Books Are Life

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New COVID Reading, post-Expanse:

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2020 in Books

Self had an unbelievable string of great reads, in the spring. Here were the books she read:

  • Someone Who Will Love You In All Your Damaged Glory, by Rafael Bob-Waksberg
  • The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addison
  • I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith
  • The Run of His Life: The People vs O. J. Simpson, by Jeffrey Toobin
  • Children of Time, by Adrian Tchaikovsky
  • Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh

After that run, she stumbled on The Expanse, and has so far read four novels in the series (The ninth is supposed to appear either this year or next. Ha!), all of them super-engaging. Highly recommend!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Also, the Wisdom of Amos Burton

James Holden is our bleeding heart hero. Fortunately, Amos goes with him to Ilus. Although nothing happens (sorry, fan fiction shippers), there is priceless priceless dialogue.

Cibola Burn, p. 291:

James Holden: “There will be people who think I’m very selfish.”

Amos: “True. But also, fuck ’em. They’re not us.”

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Wes Chatham as Amos Burton on The Expanse

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

 

 

Outside, in a Ship Suit: BASIA

The description of Ilus is quite lovely. This is from the Basia POV. You’ll note self is making good progress: she’s almost halfway through Cibola Burn.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

p. 281

Seventeen hundred kilometers below, Ilus spun past at a dizzying pace. Alex had told him that the Rocinante had an orbital period just under two hours, but Basia couldn’t feel it. Floating outside the ship in microgravity, his inner ear told him that he was drifting, motionless. So instead the universe appeared to spin far too quickly, like some giant child’s toy. Every hour, moving from dark to light, and then an hour later back to darkness, the sun rising from behind Ilus, spinning around behind him, and setting again briefly. Basia had been outside long enough to see the change three times, the center of his own cosmos.

The planet’s one vast ocean was in night.

Thinking about how beautiful and strange Ilus is, self suddenly remembers a short story she read when she was but a child: If I Forget Thee, O Earth.

She forgets who wrote it, but wow. What a story.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Reads of Julys Past

Self is still reading Cibola Burn. What can she say? It’s been a busy week. Havelock and Naomi are together (She’s his prisoner; they should hook up). But Holden is still Naomi’s titular boyfriend (though he doesn’t think of her much, not for almost 300 pages)

Self does like Havelock. Which is why, if Naomi were to start developing feelings, self would not mind a bit. Besides which, she loves their conversation while she is Havelock’s prisoner.

Did self say caged? Indeed she did! Naomi is in a cage, and she has to do all her business in that cage, including pee-ing.

Perhaps her affection for Havelock developed from the actor who plays him in the series. (He survives a pole sticking out of his chest! He visits a Belter brothel to learn how to speak Belter! He knew Miller!)

Someone on goodreads has written a thesis in the guise of a review on Cibola Burn, and hundreds of people apparently read it and liked it. So Americans do read! Probably as much as, or more than, POTUS!

This post is about all her favorite reads of Julys past. Herewith:

July 2016:  Girl Waits With Gun, by Amy Stewart (Is this ever going to be a movie?)

July 2017:  Barbarian Days, by William Finnegan

July 2018:   Manderley Forever, by Tatiana de Rosnay

July 2019:   Open Heart: A Cardiac Surgeon’s Stories of Life and Death on the Operating Table, by Stephen Westaby

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Amos and Holden, CIBOLA BURN

There is an ease between these two characters that makes Naomi almost superfluous.

There is so much good fan fiction about these two. Honestly.

It’s not self’s main ship, but the Amos/Holden fan fiction is mostly better than the Nolden fan fiction (Also, BTW, Naomi/Drummer fan fiction is pretty good)

pp. 144 – 145:

“So,” Amos said when Holden exited the town meeting that night. “How’d it go?”

“I must have done it right,” Holden replied. “Everyone’s pissed.”

They walked along the dusty street together in companionable silence for a while. Amos finally said, “Weird planet. Walking in open air at night with no moon is breaking my head.”

“I hear you. My brain keeps trying to find Orion and the Big Dipper. What’s weirder is that I keep finding them.”

“That ain’t them,” Amos said.

“Oh, I know. But it’s like my eyes are forcing those patterns on stars that aren’t really lined up the right way to make them.”

The scene continues. It’s such a charming conversation, not forced in any way. Love it.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

 

#backreading The New Yorker, 14 October 2019

Found, in a pile of unread New Yorkers, the issue that lauds Jenny Lewis’s Gilgamesh Retold (available now as an audiobook featuring Jenny reading her own work, on the Carcanet website)

 

It’s partly about George Smith, “an engraver of banknotes,” who “spent his lunch hours at the British Museum, studying its holdings.” Eventually, Smith was hired to “help analyze the thousands of clay shards that had been shipped … ” from “Nineveh, an important city in ancient Mesopotamia … the reason so many tablets had been found in one place was that they were the remains of a renowned library, that of Ashurbanipal, a king of the neo-Assyrian Empire in the seventh century B.C.” The script was written in cuneiform, a script “no one could read.”

The article, by Joan Acocella, is very long. But worth noting is that it reviews Jenny Lewis’s new collection, Gilgamesh Retold. Self has heard Jenny read, and her voice — Shohreh Aghdashloo level.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Her Protector’s Pleasure, Chapter Two: Slay, Slay, Slay

Wow, self is really enjoying this bodice ripper! The writing is so completely immersive! Chapter One was set in a male brothel in Regency London, and ended with the brothel Madam’s own special man being appropriated by the widow MC for … well, dear blog readers can guess.

Chapter Two takes us to the Thames River Police, which is nowhere near as interesting as the brothel. There are two protagonists: one is a member of the Thames River Police (as dear blog reader might have guessed), the other is a man in his fifties whose name is so close to that of the male prostitute that self first thought they were one and the same, until she came to the spot where the the author describes the man as being in his fifties. At which point, self said, Oh.

Anyhoo, blah blah blah goes on between the two.

Self is alternating between Her Protector’s Pleasure and Cibola Burn. In Cibola Burn, SPOILER ALERT! Murtry and Holden meet. Holden waves and smiles, Murtry shoots a man right in front of Holden. TROUBLE, this man MURTRY is TROUBLE WITH A CAPITAL ‘T.’ Self adores Burn Gorman, the actor who plays him in the TV series  The Expanse. And of course it goes without saying that she adores Steven Strait.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

“This planet is officially ours now” — CIBOLA BURN, p. 109

If you have not read the books, stop reading right now. SPOILERS.

The pace is picking up.

It always happens in a James S. A. Corey book, at least with the books that followed Leviathan Wakes.

The Rocinante lands on Ilus. Holden and Amos see “hardpan dirt, with small shrublike plants.” There’s even “a cloud of biting insects.” Oh, eeeewww. Mosquitoes? “But a number of them bit, drank their blood, and dropped dead.” YES!

Amos and Jim keep walking.

They arrive at what “looked like a shantytown.”

Humans, Holden realizes with some amusement, have traveled “fifty-thousand light years” to build “houses using ten-thousand year-old technology.” That’s rich.

Holden thinks: “Humans were very strange creatures, but sometimes they were also charming.”

They encounter a crowd of people. In true Holden fashion, Holden drops his bags, smiles, and waves (lol). Amos “smiled too, though he casually rested his hand on the butt of his pistol.”

Here are the intrepid duo, discussing . . . something . . . :

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Captain James Holden (Steven Strait) and Amos Burton (Wes Chatham): Two of her favorite characters on the show

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Progress: CIBOLA BURN

It’s taken self two weeks to reach page 100 (because so many things). Nevertheless, here she is!

“We’re dropping in twenty minutes,” Murtry said. “It’s a long, fast drop, and some of it’ll be choppy. I’m bringing us down just east of the Belter camp. Smith and Wei are camp leads. Our first priority is reaching and reinforcing the office down there.”

“What about the Barbapiccola?” someone asked.

“Screw the Barbapiccola! What about the Rocinante?”

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Casting Brilliance: Burn Gorman as Adolphus Murtry

“Havelock, good to see you. I’m going to need a minute.”

“Yes, sir.”

“So I’m putting you in charge of the ship.”

“Thank you, sir.”

“I wouldn’t go that far. I’m leaving you in a crap position,” Murtry said.

Screaming Firehawks, the Roci’s coming in hot.

Stay safe.

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