silverflight8: stacked old books (books)
I really wanted to like this book. It's about the Library, which is an organization set apart in time and space, which agents that go out into various alternate universes to retrieve books. Sometimes undercover, sometimes timetravelling. Irene is suddenly sent out to retrieve a dangerous item, accompanied by a rookie agent she's never met.

One thing any Librarian will tell you: the truth is much stranger than fiction...

Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, a shadowy organization that collects important works of fiction from all of the different realities. Most recently, she and her enigmatic assistant Kai have been sent to an alternative London. Their mission: Retrieve a particularly dangerous book. The problem: By the time they arrive, it's already been stolen.

London's underground factions are prepared to fight to the death to find the tome before Irene and Kai do, a problem compounded by the fact that this world is chaos-infested—the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic to run rampant. To make matters worse, Kai is hiding something—secrets that could be just as volatile as the chaos-filled world itself.

Now Irene is caught in a puzzling web of deadly danger, conflicting clues, and sinister secret societies. And failure is not an option—because it isn’t just Irene’s reputation at stake, it’s the nature of reality itself...

(from Amazon's blurb)

But oh my god, I think my doneness with steampunk is getting to me. )
silverflight8: stacked old books (books)
Uh, I've just discovered that Blofeld's garden of death exists. It is a garden at Alnwick Castle instead of in Japan, but nevertheless. I...would go visit that garden, actually. But the fact that they've had to put a bench in one part of the garden since people sometimes pass out from the smell of one of the flowers is slightly alarming.

book cover of The Wolf Hunt Anyway! I read The Wolf Hunt, by Gillian Bradshaw. It's based on Bisclavret, one of the twelve famous lays by Marie de France - it's a poem about a man who turns into a werewolf, and he's treacherously betrayed by his wife and trapped in wolf form.

Review under the cut. Spoiler: I loved it )bo
silverflight8: stacked old books (books)
Wow, I haven't posted about my reading in forever. In fact there are still books undeleted from my kobo/marked as unread in Calibre cause I'm not even updating my spreadsheet of read books...for shame.

I finished Here Be Dragons. It improved as I went on, and the narrative really narrowed down a lot more after John's death, which was helpful - I don't really like a lot of POV-jumping. I find it hard to care as much when it constantly flips between people. At any rate, I didn't even recognize the Magna Carta when it showed up. Joanna calls it the Runnymede charter, which makes sense. You don't call it the ancien regime when you're in it. John's death also took me rather by surprise. I was reading a non-fiction biography sort of concurrently with Here Be Dragons, but very intermittently, during lunch breaks, and it was going much slower than Here Be Dragons, since it had to describe the warfare and political situations, esp on the continent.

some light discussion )

I also read the End of Karma: Hope and Fury Among India's Young, by Somini Sengupta, on recommendation from [ profile] wordsofastory. It's a very engaging, well-written and also easy-to-plow-through book, which is really difficult to do. She doesn't shy away from talking about how ugly circumstances and life can be, but she doesn't pity or coddle either, and she does in an incredibly readable way. She takes stories from seven different young people, from all over the country with different ambitions and aspirations, and ties their expectations and hopes back to some of the hopes and promises that came out of independence. She calls them noonday's children - out of the dark, big dreams sometimes, wanting those promises to be fulfilled. And she wrote about inequality, which is something that is very relevant right now. This is an extremely recent book - especially since I'm always late to the party when it comes to reading new stuff - and it was good to see how she incorporated current events in her discussion. Overall extremely good, although I found the last chapter hard to get through - I had to slam the book closed a few times there because it was getting to me. This review is very short because I know next to nothing about India, history or current, and moreover I've had to return my book, but it's very good for someone who doesn't know India well at all.

I read Martha Wells' The Wizard Hunters in an effort to stave off my burning desire to have the next Raksura book. You know how you have books on your e-reader or shelf for ages and ages and are always excited about them when you're sorting through the library (and don't have the time to sit down and read), but when you are actually in a place to read you go, no, I'd rather reread this extremely trashy book for the 48572th time? Anyway, I finally started while I think I was waiting for the train and the opening part hooked me immediately, though when I say what it is it sounds rather horrible. Tremaine's looking for a way to kill herself that would be passed off as an accident - because her city's under siege and she doesn't really have close family anymore and it's not nearly as horrible and sad as it sounds! Oh god. Think Lirael's beginning or something.

some discussion )
silverflight8: text icon: "Go ahead! Panic! Do it now and avoid the June rush!" (Panic!)
I finally finished it. I think my tolerance went up as I read it or it got less melodramatic (after that I no longer trust my judgement); I managed to get through to the end with a minimum of eye rolling.

Though when he started writing his suicide note addressed specifically to Charlotte saying basically "you're the cause of my death" and he thinks he loves her? I was more or less boggling while reading anyway, but that takes the cake. How wrapped up in yourself can you possibly be? Yes, obviously, he is not in a fit mental state, but that's amazing. (And then since he had no intention of immediately killing himself, he was obliged to add amendments to it...I assume, probably uncharitably, to twist the knife a little more. Whatever. Intentional or not, it would twist the knife. These things cannot be called love.)

I did not enjoy reading this. It's not even fun to mock because it's so self-pitying and melodramatic. There's bits where he bathes her hand in tears (I hope it was metaphorical; I am not reading it again to check). This is not how you treat someone you love. The condescension towards anyone of lower standing, perceived to be lesser, etc was constant and irritating, and Werther's naivete about children was grating (it's very much Romanticization - capital R and lower case r really - of childhood, which annoyed me when I first studied Romanticism and still annoys me.) There weren't even enjoyable rhapsodies about the landscape - which I still enjoy - because Werther would immediately have to inject his condescending social commentary or cry about Charlotte and his childhood again.

I've never liked woobies and I've never liked frail creatures. (Also I loathe the word woobie.) I've always preferred the hyper-competent people or the Scarlett O'Hara characters. Werther is pretty much the exact type of character I hate.

This is like the least helpful book review ever, but it's been a trying day.
silverflight8: watercolour wash with white paper stars (stars in the sky)
I read Games Wizards Play and I was disappointed, to be honest.

Plotwise, it's quite interesting. There's nothing epic or earthshattering this time; instead the Wizards' Invitational is on, a competitive event where young wizards demonstrate their projects to a jury - a big international science fair. They are mentored by older wizards who the Powers think can pass on knowledge. It's meant to be a opportunity to help younger wizards experience without the life and death consequences that errantry usually brings.

details )

I also read Edge of Worlds, by Martha Wells, which I enjoyed a lot more. It's about the Raksura, a shape-shifters groundlings/skylings in a world full of different sapient species. It's been a few (peaceful) turns since the last book, but the whole court has had a strange, premonition dream linked again to the Fell, shape-shifters that prey on other species. Moon and Jade and some of the other Raksura sail away with a group of strange groundlings to investigate an sea-bound island that the groundlings think that the Fell-and-Raksuras' forerunners might have built.

more under the cut )

Progress mostly stalled on Sorrows of Young Werther and Here Be Dragons. I am reading a biography of John's rule during my breaks, and it's going well. It'd be going better if people in medieval England had more than like, five names in circulation. I cannot keep track of everyone! The big names, like William Marshal I can remember, but sometimes it's disputes of William vs William.
silverflight8: stacked old books (books)
I was thinking about these books the other day - they are the "prequel" books to Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books, about her maternal grandmother. I remember going to the library - I spent a great deal of time kneeling in the W section and accidentally getting sucked into reading books there, and managed inadvertently to read far more Jacqueline Wilson than I really wanted to, incidentally - being unable to find any other books past Beyond the Heather Hills, and asking the librarian, who also couldn't find anything. Later I found out the author decided to stop writing them - I can't seem to load the original post about it, though I have found Wiley's followup post on her blog about it. She stopped writing them because HarpersCollins started publishing them in miniaturized, abridged versions.

It looks like they are not available in electronic form anywhere. I guess I shouldn't be surprised; they came out in the early 2000's and that was well before public libraries started buying e-copies and that ebooks started selling. Maybe one day they'll be digitized, but it won't be legitimately; HarpersCollins didn't back down when their author said they would stop writing them, and I doubt they would sink more money into the venture. Sigh. I'd really like to own them, but physical copies aren't really doable now, given living space and moving rapidity. This is making me feel rather melancholy. As soon as I can get a library card I'll go check them out, I suppose.
silverflight8: stacked old books (books)
So I extensively read and re-read much of Martha Wells' Books of the Raksura over the past few weeks.

I read the second and third books of the Raksura - The Serpent Seas and the Siren Depths. They were tons of fun and I couldn't put them down though I wish she'd titled them somewhat differently. I can't remember which comes first or both titles!

The Raksura are a species of shape-shifters who can fly. Moon is a Raksura orphaned and trying to integrate into various groundling societies (mostly unsuccessfully). That's a terrible summary but the books are about him discovering the rest of the Raksura and his travels/adventures with them.

The fourth book comes out April 2016 and I'm so impatient. I want it, and I want it now!

About Raksura )

Then James Bond - several of them now. I read Moonraker and then On Her Majesty's Secret Service. (I have never seen the films, though I regret not buying the nail polish collection OPI put out for Skyfall. I have my priorities!) They have their weaknesses, but as good solid action/adventure novels they deliver, and I am emotionally invested in James Bond the character by this point. I keep going to the library and checking out every Bond book there is - which isn't very many. This library system is big on having duplicates and not on having variety - wrong way round, in my opinion. But anyway!

Moonraker is about the rocket the British government is building, which is being made with the assistance of Hugo Drax, a public war hero and now wealthy businessman. M feels something isn't right when the owner of the club Blades tells him that Drax cheats, and sends Bond to first see if he's cheating (yes - and then Bond dupes Drax into losing an enormous sum of money) and then posts him at the Moonraker to see what's going on. This is leading up to a test-firing of the rocket, so there is a great deal of tension and attention being paid - especially after there is a murder at the site.

Moonraker )

Then On Her Majesty's Secret Service! Bond is sent on the trail of Blofeld again, one of the major figures behind the creation of SPECTRE and one of Bond's greatest enemies. He is put on the tail of Blofeld when Blofeld puts a request through the College of Arms - he wants legitimacy, and wants it badly enough to leave somewhat of a trail. On the pretext of being one of the College of Arms' researchers, Bond goes off to Switzerland to investigate Blofeld, who appears to be running a very secretive clinic of some kind on top of the mountains, within a ski resort.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service )

Also I watched Pride and Prejudice (1995), season 1 of Sherlock plus the first two episodes of season 2, AND the first three episodes of Agent Carter season 2. More to follow! (All of them were great, in case you were wondering. In many different ways.)


Dec. 15th, 2015 11:30 pm
silverflight8: text icon: "Go ahead! Panic! Do it now and avoid the June rush!" (Panic!)
The holds on Martha Wells' Siren Depths and Serpent Sea have finally arrived MUAHAHAHAHA goodbye my friends I'll be back eventually
silverflight8: stacked old books (books)
So in the past few days I've read three Agatha Christie novels (and have downloaded from the library about...let me count...fifteen of her novels?) Oh my god I love them. I had a fairly long dry spell of reading no new books and then all of a sudden I read almost one a day.


I read Cards on the Table first.
Cards on the Table )

Then Death on the Nile:
Death on the Nile )

Then The Hollow:
The Hollow )

I gotta stop because I like being surprised by mystery novels (I never do try too hard to solve them, I glance over the diagrams). So now I am putting a ban on the rest of the Christie novels sitting in my calibre library.

I ALSO just devoured Charmed Life and The Lives of Christopher Chant and that's why the Christie reviews are so short, I have to talk about these right now too.

Both novels )
More to come about DWJ I hope.
silverflight8: stacked old books (books)
I read The Sand-Reckoner the other day (the one by Gillian Bradshaw, not the one by Archimedes) and now I have all these feelings about Archimedes and Syracuse and Hieron.

The novel's about Archimedes as he returns from his studies at Alexandria - it begins with him coming home to a city on the verge of war, his father dying, and a sick sense that coming home will mean he must close off the part of him that lives and breathes mathematics, and do work he hates to support his family. Archimedes comes to the attention of Hieron, the king of Syracuse, as an outstanding and remarkable engineer - outstanding because he can devise new, original, and effective machines that work well from the very outset, because he can derive the basic principles from mathematics. With Archimedes is Marcus, his Italian slave, who looks after his absent-minded master despite conflicting loyalties. Marcus denies being Roman - the affiliation is dangerous - and Archimedes is too * and doesn't think it useful to press.

Like Island of Ghosts, which is about troops of Sarmatians - having been sent west as part of their treaty with Rome - settling into Roman Britain, this book is similarly more internal and character-driven. Which isn't to say there isn't external conflict; the book is set during the first Punic Wars (paging [ profile] dhampyresa - though it's not really about Rome or Carthage so IDK if you're interested?) and Syracuse is caught between the two. Hieron is trying to avoid having to fight either or both of them at once, but needs siege engines to prevent either from eating his city. But he recognizes that Archimedes is brilliant - and also not an engineer by choice, merely to support his family; he knows Archimedes loved Alexandria and the Museum and Library there, and wrestles with how or if he can keep Archimedes in the service of his beloved city.

More discussion with spoilers )

Generally very recommended! I love Bradshaw's writing, the characters are all great and well-drawn (with human, sympathetic motivations), and is set in Classical antiquity if that's a selling point, though it doesn't rely on you knowing anything about it.
silverflight8: stacked old books (books)
I woke up to schadenfreude the other morning, and by schadenfreude I mean the voting results out of the Hugos. HA!


I finished the last book of The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel and I have to make a post about it because the ending. Actually the whole thing made me feel like it was partly a retcon and I hate retcons. (See my objections to the Mistborn book - that third book was practically a giant retcon of the entire series, especially the last scene.)

This is the first actual review I've done in a long time I think. Though I am not synopsising this book, that will stall me out. I recommend the Wikipedia article! It is somewhat spoilery though.

One sentence summary: modern-day twins discover they are subjects of a prophecy, Nicholas Flamel and other immortals battle for control of them and their destiny.


I have even more things to say but I really need to just post this for now. STAY TUNED. Also, this is not meant to mean I disliked the books; on the contrary I'm still thinking about them (and feeling vaguely empty; I keep thinking that I'll read/listen to the next chapter and then realizing I finished the book...a couple days ago).
silverflight8: stacked old books (books)
There just aren't enough hours in the day :(

I read Linda Sue Park's A Single Shard the other day, all at once without quite meaning to. I read it a long time ago so it was a return to something I half remembered.

The story is about Tree-ear, a young orphan in 12th century Korea. He lives under the bridge with his friend Crane-man in Ch'ulp'o, a village on the seaside famous for its pottery and its celadon glaze. Tree-ear is fascinated by pottery and dreams of doing it himself one day. One day he accidentally breaks one of the master potters in the village's pots, and in trying to pay back his debt becomes an assistant to him.

This is such a jewel of a book, small and succinct but nevertheless beautifully balanced and clear. It's just such a satisfying and kind book. It is a children's book, so it's short, but the characters are well drawn and the conflict relatable, sympathetic.

It is also a Newbery book that does not have an animal dying in it! I'm sorry, Where the Red Fern Grows scarred me on that medal.


I was on a long train ride a couple weeks ago and since I can't read on moving vehicles I tried an audiobook - I downloaded Michael Scott's The Magician, book two of his The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series. It was actually pretty good! The book isn't exactly the best written thing ever - and it's definitely not written with the idea of turning it into an audiobook in mind, which doesn't help! - but it's compelling and I listened with enjoyment. The narrator put on accents and did a good job of differentiating characters and giving the voices emotion and feeling; one of the reasons I probably think the book isn't that well done is because the narrator gives the dialogue emotion, which Scott has to write in afterwards, so it only feels redundant because the narrator has gotten there first. Of course it takes a lot longer and I'm better at absorbing text by reading than by listening, but it's good to listen to when doing other activities.

I've half-listened, half read the third book. The one thing I can't take is the narrator voicing female characters' screaming. It sounds so ridiculous!

Also, I've forgotten how much I love kitchen-sink fantasy. You know, the kind where all the different myths and pantheons coexist (often in urban areas!) I love seeing how authors put them all together, who has relationships with whom, how the varying levels of power all add up. And how they interpret varying myths. This series also has a lot of historical figures show up - we've already met Joan of Arc and the Count of St Germain for example. (And they're married, which initially made me squint but well, they're both immortal.)

I tried listening to another book, The Painted Girls, which is a lot darker. It starts with the woman pleading with her landlord to not throw her and her daughters out onto the streets - this is, what, 19th century France? predictably the cover has Degas on the cover as it is about dancing - and I got about thirty seconds in and had to stop, delete the file, and give up on that story. I can read it but I definitely can't listen to it.
silverflight8: Barcode with silverflight8 on top and userid underneath (_support)
So a few things:

1. I'm running an exchange with jadelennox, called Lost Library (h/t to morbane who named it!) and which is for writing excerpts of works mentioned in canon, but never made. Think Averil's Atonement, that sort of thing. If you think that'd be up your alley, nominations are open! Here's the link:

2. I went to the symphony yesterday to hear Mussorgsky and it was really good! We sat near the double bass and there were like seven of them and oh boy, you can hear them good from there. I think they would make great backings for sepulchral sounds (though I think they form the backbone for most orchestral things.) I really like programmatic symphonies - where the music paints a picture - and this one was excellent. The music for the gate of Kiev is such a great way to end it! The one part I thought was weird was the one where the troubadour is serenading his beloved - some of that sounded downright creepy. There was also a Liszt concerto and I discovered that in fact I don't hate all concertos, I just really dislike Rachmaninoff. Liszt's concerto was extremely virtuostic (no surprise there!) and lively and the interaction with the symphony was really great - sometimes you get concertos where the orchestra really has to back off to let the piano play and so it's less satisfying. There was also Berlioz's Corsair, which was such a fun romp. At this point, where Berlioz goes, I'll follow...

The other thing that happened at the symphony is that a girl down a few seats fainted sometime during the piece. During the unofficial intermission so the piano could be brought out, her boyfriend (?) half-carried her out D:

I also went last week to see Verdi's Requiem which was in one word FABULOUS. It was incredibly operatic, actually, and the tenor especially did a lot of gesturing with both arms (although personally I wondered at his diction. Maybe it was because of my seat, which was almost over the orchestra on the balcony, so the sound was directed away, but a lot of his consonants were inaudible.) Also, for a requiem, it was very - irreverent? It ended with "Libera me"! Not even a single amen anywhere! The mezzo and soprano were really good, and the parts (in the sequence, I think) where they sang together they actually sounded good - sometimes you get weird friction when the vibrato interacts. And the dies irae was stunning. After its introduction at the beginning of the sequence, it was immediately recognizable when it popped up. Even without knowing it's a dies irae, you know it's heralding the apocalypse!

I wonder if there are musical settings of dies irae that preserve the meter of the poem? I guess that wouldn't leave much rhythmic freedom, but when you read it you can see how it would really bowl along. "Mors stupebit et natura/Cum resurget creatura,/Judicanti responsura." Something like the rhythmic speed of Carmina Burana.

3. I finally got over myself and re-read The Silver on the Tree (I re-read the other four much earlier, but I was putting off the last because it's the last! and then there would be no more!) and ahhhhhh. I'm not going to go into what I love about the book (I love everything, and you know the Mari Llywd is terrifying) but instead I am going to say that the part with John Rowlands SPOILERS )
silverflight8: stacked old books (books)
Somehow I have internet. The technicians aren't even scheduled to be in till Friday, I wonder if it's something to do with having just disconnected only two weeks ago. Anyway, download speed is 1/3 of what it should be but I HAVE INTERNET. Of course it's the weekend so I don't even have time-sensitive email to answer, but hey.

Before the internet reconnected I finished three books in one day (it was a slow day and some of them were half-finished).

I finally took the plunge and started reading A Princess of Mars from the beginning instead of confusedly stumbling about because I'd only read it in very disjointed chunks. See, sometimes having books on your phone for when you have five minutes to spare is a good thing, and sometimes it's a I-don't-know-what-happened thing.

Thoughts )

I'm not sure if I want to read the next book; it was a fairly fun romp, but I don't really feel any attachment to any of the characters. Though, I do love books that take place on our solar system's planets where they're habitable, current astronomy be damned (or unknown at the time)--even things like Bradbury's Venus and rain story for all that it's horrifying (are there any Bradbury stories where children are nice/good?), I think it's so cool. I just wish I liked the characters more--felt for them more.
silverflight8: stacked old books (books)
I recently re-read the Dark is Rising and was struck by the thought that the most compelling relationship is honestly the one between Merriman and Hawkins. They were so close! They trusted each other so much! Tragedy ;___; And I think when I first read the books I hadn't thought really how long Hawkins lived as the Walker--six hundred years of wandering, knowing he can't die or have peace until whichever of the last Old One comes to get the sign. I can understand his rejection of Merriman's plea.

The other thing that stuck out was morning of Will's birthday, when he wakes up and sees last night's snowfall--but it hasn't fallen on roofs and fields, but instead on a vast forest of trees, with branches reaching right up to his window.

I didn't talk about them, but I also read A Room With A View (ghghgh Cecil), Quantum Thief (good! less game theory than I thought it would have, should probably write about it in a post) somewhat recently. I'm now reading simultaneously several nonfiction books, including a good one on Czech history (from Přemyslids up, not just 20th century), and How Green Was My Valley and Over Sea, Under Stone. How Green Was My Valley is possibly one of the most beautiful titles I've ever encountered.
silverflight8: text icon: "Go ahead! Panic! Do it now and avoid the June rush!" (Panic!)
cover: arched domes and pyramids rising in distance, foreground people in colourful clothing This book was so bad. I read it all the way through because I wanted to figure out what was going on and partly because the worldbuilding premise and finally, because if a book is terrible and I'm 50% through I might as well finish it and pick it apart.

I really really wanted to like this book. Here is the back cover, but its premise can be summed up in the following words--"alternate-universe nineteenth-century Egyptian empire with spies and terrorist Otto von Bismark."

Lord Scott Oken, a prince of Albion, and Professor-Prince Mikel Mabruke live in a world where the sun never set on the Egyptian Empire. In the year 1877 of Our Lord Julius Caesar, Pharaoh Djoser-George governs a sprawling realm that spans Europe, Africa, and much of Asia. When the European terrorist Otto von Bismarck touches off an international conspiracy, Scott and Mik are charged with exposing the plot against the Empire.

Their adventure takes them from the sands of Memphis to a lush New World, home of the Incan Tawantinsuyu, a rival empire across the glittering Atlantic Ocean. Encompassing Quetzal airships, operas, blood sacrifice and high diplomacy, Ramona Wheeler's Three Princes is a richly imagined, cinematic vision of a modern Egyptian Empire.

This is such a cool premise and setting but it's botched because plotting was a mess, characterization painful and writing abysmal.

I did not like this book )

I am so bitterly disappointed. I love speculative fiction and I love alternate history--to describe this book as up my alley cannot describe how excited I was to read this--and it was just horrible on so many fronts. It was so bad that it lowered my opinion of Tor, who published this. It wasn't entertainingly bad, it was incompetent. Complete, sheer incompetence. I expected so, so much better.
silverflight8: text icon: "Go ahead! Panic! Do it now and avoid the June rush!" (Panic!)
I've decided that I want to add a custom column in Calibre for genre. Currently, I have a bunch of default columns--title, author, date added, language--as well as a few custom columns--series, and finished (yes or no, manually updated). Adding and maintaining the current columns is easy because there's just one answer for most of them and mostly I just have to manually massage a few things that import wrong--because I prefer to view authors LastName, FirstName as well as sorting them that way I have to fix incoming books--but it's quite easy because I do them as they come in, and it's in easy batches. Same with updating "finished". If it's unfinished, I just leave it blank--there are three options, yes no and blank. I just update to yes if it's finished. Sometimes I use no to indicate in progress, but it doesn't matter. And it's not like I finish several books a day, so volume is very manageable.

But I want to add genre. I'm paralyzed with indecision right now, because I have to think about how to catalogue things. I have googled lists of genres, I know how to do it in calibre, I just can't decide how I want to do it. The manual says I can even nest genres hierarchically ( so you theoretically can have infinite granularity of genres--sort of like speculative fiction > fantasy > epic fantasy > medievalesque fantasy > political fantasy and sort on any of the above. But this kind of flexibility means I can't make up my mind how to even begin. I mean, I can see so many ways to just rearrange the sequence of the hierarchy. Part of the problem is that I have more than 200 books in Calibre and will add more, and once done it's going to be a huge task if I want to rearrange it later. How do cataloguers do it? How did the creators of Dewey Decimal and Library of Congress do it?

Fortunately for me, there are genres I don't read much. Mostly this is horror (too scared), mystery/thriller (dunno why, just don't reach for them often), Literary Fiction, non-fiction. The problem is the granularity I can feel myself tempted to add for the genres I read a lot in.
silverflight8: watercolour wash with white paper stars (stars in the sky)
(Young Wizards, Shopaholic, and Agent Carter! It's like I've forgotten how to write posts; I haven't done any journalling since at least December either.)

I have just re-read Wizard's Holiday, Wizards at War and The Book of Night with Moon and A Wizard of Mars in the past few days. OMG, side note. I downloaded the books from *mumble* and state of them! WaW had lost every second l in words had double-l's (finally = final y) and WH had like 25 different styles (style="calibre1", style="calibre2", and on and on) which indented like crazy, so every paragraph was differently styled with the margins inching further and further left, and every few paragraphs changing font size. TBONWM was obviously OCR'd and it was stellar compared to the other two, but all the "kitlings" were "killings" which has a rather different effect on the reader.

BUT! Not as important. I remember why I was so fannish about them.

Young Wizards! )

Shopaholic. I put off reading this for many months because I was afraid the new book might wreck my love (look, I care about these things) but it didn't. But you know what Kinsella did? She left it on a cliffhanger! ARGH!

I am the person on meme freaking out about the books, yeah.

Shopaholic To The Stars, thoughts )

And finally, Agent Carter! [ profile] sherrilina I am watching a tv show now!

Agent Peggy Carter - spoilers definitely )

But to wrap this up, I LIKED IT A LOT. I am so pleased and I love it so far.
silverflight8: Barcode with silverflight8 on top and userid underneath (Barcode)
This year I wrote one fic for Queen's Thief (Megan Whalen Turner), Rooftop Sneaking for morganstern, 1,500 words, about Eugenides teaching Eddis how to sneak around her palace.

I already recced my fic but I want to rec it again: Kushiel's Keys, by vibishan, 8,000 words, a what-if AU if Morwen succeeded in getting a child from Imriel and what would happen. Very very cool to see what might have been - lots of callbacks to the books' real chronology but also a lot of inventiveness that makes the AU great.


Stats about my novel reading in 2014!

brief rundown with mini-reviews of my favourite books this year )
silverflight8: stacked old books (books)
cover of Island of Ghosts, simple picture of Roman cavalryman on rearing horse
Island of Ghosts, Gillian Bradshaw

I swapped ebooks with [ profile] weekend, who very kindly sent me a copy of Island of Ghosts. (We were talking about Gillian Bradshaw's Arthurian books, which are Hawk of May, Kingdom of Summer, and In Winter's Shadow. All of you should read these books! They are my favourite retellings of the Arthurian mythology. More historical and less fantasy, and they follow Sir Gawain, and completely heartbreaking by the end.)

Island of Ghosts is about three companies of defeated Sarmatians who are marched to Britain to form part of the Roman forces in the second century AD. The protagonist, Ariantes, is the scepter-holder of his company who struggles to make his new life in northern Britain.

A lot of his struggle is that all of them, the men he commands--and his peers, Gatalan and Arshak, both nobility--deeply distrust and feel contemptuous towards the Romans. Their customs are almost completely alien to each other. The Romans see the Sarmatians as barbarians, citing their custom of cutting and keeping enemies' scalps, their nomadic civilization, the various acts of war. The Sarmatians, who are now minorities in this new land, are unwilling to assimilate, afraid of losing their identities. The Sarmatians don't like the bread that are the Romans' staples; they refuse to sleep in the barracks indoors; they are all cavalry, no infantry at all, and value their horses enormously; they do not share a religion; they are horrified with the Romans' custom of burning their dead, believing it to destroy the soul. The novel begins with the Sarmatians nearly mutinying when they are told they have to go to Britain by ship: they are convinced the Romans are tricking them and that there is no land beyond the water, and they've been marched there to be killed.

Review )

Final verdict: do recommend! 8/10

NOTE: My classics history is very poor. (I'm really only good for medieval history, I'm afraid.) I think I have missed a lot regarding all the ranks (eg: how do legates and tribunes differ?) Clearly more reading is in order.


According to my kobo e-reader, which I have been using since mid-March, I have logged a total time of 389 hours and completed 53 novels on it. I'm a bit stunned. The kobo counts books as finished when you read cover to absolute end and does not count re-reads, halfway through, marked as read, etc titles. I'm sure the actual number of hours is a little smaller (sometimes I left it on while charging) but not by more than 10 hours. That's a lot of time I've spent reading, considering everything, and also there were the months of May/June when I was abroad and didn't bring it at all. I...yeah. You know what probably took up the most time? Les Misérables. God, there were so many hours burned on that book.

Also interesting are sometimes the page statistics. I'm currently reading Fragments du Passé which is a Dear Canada book from the perspective of a Holocaust survivor: they're books for young girls published by Scholastic. They're epistolary novels which are set in different points in Canada's history. When I was in elementary and junior high school I read a lot of them--there was that traumatizing one about the filles-du-roi (see, her husband dies of this poisoned mushroom and she screams and raves before accepting he's dead, and then she has to survive the Maritime winter by herself--terrifying, have you seen what the weather is like in the Maritimes?, she barely makes it--AND give birth by herself in the spring) and there's one about the Spanish influenza which introduced me to the prayer "if I should die before I wake" (atheist household so I never encountered this; I still think this is a horrifying prayer to teach kids), the one about immigration to the Prairies, the one about the Loyalists, the one about the War of 1812, I think I read the Plains of Abraham one too, probably more I'm forgetting. I grew out of them but man, I read a lot of them...they cover a lot of geographical ground and time and probably taught me more Canadian history than I ever learned in class. Anyway, I saw this one in the ebook library of the public library and decided to try one. My French isn't strong enough to take on the books I really want to read--they're just too long--so I decided to pick up this one. See: fondness for this series. Anyway, what I was going to say before I went on this long tangent--someday I should really put together a post about the Dear Canada books--is that usually the pages per minute count is 5-8 pages per minute, but it's all the way down to 1 on these. I only just realized Terry is not, in fact, a boy, twelve pages in. I don't know how I missed that.


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