My old DVD player decided to go kaput last week, and while I know that DVDs are so ten years ago, I bought a new one. I use the player primarily for streaming Netflix and YouTube through my television as well as the occasional DVD watching (how else can I watch the extended editions of The Lord of the Rings movies?). The old player had an aging interface which, upon finishing an episode of a series, would go back to the main menu instead of the next episode. The new player has a new interface which immediately starts the next episode. It’s very convenient, but it’s not great for getting to bed on time when you’re in the midst of a series. But I can at least skip the intros and the end credits.
Otherwise, I had a pretty good Memorial Day weekend. I went to my sister’s house, where I spent time with her and my parents. We played cards, watched baseball, played with the dogs, and otherwise relaxed between thunderstorms.
I sent three rolls of film in for processing a couple of weeks ago and I got them back on Friday. It’s nice to get back to shooting film after not using it at all over the winter. It’s always fun to get a roll of film back because there’s enough time between shooting it and getting the pictures that I often forget what I photographed.
What I Finished Reading This Week:
- A Legacy of Spies by John le Carré, audiobook narrated by Tom Hollander
- Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God by Rainer Maria Rilke, translated from the German by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy
- Blood of Elves (The Witcher #3) by Andrzej Sapkowski, translated by Danusia Stok
A Legacy of Spies was a gripping story, though the ending was a bit ambiguous for my tastes. Still, I can see why John le Carré is such a popular writer. His narrative weaves a web of spies, lies, and global politics without losing sight of the smaller individual stories and lives of his characters.
Rilke’s Book of Hours is a gorgeous collection of lyrical poems addressed to God. Though I’m not religious, Rilke’s poetry always has the power to move me, and his Book of Hours is no different.
Blood of Elves, the third book and first novel in The Witcher series, is a strange book. While the series’ main characters are Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri the narrative often wanders around the world they inhabit, focusing on side characters and events that do not seem to be related to the main story. In addition to that, there are scenes toward the end that jump back and forth through time. The best word I’ve been able to come up with the describe my experience in reading this book would be, “jittery”. It was not the most entertaining of books. I may try the next one, but I’ve heard that most– if not all– the series is like this. If that’s the case, I may not finish this particular set of books.
What I’m Currently Reading:
- Caliban’s War (The Expanse #2) by James S.A. Corey
- A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #2) by Deborah Harkness, audiobook narrated by Jennifer Ikeda
- Children of Blood and Bone (The Legacy of Orïsha #1) by Tomi Adeyemi
- The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad
I didn’t get as far into Caliban’s War as I had hoped, but the book is bulky which makes it hard to tote around town. Still, I’ve enjoyed the part that I’ve read and look forward to reading more of it.
A Discovery of Witches on audiobook arrived at the library for me on Thursday evening. I’m on disc two, but because I only listen to it in the car, it will take a while to get through the whole story as there are twenty discs. Aside from a few massive infodumps, the story has been intriguing. I’m sure there will be points where I want to just drive around to listen to more of the story.
I had forgotten I’d requested Children of Blood and Bone from the library’s Overdrive app. I’m about 10% of the way through, and so far am not particularly impressed. Aside from the Nigerian-based setting, it reads like so many other YA Fantasy novels I’ve encountered over the past few years. I will give it some more time, but I’m not optimistic about it.
The Candle and the Flame, in contrast, has been a wonderful book so far. It’s set in a fantastical version of a city on the Silk Road where years of trade has brought together a variety of cultures and languages. After an attack by a group of chaos-loving djinn, the city of Noor has been protected by reason-loving djinn called the Ifrit. When one of the most powerful Ifrit dies, young Fatima is drawn into a world of politics and magic. I’m only about twenty pages in, but so far it a lovely and well-told story.
What I Plan to Start Reading This Week:
In spite of its being the beginning of the month, I don’t plan to start anything yet. I want to finish– or at least get farther along in– the books I’m currently reading.
What I’ve Been Watching:
Really, the only thing I watched this week was more of Star Trek: Voyager. I skipped a lot of third season episodes I’d already seen, and a few that I just wasn’t interested in. I got to the fourth season this week. Season four marks the arrival of Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan), who replaced the character of Kes (Jennifer Lien). Seven of Nine was a Borg drone, part of a massive and terrifying collective species, who was separated from the collective. As a part of Voyager’s crew, she must re-learn what it is to be a human being, and the journey is not always easy. In addition to being a more interesting character, I’ve always thought that Jeri Ryan was a much better actor than Jennifer Lien.
Star Trek: Voyager was definitely a show from the late 1990s, and it often shows its age. I have many thoughts about it. I can’t help but compare it to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and the most recent Trek series, Discovery. Those two are my favorite series for a variety of reasons, and I’m sure I’ll have something to say about the contrasts between the shows once I’ve completed the series.