Little Free Library Musings

I love Little Free Libraries. I’ve gotten some fantastic ARCs and beautiful books from them. I’ve sold a few and paid some great finds forward.

I live in an affluent area and our library system is fantastic. Access to literature is not a problem for us. What about the poorer, rougher areas just a short ways away? Do they have the same luxury?

I grew up in this area so I can attest that some of the school systems are lacking. Is there some well meaning white person loading up their Little Free Libraries? Do they even have them?

I have no idea how to even find this out but I wonder how many people putting these up in their yards are asking this. Are trying paying their good fortune forward? How can I help?

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Mid Year Book Freakout Tag

Best Book You’ve Read So Far

This Will Be My Undoing by Morgan Jerkins – This is a fantastic memoir about what it means to be a black feminist in America.

Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far

The Radical Element edited by Jessica Spotswood – I love the Tyranny of Petticoats series and this is the second book. It’s fun and empowering. Highly recommend.

New Release You Haven’t Read Yet, But Want To

Ginger Kid by Steve Hofstetter and Bearskin by McLaughlin – Hofstetter is one of my favorite comedians and McLaughlin’s book is perfect for my vacation in the mountains next month.

Most Anticipated Release For Second Half of the year

My Own Devices by Dessa and World’s Seen in Passing: 10 Years of Tor.com Short Fiction – I’m broke AF and still pre-ordered these. I’m middling at bring an adult.

Biggest Disappointment

Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman – This was sold as a woman who is comatose and buried alive. It was not. I have a full review/rant here.

Biggest Surprise

Quiet Girl in a Noisy World by Debbie Tung – I discovered this at a Little Free Library and really enjoyed it. It was relatable, funny, and heartfelt. A must read for those looking to understand introverts.

Favourite New Author

Morgan Jerkins – Her book was a brilliant and nuanced take on what it means to be a black woman in America. I can’t wait to read more of what she has to say.

Newest Fictional Crush

Black Panther: World Of Wakanda – Crushes on fictional characters aren’t really a thing I do but the Dora Milaje were pretty fantastic.

Newest Favourite Character

Manfried the Man by Caitlin Major – I’m really amused by all the little naked human men in this story. They say “Hey” and shake hands.

Book That Made You Cry

This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp – I don’t cry easily but this brought out all the feels. It’s a multi-person perspective of a high school shooting. It’s beautiful, heartbreaking, and important.

Book That Made You Happy

Big Mushy Happy Lump by Sarah Andersen – Her comics are silly and fun. I just adore them.

Favourite Book To Movie Adaptation You Saw This Year

I am terrible about seeing things in theaters. I meant to see Ready Player One but it didn’t happen. Does Black Panther count? Let’s go with that.

Favorite Review You’ve Written This Year

And Now We Have Everything by Meaghan O’Connell – This book is an important and interesting take on motherhood but never acknowledges the place of privilege it comes from.

Most Beautiful Book You Bought So Far This Year

Doctor Who: Tales Of Terror and the hardback of The Essex Serpent – I love the cover of the latter and the former is a naked hardback with lots of metallic detail.

What Books Do You Need To Read By The End of The Year

Any Man by Amber Tamblyn

Rising Out of Hate by Eli Slaslow

Bearskin by James McLaughlin

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

I’m not making this list any longer because there are so many gorram books I need to read.

June Wrap-Up and July TBR

These months never go quite as planned.

I decided to join my local library in reading War and Peace. With the goal of reading 100 pages a week, this epic tome seems manageable. Once you get going, it’s also surprisingly readable.

June Wrap-Up

This Will Be My Undoing by Morgan Jerkins

This got a full review here and it is absolutely worth the read. 5/5

Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol

Based on the author’s real life, I devoured this delightful graphic novel in one sitting. It deals with otherness and the desire to belong so many of us endured growing up. 5/5

The Curious Case of the Werewolf That Wasn’t by Gail Carriger

This adds some interesting color and backstory to Carriger’s beloved series, Parasol Protectorate. It still left me with several questions but was still fun. 4/5

Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman

This was a western, not a horror novel and the premise has a misleading set-up. I was very disappointed. Full review here. 2/5

Ayiti by Roxane Gay

This is her first book and it is being rereleased this summer. It’s a collection of short fiction about what it means to be Haitian. It’s short and beautifully written. Go read it. 5/5

Biketopia edited by Elly Blue

Another fantastic read. The full review is here 4/5

Can’t Help Myself by Meredith Goldstein

A memoir of the woman who writes the Love Letters column in Boston. It’s beautiful and heartbreaking 4/5

Black Panther: World Of Wakanda by Roxane Gay and Ta-Nehisi Coates

I didn’t realize Gay has dabbled in comics until I saw her live. I immediately put this on hold at my library and very much enjoyed it. It’s far more complicated than the films but still provides interesting color if you only know that world. 4/5

Scream All Night by Derek Milman

A failing horror studio, pain from a family’s past, and many livelihoods hanging in the balance. I liked the ideas behind this but it was just meh for me. 3/5

July TBR

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

I meant to read it last month and didn’t get to it.

Rising Out of Hatred by Eli Saslow

A reformed white nationalist tells his story.

Bookish Boyfriends: A Date with Darcy by Tiffany Schmidt

I discovered this cute gem at my local indie. I’m not big on contemporaries but this seemed fun

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

The marathon continues

TBR Jar: Dust

The spirit behind this is something that’s been collecting dust on my shelves for a while. I’ll likely raid my graphic novels if I get pressed for time.

TBR Jar: Hype

I meant to read a different book for this but best laid plans and all that. I originally wasn’t sure if I should review this because I don’t have anything nice to say. Josh Malerman wrote a phenomenal horror book with Bird Box. He has yet to recapture that magic.

Unbury Carol was sold as a Sleeping Beauty retelling where she is aware but comatose. No one knows about her condition except her husband who plans to bury her alive. This was the hype that got me excited. The book did not hold up.

First off, it’s a western with vague horror elements. The trail, outlaws, and tall tales are huge parts of the story. Whoever decided to not sell it as a western was a fool. It’s like selling Snakes on a Plane as a comedy instead of the monster horror it was.

SPOILERS AHEAD

At 50 pages in, Carol still wasn’t buried alive. For a big selling point of the book, this plot point took ages to happen. And the ‘no one but her husband knows’ thing? Alternative fact. She kind of tells someone else and her first love knows. Thank goodness someone tells him so he can immediately jumps into action to save the day. Bye-bye sense of urgency.

There was a supernatural horror element with Rot personified that did not make sense and wasn’t fully dealt with. Rot finally wants to claim what’s his with Carol. K. He didn’t this time so how about the next go around? FFS, he came alive and impersonated a doctor. The whole thing was confusing and unnecessary. Either give us more of WTF that was meant to be or skip it.

Once Carol finally does get buried alive (over 200 pages in), Malerman pulls a dues ex machina that fixes everything. The dramatic tension he tried to create didn’t need to exist because a magic casket saved the day. Magic casket has been a thing for years so let’s save the day and make the whole book unnecessary in one plot point.

SPOILERS OVER

The whole thing was a tedious, hot mess that I might expect from a first novel, not a third. I seriously don’t know how Bird Box and Unbury Carol are by the same man. I honestly think this would have been a 3 star read had it been described honestly. As it stands, 2/5.

If you skipped the spoilers, what Unbury Carol is really about is a woman who falls comatose and is aware of her surroundings. The only people who know are her first love and her husband. The latter wants to bury her alive. Can the former get to her in time? If that sounds interesting, go for it.

Trauma Has Many Forms

I dipped my toe in a few different books while attempting to conquer War & Peace. I finally committed to going in deeper with Can’t Help Myself by Meredith Goldstein. I just finished a section of her memoir that really resonated with me.

At one point, Goldstein spends a lot of time talking about her mother’s cancer and what that meant for her. Her mother endured something awful but Goldstein had to watch her mother endure that awful thing and sometimes, that is its own trauma.

I know someone who was at the Vegas shooting. This person told me that those who were shot and survived have less psychological trauma than those who were ‘uninjured.’ When I read this chapter, this parallel really struck me. When your body is fighting to survive, your mind hangs on to less. If you’re on the proverbial sidelines of that fight, you’re able to remember it all.

Last year I endured some ugly emotional abuse from my mother and some impressive apathy and betrayals from ‘friends.’ It was the worst time of my life. I wonder how it was for my husband. He came from a loving family while I was seeing a roided out version of some Cluster B BS I’d dealt with all my life. He was thrown into a chaos he didn’t understand and we emerged stronger for it.

In all of the above cases, everyone has adhered to the ‘support in, dump out’ method. You are allowed whatever feelings you need but never put your burden on someone carrying the heavier load.

Watching someone you love go through hell is hard. If you’re going through something like that, respect your pain. Someone, somewhere, will always be fighting a harder battle. Don’t let it stop you from seeking the help you need.

TBR Jar: Indie book

I finally finished Biketopia edited by Ellie Blue. Like her previous collection, it was full of compelling and tightly written short fiction. Unlike zombies in the last anthology, this one focuses on dystopias.

I’ve been keeping up with rating individual stories in anthologies to see if my average matches my overall rating.

  • Riding in Place – 5/5
  • Taming the Beast – 3.5/5
  • Meet Cute – 4/5
  • Signal Lost – 5/5
  • Portlandtown – 4/5
  • Fast Learner – 4/5
  • Day 3658 – 4/5
  • Shelter – 5/5
  • Questions with the First – 4/5
  • The Future Of Flirtation – 3/5
  • Maaike’s Aquatic Center for Bicycles Raised by Fishes – 5/5
  • Book Reviews – 3/5

My overall rating would be a 4 out of 5 and my average was 4.13. I really love these collections and highly recommend them.

Media Monday: BookTubers

These are the BookTubers that always make it to the top of my watch list.

Books and Pieces

A cheery Brit who loves sci-fi, fantasy, and strong female characters.

Getting Hygge with It

A Canadian woman who likes historical fiction, horror, and thrillers.

ChapterStackss

A young woman who enjoys thrillers, horror, and fiction.

Sophie Carlon

A feisty Aussie who loves the Tudors, strong women, magical realism, and anything a bit weird.

Books with Emily Fox

A French Canadian with a love of fantasy, sci-fi, and the occasional classic.

A Book Olive

An American woman who loves nonfiction, books on birds, and Russian literature.

Rincey Reads

A Chicago contributor to Book Riot who likes fiction, history, and reading diversely.

Insert Literary Pun Here

A woman who loves literary fiction and has very intelligent and critical reviews.

Mercy’s Bookish Musings

A British woman who likes literary fiction, magical realism, and hard hitting nonfiction.

Jen Campbell

An author, editor, literary prize judge, and reader, this Brit adores poetry, magical realism, literary fiction, and most things to do with fairy tales.