All week, the weather people kept predicting thunderstorms. We didn’t get any thunderstorms until last night. Just random bouts of rain and two days of 90º+ weather. Our first taste of summer.
I do not enjoy the summer.
On the bright side, I had a lot of fun early in the week before the hot weather struck. A friend and I went to a nearby Renaissance festival on Sunday. It was a small one and didn’t have very many vendors (and most of them were selling cheap-ish New Agey necklaces and whatnot), but we saw a troupe of fire dancers, so that was fun.
After work on Monday I met up with the ladies from my book club, and we had a yarn swap (although most of us were trying to get rid of yarn, not collect more). There was more snacking and wine-drinking than anything else, but I think that is par for the course for book clubs. The hostess’s pets enjoyed the extra attention, anyway.
On Tuesday night, I went to see the Tolkien, the biopic about J.R.R. Tolkien. It was fine. Not historically accurate, but whatever gets more people interested in The Lord of the Rings is fine by me. I wrote a review of it if you’re curious.
Except for a late-night ice cream run with a couple of friends on Wednesday, the rest of the week was quiet, though I did some shopping and am still wondering why my new pajamas have better pockets than my blue jeans. Do pajama designers think I am carrying copious amounts of coins to bed?
What I Finished Reading Last Week:
- Blameless (The Parasol Protectorate #3) by Gail Carriger, audiobook narrated by Emily Gray
- The Crystal Stair (Tales of Gom #3) by Grace Chetwin
Blameless was a perfectly enjoyable story picking up right where the previous book, Changeless, left off. Alexia is running for her life in as ladylike a fashion as possible under the circumstances. During their headlong flight to Italy, she, Genevieve, and Floot must dodge small dogs, vampire attacks, and dubious embroidering Italians in nightgowns. It’s all very entertaining, but I did not enjoy parts of Emily Gray’s narration, and the editing of the audiobook was odd. There were exceptionally long pauses where I honestly wondered if something had gone wrong with the player. But no, it was just the editing. I will likely read physical copies of the next books, though I will give the audiobooks of the next series, The Custard Protocol, a chance if they aren’t subject to the same, off-putting audio engineering.
The Crystal Stair continues the Legends of Gom series. I read the first two books in middle school, but the rest of them were unavailable to me at the time, so I never found out what happened. Thanks to inter-library loans, I can now read the rest of them. The Crystal Stair shows us how Gom has learned a lot but is still very naive when it comes to trusting people he should not. When Gom comes across an old acquaintance and immediately trusts him, you want to yell at the book because Gom is being so terribly stupid. But this is a book written for ten-year-olds, and sometimes you have to learn the hard way. Overall, The Crystal Stair has the same charm as the first two books, but adds a lot to the world of Ulm and gives us a sense of the larger perils the wizards are fighting.
What I’m Currently Reading:
- Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse #1) by James S.A. Corey
- A Legacy of Spies by John le Carré, audiobook narrated by Tom Hollander
Longtime readers will remember when I went nuts for Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga and binge read pretty much the entire, sixteen+ book series in about a month and a half. I’m sure you were tired of hearing me gush about it then and were thrilled when I moved on to something else. Well, Dear Readers, you will have to heave a long-suffering sigh and forgive me once again, because I have found another sci-fi series to gush over. Though I haven’t finished it yet, Leviathan Wakes sucked me right in from the first chapter with intricate world-building that takes science so fully into account that there have been many, many times where I’ve thought thinks like, “well of course it would be like that! Why hasn’t anyone else ever thought of this before?!”. Because really, the little stations in the asteroid belt would be able to threaten Earth with a handful of giant space rocks, because there are plenty of half-mile-wide space rocks out there, and they just need to get caught in Earth’s gravity well to annihilate life on the planet… But aside from that cheerful thought, the characters, plot, story, worldbuilding, and writing come together to form a suspenseful tale of a group of down-on-their-luck characters who find themselves wrapped up in inter-planetary politics that will get them dead in a hurry if they make the wrong move. I’m about two-thirds of the way through the first book, and I already have the second, Caliban’s War, checked out from the library.
After finishing up Blameless on Wednesday, I needed a new audiobook for the car so after work on Thursday, I stopped by the library. Of course, I can’t get to the library until about twenty minutes before it closes, so I’m always in a rush. And I got there even later than usual on Thursday so I was really in a hurry. I’ve never read anything by John le Carré before, so I grabbed the shortest of the two or three audiobooks available to give it a try. A Legacy of Spies takes place years after Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, and involves characters and events from that story. A retired spy, Peter Guillam is called back to headquarters in London to answer for an operation that went disastrously wrong decades earlier. But modern eyes are not forgiving of the many shades of gray of the Cold War, and Guillam must figure out how to keep the past from reaching forward to ruin him and the rest of his colleagues. It’s a gripping story so far, and the narration by Tom Hollander is fantastic.
What I Plan to Start Reading This Week:
- Caliban’s War (The Expanse #2) by James S.A. Corey
- Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come by Jessica Pan, ARC provided by NetGalley
What I’ve Been Watching:
Game of Thrones 805, ‘The Bells’. This episode was…hm. Certain elements were phenomenal while others made me go, “They killed that character off like that?!”. I’m hoping we’ll get some explanation into Dany’s motives for her actions, because the whole, “I’m in a new place and nobody likes me” plotline belongs in something like Mean Girls, not in Game of Thrones. Especially with the lengths that Dany can go to show off her displeasure. And I definitely want to know what sort of significance that white horse had at the end. The next episode is the very last one. We’ll see if it salvages a season that, so far, has had some ups and even more downs.
Versailles, season 3. This show was initially set to run for four seasons, but the French TV channel, Canal Plus, decided to cut it short at the end of the third season. Though there is a suitable ending for all the characters (except for one, which leaves us wondering about their fate), there are some overarching political elements that are cut short. I’m sure they would have been dealt with in the fourth season, but alas. It is not to be. Still, it was a beautifully done show about the often poisonous politics of the court of the French king, Louis XIV. If you’re a fan of period dramas, definitely give it a try. All three seasons are streaming on Netflix in the US.
2036: Origin Unknown is a strange science fiction movie starring Katee Sackhoff. She plays a scientist sent to investigate what happened to the first Mars mission, which went disastrously wrong upon landing ten years earlier. She is assisted by the artificial intelligence unit called ARTI. During this investigation, she must deal with a lack of information, her own sister’s reluctance to impart vital details about the mission, and the fact that her assistant is a very smart computer who might not have her best interests in mind. It’s an odd, quiet movie with a tiny cast that takes place almost entirely in a single room. There is very little action, but if you want a film that will make you think, this will do it.
Anon, starring Clive Owen, Amanda Seyfried, and Colm Feore. This is another science fiction film set in a near future world were everyone has computer implants in their brains and eyes that record every moment of their lives. Friends and loved ones can demand to see what your implants have recorded, and the police have access to everything. There is no privacy whatsoever, and virtually everyone in the world just accepts this. But when a string of murders occurs with connections to a woman who doesn’t seem to exist in anyone’s visual records, the police must find her. The trouble is, she can manipulate their memories, records, and even what they are currently seeing. One of the many things I found unsettling was how the characters were so willing to believe what they saw in the recordings, just because computers had recorded them, even though they all knew the records were being manipulated. It’s the kind of film that makes you think twice about what you share online. Anon is rated TV-MA, and is currently streaming on Netflix in the US.
I’m not sure what I’ll watch next. I am trying to get things watched and taken off my Netflix queue, but I keep adding things faster than I can watch them. So it goes. I think I’ll survive.
This week, I may try to watch Miss Hokusai, The Breadwinner, and at least start one of the anime series like Full Metal Alchemist. We’ll see what the week’s events bring. So far, the schedule is fairly empty, but because school lets out this week, that could change. I have several teacher friends who will probably want to do something to decompress. There may be more late night ice cream runs in my future.