Book hauls, State of the ARC, Sunday post

I return from hiatus!!! + mini reviews + State of the ARC #21 Sunday post #102

So I’ve just come out of my hiatus, and it feels like coming up for air, really. But not just in a sense that it’s refreshing, but also that you’re hit on the head with reality 😂 and the reality is that the calendar has been running while you were away! So now there’s a bunch of ARCs that you read but they still need to be posted, and quite frankly, posting three posts a day would probably defeat the purpose of a hiatus, right?

So I’m continuing with it the way I always have, and I’ll only be posting longer posts about the books that I really liked, or they otherwise left a bigger impression on me. However, the hiatus was incredibly enjoyable ALL OF THAT FREE TIME, so I’m probably going to be posting less often now. But!

As you might have already seen on my Instagram, the hiatus wasn’t unproductive!!! I’ve decided to change things up and have my reviews include cute and funny illustrations by yours truly. They turned out to be wayyy more fun to do than searvhing for GIFs ever was! (And you’d be surprised, but it’s quicker too.) So it’s not just a way to spice up the blog, it’s also a way to streamline it! I hope you enjoy, and here’s the first illustration which you’ll be seeing in a review real quick!

Anyway, as for having to post a lot of things at once… Well, this Sunday post will be quite crowded! Because I have a few mini reviews to share, and I will also be putting my State of the ARC here! So don’t forget to link your State of the ARC post up! If anyone’s new to it, here’s how it works.

~ My Current State of the ARC ~

Since this is a Sunday post and also a post-hiatus post, I won’t go into much detail about my State of the ARC – I will just share my general stats. Needless to say, my hiatus is apparent on the chart! My review copy numbers have slightly gone down, but there’s a huge load of accumulated reviews that I have actually drafted, but not written or posted yet. And of course, since I wasn’t reading towards my State of the ARC bingo this month, I’m not including it, since there hasn’t been a change. I hope your bingo is going better! I’m going to have to really pick and choose the reads I want to fulfil my bingo!

state of the arc 21 - april stats

A chart with my review copy stats: 9 books not due yet, 64 overdue and unread, 10 read and review due

 ~ What I’ve Been Reading ~

Mindfulness and Its Discontents: Education, Self, and Social Transformation

Mindfulness and Its Discontents is a critique of the current direction of mindfulness educators, but it isn’t only that. It’s also a critique of society – a society that tries to promote compassion, and yet is incredibly uncompassionate to those it tries to teach. A society that tells the people to calm down, suck it up and “learn to control your emotional flow”, regardless of the conditions the people are in and ignoring any real reasons for the stress they may be experiencing – because according to most mindfulness educator programs it’s the stress that needs to be fixed, and not the stressor. Not the three jobs, not the poverty, not the discrimination of certain groups of society that fall through the cracks. The author of this book dubs this ‘McMindfulness’ and claims it does not address the reasons why someone is having negative emotions, instead it just seeks to dull them. The perfect illustration of this is the well known meme of the dog in the burning room, saying it’s all fine, when clearly nothing is fine.

Mindfulness and Its Discontents also talks a lot about racism and neoliberalism and how unfair it is to teach mindfulness to children of color or children from impoverished families, and ask them to ignore the inequality they experience, while focusing on the stress and not the causes of the stress they experience – so they’d bite down the hurt and just learn to take it in stride and behave in the classroom, like good corporate drones that they’re growing up to be. If they’re lucky to get jobs with benefits, that is. At the same time, the promotion of such a solution – mindfulness – teaches the rest of the society to just ignore these problems and also learn to silence their mind and listen to what’s there – but what’s there without any moral soul searching is usually just the ego. The ego who will not “do the right thing, if only you learn to be aware”. The ego will do what it has been taught, and that includes our prejudices, insecurities, microaggressions and all sorts of stuff you don’t want to be helping you make decisions. Becoming more aware doesn’t mean you will automatically do the right thing. Becoming aware without trying to work out your attachments, your misled beliefs and working through your hangups only makes you more concentrated on egoistic thought, and that’s what the mindfulness movement seems to be ignoring.

I found this quite an interesting book in terms of the concept it was explaining, but you must keep it in mind that Mindfulness and Its Discontents is not a book for fun or for philosophising. It reads more like a university thesis or scientific paper – and it’s geared specifically towards educators. So while for me, a complete outsider in terms of education in the US, this was an interesting foray into this area of thought (I don’t even live in the US… nor do I have anything to do with education), there were also a lot of times where I couldn’t connect or thought the book wasn’t quite for me. Which is why I’m saying that you really need to consider if you’re the target audience for this book – someone in social sciences, with background in education or maybe working with children or teens in the US right now – and if you are, this book will be a great source of thought material to chew on for you. If not, well, you might get a little bored. Keep that in mind!

I thank the publisher for giving me a free copy for review through NetGalley in exchange to my honest review. This has not affected my opinion.

[ Goodreads ]

Light from Other Stars is certainly not an easy book to review. It holds a lot of meaning and very deep emotion, and the idea behind it is definitely interesting – a science experiment gone wrong that sends the whole town into a temporal bubble and makes it effectively disappear for some 50 years, after which it surfaces like some real life nostalgia in a futuristic world of our day. So while it’s a great premise, it’s just… So, so sad.Light from Other Stars is largely about the trauma the main character went through in losing her dad, her childish innocence, her best friend and the tether to a safe, carefree reality – something we all lose sooner or later, as we grow up. Those kinds of topics are no walk in the part, so I kept stopping as I was reading because it would just keep bringing me down.

Light from Other Stars is told through two perspectives, the past and the present for the same character, Nedda. She witnesses the deaths of a group of astronauts during a NASA launch, but more than that – the very next day something terrible happens in her town and her father is to blame. It’s also something really, really weird and nobody will even believe her at first, and she has to deal with it both physically as well as emotionally. The other perspective is also Nedda, but years later, on a colonizing ship to Mars, trying to not die with complications of the trip. Things on Earth also don’t seem to be going that well. So none of these storylines are by any means cheerful. However, the biggest problem with the Light from Other Stars for me wasn’t that it was sad, but the fact that it dragged. I only became invested way past the halfway point, so if I was a quicker DNF’er, I would have never read on.

Light from Other Stars is about loss, love, pain and regret, lost time. But it’s also about science, the future and building a new life somewhere else. It’s about parents and children, loners and friends. It’s about growing up, growing apart and moving on. These emotional concepts are presented through a temporal anomaly and this makes them even more real. How would it be if you could see your parents as children or meet them young? Or if you lost them for reasons other than old age? What if you could talk to your child before they were born to you? What would your feelings become and how would you deal with the loss, the grief, the confusion? Light from Other Stars deals with these questions and more, and the pain explored is profound, but so is the growth and understanding gained.

I thank the publisher for a free copy through NetGalley in exchange to my honest review. It didn’t affect my opinion.

[ Goodreads ]

~ What I’ve Been Talking About ~

Since I’ve been on hiatus, I haven’t been talking about much, obviously! But I’ve decided to come back with a first post that gives something back to the community, so even before talking about my hiatus today on this Sunday post, I’ve posted the #NewBloggersWelcome post! If you haven’t checked it out already, here you are:


~ What I’ve Been Hauling ~

I’ve basically only hauled a few books in the entirety of April! I definitely didn’t expect my hiatus to work that way, but let’s say I’m glad. I didn’t read all that much, mostly just manga from Humble Bundle (which I humbly don’t count towards my TBR because the numbers would be super high… Humble Bundle gets you like 20 books every time!), so even if I haven’t been reading much, at least my shelves didn’t get too bloated either. This is the haul of the entire month!!! I know, right.

Duckett & Dyer: Dicks For Hire Blissfully Blended Bullshit: The Uncomfortable Truth of Blending Families Walkaway Go by Kazuki Kaneshiro Malibu Motel

So how has your week been? And what are you reading? What did you haul?

As usual, I’m linking up with the Sunday post meme at Kimba’s book blog and Stacking The Shelves over at Tynga’s Reviews, as well as Feeding Your Fiction Addiction.

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Trish @ Between My Lines

Welcome back 🙂 LOVE love love your idea of using illustrations. Very cute, and much more personal than a gif. And it really makes me wish I could draw.

2 years ago

Sometimes being away from blogging can be so fun, but coming back and getting back into the swing of things can be something else! I love your drawings a lot! Hugs and Happy Sunday! RO

Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookworms

I’m happy you’re back, Evelina! And I absolutely love your drawing 🙂 I bet it’s much more fun than searching for those pesky gifs 🙂 Plus, it brings such a personal touch to your reviews!
Have a wonderful week ahead and happy reading 🙂

2 years ago

I had a long hiatus a while ago and I am still tweaking my blog more than I should and posting not enough. Enjoy your books and welcome back!

2 years ago

Welcome back:)). And I LOVE the drawings – indeed, I’m filled with admiration as I have the artistic ability of a doorknob. Have a great week, Evelina.

2 years ago

How wonderful that your break was just what you needed. I like the illustrations idea, seems like a fun change of pace.

2 years ago

If I could draw like you, I think I’d add them to my blog too. I’m glad you enjoyed your time away and the backlog doesn’t cause you to stress out. 😉

2 years ago

Welcome back! I think the illustrations are a great idea! 🙂

Thanks for your thoughts, Mindfulness definitely sounds interesting!

Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

Welcome back from your hiatus and I’m glad you will be doing the illustrations, they look like they’ll be cute and I’m excited to see how you’ll include them in different posts. And seeing your current state of the arc is making me feel much about mine. I have 35ish unread overdue NG arcs and I am slowly getting through them but it’s good to see someone else is in a similar state of affairs. I’m not alone in being behind!

Laurel-Rain Snow
2 years ago

Enjoy your books and blogging…and I’m glad you had a nice hiatus. Thanks for sharing…and for visiting my blog.

2 years ago

Welcome back!!! And I see you still were productive LOL

Tina @ As Told By Tina

Welcome back! I love the idea of adding illustrations to your reviews that would be a cute personal touch and makes it unique to you. I hope you have a wonderful week.

Tina @ As Told By Tina

Laura Thomas
2 years ago

Welcome back. I’m glad you are feeling raring to go again. I can’t wait to see your illustrations in your reviews!

Steph L
2 years ago

I loved this post a lot!

Steph L
2 years ago

I loved this post!

Shelleyrae @ Book’d Out

Welcome back. I’ve been hard at work catching up on my unplanned extended hiatus too,
I love the illustrations. What a wonderful way in which to personalise your blog further.

Have a great reading week

Kelly | Another Book in the Wall

Welcome back, love! I ADORE that cute little illustration! I’m very excited to see more drawings in your reviews! <3

Stephanie Jane (Literary Flits)

I love your idea of using your own illustrations! So much more individual and unique than the gifs – and great that they’re quicker for you too!
Light From Other Stars looks like a novel I would love, its sadness not withstanding, so thank you for your excellent review 🙂

Chana @ Paper Procrastinators

Welcome back! I’m still staring in horror at your ARC stats. I will pray for you. Maybe if you hide all your ARCs under a pile of clothes they’ll disappear and you won’t need to review them anymore?

Anne - Books of My Heart

Glad you’re back!

The Repvblic of Letters
The Repvblic of Letters
2 years ago

Welcome back! I am perpetually coming in and out of the woodwork, ha! I love how diversely you read, from non fiction to fiction, and I think the illustrations will be a great support for the blog. It reminds me of a French one which made short reviews in comic strip form!

C Wise
C Wise
2 years ago

Your drawing is so cute! I love it! I’m glad that your hiatus was enjoyable.

2 years ago

OOh, you’re back! I’m so glad you enjoyed the hiatus 😀 And you did get some reading done and hauled some books and THOSE ILLUSTRATIONS <3 So yup, I agree that your hiatus was pretty productive. Light From Other Stars sounds like a book I would like but I think I need to be in a particular mindset to read some deep stories so maybe the Summer holidays would be a great time for that. GO seems like a good read from the pile of your book hauls. I've only hauled With The Fire On High and a classic and… Read more »

2 years ago

Welcome back Evelina!!!! I’m so happy you’re back! <3 I'm also so excited about your illustrations since you shared them on Twitter. It's such a cute idea. Can't wait to see them.

Happy readings! 😉
Tânia @MyLovelySecret

Alison Flores
2 years ago

Love the drawing – super cute! Searching for gifs can be super tedious! Welcome back to the blogging world!

Maureen @ Maureen's Books

Welcome back! I’m glad you had a good hiatus! And those ilustrations look very cute!
Have a great week and happy reading!

2 years ago

I’m glad you enjoyed your hiatus. Light from Other Stars sounds really interesting. April was filled with bookish things for me. Check out my wrap up at Girl Who Reads

2 years ago

I took an unplanned hiatus last week! It just happened. We had family visiting, the kids all had things to do, and there just wasn’t time for reading or blogging. Any free time I had, I binged some shows I was behind on, and just took a break. It was so nice! Now I’m rejuvenated and pumped about reading my books. Sometimes our brains need a break. Reading shouldn’t feel like work, and it gives us time to pursue other things we enjoy. There are weeks when I have a lot of posts, and weeks when I have one or… Read more »

2 years ago
Reply to  Lindsi

Also, I’m loving the personal, hand-drawn illustrations! You should totally make that a permanent thing!

Dani @ Perspective of a Writer

Welcome back! I sooo love your drawings. They’re personal and quirky. The best part is they reflect exactly how you feel. Mindfulness sounds intriguing and something we need to ponder. ❤️

Danielle Hammelef
Danielle Hammelef
2 years ago

Welcome back! Your illustrations are so adorable and I’m looking forward to seeing more of your talent.

Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

I LOVE your cute illustration!! If I could draw AT ALL, I would totally do that for the blog. Such a fun addition to your posts!