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Weekly Wrap Up: July 26, 2020

This week was filled with many ups and downs. My best reading day was Wednesday with 571 pages. By the end of the day I had finished 4 books for the week and was halfway through the fifth. My worst day was Thursday when my migraines started. But as you can see I never picked myself back up. Still feeling drained and out of sorts. Not sure if I am actually sick or just run down from online classes.


What Books Did I Read This Week?

This week my focus was on reading ARCs and getting my NetGalley average up. In total I read 7 ARCs and 2 backlist titles – A Good Marriage and The Night Watchman. Both backlist titles were bookclub picks.

Here are the buy links and release dates of the ARCs I read this week:

My NetGalley feedback ratio is now 91%, the highest since I joined the service. I still have 13 galleys to read. Four of these are due to be released within the next month.


Which Book Was My Favorite?

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I had four five star reads this week. Choosing one is very hard as they were all different styles and genres. The Death of Vivek Oji is a contemporary fiction about identity. Emezi’s prose is tender and beautiful. I cried my way through this one. The Night Swim is a fast paced thriller. After the Rain is a graphic novel adapted from one of Okorafor’s short stories and Underground, Monroe and the Mamalogues are three plays written by scholar Lisa B. Thompson.

But if I have to choose just one it would have to be Awaeke Emezi’s third novel, The Death of Vivek Oji.


What Am I Reading Next?

Empire of Wild is a supernatural fable in the vein of Little Red Riding Hood. Hieroglyphics is a contemporary novel about parenthood, memory and loss. I will be reviewing both of these novels over the next week so stop back and hear my thoughts.

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Reading Rush 2020: Days 5 & 6

Friday July 24th, Day 5

What did I read today?

Today I finished my sixth book for the challenge – Paris Never Leaves You – an historical fiction about a woman who survives the German occupation of Paris and flees to the United States with her young daughter.

I listened to portions of Alice Feeney’s His & Hers while doing laundry at 4 in the morning. No worries though. I had my headphones on. The whole house was snug as bugs.

I participated in two Twitter sprints hosted by Caz from LittleBookOwl and Nidhi over at nidhireddyreads. During that time I read about half of The Death of Vivek Oji.

I finished both His & Hers and The Death of Vivek Oji on Day 6.

Although I have not received my copy of Hieroglyphics yet I was pleasantly surprised to find a copy of Sisters in Hate by Seyward Darby at my door. Thanks goes out to Jess at Little, Brown and Company. Come back and check out my blog in a week or so for my review.

Question of the Day

How do you organize your books?

I organize my books mostly by genre with a special shelf for African literature. Within each genre the books are arranged alphabetically by last name of author. I have multiple cases and some are dedicated to specific topics. My “nightstand” shelf has science related books. Book series are bundled together above the mantel. Physical ARCs are on desk or dresser.

Where have you done the most productive reading?

Before COVID19 I would have said at Panera Bread, on the bus or while driving. These days I get the most reading done either listening to audiobooks while doing chores and inputing data or in bed curled up with my Kindle in my favorite blanket. (Yes, in all this heat. — I just turn the AC up higher!)

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Reading Rush 2020: Day 4

What did I read today?

Although I started the day off really well by finishing off The Night Watchman, I was just really exhausted and suffering from migraines. So I only read 235 pages total.

The Night Watchman is my first Louise Erdrich. I read it for Camp TOB where it is going up against Kiley Reid’s Such a Fun Age. Although I gave both these books a 4 star rating if I had to cast my vote today The Night Watchman would edge out the competition. I feel that it had more depth and showed more emotion. I also felt more connected to Patrice than I did to either Emira or Alix.

So far Paris Never Leaves You is not grasping my attention but His & Hers is most definitely picking up. I am hoping by tomorrow to finish at least one of these for my sixth book.

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Reading Rush 2020: Day 3

With 571 pages read Day 3 was my most productive day so far!

I decided to switch out His & Hers for the “Read a book entirely outside your house.” The weather has been very uncooperative switching between heat wave and thunderstorm.

Instead, I read the short story “On the Road” and completed Nnedi Okorafor’s graphic novel “After the Rain”.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I read 49 pages of Paris Never Leaves you during Twitter Sprint.

But as Louise Erdrich’s The Night Watchman was calling my name, I abandoned everything else to finish it.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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My Reading Rush Journal

What was the hardest challenge you’ve ever done for a read-a-thon?

My hardest challenge was to read a book about a podcast. At that time I had not heard of any books with podcasts in them although I did enjoy listening to Serial at work. In the end I read Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski which is comprised of six episodes in the manner of Serial. Each episode tells another character’s side of the story, removing layer by layer the mystery surrounding the death of Tom Jeffries.

I have since read several books with podcasts that I enjoy.

Two sisters – one dead, one missing – and a radio personality obsessed with finding her before it is too late. Sadie was one of the best reads for me in 2018. Since reading this book I started picking up Courtney Summers other titles and I have yet to be disappointed. If you would like to listen to the podcast “The Girls” featured in the novel just click the link.


Rachel Krall is the host of “Guilty or Not Guilty” a true crime podcast that asks the listener to be the judge. Her first season ended up in a conviction reversal for a man accused of rape. Now Rachel’s attention is focused on the high profile rape case of a rising star athlete bound for the Olympics. The small town of Neapolis is divided. Half believe the teenage girl. The other half feel as if she saw is trying to bring their golden son down. Either way no one really seems to want Rachel in town. That is besides the woman who has been surreptitiously leaving her notes about a death that occurred 25 years ago.

The Night Swim was a fast paced read that delved into society’s view on rape, consent and how we judge our victims and perpetrators.

This was my first completed book for Reading Rush 2020.

Corona Chronicles: Day 21

With all of the uncertainty and confusion that this virus has stirred up I feel as if I need to reset my internal clock and revamp my life. This pandemic is teaching me a lot of things not only about the world and the people in it but about my home, my family and myself.

Lesson #1: As a parent with school age children it is not my job to be their teacher. I am their mother. My role is to be their comfort and their guide. My hovering was only causing all of us more anxiety for all of us and as a result we were getting less accomplished.

 

Lesson #2: I work best with a clearly defined structure in place and so do my children. I have since implemented a family planner. This outlines when my daughter will be doing each of her learning modules and coordinates Zoom and WebEx meetings so we are not all talking over each other.


 

Lesson #3: Everyone needs help. Most people are willing to extend a helping hand if only I am humble enough to ask for their support.

Lesson #4: Downtime is important too. All work and no play makes Jack a crazy boy. So far I think our Pandora Remix Outbreak Dance Off was the best mental health break we’ve had.

Lesson #5: My mother used to always follow me around saying K.I.S.S. for Keep It Simple Stupid. It’s only 40 years later and I am finally getting it Mom. Not everything is going to be perfect especially since we are scrambling to get these classes up and running in such a short amount of time. Where usually I would spend 3 hours revamping each and every lesson plan for a new semester we just don’t have that kind of time.


Lesson #6: Collaboration is KEY. My children’s teachers and I are a team. We all have the same end goal in mind and want the best for our students.

Lesson #7: My colleagues are freaking AWESOME! During this time we’ve been networking and pooling our resources. Everyone is working so hard to give our students everything they need to get through this crisis.


Lesson #8: My husband is still a big kid at heart. His comedic efforts have helped to lighten my mood even if they are a distraction from getting work done.

Lesson #9: Self Care is essential. Both Geralyn and I felt better after completing our 3 hr+ long hair care routines. Even though no one else was going to see us we could still see the beauty in ourselves and admire each other.

Photo Credit : Pierre Jean-Louis, Artist

Lesson #10: Sometimes clothes do make the woman. Although it’s easier to loaf around in sweats and comfy slippers I feel more confident and more competent when I am fully dressed to “go to work”. So I’m not burning my bras yet.

Photo Credit: Creative Soul Photography, Atlanta GA