Circe by Madeline Miller. No explanation needed.
- Wilder Girls by Rory Power
- House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig
- This Savage Song by V. E. Schwab
I didn’t read any thrillers this year … So I’m interpreting today’s prompt broadly: an edge-of-the-seat-must-keep-turning-the-page read.
Without a smidge of hesitation, the award goes to Bunny by Mona Awad … better described as a post-modernist acid trip than a thriller — but, man, do you want to see how it ends. It’s WTF?! in the best of ways.
Today’s award goes to Hades from Lore Olympus … who is haaaawt, damaged, well dressed, a bit of a dweeb, definitely a cinnamon bun, a dog lover, AND so in love of Persephone.
I mean, look at him. He’s so suave.
I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t know Kiki’s Delivery Service was a book until it popped up on my library’s e-book system.
When I saw that it was only five hours of audio time, — even less with my settings set to 1.25 speed — I was sold.
I love Studio Ghibli’s films. They’re a visual delight, so much fun, and Joe Hisaishi’s accompanying scores are pretty stunning. But, more often than not, I’m left feeling unsatisfied. Unlike mainstream western film/books, the stories are … well, rambling. Sometimes plotless. Definitely with lots of unresolved questions.
I still don’t know what the purpose of Totoro is. I mean, it’s cute. But why?
I read Howl’s Moving Castle a few years back, and really enjoyed how the book fleshed out the story, answered questions, and had a concrete direction. I was hoping that Kiki’s Delivery Service would do the same.
Spoiler: Nope. The book is — more or less — the movie.
Kiki is a young witch on the cusp of coming-of-age. As per tradition, once she turns 13 she must leave home and spend a year on her own.
The book consists of 11 chapters, each documenting a different part of Kiki’s year. The first three — The Beginning of the Story, Kiki Comes of Age, and Kiki Lands in a Big City — serve as the set-up. The remainder read more like a collection of loosely-connected vignettes, and include titles like Kiki Solves the Captain’s Problem and Kiki Delivers the Sound of Spring. The overall structure reminded me a lot of Mary Poppins.
Aaaaaaand … that’s about it.
The whimsy. It’s been a while since I read a book as fluffy as Kiki. The stories are feel-good and slightly silly, and don’t carry much weight.
Jiji. Jiji the talking cat could be Salem’s little brother. He’s witty and sarcastic, and a bit dark. I loved him. Easily the best part of the book.
Kiki … ironically? Kiki is one of those girls that 13-year-old-me would have despised. She’s silly and fickle, and is far too concerned about how short her skirt is.
Most of the other characters. Like, they’re sweet. And silly. And wholesome …
Side note: If you haven’t watched Blazing Saddles before, please do. It’s hilarious.
Lots of style, very little substance.
Kiki’s Delivery Service has all the delights and whimsy of the movie … but, not much else. There’s very little story; no character of thematic development; and — really — no point other than to delight. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing: the book wasn’t meant to be a deep, gritty, plot-driven novel. And, given my recent book selections — including Man’s Search for Meaning, I Hate You – Don’t Leave Me, and Throne of Glass — it provided a bit of a breather.
But did I like it? Meh. Not for me.
So! Day 1! — Whooooo, Sophie! Starting off on an optimistic note, aren’t we!? 🙃 Today is the best ugly cry of 2020.
I’m not someone who typically cries while reading … but, the book that brought me closest to tears this year was The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab. If you want an emotionally complex (one part devastating, one part hopeful) book … look no further!
After a very book-full October, things quieted down for November. I’ve been balancing a lot of different tasks — between work and my postdoc — which has translated to less reading time in the evenings. In summary: I’m not thrilled with my stats this month, but I do understand them.
It is really, really rare for me to like the second book of a trilogy (*cough*) … so, the fact that Winter of the Gods is my book of the month should tell you everything you need to know. I am so impressed with Max Brodsky’s writing. The story builds right from the half-way point, with multiple chapters of climax … non of this one-chapter-at-the-end stuff that’s so common in plot-driven books.
… it’s feels like a good month for re-reads. The days are dark. My blanket is warm. The Christmas lights are glistening. And, it’s been a really crappy year. I’m craving familiar stories and comfort. Adventure can wait to January.
Good lord. It’s the end of November.
I spent the weekend finishing up my Christmas shopping and helping my mom coordinate gifts from a distance … we’re under travel restrictions, and it’s uncertain whether I’ll be able to make a trip home for the holidays. (Or, whether not they’ll want me. Cases are not good.) My lil’ apartment is decked out in fairy lights, and I’ve filled my hearth with mercury glass candle holders. It’s not exactly the same as a real fire, but it’s pretty and golden and feels very cozy.
In bookish news: A friend tipped me off about Jólabókaflóð — an Icelandic Christmas Eve tradition where people swap books and spend the evening reading and eating chocolate. (I know, right!?) We’ve decided to do a long-distance book swap, and the book is now in the mail! I had a ton of fun visiting used bookstore trying to find something vintage and lovely.
I finished The Long Guest last night — and, I will say: it’s a long book! A massive shout-out to Jenn @ Out of Babel for accomplishing such a project! (I struggle to compose short stories!) Glowing review to come, hopefully this week depending on work crises 😊
… and, my Throne of Glass re-read continues. The series is so much better the second time around. So much better.
Oh, god. I am so thankful that COVID is a respiratory infection and not the tox. If you want a horrific plague SFF novel, — something with the imagery of Annihilation — then Wilder Girls is everything you’re looking for.
I just subscribed to a new music streaming service, and am loving its really creative playlists. I’ve discovered so much good music this past week — including YaYaYa by RY X.
Alright. Mixed success last week. My plan for 6x YouTube workouts turned into 3x YouTubes, 2x very late nights at work, and 1x 4-hour Saturday walk. Not a huge failure, but also not a raging success.
This week, I’m continuing with my beginner-friendly cardio and stretching. I’m starting to notice improvements in my stamina, and want to give myself another two weeks of beginner cardio before progressing to more challenging workouts. This week is 3x cardio and 3x stretching, all around the 30-40 minute mark. All my (best intentions of mice and men) sessions are below.
After yesterday’s Richard Simmons inspiration, I went on the hunt for cardio-friendly memes. Turns out, there aren’t a lot of them.
But, for those of you who dislike cardio, Google images is a gold mine.
My workout today was a bit on the longer side … 40 minutes of of beginner-friendly cardio, low-impact, and apartment friendly.
My workout today is a 30-minute stretch. I’m a horribly un-flexible person: even after 10 years of dance, I could hardly touch my toes. It’s also not something I particularly enjoy … I’d much rather do high-intensity cardio.