Music Monday Meme

Aug. 21st, 2017 05:30 pm
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[personal profile] extrapenguin
7. A song to drive to
Breaking Benjamin - Blow Me Away
lyrics
It's reasonably active without being aggressive, so alertness-inducing, and the rhythm's nice. And, after an inevitable post-con crash in sentiment, I require something that tells me that yes, I'll be the one who saves us all.

Worldcon: Sunday

Aug. 20th, 2017 03:51 pm
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[personal profile] extrapenguin
I slept in an hour, then visited the art show and did a final round of stuff-buying.

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Then there were the closing ceremonies, which were nice, and then I went home and crashed. I think I'll skip San Jose 2018, but Dublin 2019 is a place I plan to go to.

Worldcon: Saturday

Aug. 19th, 2017 07:59 pm
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[personal profile] extrapenguin
Saturday, I went to the con on less than enough sleep (since I was getting rather rank on Friday and had to shower => half an hour + away from my sleeping time). Here are my notes.

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Worldcon: Friday

Aug. 18th, 2017 07:15 pm
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[personal profile] extrapenguin
They started moving stuff into bigger rooms on Friday. Here are my notes:

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Worldcon: Thursday

Aug. 17th, 2017 09:07 pm
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[personal profile] extrapenguin
The early bird gets the worm, so I identified all the panels I Really Wanted to go to, then went to queue at least 40 minutes before they started. I mostly went to the science things, since I was at least partially there to get some writing mojo and inspiration, and also if I've already encountered an idea, re-encountering it later makes learning it then easier. Here are my notes on last Thursday beneath the cut. (Updated 18.8.)

Oh, and Worldcon has put up videos of some of the panels, plus the opening ceremonies.

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lebateleur: Sweet Woodruff (Default)
[personal profile] lebateleur
What I Just Finished Reading

Clariel – Garth Nix
This is my second favorite Old Kingdom book after Sabriel. The worldbuilding and scene setting, especially in the early chapters, are phenomenal. Having said that, once the main character arrives in the capital city the book flits from one location, supporting cast, and setting to another, never really settling down into a single narrative. It's very slightly disappointing, like watching the pilots of multiple intriguing television series for which no future episodes were filmed. The narrative also falls into the “people traveling up and down the Ratterlin” trap that Nix has revisited in pretty much all of his YA novels since The Ragwitch. Overall, I enjoyed this one, but like the rest of the Old Kingdom offerings aside from Sabriel, I don't think I'll ever reread it.

A Conspiracy of Kings – Megan Whalen Turner
A wonderfully written book. I'm especially fond of the first third of the narrative, in which Sophos basically undergoes a Zen practice period. Like everything Turner writes, it's inventive, tightly plotted, and does not take the easy narrative way out. So good.

Thick as Thieves – Megan Whalen Turner
Page 2: Man, the Mede are an empire of snakes. I don't know how I feel about a book with them as main characters.
Page 15: What a brilliantly realistic psychological portrayal of a man in Kamet's position.
Page 16: MEGAN WHALEN TURNER, I SEE YOU AND I KNOW WHAT YOU'RE UP TO.

But here's the thing: having correctly identified the big reveal 266 pages before the characters are clued in in no way diminished the ride. And jesus, what a good ride it was. This is my favorite next to The Thief, hands down. Just. The characterisation. The plotting. The worldbuilding. The pleasure of watching these characters figure things out (and the terror of watching them run headlong into danger because they don't know). So good. So good. This is one of those novels that makes it hard to even consider reading something else once you've turned the last page. So good.


What I Am Currently Reading

The Castle of Llyr – Lloyd Alexander
These books were just so much bigger when I read them as a child, but coming back to them now I still maintain that sense of expansiveness and discovery and wonder.

The Waste Land – T.S. Eliot
I love this poem.

The Bedlam Stacks – Natasha Pulley
Page 19: This thing with the statue is wonderfully creepy.
Page 25: Really creepy.
Page 36: Okay, I need to stop reading this at night.
Page 75: Holy. Shit.
Page 85: NATASHA PULLEY, I SEE YOU AND I KNOW WHAT YOU'RE UP TO. The statue. Merrick's mother. Raphael's attitude. But I have a feeling that having figured this out will in no way diminish the ride. Consider me hooked.

The King of Attolia – Megan Whalen Turner
I seem to be reading the books in reverse chronological order now, just so I can enjoy them all again knowing even more about how things will unfold in the futue. And just, yeah. Costis.


What I'm Reading Next
Probably the rest of the Prydain Chronicles. The one-two punch of awesome that is Turner and Alexander is giving me a yen to revisit Cooper's The Dark is Rising sequence.

これで以上です。

Worldcon: Wednesday

Aug. 16th, 2017 09:16 pm
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[personal profile] extrapenguin
I arrived, registration was painless enough, and then I went to do panels. They had seriously underestimated the amount of people attending on Wednesday, so everything was packed, and I didn't fit into many panels. Have my mostly unedited notes from last week.

Read more... )

Music Monday Meme + Worldconning

Aug. 14th, 2017 07:25 pm
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[personal profile] extrapenguin
6. A song that makes you want to dance
Walk the Moon - Shut Up and Dance With Me (link to a video with a movie dance compilation)
lyrics
This is also a song that cheers me up immensely. It has even managed to acquire YouTube comments (typically the dreg pits of lost faith in humanity) such as "This is one of the most beautifully crafted music videos I've seen on this site. Every scene matched the beat, rhythm, tone, and mood of the song. This is what makes a great music video."
In slightly related news, I have connected with a local queer in a maybe perhaps romantic way. I'm certainly grinning like an idiot. Let's see what happens.

I also survived Worldcon! I'll be putting up my panel etc notes for each day a week late – ie, I'll start with Wednesday's on next Wednesday, and so on and so forth. I managed to read two and a half books queueing up for stuff: Jussi Katajala's Nollameridiaani ja muita tarinoita (a compilation of shorts, from refreshingly Finnish to refreshingly un-American to utterly intriguing, to my knowledge untranslated but should be worth a check), Emmi Itäranta's Teemestarin kirja (aka Memory of Water; pretty much at the litfic end of what I like reading, but very immersive in worldbuilding and I loved all of the water metaphors), and half of Alastair Reynolds' Pushing Ice (so far, typically Reynoldsianly dark and gloomy like gothic metal, but with an intriguing premise).
Other purchases include O.E. Lönnberg's Langanpäitä (a drabble collection, signed by the author who was also the sales clerk), Shimo Suntila's Tähtiviima (a collection of shorts, set in space probably), Alastair Reynolds' Revenger and Century Rain, Stephen Baxter's Xeelee: An Omnibus (seemingly an omnibus of his Xeelee series), three T-shirts (both the Worldcon 75 ones and the Dublin 2019 one), two necklaces for my LARP-a-woman needs, and a space-related oil painting triptych (expensive but very much worth). Freebies include the souvenir book and Giants at the End of the World: A Showcase of Finnish Weird, ed. Johanna Sinisalo & Toni Jerrman.

Artists whose work I liked include: Hannele Parviala (twitter, example art), Lisa Konrad (official site), John Granacki (official site), Sergey Shikin (interview & example arts), Vitaly Yekleris (I think this is his pinterest and here are some book covers by him, but I can't really be sure), Minna Louhelainen (official site), and Eeva Turkka (twitter, an art).
lebateleur: Sweet Woodruff (Default)
[personal profile] lebateleur
What I Just Finished Reading

The Black Cauldron – Lloyd Alexander
Oh, they just do not write YA novels as good as this anymore.

Unmentionable – Therese Oneill
This has been on my TBR list since I read a WaPo review of it when it was first published. Oneill opens by chastising women who want to return to the glory days of the Regency and Victorian eras of balls, courtship, chivalry, and frothy dresses. This seemed like a bit of a strawman set-up to me: I imagine that plenty of fans of the era are aware that the reality was less rosy than a BBC Austen adaptation: that is the whole point of fantasy. The book improved considerably once Oneill got down to the business of describing the realities of the era. She writes with a very Bust magazine or Jezebel-esque snark that was hit-or-miss but left me guffawing more than once. Oneill is upfront about her decision to only examine the lives of middle-to-upper class women, but there's still quite a bit of cherry-picking going on in the examples she discusses. Which isn't to say that the attitudes and contentions they reflect weren't horrible, only that I doubt people accepted them whole cloth. (After all, present day material makes much of the necessity of a Brazilian for good female hygiene or the inferiority of various social, ethnic, and racial classes, but not everyone believes it). All that said, I think this review is making me sound less a fan of the book than I am: I read it in under a day, laughed a lot, and enjoyed Oneill's commentary even as I cringed at the historic material.


What I Am Currently Reading

The Castle of Llyr – Lloyd Alexander
I'm glad to see Eilonwy get a little more real estate in this volume, and I'd forgotten how much Rhudd irritated me back in the day.

The Waste Land – T.S. Eliot
Perhaps my favorite poem ever written; I like to read this one slowly.

China – Kathy Flower
Still truckin'.

The Tarot: History, Mystery, and Lore – Cynthia Giles
This week's passage discussed the origins of the word “Tarot.” (Conclusion: no one really knows where it came from but there are a lot of spurious etymologies out there.)

Tarot: Beyond the Basics – Anthony Louis
Ah, yes, this is what I need from a Tarot book: none of this "intuitive" crap, I want systems for my bogus future-telling methods, and Louis provides them in spades. This week's passages dealt with attributing planets and zodiac signs to the various major and minor arcana, and the differences between classical, chaldean, and modern correspondences. Louis assumes a level of astrological knowledge that I don't have, but I'm enjoying reading it regardless.

Clariel – Garth Nix
Having been spoiled for the ending, I don't feel the sense of urgency I otherwise might as I approach the conclusion, but the writing is still descriptive and atmospheric, and I like the character of Clariel very much.

A Conspiracy of Kings – Megan Whalen Turner
Turner is such a good author, and has my deep respect and love for writing a new novel every time. I read The Thief in 2003, and have eagerly awaited each subsequent book...and while I've always liked them, it isn't until the second read that I come to love them, because there is that small part of me that just wants the newest volume to be a rehash of the old so that I miss the genius of what she's done until I revisit them.


What I'm Reading Next
Finally, FINALLY The Bedlam Stacks has arrived! And when that's done, Thick as Thieves. It's going to be a good week for reading.

これで以上です。
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