Sunday Sum-Up: May 8, 2022

Whoever stopped by and picked up some windy days: Thank you! The lack of wind is much appreciated. It came along with some rainy days, which we needed so thank you for that, too.

In other news, it’s been a busy but not busy week. Work has been hectic, but my days off were mostly calm, so I could rest up, have some fun, and get things done at home. I did a lot less reading than I anticipated, thanks to The Magnus Archives podcast and the premiere of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, but I have no regrets because both of those things are fantastic.

Obligatory Mina Photo:

Mina has been extra twitchy this week, thanks to the hallway renovations going on outside our door. The painters have been clattering around and making noise, which means that Mina has been spending more time than usual in the closet. But she’s also been hanging out on the bed, either sprawled out like she is in the photo or curled up in a little black ball of fluff.

She’s also been sprawling out across the bed and nightstand at night. After I turn out the lights and go to bed, she’ll hop up next to me, flop down next to my head, and stretch out as much as she can, which means half her body ends up on the nightstand. I don’t know how this is comfortable for her, but it must be because if it wasn’t, she wouldn’t voluntarily do it. Who knows what cats are all about?

What I Finished Reading Last Week:

This short novel is a retelling of the Percival legend as told in Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur, but genderbent and queer. Peretur, the hero of the story, is a young woman whose strange mother raised her in the wilderness. As she grew, Peretur realized that she had a place in the wider world, took up the sword and armor she found, and headed into the world– right up to the court of the king, who mistrusts this strange young knight. While in Caer Leon, Peretur discovers many truths about herself, her past, and her destiny. This Arthurian retelling is beautifully told, with queer elements that feel organic in their inclusion. I definitely recommend this if you’re looking for Arthurian retellings.

What I’m Currently Reading:

  • The Might (The Raven Rings #3) by Siri Pettersen, translated from the Norwegian by Sian Mackie and Paul Russel Garrett (251/512)
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke, audiobook narrated by Simon Prebble (21%)

So far in The Might, some major things have happened. Changing power balances, death, and mayhem on Rime’s side of things, and Hirka has been trying to deal with a society that has a massive ego and looks down on her for being merciful or for looking socially inferior people in the eye. It’s strange that, though the big events are happening in Rime’s story, I’m far more invested in Hirka’s tale. I’m about halfway through the book and looking forward to finding out how or if Hirka will avert the war, and how Rime will set things to rights.

There is no way that I will be able to finish the audiobook of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell before my audiobook automatically returns to the library, so I checked out a physical copy from the library. This is a chunky book, and it’s going to take a long time to get through it at this rate. I’m still enjoying the story, but I haven’t been making much progress because I’ve been incessantly listening to The Magnus Archives. It is quite a wry book, and is raising a literary eyebrow at the upper crust of London’s society of 1807, which is really a useless lot of folk who have no real idea what’s going on anywhere (including in their own homes), but think war and magic just sound splendid and there to entertain them. I can’t imagine the tone changing much, but I am looking forward to the point where Jonathan Strange enters the story in more than just the footnotes.

What I Plan to Start Reading This Week:

I intended to start reading this one last week, and that didn’t happen. So I’ll start it this week.

What I’ve Been Listening To:

The Magnus Archives
Fiction Podcast
Featuring: Jonathan Sims, Alexander J. Newell, Ben Meredith, Lydia Nichols, Mike LeBeau, Sasha Sienna, Alasdair Stuart, Jon Gracey, Paul Sims, Sue Sims, Frank Voss, Hannah Brankin, Lottie Broomhall, and Jessica Law
Genre: Horror

I’m deep into the third season of this and am almost compulsively listening to it. The overarching plot has pretty much overtaken everything else, and if I were the sort of person to put together bulletin boards of newspaper clippings and assorted photographs connected with red string, I would be doing so to figure out all the connections that have been building since the first few episodes. I love that the episodes are relatively short (about twenty minutes), that they don’t involve sexual violence (as a lot of horror seems to), and is restrained when it comes to the tropes that it deals with. For example, a lot of stories have “on the run from the police” arcs that just get old when, at every turn, the character is on the run again and there’s nowhere for them to run, hide, or just take a few deep breaths. That gets annoying after a while. But Magnus Archives doesn’t go all out in arcs like that, so I’m never tired of it, and when one episode ends I just want to go onto the next one.

So that’s what I’m going to keep doing, right up to the bitter end. I’m about halfway there.

What I’ve Been Watching:

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
Paramount +
Starring: Anson Mount, Rebecca Romijn, Ethan Peck, Celia Rose Gooding, Christina Chong, Jess Bush, Babs Olusanmokun, Melissa Navia, Bruce Horak, Andre Dae-Kim, Rong Fu, Gia Sandhu

The first episode of Strange New Worlds premiered on Thursday, and I am hooked on this show already! It’s a refreshing update to the Star Trek franchise, with the sort of excitement about science and exploration that the original series had way back when, but with the sorts of visual updates that make it feel up-to-date. I already love the bridge crew– especially Lt. Erica Ortegas’ (Melissa Navia) dry snark. Number One (Rebecca Romijn) was hardly in this pilot episode, but I assume she’ll play a greater role in the series as it progresses. Are there some things that aren’t perfectly canonical? Sure, maybe so, but I don’t care because I’ve never been one for perfect continuity. I just love these characters and I’m looking forward to seeing more of their adventures. I’m also looking forward to the more episodic nature of Strange New Worlds, which is more like the older series. Do I like the overarching plotlines of Discovery and Picard? Sure. But the monster-of-the-week format has plenty of charms, too. So prepare for me to gush about this show, because I am excited!

The Craft:

It’s been awhile since this section showed up!

Because I’ve been listening to The Magnus Archives so much, and because I can’t just sit down and listen or watch a show without my hands doing something, I decided to finally sit down and make a new pair of slippers to replace the pair I made last year, that I wore so often that I wore them out behind my ability to patch them.

So I found the pattern, cut out the pieces, and started assembling them. It’s going along so much faster and better than the first set. I don’t think my sewing skill has improved all that much, especially because I haven’t been doing much sewing recently, but because I had that first pair of slippers under my belt, I had a much better idea of what I needed to do. I know I’ve already made a couple of mistakes, but they’re nothing terrible so I don’t need to disassemble anything to fix it. I’m hoping to have a nice new pair of slippers ready to wear by the end of the week.

About That Writing Thing:

While it’s been a great week for most things, it hasn’t been a great one for writing. I finished another little short story and posted it, but I’ve barely been working on the fantasy novel that I want to finish up this summer. I have simply not been in the mood to write fantasy At All, and have been a little “eeeeehhhhhh” when I think about sitting down to write the thing. Is part of that because I killed off a major character last week? Or is it because I’ve been in the horror and science fiction headspaces all week? I don’t know, but I really need to get back to the fantasy novel. I want to get it finished!

I know that, once I sit down and start writing again I’ll get back in the mood, but sitting down at the page is the difficult part. Especially when so many other things have been occupying my attention lately.

Maybe I won’t get back to the fantasy novel until I finish The Magnus Archives. That’s entirely possible. It’s a thing I do when I come across something I fall utterly in love with– I just don’t stop listening/watching/reading the thing until I am completely done with it, and then I go back to whatever I was doing before.

So I may just have to ride out the Magnus Archive wave and get back to work when I’m done with that.

7 thoughts on “Sunday Sum-Up: May 8, 2022

  1. Glad to see you’re still enjoying Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, even if it’s taking longer to read. That gives me extra hope I’ll enjoy when I finally make the time to start it. I haven’t watched anything Star Trek in what feels like ages and I think I’ve missed several series. Glad you’re enjoying this new one.

  2. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is such an interesting book. It really feels like its in conversation with both the fantasy genre and with 19th century literature– particularly (in my mind) Dickens and Austen. I think you’ll like it when you get to it.

  3. I’ve always been curious about Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell but never got around to it. I do hope you end up enjoying it. As for cats and their weird positions when sleeping. Yeh… I don’t know if they do it because they can or because they like it! 😛

  4. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is a strange, complicated story that is wry and full of infuriating characters that you want to just whack upside the head sometimes. But it is quite enjoyable in its Victorianesque way.

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