Sunday Sum-Up- August 18, 2019

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Things my kitten has done this week:

  • Taken the filter from the older cat’s litter box and dragged it into the living room. She was very proud of herself.
  • Found a rip in the liner of my bed’s box spring, climbed up into it, and got stuck inside the box spring. Three times.
  • Ran at me while I was practicing yoga and collided with my face.
  • Jumped up onto the chair and then onto my computer desk, walked across the keyboard, and managed to shut down YouTube mid-video.

Life is goofy when you have a kitten.

Otherwise this week, the weather cooled down for several days– enough so that I went hiking at a local park on my day off. It was a sunny day with plenty of cool breezes. I had the park almost entirely to myself (except for one jogger), and I saw two white-tail deer running through the underbrush. It was too bright to properly photograph the trees (the light/dark contrasts are too great), but I did get a few nice shots of isolated plants and leaves.

I also attended the final concert of a new music festival being hosted in various venues around town. The festival featured classical and traditional music from around the world, and the concert I attended showcased Nordic music from Denmark, Finland, and Iceland. Some of the music was traditional or medieval, but there were a couple of post-modern pieces, one by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho. I hope they’re able to host this festival again next year because I had a great time.

What I Finished Reading Last Week:

I really enjoyed the ending of Lethal White. It was another one where I didn’t anticipate the murderer, but once the whole plot was laid out, the clues fit right into place, and so did the book’s title. There have been plenty of changes in Robin’s life for the better, so I’m looking forward to seeing where she goes in the next book. I don’t really care about Strike, and if Robin weren’t a great sidekick, I probably wouldn’t still be reading the series.

I can’t remember if I read the two Star Trek books when they came out or not. It seems like I would have, given that they are the beginning of the unofficial eighth season, but I don’t remember the events. So maybe I did and I’ve just forgotten. Maybe I didn’t read them. Regardless, it was fun to revisit favorite characters and see what adventures they’re having. Star Trek books aren’t the best-written things out there, as exposition is largely absent and character insight can be spotty. The author expects the reader to already be familiar with events, characters, and their history. Perry does not spend ink catching up a reader who is unfamiliar with the world of Deep Space Nine. These are fun, quick reads for DS9 fans, but they’re not particularly deep. Still, it was fun to revisit them (or read them for the first time?), thanks to Tor.com’s Deep Space Nine Reread series.

Over Sea, Under Stone is the first book in Susan Cooper’s Dark is Rising sequence, which are middle-grade books that deal with Arthurian lore. In this book, the Drew children– Simon, Jane, and Barney– are spending the summer in a seaside town in Wales. They are drawn into a mystery when they find a strange map in their house’s attic. With the help of their Great Uncle Merry, the find themselves on a quest greater than anything they expected. This is a beautiful series that was one of my favorites growing up.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January is a lovely debut by Alix E. Harrow. It is a portal fantasy in which the main character, a young woman named January, discovers that there are doors to other worlds. But instead of flitting through those doors to have random adventures, January finds herself drawn into a deeper mystery that requires her to draw on every ounce of strength she has. I was not expecting this story to go the way it did, and I am glad that Harrow did not tell the expected story. It is wonderful, and I will have a more detailed review closer to the publication date.

Dune Messiah is the second book of Frank Herbert’s Dune Chronicles. It deals with the problems of empire, and the particular problems of an emperor and his sister who have prescience– the ability to see the future. They have also been turned into religious figures by the army that helped them win their empire. The emperor, Paul Atreides, hates what this means and seeks a way to free himself from the trappings of the godhood that has been placed upon him. Dune Messiah has a drastically different tone from its predecessor, and that is why many readers are put off by it. They’re expecting the same high, epic story of Dune, but book two delivers something entirely different. It is a book that demands your attention and makes you think about power, what it would be like to actually see the future, and the sacrifices we make in the name of love.

What I’m Currently Reading:

I was looking for a new audiobook after finishing up Lethal White, and since I had heard great things about The Thirteenth Tale, I decided to give it a try. I’m about 20% of the way through, and so far I am really enjoying it. I am looking forward to delving farther into the mystery of Vida Winter’s strange life.

Another Star Trek book! I’ve been having a hard time locating copies of the earlier Deep Space Nine books. They weren’t very large print runs to begin with, and they haven’t been in print for a while. And they were mass-market paperbacks, so they weren’t well made and tended to fall apart. My library doesn’t have most of the books, and buying all of them isn’t really an option, just because of the cost. But I did find a solution, thanks to my Nook! Since I have a Barnes and Noble Nook tablet, I can stream any ebook for an hour each day, for no extra cost! Because it doesn’t take very long for me to read these books, and because I don’t plan to read all of them (really, the books about the Klingons don’t interest me), I will buy myself a coffee and a dessert a couple of nights each week and read the books in-store until the Tor.com reread project reaches the point where they’re reading the books the library has. I will also check with the used bookstore downtown, but I don’t think they have all that many Star Trek books. In the meantime, I am enjoying Abyss well enough. Section 31 was the shadow intelligence unit first introduced in Deep Space Nine‘s fifth or sixth season. They tried to recruit Bashir, a doctor who was (illegally) genetically modified as a child and who has ridiculously romantic notions of what being a spy is about. Those notions are destroyed when he gets wrapped up in Section 31’s amoral dealings. While Bashir’s sections are interesting, I’m not interested in Ro Laren’s subplot, which is what I’m in the middle of right now.

What I Plan to Start Reading This Week:

  • A Hero Born (Legends of the Condor Heroes #1) by Jin Yong, translated from the Chinese by Anna Holmwood, ARC provided by NetGalley
  • The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold
  • Jade City (The Green Bone Saga #1) by Fonda Lee

 

I created an account on LibraryThing to keep track of my book collection. I’ve been frustrated by Goodreads and its inability to let me easily scan and archive my books. Sure, I can add things, but it seems like it never wants to synch up editions of books I’ve read versus books that I’ve bought. For example, if I were to buy, say, The Ten Thousand Doors of January when it comes out, I wouldn’t be able to synchronize the Kindle edition I’ve read with the hardback edition I would buy. It leads to duplicates and a lot of frustration because then it will say that I’ve read the book twice or more when I’ve only read it once. A librarian friend recommended LibraryThing after she deleted her Goodreads account. It’s not a social media app like Goodreads wants to be, but it allows me to easily scan bar codes, categorize my collection, and add personal notes. This is handy since I like to buy books as souvenirs, and I want to be able to note what city I was in, what bookshop I bought it in, and when I got it. I can’t do that with Goodreads. So far, I have a lot of cataloging to do, as well as entering the vintage and antique books I own that don’t have ISBNs, as well as the ebooks I’ve either purchased or received ARCs of. It’s a tedious process, but it’s been worth it so far. Goodreads states that my collection (as I’ve been trying to keep track of it) stands at 239 books, while LibraryThing has 288 and counting. I’ll be happy to finally have an accurate catalog of all the books I own.

And now for more kitten photos, since that’s what you’re all here for:

7 thoughts on “Sunday Sum-Up- August 18, 2019

  1. Your kitty is so adorable, though I so don’t miss the kitten phase. Both of mine are older at 14 and 8. My black cat is anti-social and spends nearly ever minute hiding somewhere in the basement. At least until Hubby wants to sit in the living room, then it is like he has set off an alarm and her and my other cat fight to get in his lap.

    One of the reasons I have a database on my computer is so that I can keep track of things outside of Goodreads. I like them for certain things, but I don’t think that any one thing will every completely cover a book lover’s needs.

  2. The kitten phase definitely has its ups and downs, but I am trying to make the most of it, since she won’t be a kitten forever.

    So far, I’ve had a very positive experience with LibraryThing. The mobile app isn’t the best, but the website is great. I prefer having a cloud-based database, myself. That way, if something terrible happens to my computer, I’m not having to recreate the entire thing. I just have to log on from the new device. My personal reading log and other writing-related documents are on my Google Drive, so the same goes for them. It also allows me to access my information across devices, which has been incredibly handy through the years.

  3. I’m too stubborn (and apparently brainless at times) to do the cloud thing with mine and is why I spent a crazy amount of time trying to fix it all after an update, so I absolutely get it. Maybe someday I’ll do something different.

  4. I’ve found that it’s not too difficult to do the cloud-based databases. With LibraryThing, the biggest time-suck is the categorization, thanks to all the fussy categories I’ve come up with for everything. My detailed reading log is a spreadsheet in Google docs, which I spent a little while setting up at the end of last year. As long as I keep up with it, updating it only takes a few minutes.

    There’s a learning curve with every new system, regardless of its source or origin. I went to cloud-based databases because I worried that something catastrophic would happen and I’d lose something important. It’s the same reason I keep my photographs backed up onto two external hard drives. I don’t want to lose everything to a stupid computer glitch.

  5. I use a MS Access database that I built. I do have 360, so I could technically have this on my OneDrive folder (which is cloud), but when I first tested it out, it was really glitchy and not everything transferred from one computer to the next so I just kept it on my computer. I started it years ago and the thought of having to recreate it or reenter all that data to get it in a different location makes me ill to think about it.
    I think the thing that bothers me the most about cloud storage is that I don’t really have control over it or the backups and, no matter what, I’d still worry like crazy that I’d lose it because someone else made a mistake. It isn’t a rational fear and is way less likely to happen than if I am in control (as I’ve managed to prove recently), but apparently it is a thing for me.
    I am seriously considering some sort of cloud storage for a secondary backup of my photos though. After my last external drive croaked out of the blue, I am really uncomfortable with only having the one.

  6. First, your kitty is hilarious. You may or may not have found what she did funny at the time, but shutting down the YouTube video made me laugh, it’s as if she was saying, enough of that, look at what I can do.

    Cooler weather and the scenery is lovely. Thanks for sharing those pictures, I will sometimes I will stop and take pictures of flowers or other lovely things in nature.

    You’ve been reading a lot. I’ve trying to get back into a good routine lately. I also plan to look into LibraryThing. I’d like to have a better system other than GoodReads. I started a spreadsheet but got frustrated when I tried to merge it with what I exported from GoodReads.

  7. I didn’t mind it when she turned off the YouTube video. I’d just had YouTube playing for background noise while I did housework and wondered why it stopped in the middle! I’m having to be way more careful about what’s on the desk and nearby shelves since kitten is old enough to start jumping up on things!

    I’m not good at merging databases from different platforms, so I just went through and scanned all the books that had barcodes, and then manually entered the antiques and vintage books that didn’t have barcodes. That took an hour and a half or so. Now I’m in the process of categorizing everything and entering the requisite notes. That’s going to take longer, but that’s okay. Everything has been entered now, so I have an accurate count of all my books.

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