Then and Now #58 (30/10/23 - 5/11/23)

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

It's been a good week, busy but also fulfilling! Teaching on Monday was really fun and Tuesday and Thursday were really productive days for preparing for next week's classes and getting final details sorted for our conference next week. I also have a reading group with one of my colleagues now for a certain area of literary theory that we're both kind of new to/struggling with fully grasping, so every two weeks we meet for coffee and cake and discuss a chapter from a book about it. That has been really fun so far and cake is always good, especially here in Germany. Wednesday was a state holiday so I took that day to relax a little and store up some energy for the rest of the week. Friday was kinda busy, mainly because something went wrong in the system we use for our classes and I had to fix that. But thankfully it was largely an easy fix so everything should be good. My podcast, Book Central, is now also at 10 subscribers which isn't a lot but I'm still happy with it. I think I've finally found my flow, but editing and planning it does still take up quite some time, so it's nice to see people actually listening to it.

We have definitely moved into colder weather here although we haven't quite dropped below 0 yet. I'm giving my wintercoat a wash today, to make sure it's all ready to go for next week. I should probably also dig out a scarf because I have no desire to get a cold. Next week I also have a teaching observation which I'm a little nervous for, but I'm also looking forward to it because I'm sure the feedback will be useful. I will probably be pretty quiet next week, just because of the conference which goes til Saturday evening. I might get a post out on Sunday but I'm thinking I'll probably be emotionally dead. I also finally started reading by Silver Nitrate by Silvia Moreno Garcia. NO IDEA why I waited so long, but I'm really enjoying it now. I'm hoping to finish it this weekend!

Posted this week:


Don't really have anything majorly interesting to recommend here, but I've been listening to loads of ambience videos lately and this one just popped up, so I thought I'd share it!

Mailbox Monday

The Monstrous Misses Mai by Van Hoang (47North; 4/2/2024)

A determined young woman in 1950s Los Angeles walks a darker city than she ever imagined in a spellbinding novel about the power to make dreams come true—whatever the sacrifice.

Los Angeles brims with opportunity in 1959—though not for aspiring fashion designer Cordelia Mai Yin, the first-generation child of Vietnamese immigrants, who finds the city unkind to outsiders and as dispirited as her own family. When Cordi rents a cheap loft in an old apartment building, she quickly warms to kindred souls Tessa, Audrey, and Silly. They also want better things and have pasts they’d rather forget. That they all share the same middle name makes their friendship seem like destiny.

As supportive as they are of each other, it’s a struggle just to eke out a living, let alone hope to see their wishes for success come true. Until an ever-present and uncannily charming acquaintance of the landlord’s offers a solution to their problems. He promises to fulfill their every dream. All it takes is a little magic. And a small sacrifice.

As one surprisingly effective spell leads to another, their wishes get bigger. But so does the price they must pay. Amid the damaged seams of her life so far, Cordi must realize her own power in order to rip free, without losing everything she’s worked so hard to achieve.

Have once again become lightly obsessed with witchcraft so when I saw Van Hoang's book I knew that would be exactly what I would be in the mood for in 2024. 

 Leopold and Loeb: The Crime of the Century by Hal Higdon (University of Illinois Press; 1/2/2024)

The centennial edition of Hal Higdon's razor-sharp account of a notorious murder

The 1924 murder of fourteen-year-old Bobby Franks by Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb shocked the nation. One hundred years later, the killing and its aftermath still reverberate through popular culture and the history of American crime.

Hal Higdon’s true crime classic offers an unprecedented examination of the case. Beginning with a new author Preface, Higdon details Leopold and Loeb’s journey from privilege and promise to the planning and execution of their monstrous vision of the perfect crime. Drawing on secret testimony, Higdon follows the police investigation through the pair’s confessions of guilt and re-creates the sensational hearing where Clarence Darrow, the nation’s most famous attorney, saved the pair from the death penalty.

Published in a new edition in observance of the case's centennial, Leopold and Loeb tells the dramatic story of a notorious crime and its long afterlife in the American imagination.

This is something completely different but I read something about Leopold and Loeb and the case not too long ago, but not enough to really know what was going on. So when I saw that the centennial edition of this book was available to request, I jumped at it!

And that's it from me! What are you reading?


  1. Yep I'm getting my winter coat ready too. Best wishes on the teaching observation. I'm sure you will do great.

  2. Ooh that Erebor ambience is awesome! I love stuff like that too. I'm so glad to hear that Rather's new story was good. I love her Sisters of the Vast Black duology.

    Glad to hear your podcast is doing well also, I think it's cool you're doing that.

  3. It sounds like you had a good week, except for the system issues. I am glad you were able to get that resolved! It's getting cooler here, but still not jacket weather. My husband pointed out the leaves on our trees are finally showing signs of change yesterday. and am glad to hear you are enjoying it.

    I am glad you podcast is doing well. I will have to check it out. I really want to read Silver Nitrate and am glad you enjoyed it! Ooo! Van Hoang's book sounds really good. I am adding that to my wish list.

    I hope you have a great week!

  4. You've picked some very varied books recently. Good for you!

    Hop on over to my blog if you'd like to join in on some quotable fun. I'm taking over for Freda until she gets well for the Friday56 meme where we publish quotes from page 56 of the book we are currently reading. Loved to have you join us. Friday56 Quotes


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