Now that fifth winter has begun…
Seriously. It was 80°F and humid on Friday. We were expecting wind and thunderstorms, and in certain parts of the southeastern corner of the state, people were on the lookout for tornadoes. Meanwhile in the western part of the state, there was a blizzard that hit us yesterday. Not as badly, mind you, but it was snowing, raining, or sleeting all day.
Have I mentioned before how weird Nebraska’s weather is? I’m sure I have before. I’m sure I will again.
So now that fifth winter has begun, I’m perfectly happy to curl up on the couch with a good book. I might make cookies later.
I finished The Vorkosigan Saga! I’m sure some of you are thrilled, because it won’t be dominating my posts like it has for the past month and more, but I’m a little sad. It’s such an excellent series with a range of stories and sub-genres within the realm of science fiction. The world building and character growth is amazing! Miles’s development from the briefly glimpsed, hyperactive five-year old at the end of Barrayar to the graying, forty-two year old father he is in Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen felt entirely natural. I don’t think there was a moment where I stopped, rewound, and thought, ‘that doesn’t seem likely, coming from him…’. Lois McMaster Bujold is an amazing writer to deserves much more attention than she gets.
I finished Cryoburn on Wednesday. I’m reserving judgment on it until I listen to the audiobook, because it felt a little disjointed to me. I can’t tell if that was due to its actually being disjointed, or if it feels that way because I was constantly being interrupted while reading, or was reading it in places full of noise and other distractions. I wish I could have been at home where it was quiet, but I did most of my reading of it during my lunch hours (when ringing phones and other business noises are constant) or on Wednesday when I was stuck downtown waiting for a car repair in yet another noisy environment. Ugh. So I’m going to listen to the audiobook this week, and will review it later.
I finished the last book, Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen last night in much quieter circumstances. It was a fitting conclusion to the series though it doesn’t have much action at all. It’s a family drama, where several secrets finally come to light and the Vorkosigan clan learns to move on after a major figure’s death. It’s a neatly circular conclusion, and ends the series where it began– on the strange planet of Sergyar where Cordelia Naismith first met Aral Vorkosigan. I plan to review it, too, but not until after I review Cryoburn. I’m a stickler for doing things in the right order like that.
Books I finished this week:
- Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold
- Rumi: A New Translation by Rumi, translated by Farrukh Dhondy
- Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen by Lois McMaster Bujold
- The Conference of the Birds by Farid ud-Din Attar
- The Epic of Gilgamesh by Anonymous
I started reading both of these books for National Poetry Month. The Conference of the Birds is a pretty dense read, and because I’m not terribly familiar with Islamic history, I know I’m missing a lot, but it is lovely so far. I bought Gilgamesh on a whim a month or two ago. I read it in college, but decided I’d re-read it for NPM, but I didn’t know that this edition is a prose translation. Oops. Oh, well.
I have serious Star Trek: The Next Generation vibes going on whenever I open the book, though, because Captain Picard talks about Gilgamesh in the episode, ‘Darmok’.
I have three library books on the docket for this week:
- The Storyteller by Mario Vargas Llosa
- Isle of Blood and Stone by Makila Lucier
- Foreigner by C.J. Cherryh
The Storyteller is for my Read the World Challenge. Isle of Blood and Stone has been recommended on several blogs, so when I saw it on the YA New Releases shelf at the library, I decided to pick it up. Foreigner is the first book of C.J. Cherryh’s Foreigner series, a science fiction story about human colonists who crash land on a planet that is already inhabited by a sentient race.
I did not expect to be sold on series again in 2018, but The Vorkosigan Saga seems to have shifted my view of them. Perhaps it’s because the previous series I’d been reading were A) unfinished and who knows when they are going to be finished (ahem, George R.R. Martin, Patrick Rothfuss…) B) soooo long, with so much extraneous stuff happening and a zillion minor characters who don’t seem to matter to the main characters (Robert Jordan…), and C) the characters’ powers seemed to be building up and building up, but the characters themselves ceased to really change as they got older and more experienced.
I had thought my reluctance to start on new series was due to most of the series I’ve read being written by men. Men and women view the world differently, and so their writing is bound to be different, too. But then I realized that several series I’ve tried to get into– and haven’t liked– have been written by women. So I guess my objection to long series has come from elements within the series themselves. With Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass books, for example, I didn’t like the characters or the writing so it would have taken a massive effort for me to enjoy any of the rest of the books of the series. As it progressed, Robert Jordan’s ‘Wheel of Time’ series dragged on and on until it felt like he was being paid by the word. It took me three months to finish the ninth book, and I declared myself done with the series after that.
Hm. As I write, I get more and more Thoughts About Series, so I might have to write a post entirely devoted to ‘What Keeps Me Interested in Book Series’. Yeah, I think I’ll do that instead of continuing on in this vein during a Sunday Sum-Up.
Anywho. I’ve picked up a couple of new podcasts that I’m enjoying. They’re both about the same thing– movie soundtracks. One is The Soundtrack Show by David W. Collins. On it, he discusses the elements of music and why certain melodies and chords sound the way they do, and how that helps music to tell a story. He also does deep dives into classic film scores to explain how composers help to tell the story. I’m from a musical family so I’m familiar with a lot of the vocabulary of music, but I’ve still learned a lot from this show, even though it’s quite new.
The second one, Star Wars Oxygen, is also by David W. Collins, and it’s a series of episodes within a larger podcast series, Rebel Force Radio. Collins, a major figure in the Star Wars fandom, and Jimmy Mac discuss in depth the soundtracks of the Star Wars films, as well as some of the the animated series that accompany the prequel films. While Jimmy Mac does get on my nerves from time to time, I’ve learned so many things about this music that I’ve been listening to since I was little. I just fast forward through the bits that get way off track.