Monday, December 06, 2021

Monday Malarkey

Recent arrivals (above):

  • The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa - Goodreads win from HarperCollins for review

I almost never win anything from Goodreads but I suspect that's because I don't try too hard. I'm excited about The Cat Who Saved Books because a) cat, b) books, c) Japanese author. Also, a couple friends have reviewed it and enthused about it, so that's always positive. And, yes, those are blooming roses behind the book, in case you were wondering. But, it does finally look like fall, here, and some of our trees are even entirely bare. 

From the library sale (top to bottom):

  • L'Assommoir by Emile Zola
  • Museum of Thieves by Lian Tanner
  • Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan
  • Dimensions of Sheckley: Selected Novels of Robert Sheckley 
  • The Complete Letters of Oscar Wilde, ed. by Merlin Holland and Rupert Hart-Davis

I actually went to the library sale in search of old books with illustrations I could cut out for collaging but as I said on Instagram, I am Bookfool and must live up to my name. I have Beneath a Scarlet Sky in e-book and it's possible I already have a print copy but in my memory I see a slightly dirty copy. If I'm right that I already have it, I'll re-donate the other copy when I find it. This one is nearly pristine, as I prefer my books to be. 

There was one person at the library sale who was clearly there to find books to resell. It's funny how you can spot them. They're always in a hurry and all business, avoid eye contact, and frequently pull out the phone to look up value. 

You may recall that in my last Monday Malarkey post I said I thought I was probably done receiving books for the year. Um . . . I think that's true now? I guess we'll see. I am not buying, although I did make an exception for library sales so the books above don't violate my book-buying ban. At any rate, if I receive anything, it will be a surprise. 

Books finished since last Malarkey:

  • The Way We Weren't by Phoebe Fox
  • Dragon Mountain by Katie and Kevin Tsang
  • Dragon Legend by Katie and Kevin Tsang

Wow, only 3 books in two weeks. That's not great. But, there were a couple days that I remember not feeling like reading and The Way We Weren't had a bookmark in it for over a week (not the book's fault). Plus, holiday cleaning and entertainment was done. OK, it seems reasonable, now that I've thought about it. And, I enjoyed all 3 books, so I can't complain. 

Currently reading:

  • Jane and the Year Without a Summer by Stephanie Barron
  • The 2021 Short Story Advent Calendar by Hingston and Olsen (publisher)
  • The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa

This is my second year with a Short Story Advent Calendar and it turns out my post about last year's Short Story Advent Calendar influenced two friends to purchase their own. This has been so much fun, already. Brittanie (former blogger at A Book Lover) and I have been texting each other about some of the stories. It's twice the fun having someone to discuss them with, even if it's only to say, "I thought it was funny, did you?" This year's advent calendar has a "'round the world" theme, so most are translations, which I love. Translations often give you an excellent peek into other cultures. 

Posts since last Malarkey:

In other news:

We've only watched one movie in the past 2 weeks, the 1984 version of Dune that has been criticized since its release. Honestly, I avoided it all these years because of the criticism but I wanted to compare it to the newer release. Wow, what a huge difference. The new Dune is a work of art, visually appealing but clearly missing some of the nuance that the book should reveal. 

The 1984 Dune is the opposite. It's not very enjoyable to look at and the Baron was so gross that I often found myself looking away during his scenes. But, the missing bits of characterization seemed to be spelled out a lot better. I felt like I got the storyline in a way I didn't with the newer version. It's not perfect, obviously. The storyline is clearly expansive and was far too compressed in the 1984 version. And, yet, I enjoyed getting to see the entire story play out and I cannot freaking wait to read the book. I think Dune is going to be my first chunkster read in 2022. 

Also, wow, what an all-star cast. 

Otherwise, we've watched bits and pieces of movies but not turned on the TV, much. The only other thing we've watched a substantial chunk of is the Beatles documentary, Get Back. And, what an interesting experience that is, seeing them work through the creative process, interact with the people in the studio and each other, joke and bicker. 

Like everyone else who has commented, I think the most fascinating part of the first episode was watching Paul start with a rhythm and a single chord, add a tune, and then start adding lyrics to "Get Back" and seeing how his bandmates then joined in. 

I was also intrigued by Paul's comment that in 50 years people were going to blame Yoko Ono for breaking up the band because she "sat on an amp". Of course, she was immediately blamed; it didn't take 50 years. It was fascinating to see her sit quietly and I appreciated the fact that she wasn't the only girlfriend/wife to show up at the studio. 

In general, it makes so much more sense why the band broke up, now. They needed to go their separate ways. They were clearly itching to try new things but still very good friends. They laughed a lot but there was occasional tension. No woman was to blame for their need to move on. Anyway, that's all my thoughts, so far. I think we stopped halfway through the second episode because it was late, so we have 1 1/2 episodes to go. I didn't have too much trouble with the Liverpudlian/Scouse accents but I noticed someone commented that he couldn't understand them and gave up (beneath a friend's Facebook post). Subtitles are available. I chose to use them in the second episode because there were definitely times I missed a joke or couldn't understand what was said. 

Also, it's been fun watching what everyone else seems to be viewing, for once! 

Meanwhile, back at the ranch-style home, we had workers building a sidewalk that goes from the driveway to the terraced patio at the back of our house. The sidewalk is finished and I love it. It has the same cobblestones as the patio and ties in nicely, plus it's very subtle and pretty; you don't see the sidewalk from the street unless you're looking for it and I like that. They had to build a couple more steps from the upper patio level to the sidewalk because they redid the earthwork and we're waiting for them to return to cap those off, then we'll probably get the earth that was ripped up sodded. At any rate, it's an exciting addition to our house. The side yard was soggy and slippery; we really needed something to make walking around the side of our house less hazardous and it's so pretty that it really adds a nice feature to the looks of our yard. Now, if my knees would stop hurting, another goal of adding the sidewalk was to create an extra stretch to walk on without straying from the house, in case one of the arthritic knees goes out. Gah, I feel old. How are you feeling, today? :)

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  1. I miss the library sales. We haven't had one here for two years, now. I hope you read The Cat Who Saved Books soon, I want to hear more about it!

    1. My library has begun to hold library sales on the first weekend of every month. This is the first time I've been since the pandemic began, so I would have been happy just walking around, looking at books, even if I found nothing.

      I finished The Cat Who Saved Books! Will review it next week. :)


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