An odd week around here. It was hot for the first part of the week, and then it got cold– so I had to run my air conditioner most of the day on Wednesday, and by Thursday night the radiators were back on. Oh, Nebraska. You do love your weird weather.
The carpet layers finally arrived to put down new carpet in the halls of my apartment building, so after a few weeks of all of us rattling around what felt like a haunted building, there is now lovely new carpet underfoot, and it feels a little less like you might come face to face with a ghost as you turn to go down the stairs.
Not saying that the new carpet has scared them away. They aren’t laying carpet in the attic or anything, so it’s just a chance for the ghosts to move upstairs….
Also, I saw the moon did a thing last Sunday:
Obligatory Mina Photo:
Thanks to the carpet layers banging around for the past few days, Mina has been hiding in the closet again. But every once in a while, she ventures out in the apartment proper and naps in one of her usual places: particularly on the bed. Shortly after I took this picture, she fell asleep and in the progress of napping, ended up sprawled across the blanket, somehow taking up the majority of the bed’s available area, despite the fact that she is a 10.5-pound cat.
This seems to be a skill that cats have. Last night, for example, after I went to bed, both cats ended up on the bed and I felt as though there was very little space left for me.
Not that I’m complaining, mind you. I am thrilled to have both the cats snoozing next to me. It makes a happy.
What I Finished Reading Last Week:
- The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas
The Hacienda is Cañas’ debut, a Gothic horror novel set in Mexico in the 1820s. Beatriz is a young woman who chose a loveless but advantageous marriage to a cold and distant nobleman who takes her far from the life of servitude she has been enduring. But far from being a welcoming, luxurious home, San Isidro is a house of watchful, vengeful spirits inflicting terror and hallucinations upon Beatriz. With little real power and a house determined to drive her mad or kill her, Beatriz must forge fragile alliances if she wants to survive.
Despite a few pacing issues and some odd time jumps, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I don’t read very much horror, but what I do read tends toward the Gothic side, and Cañas has full control of the tropes and narrative structures that go along with the genre. Once the story really got going, I found it hard to put down. I hope Cañas continues to write in this vein because once she fully masters her art, her books are going to be brilliant.
What I’m Currently Reading:
- Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (71%)
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, audiobook narrated by (24%)
By this point, I have grown to be rather fed up with the characters in Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, and will probably only finish the book out of sheer stubbornness. I only have 29% of it left, so by using the sunk cost fallacy, I can’t quit now. I’m going to have to put with Mr. Norrell being an infuriating ass who claims to desperately want to revive English magic and then does everything he can to suppress other magicians on the grounds that “they can’t possibly understand” or “they aren’t suited to the study of magic” or some other hair-brained reasoning. I honestly want to throw rocks at the man and at his house, take his library, and distribute it throughout England in as many Little Free Libraries as possible. Jonathan Strange is marginally better because he at least believes that these people called ‘women’ are capable of learning magic, but for as much as he says he wants to teach other people to use magic, he isn’t much better about actually doing it than Mr. Norrell is. So between all the dithering, footnotes, and the outright ignoring both main characters are doing of the actual real things going on in front of them, I’m about ready to wash my hands of both of these idiots. But I will carry on because I’m stubborn.
As irritated as I am with Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, I wanted something that would work as a palate cleanser once my audiobook was returned to the library (I switched over to a physical copy after that). Because I’ve been wanting to reread Pride and Prejudice again, I decided to give the audiobook a go, and I’m quite enjoying it, though I’m not the biggest fan of the narrator, who sounds like she’s about three times Lizzie’s age. But what can you do? I know Rosamund Pike has narrated P&P, but as far as I know, that’s an Audible exclusive, and I steadfastly refuse to get an Audible account. It’s bad enough that I have an Amazon account….
Anyway. I’ve reached the point where Lizzie imagines that she’s falling in love with (the perfidious) Mr. Wickham, but she has lost her chance to dance with him at the Netherfield Ball, as Wickham was ‘obliged to be in town on business’. We all know it’s because Mr. Darcy is at the ball, and Wickham is too much of a coward to face Mr. Darcy, but Lizzie doesn’t know this yet and she refuses to believe the evidence given to her by Caroline Bingley or even Jane. At this moment: poor Lizzie. But she’ll learn.
What I Plan to Start Reading This Week:
- Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher
- The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
- The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec
No, I didn’t start on either book I intended to begin last week. The Hacienda came in for me at the library, and as there was a deadline for that, I read it first and then didn’t get to the others, thanks to Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. And other things. I may not get to The Night Circus or The Witch’s Heart again this week, as Nettle & Bone came in for me at the library yesterday, and once again there is a deadline associated with it. There is also a deadline for Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, but I can renew my loan on that. But I do want to get it done this week so I can move on with my reading life and start new books.
What I’ve Been Listening To:
The Magnus Archives
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
I finally finished The Magnus Archives thanks to a marathon listening session where I got through the second half of the fifth season in a day. I started the 200th and final episode around 12:30 on Monday morning, and wow was I not expecting that ending.
Who knew a podcast that initially felt like a horror anthology where a guy read spooky stories would turn into a tragic story wherein people encountered their worst fears, eldritch horrors appeared out of the woodwork (sometimes literally) to terrorize and trap ordinary people doing ordinary things, an overarching story slowly weaves its way into being, romance blossoms between traumatized people, and it comes together to become the best fiction podcast I’ve ever listened to. I can’t recommend The Magnus Archives highly enough.