Daily Archives: April 30, 2011

What I Read in April 2011

The King’s Speech by Mark Logue & Peter Conradi
The Rowan by Anne McCaffrey (reread)
All the Weyrs of Pern by Anne McCaffrey (reread)
Dragonsdawn by Anne McCaffrey (reread)
Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones (reread)
The Cater Street Hangman by Anne Perry (reread)

Lots of rereads this month, as I don’t have the money to buy new books and browsing my library catalogue didn’t turn up any of the new ones I wanted to read.

I was looking for series to reread, because they take up a decent amount of time, so I pulled the first Anne Perry Charlotte & Thomas Pitt book off the shelf. Oh, these haven’t aged well. They’re very flat, and I’ve stalled halfway through the second one.

Dragonsdawn was what I was looking for character and story-wise, but then I decided to read the Pern-rediscovers-that-2,500-original-settlement-and-tech book All the Weyrs of Pern, and that felt kind of flat and forced, too. In a while I may go back to the original Pern trilogy, but AtWoP kind of turned me off the series for a while. I pulled the space opera The Rowan off the shelf and that was better.

My reread of Charmed Life, one of my favourite Chrestomanci books, was done in response to Diana Wynne Jones’ death. I read it all in one evening, and I was about to go on to The Magicians of Caprona the same night but I lost steam.

The King’s Speech is a biography of Lionel Logue, the speech therapist who worked with King George VI, and I enjoyed it a lot. It’s written by Logue’s grandson (and a journalist, who I assume provided structure and support and editorial stuff) who did a lot of work with family records, letters, and diaries, and provided information and material to the filmmakers who created the 2010 movie. I have not yet seen the film (shocking if you know me; it was a bad six months for a lot of stuff I wanted to do) but the sense I got from what I know of history and the apparent timeline of the film was that things didn’t quite line up chronologically. The biography confirmed that my history was, in fact, not as shoddy as the film made me wonder if it was, and clarified a lot for me.

The State Of The Estate

This morning HRH went out to pick up the free tree we’d reserved through the city a week and a half ago. He says it was wonderful; there were tonnes of people out for the Journée verte, and everyone was happy. The sun is shining, it’s a gorgeous, warm day, and it may actually be safe to say that it’s finally spring. I wish we’d had the money to pick up one of the discounted rain barrels on sale, but it wasn’t in the budget.

We chose a Red Splendor crabapple. The material included on the reservation website told us it was a 5m wide by 5m high max growth. The handout HRH got along with the tree said 7m each way. It would have been nice if the info was consistent so we could have planned a bit better, but eh. Apple trees like pruning, and we’re going to keep this one tidy. Yes, crabapples are messy in the fall, but you know what? Their glory in spring and their summer foliage are more than worth it.

So the boy has finally gotten his tree. We wanted to plant one when he was born, but we were renting at that point, and while our landlord was totally cool with whatever landscaping improvements we made to the value of the property, we didn’t want to plant a tree and then leave it any time soon. (Also, there was really nowhere we could have put it; most trees would have taken up the entire backyard at maturity.) We consulted with the boy and he confirmed that the crabapple was what he wanted.

It’s about two years old, and the trees were being stored in straw in a cool place to keep them dormant. But there are lots of bumps where leaf buds should start growing any day now that it’s out in the warm sun and we’ve given it plenty of water. It’s a great weekend to plant a tree.

Speaking of trees, our lilacs have wild numbers of leaves budding on them. I can’t wait till they flower.

We’ve got other tiny plants making themselves known round and about. There will be tulips sometime this week in the front and side backyard beds, and a few days ago some lovely little hyacinths appeared in the backyard. We have mid-purple ones in a couple of places, but the stand of whites are the prettiest.

HRH plans to turn most of the rest of the front yard into garden, as there’s a couple of strips of grass that are more annoying than anything else. The baby’s tree will go in front of my office window. We’d planned to double the size of the garden on the north side of the backyard and make it the vegetable garden, but that won’t happen this year because our focus has to be on the attic renovation. Instead, we’ll use the smaller garden on the south side and plant our usual lots of tomatoes and peas, some cucumbers, carrots, and herbs in it. It already has everbearing strawberries, mmm.