Sunday Sum-Up: September 13, 2020

  • I mentioned temperature jumps last week, and we got them this week. On Sunday, it reached 93°F (34°C), and on Tuesday, our high was 45°F (7°C). It wasn’t quite as dramatic of a jump as they had in Denver, where it reached 101°F on Sunday, and was snowing by Tuesday, but it was still a drastic shift. My radiators came on, which is the earliest they’ve come on since I’ve lived in this building. The cats loved it. I thought it was weird, especially since it’s going to be back in the 80°s this week.
  • My book club finally got “together” for a Zoom hangout. It’s been a long time since we saw each other at all, as some of them are working remotely and spend most of their working days staring at screens. It was great to see them at last, even if it was on screen. We’re thinking of going apple picking on some upcoming weekend, as it’s an activity that we can do together outside.

Obigatory Mina Photo:

She looks annoyed. But I don’t care, because she annoyed me very much on Friday morning. Very early Friday morning. Like 1:00AM on Friday morning, when she decided she needed to play with ALL THE TOYS in the living room and do things like run headlong into the bathroom door while I was trying to sleep. She settled down around 2:00AM, so I finally got to sleep. But when I had to go to work (while super tired), she got to settle down for a nice long nap.

What I Finished Reading Last Week:

The Secret Lives of Color was a fascinating book all about the histories of various colors across the spectrum and how they were discovered, created, and used through the ages. Ultimately, though, I wanted something a little deeper overall, rather than 1-3 pages about a particular hue.

The Haunting of H.G. Wells is a competently written historical thriller, though it lacks a bit of focus thanks to a subplot that didn’t really need to be there. If it had focused on the occultists and the German plot to win the war (which didn’t factor into the story until roughly the 50% mark), it would have been far more entertaining. As is, it’s just fine. There needed to be more ghosts.

What I’m Currently Reading:

When people talk about the Brontës, it’s always “Charlotte, Charlotte, Charlotte!”. But what about Anne? We need to talk more about Anne Brontë, because I may not be terribly far into The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, but it’s already rising the ranks into ‘favorite book’ category. It doesn’t have the melodrama of Emily or Charlotte’s books, but its straightforward realism makes it all the more powerful in my book. And so far, there isn’t a wasted word. While I adore Jane Eyre, even I’ll say that Jane’s time at Lowood is a little longer than it maybe needed to be. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is more forward thinking than Jane Eyre is, and even though I was a bit spoiled for the ending, I am dying to know what happens.

A Memory Called Empire is (so far) a space opera of the highest order. In it, we’re introduced to Mahit Dzmare, an ambassador from the independant region known as Station has arrived at the center of the multi-system empire known as Teixcalaan, whose culture is a minor obsession, even for people who don’t live in it. Mahit is there because her predecessor died, and the cause may not have been accidental. While there, she must navigate a complicated culture that wants to swallow hers whole, deal with an ongoing political crisis, and keep a deadly technological secret that could save her or destroy her people’s way of life. I’m not terribly far into this, but so far it’s great.

What I Plan to Start Reading This Week:

Both of these ARCs are titles I’ve been looking forward to reading for a long time, and I’m excited to start them. It’s just a matter of which one I get to first.

What I’ve Been Watching:

Lucifer (Season 5)
Netflix
TV-14
Starring: Tom Ellis, Lauren German, Lesley Ann Brandt, Rachael Harris, D.B. Woodside

What is available on Netflix is apparently only the first part of season five, as filming was cut short by COVID. The rest of the filming the second part of season 5 is supposed to start on the 24th. The second part of the first part of the season was more interesting, though there was a sub-plot I figured out basically from the beginning. But oh well. In a show like this, the mysteries aren’t really the point. You’re watching Lucifer for the interplay between Lucifer and Chloe, and that started getting interesting again. This prat left off with a bit of a cliffhanger, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it gets resolved.

Medici: The Magnificent (seasons 2 and 3)
Netflix
TV-14
Starring: Daniel Sharman, Bradley James, Synnove Karlsen, Sebastian De Souza, Sean Bean, Alessandra Mastronardi

I watched all but the last few episodes of the second season last spring or so, then just stopped watching. It had something to do with the fact that I knew how the story ended, and I didn’t want to see it happen. But because I wasn’t going anywhere on Labor Day, I decided to start getting through some of the series I’d left behind on Netflix, and gave it a shot. And it was just as sad as I thought it would be, but it was so well done, even if they did tweak the history and make a few things happen differently. But the philosophy of the show was spot on, I think, and it was beautifully shot with all sorts of scenes of art and Florentine architecture. And I will admit to having started watching the series because Bradley James played Giuliano de Medici. It’s hard to pass on a show or film with a Merlin alum in it.

Legend (2015)
R
Netflix
Starring: Tom Hardy, Emily Browning, Christopher Eccleston, David Thewlis, Colin Morgan

Look at that! Another Merlin alum!

Anyway. Legend is the story of two English East End gangsters, Ronnie and Reggie Kray, identical twins who terrorized London during the 1950s and 60s. Tom Hardy played both twins, Reggie being the leader of the gang, and Ronnie being his gay and mentally ill twin brother. Reggie is trying to become a legitimate businessman, while Ronnie just wants to be a gangster. Emily Browning plays Frances, Reggie’s girlfriend/wife, and Colin Morgan plays her brother Frank. It’s not the finest crime film I’ve ever seen, but there is something particularly British about it, and you really feel for Frances when her new marriage starts to crumble because of Reggie’s business dealings.

Star Wars: Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker
PG-13
Starring: Daisy Ridly, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, Adam Driver

I finally watched the newest Star Wars movie. I’d been spoiled for multiple aspects of the plot going into it, and it was just as overstuffed as I’d heard it was. And it was rather non-sensical, like J.J. Abrams had so many ideas that he adored, and he couldn’t bear to take any of them out to make the film more streamlined, so he just left it all in so we couldn’t just rest at any point and enjoy the characters being together.

Also, they should have just come right out and said that Finn was Force-sensitive. And that Finn and Poe were a couple. There is so much subtext in there.

So I’ve seen it, and it was fine. Onto The Mandalorian.

Jodorowsky’s Dune
PG-13
Documentary
Featuring: Alejandro Jodorowsky, Michel Seydoux, Amanda Lear, Brontis Jodorowsky

Jodorowsky’s Dune is about the greatest science fiction film never made. Alejandro Jodorowsky is a Chilean-French director known for his arthouse and surrealistic films. In the 1970s, he was given the chance to make any film he wanted, and without having read the book, he chose Dune. What followed was a journey of creation in which all the stars aligned: hard to find artists happened to be in the office when Jodorowsky came into ask about them; Pink Floyd happened to be at a party Jodorowsky attended after he decided he wanted them to write the score for his film. He found astonishing talent from around the world and developed an amazing idea for this grand work of art, but when he at last came to the production studio to begin filming, the studio balked at Jodorowsky’s wildly imaginative work. They handed the project to David Lynch, and ultimately wrested control of the film from Lynch (who disowned it), and created a notoriously terrible version (it’s a cult classic for many reasons, but it’s far from the best version of Dune that could ever be).

Though the film was never made, its ideas live on in the classic science fiction films that came after it, such as Star Wars, Alien, and many others. This is a fascinating documentary about people working passionately on a grand project, and even though their work did not come to fruition, it didn’t come to nothing in the end.

A friend and I went to see this at a nearby indie theater when it initially came out several years ago, but I wanted to watch it again after the trailer for Denis Villeneuve’s Dune came out on Wednesday so I checked it out from the library.

Yeah, I watched a lot of things this week. I’m wanting to get some things done, and because it spent the week raining, I didn’t get to go outside and go hiking like I wanted to. Maybe this week, with warmer weather I’ll be able to go outside.

15 thoughts on “Sunday Sum-Up: September 13, 2020

  1. Too bad there wasn’t more to The Secret Lives of Color, the premise sounded interesting. I’d like to read A Memory Called Empire soon, I keep hearing good things about it. And I’m curious to hear about the two ARCs you have lined up, both seem promising. I’ll have to check out The Tenant of Wildfell Hall sometime. In the past few years I’ve enjoyed using audiobooks to read some of the classics I might have missed or overlooked. And head-butting a door… gotta love that! 🙂

  2. Glad to see Legend here! It was the first movie I reviewed on my blog waaaaay back then, I think hahaha Anything with Tom Hardy is a winner for me. 😛 I’ll have to watch the original Dune movie for the sake of it before the new one comes out too hahah As for Star Wars… Yep. I hope Disney will know what to do to revitalize the movies… I don’t know if Taika Waititi has it in him to get it right. At least we got The Mandalorian to appease us. 😀

  3. I think audiobooks are a great way to get into classics, provided you have a good narrator. I tried an audiobook of Villette before Tenant of Wildfell Hall, and I did not like the narrator for Villette.

    Mina keeps forgetting that we have wood floors, and she can’t just stop on them like she can on the rug…

  4. Lol aww Mina.
    Ok, wow! at those temperature jumps. We’re slowly heading toward cooler temperatures here, and I’m loving it. Snow fall seems a long way away and I hope it never comes.
    I’d love to read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. I bought a copy after watching a lovely review of it on booktube a couple years ago shortly after completing Jane Eyre.

  5. The weather gets a bit crazy around here. You get used to it after a while. I’m definitely looking forward to cooler weather all around.

    So far, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall has been amazing! Helen Graham is such a strong character– I’d say just as much so as Jane Eyre, if not a little moreso.

  6. Ohhhh. Now the music selection for the newest Dune trailer makes more sense to me. Okay, okay. I get it. As someone with no experience or exposure to Dune canon in any format that one went over my head.

    Ugh. I’m glad Mina looks annoyed. She deserves to be annoyed after keeping you up like that! Rude. Also, I love that rug. You have impeccable taste.

    The cover of Black Sun is gorgeous! I look forward to hearing your thoughts eventually — I’m not normally someone who picks up a book based on its cover, but this one is tempting. Also, I hope that The Once and Future Witches is AMAZING. I miss Harrow’s writing.

  7. So far, The Once and Future Witches is great (feels a bit like an allegory of current times….). I just wish I had the time to really sink into it. It seems like I can’t read more than about 30 pages at a time before something comes up.

    I try not to fall for pretty book covers, either, but I’ve enjoyed the other books I’ve read by Roanhorse, so I think this will be great.

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