Sunday Sum-Up: February 6, 2022

Another week in the books. It’s been so very dry around here, with yet another stretch of days without precipitation of any kind. While a huge swath of the country is being hammered by snowstorms or rain, we are high and so, so dry.

I’m tired of it. I want some snow. Apparently, it is on backorder. If anyone feels like sending some snow my way, please do. I miss the winter weather.

After work last night I managed to make it over to the park in plenty of time for the sunset, which hasn’t happened for quite some time. I settled down at the lake’s edge, on the ice which is still there in spite of the many warm days we’ve had, and shot the changing colors for about twenty minutes until they started to fade and my hands started getting numb.


Obligatory Mina Photo:

I don’t know why, but Mina has been all about sitting on my planner this year. She’s never shown an inclination for it before, but for the past month, we’ve been battling about who gets the planner when it’s out.

I think it might have something to do with the spiral binding. This is the first year I’ve had a spiral planner (the planner I usually get was not available for this year), so I think it’s a novelty for her. I tend to avoid spiral-bound notebooks and whatnot, as I am left-handed and they get in the way. But because my normal planner wasn’t available, I had to look elsewhere. This one had the layout I liked the best, so I decided the go with it despite the spiral binding.

Unfortunately, it can’t live on the desk all the time like its forebears did, because Mina enjoys pulling at the rings and bending them. So rather than have her distort the binding and risk hurting her teeth, I put the planner away when it’s not in use. When I pull it out to check on my lists, though, she appears out of nowhere to hop up on the desk and plop down on the open pages.

It is not convenient. But it is pretty cute.


What I Finished Reading Last Week:

I wrote about my frustration with Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts before, but to sum things up, I found de Hamel to be rather snobby, and I wish he had kept his focus on the manuscripts rather than let the narrative wander around to subjects like the libraries’ security arrangements or the restaurant attached to one of the museums. I bought this book because I wanted to learn about Medieval manuscripts, not because I wanted to learn de Hamel’s opinion of the Getty Museum’s parking lots.

Revelation is the fourth book of CJ Sansom’s Matthew Shardlake series, and it was fantastic! There were so many twists and turns and red herrings that I didn’t figure out who the culprit was until Shardlake figured it out, and even then I still had plenty of guessing to do when it came to what was going to happen to everyone. In this story, Shardlake is drawn into investigation and politics after the brutal murder of an old friend. He promises his friend’s widow that he will find the person who did it, and this promise takes him into the darkest recesses of the human mind, where religion and obsession combine to make a person do the worst sorts of things imaginable. The closer he gets to answers, though, the closer the murderer comes to Shardlake and those he cares about. I had initially thought I would carry on and go right to the next book in this series, but after that ending, I decided to give the series a break for a book or two. But I’ll be coming back to it soon, as I want to read about the further adventures of Matthew Shardlake.


What I’m Currently Reading:

The Wolf and the Woodsman is a standalone adult fantasy- Reid’s debut, in fact- that is based upon Eastern European history and mythology. As the only woman without magic in her pagan village at the edge of the forest, Évike is hated by the other young women she grew up with. When the Woodsmen come to claim one of the village women to give her magic to the king, they send Évike in order to get rid of her. But there is more to Évike than even she knows, and after the group is ambushed by monsters of the wood, Evike and the surviving Woodsman must learn to work together to try to put an end to a pretender to the throne who is whipping up hatred against anyone not of his faith. I’m a little over halfway through this book, and so far I’m enjoying it. There are some things that annoy me, like Évike’s impulsiveness, but I can deal with that. I’m hoping to finish it in the next day or two.

Photography: The Definitive Visual History is just what the title says: an illustrated history of photography, going back to its roots at the very end of the 18th century when chemists were experimenting with chemicals that could temporarily fix images onto a surface. The process grew more sophisticated, and the primitive cameras grew more complex until they turned into the sorts of cameras we recognize today. Ang succinctly describes these advances, the ongoing conflict between painting and photography (and the divisions among photographers), styles of photography, and has articles about photographers from around the world. It’s a beautiful book, and I should have read it long before this, as I’ve had it for quite some time.

The Shadow Revolution is a book that showed up in my StoryGraph recommendations. It said it was for fans of things like Showtime’s series Penny Dreadful, so that caught my attention. My library has the whole trilogy on audio, and as each book’s narration runs about ten hours (a fairly quick read, really), I decided to give it a try. So far, it’s a typical Victorian fantasy novel featuring magicians and alchemists battling supernatural forces like werewolves. So far, Nick and Simon have twice been attacked by a werewolf, and lived to tell the tale thanks in part (the second time) to the timely intervention of Kate, a clever young alchemist. The writing is pretty workaday, with everyone’s clothes being described (succinctly, at least), but it’s entertaining and fast-paced, so I’m willing to continue on. I do like Nick and Simon, and Kate is growing on me.

Confessions of a Bookseller was an unexpected arrival. I had placed a hold on the digital copy through my library back in December, and I had quite forgotten it. But it showed up in my Libby app yesterday morning, and I got to it right away, reading bits here and there as I could. It consists of a series of diary entries, just like Bythell’s previous book, The Diary of a Bookseller, and describes the day-to-day events in the life of a Scottish bookseller who deals with rude customers, people who don’t quite understand what a bookshop is, people who ask for steep discounts on already inexpensive used books, and Amazon pricing that make it nearly impossible for him to make any money on the sales. It’s a funny look at the retail life, as well as being a bit of a love letter to books. I’ll probably finish this one up in the next day or two, as well.


What I Plan to Start Reading This Week:

I got both of these books for Christmas, and I want to get to both of them sooner rather than later, as I am looking forward to them. Also, I want to get to all of my Christmas books in the first half of the year so they don’t languish on my shelves overlong. The Saga of the Volsungs won’t take long to get through, as it’s only about 160 pages. I’ve heard that She Who Became the Sun is a bit of a slow burn, so I’m hoping the worldbuilding and character development will be captivating enough to make up for the slow pacing.

11 thoughts on “Sunday Sum-Up: February 6, 2022

  1. Hands getting numb is often a good signal to pay attention to when sitting out in cold weather. 🙂 Glad you got some sunset shots. Oh yes, spiral binding. Trying to write on the right-hand page close to the binding always leaves some interesting lines in my left hand. Mina almost looks like you’ve interrupted her while she was reading the planner. Glad to hear you’ve enjoyed Ang’s book. That’s one I’ll definitely consider now.

  2. Mina on the planner has a very schoolmarm-ish look, like she’s telling you to settle down and get to work! She’s adorable. Gorgeous sunset. The bookseller book sounds lovely! I’ll see if it’s available on my next library run. Have a great week!

  3. YES. SNOW. PLEASE. I have been basically doing snow dances. I hate looking outside in February and seeing my precious snow melting. I live in Wisconsin because I love winter. I love seasons! I love snow! It’s no fun being all dry and crusty and cold if you don’t have the snow to make amazing things happen.

    Wait! You’re a lefty? Me tooooo! I love spiral binding for music, but that’s about it. I hate how it always gets in the way. But wouldn’t the spiral get in the way for righties, too? Personally, I think spiral bound books should be such that I only write on the left-hand side of the book when it’s one way. Then I flip it and what was the right-hand side becomes my left-hand side again, only it’s no longer upsidedown. Does that make sense? I hope you can keep this safe from Mina.

    “I bought this book because I wanted to learn about Medieval manuscripts, not because I wanted to learn de Hamel’s opinion of the Getty Museum’s parking lots.” I have missed your writing so much. I sprayed some tea on my monitor I laughed so hard. Well done.

  4. At least you’ve gotten snow! We had a few inches on New Year’s Day, and that was it. Since then, we’ve had maybe half an inch, and it melted right away. I just long for some rain at this point. I hate it when winter isn’t cold, and it hasn’t been. At all, really. It was 62 today. What even?

    Yes! I’m a lefty! I mean, I write left-handed and do a lot of things left-handed, but I do a lot of things with my right hand, too. Or with both. But I can’t write with my right hand. When I do, it looks like Mina tried to write it. Not good at all. I’ve been putting the planner away at night, and it only comes out when I’d use it at night, so she hasn’t been able to try to gnaw on the wire. I don’t even know why she suddenly started doing that, as it was fine for the first three weeks I was using it. Cats. They’re weird. Their ways are unknowable.

    Glad to make you laugh! I hope your monitor wasn’t damaged by the tea!

  5. It’s always good to listen to your body when it’s cold out! The night thing about the lengthening days is that I can get out to see more sunsets, now that the sun’s going down around the time I get out of work. It’s not quite there yet, but give it another few weeks. I definitely recommend Ang’s book! It’s fascinating and has so much information.

  6. Oh no! That was it?! Ugh. We accumulated ~8″ over early January, but it hasn’t done more than flurry since then. And it was 62?! It was 41 yesterday. Awful. All my precious snow is melting away. 😦

    And your situation is so much more dire. Did y’all have a drought this summer like we did? I am worried about what this lack of winter percipitation means for the blueberries…

    Haha. Do you write right-handed often?

    Cats are so unknowable. Our barn cats mystify me all the time.

    Do you have a habit or process around using your planner? I’m trying to get better about my time management (baby, and all that) and I’m struggling to find sometihng that works. I’d love to learn what others do an see if I can modify all that into something that works for me,

    No computer damage. Yet. I’m sure someday I’ll ruin my keyboard with tea. It’s inevitable.

  7. Yeah, we had a drought through summer. It wasn’t as bad as some we’ve had, but this winter hasn’t helped things.

    I don’t write right-handed very often, no. It’s kind of pointless, but every once in a while we’ll get to talking about handedness at work and compare our off-handed writing, and it’s always atrocious.

    I have no particular method or process for my planner. I got the thing out in December, wrote out all the birthdays and whatnot in the monthly spreads, and then every week I’ll write out the weekly tasks, like ‘Write Sunday Sum-Up”. Then I’ll add in whatever tasks need to get done on whatever day, or write in my appointments. That’s all. I don’t write down goals or long-term plans or anything. Though I probably should for the big story I’m writing, because that does help to keep me on track. But compared to people who are Planners (with the capital ‘P’), I’m a rank amateur, and they would probably want to take my fountain pen away until they could show me how it’s really done…..

    Not that I would pay attention. My derpy method works, and I don’t tend to forget my tasks.

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