I took a break from my normal Sunday Sum-Up routine last week. My computer was misbehaving, and I wasn’t feeling particularly well. Nothing serious for either me or the computer, fortunately. I had a bit of a sore throat and a cough that for some reason reminded me of Jane Bennett but without the ability to spend a few days resting up at Netherfield Hall.
The weather lately has been doing its best to convince us that it really is Spring around here, in spite of a last-minute snowstorm that dropped up to a foot of snow in some parts of the state. We got a little rain and plenty of wind around here. Otherwise, it’s been absolutely lovely:
What I Finished Reading Last Week:
- Wayfinding: The Science and Mystery of How Humans Navigate the World by M.R. O’Connor, ARC provided by NetGalley
- Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life by Eric Klinenberg
- Winds of Fate (Mage Winds #1) by Mercedes Lackey
- The Riddle and the Rune (Tales of Gom #2) by Grace Chetwin
- Wolf Hall (Thomas Cromwell Trilogy #1) by Hilary Mantel
Palaces for the People has an interesting concept: how do social spaces (not businesses) like libraries and public parks improve what Klinenberg terms “social infrastructure”, and how can these places improve cities, reduce crime, and bring people together? The book itself is largely a collection of anecdotes and examples of library programs and inner-city projects with references to some studies but doesn’t go into much depth about the topics or suggest a plan of action. It’s one thing to say, “libraries and parks are great!”. It’s quite another to say it with more than just personal stories backing you up.
Winds of Fate is the next book in the #ReadingValdemar project hosted by Jackie @ Death by Tsundoku and Melanie @ Grab the Lapels. This trilogy has never been one of my favorites of Lackey’s, and now I remember why. I don’t care all that much about the main character, Elspeth, the relationships feel rather sketchy and there is a lot of “he’s infuriating because he does X” without really showing the problem, and then there’s this section in the middle where we get a one-off POV character who delves into the history of the region called the Dhorisha Plains. The history is important to the overarching story Lackey’s telling across these trilogies, but it feels like it’s been shoe-horned in. That said, I’m still looking forward to the next book because Lackey’s stories are just that engaging.
I hadn’t read The Riddle and the Rune since I was in junior high. It’s the second book in Chetwin’s Legends of Gom series, but I’ve only read the first two- Gom on Windy Mountain and The Riddle and the Rune. Neither my school library nor my town library had the rest of the books, and this was before you could buy books online. I gave up on them at the time, but remembered the series out of the blue last year and decided to give it another go now that you can buy used books online. Also, inter-library loans are a thing, and I intend to use them to read the rest of the series. I think there are a couple more books in the Gom series. I’m finding them to be quite entertaining and more fun than many YA fantasies I’ve read in recent years.
Wolf Hall is brilliant. I see now why it won the Man Booker Award and has received so much praise. It tells the story of Thomas Cromwell’s rise to power and infamy in the court of the English King Henry VIII during the 1520s and into the 1530s. We see how Henry VIII decided to obtain a divorce from his wife, Queen Catherine of Aragon after their marriage failed to provide a male heir, how Henry became enamored of Anne Boleyn and broke from the Catholic Church in Rome in order to grant himself the power to divorce Catherine and marry Anne. It’s told entirely through Cromwell’s eyes, which is unusual given that Cromwell is often seen as a villainous figure. Mantel makes Cromwell seem entirely reasonable in his actions, especially when it comes to Henry VIII’s marriages and the religious upheaval that Cromwell helped bring about. I am looking forward to the second book in the trilogy, Bring Up the Bodies.
What I Am Currently Reading:
For once, absolutely nothing. I finished all my current reads last night and have yet to start anything new.
What I Plan to Start Reading This Week:
- The Flanders Panel by Arturo Pérez-Reverte
- Planet of Exile (The Hainish Cycle #2) by Ursula K. LeGuin
- Sixpence House: Lost in a Town of Books by Paul Collins
- Letters from Yellowstone by Diane Smith
What I’m Watching:
Last week brought us the end of Star Trek: Discovery‘s second season with ‘Such Sweet Sorrow, pt. 2’. After last week’s episode, I guessed what was going to happen and it came true, but not in a ‘roll your eyes’ kind of way. It was more of a ‘Ha! I was totally right!’ kind of way. Though the entire episode took place during a pitched battle with the USS Enterprise and the USS Discovery fighting off the collective Section 31 ships controlled by the sinister AI, Control, it wasn’t without its emotional moments. Sonequa Martin-Green and Ethan Peck shone in their scenes, as did Anson Mount, Rebecca Romijn, and Jayne Brook. I mean, the entire cast is phenomenal, but the emotional focus was on those particular characters. Thanks to the events of the second season, Discovery will definitely be boldly going into a whole new world, and I can’t wait for season three!
But because that won’t be happening for a while, I’ll be counting the days until the premiere of the as-yet-unnamed Star Trek show featuring Sir Patrick Stewart reprising the role of Captain Jean-Luc Picard. There are a few actors who have been cast that pique my curiosity, namely Harry Treadaway (Penny Dreadful) and Santiago Cabrera (Merlin, The Musketeers). This new show is due out at the end of 2019.
I’m sure you’ve all heard that the last season of Game of Thrones is currently airing on HBO. I watched the first episode last week. It was fine. Nothing really to write home about. It was basically an extended meet and greet while the writers moved the characters into position. Events at the end of the episode suggest that a battle is coming. That’s not surprising since this battle has been coming since the series first premiered. With just five episodes left to get so much done, the next episodes are going to have to be fast-paced, or else they won’t wrap up all the loose ends.
In other entertainment news, thanks to the NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour, I am now hooked on a steampunk comedy/drama podcast called Victoriocity. It’s an alternate history set in the vast city of Even Greater London and features a police detective and a reporter who team up to solve a murder and find out that there is far more going on than meets the eye. It’s more comedy than drama, and 100% hilarious. I’m finishing up season one. Season two is currently airing.