I can’t complain about the weather this time. It’s been absolutely gorgeous. No one is running their air conditioners, everyone’s windows are open, and the neighborhood kids are spending their evenings outside. Fireflies are everywhere, and so too, it seems are playful dogs. In other words, it’s practically paradise around here. I’ve been taking advantage of the break in the hot weather by taking walks around a nearby college campus. With classes out for the summer, it’s incredibly quiet and full of singing birds, chirping crickets, the nightly cicadas, and the chatter of the occasional offended squirrel.
I’ve gotten a lot of reading done this week, finishing up both The Soul of the Camera by David duChemin and The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden. They are both excellent books.
The Soul of the Camera stays away from technical information. There is no talk of aperture or shutter speed or back vs. front-lighting. The camera itself is treated like the tool it is, and duChemin talks about the photographer’s importance in the making of the image. It’s your vision that creates the photograph, he says, it’s your ability to be patient and wait for the right moment to unfold in front of you. It’s your ability to see the world around you and pay attention to how things are that makes a memorable photograph. The camera is secondary to that. If you’re interested in the art and craft of photography beyond the basic technical skills, I would highly recommend The Soul of the Camera.
My current reads are Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain, a book I downloaded during an exceptionally slow and boring day at work today, and Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas which downloaded automatically after being on hold for me for several weeks. I keep hearing about Sarah J. Maas’s books and about how much people like them, so I figured I would give them a try. I haven’t started on Throne of Glass yet, but I should be able to start it fairly soon, since I’m three-quarters of the way through Medium Raw.
I have to admit I’m a bit dubious about Throne of Glass. I mean, it involves a tournament of thieves and assassins, people who would logically be doing their best to not be found by royal officials. There is also a love triangle, which makes me roll my eyes, but I’ve heard that it’s relatively minor in the grand scheme of things. I haven’t really read any other ‘teenaged assassin’ books so as long as it’s better than Robin LaFevers’s Grave Mercy, it will be the best of that particular type of book I’ve ever read (note: I hated Grave Mercy. I thought the main character was a temperamental dolt who should have been taken out by one of her fellow teenage-girl-assassins, because the other girl was far more interesting and way more intelligent).
But in the spirit of trying new things, I’ll give it a go.
I did not finish Glen Cook’s The Black Company. I gave it about 80 pages, but I never could connect with any of the characters- not even the narrator, Croaker- and it always felt like things were coming out of the blue, event-wise. Like, they’d be chilling in their quarters, and someone was suddenly poisoned, and then half a page later they were conducting a raid on a rival company’s stronghold. I never could get a grasp on the world, its geography, or its history, culture, or ideals. Not really, anyway. It just seemed like everyone was trying to kill everyone else, and then, ‘look! Were-creatures are on the loose! We’re going over here now so we can ignore the were-creatures!’. I know a lot of people love this book and the ensuing series, but it just didn’t connect with me. There is an upcoming television show based on it. I’m hoping it will be a good one, and that I’ll like it more than the book.