Sunday Sum-Up: June 28, 2020

So I’ve had a good week. Nothing mind-blowingly happy happened, but nothing horrible happened, either, and I got a lot of things done on my day off. Work was busy, but not so busy I wanted to scream (although as soon as you notice that a few of the light bulbs have gone out, it’s hard not to notice them). The only thing I have to complain about was the heat, and I’ll complain about that every summer…

Seriously, though. It rained at 3:00 Friday afternoon, and by the time I went outside for a walk and to take my daily photograph around 8:30, the humidity was so high the streets hadn’t dried yet. And it was still hot. Like walking through soup.

But! I got to go into both my favorite used bookstore and the library! Inside! Where I could look at books! Technically, the used bookstore isn’t open for anything but appointments (which I haven’t made. They’ve been posting photos of the new arrivals shelves, and I’ve been browsing those), but I happened to arrive to pick up a curbside order at just the right time when there wasn’t a previous appointment and the owner was there, so I got to spend a whole half an hour inside (with a mask and gloves), chatting with the owner and looking at books. I didn’t realize how much I’d missed it.

The public library opened their doors last Monday, though you have to wear a mask and can only be there for a limited period of time. I didn’t make it in until after work last night, so I only had about twenty minutes to wander before they closed, but I got to go inside the library!

Obligatory Mina Photo:

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Mina decided to be a complete weirdo on Friday night. Every time I went near her, whether it was to pet her or just walking by, she would run away. When I went to bed, though, she hopped up on the nightstand and flopped down. I put my hand out to scratch her ears, and she ended up resting her head on my hand and we both went to sleep like that.

She did the same ‘I’m gonna run away from you’ routine while I was getting ready for work yesterday morning, but after I turned on the bird video, she looked up at me with her ‘pet me!’ expression and I almost melted. I also almost didn’t make it to work on time, because she’s just too cute.

What I Finished Reading Last Week:

 

  • The Game of Kings (The Lymond Chronicles #1) by Dorothy Dunnett
  • Kindred by Octavia E. Butler, audiobook narrated by Kim Staunton

 

I finally finished The Game of Kings! It only took a month or more! Dunnett’s work is incredibly dense but fast-paced, and it has a lot of characters. Dunnett doesn’t spend time introducing them or trying to differentiate them or their personalities. She drops you into the story, and then goes off, full-steam ahead. That said, Lymond’s story is thoroughly entertaining and unpredictable, and there is a character death that threw me for a complete loop. I’m sure I will read the next book in the series at some point, I’m just not sure when. This is the sort of series you can’t really binge. Or at least, I wouldn’t want to binge it.

Kindred. Wow. I don’t know whether to classify it as science fiction or fantasy, but that doesn’t matter. It’s a powerful, brilliant story about a Black woman named Dana living with her white husband, Kevin, in California in 1976. Without warning, she is summoned to the South in early 1800s to save the life of a boy named Rufus. As she jumps back and forth through time, Dana learns that Rufus is her ancestor. Rufus is also the son of a slaveholder, and while she is stuck in the past Dana lives in an uncertain space between being free and being a slave. As Rufus ages, Dana wonders if she can teach him a different way of thinking, or if he is doomed to become like his father, who is a vicious slaveowner. Kindred touches on so many things- race, history, slavery, love, abusive relationships. More people should read this book.

 

What I’m Currently Reading:

  • The Bloodprint (The Khorasan Archives #1) by Ausma Zehanat Khan (212/448)

Ausma Zehanat Khan has also written a mystery series, of which I’ve read the first book. The Khorasan Archives has a writing style that reminds me of that mystery series. It’s fast-paced, without a lot of exposition. The emphasis is on character and plot. The plot is a standard kind of quest-narrative: the characters are tasked with going to find the maguffin that will help them defeat the dark lord. The characters so far are interesting- the two main women, Arian and Sinnia, and their companions, a boy named Wafa and a man named Daniyar. It’s been quick to read, and I already own the first three books of this four-part series. It has a Muslim background, so I’m sure there are a lot of cultural references that I’m missing, but I’m enjoying it so far.

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What I Plan to Start Reading This Week:

  • Armistice (The Amberlough Dossier #2) by Lara Elena Donnelly

I wanted to start the second book in Lara Elena Donnelly’s Amberlough Dossier, but I ended up not having a lot of reading time. But I will start it as soon as I finish The Bloodprint. I ordered the third book earlier this week, and it was supposed to arrive yesterday, but it’s still on its way. I’m hoping I get it before I finish the second book.

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What I’ve Been Watching:

Hannibal
Seasons 2 & 3
Netflix

I’m in the midst of season three of Hannibal, which is a bit of a departure from the more procedural setup of the first two seasons. The highlight so far? That Gillian Anderson plays a larger role than she has until now. I will watch anything she is in, and her presence in the show makes me want to go back and watch The Fall, where she played a police inspector investigating a series of murders in Belfast.

But back to Hannibal. The cinematography is still incredible, but I’m getting a sense of where the story is going, thanks to the movies based on this series. I’m still invested in the series, but there’s slightly less mystery in it for me. Still going to finish it.

Something I realized earlier in the week (that cracks me up) is that Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen were co-stars in Antoine Fuqua’s 2004 film, King Arthur, which I always enjoyed, even if it has little to do with Arthurian legend and even less to do with historical fact. But the knights-as-sidekicks are fun, and I enjoyed Keira Knightley’s turn as Guinevere.

hannibal

What I’ve Been Listening To:

I don’t remember where I saw it online, but someone had been talking about how much the loved the Skyrim soundtrack. I haven’t played any of the Elder Scrolls games since Morrowind, but I still remember the music and how much I liked it. Because video game soundtracks have gotten way more involved in the past fifteen years, I pulled the Skyrim soundtrack up on Spotify, and I’ve been listening to it ever since.

 

About That Writing Thing:

Still making slow progress than I would like, but I’m making progress all the same. I’ve hit a climactic scene and I keep having to double-check all sorts of references to ensure accuracy. I’m also in the process of breaking up a pairing that’s become a bit of a fan favorite, so I’m being very careful about the writing and how I handle the female character’s reactions to it all. I don’t want her to be a manic pixie dreamgirl, but now that I’m writing from her perspective, she’s unveiling all sorts of depths. It’s certainly interesting, but slow-going.

11 thoughts on “Sunday Sum-Up: June 28, 2020

  1. So glad to read your thoughts on Kindred. It’s a book I would love to reread at some point, and meanwhile I have the graphic novel version that I’ll probably read this summer. I’m jealous that you got to go to the library! Ours haven’t reopened, and I haven’t even heard a projection yet for when that will be. I miss visiting!

  2. Gosh, The Fall! I forgot that existed. I watched it for Colin Morgan, having come from Merlin wanting more of him, and it was such a damn good show!

  3. I’m glad to hear how much you enjoyed Kindred. That, and several other of Butler’s works, are on my list to read. And great photo of Mina. I love hearing about her antics. Reminds me of a few cats I’ve known. 🙂

  4. Kindred was so much different from what I expected, and I love it for that and its general brilliance. I need to read more of Butler’s work.

    Thanks! Mina is a photogenic little thing. She keeps me on my toes!

  5. That’s why I watched The Fall, too! For Colin Morgan! And then Gillian Anderson came onscreen, and I was blown away by her and by the rest of the show. Absolutely brilliant.

    Have you ever seen The Living and the Dead or Humans? Both are shows starring Colin Morgan. The Living and the Dead only got one season, and Humans had three.

  6. I missed my library so much! They’d been doing curbside pickup service since March or April, but looking at the online catalog just isn’t the same. My state hasn’t been as hard hit as a lot of other places, so reopenings have been going smoothly so far. I’ll keep crossing my fingers that it stays that way!

  7. UM YES. I watched Living & the Dead at night in a spooky vacation house in the middle of the woods, AT NIGHT, because I thought that’d be the best way to watch it, and I was hella right. It was so much fun, and I’m forever sad that it only got one season.

    I don’t think I continued with Humans, but I at least watched a season or two, and it was so good. I recently discovered he was in an Oscar Wilde film (no idea how I didn’t know that beforehand), and I can’t wait to watch it.

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