Dec 202020
 

Shall we continue onto the second half of November? YES, ME THINKS WE SHALL. (Books 1-7 can be found here.)

8. Sourdough – Robin Sloan

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I watch a lot of different Booktubers on YouTube, which puts Henry and Chooch to sleep, but listen Linda: I have gotten so many good recs from watching these videos and also discovered that I actually things like, I dunno, historical fiction (some of it anyway). I have found also that I share similar likes and dislikes with some of these people. And this is how I learned about Sourdough, by watching Noelle Gallagher do a book haul in which one of her viewers sent her a copy of this book and said it was her favorite. Now, Noelle hadn’t yet read it, but the book itself seemed intriguing to me and I found it immediately on one of my library/book apps.

WHAT A FUCKING DELIGHT! Literally, the entire book is about a woman named Lois who works at some tech company that programs robots, and how she falls in love with the food from this clandestine sandwich shop which is take-out only. Turns out that it’s run by two Mazg brothers from their apartment but then they have Visa issues and have to return home, but they leave Lois with their sourdough starter and it unleashes some latent bread-baking passion in her, which leads her to eventually quit her job and join some avant garde farmers market where they strive for innovation.

You guys, I read a review that said this book felt like a friend and honestly I can’t argue with that. It was such a comforting read! It was light-hearted and humorous, made me utterly craze fresh bread (Chooch, can you try your hand at that again?!?).

This book is adorable and also will make you want to drop your adult priorities and finally start molding those Danny Bonaduce beeswax candles you always wanted to get into what that wasn’t me that was you.

9. Tender is the Flesh – Agustina Bazterrica

Tender Is the Flesh

In this book, some type of disease has made the consumption of animals lethal so essentially all animals are eradicated and now humans are bred for meat-making purposes and honestly, I couldn’t handle this book at all.

It’s VERY cold. There really aren’t any characters to cozy up to, the descriptions of the various processes of the slaughtering industry are excruciatingly detailed, and I just hated the dry, dystopian atmosphere. Maybe I read this at the wrong time, or maybe it just isn’t the book for me. I also didn’t feel bad AT ALL that this shit was happening to humans, because hello card-carrying vegetarian here.

10. The Subtweet – Vivek Shraya

The Subtweet

THIS!!! Oh holy shit, I related to this on so many levels that it was actually painful at times. We follow two characters: one is an artist in the Toronto indie music scene, who is beloved and respected by her peers, but never really “made it.”

The other is a woman, Rukmini, who sings cover songs on her YouTube channel. When she covers a song by indie singer Neela, it takes off and obviously Neela feels a certain type of way about this. They end up meeting and developing a deep friendship, but that’s tested when Rukmini gets invited to go on a world tour with a super big white pop star.

So we have the exploration of selling out and catering to the white crowd (who attend the concerts and attempt to do various Indian dances along to the music) and leaving behind a friend in the process.

Meanwhile, Neela is like, ‘Fuck this I’m going to put out the best album of my life” and when she sends it to Rukmini, she doesn’t hear back from her. Of course Neela is like, “Wow, Rukmini is too good for me now” but really Rukmini is panicking because she listens to it and is crushed because it confirms the fact that she’s not the one with the talent, Neela is, and Rukmini only got where she did by riding on Neela’s coattails (ie. covering one of her songs).

It was very frustrating because I was so Team Neela and to watch her constantly get overlooked for something that was more marketable to the white people made me want to flip a table.

It’s interesting to me because I have felt a lot of these things over the years, especially back when I used to actually “write.” I would sit here and pour my everything into blog posts, essays, short stories, just to watch the MOST VANILLA and bland blogs take off and get tens of thousands of subscribers. I never wanted to change who I am, to become a basic bitch mommy blogger, or to start some dumb DIY or food blog, because what’s the point?

Also, I’m such a sucker for subtweeting. It’s so fucking immature and passive aggressive but I cannot break myself of it.

Yeah, this book is wonderful. Vivek Shraya is a superb writer!

11. Young Jane Young – Gabrielle Zevin 

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I have never heard of Gabrielle Zevin or this book, but I was in-between physical copies of books from the library and was looking for an audio book to help coast me through a work day and this seemed like it was going to be good and fluffy.

GUYS. Do you like Gilmore Girls? Then this book might be for you. It was so much fun but also deep and I connected to every character and it’s also infuriating and made me scream, “WE HATE MANS IN THIS HOUSE, DON’T WE?!?!” to the cats and they were like *blink* (it’s not ‘men,’ it’s ‘mans’ but nice try).

We follow several women (each one gets their own section) who are all connected and it’s quirky and endearing and explores different mother/daughter relationships and there’s a teenager named Ruby whose entire chapter is told from her side of emails to her international pen pal….and, it’s everything. Read this book. I loved it. I’m definitely going to add more of Zevin’s books to my TBR!

12. Out – Natsuo Kirino 

Out

Oof, this book was SO HARD TO READ. Don’t get me wrong – it was excellent. But the font was weird and my eyes had a really hard time with it, am I getting old?

I’m getting old, aren’t I?

Oh my god.

Anyway, it’s no secret that I love translated Japanese thrillers, and this one was no exception. We follow a group of women co-workers who become bound together via a murder and while it’s definitely dark and there are some very graphic and explicit scenes that were even a bit hard for this horror fanatic to handle, the interactions and quirky dialogue between the women sometimes added a much needed reprieve from the violence.

It was good but just a bit slow-moving (the character building was STRONG though).

13. Beartown – Fredrik Backman 

Beartown

I stayed up until like 2am one night because I was so close to finishing and couldn’t bear to put it down for the night. I honestly can’t remember the last time this happened.

This book made me feel so many things. I loved everyone (well, the ones worth loving). Benji and Bobo forever! HOCKEY!!! (Even if you don’t like hockey or know anything about it, it won’t hinder your reading journey if you pick this up, trust me.)

Oh, what’s it about? The small Swedish town of Beartown lives and breathes hockey, and their high school team is LIFE for them. There is so much drama and politics surrounding the team, which is one big plot point. But when the school’s star player (literally is being scouted by the NHL) rapes the daughter of the league’s GM, the town is divided (to say the least). It was infuriating and heartbreaking to watch this play out, to see how the daughter was actually holding it together better than her mom, who is an attorney and struggling with the reality that she couldn’t protect her own child. And then the dad who has to choose between his family and the team.

This was so well-written, the characters were SO ALIVE, the town felt so real. My heart is aching just writing about it but it’s actually not some huge depressive missive: yes, it’s dark and dramatic, but there’s love and friendship too, and some big hero moments which made me gurgle on my own tears while I laid in bed reading it and then I couldn’t fall asleep after it ended and I think about it every day. Five stars. You’re my favorite.

Apparently, Nordic Netflix adapted it into a series, which was released last fall and some light (OK, obsessive) google searches have learned me that the US is picking it up sometime in 2021 and I hope that means we’re getting the original with subtitles, please god.

This is my first Fredrik Backman book, although I have definitely seen his other books around the block, and this will definitely not be my last!

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So, November was pretty good for me! December is also going well (I’m currently reading my 200th book of the year!) and I have ANOTHER five star book that has completely taken over my mind and I can’t wait to tell you about it in my December wrap-up!

  5 Responses to “November Reads: Part 2”

  1. Booktube is my newest obsession.I have myself subscribed to eighty gazillion channels and I don’t care. Have you ever done a post on your favorite Booktubers? And come to think of it, you would make a mighty fine Booktuber yourself, Erin.

    • Hello! I don’t think I have done a post about my favorite Booktubers but that’s definitely something I can do. My kid has been goading me into starting a Booktube channel but I am AWFUL on camera. It would be entertaining for all the wrong reasons, lol!

  2. I *liked* “Bear Town”. I LOVED “Us Against You”, the sequel. Everything you feel in the first book is even better in the second book. Did you read Eleanor Oliphant? Backman’s other books are nothing like Bear Town, but if you like oddball characters, you should like the others. Have you read “How to Bury Your Brother” by Lindsey Rogers Cook. It came out last June. I am curious to know what you thought of it if you did.

    Lastly, did you see my question about Steel City AF? Steve Hofstetter, who you may know, is a comedian. He is moving to Pittsburg to open up Steel City Arts Foundation as a venue for comedians, actors, artists, etc. I feel like you need to be involved somehow.

    • I have the sequel on my TBR and I’m excited to get to it! I did read Eleanor Oliphant in the beginning of the year and LOVED it. I hope that author publishes something new soon. Adding “How To Bury Your Brother” to my list now!

      Yes, sorry – I did get your comment about Steel City AF but I can’t reply to comments easily from my phone and then I end up getting distracted! I haven’t heard anything about that but I’m not really up to speed on much that goes on in Pittsburgh. I don’t do anything much in the way of art anymore but I’ll keep an eye out for it. Thanks for the heads up and I really hope you are all doing well! I’ve been out of the loop since leaving FB so it was nice to see your name on here :)

    • Had to come back here and tell you that I just finished the Beartown sequel and HOOOO BOY was that an emotional ride. I loved it more than Beartown and can’t wait for the third! I even got Henry and my BFF Janna to read it!

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