Weekly Wrap-up | April 4, 2020

Three weeks into the quarantine and I feel like I’m starting to kind of get used to it. I mean, I still wish it never happened, but I’m a lot less anxious compared to the first week and I’m better at not checking the news as much, so I guess those are small wins.

In other news, a paper I’ve co-authored got accepted for publication!!! 🥳 I’m still in shock over it since that paper was a shot in the dark—we only had two months to put it together—and we weren’t expecting to hear from the editors until May or June. I’m really happy, but then we still have to make major revisions and my body just isn’t ready for that kind of productivity right now 😂 I’m a little miffed that the editors have the capacity to be productive at this time. Sometimes I forget that just because I’ve been transformed into a slug that subsists on chips and Netflix doesn’t mean that everyone else is the same. It makes me feel annoyed and guilty. Maybe that’s why they’re editors of a journal and I’m still a poor grad student…

Anyway, I digress. Welcome to my weekly wrap-up! I’ll start with some bookish updates first before the non-bookish updates, as usual.

Posts This Week

I’ve been trying to catch up on my reviews, so I’ll be posting themed mini-reviews periodically. As usual, reviews on the Women’s Prize longlist will be posted weekly until the shortlist is announced on April 22.

Books I Finished This Week

  • I’m on a weird paranormal kick this week so I picked up Lora Leigh’s Breeds series. It’s about humans whose DNAs were altered with that of animals’, so they look human but have better eyesight, hearing, smell, etc. etc. But I feel like the author just used that premise as an excuse to write the mating heat, which, for the uninitiated, is basically a hormone-filled haze where the hero and heroine are biologically unable to keep their hands off each other. In other words, this is a shameless smutfest with a plot that’s like 70% sex and 30% angst leading up to the sex, and I have absolutely no defense for liking this. 😂 I accept that I am trash and will move on to the next books in the series.
  • I decided to take a short break from my Women’s Prize reading to catch up on a new release, so I chose something easy to slip into. Lily King’s Writers & Lovers looked like it fit the bill. Sadly, it was a huge disappointment and a real chore to read. Review will be up tomorrow.

Books I’m Currently Reading

  • My Women’s Prize journey continues with Brodesser-Akner’s Fleishman Is in Trouble. I’m really loving the extra-chatty tone of the narrator, but am very uncomfortable with all the hate piled on Rachel. I’m still in Part I though, so I hope we eventually get to see her side.
  • This week I felt like the universe was conspiring to make me read Hunger. It all started with Stargazer’s fantastic review of the book, which put it on the forefront of my mind and bumped it up my TBR. A day or two after reading that, Hunger was mentioned again in Writers & Lovers as the narrator’s “litmus test for a bookstore” and I thought, “Hmm, maybe it’s a sign?” And then, while clearing out my cache of saved links last night, I stumbled on an article that mentioned Knut Hamsun. It’s definitely a sign now, not to mention a little creepy, so I heeded a universe and got an e-copy.

 Posts I Loved This Week

  • Here’s a round-up of all the Women’s Prize reviews this week: How We Disappeared and Weather by Callum; Actress by Hannah and NatyThe Most Fun We Ever Had by Emily; Nightingale Point by Hannah; and A Thousand Ships by Marija.
  • I am very picky about getting into a perfect position before I can comfortably sink into a book, so I found Melanie’s post on physical limitations and books very interesting.
  • If you’re a fan of historical fiction like I am, you’ll like Emily’s spotlight on historical fiction, which talks about what the genre is and rounds up its most notable classic and contemporary works.

Some Non-Bookish Things

Things I’m Watching:

I’m in Season 2 now of Rick and Morty, but I’ve also fallen into the rabbit hole of Netflix comedy specials. Ali Wong’s Baby Cobra (2016) and Hard-Knock Wife (2018) had me howling with laughter. I just love her confidence to do stand-up while pregnant. But Gadsby’s Nanette (2018) is astonishingly ground-breaking. It’s a comedy that not only pokes fun at the establishment but also deconstructs comedy as a genre. I was laughing at the first half but by the second I was in tears, and not the happy kind—the sad-angry kind. I get now why it received a lot of critical acclaim and I highly recommend it.

Well, that’s it for my week. How was yours? What are you reading or watching this week? Let me know in the comments!


24 thoughts on “Weekly Wrap-up | April 4, 2020

  1. Congratulations on your publication being accepted!! And I’m glad to hear that you’re enjoying Fleishman is in Trouble so far, I’ve heard mixed opinions about the narrator, but I liked her voice as well. I’m excited to read your review! And based on your description of Nanette, it sounds excellent – I’ll probably try to watch that this week!

  2. A huge congrats on your paper being accepted for publication, that is amazing! Can you reveal what is the topic? (I’m impressed of people being productive at the moment as well, but like you I am getting kind of used to being in lockdown).

    Thanks for the mention, I will look forward to hear your thoughts on Hunger 😀

    1. Sure!! It’s about how people reconstruct a certain presidential regime in our history. Some call it a dictatorship but others like to call it the “golden age” (which of course is BS), so we studied the mechanisms through which such an idea of the dictatorship is propagated 🙂

      Thanks so much for recommending it! I feel I’m going to like it. 😄

  3. Great post! I read and reviewed Hunger back in May last year and found it impressive – looks like the book influenced many notable existential writers of the 20th century. I recommend Hamsun’s other work too, such as Mysteries, even if his personal and political convictions remain pretty shocking – with him supporting Nazism and so forth – and being racist long before Nazism even came to power.

    1. It does look like it—even while just reading the synopsis I immediately thought of Camus and Kafka (especially Kafka‘s “A Hunger Artist”). Thank you for the recs – I hope I can get to those after Hunger! 🙂

  4. Although I’m not reading along with the Women’s Prize, I do have a copy of Actress that Emily @ Literary Elephant and I are going to read around the same time so we can chat about it. We’ll be sharing our reviews April 20-21. I’m hoping it’s good!

    I’ve been rewatching Kim’s Convenience on Netflix. I’ve seen seasons 1-3, and #4 just came out this month. I have a terrible memory and forget the nuance of relationships, so that’s why I’m rewatching. I’m half tempted to watch that Tiger King show just because there are so many pop culture references to it right now, and I feel left out!

    Absolutely DO NOT feel bad about your “trash” books. In fact, I wrote a whole post about trash books a few years ago because I also felt bad. You can read it here: https://grabthelapels.com/2017/05/26/ashamed/

    Also, if you want some amazing paranormal fiction, I just got into this huge series by S.M. Reine. You start with the Descent books (there are 10), which you can buy as one file on Amazon (in the U.S., at least).

    1. Oooh, I have yet to nab a copy of Actress but I’ve been looking forward to it! I can’t wait to read yours and Emily’s reviews on it.

      I confess that I have never heard of Kim’s Convenience OR Tiger King, but I’ve Googled them and Kim’s Convenience actually looks like the kind of show I could use right now. Hope you get to catch up on it! I’ll definitely check out Season 1.

      Thank you so much or linking your post. It really resonated with me; I have it bookmarked now! Back in college, I stopped reading YA altogether because I didn’t want my poet friends to think of me as a “trash-reading phony”, as you aptly put it. I even devoured all the Twilight books before they became famous but I was bashing it to my friends. (They don’t hold up upon rereading, but at that time I loved them but pretended not to.) I can only imagine how much worse the reflexive “don’t judge me!” felt for you, since you were in a fiction writing program. Fortunately, after college I finally chucked out all my poetry books (I was pretending to “get” poetry for years), and books by male writers I didn’t enjoy (e.g., Hemingway) and read whatever made me happy. I still sometimes feel guilty about my trash books but I am getting better at standing up for my own tastes. 😄

      Thank you for the rec! I will definitely check those out too. 🙂

      1. LOL! The MFA program at Notre Dame really focused on experimental works, and for years I was into it. Then I realized that I hadn’t read anything with a story or heart or substance in ages, and I ended up donating a lot of books I had purchased (ugh) because even the first few pages made no sense. Now, I’m very suspicious about experimental fiction and tend to get it from the Notre Dame library — I still live in the area and have a spouse card because my husband now works there — instead of buying it.

  5. Literary Elephant

    Congrats on that paper publication, that’s so exciting!
    And thanks so much for mentioning my posts. 🙂
    I’m very excited to see what your take on Fleishman will be, it’s certainly a divisive book, but one that I continue to enjoy thinking about.

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