Sunday Miscellany

  • I usually give myself Saturday to not do work. But this Sunday tackled me with a vengeance as soon as I got up and knocked out some teeth. OK, maybe I’m being too dramatic, but I’ve put in a 10-hour workday today and I’m feeling very, very stabby. I am too old to not have weekends.
  • Aging sucks. My ass and my jawline are never again gonna be as taut as they were when I was 20, when I should’ve taken great pride in them instead of beating myself up for not being emaciated. But with age also comes a dwindling supply of fucks, and that, my friends, is a major perk. Young people have way too many fucks to give, and fucks are very heavy to carry around.
  • I’d been a member of a sci-fi book club for several years, since before the pandemic. Giving it time and all, but I just never managed to fit in. I think there are people there who like me well enough, but those that don’t really send me loud “Fuck off” vibes, or some other flavor of off-putting vibes, but they’re definitely sending me something and whatever it is, it’s not welcoming. The last however many times (a vast majority of times, actually) I came back from book club feeling down. It’s a weird environment with a definite hierarchy. If you like a book others didn’t, you feel stupid. If you didn’t like something others did, better tone down your displeasure. People argue pretty aggressively, but it’s hierarchical with the same people having the floor most of the time. And, to be honest, I read a ton, across genres, and I dislike the suggested books more often than not. Plus I’m an actual practicing scientist, so I don’t get hung up on the science in the books being perfectly accurate. I live with science; it’s hard and tedious and highly constraining. As someone once said, I like my fiction with a lot of fiction. Most others in the group are not scientists and are very particular about the science being correct to the point that all the other things that make books resonate with people seem irrelevant. I’ve been struggling with leaving the club for a long time, thinking about it every month but always  avoiding it because it feels permanent, and then yesterday I just did. I removed myself from the Google group, so I won’t be getting emails anymore, and that will be the end of that. My husband is relieved because I won’t subject him to the monthly “Should I? Will I?” I should and I did. So long and thanks for all the fish.
  • When it comes to writerly pursuits, I get much more engagement and better interactions and just overall a more wholesome vibe at Mastodon, where I literally have an order of magnitude fewer followers than on Twitter. It’s a really nice and comfy there, I highly recommend it, especially if you can get on a server with a bunch of nice friends.

Sup, blogosphere? How is this November treating you thus far? 


  1. I have never understood book clubs– they seem like work and I’d rather get paid to do work and enjoy my reading. (My friends who go to them say it’s an excuse to drink wine and socialize, but I’m not at a point i my life where I want to do that either. And I’d rather just drink wine and socialize without the homework? Probably a supper club would be more my speed. Or postcard writing.) But I also don’t read anything deep enough that a discussion would be that interesting, except things that are interesting enough that I can post on the blog and other people will have read them because everyone loves KJ Charles or the Schoolmance series etc.

  2. @nicolenandmaggie: I wanted to meet more local people, make some IRL friends. Connect with people who share your interests, they say, and I really tried. I guess sometimes people just never warm up to a newcomer, even several years in. Or maybe the newcomer doesn’t warm up to them. In any case, things sadly didn’t work out. I did meet the lawyer who did my and my spouse’s wills at the bookclub, so that’s something.

  3. I have found it much easier to get to know local people and enjoy socializing with them in other parts of the country and in cities. There’s just too high a percentage of people who I do not mesh with (mostly because my baseline seems like liberal hippie around here even though I’m more conservative than most in coastal cities), especially now that we’re no longer the same age as most grad students.

    But on our leaves it was super easy! Random people on the light rail would prove to be really interesting. Friends of friends would be fun to talk with at parties. Sigh.

    All of my friends these days are people I see at conferences or work with. Everyone else has moved and I have not replaced them.

  4. I have a couple of colleagues I like enough I’d want to hang out outside work. But with colleagues it’s a whole family thing (you gotta hang with their spouses) and my spouse is super introverted and wouldn’t care if we never hung out with anyone (he likes to go out with me to shows and concerts, but not with other people). I do have a couple of mom friends that I meet on occasion, but one got really sick so I haven’t seen her in ages since I am not part of her inner circle. (It’s weird when your kids were friends but then stop being friends.) I do talk (talk=DM) often with several writer folks I met through Twitter, so I don’t know if that counts. I miss having close friends, but I guess a patchwork of so-called weak ties (or more like medium-strength ties) will have to do.

  5. I love the idea of a book club, but have never found one that I can tolerate. I inevitably disagree with everyone, at least it seems like everyone. When people trash a book I like, it sours the book for me, and I have a hard enough time finding books I like. More often I’m the one who hates the book, but I don’t want to ruin it for other people. Maybe reading is best as a solitary activity. I have never had any interest in socializing with any of my fellow book club people, at least not after hearing their stupid opinions. Lol.

    I’ve lived in my current city for 20 years and still feel like a complete misfit outsider and have a terrible time making friends outside of work. But when I travel back to my hippie enclave hometown, I have no problem striking up conversations and making connections with people. Maybe it’s because I am more relaxed, or maybe it’s time to retire and move.

  6. I’m just having flashbacks now to the first book club I was in, in college, with a bunch of guys I worked with. It was all dude lit, and omg they piled on me for any criticism of their precious dude writers. John Updike, Saul Bellow, On the Road, Zen and the Art of Motorcyczzzzzzzzz. Never finished that one. Not good times!

  7. Anon, you sound like me! LOL I am often the grouch who doesn’t like the book, and the few books I like, others don’t. There is a lot of yucking other people’s yum going on in book clubs. I’d like to discuss books in a way that doesn’t hurt people’s feelings, where someone dislikes the book but it’s communicated in a way that doesn’t make those who like it feel like shit. Perhaps you are correct and reading is inherently a solitary activity.

  8. I’ve never understood book clubs either—it seemed too much like English classes, which were never my favorite classes. I liked doing the reading (usually), but the pointless discussion of the books seemed like a total waste of time. Better just to read the books alone.

    In my retirement, I’m making a project of rereading the 3000 or so F&SF books I own (plus a sprinkling of newer ones). I’m finding that the fantasy books generally hold up better than the science fiction ones, which tend to age rather rapidly.

    @nicoleandmaggie, my wife and I did not get more sociable when our son went to college—we had fewer interactions with other adults, since we were no longer running into fellow parents at school and theater events. I’m looking for ways to have more social interaction in retirement (but as an introvert, the activation barrier is big).

  9. Post book recommendations please! I deleted twitter as the shit was hitting the asshole and that was my main source of book recs. I really enjoyed First 15 lives of Harry August and the Ancillary series – both based on rec from xyk. I’m interested in what gasstation has found to recommend in the fantasy genre (which is my go to). Agree with N&M that I loved the Scholomance series. I have also really enjoyed everything written by Natasha Pulley – top picks being The Kingdoms and Watchmaker of Filigree Street. Fiction books that stand out as good ones from recent reads are Writers & Lovers, Olympus Texas, and the Vanishing Half.
    [Also, I have never been in a book club, but I love hearing about what other people like and then secretly judging them. (I have judged you all worthy)]

  10. @anon I recall finish Zen & the motorcycle by skipping all the chapters about blah blah to find out what happened (spoiler: nothing happened)

  11. @pyrope, I started at the end of the alphabet, and I’ve only read about 400 books, so I’m still in the S authors. Of the ones I’ve re-read recently, some authors that stand out are Roger Zelazny (I like Creatures of Light and Darkness and Lord of Light, but my wife preferred the Amber series), Jane Yolen (books like Sister Light, Sister Dark), Patricia Wrede, Gene Wolfe (The Book of the New Sun series, not so much some of the others), Paula Volsky, Joan D Vinge (the series starting with Snow Queen, though one can argue that this is science fiction), Sydney J Van Scyoc, J.R.R. Tolkien (though I couldn’t bring myself to re-read the Silmarillion), Sherri S Tepper (I particularly liked her 9-volume True Game series, but she is best know for later works like The Gate to Women’s Country—some of her feminist period are too preachy, like Beauty). Somtow Suchartikul (the Inquestor series).

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