Another week of generally getting things done. I like these kinds of weeks. They’re so useful.
Next week: More getting things done! I’ve been wanting to put new art up on two of the walls in my bedroom, as the stuff that’s been up has been up for a long time. I’m thinking of doing a gallery wall like I did in my living room last year. I have a couple of pieces that friends gave me back in art school that I’ve never properly hung up, plenty of photographs from my travels, and a couple of pieces I want to get from Etsy. So there are orders to make and planning to do!
Obligatory Mina Photo:
Do all cats enjoy sitting on laundry, clean or not? If I’m too slow in getting the day’s clothes put away, Mina appears out of nowhere and curls up on them like they’re the softest, most comfortable bed in the history of ever. And while I agree that my favorite jeans are pretty darn comfy, they are not, in fact, a cat bed.
Does anyone know how to explain this to a cat? I’d like to know.
What I Finished Reading Last Week:
- Fugitive Telemetry (The Murderbot Diaries #6) by Martha Wells
- Dragon Sword and Wind Child by Noriko Ogiwara, translated from the Japanese by Cathy Hirano
- The Lost Road and Other Writings (The History of Middle-earth #5) by J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Christopher Tolkien
Have I mentioned lately that I love Murderbot? If not, I should say so again. I love Murderbot! In this latest novella, Murderbot finds a dead body on Preservation Station. To help improve its standing in the eyes of station’s security and the Preservation government, it helps out with the investigation to find out who the dead body is (or was), what killed them, and who did it. Murderbot is pretty sure that the other (human) investigators have no idea what they’re doing, and the investigators are pretty sure that Murderbot is a deadly weapon (which, fair play, it is). I thoroughly enjoyed this outing. It’s different from the others, especially because the human characters are fully aware of its identity, Murderbot knows this, and has to work with the others in spite of it. I read this in one sitting, and was completely surprised by the identity of the culprit. I will definitely read this again.
I nearly DNF’d Dragon Sword and Wind Child, because it felt so surface level, like the characters didn’t have any deep thoughts about anything. I can’t tell if that’s how the story is, or if it was from the translation. I put it down for a couple of days with seventy pages left and planned to not bother finishing it, but then I decided that I was just seventy pages from the end, and I could finish that fairly quickly- especially because the story is fast-paced. So I read it, and it was just okay.
The Lost Road and Other Writings is the last installment of The History of Middle-earth (as far as I know) that deals with the events of The Silmarillion, and I am okay with that. There’s only so much of the story of Túrin Turambar I can take, and after so many drafts and versions of the tale of Beren and Lúthien, I’m quite done with them as well. I wish there was more to The Lost Road itself (Tolkien’s time travel fantasy story), but he never wrote any more than the few relatively brief chapters in this book. Alas. But we’re off to the next installment now, which provides early drafts of The Fellowship of the Ring.
What I’m Currently Reading:
- The Broken Crown (The Sun Sword #1) by Michelle West (279/764)
- The Kingdoms by Natasha Pulley, ARC provided by NetGalley (43%)
- The Return of the Shadow (The History of Middle-earth #6) by J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Christopher Tolkien (112/512)
I’ve had the entirety of The Sun Sword series on my shelf for a couple of years ago after I found it at my local used bookstore for a great price. I’d been meaning to start it ever since, and this month was the month I finally got started. So far, so good. It’s an epic fantasy series unlike others I’ve read, and while I could do without the patriarchal elements, the world that West built is incredibly interesting, and I’m looking forward to finding out how Diora learns to use the politicking skills her aunt Teresa taught her. And I want to find out what happened to the baby girl from the prologue.
The Kingdoms is an odd little book, and to say much about it at this point would spoil it. I like it so far, but Pulley has folded an element into the story that I just don’t like unless it’s done very well. It remains to be seen whether or not Pulley can pull it off. I’m optimistic, but we’ll see. What I don’t like about this particular ebook copy is the massive numbers of formatting issues: the capitalization is all over the place, the justification is a mess, and line breaks in conversations are all messed up- enough so that it’s often difficult to tell who is talking. This isn’t Pulley’s fault, but I wish whoever compiled her manuscript for the egalley had given a crap about what they were doing.
As I mentioned earlier, The Return of the Shadow contains Tolkien’s early drafts of The Fellowship of the Ring, from the very first one, in which Bilbo’s birthday party begins on page one (and he declares that he’s leaving so he can get married), to the drafts that include the early version of Frodo– who was originally Bilbo’s son Bingo. Bingo gradually becomes Bilbo’s nephew, and heads out to Rivendell accompanied by his friends Odo, Frodo Took, and Marmaduke. Needless to say, I’m glad that Tolkien ended up changing the names, because I just can’t picture Sam on the slopes of Mount Doom shouting for “Mr. Bingo”. (I feel I should note that Gandalf started out as Bladorthin, so there were plenty of beneficial name changes). Once the first few drafts are done, it’s amazing to see how much of some of the middle drafts stayed in the final version- particularly when Bingo and Co. meet up with Gildor Inglorion. I’m really looking forward to all these drafts, even after reading so many other drafts in the first five volumes. I’ve “only” read The Silmarillion a handful of times and so the minute changes from one draft to another of, say, Beren and Lúthien didn’t make much of an impact, but having read The Lord of the Rings roughly thirty times, I have a much better feeling for what’s changed from one draft to another. And it’s so interesting to see the evolution of my favorite book.
What I’m Planning to Start Reading This Week:
- A Tip for the Hangman by Allison Epstein
I’ve been looking forward to this one since I first heard about it. I mean, what’s not to like? The Elizabethan era! Kit Marlowe! Espionage! Political intrigue! LGBTQIA stories! I tell you. I’m excited to read this book.
About That Writing Thing:
Progress! But not without problems. I’d written nearly the entirety of chapter ten before I realized that I needed to completely restructure the back half of it and add an entirely new scene to make later stuff that’s coming in later chapters make sense. So that was a full day of my writing spent changing what I’d already written, because it wasn’t something I could leave for later revisions.
Alas and alack.
But now that harrowing chapter is done, so I anticipate that at least the next chapter will go along much faster. It’s one where I’m moving characters into place for the story’s climax– the army is marching off to battle, the guys sent to negotiate a truce with the neighboring kingdom are going to have to ride hellbent for leather to catch up, the queen is going to find out a secret, and the wizard is going to creep everyone out.
It’s going to be fun.