Sea of Tranquility by Emily St John Mandel

I guess 5-hour airplane rides are good for reading books. I finished Sea of Tranquility by Emily St John Mandel and was rather impressed by it, although her previous book The Glass Hotel didn’t quite do it for me. 

But this time travel pandemic novel really just held on to me and wouldn’t let go. Maybe it was me sitting in an airplane wearing a mask and on the other side of the aisle, the man and his teenaged son were maskless, like maybe about half of the other passengers. 

We had traveled to Hawaii when masks were required on airplanes. And flew out of Big Island with most people not wearing masks. We’re still in the midst of this thing, are we not? 

This passage in the book especially made me sit up and reread it: 

“Pandemics don’t approach like wars, with the distant thud of artillery growing louder every day and flashes of bombs on the horizon. They arrive in retrospect, essentially. It’s disorientating. The pandemic is far away and then it’s all around you, with seemingly no intermediate step.”

I don’t want to give you a synopsis of the story. I went into it not really knowing much about it. And I think that’s the best way of reading this book. Pull on your mask and plunge in. 

It’s Monday (April 25, 2022)

Happy Monday! My younger son turned 9 over the weekend, and also had a positive covid test the same day. Sigh. It was something I had been worrying about since we returned from Hawaii last week. The mask mandate on airplanes was still on when we flew to Hawaii but it was shot down a few days later. And at least half the people on the full flight back to the Bay Area were not wearing masks. We still kept ours on, but with a five plus hour flight, can’t avoid taking it off to eat and drink. So it’s unfortunate that he now has Covid. As of today, the rest of the family has tested negative, but we’ll keep testing over the next few days.

But, we did have a wonderful time in Hawaii. It was the kids’ first time to Hawaii and everyone’s first time to the Big Island. We went night snorkelling with the manta rays, saw the lava glow at the Volcano National Park, and lots of swimming and relaxing at the beach.

You can see more details and photos on my Big Island post.

Some things last week:

Currently…

Reading:

While Justice Sleeps – Stacey Abrams

Watching:

The Walking Dead

Listening:

Intimacies – Katie Kitamura

Eating and Drinking:

Jasmine tea. And a maple doughnut.

Cooking:

I’ll cook some simple meals this week. Noodle soup. Rice and dishes. I’ve got some asparagus and spinach to cook up. Some maybe I’ll turn that into pasta.

Last week:

I read:

The Hawthorne Legacy – Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Love Con – Seressia Glass

Sea of Tranquility – Emily St John Mandel

Last Night at the Telegraph Club – Malinda Lo

I posted:

Big Island April 2022

Library Loot (April 20 to 26)

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

Big Island April 2022

The husband and I have been talking about visiting Hawaii for quite a few years now. I had been to Maui and Honolulu with my mum 16 years ago when her friend’s son got married. And the husband had been when he was a kid with his family. But we had never gone together. So we finally decided it was time! It was a first trip for all of us to Big Island. And we wanted to make sure we did as much as we could!

Night snorkel – Manta Magic with Hawaii Oceanic

The boat ride is only a few minutes, luckily, as it’s quite scary being out in the ocean at night. We were very lucky to have good weather. The waves were not too choppy, although they seemed to get more choppy as we left the area. According to the crew, the hotel near the harbor has been shining lights into the ocean for years now. This has resulted in manta rays coming to the area to feed on the plankton that’s attracted to the lights. The night snorkel excursion has us snorkelers hanging onto a large surfboard that has lights attached underneath. The manta rays swim directly under the board, doing backflips, even brushing up against us a few times!

We also did a regular snorkel excursion to the Captain Cook cove. This was a good place for the kids to try snorkelling for the first time as it’s a sheltered cove and the current was gentle.

Volcano National Park

What a stunning national park this is. It’s on the east side of the island, near Hilo. So it was a 2 hour drive from where we were staying (near Waikoloa). But it was worth the drive. We decided to go in the afternoon and stay until sunset so that we could see the lava glow. There’s so much to see at the park. Like petroglyphs.

It’s like walking into Jurassic Park
Lava tubes
Ho’lei Sea Arch
And of course spending time at the pool and the beach. The rental house we stayed in was part of the Mauna Lani estate. So there are two pools (the other is a lap pool), gym, and a private beach.

Sunset from the beach park.

Hawaiian plate lunch at Ippy’s in Waimea. This was one of my favourite meals.
Local bakery near Hilo.

Library Loot (April 20 to 26)

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Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

Happy Library Loot day!

Claire has the link-up this week.

What I got from the library this week:

Portrait of a Thief – Grace D. Li

This book is inspired by the true story of Chinese art vanishing from Western museums.

Spilt Milk – Chico Buarque

For the Storygraph Reads the World challenge – book set in Brazil.

Library Loot (April 13 to 19)

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Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

Happy Library Loot Day!

What did you get from your library this week? Use the linky or let us know in the comments below.

I got some fun reads this week. The kids are on spring break next week so light reads for me!

What I got from the library this week:

To Love and to Loathe – Martha Waters

This is the second book in the Regency Vows series. The first one, To Have and to Hoax, was a fun and charming read. Hopefully this one is too.

City of the Mind – Penelope Lively

A friend on Instagram had asked about writers similar to Elizabeth Bowen. I wasn’t entirely sure but suggested Penelope Lively’s books. This is one of hers that I’ve not read yet. It’s about an architect living in London and the relationships he has.

The Love Con – Seressia Glass

Cosplay reality show competition! Fake relationship trope! Sounds delightfully nerdy and fun.

Sea of Tranquility – Emily St John Mandel

My hold on this book came in. I’m not entirely sure what this book is about, but the synopsis promises a “novel of art, time, love, and plague that takes the reader from Vancouver Island in 1912 to a dark colony on the moon three hundred years later, unfurling a story of humanity across centuries and space”.

While Justice Sleeps – Stacey Abrams

My pick for “Read a political thriller by a marginalized author (BIPOC, or LGBTQIA+)” in the Book Riot reading challenge

Library Loot (April 6 to 12)

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Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

Happy Library Loot Day! Claire has the link-up this week.

One of the display cases at the library featured a quilt guild and some quilts that they’ve made. I especially like that yellow, black, and white one in the top photo.

What I got from the library this week:

Last Night at the Telegraph Club – Malinda Lo

This ebook hold came in! I’m quite looking forward to this one. It’s set in San Francisco’s Chinatown in the 1950s.

My Friend Anna – Rachel DeLoache Williams

I’ve no plans to watch Inventing Anna on Netflix, especially after reading this book! (Yes, I just borrowed it, and then promptly finished reading it that very day). This is a story written by a victim of the fraudster.

The Hawthorne Legacy – Jennifer Lynn Barnes

I had fun reading the first book in the series, The Inheritance Games, and immediately downloaded this ebook after I was done. Isn’t that the best thing about ebooks?

Ballgowns & Butterflies – Kelley Armstrong

This holiday novella is connected to the A Stitch in Time series.

The kids’ Library Loot:

It’s Monday (April 4, 2022)

Hello, April!

Some things last week:

My older son turned 11! I made him a Black Forest cake (also a blog post on that!)

He loves burgers so we ordered burgers from The Counter. His had bacon and onion rings. Mine had a grilled pineapple, spring mix, roasted red peppers, and sprouts.

One of the presents I gave him was this BT21 character Koya (on the left) that I made. The cute bunny on the right is Cooky. The BT21 characters are all created and designed by BTS.
Other things last week – a quick takeout meal from a Korean rice bowl place. I had spicy pork.
Can’t go to the Asian supermarket without picking up snacks.

Currently…

Reading:

The Cartographers – Peng Shepherd

Watching:

Minx on HBO Max.

Eating and Drinking:

For breakfast this morning, a slice of toast with peanut butter. And a fancy coffee that a friend brought from Singapore when he visited. Bacha Coffee is a brand from Morocco.

Cooking:

We had hotpot last night so we have leftovers. I’ll also cook some rice later to eat along with it.

I want to cook some rice noodles this week. Maybe with salmon.

Last week:

I read:

A Lot Like Adios – Alexis Daria

The Inheritance Games – Jennifer Lynn Barnes

I posted:

Black Forest Birthday Cake #WeekendCooking

A Lot Like Adios (But say hello to Black Forest Cake)

Library Loot (March 31 to April 5)

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

Black Forest Birthday Cake #WeekendCooking

You may know that I’ve been making Black Forest Cake for the husband’s birthday for a few years now. (This is last year’s)

But this year, my older son decided he too wanted a Black Forest birthday cake. I made him a chocolate birthday cake last year.

Cherries still aren’t in season though, so I stuck with frozen cherries. But I still used my favourite chocolate layer cake recipe from KAF. The cherry mixture and whipped cream recipes are from from this blog.

I like to make the cake layers ahead of time and freeze them. So that way I won’t get too flustered by having to do too many things on one day! It helps that we have a large upright freezer in the garage.

I am of the opinion that cakes should be at the very least three layers of cake. But birthday cakes should reach for the stars with five layers.

This time I added some chocolate ganache to go on top.

To avoid bad icing handwriting, a Happy Birthday sign (that plays music) always is a better bet!

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page

Read in March 2022

The Final Revival of Opal & New – Dawnie Walton

Ghost Forest – Pik-Shuen Fung

Almond – Sohn Won-pyung

A Stitch in Time – Kelley Armstrong

The Turning Pointe – Vanessa L. Torres

Dept H Omnibus vol 1 – Matt Kindt

Dept H omnibus 2 – Matt Kindt

Grass – Keum Suk Gendry-Kim

The Waiting – Keum Suk Gendry-Kim

The Orphanage – Serhiy Zhadan

The Old Woman with the Knife – Gu Byeong-mo

The Inheritance Games – Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Donut Fall in Love – Jackie Lau

Ocean Light – Nalini Singh

A Lot Like Adios (But say hello to Black Forest Cake)

Really we should all be advocating for Black Forest cake as breakfast food. There’s calcium in the whipped cream, vitamins and nutrients in the cherries, protein and carbs in the cake, antioxidants in the chocolate, and more. Make cake your breakfast today (or everyday)!

(Also helps when you eat it while reading a hot book like A Lot Like Adios. All that steaminess you read helps burn calories).