The Big Reading Update 2021: Week 5

February 5, 2021 in Wrap-Ups
AD • Some of the books mentioned are review copies which I received for free in exchange for an honest review. This post also contains affiliate links. Affiliate links are marked with a (*). If you click on these links and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, please read my Disclosure.


Happy Friday! Can you believe we’re now in the sixth week of the year? Time seems to be moving at a weird rate like it’s going slow but also quite fast? I don’t know if that’s just me or what but hey, it is what it is! So today is reading update day and as always, there’s a lot to cover. From what I read through to what I hauled and more, it’s all here in this weekly update. Let’s talk books, shall we?

What I Read This Week

 

Gudetama: Mindfulness for the Lazy by Wook-Jin Clark

Gudetama: Mindfulness for the Lazy
by Wook-Jin Clark

★★★★★

ADReview Copy

I read this on a really dark dreary January afternoon. It was raining. I was in a bad mood. And this genuinely perked me up. It’s a lot of fun!

This graphic novel follows Gudetama, the lazy egg, as we learn about the concepts of mindfulness through everyday slice-of-life situations. The artwork is amazing – it’s cheerful and vivid and so much fun. I’d recommend this book to anyone needing a pick-me-up right now because honestly, it brightened my day!

 

Ace: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society and the Meaning of Sex by Angela Chen

Ace: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex
By Angela Chen

★★★★★

If you read any of my previous weekly updates, you’ll know that I’d been listening to an audiobook of this throughout January. As I identify as ace myself, this was a very important read for me. And yeah, I really enjoyed it. I loved the way it covers so much; history of asexuality to feminism, media, rape culture, the topics of marriage and parenting and more. And on top of that, it takes an intersectional approach. It doesn’t just cover the author’s own experiences but also shares the perspectives of aces of colour, disabled aces, trans aces and of course, those who identify as aromantic.

As a chronically ill ace, the disability chapter in particular stood out to me. Primarily, because yes my illness makes it physically impossible to have sex. It’s too painful. But my endometriosis is NOT what made me asexual. I was asexual long before my symptoms even presented themselves – I just didn’t know it. Hearing the perspectives in this book solidified that for me. There are a lot of anecdotes that were incredibly relatable because I’d been through these experiences myself. My sexuality was constantly questioned by others because I wasn’t sexual enough to be considered straight but being hetero-romantic, I was too straight to be considered anything else either. There’s something comforting about knowing that others went through these things too so I truly felt seen in this book.

From an education point of view, I definitely learnt a lot from Ace. And I’d say that it’s essential reading for anyone who is interested in educating themselves on LGBTQIA+ identities. (Or alternatively, anyone interested in learning about how sex-obsessed society is.) It’s a fascinating exploration of asexuality and the struggles of being ace in an allosexual world and I highly recommend it.

 

Bingo Love by Tee Franklin, Jenn St-Onge and Joy San

Bingo Love
By Tee Franklin et Al

★★★★

Buy on Bookshop.org*

I have wanted to read this sweet LGBTQIA+ graphic novel for soooo long. It’s a book that has been on my radar for months but I finally treated myself to it over Christmas. Was it worth it? 100%. 

Bingo Love is a story of a same-sex romance between two young Black girls. They’re forced apart by heteronormativity. In the eyes of their families, homosexuality is a sin. End of conversation. So they’re not allowed to be together and instead are forced to uphold these societal norms by marrying men and raising families. And then, decades later, the two women find each other again and discover that they are still very much in love. It’s a wonderful heart-warming story of love, loss, family dynamics and being true to yourself.

If this is a book you’re interested in, I highly recommend getting the Jackpot edition over the standard edition as it contains follow-on comics that are referenced but are otherwise unavailable.

 

Currently Reading

At the time of writing, I’m currently reading two ARCs!

The first is The Coven by Lizzie Fry which is an urban fantasy slash dystopian novel that comes out later this month. In the way that history likes to repeat itself, we’re presented with an alternate present day where women are persecuted for being witches. I’m a little over the halfway point so far and am enjoying the feminist undertones, the diversity of the characters and the fact that it highlights white male privilege. It really makes you think about EVERY time in history that a white man has singled out a group as being a “threat” and the consequences.

Secondly, I’m reading The Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person by Frederick Joseph. This is an antiracism book for teens and it’s such a great read. In it, Joseph shares anecdotes from his life where he has experienced racism and explains why those things are racist. This approach is really effective as it is personable and down-to-earth. I fully expect to see this on lots of ‘antiracism books for teens’ lists in the near future.

 

Haul

Pay day week continues with even more bookish treats! I like to set myself a little budget for the Kindle monthly deals and then if I have money left over then I can treat myself to a few physical books – so that’s what I did. Here’s what I hauled over the last seven days:

Kindle ebooks:

  • SLAY by Brittney Morris
  • Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng 
  • Lost You by Haylen Beck
  • Something to Talk About by Meryl Wilsner
  • Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner

I also snapped up some freebies from the Kindle store in the form of the following:

  • Some of the Best from Tor.com: 2016 edition
  • Some of the Best from Tor.com: 2019 edition
  • Some of the Best from Tor.com: 2020 edition

At the time of posting, these three are still free to buy – at least on the UK store. These are big SFF anthologies with short stories from the likes of Charlie Jane Anders, Stephen Graham Jones, Seanan McGuire and N.K. Jemisin. So well worth picking up if you’re into science fiction, fantasy or just anthologies in general!

Physical Copies:

  • Cat’s Cafe by Matt Tarpley
  • Kodi by Jared Cullum
  • When The World Didn’t End: Poems by Caroline Kaufman
  • Soppy by Philippa Rice

Children’s Books:

In terms of books for my son, this week we bought the Kindle version of The Day The Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers and we also pre-ordered There’s a Wolf in Your Book by Tom Fletcher for World Book Day.

Review copies:

And finally – review copies! The only ARC I picked up this week was The Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person by Frederick Joseph. (Scroll up if you missed my thoughts on this so far! You’ll find it under ‘currently reading’.)

 

Bookish Content I Loved This Week

And to wrap this up, here are some bookish links for you! This week we’ve got free reads, more lists and also a readathon that I’m really looking forward to in March!


What are you hoping to read this week? Let me know in the comments.

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I'm Hayley - a 30 year old book blogger from the UK. Also: chronic overthinker, introvert, homebody and mum.

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