My Alcantarea imperialis is blooming nicely.

The species originated in Brazil but my specimens do well on my balcony in the summer if I regularly wash the city’s oily soot off the leaves, as I did just before taking this photo.

Some books I’ve been reading lately: Non-fiction: Meander by Jeremy Seal (“East to West, Indirectly, Along a Turkish River”), 2012; The Philosophy of Joss Whedon, ed. by Dean A. Kowalski and S. Evan Kreider (The University Press of Kentucky, 2012); and Writing A Woman’s Life by Carolyn G. Heilbrun (Norton, 1988).

Fiction: Stranded, a YA collection composed of SF novellas by Anne Bishop, Anthony Francis and James Alan Gardner (whose work I make a point of following, and the reason I bought this e-book); the first three of Ben Aaronovitch’s excellent (and very funny) fantasy series about an apprentice wizard who’s also a London constable (Riot at MidnightMoon Over Soho, and Whispers Under Ground); and the mainstream novel When the World Was Steady by Claire Messud, said to be “highly acclaimed”—but not by me, as I abandoned it a few pages in (it’s a Sign of Deadly Tedium if a character’s first and last names feature repeatedly in the opening paragraphs).

What I’ve been watching on DVD: All five seasons of The Wire, and the second season of Game of Thrones.

Reading to come: the Culture series of space-opera novels and stories by the recently-deceased Iain M. Banks, and Grace After Midnight: A Memoir (2009) by Felicia “Snoop” Pearson (pronounced “Person”), who played the character of the same name on The Wire.