tempestsarekind: (bananas are good)
I now need a movie about lady bartenders during and after WWII. Or a TV series. It would be like Agent Carter, but with more alcohol.

http://vinepair.com/wine-blog/bessie-the-bartender-americas-female-mixologist-revolution/

(link via The Toast.)

This is not really related, but I saw in the bookstore the other day that the book had come out in paperback: has anyone else read The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine?
http://pages.simonandschuster.com/TheGirlsAtTheKingfisherClub

It's a '20s-era retelling of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses," and I read it in one sitting.
tempestsarekind: (ofelia reading)
(Is the New Yorker's new stance "no one should like reading anything unless it is approved by us"? Didn't they just publish one of these finger-wagging pieces for adults? Did they feel like they weren't scolding enough readers with that last one? Thought they'd cast their net a little wider, did they?)

"What if the strenuous accessibility of 'Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods' proves so alluring to young readers that it seduces them in the opposite direction from that which Gaiman’s words presuppose—away from an engagement with more immediately difficult incarnations of the classics, Greek and otherwise? What if instead of urging them on to more challenging adventures on other, potentially perilous literary shores, it makes young readers hungry only for more of the palatable same?"

"The Percy Jackson Problem," Rebecca Mead
http://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/percy-jackson-problem

(link via Neil Gaiman's Tumblr.)

Won't somebody please think of the children??? (What if the books are so enjoyable that children can't help themselves? What if they're like drugs?)

…I sometimes wonder if people would be less odd and panicky about this if we didn't live in a culture that was so concerned with precocity and early development. Let's say children don't pick up difficult incarnations of the classics - let's say they don't read them until high school or even, god forbid, college. (I'm assuming for the sake of this argument that reading the classics is a good thing that we would like people to do at some point, but it is not the only way to build a life.) Is that so bad? And let's say - brazen thought, but humor me for a second - that when they do read those classics in high school or college or even (gasp) when they're not in school at all (because I hear tell that people do still develop interests once they graduate), they feel more comfortable with them because they remember some of the stories from reading Rick Riordan's books: where, exactly, is the problem?

I feel like these articles all seem to operate under the impression that if you're not reading it (whatever it is) by the time you're ten, it's all over for you, and you're intellectually stunted forever. But I can never take these handwringing pieces seriously, because my own experience was so different. I was a pretty precocious reader as a child, in some ways: I started reading when I was two, I read well above my grade level, and I had a pretty well-stocked vocabulary. And Rebecca Mead would probably have approved of me, because for some odd reason I was obsessed with Bullfinch's Mythology (I…appropriated my mother's copy without actually thinking about it, to the extent that she found it on one of my bookshelves a couple of years ago and commented, "I used to have this book…"), and my first encounters with a lot of Greek and Roman myths happened in that book (although I have a very strong memory of first reading the story of Pandora's box in Virginia Hamilton's collection In the Beginning). (I didn't really latch on to the D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths - mentioned in Mead's piece - but oh, how I loved their version of East of the Sun and West of the Moon. I wish it would come back into print.)

But I didn't "graduate" to reading "serious" adult fiction when I was a child, or even very much when I was a teen. I was quite happy in the children's section, for a long time. I read and loved Matilda, and thought wistfully about how nice it would be to have been a prodigy, to impress somebody like Miss Honey because I loved Dickens - but I never went out and tried to read any Dickens. Even in high school, I liked most of what we read in school, and I understood it pretty easily - but even after reading and loving Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion for class, I didn't run to seek out any other Austen novels. I was far too busy at the time reading Robin McKinley and Patricia McKillip and Josepha Sherman, and trying to find all the Gillian Bradshaw novels I could get my hands on. I knew Fortinbras as the Murry family's dog in A Wrinkle in Time well before I knew he was a character in Hamlet.

And you know, I think I turned out okay. I read the rest of Austen's novels in college, and fell as ardently in love as anyone could wish. It turns out that I really liked Bleak House, once I got around to reading it. Shakespeare pretty much knocked me over the head and dragged me off to grad school, where I don't seem to have done any worse because I didn't read all the plays when I was twelve. And if I still haven't read Tolstoy or a bunch of other things yet - well, I've still got time. Because I haven't stopped reading, and changing, and learning that things I heard about when I was younger actually come from other sources that I can choose to explore even though I didn't then. (Baby Me would not have been ready for Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, even though she had read a retelling of it. Baby Me was not ready for Twelfth Night, even though she could understand it perfectly well in her seventh-grade English class, because she hit backspace, appalled and embarrassed, at the first joke about venereal disease. Who knows what other riches Baby Me has left for Grownup Me to explore?)

The books that made me love reading - that turned me into the kind of person who could love Austen and Shakespeare as entirely as I do - were unabashedly children's books, populated with Moomins and dragons and children who ran away to hide in museums, and girls who traveled through time. The books that kept me in love with reading were the sorts of genre books that critics often sneer at (books that still have a purchase on my heart). Certainly the books that made me want to be a writer when I was younger, that made me think about how words worked together, were those kinds of books. (I literally started writing about writing because I wanted to figure out how McKillip's Riddlemaster books worked.) My reading abilities didn't atrophy and desiccate just because it took me a little longer to get around to the kinds of books that Rebecca Mead would consider important. So I bet those kids reading the Percy Jackson series are going to be fine.

*sigh*

Sep. 22nd, 2014 10:31 pm
tempestsarekind: (very few dates in this history)
Has anyone else seen commercials for this ABC show Forever that started tonight? I only noticed them at first because I recognized Ioan Gruffudd - but then it turned out that the premise involved a man who's been alive for hundreds of years and can't die -

- why would anyone make this, are they trying to make my life difficult?

I don't particularly want to watch this show - the last time they tried this, with New Amsterdam, the show was terrible, and seriously, why do the immortals always have to be cops and medical examiners, and not, say, bakery owners?* - but still.


*Because supernatural shows keep going the just-add-cops route, so they can be procedurals with a touch of magic, because heaven forbid a show not be a procedural, whatever would we do if we just had to watch characters interacting without a corpse to stand over and quip about?

(also I keep having Thomas-and-Imogen feelings because of it, which are so annoying, go away you two, unless you can come back here with an actual plot resolution.)

…I did manage to write 2800 words of them over one day this summer, which sort of got me a bit closer to something like an ending, but I still don't know how to start or end the scene I wrote 2800 words of, oops, and also that is WAY TOO LONG for a scene that isn't even done -
tempestsarekind: (martha at the globe)
I made a cake! Apparently my reaction to cool weather after really hot weather is to make up reasons to take advantage of the stove and/or oven while it's cool enough to do so. Which makes sense when it's roasting a bunch of vegetables for lunch, or making a pot of polenta to eat throughout the week, but...cake? I never bake things, but I wanted to try yogurt cake after reading about it in French Kids Eat Everything a while ago. So now I have a loaf pan of yogurt cake flavored with orange zest, and I am so unfamiliar with baking that I don't even have anything to store this cake in except the loaf pan I baked it in, with foil on the top, so it is probably going to go bad before I can actually eat it. Oh well. I'm pleased anyway.

I'm also tired, because I went stupid and decided to reread The Demon's Surrender in one day. But now I don't have any more of them to read. :( The thing is, I'd sort of decided to reread the trilogy to analyze it, take it apart to see how it worked and to see if I could learn anything useful for my own writing - but, as usually happens, I totally forgot to do this while I was reading. You'd think, after all that grad school, this would be a pretty natural thing, but nope.
tempestsarekind: (ofelia reading)
...why did I think that rereading The Demon's Covenant was a good idea, exactly?

Of course, this is not going to stop me from going to the library and getting the third book in the trilogy. Because I have no sense.
tempestsarekind: (ten is a bookworm)
So Neil Gaiman is on the cover of the July/August issue of Poets and Writers Magazine. I find this irrationally annoying, because normally P&W is emphatically uninterested in genre fiction. (Well, I suppose most of the writing magazines are, but The Writer and Writer's Digest will occasionally have a tone-deaf "everyone is writing about vampires/zombies/ghosts/etc right now; here's how you can do it too!" piece, and they list genre publishers.) Though maybe this is the start of a widening of focus? (I find the whole culture represented by P&W to be very frustrating - the culture of MFAs and short story magazines and the overwhelming majority of writing contests and fellowships - because genre basically doesn't exist. Not that it matters to me on a real, practical level, I suppose - I'm not writing anything, or looking for markets to publish the stuff I'm not writing - but I am a reader who gets annoyed by feeling like she's expected to apologize for her reading habits because genre books aren't "real," "important," "literary" books, and I've taken creative writing classes where the teachers straight-up refused to acknowledge the fantasy elements in my stories*, and if I *did* want to "get serious" about writing, most of the "serious" outlets and sources of support don't extend to genre fiction. If you already *are* Neil Gaiman, then fine, P&W apparently has time for you - but if you're a beginning writer who would like to have the same options for learning and help as someone who writes fiction about domestic infidelity or suburban tragedy, then you're kind of out of luck.)

I also did not manage to get a ticket to Gaiman's upcoming reading/signing here, alas, but I felt better about this when the staff member told me that people had been lined up outside the bookstore the night before; if they wanted tickets that badly, they deserve them! (And after all, I just wanted to go to listen in, not to get anything signed - getting books signed makes me feel like I can't read that copy anymore, anyway - or talk to him or ask any specific question. So I will live.) But I did pick up my copy of The Ocean at the End of the Lane, so there is that.


*Okay, technically that only happened once, but the other classes were not hospitable to fantasy, either.
tempestsarekind: (ten is a bookworm)
Making my way through my library requests: two down, but the other two might need to go back unread; my brain keeps bouncing off of one of them especially.

But I did read The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker, which I enjoyed. (It feels to me like this book has gotten a lot of press compared to the average fantasy novel, especially for a debut author. But what do I know?) The title kind of tells you what it's about: thanks to various waves of immigration, a golem and a jinni wind up in late 19th-century New York, and have to figure out how to survive (and in the case of the golem, how to control herself so that she doesn't hurt anyone). The book has a colorful cast of characters and a matter-of-fact way of dealing with the supernatural, which I appreciated; it was a fun way to spend a Sunday.

(I sort of wish I'd enjoyed it more - that I'd fallen in love with it - maybe because the idea of non-humans trying to learn about humanity is a favorite topic of mine. And whenever I read a fantasy novel, I'm always holding out an especial hope that I'll find a book to add to my collection of best beloveds. But that's my own personal issue, not a slight on the book.)
tempestsarekind: (ofelia reading)
Occasionally my best friend asks me for book suggestions for her...step-nephew? He likes the Percy Jackson books (which I've not read), so I'm trying to keep my recommendations to fantasy with a mythological bent, although occasionally I slip up and just recommend a favorite that doesn't quite fit the criteria. Here's what I've recommended so far (with asterisks next to books I haven't actually read):

- the D'Aulaires' book of Greek myths
- Pamela F. Service, The Reluctant God
(this was the book about which my friend said, "oh, I don't think he's at the stage yet where he'll read books about girls," and I got all ragey, like, NO THAT IS NOT HOW THAT WORKS)
- R. L. LaFevers, the Theodosia Throckmorton books; the Nathaniel Fludd series*
- Diana Wynne Jones, Howl's Moving Castle; The Chronicles of Chrestomanci
- Madeleine L'Engle, A Wrinkle in Time and the rest of the Murry family books
- Susan Cooper, The Dark is Rising series*
(I know, I know, I'm a horrible human for not having read these - although I did read Over Sea... at long last, so maybe there's hope for me)
- Neil Gaiman, Coraline; The Graveyard Book; The Books of Magic
(being slightly self-indulgent with this recommendation)
- Virginia Hamilton, The Magical Adventures of Pretty Pearl
- Lloyd Alexander, The Arkadians; the Prydain Chronicles*
(as you can see, I'm no good at reading series)
- Robin McKinley, The Hero and the Crown; Dragonhaven*
- Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn
(this might be a bit "old" for him)
- Franny Billingsley, The Folk Keeper
- Jane Yolen, Foiled
- Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi, The Spiderwick Chronicles*
(though these might be a bit young)

Anything you can think of that I ought to suggest? I think he reads a lot, so it might be worth having a lot of recommendations at the ready.
tempestsarekind: (facepalm)
My library request for Team Human by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan came in today. So of course I have just finished reading it, at 5 AM.

I don't know why I let myself do that sort of thing. Especially when I already know that I have a compulsive Sarah Rees Brennan problem anyway. I mean, for heaven's sake, why not at least start the book *earlier*???
Ah well. The book was very funny and rather touching, and I really liked stubborn, fiercely protective Mel, who is desperate to save her friend Cathy from Cathy's decision to become a vampire, and Kit, "a born class clown in a house of vampires," a human boy raised by a vampire family, who begins questioning his own decision to "transition" when he turns eighteen.

And now, to salvage a few hours' sleep...
tempestsarekind: (eleven and amy)
Can you believe I hadn't read A Tale of Time City by Diana Wynne Jones yet? Me either. I thought the ending was rather sudden (I mean the *very* ending, the "what are we to do with Vivian, then?" bit), but I spent a good deal of the book being overcome by conscientious android feelings and wanting there to be time ghosts in, like, every book ever.

(It is entirely too hot for a proper review, but this will do as a placeholder.)

It's funny, how few DWJ books I've actually read. When I was younger, I was an enthusiastic but not a completist reader, which meant that I'd read the same book over and over again, but not necessarily search out other books by that author unless they came to my attention in some way, like being shelved nearby or being listed in the Troll Book Club flyer. (I didn't know, for example, that Penelope Farmer had written other books about the Makepeace girls besides Charlotte Sometimes until I'd graduated from college, when a friend of mine told me.) (And Madeleine L'Engle is the exception to this rule, I think because our school library had a copy of one of the books with endpapers that listed the characters in "Kairos," or "real time" books (the Murrys), versus those in "watch-time" books, like the Austins, and where they intersected. I remember being fascinated by that chart, and photocopying it so I could keep up with all the books I could get.) And the actual first DWJ book I read was Witch Week, without having read any of the other Chrestomanci books; I loved it but forgot who it was by, or even that I'd read it, until much later, after reading the Dalemark books and thinking I should read something else by her... Anyway, what this means is that every year or so, I find the new DWJ book that looks most likely for my current mood, and read that.

idiot time

Jul. 17th, 2012 01:17 pm
tempestsarekind: (london)
Because avoidance of problems and actual tasks is fun, I accidentally read two of the three books I picked up yesterday afternoon from the library. This has resulted in very little sleep and fragmented dreams about time travel. (The second book I read, or reread, was The Graveyard Game by Kage Baker, because [livejournal.com profile] bookelfe was talking about the Company novels, and also, immortal road trip! If anyone has any suggestions for other road trips featuring immortals, besides my beloved Brief Lives volume of Sandman, I am all ears.)

The first book, though, was new to me: Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch, originally published in the UK under the *much* more helpful and appropriate title Rivers of London. Newly minted police officer Peter Grant discovers magic at work in the streets of London, and has his hands full tracking a malevolent spirit turned serial killer, while also trying to resolve a messy dispute between dueling spirits of the Thames. Here's a review:
http://londonist.com/2011/01/book-review-rivers-of-london-by-ben-aaronovitch.php

It's not going to become a favorite of mine, but I enjoyed it (although I had to squint past some of the gory bits - which is when I skim bits of text with my eyes squinted to avoid reading too much at one go). It was a bit like A Madness of Angels, if that book hadn't been desperately boring and if the protagonist had had a sense of humor. One thing that I really appreciated is that Peter is mixed-race, and while that isn't the focus of the book, it still inflects the narrative through Peter's awareness of how other people might see him in certain situations (for example, on the Tube, coming from a magical showdown with a bleeding cut on his forehead). I also appreciated that while Peter is new to magic, he's inquisitive and methodical about trying to figure out how it works. And since I'm me, my favorite thing about the book is the way that London's history and its magic combine.

I don't think the second book has been published in the US yet, but I'll keep an eye out for it. [ETA: whoops, I confused these books with some other books that aren't out here yet. Never mind.]

oops.

May. 14th, 2012 04:33 am
tempestsarekind: (Default)
Guess who just stayed up until 4:30 in the morning to read Black Heart by Holly Black after her library request came in on Saturday? That's right; this loser.

*facepalm*

Well, that's completely going to throw my day off-kilter.


Posted via m.livejournal.com.

so...

Jul. 7th, 2011 07:10 pm
tempestsarekind: (ten is a bookworm)
So I spent much of yesterday supine in front of a fan, reading The Demon's Surrender by Sarah Rees Brennan. Reactions were basically like my reactions to the previous books: audible squeaks, laughing, and a running mental script of oh my god Alan stop breaking my heart.

so...

Jul. 7th, 2011 07:10 pm
tempestsarekind: (ten is a bookworm)
So I spent much of yesterday supine in front of a fan, reading The Demon's Surrender by Sarah Rees Brennan. Reactions were basically like my reactions to the previous books: audible squeaks, laughing, and a running mental script of oh my god Alan stop breaking my heart.
tempestsarekind: (books and flowers)
I knew better, but I did it anyway. Oops.

I'm having one of those feeling-jealous-because-I-just-read-Tamsin-again sorts of days (well, several days). There aren't actually that many books in the world that I wish I'd written, funnily enough: there are plenty of books I love, of course, and plenty of books that have had the sort of effects on me that I would long to make others feel, but not that many books I'd actually want to be the author of. But Tamsin I wish I'd written, every page.

I just love everything about it, from Tamsin's wonderful seventeenth-century English (so jealous! how does Peter Beagle do that?), to Jenny's spot-on narrative voice, to the little asides that make all the characters feel like people I know, to the way the supernatural world and the everyday world work in such concert with each other, making each better than it would be on its own. I love the way the supernatural elements build slowly, taking their time edging into the story, and I love how gentle the book is, and also how strong. I think it's probably my favorite book in the world right now--certainly the book I've bought for the most people, or otherwise gotten people to read--and it's held that position for years.

*sigh*
tempestsarekind: (books and flowers)
I knew better, but I did it anyway. Oops.

I'm having one of those feeling-jealous-because-I-just-read-Tamsin-again sorts of days (well, several days). There aren't actually that many books in the world that I wish I'd written, funnily enough: there are plenty of books I love, of course, and plenty of books that have had the sort of effects on me that I would long to make others feel, but not that many books I'd actually want to be the author of. But Tamsin I wish I'd written, every page.

I just love everything about it, from Tamsin's wonderful seventeenth-century English (so jealous! how does Peter Beagle do that?), to Jenny's spot-on narrative voice, to the little asides that make all the characters feel like people I know, to the way the supernatural world and the everyday world work in such concert with each other, making each better than it would be on its own. I love the way the supernatural elements build slowly, taking their time edging into the story, and I love how gentle the book is, and also how strong. I think it's probably my favorite book in the world right now--certainly the book I've bought for the most people, or otherwise gotten people to read--and it's held that position for years.

*sigh*
tempestsarekind: (rory died and turned into a roman)
You know, I keep thinking I should try my hand at the 30 Days of Shakespeare meme, but a quick glance at the questions leads me to believe that way too many of my answers would involve Twelfth Night for there to be any suspense in the undertaking.

Anyway. Instead of doing Shakespeare memes, I have been reading children's and YA books:

1. The Eagle of the Ninth - Rosemary Sutcliff (at long last). I expected I'd like it, and I did. Though I don't tend to go for adventure stories as often, this was very entertaining and a good way to spend an afternoon. You have probably read it already, because you're better than I am.

2. Newes from the Dead - Mary Hooper. A YA historical novel based on the true story of Anne Green, a young woman who was convicted of infanticide in 1650 and was hanged--but didn't die. The novel alternates between Anne's point of view and that of a young medical student prepared to watch the dissection of her body. There are a few awkward moments at which Anne's point of view clashes with the needs of the narrative, but the story is, as you might expect, pretty gripping and the era is pretty well established. Also, the edition I read included a facsimile of one of the seventeenth-century pamphlets that told Anne's story, so that's a nice bonus.

3. Foiled - Jane Yolen; Mike Cavallaro, illustrator. I picked this up from the library basically on the strength of the illustrations and the fact that it was written by Jane Yolen--and it was a good thing I was willing to, because the book flap tells you absolutely nothing about the book except that the protagonist, Aliera Carstairs, doesn't feel like she fits in with the cliques in her school, and that she's a fencer (hence the title). Aliera is fun to keep company with; she's tenacious, wry and level-headed, even while developing a raging crush on the mysterious new boy in her class. The story is less strong, perhaps because the graphic novel spends as long as it does establishing Aliera's character; the plot arrives rather unexpectedly, and the resolution of it happens through explanation rather than action. It ends with enough dangling threads that I'm assuming it's the first of a series.

4. The Good Neighbors, Book One: Kin - Holly Black; Ted Naifeh, illustrator. This book and Foiled traverse somewhat similar territory, so it was instructive that I read them back to back. Where Foiled is strongest on character and weaker on plot, Kin hits the ground running with regard to plot but leaves its heroine, Rue, a bit shadowy; everything that was revealed about her, mostly through flashback, was directly related to the plot. If you liked Tithe, then you'll probably know about what to expect here, and you'll probably enjoy it. First in a series (the third one's out in October).

And my absolute favorite of the batch:

5. The Brothers Story - Katherine Sturtevant. I suspected that I would really enjoy this book, because I'd already read and admired her other two YA historicals, At the Sign of the Star and A True and Faithful Narrative (both of which follow Meg Moore, daughter of a London bookseller, in the 1660s). [Edit: 1670s, actually.] This novel is set during the Great Frost of 1683--which is shiveringly evoked here--and follows Kit, a teenager who flees to London to try to make something of himself, leaving behind his mother and his developmentally challenged brother, Christy. What I admire so much about all three of Katherine Sturtevant's books is that she writes sympathetic characters without making them anachronistic, and yet also without making them didactic examples of "what people thought back then"; their ways of looking at the world are revealed naturally (though sometimes startlingly, when one is reminded of the gulf between them and us). This book is particularly frank about certain elements of seventeenth-century life, but not merely for shock value; instead the details create a solid world. Highly recommended.
tempestsarekind: (rory died and turned into a roman)
You know, I keep thinking I should try my hand at the 30 Days of Shakespeare meme, but a quick glance at the questions leads me to believe that way too many of my answers would involve Twelfth Night for there to be any suspense in the undertaking.

Anyway. Instead of doing Shakespeare memes, I have been reading children's and YA books:

1. The Eagle of the Ninth - Rosemary Sutcliff (at long last). I expected I'd like it, and I did. Though I don't tend to go for adventure stories as often, this was very entertaining and a good way to spend an afternoon. You have probably read it already, because you're better than I am.

2. Newes from the Dead - Mary Hooper. A YA historical novel based on the true story of Anne Green, a young woman who was convicted of infanticide in 1650 and was hanged--but didn't die. The novel alternates between Anne's point of view and that of a young medical student prepared to watch the dissection of her body. There are a few awkward moments at which Anne's point of view clashes with the needs of the narrative, but the story is, as you might expect, pretty gripping and the era is pretty well established. Also, the edition I read included a facsimile of one of the seventeenth-century pamphlets that told Anne's story, so that's a nice bonus.

3. Foiled - Jane Yolen; Mike Cavallaro, illustrator. I picked this up from the library basically on the strength of the illustrations and the fact that it was written by Jane Yolen--and it was a good thing I was willing to, because the book flap tells you absolutely nothing about the book except that the protagonist, Aliera Carstairs, doesn't feel like she fits in with the cliques in her school, and that she's a fencer (hence the title). Aliera is fun to keep company with; she's tenacious, wry and level-headed, even while developing a raging crush on the mysterious new boy in her class. The story is less strong, perhaps because the graphic novel spends as long as it does establishing Aliera's character; the plot arrives rather unexpectedly, and the resolution of it happens through explanation rather than action. It ends with enough dangling threads that I'm assuming it's the first of a series.

4. The Good Neighbors, Book One: Kin - Holly Black; Ted Naifeh, illustrator. This book and Foiled traverse somewhat similar territory, so it was instructive that I read them back to back. Where Foiled is strongest on character and weaker on plot, Kin hits the ground running with regard to plot but leaves its heroine, Rue, a bit shadowy; everything that was revealed about her, mostly through flashback, was directly related to the plot. If you liked Tithe, then you'll probably know about what to expect here, and you'll probably enjoy it. First in a series (the third one's out in October).

And my absolute favorite of the batch:

5. The Brothers Story - Katherine Sturtevant. I suspected that I would really enjoy this book, because I'd already read and admired her other two YA historicals, At the Sign of the Star and A True and Faithful Narrative (both of which follow Meg Moore, daughter of a London bookseller, in the 1660s). [Edit: 1670s, actually.] This novel is set during the Great Frost of 1683--which is shiveringly evoked here--and follows Kit, a teenager who flees to London to try to make something of himself, leaving behind his mother and his developmentally challenged brother, Christy. What I admire so much about all three of Katherine Sturtevant's books is that she writes sympathetic characters without making them anachronistic, and yet also without making them didactic examples of "what people thought back then"; their ways of looking at the world are revealed naturally (though sometimes startlingly, when one is reminded of the gulf between them and us). This book is particularly frank about certain elements of seventeenth-century life, but not merely for shock value; instead the details create a solid world. Highly recommended.
tempestsarekind: (ofelia reading)
I decided that yesterday was a no-internet day, which was rather pleasant. Instead I tried to move as little as possible (as it was pretty hot), and finally read Sarah Rees Brennan's The Demon's Covenant. (I'd been inadvertently putting it off, because I kept getting home late, and learned my lesson with the first book--where I'd thought I might read a chapter or two before bed, and stayed up until I'd finished it, around 6:30 or 7:00 AM.) It was thoroughly enjoyable, suspenseful and funny, and Alan remains my very best favorite: tall, dark and scowling does absolutely nothing for me, whereas kindhearted, redheaded geeks who teach themselves ancient languages are apparently exactly my type. I'm sure you're all excessively shocked by this piece of information.

I miss being able to sit around and read novels in the summer, it turns out. (This entry is brought to you by the word "obvious.") I'm feeling so much better today than I have been lately.
tempestsarekind: (ofelia reading)
I decided that yesterday was a no-internet day, which was rather pleasant. Instead I tried to move as little as possible (as it was pretty hot), and finally read Sarah Rees Brennan's The Demon's Covenant. (I'd been inadvertently putting it off, because I kept getting home late, and learned my lesson with the first book--where I'd thought I might read a chapter or two before bed, and stayed up until I'd finished it, around 6:30 or 7:00 AM.) It was thoroughly enjoyable, suspenseful and funny, and Alan remains my very best favorite: tall, dark and scowling does absolutely nothing for me, whereas kindhearted, redheaded geeks who teach themselves ancient languages are apparently exactly my type. I'm sure you're all excessively shocked by this piece of information.

I miss being able to sit around and read novels in the summer, it turns out. (This entry is brought to you by the word "obvious.") I'm feeling so much better today than I have been lately.

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