Books, Lately [August]

pages of the book as a bird flying away
Welcome to Quick Lit! This is where I partake in Modern Mrs. Darcy’s link-up and share short (sometimes) and sweet (cavities not included) reviews of what I’ve been reading lately.

So I read eleven books this month, and it felt amazing. There were definitely several shorter novels, and that helped, but I felt more motivated to just keep reading than I have in awhile, and I liked it. We’ll see if I can even remotely keep that up. I definitely don’t feel like keeping it up for the reviews, so I’m only mentioning six here.

WE NEVER ASKED FOR WINGS
Vanessa Diffenbaugh

I  received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I was pleasantly suprised Diffenbaugh’s The Language of Flowers was much deeper and richer than what I (for no real reason) expected. So I hoped for the same from We Never Asked for Wings, and it didn’t disappoint me.

Family, race, immigration laws, growing up (even if it’s later than you were supposed to), and love and all kinds of good things are here. It wasn’t quite as unique as Language of Flowers, but it was just as enjoyable. This was also one of those books that makes me feel pretty confident saying that even though we generally think of non-fiction as the books you really learn from, you can learn plenty from fiction.


THE INVASION OF THE TEARLING
Erika Johansen

This was unexpectedly different from the first book because it introduced some sci-fi elements to the first book’s purely fantasy feel. But it was good, and still got me wishing for the next installment just as much as the first one did.


MAGONIA
Maria Dahvana Headley

“Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time.”

The premise of Magonia was particulary unique. Lots of teen angst in the beginning, which might annoy some, but it felt deserved here. And a whole other world in the sky called Magonia? Yes, please. I didn’t really expect the blue people (or talking birds), but execution of these weirder elements was fun, most of the time. Less fun: realizing I had just commited to another series when I thought this was a one-off book! I bought this, but I’ll likely stick to the library for the next one.


PERSEPOLIS
Marjane Satrapi

The last few months were a bit of a book slump for me, so the amount I read this month was a nice suprise, but not unexplainable: meandering through Persepolis in a couple of hours was exactly the motivation I needed to check out a few of the shorter books on my to-read list, get back in a reading groove, and hopefully get me through some longer pieces too.

Persepolis is a graphic novel, and it was a really nice change of pace–and suprisingly good beach reading, despite the heavier topics. It was two hours of education on another culture that I didn’t know I needed–and now I want more. Basically, it was just as good as everyone says.


THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME
Mark Haddon

At my first job in a diner / ice cream shop scooping desserts when I was 14, this book was inexplicably always sitting behind the counter. I picked it up and read a few pages once or twice (there were definite lulls at that place, which might start to explain the less-than-minimum wages), but never finished, and always just remembered it as seeming “weird.” I’m so glad I finally read it.

This was for a work book club. It’s from the perspective of a 15-year-old boy on the autism spectrum writing a mystery book about who killed the next door neighbor’s dog. The brief chapters went by extremely fast, and I was never bored with it.


ELANTRIS
Brandon Sanderson

Ooooh Sanderson, you already had my love with Mistborn, but Elantris sealed the deal. I am officially your fan. Elantris showed a different side of Sanderson because it was self-contained (as opposed to a huge triology), but it was a lovely other side. Others have mentioned that it does show through the writing that it’s his earliest work, and I agree, but it’s not neccessarily a failing. The premise is big and complex and engaging and even though I was reading this after almost 7 really fast reads, I barely realized this was twice the size of those.

It may have helped that I spent the better part of a Sunday finishing it, but everyone does that once in awhile, right?


WHAT’S UP NEXT

I really don’t know. I’m meandering through a few different things–my reading burst of last month has definitely slowed in the face of some heavy duty job hunting. I am realizing it’s been a few months since I focused at all on non-fiction, so I will definitely be trying to fit some in here at the end of summer.

5 things not to do when your life is a bit overwhelmed

Why am I overwhelmed? Well, because I’m a 20-something. Wasn’t that a given? Do we even have a choice? But specifically, I’ll get to that at the end. Maybe. Unless I get too overtaken by feelings to finish.

1. Avoid putting things away, specifically clothes.

This is a broad one. We’re talking laundry, of course. But we’re also talking returns I need to get in the mail (that Nordstrom sale, seriously), and, even more space-consuming, my stacks of clothes to sell or donate. It’s great that I cleaned out my closet (and that I’m returning a lot of what I ordered!), but it all adds up real fast in a studio. After a couple of busy weeks and in the midst of a couple of big changes happening, my place is a mess, and at least half of it is stuff I’m trying to get out of here.

I need to get on this.

2. Feel like being social will help and then make too many plans

Ok, this one is obviously too much of a generalization. So often, being social does help, and working on building and connecting is great. Feeling isolated is typically a negetive, and I’ve learned that if I want to go have people to go bowling with on a Saturday, I might need to plan it and invite them (and they will come, and it will be great, and I will not win, unfortunately.) But I might have to accept that at the moment, my relationships might have to build a tiny bit more slowly, and that’s ok, and I can alway get back to planning things to bring people together after things calm down.

That said, I think we’re still going to go do karaoke two weekends from now, so let me know if you want in.

3. Ignore your dishes

The self-loathing isn’t worth it. Put on some music or an audiobook and go do them. (Or move somewhere with a dishwasher. Whatever works for you, though you probably don’t want to transport dirty dishes when moving. Obviously. Anyways.)

4. Start marathining a new show.

Ah, so I’m actually doing fine on this one for the moment, but I’m including it as a reminder, because I am so tempted to break my stress by finding something to watch mindlessly for a while. I’ve mostly been picking up a book instead, which should get me points. (Except that I read most of a 400+ page Brandon Sanderson novel yesterday, and maybe that wasn’t my best use of time, but it was Sunday for heaven’s sake, and it was restful!)

Aaaand, here’s the big one:

5. Apartment-hunt and job-hunt at the same time

Because really, these take so much time. Each. While neither process is pretty, neither is the end of the world.

Unless you need to do both at the same time, then it’s a little bit the end of the world.

And unfortunately there’s no way out of it, unless one of you has a fast-forward device to get me a few months ahead of this.

But where would the fun be in that?