The first half of 2019

The first half of 2019

It’s already almost June, and all I have to show on this blog so far for this year is one post in early January boasting about how productive I’ve been.

Since then, I’ve sent out the survey to International School Library staff, and received some responses – I’ve yet to sit down and really go through the data and draw any findings, but from the brief looks I’ve had, I think I should be able to come up with something interesting to present at the end of it. At some point. Eventually.

I continue to be accident prone – as I type this, the ring finger on my left hand is in a buddy splint. What happened? No one knows. The school nurse’s verdict was to “take a painkiller and see if it helps”. Another victim has been claimed by the ever expanding shadow of my ability to sustain mysterious injuries.

It’s not all bad though. I’ve had some great breaks this year – I went to Legoland in Malaysia, had my phone stolen, bought a new phone, went to visit family in India, and I just got back last week from Kyushu, which was phenomenal (see featured image). Kyushu is like if Australia were run by the Japanese – it’s got that laid-back coastal vibe, but still quintessentially… Japanese. If anyone knows how to better describe that essence of Japan please let me know, because I struggle with it a lot.

I also read a fair bit this half a year. I realized belatedly that the only reason my book count was so high last year was because I went a bit mental catching up on Case Closed/Detective Conan, and unless I do something similar I’m really not going to hit my goal of 150 books this year… but apparently I’ve already read 60, which is much better than I thought I’d be doing.

Some of my reading highlights below:

I’d been wanting to read The Prince and the Dressmaker for a while, so I was really thrilled to get my hands on it, and it did not disappoint. It read a lot younger than I’d expected, but I loved it.

I also re-read the Belgariad for the first time since I was a tweenager, and while I’d like to say it holds up to the test of time, I have to be honest and admit that it gets a bit stale as the series progresses. It still starts of brilliantly though, and the characters are probably actually very flat, but to me they still held so much depth and richness.

Confession – I totally used the handle X’Nedra for a while when I was reading these. Why I aspired to be like that bratty little princess evades me, but this fact is testament to how big a part of my youth these books were.

I also picked up the first book of The Wicked + The Divine, and I quite enjoyed it! Unfortunately it is a bit adult, so I’m not super comfortable buying the rest of the volumes for the school library, and I didn’t love it enough to buy them for myself sooo….

On the other hand, I would happily dish out my own money for the next volume of Analog. This wasn’t really on my radar, I just added it to our shopping list after reading about it on one of those recommendation lists, because it seemed like something the students would like. It is also a bit more mature than I’d normally buy for the school, but this was so good. I really really enjoyed reading this one.

Quite uncharacteristically, I read some non-fiction recently as well. This was basically a series of interviews with the cast and crew of The Wire. I’ve been trying to convince my husband to watch this with me, but he hasn’t agreed yet. To be honest, I don’t usually re-watch TV shows, so this sort of whet my appetite anyway.

Sequels were finally bequeathed, and I got to read The True Queen, which turned out to be nothing like I’d expected, but still left me really wanting to read the next book in the series, and The Vanishing Stair, which I then immediately lent to a colleague so I would have someone to be frustrated with about having to wait for the next book.

Speaking of the Truly Devious series – while I can’t say I don’t approve of increased diversity in YA literature (or literature in general), sometimes it just feels so forced. Diversity is real, guys. It is a natural occurrence in life. You don’t need to “make it happen”. It’s like that one scene in Avengers Endgame where all the female superheros show up together and it’s just so contrived and awkward.

The reason I bring this topic up in relation to Truly Devious is because of the gender neutral character in that series who is referred to by the pronoun “they”. My colleague read a comment on GoodReads asking if that meant this character was a Siamese Twin. I’m just going to leave y’all to have your own reactions to that anecdote.

I’ve read a lot of other great things, but for now I’m plodding through The Priory of the Orange Tree, which is being hailed as the next Game of Thrones. I have several thoughts about this, but I’ll reserve them till I’m done with this giant tome.

I feel like if I ever do write a book, and it extends to great length, I’d work on getting my publisher to publish it as a box-set series of thinner tomes, so people could carry it around with them. Don’t not write long stories, or make people wait years in between to find out how things go, but maybe still take pity on us public transport commuters, y’know?

I’m hoping to get back to this website a bit more actively now, I want to post some pictures, and do more regular reviews, but life just has a way of getting in the way of everything. Fingers crossed – the ones that aren’t splinted up, anyway.

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