Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!
Also, I am still here, not quite surprisingly. Thanks to two months’ worth of above-normal snowfall and the warm front that melted it all in two days in eastern Nebraska, a bomb cyclone that dropped another few feet of snow over western Nebraska, and heavy rains across most of the state, we’re seeing some of the worst flooding in fifty years. Many roads, highways, and bridges are flooded or have been washed out, levees are being breached, and one dam has been destroyed by the sudden onrush of water.
Thanks to watersheds, multiple area creeks, flood control systems, and the Platte River being fairly far away, we’re still dry. Though it’s weird to see Nebraska end up in international news outlets since even American news sources generally forget that the Great Plains exist.
It’s hard to say what will happen in the next couple of days. More rain is in the forecast, and then there’s the runoff from the big snowstorm last week, plus the snowmelt that comes down from the Rockies every year. Since the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers are already flooding downstream, we could be in for a long few months.
For me, it’s been a fairly quiet week filled with a good deal of reading, particularly in bed while my cat snoozed next to me. It was pretty cozy all around.
What I Finished Reading Last Week:
- Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
- The Magpie Lord (A Charm of Magpies #1) by K.J. Charles
- The Ramayana (A Shortened Prose Version of the Indian Epic) by R.K. Narayan
- Artificial Condition (the Murderbot Diaries #2) by Martha Wells
There aren’t enough superlatives for the works of Jane Austen, so I’ll just say that while Sense and Sensibility does not surpass Pride and Prejudice, it is still a fantastic story and if you haven’t read about Marianne and Elinor and how they find their way in the world, you are doing a disservice to yourself. Go read it!
The Magpie Lord was an unexpected read, as I had never even heard of it until Rachel @ Kalanadi had mini-reviews of the first two books of the trilogy. The ‘A Charm of Magpie’ trilogy is set in an alternate Victorian England where magic is real. Lucien Vaudrey spent twenty years in exile in China until the sudden deaths of his father and brother meant that he inherited his father’s earldom. But there seems to be a curse upon the family, and he calls upon magician Stephen Day for help. The Magpie Lord is part fantasy, part mystery, and part gay romance, and is overall a lot of fun. There are some pretty explicit sex scenes, so it’s definitely for adults. I skimmed those bits since I was reading for the fantasy and mystery aspects, not really for the romance.
I have a vague familiarity with Hindu mythology. I’ve encountered it in several books that were either set in India or were by Indian authors. We also read a section of The Mahabharata in my Classics 389 class in college. The Ramayana has been sitting on my shelf for a while, and I had chosen it for several points in my 2019 reading plan, and I ended up deciding to read it last week instead of A Grain of Wheat by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o (which I will read this week). It was great! It takes one small section of the much larger Mahabharata and tells (probably only part) of the story of Rama and his wife Sita. Sita is kidnapped, and the bulk of The Ramayana details Rama’s efforts to free her. I thought it was far more accessible than many other translations of epic tales I’ve read from other cultures, and once I figured out how to pronounce the names (thanks to the pronunciation guide and dramatis personae at the beginning), I fell right into the story. I definitely recommend this if you are new to Hindu lore and would like to learn more about it.
Artificial Condition is the second in the Murderbot novella series and follows Murderbot’s quest to find out what happened several years ago when it was part of a horrible incident that resulted in the deaths of 57 people. On his journey, Murderbot meets another AI who helps Murderbot to figure out what happened. Artificial Condition isn’t quite as good as the first book, All Systems Red, but it’s still a solid story and Murderbot learns a lot about itself and what it means to be an AI as opposed to human.
What I’m Currently Reading:
- Mansfield Park by Jane Austen, audiobook narrated by Juliet Stevenson
- Johannes Cabal the Necromancer (Johannes Cabal #1) by Jonathan L. Howard
I’m about 75% of the way through the audiobook, and I’ve really gotten into the story. Throughout the first half of the book, I thought Fanny Price was too reticent to be an interesting character, but once I reached the second half and the section with Mr. Crawford and his attentions, I started to realize there is more to Fanny Price than being too shy to have an opinion about anything. She is, as it turns out, a keen judge of character when everyone around her is blinded by money, charm, and their own expectations.
Johannes Cabal the Necromancer is as dry and funny as I’ve heard! It’s a bit of absurdist take on the Faustian bargain, where Johannes Cabal sold his sold to Satan, but now he wants it back again. Satan, of course, will not just give a soul back and so makes a wager with Cabal that involves a dark carnival and the collecting of souls. I got it via Overdrive, as the waiting period dropped from several weeks to nothing at all. I’m just over a third of the way through it and looking forward to the rest.
I started reading The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie, but the second person point of view put me off, and since I was more excited for other books and not super interested in this one, I decided to take it back to the library. I’ll give it a try another time.
What I Plan to Read This Week:
- A Grain of Wheat by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o
- Rogue Protocol (The Murderbot Diaries #3) by Martha Wells
- Exit Strategy (The Murderbot Diaries #4) by Martha Wells
- Mr. President, How Long Must We Wait? – Alice Paul, Woodrow Wilson, and the Fight for the Right To Vote by Tina Cassidy
I’m really curious about Mr. President, How Long Must We Wait?. It’s a non-fiction book about a young activist, Alice Paul, and her efforts to get politicians and President Wilson to act in regards to Women’s Suffrage. I’ve heard it talked up a couple of times on BookTube, so we’ll see how it goes.
The post for the last two chapters of book one of The Return of the King (or book five of The Lord of the Rings) are up. If you want to get caught up on my Lord of the Rings Reread project, you can find it here: “Once More Unto the Breach“.
My review for Emily A. Duncan’s upcoming book, Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy #1) will go up this week, so keep an eye out for that if you’re curious about my thoughts on it.
That’s it for now! Lots to do today, including getting groceries and cleaning (lame) and going for a walk in the sunshine (fun!).
Have a great week, and stay dry!