alithea: (Books)
I had flu last week, which was incredibly annoying (especially as I had to soldier on working at home for the 1st three days because we had a software release to get out which I had put stacks of works into the website for and I couldn't bear to let anyone else mess up in my absence), but it did mean I got to spend Thursday in bed with Gemini, the final volume of the House of Niccolo series by Dorothy Dunnett.

For those of you who have managed to miss me raving about this series, it's a historical saga following the fortunes of Niccolo and his friends, family, and enemies, as he trades, plots and schemes his way through 20 odd years of political upheaval across Europe (mostly), in the second half of the 15th Century. It's something of an obsession in the Turret - spawning our choice of Bruges as honeymoon destination so we could visit locations from the story, which begins there, and inspiring the much-missed 7th Sea game.

You know a series is good when you finish it and immediately want to start reading it over to spot all the bits you missed without the aid of hindsight. It really is something of a masterpiece, I would wonder why it isn't more famous except I think I can guess. She doesn't make any effort to spoon-feed her audience - they are written from a very particular point of view so you mostly don't get to see inside the characters heads, allowing them to keep their secrets until the big reveals. The main character is something of a genius and she never tries to make his plotting easier to follow, although it usually makes sense by the end. But the other reason is probably that a major theme is how far the shadow of one man's inappropriate lusts can fall and whether your childhood defines who you are as a adult, or whether overcoming abuse is possible and a matter of nature or nurture. And the answers aren't all the easy ones, some of the characters are only ever victims... She has a real talent for writing very human characters though, some of them appear to be pantomime villains at times but it never lasts. By the time it comes to it, you feel a pang when anyone dies, even if you thought you'd celebrate beforehand. Having said all that, she also has a talent for describing physical comedies of errors, some of the set pieces are side-achingly funny, so it's not all heavy emotional stuff.

Anyway, much recommended if you like a good twisty historical saga to get your teeth into. And I now know how it connects to her other historical series, the Lymond Chronicles, so they are on my to-read list next. Well, when I track down copies anyway.

What I'm actually reading at the moment is 'The Lies of Locke Lamorra' by Scott Lynch, a rather delightful fantasy about gentleman con artists set in a city somewhat reminiscent of medieval Venice.
alithea: (summer_picnic)
Feeling really good today - did my rowing machine exercises this morning, some errands walking round town this afternoon and then finally made it back to t'ai chi tonight. I don't know whether it is just this HIT protocol thing, but either way, it feels good.

Happy Lammas everyone, I hope you all have something to be grateful for this harvest season.
alithea: (Default)
It's tad windy this afternoon, like howling windows, creaking roof, vibrating floor, windy. Not pleasant. I'm just hoping my roof and chimneys survive intact!

In other news, I survived my work conference call this morning but my throat has suffered for it and I can just about manage a whisper now :(

Don't you just love winter :/
alithea: (Default)
Achey head on Monday turned into thumping head and feeling sick by late afternoon :( Annoyingly this meant I missed the last session of Star Wars, and yesterday I did the washing up and spent the rest of the day on the sofa feeling sorry for myself and watching The Mysterious Cities of Gold* because my head hurt too much to read.

Feeling more human today, although somewhat zombie-like. Hopefully some fresh air in a bit will perk me up.


*Fantastic 80s children's animated series about the search for El Dorado in the 16th Century for those unfamiliar with it. Turns out it holds up to rewatching as an adult pretty well. Unlike Ulysses 31, which we gave up on after about 4 epsiodes because it was too painful (although the theme tune is still fantastic).
alithea: (windswept)
This morning, I got up at 8 am without even a proper cup of tea for assistance, did a circuit of Dundee on various buses and was told I have a beautiful pancreas by a radiologist. The sun has been shining all day and apparently my insides are all looking suitably healthy so I guess there are far worse ways to start the week.
alithea: (Default)
* My mouth has stopped feeling like it belongs to someone else today. I finished my 2nd course of antibiotics on Saturday night so hopefully everything will be back to normal soon.

* I'm always dreaming about houses I've never seen. The other night it was a fisherman's cottage that was built into a cliff face, last night it was some kind of bizarre warehouse conversion. I was musing in the shower this morning about whether this is connected to my preoccupation with the concept of home. It's certainly on my mind at the moment, as I feel rather disconnected from the world, inside my little winter cocoon.

* I finished rereading A Breath of Snow and Ashes last night, so I can finally start on An Echo in the Bone now.

* I'm hosting the Mage game tonight, which involves cramming 8 people around my dining table so I should really do some tidying up before this evening.

* But first I should really go out in the sunshine, especially as I have a parcel to post.

(Bonus point)
We have no snow here. This isn't by any means unusual for Dundee, but since we actually got it during the Big Freeze, I feel a little cheated anyway. We did have a rather impressive snow shower on Friday afternoon, with big fat flakes, but it melted as soon as it hit the ground. Still, at least we have sunshine!
alithea: (Sad Annie(made by ahlai))
by talking about worst weeks of the year at the end of January. The gum around my wisdom tooth is badly infected so I have a swollen face, can't eat properly and have taken more painkillers in the past 3 days than I normally take in 3 months :( Thank goodness for NHS dentists and antibiotics!

I am making good progress through A Breath of Snow and Ashes though...

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