corprew reed

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

Yesterday, I finished “The Library at Mount Char,” a great but disturbing horror novel. A Lovecraftian entity that is the secret ruler of the world adopts 12 children and set each of them up as his ‘librarians,’ in charge of learning a facet of his knowledge. Now in their 30s, their ‘father’ disappears and they are thrown into a struggle for control of the library.

Carolyn’s portfolio is languages, and she’s a wry, funny, protagonist. As the plot unfolds and grows more strange, her battle to stay alive comes into conflict with her keeping her essential humanity. The plot is full of twists and surprises, many of which aren’t predictable. The plot twists keep coming to the very end.

I liked this book, but it is a very grim horror novel where bad things happen to worse people. It’s a deeply original book — it smoothly blends the supernatural horror of Lovecraft & his ilk with more modern horror and urban fantasy, but it may not be to everyone’s taste. Really strong effort for a debut novel, kindle edition has two editorial errors in it.

Emperor Norton

This weekend is the 136th anniversary of the death of Emperor Norton I of the United States. “Everybody understands Mickey Mouse. Few understand Hermann Hesse. Only a handful understood Albert Einstein. And nobody understood Emperor Norton.”

The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher

First book I read this year was ‘The Aeronaut’s Windlass,’ a new entry in a series by Jim Butcher. It’s a great riff on steampunk tropes, I really enjoyed reading it, and it was generally well-written. I’d recommend it for people who enjoy steampunk (which i’m generally less of a fan of genre-wise) or Jim Butcher’s other books. For folks who like SF generally, it isn’t going to be the book of the year but it’s an enjoyable read that delivers entertainment aplenty.

I think this book somewhat suffers by comparison to Red Seas under Red Skies, the sequel to the Lies of Locke Lamora. Maybe if you’re thinking of reading this book and you haven’t read Lies and Red Seas you should read those first.

This: enjoyable, fun, not great. Probably will get some award nominations and be optioned for a movie.

Nabucco at the Seattle Opera

Went to watch Nabucco last night at the Seattle Opera, and it was fantastic. This is the first time I’d seen this particular opera (and the first time it was staged in Seattle), and it was pretty great.

Nabucco as staged had a great singing cast, the opera onstage with the chorus behind them, and is a fantastic tale of love, betrayal, and divine madness. Great time, even if I couldn’t get “this is Assyrious business” out of my head for the last few minutes of the third part.

Seattle Art Fair and Out of Sight

Went to see the Seattle Art Fair and Out of Sight this weekend. It was great seeing things all the different galleries, but I really loved the Out of Sight. Out of Sight was a show by 100-odd local artists in the unused top floor of King Street Station and it was great.

Árstíðir

Went to see Árstíðir tonight at the Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle. Great Icelandic band, they’re on a west coast tour now, hitting Portland, the Bay Area, and LA over the next few days. Highly recommended, maybe think of them as an acoustic Sigur Ros for comparison.

Estuary

Went to the opening for Estuary, Christian French’s container-based art installation on the Duwamish. It was a great opening, good music and it was fun to run into people. Definitely go check this out— its at the westernmost end of diagonal way where it meets the river.

Chatty Catties

Chatty Catties has been the star of SIFF so far for me. It’s a low budget black comedy about a world where cats can talk back to their owner, and specifically about one cat whose owner is on a slow downward spiral. This was the funniest movie I’ve watched in some time.

DakhaBrakha

I went to see DakhaBrakha, a Ukrainian Folk-Punk band this weekend, and it was really fantastic. I was really impressed by their energy and their music (not to mention their hats.) This was the end of their US tour, but they’re currently touring Europe. Seriously, check this video out.