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When did autumn get here?

I've been terrible with timely posts this fall, I know. Been busy, been travelling, been playing Fable 2. I'm over it.

The summer of one bowl big salads has morphed into the autumn of one pot hearty stews. We've already had one chili and a pasta/tomato/peas/salami thing. I'd give you the recipe, but the chili is a family secret, and the other I don't know what all I put in there. Incidentally, I read that cayenne is good for staving off colds, so I made sure it was a super hot chili. My throat was burning off, and it's a good thing!

Newsflash! I did finally finish Stephenson's Quicksilver! it was both one of the best and one of the worst books I've read recently. If that makes no sense, scroll down for further discussion of what I was going through while I was reading it.

On a better note, Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose is both eminently readable and subtly satirecle, two of my favorite things. Even funnier, I just watched the “Monk” episode of Terry Jones's Medieval Lives, and while watching it I could say “those people are in my book!” it was delicious nerdy fun that even Yomiko Readman would be proud of.

Been reading buckets of Steven Brust lately, just can't get enough. Bought Orca (part of the Vlad Taltos series) and The Phoenix Guards (sorta kinda a prequel series to the Vlad books), and zipped through Orca in about 2 days. Vlad Taltos is becoming one of my favorite fictional characters. Smart, sarcastic, scrawny and a smart-ass, sometimes he beats people up, sometimes he pays people to beat other people up, and sometimes he gets the shit kicked out of him. When I first met Vlad many volumes ago, he was young, brash, and an assassin for hire, mostly working for the corrupt Jhereg, a royal house in the Draegeran Empire. Always the misfit, he's too human to ever truly fit in in the Empire, and too Draegeran to ever fit in back in the east, where the humans live. These days, he's semi retired, semi forcefully. Having done something horribly wrong (if someone knows what book this occurs in, and what happens, please tell me the book!), he is now on the run form the Jhereg, who would love to give him an unrevivafiable death sandwich. Hiding out in the east, and venturing back into the Empire when duty calls and to sneak a visit with his ex-wife and son, Vlad spends his days as part muckraker, part witch for hire, and part punching bag. Having a telepathic familiar and being on a first name basis with the Empress doesn't hurt either.

These books are filled with action, sarcasm, wit, sarcasm, intruigue, action, and a little more sarcasm, and a surprising amount of romanticism. Not romance, with kissy stuff, but romanticism. Think of it what you will.

Some fans have voiced some angst about Brust never giving a real physical description of the Draegerans, other than that they are tall and live a really, really, really long time. Humans call them Elves, in a derogatory fashion. But not having a physical description of them? It's never bothered me. To me, the Draegerans are just tall humans who seem not to age. They seem to accept Vlad and his family pretty readily, allowing humans to live in the vicinity, and even meet with the body politic. So not knowing everything there is to know about the Draegerans? Not a problem, not one bit.

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