You are viewing hawkwing_lb

Liz
Books 2014: 216-229


216. Jean Johnson, Damnation. Ace, 2014.

Final book in the Theirs Not To Reason Why space opera series. The weakest of the lot, and they didn't start out particularly strong.


217. Ilona Andrews, Burn For Me. Berkeley, 2014.

First book in new series. I really dislike Andrews' tendency to have very controlling men turn up in love interest roles. Otherwise this is a lot of fun, with explosions.


218-226. Eileen Wilks, Tempting Danger, Mortal Danger, Blood Lines, Night Season, Mortal Sins, Blood Magic, Blood Challenge, Death Magic and Mortal Ties. Berkeley, 2004-2012.

Urban fantasy series. Good fun, undemanding. Explosions, werewolves, demons, dragons, magic, and people having sex that is entirely too good to be anything but fiction.


227. Greg van Eekhout, Pacific Fire. Tor, 2015.

Read for review for Tor.com. Good book, heist-thriller-magic stuff. Sequel of sorts to California Bones.


228. Joanne Bourne, Rogue Spy. Ebook, 2014.

Romance. Spies. Napoleonic war period. Fun, but ahistorical in the espionage nonsense.


229. Sarah MacLean, Never Judge A Lady By Her Cover. Ebook, 2014.

Romance. Post-Regency pre-Victorian. Lady-owner of casino leading a double (triple?) life under three identities (one madam, one male casino owner, one disgraced lady having borne a bastard daughter) falls in love with a newspaper magnate with secrets of his own. Meh.

This entry was originally posted at http://hawkwing-lb.dreamwidth.org/624735.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there. Comment where you like.
 
 
Current Location: Newcastle
Current Mood: sleepysleepy
Current Music: none
 
 
 
Liz
22 November 2014 @ 06:05 pm
Thanks to Toronto Tourism and INSPIRE! Toronto International Book Fair, I got to take a trip to Toronto this month. Between Tuesday 11th November and Monday 17th November, I was either in Toronto or in transit between Dublin and Toronto.

I flew with Air Canada via Heathrow. The flight out was one of the more painless long flights of my existence. The aircraft was the very latest in shiny passenger-flying, with actual headroom and windows that could be tinted five different shades of green, and they fed us. Recognisable and tasty food: dinner, a snack, and then a hot wrap thing that actually tasted of its ingredients. Plenty of soft drinks: I had some Canadian ginger ale and discovered I liked it.

I landed to sunset in Toronto, and felt as though I’d stepped onto a film set.

I find the skyline, and the layout, of North American cities surreal, when I see them in person. They are so much a part of English-language television, and so different to the cities I am used to, that visiting them feels rather like stepping out of reality and into a fictional dream where people might be uncommonly handsome and even the tenor of street noise is different. The straightness of the roads and the height of buildings messes with my sense of scale. The sky seems larger.

Surreal, like I said.

Read more...Collapse )

This entry was originally posted at http://hawkwing-lb.dreamwidth.org/624369.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there. Comment where you like.
 
 
Current Location: home
Current Mood: awakeawake
Current Music: The Indelicates - We Hate The Kids
 
 
 
Liz
10 November 2014 @ 04:45 pm
Books 2014: 211-215


211. John Scalzi, Lock In. US: Tor, 2014; UK: Gollancz, 2014. Copy courtesy of Gollancz.

So, remember the last time I was writing up my books, I asked myself, "Have I forgotten something?" And it turns out that I had, because the night beforehand I'd read Lock In and it had not made enough impression to last. This is in many ways a very forgettable book: competent, but of the stuff of which airport paperbacks are made. A whodunnit with a couple of Sufficiently Advanced Technology elements. I really don't have very much at all to say about it, and I'm damned if I can even remember the characters' names.


212. Sharon Lee, Carousel Sea. Baen, 2015. e-ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Third installment in small-town fantasy series. Will include in future SWM column. Interesting, soothing, pulls all its punches.


213. Elizabeth May, The Falconer. Gollancz, 2013.

Debut novel. Fairies. Violence. Scotland. Steampunk. It is crack and it is terrible and it is actually quite a bit of fun.


nonfiction


214. William Dalrymple, The Return of a King: the Battle for Afghanistan. Bloomsbury, 2013.

New history of the first British Afghan war, and one that makes liberal use of sources in the local languages. A fascinating read.


215. Marcus Rediker, The Amistad Rebellion: an Atlantic Odyssey of Slavery and Freedom. Verso, 2013.

Rediker writes good history. This one is relatively short, for him, and very accessible: an account of the Amistad slave mutiny and the long struggle of the survivors to return to their West African homes. Solid, informative, compelling.

This entry was originally posted at http://hawkwing-lb.dreamwidth.org/623834.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there. Comment where you like.
 
 
Current Location: home
Current Mood: awakeawake
Current Music: Ani DiFranco - Out Of Range
 
 
 
Liz
27 October 2014 @ 10:00 pm
Books 2014: 209-2010


209. Elizabeth Bear, Karen Memory. Tor, 2015. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

This book. This book. I don't even know how to talk about it. I need to read it again and again. It did everything right for me. It's all my narrative kinks rolled up into one - including some I didn't even know I had, and some things I would've thought I'd hate to see but they're done so well - and wrapped up with a positive ending and it all just works.

Read it. Read it. READ IT I NEED TO TALK ABOUT IT WITH PEOPLE.


nonfiction


210. Christopher Clark, The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914. Penguin, 2013.

A weighty (500+ pages excluding index, notes and bibliography, at 10pt-type) volume, but a deeply fascinating and extraordinarily well-written piece of history, that is astonishingly clear in its presentation of the complex factors and personalities on the European scene, and routes by which the decisions of the European powers ultimately narrowed down to war. A really excellent history book.

This entry was originally posted at http://hawkwing-lb.dreamwidth.org/623523.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there. Comment where you like.
 
 
Current Location: home
Current Mood: awakeawake
Current Music: When In Rome - Everything
 
 
 
Liz
Books 2014: 186-208


186-187. Laurie R. King, To Play The Fool and With Child. Picador, 2014 editions.

The second and third installment in King's Kate Martinelli series. The interesting thing about these novels, I realised as I read her standalone books - discussed next paragraph - is how much more King is interested in character, in suffering, in relationships, than she is in the intellectual puzzle of whodunnit. Crime might be the frame, but it's not the focus. Which makes these novels fairly powerful examinations of emotions and relationships and characters.


188-190. Laurie R. King, A Darker Place, Folly, and Keeping Watch. Various publishers, various years.

These are King's standalone contemporary novels - though Folly and Keeping Watch are loosely connected - and it's here where I noticed her concern with character rather than mystery most strongly. A Darker Place ends on an unfinished note, but it's a study of one woman's guilt and obsessions and drive, a drive that leads her into danger again and again; Folly is concerned with one woman's struggle to rebuild her self and her life while struggling with a heavy burden of grief and mental illness - she's a mother, a grandmother, an artist: her sickness places heavy burdens upon her relationships but doesn't, ultimately, define her - while Keeping Watch is about how one man's experiences in Vietnam (and his addiction to adrenaline) shaped his entire life. They are brilliant, fascinating novels, and well worth reading.


191-195. Mary Balogh, One Night For Love, A Summer To Remember, The Proposal, The Escape, and The Arrangement. Ebooks.

Formulaic historical romance. Diverting, but not really engrossing. Did not hit nearly enough of my narrative kinks.


196. Catherine Asaro, Undercity. Baen, 2014. Review ecopy courtesy of the publisher.

Read for review for Tor.com. My strongest feeling about this book is "meh." It's good enough, it does what it sets out to do, but it's not stylish or innovative or particularly gripping. It has not enough flare and joie de vivre. I found it hard to say much about it in my review.


197. Sarah Zettel, Palace of Spies. Harcourt Brace & Co., 2013.

Read for inclusion in SWM column. An excellent and intelligent YA novel. Much recommended.


198. Liane Merciel, Dragon Age: Last Flight. Tor, 2014. Review copy courtesy of the publisher.

By far the best written of the Dragon Age tie-ins to date: it manages to tell a full and complete story without feeling like someone's write-up of their roleplaying campaign, and does it smoothly. Interesting characters, solid BOOM. Would read more in this setting by this author.


199. Gail Simone et al, Legends of Red Sonja. Dynamite, 2014.

I said of Gail Simone's first Red Sonja volume that it reminded me in the best possible way of Xena: Warrior Princess. Legends, a compilation collecting efforts from Simone and a variety of other authors, including Kelly Sue DeConnick, Tamora Pierce, and Marjorie M. Liu, feels very much like it too - without Xena's levels of whimsical ridiculousness, but still. I really enjoyed this, and recommend it very much.


200. Erin Lindsey, The Bloodbound. Ace, 2014.

Red for inclusion in SWM column. Meh. Tone and concerns remind me a little of Mercedes Lackey or Tamora Pierce, though without their particular brand of... didactic feminism is not quite the term I need, but it may be close. Armies, threats to nations, heroine bodyguarding king. Briefly diverting, but not exactly compellingly great.


201-206. Anthony Riches, Wounds of Honour, Arrows of Fury, Fortress of Spears, The Leopard Sword, The Wolf's Gold and The Eagle's Vengeance. Hodder & Stoughton, various dates.

Discussion of narrative pattern of sexual violence follows.

Feeling low and brainless, I read through all of these in a single night and day. They are, to use a term of art vouchsafed to me, "Roman bollocks," set during the reign of Commodus (the Commodus of whom Dio gives us such a lovely picture beheading ostriches in the arena). A Roman of good family takes service with an auxiliary cohort in Britain under an assumed name because his family has been condemned for treason, rapidly becomes a centurion, hack slash march curse shield-bash male homosociality. Details of military equipment and the political landscape are well-researched; details of the Roman social world and the Roman mindset, rather less so: Riches has imported the mindset of a more gleefully brutal modern infantry regiment into Roman clothing. (Hack, slash, march, curse, march.)

An interesting pattern emerges over the course of six books. Riches has chosen to deal with a primarily masculine world, that of the Roman army on campaign, but in Wounds of Honour he introduces Felicia, a Roman married woman of good family with medical training who will be the Only Notable Named Woman for three books. (And one of Damn Few for the next three.) Not only does Felicia take up with a centurion after her first husband dies, she doesn't even bring a female servant with her, or acquire one. Most of her time on screen is spent being menaced by rape, only to be rescued at the last moment - at least once, and sometimes more often, in each book.

In book four, The Leopard Sword, Riches introduces a second notable named woman, Annia. Guess her profession. I'll wait.

#
#
#
#

If you guessed "prostitute", top marks, well done. A presumably successful businesswoman, Annia is victimised regularly by her business partner, who is the local equivalent of an underworld kingpin, and does not seem to realise that the men who work for him as her guards could turn on her at his order. Annia is also threatened with rape in the course of this novel! But instead of one of the last-minute rescues experienced by Felicia, she gets to have the completed experience. She is rescued from death but not from penetrative violation.

The nice mostly-respectable Roman matron, in the course of six books and multiple close calls, has not experienced a completed rape. The woman who has made a career out of selling her body, on the other hand?

Hmmm. Hmmm. *side-eyes*

In the fifth book, to round off the well-rounded array of female characters, we're introduced to an Evil Woman Who Manipulates Men Through Sex, by the way.

So that's an interesting pattern of sexist thinking and unexamined sexism on display.


nonfiction


207. Adam Clulow, The Company and the Shogun: The Dutch Encounter With Tokugawa Japan. Columbia University Press, 2014.

A fascinating and immensely readable account of how the Dutch East India Company (the VOC) was stymied in its attempts to treat the Tokugawa Bakufu like the other nations and kingdoms the VOC succeeded in dominating in South East Asia. The VOC ended up, in fact, using the rhetoric of a vassal of the shogun, and being called upon to perform the duties of a vassal. It's far from my period, but it feels like solid research - although I'd have preferred more emphasis on how the Japanese conceived of the Dutch.


208. Judith Herrin, Margins and Metropolis: Authority Across The Byzantine Empire. Princeton University Press, 2013.

A collection of essays on various aspects of Byzantine authority from across Herrin's long career. Interesting stuff.

This entry was originally posted at http://hawkwing-lb.dreamwidth.org/622628.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there. Comment where you like.
 
 
Current Location: home
Current Mood: awakeawake
Current Music: Dragonforce - Through the Fire and the Flames
 
 
 
Liz
15 October 2014 @ 11:13 am
I should remember that nice things do. Yesterday, I bought soup in a coffee soup. And bread. It turned out that the bread had started growing its own penicillin. I don't mind bread mould, particularly: there's nothing especially harmful about it mostly. But I pointed it out to the staff because I'd really rather not eat it.

And when I was going they did not let me pay for the chocolate brownie and hot milk I was taking away with me.

So that made me feel rather better about my day. Especially as I was fairly exhausted from visiting the counselling service.

Oh, yeah. I shoved the first mostly-full draft of my thesis off onto my supervisor's hands yesterday, too. So I am taking a break. For perspective. And to let my brain grow a little back, enough to handle Serious Revisions.

This entry was originally posted at http://hawkwing-lb.dreamwidth.org/622392.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there. Comment where you like.
Tags: ,
 
 
Current Location: train in transit
Current Mood: awakeawake
Current Music: Duran Duran - A View To A Kill
 
 
 
Liz
11 October 2014 @ 12:41 am
For the last three days, I have barely been able to make myself care enough to get out of bed, much less leave the house. Today was the worst: I got up after dark and set out walking. I needed to get away. I needed to move. To a certain extent I needed to test myself, to push my injured ankle to see if it was healing - and there was a degree of self-punishment involved as well.

Fortunately, my ankle is somewhat healed. Fortunately, when I pushed myself beyond what was sensible for it, three miles from home on a road by the sea in the dark with the moon and the stars and the headlights of passing cars, I had worked out enough of my self-despite to be able to call my mother and admit I could use a lift getting home.

It is always too easy to hate myself. It is always too easy to fall into the feeling of being trapped, a kind of mental compression that brings blankness and lethargy in its wake. It is far too easy to feel a visceral loathing for my body, my flesh, my mind, a desire to rip it into pieces and rend it and smash it and push it far beyond sensible limits, to punish it for its weaknesses. To succumb to the confusion of emotions that batters me down, the hollow places and absences and over-full idiocies, and weep with frustration.

One of the things that's most difficult to deal with is the knowledge that this will never stop. That I can hide it most of the time, and manage it nearly all the time, and still there will come these periods when food loses its taste and exercise its attraction, when thought grows numb and life stretches like a bleak and pointless wasteland, toxic, without beauty or redeeming value, when there is no future and my mind finds it hard to think even a day ahead, to see possibility rather than blankness, potential instead of the closing jaws of a trap. That each time I have to reach for the stubbornness to bull through, to reach down and find the ability to keep going, to start again.

Knowing I have done it before doesn't make it easier to do again. It just means I know the shape of the difficulty.

And I am lucky. I am lucky. My meds have worked, mostly. My side-effects are minimal. I know the steps to this dance, to exercise and reasonable diet and accomplishing small tasks and using the pressure of not letting the side down to hold me up until I can balance on my own again. I just have to follow the steps, and eventually the blankness will recede, and with it layers upon layers of fear.

It doesn't feel like luck. It feels like drowning.

Every time you go down, you don't know if you'll make the surface again.

And it's impossible to explain to someone who has not lived with it, who doesn't understand that daily life is a narrow path with unexpected pits gaping at either side, that the worst is how much it makes you distrust yourself. That there is no crisis, no grand cathartic gesture, only the grinding endless chores of not stopping in the middle of the bog, not letting katabasis be all there is.

It hollows you out, makes you dull and empty and oversensitive and angry - tired anger. Frustrated and afraid.

It is too easy to hate myself, and it makes me angry and afraid.

This entry was originally posted at http://hawkwing-lb.dreamwidth.org/621850.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there. Comment where you like.
Tags:
 
 
Current Location: home
Current Mood: awakeawake
Current Music: fuck off and die
 
 
 
Liz
08 October 2014 @ 06:52 pm
Books 2014: 169-185


169-176. Laurie R. King, O Jerusalem, Justice Hall, The Game, Locked Rooms, The Language of Bees, The God of the Hive, Pirate King and Garment of Shadows. Allison & Busby, various dates.

More excellent mysteries from King, in her Russell and Holmes series. Not quite as good as the first three, but plenty satisfying and playful.


177. Tanya Huff, The Future Falls. DAW, 2014. Copy courtesy of publisher.

Read for review for Tor.com. Fun book, but PARADOX IS CHEATING. Ahem.


178. Bennett Madison, September Girls. HarperCollins, 2013.

Read for column. Disappointing.


179. Garth Nix, Clariel. HarperCollins, 2014. Copy via Tor.com.

Read for review for Tor.com. Also disappointing.


180. Pierre Pevel, The Knight. Gollancz, 2014. Translated from the French by Tom Clegg. Copy courtesy of publisher.

Read for review for Tor.com. Disappointing.


181-182. Lia Silver, Laura's Wolf and Prisoner. Ebooks. 2014.

Interesting books working with romance-novel furniture but doing intriguing things with PTSD too. Fun, well-characterised, mostly well-written. Recommended.


nonfiction


183. Mary Beard, Laughter in Ancient Rome: On Joking, Tickling, and Cracking Up. University of California Press, Berkeley CA, 2014.

Very interesting overview of laughter in the Roman (and Greco-Roman) world. Readable. Not especially ground-breaking. Good synthesis. Even if Beard is inexplicably not fond of Aelius Aristides, and does not investigate laughter/joking, particularly in fables, as a site of resistance to dominating powers/hierarchies.


184. Robert Darnton, Censors at Work: How States Shaped Literature. WW Norton & Co., London & New York, 2014.

Interesting overview of state oversight and control of literature in 18th century France, turn-of-the-20th-century British India, and communist East Germany. I kept wanting more social context, which I always do with histories in this vein and is not a commentary on Darnton. Very readable, makes interesting connections, illuminates ways of thinking about literature, censorship, and self-censorship. Recommended.


185. Helen Bynum, Spitting Blood: The History of Tuberculosis. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2012.

Fascinating and well-written history of a disease from the earliest period to the modern day. I stayed up late to finish it. Recommended.

This entry was originally posted at http://hawkwing-lb.dreamwidth.org/621774.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there. Comment where you like.
 
 
Current Location: home
Current Mood: awakeawake
Current Music: fuck off and die
 
 
 
Liz
Books 2014: 156-168


156-157. Mavis Doriel Hay, Death On The Cherwell and Murder Underground. British Library Crime Classics, reprinted 2014.

Had I read Murder Underground before Death On The Cherwell, and not the other way around, I would have been inclined to dismiss Hay's scant handful of 1930s murder mysteries as tedious and possessed of little redeeming value. Yet for all the back-and-forth boredom of Murder Underground, Death On The Cherwell is a minor delight: it breathes the Oxford of its setting, and Hay here possesses more in the way of sympathy and humour for her characters. And yet neither are mysteries in the usual sense, being more concerned with the lives of the characters than the resolution of the murder. But that makes them interesting in a different fashion.


158. Jack Campbell, The Lost Stars: Imperfect Sword. Ace, 2014. Copy via Tor.com.

Read for review for Tor.com. Very similar to all previous Campbell books.


159. Jacqueline Carey, Poison Fruit. Roc, 2014. Copy via Tor.com.

Read for review for Tor.com. Satisfactory conclusion to trilogy.


160. Rebecca Levene, Smiler's Fair. Hodder, 2014. Copy courtesy of publisher.

Read for review for Strange Horizons. Three quarters of the book is prologue, and I'm none too satisfied with the rest, either.


161. S.M. Wheeler, Sea Change. Tor, 2013. Copy courtesy of publisher.

Read for column. Reminds me in many ways of The Last Unicorn, though its emotional beats affect me more.


162. Jacey Bedford, Empire of Dust. DAW, 2014. Galley copy courtesy of publisher.

Read for review/column. Strikingly old-fashioned space opera. Psionics. Telepathy. Women who take their husbands' names on marriage as a matter of course. I had only just reread Ancillary Justice and Ancillary Sword, mind you, so its failures of imagination were clearer by comparison. Perfectly readable adventure, nothing particular about it to make it stand out.


163. Jo Walton, The Just City. Tor, 2015. Copy courtesy of publisher.

Read for review for Vector. A peculiar book, and less self-indulgent than it seems at first glance - though Walton takes a rather more charitable view towards both Apollo and Sokrates than I ever would. It is immensely readable, and its major thematic arguments emerge slyly from the narrative (although it actually states up front on the first page what it is going to be). In many ways, this is a book about consent, and the abuses thereof: informed consent, consent after the fact, refusal of consent, the power to compel - cunning concealed under explicit arguments about justice and arete.

It is also, at times, rather like reading one of the more enjoyable Sokratic dialogues.

Appropriately so.


164-167. Laurie R. King, A Monstrous Regiment of Women, A Letter of Mary, The Moor, and A Grave Talent. 1993-1998 variously, Allison & Busby and Picador.

Excellent mystery novels. All of them.


nonfiction

168. Judith Herrin, Unrivaled Influence. Princeton University Press, 2013.

Collection of essays on women in the Byzantine empire from throughout Herrin's (long) career. Very interesting.

This entry was originally posted at http://hawkwing-lb.dreamwidth.org/620853.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there. Comment where you like.
 
 
Current Location: home
Current Mood: awakeawake
Current Music: Nick Cave - Pinery Boy
 
 
 
Liz
15 September 2014 @ 07:25 pm
Five things make a post, as the ancient wisdom goes:

The physiotherapist says no running for me, not for a while. She pointed out I have puffiness and inflammation. I can do other things, but nothing high-impact.

I may have overcompensated on the cycling machine in the gym. 15km in 43:15, at moderate levels of resistance. I also lucked out and found two people willing to share the weights cage for benchpress, so I got to talk to nice people in between sets. 6x60kg, 5x65kg, 5x67.5kg, 4x70kg, and 8x60kg to finish. Basically an easy session, just cardio and benchpress.

The college counseling service had room for me to see the bloke I remember being helpful before next week, so I'm going to hit that up on Monday.

I slept before 0300 last night and made it out of bed before 0930, which is a milestone. I just have to keep that up every day for the rest of the year.

Today really feels like autumn. It's 1930 with twilight gloaming in under high and misty cloud, where the morning came in bright, and the air has a touch of damp and chill. I used to like autumn. Not so much anymore: autumn is too much a season of endings.

This entry was originally posted at http://hawkwing-lb.dreamwidth.org/620448.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there. Comment where you like.
 
 
Current Location: train in transit
Current Mood: awakeawake
Current Music: TG Lurgan - Avicii vs. Lurgan
 
 
 
Liz
13 September 2014 @ 03:07 pm
The cat is sitting sentinel on a wheelie bin under the window, lion-like, paws crossed. It's an image that makes me think about how small he is, really, and how fragile. Cats.

I slept both too much and not enough last night. I cannot seem to sleep before 0300 ever, and no matter how I set my alarm it seems impossible to wake much before noon. Today I slept through the alarm right until 1400. I have a vague memory of answering the phone to mum sometime before I got up, but I don't think that counts as consciousness.

I went to the gym yesterday (pathetic), and out with some friends in the evening. For some reason being around them, much as I love them, makes me feel as though I'm not a particularly competent human. Mind you, being around most people makes me feel this way. I had fun and came home to write another 100 words on my thesis. It's never enough.

My thesis is depressing. It makes me want to commit self-murder.

I am a bundle of whine. But the high tide happens soon, so I will dare the jelly-fish and the clouds and go swimming.

This entry was originally posted at http://hawkwing-lb.dreamwidth.org/619949.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there. Comment where you like.
 
 
Current Location: home
Current Mood: awakeawake
Current Music: Mark Knopfler - Privateering
 
 
 
Liz
04 September 2014 @ 10:53 pm
Books 2014: 151-155

151-152. Yasmine Galenorn, Bone Magic and Harvest Hunting. Berkley, 2010.

Oh, the terribleness of these books. Such terribleness. Such angst. Such faerie/werewolf/magic/vampire/poly/queer sex. It's kind of glorious, in an utterly terrible all-the-urban-fantasy-clichés way.


153. C.J. Redwine, Defiance. Atom, 2012.

Can't remember who told me I should read this. They weren't exactly right. Bog-standard YA dystopia narrative, clearly drawing on John's Apocalypse/millenarian reified symbols for its setting (not as imaginatively as Faith Hunter's debut trilogy, alas), with a little too much illogical specialness thrown in. Not my sort of book, but probably appeals to the Divergent readership.


154. Elizabeth Bear, One-Eyed Jack. Prime, 2014.

An excellent urban fantasy set in 2002 Las Vegas, that plays with metafictionality while never breaking the fourth wall. Well recommended.


155. Laurie R. King, The Beekeeper's Apprentice, or, On the Segregation of the Queen. St. Martin's Press, 1994. This edition Picador 2014.

Why did no one ever hit me over the head with the amazingness that is this book before? IT IS BRILLIANT GIVE ME ALL THE SEQUELS NOW.

This entry was originally posted at http://hawkwing-lb.dreamwidth.org/619232.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there. Comment where you like.
 
 
Current Location: home
Current Mood: awakeawake
Current Music: Rupert Holmes - Escape (the Pina Colada Song)
 
 
 
Liz
01 September 2014 @ 11:23 pm
I hate everything and I want to be done so badly. I would dig it out of my veins with a dull knife, if I could. But that will not get it done.

I am over-committed with Freelance Stuff. And yet I can't let any of that go, because September holds my last IRC paycheque, and little as the freelance stuff pays for the amount of effort I need to put in, it's far far better than the nothing that will be coming to me otherwise. I don't have enough in savings to feel safe to last until March, and I won't be able to contribute much if at all to the household expenses.

Which sucks fucking rocks, because mum having been on sickleave for two years (and "our share" of gran's funeral expenses) means we're well deep in the fucking hole, and with one income we're going to keep sinking.

I hate this. I fucking hate it. I hate feeling like my body doesn't belong to me anymore, because going to do exercise takes brain and effort that often seems in short supply, and I slack off and eat chocolate and drink too much caffeinated syrup and stare at the walls.

I hate this. And saying "Nearly there, nearly there," isn't as helpful as I could wish - because if I'm nearly there, what the fuck happens next? (And why the fuck is it so hard to get to THE END in the meanwhile, anyway?) I'm twenty-eight years old and I feel like I've made a shitload of poor life decisions in choosing what to focus on. Maybe I should've picked the dole queue after my undergrad degree and tried... something else.

And yet. I love learning stuff. And talking about it.

So why do I hate this so much?

I just want to be done.

This entry was originally posted at http://hawkwing-lb.dreamwidth.org/618767.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there. Comment where you like.
Tags:
 
 
Current Location: home
Current Mood: anxiousaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrgh
Current Music: fuck off and die
 
 
 
Liz
30 August 2014 @ 02:51 pm
I'm hard on my clothes. (You don't need to know this, but I feel like sharing anyway.) I sweat into my shirts like a packmule in the tropics, no matter what I do and regardless of the weather, and my trousers wear out at the seams with disturbing regularity. Were it not for my lifelong aversion to skirts, solidified by six years under a uniform code, I might consider them a better investment.

So today, after discovering my last pair of trousers required surgery, I hied me into town (after meeting a friend I hadn't seen in ages for elevenses) and discovered that THERE WAS A SALE.

Now I have six pairs of trousers, and am very very broke. But hopefully these trousers will last a while longer.

This entry was originally posted at http://hawkwing-lb.dreamwidth.org/618266.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there. Comment where you like.
Tags: ,
 
 
Current Mood: awakeawake
Current Music: 10cc - I'm Not In Love
 
 
 
Liz
25 August 2014 @ 09:23 pm
I've probably forgotten a good half-dozen things from this list: I know I made a foray into regency romance for a couple of days during the last month.

Books 2014: 137-150


137. Charles Stross, The Rhesus Chart. Orbit, 2014.

The fifth installment in Stross's "Laundry Files" series. Rather more episodic than its predecessors, with an approach to pacing that staggers rather a bit in the middle, it never quite transcends the sum of its parts. But it's a fun story with an interesting twist in the climax that clearly sets up some New Changes in the life of its protagonist, and I enjoyed it a lot.


138. Ann Leckie, Ancillary Sword. Orbit, 2014. Review copy (electronic) courtesy of Orbit.

It is space opera, and could have been written JUST FOR ME. I love it as much as I loved its predecessor. Read this one for review for Tor.com: expect to hear more about it from me soon.


139. Roz Kaveney, Resurrections. Plus One Press, 2014. Review copy courtesy of the author.

Third in series, and what a fantastic bloody series it is. Kaveney isn't afraid to make ambitious messes with mythology, genre furniture, and your own expectations. Structurally it's not an entirely successful offering, but I love it incredibly much, and hopefully I'll get to talk about it at length in a review somewhere else.


140. Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory, The House of the Four Winds. Tor, 2014. Copy courtesy of the publisher.

A competent if not particularly exciting fantasy novel set in a version of our world sometime in the 1700s - with all the names of the countries changed, but still with things called "French doors." It has pirates and the high seas, and doesn't fuck up shipboard life entirely, but you can call the plotpoints in advance pretty easily.


141. Barbara Hambly, Crimson Angel. Severn House, 2014. eARC courtesy of the publisher.

The latest Benjamin January novel, and in my opinion one of the best. (Mind you, my two favourites are Graveyard Dust and Sold Down The River.) Here, death and threats and an old family secret lead Ben and Rose - accompanied by Hannibal Sefton - to Cuba, and thence to Haiti. A fantastic, powerful, atmospheric novel.


142-143. Sharon Kay Penman, The Queen's Man and Cruel As The Grave. Ebooks.

Two mysteries set in 12th-century England from an acclaimed historical novelist. Fun mysteries, diverting but not particularly stunning.


144-147. Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill, Legacies, Conspiracies, Sacrifices, and Victories. Ebooks.

Four novels in a Young Adult series called "The Shadow Grail." Which was fun, until it became reincarnated Arthurian mythos nonsense.


148. Shea Godfrey, Blackstone. Bold Strokes Books, 2014. Review copy (electronic) courtesy of the publisher.

Lesbian fantasy romance. The prose is competent enough, but there's not a lot of plot to hold the attention in between fairly unimaginative sex scenes. It is probably fairer to describe this as "romance, subtype erotic" than anything else, and that's not exactly my style.


149. Kim Baldwin, Taken By Storm. Bold Strokes Books, 2014. Review copy (electronic) courtesy of the publisher.

Lesbian romance. Bunch of Americans and a handful of other nationalities (who don't have characterisation) get trapped in a train carriage during serious avalanches in the Swiss Alps. There is some interesting ice climbing stuff. Mostly it is more competent than not, although the lack of attention paid to non-USian characters is deeply annoying. Not particularly special, but good enough if you're looking for more women having relationships with women while adventures happen.


150. Jaime Maddox, The Common Thread. Bold Strokes Books, 2014. Review copy (electronic) courtesy of the publisher.

Novel in which the lives of twins separated at birth come to intersect after a murder. The idea for the narrative is ambitious, but the execution is lacking. For all that, it is a perfectly readable book, if ultimately a little too... well, trite.

This entry was originally posted at http://hawkwing-lb.dreamwidth.org/618118.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there. Comment where you like.
 
 
Current Location: home
Current Mood: awakeawake
Current Music: The Cruxshadows - Citadel
 
 
 
Liz
I have slept for a week.

You may or may not recall that I was traveling to foreign English lands in order to attend Nine Worlds 2014, and LonCon3: the 2014 World Science Fiction Convention. Many were the adventures of your intrepid correspondent! Much did she travel! Far did she wander on untrodden paths...


...Well, maybe not so much with the untrodden.


Nine Worlds 2014


I arrived at Heathrow early on Sunday morning, after about 30-45 minutes' sleep. In between the neighbours' dog shutting up, and my alarm going off, there was not all that much time - so I don't actually recall all that much from Sunday. I had a panel to participate in. I arm-wrestled Geoff Ryman (and won): he is a very clever tall skinny geek. I met the very smart Zen Cho, and blurrily encountered Jared Shurin and Anne C. Perry, and Jenni Hill, a lovely editor from Orbit UK. I recall having lunch with Elizabeth Bear and Alex Dally MacFarlane, and meeting Scott Lynch in passing, but I was seriously out of it.


Cambridge


Towards the evening, the amazing writer and historian and all-around lovely person Kari Sperring and her man Phil bore me off to Cambridge, where I got to meet their cats, among them a very affectionate half-grown catling who wanted All The Attention.


The inimitable Telzey.

I am immensely grateful to Kari and Phil for their impeccable and delightful hospitality - and for introducing me to young Michelle Yeoh in Hong Kong action movies. They are truly wonderful people.


Cambridge has pretty architecture.

Some tourism (and bookshop tourism) happened on Monday, when I received a whirlwind tour of Cambridge and environs, including the famous Soup Pub (whose real name I cannot now remember). On Tuesday D. of Intellectus Speculativus and their partner Zoe trained down to Cambridge and I spent the day with them, doing tourist stuff like looking at buildings:


Pretty buildings

And inside museums:


Cambridge has many museums

...where we agreed that it was sometimes nice to be able to look at stuff that had nothing to do with any of our subject areas (all Classicists/ancient historians, us) and just admire it as a collection of pretty objects. (The museum did try to educate us about the objects in the collection, but we were having none of it. Bad historians were bad on Tuesday.)


And repaired to a pub called the Maypole, where many beers were on offer and I sampled only one.


Wednesday contained a lot of wibbling on my part and attempts to convince myself that LonCon3 would not actually be terrifying.


Read more...Collapse )

This entry was originally posted at http://hawkwing-lb.dreamwidth.org/617229.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there. Comment where you like.
 
 
Current Mood: awakeawake
Current Music: Warren Zevon - The Indifference of Heaven
 
 
 
Liz
...despite it being one of the most gorgeous days of summer outside.

Gym:
Benchpress: 2x5 @67.5kg, 2x5 @70kg, and a nice bloke called Nikil was kind enough to spot me for one of those 70kg sets. (I am always nervy about asking the lads to spot me. It reminds me of how much I stand out in the main weights area as one of maybe two female-bodied people.)
Assisted pullup: 2x5 @25kg assist
Pullup: attempted, failed
Exercise bike: 12km in 32:10.
Rowing machine: 1km in 05:00
Treadmill: intervals, a mess. Still, I tried.

I think the ligament in my right ankle is a bit fucked up again. Tenderness around the Achilles tendon and over the top of the ankle joint. I need to see if I can make a physio appointment, because clearly my exercises for attempting to strengthen it aren't working on my own.

This entry was originally posted at http://hawkwing-lb.dreamwidth.org/616648.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there. Comment where you like.
 
 
Current Location: train
Current Mood: awakeawake
Current Music: To Kill A King - Bloody Shirt
 
 
 
Liz
23 July 2014 @ 05:24 pm
Here is a thing that happened today, and rather spoiled my happy I-have-swum-the-sun-is-shining pleasure at the world.

Three in the afternoon. Doorbell rings. It is a man from the gas company. "Hello," says I.

"Is your mum or dad there?" says he.

I make the WTF face and nobly refrain from asking how fucking old does he think I am. "Can I help you?" says I. ("Can I help you?" is code for TELL ME WHAT THE HELL YOU WANT OKAY. I thought everyone knew this.)

"Are you the Man of the House?" says he.

WTF says my face again. With great restraint, I repeat: "Can I help you?"

"But are you the MAN OF THE HOUSE?" he says again.

At this point, I confess, I lost my temper. "Dude, do I look like a guy? GO AWAY." (I have never said "Dude" out loud before.) Closed the door, and retired to seethe, and to recount this funny story to the internets.

Moral of the story: if you have short hair and a t-shirt and shorts, and aren't performing traditional femininity, at least one of Bord Gáis's travelling doorsteppers will go straight to TEENAGER ALERT and/or MAN ALERT.

I'm tempted to write a complaint. ARE YOU THE MAN OF THE HOUSE?

No. THERE ARE NO MEN IN THIS HOUSE. BECAUSE WE ARE AMAZONS. AND MAN-EATING FEMINISTS...

Actually, because it is possible to be short-haired and female-ish. And it is also possible to live in houses without men, it's a thing that happens sometimes, STRANGER THINGS HAVE HAPPENED.

This entry was originally posted at http://hawkwing-lb.dreamwidth.org/616111.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there. Comment where you like.
Tags: , ,
 
 
Current Location: home
Current Mood: awakeawake
Current Music: TG Lurgan - Na laethanta ab fhearr riamh
 
 
 
Liz
23 July 2014 @ 05:24 pm
Here is a thing that happened today, and rather spoiled my happy I-have-swum-the-sun-is-shining pleasure at the world.
Three in the afternoon. Doorbell rings. It is a man from the gas company. "Hello," says I.

"Is your mum or dad there?" says he.

I make the WTF face and nobly refrain from asking how fucking old does he think I am. "Can I help you?" says I. ("Can I help you?" is code for TELL ME WHAT THE HELL YOU WANT OKAY. I thought everyone knew this.)

"Are you the Man of the House?" says he.

WTF says my face again. With great restraint, I repeat: "Can I help you?"

"But are you the MAN OF THE HOUSE?" he says again.

At this point, I confess, I lost my temper. "Dude, do I look like a guy? GO AWAY." (I have never said "Dude" out loud before.) Closed the door, and retired to seethe, and to recount this funny story to the internets.

Moral of the story: if you have short hair and a t-shirt and shorts, and aren't performing traditional femininity, at least one of Bord Gáis's travelling doorsteppers will go straight to TEENAGER ALERT and/or MAN ALERT.

I'm tempted to write a complaint. ARE YOU THE MAN OF THE HOUSE?

No. THERE ARE NO MEN IN THIS HOUSE. BECAUSE WE ARE AMAZONS. AND MAN-EATING FEMINISTS...

Actually, because it is possible to be short-haired and female-ish. And it is also possible to live in houses without men, it's a thing that happens sometimes, STRANGER THINGS HAVE HAPPENED.

This entry was originally posted at http://hawkwing-lb.dreamwidth.org/616111.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there. Comment where you like.
Tags: , ,
 
 
Current Location: home
Current Mood: awakeawake
Current Music: TG Lurgan - Na laethanta ab fhearr riamh
 
 
 
Liz
Books 2014: 136

nonfiction

136. Thomas F. Bonnell, The Most Disreputable Trade: Publishing the Classics of English Poetry, 1765-1810. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2008.

It's my habit to keep a book in the bathroom to read while cleaning my teeth... and doing other things... a book I don't mind reading three and four pages at a time. By this means, I've learned a little about a large number of historical things. I seized on this particular book because of the interesting - dare I say alluring? - title, and because I'd read a history of the illegal book trade in prerevolutionary France that was quite frankly fascinating.

Well. Don't judge a book by its title. Quite frankly, I expected something more... lascivious? Disreputable? Something more scandalous? But nope. No scandal! No disrepute! Not even any really juicy bookselling feuds, for crying out loud. It's a fairly bland history of the creation of a publishing canon of English poetry by printers and booksellers in Britain. Apparently, the "most disreputable trade" part refers to what one London publisher thought would become of the publishing trade after a copyright decision went against them.

I was seduced by a misleading title, and now I know more than anyone really needs to about collections of English poetry in the late 18th century. Doubtless I will forget it all with great promptness, and remember only that there is a book in which information about it may be found.

This entry was originally posted at http://hawkwing-lb.dreamwidth.org/615770.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there. Comment where you like.
 
 
Current Location: armchair
Current Mood: awakeawake
Current Music: Fleet Foxes - Mykonos
 
 
 
Liz
Today began at 1000, after five and a half hours' sleep, when my mother bounced into my bedroom and said GET UP IT IS WARM AND THE TIDE IS GOING OUT LET'S GO SWIM, or words to that effect.

(It was emotional bouncing, even if no physical bouncing actually occurred.)

This is how I came to be standing thigh deep in the Irish Sea before 1030, awake for less than a half hour, my entire bodily frame much less enthusiastic than usual about this whole cold, wet business. A mist was rolling in, and a group of regular strong swimmers were also about in the water - water clear and grey-green when you open your eyes under it.

I swam even more weakly and pathetically than usual, but I swam.

Then I went to town to spend the afternoon in the library, chasing citations, before hitting the gym for a good session.

Gym:
Benchpress: 1x5 @65kg, 1x5 @67.5kg, 2x5 @70kg, with a spotter.
Assisted pullup: 2x5 @25kg assist.
Unassisted pullup: attempt x5, nope.
Squat: 2x5 @20kg
Military press: 3x10 @4kg/arm
Shoulder fly: 3x10 @6kg/arm
Leg press: 3x10 @80kg
Treadmill: 0.5 mile in 05:00, constant running; 1.00 mile in 13:00, intervals.
Exercise bike: 35:00, in excess of 12km
Second treadmill: 3 intervals of 00:40 at 12.5kph, rest intervals 01:00.
Rowing machine: 1km in 05:30
Third treadmill: 02:00 incline, slow jog.




Now my knuckles hurt, but at least I've had an exercise. Benched more today than I did last week, which is something.

This entry was originally posted at http://hawkwing-lb.dreamwidth.org/615425.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there. Comment where you like.
 
 
Current Location: train in transit
Current Mood: awakeawake
Current Music: To Kill A King - Bloody Shirt
 
 
 
Liz
Only three this time.

Books 2014: 133-135


133. Courtney Milan, The Suffragette Scandal. 2014. Kobo ebook.

Another excellent historical romance, this time set in the 1870s, from Courtney Milan. One of her best to date, I suspect.


134. Sarah McCarry, All Our Pretty Songs. St. Martin's Griffin, 2013.

Read for inclusion in the column. Debut, lyrically written, very decent book.


135. Erika Johansen, The Queen of the Tearling. Bantam Press, 2014.

Read for inclusion in the column. I have conflicted feelings about this novel. On the one hand, I enjoyed the story, and the characters, and on the whole it cheered me up on a day where I was feeling rather gloomy about reading anything. But once I'd finished it, I realised the story took place in a very white, straight, cisgender world - and that made me sad all over again.

This entry was originally posted at http://hawkwing-lb.dreamwidth.org/615260.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there. Comment where you like.
 
 
Current Location: home
Current Mood: awakeawake
Current Music: To Kill A King - Bloody Shirt
 
 
 
Liz
20 July 2014 @ 08:00 pm
A grey humid sticky day, the tide low but on the rise, the water empty of people though the beach played host to quite a few. A cold sea, steel-grey, seaweed-smell drifting from the rocks.

Sometimes I forget that I'm damn lucky.

This entry was originally posted at http://hawkwing-lb.dreamwidth.org/614832.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there. Comment where you like.
Tags: ,
 
 
Current Location: home
Current Mood: awakeawake
Current Music: Gregorian - Running Up That Hill
 
 
 
Liz
On the train, with mist turning the hills and fields of north Dublin ghostly. The kind of day when something out of legend could appear on the brow of a rise, wrapped in a cloak and attended by crows, and it might almost seem inevitable.

I expect I'm suffering a fanciful turn of mind due to lack of fruit at breakfast. It's going to be a close, sticky day.

This entry was originally posted at http://hawkwing-lb.dreamwidth.org/614577.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there. Comment where you like.
Tags:
 
 
Current Location: train in transit
Current Mood: awakeawake
Current Music: To Kill A King - Bloody Shirt
 
 
 
Liz
18 July 2014 @ 08:27 pm
Second time this week, gymming accomplished.

Benchpress: 2x5@70kg, 2x5@65kg.
Military press: 3x10 @4kg/arm
Shoulder fly: 3x10 @6kg/arm
Attempted pull-ups: failed
Assisted pull-up: 1x5 @30kg assist
Bicep curl: 3x10 @7kg/arm

First treadmill: 05:00 continuous run, mile in 12:00 intervals.
Cycling: 12km in 32:10.
Rowing: 1km in 05:40
Second treadmill: intervals at 12.5km/h, 2 intervals of 00:30 with 01:00 walking, 3 intervals of 00:20 with 01:00 walking.

Stretching.

Weigh-in: 109.9kg.

This entry was originally posted at http://hawkwing-lb.dreamwidth.org/614210.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there. Comment where you like.
 
 
Current Location: train in transit
Current Mood: soresore
Current Music: Lady GaGa - Bad Romance