Darth Pony

Ruling the galaxy is so overrated.

SPOILER ALERT!

Reading progress update: I've read 102 out of 509 pages.

Eragon (The Inheritance Cycle, #1) - Christopher Paolini

Stormtroopers Ra’Zac destroyed Uncle Owen’s moisture farm Uncle Garrow’s farm while searching for the stolen Death Star plans Saphira's egg and killed Uncle Owen Uncle Garrow, and now Luke Aragorn Eragon has set off with Obi-Wan Brom, who has given him his father’s light saber his father’s (I’m guessing) sword and promised to teach him the ways of the Jedi the Dragon Riders. Tune in next update for more exciting news on Star Wars Ep. IV: A New Hope Eragon!

Reading progress update: I've read 10 out of 509 pages.

Eragon (The Inheritance Cycle, #1) - Christopher Paolini

I know I read this somewhere around 2003-2004, but I remember very little aside from being unimpressed, thinking it was basically LOTR fanfic, and wishing my parents were also publishers so I too could foist my teenage scribbles on an unsuspecting public. But I still somehow ended up collecting the whole series and never got around to reading it. Now I’m on a mission to clear them out of my TBR bookcase to make room for other, shinier hardcovers I plan to buy. I’m off to a shaky start. I must be in a super nitpicky mood right now because I keep snorting at the slightly terrible prose:

 

A bit past noon he heard the Igualda Falls blanketing everything with the dull sound of a thousand splashes.

 

Equal Rites

Equal Rites  - Terry Pratchett

It seems every Discworld novel I read is a bit more entertaining than the last. I haven’t laughed this hard at a book since Ian Doescher penned the words [Exit, pursued by a wampa. Feminism on the Disc is really . . . well, it’s really something! I loved spending time with Granny and Esk and hardly even noticed the absence of my current favorite Discworld character, the Luggage. The wizard’s staff was quite entertaining and had a certain snarky charm, though it couldn’t hold a candle to my beloved Luggage. I adore this trend of anthropomorphizing magical objects and I hope it continues.

Reading progress update: I've read 100%.

Equal Rites  - Terry Pratchett

I know in group buddy reads you're supposed to post updates and stuff to foster discussion and all that, but I kind of accidentally read most of this in one sitting away from the computer and didn't take notes, so . . . oops?

Reading progress update: I've read 1%.

Equal Rites  - Terry Pratchett

Mist curled between the houses as the wizard crossed a narrow bridge over the swollen stream and made his way to the village smithy, although the two facts had nothing to do with one another. The mist would have curled anyway; it was experienced mist and had got curling down to a fine art.

 

Ahhhh! This is more like it!

The Long Earth

The Long Earth - Stephen Baxter, Terry Pratchett

This book is about 86.5% world building that quickly becomes tedious, 13% set-up for future books, and .5% actual plot. It’s got traces of Pratchett’s humor here and there, but not nearly enough to save it. It’s a really cool premise and I can see why some people love it, but ugh.

 

I have never been so bored reading something with Terry Pratchett’s name on it.

Goodwood

Goodwood - Holly Throsby

If the people who adapted Puberty Blues for television had decided to make it a missing persons mystery, it would feel a lot like this book. That may sound like a strange mash-up, but I can’t begin to tell you how well it works here.

 

Goodwood is the kind of teeny country town that only has one of everything: one take-away shop, one bookstore, one butcher, one grocer, etc. Everybody knows everybody else, and when two townsfolk go missing, nearly everyone is changed by it. And Throsby makes sure you feel that change through some of the most natural, gorgeous prose I’ve ever poured into my eyeballs.

 

It’s hard to believe this is a debut novel. Apparently a career as a musician and song writer is GREAT training for a fiction author. The writing is gorgeous and evocative and full of passages that drove the breath from my lungs.

 

Goodwood was heavier than ever. It had a different feel of an afternoon. Even with the season changing and green shoots appearing in the dewy branches, everything felt dark and heavy with grief. There was grief in the awnings, and grief in the wheels of our cars, and grief at the bottom of our glasses. Smithy, who served many a glass from behind his beer-soaked bar, told Nan it was just like Watership Down.

 

‘That book scared the daylights out of me when I read it to my son,’ he said, ‘but that’s how it feels around here now. Like we’re the rabbits and the field is filling with blood.’

 

Oof. Wow. I cannot wait to read Throsby’s next book.

 

A huge thank you to Murder by Death, who first brought this book to my attention with her much more eloquent review a couple of years ago. You were so right, MbD!

 

The reasons that kept me from giving this a full five stars are similar to MbD’s reasons. While the romance was sweet, it felt a little tacked on. And regarding the mystery (super spoilery stuff behind the spoiler tag):

 

As soon as I read the seemingly played-for-laughs story about clutzy Fitzy taking out the guard rail on that section of road where there’s always a dead kangaroo, I knew exactly what had happened to Rosie and why no one could find Bart’s missing Corolla.

(show spoiler)

The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon

The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon - Alexander McCall Smith

DNF at page 100. I got bored and started skimming ahead, which I usually avoid, but in this case it saved me a few wasted hours of reading. I thought after the last book that maybe McCall Smith was running out of ideas, but it turns out he was keeping at least one up his sleeve, and it’s one of my least favorite things to come across in a book (or anywhere, for that matter).

 

Incest. Totally unnecessary, why-would-you-go-there incest.

(show spoiler)

 

Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugggggggghhhhhh.

 

I’m done. So long, No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, and thanks for all the warm fuzzies you gave me in the past.

The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection

The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, #13) - Alexander McCall Smith

This is one of those “bubble bath for the brain” series that I used to love turning to after heavy reads. I lost track of it for years and now I’m several books behind. I’m both pleased and dismayed that McCall Smith is still cranking one of these out every year; pleased because I enjoy my brain bubble baths, dismayed because this book feels a bit like MS is out of ideas and is just ticking established character traits off a checklist.

 

Mma Ramotswe drinks red bush tea and drives her tiny white van and repeatedly declares herself “traditionally built”: check.

 

Mma Makutsi adjusts her round glasses, covets higher status in the agency, and has conversations with her shoes: check.

 

Motholeli and Puso briefly make an appearance and do cute well-adjusted children stuff: check.

 

Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni relates current events/people to cars: check.

 

Charlie and Fanwell say or do something foolish: double check.

 

Mma Potokwani bosses people around and serves fruit cake: check.

 

Violet Sephotho is vain and somehow the villain: check.

 

I could keep going, but I’m sure you get the idea. Added to the increasing feeling of same-old, same-old is a growing suspicion that the author is now on auto-pilot, and that’s why all these characters are sort of stagnating and we’re getting awkward pull-me-out-of-the-story things like a white man from Muncie, Indiana speaking with the exact same syntax as the residents of Gaborone. I’m hoping this is just me or the author having an off-book, so to speak, and not a sign that the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency should have shut its doors on a higher note back in book 12.

 

I enjoyed my little visit to McCall Smith’s version of Botswana, but not nearly as much as I used to.  Here’s hoping the magic is back in the next book.

Moby Dick

Moby-Dick (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) - Herman Melville

I don’t mean to disrespect this book or anyone who loves it, but for only the second time in my life I find myself thinking that maybe abridging classics isn’t such a terrible practice after all.

 

At least I came out of it with my love of whales intact.

 

Take it away, Ahab!

“Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering whale; to the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee.”

You tell ‘em, you crazy bastard.

Reading progress update: I've read 656 out of 752 pages.

Moby-Dick (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) - Herman Melville

The story ends here. The rest is endnotes, a dictionary, and other such appendices. I would like to thank insomnia for helping me finish the last 250-ish pages in two nights. I may not retain much of the contents of those pages, also thanks to you, but whatever. I couldn't have done it without you!

 

In possibly related news, I don't think I could have a bigger headache if I had stove in the Pequod's hull with my own forehead.

Reading progress update: I've read 521 out of 752 pages.

Moby-Dick (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) - Herman Melville

So! Ishmael once measured a whale skeleton and didn't want to forget the measurements, so he tattooed them on his arm as "there was no other secure way of preserving such valuable statistics" at the time. I already knew this was in the book. What I didn't know was that, though he went to the extreme of permanently inking these "valuable statistics" in his flesh, he didn't even record the exact measurements because he was saving room on his body for a poem he was composing.

 

This may be the funniest, stupidest, navel-gazing-est thing I've ever read and now I'm intensely curious about this poem that trumps exact whale skeleton measurements.

 

Reading progress update: I've read 516 out of 752 pages.

Moby-Dick (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) - Herman Melville

Insomnia hit me hard last night. The chapters on the differences between sperm whale heads and right whale heads failed to put me to sleep as I'd hoped and I ended up reading about 100 pages.

 

At one point a minor character went overboard during a whale chase, and that got me thinking about the 1987 movie Overboard and how much I love it and how horrifically messed up it actually is. I mean, a man tells an amnesiac she's his wife, forces her into slavery, emotionally abuses her, and relentlessly gaslights her to keep up the sham. He totally should have gone to prison for kidnapping and possibly rape because, willing or not, there are some serious consent issues here. Then I started thinking about the remake that came out last year (which I haven't seen) and wondering if swapping the genders of the kidnapper and the victim makes it more funny/disturbing or less funny/disturbing.

 

Ladies and gentlemen, my brain on insomnia.

Reading progress update: I've read 332 out of 752 pages.

Moby-Dick (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) - Herman Melville

From an entire chapter dedicated to the type of rope used for whaling:

 

[...] but previous to that connection, the short-warp goes through sundry mystifications too tedious to detail.

 

YOU GUYS. Melville finding something too tedious to detail is like THE ULTIMATE BURN. Imagine being so tedious NOT EVEN MELVILLE CAN BE BOTHERED DESCRIBING YOU.

 

Reading progress update: I've read 262 out of 752 pages.

Moby-Dick (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) - Herman Melville

"Ready," was the half-hissed reply.

 

Question: How does one half hiss a word with zero sibilant consonants?

Reading progress update: I've read 258 out of 752 pages.

Moby-Dick (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) - Herman Melville

Ahab is graciously allowing the hunting of whales other than Moby Dick. Not because he's recalled his duty to his employers, but so the crew won't mutiny when they realize seeking someone else's revenge doesn't pay well.

 

In other, possibly related, news, I have "Ship of Fools" stuck in my head on a repeating loop.

Currently reading

Eragon (The Inheritance Cycle, #1) by Christopher Paolini
Progress: 102/509pages