For a specific book/occasion, definitely the Harry Potter books, especially when the 7th & final book came out.
My page friends Nina and Isa went to Barnes & Noble on the west side with me.
On the drive home, Isa read aloud by the light of a cell phone in the car.
All night, Isa kept calling me as she read (I read faster, so I was always ahead) to react emotionally to whatever she'd just read.
That entire experience is actually cataloged here.
I remember reading the end of A Dog Called Kitty aloud to my 3rd or 4th grade class (we had a "looping" class, so same class & students two years in a row) because my teacher was crying, & couldn't.
I remember reading Hatchet, remember picking up Cynthia Voigt books for myself.
I remember reading the Star Wars book, Shadows of the Empire.
I remember repeatedly rereading certain Dawson's Creek books for the almost-sex scenes.
I remember arguing with my mom, who wouldn't let me read A Tale of Two Cities because it was "too adult" (she'd never censored my reading before; I wanted to read it because of a Wishbone episode, lmao, I was 10), went downstairs & got the biggest book I could find, & fell breathless into Gone With the Wind.
I remember the huge sense of pride in 1st grade when my peers were looking at age-appropriate books, but Ms. Bougie took me across the aisle to "real" books, & let me check out chapter books. Ms. Bougie knew my mom because she'd been a patient in the ICU [she had polio], but I feel fairly confident that this choice was made on ability alone.
Planning what to bring to "Book it and Bag it" days [days when we brought sleeping bags & piles of books/snacks & just read all day] days in advance. I remember a lot of Berenstein Bears chapter books for the first few of these.
There are places - reading under my covers by flashlight at home so my mom wouldn't yell at me to go to bed; reading in bars Up North when I went out with my parents, Bonnie, & Bernie. Reading in the early mornings at sleepovers surrounded by my best friends because I was always the first one up. Reading on couches with my head in Antoine's lap at his apartments until I fell asleep. Reading in my sister's house while her kids slept in another room, as I babysat.
There are words - my favorites, which I reread & reread.
Reading the Little House series every single year from kindergarten through the end of middle school.
Rereading Redwall around Christmas every year: It was the start of the Summer of the Late Rose. Mossflower country shimmered.
The Twelve Kingdoms: Sea of Shadow by Fuyumi Ono - I've been aware of the Twelve Kingdoms anime for years. Back in my semester of Anime Club as a college freshman, this was one of the three shows airing. Steph and I hated it, regularly heckling it under our breath & talking about how much we couldn't stand the protagonist & more especially one of her companions. To be fair, we did miss at least the first two episodes, I think.
I actually really love the book. Getting inside of Yoko's head makes up for a lot of what's just whining in the show.
Yoko gets transported from her high school to another world by a mysterious dude with golden hair named Keiki. They get separated pretty early on, & all she has is a sword, a demon attached to her that allows her to fight extremely well with the weapon, & a jewel that heals her.
She gets taken in by some humans a few times, but gets betrayed by them every time.
I just reached the part where she met the rat, Rakushun.
I'm looking forward to reading more of these, even though I know Tokyopop only released 4 of the volumes, & I've heard that the translation/editing for the 4th volume is abysmal. I'm assuming there are translations of these online - anyone have a link?! ;)
maybe one day a plane will bring me home by astano - The first five times Santana visits New York.
A Scheme, Starring Rachel Berry, with Music and Lyrics by Rachel Berry (and Sam Evans) by ellydash - Rachel’s running after Finn. Sam’s running after Quinn. Eventually, they realize they’re running side by side. Season 2. I read a small blurb on Tumblr recently related to writing, where the mark of good fanfiction especially is that for every line of dialogue, you can't imagine anyone else saying except for the character who's saying it. ellydash is really good at that. Every single character feels spot-on, even/especially those who don't have big parts in the story.
I want to write like that.
& of course I'd now like to read this author's entire Glee backlog.
There's so much good Glee fanfiction I haven't read yet. :*) And due to that, I fell down a rabbit hole of ellydash's backlog & also ratherembarrassing's Pezberry reclist.
All My Loving For Someone Who's Loving Me by ellydash - Mercedes/Brittany/Santana - A Troubletones rehearsal at Santana’s house doesn't go exactly as planned.
Make Me Feel the Same by gilligankane - Pezberry written after episode 1.15. "She finds out about Finn and Santana through Tina who found out from Mercedes who got it from Kurt who was talking to Brittany who mentioned it in the first place." (I THINK THIS MIGHT BE THE FIRST PEZBERRY EVER WRITTEN?!)
Apologies by insaneantics21 - During 2x12. Santana & Rachel apologize to one another for the shitty things they've said to each other.
i seem incapable of titling things when drunk by lynnearlington - spoilers for 2x18, "stop acting like you aren't hot, it's pissing me off"
bandage and the blade by ellydash - It’s so much easier, in the end, for Emma to blame everything on Will. This focuses on Emma's anxiety & struggles with OCD.
Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson - As with The Midnight Robber, I really love the politics & the world that Hopkinson has set up - in this case a dystopian Toronto where Ti-Jeanne's grandmother's herbal skills are valued, whereas before they were a thing the family couldn't talk about. But I wish there was more about the society/etc., and that it was a longer story. Instead, it's pretty focused on Ti-Jeanne's journey. While I appreciate that she's a protagonist who made mistakes but remained sympathetic, I overall felt a little "meh" about this & rated it 3/5 stars.
Very! Very! Sweet, volumes 4-6 - Still loving this story - the clothes that Be-Ri wears (it seems rare that a heroine in manga/manhwa wears baggy clothing that's still cute/etc.?!), her developing relationship with her love interest, & just everything else.
Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth Cline - Some of the blurbs on the book describe this as being the "Omnivore's Dilemma" for the fashion industry, & that's sort of true. Cline looks into the outsourcing of the production of garments, & also the race to use as cheap of labor as possible with no thought as to either the quality of the final product nor the lives of the people working to make the clothing.
Some of the things Cline talks about are familiar: Women bragging to one another about how little money they spent on clothing; having no idea which fabrics are "good" (raises hand); etc. While I've never watched clothing "haul" videos on YouTube, I watch makeup ones semi-frequently, so I knew what she was talking about.
Some of the things she discusses are unfamiliar: While I mainly shop at places like Penney's, Gap, & Kohl's, Cline talks about buying garments that are only meant to last "3 washes" or so, & talks about throwing her clothes away. I think maybe this happens more often with stuff from Charlotte Russe or Forever 21 (none of which make clothing in my size), so I'm not sure what's up with the discrepancy. I wear clothing for years, & if something only last me 3 wears, I would be pissed.
Anyway, I gave this not that great of a grade because I found it pretty repetitive and not instructive in the end. She has a final chapter on how people should learn basic sewing techniques, buy a few higher quality items that will last longer, & familiarize themselves with their local tailors. These all seem like good ideas, but I still have no idea where to buy "good quality" clothing or how to go about recognizing "good" clothing.
I have a hard enough time finding clothing that fits me & drapes well on my body shape.
Still, I could learn how to repair ripped seams, or patch holes to make "weekend jeans," or a few things like that.
She did mention people like the blogger behind Refashionista, a woman who takes old/out-of-date clothing from resale shops & remakes them into modern/solid clothes to wear at a much cheaper price. It's a neat blog, but I'm not willing to invest that much time into it, I don't think.
As sort of a coda, I also listened to a Planet Money podcast about a family working in a clothing factory in Bangladesh.
Anyway, this prompt is from raanve, & after clarifying on Twitter a little bit, we're going with "music and writing," for me.
As-you-know-Bob, the thing I've been writing for the last couple years is A Song is a Weapon.
Music works a little differently in Glee fandom, as it would not be too random or unsettling for the characters to break into song in the fic itself. And as the title implies, singing does become pretty important to the plot. By the end of the fic, characters will literally sing.
That said, I still have a pretty lengthy "mix" for that FF7 Inception-AU I'd been working on for a while, too.
I find it almost impossible to write without listening to music. This is true even on the rare occasions when I sit down knowing what I'm going to write. Often, if I find a particular song gelling really well with a scene, I'll listen to it over & over until that scene is done.
Often, a lyric or a few lyrics will grab me & there'll be an image or a feeling that happens that I associate with a character in the fic.
Here's one from a few days ago. It hasn't been edited, so please withhold judgment as I'm using it to offer up a peek into my process. idk how other people write, but my process involves producing a lot of bilge.
I recently added Paramore's "Future" to my mix for this fic [which I have yet to update anywhere online - it's been a pretty big overhaul of adding/removing songs]. [Full lyrics here.] This fits into my mental image of Quinn-in-high-school, closing herself off from everyone else after her dad kicked her out of the house due to her pregnancy. In the show, she makes connections with people who help her, & then the relationships are never referred to again. On Glee itself, this is just lazy writing on behalf of the writers. In my fic, I'm trying to make the argument that Quinn used every waking minute to make sure she got into Yale [so she could join Skull & Bones], & researching her father's work and Skull & Bones, and figuring out how to bring them down.
Since the rest of the characters are physically separated from Quinn in my story (due to college/some still being in high school), & also suspicious of her, I haven't gotten into her head much, but after the intensity of season 3 & the shift in everyone else's attitudes, I think the reader needs a better understanding of where Quinn's coming for.
Anyway, the lyric from Paramore's 'Future' that prompted this scene is, "We don't talk about the past," but also the song as a whole - feeling really shitty about something specific that's ruined your life, but having a plan for the future that you can be focused on to help you get through what you have to get through now - in this case, high school.
(ALSO pretty sure the song doesn't mean your goal should be destroying an evil/patriarchal cult but YMMV)
Anyway, here's what I jotted down on a legal pad at work.
Watching her father had been jolting, once. After years of repression, it was jarring to see his face, to hear his voice. We don’t talk about the past, she’d said sharply to Mercedes to cut her off, once. It was one of the last times Mercedes pushed Quinn to talk about how she was really doing - feeling - after Beth was born. There’d been a sharp pang of guilt after seeing the hurt on Mercedes’s face, but Quinn hadn’t let herself acknowledge it. Like her mother, she agreed that not discussing the past was best. Unlike her mother, Quinn was fine with letting the past map out her future quite clearly. She wouldn’t talk about the past - that was fine. But it didn’t mean that she’d forgiven or forgotten. It didn’t mean she’d stopped caring about the puppet strings her father and his cronies had laced throughout the government and the rest of society. Wearing a white dress with matching headband didn’t make her innocent again. Holding up a copy of Pride and Prejudice in glee club didn’t mean she wasn’t reading Robert Kennedy’s The Enemy Within.
This is pretty rough, & a version of this won't end up in the fic.
I don't like "jolting" and "jarring" being in the first two sentences.
I dislike the "sharp pang of guilt" cliche, also the "forgiven or forgotten."
The last few sentences are building toward something, but I totally miss the landing - there's no conclusion.
Most of the text is pretty dramatic & vague, too, and it makes me wrinkle my nose - the sentence about puppet strings especially.
BUT STILL, it captured everything this lyric was making me think, & now it's down on paper.
In addition to the chapter I'm currently working on (4), I have a bunch of other "image flashes" like this for the rest of the fic. 10k words' worth, at the moment. Especially toward the end of the fic, some of these are the same scene - rewritten 2 or 3 times because they've happened different ways in my mind, almost always thanks to listening to different music.
Eventually, I use logic to string them all together.
Sometimes, the image I've jotted down doesn't work - originally chapter 4 ended in a warehouse-type building that looked like one of the reactors from FF7.
Recently, I decided that part of the reason this scene wasn't working was because the whole premise was stupid - it made way more sense to be in a nondescript office building than in a dramatic warehouse - especially since the kids were supposed to be obtaining paper documents.
Sometimes the lyrics of a song can drive the plot of the story. This happens most often when I hear a song for the first time, or after not hearing it for a really long time (so I'm paying closer attention to the lyrics than usual).
Kris Delmhorst's "Yellow Brick Road" ended up giving me a glimpse into how the story ends, & the lyrics are almost perfect for a Wicked-obsessed Rachel Berry. (I won't say too much more than that, lest I give away the conclusion!)
Sometimes too, it's a beat. I played drums in high school, & I can be really drawn to songs/bands because of unusual and/or strong rhythms. Beats are what keep me moving when I'm doing something longer, like editing an entire 8-10k chapter.
UMMMMM, so that's part of how I write. And perhaps also explains why I'm such a slow fucking writer ^^;;
When you write a lot of disjointed crap, it takes a while to get rid of the shit & make it ready to email a draft to a beta, let alone post it for good at AO3.
As always for this meme, additional questions are welcome.
Again, I'm still taking suggestions.
I remember picking up the first volume of Sailor Moon in a Sam Goody in Iron Mountain some summer when I was Up North with my parents. I only read a few pages at that point, and eventually I started buying them, but that came after THIS NEXT THING:
In 7th grade, a friend of mine have me over to her house and showed me Final Fantasy 7. She showed me a ton of stuff, including the very beginning of the game, but also a lot of stuff from disc 2, like Tifa's fight with Scarlet on the Junon cannon.
This was my first exposure to Japanese animation, if the FMVs of FF7 can even be called that.
That weekend, I was flipping through channels and saw some anime on Cartoon Network.
Not knowing what it was, I called Farah to shout to her that FF7 was on TV!! She was skeptical, meanwhile I was hunting the Internet every time I visited my sister's house (on my brother-in-law's computer), since we didn't have the Internet, for everything I could find about FF7.
A couple years later, I was at my friend Heather's house, and we sat on her bed to watch the Sailor Moon R movie on her computer. I don't know why she bought the DVD or how she came across it, but I was like 0_____0 & fell in love with it. The R movie had scenes showing how Usagi (Serena in the dub) met each of the inner senshi, & I appreciated the aspects of their "normal" lives as much as the magical transformations.
Heather told me that her favorite was Jupiter, & her sister's was Mercury. I imprinted on Mars, although at this point I have a soft spot for all of them.
Sailor Moon was still on the Cartoon Network, & on the days I didn't have some extra-curricular after school, I could come right home & watch it. I think I used to tape these, actually, & watch them in the evenings on days I couldn't make it home.
We had AOL/dial-up Internet then, so my future anime-watching was slow-going, even though I was excited to watch more. It took me 3 months to download an episode of Serial Experiments Lain. Heather would download random things for me - Lain, Utena, Evangelion, Escaflowne. It wasn't 'til college & high-speed Internet (& anime club) that my consumption exploded.
BUT YEAH, in both mediums, Sailor Moon was my first exposure, although it's been closely tied to FF7 all along.
I should mention that as a kid, I loathed all live-action shows intended for kids. The closest to live-action that I liked was Mr. Rogers, but I liked the castle with the puppets the best.
I loved Muppet Babies, Maya the Bee (which is actually an anime!!), Eureka's Castle, Gummy Bears, Rescue Rangers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, & all kinds of other animated shit. I've always preferred animation - I love watching it.
As for manga, I really appreciate the art a lot more than most US comics.
Also, I lock just about all of the posts I write about my personal life, but I'm going to see how many of the posts in this meme I can post unlocked.
j00j asked for religious community, as in community of laypeople moreso than a religious order or etc. This post meanders a lot & I'm not sure I addressed what you wanted me to, so sorry ^^;;;
Back in high school, a woman at the church named Carrie took my friend Ryan, my friend Heather's sister Rachel, & a dude named Andy who was in another school system on a trip to a place called St. Meinrad in Indiana. St. Meinrad is a Benedictine monastery, & they had a liturgical youth conference every year.
The four of them came back & wanted to start performing youth liturgies. Some of my friends & a few other intelligent/talented people joined a group that we self-dubbed, for lack of a better term, Youth Liturgy.
We planned masses: the music, who did the readings, etc. We wrote the petitions.
We acted out the gospel. We delivered homilies ourselves or assisted the priests in delivering them (and when local Catholics called out this practice in the diocesan newspaper, I wrote letters back).
For Pentecost one year, we lit the baptismal font on fire. For Palm Sunday, we did stuff from Jesus Christ Superstar.
We made programs, and two members would draw art for the covers. I still have some of Jenny's up on my bulletin board - they were beautiful.
For the music, Carrie's son Matt led us, & the choir we created was called "Youth Liturgy."
The liturgies themselves were great. We'd close every mass by singing "Carry Your Candle" & walking out with candles.
But we did other stuff, too.
I met with our youth minister & two older/slightly more popular kids to try & create a youth group that met weekly. We called ourselves "The Quest."
We cleaned out the youth space & tried to get more of it.
I went to St. Meinrad myself one summer, and Lindsey/Ryan/I went to Notre Dame another summer for a different conference.
We had mission trips in Washington, DC and in Milwaukee, which focused on doing work (and not evanglization).
When the people in my grade (the biggest % of youth liturgy people - me, Lindsey, Jennifer, Heather, Kristy, etc.) graduated, we had a retreat at the Abbey, which was really nice.
We infiltrated a bunch of the standing committees in our parish so that our concerns would be heard. I don't remember what anybody else joined, but mine was the Worship Committee, which controled the art/environment aspects of church - banners, cloths used on the altar, whether the lady who was slightly off the deep end could put up her bigass picture of the Divine Mercy.
It's hard to describe what made this group special. A large chunk of people were already my friends (and joined b/c I joined first).
Some people (Carrie, Tom, Colin, etc.) were people I respected the hell out of, & still do.
Matt's suicide undoubtedly tied us in a way that only tragedy can.
But mostly, we just talked, about everything. It's a fine balance, in talking about faith, needing to be creative together, sometimes acting with one another, etc.
People were excited to come to our masses.
I didn't realize until later what a big deal being permitted to be involved in delivering the homilies actually was.
Putting it all together like this, it was sort of a how-to on getting involved in a bureaucratic structure & forcing it to listen to a group of people who felt ignored.
When I go to mass now, every aspect of the liturgy makes me think about the time I spent with my friends, our own preferences for different aspects of the liturgy, etc.
In college, I attended mass at St. Paul's at the campus end of State Street. Almost my first day there I met James, some kind of liturgical minister who also sang well. He took me out for dinner at Chin's one night, and after telling him all about Youth Liturgy, I agreed to write the intercessions for weekend masses - I did this weekly for all four years.
While living in the dorms my first two years, I walked to church with Paul, a guy I was friends with from high school. Paul and I disagreed on almost every aspect of the liturgy - he'd prefer mass be said in Latin with the priest facing away from the pews. Still, we had a similar sense of humor and had to try hard to not smirk at one another when things went wrong during mass.
In the second two years at St. Paul's, a committee was formed so that disparate groups of people responsible for different parts of mass could meet and talk - thus, I was invited.
This was my first time meeting people other than James.
I don't remember the controversies or topics discussed, except that I felt like an outsider. These people's entire social lives revolved around St. Paul's, and mine didn't.
Everyone else's opinion of me solidified when I expressed my opinion about lector training, which Paul and I had just gone through. (I liked reading aloud.) I said that I had felt turned off by our trainers talking about their personal faith relationships with God - I had come to be trained, not for a spiritual retreat. The training was very long due to this, and I had homework to do.
I phrased my feedback as nicely as possible, but I could tell I'd hurt this girl's feelings. Since everyone else was friends with her, I felt like people were pretty cold toward me after that.
I know that I would have been able to speak frankly at Youth Liturgy about something like this. I do like talking about faith with people when I expect to do it.
But yeah. I need people who think about what they're doing and are willing to talk about aspects of the liturgy/trainings/whatever that they take for granted. This is a thing that often disappoints me in most groups of people, though.
After college, I defriended most of these people on Facebook over the next couple years due to their semi-evangelical and/or misinformed political posts.
While living in my efficiency on Hancock Street, I attended St. Patrick's downtown. I tried attending a Catholic feminism group, which is thoroughly documented in this post.
The group of women weren't actually feminists. I eventually left that parish because the priest is about as conservative as our bishop.
Even while I still identified pro-life, I found his constant homilies on abortion insufferable.
I now drive across the city to attend mass in a parish that feels - in its 1970s construction and homillies - like my home parish did when I was in high school [it doesn't feel home-like THERE any more because of the crappy priests they've gotten lately]. I peruse the bulletin whenever I'm there, but all activities surround food.
There's a chronic pain group in which I'd been interested, but they meet during the work day.
I'm leery of making friends - would they be judgmental upon finding out I live with my non-Christian boyfriend?
I also ignored it for a couple years while learning to cope with chronic pain and a few spin-offs from that.
I feel like I have my shit together now, though, so I'm still looking.
I've been considering seeing about volunteering at the Catholic Multicultural Center, which my parish now runs after the bishop abruptly and inexplicably cut funds and shut it down.
There are other things I'd like to look into more, too, like Call to Action, etc.
Overall...I'm really lucky to have had the community I did growing up in my church - the circles of friends I had in general growing up, I know that I'm really lucky.
I'm still trying to find ways to recreate that now.
It's more difficult when you're older and aware of politics, etc. In high school, most of the Catholic-esque politics went over my head.
And amusingly now, most of us who were in Youth Liturgy together have pretty radical beliefs about the Church, and are mildly "heretical" in our thoughts on social teachings, etc.
Since the point of this post is to be part of a user-content-generated meme, I'm going to say that I'm more open to questions than usual.
A few centuries ago, there was a monk named Myoue who had the power to bring anything he drew with his own blood to life. Sometimes people said "I want to see an oni!" so he made them an oni and the ungrateful people ran away screaming that he was trying to kill them. One of his creations was a black rabbit named Koto. Koto fell in love with Myoue and the Bodhisattva granted her a human body so that she could confess her love. Myoue found this a tiny but disconcerting, but didn't seem to have many issues with a pretty woman now hanging around his house. Eventually, Myoue brings home an orphaned boy named Yakushimaru, who they adopt as their son. They decide Yakushimaru needs siblings, so Myoue creates Kurama, who appears to be a normal human boy, and Yase, who appears to be a little blond Victorian girl who just happens to also be a demon. People off in the capital start getting a wee bit freaked out by all this and so the family leaves Japan and goes through a looking glass into a mirror Kyoto where no one dies and nothing changes. Eventually, Koto's deal with the Bodhisattva ends, and she and Myoue leave Kyoto, leaving their devastated children behind.
Fast forward to the present, and the children have grown up-Yasu is literally an adult version of her childhood self, Yakushimaru has become a (far less than pious) monk and renamed himself Myoue, and Kurama now looks like an old man in a child's body. Theoretically, the three rule the mirror Kyoto together, but it's mostly just Kurama running things, and all three are still missing and looking for their parents. Things have been going on forever and ever like this when a young girl named Koto accidentally stumbles into mirror kyoto with her two spirit familiars, who she calls her brothers. Koto has a ginormous (but customizable!) see-through hammer and is searching for a special rabbit that she has to find before she can return home. Except she has no idea how to get there, and so she and her brother's move into Yakushimaru's temple. Much to his consternation, they are delighted to learn that the temple repairs itself and test it's limits every five minutes. That's actually not an exaggeration. No one (including Koto) knows if the new Koto has a connection to the original Koto, though it's theorized that she's either a new child of Myoue and Koto's, or possibly the original Koto reborn. There's also a teenaged otaku mad scientist with a couple hundred white-suited goons who are utterly devoted to her. She sometimes rampages through the city when she loses things. She also has a long-suffering assistant who either really really likes her, or is a secret masochist. Or both.
This plot description, incidentally, will in no way prepare you for the pure, high octane crack that you will be engulfed in mere moments after starting the series.
The series hops all over the place to the family before going to mirror Kyoto, the children dealing with the loss of their parents, the present after the new Koto arrives, and the new Koto's own past. There are helpful little "past" and "present" notes each time the setting changes, but the series, apparently knowing that the audience will look at 80% of the plot and go "WHAT IS THIS I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHAT'S HAPPENING," chooses to focus on the dynamics of the various forms of the made family in both the past and the present and people's feeeellliiiinnnnggggssss about their parents and their siblings and the things you put up with because you secretly love your siblings and when you have grudges against them and whatnot.
It's absurd, confusing, touching, sentimental and utterly shameless[.]
Robert Kennedy and His Times by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.
There was obviously lots of Kennedy reminisces last week with the 50-year anniversary of JFK's assassination.
I bought this for $2 at the Memorial Library sale a couple months ago, during the Wisconsin Book Festival.
I like it quite a bit, just finished the chapter about the investigation committee into unions/etc., focusing on Jimmy Hoffa.
Overall, it's very sanitized, pretty obvious Schlesinger was a close family friend, etc.
For example, the mention of Rosemary going to live with nuns in Wisconsin is just a simple, "She got worse," with no mention of the attempted-and-botched lobotomy.
I empathize for RFK, who most people seemed to take as crabby & irritable if they didn't know him very well.
Very! Very! Sweet, volume 4. Only a chapter in, but I finally have this volume, which means I'll get from here to volume 8/the end in short order.
Hild by Nicola Griffith - It took about 70 pages for me to fall into this book. So far, I don't love it quite so much as some of her other stuff, but I'm sure she'll set me straight before the end.
Griffith is one of my favorite authors, & she and her wife are doing in a reading in my city next Tuesday at my favorite bookstore, so I'm pretty excited.
• What did you recently finish reading?
X-Men: Curse of the Mutants - This is essentially X-Men versus vampires. Jubilee becoming a vampire was interesting, but overall I disliked this.
X-Men: With Great Power - Following the previous volume, this was also written by Victor Gischler. I'm glad to get a little familiar with him, as he's going to be taking over the writing for Angel & Faith when Buffy season 10 starts up.
This included some more recognizable characters (Spider-Man), and the team is dealing with PI. I liked the art much more in this volume than Curse of the Mutants, in part because it was much less objectifying of women. While I found Xavier's manpain flashback sentiment in the last issue annoying, I appreciated him communicating to Jubilee that she'll be able to find a way to live with her new condition.
My goal in reading these was to get the backlog for the current series headed by Brian Wood. Given the revelation a couple weeks ago, I haven't decided yet whether I'll be continuing. In the meantime, I'll keep trying to get through the previous arc via the library.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 1-17 or so, + micro 1-8 + Infestation 1 & 2, + Eastman's 2012 annual: I've been behind on this for...years?! But I keep buying the single issues, resulting in general guilt :/
Luckily, I really enjoyed these (yes, some were rereads). I loved TMNT as a kid. I'm pretty sure my parents still have my turtles/Casey Jones/Bebop & Rock Steady action figures. As a child, one of my ambitions (in addition to being Batman) was to be a TMNT myself.
Anyway, these are dark-ish. Mutant turtles fight ninjas! April is a research intern! I roll my eyes a little at the Splinter/turtles/Shredder were Japanese men reincarnated, but overall these are pretty fun to read. I still have more to catch up on.
I found Infestation 1 & 2 subpar except for the art, & kind of loathed the art in Eastman's annual.
Mama Might Be Better Off Dead: The Failure of Health Care in Urban America - The title is sort of self-explanatory, but this book has a white investigative journalist telling the story of Jackie Bates, a black woman living in Chicago who provides care for her 3 children, husband who's on kidney dialysis & abuses drugs, ailing deadbeat father, and her diabetic grandma who's in crisis. The book was published in 1993, although it's obviously still relevant today. Complex bureaucracy consistnetly fails the Bates family. I particularly liked the chapter focusing on the Orthodox Jewish doctor who refused to discuss do-not-resuscitate orders with the family because he didn't agree with it himself. While distant with the Bates, Abraham follows him to his practice where he treats other Jews, and his demeanor is totally different.
But the Bates family never finds a practitioner who's on their level.
The book also spends a chapter talking about black people's fear of research, and also how consent given by poor people is often less informed than consent given by middle class whites - with whom many educated doctors can better related. Like The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, there's a voyeuristic feel here - a white woman telling a black family's story. I wonder what Jackie's kids will feel when they grow up and read this book, intimately discussing their family's mental health, drug problems, etc. Still, it was put out by an academic publisher and is less of a fame thing than Skloot's book.
The book is highly relevant to my job, glad to have read it.
The Hemingses of Monticello - I waited until only days before this was due back at the library, so of course I didn't finish it (have since checked it out again so I'll be able to continue!). I think this is a pretty well-known book, but Gordon-Reed's goal is basically to tell the story of the Hemings family - a family of slaves living in Virginia at the time of the American Revolution. Sally Hemings had numerous children with Thomas Jefferson. I only made it through the first 9 chapters, so 14-year-old Sally and one of Jefferson's daughters had just joined him in Paris, where he's hanging out, still upset over his wife's death.
It'd be easy to focus on Jefferson, and while I've always found him an interesting person, I'm really appreciative that Gordon-Reed refuses to let this story belong to anyone but the Hemingses.
I'm looking forward to reading more of this.
Adaptation - I think I like this the most out of the books I've read by Malinda Lo so far. We read this for beer_marmalade. Very fast-paced, love the characters. Complicated, government conspiracies, a coming out story, lots of good stuff.
Dengeki Daisy, vol. 1 - Teru's brother was a hacker before he died. On his death bed, he gave a phone to her so that she could communicate with his friend DAISY - another hacker like himself who will always listen to Teru's problems now that she's alone, & will help her out of binds.
The real-life Daisy is a 24-year-old janitor at her school, although they both pretend they don't know he's Daisy.
When Teru breaks a school window, she has to "work off" her debt.
I grow tired of shoujo manga plots where the heroines become indentured servants to men.
It seems weird at first for a girl to be soe dependent on a guy she's never met but still tells all her problems to, & yet I did the same thing in middle/high school with a guy I'd met in an internet chat room, so this story has enough for me to continue for now.
Wild Com - a volume of short stories by Yumi Tamura, the manga-ka behind my beloved Basara.
I really loved the first story, in which people with elemental powers try to save others around them. The theme is "try your best no matter what," which happens a lot in manga but never fails to be incredibly moving to me!
The other stories were strange & weird but more forgettable.
Air: Letters from Lost Countries by G. Willow Wilson. Since she's going to be writing Ms. Marvel when it starts coming out in 2014, I wanted to be a little more familiar with Wilson's work. So far I've only previously read the stand-alone "Mystic" comic, meant for kids, which I didn't really like.
Air is about a flight attendant who's afraid of falling. Her love interest is an inpersonation-chameleon, and either a terrorist himself, or running from terrorists - or both.
There's a lot going on here, & I'll be reading more.
Cold Steel - Picking up right where Cold Fire left off! I’m finding it hard to focus on this one, maybe because I really prefer mass market paperbacks to trades, maybe because I’ve just been kind of busy. BUT still love this trilogy.
X-Men: Curse of the Mutants - I’m reading the first collection of this story arc. As far as I can tell, this precedes the X-Men series I’m currently buying/reading by Brian Wood, & explains how Jubilee became a vampire. So far it’s pretty silly & I barely know who anybody is, but I think it’ll be helpful in figuring out wtf’s going on in the current series. Plus, the current title is doing some “Battle of the Atom” crossover event, of which I only think I have part of the story, so I’m not really eager to catch up until they return to their own story.
• What did you recently finish reading?
Pretty Deadly #1 - Someone posted a nice review on this somewhere on DW, & now I can’t find it but I am still too lazy to write in depth about it. It’s a neat premise, great art.
Saga #15 - That ending, tho!
Sandman Prelude #1 - I never got around to finishing the first run of Sandman, but this one’s okay?! idk. I picked it up but find myself way more into J.H. Williams III’s page layouts/use of color/etc. than I am into the story.
Salvation of a Saint - I got this from the library becaude I’d liked The Devotion of Suspect X. I may have liked this one more, I’m not sure. I wish that more of Keigo Higashino’s books were translated into English. Nobody knows of a place online where to find translated Japanese novels such as these, do they? ;)
In the meantime, I have lots of other novels lying around the apartment by Japanese authors that I need to read.
ATLA: The Search, #3 (final) - I might not have liked this as much as The Promise, but I like them well enough. I know I’ll reread, etc. Anyone know if GLY is planning to write more ATLA? I’ll miss them if he doesn’t :/
Killjoys #3-5 - I caught up on this series & was feeling blergh until issue 5. There are a lot of details that feel lost on me, or like I don’t quite get the plot, which is a thing that annoys me. Hopefully it goes away when I read them all at once.
Captain Marvel - where I left off through #17 (final issue for this arc) - I wish it were possible to read these but drop all the crossover events. I can’t stand those, :/ #17 was fabulous. I still love Felipe Andrade’s art, & I am SO EXCITED for Ms. Marvel. Sad that we have to wait a while for both.
Trillium #4 - The last page said, "The End," & if it is the end, it's kind of sad & pointless. However, there's supposed to be a Trillium #5, so idk what the hell's going on.
Hawkeye Annual & #13 - It was really nice to return to this series. I love the writing. Kate Bishop has the voice of raanve in my head. The Internet leads me to believe that issue #14 came out, but I can't find it anywhere in my apartment. WOE because if I could read more I'd do it ASAP!
Cold Fire - This was a very engrossing follow-up to the first book, Cold Magic. It's a bit of a brick, but I was never bored, and every single chapter ended on a cliffhanger. These books are a delight for me - revolutionaries and political intrigue, deceit and betrayal, Cat and Bee's fierce friendship and banter. I liked Rory a lot more this volume. I basically loved everything about it. I have Cold Steel on hold at the library, and I think this trilogy is going on my list of favorites. I know I'll be rereading them.
Kaze Hikaru, volumes 3-5 - The more I read in this series, the more I like it. Sei's love for Okita Souji is compelling. At some point, Sei's woman confidant asks Sei if she wouldn't be happy marrying Souji and bearing his children. Sei replies that no, she would prefer to show her love by protecting Souji as a remember of the Shinsengumi. <3 <3 <3!! Sei repeatedly tells those who know the secret of her sex, "I'm not a girl! I am bushi!" It's nice getting to know Kondo and Hijikata better, too.
IRB Member Handbook - I'm not an IRB member, but this book is still relevant to my job training. It's a nice distillation of why IRBs exist and best practices. Probably a little dry for those not required to read it for work, ^^
The Lucy Variations, which I think owlectomy blogged about. It's about being a teenager & figuring out who you are. Lucy comes from a hella rich family who's played piano internationally, until her family's tendency to place fame/piano over everything else prompts her to quit.
I like the book okay, & it's going quickly.
And I think I'll probably dig out my Mozart & Chopin music and bring it home with me this weekend, when I visit the family piano at my sister's.
Non Non Biyori - This is a pretty show set in the countryside, where a girl from Tokyo starts attending school because her family has moved. The school is so small that it only has 5 students, all of whom are in different grades but share the same classroom. It's supposed to be a comedy, but it's not funny. Dropped.
Kill la Kill - An outrageous show from the creators of Gurren Lagann. In post-apocalyptic Japan, Ryuko Matori shows up at Hannogyi Academy, where students are ruled by their militaristic student council. Ryuko uses half a giant pair of scissors as a sword, & seeks the other half - as well as her father's murderer. Points for style, but she obtains an extremely skimpy sentient fuku through a pseudo-rape scene. The show jokes about lechers/sexual violence at least once per episode. I haven't officially dropped this, but I haven't watched in a couple weeks, either.
Kyoukai no Kanata (Beyond the Boundary) - I think that so far this is a show that I want to like more than I actually like it. Based on a light novel, this is a supernatural show by Kyoto Animation. Mirai is the last member of a clan of youmu-killers. She forms a sword with her own blood and hunts youmu. Enter Akihito, her immortal half-youmu classmate who keeps trying to crack her shell and show her how to trust people. There are a bunch of local youmu-hunters/containers/etc. who help Mirai. Mirai thinks nobody could possibly understand her emotional pain because of her angsty back-story. This is a trope that I basically loathe BUT I like her friendship with Akihito enough to keep watching, even in spite of one boy's openly acknowledged sister complex (which he discusses WITH his sister!!).
Galilei Donna - This and the last anime are tied in how much I like them, I think. Galilei Donna has a semi-absurd premise: 3 Italian girls are the descendents of Galileo Galilei. Because this is an Italy portrayed by Japan, their surname is "Ferrari." Hozuki Ferrari is a 13-year-old mechanical genius who's constantly tinkering and surprising people around her with her inventions. Kazuki is 17, lovesick, and a total BAMF at martial arts. Lastly, Hazuki Ferrari is a 20-year-old college student who wants to be a lawyer, and has no problem shouting, "Objection!" to those around her. One day, each girl is separately attacked by a shady organization looking for "Galileo Tesoro," an artifact they believe the Ferrari sisters have, but about which they know nothing. The competent Ferrari sisters save themselves & each other, and travel by taking up residence in Hozuki's giant weaponized goldfish mecha. If you try it out, I recommend viewing episodes 1 & 2 together - they make a nice pilot.
Kyousogiga - This is the sort of show that defies description, and reminds me that some stories can only be told through the medium of anime.
Am I missing anything that you've been enjoying this season?
Chapter 3 is up. (It is my favorite chapter so far!)
Fic Synopsis: Post-Season 3 AU. Quinn Fabray has vowed revenge on her father for being a close-minded WASP who kicked her out of the house when she got pregnant, & has spent all of high school plotting. She won't let anything stop her, even when her attempt to infiltrate Skull and Bones drags in her closely-knit group of friends, at their peril.
General Note: This is a gen fic, but people still have feelings just like real life. Followers of mine might like to know that this chapter has a Pezberry moment!
This chapter is also the first time I've bumped it up to "graphic depictions of violence." If you need more detailed warnings, lmk.
I just started Cold Fire but I’m feeling pretty fickle lately.
Will someone please tell me if this book contains suicide or attempted suicide? Lately every fucking thing I pick up has it, & I need some time away from such content.
• What did you recently finish reading?
The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino (translated to English by Alexander O. Smith) - I put this on hold on the library because a reviewer at a manga blog I read (probably Manga Bookshelf) reviewed the more recent novel.
I sometimes have a hard time with the way Japanese fiction translates into English (phrases can translate in overly descriptive ways that make me hate it in English?!), but that fell away for me within a few pages for this book.
It’s a mystery, but also not, & hard to discuss without giving things away.
Trigger warnings for domestic violence, murder, & attempted suicide.
Kaze Hikaru, volume 2 - I liked this volume quite a bit more than the first one. ( Spoilers )
Kaze Hikaru, volume 2. I read volume 1 a while ago, & I think I totally forgot to mention it. Anyway, a shoujo romance about the Shinsengumi. The protagonist is a girl who disguises herself as a boy to avenge the deaths of her father & brother.
My previous exposure to the Shinsengumi is the anime “Peacemaker Kurogane,” which I loathed b/c I thought was horribly paced, & also hated the protagonist.
So I know the Okita Souji is a bamf. Souji is the protag’s love interest in this series.
I’m not really digging this thus far, but I have a bunch of volumes checked out, so I’ll be reading at least a bit more, unless I get too frustrated!
• What did you recently finish reading?
Kitty Goes to Washington - So, in addition to the inclusion of congressional hearings & NIH research, I also feel like I’m just settling into this series’ ‘verse.
I really appreciate that the protagonist compares lycanthropy to a non-fatal chronic illness, & when being questioned by a confrontational senator, she talks about how depression is more likely, but it’s hard to know whether the depression is caused by the illness itself or by all of the life modifications one must make to to keep living with a non-fatal chronic illness.
And uh, as a person who’s gone through some heavy depression due to hugely anxious-making life modifications that were necessitated by a non-fatal chronic illness, HELLO, OVER-IDENTIFICATION WITH THE PROTAGONIST!
Especially after the events of the first book, I really love Kitty encountering other communities of vampires/were-animals, other ways of coping with her changed life, other possibilities.
I also like that she’s referred to non-werewolves more than once as “her pack.”
This is a thought I’d first encountered in Teen Wolf, one of the things that I like about that often-heinous TV show.
Very, Very, Sweet!, volume 2 - I don’t have much to say about this volume except that I still like it. It portrays the frustrations of trying to communicate in another language quite well, imo.
Revival, volume 1 - aka, zombie comic set in Wausau, WI. This series is pretty violent, BUT I appreciate its commitment to diversity & its locale, so I’ll probably keep up with it, although I think I don’t like it well enough to buy the comics in trade.
Kokoro - This is a classic of Japanese literature, set at the end of the Meiji era. It’s pretty dark, focusing heavily on death & suicide, with insights into human nature/etc. It’s difficult to discuss without spoiling the whole thing!
Anyway, this was part of a collection of Japanese literature I won in a Con or Bust auction, so I’m excited to read more of them in the future.
Gertrude and Claudius by John Updike (ETA: I actually bought this at Room, j/k!)
The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon
Kitty Takes a Holiday by Carrie Vaughn
Kitty and the Silver Bullet by Carrie Vaughn
The Dubious Hills by Pamela Dean
A Solitary Blue by Cynthia Voigt (I looooooved Voigt as a kid & haven't picked her up since. I know I've read this, but can't remember when/what's it about.)
One Bird by Kyoko Mori. As with above, I know I've read this but don't remember what it's about. They did have a copy of Shizuko's Daughter, but someone wrote all over the inside of it -_-
Foreigner by C.J. Cherryh
Kitty Goes to Washington - WOW BOOK OF MY ID?! It's a continuation after the first Kitty book, obvs, EXCEPT NOW WITH CONGRESSIONAL HEARINGS AND NIH RESEARCH AHAHAHA!!!! I cackle with glee when I read this :*)
• What did you recently finish reading?
Very! Very! Sweet, volume 1 - I bought volumes 5-8 of this manhwa back when Borders was going out of business, & they’ve sat on my shelf ever since. UNTIL NOW, when I finally figured out how to obtain books through my library’s outerlibrary loan system. I really, really enjoyed the first volume of this series, & I hope it only gets better.
Tsuyoshi is a spoiled brat from a Japanese family who’s always gotten whatever he wants. In volume one, his grandfather reveals that their rich/powerful family actually comes from a Korean ancestor who moved to Japan hundreds of years ago.
Tsuyoshi is unimpressed with this - reflecting on whether pouring a bottle of Coke into a swimming pool makes the liquid no matter water? - but his insolence gets his grandfather to spend the rest of his school years in Korea, where he’d like Tsuyoshi to meet a stubborn & badass Korean woman to be his wife.
Enter Be-Ri, the awesome girl who lives next door to Tsuyoshi’s newly built house.
Be-Ri likes to collect junk (aka: people’s garbage) & make things like cat trees or whatever else she can with it. I LOVE BE-RI AND HER GIVE-NO-FUCKS-ATTITUDE AND ALSO HER ENTIRE WARDROBE!!
Be-Ri and Tsuyoshi loathe one another upon first sight, so they clearly must be the series’ OTP!
Another wrench in this love story is that Be-Ri’s in love with the high school tenant who lives with Be-Ri & her family…& is also dating Be-Ri’s sister ;_____;
POOR BE-RI, ILU AND HOW AWESOME YOU ARE! So yeah, I'm excited to read more, even though 2-4 are going to take forever to arrive via outerlibrary loan system -_-
Polite Lies: On Being a Woman Caught Between Two Cultures - This was written by Kyoko Mori. idk if other people read Shizuko’s Daughter multiple times in adolescence, but I did. I’m not sure if it’s because her YA is ubiquitous in the US, or because she taught creative writing at St. Norbert’s, which is basically in Green Bay (where I grew up).
I loved this collection of essays, which makes up the memoir. For those who don’t know her story, Mori’s mother committed suicide when Mori was 12 years old. Her dad was abusive also, so there are several trigger warnings that come with this book :/
Her writing about the differences between US Midwestern & Japanese cultures is very well-done & sometimes amusing. I should probably note that as someone who relocated to the US because she never really felt like she belonged in Japan, or could ever express herself there, Mori holds pretty negative views of Japanese culture.
She lived/grew up there, so it’s not like I can fault her perceptions, although some things seem like they could happen in any culture (choosing to hide an illness from your family members) or are actually just wrong (referring to all manga as violent pornography).
Mori’s prose makes it worth it, though. I’d kind of like to reread Shizuko’s Daughter now since it’s been a while, and track down some of her other things, too. Looking back, I know she’s always been one of my favorite writers.
some songs that aren’t about love by jan - This was a Chihayafuru fic that I think littlebutfierce linked me to? Short & great - perfect snapshots of the characters, & I think it really captures the mood of the show, as well.
Revival #1 - Read this because were_duck kept talking it up. Zombie series that’s taking place in/around Wausau, WI. If not for the local bits, I might not be as interested, but for now I am. I’ve gotten the first trade from the library since reading issue 1, but haven’t read it yet.
Trillium #2 & 3 - Just as good as the first issue, not much else to say.
Saga #14 - This was a great issue. The scene with Lying Cat & Sophie was touching. I’m always excited for more Saga!
Dawn of the Arcana, volumes 4-8 - I’m getting a little bored with this series, but not enough to stop reading? The lack of detailed backgrounds feels lazy to me, and the political intrigue that first attracted me to the book forever seems like a carrot dangled in front of me instead of something I actually get to see :/ I also really don’t care for any of the characters, so that’s a pretty big :(
Kitty and the Midnight Hour - I ended up liking this a fair amount?! Or at least enough to continue with it. Kitty is a bamf, & I’m glad she’s able to upset some of the power structures in her life. Excited to see where things go.
Of Love and Other Demons - This was something I’d started a long time ago & finally finished by plowing through the second half. I love Marquez’s prose, but the premise here (priest commissioned to exorcise a 12-year-old girl with(out) rabies but falls in love with her instead) was pretty uncomfortable. I need to read Love in the Time of Cholera & also 100 Years of Solitude.
Alphonse Mucha - collection or art by Mucha. Last year at the end of the Laura Ingalls Wilder road trip I took with my mom & my sister, we stopped at the Czech Museum in Iowa. 30 minutes before closing, we only had time for their main exhibit, which was all Mucha. LOVE. I'm 50% Czech & am woefully uninformed about this part of my cultural history. I'd love to read more about the politics & history of Czechoslovakia (which I know is now two countries, but that's how it's always been referred to in my family).
• What do you think you’ll read next?
I have now given up predicting! Likely lots of training materials/etc. as I start a new job on Monday!! Maybe something for comfort since starting new jobs always = scary.
I find them both to be pretty terrible.
Next time a member of fandom shit-talks Grey's Anatomy, I might have to lay the smack down. YAY GREAT WRITING, ILU GREY'S.
Worse than being terrible, I have 0 interest in fic for either of these fandoms, & may need to block them on Tumblr because I give zero fucks about the gifsets/etc. (VERY UNLIKE GLEE).
So, there you go, the fanworks of Glee serve a huge purpose in my life. I've articulated this before, but for me, it's the fanworks of Glee that make me feel gr9, & they're so much more important to me than the half-assed show.
I think this is how others have felt about SGA.
SINCE I'M WRITING ABOUT WATCHING THINGS...
Silver Spoon & Attack on Titan are both finished. I still like Silver Spoon & will watch season 2.
After the first few episodes of Attack on Titan, the plot became not so interesting to me. I don't care so much about the titans or the soul-crushing feeling humanity, way more interested in logistics of how people are surviving, etc. The second half the series was much less interesting to me than the first, & I don't know if I'll watch more. I'm not totally sure why this is so beloved by fandom.
I still need to watch the last couple episodes of Free.
In these very few days of "no new episodes," I started watching some AKB0048, as well as an episode of Polar Bear Cafe when I super stressed out. PBC is good for when I'm stressed, but way too low-key for devoted watching on my part.
Also downloaded the first episode of Hyouka, b/c I keep seeing gifs that intrigue me on Tumblr. I'm way better at watching shows on my phone (no distractions!) than my laptop, though, so we'll see how long it takes me ^^;;
I'm excited for the new KyoAni show this fall season, but nothing else has caught my eye just yet. If there's something I should put on my radar... L M K