tbr: reading my wife’s books

tbr: reading my wife’s books

Today is my fiancée’s birthday! She is exactly two months younger than me, we were both born on the 11th day of our respective months. She expands my worlds and experiences on a regular basis. In honor of my love for her, I wanted to show off 4 of her owned-books I will be reading. I will be reading, like, 20 of her books this year, but I can’t imagine being able to hold y’alls attention for more than 4 books a post 😂.

I am currently reading Ishmael. It’s one of those works that you hear about in passing, but that I have never heard anyone really talk about. I relate it to works like Coelho’s The Alchemist and Albom’s Tuesdays With Morrie where you know the book has a lesson, but no one will tell you what the lesson is. I did not expect for the teacher to be who they are so that was a fun twist, and I’m enjoying following along with the lesson even though the little punk in me wants to be like “bro, just get on with it, I’m READY.”

The shortest book on my future wife’s shelf is a book of poetry about Kali Ma. Kali Ma and Brigid are the first goddesses I ever prayed to, whom I believe found me, which is interesting because though Kali Ma found us at different times, Kali Ma also happens to be one of the most important goddesses to my wife. Isn’t that wild? I think so. Anyway, my wife and I are made for each other and I hope I understand the poems in this work.

I just realized today the person who wrote the poetry book is the same person who co-wrote this historical and spiritual account of the rosary and its significance outside of Judeo-Christian and Muslim right hand paths. Stand wrote this with his partner Finn who has written a lot of MY LITTLE PONY works. I mean. Is that synchronicity or what? If I’m going to listen to anyone’s opinion on spirituality, it’s definitely going to be the married couple in which one person wrote poems about my primary goddess and the other wrote My Little Pony books.

Lastly for this entry, I’m going to read Nergal’s biography. Nergal is a very important person to my wife because he is a Satanist and metal musician, he is very thoughtful and thought-provoking, and he creates music that respects his beliefs. Interestingly enough, he is Polish! This is interesting because I’m Polish too, so for me Nergal means a lot culturally, spiritually, and even politically as he continues to be sued for blasphemy as Poland is a Catholic-dominated country where you can get sued for sharing idea that are not Catholic, if I’m understanding some of the articles and videos about him that I’ve consumed so far.

Thank you for reading. ❤️

for beginners: nonfiction

for beginners: nonfiction

It was my turn to pick a book for my book club in March and I picked Brown Girl Dreaming back Jacqueline Woodson. My pals who joined me, Harker and Katrina, made the discussion delightful and part of the discussion was nonfiction itself. Katrina encouraged me to create a For Beginners guide, since nonfiction is my favorite genre, and here we are!

celebrity memoirs | I won’t be the first or last person to recommend you start with celeb memoirs if you’re new to nonfiction. This is because most of these are written by comedians and therefore feel like you’re reading a stand-up act that gets really serious here and there. The conversational style along with your previous knowledge of the individual will make it seem like a long letter from a friend, confessing things about themselves and their lives to you specifically. It’s voyeuristic with consent! Also, most of the good ones will include discussions about trauma, life lessons, and how they recovered from huge mistakes.

graphic novel memoirs | Another type of memoir that makes nonfiction accessible is the graphic novel format. I’ve read so many of these that it was challenging to trim my recommendations down to just 4, but I picked these because they are the easiest to follow with the simplest narratives, art styles, and physical text. Each of these focus on identity in some way. Honor Girl is about when they author realizes she’s not straight. Lighter Than My Shadow is about trauma and anorexia. El Deafo is about what it was like to be Hard of Hearing back when the author was growing up. March is about the late senator John Lewis and his involvement in civil rights movement.

heavily referenced with play/story format | I’m a big believer that if everyone is talking about a book, and for many years, then there is something to be learned from that book (or in the case of 50 Shades, how inaccessible feminist porn is). The Vagina Monologues and For Colored Girls are written in play format which makes them extremely easy to read, though their content is anything but. Similarly, Tuesdays with Morrie and The Glass Castle are written in a familiar fiction format, though they are true accounts. The reason these books are well-received by the general public is because they are easy to consume and entertaining, even if they are about pain, poverty, oppression, and death.

middle grade & disability-friendly self-help | I wanted to throw in these two honorable mentions because Popular is written by a young lady who learns a valuable lesson I think many adults would benefit from learning, And Unfuck Your Habitat is an cleaning/organizing self-help book which takes into account those of us who have physical and mental symptoms that interfere with our functioning. These books are, again, easy to read, inspiring, and help us find ourselves in a world that doesn’t make sense on a good day.

❤️ I hope you have a wonderful journey entering or maintaining the world of nonfiction.

recs: ya medieval fantasy

recs: ya medieval fantasy

Fantasy is a pretty big genre, so I’m limiting these recommendations to be the kind of fantasy that includes magic, swords, dragons, princesses, fae, etc. I’m not even sure if “medieval” is the correct term for this fantasy, so please educate me if I’m wrong. Google was not helpful.

  • series name | The Folk of the Air
  • author | Holly Black
  • genre note | this is technically more of a portal fantasy but w/e let me live
  • # of full-length novels | 3
  • i read | 3 and the novellas
  • re-readability | I’m down to re-read it
  • medieval fantasy elements | fae who follow a different moral code than humans, magic, kings/queens/heirs/castles, monsters, politics?
  • world-building | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • protagonist | ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • love interest | ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • romance | ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • secondary characters | between ⭐ and ⭐⭐
  • visibility | important side character is queer
  • reader health | ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • education | n/a
  • writing style | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • plot | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • entertainment | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Full disclosure, the whole point of this blog post is for me to tell you I love this series so much, I need you to read it, and I hope we end up with at least 7 books in it. The way this is written is unlike anything I’ve seen before, but I’m new to this genre of fantasy. What I mean is each chapter is basically like an entire mini-series, and each book feels like several seasons of a show. This usually wouldn’t work for me, but the author pulls me in and keeps me invested to the point that I don’t even really want the books to end, which is rare for me. Please recommend books like this to me, thank you.

  • series name | Graceling Realm
  • author | Kristin Cashore
  • # of full-length novels so far | 4 out and a 5th is announced
  • i read | 3
  • re-readability | I’ve re-read Graceling once, plan to re-read Fire, and plan to read this series over and over until I have it memorized
  • medieval fantasy elements | kings/queens/castles, races of people with special abilities, magic, politics, epic-ness?, quest?
  • world-building | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • protagonists | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • love interests | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • romances | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • secondary characters | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • visibility | important side characters are queer; protagonist of second book is described sometimes as having darker skin?
  • reader health | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • education | n/a
  • writing style | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • plot | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • entertainment | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • series name | Of Fire and Stars
  • author | Audrey Coulthurst
  • # of full-length novels so far | 3
  • i read | 2
  • re-readability | I remember trudging through the first one, but I would probably re-read it and I would definitively re-read the second which I liked a lot
  • medieval fantasy elements | kings/queens/castles, outlawed magic, politics
  • world-building | ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • protagonists | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • romance | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • secondary characters | ⭐⭐⭐
  • representation! | the protagonists are girls who fall in love through slow-burn!
  • reader health | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • education | n/a
  • writing style | ⭐⭐⭐
  • plot | ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • entertainment | ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • series’ names | Princeless and the spin-off Princeless: Raven the Pirate Princess
  • author | Jeremy Whitley is the primary author
  • # of trades so far | 9 of Princeless; 9 of Raven
  • i read | 5 of Princeless; 3 of Raven
  • re-readability | It’s a graphic novel so, yeah, the good ones are almost always re-readable
  • medieval fantasy elements | kings/queens/castles, magic, fantasy creatures, dragon, dwarves, pirates
  • world-building | ⭐⭐⭐
  • protagonists | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • romances | ⭐⭐ so far for Raven
  • secondary characters | ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • representation! | Black girl protag (in honor of the white author’s daughter) in Princess; lady-loving Asian girl protag in Raven
  • reader health | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • education | n/a
  • writing style | ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • plot | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • entertainment | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

self love series: does self-dislike serve you?

self love series: does self-dislike serve you?

introduction to the series | I am known, offline and in various online circles, for my ability to self-love, and folks are constantly asking me how I’ve achieved it. I wish I could tell you there were steps I followed, workbooks I filled out, or therapeutic techniques I used, but I started loving myself when I was 14 and didn’t know what I was doing. So I’m going to take off my mental health professional hat for this and shoot from the hip rather than sharing tips with you that you could easily find through Google.

does self-dislike serve you? | A concept I recommend thinking about is whether or not self-dislike serves you. Sometimes we cling to self-hate because we get something out of it. It feels safe to us somehow, like there’s less risk. So we convince ourselves it’s better to keep it around. If we’ve never liked ourselves before, what if our whole identity changes if we change this? Will we still be [special, different, wise, etc] if we like ourselves? Will we become boring? How will we obtain attention? And so on and so on.

It’s hard to let go of self-hate when it’s become an addiction, because what will replace it? It has been a part of our daily routine and identity, so if we let go of it, what’s going to take the time, effort, personality, etc. in its place?

Will we have to change our standards? Will we have to accept that we can’t live up to the standards of others? And if we decide we can’t be what others want, does that mean that we have to accept that their love is conditional? *sharp inhale through teeth* Ouch, that’s not fun to think about.

The reason it’s hard to stop self-hate is not because self-love is hard, it’s because stopping self-hate is hard.

For me as an adolescent, I felt cooler doing it, like it was somehow uncool to like yourself. It felt like I was more poetic and somehow also smarter and deeper because of it, even though it made me annoying to be around, boring to have conversations with, and actually made some people stop talking to me. It was when I processed what I got out of self-hate that I was finally able to start thinking about what I’m losing because of it and how else I can get the same “rewards”.

So I challenge everyone to think about what you get out of your self-dislike. Can you get these “rewards” from something else? Can you get them from liking yourself? Are there other things about ourselves that we cling to though they don’t serve us? Toxic ideas, people, etc.?

❤️ Thanks for reading.

i learn things so you don’t have to (just kidding! do the work): hecate

i learn things so you don’t have to (just kidding! do the work): hecate

Summary of the Hecate portion of the Warriors, Witches, Women nonfiction book by Kate Hodges:

  • The start to the “witch” archetype, for the most part
  • Appeals to the dramatic
  • Supported women and people on the fringes of society during their hardest times
  • Origin in pre-Greecian mythos
  • Associated with crossroads
  • Helped Demeter regarding Persephone
  • Became a Cthonic (underworld as opposed to Olympus) goddess
  • Compassionate
  • Attractive to marginalized groups including people experiencing homelessness, sex workers, folks in transition or otherwise queer, and folks following uncommon spiritual beliefs
  • Never lived a domestic life
  • Dog familiar(s)
  • Protected newborns and young boys entering puberty
  • Pictured walking through graveyards
  • Herbalism

list: my top rated reviews on goodreads

list: my top rated reviews on goodreads

  1. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (no actual review, but highest likes; I guess 61 people felt relieved?)
  2. Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan ⭐⭐⭐
  3. Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover ⭐
  4. Graceling by Kristen Cashore ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  5. Soundless by Richelle Mead ⭐ (DNF)
  6. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  7. The Body is Not An Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  8. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  9. Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  10. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline ⭐
books i read before i was a reader: ages 10-13

books i read before i was a reader: ages 10-13

I’m reading the Animorphs series right now and it made me think about all of the books I missed out on as a kiddo because reading wasn’t a part of my life until my mid-20’s. So I thought it might be cute to do an ode to the books that made it through to me during my younger years.

The first chapter book I ever read was The Lost Diary of Erik Bloodaxe, Viking Warrior. Prior to reading this book, I thought of reading as an Impossible™️ task and I thought only Really Smart People™️ could finish a complete novel without their brains exploding. I might be exaggerating now, but I really did believe that finishing a book is a difficult task that not many can accomplish. I will always fondly recall this one as the one who made reading Possible for me, even if it didn’t really stick as a hobby just yet.

It doesn’t fail to amuse me that The Gods and Goddesses of Olympus was one of the only other books I read as a child. I grew up strongly Catholic so these folks served as my superheroes for the time and I loved learning about them and their connections to astrology. I presented about this book during the 5th grade and I remember a teacher asking me if these gods and goddesses were part of my religion and I looked at her like *??? gif* And look at me now! She predicted the future. 🧙‍♀️

cw: sexual assault/abuse | Now we’re getting to the stuff that ruined me for the rest of my life. As a nonreader, I walked into a local bookstore and looked around aimlessly until a book stood out to me with a teenage girl’s face on the spine. The title was Misty. For those of you unfamiliar with VC Andrews’ work (and the ghost writers who followed her), her books are on a spectrum of the following elements: 1) the good parent dies, if there was a good parent to begin with, 2) the other parent/guardian becomes absent or has always been absent, 3) a new adult, usually a rich person the child didn’t know existed, is placed in charge of the child, 4) the new adult is Terrible™️ physically, emotionally, mentally, socially, spiritually, and/or sexually, 5) the horror is rooted in how the child is bound by this adult, and 6) a blood-related male family member, perceived family member, or the first boy the young girl interacts with rapes or otherwise sexually abuses her. It’s a weird feeling for these books to evoke nostalgia from me!

I’d love to know what books y’all read that were not appropriate for your age, lmao, or what books predicted you’re going to be a witch or w/e someday. Feel free to make a blog post and link me to it!

judging books by covers: cosplay & illustrated covers

judging books by covers: cosplay & illustrated covers

When thinking about dressing up, wearing a costume, or cosplaying, I’ve realized I very much like my looks to be focused on the face make-up more than the clothing. I also go for aesthetics that are mostly typical, with one very severe detail like missing skin, blood everywhere, or I guess black flowers for eyes?

These types of covers always get me. Illustrated covers are my favorite, especially ones like this that are a little bit strange and have details in the faces, and specifically not like some of the ones we’re seeing trending in adult contemporary romance lately. All three of these covers are solely the reasons I plan to read these books. I’m not familiar with the authors. I haven’t read or seen more than one or two reviews mentioning them. I just want to know if things are as pretty on the inside.

authors: five most recent favorites

authors: five most recent favorites

I have to read and love at least two books by an author before I can consider them a favorite; sometimes I push even farther and need three, but I am happy to say Elizabeth Acevedo and Amy Reed have officially joined the list this week and in honor of them (and the fact that my blog is new and I haven’t spoken about authors yet) I’m going to let you know who my other most recent favorite authors are!

Elizabeth Acevedo | The year I read The Poet X, it ended up on my favorite reads of the year and of all-time list. I knew the author would end up a favorite. Though With the Fire On High didn’t have the same impact on me, I already want to read it a second time. Finally, Clap When You Land delivered exactly what I needed to make it official. It’s the way the author shows the life I’m familiar with, the topics the immediate world around me handles, and how she does it simply and profoundly. She’s supposed to be coming out with her next work during 2021?

Amy Reed | I read and adored The Nowhere Girls during 2019. The author wrote girls well and spoke deeply about rape culture. I had to add one of its predecessors to my TBR. I was sad to learn Clean wasn’t available on audio, since that’s almost entirely how I read, but shouldn’t have worried since the minute I picked it up physically, I could not put it down. I plan to read Beautiful next. I usually read in publication order when an author piques my interest, but I’m a sucker for books about substance use disorders so I had to skip the line and go straight to Clean. (note to self: recommend my favorite books about SUDS someday soon)

Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant | The first five books in the Wayward Children series, the first book twice, and the first book and prequel to the Rolling in the Deep series. I hold McGuire in really high esteem as her world-building, characterizations, representation work, writing style, and creativity are all way above average, in my opinion. She is constantly rocking my world, enchanting me, and blowing me away. If she were into the same spiritual practices as me, I would swear she has transcended and has actually reached goddesshood, but that’s a discussion for another time. Anyway, she’s enlightened and talented as fuck. I couldn’t get into Middlegame, though. My next reads will be Across the Green Grass Fields and Rosemary and Rue.

Amy Engel | I read Book of Ivy on a whim, and I felt surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It’s just generic enough to fit into what I’d want from a dystopian, spy-in-disguise, revenge-to-love kind of YA novel, but it felt special enough to make me feel invested, encourage me to read the sequel, and generally entertain me. I couldn’t finish The Roanoke Girls because I’d heard horrible things about it and just couldn’t understand why that particular story was written. However, I liked Book of Ivy enough to give the author another shot and I’m glad I did because I adored The Familiar Dark. The protagonist, narrative, and suspense got me. Again, it wasn’t perfect, but it was exactly what I wanted for the genre. These are all of the works she’s created so far!

A. S. King | I had a good feeling about King when I got into reading and reviewing as a hobby (fun fact: I was in the 20’s, I’m a late bloomer) with Ask the Passengers. I loved the subtle use of fabulism and the exploration of anything queer. A few years later I finally picked up Everybody Sees the Ants and thought it was solid, though dream sequences are just not for me. Glory O’Brien’s History of the World is the one that solidified my appreciation for the author. It was slightly more fantasy, the protagonist was darkly alluring, and I loved everything about the friendship including the ending. I’ve also read Dig and loved that. Next I’m going to read The Dust of 100 Dogs.

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i learn things so you don’t have to (just kidding! do the work): meme supremacy

i learn things so you don’t have to (just kidding! do the work): meme supremacy

I used to only sit in the safe space of intersectional feminist twitter, where I can mute, soft-block, or block anyone who says something I even casually just don’t want to see. I mean, I’ve muted people for posting a lot about fandoms I was tired of hearing about, #notsorry. This past year I went in the exact opposite direction and spent time on political and occult discords, where everyone says hateful things openly and all of the time. It has been educational, though agonizingly depressing. I’ve learned valuable information about how “alt-right” groups are recruiting, controlling narratives, and keeping folks ignorant. Below are some resources written by people much smarter than me who explain things much better than I can.

Collected readings and video:

  1. “Deplorable” Satire: Alt-Right Memes, White Genocide Tweets, and Redpilling Normies
  2. Trust Me, I’m Trolling: Irony and the Alt-Right’s Political Aesthetic
  3. How the alt-right uses internet trolling to confuse you into dismissing its ideology
  4. The alt-right are targeting disgruntled white male lefties to join their movement
  5. The Alt-Right Playbook: Control The Conversation