What I have been reading Wednesday

Oct. 11th, 2017 08:36 pm
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Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff. I love Lovecraft’s mythology, but the racism and misogyny are hard to take.But then there are some brilliant authors who take the mythology and make it soar, like the Swedish author Anders Fager, who mixes it with Swedish mythology and a (mostly), contemporary setting. Lovecraft Countrytakes the racism, gives it a good shake, and gives it center stage. Oh, it’s full of Lovecraftian horror themes, as well as some borrowed elsewhere, but that’s not the truly frightening stuff. The really scary bits in this book is the daily life of the protagonist, a family of African Americans in USA in the 1950’s, not monsters from beyond. I liked this book a lot, after I got used to it’s format. Each chapter is a self-contained novella, each featuring a different main protagonist, from a set of characters who also play parts in the other novellas. And there is also a underlying narrative which reach it's conclusion in the last chapter, so it is a coherent novel as well. For example, the first story is about a young man, Atticus, who go looking for his father in a small and isolated town, in the company of his uncle, and friend Letitia. The next one features Letitia as she purchases a house which turns out to be haunted. The novellas are a bit uneven in quality, but overall I found the book very good, and it was a joy to read. It has a proper ending, but also an opening for a sequel, which I wouldn’t mind. Apparently it is going to become a TV series, which I think could work very well.

Bryony and Roses by T. Kingfisher. You may have noticed by now I like fairy tale retellings. This one if a version of The Beauty and the Beast which was always one of my favorites (long before the movie, which didn’t come until I was an adult). In this novel beauty is called Bryony, and it’s she who gets trapped by the Beast and not her father. I really enjoyed this re-telling. Both Bryony and the Beast have distinct personalities and also hobbies, which I loved! And the tale was changed enough to make the narrative fresh and interesting.

Lord Peter Views the Body by Dorothy L. Sayers. This is the first collection of Sayers short stories, and it’s pretty uneven. A couple of macabre ones, like the one about an artist who makes some very curious pieces of art, or the man who inherits his uncle’s stomach. A couple of more straightforward murder mysteries, a couple of plain mysteries, and the absurd finale; “The Adventurous Exploit of the Cave of Ali Baba” where Lord Peter “dies” to go undercover for several years. My personal favourites are “"The Fascinating Problem of Uncle Meleager's Will" where Lord Peter and Lady Mary helps solving the clues to the whereabout of a testament by being frivolous, and "The Learned Adventure of the Dragon's Head" where we get to meet lord Saint-George for the first time.

A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge. The previous books I’ve read by Hardinge has been pure fantasy, this one is set before and under the Civil War in England. Makepeace’s grow up with her unmarried mother, who refuses to speak of her father. Makepeace also see ghosts. When she, eventually, learns about her father, she realises this is something she has inherited from him and his family. It’s a bit hard to say more without spoiling the book, but it’s well worth reading! It has a similar plot point with some of Bujold’s work, so I successfully guessed the big secret pretty much at once, but I enjoyed my read nevertheless.

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Oct. 10th, 2017 04:42 pm
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Three interlibrary loan books done. Three to go. Two of those can't be renewed, but the third is a volume of manga and so will likely end up being read first.

I came up with a title for one of my WIP yesterday, changed the sheets, and ran two loads of laundry.

We watched Supergirl last night. I hope I get more into this season than last season because I'm not going to be allowed to drift away to do something else when it comes on. I think that part of my problem last season was simply not comprehending the attraction of Mon-El.

Oh-- Now I know why I got cranky when I watched last season-- The point of his arc was him becoming a responsible person, but the timing and the writing made it him becoming a responsible person not through choice or circumstances but rather because Kara loved him, and I loathe that trope.

I'm tired enough that I'm missing things like tracking who I'm chatting with online or remembering that I refilled that one prescription Friday and didn't need to ask my doctor for a renewal (which I totally did before I realized). I'm also losing track of what things on my to do list I've dealt with and which I haven't. Those are a little easier because I can, say, look at the sink and see the presence or absence of dirty dishes.

My Gdoc of potential titles (mostly song or poetry fragments) is getting too long to work with. The response time is sluggish, and I know that separating it into pieces would help, but that will be ever so much less convenient. 36 pages is just too long, but this isn't something with obvious break points or useful ways of sorting things. Dividing by author would cut the length but make browsing a PITA. Dividing by theme-- Well, I can't actually tell what sort of theme a particular snippet is likely to fit. Maybe use of certain substantive nouns like 'time' or 'wind' or 'mirror'? Except that I'm sure there are a lot of snippets that wouldn't sort that way.

Anybody in need of a few dozen titles? Free to good home.

Chamber of Secrets Rewatch

Oct. 10th, 2017 02:14 pm
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[personal profile] author_by_night

Link to PS/SS Rewatch here.

Full disclosure, I actually saw Chamber of Secrets last weekend, but forgot to post my review. Spoilers across the board (i.e. all seven books).*Insert Hedwig's Theme here* )


Oct. 10th, 2017 05:24 pm
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Got properly flabbergasted for getting my Yuletide assignment so soon. I got a very good letter, but also a bit outside my comfort zone. But I have half an idea already, and hopefully I can make something good out of it. I’ve also noticed a letter with a request for a fandom I didn’t sign up to write, but got an idea for as soon as I saw it. So I think i can pretty safely say there will be at least one Treat. But I wonder when they will open up the Request summary at AO3. Some people only put there prompts on AO#, and some who do write letter doesn’t post about them in the letters post, so I always find the Request summary the best place to look Treat-ees. I also noticed that all my fandom request has got offers, which I didn’t expect- especially the pretty obscure offer of Elizabeth of the Garret Theatre. Weee!

And I’ve no less than two super nice comment on My Only Love, which completely made my day.

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Oct. 9th, 2017 09:48 am
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I walked for a little more than an hour this morning after walking Cordelia to the bus stop (a careful twenty feet behind her). I went to the science and nature center and got bitten by more mosquitoes than I expected to see this time of year. I then walked a bit further up the road to the two portals near the golf course. (There's one actually on the course, about 80 meters from the road, but I think no one ever goes after it. I think I've only seen it captured once in the two years I've been playing. There isn't a fence or no trespassing signs, but there are people actually playing golf, even at 7:30 in the morning.)

I've been lying flat on my back at least twice a day for a while. The hard floor hurts, but it's the one thing I can do that makes my shoulders and neck release some tension. Lying on a more yielding surface doesn't do it. I can only tolerate a few minutes of lying on the floor at a time. I've been tempted to try a little alcohol to see if that will help those muscles relax, but I'm taking Tylenol at least once a day for the elbow pain (can't sleep at all without it). I'm not willing to trade shoulder/neck tension, even at these levels, for liver damage.

I did no writing this weekend. I was kind of frustrated about it, but I can't write anything at all when Cordelia's reading over my shoulder, and I don't seem to be able to wedge things into the times when she's not sitting next to me.

I have six interlibrary loan books that I want to finish and return. I've also got a couple of books that can't be renewed. I'm trying to work on some of the audiobooks I've got on my laptop, too. It's just that those take so very, very long to get through.

I think I didn't quite get the cold Scott had. He's still coughing a lot, but I'm better already. Cordelia was feeling a bit off over the weekend, too, but she didn't mention it this morning.

What I have been reading

Oct. 8th, 2017 03:10 pm
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The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy L. Sayers. This is the book where Lord Peter Wimsey fully emerge as himself. The mystery is also wonderfully complex. General Fentiman dies at his club, and there are no reasons to think there is anything fishy about it. He is very old, and not particularly wealthy. But then it emerges that depending on the exact time of his demise, he might have died a very rich man. And there there is an autopsy…

This is also the book the charming Marjorie Phelps are introduced- the one Lord Peter wouldn’t have minded marry if only friendship had been enough. Though this isn’t my favourite sayers, it’s definitely one of the better ones.

The Abandoned Orphanage by John Carter. Not too bad opening about an old orphanage where people sometimes disappear forever. Now, i don’t mind fantastic stories, but what is important to me is logic behaviour. And this book feel completely after the following; For plot reasons it is important that a boy around 12 is left alone one night. I find it pretty hard to believe that parents, who have been depicted as caring, would leave a child that young alone, but ok, that might happen. But, this family is still reeling from the disappearance of the boy's younger sister. And there is no way on earth I can accept caring parents would leave their remaining child alone at home under those circumstances. Would. Not Happen. And then you can have as many beautiful plot points you want to realise and it will still not work.

Penric’s Fox by Lois McMaster Bujold. It is no secret Buold is one of my favourite authors, and apart from her fantasy romance series I have loved everything she has written. (The romance series is probably fine- I just don’t care much for romance as a genre). Penric’s Fox is part of a series of novellas set in her fantasy world of The Five Gods. Penric is a young man who accidently acquire a demon, which makes him into a sorcerer. And as the demon’s personality is made up of parts of all the previous human it has shared body with, the demon is a very feminine one. Penric names it Desdemona, and sometimes complains it is like sharing a body with several sisters.

This novella is chronologically speaking the third one, taking place after Penric and the Shaman and before Penric's Mission. In this story a sorceress is found murdered and Penric becomes part of the investigation. There is of course the question of who murdered her, but he also needs to find the demon, or rather, they need to find the living creature the demon must have possessed. It’s not my favourite Penric-story, but as all of them are good, this was very enjoyable to read anyway.

Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw. Doctor Greta Helsing specialise in the medical care of supernatural beings. It’s not a very exciting life anyway, but when a mysterious sect starts to kill of supernatural beings in London, Greta finds herself in the forefront of the fight. In a way it’s a story I’ve read before, a world pretty much our own, but with supernatural beings; many of them having familiar names like the vampires Lord Ruthwen and Varney. But Shaw’s writing is engaging and Greta is a good heroine; intelligent and capable. This is the first in a series, and I look forward to the next book!

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. This is another re-read. A middle-age woman is befriended by an old one at a nursing home, and over the course of several visits is told the story of the Threadgoode family in a small town in the American south. You’ve probably seen the movie with Kathy Bates. I love the movie, but the book is better.

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Oct. 7th, 2017 10:59 pm
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Somehow, today got away from me. Well, I know how, mostly. I slept really badly last night due to various physical aches and then kept thinking I should lie down and nap and kept having other things distract me. Then I started rereading a long fic and kept thinking that I'd read a little more. At this point, I've got the edges of a headache that tells me that I've been awake too long for the amount of sleep I got last night.

Scott will be working tomorrow, so we're all heading for bed now. Really, he should have gone to bed sooner, but... He never does, not when it's just him needing to.

Cordelia's current plan for tomorrow is to go dress shopping with a friend. I'm hoping that comes together properly because it would be nice for her to have something to do. I will have to decide whether or not to head to the library by bus. If Scott gets off work on time, he can drive me down there, but he may not and won't know until late enough that, while I could get there, getting home again would be challenging.

Yesterday morning, [personal profile] evalerie drove me to Kroger to pick up my prescriptions. I'm grateful for that because it was pouring rain and really not weather for standing at a bus stop.

I was certain yesterday that I was getting Scott's cold. I still don't feel 100%, but the humidity from the c-PAP actually helped my throat a lot. At this point, it's just a bit of not-quite-right in my throat that doesn't hurt or make me cough or anything. We'll see what tomorrow brings. If I do get the dratted thing, I'm hoping for it to hit hard tomorrow and then be gone. I suppose colds progress in accordance with Murphy's Law, too.

My Only Love, chapter 5

Oct. 7th, 2017 09:50 pm
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Title: My Only Love
Fandom: Versailles
Rating: Explicit
Genre: Drama
Word Count: 1004
Chapters: 5/?
Characters/pairing: Fabien Marchal/Sophie de Clermont.
Warnings: Torture, bondage, choking, knifeplay, rough sex
Summary: Estranged from Fabien, Sophie returns to Versailles, continuing her work as his spy. When Fabien decides to play a long game with Sophie as pawn, the hopes of them finding each other again, gets dangerously close to be permanently shattered. A sequel to Falling.

Read more... )
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My family and I (re)watched Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's/Philosopher's Stone tonight. Here are some of my thoughts. All of them spoilery.

Do do do do do do do....

Read more... )

Next on my rewatch reaction post list: The Chamber of Secrets. 

In the meantime, what do you guys think characters apart from Ron and Harr would see in the Mirror of Erised? Particularly ones we know less about.

What I have been reading

Oct. 6th, 2017 04:16 pm
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I haven’t done a reading post in months and months, So instead of doing one huge post, I’ll break it down.

Which Witch by Eva Ibbotson. This has always been my favourite Ibbotson. The dark wizard arriman the Awful decides to get married. Not because he particularly wants to, but because it has been foretold his heir will be an even greater wizard than he. And to choose a wife he arranges a competition among the witches from his hometown. Belladonna, the youngest witch falls hopelessly in love with him, but she is a white witch, and no matter what she does, her magic remains white. But then he meets a work called Rover and his owner, an orphan called Terence, and suddenly her magic goes black. Perhaps she will be able to win the competition, after all, if there wasn’t a new witch in town, whose magic isn’t only black; it’s evil.. It’s a funny book, but with its serious moments- especially Terence story is heartbreaking.

Unnatural Death by Dorothy L. Sayers. I started re-reading Sayers last year, and then got distracted, but I think I will continue now. I’ve always found her three first Lord Peter books the weakest ones, and Unnatural death is the one I re-read the least, apart from Five Red Herrings. The murder mystery is quite good; an old lady, dying in cancer, dies, all her money going to her great-niece who, by all accounts was devoted to her. The doctor attending the case is convinced something is amiss, but it all seems like a natural death. Enter Lord Peter, suddenly a lot more people are killed, and, of course, it was murder all along.

There are some glorious moments, the best the introduction of Mis Climpson, but what drags this book down is some rather unpleasant digs at lesbians, and several characters says nasty things about people of colour. I know it reflects views of the late 1920’s,, and at when it comes to the Reverend Hallelujah it is clear that the persons coming with derogatory remarks are narrow-minded bigots- he is actually a very pleasant person. But it still makes it a bit of an uncomfortable read.

The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley. I read The Watchmaker at Filigree Street earlier this year and loved it, so I was delighted when I learned Pulley was publishing another book. This one takes place in the same universe, but some 30 years before the events of the previous books, in 1859. They share a character, so it could be considered a prequel, but both books stands on their own legs. Here the hero, Merrick, is a young man who, due to damaging his legs, has resigned to live with his brother, whom he doesn’t get along with. They upper-class, but poor, the manor house they live in basically falling apart around them. There is also the fear of inherited insanity, something getting very acute for Merrick when a statue starts to move around, but it is only he who sees it. But then he is asked to travel to Peru to try to fetch trees to get quinine from, and to fetch it from the very place both Merrick's grandfather and father spend a lot of time.

I think this book was better than the first one; though there were a few minor things in the first part which never got fully followed up. Pulley has a trick in writing supernatural things in a way which makes them feels perfectly natural- like trees which may burst into flame at the smallest provocation. And in a way this is a book about two friendships; one this is falling apart, and one that tentatively starts, and then blossoms, both described vividly and interestingly. I look forward to see what Pulley will write next!

Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth. I read Forsyth’s The Wild Girl, about the wife of one of the Grimm brothers, interwoven with the fairy tale Deerskin. Bitter Greens have a similar set-up. Charlotte-Rose de la Force was a real person, an author and noblewoman at Louis XVI’s court. She was banished to a convent in the 1690’s, and the novel begins with her arriving at the convent. The story then split between her past, her life at the convent, and eventually a story an old nun tells her; the story of Rapunzel. Here it takes place in Venice in the late 16th century, told from Rapunzel’s point of view. Eventually we also get the sorceress’ story too, starting in the late 15th century.

Despite several timelines and POV’’s it was not difficult to tell them apart. Forsyth has a lovely language, and is very easy to read. She has also done extensive research which I love! You really do get a proper biography over Charlotte-Rose de la Force, authentic details about the clothes, as well as the proper history. I especially like that even if there is real magic in this story, it is still magic which very much rely suggestion, and real magic lore. The plot twist in the end wasn’t difficult to guess, but it didn’t matter- I enjoyed this book from beginning to end.

The Drowning Game by LS Hawker. Interesting start about a young woman who has been raised by a survivalist father, basically locked in and with no contact with other people.. When the father dies events unfold which makes her flee her hometown, trying to find out what happened to her mother. But all in all everything hinges on far too many unrealistic and fantastical events

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Oct. 6th, 2017 08:28 am
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I ended up not going to Kroger yesterday. I just couldn't spend that long out of the house when Scott was still too sick to be able to refill his water bottle without wiping himself out. (Cordelia wasn't home until almost 5:00). I thought I'd go this morning, right after walking Cordelia to the cross walk (if you can call it that when she generally walks about twenty feet ahead of me and doesn't acknowledge I'm there. It's just that she finds the idea of me not doing it completely unacceptable), but it's pouring rain.

I'm hoping that the rain will let up a little later on. I absolutely have to get the prescription today because I've taken the last tablet and need another some time between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. I just don't want to deal with wet feet from standing in the rain. In a little bit, I'll dig up some dry socks and see if one of my other pairs of shoes is closer to waterproof. My boots are, but I'd feel silly wearing those with shorts.

I'm also trying to figure out what to get in addition to my prescriptions. The things we actually need are mostly kind of heavy-- honey, chicken noodle soup, lemon juice-- which makes things more challenging. Maybe my backpack? But I also need to get bread, and I don't want that to get smashed.

Maybe cleaning the bread machine and setting something up there is a better option? I'm not sure if our bread flour is still good, though; I'll see how it smells.

My back was so tense and painful last night that I did end up lying on the floor. It helped those muscle spasms a lot but hurt in other ways because the floor is hard. I just think I'm going to have to do that a time or three every day. Usually, I'd try having a little alcohol (like a wine cooler amount) for this, but I'm taking Tylenol for the elbow pain, so alcohol is absolutely out.

I've promised Cordelia that I will finish my current Netflix DVD today so that I can send hers back in the same envelope. She's been waiting a couple of weeks for me to finish, so I really, really have to do it.

Because I really needed another WIP, I started a new story yesterday. I wrote about a thousand words, and I'm hoping to keep it under three thousand. It's another Weiss Kreuz story, so if I finish it in time, I can use it for [community profile] weissvsaiyuki. I started from one of the posted prompts, but I don't know that the story actually fits it now. I just have to figure out what the story's actually about.
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