Monday, October 31, 2022

Best of the Bunch (October 2022)

Best of the Bunch header

Today I'm sharing the best book I read in October.

It was a decent reading month. Of the 10 books I read this month, I had two 5-star reads.

Nick and Charlie by Alice Oseman

Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski

The novella was lovely but probably only recommended for those already immersed in the Heartstopper universe, so the other will be my Best of the Bunch!

Burnout had everything a good nonfiction book should have: solid research explained in layman's terms, practical suggestions for applying said research to your own life, and example stories to show how the lessons from the book might look in real life. The Nagoski sisters balance individual, communal, and societal factors in exploring how stress affects us (particularly women) and what we can do about it. This is the kind of book whose lessons you can put into practice right away and also come back to in the future. I definitely recommend this if you haven't yet read it.

What is the best book you read this month? Let me know in comments, or write your own post and link up below!

Looking back:
One year ago I was reading: Set Boundaries, Find Peace, Monsters and Mold, Solutions and Other Problems, and Muse of Nightmares
Five years ago I was reading: Birdsong and The Secret History
Ten years ago I was reading: A Year of Biblical Womanhood

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Saturday, October 15, 2022

What I've Been Reading Lately (Quick Lit)

Today I'm linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy's Quick Lit to bring you some short and sweet reviews of what I've read in the past month. For longer reviews, you can always find me on Goodreads.

Platonic: How the Science of Attachment Can Help You Make—and Keep—Friends by Marisa G. Franco: This is a well-researched and well-written dive into the real-life experiences of friendship and would be valuable for almost anyone to read.

The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould: This was a tensely atmospheric supernatural thriller with some unexpected queer romance thrown in. I found the plot compelling and the writing excellent, and I was willing to have some suspension of disbelief to enjoy the story.

A Queer History of the United States by Michael Bronski: This read like an older white gay man who has not kept up with the changes in the broader community. If you want to learn about the history of white gay men (or "homosexuals," as he insists on calling them) in the United States, this is a great overview, but don't expect anything comprehensive or intersectional.

Zombies Ate My Homework by Cara J. Stevens: This certainly isn't something I'd pick up on my own or recommend to the average reader, but it fit the bill for a graphic novel that would engage my Minecraft-loving 7-year-old.

Matrix by Lauren Groff: This was an engaging story that draws you more into the life of 12th century nuns than you might expect, though less than I expected after the rave reviews I'd heard of this book.

The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred by Chanda Prescod-Weinstein: The first quarter of the book is very physics-heavy and I nearly abandoned it, but the rest is a solid set of essays about the intersection of science with things like white supremacy, transphobia, and capitalism.

The Under Dog and Other Stories by Agatha Christie: There wasn't a lot here that was new to me, but it's a solid collection of short stories. Unlike some of her short story collections, this one is surprisingly light on the racist commentary, and it includes some of the better plot twists.

Nick and Charlie by Alice Oseman: This novella was a lovely addition to the world of Heartstopper. We've seen Nick and Charlie grappling with external stressors, but their relationship has otherwise seemed picture-perfect. Here we see that they make the same mistakes any other couple makes (and come out stronger on the other side, obviously).

Looking back:
One year ago I was reading: Honey Girl, Stars and Sparks on Stage, Girl Sex 101, and The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side
Five years ago I was reading: Midwives and Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
Ten years ago I was reading: Sacred Marriage

Monday, October 10, 2022

Ten Books I Read on Vacation

I'm linking up with That Artsy Reader Girl for another Top Ten Tuesday.

This week we're talking about books we've read while on vacation, and where we were when we read them. Here are ten of mine!
1. An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
I read this one while visiting New Zealand to see some friends get married. I was so enthralled with it that I was literally reading it on my phone while waiting for the wedding to start! :D
2. The Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy Tan
This is the book I was listening to on audio when I went on vacation to the New Jersey shore. I remember sitting in the warm sun, looking out at the ocean, listening to the narrator tell me the story.
3. The God We Never Knew by Marcus J. Borg
I read part of this book during a trip to Colorado for another friend's wedding. My best friend and her husband had also flown in for the wedding and we were on flights out of Denver at the same time, and I remember sitting in the airport telling her about this book I was reading.
4. A Kiss Before Dying by Ira Levin
I read this book while I was at the 2018 conference of the organization now known as Q Christian Fellowship. (Coincidentally, this was also in Denver.) I remember that I was there for a pre-conference retreat and was sitting in the hallway before it began, reading this on my phone.
5. Moloka'i by Alan Brennert
This book had been my to-read list, and I chose to read it when my family took a Christmas trip to Hawai'i. (Note that there's now a push by some Native Hawaiians for people to pause tourism to the islands.)
6. Reading People by Anne Bogel
My family used to own a lakehouse, and it was always a great spot to read while looking out over the lake. This is one of the books I specifically remember reading on a Labor Day weekend trip there.
7. The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
Back in 2015 I took a cruise with some friends, and I didn't realize when I loaded this on my Kindle that it was going to be so long (~450 pages) nor so compelling. It's not that I didn't socialize with my friends, but whenever there was downtime I was once again absorbed in this story.
8. Switch by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Back before my family owned the lakehouse, we would often spend a week in the summer renting a cabin on a different lake with some of my extended family and their church group. The last time we went I didn't yet own a Kindle, so I brought a stack of nonfiction hardcovers from the library and blazed through them. This one was probably the favorite of the bunch.
9. Take This Bread by Sara Miles
When I got the opportunity to go to World Youth Day in Krakow in 2016, I loaded my Kindle with every spiritual memoir I had on my to-read list at the time. There were several good ones I read over the course of our time in Poland, but this one stands out as the one I'd recommend the most widely.
10. Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson
On a trip to a Mexican resort with friends, I pretty much parked myself in a poolside chair and read all day every day. This book I read in a single day there, and it was definitely my favorite from the trip.

What books have you read on vacation?

Looking back:
One year ago I was reading: Honey Girl, Stars and Sparks on Stage, Girl Sex 101, and The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side
Five years ago I was reading: All Things Bright and Beautiful and Bleak House
Ten years ago I was reading: Sacred Marriage