Then and Now #31 (3/10/22 - 9/10/22)

 Happy Sunday! The Sunday Post is a blog news meme hosted @ Caffeinated Reviewer. See rules here: Sunday Post MemeMailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week.  It is hosted weekly over at Mailbox Monday and every Friday they do a round-up of some of their favourite, shared reads!

Last Week 

I had my first kind of official work-week, even though it didn't feel entirely official yet xD No one else was there, so I managed to get a little settled into my office, put some of my books up, and get a feeling for what it will be like to work there. I'm still waiting on some stuff to get sorted, like my work email etc., but from tomorrow the real work starts! We've got a department meeting and I've got a meeting with my supervisor so I'm hoping to be able to really dig into things soon! I do need my employee card so I can access the library though... I'm desperate to get my hands on some of those university library books asap.

Aside from settling into a work rhythm I've also managed to be reaalllyy active on my blog this week. I realised that I had some reviews "waiting in the wings" which were by now overdue... So hence why there are quite some reviews this week. I also got the beautiful The Art of Darkness hardback which is just stunning! I also made an Excel sheet with my backlog which was honestly a lot of work and I don't know if it's useful yet, but at least it's there now. I'll enjoy turning allll those books green over the coming months (probably over the coming years!). So far I've managed to read 17 books from my backlog and that pace will definitely drop once work seriously starts, but I'm in the groove now so I'm pretty confident I will continue to chip away at it!

Posted this week:


I have been listening to this song on repeat for the past week, it's 'The Only Way to Love' by Vanessa Carlton from her album Love is an Art. I've loved Vanessa Carlton's music for so long, ever since the obvious song, but she has only gotten better as she has been able to move away mainstream pop. With this one it is especially the refrain that hits me.

Mailbox Monday

Seven Empty Houses: Stories by Samantha Schweblin (Oneworld Publications; 11/3/2022)

The collection that established Samanta Schweblin at the forefront of her literary generation, available in English for the first time

The seven houses in these seven stories are strange. A person is missing, or a truth, or memory; some rooms are enticing, some unmoored, others empty. But in Samanta Schweblin’s tense, visionary tales, something always creeps back in: a ghost, a fight, trespassers, a list of things to do before you die, or the fallibility of parents.

Seven Empty Houses offers an entry point into a fiercely original mind, and a slingshot into Schweblin’s destabilizing, exhilarating literary world. In each story, the twists and turns will unnerve and surprise: Schweblin never takes the expected path and instead digs under the skin and reveals uncomfortable truths about our sense of home, of belonging, and of the fragility of our connections with others. This is a masterwork from one of our most brilliant modern writers.

Samantha Schweblin's Fever Dream and Moutful of Birds absolutely blew me away so I jumped at the chance to read this collection, released in English for the first time.

Man Made Monsters by Andrea Rogers, illustr. by Jeff Edwards (Levine Querido; 10/18/2022)

Tsalagi should never have to live on human blood, but sometimes things just happen to sixteen-year-old girls.

Making her YA debut, Cherokee writer Andrea L. Rogers takes her place as one of the most striking voices of the horror renaissance that has swept the last decade.

Horror fans will get their thrills in this collection – from werewolves to vampires to zombies – all the time-worn horror baddies are there. But so are predators of a distinctly American variety – the horrors of empire, of intimate partner violence, of dispossession. And so too the monsters of Rogers’ imagination, that draw upon long-told Cherokee stories – of Deer Woman, fantastical sea creatures, and more.

Following one extended Cherokee family across the centuries, from the tribe’s homelands in Georgia in the 1830s to World War I, the Vietnam War, our own present, and well into the future, each story delivers a slice of a particular time period that will leave readers longing for more.

Alongside each story, Cherokee artist and language technologist Jeff Edwards delivers haunting illustrations that incorporate Cherokee syllabary.

But don’t just take it from us – award-winning writer of The Only Good Indians and Mongrels Stephen Graham Jones says that "Andrea Rogers writes like the house is on fire and her words are the only thing that can put it out."

Man Made Monsters is a masterful, heartfelt, haunting collection ripe for crossover appeal – just don’t blame us if you start hearing things that go bump in the night.

I love the idea of a collection of stories following a single family and thereby tracking different time periods. I also imagine, with its bent to horror, that we'll see some generational trauma taking shape. Perfect October read!

Chinese Homestyle by Maggie Zhu (Quarto Publishing, Rock Point; 9/20/2022)

Enjoy the bold flavors of Chinese food with 90 accessible plant-based recipes for the Western cook and kitchen. No wok required!

With her popular blog, Omnivore’s Cookbook, Maggie Zhu is the go-to person for traditional Chinese recipes designed for the Western home cook, and over the past few years, she has been incorporating more plant-based cooking into her diet. In Chinese Homestyle, Maggie shares a wide range of foolproof vegan recipes that pack all the flavor and none of the meat.

Building on a foundation of plant-based and vegetable-forward dishes found in Chinese cuisine, these umami-rich recipes are inspired by the comforting, everyday dishes Maggie grew up eating in northern China and discovered in her travels throughout the country, along with takeout favorites she became familiar with after moving to the United States.

Made with fresh ingredients and minimal oil and sugar, the salads, soups, stir-fries, braises, dumplings, and more are not only delicious, but also demonstrate the impact of aromatics, the benefits of using homemade sauces and condiments, how to cook tofu for maximum flavor and texture, and versatile cooking techniques.

Complete with step-by-step instructionsstunning photos, and information for stocking your Chinese pantryChinese Homestyle will soon have you enjoying this exciting cuisine right in your own home.

I have already had a quick browse through this book and immediately felt a major wave of nostalgia for Shanghai. Some recipes I have already bookmarked and will definitely give a try myself. Can't wait to dig further into the rest of the book.

So that's it for me! How was your week? 


  1. Glad to hear things are going well with the new job! Hope they continue to go well!

    Nice new reads! Those are new to me ones but I hope you enjoy them!

    Here's my StS

    Have a GREAT day!

    Old Follower :)

  2. Getting settled into your new office sounds fun and I hope you have a great first week!!

    Art of Darkness sounds totally like a book for me.

  3. Nice to settle into your office - hope the week is a great start for you!
    Mary @Bookfan

  4. Congrad on the new job. The song by Vanessa Carlton is really nice.
    Have a great week.

  5. I hope everything goes well at work this week! I will be physically in the office this week and am still not sure where I will end up setting up since I lost my personal space. The new office space I was supposed to be moving to isn't ready yet. It'll be weird not having a "home" in the office. I hope you have a great week!

  6. You have some interesting novels and a great cookbook.

  7. I had a real hard time with Mouthful of Birds, so I'll probably won't try this one, but I hope you enjoy it as much as you did her previous books.
    BUT this Chinese recipe book is right up my alley, lol

  8. I love the look of chinese Homestyle! Definitely going to get that one. And sorry if this is a duplicate comment- I thought I commented but I'm not seeing it...

    Take care and hope you're having a great week!

  9. MMM Chinese homestyle. That sounds like a good book

  10. I hope your first week of work goes really well.
    I am behind on reviews right now and struggling to get caught up.
    Man Made Monsters looks very interesting to me.
    Happy Reading!


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