It's finally spring! Although it doesn't feel like spring where I live, I believe in the warm weather to come. I'm back to school this week after March break. I gotta say, scheduled days are nice in comparison to the madness of going to bed at 1am and waking up at 10am with several hours of Netflix-watching, reading, and ice-cream eating in between. I've set up my bullet journal for this week and I'm starting my April spreads soon. Having my tasks written out makes every day so much easier, and I like the simplicity of having one journal for everything I need. My April theme is space, and I'm going to include lots of fun little doodles and watercolors. So exciting!
On a different creative note, the show I'm working on opens in 3 weeks, and this week our sets are being built! The show is No Exit (or Huis Clos, for francophiles), and I was lucky enough to be chosen as the set designer. If I can, I'll share my process and some pictures in the coming weeks. Working on No Exit has been such a treat, and I'm glad for the chance to exercise my creative muscles in a different way. I look forward to designing more in the future if I'm able.
Happy Tuesday, everyone!
Thank you to Netgalley and University of Minnesota Press for sharing an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
After three years of high school, Margaret still isn’t any closer to what she wants: to sing and dance on Broadway, to be a model like Twiggy, to be madly in love with someone other than Paul McCartney. It’s not much to ask, but with her friends Grace and Isabelle she’s willing to adjust her goals for the summer to a job, a car, and a boyfriend.
When Grace gets a job downtown at the Emerald Cafe, where Teddy, a dreamy college kid, tends the meat buffet, it looks like she, at least, is almost halfway there—until Teddy asks for Margaret’s phone number. “Normal” might not be all it’s cracked up to be (high school graduation, marriage, and housewifery, really?), but as Teddy complicates the girls’ friendship, it slowly becomes apparent that “normal” might mean something different, and infinitely trickier, to him. As the old friends, with adulthood looming, navigate the newly confusing territory of love and sexuality and identity, everything they thought they knew is suddenly, frighteningly thrown into question—and they discover that between the dream of stardom and the certainty of housekeeping there’s a vast unsuspected world of peril and possibility.
With all the tenderness, heartache, and humor of her earlier novels about Margaret, Grace, and Isabelle, in Whatever Normal Is Jane St. Anthony takes the friends, and her readers, to a place beyond normal—to a future as satisfying as it is promising.
I'm not sure I got what I expected from Whatever Normal Is. My expectations were: a book filled with friendship, family, and a little bit of romance. How those expectations were included in the book left some things to be desired.
First, the characters. Each more irritating and one-dimensional than the last. Margaret's desires to model? Her hopes and dreams? Not really mentioned past the synopsis. I found her to be immature and mildly selfish instead. Much of the tension stems from Margaret's agony over telling her best friend that the boy the friend likes called Margaret instead. The best friends are equally flat, to the point where I, a person who usually doesn't like side characters, was disappointed. Give me female friendships!! Give me well-rounded characters!! Give me dynamic friendships!! I didn't get those things.
The plot. Here's where I don't quite know what to say. I appreciated how slice-of-life the story was. Most things that happened to Margaret were believable for the average high school junior. Time with siblings, fights with friends, a little bit of romance. A lot of bones I have to pick with realistic fiction are about the realism. "Is this *actually* likely to happen? In the life of a *real* teen?" and whatnot. But then this wonderful normality started to turn into mundanity. At some point, slice of life has to be interesting. I have to be invested in the lives of the characters, and I just wasn't feeling it.
Lastly, we need to talk about the big twist. I didn't like it. I won't spoil anything (honestly, you could probably guess it, but still), but I don't think the book was prepared to dive into the consequences of this reveal beyond your basic "have compassion, be kind to other people and their lives" and that really disappointed me. Give me the learning, and the character development, and the sensitivity! I beg of you! Give it to me!
All in all, Whatever Normal Is gets 3 stars from me. Borrow it from your local library. It's a short read, and probably worth at least one try.
Hello everyone, happy spring! I can't believe winter is over, because I can still feel quite the chill where I live. A few days ago, I was speaking with someone who used to live in Washington DC, and they said that spring starts mid-March there. To me, someone who's always lived in the Boston area, that sounds unimaginable. Spring is an elusive April-May phenomenon to me, and March is a dreary bog. But! Time moves forward, I suppose, and the weather will always change.
Change, actually, is the reason I write today. Soon I'm making a big one in terms of organization of this blog, in the hopes that I can better serve my readers. Last month, I spoke a bit about my goals for blog organization, and invited you all to participate in a survey on kinds of content you'd like to read. (If you haven't done that, click here!) Part of that is putting out interesting content. No repeated posts, no filler.
The other part is my new blogging schedule. From now on, I promise to be dependable, as I haven't been in the past. My mission with this blog is to be a reliable source of information on the bookish world, including reviews of new releases, book recommendations, and other features. Of course, I can't do any of that if I only post twice a month! Therefore, from now on I will be writing my posts further in advance and scheduling them. In an effort to encourage transparency (why shouldn't the reader see how the blog is run? Maybe that's another post) here's my sample schedule for April 2019.
I used to be all-or-nothing in my blogging. I would go hard for a couple of weeks, and then drop off the face of the Earth. In January, I wrote a post per day until the middle of the month, when I pretty much stopped writing. I hope four posts a week is my sweet spot. I don't want to disappear on you guys, but I also want to avoid burnout. This way I get some time to recharge and write drafts before hitting "publish," but I also put out content that you want to read. As you can see, I've mixed reviews and rec posts with some weekly features. And because I don't want to give everything away, some blank days have content you'll have to check back for!
So here's to fresh starts, and happy spring reading!
Thank you to Netgalley and Second Story Press for sending me a copy in exchange for my honest review.
What Makes Girls Sick and Tired is a fantastic feminist graphic novel by Lucile de Pesloüan and Geneviève Darling. Minimalist style and beautiful art streamline the message of the book, and declutter what could have been a complicated narrative.
I've been sitting on this post for a few days, but I finally get to share with you my stop on the Lovely War Blog Tour, and I am thrilled! Thank you to PenguinTeen for sending me a copy.
Read on for my review and a set of book recommendations for the characters...
Hey all! It's a quick two this week because I'm insanely busy. I've got projects and reading and presentations out the wazoo.
First, my March break is coming up, which means two whole weeks of relaxation. No more thinking about responsibilities or homework, just Netflix and books (and maybe some outside things). I plan to spend some time with friends and family, and hopefully come up with a summer plan. I've got a couple things lined up, but I want to kick my long-term planning into high gear before final exams start.
Second, I'm having my wisdom teeth out soon. That's actually the biggest damper on my break, because I'll lose some time waiting for the swelling/pain to go away, but at least they're not impacted. I've never "been under" before, so we'll see how I react to everything. I think the part I'm least looking forward to is not being in control of myself? I'd hate to say something embarrassing or look weird. Anyways--if I go AWOL towards the end of this week, that's where I'll be. I'll try to schedule some posts, but I really have no idea how much time I'm looking at.
Thanks for reading! Happy March, everyone!
This week I am planning to write more than I read. I've been finishing books at a ridiculous pace, but I haven't reviewed any of them yet! And I have so many feelings, so I should probably put pen to paper (or fingers to keys) and get those thoughts out. However, I am still going to read, as I'm not wired to go more than 24 hours without a book.
All of my To Review books are upcoming or recent releases that I've been lucky enough to receive ARCs of, so some of those reviews won't be out for a few days (Hint: Check back on March 7 to see my stop on the Lovely War blog tour!). However, my To Read books include past releases I'm overdue to read. For instance, I thoroughly enjoyed The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue, so I'm excited to visit Felicity in this sequel! Mackenzi Lee's witty writing and lovable characters made the first book in this duology an irresistible read.
That's it for me, so what about you? Current reads, on hold at the library, in the mail, what are you reading?
Hey, I'm Shreya! I love to read, write, travel, and drink coffee.