It’s always nice to have another day off, and thanks to Memorial Day here in the U.S., I had an extra day. So I slept in and did a lot of reading, writing, and drawing. And it was lovely and relaxing.
On my regular day off, I went downtown– to the art museum, the used bookshop, and one of the cookie shops downtown. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon. I saw some great art, wandered the bookshop shelves for a while, and had a tasty cookie. All in all, it was a great day.
Overall, it was a lovely week.
Except for Friday. Friday was incredibly busy at work, and I was exhausted when I got home.
So it was a great week except for Friday. Which I would have happily skipped had I known how crazy it would be.
Obligatory Mina Photo:
Mina turned three today! Happy birthday to her! I can’t believe it’s been three years since I found a tiny, five-week-old kitten all by her lonesome in the laundry room of my apartment building. She had fleas, ear mites, and tapeworms, and it took a couple of weeks to get her health cleared up so she could start growing up properly. But it was love at first sight from the first time I picked her up.
Does she love to snuggle? Nope. Does she let me pick her up and hold her? Nope. But she’s happy to hop onto the bookshelf next to my desk whenever I’m working at the computer, or flop down on the nightstand at night after I’ve gone to bed. She always greets me at the door when I come home, and she’s never short on (adorable) judgy looks when she feels like she hasn’t gotten enough treats.
Having Mina around has been wonderful. I’m grateful for the three years we’ve had so far, and I look forward to many, many more.
What I Finished Reading Last Week:
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, audiobook narrated by Carolyn Seymour
- Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher
Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite books ever, so what else can I give it except more praise? It’s wonderful, and I shouldn’t have put off rereading it for so long. I think it had been at least three years since I last read it. A crime, to be sure. Something I noticed this time through though, is an observation of Mr. Darcy’s character, and it makes me like him even more: Mr. Darcy listens to Elizabeth. That’s it. He shuts his mouth and listens to her, and even though there are plenty of times when he could just interject and state his side of things, he doesn’t. He pays her the compliment of giving her his full attention, and then he goes off and thinks about what he says, finds the truth in it, and allows her words to provide him with insight into his own behavior. What an amazing concept! Fully listening to someone instead of just waiting for your turn to talk!
Mr. Darcy isn’t sexy because he has a beautiful estate and 10,000 a year. He’s sexy because he listens. We could all learn from his example.
Nettle & Bone is the first book I’ve read by T. Kingfisher, and it won’t be my last. I thoroughly enjoyed this sideways look at fairytales, which involves a princess in peril, her sister the sort-of-nun, a witch who speaks to the dead, a fairy godmother, a warrior who has lost his honor, and, of course, the bone dog. It was dark and a little twisted, and I loved Kingfisher’s take on each of the elements she brought from traditional folk and fairy tales into Nettle & Bone. I also appreciate that the heroes of the story weren’t sarcastic teenagers. They were older people who have seen a thing or two, and are occasionally grumpy about the quest they’ve embarked upon. I highly recommend this one.
What I’m Currently Reading:
- The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (192/387)
- The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison, audiobook narrated by Kyle McCarley (53%)
I haven’t gotten as far along in The Night Circus as I’d hoped due to the fact that I insist on reading it right before bed. I am tired then, and when confronted with a gentle, lyrical narrative and a comfortable bed, it’s hard to stay awake for more than fifteen or twenty pages. But I am enjoying the story so far, which is full of odd-seeming time jumps that I can’t quite keep track of (see: I’m reading this before falling asleep), and I plan to read more of it today, in the middle of the afternoon, when I’ll be better able to fall into the story instead of falling asleep. I have reached the point where Celia has figured out part of the competition, though I have yet to figure out what she is going to do about it, or indeed what the competition is fully about. I’m sure I will figure it out as the story progresses, though.
The Goblin Emperor is yet another favorite. I love McCarley’s narration, as he effortlessly pronounces all the strange names and terms that Addison invented for this world, and just makes it part of the whole world without hanging a lantern on it and making a big deal of it. I love how Maia learns and grows throughout the book. He starts out as this abused and neglected boy at the beginning and has this enormous responsibility thrust upon him out of the blue, and then decides that he will not be a puppet for any of the forces surrounding him. And I also love that he will not allow himself to become an abusive figure, though he knows it would be easy for him to fall into such habits. I have a little less than half the book left, and many of my favorite parts are still to come. I will probably finish it in the next few days because whenever I start listening, I don’t want to stop.
What I Plan to Start Reading This Week:
- The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews, and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain by María Rosa Menocal
I’d like to say that I’m reading this book next because of a burning desire to learn more about Medieval history (which is always true), but part of the reason I’m planning to read this book next is that it is on top of the stack on my little gray bookshelf, and it’s significantly smaller than the other books waiting for me, and after the monthlong marathon that was Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, I want a few books that are a little shorter before I start back on the tomes. So I will read this very intriguing book about the history of Medieval Spain, which is something I’ve been wanting to learn more about since I read G. Willow Wilson’s book, The Bird King.
I will also probably be starting on a book of poetry by Federico García Lorca, but maybe not. It depends on how far I get through The Night Circus.
About That Writing Thing:
I decided to take a bit of a break from writing my fantasy novel. I don’t know what the problem was, but I would sit down to work on it, and getting past the 500-word mark was just impossible. This happened last year, too, and I took a break then as well and when I came back to the story with the mental well restored, the writing went much faster and more smoothly. So I’m hoping that a similar break will help me get back on track for the remaining third or so of the story. I was hoping to finish it to start posting the chapters this summer, and that may still happen. But my main goal is to have this whole series finished before year’s end– which is definitely do-able, since the current work in progress is the larger story by far (it will be between 80,000 and 100,000 words by the time it’s complete), and the final story will be much shorter– more like 10,000-15,000 words.
In the meantime, I’m working in an entirely different genre and have nearly completed a 9,000-word story since Sunday night. That was a wonderful writing night because after a few weeks of struggling to hit 500 words a day, I just sat down and easily put down 3,000 words in a few hours. Apparently, I needed a new genre and a radically different style to work in before the words would flow again. Once I’ve polished up the first couple of chapters, I’ll be posting this three-part story to my AO3 account, one chapter a week. It’s in a different fandom than usual, so I hope my readers will enjoy it. I certainly had fun writing it.