dhampyresa: (Default)

What did you finish reading


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


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.

List )

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

To-read list )

dhampyresa: Paris coat of arms: Gules, on waves of the sea in base a ship in full sail Argent, a chief Azure semé-de-lys Or (fluctuat nec mergitur)
Je suis le capitaine Henri Villon et je mourrai bientôt.

Non, ne ricanez pas en lisant cette sentencieuse présentation. N’est-ce pas l’ultime privilège d’un condamné d’annoncer son trépas comme il l’entend ? C’est mon droit. Et si vous ne me l’accordez pas, alors disons que je le prends.

I am captain Henri Villon and I will die soon.

No, don't smirk when reading that pretentious opening. Isn't it the last priviledge of the condemned to proclaim their death however they wish? It is my right. And if you don't grant it to me, then let us say I'm taking it.

That's how the story starts. Or ends, rather.

Le Déchronologue is the story of Henri Villon, a pirate captain in the Carabbeans of the 17th century. The story is told in non-linear order, jumping from 1653 when those first lines in the prologue are penned to 1640 when the first chapter starts. From Villon on his futuristic timeship being blown up to Villon as pirate captain investigating maravillias is quite a jump, but it's not the story's greatest jump.

Every chapter begins by telling you when and where it's set, for example "Archipel inexploré de la Baja Mar (CIRCA 1652)" ('Unexplored archipelago of the Baja Mar (circa 1652)') a chapter which immediately follows "Désert du Yucatan (FIN DU TEMPS CONNU)" ('Yucatan Desert (END OF KNOWN TIME)').

That's right. We're travelling to THE END OF TIME. #YOLO

So that's the structure of the book. A book that jumps around in time, because it's a book about timetravellers fucking with the timeline and the tenacious pirate captain who decides to fuck back.

The entire book (excepting epilogue) is told via Villon's journal of the last 13 or so years of his life, written on the eve of the last battle (where he gets blown up in the prologue). Villon is uncompromising with his faults (or other people's), a right bastard at times, an honourable man more often, utterly devoted to his quest for knowledge about what the maravillias are and what they can do, moody, tenacious, with a sharp wit and sense of irony, stingy on backstory and, very importantly, a survivor of the Siege of La Rochelle.

Villon's not just French, he's a Protestant Huguenot -- you can imagine how much that endears him to the Catholic Spaniards chasing him.

That Villon is a survivor of the Siege of La Rochelle is one of the first thing we learn about him and it informs SIGNIFICANT parts of his characters. It may not look like it at first, but Villon is deeply self-hating, bordering at times on nihilism, and has massive issues regarding women and children. In fact, his very drive to figure out the maravilias is born of what he did/was complicit in the Siege of La Rochelle.

If you don't know what happened at the Siege of La Rochelle -- or you're like me and you learned about it in school and later you forgot -- it's eventually revealed in text what happened. It comes in the book after several ominous references to it -- Villon at one point has a very bad acid rip and hallucinates the screams of the children, that sort of thing -- and in the specific scene after he's been pushed about on both the fact that he's a Huguenot and that he researches the maravilias. This is what he has to say about it:

— Moi j’y étais, au siège de La Rochelle, au nom de la Réforme et de la foi. Et je fus de ceux qui en chassèrent les plus faibles quand la famine fut sur nous, pour gagner encore un peu de temps et préserver les assiégés en état de combattre. Je les ai vus et entendus, ces malheureux, bannis sur nos ordres, errer et agoniser chaque jour un peu plus, piégés entre nos murs et les rangs de l’armée de monsieur de Richelieu qui avait refusé de les laisser passer. Et si c’est diablerie que de promouvoir des moyens de conserver boissons et aliments des années durant sans risquer de les voir se gâter, si c’est diablerie de produire de la lumière sans flamme, de soigner l’incurable et de s’efforcer de sauver son prochain, alors Satan est mon maître et je suis son serviteur, et je compisse vos gueules de rats putrides !

"I was there, me, at the siege of La Rochelle, in the name of faith and the Reformation. And I was one of those who drove out the weakest when famine was upon us, to win a little more time and keep the assieged able to fight. I saw and I heard them, those poor souls, banished on our orders, wander and die slowly every day a little more, trapped between our walls and the ranks of Richelieu's army who refused to let them through. And if it is the devil's work to promote ways to keep drink and food for years without risking that they'll rot, if it is the devil's work to produce light without flame, to heal the incurable and try to save your neighbour, then Satan is my master and I am his servant, and I piss on your stinky rat faces!

Like, wow, okay, Villon. OKAY. I understand perfectly, but at the same time, it is hilariously enough not the only time in the book where Villon calls himself Satan's servant/footman.

So that's Villon.

The book is populated with a very varied cast, from the nigh incomprehensible Féfé de Dieppe to the Baptist, who ends literally able to walk through time. Also Brieuc. I really like Brieuc, who is probably the kindest person in the entire book -- something Villon really admires (I ship them) -- and dies for his trouble. The most prominent of the secondary characters, however, are Sévère, Mendoza and Arcadio, all of whom are both interesting in their own right and have fascinating relationships to Villon.

Sévère is not her real name. She's a timetraveller who is no longer allowed to timetravel and so has to rely on Villon. Well. She doesn't HAVE to, but she does. Villon is madly in love with her, something he realises is a great weakness -- but he saved her and as I've said above, he has massive issues about not being able to sav women -- and it's something she finds... useful, I guess. She doesn't dislike him and she's not just using him, but she is using him and they both know it. She likes him, even, by her own admission but "not like that" and Villon respects that. He can't stop himself from hoping she'll love him back, but he respects that she doesn't.

Mendoza is a Spanish corsair. You can imagine how he (Catholic, Spanish, corsairr) feels towards Villon (Protestant, French, pirate) when they first meet. It does not go well! Mendoza basically tortures him and they remain hilariously polite towards each other. The next time they meet, Mendoza helps Villon escape from jail, sort of. Then Mendoza tries to go back to Spain CROSSES HIS OWN TIMESTREAM somehow survives with his sanity sort of intact and becomes Villon second-in-command as well as the owner of the journals we're reading. (I ship it.)

Arcadio is Villon's one-time cellmate who forms an unlikely friendship with him. The most important thing about Arcadio, though, is that he's a Maya. Specifically, he's an Itza from Noj Peten. As such he has a bone to pick with the Spanish Empire and the Itza having been granted, via the vagaries of timetravel bullshit affecting the world in the story, the means to fight back against the Spanish, they fight back. They fight back with gusto, because the Spanish Empire might be the Spanish Empire, but it doesn't hold a candle to machine guns and time cannons or even something as simple as easy long-distance communications via radios. The Itza are presented as entirely justified in wanting revenge from the Spanish -- by no means are Spanish atrocities glossed over, from the first chapter we are introduced to the idea that the Spanish have resorted to human experimentation to figure out the maravilias, including deliberately exposing captives to malaria -- but as time goes on Villon starts to see that the religious zeal of the Itza reminds him far too much of La Rochelle.

There is one more thing to talk about and it's THE FLYING DUTCHMAN. Spoilers, it's not actually the Flying Dutchman, it's actually AN AIRCRAFT CARRIER. Specifically, the USS George Washington.

Because see, while all the radios and boxes of quinine and machine guns and mp3 players and history books (lol forever at Villon's reaction to learning about Mary Read and Anne Bonny) and cheap IKEA furniture is being thrown back to the 17th century for anyone to grab, sell and use, so has a mysterious vessel that pirates and corsairs of the time alike decide to call the Flying Dutchman, because it is unlike anything they have ever seen both in firepower and mode of propulsion.

In the climax/end of the book, Villon and what's left of the all the fleets, pirate or not, of the time (plus some timetravelling pirates, like François le Clerc and SIR FRANCIS DRAKE, not even kidding), all go up against the Flying Dutchman. They have a plan. It's a great plan! But in the end they're 17th and 16th century pirates and they're going up against a fucking nuclear powered aircraft carrier.

They die. They all die. Including Villon, who told us so right there at the beginning and Sévère who dies in his arms before the ship gets blown up.


But Villon's ship isn't just a 17th century pirate ship, is it? It's Le Déchronologue, which has been equiped with time cannons by one of the various parties of time travellers fucking with the time stream. And so in the end, in what is for me one of the most striking images in the book, a flurry of time displaced Déchronologues appear and then disappear through a tear in time, taking the Flying Dutchman with them.

We're told of this by Mendoza, who had been told to stay behind. Having met the Americanos during their short-lived alliance with the Spanish, it was decided he'd be best able to save the city if all else failed.

I won't say I'm not sad Villon died, because I am, but I was a fitting end and could have ended no other way. He tried so hard to convince everyone, even himself, that he wasn't a hero, but he was, in the end. And he was never going to let an injustice stand or let predetermination win out over free will.

(And now I shall go re-read the book in chronological order.)

dhampyresa: (Default)
Prince of Cats, art and story by Ronald Wimberly: It's a comic that's both a retelling of Romeo and Juliet (by me mate Billy Shakes) in 80s -- I want to say Harlem, but it's been too long, definitely a big US city though -- and a PoV shift to the titular Prince of Cats, Tybalt. It was okay. Unfortunately, I think I was missing about 80% of the cultural cues I should have been getting, so I didn't get as much from it as I could have. The setting and PoV shifts didn't really bring anything new and instead made it predictable, because it's, you know, Romeo and Juliet. Also, the art didn't grab me.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl v1, by Ryan North (story) and Erica Henderson (art): That is certainly a published comic book. My issue with Squirrel Girl is that it's quite good at Squirrel Girl (and assorted peeps) but quite bad at... everything else. And even when it's not bad, it falls into "so close and yet SO FAR" for me. I especially don't like that the non-Squirrel Girl/established Marvel characters are flattened into caricatures. The Doctor Doom arc could have been SO GREAT and instead it was... that. The art is nice, though.

Spider-Gwen v1, by Jason Latour (story) and Robbi Rodriguez (art): I enjoyed this greatly! The art's not really my thing, but I like Gwen A LOT (as long time readers of this blog will know, that's A Thing with me) and the reimagination of the Marvel characters in this new universe are really interesting. FELICIA, omg (and Matt Murder-dock is a hilarious pun).

List of stuff I still have to talk about:

A list )

I'm adding Infomocracy by Malka Older (via [personal profile] netgirl_y2k ) and Magnus Chase and the Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan to my to-read list. But I'm not allowed to read the Riordan book until I've finished talking about the books I've already read (at least 2015), because this is ridiculous. And not until I've finished reading Le Déchronologue, because I need to finish reading it before yuletide sign-ups end and see if I still want to request it then.

To-read list )


Airing shows:

Star Wars Rebels: I was meh on the season premiere, but last week's ep gave EXCELLENT MAUL. This week's upcoming ep promises to focus on Sabine, who is my FAVOURITE and so I am looking forward to it immensely.

Lucifer: Trixie continues to be adorable, Mazikeen continues to have chemistry with everyone, Dr Linda continues to take no shit, the new girl is pretty fun so far and so's Mom. On the other hand, AMENADIEL NO.

Completed shows

Luke Cage: On episode 6 (finished 5, haven't started 6). It's okay so far, but Claire just showed up so I hope it picks up! (Also, lol at them working in the Retro Power Man look. A++ would lol again)

Nirvana in Fire: Weirdly enough I am at the exact same place in this as in Luke Cage. To wit: finished 5, haven't started 6. Am greatly enjoying this, even if I am confused by ALL THE CHARACTERS. They change costumes and/or surroundings a lot and I'm mildly faceblind, so it's not great. I can tell maybe five people apart for sure and have about three names to go around. On the other hand: Lady General/Lady Spy! I am here for this.

Miraculous Ladybug: It's cute. Superheroes in Paris! Not an all white cast, yes THANK YOU. (I cannot fucking stand Hollywood Paris -- it doesn't look like the Paris I know at all.) Have seen one episode so far. It was the English dub, I wanted the Korean one.

dhampyresa: (Default)
What did you finish reading

I am going to go through all of these, gdit.

List of finished books I didn't talk about before )

Le Jardin des silences, by Mélanie Fazi: So I read this back in 2015. I KNOW. Anyway, I bought the book at a convention, because the author was there and seemed pretty cool -- which she is!

This book is an anthology of short stories. According to the author's website, it contains the following: Swan le bien nommé, L’arbre et les corneilles, Miroir de porcelaine, L’autre route, Les Sœurs de la Tarasque, Le pollen de minuit, L’été dans la vallée, Le jardin des silences, Née du givre, Dragon caché, Un bal d’hiver, Trois renards.

Swan le bien nommé is a retelling a fairytale. It's okay, but it didn't leave a lasting impression on me.

L’arbre et les corneilles is vaguely fairytale-esque. It was fine, but I still dunno what the fuck what up with it. Too much was left utterly unexplained.

Miroir de porcelaine was the one where I almost put the book down, because I felt like all the narrative voices were too similar. The end was rather disappointing.

L’autre route is my favourite! Some of the images from it have stuck with me all this time, as has the line (translated) "Last week they were tortoises and I didn't know how to dance" which was chilling in context. It's about a dreaming road. I've read about all sorts of dreaming things, including cities, but never about dreaming roads. It does excellent work providing an answer for a question I didn't think to ask myself before I read it: What do roads dream of?

Les Sœurs de la Tarasque is my second favourite. Or equal favourite? Anyway, it's GREAT. I have to admit that I was kind of going *headtilt* at it being set in Brittany despite all the talk of the Tarasque, because that's not even remotely Breton folklore, it's Southern France folklore. But then it was explained! And okay, so it's not ever explicitly said it's set in Brittany, so it could have been on an island off the southern coast of France, but the love interest is called Lénaïc so pfffffffft. It's 100% set in Brittany. Anyway, I was also telling myself that I was ~reading too much into things~ and no way was it going to be lesbians, but it was lesbians! Or at least one lesbian and I think Solène is meant to be bi? Also, Lénaïc turns into a dragon.

Le pollen de minuit was weird. Okay, but weird.

L’été dans la vallée could have done more with its concept, because the ending was rather abrupt, but it was still fine.

Le jardin des silences is my third favourite. The titular "garden of silences" is a garden that appears to Séverinne when she goes walking alone at night and gives her back pieces of her past: an old hat, her former boyfriend, her younger self... The way the story is set up, you're first meant to think Luke was abusive -- she talks about how he forced her to throw away the hat -- but it turns out that the reason Luke made her throw away the hat/etc was BECAUSE THEY WERE ROBBING BANKS and then things turned to shit. I really liked the way the past is slowly uncovered and how Séverinne comes to terms with what happened.

Née du givre gave EXCELLENT CREEPY.

Dragon caché was okay -- but I really could have used some trigger warnings for it.

Un bal d’hiver was melancholy and bittersweet but utterly lovely. I got really invested in the old widow and her sort of romance with the ghost of a WW1 soldier.

Trois renards was also amazing! I think [personal profile] yhlee would really like it. It features someone making magic via music and summoning animals, including foxes. It's very eery and beautiful.

Overall, I would reccomend the book. But maybe skip the first three stories.

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
Le Déchronologue by Stéphane Beauverger (apparently somebody nommed it for yuletide, with Villon, Sévère and Brieuc, but not Mendoza?)

I am participating in [personal profile] yhlee's Sun Tzu Read-Along now.

Also, I went digging about for my copy of Vercors' Les Animaux Dénaturés, because sometimes a body needs to read about deeply uncomfortable arguings about what it means to be human, but I couldn't find it which is a bummer. I did find my copy of La Controverse de Valladolid by Jean-Claude Carrière which is a different flavour of deeply uncomfortable arguings about what it means to be human and so may scratch that itch. We shall see. For now it is fucking savage towards the Spanish Empire circa 16th century (for good reason).

I also found Warhorses by Yusef Komunyakaa which I am enjoying so far.

What are you reading next

old list )

dhampyresa: (Default)
What did you finish reading

My old list:

A list )
I read a bunch of stuff since then, I think, but my last reading wednesday was back in July so all I know for sure is that I finished Grass King's Concubine and it was GREAT. /adds to list

Why do I still have stuff from 2015 on this list. WHY.

What are you reading now

Contes et récits de l'histoire de Carthage by Jean Defrasne: Stalled.

Paris fais nous peur: 100 lieux du crime, de l'étrange et de l'irrationnel, by Claudine Hourcadette et Marc Lemonier: Reborrowed this from library!

Le Déchronologue by Stéphane Beauverger: I'm still a chapter and a half from the end of the book. My plans to nominate and request this for yuletide are no longer happening. I have to say that unless something completely unexpected happens I still expect to reread the book right after I'm done, except in chronological order this time. (Book is non-linear.)

Partial list of comics I am following and/or haven't caught up with, which I will add to as I remember them:
Also a list )

What are you reading next

The letters from [community profile] swrarepairs ! And not just because I am the mod* in charge of the letter spreadsheet, but also because I want to write so many treats.

To read list )

* What, you thought there was only one mod? "Always two there are. A master and an apprentice."

dhampyresa: (Default)
Saturday 16 [personal profile] spywindow ran Read a Book in One Sitting Day 2016. I couldn't do it then, as I was on Ahch-To, but I did it on Friday 15, during the trip to Ahch-To. (Ahch-To went great, btw.)

I read Terry Pratchett's The Last Hero.

I really enjoyed this! But I wished there'd been more women.

Okay, so first of all you need to know I'm one of the people who get literal chills when reading a really good line. This makes reading Pratchett almost a physical experience. He has a lot of really good lines. Also, I laughed and cried while reading this book. I must have been a sight.

Anyway, this book is great and I greatly enjoyed it. I'm just not sure I should have read it, under the circumstances -- it's about going out in a blaze of glory over dying slow.

"There are other stars."

dhampyresa: (Default)
Confession: For the past week or so, I have been getting home and then going to sleep pretty much right away, so I haven't read much of anything. Including DW/LJ, etc.

I have been planning my GB trip this August, by increments of about 10mn every day and did have a fairly hilarious moment where I had a map of Wales open in one window and a map of Brittany in the other and at one point got confused by which was which -- turns out Welsh and Breton placenames are even more similar than I thought!

I'm flying out August 3, btw. This is actually happening!

What did you finish reading

Surprisingly enough, after that little speech, a bunch of comics!

Here's a list (of finished arcs only), hopefully to be detailed when I am not falling asleep at my keyboard:
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

I'm done with reading [community profile] ladybusiness . I was reading the community for media recs. I was not reading to be called a "shit garbage eater". Truthfully, I have/had other issues with the community -- and epecially the way the posters seem to consider it their private space LOL NO -- but that was the last straw. (Three strikes policy, go me! Enacting change and what not.)

I guess the above list of comics can join the following list of things I should talk about:
Le Jardin des silences
Prince of Cats
Sandman Overture
Spider-Gwen v1
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl v1
Magnus Chase and the Sword of Asgard
The Red Pyramid
Tumulte à Rome

2016 (finished)

Marie des dragons intégrale
volume 4 of Les aigles de Rome
Cixi de Troye
Star Wars Shattered Empire
Star Wars Princess Leia

I fail at booktalk.

What are you reading now

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

Le Déchronologue by Stéphane Beauverger: This book continues to be amazing. I read half a chapter, a whole chapter, another chapter. Given the non-linear nature of the book, that means I've gone through three completely different periods of the narrator's life.

During the first half-chapter, Villon, our narrator/protagonist has: made it to the Itza capital as a guset/prisoner, gone on THE WORST TRIP EVER (with hints that the siege of La Rochelle was even more fucked up than I thought it to be before) and learned some more about where the maravillias come from. Tbh, I thought the kid at the end was Arcadio-as-a-child due to timetravel fuckery at one point, but I guess not.

During the whole chapter, Villon had some serious talk with Sévère and Mendoza about fighting The Flying Dutchman SPOILER THE FLYING DUTCHMAN IS AN AIRCRAFT CARRIER. Also, he is absurdly in love with Sévère: "Mort de moi, je lui aurais confié ma vie, les mains liées et sa dague sur ma gorge!" ("Death of me [this is an expletive, fyi], I would have trusted her with my life, hands bound and her dagger at my throat.") Like, damn, Villon, rein it in. Also also, I really enjoy all aspects of the Villon and Mendoza relationship, be that at this point in the timeline, when Villon is ruling a floating city and Mendoza is his second-in-command despite being screamingly insane as a reslut of having crossed his own timestream or earlier when Mendoza helped Villon (and Arcadio) escape the Spanish jail in, iirc, Carthagena by conveniently losing his knife.

During the other half chapter: Villon meets Mendoza for the first time! By getting captured by Mendoza because Villon is a French pirate, Mendoza works for the Spanih crown and the year is 1640 in the Carabbeans. It's not entirely unlike Beaton's Nemesis comic.

In conclusion: This book continues to be insane in the best possible way.

Partial list of comics I am following and/or haven't caught up with, which I will add to as I remember them:
Scarlet Witch (maybe?)
The Wicked + the Divine (sort of. When I remember it exists)
Doctor Strange
Vote Loki
Detective Comics
Han Solo
Stargate Atlantis Back to Pegasus
DC Bombshells
Contest of Champions
The Beauty
New Avengers
Unbeatable Squirrel Girl
The Ultimates
Batman & Robin Eternal

What are you reading next

More comics, probably. Right now I'm considering:
Black Panther

Maybe something in French, idk.


To read list )

dhampyresa: (Gwen Stacy)
Scarlet Witch 7 came out recently.

I don't know if I want to read it.

On the one hand: WANDA MAXIMOFF ♥!

On the other hand: issue #6 used French national tragedies in a really crass way that really soured me on it.

On the third, tentacular, hand: It doesn't matter whether I read this comic or not. Really, it doesn't! Because I, being French, do not count as a costumer for Marvel in the first place! Seriously, folks. I cannot boycott shit even when I want to, because I am not a costumer. It's really that simple. I cannot vote with my dollars, because Marvel would not have been getting my dollars anyway (or my euros).

On the fourth, robot, hand: I feel like nobody gives a single fuck how offensive Scarlet Witch #6 was. I haven't seen anyone else say anything about it. And that's fine, not everyone has to be offended by the same things! I just feel a little alone. (I suppose Marvel doesn't have to care if they lose my business.)

On the fifth hand: I don't know. I guess this makes me not a real fan.

Often when I pass the place where I've hung original artwork of Gwen Stacy on one wall facing original artwork of Wanda Maximoff on the other, I think about how cool a team-up between those two would be.

I think I need some sort of three strikes system, like "If you feel the need to vent about X more than three times, time to consider if getting rid of X in your life wouldn't be a good idea". (Not that this is always feasible, but. You know.)

MY DRAWINGS ARE TOO BIG! Seriously. I have a pastel work that's too big for my art folder. That's never happened before; usually I feel a little self-conscious about how much bigger than my works the folder is. I need a new folder.

I also need to figure out if my scanner drivers survived the recent system reboot and how to scan gigantic artwork.

I had semi-impromptu lunch with one the fandom folks today and it was lovely ♥!

We spent the entire time talking in French. I don't think I've ever spent this long speaking about fandom in French before.

In 1862, Gustave Flaubert published a novel, Salammbô, in which Hannibal Barca is a character. I haven't read it.

This is mostly because the novel is entirely straight-faced about and in part responsible for how popular the image of Carthaginians sacrificing children is -- and I am always very wary of taking the words of the victors about the habits of the people they commited genocide upon. (Flaubert, by necessity, drew only on Roman sources.)

Also, it takes place right after the First Punic War, while Hannibal is still a child -- by all accounts his role in the novel is minimal -- and I'm really more about the Second than First Punic War.

That said, I did enjoy what I saw of it in the tome 2 of the Koblenz comic (Marcher dans Carthage une nuit sans lune) -- the comic had some very pointed commentary about how purity != virginity, too, which I appreciated -- especially the veil of Tanith, that was some awesome stuff. Anyway, I have the Lone Sloane/IN SPACE adaptation of the Faluber novel by Druillet somewhere, I think, maybe I should read that.

Anyway, not only did the novel give its name to one pf my favourite Indochine song, Salombo (Hanoi 2006 orchestral version), but I recently discovered it's also given its name to a pastry.

So naturally I had to try it. It's okay. It's a lot like an eclair.

I finally signed up for fandomgiftbox.
dhampyresa: (Default)
I spent a lot of time this past week dealing with [community profile] nightonficmountain related stuff. There were several issues, some of which I was responsible for, some of which I was not. At one point I was both "comes back with pizza to find everything on fire" and "mod laughing alone with salad" making me "mod with salad on fire" -- this metaphor got away from me. Anyway, [personal profile] morbane is amazing and a lifesaver. You're the best, Morbane.


Finished reading

Continuing me making my way down the list of stuff I read in 2015. (I know. Shut up.)

Books read )

Chats d'oeuvre, by Susan Herbert (read in 2015): It's a book redoing classic works of art and movie posters with cats as the stars. It's cute, but that's it.

Still reading

Contes et récits de l'histoire de Carthage by Jean Defrasne

Le Déchronologue by Stéphane Beauverger: One more chapter. Everything still batshit and amazing. Villon (our narrator) experiences first hand the effect of time canons and some of his crew get really fucking creepy after catching a case of the oraculars -- I'm being glib, there's no such thing as the oracular, but that one guy does say something to the effect of "the Oracle of Deplhi saw the paths of the future, I walk its crossroads" and given this book it could be totally literal!

Partial list of comics I am following, which I will add to as I remember them:
Scarlet Witch
The Wicked + the Divine (sort of. When I remember it exists)

AND fannishly I am reading the fancomic Star Wars Destinies and it is very good!

Reading next


To read list )


This is as far along in these shows that I have watched. I would love to talk about any of these. No spoilers for currently airing shows, please, but I don't care about shows that are complete.

I'm going to try and move this to another post at some point (Telly Tuesday?).

Jessica Jones (s1e2 00:00)
Supergirl (s1e3 00:00)
Agent Carter (s2e3)
Lucifer (s1e13 00:00)
Legends of Tomorrow (s1e12 00:00)
Clone Wars (s3e16 00:00)
Underground (s1e7 00:00)
Shannara (s1e6 00:00)
Daredevil (s2e1 00:00)

Lucifer: OMG WHAT WHAAAAAAAAAAAAT WHAT I thought this would be the last episode, but there's one more. (13 episodes, it's pretty fitting.) I am both excited and apprehensive. Please everyone be okay.

Also, I love the friendship between Chloe and Lucifer -- even though she doesn't believe he's THE Lucifer, she does believes he believes it, so when it matters she'll play along. Also also OMG MAZE IS AMAZING OMG. Some brilliant acting from all three of the supernatural trio and I really enjoyed that fight scene.

Also also also, I love that the show sticks to its guns with regards to Lucifer only ever wanting "to be [his] own man" and with regards to the philosophy of Lucifer is a giant dork, humans are the real evil.

Legends of Tomorrow: I loved this episode. It had all the Western tropes I love. It reminded me of the third Back to the Future movie, but in a good way. KENDRA AND SARA ON A ROADTRIP I loved it and mostly got two things out of that scene: aw, past!Carter was called Hannibal (this show knows me too well) and the obvious loophole to "loving non!Carter dudes doesn't work" is LOVE A LADY Sara is right there (also, I wouldn't exactly call whatever happens when you love Carter working, old!Kendra) I really loved Captain Cold this epsiode, but then I always love Captain Cold. I am forever entertained by Wentworth Miller on this show and this episode's black ensemble looked really good on him. And I like that he got to bond with Stein. The Jonah Hex/Rip Hunter vibes were massive. All this said, I would have liked slightly less Ray and slightly more Jax.

Underground: I feel like every week I praise the twists on this show, but guys IT HAS THE BEST TWISTS but they are so good and I don't wanna spoil them but I wanna talk about them but... also I am now shipping all combinations of Rosalee/Noah/Cato, idc.

Clone Wars: I don't even know what is going on with this fucking show anymore.

dhampyresa: (Default)
Entirely on purpose this time.


Finished reading

I'm going to slowly make my way through this list, one book at a time. See if I don't!

Books read )
D'un monde à l'autre (La Quête d'Ewilan, tome 1) by Pierre Bottero (read in 2015): The last time I tried re-reading a book I loved from my childhood, it was the Livre des Etoiles series and it didn't go so well.

So I was kind of apprehensive with rereading the La Quête d'Ewilan trilogy, but there was no need! THIS BOOK WAS AMAZING.

The book follows Camille and her best friend Salim, teenagers from a small French town. Camille semi-accidentally discovers that she has magical powers and is in fact the titular Ewilan. In an interesting twist on the "normal teenage girl discovers she's from another world" trope, she is not the heir to a throne (or two, like Tara Duncan is -- kind of what that crossover now, ngl). She's the child of two very powerful magic users who sacrificed themwelves to save the kingdom from the Ts'liches.

The Ts'liches are the main antagonists of this trilogy. They are a cross between a giant lizard and a giant praying mantis, they're two meters tall at least and they are fucking terrifying. I love them, they're amazing fantasy villains.

One thing I didn't notice when reading these books the first time was how racially mixed Gwendalavir is. The first three people met in Gwendalavir are Bjorn (blond), the next one is described by Salim as "as dark as he was" (Salim has Cameroonian origins, fyi) and Edwin who I imagine as looking like Alexander Siddig because that's exactly what he's described as looking as.

Also, Ellana appears in this book and I love Ellana a lot! I especially love that while Ellana ends up falling in love with Edwin and taking Salim on as her apprentice (she's a Marchombre, a rogue/thief type of thing), the friendship between her and Ewilan is given a lot of narrative weight.

The plot of this book involves Ewilan going on a very dangerous quest to the Beaux-Arts of Paris to find her older brother, so he can fight in the war against the Ts'liches in her stead. Normally I would be angry to have a girl hero be replaced by a boy hero, but here it's framed pretty explicitly as the adults going "EWILAN YOU ARE A CHILD your brother is an adult. We're not involving children in this war if we can avoid it" which is an entirely reasonable stance for responsible adults to take.

As it turns out, Ewilan's brother (a) has not inherited his parents' power, (b) wants nothing to do with this war, holy shit are you people bonkers and (c) actually enjoys life on Earth, by contrast with Camille and Salim who have no reason to stay, as they are friendless and neglected by their families -- part of the reason they go looking for Matthieu is even that they think they can leverage that into being able to stay in Gwendalavir.

In light of (a), (b) and (c), the adults reluctantly agree to let Ewilan help with the war effort. She is both The Ultimate Magic User (their magic is called Drawing -- "le Dessin" -- and I really like how it works) and one of very few people who can not only teleport, but teleport between worlds, but she is also only thirteen and they really were hoping they wouldn't have to involve a child in this war.

I need to read the other books already. There's another two in this trilogy, another trilogy and then the Ellana-focused trilogy.

Still reading

Contes et récits de l'histoire de Carthage by Jean Defrasne

Le Déchronologue by Stéphane Beauverger: I read a whole chapter of this this week and omg this book is batshit in THE BEST POSSIBLE WAY.

I had to flip back to the first chapter to remind myself who a specific character was and in the process remembered that I am shipping Henri Villon/Yves Brieuc pretty hard and also, wow, I love all the research that went into writing this book. The siege of La Rochelle! Motherfucking Richelieu's siege of La Rochelle (yes, the one from the painting)! Villon was there and he is so sketchy about the whole thing.

I want to do a chronological reread at some point. The book is in non-linear order.

Things that happened this chapter: someone was talking about "gaudy, mismatched furniture [from the future]" and so I am choosing to believe that tense scene happened in a room entirely furnished with cheap IKEA knock-offs, Villon arrived in Tortuga while blaring some (iirc country) music through speakers on his boat as you do and Villon and Le Vasseur's conversation basically boiled down to "I'm not threatening you, I'm just saying I know how you die AND YOU DON'T neerneerneer".

I just really love all the clever things it's doing with the concept of "Pirates of the Carabbeian + time travel".

Partial list of comics I am following, which I will add to as I remember them:
Scarlet Witch
The Wicked + the Divine (sort of. When I remember it exists)

Reading next

Changes: I have decided I would read City of Blades and I've added Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds via a rec from [personal profile] yhlee . I have also decided that I wouldn't read two books by men in a row (comics somewhat excluded from this, because tracking down authorship of comics is a hassle).

To read list )


This is as far along in these shows that I have watched. I would love to talk about any of these. No spoilers for currently airing shows, please, but I don't care about shows that are complete.

Jessica Jones (s1e2 00:00)
Supergirl (s1e3 00:00)
Agent Carter (s2e3)
Lucifer (s1e11 23:00)
Legends of Tomorrow (s1e11 00:00)
Clone Wars (s3e11 00:00)
Underground (s1e6 00:00)
Shannara (s1e6 00:00)
Daredevil (s2e1 00:00)

Lucifer: MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAZE! I am fascinated by every single interaction she has with everyone, be that Dr Linda (I ship it), Chloe, Lucifer, Amenadiel or Trixie.

Legends of Tomorrow: I am really enjoying this team of losers. That's right, you have superpowers! Good on you for remembering this time.

Clone Wars: I keep boggling at how bad at politics Anakin is, seriously. He's a very all-or-nothing kind of guy and as Aaron Burr would say politics is "the art of the compromise / Hold your nose and close your eyes". (I have a file of Clone Wars notes, lmao.) Ahsoka's new duds are cool.

Underground: THIS SHOW IS SO GOOD. Seriously, it has the best twists.

OTHER STUFF (Reading related)

I seem to be mostly in a "fanfic" phase, reading wise. If I were to post about the fics I was reading, would anyone be interested?

Also, I occasionally find interesting stuff on the internet, I probably should toss them in these.

dhampyresa: (This is my life)
I got so caught up in stuff (for my own ref: five! HAHAHA FIVE!), including [community profile] nightonficmountain noms approval that I forgot it was Wednesday. My bad.

Books what I read )

Still reading

Contes et récits de l'histoire de Carthage by Jean Defrasne
Le Déchronologue by Stéphane Beauverger.

I managed to read one chapter of Le Déchronologue. This story is batshit in the best possible way. SERIOUSLY. It is so good. SO GOOD.

I have also caught up on the Lucifer v2 comic run and I am enjoying it so far. I'll wait until the end of this arc to talk about it, though.

Speaking of the devil, I am officially all caught up with Lucifer (so episode 9, as I write this). Way back when the trailer came out, I said I was "cautiously interested". I've grown ever more fond of this show as it went on, in a cheesy, dorky, surprisingly enjoyable given everything, but not terribly challenging sort of way -- which, tbh, is exactly what I want in my visual entertainment right now.

Then the ending to episode 9 hit me like a ton of bricks. Specifically, the first minute or so of this vid:

Look at him. Look at how angry he is.

It's always been my favourite interpretation of the Lucifer myth when it's not about power alone, but about free will. When it's not so much about reigning in Hell as it is about not serving in Heaven. About being free.

I never thought the show would get anywhere close to this sort of metaphysical interrogation, because it seemed so far content to be Lucifer learns to human (guest-starring supernatural shenanigans). It hasn't been afraid to shake its own status quo (see the endings of the last two episodes), but it hasn't gone into anything like this before.

It's a really pleasant surprising that it's gone there. I am always here for Predestination vs Free Will.

I am, always and forever, Team Free Will. And if that makes me of the Devil's party?

Then hell yes I'm gonna party.

(I have can watch about 30mns of TV a day, currently. I'm keeping up with Lucifer, Legends of Tomorrow and Underground, currently, while filling the rest of the time with Clone Wars. Actually, let me show you wtach my "have watched up to this point" list is: jessica jones (s1e2 00:00), supergirl (s1e3 00:00), agent carter (s2e3), lucifer (s1e10 00:00), legends of tomorrow (s1e9 00:00), clone wars (s2e13), underground (s1e2 00:00), shannara (s1e6 00:00), daredevil (s2e1 00:00), ds9 (can't remember where I stopped), orphan black (ditto). Idk that I will finish watching all of these, but so far I still want to watch more.)

dhampyresa: (Default)
On account of how I am barely reading anything lately.

I still need to catch up on the stuff I read in 2015 (I know). Here's the list:
List )

And because I keep wanting not to talk about 2016 books before I finish talking about 2015 books, I have completely forgotten to write down all the comics I read early in January. There were a lot, but all I can remember is the Marie des dragons intégrale and volume 4 of Les aigles de Rome (I know). I was in a comic shop for five consecutive hours at one point, this is not all I read, ffs. :(

Anyway, in the interest of not forgetting more stuff, I am currently reading:

Contes et récits de l'histoire de Carthage by Jean Defrasne: CARTHAGE! (Read along with [personal profile] yhlee )

Le Déchronologue by Stéphane Beauverger: Currently the PoV character/narrator is dying, fighting Alexander the Great with time canons, joining up with Native South Americans to fight the Spanish, ruling a floating city because Europe is fucking gone and South America/any landmass is going the same way, narrowly just escaped what might be an aircraft carrier/the Flying Dutchman...

Tattúínárdǿla saga: If Star Wars Were an Icelandic Saga by Jackson Crawford: Here on the internet. Quite frankly I am easily entertained and a sucker for well-done pastiche.

Speaking of which, has anyone read William Shakespeare's Star Wars? Is it all as great as the phrase "to thine own Sith be true"? (Gonna start using this a motivational tool, ngl.)

dhampyresa: (Quit killing people)
These comics were originally published in French, then translated and published in English at a later date.

What did you finish reading?

Chronicles of Legion 1-3, by Fabien Nury (scenario), Mathieu Lauffray, Mario Alberti, Zhang Xiaoyu and Tirso Cons (all four on art): ALL VLAD ALL THE TIME BODY HORROR VAMPIRES )

The Infinite Loop 1 + 2, by Pierrick Colinet (writing) and Elsa Charretier (art): Timetravelling lesbians )

What are you reading now?

Lots of stuff! I really want to talk about the conclusion for Secret Wars and Le Déchronologue (OMG IT IS SO AMAZING SERIOUSLY Y'ALL SO GOOD), but that's wait until I'm done with this 2015 recap. List broken down so I can do something else with my day(s).

Up next for the recaps are:
  • Books read in French
    • Chats d'oeuvre
    • D'un monde à l'autre (La Quête d'Ewilan, tome 1)
    • Le Jardin des silences
  • Comics read in English
    • Lucifer v1 (Vertigo comic)
    • Prince of Cats
    • Sandman Overture
    • Spider-Gwen v1
    • The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl v1
  • Books read in English
    • Fragile Things
    • Magnus Chase and the Sword of Asgard
    • The Red Pyramid
  • Books about Ancient Dead People
    • Darkness Over Cannae
    • Le papyrus de César
    • Tumulte à Rome
Discounted from this list are a bunch of single issue comics and/or ongoings. I need to figure out a way to handle reviews for ongoing (US) comics.

What are you reading next?

Not sure. At some point I should add the boo, recs I got from fandomstocking to the to-read list. I need to work on reducing my to-read list, seriously.
dhampyresa: (Default)
I have a new black, long-ish coat. Add to this that I have a red scarf and that my wardrobe is pretty much all black and it's going to look like I'm cosplaying a Star Wars villain all winter. Yay?

Note to timetravel authors everywhere: Don't show me the laser guns in 17th century Tortuga, show me the guy with the quinine in 17th century Tortuga. That's how you get my attention. (Am reading Stéphane Beauverger's Le Déchronologue. Was expecting laser guns. Am getting unlinear narrative and smart timetravel so far.)

dhampyresa: (Default)
Before I start forgetting which side of the Dec 31/Jan 1 those last few ones fall on. Thoughts to be forthcoming.

Chronicles of Legion 1-3
Darkness Over Cannae
Dr Fate 1-4
D'un monde à l'autre (La Quête d'Ewilan, tome 1)
Fragile Things,
Le Jardin des silences
Magnus Chase and the Sword of Asgard
Prince of Cats
Saints 1
Sandman Overture 1-6
Secret Wars 1-7 (still ongoing)
Spider-Gwen v1 1-5
Spider-Gwen v2 001
The Infinite Loop 1
The Red Pyramid
The Spire 1-5
Toil and Trouble 1-3
Tumulte à Rome

Those I might forget:
13 Devil Street
Freaks Squeele 7: A move & Z movie (did I ever talk about Freaks Squeele at all at any point?)
L'arabe du futur 2
Le papyrus de César
Lucifer (Vertigo comic)
Chats d'oeuvre

I cannot shake the feeling I am forgetting a bunch of stuff, however, but anything else I will count as read in 2016, yes, sirree bob.

Day 2

In your own space, create a list of at least three fannish things you'd love to receive, something you've wanted but were afraid to ask for - a fannish wish-list of sorts. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your wish-list if you feel comfortable doing so. Maybe someone will grant a wish. Check out other people's posts. Maybe you will grant a wish. If any wishes are granted, we'd love it if you link them to this post.

1. Fanworks of any of my stuff. (My ao3)
2. Somebody to kick me and remind me to post fic regularly even without deadlines

dhampyresa: (Natasha and red)
1. I have no idea how I ended up convincing myself it was Wednesday yesterday night. This is the first time I've ever been early on a Reading Wednesday post.

...And I seem to have completely forgotten about Reading Bingo for a while now, oops.

There's always next year.

2. Captain America: Civil War trailer thoughts (in order):
  • Fandom's gonna blow up
Then I rewatched it:
  • Oh hey, Tony wears his tie the same way I do.
dhampyresa: (Reading kitten!)
(Sometimes I wonder if anyone ever reads these and what they think I look like if they do. Somehow reading back my old entries, I always get the image of myself in a chaise longue on a beach somewhere with a colourful drink in my hand -- which is odd, because I should know better than anyone that that was absolutely not how I read those books, ie: in the metro and/or in bed with the book falling on my face because I'm tired.)

What did you finish reading

Thor and the Warriors Four, by Alex Zalben (Writer) and Gurihiru (art): A very cute comic in which Power Pack teams up with various people, including, yes, Thor. Thor is the one who ends up most involved in the plot, but Power Pack also teams up with the Pet Avengers and, in the back up comic, with Hercules (the artist for the back up comic is different, btw). I really enjoyed it! It's clearly a comic aimed at kids, but the writing isn't dumbed down and the art styles are very clean and nice. The big block of colours approach to colouring looks deceptively simple, but fits the story and tone nicely. (I'd advise against reading so parts of it while listening to Manau's Le Dernier Combat, though, because the combination of that song + Power Pack's grandma being in the hospital brought me close to tears.) I would definitely reccomend it, including to children.

Counting this as "Book by an author you've never read" on the Serious Card.

Alcools, by Guillaume Apollinaire: I said pretty much all I want to say here. Long story short: I liked it, there is no punctuation at all and my favourite poem was Crépuscule. (Also, there is one poem where Apollinaire refers to two past lovers, one male, one female.)

Counting this as "non-fiction book written 50+ years ago" for the Serious Card (because I am not going through the rigmarole of 'is this book part of the French canon?' or 'Well, Le Pont Mirabeau was a school requirement, but not the rest of it...').

La Croisade des Carpathes, by Vanessa Callico and Diana Callico (both on writing): I originally thought there was going to be zombies, but then it turned out to be people turning into giant flies/scorpions/etc, at which point I threw up my hands, realised I had no idea what was going on and decided to enjoy the ride. And what an enjoyable ride it was!

I loved it! )

I found this book an absolute joy to read and I will definitely be reading the next one. (Also I am linking to the post about Wallachia and the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century again.)

Counting this as "book with a female protagonist" on the Serious Card.

I know I said I'd do carthaginians this time, I don't really have the time and haven't finished Beyond Cannae, so I'll do it next time. Plus, I'll have read Ghosts of Cannae and Contes et Légendes de Carthage by then, so between Darkness Over Cannae, Tumulte à Rome, Beyond Cannae, Ghosts of Cannae and Contes et Légendes de Carthage it will be ALL CARTHAGINIANS ALL THE TIME, yes.

This makes 0/25 on the Mix'n'Match Card, 21/25 on the Random Card and 11/25 (+3) on the Serious Card for [personal profile] hamsterwoman 's reading bingo.
Details )

What are you reading now

Still stalled on The Art of War, The Kick-Ass Writer, La véritable histoire de Carthage et de Hannibal, Les Fleurs du Mal, Métronome, Ghosts of Cannae and Rome's Revolution. Also stalled on Le Jardin des silences.

The Grass-King's Concubine, by Kari Sperring: Have not made progress on this either (see hype/hype avoidance cycle and me being an idiot), but I'm going to talk about what I've read of it so far anyway.

It took me a while to realise why I was getting such a vivid mental image of the house the main character grew up in, why I could see the golden light swelter in the courtyard, smell the fermenting grapes and hear the winds through the olive trees. Not that the descriptions were bad (not at all!), but more like I was bringing something of mine to the book, something I wasn't sure where it was coming from. Then I saw her name again, Pèlerin des Puiz, thought it felt familiar and got off the metro. In the street, I stopped walking when it occured to me that the name felt familiar because I know the des Puiz. I know these people. Not personally, of course, but i know where they live, I know how they live, I know who they are. I was standing there in the street and I was almost crying, because for maybe the first time I could see the parts of my family who make wine where they've always make wine and the parts of me that is still a small child with summers of orange gold and lavander purple in a book. It was perfect.

I don't know if the rest of the book will be as good as this one moment of sudden realisation and although I hope it is, I don't care. Just for that, it will have been worth it.

(The house I saw, btw, was a mas, the big kind with an inner courtyard.)

And Now For Something Completely Different! Ferrets! I find the fact that ferrets are ferrets in particular fascinating given their emphasis (so far) on how much they changed when confronted with Marcellan. You see, ferrets are born with smooth brains (unlike pretty much every other mammal) and the gyri only appear over the course of their lives. That's why their brains are studied a lot in neurology, btw, because it allows us to look at processes that happen prenatally in humans. So the fact that these people have, as far as I can tell, have their thought processes completely or at least severely altered from what they were before and are also ferrets is really interesting.

I don't think it's intentional, but I think it's interesting anyway.

What are you reading next

GHOSTS OF CANNAE. 2231rst anniversary of the Battle of Cannae, here I come. Then L'Homme Noyé, I think. (Watch me read something else entirely, lmao.)

Old list )

Additions to the list: Fortunate Fall by Raphael Carter (from a rec over at [community profile] ladybusiness ) and Barbara Hambly's vampire series (via [livejournal.com profile] wordsofastory ).

dhampyresa: (Default)
I did it! I read the book without getting out of my chair. (It says one sitting, so you have to not get up for it to count /rule I made up)

Read a Book in One Sitting Day is something [personal profile] spywindow came up with. The rules are here. (You will note that the rules allow you to get up while reading the book.)

Anyway, I was planning to read Lewis Hyde's Trickster Makes This World on account of how I love trickster so fucking much as does [livejournal.com profile] lunik_the_bard who recced it to me in the first place and I completely trust her taste in these matters. (A not insignificant portion of our conversations revolve around tricksters.)

I had things to do today and it was also really hot, so by the time I went outside to read and settled down it was almost 1850. This included a good fifteen minute of my ereader being more or less unresponsive because I clicked the wrong thing.

So there I was, comfortably settled in -- had my book, had something to drink, had space to stretch out my legs -- and reading. For about three-quarters of an hour, I read Trickster. It was very interesting, even if I didn't always agree with the author or thought he was reaching too much. A lot of the parallels are well-explained, as is the breaking down of the various elements. Also, not counting the foreword, it starts with what is probably the most appropriate way to start a book about tricksters ever which is:
The first story I have to tell is not exactly true, but it isn't exactly false, either.
See what I mean? I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the book, especially the part about gender that the footnotes have assured me is coming.

Except I had to stop reading it, if I wanted to acheive my goal of reading an entire book in one sitting, given that I was only 8% in. It was apprently going to take me 8 more hours to finish it. This wouldn't have been a problem, if I hadn't been outside and entirely unwilling to get out of that chair without reading a book start to finish. (Next year, I will try not underestimate the length of the book I plan to read and to be less tired so as to read faster and not start curling up in the heat and dozing off /secretly a cat)

So I set Trickster aside for later and went looking for another book on the ereader. I ended up picking Alcools by Guillaume Apollinaire. (Link goes to Project Gutenberg, btw.)

Alcools is a collection of poems Apollinaire wrote between 1898 and 1913. (And if you're wondering if that's an ominous date: yes, he died in WW1.)

Reading this book was a really weird mindfuck, because it took me ges to realise that there was no punctuation at all. No wonder it didn't make sense! It also kept jumoing back and forth between ideas from poem to poem with references to poems before and poems after, so for most of the book I had no idea what was going on. I kept reading though, because it was lovely. I just really enjoyed the way it was written. (Somewhat pettily, it was also good to read poetry that looked and sounded like poetry and not the "random line jumps without rime" approach that seems to be popular these days.)

The only poem in the collection I knew going in was Le Pont Mirabeau, which is lovely.

Le Pont Mirabeau (+ translation) )
That said, my favourite of the poems in the book is Crépuscule.

Crpuscule (+ translation) )

*Importante note! In the original French, this person is not referred to as "Colombine" but as "l'arlequine", that is a female Harlequin.

** Another importante note! In the original French, this third Harlequin is referred to as "arlequin trimégiste", which is a clear reference to HermèsTrimégiste, ie Hermes Trimegistus.

The evolution of Harlequin from female to male to ungendered and "thrice-greatest" is probably my favourite thing about the poem. "L'arlequine", in particular, is what made me sit up (literally, actually) and pay attention. I am deeply, deeply saddened the translation loses that.

I love the atmosphere of this poem, the quiet shadowy elegiac melancoly of it, the imagery of arlequine bringing to mind Mélusine, the way it's structured like an evening at the theater with a before and an after a three act play, the tarot-like symbolism of the hanged man, the potential creepiness of it all buffeted by the slow dreamlike quality of the rythm of the words. It's really really really beautiful and yes, "crépusculaire".

So that's how that went for me. Didn't even get rained on!
dhampyresa: (Reading kitten!)
TOO LONG AGO, that's when. I will do dead Romans + French comics this time around (as well as miscellaneous) and dead Carthaginians + dead Ottomans/Wallachians next time. Seems reasonable enough.

What did you finish reading

A bunch of stuff, and I hope I'm not missing any. I mentionned that I'd been reading about stuff that would have made my Night on Fic Mountain fic very very obvious, so I'll start with those.

Le Troisième Testament - Julius (first three volumes), by Xavier Dorison, Alex Alice, Robin Recht, François Lapierre and Thimothée Montaigne (in various combinations of art/scenario): I was very very disappointed with this. The story was really bad (yes, of course the one Roman is better at everything that the Jewish/early Christian people. Of fucking course. *eyeroll*). That would have been bearable if I'd gotten the thing I was reading it for which is amazing colouring, which I did not get >:(. Look, I checked out those books on the basis that even if Alex Alice is not the best line-artist, he's at least very good and his colouring is AMAZEBALLS in exactly three colour schemes (ice blue + fire orange/red + balianced green) and average everywhere else. Siegfried played entirely to those colouring strengths (ice and fire are Themes in Norse myths, yo) so I thought thsi would be good! But nooooooooooo. All the colouring is muddy and terrible and bleh. (Alex Alice apparently did the scenario and NONE OF THE ART, and I am now sitting here going wtf.) I'm not sure what the fuck the story is even about. It's set during the reign of Emperor Augustus and there's this dud who is, like, Jesus' younger brother? Idk. They go on a roadtrip all the way to Mt Everest and also I think Angkor Vat? Probably not Angkor Vat, because it's waaaaay too early for that, but seriously. I've no idea what's happening here. Will not finish reading the series unless very bored, would not reccomend. (Counting this as "author famous for something other than writing" on the Random Reading Bingo card.)

Les Aigles de Rome, Tome 1, by Enrico Marini (art and scenario): It's a shame the story is terrible because the art is good. The story is really bad, though. There are two (male) main characters, who are reffered to as "lovebirds" in text, but despite that the narrative alternates wildly between NO HOMO and IT'S NOT GAY IF IT'S IN A THREEWAY and just so you know how not gay those threesomes are, there are two happening on screen. Yes, there are two threesomes in a 56 pages comic book. I thought I was going to read about Roman history, not read Roman-themed porn (it gets pretty graphic). I have nothing against Roman-themed porn, btw, but it is handled so fucking badly, seriously. And everything is handled with that level of utter unsubtly. It's okay, Marini, I swear I really didn't need that final flashback predicting Arminius inflicting a great defeat to the Romans to figure out which Arminius he was. I got it when you told us his name was Arminius and had Augustus name him so, on page, like, 5. Please stop treating your readers like idiots, thanks. I may or may not keep reading this. The art is really pretty and I particularly like the way he treats light. On the other hand, there might be too much sexism and homophobia for me. IDK. (Counting this as "book by author whose first language isn't English French (Challenge mode: self-translated book)" on the Serious card because Marini is Italian and translated the book into French, as afr as I can tell.)

Alix Senator 3 . La Conjuration des rapaces, by Valérie Mangin (scenario) and Thierry Démarez (art): SO ALIX SENATOR, HEH? It's about this Gaul, called Alix, who is a Senator at the time of Augustus. That's the story in-universe. out-universe, Alix Senator is a sequel to the (still ongoing) classic comic series Alix. I'll confess upfront that I haven't read a whole lot of Alix, mostly because they use a weirdass italic font that makes all the words run together and I can't read it. Alix Senator uses readable font! Which is a good thing, because the story is FUCKING AMAZING.
Art and story are both top-notch (one picture under the cut) )


(Counting this as "Graphic novel" on the Serious card.)

Yoko Tsuno 27: Le Secret de Khâny, by Roger Leloup (art and scenario): I technically read this before Alix Senator, but I thought I'd group all three comics set in the time of Augustus together, for the sake of convenience.

That said, there's a link between Alix Senator and Yoko Tsuno, which is that APPARENTLY IT WAS "QUEER CLASSIC CHILDREN COMICS CHARACTERS WEEK" AND NO ONE TOLD ME????? Because yeah, Yoko/Khany is about as canon as Alix/Enak above, in that Khany's titular secret is that she's raising a child. Unlike Vineans (Khany's alien race) the child doesn't have blue skin, but a skin tone that matches Yoko's. This is, were told, because "[Khany] wanted her to look like [Yoko]".

I pretty much stared at the page in mute shock for a full minute when I read that. Look, there's always been Yoko/Khany subtext and Yoko/female characters subtext in general (you can't convince me that the following exchange from L'Or du Rhin is platonic: Yoko: "When you return to Russia, please send me a small bottle of your perfume." / Olga: "Why, do you wish to wear it?" / Yoko: "No, I'll just smell it from time to time and think of it as the perfume of a friend." / Olga: "I will send you a big bottle.". You just can't, okay.). Like I said, there's always been Yoko/female characters subtext, in particular because about 80+% of the cast is made of female characters, but there's never been something so blatant as Khany raising a child who she wnated to look like Yoko.

I confess I foisted the book off onto someone (who still hasn't given it back, hence the lack of photographic evidence) as soon as I could just so I could be sure I wasn't making shit up. Because I wasn't sure. That sort of thing just doesn't happen. I don't get to see this part of myself in things I grew up with. I didn't grow up with Alix (see above re: unreadable font), bt I did grow up with Yoko Tsuno. I wanted to be her when I grew up! (Still do!)

So right now I exist in a state of being both utterly giddy with joy and not knowing if this is the real life or just fantasy. (I am not too proud to say that having read both Yoko Tsuno and Alix Senator on following days, I then spend a while in a complete daze and on the verge of tears.)

It feels so fucking unreal.

(Counting this as "book with a protagonist of colour" on the Serious card, as Yoko is of Japanese and Chinese descent.)

Other stuff I have read and finished that I can remember and will talk about next time because it's getting late here and I have now just been punched in the feelings again: Thor and the Warriors Four, La croisade des Carpathes (hence this post on the Ottoman Empire and Wallachia in the 15th century) and Beyond Cannae. I feel like I read more, but I can't remember :(.

This makes 0/25 on the Mix'n'Match Card, 21/25 on the Random Card and 8/25 on the Serious Card for [personal profile] hamsterwoman 's reading bingo.

Details )

What are you reading now

Made marginal progress on The Art of War, The Kick-Ass Writer, La véritable histoire de Carthage et de Hannibal, Les Fleurs du Mal, Métronome, Ghosts of Cannae and Rome's Revolution.

Have gotten into the hype/hype avoidance cycle with The Grass-King's Concubine because it is amazing and I am an idiot. Shall endeavour to talk more about it soon.

Le Jardin des silences, by Mélanie Fazi: A book of short stories in French.

Beyond Cannae, by Jenny Dolfen et al: Have read most of this, am waiting until I'm done to talk about it and each bit separately.

Tumulte à Rome, by Odile Weurlesse: It's a YA book set during the Second Punic War, in which there is SECRET TWINS and mistaken identity shenanigans. What's not to like?

(With any luck, I'll be done with both this and Beyond Cannae and we can have an orgy of Carthaginians next time.)

What are you reading next

I think I'm going to read the next book by Sen (L'Homme Noyé) and the rest of the fanzines I bought at JapanExpo this year.

The old list )

Additions to the list: Le Graal de l'Inframonde (the sequel to La croisade des Carpathes mentionned above, which I enjoyed greatly), Judith Tarr's novel Lord of the two Lands (on a rec by[livejournal.com profile] la_marquise_de_ ), Trickster Makes This World by Lewis Hyde (because [livejournal.com profile] lunik_the_bard recently reminded me I'd told her I'd read it) and probably some other stuff I forgot. If you've recced me something and don't see it on this list, please rec it again?

ALSO! I will be doing Read a Book in One Sitting Day this saturday. Don't know what with yet, only that it'll be a novel.

dhampyresa: (Default)
What did you finish reading

L'aigle et le safran, by Sen: (You can buy it online or read it online. I'm reading the paper version, but the online version should normally be the same.) I LOVED THIS! It's been ages since I read something in French that gripped me this much. My only regret is that I wish the political aspect of the plot had gotten a little more spotlight, because a couple of things seemed to come (almost) out of nowhere. I would also say that I regret the "on opposite sides of the war" thing didn't last as long as it did, but I have Official Authorisation From The Artist TM to bug the author at JapanExpo to convince her to write something with more of that dynamic.

Also, the little bonus comic at the end was lovely.

I have also read and/or skimmed through about 15 volumes of La Geste des Chevaliers-Dragons and I am still conflicted over how I feel about the series. On the one hand, I'm not a big fan of the premise (only female virgins can kill dragons), but on the other, some of the stories told within that framework are excellent. I like volume 6 (Par-delà les montagnes) parts of which reminds me of the Valladolid debate, and several others whose names I can't remember right now (except two, but they deserve their own paragraphs).

Cut for extended discussion of volumes 11 and 12 (Toutes les mille et une lunes & Ellys) )

So far the only one I own is volume 11, Toutes les mille et une lunes, but I think I'm going to buy volume 12, Ellys, maybe. I just wish the cover looked like the inside art, because the inside art is gorgeous. The cover... is not.

Currently reading

Still stalled on The Art of War, The Kick-Ass Writer, La véritable histoire de Carthage et de Hannibal, Les Fleurs du Mal, Métronome and Ghosts of Cannae.

Made some progress on Rome's Revolution!

Mostly i'm excited because I've started reading The Grass-King's Concubine! I'm on page 10, though so there's not much I can say, except that I'm liking it so far and want to find out more about the Other Place the protagonist saw.

What are you reading next? (aka the to-read list)

As I said last time, now that I've finished L'aigle et le safran, I'm going to start reading Métronome again. On the other hand, I really want to finish Rome's Revolution as soon as possible.

To-read list )

Additions to the list (*looks at ever growing list to read* *looks at diminshing time to read* *sobs*): The next two Masqué books (I forgot to add those earlier) and the Romanitas trilogy, by Sophia Mc Dougall, on a rec from [personal profile] dolorosa_12 .


dhampyresa: (Default)

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