The end of semester fatigue is real, and I am not sure when it’s going to end. Like, it has just been a lot and all I want to do is sleep. I was thinking something was wrong with me, but I had a psychiatrist appointment last week, and she pointed out that I’m coming down from all the adrenaline of the semester and moving my daughter back into town so of course I’m exhausted. And then I talked to a few colleagues who said they are feeling the same way. So I’ve decided to stop fighting it and just lean into the exhaustion. Hopefully, it’ll be over before the week is out, and I’ll feel more like a full human before the week is up. Hopefully.
So, here are the books I’ve read since my last post:
My last post was on Feb. 27 and since then the following has happened:
1. Spring break! I was on spring break from March 5-11, and I spent the week with a friend at a resort on Playa Bayahibe in the Dominican Republic. The weather was perfect, the beach was perfect, the water was perfect, the company was perfect–everything was perfect. It was so good to get away and be warm and near/in beautiful water and to do nothing but sleep, eat, read, and get in the water.
I was going to post while I was there, but I decided to unplug from all social media and just be present. Here’s a pic that encapsulates what my week was like:
2. Then, I had to fly home. On the first flight, there was no wi-fi and no in-flight entertainment, which would have been fine except I finished my book with about an hour or so left in the flight and needed a break before starting my next book. On top of that–and I have no one to blame but myself–I didn’t/forgot to add movies or TV shows to my phone before the trip. I had to just stare into space for a little while because I wasn’t ready to jump into a new book and I, you know, had nothing else to do.
My second flight got delayed by about an hour or so for a mechanical issue (the inside of the plane wasn’t cooling off), which sucked but was also great because that gave me time to add stuff to ye olde cell phone. I mean, I had already added a couple things because of the layover, but the extra time meant extra time. So, of course, I didn’t watch anything at all on that flight.
By the time I landed and got to my ride, it was about 1:45 a.m. and the driver gleefully announced that it would take a half hour to get to my place, which meant I would get home after 3 a.m. because of the time change. I had forgotten about the time change but was glad he told me so I could change the time on my oven when I got home.
I got to bed–finally–at 4 a.m., which would have been fine except the next day…
3. I went to the Oscars party at the Academy Museum. My friend is a member and wanted to go, so go she and I and another friend went.
I was skeptical about going to watch a screening of the Oscars in an auditorium, but it turned out to be really fun, and even though we weren’t at the actual ceremony, it felt like we were very close to being in the actual room. Everyone got all dressed up (the invite said to wear “Hollywood glam”) and there was food and fun. We learned a lot of lessons about what to do if we go again, and we also understood fully why celebs have glam squads. Let’s just say boob tape was involved and never speak of it again.
Also, I got a pedicure before I left on my trip because I wouldn’t have time when I got back, and my nail polish chipped on the LAST DAY when I was packing up to get on the plane. I was bereft, especially since I only had open-toed shoes to wear.
4. The next day was back to work, which wasn’t so bad because (a) my sabbatical officially got approved [expected], and (b) I got nominated for a teaching award by my students [unexpected]. So, that was excellent news all around.
And to top it all off, it was light outside when I left work because of Daylight Saving Time. I have been in the best mood all week because of the time change haha.
5. I am officially back to the grind–especially because I am on the hiring committee for my department and we got over 400 applications to screen. My eyeballs are melting out of my head, but I decided to take a break and post this.
6. Also, you know between the spring break and the last time I posted, I read some books:
In case you missed it, it snowed in California this weekend and, more specifically, it snowed in Southern California. I got several texts asking me if it was snowing where I lived, and my answer to each was no. Because I did not see the snow. I saw the hail, I saw the rain, but I did not see the snow. If it did snow where I lived, it was before I woke up.
My mother called me and asked if I was sure I lived in Southern California because all of her weather sources were telling her snow, but I was not. So, yes, my mother thought I was LYING to her because I wasn’t filming snow from my patio door. (This is mostly a joke.)
The Plastics were all played by members of the global majority, which seemed to work okay for the musical since that was more about fitting in. The movie, however, is very specifically about the ways White girls bully each other and jockey for power. The book (Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman) is also more about the latter but makes the connection to White womanhood as well. That said, it was–dare I say–so fetch and super fun. The woman who played Karen stole the show with Janis right behind her. They were all phenomenal, though. And I may have bought more than a little merch. Ahem.
I give up. This book is too depressing. Not only is the constant talk of racism relentless (and not adding anything new to the conversation), but the main character keeps getting sexually assaulted/threatened with sexual assault. I just can’t. And I tried it in print and audio.
Also, everyone, I promise you that most professors are not that pretentious. Good grief.
Whew, child, this book put me through it all while traversing some tropes of African American lit mixed in with the Arthurian legend stuff. Lots of excellent commentary on generational trauma (also sometimes called generational curses in the Black community) as well as politics. Also, I need someone better versed in Arthurian legend to tell me which story/stories she is mainly drawing from so I can teach this book in my class.
Alice is the real MVP. And I knew it was only a matter of time before (view spoiler)[Morgaine or Mordred (hide spoiler)] would, as the young people say, enter the chat.
Also, it should be noted that there is an extensive and stellar author’s note at the end.
But grief isn’t a competition. It’s not an identical pain that we all meet one day when death finds us. It’s a monster, personalized by our love and memories to devour us just so. Grief is suffering tailored.
Since when has a man’s title prevented his brutality instead of further emboldening it?
Wanting fiction to be fact and having the power to convince other folks of the same…that’s how power stays put.
None of that puritanical judgment. I’m not “good.” I’m fair.
I don’t know what to say about this book. I wanted to like it more than I did, but I think the author did a lot of interesting things in her reimagining of the Grimm Brothers’ Cinderella story. I love the way the three balls are handled, for example, and I liked that magic was a fantasy yet the story kept fantastical elements. And I also really dug the idea of stories being used and manipulated to support the narrative of the ruling class.
I liked the LGBTQ+ elements. However, I didn’t like the instalove plot. Also, as noted in several other reviews, there are a lot of pacing issues.
So, it’s a mixed bag, overall.
I usually use Cinder to teach adaptations, but I am considering using this instead. So I definitely like it enough to teach.
Reread 2/2/23 – I did decide to use this book for my class, so listened to the audiobook, which is narrated by Bahni Turpin.
While listening to the audiobook, I wasn’t bothered by/didn’t notice the pacing issues noted in my initial review. The instalove was also less annoying because it played more like fascination and wonder. Sophia was a *lot* more stressful this time around, though, so there is that. I would give the audio four stars, instead of three, so I’m bumping up my rating based on that.
To wit, this exchange I had with a friend on Friday:
Me: I’m trying to get it together over here
Her: I’ve given up hope of ever getting it together
Me: I need to do this. I was almost to the gym before I realized I left my headphones at home which meant I had to do my workout in silence like some kind of animal–a dolphin perhaps? Or a gym rat Then when I changed out of my swimsuit I discovered I left my bra at home.
text from image
Also, to continue last week’s trend, I got to two places early this past week only to wind up late because of parking. Again. So, yes, I have given up on ever getting ahead this month. You win these first three weeks, January. I’m just keeping my head above water and making a wave when I can here for the rest of the month now.
What does everyone think of the little prompts that WordPress has been so generously giving when you open the editor to write a new blog post? Today’s for me is “What’s your favorite cartoon?”
I had a good weekend which made this a good week. On Friday, I went to a for your consideration screening of Abbott Elementary with a friend of mine that included a Q&A with the cast and crew and that was followed up by a reception that turned into a dance party. On Saturday, I won the lottery so got two $25 tickets to see the touring production of The Book of Mormon, which was amazing. I didn’t know much about the show so didn’t know what to expect (except that it would include irreverent humor), and I loved it so much. Lots of great social commentary and it made fun of systems without making fun of people, if that makes any sense.
Anywheedle, as the blog post title says, it is Monday and instead of what I read last week, I’m telling you about what I read this past month since, you know, I only read three books and also posted the review of the book I finished this week in the underrated books post.
I cannot believe I have not updated my blog since February. FEBRUARY. I thought for sure the last time had been in April. Clearly, I was very, very wrong. Also: this has been the longest year ever. I know because when prepping to write this post I came across a book I read in April of this year, and I could have sworn I read it last year. That’s all I’m saying.
A brief overview of things that happened since February:
I went to a taping of Ellen’s show (guest host)
I went to Mexico
I went to the LA Times Festival of Books
I went to Florida
I met one of my cousins for the first time
My daughter graduated from college
My daughter’s friend gave us COVID (mild cases; everyone was fine)