Rating: Teen and up
Fandom: Lanyon Archive
Summary: The Mods of the Lanyon Archive thought they had seen it all. But that was before Joe Wright replaced Guillermo Del Toro as the director of Mistress of Her Trade.
A small Easter tribute for lilliburlero
Tales out of School
Whenever Willie Nelson, who's quickly approaching his 87th birthday, isn't on the road again, or raising money for American farmers as co-founder of Farm Aid, the country singer is looking after his beloved horses on his 700-acre Texas farm, which he calls "Luck Farm".
Frequent readers of this blog will have noted that I keep a running list of books I've read during the year (in case you've missed them, here's the latest).
Now, what this is? Is a record of the books I've read during the year. It is not a recommendation list for readers of this blog. It is a list of books that I've read.
I really, really, really didn't think that this needed an explanation, but! It appears that I was wrong. So, I'm going to talk about the Philosophy of Books Read Lists as practiced on this blog since the late, great year of 2009.
So everyone is on the same page, this discussion is generated by an email I received, to wit: "Sharon, I know it's a bit more work, but it would be very useful if you could include links (to Amazon?) on your "Books Read" lists."
Now, there's a surprising amount of stuff packed into this suggestion. Let's unpack it.
One -- the assumption that I am personally driven, or perhaps have a duty, to be useful to the Plain People of the Internet. In case anyone was in doubt here -- I really am not driven to be useful to random strangers. Nor is it my duty to be useful to said random strangers.
Two -- that including links (to Amazon?) would be Most Acceptable to the Plain People of the Internet. Which, as anyone who has been hanging around the internet for two hours and forty-five minutes will derive -- it isn't. The second I link only to Amazon, I will inundated with demands that I link to every other bookstore on earth, and that? is A LOT more work than I signed up for.
Way back in time -- 1997, or so -- I used to maintain an Affiliate Account at Amazon -- that's the thing where you make targeted links and when people click on those links, you, the Affiliate, get a piece of the action. I stopped doing the Affiliate thing back, oh, aways, when it became clear that Amazon's idea of right and wrong. . .diverged from my own. So, I know about Amazon Affiliate accounts and I choose not to participate. And it's not like people won't buy from Amazon anyway, so my not providing a link, whether or not I get paid$, really makes no difference in the Scheme of Stuff Getting Bought.
Three -- There is the assumption that it's hard to find the books on my Books Read List. In fact, there's nothing easier. Google is your friend. All you have to do is cut 'n paste the title/author into a query box and, hey presto! you will be served links to many, many vendors from whom you can purchase said title (with Amazon at the top of the list, naturally). It will also provide you with links to Goodreads and to any reviews that book may have received. Incredibly useful tool, Google. And it makes things so easy.
So, there's that.
However, while we're on the subject of my Books Read lists. . .
Occasionally people ask me to review the books I've read, and the answer to that is? No.
I used to review books professionally (by which I mean, I used to be paid to review books). I quit that gig when I was hired to be executive director of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.
I never went back to reviewing professionally, because I know too many writers. If I give a book a bad review, the chances are good that I'm going to Blight the Life of someone I know, and while I'm not by nature useful, I'm also not cruel -- though I can be driven to sarcasm very easily.
I've had enough people drop me notes thanking me for having read their book (Google again. Ego searches are a wonderful thing, so they are not.), that I'm not going to risk the recriminations and angst that will go with a bad, or even a less-than-completely enthusiastic review.
Some folks have worried that I maybe don't know how to link to my own books. I hereby assure them that I do know how to do that. To wit!
You may pre-order a signed and/or personalized copy of A Liaden Universe® Constellation Volume Four from Uncle Hugo's SF Bookstore! Here's your link. Also! If you don't want to cope with Amazon's shenanigans, you may buy the ebook edition of Fortune's Favors in multiple formats from Baen Books. Here's the link.
So, I think my skills there are adequate to demand.
All righty, then! Let's recap.
- The Books Read list that I keep on my blog is a running list of books I've read during the year. I put it here because this is my blog and I get to decide what content is "appropriate" to it.
- The Books Read list is not a recommended reading list for people who read this blog. If you see a title that looks interesting or an author you've never heard of, and you want to explore further -- that is your decision.
- As has been discussed elsewhere, frequently, I am not a nice person who lives to be agreeable to you. My warning label is: Sharp edges handle with care. Remember that and our interactions will be so very much more pleasant.
I hope this is all clear and that there will be no more misunderstandings about the Books Read lists.
Thanks for listening, and now? I've gotta get to gym.
I'm not filling the feeders with sunflower seeds anymore, and so the bird visits are less - presumably, they can also find more to eat now, as well.
I'm sure if i took a week off, i'd still have yard work to do. Unfortunately, work has heated up to white heat. I am wrestling with insecurity and remind myself of imposter syndrome. I am procrastinating. I am also doing OK with some of the asks, but feel like a tsunami is behind me.
Mom and Dad are a puzzle. Mom has all her issues, and Dad his financial insecurity and independence. Hiring more in-home help will help them, but we're going to have to convince Dad to spend the money. Mom is making substantial mobility improvements, and making things easier now will improve the chances for long term stability. It seems obvious but Dad seems fixated on steady state planning.
Now they're claiming it was a coding glitch. How utterly stupid does Zuckerberg think people are?
My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness was the first book I read at the Wilsonville library. I prefer to read most things in digital, but 1) graphic novels etc. are short enough to avoid most of the eye strain that makes digital preferable and 2) graphic novels etc. sometimes can't be read or aren't available digitally; so while access to a 10-min-walk-away library means unlocking things like semi-obscure novels that the Portland library doesn't have on ebook, it also means comics! kids' books! some of which I can even read in-house without checking out! As part of my goal this year is to read so many books that I wildly overinflate my statistics such that this year is an ignorable outlier and I can return to reading longer works without feeling like I'm being less """productive,"" there's no better time to read graphic novels etc.
Title: How Long 'Til Black Future Month?
Author: N.K. Jemisin
Narrator: Shayna Small, Gail Nelson-Holgate, Robin Ray Eller, Ron Butler
Published: Orbit and Hachette Audio, 2018
Rating: 4 of 5
Page Count: 400
Total Page Count: 304,890
Text Number: 1022
Read Because: fan of the author, ebook and audiobook borrowed from the Multnomah County Library
Review: 22 stories of speculative fictionof alien cultures and sleeping magic and supernatural beasts who accompany floods. I love how critically Jemisin approaches power in her novels, and much of that is present there; what's sometimes missing is the intimate, thorny character dynamics. I miss those when they're absent; without them, the social criticism and/or themes feel bare and weighted to the end of the story. But the better balanced pieces, like "Red Dirt Witch," are strong, the diversity of the speculative concepts is commendable, and the stylistic variation is usually engaging without feeling gimmicky. This peaked too early for me, with "The Evaluators" (reminds me of Russell's The Sparrow) and "Walking Awake" (reminds me of Octavia Butler), but I'd call that an issue of personal tasteI'm a sucker for fridge and body horror as a premise for speculative worldbuildingand there are only one or two duds.
(My holds for each format came it at the same time, so I alternated formats. I only regretted this in a few stories"The You Train" in particular reads poorly on audio.)
Title: Becoming Unbecoming
Published: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2016 (2015)
Rating: 3 of 5
Page Count: 215
Total Page Count: 305,105
Text Number: 1023
Read Because: personal enjoyment, ebook borrowed from the Multnomah County Library
Review: A woman processes her own history of sexual assault through the concurrent Yorkshire Ripper investigation. This combination of elements is hugely successful, each piece finding context in the other to explore gendered violence as a personal experience that exists within a national and worldwide social structure. It's intimate, critical, and complex, and I wish the book restrained itself to this powerful premise. Instead the middle third falls apart, growing into broader, abstracted, more familiar arguments, and the meta aspects of the final third are similarly weak, losing the narrative thread. The art is a neutral midpointdoodle-y with heavyhanded imagery and ineffective abstract/photographed panels, but the disambiguated, fluid intimacy of a graphic memoir works well with this content.
Title: My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness
Author: Kabi Nagata
Translator: Jocelyne Allen
Published: Seven Seas, 2017 (2016)
Rating: 4 of 5
Page Count: 145
Total Page Count: 305,250
Text Number: 1024
Read Because: personal enjoyment, paperback borrowed from the Wilsonville Public Library
Review: After long struggles with mental illness and sexuality, a woman hires a female escort for her first sexual experience. This has a perfect oneshot/one-sitting length, and while the individual elements may be too slight or navel-gazey on their own, they work beautifully in concert. If anything, things are left unresolved, which I loveI appreciate the feeling that the narrative process is ongoing even at time of reading. Nagata has an incredible ability to talk frankly about profound social awkwardness; it rides a strong balance of intimate and relatable. It feels strange to call a book of this type "charming," but it really is, with emotive stylized art and self-aware humor.
Jerome had brought the promised basket from Seraphine, that contained a deal of fine tasty treats, and even some hothouse fruit – does His Lordship leave any, why, I have the reversion, for must be fresh and fresh for him, not left-overs –
So Livvy told him of how Sir Charles went set up a hothouse at the manor, so that Lady Fairleigh might have hothouse fruit, and asked was Lord Raxdell a very exacting employer?
Why, he is most exceeding nice about his dress, but he can wear it, shows very well – there will be other valets come to me, ask, how may I obtain such and such an effect with my master, and really, I must sigh and say, perchance do you go about to disguise his defects of figure with stays or some such, because one may observe that the fellow is not one that will spend a good hour or so a day in practice with his fencing master like unto His Lordship. Is particular, but shows kind and generous, 'tis not always the tale. Is not here the e’en – has seen this play several times already – I see has lent his box to Lord Abertyldd and several others of his set –
Sophy nudged Livvy. The young lady, next to Lady Abertyldd – with the white roses? – that is the Miss Brumpage that Mr Edward Merrett has a notion to.
Pretty! said Livvy.
And then the play commenced.
What a fine amuzing thing it was. The young man that determines to save his sister from a beguiled elopement by dressing in her clothes and going to the rendezvous himself – the young woman that is so horrified at her brother’s plan to beguile a young woman into a runaway match that she pushes him into the cellar and locks the door upon him, dresses in his clothes – sure Miss Addington looked most exceeding well in breeches! – and keeps the assignation – Mr Winch as the innkeeper at the appointed hostelry, o, her sides quite ached with laughing –
At the end of the evening Jerome said, sure, he would escort Livvy back to Offgrange House, 'twas no trouble in the least, and so they took their leave of Sophy and Sam, that were gazing doating into one another’s eyes, and set off, their arms linked together so that they might not get separated in the press, and Jerome keeping his stick in hand, just in case.
As they walked he remarked that did the Fairleighs stay much longer in Town, and did they concede Livvy a little time for recreation, perchance a party for Vauxhall might be made up?
Livvy said she was not certain of their plans, but sure that would be very agreeable might it be contrived.
How very civil was Jerome: did not lord it as he might have done, sure valets were oft very proud and haughty and determined to demonstrate their consequence, one saw that a little with Plender at Offgrange House.
Or perchance they might visit a menagerie? Though, had she been at Raxdell House, mayhap she had the opportunity to visit Master Josh’s creatures?
Indeed, said Livvy, was a thing came up while we were picking herbs, Sophy said 'twas a mongoose –
That mongoose will ever be looking into whatever is a new thing!
- and then Master Josh Ferraby came up after it, and Sophy offered that he might show us his animals.
The wombatt, said Jerome, is most particular out of the common – comes from the antipodes.
At length they came to the belowstairs door of Offgrange House, and Jerome smiled down at her, and said, had been a most agreeable evening, and he hoped that he might have further opportunity of seeing her again while she was in Town, touched his hat, and departed. Livvy smiled a little to herself, and went in, and up to the dressing-room.
Lorimer came in to say, Lady Fairleigh had gone to bed, but Sir Charles was with her and said he fancied he could undertake her requirements in making sure of her comfort &C.
Livvy smiled at her and said, he has the finest hand in the matter, she will say.
Lorimer looked doating. 'Tis give out, in the family, that had loved her for many years, since boyhood, even before her parents made up the marriage to the Earl. And at last they could wed. But, my dear, 'tis late and you should get to bed yourself.
Next morning while Livvy was undertaking Lady Fairleigh’s toilette, the latter asked her about how she had enjoyed the play, and that came to an account of the play, and how very entertaining it had been, and the evening in general.
Oh, said Lady Fairleigh, how delightful it sounds. One hears Miss Addington is quite the finest of actresses –
Sir Charles came in. What, we are talking of Livvy’s theatrical excursion?
O, indeed I am put in a deal of envy, Sir Charles. For even when I was still able to get about I cannot recall that we ever went to the play.
Sir Charles looked thoughtful and said, he did not see why it could not be managed. He fancied there were those among their acquaintance with boxes at the theatre, and he might carry her in, and they could ensure she was sat in comfort. And sure it was desirable that she had some standard by which to judge her offsprings’ efforts in amateur theatricals.
O, Sir Charles! are they so bad?
Sir Charles laughed. As it perchances, Em and Geoff are by no means bad, at least as amateurs go. I do not say that they could earn their living upon the boards but they are not an entire embarrassment to watch.
I am ever in doubt that I manifest maternal prejudice in the matter!
They looked at one another very fond.
I fancy that the person to apply to would be Lady Bexbury: she will know who has boxes, and when they are like to be empty, &C.
I daresay she will be calling within a day or two: but I will write her a little note upon the matter.
Livvy recommenced the brushing of Lady Fairleigh’s hair that she had temporarily ceased. Sir Charles said that he had just looked in to say that he purposed to go to Raxdell House the morn: had had a very civil note from Mr Roberts that he was entire welcome to go visit his hothouses. Dared say they would make him quite discontent with his own efforts.
He kissed Lady Fairleigh’s hand and took his leave.
Barely had the door closed behind him than it opened once more and little Lady Di toddled in.
After an apologetic nursemaid had come to retrieve her and take her back to the nursery, Lady Fairleigh sighed and said, sure it was delightful to be among her family, and Di and Gussie were the sweetest of infants, but she found that she had grown used to a rather quieter life. A little taste of Town pleasures was agreeable, but she found herself looking forward to returning to the manor.
And Livvy found herself in inward agreement with her mistress.