Anything Can Happen Thursday: Countdown to #Readathon

ACH Thursday banner

Right now, this is my favorite day of the week. On Wednesdays, I have weekly thesis meetings and then class, so Thursdays are for unwinding, and getting ready for the next week. What’s great about this coming week is…. NO CLASS! Thank the gods for a professor who loves Back to the Future so much she cancels class on October 21st!

So, what’s the big deal?

I can do fun stuff without having schoolwork hanging out head!!

So here’s my plan for the weekend… I caught up on my shows tonight (any Haven fans out there?), so Friday will be for adulting: making progress on my thesis, doing some laundry, maybe visiting the grocer. This’ll pave the way for a glorious Saturday spent participating in Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon!

Here’s what I hope to accomplish:

  • Read Packing For Mars and Why I Killed Pluto
  • Catch up on some reviews
  • Finish Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban on audiobook

I’ll be posting my progress on Twitter, so follow me @beesbookbuzz (I also share great pet photos, IMHO)! Who else is excited for a readathon?!

 
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Mental Health Musings: Do Authors Have to Get Everything Right?

mental health musing

Last month, I decided to read Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series. So far, I’ve read the first four (of seven) books, and while I’ve most enjoyed the first and fourth so far, I have much more time thinking about the second installment, The Drawing of the Three. Admittedly, this has been my least favorite thus far for a variety of reasons, but that isn’t the source of my rumination. What has continued to plague my thoughts in the month since turning the last page was a grossly inaccurate mental health diagnosis.

About a third of the way through the book, the reader is introduced to two characters, O’Detta and Detta. However, these characters inhibit but one physical body. These split characters are supposed to be the result of the very rare mental health diagnosis, dissociative identity disorder (formerly known as multiple personality disorder). However, in the book, the diagnosis King used was schizophrenia. Despite a common misconception that these two disorders are the same or similar, they are vastly different. This is what has been on my mind so much lately. I was so irritated with the misdiagnosis that I almost dropped the book and abandoned my journey to the Dark Tower.

Since then I’ve been thinking a lot about the portrayal of mental health in books (and television and film for that matter). And the question hanging on my mind is this: does it matter if the author gets it right?

I’m currently finishing my Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology, and one year of that time was spent as an intern counselor. Mental health is kinda my jam, so as a pre-Masters professional and mental health advocate, my initial reaction is to stand on the rooftops and shout, “Hell no! Get your shit together!” There are so many misconceptions out there about mental health and psychotherapy, and such misconceptions can affect whether an individual in need seeks appropriate care.

But…. how many other things are misrepresented in our books?

I recently read that there was a huge scientific error in The Martian regarding windstorms on Mars, which is ultimately what left Mark Watney stranded. I loved this book before I knew about this, and now having that knowledge hasn’t altered my opinion of the book. Are there astronauts, physicists and engineers racing to their rooftops for the same reasons I have? And how many procedural crime shows on TV today are riddled with procedural inaccuracies? I mean, seriously, in what world would the FBI give a psychologist a gun and send him out into the field? How many legal procedures are grossly simplified or outright wrong? (I could go on and on about some psychological aspects of these shows that also make me want to pull out my hair, but I’ll save that for another day.)

Hence my current dilemma. Should writers be getting mental health right, or do the laws of fiction allow some flexibility?

I would love to hear what you all have to say about this subject, readers!

September Reading Wrap-Up: RIPX 2015 and Library Checkout

Reading Wrap-up

rip10300
Photo Credit: http://www.abigaillarson.com/

Oh, September! You came and went far too quickly! What a fun month of reading, which I dedicated solely to the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril 2015 Readathon! After a 15 year hiatus, I gave The Dark Tower series another chance. I don’t know what changed, but, this time, I’m loving it.

Another thing I fully embraced this month was my local library!! Because I was initially unsure if I’d get through The Gunslinger, I opted to check it out rather than buy a Kindle edition. And all but one book I’ve read this month was checked out!! Why didn’t I start doing this sooner?! I’m really pleased with my local branch (which is a close enough to walk or bike) as well as the main downtown branch. It also lifts my spirits to see how many people who are also using the library system. Every time I go, the place is packed. I love it!!

So, here’s how my month turned out…

Peril the First Reads (“read four books that fit R.I.P)

  • The Gunslinger, The Dark Tower I by Stephen King
  • The Drawing of the Three, The Dark Tower II by Stephen King
  • The Wastelands, The Dark Tower III by Stephen King
  • Wizard and Glass, The Dark Tower IV by Stephen King (still working on this one!)

Peril of the Short Story Reads

  • Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King (my favorite was Fair Extension)

In Progress

  • Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Up Next in October – Library Checkout

  • Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach
  • How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming by Mike Brown

Up Next on Kindle

  • Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie

How was your September reading? I’d love to hear from the Dark Tower fans!!

 

Plato for Plumbers by Francis Gideon

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Plato for Plumbers by Francis GideonPlato for Plumbers by Francis Gideon
Published by Less Than Three Press on 9/7/2015
Genres: LGBTQIA, Romance
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads
three-half-stars
The week before an important philosophy conference, Kenneth is struggling to finish both the last chapter of his book and the paper he's writing for the event. His efforts are thwarted by a leaky faucet—and his life as a whole is turned upside down by the plumber who shows up to fix it.

One of the items on Book Riot’s Reader Harder Challenge 2015 is to read a book by or about someone that identifies as LGBTQ. So, I thought a good place to start was the LGBTQIA section on NetGalley. I hadn’t read anything from this genre before, so I was looking forward to what might be out there. And what I found was a short story titled, Plato for Plumbers by Francis Gideon.

I found this short story very entertaining. It was easy for me to identify with the main character, Ken, with his life in academia, and with his self-consciousness in failing to do “real people” things, like fixing a leaky faucet. The story was fun, if not a little predictable. But I think that’s the way romance stories work, right? After some will-they-won’t-they, Ken gets the guy, and everything works out in the end with a neat little bow?

After I finished, I checked out some reviews posted on Goodreads. Some readers posted complaints about a lack of sexual content. Although I was surprised that there wasn’t more sexual content, I can’t say that I’m disappointed in the lack thereof. I don’t think providing the explicit details of the characters having sex would have fit with the overall flow of the book. Again, I’m not very familiar with this area of fiction, but wouldn’t that be erotica and not romance? For a short story, I think the author nailed the appropriate level of detail.

Overall, I enjoyed this. It was a super quick read, the characters were relatable and, of course, they lived happily ever after. This is definitely not my usual cup of tea, and I can’t say I’ve been won over to the romance genre, but it was fun, and if you’re into romance and/or LGBTQ+ lit, you might want to give this short story a try!

The best part about reading this story was a little bit of self discovery and reflection. When I initially read the description on Netgalley, I realized I had stereotyped all LGBTQIA romance novels to be between two female characters. It was one of those automatic beliefs you don’t even realize you have until some stimulus makes you consciously think about it. I’m glad to have stumbled upon this very book to be that stimulus so I can work on eliminating such an erroneous belief.

Bad News Bee: Perfect Days by Raphael Montes

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Perfect Days by Raphael Montes
Published by Penguin Canada on February 16th 2016
Genres: Fiction, General, Suspense, Thrillers
Pages: 256
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads
one-star
A twisted young medical student kidnaps the girl of his dreams and embarks on a road trip across Brazil in the English-language debut of one of Brazil's most celebrated young crime writersTeo Avelar is a loner. He lives with his paraplegic mother and her dog in Rio de Janeiro, he doesn't have many friends, and the only time he feels honest human emotion is in the presence of his medical school cadaver--that is, until he meets Clarice. She's almost his exact opposite: exotic, spontaneous, unafraid to speak her mind. She's working on a screenplay called Perfect Days about three friends who go on a road trip across Brazil in search of romance. Teo begins to stalk her, first following to her university, then to her home, and when she ultimately rejects him, Teo kidnaps her, and they embark upon their very own twisted odyssey across Brazil, tracing the same route outlined in her screenplay. Through it all, Teo is certain that time is all he needs to prove to Clarice that they are made for each other, that time is all he needs to make her fall in love with him. But as the journey progresses, he keeps digging himself deeper, stopping at nothing to ensure that no one gets in the way of their life together. Both tense and lurid, and brimming with suspense from the very first page, Perfect Days is a psychological thriller in the vein of The Talented Mr. Ripley--a chilling journey in the passenger seat with a psychopath and the English-language debut of one of Brazil's most deliciously dark young writers.From the Hardcover edition.

This is the first time I’ve disliked a book so much in a loooooooong time. About a quarter of the way through it, I actually began to wonder if I would even finish. The writing itself was fine, but I was unable to find a connection to any of the characters, and I found the story simultaneously ridiculous and predicable.

I think the author was trying to present the main character, Teo, with overt psychopathology designed to give the readers the creeps. However, his behavior and cognitions were all over the map and didn’t fit any single diagnosis; there were components of paranoid schizophrenia, antisocial personality disorder, and a little bit of the autism spectrum. This resulted in a poorly constructed character who lacked the quintessential charm of a psychopath, and the flawed portrayal of his mental illness failed to draw any sympathy for me. The author succeeded in creating a very creepy character without any nuance, and, for me, it was just a little too much.

After finishing, I was struck by a thought about what makes psychological thrillers, well, thrilling. With stories like this one, there needs to be some degree of reality; that what makes it terrifying is that it could actually happen. There problem with Perfect Days is that it’s too fantastical to even be possible, and that bothered me.

Overall, definitely not a favorite of mine. I hate to be the Bad News Bee, but I don’t recommend this title.

SN: Normally, I wouldn’t comment on formatting of an e-ARC. I expect errors and funky formatting because I know what I’m reading isn’t the final, polished product. Having said that, the lack of some basic editing made this already difficult read more difficult. Most notably, there were editorial notes about the translation that hadn’t been removed, which were confusing and incredibly frustrating.

Spacey Summer Reading: Mini Reviews

NGC 7714 is a spiral galaxy 100 million light-years from Earth.
NGC 7714 is a spiral galaxy 100 million light-years from Earth

 

Now that school is back is session, the temperatures here in Florida are becoming bearable (during the evenings… sometimes), and Labor Day is Monday, I suppose the end of summer is here. This was a particularly enjoyable summer for me, as it was the first time in many years I didn’t have many academic obligations. As I looked back over what I’d read, I discovered a theme emerging: All Things Space. So here’s what I’ve read (so far) and some possible autumnal, astral reads.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe and The Restaurant at the End of the Universe – Douglas Adams

Hitchhiker 1My summer of spacey reads started in May with The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I was just coming off of A Dance with Dragons, which I started… umm…. maybe the summer before? It was a long time reading/listening and I hit a huge reading slump during the clinical internship. I picked up Hitchhiker because the characters on The Big Bang Theory were fans of the story. It turned out to be the perfect next read: it was short, comical, and absolutely absurd. It had me laughing out loud every few pages! I loved how Arthur Dent’s perpetual flaggergastment prevents him from really losing it or freaking out, and the uncanny luck he and Ford Prefect had in being picked up as things on Earth went a bit squiffy. Adams’ description of how the Heart of Gold spaceship work challenged the reaches of my imagination as I tried to picture the Improbability Drive. And, of course, the answer to the Ultimate Question!
Hitchhiker 2

 

I didn’t realize until I started reading that this was actually a series of books, and it’s definitely on my list to read all five. I also read the second installment, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. It had its equally silly and hilarious moments, but it wasn’t as fun to read as the first book. The story shifted away from Arthur and Ford and more to President Zaphod Beeblebrox to propel the story forward. I’m hoping the light and silly nature of this story continues with the next books.

The Planets – Dava Sobel

The PlanetsAs New Horizons was approaching Pluto, I took to Twitter and asked for spacey recommendations. I took the advice of @VeronicaJHex and selected The Planets by Dava Sobel, even though is a bit outdated (it was published before Pluto’s demotion). I haven’t finished it yet, but what I’ve read I really enjoyed. The content is incredibly accessible for everyone, and her words emphasize the sheer enormity of space, making me thinking how apropos the word, “astronomical” really is. The passion with which she wrote really struck me, and I felt my own excitement build with each turn of the page.  For example,

Sometimes the stupefying view into deep space can send me burrowing like a small animal into the warm safety of Earth’s nest. But just as often I feel the Universe pull me by the heart, offering, in all its other Earths elsewhere, some larger community to belong to.

Reading this, I felt like tossing away my career in psychology and spending the rest of my days gazing at the wonder of the Universe and imagining all that could be beyond our solar system. And I haven’t even finished it yet!

 

Our Dried Voices – Greg Hickey

22839622Although I didn’t choose it for its spacey-ness, one of my e-ARCs from Netgalley, Our Dried Voices, could definitely fit in with these other reads. You can read my review here; it kind of reminded me of the movie, Idiocracy, in a way, but I won’t go into too many details because

 

The Martian – Andy Weir

The MartianMy favorite spacey read this summer, hands down, was The Martian. I absolutely adored the character of Mark Whatney and his log entries were fantastic and funny. I really enjoyed the levity he brought to such a dire situation. But actually what I think really sold me on this book (aside from a perfect opening line) was that I started by listening to it. The narrator, R.C. Bray, nailed that character.

I also found the story was very gripping. I felt a lot of feels; I was nervous during many of the risky experiments, and even got a little misty towards the end. I think it helped that the author used scientific language that was easy to understand, and that’s what kept me engaged. I like this book so much, it falls into the “I don’t know if I can even see the movie” category because I’m afraid Hollywood can’t compete with what the words left in my head.

Something got rattled loose this summer with all these spacey reads and historic moments because I’ve gone down the interstellar rabbit hole! Here’s some of what I anticipate reading before the end of 2015:

  • Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Books 3-5 – Douglas Adams
  • The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet – Neil de Grasse Tyson
  • How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming – Mike Brown
  • Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void – Mary Roach

So, what about you, readers? Have you been inspired to read about space? Got any good recommendations???? OR has something set you on a different thematic rabbit hole?

Author Encounters: Heather Bee talks with Blue author, Kayce Stevens Hughlett

Author Encounters

Early in the summer, whilst perusing the digital bookshelves of NetGalley, I stumbled across an interesting looking book titled, Blue. You can see my full review here, but, suffice it to say, I really enjoyed this book! Shortly after posting my review, I was thrilled to be contacted by the author, Kayce Stevens Hughlett. As it so happens, she and I have quite a bit in common! We’ve both attended graduate school for counseling psychology, enjoy long baths, and share a love for fountain pens and fluffy cats.

Here’s what she had to say about her book, Blue, and about life as an author.

About Blue…

BluebyKayceStevensHughlettUntil now, you’ve primarily written non-fiction. I recall reading that Blue was born from National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Why did you decide to participate and make the jump to fiction?

My first book, As I Lay Pondering: Daily Invitations To Live a Transformed Life was several years in the making. I finished and self-published it in January of 2012 and I didn’t know how to follow it up. In fact, I was deeply immersed in a bout of writer’s block. Enter NaNoWriMo. The thought of making up stories rather than trying to make meaning out of life was extremely appealing to me. So I signed up and entered into Nanowrimo as an experiment that turned out to be fun, cathartic, and extremely rewarding.

How did your experience as a therapist influence the stories in Blue?
As a therapist and life coach, I have spent hundreds of hours listening to other people’s stories. I never tire of the way these stories are intricately intertwined within families and the greater world. In my practice, I work principally with high-functioning individuals who go about their everyday lives without much attention to how or why they do the things they do. Everyone has some method of coping with challenging situations and unchecked these coping mechanisms can turn into addictive or avoidant behaviors. It was fun for me to play with some of these extreme and subtle behaviors in the form of my characters.

Why the color blue? What meaning does it have for you?
From day one, the working title was Blue. As the novel progressed, I found multi-layered meanings and ways of expressing that small word. I love the idea of having a simple word with multiple connotations and the way it calls upon readers to use their own imaginations.

When things begin to go awry for Izabel, her friends organize a “soul dance.” How was this event inspired by the spiritual work you do in real life?
This scene is one of my favorites in the book. In fact, several advance readers have asked when I’m going to host a “soul dance.” I’ve told them I’m working on it! I am an experiential learner and deep listener. I believe the most profound changes in our lives are often “wordless” events. Like those times when you just know something has shifted inside, but you can’t quite articulate it. It could be holding a newborn in your arms for the first time or experiencing profound beauty or silence with or without another person. It’s also like those wild times when the phone rings and you know who’s on the other end before you even answer. You can’t quite put it into words, but you can feel it deep within you. This is the spirit of the soul dance in Blue.

Where did you find inspiration to create the psychedelic landscape of Tausi?
Tausi is a bit of a mystery to even me. I literally woke up on November 1, 2012 with the first chapter rolling around in my brain. Blue everywhere. And then Sir Albert, the talking peacock showed up and next came Chauncey the okapi. They were such wild and rich characters that I felt they deserved a fantastical landscape to support them. I’m a very visual person, so when I got stuck wondering what to do next I turned to photographs, magazines, and personal collages for inspiration. Then I envisioned everything in shades of blue. Those chapters were extremely fun to write, because I was able to let my imagination run wild.

A woman should be able to luxuriate in her own toilette was her motto” is my favorite quote from this book. Do you have an extravagant bathroom at home, too?
I live in a 100 year-old farmhouse where space is at a premium, so I don’t have an extravagant bathroom. I do, however, have an amazing claw-foot tub and I’m quite fond of lavender and rosemary bubble bath. So even without the extravagance, I take time to “luxuriate” several times a week.

About the author…
kayce on a bench

Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I prefer to read novels in the summer and non-fiction/memoirs in winter. I prefer writing with a fountain pen over computer keyboards. I prefer summer in Seattle over winter almost anywhere. I prefer Paris over Rome. Big dogs over small. Fluffy cats over sleek.I abhor that the world is filled with suffering, and I know affliction has helped create the individual I am today. I thrive on new experiences, adore reading, blogging, and movies ranging from romantic to contemplative. Play time with friends and family is sacred, as is quiet space and solitude.

Why did you decide to change careers from accounting to counseling?
Like Monica, I spent much of my life following other people’s rules. I was afraid to stand out and believed I could only support myself and find value through a practical job like accounting. After several years of trying to get everything right, my family experienced a heart-rending chasm and I turned to professional counselors for help. It was in receiving compassionate care from others that I became passionate about offering some sort of care back to the world. I returned to graduate school at age 45 to study counseling and never looked back.

Which authors (or psychologists) inspire your work as a therapist and as a writer?
One of my favorite authors is Anne Lamott. She writes non-fiction, fiction, and spiritual work in a raw and real way that inspires me. My favorite quote of hers and one that keeps me going in my writing is: “Write the shitty first draft.” I carried that mantra with me when I began Nanowrimo. Five or six drafts later, I have a finished product that I’m delighted to share with readers. (I’ll be borrowing your favorite quote while I try to complete my Master’s thesis!)

What’s up next? Do you have more fiction coming down the pipeline? Right now, all I can see is Blue. I do, however, have a travel memoir manuscript tucked in my drawer and look forward to diving into that this fall after I return from Paris where I’ll be leading a small group of soulstrollers on their own life-transforming adventure. Is there a sequel to Blue? I do believe Monica, Izabel, and Daisy have a few more things to say. Perhaps I’ll sign up for Nanowrimo one more time and see what happens.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers or NaNoWriMo participants? I’d love to share a recent interview I just did on this topic: http://confidenceatyourcore.com/confidence-exposed-kayce-hughlett/

Thanks so much to Kayce for taking time to talk about Blue, which hits bookshelves on September 10, available in e-book and print from BQB Publishing and all major booksellers. 

kaycehughlett.comKayce Stevens Hughlett is an author, life muse, ponderer extraordinaire, speaker, joy monger, soulstroller.

Take your soul for a stroll with her or connect with her on social media  Facebook  | Twitter | Goodreads  | Instagram

Sunday Salon: July Reading Wrap-up Mash-up

Reading Wrap-up

Happenings:// Thesis stuff. Everyday I spend a few hours either at the library or tucked away somewhere quiet to write. I’m hoping to be ready to defend it in September or October, then I can graduate in the Fall!

Reading:// July was a slower reading month for me. I finished three books this month: The Martian by Andy Weir, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Hitchhiker’s Guide #2) by Douglas Adams, and Our Dried Voices by Greg Hickey (see my review here). I’ve been continuing my spacey theme, and each of these was different, but fun!

July Wrap Up

Currently, I’m reading Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Part of me is glad I waiting this long to read it because I can see several parallels between Offred’s world and my own. The other part of me is absolutely terrified. I’ve also picked up a handful of galleys that’ll keep me occupied for August (and maybe into September)

Watching:// Mr. Holmes. MB and I caught a matinee this weekend, and it was fantastic. Ian McKellan killed it (because he always does). He was very convincing playing a 93 year old (and the make-up was very well done, too). Definitely a different take on the character, and worth a watch if you’re into Sherlock Holmes.

MrHolmes

Loving:// Health insurance!!! We’ve been without it for a couple of months since MB changed job recently. I’m glad we didn’t need it during that time, and I’m super psyched that we’ve got it back!

Hating:// toothaches… Grr… I’m blessed to still be cavity-free at 33. But my streak may be ending. Good thing we got that insurance, right?!

Anticipating:// my first author interview in the coming week. I’m going to be including in Kayce Hughlett’s book blog tour for her debut novel, Blue (see my review here). Expect to see my post on the interview on August 12!

How was your week (or month), readers? Have you done interviews before? Got any tips???

Our Dried Voices by Greg Hickey

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Our Dried Voices by Greg HickeyOur Dried Voices by Greg Hickey
Published by Scribe Publishing Company on November 4th 2014
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 234
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads
three-stars
In 2153, cancer was cured. In 2189, AIDS. And in 2235, the last members of the human race traveled to a far distant planet called Pearl to begin the next chapter of humanity. Several hundred years after their arrival, the remainder of humanity lives in a utopian colony in which every want is satisfied automatically, and there is no need for human labor, struggle or thought. But when the machines that regulate the colony begin to malfunction, the colonists are faced with a test for the first time in their existence. With the lives of the colonists at stake, it is left to a young man named Samuel to repair these breakdowns and save the colony. Aided by his friend Penny, Samuel rises to meet each challenge. But he soon discovers a mysterious group of people behind each of these problems, and he must somehow find and defeat these saboteurs in order to rescue his colony.

With the recent buzz about “Earth’s cousin,” you’d think I’d found inspiration in science facts for my next choice of science fiction. I wish I was that cool, to be honest. But I’m not. I chose this book because of one word: Pearl.

475960_10150632298326937_904340959_o

So, yea, I was excited because the colonized planet in the book shares a name with one of my sweet pups. #crazydoglady? But I digress… Our Dried Voices was an OK read. It was hard to describe my thoughts without spoilers, so here goes.

This book fits in my current sci-fi/space travel mood, and I was intrigued by what all could possibly go wrong in this utopian, new world colony. The storyline was interesting, keeping my attention until the last page. The book opens with a chronology of the next 200 years, outlining fantastic medical and technological achievements. Then, BLAM, the story picks up on Pearl, with an established colony of humans that have evolved into bald, brown, simple creatures. I was really interested in finding out how that happened, and was pleased with how the author explained it, weaving some thought-provoking social commentary; each colonist follows the person in front, and when the system breaks down, they just shut down. I worry sometimes about people today falling into this same routine of “follow the leader” and then can’t figure out what to do on their own. Definitely some good stuff going on in this book…

…but then there were a few things that really left me wanting.

The author presented the colonists, even Samuel, as simplistic thinkers with limited vocabulary. As such, when describing new experiences from a colonist’s point of view, I expect the author to utilize similar thinking patterns and terminology available to them. Yet the author chose to use words that felt beyond their scope. For example,

“The paper–the first sample he had ever encountered of such a material–was tough and fibrous, similar to papyrus, but not as crisp.”

Based on Samuel’s presentation, even if he demonstrated higher levels of thinking than the others, I wouldn’t expect him to examine this new material and think, hey, it’s like papyrus. Where did that come from?! It’s like the author didn’t have faith that his readers could figure it out without being so explicit. I also felt like there were several plot holes that left me with questions. While the author ultimately explained how humans devolved into the state of the colonists, I still feel like there was something missing to achieve such bovine lifestyles. It’s hard for me to further elaborate on this point without spoilers, though…

Overall, I give this book three stars. It was fun, but not without some flaws. If you’ve read it, I would love to hear what you think!

 

Sunday Salon: Out of Town Edition

Happenings// Getting ready to head out of town tomorrow for a sort of, but not really, vacation. The hubs has a week of job training, and I’m going to stay in the hotel and diligently write my thesis.

Baking// blueberry and peach cobbler. And it turned out great! I used Ree Drummond’s blackberry cobbler recipe, and experimented with the fruits and spices. And I nailed it! Made me think of my grandmother and how she used to make it for me, and I think she’d have liked my version, too!

Watching// Ant-Man. This was a lot of fun! I’ve been a fan of Paul Rudd for 20 years (GAH!) and enjoyed his performance. I’m a big fan of whatever Marvel releases, so it’s no surprise that I had a good time. If you haven’t gotten a chance to see it yet, heads up: wait until the very end of the credits.

Reading// This week I finished The Martian and The Restaurant at the End of the University (Hitchhiker’s Guide #2) and made some headway on The Planets. Does anyone sense a theme?

Loving// SPACE. My increased free time has allowed me to go retro-nerd and revive my love for space. It’s been a blast keep up with all the Pluto news! My solar system still has nine planets, take that NASA!

I HEART PLUTO

Anticipating (sort of)// the release of the next Millennium  novel, The Girl in the Spider’s Web. I really enjoyed what I thought was a trilogy, and I felt that the conclusion of the The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest was very natural. It wasn’t until later that I discovered that Stieg Larsson had plans for a total of ten books. I’m very concerned about this new writer taking up the mantle and continuing the series, but, it’s averaging four stars on Goodreads so far. It’s due for release in September, so I don’ have to wait long to find out for myself!

How was your week, readers?