Caturday Reads: Environmental Fantasy & Japanese Nonfiction + Azizi Kitty Update

Good afternoon, Chums. I know it’s been quite a while since my last post (at least it sure as hell feels that way), and the truth is that I’ve had a lot going on, which I plan on discussing briefly later in the post. While some of that news  is a bit hefty emotionally speaking, I also have some fantastic news! I finally finished the book that I started back in February! I had considered putting it aside numerous times, however, the world-building and the politics that I suspected would turn into a gloriously ball of flaming chaos kept me from giving up. Even though it was exhausting to stick through to the end—mostly because I was feeling guilty about my looming tower of unread library books—I’m happy that I stuck with it as the book’s finale was a tumultuous heap of madness that I adored to bits, and the incredible sense of accomplishment I received from finishing the last page was exhilarating. I plan on posting a review for said book in the upcoming week (🤞🏾).

Anyhoo, now I get to start reading some fresh new stuff without feeling guilty and this has made me positively giddy! I have 57 library books to choose from and don’t even ask about the unread owned books littering my house some owned bits and pieces lying around too. Since I do want to discuss a life update, mostly with regard to Azizi as promised in a previous post, I’m going to break this write-up down into a couple of small sections. The first shall consist of my current reads and planned reads for the upcoming week, and the second shall be info about Azizi kitty. If you follow me on Twitter, then you may already be aware of what I’m going to say with respect to that.

Anyhoo, GoodReads pages shall be linked via the titles for all books mentioned, as per usual, for anyone that’s interested in checking them out. If you’ve read Spine of the Dragon by Kevin J. Anderson, please let me know what you thought of it in the comments below!

Currently Reading:

Thieves of Blood by Tim Waggoner: Set in the Eberron universe, the novel follows an assassin-turned-priest human and his half-orc chum as they travel the lands ridding the world of evil and helping the less fortunate. While visiting the priest’s hometown, something malevolent washes over the city and sends the duo on an epic quest to eradicate it.

This is my seventh or eight time reading through this trilogy as it’s one of my favourites of all-time, and I’m enjoying this just as much as I did on my first reading. I’m approximately halfway through it and shall have it wrapped up before the weekend ends.

What is Japanese Cinema: A History by Yomota Inuhiko: An own-voices Japanese comprehensive yet accessible text on the history and evolution of Japanese cinema from the late 1800s to present times. The book discusses Western influences as well the characteristics that make Japanese cinema so inherently “Japanese.”

I saw this on Hoopla and was immediately intrigued by it. My goal is to try and read at least ten non-fiction books in 2021 and I figured this would be an excellent place to begin as I’m a huge fan of classical Japanese cinema and would love to learn more about its development and origins throughout history.

Automatic Eve by Rokuro Inui: An own-voices Japanese steampunk, science-fiction story filled with political intrigue that involves a mighty shogunate who’s ruling from Tempu Castle. Opposing him is an imperial line of strict female succession. The city of Tempu is one full of many wonders, such as the superhuman technological achievement of the female automaton named Eve, and it’s also caught right in the middle of these two warring powers. When the mystery surrounding Eve’s creation is revealed, it shall rock both sides into a spectacular conclusion.

I started this on Friday and thus far I’m really liking the setting and the sci-fi elements combined with the more historical bits. Plus, badass females that shouldn’t be underestimated are one-hundred-percent my jam. I’m only about fifteen percent of the way through this, but insha’Allah, I’ll have it done by the end of the week.

Upcoming Reads:

The Empire Strikes Back: From a Certain Point of View by Various: An anthology of short stories by some of the most renown SFF and YA authors in the industry, it follows iconic scenes from the film from the point-of-view of a supporting character from heroes and villain to droids and other beings.

Ever since Disney took over the Star Wars© franchise and chopped the EU of all the previous novels, I’ve been supremely hesitant on reading any of the new Star Wars© novels (Thrawn related books notwithstanding as they’re still written by Timothy Zahn, thank Boss Man). But The Empire Strikes Back is my favourite film in the franchise, and my curiosity skyrocketed. I will skip stories from authors I don’t care for; I’ll openly admit that now. But I’m still intrigued to see what these different POVs shall entail.

The Forever Sea by Joshua Phillip Johnson: An environmental epic fantasy about a never-ending, miles-high expanse of prairie grasses known as the Forever Sea. Kindred Greyreach, hearth-fire keeper and sailor aboard harvesting vessel The Errant, is finally starting to fit in with the crew of her new ship when she receives disturbing news. Her grandmother—The Marchess, legendary captain, and hearth-fire keeper—has stepped from her vessel and disappeared into the green grass sea. However, the note left behind suggests this was not suicide, as it was assumed. Rather, something waits in the depths, and the Marchess has set out to discover it.

I’ve seen a lot of buzz going around for this book and while I’m not super into environmental fantasies (just haven’t found one I like, not that there are a lot of them to begin with), I am intrigued by the settings and a grassy sea with ships  powered by fire, essentially. There’s something whimsical yet mysterious about it that I couldn’t really resist.

Forge of the Mind Slayers by Tim Waggoner: The second novel in The Blade of the Flame trilogy, the book follows our adventurers Diran Bastiaan and his chum, Ghaji, along with a few newer faces as they continue their journey exploring the lands and slaying evil where they can.

While I absolutely adored Thieves of Blood, Forge of the Mind Slayers has some really cool necromancy-type stuff in it and more neat action and magic that just keeps me so fantastically smitten with the Eberron universe.

Azizi Update:

Okay, time for the serious shtick.

The last time I spoke about Azizi, I had mentioned that we were taking him to the vet to have a lump in his throat examined. The ping-pong-sized lump turned out to be a tumour, which means that Azizi has cancer and it’s pretty bad considering the size and firmness of the growth.

To say that I was utterly devastated would be the biggest fucking understatement around. I spent a good deal of time crying in my bed after I received the news. Then every time I would look at Azizi, it would be like a stab to my heart. But after giving it tons of thought and anxiety-ridden contemplation, I accepted the reality of the situation.

Since the treatment process for a tumour of this size is very invasive and painful, and given Azizi’s extremely traumatic experiences the last time he was at the vet hospital (he had abdominal surgery in 2018), we have decided not to pursue surgery or other treatments at this time. The chemotherapy would totally decay his current quality of life and the anxiety from having to undergo surgery again would be far more devastating to his mental state of mind. It took him over a year to stop having consistent nightly anxiety attacks after his hospitalisation in 2018. We did not make this choice lightly, as the cat parent within me wants to do everything to save his life. But at the end of the day, I had to ask myself a very serious questions: am I doing this to save him or to make myself feel better, to validate my sense of parental obligation?

Azizi is a tough kid and I know that when his time ultimately does arrive—thus destroying me for probably a very long fucking time—it’s going to be the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced, I don’t want him to spend the rest of his life in pain and suffering. I want to make him as comfortable and happy as Gabs and I can possibly make him. I want to give him a bunch of toys, a ton of love, and all of the peace we can muster so that when he does pass, he does so in the same bout of warmth and joy that he has always given to us.

I did candidly talk about my feelings about this whole ordeal over on twitter and you can read it below if you’d like.

If you’d like to help us provide him with some toys and a comfortable new cat bed, please feel free to donate via my Kofi below; 100% of the money will go towards his care. Aside from that, please keep him in your thoughts and/or prayers, wishing for him to just be at peace and joy. Thank you so much. 🧡

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4 thoughts on “Caturday Reads: Environmental Fantasy & Japanese Nonfiction + Azizi Kitty Update

  1. I’m so sorry about Azizi, Neha. I’ve donated some money. Please use it to spoil the kiddo as much as you’d like. Keeping him and you in my thoughts and prayers.

  2. I missed the update about Azizi before, but many wishes to you and the cats. I hope Azizi suffers as little as possible and enjoys many more good times with you. Stay strong…however difficult that may be.

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