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text 2020-06-09 10:05
Um, Oops?

Once upon a time, falling down a Goodreads drama rabbit hole led me to YA/Kidlit Twitter where I discovered some new-to-me Black authors. Listening to those authors speak about racism in all facets of publishing is what made me start seriously examining my privilege and unpacking my internal racial biases. I've been thinking about that a lot these last two weeks. I still have A TON of work to do, but I'm a better person than I was because of Black authors speaking out, and one thing I can do is buy books.

 

So last night when I was adding more books by Black authors to my wish list, I decided to go a step further and buy some. And after I started adding titles to my shopping cart, I decided to keep going.

 

I spent $300 USD on books by Black authors last night.

 

 

I ordered 18 books before I ran out of money. RIP my 2020 clothes budget. Oh well. No one outside the house but the postie sees my ratty sweats anyway.

 

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text 2020-05-16 09:19
I'm Currently Not Plague-ridden! :D

My results are in. My swabs tested negative for COVID19. My husband can go back to work and I can try once again to discuss asthma treatments with my doctor. Huzzah!

 

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text 2020-05-13 08:04
A Privileged Whinge About Life in the Time of COVID19

I've been having trouble with asthma. When I was younger, I was on preventative inhalers, but I stopped about fifteen years ago and haven't needed more than the occasional puff of Ventolin since then. But over the past several months my asthma has been getting progressively worse, the last two weeks especially. I've been walking around the house feeling like I've got a too-tight ace bandage around my chest preventing me from taking a full breath, and a constant pathetic-sounding asthma cough to go with it.

 

So I got an appointment with my GP so I could talk to her about setting up an asthma action plan and getting back on preventative inhalers. My appointment was this morning. I washed my hands, strapped on a mask, and set off.

 

And that's when the fun started.

 

Because I presented with my pathetic-sounding asthma cough, the GP refused to examine me. She said she couldn't evaluate me at the clinic and I'd have to go to Emergency at the local hospital where they've got a COVID19 testing center set up. So off I went, having a mini freak-out in the car on the way. (Don't worry, I wasn't driving so I was free to stare blankly at my phone screen while all my cognitive functions froze up for a few minutes.)

 

At Emergency the triage nurse checked my oxygen saturation levels (they were fine), listened to my breathing (no lung crackling), and quizzed me on my symptoms (no fevers). She said I was asymptomatic for COVID, but just to be safe they would go ahead and swab me anyway and then send in a doctor to address the asthma problem. So I sat in the waiting room trying to read (and not think about what kind of germs my fellow waitees and I were passing around) while I waited for a spot to open up in the testing center. The book I took with me is a fictionalized account of the life of Jane Seymour, Henry VIII's third wife. I was, coincidentally, at the part where Jane is sent home from Court after an epidemic of sweating sickness breaks out in the capitol. Haaaaaaaaaah. . . . .

 

My name was called, and a nurse led me (at proper social distance) to the testing center and deposited me in an exam room where I resumed waiting and read the oh-so-cheery account of poor Jane losing two siblings to the sweating sickness. A different nurse in full PPE came in, quizzed me on my symptoms, took my temperature (normal), and strapped a blood pressure cuff to my arm. She agreed that my symptoms sounded like plain ordinary asthma, then she fired up the blood pressure machine, got out the testing kit, and proceeded to tell me that everyone in my household would have to self-isolate with me until the test results came back in three to five days - including my essential employee husband who just got promoted into a new position at work.

 

"That's going to skyrocket now," I said, pointing to the blood pressure machine. It did. She had to take it again after I'd had a minute to calm down.

 

Then came the swabs. As a kid I was prone to strep throat and sinus infections, so I'm no stranger to throat and nasal swabs, and they're about as fun as I remembered. (It's hard to believe something can go that far up your nose, but it can and it will.) After that, I waited for the doctor while reading about the sweating sickness death toll in 1528 London and questioning my bookish life choices.

 

The doctor, a very nice woman whose face I never saw (come to think of it, she never saw mine, either), quizzed me on my symptoms, listened to my breathing, and very regretfully told me there was nothing she could do about the asthma because it didn't sound like an infection and ER docs aren't authorized to prescribe preventative inhalers. I would have to see my GP for an asthma action plan. Full circle! Wheeeee!

 

So now I'm home with my husband (who I think is still trying to decide how he feels about his sudden holiday) and my father-in-law (who is thrilled he can fob off his bowling club duties this week) and a raging anxiety-induced headache, and I'm just praying my results come in quickly and are negative so my husband can go back to work and I can go back to the GP and get my stupid asthma treated. (If I test positive, that could potentially shut down hubby's whole workplace, as he's my most likely source of infection. Ugh.)

 

So I've had an interesting day that went south pretty quickly, but I'm also counting my blessings. I'm not terribly ill (knock on wood), I haven't been more than mildly inconvenienced, my husband's boss is being very understanding, and I live in a country with universal healthcare and a half-decent coronavirus response. I won't pay a cent out of pocket for that whole ER visit. That still amazes me after growing up in the American health care system where my last ER visit cost over $1,000 and consisted of a brief examination and a can of Sprite from the vending machine.

 

If you made it this far, thanks for reading my privileged whinge. I just needed to write it all down to help me process everything. I feel a little better now. Here's a cute bunny eating a flower petal.

 

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text 2020-01-06 14:08
Monday Musings: When Things Change

When you lose your way in the middle of your journey,

When things start going wrong halfway through,

When there is an eclipse after a sunny morning,

That’s when you feel the pain so acutely.

But that’s also the time to remember and hope,

Because things get better only after they get worse,

Losing your way will lead to new enchanting roads,

Things going wrong will cause you to find new solutions,

And the sun will shine brightly after the eclipse.

Life is all about good, bad, and everything in between,

It is about the right, the wrong, and so much more,

It can be easy and difficult both at the same time,

All that matters is; we keep moving forward.

Be happy if you lose your way and find your soul,

Be glad if things go wrong and you discover life’s purpose,

Celebrate the solar eclipse, it doesn’t come that often,

More than that, don’t blame yourself for what’s meant to be.

 

© 2020, Fizza Younis.

Source: iambookseater.wordpress.com/2020/01/06/monday-musings-when-things-change
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text 2019-12-31 18:45
My Top Ten Novels of 2019
The Fisherman - John Langan
Grind Your Bones to Dust - Nicholas Sparks
The Immaculate Void - Brian Hodge
Hollow Kingdom - Kira Jane Buxton
Rattlesnake Kisses - John Boden,Robert Ford
Brides of Hanover Block (The Hanover Quartet Book 2) - Gregor Xane
In the Valley of the Sun: A Novel - Andy Davidson
A Penny For Your Thoughts - Matt Hayward,Robert Ford
The Worst is Yet to Come - S.P. Miskowski
Patient Zero - Ray Porter,Jonathan Maberry

Here is my listing of the novels that I enjoyed most in 2019.

Click the titles if you'd like to read my review.

 

 THE FISHERMAN by John Langan. Not only is this my favorite book of the year, it's one of my favorite books of all time and a great example of cosmic, quiet horror.

 

GRIND YOUR BONES TO DUST by Nicholas Day.

Nicholas Day is a new-to-me author and this novel blew me away. 

Beautifully written, dark and chaotic-Mr. Day is one to watch.

 

THE IMMACULATE VOID by Brian Hodge.

I've been a fan of his work for years and books like this are the reason why. 

If you're a horror/dark fiction fan, you need to be familiar with Mr. Hodge.

 

HOLLOW KINGDOM by Kira Jane Buxton.

This was a phenomenal debut novel. It's not even really horror, but it defies neat labels. It's a tale of the zombie apocalypse from the point of view of a domesticated crow named Shit Turd. Yep. Shit Turd. This book will touch you and if it doesn't, you should see a doctor because something is wrong with you.

 

RATTLESNAKE KISSES by Robert Ford and John Boden.

A short novel, but there's a lot of feeling packed in there, as well as some funny, bloody laughs.

 

BRIDES OF HANOVER BLOCK by Gregor Xane.

Probably the most off the wall book I've read this year. Erotic, gross, funny and creepy all at once-I can't wait for the next installment!

 

IN THE VALLEY OF THE SUN by Andy Davidson.

This was another new to me author I discovered this year. I adored this book and the subtlety of it. It's a beautifully written story about...? The author never says the word and I won't either. (Now if the publisher would just approve me for his next book that'd be great!  I hope you're reading this MCD x FSG Originals!)

 

A PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS by Robert Ford and Matt Hayward.

This one gets the 2019 award for the funniest moment in prose. I'm still laughing about it.

 

THE WORST IS YET TO COME by S.P. Miskowski.

A tragically under-read author who writes scary, quiet horror that gets under your skin. 

 

THE JOE LEDGER SERIES by Jonathan Maberry, read by Ray Porter.

No link because I've reviewed the books individually, but I've listened to this entire series this year, (except for the very last one). These audio books have helped me through a very tough time. I sometimes wonder if I would have made it through at all, without Joe Ledger keeping me company. Bravo to both the author and the narrator, because together? They are an unbeatable team.

 

Honorable Mention in Audios:

The Don Winslow series that started with THE POWER OF THE DOG and ended with THE BORDER. What a powerful and emotional ride these books were. Well researched and if you think about it? Some of the scariest books out there, not because they're horror books, but because they're based on some real life events. 

Ray Porter reads these too and he is simply outstanding. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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