Recently read

In addition to the two books I mentioned in my last post, I’ve managed to read the first four installments of Meljean Brook’s The Kraken King serial.   I feel like maybe my reading mojo is returning?  *looks around furtively and whispers the words*

I like the serial very well, although I do not love the format.  That’s just personal taste, and I can live with it.  The only substantive criticism I have is a couple of typos and that the book/serial does not stand alone very well.  I’ve read the first of Brook’s steampunk books but nothing more, and I feel like I’ve missed a lot of worldbuilding and relationship establishment.  One can read the serial without that and enjoy it (I certainly am) but I get the feeling that I’d be enjoying the installments just a little bit more if I had the full background.


Now on my Kindle:  The Game by Ken Dryden.  I’ve read raves of this as The Best Hockey Sports Book Ever, so… Except.  Except I’m a little disappointed by Dryden’s piece on PK Subban and Carey Price; it kind of reinforces (I think) some ugly racial stereotypes that have been hockey blog fodder during the Montreal/Boston series after some of the fan and player behavior by Boston.


Paris is looming large on the horizon and my few words of French are terrible.  “Je mange des fraises rouges” is probably not the most useful thing I could have learned in advance of my trip, no?  But I’ve got some more useful phrases down (Ou est la gare? and the like) and have a pocket phrase book.  I have not yet decided which paper book I shall pack for airplane reading.


Below the cut for random personal stuff unrelated to reading.

On the work front all is well. It’s going very well, actually 🙂  On the home front, things are good.  I’ve been in my new house for just over  a year and am very pleased with it.  I don’t miss my old place, which is good I guess, but a surprise because I’m usually a creature of habit and 10 years is a long habit.

General observation: people who would never in a million years have told me I was fat are now telling me that I’m skinny or frail.  Uh, okay, not really.  I’m at the upper end for healthy on every BMI chart for my height.  You just think that because you are comparing Me Today with Me Three Years Ago.  Please stop.  Please also stop asking if I think I’ve lost enough.  It’s not a question of “enough” — my doctor gave a goal weight and her professional perspective is one I rely on.  Thank you for worrying but I’m not starving myself or working out excessively; this will end up being an almost three year project done under medical guidance.  I eat enough, I rest enough, I maybe don’t sleep enough but that is another issue entirely. 

They are also telling me that I need a profile.  Um, no, thank you.  I prefer to meet random people in other venues, usually with alcohol at hand to dull my social anxiety.  Or they are telling me that I should find a single guy my age within my extended family, because that’s safest.  (Yeah, I’m pretty sure I was wearing a WTF look when I got that piece of advice. Where to start even unpacking that?)  Or asking if I’m dating a lot because I’ve been wearing date-clothes to work sometimes.  Which, uh, I mostly wear business attire and suits: not date clothing unless I’m meeting a fellow with a fetish for women in three button suits.  (They are out there but I’m not currently acquainted with any, sorry.)

Looking at those last two paragraphs, I’m trying to figure out if there’s a larger message from my friends and colleagues that I’m missing.  Maybe that I’ve changed enough to unsettle them?  Or maybe I should just take it at face value that they want me to be healthy and believe that being not-single would also make me happy.  The last is a questionable assumption but I appreciate the thought.



Filed under Book related

5 responses to “Recently read

  1. I, too, may be emerging from the slump. I don’t think mine was as bad as yours but it was just as annoyingly real. I mean, there were days I was actively looking for things to do in my house that weren’t reading. Some of these things were pretty dull in my usual estimation but I was so fed up with books being crap that I had to do something. Anyway, hope you continue to pull out of it.

    Your Brook title reminded me that I recently read Kraken by Mieville. That guy writes weird shit. Not anything similar to Brook (though I haven’t her in a while, you may remember that I will never forgive her for the iron duke) but the title jogged my memory.

    I found the most useful phrase for me in paris was “crepe chocolat.” 🙂

    • jmc

      I used “un kouign amann” pretty often, along with “le formule, s’il vous plait”. I only had one crepe but basically overdosed on various croissants and cheese. 🙂

      I haven’t read any Mieville in a long time. Maybe add to the tbr? I’d forgotten that you did not like the iron duke. This serial is set in the same general world so maybe give it a pass.

      I bought a copy of a book on the seven ages of Paris while there. Perhaps it would have been better to read before going but I am enjoying it so far.

      • At least you OD’d on something. 🙂 For me it was crepes and cheese sandwiches. These long sandwich things made with the loveliest bread I’ve ever eaten (though a wee sandwich in Tunisia came very close). True story: there is a photo of me in front of the Eiffel Tower holding TWO sandwiches. Is that the sign that you have a problem. 😉 Hope you had an awesome time and the paris history book is just keeping the memories coming.

        I don’t know that I’d put Kraken on the tbr unless you just feel like some lit of the weird. It’s well-written (I think all his stuff is) but you do need a certain level of patience to stick with it (the weird kept me going). The one of his I think is a great one for the tbr is The City & the City. I continue to think about what I see and unsee in life. Absolutely fantastic levels to that book for me.

  2. Beth

    OH MY GOSH I HAVE SO MUCH BLATHER. I will try to keep it to a minimum.

    1. You’re so generous about people’s’ss motivations for questioning your weight loss. I am so much less forgiving, because it is infuriating to me how visible weight loss is somehow like wearing a sign that says JUDGE MY BODY VERBALLY AND AT LENGTH. It’s like an overweight person’s body (and physical, mental, and social health) is group property. I lost some significant weight a while ago and when people got too intrusive, I’d just be an a-hole about it. Like “Do YOU think I’ve lost enough? Oh I’m sorry, does that make YOU uncomfortable? Maybe because it’s inappropriate?”

    2. I’m also an a-hole to people who start nudging around my romantic life, or lack thereof. I assume if they’re married that they are bored and wanting me to provide them entertainment/vicarious love life. If they’re single then I assume they’re in a misery-loves-company situation. Because omg, unless you’re my bestie, why would we ever have this conversation? We wouldn’t! So shut up!

    3. Okay I have Paris advice, very general for the non-French speaker, which is this: never walk up to a Parisian and just say, like, “Où est la gare?” They are famously snooty with foreigners (esp. English speakers) because it just always comes off as presumptuous. Their entire manner changes if you first acknowledge that (a) you can’t speak French and wish you could, because that would be the proper language to speak in France, and; (b) you are interrupting their life and asking for a wee favor. This is achieved more through body language/demeanor than with words, but a few choice words can help it along. The simplest way is to start with the basic “Pardonnez-moi, je ne parle pas français…” – throw in some puppydog eyes, hesitate humbly as though you’re apologizing for bothering them, and THEN ask where the train station is. They will bust out whatever English they have, if you approach like that. A very helpful phrase is: “Je suis désolée de vous déranger, mais…” (“I’m sorry to bother you, but…”) I found that Parisians LOVE when you start out this way. You can encounter a dozen hostile frenchies in a row, and then you whip out that phrase and it’s like some magic key that opens the padlocked vault of kindness within the Gallic heart. When truly at wit’s end, just say “Je suis désolée de vous déranger, mais je ne parle pas français. Anglais?” It’s super easy to memorize because it all rhymes.

    Of course I haven’t been to Paris in like 14 years, so YMMV. Then again, Parisians have been that way forever, so I can’t imagine they’ve changed much in a mere 14 years. Have fun!!!!!

    • Thank you for the Paris advice. I am not sure that I’ll go back to Paris (so many places to visit) but likely will go back to France at some point so it’ll be useful. And that phrase was one that I memorized and used. I didn’t actually approach random strangers to ask for directions, although I did ask a bus driver in Monaco if he went “a la gare” – non, next bus, merci beaucoup. (And WTH, Prince of Monaco, having an event in the old ville and blocking off streets for pedestrians? How was I supposed to get back to the train station – that was the way I knew, dammit.) Everyone I spoke to (or tried to speak to) in my mangled French appreciated the effort and was polite about it. I had to laugh, though, because several English and Italian speaking tourists asked me for directions. Uh, let me whip out my handy map; I can tell you where we are but otherwise you are on your own.

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