Quick sum-up this time, as I have a few things going on at the moment.
We’ve had a couple of days of snow this week, though neither day gave us very much– a couple of inches at most. Enough to be pretty, but not enough to cause real problems. Which I’m fine with. They got a couple of feet of snow the other day in towns a couple of hours west of us, so the two inches we got are just fine.
Obligatory Mina Photo:
I bought a new nightstand for my bedroom. It’s quite nice, and it didn’t take me very long to put it together.
Mina is thrilled with the new box, which is about three feet long, a foot and a half wide, and about a foot tall. It’s big enough that it serves as a sizable house for her, and she will happily spend all evening hanging out in it if I’ll let her. I don’t let her, though. At some point, she needs to get out and play, and I prefer it when she sleeps on the bed next to me, rather than in a box. But she gets a couple of hours to hang out in the box– or she has gotten that, as I’ll be collapsing it later today to put it in the recycling.
But she’s having fun while it lasts.
What I Finished Reading Last Week:
- ‘The Adventure of the Speckled Band‘ by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
This was the story sent out by the Letters from Watson substack last week. It’s one I’ve read several times before, and I enjoy it every time. It features a woman, Helen Stoner, who comes to London seeking Holmes’s aid after experiencing a terrifying night that is eerily similar to the night her twin sister died two years earlier. Helen’s stepfather is a terrifying man, and she is afraid something will happen to her before her marriage which is meant to happen in a fortnight. Holmes immediately agrees to help her, and he and Watson head out into the countryside to find out what is going on. Though I’ve read this many times and have seen the Granada episode a few times, too, Doyle’s description of what happens is always a little creepy and the ending is thoroughly satisfying. I joined the Discord server that goes along with this substack, and the conversation surrounding the story was a lot of fun. The next story we’ll be getting is ‘The Adventure of the Resident Patient’.
What I’m Currently Reading:
- The Luminaries by Susan Dennard, audiobook narrated by Caitlin Davies (71%)
- Powers and Thrones: A New History of the Middle Ages by Dan Jones (358/656)
- Hell Bent by Leigh Bardugo (93/481)
Oh, the angst of a YA novel. I’d forgotten about all of that since it’s been a while since I’d read one. But I suppose Winnie has reason to be angsty, as things have taken quite the turn for her, and she’s getting in over her head. I had a bit of trouble with the book earlier in the week when I hit a point in the story where I thought, ‘do I even care about what happens next?’, but I ended up carrying on, and I’m enjoying it well enough. Dennard is turning some tropes around and thankfully doesn’t have a love triangle going on. She also doesn’t bother with the whole ‘the Main Character is awful to all the other girls because she’s Special’ thing, either. Thankfully. Otherwise, I really would DNF it. I’m pretty sure I know where the story is going, but I’m enjoying it enough to keep going and find out if I’m right or not. I have a feeling there will be a sequel, so we’ll see if the book ends on a cliffhanger or not.
Dan Jones is one of those popular historians who makes history come alive for his readers (or viewers, if you watch his documentaries). He’s never precious about the historical figures he discusses, and he makes them seem like the fallible humans they were. He’s also able to draw parallels to modern events and can point out historical events whose consequences are still affecting us today. Powers and Thrones takes the reader from the last decades of the Roman Empire in the west to the Rise of Byzantium, the founding of Islam and the rise of Arab and Persian nations, to Charlemagne and his battles in Frankia, to the many many Crusades, and the empire Genghis Khan founded. That’s all the farther I’ve gotten, but it has been fascinating reading so far, even though much of it is a review for me. Still, it’s good to ensure that you have a solid foundation before you dive deeper into a topic, and I will certainly be doing that thanks to the Medieval history books I’ve recently picked up from the used bookstore downtown.
I’ve been waiting for Leigh Bardugo’s Hell Bent since I finished its predecessor, Ninth House back in 2019. I had pre-ordered it from Barnes and Noble last spring, but for whatever reason, that fell through. Which was actually kind of a good thing, as I found out that the Barnes and Noble edition has a red cover that I didn’t like. I ended up ordering from the indie bookshop downtown, and I picked it up on my day off. As I had some time to kill before I could run my next errand, I headed over to a coffee shop and started reading. So far, so good. I’m even more invested in Alex’s story now that she is more settled in her position at Yale, and I love that Dawes has a greater role in the story. I’m not very far in, but so far a lot of things have happened that have me in suspense. I’m going to try to take it a bit slowly, though, as I’ve heard this is book two of a trilogy, and I don’t know how long it will be before book three comes out.