Last week was… Something. Inspired by the second book in this post, I’m likening it to a ride on the Scrambler. You know. That carnival ride that tests the mettle of even non-motion-sickness-prone people? I feel like I’ve been standing in line for four years shouting “we really shouldn’t go on this ride, it will make us all vomit” and NOBODY LISTENED and now they’re all like “oh but this looked like such a silly, harmless carnival ride! It’s not a giant scary roller coaster, it just spins a bit. And it looks kind of pathetic. It’s no big deal.” Ahem. Are we taking the vomit ride seriously yet? At least I read some books while my anxiety kept me up at night. (Full disclosure- I actually know exactly what type of book I need to read when my anxiety keeps me up if I want to get to sleep. Neither of these books fit the bill. My exhaustion is entirely my own fault today.)
Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton- Gah I’m so torn about this book! On the one hand, it was objectively funny and heartfelt which is not necessarily something I’d expect from a book written about what becomes of domesticated animals in the wake of a zombie apocalypse. The issues I had with it aren’t the fault of the author necessarily, but the moment at which I chose to read it. It becomes clear relatively early on that the zombification of humans comes about in large part because of their reliance on phones, tablets, TVs, etc. Screen time, basically. Which, frankly, after being confined to our home for most of this wretched pandemic, with screens our only options for work, entertainment, and socialization, the whole “we’re turning into zombies” thing that was a perfectly valid criticism in the before times doesn’t sit quite right today. The second issue I’m struggling with is that the human companion of our intrepid S.T. (a domesticated crow) and the perfect doofus that is Dennis the Bloodhound (clearly the hero of this story) seems to be an oddly sympathetic picture of a dude who would 100% have stormed the Capitol last week. I mean, there weren’t any explicit political leanings expressed, exactly, but it was pretty clear who “Big Jim” was. And, um, I’m not feeling particularly charitable toward gun toting incel types right now. So, while I found the overall premise of the plight of domestic animals post apocalypse interesting and a lot of the book was, admittedly, pretty funny, my enjoyment was stifled by current circumstances. I’m sure a lot of fascists love their animals and their animals love them- their kids and families too. That doesn’t make them less dangerous and seeing this dude romanticized through the eyes of his pets just didn’t sit well. Even if he did have excellent taste in junk food.
Beach Read by Emily Henry- I don’t know if I can properly express to you how much I loved this book. I’ve half a mind to dedicate sonnets to it, which would be terrible because I’m a very lazy rhymer. And my iambic pentameter? Pfft. The way Emily Henry sculpted these characters and managed to describe incredibly complex emotions while injecting so much humor? I am bowled over. I am gobsmacked. I am jealous that even though I have no desire to write fiction, I’d never be able to write fiction this beautiful. And I’m still laughing at some of the barbs thrown at literary fiction for being “coldly horny.” I want to bottle how I felt upon finishing this book at 1 AM, knowing the next day’s exhaustion would be totally worth it. An abstract description of the book would make you think it’s a rom-com, but that doesn’t quite fit. I mean, it’s romantic and it’s funny, but it delves deeply into grief and disillusionment in ways typical rom-coms don’t. This is absolutely not to say “oh this isn’t like OTHER rom-coms” in that awful “not like OTHER girls” sort of way. It’s just a different sort of book. And it’s perfect.
Because I’ve had “Long December” plaguing my brain loop for the last 2 months, I’m just going to end this wild ride of a post with “I can’t remember all the times I tried to tell myself to hold on to these moments as they pass.” It’s one more day up in the canyons, y’all. Spend it with people whose existence makes you unreasonably grateful- even if the time spent has to be via screens.
If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. Links in the post above direct to Amazon, but if you’re interested and in a position to do so, please consider making a purchase from a local independent bookstore. IndieBound and Bookshop make it easy to do just that without having to leave your home!