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Aug. 31st, 2020 11:39 pm
highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (Default)
Greetings, traveller! Welcome to Highly's House of Batshittery. Here you will find musings, rantings, sniggerings and occasional coherent thoughts on life, friends, medievalism, the Internet, and the oddities of expat existence. Oh, and cleaning. I tend to talk about cooking and cleaning a lot.
highlyeccentric: A woman in an A-line dress, balancing a book on her head, in front of bookshelves (Make reading sexy)
I said last week might be the last of the weekly updates, but nope, here's another five reviews since then.

What are you currently reading? For funsies, the latest issue of Meanjin. For work, both Getting Medieval and The Style of Gestures.

What have you finished lately?

The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction by Frank Kermode

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Oh, to be a white dude in academia in the 1960s. Ideas are interesting, but wow. If I went around making sweeping claims like that I'd be kicked out on my arse quick smart.

And yet. It's super useful to me. Someone else has already made the sweeping claims!



Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?: Flaming Challenges to Masculinity, Objectification, and the Desire to ConformWhy Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?: Flaming Challenges to Masculinity, Objectification, and the Desire to Conform by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Huh. I enjoyed this, but it wasn't quite what I expected. Much of it was not 'flaming challenges' at all, but introspective commentary. There were some very interesting aspects - more essays by women than I expected, for instance. Gina de Vriews' 'Girls' was an outstanding example of those.

Some of the personal essays were just really striking - Harris Kornstein's 'I tell you what I want, what I really really want' stood out in that regard. Overall, the book expressed a sense that the gay/queer community has lost something - its embracing of sex, perhaps, or diversity, or perversion, or non-normative chosen family, or, or - in the decades since the AIDS crisis began.

I was also very interested by Ezra RedEagle Whitman's essay 'Straightening the Shawl', on being Native American and gay, and on not identifying as Two Spirit.

On the other hand, there were essays like Francisco Ibáñez Carrasco's 'Rehab for the Unrepentant', which really bothered me. It was a genuinely interesting essay on the author's casual sex relationships with straight (ish), macho men. But it also spoke without any qualms, as if this wasn't a *problem* at all nor something that affected his view of his regular partner (unlike, say, his qualms about the man's closeting and the man's fear of AIDs), of said partner's habit of 'bashing trannies' and beating his wife. Like... Okay. You're happy to be this guy's safety valve on toxic masculinity, fine. But you've gotta at least THINK, sometimes, about what you're condoning when you take his late-night calls about beating up women.



Epistemology of the ClosetEpistemology of the Closet by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I really have no idea what to say about this. It was simultaneously immensely interesting, remarkably motivating, and completely baffling. Under no circumstances could I produce a précis of its argument, but I suspect I will be returning to it anyway.



Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2)Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I am so into this. Our Heroine's slowly revealing trope-tastic identity is doing it for me.

I was also really impressed with the fate of the romance plot. I had resigned myself to Twue Wuv, and I was going to enjoy it, but this is better.



Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass, #3)Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


So, growing up on a steady diet of Tamora Pierce and Anne McCaffrey, with occasional Ann Marston for seasoning gave me some very bullet proof trope-kinks.

And this series is SO GOOD FOR ME. So good.

Plus it's well-plotted and well-paced and the new characters introduced or fleshed out in this book are really interesting. I do wish it didn't keep being the women who die, though.

I am really, really into the vicious ambitious witches (say THAT three times fast) and the terrible personality flaw of empathy the heir is hiding.



What will you read next? For fiction funsies, the next Throne of Glass book. When I'm finished with Meanjin, I have 'Look Both Ways: Bisexual Politics' to be getting on with.
highlyeccentric: Sir Gawain: as gay as christmas - especially at christmas (Gawain)
* He is, but he’s in disguise

* He was injured due to fighting his friends and relations while in disguise

* He was in such a hurry to get to where he was supposed to be that he lost his sword along the way, and is too ashamed to show up

* He got in a boat with a dead girl and they floated so far down the river they got lost

* He had a fight with Guinevere

* Bors had a proxy fight with Guinevere on Lancelot’s behalf

* Guinevere had a proxy fight with all Lancelot's relatives, and they're all banned from court

* Gawain, being a complete numbskull and apparently the only person in England unaware of Lancelot's undying passion for Guinevere, misconstrued the Astolat situation, and then told Guinevere about it, leading to Guinevere having a fight with Lancelot and/or all his relatives

* He went mad and forgot he’s Lancelot

* He killed all his horses in his haste to get to where he ought to be, and is now late

* He fell out a window while perving on Guinevere

* He’s having a sleepover with a hermit

* He was on his way home from the sleepover with the hermit and he got shot in the butt by a lady out hunting

* He fell into a pit

* He’s stuck in a tower and there’s a princess with an axe who won’t let him out until he gives her a kiss

* He disappeared suddenly, ‘as he was wont to do’

* He did any of the above things and people assumed he just disappeared suddenly, ‘as he was wont to do’
highlyeccentric: Demon's Covenant - Kitchen!fail - I saw you put rice in the toaster (Demon's Covenant - kitchen!fail)
I have been having Computer Trouble (TM), end result of which is I bought a Lenovo Yoga and the Mac Experiment period of my life will be over once I get the damn thing back, unrepaired, from the shop and copy my files off it.

Bleh.

Meanwhile, I have cooked a delicious food. Serious Eats' Takeout Kung Pao Chicken, only I used cashews instead of peanuts.

I don't think I've ever eaten Kung Pao, either authentic or westernised, but it still tastes like the essence of chinese takeaway, which is precisely what I desired from it. (If I wanted authentic I'd go and PAY for it. I genuinely LIKE the white-people-friendly staples of takeaway chinese, possibly because I am a White People.)

A++ would recommend.
highlyeccentric: A photo of myself, around 3, "reading" a Miffy book (Read Miffy!)
This may be the last of the weekly posts - I expect I'll slow down a lot once semester hits next week. Sorry for lack of other posts - conference happened, then my computer had to go into the shop (again) for water damage, and generally, stuff happened.

What are you reading now:
The Epistemology of the Closet, which continues interesting.
Why are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots, which is *mostly* interesting but some of the contributions are quite meh.
Crown of Midnight, Sarah J Maas, which is slower and more weighty reading than the first in the series.
Best Australian Poetry 2015, which has poems in it, funny that.
Glenarvon, but I haven't picked it up in a while.

For work:
The Sense of an Ending, (Kermode) which is... odd. Very sixties, but relevant to my interests.

On the intertubes, I've also been reading bits and pieces from Overland, the newly opened Femme Feminism, and, within the constraints of one-free-article-a-week, The Saturday Paper. Daily Life has been swallowed up by the SMH Life and Style, so I needed new sources of actually intelligent writing.

Recently Finished:

The Price of SaltThe Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This was really very *literary*, which I didn't expect. I know the only reason it was published as pulp was teh lezbianz contenz, but still. Very literary. Different from the film, but in ways that largely made sense as strategic choices on the part of the filmmaker. I think I found Therese's character much more likable here, though - I see why the film changed her career from 'actual stage designer' to 'wannabe photographer', but I think it lost something in reducing those aspects of her character. For a start, it is much clearer in the novel that Therese is capable of existing as a functional adult without Carol.

On the other hand, the novel has a whole lot of Freudian WOW. The hot milk scene was a, a thing. Definitely a thing.

Interestingly, in the light of complaints that the film contained no men who were not shit, the novel does! Men who are not shit exist. They are useful at times.



Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I'm really not sure about shelving this with 'childrens-and-ya-fantasy'. It's sold as YA, apparently, but in the way that the YA genre has aged up a LOT recently. And taken in the refugee 'romance fantasy' genre that got elbowed out of standard fantasy by GOT look-alikes.

In short: this is a wild ride, and so many of my favourite fantasy tropes all in one place. A+, good work.



The Assassin and the Pirate Lord (Throne of Glass, #0.1)The Assassin and the Pirate Lord by Sarah J. Maas

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Eh, okay. Serves its function as a prequel. If you actually read this first it would dispel some of the character arc in the first novel, but on the other hand, there are whole lines of tension that only make sense if you have the information given as backstory in the novel. This is relevant to my professional interests.



What will you read next?
My boss' book on gestures is a relatively urgent read. For funsies... I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of my copy of Meanjin. Bring it to meeee!
highlyeccentric: A photo of myself, around 3, "reading" a Miffy book (Read Miffy!)
What are you currently reading? Glenarvon, but I'm letting it fallow at the moment; the Epistemology of the Closet; Best Australian Poems 2015

Recently Finished: Jenkins et al, Spreadable Media, which was... uh. Odd. Interesting, but it seemed to be aimed at a tech or marketing audience.

Patricia Highsmith, The Price of Salt, but I want to sit on that for a bit before writing it up.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, #1)Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Hmm. The first time I started to read this, I put it down after about a chapter because... look, I'm really not sure about the use of WWII and the Holocaust here, and the analogies the story invites between its magical-realism and actualfax experience. On the other hand, it *is* clear the protag's grandfather is both Jewish *and* Magic, so... I really don't know. And beyond the story itself, as far as I can determine, Riggs is not himself Jewish, so there's something off in the commercial dynamic - big movie deal, making bank off other people's trauma.

The reservations remain the second time but I found the book easier to read. The found-photographs device is twee, but it works, and I have interesting Thoughts about embodiment and body schema, which is my boss' fault. Narrative pace is pretty good, the plot structure interesting and non-formulaic, and the thing with the grandfather's girlfriend and the protag is only about 50% as creepy as it could be.

I will probably see the film, but I'm not sure I'll pursue the rest of the series in either format.



Clancy of the UndertowClancy of the Undertow by Christopher Currie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I read this quickly, and enjoyed it a lot, largely because of the sheer Australian-ness of it. I haven't heard anyone say 'my x is caning' to mean 'my x really hurts' for YEARS. Wow. The friendship plot between Clancy and Nancy was pretty well done; indeed the fine balances between all Clancy's nearest and dearest are well handled.

Thing is, I feel like it is Not Cool if you are a white dude to write your protag of indigenous descent and have her describe skin tone as 'yellow, like I'm sick' and so on. I mean. There have to be ways to indicate she feels uncomfortable with her appearance without just throwing that out there. And, like, one mention of skin tone and one of having some bookmarks related to Bunjalung culture does not a Representation make. If you're going to go there, as a white dude, and I'm not sure you should, you have to make it *count*. Especially if this is deep 3p POV and pretty much all your protag's internal angst. And the entire point of the novel is Coming of Age And Identity.

On the other hand, Currie is not a lesbian and it seems to me he did a pretty good job with characterising and contextualising a lesbian protag. The story is not about Realising She Is Gay, it's about regular family drama in which coming out is a small part, and about having terrible taste in girls. I liked the way that the narrative POV kept insisting the gay thing wasn't that important while clearly it was, it seemed a realistically convincing portrayal of how you deal with things like that.



A Handful of DustA Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


It turns out I have read this before! Every episode I read I found myself remembering the next bit just before it happened.

It was witty, I guess. Most of the bits I liked about it, though, could've been done better by Oscar Wilde. The ending, which had originally been a stand-alone short story, made no freakin' sense coming after the majority of the book. (Whereas possibly if the ending had been FIRST, it might have worked. Or not. Who knows.)

I will now proceed to forget I ever read this book, but this time I will have made a goodreads review of it to remind me. Don't bother reading it again, self. It's not terrible but it's not amazing.



Up Next: Dunno. I have long train journeys this week, so something light. More Miss Fisher, possibly.
highlyeccentric: French vintage postcard - a woman in feminised army uniform of the period (General de l'avenir)
I have been arguing that constructions of modern Western gay male identity tend to be, not in the first place "essentially gay", but instead (or at least also) in a very intimately responsive and expressive, though always oblique, relation to incoherences implicit in modern male heterosexuality. Much might be said, then, following this clue, about the production and deployment, especially in contemporary US society, of an extraordinarily high level of self-pity in nongay men. Its effects on our national politics, and international ideology and intervention, have been pervasive. (Snapshot, here, of the tear-welling eyes of Oliver North.) In more intimate manifestations this straight male self-pity is often concurrently referred to (though it appears to exceed) the cultural effects of feminism, and is associated with, or appealed to as a justification of, acts of violence, especially against women. For instance, the astonishing proportion of male violence done on separated wives, ex-wives, and ex-girlfriends, women just at the threshold of establishing a separate personal space, seems sanctioned and guided as much as reflected by the flood of books and movies in which such violence seems an expression not of macho personality but of maudlin. (One reason women get nervous when straight men claim to have received from feminism the gift of "permission to cry".) ... This vast national wash of masculine self-pity is essentially never named or discussed as a cultural and political fact; machismo and competitiveness, or a putative gentleness, take its place as subjects of nomination and analysis. Poised between shame and shamelessness, this regime of heterosexual male self-pity has the projective potency of an open secret. It would scarcely be surprising if gay men, like all women, were a main target of its scapegoating projections - viciously sentimental attributions of a vitiated sentimentality.
The sacred tears of the heterosexual man: rare and precious liquor...


From The Epistemology of the Closet
highlyeccentric: A photo of myself, around 3, "reading" a Miffy book (Read Miffy!)
Currently Reading: 'Why are Faggots so Afraid of Faggots', 'A Handful of Dust', 'Glenarvon', and for work a book called 'Cinematic Illuminations' on medieval film.

Recently finished: Jenkins et all, Spreadable Media; Riggs, 'Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children'; and Christopher Currie, 'Clancy of the Undertow'. All of which need a little time to percolate before I write them up.

Whyborne and Griffin, Books 1-3: Widdershins, Threshold, and StormhavenWhyborne and Griffin, Books 1-3: Widdershins, Threshold, and Stormhaven by Jordan L. Hawk

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


Well, I regret buying these as an ominubus, because I would like to give 'Threshhold' a vindictively bad rating for egregious cultural appropriation nonsense, but I quite liked Widdershins and Stormhaven.

There was legit no reason to involve native american mythology in your aliens-from-another-universe-invade-a-coal-mine paranormal detective plot. None whatsoever. And the 'creatures assembled from body parts' gambit was recycled from the previous novel.

Stormhaven was better, although it too recycled plot elements from Widdershins.

I like the pairing, I like side character Christine a lot, and my annoyance with Whybourne's persistence in believing himself ugly is only matched by how endearing I find his conviction he has no courage or strength of character either.

I don't know if I will pursue this series furter.



Urn Burial (Phryne Fisher, #8)Urn Burial by Kerry Greenwood

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


As usual, a great read - better than the m/m detective stuff I've been reading lately, for sure. Bonus points for having a sekrit m/m romance as a plot feature, though.

The book's handling of race is... interesting, as Prhyne takes Lin Chung among her own peers. However, I could've done without the venture into exoticising yin/yang and dragon metaphors for interracial sex.



For Love AloneFor Love Alone by Christina Stead

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I really do not know what to make of this book. I mean. What.

Things that stood out about it:

- For the first half, the scenic descriptions of Sydney were spot on. So spot on. Consider this one:

That's the main reason I read the book, I was promised modernist sense of place, so I guess it wins on that score.

- Good lord Christina Stead's descriptions of the depressed cynical prospectless academic dude. It's like she predicted my terrible taste in men well in advance of my birth:


- In theory, I think I approve of this book in the way it embraces female sexuality and desire. However, I am not without reservations.

Things that were weird about this book:

- Its treatment of homosexuality. The subject wasn't mentioned at all until England, whereupon Jonathan's willingness to countenance the idea of male-male relations is used as proof of his corruption and misogyny. I mean. His opinions are a pretty plausible hash of the opinions of the likes of the Society of the Special, who did see m/m homosexuality as the pinnacle of patriarchal achievement, so... But I found myself reading him as a closeted bisexual, too afraid to approach homosexuality in anything but theory, and unable to have genuine relationships with women partly in consequence. Which, I'm pretty sure, was not the reading Christina Stead wanted me to take.

- The final love plot was very ???. I really don't think it sounded terribly healthy, the de facto husband fellow was a bit of a wet blanket, and the whole adultery plot was both hilarious and bizarre. (I mean, if I ever need a great one-page excerpt to illustrate the exchange of women as male homosocial bonding, I know where to go!) And it was all very... it's like Stead didn't know what to DO and rushed the ending, or something. Very odd. Still, I like the idea that the time to fall in love with your pseudo-husband is after some strategic adultery.


Raisins and Almonds (Phryne Fisher, #9)Raisins and Almonds by Kerry Greenwood

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This was pretty interesting, and managed to handle the cross-cultural stuff without weird-ass exoticising metaphors in the way the previous book had handled Lin Chung. And I appreciate that Phryne has actual qualms about violent zionism - after reading enough Corinna Chapman where the heroine has apparently zero thoughts about the IDF despite dating an ex-member thereof, this was reassuring.



Up Next: Hmm. I have Locke Lomora, and The Price of Salt, and a few others. One of those, I guess.
highlyeccentric: Book on a shelf, entitled "Oh God: What the Fuck (and other stories)" (Oh god what the fuck (and other tails))
Currently: Making progress again on Christina Stead's For Love Alone, finding it easier to face the fact that the protag IS going to pursue this useless man now the narrative has them in the same city again. Behold, the amazing ability to describe from the past the kind of man I, Amy, am going to be daft enough to date in the future.

Glenarvon, but I'm a bit stalled on that. Best Australian Poems 2015. Jenkins, Ford and Green, 'Spreadable Media'.

Recently Finished:

Hexbreaker (Hexworld, #1)Hexbreaker by Jordan L. Hawk

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I read a short story from this 'verse in 'Charmed and Dangerous' and promptly REQUIRED ANOTHER. I would require ALL THE STORIES except there don't seem to be any more. It's very upsetting.

The world-building is *great*, Hawk has a solid grasp of plotting for detective fiction, and the witch/familiar dynamic hits all my buttons. All of them. (I blame the teenage diet of weird fantasy novels - I'm a sucker for magical destiny bonds, don't even ask.)



Charmed and DangerousCharmed and Dangerous by Jordan Castillo Price

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Anthologies are weird. There's the story you came here for (in this case, I wanted KJ Charles' 'Queer Trade', and I got it, and lo, it was good. Better than the associated novel 'Rag and Bone', I think), but there's always going to be a slew of stuff that's just not in its league. If you're lucky, there will also be a couple of stand-outs that blow your expectations out of the water.

The stand-outs in this one were Gin Hale's 'Swift and the Black Dog', and Jordan L Hawk's 'The Thirteenth Hex'. The Hawk one reminded me very much of KJ Charles' work: different setting, but similar stylistic choices and dynamics. Including bonus -magic bonding-, to which I am weak, as we have established. I promptly went and purchased the associated novel and loved it very much.

Gin Hales' 'Swift and the Black Dog', though, that was something else. It was... okay, so the protag is a 30-something dude who in his late teens survived victorious in a Special Teenage Magical Rebellion (you get details filled in throughout the novella - just enough info in the beginning to fill in the sort of generic expectations you'd have of the Hunger Games or the Insurgent books). Some of his friends now work in the tangled bureaucracy of the new state, others are dead (and it takes most of the book for the reader to sort out which died in the revolution and which died in Suspicious Circumstances under the new regime) and Our Hero is now a washed-up cynic with recurrent substance abuse problems. And then he gets a message from one of his former allies that he can't ignore... etc. The world-building is *fantastic*, the character work intricate, and the narrative structure, relying as it does on a mixture of analepsis (internal monologue, unreliable) and reader assumption from generic conventions, is masterfully done.

I have not yet purchased any more Gin Hale books, since there are no others in this specific 'verse, but I certainly will be looking up her other work eventually.

Some of the others had memorable features - the world-building in Rhys Ford's 'Dim Sum Asylum' was pretty interesting; Astrid Amara's 'The Trouble With Hexes' was particularly interesting in the way it structured its romance plot around estranged exes rather than a meet-cute. But Hawk and Hale were the real take-aways here.



Hutcheon with O'Flynn, A Theory of Adaptation second edition. YES GOOD. DO RECOMMEND.

Searching for Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles, #2)Searching for Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Oh, I liked this every bit as much as Dealing with Dragons! The storyline seemed clear and streamlined in a way Dealing hadn't been, I think. I was particularly fond of Herman the Dwarf.

I am very sad no one has turned this book into a hit stage musical yet. It'd be much more suited to that format than Dealing would - you only need one dragon puppet, and that one doesn't have to fly. You could probably do Dealing With Dragons as a broadway musical, but not as a community one, whereas I think Searching would be do-able. And it could be written to fill in sufficient backstory from Dealing via sung montages. I'm really liking the idea of Cimorene and Mendanbar singing their intros as a distanced duet from either side of the stage, one of those duets that are only musically interactive, not narratively. (Cimorene should be a mezzo, obviously. Kazul is a female tenor or even baritone. I don't make the rules I just impart them.)



Calling on Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles, #3)Calling on Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Cute! I didn't like it as much as I did the previous two, but I can't put my finger on why. Maybe because the ending frustrated me - I didn't WANT a set-up for book four, I wanted a happy ending!



Talking to Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles, #4)Talking to Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Hmm. Okay, this was engaging and snappy and all-round good. And after the previous three books I suppose a "young hero on a quest" is a change, but meh. I could just read Parzival.

Related to all of books 2-4: obviously the plucky young royal dude, although uninterested in Simpering Princesses, falls in love with the first and indeed only plucky young woman he meets. And for some reason she reciprocates! My kingdom for a male-female friendship quest, is what I'm sayin'.



LaviniaLavinia by Ursula K. Le Guin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Oh my goodness, this was... I don't think I can accurately describe what this was. Very Relevant to my Professional Interests, yes.

I have to say, though, I was totally surprised to find Aeneas and Lavinia having a stable marriage? Here's the part where I admit I've never read the Aeneid, but I have read bits of the Roman d'Eneas, and lots of commentary thereon. I knew the Eneas and other medieval versions amplify Lavinia, and the Eneas does the weird implications-of-sodomy thing, but I didn't realise the scene where Aeneas leaves Lavinia and she stands on the hill muttering imprecations about how maybe if she'd worn breeches she could've kept him wasn't only innovative in its sexual specificity but in having him leave at all! The Aeneid ends with him marring her and settling down! (This book goes on to some time after his death, but that's by the by)

Things to do: read Aeneid. Read Eneas properly. Marvel.



Up Next: Unsure. Might give Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children another try.
highlyeccentric: A photo of myself, around 3, "reading" a Miffy book (Read Miffy!)
Currently Reading: A stack of stuff on adaptation and the like, for work. Also Patricia C Wrede's 'Searching for Dragons' and Caroline Lamb's 'Glenarvon', both of which are great in their own ways.

Recently finished: A couple of linked short-stories in the Charm of Magpies world, which I won't bother reposting.

Still working through a backlog of reviews of cheap m/m romance books to post:

Think of EnglandThink of England by K.J. Charles

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This was *interesting*. The thriller plot was just substantial enough to hold up, and the character work between the two leads was fascinating - I really enjoyed the "flamboyant dandy is actually dangerous as hell" aspect. A+ good work.



A Fashionable Indulgence (Society of Gentlemen, #1)A Fashionable Indulgence by K.J. Charles

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


I very nearly didn't continue with this series. Regency romance tropes don't do it for me, in and of themselves, and this one... it was readable. The romance plot didn't grab me, but the cast of characters was interesting; the underlying thread of Decent Historical Grounding re: early 19th c dissidents kept me going.



A Seditious Affair (Society of Gentlemen, #2)A Seditious Affair by K.J. Charles

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This I liked better than A Fashionable Indulgence - it really picked up the historical political subplot and ran with it. The tension between the two protags, and their respective politics, was very well done - well enough done that I'm willing to swallow the improbable happy ending.



A Gentleman's Position (Society of Gentlemen, #3)A Gentleman's Position by K.J. Charles

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Terrible cover design aside, I LOVED THIS BOOK. I loved it so much. I read it twice in a row. I do not feel like trying to explain *why* I loved it would do much for my dignity, but I really really loved it.



Holding the ManHolding the Man by Timothy Conigrave

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I did not mean to binge-re-read this book, but I bought it to double-check a fact in the movie and accidentally lost a lot of Saturday to it. On the bright side, that allowed me to develop a lot of fine-grained observations about the memoir-to-film adaptation choices, and the difference between those and a novel-to-film adaptation, and so on.

I first read this some time during my masters - probably early on, since I haven't listed it on Goodreads. It's... a very important book. It's well-written, engaging, and all round good reading. But it's also important to me in being very specifically queer and *Australian*. For instance, I realised while taking meditation classes at ACON in Sydney that those classes must be the direct descendent of the classes which Conigrave describes himself and his partner as taking, shortly after their AIDS diagnosis.

There's also something generationally specific, I think. I came out well after the AIDS crisis had passed. I don't even think that, growing up, I was aware of AIDS as a specifically "gay disease" - I suspect the good work of the AIDS Action Councils and various Australian governments on destigmatising and educating through the 90s must have had something to do with that, because I can't imagine my school passing up a chance to vilify teh gayz. And yet AIDS, insofar as I thought about it growing up, was a risk of drug use, not a Gay Evil. I don't know anyone who died of AIDS; I do know that the treatments now are sufficient that a positive diagnosis is by no means a death sentence. This book carries the weight of the history I missed, the men and women whose lives and activism brought us here; and it's specifically *Australian* as it does so. That's important to me.



Meanjin (Vol 75, #2)Meanjin by Jonathan Green

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


All-round a good edition, but I don't think I was in the right space to fully appreciate it.

I found the short story The Voice, about a boy soprano who revolts at the idea of losing his identity as a soprano... interesting. I think there's probably a very fine line between an interesting story about identity, desire and fear of puberty and something that's trivialising to trans experience, though, and I'm not sure where the line lies.

The lead article by Mark Davis on Australian culture wars was very engaging, and informative, and so on, but I don't know what to *do* at the end of reading it.

There was a most aggravating article by Glyn Davis and Ian Anderson on indigenous self-determination, which presented me with interesting historical figures I didn't know about, but also grossly misused the case for self-determination to argue against the provision of robust federal support for indigenous communities, and to present independent commercial enterprise as the only route to self-respect for indigenous people. I don't know anything about Ian Anderson but I should've known better than to read anything by Glyn Davis except with the deepest suspicion.

Recent Meanjins have been featuring sketches from a book called 'Their Brilliant Careers' (Ryan O'Neill), of fake biographies of caricatured Australians. This issue had a profile of footballer John "Jonno" Johnson, which. Wow. I grew up in Knights territory at the height of the Johns brothers' success, and wow, that is an ON POINT satire.



Up Next: Well, I have 1-3 of 'Whyborne and Griffin', for my next cheap m/m e-book binge. But I'm hoping to get through the Enchanted Forest Chronicles first...




Music notes: Have become abruptly obsessed with James Bay. Bought the album a while back, liked it, but only started binge-listening to it this past week.
highlyeccentric: A photo of myself, around 3, "reading" a Miffy book (Read Miffy!)
Currently Reading: Hutcheon with Flynn, 'A Theory of Adaptation'. Homg. Adaptation theory makes me happy in the brain.

Recently Finished: Okay so I think this time I've actually exhausted KJ Charles' entire catalogue of historical m/m romance novels. MAYBE THAT WILL BE THE END OF THIS. Or maybe not.

Jackdaw (The World of A Charm of Magpies)Jackdaw by K.J. Charles

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I just didn't like this one as much as the Magpie books. I'm not sure *why*, entirely. I didn't like the premise, I suppose - the "obstacle" to be overcome in this romance plot was "one dude massively deceived the other leading to dude #2's doing gaol time", and... perhaps I would have liked it better if the POV protag were Deceiving Dude (he had reasons; the tension of 'i must do this thing but it is terrible' might have worked for me). Perhaps not.



Rivers of London (Peter Grant, #1)Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I had expected the text form not to live up to Kobna Holdbrook-Smith's narration, but perhaps I've listened to that enough times to memorise it by now. Or perhaps, coming off the back of A Charm of Magpies, my standards are a little lowered. Aaronovitch's worldbuilding skills still outrank his actual crime writing skills, though. And I could still do without Peter commenting on women's tits and legs every other chapter. Or... I dunno, it feels *forced* somehow. I have been known to check out ladies in my time, but that makes the dissonance of Peter's POV even weirder - especially in the first two books. By book 5 his perspective on hot women seems a lot more familiar to me. I don't know if that's supposed to be character development, or if Aaronovitch got over the need to assert his PROTAGONIST'S HETEROSEXUALITY all the time.



Moon Over Soho (Peter Grant, #2)Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


When I reviewed the audiobook I said I thought the detective plot was stronger in this one than in Rivers - I'm no longer sure of that. There were too many hanging threads, aside from the opening gambit with the Faceless Man. Still, it remained a good read.



Whispers Under Ground (Peter Grant, #3)Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I absolutely loved this the first time I read it, and I think it's still my favourite - I'm a sucker for urban history. This time, though, I was reading it fast on the heels of Rivers and Moon, and there seemed to be a disjunct in Peter's characterisation. Previously he had lacked the marks to get into the science course he wanted, and his vast and disparate knowledge of London was attributed to documentaries, his father's jazz history, and wide-ranging interests with little focus. In this one, he gains a specific interest in architecture, which follows through to book four: it's GOOD, but the piece doesn't slot smoothly into his previously established history and mind-type.



Broken Homes (Peter Grant, #4)Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Plot-wise I think this might be the strongest since Rivers, and as usual, it resolved my discomfort with Moon and Whispers' treatment of Leslie. (Apparently some people object to 'making her evil'? I saw 'recognising she got a SHIT FUCKING DEAL and Our Heroes aint helping').



Foxglove Summer (Peter Grant, #5)Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I only gave it a 3 star rating when I read the audiobook - I was frustrated by the sloppy denouement. Which is still true, but I think I enjoyed this round much more, and appreciated a lot more of the small details.



Rag and Bone (Rag and Bone, #1)Rag and Bone by K.J. Charles

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


At the end of the Magpie books, I griped that I wanted Stephen to become Magical Captain Vimes: I would accept Crispin Tredaloe and Ned Hall as alternatives, and devoutly hope Charles will write more on them. I liked seeing Esther without Stephen; I liked the graphomancy plot (although the palimpsest of Ben Aaronovitch seemed even stronger underneath this one than the others). I enjoyed the pairing, the attention to the matching of two men who are consistently underestimated by others around them.

My only qualm was the consistent use of the phrase "people/men of colour". I get it, an awful lot of the vocabulary used in Victorian London for black men is NOT something you want to repeat in your fun romance novel. But the phrase "person of colour" is historically specific to 20th c America (excluding the use of 'free person of color / gens colouriées libres' as a legal category in slave-trading societies), only really took off there as an umbrella term in the 1970s, and is still not as widely used in other anglophone countries as it is in the US. And... what's wrong with describing Ned Hall as a black man, remarking that there are few black men in magical London, and so on? 'Black' is still a term used, does not have an exclusively pejorative signification, AND fits reasonably well into the historical context. That's how John Shakespeare is described, in Society of Gentlemen, and I'm not sure why it won't do for Ned.

I also read the short story 'A Queer Trade', from the 'Charmed and Dangerous' anthology, and liked it very much. It's a solid, discrete story, and has a bit of a sounder plot than this one does, I think - this one feels like a bridge between the Magpie books and something future, which I hope it is.



And that, I think, is enough reviews for one post. I'll hold over the Society of Gentlemen ones for another post.

Up Next: SO MANY WORK THINGS. Also the Charmed and Dangerous anthology, which I read only one story from before going back to devouring the KJ Charles novels. Plus I have more Patricia C Wrede books now!




Music notes: hmm, not much change (still into Amy MacDonald), but I just bought another Gillian Welch album to add to the collection ('Hell among the Yearlings', because I liked the title).
highlyeccentric: Divide by cucumber error: reinstall universe and reboot (Divide by cucumber)
Poll results inform me that nanila, jamethiel, bedlamsbard, rymenhild, monksandbones and wyldeabandon all report that the crossposted images PRIOR to the doughnut do not show up on their reading pages; Nanila and monksandbones report the doughnut shows up (but huge).

It can't be browser settings re: external images, because monksandbones sees the RSS feed images fine and they have the same source.

Meanwhile, *I* have no trouble seeing them from my reading page. I got [personal profile] kayloulee to check, and she also has no problem seeing the pre-doughnut photos. It can't even be freak hemisphere-based image problems, as both Jamethiel and K are in Aus.

Can I ask if any of you are subscribed to copperbadge on DW, and if so, do you see images on HIS crossposts?§
highlyeccentric: A woman in an A-line dress, balancing a book on her head, in front of bookshelves (Make reading sexy)
Hello hello, once again it's July and I have read a GREAT BIG STACK OF BOOKS.

Currently reading: Ben Aaronovitch, Foxglove Summer; Meanjin 75.2

Recently read: You know how I said I was going to read Phryne Fisher while travelling? Yeah. I didn't. First I read a stack of magical-realism queer erotica set in London, and it gave me the literary equivalent of the "at once, to Pink Flloyd!" reaction I get from listening to MCR: at once, to Ben Aaronovitch! I almost resisted, but then I was *in* London watching my Dad have the surreal experience you have when you, an antipodean, arrive in London and find that the reality does actually look quite like the version in Neverwhere. I already own a hard copy of Neverwhere, so do not need a kobo copy, but the e-books of the Rivers of London books, they called out to me. So I bought them all.

Reviews, going back to where I last left off:

The Night FairyThe Night Fairy by Laura Amy Schlitz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Update: gave this as present to Miss Seven for her birthday; re-read it before doing so. All sentiments of previous review still stand.
----
Oh, this was absolutely adorable. Flory, an injured juvenile night fairy, adapts to life in a giantess' garden. Flory's quite a character: she's not nice, nor often kind, but is engaging to read about. Even her acts of generosity don't seem to come as *kindness* so much as determined altruism.

I'm not convinced that the feature of the ending wherein she discovers her wings are growing back was actually necessary. She'd made friends and found several alternative means of mobility - adding 'and also her wings are cured!' doesn't add anything, and does repeat the magically-walking-cripple trope.

The illustratons were wonderful.



The Magpie Lord (A Charm of Magpies, #1)The Magpie Lord by K.J. Charles

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Oh now this I liked a *lot*. It had something that the Alpennia romances don't: grit. It's not *sweet*, and it's not really a romance, it's definitely erotica. It was gritty, not just in the sex - there's quite a lot of blood and violence involved in the general plot, too.

The magical realism worldbuilding was good, for the price mark; the detective plot sound, and didn't try to over-reach itself.



The Mystic Marriage (Alpennia, #2)The Mystic Marriage by Heather Rose Jones

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Now this was gripping! Plot solid, world-building solid, and character work really interesting. I love that the book took a difficult-to-like character from the previous book, and while making her *sympathetic* did not necessarily make her *nice*. Some of my quibbles re: the ending of book one were also smoothed over, as Jones has clearly put actual thought now into how you go about constructing a partnership as ladies of independent means in the 17th century.



A Case of Possession (A Charm of Magpies, #2)A Case of Possession by K.J. Charles

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Excellent follow-up to the Magpie Lord, in every possible way.



A Case of Spirits (A Charm of Magpies, #2.5)A Case of Spirits by K.J. Charles

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Cute, short, and a bit lighter than the others. Good work for a short splice-in story.



Flight of Magpies (A Charm of Magpies, #3)Flight of Magpies by K.J. Charles

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This one I am less happy with, largely because of the ending gambit. Obviously, IRL, if a job is making someone unhappy and their significant other has the money to support them, well, quitting is fair enough.

But I wanted Stephen to be Magical London's Commander Vimes, dammit. And I *don't* count 'rich lover whisks poor clerk off his feet' as a good romantic conclusion.

The gritty, not-sweet aspects of the sex that I liked in the previous two pushes a little further into unhealthy here, too. Not badly written, but a little more difficult to get into (for me, at this time, idek).



(FYI, the Alpennia books are on Amazon and Kobo; the Charm of Magpies ones are at Samhain Publishing's website)

Stacked-up reviews of the Rivers of London series to come when I've finished Foxglove Summer.

Up Next: I got partway into KJ Charles' Jackdaw before buying up the Rivers of London books, so I'll go back to that. I've got a couple of books to read asap for work, and I seem to have bought Gentleman Bastard in a fit of... something.




Music notes:

Fixated on Amy MacDonald at the moment. Picked up the best of Katrina and the Waves, because of a craving for 'Walking on Sunshine'. Not sure if that warranted buying the ENTIRE CD, but anyway.
highlyeccentric: Divide by cucumber error: reinstall universe and reboot (Divide by cucumber)
Bought a hat for Pride Fribourg, after losing the previous in Morocco. Wore it on plane to UK. Left it on train Leeds-London, didn't realise until yesterday.

Got vr burned at Duxford airshow (plaaaanes!). Went and bought a hat in Cambridge today; lost it within five hours. Hopefully I left it in Michaelhouse and can pick it up from there tomorrow before we head to Bath via Oxford.

Traveling with parentals is tiring (they are inexperienced in the big wide world, but also now old enough that they are slow to intuit things or recognise patterns). Travelling with Brooke is very tiring. Not just the usual over-tired kid thing, although that's bad enough (the sun gets up early and so does miss six! Even if she didn't get to bed until eleven!). I have never met a child so paranoid. I spoke to her loudly today- "Brooke, you're walking INTO PEOPLE" - when she skittered across the pavement, and that bought us five minutes of hiding her face in mum's and my legs, and big crocodile tears. Absolutely convinced she's going to be In Trouble and, i dunno, banished forever? This happens 2-3 times a day.

She's also having difficulty with the idea that I am, in fact, travelling with them. "Amy, can you eat with us today?" Where else do you think I'm gonna eat, kid? We're in the same car! On the same holiday! Being paid for by the same parents!

In addition to the hat crisis, I accidentally bought tickets for Duxford Flying Legends 'Meet the Fighters' in September instead of regular Flying Legends. [personal profile] liv, if you see this, please enquire of your people if three adult and one child ticket for the 10th of Sept would be of use to them. I think young B would be into it.
highlyeccentric: Manly cooking: Bradley James wielding a stick-mixer (Manly cooking)
I said in the locked post that I made an amazing pasta. It is amazing and I would encourage you to try it.

Diet and accessibility notes )

What you need and what you do with it )
highlyeccentric: A woman in an A-line dress, balancing a book on her head, in front of bookshelves (Make reading sexy)
Currently reading: For work, still La Belle Hélène de Constantinople. For funsies, alternating between Ken Liu's 'The Paper Menagerie and other Stories' and Heather Rose Jones' 'The Mystic Marriage'. I'm also working on a recording of 'The Night Fairy' for little sis' birthday.

Recently finished:

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I loved this. I wasn't sure what it would have to offer that Oranges hadn't already covered - much of what I liked about the first half was the same as stuff I liked about Oranges. Not the narrative but the ways of phrasing and framing things. And that carried through into the second half - Winterson's ways of talking about literature, madness, family, and so on. I have highlighted many bits for savouring later.



Dealing with Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles, #1)Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This was the most adorable thing I have read for quite some time. I shall purchase more asap.



Daughter of Mystery (Alpennia, #1)Daughter of Mystery by Heather Rose Jones

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


WELL.

What I expected: a decent pulp romance in a typically melodramatic pseudo-medieval setting, held together but juuuuust enough world-building to float the romantic drama.

What I got: a coherent, well-built 17th-century setting (identifiable as 17th c by dress, weaponry, and references to the 'French Wars'), a neatly plotted family drama, surprisingly complex legal sub-plots, and a reasonably well-structured magical-realist take on saint's cults, all laced together in an engaging and compelling fashion.

It's not dense - it's not a masterpiece of high fantasy or a historical fiction epic. But it's GOOD.

Peculiarly, the element I was most disappointed with was the romance plot. I simply wasn't convinced by one half of the pairing - I could see that one of them had fallen in love with the other, but it felt like steps were missing on the other side. I was also super disappointed with the 'rides into the sunset' ending, which... no. Everything previously established in this 'verse says you can't just DO that - neither pick up an heiress and ride into the sunset with her, nor in fact live out of 'one purse' as two unmarried persons! I'm also not convinced by the character work leading to the notion that either party would *want* to do that. Newsflash, universe: you can in fact have a lifelong partnership without complete financial interdependence! And in until very recently many if not all same-sex partnerships would have done just that - either because one of them depended primarily on the other (woman and 'companion'), or because from a more stable footing there simply was no legal capacity or need to effect such merger. If you aren't being married, then neither of you is property of the other, so *you do not need to utterly merge your financial and legal persons*, and you quite likely can't do so if you wish to!



Up Next: Hmm, well, I have another Phryne Fisher book for the UK trip - I probably need to make a few more kobo purchases before the card it's attached to expires (parents are bringing me the replacement, but it'll take some faffing around to activate the card).

Music notes:

I am suddenly and drastically obsessed with Amy MacDonald. Have purchased the 'This is the life' double album; have my eye on the orchestral collab as well.
highlyeccentric: A photo of myself, around 3, "reading" a Miffy book (Read Miffy!)
Currently Reading: For work, 'La Belle Hélène de Constantinople', which might possibly be the most disturbing of the Constance narratives. For dubious values of 'fun', 'Epistemology of the Closet'. For Literachur, Stead's 'For Love Alone' (finally hit pt 3). For actual fun, Lady Caroline Lamb's 'Glenarvon', which is melodramatic and hilarious.

Recently Finished:

The Portrait of a LadyThe Portrait of a Lady by Henry James

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I think this was my second complete re-read, and I did not expect to devour the last seven chapters in a single sitting and cry my eyes out.

On first reading I *hated* the second half, but this time around I am impressed and chilled by the accuracy in the depiction of an emotionally abusive relationship. (I think I recognised it as accurate, on first reading, but found it difficult to engage with.)



Budget Bytes: Over 100 Easy, Delicious Recipes to Slash Your Grocery Bill in HalfBudget Bytes: Over 100 Easy, Delicious Recipes to Slash Your Grocery Bill in Half by Beth Moncel

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I love the blog, but the cookbook is a little disappointing. Both the dishes I've tried so far turned out poorly, and the book doesn't seem to offer much that the blog doesn't.



Special Topics in Calamity PhysicsSpecial Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I have absolutely no idea what to make of this book.

Things I liked about it: the narrative voice, the parenthetical citations and peculiar historical/ornithological/literary references used to describe setting and characters. The artifice of it all. I liked the artifice of 'highly literate overwrought narrator', with the current of humour running through it. The timeline - a murder mystery ought to open with the death, but instead it opened long after the death, and skipped back, so you knew someone WOULD die, and the narrative invited the reader to begin sleuthing before the protag did.

Things I disliked about it: Nothing in particular. Well. Hannah's conduct vis-a-vis students made me uncomfortable; the fact the POV character went along with the whole drinking-and-depravity-high-school facade was annoying (but there would be no story if she hadn't). But I'm not sure the plot was actually *good*. The final 1/4 seemed rushed. I'm not sure the fact that her dad was *actually abusive* was sufficiently engaged with.



Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I loved this. I wasn't sure what it would have to offer that Oranges hadn't already covered - much of what I liked about the first half was the same as stuff I liked about Oranges. Not the narrative but the ways of phrasing and framing things. And that carried through into the second half - Winterson's ways of talking about literature, madness, family, and so on. I have highlighted many bits for savouring later.



Up Next: I just got copies of 'Dealing with Dragons' (Wrede) and 'Lavinia' (LeGuin), so one of those, probably!

Current/Recent Music notes:

Haven't purchased any new ones, but got K to send me a back-catalogue of MP3s from old SUMS concerts. The Motzart Requiem was particularly soothing last week, so I thought I should acquire more like that. Still very much in love with Gillian Welch, and developed a brief fixation on 90s Tina Arena over the weekend. Might need more like that.
highlyeccentric: French vintage postcard - a woman in feminised army uniform of the period (General de l'avenir)
Made as a post to Facebook, because... I suspect many of my friends and relations are unaware how prevalent it is, as a background hum, even in my relatively non-threatening-to-straight-people life.

Earlier today, a friend remarked: “I don’t understand. The way you are reacting, it’s almost like you knew someone in the club.”

Here’s the thing you need to understand about every LGBT person in your family, your work, and your circle of friends:

We’ve spent most of our lives being aware that we are at risk.

When you hear interviewers talking to LGBT folks and they say “It could have been here. It could have been me,” they aren’t exaggerating. I don’t care how long you’ve been out, how far down your road to self acceptance and love you’ve traveled, we are always aware that we are at some level of risk.


From this longer post by [tumblr.com profile] alexdarke.

Look, I don't talk much about homophobic harassment, because to be honest I get so little of it. (I get erasure and the unfun experience of having to explain that bisexuality is not "only half gay", instead.) Unlike this guy, I haven't spent most of my life at risk: I catapulted suddenly into those risks at twenty-one, and figured that's the price I pay for the safe refuge of the queer community and the infinitely promising, hopeful, joyful ways of building a self and a life that offered me. Queerness has been overwhelmingly positive, to me. I came out but more importantly came *in*.

And yet: it happens. I cut my hair and gained so much in terms of self-presentation, the way people read me - and I gained guys swearing "fuck off, dyke" at me on buses if they thought I was looking in the direction of their girlfriend.

When I was dating a woman, we'd be drunk and making out at bus stops - which was tacky, sure, but we didn't just get disgusted looks. We got groups of guys stopping to wolf-whistle, harass us, make jokes about "joining in". (We thought this was hilarious at the time: we were <25 and drunk and thought we were invincible)

Hell, when I was straight, I used to walk down King St hand-in-hand or arm-in-arm with my college friends without batting an eyelid. And as far as I recall, no one ever batted an eyelid at us. Pairs of young femme presumably-straight girls giggling arm in arm. Perfectly normal. I remember distinctly that in 2010, I was doing that again - walking with [personal profile] kayloulee in Surry Hills, not that far from Oxford St, and I was holding her hand for some reason (we weren't dating. We aren't dating. She likes to make sure I don't walk into traffic, though), and realised: we were getting Looks. We didn't look like a pair of straight undergrads, we looked like a baby butch and her girlfriend. I'd accepted Looks as just something *I* had to deal with, but the realisation that I, by being visibly queer, was putting my best friend in danger? That was pretty sobering.

I don't go to nightclubs that much. But every city I move to, I find the gay bar. I know where the gay bar is in Geneva, and the lesbian cafe-bar. I don't go to parties or dance nights, but when I'm lonely I end up there on my own, comforted somehow by the knowledge that these are *my people*, even if I know none of them by name or face.

Addenda from the FB comments:

All of these things are on a continuum with the cocktail of awfulness that apparently lead Omar Maseen to shoot 100-odd people in a nightclub in Florida last weekend. Even if he was, as seems increasingly likely, acting in part out of self-hatred and internal conflict over his sexuality. Perhaps especially if: a man who is chill about his heterosexuality and masculinity is not a man who needs to abuse dykes on buses, or shoot queers in bars.
highlyeccentric: Demon's Covenant - Kitchen!fail - I saw you put rice in the toaster (Demon's Covenant - kitchen!fail)
Adapted, with what I call success, from Anna Jones' A Modern Way To Eat:

Dietary and accessibility notes )

What you need and what you do with it )

This makes about 5 servings. It's sort of like vegetarian harira, which means I'm going to be disappointed in the way the frozen portions turn out, I suspect.

ED: NOW WITH ACTUALLY MENTIONING THE LEMONS.
highlyeccentric: Ravenclaw: how do you spell "unfuckable" in Latin? (Ravenclaw - unfuckable in latin)
[personal profile] monksandbones, any other stray Latinists, halp? (13th c hagiography)

Semel aut secundo vel tertio flagitatus a vobis, ac si non esset Propheta in Israël, ut [Col. 0479F] ad ædificationem Virginum & generationis venturæ devotionem augendam, Matris vestræ, videlicet S. Dympnæ Virginis & Martyris, passionis historiam, quæ per eorum desidiam, qui tunc erant, nondum sacræ litterarum memoriæ commendata, sub modio silentii latuerat nimis diu; de vulgari eloquio in Latinum redigerem idioma; crebro mecum deliberans acquiescere formidavi.

What I'm getting from this

Once, or a second indeed a third time it has been demanded by you, that [for the edification of virgins and the augmentation of the devotion of generations to come], the story of the passion of your mother, that is St Dympna Virgin and Martyr [SUBORDINATE CLAUSES*], I should render from the vulgar tongue into Latin idiom; [SOMETHING ABOUT AGREEMENTS**].

That's my main clause, right?

* Subordinate clauses: I want this to say "which, through their laziness, which they were [doing, practicing], not yet committed to the sacred memory of literature, had lain under a bushel very much for a long time in silence" . Does that... work? I assume the laziness is being done or practiced by the people of the monastery or something?

** "often deliberating with me i was afraid to agree"??? Wtf?? Or is that deliberating with MYSELF I was afraid to agree (to this request)? That might work, the next line goes on about being presumptuous etc.

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