Review: Things Fall Apart

I picked up this book several years ago and put it on my “to read” shelf with great gusto. And promtly forgot about it. I wish I had read it sooner. Hell, if I was a high school English teacher, this would be part of my curriculum. It is good. I can see why it’s been aclaimed. Why the author, Chinua Achebe is aclaimed. The book isn’t long or dense. It’s a pretty easy read over all. It is more a character exploration than anything else, digging into the “whys” of human choices than following the what in a direct path. The book is broken into three parts which are unequal in length and depth. The first part is the longest in words. It is building the picture of the world of the protagonist Okonkwo and his own mindset. At the very start of the book I was a bit confused, but it did not last long. The cadence is

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Life: Anxiety in 2020

I can finally give a concrete example of anxiety manifesting in 2020. For the past two days or so I am bothered. I am turning it over and over and over in my mind. I get upset and grumble and gripe about it to myself. I literally start arguing with myself over it. No, I am not upset with my husband or even politics. I am worrying on a Star Trek Deep Space 9 episode. I haven’t seen it in a year or more, but it’s on my mind. For the STDS9 fans, it’s the episode when Kiko O’Brien is possessed by the bajoran Fire Demon. She has been on the planet seeing the “fire caves” which is a tourist destination and is possessed by this evil (in the bajoran religion) non-corporeal entity (a spirit). The show begins when she comes home and Miles O’Brien, her husband, is waiting for her with her favorite exotic chocolates as an apology for

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Review: Black Jewels Trilogy

This is not my normal fare of fantasy. These three books by Anne Bishop; Daughter of the Blood, Heir to the Shadows, Queen of the Darkness. They are borderline romantic, without the erotic elements most romance novels feature. Reading these three books, it felt like I got dropped into a world without a lot of context. But since this was her debut novel, it’s not like I accidentally picked up a trilogy in a world she’s written other books in (I did that with Mercedes Lackey before). I want to start here that I would not recommend this book casually. There is too much dealing with trauma and abuse to just say “everyone would enjoy!” and not in a “everyone would learn good lessons from her approach” way. A LOT of people would be made very uncomfortable with the issues it addresses. These issues are very interwoven throughout the three novels, although the most in the first novel. By the

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Review: Book of a Thousand Days

Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale is written like a diary, the entries numbered by days. The story itself is an interesting melding of eastern and western fantasy. I like that the world isn’t a direct correlation to Chinese or Japanese imperialism. At least not anything so directly recognizable. The plot is such a cool retelling of Rapunzel. Sort of. Which I love. I love when authors give me what I think is a story I know, put it a cool twist on it, and drop me with a swift kick in the expectations. And this book delivers all that inside an intriguing medium of the “diary” storytelling method. Which is challenging. And I love the illustrations (James Noel Smith does them and they are really good). The villain is well written and evil and scary and yet realistic (in the world Hale created). The magic is there but not blatant. The romance is subtle and kind of funny and

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Review: Three Cups of Tea

Three Cups of Tea: One man’s mission to Promote Peace… One School at a Time has taken me about three years to read. It was my toilet book and for a very long time, I would look at it feel utterly intimidated by it, so I would read and re-read the first chapter or two. I finally started making myself read a paragraph at a time. Once I did, I began to steadily devour it. Then I had a kid and often my bathroom time was too rushed to even try. Or worse…. I had a crying baby in my arms while I tried to do my business. But finally this year I finished the book. I feel bad because this books deserves so much better than this. I will go back and re-read this book someday over a vacation at the beach while I make my husband play with the kid in the sand and I just read. However,

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Review: Mulan pricing

I can’t review Disney’s live action Mulan because I haven’t seen it yet. But I have had several conversations with people and seen a good bit of commentary on the “they are charging $30 on TOP of the Disney+ sub to watch it” debate. I even know of people who are pirating it (or at least say they are) because of the “principle” of paying on top of a subscription to watch the movie. I am against piracy. If there is a legal means of attaining the property, even if you think it’s ridiculous and unreasonable… no. Just no. The word is piracy – and that is a bad thing people. Always. The only time I have “pirated” media was when I could not find it legally (this was also like 10 years ago, the internet has evolved a little since then). Literally, I tried to reach out to the publisher listed on an old CD (out of business). I

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Review: Freakonomics

This isn’t going to be a true review. This IS however a HUGE recommendation for their podcast this week. I listened to it this morning on my walk and… I might have freaked out another walked coming towards me at one point when I did the double-hands “yes, that!” gesture. I looked up a little further right after I did it and the guy was moving off the sidewalk already…. So yeah. Go and listen. It is a fabulous take on how we can and possibly should look at saving the rainforest. I think my favorite quote was something like “Brazil’s strategy was a lot of sticks, but not a lot of carrots” which made me all the more excited to see how we could add more sticks to the solution.

Review: Blueland

I do not have the same adversity to advertising some people do. I don’t like intrusive ads, but sometimes an ad points me to a product I wouldn’t have known of otherwise. Such was the case with Blueland. I was on Facebook and I just kept seeing this ad for reusable soap dispenser. It is up my alley. I try to be environmentally conscious. So I clicked on the link. We needed soap soon. I went ahead and ordered the Hand Soap Starter Set. I won’t say I’m in love with the product, but it absolutely meets the requirements of hand soap in our most commonly used bathroom. This is the bathroom where we wash our hands after being in the public. This is the bathroom nearby post-meals (baby eats messily ya know!). This is the bathroom guests would use if we were having people over. The little tablets are easy. Not too strong on scent but strong enough that

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Gaming: Microtransactions

There is a lot of conversation in the video game industry on this topic, and I have somewhat mixed thoughts on it. You have seen them, I can almost promise you this. You don’t have to be a hardcore gamer to know what I’m talking about. I use the mobile world first because I think it’s more familiar to more people. I played some Candy Crush back in the day. I got incredibly frustrated and uninstalled it. I reached a point where I couldn’t play it anymore. There came a time when I needed some special things to make the levels possible to beat. Or such good luck it would be ridiculous. And there wasn’t any good reason to go back and play previous levels. Since I wasn’t willing to pay to “win” the game, I uninstalled and went looking for something better. So many mobile games follow this pattern. I get so incredibly frustrated by it. On the other

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Review: The Belgariad

My brother gave me these books by David Eddings when I was in middle school and they are an old favorite. With everything going on in the world, I have been struggling to read. This is breaking my heart, but it’s true. My brain just can’t process new things from books right now. New worlds and characters are too much. So I borrowed the first book on audio book from the library just to have something comforting. I devoured them all over again. This series was a warm blanket of comfort. The characters are not extremely rounded. They are in fact mostly two-dimensional. They were tropes when Eddings wrote the book. The world is kind of flat. Very flat. Nations are not made of diverse people, the people themselves are tropes. There are only two languages (apparently) and one of them might still be more “extreme dialect difference” rather than actually a different language. Like Spain-Spanish vs. Mexico-Spanish. And somehow

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