I read this book quite a while ago and I had a problem with it and I wanted to ask Taylor about it but then I didn’t and then I forgot about it and then I realized that I’d forgotten about it so I hadn’t added it here so now here I am adding it here, but without getting around to asking the author about it. Anyway, I really liked Taylor’s earlier book Stanley Park and apparently Taylor did too because Rule of Stephens feels very Stanley Park. The formula at least: struggling and flawed but likeable protagonist who is exceptional at this one very niche thing who ends up courting a wealthy investor only to find that they’ve made a deal with the devil. Within the first few pages I’ve grown an affinity for the protagonist Catherine Bach and I have this growing feeling of dread waiting to read what Taylor is going to do to them. It’s a good book and of course its fans will say that there’s so much more to it than the cursory glossing over (wait is that redundant? Hmmm…) that I’ve given here and that’s maybe true. But still.
The office hosted a conference at the Sheraton on 104th in Surrey which meant that I was the lucky duck that got to spend a couple nights at the Sheraton on 104th in Surrey. So I took a look at Strava Global Heatmaps for something fun to do Saturday evening. Downhill heading east on 104th approx. 5 KM from the hotel is a little ferry that carries two or three cars at a time over the Fraser River to Barnston Island, which happens to have a perfect 10 KM perimeter road. So that’s fun. The island is farmland complete with medium and large dogs behind fences that want to eat me, and medium and large dogs not behind fences that just lazily lay on the road as I run by. Free-range chicken farm. Herb farm. Cattle and sheep and donkeys. Abandoned and derelict houses. With my overactive imagination I spent the last couple kilometres expecting to run into (and then away from) the Sawyer family at any moment. A ferry ride back across Parson’s Channel to the mainland and then the long slow slog back up the 104th Avenue hill to Guildford. A nice change of scenery to usher in the beginning of my taper. Two weeks until Victoria Marathon.
I received a review copy of this book back in June, which was followed by a note a bit later in a Fight Club like tone that I was not to talk about the book until a month before publication. Which is in about a month from now. More or less. Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life is one of my favourite novels. Nietzsche and Kierkegaard are two favourite philosophers. Groundhog Day is one of my favourite films. But enough about me. In 7½ Deaths Aiden Bishop is stuck in a loop he cannot escape until he solves the murder of Evelyn Hardcastle. The twist is that he lives the same day seven times from seven points of view and if he cannot solve the murder then he has to start all over again, with no memory of the previous attempt. It’s a new twist on an old idea. Why 7½ deaths? It seems the half was added due to some confusion in the US around this and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo because I know how simple it is to confuse husband with death…. I liked this book’s gothic elements and its relatively fresh take on the repetition concept. Unfortunately, I just did not like Aiden Bishop very much for no particular reasons I can give without spoilers, and I found the conclusion a bit dissatisfying. That said, it a pretty great debut novel from Stuart Turton, and I will look forward to more work from him.
Yesterday was long run number three on the road to my BQ at the Victoria Marathon in October. I set out to run 32KM and decided to mix it up a bit; rather than a long, slow, slog I would run 5KM easy and then 5KM at race pace and repeat that three times, then finish with a 1KM sprint and a 1KM jog home. But by 30KM there was nothing left to sprint 1KM so the final jog ended up being a little less under a mile. Afterwards analysis and all in all it went pretty well. My goal race pace for Victoria is 4:37/KM. My first five at race pace I managed to average 4:38/KM, second at 4:31, and the third was right on 4:37. I had no idea at the time; I felt like my pacing was all over the place. And it was to a degree, but it all averaged out in the end. So that felt good, even if not much else did. I spent a few hours afterwards thinking about my long runs last year while training for my first marathon and trying to remember if at the end of them I wanted to die then, too. If that’s the case, and I’m sure [hopeful] that it is, I seem to have blocked that part out. Eight weeks to go.
This book took me too long to read and that’s probably because, as to be expected from an autobiography, there’s this whole bunch of stuff at the beginning about being a child and I don’t really like kids. I should have skipped it. It’s not as if there were any vital plot points that missing would leave me bewildered later in the book. But I trudged on through. I’ve been a fan of Izzard since a Dress to Kill DVD make the rounds of my friends sometime around the century change over. It’s funny(?) to think that in a small backwater town we didn’t even bat an eye at the notion of a transgender comedian. Izzard was very likely my first encounter and it all seemed utterly normal to me at the time, which has carried through to now to the point that I do not understand what the fuss is about. Reading this book reminded me of how many things Izzard has touched that I really like, many that he doesn’t mention in the book at all. Shadow of the Vampire is one of my favourite films and the NBC series Hannibal I will argue is one of the best TV series in ever and I generally hate network television. Maybe not generally. So anyway, it’s a good book.
Eight weeks out from the 2017 BMO Marathon I decided, yeah, I’m going to do that. As of today I’m ten weeks out from running my second. In July 2009, Eddie Izzard, decided to run around the UK. He writes, “Of course, I had no business running marathons–I wasn’t trained, I wasn’t particularly fit, and I had absolutely no experience in running anything that long, let alone running multiple marathons.” What I mean by run around the UK, I mean a marathon a day, six days a week, resting on Sundays. So with six weeks(!) until start, he decided he should maybe do some training. And he did it, running 43 marathons in 51 days and raised a few million dollars for charity. Then in February 2016 he ran 27 marathons in 27 days (including two marathons on the 27th day because he missed a day near the beginning, the loser…), all in balmy South Africa. And all I want to do is BQ at the Victoria Marathon in ten weeks. It seems so pedantic in comparison.