may 17, 2017

Hello.

So a year ago, I wrote a very difficult blog post.

Today, I can say a year and three days ago, my father attempted suicide. After, he was in a psych ward for three weeks. I was in Chicago when it happened.

It rocked my world in ways I couldn’t imagine. I was afraid to leave my father home alone. I couldn’t touch the kitchen knife he used to cut his wrists. I didn’t know how to talk about it, or what the right way to talk about it was. I still don’t, since my dad never brings it up, and I don’t know if I should ever broach the subject with him.

Things are better. They’re not like they were last year, but they’re not perfectly healthy and okay, either.

To be honest, they were never perfectly healthy or okay.

I have a little story about how books helped.

I read WHEN WE COLLIDED by Emery Lord shortly after everything happened. It was a shock to find a book that somehow represented everything I was feeling at that exact point in time. There were scenes in a mental hospital–a normal mental hospital without evil doctors and gothic monsters around every corner. There was a boy struggling to be a caregiver to his depressed mother. There was a girl struggling with her medication and a mother trying to do the best she could. It made me feel seen. It made me feel like my mom and I weren’t alone. It was cathartic.

Yesterday, I read Emery Lord’s new book THE NAMES THEY GAVE US. In it, Lucy’s parents keep the fact that her mom’s breast cancer returned from her, partly because it’s her prom night and they want her to have a good time. My mom kept my dad’s attempted suicide from me for several days while I was out of town because she wanted me to have a good trip. I understand why she did it, just like Lucy understands why her parents kept it from her. But it still fucking hurts. And somehow, once again Emery Lord made me feel understood.

Books are some special kind of magic.

My dad grew up in a tiny mountain town in Italy, where mental illness wasn’t spoken of. It’s left his mark on him, how he copes, and how he communicates. He’s 68, so there’s not much we can do about it at this point. But the stigma matters because it has shaped people, entire generations. And the work we’re doing now, the work to undo the stigma is so, so important.

I process depictions of suicide or self-harm in books/movies/TV different now. It hits a different nerve. It came up in a lecture this past semester, in History of US Sexuality, where I thought I was safe. I don’t remember what was said, but I just remember freezing up, my brain replaying everything that had happened to my family. I felt sick and unsteady, and I just sat there for a few moments breathing deeply.

My dad’s been sober since, so that’s a good thing that’s happened.

This blog post doesn’t feel very cohesive, and some of that is because my thoughts are very scattered and disorganized on this topic. On this memory. On this event that happened in my life, in my dad’s life, in my mom’s life. I can’t really believe a year has gone by. When I think about it, it’s like it just happened yesterday. But it also feels like it was decades ago.

I guess a year later I can say, don’t give up. The road is scary and daunting. Everything feels insurmountable when it happens. Those first days he was home from the mental hospital were some of the most anxious, petrified out of my mind, exhausting days of my life. But it can be done.

If you or a loved one are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please get help: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1800-273-8255. The world needs you, your voice, your light. You are light, even if it feels like you aren’t.

a year in books: 2016

The year is ending!!!! Ahhhhhh!!!

I read 199 books in 2016. I’m TRYING to get to 200 before time runs out, but I just dnf’d a book yesterday, so I’m trying to find something worthy being book #200. This is the most books I’ve ever read in a year, and I doubt I’ll be able to match it or better it in 2017, but we’ll see.

Without further ado, I made some categories for your enjoyment 🙂

It’s Shipping Time *heart eyes* *pushes faces together and whispers ‘just kiss’*

Badass Sequels 

Epic Series Starters

PLEASE DON’T LEAVE ME

Books That  Slapped Me In the Face aka Books I Didn’t Expect to Love

It’s Just CUTE 

Books More People Should Read *throws book at you*

How Did I Not Read This Sooner????? What is wrong with me?

Alllll byyyyy Myyyyyselfffff (Standalone Love)

Brutal Book Hangovers 

a-court-of-mist-and-fury
NOTHING BEATS THIS HANGOVER

2017 books loved in 2016

Absolute Favorites

Some Bookish Reflections:

*Rereads: I reread SHADOW & BONE and SEIGE & STORM to cope with my CROOKED KINGDOM hangover. I started RUIN & RISING, but didn’t get a chance to finish it.

I also reread PETER PAN since I wrote a research paper on it for my Narrating Childhood class.

*Poetry: I started reading poetry this year! After taking Feminism and American Poetry, I went to B&N and just looked through the poetry section for some books. I picked up collections by Andrea Gibson and some others. I hope to keep discovering poets in the new year 🙂

poetry

*New Authors Discovered: This year I read books by Emery Lord, Kasie West, Marie Lu, and Sarah J Maas for the first time. I’m late to the party, but I’m here now!

*Series I Binged: Captive Prince trilogy, Throne of Glass (minus Empire of Storms–I’m trying to save it), and The Young Elites trilogy.

*Multiple Editions: For the first time, I understand the need to have multiple editions of the same book. I have 4 copies of HEARTLESS. One is the hardcover, two is the Owlcrate special edition, then I ended up with two arcs (with the box from New York Comic Con and a normal arc I got from #booksfortrade). I have a mini Heartless army.

*Favorite Book Events: Man, I saw a lot of people this year. Some standouts were Leigh Bardugo at Strand for the CROOKED KINGDOM launch. I’ve watched the event again via the recording the bookstore put on Youtube just to relive the glory.

 

20161110_200129
*fangirling*

I also saw Marissa Meyer at B&N for HEARTLESS. Basically, if you’re ever lucky enough to see Bardugo and Meyer anywhere, GO. You will not regret it.

In April I got to see Emery Lord at Books of Wonder. I got all her books signed, and it was such a wonderful night.

During the summer I finally got to see Stephanie Perkins, also at Books of Wonder. I’ve been a fan of hers for years, YEARS, so to finally meet her was just amazing.

2016-03-28-16-02-58
Alwyn!! ❤ 

I flew to Canada in March or April to see my friend Alwyn
Hamilton on tour! That was quite a trip. Sabaa Tahir was also on that tour, and I was like 40% there to be a supportive buddy, and 60% to meet Sabaa 😉

emery-lord
Emery Lord is cool

I met Courtney Summers! Ah, she was at McNally Jackson in October, I want to say, and it was awesome. Her books wound me in every way and she’s like a feminist icon to me. And she’s so lowkey compared to some other authors who go on massive tours, so I really didn’t think this would ever happen.

Crap, I was going to say I met Noelle Stevenson, but I just realized that was probably in

20160707_183140
Master class Schwab

2015.

I was at the THIS SAVAGE SONG launch at Books of Wonder! Victoria Schwab is another person you should definitely go see if you get the chance, because she will astound you with her wonderful brain. And she makes pretty words.

One event I DIDN’T get to go to was the MY LADY JANE one at Books of Wonder in June since I saw Florence and the Machine that night. I was so, so sad to miss it, but had a fantastic time at the concert. So I ordered myself a personalized copy from the store, and when I picked it up all the swag from the event was included. Hopefully the authors will be back in NY for their next Janie book in 2018.


That’s all from me for now! Have a happy new year, and let’s make 2017 a year of good books, and be the heroes we all need. ❤

Cheers,

Mic

june 2, 2016

Hello!

What I’m Reading
People of the internet, I have read some amazing books. Like, books that have floored me. I can’t wait to tell you about them. The first I loved so much I’m going to embed my Goodreads review/rambling here For Reasons.

And I DarkenAnd I Darken by Kiersten White

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

ALL THE STARS OH MY GOD PERFECT PERFECT PERFECT BOOK I WILL WRITE SOMETHING COHERENT LATER

Okay okay. SO.

AND I DARKEN is a wonderful book–and that’s an understatement. It’s Game of Thrones (minus the dragons/magic/fantasy) meets The Captive Prince Trilogy meets YA in the Ottoman Empire.

There are two hearts of this book.

One is Lada. Holy. Shit. Lada is incredible. I’ve seen people call her a sociopath, but I don’t think she is. She makes brutal decisions with calculated precision. She yearns for the affection of her father. She wants power in a world that doesn’t want to give any to her because she’s a woman, and she finds a way to take it. Her fear of marriage is real. Her love and protection to her brother is gut-wrenching. The moment she learns about woman’s pleasure is eye-opening. Her relationship with Mehmed is hard, twisted, murky. Her dream is a land she calls her own, and her nightmare is a land she finds herself captive in. She is cruel. She is funny. She is loyal. She is lost. Lada is the dragon.

Heart #2 is Radu. Man, Radu. Radu starts out as a crying, fearful little boy. He grows into someone who is still scared, but has gotten his hands dirty, done some saving, but found some measure of peace and safety in Islam. He has found an impossible love, too.

Lada and Radu’s complex sibling relationship is the driving force behind this novel. Sent to the Ottoman court as wards to keep their father (Vlad the Impaler) in line, they both develop differently, despite being side by side. Lada clings to her homeland and hates everything around her, but is desperate to cleave some measure of power for herself. Radu comes to love their new surroundings, meeting new people in and out of the court, and is drawn to Islam. Where Lada is violent, rash, volatile, Radu adapts to the quiet kind of manipulation, where a smile does more than a sword.

It’s fascinating to watch.

I also love that this novel devotes much time to Lada and Radu’s birth and early years. For half the book, Lada and Radu are 12 and 11. It’s a Bildungsroman! It was done so, so, SO well. As much as I love Jane Eyre, I was antsy during those first 100 pages where Jane is a young girl in that awful boarding school. But AND I DARKEN had me gripped from the very first line and all through those beginning pages. It was beautiful too, to experience all those things with Lada and Radu and meet their father and older brother, and then be separated from them like our main characters. There’s a moment late in the book when Lada and Radu have a sweet moment after much angst, and it feels like the reader gets to reminisce and make jokes with them too.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how much I loved Lada/Mehmed. Their relationship was so messy. But the messiness was not glossed over, excused, or glamorized. When Lada called out Mehmed out about… errmm… things… it was glorious. So were the moments Lada assessed why she hadn’t run away, or where her power came from, or didn’t come from. I felt for her so much. So when she makes her final move at the end, I was rooting for her, despite the fallout and shattering of important relationships.

I could rant on and on about my deep seated love for this book. But I shall attempt to control myself and end it here.

Oh, and btw, I super want a mini series for this incredible book (and sure to be trilogy).

View all my reviews

I’ve never done this before so I hope it looks pretty. Anyway, I LOVED AND I DARKEN to infinity and beyond. I am so ready for the next book. This is definitely one of the books I’m SO glad I got at BookCon. I feel so privileged to have read this book early. Kiersten will be on tour this fall, and I really hope she comes to NYC so I can tell her how much I love her book in person… not that twitter isn’t great.

 

I also read WHEN WE COLLIDED by Emery Lord. I adore Emery Lord’s writing. She’s one of my idols of contemporary YA. You know what, I’m also rather proud of my Goodreads review of it, so what the hell. Let’s embed ALL THE GOODREADS REVIEWS.
When We CollidedWhen We Collided by Emery Lord

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don’t even know what to say. Geez, Lord, you got me again! *wipes tears away*

This book was HARD. I struggled reading it.

I related to both Vivi and Jonah, because of what is going on in my life right now. I started this book the day before my dad’s suicide attempt. I related to Jonah, learning how to be a caregiver, feeling helpless and strung out, and confused. I related to Vivi, her manic and depressive episodes, something I’ve now seen up close and personal, experienced, witnessed.

I’ve been visiting a psych ward for over a week now. There’s a psych ward in this book! And it’s not scary or dark and evil. It’s normal. Parts of my reality are painted into this book with loving detail. Thank you, Emery Lord.

I loved the Daniels, their family friend Ellie, and their darling restaurant staff. I love love love big homey books, with families that are so alive and adorable you want to squish them.

I loved Vivi’s mom, Carrie, who was trying to be the best mom she could.

I loved the observations of friendship–having a word for homesickness and heartbreak, but not one for missing your friends. I love how friendship became the ultimate love story in the end, for Vivi, and it was always her motivation. I would have liked to see more emphasis on it in the beginning, but it was beautifully done towards the end.

The insta love was hard for me to deal with, and so was being in Vivi’s head through her manic and depressive states, but I knew we were always building towards a story about mental illness, and when the climax finally happened and everything came together this book sung. Usually a really good ending/resolution can’t save a book for me, but this did.

I think I’ll have a complicated relationship with this book, but I’ll always be grateful for what it made me feel. And the way it so perfectly came into my life when I needed it most.

View all my reviews

And finally, I wanna talk about LOVE & GELATO by Jenna Welch.

love and gelato.jpg

I’ve been excited about this book for awhile, and then when it debuted on the Times list it increased my anticipation for it. I identified a lot with this book, being Italian on my dad’s side and spending a lot of time in Tuscany growing up. I tore through this read in a day. I was so hooked by the characters and the mystery. Take this one to the beach! Warning: it will create an urge for gelato. And then you’ll have to book a ticket to Italia!

What I’m Doing
*Casually swooning over the cute guy that works at the locksmith nearby. Here’s a story.

I read EVERYTHING LEADS TO YOU by Nina LaCour some time ago. It was a library book, and I loved it to pieces. As soon as I finished, I bought my own copy from Amazon. I was not home when it was delivered, and instead found one of those official notes that told me I could pick up my package the following day at X location. This was strange, as in the past packages have just been left for me. I was frustrated and anxiously waited for the following day.

Said day came, and I took a walk a few blocks over to apprehend my book. I was not expecting to open the door and come face to face with a veeeeerrrryyy cute boy. My insides turned to jello, as all the love poems like to say. We had a short exchange, I remember saying something about it [my package] being a book, and then zooming out of there with my giddy pounding heart.

So when we had our doorknob changed and needed to make extra copies of the new key, I was happy to run the errand.

Why is there something so adorable about bashful boys who can’t make eye contact? Le siiiighhh.

cutie alert agent carter

*I’ve started taking long walks. Ideally I’d like to start running, but I actually really like walking, so who knows, I might just keep walking haha. I can do 4 miles easily, and am trying to increase to 5 this week. I use the app RunKeeper to mark my progress, and it makes me excited about getting fit. I can already feel the benefits. I feel more awake and creative throughout the day. And just generally in a better mood. Elle Woods was right.

endorphins make you happy legally blonde

*I tried the most AMAZING drink yesterday. Basil pineapple juice! I’m going to tell the world about this drink. Everyone must consume it. It was so good and light and refreshing. I’m in love.

gatsby cheers

What I’m Thinking About
-Writing a cute locksmith romance, hahahahaha.

-Attending this thing: http://www.lamprophonic.com/amplit-fest/

To go or not to go? That is the question. 😉

-Why is Hamiltome SO GOOD?

What I’m Writing
#FANTASYWIP! I am back at work! I crossed 46k today. And even though I think most of the words were crap, I’m still so happy to have finally made progress. I can’t wait to finish this messy draft and refine some arcs and get it looking pretty.

 

parks and rec happy

What I’m Watching
HOLY EVERYTHING. I just watched Poldark.

My life has been changed.

*inserts Aidan Turner’s face everywhere* *Demelza, my loooovvveeeeeee*

I pretty much loved every single thing about it. Everyone must go watch it immediately. It’s on Prime, finally, for your convenience. In a time where everyone seems like they’re trying to be ~dark, edgy, gritty~ like Game of Thrones, I love how this show was not afraid to be hopeful. It was really really good. And I want season 2. Now.

I feel like there was something else I was supposed to mention… perhaps the DCOM marathon over the holiday weekend??? I DVR’d Motocrossed, The 13th Year, Eddie’s Million Dollar Cook Off, and Brink. Love them so much! ❤

That’s all from me for now. Be kind to each other,
Mic ❤