Saturday, April 30, 2011

Life, and things

So it's back to work on Monday. It's been kind of strange being off like this.

I was meant to take leave, starting week after next, but instead I took this week and last week as annual leave, because I have a lot that I still need to use up.

It hasn't felt like a 'holiday' as such, because mostly it's been about recovery. Not that I feel as though I've had a lot to recover from as such _ the wonders of laprascopic surgery, I guess _ but I have been getting randomly tired in the middle of the day sometimes, which is frustrating.

The rest of me feels fine, and I have many, many painkillers left over. I tend to bounce back pretty fast, so the tiredness thing (apparently a lingering after-effect of anasthetic) is kind of frustrating. But if that's the worst I have to deal with? I'll take it.

I still can't pick Patrick up _ I'm not supposed to do any heavy lifting for two weeks post-surgery and he's nearly four, so not exactly a lightweight. He's rolled with the whole thing pretty well, though, and we've both been home because kindy has been closed for the school holidays.

So we're both back into it on Monday - lol.

Reading-wise ... after my book-fest in the hospital, I've finished two books since I've been home _ Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay, which I've reviewed here, and City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare _ which is a work review book, so I need to do that review before I do this review. (That sounds strange. If they're review books from work I write two reviews _ a slightly more ... formal? one for work, and my usual fangirly/flaily/incoherent one for here).

I'm trying to get back into what I would call a 'normal' routine. Part of that is going back to work, and trying to beat down my lazy gene - lol. We'll see how that goes ...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tigana review

NB: This re-read was inspired by Memory's readalong at Er ... I didn't really partcipate in the readalong. But I DID read the book :-)

Erm, possibly spoilers?

I apologise in advance. I don’t expect this review to be coherent, or insightful.

Tigana is one of my favourite books, ever, and I don’t even try to be objective when it comes to my favourites. J


Tigana is that rare thing – a stand-alone fantasy novel.

It’s set in a medieval-style world, ruled by two Tyrants – invaders and occupiers of the provinces of the area known as the Palm.

There’s an uneasy sort of balance, with the Tyrants – Alberico and Brandin – having control of four each of the provinces, with one maintaining a kind of unsteady independence.

Sigh. There’s so much in Tigana that it’s going to be hard to know what to leave out.



The province known as Lower Corte is the meanest and poorest of all the provinces – because its being punished for a  great loss.

And that’s what Tigana is really about, for me. It’s about the extremes of loss. (Aside: You know how The Lord of the Rings references the past all the time? I'm not making a comparison, but for me, Tigana had a very similar sort of feel. It's nostalgia, but it's lanced through with incredible pain. Aside over.)

During his first invasion of the Palm, the Tyrant Brandin lost his son, Stevan. In his grief and rage, he punished the province of Tigana as harshly as he could – by removing the very memory of it from the land itself.

The only people who remember Tigana at all – or can even hear its name – are those who were born there.

Alessan – last remaining prince of Tigana – has been working for nearly 20 years, seeking those people out, waiting for the right time to strike back at Brandin and reclaim his rightful place in the world.

Tigana is one of those deep-thinking books, that you occasionally have to put down – even though you don’t want to – because you have to digest what’s going on. There are layers, and layers, and layers.

There’s the profound loss of Tigana, and the rootlessness of the people left behind. There’s the loss of Brandin – who is a Tyrant, and a cold evil bastard yes, but his grief for his son is deep and real.

There’s the many and varied losses of the people Alessan gathers to help him regain their home – even of the youngest members of the quest, Devin and Catriana, who are too young to remember Tigana, but can hear the name, because they were both born there.

The loss that breaks my heart the most is that of Dianora – a member of Brandin’s saishan (harem) who does remember Tigana, and who vows to make Brandin pay for her loss. However, Dianora reckons without her own treacherous heart.

Sigh. I’ve made it sound like one long sob-fest, and it’s really not. It’s amazing and as near to perfect as it can be without making you go blind from staring at the sun for too long.

9/10 So good, you'd take it to meet your Mum

Sunday, April 24, 2011

It's Monday! What are you reading?

Your meme is hosted here:

Back to normal(ish)!

I finished Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay today. It's a re-read but it's one of my favourite books, and it was great to re-visit :-)

Also on the pile this week, are Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith, and, finally, Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. I've started both of them, so it's just a matter of which one gets picked up first - probably Strangers on a Train, because it's shorter - lol.

Happy reading!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Just add ...

... well then.

I suppose I should start with my recent health whatsits and go from there.

Uhm. Last week-ish I went home early from work with a bad backache that I put down to lugging a box of paper upstairs for the printer.

Not so, and next day I was battling a gallstone attack. All I had in the way of pain relief was ibuprofen, which would work short-term, but then the pain would come back. Normally, for attacks, I had codiene, but of course, I'd run out.

So Wednesday was no fun, and then it was Thursday. Now, for me, gallstone pain was always a heavy kind of ache that felt like someone had placed a hefty weight just under my ribs, that they moved around for shits and giggles.

The pain I felt on Thursday morning, in my left side, was sharp. So, for me, not gallstone pain. Jeremy took me to A&E (ER) and that's where the fun really began.

After being poked for a bit by a lovely doctor, I had painkillers and blood tests, and a long-ish wait. I sent Jeremy and Patrick home - no point all of us sitting there looking at each other while I waited for the test results. (I'm skimming a bit because this is a ridiculously long story already - lol).

So I dozed and nurses brought me water, and the doctor poked more holes in my arms (she was lovely but insisted on doing her own bloodwork. Honestly, for that, give me a nurse any day) while I waited for the results.

Which were ... somewhat unexpected. I had pancreatitis. The doc had mentioned it as a possibility but it pretty much slipped out of my head until she very cheerfully told me that yes, I did have pancreatitis.


What happened was that one of my teenie eenie gallstones (I have them in a specimen jar. They were WEE) had travelled down my bile duct towards the pancreas, thereby giving me pancreatitis.

What this meant was I had to be admitted. There's something in the blood (I think - please excuse my shaky anatomy - lol) called amylase. My amylase numbers were high, and they had to come down before the docs could do what they needed to get rid of the pancreatitis: take out my gallbladder.

The plan was for me to have the operation on the Monday. So there I was, stuck in the hospital from Thursday, so what's a girl to do?

Read a lot - lol. I read five books over the course of the time I was there:

Harry Potter 2 & 3
The Two Towers (yes, I finally finished it - lol)
Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief
Full Dark No Stars

I'm ... not going to write reviews for those. I have six or seven books I should review but it's really not going to happen. I'm a bit too far behind. So whatever book I finish next, I'm just going to pick up from there.

Anyway. Fast-forward to Monday. I was pretty grumpy by then, having been nil-by-mouth for several hours already. I was sort of slotted to have my surgery in the morning, but because of the list I was on, it was a case of when there was a space available. And the girl in the bed next to me had a burst appendix.


Monday afternoon, it happened. And honestly, it felt like I blinked. The anaethetist gave me something to relax, then knocked me out and the next thing I knew I was waking up in recovery. Little dizzy, and spaced on morphine, but that was about as bad as it got. (Unlike the poor girl next to me who struggled with pain and vomiting before and after her surgery. I felt bad for her.)

Next day, the doc and his minions/lackeys came around, and I was declared fit to travel. Yes! Home!!!

And that's where I've been since - lol. I got a prescription for painkillers, but the pain seems to have largely disappeared (yay). So I've been trying to take it as easy as I can, which sometimes isn't that easy with a nearly four-year-old running around, but Jeremy's been helping as much as he can.

So. That's, uh, the saga I guess?

This is also a way of me starting to ... integrate? the blog a bit more. I want to post more than just book reviews and book-related things. But we'll see how that goes - lol.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Readathon - final meme

It's over for another year!

Final meme:
1. Which hour was most daunting for you?
From about 5pm-ish my time. I had a moment. For about three hours.

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
Um. H'm. I only read one book - lol. But twas a good one - The Sea-wreck Stranger by Anna Mackenzie. Short, too. I started on Chamber of Secrets, so I'll say Harry Potter because they're easy to read.

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
The only thing is what I said earlier: to maybe put up the cheerleader sign-up post a bit earlier, in order for pimpage to happen. Otherwise, awesome as always :-)

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
All of the things :D

5. How many books did you read?

6. What were the names of the books you read?
The Sea-wreck Stranger by Anna Mackenzie

7. Which book did you enjoy most?

The Sea-wreck Stranger by Anna Mackenzie

8. Which did you enjoy least?

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
Enjoy! It's meant to be fun for the Cheerleaders too. :-)  

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? 
Very likely but I think just as a cheerleader. It got a bit chaotic trying to do all the things :-)

Bring on October!!! *\o/*

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Readathon mini-challenge

This hour's mini challenge is from here:

I chose I Will Survive, for Lord Voldemort. Originally performed, of course, by Gloria Gaynor

For your entertainment, the Priscilla, Queen of the Desert version:

Readathon mid-event meme:

1. What are you reading right now?
I'm about to start Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

2. How many books have you read so far?
One - The Sea-wreck Stranger by Anna McKenzie

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?
The Anansi Boys, if I make it that far

4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day?
I thought about it, but in the end, no

5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?
Nearly four-year-old son, so yes. I just try to let the hurricane wash over me - lol

6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?
Nothing so far, but there's 12 hours to go ...

7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
The only thing I would suggest is to maybe put the cheerleader sign-up post up a bit earlier. Readathon is always short of cheerleaders, and if the sign-up post is a little earlier - say, a couple of weeks out - then there's more time for pimpage! Otherwise, no. Loving it as always :D

8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year?
Nothing so far

9. Are you getting tired yet?
Not yet ...

10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered?
Have fun!! And this little guy: *\o/* makes a great addition to a cheerleading comment :-)

Readathon mini-challenge

Oops I was supposed to re-create the cover for this mini-challenge! Instead, I went with creative re-interpreting.

The Sea-wrecked Stranger, by Anna McKenzie. (The stranger is played by Spotty Wot. He's a method actor.)

Readathon - a little bit about me ...

Hour 1, officially. And ... I fell asleep on the couch - lol. Anyways, six things about me ...

1)Where are you reading from today? 
Invercargill, New Zealand

2)Three random facts about me…
Is there anything left you all don't already know about me ... I can't think of anything right now

3)How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours?

4)Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)?
Nope. Finishing a book would be nice, considering I already fell asleep ...

5)If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, any advice for people doing this for the first time?
Relax, and have fun!

Readathon vlog

And we're off! I"m starting a little early because of my timezone, so here is a vlog for you all:

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Once Upon a Time list/vlog

NB: I got the South Pacific Book Chat hashtag wrong. It's #spbkchat :-)

Er. Enjoy? (it's a little rambly and there are bonus accidental cat cameos)