Three days into the new year and guess who already bought a bunch of new books.  Ugh.  (I mean that in a good way.)  A friend at work had never been to the Reader’s Corner, so you can imagine how that turned out.

I spent New Year’s Eve at a gathering thrown by some friends who happen to live on State’s (currently abandoned) campus–driving around State without coming close to hitting any kids on bikes is such a lovely novelty.  I had a good time, although I didn’t know too many people, and we played group charades and toasted the new year with champagne or sparkling grape juice, whichever the individual preferred.  Guests were supposed to dress as their favorite day of the year, so of course I was the first day of winter.  I definitely went overboard on the costume, but I love an excuse to dress up.  Sadly very few other people wore costumes, but I didn’t regret my brief foray into the realm of blue eyeshadow and glitter.  Not that I’ll be venturing near that territory again…days later, I’m still finding glitter everywhere.

A few of us girls got together on Wednesday for tea, chocolate, and the season 3 premiere of Sherlock (about which I just wrote extensively).  I can’t imagine a better way to start the new year!  This weekend I’m going to see Seascape with Allison.  I’ve never read the play, but it has sea monsters, so I’m pretty sure it has to be good.





Books: Somehow I went my whole life without knowing that Agatha Christie wrote a murder mystery set in ancient Egypt!  I was very excited to read Death Comes as an End, in part because it was based on some real letters of an Egyptian man to his family back home, taking them to task for their treatment of his concubine.  In the end, though, I have to admit that this novel isn’t one of my favorites of Christie’s.  The setting is intriguing, to be sure, and the murder mystery plays out nicely, but there’s little else to make it stand out from her other works.  I discovered after the fact that apparently she changed the ending, against her better judgment, at the urging of the Egyptologist she consulted for the novel.  She always thought the unpublished ending was better, and I’d love to have read that version.

I did end up on a fascinating and disturbing Wikipedia rabbit trail after reading her introductory note, though.  She says, “The terms ‘Brother,’ ‘Sister,’ in Egyptian text regularly meaning ‘Lover,’ are frequently interchangeable with ‘Husband,’ ‘Wife.’ They are used so on occasion in this book.”  I knew that incest was fairly accepted among the Egyptian nobility, and I wondered if that’s where the interchangeability came from.  Preliminary googling seems to indicate that is the case…bizarre.  From there I ended up learning that in one particular region of Roman Egypt, almost 1/4 of recorded marriages were between brother and sister.  The Wikipedia article on incest says that 20-36% of children of parent-child or sibling-sibling unions will die or have major disability due to inbreeding, so you’d think the Egyptians would have caught on to that little pattern.  This of course led to googling universal taboos (if there is such a thing): there aren’t any that are strictly universal, but there are several things the majority of societies frown upon (incest and cannibalism, among other things).  Interesting stuff, folks.

I’m currently at work on The Worm Ouroboros by E.R. Eddison, about which I have many thoughts, but I’ll hold off sharing until I get further along.