Mary Webb, Gone to Earth; Griffith Review, Millenials Strike Back; Cassandra A Good, Founding Friendships; Cathryne M Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making; and... more things. Too many things.Recently finished:
reviews still playing catch-up.The Gruffalo
by Julia Donaldson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Re-read: small babysitting friend has this in his storybook collection now. Still a great read.Meanjin Winter 2017
by Jonathan Green
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This issue was a mixed experience. I really enjoyed Margaret Simmons' essay
on the future(s) of the ABC. Katherine Murphy's piece on work/life balance or lack thereof in politics
was likewise great. Charlotte Adderley's memoir piece Ethanol, Eschar
was beautifully written. Fiction-wise, AS Patric's Avulsion
was creepy-fascinating. Both of Shastra Deo's poetry contributions were striking, but What Followed
most of all.
On the other hand, I found Shannon Burns' In Defence of the Bad White Working Class
infuriating. I have liked Burns' class-based criticism before, but this one seemed blinkered. He acknowledges that the suburbs he grew up in were never free of crime, but gives the white residents a free pass for feeling more hostile to asian gangs than white ones. That's called RACISM, folks. Also, we know this: we know that demographic change causes stress, we know that economically struggling groups have less access to positive integration experiences than the middle class, we KNOW that part of the solution lies in government and local government resources being poured in to lift *all* residents of an area. NONE OF THIS IS NEW NEWS. The Science Of Discworld II: The Globe
by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Oh, a confusing reading experience, this one. On the one hand, I had not realised just how MUCH of my mental framework for thinking about, well, the build-a-human-kit is drawn from, or crystalised in, this book. I read it in late high school, and re-read it a few times during undergrad, and while I can express the concepts about the role and use of stories in much fancier lit-wank language now... here it is.
On the other hand, now I have degrees in premodern history and I want to set their rigid 'no science before newton' framework on FIRE. Oh my glod. Roger Bacon would like to talk to you, you fuckers. I could almost roll with it, except that I know a lot more about science now than I used to (thanks, Trojie), and their definition of science as experiment-driven rather than data-analysis also rules out MOST OF THE PHYSICAL SCIENCES. These authors are totally the kind of physics stans who refer to natural history as 'stamp-collecting'. Nope nope nope so much nope.The Abyss Surrounds Us
by Emily Skrutskie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
THIS WAS A GOOD. I mean. Captor/Captive scenario where they have a sensible conversation about power imbalances? Sign me the fuck up.
My major problem with this is that the protag's age was given as 17, and she just... isn't. There's a throwaway mention of schooling, but it felt wedged in. Everything else about her character felt post-high-school, maybe around 20: old enough to be in apprenticeship for her career, young enough to be bloody stupid. It felt like her age was lampshaded at 17 to make the books eligible as YA, rather than either a solid part of her characterisation or a book really written to that genre.
I also can't tell for the life of me if they're living on the planet we know, in a post-apocalyptic future, or if they're living on a terraformed replica of it.In Other Lands
by Sarah Rees Brennan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
THIS WAS A RIOT. I loved 'Turn of the Story' and this is that, sewn together with 'Wings in the Morning' (the latter POV-flipped to fit TotS).
As a story: holy shit yes cannot recommend enough. I shrieked with laughter all the way through.
As a work, though? I am disappointed in the editing. There were typos still evident that had been in the online version of TotS. The join between TotS and WitM isn't as smooth as it should be. There are occasional POV hitches, where something should've been written out when flipped to Elliot's POV but hasn't been.
I loved this book very much, but I think the publisher did a lazy job on it - bought the rights to something already popular, and did a rush job on editing it because all its components were already well-loved.
I also re-read Spectred Isle
on the plane to Chicago; given I only read it for the first time in late June, it doesn't get a second review/commentary.
Finished, yet to review: Interpreter of Maladies; Courting the Countess; Brothers and Sisters in Medieval European Literature; Spindle's End; Look Both Ways: Bisexual Politics; Madhur Jaffery's Vegetarian India; The Course of Honour.Up Next
: Oh my. My to-read is overflowing, it's ridiculous. I need to finish some of the currently-readings. I have a book on bisexual geography on interlibrary loan. Who knows?
Music notes: there was a stretch of not buying anything new, because I've now set up a bribery system wherein I have a habit chart and I only get to buy music if I meet a target number of squares on the chart per week. So late August, after getting back from Chicago, was musically 'listen to stuff you already have', because it was also, habit-observance-wise, a washout.
But I ticked off 30 this week and consequently bought myself the EP 'Ameska' by the Taalbi brothers (best known, apparently, for a song in the Breaking Bad finale). The French competitor at the JGP Salzburg, Julie Froetscher, skated to the lead track, Ameska, in her short program, and I fell in love with it. I'm also really enjoying 'Tafat', which has a great percussion track.
I'm accumulating a list of 'figure skating routine music i like' and an awful lot of it is tango and flamenco. If i end up with a whole new musical generic interest I will blame the ISU. I already blame Shoma Uno for the fact I own an album of tango music played on accordion, of all things.