Jul 26, 2012

Bits and Pieces

Hello everyone. It’s been a long while since I last did a random chatter type post, so I thought I’d subject you to one today. Things have been a bit quiet around these parts, partially because my reading has been very slow. I’ve just returned to China Miéville’s The City and The City, which I was supposed to have read for Care’s read-along at the beginning of the month (she even sent me a lovely themed postcard and everything). I’m enjoying it so far, but I still haven’t reached that point where I absolutely can’t put it down, which probably says more about me than about the book itself.

I’m also reading Beyond Human Nature, which is the kind of non-fiction I absolutely love, but if I try to read more than 20-30 pages in one go my mind just wanders. Oh well; I blame the heat. Lately I’ve become rather Zen about reading and blogging slumps – they come and go, there’s little I can do but wait them out, and there’s no need to make myself even more anxious by worrying that this means that my ability to concentrate on a book and put two coherent sentences about it together is gone forever. Now to see how long this positive attitude lasts…

I actually have a small pile of books I’ve been meaning to tell you about for ages, and the one thing that worries me is that I won’t be able to remember enough to do them justice if I keep putting it off for much longer. So I thought I’d share the titles, in the hopes that you’ll help motivate me by telling me which ones you’d like me to blog about first. They are:
  • Maurice by E.M. Forster
  • The Regeneration Trilogy by Pat Barker
  • Reflections by Diana Wynne Jones
  • The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy
Anything you’d be particularly curious to hear my take on?

Firefly cast

In other news, I thought some of you would be happy to know I’ve started watching Firefly at long last (if you’re not on Twitter, that is, where I’ve been going on about it for the past few days). I’m really enjoying it so far – the worldbuilding is amazing, and three episodes in I’m already sad that the series was cancelled before the creators had the chance to tell lots and lots of stories in that universe. Perhaps I’ll write a post about it when I’m done?

I do have one extra exciting piece of news, which I saved for last. I don’t want to go all sappy on you, but I might have mentioned before that I have a wonderful partner who’s done a great job of supporting me through a rough year and of coming up with ways to cheer me up when things get difficult. Earlier this month there was our trip to Paris, and next month there will be a weekend trip to Edinburgh, just in time to still catch the last few days of the International Book Festival and of the Fringe Festival. Some of you might remember what a wonderful time I had last year – I went for a week, and when I came back I felt like I’d been reminded of all the reasons why being alive is actually a pretty awesome thing. I wasn’t expecting to be able to go again anytime soon, so this did wonders for my mood. I’m only going for a few days this time, but I’m seeing a stage adaptation of A Little Princess, book festival events with Junot Díaz and Garth Nix; and, in one last glorious day where I’ll hopefully get to awkwardly mumble thank you to All My Favourite Authors, events with China Miéville, Patrick Ness and Margo Lanagan :D You can expect lots of pictures and ridiculously long recap posts when I come back.

How about you? Any exciting summer plans? Read anything amazing lately? If you’re on the Northern Hemisphere, have you also been unable to blog due to summer’s many shiny distractions?


  1. That's really exciting Ana! I hope you enjoy the session with China Mieville and look forward to your thoughts! I'm trying to stay balanced this Summer but it is the Olympics and with all the sunshine at the moment, everyone's on a high:)

  2. Yay for fun times!! I like Firefly but admittedly I am not as smitten with it as the rest of the world seems to be. But I hope you enjoy it!

    and hmmm, I don't really know anything about those books so any review would be enlightening, but I wouldn't mind reading about Maurice or The Dud Avocado. :)

  3. Your trip sounds wonderful. No big plans here.

  4. OMG take lots of pictures! I'm happy for you. These are the things that pull us through the drudgery of the day to day stuff. I haven't read any of the books on your list, but the title of The Dud Avocado makes me laugh, so talk about that one!

  5. You're watching Firefly, yay! I'm so excited you get to go to the book festival too! I'm doing a roadtrip to Montana with the Huz in a month and weekend trips with girlfriends to Chicago and Wisconsin over the next two months, so I'm looking forward to those vacations soon.

  6. My vote's for the Dud Avacado. I tried to read it and couldn't finish. I'd like to say it was just dated . . . but I think a lot more than that was going on.

  7. YAYY Firefly!!! Me and my mom watched the series a few years and we both got so into it. I had borrowed the DVDs from a friend and I remember my mom telling: "Okay, we need to borrow the second season ASAP!" and I had to tell her: "There is no second season." She was so disappointed.

    Living in Canada, I've unsurprisingly never been to the International Book Festival or the Fringe Festival, but they sound AWESOME!! That author line-up sounds fantastic.

  8. Sakura: I'm so so excited! I almost saw him last year but then he cancelled at the last minute. His session is going to be chaired by Patrick Ness, which makes for some extra awesomeness :D And enjoy the Olympics! I know they caused all kinds of headaches to Londoners with the transportation issues and whatnot, but it all also sounds very exciting.

    Amy: Really enjoying it so far, but I'll remain a Buffy girl at heart, I think :P

    Kathy: I think it will be! I never get tired of Edinburgh.

    Sandy: I definitely will :D And yes, isn't "The Dud Avocado" a great title?

    Melissa: Oh, that sounds like fun! Enjoy :D

    Trapunto: I will, though I doubt I'll be able to say anything particularly insightful :P I liked it but didn't love it. I suspect that whether or not you get along with Sally Jay's voice might be the determining factor.

    Michelle: So sad, isn't it? It's such a rich universe and they could have done so much more with it. And yes, the author line-up is pretty much perfect for me :D Can't wait.

  9. Yaaay for Firefly!! I love this show, it is so interesting and fun and adventurous. I"m so happy you're watching it! Oh please do a post after, so we can chat about it :-)

    Please, pretty please review Diana Wynne Jone's book. We can't get it over here until the fall! I've got it bookmarked on Amazon. I so want to know what she thinks about writing.

    FABULOUS that you are going back to Edinburgh!!!! OMG I am so happy for you! Book things and Fringe festival and - a trip. Your guy is wonderful and thoughtful, isn't he? I keep hoping you will have good news to share with us too, what a terrible time you have been having trying to find work.

    Blogging and this summer is definitely challenging me - I have so many books I want to write about that I read this year, and then when I sit down to the computer, it all vanishes. I know it has a lot to do with the changes in my personal life, and like you, all I can do is wait it out.

    Hugs from Ottawa :-)

  10. I'm not going to say Regeneration, since I'm the person who sent you the first book and that would be like voting for myself so I'd love to see you write about Maurice. I haven't read it in ages and not sure I got to the end, because ugh their love goes away, but I love Forster so thinking of trying again.

    So excited you get to go to the Edinburgh festival and that there's such an Ana panel set up for you :D Sad Edinburgh is not near to England, but I bet you'll have an awesome time.

  11. I started The Dud Avocado a couple of weeks ago while on vacation but just couldn't get into it. I'd love to hear what you thought of it so I can decide whether to give it another shot or get rid of it.

    And I love Diana Wynne Jones and I've heard nothing about Reflections, so I vote for that one as well.

  12. Wow - Firefly! Wow - Edinburgh! Exciting times :) Looking forward to live the Festival vicariously through you, as I did last year.

  13. OMG ANA!!!! I'm so freakin' excited that you're getting to go back to Edinburgh!!!! Would you please give M a huge tackle hug for me--seriously, this news just put a smile of my face that I suspect will be there all day!!!

  14. Wow, that sounds like it will be lots of fun, Ana! I hope you have a wonderful time and I look forward to hearing all about it when you get back.

  15. You're not alone; my reading pace has slowed down to a snail's pace. I can't blame summer travel, a heavy workload or anything else.

    My schedule hit a snafu and that threw me for a loop. I'm on the same single Audible book all month (Jonathan Maberry's Dead Man's Song) and I've been crawling through Alan Jacobson's Velocity.

    I'm not bored or demotivated. Both books are excellent. It just seems like my time has been pulled in too many different directions.

    This may or may not be the case with you but here's to hoping we both get our reading velocity back on track.

  16. I would love to hear more about The Regeneration Trilogy, especially since I have the first book on my shelf, and it has been sitting there for awhile. Also, I am so glad that you will be going to the festival again. I remember that you had the most amazing time there last year, and I can't wait to hear how it goes this year! Excellent news, and excellent partner!

  17. I of course vote for the Diana Wynne Jones one, but I do a secondary vote for Pat Barker. I've tried to read the first of the Regeneration books several times and not been able to get on with them. So I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.

    Have a wonderful time in Edinburgh! Do not forget to post about Firefly when you're done because I want to know what you think.

    My summer is hottish. Alas. But soon I will take sailing lessons. SAILING. I will feel extremely posh once I've learned how to sail. :D

  18. I am SOOOOOO excited that you're watching Firefly!!!! OMG I cannot WAIT to hear your thoughts on the series!! It truly is one of my favorite series ever and I'm still sad that it was only one series…I keep hoping and hoping and hoping still that it'll be renewed for a second season :p The movie, Serenity is pretty amazing too!

    And your upcoming trip!!! OMG Ana! That's going to be AMAZING!! Can you give Patrick Ness a hug for me? :p You know…just in case you're not nervous enough already :p You can tell him it's from me AND Matt.

  19. Oooh, have a wonderful time in Edinburgh! And I have just received Railsea, which I ordered after reading your review, so I'd love to read about any encounters with CM.

    Another vote for Diana Wynne Jones! And Maurice too, I've never read it (but heh, I watched the film!) and I should love to know your thoughts on it.

  20. Excellent news about the trip to Scotland! And even better news that this relationship is continuing to flourish. And Firefly ... the best. T.V. series. ever! I hope you will write a review.

  21. I didn't care for The City and the City. I would like to hear more about The Dud Avocado. And yay for another Firefly fan in the world! Make sure you watch the gag reels and the movie Serenity (and its gag reel). Ron got me a book bag with one of my favorite Firefly quotations on it and I've carried it for years: "May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one."

  22. Firefly is amazing; welcome to the cult! :) don't do what i did and tear through the episodes in a couple days!

    My favorite Mieville so far is Embassytown, next would be City. Hope you get into it soon.

    My reading/blogging has sloooowed down this summer but i have an excuse! I got married last weekend and was the worst scatterbrained non-thinker for the previous 6 weeks. It's nice to have my brain back!

    Enjoy your trip!

  23. LOVE Firefly. It always seems as though the best shows are the ones that are cancelled. At least there's the movie version as well.

  24. I love your Zen attitude! I definitely need to become a little more Zen myself :)

    I can't wait for your trip to Edinburgh. I love reading your trip recaps!

  25. Hooray for Firefly! Hooray for your upcoming trip! So envious about that, how much fun you will have. I had no idea you were reading The City and the City or that there was a readalong. I am in the middle of it at the moment and the whole thing is so delightfully weird. I saw you have posted about it already but I will hold off reading your post until I finish the book, probably next week.

  26. Just stopping by to wave and say hello! :)

  27. Glad to hear you are looking forward to another holiday and not being hard on yourself when you don't feel like reading!


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