Brushing Off The Dust

“Recently published… Nov 7th, 12:59 pm”

Um. That’s a while. Hi?

Believe it or not, I’m not dead, I haven’t stopped reading, and I haven’t given up on blogging.

Weeks do tend to go by between my post when college is in full swing. The last thing I want to do in my last year is flunk out because of missing something really important like a paper or midterm. So for the next couple of weeks it’s not really that unusual that I wouldn’t update.

Then a week before Thanksgiving, I got bronchitis. I spent the next two weeks hacking up my lungs every five minutes and wishing for death in the intervals. It took two bottles of cough medicine and a round of antibiotics to get through that.

Then finals happened, in which a horrible three-inch centipede-like creature fell from the ceiling next to my head while I was taking my Chinese Civ final. I spent the rest of the entire exam time in terror that another was going to fall down the back of my neck.

Then came Christmas. Then school again. Then the polar vortex. At least I can now say that I have survived subzero temperatures (-10, to be exact).

So nothing really catastrophic happened. Just things that can take up a bunch of time. When I did have writing time, I was using it on a story that’s turning into The Godfather with vampires. And of course, I was reading. Because what else is there to do in subzero temperatures?

So here’s a brief sampling of what I’ve read and am currently in the middle of thus far.


BLACK-COUNT-COVER-687x1024The Black Count by Tom Reiss. A biography of the father of Alexandre Dumas, this was a fantastic read. Between the politics of the French Revolution and the trials of the Napoleonic Wars, Alexandre Dumas Sr.’s story is pretty amazing to read about, not least because he was the illegitimate son of a French nobleman and a slave. Definitely recommend, even if you’re normally not into history or non-fiction.

Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews. The second book in the Kate Daniel’s series, which, along with Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville books, is rapidly becoming my popcorn series. The books are easy to get through, with good characters and fun plots. The worldbuilding- a kind of apocalypse where magic comes in waves knocking out technology and ruining cities- is wonderful.

Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire. I’ve said before that Seanan McGuire’s a great worldbuilder, even if her mystery telling is weak. This book is much better suited to her strengths, which are fun characters and supernatural shenanigans. Once you adjust to tons of cryptid monsters running around NYC, it’s a boatload of fun to read about. Verity Price is a great narrator and though there are character and narrative clichés, they aren’t bad enough to take away from the entertainment of the story.

White_nightWhite Knight by Jim Butcher (reread). For some reason I remembered this one as being a lackluster installment in The Dresden Files, but I have no idea why because it was a lot of fun the second time through. It’s pretty late in the series though, so I wouldn’t recommend starting with it. However if you like sarcastic narrators and great worldbuilding, I cannot recommend this series enough.

Lots of Tony Hillerman mysteries. The main characters here are two policemen (one of whom eventually retires) in the Navajo Tribal police force. They usually end up working on different angles of cases that turn out to be related. These are great rainy-day books- they’re fun to get into, but you can put them down without screaming at whatever interrupted you.

A Prayer Journal by Flannery O’Connor. What the title sounds like- a book of prayers and meditations written during her college years that shed light on how she viewed herself and her place as an artist and a Catholic. Simultaneously made me inspired to write and made me certain that I’m kind of a terrible person, because she was younger than me/my age when she wrote it, and she had more humility and ability then than I will ever see in my lifetime.

Currently Reading:

Reamde by Neal Stephenson. Terrorists, computer games, ransom shenanigans, and spies. It’s completely crazy in the most awesome way imaginable.

A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin. I need to quit this series. Nothing has happened to move the plot forward and I’m more than 100 pages in. I know the book is a thousand pages, but come on, Martin, really? I really need to summon up the willpower and accept that A Song of Ice and Fire is never living up to the promise it had.

confederation-of-valorValor’s Choice/The Better Part of Valor by Tanya Huff. I’ve never read anything by this author before, but this 2-book copy was cheap at the bookstore and sounded interesting. And it is!. There’s alien alliances, difficult diplomacy and battle. It’s been a blast to read.

Hopefully I’ll be posting here a little more consistently. I’m working full-time this college quarter (journalism requirements, how I love thee) but the commute isn’t too bad. I’ve got some reviews and essays to write up and post, as well as a huge backlog of posts to read. So once more unto the breach!


4 thoughts on “Brushing Off The Dust

  1. Nah, you’ve said this too many times before; I reckon you really are dead and this is just another denial post. Methinks the lady doth protest too much.

    We’ve had some mental weather over here as well, actually, with rivers overflowing and flooding people’s houses on Christmas day. The river right near where I work flooded (again) and made the BBC news.

    Nifty bit of reading you’ve been doing there. For some reason I always used to read The Dresden Files and The Dresden Flies.

    I can’t remember which Game of Thrones book is which but ultimately I enjoyed working my way through them all. If that one you’re on is the one which introduces a load of shite about the Ironmen near the start, it does get better.

    • I need to keep up the illusion of life as long as possible. If only because I have too many stories that need to be finished before whenever my expiration date is.

      Ugh, rivers going into people’s homes sounds horrible. Thank goodness my family has been living on a hill for the past ten years or so, that would make a horrible Christmas.

      I think I know the book you’re talking about, but I actually kind of liked the Ironmen, though I think they would have worked better as a novella than actually in the story; they stalled the plot way too much. I’m annoyed with Dance because at this point in the story, there’s just too many threads and plot points that are being left alone, and that really bugs me. I could probably do a whole separate post on why I think Martin should just have done the five-year time skip he had initially planned, but I should probably wait till I’ve actually finished with Dance.

  2. Maggie! Hi di hi! Don’t worry we totally understand craziness that is student life, and work life, and all life basically. 😛
    That bronchitis sounds nasty, I hope you gave it a good kick on the way out!
    I’ve seen a lot on the news about the intense weather you have been getting recently and all I can say is I’m glad I’m not you. I don’t get cold that easily, but even I would probably turn to a Popsicle out there. Glad to hear everything is okay with you, if stressful and I’m impressed to see that you have even managed to fit in a bit of reading time. It’s a real shame about Martin’s series, I still have yet to pick up the first book but I own most of the series, so in due course I will probably be agonizing over the same frustrations as you.

    By the way I had a revisit to your Divergent review a minute ago and have to say I agree with most of what you said, although you put it far more eloquently than me, and with less Caps Lock. 😛 I’m having such a problem with being overwordy at the moment and it’s driving me insane. I think it’s because my brain is so frazzled. Plus I have to be so scientific and factual in my psychology essay that I think all my repressed wordiness bursts out in my recent blog posts. Eeesh.

    Happy studenting. 🙂

    • To mangle a LOTR quote, where there’s life, there’s nuttiness.

      The bronchitis was horrible. I haven’t been that sick in years. And then just when I get better, we get freaking Arctic temperatures. There’s no way to win. Take my word for it, you do not want to be out in anything that’s below zero. It’s awful. You can feel pretty much all your extremities turning to ice and odds are if you have to be out in that weather to begin with, there’s not much you can do to stop it.

      As for Martin’s series, you might think differently. I know a lot of people who loved the fifth book, but I feel like nothing has happened in it, and AFFC was already a slog. I hate that he has this habit of burying important information in really unimportant stuff, and I feel like he introduced way too many plot threads. My big worry is that he’s just not going to be able to tie them all up. But again, that’s just me and I tend to be really critical of stuff. I might be biased.

      Wow, that review was a while ago. But I’m quite glad it stood the test of time 🙂 I still think it could be improved, but it has solid enough bones. And what’s weird is that I reread it (Divergent) recently and I actually kind of like how unlikeable Tris is. She seems a lot more real than a lot of YA teens I’ve come across, even if her setting is bizarre.


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