It’s been a hot and humid week around here, and it sapped my energy. Work did that, too. Overall, it’s been a sleepy kind of week where I didn’t get much reading done. Alas. Better luck this week, once the heat breaks!
Before the heat arrived, Sunday ended up being a gorgeous day. I drove out to a park on the far edge of the city where, except for the trails, the park is left for the wilderness. Thanks to that it is full of trees, native grasses, wildflowers, and wildlife. And mosquitoes. I try not to think about the mosquitoes. But anyway. On this particular day, the park was fairly quiet until I had hiked in about three-quarters of a mile when I encountered a friendly chocolate lab and his person (who was also friendly, but not as excitable, fortunately). While I was on my way back north after reaching the bridge, I stopped and chatted with the maintenance crew that had finished cutting down dead branches overhanging the trail. The arborist pointed out the deadfall being held up by another dead tree and the dying, eighty-foot hackberry tree. He was pretty sure it wouldn’t fall across the trail, but he also said, “A good west wind could prove me wrong.” He was a pretty nice guy, but once we reached a fork in the trail we went different directions. Still, it’s nice to meet nice people, even if it’s only for a few minutes.
I’ve been trying to take Jessica Pan’s advice from Sorry I Was Late, I Didn’t Want to Come, where she chatted with strangers. So far, so good.
Last night, after a frenetic day at work, the heat leveled off and I decided to go for a walk on the college campus near where I live. It’s practically a park during the summer while the students are gone. They’ve been doing a lot of renovation work on steps and sidewalks, and one of the rose gardens is sadly off-limits. There are other flower gardens, but they don’t have as many roses.
What I Finished Reading This Week:
- Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style by Benjamin Dreyer
- The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad
The Candle and the Flame is a debut YA fantasy novel by Fijian-Canadian author Nafiza Azad. It is set in a magical version of a city on the Silk Road and is filled with cultures, religion, and language of the region. While the prose is studious and the dialogue is sometimes stilted, I found the book as a whole to be a refreshing change from so many of the other YA fantasies I’ve read in the past couple of years. I look forward to Azad’s future work.
I gave up on Children of Blood and Bone. I just didn’t find it to be very interesting or any different from most recent YA fantasies. Aside from the Nigerian-based setting, it reads like the same story starring the same characters as books based in European settings.
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
- Soul of the Sword (Shadow of the Fox #2) by Julie Kagawa
I wanted to finish Caliban’s War last week, but it just didn’t happen. I’m going to make a concerted effort to finish it up in the next few days.
A Discovery of Witches is getting more interesting the more I listen to it. It’s proving to be more of a scholarly fantasy than an adventure novel. Harkness has blended science and magic far more than any other fantasy novel I’ve read. I’m looking forward to getting deeper into the mystery of the enchanted manuscript, Ashmole 782.
I received a digital ARC of Soul of the Sword thanks to NetGalley. It’s coming out soon, so I started it right away. I’m about a quarter of the way through, and while this story is necessarily darker than the first one (thanks to events at the end of the previous book, Shadow of the Fox), I think it is as charming as its predecessor.
What I Plan to Start Reading This Week:
- Parrish and Poetry edited by Laurence S. Cutler and Judy Goffman Cutler
- Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
What I’ve Been Watching:
Star Trek: Voyager. I’m up to season six now, thanks to a bunch of skipped episodes. There were that I’ve already seen, and a few I just didn’t want to watch. There were others, like ‘Dark Frontier, pts. I and II’ that I wanted to see a lot more than Harry Kim’s failed romantic escapades. That being said, I’m really beginning to appreciate the streamlined nature of the shorter seasons we get with a lot of television shows these days. Sure, you don’t have as much to watch with an eight to fourteen-episode season instead of a twenty-six episode season, but shorter seasons allow for an extended story arc without ‘filler’ episodes that honestly aren’t very good.
Also, this is a science fiction story set in the twenty-fourth century. Why are female side characters always in skirts, no matter where they’re from? It’s not like Vidiians or Brunali have the same cultural hangups as humans. Why so many skirts, Star Trek producers?