Sunday Sum-Up: April 18, 2021

It has been a singularly noisy week, thanks to loud birds and louder neighbors. I’m stuck with the birds– especially as Spring progresses. But I’ve heard that the noisy neighbors will be moving out soon, so I’m hoping that the next neighbors will be significantly quieter. It wouldn’t be difficult, given the loudness of the current ones.

They can’t move out soon enough…

There’s a busy week ahead at work, but my second Covid vaccination appointment is on Wednesday, and Netflix’s Shadow and Bone premiers at the end of it, so there’s plenty to look forward to.


Obligatory Mina Photo:

What else has been noisy? My cats.

Mina has decided that everything that lives behind the bedroom door is utterly fascinating. This includes my rolling suitcase and the two pairs of tall boots that don’t fit where the rest of the shoes are stored. I wouldn’t mind her making noise whilst nosing about the shoes or playing with the suitcase’s zipper, if only she didn’t do it at 12:30 in the morning when I am trying to sleep.

What else does she do to keep me awake at night? She manages to get one of her toys-on-a-string stuck on either side of the door, and by pulling at the string on one side, she pulls the door halfway shut and makes a lot of noise in the process.

Earlier in the week, she knocked over the pedestal fan at 3:00 in the morning. This was extremely loud, but she was fine and so was the fan.

And last, but not least: Sidney will be trundling back to the bedroom after getting a snack and some water. Mina will see him going and head over to say hello, and because Sidney takes offense to this, he hisses loudly and starts to growl if she doesn’t immediately back off. And what time do they do this? About 1:00 in the morning.

Cats.


What I Finished Reading Last Week:

The Glitter in the Green was a beautiful book that was half-hopeful and half-despairing about the future of hummingbirds. In some places, people are working to preserve hummingbird habitats to help them survive, but in other places, hummingbird species are facing a precipitous decline. And with further pressure being put onto them thanks to climate change, their futures are pretty bleak. It is so informative about hummingbirds and the culture surrounding them, though, so if you have any sort of interest in birds or general nature books, I definitely recommend it. I’ll have a more in-depth review out later this week.

Thief of Souls was fine. The prose was workmanlike with plenty of infodumping and brief asides where Klingborg felt the need to explain this or that about modern Chinese culture. While a little bit of that here or there was helpful, I think Klingbord went a little overboard on the explanations that it interrupted the flow of the narrative. About half of the characters were flat and seemed to exist solely to get in Lu’s way. For all that, I didn’t dislike this book, but I wasn’t particularly chuffed about it, either. I’ll have a more in-depth review later.

When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain follows the story of cleric Chih, who is traveling once more. They are skirting the edge of a mountain range with a mammoth-rider and her faithful mammoth steed. They’re approaching a waypoint when they’re attacked by three shape-changing tigers who follow them to the barn where they take shelter. To keep the tigers at bay, Chih begins telling the layered story of a beautiful scholar and her tiger lover. This was a lovely story that was as beautifully written as the first novella in the Singing Hills Cycle, but I prefer the story of the first one, The Empress of Salt and Fortune.

Record of a Spaceborn Few is the last Wayfarers book I needed to read to finish out the series. It’s a mosaic novel that tells the stories of several humans of the Exodan fleet, the descendants of people who built a fleet of generation ships and left the dying Earth to find a way to survive in the depths of space. The different characters’ stories don’t always intertwine, but some do connect after a while. It can be a little jarring when switching from one story to another, but that’s the worst thing I can say about it. It’s probably my second favorite of the Wayfarers novels, but The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet is still my favorite.


What I’m Currently Reading:

  • Redoubt (The Collegium Chronicles #4) by Mercedes Lackey (110/330)
  • Njal’s Saga by Anonymous, translated from the Icelandic by Robert Cook (87/384)

Redoubt is the next book in the Valdemar Reread project that Mel and Jackie and I are doing. I’m about a third of the way through, and so far there’s been a big wedding party and a lot of Kirball, which I skimmed through as I really don’t care about another of Lackey’s made up games. I’m going to take a big chunk of time this afternoon and read a bunch more of this book. I’m hoping that I’ll get to something resembling a plot, as the lengthy summary on the dust jacket’s front and back flaps indicates that, at some point, a plot will unfold.

Njal’s Saga, at this point, deals with the escalating conflict between two women who keeping having their enemy’s servants killed, forcing their husbands to make ever-increasing payments to pay the blood-price for the servants’ lives. I’m really wondering how much longer this, “Bergthora sent the servant to kill Hallgerd’s servant, and then Gunnar and Njal spoke to each other and Gunnar agreed to pay Njal a certain number of silver pieces in repayment of the servant’s death” bit is going to go on. This is around the year 1000. There aren’t that many people in Iceland. Hallgerd and Bergthora can’t keep going around and having people killed, or they’re going to run out of people…


What I Plan to Start Reading This Week:


About That Writing Thing:

I’ve made some decent progress on the current Work in Progress, though there were a couple of nights this week when I ended up not having time to write. But I rewrote the ending of one scene to better suite the story’s mood and wrote another scene to finish out chapter nine, and now I’m several pages into chapter ten where my main character ended up standing out in a cold autumn rain and getting hypothermic because he’s a complete dork like that. I did not intend for him to do this, but do it he did. Because he’s angsty, I guess. So we’ll have this interlude in the rain, and then we’ll get back to the story as I’d planned it.

Somehow, it all ends up working out for the best, so I don’t mind these unplanned interludes. They usually end up adding a lot of texture and nuance to the story as a whole.

4 thoughts on “Sunday Sum-Up: April 18, 2021

  1. Cats. This is why, despite my tears, we ended up not having a cat for very long, because my husband absolutely could not abide the night-time noise and activity. Fortunately, a very good friend who’s an absolute cat lover provided a very wonderful home for our noisy cat, so it all worked out. Hope you have a great week!

  2. Lol 😀 I was going to say Mina looks like she’s looking forward to when the noisy neighbors will move out, but now I think she’s plotting new ways to make noise at inconvenient hours in the morning.

  3. Regarding that writing thing, how do you handle those times, if you have them, when you have time to write but you’re just not feeling the passion at the moment? Do you take time off and give yourself a rest, do you push through it hoping or knowing the inspiration will return if you stick to the work ethic, or do you have other strategies? I’ve tried both and though I “think” I’m likely most often better off when I push through and force myself to work, I’m not completely sure of that and I’m not always able to do it. Just curious if you’ve found something that feels right for you?

  4. I just have to push through those times when I don’t feel like writing. It usually ends up that, after a few paragraphs, I find my rhythm and star going right along and everything’s fine. But sometimes I feel like everything I’m writing is crap, and I remember that I can make it much better during editing. It’s about half and half, whether I am sitting down excited to write, or sitting down to write because I need to get a certain number of words done each day. Looking back, I don’t think I can tell what I was excited to write, or what I was writing just to get it done.

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