Sunday 25 May 2014

Sunday Summary: It's been a while

Hello all. Hope you're doing well. I haven't written a Sunday Summary post lately. I've been working a lot recently, which has been (or will be) good for money reasons, but bad for having anything interesting to say about my life. Still, I've managed to fit in a Bout of Books readathon around it, during which I read a not-too-shabby three books, and finished my very belated Buffy the Vampire Slayer catch-up which I started just after the new year.

Now my colleagues are all back at work, I've got three days off, the first time in a while that I've had more than one day off at a time. My reading has slowed right down since the readathon. I've just started The Lies of Locke Lamora on Hanna's recommendation, although she did point out that it takes a while to get going. I haven't got that far into the book yet, and although I am enjoying it when I do read it, it's still in the world-building and introducing-characters section and pretty slow going. The narrative switches between the titular Locke as a child thief who proved to be too light-fingered and troublesome even for the Fagin-esque gang to which he belonged, and an extended sequence of an adult Locke setting up a confidence trick on a rich nobleman. I'm finding Locke's backstory more interesting and easy to read, and suspect that this confidence trick's main purpose is to give the reader an overview of the world's political situation without seeming too much like masses of exposition. But I'm still waiting for the plot to start. (I might be wrong, and all this might be the catalyst for something bigger. Only way to find out is to read on.)

 So, what does one do when one is taking a long time over a book? Why, go out and buy a whole load more! I've been pretty good about letting my to-read pile grow smaller rather than bigger, but when is sank beneath the twenty books line, I took myself and my canvas book bag shopping and came home with some shiny new goodies. After enjoying From A Buick 8 a lot more than I'd expected, I found another Stephen King book in The Works for £1.99: Full Dark, No Stars, which is a collection of either short stories or novellas and which Neil Gaiman reviewed on its release. Also, Doctor Sleep, the long-awaited sequel to The Shining, has finally been released in paperback, and both Waterstone's and WHSmith are selling it for half price at the moment. How could I resist?

Haruki Murakami is another author whose name I keep on finding on my favourite blogs. I read 1Q84 last year or the year before, which was very weird and imaginative, if a bit long. I'm still not entirely sure how much I liked it, but evidently enough to want to see what else he can do, as when I found Sputnik Sweetheart on a recommendations table, the last copy ended up on my book pile. And I enjoyed The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul so much when I read it last year that when I found author Deborah Roderiguez' non-fiction account of her own experiences in Afghanistan, The Kabul Beauty School, re-released with a beautiful new cover, I had to have that too!

This week, Bex persuaded me to join in with the lastest Ninja Book Swap, organised by herself and Hanna. I took place in the Trick or Treat book swap last year, which was brilliant, so I really didn't need to have my arm twisted. If you want to join in, you've only got until the end of today to sign up (details here.)

Now I've finished with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, last night I started a new adventure, the science-fiction show Fringe. I didn't have a lot of foreknowledge of this one, except that Pacey from Dawson's Creek and Denethor from Lord of the Rings investigate weird stuff and battle lens flare (as it is from J.J. Abrams of Lost fame, and also the Star Trek reboot.) It usually takes me about three episodes to make up my mind about a TV show, and so far I've just watched two. I've borrowed the box set from my sister's friend Bob, and am not sure yet whether I'll watch after season one. I'm enjoying it, but haven't yet fallen in love with it. I'm not a scientifically-minded person at all, and even I can tell that the "fringe science" here is ridiculous. Flux capacitors, warp drives, timey-wimey detectors that go ding when there's stuff... no problem. But Walter Bishop's particular brand of mad science is stretching my suspension of disbelief. Still, there's no doubt the writers had a lot of fun with it, and it is pretty entertaining, if gruesome in places. I'll stick with it and see how it goes.


  1. Yay thanks for blogging about the swap :-) Of course you had to buy more books, I had to buy two the other day because I finished my book on the train and DIDN'T HAVE A BACK UP! Lots of my friends like Fringe... I've never seen any but I'm not convinced personally!

    1. That is the upside of e-readers, although it's not enough to persuade me to get one. I like book shopping too much! It's not the same clicking a button. But finishing a book too early is very annoying.

      I used to keep seeing Fringe boxsets, picking it up then putting it down again, tempted to watch but not to buy. And then stupid Blockbuster went out of business, and the libraries seem to have later seasons of everything I want to watch, but not the first. One of these days I'll get a Netflix, but like books, I prefer to have a physical copy of things.

  2. I've been a bit slower on the reading recently as well, if only because I've decided to knuckle down and read to the end of Lady Audley's Secret instead of dragging it into June as the readalong TECHNICALLY demands. I just... can't be arsed to blog about my books at the moment. I don't know what it is! I'm okay putting together an 'end of the month' collection of mini-reviews, but anything longer than a paragraph about each one just feels like so much hard work at the moment. A side-effect of the post-depression thing, perhaps. The actual reading seems more fun at the moment. :)

    I like your little collection of new books too! I keep seeing FDNS in remainder shops but haven't picked it up yet, and I'm now annoyed with myself that I didn't buy the Buick one the other day when I saw it. If only I'd seen your thoughts on it first, dammit! I still haven't read Doctor Sleep either, but I'm determined to get to it by the end of the year, so it's not following TOO long in the footsteps of The Shining, which I read around this time last year. Maybe for RIP whatever-number-we're-up-to this Halloween?

    Oh, and I'm ALSO box set binging at the moment. I'm almost done with season 2 of Dexter - just the long-awaited final episode to go, though I may have to rewatch the previous one or two as well because I've left it hanging a while. I'm mid way through season 1 of Elementary at the moment and LOVING it - plenty of Sherlock-y intelligence, only with an edgier cast and a more attention-span-friendly episode length. Also, there are 26 episodes instead of 3. Which is good. Then I need to watch all the Harry Potter movies before I go to Leavesden! I've only seen #6 once and I haven't seen either of the Deathly Hallows movies, because I knew they'd crush me... probably better get on that so I know what I'm looking at in there, right? Okay this got long. *glides away, smirking apologetically*

    1. Don't apologise. I love comments!

      I've got lots of notes for mini-reviews, if not many for proper ones. I've even handwritten a good-length paragraph about Mr Penumbra, but not got around to typing it up. I'm glad you can talk about "POST-depression" now. I know it doesn't necessarily go away completely, but it's good to know you're doing a bit better. *many hugs and chocolates*

      I have so many box sets stacked up: Heroes and Battlestar Galactica and my enabler Trekkie-friend Sammy and her partner have a seemingly limitless supply of Star Trek and other things they think I'll like. I've been loving the Dexter books (just got one more left to read, but the library don't have it yet) but haven't watched the series yet. OOOH and I want to watch Elementary too. At first I got annoyed by the concept of it, felt like the Americans had nicked another of "our" ideas, but it's had such good reviews I'm really curious. I wish I had more hours in the day just for DVD watching. Where it's been such great weather, I only allow myself the evenings for watching stuff, even though it would be a better use of my time than wasting time on the internet. Silly Katie.

      When is it you're off to the Harry Potter tour?

    2. I think there's something about the brevity of mini reviews that just feels a lot less intimidating. When I start a full review I know it's going to be a long process - writing, trying to get more in-depth thoughts together, editing over and over - whereas with a paragraph it's just part of a bigger post and I can write it AND proofread it in a few minutes. Far more blogger-friendly at the moment!

      I definitely feel like I can call myself 'post-depression' now, even if I'm still climbing that particular path and still VERY much avoiding too much 'future-thought' about going back into work etc. My brain's back in a better place, and I'm reading, and I've pretty much decided to enjoy my first real summer in years before I even think about jobs. I know it's not good form to have a gap on your CV and blah blah, but I'd rather be back on form and ready than try to do it too early, y'know? Thank you SO MUCH for being so lovely this year, it's really helped (no matter how condescending various mental health professionals have been about 'online friends', the gits). The stegosaurus biscuits helped too. Seriously, Katie, if you haven't tried them do, they're the most delicious biscuits I've had in years! :P

      Oh god, me too with the box set thing! I never saw to the end of Heroes, so that'll need rewatching in its entirety at some point. I also have The L Word (never got beyond season 3 despite my devotion to certain characters, oops), Stargate SG-1 (used to watch with my ex and want to start again), Charmed (never finished the last two series), Glee, Not Going Out, The Hollow Crown, the next six seasons of Dexter, seasons 4-6 of The Big Bang Theory (which I've seen episodes FROM on telly but not in order, stupid E4), my Marvel box set of all the movies so far, House season 2 onwards, Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps (which I loved a few years ago!), Brothers and Sisters seasons 2-5... OH MY GOD I THINK I HAVE A PROBLEM.

      Elementary is far more interesting than I expected, actually. It's more like a traditional US crime show as far as the 'crime happens... police get called in... Sherlock and Watson deduce amazing things... crime is solved' neat 45-minute package thing, except it's SHERLOCK HOLMES. I love lady-Watson far more than I thought I would, and Sherlock is really quite edgy and a bit manic compared to our rather more suave and steady one. It just... works. I mostly watch stuff in the evening too, over dinner and/or before bed, especially while it's nice out. :)

      Harry Potter is coming up on 10th June. I figure I can probably fit, say, movies 1-2 and 3-4 into a day each, if we get a rainy nasty one at some point, then the others might have to be spread out more because they're so FRICKIN' HEARTBREAKING. I'm sort-of dreading watching them in a lot of ways, because the last book was so devastating! Okaaaaaay another long comment. I won't apologise though. :D

    3. OMIGOD this one's even longer. Yeah, I will apologise a bit. :P

  3. I feel ya on the working a lot thing- the only things I blogged this week, I wrote last weekend and I haven't had time to stop and think or ANYTHING this week. Looking forward to Wednesday (payday!) though. I hope you loooove the murakami- I've read Sputnik Sweetheart and it is WEIRD (obviously) but I still liked it (of course!)

  4. I love Fringe so hard. It's a total mindbender a lot of the time - especially once you hit season 3 - and a lot of it is firmly in "Pff, yeah right" territory, but I just love all the characters so much. Especially Walter. (I think it helped that I was a massive X-Files fan back in the day, so "Pff, yeah right" is pretty much par for the course for me!)

  5. Yay, you're reading it! I don't think you can fully appreciate HOW long this thing takes to get going until you actually pick it up. It's weird, the plot kind of sneaks up on you though, and suddenly YOU CARE SO MUCH.

    I've probably completely over-hyped it now and you won't be bothered by it at all, but I still hope you like it.

    Ninja Book Swap! I've just finished matching everybody up and I feel I should get brownie points for not beating my head on the keyboard. 65 people, all with their own preferences! It's done now though and you'll get your partner before June. EXCITING! :D

  6. I haven't read much more since I wrote this update, got distracted by another book and watching Fringe, but I intend to get stuck right back into it today. I'm enjoying it while I'm reading it, but so far, I keep putting off picking the book up again. But I trust you Hanna! :)

    Excited about the Ninja Book Swap! Looking forward to finding out who I've got.


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