It’s been a snowy week around here. And foggy. And icy. And sleety. With a little rain thrown in for good measure. And also ice. Did I mention the ice? The streets have been covered in ice. It’s made driving interesting. Hey ho for January.
Obligatory Mina Photo:
Mina has decided that sitting on top of my dresser is the best thing ever. It’s fine, as I’ve removed the breakables, but it is disconcerting to wake up in the morning to find a cat staring down at me from across the room.
What I Finished Reading Last Week:
- The Order of Time by Carlo Rovelli, audiobook narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch
- The Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson, translated/edited by Jesse L. Byock
- Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli, narrated by the author
- A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, audiobook narrated by Nicholas Guy Smith
The Order of Time was such an elegant book about the mechanics of time. The physics principles Rovelli lays out are strange and confusing, but he communicates them so beautifully that you can begin to comprehend them. And at the end, there is a beautiful passage regarding Rovelli’s views on the end of his own life. I liked this book so much that as soon as I finished it, I checked the Libby app to see if my library had any other books by him, and they did! So I immediately downloaded Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, which deals more with the foundations of physics as we know it know: Relativity, quantum mechanics, and our inability to resolve the two. This one was narrated by Rovelli himself, and while I thought The Order of Time was more elegantly written, Seven Brief Lessons on Physics was more informative.
The Prose Edda continues to be a strange book. It contains stories from Norse mythology, as well as Snorri Sturluson’s lessons on how to tell the stories using traditional kennings. He wrote this book because he was afraid the traditional stories were beginning to be forgotten (this was in the 1200s in Iceland). We’re fortunate to have it, since many of the Norse tales have since been lost, but it is definitely a strange collection.
Once I hit the 80% mark in A Gentleman in Moscow, I could not wait to find out what happened to the Count and Sofia, so I downloaded the ebook from the library and read it during downtime at work. I finished it on Friday afternoon, and was so pleased with the ending! It suited the story perfectly. It’s been such a delight going through Towles’s books. I wish he had more! Alas, I will have to move on to another author for my commute.
What I’m Currently Reading:
- Laughing Shall I Die: Lives and Deaths of the Great Vikings by Tom Shippey (184/368)
- Empire of Ivory (Temeraire #4) by Naomi Novik (13%)
- Master of Sorrows (The Silent Gods #1) by Justin T. Call, ARC Provided by NetGalley (9%)
- The Sagas of Icelandersby various, preface by Jane Smiley (42/820)
I’m digging deeper into Norse tales thanks to Tom Shippey’s Laughing Shall I Die and the Penguin Classics collection, The Sagas of Icelanders, which combines several Icelandic sagas into a single volume. Shippey’s book is a study of Viking– specifically Viking, not Norse– culture and behavior based on the sagas, tales, and recorded history of the great Viking leaders, men who started out as pirates and raiders, and sometimes turned into colonisers and founders of royal European dynasties. It’s slow going, as the book is fairly dense and filled with stories I’m not very familiar with. I’m about halfway through, and I anticipate finishing it this week.
The Sagas of Icelanders also requires careful reading, as the narrative style is unfamiliar and so are the names. I’m also trying to parse the cultural differences in humor and honor so the stories make more sense. I’m not worried about finishing this anytime soon, though. If it takes me all February to do so, that’s perfectly fine. But I will finish reading it this year. It’s been languishing on my shelves for too long.
I didn’t get as far along in Empire of Ivory as I hoped. Not for lack of interest. I just didn’t listen to the audiobook. On Thursday, I was too hyped about the new Star Trek show to listen, and Friday night I had to work later than usual. I got home late, and the things I needed to do precluded listening to much of anything. I’ll try to get farther along today.
I started reading Master of Sorrows on my phone when I had a few minutes to spare here and there. It’s a debut fantasy novel I received from NetGalley. So far, I’m not terribly impressed. The author, Justin T. Call, is inverting the Chosen One trope by making the Chosen One the ultimate bad guy, or so the synopsis says. So far, the writing and story are uninspired, though it starts out in a school setting. I usually don’t enjoy school settings, as all too often you have the charismatic main character trying not to be late for his classes with his doofy friends, and you have the bully who’s doing their best to make the MC’s life difficult or prevent them from graduating or whatever. It’s been quick reading so far, so I’m hoping to finish it this week. I’m also hoping it gets more compelling.
What I Plan to Start Reading This Week:
No plans for this week. I’m not far enough along in anything to think about starting the next thing. Except an audiobook for the car, and I have no idea what that will end up being. I don’t know what will be available at the library.
What I’ve Been Watching:
Star Trek: Picard
CBS All Access
Starring: Patrick Stewart, Michelle Hurd, Harry Treadaway, Santiago Cabrera, Isa Briones, Allison Pill, Jeri Ryan
I’ve already done a write-up of the first episode of Picard. Long story short, I loved the pilot and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season!
Take a look at my thoughts here: “Star Trek: Picard, episode 101: ‘Remembrance‘”
What I’ve Been Writing:
I’m basically done with Part 1 of my fanfic story. It’s just under 31,000 words, and I mostly just have the line edits to complete. I also need to ensure that the MCs take the dog with them at the end of this part and clarify the motivations of one of the secondary characters, but I’m basically done with it otherwise. I knocked out the much shorter companion story on Wednesday evening, so I’m on schedule to start the first draft of Part 2 this week. Once I’m done with the line edits for Part 1, I’ll set it aside for a couple of weeks, then give it another reading to see what sorts of mistakes I overlooked. I’m looking forward to getting started on Part 2.
8 thoughts on “Sunday Sum-Up: January 26, 2020”
Good job on fanfic! Moscow…I know!!! And Mina, as always….
I grew up with three cats and swear they coordinated hiding and staring at me!
Thanks! I hope Towles writes another book soon… He and Diane Setterfield.
He seems to really take his time….hoping though!
They must coordinate it! They probably got together one night and sorted it all out, then spent weeks fine tuning their plans to make sure they were extra unnerving.