laceblade: Hachi of NANA, applying lipstick (NANA: Hachi makeup)
Read Pacat's Captive Prince.
Are there people who can read these books in public?! I was talking with others about how slowly I'm having to make my way through the Known Associates fic because once I hit a sexytimes scene...yeah.

MOVING ON.

I tried reading Hopkinson's Sister Mine, struggled, realized I was hating it, and stopped. IT WAS SUCH A GREAT FEELING.

Raising Demons by Shirley Jackson, the follow-up to Among the Savages. More glimpses at her domestic life. Still hilarious, but now with more kids and more pets.

Princess Jellyfish, vol. 1 by Akiko Higashimura - GUYS. GUYS. THIS BOOK. I CAN'T EVEN. Firstly, it's an omnibus, so two books in one. The protagonist, Tsukimi, lives in a house with other adult single women her age, who all have something in common: they're all borderline-agoraphobic and completely obsessed (one might say...fannish) about something, be it The Three Kingdoms, kimonos, or jellyfish. They all rely on their parents to pay for them to continue living in this place, as none of them have jobs or attend school.
On a rare trip out in public, Tsukimi ends up meeting Kuranosuke, a beautiful woman with great social skills whom she accidentally brings back to their house [a place where NO fashionable people are allowed, and ESPECIALLY NO MEN EVER!]. Eventually she's surprised to learn that Kuranosuke is actually a man her own age, who likes to dress up as a woman.
The book is hilarious, and IMO really great for fannish people.
I highly recommend making use of the glossary in the back - due to conversations surrounding Kuranosuke, I think the context of the ways certain words translate, or in some cases do not, are all very important in accepting what's going on.
The plot crosses over with politics, and by the end, the Big Conflict is that the house Tsukimi and her friends live in is going to be razed to the ground to make space for some new/modern buildings. Kuranosuke tries to rally the girls to get others to take them seriously, namely by giving them all elaborate makeovers [which they all undo as soon as they're home again].
A lot of things rely on people's perceptions of others. I'm excited to read more, and glad to have bought this sight-unseen.

The Boleyn Reckoning by Laura Andersen - aka the last in a trilogy about an RPF historical au in which Anne Boleyn gave birth to a son. HOLY SHIT AFTER EVERYTHING, this book goes and does THE MOST HORRIBLE THING IMAGINABLE to each of the four main characters, occasionally taking it back so that those things happened FOR ABSOLUTELY NO REASON.
Super angry by the end, in a WHAT EVEN WAS THE POINT sort of way. THEN I found out there's a sequel trilogy, focusing on Elizabeth I's daughter. I'm going to try jumping into Jean Plaidy for rescue...

Supermutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki - A collection of one-page one-shots that focus on kids with superpowers who attend a boarding school together. APPARENTLY JILLIAN TAMAKI AND I HAVE EXACTLY THE SAME SENSE OF HUMOR.
laceblade: Juri of Utena anime in middle school uniform; Shiori's hand covers her eyes. (Utena: Juri eyes covered)
Barrayar and The Warrior's Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold - Barrayar was perfect and I gave it 5 stars. As for my first Miles book, HOLY SHIT IT IS SO CATHARTIC TO WALLOW IN A PROTAGONIST WITH CHRONIC PAIN/HEALTH ISSUES WOW. I joked on Twitter, asking whether it was normal to spend a Miles book going, "Miles stop; Miles no!" and everyone assured me that it was. I am looking forward to reading more, and grateful to [twitter.com profile] deermews for making my reading of these books possible!

House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard - I was looking forward to this because people with good taste recommended it, and it sounded like something I'd enjoy. I got over 100 pages in, but unfortunately found it appallingly bad, like straight-up. Between this and my dislike of The Fifth Season, it makes me wonder whether I'm deficient in my appreciation of feminist fantasy! idk.

Full Moon O Sagashite, vols. 1-6 - Arina Tanemura - A girl who loves to sing has sarcoma, but the surgery necessary to curing her condition would ruin her voice. This is hands-down my favorite Tanemura so far, I think because the protagonist has SO MUCH agency, and because of the unrequited/impossible loves that are going on. These are also some of the best omake pages I've read in a manga so far, bahaha.
I have one volume to go and am semi-afraid for it to end. That said, I appreciate that Tanemura tells her stories & gets out, without rehashing the premise for 25 volumes!
In one of the omake columns, she talks about how the ultimate manga story she's always wanted to create will never be written because Ribon would never publish it & she would never leave Ribon. I appreciate this BUT ALSO I REALLY WANT THAT STORY WHAT THE FUCK WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT.

Heir to the Empire and Dark Force Rising by Timothy Zahn - The Force Awakens made me wistful for old Star Wars novels, so I'm trying to reread things in publication order that I haven't touched for 15-20 years. This has the added bonus of bringing these paperbacks to my apartment, and getting them out of my childhood bedroom in my parents' house, >___<
These two were way better than I remember? At least, I hadn't remember there being this much politicking going on, and <33333333. MARA JADE 4 LIFE. And I love that Lando Calrissian is involved because of course Lando is involved. You don't have a sequel to Star Wars without Lando. [*looks directly at Force Awakens*]
Spoilers for both this 'Thrawn Trilogy,' future/already-published Star Wars expanded universe novels up through those published in the past 5 years or so, and The Force Awakens movie )

Requiem for the Rose King, vol. 1 - Aya Kanno - AKA: THE RICHARD III SHOUJO MANGA. I was alerted to the existence of this manga by a [personal profile] coffeeandink post. In addition to being very pretty, it's a great read after having just read Alison Weir's Wars of the Roses; however, NOTHING is done to provide the reader with context/who the hell these people are, so I could easily see this being frustrating to those unfamiliar with this chapter of English history.
THAT SAID IT IS AMAZEBALLS. She bases it heavily on Shakespeare's Richard III and Henry VI plays. The "twist" is that Richard III was born intersex, so there is some body angst happening. He is also haunted by visions of an apparition of Joan of Arc, who taunts him for not being a real warrior/etc. because of his body.
I did not expect to like the portrayal of Henry VI so much.
I loved it and the next two volumes are waiting for me to come to the bookstore and buy them. *____*

The White Queen by Philippa Gregory - the first of her novels focusing on a pre-Tudor era: the Wars of the Roses. This book focuses on Elizabeth Woodville: the wife of Edward IV, and the grandmother of Henry VIII. One thing that I like about Gregory's books is that she pushes the, "Yes, this historical character was accused of witchcraft and isn't that horrible BUT ALSO WHAT IF THERE WAS WITCHCRAFT AND WHAT WOULD PEOPLE DO WITH IT?" so we have Elizabeth affecting battle outcomes by cursing people and/or controlling the weather. I probably liked this one more than the latter Tudor books I read/anything I've read since The Constant Princess [about Catherine of Aragorn], which still has my favorite canon-compliant AU of Catherine + Arthur Tudor = OTP4LIFE.
I'm looking forward to reading the other Wars of the Roses/"Cousins' War" books in this cycle, & have already started the second one focusing on Margaret Beaufort.
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, apparently about to kiss (Default)
I keep not writing about books, but at this point there are SO MANY that I'm just going to post about the ones I really have something to say about, and then wipe the slate clean afterward.

First, check out my Hibike! Euphonium icon and then consider watching the show for the f/f of Kumiko/Reina :D :D :D

Mari Yamazaki's Thermae Romae I manga was hilarious. A Roman architect keeps designing the same-old types of baths, UNTIL every chapter he finds away to get sucked down a drain/etc. only to wake up in some kind of onsen in Japan, in the modern day. Every time, he appreciates something else about a different type of onsen, and then brings it back to Rome. It's a comedy, and it's hilarious. Additionally, the manga-ka married an Italian and loves to share all of her research on the omake pages.

Jacqueline Koyanagi's Ascension was on the most recent Tiptree shortlist, which is why I checked it out from the library. The protagonist ends up joining a family & a ship that remind me of Firefly except more inclusive. Sub-plots involve human subjects research, so I found it interesting enough to keep me going despite some really clunky writing in the beginning - I think there was a line about the protag's belt hanging on her "like hope gone slack," that almost made me set it down lol. I liked it well enough that I'm interested in seeing what happens in #2, if/when it comes out. I'm curious if anyone else has read this and what they think is up with its nomination for a Tiptree award. I really don't think it did anything with gender...?

I enjoyed Arina Tanemura's collection of short stories much more than I thought I would. Sometimes I think that the short story is the best format for shoujo manga-ka. So many ideas really are one-note, and suffer from being dragged on for 10 volumes. I felt the same way about Masami Tsuda's, despite having found Kare Kano extremely repetitive.

I made it through Ron Chernow's biography of Alexander Hamilton, which inspired Lin-Manuel Miranda to write the musical Hamilton. I loved the level of detail here. Hamilton's productivity and output is inspiring. His presence for certain events makes for an interesting story. His relationship with George Washington was heart-warming, and the little moment they have towards the end of his presidency, where Hamilton smirks and says what he really thinks about Thomas Jefferson - that he's a fucking fraud, and that all of his positions and actions are politically calculated - were for me the best part of the book. This book really changed my previous opinion about Thomas Jefferson. His thoughts about American exceptionalism, his manipulation of people's optimism to fleece them, he being the originator of so many things I hate about the worst politicians - all of it.
Also, the ending completely removed any sympathy the musical had caused me to feel for Aaron Burr. Ass.

Longbourn by Jo Baker - I was invited to discuss this with a small group of people I'd gotten to know through the WisCon concom. It's basically Pride & Prejudice fic, from the point of view of the servants. I once took a class on disability in literature, and we read Austen's Persuasion in part to talk about the presentation of a "hypochondriac" character but also the way Jane Austen very rarely talked about bodies.
Baker's book is totally altered from Austen's in terms of tone. I saw Sherwood Smith complaining about this on Goodreads, that it doesn't "capture" Austen, etc. I think...that's the whole point. It's about bodies - it's about the never-ending WORK that people do. It's about the disgusting contents of chamber pots. It's about how it's possible to get all of the mud off of Elizabeth Bennet's skirts after her long walks.
Some on Goodreads also complained about the interlude for some war scenes, from Britain's war with France and Spain, but I think those people have clearly never read the Waterloo interlude in Les Miserables, because this shit was nothing.

Mercedes Lackey's The Oathbound was quite fun, although I found the revenge these girls have on some past enemies to be pretty...problematic? Also lots of rape.
But. Kethry and Tarma = the shit.
I have determined that it is necessary to read the Valdemar books in publication order. It's the only way things make sense.

I've finally read Ellen Kushner's Swordspoint. It's hard to imagine that this book came out the year after I was born, and I've only just read it now. I wonder what I would have thought about it had I read it as a kid. idk.
It's conveniently timed, though. I should check out Tremontaine.

X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga - whoa! this is my first "old school" X-Men book. I checked it out because of some internet article list for US comics. I didn't know when I picked it up that this included the introduction of Kitty Pryde, but I think her presence made this a decent entry point. I have Days of Future Past and whatever comes after that on hold next from the library.

Related, I mainlined Daredevil on Netflix. I am attracted to Charlie Cox and his stubble. Also the way he kissed Claire. There should have been more kissing tbqh.

Minae Mizumura's The Fall of Language in the Age of English - After reading her book A True Novel, I wanted to read anything else by her that I could, but this is sadly the only other item translated into English. This book apparently caused a lot of controversy in Japan when it came out. It's basically about...literature of nations. How some nation's literature ends up "falling" (e.g., France), how Japan was uniquely positioned to create its own mature corpus of literature despite many other Asian countries failing to do the same.
Even though English is currently a dominant language and would eventually wipe out most others if Mizumura is to be believed, she discusses the value and calling to write in one's own native language.
In explaining influence, about a young Parisian writing an autobiography pre-WWII, hundreds of Japanese reading the novel before one translates it into Japanese. Then Mizumura's mother reads it and is inspired. Mizumura speculates on a hypothetical in which her mother then writes her own autobiography, which is well-received in Japan, but would never be translated into French or any other European language. Not many Europeans read Japanese. Thus, "only Japanese readers can share the plight of my mother's life. For other readers in the world, it's as if her novel never existed. It's as if she herself never existed. Even if my mother had written her novel first, Francoise would never have read it and been moved by it."
She describes these as "asymmetrical relationships," meaning that only people who live in a "universal temporality" can be heard by the world. Those who are bilingual, and who exist in both "the universal and particular temporalities may hear voices from the other side, but they cannot make their own voices heard. They can only participate passively in the universal temporality, however much they may wish otherwise."
She discusses the fact that the Nobel Prize in Literature "suppresses all the problems inherent in the act of translation" by translating works that are easiest to translate, and which "often only reinforce the worldview constructed by the English language."
In addition to these meditations, I have added a number of modern Japanese novels to my to-read list.
laceblade: Cardcaptor Sakura, smiling at viewer, surrounded by pink. Text: RESOLUTION (CCS: Resolution)
I'm not great at this once-weekly posting about books, am I?!

Mercedes Lackey update: After reading/really disliking Winds of Fate a while back, I was concerned I'd only like the first trilogy; however, I read Exile's Honor and By the Sword and really liked both. tbh I LOVED By the Sword so much. Super excited to read Oathbound also. Reading in publication order seems really important, and I think is why I floundered so much in Winds of fate. I kinda want to reread the Valdemar parts of Winds of Fate with more context now.

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken - I remember reading this several times in elementary school, but all I remembered about the plot/characters was that I liked it. It holds up well - LOVE! - and apparently is part of a series, so I'm looking forward to finding out what happens to everybody.

The Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu - Basically like Animorphs where a Yeerk takes over your brain & can control your movements, except no morphing lol. This was a real page-turner and hit a lot of my trope buttons, but I really hated how the female characters serviced the plot [as in I can't remember the last time I felt so angry over this] and it REALLY needed an editor. Did it get edited at all? It felt like no. STILL, I liked it enough to be interested in reading the next book to see what happens.

Nina Kiriki Hoffman stuff - I read Fall of Light even tho [personal profile] jinian warned me not to. This was pretty creepy but I liked the protagonist?? Still, uncomfortable/sense of unease. Read Heart of Memories really annoyed me, and Stir of Bones actually kind of really set me off. I need to not read things where the protagonists talk about wanting to be dead :)
It's kind of put me off trying more by her, even though I'd like to try more. :/

Story of Saiunkoku manga - UGH SO GOOD. I LOVE THIS STORY SO MUCH. [personal profile] intothespin said on twitter that Shurei is like Leslie Knope and YES, SO MUCH YES. ALL SHE WANTS IS TO BE A CIVIL SERVANT AND DO A GOOD JOB AND HELP HER COUNTRY. It really speaks to the state employee in me, :*) In addition to bureaucracy + shoujo manga + amazingness.
I really wish the novels would be translated into English, either professionally or by fans, so I can find out what happens next, :( I think the manga and the anime left off in the same place.

Time Stranger Kyoko, vols. 1 and 2 by Arina Tanemura - pretty good, fluffy fun? But what I loved most of all was the implicit f/f declaration of love. Like Tomoyo and Sakura, it just makes me go *____*

The Movement by Gail Simone - Suggested by someone at comics club, honestly can't remember who. Sadly, this tried to grab a niche from the Occupy movement, and fill this space of "fuck the system" vs. police, but the dialogue was terrible, I gave zero fucks about the characters, and it was just really bad.

Phoebe and her Unicorn - Meant for children, compared to Calvin and Hobbes. Lots of one-off pages that also tell a story about a precocious girl with a prissy unicorn friend. Boring, hated it.

The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory, aka her book about Mary, Queen of Scots. This details when she was held prisoner by George Talbot and Bess of Hardwick. I REALLY LOVE MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS? I THINK I LIKE HER MORE THAN ELIZABETH I? It's funny - I have a couple coworkers who are really into Tudors books [one of whom is the one lending me all these, who's sadly leaving for another job!], and one of them really despises Mary QoS, thinking she was stupid for not just taking her Scottish crown and being happy with it. Gregory makes her sympathetic, and from her POV all of her actions make sense, to me. Her observations of Elizabeth as mean, entirely under the control of William Cecil, and how she reacts to fear/etc. rang 100% true to me. Bess of Hardwick was pretty fun to read about, too. I can see why some people would dislike the impressionistic POV-switching that's going on between the three characters, but for me it help the pace going in what was overall a reflective book, excepting all the Rise of the North stuff.
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: spoof on Berenstein Bears book cover, title: "Learn About Cylons." Brother Bear is aghast. (Truth about Cylons)
Arata the Legend by Yuu Watase - I've read about 15 volumes of this so far, and plan to keep going. This is the manga Watase was meant to write, imo. Or maybe her past experience has led her to the point of being able to produce a very well-paced manga. ALSO HER WOMEN HAVE HIPS. ALWAYS. IN MANGA. IT'S AMAZING. This series runs in Shounen Manga, but I believe that it is a Secret Shoujo Manga. Two young men named Arata exist in different universes. One is a high school boy in Japan who's been bullied and has no friends. The other is a warrior accused of attempting to assassinate the princess he was supposed to become [there's a shortage of girls in his clan]. Due to some sort of temporal rift, they switch places!
In order to help the nearly-assassinated princess restore her power, the Arata-from-our-world becomes a Shō, one who can use a sword-weapon that houses the spirit of a goddess. In order to get the power/weapon [I forget which, probably both] he needs, Arata needs the Twelve Shinshou of this world to submit to him. Clearly everyone thinks that submission is won through battle - EXCEPT THAT ACTUALLY IT'S BY LEARNING PEOPLE'S TRAGIC BACKSTORIES, UNDERSTANDING THEIR FEELINGS, AND HAVING THE PERSON SUBMIT THEIR WILL UNDER ARATA'S BECAUSE THEY DECIDE TO GIVE UP THEIR VENGEANCE/ETC.!!! This is why it is A Secret Shoujo Manga.

This has a lot of really good Oh, shit! plot twists. The plot has dragged for the past few volumes, and I thought the cover for one of the volumes was supposed to be a joke. In it, it's revealed that the spirit of everyone's weapon is an absurdly large-breasted woman. I'm going to go ahead and assume that this was not Watase's idea, but rather her editor's. She blogged about the abuse and harassment she received from her editor while working on this series I'm glad she got rid of him, and I hope she's back in control!


xxxHolic by CLAMP - the volumes I've read so far are rereads, but I never finished this entire series. The art is amazing. It's very peaceful. This remains one of my favorite series.


Memory of Water by Emmi Itäranta. I borrowed this from the library because it was on the most recent Tiptree Award list. I started out pretty dubious about the premise - post-apocalyptic Scandinavian world in which a teenage girl's father performs the Japanese tea ceremony for a living despite the fact that water is hoarded and rationed in their community. The plot is vague, but the plot isn't the point.


Chime by Franny Billingsley - another one of those anachronistically written YA novels, but in this one the protagonist is dealing with a negative thought cycle that will familiar to people with depression.
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: Fanart of Revolutionary Girl Utena, holding sword and looking at viewer. (Utena fanart)
Vampire Knight, vol. 5 - Uhhh, I finished this right before going out of town for a week & have no memory of it. VAMPIRES COVERED IN BLOOD.

Kitty's Big Trouble - I still like this well enough, but this one I liked less than others. Can't remember too many specifics >__<

Dealing With Dragons - Yes, it's true; I've never read these. Recced to me by [personal profile] were_duck when we were wandering Half-Price Books with [personal profile] wild_irises. I liked this a lot. Would read Cimorene hanging out w/dragons forever. Loved how this fucked with so many tropes. If anything, this book was too short, which is why I'm glad the second one is already in my basket of books checked out from the library.

Unnatural Death - Was this book about lesbians, or did I make that up?

Sister Light, Sister Dark - This is the book that [personal profile] wild_irises recced to me in Half-Price Books after I brought up the fact that I'd never read anything by Jane Yolen. Enclaves of women live separately from other sections of society. Each (well, most) is able to call up their own "dark sister" through mirrors. These dark sisters are then forever bonded to them, although they can only appear where there's darkness - shadows, etc.
Jenna is an heroic figure who might be the fulfillment of a prophecy - but mostly she's trying to do what she feels like she has to.
Yolen mixes the narrative with ballads, songs (with actual music), academic analyses of Jenna's culture.
I'm glad there are more books, and also eager to read more by Yolen. (Feel free to tell me your faves.)

City of Illusions - Continuing my tour of the Hainish cycle. I really did not care for this one. Like, at all. And have struggled to get myself to return to LeGuin since reading it.

Whiteout - Borrowed this at comics club. Via [personal profile] jesse_the_k, I've been reading/watching [livejournal.com profile] antarctic_sue for a few years; thus, the concept of isolated bases where a substantial portion of the population leaves annually & supplies are scarce wasn't new to me. The ongoing murder mystery wasn't very interesting to me; however, the relationship between U.S. Marshall Carrie Stetko and Lilly was.
I liked this, & the art, well enough to put volume 2 on hold, anyway.

The Goblin Emperor - LOVE. Written under Sarah Monette's new pseudonym. The airships made me think of Final Fantasy IX.
Basically the protagonist, Maia, has always lived banished with his abusive relative. Despite being the son of the Emperor, his mother has been dead for years after having been cast off, and nobody else really cares about his fate. Until his father, the Emperor, and all his half-brothers in line for the throne ahead of him die when an airship blows up. So Maia has to go to court and learn how to rule. Not only does Maia have no friends at court, he's never had any friends period. He doesn't know how to have friends. Happily, the compassion that his goblin mother taught him to have for others leads him to make choices that better the realm.
I loved that Maia's spirituality was so important to his staying grounded. Time spent meditating was always restorative to him. I think it's rare to read a fantasy series where a character's faith feels authentic. It probably helps that most of the background characters were not down with the religion, so it was a conscious choice made by the protagonist.
Another thing this novel did that I don't think I've ever seen in a fantasy before was a spoiler )
I loved the politics, loved how Maia chose to solve problems.
Definite content warning for an abuse survivor, who gets triggered and stuck in flashbacks.
People who have read both: Is this similar to the Doctrine of Labyrinths quartet? I own 3 of the 4 and while one time I almost finished the first one, I could use some motivation to get these read.

Anne of Windy Poplars - Probably my least favorite of these books so far, tbh. Everything feels like a retread of things that have already happened.

Margaret Fuller: A New American Life - Abandoning this on page 180, partly due to time constraints & this being due back at the library before I could finish it, but also because it started losing steam after the beginning. I liked reading about Fuller's childhood a lot. Once she gets older, things sort of read like a who's who of American Transcendentalism, and good Lord, Ralph Waldo Emerson sounds like a brat.

Please Save My Earth, volume 2. This series is SO nineties shoujo manga. AND THAT IS WHY I LOVE IT. I continue to slowly obtain this series through the library's outerlibrary loan system.

King's Dragon - LOVED IT. I was really craving a brick of a fantasy novel, and am so glad that I read this. I've already gushed about Elliott's Spiritwalker trilogy [Cold Magic/etc.], and I feel similarly gush-y about this one. This is the first in a series of seven bricks.
Elliott's fantasy world, which is sort of an alternate Europe with magic, feels real. The gender-equal world was so naturally described that I caught myself being tricked by my own socialized assumptions - assuming that warriors and biscops were only men & getting myself confused, etc. The religion felt SO real to me. Like people's beliefs actually shaped their thoughts and actions throughout the entire novel, and not just when it was convenient to the plot. I should have a disclaimer that at least some of my affection for the religion is probably due to the fact that it's so similar to Catholicism.
I have a lot of love for both protagonists, Liath and Alain. Loved the epic battle at the end.
Has anyone else read these? Just. UGH. LOVE. Very excited to read more. Really don't understand why this book has so many haters on Goodreads.
Definite content warning for domestic violence/abuse, as well as rape.

The Magicians and Mrs. Quent - This book grabbed me from page one, in which the protagonist is described as being one to read while she walks so as not to waste a moment - which is a habit I share. Ivy Lockwell and her two sisters live in a house due to be inherited by their repulsive male cousin upon their mother's death. While their mother hopes one or two of them will marry well to avoid destitution, the girls are pretty happy in the meantime.
Of her sisters & mother, only Ivy is still able to maintain a relationship with their father, who stays in the attic tossing books about magick around after having gone mad a few years ago.

I loved the writing - the author is clever and has a better grasp of language than many other fantasy authors, especially those trying for the Regency era.

I had to give this a three because Beckett relies too much on the sources he's drawing from - Pride & Prejudice, Jane Eyre, and what I think is Dickens, although I'm not 100% sure on Eldyn's plot.
While Beckett's third-person prose is great, approximately 100 pages in the middle of the book are written in the first-person, when the protagonist leaves her family briefly to become a governess for a few months, & then marry her employer - aka the Jane Eyre plot. I don't know why Beckett made this choice, but I think it was a poor one.
This middle section feels like an entirely different book. Not only does the narration change, but the POVs of Mr. Rafferdy & Eldyn are dropped completely.

While Ivy and her two sisters - Lily and Rose - are actually pretty interesting to me, I was really disappointed that Eldyn's sister Sashie is a prop for his entire story. I don't know if Beckett was trying to make a commentary on Charles Dickens's useless female characters, but I'll assume this was not deliberate.

The defects are unfortunate, because the writing is very high quality (Jane Eyre episode excepted), and world-building is very intriguing, and I'm not usually one to give a crap about world-building [because lots of authors focus on it instead of the quality of their writing]. Days (lumenals) and nights (umbrals) are variable, and characters must consult almanacs to know what kind of day it's going to be.

While Ivy is unable to perform magic herself, due to being a woman, her role in the main plot is far from passive.

This book's failings knocked it from a four to a three for me. Still, it was good enough that I'm looking forward to seeing what happens in the trilogy's second installment. The review on Book Smugglers is probably more useful than my own.

The Diviners - Another book for my "abandoned" shelf on Goodreads. I made it to page 72.
I think I just can't stand Bray's writing. The characters don't talk like people, but rather historical caricatures.
It seems like there might be an interesting plot, but I can't force myself to keep going in order to find out what it is.
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: Sailors Moon, Mercury, and Mars. Text: Maiden Policy (Sailor Moon: Maiden's Policy)
The Whim of the Dragon - I actually loved the ending, and how things worked together. Glad I read this trilogy, and glad I've already been able to find each installment used at various Half-Price Books.

Bioluminescence: Lisp - Borrowed from someone in comics club (who also drew it!). Short & sweet.
The Ink Dark Moon - Recommended to me by [profile] lavendarsleeves because I was complaining about Basho on twitter ^^;;;
And she was right in that I did like this a lot more! I preferred Shikibu's poems to Komachi's, but am glad to have read it regardless. I likely made it through in part because it's so short.

An Artificial Night - Third installment of the October Daye books. I understand why many people say this was the book to really pull them into the series. spoilers ) I continue to look forward to reading more. These seem particularly fitting to read during the month of October, ;)

One Piece, volumes 16-18 - Not much happened in these volumes except that the team obtained Chopper, the blue-nosed reindeer. I feel excited when Nami and/or Princess Vivi appear on-screen. I'm also finding this arc as they finally enter Alabasta to be interesting.

Bee and Puppycat, #1-3 - Borrowed from a member of comics club. I liked the whimsical art style, as well as the basis premise (Bee and her puppycat get odd jobs from a "Temp Bot"). I particularly liked #2's use of QR codes to associate music with a number of music boxes opened by the characters. Other than that, though, there wasn't much to grasp on to.

The Pulse, vol. 1: Thin Air - The follow-up to Jessica Jones's story in Alias. I really didn't care for the art style in this volume? But the story was good enough that I didn't mind.

The Pulse, vol. 2: Secret War - I really liked this one. Done by a different artist, which helped, but the "secret" war/SHIELD + Hydra thing is an interesting through-line to me? Also, coming to Marvel comics from the MCU means I'm always surprised when Nick Fury shows up & is white.
Neither my city nor university libraries carry The Pulse, vol. 3, and the city can't obtain it via outerlibrary loan, either. Where do people go to *ahem* US comics?

Spider-Man SP//dr - Seems to be the last installment of a five-part mini-series that's building up to a new event/crossover/series/SOMETHING. I picked it up because it was written by Gerard Way & the premise sounded interesting. If the direct influences of Neon Genesis Evangelion on this weren't clear, Asuka, Rei, Kaworu, and Shinji literally appear as the protag's classmates on one page. Way does cite other influences (Akira, Chrono Trigger[??]) in interviews I've seen, but I find it weird that Evangelion isn't mentioned at all. Maybe it was only an influence for an artist, & not the writer. I'd like to see more of Peni but am not sure what this series is jumping to now.



Reading Now:
A Solitary Blue by Cynthia Voigt, because I was feeling a little melancholy last night and am craving her writing.
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.
laceblade: fanart of Ohana turning to look beyond viewer. Coloring blue/moody. (Hanasaku Iroha: Ohana)
Buffy #3 - I read this! Written by Nicholas Brendan, which is sort of notable. It was amusing enough, although I'm probably not as excited as other fans are.

Plume 1-4 - I picked these up in the $0.25 bin at the comics shop. It's apparently based on a webcomic. It gave me a lot of feelings reminiscent of Min-Woo Hyung's Priest manhwa, but I think I like this heroine a bit more. The art style is really great. I asked my comics guy to order the fifth issue for me, which wraps up this introductory arc. I believe this printing was funded by a Kickstarter; to read the rest, I'll need to read it here.

One Piece, vols. 10-12 (omnibus) - A decent continuation of the plot from the previous volume. I liked Luffy's superpower actually being used (as opposed to a glaring continuity error). I also liked Usopp finding the will to fight after thinking about facing his courageous friends afterward if he hadn't.
I enjoyed the closure to Nami's arc - she's my favorite character. It's fun to see the gang finally hanging out in the Grand Line, even if it's not going as they expected. I hope that Tashigi sticks around. She seems like an interesting character.
For 12, I felt pretty meh of the denoument of this arc?! But the next volume starts a new one!!

Homecoming - This series used to be a childhood favorite of mine, & I was in need of a comfort read.
I still really love this, & it came at a good time for me. I like how the kids respond positively to being treated like adults, how much they trust one another, the way the entire book is about class privilege, and how awesome Dicey is.
I'm glad this comfort reread held up for me.

Dicey's Song - This is another reread; it's probably been at least fifteen years since I'd last read it. Dicey defying her teacher over something she wrote made me remember why I identified with her so strongly.
Even though I knew what would happen, the ending still made me cry.
I love this family and the community they create. The truths everyone teaches one another are comforting.
I'm really glad to have returned to this series, & hope to keep progressing.

A Dangerous Inheritance - This was a good follow-up to "Innocent Traitor," which I'd read back in April, & focused on Lady Jane Grey.
This book picks up where that one left off, focusing on the life of Jane Grey's sister, Katherine. I found Katherine Grey to be pretty stupid, but luckily this book has two heroines. Interlaced with Katherine Grey's life is the story of Katherine Plantagenet, the bastard daughter of Richard III. Both Katherines live mostly unhappy lives, manipulated by the people around them due to their bloodlines. They fall in love with people they shouldn't. And they both have an unhealthy obsession with what happened to Richard III's nephews, famously known as the princes in the Tower.
I like Weir's historical fiction in part because I know she's an historian and a lot of her plots are based on facts. Her afterward reveals what she made up, and from where she found her facts.
I loved the small glimpses we got of Elizabeth I in this book, and I'm looking forward to reading the next book, which focuses on her: Captive Queen.

A True Novel, Book I - This is only the first "half," but the library only sends me one at a time, & at 450 pages I'm counting this as its own "book," even though I haven't read the second volume yet.

This is technically a retelling of Wuthering Heights. The characters are Japanese. It's a book about wealth, racism, westernization, the effects of World War II on Japanese society, and human nature.
I've consumed a lot of Japanese-created media, but this book is unlike anything I've ever read. Mastserful. I kept having to remind myself that it's fiction.

There's a family tree in the back - wish I'd known that all the way through.
I really hope they translate more of Mizumura's novels into English. In the meantime, I am very much looking forward to book II.
laceblade: Sokka verbally comforting Toph on cliff-edge, sunset in background (ATLA: Sokka & Toph)
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #3 & 4 - Wow, a crossover event that I didn't hate! This may be a first 0:)
People are fighting HYDRA - does this make Ultimates part of the same universe as CA:TWS?
Didn't care for the death at the end of the fourth volume, although I understand they're trying to mirror Peter Parker's story. I DO really like Mary Jane & Gwen Stacey. Maybe I need to see the Spider-Man movies with Emma Stone in them.
Anyway, I love Miles and I wish the wait at the library for volume 5 weren't so long.

The Broken Kingdoms - I feel less critical about this than other reviews I've read. While it's the second in a trilogy, there's a new protagonist with a completely different perspective on events, societal structure, and characters in the first book.

The Golem and the Jinni - I think this might be my favorite book of the year so far. Beautiful writing, lovely characters, interesting insights into Christian Syrian & Jewish immigrants living in New York City, in 1899.

One Piece, vols. 4-6 - What a ridiculous series! Even the omake pages are absurd and heinous. I love Nami.
Boring shounen fights are more tolerable in the omnibus format.

The Killing Moon - While many of the elements of this book sound like my catnip (ninja priests, political intrigue, people's closely-held truths turning out to be manipulative lies), but I just did not dig this book at all.
The last third improved due to action. Even the writing bugged me. Maybe I prefer Jemisin when she writes in the first person?
At any rate, there's enough here to make me willing to try the sequel, because I know it's from a different perspective.
laceblade: Photo of Almanzo Wilder, flashes to text: "Almanzo Wilder was a stud." (Almanzo)
Pioneer Girl - I had to keep reminding myself that this was a novel, & not a memoir, which is a credit to the writing.
In These Happy Golden Years, Almanzo Wilder gives Laura Ingalls a golden pin with a house on it. In the 1960s in Vietnam, Lee's grandfather encounters a customer in his restaurant named Rose. Rose leaves behind a gold pin with a house on it. It's unclear whether she forgot it, or intended it as a gift for their many conversations.
Decades later, Lee has graduated from UW-Madison with a PhD in English Literature, but cannot find a post-doc anywhere, so she's temporarily living with her distant mother & grandfather again. She starts investigating whether the Rose her grandfather met could be Laura Ingalls Wilder's daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, who was in Vietnam in the sixties, three years before she died, covering the war for Time magazine.
In ways, this book reminded me of Hiromi Goto's The Kappa Child, how the Little House series is used as a touchstone for the children of Asian immigrants to North America. In this novel, the Manifest Destiny tug that Laura, her Pa, & her daughter Rose all feel is compared to Lee & her brother's desire to escape their mother's way of life, constantly opening Asian buffets in strip malls in different Midwest cities.
Lee's reading of the Little House books felt really familiar to me. The title is named after the first version Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote about her childhood - a single-volume autobiography called Pioneer Girl. Her story was broken up into multiple books, and reshaped (or ghost-written?) by her daughter Rose through a lot of epistolary editing.
The above is a little fragmented, but I really loved this book. I think I finished it in less than a day.


Buffy s10, #2 - I felt like this was a more solid intro to the season than #1 was. I often feel bad about shipping Buffy/Spike, but it just never goes away.
Nicholas Brendan is going to be authoring at least one issue focusing on Xander (and Dracula), & James Masters is going to be authoring a mini-arc on Spike that takes place during season 7. I'm...not really excited about either? Xander only became more atrocious to me in season 9 of Buffy, & I already didn't care for him on the show.
I was pleased by the appearance of [spoiler].


Kaze Hikaru, volumes 20 & 21 - It was nice to see Sei use her femininity as a tool in this little arc. I think volume 21 has been my favorite so far. I really liked the fleshing out of Sei's past, & the choices she makes. I find her love for Okita Souji much more compelling than Okita himself. I'm now caught up with Viz's release of this series in the US. To read more, I'll need to turn to fan-translations...


One Piece, volumes 1-3 - This is one of the most popular series in Japan, & I've never read it! Monkey D. Luffy wants to be a pirate so badly that he stabs himself in the face to impress the other pirates. Unfortunately, he can't swim & can never learn how, so the pirates are uninterested in making him part of the crew. So, Luffy decides to become THE BEST PIRATE IN THE WORLD. To do so, by the end of this omnibus, he's acquired THE BEST SWORDSMAN IN THE WORLD and THE BEST THIEF/NAVIGATOR as the beginnings of his tiny crew.
This is a fun series, & so far Nami, the thief/navigator who hates pirates, is my favorite.


Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand - Kitty and Ben go to Vegas. I didn't care for this one too much? But it ended up being setup for the next book, Kitty Raises Hell, which I liked A LOT. I like Kitty & her pack & her radio show & Ben & her family. I wanna see what happens when Cormac rejoins them in Denver, tho. I WISH KITTY WERE REAL AND WE COULD BE FRIENDS.
laceblade: Ashe from FF XII, looking at viewer over her shoulder. Text reads: "So you say you want a revolution?" (FFXII: You say you want a revolution)
Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir - Weird has written lots of non-fiction about Tudors/British royalty. This was her first historical fiction, & it centers on the life of Jane Grey. Grey grew up in an abusive & politically ambitious home. Her story is pretty well-known in history, but this was still a good read. I enjoyed reading about the Tudors from a fresh perspective, & I'm planning to check out Weir's other historical fiction.

Twelve Kingdoms #4 by Fuyumi Ono - A book that really gets into how to rule, particularly when the king is a teenage high school student from modern day Japan & has no idea what the local politics/life is like for her subjects. She's easily manipulated at first, but Yoko won't stay like that for long, obviously.
As before, basic editing errors make me grumpy at TokyoPop, but I really loved this book. I loved the growth of all three female characters. I really like how protagonists CHANGE in Ono's books.
This is the last one TokyoPop put out in the US, so I'll be switching to fan-translated versions to continue my progression in the series.

Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers - my first Sayers :*) There was a jarring second-person interlude which I really didn't care for, but I'd like to read more.

Ms. Marvel #3 - I continue to like this series, but don't have much to say about it?! I think I'm giving the first three issues to my youngest niece as part of her birthday present.

Captain Marvel #2 - Sort of annoyed by the appearance of Guardians of the Galaxy, who seem like they're only around to promote their movie? idk.

A Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Samatar - Full disclosure that Sofia used to be in book club with me, so I'm probably biased.
I was afraid I wouldn't like this book because a lot of people have described the prose as being "ornate"/etc. in a way that reminds me of Catherynne Valente. While I haven't read all of Valente's work, the parts I have read are things I really don't care for at all.
Not so with Samatar's book - I fuckin' loved this.
It's about falling in love with reading, & also about ghosts, about love, about so many things. I think this will be even better upon rereads. I wish for many more fantasies like this one.

Red Colored Elegy by Seiichi Hayashi - Pretty strongly disliked this, both the nonsensical story & the artwork.

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man vol. 2 by Brian Michael Bendis - This felt like a lot of setup, but I'm still interested in reading more to see what happens to Miles Morales.

Iron Man: The Mask in the Iron Man - graciously lent to me at comics club by [personal profile] garrideb, unfortunately I didn't care for this one at all, :/ Mid-1990s U.S. comics, WHAT ARE YOU?!

Kaze Hikaru, volume 19 - It is really difficult to jump back into this after being away for a while. I can't keep track of who anyone is in Osaka. I like how much time this series spends on politics. What I REALLY want is to know what's going to happen when shit goes down & everyone dies,

All Our Pretty Songs by Sarah McCarry - I read this because it's on this year's Tiptree Shortlist. It's a modern retelling of Orpheus. WOW at that ending, though. "I'm not a hero, I'm a bitch" - HAVE I EVER IDENTIFIED WITH A PROTAGONIST MORE THAN I DID IN THIS MOMENT?! Just, wow. The ending was glorious. I'm really looking forward to the next installment.
laceblade: Jubilee from X-Men, headphones on, working on an iPad, lookin' chill (Jubilee work)
Since last time, I've read a lot. Mostly because it's been at least a month since I last wrote about books.

I still like Dykes to Watch Out For, & would like to read more (I've read 4 volumes). I was pretty excited by the appearance of Thea, a new character who uses crutches or a wheelchair, depending on what kind of day it is for her.
When she gets hired over Mo & another primary character, they gripe about their boss wanting to appear . But the truth is that Thea is simply more qualified.
It's a teaching moment for Mo & others. I hope Thea gets some storylines of her own, beyond just being a teaching moment, but it was still nice regardless.
The characters in this book make me feel lazy by their constant protesting, lol.

I didn't like Rebecca Ore's Gaia's Toys as much as I'd hoped. It's a place where the ideas are better than the writing.
I was more interested in where the characters ended up at the end, I guess, & I would have enjoyed more about that.

I finally read K-ON! College, the last (& final?!) installment of this series. It basically does what it says on the tin. I still prefer the anime to the manga, as the manga has some more pandery poses/etc. I never felt like that watching the show, though.
This series (mainly the anime, which has been extremely popular) is consistently held up as being meant for men, as being exploitative of teenage girls.
I have to say that I try to be perceptive about such things, & I don't see it.
I recently came across this post [will insert list when back at home & can pull it from tumblr ^^;] that cautions Western feminists from imposing their interpretations on media that are culturally Japanese.
It's something I continue to think about a lot.

I've finally dropped the Dengeki Daisy manga, after reading volumes 3 &4. It continues to spend too much time focus on the things that aggravate me, & too little on the few plot points I enjoy (both of which have been covered in previous posts). Maybe I'll return to it if I get bored, but not for a while, at least.

I'm working from a rec-list of someone's fave fantasy novels, & a lot of them are women. I seem to be into fantasy more than SF lately (previously it had usually been the reverse for me!). The most recent entry was Princeless, so that's where I started. I really, really loved this. It opens with a young black princess interrogating her mother about princesses being locked in towers & saved by princes. She thinks it's stupid for fathers to purposely do this to their daughters (to secure marriages even when they can't afford dowries) - how can this happen?!
Turn the page, & Adrienne herself is locked in a tower by her father, in order to lure a prince to marry her.
Adrienne finds a sword under her bed (planted by her brother!), & convinces the dragon who guards her, Sparky, to "fight back against [their] mutual oppressors." THAT IS A LITERAL QUOTE.
She decides it's not enough for her to be free - she wants to help free her older sisters, also locked in towers.
IT'S JUST SO PERFECT. Really looking forward to reading more of this series.

Made it through Dawn of the Arcana #11. This ended up with an inevitable & cool plot development, but overall this series isn't doing much for me. Usually I don't mind panels without text, but in this book it just seems to emphasize that nothing's really happening, and people's feelings don't change over time (after volume 2, at least).

Plowed through The Hemingses of Monticello. I think this book could have benefited from more editing, particularly in the middle, but it was still a great work of non-fiction. Beware of the comments left by white people on Goodreads.

Black Widow & The Marvel Girls - Intended for children, I borrowed this from a member of my comics club. Basically, each chapter is Natasha having a plot with another female Marvel character. I got a much better sense for her from this than I did when I tried reading Winter Soldier about a year or so ago.
I still haven't read anything about Black Widow that makes me stan for her like Captain Marvel or Batwoman, but I'm willing to keep trying.

I read the second Twelve Kingdoms book, Sea of Wind, about Taiki. UGH I LOVED IT SO MUCH, so great, ugh. I <3 these books & can't really be coherent about them.

I read volumes 2-4 of G. Willow Wilson's Air. These felt a little messy to me, like I didn't always know what's going on. Interesting ideas, though?! I'm hoping Wilson's Ms. Marvel is held together a little better. I very much enjoyed the first issue, anyway. Kamala Khan is now tacked up on the wall of my cubicle, ;)

Read X-Men: FF in my continued efforts to read the arc that came before the current arc. Didn't really care for anything that was going on.

Jonathan Hickman's The Nightly News came highly recommended, and I really disliked it. This Goodreads review covers all the reasons why.
AND YET, it didn't stop me from borrowing Hickman's Pax Romana from the same comics club member, as the Vatican starts sending a time traveling army around. Hopeful that it will suck less!

Lastly, I read the first volume of Gail Simone's Red Sonja comic, & enjoyed it more than I expected to. I still don't get the chainmail bikini, but with 0 familiarity of the original series, Simone was able to make the characters & world feel very real. I plan to read more!
laceblade: Fanart of Yukiko & Chie from Persona 4 (P4: Yukiko/Chie)
SO...after my HP reread, I had a lot of stuff due back at the library.
Then I went to comics club & borrowed lots of stuff from people. SO THIS IS A LONG LIST, is what I'm saying.

Cold Steel by Kate Elliott - Great conclusion to a trilogy I've loved. I LOVE CAT AND BEE. CAT AND BEE FOREVERRRRRRR. Also I now want to read a bunch of other Kate Elliott stuff. Good thing I've been buying her novels wherever I find them used/cheap.

Kaze Hikaru, volumes 14-18 - Things are getting a little more intense! I loved the foreshadowing when the doctor came to visit - listening to Okita's chest, when the reader knows he's going to end up dying from consumption.

Saturn Apartments, volumes 6 & 7 - The end of this series! It got a little more intense than I thought it would. Anyway, I can't remember any manga or comic focusing so much on class issues as the central theme of the plot. I'm glad I read this - great sf/f ideas, and a great entry manga, if you're looking for something.

Tears of a Lamb, volume 2 - Didn't like this volume as much as the first - almost the entire thing was about the school's sports festival. I did enjoy meeting Kanzaki's sisters, though.

Dengeki Daisy, volume 2 - I loathed the first half, where Teru was a "slave" doing domestic tasks for Daisy (although she doesn't know he's Daisy).
I LOVED the second half, though - where it's about hackers & the work Teru's brother did while he was still alive. I really hope that Teru goes & lives with Riko.
I'll keep reading FOR NOW.

Very Vicky, issue #? & The Very Vicky Junior Hepcat - This was described to me as a fashion magazine, but idk if I agree? Anyway, Vicky dresses in black cocktail dresses & oversized black hats, & is going to visit her aunt & uncle down in the South (she lives in NYC). She hangs out at the beach although she tries to stay out of the sun. She makes friends. The pages are filled with references to old fashions & alcohol. One of the side character meets God on the beach, & he walks around & tries to meet people. I think I didn't read enough to get a full picture. Overall, it seemed kinda weird. I didn't like it enough to seek out more, I don't think.

Dykes to Watch Out For, vols. 1 & 2 - borrowed from [personal profile] jesse_the_k - I've heard about these for years but never read them before. Strip comics about the lives of lesbians! Just people living life. I really like "mundane" comics like these - it happens more often in manga than in US comics, I think. I'm glad there's lots more to read. The references to late-1980s politics make me happy. The errant transphobic comment does not.

Pretty Deadly, #1-4 - Glad I went back to reread #1 & then reread everything that's been released through now. It all makes sense again! I love the writing & the art. I'm excited to see where this goes.

Saga #18 - Decent wrap-up to this arc. Loved the final panel. Thirsty for more, but the next arc won't start 'til May!

Hawkeye #16 - I spent an embarrassing amount of time searching my apartment for #15 before complaining on Twitter & being told that Marvel skipped #15! Weird, but yay for more Kate Bishop!
laceblade: Dark icon, white spraypaint on bottom with "DA" for Dumbledore's Army. Top text, in caps: We will not obey. (HP: Dumbledore's Army: We will not obey)
Finished Reading
Kaze Hikaru, volume 13 - Still very much enjoying this series, although it does bug me how much Miki's weight is used for comic relief.

Kitty and the Silver Bullet (#4) - I liked this volume. It wraps up a lot of loose ends that have been hanging around since the first book, but it's all pretty intense. I really like where everyone ends up at the end of this volume, and I'm excited to see how things evolve.

Inheritance by Malinda Lo - This is the sequel to Adaptation. Like the first book, it's very fast-paced and hard to put down, which was good for me since I needed to read it in a day in order to get it back to the library!
I love the way this ends up bucking typical-YA-love-triangles. It seems like the series is done, but I would read more.
A lot of people on Goodreads were complaining about the protagonist's bisexuality, which is a pretty stupid complaint.
I loved these because the characters felt like people, which is a thing that is sort of rare in SF-for-adults, IMO.
These are my favorite books by Malinda Lo so far.
I did freak out a little about the kids giving no more than verbal assent to have their entire DNA sequenced at an academic research institution - it would take a written consent form with lots of warnings about future insurability!!

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - I'm traveling to Harry Potter World in Florida mid-month with three of my high school friends, so I'm trying to see whether I can get through the series before then! Going back to work is slowing me down for sure, ^^;;
Still surprised by how quickly the first book goes by - it's pretty much a constant, "Wow, we're at the troll ALREADY?!"/etc.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - I used to dislike this book when I was younger, but I don't really remember why. Reading it now, it's easy to see why I liked Ginny quite a bit, even before she became a more prominent character in the later books.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - Easily my favorite of the first three books. Not only is the Sirius Black plot frightening & interesting, I love the Marauders back story. My iPhone case is the Marauders' map!
I like the kids starting to be sarcastic with one another in this book, as well as talking back to their teachers a little bit. I always wish Lupin would have been a little closer with Harry in later books, like Sirius.
Rowling's use of adverbs began to bug me in this book, though. I get annoyed & disappointed by her using descriptors like "piggy eyes" and "piggy face" to describe fat people. Hopefully I can get through the rest without going nuts!

Currently Reading
Nothing, as I went to draft this post immediately after finishing POA!
Previously, my favorite book has always been Order of the Phoenix. We'll see if that holds true this time.

OTHER
Although I've been on the periphery of HP "fandom" (almost everyone I know loves these books; I'm speaking specifically of fandom in the "creation of fanworks" sense) for years, I've never really read much fanfic.
If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know. (Epic-length stuff appreciated!) Even the stuff where you're like, "Oh, everybody's read THAT."
I have the suspicion I've asked this question before, so I'll be searching my own tag, too, ^^;;
laceblade: G Washington, A Hamilton, & T Jefferson; lol!text about political party formation (LOL politics)
Finished Reading
Kitty Takes a Holiday by Carrie Vaughn - This one is my favorite of the 3 I've read so far! Cut for discussion of suicidal character, which was a main plot in this book )
UGH I LOVE IT. ty again to [personal profile] littlebutfierce for talking these books up <3 <3 <3

Kaze Hikaru 11 & 12 - Wow, so spoilers )
It was all very dramatic & makes me excited for how this series will continue the intense events yet to come!!
I love every character and UGH JUST SO GOOD, I really did not expect to like this series as much as I do. I've been aware of it for some time but I'm glad I finally picked it up.

Shinjū by Laura Joh Rowland - Christ there's a lot of suicide in the books I read this week! ANYWAY, the novel begins with a double-murder that was arranged to look like a shinjū, or "lovers' suicide," in which two people are bound together & throw themselves in the water to drown because they're unable to marry - in this case, due to familial class differences. Sano Ichiro is a new yoriki working for the shogunate, & he ends up violating bushido to keep investigating this weird case, even after repeatedly told not to.
The writing doesn't do much for me, & the characters are pretty rote BUT there were a number of plot progressions that came totally out of left field for me, & I couldn't put the second half of the book down.
This is the first in a long series, so I'm willing to stay with it & see if the writing improves. I've got the next book on hold at the library.

Unico by Osamu Tezuka - I don't know why I keep Tezuka manga, as I always hate it. It had such an adorable cover!!! But I think I'm finally done for good.

A View From the Interior: Policing the Protests at the Wisconsin State Capitol by Sue Riseling - There have been a number of books published about the Wisconsin union protests. I doubt I'll ever read John Nichols', as I find him pompous & stupid. The ones written by the protestors don't really interest me either. HOWEVER, I have two checked out & this is the first one I've managed to read, written by Sue Riseling, Chief of UW-Madison Police.
The book is entirely focused on how the protests were policed, & why certain decisions were made. Riseling's style is pretty straightforward, but I found the book fascinating. The breakdown of clusterfucky project management was very intriguing, & it didn't hurt to have a book filled with characters who are super familiar to me.

Her insights into policing are great. When it's first suggested to clear out the entire building with no warning, here's her thought process:
The thought of abruptly switching gears and having uniformed police clear people out for no particular reason except "today is the day" struck me as fundamentally wrong. It is a lesson I learned a long time ago and try to continually teach to new police officers: "Can I?" and if yes, "Should I?"
Can I muster enough police officers to empty this building by 6:00 tonight? You bet. The mass arrest plans were in place, the civil disobedience plans were in place, the hard (riot) gear for police was on-site and ready for use, and the University Police force's Police Extraction Response Unit was here, along with the EOD canines. Unlike last Friday or Sunday, today I had everything I needed to make this happen.
Should I? No. It would be a ridiculous tactic, bad philosophy, and constitute an egregious use of power. The Assembly was still meeting and the building had to remain open. There was nothing to be gained from the spark that would ignite or the firestorm that would follow if we forced people out of the Capitol today. If we thought the crowds were big now, imagine how large they would be if we proceeded to shatter the trust and evict protesters without warning. Just to achieve the goal of clearing the building because we can made no sense.

Once the Assembly session was over, of course, then there WAS a reason to clear the building (the building had hours - staffing it with police was costing tens of thousands of dollars - cleaning crews couldn't do their jobs & the whole building smelled like BO & human waste - capacity hazards, etc.

She makes clear things that those within the building understand, but people tweeting to #wiunion usually did not & lots of people usually don't - that things that look like dramatic progressions have actually been agreed upon by both sides ahead of time to make more political theater.
One example is the part where Ted (full confession: my former boss & friend) is asking for troopers to accompany his staff to visit the houses of a few senators after they'd skipped town (preventing the Senate from voting on the "budget repair bill" due to a lack of quorum). Ted relays to Riseling that "conversations were occurring between various leaders and a few of the missing senators. Some of the senators had intimated that if they were found in the state, they would return to the Capitol."
Purposely concocted political theater, & yet I remember people totally losing their shit when the pages & troopers went to knock on doors.

Riseling steps into a power vacuum of controlling various police agencies (excluding the city & county cops, who refused to enter the fucking building, jackholes). The daily meetings are almost painful to read, especially the actions of Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs. The power structure and decision-making authorities are unclear, which is never good.
Once they decide to close the Capitol at 4pm on a particular Sunday, Tubbs pushes for voluntary compliance, meaning that while most of the protestors leave the building when asked, everyone's aware that a few of them will stay behind & refuse to leave.
DOA & Tubbs & others basically state that once this happens, they will refuse to open the building on Monday as usual, until those people leave.
Of course, this is never explained to protestors, & since Tubbs & the majority of the committee refuse to allow Riseling & her officers to simply arrest these protestors and physically remove them from the building (a process with which they're really familiar!!), Tubbs allows the actions of a hundred or so people to close access to the building for thousands of others, pissing everyone off.
Riseling asks lots of questions related to this - if we don't arrest the protestors who refuse to leave the building & they stay over night, then what happens Friday morning? If we only allow 354 people into the building, are these protestors counted in the 354 figure? At what point will they actually cut off people from sleeping inside the Capitol? Nobody answers her questions - always a sign of shitty management & a totally dysfunctional workplace, in my experience.

It's semi-hilarious to read about protestors sitting in the Rotunda with messages they wanted to give to the media upon their arrest, & having already discussed their techniques/etc., while unknown to them, no arrests were going to occur.

Riseling is frustrated with this, realizing that the overall goal is a political desire to limit overall access to the building, rather than to keep the peace (p. 249). Riseling's goals are safety balanced with facilitating people's rights to exercise their First Amendment rights.

It's hilarious later on, when the overall goal is to close the building, & Chief Tubbs suggests an exchange of people, allowing protestors inside to go home & shower/change, while allowing someone outside the building to come in & take their place. Riseling says that their repeated goal is to return the Capitol to regular business hours, with nobody spending the night inside the building. Given that goal, exchanging people one-to-one runs right contrary to that - the total # of protestors in the building would never decrease!

15 days into the protests, Riseling figures out that the Capitol Police's secretary has solely been in charge of logistics, which was why logistics had been failing. tbh, Capitol Police in general came off as a complete shitshow in this book.

UW Police was way more open to logical suggestions & rolling with the surroundings of reality, & also accepting leadership & pointed questions from a woman. It's clear that a lot of dudebros are not down with this.

Several times, it's clear that Republicans put themselves into dangerous positions by not being open with the police about their plans. They'd pull surprises & erode the trust with the public, & every time the police would have to come running.

Her reflections on how policing can help facilitate people exercising their rights is pretty enjoyable to read, although it's clear it's something an officer & manager must actively think about & work toward.
Passively having ideas like "let's get this shit & lockdown" & then executing plans that don't actually facilitate your overall goals ruins the settings for everyone. Overall, I liked this book quite a bit.

Tears of a Lamb, vol. 1 - I randomly picked this up from the library while home for the holidays at my home!library.
It starts off with Hasumi inexplicably having a strong desire to enter the apartment of her classmate, Kanzaki. She never explains why, so they just have nonsensical & epic arguments in front of their classmates. I almost stopped reading it after a chapter two, but I'm so glad I continued!
It turns out that Hasumi is trying to locate a ring that she thinks is in the apartment from the person who lived their two-tenants ago, who was her friend. Hasumi's also dealing with an eating disorder caused by stress, & I guess I just imprinted on her pretty strongly. I'm interested in seeing where this goes, although I think I'll need to use our library's outer-loan system to obtain future volumes.


Currently Reading
I'm kind of skimming through Brian Jacques's Loamhedge. Later Redwall books don't really do it for me, even though the earlier ones were pretty formative! I've always been a little interested in Loamhedge, though. It's the original abbey from which Abbess Germain & the other mice came, running from a plague, back in the days of Martin the Warrior.
I wanted to learn more about it, but the plot of the hare who uses a wheelchair & is seeking a magical cure to be able to walk again is making me really uneasy.
I'm heading back to Madison in a few hours, so I'll likely just skim this to see wtf happens.
laceblade: Azusa offering piece of paper to the viewer, Ui in background holding cake (K-On: Azusa offer)
(it's been 84 years.gif)

Finished Reading
The Twelve Kingdoms: Sea of Shadow by Fuyumi Ono - I mostly wrote about this last time, but ended up loving it! I really think that having the insight into Yuko's thoughts helps a lot. I love her growth throughout the book, and the entire constructed fantasy world is just really awesome. I have the second book checked out from the library now, & maybe some day I'll try the anime again, too.

Kaze Hikaru, volumes 6-10 - I'm really enjoying this series a lot more than I thought I would. The art style has grown on me - I really like the faces for Okita Souji & Hijikata & etc., and the backgrounds are great, too. I like reading about the daily inner-workings of the Shinsengumi, & I do like how the volumes are dealing with the populace's perception of the Shinsengumi as blood-thirsty wolves, even though the members of the troop view themselves as noble protectors. This conflicting view of oppressor vs. protector is interesting, and I hope the manga-ka keeps picking it apart.
Taeko Watanabe's end-of-volume reviews of historical fact are nice, too.

Reading this series leads me to look up a lot of historical figures on Wikipedia, & now that I've started watching Rurouni Kenshin on Crunchyroll, I feel pretty conflicted about who to root for in the Bakumatsu!!

All that said, Sei's love for Souji is really compelling. I love her rejection of simply becoming his wife, & continuing to dress as a man so that she can protect his life in battle as her way of expressing her love.

Learning the World by Ken MacLeod - This is a sci-fi novel about a generation ship in which the POV switches back and forth between the people on a ship approaching a world with intelligent life, & the people living on the world which they're approaching. There are politics & governments & inventions & lots of discussions over tea. Sadly, I think this is an author where I like the ideas and concepts much more than the writing.
I find that with many sci-fi enthusiasts, they can rave about the ideas or world-building, but I don't really give a fuck unless the characters & the writing really reach me.
AND YET, it was decent enough that I might try his revolution series that [personal profile] jesse_the_k told me about.

On Being Ill by Virginia Woolf - Picked this up on a whim at the library. Woolf's questions about why don't more narratives take on the concept of illness - something which could be compelling and with which everyone can relate - were super intriguing!
It was followed by "notes" from her mother, Julia Stephens, about how to care for sick people. While probably unusual at the time, most of her advice comes down to giving sick people autonomy - don't just fluff up their pillows without asking; don't enter the house and mutter about their illness instead of speaking so they can hear you, etc. Lots of advice also on how best to pin the sheets, how best to prepare beef broth, etc.
I wouldn't mind having Woolf's mom care for me, ;)
Quick read.

Dawn of the Arcana, volumes 9 & 10 - I loathed volume 9 because NOTHING ever happens, the volumes are pretty easy to blow through because there's very few words per page, blah-blah. But volume 10 involves a few-months time-jump & a seizure of agency by the protagonist, who's spent a lot of time whining before. I'll probably continue with this! Too bad I'm almost caught up with the English release - I've been waiting for volume 11 for months, & it'll probably be a while before I get it.

K-ON! High School by kakifly - After finishing watching season 2 of the anime, I was happy to be able to immediately pick this up & read about Azusa's last year of high school. I really love K-ON! all around, although I think it's a series in which I prefer the anime to the manga. I have the K-ON! college tome somewhere around my apartment (or at least, I think I do), & I'm kind of dying to read it.

Black Dogs by Ian McEwan - Since reading Atonement a couple years ago, I seem to read one of his per year. I love McEwan's writing, I think I would read almost anything he's written. It's a story about a complicated marriage, told by a son-in-law. It's also about post-WWII Europe, & evil, & love.


Currently Reading
Kitty Takes a Holiday by Carrie Vaughn - do to the content I've been warned about, I put this on hold for a couple months but I think I can handle it now. Only one chapter in so far - following the high levels of excitement in the previous volume, Kitty's hanging out in the middle of nowhere to find some peace. I'm pretty sure she won't quite find it. I'm happy to return to her life.

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laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, apparently about to kiss (Default)
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