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Geekly Wrap-Up #23.1–Just the Books [CC]

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Hey everybody, it’s Anna, and welcome back
to my booktube channel! This video is going to be my geekly wrap-up for the
week of January 6th through 12th. This week, I managed to read ten books and
play five new board games. This was also the week that I went to Orca Con, which
is a really awesome local tabletop board gaming convention that’s near to me in
Seattle, so most of the games that I played I actually played at the con, and
I’ll tell you a little bit about that later on in the video. So first let’s go
ahead and do the books. So the first book that I finished this week was “The Raven
Boys” by Maggie Stiefvater. I know it’s taken me, like, way long in terms of
booktube time to actually catch up to this series, but I was very kindly given
the audiobook version of it by my friend Tyler, so thanks for that because I
really loved this book! I honestly confess that about halfway through it I
still wasn’t really understanding what the hype was about this book, and I
really didn’t think it was gonna be for me, but I talked to a couple of friends
that had already read the series and they said no, stick with it–it gets
better. And I’m really glad that I did! I’m not gonna go too much into what it’s
about because it’s kind of an older title, and it feel like a lot of people
on booktube have already talked about it extensively, but needless to say, I am
looking forward to continuing with the series. The second book that I read this week, I finished a reread of “The Bear and the Nightingale” by Katherine Arden. This
was the book club pick for Rachael Marie’s Royally Booked Club that we
were going to read for the month of January. I love reading this series
during the winter months– I actually finished the trilogy in one of my
December geekly wrap-up, I believe is when I wrapped up reading the third
book, so it was really nice to just seamlessly go back into reading the
first book. This is a story about Vasya who is a young girl that is living
in this historical fantasy-type place: it’s historical Russia, but there’s also a lot of fabulism in it. All of the figures from Russian folklore and mythology, like the domovii, who are
the little household spirits, and the firebird and all of those creatures are real, and she is one of the only people that both
can see them and is not afraid of them. Rereading this book, a couple things that
struck me: obviously, the power of stories and storytelling, and how storytelling
has the power to make real the unreal. Also, the difference between the sort of
respect that you gain through fear and the respect that you gain through love
is something that is a major theme of this book, and also the importance of
bravery, and bravery doesn’t mean the absence of fear but bravery means
standing up and doing the right thing and protecting those who can’t protect
themselves. So I really enjoyed this. It’s definitely worth five stars that I gave
it originally, and I think I’m actually going to continue with rereading the
series this winter. Then I read this little poetry pamphlet called “Their
Lunar Language” by Charlotte Eichler. I actually did Library of Alexa’s d20 TBR challenge, so this was one of the books that fulfilled that
challenge and it was pretty good. It was this author’s first poetry pamphlet; it’s
got a lot to do with themes of animals and the sea. I thought it was interesting;
I gave it three out of three stars. Then I finished a book that I have been
reading for what feels like forever. It’s only been about a month, but it feels
like it’s taken me forever to get through this book because I started it
before I lost my dog, and then we got her back, and all of the holidays happened,
and traveling and blah blah blah blah! But I finally finished it this week,
and it’s “Get a Life, Chloe Brown!” by Talia Hibbert, and I really loved this
book! This is part of my Year of Reading Romantically. I got it as a Book
of the Month book because I saw it was a romance that featured a black woman
who’s also disabled as a protagonist, and I was like cool, that is something that
I’m interested in! So not only does it help me fulfill my challenge to read 30
books by black authors this year, I also am definitely going to enthusiastically
recommend this if you are looking for good disability representation in your
romance. So this is the story of Chloe Brown, who is a black woman living in
London, and she has fibromyalgi,a and as often happens, anyone that gets sick will
tell you sometimes when you get sick,
you find out who your real friends are because a lot of your friends will just
sort of leave and go do their own things and pay lip service to supporting you
but they won’t actually stay and do anything meaningful.
So she falls into a pretty deep depression after that and then realizes
that she doesn’t want to let her life just pass her by because she’s really
upset about losing all of her friends. So she decides that she needs to write this
bucket list of daring things to do. It starts because she rather spontaneously
climbs up a tree to help a stuck cat, even though she knows it’s going to be
really bad for her disability later on, and she’s like, I should be more
spontaneous like this! I want to do things that *I* want to do and not be totally worried all of the time. I think this book was a lot about, as anyone with chronic illness will tell you, finding a
fine balance between taking care of your body and rationing your energy
levels, but also remembering to let live a little and have fun. Also the
importance of finding a partner who understands that your body does have
limits that look different from everybody else’s and who will be able to
support you and care for you etc through all of that. She falls in
love with this guy who’s nicknamed Red, and she first gets him to help her
complete one of the items on her “get a life” list, which is to ride a motorcycle,
because he has a motorcycle! So she kind of makes him take her for a ride on it
even though she’s really scared, and they have great chemistry, and they start
falling in love. I also thought lik,e with so many romance novels there’s always
communication problems that throw a wrench into things, but the communication
problems that come up in this book actually do make sense for the
characters, and they make sense for their situation. And also the characters havea very normal reaction where there’s a communication problem: they
automatically think, Oh, worst case scenario! And then they go whoa, wait: this
doesn’t really track with the person that I know and that I’m in love with–
let me see if there’s some other factors at play here, which there usually
are! So I actually liked how that was a bit more believable that a
character just totally having 180 in their opinion with another character.
So I really enjoyed this book, would highly recommend it. I then finished
reading “The Witches are Coming,” which is a feminist essay collection by Lindy
West. She wrote “Shrill,” which got made into a
TV show. I haven’t watched “Shrill,” but reading the book actually really changed
the way that I thought about feminism, body positivity, and the
specific issues that fat people, particularly fat women, face in
contemporary American culture specifically. Like, I am not a fat person,
so I did not really realize the extent to which fat people are really
maligned and made fun of and actually have very serious health disparities and
other issues in this country because of the way that the medical and social
establishments really just shame them into silence and lack of resources. This book is not really about that– it’s really much more about
the fallout of the 2016 presidential election in the US and also the #MeToo
movement in the US, so this is gonna come with some trigger warnings for
discussions of rape and sexual assault because that’s kind of what the #MeToo
movement is all about. I don’t know, I myself kind of found this weirdly
comforting to read as someone that is a survivor of of sexual violence, because
the whole premise of the book is that yes, there is a witch-hunt on, but
what the “witches” are coming for doesn’t have anything to do with the
assaulters and the abusers: the witches are coming for your legacy, they are
coming for their future, the future that the witches have been denied
because of oppression and patriarchy and all that kind of thing. She has a lot to
say about intersectional feminism, particularly where it intersects with
race, and she has a really great chapter at the end of this book about the
problem of gentrification in Seattle, which of course is very interesting to
me because that’s the area where I live and this is not just an abstract thing
that we’re thinking about: it’s something that is very much in your face every day,
and you can really see in the number of people that are sleeping outside every
day and the people that are getting pushed out from their neighborhoods
because they can’t afford to pay rent any more
every day. So I enjoyed that book quite a lot even though it was a fairly
intense read. I spread it out across the entire week. I then finished reading my
favorite book that I read this week, which is “The Illumination of Ursula
Flight” by Anna Marie Crowhurst. This is a historical fiction novel that takes
place during the Restoration in England, so after the English Civil War when the
monarch is restored. It follows this girl, Ursula Flight, who is a young writer.
She’s an educated noblewoman who gets married off to a man who’s much
older than she is because that’s what happens to women in this time period, but
she really longs for a life of adventure. She loves the theater; she loves going to
plays; she loves writing plays, acting in them, etc and this is basically a
story of her coming-of-age, coming into her own, being able to find and carve out
a place for herself in the world where she’s not defined by her relationship to
a man, which, especially for this time period, is extremely radical. The way
that this book is written reads very much like a book that was written at
that time as well, so you could really put yourself in the shoes of someone who
was living during the 1600s because you know, that doesn’t seem like it’s
such a big deal to us now: the fact that women should be able to
control their own money and that they should be able to have control over
their own bodies and their own children. But this book really does drive home
the dangerous place that she’s put in because her body
doesn’t even belong to her once she gets married; it’s the property of her husband.
So the fact that she decides to go out and pursue her own life goals and
ambitions and earn money under her own name is a really powerful story. I
really loved the way that this was written. I especially enjoy reading about
the friendship between her and Mary, who’s one of the servants in the house
when she’s growing up, and I gave it five out of five stars. Okay, I also read a
little children’s picture book this week from the new and interesting [library section] I’m
trying to read more books that are written specifically for kids and early
readers, and this is called “Pokko and the Drum” by Matthew Forsythe. He’s one of the
artists on “Adventure Time,” and this is a story about a little frog who gets given
a drum by her parents and shenanigans ensue! This has some light dark humor, so
I think it would be perfect if your kid is into that, or if you yourself are
into that! The illustrations are extremely charming. they’re done in this
sort of flat 2d style to great comedic effect. Definitely enjoyed that a
lot, and I would highly recommend it. Also, frogs are one of my very favorite
animals ever. If you watched my my Bookie Trials video where I had my little frog
daemon, you’ll know that, but I really love frogs, and so reading a delightful little
children’s book about frogs causing chaos and music was super wonderful. I
then read another amazing book called “Pet” Akwaeke Emezi. Akwaeke Emezi is a
black and Tamil-descended non-binary author who I had never heard of before,
but then once I actually read this book, I finally saw their work cropping up all
over the place that I was like oh, I didn’t realize these were all written by
the same person! This is the story of a young black trans girl named Jam
living in a society where there are no more monsters. The monsters have all
disappeared, and the monsters are kind of this stand-in for any of the bad things
that plague society. Her mother is a painter, and one day Jam is hanging out
in her mother’s studio and she accidentally summons a creature out of
one of her mom’s paintings and makes it real and it comes into the real world.
The creature is called Pet, and it announces that it has come to hunt the
monster that is in the town where she lives. And she’s like, what are you
talking about? We got rid of the monsters long ago. There aren’t monsters here
anymore. And Pet says, no, I’m here because there are monsters here and they
need to be destroyed. So… things happen! This book comes with some trigger
warnings for discussions of child sexual abuse, and so be aware of that if
you are sensitive to it going in, but this was absolutely one of the most
amazing books that I have ever read! The first chapter alone does more to
advance the cause of trans and non-binary representation in literature
than just about anything I have ever read for young adults. This story is also
a lot about the way that art calls forth and can make real a lot of issues in our
lives; art is very important when it comes to
understanding and interrogating the way that we think about things, as Jam
literally brings a piece of her mother’s artwork to life, and then that is like
able to give voice to the problems that exist in their town. It also is really
about the fact that memory is super important because if we don’t remember
monsters, and if we don’t remember the monstrous things that happen in the
world, we won’t be able to recognize the warning signs that they might be coming
back, and that is a huge theme that’s explored within this story. It kind of
reminded me– like, I’ve worked with kids a lot, and you have to do a lot of child
sexual abuse training–it reminded me of what they always say in those classes,
which is that we don’t catch abusers abusing, we catch them breaking rules. I
kept thinking of that when I was reading this book because I remember being like,
oh, that’s kind of weird; that’s a red flag; that’s interesting .And it’s a lot
about the importance of speaking up when you see something like that. So this book was incredible; gave it 5 out of 5 stars.
I’m realizing now that my camera is about to run out of battery, so what
I’m probably gonna do is finish talking about the books, and then I’ll do a
separate video wrapping up for the board games and the stuff that I did at the
con. So I’ve got two more books for you. I also read read “Red At the Bone” by Jacqueline
Woodson. This is a multi-generational story that is told beginning at one of
the main characters’ sweet 16 coming out birthday party, and it goes all the way back through her family history with
different chapters being narrated by different people in her life. I’ve only
ever read one other book by Jacqueline Woodson before. I read “Sing, Unburied,
Sing” because I got an arc of it back when I was working at a book store
before it came out. This one is definitely written in a much more poetic
or verse style. It’s not really a novel in verse, but it’s it’s extremely close,
the line between verse and prose in this book, and I think that that was
awesome because it definitely contributed to both differentiating
the voices of all of the characters and also making them seem as though they
were part of a collective whole and part of a family, which is a large part of
what the actual a subject matter of the book is: like, what does it mean to be
part of a family and carry shared family history, shared family trauma,
shared family hopes and dreams for the future, and how those metamorphose
[struggles to say the word!] across generations. This book definitely also
comes with some trigger warnings, mostly for racism and racist violence,
police brutality, that kind of thing. It very intensely engages with the Tulsa
Massacre, which is something that I’ll actually link some information down
below. It’s been a lot in the consciousness lately because it was
depicted in the HBO Watchmen series, and a lot of people, I realized, didn’t know
that this had happened. I only knew about it because I had listened to a podcast
about it; I did not learn about this in school or any other way, so I’ll go ahead
and link some information down below there, and that also comes with trigger
warnings for racist violence, so just be warned if you want to go learn some more
about that. I thought that this book was absolutely incredible! I feel like
I’m going through this phase where the books that really touch me the most are
the ones that are these very intense, often painful, but nonetheless important
family stories, whether that comes in terms of fiction or memoir/nonfiction or
whatever it may be. I’m really enjoying reading these
books where families get together to tell their stories, and you
realize that to each individual within the family– it’s as if they all live in a
different family–yet when you read all of their voices together as a whole ,you
can kind of see how the composite actually creates what we would call a
family. I have lots more thoughts about that, but again, like I said, my camera is
about to die, so I have one more book. This is “No One is Too Small to Make a
Difference,” which is the collected speeches so far of Greta Thunberg. She
is a climate activist from Sweden; you’ve probably heard about her unless
you have recently been living under a rock because she has been organizing a
school strike to protest politicians’ inaction in the face of climate change. I
am particularly interested in reading what she has to say because we share the
same autism diagnosis, so I’ve really enjoyed getting to watch her just thrive
as she goes and speaks truth to power on what she’s very passionate about, and
this has definitely given me some concrete things that I can learn more
about in terms of changing my own behaviors and my own decisions as it
pertains to a climate justice and activism. So those are all of the
books that I read this week! I’m going to make a second video, which I will have
linked up here, that is going to be about the board games and the convention. Thank
you all so very much for watching this, and I will see you in part two of this
very long Geekly Wrapup. Bye!

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