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Long weekend ends - Off the Cliff

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Mon May 21st, 2018


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07:29 pm - Long weekend ends
A day or two ago I was wondering if it was warm enough to open the windows at night. Opened them. Concluded after five minutes that it wasn't and shut them again. Have been sleeping in t-shirt and long-sleeved shirt quite happily, with socks occasionally, in my flannel sheet sandwich. Removed flannel from the side bedroom but figured it was too early to change the bedroom.

But today was warm, regardless of what the thermometer said. The unbreathing mug of incipient summer. This week will be in the high twenties C/ high 70s low 80s F, if you believe the gov't's webpage (cooler selon le Weather Network, who I hope are right.) Must begin the Fan Dance at night, starting with bringing the fans up from the basement.

Read all three of Paul Cornell's Witches books Friday and Saturday, a regular zipalong. Yes, they're more like novellas, 120 pages; but so is Wole Soyinka's play Death and the King's Horseman, and I can barely manage twenty pages of that at a time. Yappari, genre is easier, except that Point of Sighs is genre and that goes even slower than Soyinka.

OTOH I polished off a mystery in an evening, William Marshall's Sulduggery, set in a Hong Kong police dep't, pre-handover, that could surely not exist unless the English were even more incompetent than one thinks. Probably a different genre entirely: police procedural surreal comedy. The surreal bit only half calms thoughts like 'how very noble of the Det-Insp to care so much about the identity of the 20 year old skeleton who was once a living breathing human being, you chaps: but would he have cared so much if the skeleton had been Chinese and not white?

Cornell's witches are a pleasant break from his angsty-wangsty doom and gloom Shadow Police, and amusing enough after reading Pratchett's witches. Can't help suspecting some influence there- or maybe it's a coincidence that Witch A has a grown son called Shawn who's the town's one police officer.

I'm reading Stevie Smith's Over the Frontier now, since the Points book is too heavy to cart around. As always, she writes a bit like Amos Tutuola, and as always, I find her voice just a wee bit annoying. I read to have it read. The trouble with non-genre is that you never know what it will do, even if so much non-genre is doing exactly the same thing cough cough the desperate lives of middle-class married white people cough. This open-endedness ought to be exhilarating, I suppose, but I read slowly and life is short and with non-genre there's no guarantee of satisfaction. It isnt necessarily there to entertain, which is genre's main virtue; and frequently enough it isn't there to instruct either, which is the (unintended but present) side-pleasure of reading non-white writers. So I often end up asking myself why I'm reading a non-genre book, and I have no answer.

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