a little tired, but up and up

I’ve been behind. The past two months haven’t been great. But things are looking better, and the holidays couldn’t have come at a better time. We were in the US this time around, got to see more friends and family than I could have hoped. Here are some of the things we got up to.

I finally got to see Grandpa’s apartment, it seems to suit him really well. He showed me his WWII photos (glad Brett told me about them!), and Effie Bradley’s memoranda.

We played snooker. Badly, but it was fun! Screwed up the rules, apparently you don’t get awarded negative points for a foul… I kind of liked that house rule though, takes it in to QI territory. Sam showed us a video of how it’s actually supposed to be done.

We met up with Tara Vancil and Paul Frazee in Austin, which was excellent! What lovely people. We scheduled that early, anticipating bad jet lag, but got an unexpected second wind on our way back. Likely related to a slightly odd cab driver. So instead of turning in, we went to The White Horse – very Twin Peaks! need to practice my two step – and Las Trancas.

Made Victorias for the first time with my mom. That was fascinating and fun, with really helpful tips from Grandma’s notes and from my uncle.

Also scanned the Haywood family history docs. I didn’t know we had so much written down! Need to sit down and read through it, ideally also type up that cursive doc. I wish I had taken the time to go through this when Nan-nan and Pop-pop were still around.

Spent NYE in Boston with good friends, lots of food, drinks, and games. Can’t ask for much more, it was great to be able to see so many people in one place.

I’ve read a reasonable amount over the past month, went all-in on sci-fi, myths, fantasy. It feels good to be back in that territory, it was my favourite as a kid. Here are the recent titles:

Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami
This book is more about the journey than than a climactic set-piece, as his books usually seem to be. From a Guardian review (don’t read the review, it gives too much away and kills the vibe): “Significantly, Murakami’s painter likes to leave some of his portraits unfinished. One has the sense that the author does, too.” Count me in as well. I really enjoyed it. Still thinking about the main character’s musing that maybe a real piece of art is something that is necessary. Necessary is in the eye of the beholder, but that’s part of the point. What about when applied to other work, careers, creative endeavours?

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
I get it, I get why this book is considered foundational. Took me too long to get round to it. Glad to have read it and look forward to reading more of her work.

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
This was always going to be a winner for me. Gaiman has been one of my favourites for a long time, I love mythology, and I love short story collections. Also SB is playing God of War right now so this book is perfectly timed. I think Gaiman struck the perfect tone, a relatively “straight” telling with little inklings of his own voice here and there.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
I had never heard of Jemisin before this holiday and had two very close friends (that don’t know each other) recommended her to me in the span of two days. Extremely impressive world building, unlike anything else I’ve read before. I’m unable to anticipate most of her next storytelling steps (can be unusual in popular fantasy). Very excited about her body of work. I may have started too many series now though.

I got back in to a good reading habit in part because I renewed my Boerne library card, and also because I discovered that Libby can now send books to your Kindle (US libraries only). Pretty cool.