My week’s end was disrupted by cats. Instead of the quiet night which I was hoping for on Friday, I spent half the evening trying to separate Sidney and Mina. They were behaving like unruly children. Sidney kept hissing and swiping at Mina, even seeking her out to growl at her while she was hiding under a bookcase. He usually curls up on his blanket next to the radiator and ignores her, but not Friday night. I had to lure him into the bedroom with the promise of catnip and leave him in there by himself until he calmed down. Mina, on the other hand, had made a mess of her litter box. While I was cleaning that up, she threw up on the kitchen floor. So I had to clean that up, too. She’s fine. Cats throw up once in a while.
Cats. They’re so cute.
What I Finished Reading This Week:
- Snow: A Scientific and Cultural Exploration by Giles Whittell
- The Haunting of Tram Car 015 by P. Djeli Clark
- Ninth House (Alex Stern #1) by Leigh Bardugo
I wasn’t sure what to expect of Ninth House when I began. I haven’t had the best of luck with hyped releases this year, but once I got through the first couple of chapters and oriented myself to this alternate version of Yale and its secret societies, I was hooked. Ninth House is Bardugo’s adult debut, and she did a stellar job with this dark fantasy. The atmosphere, world-building, and mysteries are subtle and well-written, while the flashbacks– which I normally dislike– are extremely well done. They form a sort of puzzle, providing clues to the entire story instead of clunkily delivering backstory. I will probably have a more in-depth review later in the week.
What I’m Currently Reading:
- Silas Marner by George Eliot (56/192)
- Labyrinth of Ice: The Triumphant and Tragic Greely Polar Expedition by Buddy Levy, ARC provided by NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press (7%)
- The Great Hunt (The Wheel of Time #2) by Robert Jordan, audiobook narrated by Kate Reading and Michael Kramer (27%)
- Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman
I read most of the fifty-six pages of Silas Marner while sitting at the repair shop waiting for them to fix my car’s tires. I like George Eliot’s writing so far. It’s obviously Victorian, but not as flowery as many of her contemporaries. I’m going to try to finish this up in the next few days.
For some reason, I decided to peruse St. Martin’s Press’s offerings in their nonfiction section on NetGalley (blame it on NonFiction November, I guess), saw Labyrinth of Ice, requested it, and was approved a couple of days later. I’m not very far into it, but what I’ve read so far is quite good. With a cold snap set to begin on Monday, a book about a polar expedition sounds like a good choice for this wintry week.
I’d had a request for The Great Hunt on Overdrive for a long time, and it showed up this week. I’ve been listening to it at 1.2 speed, and am running into the same issues that I had with the series on my first journey through the series: too many points of view. Jordan wrote a cast of thousands for these books, and many of the perspectives come from characters you’ve never seen before and will never see again. I’m sure Jordan did that to broaden the world of The Wheel of Time, but I never found those one-off perspectives to be interesting or helpful. The nice thing about reading the physical copies of the books is that I could skip those chapters. I can’t do that so easily with the audiobook. I’m about thirty percent of the way through. Now that the book’s plot is actually getting started, I’m getting more interested in the story. We’ll see if that continues.
I’m a mere handful of pages into Tess of the Road. I had intended to start reading during my lunch break yesterday, but I kept getting interrupted and so I didn’t get very far into it. This is my selection for the November Tome Topple, hosted by Sam at Thoughts on Tomes. The point of Tome Topple is to tackle one or more of the big books languishing on the shelf. Sam has a few challenges (such as ‘Read a book in a genre you don’t normally reach for’), but she keeps it very simple: read one or more books that are 500 pages or longer. If I finish up Tess of the Road this week, then I will go ahead and start my second choice for Tome Topple, which is The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera.
What I Plan to Start Reading This Week:
I have one novella and three long books to finish, so I don’t have anything on the docket to begin this week.
What I’ve Been Watching:
Basically nothing, except for the BookTube channels I subscribe to, and I’ve been skipping the videos when they’re about Stephen King or feature yet another Harry Potter review. I’ve been coming home at night, making dinner, getting the cats taken care of, attempted my German lesson, and done an hour or more of writing before settling down for a half an hour of reading before bed. I just haven’t been worrying about television, even though Netflix recently premiered a movie I really want to watch: The King, which is about King Henry V of England, his ascension to the throne, and England’s war with France in the early 1400s. It stars Timothee Chalamet, Robert Pattinson, and Joel Edgerton. It looks like it could be fantastic. I may try to watch it later today.
How’s That Writing Thing Going?
Eh. I was keeping up with my goal of writing 40,000 words until Friday night when the cats decided to be royal pains. By the time I finished dealing with them and then did necessary things like washing the dishes and showering, it was almost time for bed. So right now I’m behind on my arbitrary goal, but that’s okay. Once I get the characters out of this weird forest they’ve ended up in and send them home, things will pick up and I’ll be able to regain some of this lost ground. And if I fail to achieve my arbitrary goal, I will survive. November is a busy month already. There is no need to be hard on myself for not finishing another big project stacked on all the others.
And in a Final, ‘That Was Unexpected’ Note:
Because my NetGalley feedback ratio recently topped 80%, I decided to grab the code for the badge and put it back on the blog’s sidebar. While I was there, I discovered that I had received the badge for ‘Top Reviewer’, which means that three or more of my reviews have been chosen as highlights on the book’s page. Neat! Now if I could only figure out which of my reviews were chosen.
This doesn’t change how I’ll use NetGalley, but I think it does show that you don’t have to have thousands of followers or a hundred reviews posted to have publishers take notice of you. It’s a matter of figuring out a schedule that works for you, finding ARCs that spark your interest, and doing good work. You can do that whether you have 40,000 followers or 40.