technocracygirl: Cartoon Raven from "Teen Titans" glaring at you from over the top of her book (Default)
I'm mowing my way through 1636: The Kremlin Games, and two thougts keep popping up for me.

First of all, I'm remembering why I love the 163x-verse so much. It's been very hit-or-miss for me lately, what with not enjoying a number of the stories in Ring of Fire III and with despising 1635: The Eastern Front. (I thought it was nothing but a tedious history lesson until about the last fifty pages or so. Then 1636: The Saxon Revolt came out, and i found out that tEF was all set-up for tSR. And I enjoyed tSR very much.) But tKg is nothing but fun for me. Oh, there's a bit of Tom Clancy/David Weber in the discussions about threading and gun manufacturing, but the technical gobbledygook is limited to two paragraphs or less per instance. And the discussions of history and lineage and introducing the modern American reader to the familial/political history of seventeenth century Russia is much more shown, not told, which I very much appreciate. (I'm glaring in your general directions, Virginia deMarce and Eric Flint.)

tKG is an amusing divertissement along the Volga, showing how much information is stuffed into the head of an average American, and introducing new and interesting ways of modernity melding interestingly with history. It's really not covering any thematically new ground here, But it shows off the old themes very nicely. Flint, Gorg Hunt, and Paula Goodlett really are to be commended for their almost airy touch here. This is very classic 163x.

The second thought that I've been having is how much I love authors that I love. I like books, and I like reading. I'm reading a lot more simply these days, and a lot more...safely is the best word. I don't want to read about things that are too dark, and I don't want to read about children in danger. And, unfortunately, I'm not terribly fond of reading a lot of non-fiction on my Sony (footnotes, pictures, and maps can all be very annoying on an ereader), so I've been reading a lot of cozy mysteries and romances. And I enjoy the books I read, don't get me wrong. If I don't like them, I stop reading. But still, every time I pick up an old Lois Bujold or Eric Flint, it's like stepping into a warm bath. The writing style is so lovely, so exactly what I love, that the story just washes over me and I wonder how I could have forgotten how much I love these authors. And to have a new, wonderful book...it's just ten times better.

New books!

Nov. 19th, 2011 10:53 am
technocracygirl: Cartoon Raven from "Teen Titans" glaring at you from over the top of her book (Default)
My shipment of books for me came in! I'm so used to Amazon's two days that the standard book rate on these used books was a little annoying. But now that I know about Silver Arch Books, I will probably just buy directly from them in the future.

Smart Bitches, Trashy Books had a thread for romance novels with Jews in them, which got me to buy a number of books. The ones I was most excited about was a series by Nita Abrams, about an Anglo-Jewish family in the Napoleonic era who spy for the English. I went and picked up all five, as they are apparently out of print and not in e-format at the moment, and so far, they aren't bad. Not as good as the Pink Carnation books, but not much worse. And loads better than some of the other books I've read lately. These are fairly engaging, and might be worth re-reading.

I also picked up some old Sunfires, which I loved in middle school. We'll see if they're worth the re-read.

And now, shower!

Ebooks

Jul. 21st, 2011 09:16 am
technocracygirl: Cartoon Raven from "Teen Titans" glaring at you from over the top of her book (Default)
So, I have been pretty much restricted to ebooks for the last two months. Being forced to go to an all ebook diet has made me much more supportive of the idea of ebooks, and I may read more of them as time progresses. But I still have serious issues with ebooks, and I seldom hear them discussed when people talk about "Oh noes! THey're coming to take away my paper books!"

1) The format wars. EPUB and/or Google Books may be dealing with this, but I still hate it. Dear B&N, why don't you make your format accessible to people, even if they don't own a Nook? I might buy from you, if that were the case. Also, I am not terribly inclined to buy a book that I may not be able to read in the future.

2) The lack of help from Google Books. I want to buy ebooks from independent bookstores. I even signed up with Third Place to do so. But I looked at the Google Books help, and then I looked at the forums, and I found a lot of people who couldn't get any help when they had problems. And as much as I may prefer to give money to 3rd Place instead of Sony, at least Sony has a staff of people who can help me out if things go awry.

3) I really liked the idea of "Buy this hardcover, pay an extra $1-5 and get the ebook added in!" I really wish publishers would do this. I'd buy more hardcovers, I think.

4) Households. So we all have to have the same brand if we want the family to be able to read the household's books? What if there are more than five people in a family? In a divorce, or when a child moves out, how do you split up the books? How do you keep your kid from gaining access to those X-rated works you bought, or just books you don't want your child reading right now? If they're physical, you can hide them, but as far as I know, you can't do that with books you buy from reputable sources. (Fanfic and other online stuff don't have to be stored in the same directory, at least with Sony.)

5) Footnotes. They need to get better.

6) Renting books. I still think that Baen is the best on the market for ebooks, and bravo to Nightshade for using Baen to put out their ebooks as well. Unfortunately, there are only so many Baen and Nightshade books I want.
technocracygirl: Cartoon Raven from "Teen Titans" glaring at you from over the top of her book (Default)
The insane, inconsolable crying before dropping into sleep from sheer exhaustion? Yeah, I'd like to be done with that.

For my sleep habits, I saw a counselor yesterday. She gave me some muscle relaxation exercises, and a countdown exercise to do as I sleep. And they worked, they really did. The big problem was when Kidlet woke up 30-60 minutes after I'd fallen asleep, and I litterally fell back asleep and dreamed in the the middle of a conversation with [profile] wanderingfey. Bless his heart, he took her. Fortunately, she just needed some rocking to go back to sleep. (She wasn't awake, just yelling.) Still, getting up an hour after that was still hard, but doable. Now I just need to do some meditating and exercise during the day.

I finished Julia Kagawa's The Iron Queen. I picked it up because a) it won the 2011 RITA for YA Romance, b) it looked interesting, and c) it was written by one of the two 2011 RITA award winners who was not Caucasian. So, in the furtherance of the [community profile] 50books_poc challenge (which I totally have never succeeded in, as far as I know), I checked it out.

It's not a bad book. It's got some interesting ideas about Faery. I found it interesting/amusing that Kagawa's land of the fae is called the Nevernever, as that's a word I've only heard from the Dresden Files before. I read it through to the end, which is more than I can say for many a book lately. But on the whole, it didn't do all that much for me. There's a teenage girl. There's the boy she loves (and who loves her back -- this is book three of the series), and the boy who's her best friend who wants to be her true love. Note: she does not seem to have any female friends. In fact, the only other women I remember are Mab and the main character's mother, and I really don't like books with a female protagonist who has no female friends. (Or even allies.) It smacks too much of the Smurfette Principle to me. One of the things I've come to appreciate about linked or grouped romances is that, even though each book centers on one male/female couple, the females can and do interact with each other in books not their own, and a community is created. (You can do the same thing is a solo book, but that doesn't often happen in the romance genre, at least as far as I've seen.)

Honestly, I probably would have really enjoyed this book as a teenager, what with the pretty boys and the cosmic power. And it's as well-written as other YAs I've read recently. So for its target audience, it's a good book. For me, not so much.

We had game at our house. I really do like gaming, and I really like having people come over. I just wish that Kidlet would go down easier on Thursday nights. Heck, I wish she went down easier most nights, but last night was really an awake-time of epic proportions. Oddly, she didn't really nap through most of the day, so I don't know what that was about. We shall see, I suppose.
technocracygirl: Cartoon Raven from "Teen Titans" glaring at you from over the top of her book (Default)
Kidlet's hair looks black when there's blarg in it. Otherwise, it's light brown, with what might be gold highlights. It's amazing what you can see when you give the kid a bath.

Today is not a day in which we have anything scheduled. Yay! I think Kidlet has been spending too many afternoons in her car seat.

I finished Ilona Andrews's Magic Slays yesterday, thanks to the library. (I actually have the book, but as a paper book, which doesn't work real well right now. It is quite good. Like the Kitty books, I think these are getting better as the series progresses. There is definitely growth and change. I especially love how Kate has been moving from the badass, solitary, out-of-bubblegum trope in book one into someone who is growing a circle of friends and family around her. Especially since those friends and family include a number of equally real women. I love when urban fantasy heroines have female friends.

My life really is revolving around Kidlet, books, and events right now. If I seem a bit one-note, well, there's a definite reason for it. Calories are still replacements for sleep, and a sense of exhaustion still pervades the house. I still have thank you notes to write and to send out. (And the sending always seems to be the hardest.) And we're in the PURPLE stage, where we can expect lots of wailing and screaming. (Like what I was dealing with this morning.) And it's wailing and screaming about nothing. Or, more precisely, Kidlet is unhappy, but has no idea what will make her happy. So she screams until we hit on something to soothe her or she goes to sleep. (Which is often what she wants, but doesn't admit.)

Kind of boring, but that's what I've got for now. Newborns are nice, but they don't make for interesting lives. (Though I wonder how Michelle Duggar does it. I mean, getting up at random late-night times for at least an hour at a time for something like twenty years? Bleah. Not for me.)
technocracygirl: Cartoon Raven from "Teen Titans" glaring at you from over the top of her book (Default)
Kidlet entered a phase last week that is likely to occur for a long, long time. She has discovered 'I'm Tired, and I Don't Want to Sleep.' Given that both her parents fall prey to this, I expect it to last for a while. (When she's older, I am imagining on insisting on being in bed with lights out at bedtime. We shall see what happens.)

What it means right now is that she wails, and nothing will comfort her. She makes "food" motions, but refuses food when offered. The play mat does nothing, and cuddles and back pats are five second salves at best. The crying doesn't last for a long time, relatively, but when you have a child screaming in your ear loud enough to make your ears literally ring, five minutes is a very long time. ('Literally' is not used here for emphasis; Kidlet can actually reach a tone that reverberates in my ears. I worry about my hearing, but it's also an intellectually interesting phenomenon.)

So it's 10 am-ish, and it's clear that Kidlet wants to go to sleep and is refusing to do so. There's not much I can do except hold her in the position she keeps falling into and let her cry. (The trust she has in me is astonishing. She lets herself drop off my shoulder, with the assumption that I will have an arm in position to catch her. So far, she's not been wrong.) She curled up in a fetal position, wailing her little heart out.

And in mid-cry, she goes to sleep. 60 to zero.

I am amused.

In related news, [profile] wanderingfey and I found Go the F*ck to Sleep in a bookstore. We have not purchased it yet, but may later. We couldn't help it; we laughed the whole way through. Kidlet is not at the stage of the book's child yet, but holy goodness, we related. We so related.

In other kid-related news, I now have Peggy Orenstien's Cinderella Ate My Daughter from the library. I waited for the book for four or six months. I picked it up yesterday. And then, last night, I got a message that the ebook was available. (The book will be going back soon, natch.)

It's a very easy read, but a rather chilling one. It's a reminder of the shoals and waves that still lie ahead to be navigated, a show of the fights to come. It will be...interesting.

In other book news, I have finished Fuzzy Nation, which was definitely as good as Little Fuzzy. I think I prefer Little Fuzzy (and I want to read the others!), but FN is still a lovely little book. I've also been re-reading Mercedes Lackey's retelling of fairly tales, and actually read The Black Swan for the first time. It's very pleasant.

I also finished Kitty's Big Trouble, which I enjoyed more than Kitty Goes to War. At the same time, they do feel a little like Little Fuzzy; it feels that they're too short, that something is missing. I suppose that's what happens when you're used to doorstoppers, but there was still a rushed feel to KBT. It's going to be interesting to see Vaughn wrap up the series.

Now to make some French toast for me. ([profile] wanderingfey prepped French toast last night with the brioche bread I got for Shabbat. My cooking last night was homemade oven-baked barbeque chicken, with extra barbeque sauce. It's nice to have good home-cooked food.)
technocracygirl: Cartoon Raven from "Teen Titans" glaring at you from over the top of her book (Default)
Well, Kidlet is asleep, and I'm not all that interested in dinking about on websites, and I'm stuck at the computer for a while (hands-free pumping: ten thousand times better than holding two bottles to your breasts for 15 minutes!), so I should probably actually write an update.

I am totally not getting enough sleep. People ask me how I'm doing, and I say, "Tired," and they laugh, because they know it's true. But it is true, and more so than I ever believed. I'm running on four to six hours a night. Six would be great, if it were in one block. But it's not; I get three to four hours between 10 and 3, and then it's catch as catch can from that point on. Between pumping, cleaning, and trying to actually fall back asleep before the sun gets so high I can't do it at all, I get one to three more hours. Today was very bad; I probably got 4.5 - 5.5 hours, and I didn't pull out of foggy-headedness until two or so. I'll probably go to bed after this pumping go-round.

Still, Kidlet has learned to smile, and she pulls it out when she sees me looking at her over the crib rails, or on the changing table. I swear to G-d, it's why I don't kill her. She has learned fussiness, and pulled it out at four-thirty or so this morning. Not. Pleasant. But then when I stumbled to her side at 7:40 this morning (after getting her down at 6:40), she smiled up at me, and all of the "Go the F*ck to Sleep" in my heart melted. (To be replaced later that morning when she proceeded to scream in my ear, but that's another story altogether.)

I love romance novels. They are about the speed I can cope with right now, which tells you something about me and something about romance novels. I just finished Mary Jo Putney's One Perfect Rose, which was surprisingly good. Entirely predictable, but the hero's journey and the characterizations of the cast were really quite nice.

I want my books to be happy, right now. Re-reading Jim Butcher's Changes nearly broke my heart. Poor Maggie. Hexk, reading about the heroine's early life in One Perfect Rose also nearly made me cry, and the flashback to the death of the Penderwick children's mother in The Penderwicks of Gardam Street did make me cry.

Pumping time is over, so it's bedtime-ish for me. Good-night!
technocracygirl: Martha Jones in a lab coat, leaning over with a stethoscope (medicine)
It's a little scary to realize that Kidlet is growing up already. She no longer wants to be swaddled at night, and she will actively wriggle her way out of a swaddle. She has more active alert times, and we've actually started to do some non-burping tummy time. (She's getting pretty darned adept at raising her head, and yesterday she did half of a roll.)

It's a little disconcerting. And, unfortunately, it now makes songs like "Sunrise, Sunset" and "Yesterday" (Thank you, Muppet Show) something resembling tearjearkers. I am a sap.

Also, the lack of swaddle means that she makes a lot more noises in her sleep, and I'm still learning to filter those out, to sleep through the meaningless ones, and respond to the meaningful. It makes my sleep even more broken than before, which is not fun.

It took me five days to get motivated to learn how to juggle a book with one off hand, or even with no hands. (Hardcovers only for the latter.) Because no matter how much I love my child, there's only so long that I can stare at her before going, "I would like something to read now, please." (It doesn't help that breastfeeding, even when done right, elicits pain in me, and distractions are really useful.) I just finished 1636: The Saxon Uprising, which is the interesting payoff for all the really boring setup that makes up 1635: The Eastern Front. Still, I wonder how much longer books will be written in this universe. There are very few places to start beyond the first book. I'm also almost finished with Love at Goon Park: Harry Harlow and the Science of Affection, which is really helpful right now. Helpful in the whole, "No, it's okay; you're being a good mother" sort of way, which I need some reassurance for when I don't have enough deep sleep and start crying. (Which I am wont to do when I have a few spare minutes where I don't need to be doing anything.)

I'm not terribly good at talking to Kidlet. Sometimes I can really get a conversation going, but usually I'm just quiet. I feel like I'm stunting her vocabulary. At least, when I talk to her, I use adult words and full sentences. Minus the pronouns. Mommy is getting very good at speaking in the third person.

Off to a lactation appointment. I never thought that I would consider 10 am to be far too early to be up and out of the house.
technocracygirl: Cartoon Raven from "Teen Titans" glaring at you from over the top of her book (Default)
So I have been slacking on the exercise program. It really was the first trimester exhaustion that did it, plus the heavy breathing. But also, I was getting bored. I had intended to mix the Wii Fit with DDR, but then I discovered something that I hadn't been aware of. DDR involves jumping. A lot of jumping. And early 30s technocracygirl doesn't enjoy jumping nearly as much as 20-something technocracygirl. So the DDR kind of went away, and I was just doing the Wii Fit.

But last night, for Hannukkah, [profile] wanderingfey gave me Just Dance 2! So I put that in tonight. As it turns out, the most important part is to move your hands correctly, so even when the screen guy is going down in an easy Cossack squat, you can just do the arms and it still counts. Which is very good for the woman who gets nauseated from bending at the waist these days.

And I did a good 15-25 minutes of cardio tonight. (I was sweaty, breathing really hard, and exhausted. Good enough for me. Normally, I'm just panting and exhausted.)

So maybe now I have something to switch out for, and get back on the exercise track.

I did excellently on "It's Raining Men", "Rasputin", and "Call Me" and not so good on "Tik Tok" and "S.O.S." And there are still good songs I didn't muck around with today. Plus, there's a warm-up routine in the Options! Sweet!

In other news, I'm reading Lauren Willig's THe Secret History of the Pink Carnation, which is a romance novel/Napoleonic spy story a la The Scarlet Pimpernel. Actually, very, very similar to SP, now that I think about it. It eschews to modern romance tropes a little too firmly for my SF/F brain tastes, but is otherwise clever, cute, and a good little read. I've already read the sequel, The Masque of the Black Tulip, so I know what I'm in for.

And now, bed awaits.

Cryoburn

Oct. 24th, 2010 06:35 am
technocracygirl: Cartoon Raven from "Teen Titans" glaring at you from over the top of her book (Default)
6:30 AM during a dark downpour and windstorm is one of the most apropos times imaginable to finish Cryoburn.

The end is...very, very well-written. I think she knows the audience she's writing for very well.

On the...other side, the CD is all I could have asked for and more. I do wonder why they didn't put Memory on it, but as I bought it in a Webscription pack with Miles, Mutants, and Microbes and Pyramid Power, I at least already have it on my Reader.

Which has now been re-authorized. I'd still like to know when I got an AdobeID. Methinks I was automatically signed up for it when I initially authorized my eBook Reader. That's...frustrating.

The storm is quite nice, though I don't think we're getting anything near the coastline gusts.
technocracygirl: Cartoon Raven from "Teen Titans" glaring at you from over the top of her book (Default)
Wednesday the 21st -- Naomi Novik of Temeraire fame at the UBookstore. SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. And a feathered hat.

Tuesday the 27th -- Ian McDonald and The Dervish House at the UBookstore. I don't know, but his stuff looks interesting.

Thursday the 29th -- Carrie Vaughn of the Kitty werewolf books and the fabulous non-tropey Discord's Apple on her very, very first author tour ever at the UBookstore SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. But no feathered hats.

Honestly, if you aren't reading Novik or Vaughn, you should. They both write short books that are so realistic and dense that you finish them and go, "Did all that really happen in just that small of a book?" And the answer is YES.

They are authors deserving of ALL CAPS.

So, yeah. That's where I want to be. And if my training class had been a week later, I would have been very peevish.
technocracygirl: From A&E's Horatio Hornblower, Major Edrington is smirking and Horatio is looking abashed. (amusement)
I finally got a chance to go to Kol Ami the other night. It turns out that they share a Methodist church, which made it a bit confusing for purposes of finding the place. But I was not late, and it was very nice. People talked to me; it's a smaller congregation; and it's exceedingly musical. It might be a little more staid Reform than I would like, but I think it's easier to feel a kavanah in a small staid place than a large one, so there's that. There were a lot of kids running around, and even a decent number of teens, so yay for that.

Still, I couldn't help but think, "Wow, there's a lot of het people here. That's weird."

I've just finished two incredibly good books and one incredibly good short story. The short story is found in Clockwork Phoenix 2, which I had purchased a while ago, but not read. It's called "Hooves and the Hovel of Abdul Jameela," and it's the first modern fairy tale that I've read that could be a fairy tale from long ago and far away. It's this amazing story that perfectly balances plot, characterization, and theme into a perfect gem. Very good, as is most of the rest of the anthology. The story is up for a Hugo, and I hope it gets it.

Book one is N.K. Jesmin's The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. Outcast girl gets summoned to The Royal Court to compete to be her grandfather's heir. Sounds trite, but there's so much more to it than that. It's...wow. I won't say that you don't know where it's going, but it spins some somewhat familiar grounds into different ways. Plus, gods! And universal metaphysics! Which I will now proceed to judiciously filch from.

I'd heard about the book back during Racefail '09, IIRC, and I've been waiting for it to come out ever since. Well worth the wait and well worth the price. Definitely on the shelf for re-reading.

Book two is getting a lot of well-deserved press. It's Rebecca Sklootz's The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. It is a non-fiction book that I could not put down, which almost never happens. It's the story of Henrietta Lacks, who had her cervical cancer cells biopsied and turned into the world's first immortal cell line. It's the story of the Lacks family, who thanks to race and lack of education, had their lives spun around like tubes in a centrifuge because no one would take them seriously. It's about privilege. It's about the ethics of biologics. (Which, if you're interested, are also regulated by the FDA.The biolgics, not the ethics. As least not any further than we're told to by the FD&C.) And it's about writing the book. It's amazing, and it's wonderful, and it's eye-opening.

I swear, this should be required reading for every science major in the country. If you work in any sort of scientific work, I think that there's a tendency to either talk over the average person's knowledge, or to dumb it down into misunderstanding. It's somewhat hard, once you know the jargon and the meanings, not to use the shorthand that you know. And this book is a clear explanation of why it's important to bring that educational gap.

But tILoHL is also just a really interesting story. I was told in Bio201 about HeLa cells, and that they came from a woman called Henrietta Lacks. And that was it. I'd wondered a bit about the hows and whys of it, but I never went much further than that. And wow, there was a lot behind that.

Good stuff. Go and read. (Sorry about the lack of links; my computer is having trouble loading pages and some programs that use the internet. It doesn't seem to be a virus, and it's not all pages, just some of them. I really wish I knew what was going on.)
technocracygirl: Cartoon Raven from "Teen Titans" glaring at you from over the top of her book (Default)
I am finished with The Battle of the Labyrinth and am moving forward into the last of the Percy Jackson books, The Last Olympian. Thank you, KCLS, for getting BotL to me before my time ran out on tLO, and I would have had to accrue fines on it. tBotL was pretty good, although I'd like Rachel more if she'd stop being Rachel Elizabeth Dare all over the place. I wish there was a little more meat on the bones in these books, but I'm not the target audience. Really, they're very well realized books.

I might be enjoying the PJ&tO books more if I didn't have a character that makes me constantly re-assess mythology in my head. Which makes getting through the second volume of JMS's run on Thor an interesting time. There were a lot of things that made me shake the book just in terms of actual Norse mythology. (Are Odin and Frigga not married? What do you mean Loki was raised as Odin's son? WHYINH*LL IS HEL A SMOKING HOT WOMAN WITHOUT ANY FACIAL DISFIGUREMENT?) But JMS is (once again) a truly awesome storyteller, and despite Skavi and research ringing in my ears, I actually enjoyed the stories. Mostly.

Which is a lot more than I can say for Rob Rodi's Loki. The premise is actually one I can be interested in: Loki has defeated Odin and become lord of Asgard. And I can totally see him wanting to keep Thor around for gratuitous humiliation. But Loki is whiny, bitchy, seems to have do freaking clue what he wants, and just in general acts like a bitchy jerk, as opposed to a smooth charmer who can talk his way in and out of everything. I gave up when Hela, Ice Queen of the Dead and Phenomenal Cosmic Power That Freaks Odin Out showed up in a skimpy leotard that would have shown hair had the lady not gotten an extra-fine Brazilian. Um, no. My Loki and my Hel are not like that, KTHXBYE. I am not cut out for mediocre Marvel-verse Thor, apparently.

I am a few chapters into Goddess of the Markets: Ayn Rand and the American Right. I almost think I should feel sorry for Rand. As a girl, she didn't get social cues and couldn't communicate with her peers except through arguing (it sounds a bit like a very mild Asperger's) and her family went from wealthy to nothing during the Russian Revolution. But dear heavens, the woman really, truly couldn't conceive that maybe some things are better done in groups, and really, truly believed that only a very few people are worthy human beings. I'd love to say that she considers 99% of humanity to be sub-human, but she doesn't seem to have stated things quite that baldly...yet. I just can't get behind her way of thinking. But it's an interesting a well-written book. Not hagiographic, but not shying away from the good stuff either.

I have finished Good Night, Mr. Holmes by Carole Nelson Douglas. I picked this up years and years ago, and couldn't even get into it, but this time, I found it amusing and engaging, and I have the sequel on hold right now. The only thing I really disliked was the author's insistence on Irene not having any sex at all in the time frame given by the book. Yes, it makes sense for the times, except the book keeps placing Irene into situations where it would make sense for her to have sex with someone to the point where it reminded me of some dreadful fiction I wrote in high school where people did not have sex until marriage for the most ridiculous reasons. And no published work ought to remind me of my own attempts at fiction. Other than that, though, I loved Penelope and Irene, and Geoffrey is absolutely my kind of man.
technocracygirl: From A&E's Horatio Hornblower, Major Edrington is smirking and Horatio is looking abashed. (silliness)
I just got an email from Amazon suggesting a new book for me: Anne of Green Gables: For the 21st Century. The product description says "The classic story of the red-headed orphan who finds a family at last and grows up to be a teacher is revised and edited to modernize the language and make the story more readable for the modern reader."

W. T. F?

No, really, wtf? What exactly are they dumbing down? Do they figure that modern kids won't know what a slate is and so now Anne is going to crack her iPad across Gilbert's head? Is Anne not going to use five dollar words anymore, despite the fact that it's part of her character?

I am...unimpressed. A lot.
technocracygirl: From A&E's Horatio Hornblower, Major Edrington is smirking and Horatio is looking abashed. (silliness)
I am finished with The Fortune Cookie Chronicles by Jennifer 8 Lee. It was really good, up until the end, where what was breezy and interesting became tired and tedious. But a very nice look overall at the intersection of Chinese food and the rest of the world (but mostly America, natch.)

I am in the middle of Peter Sagal's (of Wait Wait Don't Tell Me fame) book, The Book of Vice. It is Dan Savage's Skipping Towards Gomorrah, but less...okay with the sinning. There is more than a faint whiff of privilege coming off of these pages. But it's still an okay read.

I am in the middle of some knitting mystery. It well written, for an interchangable paperback mystery.

I am finished with Royal Flush. It was pretty much what I expected; a Her Royal Spyness mystery. Which I enjoyed, because I like these creampuffs. But I also like Agatha Christies, so it's not much of a stretch. I've picked up The Winter Queen by Boris Akunin, which may have a similar theme going on, but isn't at all British. Which I do like.

A while ago I finished Ivan's War, after making it through Ghosts of the Ostfront and wanting more about the Ostfront. (I love the fact that the man puts up bibliographies!) Ivan's War was very good, but it's clear that Dan Carlin used it a lot when writing up GotO. Anyway, it got me thinking about a book I'd heard about on NPR, picked up from the library, and never finished. So once again, I'm making my way through Stalin: In the Court of the Red Tsar, which is absolutely unlike any history of this period that I have ever read. (Probably because I tend to read histories and not biographies.) It really looks at the personalities and people who orbited around Stalin as he became the leader, and the power plays and political games they played around each other. It's a very "Governmental Politics" book (viz. Zelikow) and all the more fascinating because I don't know many of the actors.

I am now on Facebook. I'm pretty much trying to only friend people I actually know, because it's freaking scary having your name out there for absolutely everyone to see. We'll see how long this lasts. I am, however, absolutely astonished by how many people are on the darned thing. It's...weird. I guess I'm just an LJ/DW kind of girl.

Where I am

Nov. 4th, 2009 08:39 pm
technocracygirl: Cartoon Raven from "Teen Titans" glaring at you from over the top of her book (Default)
I am three pages into P. Craig Russell's Sigfried. Sigfried is a teenage jock who deserved a spot in the Hall of Fame for jerks.

I am about seventy or eighty pages into Cherie Priest's Boneshaker. It is not as zombie-filled as I feared and I am enjoying it. I also like the brown ink. It sets the book apart.

I am one reading into Jeff Vandermeer's Finch. This is a book for [profile] wanderingfey, I think. Guys being eaten to death by fungi kind of trips me out in a not-good way.

I am one reading into Cat Rambo's Eyes Like Sky and Coal and Moonlight. I am not sure how much I will like *reading* her stuff, as opposed to *hearing* it. When she read, her prose was poetry, and I have a horrible tendency not to appreciate poetry on the page. Too much reading for the story, I suppose.

I am more than halfway through Agatha Christie's Partners in Crime. It is fluffy and insubstantial, and showcases much of what is really wretched about Christie's plotting. But it's Tommy and Tuppence, whom I love. And somewhere, there is a web page that has all of the famous-at-the-time detectives that Tommy and Tuppence attempt to emulate that I don't know. (Except for Holmes and Watson, of course.) Why, look! It's the Wikipedia entry!

I am on the Eastern Front at the beginning of the War in John Keegan's aptly named The First World War. So far, it's quite good, if incredibly depressing. And it was made even more depressing by the note I heard today in Hardcore History, "Ghosts of the Ostfront I." Namely, more people were killed on the Eastern Front of WWII than died in battle in all of WWI. That's...a lot of people.

I am five chapters or so into Stefan Fatsis's A Few Seconds of Panic: A Sportswriter Plays for the NFL. It's very well written, very crisp and concise. I was with Fatsis through trying to find a team that would let him be a paper placekicker, with him through his own training attempts. But then he got to the Broncos training camp, and I don't care anymore. I think, for me, having him be there is the peak. If I cared at all about football, I can see how my intrest would be much more rivited by what's going on behind the scenes. But I'm not, and so I don't think I'll be finishing this.

I am some pages into Age of Misrule: World's End. Like A few Seconds of Panic, I think that this one needs to go back to the library. Premise: The Age of Science is over, the Age of Magic and random crap happening to you because a god says so is back. I am a Technocrat; I like gravity. A lot. Gods and the fey coming back and f'ing over everything just because? Not so much. The universe suddenly being...other? No thank you. And England is the epicenter of it all because... No, I'm a little tired of the Anglocentric viewpoint. (Shocking, I know.) Please note that Ilona Andrews has a similar premise, and I love it. A) The characters are well-written and sympathetic, and B) The world still has rules. Humans are not playtoys or chewy snacks if they want to be other. Maybe I'm not giving this one a fair shake, but it's doing nothing for me.

I am finished with David Plotz's The Good Book: The Bizarre, Hilarious, Disturbing, Marvelous, and Inspiring Things I Learned When I Read Every Single Word of the Bible. And it is exactly as he promises. It is a breeze through the entire Tanakah, from someone who wasn't connected to G-d or his Jewish faith. And now he's still not connected to G-d, but he's a lot more connected to his faith. Maybe it wouldn't be as funny if I were a Christian, or if I was an Orthodox Jew. But I loved his whimsy, his sense of the absurd, and his awe. It's kind of like the fantastic "God Said, Huh?" which is an excerpt from Julia Sweeney's piece, Letting Go of God.

I am 600+ words into my NaNo, which is probably not going to happen. I don't really want to write stories, I want to read them. However, I may try to do more of these "book reviews as they happen" posts, because I'd like to write more about books, but I never seem to get anything written after I finish them. So, I just need to sit down and write regardless of finishing.
technocracygirl: Cover of Joe Conason's book _It Can Happen Here_ (Authoritarianism)
I've never read this classic before, but I was curious about it after finishing David Fromkin's Europe's Last Summer. I finished the long slog through today. It might have been shorter if I hadn't kept stopping to look stuff up in Wikipedia, since my knowledge of the specifics of the war are sketchy. (Today's fun fact: Gallieni definitely saved Paris [well, with a lot of help from von Kluck] and is definitely implicated in bringing trench warfare into play.)

The short version of the entry into the Great War is that the Europeans were all tied together by treaties and such and they just sort of fell into it. Fromkin argues that the Germans and the Austrians bullied themselves into it. And Tuchman...good heavens, the Germans were bastards. And everyone was f'ing stupid. The French moreso than the Germans, but wow, everyone was just way too wedded to their plans to turn around once they hopped into the track.

The march through Belgium was interesting; I had put the concept of "the rape of Belgium" as war propaganda, something to get other countries fired up to come to aid. No, actually a lot of it wasn't ginned up. In the first place, this was the first "modern war," and it brought along a lot of stuff that we take for granted, which wasn't back then. And, apparently, the Germans a) couldn't believe that anyone would resist without being told to by authority and b) they were actively engaging in a campaign of terror in order to move through Belgium and France faster. Despite learning that terror methods beget terrorists, or, in this case, franc-tireurs.

Still, there were points when I looked at the book and said, "Really, Barbara? You couldn't find a less inflammatory way of putting it?"

All in all, a very good book. I'd like to get a copy of my own so I can mark it up.
technocracygirl: Alexander Siddig from <i>Kingdom of Heaven</i> (Gorgeous)
So, Cat Valente ([personal profile] catvalente) is in a bad place financially. She really needs some help to get over this boost; she's got a going-to-the-mass-market book due soon, and that will give a push to the family income, but at the moment, they're screwed.

She doesn't want to ask for help, so she's offering a trade. There's a book in Palimpsest called The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Boat of Her Own Making.

Catherynne is now writing Circumnavigated as a YA novel. Every Monday she's posting a chapter, absolutely free, on her website, for all and sundry. All she asks is, if you can, do put a little something in the pot.

This is a fabulous book. It's Alice, it's Stardust, it's Edward Eager and E. Nesbit, and it's none of the above. It's a book that's worthy of buying in hardcover, and it's worth supporting in e- form. It is, quite simply, a good book.

Go, read. And five, ten dollars, for more and better? Well worth the investment.
technocracygirl: Alexander Siddig from <i>Kingdom of Heaven</i> (Gorgeous)
So there are some events going on in the next few weeks that I am pondering doing, and I wanted to know if you wanted to join me. (You being peoples who live in the Seattle area and are interested in this stuff.

1) Seth Grahme-Smith, author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies will be at the U Bookstore on Saturday, June 13th at 4 pm. I am of two minds on this. On one hand, I really like Pride and Prejudice, and I like the idea of a mash-up, Creative Commons type of novel. On the other hand, I really dislike zombies. If this had been Pride and Prejudice and Werewolves or Pride and Prejudice and Ninjas? All over it. But it's zombies, which I really just don't like. However, if I know that other people are planning on going, that's a different ball of wax. (And if we're gaming that day, well, if superheroes beat China Mieville, superheroes beat zombies. A lot.)

2) Jillian Venters of Gothic Charm School fame has a book. And it is launching at the U Village B&N on June 23rd at 7:30 pm. Not necessarily my full cup of tea, but [personal profile] trilliumgrl expects it to be gothy and interesting, so I shall finangle an outfit together. (Probably involving my wedding corset as a) it's gorgeous and b) I can sit down in it.) Anyone else interested?

3) SJ Tucker is back in town! EEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

She has a concert in Seattle on July 17th, 7 pm, for Can't Stop the Serenity. Then there's the Tricky Pixie CD Release Party in Kenmore on July 23rd. And another concert in Everett on July 25th. And I will be there, oh yes I will. We're definitely going to the TP concert, and I may hare off by myself for the other two because Sooj is MADE OF AWESOME. If you're wondering why the heck I'm obsessed, go here and listen. Especially to "We Are Shangri-La," but "Casimira" and the rest are good too. She is good. Even more so in concert.

(And if you're in Cali -- [profile] __fullofgrace__, I'm looking at you -- SJ and Betsy will be performing at Seanan McGuire's book release parties in Santa Clara, San Francisco, and Berkeley.)

So, anyone interested?
technocracygirl: From A&E's Horatio Hornblower, Major Edrington is smirking and Horatio is looking abashed. (silliness)
I am not crazy about Robin Hobb, but I know that some of the people on my friendslist are. I am, however, a big fan of Louise Marley, so this caught my eye. Louise Marley, Brenda Cooper, and Robin Hobb will all be at Parkplace Books in Kirkland, on Wednesday, May 27th, at 7 pm.

And, if you hadn't heard, on August 4th, the totally awesome Kat Richardson is having a launch party for her new book, Vanished, at the University Bookstore.

Actually, June and July are shaping up to be fairly awesome book signing months, what with Nalo Hopkinson, the guy of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (which I still don't know if I want to pick up), and China Mieville, among others.

(Note to self: excited does not start with a. It does you no good to look there.)

(Second note to self: Get more book-type icons. Scowling Raven is not *always* apropos.)

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technocracygirl: Cartoon Raven from "Teen Titans" glaring at you from over the top of her book (Default)
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