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Hello, dear friends! I hope you are all well and if not I hope you are able to see brighter days soon! As you probably know, summer in the northern hemisphere is coming to a close. In my area of the US, the summer heat doesn’t really fade until early to mid October but this year it seems like we’re getting a bit of an early Autumn, with temperatures in the 70s and 60s (Fahrenheit) having already begun to creep up on us. Regardless of my feelings toward the changing weather, I decided it’s about time to curl up in cozy layers and wrap up some of my Summer 2020 favorites. So let’s see exactly what those favorites were!
Incendiary by Zoraida Cordova
I recently read Incendiary by Zoraida Córdova and…y’all…when I say y’all are sleeping on this book…
But let me back up a little before I start raving.
So what is Incendiary about?
The story follows Renata (a.k.a. “Ren”), a young woman with a dark past. She belongs to a race of magic wielders, the Moria, a group which has become oppressed by the government. Ren is a “robari,” a Moria who can steal memories (although the act of stealing memories has consequences, like losing your own memories to “The Grey”). As a very young child, Ren was stolen away from her family and turned into a human weapon by the government, who used her to steal rebels’ memories and thus gain access to top secret info about the rebel resistance, who they would then massacre. Ren does this does this under the watchful eye of Justice Mendez, a powerful government leader who has sinister motives, despite his seeming personal kindness to Ren. But one fateful night, Ren is rescued by the Whispers, a rebel group, and taken into their care.
Flash forward about ten years.
Ren is a rebel agent for the Whispers despite the fact that they deeply distrust her because of her past, which leaves her as an outcast. Despite the Whispers hatred for her, Ren works tirelessly to prove herself as loyal, reliable, and trustworthy. But when a rebel mission to save the boy Ren loves goes horribly wrong, Ren is left to fend for herself. Through some clever manipulation, Ren works her way back into the good graces of Justice Mendez once again, with the intention of eventually killing the supposedly evil prince, Castien. But in the gilded cage of the royal court, not everything is what it seems and the shocking secrets Ren discovers could change the course of Ren’s life forever and turn the tide of the ongoing war against the Moria…
So, I could write a whole book review about why I love Incendiary with all my heart—as a matter of fact I have already done that—but what exactly makes it worthy of another mention? Oh I dunno, maybe the complex themes surrounding morality? Or the intriguing cast of characters?? Or perhaps it’s the interest-grabbing plot??? Basically everything about this absolutely stunning book, is what I’m saying! Honestly, I’m beyond obsessed with Incendiary and I’ll continue to throw this book at anyone and everyone I can!
Never Have I Ever (Netflix)
I briefly talked about my love for Netflix’s new teen dramedy Never Have I Ever in my May 2020 Wrap Up, but I wanted to take a bit of a deeper look into my love for the show here.
Never Have I Ever is about Indian American teen girl Devi Vishwakumar, as well as her family and friends. I feel like the trailer makes it look like the show is all about Devi’s struggle to navigate high school, especially as an Indian American girl—but to be honest, that’s only partially true. Instead, Never Have I Ever actually focuses largely on Devi’s struggle to come to terms with her father’s recent death.
Now, this is where I reveal a part of my life to you: my own father died when I was seven years old. So when I realized that “death of a father” was going to be the main topic of Never Have I Ever (at least for Season 1) I was simultaneously wary and hopeful about how the show would represent Devi’s struggle with grief. And I have to say that I was not let down! I won’t lie, I don’t really cry over media but this show got me to shed tears on multiple occasions, so take that as you will.
Never Have I Ever handles Devi’s journey with grief in a surprisingly touching manner, depicting it in an in turns difficult, touching, tender, and gently humorous way. I found that, though Devi and I both express and manage our grief over our respective fathers’ deaths differently (for the most part), I could easily accept Never Have I Ever’s portrayal of Devi’s sadness as something which resonated as deeply genuine.
I’ve talked about my love for Eve Cornwell’s content before, but I really can’t stress just how obsessed I am. I mean, I practically eat, sleep, and breathe her stuff, okay?! A former studytuber who transitioned from university student to trainee lawyer, Eve’s content is about 50% lifestyle and 50% legal lessons (but, like, the fun kind of legal lessons, as impossible as that sounds). Eve’s got a great sense of dry humor and I adore her cheery yet down-to-earth personality. I always leave her videos feeling like I’ve both learned something and had a fun time. Plus, as geeky as this may seem, Eve’s passion for law is so contagious and she always motivates me to learn more about national and international law! Anyhoo, Eve hasn’t posted for a bit now, but I’m definitely looking forward to her new content when she returns and I hope you’ll check her stuff out too!
I do enjoy a bit of pop psychology every now and again (knowing, of course, that the accuracy of pop psychology isn’t 100%) and this summer I got into the enneagram. The enneagram is basically a pop psychology personality type test, similar to the Myers-Briggs typology test. The enneagram separates people into nine different basic personality types, and then adds in “wings” and “tritypes,” to add a more complex vision of your personality. I’m a Type 7 Wing 6, which means I’m adventurous, curious, optimistic, enthusiastic, fun-loving, spontaneous, and socially-oriented, among other things. This isn’t really a surprise to me, but what was a surprising was that I originally mis-typed as a Type 2, which is apparently an occurrence that’s common among women as Type 2s tend to follow the social roles that are traditionally assigned to women. I was really confused at that point, as I didn’t relate much to Type 2 and what I did relate to, I related to on a very shallow level. So I took the test four more times and three out of four times I got Type 7, which I highly relate to. Anyway, I feel like my experience shows how inaccurate that pop psychology tests can be (I mean having an entire freaking gender skewed more towards one personality type because #patriarchy? Come on.), but either way it is a fun tiny bit of insight into myself that I enjoyed looking into, even if I had to take it with a grain of salt.
My Top Five Songs of Summer
- “Kinfolk” by Mereba // This song makes me so nostalgic for my teenage years and I have no clue why but I like it, haha! Mereba is an Ethiopian American artist and I feel like you can really feel undertones of East Africa in some of her music, which I love. I’ve become pretty obsessed with her music, and I feel like “Kinfolk” is a perfect example of why.
- “Barefoot in the Park” by James Black ft. ROSALIA // This song feels like those magical summer days when the breeze softly brushes across your skin and sunlight is fluttering through treetops. I don’t know what it is, but something about “Barefoot in the Park” just sends me to a daydream-y elsewhere. 10/10 highly recommend for Peak Summertime Vibes!
- “Hide Out” by Mahalia // Mahalia is another artist I’ve come to be pretty obsessed with this past summer and “Hide Out” is one of may favorite songs from her. What can I say, everyone needs a good ol’ “f*ck my ex” anthem and this one is a jam! Plus, I love the samples of Eartha Kitt that Mahalia sprinkled through the song. All in all, I love everything about “Hide Out” and I’m sure it’ll be on repeat for a good while.
- “NO ONE’S IN THE ROOM” by Jessie Reyez // This song honestly makes me cry, but, like, in a good way? Which is a weird new experience for me haha! Regardless, I just find the lyrics and the sound of this song to be so incredibly moving, especially as someone who’s a (very, very, very liberal) Catholic who grew up attending an incredibly liberal Catholic elementary/middle school. The music video was also really touching and emotional. Overall, I can’t recommend “NO ONE’S IN THE ROOM” enough!
- “This Is Me Trying” by Taylor Swift // Ah, this is another emotional song for me. Honestly, the lyrics of this song came to me at the right moment, when I was experiencing a depressive low, and it really helped me to feel less alone.
Well, dear friends, that’s all for today. I hope you enjoyed and maybe found something new to look into. I wish all of you plenty of sunlight, a good dose of tea, and, of course, a great book to fall into. Until next time, friends…
SPILL THE BEANS, FRIENDS!
- What are your Summer 2020 favorites?
- What are you looking forward to for Autumn 2020?
- Oooh! And if you know your enneagram type, definitely share it and if you think it’s accurate!