Friday, September 16, 2005

The best thing about Kara Dalkey's Blood of the Goddess trilogy was that it (by a very random thought train) inspired me to start a new story that is going quite well. Actually I did enjoy the trilogy, although nothing much had really taken place by the time it was over. It starts out with a young apothecary's apprentice, Thomas Chinnery, en route to China to seek out new herbs and treatments for his master. A surprise battle at sea results in Thomas's capture, after he has met several strange people and resurrected a dead man with the use of a mysterious powder. An attempt at escape lands him in the Santa Casa, in the heart of the Spanish Inquisition, and his only way out is to lead a mission to discover the origin of that same powder. The characters are an interesting mix of English, Spanish, Arab, Hindu, and immortal, and the story kept me interested, although, as I say, to little end.

I've always liked Kara Dalkey, in part because she used to live in Lake City, CO, quite close to where I grew up, and one of her books (Crystal Sage) takes place in a very familiar setting. However, she does have trouble with endings. It's too bad, because she's a good writer, but I think it may be why Odious doesn't care for her books.

Suddenly I realize I have many things I want to share here... where to start? A few days ago I received a book in the mail from Mother Earth News; I'd been looking forward to its arrival, since I ordered it upon reading its review in the magazine, and had been greatly intrigued by the few pictures in the article. It's called Home Work, by Lloyd Kahn, and it surpassed my expectations like few other books have.

In preparation for building our house next summer, we've been reading a number of excellent books on the subject, but this one is by far the most inspiring. It's a collection of photos and notes about alternative-style houses around the world, and I'd be willing to move into almost any one of them. (Maybe not the driftwood shack.) Numerous ideas have been running through my head since finishing the book, and new possibilities have opened up, not to mention the welcome reaffirmation of certain plans. If you're at all interested in solar-powered homes, straw bale, log cabins, treehouses, yurts, or architecture in general, you'll love this book.

Another interesting read on the same topic was Richard Manning's A Good House. He's a reporter who decided to build a house after purchasing land in Montana, and made a little extra money off it by keeping a journal of the process. Though his pessimism and simple sentences (journalistic writing!) got a little wearing, as well as the lengthy description of the deed and mortgage problems, much of what he wrote was useful and interesting. I particularly liked his thoughts on passive solar and composting toilets (two features we also intend to implement), and the impact a house has on its environment.

This post is long enough, and I have other things to do, but next time I'll talk about the great movies I've been watching, and maybe post some cute kitty pictures now that I've figured out how to make that work.

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