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I'm way behind on reviewing books I've been reading, but I have to recommend the Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater. Just finished the first book, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It ends with such a killer line that I had to start reading the second one immediately. Here's the (completely non-spoilery) beginning of book two to entice you:
( A secret is a strange thing.Collapse )
Thank you my lovely chaosmaka for reccing the fanfic that got me into reading the series. <3
A very happy birthday to analineblue! I hope you have a lovely day. <3
In academia land, this morning I reached what I thought was my office and found, to my horror, that a picture of a saint had been pasted on the door. Then I looked up and saw that the name above the door wasn't mine; I'd gotten off the lift on the wrong floor. Phew.
The last two books I read won't need much time to review, haha. Flipped: this is the very last time I let my students talk me into reading teenage heterosexual romance! I did love the central idea of seeing things from a different perspective.
I suspect The Strange Library is to Murakami what Haroun and the Sea of Stories is to Rushdie: a quirky, potentially magical but ultimately disappointing tale. Not recommended, unless you have 45 minutes to kill on a book that has more pictures than text.
The best for last: Vikram Chandra's gorgeous, gorgeous Love and Longing in Bombay. I have five more pages to read, but will leave them for after work so that I can savour them. The end of the book also has a few pages from the beginning of Sacred Games, since the protagonist of that book is introduced in one of the five stories in Love and Longing. One of the five is a gut-wrenching story about a gay relationship, and I won't write about it just now because it deserves a re-read and serious reflection. But here's a bit from the last story, magic realism at its best that's worthy of Marquez himself. This is after news of the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki reaches a tiny village:
( Read more...Collapse )
My Summergen gift fic (Sam and Dean, gen, 4500 words) is the most perfect thing. I feel a little guilty for being the recipient of something so lovely, because I'm definitely not a part of fandom anymore, not the way I used to be. Anyway, that's a conversation for some other time. The fic takes place right after 'Dark Side of the Moon' (BE STILL MY HEART) and alternates between the present and the summer Sam was 17, thereby completely indulging my love of both DSotM and pre-series fic.
( Trust me, you want to read a fic that begins like THIS.Collapse )
I have a feeling I know the author because the writing is so familiarly beautiful (I've already narrowed down the list of possible suspects to two, lol), but I'll be just as happy if it turns out that the author is new to me because hey, more awesome people around = always good! And you, dear mystery author, are perfectly awesome, and I'm so glad (and lucky!!) that you were my gifter. ♥
At work, trying to eat lunch while simultaneously typing this without getting food all over the keyboard, but I have to do a books update before I start forgetting what I've read, so:
- The Cursed Child! [Spoiler (click to open)]Scorpius is adorable, and his bromance with Albus is just ridiculous. <3 How are they not a couple by the end? Time travel is the best, and I loved all the timey-wimey stuff. Then Snape appeared and I kind of lost it and read through the rest through a haze of snot-nosed nostalgia. I don't think I'm going to write a detailed review of it, but I'm happy to talk about it if anyone wants to!
- Yesterday, I spent the whole evening reading: rare and so so enjoyable. I finished Breathing in Colour, a book about a British woman (Alida) who comes to India in search of her lost teenaged daughter (Mia). The reason I bought the book years ago (apart from the fact that it was on sale at a huge discount) was that the daughter is a synaesthete, and I've been interested in synaesthesia ever since I discovered Keats. Parts of it are a bit strange. The author clearly knows a lot about the tourist spots in India, but the descriptions play up the 'exotic' element a little too much, and sometimes the trauma Alida is feeling -- because of not just Mia but also a past tragedy, which is revealed to us in bits and pieces -- is just badly written. But the descriptions of Mia's experiences as her senses merge into each other are pretty decent. [Spoiler (click to open)]Mia's younger sister Kizzy drowns in the bathtub as a baby, and we're left wondering until the end of the book if Mia, who'd been terribly jealous of the new baby, was responsible for Kizzy's death.
- After 'Breathing,' I started and finished 84, Charing Cross Road. Which completely broke my heart. It won't take you more than a couple of hours to read, and it's so worth it. Is there anything better than a book about books? Answer: it's a book that has letters about books written to each other by real people over the course of multiple decades. The wonderfully rude Helene Hanff is an American writer who orders books from Marks & Co, a British bookshop, and corresponds with many of its employees and their extended families, most notably Frank Doel, the chief buyer. I was left wondering what happened to some of the people the others lost touch with; will have to read the next book, in which Hanff describes what happened when she finally got to visit England. For those interested, here are Goodreads' lists of Books about Books and Books about Bookstores.
- Re The Book Thief, which I mentioned last time that I was loving, I watched the film after finishing the book. Both are gorgeous, but they're also relentlessly tragic.
- Now reading: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, which is a quietly beautiful book about the friendship between a Chinese-American boy and a Japanese-American girl during the 1940s, at a time when people of Japanese origin are being forcibly sent to internment camps. The story begins in the present time from Henry's point of view, and I guess I'll find out soon enough what happened to Keiko in the past. Fingers crossed.
- I've read a couple of lovely Femme Remix fics, so, in the spirit of enjoying fannish things and passing on the joy, here's a rec: Behind Layers, Minerva McGonagall/Poppy Pomfrey. There are a couple more but I'm out of time now, so I'll save them for next time.
A Big Bang rec: Splintering in Slow Motion, a J2 fic by cyndrarae with art by milly_gal ♥. Mind the warnings. The author linked to an article on high-functioning depression. An extract from the article:
Cantopher believes that it is the strongest people who suffer from depression. "Give a set of stresses to someone who is weak, cynical or lazy and he will quickly give up, so he will never get stressed enough to become ill," he writes. "A strong person, on the other hand, will react to these pressures by trying to overcome them." In other words, he keeps pushing himself to do more, to achieve more, to be that high-functioning individual, because nothing is worse than being a disappointment (whether to himself or to others).
It's time we stopped trying to make people with mental illness fit the mold. Or, perhaps, consider that the mold is a whole lot different than what we thought.
I've enjoyed the last two episodes very much. In lieu of a reaction I'm going to link to the NY Times review of the finale. It's got spoilers for everything, but here's a non-spoilery bit I happen to completely agree with:
...it does make me consider how the sense of mystery will likely begin to dissipate from “Game of Thrones,” as longtime theories are confirmed and we pivot toward the final clashes. It’s unavoidable as the story begins to contract toward its conclusion. But I’m already feeling a little melancholy about the show becoming more about big battles and resolution and less about uncovering new pieces of this captivating world.
Isn't this the problem with most shows that have crossed 3+ seasons? I didn't think any of GoT was predictable, but that's probably because I don't read GoT fic or fan speculations. As for the argument that shows ~must get predictable about certain things once the end is near: for now, I'm sticking to my belief that the ways in which stories are told are way more important than the actual plot. In other words: show, don't tell. Setting up a showdown between two major characters may be inevitable, but the way in which it happens needn't be.