rivendellrose: (quill)
Snagged from [livejournal.com profile] cyranocyrano and [livejournal.com profile] seachanges, quite the best little fairy tale I've read in a long time:

The Grammarian's Five Daughters.

research

Aug. 25th, 2010 09:13 am
rivendellrose: (seeress)
If anyone out there has a favorite source or sources for semi-obscure medieval legends, particularly around either King Arthur or the knights of Charlemagne, I'm in the market for some recommendations. ♥

And in return, if you want a recommendation for the perfect antidote to all the Twilight silliness, I'm really enjoying "The Strain" by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan. High literature it ain't, but it's a fun, if predictable, suitably disgusting take on the vampire mythos, and fellow fans of Del Toro's cinematic work won't be disappointed by the visuals and the way scenes are set up.
rivendellrose: (seeress)
Happiness is a complete, unabridged audio collection of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell to listen to at work. ♥ Good audio books make me so very happy.
rivendellrose: (Gwen lost her blowfish)
I need five minutes alone with (almost) every male sci-fi/fantasy genre writer in creation, consecutively. And a really big stick to threaten them with, and whap the biggest offenders over the head.

Seriously, guys - it's not that hard to write female characters as something other than the thing that occasionally shows up, wears not-very-much, and gives the guys something to rescue. I adore a lot of male writers... even ones who are guilty of this. But I'm getting really damned sick of it. And you know, it's worse with the writers/series that I like, because it upsets me more. If I don't like the series or the writer, it at least doesn't make me feel quite so badly when they screw this shit up.

James Alan Gardner is exempt. I honestly can't think of anyone else who is, at the moment. Edit China Mieville doesn't need to be lectured or smacked, either. Nor does Terry Pratchett, I don't think (although he's not quite on par with the previous 2). Everybody else... could use some work.
rivendellrose: (he's waiting)
Blame the spring - I seem to be wandering in a mental forest of "stuff that's coming soon (...or not quite)." I didn't really notice this as a trend in my life at the moment until Monday morning, when The Boy and I were discussing the impending release of Final Fantasy XIII. He'd been debating for months over whether he wanted to buy it, reading reviews, griping about various features and other things he'd heard... and then, Monday morning, he said something about if he was going to take a day off this week, it'd be Tuesday. "Why?" I asked, perplexed. Funny day to take off from work, Tuesday. "Because that's when Final Fantasy comes out."

I admit it - I laughed at him. "So you're still getting it? Even though you don't think you'll like it that much?"

Well, of course he knows well enough to counter with my own obsessions. "You still buy the BPRD comics even though you don't like Guy Davis' art."

"That's different," I pointed out. "I know I'll like them even though they won't be pretty. You know FFXIII will be pretty. This is like... this is like if I was bouncing up and down to buy a comic that, yes, was back to being drawn by Mignola, but just happened to have been written by Frank Miller. Or RTD," I said, trying to ward off the mental image of the Hellboy universe as written by Frank Miller. Of course it failed, and now I'm stuck forever with the mental image of Liz and Kate in fishnets and short skirts. I suppose not that much else would change, but it's still a horrifying mental image. :P

And then it occurred to me. That is what I'm doing with a lot of things that I'm looking forward to right now. I keep shuffling back and forth between giddy and horrified about the upcoming season of Doctor Who ("Yay, Doctor Who! New season of Doctor Who! ...With Matt Smith, omg, and everything's different, I'm going to go crawl under a rock for a while..."), and my constant neurotic desire to find out exactly who they're casting for the upcoming Hobbit movie... so that I can spend the next year and a half panicking, most likely, because the chances of me approving of all the choices they make on this are pretty much just shy of nil. And then there's class, where I would probably be looking forward to next quarter if I could just get over the nagging, neurotic feeling that it's a total waste of time that's sucking up money, eating my weekends and driving me insane. It's part of looking forward to something, I guess - thinking of all the ways in which it could disappoint you, and then completely disregarding them in the thrill of getting something new. So I'll keep twitching and refreshing news sites and hoping for details on things... and all the while reminding myself that while it might not be exactly what I'm hoping for, I will most likely enjoy the hell out of it nonetheless. Case in point - The Boy is actually quite liking FFXIII so far, despite a character I have dubbed The Pink Thing who has the most obnoxious personality of any character I've ever seen anywhere, and some seriously dubious racial politics. At least it's pretty, and something new to distract him from work-angst.

Speaking of which, I'm reading my first-ever China Mieville book, and it turns out that I'm loving it. Straaaaaaange book, but wonderful. ♥

...Now if only I could get that horrible Frank Miller thought out of my head.

(Also: You know, I really need this season of Doctor Who not to suck so that my only active current fandom isn't a comic book that only two other people I know read. It's just plain boring and lonely.)
rivendellrose: (daydream)
I really, really should never have allowed myself to get into reading comics. They're such a damned expensive hobby when you calculate the price of a graphic novel (ha - in fairness I get a good discount but stiiill) against the time it takes me to actually read said graphic novel (about half an hour if I'm lucky and read slowly and really take time to appreciate the art). I don't spend this kind of money on novels, and novels at least take me several hours to read. But nooooo, I have to get sucked into reading everything in the Hellboy universe of comics, and almost immediately after getting one load of them from [livejournal.com profile] ratzeo, my supplier/pusher, I find myself trolling the series summaries on Wiki thinking "okay, so next I need x, y, and z, and I wonder if the next collection of the main series is out yet?" *Headdesk* If the world were kind I would find some more of them at Half Price Books, but I have a feeling I'm only going to get that lucky once, and it's already happened. :P

Also, my editing right now sucks. I mean, really royally. What in the name of all that's good was I thinking, writing in such a disorganized way during NaNo? I sat down this afternoon in hopes of clearing up a few things and tidying it all to send off (again) to the wonderful beta, but... god, it's such a freaking mess. And to think, I wanted to have this done before 2010...
rivendellrose: (dandelion day)
"The path of light is laid, the sacred test. 'It's a damned line of iambic pentameter, he said suddenly, counting the syllables again. 'Five couplets of alternating stressed and unstressed syllables.'"
- Angels and Demons, page 272 (paperback edition).

Iambic pentameter.

It does not mean what you think it means, Langdon.

Iambic pentameter has nothing to do with couplets. Couplets are a pair of rhyming lines that go together. The final four-line poem that he ends up with is two couplets of iambic pentameter. I'm a little rusty on the English lit side of my education, but I am absolutely certain about this. The "penta" refers to the five "feet" (pairs of stressed and unstressed syllables) in one line of iambic pentameter. And the "iamb-" bit refers to the stress/unstress pattern. I would say that the word he's reaching for is 'sonnet,' but that wouldn't be right, either. So no, just plain wrong.

Seriously, I don't care if people don't know what iambic pentameter is. I really don't. But if you're going to use it as a plot point in your book? Please look it up. Or just ask someone who knows. Because otherwise, it just grates on the nerves of everyone who really knows.

Also? I am deeply amused that he associates this with Langdon having gone to Phillips Exeter Academy. I went there for a summer (on scholarship - too damned expensive for me to have gone full-time or for any longer, alas). Good school. If Langdon had gone there, he'd know what iambic pentameter really is.
rivendellrose: (oh hai thar)
I find it laugh-out-loud hilarious that Dan Brown seems to think that cellphones have dial tones. And that the way to tell if one is getting a signal or not is to see if it has a dial tone. Does he actually live under a rock, or is this some sort of obscure way of telling us that his characters all do? If the latter, I'm oddly impressed... but I somehow doubt it.

Also, the whole ambigram thing is getting really annoying. Give me a few days with my best calligraphy pens, and I assure you that I could copy the stupid thing. His continued efforts to claim that "even modern computers [...] have been unable to forge a symmetrical ambigram of this word" make me laugh so hard I can hardly breathe. If (if!) that were true, it would be because... the ambigram in the book isn't actually the word. It has an extra stroke after the 2nd L, which creates the back part of the A toward the end of the word. That's what makes it an ambigram - otherwise it wouldn't read both ways.

And as for the idea that any calligrapher with decent skill couldn't reproduce it... lol.

I take back my former gripes - at the moment, at least, this book is at least bad enough to be funny.
rivendellrose: (ood)
For the record, since there seems to be a bit of confusion on this - I am not against anyone else liking Dan Brown or Angels and Demons. More power to you. I just don't like it myself, and take a perverse pleasure in reaming books that I don't like, particularly if I have to read them whether or not I like them. It's a habit leftover from school, where at least if I hated a book I had to read for class, I could write a nasty essay about it.

And I don't know how people are getting the impression that I don't like it because it's trashy literature. I enjoy trashy literature. This is just not my kind of trashy literature. Give me an urban fantasy, historical romance or cheap sci-fi novel any day. Thrillers and mysteries are not my thing, and in general I get bored by even the good ones.
rivendellrose: (summer)
Still working on unpacking the apartment, but at least I can say now that two of my three bookshelves are set up and stocked, although they need some serious reorganizing once the full collection is out and available, if for no better reason than that I find it weirdly upsetting to have short paperbacks shelved with taller books in between them, and have been thinking it might be nice at least to attempt to organize by subject.

But! I've been reading a few awesome books lately, so I thought I'd share brief reviews. :)

Recently read the first book of the Temeraire series, and absolutely adored it - dragons and the Napoleonic wars! What's not to love? ♥ Also read Bimbos of the Death Sun, and am now immersed in the sequel, Zombies of the Gene Pool. The first is essentially about an engineering professor who's written a very serious sci-fi novel which his publisher chooses to retitle "Bimbos of the Death Sun" for selling purposes, and then is dragged to a science fiction convention (in the 1980s) where he gets involved in all sorts of insane and strangely accurate-if-parodic fannish events and confusions. It and the sequel are a bit like a novelization of Fandom_Wank, if it had existed in the 80s. It's pretty darned adorable.

And lastly, am currently listening to Oliver Sacks' Musicophilia while working. Wonderfully lucid, intelligent, interesting and symphathetic writing, exactly what I expect of Mr Sacks' work, and the subject matter (neurological and psychological disorders surrounding the perception of music) is fascinating.

And a note on the cats: Random and Theoden are now allowed to be together out in the apartment as long as the Boy or I are home to supervise them, and so far we've had a pretty minimal amount of angry noises and only a few minor swatting-fights. I'm hoping they'll settle down further once they get used to each other more, particularly to the point that they can allow each other on the bed... right now, Random growls and makes aggressive posture if Theoden tries to hop on the bed with us, and that makes me extremely sad. But I think they'll get over it, considering how much progress they've already made. ♥
rivendellrose: (he's waiting)
The second round of [livejournal.com profile] tardis_bigbang has been released, and I wanted to take a moment to pimp the whole collection of fic and art, but most especially the two I had the pleasure of reading while they were still in beta:

Centre of the Universe by [livejournal.com profile] azarsuerte. In the aftermath of the Time War, a wounded TARDIS brings a dying Doctor to the one person who might be able to save not only his life, but also his will to live: Nyssa of Traken.

Old Horizons, New Skies by [livejournal.com profile] lorannah. During a fight with a figure from his past Jack is transported to a parallel Earth - faced with alternate versions of his Torchwood teams, both old and new, he begins to wonder whether Torchwood only ever ruins people's lives. Can he avoid drawing them all back in to the danger and madness again? And will he get home?

Check them out, and be sure to let the authors know what great jobs they did!
rivendellrose: (dandelion day)
Long story how, but I ended up website-hopping to the site of an author whose page I used to follow very closely and had forgotten about in the last few years - Janet Kagan. Kagan was my writing hero when I was in my teens, and I still love her books whenever I go back to them. I wrote a fan email to her back in early high school, and was delighted when she wrote a long and thoughtful letter back, and moreso when the occasional further note garnered further replies. Her books - in particular Uhura's Song (yes, that Uhura - it was a Star Trek novel from the days of yore, and I've read it so many times I could probably still recite it verbatim) and Mirabile - are still, to some extent, cornerstones in my mind. Rereading them recently, I realized how much her writing must have laid the groundwork for my love of anthropology - she was good with culture.

Tonight when I went to check her website, I found out that she died more than a year ago.

She wasn't a young woman, and I suppose I knew in a vague sort of way from her website that she had bouts of ill health. But it hurts to know she's gone, and, more than that, somehow, that I didn't realize until now. It's dandelion season, too, and she always said she loved dandelions.

So, here's to the woman who taught me that diamonds and dynamite come in small packages. I'm still working on getting something actually written and finished so I can paper the bathroom walls with rejections like she said to do (because, why not send it in? it's already not being published...), but if I ever do, it'll be in part thanks to her.
rivendellrose: (yay!)
Congratulations to the wonderful Terry Pratchett, who was knighted today!

Also... stupid-American question: There's a bit of a debate going on over here, among those of us who know and care about this, whether the whole being-knighted thing consists of just a proclamation, or if there's still the whole ceremonial thing with the sword. Anybody know the answer?

And! Happy New Year!!! I know a lot of you have been putting up with all sorts of unpleasant crud this past year, so I hope 2009 is lots better for everyone!
rivendellrose: (poppy dreams)
I've had a slightly weird 24 hours in terms of conversations on buses... all to do in one way or another with looking at what someone else is reading.

Item 1: Last night, in the bus tunnel, I saw a familiar-ish looking girl wearing a University of Washington sweatshirt, and reading Good Omens. While I was trying to eyeball her and figure out if I actually knew her or just ought to know her (because, honestly - anybody who likes Good Omens and went to my school can't be all bad!), she looked up and said "Oh, hey! How've you been?" Turns out she was a friend of [livejournal.com profile] nekokoban and [livejournal.com profile] miss_arel's who I met several weeks ago. Much fun was had chatting for the rest of the rest of the commute.

Item 2: This morning on my bus into downtown, I was reading Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. As I got up to get off the bus, the guy next to me said "I love that book." We talked for a little bit, and then parted ways. This wouldn't have been at all strange except for what happened next...

Item 3: Only 15 minutes later (the bus was late), as I was getting off my transfer, a nice elderly gentleman stepped up beside me at the light and asked "How did you like the Dawkins book?" For the last week I've been reading The Selfish Gene on the bus. So we talked about Dawkins, Gould, and Hawking while we walked.

The really sad thing is, all these people who are getting used to me enough that we have these little half-conversations? Are the exact people I'm not going to see again once I've been moved up to the Lynnwood office. And forgive me my snobbery, but I doubt too many folks up in the suburbs are likely to have anything interesting to say about the comparative writings styles of Stephen J. Gould and Richard Dawkins. :P

(I liked The Selfish Gene, by the way. But I am strange, and like pretty much everything by Dawkins. Even when I disagree with a few of his points, I always enjoy his style, intelligence, and perspective.)
rivendellrose: (scully's fun-reading)
Dear Seattle Library System: Why does your search interface suddenly suck? We didn't always have this problem. How is it that you now think, when I search by author name, that it is somehow acceptable to return keyword type responses mixed in with the list of author responses? If I search for an author, I - gasp! - only want the things that author has written. Stop being stupid. How hard can it possibly be to list the actual author responses first?

PS: I am deeply unamused by your decision that a video recording of a Depeche Mode concert is an acceptable response to my author search for Richard Dawkins.

If you'd accepted my offer of a first initial, rather than only giving me three really stupid responses to that query, we wouldn't be having this problem. Not funny, library. Not funny at all.

...*Puts hold on desired book. Wanders off, grumbling about how she misses the university's online catalogue, which actually made sense.*



Finished re-reading "Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy," now reading both "Why Gods Persist" (horribly dull writing style, but interesting content) and Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" (decently well-written for historical romance). Almost done with "The Ancestor's Tale."
rivendellrose: (scully's fun-reading)
Books Read So Far in 2008
Making Money - Terry Pratchett
Dancing Girls of Lahore - (forget at the moment)
Dr Tatiana's Sex Advice for All Creation - Olivia Judson

Currently Reading
The Physician and Sexuality in Victorian America - Haller & Haller
The Ancestor's Tale - Richard Dawkins
(Something whose title I've forgotten temporarily...)
The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins (audio)

The last is a fantastic book, but I'm being thwarted somewhat by my computer, which somehow refuses to play anything past track 20 on any audio CD... somewhat problematic since they've broken this CD into 11 minute tracks, so all its discs have more than 20 tracks. It's worth the fuss, though. In the last three discs I've had the pleasure of A) hearing Richard Dawkins, atheist par excellence, talk about the Flying Spaghetti Monster, including the phrase "touched by his noodly appendage," B) heard the very solemn and lovely sounding Lalla Ward end an argument with "nyah nyah nyah" while reading from an infantilized example written by her afore-mentioned husband, and C) got all teary-eyed after a particularly sweet bit of prose about Douglas Adams, in which Dawkins pretty much stopped his whole argument to say how much he missed his friend. The fact that I'm hormonal and already a bit emotional probably factors in, here, but I still found it deeply touching.

All of that in addition to being a very intelligent, eloquent, and interesting defense of atheism. Absolutely delightful.

...The others are good, too, I just can't get all excited about them while I'm working, due to not being able to read them at work. So.
rivendellrose: (sunflowers)
Happy Birthday, [livejournal.com profile] nekokoban!

I already said as much in your entry earlier, but I hope you have a wonderful day (off work, too, lucky duck!). Writing was being problematic, so the fic you requested will, instead, be posted on my birthday, along with the rest of the batch (I hope).

After picking up a handful of paperbacks at Half Priced Books, I've been going through another Discworld kick - read Lords and Ladies and Reaper Man over the last few days, and today I'm working on Jingo. I've read all of them before, but they're three of my favorites out of the whole series.
rivendellrose: (Default)
From [livejournal.com profile] pussreboots: These are the top 106 books most often marked as "unread" by LibraryThing's users (as of today). As usual, bold what you have read, italicize what you started but couldn't finish, and strike through what you couldn't stand.

Books! )

Speaking of which - been listening to audio books at work, and while I mean to update my list of Books I've Read in total, for the moment I'll just list really fast the ones I've listened to at work lately: Anne of Green Gables, Shakespeare: a Biography, and Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There. Still working on a few others, including, just started today, Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson. ♥
rivendellrose: (scully's fun-reading)
Fic-writing hates me right now - last night when I tried to work, I pretty much got nowhere other than more convinced than ever that I need to completely scrap what I've been trying to do and start over again. Eep. There's gotta be a way to salvage this thing... I just haven't figured it out yet.

In other news, I've been reading up a storm the last few days. Finished "The Feminine Mistake" a while ago, finished "Otherwise Normal People" (about competitive rose gardeners), and this morning finished "The Beauty Myth." Oh, and I read "Sorcery and Cecelia" last 'weekend.' So that puts me... hmm. Sixteen books away from my goal of having 100 books read by March 13. I'm not sure I can do 16 books in a month... but the count for the year is still pretty impressive, I figure. And I like keeping track, anyway.

Finished since March 13, 2006 )

Expect a review / discussion page for The Beauty Myth (probably with diversions into The Feminine Mistake while I'm at it) at some point in the near future. For now, I have to go beat a fic into some form of submission. And submission-quality. Argh.

*Coughs* I can tag HTML. Really. >_>
rivendellrose: (Theo demands worship)
Damned cramps, making me oversleep and screwing up all my plans for my day off. *Growls* Hopefully I'll still manage to make it out during the day today... I had such grand ideas, but now that I'm not feeling all that great, it's kind of hard to convince myself to go through with them, and I already have to be in Wallingford at 6pm, so that kind of constrains what else I can do with the day. Ah well. It will all be good... and perhaps I can bother the girls at the Clinique counter at the store for an "employee makeover" tomorrow, instead. I'm less interested in seeing what they do with me (other than try to sell me on tons of skincare products) than I am pleased with the thought of the free sample kit. Those things can last me for quite a while, usually. ;)

Reading List )

And because that last is the first of the pre-reading copies from work that I've actually managed to finish... why not do a review? That's what I'm meant to do with pre-reading copies, right?

In which Jen finds out more about specific areas of the wedding industry than she ever really wanted to know. )

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