In which I wrap up… March

(1) Things which I have read and enjoyed.
I had a week’s holiday this month, so I was able to read a bunch. Or rather, I was able to demolish a 1000 page fantasy novel, and some other short things. So, I read The Wise Man’s Fear which is the second of Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicles and which was just as fun and absorbing as the first. Can we have the third now, please? Did I leave it late enough to read these that I won’t have to wait too long?

I also read:

  • The Queue by Basma Abdel Aziz, which is an Egyptian dystopia about queueing for the bureaucratic central office of a central regime to open in order to get a certificate that you need. Think Brazil but with a wholly different cultural world.
  • The Foreign Correspondent in which Alan Furst provides a suitably Alan Furst-y European WW2 spy novel. They’re always an atmospheric treat.
  • Sworn Virgin by Elvira Dones was our book club book, and we all wanted to like it more than we found we did. A fascinating idea – a novel about a very particular cultural rarity – that didn’t land as a novel.
  • The Last Days of New Paris by China Miéville. I am enjoying current novella-focused Miéville a very lot. This was a wild idea tightly done, and I had a total ball with it. And now I’m going to the Tate Modern to see the surrealists again.
  • Following On by Emma John, which I demolished in one evening because I was also a teenager in the 1990s with a baffling and determined affection for the England cricket team. This was just so much fun to read as I made heart eyes at the book while remembering Graham Thorpe, and sniffly noises while remembering Ben Hollioake, and more heart eyes over Dominic Cork. I have zero idea how this works if you weren’t a female teenage cricket fan in England in the 1990s, but if you want to understand us as a species, start here.

(2) Things which I have watched and enjoyed
At the cinema I saw Logan, which I bloody loved for being tough and brutal and really going with the concept. More of this kind of X-Men world, please. And I saw Beauty and the Beast, which was enjoyable fluff for a Sunday afternoon.

At the theatre I Stoppard-ed out, with Travesties and Rosencrantz and Guildernstern are Dead, both of which I loved, but especially Travesties which was new and therefore more hilarious to me. And I saw Twelfth Night at the National, which is very good generally and a revelation for me in how gender-switching Malvolio to Malvolia (the might Tamsin Greig) changed my feelings about how Sir Toby & co. treat the character.

And at the Royal Ballet, I saw the latest triple bill, Human Seasons, After the Rain, and Flight Pattern. I enjoyed Human Seasons fine, but After the Rain is one of my favourites, and I got to see Zenaida Yanowsky dance it, which was just lovely, and Flight Pattern was hypnotic and powerful.

(3) Things which I wrote
I reviewed Kent Annan’s book *Slow Kingdom Coming*, which I really enjoyed last year. I also worked out and listed my top twenty favourite Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes in honour of its twentieth birthday.

(4) A photo from the month gone by
I went to Egypt. I’m steadily editing and uploading my photos to flickr (has anything replaced flickr for good photo sharing and storing yet?)

(5) In the pile for April
I don’t have a firm list. I’m reading Ted Chiang’s collection Stories of your life, and others and a Stefan Zweig collection, trying Oliver Langmead’s Dark Star, which is a noir poem, and slowly plugging away at Peter Oborne’s Wounded Tiger which is a bit sludgey in style. I’m also reading Shauna Niequist’s Present over Perfect and finishing Justin Welby’s Dethroning Mammon, and getting back to Lauren Elkin’s Flaneuse. At the ballet I’m seeing Jewels, and at the cinema I am looking forward to Free Fire and the next Fast and Furious installment… (yes, I am).

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