What I’ve Been Reading

Among knitters, there’s a term for when you could continue knitting with the yarn you have for the rest of your life without buying any more.  SABLE – Stash Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy.  I propose that we make one for avid readers with extremely long to-read lists, such as myself.  I’m calling it BABEL, or Books Acquired Beyond Expected Lifetime.

Because I needed to feel in control of some part of my life after Mom’s latest health issues, I spent the weekend cataloging my personal library.  Personal library is just a fancy way of saying the books on my iPad.  It’s large, and growing. It doesn’t help that I added six books in the last month.  I had several books drop at once that I have been looking forward to reading.  Several of them I listened to as audiobooks at my day job.  Since I was in the hospital with and off my day job taking Mom to appointments, I had more time to read than usual.

So what have I been reading since the beginning of the year?

Lost City Of The Monkey God by Richard Preston – A fascinating look at modern day archeology.  While we may have new tools like s LiDAR to explore hidden cities from the air, there are still the traditional  threats such as disease and wildlife to deal with on the ground.

The Woman Who Would Be King: Hatshepsut’s Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt by Kara Cooney – From my BABEL.  It’s an interesting read about how Hatshepsut went from being the God’s Wife and Great Wife of Thutmose II, to regent for Thutmose III to a pharaoh in her own right.

Star Wars: Bloodline by Claudia Gray – Another one from the BABEL.  This is the story of how  Princess Leia of Alderaan, Senator of the New Republic, became General Organa of the Resistance. There were times that I had to stop reading and pause for a moment because I saw our current political situation reflected in it.  Definitely worth the read.  I listened to it in audiobook, and the only way I could get through it without being a bawling mess was that Carrie Fisher was not the voice actor reading it. We miss you Carrie!

Star Wars: The Perfect Weapon by Delilah S. Dawson – Another one from the BABEL.  This gives the back story to a character on screen for a few minutes.  It doesn’t have any plot essential Star Wars cannon, and would make a nice novella on its own.

Bandersnatch: C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings by Diana Pavlac Glyer  – Another one from the BABEL.  If you’re looking to form a writing group, this book is a wonderful resource of how the Inklings managed things and made each other better writers.

Catalyst (Star Wars): A Rogue One Novel by James Luceno – Another one from the BABEL  This is the story that leads into Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.  It helps fill in some of the blank spots about how Galen Erso came to know and eventually work under Orson Krennic, as well as fleshing out Lyra Erso and explaining their connection to Saw Gerrera.  Worth a read if you’re the kind of person who wants to know the backstory.

The Cold Eye (The Devil’s West Book 2) by Laura Ann Gilman – Sequel to Silver On The Road, it’s fascinating to watch Isobel née Lacoyo Távora, the Left Hand of the Devil, grow in power.  Laura Ann has a way of writing that makes you think that nothing is happening in the plot until you stop and think about what you just read.

Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty – I’ve been anticipating with grabby hands this book since she did a reading at Worldcon two year ago.  It was more than worth the wait.  It’s a classic closed box mystery combined with space travel.  The tones of Arthur C. Clarke and Agatha Christie blend perfectly with Mur’s unique humor to form a whodunnit that will keep you guessing up to the reveal.

Idle Ingredients (Sin Du Jour Book 5) by Matt Wallace – Word of warning.  Do not read these books when you are hungry.  Or you will be hungry.  Or you think you might be hungry in the far future.  In addition to the fun romp of character interactions and sharp plot, the description of the food makes me want to take cooking lessons.

Star Wars: Empire’s End: Aftermath by Chuck Wendig  – How dare he make me cheer for an Imperial Loyalty Officer and weep over a B1 Battle Droid.  That’s all I have to say.

Up next are Powers of Darkness: The Lost Version of Dracula by Bram Stoker and Valdimar Ásmundsson, The Stars Are Legion by Kameron Hurley, and Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman.  Then there’s the rest of my BABEL that I want to make a dent in.  I won’t be lacking for reading material any time soon.

One Reply to “What I’ve Been Reading”

  1. I am reading a combination of BABEL and new ones. I began the year reading Without Knowing Mr. Walkley by Edith Olivier (first cousin to Laurence) who was best friends with Rex Whistler the painter who was friends with the aethete Stephen Tennant who was lover of author Siegfried Sassoon who socialized with Ottoline Morrell at Garsington who shelters conscientious objectors during WWI and partied with Virginia Woolf and her sister Vanessa Bell and the artist Duncan Grant who was lover of author David (Bunny) Garnett who married Vanessa and Duncan’s illegitimate daughter Angelica. All of these people were intelligent, artistic, famous and incestuously connected. So after Without Knowing, I read Serious Pleasures…Stephen Tennant bio, then The BlueStocking and the Bright Young Thing (bio of Edith and Rex Whistler), then The Life of Siegfried Sassoon War Poet, then Ottoline Morrell Life on a Grand Scale. Then I read Nicky Haslam’s Redeeming Features…a name dropping designer who knew and met everyone. Then the second Ottoline bio The Life. Then The Passionate Nomad life of Freya Stark. Then biography of David (Bunny) Garnett, then his wife’s bio Deceived With Kindness which trashed David and didn’t match with all the other mentions of him in biographies…as such a wonderful, bright, nice man. I am currently reading Carrington the biography of Dora Carrington, painter who was in love with Lytton Strachey, author…whose biography I plan to read next. I also have a third book of Ottoline..her WWI diary. I love the Bloomsbury era and the interconnected lives of all these people…as lovers, siblings, husbands and wives. I decided this year not to set myself a challenge of books to read on Goodreads so the pressure was off. As I read each of the books above there would be something that had me googling a question and reading essays, books review, potted biographies, poems, paintings, photos and histories of houses (like Nicky Haslam’s The Hunting Lodge, Cecil Beaton’s house and its famous interior, Stephen Tennant’s home in Wiltshire and its famous auction after his death, Chatworth as set up by Deborah Mitford the Duchess of Devonshire, Knole the house where Vita Sackville West grew up and Sissinghurst where her and her husband Harold Nicholson grew such a fabulous and famous garden that is a show place to this day. The Duchess’s last book Wait for Me was dedicated to David (Bunny) Garnett. There was a movie made of Carrington’s life. All these connections and side tracks to the books I am reading. I have dozens of books on Virginia Woolf, Harold Nicholson and Vita, Cecil Beaton diaries, Katherine Mansfield’s books and diaries. Connections, connections, connections and I will go from one to another. i have Carrington’s diaries and letters edited by David (Bunny) Garnett. I have Lytton Strachey biography by Michael Holyrood (sic). Stephen Tennant was one of the inspirations for Evelyn Waugh’s book Brideshead Revisited…the gone with the teddy bear.

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