Sunday Sum-Up: February 16, 2020

Another quiet week here. I’ve been busy with work, reading, and writing. Or trying to write. I keep being distracted. By cats.

You see, when you sit down in front of the computer to spend an hour writing, one or both of the cats– no matter how deeply they seem to be sleeping– will suddenly wake up and decide to be the loudest, most rampaging creatures in the history of ever. Invariably.

 

Obligatory Mina Photo:

02_14_2020 A7III 045

I went grocery shopping on Friday evening and bought a big bag of cat food. I put it on the couch when I got home so I could take off my coat, put away the rest of the groceries, and give the cats their dinner (plus treats). Mina devoured her food in a couple of minutes and soon began sniffing around at the new bag of food. It wasn’t long before she was gnawing on the bag in a desperate attempt to get at the food, even though she had just eaten! I ended up having to put the entire seven-pound bag into the refrigerator to keep her out of it because she broke into the cabinet where I normally store the cats’ food.

There will be a Target run in my future where I buy a bin for the cat food because I can’t keep storing these big bags in the refrigerator.

 

What I Finished Reading Last Week:

Because I had seen the BBC adaptation of And Then There Were None, I thought I already knew what was going to happen in the book, but I was wrong. I think. The movie ended differently from the book (by necessity, given the differences in the media), and while I don’t remember now exactly how events played out in the movie, I’m okay with that. The book was fantastic and suspenseful, even though I had a general idea of what was going on. If you’re looking for a gateway into Agatha Christie’s mysteries, And Then There Were None is a great place to start.

A Murderous Relation is the latest of Deanna Raybourn’s Veronica Speedwell mysteries and takes place adjacent to the Jack the Ripper murders in Whitechapel. While the climactic scene at the end feels a bit melodramatic, this is a fun and satisfying addition to the series, though the ending makes me wonder if this will be the final installment. It’s a solid ending to the series if it is, but if not, it will be interesting to see how the new character dynamics would work in forthcoming books.

 

What I’m Currently Reading:

I’ve made a little progress in The Sagas of Icelanders. It’s interesting to read it at the same time as Linnea Hartsuyker’s Half-Drowned King trilogy since many of the characters from the sagas show up in Hartsuyker’s books. I don’t find it to be confusing at all, though. Rather, it gives the sagas more of a sense of immediacy, and I have a better handle on the story. The first saga in the collection is ‘Egil’s Saga’. I’m about halfway through it and hope to finish it over the weekend. Then it’s on to ‘Vatnasdæla saga’.

The Sea Queen is still fantastic and filled with the politics of the Viking era. Ragnvald must deal with the wergilds (money owed in payment of deaths or injuries inflicted by one family on another) his faction owes and the endless cycle of vengeance some of his followers want to seek for injuries done to their family. King Harald has recently outlawed duels and retribution, but not all of his followers are happy with the new laws.  It’s a fascinating look at a time and place in history that’s usually glossed over in favor of Viking legends that don’t always reflect reality.

The storytelling in The Phoenix Empress has grown more complex than it was in the first book of the trilogy, The Tiger’s Daughter. In the second book, we flash back and forth between Shefali’s current predicament and O-Shizuka’s story of what she went through while Shefali was gone. I don’t generally enjoy flashbacks, but I don’t mind the way Rivera has structured her story. It’s fascinating to see what O-Shizuka thinks of herself given that the vast majority of the first book was from Shefali’s perspective.

I checked out the audiobook of Madeline Miller’s Circe once I finished And Then There Were None. I’ve been meaning to get to this book for some time. I’m about ten percent of the way through, but I’m already fascinated by Circe’s story. I will probably end up reading the physical copy that I own, just so I can get through parts of it faster. Or maybe I will restrain myself and let the story unfold slowly. So far, Miller’s writing is just as beautiful as it was in The Song of Achilles, but I am liking Circe’s story more than Patroclus’s.

What I Plan to Start Reading This Week:

 

What I’ve Been Watching:

Star Trek: Picard
CBS All Access
TV-MA
Starring: Patrick Stewart, Alison Pill, Isa Briones, Harry Treadaway, Michelle Hurd, Santiago Cabrera, Jeri Ryan

Episode 104, ‘Absolute Candor’

I both liked and disliked last week’s episode of Picard. I loved the development of the Romulan culture, especially the addition of the Qowat Milat. Who doesn’t love the idea of an order of Romulan warrior nuns? Picard has expanded the Romulan culture far more than any other series has, which is nuts given that we’re only on the fourth episode ever of this show, and the Romulans have been around since the first season of the original series (first appearing in ‘Balance of Terror’, which aired in 1966). The Klingons are so well-developed that there are productions of Hamlet performed entirely in Klingon, but the Romulans haven’t been so lucky. Until now. I am a big fan of these developments since I’m not the biggest fan of the Klingons. The Romulans and their secretive ways have always caught my attention.

In addition to introducing the Qowat Milat, we’re also introduced to Elnor, a young Romulan man Picard has a history with. Though they’re historically an all-women sect, the Qowat Milat took the orphaned Elnor in when he was a child and raised him in their ways. He’s been referred to derisively as ‘Space Legolas’ by critics, but I’m withholding judgment. There is still half a season left for Elnor’s character to grow.

The rest of the cast didn’t have a whole lot to do, but Seven of Nine showed up at the very end, wearing sensible clothes (yay!) and with a snarky remark.

What I didn’t like is the continued weirdness of the Romulan bad guy siblings, Narek and Narissa. Their relationship veers toward the Cersei/Jamie Lannister end of things, and that’s creepy. Plus, Narissa’s only role seems to be, “Get the information from the pretty robot right now, or else I’ll kill the pretty robot”. Which is what Narissa has been saying for the past three episodes. So that’s getting old.

But on the whole, I enjoyed the episode, but I’m looking forward to where Picard’s motley crew goes next, and I’m hoping that Soji is playing Narek as much as Narek is playing Soji.

 

Promo

 

What About That Writing Thing?

I am not as far along on Part 2 of my fanfic project as I’d hoped I would be at this point. I’ve written just over 6600 words, and that’s because I skipped the last part of scene 1, because I didn’t know where I was going with it. I’m pretty sure it needs to be there to establish a couple of later events, but I haven’t been happy with what I have so far. I just have to keep reminding myself that the first draft doesn’t have to be pretty. It just has to be written.

I have a couple of things going on this morning, but then I’ll have the entire afternoon free, so the plan is to sit down and write as much as humanly possible. I’ve solved one of the problems I was having with a major plot point, so hopefully, that will help me out.

Writing is such a weird hobby. I look forward to sitting down and doing it, but when I finally have a few minutes to do it, my brain rebels and is distracted by anything and everything. The trick is to keep working at it and not be discouraged because I haven’t made as much progress as I would have liked. Writing is a cumulative thing. Every little bit helps, even if it’s just a sentence or two that you’re adding at a time.

 

4 thoughts on “Sunday Sum-Up: February 16, 2020

  1. Whenever I sit down to write, if I’m at a table instead of my bed/couch, one of my cats has to sit in between me and the keyboard, and if I don’t let her, I get absolutely nothing done but continually shoving her away, so I’ve gotten used to typing with my arms stretched out all the way to accommodate her sitting there. She doesn’t even do anything, just sits and watches me write, so it’s kind of cute, too.

  2. Circe is one of my all-time favorite audiobooks! I’m so glad you’re listening to it. The writing is incredible and Weeks does an exceptional job portraying a woman who is trapped between two worlds. I never wrote a review for it as I found trying to wrap all my thoughts together was too difficult. I hope you can manage to write something about it and help do the book justice!

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