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: Joie du livre - young girl with book (Joie du livre)
Recently Finished:
The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and DisappearedThe Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I finally finished this! It was amusing; I can see why it appealed to my father. It was witty and artful, but I found it annoying after a while - too self-concious of itself in the historical parts, and the modern sections were less interesting than the historical ones.

Monstrous Regiment (Discworld, #31)Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reread. YES GOOD.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling PantsThe Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bought the whole set in e-book format in order to binge-read them as I used to do (not sure where my hard copies are; either dispersed to undergrads or with my little sister). The binge-reading experience on this book was excellent, exactly as engrossing and poignant as it used to be.
Thoughts and noodlings on sex, dubcon, etc )

Currently Reading: Rosenwein's Emotional Communities. Student essays. Stuff.

Up Next: MOAR travelling pants. Also I'm expecting Hawkeye 1-5 'My Life as a Weapon' in the mail.
highlyeccentric: A photo of myself, around 3, "reading" a Miffy book (Read Miffy!)
Because my wednesdays are vr busy.

Currently Reading: Wolf Hall audiobook, plus slowly through some hard-copy books

Recently Finished: This update finally catches up the backlog that accrued in January.

Lundy Bancroft, Why does he do that, which was enlightening and has all the problems the internet told me to expect, and I don't wish to review it but it was vr useful.

The RegularThe Regular by Ken Liu

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a short story/novella found in Forever Magazine vol 1, which is available for free. I picked it up because it was nominated for the Nebula - not that I make a habit of reading the Hugo/Nebula nominee list, but I do make a habit of reading any Ken Liu that crosses my path (mostly through Lightspeed and Strange Horizons).

It's a really *interesting* story. The question of to whom the title refers - the client who is murdering a select group of high-class escorts, or the detective chasing him, is an ongoing mystery to unravel alongside the conventional detective plot. The sci-fi feature, that of cyborg implants from cameras in eyes (recoverable only upon death or major surgery) to improved muscles to emotional regulators, is deftly woven in with the detective plot, and the story's exploration of how those options might be used, abused and resorted to by people with different kinds of desperate needs... interesting.

More Than Two: A practical guide to ethical polyamoryMore Than Two: A practical guide to ethical polyamory by Franklin Veaux

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was engaging, and in several respects more practical than 'The Ethical Slut'. There's a lot of good stuff here on breaking down one's wants, needs and desires; there is a more balanced emphasis than in the Ethical Slut on being able to expect others to step up and accomodate one's needs. However, there's also the common failure mode of all books in this genre: they exhort you to practice trust, to trust that your partners will want what's best for you, and so on. Well what if they don't? Rickert and Veaux do note that ending relationships may be the most productive recourse, but... well, distinguishing between points where the onus is on you to deal with your own shit and cases where you're not being treated properly is *hard* and they dither back and forth on it. Likewise they note the possibility of abuse as a separate case distinct from practicing healthy communication, as if no one ever tries to communicate clearly with an abuser, or as if abusive people are not at times excellent at imitating or manipulating best practice principles for communication.

Also, for a book written by a bisexual woman and a man who dates bisexual women, it is *startlingly* heteronormative, and gives a painfully simplistic/outdated definition of bisexuality in its glossary, and aside from one paragraph speculating on why bi and trans folk are more often found in poly groups than in non-monogamous gay or lesbian circles, ignores trans people entirely. There weren't many points where I thought 'hey this advice doesn't APPLY if you're bi', but still. Could've been executed better.

Sam Starbuck, The City War: a re-read, super fun and cute and not historically distressing!

Pulling Leather (Pickup Men #3)Pulling Leather by L.C. Chase

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This one was better than #2! It did not suffer from the don't-say-bi problem, except incidentally (#2's hero appeared a few times, and i suppose someone could have explained the concept of bisexuality to our self-loathing gay protag. It might have done him some good, broadened his mind a bit more). Chase did a good job in characterising Scott, a man struggling to come to terms with the fact that he's totally gay and also a homophobic arse with a history of beating up gay men. And it was handled pretty well, including Scott's troubling-to-him attraction to a rather fem guy.

What I really liked was that compared to Eric's POV in book 2, Chase seems to have mastered writing angst and indicating how the character's past contributes to his current fear without giving you super unrealistic internal monologue. Scott has angst up to his ears, and a complex set of fears, and these are obvious in small reactions and choices, so long explanation is less necessary.

The Burnt Toast B&B (Bluewater Bay #5)The Burnt Toast B&B by Heidi Belleau

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh now *this* was adorable. An out-of-work logger is trying to run his parents B&B, which he's kind of crap at, not least because he's never questioned that it's girls work and he totally doesn't do girls' work because he's a manly man, right? Enter a chirpy, in-your-face guest who is both macho (professional stuntman) and rather camp, and also trans. Our manly man Derek knoweth not what to do or how to be a reasonable human under such duress, especially when pink frilly aprons are involved.

I was very pleased with the substantial weight given to Derek's ex, 'an aging twink', who is an all-round good human and as much part of Derek's getting-a-clue as is cute young Ginsberg. What bugged me, even to the end, was that Ginsberg *knows* it's a bad idea to get into a relationship with someone who hasn't fixed their toxic shit, especially if that impacts closely on him. And I was really not convinced by the final scenes which are supposed to prove to us that Derek has completely changed and thought not one thought about toxic masculinity for months! Nah, that's not how this works.

Up Next: Given current trends, it would be surprising if I get through the next two weeks without buying and reading another Riptide book. I mean, I know I could find m/m romance of probably better quality and certainly better worldbuilding on the A03, but sometimes entirely new canon is fun.


Feb. 28th, 2015 09:24 pm
highlyeccentric: Dessert first - pudding in a teacup (Dessert first)
The blanket I am making is now long enough to wrap around me. I may never leave the couch.
highlyeccentric: A photo of myself, around 3, "reading" a Miffy book (Read Miffy!)
Currently Reading: Wolf Hall audiobook, and a book on fatherhood in ME lit. Also other stuff on hiatus.

Recently Finished: Many things, including 'More than Two' and two cheap gay romance e-books.

Backdated Reviews: are finally catching up. One of these i finished in the last fortnight!

Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I finished listening to this as audiobook in the Netherlands on my way back to Geneva, late Jan. I had forgotten how *good* it was. My perception had been skewed by the poor pacing of the movie 6A. Especially when read aloud at audiobook pace, the wandering-in-the-forest part isn't a drag at all: there are little ups and downs, highs and lows as each project builds up and unravels. Harry and Hermione alone without Ron is fascinating - the dynamic is just that bit different. Ron's character development is excellent. Molly Weasley made me cry. I love them all.

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

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really *enjoyed* this book. Kobna Holdbook-Smith's narration is still glorious: he can narrate my life any time. Beverley continues to be awesome. Spoilers! )

A Year in 120 RecipesA Year in 120 Recipes by Jack Monroe

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a fun book! It's less... practical, and a bit more wanky, than her first book, but I have made a tasty foods from it. I also made a very bad cake, but that might be my own fault.

Let it Ride (Pickup Men, #2)Let it Ride by L.C. Chase

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This was worth approximately what I paid for it. I've had better books from Riptide before, but that was by Sam Starbuck, and he's his own special case.

This book could have done without the don't-say-bi approach; and there was too much explaining of Eric's angst in his internal monologue. I should have to work harder and get a more gritty feeling of how the angst works.

I also... hmm. I was in the mood for trashy cowboy romance, which I got. I *wasn't* in the mood for "you can tell it's true love because it's the most amazing sex, and it's the most amazing sex because it's true love". I get that that's a *thing*, but it irritated me. The narrative wanted me to believe Eric was wrong about Bridge's likelihood of getting over it rapidly, and tried to prove this to me by fusing LOVE and AMAZING SEX. Unfortunately, this just made me think Eric was probably right.

Also there was an unnecessary marriage proposal at the end. Whhhhy was that necessary.

Up Next:
Not sure! I still have to finish some things I started in January...


Feb. 18th, 2015 09:19 pm
highlyeccentric: A seagull lifting into flight, skimming the cascade (Castle Hill, Nice) (Seagull)
I'm kind of exhausted from the torrent of introspection over the weekend / earlier this week. Here, have a picture of a heron:

highlyeccentric: road sign: car eaten by monster (pic#320259)
Letter R given to me by [personal profile] nanila. It is quite a difficult letter.

Something I hate: Recidivism! No really I just wanted to use that word it's such a good word.

Something I love: Raclette? Raclette is not as much my true love as is fondue, but I love me some cheese-based winter foods.

Somewhere I've been: Rotterdam airport? It's the airport for the Hague and I used it to get to [personal profile] niamh_sage's place christmas 2013.

Somewhere I'd like to go: I've already got tickets to Reykjavik at Easter!

Someone I know: ... I am having trouble thinking of anyone as the letter R connotes [personal profile] monksandbones's thesis supervisor to me. I haven't met her but I follow her on twitter?

A film I like: I went to a list of movies starting with R and the first two I recognised were 'Rachel Getting Married' and 'RED'. RED I wholeheartedly adore: how could you NOT love anything with Helen Mirren in a ballgown with a big gun? I'd forgotten about Rachel Getting Married (2008), but it was quite an interesting movie - a young woman gets weekend release from rehab to attend her sister's wedding, and finds herself back in the middle of family drama and despite the fact that this is her first time seeing them for ages, *she's not the centre of attention*. It was very interesting and sympathetically characterised and probably a better movie, objectively speaking, than RED. But it did not have Helen Mirren in a ballgown with a big gun.
highlyeccentric: Joie du livre - young girl with book (Joie du livre)
Currently Reading: Partway through lots of things, but not really actively reading anything. Unless you count the ENORMOUS pile of Old English textbooks I'm perusing for class. Some of the part-read things include Carpentaria; The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window; and the Lundy Bancroft book.

Recently finished: [twitter.com profile] msjackmonroe's new cookbook, a bunch of OE textbooks, and Aelfric's life of St Edmund. Also Foxglove Summer.

Catch-up reviews:

Barbara Baynton, Between Two WorldsBarbara Baynton, Between Two Worlds by Penne Hackforth-Jones

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a fascinating biography of a woman whose name should really be listed every time Patterson, Lawson et al are rattled off. I loved the attention to the way class differentials shaped her life, particularly.

What bugged me was the excessive use of her fiction to fill in gaps in her known life. The author is a descendant, and had interviewed many family members, and in most cases the *practical* details filled in from fiction make sense. What bugged me was that Hackforth-Jones wrote about Baynton's personal feelings with the same authority, even as she acknowledged cases where the fictional character was hardly a self-insert. For instance: it is not good practice to say that Baynton *was* afraid of theft and worse from swagmen simply because she wrote a harrowing short story about a country wife raped and murdered by a swagman, and in that story vividly depicted such fears. It is *possible* she had exactly those fears, but it is also possible that she did not feel them, or did not feel them so strongly, and elaborated from other sources.

There were however some excellent victories of documentary history here- for instance, the chain of deductions (from ship's papers, town records, and Baynton's own known lies), the figuring out that Baynton's mother had boarded a ship from Scotland with her husband, and arrived in the Upper Hunter region with another man who proceeded to live under said husband's name.

Oh Dear SilviaOh Dear Silvia by Dawn French

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This was a terrible book. Do not read this book.

It's *funny*, in places, but it's not executed with skill at anything except sitcom. Notably, the transition between Catherine and Sylvia's POVs is fudged, there's too much telling rather than showing of Catherine's motivations, and actually it's kinda gross - for a story about a woman in an abusive relationship - to have *so little* from her POV.

Also a story about a horrible abusive drug-addict husband-murdering lesbian who tears a woman away from her nice family. Icky. There are ways to tell that story but this is not it, and ending with the nice heteronormative family members restoring their power over the (comatose!) mother and shaming the partner who *they always knew* was bad for her... nope nope all the nope. Do not read this book.

Elizabeth Is MissingElizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a *delightful* book. I have never read a book from the POV of a dementia sufferer and this was remarkably well done. And super cute.

The actual detective plot is a bit shaky in the denoument, but that's OK, the book is adorable enough to get away with it. Excellent plane reading.

Up Next: In theory I should finish something first?
highlyeccentric: Demon's Covenant - Kitchen!fail - I saw you put rice in the toaster (Demon's Covenant - kitchen!fail)
I don't get to make Haloumi Pilaf much anymore, because the fried Haloumi really needs two people to eat it up (it tastes weird after it's cooled) and because haloumi is really hard to find here.

Today I finally made an acceptable alternative. I also solved my 'the spinach in this dish is giving it a grainy texture, wtf I thought I'd washed the stuff' problem, *and* the goat's cheese will last with the leftovers.

Dietary and accessibility notes )

What you need and what you do with it )
highlyeccentric: Manly cooking: Bradley James wielding a stick-mixer (Manly cooking)
This started life as roast parsnips and stuff with couscous, and that was really boring. Turns out the soup version is great, though.

Notes and accessibility )

Ingredients and what you do with 'em )
highlyeccentric: Image of a black rooster with a skeptical look (gallus gallus domestics)
If it weren't for the baggage debacle, I'd do it again, but with more care not to end up transiting through chinese domestic immigration, and not to end up with 30 hours return flight. (Mind you, they didn't *give* me any not hideous return flight options.)

Pros and cons )
highlyeccentric: A woman in an A-line dress, balancing a book on her head, in front of bookshelves (Make reading sexy)
Currently Reading: Working through HP7 in audiobook; slowly progressing through Alexis Wright's 'Carpentaria' (good, but Slow Literature) and picking up 'The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window And Disappeared' for some variety.

Recently Finished: Most recent, a bio of Barbara Baynton; a Dawn French novel; and a detective story with a protag who has dementia.

Reviews, mostly from early Jan:

Earthly Delights (Corinna Chapman, #1)Earthly Delights by Kerry Greenwood

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a very *fun* book. It features Corinna, a fat divorced gourmet baker who finds a junkie close to dead on her doorstep one morning and from there becomes involved in a quest to figure out who exactly is feeding almost-pure heroin to the vulnerable of Melbourne. Meanwhile, someone is leaving death threats about HARLOTS to al the women in Corinna's building.Along the way she semi-adopts a recovering junkie, discovers the bdsm scene, and shags an attractive and mysterious soup kitchen security guard.

What bugged me here was Daniel, a widower and ex-Israeli army turned detective. His characterisation, and the impact of his service time on his character, was not fully explored - it only comes up to, I think, make him more attractive? And it seems to work for Corinna, but in a completely uncritica way totally at odds with her thinking on everything else. He speaks of having shot down a young boy and compares 'such evil' to her, 'now such good', and Corinna just... preens. Congrats you're less evil than palestinian insurgent? What? It's just *not explored* and Corinna has no qualms or even real interest in the dubious ethics and mental gymnastics any serviceman has to engage in regardless of allegiance.

It bugged me all the more because the book was peppered with leftie bait - in-jokes about John Howard and the victorian government and whatnot. We're supposed to believe that Corinna has *no thoughts whatsoever* about the fact her new squeeze admits to having shot down young boys (a terrorist, he says, but Corinna has *no thoughts whatsoever* about the circumstances that lead to young terrorists, etc etc). I think I would have rathered Corinna articulate an explicitly pro-Israeli logic than just... not think about it at all. Urk. More on this topic, and on kink and gender )

Mateship With BirdsMateship With Birds by Carrie Tiffany

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This was a very bad book. It gets two stars for sparks of literary flair in places, but overall: blergh.

This is a book about masturbation and dairy farming. The birds are actually a pretty minor role, and the poems about the birds get dreadfully boring.

I have nothing against writing about masturbation or dairy farming. By and large I thought the cow-related passages in this book were pretty tight. The sex ones, though? UGH. This author is way too carried away by the fact that she's writing A Book About Sex. The sex and sexual reflection passages drag on, frequently without adding to character or plot. It's like everything pauses while we hear about some long-ago sex scene, or Harry's opinions on pubic hair, or whatever.

The book raises some difficult notions about consent and power: for instance, Harry is oblivious to the weird pressure he's putting on his teenage neighbour by providing long reminiscent 'sex ed'. That's creepy! We can tell the lad is creeped out! But the book *does nothing* with that - the boy fades into the distance, after a brief scene where he's a dick to his girlfriend and then bangs her. That's not a resolution! It's not even character development. The boy's mother is, rightly, angry at Harry; then abruptly changes tack when she needs Harry's help getting rid of a dead owl. I think there might have been supposed to be something there about needing a Man Around The House, but it's not *explored*. And the book ends with a real-time sex scene, far less explicit than the reminiscences, which is mostly physical description and *doesn't answer any of the character questions*. It's infuriating.

This is a crappy book. I am sorry, for the sake of the national literary dignity, that it won the inaugrual Stella Prize. I would like to sentence the author to a year's hard labour in the erotica mines, in the hope she learns how to write sex like any other character development opportunity.

Heavenly Pleasures (Corinna Chapman, #2)Heavenly Pleasures by Kerry Greenwood

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was also pretty fun! The circle of characters widened compared to 'Earthly Pleasures', and it was nice to see Jason (Corinna's teenage sidekick) developing in character and skills. I *really* liked the badass older lady character and her eventual Big Reveal. Rawww. Do not mess with scary old ladies.

Cocaine Blues (Phryne Fisher, #1)Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked this book, I liked it a lot. It was odd coming to it *after* watching the show - the set-up is quite different. (And Dorothy's surname is given as Bryant, although by googling I see that's an error Greenwood wants retconned - i *thought* her name was Wiliams in the later book I read.)

One delightful discovery that had been ommitted from the show was special police constable Joan whasthername. I'd forgotten that there were special female police in the period. She's a bit-part but quite well characterised. Ten points.

highlyeccentric: Image of a black rooster with a skeptical look (gallus gallus domestics)
Please enjoy this icon of a chicken. I met this chicken on [personal profile] kayloulee's parents' neighbours' property.
highlyeccentric: (Sydney Bridge)
In 2015 I'll be posting a poem on fridays on [tumblr.com profile] speculumannorum.

Meanwhile, please enjoy this photo of fushcias:

highlyeccentric: A photo of myself, around 3, "reading" a Miffy book (Read Miffy!)
Currently Reading: Alexis Wright, Carpentaria, and I just started Jonas Jonasson The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared. Carpentaria is very, very good but sort of heavy going - it's perhaps not good holiday reading.

Recently Finished:
Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage: Valuing All Families under the LawBeyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage: Valuing All Families under the Law by Nancy D. Polikoff

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was very, very good. American-centric (and boy did it show - her section on Australian law showed a marked lack of understanding as to how much less significant state law is here), but still good.

Polikoff's key arguments were as follows )

The Wife DroughtThe Wife Drought by Annabel Crabb

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is not the second coming of feminism.

It's FUN - full of anecdotes and Crabb's trademark snark, but it is not the second coming of feminism. It said nothing we did not already know (... quite frankly, aside from the stats, its key premises were well known in the EIGHTIES. Women add work to household responsibilities. Men do not typically pick up the latter. Men who do are regarded as weirdos. It would be good if we could do something about the latter two points). Crabb offers no constructive solutions or even pointers on how her examples of stay-at-home Dads do make it work. Her conclusion rather wishy-washily suggests the digital age might help, without apparently having noted that telecommuting has been on the *decline* since the financial crisis.

I have other thoughts )

Love in the Time of Global Warming (Love in the Time of Global Warming, #1)Love in the Time of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was pretty well written - the prose is lyrical and the story juuust skirts the edge of realism. The romance arc was pretty damn cute. The protag's devotion to her little brother was also nicely done, I love a good family-oriented YA. The structure of the Odyssey was well deployed, and by avoiding strict realism the story got away with it.

But it just didn't grab me. I can't see myself bothering to seek out the sequels.

Written on the BodyWritten on the Body by Jeanette Winterson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was *beautifully* written. The protagonist, gender unspecified, is a serial philanderer with a penchant for married women, who falls head over heels and into a total mess with a woman named Louise. The writing is gorgeous, the plot thin but emotionally resonant. The actual events are banal, the story focuses entirely on the protag's emotional landscape. There's a lot of sex in it, but almost no physical descriptors - the focus is all on the protag's reactions and motivations and feelings and so on.

Gorgeous book. I wasn't happy with the ending, though - I thought it felt like a cop-out. You can't tell if the appearance of Louise is real or imagined, and that's... just cheating.

Also finished: Carrie Tiffany, Mateship with Birds; Kerry Greenwood, Earthly Pleasures, Heavenly Delights and Cocaine Blues; Penne Hackforth-Jones, bio of Barbara Baynton; and Dawn French, Oh Dear Sylvia. Some of these I loved, two I was very disappointed with. Will review in further detail another week. I'm reading a at a rate of knots, but that will come to an abrupt halt at the end of the holiday.

To Read Next: I've got a Jan Clausen novel still to read, from my Gould's Books extravaganza.
highlyeccentric: A photo of myself, around 3, "reading" a Miffy book (Read Miffy!)
Currently Reading: Barbara Baynton: Between Two Worlds, a biography of an Australian author. Contemporary with Lawson, Patterson et al, and friends with Rose Scott and her lot as well, but hardly ever mentioned alongside either set. A .txt file of her collection 'Bush Studies' is on Gutenberg Australia.

Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage, Nancy D. Polikoff: I've been wanting to read this for ages, and second-hand copies online were stupidly expensive. Picked up this one at Goulds for 16 bucks, and lo, it is good. Super US-centric, but that does have the benefit of explaining a lot of the standard assumptions of US-oriented marriage activists for me. It's an interesting read. Polikoff takes the line that many people, not just same-sex couples, are disadvantaged by a system which privileges married couples over unmarried as well as hetero over other, and marriage over other family structures (she cited the example of US woman who was denied hospital access to see her stepson, and a woman who was denied the right to have her elderly father added to her rent-controlled household because he was not her partner). Polikoff interprets 60s and 70s feminist, lesbian and other civil rights challenges to the law as aiming not to expand the benefits of marriage but to ensure legal and financial security for various family types: illegitimate children, lesbian mothers, stay-at-home fathers and extended family groups were all important. She details a range of legal changes arising from this agenda (eg, one chap who won the right to receive survivors' benefits after the death of his wife, his lawyer successfully arguing that although he had not previously been supported by his wife, one of the key purposes of survivors' benefits was to allow a child to continue to be raised by a stay-at-home parent after the death of the other parent, and he, the father, would be able to do so if he could receive survivor's benefits.)
This all hits very close to home, as some of the not-gay-marriage scenarios she outlines involve foster families, extended relative carers, etc. So it's interesting reading but is kind of stressing me out.

Recently Finished:

A stack of Harry Potter fanfiction, onna plane.

The Bridegroom: StoriesThe Bridegroom: Stories by Ha Jin

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I actually didn't finish this collection. It was very well-written, no doubt about that, but I found its appeal very... variable. For instance, the longest and most-acclaimed story, concerning efforts by a regional Chinese TV company to stage a tiger fight with a real tiger (and the hilarious fall-out that ensues) didn't grab me at all.

The collection had many things I like in short stories: domestic detail, a knack for indicating cultural particularities while conveying that they are to be taken for granted and not exotic at all. However... )

The Harp In The SouthThe Harp In The South by Ruth Park

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was as delightful as promised. I've not read many stories about poor urban australians, or novels about poor australians which aren't comedies. Comic tales of the struggling family on the land, yes, but urban slum dwellers? Not so much. There is warmth and good humour in this novel, but it's not a comedy. It's starkly realistic at times about the financial and social burdens the central family bear: in particular, I was impressed with the way Park empathises with without really excusing the alcoholic father, and the way she does not give Rowie an 'out' from poverty even as Rowie clearly forms a healthier romantic and married relationship than her mother's.

thinkings about race )

Pat Barker, Regeneration trilogy: Three reviews hereunder )

To Read Next:
I hadn't expected to read so much this holiday. I've spent about sixty bucks on second hand books already, most of which I shall pass on to others before I leave. I've bought Alexis Wright's Carpentaria to read while up north.
highlyeccentric: Semlocker that ever he syge soth mot no mon saye (Angel - SGGK guinevere)
Note: I do not seem to have the thinking brain for december topics. Might catch up in January!

Currently Reading: Ha Jin, 'The Bridegroom', and a substantial amount of Harry Potter fanfic as a coping strategy for dealing with canon.

Recently finished: both Order of the Phoenix and Half Blood Prince, read by Stephen Fry. Order of the Phoenix remains bloated and unwieldy, but *was* better when consumed at oral reading pace rather than at 20 seconds per page. Harry only throws a tantrum approximately once every forty minutes, rather than every five, that way. Half Blood Prince remains *superb*, and I really appreciated the work put into the final chapter - I relised that it does in fact provide justification for one of my main problems with Deathly Harrows, the ridiculous rejection of all adult assistance.

To read next: Either Deathly Hallows or copious amounts of fanfiction or both will see me through the plane ride, or as much of the ride as my netbook will sustain.


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

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