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: Ritsu, Mio, & Azusa in bathing suits, holding inflatable inner tube, smiling (K-On: Summer)
I've been meaning to support Sparkler for months, and their latest membership drive will finally get me to do it.
Why? Because if I don't, there will be no Sparkler, :(

I think that what they produce is really important, & they probably describe themselves the best:

Sparkler Monthly is a multimedia, digital shojo/josei magazine of original English-language fiction. Our carefully selected creators are paid advances for their work and go through a thorough editorial process. After a book or audio story is serialized in the magazine, it’s bundled with bonus material and sold as ebooks, limited paperbacks, and/or CDs in the Sparkler Shop (similar to the magazine –> tankoubon system in Japan). In addition, our paperbacks and products can be found at a number of retailers; see our Retail & Libraries page on where to buy, and how to acquire books for your business or library.

The primary audience for Sparkler Monthly is girls and women aged 15 and up, or anyone interested in the rough ballpark of Female Gaze. Our four founders and most of our staff identify as female and are committed to promoting inclusive, fem-positive, and ridiculously fun content. We welcome creators of any gender and are particularly interested in entertaining, engrossing stories that tap into the variety and diversity of fandom.

If you have or are planning to purchase a Sparkler subscription, which tier did you choose?
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, apparently about to kiss (Default)
Fumi Yoshinaga is famous for writing series like Antique Bakery, in which men in Japan create a French bakery and sell delicious pastries. Ōoku is a more serious piece, focusing on an alternate history in 18th century Japan. The series has won many awards in Japan, including the Japanese Sense of Gender Award.

There are currently four volumes in Japan, and the series is on-going.

In the United States, Ōoku is being published as part of the Viz Signature series, which means that the book is taller and wider than standard manga. It also has cover flaps and a few pages in color. The book is beautiful.


Traditionally, the Ōoku was the part of Edo Castle where the shōgun's concubines and relatives stayed.

In Yoshinaga's alternate history, 75% of Japanese men have been killed by the Redface Pox. Men and their seed are a scarce resource that women protect by making up the labor force themselves. They also make up the shogunate. Because of this, Yoshinaga's Ōoku is populated with men.

This world in which gender roles are reversed mostly focuses on court life, as indicated by the title. I personally might have preferred it if the narrative focused on life beyond the palace where there are more women learning to cope with fewer men, but I am able to empathize with the characters.

In each chapter, the plot continued to deliver dramatic and unexpected turns. I look forward to reading more, and I recommend this series to others.



The main quibble that I have with this series is not the fault of the manga-ka, but the translators at Viz. The series takes place in 1716 Edo. Throughout the volume, characters are shown speaking in Early Modern English, or the same type used in Shakespeare, with thees and thous, etc. While it's clear that whoever translated the text was familiar with Forsooths and thines, I think that sometimes the translated text is ridden with errors, or at the very least not edited for an optimal flow.

An example would be, "Such brazen shouting! Doth he think this is a soldiers' barracks, perhaps?"

If this were actually written in Elizabethan time, wouldn't the phrase read, "Doth he think place a soldiers' barracks?" or maybe, "Doth he think this place to be a soldiers' barracks?"

More often than not, it seems that words like doth, thee, and thou are simply inserted for their modern counterparts and the rest of the sentence is left unedited.

The language is also combined with colloquialisms, or sharp shifts to modern English that often seem an uncomfortable mix:
"Do not get so full of thyself!" [Even if this colloquialism were used, wouldn't it be, "Do not get so full of thine self!" ?]
"Verily so. I got a good look earlier, and...."

One character even employs the use of the curse, "Zounds!" which doesn't even make sense. "Zounds" was a shortening of the epithet, "God's wounds!" which makes sense in a predominantly Christian society. However, in 1716 Japan, Christians lived in hidden societies, and feared discovery because the punishment was death.

I will confess that I don't know very much about the Japanese language, so maybe those on my FL can correct me if I'm wrong?
I don't even know much about the mechanics of the English language, aside from reading it a lot. For some reason, throughout my years of schooling (including being an English major at a good university), I never learned how to diagram sentences. My sense of "wrongness" in writing is usually intuitive, so I could be quite wrong myself.

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