Sunday Sum-Up: April 3, 2022

Y’all, I’m tired. It was a hectic week at work, and even though home life was relaxing, there wasn’t quite enough time to recover from the busy days.

But today, I plan to read, write, and perhaps go for a nice long walk if it doesn’t rain later.

Obligatory Mina Photo:

I’ve been watching photographic and cinema lighting videos on YouTube, and they’re making me want to experiment with lighting at home. I have a little Godox M1 light that allows me to adjust the color and brightness of the light, so I’ve spent a fair amount of time annoying Mina while I adjust the light’s color, its position, and brightness and then rattle things and call her name to get her to look toward the camera. This was taken just after midnight, and I’m surprised she looked away from her beloved window to let me get a few photographs of her. I’m quite happy with the lighting here. I wasn’t really aiming for Rembrandt lighting, but I think I managed it well enough.

What I Finished Reading Last Week:

Nothing. I finished reading nothing last week. Work was busy and I didn’t always get a chance to read much (or anything at all) during my lunch hour, and I kept falling asleep while reading when I was at home.

What I’m Currently Reading:

Fevered Star is the second installment of Roanhorse’s Between Earth and Sky series, which is based on Mesoamerican mythology. The end of the first book, Black Sun, saw the achievement of a long-standing conspiracy to bring about the ascension of a dark god. But while the conspirators achieved the majority of their goal, a wayward priestess escaped. Her survival ensures that the conspirators’ plans cannot fully be achieved, and so for them, the race is on to find and destroy her. The Teek captain, Xiala, meanwhile, is trying to come to terms with all that has happened, and wants nothing more than to find out Serapio’s fate to see if he is lost to her forever, or if there is a chance that they could be together again. I’ve reached the point where the plot is starting to pick up speed, and I really want to find out what’s going to happen next. I don’t often find fantasy series where a dark god’s followers actually succeed in their plans, so I really want to see if and how everyone else defeats them to bring light back to the world.

The Bright Ages is an overview of the Medieval era, beginning with the so-called fall of Rome and working its way forward, pausing now and then to describe the life of some half-forgotten person, like the Empress Galla Placidia who ruled as regent for her son in the mid-400s CE. Though they paint the age with broad strokes, Perry and Gabriele point out both the beauty and the savagery of the Medieval era in order to help readers reconsider a period of time that many see as dark and brutal. The Medieval era is not a time when people up and decided to be stupid and dirty because it seemed like the thing to do. It was an age of violence, yes, but it was also an age of art and learning that too many people overlook because it’s not Roman or Renaissance. I’m about halfway through the actual narrative (must of the last part is given over to the index and bibliography), and I’m looking forward to seeing what else and who else the authors discuss.

I first read Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian years ago, when it first came out in 2005. I remember that NPR’s book reviewers were raving about it, so I read it and thought it was pretty good. I’ve been meaning to reread it for some time. I don’t know why my brain wanted to reread it this week, but it was available as an audiobook through my library. It is the story of a teenager who stumbles upon the dark history of Dracula– a tale that involves her family far more than she ever could have dreamed of. As she digs deeper into this frightening history, her father reveals to her the long-buried secrets of his own involvement with the story, and how they changed his life forever. There were quite a few things about it that I remembered, despite the passage of seventeen years. But most of what I remember comes from the first third, so even though I’m only a little way into the second third, it’s like I’m reading a whole new book. So far, I’m liking it much more than I did in 2005. The atmosphere is hitting me more, and I have a better appreciation for the older narrator looking back on her experiences as a teenager. I’m looking forward to finding out what happens next.

What I Plan to Start Reading This Week:

Cabo de Gata is the story of a disillusioned German man who moves to a little town in Spain to find a fresh start. But the change of scenery doesn’t help. Cabo de Gata is a sleepy little Andalusian village where the wind blows cold– not what he expected at all. And he’s having a hard time building relationships with the people who live there. Then one day, he develops an unexpected connection with one of the village’s feral cats. But is it too late for this odd relationship to help him change the course of his life? I found Cabo de Gata in the Translated Works section in my local indie bookshop. I always like to browse that section first, as there are always interesting stories I never would have heard of before if not for that section.

And the Ocean Was Our Sky is something of a Moby Dick retelling but told from the perspective of the whales. I admit that I was initially drawn to the book because of its cover illustrations. I’ve been a fan of Rovina Cai’s gorgeous drawings since I first saw them in Sarah Tolmie’s novella, The Fourth Island. I’ve heard good things about Patrick Ness’s work, too, so this should be a lovely story. I found this one at my local used bookstore. They’ve bought a huge selection of graphic novels and comic collections over the past couple of years, so it’s been fun to look through it as they cycle through their back catalog.

11 thoughts on “Sunday Sum-Up: April 3, 2022

  1. I remember reading about The Historian when it came out and being interested, but since then I’d completely forgotten about it. I just added it to my wish list and perhaps I’ll check it out in the coming months, maybe as an audiobook pick.

    Nice work with the lighting. Every so often I’ll watch lighting classes and get the craving to experiment a little, but I’ve yet to purchase any lighting gear. I don’t even have a simple flash for my camera. Add it to the long list of things I keep wanting to buy and try. 🙂

  2. So far I’ve been enjoying the audiobook. Justine Eyre’s job is difficult– the character is looking back as an older woman, telling the story of what happened in her teens. So Eyre has to be convincing as both the older woman and as the teenager, and she is.

    I have two pieces of lighting– one big LED light (that I got for free thanks to a thing for work) and my little M1, which I bought myself. The M1 is so small and convenient, and it packs a punch regardless of its size. It’s been fun, though Mina doesn’t appreciate it as much.

  3. Love your photography and it’s always so awesome to hear people look into something they’re passionate about and try to learn new ways to do it! Hope April will be an excellent month of reading and photography for you, Kim. Also hope it won’t be raining too much for you hahah

  4. I picked up a copy of The Ocean Was Our Sky when it came out, and still haven’t read it — but I do intend to! I really like Rovina Cai’s artwork too. (She illustrates the Wayward Children series — lovely). I’d like to do a re-read of The Historian as well. I know I loved it when I first read it, and I remember the bare bones, but it’s been a long time. Have a great week! Hope you get a little more rest and reading in than last week.

  5. I read it yesterday. It took a little over an hour, and it was beautiful! Definitely give it a shot sometime soon.

    I’m about halfway through The Historian now, and it’s great! There was so much I had forgotten since the last time I read it, and I’m appreciating it a lot more now than I did then, I think.

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