Well, this has been fun. Incidentally, the definition of “fun” has been expanded to include “losing your goddamn mind,” which I very nearly did last week. I can’t share details because the projects are all confidential, but I can tell you it was 100% work-related and it was not helped by my boneheaded habit of accepting freelance editing jobs on weeks when I’m super fucking slammed.
September was abysmal from a reading perspective, which is why it got rolled into the October reading summary post. October was better, and November is starting off questionable. To quickly recap, here’s what I’ve been doing instead of reading:
This is actually a good thing, because if my books are ever going to get published they sort of need to be written first. I am currently in the throes of second-round revisions for my one completed manuscript. So far I have learned absolutely nothing except that I get rather snippy while I’m editing. (Character name redacted because I respect my characters’ privacy, occasionally.)
This was from a while ago and I don’t actually cook that often (packaged food doesn’t count) but I liked this picture, so we’re rolling with it.
This might not seem like a big deal, but I don’t have in-unit laundry, so it’s a big fucking deal. On Saturday I rotated my mattress and changed from summer sheets to flannel sheets, which meant that on Sunday I hauled the summer sheets, summer comforter, and mattress pad to the laundromat, then hauled them all back home again and put them away for the winter and now I feel super organized and adult. I also put away the fan that’s been sitting on my bedside table, dusted off the surge protector, and stashed it under the table because I’ve spent the last seven months tripping over it. I get that that’s not most people’s idea of fun but come on it’s awesome 😀
Not pictured, but the rest of the apartment got a deep clean too (up to and including the scrubbing of the bathtub, the stove, and the floors) because I have been seriously neglecting my cleaning while I’ve been AWOL with work and I cannot function in a pigsty.
I’ve been pretty good lately about not overshopping, but yesterday was a time of great need, so I hauled ass to the nearest H Mart, which is about 30 minutes away and thus is not included in my usual rotation of grocery stores. Of course, having just now looked it up, I’ve discovered that there is in fact an H Mart in Catonsville which is a sliver closer to my house, so I may need to pay them a visit. If we needed further proof that I am not trustworthy in an Asian market, here it is. In my defense, I was down to my last six packs of ramen, and I was about to have very sad times in Baltimore. Totally not me already cooking one in the background before I even took the photo. >_>
Also my quick Saturday trip to Target got a little bit out of control.
Yes I know I already have World of Wonders but this is a special edition with new essays and illustrations and we needed it, precious. It’s not my birthday, my love, but oh fuck I wanted it. And I finally opened the dragon necklace that arrived like a week ago SOMEBODY STOP ME (but also I was using a coupon so maybe don’t stop me just yet)
I finally met my friend’s five-month-old puppy, and he promptly melted all over my feet. He also turned my arms into cheese graters but I am a modern woman and I am not relying on the smoothness of my arms to get a good husband and also I have lumpy peasant skin anyway, so in conclusion fucked if I care.
And on Halloween I went trick-or-treating for the first time in a literal decade with a couple of friends/former roommates and their one-year-old. These were their jack o’lanterns, and they were amazing.
And now I really need to watch Over the Garden Wall.
September Reading Stats
Should I even bother?
- Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal – Christopher Moore
Total Pages Read: 400
I wasn’t kidding when I said September was abysmal. The one book I did finish was hilarious for the most part, though there were a couple of things that really did not age well. I have a draft post for this, and I swear a review is coming eventually.
October Reading Stats
October went much better.
- Speak – Laurie Halse Anderson
- SPY X FAMILY 6 – Tatsuya Endo
- Black Butler 30 – Yana Toboso
- The African Trilogy – Chinua Achebe
- The Girl with the Louding Voice – Abi Daré
- Gideon the Ninth – Tamsyn Muir
- Harrow the Ninth – Tamsyn Muir
Total Pages Read: 2,628
Highlight of the month: I finally finished The African Trilogy!!! That was quite an undertaking and it took me the better part of three months, but it was totally worth it. It cannot be adequately summarized, but it starts with Things Fall Apart, which documents the initial skirmishes between the traditional religion and Christianity in an Igbo community, particularly following Okonkwo, who is a hero in his village; continues with Arrow of God, which follows chief priest Ezeulu as he struggles to keep his authority and the faith of his community; and ends with No Longer at Ease, which follows Obi, grandson of Okonkwo, as he tries to stay afloat in a world that demands more and more money.
Of the three, Things Fall Apart was my favorite. Arrow of God was a little slow, but I still liked it better than No Longer at Ease, which I didn’t like at all. I think I would’ve liked it better if it hadn’t included Clara, because for the life of me I have no idea what Obi sees in her. Maybe it’s just because she’s pretty and he’s used to her, but you’d think her neverending cycle of troubles would have given him some indication by now that the relationship isn’t going to work. I don’t blame her for her social status or the pregnancy, but she never seems happy with him and there are times when it feels like she’s playing some sort of game, and I almost wish we had had a few chapters from her perspective, if only to explain what the hell is going on inside her head. In any case, I will not be writing a full review of this trilogy – I frankly wouldn’t feel comfortable doing that unless I were better versed in Igbo culture and history, which I am not – so all I will say is that this should be essential reading for everyone. Add it to your list if you haven’t done so already, because you need to read this.
The other highlights belong to Gideon the Ninth, which was chef’s kiss, and Harrow the Ninth. Harrow didn’t quite reach the same level as Gideon but it sure got close and now I need Nona the Ninth and Alecto the Ninth, like, yesterday.
I find myself in the peculiar position of having DNF’d my reread of the Poppy War series (R.F. Kuang) about 40% of the way through The Poppy War. I read the entire series last year but forgot most of it because it is intricate, so I restarted the first book last month with the intention of refreshing my memory in advance of finishing my review. Last night, however, I decided to discontinue my reread for the time being, and I don’t know why. I do not understand my aversion to this trilogy. I enjoyed what I reread of the first book – even more, perhaps, than I did the first time I read it – but it languished next to my bed for weeks before I finally put it and myself out of our shared misery. Maybe it’s just that the reading slumps got to me, but for some reason I have had an extraordinarily difficult time motivating myself to read this book. I think the most limiting factor is probably the length of the chapters, which are just long enough that I don’t have the energy to deal with them at the end of a work day. Whatever the case, I am really not in the mood for this series, and I will have to postpone my reread to some other day (or possibly year).
In the meantime, I have nothing to read because I just finished rereading The Year of the Witching (Alexis Henderson) last night, so I decided I’d try to get back on track with my 2021 TBR. (Yeah, remember this old thing? It’s still around.) I’ll be starting with Paladin of Souls (Lois McMaster Bujold), which is a reread, and Silence (Shūsaku Endō), which isn’t. I don’t know too much about Silence except that it has to do with torturing Portuguese priests, but Paladin of Souls is the sequel to The Curse of Chalion which is one of my all-time favorite books and I’ve read/listened to it many, many times and it is………..middling. I’m sorry, but Chalion was way better. All the same, I know what to expect and Paladin has all the cozy vibes (for the first part of the book) and that’s what I’m after right now, so I’m looking forward to this.
Speaking of cozy vibes and things that make self-motivation hard, I rewatched the LOTR trilogy in stages over the last week and now I am having some thoughts, such as the thought that it might potentially be a good idea to reread the books. This is hovering somewhere between a great idea and the worst fucking idea I’ve ever idea’d, but we’ll see how I’m feeling tomorrow.