Sunday Sum-Up: September 26, 2021

It’s been a lovely autumnal week around here. I’ve gone for long walks (but didn’t take any photos, oddly) and generally just enjoyed the cool nights and clear days. After a long, hot summer I’m happy to have nighttime lows a little above freezing. When I look at the weather map, the alerts for the first frost are slowly coming our way. I’m looking forward to it.

Hobbit Day was this past week- on Wednesday the 22nd, to be exact. I celebrated by listening to more of Andy Serkis’ narration of The Two Towers, baking pumpkin bread, and making fish and chips for dinner. I also had some wonderful Tolkien-based conversations with some of the people I met on a Tolkien-related Discord server I recently joined. All in all, it was a fantastic Hobbit Day.

Obligatory Mina Photo:

We had another squirrel visitor this week! Yesterday morning, while I was getting ready for the day, another squirrel hopped onto the outside windowsill and scrabbled around. Mina hopped onto the little table under the window and watched the squirrel. The squirrel noticed us looking at it, and came right up to the screen for a closer look. Mina was enraptured (again), while the squirrel was unimpressed. It was so unimpressed that it shook its tail at us and started scolding us. Mina thought nothing of this and kept staring. She thought all the fuss was great fun, and seemed rather disappointed when the squirrel finally went away.

What I Finished Reading Last Week:

The ending of The King of Infinite Space was as heartbreaking as I thought it would be. It’s a retelling of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, so there’s really only one ending it could have had, but I kept hoping that things would be different. That’s how it always happens when I’m watching (or reading) a Hamlet retelling that has a truly charismatic lead. I want a different ending, and that’s not what happens. Alas. So The King of Infinite Space made me sad, but I still loved it because at the very end there was a hopeful note for Horatio, and the writing was lovely, and I loved how Faye incorporated some of Shakespeare’s more supernatural characters.

The Hanging Tree was not my favorite of the Rivers of London series, alas. It furthered the overall plot but it didn’t seem to have much of a story of its own, aside from “rich people get into trouble, but their money and connections get them back out of it”. But a couple of long-standing questions have finally been answered, and Peter has a bit of a quest ahead of him. I’m looking forward to the last two books, especially as my library has them available as audiobooks, and I love the narrator of this series.

Once I started Andy Serkis’ narration of The Lord of the Rings, I didn’t want to stop. I listened every chance I had, and put off some reading I should have done instead. But oh well. I can get caught up on that easily enough. I was happy to listen to a new version of my favorite book ever. Serkis’s vocal range is incredible, and he gives such individuality to all the characters. You can easily tell who is who, and it’s clear that Serkis made and effort to not borrow all the character cadences from the films. He made the performance his own- even when Gollum showed up. Serkis’ used his Gollum voice, but the presentation of the character is different, being deeper and more subtle than the movies.

What I’m Currently Reading:

I switched to reading a physical book of Abaddon’s Gate once it became clear to me that I wasn’t going to listen to any other audiobook except The Lord of the Rings. And honestly, I can get through a physical book more quickly than I can an audiobook. Also, given what happens about halfway through Abaddon’s Gate, I’m glad I wasn’t listening to it at that point, as the book doesn’t gloss over what can happen to human bodies when dealing with the sorts of speeds involved with space travel– and what happens when that inertia is yanked to zero in the span of a few seconds. It’s pretty gross. I can’t wait to find out what happens next, though, as The Expanse series is all about people dealing with things that might be beyond human understanding, as well as all the other things that humans deal with on a daily basis– like workplace politics, large-scale politics, racism, and religion. The Expanse is a fascinating series. I wish I hadn’t put off continuing it for so long.

I had to pause in listening to The Return of the King at the very end of the chapter ‘The Ride of the Rohirrim’ because the next chapter, ‘The Battle of the Pelennor Fields’ is one of my absolute favorites, and I wanted to be able to sit down with it and listen while doing nothing else. I have a feeling that I’m going to want to do that for most of the rest of the story, too. There are so many brilliant parts in The Return of the King.

I’ve barely begun reading My Letters To Conceição, so I don’t have much of an opinion yet. So far, so good, though. It’s an epistolary novel, and it begins with the narrator writing to his dead love, Conceição, as a means of coming to terms with their failed relationship. There will be some stranger, more magical elements to come, though. I’m looking forward to seeing how they’re woven into the story.

What I Plan to Start Reading This Week:

Mostly, I intend to finish what I’m currently reading. I’ve picked up several short books from the library– some graphic novels in Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series, a book about fantasy illustration, and some short fantastical stories from around the world. I also want to start reading Arkady Martine’s A Memory Called Empire, but I don’t know which thing to start first. I’ll begin by finishing the things I’m in the middle of.

About That Writing Thing:

I’ve finished editing up to chapter seven of my current work in progress. Chapters 1 and 2 will go up today, and I hope to get at least halfway through editing chapter 8 by the end of the day. Editing is such a weird process, because I go back and forth between thinking that my story is just awful and no one will like it to thinking that, actually, it’s pretty darned good and my readers will enjoy it. A fun process.

On the whole, though, I think the readers will enjoy it. I just hope a particular bit of magic makes sense, as a major part of the plot revolves around it.

I haven’t done much work on the plots for either the penultimate story in this series, or the thriller I’ve got simmering in the back of my mind, but that’s okay. I want to finish all work on the current story before I move onto the next one.

4 thoughts on “Sunday Sum-Up: September 26, 2021

  1. I’ve been considering rewatching the films, too! There will be some variations between the books and the audiobooks, depending on which edition you’re reading. Serkis’ version is from after 2004, when Hammond and Scull, working with Christopher Tolkien, made some minor edits that had slipped past in previous years. For example, in ‘A Conspiracy Unmasked’ pre-2004 editions had Merry saying it was 20 miles to the Brandywine Bridge. After 2004 says it’s 10 miles, which is accurate to Tolkien’s map but hadn’t been corrected.

  2. I started listening to Andy Serkis reading The Fellowship of the Ring, reading along myself to the paper book. I’ve been enjoying it, but I realized I was in one of those moods where I was looking for instant gratification, and no book can give me that. So I pulled out my special edition DVD’s of the movies and started a weekend marathon of those. Today I’ll finish with The Return of the King. Then I can get back to the audiobook/paper reading. I figure that might help me better compare them, watching and reading so closely together. I have noticed some very minor differences between audiobook and paperback, a couple dates and names, though I didn’t write down what they were. It’s good revisiting this world!

  3. Glad you’re enjoying Abaddon’s Gate! I can relate to what you’re saying about putting off reading the books. Every time I finish one, I end up waiting a long time for the next, mainly because they’re big and I have so much else to read — but every time I start a new one, I can’t understand why I waited!

  4. I finished Abaddon’s Gate the other day. It was great! Wow did a lot of the events at the end suck to read about, but overall a fantastic entry to the series. I want to know what’s going to happen next, but like you said, there’s so much else to read.

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