Early Friday morning, sometime during the pandemic

It might seem odd to look back to blogging for a way to focus, but I’m going to try. I used to blog a lot, many years ago, but social media and so on really has broken that down for me. I spend too long on other platforms, and I find them less satisfying.

Since this site has almost exclusively been used for broadcasting new episodes of the podcast, which happily continues, I figure most people have stopped reading it, which is fine. That means I can potter here with little consequence for a while.

This week I got my second Pfizer shot, drank too much whisky, went a little nuts, and did some actual novel reading. Although it’s less “my book” than I think it is for some other readers, I read and ultimately enjoyed Shelley Parker-Chan’s recasting of the story of the Hongwu Emperor, Zhu Yuanzhang, She Who Became the Sun. A powerful and engaging historical fantasy set in 14th century Mongol China, it recasts the rise of Zhu as the story of a young woman who chooses to take on the destiny of her dead brother in order to fulfil the destiny she believes awaits her. Parker-Chan balances the story between two fascinating characters – Zhu, a woman acting as man to first survive and then to achieve greatness, and General Ouyang, the last surviving member of his family who has made into a eunuch and a slave by the Mongol emperor.  The interaction between them, what the represent, and  what they mean to each other is the heart of the book. I’ll definitely pick up the sequel.

As for now? I’m reading the second of Lavie Tidhar’s Anti-Matter of Britain novels, The Hood. So far it’s violent and dark and about what I’d expect for a retelling of the story of Robin Hood. Will see how it goes, though.

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