Film Review for 98 Years

Russia gets to be on my mind in July, for fairly obvious reasons I guess. First of all, tonight is the 98th anniversary of the Romanov murder, and my fictional character Jon (lost descendant of the Romanovs) has his birthday tomorrow.

I’m still a little slumped in the reading department, which is really demonstrable by the fact that I haven’t touched nonfiction in positively ages. I decided to do something about that, so I’m getting back into Russian history and starting with Richard K. Massie (Nicholas & Alexandra and The Romanovs: The Final Chapter), since he’s the best foundational piece to start with. I’ll get all my context back, and then start branching into the books I haven’t read before.

Massie and I both feel more “authentic” in our obsession with Russia because we came to it sideways. He started researching the Romanovs because his son was diagnosed with hemophilia and he was studying the disease. I got into it from writing science fiction.

Anyway, this post is specifically meant to be a review of the 1971 film Nicholas & Alexandra, based on Massie’s book, so maybe I should get started on it!

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Books Read in 2015

I read 50 books this year. The longest was Vision of the Future by Timothy Zahn (520 pages). I read 44 fiction and 6 nonfiction. Only 11 were books I had read before.

I can’t explain why I stopped caring about reading in the middle of this year. I had nothing to be depressed about; I finally got everything I ever wanted–my apartment, my bookshelves, my books out of boxes. I just felt overwhelmingly tired this year and the act of reading consistently sounded more exhausting than anything else.

I do recognize that the challenge absolutely destroyed my interest in reading. I won’t vow to write reviews anymore, because I realized that committing myself to review everything I read just causes me to stop reading because I hate writing reviews that much. And I’m going to take a break from arbitrary reading for awhile, because my desire to pick up new books has been cramped by the fact that 90% of everything I read for these challenges, I hate. I’m tired of reading books I end up hating. It makes reading a chore, something to get through as quickly as possible so I can do something interesting. No more.

In better news, Martin Cruz Smith has become my second still-living favorite author and I’m completely obsessed with Arkady Renko. So that’s nice.

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Mr Spock’s Clean Adventure

Another week down, another day of Indian Summer II, and another checkpoint in my nesting process reached! A lot of feathering yet to accomplish, but the shape is there.

I haven’t necessarily gone into a lot of detail about every step of furnishing the place, but I thought I’d do this one because it did involve a bit of something I can give you a recipe for. That is, I’ve now embarked on making my own detergent! But what’s that got to do with my building my nest? Well, I’ll tell you.

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Moving Is Like Christmas

Well, since I teased last week that I was no longer homeless, I thought I’d come in this week and talk a bit about the fact that I’m not homeless anymore. My furniture projects are going to be a second post, done when I’m pretty much done with them and can give you the whole process. But in the meantime, I’m just going to talk about homemaking.

Life is in a rare state of upheaval. I don’t feel like blogging about it. No doubt you can tell I’ve been depressed because I simply haven’t been reading and have given up the Sugar Challenge lest I never read again. Or never post in this blog again. I’m just too discouraged. It’s not even my life that’s the problem; things are on the up and up for me (so why I can’t get out of this spiritual apathy, I have no idea), but I’m just utterly fatigued by how life is going for those around me. Discouraging. Almost makes me feel guilty to be on the up-and-up, but I’ve been so borderline despairing for so long I can’t actually be sorry now that I’m finally getting some relief.

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Halfway: A Reevaluation

For a challenge that started off strong, I have completely fallen apart. And while I felt guilty for not continuing after a few weeks, and was in denial about not continuing, and kept telling myself I’d make it up and get back to it eventually, well, by this point, I don’t feel guilty anymore. I feel tired.

The fact of the matter is, the Sugar Challenge has not been sweet. I really tried. But it’s now been like 4 months since I read anything, and there are several things to blame for this.

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Review: Vision of the Future

A bit of an update on what I’ve been up to — having done one of the coolest things ever!

The RebeLibrarian

by Timothy Zahn. The Hand of Thrawn, Book 2.

vision_coverIt’s nineteen years since the Rebellion’s first major victory against the Empire. The New Republic is fledgling no more, but an established government bearing all the responsibility for a galaxy of planets and beings — and suffering all the painful consequences of the same.

The Empire sees the Republic’s growing weakness, as the Caamas Document scandal continues to unfold, and some parties seek to exploit the weakness and bring the New Order back into power. Others, specifically Admiral Pellaeon, see that the time for civil war has passed and the time to negotiate for the coexistence of the two governments has come.

Seeking to put the Empire in power once more, a former Crimson Guard named Tierce works with Moff Disra and a con artist named Flim to convince the galaxy that Thrawn is back and ready to crush once and…

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Panther Across the Sky

Part of the 2015 Sugar Challenge.

Week 15. A play. Tecumseh!. Review.

And actually, I’m kind of excited about this one. As I may have mentioned a time or two on this site, I’m from Ohio and I love Ohio; I’m proud of the state’s history and legacy, and I also have this theory that the sorts of history that you grow up around has an impact on your childhood games and imagination. This was Shawnee territory; the wild west back before we’d crossed the Mississippi. Middle Ohio is home to mysterious earthworks, the Great Hopewell Road, and the eternal possibility of finding arrowheads in your own backyard if you’re tremendously lucky. Indian games were the staple of all my childhood fantasies. So Allan Eckert’s Tecumseh! was destined to have a particular place in my heart even long before I read it.

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Eye of the cat


Another week, another book down! The 2015 Sugar Challenge continues. I made some more rearrangements, for various reasons, and now present

Week 13, A book from an author I love, but that I haven’t read yet.

And this was very exciting, because I chose Roger Zelazny, but thought I would be fairly limited in what I could choose. Most of his stuff is out of print, and the one I’d chosen to read — the sequel to a prequel I accidentally read last year — was going to be hard to find. And then at the end of February, I found an entire stack of Reader’s Club edition Zelazny books I’d never read before!

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My Man Veers

For day 21, I’m supposed to talk about my favorite male character screwed over by canon. Now, I assume that this original challenge in its original form was a lot drippier than I’ve made it, and by that I mean, it had a lot more to do with *shudder* ~fangirling~ and other nonsense, so I’m guessing terms like “canon,” “ship,” “rec,” and others have technical meanings I’m not aware of. So when I did this challenge for the female version, I went with Shakespeare, just because nothing else came to mind.

But now two years later, as I deepen my Star Wars obsession and grow increasingly passionate about and dedicated to realcanon, I can get, I think, a little bit closer to the original intention and tell you that I think Maximilian Veers gets screwed by canon.

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Russian Trio, the Third

Actually finished this book last weekend, not this past weekend, but I’m not going to hang myself up particularly on the minutiae of when exactly I finished a book. Interestingly, this was one of the first books I chose for the challenge, and it fits perfectly in the category because a huge part of why I wanted to read it at all was its being set in Moscow . . .

Week 12, A book set in a different country.

Also, as I mentioned not long ago in discussing Mowgli, I have a fascination with feral children. I came across this book while cataloging a few months ago, and while I wasn’t quite gripped enough (as with Room) to drop everything and read it, it did stay with me enough to be one of the books on this list I’ve really been looking forward to.

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