I'm starting to go for my black-out of all three cards ofhamsterwoman
's reading bingo
, so I'll be noting for which square I'm counting each book. (I'm being somewhat lax with my definition of "book", I think, but whatever. If it's original fiction and you have to pay to read it, it counts.)What did you finish reading
Hagar, by Barbar Hambly: In which Rose goes to a Mardi Gras ball and solves a murder with the help of Livia. I loved this! Rose is, as always, a great narrator and she even got to be science!Rose for a bit! SCIENCE!ROSE IS BEST ROSE, OKAY. And Livia was a lot nicer than she usually is, which was a strange, but nice, change. Witness this exchange with Hannibal:
"The man could talk anybody into anything, I've heard. Like most good-for-nothing men."
"I stand chastised," Hannibal bowed his head.
"Get along with you. You're the worst of the lot." But her voice softened as she spoke, in a way that made Rose smile.
as well as the bit where it almost sounds like she's glad no one murdered hannibal during his laudanum days in Paris. I was also surprised by how pronounced Livia's opinion of Shaw's French was -- or, rather, how detailed it was. I mean, she's always trying to avoid him and yet she has Opinions on his French? Something's off. And then she was complimentary towards him? "Now that someone's pointed out to him the direction in which to look, I doubt that even he could go astary." It's complimentary by Livia standards, but still what
I'm counting this for "rec from friend or media (CHALLENGE MODE: book from the rec list compiled by CSRB participants
)" including challenge mode (because it's part of the Benjamin January mysteries series and that's on the list under "Books with protagonists of color") for the Random card.Célestin et l'enfant étoile
, by Romain Niveleau (art and scenario): This is very tonally reminiscient of Le Petit Prince
. Visually, as well. It's therefore extremely adorable while touching on some very serious subjects (what freedom means, bullying and imagination, at the very least). It's more of an illustrated/picture book than a comic though, but the layout is excellent. And I have to say that the writing is so good that I could hear
the accent in the mouflons' dialogue. A++ South-East/Marseillais accenting.
I'm counting this as "book heavily featuring kids -- kids, not teenagers, so, 12 and under. (CHALLENGE MODE: book from a child's POV, once again, child, not teen)" on the Random Card, and counting the challenge mode as well.Eve sur la Balançoire: Un conte cruel de Manhattan
, by Nathalie Ferlut (art and scenraio): It's about Eve Nesbitt's early life and the first "Trial of the Century". It's super interesting! Although it does feature sexual assault/rape, if that's something you'd rather avoid. It's not graphic and pretty well sign posted, I thought, so easy to avoid, but it is a major plot point. Anyway, Eve was very sympathetic and I loved that she got to have as much of a revenge as she could! Not that anyone but her and the person the revenge was on realised that was what was happening, but I really didn't expect her to even get that much. I like the way Eve is presented in an unflattering light but is still very sympathetic. She's very cleraly not a good person, but she's not a bad one either (and terrible tings happen to her, so that doesn't help). The art is kind of dreamlike and so very fitting to the subtitle of "A cruel (fairy)tale of Manhattan" and there was a nice call back to her name and the Biblical symbolism of it in at least one place. I had no idea what the trial that sort of serves as a framing device was, so I spent the whole book trying to guess and when I figured it out, everything started to feel very Greek Tragedy like. This is a compliment.
I'm going to count this as "a book heavily featuring food" for the Random Card, because of the narrative weight given to, in particular, the chocolate cherries.Victor Hugo
, by Bernard Swysen (art and scenario): A bibliography of, you guessed it, Victor Hugo! It's extemely well-done and well-researched. And I eneded up feeling like an idiot at one point, because even though I knew the dates for both, it had never occured to me that Hugo and Dumas could be friends. Also, Hugo is a Chateaubriand fanboy. It's adorable.
I loved the way Hugo's writing was incorporated in the text and I'm not too proud to admit I cried.
Another very cool thing is that since Hugo was born in 1802 (Ce siècle avait deux ans...
) and died in 1885 and was very
involved politically, you get to have a front row seat to the insane game of political musical chairs that is French history in the 19th century. To wit: the Consulate, First Empire, First Restauration (monarchy), the Hundred Days (Napoléon's come-back), Second Restauration (monarchy, again), July Monarchy, Second Republic, Second Empire, Third Republic. So that's 2 Empires, 3 Republics and 3 Monarchies (plus the Hundred Days) in 83 years. OMG FRANCE JUST MAKE UP YOUR MIND ALREADY
I could have done without the framing device of Adèle in the mental institution, but for abook that's roughly 80 pages long, it manages to pack in a spectacular amount of information about Hugo, his work and his context without ever sacrificing clarity and good art. Amazing.
I don't know if I like Hugo better having read this, but I certainly understand him a lot better.
Counting this as "book by an author you've never read", still for the Random card.
Which brings me at 0/25 for the Serious card, 0/25 for the Mix 'n' Match card and 4/25 for the Random card.
What are you readingThe Daylight War
, by Peter V. Brett: I'm not entirely sure why I'm reading this, actually. I mean, I opened the file because it was on my phone, but I don't remember enjoying either The Painted Man
or The Desert Spear
all that much. Well, okay, no. That's a lie. There were things I really liked about those novels and these were unfortunately not the things the author wanted me to like and there were things that I REALLY HATED, like, oh, say, the way that as of the end of book 2, both main female characters were rape victims. I hated that. I viciously hated that with the kind of rage I didn't know I could feel towards a book. And my favourite part of the books so far was the first third or so of The Desert Spear
, set in Krasia, because it might be full of Islamophobic clichés, but at least it wasn't fucking pseudo-medieval Europe take n°11364873436437409.
And so now I'm reading this book, because I apparently hate myself.
I'm about 25% of the way in and I'm not sure how to feel? So far the author has remembered that LGBT people exist! There's been a grand total of one (1) gay man and two (2) lesbians as minor characters. And if you're curious, no, none of them are from pseudo-medieval Europe.
So far my favourite bits are the Inevera flashbacks, because there's politics! And it's not pseudo-medieval Europe.
You know, I've nothing against pseudo-medieval Europe as a setting, but at least do something
with it. This is just so bland and bleh. I mean, you'd think having fucking demons rise up from the earth at night to kill you if you're out of a protective circle would have some sort of impact on society, but not really. At least over in Krasia, it does.
(I'm reminded of how much better Stained Glass Monsters
did the "demons rise up to kill you if you're out of a protective circle" thing.)
The problem with the Inevera flashbacks is that they're full of foreign words in italics
(which trips up my synesthesia something fierce), sometimes for no damn reason. There's no point in calling them alagai hora
when demon bones
would work just as well, ffs. But, hey, at least the not-English words are sign-posted with the italics here.
Over in Boring Fake Europe, they're not. Our ~hero~ Arlen and Renna don't say "isn't". Oh no. They don't say "ain't" either, which would have made sense and would have been an actual word to convey what I'm assuming is trying to be conveyed here (ie: they're backwater hicks). But nooooo. They say "ent". Yes, like Treebeard and the rest from Tolkien. And somehow they find the way to shove it into every single line of dialog they have and it is SO FUCKING ANNOYING. (My synesthesia is starting to recognise a lot of the foreign italics
as words, but ent is where the line is drawn, apparently.)
And another thing! Everyone in these books apparently suffers from Too Fucking Stupid To Live Syndrome. Why the hell haven't people been making their cities into the shape of wards for decades already? Why do the Krasians keep up with that ridiculous maze business when it does more harm than good?
Honestly, at this point I'm reading for the following reasons: 25% wanting to know more of Inevera (and her queer entourage. the lesbians definitely stick around, but who knows if the gay man, her brother, will come back), 10% wanting to find out what's happened to a few of the characters I liked that still haven't fucking showed up on page yet, wtf, at least two were major characters last time, 10% wanting to get a closer look at the "synesthesia recognising words" process, 5% vague curiosity for the plot of the book and 50% bile fascination for how much more boring or generic or offensive this whole thing can get.
(But, hey, It's a good thing to read bad books every once in a while. Here I was, feeling insecure over my writing. Not any more!)
I'm probably going to keep reading, both because I'm a stubborn fuck and because bile fascination.
No progress was made on: The Art of War
, The Kick-Ass Writer
, La véritable histoire de Carthage et de Hannibal
, Gustav Adolf Mossa: L'oeuvre symboliste: 1903-1918
.Les Fleurs du Mal
, by Charles Baudelaire: I continue to love this, despite Baudelaire being Baudelaire. Okay, that sounds bad. Here's the thing about Baudelaire: he had a terrible life and was awfully depressed. A lot of his poetry is magnificent, but it's beautiful, heart-breaking writing on pain and death and despair.
My favourite it from this week is from Le Masque
- Mais pourquoi pleure-t-elle? Elle, beauté parfaite
Qui mettrait à ses pieds le genre humain vaincu,
Quel mal mystérieux ronge son flanc d'athlète?
- Elle pleure, insensé, parce qu'elle a vécu!
Et parce qu'elle vit! Mais ce qu'elle déplore
Surtout, ce qui la fait frémir jusqu'aux genoux,
C'est que demain, hélas! il faudra vivre encore!
Demain, après-demain et toujours! - comme nous!
But why is it she weeps, whose loveliness outranksWhat are you reading next?
All others, and who binds all humans by her laws?
What hushed mysterious ill gnaws at her athlete flanks?
She weeps because, O madman, she has lived, because
She must live on. But her most pitiful misgiving —
What chills her very knees and turns her tremulous —
Is that alas! tomorrow she must go on living —
Tomorrow and tomorrow — evermore — like us!
(aka the to-read list)
A to-read list that is properly formatted, so I don't forget about books I wanted to read! Now updated with books I should have put on it a long time ago AND with recent recs I got.
Books that I have already: Prisoner (Echo's Wolf, Book 1) (Werewolf Marines 2)
by Lia Silver, Darkness Over Cannae
by Jenny Dolfen, Taking Stock
by Scott Bartlett (yuleswap book 1), February
by Lisa Moore (yuleswap book 2), The Demigod Diaries
by Rick Riordan
Books that are out and that I haven't got: Clariel: The Lost Abhorsen
, by Garth Nix, Ancillary Justice
, by Ann Leckie, Melting Stones
and 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 Goblin Emperor
by Katherine Addison, Hostage
by Sherwood Smith and Rachel Manija Brown, the last two books of Kate Eliott's Spiritwalker
trilogy and whatever's out of the Craft Sequence
Books that aren't out yet (and when they're out): The Sword of Summer
by Rick Riordan (Autumn 2015), The Sleeping Life (Eferum, #2)
by Andrea K. Höst (2015), Benjamin January #14
by Barbara Hambly (no idea), Empire Ascendant
by Kameron Hurley (Summer 2015? Still unsure if I'm even going to be reading this one), the Tris book by Tamora Pierce (2015), whatever Jenny Dolfen's next project is (THAT ART!) and probably Robert Jackson Bennett's next book.
Also, comics. I will probably also be reading some comics.