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March Wrap-Up

It's been a weird month, to say the least. At first, I was so flummoxed that I barely read anything besides my Twitter feed. More recently, I've been on a streak of reading a book a day, even spending 6-9 hours a day working and at least 8 hours sleeping, so that's felt pretty good. Even though I'm less inclined to reach for a book than Netflix after a long day of work, I always feel much better after reading than binge-watching. It's a better palate-cleanser after working on the computer all day.

Books Read This Month

The Power of One by Bryce CourtenayPretty in Plaid by Jen LancasterDeenie by Judy BlumeKitchen Privileges by Mary Higgins ClarkWhere Are the Children? by Mary Higgins ClarkThe Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Favorite Book This Month

I never would have read The Power of One if it hadn't been for one of my book clubs. It's about a boy growing up in South Africa in the 1940s, somewhat based on the…
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Speculative Fiction That Feels Too Close for Comfort

Happy Top Ten Tuesday over at That Artsy Reader Girl!

Honestly, I'm not sure if I would want to read any of these for the first time right now, but as I can't keep my mind off the pandemic, here are several speculative fiction books that deal with either pandemics or other forms of apocalypse.

Top Ten Speculative Fiction Books That Feel Too Close for Comfort
Station Eleven by Emily St. John MandelParable of the Sower by Octavia ButlerParable of the Talents by Octavia Butler (sequel to above)Dawn by Octavia ButlerThe Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (#1 in the Broken Earth trilogy)The School of Night by Louis BayardThe Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood (#2 in the MaddAddam trilogy)Empire of Ivory by Naomi Novik (#4 in the Temeraire series)The Weight of Ink by Rachel KadishYear of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks

The School of Night, The Weight of Ink, and Year of Wonders are all fictional interpretations of the historical plague, taking place in London or other parts of England. 

Social Distancing TBR

Happy Top Ten Tuesday over at That Artsy Reader Girl! This week's topic is Spring TBR, but I think Social Distancing TBR is more apropos right now. Here's what I'm thinking about reading to get through this period of uncertainty, limited as I am to what I have in the house :-P

Social Distancing 2020 TBR

Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly by Gail Carson LevineWriting Across Contexts: Transfer, Composition, and Sites of Writing by Kathleen Yancey, Liane Robertson, and Kara TaczakWherever You Go There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life by Jon Kabat-ZinnThe Starless Sea by Erin MorgensternBread and Beauty: A Year in Montgomery County's Agricultural Reserve by Claudia Kousoulas and Ellen LetourneauThe Collector's Apprentice by B.A. ShapiroBrave New Girls: Adventures of Gals and Gizmos Ed. Mary Fan and Paige DanielsThe Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears by Dinaw MengestuOne True Thing by Anna QuindlenBucharest Diary by Alfred H. Moses

Serenity Now: Anxiety Relief in the Days of COVID19

Honestly? I'm scared. Not so much that I will get COVID19 as that I don't know what will happen next. I'm anxious about my students and their families. I'm anxious about the fact that one of my jobs is hourly work and if I don't work, I won't get paid. I'm anxious about the fact that I don't even know if or when I'm supposed to go in to work tomorrow.  I'm not jazzed about being isolated either. But of course I understand and want to do everything I can to support public health. Here are some things I'm doing, with more or less success, to relieve my anxiety:

1. Watching Star Trek

Like, all the Treks. My husband and I are keeping up with Star Trek: Picard (loved the last episode's much needed background on Rios), plus watching various episodes of TNG, Voyager, and DS9 both together and separately. Star Trek is like comfort food for us.

2. Watching Queer Eye

I've been rewatching select episodes of Queer Eye, although my Netflix keeps …

Authors Who Have a Fun Social-Media Presence

Happy Top Ten Tuesday over at That Artsy Reader Girl!

I follow a lot of authors on social media, especially Twitter, including some whose books I haven't even read (yet) but I just like their style. I end up following authors usually because other authors I like follow them, I read an article they wrote, or I read a short story or book excerpt of theirs online. I do try to preorder when I can!

Authors Who Have A Fun Social-Media Presence

1. Maggie Stiefvater-I followed her on Twitter after reading The Raven Boys (which I read because C.G. Drews, see below, extolled it so highly), and I love her on-brand tweets about social awkwardness, idiosyncratic vehicles, and ruminations on her characters' inner lives.

2. C.G. Drews-I found her because of her Paper Fury blog, but since then, I read and loved her book The Boy Who Steals Houses. I also follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

3. Neon J.Y. Yang-I've read some of their short stories and follow them on Twitter largely because of…

Books with Single-Word Titles

Happy Top Ten Tuesday over at That Artsy Reader Girl!

Books with Single-Word Titles

These are all my favorite books that I could think of with one-word titles. A lot of fantasy, a few nonfiction (minus subtitles) and Kindred, whether you consider it scifi or historical fiction. Also two portmanteaus using the word "bitter." I suppose it's a word that lends itself to amelioration.

1. Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler

2. Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

3. Fire by Kristin Cashore

4. Heartless by Marissa Meyer

5. Inheritance by Christopher Paolini

6. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

7. Stoned by Aja Raden (has a subtitle)

8. Educated by Tara Westover

9. Fledgling by Octavia Butler

10. Kindred by Octavia Butler

February Wrap-Up

Books Read This Month

The Places That Scare You by Pema ChodronThe German Girl by Armando Lucas CorreaThe Color of Love by Marra B. GadStrangers and Cousins by Leah Hager CohenBriar Rose by Jane YolenFavorite Book This Month
This was a much better reading month than last, and all of the reads above were thoughtful and helpful to me in their own way. The Places That Scare You I will probably read again. It's about those things that everyone knows but needs to be reminded of, about accepting and sitting with your emotions instead of letting them control you OR just stuffing them down, the latter of which I've been guilty of for a long time. It's scary to let yourself be vulnerable and feel and scarier still to make sure you don't give them too much control. The German Girl was most interesting to me for its comparison between Nazi rule in Germany and the Cuban revolution, as lived by someone who experienced both. It's also written by a Cuban author, so I'm impress…