In Which Finland Falls Between the Cracks Again

18 December 2005

My parental types were in town this weekend for Dad's company Christmas party, so I spent chunks of the last several days hanging out with them (mostly with Mom on Thursday and entirely with Mom on Friday, as Dad was off working during the day), with side dishes of driveway-shoveling. Which was mostly for the benefit of the humidifier installation person. Who did not come, and will not come until next Wednesday, and I am Not Pleased at this turn of events. But the time with the folks was nice. We also got to see my aunt and uncle and cousin for lunch, and we baked three or four kinds of cookie, depending on how you want to count the two varieties of fudgy meringue.

I am feeling a little overwhelmed by the amount of stuff that needs doing compared to my energy levels. It's not that much stuff compared to some abstract, but I'm not using some abstract, I'm using my actual abilities. So I'm also trying to pare back expectations accordingly. We'll see. I think I'm done with all the in-person shopping that needs doing for Christmas presents. I have two gifts yet to order. Still, that's not so bad, under the circumstances.

I finished Hugh Seton-Watson's massive history of the Russian Empire in the 19th century, and I may get off this trend of one fiction and one nonfiction volume at a time. Maybe. I have one nonfiction volume left on my pile, a history of the Raj, and I'm currently reading Alastair Reynolds's Absolution Gap, and I think it will hold me straight through until the next book. The Seton-Watson essentially did, and it was much drier than Absolution Gap. It frustrated me in the way this stuff often does: Finland is not much addressed in books about Russia, because it's an edge province and an exception case, and the larger empire is doing so much else that it's often a bad idea to take time out to focus on Finland. But books about Scandinavia, particularly in the 19th century, often don't address Finnish issues, either, because Finland was off doing a separate thing as part of the Russian Empire, and the rest of Scandinavia had so many other interesting things going on that it's often a mistake to take time to focus on Finland. Which means that reading about Finland means finding Finnish-specific books, and everyone knows how easy that is at your average library or non-specialized bookstore. I have a good deal of specialized literature on the topic, but I feel like there are gaps, things that aren't essential but could be so useful for poking the writerbrain in interesting ways.

The writerbrain is poking some stories, and they're more than I have time for, so I suppose I shouldn't fuss too much about lack of source material.

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