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Not so much a blog; just lots of books

Currently reading

The Rule of Luck
Catherine Cerveny
Engineering Animals: How Life Works
Alan Mcfadzean, Mark Denny
Progress: 125/314pages
The Rise of Yeast: How the Sugar Fungus Shaped Civilization
Nicholas P. Money
Conservation of Shadows
Yoon Ha Lee
Progress: 22%
Le premier jour
Marc Levy
Progress: 180/496pages
Terry Pratchett, Nigel Planer
Moby-Dick: or, The Whale (Penguin Classics)
Herman Melville
Manifold: Time
Stephen Baxter, Chris Schluep
Progress: 99/480pages
The Long War
Stephen Baxter, Terry Pratchett
Progress: 68/501pages

Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd by Alan Bradley (audiobook)

Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd: A Flavia de Luce Novel - Alan Bradley, Jayne Entwistle

Series: Flavia de Luce #8


Flavia is back from Canada and up to her old tricks by discovering a dead body while on an innocent errand. She really has all the luck, doesn't she? I have to say that Flavia probably deserves her little cousin Undine, who at one point assaults her by swinging across the room or hall or whatever on a rope imitating Tarzan. This mystery mostly proceeds by Flavia questioning various people by posing as someone older than she is (about twelve now) rather than focusing on a lot of chemistry. So there's less of her gushing, basically.


I think I'll count this towards the Winter Solstice / Yuletide (December 21) book for 24 Festive Tasks since although there are references to a lack of decorations for Christmas because her father is ill and snow on the ground and some solstice traditions, it hasn't quite gotten to Christmas yet (unless I missed it).

24 Festive Tasks Update Post

Total points: 7





Summary of points:


Door 1 - Task 1 (silly poem)


Task 2 (new): I've now acquired a favourite epitaph, courtesy of the Flavia de Luce books. There are many variations but they basically go:

"Remember me as you pass by,
As you are now, so once was I,
As I am now, so you must be,
Prepare for death and follow me."


Door 2 - Book set in the UK: The Jane Austen Project (new)


Door 3 - Task 1 - Pick your ponies (done)


Door 4 - Task 2

Task 4


Door 19 - Book (new): Read any comedy, parody, or satire: The Light Fantastic

The Jane Austen Project by Kathleen A. Flynn (audiobook)

The Jane Austen Project - Kathleen A. Flynn, Saskia Maarleveld

A team of two travels back in time to insinuate themselves into Jane Austen's life so that they can steal and copy some of her letters and rescue an unfinished novel (a complete version doesn't exist in the future) from being destroyed.


The concept was interesting, but I sometimes found the main character, Rachel, to be annoying and I wasn't sold on the romance.


I haven't checked, but if this fits one of the books for 24 Festive Tasks then I'll use it towards that. But that's a tomorrow task.

The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett (audiobook)

The Light Fantastic  - Terry Pratchett

Series: Discworld #2


In which we experience more Rincewind and Twoflower shenanigans and we learn the Librarian's origins. Alright, so at this point the Librarian hasn't been previously introduced, but he becomes such an iconic Discworld character that I feel he's worth a mention. Oh, and we meet Cohen the Barbarian too.


This was a quick and entertaining read (or listen, technically), with a good performance by the narrator but you can tell that this was an early recording. The sound quality isn't terrible but it's not quite up to standard.


I think this is supposed to fit one of the holidays for 24 Festive Tasks but I haven't looked them over to see which one yet. I haven't really been keeping up.

Diwali shelfies and packing

(Updated with books!)


Due to popular request, I will be posting the packing and unpacking of my shelves for my move.


Because I'm going to posting lots of pictures, I figured I'd put this in a new post, with a link both to and from the original.


The pictures came out kind of blurry, sorry, but here we have the "before" pictures:

Living room books

(my mostly double-shelved living room books)


(top books from office/book room)


(lower books from office/book room)


So far I've managed to pack most of the books from the office (there's still about a shelf to go) but haven't touched the living room books yet.


(First set of boxes)


(And yet more boxes)


This post will be updated as my packing progresses...


And we have an update! I got rid of a couple bookcases because they were looking a bit worse for wear (they were pretty cheap in the first place so I thought it best to replace them) so I've had to wait for my new ones to arrive (I didn't feel like lugging them from the store so I scheduled a delivery).


First I filled my one remaining bookcase with some random books:


And so far I have one of the new bookcases standing but not quite fully put together:


I now have both semi-assembled, so I just have to fit them side-by-side, fasten them together, and install the other shelves and trimmings.



Finally with everything assembled:


And with my books unpacked, albeit unsorted:


Apparently the solution to not having enough shelf space is to buy new massive bookcases to replace your old ones. I seem to have acquired shelf space! I wonder how long it'll last...


I haven't organized the books yet, so I'm not sure whether this is sufficient to claim the task, but at least I've unpacked everything and I can get rid of some of the boxes that were taking up room so I can build my desk and move on to the storage closet.

The Glass Universe by Dava Sobel (audiobook)

The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars - Dava Sobel,  Cassandra Campbell

This books gives a historical overview of the astronomy work at Harvard done and funded by women starting in the mid nineteenth century. It basically describes how some of the directors were forward-thinking enough to hire women first as computers and then (eventually) as outright astronomers and some of the steps taken to ensure that women were at least eligible for some of the awards that were eventually funded. Sadly, being eligible seems like a pretty low bar, but you have to start somewhere, right?


It was interesting albeit a bit dry in parts, and I'm not sure that audio was the best format for a book like this although the narrator, Cassandra Campbell, was quite good. It cuts off in the 1950s, although it references some of the discoveries made and awards won later on.

My tea shelf

My new place has a lovely pantry, so that's where I've hidden away all my teas. They're not very photogenic, but this is why I laughed at some of you saying you had a "lot" of teas when you barely have a dozen containers on a shelf.



And the view in behind (moving the blue basket out of the way):



I should probably have organized them better for taking a picture, but there you have it.

As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley (audiobook)

As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust: Flavia de Luce, Book 7 - Alan Bradley, Jayne Entwistle

Series: Flavia de Luce #7


Flavia is exiled to the wilds of Toronto to attend her mother's old boarding school. I have to say that Flavia's adventures on the Danforth with her treks out to Rosedale amused me. Although I love the narrator of these books, I did find her "Canadian" accents to be a bit odd, however. I'm not sure what it was exactly. Too American, maybe?


Anyway, Flavia gets to act very Flavia in this one, so I enjoyed it a fair bit.

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

The Bear and the Nightingale - Katherine Arden

Series: Winternight Trilogy #1


Alright, so it's not that I disliked this book. It's just that I found it to be pretty average. It's basically a mediaeval fantasy based in Russia, so some of the folklore is a bit different (and neat, I'll grant you), but it boils down to tensions between the traditional folklore and Christianity, where the Christians view the household spirits as demons.


The storytelling is also very linear, and the book starts right at the start of Vasya's history, just before her birth. There was a point about a third of the way through (or maybe a bit later but before the halfway mark) where I realized that I was going to have to wade through a lot of text just to get where the book was going, and I almost felt discouraged enough to put it down. Things did ramp up when Vasya was battling the upyry but then the story meandered again in Death's house...


Overall it was just a very traditional fantasy story since it even included the obsession with female virginity and how it relates to the ability to do magic.


I was really looking forward to reading this since it sounded cool, but although I don't regret reading it by any means, I don't think I'll be seeking out the rest of the trilogy either. Maybe I'll check out other things by the author if she continues to write, however. The book is written well, and maybe I'd get drawn into another of her stories better.

The Wonder Engine by T. Kingfisher

The Wonder Engine - T. Kingfisher

Series: Clocktaur War #2


This wraps up the short Clocktaur War duology. I didn't particularly enjoy the romance in this one although I appreciate the way it was done. I'm mostly giving this one three stars because it the dialogue had me giggling to myself on several occasions.

The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches

The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches  - Alan Bradley, Jayne Entwistle

Series: Flavia de Luce #6


This one was a bit weird and seems to be taking the series in a new direction. I'm not entirely sure if I like the direction, but I still enjoy listening to the books. 

Behold, Here's Poison by Georgette Heyer

Behold, Here's Poison - Georgette Heyer

I finished this a week ago so I'm going to have to dredge my memory for things to say about it.


Overall I found it an enjoyable mystery although I guessed some aspects of the solution to the murder. I didn't know that I was right, of course, and the motivations were a bit of a mystery, but it's always fun when you're not completely clueless about a mystery.


I wasn't a fan of the romance in this one because it seemed especially random, but it wasn't a huge part of the story.


That just might be it.

The Last Hero by Terry Pratchett

The Last Hero - Terry Pratchett, Paul Kidby

Series: Discworld #27


The prose felt a lot rougher than is usual for a Discworld book, and although I found it interesting, I wasn't sure how I'd rate it. It just felt so superficial. The way everything was wrapped up in the end was cute, though, so I'm giving it three stars.

The Gunslinger by Stephen King (audiobook)

The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower I) - Stephen King, George Guidall

Series: The Dark Tower #1


I think this is a popular series but this first book really didn't work for me. It started to go downhill when the Gunslinger gets together with Alice. I'm not particularly intrigued by the mystery of the tower and the man in black seemed to just be spouting gobblygook when he was talking about the mysteries of the universe. I also definitely wasn't impressed that the last standoff consisted of sitting around the campfire and chatting. The writing and characterization felt sloppy and the fantasy setting didn't strike me as all that original, especially with the blatant misogyny slathered all over the place. I won't be continuing this series. I should note that the narration for the audiobook was pretty good, however.


Previous updates:

12 % (This is where things started going downhill)

Penric and the Shaman by Lois McMaster Bujold (audiobook)

Penric and the Shaman - Grover Gardner, Lois McMaster Bujold

Series: Penric and Desdemona #2


I fully admit that I probably wasn't paying enough attention to this audiobook but I just couldn't get into it and it felt like not much happened. This novella is set four years after Penric first gets his demon and he's already gone through all his training as a divine.

Reading progress update: I've listened 51 out of 440 minutes.

The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower I) - Stephen King, George Guidall

So this was going pretty well until we stumbled into some serious slut-shaming. Why do you hate women, gunslinger?


This probably dropped a star because of that (the line about regaining her maidenhood if not her head).