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What I'm Reading Watching Playing: June

What I'm Reading

Wheel of Time #14 A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson 

DONE! I've officially finished all 14 of the Wheel of Time books! I would like to do an in depth spoiler-ful review of the series soon, but for now I'll stick to my impression of the final book: WORTH IT.

It was a long road with some slogging along the way, but this final segment really lives up to the hype. It ties up pretty much all the loose threads in very satisfying ways, there are enough character deaths that I don't feel like Tarmon Gai'don was too easy, but enough happy endings that I don't feel like the whole slog was for nothing either. Sanderson did a great job of cutting out unnecessary characters and descriptions and keeping to the meat of what was happening. I'm excited that Gunnar is reading it now, and definitely looking forward to Amazon's adaptation coming out in a year or two!

The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff

I needed a quick easy non-fantasy read, so I picked this up from half-price books on someone's recommendation. It was just okay. The book alternates between telling a fictionalized account of Brigham Young's infamous apostate 19th wife and a modern polygamist cult's 19th wife who is accused of murder. I wonder if it would be more interesting to someone familiar with Mormon history, or less interesting because they know it already...but I was more curious about what actually did happen rather than the fictionalized account. Historical fiction is all well and good, but when I'm unfamiliar with the source material, the fiction is less fun. Honestly, the murder mystery was the more interesting, but sadly less substantial, part of the book.

Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser

Almost the opposite of the above book, Priarie Fires is a historical accounting of the fictionalized Memiors of Laura Ingalls Wilder. I'm sure it's obvious if you've read this blog like EVER, but I love the Little House books excessively and have read and reread them throughout my life. I knew that they were only based on Wilder's life and not really memiors, and I had always been curious about the historical context and what was happening in the adult world at the time of her childhood. This book answers all those questions from descriptions of the relationships with the Native Americans before and at the time of Laura's pioneering childhood to the economic ups and downs that shaped her family's poverty over the years, and through her adulthood and the life of her daughter Rose.

I've been fascinated by the book, and I'm thoroughly enjoying reading some non-fiction after 14 fantasy books in a row!

New Spring by Robert Jordan

And...there's also the Wheel of Time prequel. I tried to read it immediately after finishing Memory of Light but it was hard going back to reading Jordan after three exciting, fast-paced Sanderson novels, so I read some nonfiction first and then went back to it, and I enjoyed it immensely. I read this slowly, with some nostalgia about being done with the series tinging my enjoyment, probably. This short novel takes place well before the first Wheel of Time book, and just provides some backstory for a few of the main characters. It didn't really reveal anything that we didn't pretty much already know, but it did tell us how we know those things. I'll write more about this when I do a big Wheel of Time wrap-up post.

What I'm Watching

Vanity Fair

I've never read the book that this show was based on, and after watching it I'm not sure that I want to. The main character is very like Scarlett O'Hare from Gone with the Wind....but mostly in negative ways. She and Scarlett both are spunky, charming, inventive, survivors...and also greedy, manipulative opportunists who like people only so far as they can use them to get ahead. I watched it on Amazon Prime, and it is a miniseries so it only took about a week.

The show was enjoyable, especially with the mix of modern music at the beginning and end, and of course the COSTUMES were great...all those beautiful regency gowns and the horribly outrageous bonnets! The show was worth it just for the visuals, to me. It was funny at times, the acting was great, and it was overall well done. I enjoyed it for what it was, a fun, visually pleasing diversion! It made me want to make some Regency era costumes too!

What I'm Playing


Another kickstarter game that Gunnar backed, this is a companion game to "Roll Player," another of Gunnar's favorites. In this game, you play as D&D goons in factions who are trying to break out of prison. It's a worker placement style game, where you put your goons in different rooms in order to gain more goons, resources, and avoid suspicion, but there is some element of strategy and bluffing in that you can place some of your workers facedown so that no one knows what power they are, and competition in that if someone else has a worker with more power in that room, you lose out on gaining that resource.

We only played it once so far, but my initial impression was...just okay. I can see my boys loving this when they are older, but the it seemed really complex for not a big payoff to me. I'm not into the theme, or the bluffing. I'm going to give it another try though, for sure. Maybe I'll like it more on repeat play, as I get better at figuring out a good strategy!