Book 59 of 52: We Were Dreamers: An Immigrant Superhero Origin Story by Simu Liu

Let’s take a trip with a very handsome man! Simu Liu, who is most known as the lead in Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the 10 Rings. He has quite a story to tell in We Were Dreamers: An Immigrant Superhero Origin Story. And most of it is not about Hollywood. Liu is a Chinese-Canadian actor who spent the first four years of his life in China with his grandparents, as his parents scraped their way to establishing a new life for the three of them in Canada. When Liu was finally able to join them, it wasn’t a perfect reunion. Not only were his parents essentially raising a small child they didn’t know, but they also pressured him to succeed in sometimes cruel ways. No way around it: they beat him, and did things like lock him out of the apartment if he was bad. They made him feel worthless if he was not at the top of his class, and beyond, in everything. I thought a lot about book 44 in this series, I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy. The big differences are that his parents didn’t want Liu to have anything to do with performing while her mother did, his abuse was mostly physical and psychological (not sexual) and he reconciled with his parents. He even interviewed them for the book. My parents weren’t a big part of my memoir, and even those bits were uncomfortable writing. I can’t even imagine the courage it…

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Book 58 of 52: The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan

I’m getting ready to leave on a trip, so this will be a short post — which is apt as The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan is short! It’s a novella about the parents of characters in her The Brothers Sinister series (I’ve read most of these — recommended!) This story is about finding happiness after trauma and abuse. I don’t want to say exactly what happened to our hero and heroine because their stories unfold over the course of the novella, but it’s not…

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Book 57 of 52: Signal Fires by Dani Shapiro

Signal Fires, a new novel by Dani Shapiro, starts with a death. Sarah Wilf, 17, is too drunk to drive, so she asks Theo, her 15-year-old brother, to drive for her. He ends up crashing into a tree in front of their home, which kills their friend Misty, who was a passenger. Signal Fires is about the after, and how secrets can be an acid that rips someone apart. The story focuses on the Wilfs, and also the Shamkmans, who move into the house across…

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Book 56 of 52: Murder, She Wrote: By the Time You Read This I’ll be Gone by Stephanie Kuehn

My exploration of the Murder, She Wrote universe continues! Did you know there’s now a YA branch of the Jessica Fletcher world? I didn’t either By the Time You Read This I’ll be Gone by Stephanie Huehn, the first entry into a series of books about Fletcher’s great great grand niece, dropped last month. It’s an interesting endeavor. The protagonist here is Beatrice Fletcher, a high school student and anonymous contributor to TrueMaine, a true crime blog. This particular mystery starts when her friend Jackson,…

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Update on Books 37 and 51

Hello readers! As promised, I have updates on books I previous read on the blog but didn’t say too much about because I would be discussing them further for work. Book 37 of 52: Streets of Gold: America’s Untold Story of Immigrant Success by Ran Abramitzky and Leah Boustan: I interviewed Boustan for Princeton Alumni Weekly. I also found this letter written in response to the article, which you may find interesting as well. Book 51 of 52: The Queer Principles of Kit Webb by…

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Book 55 of 52: How the Dukes Stole Christmas by Tessa Dare, Sarah MacLean, Sophie Jordan and Joanna Shupe

The following things have happened to me in the last two weeks: I was injured during a routine medical procedure. Forget my fall marathon. For...
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Book 54 of 52: I’m Not Really a Waitress by Suzi Weiss-Fischmann

I started doing my nails in 2018, at 38 years old, in a grasp at control. On the night before I was to run a...
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Book 53 of 52: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

Hello from the shiny new version of Book a Week with Jen! Do you like it? I do. Since I'm going to keep the site...
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Book 52 of 52: When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro

Hey hey! Book 52 of 52! Woooooo! Party! I'm done reading for the year, right? Well of course not. I'm not going to just pack...
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Book 51 of 52: The Queer Principles of Kit Webb by Cat Sebastian

I can't say much about The Queer Principles of Kit Webb by Cat Sebastian at the moment — but for a good reason! I spoke about the book...
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Book 50 of 52: Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures by Robert K. Wittman and John Shiffman

Who doesn't love a good heist story? And who doesn't want to listen to a book about heists and exactly how FBI got back said...
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