Recent Reads

Couple of books I’ve finished recently.

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch - not really a great cover, but okay!

I finally got around to reading The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. I was actively writing when this book came out to great acclaim, so rather than eagerly read it to see what all the excitement about, instead I shunned it under the mistaken principle that if something was popular, it couldn’t actually be any good.

Dear reader, I was wrong. This book is really good. Everyone has opinions about it. Each time I’ve mentioned that I was reading it, I’ve been on the receiving end of cannons full blasting opinions and thoughts on the books, characters, and general series. It’s gotten to the point where I’m not sure where the opinions of others ends and my own begin. But isn’t that always the case with being online these days?

My primary interest, at least at first, was reading it as a source of inspiration for the fantastic RPG Blades in the Dark by John Harper. I’m about a year into my first campaign of Blades in the Dark with my Dads Play D&D group, my longest running group at this point. It’s very clear from the start that Harper took a healthy amount of inspiration for Blades from Lamora. The names for things are subtle shifts, but the power dynamics are very familiar to any player of Blades. The focus on thievery in a decadent city is all there. Sure, Harper updated it from medieval Venice to a Victorian one, but it’s there. It was great seeing the inspirations laid bare.

What I didn’t expect was how much I would enjoy the prose itself. There are some lovely turns of phrase on every page. A wit apparent, you would say. Clear talent. Earlier this year, I said I would read nothing but easy, schlocky reads, and those were fine to start me out, but I was still hungering for something more. Lynch’s talent was readily on display, and while the book maybe faltered a little in the latter quarter, it was a fine, fine meal. I enjoyed it very much, and I look forward to not taking seventeen bloody years to get to the next book in the series. I wish Past-Me hadn’t been so very very stupid.

Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree

Last night, a mere few hours after finishing Lamora, I picked out one of the cozy fantasy reads I had downloaded on my Kindle app – this one called Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree. It was a recent topic of discussion on my Discord, and dear friend Jenn Reese noted that she was in the high 100s in line on the waiting list. This got my attention–these days, I’m intrigued by anything that is showing popularity, as opposed to old, envious me. I opened the book, intending to browse the first few pages, not really expecting too much.

Reader, I finished the book in two and a half hours. Mind you, it’s a short one–far shorter than Lamora, but I had plans last night. I was going to watch some dumb movie or spend time idly browsing shitty internet content. Instead, I found myself sucked into the tale of the orc Vy and her attempts to open a coffee shop. Low stakes, they said. I was concerned that the book would have no tension or conflict, but that is not at all what “low stakes” means. It just means that this isn’t a fantasy novel about saving the world. It’s about the fate of a small business! And I adore that. More stories about retiring adventurers opening small businesses and making friends along the way. I have another title called Orconomics on my list to read next. I’m looking forward to it. If it’s half as good, I’ll be happy.

February is the hardest month for me to survive, and I suspect deep down that it’ll be the month in which I die. We’ve never gotten along. It’s when the light in the world seems dimmest. This February is not much of an exception, although today is sunny and nearly 60 degrees Fahrenheit, so maybe it’s giving me a bit of a respite.

Mostly I experience February with an overwhelming sense of exhaustion. It wears me out and I find myself wanting to sleep 10, 11 hours a day or more. The past few days have been just that – long stretches of sleep broken up by bouts of reading. Throw in a hot shower every other day for some concerted thinking time, and that describes my life right now, minus some very stressful work days.

February is also the month I find myself least content with my lot in life. My dreams are rife with purchasing strange, enormous houses, or tales of travel gone wrong. February is when my wanderlust becomes an irresistible itch. The only thing that keeps my in one place in February is that my son is still in school.

But! We’ve made all the arrangements for a trip in March to Florida. That’s right–it’s time that we pay tithe to the Mouse. My son has patiently waited since 2020 when we had originally planned a trip to the Kingdom, and we can put it off no longer. I expect to purchase myself a very expensive lightsaber that I get to assemble myself, so it won’t be entirely to his sole benefit. It’s not my usual kind of vacation, but I’ll make do. Honestly, getting to take the kid places he’s never been before is almost as fun as traveling solo.

So, I shall grit my teeth and endure February as I have 44 times before, and at the end of the dreary month, we have a lovely trip as a reward. Life is pretty good, when I’m not burdened down with hallucinogenic dread from my Seasonal Affective Disorder. Today is a part in the clouds. I’m going to make the best of it until I can’t. What else can we really say to do?

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