Around the first of June, I took my car to the shop for a repair. Some sort of bearing in a wheel housing was going out and making a horrendous noise, so I took it in for a multi-hour repair. The noise went away, and everything was fine. Last weekend, though, something strange started happening where the anti-lock breaks would engage while I was turning, and later on the anti-skid mechanisms would engage for the first few minutes while I was driving, seriously hampering my ability to do things like accelerate. So I took the car in again.
As it turns out, some little part was missing from the June repair and had caused things to shift around so that the anti-lock brake/anti-skid sensor was misaligned and misreading the state of the car. So they re-did the repair under warranty and changed the oil. My cost on the otherwise expensive repair? $2.13. As far as car problems go, this one was a win for me.
I met a friend for coffee last night. She lives an hour away and has a wonky schedule that makes it difficult for us to meet up more than once every few months, if that. While we have social media and texting to keep each other apprised of what’s going on, there’s nothing like seeing one of your best friends face to face and catching up with each other using actual verbal communication. She wanted to know everything about my trip to Iceland, and in turn told me all the wonderful things going on in her life right now. She’s had a rough year, so it was good to see her be so happy again.
Those were the big events of the week. It was quiet overall, and while the weather was nice there were days where the air quality was terrible because of all the smoke in the air. The wind has been bringing smoke from the wildfires in Montana and Wyoming. It made for some eerie sunsets, assuming you didn’t mind that burning feeling in the back of your throat and in your eyes. It’s hazy again today, and I can smell the smoke, even though I’m inside. If it gets much worse, I’m going to have to close the windows and spend the day hibernating.
And now for books!
It was not a particularly successful reading week. I started two books that ended up on the Did Not Finish list:
A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas. I really wanted to like this book. I’ve been a Sherlock Holmes fan since I was ten or eleven, and I like Victorian mysteries in general. But the first part of this book was such a jumble that I sometimes had a hard time telling what was going on. And I just couldn’t develop a liking for Charlotte, the lady detective the story is centered on. I have liked other aloof, intellectual literary women, but when I put A Study in Scarlet Women down, I just couldn’t conjure up enough interest to pick it back up.
The Jane Austen Bookclub by Karen Joy Fowler. I should have liked this one. It’s a book about books– Jane Austen’s books in particular. I like books about books. I like Jane Austen. They should have combined into a book that I adored, but sadly, they did not. The narrative kept jumping back and forth between the book club (Fowler glosses over its formation) and Jocelyn’s past, spending so much time with a younger Jocelyn to the detriment of the book club’s story. I got fed up with it and took it back to the library.
I finished one book, Names for the Sea: Strangers in Iceland, which is a memoir by Sara Moss, an English professor of English literature. She and her family moved to Iceland after she got a job at the university in Reykjavik. It was during the financial crisis, and she found that the value of her salary had depreciated by nearly half, even as she and her husband were trying to find a place to live and schooling for their two young sons. While the story is sometimes slow, it provides an in depth look at Icelandic culture, recent history, landscape, and the changing national identity.
I’m currently reading two books: The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury, which is a collection of short stories. So far, it’s not my favorite collection of his, but it’s still Ray Bradbury and so they’re eerie, thought-provoking, and in spite of having been written more than sixty years ago, their messages are weirdly current.
The other book– and you’re going to laugh at me, I’m sure– is a Star Trek book. Enigma Tales by Una McCormack, which is about the planet Cardassia years after the ending of Deep Space Nine. One of the main characters of Enigma Tales is Garak, the friendly tailor who also happened to be an exiled spy and was one of the most ambiguous and most compelling characters in the Star Trek universe. And hey, the new show, Star Trek: Discovery premiers in a couple of weeks, so I can geek out all I want in the meantime.