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Monthly Wrap-Up: September 2021

  • Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki (★★★★☆)
  • The Low, Low Woods by Carmen Maria Machado (★★★☆☆)
  • The Burning Girls by C.J. Tudor (★★☆☆☆)
  • The Daughters of Ys by M.T. Anderson and Jo Rioux (★★★★☆)
  • Bury the Lede by Gaby Dunn (★★★☆☆)
  • That Can Be Arranged by Huda Fahmy (★★★★☆)
  • Witchy by Ariel Slamat Ries (★★★★★)

MONTHLY TOTAL: 7
YEARLY SO FAR: 79

Somehow, September has ended up being my worst reading month of the year so far. I only managed to read a single novel, a short thriller that I didn’t even enjoy, and the other six books were graphic novels. I’m not sure what happened, except that I wasn’t inclined to read at all, or write, or do much of anything, which is odd considering September is usually my second favorite month of the year, but maybe because it was still so hot everything felt discordant?


CURRENTLY READING

Yeah, so, for the first time in like, ever, I’m carrying fiction books over into another month. I started THE JASMINE THRONE early in September but I’m only about 140 pages into it — not because I don’t like it, because I do, but just because, I don’t know, slump. Same with THE SPARROW — started at the beginning of the month and I’m like 40 pages in? The two others, both nonfiction, I started a bit later, but haven’t made too much headway into either of them; I’ve only read two chapters of each. Again, I’m enjoying all these books, and I’m not even tempted to DNF, but for some reason I just can’t bring myself to sit down and read for extended periods of time. It’s extremely annoying.

For October I really just…want to finish these books. The only other book I will for sure be reading is Sarah Waters’ THE LITTLE STRANGER, since that is what my book club is discussing this month. I’d also love to finally read T. Kingfisher’s THE HOLLOW PLACES, but we’ll see how things go. I really, really hate being in a reading slump. =/


FILM AND TV

Clickbait

My mom and I started watching this at like 7PM and the next time we looked up it was something like 3AM because we just could not stop watching; we absolutely powered through all eight episodes. The series definitely lives up to its name in that it’s ridiculously compelling; it’s basically a domestic drama mashed with a thriller, with a lot of twists and surprises. It’s also set up in a really interesting fashion, with each episode focusing on a particular character related to the man who has been kidnapped, so: The Sister, The Detective, The Wife, The Reporter, The Mistress, etc. I thought it was a really innovative setup, and not one I’ve seen done before, and it definitely helps this show stand out. I don’t know that I would call this show particularly smart, but it is really interesting, and kind of…well, funny isn’t the right word, but the ending and big reveal was kind of ridiculous. Still, I really enjoyed it, and the cast was great.


Scott and Bailey

As most of you know, I will watch nearly any British crime drama that comes across my radar. I’d been aware of this particular one for a couple of years now but for some reason had held off on starting. This month, however, brought on by my mom watching Doctor Foster (which I’ve seen before) and me suddenly wanting to see Suranne Jones on my screen, I decided to give it a go, and man, was I hooked. There’s five seasons and thirty-three episodes and I binged all of them. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

It’s your standard British crime drama, set in the north of England with our lead detectives solving grisly crimes. The only major difference is that it’s heavily female-centric; our three main leads are all women. I really enjoyed their characterizations — one of the leads is actually really unlikable, in my opinion, and not someone I’d particularly like to be friends with, while the other two are both much older women with grown children. In particular, I really enjoyed the SIO character, a confident, somewhat abrasive no-nonsense matter-of-fact sort of character who really stood out.

This show just brought me a lot of joy and entertainment — it’s been a while since I’ve properly binged a lengthy show, so that was super duper fun. It’s also just very quintessentially British, which is always a plus. I am really super sad that it’s over.


Rebecca (1940)

I…did not like this. I will even go so far as to blaspheme and say I liked the 2021 version better, and that version was a travesty. I don’t know if it was the old-timey acting or what, but I just found this overwrought and incredibly boring. This was my first Hitchcock film, and my second Old Hollywood film overall, so I’m glad I watched it, but I very much did not enjoy it.


OTHER READING

BECOMING A SAINT IN SHADOW AND BONE: Just a brief comparison of morality in the Netflix show vs in the books, specifically focusing on sainthood.

I LIVED THROUGH COLLAPSE, AMERICA IS ALREADY THERE: A hard realistic look about what it means to live in a country that is falling apart; the author lived through the Sri Lankan civil war and describes what it was like, that there is often no apocalyptic big moment, no discernible Before and After, but rather just slow creeping dread and despair.

THE GREAT HISTORY OF SMALL THINGS: A brief retrospective about a young woman’s experience in a small New England historical society that reads more like an extended obituary for the town historian. A really moving take on what it means to be a historian and what history means to us.

KIDS WHO GREW UP WITH SEARCH ENGINES MIGHT CHANGE STEM EDUCATION FOREVER: A really interesting look at how today’s Youths don’t really understand files and directory structure, which was a revelation to me! I guess I’m not really a Youth anymore. But the rise of Google and the reliance on searching has apparently made files/directories a thing of the past. For me as a librarian this is a little reminiscent of explaining to students what exactly a database is, and they don’t really care…they just want to be able to search in one box and get their answer. Anyway, it’s wild to me that Youths today have no conception of what files are at all, to the point where professors are having to come up with belabored metaphors.


MISCELLANEOUS

I actually did a lot of going out in September; I visited the Finger Lakes region in upstate New York, which was beautiful, and I experienced Smorgasburg in Brooklyn, which was fun.

I went specifically to Canandaigua up in the Finger Lakes, and we took a day to visit Rochester as well. It’s an area that I’d been considering moving up to. It was really pretty, really quiet, really green — it helped that we stayed in a large log cabin at the base of a mountain. Rochester was fine — I’ve been once before for a job interview but hadn’t gotten to see it much in the daylight.

I didn’t hate it (Rochester gets a bad rap), but I didn’t fall in love with it either. In fact I didn’t really fall in love with the area in general as I’d expected to, plus it’s just so far and isolated! The major thing it has going for it is that it’s super cheap to rent up there. So, back to the drawing board in terms of places I’d like to move to. No rush for now, I guess.

In terms of writing I wrote basically nothing for almost the whole month, and then I made myself go out to a cafe and start handwriting to break out of my slump, and it helped! I fast drafted two chapters for the second book in my contracted duology, and I got past a major logistical hurdle (battle scenes…are the worst and I hate them), so I think it will be smoother sailing from here on out. I have a pretty detailed overall outline so at least I know where I’m headed and I hopefully will not stall.

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