The Books of 2020

So 2020, am I right?  What else can be said about the year that hasn’t already been spoken?

Let’s talk books!

I’m going to do it a bit differently than I did it last year.  I found a template that I created but never used so this year I decided to remedy that.


Favorite Book

I haven’t reviewed this yet, so I don’t want to say too much, but I knew this had the highest chance of being my GOAT for 2020.  A bold claim, I know, since I finished reading it in February, and indeed, there was another book that almost edged it out, but I’m a sucker for fantasy/sci-fi with realistic emotional impact, and the female MC is so 2020 it hurts.  We all know the 2020 attitude of *shrug* “Yeah that might as well happen” regardless of what batshit crazy thing occurs, and after surviving literal pestilence, Sarah would react just like that to our own.


Favorite Series

I have so far completed the second book of this series, but it’s still my favorite for 2020.  I mean it’s a paranormal romance series about ANGELS ffs, so easy sell.  Anyway, per the the third book’s blurb, the main angel’s evil mom shows back up to drive him into wrathful insanity so that’ll be a totally new thing for me to read about *nods* EXCITING.

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The State of the Reader: 6/3/20

<–The State of the Reader: 5/20/20         The State of the Reader: 6/17/20–>

A biweekly post updated every other Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads, and if you have an account there feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Purchased: 2


Finished: 1

Title: The Valley of Amazement
Author: Amy Tan
Date Added: April 24, 2014
Date Started: March 1, 2020
Date Finished: June 3, 2020

Cover of The Valley of Amazement by Amy TanMedia: Hardback – Library

Amy Tan never fails to deliver.  I wound up finishing this due to extenuating circumstances I’ll get to later.  What amazes me most (besides the Valley, which tbh wasn’t that amazing…) is how seamlessly the author ties threads together with coincidences that don’t seem remotely contrived.  Because we see the present result the past laid foundation comes with a chill and not a shrug.

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The State of the Reader: 5/20/20

<–The State of the Reader: 5/6/20         The State of the Reader: 6/3/20–>

A biweekly post updated every other Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads, and if you have an account there feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Purchased

Yeah, I spent a lot of money on research materials over the past month.  I actually should’ve included the top two last week, but I guess I forgot?  The film studies book has been on my radar ever since I heard about it in a video I watched a few months ago.  That literally screams FFVII at me, and I knew I’d need it for critical analysis of that.  It’s not an uncommon paradigm, and I guess I’m just surprised I haven’t really seen anyone else talking about since it’s such a major influence in that narrative, but video games are a bastard medium *shrug*.  The Jung alchemy book was a must buy after watching Reinstall Paul’s Silent Hill analysis, because (of course) I thought about FFVII and the alchemical influences in that.  I only have/had a passing knowledge of alchemy e.g. lead into gold, but had no clue it was so universally prominent.  Now that I know a little more, I’m picking it up everywhere, so I need to learn more about it.

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The State of the Reader: 5/6/20

<–The State of the Reader: 4/22/20         The State of the Reader: 5/20/20–>

A biweekly post updated every other Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads, and if you have an account there feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

On Hold

Title: Being and Time
Author: Martin Heidegger
Date Added: August 18, 2017
Date Started: April 3, 2020

Cover of Being and Time by Martin HeideggerMedia: Paperback

I think I got enough of Heidegger in FFVIIR haha yes my jokes are so terrible.  I decided to put this on hold after the first page.  It’s actually not bad, but I just wanted to read something else for my research at this time.  I’ll come back to it, though my list of books on hold is growing, hm.

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The State of the Reader: 4/22/20

<–The State of the Reader: 4/8/20         The State of the Reader: 5/6/20–>

A biweekly post updated every other Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads, and if you have an account there feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Purchased


Books Finished: 1

Title: Archangel’s Kiss
Series Title: Guild Hunter
Author: Nalini Singh
Date Added: December 27, 2018
Date Started: January 15, 2020

Cover of Archangel's Kiss by Nalini Singh (Guild Hunter #2)Media: Physical

I didn’t get the foreshadowing exactly right, but I was kind of close.  I’m also glad it wasn’t what I feared, because I probably would’ve thrown the book against the wall.  The end seemed a little rushed especially with how much the event that happened there was hyped, and everything was wrapped up pretty quickly, but honestly?  It didn’t remotely detract from my enjoyment.  I’m not sure if the next book in the series will be my next read, but I will be reading it sooner rather than later.

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The State of the Reader: 4/8/20

<–The State of the Reader: 3/26/20         The State of the Reader: 4/22/20–>

A biweekly post updated every other Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads, and if you have an account there feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Purchased


Books On Hold: 1

Title: Man and His Symbols
Author: C. G. Jung et al
Date Added: August 4, 2017
Date Started: January 7, 2020

Man and His Symbols coverMedia: Paperback

Apparently I even forgot to include this last time.  Oh well.  I put it on hold because only the first essay is written by Jung himself.  Not that I doubt the other psychologists aren’t worth my time, but I really liked Jung’s style.  I think I’m going to splurge and pick up his Psychology and Alchemy, because I’ve been pretty immersed in the latter.  It’s…EVERYWHERE, and I want to be able to pinpoint its symbols and usages in FFVII et al.

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The State of the Reader: 3/25/20

<–The State of the Reader: 3/11/20         The State of the Reader: 4/8/20–>

A biweekly post updated every other Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads, and if you have an account there feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Books Finished: 1

Title: Desdemona and the Deep
Series Title: Dark Breakers
Author: C. S. E. Cooney
Date Added: July 24, 2019
Date Started: March 5, 2020

Cover of Desdemona and the Deep by C. S. E. CooneyMedia: eBook/Kindle

This has the lowest rating out of all of the books in the trilogy, but I enjoyed it.  I think I might know why people didn’t, but I thought the overriding message paired well with the delectable writing style is enough for four stars.  What amuses me is I saw a video about Phossy Jaw the other day.  It’s an actual thing, and it’s just as horrible as Cooney describes in her book.  So yeah, this novel was a really good castigation of shitty capitalists/capitalism as well as portraying a spoiled rich girl who isn’t to the core.  Also queer and trans representation, though I’d want an actual trans person to decide on if the latter is decent.  Not my lane, loves.

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The State of the Reader: 3/11/20

<–The State of the Reader: 2/26/20         The State of the Reader: 3/25/20–>

A biweekly post updated every other Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads, and if you have an account there feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Books Purchased

  • 777 and Other Qabalistic Writings of Aleister Crowley: Including Gematria and Sepher Sephiroth by Aleister Crowley – $17.77 @ Amazon

Books Finished: 1

Title: Pestilence
Series Title: The Four Horsemen
Author: Laura Thalassa
Date Added: January 26, 2018
Date Started: February 24, 2020
Date Finished: Marcy 4, 2020

Cover of PestilenceMedia: eBook/Kindle

It seems somewhat irresponsible if not downright cruel to praise a book called “Pestilence” during an epidemic, but current events aren’t the author’s fault.  This book has a very good chance of being my best of 2020…which again is almost brutally ironic for present events.  It could be both hilarious and heartbreaking in the same sentence.  It made sense psychologically, and the main character is a total bad ass.

William Faulkner is quoted as saying, “The only thing worth writing about is the human heart in conflict,” and I think Thalassa would’ve made him proud.  I need to hold off on reading the next book War only because I need some time to emotionally process this.

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The State of the Writer: 7/15/18

<–The State of the Writer: 7/1/18          The State of the Writer: 7/29/18–>

A biweekly post updated every Sunday discussing my current writing projects and any completed the prior two weeks.

Finished Projects: 2


Project: Story
Title:
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Current Word Count: 260,966
Prior Word Count: 260,969
Word Difference: -3
Status: Revising
Progress: Second review of Chapter 8

TiaraContinuing what I was saying last week, after having coffee, I figured out what I still needed to do and made a checklist.  I need to do a second review of Chapter 8 before continuing my review of Chapter 11, which would put me back on track.  It might take a while for Chapter 11, and I’m not going to re-post the revised story until I can continue with something new.  I’ve been having a lot of issues with fatigue and concentration lately, so I’m not where I want to be with any of my projects, but that’s the way life is, you know?

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The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan

Title: The Bonesetter’s Daughter
Author: Amy Tan
Date Added: August 16, 2012
Date Started: September 19, 2017
Date Finished: November 12, 2017
Reading Duration: 24 days
Genre: Cultural/Historical Fiction, Women’s Literature

The Bonesetter's Daughter coverPages: 378
Publication Date: February 19, 2001
Publisher: G. P. Putnam’s Sons
Media: eBook/Kindle


In memories that rise like wisps of ghosts, LuLing Young searches for the name of her mother, the daughter of the Famous Bonesetter from the Mouth of the Mountain. Trying to hold on to the evaporating past, she begins to write all that she can remember of her life as a girl in China. Meanwhile, her daughter Ruth, a ghostwriter for authors of self-help books, is losing the ability to speak up for herself in front of the man she lives with and his two teenage daughters. None of her professional sound bites and pat homilies works for her personal life; she knows only how to translate what others want to say.

Ruth starts suspecting that something is terribly wrong with her mother. As a child, Ruth had been constantly subjected to her mother’s disturbing notions about curses and ghosts, and to her repeated threats to kill herself, and was even forced by her mother to try to communicate with ghosts. But now LuLing seems less argumentative, even happy, far from her usual disagreeable and dissatisfied self.

While tending to her ailing mother, Ruth discovers the pages LuLing wrote in Chinese, the story of her tumultuous and star-crossed life, and is transported to a backwoods village known as Immortal Heart. There she learns of secrets passed along by a mute nursemaid, Precious Auntie; of a cave where dragon bones are mined, some of which may prove to be the teeth of Peking Man; of the crumbling ravine known as the End of the World, where Precious Auntie’s scattered bones lie, and of the curse that LuLing believes she released through betrayal.

Like layers of sediment being removed, each page reveals secrets of a larger mystery: What became of Peking Man? What was the name of the Bonesetter’s Daughter? And who was Precious Auntie, whose suicide changed the path of LuLing’s life? Within LuLing’s calligraphed pages awaits the truth about a mother’s heart, what she cannot tell her daughter yet hopes she will never forget.

Set in contemporary San Francisco and in a Chinese village where Peking Man is being unearthed, The Bonesetter’s Daughter is an excavation of the human spirit: the past, its deepest wounds, its most profound hopes. The story conjures the pain of broken dreams, the power of myths, and the strength of love that enables us to recover in memory what we have lost in grief. Over the course of one fog-shrouded year, between one season of falling stars and the next, mother and daughter find what they share in their bones through heredity, history, and inexpressible qualities of love.


What is the past but what we choose to remember?

Amy Tan has been one of my favorite authors since high school.  I’ve read The Joy Luck Club, The Kitchen God’s Wife, and The Hundred Secret Senses quite a few times, and when I finished The Bonesetter’s Daughter, I realized I’d read it before, too.  Miss Tan specializes in the relationships between mothers and daughters, how fraught they can be, how fragile, and, in this novel, how there’s more than one way for them to be broken.

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