Gifts of the Library

Libraries are something humans got right. They must be protected at all costs. (This post isn’t about that, but the ALA has a great resource for ways to help with library funding etc. in the US.) If you’re a reader who is lucky enough to live near one, you probably already know all the resources they offer. Or maybe you don’t. Or maybe you’re someone who doesn’t read often. Perhaps you’re someone who if asked to name some of what libraries offer, you would answer “uh, books?” Well, I am here to tell you there is MORE. “Like DVDs?” Yes! “And I can go on the computer there?” Also yes, and yet… there might still be more.

This post is brought to you by how often I talk about something I’m able to get or do via a library and someone is surprised by it. It has made me realize that a lot of people don’t realize libraries are more than just a place with a book collection where you have to be quiet. So here’s a list of some things you might find.

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Fighting Racism and Fighting in Space

It’s September which means the last book I reviewed, A Room Away from Wolves, is out! This month also brings us two other books I read and loved.

Here to Stay by Sara Farizan

First of all, I love basketball so here for a book about a kid going from j.v. to varsity and excelling. High school also sucks though and the world is full of racists, so an anonymous email gets sent out to the whole school of Bijan Majidi, the main character, photoshopped as a terrorist. Bijan just wants to move past it, but as a star player, that doesn’t exactly go his way.

This book, like a lot of YA, is successful in navigating a difficult topic that is timely. On top of talking about racism and bullying, classic crushes and difficult friendships are explored as well. This story, however, isn’t a dark and sad one. Instead, Farizan wrote in a lot of humor. There were plenty of parts made me laugh without detracting from the seriousness of the main plot.

Ignite the Stars by Maura Milan

I am a sucker for vicious female leads. Ia is a criminal mastermind who no one knew was actually a 17-year-old girl, until she is captured by the imperialist space nation she spent her life fighting against. They send her to one of their academies instead of prison to force her to fight on their side.

She of course is plotting her escape the whole time, but maybe possibly has also made some friends. There might even be my favorite trope: two people who hate each other start to develop feelings for each other.

I had so much fun reading this and sped through the last part of the book because A LOT was happening. And don’t think just because this is way in the future in space it doesn’t have a lot of modern day issues incorporated into it. One of the main characters, Brinn, has to hide her true race because refugees from her mother’s home are hated. And then there are relationship struggles left and right: friendships, father/son, sister/brother etc. etc.

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A Room Away from the Wolves

A Room Away from the Wolves by Nova Ren Suma
Release Date: September 4, 2018
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Format: Paperback ARC
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Supernatural
Ratings: badass Page Turner

My Thoughts
Nova Ren Suma’s last novel, “The Walls Around Us,” effed with my head and this wasn’t any different. In a good way of course. Both books have the kind of ending that makes your brain do some work to connect all the pieces and then leaves you thinking it over for a while. While both books have a supernatural theme, they tackle different issues. This one focuses on family and self identity.

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2018 Albums So Far

It’s been a while since I’ve done a music post. Now that it’s basically summer, here’s what has come out this year so far that I’ve been listening to a lot.

Dirty Computer by Janelle Monáe

Our confirmed bicon is back with an album that lived up to all my hopes and dreams.  “Make Me Feel” got me so excited for this release, especially because the video is killer. And “Screwed” is probably the song of the summer. I have no authority to declare this but I am anyway.

Expectations by Hayley Kiyoko

Another album I was highly anticipating that did not let me down. It’s fun and raw all at once. Hayley is really helping make #20GAYTEEN a great.

The Kids Are Alright by Chloe x Halle

Beyoncé has already given so much to the world and she keeps on giving. She discovered Chloe and Halle Bailey (sisters, not twins. Thanks for the confusion, Grown-ish) and I’m so grateful for her putting them on my radar. They have gorgeous voices and this album is fantastic.

Black Panther Soundtrack by Kendrick Lamar

This soundtrack is sososososo good. I had it on repeat for a while and still put it on a lot. It’s a masterpiece.

Lavender by Half Waif

I talk about how much I love Half Waif a lot. Nandi Rose Plunkett is a dream who creates dreamy music. Not only is this album lovely, it also has a great name and color scheme. (I’m a big fan of purple and the scent of lavender.)

Isolation by Kali Uchis

This girl does a lot. Let me just put the first line of her wikipedia page here: “Karly-Marina Loaiza (born July 17, 1994), better known as her stage name Kali Uchis, is a Colombian-American singer, songwriter, poet, record producer, music video director, and fashion designer.”

She’s only 23! She made an incredible album and somehow has time to do all this other stuff.

Good Thing by Leon Bridges

Leon Bridges is BACK. He’s as charming as ever and modernized his sound a teeny bit. I’m still very into it.

I Don’t Run by Hinds

Hinds is a band from Spain. (“Hinds” being another term for a female deer. They’re a band of all women.) This is their second album of fun garage rock/pop. I unfortunately missed their show when they played here, but I hear they are excellent live.

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On Rereading Mansfield Park

The first time I read Mansfield Park, I was 19 and a freshman in college who commuted into the city via train. Taking the train daily was a new experience and afforded me extra reading time so I started to sift through my long self-imposed reading list. Like many, I fell in love with Austen’s writing with Pride and Prejudice and was making my way through her other novels. Mansfield was my third.

Naturally, fresh out of high school my life experience was limited. My views of the world were rapidly changing and while I could dig into some of Austen’s commentary, there was a lot I missed. I found Edmund and Fanny’s story to be simply romantic. I was annoyed by Henry and Mary. I took a lot about the characters at face value without realizing it. My impression of the book was also informed by the miniseries with Billie Piper (which I still love). As many movies and television shows based on Austen, the romantic aspects are emphasized. This isn’t “wrong,” but a very specific interpretation of what Austen wrote. While I don’t think my interpretation of the book at 19 was necessarily wrong either, I was focused a lot on what I thought was the central romance. Those characters had to be the heroes, right?

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