Linkspam can't stop rereading

Jan. 19th, 2017 08:27 pm
[personal profile] jjhunter
Gay Talese @ Esquire: Frank Sinatra Has a Cold
Frank Sinatra, holding a glass of bourbon in one hand and a cigarette in the other, stood in a dark corner of the bar between two attractive but fading blondes who sat waiting for him to say something.

Jeanne Marie Laskasjan @ NYT: To Obama With Love, and Hate, and Desperation
These were people writing, and you’re a person reading, and the president is a person. Just keep remembering that, and you’ll be fine.
[personal profile] sovay
I was going to make a post about several different things and then [livejournal.com profile] derspatchel just told me that Miguel Ferrer died. He was younger than my father. He had throat cancer. I didn't even know. My mother has been watching NCIS: Los Angeles for the last five or six years because of him and Linda Hunt. I still have to finish the second season with [livejournal.com profile] rushthatspeaks, but in the list of favorite characters I have been keeping for the last sixteen years it says quite plainly "Albert Rosenfield, Twin Peaks" because, as with any sensible person, that speech about nonviolence imprinted me on him for life. I never thought of him in terms of his parents until the last time I caught The Caine Mutiny (1954) on TCM and suddenly I could see him in his father; maybe he'd have reminded me of his mother if I'd ever heard him sing. Hey, 2017, I thought we agreed that you were never going to match 2016 for devastating celebrity deaths and weren't even going to try? You couldn't have just held off for a month?
[personal profile] rachelmanija
A friend of mine once had a very lavish birthday party for which she hired a professional magician. I was a little skeptical, as I have never much enjoyed stage magic. It usually strikes me as a bit cheesy or dull, not to mention repetitive. Once you've seen one card guessed and one thing vanished, you've seen the whole show; the rest is just variations.

This guy, whose name I forget but will ETA in if I figure it out, was different. His tricks were still variations on tricks I'd seen before. But his performance was wonderful and his persona was like nothing I'd seen before. It was all based on understatement and faith in the audience to appreciate the artistry of competence and skill.

He didn't make dumb jokes or big promises. He wore a slightly old-school-looking dapper suit. He had beautiful hands and moved in the precise, no-motion-wasted, polished manner of a martial artist or open kitchen chef or Olympic gymnast. Every time he moved, you could see the thousands of hours he had to have spent doing and re-doing that exact movement until it looked effortless and was perfect. He embodied "in the moment."

I don't recall his exact tricks, though I do remember that they were clever and done with charm, sometimes funny (in an understated way), sometimes "how the hell did he do that?" We all gasped and laughed and were enchanted. But the main enchantment was watching an incredible craftsman at work. He didn't brag; he didn't have to. His skill was evident. He could have been a carpenter, and we'd have been just as blown away watching him join wood... perfectly. And that was his persona: the craftsman.

I don't think it was an accident that he was performing for a bunch of Hollywood professionals in Los Angeles, and that he also worked at the Magic Castle, which is where magicians go to see each other perform. Whatever else you can say about Hollywood, it appreciates the effort and difficulty of making things look effortless. It was the perfect match of performer and audience, and I don't know if he, or that persona anyway, would have worked elsewhere.

I realized then that stage magic isn't about the tricks at all. It's about the performer and the performance. And the audience. All else aside, that guy's "Watch me flick one finger perfectly" deal would have been literally impossible to do in a large arena. We were in a small room with the farthest person no more than 30 feet away from the front row. Any bigger, and you wouldn't have been able to see what made him great.

I told him afterward that he'd done the first magic show I'd enjoyed at all, and that I'd not only enjoyed it, I'd loved it. I tried to explain why; hopefully it made sense. He did seem sincerely pleased. In an understated way.

Hiding the Elephant makes a similar point about performance and audience vs. tricks. But the book is at least 50% about the tricks. It's nonfiction on American stage magicians and their tricks in the 1800s (Houdini’s time), written by a modern designer of magic illusions who is not a performer himself. Interesting perspective, mixed execution.

He says from the start that while he’ll explain how some tricks are done, he’s not going to spill secrets on anything that hasn’t been previously detailed in print, though some of his sources are not well-known. He does, however, detail some original research he did into how Houdini made an elephant vanish onstage— a trick which impressed other magicians more than the audience, as Houdini’s showmanship as an illusionist was lousy compared with his dramatic skills as an escape artist.

Each chapter begins with him discussing some concept of magic, often couched in autobiography, which leads in to his chapter on a specific historic magician. These intros are beautifully written and fascinating. The historical material is noticeably more dryly written and often quite technical. It turns out that most magic tricks of that era were indeed done with mirrors aided by elaborate stage tech. If you care about the details, he explains many of them with diagrams and careful explications of the physics, engineering, and math which create the illusions. I read a lot of the book thinking, “Mia Lee would love this.”

If the whole book was like the chapter intros, I would have loved it too. If there had been more focus on the magicians’ personalities and the cultural factors playing into stage magic, and less on technicalities, I would have liked it more. There was a reasonable amount on the former (Houdini comes across as a real jerk), enough so that some chapters were moderately juicy reading, but ultimately the book felt much more bloodless than I expected when I began.

I suspect there are histories of that era of stage magic I would like better, but I don’t know which they are. It isn’t a subject I have that much inherent interest in. On the other hand, it did inspire me to re-watch The Prestige, and that was every bit as good as I remembered.

Hiding the Elephant: How Magicians Invented the Impossible and Learned to Disappear

My head

Jan. 19th, 2017 05:18 pm
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
is surprisingly difficult to xray.
[personal profile] coffeeandink
I am late, but this is on a deadline, so I will do it out of order.

[personal profile] skygiants: I am going to be traveling a ridiculous amount this month and therefore if you felt like posting about good/fluffy plane/travel reads sometime in between January 14 and 19 I would be much obliged.

--which conveniently turns out to cross over with:

[personal profile] rachelmanija: The most fun books you read in the last year or so. Not the ones of the highest literary value or the deepest explorations of a serious issue. The ones that were the most entertaining, made you the most happy, and/or weren't even good at all but were highly amusingly cracktastic. That sort of thing.

I have read all sorts of things traveling, of course, depending on mood or what I was reading when I started, but usually for plane flights or long train trips, I like mysteries or romances, things that are fun and fast-paced and gripping and whose prose has a rhythm that doesn't clash with the rhythms of transportation. (No, but seriously, trying to read Bleak House on a cross-continental train for real gave me a headache. And when I'm sitting still, I even like Bleak House!)

The Cafe La Femme mysteries by Livia Day (aka Tansy Rayner Roberts) work perfectly for me for this purpose. A Trifle Dead, Drowned Vanilla, and novella The Blackmail Blend are set in Hobart, Tasmania, and are confections as delightful as their names. Tabitha Darling owns a cafe and loves pastries, pretty frocks, and gossip. She does not love the cops who frequent her cafe and complain about how she's eased out traditional greasy spoon fare for really very delicious-sounding fusion fare -- not because they complain, but because they are keeping a close eye on her for the sake of her father, who used to be chief of police, and her mother, who used to make the police commissary a place where the food was actually good. (Dad ran off with a younger woman, and Mom quit and went off to meditate in the country. Tabitha is not happy with Dad.)

The mysteries can be predictable, but the real pleasure of the books is the world-building: the lively sense of the local Hobart arts and foodie scenes, the soul-calming love of the mountains in the distance, and the small-town intimacy which means Tabitha seems to have dated half the people involved in the case during college. It is also very thoroughly seen through the female gaze, so much so that I sometimes got impatient with Tabitha evaluating the hotness of every guy who walked through the door. Tabitha is clearly attracted to many more people in daily life than I am.

That's making it sound like these are books very focused on men, whereas they're books with lots of relationships between women where the protagonist happens to be very straight. There are indeed queer and non-gender-normative characters. My favorite is probably the granny whose art consistents of obscene pastry, but I am also fond of Tabitha's gorgeous frenemy and her extremely grumpy cafe assistant who makes excellent cappuccino.

Also, I want to eat every dish Tabitha makes in the entire book. She includes recipes.

The most fun book I read in 2016 was also by Rayner Roberts: Musketeer Space, a gender-swapped, race-bent, everybody's pansexual, space opera retelling of The Three Musketeers. It was originally published as a serial on Rayner Roberts' blog, where you can still read it for free. I am not sure what more to say to people who aren't sold by "The Three Musketeers IN SPACE!!!", honestly, but Dana D'Artagnan and her friends are a delight and the background worldbuilding is a delight and there's also a companion novella "Joyeux", which is, oddly enough, probably best read between parts one and two of the novel. Rayner Roberts has a way of writing brave rash women and cynical self-destructive men that feels hooked straight into the fannish id in the very best way.

sketch of the day

Jan. 19th, 2017 03:36 pm
[personal profile] yhlee
Your daily catten!



Ink: Montblanc Corn Poppy Red.
Pen: Scriptorium Pens Master Scrivener.

She really does like sleeping at the foot of the bed.
[personal profile] larryhammer
Public Service Announcement:

A crocheted Totoro stuffie with a pink doctor's kit bandage on one ear and a cast on the other arm is ridiculously cute.

(Pix didn't come out sorry not sorry.)

---L.

Subject quote from "Alexander Hamilton," Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Five Accomplishments

Jan. 19th, 2017 11:05 am
[personal profile] oracne
I can do today, yes I can.

1. I did two loads of laundry last night. The clothes are ready to put away.

2. I've gotten started on this month's review book.

3. I've collected supplies for my sign/s for the Philly Women's March on Saturday. Apparently, sticks aren't recommended, so I don't need to visit the hardware store. I printed out a couple at dayjob: "#goodtrouble" and "Your silence will not protect you," an Audre Lorde quote.

4. I left a message for my doctor about getting a recommendation to an ENT, since I have trouble breathing while sleeping (not apnea, but lots of snoring and being congested). This has been going on for a while, but I finally got myself moving after getting daily reports on my snoring at Arisia.

5. I made plans to have two different dinners with friends.

Gratitudes

Jan. 19th, 2017 07:52 am
[personal profile] kass
1. Coffee.

2. Haircut! Oh, it feels so good not to be unkempt any longer.

3. Friends who ensure that when one returns from a long trip, one has essentials such as milk in one's refrigerator.

4. The slow-cooker cookbook that [personal profile] heresluck gave me. (Today I am attempting the lamb vindaloo that she and I intended to make when she visited, but then never made.)

5. Small household satisfactions: the plants are watered, the laundry is spinning, the crockpot is simmering.

How are y'all?
[personal profile] musesfool
Well, yesterday I remembered reading Wednesday, which I don't usually do in weeks where I have Monday off, and totally blanked on the talking meme! So here's yesterday's question today:

[personal profile] yiskah asked, What do you think are the common features of a) the things you become fannish about, and / or b) the pairings you ship?

As always, the question is, what does "fannish" mean in this context? And here I will talk about things I've been fannish about in terms of discussing/posting about/enthusing ad nauseam to the uninterested in person but not actually producing much in the way of fan activity beyond post-episode posts.

For A, it's definitely relationship dynamics + a lot of space in the story to fit stuff in. I was going to say "shipping" but that's not necessarily the case, given how much gen I've written for certain fandoms (e.g., Firefly, Star Wars, SPN), though even there I do tend to write ship fic sometimes. It's just the family (found or blood or both) stuff tends to interest me more.

But there definitely have to be holes somewhere - if I'm generally emotionally satisfied with the canon (and haven't sparked for an OTP; if I do fall hard for a ship, I will generally produce fic for it, though not always - see below about The West Wing), I might write one or two things I need to see but since here doesn't seem to be anything major lacking for me, I don't spend a lot of time trying to produce whatever it is I need - see BSG or FNL or even HLOTS, for which I've sporadically produced a story or two, and which I definitely feel fannish about, but for which I don't really need much other than canon to be content. I mean, they're not perfect shows! But they gave me what I wanted, mostly, and so I don't really need to write fic for them. (Otoh, the West Wing...my old hard drive was littered with unfinished attempts at Josh/Donna because the show withheld it from me for SIX AND HALF SEASONS and I WANTED IT. But I never managed to do it, being distracted by other things, and then it was canon and I was good.)

(Otoh, for years and years and years I never wrote Star Wars fic, at least, not for public consumption, and now I do, so. Who knows?)

As for B) pairings, there is definitely a set of dynamics that generally tend to capture my interest - best friends to lovers, especially in m/m pairings (e.g., Tim/Kon, Steve/Bucky, Sirius/Remus, Achilles/Patroclus, Danny/Rusty), and bickery partners who fall in love (e.g., Han/Leia, Josh/Donna, Ron/Hermione, Aravis/Shasta, Luke/Lorelai, Max/Alec) with m/f pairings. I also, as is apparent here, love battle couples a lot. (Bucky/Natasha!!! Kaz/Inej!!!) *hands*

Interestingly enough, one of my earliest OTPs fits into both categories: Legolas/Gimli! I didn't know what shipping was when I was nine, but I was doing it. And I think you can certainly see the influence Han/Leia and Aravis/Shasta had (not to mention Nick and Nora Charles) on my pairing preferences. Even the m/m BFF-to-lovers pairings tend to be kind of bickery/bantery. (see reboot Trek Kirk/McCoy!) Insults as endearments is my favorite! When Steve and Bucky exchanged "punk / jerk" in CATFA, I was lost. (Though I never quite shipped Sam/Dean in SPN, I wrote a lot of it, and the "jerk / bitch" exchange was a similar light bulb moment for me.)

Also, if there can be some kind of tragic separation and then a reunion, I am a sucker for that (e.g., Sirius/Remus, Steve/Bucky).

I mean, there are other dynamics I tend to be really into (broken older man/special younger girl - Logan/Rogue, Mal/River, Nick/Cassie; Awesome Marrieds like Coach and Mrs. Coach or Jed/Abbey or Blip and Evelyn), but those don't come along nearly as often. And there are outliers, of course, things I ship that don't really fit any of these dynamics. But these are the main ones.

***
[personal profile] sovay
Tonight I roasted a chicken with apricot jam and made a sauce out of the pan juices by deglazing the roasting pan with the only potable form of alcohol we had in the house, i.e., whisky, and served the whole thing over rice. I feel very smug. Also, full. It was a larger chicken than it looked when I bought it. There are leftovers. Choice bits were given to patient little cats as a treat (and even impatient ones, like Autolycus who tried to introduce himself at every stage of the process, from the initial rubbing with butter, pepper, and salt through the basting with pan juices and spiced jam to the carving and serving, which had to be conducted in the dining room to be sure of keeping an eye on the carcass). Now I want to bake something. [edit] I just made some cinnamon Rice Krispie treats instead, because spite dessert never gets old.

1. [personal profile] yhlee has sent me a copy of Neat Sheets: The Poetry of James Tiptree, Jr. (1996) and a selection of international stamps, including a magnificent underwave mermaid that turns out to have been done by Dave McKean.

2. I didn't even realize we were getting a new gold coin this year—much less with an unambiguously Black representation of Liberty on the obverse—until a predictably racist controversy blew up around it. I think my only complaint is that I don't have a hundred dollars to trade in for one at this time. I've been carrying a Sacagawea dollar in my pocket for some time now, but the MBTA used to dispense those as regular change.

3. Following the SFPA's removal of Tlotlo Tsamaase's "I Will Be Your Grave" from consideration for the 2017 Rhysling Award after listing the poem online among the nominees and the outcry this decision reasonably provoked, I am now hearing that the poem has been reinstated and will appear in the Rhysling Anthology. I am glad. As the editor who accepted it for publication in the first place, I have obvious opinions about its speculative-ness and its right to be in the running for the only poetry award in our field. In the meantime, a new poem by Tsamaase will appear in Strange Horizons later this week, as part of our special issue on resistance that I would have announced earlier if I hadn't been flat on my face catching up on sleep.

These are good things and provide some fortification against other facts of the world, like [livejournal.com profile] derspatchel playing me Betsy DeVos' claims that grizzly bears are a good reason not to restrict the availability of firearms in schools or [livejournal.com profile] strange_selkie breaking it to me that Trump will lead an invitation-only prayer service at the Washington National Cathedral on Saturday and presumably not explode in a rain of sulfur as soon as he crosses the threshold or opens his mouth. Personally, on Saturday, I will be joining [livejournal.com profile] rushthatspeaks and Fox and I should hope a great many other people for the Boston Women's March for America. Who else can I expect to see there, or at least miss meeting up with in the crowd?

sketches of the day

Jan. 18th, 2017 09:33 pm
[personal profile] yhlee


A catten washing her paw.

Ink: Noodler's Brown #41.
Pen: Pelikan M200 demonstrator, Binder artist's nib.



Joe! I sketched this yesterday while we were waiting for dance class to start.

Ink: Pilot Iroshizuku Ku-jaku.
Pen: Pelikan M205 Aquamarine.

OMG

Jan. 18th, 2017 04:02 pm
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
My BlackBerry Passport can be used to make phonecalls!

Sic Transit Gloria et cetera

Jan. 18th, 2017 02:32 pm
[personal profile] malkingrey
Today's e-mail brings the news that SFF-Net is going to be turning off the lights at the end of March. SFF-Net was a sort of successor-state and refuge for the genre-lit folks who lost their online home when GEnie (the General Electric News and Information Exchange) died, and did a lot of good work keeping the genre community as a whole in touch and together during the period between the fall of the old walled-garden computer services and the rise of the Web.

But it's been two decades, at least, which is like a century or so in computer years, and I'm not surprised that SFF-Net's closing shop at last. It is, however, going to be a nuisance, given than Himself and I have our main professional web page hosted there, and now we're going to have to find a new host and move everything.

To which I can only say, ugh.

[ObMeme]

Jan. 18th, 2017 01:23 pm
[personal profile] yhlee
By way of [personal profile] inkstone,
Comment with a fanfic trope and, if you'd like, a character/pairing, and I will tell you:
• how likely I am to write it
• A few lines of theoretical fic


I am feeling meme-ish why? Because I have written over 2,000 words of brand-new chapter on Revenant Gun, that is why.

*back to writing*
[personal profile] yhlee
For [personal profile] rosefox.
Prompt: "swimming."

In a land far away and long ago, a fishing village at the sea's dark edge paid tribute to the Dragon King Under the Sea every five years. On the longest day of summer, they would select a youth by lot and send them to walk into the waters. The waves would part before them, and they would walk down a path lined with shining treasures and shimmering pearls into the sea's dark heart, and the waves would close over them. The next year they would emerge bearing a gift from the Dragon King Under the Sea to the village. It might be a blessed fishing net, or a chest overflowing with coins of ancient visage, or once, most comically, a bag of perfect boots, except none matched. The boots ended up being used as makeshift flowerpots.

One of the youths, whose parents had died when she was a child, feared the tribute. No one had ever come back harmed, or spoken ill of the Dragon King's hospitality, but she could not swim, and she feared the waters. The other youths mocked her and tried to lure her into the waters. She would not so much as wade during low tide.

Instead, the youth walked the white cliffs overlooking the sea. She had no fear of heights, and she climbed as nimbly as any goat. She gathered the sweet small flowers and the tufted feathers that the gulls left behind, and wove garlands for her hair. The others mocked her for that, too, but she did not mind.

Nevertheless, in the coming summer the village gathered to select a youth to send to the Dragon King. The youth trembled when the crude piece of driftwood carved with her name was drawn. She was too proud to flee, but no one could mistake her fear.

"Let me take an offering down to the sea," she said, hoping to appease the Dragon Kin. Everyone acknowledged that was a proper sentiment for any guest. So the day before she was to visit the Dragon King, she scaled the white cliffs again, and wove a crown of flowers and twigs and feathers. Even the others who had mocked her for her eccentricities were silent as she bore the crown to the shore.

The waves parted for her, and she hesitated only for a second before stepping onto the path. The wet sand welcomed her bare feet. She closed her eyes as the waters crashed down around her, expecting to drown.

Instead, she found herself transported to the Dragon King's palace, bright with anemones and the gold-spill of past tributes. The King himself rose before her, sinuous, with scales of pearl-sheened blue. She bowed and laid the crown before her, wishing she had something better to give.

"You must forgive my terrible manners," the Dragon King said to her. "It has saddened me that the sea brings you no pleasure, and I wanted to offer you my assurances that it will do you no harm. In your year here the dolphins and jellyfish will teach you to swim. When you return you need no longer shy from the shore."

"You are too kind, King," the youth said.

"Most of my guests bring no guest-gift. You brought me something of the earth beyond my realm, so the least I can do is return kindness for kindness."

No record remains of the conversations the youth had with the dolphins and jellyfish, or what else passed between her and the Dragon King, but he was as good as his word. When the year passed and she returned to her village, she swam ably through the rushing waves, crowned with a circlet of silver and white opals, and from that day forth no one made mock of her anymore.

i'm just gonna leave this here

Jan. 18th, 2017 12:43 pm
[personal profile] glass_icarus
To Obama With Love, and Hate, and Desperation is a somewhat questionable title but a really interesting read. I had never thought about the doings in the White House mailroom before, but reading this, I think it's going to be one of many legacies that I'll be sad to see come to an end.

In which I am old and literate

Jan. 18th, 2017 09:08 am
[personal profile] mme_hardy
The Washington Post has announced their new "experimental, visually-driven product"> aimed at millennial women, The Lily.

When I think of the symbolism of lilies, I think of the Aesthetics -- "Though the Philistines may jostle, you will rank as an apostle in the high aesthetic band, If you walk down Piccadilly with a poppy or a lily in your medieval hand" -- something Wilde actually did IIRC. I also think of Victorian purity culture, with the untouched lily contrasted with the full-blown rose. I think of Georgia O'Keefe, no clarification necessary. I think of Leonard Cohen -- "In the cave at the tip of the lily".

In short, it's both weirdly old-fashioned and weirdly pornographic. As, I suppose, am I.

In other great news, The Lily is only available on Medium, Facebook and Instagram.
[personal profile] musesfool
Last night, I tried the Q going home, well, the 1 to the Q, and I got on the 1 at 5:30 pm and I walked in my door at 6:06 pm, so that is a lot faster than any other route home (even the dreaded 4,5,6) because it includes a lot less walking to and from the station on both ends. I will definitely be adding it to my repertoire of routes. Though the major downside is having to switch at Times Square. And also it cuts into my reading time. But worth it for other reasons, especially in bad weather or if I'm in a hurry.

***

Last night's Rangers-Stars game was...something. I don't even know what. Does Hank have the yips? Is that what's happening here? Though if that final power play had been longer than 12 seconds, who knows? The Rangers might have tied it at SEVEN WTF? [tumblr.com profile] angelgazing and I were freaking out about it to each other, since she is a Stars fan. (Being the weary, longtime Rangers fan that I am, I was like, "Your team is still winning, you will win, trust me." and I was, sadly, right.) And I like the Stars just fine. When they are not playing the Rangers. Just. What the hell, guys? What the hell?

***

What I'm reading Wednesday:

What I've just finished
Song of Spider-Man: The Inside Story of the Most Controversial Musical in Broadway History by Glen Berger, which is pretty entertaining, though nobody comes off well, least of all the author. Maybe the Edge made it out okay. He seemed reasonable, compared to everyone else. I mean, Bono's gonna Bono, but the Edge seems like a somewhat sensible guy.

[personal profile] skygiants has a much more entertaining review here (as well as a review of the actual show here, which I highly recommend reading, but not while you are eating or drinking, because you'll be laughing too hard for that to be safe).

I guess what I don't understand is why there wasn't anyone involved who was an actual, you know, FAN of Spider-Man. I mean, if you're going to spend six years and many many millions of dollars on a musical about him, and you're not Marvel Studios actual, why would you do that? I mean, I think the answer is, Julie Taymor wanted to do a musical about Arachne where it wasn't about hubris at all, which is...different, and would have probably worked better than trying to graft that onto Spider-Man, which is about, well, great power being accompanied by great responsibility. (Which apparently no one even SAYS in the show!!!) (I also don't understand why everyone thought having her co-write this was a great idea based on her other work, all of which seems to be adaptation instead of writing original material, if they weren't going to adapt an actual Spider-Man story, because it sounds like they didn't even really do the Uncle Ben part right. Not that they needed to do an origin story! But if they were, which they did, then why? I just have so many questions.)

Mostly it sounds like a lot of ego and very little sense was involved. And yet Berger still couldn't quite accept that it was ALL ABOUT HUBRIS.

What I'm reading now
Bride of the Rat God by Barbara Hambly. I just started it this morning, based on recs from a few of you, iirc. Watching Singin' in the Rain made me a little hungry for stories about Hollywood in the 20s, and it fits the bill, so we'll see how that goes.

What I"m reading next
I do not know! I do want to fill up my library hold list again, though, so I can be surprised in future installments of this meme. *g*

***

TFW

Jan. 18th, 2017 11:00 am
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Someone points out I can now justify sushi as medicinal.

Wednesday Reading

Jan. 18th, 2017 08:31 am
[personal profile] oracne
This week, I'm reading a book for anonymous review.

I didn't get a lot of other reading done while traveling, but memorable fanfiction from last week includes Taste of Home by daroos, an Avengers/Night Vale gen crossover. I still haven't listened to Night Vale, but I could still follow the story, and I loved the dry humor of it.

The Show Must Go On by Pargoletta was also really fun; it's about Steve Rogers training for the "Star Spangled Man" show, and how that training and the show's creation might really have worked. I was sorry when the story ended.
[personal profile] larryhammer
For reading Wednesday, I can report actually finishing somethings. As in more than one, yays:

Sensual Love Poetry, ed. Kathleen Blake, which I've been reading in occasional snippets for more than a year and finally finished. Not my favorite anthology ever on the topic, but it has a pretty good decent-to-insipid ratio and has many poems previously unknown to me, which is more or less the point. The occasional gestures toward poems in translation was appreciated.

The Safe-Keeper's Secret, Sharon Shinn, reread of a the first book of a YA fantasy trilogy from a decade ago. Holds up well enough I've started the second book, The Truth-Teller's Tale.

The Changeling Sea, Patricia A. McKillip, reread after many years of my favorite McKillip novel ever. Holds up well enough I'm pining for more story EXACTLY LIKE THIS YES STOP HERE IT'S PERFECT NOW GET ME MOAR

Ongoing is other random bits of poetry anthologies. So it goes.

---L.

Subject quote from "Hymenæi," a wedding masque by Ben Jonson.

Embarrasing Injury

Jan. 18th, 2017 07:46 am
[personal profile] chomiji

So on my way to work yesterday, I came up the escalator at the Metro station to find that a train was just pulling in. The guy ahead of me was going slow and blocking my way, so as soon as I got off the escalator, I ran around him and headed for the second car, which drops me off right at the bottom of the stairs at Union Station (where I get off).

As I bounded along, I felt something catch and then pop free at the bottom of my pelvis, where my butt joins my leg. Man, it hurt!

And still hurts, although it's a little better this morning, after some Alleve overnight. From info I found online, it looks like I may have slightly torn the tendon(s) at the top of the various hamstring muscles, which attach at that point.

So here I am, literally butt hurt. Ow.

Gotta remember that I'm too old (or at least, not in good enough shape) to be running for trains. :-(

flavor and what?

Jan. 17th, 2017 10:01 pm
[personal profile] thistleingrey
Jeon Kyu-tae, The Flavor and Wisdom of Korean (2012): I DON'T EVEN KNOW, you guys. I pulled it off the shelf while picking up Choe 1983, and Reason, who had come because sitting on the back of the cargo bike still counts as a treat, asked soberly, "Should it be 'Korea', mama, or is it language?" Wellllll, so, Jeon is a poet and comp lit scholar b. 1933 (says the book's foreword by Gil-won Lee) who had pancreatic cancer, lost his cancer after withdrawing from the literary world for a decade, and decided to reflect upon Korean culture in a bunch of essays, which are gathered here for our convenience and benefit. Thank you, Jeon seonsaengnim. Right?

... )

"Never pay full price"

Jan. 17th, 2017 10:36 pm
[personal profile] rosefox
X and Kit are planning to swap rooms, which means X needs to downsize to a smaller bed. Their bed is only two years old and really nice. If you're in the NYC area and interested in buying a full/double pine captain's bed with an extremely plush mattress, here's the full listing.

(no subject)

Jan. 17th, 2017 09:06 pm
[personal profile] skygiants
Intisar Khanani's Sunbolt Chronicles is an ongoing fantasy serial which currently consists of Sunbolt (novella) and Memories of Ash (novel.) It stars Hitomi, a Plucky Street Urchin with magical talents; she begins as a bit player in a revolution and subsequently bounces through a rapid succession of plot elements including but not limited to:

- an escape from a sinister dungeon!
- a bond with a life-sucking supernatural individual!
- a mentor with a mysterious past!
- a mission from a phoenix!
- a missing mother with inexplicable motivations!
- a wedding invitation in the middle of a feud in the middle of the desert!
- vampires!
- werewolves!
- tanuki!
- magic school!
- a heist!
- SURPRISE AMNESIA!!!

The series definitely has a protagonist and it definitely has a villain, but otherwise it is structured more or less as A Series Of Interesting Events; Hitomi always has a goal of one sort or another, but she's frequently thrown off-course into other adventures in a way that makes the story feel TV-episodic in a way that novels usually don't. I find it interestingly difficult to predict what's going to happen next. Part of that is because of the serial structure, and the other part of it is --

OK, you know how when you read a novel it is frequently very easy to tell who the thematically important people are going to be, especially love interests, because the author will take a moment to indicate something about their appearance or manner that's interesting, and you're like, ah! We're meant to care about THAT person, they will most likely play some sort of important role later on.

The thing is that pretty much every named character who shows up in the Sunbolt Chronicles gets this treatment. Everyone is important! It's pretty refreshing! This, and the interestingly weird weird structure, and one or two other factors (one and a half whole books in and there has as of yet been no romance!) make it stand out for me from the other present-tense first-person YA which it otherwise resembles.
[personal profile] jjhunter
Atul Gawande @ the New Yorker: The Heroism of Incremental Care
Success, therefore, is not about the episodic, momentary victories, though they do play a role. It is about the longer view of incremental steps that produce sustained progress. That, such clinicians argue, is what making a difference really looks like.

[personal profile] siderea: [pols] "hardened against crisis through social programs"
Manufacturing (and exploiting extant) crisis is a way of destabilizing polities and shifting the balance of power. Hardening a society against that line of attack is a matter of civil defense.

Ta-Nehisi Coates @ the Atlantic: My President Was Black
It was birtherism—not trade, not jobs, not isolationism—that launched Trump’s foray into electoral politics.“
&
It is a quintessentially Obama program—conservative in scope, with impacts that are measurable.
[personal profile] sovay
I had a very good time at Arisia. Intellectually I think I was happiest with "The Alien in the Alien" and "In Praise of Unlikeable Characters," performance-wise with "Songs of Rudyard Kipling" and the Speculative Poetry Slam, and comedy-wise with "The 100-Year-Old Barbed Wire: The Great War & SF," to which I showed up nearly a half-hour late due to getting trapped by public transit on Sunday morning and therefore allegorically personified the United States for the rest of the panel. I attended this year's genderswapped Star Trek by the Post-Meridian Radio Players—The Naked Time, with a Sulu they had better keep—and even managed to hear a couple of panels that weren't mine. And then because I hadn't really slept for the duration of the convention, I came home yesterday and faceplanted for most of the evening surrounded by purring cats, woke up long enough to eat dinner and watch Basil Dearden's All Night Long (1962) with [livejournal.com profile] derspatchel, and then went back to bed for ten hours. As a result I have gotten almost nothing done today, but I haven't had to catch two buses and two trains to the Boston waterfront, so that's nice. Also the cats.

I found this post while looking for information about Kenneth Macpherson's Borderline (1930): "Algernon Islay de Courcy Lyons & Kenneth Macpherson, Bryher & H.D." The text looks like several different sources combined together, but the photographs are invaluable. This one of Bryher and H.D. from the set of Borderline does nothing to dissuade my interest in the film.

Days 5 & 6: Active relaxing

Jan. 17th, 2017 10:55 am
[personal profile] jesse_the_k
We're finally into the vacation spirit, doing almost nothing and feeling the bliss.

Sunday I rolled to the Gulf Coast YMCA branch. The water was deliciously warm at 85°. I neglected to bring my flippers, so only swam 8 lengths in my allotted time, but that's why I exercise to time, not distance.

The pool may be filled with filtered sea water: it's certainly soft enough.

I streamed the first half hour of the final Sherlock to my massive disappointment. As always, [tumblr.com profile] plaidadder nails it

begin quote
I think that I may fairly make two postulata:
  • 1) Whatever about series 5, this episode was designed to be the last episode of Sherlock that Moffat and Gatiss would make.
  • 2) It should be.
http://plaidadder.tumblr.com/post/155952044114/the-perfect-metaphor-the-final-problem-and-the
end quote

We walked over Mississippi Sound on the 2 mile bridge connecting Biloxi and Ocean Springs. The view, the sun, the breeze, were exhilarating. My traditional direct attention to the water photo memorializes one stop:

Sitting on the walkway, framed by intense blue sky, woman in powerchair points to Mississippi Sound )

Home to nap, and finish The Final Problem. Wow, that was terrible. (As with most Sherlock canon, there were a handful of wonderful moments, but...thank god for fanfic. I heartily recommend all of [archiveofourown.org profile] plaidadder's.)

We then drove back to Biloxi to assess what was where. The beachside road is furnished with a wide array of architecture: brick Waffle Houses; massive casinos; 1940s apartment buildings; humble 900 sq ft shotgun houses, Frank Gehry's typically bizarre Ohr-O'Keefe Museum, and the Biloxi Visitor's Center, a majestic three-story former mansion.

In my brief time here, I've seen scores of historical markers, displays, websites, pamphlets. Based solely on the ones I've seen, the only people on the Gulf Coast have been the immigrant waves of French, English, Spanish, and "Americans." Africans aren't mentioned anywhere. This is what it looks like to be written out of the narrative.

The third Monday in January has officially been "Robert E Lee's Birthday" in Mississippi, until this year. Twitter shaming played a part in the Biloxi City Council voting unanimously to bring the holiday in line with the Federal designation of Martin Luther King's Birthday.

We finished our day with a promising but ultimately dull meal at Mosaic. MyGuy liked his pulled-pork quesadilla. My ceviche & rice-stuffed portobello was tasty, but not enough to write home about, although I seem to have done so.

Time to swim!

It Was a Good Arisia

Jan. 17th, 2017 12:08 pm
[personal profile] malkingrey
As, in fact, most of them are.

We started out the weekend by getting up before the crack of dawn in order to reach Providence, Rhode Island, by 10 AM, which was the time slot for our visit to the Body Worlds exhibit at the convention center there. Himself has been wanting to see one of those for literally decades, but this was the first time that an appearance within our driving range coincided with the presence of enough cash in our bank account to make the trip (the ability to piggyback it onto our usual Arisia excursion helped a lot with that.) We made it to the center on time, having blessedly not encountered slow logging trucks, truly foul weather (only moderately foul weather, and that only until we hit Franconia Notch), or nine-car pileups ahead of us on the highway, and Himself got to spend a couple of hours happily looking at plastinated cadavers in various states of disassembly. Twin B and I also enjoyed the exhibit, though we lacked Himself's professional interest. My own favorite were the plastinated bronchi, which look like miniature hanging ferns.

Then we proceeded northward toward Boston. Originally, the plan had been for Himself to drop me and Twin B off at the hotel, then continue onward to park the car at the Alewife T stop to have it pre-positioned for a jog up to Diamond's Magic in Peabody on Saturday. However, the afternoon was still young enough that Himself decided it would make more sense to go directly from Providence to Peabody, then park at Alewife and take the T in. Which we duly did, and fortunately it was a temperate day, as January days in Boston go, so the hike from the Silver Line terminus to the Westin hotel wasn't bad -- there have been Arisias (Arisiae?) when we've made that hike in ice storms and in blizzards.

The con itself was good -- the panels we were on were excellent, and we met a number of friends that we only really get a chance to see at Boskone and Arisia ([livejournal.com profile] theodosia, for one, and [livejournal.com profile] batwrangler for another, and [personal profile] kate_nepveu at the Tiptree/Carl Brandon Society bake sale table, and [personal profile] oracne in passing more than once, and others whose names and LJ/DW handles I never managed to connect.) As usual, if you waved or said "hi" and didn't get a response, it's not because I was deliberately ignoring you . . . I was either in a hurry to get somewhere, or in the grip of at-the-con tunnel vision, or both.

The green room was better this year -- they'd figured out about the necessity of hot coffee. They still don't have the provision of crock-pot soups fine-tuned, though -- I don't know if they're working with home-made stuff brought in, or with commercial bulk frozen stuff thawed and then heated, or some combination of the two. But I miss the chili that they used to have, under the previous regime.

Because Himself had an 8:30 PM Sunday panel, we stayed Sunday night in an inexpensive hotel in Lexington and finished the drive home on Monday morning. Sunday afternoon, between my last panel and Himself's last panel, we drove up to Nashua and tried out a barbecue joint we'd seen there when we were down there with the Granite State Magicians for the Christmas Main Street Stroll. Verdict: a definite keeper for our short list of good BBQ joints in New Hampshire. The brisket was good (not the best I've ever had, but I'm from Texas where the brisket is the best I've ever had), the pulled pork was excellent, and the burnt ends were terrific.

And now I'm home, and firmly in the grip of post-con lassitude. I do not anticipate getting a great deal done today.

he said things he hadn't said before

Jan. 17th, 2017 10:15 am
[personal profile] musesfool
So I posted a story last evening:

No Exit (@ AO3)
Star Wars; Darth Vader/Ahsoka Tano; adult; 2,525 words
Ahsoka promised not to leave him again and Vader was going to hold her to it.

Contains nonconsensual and highly dubiously consensual sex, inappropriate uses of the Force, and nonconsensual breathplay (i.e., Force choking).

None of it is particularly graphic but it is creepy and fucked up. At least I hope it is. That's what I was aiming for. I also hope the warnings are sufficient. I took out "Stockholm syndrome" on consideration, because despite her...willingness to believe she could reach him, Ahsoka never comes around to Vader's POV, and she always has her own agenda. (I also feel like this is an example of Vader's inability to own his own actions. She promised not to leave and she's keeping that promise, but if he kills her, she's gone, so then the promise is broken and he'll blame her for that despite it being his own fault. *hands* Maybe she makes a daring escape after the story ends. That's what I'd like to believe. *g* But the story had to end on his realization, I think. He couldn't let it go on indefinitely. But I couldn't write him actually killing her.)

***

In other news, I used some of my Christmas money to order some cardigans and long sleeved T-shirts, so that I can be appropriate but not overheated at work. So many older ladies' style choices have become clear to me now! All hail the twin set, which allows for layering while looking professional. I also bought a couple of cute sparkly bracelets and earrings.

***

So this morning I tried out the Q for my daily commute and it was great. I mean, I still don't know which end of the platform serves me best for a quick change to the 1 at Times Square, and I lost about five minutes in Times Square because I wasn't at the best place to get to the 1, but it still only took about 35 minutes total travel time, which is amazing, and could be useful for mornings when I'm running late, or the weather is really bad. Of course, that was with everything running smoothly. I even got a seat on both trains, which I didn't expect. So it's nice to know that it's an option.

***

Quick Hunt Recap

Jan. 16th, 2017 09:55 pm
[personal profile] tablesaw
On Thursday, I came home from work and suddenly felt exhausted. I collapsed into bed feeling nauseous, and later in the evening, I was threw up. My wife's had a crud for a while, and I was worried I caught whatever she had; but I bounced back quickly over the next two days, so I think it must have been more of a food-poisoning thing.

I woke up on Friday in time to watch the Hunt Kickoff for a Dungeons and Dragons theme, Monsters et Manus. I kept expecting to fall asleep again, but the puzzles were fantastic and kept me going all day. I was still kinda weak, but staying in bed solving puzzles on a laptop was just my speed.

This year, there were a more than the usual number of puzzles where I came in after other folks had done most of the work and spotted the answer phrase. I did it for our first meta, The Despondent Dynast, and then our second meta, The Fighter. I also did it, amazingly, for our last meta, The Broken Bridge. After explaining my reasoning on why we should try this guess while we still had clues going, I wrote:
Tablesaw-XPS (Sat 23:12:55): Not the strongest, but I wanted to throw it out.
Tablesaw-XPS (Sat 23:13:02): It's not the weakest either.
Tablesaw-XPS (Sat 23:13:22): Anyway, I have to get pizza and didn't want it bugging me.
Tablesaw-XPS (Sat 23:13:27): TABLESAW OUT!
After getting pizza and returning to chat, the team was on its way to the final interaction and runaround.

Puzzles where the opposite happened included Boston Burgers (where I got tripped up on the extraction), and Changing Rooms (an excellent cryptic-clue based puzzle that I just started falling asleep during). I'm most proud of my gruntwork for Tricky Wicket, which turned out to be one of the most difficult puzzles in the Hunt. I spotted the gimmick and did a lot of work getting all the data collected, but was very grateful when I called in some teammates and one of them spotted the important messages I had missed. (She also was able to use the a key technique correctly when I was flailing).

The Hunt was really incredible, all around. Recommended puzzles are:

fiber monday postscript (1)

Jan. 16th, 2017 07:04 pm
[personal profile] thistleingrey
I'm tired of lining up images by hand, so I'm using WordPress's ability--but they're still locked, just differently. Access-locked post to follow.

you want it cheaper

Jan. 16th, 2017 04:59 pm
[personal profile] metaphortunate
In "Steer Your Way", the second to last song on Leonard Cohen's last album You Want It Darker, Cohen (the Jewish king of Christian allusions, always reminding me of Asher Lev) sings "As he died to make men holy/ let us die to make things cheap". Which, yes, irony, This Modern World, etc., but I also think about this statement which has been floating unattributed, yes I looked, around the internet:
If it’s inaccessible to the poor it’s neither radical nor revolutionary.
In my experience, the only real way to make things accessible to other than elites is to make them cheap. I'm not here to say that people should die to make things cheap, I find myself unqualified to say what people should die for, this is not a pro-Foxconn post, but it does seem to me that making the good things in life cheap is, in itself, a good thing. Worth pursuing, anyway.

Incidentally, I'd been worried that I had been losing some of my enjoyment in music, I'm sick of everything I've heard recently, and then I thought to pull up You Want It Darker on Spotify. It's wonderful. It's all I've wanted to listen to recently. The Junebug made me turn it off in the car because "It's too scary for me!"
[personal profile] musesfool
No Exit
Star Wars; Darth Vader/Ahsoka Tano; adult; 2,525 words
Ahsoka promised not to leave him again and Vader was going to hold her to it.

Contains nonconsensual and highly dubiously consensual sex, inappropriate uses of the Force, and nonconsensual breathplay (i.e., Force choking). Written for the West Wing title project. Thanks to [tumblr.com profile] silveronthetree for handholding.

Or read it at the AO3.

No Exit )

~*~
[personal profile] lannamichaels


In the interest of ~Chronicling My Life~, probably worth mentioning I have spent the last several days listening to Panic! At The Disco, almost exclusively.

I really can't explain why. I've never been that hugely into them, comparatively, as my emo/punk obsessions have gone.

I do, however, enjoy the bit where I went "okay, can I name anyone in this band other than Brendon Urie, whose name I can't reliably spell correctly? *checks wikipedia* *sees that Brendon Urie is the only actual current member of P!ATD* "WOOT, I CAN NAME EVERYONE IN PANIC! AT THE DISCO".

(in comparison, I can't off-the-top-of-my-head name more than two people in Fall Out Boy, two people in My Chemical Romance, one person in The Killers, and one person in Franz Ferdinand) (I know everyone in Green Day :P)

My on-going threat, however, to some day name a fic "with a sense of poison rationality" remains strong and constant :P




...This is basically fair warning that I am likely to jump into READ ALL THE THINGS in bandom again. Oh, god, bandom, truly a fandom that, as a reader, makes me regret all my tagging decisions as a writer. So, hey, recs are welcome. :D

Recently watched

Jan. 16th, 2017 12:40 pm
[personal profile] rilina
Yuri!!! on Ice  
Watched all 12 episodes of this pretty much in the span of 24 hours...yay for 20-something minute episodes? I'd only vaguely heard the hype (which is probably the best when it comes to that sort of thing), so I was able to enjoy it without the pressure of overly high expectations. Lots of fun, especially because [personal profile] oyceter  and her fiance were visiting, and ridiculous anime is best watched with people who appreciate the ridiculousness. Appealing characters, very pretty animation, plenty of fan service and hilarity, and so many extra bonus points for awesome use of social media throughout the story.

Hwarang
Viki seems have lost the US rights to this fusion sageuk virtually overnight, so I am now stalled out at episode 7. I am not as disappointed by this as you might expect...I was hoping to watch more, but pretty meh about being stuck. I'll keep watching if it shows up on another service at some point.

Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo
Coming-of-age kdrama centered around the lives and loves of student athletes. Bok Ju is a gold medal winning member of the weightlifting club, juggling her training and athletic aspirations with family commitments. Jun Hyeong is a handsome elite swimmer who keeps getting disqualified due to false starts. Shi Ho is a star rhythmic gymnast, but she's returning to campus after failing to make the national team. She's also Jun Hyeong's ex and Bok Ju's roommate. And Jae Yi is Jun Hyeong's practically perfect older brother who is now a doctor at an obesity clinic.

This is mostly adorable, but comes with some warnings. The actress playing Bok Ju is very charming, but it's pretty hard to believe she is a weightlifter, even when she's being dressed in baggy tomboy-ish clothes. The show is definitely treading a fine line on some body image issues, but so far my impression is that most of the missteps are being recognized as missteps or are setup for later examination. That said, there is some casual commentary about people's weight and appearance that some viewers might find triggery, even if it is pretty realistic as far as how people in Korea talk about other people's weight and appearance. All that aside, the two leads have pretty great chemistry, the story is often funny and sweet, and I'm interested in seeing where the story goes. Have watched through ep. 4 of 16 so far.

New stories by me

Jan. 16th, 2017 12:38 pm
[personal profile] rachelmanija
I participated in the [community profile] fandom_stocking gift exchange, and got a slew of lovely gifts, from icons to book reviews to links to beautiful things. Thank you again to everyone who gave me things! If any of that sounds nice, go check out the comments to my stocking and enjoy the pretty and the recs.

I also wrote two gift stories.

For Nenya Kanadka, I wrote a 2000 word original FF short story, The Pirate's Blessing. A space pirate seeks a very special blessing from the Goddess, and a priestess gets an unexpected blessing of her own. It is tagged
Space Pirates, Ritual Sex, and Holy Space Aikido, which should give you an idea of the tone. I hope it's as much fun to read as it was to write.

For Monanotlisa, I wrote a 400 word short based on Sarah Waters' Victorian lesbian Gothic Fingersmith. It's post-book and so spoilery, and I'm not sure if it makes sense if you haven't read the book, but if you have a thing for hands and gloves, and I know I do, you might like it anyway. Every now and then something just comes to me in a flash, whole, and this was one of them. It's also FF, but a totally different tone. First Page.

Paleography glee

Jan. 16th, 2017 12:40 pm
[personal profile] mme_hardy
Need to read old handwriting? Check out BYU's "Script Tutorial", https://script.byu.edu/Pages/home.aspx . " The tutorials and​ materials gathe​red here are meant to help a varie​ty of people – students, researchers, historians, genealogists, and indexers – learn more about old scripts and how to make use of that knowle​dge to analyze and int​erpret the past. The concentration is on western European scripts, particularly those in use between 1500 and 1800. "

I found it when Googling; I dimly remembered that Germans wrote the number "1" in an unusual way. Here's where I wound up:
https://script.byu.edu/Pages/German/en/numbers-script.aspx

Not only does it describe what the number looks like, it has an animation of the number being written.

God, I love living in the future.
[personal profile] rydra_wong
Any other London DWers going (or considering going) on the Women's March on London this Saturday?

Note: the London march explicitly welcomes people of all genders, and says in their FAQ:

"The march was given its name by those who started this initiative in Washington DC. In solidarity, we adopted the name as the march is spearheaded BY women, but importantly is FOR everyone."
[personal profile] musesfool
What's Next? = Lin-Manuel Miranda and the West Wing. I might have teared up a little.

***

January talking meme: [personal profile] grammarwoman said, Of the shows you're watching now, list a few OTPs and NOTPs. Or if TPs aren't your thing, plots you're hoping for and against.

Hmm... I am definitely an OTP(/NOTP) kind of person, though I feel like the only real OTP I have right now for stuff I watch, in the sense that I absolutely cannot conceive of them being with other people, is Blip/Evelyn on Pitch. They're like Coach and Mrs. Coach, and I do not want them broken up ever, even if i"m not particularly involved in fannish activities about the show (um, I still haven't watched the final two episodes so please don't tell me they break up in them or something! that would be terrible.). Oh, and Xiomara/Rogelio on Jane the Virgin, but I'm also willing to see where the show goes with them being apart for now.

In terms of pairings I ship wholeheartedly, Kanan/Hera on Star Wars Rebels, definitely, and Jake/Amy on Brooklyn Nine Nine. I'm actually really impressed with how much they've made me love Jake/Amy because I was so not here for that when I started watching the show (and I do still occasionally long for Amy/Rosa). I've sort of fallen away from watching Arrow but I still ship Olicity, despite the missteps from the writers, and I'm on board with Alex/Maggie on Supergirl, absolutely.

I guess my real NOTP right now in terms of TV is Kara/Mon-El on Supergirl. Like, why? Why do that? I still don't understand anything about why they ditched Kara/James as a couple, and it makes me question the writers a lot.

***
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll

Edna Staebler and I met and bonded over Indian food. It was her request. She was 100 years old and living in a nursing home; the food—although probably good for her—was bland and boring. She wanted something tasty and flavourful, but not too spicy. It was a request I was happy to grant.

Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell

Jan. 16th, 2017 02:37 pm
[personal profile] lightreads
Shadowed Summer

3/5. Fourteen-year-old girl in a tiny Louisiana town accidentally calls up the spirit of a young man who went missing years ago, and she and her friends set out to find out what happened to him.

Slim and quick young adult, notable for a beautiful sense of place. Not just tiny town, not just Louisiana, but also summer as a place. And fourteen as a place; on the brink of sexuality and not particularly thrilled about it. There's a not really love triangle that's zero fun for anybody – our uninterested narrator and her boy crazy best friend and the boy who may like the wrong one of them – and the book is about how hard all of that is, and how to stay friends through it.

Also notable for actually startling/frightening me. The blurb made it sound like a gentle ghost story, but this ghost is not gentle. This ghost is angry.

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