Hello… It’s Me

Hey all! I’m home again. I took a relaxing trip, got my Vitamin D, and a bit of a tan.

I didn’t have internet the whole time. While I was gone a lot happened, apparently. Not much of it good. I’d love to hear any good news if you have it.

I’d love to say that I read a ton of books, but the truth is that I only read one and a half. I can never seem to read when I’m away. I need to get back into my routine. It might take me a few days. I’ll get the blog back in business soon.

Until then, take care all!

Taking a (Short) Blogging Break

I've got to take a little blogging break and unplug for a couple of weeks. Not forever. I'll be back. Hopefully in that time I will have read lots of books and have lots of thoughts.

Have a great couple of weeks!

Netflix and…Books?

I’ve been binge watching shows on Netflix since the summer. What is TV even? You can find some book related entertainment there. Here’s a few that you should check out if you haven’t yet. (All available on Canadian Netflix.)

The Musketeers.

Set on the streets of 17th century Paris, series gives a contemporary take on the classic story about a group of highly trained soldiers and bodyguards assigned to protect King and country. (IMDb)
This BBC dramatic series is everything a Dumas fan could want. Handsome dudes in leather have duels, drink wine, save damsels, and protect the King. The Cardinal and Milady plot and scheme behind closed doors. Every episode focuses on one or the other of the Musketeers and D’Artagnan. I’m partial to Porthos and Aramis myself.

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.

miss fisher
Our female sleuth sashays through the back lanes and jazz clubs of late 1920s Melbourne, fighting injustice with her pearl-handled pistol and her dagger-sharp wit. (IMDb)
I refer to this show as Lady Detective to my husband. Miss Fisher is a wealthy widow with a taste for danger- and dangerous men. Detective Jack Robinson is grumpily impressed by her sleuthing skills, even though she puts herself and his investigations at risk. I love that Miss Fisher is a little bit older. She’s always down for sexytimes with (usually) younger men, while in the middle of a case. Based on the novels of Kerry Greenwood.


Following the life of a very outspoken and rebellious woman, Rita is a school teacher who is competent in the classroom, but seems to need a teacher of her own, when it comes to her personal life. (IMDb)
I admit that this show took awhile to grow on me. I was often frustrated with Rita, as she makes terrible decisions and is kind of a jerk. (I also don’t like how most of the moms on the show are portrayed as bonkers.) I sometimes felt that Rita (the character) was anti-woman. Later in the series, I saw a glimmer of hope. It’s an interesting show though- and I just love Hjørdis.

Rita is Danish with subtitles. I couldn’t do anything else while watching. It’s not exactly book related, but teachers teach from books so…

That’s what I’ve been watching. Have you watched any of these? What did you think?

Random Thoughts on The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

life changing magic of tidying up

First things first: Why do I want to be more organized? (Marie Kondo asks.)  After my mother-in-law died, we had to empty out her house. What a job that was. And sad. Sad for lots of reasons but also sad to think that a person’s life is reduced to piles of items no one wants. I vowed that would not be me.

Who is Marie Kondo? She is a Japanese organizing consultant. She’s very popular in Japan. She’s brought her minimalist approach to the English speaking world with her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

Marie Kondo and I have differing ideas on what is “tidying up.” For me, tidying up is picking up dirty clothes off the floor, putting away the dishes, or tossing the mail in the recycling. For Marie Kondo, it’s going through your whole house and throwing out everything that doesn’t “bring you joy.”

Lots of things do not bring me joy, but are necessities for living.

I WILL read all those books, Marie!

Listening to this on audio will immediately make you want to clean out a closet. Which she says not to do!

Okay, the clothes folding system is good. Not sure if I can keep in up, but it looks pretty.

We do have off season clothes in Canada. No one is wearing shorts in February (unless you’re going south).

My socks are not tired and sad, but yes I believe balling them up will destroy the elastic.

My closet is gorgeous now!

I cannot anthropomorphize my stuff. It is not my personality. In fact, some of the “magic” parts of Kondo’s book are not my jam.

I am not emptying my purse every night. Nobody got time for that.

Miscellaneous is a pretty broad category.

This process is going to take me months.

My husband is not as into KonMari (what she calls her process) as I am.

Marie Kondo looks like a sweet lady, but her fans scare me. They are intense! Do not criticize the Kondo on Goodreads. Do so at your peril!

The narrator Emily Woo Zeller has a soothing voice, but I kept drifting off. I think I missed some tips.

Like religion, I'm going to pick and choose what to follow when it comes to KonMari. Some of it seems like a good idea, and some of it is not for me.

Have you read The Magic of Tidying Up? What did you think? Did it change your life? 

So Long RIP X

This was a successful Readers Imbibing Peril Challenge. I didn’t read everything on my list but a couple that were and several I added later.

Here’s the final list for Peril the First:
I read The Monk for Alice’s Readalong: Monkalong. That was a lot of fun. So giffy.

A few of the books on my list have been on other lists before. I feel like I’m never going to get to them. I always end up putting them aside for something new. I’m going to make an effort to read them some other time.

I read a couple of short stories for Peril the Short Story, but two of my books were short story collections. I was in short story overload! This is my short list:
So ends another RIP. I hope we’ll all be back for another next September!

*as always graphic is courtesy of Abigail Larson.

The Monk: The Non-Spoilery Thoughts

the monk
I have to write up some thoughts on The Monk for RIP X. I wrote so many words about it already. I did five wrap up posts for the Monkalong.

The Beginning
The Saga of Raymond/Alphonso
Ambrosio is the Worst
Stupider and Stupider
The Final Monkening

Those posts spoil everything, so if you want to know all the crazy stuff that happens but don’t want to read the book, I got you.

The Monk by Matthew G Lewis is about a monk who does a lot of very bad, bad things. He’s not very good at doing the bad, bad things. There is also a Pregnant Nun and her lover trying to get together. Plus: a ghost nun, the devil, bandits, a magic mirror, a lustful baroness, lots of crazy women and grief stricken men. I read that Matthew G Lewis played with gender by making the men weak and the women strong. Interesting, but it was still a frustrating book at times.

Also heads up: there’s some rape in this story. It’s all couched in purple prose, but it’s there.

And so many poems and songs. So many.

This is one of the books that launched the gothic novel trend. Written in 1796 by 19 year old Lewis in ten weeks, it’s not great writing. All the stuff that makes a great gothic novel is there though. It’s bonkers!

If you do decide to read The Monk, I suggest reading it with a friend or two. You will want to talk about it with someone.

brain crying
This will be you, if you have no one to talk to about it. 
I listened to The Monk via Librivox. The volunteer narrator is James K White and he is sooooo gooooood. It seems like he had a great time reading it. I highly recommend going that route.

*graphic by Abigail Larson

Monkalong 5: The Final Monkening

I am considerably calmer than last week, all things considered. This book though. Let's do this thing one more time. The conclusion of...The Monk.

Ambrosio, Just…No

Okay, I thought for sure Lorenzo would bust through the crypt door and save Antonia’s “virtue” at the last second. Nope.
He gradually made himself Master of her person, and desisted not from his prey, till he had accomplished his crime and the dishonour of Antonia.
And once Ambrosio gets what he wants, he has no use for her. In fact, he blames her for what he did. “What seduced me into crimes, whose bare remembrance makes me shudder? Fatal Witch! was it not thy beauty?” Ambrosio, you piece of shit.

lagertha insult
Me to Ambrosio
Then he tells her she has to stay in the crypt until she dies, because he can’t have her walking around telling people what a bag of dirt he is and he doesn’t have the balls to put her out of her misery.

Matilda runs in yelling how they are all DOOMED! because the peasants are revolting. Practical as ever, she tries to stab Antonia, and get her out of the way. In the kerfuffle, Antonia escapes. Lorenzo’s crew hears her screaming, but Ambrosio catches her and stabs her to shut her up. She dies in Lorenzo’s arms. But first, this wee bit of loveliness:
She told him that had She still been undefiled She might have lamented the loss of life; But that deprived of honour and branded with shame, Death was to her a blessing: She could not have been his Wife, and that hope being denied her, She resigned herself to the Grave without one sigh of regret.
Oh boy.
No words

Happy Endings for the Dude Bros

Don’t mourn too hard for Lorenzo though. Agnes, we finally know for sure it’s Agnes, is nursed back to health by the Hot Nun, Virginia. Agnes tells her tale of woe. The Prioress wanted to punish Agnes the old fashioned way by nearly killing her, but keeping her barely alive and suffering so she can think about what she’s done.

mostly dead
The Prioress
Once Agnes was done talking, I was totally okay with the Prioress getting stomped to death.

Lorenzo replaces Antonia in his heart with Hot Nun. One sexy virgin is as good as another, I guess. Raymond recovers and claims Agnes for a wife. And they all lived happily ever after.

The Devil Goes Down to Madrid

Not so for Ambrosio who is caught immediately by the authorities. Both he and Matilda are tortured by the Inquisition. After a few days, Ambrosio is in his cell when Matilda appears before him. She's free! She made a deal with the devil- and he can too! All he has to do is read this passage in this book backwards and Voila! Freedom!

simpsons devil
At first he resists, but this is Ambrosio so it doesn’t last long. He calls up the devil who is all “WHO HAS CALLED ME?!” Ambrosio requests to be let out of jail. The devil is down with this, all he wants is Ambrosio’s soul.

Ambrosio gets all offended as only Ambrosio can and berates the devil. The devil is all- Dude, you called me! “Call me no more till resolved to accept my offers!”

He stews in jail a bit more, until he hears soldiers coming for him. This time he calls the devil and for sure he agrees to sell his soul for freedom.

The devil takes him to the edge of a cliff and laughs at him. Ambrosio was about to be pardoned! (Wuh?) But wait there’s more- Elvira was his mother and Antonia his sister. (Info we already knew.) Plus, since he didn’t ask for anything besides freedom, the devil is going to push him off this cliff and collect what he’s owed right away. The End!

This book was bonkers!

drake crazy hands
Drake's interpretation of The Monk through dance
I wonder why Lewis let Antonia get raped. I’m more surprised about that than her dying. There were so many near misses. It seems like a weird way to end things with her and Lorenzo. (Although the gypsy called it way back in the first chapter.) Lewis just swaps her out for Virginia. What was the thinking there? It’s like he pulled an Alcott (when she has Laurie marry Amy instead of Jo) and decided “nah, I’m going to keep these two apart. But first let’s make her suffer!”

Oh, and whatever happened to Don Christoval? I hope he found a nice girl to have normal times with.

Fun Fact: The word bosom appears 136 times (compare the word monk: 155). About once every 3 pages. Think of it this way: we read this in 5 parts, assume you read each part in one go, if you took a shot every time the word appeared that would be 27 shots per reading. You could be hospitalized for alcohol poisoning. So don't do that!

This was great! I enjoyed the Monkalong. Thanks to Alice for hosting and all the other readers who discussed this every week. I hope you've got your Demon Monk costumes ready for Halloween!