My Friday night movie was a new one for me: a horror flick called Ma, starring Octavia Spencer. I hate to say this, but I’m never immersed in any role she plays! I watched the entire limited Netflix series Self Made and felt the same way. However, I do enjoy her work in secondary character roles, such as Dorothy Vaughan in Hidden Figures and her voice work in Onward and Zootopia. I almost wish the eponymous character in Ma had been played by Regina King, who can be both a fun party girl and deadly serious, which the role calls for.
Again, it’s too hot for picnics, so I stayed in this weekend and did a lot of video chats. First thing Saturday morning, I met Gil from Gil Reads Books! She is a total treat! We had to do some fancy timing because the Philippines are twelve hours into the future, so while I was just getting to my morning coffee, Gil was headed for bed. It was fantastic start to my weekend. After that, I video chatted with my mom for a while and decided we may read Katherine Arden’s Winternight trilogy together after we finish The Bear and The Nightingale for book club. By the time you read this, I’ll likely already have video chatted with Lou from Lou Lou Reads. She also lives in the future, but only by five hours. I’ll be drinking my coffee and maybe she’ll have afternoon tea. I’m making some assumptions here, as Lou is British. We’ve talked before, and Lou is also wonderful.
THIS WEEK’S BLOG POSTS
This was the first week in my memory during which many people wanted to read both books I reviewed. On Tuesday I raved about So We Can Glow, a collection of slice-of-life flash fiction by Leesa Cross-Smith. Many of you are interested in her work, and I can say that every book she’s published has been a winner for me.
Who knew so many of you were bird lovers? I received positive feedback on my review of The Bird Way by Jennifer Ackerman, which discusses how birds talk, work, play, parent, and think. I’ve since added all of Ackerman’s books to by TBR, which is when I learned she doesn’t write solely about birds; she has a book about the common cold and another about “a day in the life of your body.”
NEXT WEEK’S BLOG POSTS
Two non-fiction works are coming your way next week, which makes me wonder: why am I reading so little fiction lately?? On Tuesday I’m sharing my review of a memoir that I stumbled upon when Goodreads gave me it’s “based on your shelves, you may be interested in . . .” song and dance. Motherhood So White by Nefertiti Austin is about the author’s childhood, which shaped the way she approached motherhood as a single black woman who wanted to adopt a black boy.
Thursday brings the famous self-help-ish book The Body is Not an Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor, a fat, black, queer woman. Anyone who’s looked into fat-acceptance, body positivity, or anti-diet culture has come across this book. I finally listened to the audiobook, read by Taylor.
BOOK I’M READING ALOUD TO MY SPOUSE:
East Pittsburgh Downlow by Dave Newman is such a hit in our house. The spouse said, “I feel like this book was written for you to read to me.” The characters are vivid and surprising, while being totally familiar. I love the setting of a community college campus with a protagonist who welded for eleven years only to start writing western novels, get noticed by the community college president, and end up a full-time professor with a bunch of non-traditional students, some scary, some amazing. His co-worker is a Yale graduate who holds an MFA in poetry, producing books the protagonist finds obscure and pretentious. These two, both former wrestlers, will wrestle on the college’s lawn. So odd, so funny.
Their interactions are fantastic, but even better is the entrance of Rig, a former champion college wrestler who went on to play for the Steelers (the Pittsburgh National Football League team for my non-U.S. readers) and now needs someone to pick him up from jail. I mean, it’s a dang hoot and adventure, and thank goodness we’re married, because my husband has laugh-spit on me about a dozen times now. A big, huge thank you to Dave Newman for sending me this book for free during the pandemic. His work is fantastic.