Wednesday, June 30, 2021

A Month In The Life: June 2021

June saw a return to normalcy that was unexpected: not only did session end on May 31, meaning that my busy season is over, but masking protocols and social distancing mandates were largely dropped in Nevada, meaning that life feels awfully similar to the way it was before March of 2020. It's an odd feeling, being vaccinated and no longer having to feel significant concern that other people breathing on me could lead to severe illness and death! But a good one, I'd say.

In Books...

  • Tooth and Claw: This book answers a question one may not have been aware was ever asked, namely, "what if a Victorian novel, but dragons?". In Jo Walton's hands, it turns out the answer is "unexpectedly delightful"! I enjoyed the wide cast of characters Walton created, and the way she dealt with Victorian concerns over female purity by having lady dragons literally change color at sexual awakening. If you enjoy both fantasy novels and classic novels, this will be a treat!
  • The Reluctant Fundamentalist: I adored Mohsin Hamid's most recent novel, Exit West, and this one was just as wonderful. It traces the story of a young Pakistani immigrant, Changez, and the way his relationship to America changes after his attendance at Princeton and acceptance of a fancy analyst job in the wake of both 9/11 and a romance with Erica, a beautiful, troubled classmate. It's told as a dialogue and is just incredibly rendered. 
  • Throne of Glass: When I first started book blogging, this book (and its sequels) were everywhere! I finally got around to seeing what all the hype was about, and while I found it entertaining enough to keep me turning the pages, it also definitely feels like the debut novel it is. I've heard the series gets better, though, so I'll likely pick up the second at some point. 
  • The Death of Vivek Oji: I really wanted to get into this book club pick about the life and untimely death of a young queer person in Nigeria, written by an author who is themself non-binary. But it didn't quite grab me...the central character is hypothetically compelling, but that's undercut by being virtually only seen through the eyes of others, and I never really connected with the viewpoint characters. 
  • Everyone Knows Your Mother Is A Witch: This is a bit of an atypical historical fiction, being set not in a royal court but a small village in medieval Germany. It's based on real events, in which the mother of an imperial mathematician was accused of witchcraft. Katharina, the mother in question, is a funny, vivid character that makes this book compelling despite the underlying sadness of the narrative.
  • American War: Oh man this was bleak. It's the story of a child whose experiences during a second American Civil War (fought over an abolition of fossil fuels in the wake of climate change-driven sea rise) turn her into a revolutionary and it's a very realistic psychological portrait of the effects of war...which also means it is a huge downer.


In Life...

  • A little bit of relaxation: Now that session is over, I'm really enjoying having time to read again, and just generally having a less hectic schedule than I have recently. We're also been planning some travel for later this year, which definitely feels like another big step towards a return to normal.  
  • Fifth wedding anniversary: We're officially been married for half a decade (and together for close to a decade now) and I remain the luckiest lady in the world!

One Thing:

When you grow up on a lake that freezes over, your mom buys you and your sister pairs of used skates every year and tosses you outside to figure out how to ice skate/entertain yourselves for a while! But while I absolutely love watching figure skating, I'd never taken actual lessons until now! I've started Learn to Skate (at Basic 1, no need to get ahead of myself) and am having a lot of fun...I'd definitely recommend trying it out if you have a rink near you!

Gratuitous Pug Picture:


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