a lit-el forecast

4.17.21

It’s been a busy week on the farm. Spring planting is underway in the fields, even though we seem to be in another cold snap (which means fewer walks, sadly) and even have a chance of snow coming up again next week. I also got my first vaccine dose (Moderna) this week, just in time for my birthday! It was a low-key celebration, but my sudden eligibility for the Covid vaccine truly felt like a gift. (Catch me cheesing with my vaccination card in The 365!) I have been fatigued ever since I got the shot, but I’m not entirely sure whether it’s a symptom of the vaccine or just another relapse of my lingering Covid symptoms, which have been coming and going like this for a full year now. I remain hopeful that being fully vaccinated will help relieve my long-lasting symptoms once and for all, and am feeling better on the whole than I did in March, but for now I guess health is still a work in progress.

On the plus side, I’ve gotten enough brain functionality back following my second bout of Covid last month to make a happy, near-full return to reading and blogging. This past week I’ve caught up on an entire month’s worth of posts I’d been neglecting in my WordPress reader (I did not realize it had gotten that bad!), and while I am still reading slightly below my “usual” daily page count for novels, I’ve worked back up to a steady pace that suits me well at the moment. Most of my photos for The 365 this week showcase my resurfaced zest for reading, including the three books I’ve been reading this week and a small book haul: I had a birthday credit through BOTM to spend (and let myself max out my box), and then ordered Melissa Broder’s Milk Fed on the side because I just really wanted it.

I’ve now surpassed 100 photos in The 365, which seems like a good time to reflect a bit on how it’s going. The project has changed a bit from what I originally envisioned, mainly, in that it has become a sort of “slice of life” photo-a-day project moreso than a way to pinpoint and record joy in my daily life. At some point I just had to admit that I am not joyful 365 days of the year, even when making an effort to find something joyful. A joyful photo project was a good idea, but was never going to work for me in 2021. Furthermore, I do not have the energy every day to think up a unique, beautiful photo toward some nice aesthetic (I seem to have abandoned Instagram altogether for now), and being stuck around home 99% of the time means I’ve resorted to a repetitiveness in my photos that I originally tried to resist. To be honest I’m getting a little bored with The 365 and am not sure another 200+ days of photos is going to push this in a new and interesting direction, but dammit I’ve come this far! I’m hoping that being vaccinated, getting my health back soon (hopefully), and seeing some warmer summer weather on the horizon will help liven things up, but at this point the jury’s out on whether The 365 will survive all the way up to 365.

This week’s reading:

  • Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers – 2 stars. This Women’s Prize longlister started out on shaky ground for me and ultimately disappointed at almost every turn instead of capitalizing on its wealth of potential, unfortunately. Nevertheless it was an easy read when I needed one, and after a couple of weeks of struggling with reading at all it was surprisingly fun to engage properly, even if only to curate my list of complaints.
  • No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood – 3 stars. Bit of a mixed bag. There are some fantastic one-liners for our time in here and some insight into a genetic disorder I’d never come across before (Proteus Syndrome), which I appreciated reading about. And yet the story felt so disjointed that it didn’t suit my personal reading taste especially well. I can this being an incredible book for the right reader, but it wasn’t quite the right fit for me.
  • Made in China by Amelia Pang – ongoing. This is a nonfiction book about labor camps in China and how they are fueled by cheap consumerism world-wide. It’s taken me a few tries to get well and started with this one because it’s very info-heavy (difficult with Covid-brain) and starts right out in the first chapter with a bit of torture, which I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind to sit with in recent weeks. Now that I’m accustomed to the bleakness and reading regularly again, I’m getting properly into this one at last and I can already tell (about 50 pages in) that this is going to be one hell of an impactful read.

I also managed to post something for once! I wanted to prioritize blog hopping since I was so behind, but I did catch up in time to finish an Actual Review for the first time in a solid month. In case you missed it, I shared some thoughts on:

  • Luster by Raven Leilani, a Women’s Prize read

I have big plans looking forward, but I have to admit up front here that how much I accomplish next week regarding books is going to depend on how busy my family is with planting corn and what my energy level will look like in whatever free time I have outside of that. Assuming we’re delayed with snow and that my recent fatigue is vaccine-related and will therefore wear off soon (big assumptions, but let’s go with it) I am aiming to finish Made in China this week and pick up Cherie Jones’s How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House as my next Women’s Prize read this week.

I also have three completed Women’s Prize reads with notes started for reviews, and if possible I’d love to catch up on all of those. If it turns out to be a golden week maybe I’ll even put together some answers for the book tag I’ve got queued up. If this doesn’t all end up happening in the next seven days, I do still expect to power through this list before the end of April, so my thoughts on Exciting Times, Small Pleasures, and No One is Talking About This will be coming soon.

It hardly makes sense to me that I’m 7 books into the Women’s Prize longlist right now when I feel like I’ve hardly even looked at a book since the list was announced, but I’ll take it! I’m not sure I’ve read enough to do a full shortlist prediction, but I am getting curious, so please drop below any longlist titles you expect to make the cut!

The Literary Elephant

16 thoughts on “a lit-el forecast”

  1. I’m so happy for you for getting the vaccine!!! I hope your symptoms go away soon – I’ve read that many people feel fatigue after the shot.

    Ugh I am not excited to read Small Pleasures and after seeing your reaction to it, I will definitely skip it. Good luck with the next reads! Also nice to see you blogging again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Naty! I am eager to get past the fatigue but am definitely more optimistic already for having gotten a dose of vaccine. I hope that will be the case for so many others too as vaccinations become more and more available!

      Unfortunately I thought Small Pleasures had a lot of potential but didn’t handle any of its issues very well. Not a must-read by any means! You might have better luck trying a different longlister.
      And thanks so much! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  2. Yay for the vaccine! Hopefully this will be the first proper step towards you feeling 100% again.

    Small Pleasures was one of the titles I was originally drawn to but Iโ€™m definitely on the fence now about whether or not to pick it up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, yay indeed! I really hope you’ll be able to get your dose soon as well!

      Ugh, I so wanted Small Pleasures to be an unexpected gem from the list but ultimately it felt like a bit of a mess that didn’t know what it was trying to say. The virgin birth investigation falls quickly into the background in favor of a domestic drama involving an extramarital romance. I don’t really see you liking it tbh, though it’s not ‘avoid this book at all costs’ bad.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations on your vaccine! And Happy Birthday! I’m so glad you’ve got your reading motivation back and am really interested to hear your thoughts on the Women’s Prize list so far. I’ve been dithering about those two books (several of them, in fact) but now feel they can definitely wait a bit longer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! I’m very excited to get some more reviews up this week and chat about Women’s Prize titles! Small Pleasures unfortunately I had a lot of issues with, but No One is Talking About This is a book I’d still recommend to anyone interested in the premise even though the style of the book didn’t entirely work for me.

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  4. Great to hear you got the first vaccination – hope this will be the beginning of the end of your symptoms! Like Callum, I had Small Pleasures as one of my potential longlist reads, but I’m not sure about it. It is funny though, I am seeing so many reactions; people adoring it, people hating it and quite a few loving the book but hating the ending. I may have to read it, just to see where I am in the spectrum… ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I hope you’ll have better luck with Small Pleasures if you decide to give it a go. I am definitely also the sort of curious reader who likes to check out a book just to see what I’ll make of it compared to others, so I understand that urge! Small Pleasures felt a bit like a cozy mystery to me, with an emphasis on domestic drama, which I think was the wrong vibe for me though it could certainly be a more enjoyable read for others. I didn’t appreciate the messages conveyed through the story, but there’s definitely plenty of food for thought in the book and a convincing 50s atmosphere so I can see how it’s getting such a mix of responses! And the ending is definitely polarizing, haha. I’d love to see your thoughts on the book if you do pick it up!

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  5. Yay for a return to reading and a Happy Birthday to you! I like your idea of The 365 being more of a snapshot of your life, whatever that might look like, even if it isn’t beautifully curated or joyful each day. I think that’s still a worthwhile endeavour.

    And I’m super happy for you that you’ve received your first vaccine dose! Will be hoping that you continue to feel better physically.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much!
      The slice of life style is a bit different than what I originally wanted from the project, but it is still interesting to scroll through the photo album on my phone and have that record marking my year. Even though this might not have been the most exciting year for daily photos, it’s certainly something I’m considering trying again in the future!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I tend to enjoy your photos, and I know a lot of folks comment on them. I especially like the nail polish images and the ones in which you introduce us to a cat. Even the landscape shots are cool because you (maybe) forget that your readers are not from Iowa! I don’t know what it looks like there.

    The whole first week I had my Pfizer vaccine, i was totally fine. Then, this week, I’ve been taking a lot of naps and not reading as much. Definitely watching loads of TV, as you may have read in my Sunday Lowdown, lol. Oh, well. It is what it is.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚

      I’m sorry to hear you’ve been dealing with some fatigue too. I only had about two good days after my shot and then the fatigue came back, which has been so frustrating just when I thought I was getting past that after being sick. I hope it will pass soon for us both! It can be even more exhausting trying to fight it, so I’m glad you took some time to rest and watch TV. A bit of mindless, relaxing fun can be so restorative. Keep taking care of yourself!

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