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|Friday, December 6th, 2013|
Ave atque vale, Nelson Mandela.
|December Meme Day 5: Better Subjects for Art than Sex
I'm just going to stop apologizing for these being late. They're going to be late. Let's just assume that from now on.
Today's request, from philippos42: "Two things that are better than sex (as a subject for art)"
OH BOY. The hard part here is going to be winnowing it down.
Well, not really, I'm just gonna grab the first two off the top of my head.
1) Relationships. Any relationships. Romantic, familial, adversarial, friendly, soulmate, acquaintence, fannish, WHATEVER, I genuinely believe that every single piece of art on the face of the planet is about a relationship in some way. Every story is about a relationship. Every piece of art is a narrative. Ergo...
And really, relationships are the key to an interesting story. I don't know about you guys, but I read a story for the interactions between the characters involved. The better their relationships are portrayed, the more interested I am.
2) Horses. Dude, I'm a horsegirl. Horses are gorgeous, and smart, and funny, and adorable, and dumb as bricks, and evil, and ugly, and basically I love horses and if you dislike horses you are wrong and we can't be friends.
I am kidding about that last bit.
This entry is crossposted at http://bookblather.dreamwidth.org/228337.html
. Please comment over there if possible.
|Thursday, December 5th, 2013|
|Year’s Best SF 18, edited by David Hartwell
Review copy provided by Tor.
This was a really solid Year’s Best collection. Of course there were stories in it I didn’t finish, or didn’t bother to reread, because that happens in pretty much every anthology ever: part of the point of anthologies is that not everything has to be to everybody’s taste for it to be worth the time and paper. But there were far fewer of that type of story than average, and more stories that I felt were worth mentioning in the good way.
I sometimes find Gene Wolfe’s characters frustratingly vague and distant. “Dormanna” is an exception, and it manages to have a child protagonist without being a teddy bear killing story. I like imaginary friends, that may be part of it. I also like complex friends, part real and part imaginary, and I think the titular Dormanna qualifies.
I am a sucker for alien stories, and Eleanor Arnason’s “Holmes Sherlock: A Hwarhath Mystery” is no exception, even though I am generally not a sucker for Holmesiana. But this isn’t Holmesiana, or at least not as I have encountered its worst excesses. Holmes is not a character in this story, but rather a character in stories read by the protagonist of this story. I love alien-perspective stories, and every time I encounter the Hwarhath, I think, “Oh yes, I like them, I should go find more of these.”
I can see where Naomi Kritzer’s “Liberty’s Daughter” would appeal to a very broad spectrum of SF readers, because it’s very like a lot of the SF people who are writing now read as teenagers, but with…how do I say this politely…it’s not with 75% less assholery. It’s with instances of assholery recognized and tagged as such, within the spectrum of human behavior. The seasteads are exactly the kind of varied extrapolative near future cultures I want to see more of in fiction.
In “Waves,” Ken Liu took a conflict that could easily have filled another SF short story and portrayed its outcome (I won’t say resolution) in a few pages, moving on to more and greater extrapolations across time, space, species, and family. One of my favorite of Liu’s so far, he portrays different gigantic life choices, and how they can separate–and reunite–family members.
Finally, “The North Revena Ladies Literary Society” by Catherine H. Shaffer is probably the least overtly SF of my favorite stories of this volume. It’s a spy action story that does SFnal things, but the SF aspects of them come in later. I just wrote out what it could be a crossover of and then realized that my analogy would be a spoiler for the story, so instead: SF spy ladies, hurrah!
|Friday, December 6th, 2013|
Some eulogize him who will never learn
from words or deeds or what he did not do.
-Six window bars, a sea more grey than blue.
White choke dust lime pit, where bright sun would burn
necks, and in winter hands numb from wet cold.
Told him the son he did not know was dead.
He wept. Three decades sitting on his bed
he taught young comrades still his comrades old,
who walked with him to freedom. Heard his voice
stern gentle. Helped him build. He gave his power
away and let successors have their hour,
yet bound their wills to this most anguished choice.
He was prepared to put men in their grave
whom, once they dropped their weapons, he forgave.
|Thursday, December 5th, 2013|
|The exposition must flow
I finished reading Dune
today. I've never been sorrier I committed time to a book. Holy smokes, that was the most boring novel I've ever made myself sit through. I had such high hopes! So many people whose opinions I respect love Dune
. All I can think is that the movie is more entertaining than the book, and they've merged the two in their imaginations. What the hell do people see in Dune
that's made it a classic? Many a time before, I'd started to read it and bogged down near the end of Part 1 because the only interesting things (the gom jabbar, the death of Duke Leto) were over, and now it was all a bunch of stuffy people spouting exposition about what-all had happened and might happen later. This time around, I plowed on in hopes it would get better, but it's. all. like. that. Everybody speculates and rambles a lot, and Paul Atreides is smug.
Serious question, I will listen if anyone wants to tell me the answer: what makes people enjoy Dune
? I thought, if nothing else, I'd like the villains, but Baron Harkonnen is wasted on the plot. He sits around and twirls his mustaches and essentially goes, "Hee hee, ain't I rotten?" through 300+ pages. In the denouement, there were a few moments I liked. Creepy child Alia spends two pages onstage and is the most memorable character in the book. But it wasn't enough to justify a big thick book.
A few years ago
I wondered in this journal why the ceilings of the Müller orphanages were so high. The consensus seemed to be that it was to aid ventilation.
As a postscript to that entry, I should add that I was talking the other day to a man who teaches in one of the orphanage buildings (now a Further Education college), and he told me that the windows were built deliberately high to prevent the orphans from looking idly out at the view. Not only that, but they angled the sills downward so that any athletic orphans (perhaps in training for chimney work) who managed to clamber that far would be unable to sit there, wasting time that would be much better spent hemming dresses or praying for an attitude of proper humility.
Whether he has warrant for this belief I don't know. I'd thought of George Müller as one of the good guys
- but of course he may have believed he was doing the children a favour. "Life is hard," says the German proverb, "but it is good practice." And emptiness is its own contemplation, says Mr L:
Rather than words comes the thought of high windows:
The sun-comprehending glass,
And beyond it, the deep blue air, that shows
Nothing, and is nowhere, and is endless.
|December 5 - the Lymond miniseries in my head
This comes at a good time, for I have just seen the cat creature off and will not get to pet her fluffy belly for a whole month, so I have a sad. hedda62
(who has a book out
! go check it out!) asked for "the Lymond miniseries in my head starring Tom Hiddleston" - lots of dates still available if anyone would like me to blether on about anything else.
First off, when I say I want to make a Lymond vid (and oh, I do, to this song
for starters), I'm not really talking about a realistic miniseries so much as the very vivid visuals that I picture while reading, plus montage techniques. (I have, for example, a fully worked out vid idea in mind for Wolf Hall
, which they are actually filming, but I doubt it will look anything like I'd want it to.)
But as soon as we start talking about things that could hypothetically actually happen, rather than straight mind-reading, you have to compromise. Even Tom Hiddleston is a compromise - he's too old and too tall and not blond enough. But at the same time, I'm convinced he'd be great in the part, even since seeing him as Prince Hal in the Henry IV episodes of The Hollow Crown
: his Hal basically is
Lymond as far as the script will allow him to be, with the laughter and concealed self-disgust and lightening changes of temper. I mean, just look at him
, in the moment when he hears his father wants to see him: "Oh God, Jerott, are you doing this for a wager?"
So he's not 20 for Game of Kings
, not that any actual 20-year-old actor could conceivably play that (they'd probably get Jamie Campbell Bower or someone if they tried...). In fact, pretty much everyone would have to be aged up, because modern actors don't age like 16th-century people, and that tends to be the done thing. As far as the rest of the casting game, it's a bit fragmentary - there are many characters I have very clear mental images of, like Richard and Margaret Lennox, but an actor hasn't pinged me recently. In practical terms, I'd like to see some unknown and Scottish actors, and if there's anything Game of Thrones
has taught me it's that the right person can fully inhabit a role even if they don't seem to have remotely the right colouring etc. for it. Still, if I was casting today, I'd probably pick the appropriately-named Eddie Redmayne
for Will Scott. Katie McGrath has the looks and the Irishness for Mariotta, but her complete inability to act has been proved to me now on multiple occasions, so it would have to be Michelle Dockery
. Phyllida Law
for Sybilla. Natalie Dormer
as Marthe (compare with previous gif of Hiddleston). Lara Pulver
as Oonagh O'Dwyer. Rose Leslie
(actually Scottish, though she doesn't sound it) as Christian Stewart? Perhaps Anna Friel
for Kate Somerville? Finding the right Philippa is perennially difficult, but someone on Tumblr suggested Sarah Bolger
from The Tudors
and I can see it
, particularly for The Ringed Castle/Checkmate
- here she is even wearing a silly hat
(they'd have to cast Young Philippa just right, and there's basically no moment when the switch wouldn't be awkward - we see her more or less continuously between 13 and 20).
And so and on so forth. I do very badly want this to exist, done right - with a series of 6-10 episodes for each book, and proper production values. I'd want them to keep as much of the dialogue in as possible, naturally, but reading through it I can imagine how things could be simplified and shortened a bit to suit the medium (most of the jokes in Game of Kings
aren't actually literally). Of course, given Game of Thrones
they'd have to change the title, but if they could film The White Queen
Just imagine the opening of the first episode - I want a Scottish voice reading the epigraph from The Game and Playe of Chesse
while the camera pans over a chessboard lit by candlelight, which becomes a map of 16th-century Europe, zooms in on Scotland*, zooms in on Edinburgh, the Nor'Loch, then the real Nor'Loch at night with a figure swimming through it. He reaches land, wipes his face, and it's TOM HIDDLESTON, looking bright-eyed and dangerous. Cut to Tom Erskine and Wat Buccleuch, discussing the current political situation and what will happen now that "Lymond is back", and go on from there.
*These are then the opening credits of subsequent episodes, with the lay-out of the chessboard changing each series, and the maps becoming the principal locations of that book.
Crossposted to http://yunitsa.dreamwidth.org/674832.html
|I am, as I ever was, and ever shall be, yours
On the fifth day of the week, the second of Tevet in the year 5774, corresponding to the fifth of December in the year 2013, in the city of Somerville, Massachusetts, where their hearts first found home, the bride, Sonya Leah Glixman Taaffe, daughter of Marika and Jaime Taaffe, offered a ring to the groom, Robert Richard Noyes, son of Deb Knowles Jones and Worth Noyes, saying to him, "I am, as I ever was, and ever shall be, yours." He accepted, saying, "By this ring, I am consecrated to you in accordance with the laws of our people." Then the groom, Robert Richard Noyes, son of Deb Knowles Jones and Worth Noyes, offered a ring to the bride, Sonya Leah Glixman Taaffe, daughter of Marika and Jaime Taaffe, saying to her, "I am, as I ever was, and ever shall be, yours." She accepted, saying, "By this ring, I am consecrated to you in accordance with the laws of our people."
So each promised the other:
I will be your friend and lover, companion and fellow-traveler, constant and co-conspirator. I will love and support you, strengthen and rejoice in you, and be your hearth and harbor through all our travels. I will share with you all that I am.
We bring to this marriage our words, our music, our intelligence, creativity, and curiosity, our patience, our playfulness, our compassion, our desire to learn and our willingness to understand, and pledge to make them flourish in our mutual home.
All is valid and binding.
80 years ago
the US government made a separate peace with one enemy in the War on Some Drugs. It worked very well, and the government managed to learn nothing from it.
|Peeta as movie girlfriend (and story relationships in general)
I still need to make it out to see Catching Fire (I have, of course, long since read it), but I sound this article on Peeta playing the functional role of movie girlfriend kind of interesting.
What makes me sad is that Hollywood has such generally rigidly defined gender roles that this makes sense, as it doesn’t in the real world, where we can all play all the parts. But if we have to have rigidly defined Hollywood gender roles, it’s nice to see them at least being subverted sometimes.
This also got me to thinking about how I’d always been Team Gale. This is a little odd, for me, because I tend to like the good boys, and Peeta is solidly my usual type.
Except that Katniss is a lot like Gale, so they meet as true partners instead of having Katniss being weak in the presence of Gale’s strength. (In the books, at least. I don’t yet know what their relationship is like in the second movie.) If Katniss were a different sort of female character, Gale as a male character would irritate me no end. But she isn’t, so instead of a strong guy looking out for a less-strong woman we get a true partnership among two strong-in-the-same-ways people who are very much alike. This is what I love about their relationship, that partnership.
And even when (spoiler) Katniss and Gale ultimately fall apart as a couple in the books, it isn’t because of their differences. It’s because they remain alike, only Gale ultimately takes their shared strength-that-is-also-weakness in a different direction than Katniss does.
It may be that more than having a soft spot for good boys, I have a soft spot for relationships that are I’ve-got-your-back partnerships (in whatever way, physical or emotional or a mix of the two, that the particular characters involved do this), and that good boy relationships are the ones that most often go there.
Or maybe, of course, it’s both/either of those things, with a large amount of “depends on the individual story” mixed in.
Mirrored from Janni Lee Simner / Desert Dispatches.
|Books I've been reading
Time for another book round-up. Every single book in this round-up is part of a series. It seems to have been a trend for me in the last four months. Hm.London Falling
by Paul Cornell: I was looking forward to this dark urban fantasy by Paul Cornell. I've been such a fan of his Doctor Who work, and he was perfectly delightful when I saw him at WorldCon a few years ago. This novel is set, predictably, in London. The story starts with the peculiar death of a local mobster. In the course of investigating his death, a group of British police come into contact with an artifact that gives them The Sight, the ability to see the supernatural around them, which reveals the true evil lurking in London's core. As they track down a series of murders and disappearances that all appear connected to a British soccer team, a mysterious old woman, and one of England's most famous royals, they uncover a larger story that spans English history and threatens all of their lives. While I enjoyed the book overall, something about it felt a little strained to me, as if the author was stretching for that one last bit of ain't-it-cool. The flavor of the book is unmistakably English and therefore rather delicious. At the same time, that sense of trying a little too hard just never left me. It seems to me that Cornell is setting the stage for a series with this book; I don't know whether or not I'll give another volume in this particular series a try.Changeless
all by Gail Carriger: The last three books in the 5-book Parasol Protectorate series are all terribly clever--light entertainment from start to finish. If you haven't read them, they follow the adventures of one Alexia Tarrabotti, her werewolf husband Lord Conall Maccon, and their entertaining set of associates in a Victorian London where the society of werewolves and vampires is part of the social fabric. Alexia is a preternatural--that is, her touch can turn supernatural people into humans for its duration--and over the course of the series of books, she becomes embroiled in both English and supernatural politics, while also following the mystery of her father's life and death. I thought the first, second and fifth books the strongest in a series that is pretty entertaining over all--light, funny, and yet intriguing all at once. My favorite creations of Carriger's are the aforementioned Maccon, a gruff, thoughtful, sexy werewolf, Lord Akeldama, an ancient and flamboyant vampire of uncertain origin, outrageous taste, and distinctly fabulous proclivities, and Madame Genevieve Lefoux, inventor, charmer, and general troublemaker. I thought I might just recycle these books to my local used bookstore, but I may keep the books and read the series through again when I need light entertainment. I enjoyed them hugely. Carriger's work is witty, inventive, and recommended.Libriomancer
by Jim Hines: I've been following jimhines
here on LJ for a while now and have been impressed by his thoughtful posts and general good humor. I finally decided I ought to dip into his books and see what he had to offer. Libriomancer
seemed like a natural place to start, with Isaac, its magic-weilding librarian, whose power to pull weapons and artifacts out of books gets him into pretty enormous trouble. I wasn't disappointed. Along with Isaac himself--a libriomancer no longer allowed to use his powers--Hines' fast-moving narrative introduces Isaac's sword-weilding dryad love interest Lena and his delightful little fire spider Smudge as they navigate a mystery that threatens Die Zwelf Portenaere, a league of magic users whose job it is to protect the world from supernatural threats. I love Hines' magic system--as a lifelong reader, how could I not?--and enjoyed learning about the arcane history and backstory he's created for his world. Libriomancer
was a fun and satisfying read, and I need to pick up volume 2, Codex Born
, to see where all this goes. Heart of Briar
by Laura Anne Gilman suricattus
: Jan, a New York City computer programmer, finds herself accosted by supernatural creatures when her QA tester boyfriend Tyler disappears. He's been kidnapped, and Jan's being enlisted to find him by a kelpie, a werewolf, and a whole cast of supernatural characters. Tyler's abduction is the latest of a series of incursions into our world by elves who have a larger, rather sinister agenda. To her dismay, Jan learns about the supernatural society she's never seen before and parallel worlds she's never heard of through a series of pretty terrifying encounters. Her mission takes her into a dangerous dimension and she has to rely on her unreliable new friends to help her get Tyler back. I liked the portrayal of Jan as an inhaler-dependent, slightly ADD woman, capable yet unsure, determined, occasionally prickly, but always on target toward her goal. I also liked the portrayal of the elves: supremely weird, supremely remote, and utterly unconcerned with human business. I was a little distracted by things that would only distract me--details about Jan and Tyler's work that someone like me who's worked in tech for years would notice, things that didn't quite ring true--but they were minor distractions to the larger story, which was intriguing enough for me to want to read the second volume in this urban fantasy duology. I'm genuinely curious about how things will wrap up.Master and Commander
by Patrick O'Brian: I adored the film based on O'Brian's series of books, and after years of encouragement from ironymaiden
I finally decided to pick up the first book in this series about Captain Jack Aubrey and Dr. Stephen Maturin and their adventures on the high seas during the Napoleonic era. There was a great deal to enjoy about this book--the complete immersion into the world of the British Navy and life on a sailing vessel, the interplay between Aubrey and Maturin, the pure adventure of it all. I didn't expect some of what I got--which is that the book isn't really an end-to-end story so much as a chronicle of Aubrey's first command. It's a series of adventures linked together by the Aubrey/Maturin relationship and Jack's development as a man and a commander. I certainly enjoyed it and will continue to pick up the volumes, but I'm not compulsively compelled to read them all as I know others have been. It was an interesting read and truly beautifully written, with a voice perfect for the era that just carries you effortlessly along. Well worth my time, this book and, I'm sure, those to come.Captain America: Man Out of Time
by Mark Waid, Jorge Molina, and Jack Kirby: I picked up this compilation volume on the strength of a recommendation by a friend whose taste in comics has never steered me wrong. The volume follows Steve Rogers' introduction to the 21st century and the conflict he faces about going back in time to save a friend's life. I had been prepared for a powerhouse experience, and while the narrative and illustrations are certainly good, I wasn't blown away, as I had been hyped to be. I enjoyed the reading and the illustrations were terrific, full of energy and emotion. Was I overwhelmed? No. It was worth the time, but I found it no more remarkable than many of the comics compilations I've read.Half A Crown
by Jo Walton papersky
: I finally read the last volume of Jo Walton's Small Change trilogy set in an alternate, Fascist Britain. (See my thoughts about Farthing [in among other reviews from earlier this year]
.) It's 1960, and Inspector Carmichael is now Commander of the Watch, firmly under the thumb of the Prime Minister, caretaker of his late police partner's teenage daughter Elvira, and trying to navigate his precarious position as both enforcer and covert force for good. When Elvira, raised as a lady and about to be a debutante, attends a Fascist rally, she is swept up with other attendees by the police, and finds herself suspected of anti-Crown activities. Proposed to by a politically suspect Lord, she is doubly suspected. Carmichael is drawn into what becomes a breaking point in the Fascist regime's hold on Britain, and he must make choices that could compromise everything he's tried to do for good, not to mention the safety of both his lover and his ward. Though perhaps not as strong as the first book in the series, Half a Crown
still brings on the power of Walton's alternate world vision, and Carmichael is still an engaging character. Harder for me to identify with was Elvira, raised in the Fascist environment with upper-class privilege and oblivious to the darkness around her. She tries to do the right thing and eventually gets it
, but I kept wanting to smack her. Ultimately, that's what her experiences do and it was satisfying--though occasionally harrowing--to watch her finally figure things out. The end felt a little rushed to me. It all winds up rather quickly. For all that, however, I enjoyed traveling with Carmichael one last time and seeing how all this history turns out. Walton's prose is strong and lovely. Well done and recommended.
|Wednesday, December 4th, 2013|
|Thanksgiving, as told in foods
Mushrooms stuffed with balsamic-onion jam and some undetectable Brie.
That ubiquitous rosemary flatbread-stuff that is actually a giant cracker -- these are tasty but they break so unpredictably that I will never comprehend why we don't use the far more efficient cracker format -- spread with a thin layer of cream cheese and a cherry-jalapeno jam.
Fried mozzarella-basil wontons. I cannot speak to the marinara dipping sauce, as that is made of poison, but these were pretty good. They cooled quickly, though; one of the advantages of breading on cheese sticks, or of jalapeno poppers, is that the cheese is more insulated and stays melty better. I don't think there's a materials solution to the tradeoff of keeping it warm vs. napalm-like pockets of molten doom in a freshly fried food, though.Drinks
Pumpkin-pie-infused vodka, which we tried to come up with ways to use effectively. Bailey's was lackluster in combination. I suggested spiked vanilla milkshakes, but we didn't wind up trying it.
I made a drink that was mandarin-orange-flavored vodka and cranberry bitters with soda and lime, which my mom said tasted like nothing. "Is that what you like?" It is not my fault you have lost your taste buds to age, lady.Dinner
Turkey! I love turkey. And gravy, not particularly remarkable gravy but it doesn't need to be.
Smoked fowl. Cornish game hens? Chickens? I heard them called both, and they were of intermediate size. Pink and yummy. I only had a little, since one person can't have turkey and I didn't like to deprive him.
Mashed potatoes. Dairy-enabled this year due to Wim absence.
Sweet potatoes. Thank goodness no marshmallows. This was both delicious and weird, though: brown sugar and pecan topping, but also bananas mashed in. Unless you tasted after them specifically, you didn't know what that extra flavor was, but the bananas were strong and strange.
Brussels-sprout faceoff. Two people in my family like these things, and they've recently taken to trying to outdo each other in making them edible. I don't hate them, but I like almost any other vegetable better, so it was kind of impressive that I enjoyed both of the treatments pretty well. One was a breadcrumb and parmesan thing, and the one I liked better used balsamic vinegar and cranberries to almost entirely kill the sulfur flavor.
Some people eat dressing or stuffing. I do not, though we had both.
Cranberry sauce, topic of the great cousin schism. Although we're all on the same page about jellied vs. whole berry -- obviously jellied is correct -- we have an ongoing theatrical fight about scooping vs. slicing to serve. I am pretty sure I started it one year when someone had presliced the whole can, I mean, what was that bullshit?
(Interlude to visit my dad, who was collapsed in bed feeling terrible. He said he would eat a small plate of food if we got him one, so I made sure Mom took it to him later.)Dessert
Little cheesecakes with caramel and bits of candy bar on top. I was a fool to eat one without a plate under it, as the crusts were fucking crumbly. Some candy bars were Snickers and some were Twix. It was hard to argue with these.
Boozy Chai Pumpkin Pie, made from the very pumpkin that had infused the aforementioned vodka. No flavor accrued from the vodka, as one would expect, but the chai spice was excellent. Dense filling wasn't even really custard any more, too solid. Dark caramelized crust.
Ridiculous pumpkin tart that my mom had been talking about for a month. This was out of control. Springform pan, regular-tasting pie crust but it might have been supposed to have bourbon in, fairly standard filling, thick layer of salted caramel on top of the filling (!), candied pumpkin seeds on top of the caramel (!!). She didn't make the bourbon whipped cream, but there was already too much going on, so that was okay. Delicious but bewildering.This entry was originally posted at http://jinian.dreamwidth.org/609143.html. Respond wherever you like.
|Thursday, December 5th, 2013|
|What Are You Reading Wednesday
It's stillll not Thursdaaaaay....• What are you currently reading?
SO MANY THINGS.
Just going by my bookmarks... *deep breath* The Passion of the Purple Plumeria by Lauren Willig, The Women's Room by Marilyn French, Selected Poems of Anne Sexton, Dante's Purgatorio, Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte, The Borgias by GJ Meyer, The Book That Changed My Life, Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George, Catching Fire, Isabel Allende's House of the Spirits, The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule, Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, Possession by A.S. Byatt, Native Tongue by Suzette Haden Elgin, Stephanie Burgis's Kat, Incorrigable for the nth time, and Alanna: The First Adventure, also for the nth time. Because fuck yeah Alanna.
Seventeen books at a time is somewhat unusual for me, I promise. Usually it's more like five. • What did you recently finish reading?
Sonnets from the Portuguese. I love Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and I really love her relationship with her husband-- they both were really gone over each other, with Robert Browning in particular being a TOTAL RIDICULOUS FANGIRL over everything his wife wrote. Everything. Even before they married. Even before they met.
He essentially married his literary idol. Seriously, though, the sonnets are lovely and very sweet. I just read through all forty-five of them in one or two sittings.
Dante's Inferno. THIS SHIT IS HILARIOUS, GUYS. I mean, yeah, like 60% of it is really creative description of horrific torments and terrors, but the rest of it is 30% Dante and Virgil fanboying over each other, 9% Dante smack-talking literally everyone in Italy who is not him (including someone implied to be a member of his immediate family), and 1% sinners flipping God the bird.
Well, Dante called it "the fig." But we all know what he meant.
Heavy Words Lightly Thrown, by Chris Roberts. Eh. It's a fun read mostly, and pretty educational as to the history behind various rhymes (I had no idea Jack Horner was related to Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries, for example). However, the author uses (and misdefines!) a hideously unnecessary transphobic slur when discussing "William and Mary, George and Anne," and there's some gross fat-shaming in "Georgie Porgie." So, basically, entertaining book, but I'd get it out of the library, and if you're sensitive to either, skip the two mentioned chapters.
Seriously, the transphobic slur wasn't even necessary, he just threw it in there offhand. Gross.
The Heroine's Bookshelf, by Erin Blakemore. This was... okay? I'd read 11 of 12 of the books Blakemore mentions, and I don't agree with all of her conclusions. Still, it's a fun little literary criticism read, if you're interested in that kind of thing.• What do you think you’ll read next?
Oh, God only knows. In the Hand of the Goddess for sure, and Renegade Magic. Probably Princess of Silver and Affinity by Sarah Waters as well. Apart from that... who knows? So many books, so little time.
This entry is crossposted at http://bookblather.dreamwidth.org/227919.html
. Please comment over there if possible.
|December Meme Day 4: Favorite type of superpowers
It's stillll the fourrrrrth...
Requester yifu asked "Favorite type of superpowers?"
The question here being favorite type of superpowers to have, or favorite type of superpowers general? It's cool, I'll answer both.
My favorite type of superpowers in general is the ability to see the future. I mean, think of the stories! Imagine being able to see the future but not being able to change it in any way. If you know what's going to happen, you're never going to be surprised, but also helpless. How would you come to believe you couldn't change the future? What would make you try anyway?
And what if you see only snippets of the future? Or only a possible future? How would you live your life knowing that? Would you try to avert the bits you saw? Would you try to bring them about? Would you do nothing, believing you can't affect it? SO MANY STORIES YOU GUYS OMG. I love future-seeing powers.
THAT SAID I would legitimately never want those powers ever. They're frustrating and painful and very likely to drag you into an upsetting story where lots of people die and you know about it and can't stop it. I do not want to live that. I'd much rather be able to teleport, because then I could see all you lovely people and move painlessly and work anywhere in the world and still sleep in my own bed at night.
Plus I could go all the places in the world that I want to go without having to take planes. I hate flying so much for someone who actually likes to go to new places.
This entry is crossposted at http://bookblather.dreamwidth.org/227656.html
. Please comment over there if possible.
|Wednesday, December 4th, 2013|
|We'll take the tails off mermaids
We picked up our marriage license and our rings this afternoon. We were on our way back from Somerville City Hall when we heard from the jeweler that the rings were ready. We were a block from her shop: we wrote back joyfully and walked straight in.Jade Moran
made our rings; she's done extraordinary work. We met her for the first time last Wednesday; she showed us the models on Saturday; they went to the caster's on Monday and were polished and ready to take home by this afternoon. The design on the inside of each ring is a binary star system: two stars in each other's orbit, moving on their mutual arc through space. She wrote us an accompanying poem for a wedding present. We stepped outside the shop and swung each other around, hugging so tightly. They are beautiful; they are ours
. They say what we want them to.
I understand it is not a prerequisite for all relationships, but it pleases me that I am marrying someone who understands why this photoshoot
melts my brain. The sea as well as the stars, always.
|Reminders to self: what not to do: Christmas wrap
You tend to forget these things. Here is a list of what to remember. Not necessarily applicable to other people. Just you, self. Just you.
1. Make people who give you things in Christmas bags take the Christmas bags back again after you have opened them if at all possible. They like using them! You have no objection to getting them but hate using them! Win win! (1a. Find something to do with the stack of Christmas bags in the closet.)
2. Do not buy green wrapping paper. Really. You love green. I know. And some of the Christmas stuff is a beautiful deep dark green that looks great in the store. But when you, yes, you, self, imagine it under the green Christmas tree, you will invariably be disappointed at how it blends in rather than lending a festive hue. You will not reach for the green wrapping paper. The green wrapping paper will be with you always. Do not buy more.
3. Do not buy the giant rolls of wrapping paper. I know, they are economical, and you feel thrifty and pleased, and sometimes they have quite lovely patterns. But I know you. After the fourth year of taking out the same roll of quite lovely dark red with white snowflakes, it will appear dingy and sad from its sojourn in the closet, and you will feel dingy and sad. Don’t do it. Wrap in brown paper if you want to be economical; it will make you feel old-fashioned as well as thrifty. But mostly economize elsewhere and buy the only moderately giant rolls of wrapping paper.
4. There is a reason that toddler-Moo thought that “sparkly” and “sprinkly” were the same word. The shiny sparkly paper will give you sparkly carpet, sparkly sweaters, sparkly smudges on your forehead. Leave it in the store to sparkle there.
5. Make sure–no, really really sure–no, check again–that the shiny paper you have selected is not made of mylar. Even your mother, who objects pretty firmly to religiously-based swearing on religious grounds, has been heard to refer softly to the one remaining roll as “that damned mylar.” It is damned stuff, it is damnable stuff, and you are wrapping presents, not filling balloons. Check again to make sure. They may not have to tell the truth about whether things actually contain blueberries in this country, but they are not allowed to lie about mylar wrapping paper, so Upton Sinclair did not live and die in vain.
Just trying to look out for you, self.