Personal posts don’t happen all too often at Happily Ever Homebody. But since I’ve been AWOL for a few weeks, I wanted to give you a little life update. And within that I’ll be talking about why I’ve been gone, what I’ve been reading and so on. So let’s just get straight into it.
Where Have I Been?
Well… just days before lockdown 2.0 was due to start, my lovely grandad tested positive for COVID. Since the start of the crisis, this was what I’d been most scared of happening. And it had happened. He fell under several ‘high risk’ groups since he had multiple cancers, kidney failure and diabetes as well as being in his 70s. But here’s the thing: he did everything right. Shielding. Staying at home except for his dialysis and to receive medical treatment. And he caught COVID in hospital.
My mental health plummeted at this point. I live with severe anxiety anyway but this whole situation was so difficult that I started having recurrent panic attacks and noticed the red flags of a depressive episode creeping in. And so I had to switch off, try to self-care and just wait and hope.
Every day that hope grew a little bit stronger. And he seemed to be getting better before it all came crashing down. He had a stroke followed by a heart attack and organ failure. And then he passed away. Three days earlier, all he had was a bad cough.
It doesn’t get easier talking about it. Or living without him. It’s a loss our family will never truly be able to get over.
And then six short days later, we lost our beloved guinea pig, Heidi. It was absolutely heartbreaking and I miss her every second of every day. She’s now buried in a flowerpot outside and we have plans to create a beautiful fairy garden for her next week.
So that’s why I’ve been AWOL for the last few weeks. It’s just been a lot to deal with. My mental health has really taken a beating. But I’m doing okay.
What Have I Been Reading Lately?
[NOTE: All books marked with a * are review copies which have been kindly provided to me for free from the publishers in exchange for a review.]
I don’t know about you but when things get intense IRL, I like to escape into a good book. So I’ve been doing a lot of that this month. But I’ve got to be honest, it does feel kind of slumpy at the moment. It’s harder to focus and I have to avoid more triggers than I normally would but I’m still pushing myself to read as often and as much as I can.
Since I haven’t posted for a while, it makes sense to fill you in on everything I’ve read in October and so far this month. So I’ll split this bit into two sections: an October wrap-up and a November reads.
#99: Spoiler Alert* by Olivia Dade
#100: The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware
#101: How to Be Ace* by Rebecca Burgess
#102: Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell & Faith Erin Hicks
#103: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
#104: Half-Minute Horrors edited by Susan Rich
#105: City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab
#106: The Grace Year by Kim Liggett
#107: I Want To Be Where The Normal People Are* by Rachel Bloom
#108: Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp
#109: Harrow Lake* by Kat Ellis
#110: No Exit by Taylor Adams
#111: Pet by Akwaeke Emezi
I started the month hyped about non-fiction November because I have a big stack of non-fiction titles that I just haven’t gotten to or finished yet. So my intention was to whizz through as many of them as possible. But then life got a bit too heavy and I had to fall into fiction instead. Still, I’ve read 5 non-fiction books this month so wasn’t a complete fail!
Here’s what I’ve read so far in November:
#112: How To Stay Sane In An Age of Division by Elif Shafak
#113: Giant Days, Volume 2 by John Allison et al
#114: Nasty Women: Feminism, Resistance and Revolution in Trump’s America edited by Samhita Mukhopadhyay
#115: How I Resist: Activism and Hope for a New Generation edited by Maureen Johnson
#116: When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole
#117: Mindhunter by John Douglas & Mark Olshaker
#118: The End of Her by Shari Lapena
#119: Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari
#120: Good Girl, Bad Blood by Holly Jackson
#121: Paper Girls, Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan et al
#122: Check, Please! Book 1: #Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu
- Gender Swapped Fairy Tales by Karrie Fransman & Jonathan Plackett
- The Memory Police by Yōko Ogawa (translated by Stephen Snyder)
What I’m Reading Next
Next week, I’ll be reading and reviewing How to Pack for the End of the World by Michelle Falkoff which was kindly sent to me by Harper360. It sounds great so keep your eyes peeled for my review very soon!
Before the end of the month, I also hope to finish listening to Too Much and Never Enough by Mary L. Trump. And I want to push myself to finish I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara.
Thank you so much for stopping by and reading what I have to say. The next few weeks are going to be incredibly stressful so posting will be somewhat sporadic but I’ll post whenever I can.
Stay safe out there!