Sunday, December 3, 2017

Fortnightly Update #40: Flares and Five Star Reads

It's been a long time since my last update, so I'll just share the highlights of my reading life during October (lots of books read) and November (just a few books read). I've been flaring (having increased episodes of pain that usually last days) more this winter than is usual for me, which is weird because we've barely had any snow here. Of course, my room looks a much more reasonable shade of messy than it did when I last blogged, so that may've been the culprit.

Recent Acquisitions (or the Piling of the-Piles):

the-pile Additions:

I bought a clothbound edition of Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy #1) by Robin Hobb, because it's one of my favorite series ever and the color is perfect for my shelves:

I also ordered Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3) by Brandon Sanderson as a huge hardcover and I'm currently reading that.

the-invisible-pile Additions:

Even though I haven't been actively blogging, I did pick up one read now book on NetGalley:

The Philosopher's Flight: A Novel by Tom Miller
Expected Publication: February 13th
This sounded too Litha-y for me to pass on- fantasy and historical fiction in one book, written by an ER doctor? Hopefully it reads as well as its blurb is written.

The Bear and the Nightingale (The Winternight Trilogy #1) by Katherine Arden
I have heard a lot about this book and I've had people recommend it to me, so a while ago when it was on sale I picked it up. It sounds like just the book for me.

Writing My Wrongs: Life, Death, and Redemption in an American Prison by Shaka Senghor
A memoir about healing sounded like something I needed. I like to pick up memoirs of people who've had different life experiences from my own.

Currently Reading:

This one is a huge chunky hulk of a book- but so far I like it. It takes a while for me to get the gist of things in fantasy books (even with a recap of the last two in this series fresh in my brain). There are things happening, but I'm not sure what it means yet.

Finished These Books:

Since it's been so long since my last update, I will share only the titles I liked best. The rest can be found on my Goodreads challenge page.

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
Rating: 5 Stars
Sometimes, you need poetry. I saw Rupi Kaur's work on Facebook and decided to buy a digital copy of her work since it was on sale- and I'm glad I did. She is a gifted poet with a unique way of expressing herself.

Rating: 5 Stars
This one was a bit hard to finish, since it dealt with death and I was reading it while I was dealing with death. Nonetheless, it is certainly the best novel I've read this year and well worth picking up if you get a chance. It is classified as YA, but it does deal with mature topics.

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal (Ms. Marvel #1) by G. Willow Wilson (Author) and Adrian Alphona (Artist)
Rating: 4 Stars
If you find yourself in a bit of a reading rut, I would suggest trying a graphic novel. This one I found really charming and insightful. 

Rating: 4 Stars
Something about this book seemed even better than the previous books I've read in this series. I think it hit closer to home for Eve Dallas, which made it a better book.

In My Life:

I have been supervising some work that's been needed in our house. In the area we live in in Idaho, we have hard water. When I say hard water, most people think everyone has a bit of that and it's a fairly mundane problem, but ours is so mineral dense that the plumbers were remarking on it (they live in this area, but not in the same city). I think part of the problem may be that the house is so old, most things in it already have a flaky crust of minerals on them, including the pipes, and the hard water just builds on it.

The point is, we've been needing a water softener since we came here. The hard water has caused the premature deaths of many of our appliances, and also, our faucets. Even with the old vinegar soak trick, most of our faucets still have a grimy white film on them that recurs within days of cleaning. We bought a water softener and a new water heater for the main level of the house, and a total replacement of my mom's bathtub fixtures. Since her tub is an old "eagle claw" foot tub, it's no small feat to find the proper parts, and there was a mix up that resulted in the installation being delayed.

While all this is happening, all of the pets are locked up and pissed off, which doesn't improve my mood either. I had considered starting blogging back in late November, but I'm glad I didn't because supervising the plumbers and coddling cooped up pets isn't exactly easy, even if it was only for a few days.

Which books have you liked most in 2017?

Monday, October 16, 2017

An Update

Some of you who don't follow my social media may wonder why the heck I've suddenly stopped posting and replying to comments. My grandmother has been ill for a few years- first breast cancer, then this year, lung cancer. She died on October 3rd at the ripe old age of 91 years. Although this isn't my first rodeo in terms of grandparents dying (technically, I only have 1 left), I was very close to my grandmother and lived with her when I was a young adult. I didn't realize how much it affected me until I walked into her apartment and saw the chair in the corner was vacant. It was real to me then, even though I'd known days before.

I plan to be back to blogging sometime, but I'm not sure if it will be soonish or laterish. I always thought the worst when I visited a blog where no one had posted in a long time, which is why I'm posting this now. Grief is a fickle beast, and I'd rather leave notice that I'm okay than keep people guessing.

Happy Reading,

Monday, October 2, 2017

MMRM: "The Blue Lenses" and "The Doll" by Daphne du Maurier

'Tis the season for the unearthly, the undead, and the downright macabre. Not everyone can read an entire book in time for Halloween- some of us are too busy with other books, or even other things (gasp). For those poor souls, I offer these reviews: I will be writing my thoughts on some of my favorite short stories for this spooky season, either one at a time or in pairs.

"The Blue Lenses" by Daphne du Maurier

Available to read for free, online here. There is a free audio edition of this short story (!) here. (The audio appears to have more sentences- I'm not sure if it was added on or not.)
Rating: 4 Stars (Excellent)
Content: Ages 12+ for mild head-bending.
Page Count: (unknown) pages
Year Published: 1959

Surgeries are a vulnerable time for most people, so it makes sense to write a weird horror tale about the subject. Without sight, would we judge people differently or the same? Daphne du Maurier does an excellent job of playing on some of the more basic fears most people have.

The Plot: A woman has surgery to repair her vision, but when her bandages are removed, her vision seems to have bizarrely deteriorated instead.

Colour was not important. The blue symmetry of vision itself was all important. To see, to feel. It was indeed a rebirth, the discovery of a world long lost to her.

               ~"The Blue Lenses" by Daphne du Maurier

If you happen to be having eye surgery, I would save this one for later. It's a bit unsettling.

Another note: This was included in an article on Bibliotherapy: what to read when you're at breaking point. I suggest reading the story first, as she includes a minor spoiler.

"The Doll" by Daphne du Maurier

Available to read for free, online here.
Rating: 3 Stars (Good)
Content: 14+ for implied sex scenes
Page Count: (unknown) pages
Year Published: 1937

Although du Maurier is best known for having a character named Rebecca in her novel of the same name, here is another instance she uses a similarly named character to sinister effect.

The Plot: A man finds himself bewitched by a girl who is liberal with her affections.

Honestly, I can't say I liked this one as well as "The Blue Lenses", which had a certain amount of depth that this one doesn't have. As horror stories go, this one is heavy on the atmosphere. But I can see why it went unpublished for 70 years- it just doesn't have as much punch as du Maurier's other works.

She said, "Is it possible to love someone so much that it gives one a pleasure, an unaccountable pleasure to hurt them? To hurt them by jealousy, I mean, and to hurt oneself  at the same time. Pleasure and pain, an equal mingling of pleasure and pain, just as an experiment, a rare sensation?"

            ~"The Doll" by Daphne du Maurier

If you're afraid of dolls and losing someone you love, I suppose this one may be more frightening. As someone unafraid of dolls, it wasn't that scary to me.

Until next time,

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...