Miss Sherlock

Two thoughts after the finale:

1) This is what I wanted from BBC.

The BBC feeling has been strong in the last two episodes, but I’ve enjoyed them far more than any BBC episode aside from the pilot. What Inspector Lemon got in this episode (loyalty, heroics, tears, a fucking thank you from Sherlock) is what I kept hoping DI Lestrade would get, not all of that, at least a little, but he didn’t.

2) I ship everything and I ship nothing.

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noro taiyo #23

knitting

I only knit when I watch TV, so this 1/2 a scarf owes its existence to True Detective S1. 2018 was supposed to be the year that I tracked my watching as well as my reading, but that hasn’t happened because there is almost nothing to report.

January – Juni Taisen, first three episodes of Doctor Who S10

February/March – Bungo Stray Dogs (completely loved the first part of S2), Dressed to Kill and The Woman in Green (Rathbone Holmes)

April – True Detective S1, first episode of Westworld (the rest has to wait until next month)

Anyway, I loved True Detective and I’m a little sorry I watched it this month because I don’t have time to go around the internet telling everyone they were wrong about the last episode. (It was good!)

 

 

 

March reading

Pachinko – Interesting historical background. I felt like some of the emotional aspects were muted because of the time skips, but it was worth reading.

Master and Commander – Skipped all of the parts where boat things are explained so all that remained was a love story that starts with the most adorable meet cute. I’m currently listening to the audiobook, where the boat parts help me get to sleep.

The Possibility of an Island – I might have more to say about Houellebecq later, not today.

Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked – Interesting, but not super relevant to me at the moment because I don’t really use social media right now. I don’t follow enough people on goodreads or Instagram for those to be interesting/addictive, no Facebook, and I never started using twitter. I’d planned on using @pocketbookangel to collect quotes from whatever I was reading–maybe I will start at some point. Right now, I don’t have a “place” on the internet, which is a little weird because I’ve spent so much of my life online, but I no longer have a reason to be here. How was the book? Apparently I wasn’t interested enough to take notes or highlight any quotes.

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street – In a better universe, this is not a book, it is an anime with Akira Ishida voicing the watchmaker of the title. Maybe I’ll complain more about this book later, starting with the main character fussing over his Lipton tea in the 1880s (Lipton, est. 1890), and finishing with the creepiness of the main relationship. Tbh, the creepiness is the kind I like, but I was left wondering if the author realised exactly how fucked up it is.

The Old Devils – Some genuinely funny bits, and it was refreshing to read about older characters, but everyone is so awful in a realistic way that it feels entirely without grace. Given the title, I’m certain this was deliberate.

Fahrenheit 451 – Every time I read this book, I find new parts to dislike. Kids these days with their giant TVs and comic books! And I can’t even with the ridiculous author’s note except to say that I think the Vassar lady is a figment of his imagination.

A Study in Charlotte and The Last of August – Disappointing.

Powell of the month: The Acceptance World

April was going to be a no-Kindle month, an experiment in carrying paper books around, but I’m halfway through rereading American Pastoral and I just got Fever Dream, recent winner of the Tournament of Books, so paper books will have to wait.

In the interest of completeness, it should be noted that I also read The Productivity Project. It is embarrassing how many productivity books I’ve read when compared to how productive I actually am.

February Reading

Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
Anthony Powell – A Buyer’s Market (reread)
My Cousin Rachel – Daphne Du Maurier
Put Out More Flags – Evelyn Waugh (reread)
The Vintner’s Luck – Elizabeth Knox (reread)
Mrs Caliban – Rachel Ingalls

And I’m in the middle of a bunch of books: Master and Commander, The Possibility of an Island, Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, and Under the Volcano. I’m planning on starting the YA Charlotte Holmes series, perhaps I’ll like it more than the romance one, and I am really looking forward to moving forward in A Dance to the Music of Time. I have no idea why I like them so much–they’re good, but I’d hesitate to say great, yet I’ve read through the whole series more than once. More than twice. More than…

I’ve recommended The Vintner’s Luck many times over the past 18 years. I’d run out and bought it based on the New York Times review, which promised good writing and a loyal & sexy angel, but the book was given away when I moved, so this is the first time I’ve reread it. It popped up on Overdrive, and I thought why not. Rereading it now, it seems awfully Anne Rice, and I have to admit I cringed at the descriptions of the angel’s leather trousers. It’s weird because I don’t feel any embarrassment about reading and enjoying Angel Sanctuary, and I would still recommend it to anyone looking for a soap opera about angel politics and angels making rocknroll fashion choices.

Half Read

Now that February is more than half over, it seems the theme is finishing books that I started months or years ago. In most cases, the books were not finished because the library disappeared them from my kindle–sometimes as I was reading. Paper addicts would probably see this as a sign of dead tree superiority, after all, librarians don’t have the time to swing by your house and snatch books out of your hands. However, I compared the amount spent on books in 2009 (pre-kindle) and the amount spent in 2014 (kindle + library), and the actual number is too embarrassingly large to post here, even though no one except my future self will read this. Future Self, don’t be too hard on Past Self! She didn’t know. But, to be completely honest, I did know. Every time I move, I lose a library (and I move a lot).

My description of Ready Player One as a collection of pop culture references attempting to be prose, and now that I’ve made it from 20% to 100%, it’s that plus sexist nerd wish-fulfillment. My Cousin Rachel is so good, but it’s the kind of writing that makes me feel bad about being a bad writer, which must be the reason I didn’t finish it before. Playback is definitely the weakest of the Marlowe novels–a first draft written in grief and alcohol.

An elderly woman on the train was offended by The Possibility of an Island–I can be a little oblivious when reading, so I hadn’t noticed that she’d got out her reading glasses and was staring at my screen until she started to complain. Too much pussy for 7 in the morning, so I put it away, and by the afternoon, it had returned to the library. It’s going to take me years to find out how the smug & annoying “comedian” becomes a smug & annoying clone–I started reading it in 2013. A friend had sent it to me because I’d loved The Map and the Territory, but I was too busy studying Japanese and writing about DI Lestrade to read it. And, the real problem is that it was a book. An actual paper book. They’re not only bulky, but it’s far too easy to leave paper books on the train, on the bus, in a taxi, etc. I left it in all those places, and then when it was time to leave Japan, it stayed on the bookshelf next to Nancy Mitford and a volume of Gintama.

January Reading

The Seventh Function of Language – Laurent Binet

The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao – Junot Diaz (reread)

Cheddar: a journey to the heart of America’s most iconic cheese – David Edgar

The Book of Revelation – Rupert Thomson

Big Little Lies – Liane Moriarty

Hunger – Roxane Gay

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series (1-3, 5-9) – Louise Penny

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes – Anita Loos (reread)

The Long Goodbye – Raymond Chandler (reread)

The Little Sister – Raymond Chandler (reread)

Eve’s Hollywood – Eve Babitz

Crazy Rich Asians – Kevin Kwan

A Question of Upbringing – Anthony Powell

Other than rereading A Dance to the Music of Time, one volume a month, I don’t have any definite reading goals this year–fewer rereads? More translated fiction? No translated fiction? (too late for that) More nonfiction? The problem is that the moment I decide on a reading challenge and organize a list of books to read, then it feels like homework, and all I want to do is read Waugh.

Reading goal: this year I’ll read some books I haven’t read before.

This year might be like 2016 when the first book I read ended up being my favourite. In 2016, January started with Renata Adler’s Speedboat, and I ended up rereading it before the year ended. I started The Seventh Function of Language at the end of December, put it down, mildly disappointed because it wasn’t a campus comedy about Barthes solving mysteries, picked it up again on the first, and happily raced through it. It’s basically a violent and trashy airport novel for people who carry their lunches to work in LRB tote bags, and I love it.