The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimberly of Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s an opportunity to share news, recap the week, showcase books and things we have received, talk about what’s coming up next week, and anything else you’d like! This is my first Sunday Post, and to add my own spin on it I will also be including what I’m reading, playing, watching, and/or listening to, showcasing new additions to my TBR shelf, and discussing any other general geekery that I want to share.
I launched this blog this week! Yay! After writing book reviews and sharing quotes online since I was 15, and fangirling about books online since I was a preteen, you’d think I would have started a book blog ages ago, but the thought never occurred to me until my mother, Dora Taylor, a prolific blogger well-known in the field of education, gave me a nudge to share my book reviews with a broader readership. It’s only been a few days but I’m already having a blast! I would love to find more bookish blogs, so if you have one, please leave a comment and let me know. 🙂
But, as a geek, that news pales in comparison to the release of No Man’s Sky! Oh my god!!!
It’s almost as exciting as the birth of my baby, since I was waiting for this game throughout my entire pregnancy! Just kidding, but I haven’t been more giddy about the release of a game since the release of Elder Scrolls Online two years ago. I’ll share my first impressions below!
Other Bookish Posts
A Little Wear & Tear – On “using” books and what a well-loved book looks like
Book Traveling Thursdays: A Book Every Book-Lover Should Read
First Lines Fridays
Prologue – My first post and a description of what Literary Leisure is about
Around the Blogosphere
“The Merits of Reading Real Books to Your Children” by Perri Klass of The Checkup
Part of what makes paper a brilliant technology may be, in fact, that it offers us so much and no more. A small child cannot tap the duck and elicit a quack; for that, the child needs to turn to a parent. And when you cannot tap the picture of the horse and watch it gallop across the page, you learn that your brain can make the horse move as fast as you want it to, just as later on it will show you the young wizards on their broomsticks, and perhaps even sneak you in among them.
Reading and being read to open unlimited stories; worlds can be described and created for you, right there on the page, or yes, on the screen, if that is where you do your later reading. But as those early paper books offer you those unlimited stories, the pictures will move if you imagine the movement; the duck will quack if you know how to work your parent.
What I’m Reading
Today I will be finishing the third book in the Earthsea Cycle, The Farthest Shore by Ursula K. Le Guin. I’m very happy that it has redeemed the series for me after my disappointment with the second Earthsea book, The Tombs of Atuan. Expect reviews of both books in the next few days!
The other book I read a lot of this week was Shakespeare’s Wife by Germaine Greer. Shakespeare’s Wife is at once a biography of Ann Shakespeare, a myth-busting book dispelling the misogynistic allegations laid against her by writers and historians, and an anthropological look at daily life (particularly the daily lives of women) in Elizabethan England. I consider myself a history buff, and I have always been particularly interested in what our ancestors’ daily lives were like, a large reason for my interest in anthropology, so Greer’s thoroughly-researched book is right up my alley. She cites everything from letters to baptism records to receipts to get as complete an understanding as we can of what Ann’s life may have been like.
As a housewife and mother, it absolutely amazes me how many responsibilities women had back in the Elizabethan Era! They made flour, baked pies, cooked for and fed the family (as many mouths as that may have entailed), made malt, brewed beer, milked the cows, churned butter, made cheeses, carded wool, spun yarn, knitted and sewed clothing, cleaned and maintained the home, kept track of the household’s finances, and took out loans and lent credit, all in addition to nursing and raising children in a time before contraceptives — and as the mother of a 2-month-old, I can attest that taking care of just one child is a full-time job in and of itself. Doing all that work within your own household would be incredible already, but Elizabethan women didn’t stop there: they typically also generated an income, sometimes enough to support their entire household. Mind blown!
Oliver and I really enjoyed the whimsical and beautifully illustrated picture book Dream Animals by Emily Winfield Martin and are currently reading The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams. It is a melancholy story but it has a beautiful message about the imagination. It was a really significant tale to me when I was little, so I’ve been excited to share it with Oliver.
What I’m Playing
My husband Mick and I have been playing Starbound since we got early access to the game a couple years ago by donating to the Kickstarter. I lost interest in it a while back due to the lack of quests and objectives in the pre-release version of the game, but Mick, my step-daughter Violet, and I have all really gotten into it again since its release on 22 July. Starbound has a lot of multiplayer support, and you can easily set up and host your own server in a matter of seconds, so we’ve been playing a lot together in our own little private universe. I’m so satisfied with the new storyline and quests, which are all imbued with Chucklefish Games’ great sense of humor. The music is beautiful, the pixelated art and side-scrolling camera usually aren’t my style in a game but work perfectly in this one, the storyline is really creative and feels genuinely unique, and the amount of freedom the game gives you to create and explore the universe and play the game in whatever way suits your play-style is incredible. If you haven’t seen the amazing release trailer, check it out!
But the real gaming news this week is, of course, No Man’s Sky!
The hype for No Man’s Sky has been palpable this past year, and the game has absolutely met and exceeded my expectations! “No Man’s Sky is a game about exploration and survival in an infinite procedurally generated universe,” says Hello Games, and Mick and I can attest that it “infinite” absolutely does describe it, though the effect is definitely not overwhelming due to the beautiful AI and clever scanning and travel systems Hello Games implemented. The graphics are stunning and the procedurally generated planets, flora, and fauna are fascinating. You are forced to adapt to the different circumstances you encounter on each planet, and for a completionist like myself, who appreciates having abundant freedom in a game, the unlimited possibilities make it drool-worthy.
An aspect I wasn’t even aware of before release was the way in which interaction between the other races would be handled. You truly do feel like an intergalactic explorer when you can’t understand the language of the person with whom you are trying to communicate, learn some new words, and return to that same person to find you can now understand a bit of what they’re saying.
I haven’t completed any objectives (“quests” feels like the wrong word for this game) other than those on your initial landing planet (which will be different from mine, since they are procedurally generated) that get your gear up and running, and have just been having a grand old time traveling through my first galaxy, but the game is no less engaging if all you want to do is explore.
Mick has been playing almost nonstop since its 10 am release on Friday and is just more and more amazed the more he plays, and while I’m only a few hours in, I’m anxious to get back to it!
New Additions to the TBR Shelf
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.
But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose… it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.
The last queen standing gets the crown.
A far more violent premise than I usually go for, and perhaps inspired by the Hunger Games craze which I was never a part of, but it’s an interesting concept nonetheless. I’m curious to see how Blake will handle the concepts of good and evil within such a story.
I’ll have to wait a little while to find out, as it won’t be published until late September, but that’s alright with me, because I have quite a few books I’m hoping to tackle between now and then!
And what an aesthetic cover!
Burning Bright by Melissa McShane
In 1812, Elinor Pembroke wakes to find her bedchamber in flames — and extinguishes them with a thought. At 21, she is old to manifest magical talent, but the evidence is unmistakable: she not only has the ability to start fires, but the far more powerful ability to control and extinguish them. She is an Extraordinary, and the only one in England capable of wielding fire in over one hundred years.
As an Extraordinary, she is respected and feared, but to her father, she represents power and prestige for himself. Mr. Pembroke, having spent his life studying magic, is determined to control Elinor and her talent by forcing her to marry where he chooses, a marriage that will produce even more powerful offspring. Trapped between the choices of a loveless marriage or living penniless and dependent on her parents, Elinor takes a third path: she defies tradition and society to join the Royal Navy.
Assigned to serve under Captain Miles Ramsay aboard the frigate Athena, she turns her fiery talent on England’s enemies, French privateers and vicious pirates preying on English ships in the Caribbean. At first feared by her shipmates, a growing number of victories make her truly part of Athena’s crew and bring her joy in her fire. But as her power grows and changes in unexpected ways, Elinor’s ability to control it is challenged. She may have the power to destroy her enemies utterly — but could it be at the cost of her own life?
I discovered this book via Sionna who blogs at Books In Her Eyes when she shared the first few lines for First Lines Friday. You can also read Sionna’s four-star review of Burning Bright, if you’re interested!
Burning Bright comes out in e-book form tomorrow, so hop on over to Amazon to preorder so you can have it on your Kindle app first thing!