It feels strange to say it, but it’s been almost three months now since I packed up my books and moved to my new apartment (naturally right smack in the middle of our busy season at work, because timing is key). “Three months” is a period of time that, for one reason or another, doesn’t sound quite right. It feels like a year, and it feels like an eyeblink.
Part of the reason for the strangeness might be that I’ve been going home a lot more than I usually would be, for a variety of reasons that include birthdays, holidays, and family cooking fests. But one of the main purposes of these visits has also been to spend time with the Empress of Everything, because our sweet little girl is fading.
I haven’t been taking too many pictures of her lately, and I don’t know why. I suppose it’s mostly because I forget to bring my phone with me when I sit down with her, and by the time she’s settled on my lap the pictures seem superfluous; and yet when I manage to catch her looking straight at me it feels more poignant. Whoever may be reading this, please keep our tiny Empress in your thoughts. She needs all the good vibes right now.
In less depressing news, my new apartment has a lot more space, so I was able to get an amazing huge couch WITH A CHAISE. That chaise is the physical manifestation of every dream I’ve ever had as a reader, a writer, and an adult for at least the last ten years. Yes, finding a job and a single apartment was important, but the couch with the chaise has been a major fixation, and now I finally have one and life is completely sweet. The couch was originally on the other side of the room and it was an absolute bitch to swap it with the TV, but I’m so glad that I did, (1) because it fits perfectly against that wall and (2) because the living room looks so much more airy and open. I had thought it would be best to have the chaise against the wall, but it really is better with the chaise facing the window because now I don’t have the cushions blocking the light.
As a side note, I love Bob’s Discount Furniture. This obviously isn’t sponsored because who tf would sponsor me, but both of my couches and my dining room set came from Bob’s, and I don’t regret any of them. And, since I couldn’t bear to be parted from the little blue couch I bought for my first apartment (and since it unfortunately doesn’t fit in the living room with the new couch), it has its own little corner, which I intend to use as a reading corner when I remember.
I even had space for a third bookcase, which makes my heart happy, though if you’ve been following along on Twitter you might have seen me getting into a fight with said bookcase.
This must be what it feels like when you’re trying to draw someone’s blood and you keep missing the vein. The funny thing is that this is the first bookcase where I decided to put the back on the right way, but I also completely fucked up the measurements for the nails. I think the main takeaway here is don’t deviate from tradition. Also I had to completely block off my door while I was building the damn bookcase, because I know myself well and I knew I needed some motivation to build the bookcase as soon as I got it.
For the record, it worked. 😀
April Reading Stats
- Story Number 1 – Eugène Ionesco
- SPY X FAMILY 7 – Tatsuya Endo
- Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Betty Smith
Total Pages Read: 1,128
Before anybody asks: Yes, I did read Eleanor Oliphant again, and yes she is still my favorite :’D This is the third time I’ve read her in as many years, not counting audiobook listens, and I’m currently planning to read her once a year for the rest of my life.
A Tree Grows In Brooklyn was also a reread, and you guys. I fucking love this book. Leaving aside the offensive stereotypes and some internalized misogyny (the book is set in the early 1900s), this is still one of my favorite books of all time, possibly because I identify so strongly with Francie. Her life is so different from mine, and yet it still resonates in ways I couldn’t have predicted. The first time I read the book, I was thirteen and had no idea how frightening it is to move from job to job with no stability and no obvious prospects. I have a much better idea now of what she goes through as a teenager who has to become a working adult overnight.
Book Haul + Currently Reading
I have been so good recently about not buying new books (because, you know, moving), but I was feeling uppity because I knew I’d be buying a third bookcase shortly, so I indulged at the bookstore.
I’m currently reading Freezing Order and Daughter of the Moon Goddess in an effort to break my very bad habit of buying books and then leaving them on the shelf for years. I was super excited about Daughter because that cover is gorgeous, and after all that anticipation it’s……….okay. I’m only on page 48, but the writing is already on the wrong side of cringey in places, and that’s not good. On the other hand, I love Xingyin. I love the setting and the general vibe. I love that the story is inspired by the legend of Chang’e, the Chinese moon goddess. I love that the characters actually feel Asian.
I’ve talked before about Asian-inspired books whose protagonists don’t feel Asian, but Daughter is an Asian book by an Asian author, and it shows. Xingyin had the potential to be a whiny, irritating character, but she isn’t. She makes a couple of bad decisions, sure, but she’s more or less a teenager and she was operating with very little information, so it’s not entirely her fault. What I love is that she owns her mistakes without dwelling on the fact that her mother has withheld some rather crucial information. She is practical, resourceful, and capable of enduring short-term discomfort for the sake of a larger goal. I really love that her biggest focus right now is getting back to the moon to save her mother. I don’t even mind the Celestial Prince who just showed up because he just casually humiliated the bitchy highborn lady who’s been making Xingyin’s life a living hell and OH DAMNNNNNNNNN I can’t wait to see where this goes 😀 One of my favorite book bloggers described this book as underwhelming, so I’m a little nervous about how it’s all going to unfold, but I don’t entirely align with that blogger’s opinions on other books, so we’ll see.
I’m also looking forward to reading Fevered Star, which is the sequel to Black Sun and might actually be my most anticipated read of the year. The thing that’s got me in fits at the moment is this line in the synopsis:
“As sea captain Xiala is swept up in the chaos and currents of change, she finds an unexpected ally in the former Priest of Knives…And for Serapio and Naranpa, both now living avatars, the struggle for free will and personhood in the face of destiny rages.”
First of all: great to see you again, Iktan. I knew you survived. But you guys can you imagine this partnership because I have been thinking of nothing else (in relation to this series, I mean, I’m not insane) and I cannot get over the mental image of Xiala and Iktan chasing their respective charges all over the Meridian and pulling them out of death matches. I will literally die if we get just one scene where Iktan is like “Skies Nara I take my eyes off you for five seconds and you become a living avatar now let’s get you some dinner and you can kill him tomorrow” and Xiala is like “Fuck’s sake Serapio I don’t care who started it I’m ending it” omfg please let this happen I need this badly ;___;
In non-furniture-or-book-related news, we had a really nice Mother’s Day this year. A couple of family friends dropped by unexpectedly on Saturday, and, since they’re road-tripping it right now and we haven’t seen them in probably about five years, they stayed for the Mother’s Day brunch the next day. I’d been worried that we’d have too much food because our plans spiraled slightly out of control, but it ended up being exactly right. And, after a lot of drama over which cut of brisket to buy, I managed to make corned beef for the first time.
We ate all the cinnamon rolls and the corned beef hash before I thought to take pictures because some Mother’s Days are just like that, but I did manage to get the shakshuka both pre- and post-cheese, and, since it was certainly the most dramatic dish, I’m going to call that a win.
It’s been a good month for eating, because this was also the month I discovered both DoorDash and my new favorite Chinese takeout and I am never going back because I swear contactless delivery is the best thing since the electric rice cooker and you cannot convince me otherwise.
My old apartment was on the top floor of a converted house and I had to go downstairs if I wanted to let anybody in, so I never took advantage of contactless delivery, but in my new place they can just walk right up to my door. Of course, the best part of takeout is leftovers improv.
And now I’m starving. :’D