May 7, 2018: It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

bookdate

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme currently hosted by The Book Date. It’s a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week, and add to that ever-growing TBR stack.

Holy cow, friends. When I typed up my last post, I had absolutely no idea I wouldn’t be blogging or reading for this many weeks after. Wow. I’m thinking of calling myself The Chaotic Bookworm or The Neglectful Reader or something. Chaos is my middle name. Chaos is my state my mind. Chaos is my new best friend. You get the idea. 

Since this still is a book blog, let’s talk books. I feel like I haven’t been reading at all, but I just checked my Goodreads, and since my last blog post, I have actually read fourteen books. Primarily romance, YA, and middle grade novels. Mostly audiobooks. Still, way more than I thought I did. Some really good books too- I highly recommend The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, A Princess In Theory, Wanna Bet?A Girl Like Her, and Sunny. It’s so interesting, because you wouldn’t be able to tell I’d been doing any reading based on any of my social media updates, rather lack thereof. Hell, I couldn’t tell I’d been doing any reading. That’s something to think about. 

I’ve also been a bit off social media. Not intentionally, I just can’t seem to hold space for it, besides tweeting when I’m overwhelmed and promptly disappearing. Which is mostly fine. I do feel guilty about being so out of the loop with friends and book news and aro/ace activism, and I’m just choosing to sit with it for now.

Life- let’s see. So much going on. We’ve moved again, and this will be my parents’ permanent home. It’s a gorgeous place though it’s far away from the city. BUT I HAZ SHINY NEW BOOKSHELVES AND ALL MY BOOKS ARE OUT SO CITY, SCHMITY AMIRITE?! Pictures will happen when my room doesn’t look like a cardboard box infestation. 

I am traveling to the States in two weeks for a work conference and seeing friends and I am excited, stressed, and terrified about traveling. I will be among folx who are incredibly supportive, so my anxiety is no longer at vomit-y, just nausea. I’m choosing to focus on the being able to see dear hearts, and that’s keeping me going.

Rehab- This is the one thing that has been going really, really well. It’s so great to see and feel progress and improvements in strength. I had a follow-up with my surgeon a few days ago, while he’s not very happy with my foot still being weak, he’s cleared me for travel and is generally happy with how my sessions with my trainer have been going. 

I guess we should come back to books, eh? Here’s what I’m planning to read this week:

I am laughably behind on reviews. They will happen. Soon. 

Meanwhile, what have y’all been upto? Read anything good lately?

-J

 

March 26, 2018: It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

img_20160516_170058.jpg

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme currently hosted by The Book Date. It’s a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week, and add to that ever-growing TBR stack.

How, how is it the end of March already? Where did the last week go? I woke up this morning and it felt like I had this particular Black Books moment with Monday:

tumblr_inline_mlrfk1ecdp1qz4rgp

Let’s tackle books first. First, my streak continues- I read three out of the four books I’d mentioned in last week’s post! The fourth one is work-related reading and therefore I’m not counting it as a thing that needed to get read in a week, so yay! Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao was really heavy and dealt with a LOT of trauma (my review this week will come with a lot of trigger warnings for sure). Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala was another heavy one, and I did enjoy the audiobook narrated by the author (trigger warnings for police brutality resulting in death, anti-queer rhetoric, anti-queer hate, and religious intervention for gay character). Both so good, but definitely not happy books by any means. The Radical Element by Jessica Spotswood I really did enjoy, and featured some of my favorite YA women of color. Historical fiction stories of badass women, here for it. 

Keeping this week’s roster light, as I’m travelling this weekend to hang out with my sister. I’m not planning for any additional reading, but I’m sure I’ll pack an extra book or three for fear of running out of reading material. 

Meanwhile, my semi-hiatus from Twitter continues to work well. I’m pleasantly surprised by how little I’m actually checking the website itself, without feeling antsy or any other form of FOMO. Keeping this going for as long as I can. 

I’m still losing more chunks of time than I like, so I’m doing another experiment where I account for 30 minute chunks of my day as they happen (so reverse-planning, essentially). I’m curious to see if any patterns emerge from this. This is not from a “I must be productive every minute of every hour of everyday” headspace, but more of “I have deadlines that I need to keep up with” standpoint. I’ll keep you posted on what I learn.

On the health front, my mental health is pretty much in limbo- I’m functional, and in a mostly okay headspace. Physically, this new trainer is super paying off. I really like her approach to our sessions, she forces me to acknowledge every small milestone, and it feels really good to see my progress, slow as it is. 

ALSO, it is FINALLY mango season here. So. Many. Mangoes. Oh joy. India has the best mangoes, don’t @ me. 

That’s all I’ve got for today. I’m looking forward to seeing some friends and hanging with my sister this weekend, we have a running list of food spots we plan to hit around town while I’m there. It’ll also be the first time I’m travelling alone since last June, and I’m definitely excited about that.

In the meantime, what are y’all reading?

-J

March 19, 2018: It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

img_20160516_170058.jpg

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme currently hosted by The Book Date. It’s a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week, and add to that ever-growing TBR stack

Hey there!

I did myself a favor this past week and deleted both the Twitter and Facebook apps from my phone, and I have actually been checking both platforms much less frequently. It has definitely done wonders for me. I actually got shit done. Read books, and reviewed one. Starting prepping for a new part-time gig I’m taking on soon. Made measureable progress with physical training. I even took the first steps towards finding a queer-friendly therapist (which is hard in this city). I’m not flying, but I’m feeling better. 

So, reading! I finished five books this past week which I felt really good about. Slump averted! I finished reading Speak by Louisa Hall in print ( I wanted to love it so much, but I think there were a few missed opportunities to really push the book into weird and cool territories, and there were places in the second half that over-explained connections to the reader). On audio, listened to Call Me Zebra by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi (witty, acerbic, and touching narrator) as well as The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo (so fierce, punched me in the gut). I finally read my first Ursula K. Le Guin book, No Time To Spare (totally understand why she’s so beloved, an amazing writer and clearly so badass). I also read Piecing Me Together by Reneé Watson in one sitting (it is an utterly gorgeous book) which has given me the idea for a blog post, stay tuned. 

I’m hoping to keep the pace up this week, and here’s what I’d like to finish: 

Before I wrap up, I do have an ask- if you have any favorite literary criticism books, please drop your recommendations in the comments. Need it for the new gig. Thanks!

Until next time, I hope you all have a wonderful week of reading ahead of you. 

–J

March 12, 2018: It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

img_20160516_170058.jpg

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme currently hosted by The Book Date. It’s a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week, and add to that ever-growing TBR stack.

Hey there,

I haven’t done these in a couple of weeks because I haven’t really been reading. Different parts of my body have been taking a hit one after the other in the past few weeks so I haven’t been up to doing much. I did however, catch up on Scandal, How To Get Away With Murder, and the new Queer Eye (which I adore so much), and watched reruns of Gilmore Girls (I know, I know) and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. 

Meanwhile, I have started working with a new trainer (who is so much more professional than my physiotherapist) and it’s been good so far. It’s so interesting navigating physical activity spaces as a fat person, but so far there have been no red flags. Sometimes the intensity of the past year hits me and I get frustrated by how I have to claw my way through the progress, especially when it takes so much longer to recover from things. But I’m trying not to dwell on the things I have no control over. 

Now that I have significantly bummed you out, if you’re still with me, take a look at what I’m reading this week:

That’s all I’ve got, friends. Drop me a line in the comments and share what you’ve been reading!

-J

February 5, 2018: It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

img_20160516_170058.jpg

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme currently hosted by The Book Date. It’s a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week, and add to that ever-growing TBR stack.

Hello!

Last Monday I talked about looking forward to being in my own space and being anxious about my routine constantly being disrupted. Naturally, I was relieved to be home and looking forward to some life consistency. Turns out, my dad planned a surprise family getaway for my mum’s birthday (he loves surprises, so of course that meant he chose to keep this information from me as well). It was a sweet gesture; my sister flew in from Bombay and my mum had a great birthday, which was good. The travelling plus sightseeing definitely worn me out and I’ve spent most of this Monday moving as little as possible. I have also made my parents swear we have no trips planned for the foreseeable future, so hopefully my anxiety will simmer down as I clamour for some semblance of stability. 

I didn’t get through all of my ambitious reading plans from last week, but what I did read I enjoyed for the most part. I finished listening to Trainwreck by Sady Doyle ( smart feminist commentary), The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey (1920s mystery with a badass lawyer heroine set in British Raj Bombay), Merry Inkmas by Talia Hibbert (this was okay, not particularly comfortable with how they portrayed the coded autistic character), and So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo (absolutely fantastic, couldn’t put it down, full review coming soon). I’m also started listening to This Will Be My Undoing by Morgan Jerkins.

For this week:

I know, I know, I’ve clearly learned nothing from last week’s attempt to read all the books, but guys, I have a good feeling about this week. 

Unrelated, I’ve taken another stab at bullet journaling this year. I’m really happy with my February bujo layout and spreads, and am actively engaging in two things that I think will help with keeping mental health in check- a daily mood tracker and a gratitude journal page. I use an app called Booster Buddy for the mood tracking (it’s quick and it’s got a raccoon that’s damn adorable), and I have just a page in my bujo for the gratitude journaling bit- I think brevity is key, so it’s low-pressure because I just have to come up with one thing for the day (which as some of you know can be really hard to do sometimes). I think these are two things that are keeping me anchored and help me check-in with myself, which I like. Sorry if this was a random tidbit, I feel like I complain about my mental health so much on here it feels good to talk about how I’m proactively working towards taking care of it as well.

That’s all from me, folks. Here’s wishing you all a wonderful week!

By the way, what are you reading currently? What did you finish reading recently that you loved?

-J

 

January 22, 2018: It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

bookdate

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme currently hosted by The Book Date. It’s a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week, and add to that ever-growing TBR stack.

Hey there!

So it’s already Tuesday here, but I’m doing an It’s Monday post anyway because I really want to keep up with them and well, it’s Monday somewhere. Wow, this past week flew by. We’re moving (again!) in a couple of months, and this time to what is going to be my parents’ permanent residence. Same city, just an apartment. So I’ve been going with them to mediate wallpaper choices, curtain matches, you get the idea. It’s fun for the first five minutes but it’s mostly exhausting. But, moving will mean I get to bust out all my books from storage and put them in some beautiful bookshelves, so I’ve got something to look forward to in the new crib. I also got to have an intentionally lazy Sunday after a weirdly hectic week, and it was absolutely glorious, to say the least. We all need those once in a while. 

First, general housekeeping. Most of you might be aware of this already, but for those who don’t- we are officially retiring Social Justice Book Club. Kerry was super nice to take me on as co-host in 2017, but it ended up being a tumultuous year for both of us on a lot of fronts, and we decided it was time to close this chapter. I will continue to be reading books that tackle social justice themes, as will Kerry, so feel free to chat about them with us all across social media. Like Kerry said, if there’s interest, we definitely did enough research to put out a couple of book lists on some of those topics.

Onto happier news, it’s time for my first readathon of the year! 24in48 is back this weekend, and boy I’m looking forward to a glorious bookish bubble. You know the gist- 24 hours of reading over a 48-hour weekend, with snacks and sleep and conversation. Now I will be traveling this weekend so I’m not making a proper TBR, just going with the flow, and I’m keeping to the official start and end times per usual. There’s also tons of prizes for both US and International readers, so go ahead, sign-up!

And finally, time to chat about books. Last week, I finished The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce (heartwarming, quirky, made me tear up), Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson (one of the best audiobook decisions I’ve made in a long time), The Vanderbeekers on 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser (another enchanting tear-jerker), Rangoli by Pavana Reddy ( some impactful poetry), Fit (Fit #1) and Sated (Fit #3), both by Rebekah Weatherspoon (diverse and steamy novellas, oh my), and finally finished reading A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919 by Claire Hartfield (riveting subject matter, but so dry and such a struggle to read). So yeah, pretty happy with my reading week. 

On this week’s roster:

 

Keeping it down to three so that I can get some reviews out ( I’d really like my Netgalley review percentage to come up to that 80% as soon as possible), and hunker down for a weekend of intense reading. 

That’s all I’ve got, folks (and with less than two hours to spare before Monday ends in PST, ha!). Don’t forget to sign-up for 24in48. Whether you read for 2 hours or 24, half a book or 7, it’s just feels good to be one with your people for a weekend. I’ll be posting updates on Litsy and Instagram for sure (@theshrinkette on both of those).

If you’re participating, let me know in the comments section, and link me to your sign-up posts, TBRs, Litsy and IG handles, etc. Also, what are you reading this week?

-J

 

So…Life Happened

heroism-in-life
Retrived from: http://searchwh.com/2017/lifestyle-hobby/advantages-heroism-life/

Hey friends,

Remember me? Seems like I took my sporadic blogger moniker a little far this time. I opened my blog today for the first time since July, which is definitely the biggest break I’ve ever taken from this space. My intention was to write a review and pretend like nothing had happened, but I think I’d like to talk about the last five months and offer you an explanation as to why you haven’t seen new content at all from me in that time.

(Oh, if you follow me on twitter and such you’re totally off the hook for skipping this post because well, I think I’ve whined plenty there about what’s happened)

Trigger Warnings: Surgery, medical stuff, body stuff, fatmisia, lifestyle changes, depression, anxiety, mental health

A lot of you know I’ve been struggling with sciatica for a while now. The last time I was active on the blog, I was in the middle of a really bad flare-up that lasted longer than the usual two-three weeks, and the pain was relentless. I was on bed rest for nearly six weeks, and barely functional. Things escalated, I went in for an MRI, and was told that I had a major prolapsed disc that had probably been around for a few years now (they suspect around the onset of my sciatica three years ago), and I was admitted for surgery immediately. It happened so fast, I only met my surgeon the day after the operation had been performed. Those 36 hours were pretty surreal. I’ll spare you the gory surgical details, but it was a longer procedure than expected. 

Post surgery, here’s where I was: Months (potentially years) of nerve compression had happened leading to some neurological symptoms in my foot and tightness in my legs, and I was looking at about six months of physiotherapy to regain mobility in my foot. My surgery had been successful in that my spine was intact, no other organs or systems were damaged in the process, I wasn’t going to be paralyzed. and the nerves had decompressed.

Suffice to say my life has dramatically changed and my world has become super small since the first week of August. The first couple of months were…hell. This is actually my second major spinal surgery, but my first one was at age four and I barely remember it, so this is my first time fully experiencing and processing the upward battle that is post-op recovery. It’s this thing where you’re no longer feeling the hellish pain that put you on in the operation theatre in the first place, but your body has been sliced open and the morphine has worn off and you can feel it all. My life was eat, sleep, physiotherapy, and rest. I was too exhausted to hold a book or laptop. I was in a world of pain. PT was frustrating and slow. My incredibly supportive parents’ lives were all about looking after me. Depression and anxiety were constant companions, and I didn’t really talk about it to anyone except the internet. My best friend was my only visitor, he would faithfully spend every weekend with me, even if it meant watch me sleep after my PT sessions because I was too tired, or when I started walking, walk those hundred feet three times a day.

But, sitting and writing this, I realize I’ve come such a long way since then. I went from a walker to using a stick to walking independently. I can now walk longer distances, I’m more functional in terms of being able to stand for longer and sit for more hours. I’ve started going out by myself, and even run a few errands. I don’t have to wear a lumbar support belt anymore, which means I will no longer have to be rude to strangers on the street that stare at me or ask me really personal questions. Our extended family comes down in a couple of weeks to celebrate my dad’s 60th birthday, and I will be able to sit and be a part of the traditional ceremonies that will be happening. These things I’m infinitely grateful for, because six months ago I didn’t think any of this was possible.

There’s still things that are scary and overwhelming and weigh on me. My foot is still not at a hundred percent, and it scares me to think that if it doesn’t get better than this then I won’t be able to get back to dancing ever again (I’m a trained Bharatanatyam dancer). Somedays, hints of the old sciatica pain come through after an intense PT session and I worry about never not being in some form of pain for the rest of my life. My job-hunt has been on pause for the last six months, and the prospect of having to explain this really long and unexpected break in my career feels daunting. I’ve been told to lose weight so as to take off the pressure from a spine that’s been operated on twice, and I’m dealing with a megaton of internal and external fatmisia while I make some dietary and lifestyle changes. My mental health has definitely seen better days, and now that I’m mobile I need to get around to finding a therapist.

There’s so many uncertain things, and I’m trying not to let them take over, which is easier said than done.

So there, that has been (is) my life. It’s been a hell of a rollercoaster, 2017, but I think the end of the year is looking less bleak than I thought it would be three months ago. I’ve finally gotten my reading mojo back, and am hoping to make my Goodreads goal by the end of the year. I’ve spectacularly failed on my blogging goals, but I’m trying not to beat myself too much about that. I’m working on some academic projects with my friends to stay sharp and have started looking for a job again.

All this to say, thank you so much for still sticking around despite my horrendously erratic blogging this year. Thanks for sticking through all of my promises to be a more regular blogger even when I’m not. Thanks for accepting this explanation for my absence. Thank you for being a source of support in any corner of the internet at any point in time. I’m back right now, I’m feeling excited to talk about books again, and I’m hoping that feeling stays with me, along with you all. Thank you, thank you, thank you. 

So much love to all of you,

-J