Welcome!

Aug. 31st, 2015 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.

Fact

Nov. 22nd, 2014 06:03 pm
highlyeccentric: A bare-chested man punching the air: ladies' stay-up stockings on his arm (Lingerie Fuck You)
I am really enjoyin' the album Pretty In Scarlett by Murder Ballads. Featuring some folk songs, some prog-rock, and The Ballad of Captain America's Disapproving Face.

I reckon [profile] kabarett ought to check it out. Possibly also the rest of you.
highlyeccentric: A photo of myself, around 3, "reading" a Miffy book (Read Miffy!)
I appear to have read enough books in the past week to warrant a post today, rather than my usual fortnightly update.

What are you currently reading? Love in the Time of Global Warming, which hasn't get *grabbed* me. Plus a few things started and languisihing: House of Leaves, in particular. Still working through HP4 in french audiobook.

What did you recently finish?
Agnes GreyAgnes Grey by Anne Brontë

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I rather liked this - I found Agnes a sympathetic and admirable character, and enjoyed watching her grow in strength and certainty.

I wasn't entirely impressed with the conclusion, however. I felt like narrative threads were left unresolved - the discourse on education, for instance, left hanging by the entire disengagement with the actual running of the school. Agnes' lack of friends was resolved by her finding a suitable husband, rather than by she and her mother establishing themselves in the school and their new town.


Stone Butch BluesStone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Well *that* was a lot more compelling than I had expected. By the title, and the cover design, I had sort of expected something very... blokey. Jack Kerouac for dykes. Routine dismissals of women/femininity. An emotionally unengaging narrator.

There were elements of that - Bring your butch woes to the femme's laps! - but more complex, and throughout the novel that element was more deeply interrogated than I had expected. At key points it was possible to distinguish between the *narrative/authorital* ethic and the protagonist's - eg, I was pretty sure one was supposed to see that Theresa was right about 'Butches need women's lib' even as we saw why Jess was never likely to darken the doors of a campus meeting.

I wasn't expecting to read this in one sitting and weep over it, but I did.

I would not recommend this book if you're already feeling pissed about toxic masculinity, though.


Raising Steam (Discworld, #40)Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This was great fun, but somehow lacking. The 'train is a live goddess' idea didn't seem sufficiently developed, for one thing. The whole train chase lead to a bit of an anti-climax in Uberwald. Some surprise twists were not foreshadowed at all - there was little of that 'OH so that's what that side reference was!'.

I liked it. Were it not that it was Pratchett I would perhaps have adored it. I do like what he's doing with the goblins, and I hope the goblin underground railway turns up later on. But it reads like... good Discworld fanfiction? By someone who can imitate Pratchett pretty well but isn't as funny or as brilliant. I feel mean saying that - he's doing a great job for someone with a degenerative neurological disorder! But there we go. He's past his prime. I hope for more world-building in the absence of super sparky narratives.



What will you read next? Honestly, not sure. Whatever comes to hand?

Ed: and yep, I finished Stone Butch Blues a day and a bit before hearing about Feinberg's death. Nice timing, huh?
highlyeccentric: Ariadne drawing mazes (Inception - Ariadne drawing)
[profile] kabarett wanted an update about the historic trams excursion day, Nov 2nd. The problem with this is that my modus operandi for transport history has been to enjoy the pretty and rely on a certain gentleman to have the relevant geeky information. If I am going to keep up this hobby I may need to actually learn and remember details of engines and so on. Hm.

Here is a tram from, I think, the 50s-80s:

I think it is this motorcar with an orange paint on, but I am not certain. I did not ride on it.

I did ride on this tram:

I believe it was in use from 1902 until the early 1970s.
More photos, minimal commentary )
highlyeccentric: Dessert first - pudding in a teacup (Dessert first)
It would be very good for me to talk about something other than my to-do list and my breakup. I can't possibly do 30 posts, but please to be giving me 4-6 prompts. Be aware that if you ask something TMI I might answer it under access locks.

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
highlyeccentric: A photo of myself, around 3, "reading" a Miffy book (Read Miffy!)
Served early, because I won't have time throughout the week.

Currently Reading: Harry Potter et la Coupe de Feu, on hold while I'm away. House of Leaves, likewise on hold, and it's really not engaging me. I've just started Anne Bronte's Agnes Grey, and am liking that rather a lot. For vaguely work-related purposes I have 'Asking the Right Questions', which is crappier than expected, and 'The Lesbian Premodern'.

Recently Finished:

Monstrous Affections: An Anthology of Beastly TalesMonstrous Affections: An Anthology of Beastly Tales by Kelly Link

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I bought this for the SRB short story 'Wings in the Morning', companion piece to her free serial Turn of the Story, and it did not disappoint. I read it first, and then again, and then twice when i came past it reading the book cover-to-cover, and once at the end. <3<3

Wings in the Morning was adorable fluff, but much of the rest of the collection was unexpectedly hard-hitting. Teen pregnancies and abusive families came up surprisingly often. There was one abortion and one miscarriage. I particularly liked the story about the vampire who worked for a nursing home in order to be around people his own age (and feed from them, naturally). The was a story about a girl who heard the kraken sing which did *fantastic* things with unreliable narration vis-a-vis the kraken while presenting her perspective on her abusive stepfather as utterly reliable.

One story I was *not* happy with involved a white american girl on tour with her folk-singing father who, while in New Zealand, meets the embodied spirit of the local river and, after forewarning the folk festival of a coming flood, inspires her father to take up the anti-development cause of the local maori activists. That left a sour taste in my mouth - double whammy of -american sees the world- and -white people save the day-. If it had been a NZ pakeha singer's daughter, or, hey, an indigenous person from somewhere *else*, I'd have given it more credit. (I reckon some depth could have been added to the girl's relationship with her father if her mother had been native american and the father the hippie white folk singer, too.)


Burial RitesBurial Rites by Hannah Kent

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Wow. The blurb on this book did not sell it to me at all, but I really liked Kent's op-ed pieces during the Stella Prize season. As a friend's copy had fallen into my hands I bumped it up the to-read list. I was expecting to read it slowly, over several weeks, as one does with Literachur. Nope. I read all of it in one sitting with half a bottle of wine and sobbed my heart out over the ending.

I *loved* the sense of place, and the gritty detail of daily life. The sausage-making scene stands out particularly as one in which plot, character and setting all spin together in intricate detail without ever being over-burdened by description.

I got to the end and realised the damn thing was Kent's PhD project and huffed for a bit - if anyone other than me cries over my PhD it'll be because I bribed them into editing. Further research suggests that Kent got the novel published but hasn't finished the doctorate itself, so I feel slightly better.


The Inheritance of LossThe Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This was a *beautiful* book, with a gorgeous sense of place, and a deft way of handling the borderline between realism, whimsy, and religious practice, as each is given different weights by the various characters. However, there was something unsatisfying about it - some characters were under-developed, chiefly the love interests of the judge and Sai. Sai was annoyingly passive and her resolve to 'leave' at the end of the novel was unconvincing. HOW would she leave? With what, to do what? Given she had two tutors and a cambridge-educated grandfather, what were they educating her *for*? Why was no one suggesting she go to university? That could have added another layer to Gyan and Sai's relationship, if he knew he was tutoring her for entrance to a better university than he would ever be able to access.

I liked the expat storylines best - those seemed to have fewest plotholes, for one thing.


To Read Next:
I've just bought 'Love in the Time of Global Warming', will probably start that on the plane. I'm expecting 'Stone Butch Blues' and 'The Harp in the South' to arrive in the post soonish.
highlyeccentric: Demon's Covenant - Kitchen!fail - I saw you put rice in the toaster (Demon's Covenant - kitchen!fail)
Liberally adapted from a recipe at the roasted root.

Diet & accessibility notes )

What you need and what you do with it )

I'm finding the eating-stewed-apple-chunks part weird. Whether weird enough to motivate me to puree the soup in future remains to be seen...
highlyeccentric: A photo of myself, around 3, "reading" a Miffy book (Read Miffy!)
Currently Reading: Harry Potter et la Coupe de Feu, lis par Bernard Giradeu. Nothing much else that's making any progress.

Recently Finished:

Harry Potter et la Chambre des Secrets: Character voices still annoying. Ron and Harry even stupider than I remembered. If Mr Weasley left his car outside, he was going to COME BACK FOR IT. Wait for him to do so, you idiots. Also, did it not occur to you that *a whole ton of people trapped on platform 9 3/4* is a problem you should alert someone to?

Harry Potter et le Prisonier d'Azkaban: Character voices less annoying this time! Rejoice!

Unmade (The Lynburn Legacy, #3)Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I think I need to get used to the fact that I will never agree with SRB about what is a good ending to a disturbing dubiously-consensual telepathic love bonding plot, and just embrace the fact that I adore all the twists and turns along the way.

Also: family! Snark! Sarcastic lesbians! Yes good. These books are nowhere near as compelling as the Demon's Lexicon trilogy, IMHO, but they are delightful and I shall read them again.

Marvel Superhero Team-Up anthology: This was full of lulz, from the hilariously homoerotic (Cable and Deadpool visit Intercourse, PA, and lie to one another) to the almost-incomprehensible-without-backstory (something involving Black Panther, hot girls, a white guy, and aliens) and the utterly absurd (three vikings looking like they walked out of Asterix comics try to rescue a maiden's imperilled fiancé and get into several fights. The maiden finds her own fiancé. One of the Vikings, known as somethingorother the Vast, defeats people by virtue of superior body mass). I kinda liked a complex X-men episode which I didn't understand (Wolverine is angry at some guy for breaking some girl's heart and therefore gets him into a fight?), because two of its less-explored bits involved lady superheroes having angst and either comforting one another, or fighting robots. The manpain and bar fights were unnecessary, more ladies crying and smashing robots please.

Also, I am pleased to report that Wolverine informed us that standard NYC business insurance covers superhero damage.

For work, I just finished Silence, a delightful 13th c cross-dressing romance. It's great! The contrast between the prologue, a passionate romantic story involving a guy who killed a dragon and a girl who cured him, and the main plot, in terms of treatment of marriage, sexual and romantic attraction, and... well, women, basically, is fascinating and will go into thesis.

To Read Next: For work, a chunk of the Vulgate Estoire Merlin, which I spent several days trying to track down (ie, i knew it EXISTED, but not what title it had been published under or when), and finally succeeded thanks to archive.org. For funsies... perhaps Burial Rites, which Jo has loaned to me.
highlyeccentric: French vintage postcard - a woman in feminised army uniform of the period (General de l'avenir)
I am really pleased with what I'm putting up on [tumblr.com profile] speculumannorum these days. I had a bit of a hiatus after the breakup, but I've taken tons of great photos lately.

Examples:

photos, yo )
highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (Default)
This is what I am eatin' for lunch today. It is tasty. Adapted from a recipe at The Roasted Root

Dietary accessibility type 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: I'm listening through Harry Potter et la Chambre des Sècrets, which is very enjoyable and good listening practice.

Reading Monstrous Affections on the Kobo app - a paranormal anthology that I bought b/c of a Sarah Rees Brennan story, and which is turning out to be surprisingly heavy stuff. Teen pregnancy, twice so far; death of a parent, once; world war two; abusive step-parents and attempted assault; the whole works.

On Aldiko app, reading The Lesbian Premodern, which is really interesting but very tough going in pdf format.

Puttering through House of Leaves (slow, well done, but not something I'm absorbed in), the Marvel team-up anthology, and Asking the Right Questions.

Recently Finished:

A Little PrincessA Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I re-read slash listened through this in free audiobook format from audiolivre.fr. It was all rather adorable, although reading again as an adult i cringed and cringed at the classism. The book is not in favour of maltreatment of the poor, per se, but it *is* vastly in favour of the rich staying rich or getting richer - Sarah deserves a life of luxury because that's what she was born to.

I found myself wishing for an alternate story where the diamond mine never paid out, but Uncle Tom searched out his friends' daughter anyway, because of a sense of justice, and he and Sarah have to adopt a lower-middle class lifestyle - and Sarah's experience as a pauper has taught her to value small comforts so she is able to comfort Uncle Tom and change his perspective or something equally twee but less... gross.



Harry Potter a l'Ecole des SorciersHarry Potter a l'Ecole des Sorciers by J.K. Rowling

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


It was delightful to revisit The Philosopher's Stone, and excellent listening practice for me - more colloquial and faster dialogue than A Little Princess. But oh my goodness the comedian who does the reading has the MOST ANNOYING VOICE himself and then manages to magnify the annoyance for all the characters. Gaaah.



To Read Next: More Harry Potter en francais, sur youtube. Expecting a new SRB novel soon, and have ordered Stone Butch Blues.
highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (Default)
One week late, it's What Are You Reading Wednesday:

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading? 'House of Leaves', the marvel team-up antho, and 'The Lesbian Premodern'.

What did you recently finish reading?

The School at the Chalet, Jo of the Chalet School, and The Princess of the Chalet School, by Elinor M Brent-Dyer, plus assorted sequels thereof.
Where were these all my childhood (answer: out of print in Australia)? I adored them, although the original conciet bugged me with its classism. Oh noes, too poor to live the lifestyle to which we are accustomed in England - instead of getting a grip, let's move to Austria where everyone's so poor we'll be luxiously upper-middle-class by contrast! That thread runs throughout all the books, but alongside it there is a streak of faith in the ability of teenagers to engage in 'adult' problems of money and morality, as with Jo's involvement in Madge's decisions concerning Juliette. I found the Princess plot hackneyed, and was totally perplexed when the kidnap device was re-used later on. I think I liked The Head Girl of the Chalet School best of the lot, because Grizel was a flawed and difficult character from the outset.

Bush StudiesBush Studies by Barbara Baynton

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Huh. These were fascinating: mostly character studies of fragile people living in poverty and isolation. Most were women, but one study concerned an elderly man awaiting the return of the young couple who lived with or near him - his ruminations on the younger man's betrayal of him by taking a wife interwoven with and marked unreliable by his acute fear of the stranger he expected to soon assault him. I was least interested by a study of a rural preacher, and by one of a city woman travelling to become housekeeper on a remote station - the latter was soaked in classism and racism.
thoughts on class, gender, abuse. Caveat lector. )



The Night FairyThe Night Fairy by Laura Amy Schlitz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


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.

What will you read next?
I am expecting Unmade in the post soon, and might also by the most recent antho in which Sarah Rees Brennan was published. Otherwise... it might be time for more Henry James?
highlyeccentric: A photo of myself, around 3, "reading" a Miffy book (Read Miffy!)
What Are You Reading Wednesday:

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

Baraba Baynton's Bush Studies and an anthology of Marvel superhero team-ups.

What did you recently finish reading?

Apples & OrangesApples & Oranges by Jan Clausen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I found this memoir fascinating and moving and very much the sort of thing that I have been craving when assembling a to-read pile of bisexual angst.

As to be expected, I found Clausen's sweeping, two-sentence dismissal of the bisexual movement to be quite aggravating: especially since after that two-sentence mention she proceeded onwards to write as if there are no bisexuals to be found anywere in lesbian, feminist or activist circles. It's one thing if bisexual is not how she'd describe herself: it's insulting to dismiss a large swathe of fellow bisexuals while complaining how isolated you feel as a neither-straight-nor-gay person.

But. As long as I put that annoyance aside, I found I agreed with much of what Clausen had to say: about sexuality, about the dynamics of People in Groups, about understanding oneself in relation to others and the world.


Murder and Mendelssohn (Phryne Fisher #20)Murder and Mendelssohn by Kerry Greenwood

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This was an ABSOLUTE HOOT. I loved Greenwood's depiction of the choristers, and the guest appearance by Aunty Mark. I found the narration unexpectedly witty, the pace slower than expected, and that I have evidently missed important characters and backstory by only watching the TV show so far. I shall start reading the others in the series soon!


Everything Leads to YouEverything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The writing here was compelling and deft: it's first person without being melodramatic; the metaphors built up between film, set design, and life/relationships were clear without being heavily drawn. I read an interview in which LaCour said an early draft had been very heavy on the religous persecution of gay teens and subsequent angst, and that she had almost stripped it out in the final write-up. I think that was a very good choice: if she'd dug deeper into Ava's trauma, she would have needed to resolve it somehow - and, as the protagonist realises, that can't be done just by giving her a job in the movies and a fancy house. In addition, I thought the matter-of-fact way in which everyone took the fact of fundamentalist homophobia is... pretty damn realistic, actually.

My chief complaint is that neither Emi's internal perspective nor the external facts of the girls' lives (paid internships, freedom of movement, etc) seemed to match up to 'just finishing high school'. As school never features, the graduation in question could more plausibly have been the end of undergrad.



Plus a bunch of books for work, and friend L's Chalet School omnibus, which will show up in a later review post.

What do you think you'll read next?

Perhaps I'll buy another Miss Fisher book on the kobo?
highlyeccentric: (Swings)
Where we last left this this thread, I'd just got back from a whirlwind trip to London.

Since then I have done a number of things and NOT done a number of other things. I'm in the middle of moving house (currently nested in Friend L's place. Friend L is the best) and between housing instability and god knows what else it's been a vr stressed few months. I really don't want to rehash it all, even the good bits, so let's just call this a photo post.

Selected photos from selected places )

This has been Amy's life in summary. In summary: mostly ducks.
highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (Default)
Elusive affection: Proposed session for Leeds IMC2015 July 6-9
Organisers: Amy Brown (Université de Genève, [twitter.com profile] amisamileandme), Regan Eby (Boston College)
Call for Papers (two speakers sought)
Deadline for abstract submission: 20th September
Send abstracts to: amy.brown@unige.ch (will be forwarded to Regan Eby from there)


What is affection? Can we reliably locate or describe the features of affection between medieval persons, real or fictional?
Love of God, romantic love, and love between monastic peers or loyal knights: these and other kinds of love are well attested across the range of medieval sources and periods, but historians of friendship recognise the difficulty of bridging the gap between felt affection and the literary tropes of love. Love might be spoken or written of in situations where the parties were unlikely to feel positively toward one another, such as in reconciliations and peace treaties. In other cases, sources might borrow from the scripts of romance, friendship at court, or family in order to characterise a peculiar relationship, such as an opposite-sex friendship. Some forms of affection might be indicated without reference to the vocabulary of love at all.
We invite medievalists from any period or discipline to propose a paper relating to the history of affection, unconventional affectionate bonds, or approaches to situations in which we have insufficient data for firm conclusions concerning the presence or absence of affection in lived experience. The abstract for Amy Brown’s paper (focusing on 14th c english romance) is below, and we would particularly like to complement this paper with evidence from other periods or other literary traditions.

Abstract of paper 'Sir Lancelot in the Friend Zone: strategies for limiting and offering affection in the Stanzaic Morte Arthur' )

Final note, especially since Amy intends to distribute this CFP to swiss colleagues: proposals for papers in English preferred, but we enthusiastically endorse the idea of panelists (esp. early career researchers) unaccustomed to working in English. Amy can volunteer moral support and/or editing assistance if helpful, and we will aim to moderate questions with opportunity for clarifications and translations as needed.
highlyeccentric: Book on a shelf, entitled "Oh God: What the Fuck (and other stories)" (Oh god what the fuck (and other tails))
And on the off-week of my fortnightly pattern, too. Time to catch up where I'd gotten behind.

What Are You Reading Wednesday:

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

For work: George Duby (ugh), and a book on Chrétien that was co-written by a cabal of lady scholars.
For funsies: Baraba Baynton's 'Bush Studies', on the alkido app; Jan Clausen's 'Apples and Oranges: My Journey Through Sexual Identity' (the latest in my bisexual angst reading list); and the audiolivre.fr recording of La Petite Princesse.

What did you recently finish reading?

Positive mention goes to the short story A Box, a Pocket, a Spaceman by E. Catherine Tobler at Lightspeed Magazine.

I don't normall review work reading, but these two are unusual:

The Navigation of Feeling: A Framework for the History of EmotionsThe Navigation of Feeling: A Framework for the History of Emotions by William M. Reddy

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Deserves special mention for being personally useful to think through as well as academically interesting.



Friends: Why Men and Women are From the Same PlanetFriends: Why Men and Women are From the Same Planet by Lisa Gee

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


This was a really weird read. I ought to have liked it - it's about some of my favourite topics, through a mix of literary, sociological and interview-based evidence. I liked the connections Gee drew between the way friendship functions and the way cross-sex kin bonds function. But actually the book drove me bonkers: it was insufficiently critical of its secondary sources, sprinkled with evo-psych, and tried to blend feminist thinking with accepting the premises of "The Surrendered Wife" (which I haven't read) and "In Defense of Modesty" (which i have, and it too pulls that weird trick of sort of accepting feminist logic and then offering regressive solutions).

I also finished with 'Love, Friendship and Faith in Medieval and Early Modern Europe' and Yasmina F-J's 'La Jeune Fille et L'amour'.

From the nominally fun reading list:

Fat Is a Feminist IssueFat Is a Feminist Issue by Susie Orbach

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This was *weird*. It was an interesting read, which posed engaging questions about gender, body issues, weight, and food. I don't think of myself as someone with disordered eating habits, nor particularly angsty about my body (less so than many women, I think), but it got me thinking about the food/self-care axis again, which is always relevant when I'm depressed.
Thoughts it gave rise to, and thoughts on the dated nature of the book )


Me Talk Pretty One DayMe Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This was pretty delightful. The opening essay - in which the Agent comes for David during his fifth-grade afternoon lessons and takes him away for endless lessons in failing to pronounce the letter "s" - was bright, engaging and hooky. I liked the second part, which mostly deals with the horrors of learning French, a lot more though, for what I assume are obvious reasons.

I was mostly bored with Sedaris' tales of his drug-fueled escapades, and it bothered me that he didn't seem to acknowledge that, if his father really does twit his sisters constantly about their weight, *this is really dickish behaviour*. It seemed like he wanted to celebrate Amy Sedaris' victory over their dad in that arena without actually condemning Dad's behaviour, which felt unbalanced.

What do you think you'll read next? I've packed up most of my books, including the to-read pile, for moving, so I suspect it'll be something on the Kobo. Or something at friend L's place: she has a copy of Mrs Beeton's!
highlyeccentric: A photo of myself, around 3, "reading" a Miffy book (Read Miffy!)
What Are You Reading Wednesday:

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?
According to the all-encompassing wisdom of Goodreads, I'm still going on the French of A Little Princess (little progress this past week) and Perrault's Contes. I've got just a wee bit of Yasmina F-J's monograph to finish, and have started a collaborative monograph entitled 'Thinking Through Chrétien de Troyes'. Oh, and I'm working quickly through Thomas' Tristan. My leisure reading at the moment is Barbara Baynton's 'Bush Studies', which I'm finding fascinating - every bit as good as Lawson, entirely different to Patterson, and why don't I have a collectors edition of HER stories to go with theirs?

What did you recently finish reading?
LOTS OF THINGS. For work, Reddy's 'The Navigation of Feeling', Hunter (ed), 'Love, Friendship and Faith in Europe 1300-1800', and Lisa M. Gee 'Friends: why men and women are from the same planet' (mediocre). For funsies, 'Fat is a Feminist Issue' and Sedaris' 'Me Talk Pretty One Day'.

Proper reviews will show up in later posts - see below for catch-up reviews from last fortnight.

I gave up entirely on two books: 'The Autobiography of Alice B Toklas', which wasn't, it was an annoying panegric to Gertrude Stein's social circle; and 'Baby Remember My Name: New Queer Girl Writing', which after 3 stories failed to hold my interest. I would've liked it at 15, or even 20. But I'm bored with narratives in which the protag's identity is the only thing that matters, and with excessive use of second person in lieu of actually establishing bases for the reader to identify with the protag.

What do you think you'll read next?
Lots of reading for article-fixing purposes. Not sure about fun. What's fun?




Reviews of books finished July 27-Aug 5 214:

Closer To Home: Bisexuality & Feminism by Elizabeth Reba Weise

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This was a book I very much needed to read. As with all the other 20th c bi writing I've read lately, it did annoy me for its almost total ignorance of trans* issues or even existence. HOWEVER. Good for bi-feminist thinkyface )


The Best Australian Poems 2013The Best Australian Poems 2013 by Lisa Gorton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This was good, and many of the poems were good - but I found the A-Z by title organisation offputting and lazy. My engagement with this book dropped drastically when I finished my Poem a day for 2013 project, but that does not mean I didn't enjoy it all the same.


The Grey King (The Dark is Rising, #4)The Grey King by Susan Cooper

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Delightful, as usual. It was interesting to see Will both on his own, and more confident than in book 1. His dawning awareness that the 'light' are as manipulative as the 'dark' is also interesting, although I doubt the series will push that too far. I liked Bran as a character, and the weight the narrative gave to him and his father.

There were very few women in this book. That was a bit of a bummer.


Almodis the PeaceweaverAlmodis the Peaceweaver by Tracey Warr

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Oh now THIS was delightful. Reasonably realistic historical fiction, wahey! )
highlyeccentric: Prize winning moody cow (Moody Cow)
English gent is on his way back to his stomping grounds (new job seems to suit him - as he said, 'finite tasks! They're lowly paid, but you know what you have to do and when it's done!'). We went on espotitions, saw many ducks, and failed to aquire a library book from the most annoying library.

Proper update owing. Pictures queued up to deliver 2 per day at [tumblr.com profile] speculumannorum/[syndicated profile] speculumannorum_feed.
highlyeccentric: Teacup - text: while there's tea there's hope (while there's tea there's hope)
I finally met the source of the local Sad Cat noises. Sad Cat leveled up to Woeful Cat today, for today he was taken on holiday in a cat carrier.

Details as recounted just now:

[8:24:40 PM] highlyeccentric: did you get my important kitty related text message?
[8:32:46 PM] Jonathan Jarrett: Yes, though how could you be sure it was holiday and not vet?
[8:33:05 PM] highlyeccentric: its owner told me!
[8:34:05 PM] highlyeccentric: with much tutting about how quand il est a la montagne, il est toujours hereux, et ici, il est hereux, mais le voyage, le voyage...
[8:34:40 PM] highlyeccentric: we engaged in an extensive pantomime about le pauvre petit chat, le torture de voyage, c'est horrible! Horrible!
[8:44:11 PM] highlyeccentric: i enquired of m'sieur le chat ca va, and he said unto me 'yoooowwwwl'
[8:45:24 PM] highlyeccentric: truly, a great insult to the dignity of cat was done today

So that's one plus to my French skills. Can now pantomime sympathy for cats.
highlyeccentric: A photo of myself, around 3, "reading" a Miffy book (Read Miffy!)
What Are You Reading Wednesday:

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

What Are You Currently Reading?

Oooh, hmm. According too goodreads, for fun I am reading:
- Frances Hodgson Burnett, A Little Princess. I'm actually listening to it as a free french language audiobook via litteratureaudio.com, who are my new best buddies.
- Perrault's Contes, also french audiobook.
- Orbach, Fat is a Feminist Issue. Neither French nor audiobook. It is *very* interesting, although not what I expected. I had seen it cited as a foundation text for 'health at every size/ fat positivity'. Imagine my surprise to find it's a self-help manual for compulsive eaters, which would likley get anyone laughed out of the fatosphere now.

For work:
- Lisa Gee, Friends: Why Men and Women are from the Same Planet. This is pop sociology: well informed but not excellently analysed. Not well historicised and occasionally prone to evo-psych. BUT. It's nevertheless fascinating at pointing up intersections between approaches to friendship and to family. I suspect [personal profile] liv might find it interesting - or find the distinction made between 'instrumental' and 'affective' familial cultures useful, if only Gee had cited where she'd *got* that from.
- Yasmina Foehr-Janssens, La jeune fille et l'amour. Peer review took me to task for lack of francophone scholarship, and this is one of the few pieces that have come out since I did the basic research that might remedy that. Also Yasmina is likely to be on my final diss. panel, so it MIGHT help to read her stuff. Delighted to report that her prose is clear & lucid and not like wading through French scholarship often is.

What did you recently finish reading?

A lot of things, apparently.

Anne of Windy Poplars (Anne of Green Gables, #4)Anne of Windy Poplars by L.M. Montgomery

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Summary: "Anne befriends abusive elders, and various minor plots reinforce that women suffer if not married".

And yet. And yet. I really *liked* this book on re-read. I think because it's nice to see Anne as an adult, away from the romantic sub-plots of Anne of the Island. Anne's House of Dreams, where she's safely married, also has that upside. I find it odd how her professional life is treated - no apparent regret about giving up work? And for that matter her engagement - she doesn't even seem to THINK about saving up money for her house, trousseau, etc. Isn't even sewing for her trousseau? That's odd, especially given that money, savings, and household econcomics feature clearly in all the preceding books.



Anne of Avonlea (Anne of Green Gables, #2)Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This was good fun, as always. I enjoy seeing Anne as a professional/working adult, even though the book treats her as a girl still in most ways. I had somehow forgotten, or not linked up in my mind, how much this book influences my ideas about teaching.



Anne of Green Gables (Anne of Green Gables, #1)Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


As a teen I used to skip re-reading this book, because there was too much childish playing in it. On re-read, that only takes up half the book! It is weird how twelve-year-olds are 'little girls', and then very rapidly fifteen-year-old Anne is off to train as a teacher. I did a lot of checking and wiki-searching bits and pieces of the PEI education system and references that have always gone over my head, this time. The references to Home Children, for instance, I had never connected up with the matching Australian child migrant scheme.

Also, woah, casual racism! )


Visit Sunny Chernobyl: And Other Adventures in the World's Most Polluted PlacesVisit Sunny Chernobyl: And Other Adventures in the World's Most Polluted Places by Andrew Blackwell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Each individual chapter in this was fairly interesting - I particularly enjoyed the ones on Canadian & US oil towns. However, all together, one after the other: it gets boring. The latter half is also pulled down by the author's attempt to integrate his personal romantic woes into the narrative of his travels - it would be better if he had not bothered, as they don't constitute a narrative so much as a repeated whine.


I also finished 'Best Australian Poems 2013', 'Closer to Home: Bisexuality and Feminisms', Susan Cooper's 'The Grey King' and Tracey Warr's 'Almodis the Peaceweaver'. Running out of time this week - I'll review them properly in a later post.

What Will You Read Next?

I have a book of queer girl writings ('Baby Remember My Name'), and a Keiran Desai novel, and a rapid reading list for article revising purposes. Remains to be seen what takes precedence...

Profile

highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (Default)
highlyeccentric

November 2014

S M T W T F S
       1
2345678
9 101112131415
16 1718 192021 22
23242526272829
30      

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Nov. 29th, 2014 03:21 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios