It’s October, which means you’ve all been reading the copy of The Collected Works of SugarFree we sent C/O your direct supervisor, right? I hope it didn’t get lost in the mail. Binding books in the skin of genuine Subaru drivers is both time consuming and expensive.
Suzanne Crowder Han: Korean Folk & Fairy Tales. I brought this home with me from Daegu and read it at the time, but had forgotten just how odd some of the folk tales could be (especially when filtered through cultural and linguistic translation. The main thing is if you ever get a chance to trick a dokkaebi (도깨비) out of xer bangmangi (방망이), you should definitely do it and then explain to your shithead older brother who had disinherited you after your father died how you went about it so that he can get his comeuppance when he acts out of greed rather than innocence.
S. Blyth Stirling: Naked Scotland: An American Insider Bares All. I’d be lying if I said that cover had nothing to do with me picking the book. I was mostly looking for a primer on cultural mishaps beyond calling slacks “pants” or discussing the inexplicably-popular-again “fanny packs.” The book is breezy and fun and sits comfortably in the American Abroad and Travelogue genres.
I’ve been reading thrilling textbooks on subjects as fun as medical law and ethics. Or trying to get time to read them, anyway.
However, I’ve been taking small bites of some cookbooks and ways-of-eating books. You’ll notice a theme.
If there is any interest, I’ll write a post about the MIND diet.
I am re-reading all of Susan Wittig Albert’s China Bayles series. China Bayles is a former Houston criminal defense attorney who leaves the rat race behind to run an herb shop in the fictional Texas hill country town of Pecan Springs. Like many fictional towns, Pecan Springs has a crazy high murder rate and China helps to solve them. If you like cozy mystery series, this one is great. There are over 20 books in the series, the characters actually evolve over time, and Albert includes recipes and further reading in every book. So far, every recipe I have tried from the series has been great.
I’ve barely had time to wind my wristwatch. Wait, do people still wind wristwatches? Let me tell you about the onion on my belt…
But at least I can get a few minutes in while relaxing in the smallest room of the house. And what’s in there includes Frederik Pohl and Jack Williamson’s Farthest Star, a rather pedestrian SF novel with some crafty writing but nothing particularly novel (cough, cough) to say. Painful for me to write this since I am a huge fan of Pohl. The genre is often termed “Big Dumb Object” and I think that’s fitting. This book is perfect for the application.
The other book gracing the bathroom is the oft-thumbed Valve Amplifiers, 4th Edition. Geeks only, please, but if you are consumed with electronic anacrophilia as I am, this will delight.
Lovecraft, all Lovecraft. I reread it all every couple of years. Going back to him after spending the summer reading the antecedents to his fictional universe and the descendants that followed it, going back to the man himself is very comforting.
Fun Fact: On a word count basis, all the fiction Lovecraft ever produced is still less to read than Stephen King’s It.
How To Restore British Sports Cars by Jay Lamm. This isn’t really a “how to” book so much as it is generalized advice applicable to many vehicles. Not necessarily British. Not even necessarily cars.
This month I picked up a classic with a twist. Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein: Annotated for Scientists, Engineers, and Creators of All Kinds. I was given the option of reading it in high school but I instead picked a different book to report on. I want to say it was War of the Worlds but I don’t recall. What I do recall is my English teacher simply citing the phrase “undead” to describe the book. As much as I enjoyed his class I am happy to say he was wrong. I am rather enjoying it, though it is taking longer than I anticipated. The entire book is annotated by a number of experts in the field of chemistry, physics, sociology, and ethics. The book itself is nothing like how it was portrayed in Hollywood, especially given how intelligent the monster is throughout the book and draws many questions all too often posed in science fiction, such as, “What is the whole human thing anyways?”