It’s been a week of things not going quite to plan. WordPress decided it didn’t like me at all when, after I spent an hour writing the first part of this week’s Lord of the Rings Reread post, it disappeared. Completely disappeared. I have no idea where it went, but for some reason, it didn’t automatically save like it always does and I lost all that work in a week when I couldn’t just sit down, rewrite it all, and then have time to do the other writing I had intended to do. Alas.
Then on Wednesday, I stopped in at the bookstore to pick up the copy of Will Thomas’s new book, Blood is Blood, I pre-ordered last month, only to discover that while the warehouse had plenty of copies, they had neglected to send it along with the rest of the indie bookseller’s order! I always seem to have problems getting the books from this series, regardless of where I get it. I’ve had them forget to order it altogether or order the right title by the wrong author. Now I’ve had the warehouse neglect to send it along. Le sigh. But the bookseller felt terrible even though it wasn’t her fault, so she let me pick a book from a stack of ARCs. I chose Insurrecto by Gina Apostol, a Filipino author who now lives in the US. I also purchased Madame Victoria by Catherine Leroux, a French-Canadian author who usually writes in French, as well as a beautiful edition of Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations, which I have been meaning to read for quite some time. It had been a few weeks since I’d been into that bookstore, Francie & Finch, and I was happy to see that they had put up a display of translated fiction from all over the world– and at the front of the store for everyone to see! I know where I’ll be going when I want to find something new from somewhere else in the world. I love the other big indie bookshop we have, but as diverse as their books are, they don’t have very many translated titles.
And then Saturday dawned cold and blustery. When I left for work, icy little snowflakes were falling. It started snowing in earnest by mid-afternoon and it was still coming down when I went to bed. They had not predicted snow so it caught everyone off-guard, and caused a slippery drive home.
Once again, I didn’t read very much this week. It’s been hard to settle down and find a book I’m super interested in, but I think I’ve found one now, and I have another ready to go as soon as I finish it.
This week, I finished listening to Faithful Place by Tana French. It was fantastic! French’s Dublin Murder Squad series has been described as ‘literary mysteries’ thanks to their investigations of human nature, which feature as prominently as the murder investigations themselves. The writing is beautiful, the characters fit their environments and are dimensional, and you really get a sense of place and history. The audiobook’s narrator, Tim Reynolds, does an excellent job for all the characters, easily differentiating between the characters using accents and rhythm, and not making the women’s voices breathy and fake-sounding. I dropped the CD set off at the library and immediately picked up the next book in the series, Broken Harbor. It features a different narrator, Stephen Hogan, and so far it is even more compelling than Faithful Place. I have a long drive to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving this week, so I’ll be able to get through a lot of it. Thankfully! I am so curious about what’s going to happen!
I started reading another mystery this week- The Unquiet Dead by Canadian-Muslim author Ausma Zehanat Khan. It features a Muslim Detective, Esa Khattak, and his partner Rachel Getty as they investigate the death of a man who might have been an architect of the war crimes committed in Srebrenica during the final days of the war in the Balkans, in what used to be Yugoslavia. Khan holds a Ph.D. in international human rights law with a specialty in the war crimes perpetrated in the Balkans. It’s a difficult subject, but Khan knows what she’s talking about and how to handle the subject matter and the characters’ emotions. I will admit to comparing it to Broken Harbor and Faithful Place, which set a high bar. Khan does a bit of info dumping about a particular character’s background in the first few chapters, and her writing can feel a little choppy at times, but I think it’s more similar to other mystery novels. Plus, it’s Khan’s first novel, so the next books will likely be smoother.
The next book on the docket is Seth Dickinson’s The Monster Baru Cormorant, which is the sequel to The Traitor Baru Cormorant. I’m super curious to find out how Dickinson carries on with Baru’s story, given the shocking ending of the first book. Will Baru’s actions drive her mad? Will she succeed in her lifelong goal of destroying the Empire of Masks? Or will the power she has gained cause her to betray everything that she is?
I have no idea what I’ll read after that. December is an exceptionally busy month for me. Aside from Christmas shopping and travel, I’ll be working six-day weeks until Christmas, in addition to working with the public, who don’t always show much holiday spirit…
If I don’t get much reading done, I won’t worry too much about it. I hit my primary reading goal of 100 books back in July (I’m currently at 148), and there is no way I can complete my ‘Read the World’ challenge of 75. I stopped worrying about that long ago. From here on out, it’s going to be books that I will have fun reading. I don’t know yet what they’ll be, but I’ve been on a major mystery kick lately.
Also, I’ll be baking. I’m still getting the secret of oat bread sorted out. One of my problems, I think, was that I wasn’t adding enough yeast. The recipe called for 1 packet, but I don’t think the packets I bought were the right ones. I bought a jar of it and while that helped, I still didn’t get the kind of rise I was hoping for. I think I will consult my baking-expert friend to see if I’m using the wrong kind of flour or something. I will get it figured out! I’ll probably try some other recipes from my Irish cookbook. There are some cookies I wouldn’t mind trying out…