Reading All the Books

I’ve done a pretty terrible job of keeping up with my blog this summer, haven’t I? Life has mostly been consisting, in various proportions, of lots of design, trying to get settled in Chicago, contra dancing, reading scifi/fantasy, talking to people online, and learning about wtf Google is up to now.

I read a couple of Ursula K LeGuin books, and I totally see why she is so respected as an author. I’m debating adding The Dispossessed to my list of favorite books, but I think I’d need to read it a couple more times to come to a decision on that. I also read a couple of Iain M Banks’ Culture novels, and like a lot of people, I think the concept of the Culture is awesome – but I’m stuck at really wanting to like the books, especially in hindsight, without actually doing so. They just seem … coarsely written, is how I picture it. I love the contrast in Deep Space Nine of grittiness of gray morals versus the shiny utopia of the Federation, but these books haven’t been making that work for me. Slaughterhouse-Five also finally got read, and again, weird as the book was, I definitely see why this is a classic. Currently I’m struggling to make sure I get through my massive hardback copy of Fool’s Quest by Robin Hobb before I go on my maritime music adventure to Frisco Bay. Really hoping not to have to take that in my carry-on…

Not helping my stack of books or the abrupt increase in the amount I’m reading is that I found a gently-used bookstore in downtown Evanston today. I haven’t yet gotten the hang of genuinely used bookstores, as I find them overwhelming and have trouble sorting through to find things I actually would want; on the other hand, I hate paying full price for books I don’t know I’m going to like when I could get them from the library for free and try them out. This store’s selection is not only in relatively good condition, the cashier also mentioned that they try to only take books that are in demand. I have a feeling I’ll be back periodically to see what they have on the shelves – for the first time, perhaps actually growing my own collection of novels, instead of just relying on my grandfather’s collection of original scifi + the library.

For more about my reading habits: I signed up for GoodReads. If you’re a user on there, we should be friends.

My boss likes to watch TV shows in the office over lunch, so I’ve been re-exposed to Doctor Who. I find that I really like Peter Capaldi’s Doctor, and despite my friends’ repeated attempts to get me to join them in their Whovianism, this is the first time I’ve actually found myself excited to watch new episodes. Not being super familiar with previous doctors, I’m finding I really like his grouchy old man persona paired with his companion’s youthful exuberance. Matt Smith really doesn’t do a whole lot for me, I’m sorry to say.

Regal Kai as a puppy

And then there is my puppy. Life was simply becoming far too painful for her, and we made the decision to let her go a couple of weeks ago. She had a good last day or two, complete with custard from Custard Cup (where we’d go every year for her birthday), definitely more petting and attention than she wanted, and in the end, a very kind vet who laid her down on an old comforter with soft words. We hope that she’s with Gramma, where they can both ignore each other and be antisocially companionable together in Heaven. Kai made it to almost 15 years of life, and almost all of that was with us, so she was my little sister in many ways. I think both my brother and I were influenced by her attitudes just as she was by ours. Despite her dislike of affection, she was a good sisterly shoulder to cry on when I was sad, great conversation at parties, and sometimes a real pain in the butt.

Artemis surveying her territory one last time
Bye Kai

Bye Kai Artemis Rockett. September 22, 2000 – Aug 17, 2015

3 Responses to “Reading All the Books”

  1. Ariana
    | Reply

    Aww. :( Those are wonderful pictures of Kai. Even I will miss her.

    I’m glad you’ve gotten in some good reading. I should read more… I’ve been listening to Terry Pratchett audiobooks lately, so at least that’s something… :P If you could only recommend one book to me, which book would you recommend?

    • ellen
      | Reply

      Terry Pratchett is good. I really really liked “Going Postal.” I don’t know that I would try to recommend one book for you ;P If nothing else, on what should the recommendation be based? What kind of books do you like, or what makes one good?

  2. Elaine Rockett
    | Reply

    A nice tribute to your little sister.

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