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.
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...
highlyeccentric: Dessert first - pudding in a teacup (Dessert first)
8.30pm at the end of a long weekend and I'm finally bored with being alone and crocheting. So I considered 1. making a decadent dessert or 2. going running. Obviously #1 won.

Whisky-soaked fruit with chocolate sauce )
highlyeccentric: Demon's Covenant - Kitchen!fail - I saw you put rice in the toaster (Demon's Covenant - kitchen!fail)
Adapted from a leafy salad at 101 cookbooks

Accessibility & Dietary Notes )

What you need and what you do with it )

I served this as a side dish to a roast chicken, and then took the leftovers and cooked them into a risotto using the basic recipe I used here. Om nom nom.
highlyeccentric: Manly cooking: Bradley James wielding a stick-mixer (Manly cooking)
Adapted from a cold salad in Leanne Brown's Good and cheap.

Dietary and accessibility notes )

What you need and what you do with it )

I'm assuming this will store & keep overnight and be tasty cold. Note, the broccoli is still crunchy - if you prefer soft broccoli, perhaps steam in the microwave for a few min first.
highlyeccentric: Joie du livre - young girl with book (Joie du livre)
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?

I've just started William M. Reddy's The Navigation of Feeling, which appears to be one of the two foundation books for the history of emotions. It's interesting enough, so far.

For funsies, I'm wading through Closer to home: bisexuality and feminism, which is in part answering my need for feminist-oriented bisexual analysis. HOWEVER. It's from 1992. Most of the essays are super caught up in negotiating the tail end of 70s lesbian-feminist politics. None of them so far seem to want to question a rigid two-sex model. I want a new anthology addressing similar starting questions but taking in the full breadth of 21st-c gender & queer culture/politics.

I'm also re-reading Anne of Avonlea, in e-book format because I gave my hard copies to little sister when I left Aus. Disappointed that e-books of the less popular / retcon books aren't available on girlebooks - I have a yen to read Anne of Windy Poplars. I shall have to look further afield.

What did you recently finish reading?

I finally finished reading 'Friendship between women', have yet to annotate.

Also, I devoured two consecutive Ben Aaronovitch audiobooks, delighting my soul but... enabling my avoidant tendancies lately. I've crocheted a lot of blanket thanks to these books!

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

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I liked this one very much - the plot seemed tighter than that of preceding novels, although the actual whisperers under the ground weren't given enough space, I thought. I *love* that Aaronovitch has let his urban history/design geek run riot, giving Peter the plausible if thin excuse of an early aspiration to architecture. The high incidence of geek fiction/film jokes was also a bonus.


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

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Definitely his best yet, although clearly part one of a two-part plot, with obvious hook-through to the next book. Many things I liked, including Peter being taken down a few pegs )


What do you think you'll read next?
Honestly not sure. Perhaps 'Friends: Why Men and Women Are From the Same Planet'.
highlyeccentric: A woman in an A-line dress, balancing a book on her head, in front of bookshelves (Make reading sexy)
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?

This list is a bit shorter, finally. Still going on Sunny Chernobyl; have listened to a few more audio recordings from Charles Perrault's fairy tales - did I mention that Litteratureaudio.com is my new friend? Sadly there's very little on there that I've already read in English, and I'm not quite up to unseen novel-length French texts. But the Perrault tales are short and easily digestible.

I just started The autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, which is not an autobiography, since it happily proclaims to have been written by Gertrude Stein. It's enjoyable reading, but I'm not sure how to feel about the false-autobiography setup. If this was a man writing the "autobiography" of his wife we would all agree that was creepy and silencing of women, no?

What did you recently finish reading?

I Don't: A Christmas WishI Don't: A Christmas Wish by Kari Gregg

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


Well, this was *fun*, but... eh. )



Muriel at MetropolitanMuriel at Metropolitan by Miriam Tlali

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Odd but enjoyable book )



The Vicar Of BullhamptonThe Vicar Of Bullhampton by Anthony Trollope

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Now, this was an interesting read. difficult to pin down or sum up )



Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage: StoriesHateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage: Stories by Alice Munro

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really liked Munro's style here. Also the paper it was printed on was lovely )



Bisexuality: A Critical ReaderBisexuality: A Critical Reader by Merl Storr

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Interesting, useful, difficult )

What Will You Read Next?
Oh gosh, I don't know at this point. I have some more queer books on order, including a book on bisexual feminism, so it might be those. Or it might be something totally else.
highlyeccentric: Manly cooking: Bradley James wielding a stick-mixer (Manly cooking)
1. Curried cauliflower with almonds and green beans.
Or: most of the spices for aloo gobi, without the aloo.

Dietary and accessibility notes )

What you need and what you do with it )

Note: other spices that might be good include mustard seed, garam marsala, anything that's supposed to be in aloo gobi, and garlic.

2. Somewhere between iced tea and punch, for hot days

A variant on [twitter.com profile] msjackmonroe's Summer Odds and Ends Cooler. It's stuff. In a jug. That's tasty.

What I had and what I did with it )
highlyeccentric: (Sydney Bridge)
Hello hello it's time for another round-up post! Not sure that anyone reads them, but I having started I shall continue. As with previous such posts social media has probably given you some idea already...

Pictures, nattering, etc )
highlyeccentric: A woman in an A-line dress, balancing a book on her head, in front of bookshelves (Make reading sexy)
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?

New additions to this list since last fortnight:
- Pat O'Connor, Friendships Between Women, which is technically a work book (and proving unexpectedly useful re: work, given it's modern sociology) but is also giving me personal thinkythoughts.
- Merl Storr (ed), Bisexuality: A Critical Reader, which is technically personal reading but is giving me a crisis of theory. I'm up to bisexual epistemolgy, you see. WHAT IS A BISEXUAL ANYWAY? Ahem. I'm discovering a strong dislike of the way men write about bisexuality, and it's making me think difficult thoughts about heterosexual dating while queer.
- Trollope, The Vicar of Bullhampton was going along just fine except I really don't like Mary's new fiancé. I also don't like how everyone bullied her into almost accepting her other suitor, but the new guy is a whiny wet lettuce.

I also started listening to the fairy tales of Charles Perrault in French. Litteratureaudio.com is my new friend.

What did you recently finish reading?

Swiss Watching: Inside Europe's Landlocked IslandSwiss Watching: Inside Europe's Landlocked Island by Diccon Bewes

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Oh, I loved this book. So full of obscure facts! I liked Slow Train better, for having a more coherent thread, but this was fascinating and also quite useful for understanding what's going on around me.



MullumbimbyMullumbimby by Melissa Lucashenko

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This was an engaging, well-realised novel with a fantastic sense of place (no shit, a novel about indigenous australian culture has a strong sense of place). I also found it very demanding because of its very light narrative voice and reluctance to give narrative judgements )



Witchery, Etc by Rel: this is a zine-format 28-page minicomic, also being published page by page as a webcoming here. [personal profile] kayloulee sent it to me with a bundle of other swag from a con in Toronto. It's adorable! The webcomic is only 19 pages in, so if you like cute comics about witches who are neither good nor bad, and also about men with pumpkin heads, start following now!

And I finished Karras' Unmarriages. The book has the same easy-to-read style as Sexualites in Medieval Europe (although it's pitched slightly higher), but lacks the really punchy critical insights of her article-length work. I loved the historiographical introduction (*that* was punchy), and found the book as a whole interesting, but it was very... descriptive. I think that's what it aimed to be. To describe a whole bunch of options that weren't marriage. I would set it as a textbook / required reading in a heartbeat, but was a bit disappointed in it as cutting-edge scholarship. [personal profile] kayloulee should consider reading it, especially the chapter which is mostly reports from the Parisian church courts. Prime example of history as the craft of very slow gossip.

What will you read next? Hopefully I will FINISH some stuff. Sunny Chernobyl needs to go. The chances of me ordering 900 million books on contemporary bisexuality are also quite high, constrained only by my finances (the interlibrary system here doesn't have a great selection of anglophone queer theory, I wonder why?).
highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (Default)
My usual fortnightly WAYRW post would have been LAST week, but life happened. With prejudice.

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? The best thing about my current reading list is that it NO LONGER CONTAINS HIGH SCHOOL EXAM TEXTS. It does have quite a range of leisure reading that I've been puttering along with for weeks or months, including 'Best Australian Poems 2013', 'Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage' and 'Visit Sunny Chernobyl'. The most recent and most fun addition is Diccon Bewes' 'Swisss Watching', which is providing me with MANY MANY FACTS. The average swiss person eats 12 kg of cheese per year! And 10-ish of that is domesticly produced cheese.

What did you recently finish reading? Where 'recently' means 'in the last three weeks'...

The PearlThe Pearl by John Steinbeck

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I actually quite liked this, although I wasn't fond of the semi-mythological set-up. I'm not sure how to feel about whitedude Steinbeck writing about native south americans, but in many ways it seems to me that he afforded them more dignity than the poor white dudes in Of Mice And Men.



The StatementThe Statement by Brian Moore

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


A thriller about an elderly anti-semite with hate crimes to his name, what fun. )


Of Mice and MenOf Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


I admired the *artistry* of this, but I didn't enjoy it. I usually quite like bleak rural stories, but in this case... eh. I'd rather Annie Proulx.


An Ideal HusbandAn Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I'm sure this would be brilliant on stage (of course, it's Wilde), and in many ways it's a more complex play than Lady Windermere's Fan, but I liked the latter better anyway. This play takes on quite seriously the question of how to be a good man, Lady Windermere was more concerned with what constitutes a good woman. The two use some very similar plot devices, but I felt Ideal Husband lost something for not investing Mrs Cheverley with the same degree of complexity as Mrs Evelyn in Lady Windermere.


LucyLucy by Jamaica Kincaid

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Book I really liked! )


CalCal by Bernard MacLaverty

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Look, this was well-written, and emotionally pretty demanding. But why spend all that effort getting you emotionally hooked on Cal and Cal alone when you could've had a novella about Marcella, or a longer novel alternating their PsOV? I want an ending that acknowledges that Marcella has been really, thororughly screwed over. Your husband is shot, you're living with your inlaws, and you finally start letting yourself recover by having it off with a farmhand. Then said farmhand is arrested and you find out he was in the IRA cell that shot your husband. WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU DO FROM HERE?



What do you think you'll read next? I'm going to try to knock a few items of my currently reading list first... Then I have a Melissa Lukashenko book to read, in aggravating Adobe Digital Editions format. I also ordered 'Muriel at Metropolitan', by Miriam Tlali, which I think might be the first novel by a black south african woman - to wash my brain out after some very worrying readings of white south african lit encountered while marrking exams.

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