Social distancing, staying at home to avoid contracting the virus, working from home… Life has become monotonous, and the days are beginning to run into each other. I can’t remember what happened in July. It’s all a blur.
Let’s Rewind is my version of a monthly wrap up but instead of talking about only books, I include all types of other stuff, like articles… bookish news… commercials… random-ass links… movies… art… podcasts… cartoons… and whatever else happened to me in the month. You know, the usual stuff that people talk about in monthly wrap ups. So read on to see what I did and read this month. You might stumble upon something that interests you.
June was a blur and so was July. But this time remaining inside was starting to get to me. I experienced a serious bout of FOMO thinking everyone was hanging out without me and I was the only dummy remaining inside to avoid corona. I wanted to go outside so bad and connect with another human in person who is not a family member I live with.
It was so weird, that feeling. I’m introverted and have never minded spending time alone. I love my own company. Plus, I’m never actually alone since I live with family. But I was surprised at this yearning to interact with others outside my family unit. I’ve never experienced that before. It was weird.
I did end up driving to D.C. (new experience there) to meet with a friend. It was a refreshing experience. We social distanced and wore our masks. Well, he wore his mask. I struggled with mine. D.C. is VERY humid in the summer, so it was hard to breathe while wearing the mask outside. So whenever I was away from others, I took it off.
It was a nice outing, but it made me realize how tricky it is to maintain all the corona precautions while out and about: don’t touch your face (my hands love my face), wash your hands regularly (it’s hard to find a good public restroom and I always want to wash my hands again after leaving it, especially if it’s one of those with the electric dryer, no paper towels, and you have to pull the door toward yourself to exit the restroom), use hand sanitizer (I do. I don’t trust it. And I always feel as if my hands are still dirty. I prefer to just wash them), wear a mask (I do but damn that humidity!), stay 6 feet apart (I now realize this is tricky to do in the city. D.C. wasn’t as crowded as it usually is, but sometimes it got tricky to maintain this distance).
Well, while in the city I got to visit the Black Lives Matter Plaza. I wanted to take a picture of it but too many people were out there taking selfies, smh. I also got to see protest posters and such tacked to the barricades surrounding the park in front the White House (I forgot what it’s called and don’t feel like looking it up).
Other than that, nothing much happened in July except Trump doing and saying crazy shit as usual.
Helen Oyeyemi’s Boy, Snow, Bird was the first book I completed in July. It’s literary historical fiction with a smattering of magical realism that begins in the 1950s when a young woman runs away from her abusive father to start a new life. The story has some fairytale influences from Snow White. Many readers raved about this book when it was published, but I didn’t care for it much. It was an okay read.
Next, I completed the Belles by Dhonielle Clayton, which I buddy-read with Rachel at Life of a Female Bibliophile. It’s YA fantasy set in a world where everyone is obsessed with being beautiful but only a select few, the Belles, can alter a person’s appearance to make them beautiful. It was a quick read, but I didn’t care for it either. The only thing that really interested me was the descriptions of the settings and the characters’ clothing. I wish the book had illustrations.
I received an ARC through NetGalley of Julia’s House Moves On by Ben Hatke (illus.), a children’s fantasy picture book about a girl whose house is a refuge for lost creatures. It was a fun read and I liked the illustrations, so I’ll try more of Hatke’s work. This book is slated to be pubbed on September 29.
I also completed Shaman’s Crossing by Robin Hobb, the first novel in her Soldier Son trilogy, which I’m reading with Emily at Embuhleeliest, my buddy-reader in all things Hobb. It’s a fantasy novel about a young man who believes he’s destined to become the soldier in his family. I loved it so much that I consider it a favorite.
Fires of Heaven is as far as I’ve ever made it in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. We’ll see if I can make it through the next book, Lord of Chaos. Fires of Heaven is the fifth book in this too-long fantasy series about some farm boys and girls destined to save their world. The story is interesting but Jordan’s writing and characterizations grate on me sometimes.
I ended the month with a manga — Skull-Face Bookseller Honda-san, Vol. 1 by Honda (illus.). It’s a humorous, contemporary story about selling mangas and other comics at a Japanese bookstore. It’s such a fun read; I was surprised at how similar it is to my experiences working at a bookstore, like some of the stuff in this book are almost exactly the same as we do or I have experienced while working in a bookstore.
Buju Banton is one of my favorite reggae artists. In this video, he did a performance for the Daily Show with Trevor Noah.
Those with a star (★) are the ones that stuck with me.
★ Nobody Asked Me: A Teacher’s Opinion on School Reopening (mrsteacherlife.wordpress.com)
— Just as the title says. Many of the points made in this post are the same my friends who work in the school system have expressed.
BOOKS & PUBLISHING
— An article about what it’s like to be a Black person working in book publishing. The article features people from a variety of areas in book publishing: an editorial director, author, bookstore owner, publicity director, literary agent, marketing director, and a senior executive.
“Publishers are now in the ironic position of making money off books by authors that they once held in disfavor.”
The Uprising of 60,000 Jamaicans That Changed the Very Nature of Revolt (zocalopublicsquare.org)
— An essay about a momentous slave revolt in Jamaica
AROUND THE BLOG-O-VERSE
Women in SFF Author Spotlight — Zen Cho (Sorcerer to the Crown) (fantasy-hive.co.uk)
— Fantasy Hive did a series of author interviews on female sci-fi/fantasy authors. Linked above is the feature and interview on Zen Cho, who wrote Sorcerer to the Crown. Click here for a list of all the posts in this series.
My Year of Reading Romance (thebookstop.wordpress.com)
— Deb discusses her experience reading romance novels. She also touches on some of the assumptions made about the genre.
Reigning in the Criticism — Reasons I Don’t Review Every Book (theorangutanlibrarian.wordpress.com)
— A discussion on why the Orangutan Librarian doesn’t review every book she reads
Read as Thou Wilt: a Kushiel’s Dart Read-Along (onemore.org)
— Imyril announced a readalong for Jacqueline Carey’s novel Kushiel’s Dart that I’m looking forward to.
24 Delicious Book Covers of 2020 So Far (thebooksatchel.com)
— These covers are stunning! My favorites are the Majesties and Moustache, which I’m curious about and will look up.
STUFF I PUBBED
— My reading stats for April, May, June.
— Thoughts on what I read in the first half of the year
— Ditto above
— My TBR for the last iteration of the Magical Readathon hosted by the Book Roast. My goal is for the Mind Medic.
— Here begins the tour of my fantasy bookshelf.
It’s been a while since I’ve included an art break on here, but I love this series of women warriors illustrated by Yael Nathan too much to pass up.
I found this illustration in this post on Bored Panda in which Yael listed 24 illustrations she drew of women warriors of different sizes, ages, and body types. She offers high-res versions of the illustrations for free download through Gumroad.
— I’m hooked on this Wheel of Time podcast. If not for it, I probably wouldn’t have made it through the fifth book. It’s hosted by Emily Juchau & Sally Goodger. I enjoy listening to their critique of the books, although they often ramble off topic (lol). I highly recommend you check out the podcast if you’re reading the books or have read them.
Here’s what I watched in July.
More of the Magicians, Resident Evil, and Schitt’s Creek
— Still rewatching the Magicians to get caught up on the episodes.
— I watched 2 more movies in the Resident Evil series — Extinction and Afterlife. They helped to satisfy my craving for zombie shows. I think I only have Retribution and Final Chapter to watch next. I’d really like some explanation why Alice adapted so well to the virus though.
— And I’m still hooked on Schitt’s Creek. I think it’s one of my favorite shows now 🤣.
— I wanted more zombie shows, so I checked it out and… I like it. I wish it was a little more serious.
— I’m so mad at this show because I love it and am hooked and now I’ll have to keep my Amazon Prime membership because of it 😦 Yep, I am upset that I like it so much. And… Oh man! Homelander is so damn creepy!
— Starts out promising (creepy, atmospheric, psychologist called in), but it wasn’t great. It wasn’t even scary and I’m easy to scare. But I liked that it’s a ghost/haunted house story. I’m a sucker for those (and zombies).
Samurai X a.k.a. Rorouni Kenshin
— A friend recommended that I watch Trust & Betrayal, so I did. It was okay. I was hoping it would get me hooked on the show, but it didn’t. However, I plan to give this anime another try. I watched a couple episodes years ago but wasn’t feeling it enough to continue.