Book a Week: Weeks 6-9, Book 3

I've been reading The Tower of the Swallow by Andrezej Sapkowski for several weeks, and I'm only half way through the book. There are several stories happening at the different points, but you don't know that until your deep into the narrative. Since I didn't have a good point of reference, I was having a difficult time staying engaged. I couldn't put things in the correct order. Once I figured out what was going on, I had to look up the timeline so I understood what was really happening.

Our story continues with Ciri in a cottage after being seriously wounded. Geralt is traveling with Milva, Dandelion, Cahir, and Regis. We see their trials and tribulations. This book doesn't hold any punches, so far. It's very dark compared to the ones before it. Although, there's a part of me that wants everyone to hurry up and get together. However, I will give the books credit for its support of some feminist ideas. In several of the books, it's made clear that women have the choice regarding abortion. Also, Ciri is involved in a lesbian relationship with Mistle. I applaud it for some progressive portrayals.

“Ethics? Your ethics are worth shit, O Vysogota of Corvo. It isn't the evil and indecent who are flung down into the depths, no! Oh, no! The evil and decisive fling down those who are moral, honest and noble but maladroit, hesitant and full of scruples.”

The mule was called Draakul. It was so named by Regis immediately after being stolen and so it remained. Regis was clearly entertained by the name, which no doubt had some amusing significance in the culture and speech of vampires, but which he did not wish to explain to us, claiming it was an untranslatable pun.

“Politeness costs nothing.”

“An idealist! A witcher. A professional. A hired killer. But an idealist, nonetheless. And a moralist. That's dangerous in your profession, witcher. A sign you begin to outgrown your profession.”

Bonus points for the usage of equinoctial, quern, corbels, hamadryad, latifundium, and paucity.

Book a Week: Weeks 2-5, Book 2

Over the past weeks I read The Newlywed's Instruction Manual by Caroline Tiger. This is another of the Quirk Books from Philadelphia. Since I had read the bride and groom books previously, this was the natural follow-up. These books are researched well and lovingly diagrammed, if you can call a schematic lovely. I think you can.

The book addresses everything from thank you notes to in-laws. It moves quickly from post-wedding into marital living. Things you don't even think about like how to clean your ring. Who knew there were so many places you needed to contact when you change your name?! So, so many. While Gregg and I don't have in-laws anymore, it was still enlightening to see how the could be maneuvered. One of my proudest moments was when they detailed what should be in your pantry. That was us to a T.

This book is useful for anyone who is married or even thinking about getting married. It will give you discussion points with your partner. Covering topics from sex to the right way to argue, I think it's a good book for most couples.

Book a Week: Week 1, Book 1

I'm easing into the new year with I Kissed a Squirrel and I Liked It: Vol 4 of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl by Ryan North and Erica Henderson. This volume has one of the most unique issue with a “Chose Your Own Adventure” module. You pick what SG will do, and see how it plays out. Yes, you can die, but only from studying too much. In one story she tries internet dating with some pretty hilarious results. She throws a fight to get a stalker to leave her alone, so she didn't really lose and is still unbeatable. Finally, she takes out Nightmare and his dream world by using computer science. This is such a fresh and fun comic. Nothing too heavy, except those doses of optimism.
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Book a Week: 2020 in Review

It was another tough year for reading. With only 24 titles, I have hit my all-time low. However, most of my recreational reading were things I wanted to read. As in years past, the scripts haven't been added to my averages. And speaking of averages, look at those! Those are the highest ever (excepting maybe a few years when I still added the scripts). Maybe quality over quantity is better? No, reading more and reading well are both the aim.

The Breakdown:
Good: 80% - Amazing!
Eh: 1.3% - Good!
Bad: 0.7% - Awesome!

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Recap of 2020:
Oi, this is a small showing for the Year in Review. With only 24 titles and over a third were scripts, I feel bad. You would think that during a world pandemic, I would have read more. The truth is, I just didn't feel like it. I was distracted by other things, and that had a major impact. I also didn't have a lunch break where I'm reading since I'm working from home. So I lost all my regular reading time. Add in that I never got back to the library, it's just insane.

Quote of the Year:

“For he's a good witcher and a good man. Shall I tell you, good witcher, what good people are? They're people whom fate hasn't blessed with the chance of profiting from the benefits of being evil. Or alternatively people who are given a chance but were too stupid to take advantage of it. It doesn't matter which group you belong to. You let yourself be tricked, you fell into a trap, and I guarantee that you won't get out of it alive.” - Season of Storms by Andrzej Sapkowski

With the pandemic, I've seen the best and worst of people. This year, this quote couldn't be more relevant. It's amazing how close people are to the line of doing something evil when presented with a hardship.

Word of the Year:


This is a new category for me, but I can't believe I've never done it before. However, I felt like this was the best word of the year. So I'm excited that this is a word for something that I didn't know had a name. Stop their suffering by plunging your misericord into their heart.

Expectations for 2021:
Given the pandemic, I almost feel like it's ridiculous to try and make any plans. I don't know when I can get back into the library. I have more than enough books here to read. I have about 50 books waiting on the shelf. However, with Witcher coming back to Netflix, I want to finish the last two books. I also want to read The Newlywed's Instruction Manual. So maybe the goal is simply to read more again. I think I can do that.

Here's to (actually) reading in 2021!

Book a Week: Weeks 41-52, Book 24

The last book of the year was Baptism of Fire by Andrzej Sapkowski, the next in The Witcher series. I actually finished the book weeks ago and just never posted. Geralt and Ciri are still apart, and they don't reunite through the book. We get to see the create of the Lodge of Sorceresses. We meet Emiel Regis who is Geralt's vampire friend in The Witcher 3. I liked him in the game, and I was wondering what their backstory was. I'm glad I finally got to see it. Bigger and better, though, is the introduction of Zoltan Chivay, my favorite dwarf. I'm hoping he'll continue in the series. I have two more books to go. I'm hoping to have them finished before season 2 comes out. These books are like the middle of any series. They are good, but they have a lot of stories to connect.

“But you don't even know how to destroy things wisely,” Zoltan griped, ordering yet another attempt to pull a wheel out of a hole. “Why can't you remove the stones gradually, from the edges of the road? You're like children! Instead of eating a doughnut systematically, you gouge the jam out with a finger and and then throw away the rest because it's not sweet any more.”

They were now floating in the middle of the river, on calm waters. The ferryboat was spinning like a turd in an ice hole...”

Bonus points for the usage of misericord (historical).

Halloween Movie Madness: Day 28

Tonight we watched 47 Meters Down directed by Johannes Roberts and starring Claire Holt and Mandy Moore. Two sisters are on vacation in Mexico and decide to go on an unregulated shark dive. We follow their adventures as they are plunged, you got it, 47 meters down. I wish I could say I enjoyed the movie. However, every step along the way I was saying, “Nope, no way.” No way would I do that dumb thing, would I make that choice, would I put myself in that kind of danger. I had no sympathy because this all could have been avoided. So, not my cup of tea.

Halloween Movie Madness: Day 27

Tonight we watched La Llorona directed by Jayro Bustamante. It takes place in Guatemala where a general is on trial for war crimes against the native people. He's indicted but escapes punishment. Is the family being haunted or menaced? You'll have to watch to find out. It's a slow burner for sure. There are spooky happenings, but nothing really gets moving until the last 30 minutes.

Halloween Movie Madness: Day 26

Tonight we watched Antebellum that was directed by Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz. It stars Janelle Monae as Veronica Henley, an outspoken African-American author. It's difficult to talk about the movie without giving away the plot. However, I can say that it raises some very difficult feelings regarding slavery and racism. Watching this made my heart break for her. I highly recommend it.

Halloween Movie Madness: Day 22-25

So over the past few days we've watched several movies: Tremors, Porno, Snatchers, and Hatchet.

We had tried to watch Tremors once before, but we both fell asleep. Not an indication of the movie, just our ability to say up late on a Friday night.

It seemed that Gregg wanted to watch movies about murdering your business, and by that I mean your downstairs. Porno is told like an after-school special focusing on good Christian behavior and what happens when you don't follow it. Kids find a porno reel that releases a succubus. You can do the math on that one. There are some pretty graphic images that might be upsetting. Then we watched Snatchers. We see what happens when you don't say no to your pushy boyfriend. You get pregnant with alien babies that he picked up in Mexico. I'm not even making this up. It was riding the satire line hard, but I didn't find it funny enough to be good. Again, this is pretty graphic. So maybe skip it.

We finished the weekend with Hatchet. It tells the New Orleans “myth” of Victor Crowley who was deformed and accidentally killed with an ax. The story was invented for the movie. Still, if you like slasher horror with a dash of sarcasm, you might like it. There's a cameo of Robert Englund, too.

Halloween Movie Madness: Day 21

Tonight we watched Tremors directed by Ron Underwood. It stars Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward as the fight giant worm-like creatures in the desert town, Perfection. Gregg and I actually started this once before, but we both fell asleep during it. It's fun enough with some nice creature effects. Adding Michael Gross and Reba McEntire is a treat. You even get an appearance from Victor Wong. It's worth a watch if you want a newer monster movie.