We got more snow this week! Another couple of inches at random throughout the week, and then all Saturday morning we got the fluffiest snow in the history of ever. Seriously fluffy dry snow that you could blow off your car if the wind hadn’t already done it for you.
It’s supposed to be cold this week with temperatures in the single digits almost every day, except for Wednesday, when the predicted high is a balmy 12°F (-11°C). I will be doing plenty of baking and making soup.
I was able to finish up work early on Saturday evening and get out to the park before sunset. Though the windchill was -11°F (-24°C), I happily spent about half an hour floundering through occasionally knee-deep snow, getting pictures of this or that until my ears and fingers started going numb. Then I headed back to the car and drove over to Barnes & Noble, where I spent another happy half an hour or so wandering the aisles and warming up.
Of course I took photos while I was out:
Obligatory Mina Photo:
Sidney is an old cat, and his arthritis makes it hard for him to jump onto the couch or the chair. But he likes to be in the same room as me, especially at night. So I made another bed for him by folding up an old comforter and setting it near the radiator in the bedroom. After the first night, though, Mina claimed the comforter and had spent most nights curled up there while Sidney has either gone back to his bed by the radiator in the studio, or sprawled out on the living room floor. He seems perfectly content either way, so I’m not going to argue, but darn it! I thought I had a great solution for him. But no. The pesky little sister has to go and claim the bed I made up for her big brother.
What a brat. It’s a good thing she’s so cute.
What I Finished Reading Last Week:
- The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design by Roman Mars and Kurt Kohlstedt
- The Book of Lost Tales, Part Two (The History of Middle-earth #2) by J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Christopher Tolkien
- Queens of the Crusades: England’s Medieval Queens, Book 2 by Alison Weir
The 99% Invisible City ended as strongly as it began. It’s such a fun and informative book. If you’re at all interested in design, architecture, or the evolution of cities, this is the book for you. If you don’t come away wanting to know even more about the city you live in, I don’t know what to do with you.
The Book of Lost Tales, Part Two provides a lot of background into the development of the foundational myths of Middle-Earth, such as the tale of Beren and Lúthien, Tuor and Idril, and the earliest fragments of the story of Eärendil. The book contains both prose outlines and the poems and poetical fragments and drafts that Tolkien wrote when he was expanding on his ideas, as well as extensive notes from Christopher Tolkien about the timeline of their writing, how the fragments might have initially fit together, and how he developed his order for them in the editing process. Once again, this is a book meant for Tolkien nerds, so the casual Lord of the Rings fan would probably be bored out of their skull while reading it. It’s also not ‘canonical’ and is not meant to be an expansion upon the lore of Middle-earth as told in The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, or The Silmarillion. But if you’re interested in how the tale of Beren and Lúthien developed over time, or if you want to see how, in early drafts, Sauron was a giant cat named Tevildo who had a lasting hatred of Huan the Hound, who aided Lúthien in her quest to find Beren. Next up in the series is The Lays of Beleriand, which has even more drafts of the foundational myths, except in verse instead of prose.
By the time I hit the halfway point of Queens of the Crusades, it felt like I’d been reading the book for months. I don’t know why, but throughout the first half or so of the book, which detailed Eleanor of Aquitaine’s life, it seemed to drag on and on. I’d come to the end of a reading session and discover that I’d only managed to read four or five percent of the book. But once I reached the halfway point where the discussion turns to Alienor of Provence and Eleanor of Castille, I flew right through it. No idea why. Weir’s writing doesn’t change, nor does her method of explaining events or the historical context surrounding them change. Perhaps it was because I knew far less about Alienor of Provence or Eleanor of Castile, and so everything was new to me. The whole book is interesting, though, and if you’re a student of English history, this will be a great addition to your history library. Plus, there were a couple of mentions of Greyfriars in Newgate, which is a ruined abbey I visited quite by accident while I was in London in 2014. It’s always amazing to read about a place that was relevant to the history of centuries past and know that you’ve walked the same stones that kings and queens tread upon nearly eight centuries ago.
What I’m Currently Reading:
- Bloodwitch (The Witchlands #3) by Susan Dennard, audiobook narrated by Cassandra Campbell (52%)
I haven’t had a lot of time to listen to audiobooks this past week, so I haven’t gotten as far in Bloodwitch as I’d hoped. I’m going to try to finish it up in the next few days, though. Things are not looking good for our intrepid heroes, who are in disparate places and facing terrible odds. And the people they thought they could trust are turning out not to be trustworthy at all. I’m sure things will not improve by much over the last half of the book, even if they all find each other again.
What I Plan to Start Reading This Week:
The Luminaries was meant to be my ‘Big Book from My Shelves’ challenge book for September or so, but then I saw a commercial for an upcoming Starz series that seems to be based on The Luminaries and premiers this month. It stars Eva Green as a mysterious witchy woman, so naturally I am curious. I also decided to put off Ovid’s Metamorphoses until September and read The Luminaries instead. I haven’t heard much about it, but what I have heard has been great. Plus, it won the Booker Prize a few years ago, so that’s (hopefully) a mark of high quality.
Opium and Absinthe is a book that’s been on my radar for a minute, due in part to the plot and in part because the author lives in Nebraska. Naturally, I want to support authors from my home state. And I got it from my sister for Christmas, and because she follows me on Goodreads, I want to show her that I am, in fact, reading the books she bought for me.
About That Writing Thing:
I finished the edits on Short Story #1. I’m planning to publish it on Valentine’s Day, because its theme is about love and acceptance. Short Story #2 is mostly done, though it needs some additional editing. I didn’t find the true theme of it until I rewrote it, and now that I really know what it’s about, I can go through and tweak it so the different parts come together to form a more cohesive whole. I came up with an idea for Short Story #3, but I want to do some more work on the main story before I start on SS3, which will be posted just before the main story starts going up.
I think I’m slowly getting back into the rhythm of writing, which was going so well at the beginning of January, and then went entirely off the rails because January was January, and 2021 didn’t really start until noon on the 20th. So here’s to getting back into the swing of writing. I have a whole day off ahead of me that’s going to be super cold and snowy, so I have the perfect excuse to stay inside and read and write.