You know what I love? A lanky schoolteacher with gorgeous eyes. But aside from my husband, here are some other things I’m in love with lately.
Stranger Things. Guys. I know I’m late on the bandwagon, but I am now FIRMLY ON THE BANDWAGON. I marathoned this little show (the first season is only eight episodes) in two days and am yearning for more. I haven’t watched a show this good (acting, music, story, characters, the whole shebang) in a frighteningly long time. Creepy, but not too scary, and hits all the right 80s nostalgia buttons. Season two will air in 2017, so catch up on the first season now.
Overdrive. Download the free app on your phone, enter your library card info, and you instantly get access to your library system’s ebooks and audio books on your phone, tablet, or computer. You can download the books directly to your device or stream them, and after two weeks, the books return themselves. I’m currently listening to The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett during my commute. So cool!
Hasfit. The Hubs and I do three of the 20-minute workouts a week, mixing it up, and they’re pretty tough. We blithely kicked off with an intermediate workout when we first started and realized pretty quickly we’d bitten off more than we could comfortably chew. We’ve worked up to them now, and while I’m sure our downstairs neighbors don’t love us jumping around like lunatics, it’s a great way to stay in shape when it’s just too darned hot to run outside.
Goodreads. You know how the villain in cartoons lounges on a pile of cash? That’s me and books lately. I’ve been luxuriating in reading more like I’ve done in years past (as opposed to the aberration of the least couple insane years). As a result, I’ve been spending way more time on Goodreads too. They’ve changed a few things around recently and I’ve followed some new folks, and overall it’s just been tremendously enjoyable.
Granted, not everything I’ve read has been great. In the Days of the Comet by H.G. Wells was singularly disappointing. One can just barely call it science fiction (you could blink and basically miss the comet itself, contradictory to the implications of the title), although I didn’t have a Goodreads shelf for “preachy socialist claptrap” so I had to stick this book somewhere. The titular comet is merely a vehicle for Wells to rant endlessly about the evils of capitalist modern society and how abolishing the ownership of private property will solve everything. EVERYTHING. The comet’s gas trail somehow changes nitrogen to some other gas (?) that makes people nobler, wiser, happier (??) and initiates worldwide reform literally overnight (???). The comet gas makes people other than human, in other words. Very little of human nature remains, although we’re expected to believe that the comet gas just “cleared away” the trammels of old ways of thinking to enable people to be as they always were underneath. One wonders if Wells has ever actually met another human being; the naivete levels in this book astound. The book plays out the idea of the abolishment of individual ownership to a degree I wouldn’t have expected but which is obvious in retrospect: if nothing is yours, that would extend to romantic relationships as well, so your spouse isn’t really yours, and anything goes. But it’s okay because now everyone lives in communal utopias unfettered by such droll, inconsequential matters of respectability. The frame narrative around the story is nonsensical as well, but that was the least of my complaints after struggling through the whole book. The only reason I didn’t completely demote it to one star is because Wells’ language is beautiful in parts (when he’s not sermonizing), and his intelligence isn’t completely dampened by all of the dull preaching.
In contrast, I enjoyed The Legacy of Heorot by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, and Steven Barnes far more than I expected, and found myself devouring it late at night at a frightful pace. I’ve not had great success with books by two authors in the past (they always seem to be plagued by inconsistent characters and general sloppiness), so I assumed three authors would be even worse. Pleasantly, in this case, not so! The story’s premise is basically Beowulf in space, which sounded deliciously pulpy to me. It ended up being a more sophisticated and nuanced book than I anticipated. The characters are all ridiculously flawed people and quite unlikeable, but by the end I found myself surprisingly attached in spite of it. Still not brilliant literature, and the characters’ obsession with sex (while understandable in the context of a colony trying to perpetuate itself in the face of low numbers) felt downright juvenile, but I’d give it up to a 3.5-star rating. There’s a sequel or two that I may check out one day.
At last, I read The Midwife’s Apprentice by Karen Cushman. I read Cushman’s Catherine, Called Birdy eons ago and had been meaning to read her other incredibly well-known book since I was 12 years old or so. Only took 17ish years! I wish I’d read it when I *was* 12–I would’ve loved it. It’s a blink-and-it’s-over read; I got through it in an hour or two. The book is an un-sugarcoated look at medieval village life for a young girl without any prospects, but it’s not consumed by bleakness at any point. Excellent YA historical fiction!