will get to see a very nice nurse every month moving forward. Also, as I’m writing this I might have circled into my strangest sleep schedule yet with falling asleep at 7pm and waking up numerous times before giving up around 3 am, for the last three days in a row. It’s better than waking up at 4 pm in some aspects, until you realize that the grocery store doesn’t open until 10 am and you’ve ran out of food. I’m so hungry right now, hahha.
*Trigger warning for anything bad mental health and suicidal ideation* Have any other college students taken surveys about mental health during the pandemic? Because our massive one just dropped and 1/2 of students reported major psychological symptoms and around 1/4 of students had seriously considered taking their own lives. What maybe surprised me most was that while other symptoms had a massive jump, suicidal thoughts were already close to that level in 2018. Seems like there’s both an accute problem and an underlying one that never was discussed enough. There seems to be some money being thrown at the problem, but from what I’ve heard lately any mental health programs dealing with those more serious symptoms have issues getting to everyone within a decent time. It isn’t like this wasn’t a predictable result of a year of pandemic? It’s so concerning, because for students we’ve had these low-entry “are you experiencing exam stress?” type of help, but very little else. I was in the system pre-covid and has had therapy throughout it, only online, but everyone should’ve had that chance at any point.
The Shadow and Bones tv series is – well, a thing. I have seen it, after much back and forth about whether I wanted to. I’m not sure what I think other than that I didn’t originally connect with the Grisha books so it could only make that part better for me and they didn’t have enough of the Six of Crows gang to ruin anything bad for me. So would watch again, I guess? It is pretty great to see certain parts in such a visual way, but I feel I have to rewatch it a second time to not just sit there nervous that the show runners will ruin something. Also I’m still worried about the potential second season? But also want to see what they would do? Would love your thoughts if you got any on whether you like the series or not! One thing I’m certain of; I’m loving all the new content about the crows because of the series.
Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science – and the World by Rachel Swaby (science, biography, feminism)
Reaching for the Moon by Katherine G. Johnson (biography, science; space)
Goddess of the Hunt by Shelby Eileen (poetry, mythology, lgbt; ownvoices aromantic-asexual)
The Perfect Assassin by K. A. Doore (high fantasy, lgbt; asexual mc, lesbian assassins)
Slayer by Kiersten White (urban fantasy, vampires, supernatural boarding school)
A Vampire’s Redemption (The Inquisition Trilogy #2) by Casey Wolfe (fantasy, vampires, lgbt; m/m romance)
Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey (fantasy, sci-fi, political, lgbt)
The Hidden Girl and Other Short Stories by Ken Liu (short stories): the author’s other book The Paper Menagerie is my all-time favourite collection of short stories!
Three things on my mind:
Wine nights brings me too much joy. At least when you have them with one of your roommate’s adorable family who is visiting, then after they leave (and leave four bottles of wine behind) just end up talking with the rest of the roommates far into the night; I might’ve woken up at 5 am for once, but I was certainly going to sleep at 6 am, like the night-creature I truly am. On exactly that topic I’m going to apply to be the leader (there’s always two; night and day-shift) of our math/physics students wine club, because there’s minimal work and a maximum of finding out strange traditions and making people feel welcome, no matter if they drink alcohol/wine or not. I love the vibe of that group. And I will not take slander that I should not be the nightly leader if I get it; the night is always my time.
The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix is such a fantastic show. I have so many thoughts, but no time to write them all out – maybe I’ll do a round-up of tv series/movies I loved at the end of the year. But a chess-but-truly-personal story of a genius orphan girl that grows up and struggles with navigating abandonment issues, drug-problems, friendship and any type of relatioship. It has its problems, but I would’ve watched it just for the great actors, the fashion and the lighting to be honest.
I’ve been writing more again, on the too-long project that never seem to end. I’ve got a lot of exams around the corner (if my physical health is up to it, that is), so I find myself not being able to turn off my brain for a break without going to these already-known methods; creating stories being one of them. It’s strange how that works. Hopefully, over christmas break even though I have a lot of other projects planned, I can get it edited into at least a coherent work in progress as there’s a lot of blank scenes needed for some type of plot to make sense. I think I would truly feel some type of achievement just having finished it, even though no one is going to read it for a long long time, if ever.
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness & the rest of the All Souls Trilogy for the historian protagonist that explores a supernatural world riddled with old artifacts, powerful witches and immortal vampires, featuring time travel and a lot of romance. It’s also got a tv series which is fun, but as these things often do, gives no explanation or coherent plot like the books does. It’s been a while since I read this, and would love to reread it.
These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling (full review) for the YA with fun, dramatic moments, a city of witches & their families, covens arguing and lots of lesbian/bi girls.
Uprooted by Naomi Novik (full review) for the fairytale vibes with wizard (more so than witches) who takes a girl from the village every ten years for mystical reasons, a fierce protagonist that never makes it boring as she creates hell for the wizard and great friendships. It’s more so on the fantasy side, but it has a lot of the village, dark forest and fairytale elements that I look for in the books I put on this list.
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman should be a book everyone has heard of, but among the angel, demon, antichrist and a coming apocalypse, there’s also the full title “The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch” and Agne’s many-great granddaughter Anathema (Practical Occultist and Professional Descendant) who really brings out the essence of this book; there’s a lot of chaos, including being hit by a car, but it all plays into this cosmic order in some way.
The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo (full review) for the breath-taking illustrations and short stories that is fairytale-inspired. It’s more fantasy than a lot others on this list, but at the same time truly delivers on its promise of “midnight tales and dangerous magic”.
Other Witchy Books on my TBR
A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik for its school of magically gifted where failure means certain death and you’re not allowed to leave. Also a grumpy loner of a protagonist who has a powerful dark magic that might be strong enough to beat the system, but not without its risks. The promise of dark avademia, magic and monsters, with a lot of bloodshed & slytherin vibes is truly alluring. BTW: since I wrote this post I’ve seen a lot of questions brought up around if this book has racist elements. Of course, I don’t feel qualified to discuss that further. The author has apologized for one of the things pointed out around using a racist stereotype of dreadlocks being dirty, but if it is as bad of a – well in best case it’s a mishap – as it seems, it truly is strange how it got through the editing process of such a famous author.
Enchantée by Gita Trelease for the Paris 1789 setting, smallpox, a witch going from petty theft to trying to rob Marie Antoinette to support her family.
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden for its Russian wilderness winter and arctic fairytale-inspired fantasy where the protagonist has special abilities like her mother, but her new stepmother forbids her from practicing and evil starts to seep in. Some focus on the conflict between christianity and older religions. A lot of trigger warnings!
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas for its gay trans boy that tries to prove himself as a brujo to his family by summoning a ghost, but then is stuck with the school’s former handsome bad-boy as he has unfinished business. If he’s not in love with this ghost by the end of it, I’m screeching.
Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron for the fantasy inspired by West African mythology with a non-magical protagonist born into a family of witchdoctors trying to defeat her powerful sister. Also the love interest is of course of the enemy family. It’s dark and has enough trigger warnings that I’ll give a reminder to search for them before reading it.
Books I disliked, but you might like
Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova for the ones who want a powerful latina bi protagonist who don’t want to be a witch (review). She is the most powerful bruja in a long time and also hates magic. Not to mention the responsibility put on her by her family. I didn’t finish the book because I thought the writing was lacking and nothing out of the ordinary, but she’s got an attitude that made me smile. It’s a story about a girl trying to save her family, but in a way that felt very ‘let’s go on an adventure’ and predictable.
When the Moon Was Ours by Anne-Marie McLemore for the trans mc, flowery young adult magical realism, also literary flowery with roses growing from skin (review). It’s another book I didn’t finish, but only because I’ve found out that I don’t match with the authors way of writing (after multiple attempts at other books), which I truly find sad as they use such interesting plots and cast of characters. I mean – the synopsis is so good! And it’s a romance between a Latina girl and Italian-Pakistani trans boy. It focuses on finding yourself, it’s vulnerable and the author is queer, latinx & nonbinary married to a trans man.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina vol. 1 by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa for the graphic novels lovers (review). I didn’t really like this at all as I felt the charm and interesting aspects to Sabrina the teenage witch was completely removed. Would much rather recommend the tv series, as it’s roughly the same story, but with more fun elements as well as dark ones. It’s definitely a teenage soap tv series, but an interesting one. I want to still read Season of the Witch by Sarah Rees Brennan, which is a Sabrian novel published last year, but I only have hopes for it because I like that author already. It might be that both of these things were published to create more interest around the tv series, which I find disappointing if they all tell the same story.
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl is the book series I look back on having read a long time ago, being like “it was good, but basic”, but if you’re looking for a quick read I wouldn’t be above rereading it.
Kiki’s Delivery Service, the ghibli movie, is something I wanted to watch for a long time, but finally did this summer. It’s so perfectly adorable & worth it!!
Literary Witches: A Celebration of Magical Women Writersby Taisia Kitaiskaia is a illustrated book on my TBR, more about the magic of literature than witches, but it’s supposed to draw connection between witches & visionary writers, which I’m just guessing means connection between treatment of visionary women (like writers) who tend towards feminism. If anything I want to own it for the gothic art. “Pick a shelf” has a really good review of this unusual book!
Alternative title; it’s all worse and better at the same time. the irony.
Three things on my mind:
So .. my life right now just consists of math, more math, a tiny breakdown where I speak my grievances out loud, to mostly empty air and the occassional puzzled family members walking by, along with playing the mobile version of pocket camp, because I can’t afford a switch. Next week it’s going to be the same, if you replace math with physics. Ahh, this was not how I imagined the second semester of my first year doing a physics bachelor to be, but oh well. Right now it’s wolframalpha all the way.
So the situation is less than ideal (also see; bad internet – have to buy 4G when exams, physical health w/ chronic illness worse) and only two of my five exams is done, yet I’ve felt so much better the last three weeks than I have since the beginning of march. Who knows? Nothing much has changed, other than I also now have exams, but it’s a clear goal in front of me to deal with even though my body is in uproar.
Things to watch; Outer Banks on Netflix is a great tv series to binge, with a cast of morally grey characters, and some really aesthetic good scenes as well. The Goldfinch movie adaptation got really bad reviews when it came out last year, but I finally watched it (I LOOVE the book) and it wasn’t bad! Actually to the point where I would recommend it, if you go in with quite low expectation. It has the usual problems of a movie trying to fit a big and complex book (so many different settings, spanning over multiple years) into a two hour movie. But the moments it included, it included well. I especially love both the young and the adult Boris.
I’ve been listening to first “War on Peace” by Ronan Farrow, as I thought I could fall asleep to his voice narrating the strange world of diplomacy and the importance of it; turns out diplomacy in Afghanistan is quite interesting and the book absolutely fantastic overall. I really enjoyed 11 hours of that to have a break from maths, it was magical.
And then I started the audiobook version of “Catch and Kill” by Farrow afterwards, taking care to listen during daylight as it’s the most upsetting story about not only the wave of sexual assaults that was brought into light with the ‘MeeToo wave’, the most focus being on Farrow’s reporting of Harvey Weinstein, but how he wasn’t allowed to publish the story and kept from pursuing it for so many months. It was quite the journey, and I felt so much for each of the victims as we get to hear more about what it took for them to decide to come forward. Ahh, I’ll have to write its own post after I’m done with these exams, because more people need to read this book in particular.
I might have cleansed my head after all that by reading the three first books in the very YA “The Selection” series by Kiera Cass. It’s so cheesy, but what made me continue was how it was more ‘The Hunger Games’ vibe than I expected.
Added to TBR:
Felix ever after by Kacen Callender (young adult, lgbt: trans mc)
The program by Suzanne Young (young adult, dystopia)
The last true poets of the sea by Julia Drake (young adult, lgbt)
The mermaid, the witch, and the sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall (fantasy, lgbt: sapphic romance)
Clap when you land by Elizabeth Acevedo(young adult, lgbt): I’ve read & liked “The poet X”
The good girl’s guide to murder (mystery): recommended by the author Maureen Johnson on twitter or something
Sawkill girls by Claire Legrand (horror-ish, lgbt: f/f romance I think)
If I was your girl by Meredith Russo (young adult, lgbt: trans mc)
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.
I’ve been rereading the All for the game series, obviously
Call down the hawk by Maggie Stiefvater, the first book of the new Dreamer series about Ronan Lynch was amazing
The vanishing stair by Maureen Johnson, the second book of the Truly Devious series was a great read as well
Six not-so-easy pieces by Richard Feynman wasn’t really what I expected, as I was surprised at how much I’ve absorbed of physics lately, but it’s a great intro book to physics concepts (a sequel to six easy pieces if you will)!
Physics of the impossible by Michio Kaku (currently reading)
Elantris by Brandon Sanderson– just finished!!! I’m confused by my feelings toward this book, I need some time to think. But while Sanderson is great at worldbuilding, I felt the characters and the world lacked something in comparison to his other books.
The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson (young adult).
A lot of textbooks for the many classes I want to take, but don’t have time in my schedule for (I’m already two math classes over the average amount, let’s see if I have to cut one during the semester)
The Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World by Emma Marris (nonfiction, science)
Three things on my mind:
I watched the Looking for Alaska mini-series and while Alaska herself wasn’t like I saw her first reading the book, I really overall liked the series. It had it flaws, but it could’ve been done so much worse and the essence of the story was there. It definitely was enough to make me cry, twice.
I’m not in my own tiny apartment because it’s christmas. And I’m not “home”, as in the family house I left from this summer, because my family moved. In other words, there’s a lot of things I hate about this christmas time already (it’s an inconvenient time to be sick as a chronically ill person), and now I don’t have any of my privacy or comfortable things. I do love seeing my family, and all the love going around. I just really miss the small amount of stability I’ve built up around myself during the past months, and I miss my friends.
But! I expected this christmas break sadness to fall upon my fragile self! (or fragile mental health, this girl is doing something about that first thing next year). And I took precautions by booking a trip to Edinburgh so I wouldn’t be (hopefully) too long in one place. This has brought with it its own stress, but I’m so excited to go. I would be happy to take any advice if you’ve ever been to Edinburgh!
Alex’s Adventures in Numberland by Alex Bellos (currently reading)
Karamo Brown’s memoir (currently reading)
Lab Girl by Anne Hope Jahren
Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
Added to TBR:
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong (lgbt fiction/poetry)
Teen Titans: Raven by Kami Garcia (graphic novel)
Season of the Witch by Sarah Rees Brennan
Posts I’ve loved by other bloggers:
I’ve just returned from nearly two weeks on an island with limited internet connection and a laptop that had its final breakdown (it was bound to happen, I had to get a new one) – sooo I haven’t been able to see through all your great posts!
Three things on my mind:
I got into my first choice at university, a physics bachelor programme! I don’t know if I’ve said it here before, probably I have on the twitter I just randomly changed from reposting animal videos from scientists to bookish things. It’s still a lot of cute animals. Anyways, news spread fast that I was moving for uni and I went from having researched physics programmes for years in secret, to having secretly applied, gotten in and is now suddenly forced to proclaim it to everyone who knows me?? It’s a weird feeling. I’m also very excited and nervous, but that feels obvious. In less than two weeks I’m going to be hauling all of my belongings that I can fit in two suitcases to a new city.
I started to write something else here; it was about this summer compared to last year’s summer. I think I need to write its own little post on that because the tears started to fall as I remembered how I – still occassionally needing those heavy pain killers after surgery – forced myself to get through Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson, and loved (mostly) every part of those 1248 pages.
Currently watching Queer Eye s4 and both the “disabled, but not really” episode and the girl figure-skating was really good and brought tears to my eyes – for different reasons. I also downloaded and watched Tales of the City, which had its weird moments, but I really liked overall. It’s such a story about queer people coming together and forming a family through being in the same neighbourhood, without steering away from heavier sides of being queer. It was fun, queer and filled with drama and love. Euphoria is such a good, queer, mature series as well from what I’ve seen! I first heard of it from the “scandals” of amount of dicks and drugs visible, but oh this series doesn’t disappoint in showing darker teens’ lives with heartbreak, addiction and trauma.