Hello everyone! Long time, no talk.
I know it’s been a while since we’ve chatted, but my mental health has been struggling severely. Happiness feels more like a concept than a reality for me these days and reading…well, let’s just say it’s been put on the back burner.
I didn’t think I would read anything, but somehow by mid-June, I was back to reading…slowly. I still had a bunch of different books I needed to read and even finish some challenges I created for myself, but my main challenge was just to start reading again. Staring at my phone all day wasn’t helping. I honestly spent way too much time on my phone (an average of 7 hours a day, that’s legitimately an entire work day). After two weeks of just looking at my phone, I decided enough was enough. I needed to put the phone down and pick up a book.
So I eased myself back into books. I started with a few lighter reads on audiobook. My mental health did NOT want me reading with my eyes, so I did it with my ears. I was actually able to knock out a bunch of books for my book club meeting and a few stories for Pride as well with this method. I started with A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole. Something about reading romances on audio just seems to work for me. But A Princess in Theory was also a really engaging story about a young grad student working to be an epidemiologist when she meets Thabiso, the crowned prince of Thesolo in Africa. I absolutely love stories like this, the serious and the goofy. But I also loved that they talked about women in STEM and how difficult that is. HECK YEAH!
After that, I read Once Ghosted Twice Shy which is a novella in the same universe as A Princess in Theory. This one, Thabiso’s royal right hand person, Likotsi, sees her ex, Fabiola, on the subway in New York. And while Fabiola ghosted Likotsi the last time she was in town, neither of them were going to make that same mistake again.
The final book I read on audio was All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson. This one was particularly good on audio because the author narrates the book himself. It’s also a memoir and something about hearing the stories of someone’s life through their own voice is like sitting with them in real life. I don’t know George M Johnson, but it feels like I do because his voice was in my head while I heard his stories.
With the audiobooks and some other choice novels, I read four books in one weekend. I have never finished this many stories in one weekend let alone a week, so that number was quite jarring for me. It was like I caught up with my reading over one short weekend and funny enough, my appetite for more books came back.
So I started getting back to my challenge of reading all the Hugo Award nominated books. Prior to June, I had only one and a half books left. I say one and a half because I started a book before June and that was when I stopped reading. Nothing against the book. It actually was a really enjoyable one, but my mental health is similar to my mood. When the mood strikes, then I’m out for the count. I really hope you like these boxing metaphors I keep using here.
I will say I’m super proud to have read them, but I’m still weary that I didn’t give these books my entire attention. I decided to finish them, but not review them. I might actually reread them in the future since I didn’t feel like I had given them the attention they deserved. I liked them well enough, but I couldn’t tell you the nuances and themes.
Finally, I felt confident enough to read my final book of the month; The City We Became by NK Jemisin. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on this book in the next few days, but I have to tell you right now that it was a stunner. Yes, the science fiction was hard to understand but when has science fiction not been a concept you had to wrap your head around? Yes, it was glorious urban fantasy, my favorite. Something about setting a fantasy or science fiction story in the real world makes me feel like magic can exist in this reality. Yes, it was unapologetic and yes, NK Jemisin talks about racism and how it creeps around like some tired bedbug waiting to bite you. I couldn’t get enough, but I won’t share anymore. You’ll just have to keep reading.
The Books I Read (no review links for these because I’m behind in my writing too):
- The City We Became by NK Jemisin (5 stars)
- All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M Johnson – Read on Audio (5 stars)
- The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon – Read on Audio (5 stars)
- Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson (4 stars)
- Wow, No Thank You. by Samantha Irby (4 stars)
- A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole (4 stars)
- Once Ghosted, Twice Shy by Alyssa Cole (5 stars)
- The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley (4 stars)
- A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine (4 stars)
Next month, I have a lot of books up my sleeve, some updates to the blog I’ll be making, and tons and tons more book reviews coming back. Nothing much will change with how I write content here, but just expect a lot more in the future from me. I’ll see you all in July!