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Grown Up Christmas List

There is a song on the All Holiday Music All the Time radio station called “Grown Up Christmas List” by Amy Grant (I KNOW, blast from the past) that always rubs me a little bit the wrong way.

Amy’s talking to Santa about how she used to sit on his lap and ask for toys and stuff, but now she wants to prevent war and spread love “not for myself but for a world in need.”

I don’t know about 1992 Amy Grant, but I’m the 2017 Angry Angel and the world is currently on fire, so Santa better be bringing me some really cool shit to distract me from the fact that everything is terrible all the time.

fire

Even though we live in a time for cool gadgets and fun things (I’ve got a Samsung Smart Hub coming so I can freak out the husband by turning lights on and off from a distance!) I had a really difficult time coming up with things I wanted this year. What I really wanted isn’t offered in stores, and it’s definitely not world peace. So here’s my grown up Christmas list.

  1. Screw world peace, I want mental peace. The world is already fucked. Get my mind to shut the fuck up and relax for like 24 hours and you will have given me the best Christmas present of all.
  2. Santa baby, bring me a hotel stay and pay….for some room service please, Santa baby, and hurry down my chimney tonight.
  3. A baseball bat and 5 unsupervised, no-consequences minutes in a windowless room with anyone responsible for the “holiday” movie Father Figures.
  4. Please don’t look at my hands or feet, and my back and hips are atrocious right now. I need a chiropractor, masseuse, and nail tech STAT, and I know it would all make me feel better but you don’t really ask for this stuff so SANTA HELLO. I sat on your knee and asked for sleds and junk when I was little, remember me?,Can a bitch who was good this year get a spa pedicure and a realignment of my spine?
  5. I just tried to write hotel again but remembered I already wrote it.
  6. Are a few elves available to just come scour the master bathroom?
  7. I would like to return to my original timeline please. Is there a Delorean or some kind of old-timey film reel that could help me with that?
  8. Money
    cooncomic.com

I’m at the age where I want conveniences and money, but asking for those is still viewed as crass or it’s too expensive to put on a list. What do YOU really want for Christmas, but can’t really ask for (or get for that matter)? What would your packages with bows contain under that tree if you could have whatever you wanted?

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Victim of the Holds System

What happenedSave usThese two books have been on my TBR for a very long time. I waited for two months to get What Happened, and this is the second time I’ve had my hands on No One is Coming to Save Us. While my local library has made some changes to their holds policies that have improved my experience, I still have a little gripe about how we get to keep books.

First, if a book is a new release you only get 14 days. I get that, so that’s not my gripe. My complaint is that if someone has it on hold after me there is no possibility for renewal. Not even one. So I have to return What Happened only half finished because I got 14 days with no second chances, and I’ll be back on the 44th slot on hold again. I mean, based on what I got through it’s exactly what I expected, but since people are heated I wanted to make sure I read the entire thing before commenting on it because I have ~integrity~.

This leads me to my second issue. Again, the great thing about the library is that you get up to 5 renewals on all books, as long as no one has it on hold after you. The trick is that you can’t just grab all those renewals, you have to wait until the end of your first time period and then renew. So in the case of No One is Coming to Save Us, I had 4 renewals left to use, with the next due date of 12/12 (THIS TUESDAY). So when I went in to renew it one more time (it was next on my list) SOMEONE HAD PLACED IT ON HOLD. So I either have one day to read it or just take it back and put it back on hold again.

We’re coming up on the end of 2017, and I really want to make room for new releases in 2018. So in the spirit of my sanity in this holiday season, I will be letting go of some books that were on that TBR, but will have to head to the back burner. In addition to the two books above, we’ll be saying goodbye to:

It’s important to know your limits. I still have several books on tap, but they are books that I want to read and I plan to treat myself in the coming weeks in my reading habits. Because of money and library holds issues, these 6 books just had to be more things that I let go, and I’m okay with that. If there is time in 2018 I’ll return to them for sure, since most of them were on many “Best Of” lists in 2017.

What are you reading right now? What do you wish you could get to before the end of the year? Do you have a Goodreads challenge you are trying to complete like I do? I’m at 82 books out of a goal of 100 books for 2017. No matter what your goals, remember to read what you love. When it becomes something you have to do, it’s less fun, and we want to keep it fun. So go read a favorite book, and let me know what you’re reading.

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Justice League

Oh DC, I know that watching the Marvel Universe expand and make all that money must have been like watching your ex go for someone clearly not as awesome as you. “I’m fucking BATMAN,” you screamed into the abyss, “We have SUPERMAN!”

Deep in your mother’s basement that you call your Batcave, fingers coated in cheeto dust, watching Captain America Civil War for the thirtieth time, you knew you could do this better. This inner conflict, group-takes-sides bullshit was always better with the Justice League. “This is bullshit,” you cried. “WE invented self-policing of the supers. THE ENTIRE JUSTICE LEAGUE TURNED THEMSELVES IN TO CONGRESS!!”

And so you decided you would reboot for the 230948307424923 time (although mercifully only subjected us to like a cumulative 10 minutes of angsty Batman origin story flashbacks – thanks for that, Edible Arrangement on the way) and give us a Superman movie, and then a Batman vs. Superman movie, and then Wonder Woman, leading up to the introduction of the Justice League that would give you all the branched out individual movies and side buddy stories that the Avengers have enjoyed on their own for far too long.

“Thor Ragnarok? Wait ’til they get a load of Flash/Cyborg!” You tented your fingers like a real world Mr. Burns, imagining the fan bois lining up for the awkward friend making that they would totally relate to.

So I’ll give it to you, DC, that you thought to make Aquaman hott because Aquaman is LAAAAAAAAAAAME and Momoa totally turned that around for me in this movie, and the Flash as the awkward kid was on brand and good too. But we need to talk about just a couple of things because this movie was better than I expected, but less than I deserved. So sit down, because I have some truth nuggets for your earholes that you need to hear. From a friend.

  1. Stop making Diana be this wide-eyed, rolls her eyes, reactionary “girl.” She’s Wonder Woman for god’s sake MAKE HER TAKE CHARGE AND LEAD.
  2. Having Superman die in the second movie was dumb, and the short resolution to his death made it all feel disingenuous and worthless. I know to true fans the backstory to all of it makes sense, but to us casual fans it felt…I don’t know, pointless.
  3. Listen carefully to this one. It’s very important. BATMAN. IS. NOT. THE. COMIC. RELIEF. EVER. He is not quippy. He does not provide the punchline. He isn’t flustered. HE’S BATMAN. This movie was absolutely SHAMEFUL when it came to that. I was embarrassed for DC and Batman.
  4. That villain was kind of cool, but he was too easily dispatched. Why did it all rely on Superman? The Justice League is a team, but they were getting harcore slapped around until Superman flew in and basically just punched him once and ended it. Also there was not really any suspense. 3 cubes that shouldn’t come together, and if they do they have to be separated? I’m shaking in my boots. No emotion, too predictable, and a moderate boss made for a “meh” plotline.

Despite these aspects, the movie was better than I expected. There were quite a few laugh out loud moments, and the graphics and visuals were impressive. The Flash was funny, Cyborg was intriguing, and Momoa as Aquaman was a good decision. Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman were not quite themselves, but hopefully by the next movie they’ll be more united.

Now I am just waiting for a decent Green Lantern movie. A girl can dream, can’t she?

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Indiana, Let It Go

Over the past month I haven’t been able to get the following clip from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade out of my head. Take a minute to watch it, but if you read my blog you are probably already familiar with it because I tend to attract Nerdingtons like pretty flowers attract butterflies.

Elsa can’t see anything else but the grail. She can reach it! She’s got her fingertips on the edge of the cup. Just hold on a little longer, stretch a little further, and she’s lost into the crevices of the cavern when Indy can’t hold her and she slips from his grasp.

Then the earthquake shakes the room and Indy is hanging off the edge, his father (Sean Connery) just barely catching him by one of his hands. Screaming “Junior” he tries to plead with him as Indiana pled with Elsa to turn around, he couldn’t hold her, she was slipping. “I can reach it” he whispers, reaching for the cup.

But suddenly something changes. Echoing from behind his strained shoulders, Jones Sr says “Indiana.” Surprised, Indy stops for a moment, and then again, “Indiana” and he turns to his father. “Let it go,” he says, gently. Indy doesn’t look back and allows his father to pull him up, giving him both his hands.

Perhaps the most important part of that scene is Connery’s character’s switch from the term Junior, which he has stubbornly used on his son throughout the entire movie despite Indy insisting on Indiana, to his chosen nickname. Giving just that small inch, recognizing the desires and individuality that his son requested as part of his identity, was important enough to distract Indy even from the holy grail itself, so that his father’s love could save his life.

From childhood, we are taught to have dreams, aspirations, things that we plan to be and do, ULTIMATE goals. Most work hard in school, spending our time as young adults joining every club, every committee, learning instruments and sports and languages. We compete to get into college, to get into fraternities and sororities, for scholarships and grants. We learn a craft, we practice it, we apply for jobs, we plan to obtain a master’s degree. We move from place to place, from job to job. We pay the costs to obtain our ULTIMATE GOAL.

But what happens if we can’t take the grail past the seal? What happens when an earthquake knocks the cup from our hands, just out of reach?

For most of this year I felt like Elsa. Crazed eyes, hanging from my fingernails, scraping at the edge of  a cup that would give me life, but that was out of reach. The cavern shook with the loss of my job, the injustice of how I lost it, failure in my accounting coursework because I was working so hard to keep my job, finding a new one, fighting poverty and financial strain, being back in a job I hate and dealing with it – where did my life go? If I just work a little harder, reach a little further, keep working keep trying keep going keep cryingkeepbreathinggotosleepdohomeworkplanlessonsbudgetmoneyavoidbillcollectorcallsfindenoughtoeatsleepbreatheworkschoolgradesblogreadwritemoneybills…

Indiana…

Huh?

Indiana. Let it go.

This past weekend I felt myself swinging from the cliff of my life, reaching like a crazed motherfucker for that goddamned grail and I heard a small voice inside of me that just said “let it go.” Let go of your courses, they’ve force-withdrawn you anyway because you didn’t pay tuition. Let go of your resentment over losing your job as best you can; you can try to teach for the district’s e-school next year and return to teaching from home. Let go of your worry over money, the worst is over for now.

So I swung around in my mind, and with both hands, pulled myself out of the abyss, and escaped the cave temple before it collapsed. The cup that had promised to give me new life, new career, revenge, all of it, had fallen out of my reach.

To all of you angels out there that have sent me books, candy, money, and words of support this year, you are my Henry Jones Senior reminding me that you heard me and you value my presence, and you want me to be safe and alive. Every time you comment or message me, or read my posts without saying anything, I feel like my being here matters, that what I have to say is entertaining or meaningful. And this year, as I was being rejected from my work and family, you were there. You were listening. And you took my hand and helped heave me away from the drop.

This holiday season, and as we move into 2018, be the voice and hand that pulls someone back from the edge, and listen for when you might need to let something go. That voice might be an actual person, or it might be inside your own head, but when you hear it do yourself and your happiness a favor: listen and let it go.

 

 

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Behold the Dreamers

behold the dreamers

A story that mixes the trials of the rich during the fall of Lehman Brothers with the struggles of being an immigrant in New York, Behold the Dreamers is a confusing tale that can’t seem to decide on what point it is trying to make.

An immigrant man from Cameroon becomes a chauffeur for a partner at Lehman Brothers at the beginning of the story. His pay increases and the standard of living for his wife and himself improves. His wife, Neni, has come to America on a student visa, and is attending a community college as the first step toward her dream of becoming a pharmacist. They have a child who was born in Cameroon, and soon she becomes pregnant with another child, who will be granted dual citizenship.

Their most significant concern is money, a concern shared by their employers. You will see the decline and inevitable fall of Lehman and merger with Barclays included in the plot. Jende’s boss, Clark Edwards, and his boss’ wife, Cindy, are helpful to them, until they are not. Cindy uses drugs and drinks very heavily, and Neni is party to one of her benders when she is hired to be their housekeeper. She promises to keep this information secret, and in return Cindy gives her some of her old designer clothes and her son’s used toys.

When Lehman falls, Clark starts to cheat on his wife pretty frequently, and suspecting this behavior, Cindy asks Jende to write down everything her husband does and report to her at the end of each day. When a news story exposes Clark’s behavior via a story provided by a prostitute, Cindy demands that Jende be fired for lying to her. Clark gives in to her demands, and Jende and his family are thrown into a very dire situation, dashing their hopes for a future in America.

Set in the heart of the American recession triggered by failing banks, Ponzi schemes, and hedge funds, the combination of the immigrant story with the fallout is odd. The book takes a ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ approach and in turn leaves you wanting. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to feel bad for the rich people, or for the immigrants, or for the children. It all seemed so useless and pointless, which I suppose may have been Mbue’s entire message. Despite this, I still feel like books such as Adichie’s Americanah gives a much better modern picture of the African immigrant in America, while taking into account the political and social climate.

Behold the Dreamers was just okay. Why should we feel badly for the rich individuals? Why should we invest in the immigrants when their papers will expire and not allow them to stay? The ending to this book will make you scratch your head and wonder, “what was the point of reading this book at all?”

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2017 Inaugural Angry Angel Appeal

lights

Angels,

I usually don’t make this kind of request, because nobody wants to read a hundred pleas per year for the kinds of things a bitch with a website requests nowadays, especially because Angry Angel Books is still growing. I appreciate your patience with the following paragraphs. As you know, I don’t maintain this site for financial reward, and I hate creating the impression that you’re expected to pay for the privilege. You certainly are not. Not even a little. But if you enjoy reading my posts and happen to feel the urge to be generous this holiday season, here are some ideas.

present

1. If you haven’t already, follow Angry Angel Books on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. There’s more to it than a bunch of links to my reviews and posts. Facebook is a little heavier on humor and lighter on book reviews compared to this site, and has the occasional live video. Twitter has some pretty good retweets from across the web, and on Instagram you get gratuitous pics of my pets, and they are fucking cute.

rosie

2. I have a couple goals for the site in 2018. First, I would love to upgrade the site for year 3 so that you aren’t assaulted by random ads. I want to make your experience of AAB ad free and keep it that way as long as I have the website.

In addition to this I am hoping to attend the Association of Writers and Writing Programs conference which is being held in Tampa in March of 2018. Attending this conference will hopefully help me gather ideas and inspiration for improving my own writing, and explore more fun things to read and share with you.

Also the city of Miami hosts the Miami Book Fair every year in November. It hosts a huge street fair sale and several author events (this year Joe Biden is there!). Again, I would love the chance to go next year (2018) and share any author interactions or information with you.

Paypal

Patreon

If these goals sound interesting to you, or if you’d simply like to leave a “tip” for enjoying the content, I have both Paypal and Patreon accounts available (links above). If you happen to be saddled with extra cash and feel like donating fifty bucks, I will be extremely grateful. However, if donating fifty cents is more in line with your current budget, my gratitude will be no less. If zero cents is your preferred option, that’s A-OK too. Your tips and contributions are (obviously) voluntary but greatly appreciated. Either way I’m glad you’re here and I appreciate you.

I would like to thank Japooka Mae for becoming my first patron on Patreon this year! Thanks Pookie! ❤ Your support is appreciated to the moon and back.

martini

3. If you are a giving presents kind of angel, I maintain a gift list on Amazon where I throw books I’ve read and want to own or books that my library doesn’t hold and I can’t afford to buy that I would like to read. There are some other things too. If, instead of cash money you’d like to send a book or gift, check out my list. It’s already programmed to send to my address so you’d just have to select that gift address at checkout.

Special thanks to Samantha Irby for sending me the Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo from my gift list! Your generosity is beyond measure and I love you. ❤ If you haven’t already, pick up Samantha’s new book We Are Never Meeting in Real Life. It is a Goodreads finalist for favorite humor book and a New York Times Bestseller!

tree

Post frequency on this blog fell a little in the third quarter of 2017. Part of that has to do with losing my job this summer and some changes I’ve had to make to my daily routine since returning to traditional school teaching this fall. I have since adjusted my schedule to better accommodate regular updates, because this is important to me.

While 2017 was admittedly a terrible year for me, your presence and participation in this bookish community brought light into what was a very dark time. Thank you for reading and I am looking for another great year of books in 2018!

books

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Happy End of November!

I hope that you all made it through Thanksgiving relatively unscathed. We had the husband’s parents, youngest sister and her new husband here for the day and it was enjoyable. They helped us decorate our tree a little bit more (click to embiggen). We’re waiting on a little more ribbon and some frosted pinecone ornaments to finish her off.

Christmas Tree

I have a confession to make. This past week I spent a LOT of time staring at my computer and zoning out and not as much time reading. Shame on me, but apparently that’s what my mind and body needed in addition to copious amounts of food. I started reading Behold the Dreamers on Friday though, so I’m back on track. 🙂 What that means for you though is that this week will be a little silent as I read to provide content.

Here’s what you can do in the interim.

Give a book, get a book! – Share an Amazon wishlist of ONE book to the comments on this post, then go buy a book off someone else’s! Spread the joy of reading this holiday season!

Click here to add your name to the Angry Angel Address Book. I do not have a newsletter, I don’t usually send emails, but I love surprising people and chances are good I’ll be sending out holiday cards this year. Keep in mind that I am just a teacher from Tampa, Florida that loves books and I promise not to use your info in bad ways, because I want to treat others as I would want to be treated. You want a card and the occasional surprise? Join up. 🙂

Subscribe to the blog via email (button in the right hand menu). – I have heard that my posts don’t look good via email, but at least you will get more reliable updates on when my posts drop this way than via Facebook and Twitter, and you can always click into the site proper. I have heard that more aggressive algorithms are going into place January 1st, which would almost require “pages” (read: not personal pages) to buy ad space to spread their posts and content.

So if you enjoy my blog and want to make sure you get the content, subscribe OR add angryangelbooks.com to your reading list on the blog app of your choosing, because the time may arrive when I no longer have a Facebook page because it won’t make sense anymore.

Thank you for reading my posts. Thanks for being here. You are my sunshine. Enjoy your week.