February 2021 Round Up

Hi de hi, campers. I have no idea how February took so long – or felt so full, approached from another angle. No point wishing my life away and all that. So on the one hand I rather enjoyed February. On the other, I feel arbitrarily happy it’s over. Because, you know, one day becomes markedly different from the other for a change of month.

Anyway, none of you came here to read tired sarcasm. You came here for books and all the typos you can shake a stick at. So here’s the books I read last month.

Penric’s Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold – I like to call this novella Chicken Soup for the soul. It’s comforting with a big kick of flavour and some fun subtleties when you dig deep. I am torn between devouring the series and saving them for myself as treats.

Fireheart Tiger by Aliette de Bodard – Really good. Twisty and a mix of tender and brutal in its scenes and themes. Great characters for a small book.

The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula Le Guin – There is something hypnotic about this book; there is something, when compared to a lot of fantasy of its time, very different about the feel of it. I think people should be reading and thinking about this book a lot.

The Sword in the Street by C.M. Caplan – Part duels and lovers’ quarrels; part enacting social change and consequences; a riff on Fantasy of Manners (particularly Swordspoint) that is likable and rushes along, although maybe rushes a bit too much at times.

The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday by Saad Z Hossain – I finally got around to this one after being inspired by Para’s review and I’m very grateful I did. This would make a great movie with it’s mix of high concept, bloody action and, best of all, insanely entertaining dialogue.

Wolf in Shadow by David Gemmell – Starts as a simple one righteous drifter in a cruel land; takes a hard left into trippy post-apocalyptic territory meditating on the values of peace and violence (albeit with lots of violent action) in classic Gemmell fashion. Ends strong.

The Fifth Elephant by Sir Terry Pratchett – Really really good. Think I’ve overlooked how good this one is. Tight mystery, fantastic scenes, very strong themes. Very strong ending. About the only way it could have been better is with more of it.

Comics

Asterix the Legionary by René Goscinny, Albert Uderzo, trans. Anthea Bell – One of my favourite Asterixes. The running jokes are great. The idea’s fun. Only criticism is the fight scenes are average.

Kill 6 Billion Demons Vol. 1 by Tom Parkinson-Morgan – Very trippy, dark webcomic that I’m enjoyed but without feeling much narrative momentum.

Non-Books

Exercise – We completed Adriene’s 30 Days of Yoga (Breath) challenge and took a week off and the week off feels a lot worse than doing it. I should have done some of my own in the mornings but I’m usually not awake enough to think of it. I’m also slowly ramping up resistance band usage (i.e. remembering to do it). There’s also been more hour long walks. Exercise is rarely fun (which is why people like buddies) but the alternative really is less fun for me. Which sometimes feels quite jarring against a lot of the modern world, which is full of friendly people telling you to blow off the hard stuff and give yourself permission to enjoy life. I know they mean well, but I don’t need anyone’s permission to live in the moment. What I need is support in building habits that make life more enjoyable.

Food & Drink – Highlights include finding out I really like Ras El Hanout on lamb (I tried making my own blend after the shop ran out, and think I overdid the chilli and ginger); a pretty decent attempt at making fish-fragrant aubergine (I think it was this month…); and a chicken balti pie. No, that isn’t the sound of me paying attention to healthy meals. But I will be doing so! Honest.

Music – I spent a lot of this month listening to VNV Nation’s Empires. I meant to go through their whole discography but got stuck on that album. Discovering there was a classical version of Legion was also a highlight. I did listen to Praise the Fallen too, which was alright but, well, not Empires. Beyond VNV… Ephemerald’s Between the Glimpses of Hope wasn’t a bad sad melodeath album, which I will be giving more chances to. If I remember.

TV & Movies – I finished watching Buffy, which was a moment, and there will be something up here on that. I finished watching the second season of Legend of Korra, which was… something, and there will be a piece on that too. I got a rec to watch No Offence which I should follow up on. Movie wise… I remember watching Little Giants and enjoying it, albeit while wondering if kids would really object to having crazy dramatic moments that paid a little more attention to the laws of probability.

Personal – I was pretty pleased with myself to hit the 200 view mark two weeks in a row for this blog. I do this mainly for myself, but it’s nice to know there’s a small audience that’s growing. Now to redirect everything from Blogger to here, because that’s still getting a decent amount of hits. I was even more pleased with myself for actually switching electricity tariff in time. Take that shitty executive function. Even more impressive is the decision to start really hitting the submissions trail. Or, at least, it will be if I actually do it. If I don’t have a good update on this in the next update, pelt me with rocks. Actual rocks.

What Next

Next on here? Well there’s three unreviewed titles right up there, and maybe Redwall and Asterix readthroughs to catch up on. I’ve got a couple of interviews underway. I am also thinking of doing some more deep dives onto genres in fantasy and what people think of them. Then there’s weeks 4 – 6 of Kushiel’s Chosen to finish. Finally, I’m hoping to reduce this list of what I’m reading and get some more reviews up on them, and after that try some new stuff – more Frohock’s Los Nefilim, maybe have a glance at Madson’s We Ride With Death or Stewart’s The Bone Shard Daughter, or maybe even get back to this list that I’m only slightly off-piste on.

Or more likely, none of the above. Stay tuned for more and have a good month.

8 thoughts on “February 2021 Round Up

  1. February was ridiculously exhausting to me, I’m glad to it to begone!
    I’m saving the Penric novellas as treats, but the problem is that I’m too good at saving, so I always say, gonna save them for when I need a pick-me-up even more, even if I’m a complete mess in desperate need of picking up.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Completely agree with your description of Penric’s Demon as chicken soup for the soul. I tried the audiobook version and it was the perfect blend of wry humor, mystery and fantasy. Asterix is, of course, perfect for any of those downer days. And The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday sounds awesome, will check it out, thanks~

    Liked by 1 person

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