And just like that, we’re in August. I am happy to report that so far my publication schedule is holding up: not only do I have a stack of draft posts awaiting their scheduled publication dates, I managed to surprise myself by hitting my 100th post on this blog! 😀 This is momentous, because I have started so many blogs and every single one of them has fizzled out, whether they were book-related or not. My content has gotten better, however, and somehow I’m still motivated to keep going with this current blog, which is exciting because I’ve been better about my reading lately and I have a lot to say.
In non-bookish news, July wrapped up with a bang, as last weekend saw the arrival of my first-ever weekend guest! Now that I think about it, I have never hosted anyone for anything longer than a one-night sleepover. There was one escapade with one of my brother’s classmates, who stayed with me and my roommate for a week or two during an externship, but I don’t count that because (1) I wasn’t the sole host and (2) she paid us rent. Though I am normally a hermit and COVID has not helped in this regard, Kelly’s visit was mega exciting, and – at about 2.5 days – was the perfect length for any visit. I didn’t get pictures of everything, but I did manage to somewhat document our obligatory hot pot dinner (hot pot is kind of our thing) and aquarium visit.
I’m glad I finally had an excuse to try this particular hot pot restaurant. It was worth every penny, and I think I actually like it better than the place we usually go to.
I also snapped a picture of the canned water offered at the cafeteria, because I’ve never seen water in a can and I thought it was funny.
It’s been so long since I’ve been to this aquarium, or to any other aquarium, that I’d low-key forgotten how much I love aquariums. As usual I spent way too much at the gift shop, but I regret nothing. Other weekend shenanigans included exploring Towson Mall; watching Turning Red, Hamilton, and the Try Guys; trying to stick to our brunch plans but finding out the waitlist was two hours and giving up; stocking Kelly with Asian groceries and snacks at GW and H Mart; and cooking some of said Asian groceries in an effort to save money. (Also managed to clear out most of my frozen homemade dumplings, which is always a plus.) Highlights from our dinners in include the instant jjajang ramen and the cheese tteokbokki I found in the fridge aisle, both of which were impulse buys, as well as the spicy Spam. On our second night in, I made the instant soondubu I’ve made many times before, and it disappeared in record time. And I’ve gotta say, it was nice having a meal where there were no leftovers other than rice. I could really get used to this.
July Reading Stats
- Impostor Syndrome – Kathy Wang
- The Court Dancer – Kyung-Sook Shin
- Wintersong – S. Jae-Jones
- The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Naya Nuki: Shoshoni Girl Who Ran – Kenneth Thomasma
- Shadowsong – S. Jae-Jones
- Build Your House Around My Body – Violet Kupersmith
- A Tip for the Hangman – Allison Epstein
- The Girl Who Reads on the Métro – Christine Féret-Fleury
Total Pages Read: 2,230
The best books I’ve read this month (and perhaps this year) were absolutely Impostor Syndrome and Build Your House Around My Body, which is kinda funny considering I didn’t have high hopes for either one of them. I’m so glad I picked them up anyway, because they blew my mind in such different ways. I also revisited The Great Gatsby, partly as part of my ongoing crusade to reread the books I wasn’t old enough to appreciate in grade school but mostly in preparation for The Chosen and the Beautiful (Nghi Vo). I tend to be wary of literary remixes, but in this case I don’t think it’s going to be a problem because The Great Gatsby is not my favorite book. I didn’t love it or hate it; it didn’t spark any major passions. I’m hoping I’ll have stronger feelings about Vo’s remix.
I’ve been getting better at DNF’ing books that I’m just not into, and this month I managed to walk away from two books. A Tip for the Hangman posed something of a quandary: it was funny and it kept me entertained, but after a certain point I got bored and I realized I didn’t really like any of the characters. This was a surprise, because Kit is the kind of character I normally like, as is the maid he was trying to make friends with (Ann? I forget her name). However, I barely saw Ann and she only had one good line, and, while Kit was hilarious and gave me strong Biff vibes, I never really fell for him and I’m not sure why. Maybe it was because I couldn’t completely buy into his moments of seriousness; maybe it was the general dullness of the story, which never hooked me. Whatever the case, this is one I won’t be revisiting.
I also ran out of patience with The Girl Who Reads on the Métro, for similarly vague reasons. idk, the book is fine. I’m sure it’s charming if you’re in the right mood. For some reason I found the protagonist just slightly annoying (again, not sure why), and the story did not land for me. I was bored long before page 40, and that’s not good. This one was less of a struggle to DNF, and it went back to the library relatively promptly.
Current rating: 4.75-5 stars. This book is great. My favorite part is the beer-me-go-round, an adult merry-go-round that you ride like a bike while chugging free beer until it spins back and throws you off. Having said that, it’s been exactly one month today and I’m still only on page 69 because other stuff keeps coming up. A couple of days ago I got COVID-exposed, though, and I had to cancel my Saturday plans. I’m fine and, as of this writing, completely asymptomatic, but I’m going to take advantage of my self-quarantine to indulge in my first-ever 48-hour readathon. There may be a trip to the market in there somewhere, depending on how my COVID test goes tomorrow, but for the most part I’ll be finishing this book. We’re supposed to be getting thunderstorms this weekend, which seems like perfect reading weather, so I’m excited.
I watched the Handmaid’s Tale season 5 teaser, and I am not happy. My first and most obvious thought is that June is not somebody who should be holding a gun. I’ve devoted a very long string of posts to June’s decision-making abilities, in which the key phrase is “lack thereof,” so I won’t rehash her shitty judgment here, but holy shit I am worried. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I am so tired. I’m not looking forward to the Serena vs. June smackdown. Nor do I particularly want them to join forces, because Serena is way past the point of redemption. I don’t really anticipate a redemption arc for her, but you never know with this show. In an ideal world, June will grow the fuck up, stop needlessly sacrificing other people’s lives in pursuit of lethal short-term goals, and become the Mayday operative she apparently is by the events of The Testaments. The Testaments is set fifteen years after the end of The Handmaid’s Tale and obviously book June manages to survive to the end of the book, so theoretically she should be learning some survival skills, right?……..riiiiiiiiiight? Somebody please agree with me, I so badly need June to stop making stupid fucking decisions that get all her allies killed.