Today:

  • woke up way too early
  • read about Romance Writers of America filing for bankruptcy and the absurd way they’re trying to blame it on Courtney Milan ๐Ÿ”–๐Ÿ“š
  • had my first mammogram (later than I ought) (they used cute stickers to mark my sebaceous cysts)
  • caught up on Season 3 of Bridgerton ๐Ÿ“บ

๐ŸŽฎ Played Assemble with Care.

I’m really feeling wholesome games lately, especially those with a warm pastel color palette and soothing music. In this game, you fix people’s stuff and inspire them to fix their relationships.

On sale on Steam for $3.19 through June 11, iOS & Android for $3.99.

A GIF of a 1980s-era red single tape deck opening, a tape being inserted, and then closing.

Finished reading: The Prince of Broadway by Joanna Shupe ๐Ÿ“š

I loved it. A delightful heroine, a debutante with dreams of owning a women-only casino. The bitter casino owner she’s chosen to mentor her. Excellent stuff.

Edited auto-generated description: A black cat is sleeping on a couch, surrounded by colorful pillows.

Midnight is very sleepy.

Finished reading: The Essential X-Men Volume 3 by Chris Claremont ๐Ÿ“š

Read as single issues and only the Uncanny X-Men books, not the annuals, but this is the easiest way to track reading the comics.

That feeling when you went to the pool with children and you only had snacks for lunch and your knee hurts and you’re ready for bed at 3:30. Hashtag relatable. Am I right?

Finished reading: The Rogue of Fifth Avenue by Joanna Shupe ๐Ÿ“š

Gilded Age New York, a hotshot lawyer, and a responsible eldest daughter who finds her responsibility chafing. What’s not to love?

Whoops, I was too busy actually paying attention to FanLIS to take notes. Also, it turns out virtual conferences are much less exhausting when you’re not liveblogging them.

I’m attending FanLIS this morning. This is my favorite little academic space: the intersection of fan studies and library & information science. I probably won’t be live-posting but I’ll take some notes to share.

Finished reading: The Essential X-Men Volume 2 by Chris Claremont ๐Ÿ“š

Again, read as single issues in Marvel Unlimited, but this is the best way to track. It’s a powerhouse of a run with both Dark Phoenix and Days of Future Past in it.

Finished reading: Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover by Sarah MacLean ๐Ÿ“š

This has my favorite of Sarah MacLean’s heroes. Give me a guy who is clever and made his own way over a titled rogue any day. (But I like to read about titled rogues, too.)

๐Ÿ“š Reading The Dark Phoenix Saga (not for the first time) and I had forgotten how heavily this whole deal, especially Scott talking to Dark Phoenix about love, influenced Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Dark Willow storyline.

๐Ÿ”–๐Ÿ“š Read Jamaica Kincaid and Kara Walker Made an Irreverent, Charming Kidsโ€™ Book by Stephen Bell (Harper’s Bazaar).

I’m super curious to see the book. The article only contains one sample page. It’s gorgeous and I look forward to seeing more.

๐Ÿฟ Watched UHF on the big screen today, when I’d only watched it at home before. Early on I seemed to be the only person laughing but maybe people were feeling shy or something because they laughed more as the movie went on. It’s a funny movie every time.

Finished reading: Essential X-Men - Volume 1

I read these as single issues in Marvel Unlimited, but this is the easiest way to track them.

Currently reading: The Best There is at what He Does: Examining Chris Claremontโ€™s X-Men by Jason Powell ๐Ÿ“š

Started watching X-Men 97 ๐Ÿ“บ which reminded me that I love the X-Men, so now I’m reading this and reading the comics mentioned alongside. Super fun.

Want to read: A Web of Our Own Making by Antรณn Barba-Kay ๐Ÿ“š

My kid told me, “A cross between a piglet and a pug is a puglet.” When I replied, “Good night,” meaning to indicate that it was time to sleep and not to talk, he said, “I just wanted to give you that very valuable information.” I love him the most.

Finished reading: No Good Duke Goes Unpunished by Sarah MacLean ๐Ÿ“š

I love every Sarah MacLean heroine.

Finished reading: One Good Earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah MacLean ๐Ÿ“š

Lady Phillipa Marbury is a refreshing take on a bluestocking.

Hello world, I am full of hormonally-induced ill feeling including headache, nausea, and cramps. Until further notice, I hate everything except my family and friends, romance novels, Pepsi with real sugar, and Star Trek.

๐Ÿ“š๐Ÿ”– Here is the actual study with the evidence of the correlation between fiction reading and cognition.

๐Ÿ”–๐Ÿ“š Read If You Read a Lot of Fiction, Scientists Have Very Good News About Your Brain.

It’s always good to look at the actual studies behind news articles like this, but the evidence that reading fiction is associated with improved cognition suggests the importance of libraries, I think.

Just a little reproductive system education, because I’ve met many adults who have uteruses and don’t know this: the menstrual cycle refers to the entire span of time from the first day of one period to the day before the first day of the next. Not just when you’re shedding uterine lining.

๐Ÿ“š Book Review: You Should Be So Lucky by Cat Sebastian

Austin Kleon introduced me to a newsletter issue in which director and writer Mark Slutsky talks about the feeling of being in good hands:

Iโ€™ve come to trust a certain feeling that comes over me when I first make contact with a piece of art. The opening lines of a book; the first 30 seconds or so of a movie; bars of a song, etc. It is a feeling of being in good hands, an intuitive sense that the author knows what they are doing and that the experience will be worth my time.

I felt this way as soon as I read the first sentence of Cat Sebastianโ€™s We Could Be So Good:

Nick Russo could fill the Sunday paper with reasons why he shouldnโ€™t be able to stand Andy Fleming.

I loved that book so much, so I was thoroughly psyched to get the chance to read an advanced reading copy for You Should Be So Lucky, a novel set in the same mid-20th-century America narrative world, about a grouchy, grieving arts reporter and the golden retriever/foulmouthed jerk baseball player whose slump the editor of Markโ€™s newspaper has tasked him with writing about. As often happens in a romance, these two knuckleheads learn, grow, and fall in love, not necessarily in that order.

What I loved: So much. Woof. Hard to even think of how to explain it all. Iโ€™ll start by saying that mostly, I love these two characters, and most especially I love Mark, who is a snarky reporter with a squishy heart, who simultaneously so appreciates the way his deceased partner William made him feel worthwhile and loathes the way Williamโ€™s political ambitions meant that they could never seem even at all possibly queer. I just love him so much. I imagine him as a young Trent Crimm (from Ted Lasso, in case youโ€™re not familiar).

I love Eddie, too, his inability to hide his feelings just ever. His willingness to throw caution to the wind and let his blossoming friendship with Mark just exist in the world without constantly looking over his shoulder about it. His beautiful relationship with his mother and his own bruised heart in the face of learning he was about to be traded to a team that would take him far from his home and everything he knew.

What I wanted more of: Letโ€™s be clear. There is nothing that Iโ€™m like, โ€œCat Sebastian didnโ€™t do enough of that,โ€ because Cat Sebastian is awesome. But letโ€™s also be clear. I will read more of whatever Cat Sebastian wants to write, and if she wrote a lovely Christmas novella about Nick and Andy (from We Could Be So Good) and Mark and Eddie all being at a Christmas party together, I would read it so hard.

What I need to warn you about: This book is about two dudes falling in love, so if you donโ€™t want to read about that, skip it. There is some spice but the language isnโ€™t very explicit. Iโ€™d say, medium-ish, maybe slightly less than medium spice? There are some of the kind of things that people usually want content warnings about: death of a partner before the book starts, period-appropriate homophobia, parents kicking a son out due to their own homophobia.

Who should read this: People who want a romance with a lot of interiority, minimal conflict between the two main characters, people who like baseball mixed in with their love.

The cover of the book โ€˜You Should Be So Luckyโ€™ by Cat Sebastian features two illustrated characters against a blue background. On the left, a character wears a red and white baseball uniform with the team name โ€˜Robinsโ€™ across the chest, holding a baseball bat over one shoulder. On the right stands another character in brown period clothing, holding an open book in one hand and a microphone in the other. Behind them are line drawings that include baseball paraphernalia, architectural elements like columns and arches, and what appears to be the Statue of Libertyโ€™s torch. At the bottom of the image is praise for Cat Sebastian from Olivia Waite, stating, โ€˜Cat Sebastian is my desert island author.โ€™