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Good job on surviving January, friends. That sure was a long year.

FACT: I was convinced that I wouldn't read anything because I kept falling asleep when I tried to do anything mentally taxing. Luckily, once I hit the middle of January I was feeling much better (constant naps are restorative, I suppose) and I started reading and flying through books with no problem. I'm so relieved. ;__; Depression is the WORST.

January 2018: Breakdown

I read six items!
  • Brolliology: A History of the Umbrella in Life and Literature by Marion Rankine
  • The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor
  • In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan
  • Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill
  • Tetris: The Games People Play by Box Brown
  • The Murders of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson

My favorites this month were In Other Lands and Sea of Rust. I liked everything I read, which was a pleasant development. More often I have some misses or DNFs, but I was also selective with what I picked up fiction-wise, so that helped. I hope to write a review of In Other Lands this month, but the bottom line is that I loved it, loved it, loved it. I adore Brennan's writing and her dialogue and her way of examining social issues.

Sea of Rust I have more complicated feelings about, but it was still an excellently paced, cinematic story about robots/AI. These are not robot pals, to be clear, because all humans are dead and now the robots who gained sentience and revolted against humanity are being cut down by AIs that want everyone to join their hivemind and they won't take no for answer. It's painfully easy to read this as a giant metaphor, but I liked it as a straight-forward quest narrative—cross dangerous terrain to return the MacGuffin and save the world (for the robots who don't want their personalities snuffed out...there is no saving humans)! This would be a great film, done Chappie-style, which stands to reason: the author of this film works on movies. He was a creator on Doctor Strange, a stunningly mediocre Marvel movie, but he definitely understands how to make a book feel cinematic without writing an awful narrative that reads awkwardly, which a lot of authors I've read who transition between novels and screenplay struggle to accomplish.

The book that let me down a bit was probably Tetris: The Games People Play, which was informative, but a little bland. It's a nice overview to learn the players in the Tetris drama if you don't really want to read the whole of The Tetris Effect by Dan Ackerman, but I much prefer that to the graphic novel by Brown. The Tetris Effect does a better job of not excusing white businessmen from the gross behavior encouraged by capitalism. Not that the book really goes in on it, but it at the least doesn't gloss over it as much. The only plus Brown's book gets is that it can be read in about an hour and will give you a general understanding of how Tetris took over the world.


I read 1598 pages this month. Out of the six books I read, one was purchased and five were from the library (I love you, library). Three were hardcover, two were trade paperback, and one was an ebook. One was published in 2016, four in 2017, and one in 2018. The publisher with the most books on my list was I read two nonfiction titles, two novellas, two novels, and one graphic trade. I read three cis women and three cis men. POC-wise, I read one cis woman and one cis man, who were both published by as part of their novella line. I finished one series (Binti by Okorafor) and started another (Molly Southbourne by Thompson).

Reading Challenges: Status

I've read six of my 110 books for 2018. I've read two new-to-me women writers and two nonfiction titles. Not bad for month one! I really need to stay away from the library at some point this year and read my own books. Someone please help me. I have a problem.

February: Reading Plans

I want to pick One Piece up again. It broke my heart last year when I tried to head into volume 67 and ended up feeling a lurking sense of dread whenever I packed the volume in my bag. I would get actively sick to my stomach when I walked past the manga section of my library, too. In December, when I was so late with another installment of my readalong, I thought about going back to it to finish the work I had started and cried for hours and ended up numb for a solid week.

It's hard to explain anxiety. Well, it's hard to explain pain in general because we're so trapped in our individual meatsacks. At some point last year between begging politicians not to kill me and my dad's health—he's still alive somehow, like a cockroach, after giving me sixteen heart attacks—and hiding inside the work of reading and writing about One Piece (which I did instead of dealing with my feelings about those subjects, because it was hard work and time consuming and gave me the perfect excuse), all the bad stuff got linked up with my favorite manga of all time. Most of my anxiety comes from associations. I make bad associations based on experiences, and then certain things give me terrible anxiety and trigger my depression. So that's 100% what happened to me and One Piece. This is my personal, over-sharing PSA to everyone: get a therapist or read some books on mindfulness and CBT when you're going through a bunch of garbage. Be honest with yourself instead of pretending everything is fine. Otherwise you might lose something you love a lot and have to spend months trying to get it back and also look like a unreliable flake.

Fingers crossed that I've worked through my issues and can finally get to the parts of the manga my friends have been teasing me with for over a year.

Other books on my radar for this month are library books and potential Hugo choices. I am sharing my library acquisitions with everyone, trusting that no one will shame me if I never speak of some of them again because I had to return them to the library unread. Sometimes I get too excited. I love my library.
  • Buried Heart by Kate Elliott — owned
  • The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard — ARC
  • The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton — ARC...maybe? My ARC has the page count at 193 and that...doesn't seem...right. I need to check!
  • Sweet Spot: An Ice Cream Binge Across America by Amy Ettinger — library
  • An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon — library
  • Unearthed by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner — library
  • Red Clocks by Leni Zumas — library
  • Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind The Secret Plan To Steal America's Democracy by David Daley — library. I'm trying this one again—2017 was not a good year for it.
  • Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights by Katha Pollitt — library
  • This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada — library
  • The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton — library
  • Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff - library. I know this is silly and everyone has moved on to the 9274th scandal of the year so far, but it made Joy Reid so happy that I can't resist. Although this will definitely not be as good as political RPF.

I read six books in a month with 31 days. February has 24ish days left and I have the above list. Nothing could go wrong!
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