Just finished Black Powder War, third book of the Temeraire series. The series explores what the Napoleonic Wars might have been like if they had included military companies on intelligent, fighting dragons. Temeraire is the major dragon character. The series continues to charm and intrigue.
“'It is very nice how many books there are, indeed. And on so many subjects!"
Sharks are super-healers. Handy versus fencing injuries.
Also, they seem genetically cancer-resistant:
"[Shark gene] sequencing studies suggest these superior cancer-fighting abilities come from clusters of genes that serve to protect the integrity of the genetic code itself, a trait known collectively as genome stability."
"It is a common belief in India that great teachers come at regular intervals. In Chinese, 'Julai' means 'one who has come thus.' ... 'he who has come in the proper manner' is the highest title of the Buddha."
--Chinese Monks in India, English translation of 7th-century Chinese text
“A wizard is never late, nor is he early; he arrives precisely when he means to.”
In AD 629 the monk Xuanzang went from China to India to gather texts from which the Chinese could learn more about Buddhism. He translated and returned with 700 texts in 645.
I like to think of what it must have been like to take the full Silk Road while guarding 700 Buddhist works.
This English translation of a 7th-century Chinese text includes the biographies of 56 Chinese Buddhist monks who visited India on pilgrimage, with the accounts of their travel adventures.
To be started soon.
Black Leopard, Red Wolf (book 1 of a trilogy) releases on Audible on 2/5. That'll be my read when I finish the current one. First shiny-new release to read this year.
Anyone wanna book club this thang with me?
"A fantasy world as well-realized as anything Tolkien made." (Neil Gaiman)
The epic novel, an African Game of Thrones, from the Man Booker Prize-winning author of A Brief History of Seven Killings. Myth, fantasy, and history come together in this trilogy.
I hear much of Krampus and Krampuslauf these days, but what about Grýla, the dread Icelandic Christmas witch?
“She was certainly around in about 1300, not directly associated with Christmas, but associated with a threat that lives in the mountains,” says Gunnell. Long poems were written about her and a husband, but he didn’t last long, as Gunnell explains. “She ate one of her husbands when she got bored with him. In some ways, she’s the first feminist in Iceland.”
But Gospel of Loki really suffers by this comparison.
Miller's Circe was layered, complex, deeply explored, and highly sympathetic. She has a development arc. Miller said in a podcast I heard this morning that for every draft of Circe but the last, she told herself, "Go deeper."
So far, Harris's Loki is superficial, and also simple, like a one-note lute. (Although he hates lutes.) Because the book is a "gospel," his tone is preachy. My early feeling is the character won't develop. We'll see.
It's odd to read what might become my favorite book this year in the first days of January, but I finished Circe. So good, especially with Perdita Weeks's Audible narration, which was like honey in the ears, and a perfect match for the poetic-epic tone of the writing.
Since there's a buddy read on Goodreads right now for Gospel of Loki, I picked that up next to join in. I didn't plan to follow one mythological antagonist retold by another one; it just worked out that way. (more in next toot)
There's always time to toot the best of all Christmas songs...
Lifelong student, maker of fragrant things, reader, editor, writer, gamer, friend of non-hematophagous animals.
Medievalists and Medieval-adjacent. Sort-of.