wednesday reads 'n things

Sep. 20th, 2017 02:34 pm
isis: (head)
[personal profile] isis
What I've recently finished reading:

Avi Cantor Has Six Months to Live by Sacha Lamb, a short story with a lot of trans and/or gay characters and a demon (who turns out to be actually pretty nice). I enjoyed it all right but it didn't really make much impression on me. The worldbuilding's rather vague and there's not much in the way of plot, but I expect it resonates more with trans people. It's been nominated for [community profile] yuletide and is free online at http://thebooksmugglers.com/2017/08/avi-cantor-six-months-live-sacha-lamb.html

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (abandoned). I like the idea of presenting the story as excerpts of conversation, magazine articles, books, and so on. But it didn't work in the ebook format with minimal formatting, and also, it just didn't work for me in the more conversational sections because I felt as though I never got to know any of the characters enough to care about them. Though I appreciated the cleverness of the idea that the spirits of the dead are unaware that they are dead, glossing over the strangenesses in their new selves and referring to tombs as "sick-homes" and coffins as "sick-boxes", the general absurdity just didn't appeal to me and I found the slow pace boring.

What I'm reading now:

The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan, the second book in the Trials of Apollo series, because after I realized I could either wait forever for the ebook, or pick up a physical copy from the library RIGHT NOW, I opted for the latter. I am still loving this series so much, especially since one of my favorite characters from another series, who showed up at the end of the first book, is a major character in this one. (skip) Leo Valdez! ♥ And Calypso! With whom Apollo has a history, so it's hilarious. Also, I'm impressed with how Riordan manages to have gay and bisexual characters in a way appropriate for middle grade, too.

I'm not listening to Airborn since I've been sick, and audiobooks are for exercise, but hope to get back to it soon now that my lungs are coughing out the last of the phlegm.

What I'm reading next:

While I was at the library I also picked up Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, which has been recommended to me by a number of people. Also the second volume of Saga.

Other than that, still playing Dragon Age: Origins (in Orzammar now). Mostly I'm writing fanfiction :-)

Wednesday Reading Meme

Sep. 20th, 2017 11:45 pm
chantefable: ([mood] cheerful)
[personal profile] chantefable
What I've just finished reading

Some haikus by a famous Edo poet Matsuo Basho, which were lovely: a respite and rearrangement of usual thought.

under the cherry -
blossom soup,
blossom salad.


Also, Suradanna and the Sea, a short story by Rebecca Fraimlow that is available online and was recommended by [personal profile] isis: a charming fantasy about spoilers ). It's very pleasant, and also f/f with a happy ending.

What I'm reading right now

Like I planned last week, I ploughed through some of Virgil's The Eclogues in Guy Lee's 1980 translation, and it has been rough because I lacked the background knowledge and contextual information to appreciate the glory of the bucolic idylls, if that's what you're going to call them... there's angst and hurt/comfort and Greek canon-typical violence, you know. Most of the meta- and para-textual stuff either went over my head or I sloughed it off, like so much half-baked comprehension. One thing is certain: in Eclogue 5, two shepherds, Menalcas and Mopsus, "sit down together where hazels mix with elms" and talk up their dead shepherd BFF Daphnis to the point of deification, something that Daphnis, who may have been a swell guy indeed, explicitly wanted when alive? Menalcas and Mopsus are kind of shippable, though. There's something intimate about two guys making a mound and singing praises to a tragically dead handsome oxherd, in verse. #justgreekthings ?

What I plan to read next

More D.H.Lawrence poems. Some sort of mystery would be nice as well, something pleasant.

Wednesday Reading Meme

Sep. 20th, 2017 09:07 am
osprey_archer: (books)
[personal profile] osprey_archer
What I’ve Just Finished Reading

Elizabeth Wein’s The Pearl Thief, which features exuberant spoilers )

What I’m Reading Now

At last I started The Ordinary Acrobat and I’m quite enjoying it! I had not realized that a memoir about attending a circus school was a thing that I wanted in my life, but it totally is and it’s just as fascinating as it sounds. And also it has made me want to learn how to juggle.

I found myself pining for the bucolic world of Miss Read, so I went ahead and borrowed the last two Miss Reads in my mother’s collection: Thrush Green and Winter in Thrush Green. Will I be forced to turn to the library to supplement my Miss Read needs? Perhaps! Although probably I should give James Herriot a try first - I think he’s got a similar thing going on in his tales of life as a country vet, in the quirkily amusing yet tranquil English countryside.

What I Plan to Read Next

Now that I’ve almost finished reading down my pile of books-I-own-but-haven’t-read, I’ve decided that it’s time to make some serious progress on my to-read list. Perhaps Emily Arsenault’s The Leaf Reader? I quite enjoyed her earlier novelThe Broken Teaglass, and it sent me on a fruitful search for more mystery novels about unraveling literary puzzles. Or maybe some more Jon Krakauer…

I’ve already borrowed Sara Pennypacker’s Summer of the Gypsy Moths from the library, though, so probably I will read that first.

Brooklyn

Sep. 19th, 2017 10:00 pm
osprey_archer: (shoes)
[personal profile] osprey_archer
"So this is how General Hux started his multi-incarnation descent into evil," Julie commented, as we watched Brooklyn, which features the actor who plays Hux in the decidedly un-Hux-like role of Jim Farrell, the leading lady's other man who gets his heart broken because otherwise the film would descend into bigamy. Bigamy is not charming, and Brooklyn is all about charm.

And also clothes. The costumes are gorgeous and if that is a thing you are into, it's well worth watching them for the beautiful fifties fashions alone.

Young Eilis, unable to find work in Ireland, immigrates to New York. At first she struggles to adjust, but with the help of the priest who sponsored her immigration - and a lucky meeting with an Italian-American boy, Tony - she begins to settle in. But just when she and Tony are beginning to get serious, a family tragedy drags her back to Ireland. She pauses only long enough to marry Tony in City Hall before she goes.

Well, okay, people do jump into hasty decisions in times of stress, and also Eilis wears a simply smashing orange suit for the wedding, so I suppose we can allow. But this rather drains the tension out of the latter half of the movie. Even if Eilis wants to stay in Ireland - and there are certainly many arguments in its favor! - she can't without committing bigamy, and in the end that forces her back.

And it really does force her back: someone in her hometown learns about her marriage, and attempts to blackmail Eilis, which makes Eilis leave on the next boat. There's no "it's nice to be back home in Ireland with my best friend, who has introduced me to Jim Farrel who is kind and attentive and stands to inherit a swell house, and also I've been offered a job I'd like in the field I've been studying... but I really love Tony, so I'm going home to Brooklyn." No. She leaves because she's checkmated.

And I'm not sure she really does love Tony, anyway. I think she loves the fact that she's not lonely when she's with him, that he's helped her feel at home in Brooklyn - but the first time he says "I love you," she completely freezes, and even later on she can't say it naturally, she has to work up to it through "I like you" first.

Now possibly this is just emotional repression but... eh. She falls in with Jim Farrell so quickly once she's back in Ireland. And she doesn't even read Tony's letters. He's spending so much money on airmail, Eilis! Why did you marry him if you were just going to stick his letters in a drawer?

On the other hand Tony is super in love with her and generally pretty nice, so hopefully once she's back in Brooklyn she'll settle down and they'll have a happy life together despite their rocky beginning. (And meanwhile, Jim Farrell will begin his descent toward space Nazism.)

Caldecott Monday: Smoky Night

Sep. 18th, 2017 08:51 pm
osprey_archer: (books)
[personal profile] osprey_archer
The Caldecott award winners - indeed, picture books in general - often seem to float in a gentle timeless world untouched by history, or at least only brushed by the brighter and more beautiful parts of it. It's a peaceful place, picture book land, a pleasant respite.

This is not true of the 1995 Caldecott winner, Smoky Night, which was inspired by the Los Angeles riots in 1992 (although the riot within the book has no specific location). The two year turnaround time (Caldecott winners are selected from the books published the year before the award is given) makes the riots a red hot topical reference in picture book terms.

It's, well, it's a very 90s take on race relations. If only we all get to know each other, maybe we can all get along! Well, maybe. This seems a little too pat to me - it all ties up too neatly with a bow at the end.

On the other hand, it may be asking too much to expect a picture book to explain systemic racism to five-year-olds.

The illustrations are acrylic, thick black outlines filled in with heavy dark colors, and mixed media collages for the backgrounds. It isn't a style I particularly like: there's something upsetting about the teal & purple palette David Diaz used for the faces, although I understand that he probably didn't want to commit to races for all the characters. But the collages are definitely striking (there's one with broken glass; another with crumbled dry cleaner clothes, still in the bags), and quite unlike anything I've seen in other picture books.

remix and other festathons

Sep. 18th, 2017 03:30 pm
isis: Write what you're told! (micah wright)
[personal profile] isis
Hopefully if you're planning on signing up for [community profile] trickortreatex you've already done so, as sign-ups close in under 3 hours. (Of course, you can always write treats!) I've been diddling with my offers but I think I'm set. Ordinarily I think of it as warm-up for [community profile] yuletide, but considering that I've been doing a lot of exchanges recently (maybe too many) it's not exactly that for me this year!

Speaking of exchanges-in-progress, I've got the next two weeks to finish my [community profile] femslashex fic - I finally got a good grip on what I want to write and it's going like gangbusters now - and to incorporate beta changes into my [community profile] crossovering fic. Then it will be time to write whatever I get assigned for [community profile] trickortreatex, and to sign up for [community profile] yuletide. Whew!

But one exchange is done and dusted, and that is [community profile] remixrevival! There are two remixes of my work, one in the main exchange and one in madness, both in Raven Cycle fandom, and I have no idea if they are by different people, though each was done with a different approach. And even though this isn't a gift exchange, I'm delighted by both of them and happily ticked the "link to this related work" button, because they're both great, and I enjoyed reading them even though I'm not really in the fandom any more.

But to return, and view the cheerful skies (1727 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Raven Cycle - Maggie Stiefvater
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Ronan Lynch/Adam Parrish
Characters: Ronan Lynch, Adam Parrish
Additional Tags: Post-Canon, Long-Distance Relationship, Murder Squash Song, Remix
Summary: Come visit, Adam didn’t say, because at some point before he even met Ronan, he had set himself this idiotic challenge: he would do everything he could to prove to himself that he could make it alone.

This is a sequel to a ficlet I wrote for [personal profile] jain a few years ago for [community profile] fandom_stocking, but it also stands alone as an exploration of the same basic idea (so therefore it's a legit remix), and the author very subtly brought it into compliance with the last book in the series, which hadn't been published at the time I wrote the original. Stylistically it's fabulous (and exactly the style I love to read), the details are delightful, and the ending made me grin a little and tear up a little and I'm not even in the fandom any more.

Disappearing Act (the Smarter than I Look remix) (950 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Raven Cycle - Maggie Stiefvater
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Noah Czerny/Joseph Kavinsky
Characters: Noah Czerny, Joseph Kavinsky, Ronan Lynch, Richard Gansey III
Additional Tags: Non-Consensual Oral Sex, Ghost Sex, Supernatural Elements
Summary:

Kavinsky's still around, which means he's still dangerous. There are ways to change that. But they're not fun.

This is a remix of a nasty little noncon story I originally wrote as a kinkmeme fill, but what's brilliant about it is that the author used a POV shift to completely change the meaning of the original story, revealing the original POV as an unreliable narrator. This is one of my favorite devices in fiction - it's a feature of the brilliant Iain Pears book An Instance of the Fingerpost, and I've used it in remixes before - and it shows that Noah has agency, rather than being the victim.

While I'm talking remixes, have a few recs:

Underworld (the Etruscan pottery remix) (5 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Etruscan Mythology
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Original Female Character/Original Female Character
Characters: Original Female Character(s), Vanth (Etruscan Mythology), Karun (Etruscan Mythology), Tuchulcha (Etruscan Mythology)
Additional Tags: Digital Art, Fanart, Etruscan mythology - Freeform, Red-figure vase painting, Underworld
Summary: "I could not leave you here alone," Thana said./Velia folded her hands over Thana's. "I wanted you to live, my love."/"I know," Thana said. "But I could not leave you here."

This is beautiful fanart, which makes a bit more sense after you've read the (linked) original story, which is a sort of f/f Orpheus story, also very good and makes sense even if you're not familiar with Etruscan mythology.

Down the Garden Path (and what Alice found there) (4517 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 5/5
Fandom: Alice In Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Alice (Alice in Wonderland)
Additional Tags: Dreams and Nightmares, Dreams vs. Reality, Non-Linear Narrative, Board Games, Pastiche, Poetry, journeys, Nursery Rhymes, Werewolves
Summary: Alice throws a six, and finds herself on the square of the hypotenuse. But she's been here before, and she'll be here again, and perhaps she's already here...

This amazing expansion of the original ficlet is fantastic, in both literal and figurative senses. The early bits are perfect pastiche of Carroll's nonsense, and then the later chapters are really quite transcendental, bringing sense to the nonsense and gathering all the elements together in a lovely way.

Of course I wrote something for the exchange as well, though it's unlikely that you'll stumble over it unless you know the fandom. I'll post about it when works are revealed next week.

Mary Poppins

Sep. 17th, 2017 05:23 pm
osprey_archer: (cheers)
[personal profile] osprey_archer
A busy weekend! I've had work & work & more work, but on Friday evening I went to the Artcraft to see Mary Poppins on the big screen - arriving just in the nick of time, still dressed in my Starbucks clothes (all in black), only for Julie to drag me backstage and pop a newsboy cap on my head and propel me on stage with a group of her cosplaying friends to play chimney sweeps.

So that was fun. I looked quite fetching in the newsboy cap if I do say so myself; I may need to buy one.

And Mary Poppins was delightful, of course! Naturally I've seen it before - my favorite bit as a child was the part where they jump into the chalk paintings - but it's been quite a long time so it was great to see it again. And on the big screen! Jumping into a chalk painting is even more delightful on the big screen!

I also enjoyed how willing the movie is to meander off on digressions: it stops dead for the penguin dance, or Mary Poppins riding her carousel horse in the ascot, or the laughing disease that makes people float. Well, I suppose that is plot relevant, but the length of the sequence is not strictly necessary - but it is fun, and the fact that the movie includes things just because they're fun gives the movie room to breathe. I feel that movies rarely allow themselves to digress the same way anymore - although Moana did have that coconut pirate sequence, which strictly speaking was totally superfluous except for being super nifty.

***

In preparation for Mary Poppins, we watched Saving Mr. Banks, which is about the making of Mary Poppins. It stars Emma Thompson as P. L. Travers, the author of the Mary Poppins books, who through financial necessity has at last been forced to accept Walt Disney's entreaties to make a movie based on her books. She insists on supervising the script writing and is breath-takingly, fascinatingly cranky.

(One of the songwriters limps, and eventually Travers demands, "What is wrong with his leg?"

"He got shot," says his fellow songwriter.

Travers, without missing a beat: "Hardly surprising.")

I enjoyed Saving Mr. Banks, but it made me really, really want to read a good nonfiction book about the making of Mary Poppins. I suspect that Saving Mr. Banks had to tone it down to make it believable, and I want all the bizarre and ridiculous deets.

Dear Trick or Treat-er!

Sep. 18th, 2017 08:50 pm
chantefable: ([bbc] omgstfu)
[personal profile] chantefable
Dear Creator, thank you very much in advance for making something for me. This is my first time participating in this fest and I am brimming with excitement. I am sure I will love everything that you generously choose to make. Thank you so much for offering to write/draw something in one of these fandoms.

I have made some prompts & suggestions, but please feel free to take things in whatever direction you like and/or include other characters. My strict DNWs are gratuitous violence, abuse and lack of consent (physical, social, sexual, etc.), any sexual situations for characters not of age, on or off-screen. Realism, magical realism & surrealism are all fine. I strongly prefer art with lower ratings; as for fic, wherever the muse takes you.

I like: historical (if appropriate) and worldbuildy detail, scenery porn, what-if AUs, original characters, time travel, ghost/afterlife stories, mythological and supernatural elements, and magical realism. I like gen, het, slash, and femslash. In general I'm not a fan of AU that completely changes the setting, but if you have a brilliant idea, go for it; I would prefer "interesting" to "mundane" AUs, e.g., in SPAAAACE yes, coffeeshop no. (Coffeeshop in SPAAAACE, okay!).

In fic: Themes like quests, journeys, transition, and liminal spaces; reflection, self-improvement, love, generosity, symbols; visual art and statues, micro and macro spaces, and tactile exploration. If you want to create WHAT-IF, go for it! Kudos to human-dolphin joint societies, atavistic tails, shark meritocracy, journeys to the bowels of the earth, inner demons made flesh and taking over, in short, any sort of soft sci-fi philosophical extravaganza.

In art: I like both serious portraits and funny little cartoons, as well as landscapes that tell a story (with maybe a hint of the characters' presence). I love interesting and experimental compositions, unusual perspectives, emphasis on textures such as hair and clothing, and scenery porn (Mountains! Trees! Cliffs with water crashing on them! Brooding ruins of an ancient castle!) and I like line drawings as well as full color. I like historical detail and obscure trivia, nature and architecture, water bodies and forests, colours. I also like woolly mammoths, dinosaurs, and space, so if in doubt, just throw in a velociraptor on a spaceship.

Tricks I would like: ghost stories, supernatural elements, afterlife stories, relationships between living characters and ghosts/spirits/supernatural entities, meddling deities, magical objects that do surprising things. Mildly spooky things. In general I prefer happy endings, but bleak for the purpose of narrative cohesion works, too.

Treats I would like: strong, heartfelt relationships, love for friends, family, life companions, romantic or otherwise, taking care of other people (when one is in charge of them, dependent on them, or in some relationship), loyalty, kindness, doing the good thing and/or the right thing, etc. My all-time favourite is the baroque theatre invisible mistress trope, which is basically Eros & Psyche – one falls for the other while their face & identity are concealed by a mask or disguised in the dark. As the fandom jargon goes, identity porn FTW. Please don't add in any unrequested background non-canonical relationship. Explicit sex okay, non-explicit sex is okay, no sex is okay, but any sex should be in believable language for that era or fandom. UST, gen, all good. I like sex in fic, but I prefer more focus on the emotions than the physical mechanics, and no BSDM or bloodplay or watersports or anything that might get a special tag.

I would prefer not to receive explicit horror (fic or art), any kink you'd specifically tag, or artwork that depicts explicit sex (NSFW R-rated is fine, NC17 showing genitals is not). I do not want any fic focusing on pregnancy, children, or with the A/B/O trope.

Now onto the specific fandoms. (If none of my vague ideas appeal to you, I assure you that as long as you incorporate things I have said I like, and avoid things I have listed as dislikes, I will be happy with whatever you choose to create.)

Frontier Wolf (Sutcliff) )

The Eagle (of the Ninth) (Sutcliff) )

DCU (Movies) )

Burnt (2015) )

John Wick (Movies) )

Person of Interest (TV) )

Spooks (TV) )

Aubrey-Maturin (O'Brian) )

Hannibal (TV) )

Southland (TV) )

09/15/17 PHD comic: 'Inner Gollum'

Sep. 17th, 2017 12:25 pm
[syndicated profile] phd_comics_feed
Piled Higher & Deeper by Jorge Cham
www.phdcomics.com
Click on the title below to read the comic
title: "Inner Gollum" - originally published 9/15/2017

For the latest news in PHD Comics, CLICK HERE!

chantefable: ([hp] make love)
[personal profile] chantefable
Remix Revival went live today, and I was fortunate enough to receive two gifts in the main collection. Behold the haul:

Sunset (The Tequila Sunrise Remix) (1220 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Draco Malfoy/Rose Weasley
Characters: Draco Malfoy, Rose Weasley
Additional Tags: Age Difference
Summary:Rose grows up hating Draco Malfoy. Then she meets him.

This is a remix of Tequila Sunrise, my vaguely identity shenanigans story about Draco Malfoy and Rose Weasley (mostly Draco's bleak despair, his midlife crisis and low-key femdom needs), and I was super thrilled when I realised it was remixed during the un-revealed period (I skim-read the tags and they pointed pretty clearly to which fic of mine was remixed, you see). The lovely creator made a Rose POV-remix, very tender and Harlequin. You like HP and melodrama? This is your jam.

Pity No More (The Closed Doors Remix) (1140 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (2015)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Illya Kuryakin/Napoleon Solo
Characters: Napoleon Solo, Illya Kuryakin, Gaby Teller
Additional Tags: challenge: remix revival, Period-Typical Homophobia, No Dialogue, Remix, Soulmate-Identifying Marks, Soulmates
Summary: It hadn’t been an easy thing, growing up with a man’s name tattooed inside his wrist, even if it was in English. Too many people knew English, were learning English -- it wasn’t safe. He faked an accident. Deliberately threw himself off-balance and burned his wrist, alongside a good portion of his arm, in the fire from the stovetop. The words weren’t just unreadable, after that. They were gone.

This is a remix of Pity No More, my second most-popular Man from UNCLE soulmates AU, and YAY lovely, it manages to be even more bleak and claustrophobic. You like soulmate-identifying marks and attraction against the odds? No sweet endings? This is your jam.

Dear Trick-or-Treater!

Sep. 16th, 2017 03:59 pm
isis: (harry punkin)
[personal profile] isis
I like: historical (if appropriate) and worldbuildy detail, scenery porn, what-if AUs, original characters, time travel, bodyswap, ghost/afterlife stories, mythological and supernatural elements, and magical realism. I like gen, het, slash, and femslash. In general I'm not a fan of AU that completely changes the setting, but if you have a brilliant idea, go for it; I would prefer "interesting" to "mundane" AUs, e.g., in SPAAAACE yes, coffeeshop no. (Coffeeshop in SPAAAACE, okay!).

In fic: I prefer past tense to present tense, though don't feel constrained by this preference if your story really wants to be in present tense. I don't really care for second-person narration, but again, feel free to slip this preference if you have a fantastic idea. I'm happy with epistolary fic. I like lots of dialogue. If you want to create IF, go for it!

In art: I like both serious portraits and funny little cartoons. I have a soft spot for art in which one character is doing something typical-but-alarming, and the other is rolling his or her eyes, or reacting with horror, or getting ready to douse them with a bucket of water, or whatever. Stylistically, I love interesting and experimental compositions, unusual perspectives, emphasis on textures such as hair and clothing, and scenery porn (Mountains! Trees! Cliffs with water crashing on them! Brooding ruins of an ancient castle!) and I like line drawings as well as full color.

Tricks I would like: ghost stories (either scary or sweet), supernatural elements, afterlife stories, relationships between living characters and ghosts/spirits/supernatural entities, meddling deities, magical objects that do surprising things. I don't care for explicit horror, but I like mildly spooky things. In general I prefer happy endings, but see individual fandoms.

Treats I would like: romance, friendship, wacky hijinks, first kisses, first times (of anything), comedy of errors, matchmaking. Please don't add in any unrequested background non-canonical relationship. Explicit sex okay, non-explicit sex is okay, no sex is okay, but any sex should be in believable language for that era or fandom. UST, gen, whatever. It's all good. I certainly like explicit sex in fic, but I prefer more focus on the emotions than the physical mechanics, and my preferences are fairly vanilla: mouths, hands, genitals, toys, all are fine, but I'm not into BSDM or bloodplay or watersports or anything that might get a special tag.

I would prefer not to receive explicit horror (fic or art), any kink you'd specifically tag, or artwork that depicts explicit sex (NSFW R-rated is fine, NC17 showing genitals is not). I do not want any fic focusing on pregnancy, children, or with the A/B/O trope.

And now onto the specific fandoms. Please note that prompts may be spoilery. Also, I tend to go rather light on prompts, because if I had particular ideas, I'd write them myself! If none of my vague ideas appeal to you, I assure you that as long as you incorporate things I have said I like, and avoid things I have listed as dislikes, I will be happy with whatever you choose to create.

17776: What Football Will Look Like in the Future - Jon Bois (Juice, Nine, Ten) )

The Mark of the Horse Lord - Rosemary Sutcliff (Conory, Murna, Midir, Phaedrus) )

Old Kingdom - Garth Nix (Original Clayr, Lirael, Nicholas, Sameth) )

The Shining Company - Rosemary Sutcliff (Prosper, Faelinn) )

Wiedźmin | The Witcher (videogame) (Cirilla, Cerys, Sylvia Anna | Syanna) )

Book Review: White Gold

Sep. 15th, 2017 08:09 am
osprey_archer: (books)
[personal profile] osprey_archer
I requested Susan Falls’ White Gold: Stories of Breast Milk Sharing from Netgalley because the topic fascinated me: informal breast milk sharing networks in the United States. That part of the book is interesting, and there’s also some information about breast milk traditions in other parts of the world that I found interesting too (did you know that in some Arab countries, unrelated children who are breastfed by the same woman become milk siblings?), but unfortunately I didn’t enjoy the book as a whole.

There are two reasons for this. The first is simply that the book is not written in a style that appeals to me. I have a low tolerance for jargon and for intensive theorizing, and this book is all about jargon, and often uses the topic of breast milk sharing networks as a springboard to theorize about, say, the nature of agency. There is a place where Falls stops dead to consider whether she ought to consider whether breast milk itself has agency, before mercifully concluding that this question is beyond remit of her book.

I’m sure there are people who find this sort of thing fascinating, although personally I always feel that this sort of thing shows either a dangerously loose grasp of the theory of agency, or possibly that agency itself has become so loosely defined that it’s no longer a useful concept.

The other problem - which I think is an actual problem with the book, rather than a problem with me as a reader for this book - is that Falls is so deeply embedded in a particular perspective on social justice that she never notices her actual prejudices. She is stunned to discover that many breast milk donors in the American South are conservative white Christians - she mentions multiple times how much this surprised her - but it never seems to occur to her that she ought to interrogate her own surprise, or for that matter to investigate why breast milk donation would be an appealing prospect for many conservative white Christian women.

Surely these questions are at least as important and interesting as the possible agency of breast milk.
sineala: (Avengers: Welcome back Cap)
[personal profile] sineala
This is the Secret Empire story I was trying to finish before Omega came out. Here it is anyway!

Retrograde (9085 words) by Sineala
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Marvel (Comics), Marvel 616, Avengers (Comics)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Steve Rogers/Tony Stark
Characters: Steve Rogers, Tony Stark, Janet Van Dyne
Additional Tags: Angst, Hurt/Comfort, Crying, Consequences, Confessions, Implied/Referenced Rape/Non-con, Fix-It of Sorts, Hopeful Ending, Civil War II (Marvel), Secret Empire (Marvel), Avengers Vol. 7 (2017), Community: cap_ironman, Cap-Ironman Bingo
Summary:After Hydra falls, Tony wakes. The world is broken. And Steve won't talk to him anymore.

I am counting this for the Cap-IM Bingo square "confession in desperate situation." There are definitely confessions. Also tears.

Yay. Back to the fanfiction mines. *opens Big Bang draft again*

Book Review: Bayou Magic

Sep. 14th, 2017 09:12 am
osprey_archer: (books)
[personal profile] osprey_archer
”I’ve got another one. Another saying. ‘Planting seeds grows happiness.’”

C’est vrai.” Grandmere starts rocking again, her lips upturned.

I think but don’t say:
Sometimes bad happens.

Sayings come from observing the world. As true as the sun rises and sets, bad
is. That’s what I’ve learned.

Oil and salt destroy land. A bird’s wing gets broken. A turtle gets eaten by a gator.

Mami Wata couldn’t stop Membe being captured as a slave.


This quote does not entirely capture Jewell Parker Rhodes’ Bayou Magic - the book is more hopeful than this excerpt really expresses - but it does capture the rhythm and the cadence of the book, the darkness that hangs just beyond the light of the fireflies Maddy’s grandmother teaches her to summon. There is light and beauty and magic in this book, but these things can only hope to hold back the badness, to make it bearable, not to defeat it.

I was curious how Rhodes would combine a “girl meets magic” storyline with African-American history without either getting losing the wish-fulfillment aspects that make this sort of story fun, or else getting too wish-fulfillment-y which would require straight-up ignoring the ugly parts of history. In fact, she finds an excellent balance between the two - with room to spare for beautiful passages about the bayou and the mermaids, which both seem to get more magical through their association with each other.

This is the third book in a series (I’m not sure how tightly connected the series is; they might just be connected by the premise, “African-American heroines in Louisiana + magic”), and now I want to go back and read the first two.

09/13/17 PHD comic: 'Impostor Attack'

Sep. 13th, 2017 07:41 pm
[syndicated profile] phd_comics_feed
Piled Higher & Deeper by Jorge Cham
www.phdcomics.com
Click on the title below to read the comic
title: "Impostor Attack" - originally published 9/13/2017

For the latest news in PHD Comics, CLICK HERE!

wednesday reads 'n things

Sep. 13th, 2017 03:25 pm
isis: winged Isis image (wings)
[personal profile] isis
What I've recently finished reading:

Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol. Short graphic novel that is a bit darker than I had expected. Well done and a quick, entertaining read.

The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan, which is book 1 in the Trials of Apollo series. I didn't even know about this series until someone mentioned it in relation to the Percy Jackson and Magnus Chase books! I love how these book series interweave. Riordan's genius is in humor that is both silly and poignant, with heartfelt sentiment at its core. The god Apollo may be a total jerk, but as a human teen he is forced to confront his egoism and poor choices of the past, and maybe he'll come out of it a better, er, god. (Also, I am so pleased by the setup for the next book, and am anxiously awaiting my library hold to come through!)

What I'm reading now:

I'm still sort of poking at Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders, but if it doesn't grab me soon I'm ditching it.

I'm also somewhere in the middle (I have no idea how far in I am, really, because my waterproof mp3 player has no display) of Airborn by Matt Cruse, which is reminding me more of Steampunk Tom Sawyer than anything else. I'm enjoying it, though some of the events (the volcano that happens to start erupting as they go by!) make me roll my eyes.

What I'm reading next:

I have a couple of things people have mentioned nominating for Yuletide on my phone to check out. Also, I may give in and read the last of the existing Expanse books. (But then there won't be any more! Not for a while!)

What I just finished watching:

Finally saw Ex Machina, which I mostly liked but really, I wanted more scenery porn. Apparently it was filmed in Norway. Beautiful! Oh, yeah, AI robot plot and mad scientist type, whatever.

We are thinking of starting Westworld, speaking of AI robots.

What I'm playing now:

Still Dragon Age: Origins, which continues to be excellent entertainment. I have a golem companion now, who is a hilariously sarcastic pigeon-hating pile of rocks that is good at bashing enemies. Also I can't manage to make my character be anything other than basically lawful good. I am terrible at choosing objectively awful responses to things, even when they look like they might have interesting results!

What I'm playing next:

I bought the second Witcher game for $3 from a Humble Bundle promotion, so I will give that a try next.

Wednesday Reading Meme

Sep. 13th, 2017 11:40 pm
chantefable: ([mood] cheerful)
[personal profile] chantefable
I've been meaning to start this meme for years. What's the point in waiting? The time is now!

What I've just finished reading

I read Wailing Ghosts by Pu Songling, a short story collection from Penguin's Little Black Classics series. This is an author (born in 1640 and died in 1715 in Zibo, China) who wrote miniature tales of soft horror, Classical China-style. There are magic tricks and cryptic events, macabre events, unexpected hauntings, monsters, and Taoist monks ex machina. These are quite delightful - they have very particular structure and style, and what is considered narratively satisfying. The tales are a mix of the mundane and the supernatural, and often have a sort of 'moral' or 'takeaway message' in the end, often unexpected - so it's like a true novella in this respect, the final bit bearing the element of surprise and maybe rearranging the story. And they have such cute titles, like 'The Monster in the Buckwheat' or 'Scorched Moth the Taoist'.

What I'm reading right now

A collection of poems by D.H. Lawrence - it's huge and it will probably take me a while. I love poetry, and I like that this is the complete works collection - not just the good bits or the trendy bits or the highlights. This way you can get a better idea of how the author's style and artistic and/or existential concerns evolved.

what is chaos, my love?
It is not freedom.
A disarray of falling stars coming to nought.


(I have to say, Lawrence's poetry is frequently more readable than his prose. Some of the poems so far are excellent, either in form or function or message.)

What I plan to read next

I feel like Virgil, to be honest. I read a lot of The Georgics back when I wrote my Lucius/Hilarion fic in Frontier Wolf fandom, and now I'm thinking about The Eclogues. I am unable to finish a proper book lately, which is why I am more focussed on poetry and short stories. But some of The Eclogues sounds like a reasonable goal!

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