I am so happy. I’ve been wearing hoodies and sweatpants, my windows have been opened for the first time since spring, and my AC has been off all week, because lower BGE bills are always a vibe. The weather in Maryland is exactly what we were expecting to find three weeks ago in Maine, only we arrived to 70°-80° weather and we were very sad. Now, though, Towson is in the 50s/60s range, with one single high of 75° for the entire week. We are currently in for a cold, rainy weekend, which are all words I love, and I am more than ready to start living my very best life. I’m also ready to restart my book-buying fast, because I broke it big time last month and I am not even a little bit sorry. My latest batch of new books is in the header photo for this post. >_>

Thoughts on Adulthood

I used to think adulthood meant getting excited about buying new keyboards, but I’ve realized lately that it actually means getting excited about buying new pots and reorganizing your pot cabinet. This is the threshold for total independence.

Have I actually used it yet for anything other than boiling noodles? No. But I have the option.

Why I Haven’t Been Invited to HGTV

My home improvement skills are nil, so my parents came over this morning to help me hang the wall hooks I ordered three weeks ago. This is exciting because all my closets have folding doors, so the over-the-door hooks that were my salvation in my last apartment are mostly unusable in this one. I’ve been uncertainly haunting the West Elm website for months because I am not good at drilling holes and hanging things up, but I finally took the plunge shortly after coming back from Maine, and now every surface of my apartment will no longer be covered with homeless bags. 😀

And we found a home for the print I brought home from Maine.

Bonus: Saturday brunch!

I love weekends.

Obnoxious Food Pics Part VI, Because That Maine Post Wasn’t Enough

I like to try new recipes, but I am also deeply lazy, so if I see any recipe that’s simpler than the one I’ve been using for a while, chances are I’ve gotta try it. This led me to Cookerru’s recipe for doenjang jjigae, and it was great. (Pro tip: if you’re leftovers-averse, like I am, cooking a soup or a stew to eat as a side with my leftover Chinese takeout was a great incentive.)

I will definitely be making this again. I also finally made the shredded pork pan-fried noodles (which are basically a more delicious variation on the gai see chow mein I have made many, many times) from the always reliable Woks of Life, and I will be making this again as well. Also, possible spoiler alert for future potlucks.

In slightly less pleasing news, I recently learned that there is a Crumbl Cookie just down the 695 from me, which is bad because, if left to my own devices, I will absolutely spend all my money on cookies and books. Even worse, I learned about their existence just in time to order the special almond mooncake cookies they made in honor of the Mid-Autumn Festival. I had no choice. The app made me do it.

I regret NOTHING.

September Reading Stats

Books Finished:

  1. Confessions of a Bookseller – Shaun Bythell
  2. The Stardust Thief – Chelsea Abdullah
  3. The Song of Achilles – Madeline Miller
  4. Spy x Family 8 – Tatsuya Endo

Books Abandoned:

  1. You – Caroline Kepnes

Total Pages Read: 1,264

Hope you’re ready for a story, cus you’re gonna get one. I bought You from a secondhand store in a fit of TV-show related madness (the reasoning being that theoretically I could read the book and then watch the show, even though I never watch TV shows, but anyway), and it’s been on my shelf for a while, but then I went nuclear on my bookcases out of sheer necessity. You has already survived at least one unhaul; it could not survive a second. I really did try, but I didn’t even get to page 30 before I decided I didn’t need this in my life. Joe is infuriating. I got the impression from the synopsis that the book was supposed to be a cautionary tale of vulnerability in the digital age, which it somewhat is, but there’s a whole series of books about this one stupid man and I do not understand his appeal to anyone other than men who think Ted Bundy had the right idea.

Based on the 27 pages I read, and the synopses of books two and three, it sounds as if Joe’s MO is to stumble across an attractive woman, convince himself that she’s sending him come-hither signals and little messages that only he can understand, and obsessively stalk her. He builds a fantasy world around her and places insane expectations upon her based on the signals he thinks she’s sending, then murders her when she turns out to be human. He then moves on to the next city, the next woman, the next book, swearing to himself that the world is full of posers and he’s not the toxic one. Like, what the fuck? If he died at the end, great, but there are three books in this series with a fourth on the way. It is really hard to read a relentless barrage of misogyny, and harder to follow a protagonist – if not exactly a hero – who is this grossly realistic. If Beck’s death was supposed to be a twist, it’s not a very good one, because this shit happens far too often in real life. I have no idea if Joe is ever going to pay for the women he’s murdered, and I don’t have the time or the patience to hang around for god knows how many more books when I couldn’t even finish the first one. As with The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, this is one man who didn’t need his side of the story told.

Luckily, the books I did finish this month were excellent. The Song of Achilles was, as always, chef’s kiss, and The Stardust Thief was also a fun time. I have finished reviews lined up for both of these, so stay tuned, because they’ll be up before the end of the year. (I would name specific dates, but the schedule keeps changing because I keep editing it, so better safe than sorry.) Confessions of a Bookseller was also wonderful, and a perfect follow-up to The Diary of a Bookseller. It seems I now have to get my hands on a copy of Remainders of the Day. I don’t know what it is, but there is something really addicting about following the day-to-day life of a grumpy Scottish bookseller.

Currently Reading

Fire & Ice
George R.R. Martin
I have nothing to add to my last update. I have not been reading this at all.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Susanna Clarke
Ehh. It’s okay. I currently don’t have a projected rating because it’s been so long that I’m not even sure where I am in the book, but it is very English, which I’m hoping sounds more polite than dry as fuck. Literally who let this book be this long. I am so tired and I’m pretty sure I haven’t even got past chapter 2. It feels more like a weapon of war than a book. The text is tiny and the footnotes are numerous and lengthy, and I think I made the right call when I decided not to spend more than $5 acquiring this book. I wasn’t even going to read it, but then I saw that R.F. Kuang’s Babel was written as a rebuttal to Jonathan Strange so challenge fucking ACCEPTED. I can’t say the Poppy War series was on any of my favorites lists, but I am very excited about Babel, only I have to read Jonathan Strange first so I can understand why Kuang objected to it so hard that she had to publish a 545-page rebuttal. Given the alternate title for Babel, and given that Jonathan Strange is exactly as English as I’ve said, I’m assuming it has something to do with colonialist attitudes towards violence among oppressed populations.

Nona the Ninth
Tamsyn Muir
You guys. I fucking love this book. I love Nona. I love Pyrrha. I love Camilla and Palamedes, and right now I kinda love Hot Sauce. Is it literally because of her name? Maybe. You’ll never know. Of course, having said that, I do have to admit that I read the first 52 pages of Nona shortly after returning from Maine (so, like, a couple of weeks ago) and then I put her down again and haven’t picked her back up since. I’ve cleared out my goodreads progress so I can restart her this month, because I really want to give her a proper read. I will say, however, that so far Nona is very different in narrative tone from both Gideon the Ninth and Harrow the Ninth – which were themselves completely distinct from each other – and my mind is blown. Tamsyn Muir is a genius.

Chronicles of a Very Sad Try Guys Fan

I’m going to need a new category of PTO called One of My Favorite Celebrities Disappointed Me and Now I Am Sad Leave (OMFCDMNIASL), which as an acronym perfectly encapsulates my reaction when the Try Guys fired Ned on Tuesday. The funny thing is that I used to think that if the Try Guys ever got in serious trouble it would be for something like this, though I always dismissed this idea as ludicrous because I just love to gaslight myself. An even funnier thing is that I deadass wore my tie-dye Try Guys t-shirt all day Tuesday and literally did not make the connection until late in the afternoon. As has been previously mentioned several times throughout this blog, my brain’s got issues. I’m not going to rehash the whole Ned cheating scandal here, but suffice it to say that the Try Guys tacitly confirmed it when they fired him, and then Ned confirmed it directly. I have to admit that, while I always did wonder how much of that family guy persona was real, it seemed so natural that I chose to believe in it. Of course, that’s not to say that it isn’t at least partially real: we are all only human, after all. I would like to think that it is. I hope Ned takes this as a wake-up call to try to make things right, to the extent that he can. I don’t know how long the affair was going on, but some of those wedding-themed videos really hit different now.

I don’t watch any form of reality TV that isn’t American Ninja Warrior and I’ve never had to deal with a favorite celebrity disappointing me, so it’s taken me a while to figure out why I’m so upset about this. I used to wonder why people cared so much about celebrity relationships, but I kinda get it now. Certainly there’s an element of feeling duped, given that Ned built his personal brand – and, by extension, his entire career – around loving his wife Ariel, but I feel like I, and probably a good chunk of the internet, would be taking this scandal slightly less personally if Ariel weren’t so beloved. The grandest irony is that Ned seems to have unwittingly set himself up, because he started putting Ariel in Try Guys videos even before they left Buzzfeed, and she became so popular that she went on to co-host the Try Guys spin-off podcast “You Can Sit With Us,” which I listen to religiously. While you can never truly know someone through the internet, she has always seemed genuinely loving and kind. A good chunk of the YCSWU fanbase – myself included – looks up to her as an older sister, so to see her husband disrespect her (don’t you fucking tell me infidelity isn’t an act of disrespect, I will cut you) is like seeing our own family disrespected. I’m also disappointed, because I really thought better of both Ned and Alexandria; and I am slightly annoyed, because I shouldn’t have to be this grateful for something as basic as an internal review that actually worked. That’s a whole other issue, though, so for now I’ll just say that I think the Try Guys made the right decision, whether that decision was based on morals or business or both. Ariel has done a lot for the guys, and I really hope they’ll have her back on this. I hope she and her children will be all right, though the road will be bumpy. And I hope I stop mooning around eating snacks and sadly watching old Try Guys videos until midnight, because this is ridiculous and I still think it’s stupid to mourn the marriages of people you’ll never meet. :’D