laceblade: Toby, Josh, and Donna of The West Wing, talking intensely (WW: 20 Hours in America)
I swear to God I've written this post twice before, but I keep drafting it in email and then somehow losing it. It's pretty upsetting. It's been a while since I've read some of these, so this might be short. I'm skipping most of hte comics I've read lately.

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin - I actually read this months ago and keep forgetting it due to a fluke in it not showing up in chronological order in my Goodreads list.
I like Nemisin's ideas and her politics. Unfortunately, I can't stand her prose.

/some more X-Men comics/

Half-Off Ragnarok and Pocket Apocalypse by Seanan McGuire - As suspected when I read the books narrated by Verity, I enjoy the books narrated by her brother much more. (And I'm anticipating Antimony's books EVEN MORE. WANT. SO BADLY. Also maybe Elspeth's :D) Sadly I really disliked Pocket Apocalypse/the one that took place in Australia. So many cliches, SO MUCH EXPOSITION, people just explaining things to each other in big swaths of dialog. Also unnecessary sentences ending chapters in ways that were just...too dramatic. Did her editor fall asleep? idk? It was disappointing, but I'll be coming back for more.

Court of Fives by Kate Elliott - her first YA novel! This is like Little Women set in Egypt but also The Hunger Games. BUT SO MUCH BETTER THAN HUNGER GAMES. So well-written, imagery that was genuinely creepy, so much agency, THE TWISTS, UGGGHHHH I'm ready for the next two in the trilogy and in the meantime I'm giving this to my youngest niece for Christmas.

Monstress by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda - I picked this up because the editor attends my comics club. The first issue is almost 70 pages long. IT'S SO GOOD. The story and the imagery both. The only thing I can compare it to is Ashley Cope's webcomic Unsounded. Really looking forward to more of this in the new year.

City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett - Full disclosure that I received an advance copy of this book through a Goodreads give-away.

City of Stairs was my favorite sf/f book last year, and this follow-up did not disappoint at all. I love Bennett's writing. The dialogue feels real, which is so uncommon in most fantasy.
I was worried about Mulaghesh as the POV character only because I loved Shara from the first book SO MUCH. That said, once we got going, it was very clear that this had to be Mulaghesh's story.

Both this book and its predecessor address what happens to the economies and political structures of societies when gods die and disappear, as well as the psyches of individual people.

Like City of Stairs, I plan to keep, reread, and recommend this book.

Batman: Year 100 by Paul Pope - Sometimes the art was cool, but overall this was kind of terrible? idk? I'd found it in a list of recommended US superhero comics. I wouldn't have put it there myself, :p

Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold - Yeah, I'm the last person on earth to read these books. HOLY SHIT THIS WAS GR9. Already reading Barrayar, which is in the same omnibus edition that I have. Cordelia 4 life.

Winter is Coming by Garry Kasparov - Kasparov is a former chess champion from the USSR who now lives in New York and is a vocal critic of Vladimir Putin. There's a lot of review of the last 25 years or so of history in this book, which I found extremely valuable. The dissolution of the Soviet Union happened too recently to have been covered in any great detail while I was in K-12 school, and despite one of my majors being Political Science, we never studied it there either.
Kasparov has been warning about Putin for over a decade, before he started invading sovereign nations & assassinating his political enemies. Kasparov is frank in covering the failures of recent presidents, covering all of them since Reagan. His thesis is that morality must have a place in global affairs, and that in recent years it hasn't because it's easier to just say, "The Russians need to take care of their own Russian problem." He paints the Cold War as good vs. evil, which in the past would have struck me as a simplistic reduction, but he explains how governments resisting democracy are trying to control the press/other people's voices in order to continue holding their power. Anyway. He tips towards a level of American exceptionalism that makes me uncomfortable, but it's a good, if unsettling, read.
I'm still horrified by the lack of protest over the MH17 flight being shot down by the Russians over Ukraine. What is it going to take?
laceblade: Screencap from FF7, Zak and Cloud escaping from Mako tubes in Shinra mansion (FF7: Cloud/Zack escape)
Moon Child, volume 1 by Reiko Shimizu - I checked this out because the two co-authors of Anime News Network's House of 1,000 Manga column are finally ending the column, after a hell of a run. Each made a post with their own top-10 posts/series, and one of Shaneon Garrity's was their column on Moon Child. I never thought I'd find a weirder manga than Kaori Yuki's stuff, but here we are. Dumbfounded by the heinousness. But also 90s brooding, like, EPIC. Having to request these from outside the library system, so it'll likely take a while to get through the series. I really miss the publisher CMX, :/ I wish I'd been older when they were still around, & I had more disposable income and could've better supported their series. They released a lot of great stuff.

Faith and Treason: The Story of the Gunpowder Plot by Antonia Fraser - Following up my run of Tudors! fiction/non-fiction, I wanted to read this because I never really "got" what this historical event was/its significance/whatever. It was SO FASCINATING. Clandestine Catholics disillusioned by a king who's not as Catholic as they thought he would be, Jesuit priests grappling with whether they can break the seal of the confessional to save lives vs. trying to argue with the would-be perpetrators and prevent the crime themselves, & also a tiny dude who went around building secret hiding places into the homes and properties of Catholics who hid Jesuits and other Catholics on the run. SO INTERESTING. OMG.
After this, I think I'm going to be jumping back in history to read some War of the Roses fiction/non-fiction. Although maybe also first some Mary Queen of Scots stuff.

Arata the Legend, vols. 16-22 by Yuu Watase - Lots of people lost their clothing for various "plot" reasons in a number of these volumes, :p
This series is at its best when it's balancing both of the two worlds, as opposed to focusing on the fantasy world of Amawakuni. The dread that Arata and Oribe feel as they're dealing with the horrors produced by Harunawa is palpable, and makes me connect with the characters' fear in a way that never quite happens with the characters in Amawakuni, save for the ways in which Arata and Kadowaki grapple with their feelings about each other/their friendship, as well as Mikasa's realization about her ~origins~. I'm about caught up to the English release of this series, which is also caught up the point where Yuu Watase had her hiatus. I'm really interested to see where this story goes, now that she's free from her abusive editor.

Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson - A selection from the Sirens list. This was fan-flipping-tastic, like I was blown away by how great it is.

Strange Fruit: Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History by Joel Christian Gill - This has been making the rounds at comics club, and I really enjoyed the art while reading these true stories about real people from black US history that I'd never heard before. From people's reactions to that other comic series called "Strange Fruit," I'd say this one is much better, :p

Truth: Red, White, and Black by Robert Morales - or, The first Captain American wasn't Steve Rogers. I've heard of this before, but I think I requested it (not in our library system, :[ ) after some tweets by [personal profile] sparkymonster. In a country where Tuskegee happened, it doesn't take much of a stretch of the imagination to think that the government would have created the super soldier serum by first testing it on black men. Morales pulls a lot of truths from history to tell a powerful story that leaves you reeling. The list of books about human subject experimentation & ethics in the back was obviously of great interest to me, so I added a lot of those to my to-read list on Goodreads.

How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less by Sarah Glidden - Checked out from the library after [personal profile] jesse_the_k was talking this up in comics club (I think?). Glidden goes on a birthright trip to Israel, despite feeling a little awkward about it because she has some serious issues with a lot of Israel's actions in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She's very upfront in describing the the trip that she & her group go on - what they see, learn, & feel.

Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire - SO FUN. Like, wow what a universe. I ended up rating this three stars, due to a truly absurd climactic battle that leads up to Ultimate Climax, as well as due to wayyyyy too many over-explain-to-the-reader moments. I wish McGuire would trust her readers to make their own logical conclusions once in a while. Like - "the store was locked, that's because someone just died, so that makes sense" - are the sort of things I write out when I'm logic-feeling my way through a scene that I'm writing? But then I rip out during editing, :p
That said, I <3 Dominic, I like the IDEA of a family of Slayers cryptozoologists who have broken away from the Watchers' Council the Covenant to stop killing all demons & instead figure out which ones deserve it, and study/protect the rest.
I suspect I'll like other POV characters more, so I'm eager to read both the other novels and the short stories set in the same universe that deal with her grandparents & great-grandparents.

Hawkeye #22 by Matt Fraction & David Aja - Sad to see this one end, even if it was a good ending. I kind of want to reread the whole thing. Mostly, I wish it weren't over.
laceblade: Manga drawing of Yamada sipping from a milk carton with a straw (Honey & Clover: Yamada drink)
Prince of Dogs - #2 in Kate Elliott's Crown of Stars series. Lots of chess pieces moved across the board, but it felt like not much happened. This book sadly suffered from more bloat than the first one. Still, there's a lot to love, and I will continue reading to find out what happens.

Eleanor & Park - I really didn't like this. Maybe it suffered from my having read Fangirl first. This felt more like a sketch of a book than a book.

Maus, vols 1 & 2 - Borrowed from [personal profile] jesse_the_k via comics club. Hard to say much about books that focus on the Holocaust? This was remarkable for two reasons: one being the author's relationship with his father. In the present, he's trying to get his father to tell his story. & despite his father literally having survived the Holocaust, he gets annoyed by him, has to deal with him, tries to avoid getting asked to do work for him, etc. (tbh Spiegelman the author seemed like kind of a dick to his dad)
The second reason being that the parts focusing on the actual Holocaust discussed not only the brutality of the Nazis, but the way equals attacked each other for survival. The characters in this book absolutely survived because if their wealth. & the father telling the story makes it clear to his son that the people who helped them did not do so out of the goodness of their hearts, but because they were paid.

Gangsta, vol. 1 - Checked out form library b/c [personal profile] inkstone loves it. This was a fun ride, and an interesting premise. I'm eager to read more.
Content warning for some transphobia.

The Ice Dragon - Story by George RR Martin that's supposed to be for kids, but it's pretty fucking violent? Worth picking up for the art.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up - I think I heard about this in the New York Times? Can't remember any more.

Marie Kondo has created her own tidying system, which she calls KonMari.
The book is sometimes hilarious, because she chronicles her lifelong obsession with organization and tidying, starting in kindergarten. She tidies her school rooms; she gets in trouble with her family for throwing out old clothing in the back of their closets that they never wear anyway; she eventually gets banished to only being allowed to tidy her own bedroom.

The book suffers from a lot of...encouraging talk to the reader? Whereas the system itself is pretty basic. Everyone has enough room to store all of their belongings neatly. If you never have enough room to put everything away, the problem is not that you need to buy some specific kind of closet organizer or plastic drawers, but rather that you have too much crap.

If you're able to put everything away, Kondo argues, you will only have to "tidy" once in your whole life. It'll take a huge commitment on your part to do it, & to do it right, but once you've done it, you'll be surrounded only by things that you love. Sure, you'll have to clean like everyone else, but you won't have to tidy up before you do it.

The key is to ruthlessly go through all of your belongings - all of them - and physically touch each item to see whether it sparks joy or not. You need to focus on what to keep, rather than what to discard. This must be done in a specific order: first clothing [there's a specific sub-order for how to do your clothes], then books, papers, komono [randoms: CDs/DVDs, makeup, electrical equipment, etc., all also in a specific order], and finally, mementos.
This specific order must be followed, because the skill of determining whether something sparks joy in you or not has to be honed. You won't be able to bear to part with any mementos unless you've sharped this skill by going through everything you've done before.

Once you have done this, she argues, you will have enough room for everything.
[She also has a few tips, such as storing everything vertically. Pinterest & YouTube seem to have her folding recs, etc. up: http://www.pinterest.com/eburymakes/the-life-changing-magic-of-tidying] Kondo says that making the commitment & tidying up will probably change your life. She spends a lot of time on weight loss/people's figures, but also talks about people quitting jobs they hate to do things that they love. She thinks people will take better care of their belongings after having completed the program.

There are a few quirks here - Kondo encourages the reader to speak to their possessions, to thank them each day for the help as you put them away.
While I have been known to sing to my rice cooker while washing it in my sink, or to my mushrooms as I slice them up before cooking them, I found these passages kind of a far stretch.

There's some advice I'm ignoring, also. I strongly disagree on how many books are necessary in a home, for example, and it'll be a cold day in hell before my bookshelves are shut away in my closets.

She can also be a little sexist/heteronormative/classist.
Kondo advises readers to toss any/all manuals on how to operate and fix appliances. She says that you can just look things up on the internet or take them to a repair person. While the internet might be helpful to all, I think this is assuming a little bit of privilege.
As is her sometimes repeated advice, "If you actually need it later on, just buy a new one."
She talks about "lounge wear" at home being something that should be clothing is specifically tailored for, rather than old/worn clothes. She asks women to consider buying an "elegant nightgown," :p
The narrative also seems to assume the reader is a woman, and refers at times to "old boyfriends."

For me, I was able to skim over the stuff I didn't like and hold on to the method.
The last thing I disagree with might be the most important. Kondo says that you must do everything, wholesale, all at once. All your clothing - all your shirts at once, in a pile, and then go through all of them.
Juggling a bunch of medical issues, this simply isn't possible for me.
Still, I've gone through the bottom drawer of my dresser. Everything has been discarded except for a sweater, a long-sleeved shirt that I've all but stolen from my boyfriend, and a t-shirt from high school. I've kept all the t-shirts from high school musicals and plays for years, but only one of them ever fit me well & felt comfortable. Getting rid of the shirts doesn't mean I'm getting rid of the memories, though - just that I'm getting rid of the negative associations I have with the shirts not having fit me for over ten years.
I've also cleaned out a suitcase that was both filled with & covered with clothes in the bottom of my closet. The suitcase is now upright, as is my spinner suitcase, next to it.

I'm looking forward to seeing how this book continues to influence me & my home, even if I'll be moving along more slowly than the author suggested, and I'm glad I checked it out from the library.

Ashes of Honor - (October Daye #6) I waffled on rating this 3 stars versus 4. This plot has been the most interesting to me after Book 3/Blind Michael.

However, I feel like this one suffered a little from too MUCH banter? idk.
It's also bugging me how much exposition there is - through internal narration and dialogue both.
To be honest, this is something I struggle with in my own writing, so feeling harsh about it might be my own deal.

That said, I still love these characters, & I think I grow to love them a little more every book. Dying to see the follow-up on the cop. Tybalt's voice is Balthier's from FF XII to me.
As always, I'm looking forward to reading more.

The Moe Manifesto - It would've been better if there was a "manifesto" of any kind? Instead, it was a collection of interviews with Japanese people about what they think moe is/means. Interviewees included Mari Kotani, a frequent WisCon attendee. The entire focus of the book was men's relationship with moe. I know that moe is targeted toward men, but sometimes I think literally only [personal profile] littlebutfierce & I care about how not!men feel about/react to moe.

The Runner - Fourth entry in Cynthia Voigt's Tillerman cycle. I don't think I've read this one before. It's weird to spend most of a book disliking the protagonist, but then Voigt just grabs you with a sucker punch. I really wish I could write like her. Wow.

Honey & Clover, vol. 1 - I've never actually read the manga all the way through, although the anime remains one of my hands-down favorites. Umino's art is sketchy, but unusual from other manga styles in a way that's interesting. Part of what's unique about this series is that I actually give a fuck about the male characters, which is pretty rare for me in a shoujo series. I know a lot of people bounce off this series for the way Hagu first appears, but I think it's important to keep in mind that her initial appearance - tiny/"cute" - is from Mayama and Takemoto's points of view. Over the course of the series, Hagu undergoes a tremendous amount of emotional growth.
Paying a lot of attention to things Hagu & Shu say to/about one another, knowing how this ends :[
Now that I'm actually out of college & have settled in a job that I love, I think I have a better appreciation for the struggles the characters are going through. Most non-sf/f anime/manga take place in high school, so it's cool to see a series where the characters are a little older, & really need to get their shit together.
Reading manga is faster than watching the anime, but I find myself thinking a lot about the insert songs by Suga Shikao and Spitz. This was a great fucking show. Also, I forgot how funny it is.
& now I want to upload more Honey & Clover icons that I've had saved for fuckin' ever.
PS: My faves are Yamada & Morita.
laceblade: Risa of Lovely Complex, contorting thumbs & index fingers into a heart, winking (Love*Com: Risa Heart)
I've been trying to read LeGuin's Hainish cycle, somewhat in order. I really liked Semley's Necklace, which was a lot like Rip Van Winkle. Why doesn't more SF deal with the effects of FTL travel?
I enjoyed Planet of Exile and Rocannon's World mostly for the prose, but liked Semley's Necklace better.
I've also read "April in Paris," which is unrelated to Hainish stuff but in the same collection of short stories as Hainish stuff.

Phantom Thief Jeanne, vols. 1-3 - I really enjoyed these. I love Maron's hair, which is always perfectly drawn. Viz's release is very pretty.
I think this is the first time I've seen virginity explicitly/textually linked with mahou shoujo power. The threat of rape is used repeatedly in the third volume, which I really didn't care for.
The primary love interest also makes comments that he might not be able to "help [himself]," and wants Jeanne to stop being a Phantom Thief, :[ Very controlling, sometimes disturbing images of him holding her wrists against the wall while towering over her to argue. Ugh.
What does attract me is Maron's loneliness, her desire for strength/fortitude but eventual acceptance that she can and should rely on her friends while she's not yet strong enough to do everything on her own.
Also loved Maron's facade of cheerful strength, which covers up her loneliness. I hope to read more of this rerelease.

After volumes 19 and 20, I've finally abandoned One Piece. I seem to never be able to make it past ~20 volumes with shounen, or at least that's been true of this, Naruto, and Bleach. Fullmetal Alchemist is a well-loved exception.

Pamela Dean's Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary is hard to describe, but I absolutely loved it, definitely going on my list of favorites. I think it might be my favorite by Dean.

Vampire Knight, volumes 1-5 - I've read the first few volumes before, but now that the final tome has been released, I thought I'd reread & go straight on through to the end. I'd forgotten how heinous this is.
Everyone's hair always looks wet. Sucking of blood is used an excuse for everyone to bit/like one another while having mid-orgasmic facial expressions. The omake pages are literally titled, "Vampires covered in blood are forbidden from entering this page!" AMAZE. Self-aware manga-ka are the best.

One Salt Sea - Fifth Toby Daye, which I enjoyed a lot, possibly even more than #3, which had been my favorite.

Please Save My Earth, vol. 1 - This was a reread from a lonnnnng time ago. Sadly, my library system doesn't carry the rest of the series, and I'd have to outer-library loan every single volume after this. Not sure if I'm interested enough to keep doing that, but I'd also really like to see where the story goes, after only knowing the beginning for about a decade.

Fangirl - I pretty much devoured this. Over-identified in a few places, as I had a hard time making friends in college, spent a lot of time in my dorm room, etc. There's a lot of mental illness running through the pages of this book, so cw for that.

Arrows of the Queen - Someone at Tor.com is reading a reread of these Mercedes Lackey books. Having never read any Lackey ever, I thought I'd join in to learn about "sparkle ponies" that have often been discussed at WisCon.
I think I referred to reading this book as like eating cotton candy. SPARKLE PONY SCHOOL?! WHERE YOU GO AFTER BEING CHOSEN BY A PONY TO HELP RULE THE KINGDOM?! Amazing.

Malice - another fantastic book by Higashino, although this one was NOT about Detective Galileo, as the last two published in the US were. I love the writing. I'm completely unable to guess how things fit together, and I just really love Higashino as an author and wish that more of his books were translated into English.

How to Save a Life - With this, I've now read all available Sara Zarr books, I think? I usually suck these books down in about a day, becoming completely enthralled, and this one was no different.

ATLA: The Rift, part 3 (final) - I really enjoyed this as an end to this third post-ATLA series trilogy. Is Gene Luan Yang doing more? I really hope so!


I know there have been a bunch of other comics I've read after borrowing them from people from comics club, but I'll have to do those after my vacation!
laceblade: Fanart of Chibi-Usa from Sailor Moon, grown up & in high school uniform, smiling. (Sailor Moon: Rini high school)
I keep not having anything to say about what I've been reading, but since I use this blog to keep track of where I am in single-issue comics, I figured I'd list my progress if nothing else -_-

Saga #24 - Very excited to revisit some old friends in this issue. Sad as always for the hiatus. Still love reading the letters at the end, or moreso Brian K Vaughan's writing surrounding the letters.

A Solitary Blue - I'd forgotten almost everything that happens in this book, and I'm so glad I revisited it. Voigt's writing is such a comfort to me, and I'm glad to be reading the Tillerman Cycle again.

Marvel's 75th Anniversary Celebration - recommended by someone at comics club. Purchased because they specifically said that one of the stories is about Jessica Jones, AND IT WAS!!! I loved the fake covers, and also Kamala's appearance in the first few pages. I was shocked by how many characters I recognized from the various shout-outs? I guess I'm getting comfy in Marvel's universe.

Phonogram #1 - Purchased because issue #1 was on sale for $1. Didn't really grab me? idk.

Wayward #1-3 - Someone at comics club was looking to offload #1 and 2, and I bought #3 before reading any. A teenage girl who's half-Irish, half-Japanese relocates to live with her mom in Japan. I liked the art quite a bit, and some of the concepts are interesting. Appreciate the Japan in the background. Less enthusiastic about how none of the characters seem to interact how I'd expect them to interact, in uh, any situation? & when the kids decided to "team up" & discussed naming themselves, it really felt like it came out of nowhere to me.
In the letters at the end, the creators make it sound like they're trying to emulate Buffy but also going for their own thing entirely. Lots of splainy stuff for ~3 pages per issue about monster folklore or life in Japan.
Also a trigger warning for some very sudden & vivid self-harm, :(

Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man Volume 5 - This volume explains how Miles picks up his suit again. It was also fun to see him dating Kate Bishop!
This book got a little full, as it gave back stories to four other characters: Spider-Woman, Bombshell, and Cloak & Dagger. I still liked it quite a bit, and am actually interested in all four of these characters, Gwen Stacy, Ganke, and of course Miles. This is what comes next. Too bad the library doesn't have it.

Thor: The Might Avenger, vols 1 & 2 - Borrowed from comics club. Overall this series was a good jumping in point for someone with zero context for Thor aside from his appearance in the Avengers movie. This art style was refreshingly consistent for a Western comic. I was pretty bored to the point of feeling insulted by Jane Foster. The creators' feelings were confirmed when I got to the end and saw her cup size listed on her initial sketch page. Appalling.
Grateful that Thor's first appearance was included in the could one time - nice to see at least two origin stories.

Late Eclipses - 4th October Daye book. I still love these quite a bit. I think I liked #3 slightly more than this one?

Heaven Under Earth - I just read this online, but apparently it's now been published in an Electric Velocipede anthology and taken offline since then!
Actually read this a few weeks ago as part of my quest to read all of the 2013 Tiptree list, but then forgot since I don't log short stories on Goodreads & there was no physical reminder lying on my couch ^^;;
I loved this quite a bit, and found myself thinking, "Why isn't there more fantasy like this?" [This is a thought that I've had a number of times this year.] I really look forward to reading more by Aliette de Bodard.
laceblade: fanart of Ohana turning to look beyond viewer. Coloring blue/moody. (Hanasaku Iroha: Ohana)
A Local Habitation - I keep marveling over the fact that I find the world-building in these books interesting, as attempts at "faerie" urban fantasy novels have failed utterly in the past.

In this one, October Daye is sent to investigate the sudden silence of her liege-lord's niece, who lives in a different city. Upon arrival, she learns that members of a faerie start-up tech company are being murdered one-by-one, and it becomes increasingly clear that the murderer has to be one of their fellow employees.

As always, I'm suckered by metaphors. "Long dresses weren't designed for walking in the woods. My mother could've made the walk without stumbling; she fits into the world that well, even insane. That's what it meant to be a pureblood. I stumble and fall, and I always get up and keep going. That's what it means to be a changeling."

Also loved the last few sentences, after reflecting on the mutability of her world (for plot-related reasons I won't spoil). "Something endures, no matter what happens. Something last."

Many friends have been delighted by some sort of world-changing plot spoiler that happened in the most recent installment in this series [The Winter Long], so I'm glad to know that this series doesn't get stale.


I'm a little surprised to see so many others rated this so low on Goodreads! Usually I'm somewhat on-par with my fellow readers, lol.


Alias, vol. 4: The Secret Origins of Jessica Jones - Loved this, sad it was a finale. I really like this series, and I think this volume was hands-down the best installment. I'm glad to see the story continues in "The Pulse," and I've already got all the volumes of that on hold, bahaha. I'd like to own these some day, and highly recommend them. I remain excited for the upcoming Netflix series based on Jessica Jones's story.


This One Summer - I didn't like this as much as Skim, which was done by the same pair of cousins? But still worth reading.


Rhapsody: Child of Blood - Recced to me by a coworker. Some of the worst prose I've read in a while, sadly. Only made it to page 92.


Letters to Olga - This one might be "abandoned for now" rather than forever, due to library due dates.

I'm half Czech, but know next to nothing about the country from which my mother's family came. Letters to Olga is a collection of letters Havel wrote to his wife while imprisoned for his human rights activities. Havel later became president of Czechoslovakia. Abandoned on page 35 (for now?).


A Sand County Almanac - I field weird giving this a 3, but I really only cared for the beginning third, "A Sand County Almanac." Feel like it should be required reading for those who live in Wisconsin.

I was less enthralled with "Sketches Here and There" and "The Upshot," save for the essay on Land Ethic.


Gotham Academy, #1 - COMIC OF MY ID!!!! This was everything I'd hoped it would be. I want to roll around in it. So glad this series exists.
laceblade: Screencap from FF7, Zak and Cloud escaping from Mako tubes in Shinra mansion (FF7: Cloud/Zack escape)
Sparrow Hill Road - Rose Marshall is a ghost, and her story is not told in a linear fashion. As she interacts with truck drivers & other people on the road (she is a hitchhiker ghost), we learn about her past: how she died, and what's happened to her during her afterlife.

The worldbuilding is interesting, the way highways and roads are both real & not. The rules for various types of ghosts, etc. Rose is a very likeable protagonist. We see her most often in greasy diners, one specifically called Last Chance, which isn't fixed & seems to move around just as much as she does.

I sometimes find the writing to verge on the edge of cliche, but it never fully dips down into making me feel embarrasssed. And McGuire's writing sucks me in. I read the second half straight through, couldn't put it down.


We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves - Shortlisted for the Booker, and rightfully so. The narrator's voice is both matter of fact and nonlinear. Unreliable, but honest. It's best to not know what's coming, so I'm purposely being a little obtuse.

I know of Fowler from WisCon, as she has attended many times in the past, and in fact co-founded the James Tiptree, Jr. Award.

There were references to Jo, Amy, and Beth from Little Women. But I didn't know how badly I needed to see Dicey Tillerman in a list of orphaned girls like Jane Eyre and Anne Shirley until she was. A genre of buldingsromans that had always felt coherent but disparate to me suddenly snapped together.
There are allusions to Star Wars throughout. I also enjoyed the comparison of Merry and Pippin in Isengard to the Romans sitting amid the ruins of Carthage.

I work with human subjects research for a living, and this book made me reflect upon animal research more than anything has before. It's timely, too. Last week, there was a semi-heinous Isthmus cover story called MOTHERLESS MONKEYS (http://www.isthmus.com/isthmus/article.php?article=43284) about a new study at UW in which rhesus monkeys will be taken from their mothers at a young age, and killed one year later in a research study about anxiety & depression.
There's a human counterpart study related to that one: in the human study, babies go into an MRI scanner instead of having their brains cut up.

It was hard to put this book down. It pulls at you, & doesn't let go. The ending is perfect.
laceblade: fanart of Harry Potter in Gryffindor scarf, Hedwig landing on his outstretched arm (HP: Hedwig)
Rosemary and Rue - I got this from the library because I've been following Seanan McGuire on Twitter for a while & find her pretty cool. I'd bounced off of Feed a while ago, but thought I'd try this urban fantasy series. It reminds me of Kitty Norville in how in the first book, the protagonist is bucking away from the abusive paranormal situation she's been in for a while.
This one's a little different, though, because the protagonist spent 14 years as a koi, in a pond. Random, lol. I plan to read more!

March Story, vol. 1 - This was okay?! Paranormal stuff happening in what they call the 18th century but I'm pretty sure is the 19th, Europe. Very pretty art. Interesting thing with gender that I hadn't seen coming. It's a pity there only seems to be one volume out in English so far.

One Piece, vols. 13-15 - I found the first two volumes really boring. But now that Nami's sick & they're in a snow area trying to find the doctor, I'm finding it really interesting?! I like Vivi even though she's probably temporary. I like that Nami's illness shows how absolutely essential she is to the crew. I think in the first two volumes contained in this omnibus, I was having my typical shounen feelings - annoyed by neverending fights. UGH.

The Lives of Christopher Chant - I liked this WAY MORE than Charmed Life. Christopher is a much more interesting protagonist, and the I found the plot & world-building in this book to be much more fascinating, and I usually don't care about world-building so that's saying a lot.

The insights into everyone who becomes a character in Charmed Life are fascinating, and now I just want to reread certain parts of Charmed Life to see those characters later on. I really love Christopher, & plan to reread this book in the future.

I LOVED the Goddess/Millie. It's so important to me that she found a life she wanted to emulate through books, and let her fictional heroine guide her own actions in a time of crisis - staying loyal to her friends because that's what Millie would do - genius! So special.

Nineteen Seventy-Nine by [archiveofourown.org profile] blamebrampton - The last year of Regulus Black's life, which I really, really liked. Even while getting in with the Death Eaters, Regulus checks in on Sirius to make sure he's okay. He accidentally bumps into Lily Potter, with whom he forges an unlikely friendship. This shows Regulus getting deeper & deeper into the Death Eater group, even while questioning some of their methods. His compromises & eventual inability to compromise are fascinating to watch. I appreciate the way that Lucius Malfoy tries to mentor him, too. I'm still looking forward to reading more HP fic by this author.
I think that reading Rowling's latest Cormoran Strike novel has made me really, really long for her to write some adult Harry Potter books, which is why I'm trying to fill the hole with politically intelligent fanfiction.

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laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
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