Summer reading

Books read May-August:

  1. Pride and Prejudice. Jane Austen.
  2. Reading Lolita in Tehran. Azar Nafisi.
  3. The Night Circus. Erin Morgenstern.
  4. The Creature in the Case. Garth Nix.
  5. Pigs in Heaven. Barbara Kingsolver.
  6. The Scorpio Races. Maggie Stiefvater.
  7. Sailing to Sarantium. Guy Gavriel Kay.
  8. Lord of Emperors. Guy Gavvriel Kay.
  9. Treasure at the Heart of the Tanglewood. Meredith Pierce.
  10. Crucible of Gold. Naomi Novik.
  11. The Snow Child. Eowyn Ivey.
  12. Wool. Hugh Howey.

Since I haven’t been posting monthly updates on what I’ve been reading, I thought I would save it all for posting a summer reading list. It looks more impressive this way. ūüėČ

By far my favourites are The Night Circus¬†and The Scorpio Races — the former is so… enchanting that you can’t not get entangled in its web; and the latter because it retells Scottish folklore in a semi-modern setting (about a hundred years ago), and it works perfectly. Though I did also enjoy reading The Snow Child, Treasure at the Heart of the Tanglewood, and Wool — and I’m very pleased indeed that Wool is part of a trilogy and that my public library has all three.

I’m going to be working long hours in the office these coming months, so I don’t know how much autumnal fun reading I’ll get to do — just enough to keep my sanity, at least!

A rant about cleaning

My parents came to visit for the last few weeks, both to spend time with me and to share their spoons so I could work without having to come take care of the house and cook, too. They did a great job and did a lot of deep cleaning that I’ve been meaning to do but just never had the energy or time. Removing mould off of windowsills, de-icing the freezer, airing out different rooms, etc. Now that the house is in a pretty good state to maintain, I looked up suggestions for ‘cleaning schedules’ which advertised keeping up your house for only 15 min a day.

…and I am flabbergasted by the types of schedules I find. Laundry every morning? Heck no, that only makes sense if you have a tumble dryer to go with it — and how am I supposed to do that before I go to work? And no, I’m not going to clean the baseboards of my house every week. If you think a thorough hoover (vacuum) of the whole house only takes 30 min, you haven’t tried hoovering my house. And I love how one popular cleaning schedule (popularity evidenced by how often it was pinned on Pinterest) claims that this schedule works “even if you work outside the home! Just do your chore at night” and even promises that if you do the chores at night, “your spouse will be home to help you”.

Seriously? Yes, when I come home from work at 7pm exhausted and hungry, the thing I want to do is clean the bathroom. Or hoover the stairs. No way! You think I have enough spoons to do that after a day of working? I’m going to eat whatever I can cobble together, collapse on the couch with F. and something nice to read or some knitting for an hour, and then climb into my bed to do it all over again the next day. I work six days a week and my one day off is spent mostly in bed recovering. I consider it success if I manage to wash the dishes every day or do laundry once every week and a half.

What frustrates me is the self-righteousness apparent in these cleaning schedules. “Your house can be spotless, too!” And, saying that you’re a stay-at-home mom and you don’t get to do cleaning until after 9pm either doesn’t make me feel any better about not having energy to clean up the house, even though I’m child-free (and spouse-less, so who’s going to help clean?).

No, I’m far more inclined to hire a cleaner, once I can afford it.


Favourite things

The fog:


From one day to the next it turned from summer to winter when the haar rolled in off the sea. Although the sudden cold and damp has made me ache all over and I’m very tired, I still find it very beautiful. The transformation for clear blue skies to mysterious fog is one I will keep.

What did you say?

Spending the last week and a half with my mom has made my Southern/Texan accent come out. I even have to repeat myself sometimes so F. can understand me. My mom has trouble with his accent sometimes, and he has trouble with hers, but I can understand them both. Accents are funny things.

Ros needs to visit again so I can speak RP again.


You might have noticed I’ve stopped writing book reviews. And posting recipes. Or posting generally. I assure you I am alive, and that I am reading and eating. F., and now my mom, who is visiting, has been doing most of the cooking the past few weeks. I have been taking pictures of F.’s meals but have yet to get them blog-ready. Eventually.

And I stopped writing book reviews because it had started to become a chore. I wanted to enjoy the book I was reading, without feeling like I had to rush to finish it by Sunday in order to write a review of it. So I stopped, and reading has been more enjoyable. I do still want to talk about books though, so maybe the reviews will appear again. Eventually.

I never know how to classify magical realism. Is it fantasy? Is it literary fiction? Both? I’ve been reading more magical realism lately and I find that I like it, even if it does leave me asking questions. Where¬†did the girl come from in¬†The Snow Child? I’ve been thinking of writing a sample syllabus of a class on magical realism. I’ll write it — Eventually.

First things first: finish the Thesis.

Favourite things

Strange landscapes:

IMG_8570I love how the beaches here in Scotland are a mix of expanses of smooth sand and  rocks and pools, as the bones of the earth are laid bare by the retreating sea.