Thursday, April 24, 2014

Lagging behind with my reporting, here

Did a spate of sewing last week; this:

is the latest grocery tote project. Only two more to go and I'll have replaced all my venerable old (1985!) grocery sacks with these new, pretty ones. I'm finding that sometimes grocery clerks are hesitant to assume they're for my groceries, even though I plunk them on the conveyor belt ahead of my groceries. It's no surprise that female clerks commenting outnumber male clerks commenting by about 5:1.  I have to say, I haven't seen any prettier grocery totes than mine in any store I've been to. LOL this retirement gives one lots of time...

In the book-reading realm: Still none read for the Challenge (see right column and a few posts ago) but I have been working on my giant, teetering TBR pile steadily. I've re-read: Louise Penny's A Trick of the Light (for the library mystery club), and Alan Bradley's Speaking from Among the Bones, just because I love Flavia.* Well, and Inspector Gamache. I dearly wish we could get the Canadian Gamache TV specials series here on Netflix, sigh. I suppose it'll come around eventually, but really,  Nathaniel Parker as Gamache??? swoon


I've also partially read a non-fiction book that kind of disappointed me. I did get about 3/4 through before I realized I was Slogging, and quit.  Now, I loves me some biogeography - deeply, madly, truly I love it. So The Monkey's Voyage by Alan De Queiroz was totally my cup of tea. 

He discusses the ongoing controversy raging between the "far-flung species totally coulda rode accidental natural rafts to remote island sites" camp, and the "species on remote island sites got there when Gondawandaland (or was it Pangaea?) split up WAY before then" camp. It held my interest as long as it stuck with the bio- and the geo- - but it seemed to devolve into a certain amount of axe-grinding and personality conflicts (which engender so many of those delightfully entertaining shitstorms in Letters to the Editor columns in scientific journals) ego-stroking and petty bickering.  Ho-hum. Life's too short.

Yesterday, I finished The Geographer's Library by Jon Fasman.  


I really enjoyed reading this thing. It reminds me more of The Club Dumas than what it's been compared to, or rather slotted in next to, which is Dan Brown's The DaVinci Code. It interleaves descriptions of fifteen ancient objects that were stolen from the library of (an actual, historical) Muslim polymath, adventurer and traveler in the early 12th century in northern Europe. Latvia, I think, and/or Estonia. It gets confusing. Anyway, Those are alternated with a Today story of a young, kind of aimless small town reporter who haplessly crosses paths with the seriously dangerous people who are trying to find all these things, when he takes on the writing of an obituary of an old college professor at his alma mater. Naturally the flaky old guy turns out to be something other than what he seemed. Whoa Nelly, WAY Something Other. A mysterious and alluring woman a few years older than he, one of his own former professors, a likeable oafish but really brilliant cop, and of course the aforementioned Bad Guys make this a real page-turner. However ... after finishing it, some questions came to mind that made me realize that it could have been a lot *better*. It doesn't really fulfill its promise and potential, and that's all I say about that. I loved it while I read it, and maybe I'll entertain myself by imagining what *could* have happened. 

Last night, I finished Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer.  

It's the first in a trilogy, the other two volumes will be published later this year. It's a science fiction mystery/horror kind of thing, and I have to say, the first couple chapters were seriously creepy. Readers have complained because it's so obviously the first in a series, but I don't care as long as they get those other books out here SOON! Fascinating, horrifying premise and if the thing is what it seems, it's a gratifyingly original take on what "aliens" could be like - nothing like any I've seen or read about before. Nothing like anything I EVER want to meet in person thank you very much.

So that catches me up on the reading front. And the sewing front. 

ETA: the pretty book cover pictures, and the note, below. 

* Please note, I'm putting live links to these books' pages not because I'm an affiliate (I'm not) but because for the most part, I find the most useful site for good images of the covers (and any interior images they may post in their Look Inside dealie-bobber) and because there are usually a good mix of reviews pro & con each book.

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