Sunday Sum-Up: August 7, 2022

It’s been ridiculously hot again this week. I’m done with summer. I’ve been done with summer for a while. These 110°F heat indices are not for me. I want some sweater weather!

In other news, I spent my usual day off at work to cover for a vacationing co-worker, so I did his job for a day. This meant I was back to doing stuff behind the scenes instead of working with the public, so I spent that time listening to podcasts while I worked. I got caught up on The Mistholme Museum of Mystery, Morbidity, and Mortality, and tried out a few episodes each of some other podcasts I’d been meaning to sample for a while. So far so typical, but sometime around 3:00, the podcast ads changed from advertising American products and services to advertising things from Ireland. I was not bothered by this, but it was strange and amusing, and it made me laugh.


Obligatory Mina Photo:

Last weekend, I posted a photo of Mina resting in her box. This week, she chomps the box.

Do all cats do this? Because she does this all the time. Most of the time, the first thing Mina does when she gets into a box is to start gnawing on a corner. She never eats the bits of cardboard she bites off, but she’ll keep chomping on it until the corners are ragged and there are holes in it. This is something she has always done, and I’m honestly just glad she no longer chews on the corners of books.

She here is Mina. She chomps.


What I Finished Reading Last Week:

Girl in a Green Gown is about the painting and history of Jan van Eyck’s masterpiece, The Arnolfini Portrait, which hangs in the National Gallery in London. This was an interesting if an occasionally dry history of the painting, which did more traveling than I thought it had for the first four hundred years of its existence. If you’re interested in the masterpieces of the northern European Renaissance, then you might give this one a try.

Paladin’s Grace was, overall, quite a fun book to read though it had more romantic elements than I thought it would. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I’m not much of a romance reader. Whenever the two main characters would start getting anxious about what the other thought about them, I’d get a little frustrated with them and want to sit them down and say, “use your words”. I realize that the tension of the ‘will they or won’t they?’ is a thing, but it’s not really my thing. But aside from that, it was quite entertaining and nice to see a couple of older adults being the protagonists, rather than a couple of teenagers.


What I’m Currently Reading:

  • Babel by R.F. Kuang, ARC provided by NetGalley (51%)
  • The Likeness (Dublin Murder Squad #2) by Tana French, audiobook narrated by Heather O’Neill (13%)

I’m happy to report that, at the halfway mark, I am still enjoying Babel. I was worried that I wouldn’t, given my history with hyped SFF books, but this has proved to be a well-crafted story with well-rounded characters. The magic system makes sense in the grand scheme of the world– there are definite and logical reasons for the way it works and how it has changed over the years (and is changing, which is part of the driving element of the story). There is one thing that’s annoying me: It seems like every time some golden moment occurs for the main group of characters, Kuang will say something like “when Robin looked back on this time, he would remember how wonderful it was and wish that things could have stayed like that, because it ended up being awful later on”, which is fine to hear once in a while, but wears on the nerves after the fifth or sixth time it comes up. But on the whole, it’s a solid book and I’m looking forward to finishing the second half this week.

I didn’t get as far into The LIkeness as I’d hoped, but I didn’t end up listening to audiobooks very much at all this week. So far, I’ve gotten to the point where Cassie is making up her mind about what to do about the case that Frank Mackie has dropped in her lap. The narrator is doing a great job, which I expect from one of Tana French’s books, and while the prose isn’t quite as lyrical as some of French’s other books, namely Broken Harbour, it’s just right for Cassie’s character.


What I’ve Been Watching:

If this sum-up seems shorter and less detailed than normal, it’s because I watched the entire first season of Netflix’s The Sandman on Friday and Saturday night, and that’s the only thing that’s been in my head.

Starring: Tom Sturridge, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Joely Richardson, Patton Oswalt, Jenna Coleman, Vivienne Acheampong, Mason Alexander Park, Vanesu Samanyai, Gwendoline Christie, David Thewlis, Stephen Fry, Boyd Holbrook, et. al.
Teleplay by Neil Gaiman
Based on the comic series by Neil Gaiman

I first read Gaiman’s Sandman series nearly twenty years ago, when I was in college. I heard about the series in high school, but I didn’t have the opportunity to read them, as I didn’t have the money to get the books and my library didn’t have them. But I checked them all out from the library one summer afternoon and read the entire series over a long weekend. I was enthralled, and while I haven’t read the entire series straight through again, I’ve read portions of it here and there, and I love it every time. Sure, there are sections that I like less (and others I like more), but the series as a whole is an astonishing work of imagination (especially as the series progresses, and Gaiman was given far more freedom to build his own story outside of what other writers were doing in the DC universe).

I’ve been looking forward to this show since I heard about it, and knowing that Gaiman was so involved with the production (as he was with Good Omens) made me feel confident about the quality.

I have not been disappointed. At all. I actually think I like the show more than the comics (I know, I know, don’t be a jerk at me), as this first season (which deals with the first few books) has distilled the actual story of The Sandman and disposes of the things Gaiman had to work around due to other, ongoing-at-the-time DC stories. The imagery is fantastic (and much of it was practical effects, not CGI) and as dreamlike as I’d hoped, and Sturridge’s version of Morpheus is just spot on. He’s a proud figure who doesn’t quiet learn from his mistakes, and doesn’t like to admit that he has a lighter side. He should laugh at himself more, but just won’t do it, and Sturridge does that perfectly. He’s got the gaunt, pale, messy-haired Goth guy look to him, and his voice is just fabulous.

I also love how all the stories and characters from the comics are woven into the series. They might not have a lot of screen time, but you understand them through and through because the actors inhabit them so thoroughly, and Gaiman wrote their stories so efficiently– even though there is a cast of what feels like thousands. It’s amazing, and I’ll be watching and rewatching this, and I’m going to cry every time I was episode six, ‘The Sound of Her Wings’, which is one of the finest episodes of television I’ve ever watched.

So go watch The Sandman. It’s basically perfect.

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

  1. I don’t know about all the cats, but my cat does exactly the same thing. Every time there is a new cardboard box in the house, she spends the first day sleeping in it, then starts chomping on it. I suppose that is the feline way to change furniture. I should try and chomp my old sofa =D

    Girl in a green gown sounds like an interesting nonfiction book.
    I wish you a happy reading month!

  2. Ahoy there. Our black cat (Mr. Noodle) also gnaws on cardboard and also on crinkly plastic if we don’t keep it away from him. He is a cribber. I believe Mr. Noo and Mina a kindred spirits.
    x The Captain

  3. I’ve heard great things about The Sandman series, so glad to hear how much you’ve also enjoyed it. I never did read the comic series, but keep thinking one day I’d like to track it down and give it a try. I don’t currently have access to the show but if I ever do I’ll certainly try that, too. And yup, my folks cat is always chewing on boxes, paper, and many other things. She especially likes when they bring home unshucked corn as she loves to do her part of the shucking. 🙂

  4. Sandman was one of the shows I was most looking forward to this year, and I’m thrilled that it turned out so well. I really think it surpassed my expectations. I hope you get a chance to see it soon! I think everyone else who has commented has said that their cats or cats they know also chomp on things, though unshucked corn is a first.

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