Good evening and happy Monday, All! Finally the weekend came and I was able to catch up on some of my reading. I was pretty psyched a couple of Saturdays ago because I started Richard III (by David Baldwin) at 08:00 and finished it that night! I’d read chunky passages of the book before but never cover to cover, and it was well worth the day. I do have a Richard III tab up top—or click here—that I haven’t been keeping up with, so you will see changes to this coming in the days ahead, and I invite readers to submit links for resources you would like to share, found useful, etc. I daresay you will be hearing more from me re: Richard, with a nice surprise coming in July.
There’s another nice little thing coming up next week, and that is the announcement of winners for the contest I am holding as a way to thank people for following my little blog all these years. I deleted one of my social media accounts, which cut my followers roughly in half, and I’ve been so busy lately that I didn’t advertise this quite as much as I wanted to and should have, so any shares you can give will be much appreciated. And what are they? Well, I’m gifting two $10 Amazon cards on Valentine’s Day, so if you’d like to win one of them, click here to find out how! I probably won’t win, you say? Why would you say that? Someone has to win, why not you!? Give it a shot and see what happens!
Speaking of Amazon: One of the books I just started reading, Strong Advice, is one I actually gifted my son for Christmas (we are both interested in this book). I surely paid too much for it, but, as far as I can tell, its author, Nzube Udezue (aka Zuby, rap musician, author, podcaster and computer science graduate [Oxford]), works independent of this behemoth, which increases his own expenses, and I wanted to support his brand, through which he cares about people and their ability to do the best for their bodies and health as they can. I didn’t really interact very much with him when ordering and after, but when I did email (a couple of times), his response was very timely, cheerful and customer-service oriented.
As for the book, I have skimmed it (a bit heavily) so far, and have a date with it later this evening. A word about this small work, though, is that it’s not the sort you read cover to cover and then put on the shelf. Provided you find currency with what it advocates, you have to live it. So, once I read it all, well, I do have to return it to its owner, but I will be referring to it until what it teaches me becomes absorbed enough that I won’t need to so frequently reference it. I will say, though, that Zuby’s chosen writing style is not only accessible, but also real—as in he speaks like a real person and as if you are real, not unlike an informed casual conversation that you walk away determined to follow up on. That adds to the encouraging nature of its advice, and of what I have read thus far, I don’t feel reads like some elevated being passing down to me, but rather as I have said above, a real person who actually is in touch with the sorts of concerns I have.
I’ve also added another title to my “currently reading” list on Goodreads since last time I updated, and that book is A Meditation on King Richard III. (See, I told you you’d be hearing more about Richard.) A few days back I was skimming though Amazon for I forget what, but it brought me to the list of previous purchases. There it was, this light green book that I hadn’t laid eyes on since who knows when, and I figured it was a Kindle version, which meant I wouldn’t have looked at it in a couple of years given the headaches I get from reading electronic books. But no, it said paperback and I drew in a breath, momentarily worried I’d lost what seemed like a wonderful book, for I didn’t recall seeing it…ever, actually. Then I began to wonder if it ended up in that mysterious world of lost objects, the same place my missing Harold Godwinson book disappeared into. I dashed to my Richard shelf (yes, I have a whole section dedicated to him) and couldn’t have found it faster than if I’d known exactly where it was! It was so amazing that I felt as if I am meant to read this book right now, so I kept it out and indeed did begin to read through it.
I’m sure to be writing about it. And while I’m at it, probably Strong Advice as well. I just feel an affinity there. Which all also reminds me about my book review format and frequency of their appearance. First, I’m very pleased to say I’ve been successful in shifting away from Before the Second Sleep being only a book-review blog. I love doing them and shall continue, but I also want to explore other angles of our world. If you take a scroll back you’ll see other directions I’ve checked out, such as places, people, weirdness, mythology, photography, music, health, food and more. For the most part I’ve been keeping up a three-days-per-week schedule (M,W,S), and within this there have been a couple (a few?) reviews, and there shall be more. But I also would like to be more successful in another change I’d wanted to make, which was in how I write my reviews. The long and the short is that they tended toward the lengthy and analytical before, and I loved doing them indeed, don’t get me wrong. But the reality is that I got a bit burned out and needed a new approach. So now I shall head back in the direction I once said I would, and wasn’t altogether successful doing: shorter reviews, more to the point and hitting up key points in what I hope can accurately be called pithy. I’ll also include the book’s blurb to give readers the main details of what they are heading into.
So I have always said that my son, now 17, is an old soul. He used to say he wished he’d been born in the ‘50s so he could be at an aware age when ‘60s music began happening, or the ‘40s so he could have been alive for some of the classic film releases. (He’s a passionate film aficionado.) He has always been interested in older things (I guess specifically from last century), and TV shows became one of them. I don’t know a lot of TV shows (though have heard of many of them), so he has been the one introducing me to some that turned out to be quite good actually! The ones I like more tend to be newer, such as Game of Thrones (more on that to come), Stranger Things and, more recently, Mad Men. Of course, when I say “newer,” I mean in this century. It’s not any bias on my part, it’s just that Netflix plays a role in this, so what they have is what I see (GoT was a Christmas gift). When Turts was small and went on his first sleep away camp, I was pacing the floors, not knowing what to do with myself, and ended up turning on the television, which is pretty rare for me. That’s how I came to find Merlin.
A few days ago:
“Wait, does this have a built-in antenna? How are you getting TV?”
“It’s not TV, Mama, it’s a VHS! Look, it’s built right into the TV!”
Indeed it was—just underneath the screen, as I had failed to notice, there was a rectangular frame into which the box that is the movie goes in. (OK, he keeps the room dark, have a little mercy!) I was astounded to see that the TV and video—VCR player—were one and the same! These have to be from around the time I was in college or thereabouts, but the reality is I just was never huge on TV as an adult, given my dearth of it as a child. When my own child began to grow up without it, it wasn’t because I was being chauvinistic or snobbish; it’s just what I was already used to. (One huge exception was Law and Order, which I discovered in college.)
Since my Merlin era, as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve discovered a few more shows, and do realize I’m late to the party. I have a habit of getting excited about a show I just discovered, only to learn it’s been running for, say, six seasons. It’s not exactly new, but I can’t help think there are others just like me who never watched it, even if the title is familiar. You may or may not have read my Game of Thrones blog, but even if you did, it’s in need of updating, so stay tuned. I also have lots of expressions I’ve heard on certain shows that I aim to bring back into the current lexicon—hey, I was successful at my elementary school when I read The Pigman and started using card to mean funny and scare up to equate with finding something. (That second one may have come from Spy Line, by Len Deighton. I was huge into spy novels as a teenager.)
And of course, there’s my Richard project—well, I have a couple, and soon I shall begin to write a bit more about Richard and his world as well. It would be marvelous if something came to TV Richard-related.
A thing like that!