The Week in Entertainment
Film: The Martian, which is gripping and highly entertaining. Also, since I couldn't get to the Met, I watched Il Trovatore at the local theater in HD Live. Incredibly good - I so wish I could have been there. All four of the principles (Dolora Zajick suitably deranged as Azucena, Yonghoon Lee wonderfully strong and romantic as Manrico, Anna Netrebko powerful as Leonora, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky dominating as di Luna) and the secondary singers (especially Štefan Kocán as Ferrando, who simply killed with the long opening 'Mr Exposition' scene) were terrifically good, and the crowd really welcomed Hvorostosky back from his illness - at the end, the conductor pushed him forward on the stage and the orchestra threw him dozens of roses. If you have a chance to see this when they encore it near you.
TV: Home Fires, a small-scale but still engrossing WWII story about rural women in Britain.
Read: Finished Ash & Bramble, which was fine. I'm not crazy about books in which the narrator tells us about days she then completely and permanently forgets - who the heck is she telling the story to? - but overall the book was entertaining enough. The Story of Ain't, which is really the story of Webster's Third International Dictionary - the one that shifted the paradigm from prescriptive to descriptive, and which was featured in the Nero Wolfe novel Gambit - being burned for being a "subversive threat to the English language. A very interesting read. Started Cixin Liu's The Dark Forest (part 2 of the trilogy that started with this year's Hugo winner, The Three-Body Program - the translation won the award, but the novel itself was written in 2008). Very good so far.