Favorite Things to do in Spring

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Well, I usually love the spring break as a chance to visit friends. Since I live in a small town, the spring semester between teaching is my chance to go to Tokyo or Yokohama. Traveling is restricted at the moment, so I’ve spent most of my time locally.  I hope all of you out there are well, both physically and emotionally. Keep your head up! If you’re stuck inside, a binge watch may be a good thing- things to completely take you mind away from news. Personally, I watched a few episodes of Are You Being Served, Yes Minister, and Martin. (My sense of humor is wide ranging) Also, Tiger King on Netflix is just so bizarre I couldn’t stop watching it.

I look forward to spending the spring outdoors. Since I know most people are quarantined, I thought I’d share a few pictures of some of my favorite spring places with the hopes that I’ll be able to once again have a big picnic out there someday soon.

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One Skill I wish I had but don’t

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I thought I’d join back in on the blog hop this week. In case you haven’t seen the news, here in Japan pretty much everything is such down in an attempt to contain the spread of Corvid. The schools are closed, and all festivals, sports events, etc. It’s kind of strange to watch the baseball teams play with empty seats in the stadium. Even sumo wrestling, for the first time in history, was held with just the participants and not the audience. It’s oddly Orwellian to see how empty things are. 

So, I figured why not blog? It’s good to think about something else. 

I couldn’t narrow my list down to just one skill I wish I had, so here are a few.  

Knitting. This seems like one of those things everyone is doing nowadays and I have no idea. I’m not terribly good at anything requiring hand coordination of any sort. My Girl Scout days were plagued by the eternally unfinished cross stitches. 

Sewing. I can’t do this either beyond managing to sew a button back on. If I can find the button. Which I usually don’t. 

Playing the piano. A skill that I lost. I used to as a child, but haven’t in decades. I’ve considered starting lessons again because I think I’d probably appreciate it more now. 

More language skills. I can speak English and Japanese. I’d love to learn Russian and Hebrew. I might actually go ahead and give Russian a go if I can find a really patient teacher. 

Piloting a galaxy class starship. I can but dream.

 

Books I reread or want to reread

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I don’t do as much re-reading of fiction as I used to, mainly because there are so many books out there I  want a chance to read  and already feel as it I don’t have enough time.:)  When I was young, I re-read Harriet the Spy, The Westing Game, and all of the Encyclopedia Brown books over and over again. I also read  the A Wrinkle in Time trilogy a few times. 

When I’m feeling sick or low, I re-read the Discworld books. They are always a good pick me up. I remember re-reading the Sevenwaters Trilogy (Juliet Marillier) and Kushiel’s Dart over again because I really like the scenery, the characters, the lush worlds that were created. I do read  Thomas Ligotti’s short stories, Ted Chiang’s short stories and Joan Didion’s classic Slouching Towards Bethlehem. There is also a Junichi Saga who has two great non-fiction books I’ve re-read several times Memoirs of Silk and Straw and Confessions of a Yakuza. If you wonder about life in Japan, particularly in the era when it changed rapidly, these are both great. 

Best Book/TV/ Movie Couples

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It’s been a long time since I joined the blog hop, but I thought I’d give it a shot, however late, this week. And to show my appreciation to Long and Short Reviews for organizing it and doing so much for the writing community.

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Of course, Star Trek will be on my list. Captain Sisko and Kassidy Yates were one of my favorite couples. I thought the actors worked well together, but also I liked the fact that they had a mature, stable, relationship. Even when Yates and Sisko disagreed strongly on the issue of the Maquis, they still loved and respected each other. Also, DS9 hat tip to Worf/Jadzia for best wedding ever and Odo/Kira for heartrending parting scene. 

Delenn/Sheridan from Babylon 5. 

Scully/Mulder from the X-files.  I think they were a better couple when they were not together as a couple. Having two loners who have such a strong connection was more convincing that the rather contrived alien/enhanced/son storyline or whatever that I kind of lost track of. 

My favorite couple on Game of Thrones was Missandei and Greyworm. I know it’s not in the books, but I thought the fact that they fell in love and really were devoted to each other was touching. Hated the way it ended though. Hat tip to Tormund/ Brienne. I love the fan pics of that. 

And last, Kovacs and Quellcrist Falconer from Altered Carbon. That show took me a few episodes to get into( It can be really violent) but the relationship of the couple despite time, distant, and new bodies has a lot of potential. I look forward to Season 2. 

 

What I Read When I’m Not Feeling Well

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Check out the other authors at Long and Short Reviews.

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When I am under the weather or generally out of sorts,  I  want some hot tea and a book to read. Books make me feel better. And honestly, when I’m sick, the television always seems to loud and too bright. Books are just right.

The Discworld Series has always been one of my favorites. I have too many Discworld books to count and too many characters to love: Granny Weatherwax is my idol. My favorite Discworld book of all Interesting Times. I’ve read that book so often, it’s falling apart now and it kept together by a rubber band. I need to buy a new copy, I know. Other favorites…The Fifth Elephant and Going Postal. 

Long ago, when I worked in Tokyo, I had a tiny apartment and no television so I read a lot of books. This was one of the best times of my life and I should probably resume my no TV life. Which, I kind of have. I haven’t watched network shows in years. Any, I was a big fan of the Ed McBain 87th Precinct series and the Robert Parker novels. When the workday ended on a Friday, I’d get a new Ed McBain, Robert Parker, or Sue Grafton. All of those writers are gone now, and I kind of miss those days when I was single and had time to do nothing but read all weekend. 

I first became aware of  Changeling Press through the anthologies. Full disclosure: I write for them now. But back in the day, before I even had an e-reader, I used to get their paperback anthologies. They were one of the few places I knew of then that had erotic romances with aliens and what not. My go to beach reads. 

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In the realm of audiobooks I love the Blake’s 7 audio dramas put out by Big Finish. I have quite a few of their audiobooks which often includes cast members. Gareth Thomas (Blake), Jacquelin Pierce (Servalan) and Paul Darrow (Avon) are gone now, so I have to admit, listening to their voices now makes me tear up a bit. 

And don’t forget:

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Favorite Quotes from Books

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This week’s post from Long and Short Reviews is…Favorite Quotes from Books.

 

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”

“I don’t much care where –”

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”

Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” 

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

“Nothing belongs to us. Everything is something that is rented out. Our very heads are filled with rented ideas passed on from one generation to the next.” 

Thomas Ligotti, Teatro Grottesco

“The masses never revolt of their own accord, and they never revolt merely because they are oppressed. Indeed, so long as they are not permitted to have standards of comparison, they never even become aware that they are oppressed.” 

George Orwell, 1984

“When your rage is choking you, it is best to say nothing.” 

Octavia E. Butler, Fledgling

“So the universe is not quite as you thought it was. You’d better rearrange your beliefs, then. Because you certainly can’t rearrange the universe.” 

Isaac Asimov, Nightfall

“Whatever happens, they say afterwards, it must have been fate. People are always a little confused about this, as they are in the case of miracles. When someone is saved from certain death by a strange concatenation of circumstances, they say that’s a miracle. But of course if someone is killed by a freak chain of events — the oil spilled just there, the safety fence broken just there — that must also be a miracle. Just because it’s not nice doesn’t mean it’s not miraculous.” 

Terry Pratchett, Interesting Times

Fictional Worlds I’d Love to Visit

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This week’s topic: Fictional Worlds I’d love to visit

I am a fan of the craziness of Alice and Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass so it’s always fascinated me. The book version, the Disney film version, and the live action version with Carol Channing as the White Queen.  (1984) There is also a fairly decent 1995 TV version too. I remember it from when I was young back in the days of video tapes and I rewatched it until the tape wore out. I also enjoy books (romances!) that play around with  the Alice in Wonderland world.

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I have been rewatching Babylon 5 recently and it makes me realize how much I like that world. I wouldn’t mind finding accommodations on Babylon station; maybe even a trip to the Minbari homeworld if I were invited. 

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There are a lot of urban fantasy worlds I’d like to live in. I devoured urban fantasy and paranormal romances and it’s still a healthy portion of my entertainment. One of my favorites was the Elfhome series by Wen Spencer. I’ve never been to Pittsburgh-but her Pittsburgh with a half of the Elf world on it is fantastic. I love this series and I love the way it combines real world with a well-developed Elf world.

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Books that should be made into movies

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This week’s blogging topic…Books that should be made into movies.  Check out some other authors at Long and Short Reviews.

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I read The Priory of the Orange Tree primarily because I wanted a fantasy novel that was in one volume. I don’t have the time to commit to multi-volume, multi-year sagas all the time, but I do love high fantasy. This one turned out to be even better than expected. With contrasting European, Central Asian, and East Asian influences. Well-developed characters. Dragons. I think it would look great in movie form.

I am clearly an Octavia Butler fan. I’ve heard rumors that her Parable series was being optioned for TV/Movie, but those things come and go. I actually thing the Patternist series is a better choice. It begins with an immortal who selectively breeds humans in his seed villages and ends with a Patternmaster who can control humans through thought. It’s one of the best takes on telepathy I’ve seen used and I really enjoyed the series. 

I first became a Thomas Ligotti fan after reading “My Case for Retributive Action” in an anthology. Since then, I’ve become a devoted fan of his work. He’s a short story writer, but I think his Teatro Grottesco collection would work well together because the stories follow the same theme of a nameless, faceless corporation, the Quine Corporation. Once again, I’ve heard tales of adaptations but nothing else. His dark, beautifully written horror in the hands of the right director could be wonderful. It’s be a great Netflix binge. 

Humorous Book Titles

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This week’s blogging challenge is Humorous Book Titles. I chose a few of the oddest that I found.

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I wonder what this says about the future of our species and what is happening to our planet. I think I do know the difference between an abandoned Costco cart and and abandoned Sam’s Club. Does it distinguish between a Walmart and a Target?

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Well, something speaks through my cats but I don’t think it’s God. 

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There are times when you need to really think through your title more.

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What genre is it? Who is the target audience? What is going on here?

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Today’s youth use smartphones so much that this may someday be a classic study.

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I know a fair bit about Genghis Khan, but next to nothing about dentistry. Now I have a chance to learn it all in one book. 

Anyone out there with some great choices for odd books? Feel free to leave them in the comments.

 

Favorite Book Covers and Why

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This week I’m back to blogging with the Long and Short reviews challenge. Check out some of the other bloggers by following the link.

There are a lot of book covers that I like for a variety of reasons. I love hardcover books, old books, those fancy, expensive art books too. And because I am an SF fantasy fan, I occasionally buy books featuring the art or costume design of a favored franchise. For this post, I decided to pick a genre: historical romance.

I love history. I think what I love about historical romance covers, admittedly, is the clothes. There is just something about long flowing dresses that look so beautiful on a cover. So I picked a few.

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 I’ve been reading Beverly Jenkins novels for a long time. Her contemporaries are good; but my love is for her historical romances. She writes deep complex characters and had so much information about African American history. Love them. 

 

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Alyssa Cole writes multicultural romance across the board. Contemporary, historical, paranormal, IR/MC romances, LGBT romances. 

 

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PJ Dean writes SF romance, but also historical romance.  I particularly loved this one and she has so much original research about African American history in the early Americas and Native American history.

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Piper  Huguley writes inspirational romances. A few historical and some contemporaries.

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Vanessa Riley. This hadn’t been on my radar but it’s a regency. Regency romance has never been my thing, but I’m willing to expand my horizons.

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Roslyn Hardy Holcomb  and Lisa G. Riley have a series which is historical paranormal, The Eshu Chronicles. 

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And here’s another Beverly Jenkins just because her covers are always lovely.