Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover

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Weekly six pack, 2017, v15

Reading. Still plugging through Searching for John Hughes. Picked up a book from NetGalley and nothing from the library. Thanks to everyone who participated in Show Us Your Books and I plan to finish up commenting on all your posts in the next few days. The next one is May 9. 

Watching. Better Call Saul and The Son. I’m not a huge TV watcher but for some reason, all the shows I like to watch will be on and/or available within the next couple of months (see: OINTB, House of Cards, Kimmy Schmidt, Silicon Valley, Fargo, and something else that’s not in my brain right now).

Listening. In the Dark. It’s a true crime podcast, with season one focusing on the kidnapping and murder of Jacob Wetterling. Season 2 is in production and I’m excited to find out what they’re covering. 

Loving. The spring weather and the fact that it’s baseball season and my Mets are starting strong. They swept the Phillies this week and they’re currently in first. Granted it’s a long season and anything can happen but for now, I’m enjoying the look from first. 

Trying. To wrap my head around what an absolute fucking shitshow this administration is. I am sickened–SICKENED–by the comments by the White House mouthpiece and I’m sickened that his boss does nothing about it. Then there’s Syria, the bombing of Afghanistan, the changes to internet privacy, EPA cuts, the utter bullshit that is effectively defunding Planned Parenthood, DeVos’s changes to student loan practices, nepotism, and all the rest that supports the evidence of 45’s desire to change our country from a democracy to an authoritarian state. It’s been talked about but for fuck’s sake, how much more has to happen before it’s legit? We’re supposed to be better than this. And as a country, we are. Just not our government. It feels like a Sisyphean and Herculean battle to get those responsible to realize it, and I’m frustrated and angry and my God, please make it stop. 

Laughing. I saw all of these magnets when I was in Baltimore last weekend. I didn’t buy any but thinking I probably should have.  I hope you all enjoy your Easter weekend! I’ll be taking next week off for my daughter’s spring break so I’ll see you back here the following week!

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Show Us Your Books, April 2017

The timing of SUYB this year has been impeccable. In February, it fell on Valentine’s Day. This month, it falls during National Library Week. No joke, I would be lost without my library. At the very least I’d be broke and living in a book fort (which, admittedly, does not sound bad). And it’s not just me. Libraries are an invaluable community resource providing everything from books and movies and music to wifi and computer access to educational, family, and fitness programs (mine offers yoga twice per week!) to a shelter from the cold or heat to pretty much anything else you can imagine. Communities are stronger and more informed because of libraries so please, support yours in any way you can. 

Moving on to the books I read last month in no particular order except the order in which they were read. As always, reviews are copied, with some embellished, from Litsy. Don’t forget that when you’re done here, visit my co-host Steph and some of the other bloggers who linked up with us today. 

I read a disproportionate amount of fucked up books this last month. I’m currently on a three book detox that started with Dave Holmes’s book. It’s been glorious. But I plan to resume all the fucked up when I’m finished with them. 

Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens. What I like most about Chevy Stevens is that you can always count on her for a fast paced, engaging read. There’s simimlar themes throughout her books but they’re reliable and don’t disappoint. That’s how I felt about this book, too. I sort of figured out the twist but it was okay; I didn’t want to quit the book as a result. I liked the strength of the characters, the mother-daughter relationship, and there’s a dog! If you’re sensitive to domestic violence, maybe this isn’t for you, though. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew J. Sullivan. I thought this would be a cute little cozy mystery but it turned out to be a dark, twisted mystery filled with fascinating characters, a tightly woven, well written and constructed plot, and a hell of an ending even after I figured out the whodunit part (I’m pretty good at that, unfortunately). It was exceeded my expectations, I read it in 2 days, and I’m glad I requested and received it from NetGalley. This a great vacation/plane/rainy day read. 

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I struggled with processing my thoughts on this one. I’d never read it before but I almost wish I had in school because this is definitely a “let’s talk through it as we read it books” as there’s just so much. The dystopian society is not far from what could be reality; it’s why it’s horrifying. As a feminist, obviously I spent the book outraged. The historical epilogue was cool AF, the writing is amazing, and I get its significance in literature. 

Bottomland by Michelle Hoover. This is a depressing story of family, loss, pain, and hardship told through 6 different POV. It’s beautifully written but it begins super slow and stays slow but the plot gets stronger as it moves along. The characters become more interesting, tragic, and engaging and I found myself caring about them and what happens to them more than in the beginning. It’s a good book, not a must read or a read in one sitting book, but it didn’t feel like a waste.

Brother by Ania Ahlborn. A local bookseller gave this book to me for free because she thought it sounded like something I’d like. After reading it, I really need to change how I describe the books I like as this is the most disgusting, gruesome, twisted, horrifying book I have ever read. It wasn’t bad; it kept me interested but OMG IS IT DISTURBING. I almost threw up at one point. If you like horror, this is a good one for you. If not, HARD PASS. 

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel. Disclaimer: I read this immediately after Brother. DO NOT DO THAT. This messed up, disturbing book about a really unpleasant topic was unputdownable. Seriously. It was engrossing despite being gross (I don’t want to give anything away but if you read it, the main “issue” is pretty obvious in the first 20 pages or so and I want you to decide if you can handle it without input from me) and a good, strong story. I don’t even know how to properly describe what I read and I apologize but I liked the shit out of it. Thanks again, NetGalley.

Party of One: A Memoir in 21 Songs by Dave Holmes. Usually a celebrity memoir feels like there’s an air of fake modesty and made up awkwardness to give that relatable feel. Not with this one. Nothing felt fake. Just an honest, open recap of his struggle with himself and how he overcame that (he’s gay so a lot of his struggle relates to accepting himself and choosing to be out publicly), all set against the backdrop of music. The lack of humblebrag was nice, too, even when he discussed his time at MTV. The best part is the musical interludes. If GenX lit ever becomes a genre, this is going to be one of the books that makes it so. 

TL; DR. All except Brother and Bottomland are highly recommended. Bottomland should be a someday book. NEVER read Brother unless you love horror and have a strong stomach. Please trust me on that last part.

Now it’s your turn! Show Us Your Books! And mark May 9 for the next one.

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Weekly six pack, 2017, v14

This week was filled with drama to the 2873th degree, both personal and political, and I’m too drained to rant about either one. But I cannot anymore with this shit Congress or administration of ours and about to lose my fucking mind and it’s best if I don’t even start so my head doesn’t explode. 

Let’s move on to the mundane instead. Oh, and it’s only a 5 pack this week. Sorry about that. 

Reading. Finished Party […] Continue Reading…

Things that make me feel put together

I’ve mentioned this before but I have been struggling hardcore lately. I know it’s the depression talking and I’m fighting it off the best I can but some days it gets the best of me and I can’t muster the energy to do anything beyond the necessities of life. And sometimes it’s hard to even do that. But I keep trying and plugging away the best I can. 

It’s on those days that I think […] Continue Reading…

March results and April’s challenge

For those of you who are new, I decided that I wasn’t setting goals for 2017. Rather, I decided to focus on habit changes, month by month. In January I did a spending freeze, in February I did a library diet, and in March, I decided to pare my makeup and nail polish down to just a few choices. To practice the minimalist life. Honestly, it was a stupid, easy, copout challenge that I […] Continue Reading…