nishatalitha: Sepia photo of a woman in an old-fashioned dress with a book (Woman and Book)
Title: Lagoon
Author: Nnedi Okorafor
Copyright: 2014
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Obtained: from tombola lot at Worldcon from either BSFA or a London SF group
Reasons for reviewing: science fiction written by an American of Nigerian descent, which is set in Nigeria
Author Website: Nnedi.Com—which looking at says she has won a number of fantasy awards for some of her other books (I'm now embarassed that I haven't read more of her fiction and will rectify this).

Lagoon can be obtained from and; I've also seen it in Waterstones, so hopefully is generally around in bookstores and libraries, do check locally

Book blurb: When a massive object crashes into the ocean off the coast of Lagos, Nigeria’s most populous and legendary city, three people wandering along Bar Beach (Adaora, the marine biologist- Anthony, the rapper famous throughout Africa- Agu, the troubled soldier) find themselves running a race against time to save the country they love and the world itself… from itself.

Lagoon is a first contact novel set in Nigeria. A former housemate of mine came from Nigeria, but that's the closest I've been. This means that I have to take on faith that Lagos is like the description, but that doesn't matter—until I came to London, London was fictional— the Lagos of the book is an engaging and interesting place. It was fascinating reading the descriptions and trying to picture it in my head, feeling the energy and busyness of the place. Readers may also note the prevalent use of mobile phones; I gather this is true for much of Nigeria.

It is very clear from the beginning that Lagos is as much a character in the novel as the main POV characters. Ditto the sea for that matter; in many ways the book revolves around contact with the sea. But in brief, aliens come to earth. They would like a nice environment to live, one which their neighbours like too. Seriously, why would you land in the US or the UK where you would get found and probably locked up for scientific experiments by the government, when you could land in Nigerian waters where there is no such strong governmental control? The three main characters meet the alien, and events escalate and then rapidly spiral out of control. Not all the events are bad, not all are good. Overall, there is rapid and swift change, as well as resistance to change, before coming to a final conclusion which ultimately ends on a positive note for society as a whole.

One of the interesting things about this book, although there are three 'main' point of view characters, there are many minor points of view, most of whom only turn up once or twice. These include a road, a priest, an accountant and a singer amongst many others. In addition, there are quick perspective switches just after something major has happened in the book (I was particularly fond of the road and the tarantula). The characters do drop into pidgen English and some of the several other languages spoken in Lagos besides English are also used (generally with a translation and there is also a glossary at the end if you are the sort of person who reads those). Sometimes the use of multiple languages can be an author being clever, but in this case, it's a reflection of the city. It's the same of the points of view aspect: it's an example of authorial control and intent, rather than carelessness. All the point of view shifts tell the readers add an element or piece information.

In terms of pacing, which I am rubbish at describing, the first time I read this it kept me engaged the whole way (I wanted to know what happened next). The reread for this review took me a little while to get past the slower prologue, into the increasingly energetic rest of the book, but once I had, I raced through and quickly reached the can't-put-down point. Structure wise, I think it's relatively standard for a novel (from my dimly remembered high-school English classes), but there is nothing wrong with that. The narrative style and the location are more interesting about this book.

Overall, and without wanting to give anything away, this story is about change, both internal and external. And hopeful change at that. Even though some of the events in the book are quite awful, if not particularly graphic, the end is hoping for a positive future for Nigeria and the rest of Africa.

If you liked The Lego Movie, Pyramids (or other early works) by Terry Pratchett, or Farscape, give Lagoon a go. It's worth it. (Also, I was trying to come up with first contact books or TV that had positive change endings for this bit and really struggled!) I have reasons for choosing each of these comparisons, so if you find them a bit odd I'm happy to discuss.

Rating: 8/10

Next up: I haven't decided yet but am currently contemplating The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu or Spirits Abroad by Zen Cho.
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (Neon cupcake)
But I have started German at Wellington High (it was the only one that fit my schedule and also the tutor teaches at Vic and at the Goethe Institute), and it is on a Tuesday night, 5:30 - 7:30pm, and that means I don't get home until at least 8:00pm (and that only because I cheat and taxi from the end of Lambton Quay - the extra $30 a fortnight is so worth it).

I made pancakes tonight instead. [ profile] tamarillow and I had them for dessert an hour and a half ago; [ profile] maudlinrose went to bed instead, for she has the plague. Lemon and brown sugar, mmm.

Dinner, an hour or so before the pancakes was also very good: a green salad with a balsamic vinegar/olive oil/geranium oil dressing; boiled then barbequed corn on the cob; and barbequed pork steak with a red berry sauce. Used up the frozen raspberries from the freezer in a half receipe. It tasted good, but was a bit of a pain to make - if I do it again, I think I'd want to use a full recipe so I don't feel the need to get every single drop of berry sauce when I strain the seeds out...

Am currently reading Guy Gavriel Kay's latest, Under Heaven. Am reasonably impressed so far about half/two thirds of the way in. If he doesn't screw it up, I think it'll end up on my to-buy list.

(this entire post was an excuse to use the new icon)


Oct. 26th, 2010 09:24 pm
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (Courteous kiling (Vorkosigan))
I have CryoBurn. It is mine, all mine.

First read through completed in a bit under two hours. I know what happens now.

Possibly I will reread it again tonight, possibly tomorrow. Certainly, I will reread it before passing it on.

Alas, not currently inspired for a Vorkosigan RPG at Kapcon. Still, will keep thinking.
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (OW)
Back at work this week, thank goodness. I think I would be reaching the stir-crazypoint if I was still at home. On the other hand, that would probably mean that the bbq would be clean by now... People were quite pleased to see me back, and over the course of two days, I have mostly managed to clear the new files that came in last week.

I'm back on Happy Creature for the first time in about two years now for the C Grade Karori team. Of the ten people or so on the roster, five turned up, four in one car. It was a good game; a comfortable win against Sex Panthers 13-7. Discovered how much I've missed playing with some of these people, not just for the social reasons, but because their playing style is a very good fit with mine: much slower and deliberate than I've become used to. It was nice.

Of course, as soon as the game ended, I started trying to hack out my lungs, and this continued all the way home and through most of a very long shower. The lovely mushroom bruschetta (fancy mushrooms on toast, really, with bacon, garlic, lemon zest, parsley and soft cream cheese in addition to the mushrooms) appears to have set it off again. I was coughing earlier, and can still feel the tickle hovering in my windpipe.

[ profile] tamarillow found volumes V - VIII of Marion Zimmer Bradley's Sword and Sorceress Magazine in a secondhand shop for me at the weekend. This means that between I and XIX, I am now only missing XII. I've started to try and read them, and I think I may need to skip over her editorial notes. The style of feminism just grates. From memory, it gets better in the later voumes, but. (Also, the first few stories in V have not so far impressed me, which is sad.)

Finally, congratulations to Duke from Wellington, who came 17th out of 48 at
WFDF World Ultimate Club Championships
in Prague recently, beating their seeding by (I think) ten places.
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (Biggles - Sopwith Camel)
Hi all

If you have my copy of I Dare by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, can you please let me know? I don't need it back anytime soon (I reread [ profile] tamarillow's copy instead), but I'd like to know where it is.
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (Maidenly delicacy of speech)
So, there was this power cut in Wellington this afternoon. Eventually, after much standing around and talking about not being able to do work and whether our homes would be affected, one of the senior associates called the only partner in our workgroup who is not on holiday, who said come down to the pub across the road. However, I saw my bus at the stop as I was crossing the road, so caught that.

Got home and found we were completely unaffected by it; sure, the power was back on by the time I got home, but none of the clocks were flashing, so we hadn't had a cut at all. I was almost disappointed - at some point, I'd like to be able to test our emergency processes at home in a non-urgent setting ([ profile] maudlinrose suggests an earth-evening later in the year). Since I had half been planning a bbq dinner before the power cut, and definitely was during it, I decided to burninate dinner.

I've made this combination before, but it's still good: caramelised onions that have been cooked with a little bit of dark ale mustard, fresh corn on the cob, a green salad on the plates, with burninated mushrooms cooked with a little bit of the same dark ale mustard in the onions, and teriakyi beef steak. I also made a Carib each, which is a cocktail consisting of rum, gin, sugar syrup and lemon juice. It's also supposed to have one of those cherries on top, but we don't have any (that may have to change). It needs slightly more sugar syrup than the recipe calls for, but is otherwise good.

Spent the rest of the evening doing the rounds of the calls: Grandma & Grandad, sister & brother-in-law (talked to him much more than my sister), Gran, and finally Mum. I think I need a break from talking now. Managed to get the rest of my ironing done and some crossstitch. Also managed, without being able to see my parents computer, and not having the same version of Vista as they do, to help Mum in restoring some photos she accidentially deleted that weren't in the recycle bin...

Friday tomorrow!

Bold the ones you've read COMPLETELY, italicize the ones you've read part of. Watching the movie or the cartoon doesn't count. Abridged versions don't count either. BTW, according to the BBC if you've read 7 of these, you are above the average.

Book meme )
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (Dead have Highways (Stephen King))
I went back to the physio today. My ankle is feeling much better - there has been a noticeable improvement in stability and pain levels since I was last there. The swelling has also gone down a lot on both my ankle and my knee.

This meant that she could look at my knee and work out what I actually did to it. Turns out I have ruptured the ligaments on the outside of my left knee. Fortunately, it seems that I didn't do the internal ones, which means no reconstructive knee surgery for me. I have more exercises to do, another visit on Friday, instructions to keep icing it, and the expectation of increased pain when the swelling in the knee goes down more. Oh, joy.

I am going to be out of frisbee for the next two weeks for certain. No running practice for me. I might manage to make it down for throwing/catching practice, but it will be hard to resist running, so maybe not. It'll be another two to four weeks after that before I'll be allowed to play again, depending on how things heal. If I was playing a sport that wasn't as injury-ridden as frisbee, I'd be allowed back sooner, but as it is, no frisbee for [ profile] nishatalitha

[ profile] maudlinrose has this fanvid by Seah and Margie to a song called Handlebars by The Flobots. It's a very clever meta look at the powers that the Doctor has and what he does with them. It's disturbing and slightly depressing and in the end, he's always alone. And somewhat crazy. Dr Who: The Water of Mars reminded me a lot of that vid, only it's an hour instead of a few seconds.

The Doctor has always been a bit crazy; I think that's a prerequisite for who he is. And Christopher Eccleston did the quietly going crazy PTSD Doctor very well. David Tenant does an excellent version of the pieces visibly falling apart in a sort of manic hysterical way. At this point, I'm starting to think that the most merciful thing for him would be to either take him to a nice quiet place where people live long lives and leave him there for fifty years or so, or to end it permanently. But neither of those make for good television.

And time has Fixed Points and if the Doctor can change one of those, what else can he change? What else will he change.

So, just as at the end of the Easter special, the Doctor is alone: Sarah Jane has her son and her own life; Jack is either with Torchwood or wandering the universe for a bit; Martha is a capable and respected member of UNIT (and possibly Torchwood) and has a much loved fiancee; Rose is in some sort of alternate dimension with a human version of the Doctor; and Donna is not allowed to remember. They have all chosen, or had chosen for them, lives without him. Being the last of your species would suck.

I was very impressed with the actor playing Adelaide Brooke, and with the character. Now there is a woman with a spine of steel. I liked her much more than I liked Dr River Song (although not as much as I like Donna). At some point, I may watch it again for her. I wanted to cry at the end, because she was right and she made things right.

I also read an interesting novella called Purple and Black by K J Parker today. It reminded me of The Prince and of Roman history - Vespasian and Hadrian. Ignore the timing issues; they're not important. And for all of the book's overt political and military focus, it's really a book about friendship and ideals. Once you have power, how do you give it up? It's not a happy-squee-joyful book; heartbreaking comes closer to the truth. I want a copy and will be looking out for other books by this author.


Sep. 13th, 2009 02:31 pm
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (By the prickling of my thumbs)
For those of you who are interested, Lois McMaster Bujold read chapter 1 of CyroBurn at Dragoncon 2009. You can find it on youtube here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5. Please note that it does not come out until late next year, so if you don't want advance knowledge, don't watch

EDIT: I should have waited until next year - now I really want to know what happens next. Dammit.
nishatalitha: image: girl doing a cartwheel on a bench.  ferns in foreground that look like koru (Cartwheel)
I accidentally stood up the person I was supposed to meet for lunch (cellphone was dead, wasn't in my calendar and I forgot) and went to the library instead.

Along with others, I got out The Bone Tiki by David Hair, which is a new young adult New Zealand fantasy novel. It's very New Zealand; so much so that I'm not sure how well people who don't know the country will follow it. So much of what happens in the book assumes an inherent cultural knowledge - it's not something I'm really capable of judging. Although things are explained, they're explained to the level of a local reader. One thing I really liked about it was that Maori words were not in italics to indicate a foreign language, but in the same text as the rest of the book to show their everydayness.

I have to admit, one of the things I enjoyed about this book was the trip through the New Zealand countryside from Napier to Taupo, along the Waikato River through Hamilton, to Auckland and eventually to Kaitaia, where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean. I grew up in Hamilton and did some study on the Land wars, so the countryside, both now and parallel is familiar. It tries to deal with the intermingling of Maori and European (Pakeha is not a word I use to describe myself), but ends up being far more about good vs evil. However, the theme of joining together, working together as Maori and European, both of New Zealand is very strong, symbolised most obviously by a koru-and-celtic-knot pendant. Concerns of the country brought down to family size, if that makes sense.

There is a clever take on the all-stories-are-true concept and I quote: ...every land has a shadow twin. The real land is where the people live and die - but the shadow land is where all the things those people believed and remembed still exist. This is mostly set in New Zealand Aotearoa's shadow land, and people can move between the two. Plus there is an awesome haka. And, you know, Maori myth and legend, nineteenth century settlers, evil tohunga, good tohunga, warriors and vagabonds - all you would expect, really.

This is a first novel, but it is a good, fun first novel (I really wish publishers would stop saying books are first novels as it really puts me off). The Bone Tiki is engaging - it kept me occupied waiting for the bus, on the bus and after I got home and had to finish it - with interesting concepts and I look forward to seeing what the author can do with future works. I'll certainly be keeping an eye out for future works of his. I will probably even buy them. I will certainly reread this one; probably tomorrow.
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (Durham)
I think I like John Zizka more than I like Oliver Cromwell. And I'm rather fond of Oliver Cromwell, for all the terrible things that he did.

Not that there's much record of what he was actually like as a person (medieval chroniclers being more interested in events than people), but I have this image in my head of an old unyielding man who expects a great deal of himself and the same of everyone else. Someone who is determined to live according to the law of God and ensure that his people (and they were his people because he was their general) have the right to worship according to their common belief. Someone determined to uphold the letter and the spirit of God's Law and make sure everyone else did as well.

And for all that, someone who could go against common practice of the time. When his army sacked cities, women and children were not harmed. Jews were not considered heretics (although they were clearly wrong), and were not treated as badly as they were in a lot of other places. The one or two times that his army disobeyed him in this matter, he led them in penance.

For all that I don't think there was much bend in John Zizka as a person, he was a remarkably flexible military thinker - ordered one of the earliest recorded uses of mobile artillery as we would expect to see it used now. Previously, it was used statically in sieges. His army moved a lot faster than other medieval armies; from the first time he took command his people had to march quickly.

In the appendices of the books I'm currently reading about him - John Zizka and the Hussite Revolution by Frederick Heyman - there are some letters and reports of his, translated from Czech or Latin or whatever they were written in. I will be interested to see what he is like in writing.
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (Goujun - hand (Saiyuki))
Tonight I have:

  • Made fish chowder for dinner from my shiny new cookbook;
  • Put beef stroganoff in the crock pot for dinner tomorrow;
  • Put the leftover soup into containers to cool;
  • Made tomorrow's lunch;
  • Tidied the kitchen;
  • Packed my gym bag; and
  • Wrapped [ profile] thesane's birthday present for last year

New LA has started at work - she seems nice enough. One of my lawyers is away, so SYB and I are handling most of his files, with another Senior Associate overseeing. Most of it I'm comfortable handling, or I put in a pile for him to deal with when he gets back. If I have time tomorrow, I'll get some of the documents organised for next week, but probably not.

The latest chapter in my very interesting history book* was kinda bleh - I'm not particularly interested in chivalry and how it affected military tactics in fourteenth century France, although the fact King Jean went back to England as a prisoner because the hostage he left in his place escaped (I think it was the Duke of Anjou) was definitely living up to those ideals. But generally, meh.

However, the previous chapter had a very interesting bit on the church in the kingdom of Bohemia in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and mentions The very pretty Chronicle of John Zikza (sorry, I can't get the accents) as a source and I kinda want to read that now, and more about Bohemia in this time period, particularly about the aforesaid John Zikza because, and I quote:

In 1420 Zizka achieved the extraordinary feat of holding Prague against the invaders [Germans]. The following year he became completely blind, but the greatest of his campigns, which brought about the defeat of Sigismund's new crusading armies, was fought in 1421-22.

How cool is that?

Following a recommendation by Lois McMaster Bujold last year, I have slowly been watching my way through Mushishi, which I finished last night. I found it very disconcerting watching something without a continuing storyline, which only had one major recurring character (and two or three others that turned up a couple of times each). It was quite surreal at times and the style reminded me a lot of watercolours. The music was also soothing and quiet.

All this actually worked very well for being something to watch in bed - the lack of any story arc meant that at no point was I in a rush to finish it; the individual plot lines were mostly to my taste; and the music and art were soothing and gentle to the eyes and ears, so I could lie in the dark and watch this and let my body and mind relax.

Now I have to work out what to watch instead. Maybe Last Exile...

*Later Medieval Europe: From St Louis to Luther by Dennis Waley
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (what are you reading)
A while ago, a friend of [ profile] tamarillow's mother donated about six boxes of books to her and she kindly allowed us to go through and snag things we wanted. I've finally got around to cataloguing my stash, reshelving and even reading a couple! The one I'm currently reading is Later Medieval Europe: From St Louis to Luther by Daniel Waley which is really interesting and I'm devouring it around a chapter or two a day.

It's very cool - he does an overview of governmental systems during this time, which looks at the legal and actual relationships people had with the royalty downwards; interestingly, he argues that the impact of the merchants and trading has been over-rated. Then he looks at Italy in the Mediterranean and the rivalry of the French, Greeks and Argonese, along with the involvement of the Papacy. The following chapter (the one I just finished) covers the French monarchy during this time period and how they managed to not only keep their lands, retain control over their people (particularly Phillip IV who had a lovely trick of getting public assent to plans so the Pope had to acquise), but sucessfully argue against the papacy regarding tax and expand the borders!

The current total of my library is 950 books (185 non-fiction).
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (Iliad)
I have been rereading Ilium by Dan Simmons this week, because I was trying to explaing talking about it with [ profile] deepbluemermaid and then felt the need to reread it.

I like it much more than its sequel Olympos, although that will probably be my reading book for next week. I've read Ilium three or four times since it came out (2003); Olympos once.

I picked it up because of its title; that it was $15 hardback and new; that it was clearly science-fiction; and that it began as follows:

Sing, O Muse, of the rage of Achilles, of Peleus' son, murderous mankiller, fated to die, sing of the rage that cost the Achaeans so many good men and sent so many vital, hearty souls down to the dreary House of Death. And while you're at it, O Muse, sing of the rage of the gods themselves, so petulant and so powerful here on their new Olympos, and of the rage of the post-humans, dead and gone though they might be, and of the rage of those few true humans left, self-absorbed and useless though they may have become. While you are singing, O Muse, sing also of the rage of those thoughtful, sentient, serious but not-so-close-to-human beings out there dreaming under the ice of Europa, dying in the sulfur-ash of Io, and being born again in the cold folds of Ganymede.
Oh, and sing of me, O Muse, poor born-again-against-his-will Hockenberry - poor dead Thomas Hockenberry, Ph.D., Hockenbush to his friends, to friends long since turned to dust on a world long since left behind. Sing of my rage, O Muse, yes, of my rage, small and insignificant though that rage may be when measured against the anger of the immortal gods, or when compared to the wrath of the god-killer, Achilles.
On second thought, O Muse, sing of nothing to me. I know you. I have been bound and servant to you, O Muse, you incomparable bitch. And I do not trust you, O Muse. Not one little bit.

I like two of the three story threads and I'm starting to like the third by the end of the book. Even so, this is a book that I only reread every year or two. It's not comfort, light easy reading. It's not as screwy as The Golden Age by John C Wright (little is and yet it remains my benchmark), but it doesn't always make sense. It mostly makes internal sense. I think. And it has some fantastic scenes.

We bought sushi ginger at the grocery shop and I am eating it straight from the container. The ginger is half the reason I buy sushi, so getting it separate is a good thing.

The other side of a settlement decided at 4.50pm today that yes, they would settle today and could we please fax them the undertakings we were obtaining? The guy who holds the power of attorney faxed them to us with the wrong fax number, so there was sortof settlement, I guess. I didn't care much by the end. It'll get sorted on Monday.

I'm going to play Alice and have another go at killing the centipede. Does anyone have good tips for me?

EDIT: Yay, I killed the centipede. Alice is her proper size and I'm getting lost (again) in yet another 3D maze.
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (what are you reading)
Got caught reading Dante's Inferno today by one of the partners - who last caught me reading 1960s Mills & Boon.

I'm having the same problem with it as I did with Milton's Paradise Lost: I read too fast.

I like it. I liked Paradise Lost. Does anyone have a good translation audiobook version they could recommend me?
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (Horizons (SGA))
I have Bujold's new book. *gloats* It's the fourth in her Sharing Knife series, and now that I've read Horizon I can see why she wanted to call the second duology The Wide Green World.

Currently on the second read through and really enjoying it. Horizon concludes the story in a way that Legacy didn't and couldn't. I'm satisfied by the ending and I want more stories - even as the world expands and Dag and Fawn's knowledge and experience expand, at the same time, you wind up, you wind in as they come more together. And the world is a wide green place and I want to know what happens to other people. I want to see Luthlia.

People on the Bujold mailing list have been comparing it to a Western, but I've read westerns - well, Louis L'Amour and Zane Grey mostly - enough to know the genre, anyway. The Sharing Knife books don't feel like a western novel to me. They feel more like what Hamilton Public Library classified as Saga. I never read much of the Saga section; I was always more interested in the romance, science-fiction and fantasy sections, but Jeanette Oke and the like were shelved in that section. Ongoing stories, about the same families of people, set in the same world. The ones I read tended to have some sort of morality tale in the background (or the foreground). A lot of them were Christian.

And while the Sharing Knife series are clearly fantasy, are clearly romance (well, Beguilement anyway), are clearly set in America - I don't think they're westerns. Certainly not westerns as [ profile] mashugenah would describe them!

One thing I've discovered as I've awaited each new book over the past few year is that the Sharing Knife books have grown on me. I adored Chalion from the very beginning and loved the universe. I wasn't so fond of Legacy (it would be my least favourite of the series), but the world has intrigued me more and more over the past few years, just as Miles-before-Memory has lost his appeal. I tried describing it to [ profile] tamarillow as that the Sharing Knife books are like a second-hand coat, brought with memories already embedded and something you shape anew for yourself, whereas the Five Gods books are like a made to measure coat; fits instantly and comfortably. I'm not sure the analogy holds up particularly well, but the gist of is that both stories fit me in different ways.
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (Default)
One of the things I like about being on holiday is the ability to get up around 9.00 or 10.00am or whenever I feel like it and read a book over breakfast. Reading the book inevitably takes longer than the breakfast, but I don't have to stop reading until I've finished it. Such luxury.

Of course, this means that I don't really start doing things until around noon, but that's okay. I'm on holiday.

This morning I read My Life by David Lange (a former Prime Minister of New Zealand during the fourth Labour government) and, well, I could have picked a much more interesting and better written book to read over breakfast.

Comments )

Now I shall go have some lunch and depending on where [ profile] maudlinrose is in her day, hang some art and do some housework.
nishatalitha: text: Ooops I read the whole thing (all caps) image: background crumped white paper (Ooops I read the whole thing)
Exams tomorrow. Despite my almost complete lack of study, I don't actually feel underprepared for these, although I doubt I will feel that way when sitting Estates tomorrow afternoon. Still, at least Property is in the morning and I have a couple of hours between the two, so can cram some more, if I need to. I have at least gone through and highlighted relevant legislation, something I haven't done for any other exam.

Read By Blade and Cloth by Helen E. Davis this evening (recced by [ profile] sartorias) and quite enjoyed her take on Elves. It was a bit patchy in parts and occasionally skipped perspective very quickly, but in some scenes it was clearly deliberate. Worth US$5 for the e-book. There were three sample chapters available and then I wanted to finish it.

The wind is howling outside and it will be cold enough for me to be comfortable wearing the jacket I have worn to almost every exam since third form; my heavy denim one with big pockets and autumn tapestry inserts that I got from Orlando in September twelve years ago when I was thirteen. We got it in a large, so I wouldn't outgrow it as fast and I remember it costing US$90 - I think I paid half, although that bit is unclear. It's tradition now that I at least take it to every exam I sit.

I have both cats in my room at the moment, which is a rare thing. When I went out before, Tobias looked lonely, so I brought him in, and now he's stretched out against the wall by the door. Jemima has moved from being on my bed to sitting directly next to the heater. This is Jemima's space; Tobias wasn't allowed in here when he was a kitten so she would have somewhere that was hers. But they haven't fought - well, Jemima hissed a bit, but that's hardly uncommon - and now Tobias is taking a bath. Maybe they're tired as well.

Picked a sprig of blossom from the apple tree the other day and stuck it in a small vase. I know it's flowering, but I've never seen water go down in a vase so quickly! I have to refill the emptied vase about twice a day: morning and night
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (Woman and book)
1. Comment on this post.
2. I will give you a letter.
3. Think of 5 fictional characters and post their names and your comments on these characters in your LJ.

[ profile] kikibug13 gave me K )

Coming up with five characters was much more challenging than I expected - mostly because I had trouble thinking of characters I like whose names begin with K. I'm sure I would have had exactly the same problem with any other letter, though. I think I put down every single character I thought of - in that order, too.

I've been rereading The Curse of Chalion again over the last couple of days. I limit myself to reading it about twice or four times a year now, and I think it's been about six months since I last read it. While I hadn't forgotten how much I enjoy it, at the same time, I delighted in sinking into the glorious use of language and images.

This time, it was the visual images that I noticed the most. While I think it's too internal a book to be filmed at all well, Bujold's descriptions and use of language make it a very visually appealing book. Besides, I've read or participated in a few casting discussions since I last read it, and while I read it, I got a lot of almost movie quality images in my head, not any action scenes, but just about all of the small group scenes; this time I could see detail, not just outline; full faces, not just sketch figures. I was paying attention to the use of colour, so vividly present in the Five Gods books anyway, texture and sound; poetry echoes and thunders.

There are reasons this book has been top of my favourite books list since it was published seven years ago and one of them is that I can still get new things out of it on the twenty plus read through.

Time to go to bed now; I think the changeover to daylight savings has affected me more than I thought - I'm exhausted.
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (Woman and book)
Thought I'd go again. This time from [ profile] mmegara. When you see a Bujold quote on your flist, post another one and see what happens.

Prayer, he suspected as he hoisted himself up and turned for the door, was putting one foot in front of the other. Moving all the same.

Two sentences that have had an enormous impact on me and how I approach prayer.


Sep. 4th, 2008 10:02 pm
nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (Dead Cthulu)
September is the insanely busy month in my flat - indeed, we're into the busy-ness by the end of August. So why, if we were sane, would we be thinking about moving in a few weeks? Place is out in Karori; I haven't seen it myself, but [ profile] tamarillow and [ profile] maudlinrose say that apart from the location and the timing, it's everything we could want. I'm going out to see it tomorrow after work.

Has anyone else had problems being overcharged with Snapper on the Mairangi bus route going into town? It's worth checking your balance, as both [ profile] maudlinrose and I have been. We've both called about it and the people at the other end of the line have been both nice and sympathetic, but so far, ultimately unhelpful.

On the other hand, problems with Snapper triggered a spate of awful fish related puns this afternoon; I got some odd looks when I was cracking up as silently as I could at my desk.

I've rediscovered that watching something from my bed before I go to sleep is actually a better way to wind down and get into the mood for sleeping than reading in bed is. It's a lot easier to stop watching something when your eyes can't focus anymore than it is to stop reading a book. I'm much better about not watching another episode than I am about reading another chapter. I must keep this in mind after I've finished Read or Die and Witch Hunter Robin.

More work stuff: I rearranged PJS' office yesterday so that files are now all in alphabetical order. I'm currently doing DMH's office. She's away skiing in Wanaka at the moment, so I left it in a mess at the end of the day. She recently did a purge of stuff and has left me with a pile of stuff to put into new folders, so I rather think she's going to end up with more folders on her shelves than she had to begin with and that's with me getting rid of things easily available online, like the LINZ Acreditation Standards.

I've been reading Margaret Mahy young adult books recently; the ones I never read when I was a teenager. After all, what older book of hers could possibly compare to The Changeover. Wasn't hugely impressed with some of them. Catalogue at the End of the Universe was neat - Tycho is an awesome character - but Angela is too prickly for me to connect with. On the other hand, Memory, which I read today, resonates with me. Not so much like The Changeover does; more in the way that Chalion or maybe The Silver Metal Lover do. For the most part though, I like her short stories and children's books better.


nishatalitha: image: lots of ladybirds crawling up fencepost.  white rope is wrapped twice around top of fencepost (Default)

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