I’m back, back, back again to Seattle finally done with Alaska work until January. I haven’t checked my blog for over about a month, so I’m playing a bit of catch-up with reading and writing posts, bear with me!

As a reminder, here is how I rate my books:

  • (★★★★★): Loved it
  • (★★★★): Really liked it
  • (★★★): Didn’t hate it, didn’t love it
  • (★★): Barely finished it

Another few notes: I will warn if there are any spoilers with (start spoiler) and (end spoiler) so you know when to stop reading and pick up again if you don’t want to ruin the book for yourself. I no longer go out of my way to watch adaptions, but will continue to mention them and their general critiques (from Rotten Tomatoes) in my reviews. My dates may not be completely accurate as I have limited Internet access to update my progress.

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

231804Rating: ★★★

Genre: Fiction, classics, young adult

GoodReads rating: 4.09 / 5 (853,900 ratings)

Medium used: E-book (borrowed from library via OverDrive)

Summary: Young Ponyboy’s (yes, that’s his Christian name) life is overrun by the tension between his greaser gang vs. the well-to-do Socs. When he and his friend Johnny get into serious trouble, the strain between the two groups only becomes greater, putting everyone in danger.

Thoughts: I read this book in eighth grade, but as it was an assigned/forced reading, naturally, I didn’t enjoy it. After reading To Kill A Mockingbird and loving it, I decided to give some of these adolescent school reads a try. The Outsiders was okay; not bad but I don’t think it’s an absolutely necessary school read, or any kind of required reading for that matter. It’s a good story with memorable characters, but part of it just felt stale.

Other adaptations: Rob Lowe. That is all. (I’m sure I watched it in class after reading it but can’t remember much. It doesn’t have the best reviews)

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

A1HDwSLtnwLRating: ★★★★

Genre: Contemporary, romance, young adult

GoodReads rating: 4.09 / 5 (137,900 ratings)

Medium used: E-book (borrowed from library via OverDrive)

Summary: The same day left-brained Natasha’s family is being deported, she meets artistic Daniel who has one day to show her that love is not only real, but can live inside her.

Thoughts: This has to be my favorite young adult contemporary. Sure, it’s a bit fluffy, but it’s a sweet and whirlwind story. When reading these books meant for a younger audience, I ask myself, “Would 14-year-old Rachel liked this?”… and I would have eaten this one up. I love the multiple POVs, including non-main characters and although it’s a typical insta-love story, it’s incredibly well-written. I did think the characters were a bit over-written, but still, I have very few critiques on this book.

Other adaptations: “The young adult book adaptation nobody watched” according to one of my favorite YouTubers Dylan Is In Trouble, through which I power-watch a lot of film adaptations, and he couldn’t be more right. Have it not been for my job at a movie theatre earlier this year, I never would have known this was made into a movie. After? Sure. Five Feet Apart? Bring it on. But I feel like nobody talked about this movie and nobody really cared. The movie seemed to follow the book well enough, but the actors look like they’re about thirty and they could have changed the plot from worrying about college admissions to something more adult to fit the actors’ obvious age.

Are Prisons Obsolete? by Angela Davis

61-M2OjnbQL._SX354_BO1,204,203,200_Rating: ★★★

Genre: Non-fiction, social justice

GoodReads rating:  4.38 / 5 (4,400 ratings)

Medium used: E-book (purchased from Amazon Kindle store)

Summary: Angela Davis explains how the unique U.S. prison system plays a role in our every lives and how it’s modern-day slavery, contributing to the oppression of certain groups while corporations profit.

Thoughts: The title caught my eye when I watched the Netflix documentary 13th, which I highly recommend… this book, not so much. The book is short and makes a lot of good points, but it’s really dense (not exactly hard to understand, just be prepared to re-read a lot of its content to fully get the picture) and some of it seems a bit repetitive.

The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson

81eRk+ElenLRating: ★★★

Genre: Non-fiction, psychology

GoodReads rating:  3.93 / 5 (110,950 ratings)

Medium used: E-book (borrowed from library via OverDrive)

Summary: From Haitian warlords to business tycoons, journalist Jon Ronson dives deep into what it means to be a psychopath and how diagnosing and treating such people has changed over the decades.

Thoughts: I recently read another one of his books, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed and loved it. I thought it flowed really well and felt there was a lot to learn from his findings. This book, however, fell a bit more flat. In the wake of Shane Dawson’s series on Jake Paul, there has been a lot of discourse around “psychopaths.” I only watched the first episode and thought it was too melodramatic and inconclusive. The story in the book flowed well but left me asking, “So what?”… I was unmoved. Not to mention, the stigma around all mental illness made me a bit uncomfortable (e.g. the author seeming to infer that anyone who has one should not be in any position of power or responsibility).

Have you read any of these?

Photo by Radu Marcusu.

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As I mentioned in my September in Review post, I was flown back to Seattle early to “turn and burn” as our fleets are between fishing mini-seasons. “Turn and burn” means we go back to Seattle to debrief, brief for a new contract, and be sent back out right away, although “right away” can mean anything from a few days to a few weeks: whenever there’s a boat for us.

After each contract, our data is reviewed and our performance is evaluated and discussed in debriefing. Before we can even meet with our assigned “debriefer,” we must check our paper data to the computer data (literally every single point to make sure it’s the same, it takes forever), test our scales, clean our gear, fill out vessel surveys, and prepare our specimens. My debriefer was really awesome and understanding of first-time mistakes, but I was told I did well for my first contract and am very organized (no surprise on the latter part). The very next day, I was put in a briefing class, which just reviews any changes or additional special projects since our last contract and is the time to check out your gear.

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Between days in the office, I enjoyed my time in Seattle with drinks with other observers, all the takeaway I could handle and two gigs. What luck the two of my favorite music artists were playing in Seattle within days of each other!

First, I saw Marina and the Diamonds. This is my third time seeing her live, but first time in the U.S. and first time since I got my tattoo inspired by her music. It was a pretty good show, I really enjoyed the addition of the dancers, but I much prefer her last show in London with the unbeatable setlist and production. Also, I’m not crazy about her new album, although it is growing on me.

The second show I went to was Senses Fail, who I will always site as my all-time favorite band (along with Rise Against, is it okay to have two all-time favorite bands?). This is my tenth time seeing them (basically annually since my first time seeing them in 2011) and third time in 2019 alone. But this tour was different: this was the re-release of their first EP, which they played in full. I haven’t seen them live in a venue that small in about 5 years, so it was a great, sweaty time, even though their setlist was cut a little short. I got a comfortable, adorable sweater that I have yet to get fish guts all over and I intend to keep it entrail-free.

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Found on Twitter from the Portland show

On the 12th, I was flown out to Kodiak where my boat picked me up. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to explore Kodiak as a car is required. We set off that night to King Cove where we took cover for a few days before fishing.

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My boat has been… okay. My last boat was one of the best in our fleet (the one where I got my own room with a TV, every meal cooked for me, a workout bike) so any compared to it would have been a step down, but on this boat sampling is difficult (limited space, no table so I have to sit on the deck, etc.) and it’s not the cleanest, best-smelling vessel, either. This boat is usually meant for partial coverage employees (who go on smaller boats for shorter periods of time) so I literally didn’t sign up for this! However, I am getting a new boat as soon as we get back to Kodiak, although I don’t think it’ll be too much better. At least I have potential travel plans to look forward to after Christmas.

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October in Review 2018 || October in Review 2017 || October in Review 2016

What I’m watching: Rotten (season 2), Slumdog Millionaire, Mamma Mia!, Explained, Jurassic Park III, Horrible Bosses, 27 Dresses, The Hangover, Tag, Travels with my Father (season 3)

What I’m listening to: Light Up the Dark by Gabrielle Aplin, Speak for Yourself by Imogen Heap, All’s Well That Ends Well by Chiodos, The Money Store by Death Grips, Flamboyant by Dorian Electra, Drunken Lullabies by Flogging Molly, Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent by Lewis Capaldi

What I’m reading: Check out my reading wrap-up posts #16 and #17 from this month.

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Whoop! With these few books I doubled my original reading goal of 35 books this year to over 70 now… and still going strong! Whatever I get to, I hope to constantly strive to do more. Stay tuned by adding me on GoodReads!

As a reminder, here is how I rate my books:

  • (★★★★★): Loved it
  • (★★★★): Really liked it
  • (★★★): Didn’t hate it, didn’t love it
  • (★★): Barely finished it

Another few notes: I will warn if there are any spoilers with (start spoiler) and (end spoiler) so you know when to stop reading and pick up again if you don’t want to ruin the book for yourself. I no longer go out of my way to watch adaptions, but will continue to mention them and their general critiques (from Rotten Tomatoes) in my reviews. My dates may not be completely accurate as I have limited Internet access to update my progress.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

download (1)Rating: ★★★★

Genre: Fiction, classics

GoodReads rating: 3.86 / 5 (1,823,000 ratings)

Medium used: E-book (borrowed from library via OverDrive)

Summary: Young Santiago treks through the desert to the pyramids based on a fortune that he will find a great treasure there. In an oasis, he falls in love and meets an alchemist that helps him find his true treasure.

Thoughts: I read this in my senior year of high school and remember liking it a lot, and re-reading it didn’t disappoint. It’s such a thoughtful, magnificent book that I really relate to: take in the world around you but don’t forget the oil in the spoon (if you’ve read it, you’ll know).

Other adaptations: Rumors of development has been floating around for a few years, but nothing solid.

You by Caroline Kepnes

downloadRating: ★★★

Genre: Fiction, thriller, suspense

GoodReads rating: 3.89 / 5 (105,800 ratings)

Medium used: E-book (borrowed from library via OverDrive)

Summary: When bookshop manager Joe falls in love with a patron Beck, nothing can stop him from finding out more about her and being with her. However, the problems don’t end when they’re together… how far will Joe go to do “what’s best” for Beck?

Thoughts: Good, but not great. The author’s POV as Joe did give me shivers; he’s a genuine pretentious creep. But that wasn’t enough. The close calls and big reveals didn’t have my heart racing like they did in the Netflix series.

Other adaptations: I had no idea this was a book when I first watched the Netflix series a while ago. This is one of the few adaptations that’s better than the book in my opinion. The series did a better job at building Beck’s character (e.g. the creepy professor) and conflict between Peach and Joe (e.g. the stolen laptop). I also really appreciated the addition of Joe’s neighbors in the series, I could experience all the secondhand stress Joe must have been feeling better than the book. Finally, I love how they ended the series over the book (what are the other books even about?). In everything I’ve seen Penn Badgley in, he’s been typecasted as the quiet, introspective, “nice guy,” and in a way Joe’s character is too, but has a real dark side that he delivers just as convincingly.

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

download (3)Rating: ★★

Genre: Contemporary, fiction

GoodReads rating: 4.06 / 5 (30,900 ratings)

Medium used: E-book (borrowed from library via OverDrive)

Summary: When something unspeakable happens between young lovers Kate and Peter’s parents, Peter is whisked away to live elsewhere and they live their lives separately before finding each other again in college. Will their family conflict still keep them apart?

Thoughts: This was literally the most boring book I’ve ever read. The climax (and only interesting conflict) happens about 20% in and then… nothing. I kept with the book because with the huge timeline, I thought there would be a big pay-off… but there wasn’t. Nothing happened. Not to mention with the quick timeline, the author mentioned things that happened in Kate and Peter’s teenage years that literally didn’t matter down the line (a loved one’s cancer, other relationships, etc.), so the points were lost on me.

Other adaptations: Award-winning producers have won the television adaptation rights, let’s hope it’s better than the book.

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Stephen Brusatte

download (2)Rating: ★★★★

Genre: Non-fiction, popular science

GoodReads rating: 4.17 / 5 (10,650 ratings)

Medium used: E-book (borrowed from library via OverDrive)

Summary: The author, from his childhood of fossil-hunting to studies with dinosaur celebrities, takes us on a journey around the world detailing how the dinosaurs evolved after the devastating Permian extinction, to their own some hundreds of millions years later.

Thoughts: I loved this book. I had to DNF a few popular science books recently which has me down but this book reminded me exactly why I love them so much. I like this book so much because I can relate to it. The author takes you all around the world speaking about different dinosaurs where you can say, “Hey, I’ve been there!” or in my case, “Hey, I live there!” (Southern Arizona). It’s written as a personal journey rather than just spitting facts at you. It’s easy-to-understand, a good length and covers all the bases of dinosaur evolution. Another similar book is The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert, so if you’ve read that or this book, read the other. Wow your friends with all reasons Jurassic Park could never happen!

Have you read any of these?

Photo by Radu Marcusu.

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Here are my favorite reads from the last 30 days!

Science, sustainability and veganism

  • My top thrifty charity shop finds: I absolutely live for secondhand shops, it’s probably about over half of the clothes I buy and a lot of them end up lasting longer than my Target impulse-buys even though I spent a fraction of the cost. In fact, most everything I’m wearing right now is from a charity shop: raccoon pajama pants and a hockey pajama shirt that I got way back in 2015 and still wear it most nights.

General travel

Travel destinations

Lifestyle, blogging and entertainment

Photo by Alex Read.

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As a reminder, here is how I rate my books:

  • (★★★★★): Loved it
  • (★★★★): Really liked it
  • (★★★): Didn’t hate it, didn’t love it
  • (★★): Barely finished it

Another few notes: I will warn if there are any spoilers with (start spoiler) and (end spoiler) so you know when to stop reading and pick up again if you don’t want to ruin the book for yourself. I no longer go out of my way to watch adaptions, but will continue to mention them and their general critiques (from Rotten Tomatoes) in my reviews. My dates may not be completely accurate as I have limited Internet access to update my progress.

Hunger by Roxane Gay

FE23HUNGER.jpgRating: ★★★★

Genre: Non-fiction, memoir, feminism

GoodReads rating: 4.19 / 5 (59,000 ratings)

Medium used: E-book (borrowed from library via OverDrive)

Warning: This book (and this review) talks about sexual assault.

Summary: Famed feminist writer opens up about her relationship with food and self-image and how is has shaped her opportunities, relationships and mental health.

Thoughts: I read Bad Feminist a while ago and can’t quite remember if I particularly liked it or not, all I remember about the book is her talking for what seemed like volumes about her Scrabble games. Anyway, I really enjoyed this book. As someone who has been slim to average their whole life, it was eye-opening to learn about what fat people go through both within themselves and physical barriers.

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

51e0ngIgQ8LRating: ★★★★

Genre: Historical fiction

GoodReads rating: 4.36 / 5 (96,500 ratings)

Medium used: E-book (borrowed from library via OverDrive)

Summary: Lives of four individuals cross paths when they seek refuge on the Wilhelm Gustloff. When a Russian submarine threatens to sink the ship of over nine thousand people, they all must fight for survival.

Thoughts: I love a good historical fiction book and although The Storyteller still takes the cake for WWII-era, this book was pretty damn good. I also really enjoy multiple-perspective books and this author does a great job of portraying four totally different universes while remaining relevant to one another. As someone who works at sea, I am very ashamed to admit that I have never even heard of the Wilhelm Gustloff: the greatest loss of human life from a single ship sinking in history. I hope I’m not the only one!

Other adaptations: In development at Universal Studios with accredited directors Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber.

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

jonronson-soyouvebeenpubliclyshamedRating: ★★★★½

Genre: Non-fiction, psychology, sociology

GoodReads rating: 3.94 / 5 (41,000 ratings)

Medium used: E-book (borrowed from library via OverDrive)

Summary: The extreme taboo of shame is explored in light of a new age of social media where seemingly everyone has a say in transgressions of total strangers. In an age where someone can be fired before they land at their destination over a tweet they sent before they boarded their flight, its important to be mindful about online mob mentality.

Thoughts: This book was really interesting. As someone who has been using some form of social media most everyday since I was in my early teens, I haven’t thought much about its larger implications. I’ve been watching a lot of commentary YouTube channels who seemingly pick and prod at everything other, usually more famous social media stars, do, which 95% of the time won’t matter by the end of the week, but we “cancel” them anyway. The way the Internet delivers justice is becoming more and more absurd and this book offers a good commentary about this strange phenomenon.

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo

817VE4lKPzLRating: ★★★★

Genre: Non-fiction, race

GoodReads rating:  4.51 / 5 (12,900 ratings)

Medium used: E-book (borrowed from library via OverDrive)

Summary: “Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue.”

Thoughts: If you’ve been following this blog for a minute, you’d know I don’t give out five stars generously. In fact, this is maybe the 5th book out of about 70 that I’ve read so far this year, so kind of a big deal. Every white person needs to read this book, especially if you were offended in any way by the title or description. Save the foreword, the language is easy to understand, often using bullet points at the end of the chapter to sum up. I know I’m far from perfect and always learning, but I consider myself slightly more aware than the average person on race relations and yet, this book still blew my mind with new perspectives. Not only is it important not to be shitty towards people of color, but it’s also important to know how to take criticism and how to tell your coworker Chad that his racist joke wasn’t cool.

Have you read any of these?

Photo by Radu Marcusu.

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