So, this week, unlike a good chunk of Texas, I had heat, power, light, water… and Kung Flu.
You know, I can’t really complain; it could have been a lot more miserable. I know what off-grid living is like, and have no desire to be without hot running water ever again. Cheerfully addicted to it, to a degree that chocolate doesn’t even compare, and unashamed to admit that fact!
As it was, somewhere between the meds and the misery going on in my head and chest, I just can’t word well enough to write fiction. And stuck at home in the house all day, not feeling up to much in the way of cooking or cleaning, I was left with farting around on the internet, and… reading. So I got a lot of reading done.
Okay, and petting the cats. And sleeping, lots of sleeping. But that’s boring to talk about; let’s talk about books!
On the light and fluffy end, I’m nearly finished with Vodka: How a Colorless, Odorless, Flavorless Spirit Conquered America by Victorino Matus. It’s an enjoyable light read on a random subject, with a pull quote by PJ O’Rourke on the cover. Why not?
For enjoyable fiction, I finished Alma Boykin’s latest, Learnedly Familiar. Which made me giggle aloud in several parts.
Delving into more serious and much more attention-demanding reads, the kindle version dropped before the print edition, so I’ve been reading Arsenal of Hope: Tactics for Taking on PTSD, Together by Jen Satterly. Which is an extremely thoughtful, optimistic, raw, and realistic look at the effect of PTSD on the rest of the family, and on a variety of methods to tackle it and work together on getting better… for everyone involved. I’m going to have to re-read this when healthy, because it’s pretty dense, and there are some concepts in there I want more brainpower to chew over than Kung Flu brain had available.
And once I’d read that, then I went back and read All Secure: A Special Operations Soldier’s Fight to Survive on the Battlefield and the Homefront by Tom Satterly, because these two books are… they stand on their own just fine. But when you put them together, they really flesh out and reinforce each other, to the point it’s almost like reading a completely different book from the first time through.
I’m normally pretty price-sensitive, like any voracious reader. I will say, though, that those two were worth every penny I paid for ’em, and I don’t begrudge the higher price than indies are comfortable charging.
And for something completely different, I finished The Barbizon Diaries: A Meditation on Will, Purpose, and the Value Of Stories by James A Owen. James is a fantastic artist who’s had some truly terrible luck in the world, including a car accident that shattered his drawing hand. His first book, Drawing Out the Dragons: A Meditation on Art, Destiny, and the Power of Choice, recounted the tale, and how he managed to overcome fear, loathing, self-doubt, low expectations, and a whole lot of physical therapy. I read it years ago, and it provided an extraordinarily valuable piece of advice wrapped in a story that saved me a lot of heartache. No, not some “you can do anything you set your mind to” aphorism. It was that physical therapists will try to get you back to “normal” for the “average” person. If you want to be better than “average”, you have to provide them with very clear, specific goals that tell them what you want to accomplish by the time you’re done.
Man, that advice made things so, so much better on my next round of physical therapy. Not only did I have clear goals – so did the therapists. And with that in mind, therapy sucked five time harder, and accomplished ten times as much!
Anyway, once I realized he had a sequel out, I picked it up for a opportune moment to read… and this was my opportunity. The Barbizon Diaries continues on in the same vein, with another incident, but it really is best if you’ve read Drawing out the Dragons first.
Barely begun and still to finish this weekend is The World We Have Lost, by Peter Laslett. This one is another that takes more brainpower, as I dredge up the old memories of what I learned for my degree and compare it with his findings, then check out the footnotes and pause, saying “Self, how deep do we want to go down this rabbit hole?” Because it’s about English society pre-Industrial Revolution, how it used to be, culturally, and how it changed in response to industry. The past is a foreign country; they did things very differently there.
Of the stack, none are currently slated to help with this immediate work in progress, though Jen Satterly’s book did provide some interesting insights into Things My Calmer Half Thought I Already Knew. *facepalm* Communication! Still working on it, ten years later. Probably will be until death do us part… but along with the rest, you never know when it’ll come back out in a work of fiction. Things do all the time!
What have you read lately that was interesting?