Mary Roach Collection: Complete

I wouldn’t say I’m necessarily a completist. I’m fine to give up on series I’m not enjoying or DNF books I’m not feeling. But sometimes finishing something is just so satisfying 💗

I read my last unread traditional Mary Roach book last year, with Packing For Mars. I was going to call that done. But then my boyfriend happened to find My Planet, a collection of her humor columns that ran in Readers Digest starting in 2002, at this month’s library book sale. I of course snatched it right up 📚

Now, would I say this addition to the Mary Roach bibliography is necessary for fans to read? Absolutely not. If you’re familiar with her style in her “curious science” books, you’ll know she loves a good aside or side joke. This collection is like 200 pages of extended jokes and asides. Being short magazine columns, it’s to be expected that she can’t go into much depth. You get a fair bit of fun tidbits about life with her husband and her thoughts of things she finds funny or strange, but for the most part this collection is pretty forgettable.

So glad I can finally, truly say I’ve read every Mary Roach book, but as far as My Planet goes, don’t go rushing out to find yourself a copy! My favorites of hers remains Stiff and Grunt (her first and last books), the curious science of cadavers and the military respectively.

So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo | Nonfiction book review

“Our humanity is worth a little discomfort, it’s actually worth a lot of discomfort.”

I come to this book as a white woman from the poor South (🙋🏻‍♀️ Hi nice to me you) So it should come as no surprise that I’ve found myself struggle-busing my way through a lot of difficult conversations with various friends/family members —both “well meaning” and those definitely not.

So when Ijeoma Oluo opens this book with an argument that I’ve had at least a dozen times, I ~knew~ this was a book I needed and will shove into even more hands. She tackles everything from the “but what about poor white people/can’t we just solve poverty first?” in those first pages and goes on to intersectionality, privilege, microaggressions, the model minority, being called racist and so much more.

Oluo tackles everything in ways that are so personal to her. You hear her exasperation dealing with her white mother; her care in raising her son; her frustration when she struggles to be heard as a black woman writer. And at the same time explains things in a way so useful to a wider audience, in a memoir-guidebook mashup. She delivers her arguments passionately with a straightforward humor as if she was a friend grabbing your hand and saying “Yea, this if f*cked up but you can do this.”

These are conversations we should all be having, as we examine our privilege and blindspots and work on anti-racism efforts. And whether you start with the basics with this book, or pick up one like it (White Fragility, How To Be An Antiracist, My Time Among the Whites among others (I’ll be picking more of these up myself soon)), it’s worth sitting in our discomfort to try to make the world better one conversation at a time.

January in Japan | Readathon Wrap-Up

Those of you following along in my stories last weekend will have seen I spur of the moment decided to join in on the #januaryinjapan 10-in-4 readathon hosted on Bookstagram. So I figured I’d go over how my reading/listening went!

First up, I listened to Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata (translated by Ginny Talley Takemori), which follows a woman who has worked this part-time job her entire adult life. The book absolutely skewers the societal norms that won’t let Keiko just live her life without trying to “cure her” with marriage or a career. I definitely hope for more of this author’s quirky work gets translated (one coming this year I believe)

Next I picked up my first ever manga with My Brother’s Husband by Gengoroh Tagame (translated by Anne Ishii). This is a slice of life story that follows a single dad who gets a surprise visitor after his estranged twin brother dies: his husband. You see Yaichi confront engrained homophobia but also see his daughter Kana welcome Mike with open arms. My only “complaint” is that the story didn’t seem to have much of an arc from chapter to chapter or even in this first volume. I found out later it was a serialized story, so that probably attributes to the kind of flat storytelling. Not a fault of the book, just not what I’m used to. Still highly recommend, and I have the next volume on hold.

Next up, I listened to If Cats Disappeared from the World by Genki Kawamura (translated by Eric Sellend). It follows a man who makes a deal with the devil to extend his life by one day in exchange for removing one thing from the world. This one had similar quirks as CSW, like the devil being a doppelgänger of our narrator in a Hawaiian shirt and a talking cat, but in the end was a bit too saccharine for my tastes. But its fable-like qualities are bound to be a hit for a non-cynic unlike myself.

And finally, I finished the weekend with short-story collection The Lonesome Bodybuilder by Yukiko Motoya (translated by Asa Yoneda). Like most collections, there were hits and misses here. But a few of these stories were just the right mix of speculative and cultural critique that were phenomenal!

Overall, I really enjoyed my weekend of packed with Japanese fiction in translation. It has just solidified my goal to prioritize more non-western writing through the year (and not isolated to readathons) Last year I only read a handful of works in translation (and those were from Swedish and Spanish), so there’s much more out there just waiting for me to seek it out and enjoy!

My 5-Star Predictions | Books I think I’ll love

We’d all like to believe that we expect to love every book we pick up, but that’s just not the case. On this fall Friday I’m bringing to you my 5-star predictions. If you haven’t seen this going around, it was started by Mercedes of MercysBookishMusings on Booktube. She took a look at her shelves and the books on her TBR and guessed which books would get 5-stars once she read them. So I’m doing the same, and I’ll hopefully do a follow up post to see how accurate my predictions were.

Continue reading “My 5-Star Predictions | Books I think I’ll love”

Audiobooks I regret listening to | Discussion

You’d think a new blog that focuses on audiobooks would start off by talking about the audiobooks they just love, right?

~Well that’s not how I do things.~

I love audiobooks. They’ve gotten me from reading about 20 books a year to reading more than 100, they help ease my anxious tendencies and they are just plain fun to listen to. BUT that does not mean all audiobooks are created equal.

Continue reading “Audiobooks I regret listening to | Discussion”

WWW Wednesday | Weekly Wrap Up

I saw this type of post of From Cover to Cover and thought, what a great way to do a weekly wrap up. After doing my massive August wrap up I knew I needed a more frequent wrap up schedule, and this is just perfect. It’s WWW Wednesday, a tag hosted on Taking on a World of Words It’s easy to do, just answer the three questions below!

This first post I’ll be wrapping up the first two weeks of September, and then I’ll be weekly going forward. Into the wrap up!

Continue reading “WWW Wednesday | Weekly Wrap Up”

Review of “Dead Until Dark” by Charlaine Harris

My battered hand-me-down copy

Hi, everyone!

As I prefaced in my quotes post, I’m writing this review in preparation of this weekend’s season premiere of HBO’s True Blood. I’ve watched the show since it started in 2008, and while I do have some problems with the direction it’s heading, I am still a huge fan. Continue reading “Review of “Dead Until Dark” by Charlaine Harris”

Introduction Post

Hi all!

So, to introduce myself, I’m a journalism student at the University of Florida and, according to my mom, an aspiring J.K. Rowling. I’m starting this book blog so I can get back to what I love — reading and writing without a test coming up.

Starting soon, I’ll review books — old and new, popular and unknown (whatever Alachua County Libraries can supply). I’ll try my best to both keep you all entertained and up-to-date with the latest news in the book world.

So, without further ado….

 

Will post my first review soon!

“The stories we love best do live in us forever.” – J.K. Rowling