It’s been a while. Maybe the longest I’ve gone between posting since I first started blogging way back in 2005. (I had to go look that up. Now I feel positively decrepit in internet years.) There was some crappy stuff going on in the romance field that piled onto my general ennui with respect to fiction; it seemed easier to just not post at all. I wouldn’t say that I’ve got my reading or blogging mojo back, but I actually felt the urge to write about books today so…
October reading? There may have been some but I can’t recall. November was mostly ~meh~ too until the holiday weekend when I finished two books.
First, I read As You Wish, Cary Elwes’s memoir of the filming of The Princess Bride. I love that movie and will watch it whenever I see it on cable. I used to have a VHS copy but it is long gone. Over the holiday weekend, we (The Biochemist, The Chemist, and I) settled down in the den/TV room to watch it but found that we couldn’t – VHS copy only but no player, and it wasn’t streaming for free. Anyway, As You Wish isn’t particularly brilliant in terms of narrative, but it gave a peak into the filming process and also Goldman’s feelings about the book and the option/screenplay’s troubled history before Rob Reiner talked Goldman into giving him the rights.
Second, Ben Aaronovitch’s Foxglove Summer — book five of the Rivers of London/Peter Grant series. I have immediate gratification issues, so I ordered a copy from Amazon UK. I really like Peter’s voice and Aaronovitch’s style, but dear godlings was the copy editing bad in this book. Dropped or missed punctuation all over the place, relationships changing back and forth (grandfather then father then grandfather again), etc. I probably need to do a little poking around the author’s website to see if there is a defined arc or series length; it might help me reconcile where this book fits. It felt pretty disjointed relative to earlier installments.
On the plus side, readers learn a bit about The Nightingale and Ettersberg, and to see magic outside of London. (I actually like the London-based stuff better, in terms of the history, but I’m assuming this is another perspective on the whole “magic really wasn’t dying” thing that has been mentioned in earlier books.)
A couple of my favorite passages:
‘So ghosts and magic are real?’ he said.
I’d had that question enough times to have an answer ready. ‘There are things that fall outside the parameters of normal policing,’ I said. I find you get two types of police, those that don’t want to know and those that do. Unfortunately, dealing with things you don’t want to know about is practically a definition of policing.
‘So “yes”,’ said Dominic.
‘There’s weird shit,’ I said. ‘And we deal with the weird shit, but normally it turns out that there’s a perfectly rational explanation.’ Which is often that a wizard did it. (page 35)
‘Why does everyone call him the Nightingale?’ I asked.
‘Because he was so singular, so extraordinary – or so the seniors said. Of course most of us didn’t believe a word of it, but we used it as a nickname – irony, or so we thought.’
He was looking in my direction, but his gaze was somewhere back in time to his young self. My dad does the same thing when he talks about seeing Freddie Hubbard with Tubby Hayes at the Bull’s Head in 1965 or being at Ronnie Scott’s and hearing Sonny Rollins solo live for the first time.
There were so many questions I wanted answered, but I began to fear that he was drifting off — or worse.
‘You should have seen him at Ettersberg,’ he said softly. ‘It was like standing before the walls of Troy. Aias d’amphi Menoitiadei sakos euru kalupsas hestekei hos tis te leon peri hoisi tekessin, but Ajax covered the son of Menoitios with his broad shield and stood fast, like a lion over its children.’ (page136; diacritical marks missing due to my inability to add them.)
There’s a third quote that I like best but it is a serious spoiler for book four so I’ve left it out.
Unrelated: Chicago was lovely for the holiday, if a little chilly on Thursday. The Chemist made a turdork (duck stuffed with turkey breast and chorizo) that was delicious. He also made a salted caramel chocolate cake (crushed animal cracker base with inches of ganache, basically) for dessert. (And breakfast the next day – cake for breakfast is a valid life choice, okay.) It was lick-the-plate good, and I’ve asked for the recipe. Lunch at Revolution Brewery one day, AHL hockey on Saturday followed by amazing pumpkin gnocchi at Letizia Fiore, and lots of couch potato-ing for the NCAA, NHL, and NFL. The only bad part was the trip home — delayed 2 hours for lack of flight crew and then with a dog on the flight that barked for a solid hour.