As per usual with me, this post is a little late. 2015 is a new year, full of….the same things as last year: family, work, gaming, reading, etc. I do not make resolutions; the most I do is restart my Goodreads challenge widget. I hit 20 books last year, so I upped it to 25 for this year, and so far I’m off to an ok start. The first thing I did this year, in fact, was read a book. I had a nice long car ride to deal with the first week of January and took along Sergi Lukyaneko’s Nightwatch. The series has a cultish following and a new installation, New Watch, coming soon. I found it interesting if unimpressive, but I am going to pick up Twilight Watch, the third book from the library today.
More interesting for me has been Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan trilogy. The books are mesmerizing in their own way, a way that may not appeal to all readers though such luminaries as James Woods have heaped praise on the novels. I’ve finished the third book, Those Who Leave And Those Who Stay, which continues the familial saga of Elena and Lina, who are in their 20s now, one on the cusp of success, the other on the cusp of a breakdown. The books fascinate me for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the way in which they are written. I want to dive into Ferrant’s writing book to figure out what works and why it works so well. I can’t wait for the rumored 4th book.
I have also started rereading a book I finished just a few months ago, Kameron Hurley’s The Mirror World. I felt like I may have sped through it too fast and missed things on the way. But it also bears coming back to: the characters are compelling, the plot is dense, the world enveloping. I want to go a little more slowly this time and dissect the book a bit to see how Hurley works her magic. I also want the second installment. Like, Now.
And of course I have been hanging out in Eorzea quite a bit. I leveled all of the mage classes to current level cap, as well as a tank, which I swore I’d never play. We recently got a PS4 and the difference is quite amazing. It looks just beautiful and I can actually dodge things now. I still haven’t tried Titan EX to truly test the game’s performance, but that’s just because Titan scares the shit out of me. I’ve also got four 1- star crafters now and a 1-star gatherer. It seemed to take forever to get these classes anywhere, but once they hit 35ish and I actually put time into them they leveled super-fast. Part of that is because I finally figured out how to actually craft and used HQ items for all of my leve turn-ins. Knowing what you’re doing makes such a huge difference! *snicker*
I’ve also been watching some interesting TV while I wait anxiously for new seasons to start. I caught the Orphan Black craze in November and sped through the first two seasons. I might be more excited for that in April than the return of HBO’s Game of Thrones. Orphan Black feels fresh, current and exciting, while GoT is mired in the conventions of its genre and its book progenitor. That said, GoT is still the best fantasy show on TV right now and I will watch it all with relish. Orphan Black blew me away with its characters, the abilities of its actors, its continually surprising plots (that moment in the car with Danny?!). I love all the clones, but Helena has to be my favorite with Cosima as a close second. Felix, however, takes the cake. He is one of the best supporting characters I’ve seen on TV in quite a while. I’m also about halfway through Broadchurch, which is satisfying my need for dark, moody mysteries that don’t have neat tidy plots or endings. I love the British for that. And for letting David Tennant keep his Scottish accent in the show.
Speaking of dark British TV shows, I just finished Black Mirror and “holy shit, Batman” is the most articulate thing I can come up with right now to describe that show. If Orphan Black blew me away with characters, Black Mirror blew me away with its audacity to push current technologies to their logical conclusions, creating total farce in one episode (series opener “The National Anthem”) and a gut-wrenching portrait of perfect “memory” in another (the horrifying episode “The Entire History of You”). The saddest episode, with the most despicable character, was of course “Fifteen Million Merits.” While tragic, it was great to see Jessica Brown-Findlay again. She’s a great actress and I’d like to see more of her. And that, my nearly nonexistent readers is what I’ve been up to so far in this new-ish year. Look for a review of Chuck Wendig’s fantastical take on mob life in NYC, The Blue Blazes, coming soon. Happy reading!