( cut for spoilers )
( cut for spoilers )
I have been reading my son The Lord of the Rings. Alas, we are making very slow progress because I only read it once a week (the rest of the time his dad reads other books), and since school started, he's been so tired with his own evening reading to himself that he falls asleep after about one section.
"When will we reach the Black Riders again?" he asks.
"If we never reach the Prancing Pony, it will be a while," say I.
Other than that, my mind has not had much room for LotR this season. It is filled with many things, but the love is perpetual.
Author: Benjamin Wood
Narrator: Jane MacFarlane
Published: Penguin Audio, 2016 (2015)
Rating: 2 of 5
Page Count: 470
Total Page Count: 232,315
Text Number: 740
Read Because: this review, audiobook borrowed from the Multnomah County Library
Review: In the first third: an artist's colony, stylized and idyllic, contemplating themes of inspiration and artistic craft. In the middle third: a life history which initially and often feels like an excessively long parenthetical, wherein is revealed that the protagonist suffers severe mental health issues. In the final third: the aspects are united, revealing the colony as a hallucination which is part of the aforementioned illness. The voice is decent, overlong and overdetailed in a way that offers a hypnotic immersion if the reader is willing to be lost to its rhythm. The navel-gazing about art is indulgent, but counterbalanced by some extent by revelations in the ending which contextualize and deescalate all the artistic angst. But I hate, hate, hate the use of (mental) illness as a plot twistin part because it made for unexpected, triggering content which dampened my reading experience; in larger part because it's insincere and exploitativeyes, even the twist is justified by the nature of the condition, even when the portrayal is sympathetic. It consigns it to a gimmick, to a mystery, rather than a lived experience, and the style and themes can't hold up with the twist removed. I admit my bias; bias or not, I don't recommend this.
Title: The Changeling
Author: Zilpha Keatley Snyder
Illustrator: Alton Raible
Published: New York: Scholastic, 1974 (1970)
Rating: 3 of 5
Page Count: 230
Total Page Count: 232,545
Text Number: 741
Read Because: beautiful, old copy found at a Little Free Library
Review: Chubby, mousy Martha's childhood best friend is Ivy, daughter from a no-good family who claims to be a changeling. This has an episodic structure that threatens to be overbearing: the adventures of two imaginative outsiders are charming, evocative, sympathetic, but also frivolous. It's the cumulative effect which matters more, and while Martha's arc is dated (fat reader surrogates are fantastic; fat reader surrogates who lose weight while gaining confidence is problematic) her emotional growth still resonates and the relationship between the girls has sincere chemistry. Ivy is by far the more interesting, dynamic character; Martha is a conservative PoV choice, but Snyder's compassion prevents Ivy's story from becoming a morality lesson and off-centering the most thoughtful parts of the narrative is something I suspect would age well with the reader. I would have liked this more as a younger reader; the restrained, episodic style means there's nothing especially engaging for an incoming adult reader. But I think I would have liked it very much indeed, and still appreciate Snyder's humor and humanity.
Title: Infomocracy (The Centenal Cycle Book 1)
Author: Malka Ann Older
Narrator: Christine Marshall
Published: Macmillan Audio, 2016
Rating: 3 of 5
Page Count: 390
Total Page Count: 232,935
Text Number: 742
Read Because: personal enjoyment, audiobook borrowed from the Multnomah County Library
Review: In the near future, micro-democracy has divided the world into miniaturize nationstates headed by a single supermajority. But irregularities in the upcoming election threaten to destabilize the entire process. The setting is worldwide and convincingly detailed (especially the food and internet use), even if the technology/centralization is untenable. There's an attempt to make the characters accessible (and this almost succeeds in Mishima, arguably the protagonist), but with so many characters and such an excess of headhopping it's difficult to grow invested. The plot has a quick, clever pacebut I confess that I had a hard time keeping track of all the players and names, and was insufficiently invested to care. In other words, a decent book with the wrong readerthere's an audience for that Older is doing here, for smart and diverse techno/political thrillers; but it's not for me, and nothing jumped out to convince me otherwise.
K.B. Spangler has a new book out this week--one that's not connected to A Girl and Her Fed. (Digital only right now, but a print version is coming.) seananmcguire wrote a short Twitter thread in response when Spangler announced the new book's availability; the key takeaway about the actual writing is "If you want some of the most elegantly written, internally consistent, funny, touching, TRUE science fiction coming out today, you should take a look at @KBSpangler. She's the real deal, y'all. She's writing shit that breaks every rule, and still works."
In related news, I just spent a vile amount on US-to-Canada shipping* to get a print copy of Rise Up Swearing (so far the only compiled volume of AGAHF) and a little pin of Bubbles, the Fed's digital clownfish...avatar? (I'm blanking on the correct word. "Avatar" is applied to something else in that 'verse, though, IIRC. Hmm.)
I was spared having to decide, in this time of "yes, I swear, I'm trying to cut back on spending", whether I was going to get a "Literalists do it with their genitals!" shirt; the shirt is currently unavailable (as in, no longer showing up on the site at all, not just out of stock). My wallet is grateful.
*Ordered directly from the AGAHF store, and she was as appalled as I was at the shipping cost. It wasn't surprising, though.
The first week at Casual Job is over--all two days of it! (Four hours yesterday and eight today.) I'm having some tech frustration at the office that would take ages to type up and is not terribly interesting, but I'll say that I really, really hope the person who sometimes does on-site IT support for us is around on Monday, because WOW, calling the help desk was useless. -_-
So far at Hal-Con I've seen several people wearing geeky shirts from stories I know, and things like a Sailor Saturn costume down in the mall food court. (A moment of respectful silence for the food court workers this weekend, who'll be slammed.) But the best was when Ginny and I were running down from work to get lunch and ran into someone in Tohru cosplay! The cosplayer mentioned that she was off to get her Yuki and Kyo, but Ginny and I were then unsure if she'd meant plushies of the boys in their cursed forms or fellow cosplayers.
Summary: Bespin is evacuated, and Rey has to face Kylo Ren once more.
Prompt: Abandon Ship!
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Author's Notes: Was about to get a continuation of my "Shara Lives" story -- and I will get to that, never fear -- but let's say a bit of a recent revelation of awful about The Last Jedi sort of got me typing in my main verse again. Anyway, here's the Bespin evacuation scene.
( Fic under cut. )
Then, the allergist went really well- it usually goes well, but this time he said everything looked SO good that I don't have to go back for nine months. That's the longest I've gone between appointments in...well, at least since I was the person arranging the appointments, so that's getting close to 20 years now. Mom thinks it's the longest ever- she doesn't remember me ever being past 6 months. He also said if I'm still doing this well in 9 months, we'd start looking at decreasing my meds. Probably just dropping the Dulera from 2 puffs 2x a day to 1 puff 2x a day, but that would still be a big deal for me- most people are only on the dosage I'm on for 6 months before decreasing or transitioning off of it altogether. This is my second or third year on the Dulera and before that, I was on Advair for close to 15 years (varying dosages, usually the mid-dosage. I got down to the lowest dosage once, but never close to getting off of it altogether). In other words, I've been on a type of med that most people are on for 6 months for over 15 years. In case you were wondering just exactly how challenging my asthma is to control.
So, we'll see what happens. I won't be upset if I don't make it nine months without having to call and at least get something called in over the phone if not a sick visit, and Lord knows I don't expect to get off any of my meds altogether or even temporarily, but it's still a really good sign.
Rogue One | ~1300 words | Chirrut/Baze | Thanks to trinityofone for betaing.
(Also on AO3)
( When Baze had believed, that belief had been a thing grounded in soil and stone. )
Poor Phil. Our little black kitty, who we've been treating for the past couple of weeks for ear infections - and taking to the very nice vet twice in those past couple of weeks - has been, finally, diagnosed with an ear polyp. It's bleeding when it gets jostled, which is why one ear has been smelling nasty; old blood. Eurgh. It doesn't seem to hurt him too much, and it's not awfully itchy, as ear mites would be ...
... but he needs surgery. And the surgeon our vet recommended is 30 miles outside the city limits (in Buffalo Grove, oddly, where I spent 19 unpleasant months covering the community. In fact, when our vet handed BB the booklet, I thought "I'll bet this is somewhere way the fuck out, please let me be wrong," and of course I wasn't. Fucking Buffalo Grove.) Since Phil goes unhappily nuts for the 10 minutes it takes us to drive to the regular vet, this promises to be extraordinarily stressful for him, and for us. Especially since he'll have to go out for a consult, and then back out for the actual surgery.
It's going to cost, too, but to not do it would be wrong. There is also the possibility, we're told, that the polyp may have grown through the eardrum; and that may mean they can't remove the entire thing, and that it may grow back. Aaack.
Poor guy, he's really so forgiving of us. He's already climbing back into my lap, and wanting to be petted. I love him, and I hate stressing him out.
In happier human news, I feel much better. And it's the weekend. So there's that.
⌈ Secret Post #3915 ⌋
Warning: Some secrets are NOT worksafe and may contain SPOILERS.
( More! )
Secrets Left to Post: 00 pages, 00 secrets from Secret Submission Post #560.
Secrets Not Posted: [ 0 - broken links ], [ 0 - not!secrets ], [ 0 - not!fandom ], [ 0 - too big ], [ 0 - repeat ].
Current Secret Submissions Post: here.
Suggestions, comments, and concerns should go here.
If I get this one polished and posted in time tomorrow (assuming it doesn't turn out to be just flu med induced babbling when I proof it tomorrow of course ha, and also assuming the reveals aren't delayed anyway, cause that needy list is still fairly long...), that'll be six fics and over 13k in words (14k if you include the version of this fic that got trashed)! O_o
Either way: still feel like a walking, talking, plague ridden corpse so comments will continue to be delayed/non-existent + lemme know if I messed up your inclusion in the tallies anywhere in my feverish state. But hey, I worded and I managed today's post in time. Win/win.
( Days 1-20 )
Day 21: alexseanchai, cornerofmadness, esteliel, miss_morland, navaan, sylvanwitch, trobadora (7/18)
Let me know if you forgot to check in and need me to add you to the tally! And new people are welcome to join us at any time, if you wrote today just hop into the comments.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I love this book. Schaffer is such a good writer. I think it's so hard to write academic criticism well. The writer has to straddle the line between knowing her stuff/making a convincing argument and coming off like a pretentious twit who's just interested in proving how large her vocabulary is and how convoluted a sentence she can write. The longer I am in the academy, the less patience I have for dense, impenetrable academic writing. Life is too short to read someone masturbating (painfully, no less!) on the page. Schaffer's writing is not conversational, but it's not convoluted either; her writing is clear and convincing. I get a sense of who she is as a scholar and a thinker; her writing is formal, but she has not attempted to absent herself entirely from the process, a conceit I find tedious in a great deal of academic writing (as if our passions and interests and biases as scholars do not inform our work).
As a Ouida scholar, what mainly draws me to this book is Schaffer's argument that Ouida is a female Aesthete who can be credited with popularizing the witty, epigrammatic language that will later become characteristic of male Aesthetes like Wilde. She also positions Ouida and other female Aesthetes as a direct influence for Modernist writers; her comments about the way that Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own explicitly denies the lives and literary output of late Victorian women writers in order to create its argument that a female literary tradition doesn't exist are quite compelling (and even shocking) in this context. Identifying Ouida as an Aesthete also helps us to understand some of the seemingly inexplicable choices she made in her personal life (the way she dressed, her love of hothouse flowers, etc) as an attempt to live out the principles of Aestheticism.
I really enjoyed learning about female some writers I didn't know anything about (Who's going to immediately start reading Lucas Malet? This gal) and developing a greater understanding of Aestheticism itself. I was also fascinated to learn that Thomas Hardy plagiarized Jude the Obscure from a Lucas Malet novel and no one caught it at the time. Schaffer puts enough of their writing side by side that the plagiarism is undeniable.
Highly, highly recommend this as a very readable work that helps define Aestheticism, tells us about the lives and literary works of both male and female Aesthetes, and helps us understand the relationship of Modernism to the Aesthetic Movement.
View all my reviews
Which, given the weather - today was persistent drizzle rather than yesterday's chucking it relentlessly down - was a good idea. Salt mine, to be precise.
However, has been a long day - only just in from a Mahler concert - so any more detailed reports on touristic activities may follow at some later season.