It’s Monday & I had a very merry Christmas

December 26, 2016

So Christmas was good here. It was very low-key. My daughter is home this year (she usually goes away), and we exchanged gifts around midday. (I had to wake her up–also par for the course with that one). I also spent most of the day cooking. Here’s something interesting: apparently, I *can* cook when I *want* to.

I made ham, macaroni and cheese, collard greens (using this recipe), and sweet potatoes. For dessert, I made an apple cake using my grandmother’s recipe, which I haven’t made in a long time. To make things interesting, I iced it using this caramel sauce. Everything turned out awesome. My daughter (who, as a general rule, hates everything I cook) loved everything, and my dad made sure to get some collard greens for the road. That was nice, especially since I was most worried about how they would turn out.

Then to end the night, we watched Creed, which was delightful. It was everything I expected it to be so I was not disappointed.


I love this poster so, so much. It is pretty much perfection.

Rocky IV is one of my favorite movies, and I was devastated (DEVASTATED) when Apollo died. (Ask me if that stops me from acting out the final fight between him and Drago and mimicking all of the characters?) So I knew as soon as I saw the poster for this movie that we were MFEO. We don’t talk about the fact that it took me over a year to actually see it. Life, man.

Anyway, it only took me about 10 minutes to get that his name is Adonis because his dad’s name is Apollo. Also, because as one of my students said last year when we studied this poster for visual arguments, “He fine.” I approve.

Last week, I posted:

Last week, I read:

Tell the Truth, Shame the DevilTell the Truth, Shame the Devil by Melina Marchetta
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m trying to figure out what to say about this book. I liked it, and some of the characters are fairly memorable, but overall there isn’t much to say beyond that.

Marchetta writes family/collective grief so well. I think that’s what I’ll remember most about this novel.

Read Harder 2016: Read a book about politics in your country or another

I'm Judging You: The Do-Better ManualI’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual by Luvvie Ajayi
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

So, here’s the deal. I really liked the first part of this book wherein Ajayi talks about her friends and her self (bc she’s late for everything). I laughed out loud at the story of Carlos the bicycle-riding deadbeat. I also loved the essay about her experiences with people mispronouncing her name–so much so that she goes by a nickname.

While I enjoyed the Carlos story, I have a real problem with anyone shaming women who stay in bad relationships by saying the women should be too embarrassed/horrified to talk about it. SO PROBLEMATIC.

On top of that, I found the rest of the book boring and preachy (SO PREACHY). And I sincerely almost turned the audiobook off for good when she spent a significant portion of a chapter ranting about Comic Sans font. I mean, seriously. Who cares? Who hasn’t heard that exact same rant before?

Her sections on race, feminism, and LGBTQ were all very 101, which made me wonder who her audience for the book was. Her rants about social media were all about what “we” could do better, and I had no idea who “we” is. I mean, it’s certainly not me or most of the people I follow/know.

ALSO, she referenced several TV shows–specifically reality TV shows–without naming them. So unless I knew exactly which show had the table flip moment or which famous person’s family had the TV show. And, again, that section about how watching reality TV was destroying America has already been said a million times before in a million different ways.

I would have liked this book much more if she had stuck to actual personal essays or relating the reality shows, etc. to her own life or her experiences watching them. Because aside from the very first section (and the section on her name), there wasn’t anything in this book I hadn’t heard/read before in plenty of other think pieces.

Read Harder 2016: Read a collection of essays.

Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant (Delilah Dirk, #1)Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant by Tony Cliff
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a lot of fun, and I really enjoyed both characters (Delilah and Selim). Delilah is a force of nature and it’s easy to see why Selim is both intrigued by her and willingly (though unwittingly at times) goes along with her schemes. The ending was also really kind of sweet. Aw.

Read Harder 2016: Read a book that is set in the Middle East.

The MothersThe Mothers by Brit Bennett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this in pretty much one sitting (minus a brief break or two for real life inconveniences like family obligations, etc.).

This has many things I like: teen pregnancy, female friendship, complicated family relationships and friendships, a strong narrative voice.

I also love and appreciate the ~*layers*~ of meaning the title has (that’s not sarcasm, either).

Hamlet (No Fear Shakespeare)Hamlet by William Shakespeare
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Reread, obvs. And, yes, I cheated by reading the No Fear version. I just wanted a quick reminder of everything that happened in the play and I’m on vacation so decided to take the easier way out.

Also, this totally counts as a horror story. A creepy ghost shows up and everybody dies. It works.

Poor Hamlet. POOR OPHELIA. Poor Laertes and Polonius and Gertrude. Poor everybody except Claudius because seriously. Eff that guy.

Read Harder 2016: Read a horror book

View all my reviews

As of today, I’m reading:

The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye by Sonny Liew

I started The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye by Sonny Liew the other day. I really like it so far. It’s a really interesting way to look at the history of a country, and I love the art work. Also, obviously this will count towards the Read Harder challenge.

Which, naturally, leads me to today’s A Month of Faves topic: reading challenges.

A Month of Faves

The questions are pretty simple: How did you do? Are you going to do more challenges next year?

As to the first point, I already addressed that in the Diversity on the Shelf 2016: Wrap Up Post & Link-Up. I’m on track to finish the Read Harder challenge as you can see from the above reviews and also from this post. I keep forgetting about the dystopian novel deal, though, and realized that it said novel and not book, so I can’t use a picture book for that one. Sooooo, that’s a thing that needs to happen.

Am I going to do more challenges next year? I will probably do the Goodreads challenge again. Other than that, though, nah.

I hope everyone who celebrated had a wonderful Christmas, and I hope those of you celebrating Hanukkah are enjoying your eight days of festivities!

Kidlit version hosted by Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen of Teach Mentor Texts; original version hosted by Kathryn at Book Date.

Kidlit version hosted by Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen of Teach Mentor Texts; original version hosted by Kathryn at Book Date.



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  1. Read Diverse Books

    The first time I read Hamlet was the No Fear edition, I think. I didn’t think it was cheating 😛 It’s this version that allowed me to appreciate the story. I then wen on to read the regular version at least twice. I love Hamlet.

    My review for The Mothers has been written for weeks now, but I’m not sure when I will publish it. haha. Probably in January? Anyway, I liked it a lot too. 🙂

  2. Bina

    Yay good to hear you had a lovely Christmas and dinner turned out so great 🙂 I really need to get to The Mothers and The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye finally! Heh maybe no reading challenges for me, but despite being bad at them I also feel ridiculously positive about my ability to keep at them.


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