Sunday Sum Up: December 8, 2019

Overall, this was a tiring week. I spent most of my day off sorting and cleaning various art and crafting supplies, as well as rearranging my little studio. And fighting with my old printer, which had been on its last legs for quite some time. In a fortuitous happening, I was able to replace my dying Canon Pro9000 II printer with a much newer (and better) Canon Pro-100– at no cost to me! I just had to haul it away (and then carry it, by myself, up three flights of stairs to my apartment). Hooray! I will be able to do a lot more printing at home since the new printer doesn’t scratch large prints or give white areas a magenta hue.

I haven’t been able to read as much as I would have liked, due in part to a busy schedule, and also because the cats have been small terrors this week. They’re adorable and I love them, but I really do wish they were capable of getting their own breakfast so I could sleep until at least 07:30.

Obligatory Mina Photos:

What I Finished Reading Last Week:

I loved Every Tool’s a Hammer. It is part memoir of Adam Savage’s creative life, part creative guide, part how-to for how to manage ongoing projects. Savage emphasizes the fact that making anything is an iterative process. You probably will not succeed on your first attempt, and that is okay. Failing is part of life, and if you take a deep breath and step back from your work for a moment, you will learn from your mistakes and figure out a better way to continue the project. The key is to not give up because you weren’t perfect on the first try. No one becomes an expert overnight. I will probably buy a copy of this book after Christmas so I have it on hand whenever I need inspiration in the midst of a project. I have a lot of them planned for 2020.

I saw the Rian Johnson film, Knives Out, on Tuesday night and was in the mood for another murder mystery while working on the studio on Wednesday, so I browsed through the library’s Agatha Christie audiobook selection and downloaded Crooked House. It was fairly short (about six hours at regular speed, and shorter than that at 1.25x), and while I don’t think it’s the most compelling of Christie’s mysteries, I was hooked and did not guess the culprit until right before the reveal.

I finished Once Upon a River last night. The ending was nothing like I imagined it would be (shocker…), but was wonderful and just what I expected from Setterfield. I think I have gotten through all of her books now. The Thirteenth Tale is definitely my favorite, but Once Upon a River is a close second. I love how Setterfield weaves the disparate storylines together, and her prose is so elegant. It is lush and lyrical without being overwritten. It’s a fine line to walk, but Setterfield manages it like it’s the easiest thing in the world. I’m sure it will be a long time before Setterfield’s next novel, but I look forward to it.

What I Am Currently Reading:

I am still loving The Tiger’s Daughter, but I have not been reading it during my lunch hour at work for myriad reasons. I will make an effort to finish it off this week because I want to know what happens next. How does O-Shizuka end up on the throne? Why has she been separated from Shefali at the beginning of the book?

I did not get as far along in Silver on the Tree as I wanted to. I blame the cats. Mina in particular. I’d settle down to read for a while before bed, only to be interrupted a few minutes later because she had jumped onto the kitchen counter and knocked over a bottle. Or, she’d be under the bed and start batting at shoelaces or shoe zippers, causing me to have to get up and move my shoes from where they were lined up under the bed to the closet. The racket was not conducive to reading. But I have gotten far enough along that the series’s main characters are all together, and the final showdown between the Light and the Dark is about to begin.

Did Not Finish:

It’s not often that I fail to finish a non-fiction book, especially when it’s about history. But there came a point when Frankopan’s narrative left the Silk Road in the east and focused on Western European trade routes to the Americas after 1492. I’d gotten to about 52%, and it showed no signs of heading back to Asian history, which is what interested me about the book in the first place. There is only so much I can take when it comes to discussions of Dutch trade routes in the sixteenth century, so I decided to DNF it and send it back to the library early.


What I Plan to Start Reading This Week:

The Fellowship of the Ring has been sitting on the top of my December TBR pile for more than a week now, calling to me to start reading, but I wanted to finish Silver on the Tree before beginning another long book, so Fellowship will have to wait a little longer.

I’ve heard excellent things about Rules of Civility by Amor Towles, so I picked it up while browsing the audiobook selection at my usual library branch. I’m looking forward to starting it. It sounds amazing.

What I’ve Been Watching:

Knives Out
Written and Directed by Rian Johnson
Starring Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Christopher Plummer, Michael Shannon, LaKeith Stanfield, Toni Collette, Don Johnson, Katherine Langford

Styled upon classic ‘whodunnits’ like And Then There Were None and the 1980s mystery/comedy Clue, Knives Out is a stylish mystery starring Daniel Craig as eccentric private investigator Benoit Blanc, who enlists the help of Marta (de Armas), the immigrant nurse of bestselling mystery author Harlan Thrombey (Plummer), who was found dead of an apparent suicide the day after his eighty-fifth birthday. Thrombey’s entire family had gathered to celebrate his birthday, and every one of the wretched clan has a motive. The Thrombey family is a mess of self-important and self-righteous people who are as hilarious in their feuding as they are maddening in their privilege. Craig’s Benoit is hilarious as he conducts his investigation, and while his insights may seem to come out of left field, there is a method to their madness. de Armas shines as the young nurse who wants to do the right thing but is caught between the family she has been working for and her desire to protect her mother, an undocumented migrant. Chris Evans is also marvelous in his sleaziness, but it’s his cream-colored cable knit sweater that steals his scenes.

Knives Out

Source: IMDb

5 thoughts on “Sunday Sum Up: December 8, 2019

  1. Juliet Stevenson is such an excellent narrator. I almost picked up Once Upon A River for that reason alone. I’m glad you enjoyed it.
    I think I might have read Crooked House a few years ago but can’t remember now.
    I look forward to your thoughts on Rules of Civility

  2. I am tempted to look specifically for books narrated by Juliet Stevenson on my Libby app. She and Simon Vance are becoming my favorite narrators.

    I am just over halfway through Rules of Civility and I am still loving it! The characters are so complex, and they always end up being different from what I expect at first glance.

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