Thursday, September 29, 2016

O.o.O.C.: "The Red Record" by Ida B. Wells

Out of Orbit Critiques are reviews of books outside my usual genres. The Red Record is a nonfiction account of the many, many instances in which lynching was used instead of the justice system during the late 1800s.

This book is an important piece of history. It is also horrifying to those of us who had your "average" American school education- often, regarding African Americans, only slavery, the Emancipation Proclamation, and Martin Luther King Jr. are covered. The rest is glossed over or omitted completely- the Oregon Trail and the like get more pages. The Red Record is one of those books that could easily be excerpted to prove that everything was not hunky dory after the Emancipation Proclamation.

The Plot (As Seen on Goodreads):
'A shocking and powerful account of lynching written by activist, journalist, and former slave Ida B. Wells
'In the postbellum American South, lynching was a frightfully common occurrence, perpetrated so frequently that most Southern politicians and leaders turned a blind eye to the practice. This vicious form of vigilante “justice” was in truth a thinly veiled racist justification for murderous violence. In 1892 alone, more than two hundred African Americans were lynched, with alleged offenses ranging from “attempted stock poisoning” to “insulting whites.”
'The Red Record tabulates these scenes of brutality in clear, objective statistics, allowing the horrifying facts to speak for themselves. Alongside the tally, author Ida B. Wells describes actual occurrences of lynching, and enumerates the standard rationalizations for these extrajudicial killings, her original intent for the pamphlet to shame and shock the apathetic public—and spark change.'

You can't help but be appalled when you learn some of the reasons (and non-reasons) African Americans were lynched. Among the top reasons I felt were most horrific: insulting whites, race prejudice, no offense (at all, other than being of African descent), proposing marriage to a white woman, giving information, introducing smallpox (because you can apparently keep yourself from being sick), conjuring, and writing a letter a white woman. Some of the accounts of the pre-lynching torture of African Americans absolutely turned my stomach. Worst of all, it was a sort of town-wide event- there are accounts of children being brought to witness the lynchings. Many of these lynchings were carried out prior to inquiries as to who actually committed the crime, and whether the crime had actually been committed in the first place. After several incidents of lynching prior to judgement in which the person had been found entirely innocent, town officials would say something like, "Someone had to pay for the crime."

Miss Wells also offers ideas for resolutions to prevent the lynchings from happening in the first place. She wanted this short book to reach as many eyes as possible for that reason, though I fear it didn't quite have as far-reaching an impact as she'd hoped.

Though this is mostly an account of lynchings in the U.S., it also features some of the disagreements between the leader of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union and Miss Wells and other African American leaders fighting for equal treatment under the law. It reads a bit like the modern day political double talk- Miss Wells rightly accuses the temperance union of distancing itself from African American-sympathetic politics to more Southern-sympathizing politics to schmooze their way to more votes, and the women in the temperance union act like they're innocent of it. It's interesting to note how politics and relations haven't changed all that much over one hundred years.

The Red Record is a grim account of the multiple historic failures of justice in the United States. The author sought to educate the public on the prevalence of these travesties, though the practice continued into the 20th century. This book resonated more with me due to the current struggles of African Americans that spawned the #BlackLivesMatter movement. It is my honest hope that in another 100 years or so, people will read this book and not think of current affairs- and instead think of how odious people of color were treated- in the past.

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars for a difficult but gripping account of injustice.

Age Advisory: Ages 16+ for accounts of gruesome violence and inhumanity.

Page Count: 112 pages

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

"Howl's Moving Castle (Howl's Moving Castle #1)" by Diana Wynne Jones

The first thing to tell you about this book is its mood enhancing qualities. Something about my legs not working as they should keeps me a bit more of a grouch to live around, and I was in a terrible mood when I first picked this up. I read 37% of it in one sitting- and normally, when I'm in a foul mood I read only a few pages at a time. Beyond that, it put a smile on my face- which again, due to current circumstances, is a bit of a magic trick in itself.

If you aren't looking for a charming, if a bit light fantasy, you should probably look at some of my other reviews, because this one is rather breezy. Though some things have stuck with me from reading it, it doesn't quite have the resonance of many other fantasy books I've read. However, it proves itself a perfect respite from some of the darker reads that I tend to gravitate towards.

The Plot (As Seen on Goodreads):
'Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: the Wizard Howl's castle. To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with a fire demon, and meet the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that there's far more to Howl—and herself—than first meets the eye.'

The characters in this book are magnificent- from Sophie, who considers herself a ne'er do well but really isn't, to Howl, the obnoxious, vain peacock with a heart of gold, though it takes time to prove it. Sophie endeared me with her newfound elderly-ness and her cane, but Howl continued to irk me due to his personality. Some of the other characters probably weren't as lavishly endowed with personalities as Sophie, Howl, and Calcifer (the fire demon), but one doesn't really read a book for the background characters... or at least I don't.

Although I had seen the movie (years ago) there were aspects that still surprised me. I'm not sure if they were in the movie or not, but I found it interesting the way that the author created the world. Though this was written prior to Harry Potter, some of the elements did greatly remind me of that sort of magical experience. It also has multiple fairytale-esque qualities that helped the plot along. It's a magical book.

Howl's Moving Castle is a delightful adventure that falls on the lighter end of the fantasy spectrum, but that doesn't mean it should be overlooked by the serious fantasy reader. Though many might label this a romance, I'm inclined to liken it to a character-centric fantasy instead, perhaps due to my aversion to Howl's personality. If you enjoy fantasy that isn't that grim, and can even be read by a younger audience, I recommend Howl's Moving Castle for your next reading venture.

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars for an excellent, mood enhancing light fantasy!

Age Advisory: Ages 14+ for violence and some gruesome imagery.

Page Count: 329 pages

Sunday, September 25, 2016

SFF: The 5 Reasons You Need More Than One Patronus

Sunday Fun Five #63:

#60: The 5 Literary Characters Who Should Run For President
#61: The 5 Authors You Wouldn't Mind Having as Your Teacher
#62: The 5 Comfort Reads You Depend on For Difficult Days
#63: The 5 Reasons You Need More Than One Patronus
For the 9th of October: #64: The 5 Supernatural Creatures/Beings You Prefer Reading About

A Countdown of

The 5 Reasons You Need More Than One Patronus

5. All the internet tests are bogus: none of them give you the same answer.
How are you to know what your magical patronus is when you can't summon one yet?!?

From Fanpop
4. There is no way to choose between a wolf and a dragon.
How do you expect someone to choose such an important aspect of their magical persona when it comes down to a tiebreaker?

3. Some of us have multifaceted personalities.
I'm not mentioning any names but honestly, some of us are unique and unicorn zebra patronuses (with wings and fangs) do not apparently exist... much to my sorrow.

2. He Who Must Not Be Named could possibly become the next president.
If there were ever a cause to have more than one patronus, it would be the ascendence of the Dark Lord. How else are we to protect ourselves?

1. If I need more than one species of pet, I definitely need two (or more) patronuses.
If I had to choose one pet to have for the remainder of my existence... I really couldn't. Although Keisha is a Dorkie (and therefore, unfortunately inept at many things) and George is the #1 All Time Greatest Mischief Maker in our household, I couldn't give them up. So how am I to give preference to one internet test over another? I'll just have multiple patronuses.

What do you think your patronus(es) is/are? 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Sci-fi Summer Reading Challenge Wrap-up

The Sci-fi Summer Reading Challenge was hosted by Rachelle @ Fortified by Books. My goal for this challenge was to read 6 Sci-fi books, but I ended up reading 11... making me a Jedi!

Don't you dare steal my books!

Of these, my favorite ended up being Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (even though I didn't expect it to be that good). My least favorite was The Rule of Luck by Catherine Cerveny, which was a bit too heavy on the romance side of things (and even then, not my kind of romance). I read 11 books and managed to review 6 of them (though, sometime in the future I hope to get around to more of them). Here are my reviews:

Wild Seed (Patternmaster #1) by Octavia E. Butler
Rating: 4 Stars

"Restoree" by Anne McCaffrey
Rating: 3 Stars

"Tuf Voyaging" by George R.R. Martin
Rating: 4 Stars

"Mind of My Mind (Patternmaster #2)" by Octavia E. Butler
Rating: 4 Stars

"A Fall of Moondust" by Arthur C. Clarke
Rating: 3 Stars

"The End of the World Running Club" by Adrian J. Walker
Rating: 3 Stars

I think I ended up reading a lot more than I had anticipated due to my legs being so difficult to walk with. And, I think to a certain extent, the fact that I'm struggling with that may have affected the rating of some of the books. But overall, if it wasn't enjoyable for me and I didn't find anything of great importance in it, I rated it lower, as I always do.

Which books have you enjoyed reading the most this summer?

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Fortnightly Update #19: A Syrinx-le in Time

In the past two weeks, I've again been busy with my own health issues- books and blogging haven't really been my priority. I'm grateful it's nearing the end of the growing season here, because although I love my flowers and plants, with my weird walking it's been difficult to get out and water all my flower containers.

Recent Acquisitions (or the Piling of the-Piles):

the-pile Additions:

None (yet- I have two orders of books coming soon-ish).

the-invisible-pile Additions:

The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth #1) by N.K. Jemisin
I think this was a Kindle Daily Deal- N.K. Jemisin is an author I plan on reading before 2016 is over- despite my procrastination. I have three of her books, now, and I've heard lots of buzz about this one in particular.

Parable of the Sower (Earthseed #1) by Octavia E. Butler
As I am obsessed with all things written by Octavia E. Butler this year, I added this one to my collection- it was also on sale at one point.

The Red Record by Ida B. Wells-Barnett
This was (briefly) a freebie for Kindle. This is a report on the prolific lynchings of African Americans in the late 1800s, a travesty which was unfortunately carried through well into the next century. As I haven't read much on the subject nonfiction wise, I figured this would be a good place to start.

A Tale of Love and Darkness by Amos Oz
I became interested in this memoir after I saw it took place in Jerusalem, and it sounded interesting as well. I don't think I've heard of this one before seeing it as a Kindle Daily Deal, but I'm always looking for memoirs of people whose experiences in life differ from my own. It is a Kindle Daily Deal for today.

Currently Reading:

I was in a really (really) bad mood yesterday when I started this one, but it managed to cheer me up somewhat, and I got 37% through in one sitting. It's charming, and the main character, Sophie, also undergoes trials that result in her using a cane some of the time. I watched the movie version of this, but I didn't recall much about it, so perhaps that's in my favor.

Finished These Books:

Ravished by Amanda Quick
Oddly enough, both of the historical romances I've read recently have heroes with scars who are semi-reclusive. Both Romancing the Duke and Ravished have similar heroines as well. I kind of felt like I read the same book twice. They were both good, but I don't prefer one or the other off of the top of my head.

This one didn't quite match the greatness of Fifth Quarter, but it was still a good read- it had some of the characters from Sing the Four Quarters as well. Overall, I think it just wasn't quite as cohesive as the last two due to the expansive cast of characters, which didn't allow for as much banter as the other two books provided.

As I mentioned, this one is similar to Ravished, with a more fairytale-ish twist to it. I was a bit disappointed with the portrayal of the hero, who doesn't have most of his vision most of the time, and also suffers pains similar to the ones I have from occipital neuralgia. Because he's spent so much time in seclusion in a castle, he knows his way around. However, the author didn't seem to address what happens when he goes outside of the castle when he can't see. I was also anticipating a few stumbles here and there- I've lived in my house for 3 years, and I still stub my toe on things/run into them in the dark. I guess I don't expect my romances to be "realistic", but it would've been nice if those things were addressed.

In the Blogosphere:

I, again, have been neglecting the blogosphere, instead looking up things about spines so I'm somewhat educated on the subject before I visit with my next series of doctors.

In My Life: (A Syrinx-le in Time)

Sunset from my back window
My cervical and thoracic MRI results came back and I was a bit shocked when my doctor announced they'd actually revealed something. My syrinx, which I mentioned last time, and my previous neurologist told me wouldn't be an issue, has grown at least twice its size. I used to have it just in my cervical spinal cord (if I recall right), but now it's almost to the end of my thoracic region. I can't exactly recall the reasoning behind it, but because of my new syrinx growth and neurological issues, a neurologist who was previously beyond the reach of my insurance now deigns to see me. In addition, they want to send me down to Salt Lake City's University of Utah Hospital because my spine's weird (for lack of a better reason). Currently, I have an appointment early next month for the in town neurologist, but we haven't yet heard from U of U (my doctor said it might take a few weeks).

The ice water on my parade part of this is, although the neuro in town isn't a syrinx/weird spine expert, he doesn't think my spastic legs have anything to do with my syrinx. Of course, he could be wrong. But I desperately want to walk without a cane/bounciness/falling again, and it irks me that the one (major) apparent thing wrong with me might not reveal the cause/cure for my walking. In addition to my newly expanded syrinx, I also have a small disk extrusion in my thoracic spine that's indenting my spinal cord. All of the things they've found on the MRI seem to have more to do with the pins and needles feeling I have in my feet and hands than my walking.

Due to all of the above, I may not be posting as frequently as I would like to in the future. I'm not sure if the doctors will say, "This is what you have, this is what to expect, here's some more pills for your troubles," or dismiss my symptoms as unrelated, or recommend something else entirely. Unlike my paranormal/fictional counterparts, I have no accurate predictions of the future, though I'm sure I'll still be reading books.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Early Critique: "Magic Binds (Kate Daniels #9)" by Ilona Andrews

Note: This review has a few spoilers for those of you who are new to or behind on this series. My review of the first book, Magic Bites, is here.

Disclaimer: I was given a free advance e-copy of this book via NetGalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My opinion remains as forthright as ever.

Expected Publication: September 20th

Kate and company have overcome immense obstacles throughout the course of this series, but the one who has always loomed largest is Roland, the god-like magician. Kate has always assumed she would face him singlehandedly, but along the way she has picked up allies and even friends in her quest to rid the world of his presence. In the previous book I noted I was growing somewhat fond of him, but he (yet again) reveals his true colors in this book.

The ingredients to the perfect Kate Daniels book haven't changed: there must be sarcasm, prolific action scenes, mysterious mythological elements, and the secret sauce that is the wonderfully exuberant cast of characters to hasten things along. Despite a seemingly impervious group of friends surrounding her, her relationships do suffer with the growth of her power and influence- friendships I hadn't believed would falter did. I was a bit disappointed in several characters as a result of that, which might be why I didn't enjoy this one as much as some of the others in the series.

The Plot (As Seen on Goodreads):
'Mercenary Kate Daniels knows all too well that magic in post-Shift Atlanta is a dangerous business. But nothing she’s faced could have prepared her for this…
'Kate and the former Beast Lord Curran Lennart are finally making their relationship official. But there are some steep obstacles standing in the way of their walk to the altar…
'Kate’s father, Roland, has kidnapped the demigod Saiman and is slowly bleeding him dry in his never-ending bid for power. A Witch Oracle has predicted that if Kate marries the man she loves, Atlanta will burn and she will lose him forever. And the only person Kate can ask for help is long dead.
'The odds are impossible. The future is grim. But Kate Daniels has never been one to play by the rules…'

In my Magic Shifts review, I mentioned Kate and Curran having to deal with the consequences of their actions all by their lonesome- and that theme expands in this book. With a wedding to plan, and Kate being not keen on wedding planning, you get to see some fascinating displays of procrastination that even veteran procrastinators (such as myself) can admire. Kate has always had tomboyish tendencies that clash with the impending festivities, giving lightness to a book that is on the darker end of the spectrum with some of its plot elements.

Making this book more complex is the choices Kate must make by herself, that may affect the future in a myriad of ways. I don't envy Kate's role in this book, as she must confront her fears, and her past, in order to envision a new future for herself, even if it means sacrificing something she loves. True to her character, she rises to the occasion, but I felt concerned about events that may or may not come to pass in the next book.

In addition to all the drama listed above, we also have a returning character I was a bit ambivalent about, given the role they played previously. I did a recent reread of this series and became even more opposed to the return of this character, because some of what they did previously doesn't make much sense with how they're acting now. However, I think this may lead to some developments in the next book, as there are many plot threads yet to be woven together for Book #10.

Magic Binds is preparing us for one hell of a finale, which might be why I hesitate to give it five stars. It ends on a semi-cliffhanger, making you eager to read the next volume of Kate and Curran's adventures, which you will have to wait (likely another year) to read. Nonetheless, this installment should prove curative to those Kate and Curran fanatics who require a fix- myself included.

Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars for exceptional displays of urban fantasy badassery and snark!

Age Advisory: Ages 18+ for the usual Kate Daniels mix of violence against mythological beings and foul mouthed epithets.

Page Count: 384 pages

Sunday, September 11, 2016

SFF: The 5 Comfort Reads You Depend on For Difficult Days

Sunday Fun Five #62:

#50: The 5 Résumé-Worthy Talents of the Average Book Blogger

A Countdown of

The 5 Comfort Reads You Depend on For Difficult Days

5. Master of Crows by Grace Draven
This is my favorite ever fantasy romance- because it's heavy on the fantasy. It's been 3 years since I first read it, and I know I've reread it at least 3 times- it's comforting to have a romance book I'm actually guaranteed to like.

4. The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
This is an old favorite, so it obviously has to be featured on this list- I loved Aerin's independence as a teen and I still love it today.

3. The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
There's something comforting about returning to the Shire to begin a journey all over again.

2. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
This is the old standby of comfort reads for me- I used to reread the series before every new book was published. For some reason I like to reread these in winter, but I think it's because Harry had a lot of his fun at Hogwarts at that time (no Dursleys).

1. The Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews
I've been rereading this series lately due to my poor health and to compare and contrast each book of the series. I forgot how much I enjoyed reading these- there is a diverse cast of clashing personalities, a mystery to be solved, and plenty of mythological lore in every book.

Which books or series do you find comforting? 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Wealth of Words Wednesday #1

Recently I've come upon a plentiful supply (wealth) of new-to-me words. Some of these words I may have encountered before, but I seem to forget the meaning of them as soon as I move on to new books. To counteract this, I decided to come up with a new post series that will put my fluency to the test... along with yours. The frequency of this feature will depend on how many new words I come across, as well as how long my backlog of them lasts. I will give the word, the sentence in which I first discovered it, and three different possibilities as to definition, only one of which is correct.

The first word is: ameliorate

The sentence in which I found it:

And yet, when I endeavored to ameliorate my condition, the cry has been so fearful against me as to cause me to forget my own identity, and suppose I had plundered the nation, indeed, and committed murder.

From Behind the Scenes by Elizabeth Keckley, as written in a letter to her by Mary Lincoln

a. become more like Amelia Earhart

b. calm something, or tame it

c. make better, or improve

The second word is: aplomb

Because the sentence in which I found it also gives the definition, I'll make up a sentence for it.

The veteran teacher handled his students' questions with great aplomb.

a. confident composure or self-assurance

b. deficiency or limitation

c. emotiveness or passion

The third word is: pecuniary

The sentence in which I found it:

I received numerous orders, and was relieved from all pecuniary embarrassments.

From Behind the Scenes by Elizabeth Keckley

a. relating to the prison system or imprisonment

b. of or relating to money

c. not known about; obscure

Correct Answers (Highlight to View):

1. (ameliorate) c. make better, or improve 2. (aplomb) a. confident composure of self-assurance 3. (pecuniary) b. of or relating to money

Have you encountered any of these words before? Which new words have you come across recently?

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Fortnightly Update #18: The Bookish Adventures of a Wobbly-Legged Reader

Although my mom went up to Montana this weekend to see my grandmother, I chose to stay home due to my leg issues, which make it extremely difficult for me to get anywhere. I used to be able to use a walker and not have my knees failing as much, but now it appears as though that was a short-lived endeavor. I use my cane because the walker is difficult to maneuver, and since my house is traditional in style (i.e. walled in, not open concept), it's easy for me to prop myself up against something if I'm having a spasm-fest with my legs.

Recent Acquisitions (or the Piling of the-Piles):

the-pile Additions:

I ordered some (MORE) books from Better World Books- three I already own as ebooks and have read, two new-to-me books.

Previously Read and Reviewed (Links to Reviews):
Magic Bites (Kate Daniels #1) by Ilona Andrews
Magic Burns (Kate Daniels #2) by Ilona Andrews
Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy #1) by Ilona Andrews
I reread Magic Bites in August, and I recently reread Magic Burns. I'm considering rereading the rest of the Kate Daniels series just because it cheers me up a lot to watch the magical struggles of a snarky heroine.

New Blood by Old Favorites:
The Inimitable Jeeves (Jeeves #2) by P.G. Wodehouse
I've been searching for this one (high and low) as I can't find a free Kindle version of it (I don't think it's public domain yet). Now that I have it, I'm pretty excited to read it, given My Man Jeeves (the first and only P.G. Wodehouse I've read) was a surprise 5-star read for me last year.

The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman
I like collecting Alice Hoffman books- especially as physical copies. Perhaps it's because that's how I've read 90% of the her books, or because I like adding to the Alice Hoffman shelf in my library. I've heard great things about this book, but I'll try not to make my expectations of it too large to meet.

the-invisible-pile Additions:

Bloodchild: And Other Stories by Octavia E. Butler
This is a monthly Kindle deal for September- it's available for $1.99 on Amazon US. I'm not sure if anyone has noticed, but I've been binging on Octavia E. Butler's work as soon as I get my hands on it. Since I am almost finished with Seed to Harvest (the Patternmaster series) I needed another ebook of hers to add to my stash.

The Fire's Stone by Tanya Huff
I've also been hoarding Tanya Huff's books this year, and since I can't seem to find faults with her characterizations, I chose to pick up this ebook of hers (also a Kindle monthly deal- more $$ at $2.99). I don't think I've read any M/M fantasy romance before so this might be interesting.

The Moon in the Palace (Empress of Bright Moon #1) by Weina Dai Randel
I am always on the lookout for historical fiction set in different parts of the world for my Travel the World in Books Challenge, and also for my own education. This was a Kindle Daily Deal, and so it didn't take much coercion for me to snatch it up.

Ravished by Amanda Quick
I think I've read one book by Amanda Quick before and liked it, though at the moment I can't remember precisely which one. I bought this to add to my stockpile of historical/regency romance which make up my "happy books" (I usually need a book with a guaranteed Happily Ever After after reading something dark).

Currently Reading:

My version is a compilation of No Quarter and The Quartered Sea, but I only plan on reading No Quarter. Despite the genuine, vintage, fantasy cover (marbled teal and pink- nice touch), it isn't a great representation of the contents. Vree is back to her assassin-in-charge self.

Finished These Books:

I wrote up a review of this one, but in a nutshell- I liked the book, but not the hero, because he whined throughout it. I also didn't like his philosophical whining at the end. Those considerations may be due to the fact that I can't walk well at all right now, but also... he was whiny.

I was a bit surprised that I liked this one so much- Vree is a heroine I relate to, despite the fact I've never had incestuous thoughts. <That is better explained in my full review.

Clay's Ark (Patternmaster #3) by Octavia E. Butler
This has little to do with the previous books, instead, it's about a family who is kidnapped and taken to a remote farm by people suffering an odd disease. I hope to review this one, but I have a lot of books in my to-review pile.

I felt about the same way about this book as I did the last Kate Daniels book (Magic Shifts)- it didn't quite reach five stars, but it was epic all the same. Hopefully I'll have a more eloquent review written before its release date.

This was a surprise 5 Star read for me- I had thought I might rate it 3 Stars going in, but it surpassed my expectations... and also made me realize I'm obsessed with Gothic Horror.

My least favorite of the past few weeks, only because the ending was lingering and dramatic when I wanted it to be short and sweet. I'll have to write my own historical romance someday...

I was really, really impressed with this book- but I wished Elizabeth was more the focus (since she wrote it) instead of the Lincolns (who I'm fairly ambivalent about [*shivers* politicians]). I was never once bored while reading this book- a feat, as usually I find parts of memoirs on the dry side.

In the Blogosphere:

I have read all the books these past few weeks, but I haven't read all the blogs- next Fortnightly Update I should have some posts to share.

In My (Medical Mystery) Life:

I need this pig in my life
All the test results I've had so far are completely normal, leading my doctor to scratch her head and bring in another doctor to try and find something wrong with me. They're a bit puzzled by my walking, which appears to be a nerve issue and not a muscular one, which might lead them in the right direction. As I mentioned in my Month in Review, I'm having my blood tested for toxins to make sure I'm not inadvertently being poisoned. My mom and I have rolled our eyes at that theory, but I suppose anything is possible. I think my dogs and cat (who accompany me pretty much everywhere) would also be ill if I was being poisoned by my passions, given Keisha the Dorkie is 10 lbs and prone to playing baby whenever she's the least bit ill (a thorn in the paw can lead to her limping the day away- even after the thorn is removed). Nonetheless, I'm glad they're taking me seriously.

 The only outstanding medical issue I can think of at this point is my syrinx, which is a defect in my spinal cord which they found when I was approximately 16 years old and we were fishing for why I had chronic stomach pain (which I still have). At the time, my neurologist assumed it was congenital and wouldn't affect my health, but it could be a cause to what I'm experiencing, which is why I'm having new MRIs done of my spine. Honestly, I hope it isn't anything to do with that and it's something more treatable (or even curable), because I would just like to walk normally again.

Have you read any nonfiction recently?

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