Weekly Wrap-up | July 12, 2020

Happy Sunday, everyone! I’m pretty pleased writing this since I was able to finish not just one, but TWO books this week! I guess something good came out of my recuperating from hyperacidity, after all. 


Books I Read This Week

Real LifeThe first book I finished is Real Life by Brandon Taylor, which I gave 4.5 stars. Real Life is told from the point of view of Wallace, a PhD graduate student in a university in the midwest. Since it’s set in academia and partly about a lost twenty-something in graduate school, I found it deeply relatable, and so was able to finish the novel in about three sittings. Despite having finished it quickly, I wouldn’t say that Real Life is an easy read. Wallace, the protagonist of Real Life, is the only black and gay student in his program, and as such he faces many forms of discrimination. While reading about those incidents in the novel, I felt infuriated at how unfair everything and everyone is towards Wallace, and overwhelmed at the accumulation of microaggressions that he faces on a near-daily basis. It’s a testament to the author’s skill that he’s really able to make me feel what it’s like for the character—Taylor doesn’t overexplain the incidents, and leaves some room for readers to interpret what happened for themselves. Overall, it’s a fantastic read, and I highly recommend it.

When She's MarriedMy second read this week veers in the opposite direction and is what I lovingly term a ‘junk food’ or ‘trash’ book by Ruby Dixon, the queen of alien smut. I’ve never read her Ice Planet Barbarians series, but I picked up When She’s Married because it’s short and because it’s all my attention span can handle. I’m tempted to say that horned, brawny, blue-skinned aliens with tails is only my thing because of my hyperacidity brain, but I would be lying. This was pretty great. In the story, the heroine basically gets an ex-convict out of prison and proposes to him, because only an arranged marriage can secure her claim on the land she was given on the alien planet. CRAZY premise, but the execution was not bad. I liked how business-minded the heroine was about the whole arrangement, and the alien sex wasn’t as weird as I thought. Aside from the horns and tail, which don’t figure prominently during sex, Dixon’s aliens have pretty much the same anatomy down there as human males—only bigger, because they’re aliens. A really fun, light read.


Other Life Updates

  • My brother’s knee sprain is thankfully not serious, which is a relief for both of us. After taking some medicine to ease the swelling, he’s able to walk again after a few days, with only a slight hobble.
  • As for myself, I had two more hyperacidity attacks this week. The pain is manageable with antacids, but what I can’t handle is giving up my two cups of coffee a day until my stomach settles. Going from two cups to zero has turned me into a cranky zombie. If this goes on I might have to consult a doctor, because having a number of attacks in a row is atypical for me.
  • One other thing that occupied me this week was buying food for Cat. He has a urinary tract problem, so the vet prescribed a special kind of feed for him, which isn’t easy for pet shops here to stock up on during quarantine. Happily, we found an online shop that sells it, and our order was shipped yesterday. Cat is grateful because now we can stop rationing his meals.

Well, that’s it for me. How was your week? Let me know in the comments! 🙂

16 thoughts on “Weekly Wrap-up | July 12, 2020

  1. You folks are just falling apart over their! Oh, jeez. I remember reading that when Nietzsche was sick (he always had stomach problems) all he ate was unseasoned white rice. That sounds boring, but it might help.

    Did you end up finishing Parable of the Sower?

    1. Oh man, at this rate I’m afraid that won’t be so far off. I’ve already cut out processed foods, caffeine, dairy, and tomatoes from my diet to see what causes it. It seems tomatoes may be the problem, but I can’t know for sure yet… I don’t think I can survive on just rice!

      Ah, not yet! I’m around Chapter 8. I figured I could go slowly on it since we’ll be buddy reading it too. 🙂

      1. I know lots of people who loved tomato products — pizza, spaghetti sauce, salsa, etc. — who suddenly hit an age when their stomachs were NOT having it anymore. I hope it’s just tomatoes. There are lots of recipes you can google like “pizza with no tomatoes,” or “spaghetti with no tomatoes” and find lots of great alternatives.

      2. That’s actually comforting to hear – all the stuff I’ve been reading online is all about how ‘extremely rare’ intolerance to tomatoes is. I guess I hit the age early at 25, but now I know what to avoid! I love pasta and pizza, though, and ketchup is my favourite condiment. When I was much younger I even used to eat just ketchup with rice. I’m hoping after my stomach settles I can still slowly introduce it.

  2. “infuriated” is exactly what i felt while reading Real Life!! Taylor does such a good job depicting the frustration of constant microaggressions…I also loved his focus on relationships and the writing was so memorable too! so glad you loved this one as well 🙂 (and i hope you feel better!!)

  3. I love your review of Real Life! That’s the second rave review I’ve seen for this book (out of two reviews total lol) – I’m really eager to read it now!!

    I’m sorry to hear you’re experiencing more hyperacidity than usual – I hope you feel better soon 🙂

    1. Yay goooo! 😀 I hope I can ‘pressure’ you to read at least ONE book when you’ve made me add so many to my TBR 🤣 HAHA jk! Read at your own pace – I hope you are doing well in your new job 🙂

      Thank you ❤

  4. Literary Elephant

    I’m so glad you got on well with Real Life! I loved how obvious and subtle it was at the same time. I can’t wait to see what Taylor writes next. And I hope your hyperacidity will be under control soon! I’m not a coffee drinker but I know changing up your diet/routine can be tough, especially when it comes to caffeine consumption, and no one needs any additional pains these days in addition to reading current news. I hope your health will be back to normal soon!

    1. It really is both obvious and subtle! One thing I can’t seem to understand is the dynamic between Miller and Wallace – they might be re-enacting societal oppression in their relationship, but I’m not sure if I’m overreading. I might revisit your review too to see your thoughts on it. Thank you for the well-wishes ❤ It really sucks, but I hope it'll pass soon!

      1. Literary Elephant

        I don’t think I went into much depth about Wallace and Miller’s relationship in my review, but I think you’re right. Miller frequently hurts Wallace or asks things of him that aren’t his right to ask, even when his intentions are good. (Or, as good as they could be. I interpreted Miller as one of those people more concerned about appearing racist than actually being racist; and he certainly isn’t antiracist.) He’s definitely flawed, and I thought Wallace’s continued interest in him even as these flaws come out is a way of showing that Miller himself isn’t necessarily the problem, but just another manifestation of a much bigger problem with the society that Miller was raised in. In such a white setting, Wallace’s choices seem to be either complete loneliness or putting up with white antics, which hardly seems like a fair choice.

      2. “Wallace’s continued interest in him even as these flaws come out is a way of showing that Miller himself isn’t necessarily the problem, but just another manifestation of a much bigger problem with the society that Miller was raised in” — very well put! I also agree with this sentiment, and I did feel like Wallace’s social circle was very limited to his white friends. One thing I found myself wondering more about was his other experiences with dating on the app, and if he ever dated other BIPOC (if there were any). But I guess it’s beyond the scope of the novel, haha.

      3. Literary Elephant

        That’s an interesting question. I think Wallace mentions that he’s the only Black person in his biochem program, and the only other marginalized character in the program is a woman; but I would be curious to know whether he’s tried dating outside of that biochem pool. I suppose it makes sense that he’d be drawn to someone he’s around often and who has a fair idea of what’s going on in his life, but there must be more to the town than the campus; now that you mention it, I do wonder why the treatment he’s receiving at school isn’t motivating him to try branching out a little more? “I guess it’s beyond the scope of the novel”- you’re probably right about that too, but honestly I’d read a hundred novels about Wallace’s life, I found him such a compelling character!

  5. Pingback: Month in Review: July 2020 – Books and Bakes

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