Then and Now #32 (24/10/22 - 30/10/22)

 Happy Sunday and yay for the clocks changing back!  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 woke up this morning so relaxed and wondering how that could possibly be, only to realise two hours later that, of course, the clocks had gone back! Love winter time, give me that extra hour!! 

I've been insanely busy, I feel, which is why the blog has of course fallen slightly silent. I'm just rushing around a lot and not getting as much time to read, or rather, fun reading has taken second place to academic reading. But some exciting things have happened this week as well! On Monday, I officially had my graduation ceremony for my Research Master in Utrecht! It was a lovely ceremony, really chill but also fun, and I was really glad to get a chance to see my friends again and to catch up with my supervisor. It really felt like I got to close of that chapter and now fully focus on my PhD. While the traveling was a lot (like 7 hours on the train each way), it nonetheless lifted me up. Which was good because on Thursday was my first time leading a seminar on my own which was a little scary. But that also turned out fun, despite the occasional little growing pains of settling into the role of teacher. 

On Friday it was Toothless' 6th birthday! I can't believe he's been with me for such a long time already. I picked him up from the streets in Shanghai, literally dressed in a Halloween costume I believe, and then I thought he was a girl for like 3 months... I knew nothing about cats, but somehow he has made it through these years alive, including an intercontinental move from Shanghai to the Netherlands and now a move to Germany. He truly is the best little companion, even if we sometimes get on each other's nerves as well. 

I haven't posted a whole lot lately, but here is what I posted since my last Sunday Post:


Please everyone, please watch Andor if you in any way can! And then talk about, discuss it, praise it to
the sky, analyse it, but make it heard! While it is a Star Wars show it is also a perfectly told story about oppressive and authoritarian regimes, about rebelling against these regimes, about hope and disappointment. It really is a story for this time in the world and in the hands of its creators, Tony Gilroy and Diego Luna, it is an incredibly nuanced tale that is also just beautiful to look at.

I have seen some people argue that it is too slow, when actually it is just well-written and tightly plotted. Everything that happens happens for a reason, so if we linger on facial expressions that means you're meant to take something away from it. If we don't have a fight scene every episode (thank God!) that doesn't mean nothing is happening. Andor is very subtle and yet very clear in so many impressive ways that I honestly can't wrap by head around it sometimes until a day or two later. So please, watch it! It is so important that stories like these are told!

Mailbox Monday

Ode to a Nobody by Caroline Brooks DuBois (Holiday House; 12/6/2022)
A devastating tornado tears apart more than just houses in this striking novel in verse about a girl rebuilding herself.

Before the storm, thirteen-year-old Quinn was happy flying under the radar. She was average. Unremarkable. Always looking for an escape from her house, where her bickering parents fawned over her genius big brother. 
     Inside our broken home / we didn’t know how broken / the world outside was.

But after the storm, Quinn can’t seem to go back to average. Her friends weren't affected by the tornado in the same way. To them, the storm left behind a playground of abandoned houses and distracted adults. As Quinn struggles to find stability in the tornado’s aftermath, she must choose: between homes, friendships, and versions of herself.
       Nothing that was mine / yesterday is mine today.
Told in rich, spectacular verse, Caroline Brooks DuBois crafts a powerful story of redemption as Quinn makes her way from Before to After. There’s nothing average about the world Quinn wakes up to after the storm; maybe there’s nothing average about her, either. This emotional coming-of-age journey for middle grade readers proves that it’s never too late to be the person you want to be. 
I love the idea of reading a novel in verse! I've only done it once before, I think, so I'm excited to see how DuBois uses her verse to tell Quinn's story. It is for middle grade readers, so I don't know it all of it will resonate with me but I think that since I know that I can approach it properly.

The Looking Glass: Essential Stories by Machado De Assis (Pushkin Press; 12/13/2022)
Enchanting, fresh translations of the finest stories by Brazil’s greatest writer and author of short stories, cited as the greatest black writer in Western literature

“Machado de Assis showed the human comedy is the same everywhere, and in conflicts between man and society, society usually wins.”  --The New Yorker

Machado de Assis is one of the most enigmatic and fascinating story writers who ever lived. What appear at first to be stately social satires reveal unanticipated depths through flashes of darkness and winking surrealism. This new selection of his finest work, translated by the prize-winning Daniel Hahn, showcases the many facets of his mercurial genius.

A brilliant scientist opens the first asylum in his home town, only to start finding signs of insanity all around him. A young lieutenant basks in praise, but in solitude feels his identity fray into nothing. The reading of a much-loved elder statesman's journals reveals hidden thoughts of merciless cruelty.
More short stories because of course! I don't think I've read a whole lot of Brazilian fiction before, so I'm excited to explore De Assis' work with completely fresh eyes. The 'flashes of darkness and winking surrealism' definitely sound right up my alley. 

Graveyard of Lost Children by Katrina Monroe (Poisoned Pen Press; 5/9/2023)


At four months old, Olivia Dahl was almost murdered. Driven by haunting visions, her mother became obsessed with the idea that Olivia was a changeling, and that the only way to get her real baby back was to make a trade with the "dead women" living at the bottom of the well. Now Olivia is ready to give birth to a daughter of her own...and for the first time, she hears the women whispering.

Everyone tells Olivia she should be happy. She should be glowing, but the birth of her daughter only fills Olivia with dread. As Olivia's body starts giving out, slowly deteriorating as the baby eats and eats and eats, she begins to fear that the baby isn't her daughter at all and, despite her best efforts, history is repeating itself.

Soon images of a black-haired woman plague Olivia's nightmares, drawing her back to the well that almost claimed her life—tying mother and daughter together in a desperate cycle of fear and violence that must be broken if Olivia has any hope of saving her child...or herself.

Honestly I was immediately gripped by this blurb. The idea of a woman wavering between what could be postpartum depression or actually Changelings/mysterious women is terrifying in the best way. 

The Family Bones by Elle Marr (Thomas & Mercer; 3/7/2023)

What makes a psychopath? A young woman delves into her family’s shadowy legacy in a terrifying novel by the #1 Amazon Charts bestselling author of Strangers We Know.

Psychology student Olivia Eriksen’s family is notorious among true-crime buffs. Faced with a legacy of psychopathy that spans generations, Olivia has spent much of her academic life trying to answer one chilling question: Nature or nurture?

Although she’s kept a safe distance from her blood relatives for years, Olivia agrees to attend a weekend reunion. After all, her fiancé is eager to meet his future in-laws, and the gathering may give her a chance to interview her elusive grandfather about the family traits.

But nothing is ever peaceful among the Eriksens for long. Olivia’s favorite cousin is found dead in a nearby lake. Then another family member disappears. As a violent storm isolates the group further, Olivia’s fears rise faster than the river.

And an uninvited guest is about to join the party. True-crime podcaster Birdie Tan has uncovered a disturbing mystery in her latest investigation—and she’s following it right to the Eriksens’ mountain resort. There’s a deadly twist in the family plot that even Olivia doesn’t see coming.

LOVE everything about this! You're telling me her entire family are psychopaths and she is gonna just go over there and question them, while her fiance is super excited to meet them? Yeah, that sounds like a perfect set-up for some dramatic events!

That's it for me this week! I'm hoping to get some more reading done this week, since Tuesday is a national holiday, but who knows!


  1. that novel in verse sounds very unique.

  2. Congratulations on your graduation! I will check out Andor. I keep hearing about it. Here's my SP:

  3. Congrats on your graduation! That's awesome! We still have another week here until we get our hour back for daylight savings. I'm looking forward to that! I think I am the only one who does! Lol. Everyone else I know always complains about it being darker earlier and here I am celebrating because we get an extra hour to sleep, read, or do whatever! Lol.

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

    Here's my StS

    Have a GREAT day!

    Old Follower :)

  4. That extra hour is always nice. And congrats! Oh, and Toothless sounds amazing! :)

    I am LOVING Andor. The last few episodes... man. It is SO relevant to this time- couldn't agree more.

  5. Congrats on completing that next step of education!! And, Graveyard of Lost Children sounds totally intriguing, so I requested from Netgalley.....we'll see. Hope you have a terrific week and find time to read a good book.
    Terrie @ Bookshelf Journeys

  6. Congrats on your graduation! You must feel so accomplished and happy to have that done! :D It's always been weird to me that different areas of the world do Daylight Saving differently. I do look forward to the fall one. I just wish we didn't do the spring one. LOL. Also, happy birthday to Toothless! I love his name. My Dax always reminded me of Toothless. :D

    My Post

  7. Congrats on graduation! :D What a wonderful thing to celebrate!
    All your new books are new to me, but I have to say I absolutely love the cover for Ode to a Nobody.
    Have a great week, happy reading!

  8. I've found novels in verse done well are very good reads and highly entertaining. Congrats on the graduation!
    Mary @Bookfan

  9. Congratulations on your graduation. I am pleased Toothless is being a good companion for you.
    I am interested in Andor after your encouragement.
    Ode to Nobody looks/sounds like it will be good. Have a good week and Happy Reading! MarthaE

  10. Ooh, I was not aware of this new translation of Machado de Assis!
    And Ode to a Nobody sounds different too. Enjoy your great finds. Marr is a great writer as well

  11. The kitty was wearing a Halloween costume when you found him/her!!!!


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