book, movie, and fic reviews (10.11.18)

As promised, this post is dedicated to books, movies, and fanfiction I’ve consumed recently (and not so recently). I’ve got 23 books, 16 movies, and 6 fics in this post, so I’ve put most of it under a cut. Let’s get started.

BOOKS I READ

chaotic good - whitney gardner - princess academy - shannon hale - daughters of the dragon - william andrews - anothertoast book reviews

Chaotic Good by Whitney Gardner (Amazon | Goodreads) –  I was kind of disappointed the main character turned out to be cis and straight considering how important crossdressing is to the plot, but this book does a good job of exploring sexism and gatekeeping in fandom and geek culture, cyberbullying, costume design and construction, and the magic of Dungeons & Dragons. Also the illustrations are used really well.

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale (Amazon | Goodreads) – This is a middle grade book that’s cute, fun, low-key feminist, and a little bit magical.

Daughters of the Dragon by William Andrews (Amazon | Goodreads) – This is a good book that was really hard to read and which I never want to read again. It’s about the Korean “comfort women” who were forced into sexual slavery and repeatedly raped by the Imperial Japanese Army during WWII. The Japanese government refused to acknowledge it happened at all until 1993 and continues to downplay this horrific part of Japan’s history.

beauty queens - libba bray - the secret history - donna tartt - rich people problems - kevin kwan - anothertoast book reviews

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray (Amazon | Goodreads) – A bit heavy-handed and clumsily written, but the premise is so damn good: Lord of the Flies but the plane that crashes is carrying beauty pageant contestants.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt (Amazon | Goodreads) – This was my first Donna Tartt book and my GOD it did not disappoint. I loved the prose, especially the physical descriptions of people and the environment. Francis “Asparagus is in season” Abernathy is a precious gemstone, and I was so into this book that I read it between sets while crushed in the pit at a Dua Lipa concert.

Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan (Amazon | Goodreads) The 3rd and final installment of the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy. Trashy, entertaining fun.

room - emma donoghue - ship it - britta lundin - the raven king - maggie stiefvater - anothertoast book reviews

Room by Emma Donoghue (Amazon | Goodreads) – Honestly this was kind of excruciating to read because it’s written from a 5-year-old’s point of view, but once you get used to it, WHAT A STORY! It is about abduction and abuse but also hope and resilience and adaptability.

Ship It by Britta Lundin (Amazon | Goodreads) – I loved this book. I love that the main character is afraid of and confused by her own queerness, I love that she falls for someone who is so sure of her own queerness that she doesn’t leave room for those who are questioning, I love that there’s a bi character who’s not 100% sure about her sexuality despite being comfortable with herself, and I love that the main character gets called out for not caring about minority representation that doesn’t directly affect herself. A+

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater (Amazon | Goodreads) – I was loath to read this because I wanted The Raven Cycle series to go on forever, but I was in such a bad headspace re: work that I gave myself permission to escape to Cabeswater. It was super effective, and as soon as I finished reading, I immediately started looking for fic because I love all of my nightmare children so much!!!

the gentlemans guide to vice and virtue - mackenzi lee - sophia of silicon valley - anna yen - circe - madeline miller - anothertoast book reviews

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee (Amazon | Goodreads) – This book really needs a trigger warning for physical abuse and period racism, but if you love gay-ass Victorians, sass, and character development, you’ll have a good time with this one.

Sophia of Silicon Valley by Anna Yen (Amazon | Goodreads) – Amusing, but disappointingly blasé about sexism and racism in the tech industry. This book was based off the author’s own work experiences in 1990s Silicon Valley, but I feel very strongly that if a book about the tech industry published in 2018 mentions sexist and racist behavior, it should also call it what it is: a systemic problem.

Circe by Madeline Miller (Amazon | Goodreads) – I decided to read this because I loved The Song of Achilles so fucking much, and it did not disappoint. Madeline Miller’s prose has this sort of timeless cadence that works particularly well in the context of Greek mythology, and it’s so beautiful it makes me want to both weep and swoon. This story is about Circe and WITCHCRAFT and POWERFUL WOMEN and (thirsty Spongebob voice) YOU. NEEEED IT!!!

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lately (06.07.18)

This post contains affiliate links, because I like money, but I s2g I wrote this post before adding the affiliate links and the monetization does not affect my opinions.

Since mid-February, I’ve been crying probably 3 or 4 times a week, which is a frequency creeping dangerously close to depressed-college-Sam levels of Crying Too Much. I’ve also been doing too little of the following: sleeping, washing my hair, washing my face, moisturizing my face, flossing my teeth, brushing my teeth, and bathing.

This is fine, I thought, like the comic strip dog wearing a hat while his kitchen is engulfed in flames. It was fine, because I was interviewing, so my anxiety was justified, and because I could deal with situational stress that had a foreseeable end. It was fine!

It was fine to have anxiety attacks at work while sitting at my desk doing nothing and having to leave work because I couldn’t focus while counting my heartbeats or feeling hysterical with nausea or trying to stop my eyeballs from producing inappropriately timed tears (a Sam classic).

And while I’m not yet at the point where I literally want to die and find myself zoning out mid-conversation or partway through a crosswalk to fantasize about tall buildings (college was uhhh how do you say this? rough), I am, in fact, not really all that fine.

My interviews are over. But I still had to leave my desk the other day to will a sudden onslaught of tears into submission in the privacy of a bathroom stall. I still haven’t been practicing normal hygiene routines (this week’s score: Hygiene-1, Anxiety-5), or sleeping at healthy hours.

I’m probably teetering on the edge of depression at this point, if I’m being objective about it, but this time I’m not so socially isolated that I’m being sucked into its gaping maw. I’ve got a few more hands to hold on to this time. It could be worse.

It also brings me some peace to know that my friend Victoria was right, back in college when I felt like I was going to break from the weight of deciding whether to quit my sensible second major (Computer Science) or not, and that she’s still right – either I’ll keep going, or something will break, and I’ll do something else.

It would be best if I could take one more tech job. I know this. I know how much it would help to take one more tech job, to hoard a couple more years’ worth of savings on a six-figure salary before I check the fuck out. But I’m not sure I can.

It might break me. And that’s the tea.

But I don’t want to end on that note. So here are some things that have been keeping my happiness levels afloat lately (and not so lately):

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