What I’m Listening to Now: Being Lolita by Alisson Wood

I went down a bit of a rabbit hole this week and listened to almost the entirety of Lolita Podcast. It’s made me want to re-read the book, but I realized that I only have it as an audiobook in the house and not a physical book. So, I thought, why not read…listen to… a recently published memoir by one of the folks Jamie Loftus interviewed on the podcast instead. So, I’ve picked up Being Lolita by Alisson Wood.

Re-reads

Since Beth and I set ourselves a summer challenge of re-reading the Twilight books (that neither of us completed), we are obviously not opposed to re-reads. I found out over Christmas that our Mother re-reads a book every year. It is the last book of a romance series in which a couple is getting married and all the couples from the previous books attend the wedding. I think, for her, it’s like checking on in old friends. I have, for the past few years, re-listened to the audiobook of the Hogfather. I enjoy it, but I also find myself, at the end of the year, thinking about Death giving a young girl a real sword for Hogswatch. (Perhaps it is that, around Yule, I am often doing a lot of grading and find myself thinking, “May this F be an important lesson to you.” I get pretty petty at the ends of semesters ;))

So, now I’m wondering: What do you re-read? What are your favorite worlds to revisit? What characters to you find yourself wanting to catch up with? And, do you catch up in other ways? Do you find yourself, instead of re-reading, diving into fan art/fan fiction? Let us know in the comments!

A Non-exhaustive list of things I liked and didn’t like about a Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

I finished a challenge this year! Huzzah! I am so excited! And I am pretty into this book and I will read the next one. (I hear there is also a TV show I can get into.) I have some thoughts, though. I’m going to provide them in list form because that is where I am in my life. So, in no particular order, here are some things I liked (and didn’t like) about the book. (CONTAINS SPOILERS! SO MANY SPOILERS!)

Stuff I liked

  1. Accurate representation of ongoing scholarship. Yup, cryptids and assorted fair folk, your professors spend all summer in libraries and labs. On purpose!
  2. The main character is a smart, educated lady!
  3. The main character is a smart, educated lady who is not constantly and entirely being undermined by the love interest! (Although, she’s not not undermined by him either.)
  4. The story was interesting
  5. The world building was good.
  6. Hamish. Just Hamish. I hope there is more Hamish in the next book.
  7. I literally screamed, “DOUBLE O MARLOWE” at my cat. I’m excited about where the next book is going to be set.

Stuff I didn’t liked

  1. They get vampire-married after like, three weeks of knowing each other. Which okay. But I felt like there should have been a bit more to it than that. Also, that their commitment to each other shouldn’t have been, “welp, he’s decided he’s yours forever, so what do you think?” Like, what? Come on.
  2. Her parents tied her magic to a dude she’d one day meet. That felt like some someday-my-prince-will-come bullshit. It also made me think about some mythical couples. Like, Rama and Sita, in particular the story of Rama breaking the bow and winning Sita’s hand in marriage.
  3. I can’t stress enough how much it bothered me that her finding out about herself and her powers was tied to a dude. By her family.
  4. Lots of people discussing the reproductive capabilities of other people in a way I’m sure wasn’t meant to call back Handmaid’s Tale. That might be just an artifact of reading this book for the first time in the Fall of 2020…Autumn of 2020. For some reason calling the season Fall sounds extra ominous this year.
  5. VAMPIRES are POSSESSIVE and I am SO OVER IT.

There are probably more things that need to be added to both of these lists, but unlike someone who is good at running a blog, I didn’t take notes while I was listening. I instead messaged all my feels as they happened to my sister. And, y’all, we talk about a lot of shit on more than one messaging platform on any given day, so I, at some point, got tired scrolling up.

Did you do the challenge? Did you complete it? Have you read the book? What were your favorite parts? What did you hate? Tell us in the comments!

Happy Midnight Sun Day?

It is Midnight Sun’s book birthday! And…Beth and I are both still stuck in the first book of our re-read. Speaking for myself, my enthusiasm for these characters and this story has definitely waned since I first picked up the novels. Bella is kind of an unredeemable bitch. Edward is a creepy stalker. Jacob’s goodness drops off as the series goes on and he picks up some of Edward’s tactics in order to get in there with Bella. But, I plan on finishing them since it is the pop culture homework assignment (and since I did finish last year’s…in October…and then never wrote the reviews…because I am not the best blogger.)

Ally Box!

Greetings! About a month ago, I saw that Fulton Street Books and Coffee was putting together an ally box, containing books to help folks wanting to learn more about race, racism, and white supremacy in America. So, to further my education (and to be a better and more informed teacher) I signed up. The subscription is running for three months (and there are still some subscriptions available through Fulton Street Books website! Click through on that link above!)

In this first box, there are flash cards with key terms that you’ve seen popping up in the media and two books. They’re both books that are on my to-read pile and I am super excited about them. The first book is So you want to talk about race by Ijeoma Oluo. I think this will be an overview to some of the issues in the current moment.

The second book is The Color of Law: The Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein. As someone who grew up in largely white communities, I think this one will probably contain a lot of information to help me better understand how I have benefited from our current systems that harm Black citizens and other citizens of color. Despite what I said about the first book probably being a good overview text, I think I’m going to start with the second one.

These look like they’re both going to be good reads, and I can’t wait to see what’s in the next box!

Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

HOW IS IT POSSIBLE THAT I SLEPT ON THIS BEAUTIFUL BOOK FOR SO LONG?? HOW? How??? It’s lovely and wonderful and good and heartbreaking and uplifting in all of the right ways. 10/10. If you’ve not read it, you should go read it (or get the audiobook and then Lin Manuel Miranda will read it to you.) That’s it. That’s the review. Done.

Okay, fine, I’ll say a little more. This is the story of Aristotle, who is a weird kinda angry teenager who goes to the pool and meets a weird kinda know-it-all teenager named Dante. They have very little in common, it seems, other than they are both kind of loners and they’re both Mexican. It’s the story of their friendship. It is about how their friendship grows and how they grow and how they deal with big life stuff. No magic (except the everyday magic of friendships, love, relationships, and personal growth), no monsters (except for the very real human monsters we’ve all met), just two teens living their lives and learning truths that feel like unlocking the secrets of the universe. Maybe it is that the world feels very dark and precarious right now, but reading a novel about just normal life stuff that had a good ending felt really great.

So, I still agree with the first paragraph. 10/10, would definitely recommend.

Giveaway: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (Book 1)

Are you thinking about re-reading Twilight before Midnight Sun comes out? Are you not sure where your copy is? Well, Beth and I got your back! We have a near-perfect used paperback edition that we are giving away! Because it is coming from Kate’s house, it will likely have other goodies like sheet masks and skin care samples! Maybe even cookies! To enter our giveaway, you just have to send us proof that you’ve given money to an organization supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, a local bail fund, Native American land sovereignty movements, efforts to address domestic violence in Native American communities (“American Indian women residing on Indian reservations suffer domestic violence and physical assault at rates far exceeding women of other ethnicities.” And….spoilers, but domestic violence on the reservation is referenced in the second book, if memory serves. Something that shouldn’t be a plot point, let alone a throwaway mention. But, I’m sure I’ll rant about that when I get to that book.) or efforts to defund and reform policing. It doesn’t matter to us which org you give to. There is a lot of work that needs to be done and a lot of people working hard who could use our support. If you don’t know where to start, here are some suggestions.

Black Lives Matter accepts donations and has suggestions!

The Okra Project is fighting hunger in the Black Trans community! 34% of Black trans folks report living in poverty. That is beyond tragic.

Black and Pink is an organization of LGBTQ prisoners and allies whose ultimate goal is prison abolition but who, in the short term, support LGBTQ prisoners.

NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund Huge and ground breaking societal changes tend to be largely unpopular when they’re first introduced. This is meant, historically and currently, that people on the front lines advocating for change find themselves in need of legal support. Here’s a good place to donate to support that work.

NDN Collective have a covid-19 response project (indigenous communities in the US have been hit really hard by the virus). They also have a bail-out fund for folks arrested defending their land and sovereignty.

To enter the giveaway, email proof of your donation to Kate at Katestacksxlifex at gmail. The giveaway is open until July 27th!