Current Distractions, February 2015 Edition

Today I watched the men I work with barely hide their snickering at a woman who came to our construction site and did her job competently. I'd like to write a post about it, but I just don't have the energy. Sometime when I'm less embattled I'll try to elaborate on the topic.

But on a lighter note, I've been consuming some really great media lately. I've been reading up a storm, most of which I'm also too lazy to write about at the moment, but suffice to say I've been enjoying myself instead of reading List books. I did get Death Comes for the Archbishop with my latest batch of library books, though, so, you know. Slowly but surely.


Grey's Anatomy

Although it's occasionally made a show of mentioning how few female surgeons there are, the show is mostly ladies having feelings and being good at what they do and it's comfort food after long days/weeks living in the exclusive realm of men. I shouldn't make so many excuses for the fact that I'm watching a show that I enjoy for whatever reason, though. I never pay attention to Meredith Grey's monologues. I kind of can't believe that they're still around in season 7.

Babylon 5

I picked this up again after realizing there is no way I can watch a tv show with another human being right now without doing so remotely. I'm still in the first season and it still kind of sucks, but I'm hoping that it really does get better like everyone says.

Mad Max

I watched this movie on Valentine's Day to prepare for the fourth entry in the series, Fury Road, which looks like it'll be amazing. Watch this trailer if you haven't yet:

I actually definitely recommend the first film, although the audio is either kind of terrible or my tv is (both of those are good possibilities). It's nicely vague, exists purely for the chases as far as I can tell, and features an unbelievably smooth Mel Gibson, as in his face looks like a baby's bottom.

70. The Alexandria Quartet: Mountolive by Lawrence Durrell

Year Published: 1958
Pages: 261
First Sentence: As a junior of exceptional promise, he had been sent to Egypt for a year in order to improve his Arabic and found himself attached to the High Commission as a sort of scribe to await his first diplomatic posting; but he was already conducting himself as a young secretary of legation, fully aware of the responsibilities of future office.
Rating: 2/3 (meh)

I've made a huge mistake.

I shouldn't've picked up The Alexandria Quartet after a year. I especially shouldn't've picked it up without a glance at my old reviews, or trying to find a spoiler-free plot synopsis of the previous two books (a legitimate concern, considering the books' interconnectedness). In fact the only thing that Mountolive proved is that it is indeed correct to consider The Alexandria Quartet all together as one work. Because I had no idea what was happening throughout Mountolive.

Oh, to be honest, a couple/few things were actually clear. Spoilers to follow of course. When he was a young man, Mountolive boned Nessim's mom. Later, Nessim becomes a conspirator with the Palestinians, and Justine and Balthazar are collaborators, meaning that the Interlinear can't entirely be believed, because by the way Justine was sleeping with LGD (here called Darley and no longer our narrator) to use him and spy on Pursewarden. Pursewarden, meanwhile, may have been in love with his sister (?!), and learned about the Palestine stuff via Melissa. What I mean is that this is all just another layer, except that I couldn't remember enough of the previous two books, so there was nothing to support this latest new information. Oops.

I didn't find much of what I liked about Justine in Mountolive, either. I'm not sure if the style is supposed to be reflective of the character of Mountolive, who is very buttoned up and is also basically the main character in this book, but it just didn't work for me.

Still I'm extremely curious about what happens in Clea. I'm sure that it's just one final layer on top of all of this. Clea has been popping up everywhere and knows everyone but remains a mystery herself, which I'd really like to get to the bottom of. At the same time, I struggled with Mountolive a lot. Maybe I'll pick up the Quartet again in another year. And prepare a bit better next time.

- - - - -
To love was absurd, like being knocked off the mantelpiece.
- - - - -
'The only hope, sir' said the young attaché quietly, and not without a certain relish, so pleasing to a part of the mind is the prospect of total destruction, as the only cure for the classical ennui of modern man.
- - - - -
Dancing again he said to her, but with drunken irony: 'Melissa, comment vous défendez-vous contre la foule?' Her response, for some queer reason, cut him to the heart. She turned upon him an eye replete with all the candour of experience and replied softly: 'Monsieur, je ne me défends plus.'
- - - - -

In Which I’ve Been Doing This For Five Years

It seems like it’s been a lot less than five years since my first post to this blog. A lot has happened, but a lot has also stayed the same. If my posting schedule from the beginning, one book review per week, had stayed the same, I wouldn’t even be celebrating this anniversary, because I would’ve been done the project almost a year ago. Instead, I got a full time job, bought a house, did some travelling, made some costumes, and any number of things, so I’m not even halfway through, and the end seems to be getting ever further away.

When it comes to the fact of five years of Two Hectobooks, I hardly even know what to write about. I’ve read some good books, some bad ones, some mediocre ones. Many of them I never would’ve read otherwise.

Some people have full time jobs and blog all the time. I don’t know how they do it. It doesn’t help me that I often find myself working in locations where I have no internet access, so it’s not a matter of firing up my computer and firing off a blog post, but rather getting a phone hotspot set up and making sure that I don’t use too much data, and I’ve only had a smartphone for the past two and a half years. Before that I just drafted everything offline, then had to post during my scant time at home.

I just renewed the domain name, though, so maybe it’s a good time to renew my commitment to this little much-beloved but barely-read blog. I managed two substantive posts last month, and that’s not a bad or unreachable goal to aim for moving forward. I also signed up for Codecademy last month, so maybe in a little while I can clean the dust off of the layout. (Don’t hold your breath, though.)

Anyway, if you’re someone who’s been reading all this time, thanks! If you just started, thanks to you too! This hasn’t been the most enthusiastic five year anniversary post, but here’s the thing: I’m not going anywhere. The attention paid will continue to fluctuate, but dammit I will get through The List somehow, someday.

Five Years Ago This Month...

...I published my mission statement. For some reason I thought I was a lot more precise in that initial post, but the fact is that I haven't strayed too far from what I originally said I was going to do. I mostly don't review romance novels anymore, though.

...I reviewed The Magnificent Ambersons. It was a great start (or end, depending on how you're counting) to The List, and I'd still recommend this book to anyone who's interested in themes of change, family, and love.

...I reviewed The Farmer Takes a Wife. It wasn't good.

...I reviewed The Ginger Man. I strongly disliked Sebastian Dangerfield, but little did I know that there was much worse in store for me further up The List...