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Last night I was reading Marie Rutkoski’s so-far fabulous The Cabinet of Wonders and I ran across a reference to Archimedes continuing to draw in the dirt as he’s attacked by a Roman soldier (and then a little while later a character started to talk about the concept of zero, which Petra, our heroine, had never heard of before)  But the smartness of the book isn’t my point.  My point is that I’d never heard that story about Archimedes until a few hours earlier – when I was at work listening to that shining star in the firmament of historical fiction, The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume 1: The Pox Party. At least, I’m pretty that’s where I heard it, because it’s the most logical place for anyone to be talking about Archimedes.  But since I was listening to it, that makes it trickier to flip back and double check.

Petra was disturbed by it – she sees it in a frieze above the castle’s library doors, and she wonders whether he’s meant as a warning or a role model.  I might have to grab a copy of Octavian Nothing if it’s in at the library, just to double check, because now I’m curious about Octavian’s comments on the story.  What’s funny is that now this is really the only thing I know about ol’ Archimedes…

For about the millionth time since I packed up my books and put them in storage, I’ve wanted to check or reread something I own.  This is driving me crazy.  I have a lovely copy of Octavian, in a box.  I’ve also wanted my copies of a few of the Vicky Bliss books, Ballet Shoes, some assorted Newbery medalists, my L.M. Montgomery paperbacks, and probably a few other things.  Not like I can’t get them out of the library easily, but there’s a reason I have my own copy of things.  And it’s been less than 2 months.  Of course, if they weren’t in boxes, I’d probably have no interest in rereading them.

As much as I’m enjoying life at home (and really, I’m not being sarcastic), I miss my old neighborhood.  I had breakfast with Bronwen yesterday at the bakery that used to be just around the corner – and I had to drive to get there!  Okay, I realized afterwards that I could have biked, but still – it’s not around the corner anymore.  Then we went for a little stroll and ran into my boss and Kate’s flower girl’s mom and little sister.  It’s just that kind of neighborhood.

I resisted the urge to walk past my tomato plants and see how they were doing.  I feel like in some alternate universe, we are still living in that apartment and I would hate to invade my other self’s turf by poking around the garden.  I would wonder what on earth I was doing.  But I like that other-self put up red curtains – to replace the red couch – and that other-self, naturally, approved of our paint colors.

I can’t seem to keep up with my goodreads reviews – maybe because I finished 11 books in the past 15 days.  That might be part of my problem, now that I come to think about it.  I keep stopping by and writing and quick review or two, and then adding more titles.  I’ve been gobbling things up lately.  Here’s what I’m really reading right now:

  • The Astonishing LIfe of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume 1: The Pox Party on audio – it’s more accessible than I would have thought on audio, and very interesting to see how the story unfolds on a reread.  I’m not too far into it – Octavian knows who he is, but they haven’t even gotten to the pox party yet.  I’m getting giddy just thinking about getting to the letters between Private Evidence and Fruition.  I’m rereading in preparation for Volume 2, The Kingdom on the Waves.  Kitri and I are planning our own “release party” – which basically involves the two of us going to a bookstore together and geeking out.   I can’t wait.
  • The Cabinet of Wonders by Marie Rutkoski.  I can’t remember who recommended this, but so far it’s delightful.  Yet another historical fiction/fantasy, but it’s fresh and imaginative.  It features the most endearing tin spider I’ve ever met in fiction (not that I’ve met many in real life).
  • The Lazarus Project by Aleksandar Hemon – I keep putting it down to read shinier things, but I’m planning to go back to it when the mood strikes.
December 2021

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