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READING

What did you finish reading

2015

Magnus Chase and the Sword of Asgard, by Rick Riordan: It's been ages since I read this, given that I read it when it came out, way back in October 2015. Anyway, I enjoyed it a lot. Sam was my favourite and I remember being pretty down with the Loki characterisation. (And now I can go buy the sequel.)

The Red Pyramid, by Rick Riordan: I read this in early 2015! I am so bad at this reading Wednesday thing lately, wow. (But now I've officially talked about everything I readin 2015. Woohoo!) I also enjoyed this, but the worldbuilding didn't work quite as well for me here as it did in the other series(es) of Riordan's I've read. Also, I did not expect as much Isis/Seth shipping fodder as I got (it's my crackship of Egyptian mythos).


Tbh my fellings about both of the above are that they're pretty much exactly what one would expect of "Rick Riordan Does Norse Myths" and "Rick Riordan Does Egyptian Myths" respectively, so for people who like that sort of thing, it is the sort of thing that they like. /is a person who likes that sort of thing, is a case in point


2016

Everything below the cut is stuff I read at various points this year and didn't talk about already. I'm going to try my best to get through the whole list before the end of the year, but if you want to hear about anything in priority, don't hesitate to ask. With the exception of The Grass King's Concubine, they're all comics.

Marie des dragons intégrale
volume 4 of Les aigles de Rome
Cixi de Troye
Plogoff
Star Wars Shattered Empire
Star Wars Princess Leia
Year of Marvel: July
Lucifer v2 1-6
DC Comics Bomshells 1-36 (Year One)
Spider-Gwen v2 1-6
Toil and trouble 1-6
Captain Britain and the Mighty Defenders 1-2
The Spire 1-8
The Grass King's Concubine
Les Ogres-Dieux: Demi-Sang


What are you reading now

Have made no progress on:
Contes et récits de l'histoire de Carthage by Jean Defrasne
Paris fais nous peur: 100 lieux du crime, de l'étrange et de l'irrationnel, by Claudine Hourcadette et Marc Lemonier
Warhorses by Yusef Komunyakaa
La Controverse de Valladolid by Jean-Claude Carrière

However! I have been re-reading Les Quatre de Baker Street in preparation of buying volume 7 soon (thoughts forthcoming) and I have missed these kids (+ cat) so much! There are so many great moments, but I think my favourite(s) is Charlie being the one to see through Holmes' disguise(s). At least in the first 3, which is as far as I've gotten this re-read so far. Volume 5 has my favourite panel, in which Billy and Charlie as scrambling out the window in a desperate move and run into Tom, who is just casually entering through the window. AS YOU DO.


Sophonisbe, by Pierre Corneille: CORNEILLE WROTE A PLAY ON THE SECOND PUNIC WAR AND NOBODY TOLD ME?! Anyway, I listened to the production on the France Culture website and daaaaaaaaaaamn that is one hella good play. In places I had to refer to the text on Wikisource, because I'm not great at voices. (All translations below by me.)

The play follows the broad lines of history. Before the play, Sophonisba (daughter of a General of Carthage) was going to marry Massinissa (Numidian king) and they were in love with each other. Unfortunately, Massinissa allied himself with the Romans, which lead Sophonisba to follow her head over her heart and marry Syphax, a Numidian king allied with Carthage, instead. The amount of choice she had in making this decision is something she doesn't always think of as the same. Within the play Sophonisba encourages Syphax to fight Laelius' army, allied with MAssinissa. Syphax loses, Massinissa and Sophonisba sort-of maybe get married and things degenerate.

I guess you could say it's a play about how far people are willing to go/what they're ready to sacrifice for love, power or pride.

This play gave me an even better appreciation of Sophonisbe and quite frankly everybody in it is a flawed and complex human being, but her most of all. *adopts characterisation wholesale*

I was surprisingly fond of Laelius. He starts off a lot harsher than I usually think of him, but then it becomes obvious that he's trying to be 'bad cop' (to Scipio's presumed 'good cop') and at one point he stops that and starts trying to make everyone happy, or failing that, making sure they stay alive.

Neither Hannibal nor Scipio appear in the play, but their presence is felt. Scipio's especially.

I liked that there seemed to be a fundamental cultural misunderstanding between the Romans and the Carthaginians/Numidians. The latter take it as read that Syphax' capture makes his marriage to Sophonisba null and void while the Romans are like "Married's married, what the hell?".

(Also, I ended up shipping Laelius/Massinissa and Massinissa/Scipio -- Sophonisba literally tells him "Vous aimez Lélius, vous aimez Scipion" / "You love Laelius, you love Scipio" OKAY -- and Scipio/Sophonisba -- idk, there's this whole thing about getting Scipio to marry Sophonisba himself to keep her safe and what if.)

The entire thing's in verse and there are more rhymes with Carthage than I expected! My favourite is "suffrage". But I also really love "En un mot, j’ai reçu du ciel pour mon partage / L’aversion de Rome et l’amour de Carthage." ("In one word I have received as my lot from above / From Rome dilike and from Carthage love") because oh, Sophonisba.

I was very pleasantly surprised by the amount of SICK BURNS in this play. Seriously, it is fucking savage by moments. At the end of Act 1, for example, Sophonisba has this to say to Syphax: "Je vous répondrais bien qu’après votre trépas / Ce que je deviendrai ne vous regarde pas" ("I would tell you that after your demise / What happens to me is for you to surmise"). Damn girl, find you some chill.

The line that's been stuck in my head since I listened to the play is from Laelius (to Massinissa), though. "Ce n’est qu’à leurs pareils à suivre leurs exemples ; / Et vous ferez comme eux quand vous aurez des temples". Laelius is referring to the gods with "leurs" so it translate more or less to "Only their equals can follow the gods' examples / You might do the same if you had temples". (NOBODY HAS ANY CHILL.)


I also listened to Neil Gaiman's How the Marquis Got His Coat Back, a short-ish Neverwhere sequel. It was okay. The plot twists/reveals could be seen from space, though.


I also listened to a bunch of podcasts but idk if these fit here or in the Watcing Monday posts or somewhere else or what.


What are you reading next

Books that I have already:
Pyramids of London by Andrea K Höst
Prisoner (Echo's Wolf Book 1) (Werewolf Marines 2) by Lia Silver
Taking Stock by Scott Bartlett
February by Lisa Moore
The Demigod Diaries by Rick Riordan
The Skull Throne by Peter V. Brett
Hostage by Sherwood Smith and Rachel Manija Brown
Le Graal de l'Inframonde by Vanessa Callico and Diana Callico

Books that are out and that I haven't got:
Infomocracy by Malka Older
Magnus Chase and the Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan
L'armée furieuse by Fred Vargas
Temps Glaciaires by Fred Vargas
Drinking Gourd by Barbara Hambly
Clariel: The Lost Abhorsen by Garth Nix
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
Melting Stones by Tamora Pierce
Battle Magic by Tamora Pierce
The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay
The Beginning Place by Ursula Le Guin
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex
the last two books of Kate Eliott's Spiritwalker trilogy
The Missing Queen by Samhita Arni
Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed
whatever's out of the Craft Sequence series
Chroniques du Pays des Mères by Elisabeth Vonarburg
Lord of the Two Lands by Judith Tarr
Fortunate Fall by Raphael Carter
Barbara Hambly's vampire series
Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho
The Sand-Reckoner by Gillian Bradshaw
The Idylls of the Queen by Phillys Ann Karr
Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman
The Good Fairies of New York by Martin Millar
City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett
Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds
The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins
Untamed by Anna Cowan.

Books that aren't out yet (and when they're out): The Sleeping Life (Eferum, #2) by Andrea K. Höst (2015), Benjamin January #15 by Barbara Hambly (no idea), the Tris book by Tamora Pierce (2015), The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard (caveat), Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer and whatever Jenny Dolfen's next project is.


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