Sunday Sum-Up: May 23, 2021

Weird week around here. It was gloomy most of the time, then randomly gave us sun with gorgeous clouds- but never when I could get outside to photograph any of it. Or, I’d spend an hour or so wondering if it was going to rain or if I should just go for a walk, only for it to start raining as soon as I finally decided to get outside. Go figure.

On the bright side, the package I mentioned last week finally arrived after spending a few days hanging out in Illinois. It arrived on Wednesday, though the tracking stubbornly insisted that it would arrive on Sunday, May 16, even after the 16th had passed. Apparently UPS thinks it can go back in time. Hate to break it to you, UPS, but you can’t. Sorry about your luck. Perhaps you should think about that before you send a package 500 miles out of its way and deliver it five days later than you promised it.

Oh, and I did manage to make it out to a salt marsh north of town on a beautiful evening when it wasn’t raining and the sky wasn’t completely clear:

Obligatory Mina Photo:

This kid has gotten way more use than I have out of the blanket I made over the winter. I mean, it’s super soft, but occasionally I would like to use it, too. Especially since summer is creeping up on us and when it gets here I will want nothing at all to do with blankets. So she’ll get even more use out of it, because she doesn’t mind the hot weather nearly as much as I do.

She does not, however, enjoy sharing the blanket with Grogu, as evidenced by the salty look she gave me when I rearranged him on the chair:

But really, when you have something as cute as Grogu hanging around, it’s hard not to put him next to the other cutest thing in your home.

Just look at him! So cute!

What I Finished Reading Last Week:

Bastion. . . Oh, Mags. *sighs* There was so much Mercedes Lackey could have done with the final book in her Collegium Chronicles (and so much she could have done with the Collegium Chronicles overall), but the actual plot felt like it was brushed aside in favor of harvest faire shopping and dealing with snow and other minor side quests, like Lackey didn’t quite know what she was meant to be doing with her book. All that build-up led to the plot being crammed into the final third and given a sudden, hasty ending- to both the book and the series. It was somewhat entertaining, but felt like a letdown in the end. Here’s to hoping the next Mags-based trilogy has a better structure and a real plot.

Meanwhile, in the Dominion, there is scheming and plotting galore! I spend the first half or so of my day off finishing up the last section of The Broken Crown, and while it never blew up into this Big Thing With A Battle, there were definitely major things that went down in those last pages, and now I want to know what everyone’s planning to do in the next book, as the young folk have proven that they’re as able to scheme as well as- if not better than- the older characters. I’m going to limit myself to one Sun Sword book each month so I don’t overdo it, which means I should finish up the series in October or so. I’m looking forward to it.

I decided to put the movie The Martian on while I was doing stuff on Sunday, and suddenly I just needed to reread the book The Martian, because it’s so fun and Mark Watney’s perspective is funny, even if his puns are extremely groan-worthy. I also spent a couple of evenings being sucked into fanfiction- one dealing with what happened to Mark after the book’s ending, and another one that featured an AU where Mark wasn’t able to get in touch with NASA. I have to say– the fanfiction had better writing than Weir did in his book, and it dealt with the psychological problems Mark would have faced when dealing with so much isolation. But the physics and other hard sciences were definitely absent from the fics. I don’t know what it is about The Martian that grabs my attention so completely every time I watch the movie or read the book, but it does. And I am not bothered by this fact.

St. Peter’s Fair is the fourth book in the Brother Cadfael mysteries. The basic premise of the story hasn’t changed (a man is murdered, the assumed culprit is arrested or flees, and Brother Cadfael finds the real killer by the end and the inevitable beautiful young woman meets or is reunited with the love of her life), but the politics of the monastery, the town, and the kingdom as a whole continue to develop in the background. It’s a nice touch and provides necessary variety, because the repetition of the murder mystery would get old otherwise. This volume was fine. No extremes of humor or anything else, but it was a solid read and kept me good company while I was doing boring things like washing dishes or sweeping the floor.

What I’m Currently Reading:

I made no progress in The Tangleroot Palace last week, because The Martian and fanfiction. I’ll remedy that this week. I need to get it done so I can write the review.

I’m a little over halfway through Rule of Wolves, and I’m enjoying it immensely so far. It’s interesting to see the technological escalation that the different countries employ against each other in their endless conflict, especially because they’re “advancing” the Grishas’ magical capabilities along with the technology. It’s not always for the better (in fact, it’s rarely for the better). But Nikolai is as charming and scheming as always, and I’m really growing to like Zoya and Nina more than I did in King of Scars. I accidentally spoiled myself for the ending (I figured it would turn out that way, anyway), so now it’s less of a “what’s going to happen to them??” and more of a “HOW does that happen to them??” situation. It’s been a quick read so far, so I imagine I’ll get it finished up this week.

What I Plan to Start Reading This Week:

The Tale of Tales is my May selection for my big books challenge. Why didn’t I start this earlier in the month? No idea. But it’s a collection of stories, so if one part starts to drag, I’ll just have to put up with it until the end of that particular story, and not for the rest of the book. Should be interesting, as it’s a collection of medieval and Renaissance fairy tales that haven’t been Disney-fied for younger audiences. There was a 2015 movie based on the stories (Tale of Tales) starring Salma Hayek, John C. Reilly, and Vincent Cassel, among others. It was visually gorgeous and wonderfully weird. I definitely recommend it.

I read and loved Signe Pike’s The Lost Queen last year and asked for the second book for Christmas. I want to get through my Christmas and birthday books more quickly in 2021 than I have in previous years, and from the synopsis, The Lost Kingdom sounds like it will have far more adventure than its predecessor.

17 thoughts on “Sunday Sum-Up: May 23, 2021

  1. One of these days I should try the movie version of The Martian. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and have heard plenty of great things about the movie, just haven’t prioritized it, I guess. Glad to hear you made it to the salt marsh. Looks like a great location, and you hit it at a good time. 🙂

  2. I just saw the movie The Martian the other day and really enjoyed it! I really thought it was just going to be about some guy puttering about on Mars by himself, not talking, so I was surprised and I ended up enjoying it quite a lot!

    I also just finished Rule of Wolves. I like seeing the industrialization of the world, too. It’s intriguing to see fantasy worlds where magic exists along with technology, instead of everyone just having swords and bows and arrows.

  3. Both the book and the movie are so much fun! Sure, neither one really tackles the issue of such profound isolation, but there was another movie about that (Ad Astra), and it was terrible. The humor and science combined are just fantastic.

    There are some flintlock fantasies out there where magic and guns both exist, but Bardugo really makes a point of showing how magic could push technology forward. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone else do that.

  4. Watch The Martian! It’s such a great movie! One of my favorites for sure. Everything just came together perfectly to catch the spirit of the book.

    I’m glad I finally made it out to the marsh, too. It’s only about a 15 minute drive, so I should get out there more often, but no…. More walks in the salt marsh coming! I will get out there!

  5. Yes, for some reason I wasn’t expecting a story set on Mars to be funny. I guess I haven’t read much humorous science-fiction?
    So true! I think it’s interesting that they often use magic to “fuel” the technology. Certainly interesting to think about since Grisha are not universally accepted, but they are increasingly useful….

  6. Beautiful pictures, as always. I love the change on Mina’s face from one picture to another — she has attitude, for sure. Now that I’ve watched Shadow & Bone, I’m thinking of finally giving the Grishaverse books a try. Sounds like you’re enjoying them!

  7. Aside from the Hitchhiker’s Guide books and Bobverse (which I have never read), I can’t think of any scifi that is meant to be funny. I guess it’s not a super humorous genre? At least not in my experience.

  8. Mina has such an expressive face! And she’s always sure to let me know what she thinks of something.

    The Grisha books are fun. The first trilogy is tropey and fine, but the Six if Crows and King of Scars duologies are much better. I love the characters.

  9. The Martian is just truly wonderful! I’d never be able to put it on in the background because I’d immediately get sucked in and just end up sitting on the couch watching it. I haven’t read the book in ages, but I do agree, the fanfiction usually has better writing. If only we could combine the emotional depth of fanfiction with the science of Weir!

    Also ROW has get me STRESSED OUT. I’m at the halfway mark, and I don’t know I’m not going to binge the last 300 pages in one go because it’s just got me feeling all out of sorts in all the best ways.

  10. I guess a lot of sci-fi is about survival–surviving dinosaurs, space, the AI takeover, zombies. And maybe it seems like none of that would be funny. But…it could be. The Martian shows that it could be!

  11. I wish we could combine the emotion of the fanfic with the science! That would be amazing! Super long, but I’d read it.

    I need to get back to RoW. The Martian fanfic has been such a distraction, but I eventually need to find out what happens to Nikolai and Co.

  12. Lol at Mina’s expressions.
    I enjoyed the Martian book but have yet to see the movie. I can’t believe I’ve put it off this long.

  13. Oh gosh, I just passed the halfway mark, and I had to take a break. Honest to goodness full body crying, and, eventually, I had to just go to bed and am planning on reading something lighter today.

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