chalcedony_cat: fan from the v&a (Default)
The difficulty with having done Wednesday reading on a Friday is that I keep thinking, didn't I just do this? Well, more or less, yes. But it is not as though I have stopped reading.

Just Finished: Heir of Sea and Fire, the second book of McKillip's Riddlemaster trilogy. I did like the first, but I liked this more, although it still feels... simple? I do not quite have the words for it, but what is happening is the thing that is happening, there are not other things also happening. It seems like these might make excellent YA novels, with the lovely prose, the large emotions, everything always at a fever pitch, and yet a very, very simple plot and the questions at hand not easy to resolve, but easy to understand. It will be another 8 or so years before Joy is ready for such books, at a guess, but I am looking forward to when she is.

I read Ben Aaronovitch's Foxglove Summer in under a day, I think, and loved it. I don't seem to look for 'fun' very much in my reading (or my life, come to that, something to consider), but his novels are quite fun and this one was the best yet. A pity that a degree in Rural Land Management would require moving to the British Isles, I actually think I might love that. (And it is not at all unlike what my sister-in-law does for her work, so obviously I could go a different route and do that sort of work right here, except I am just not emotionally involved in this landscape... and why I should be emotionally involved in a landscape I've only seen once is a deep mystery, I blame too much early reading of Watership Down, but there it is, I am not a rational person.)

Currently Reading: The New Yorker, of course. Up to August of 1925 in the archives, and still about a week behind the current issue. I suppose it ought to show up in the above section too, but I never of being done, finishing an issue just means another issue to go, and I am still really enjoying it.

Harpist in the Wind, the final McKillip in the trilogy. It is more complex than the first two, and I am enjoying it the most, and I hope it holds up through the end. Considering it a little more, I think one reason it feels like it would make good YA is that there is such surprise in the narrative when people are not consistent -- when a person first does a cruel thing and then does a kind one, as though people are all one thing or another.

I have happily given up on Connolly's Twenty Palaces novels; I will see if I like his fantasy any better. He is clearly a competent writer, it is just that these books are not what I like to read.

Up Next: I realised that I needed to prioritise my larger projects or I would never get anywhere with them, so the Strachey/Carrington project is set aside for a month or so while I spend time with the Hyakunin Isshu, a collection of 100 Japanese waka which is the basis for a semi-popular Japanese card game, as featured in the anime Chihaya Furu which I am currently watching. The anime is charming and I am enjoying it very much, but it is the poems themselves which have really caught me, so I am sitting down to give them proper attention. I cannot read classical Japanese (or modern Japanese except at the most basic level), but translations abound, and I have happily acquired six or seven different translations, plus some useful webpages, and a really amazing pictorial reception history (Pictures of the Heart by Joshua S. Mostow) and am enjoying beyond measure the chance to get to know these poems and the poets. I have not quite decided yet but I am thinking of doing a poem a week, here (or maybe in the I-am-a-writer blog... but probably here) with my favourite of the translations and a little bit of the history and all, just because... why not? Although a poem a week is almost two years, so we will see. It is just the sort of project which I would start and not finish and I am rather tired of doing that.
chalcedony_cat: fan from the v&a (Default)
I spent Wednesday having brunch and conversation with my friend C., and driving back and forth to same, and then of course the parenting etc -- thus, no time to post here.

Just Finished: The Riddle-Master of Hed by Patricia McKillip. Morgon is such a classic reluctant hero, spending the majority of the book trying to escape the plot. And if I was (re)reading this without the second and third volume to hand, I would have found the ending really annoying.

Currently Reading: Still The New Yorker, now down to only a week behind the current issue. It makes me hungry to travel, listen to new music, read different books, try many new things -- all in all a great good.

Heir of Sea and Fire, being the next McKillip. I think I applaud her for refusing to match genre expectations and making the scenic women into the main characters of the second novel, but ... it feels somewhat thin. A lot of talk about how beloved Morgon is, but it is unclear why he would be, except authorial fiat. Still, I like the language and I like the characters and I have no desire to put it down.

I had started on Game of Cages which is Harry Connolly's second novel about Ray Lilly, but then aforementioned friend C. gave me Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch and I couldn't resist starting it instead. It is the same genre, but Aaronovitch is funny; perhaps he can afford to be as I think his characters have script immunity and Connolly's clearly do not.

Up Next: I finally found my copy of Michael Holroyd's biography of Lytton Strachey (the updated 1994 version), but also Strachey's letters and Carrington's letters, and I am planning to sit down with all of these and read them all at the same time, to supplement the very annoying Gretchen Gerzina biography of Carrington that I mentioned last week.

I am astonished by just how many books about Bloomsbury I own, and how consistent my interest in these people have been (almost 20 years now) and also somewhat embarassed by how many of these books I have never yet got around to reading. Now is the time, I suppose.

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