archerygirl scales Mount TBR in 2020 (1)

Discussão75 Books Challenge for 2020

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archerygirl scales Mount TBR in 2020 (1)

1archerygirl
Editado: Jan 1, 2020, 10:56am

Hello! I'm Kathy and I'm returning for my tenth year in the 75 books group! Mount TBR is my physical book stash and I didn't do too badly last year - far fewer new books arrived in my house or on my Kindle than in previous years. Unfortunately, not as much reading off my shelf happened so Mount TBR did grow a little bit.

Oops.

The beginning of this year promises to be tricky and complicated because I'm finalising the purchase of my first house and moving into it, but I'm hoping that I'll find plenty of reading time when I'm settled. I'm hoping to beat 75 books this year, but I'll be happy with just achieving it after two years of just squeaking in on the last day of the year.

My new house is a five minute walk from the library, so that might help :D

I'll try to keep my thread here up to date, but if I suddenly disappear, I tweet a lot. On @stompydragons, I sporadically talk about IT, writing and books. On @ selenay I'm much more chatty and likely to talk about what I'm actually up to (among all the memes, political RTs, IT, and book chat). If you're a tweeter, say hello on whichever account is your speed :-)

I primarily read SFF, mystery, and romance, with more fantasy appearing in my SFF reading and more historicals in my romance and mystery. I try to keep up with current SFF as well as reading older books, because I'm a Hugo voter, but there still tends to be a mad dash in the middle of the year to read that list as thoroughly as possible.

As noted, my romance tastes tend more towards historicals, although I'm also a bit of a Jenny Colgan fan, too. I read all flavours - het, f/f, and m/m - and all heat levels.

When I'm not reading, I watch TV (so many great shows, so many streaming options, so little time), play boardgames (and games that don't need a board), and work as a data engineer. I now commute to London for work, which was supposed to increase my reading but as I often listen to podcasts (or fall asleep on the train), it's not had as much effect as expected. My reading is regularly hindered by the Reading Prevention Team: Annie and Kate, my ridiculous cats who love to sit on any book I'm trying to read.

This is Annie, fast asleep in the sunshine after collecting all her toys into a big dragon hoard style pile to sleep on.

2DianaNL
Jan 1, 2020, 10:32am

Best wishes for 2020!

3archerygirl
Editado: Dez 16, 2020, 7:15am

Books read in 2020:

January

1. The Long Earth - Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
2. A Duke in Disguise - Cat Sebastian
3. Agatha Raisin and the Blood of an Englishman - M C Beaton

February

4. The Subtle Knife - Philip Pullman
5. The Little Wedding Shop By The Sea - Jane Linfoot
6. Herring in the Smoke - L.C. Tyle
7. Christmas at the Little Wedding Shop - Jane Linfoot
8. The Body on the Train - Frances Brody
9. Come Tumbling Down - Seanan McGuire
10. Dragongirl - Todd McCaffrey

March

11. Cabin Pressure Series 1
12. The Endless Beach - Jenny Colgan
13. A Medal for Murder - Frances Brody

April

14. The Ten Thousand Doors of January - Alix E Harrow
15. The Last Best Hope - Una McCormack
16. A Delicate Decption - Cat Sebastian
17. It Takes Two to Tumble - Cat Sebastian
18. A Gentleman Never Keeps Score - Cat Sebastian
19. The Little Cornish Kitchen - Jane Linfoot
20. The Duke's Disaster - Grace Burrows (DNF)

May

21. Slightly Married - Mary Balogh
22. Slightly Wicked - Mary Balogh
23. Slightly Tempted - Mary Balogh
24. Red, White & Royal Blue - Casey McQuiston
25. Slightly Sinful - Mary Balogh
26. Slightly Dangerous - Mary Balogh

June

27. The Lawrence Browne Affair - Cat Sebastian
28. The Ruin of a Rake - Cat Sebastian
29. The Soldier's Scoundrel - Cat Sebastian
30. Romancing the Werewolf - Gail Carriger
31. Competence - Gail Carriger

July

32. Reticence - Gail Carriger
33. Two Rogues Make a Right - Cat Sebastian

August

34. Briarley - Aster Glenn Gray

December

35. Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation - 墨香铜臭
36. Division Bells - Iona Datt Sharma




I'm on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/8605160-katherine

And my GR tracker is here: https://www.goodreads.com/challenges/11621-2020-reading-challenge

4archerygirl
Editado: Dez 16, 2020, 3:55am

Books acquired in 2020:

February

1. Come Tumbling Down - Seanan McGuire
2. SPQR - Mary Beard
3. The Ten Thousand Doors of January - Alix E Harrow
4. The Starless Sea - Erin Morgenstern

March

5. A Delicate Deception - Cat Sebastian
6. Briarley - Aster Glenn Gray

June

7. Defy or Defend - Gail Carriger
8. Reticence - Gail Carriger
9. Naked in Death - JD Robb
10. Slippery Creatures - KJ Charles
11. Two Rogues Make a Right - Cat Sebastian

July

12. The Relentless Moon - Mary Robinette Kowal
13. Of Dragons, Feasts, and Murders - Aliette de Bodard
14. Wayward Son - Rainbow Rowell

October

15. Division Bells - Iona Datta Sharma

December

16. Boyfriend Material - Alexis Hall

italics denotes dead tree books
* denotes books that were gifts or free sales

Totals:

8 Kindle books
3 dead tree books
0 free/gift book

5archerygirl
Jan 1, 2020, 10:36am

Top reads from 2019:

In no particular order (I gave up on restricting it to five):

The Duchess Deal - Tessa Dare
Mrs Martin's Incomparable Adventure - Courtney Milan
Record of a Spaceborn Few - Becky Chambers
Star Trek: Discovery: The Way to the Stars - Una McCormack
When We Were Starless - Simone Heller
The Black God's Drums - P. Djèlí Clark
The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics - Olivia Waite
The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter - Theodora Goss
Early Riser - Jasper Fforde
Red, White & Royal Blue - Casey McQuiston

And that's it! All posts set up and I'm ready to go for 2019!

6archerygirl
Jan 1, 2020, 10:37am

>2 DianaNL: Thank you!

7PaulCranswick
Editado: Fev 20, 2020, 7:24pm



Another resolution is to keep up in 2020 with all my friends on LT. Happy New Year!

8Caroline_McElwee
Jan 1, 2020, 11:57am

Good luck with your move Kathy. Happy New Year.

9archerygirl
Jan 1, 2020, 12:59pm

>7 PaulCranswick: That’s a good resolution!

>8 Caroline_McElwee: Thank you! Happy New Year!

10drneutron
Jan 1, 2020, 2:03pm

Welcome back!

11FAMeulstee
Jan 1, 2020, 5:42pm

Happy reading in 2020, Kathy, and I hope your move goes smoothly.

12quondame
Jan 1, 2020, 10:00pm



Happy New Year, Kathy!

13foggidawn
Jan 2, 2020, 8:55am

Happy new year and happy new thread! I added you as a friend on GR, though I pretty much just use it for keeping a wishlist and double-posting the reviews I post over here.

14archerygirl
Jan 2, 2020, 9:32am

>11 FAMeulstee: and >12 quondame: Thank you!

>13 foggidawn: Heh, my GR usage is mainly tracking my reading count and keeping a wishlist :-) The actual social side of GR is not my thing. It is bad for BBs, though, because friends who don't LT do have rather good reading taste.

15MickyFine
Jan 2, 2020, 11:00am

Happy to see you back again, Kathy! Wishing you luck with all the packing and moving house preparations this month!

16archerygirl
Jan 2, 2020, 1:33pm

>15 MickyFine: Thank you! My conveyancer has emailed to say we’re on track to complete the sale on Monday (the bank has not changed their mind about the mortgage, despite my regular nightmares). I’m weirdly looking forward to the hell of packing and moving because it will mean the stress of buying the house is over!

17SandDune
Jan 3, 2020, 3:33am

Hi Kathy, I started following you on Twitter, although my Twitter account mainly consists of me getting very angsty about environmental and political issues, so please feel free to ignore it if that isn’t your thing. My son is a bit of a board game player as well and I enjoy playing from time to time as well. To be honest, I’d probably enjoy them more if I won sometimes, but he has been on a winning streak since the age of about 8 and it’s a rare day when anyone beats him! Have you got a favourite game! I particularly like one called Dead of Winter, sort of zombie apocalypse board game. And also Ticket to Ride, mainly because I do occasionally win at that one!

18archerygirl
Jan 3, 2020, 4:16am

>17 SandDune: Too late, I followed you :D I think constantly losing might be a bit demoralising. Right now, my favourites are The Captain Is Dead and Terraforming Mars - I like the big complex games. Although I have been enjoying Sagrada lately, too, because it's so pretty and requires logic rather than strategy. I haven't heard of Dead of Winter before, but I'll have to take a look for it!




First book finished!

1. The Long Earth - Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

My brother in law commented that he was surprised there was a Pratchett out there I hadn't read yet, which is a fair comment. Although I have deliberately not read his last one yet - he can't be gone if I haven't read them all, right?

But this one falls into a different category for me, because it's a collaboration rather than a pure Pratchett book and it's quite different from his Discworld work. It's sci-fi rather than fantasy, for a start, and it's more about exploring ideas than people, although I did grow to like the characters. I could detect Pratchett's humour at times and his little observations, but it felt like Baxter was possibly the driving force behind the plot. Which isn't a bad thing! The plot was excellent and it kept me glued.

What I enjoyed most, though, was the way the book considered so many of the potential outcomes of discovering an infinity of Earths that can be just stepped into. It wasn't just about having an adventure; there was consideration of the ways society on the main Earth would change, the consequences of that (good and bad), and how those consequences evolve over time. And then the ending made me need the next book very soon, so I'd say it was a successful read!

19ronincats
Jan 3, 2020, 12:05pm



Happy New Year, Kathy!

20archerygirl
Jan 4, 2020, 11:10am

>19 ronincats: Happy New Year!

Today I’ve been super busy: got a lamb stew in the slow cooker, cleaned the flat, started a bit of pre-move sorting out..

Did find time to watch a few classic Doctor Who episodes, though (yay Britbox UK), and work on a bit of embroidery. Not quite so much reading. Apparently I’m not in the mood for Agatha Raisin this weekend.

21thornton37814
Jan 5, 2020, 9:17pm

Enjoy your 2020 reading!

22archerygirl
Jan 6, 2020, 9:41am

Who has two thumbs and the keys to her very first house?

I need a happy dancing gif here :D

23Caroline_McElwee
Jan 6, 2020, 9:52am

Congratulations Kathy, that is a real event. Long may you be happy there.

24foggidawn
Jan 6, 2020, 10:46am

>22 archerygirl: Congratulations!

25quondame
Jan 6, 2020, 10:47am

>22 archerygirl: That's great! Isn't the best feeling? Also intimidating!

26norabelle414
Jan 6, 2020, 1:22pm

Congrats!!!

27archerygirl
Jan 6, 2020, 3:12pm

>23 Caroline_McElwee: Thank you! I definitely plan to be happy there for a long time :-)

>22 archerygirl: Thank you!

>23 Caroline_McElwee: Best feeling, had no idea how good it would feel! And also intimidating, particularly after a fun evening of sorting out all the utility changes.

>26 norabelle414: Thank you!




I did a tour of my new house, checking out all the bits and bobs that need attention (some windows that don't open, a bathroom door that needs repairing/replacing, walls that mostly just need washing but the living room may need painting, a radiator that may need attention), and coo-ing over how big my kitchen is and how much space there is in the house.

OMG, so much space. No more storage space issues!

I measured up everything and worked out where the most important things will go: the bookcases :D

And then I went home to my tiny flat and started the process of setting up all the utility accounts at the new house and closing them down on my flat. I think I've actually done all of them this evening. It was a marathon.

Feels good to know that's all in hand, though.

Can't do anything tomorrow because I have to traipse down to Brighton for work. UGH.

28HanGerg
Jan 6, 2020, 4:00pm

Oh YAY for new house! How exciting! Could we have pictures??
Looking forward to keeping up with all your reads this year, particularly the SF, although I very much enjoyed The Duchess Game after getting it as a BB from you! Might have to try that m/m royal romance one that I know you loved too. I love a bit of broad game chat as it's a goal of mine to get more into them. I've started frequenting our local board game cafe to get a better grasp of what the best games are, with a view to starting a monthly board game night, at our house initially but maybe moving to a bigger venue if people are keen. The best game we've found so far is Pandemic, which is a well known one, but a goodie. I like the sound of the zombie game - will have to keep an eye out. Terraforming Mars sounds right up my street but I'm guessing it might be a pain to try and teach newbies for a board game night?
Happy "nesting" in the new house!

29archerygirl
Jan 7, 2020, 6:14am

>28 HanGerg: I'll post pictures of the house at the weekend :D It's got such a great kitchen and a beautiful hearth in the living room that I'm planning to put a nice electric fire into.

Pandemic is a classic for a reason. It's great. The Captain Is Dead is also a co-op game and no harder than Pandemic to pick up, so I'd give it a go if you find it at the board game cafe. Terraforming Mars probably isn't a good one for newbies to board games, because it's a bit complex, but it's a good one when you've got people who play games regularly and are used to some of the types of mechanisms involved. One of the nice things about TM is that it's got a set-up you can use for playing solo, and it's got a sort of 'training wheels' mode that allows a newbie to join in with more experienced players without being too set back by their newbie status. But that's more "newbies to TM" than "newbies to all board gaming". All those features do make it a good one to own (IMO), because you're not restricted to only playing with a group.

If you see Kill Doctor Lucky or Save Doctor Lucky, they're both good ones for newbies at a board gaming night. A lot depends on the type of game play people enjoy, of course :-)

30SandDune
Jan 7, 2020, 6:54am

>29 archerygirl: I mentioned Terraforming Mars to my son, as it sounded the sort of thing that he would like, and his reaction was that it was really complicated. Which being as he is someone who is prepared to devote a fair amount of time to reading the rules (probably explains why he always wins) suggests it wouldn't be great for newbies!

Enjoy your new house!

31archerygirl
Jan 7, 2020, 9:28am

>30 SandDune: Yeah, it is pretty complicated and my experience of trying to teach it to board gaming newbies at Christmas backs up the "not great for newbies" assumption. It's my current favourite, but it's also taken me a few times through (and I've been board gaming a lot over the last couple of years, so I'm not a gaming newbie) to really grasp how to play it.

32PaulCranswick
Jan 11, 2020, 10:39am

>29 archerygirl: Looking forward to the pictures.

Have a lovely weekend.

33souloftherose
Jan 13, 2020, 3:29am

Happy new year Kathy! Congratulations on the new house and belated congratulations on reading 75 books last year!

On your recommendation I've downloaded Mrs Martin's Incomparable Adventure to get me through cat related stress and anxiety - it's good!

34archerygirl
Jan 13, 2020, 5:43am

>33 souloftherose: That book was such a great read. Glad it's helping with the cat related anxiety and stress!

Things I have learned about homeownership: if you're a woman, you must be married. It's the only possible explanation for the number of places that assume my title is "Mrs" and actively refuse (or make it super hard) to let me change to "Ms". Grrr.

My house now has clean walls, slightly fewer picture hooks (there was an excess in inconvenient places), and no shelves blocking useful hanging space in bedroom wardrobes. I feel accomplished. By the end of the week, it should have holes filled in on the walls and clean carpets throughout. And at the weekend, I will be putting up the curtain poles and tracks so I can have curtains up when I move in :-)

35figsfromthistle
Jan 13, 2020, 6:56am

Congrats on the new house!

Quite exciting :)

36souloftherose
Jan 21, 2020, 11:33am

>34 archerygirl: Ugh about the Mrs nonsense (which century are we in?)

37archerygirl
Jan 31, 2020, 4:57am

So, moving is a lot and that's why I dropped off the face of LT. I haven't actually finished any books since my last update, but hopefully I'll finish one soon.

The important thing is that I'm living in my lovely new home and really happy with it. I've even unpacked a lot of stuff!

I've only got the boxes of books left to unpack. But I need to move a couple of bookcases around before my books can be put in their forever homes. At least I've got a comfy place to read my books in :D

38foggidawn
Jan 31, 2020, 8:41am

>37 archerygirl: Glad you are settling in! Reading time will come eventually.

39MickyFine
Fev 1, 2020, 2:51am

>37 archerygirl: With a home you own I can imagine the nesting taking longer as you figure out where things should live. Happy to hear you've got a reading nook though.

40archerygirl
Editado: Fev 6, 2020, 10:11am

>39 MickyFine: It does feel a bit more important to find the right place where things will live, because it's my own home and I don't plan to move again for a long time. My sofa and living room are comfy and sorted out, though, so that's a good thing!

I forgot that I finished two books before the move began!

2. A Duke in Disguise - Cat Sebastian
3. Agatha Raisin and the Blood of an Englishman - M C Beaton

The Sebastian was great and I loved it. I haven't enjoyed all of Sebastian's M/F romances, but this one really worked for me - the characters had such great individual plots that crossed over in different ways, and it focused around themes of disability, class, and the freedoms and constrictions of class in interesting ways that influenced the romance plot.

The Agatha Raisin didn't do much for me, but I don't think I was really in the mood for it.

>38 foggidawn: I finally found some reading time!

4. The Subtle Knife - Philip Pullman
Gosh, this is good. I know everyone else got here before me, but crap this is a good book. Now I need to get my paws on the last one to resolve the cliffhanger!

I'm currently reading a ridiculous mystery that I'm enjoying much better than the Agatha Raisin and I've nearly finished a fluffy romance that I've enjoyed much more than expected, so my reading is picking up :D

41archerygirl
Fev 6, 2020, 10:11am

I finished the fluffy romance :-)

5. The Little Wedding Shop By The Sea - Jane Linfoot

I liked this enough to immediately dive into the sequel (which I already had on my Kindle). It's lovely comfort reading, with more depth than I expected in something so firmly on the fun/comfort side of romance.

My copy of Come Tumbling Down arrived yesterday so as soon as I've finished my ridiculous mystery, that's next on board. I'd like to reread Down Among The Sticks and Bones first, but that's in a box somewhere...

42SandDune
Fev 8, 2020, 3:25pm

43archerygirl
Fev 12, 2020, 4:08am

>42 SandDune: I look forward to thoroughly enjoying The Amber Spyglass then!

I finished another book.

6. Herring in the Smoke - L.C. Tyler
This was rather silly and had the feel of an old-fashioned mystery while being set in modern times. I don't think I'd deliberately set out to read more in this series, but I wouldn't turn them down if they fell in my lap? I think I was in the right mood for this, but I can easily see that at another time I would have been annoyed in minutes. I never really connected with either of the main characters, although on balance I found Ethelred less frustrating than Elsie. Possibly if I'd read earlier books in the series, I might feel fonder of the characters, but there wasn't much development and that frustrates me in a book, even one from a long-running series.

Thankfully I'm still enjoying my fluffy romance. I was going to move straight onto Come Tumbling Down, but I have The Body on the Train out from the library and when I renewed it, I noticed there were other people waiting (not quite sure how I achieved a renewal there, buy hey ho) so I thought I'd give that a read while I have it. And i'm enjoying it! I think there's a bit more meat to it than the Herring book and I already like the central character a lot.

44alcottacre
Fev 13, 2020, 2:08pm

>29 archerygirl: As I mentioned on my thread, I love Terraforming Mars and have all of the expansions except for Turmoil, in which I have no interest. One of these days I will get around to The Captain is Dead or one of its incarnations. We greatly enjoy co-ops around my house.

Congratulations on the new house, Kathy!

45archerygirl
Fev 14, 2020, 3:11am

>44 alcottacre: I haven't heard many good things about Turmoil, so I doubt that I'll pick it up, but I'm probably going to collect the other expansions. I love a good co-op, I'm not competitive enough to really get into any of the cut-throat games around.

46alcottacre
Fev 20, 2020, 7:22pm

>45 archerygirl: I am definitely more of a co-op girl. I do not care for cutthroat games at all. Too bad we do not live closer to each other, Kathy!

If you do not get any of the other expansions for Terraforming Mars, be sure and pick up Prelude.

47archerygirl
Editado: Fev 24, 2020, 6:44am

>46 alcottacre: I've heard Prelude is the vital one to get. I'm looking at the Hellas and Elysium expansions, too, so that I have lots of variety of boards to play. Might need to order and pick up at least one of those the next time I'm in my lovely board game cafe :D

Sounds like we have similar board game tastes - darn, why are distances so far! Have you ever played Sagrada?




I need to update my books read, because I have actually read some things, but this weekend I made some important unpacking progress. The bookcases have been moved to their permanent spot so I started unpacking the book boxes!

Found most of the paperbacks, most of the children's, most of the hardcovers, and some of my history and IT texts.

Still got 9 boxes to go. Hopefully the recipe books are in there somewhere.

As I unpack, I'm setting books aside that need to find new homes. It's time to admit there are books I'll never read, or never want to reread, or just don't have any relevance any more, and relocate them. It always feels weird to get rid of books, but it will free up space for books I genuinely will love, so it's time to do that.

Then I have to work out the best places to relocate those books to. Local charity shops? Secondhand bookshops? Ebay?

I also managed to get in two solo games of Terraforming Mars, to celebrating finding the board games. Lost one (only got to 10% oxygen, but other parameters were maxed out) and won one, with 83TR points. That might be my best finishing value yet? Somehow the cards fell well and I had time (and cards) to play some with good VP to get me a boost. Gosh, I love TR :D

48PaulCranswick
Fev 26, 2020, 6:56pm

>47 archerygirl: I love unpacking boxes of books. Takes ages though because you finish up taking a much, much closer look at what you are unpacking!

49alcottacre
Fev 26, 2020, 7:00pm

>47 archerygirl: Oh, yes, I really enjoy Sagrada. I have played it many times.

I envy you your board game cafe. I wish there was one close to me. The closest FLGS is about an hour's drive from me, never mind board game cafes!

>48 PaulCranswick: I ran into that problem when we were moving into our house and unpacking books that had been in storage for over 3 years. Now as I am finally getting bookshelves up, I keep stopping and looking at what I am putting away.

50quondame
Fev 26, 2020, 7:13pm

>48 PaulCranswick: If only it weren't for the dust. That is certainly hazardous to my health. Not enough for me to do anything to reduce it though, that would be extreme.

51PaulCranswick
Fev 26, 2020, 7:52pm

>49 alcottacre: Yes, I may add a few shelves this weekend, so I will definitely have that problem, Stasia.

>50 quondame: Dust is dangerous for me too with my asthma, Susan.

52alcottacre
Fev 26, 2020, 8:14pm

>50 quondame: >51 PaulCranswick: I have the same problem with dust, so I can empathize with you both. Still love the books though!

53archerygirl
Fev 27, 2020, 5:40am

>48 PaulCranswick: Heh, I'm taking the time to properly organise everything so it's taking time because I keep changing my mind on how to arrange things! I'm trying not to let myself get pulled into the books themselves until the unpacking is complete.

>49 alcottacre: I love a good board game cafe :-) My closest is in Oxford, but that's only 50 minutes on the train and it's the best I've been to, so I'm quite happy to do that!

I've played Sagrada a few times with people and really enjoy it. Have you tried the solo variant? Trying to decide whether to pick up my own copy :-)

>50 quondame: >51 PaulCranswick: >52 alcottacre: Thankfully my asthma isn't aggravated by dust, or I'd be in trouble when I'm shifting books around.

54archerygirl
Mar 19, 2020, 7:59am

I read some books!

7. Christmas at the Little Wedding Shop - Jane Linfoot
8. The Body on the Train - Frances Brody
9. Come Tumbling Down - Seanan McGuire
10. Dragongirl - Todd McCaffrey
11. Cabin Pressure Series 1
12. The Endless Beach - Jenny Colgan

Come Tumbling Down was everything I wanted and more. I adored it, but then I was always going to love anything where Jack got to be the centre of focus.

Dragongirl was a bit of a slog, in ways I can't quite explain, and I'm not sure whether I liked it or was just relieved to finish it. Hmm.

Loved Cabin Pressure Series 1 so much. It made me chortle on the Tube rather too many times :D

Christmas at the Little Wedding Shop and The Endless Beach were very different books, but both completely absorbing and really lovely comforting reads. I think that I need more of that kind of thing right now.

And The Body on the Train was excellent, so I picked up an earlier one in the series the last time I was in the library.

Currently reading SPQR and The Ten Thousand Doors of January, which are both brilliant but not exactly the kind of light comforting reads I need right now, which is why my reading progress has stalled a bit. Definitely need to dive into something a little lighter for my next reads!




This is not a good time to be working in the travel industry, so right now i'm feeling pretty stressed and worried about everything. My company is confident we can weather things for at least a few months, so my job is secure for now, but I'm also polishing up my CV and cover letter material just in case. We've moved everything (including the call centre) to working remotely as of today, so we're functioning and people are being paid, but it's not a great time for anyone, to be honest.

At least I'm not commuting into London now.

In a lot of ways, I'm really glad I bought and moved into the house a while ago. Working from home for a long time in my tiny flat would have been pretty unpleasant - now I'm in a bigger home, I have a garden, and it's generally a nicer place to be for an extended period. This whole thing has spurred me to finally get my office set up, so hopefully an Ikea order will be arriving on Tuesday with a desk and chair. Right now I'm working from my dining table, which has a great view of the garden and I get to watch red kites flying, but it will be good to have an office I can close the door on at the end of the day.

The house is also just round the corner from my parents, which is good for all of us.

Or will be in a few days. Tuesday last week, I went to a board game group near my office for the first time. It was great! Got to play Terraforming Mars with Preludes and Colonies, which I really enjoyed.

And then yesterday I got an email to say that someone who might have developed Covid-19 was at that session *face palm* So I'm staying away from my parents and the rest of humanity until after the weekend. I feel fine and I'm confident I didn't pick anything up, but better safe than sorry?

Anyway, one thing I've learned over the last week is how many board games have digital versions that can be played online. Woo hoo!

If anyone has Terraforming Mars and an asmodee account, I'm Selenay there and will happily arrange a gaming session. And I'm getting digital Small Worlds 2 soon, too...

Really must start reading some books instead of binge watching telly.

55MickyFine
Mar 19, 2020, 3:26pm

Yay for Cabin Pressure! It just gets better too, Kathy.

Glad to hear you're finding different ways to decompress right now.

56archerygirl
Mar 19, 2020, 6:07pm

>55 MickyFine: It's hard to focus on much of anything right now, but I'm finding games more absorbing than most things.

Really must find the rest of Cabin Pressure :)

57alcottacre
Mar 19, 2020, 6:43pm

>53 archerygirl: I have not yet played Sagrada solo. I am not sure whether the game is worth purchasing for solo only mode. If you want a dice game that does play excellently solo, I would recommend Roll Player.

58PaulCranswick
Mar 20, 2020, 8:12pm

>54 archerygirl: Yes, the travel industry is in a pretty bad shape, I guess. Stay safe and positive, Kathy.

59SandDune
Mar 21, 2020, 11:52am

>54 archerygirl: My son has been playing Carcasonne online with his girlfriend as she is in self-isolation as her flat mate has the virus. I can see what you mean about house vs flat. I’ve been comforting myself that we’re not all in the small flat where we started out - at least here we have a garden and enough space to get away from each other if we all get on each other’s nerves.

60archerygirl
Mar 23, 2020, 5:15am

>57 alcottacre: Roll Player is one I've been considering. I haven't (yet) bought any games for the solo mode alone - Sagrada is largely because it's something I know I can play with my parents, so the solo mode is a bonus. But Roll Player does sound good to get!

>58 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul. I think after this is over, I'll be looking to move into a non-travel industry. The good thing about transferable skills is they're industry-neutral. I'd been planning to think about a new role in a few months anyway, so I guess this will spur me on!

>59 SandDune: Having a garden and space is huge, particularly if you've got several people in the house. And spending time in the fresh air helps keep the spirits up, so there's that bonus, too. Carcassone is one of those games everyone has played to excess so they won't play it with me. Maybe I can do the digital version and find out what it's like!




Things are changing so fast that I think we're all in shock right now. I'm waiting to hear if my company's optimism for their survival last week is still there now, which is stressful. I managed to put aside the worry at times over the weekend, although it's difficult. Still not reading a huge amount, but I'm reading a little bit and may finish a book soon. Played (digital) Small World yesterday against some AIs - lost by a fair margin in both games, but I am starting to understand the mechanics and my second game was less disastrous (and more fun) than the first.

I went for a long walk with Mum, which cleared the cobwebs a lot. The exercise was and fresh air was great and the chance to talk things through with someone helped a lot. We then joined Dad for takeaway pizza (supporting our local economy). We've decided to treat our tiny unit as one household, separated by a footpath, as a way to cope. Yesterday i had lunch with them and then I spent some time in my front garden doing lots of pruning and tidying. It felt good to get that done and I'm quite pleased with how it looks.

I'm going to be a much better gardener by the time this is all over!

61archerygirl
Mar 25, 2020, 4:55am

Well, I'm still worrying about my job because the news isn't getting any better for the travel industry. I'll be going down to 4 days a week from April 1st along with the rest of the tech team. I can manage on that salary without dipping into my savings, as long as no unexpected expenses come up, but now I'm starting to wonder how long I should hold on before I start looking for a role in a safer industry. Argh.

I'm also worrying about my Dad. His company publishes travel books and the revenue has completely dried up because people aren't buying them. He's not sure how long he can keep the company going and he's incredibly stressed right now.

So, you know, buy Bradt travel books! They're excellent! Tell your friends and family! You might not be travelling right now, but you can plan for the future and travel books are one of the best forms of escapism out there.

(Please buy his books if you're in any way inclined to read travel books.)

And on top of all that, I've been put onto the NHS super high risk list, which means I'm in total isolation for at least twelve weeks. I've got online deliveries worked out so I'm okay for food, but with the extra lockdown announced on Monday, I don't feel happy about my parents nipping round the corner to keep me company from a distance. I'll need to rely on them a bit for essentials (running out of milk being my biggest concern) and pharmacy runs, but popping over for a socially distant cup of tea in the garden seems dicey right now. Mostly, I'm worried about someone catching Mum doing it and her ending up with a fine because her reason for leaving the house wasn't good enough :(

So, yes, lots of worrying and not much reading happening. But I might possibly finish a book today, maybe. We'll see.

62souloftherose
Mar 25, 2020, 5:56pm

>61 archerygirl: Really sorry to hear about the job woes (both for you and your Dad) and the strict quarantine :-(

I suspect a lot more businesses are going to face hard times because of the economic shutdown but it must be particularly acute for travel businesses at the moment. I LOVE Bradt travel books - I'm not able to travel overseas much anymore because of my husband's health but we always get their Slow Travel Guide for whichever region of the UK we're renting a cottage in.

It is such a surreal, worrying time at the moment. Hoping you find a book that distracts you.

63PaulCranswick
Mar 26, 2020, 11:40pm

>61 archerygirl: Keeping you in my thoughts, Kathy as the potential loss of employment is pretty much a refrain here too.

64HanGerg
Mar 27, 2020, 4:53pm

Hi Kathy! Thinking of you and your job woes and strict quarantine issues. I ventured out to the supermarket today after barely straying a metre from my front door for two weeks. I'm slightly freaking out about all the people I have come into contact with today - believe me, you aren't missing much!

65archerygirl
Abr 2, 2020, 5:39am

>62 souloftherose: I found Picard: The Last Best Hope, which has been keeping me more distracted than most other books. And The Ten Thousand Doors of January is also great now that I'm into it.

I'm glad you love Bradt books! They've been running some discount sales and dad and his accounts person have done some hard work getting a voucher system up and running and it's been great to see that fans of their books are rallying to buy books. They're not out of the woods, but he's been really moved by the support and he's starting to feel more hopeful about getting them through this and still being around in a few months.

The government's furlough scheme is really coming through for a lot of businesses. It may be one of the things that saves many of them.

>63 PaulCranswick: There are industries that are doing okay or even well at the moment, but there are far more people who just don't know whether their employers will still be here in a few months. It's frightening.

>64 HanGerg: Yeah, I'm simultaneously freaked out because the only information I have about what it's like out there is from friends and Twitter, and glad I don't need to be out there and being in contact with all the people.




On Saturday, I spent the day playing board games with a friend over Zoom. We were supposed to go to Oxford for a day of gaming at Thirsty Meeples, but we made remote gaming work. We've both got Sagrada so we were able to make that one work over Zoom quite easily. I lost twice, but I had too much fun to care. And we also both have The Captain is Dead, so we slightly adapted that one and managed to play a madcap ridiculous game of that. It's a co-op and we lost, but we had fun doing it.

I managed to finish a book:

13. A Medal for Murder - Frances Brody

I am enjoying the Kate Shackleton mysteries and I'll be looking for more when the libraries reopen. They're set in the same general time as the Maisie Dobbs books, but the set-up is very different and I really enjoy seeing that time from a different perspective. The mysteries are also great! This one dealt with something that began during the Boer War (refreshing for it not to be WWI or WWII) and I found myself rooting for various characters as time went by and surprised by the ending, which is what you really need in a mystery.

66PaulCranswick
Abr 3, 2020, 9:13am

Have a lovely, peaceful, safe and healthy weekend, Kathy.

67SandDune
Abr 7, 2020, 5:11pm

>65 archerygirl: There’s so many commercial sectors that are being affected by COVID-19 that aren’t immediately obvious. I had never thought about publishers of travel books - but of course people wouldn’t be buying them now. I’ve just been cancelling all our plans for our summer holidays - we were going to Poland but that’s not going to be happening anytime soon.

68archerygirl
Abr 9, 2020, 7:45am

>67 SandDune: Yup. There's all the headlines about book sales being up, but what's not immediately obvious is that certain types of books have seen a huge dip in sales. Publishers of travel books are struggling and the small ones are being hit far more than the big ones - they don't have the kind of cash reserves and online selling options that the big ones do.

So many commercial sectors are being affected in unexpected ways. At the same time, I'm seeing a lot of companies pivoting to find new ways to do their thing or sell their thing, which is giving me hope for them. My local butcher and bakery have started home deliveries for people in isolation. My favourite local coffee shop is doing mobile coffee deliveries - they're bringing me a big latte every Monday and Wednesday, and a mocha and brownie on Fridays.

I'm trying to balance "is this asking people to take risks?" against "is this helping my local economy or my favourite companies to survive?" when I'm buying things. And also balancing that against my reduced salary. It's a tough balance and I'm aware we're all making different choices on that front for different reasons.

69PaulCranswick
Abr 12, 2020, 3:42am



I wanted my message this year to be fairly universal in a time we all should be pulling together, whatever our beliefs. Happy Celebration, Happy Sunday, Kathy.

70quondame
Abr 12, 2020, 5:25pm

Happy Easter!

71archerygirl
Abr 14, 2020, 6:54am

>69 PaulCranswick: and >70 quondame: Those are both lovely images. Happy Easter!

I spent a lovely weekend lounging around in my garden with books, enjoying the beautiful tulips that are now blooming and not even thinking about trying to do anything productive and useful. It turned out that I really needed it. This was the first weekend when I haven't been rushing about (inside the house) building things, sorting things, hosting or participating in activities.

It felt nice to just flop and relax.

I did join in with the Saturday night Doctor Who watch (The Doctor's Wife), this time with friends on FaceTime, which was fun.

And yesterday I played Terraforming Mars online with a friend. We each have the digital game so I set up a private game between us and we used FaceTime audio to chat as we played. It worked really well and I definitely recommend it as a good option if TM is your kind of thing.

72archerygirl
Abr 14, 2020, 7:17am

I read some books!

14. The Ten Thousand Doors of January - Alix E Harrow
This one took me a while, because it's complex and meaty and my brain wasn't in the best place for that, but when I got past my block I ended up eating the second half in two days. It's excellent and I'm so happy it's a Hugo nominee. Highly recommended.

15. The Last Best Hope - Una McCormack
This is a prequel to the Picard series, filling in a lot of gaps the show only alluded to, and it's fantastic. I can't necessarily say it's a happy read (anyone who watched Picard will know why), but it's very good and it makes a lot of what we saw in the series have more resonance. Highly recommended.

16. A Delicate Deception - Cat Sebastian
It turns out that I am more in the mood for historical romance than anything else, so I read this in a day. I think it's the best of her Regency Imposters series and I really enjoyed it. The central characters are lovely and I was cheering them on throughout. But even more than that, the main theme of the book is how to make relationships work that don't fit into the neat boxes or standard arrangements. Amelia's mental health is never diminished or pushed to the side, it's never treated as irrelevant, and the way the book ends never even hints that it might be a compromise where either participant won't have a full and happy life. I loved it.

17. It Takes Two to Tumble - Cat Sebastian
A re-read, because apparently this is where I need to be right now.

I'm currently rereading A Gentleman Never Keeps Score. It's possible this will become the all historical romance all the time channel for a while.

73MickyFine
Abr 16, 2020, 11:25am

I am totally here for all historical romance all the time! :D

74ronincats
Abr 18, 2020, 9:56pm

I enjoyed The Ten Thousand Doors of January too, Kathy. I've seen Cat Sebastian mentioned but not read any of the books. Stay safe!

75archerygirl
Abr 20, 2020, 5:36am

>73 MickyFine: I figured there would be a few people who wouldn't mind the HR influx :)

76archerygirl
Maio 12, 2020, 4:41am

I read some books!

18. A Gentleman Never Keeps Score - Cat Sebastian
19. The Little Cornish Kitchen - Jane Linfoot
20. The Duke's Disaster - Grace Burrowes (DNF)
21. Slightly Married - Mary Balogh
22. Slightly Wicked - Mary Balogh
23. Slightly Tempted - Mary Balogh

Yes, it really is a bit of a historical romance fest around here right now. Almost all were rereads.

My one new-to-me- HR, The Duke's Disaster, made me so angry that I couldn't finish it and I don't think I'd read Grace Burrowes again. Her hero was just....you know those heroes who are a bit roughish and rakish but you know there's they can be redeemed and be worthy of the heroine by the end of the book? Well, this one didn't fall into that category and I knew that I wasn't going to buy any reformation or redemption for him. Particularly after an extremely dubious consent sex scene early in the book, which is what made me put it down with a bad taste in my mouth and then delete it from my Kindle. Ugh, not recommended at all.

This may be why I plunged into a reread of the Slightly books by Mary Balogh. I skipped book 3, which I remember being rather bored by, and thoroughly enjoyed my rereads of the others. I didn't read the last two books in the series but I've found them though my library's ebook system so I've just started book 5 and I'm loving it.




Right now, it's looking like my job should be safe and the company is feeling confident they'll weather the current storm, which is a relief. Although I still plan to start a job hunt later in the year and I'm not immediately dismissing any offers I get from recruiters any more.

The isolation has been getting to me at times, but I'm getting through. I'm not in a place where I want to read anything challenging or likely to end in tragedy, which is why I'm sticking to rereads and new books by authors I trust.

I'm also indulging in a Leverage rewatch. It's brilliant comfort TV.

I'm taking part in the semi-regular Doctor Who rewatch nights with some friends (follow @Emily_Rosina on Twitter for details, this Sunday we're all rewatching The Fires of Pompeii at 7pm GMT), which is lovely. So far all the episodes we've rewatched have been ones I love and it's great to see so many people tweeting along, plus all the little bits of extra content that are being created for the episodes are brilliant and so inventive. We've had short stories, codas, prequels, and even a beautiful tribute to Sarah Jane Smith that made me cry in the good way.

And I've been doing a fair bit of gaming. So far, I've got accounts on Asmodee, BoardGameArena, and Tabletopia. I've got digital versions of various games (HumbleBundle has a great bundle of games from Asmodee, including digital versions of Scythe, Carcassonne, SmallWorld, and Splendour here https://www.humblebundle.com/games/asmodee-play-with-friends) and I've managed to work out how to play a few games over Zoom, although that only works for very specific types of games if everyone involved has copies. But we're making it work.

And all this enforced time at home has given me lots of time to enjoy my garden. I'm trying to find positives in all this awfulness, and that's one of the ones I'm taking. I wouldn't have spent as much time in my garden if life had been normal.

77alcottacre
Editado: Maio 12, 2020, 5:22pm

>65 archerygirl: Too bad my local library does not have any of the Frances Brody books. They sound right up my alley!

>72 archerygirl: Count me in as a fan of The Ten Thousand Doors of January too!

>76 archerygirl: Glad to hear that your job is safe. I know that must relieve your anxieties somewhat, Kathy.

78MickyFine
Maio 13, 2020, 3:56pm

Yay for historical romance! I've got one checked out from my library right now and I'm looking forward to it. I'm currently reading a Miss Marple, so that's comforting in a different way. Ironically the one I have checked out is a Grace Burrowes - I enjoyed her Windham Brides series and My One and Only Duke. Of course, I totally understand having a bad experience and refusing to pick up an author again so I won't push her at you.

Now if you've yet to try Tessa Dare... her books I'll push on everyone. ;)

79ronincats
Maio 19, 2020, 12:00am

I've been enjoying my garden, too, Kathy. And lots of historical fiction makes me want to throw it at the wall for that kind of reason.

80souloftherose
Maio 23, 2020, 8:53am

>72 archerygirl: I also really enjoyed The Last Best Hope - bittersweet but quite cathartic to read and tied in beautifully with the TV series. Very glad I treated myself to that one as a lockdown treat. And The Ten Thousand Doors of January was very good - I've been considering a reread of that one.

>72 archerygirl: 'It's possible this will become the all historical romance all the time channel for a while.'

Well, thank you for recommending so many of these to me over the last few years because they suddenly seem to be what I really need to read too! I am working my way through KJ Charles at the moment but have Cat Sebastian on the list. Speaking of KJ Charles have you read Slippery Creatures yet?

>76 archerygirl: Will avoid the Grace Burrows.... But good news on your job.

81HanGerg
Maio 23, 2020, 11:40am

Hi Kathy|! Glad you're bearing up! Online gaming sounds super fun but way too complicated for me to get my head round at the moment. We've been doing semi-regular quiz nights with a group of friends where we all take it in turns to write a quiz ourselves - that's as high tech as it gets round here, but it keeps up that remote social contact that's become such a lifeline pretty well.

82archerygirl
Jun 9, 2020, 4:34am

>78 MickyFine: Everyone reacts differently to different authors! I love Tessa Dare and I'm impatiently waiting for her next one :)

>79 ronincats: I can understand that reaction, historical fiction can be problematic (at best) more often than I'd like.

>80 souloftherose: I've been saving Slippery Creatures as a treat :-) I'm almost done with my Cat Sebastian reread and I'm strongly considering a reread of some of my favourite KJ Charles next!

>81 HanGerg: I've done a couple of quiz nights through work and they're fun, but I'm much more comfortable with online board games.

And speaking of board games...

I just got my own copy of Wingspan and it's such a beautiful game. The bird feeder dice tower is *perfect* both thematically and technically. I've played a couple of games against the automata and so far I won one (using the easiest setting for the automata) and lost one, which I think is fair. I'm looking forward to the day when I'm able to play with people at a table again.

I've got my eye on Isle of Cats as my next possible game purchase.

In the meantime, I'm prepping for joining my first D&D session in a couple of weeks! A friend is running a one-shot pitched to fairly new (and totally new) players, so I'm looking forward to that.

Books coming in next post. Yeah, they're still all historical romance :D

83drneutron
Jun 9, 2020, 1:34pm

Cool! Have fun with the D&D session. I haven't played in decades, but always enjoyed it.

84archerygirl
Jun 10, 2020, 7:23am

>83 drneutron: Thank you! I've been wanting to try D&D for ages and doing one-shot for newbies with friends sounds like a good way to dip my toe in. I'm learning to create a character ready for it :)

I had one good piece of news yesterday - I'm going back up to five days a week from next week, so I won't be quite so worried about finances any more. I've been getting by without dipping into savings, but I've been super conscious of every purchase and aware that there wasn't much room in my budget for unexpected expenses, so it will be a relief to go back to my normal salary and have that bit of breathing room back again.




I read books!

24. Red, White & Royal Blue - Casey McQuiston
25. Slightly Sinful - Mary Balogh
26. Slightly Dangerous - Mary Balogh
27. The Lawrence Browne Affair - Cat Sebastian
28. The Ruin of a Rake - Cat Sebastian

Okay, it's not *all* historical romance. One of those was a contemporary romance :D

The Mary Balogh books were both new to me and I thoroughly enjoyed them. Slightly Dangerous was my favourite of the two, mainly because we finally got Wulfric's story and it didn't disappoint. He'd been built up as a cold, distant aristocrat through the previous books and there were hints that his backstory was painful and he wasn't as cold as he appeared, so I'd been intrigued about finally getting to see under that shell and find out what kind of heroine Balogh would write for him. It wasn't at all what I expected in the best way, and his book was a fitting (and delightful) end to a series I've thoroughly enjoyed.

Red, White & Royal Blue was one of my favourite reads from last year and sinking into a reread was a perfect way to spend a weekend. Highly recommended to anyone who wants a spiky, funny, fabulous m/m royal romance.

My Cat Sebastian reread continued and The Ruin of a Rake is definitely my favourite of her books, although I think you need to read The Lawrence Browne Affair to get the necessary backstory about the two leads and understand *why* their story is so great. Not that reading that one is a hardship because it's a fun story, too.

I'm currently rereading my least favourite Cat Sebastian story The Soldier's Scoundrel, which is going better for me than I remember. Lockdown brain or just reading it at the wrong time during the first try? Who knows!

I'm contemplating diving into some KJ Charles rereads after that (and maybe treating myself to reading Slippery Creatures at last) because she's such a reliably good HR author.

But I'm also starting to feel like reading something new and not historical romance (or romance focused at all) wouldn't break my brain too badly, so I might dig out one of the books that I bought before this mess started. Maybe The Starless Sea?

85MickyFine
Jun 12, 2020, 5:06pm

Yay for feeling like your brain is ready to go outside it's comfort zone! That's excellent news. I've found I'm reading slower these days, even with comfort books and it's very easy for me to get sucked into other activities without meaning to (downside of only getting library material as ebooks means games/apps are easier to open instead of my book). Although since moving to our new house, I now have access to a different library system who has turned on holds and curbside pick-up (my work library has curbside at 2 of 21 branches and no new holds yet). So might get access to real books again soon. Of course, there's always my own books too. :)

86PaulCranswick
Jun 13, 2020, 8:19am

>84 archerygirl: Glad to see that work will be extended to help with the finances. I know from experience how stressful the trying to make ends meet can be.

87archerygirl
Jun 13, 2020, 8:37am

>85 MickyFine: I've been finding that borrowing ebooks from my library has the same issue - Libby is on my iPad, where games and twitter and other distractions live. I'm much better and focusing if books are on my Kindle or made from paper. There's no news here on when/whether libraries will be open for any kind of holds or curbside collection. So I'm buying more books than I usually would - which is probably a good thing for the economy and authors!

>86 PaulCranswick: It's not a nice feeling. I can make ends meet on four days a week, but with no breathing room for unexpected events. I found that stressful because I've always made sure that I can put money aside regularly and knew that if I had to dip into savings, I could replace it in a reasonable timeframe. Getting back to my normal salary will be good, as will having my normal number of hours to do my job in! It was nice having an extra day off a week, but I found that I was putting in much longer days trying to keep up with the work, which probably wasn't in the spirit of the short week/pay drop ::eye_roll::

I haven't yet read any new-to-me books, but I bought some and I'm reading Competence right now as a precursor to finally reading the last in that series. So that's a bit of progress!

88archerygirl
Jun 15, 2020, 11:48am

I read a couple of books!

Okay, I haven't yet ventured into new-to-me books, but I did have a bit of a buying splurge for my Kindle a few days ago so it's looking more and more possible that this will happen.

29. The Soldier's Soundrel - Cat Sebastian
30. Romancing the Werewolf - Gail Carriger

I've now run out of Cat Sebastian books to reread. The Soldier's Scoundrel is her first and my least favourite but I enjoyed it more than I expected to, so that's a good thing.

And then I reread Romancing the Werewolf because apparently that's what I needed.

Now I'm rereading Competence but my next read will be a new one to me - Reticence by Gail Carriger! I'm not quite ready to try entirely new authors yet, but new to me books by authors I trust is progress and neither of these two are romance-focused (although Competence does include a romance element, as so many of Carriger's books do).

I think the problem has been that I had a bad experience with a new author a few weeks ago and I don't have the reserves right now to bounce back and dive into things that might leave me feeling upset or angry. So I'm mostly sticking to my comfort zones and hoping that as time goes by, my reserves will rebuild.

89PaulCranswick
Jun 20, 2020, 10:22am

>88 archerygirl: Funny Kathy, because I always like to try new authors and have been pleasantly surprised a lot this year with new-to-me writers. That said there are still authors whose every book I snatch off the shelves as soon as I see them in the shops.

90archerygirl
Jun 22, 2020, 5:12am

>89 PaulCranswick: Usually I love new authors and get so excited to find a new favourite from them, but I think my brain hasn't been in the best place and that's made me really wary about anything new. Having a really bad experience with a new-to-me writer probably happened at the worst time for me.

I think when I get the first new-to-me book under my belt and enjoy it, I'll get less wary and start diving into all the great new stuff that I know has been published in the last few months!

91HanGerg
Jun 26, 2020, 6:20pm

Hi Kathy, just popping by to say I've treated myself to a couple KJ Charles books. I bought Spectred Isle and Slippery Creatures. I hope you are continuing to find comforting reads that work for you!

92PaulCranswick
Jun 26, 2020, 7:21pm

>90 archerygirl: Yeah Kathy, my brain isn't working either. I haven't finished a book for ages and I am going to have concentrate on reading something instead of flitting from one book to the next with little to show.

93foggidawn
Jul 2, 2020, 10:38am

>82 archerygirl: I just bought Isle of Cats, but haven't gotten around to playing it yet. I'll let you know when I do. I've heard a lot about Wingspan (I joined the Board Game Geek Facebook group, which might not have been the best idea...) but I'm hesitant to invest in it just yet.

>90 archerygirl: I know the feeling; I'm having a really hard time focusing on reading, especially new reads. The most steady, comforting reread at present is the Harry Potter read-aloud I have going with my housemate.

94PaulCranswick
Jul 5, 2020, 8:14am

Wishing you a splendid Sunday, Kathy.

95SandDune
Jul 5, 2020, 9:18am

>82 archerygirl: Wingspan is a beautifully presented game isn’t it? According to J, it’s written down by some serious gaming aficionados as there is too great an element of chance. In my opinion that’s a good thing as it’s the only way I ever get a chance to win!

>87 archerygirl: My library opens Monday, but you have to order pre-selected packs of books for collection - pre-selected by the library that is, not by the borrower. There are about 18 categories in total and you choose which category you want, (cozy crime say or sci-fi or literary fiction) and then you get given 6 books in that category. I don’t know if they look at your borrowing history to choose books that you haven’t read previously or not. It all sounds a bit random to me!

96foggidawn
Editado: Jul 14, 2020, 10:57am

>82 archerygirl:, >93 foggidawn: I got my copy of Isle of Cats out and played it, and I really like it! I've played it twice now once, to learn it, I played against myself, then I played it with my housemate. We both had a lot of fun with it. There's a solo mode and a family mode that I have not explored yet.

97archerygirl
Jul 21, 2020, 6:53am

I had a whole comment here and then there was an incident where I accidentally shut down Chrome and lost all the things I was doing and. Well. Hmf.

>96 foggidawn: I still haven't got to my game shop's online shop in time to get a copy of Isle of Cats before they sell it. I'm really looking forward to getting a copy, though, and glad you're enjoying it! I'll probably explore the solo mode a lot, but hopefully I'll be able to play with people now that things are easing up :D

>95 SandDune: Wingspan really is gorgeous, and the element of chance is part of why I like it! Clearly, I am not a serious gaming aficionado. I'm also not good at strategy, though, so maybe that's why!

My library has opened for borrowing this week with the same pre-selected pack concept. It's too random for me so I'm sticking to online loans.

I have got brave and ventured into a book by an author I haven't read before! The City of Brass is great so far and I'm hopefully going to have a book update here soon.

98PaulCranswick
Ago 2, 2020, 7:24pm

>97 archerygirl: I found something called Open Library on line which I enjoy for fairly hard to find books as I don't have a library here and only one really OK bookshop.

99PaulCranswick
Ago 14, 2020, 9:51pm

More than three weeks away, Kathy. Hope all is well.

100archerygirl
Ago 25, 2020, 11:18am

>99 PaulCranswick: I'm alive! I'm well! I've just been overwhelmed with a lot of things (and accidentally falling into a new fandom, which fannish people on this site will know how it goes) and thus my LT time has been...scant.

As has my reading time.

I really need to actually finish a book.

101PaulCranswick
Set 5, 2020, 10:52pm

>100 archerygirl: Any luck on finishing any of those books, Kathy?

102PaulCranswick
Out 17, 2020, 11:42pm

Kathy?

Hope all is well.

103archerygirl
Out 29, 2020, 6:26am

I am alive and reading, but it's mainly fanfic so not much in the way of actual published books finished.

But! A friend's new novella just came out so I will read an actual book soon!

104lycomayflower
Out 29, 2020, 11:01am

*reading mostly fanfic solidarity fist bump*

105archerygirl
Out 29, 2020, 1:36pm

>104 lycomayflower: I have fallen into a fandom with a lot of very good longfic. I may be here some time.

106MickyFine
Out 29, 2020, 5:43pm

>105 archerygirl: Which fandom, Kathy? If you don't mind sharing. :)

107lycomayflower
Out 29, 2020, 6:07pm

>106 MickyFine:, >107 lycomayflower: I am also curious. I love longfic.

108archerygirl
Out 31, 2020, 7:27pm

>107 lycomayflower: >106 MickyFine: It’s a Chinese drama, based on a Chinese web novel, available on Netflix and Viki. Lots of fantasy and adventure. The source novel had a gay romance as the central plot so for the drama they, er, removed the kissing and pretended it was a really good friendship (a very romantic friendship, and omg how did some of that get past the censors?). Fandom writes ridiculous quantities of excellent longfic for it because it’s brilliant but still leaves lots of places for fic writers to play in.

If you decide to watch it, the first two episodes are very confusing at first but stuck with it to at least episode four and those first two episodes pay off in spades later (particularly on a rewatch, not that I’m already rewatching again already or anything, heh).

109archerygirl
Editado: Nov 2, 2020, 7:35am

So, apparently before I fell off the face of the planet and landed face first in Ancient Chinese Boyfriends fandom, I did actually finish a few more books than I'd remembered:

29. The Soldier's Scoundrel - Cat Sebastian
30. Romancing the Werewolf - Gail Carriger
31. Competence - Gail Carriger
32. Reticence - Gail Carriger
33. Two Rogues Make a Right - Cat Sebastian
34. Briarley - Aster Glenn Gray

Er, there is definitely a theme there. An author theme. But! The final three of those books were not rereads and I remember enjoying them all hugely, so I'd definitely recommend them.

We're about to go into Lockdown 2: The Relockening in England, which sucks in just about every way including the impact on my industry. My job so far is safe and I'm hoping tomorrow's company update is just an announcement about closing the office and new arrangements for that rather than an announcement that they're going to be making more redundancies.

To add to my stress, Kate-cat has been ill and three weeks ago she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. So I'm trying to give her a some comfortable time before she dies, although I can see her slowly fading. I need to talk to the vet this afternoon about how the lockdown will affect her care. It's unlikely that she'll live past the end of lockdown, and I need to know whether the new regulations mean I can be with her when we have to put her to sleep or not.

Honestly, I'm not surprised I've fallen headfirst into reading fic where I'm guaranteed a happy ending over and over in a dozen configurations, because right now I need all the comfort I can get.

110HanGerg
Editado: Nov 2, 2020, 3:46pm

So sorry about your cat Kathy - that's so tough on top of everything else this year has thrown at us. Good to see you round here though, and may I just say that "Lockdown 2: The Relockening" is what I'm going to be calling it to anyone who will get close enough (but not too close obvs) to hear it. Is this Chinese series the one about wizards? My friend the Asian pop culture nut was enthusing wildly about a show about gay Chinese wizards so I'm guessing there can't be more than one such show doing the rounds...

111quondame
Nov 2, 2020, 6:46pm

>109 archerygirl: I'm so sorry for you about Kate-cat. And the extra wear of wondering how to deal with the inevitable issues.

112archerygirl
Editado: Nov 3, 2020, 6:13am

>110 HanGerg: Feel free to call it that wherever anyone can hear from a socially safe distance :D Pretty sure your friend is talking about the same show - it is indeed a show about gay Chinese wizards in fantasy Ancient China. I'm slowly picking away at reading a translation of the original novel it's based on...and yeah, they really did only remove the kissing (and sex) from the live action show. And they upped the intense yearning gazes. It's a whole thing and this is my comfort place right now.

>111 quondame: There's a part of me that just thinks "ah, yes, it's 2020 so of course Kate-cat's illness had to come now". Which is probably not a healthy way to think but I'm running out of healthy responses!

I've just been in discussion with my boss and team coworker. The company is going into hibernation for a few weeks (it's very tricky to sell holidays when holidays are illegal and nobody knows when they won't be illegal any more) and I'm going to be going into a part-time furlough situation. Basically, I'll be working half the week and my coworker will be working the other half, with us on furlough for the times we're not working. It means we can keep the work my team does ticking over and someone will be available for ad-hoc stuff, but we'll effectively only be staffing the team with one person for a few weeks. We still have to work out some details, but hopefully this will work

I'm not actually sad about the idea of having a few weeks only working part-time. I've been promised 80% of my salary, so financially I can manage, and having a less hectic work week might be nice for a little while?

I've been feeling close to burn out for a while, so maybe this will be a good thing.

Watch me try to spin Lockdown 2: The Relockening into a less terrible thing than it actually is.

113PaulCranswick
Nov 6, 2020, 8:58pm

>109 archerygirl: Sorry to hear about your cat, Kathy. Hopefully her passage onwards will not be a painful one.

114MickyFine
Nov 7, 2020, 6:28pm

Sorry to hear about Kate-cat. I hope she stays as comfortable as possible and sending you hugs during this extra difficult time.

115ronincats
Nov 9, 2020, 8:49pm

So sorry to hear about Kate-cat, Kathy. And I've put both Wingspan AND Isle of Cats on my Christmas list.

116archerygirl
Nov 11, 2020, 4:55am

>113 PaulCranswick: >114 MickyFine: >115 ronincats: Thank you for all the good wishes for Kate-cat.

She had a steroid shot last week (she'll be getting them every couple of weeks until the end) and this one as been very...effective. She's rallied. She's eating everything in sight and she's got enough energy to shout at me for food, try to catch flies, and make a nuisance of herself in the best way.

She's even coming to me for occasional snuggles, something she hadn't been interested in for a while. The main symptom of her illness has been weight loss and appetite loss, which means she lost a lot of muscle mass and she doesn't have the strength in her back legs to jump up onto chairs and sofas any more. But she's happier about letting me pick her up and put her on my lap, so that works for us.

She's very slow on the stairs (so I've moved her litter box downstairs), but she can still do it and has been coming up to demand breakfast at my bedroom door for the last few days, which is excellent. In fact, she's eating so much right now that she's putting a little bit of weight back on! She doesn't look as scarily skinny as she did even a week ago.

I'm sure this is just the effect of the steroids and it won't last forever, but I'm feeling much better about making the decision to keep her home and give her a bit more time now that I've seen this. At least I'm getting a little bit of time with her looking more like the old Kate before the end.

And now I need to give her another spoonful of food because it's been half an hour since she ate the last one and clearly she's a starving cat who has never been fed ;-)

>115 ronincats: You won't regret either of those! They're great games and so beautiful, too.

117MickyFine
Nov 12, 2020, 11:22am

>116 archerygirl: Glad to hear that keeping Kate-cat comfortable is going so well. Hugs for you and a rub under the chin for her.

118PaulCranswick
Nov 20, 2020, 8:57pm

Hope all is well, Kathy. x

119archerygirl
Dez 16, 2020, 7:56am

Sadly, Kate-cat had a stroke on November 18th. The vet was very kind and let me be with her while she went to sleep, even though we were in lockdown, and she was peaceful at the end. It's not been easy adjusting to not having her around, but in a lot of ways I'm relieved that the end happened quickly rather than as a slow decline. The evening before, she'd been very affectionate and we'd spent a long time cuddling on the sofa while I read, so that's a good final memory to have of her.

Annie-cat and I are getting used to life without her. For a couple of weeks, Annie was much clingier than usual (she's a cuddle cat by nature at the best of times) and got a bit distressed when I left the house, but I think she's starting to settle.

I am still largely reading fanfic (it would count as so many books if I actually tried estimate the number of books-with of fic I've read) but I have read a couple of books!

35. Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation - 墨香铜臭

This is the English translation of the novel that The Untamed is based on. AKA the fandon that has swallowed me whole. The Untamed had to get past Chinese censorship so the central relationship was turned into a very intense friendship (with a lot of queer coding that occasionally makes you wonder how it got past the censors) that is actually far more romantic than the book. Go figure. The book is quite explicit in places. It was interesting to read this and compare it to the show. Huge chunks of the book were put on screen almost word-for-word, minor edits were made in other places, and then there are places where the plot diverged a fair bit either to bulk out the show (to 50 episodes) or to get around censorship issues. There are also things that aren't explained terribly well in the show but are much clearer in the book, so it was good to read just to get that extra detail. There are places where the book definitely has some pacing issues (but so does the show at times), and there is a lot more flashing back and forth in time. The show just did one giant flashback for 30 episodes, the booking intersperses the post-resurrection period with flashbacks to Wei Wuxian's earlier life.

Although the flashing back and forth could be confusing at times, it does enable the author to work through Wei Wuxian's gradual realisation he's not as straight as he thought he was, as he recontextualises some of his past actions and feelings in the light of things happening to him in the current timeline. I really enjoyed that.

The horror elements are a bit more graphic in the book, and Wei Wuxian's necromancy is a lot more front and centre - I can see why they toned some of that down to make him an easier protagonist to love in the show. Not that I don't love book!WWX too :D

One of the things that I think the book does better (or maybe just does more overtly) is the reflection on mob mentality, reputation, and call out/cancel culture. A core plot of the whole thing is that everyone is very quick to switch from depending on Wei Wuxian helping them win the battle against Wen Ruohan to demanding he turn over his power source and then declaring he's an evil scourge on the world who must be eliminated. And they're equally fast to change the target of who they hate later. WWX doesn't change the core of himself at any point, but all these extra 'crimes' are added to his reputation, almost as a way to give people an excuse to hate him and avoid confronting any of the awful things they're actually doing or condoning (and he's trying to fight against). It's a theme in the show, but it's much more apparent in the book.

Yes, this is the show/book where you arrive for the Ancient Wizard Boyfriends and end up with complicated questions about morality, ethics, and what being a good person actually is.

36. Division Bells - Iona Datt Sharma

This is a beautiful book that's both a romance and a treatise on lawmaking in the British civil service. Iona uses all their knowledge of being a civil service lawyer to add depth and layers to those parts of the book, and adds a gentle romance that is both melancholic and happy at once. Genuinely don't know how they do that! I read this in one sitting and it was like being hugged by a book, a very good break from some of the current nonsense if you need it.

120foggidawn
Dez 16, 2020, 11:56am

>119 archerygirl: I am sorry for your loss. Glad you got to have a peaceful evening together as your last memory of her.

121MickyFine
Dez 16, 2020, 2:49pm

So sorry for your loss. Hope you and Annie cat get lots of quality time this holiday season.

122quondame
Dez 16, 2020, 8:25pm

>119 archerygirl: Oh that's so sad. It's good Annie-cat and you can comfort each other.

123archerygirl
Dez 21, 2020, 6:45am

>120 foggidawn: >121 MickyFine: >122 quondame: Thank you.

Annie-cat and I will be getting lots of quality time together, now that we're in tier 4! Thankfully my parents live around the corner and are my support bubble, so I'll still have somewhere to go for Christmas Day. And I got my decorations up last week, which was really cheering!

I rather love how pretty my living room looks with a tree and lots of lights and tinsel. I've got a lovely fireplace (not a real one - no chimney) with a mantlepiece that looks gorgeous draped with lights and garland. My plan was to get an electric fire fitted this year, but covid rather scuppered that. I'm definitely doing it next year! I've got a poster covering the hole right now. I really wish I had a nice picture, instead of a random fairy thing I had when I was at university 😂 But it's enough to keep Annie from investigating and it looks better than a hole.

Anyway, I'm trying to keep my spirits up despite all the mess. I've just opened The Dark Is Rising and I've only got today, tomorrow, and Wednesday morning working and then I'm done for the year. So at least I should get one last book in before the end of the year! Not quite my usual 75, but given the givens, I'm okay with missing the goal this year.

124PaulCranswick
Editado: Dez 25, 2020, 12:48am



I hope you get some of those at least, Kathy, as we all look forward to a better 2021.

So sorry to hear about your cat. x

125quondame
Dez 25, 2020, 1:29am

Happy Holidays Kathy!

126quondame
Dez 31, 2020, 10:19pm

127archerygirl
Jan 1, 6:53am

Readers, I did not get a final book in for 2020. My tally stays at 36, but I'm okay with that. In this year of all years, chasing a number seems a bit pointless!

Thank you for the Christmas and New Year wishes. I'm hoping 2021 brings something better for all of us.

128archerygirl
Jan 1, 7:12am