Sunday Status Update: December 4, 2022

Marion: I finished The Winter People, a supernatural thriller by Jennifer McMahon. I enjoyed it with only a few quibbles up until the last 25%, when it got so outlandish I could no longer suspend disbelief. Now I’m dipping into an abridged version of The Tale of Genji,  edited and translated by Royall Tyler. This is the 2001 version, Penguin edition. While I’m not loving it, it’s an interesting window into 10/11th century Japan, storytelling, and fan service.

Bill: These past two weeks (and the next one) I’ve mostly been reading student papers. But I did manage to also read:

  • Becky’s Chambers‘ Psalm for the Well-Built (nice moments but just OK for me)
  • Brandon Sanderson’s The Lost Metal (a mid-level entry in a good series)
  • Adrian Tchaikovsky’s City of Last Chances (fascinating in lots of ways but bit distant re emotional engagement)
  • Averill Curdy’s poetry collection Song & Error
  • In audio,  I’m almost done with Lindsey’s Davis’ Falco mystery Last Act in Palmyra
  • In video, I finished Andor, which I’d label the best Star Wars production of all, and continue to enjoy Star Trek Prodigy ( just below Strange New Worlds in my new Star Trek rankings)


Sandy: Moi? I am currently reading another collection of “weird-menace” stories from the so-called “shudder pulps” of the 1930s, this one released by Ramble House in 2011. The book in question this time is House of the Restless Dead and Other Stories: The Selected Weird Tales of Hugh B. Cave, Volume One. I am hugely enjoying all nine of these wonderfully chilling horror excursions and hope to be reporting back to you on them all very soon….

Terry:  I’m still trying to make substantial progress with the many books I already have in progress, though I did fit in a romance that flew by quickly. If I finish some legal work today, though, I’m going to treat myself to Stephen King’s newest, Fairy Tale. In addition, our read-aloud book, Random by Penn Jillette, is mercifully done. While the central conceit of a man living his life entirely as dictated by the roll of dice, it was distressingly crude.

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TIM SCHEIDLER, who's been with us since June 2011, holds a Master's Degree in Popular Literature from Trinity College Dublin. Tim enjoys many authors, but particularly loves J.R.R. Tolkien, Robin Hobb, George R.R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, and Susanna Clarke. When he’s not reading, Tim enjoys traveling, playing music, writing in any shape or form, and pretending he's an athlete.

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One comment

  1. Paul Connelly /

    Currently reading The Dark Between the Trees by Fiona Barnett, second book I’ve hit recently with parallel story lines going on in the present (or near future) and hundreds of years in the past. This one has five women investigating a spooky wood in England that (in the parallel story line) a squad of Roundhead soldiers disappeared into after an ambush. Halfway through, no verdict yet.

    The Golden Enclaves by Naomi Novik more or less ruined that series for me despite the modestly entertaining first two volumes. It might have been better, even with the message that adolescents have to come along and fix the broken world that adults just lack the wisdom and moral rectitude to deal with, but the first 200 pages, almost half, had almost no plot-worthy events. A half page got spent on El blowing away a monster that had all the senior wizards of a large enclave quaking in their boots, and another half page on the obligatory YA sex scene. The rest was El ruminating about the sad ending of the previous book, El being rude and hostile to the various people she meets (who only get a line or two of dialogue every third or fourth page), and El despairing of the corruption and inadequacy of the adult world. And I came away feeling like this is yet another recent tale that seems to fundamentally misread what Ursula K. Le Guin was doing in “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas”. Oh well.

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