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About this time in the broiling summer of 2012, I came home one day… - Off the Cliff

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Wed Jun 8th, 2016


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09:28 pm
About this time in the broiling summer of 2012, I came home one day to find the furnace on, because it was still set to the end-of-winter 13C and that day just happened to be it. Mindful of this, I bumped my thermostat down to 8 so it won't turn on in this brief return to April temperatures. We're still not at the levels of 1992's cold spell, that saw highs of 10; I'm quite comfy in spring jacket. But oh it's nice to be back to winter sleeping arrangements, on the summer duvet not under, with the feather duvet and wool blanket over me.

Just finished?
E.C.Bentley, Trent's Own Case. Sort of a sequel to Trent's Last Case, which I've never read because I assumed there was a whole series of Trent cases and I should read them first. There aren't, of course. Trent is an amateur detective of the Wimsey type, though the first Wimsey book appeared ten years after the first Trent. I must thus assume that Wimsey's irritating habit of dropping snippets of 16th century poetry and 17th century prose into the conversation was stolen from Trent. Trent's waving of his learnings, however, is much lower-key than Wimsey's, and certainly lacks his air of competitiveness. Also Trent is a working artist, not a lord, even if he does frequent clubs and evince the usual, casual, English racism of the times; and he definitely is not an ass, which makes him quite different from Wimsey.

Currently?
Cannot seem to relax completely into summer reading without feeling lightweight and futile, so have begun Burckhardt's The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy. I expected it to be a thumpingly detailed work of German research and theory of the kind that weighed down my undergraduate years in Classics. No, not at all. So far it's chatty gossip about the tyrants of Italy, though with a sad lack of details. I keep my phone and wikipedia handy so as to find out exactly what *was* "The moral torture, which for years the Doge Francesco Foscari (d. 1457) suffered before the eyes of all Venice".

Jemisin, The Killing Moon. Also chewier than I have brain for. I read chunks of it at a time and then go do something else. Politics, corruption and conspiracies do not rivet me (full disclosure: I am not an American); actually, they're as depressing as works about serial killers. But I certainly find the book more accessible than The Inheritance Trilogy, so eventually I'll finish it.

That 'something else' is usually Two Hundred and Twenty-One Baker Streets, a series of A/U Holmes stories. Anthologies of solicited works never seem as interesting as collections of Year's Best, but so far this is fun enough. Possibly I can bear froth better for having Burckhardt to fall back on.

Gave up on the Marston Elizabethan mystery. Way too frothy for me, and the characters thin stereotypes.

And next?

Is there a next? If I finish Burckhardt, I might start on another door-stopper, Montaigne's Essays. Otherwise, I'm 19 of 19 for Masks and Shadows at the library. I *will* pick up books, still, from bookstores as well as the side of the road, and feel compelled to read them; and there's still my two Japanese works that I've barely looked at.

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