I used to get a lot of knitting and reading done on the bus and train but lately I find myself scrolling through news on my phone and I still can’t quite understand what the hell has gone wrong with the world. Time to pick up the needles, obviously!
Started some socks on the train last weekend. Surely to be tired of striping sock yarn is to be tired of life. It just never gets old.
And then on the bus I breezed my way through the first three Veronica Speedwell books (start with A Curious Beginning.) While stripey socks are pure happiness, these are more like that catchy pop song you kind of love but also annoys the snot out of you but you can’t stop singing it. You know the one? A young Victorian woman who is a lepidopterist takes up with a taxidermist and solves mysteries. Fun, yes?
But Miss Speedwell is kind of a lot. Remember That Kid always raising their hand in class and making long show-offy contributions? Apparently That Kid went on to become a Victorian lepidopterist! Veronica is never satisfied to be smart/unflappable/knowledgeable about butterflies, she has to be sure you noticed how cool she is. She’s not like other ladies you know. She’s a scientist. (This comes up a lot and sets my teeth on edge every time.) She travels the world on natural history expeditions and has casual sex, not like those other uptight ladies. Never at home though, so it can’t come back to bite her in the reputation. Which is fair enough, I guess, but the umpteenth time this comes up it starts to sound like “Oh, you don’t know my boyfriends, they live abroad, but are totally real.” Right.
But did I tell you they join a travelling circus? There’s an Egyptian curse! Catchy! Fun!
But there’s a lot about how distractingly sexy her taxidermist pal Stoker is. It gets old. She can’t hook up with an Englishman but she can ogle him and make salacious remarks. Y’know, cause she’s so liberated and enlightened! A couple of times her leering at his muscles sounds a bit more, uh, cannibalistic than sexy. Like double-entendres about juicy thighs in a fried chicken ad. Ew! Put your shirt back on Stoker. Isn’t there a murder to solve or something?
But now I feel uncharitable. I mean, I made it through three books. They had taxidermy and knife throwing. And they were all better than the news.