Susan’s Salon: 2020 July 26/27

The last open thread for July! Please use to just chat about whatever. Susan’s Salon is posted early Monday Sydney time (still Sunday in most places) . It’s OK to be sad, worried, angry or happy (or all of those things at once). Please feel free to post either troubling news or pleasant distractions in the comments for this open thread. [However, no cranky conflicts between each other in the comments. Links, videos, cat pictures etc are fine – be nice to one another!] Whatever you like but be nice to one another 😇

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26 responses to “Susan’s Salon: 2020 July 26/27”

  1. Well another dismal week professionally, but reading wise has been productive (Ursula Vernon’s “A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking” is as delightful as you would guess…..and at the same time INCREDIBLY cynical in a way that only she can pull off).

    I’m now 60% of the way through my advance copy of Jenn Lyons’ third book (The Memory of Souls) in her epic fantasy series (A Chorus of Dragons), which honestly is one of the more confusing series in terms of how i feel about it. I didn’t love the first book, since its protagonist was kind of an ass and not a very enjoyable one and it tries way too hard to shove a billion epic fantasy historical facts at you at once, but I actually really liked the second novel.

    The third novel mostly picks up from the 2nd, but again it’s so weird how I can enjoy it and yet be annoyed by it so damn often. Like each book contains a framing device in that it’s a book in-universe being written by a character based upon the narrative tellings of others, a framing device that was tenuous in the first book and only seems frustratingly unnecessary since – especially since most of the footnoting that goes on in the footnotes doesn’t really go anywhere (some are pretty funny). There are narrative tropes I really don’t love – the first book heavily deals with an enslavement type magic and the main character’s biological mother essentially was enslaved to his biological father (so yeah, consent issues), and the third book flips that around with the mother (now free) doing that in reverse to the father, which yuck. And again the book has so many complex histories and family trees to follow – to say nothing of side characters, that it can often seem pointlessly confusing, to say nothing of the two big bads, who keep seemingly winning by predicting everything at an absurd rate.

    And yet the character relations between the main quartet – well really the main trio plus one – are fantastic at this point (after a rough start in the first book), with their awkwardness about their mutual attractions (and uh, past attractions in prior reincarnations which only make it worse….and yet better) being endlessly amusing, and the story cracking me up in laughter in a good way about every 15-20 pages – such that I really don’t want to stop reading it, despite also feeling those same annoyances. I don’t know whether to recommend it or against it at this point, which is just so weird.


    • Yeah, I felt the first was needlessly complex. Between the interwoven narratives slightly offset in time and characters swapping bodies. So now this one is the biological child of that one and then adopted by someone — yeah those family trees are crazy! But I might be willing to give the second a try.


      • I recently recommended someone who DNFed the first novel skip to the second, since each book does contain a 2-3 page summary of the major events of the prior novel, and I did really enjoy the 2nd novel. But the problematic traits of the first don’t disappear, it’s just good parts become more prevalent. So I’m curious if my friend enjoys it or not.


  2. Sorry allready kind of at Worldcon hope to see a few people there. James David Nicols is allready entertaining people.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Spent yesterday hiking in the northern Sierra (Castle and Basin Peaks). Highlight was the 30-foot Class 3 scramble up Castle’s summit block. Lowlight was the thunderstorm that blew up on the other side of the ridge from me as I was hiking out, giving a nice rumbly soundtrack to the last hour of my hike.

    Spent today figuring out how to get the CoNZealand virtual con stuff working.


  4. I’m now about 50% of the way through Gideon the Ninth. I got caught up in climbing again over the weekend because there was a comp at the local gym. I climbed hard for 2 hours then went and got a beer because there was absolutely no way I was going to be in the finals. So imagine my surprise when I was informed I was 5th and I should get ready for finals. Turns out I’d topped most of the problems and got the bonus on the ones I didn’t top, so I did pretty well.

    Liked by 6 people

  5. We’ve been streaming a few panels a day from Comic-Con (haven’t gotten to today’s yet) and sitting about with the credentials.

    Went out into the diseased public spaces to acquire some foodstuffs, including a lovely cheap pot roast that provided 2 nights’ sustenance along with the potatoes and carrots already on hand. And get more chocolate and fruit. Peaches remain glorious. Blueberries ridiculously cheap.

    SHIELD had All The Feels this week, especially the sad ones. Only another 4 episodes. (sob.)

    Have to go to the actual doctor’s office next week, and sometime in the next few months, I have to renew my driver’s license in person instead of by mail. Ew, ew, icky. The DMV is a germy circle of hell in good times, and these aren’t. I wonder if they’d object if I showed up in full protective gear. I guess it would look funny in the photo. They aren’t booking appointments yet.

    Mostly I’m sort of bored with EVERYTHING. I miss restaurants, and movies, and recreational shopping, and my IRL friends.


    • Ugh, sorry about the DMV. Luckily my in person visit was back in Oct. My partner was planning to go in person back in early March to update to a Real ID version. But by the time we had dug out his birth certificate they were closed. So he just did a regular renewal online.


      • Ugh, going to need birth and marriage certificate, then. Am hoping to get on a plane next year so I’ll need the RealID. Papers, please!


        • Yeah, we’d like to take another shot at the vacation we canceled this May. So some time before next May he’ll need to go in.


  6. The weather has been surprisingly pleasant here (normally July is just constant rain), so I have been able to get out in the garden and do some jobs that got put off while I was sick. I also dug up some potatoes.
    I actually went into the office on Friday for the first time in about a month. We are supposed to be aiming for 1-2 days a week in the office, but a lot of people are still working from home full time. At least this week the coffee/tea club actually had milk (the first time since March).


      • Oh it’s not a general shortage, just that there have been so few people in the office they have not bothered to get milk in. Or possibly that the people who normally organise the coffee club have not been in the office. I normally work from home three days a week even when there’s not a pandemic on, so it’s not worth me keeping my own milk at work (it would go off way before I used it all).

        Liked by 2 people

  7. Based on discussion a couple of weeks back, I bought Kate Elliott’s _Jaran_ novels (all four bundled in 1 enormous ebook) and ploughed my way through. I liked them very much, particularly the contrast between the plentary romance and the subplots taking place in the wider galaxy. Oddly, the planet-bound setting felt bigger than the interplanetary setting.

    Not sure how I feel about the end of the last novel. It seems likely that Elliott had planned further novels. There are definitley hanging threads, but I think it would be difficult to sustain the same sensawunda after the revelations in _The Law of Becoming_. On the other hand, the current ending has a nice “life goes on” feeling to it, and one can easily imagine the shape of what might happen next.

    Other books purchased this week: Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking and Minor Mage–ostensibly for the 12-year-old’s birthday, but I plan to read them too. 12-year-old still wishes for a sequel to Nine Goblins


  8. Lots of things happening here.

    I am currently grinding my way through The Creature Chronicles, a fairly detailed book about the production, release, and cultural footprint of the Creature from the Black Lagoon trilogy.

    I have finished both Persepolis Rising and Tiamat’s Wrath. I hope to have reviews for them posted soon. I also have a couple of Malcolm Gladwell books to review, a steampunk fantasy to review, and an absolutely atrocious game tie-in novel named Star Crusader to review.

    It has been a week of getting projects around the house done as well. The toilet in the master bathroom has been replaced, and I built in bookshelves in my daughter’s room. We’ve set about moving all the YA and middle grade books to her room. I’ll be ripping out the drywall in one section of one room tomorrow to start building inset bookshelves in the wall.

    I also went running for five days in a row for the first time in a month.

    So, things are going okay here.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This is how voting ought to be done — of course it’s in a solidly Democratic state that has far more PoC than white people. 10 different languages, and everyone is getting a postage-paid mail-in ballot this November automatically. You can also see what method you voted by in all the elections back to Nov. 2016, including the time your ballot was received at county headquarters.

    This is what Republicans fear most. Oregon has done the same for a while.

    (I got an email this morning with this link and a friendly reminder to check my status — 99 days till the election. And tell your friends!)


  10. I am beyond excited. Got the plans for a major landscaping overhaul of my front and back yards. Lilacs, lavender, green velvet boxwood, burning bush, periwinkle, cattleya astilbe, eastern rosebud tree, purpurea superba jackman clematis — enlarged stone patio — lighting — pergola for shade. Work is supposed to begin mid-August. Of course, the proposal was double the budget I had given, but I had anticipated that and given a figure 25% under what I really planned to spend. I eliminated some of the ridiculous luxury items suggested. Yay plants! Yay not being the ugliest yard on the block! Yay, pretty space for pandemic autumn home time.

    National Geographic channel has had two weeks of shark shows, and Discovery Shark Week follows on after that. Love the shark shows!

    Happy week everyone. I hope you can enjoy your virtual Con time. Not the same, but hopefully people can be together next year. I see the Oxford vaccine trials have moved into the third, mass phase, so there’s that….

    Liked by 1 person

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