Angelic Paranoia

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What I am reading Wednesday

I've had a cold, so I got a lot of books read.

What I Just Finished Reading
Rosamund Heads the Chalet School by Lisa Townsend. This is a Chalet School book written by someone else. It follows the same term as Redheads, but is about the head girl, who barely appears in Redheads. I enjoyed it - it was a pretty standard Chalet School story. Although I couldn't remember Redheads and at one point something happens, but Rosamund doesn't know what and it's never explained. So I then went on to read Redheads, which I'd recently acquired from GGBP, since it's one of the few I don't own at all.

Redheads at the Chalet School by Elinor M Brent-Dyer. I enjoyed this, especially seeing the other side of events that happened in Rosamund. The only trouble is that Lisa Townsend pointed out the inconsistencies and then I could really see them. Without having them pointed out I would never have noticed. In retrospect, I should have read this one first.

Spectacles by Sue Perkins. I love an autobiography and this one was interesting with her being on Taskmaster at the moment. It was just interesting to see her life and how she got into comedy.

The Female of the Species by Lionel Shriver. I was reminded of the existence of Lionel Shriver recently when I went to a second hand book shop and some of her books were there. I have a weird relationship with her books because I don't know if I like them or not. I owned a copy of Double Fault for a while, and then struggled to get rid of it because I wanted to re-read it but couldn't. But I thought I'd try some more because they are interesting. This one was her first book and it was a bit of a struggle. I found the characters a bit odd and weirdly named. There were very long flashbacks, which didn't feel relevant at the time (but were later). I don't know if I liked it or not.

Should We Stay or Should We Go by Lionel Shriver. This is about a married couple deciding to commit suicide together when they're 80 (which happens to be March 2020). And then each chapter is a different idea of what happens with them going through with it or not. Some of them massively go off into flights of fancy. It was all right, but I have two problems with this book. One is the number of pages that went on about Brexit. Maybe that'll be interesting in 50 years time, but not yet. And also the author is American but set it in Britain. So there are a few weird things in there, like one character getting ALS and a mention of England having been a member of he EU.

The Girl on the 88 Bus by Freya Sampson. I read her first book, The Last Library, when I was on holiday and immediately put this ebook on hold from the library. Then it took ages to get to me. It's about a man looking for a girl he met once on the bus. And it's also about various characters in it following their own path, rather than the ones their parents have set out for them. Partway through this I worried that there was going to be an unlikely romance in it (like her last book, although that only happened right at the end). But then the plot took a turn, the romance took a back seat and then I really enjoyed it.

Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella. I got into Sophie Kinsella when I picked one of her books for a reading challenge, knowing nothing about it. They're easy to read and have interesting characters (with some really interesting jobs). But I can't read too many at one time because quite a few are about romance (even though they don't sound like are they). This one isn't, strictly speaking, since the main character is married. I really enjoyed it - there was a mystery brewing which doesn't get solved until the end and I was into that.

What I'm Currently Reading
The Week (magazine). It was posted on Thursday and arrived today. So now I've finished my book, I will catch up on week-old news.

What I'm Reading Next
I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella. The last of her books I have to read, aside from the Shopaholic series, which I've tried and I'm not into. I don't know anything about it, I didn't even bother to read the blurb. Annoyingly though, the library doesn't have it in ebook form, only in hardback. Which are needlessly big and heavy.

I've Never Seen Star Wars: Art Gallery

I listened to a podcast years ago where Susan Calman got friends of hers to introduce her to new hobbies. One of them involved going to an art gallery and appreciating paintings by looking at them from different angles.

And then an episode of Crowd Science (another podcast) also involved going to an art gallery and similarly the idea was to look at paintings from other angles. Including lying on the floor.

I recently went to an art gallery. I wondered round and if something took my fancy I read the description and looked at the painting for longer.

There was one with a group of people in a boat and the longer I looked at it the more details I noticed. It made it more interesting. I thought I've got the hang of this looking at paintings thing.

And then I looked at a horse. It was a horse. There wasn't a background, it was just a horse. It didn't matter how long I looked at it, it was still just a horse. And then I looked at Van Gogh's sunflowers and it looked like what I already knew it looked like because I've seen pictures. It was unexciting.

There were a lot of Jesus-y paintings. Where I learnt on the second one I saw that John the Baptist was Jesus's cousin. Which explained why he was in the first painting. And I also realised that the only thing I know about John the Baptist is his name. And then I thought how hard it must be to sleep if you have a halo - there's no way of getting your head on a pillow where the halo wouldn't get in the way.

Then I found my way back to non-Jesus-y paintings and there was one of Narcissus being distracted by his reflection. With a couple of women peering around a tree at him. And a random topless woman that is out in the open that no one has noticed. I thought maybe that's the point because Narcissus is being distracted by himself and the two women are marvelling at him. But then it still seemed like the topless woman was in there because the painter just fancied painting a topless woman. I felt like I was doing English Lit at school and ascribing meaning the author didn't put in just because the teacher told us it was there.

I found a painting with more detail, of a dockyard and some workers. In the snow. Although when I looked at the painting for longer I realised that perhaps the painter thinks that all water is white. And then realised that the painter also can't do faces. I mean, I can do faces better than that and I really can't do faces.

And then I got bored with looking at paintings because it's just looking at a load of pictures and I couldn't really see the point. So now I feel like I've tried that and don't have to do it again. So it's a 2/5, if only because in a choice between an art gallery and a sauna it's a very easy choice. And at least it was free.

I've Never Seen Star Wars: 3 things

I went on holiday recently and did four things I've never done before, which plenty of other people have.

Sat in a car with tinted windows
I didn't plan to do this, but my taxi to the station turned out to have tinted windows. Which I didn't properly notice until I got in. I'd always wondered what it looked like from the inside. Now I know that it looks like I had my sunglasses on. Way less exciting than it looks when a car goes by and you can't tell who (if anyone) is in the back.

I'd give it a 2 out of 5.

Sat in a sauna
The hotel I stayed in had a small pool with a jacuzzi and sauna. I've already tried a jacuzzi (didn't like the bubbles), but I thought I'd try the sauna.

Before I went in I thought it would be a room where you sit and feel really hot. I found that it was in fact a room where you sit and feel really hot.

Although the 'really' bit depends on how long you sit there. I don't think I managed a whole minute. I couldn't see a reason to make myself as hot as it had been outside in the heatwave the week before. It was just as unpleasant.

It's getting 1 out of 5, and that one is entirely because it was exactly like I expected.

Got room service
I've never had room service before and really fancied it. It was quite nice. I sat in my hotel room in my pyjamas and ate dinner while watching TV. What's not to like? Despite that, now I've done it I don't feel the need to do it again. It costs extra and I am quite capable of sitting in a restaurant with a book.

I giving it a 4 out of 5.

What I am reading Wednesday

What I Just Finished Reading
The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett and The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels by Janice Hallett. These are a similar idea to the first book: there's a mystery and it's all told in an epistolary sort of format. I enjoyed these, although I think the first book was the best.

Cradle by Arthur C Clarke and Gentry Lee. By finished I mean, gave up on. I put it down to read the two books above, picked it back up and got another chapter about a character's sex life. After that I kept thinking "Do I have to read this?" and realised that I don't. So I stopped - I was about a third of the way through.

What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge. I don't know if this felt like many other books or if it was because I distantly remembered the story. It was short and it was fine.

What I'm Currently Reading
What Katy Did At School by Susan Coolidge. At the start of this it mentions Thanksgiving, and then there's a footnote explaining what that is. Which was interesting - in the age of the internet you're hard-pressed not to know what it is. It's also interesting that they start at a boarding school in April, have a four week holiday in September and four days for Christmas. That's a long time to be at school for.

What I'm Reading Next
What Katy Did Next by Susan Coolidge. May as well finish the trilogy.

What I am reading Wednesday

What I Just Finished Reading
Killing Eve: No Tomorrow by Luke Jennings. Interestingly, this book and the TV series completely diverged. I preferred the series, I think, since it was a lot of Eve and Villanelle being like a couple and Eve assuming that Villanelle has emotions that she doesn't have because she's a psychopath.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds: The High Country by John Jackson Miller. This was my pre-holiday present to myself in case the pool at the hotel was closed and I had a whole evening with not much to do. It took me a while to get into it and it was alright, but not that great in general.

Tales from the Chalet School by Helen Barber & Katherine Bruce. This is a book of Chalet School short stories set across the era. They felt very Chalet School like.

The Appeal by Janice Hallett. This is a murder mystery told in messages and emails. Although no one gets murdered until near the end of the book. I was proud of myself for guessing one secret, if not anything else!

What I'm Currently Reading
Cradle by Arthur C Clarke and Gentry Lee. Although I don't know if I'll finish it because I'm nearly halfway through the book and all that's really happened is a history of two of the male character's sex lives which have no relevance to the story, as far as I can tell. Although so far the story is 'some whales are behaving oddly' so nothing has any relevance. Although amusingly this is set in the future of 1993 where video calling is common.

Quantum Leap: Double or Nothing by J Henderson. I say currently reading, I've got as far as putting a bookmark in it. The Quantum Leap podcast have done this book and I don't remember anything about it, hence the need to re-read it.

What I'm Reading Next
The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett and The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels by Janice Hallett. I liked the first book of hers I read and the library has ebooks of the other two, so they are on hold and I just want to read them now.

What I am reading Wednesday

What I Just Finished Reading
I had no internet for the whole weekend (and some of Monday) so I've got a lot of reading done recently.

Killing Eve: Codename Villanelle by Luke Jennings. This was interesting. There were some elements in here that are similar to the series, but some things are totally different. Which is probably a good thing in the end as having seen the series gives me no clues as to what might happen in the book, so reading the book isn't boring.

Undoctored by Adam Kay. I thought this would be some light relief, which it sort of was. It's about the time after he left medicine with flashbacks to his time at medical school. It's clear he had bad mental health at medical school and it just got worse after he left medicine. But he tells it in an amusing way, so it doesn't seem quite as awful.

The Songs of Distant Earth by Arthur C Clarke. This started with a foreward talking about how he didn't like the way Star Wars and Star Trek have faster than light travel. Which seemed like a bad start. But then it was an interesting story of colonisation.

Imperial Earth by Arthur C Clarke. This felt a lot like the previous book, except it's all set within the solar system, mainly centring on a character who lives on Titan and visits Earth. Arthur C Clarke does like to explain a lot of concepts and he has a democracy where the president is drawn by lottery from people who don't want to do it, which he also had the previous book. But he alludes to things going wrong in the late 20th century, before humanity wises up and fixes things. Except none of those things are climate change, which does therefore date the book. If he was writing now I can't imagine that he wouldn't include it.

What I'm Currently Reading
I've literally just finished that last book, so nothing!

What I'm Reading Next
Killing Eve: No Tomorrow by Luke Jennings. I am really looking forward to this because presumably it all wraps things up, but I have no idea how, since it's gone on a different track to the TV series.

What I am reading Wednesday

What I Just Finished Reading
The Vanishing Stair and The Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson. It turns out that it takes three books to solve the mystery started in Truly Devious. After I finished the first one I couldn't leave it there. And I had got into it. The last two books in the series are hstand-alone and I just didn't like the main character enough to read books just about her.

And "Truly Devious" is supposed to be "Truly Devious", not "Truly, Devious". The comma is always there and never explained.

What I'm Currently Reading
Killing Eve: No Tomorrow by Luke Jennings. Finally made it to this one! I only just started it, but it's pretty much along the same lines as the first book.

What I'm Reading Next
Killing Eve: Die For Me by Luke Jennings. May as well read the third (and final) book in the trilogy after I finish the second.

Some fic that I wrote

Relatedly, I was listening to a podcast where someone had come up with five types of perfectionists. I am definitely a procrastinator perfectionist: someone who doesn't start things because they're perfect in their head and once they start they're no longer perfect. I know this because there is fic in my head that I absolutely will write. I came across the outline for one the other day and it was almost exactly a year old.

But I wrote some fic that I had deadlines for.

First there was [info]genfreeformexchange, the one ficathon I said last year that I wanted to do this year. I've never done an exchange with freeforms before and there were just so many to choose from. It was relatively easy (but lengthy) to choose the ones I wanted because I just needed to think about what sort of fic I wanted. But when it came to what I was offering to write I thought I'd put some freeforms in, see what people signed up for and then update them accordingly.

And then no one signed up for any of the things I'd requested (except for one person who signed up between me going to bed and the deadline, but none of the freeforms overlapped). But as I was looking through the requests I saw one I really wanted to write. It was just in a fandom I'd never written in before, which was daunting. In the end I enjoyed writing it.

The Redemption Paradox (3479 words) by paranoidangel
Fandom: Leverage
Rating: General Audiences
Relationships: Breanna Casey & Harry Wilson
Characters: Harry Wilson (Leverage), Breanna Casey, Alec Hardison
Additional Tags: Time Travel, Causal loop, Predestination Paradox
Summary: There's a conspiracy Harry is shut out of, and cryptic code Hardison's sent to Breanna, which is weird enough. But then Harry and Breanna find themselves faced with his past self.

At the same time I was writing my [info]unconventionalcourtship. I love this ficathon because it is silly, although I went serious and angsty. It's in a fandom no one will read, which was very freeing, in comparison to writing Leverage.

Although it still took a while. The thing about romance summaries is that they tend to end in a question and of course the answer in the original book is yes. But in fic it could go either way. In my first draft I had it as a yes, but then thought it's too easy a yes. I went back to canon and realised my problem was it was also a too easy yes in there... I am now happier that the answer addresses the problems with their relationship.

A Wedding Reunion (1112 words) by paranoidangel
Fandom: Mr. Selfridge (TV)
Rating: General Audiences
Relationships: Grace Calthorpe/Gordon Selfridge
Characters: Grace Calthorpe, Gordon Selfridge
Additional Tags: Angst, Alternate Universe - Canon Divergence
He was the love she lost…
Now he’s back.

When Grace Calthorpe called off her relationship with Gordon Selfridge she thought she’d lost him forever. Now he’s back and both find themselves at the same wedding. Can the magical setting help heal the past, and allow them both to trust their hearts again…?

And then I also want to mention the fic I got for [info]genfreeformexchange. I'd totally forgotten what I asked for, but had been in the mood for some (angsty) Pike fic. I got some very timely Pike & Spock fic with friendship and angst!
Strange Old Worlds (2411 words) by lomelinde
Fandom: Star Trek: Strange New Worlds (TV)
Rating: General Audiences
Relationships: Christopher Pike & Spock
Characters: Christopher Pike, Spock (Star Trek), Number One | Una Chin-Riley (Star Trek)
Additional Tags: Exploration, Friendship, Mind Meld, Emotional Hurt/Comfort, Angst
Summary: Pike and Spock on an away mission exploring the ruins of an ancient civilization.

What I am reading Wednesday

What I Just Finished Reading
Killing Eve: Codename Villanelle by Luke Jennings. This is the first book in the trilogy that the TV series is based on. I thought I'd try it since it was only £2.99, but then it turns out it's really short. And much less humorous than the TV series. I enjoyed it, and ended up reading it all in a day, but I can see why the TV series needed to add a lot of stuff.

What I'm Currently Reading
Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson. This is a boarding school story set in modern day America, where the main character is obsessed with true crime stuff and wants to solve the murder/disappearance that happened when the school opened. I'm halfway through and still haven't decided whether I like it or not. But the one thing that is getting to me is that the murderer wrote a poem and signed it:
So they are calling them "Truly Devious". Except that comma in the sign off, and it being a new line means to me that they are actually just calling themselves "Devious" and the Truly part is a sign off, like saying Yours sincerely, or Regards.

What I'm Reading Next
Killing Eve: No Tomorrow by Luke Jennings. The second in the Killing Eve trilogy. After I finished the first book and I bought the other two and would have gone straight on to read them, but the one I'm currently reading is a library book.

Gen Freeform Exchange Pinch hit

I am too tired to post anything meaningful, but I saw that I am a post-deadline pinch hit on Gen Freeform Exchange, so I thought it might be useful to promote that. The deadline is Friday (US time) (negotiable) and I am easy to please because I've completely forgotten what I asked for. I didn't even remember the fandoms I'd asked for - the only reason I realised the pinch hit was me was because I knew I didn't match with that many people and I'd have remembered someone asking for all these fandoms I knew.

The fandoms I have asked for are the Doctor Who and Star Trek staples, plus Leverage and gay pirates. More details on the comm