Then and Now #34 (21/11/22 - 27/11/22)


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 am realising that the more I get into all the particulars of my job the less time I have for blogging, which of course makes sense. I'm not the first and won't be the last to realise that blogging and a full-time job are hard to combine. But now I want to really try and stick at least to my usual Friday and Sunday/Monday posts and at least one review a week. Otherwise my desire to work on my backlog is going to completely fall apart and I worked too hard on creating the spreadsheet to let that happen! 

But it was a productive work week, with fun classes and nice student-interactions, so that was good. Had some busy admin stuff, ie literally moving info from a Word doc into an Excel spreadsheet, but that's also part of it. As long as it helps our department run smoothly I'm happy to do it. But I'm also looking forward to having a "normal" work week without any extra meetings. And I'm looking forward to getting paid... I went to Norway for a conference 2 weeks ago and it turns out a big trip like that has an effect on your budget xD But the conference was great, so it was definitely worth the money-scraping now. 

Since my last Sunday Post is posted:


Hi, it's me, back to talk about Andor! This week was the last episode and this series has honestly blown me away consistently each and every single week. If you haven't watched the show, then the below video is pretty much full of spoilers so watch at your own risk! For those who have seen it, please join me in crying about it!

This is why I adore fanmade videos because fans are so good at finding connections, understanding links made and themes expanded upon. And so I did actually tear up when I watched this. Andor was such an important show about hope, resistance, recognising authoritarianism and finding the words and strength to fight it.

Mailbox Monday

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner (Legend Press; 2021)

Rule #1: The poison must never be used to harm another woman.
Rule #2: The names of the murderer and her victim must be recorded in the apothecary’s register.

One cold February evening in 1791, at the back of a dark London alley in a hidden apothecary shop, Nella awaits her newest customer. Once a respected healer, Nella now uses her knowledge for a darker purpose - selling well-disguised poisons to desperate women who would kill to be free of the men in their lives. But when her new patron turns out to be a precocious twelve-year-old named Eliza Fanning, an unexpected friendship sets in motion a string of events that jeopardizes Nella’s world and threatens to expose the many women whose names are written in her register.

In present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, reeling from the discovery of her husband’s infidelity. When she finds an old apothecary vial near the river Thames, she can’t resist investigating, only to realize she’s found a link to the unsolved “apothecary murders” that haunted London over two centuries ago. As she deepens her search, Caroline’s life collides with Nella’s and Eliza’s in a stunning twist of fate - and not everyone will survive.

I got this book from a colleague, who is swiftly moving into solid friend territory now that we're swapping books and cake at work! I'm hoping to settle down with this somewhere this weekend cause I love me some poison mysteries.

The Years by Annie Ernaux, trans. Alison L. Strayer (Fitzcarraldo Editions; 10/20/2022)

Shortlisted for the 2019 Man Booker International Prize | Winner of the 2019 Warwick Prize for Women in Translation | Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature 2022

Considered by many to be the iconic French memoirist’s defining work, The Years is a narrative of the period 1941 to 2006 told through the lens of memory, impressions past and present, cultural habits, language, photos, books, songs, radio, television, advertising and news headlines. Annie Ernaux invents a form that is subjective and impersonal, private and communal, and a new genre – the collective autobiography – in order to capture the passing of time. The Years is a monumental account of twentieth-century French history as refracted through the life of one woman.

While I don't usually run after the Nobel Prize committee whenever they select a new winner, I was quite intrigued by this year's choice. This may be because my mother asked for her books as a birthday present from my granddad, who then read the books himself and is now fascinated by her. So it's a running conversation about books within the family I'm not yet part of, which is of course untenable. So now I too will be reading Ernaux!

Indigenous Continent: The Epic Contest for North America by Pekka Hamalainen,narr. by Kaipo Schwab (HighBridge Audio; 11/29/2022)

There is an old, deeply rooted story about America that goes like this: Columbus "discovers" a strange continent and brings back tales of untold riches. The European empires rush over, eager to stake out as much of this astonishing "New World" as possible. Though Indigenous peoples fight back, they cannot stop the onslaught. White imperialists are destined to rule the continent, and history is an irreversible march toward Indigenous destruction. 

In Indigenous Continent, acclaimed historian Pekka Hämäläinen presents a sweeping counternarrative that shatters the most basic assumptions about American history. Shifting our perspective away from Jamestown, Plymouth Rock, the Revolution, and other well-trodden episodes on the conventional timeline, he depicts a sovereign world of Native nations whose members, far from helpless victims of colonial violence, dominated the continent for centuries after the first European arrivals. Hämäläinen ultimately contends that the very notion of "colonial America" is misleading, and that we should speak instead of an "Indigenous America" that was only slowly and unevenly becoming colonial. Necessary listening for anyone who cares about America's past, present, and future, Indigenous Continent restores Native peoples to their rightful place at the very fulcrum of American history.

I was super intrigued by this book from the start and recently started listening. I've always struggled with the narrative of the "discovery" of North America by Europeans, whether it was the Vikings or the Spanish. So this book will hopefully give me some new insights. I also love, weirdly enough, that it is a Finnish author! Sometimes an outside view gives extra perspective.

So that's it for me this week! What are you reading?


  1. I agree; it's really hard to have a full time job and blog regularly. Actually I could manage the blogging/writing part, but staying in touch with other bloggers, which i really like, but it takes a LOT of time. My weekend days start early at the computer trying to keep up! I have the Lost Apothecary on my TBR and hope to get to it soon.
    Terrie @ Bookshelf Journeys

  2. Indigenous Continent sounds fascinating.Finally, history from the other perspective.

  3. It's hard to balance a full time job and a blog. When I was still working, it was difficult. I'm sure you'll find the right balance in time. I hope you have a great week!

  4. Blogging and full time ARE hard to reconcile. I hope you find a nice balance with your new job. And the conference sounds fun! I love Andor and am so going to miss this show. Every wednesday is going to feel a little empty now lol!

    The Lost apothecary is one I've been super interested in...


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