Last week I was feeling stressed out about all of the library books that I had checked-out. I made a Library Wish List and decided to return a lot of the books that I renewed multiple times. I also felt guilty about hoarding them without having read them in so long. However, I then encountered some severe family-related stress that became rather overwhelming. Normally my inclination is to do unhealthy bouts of shopping to help me cope with it, but that is not good for my wallet or my mental health in the long run. So, one day while I was waiting for Sir Betrothed to get off work, I hit the library closest to his worksite, with the sole intention of paroozing titles to add to my newly created Wish List. I ended up coming home with a sack full of books instead.
While I do feel mildly stressed about bringing all those books homes, especially after going through the effort to return a bunch of shit, I was exhausted with feeling guilty and crappy about it. Instead I focused on the positives of the situation. Checking out books for free helps trigger the same satisfying impulses for stress-relief within my brain that shopping does, but without my spending a single dime! Or nickel. Or penny. Yeah, I have more books that I really want to read that I may probably not get to, but in three weeks if I haven’t touched them, I can return them. This helps prevent even more guilt over having a bunch of unread things compile onto my shelves and floor around the shelves. I also made sure the books I checked out didn’t have a long-line of holds at other libraries (me finding one being a case of sheer luck), that way I’m not holding on to something someone else wants to read with eager anticipation.
I felt so much better, y’all, that I cannot properly describe that feeling to you in words. It made the teeny, tiny rut I was battling with disappear, as well as the vast majority of the negative vibes that had been filling up my veins and brains. I did a Self-Care Sunday post last month on the power of perception, and this was a grand example of how being optimistic really helped me combat mounting piles of anxiety and discomfort.
Anyway, I thought that was neat and wanted to share my mini-story, just in case if there is anyone else out there who gets library anxiety like me. Maybe you can spin some positivity into feelings of pessimism and lessen your worries!
I ended up with nine books total and you can check them all out below. I do like the variety in narratives and genres that I accumulated. I think it should keep me on my toes and prevent reading burn outs rather nicely!
Empire of Silence (Sun Eater #1) by Christopher Ruochhio
This is an epic science-fiction, space opera novel that follows a man named Hadrian Marlowe who is revered as s hero. Yet, Hadrian never wanted to be anyone’s hero, he just happened to be on the wrong planet at the right time. He was simply a man trying to escape his father and a future as a torturer, which brought him to a backwater planet where he was swept away into gladiator fights and the complexities of foreign planetary court life. As he tries to make it out, Hadrian ends up fighting a war he didn’t begin, for an Empire he doesn’t love, against an enemy he doesn’t understand.
Everfair by Nisi Shawl
This steampunk, alternate history novel takes place in Neo-Victorian era and explores the question of what might have happened if Belgium’s disastrous colonisation of the Congo, led to the native population having acquired knowledge about steam technologies much sooner. The novel turns one of the worst human rights disasters on record into an exciting exploration of possibilities.
Feast of Fates (Four Fates Till Darkness #1) by Christian A. Brown
The book is the first in a supernatural fantasy series and revolves around a young woman named Morigan, who is the handmaiden to an old sorcerer. One evening she crosses paths with a guy named Caeright who isn’t quite what he seems. The meeting sparks long-buried magical abilities within Morigan. While she struggles to understand what has been unlocked, she is plagued with visions of devastating madness that descends upon one of the Immortal Kings. When a sinister power learns that she is the key to foiling their plans, they set out to find and destroy her before she can do the same to them.
Dead Set: A Novel by Richard Kadrey
This is a supernatural, dark fantasy book and is about a girl named Zoe. When her father dies, she moves to the big city with her mom where they struggle financially, as well with other titbits of life. The only means that Zoe has of escaping her troubles is when she enters the realm of dreams to spend time with her lost brother, Valentine. However, her sanctuary is endangered when the presence of an uninvited force threatens both her and Valentine, with disturbing turn of events and an impossible discovery.
Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children #2) by Seanan McGuire
This is the sequel to the adult urban fantasy novel called Every Heart a Doorway. To avoid spoilers for people who have not read (and are interested in) the first book, I won’t provide a synopsis for this title. But you can read my review for book one here (spoiler-free).
The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo
This is an #OwnVoices Chinese historical fiction novel that takes place in Chinese colonial Malay, ruled by British overlords. It is about a young woman named Li Lan, who is the daughter of a genteel yet bankrupt family, with no prospects. One day the wealthy Lim family offers her a proposal to become the Ghost Bride to their son, who passed away recently, to placate his possibly erratic and unrestful soul, but at a terrible price. Li Lan is taken to the opulent Lim house for a visit, where she then finds herself haunted by her would-be-suitor.
Kay’s Lucky Coin Variety by Ann Y.K. Choi
This #OwnVoices Korean-Canadian fiction book is about Mary, who lives in Toronto in a Korean community in the 1980s. She is rebellious and struggles with her multi-cultural identity in the midst of complicated family secrets, a lost sister, forbidden love, and domestic assaults.
The Reeducation of Chery Truong by Aimee Phan
The #OwnVoices Vietnamese-American narrative is about a girl named Cherry Truong who travels to her homeland of Vietnam from her Southern California home to bring back her exiled, wayward brother after he was sent away to live with distant relatives. Along her journey, Cherry uncovers her family’s oldest secrets—of hidden loves, desperate choices, and lives that were ripped apart by war.
Revenge of the Mooncake Vixen: A Novel by Marilyn Chin
Another #OwnVoices Chinese-American fiction novel, this time about sisters—Moonie and Mei Ling Wong—who work as Chinese food delivery gals. While living under the strict and dominating authority of their grandmother, the sisters are united in their desire to exert their intellect and sexualities. As they work on transforming themselves into accomplished women, they battle the influences and continuities of their Chinese heritage.
Those are all of the library books I nabbed last week. I really enjoy reading narratives about people who struggle with balancing multi-cultural identities. As someone who has had this challenge their whole life, and who continues to fight for a comfortable balance and understanding of it, I feel that I can learn a lot about an individual’s culture, as well as to expose myself to a wide spectrum of diasporic experiences, by reading novels such as these. I was very happy to have found so many that fall within this realm.
Do any of these sound interesting to you? What have you been reading lately? Please, come chat with me in the comments.
Thank you so much for visiting me today! Until next time, happy reading and happy otakuing! 🧡
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