I Waited Almost 3 Months to Read Midnight Sun

Yes, you read that right.

3 months.

It was because I checked it out from the digital library. I remembered when I initially put my hold on it, I was #17 on 10 copies. I thought I wouldn’t be able to get my turn until next year.

But alas! I was able to read it before then!

I’ll admit, I was a fan when the Twilight books first came out. I mean, they were all the craze when I read them back in high school. My friends and I were debating Team Edward vs Team Jacob through all 4 years.

I remember when Breaking Dawn came out, I took it with me on my trip to Hawaii. I read that thing the entire 8 hour flight to and from Hawaii, plus some time during the trip, and I still didn’t finish it.

That was also when I realized how annoying Bella was, haha.

With my dwindling interest of the Twilight saga, I did not see the two part Breaking Dawn movies until this year, out of curiosity. They were actually pretty good, and followed the books pretty truthfully, from what I can remember.

Rewatching all of the movies made me remember how problamatic Edward and Jacob’s possessiveness over Bella was. How was this a good example to set for young impressionable girls?! Even if Edward did love Bella in the most purest form? It was just unrealistic to me to make it seem okay to make one person your whole life and not know yourself without them.

So why did I put a hold on Midnight Sun?

Curiosity, mainly. I remember when Stephanie Meyers teased the book way back when, and I had wanted to read it.

I also wanted to see what Edward’s perspective in all this really was. And it was at least slightly comforting to know that he also recognized his ridiculous possessiveness and consciously made the effort to always give Bella the choice to be with him.

It was also interesting to see him always be one foot out of the relationship. Ready to leave as soon as he felt he couldn’t ensure Bella’s safety. It gave a lot of context as to why he left in New Moon.

But I’m curious to know what his side of the story in New Moon and what he was doing up until Bella met him in Italy. I’d also like to know his point of view in Eclipse.

And if we kept going this way, might as well rewrite the whole saga in Edward’s POV!

No, don’t do that.

Anyway, I also checked out the book for a bit of nostalgia. It’s kind of nice to go back to characters I’m familiar with and read some new stories. And Stephanie Meyers knows how to wrap you in with her prose. I love being so engrossed in a book that all I want to do is read.

A day full of reading is one of the most fulfilling activities to spend your time.

Horror is as What Society Does

In the spirit of Halloween, on Saturday I watched It: Chapter 2. I had been meaning to see it, since I saw It: Chapter 1. Plus, I read the book about 6-7 years ago and wanted to see how the adaptation went.

I like to dive into a horror film every once in a while, especially if it’s been well received. I think horror should be taken more seriously as a genre than it has been historically because horror, once you get past the jump scares, is most notably a commentary of what’s happening in our society. Probably more-so than dramas or historical films. (Here’s an interesting argument for The Purge franchise, one I haven’t seen but I’ve heard the plot.)

But because it’s such a specific genre, like fantasy and sci-fi, it doesn’t get much recognition by the Academy Awards.

If you haven’t read It, Stephen King goes back and forth between the main characters (their group is called the Losers) as kids, meeting and fighting It for the first time, and as adults, when It awakes again and they come together and kill it for good.

In the most recent adaptation, the book is split into two movies: Chapter 1 for when they’re kids, and Chapter 2 for when they’re adults.

Part of the mythology about It that you learn as you read/watch, is that It comes to life every 27 years. After it wreaks havoc in Derry, feeding on the children, it goes away to sleep. Remarkably, the town forgets the tragedies it went through and write them off as some other cause or find someone to blame.

In Chapter 2, we find that the Losers have moved away from Derry and they’re living their own lives. When they are brought back together, most of them can’t remember what happened the summer they were tormented by It.

Mike, the only one who didn’t leave Derry, is also the only one who remembers what they went through and has to remind them. By keeping tabs on what was happening in the town, he was the one who recognized that It was back 27 years later and rounded up the group again so they could fight and kill it, once and for all.

This phenomena of Derry residents forgetting the tragedies that happened in their town can be related to how we’ve been dealing with racism in America for the past 400 years and how we shift our focus towards and away from systemic racism every time an egregious killing happens.

The story of another Black person being killed by police comes and goes on our news feeds and our TVs. We are shocked again and again by how deeply rooted racism is in our country.

We’re realizing that our thoughts and prayers aren’t going to cut it if there’s going to be real change towards driving out systemic racism and white supremacy. It’s been great to see people educating themselves, protesting, donating to causes, and spreading the word.

But we can’t stop.

We cannot become complacent. Our attention has to be focused on ending white supremacy at all times.

We have to call racism out for what it is, just like the Losers called out It for what it is. That’s how they were able to defeat it. (Sorry, spoiler alert.)

What’s scary is it’s easy to forget that racism is happening if it’s not happening to you or people you know.

Is it a coincidence that the only person of the Losers Group who remembered everything that went down with It is also Black? And that the ones who forgot what happened, who were able to leave and move on with their lives, where white?

Hmm… I think only Stephen King can answer that one for us.



Horrified, Sympathetic, Annoyed: Feelings About Joe Goldberg from You

I just finished You and I’m working on the sequel, Hidden Bodies.

And Joe Goldberg gives me so many emotions and feelings. 

It’s quite frustrating and quite genius of the author, Caroline Kepnes. 

On one hand, I think he’s a controlling murderous scumbag. He murders those who get in the way of his love interest. 

And the stalking and stealing is creepy and horrifying, not romantic. 

He’s also super perverted, sexualizing every girl he comes into contact with. 

He’s the type I hope I never meet. 

But as the story goes on, I can’t help but feel bad for him sometimes. 

Like Beck? Yeah, I knew she was a tease and had issues. She was annoying and her friends and ex were annoying.  I wanted him to get over her so bad. 

And the people he meets in Hidden Bodies are also annoying and I felt for him when Forty took credit for his screenplays.

Sometimes I can’t take him seriously as a murderer because he makes so many mistakes. He thinks he’s so smart and yet… leaving a mug of your pee at the scene of a crime?? Smh. 

I kind of like that I have these complicated feelings for the “protagonist”. It’s good to be uncomfortable in what you read or watch so that you can evaluate your own opinions and analyze why you feel the way you do about a certain topic, situation, action, etc.  

That’s the power of reading, right?

Does anyone else have these feelings while reading this series? Any recommendations for readings that take you out of your comfort zone?

After I finish reading the sequel, I don’t have any intention of watching the show on Netflix. The books are enough for me.

Brown Reflections

I was born and raised in the US and, like millions of people here, I come from a Mexican heritage. Though I’ll admit, I do feel more American and identify less with my Mexican heritage.

My experience with my Mexican heritage involves making tamales with my family for Christmas (although I wasn’t much a fan of tamales at first). And one of my favorite memories was making tortillas with my maternal grandma.

I know basic Spanish but can’t carry much of a conversation with my remaining grandparent. Both my parents speak Spanish but they only taught me English growing up. I remember the first time I was judged for not being taught Spanish by my parents. (Yes, you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t – from both sides.)

Pretty much most of what I learned about being Mexican came from meeting other Latinx people and taking Spanish class. Even schools skim over Mexican involvement in US history. Cesar Chavez can be covered in just a chapter.

Luckily, I can turn to my family to find out about their experiences of being Mexicans in this country, as well as how they came here. I once did an oral project for a college history course and I interviewed my paternal grandpa. He came to the US with his family at 12 years old and was able to get his citizenship while he was serving in the army during the Korean War.

I recently read Macho! by Victor Villaseñor. I love reading his books because his characters are strong and complex. He also writes with so much passion. A lot of his stories are about his family and his own experiences (highly recommend Rain of Gold, Thirteen Senses and Burro Genius).

Macho! was about a boy who decided to come to California to work the fields, with hope of making money to help take care of his family back in Mexico. Think, the Mexican version of The Grapes of Wrath. It took place at the height of Cesar Chavez’s movement to unionize the field workers. I was in awe of what those men went through to try to make a better life for themselves.

It reminded me of hearing about how my grandma did everything she could to come to the states because otherwise, she would’ve been stuck living in a poor ranch in Mexico.

It also made me think. With the presidential election coming up later this year, one of the major topics that gets covered is immigration. What do we do with illegal immigrants?

This topic is more nuanced than we give it credit for. There are many ways to think about the situation and on top of that, there are many situations within immigration.

I think it would help to learn more about the Mexican experience of coming to this country in order to, in the very least, appreciate the complexity of the problem. There should even be more information about the experiences of other minorities as well, like the Chinese (who disappear from U.S. History even more).

I’ll even admit, I don’t know what to think about immigration, and wouldn’t know where to start. (But perhaps going to each party’s policy page will be a first step.) Not to mention, there’s just an overload of information and opinions on both sides.

See, I am your average American in more ways than one.

Do you identify with your heritage at all? What have you learned about your family’s experiences? Any good books you’ve read that made you think more about where you come from? Any thoughts on immigration? Do you prefer Cool Whip or whipped cream?