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That Reading Meme - April 11, 2014

Doa - books

Maybe I can get around to this ... monthly?

What have you just finished reading?

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, at last. For a while, it seemed like everyone on my f-list was reccing this. and I got a copy for Hanukah … but kept putting off reading it. It sounded like it was going to be unrelentingly sad, and also, as a Jewish child of the 60s, I was subjected to loads of documentary footage on Holocaust atrocities as part of my religious school curriculum, so I was very reluctant to read a story involving a Nazi prisoner. When I finally did read it. I was actually charmed by some of it, and parts were really quite funny. It is tragic, and simply intensely sad in parts, but it also ends with a sort of calm joy.

The Janissary Tree, by Jason Goodwin, is a charming and yet occasionally gruesome murder mystery set in early 19th century Istanbul, with a eunuch court official as investigator. There is the potential for all sorts of cultural shenanigans (orientalism, obviously, and misrepresentations of Turkish Islamic culture) here, and I don't know enough about any of it to say what kind of course Goidwin has steered. I did enjoy the book and appreciated its representation of a spectrum of human sexuality (although there was definitely a "kill your gays" moment). I did find it rather odd that Goodwin in general represents dialog in other languages by choice of phrase and occasionally non-English vocabulary, but for some reason, uneducated Greeks are given the sort of eye dialect familiar to me from British naturalist Gerald Durrell's Corfu memoirs.

Also, I should note that as flemmings pointed out to me, this is a great book for foodies. Our hero, Master Yashim, loves good food and cooks as a diversion as well as for nourishment.

Finally, I read the last volume of the manga Fushigi Yûgi: Genbu Kaiden by Yuu Watase, which ended about as could be expected. I was relieved that the young king didn't have a tragic ending. Also, I read volume 4 of CLAMP's Gate 7, which continues to be both pretty and pretty ridiculous, albeit entertainingly so. I understand it is now in hiatus, which rots. WTF, CLAMP publishers? People actually like your sparkly silliness. Don't you want to cash in on that?

What are you currently reading?

I am several chapters into the second Master Yashim mystery, The Snake Stone. I'm also doing a re-read for a story I'm writing.

What do you think you'll read next?

I still need to make myself start the manga Vinland Saga. Also, Fumi Yoshinaga's What Did You Eat Yesterday? has just started coming out in English. I'd read Yoshinaga's adaptation of the DC telephone book (supposing such a thing existed), so I'm definitely going to get this one. I also have a couple of YA novels lying around that I got for the holidays and never read. And who knows, maybe the put-one take-one shelf at work will produce the third Master Yashim mystery (that's where I got the other two).

 

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I Hab God a Code ...

Hakkai - so happy (not!)
Just in time for the beautiful spring weather that's finally arrived. :-(

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OH FOR FUCK'S SAKE

Hakkai - snow

IT'S SNOWING!

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Winter Bids Us Adieu

Totoro - umbrella

... Thank God!

On the other hand, now it is pouring rain and will continue to do so until Monday, when we will have wind instead. At least all the previously impacted spring flowers seems to appreciate the rain and milder temps, and are busting out all over.

Today we had the mass birthday party for the Mr. and his siblings and others (February-March is the big birthday season for that side of the family). The Young Lady and I made spring holiday/Easter-ish bags for everyone, with cosmetic stuff and little hardware store gadgets (eyeglass mending kits, mini flashlights and tape measures, etc.) and chocolate goodies. They looked delightful and went over very well with the recipients. We had a pot luck mid-day dinner: spaghetti with sauce, roast chicken, baked sweet potatoes, and a massive salad (my contribution) followed by chocolate cake, pumpkin ice cream pie, and fruit salad. A lot of it was store-bought because everyone has had a cruddy couple of weeks (one abdominal surgery, one oral surgery, one case of a very elderly parent who lives nearly 1000 miles away and had a fall, and horribly busy work and school schedules all around). But we all made it, and exchanged gifts, and talked.

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For the Fans of Good-Smelling Stuff

Akari-mochi

There's a new DW perfume comm called [community profile] smellsgood. Generally, I assume that I can't wear most of what will be discussed, but given my reaction to the recent rash of perfumery reviews going around (rapt attention), I'm sure I'll enjoy what's posted anyway.

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Doa - books

Guys, I have not done this since November. I will try to get back on track!

What have you just finished reading?

Marie Brennan's (swan_tower's) historical fantasy A Star Shall Fall. I liked it fairly well. I'm not sure what would have made it better for me. I need to think about that. I got this copy from last year's Con or Bust auction, so it's taken me a while to decide to read it.

The latest volume, 9, of the manga Ooku: The Inner Chambers by Fumi Yoshinaga. I really liked it and found it much less grim than this series usually is, so I expect the other shoe to drop and the series to go back to normal - or worse - by next volume. There's a great new character, Hiraga Gennai. I will not spoil you about Gennai and what makes Gennai great. XD

The first two volumes of the manga Thermae Romae, which is awesomely silly and beautifully drawn. (The book production values are spectacular too.) It's about a Roman engineer who keeps being transported off at random intervals to present-day Japan, where he encounters various modern-day Japanese public and private baths and invariably returns with new inspirations to try out in Rome. Some of the inspirations are relatively believable, and some are wonderfully absurd in a Flintstones-cartoon sort of way. (Wait'll you see his shampoo shield and shampoo hose.) His interpretations of what he's seeing in Japan are really funny.

What are you currently reading?

I just started Marjorie Liu's The Fire King, which is one of her Dirk & Steele paranormal romances.

What do you think you'll read next?

I grabbed Jason Godwin's The Janissary Tree from the take-on leave-one collection at work. This is a historical mystery set in the early 19th-century Ottoman Empire. I seem to recall reading a favorable review of it at one point, and it won the Edgar Award in 2007. Also, I have the first two volumes of the manga Vinland Saga, but it looks awfully grim. It may be a while until I can get myself to read it.

 

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Happy Birthday Avierra!

birthday love

i hope your day is filled with all of your favorite things, especially cake!

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This Story Sounded Very Familiar

Akari - autumn colors

Growing Up Gender Nonconforming

I wasn't in exactly the same place as the author was: I always considered myself a girl. But I didn't think I was very good at being a girl. And mostly, I didn't want to improve at it, either. I didn't want to be other people's idea of a girl. My poor mother, daughter of a garment industry family, really never did understand it. She'd take me shopping for clothes, and I'd go hide under one of the garment racks with a book.

The one period in my life that I tried hard to be gender conforming was when I was a new mother. I really didn't like it. No matter how hard I tried, I didn't seem to have much in common with the other mothers I met.

Most of the time when I feel like being girly, I do it by myself, for myself. This includes shopping for clothes and very rarely, cosmetics. Makeup, for me, feels like a lie. I don't think it's a lie on other people, mind you! But for me, it's a lie.

I do like jewelry, though. But it has to be smallish and folk-arty or simple and not get in my way. Earrings are good.

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Saiga-Kakei - gleam in his eye

From Loki: Agent of Asgard #1 (Marvel), via TOR.com.

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