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on saturday I dread the coming of sunday
books on my head
coffeebased
Let's start with this week's #100happydays posts.




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L-R: I found a copy of the Digger omnibus in Fully Booked!!! as well as this discounted and beat-up copy of Tam Lin (I rescued it), Sunshine's moved to a new house and she's discovered our "hideous friendship dog", cleaned up my workspace and organised it for the last stretch to thesis final defence, a ridiculously large chocolate-covered marshmallow heart and Sunshine sleeping over, and wow one more photo of Sunshine but with me(!).

Okay, that's a lot of Sunshine. Hopefully succeeding happy days will have different sources of happiness or else my #100happydays will be so much less interesting from a blogging perspective. Then again, if you were here for interesting and exciting blogging, you are probably a person of very safe tastes, non? :))

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Gianina and I are on Chapter 14 of The Prisoner of Azkaban and we've gone back to one chapter a day for my sanity and her sake because apparently tPoA is boring??? to??? other??? people??? and okay, fine, it's a lot slower-paced and definitely something you read slowly because it's a momentum-based book and cutting it up makes it feel bewilderingly glacial.

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Last night, while I was poking at The Once and Future King and The Secret History, and studiously trying to avoid my feelings on the fact that I'm defending my thesis this month, more on that later, my brain started running a clip show of the time since I'd last read TOaFK, and I'd realised that it had been ten years, TEN YEARS, since I'd graduated from high school. Yes, that did deserve to be styled in bold, because fuck. I felt nostalgic enough that I'd posted a little thing on our high school class group.

I suppose that the realisation would be less jarring if I didn't have friends currently trying to get out of high school (with fire and blood!!!), and doing their graduation balls, and talking about awards, and their expectations for university life.

Our high school class was pretty close, probably the way the Greek city states had to be close due the combined onslaught of academics, puberty, and the people outside of our class, so I'd thought that I'd be better at keeping in touch with everyone. I've got a bit more written about that somewhere, for later use.

It's strange to realise, as I said in the ICCI [our high school class' nickname(?)] group, that we're on the opposite end of the telescope we'd been straining, vainly, to see through a decade ago. I'm feeling sentimental, which is a terrible mindset to be in, but I feel as though if I wave my arms enough, I can catch my own eye, back there in the past.

Firstly, it's a terrible thing to meddle with one's timeline, secondly, being obsessed with the past is never good for anyone trying to build a future for herself, and thirdly, what would I tell myself? What stirring and life-saving advice can I give to someone who has so much in front of her? Probably just to exercise more, and develop proper eating habits, to keep the old flesh running better.

Spoilers, after all.

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So, I've spoken to my external thesis defence panellist, and it looks as though my defence date is on either the 24th or 25th of March. I'm scared, but I trust in my advisor's trust in me. But because of the fact that all these years of eking out my Master's Degree are coming at me like a spear I hurled at myself years ago, I'm quaking where I stand.

I've worked hard. I'll work even harder. I'll keep scraping bottom and breaking through, because this is what I want. This is a necessary step.

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On a lighter, more bookish note I'm now reading:

The Secret History by Donna Tartt and Digger by Ursula Vernon

I'm also re-reading The Once and Future King when I can, because recent conversations with the DM have made me realise how little of it I had internalised when I'd read it the summer before high school. The prose is sparkling, and a great deal more lush than I would have realised back then. It's terrible to read it simultaneously with The Secret History, a book I promised myself that I would read, back when I read and fell in love with The Goldfinch, because they're both oh so very masterfully done.

The Secret History, however, has CLASSICS students. And boy, do I ever love reading about Classics students! Digger is very, very thick, being an omnibus of several graphic novels, but it's so elegant and engaging that I've found that I have to rip myself away.

Finished:



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Blood, Bones, and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton is autobiographical, and deals with the writer's relationship with food through her relationships with the people in her life. The author is a very highly-regarded chef, and her writing is really surprising, the type that grabs you in the stomach and heart simultaneously. Some of it (very little, but they do stick out) feels under-edited, but it could be a style thing that just doesn't sit well with me, but it's such a treasure. Gabrielle Hamilton has an MFA in fiction writing, TWO James Beard awards, TWO children, a great restaurant, and is such a badass that she can manage all those things AND clean up a dead, maggoty rat by herself, or scrub the floor whilst nine months pregnant, AND has realistic views on gender. SHE IS A HERO.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black is a young adult vampire book, but one that you feel really gets and respects the legacy of vampire lore and literature. It's shorter than I liked it to be, which I think shows that I enjoyed it enough to want more, but apparently the author doesn't plan on any sequels (although she doesn't count them out either???). The protagonist is so capable that I was immediately won over by her, and her narration. There is an obvious romance, although it manages to avoid the dreaded YA love triangle, and felt properly vampiric! Also, there's a thing with the mini-boss-antagonist's backstory that I found quite clever but I won't spoil. :)) Some details were left up in the air though, and it bothered me.

Reading Next:



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The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss and The Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh

Next Twenty Reads:

1. S by J. J. Abrams and Doug Dorst
2. The Glass Bead Game by Herman Hesse
3. The Magic Kingdom by Stanley Elkin
4. My Uncle Oswald by Roald Dahl
5. The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
6. The Magic Kingdom by Stanley Elkin
7. Something More Than Night by Ian Tregillis
8. The Man Who Was Thursday by G. K. Chesterton
9. Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
10. The Panopticon by Jenni Fagan
11. Countdown City by Ben Winters
12. Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson
13. Inheritance by Malinda Lo
14. The Flight of the Eisenstein by James Swallow
15. Iron Council by China Mieville
16. A Highly Unlikely Scenario -or, a Neetsa Pizza Employee's Guide to Saving the World by Rachel Cantor
17. Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer
18. Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein
19. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
20. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemmingway