An ever-increasing TBR that may or may not need urgent tackling
Hey, fellow bookworms! I’m so excited to be writing this guest post, so thank you Amanda Kay Oaks for the opportunity. This is actually the last post I’m writing for my 30-day writing challenge, so it was only fitting to end on a bookish note.
My reading has been very strange lately, with comfort reads and rereads mostly taking center stage, as I’m trying to navigate a new and scary path in life. So I’ve been having a right difficult time attempting to read new books, which is alarming, particularly seeing as the number of unread books on my Kindle just keeps increasing.
This is because I have these little moments when, in desperate need of warmth and comfort, I go berserk on Kindle, buying up to 5 new books at once. This habit, unsurprisingly, leads to a worrying number of new books accumulating, with me never getting to them.
Oh well. I’m sure I’m not alone in this. Many passionate readers out there hoard new books — it’s a form of religion, and I’m here to embrace it. However, as I’m doing that thing again, where I start a lot of books, frantically looking for the one I’m truly in the mood to read, this week I’ve given myself another challenge, similar to the one I did about a month ago, which helped me finish 3 books in 5 days.
Here’s a glimpse, then, of what I’ve been reading lately and what I’m focusing on this Wednesday.
I’ve just finished The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper, a sweet and emotional YA queer romance about a social media star and a reality TV star, who fall in love in the most unlikely circumstances. I loved the sub-plot that pretty much brought Cal and Leon together, where a group of 20 astronauts hoping to get on NASA’s latest program and fly to Mars, are followed around by TV crews that make the whole initiative into a TV show.
Cal’s father and Leon’s mother are some of the most popular astronauts considered for the program. As all 20 astronauts’ families were brought to a residential district in Texas, the two teenage boys get to spend a lot of time together. I was looking for a breezy romance, and that’s what I got.
At the moment, I’m about two-thirds in The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett, a story about two Black twins who run away from home in the 1960s and lose each other in the process. As Desiree eventually finds her way back, Stella is rumoured to live in a community where she “passes as white”, entirely severed from her roots and race. But the story takes a whole other turn when the focus shifts on the twins’ daughters, and how their mothers’ past impacts their decisions.
I’ve been really invested in books that follow different generations this year, and I enjoy the element of genealogy and family values passed from parent to child. Brit Bennett creates a masterful family portrait with issues of race, traditions, and identity at its core. The writing is also beautiful, the plot masterfully handled, and the characters believable and easy to relate to. Everyone was raving about The Vanishing Half when it came out, and if you’re looking for a good book through and through, I highly recommend this one.
Alongside The Vanishing Half, I’m reading You and Me on Vacation, by Emily Henry, because I felt the need for an uplifting romance with a lot of escapism and holiday-related settings. I’m really loving it so far. My reading time has been significantly reduced since I started my new full-time job, so something easy and fast-paced is always welcome.
The book is about Poppy and Alex, two best friends who used to take cheapskate vacations together, but who haven’t spoken in two years due to a mysterious incident during their last holiday. When Poppy realizes her happiness leads back to Alex, she decides to get back in touch, and, presumably, this is when the romance starts to unfold. I’m not there yet, but I’m excited for what’s to come.
My only complaint about You and Me on Vacation is how stereotypical Poppy and Alex are in the context of a romance. I’m getting really bored of reading romances where the woman is short but loud and full of life, and the man is big, has a gym body, and a very calculated and uninteresting lifestyle. I really wish Emily Henry wouldn’t insist so much on Alex’s abs and Poppy’s shortness. I don’t see why it matters.
Depending on my mood, this can take any direction, and heavens know I have plenty to choose from. But my immediate pick, once I finish The Vanishing Half, is Carmen Maria Machado’s In the Dream House. This widely acclaimed memoir has been reappearing in some of my favorite booktubers’ recommendations lately, so I gave in and bought it last week.
The memoir is said to adopt an innovative format to tell the story of a dysfunctional relationship. Machado examines all the distressing events of the relationship from a different angle in each chapter, analyzing and dissecting all the shapes psychological abuse can take.
Like I said, picking this book up next will depend on how I feel at the time. As original and intriguing as it sounds, it deals with a heavy topic that might need a very particular state of mind for me to be able to digest it.
The alternative would be to finally dive back into Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, a book weaving elements of fantasy and magical realism to create a gripping, and beautifully visual story of dreams, powers, and human bravery to face one’s own mind.
What are you reading this week?
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