Thursday, January 01, 2015

i love being well-rested

My son has been staying a few days at his grandparents', so this morning I got to sleep in until 10:15, stay in bed until 11:30, get up, do just enough dishes to get to the coffee pot, turn the fireplace on, and get back in bed for another hour.  My mother-in-law deserves cake.

Yesterday's Kin by Nancy Kress.  This reads alot like The Martian: it's really a story about people-- in this case, a woman, her children, and a coworker-- and, oh, there happen to be sci-fi elements.  I really like that sort of sci-fi.

It also reads like The Martian in that the ending is oddly anticlimactic and makes one wonder about the author and publishing deadlines and things.

Except for the last 5 pages or so, the book was really great and I have recommended it to those friends on whom I forced The Martian, most of whom then went out and forced it on other people.

(I actually socialized last night at a friend's house.  She had been late coming around to reading The Martian, but then consumed it in 2 days.  Now that it's out in paperback, she had 2 copies on her counter, which she is going to give as gifts. Ha!)

You and I, Me and You by MaryJanice Davidson.  This was not a good series completion.  Not that this author was ever a great writer of amazing literature, but she has gone way down in my estimation.  First, instead of just reminding readers of what happened in the previous book, she actually lifted entire pages and copied them in by way of "flashback" scenes.  No.  Also, her character with synesthesia (who we met in the 2nd book but who had a lot more page-time in this installment) was very poorly drawn, being both overly-simplistic and inaccurate in what details were shared.  I know that's the character "handicap" du jour but if you're going to jump on the bandwagon, you could at least do it properly.

What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe.  (500)  I really like the web comics, but hadn't noticed the "What If?" section.  (What?  It's in the header border.  No one ever looks there.)  As this is just a compilation of answers that have been included online, it might not be a necessary read for people who follow the site religiously.  But, as it was all new to me, I heartily enjoyed it.  The creator is amazingly funny and assumes readers are smart enough to be able to follow along-- or at least get the general idea-- on some fairly involved science and math stuff.

Shall I Knit You a Hat?: A Christmas Yarn by Kate Klise; illustrated by M. Sarah Klise.  I make my boys a hat to include in their stockings every year, and this came up in the catalog when I was searching through for new patterns.  It is a sweet little picture book story, nothing earth shattering.

The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith.  I have never read this book before.  Shocking, no?  Although my 7-year-old has a sadly inadequate familiarity with traditional fairy tales, including most of the ones in this book, he still got a kick out of it, because it's a little bit rude and some of the plots don't follow predictable lines, and that's funny.

The Boleyn King by Laura Andersen.  I very much wanted to like this, and I keep picking it up, but now I'm going to put it down for real.  Theoretically, I like the plot, but the sense of history isn't strong enough-- not enough historical detail, and the characters sound like modern-day speakers.

Good on the author for not trying for a dialect or for conventions she hasn't mastered, which would definitely ruin the reading.  The other thing is that this is a mystery set in an alternate history time line, so that's elements of mystery, historical fiction, and actually fantasy, and before a quarter of the way through, a romance story line is also being woven in.  That's too many genres being melded together.

As it has been Christmas time (shocking, I know), I haven't gotten much reading done lately; I did get to watch quite a bit of TV while knitting dozen or so projects.  (I'm very much looking forward to making this for myself as soon as I can find fingering weight yarn in the right color!)

Lie to Me, season 1, with Tim Roth.  I have had this on my Netflix Watch list for a very long time.  I wouldn't have added it if I'd noticed it starred Tim Roth; ages ago, an old boyfriend made me watch a whole bunch of Roth movies, and they were all disgusting and weird and stupid.  But I am very much enjoying this show, already part way through season 2, so I'm glad I was so unobservant.

The Paradise, series 1, with Joanna Vanderham.  You could watch this just for the costuming and props.  It looks amazing.  The acting is fine, the story line is ok, those two factors aren't why people watch BBC dramas.  I'm waiting for series 2 to be available for free through Amazon Prime.

Primeval, series 1 through 4, with Andrew Lee Potts.  I'm too lazy to check, but if I had to guess, I would say that the writers or directors, or both, changed season to season.  I really enjoyed series 1-- uncomplicated story lines, people fighting dinosaurs, check.  I don't know why they thought it necessary to add all these various conspiracies inside the government, outside the government, plus all the future time travel junk, in the later series.  I'll watch 5 when it becomes available, but I'm not convinced that the show was taken in the right direction.

As a side note, a major plot change depended on the characters killing a dinosaur instead of sending it home, and that action reverberated down through history and changed some of the characters.  But 1) both before and after, they had to kill other dinosaurs, or had to keep them at the research center and not send them home, and 2) they by-now hundreds of various animals that have come through and then gone home, not to mention the times the team has gone through and then come back, would have contaminated all those points in the past with modern-day germs and microbes and things, which would drastically change the evolutionary chain.  They don't even make any half-assed excuses and gloss past the problem; they just ignore it.  That frustrates me.

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