highlyeccentric: A woman in an A-line dress, balancing a book on her head, in front of bookshelves (Make reading sexy)
Hello hello, once again it's July and I have read a GREAT BIG STACK OF BOOKS.

Currently reading: Ben Aaronovitch, Foxglove Summer; Meanjin 75.2

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

Reviews, going back to where I last left off:

The Night FairyThe Night Fairy by Laura Amy Schlitz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


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

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

The illustratons were wonderful.



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

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


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

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



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

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


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



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

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


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



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

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


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



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

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


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

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

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



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

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

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




Music notes:

Fixated on Amy MacDonald at the moment. Picked up the best of Katrina and the Waves, because of a craving for 'Walking on Sunshine'. Not sure if that warranted buying the ENTIRE CD, but anyway.
highlyeccentric: A photo of myself, around 3, "reading" a Miffy book (Read Miffy!)
It's been nearly a month since I put one of these up, because it's been nearly a month since I finished a book that wasn't for work!

What are you reading: I'm actually reading Portrait of a Lady in larger chunks instead of a few pages a week, at the moment. I'm finding the second half more interesting than I did last time I read it. For work, I'm between major books at the moment; and for my own peculiar purposes I'm reading Sedgwick's Epistemology of the Closest.

Oh, and I'm gritting my teeth and ploughing through Stead's For Love Alone. Annoying love interest man has just left Sydney, so maybe the going will get easier. I just. I'm torn between wanting to SLAP him, wanting to SLAP the protagonist for wanting to shag him, and knowing exactly why she does because. Well. It's like Stead reached forward in time, extracted my terrible taste in men, and put it in a novel.

Recently finished:

The Essential Vegetarian CookbookThe Essential Vegetarian Cookbook by Bay Books

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Picked up from the work shelf - I don't think much of the Asian section; the pies and roasts look good, but overall, the collections not ideal for cooking-for-one. It might go BACK to the work shelf.



The Best Australian Poems 2014The Best Australian Poems 2014 by Geoff Page

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Very interesting, as usual! This was a gift from clavicularity, who accepted my peculiar request without question.

I'm posting some selections to speculumannorum.tumblr.com over the next few weeks. I particularly liked Victoria McGrath's The Last Say.


Something Special, Something Rare: Outstanding short stories by Australian womenSomething Special, Something Rare: Outstanding short stories by Australian women by Black Inc.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


It took me a while to get into this, but in May I started reading the collection in earnest and really enjoyed it. The collection did okay, I think, at representing 15 or so years of writing, a range of ethnicities (both authors and protags) and a couple of queer protags (I do not know about authors). I was a bit uncomfortable with Gillian Mears' 'La Moustiquiare', a story about an indigenous female lackey and the dying stockman who kept her as servant. It didn't strike me as *racist*, it was perfectly aware the girl was being exploited and so on, but I'm still not sure that was a white woman's story to tell. (Compare it to Tara Jean Mears' 'Cloud Busting' - that left Mears' work in the dust. Surely there are other short stories by indigenous women and about indigenous women that could better complement it than Mears' work.)

Particular highlights:
Gillian Essex's 'One of the Girls', a story about a mother feeling out-of-place at her daughter's concert, and about fragile connections between family.
Fiona MacFarlane's 'The Movie People', which performed a delightful transition from realist to absurd.
Karen Hitchcock's 'Forging Friendship', for the anachronous narration and oblique way of dealing with queer realisation.
Alice Pung's 'Letter to A', which is just... arresting, sharp, beautifully worded.
Anna Krien's 'Flicking the Flint', which was tough going - it's a story about domestic violence and it doesn't have a morally satisfying conclusion - but very very well done.



And for work, recently: bits of Denis Flannery, 'On Sibling Love and Queer Attachment in American Writing' (interesting but densely psychoanalytical); bits of Micheline Wandor's edited collection 'On Gender and Writing', personal essays by 80s feminist authors (I wanted the Angela Carter essay, which was good; others also good; whole thing every 80s). Finally finished Rachel Moss 'Fatherhood and its Representations in Middle English Texts': SO GOOD.

Plus I tore through Phillipe de Beaumanoire's romance La Manekine (// OF and Eng text and trans), which was a riot. I have never seen a medieval text go so all out on the 'erotic abstinence' thing with a MARRIED COUPLE. (Adulterous lovers? Sure. Virgin saints? Sure. Married couple reunited after seven years' exile and yet waiting until the end of Lent? That's a new one on me - really well crafted, too)

Up Next: For funsies, I'm not sure: I have a few e-books, but I'm giving myself iPhone RSI, so need to pick up something hard copy. For work, I've found an early modern life of St Dymphna and I am going to have a TIME with it, I tell you. Plus a stack of books on Emaré, and Cinderella topoi, and the like.

Current and recent music notes: Gonna add this in here, because I seem to be more into music than I used to be.

- bought a triple CD set of Bushwhackers songs, great life choice. There are a LOT of songs about masculinity and sheep. When I start a folk band singing queered-up versions of traditional ballads we are also going to sing a folked-up version of ACDC's 'Dirty Deeds' and we're gonna call it Manly Deeds, Done With Sheep.
- really loving Gillian Welch.
- bought some Ian Moss CDs (iTunes) and am enjoying that too: I'm a bit obsessed with 'Tucker's Daughter', which was my favourite song when I was... four or five, I think.

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: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (Default)
GUESS WHO SAW GREAT BIG SEA LAST NIGHT? IN THEIR FIRST-EVER SYDNEY SHOW?

YES ME. Also [personal profile] kayloulee. And it was fucking amazing.

Here is a long ramble! )

TL;DR I had a fantastic time and we sang and danced and it was fantastic.
highlyeccentric: Sir Gawain: as gay as christmas - especially at christmas (Gawain)
What the hell, I'm procrastinating!



That's actually the only 'Australian' carol I'm halfway fond of. Although I have fond memories of this one, which was my minister's favourite when I was in high school. The actual song's pretty twee, though.



This one I have loved since I first got my hands on the Medieval Baebes - but especially since I discovered that it is a great tradition amongst Australian uni choristers to sing the Gaudete with ridiculous things to the verses. Tt's close enough to the common metre that you can squish things in. The Australian national anthem. The Ring Poem. A random string of numbers which someone once arranged in just the right order, and which many choristers have now memorised. And the ever popular "Mary had a little lamb / she also had a duck. / She put them on the mantelpiece and taught them how to GAUDETE, GAUDETE CHRISTUS EST NAUTUS..."



And this is a new one - I first heard it last weekend, at the SUMS Carolfest. I find the idea of people running all the way from England to Bethlehem with torches somewhat amusing.

Speaking of amusing, they also performed The Angel Gabriel. I have it on good authority that there are members of SUMS who have never sung 'most highly favoured lady', preferring 'most highly flavoured gravy', or, in some cases, 'most highly flavoured lady'.

Most hated carol? If I never hear "So this is Christmas/ War is over" again it will BE TOO SOON.
highlyeccentric: Firefley - Kaylee - text: "shiny" (Shiny)
OMG. I may be showing my age here, but KILLING HEIDI. I whacked Reflector onto my MP3 for the hell of it, and damn, I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed them.

Here, have Mascara</>:

highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (Default)
... and they will expand in wildly divergent directions.

Joel describes himself as a 'genre fanatic', which seems to mean that he's a splitter instead of a lumper: he likes listening to lots of things, and cutting them up into smaller and smaller categories. Tonight I have acquired a slew of Dance Gavin Dance, who apparently fall into the genre of 'post-hardcore'. I heard Joel playing them last night and took a fancy to them.

I have also acquired a couple of albums of My Chemical Romance, who are not so bad overall and quite excellent in spots. Needlessly shouty at times, but then so were Silverchair, and I loved them to shouty pieces when I was fifteen. The first few songs of 'The Black Parade' didn't grab me, but everything from 'Welcome to the Black Parade' onwards has been fun. ('Welcome to the Black Parade' itself reminds me of Pink Floyd, which association will probably have me strangled in the first ever co-operative effort by emo kids and old school rock fans. ETA: Ooh, and 'Mama' is good stuff, also reminding me of Pink Floyd.)

I'm using an old USB keyboard of Joel's, and I can see why he got rid of it. It's very strange. And it needs to be BASHED to get anything typed at all. Next task is to plug in my new mouse- which I shall name Reepicheep, naturally.
highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (waltrot)
THE Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, evoked dramatic Old Testament imagery to recall drought-devastated Australia, call people to a life of love and resurrection, and urge them to forgo a life of "fat, relentless egos".- SMH


Let's see what Shirley Strachan has to say about this:



Lyrics here for those not You-tube enabled.

Here endeth the disrespect for the day.

~

PS- you mean you didn't already know what terrible taste in music I had? You mean you've never experienced the glory that is seventies Australian glam rock? Witness: Horror Movie; Livin' in the Seventies; and, excellent if you need to scare off neighbouring feminists, Women in Uniform.
*Sighs* If livin' in the seventies would've meant I had more opportunities to ogle Shirley Strachan, clearly I was born three decades too late...
highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (One Way)
Not a meme, just an excuse to waste time with LJ and itunes.

my top 25 most played songs, with commentary )

There you go. How boring.

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