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Everything posted by dog-days

  1. And he was here last week too with the non-grimdark news that his next book is on schedule. Completely agree with SeanF re humour.
  2. Yes, ditto, already very much wanting Season 4. I've just managed to binge S3 before my Netflix sub runs out. Five and Klaus as usual were brilliant, and I really like Ritu Arya as Lila, though much more when she's being mad than when she's angsting. Also props to Colm Feore as Bad Dad Reggie, and Justin Min as Bad Brother Ben. I feel the writing for Umbrella Academy is snappy when it's having fun and furthering the plot, but often falls down when it tries to play emotion straight without snark, humour or hidden agendas. Partly because it's hard to write that kind of stuff in an engaging way; partly because the plot charges on so fast that it's almost impossible not to just look on everything as a potential plot device. Anyway, I thought this was a strong season. It rarely actually tried to be serious - at least, not without adding an extra helping of weird. Fun, fast, and self-consciously bananas. I approve.
  3. That said, I do think Toth's high school teacher was talking complete nonsense.
  4. Don't know much about the era myself, but have just come across a rather interesting Wikipedia article: Temporary Gentleman.
  5. Depends on the kind of festival. Can't be doing with really big crowds myself, so the only ones I'd go to would ideally be full of folk music, books and Belgian beer where grey hair (or grey hair dyed green and braided) is almost compulsory. Despite having been mentally middle-aged since early childhood, I've been too young to get away with going to that kind of thing until recently. But from next year, I'm heading to that real ale tent. But, yeah, I noticed from the Guardian article where they packed their classical music reviewer off to Glastonbury that a lot of the audience seems to be within sight of pension age.
  6. Piranesi by Susanna Clarke. Enjoyed very much, especially the holy pedantic innocent who provides the narrative voice. Beautiful atmosphere. My reading was frequently interrupted by the thought that the setting would make for a brilliant indy-exploration game, if one very similar hasn't been made already. Amongst Our Weapons by Ben Aaronovitch. It was nice to be back reading a Peter Grant novel again. I've missed him. At the same time, both this Rivers of London instalment and the last are starting to feel a bit bloated. Peter knows so many people now, and the narrative checks in on all of them. Also, because he's so well-established and comfortable in his milieu, they lacked a sense of real danger or pressure. I think this is why Terry Pratchett sent Sam Vimes off to Klatch, Uberwald and his own past in the later City Watch books - it moved him back into the unknown, away from all the resources and connections that could help him. At this point, I'm looking forward more to the next Abigail novella than to the next Peter novel. That said, it was good to meet
  7. If the vacuum cleaner was anything like this, it deserves excitement and possibly worship. If I ever get one, I know I'll have made something of my life.
  8. Interesting-sounding book, albeit more difficult than the kind I'm used to reading these days. Still, I should maybe give it a go. It reminds me of the recent discovery of slave living quarters in Pompeii. I think that lupa (female wolf) was a common term for prostitute in Latin, not just in Pompeii. Hence one interpretation of the Romulus and Remus myth, that the boys weren't suckled by a wolf, but adopted by a woman who worked in the oldest trade.
  9. The senior management at my organisation have all caught Covid (from each other, apparently, during a meeting). Would be nice if this made them reconsider their attempts to pointlessly drive everyone on lower paygrades back into the office regardless of the nature of their job. Doubt it will though.
  10. dog-days

    Lit Prizes

    Philip Pullman laments the end of the Costa Awards.
  11. Don't think so - sounds as if he's still working on it.
  12. I've always had a soft spot for Inspector Javert, though he is in several ways an awful person, much more so in the book than the musical. My adolescent self never went as far as to want him to win exactly, and certainly not for anything awful to happen to Valjean; it was more that the idea of an incorruptible, energetic, brave policeman appealed to my Lawful Neutral alignment. I probably wasn't as receptive to Hugo's message as I could have been. Watched the newest BBC adaptation a couple of years ago, and still found him sympathetic.
  13. Amazon keeps trying to flog this book to me, and it seems to be somewhere prominent whenever I walk into a bookshop. Despite finding the title unappealing (would much rather read about 'The Thrilling Life...' of somebody), I was about to resign myself to the will of Fate and get it. Will now not bother. Thanks for taking the bullet instead of me.
  14. I've been put off by the wall-to-wall terrible reviews. No one seems to like it.
  15. The Grief of Stones by Katherine Addison is due out on 23 June. Blurb: "Celehar, The Witness for the Dead of Amalo, stumbles upon a scandal in the city that leads to murder and a journey of discovery, loss and love. Celehar’s life as the Witness for the Dead of Amalo grows less isolated as his circle of friends grows larger. He has been given an apprentice to teach, and he has stumbled over a scandal of the city—the foundling girls. Orphans with no family to claim them and no funds to buy an apprenticeship. Foundling boys go to the Prelacies; foundling girls are sold into service, or worse. At once touching and shattering, Celehar’s witnessing for one of these girls will lead him into the depths of his own losses. The love of his friends will lead him out again." Addison already has plans for a third Celehar book, so it looks as if he's effectively becoming her lead detective in a crime series. Fine by me!
  16. dog-days

    Lit Prizes

    Pretty sad about that. They've highlighted some very fine books in their time. Just glancing over the lists of previous winners, many names jumped out in different categories, among them The Lie Tree (Frances Hardinge) and The Invention of Nature (Andrea Wulf). It was shoddy of Coco Cola to scrap them rather than handing them over to another sponsor.
  17. I was even more lost than usual in this thread, then eventually figured out that in received pronunciation, the indefinite article is very rarely pronounced with the value /eɪ/, so the chances of a historical being heard as ahistorical are quite slim in Britain.
  18. I loved The Wire. Stayed up late with my dad to watch it when it was broadcast on BBC4 at 10/11pm before the era of Netflix and on-demand television. One of the best things about it was how it managed to bring so much humour and warmth and touches of normality into such bleak subjects. At times I liked even the worst characters. I've been steadily catching up on Derry Girls. Now midway through the second season. The casting and writing are brilliant, but my favourite by a mile has got to be Sister Michael. She's a misanthropic delight in every scene.
  19. My accent leans somewhat towards Northern English. I pronounce the "h" in history/historical/historic, and always use "a" rather than "an". I don't think it can be a simple south/north split though. The Cambridge English Dictionary gives /hɪˈstɒr.ɪk/ as the pronunciation. If /ɪˈstɒr.ɪk/ were the dominant form in the south-east amongst the middle classes, they'd definitely have included it, at least as a variant Also for me: historic - of great significance historical - related to history
  20. No, it's definitely come out of left field. Due in November 2022. I'm not going to read the hype about it and get too psyched up, but I am curious to see how the mechanics will work. The tone looks a bit tongue-in-cheek without being overly zany. Damn it, I'm auto-up-psyching without the help of the gaming press or Twitter.
  21. That looks completely bananas. Sign me up. Apparently Josh Sawyer is the lead director. I thought this game might be his baby when I started the trailer given the medieval armour all over JS's tumblr page.
  22. Not a big Bond fan - the only ever time I ever really deliberately watched Bond movies was on a school trip through Europe when I was trapped on a bus for hours at a time. Anyway, I remember preferring the silliness of the Roger Moore films. With the serious ones, I just don't get why I'm watching them when I could be watching a John le Carré adaptation instead.
  23. Read H is for Hawk by Helen McDonald, the deserving winner of the 2014 Samuel Johnson award for non-fiction. It's a book that weaves a number of elements together. The main 'plot' is the author's attempt to train a young female goshawk, a bird with a reputation in falconry for being difficult. At the same time, McDonald writes about grief - she acquires her goshawk not long after the unexpected death of her much-loved father - and about human-animal relationships, their functionality and dysfunctionality, the latter mainly owing to humans attempting to project way too much onto the animal and getting lost in their own ego. Leading us to the meta protagonist, Terence "Tim" White, author of The Once and Future King, who also once trained a goshawk and wrote about it. His life is examined, discussed and contrasted to McDonald's own; a brilliant technique that hugely widens the perspective and emotional depth. This also leads into an important look at the problems of a strain of white English mythologizing, present in White, present in the present, that veers towards a blood-and-soil sort of mindset. That looks at the English countryside and sees an impossible continuity instead of hares (brought by the Romans), rabbits (probably brought by the Normans), fallow deer (brought by the Normans) swallows (fly to the UK from Africa every year) etc. Goshawks themselves were more-or-less extinct in the UK and had to be reintroduced from European populations. McDonald writes very, very well:
  24. I remember being very disappointed by Thief of Time when it came out. Hogfather was the book that got me into the series, so the prospect of another Susan Sto Helit instalment had made me quite excited. That said, I reread it a couple of years ago, since to date it is the only Discworld novel to have been translated into Welsh (why this one in particular I have no idea) and found the character of Myria/Unity (the Auditor who commits death by chocolate) more interesting/affecting than I'd thought. The Nanny Ogg cameos were great, and I'm generally easy to amuse with digs at organised mysticism.
  25. I didn't enjoy it at the time, but it's been growing on me in retrospect - I might end up reading Harrow the Ninth soon, despite not expecting that I would. It definitely feels like one of the most distinctive books to come out of the fantasy genre recently. It knows what its thing is, and does it full throttle.
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