Wednesday Book Meme

Jul. 19th, 2017 01:44 pm
wendelah1: Sally from Peanuts looking at a shelf of books (book geek)
[personal profile] wendelah1
Because of all of the kids' books and quickie romances I've been reading lately, I am nine books ahead on my Goodreads challenge. I'm going to have to up the ante by ten books, at least, to compensate.

What I've finished

All the President's Men (1974), Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward. I began reading it because of (1.) this article in Newsweek: "The Eerie Similarities Between Alleged Trump Scandals and All The President's Men, and (2.) because we'd just watched the movie based on it. (Note that the Newsweek story was published back in March. Imagine if they'd written it this week.) The book is award-winning journalism but honestly, the movie makes for a better story. Go rent the movie. Download it. Whatever. (We checked it out of the library). You will not be sorry. The movie gets five stars. The book gets four stars. These reporters, their editors, and their publisher are all American heroes.

Beany and the Beckoning Road (1959), Lenore Mattingly Weber. Beany believes that she has lost boyfriend Norbett to another girl: Cynthia. She and Johnny plan to drive from Denver to California to return their nephew to his parents and advertise for passengers to share the travel expenses. What a surprise for Beany when she discovers that one of the passengers is Cynthia. What will happen to a mismatched set of passengers with very little money and a tomato plant in the back seat?

This was better than the previous book in the series. Beany flies off the handle one time too many for my taste but whatever. Three stars for retro-charm and that tomato plant. I haven't decided if I'm going to continue on with the Malone family, but this book was funny and engaging.

Girl in the Water (2016), Dana Marton. I took a chance and purchased (I know!) this book because of how much I liked Secret Soldier. The online reviews were enthusiastic, but I was not impressed. Marton tried to weave together three stories, and multiple points of view, and couldn't quite pull it off. spoilers ) I applaud her attempt to write something more ambitious than your run of the mill romance but this didn't work for me at all. I give it one star.

I returned Sugar and Other Stories (1987) by A.S. Byatt to the library after reading just one story. Actually, I didn't make it through the first story. I can't recall the title. It was about an unpleasant little girl, attending an atrocious boarding school, with nasty classmates and an appalling, sadistic headmistress, who I've decided in retrospect might be a stand-in for the writer. Byatt enjoys torturing her characters in much the same way that her headmistress character enjoyed torturing her students. Halfway through, I found I wasn't liking anything about this story. Enough was enough. I skimmed through the next two stories and they were more of the same. No, thank you.

What's next?

I borrowed another book in the time travel porn series from the LAPL. I think this one is called "The Slayer" but it has nothing to do with vampires.

I'm still rereading the series for my kidlit fic exchange, titles withheld.

I unearthed an old novel of Margaret Drabble's which I'd never read, The Peppered Moth.

I'm carrying around Mirror Dance from the Vorkosigan saga in my purse.

There's a stack of time travel novels from the library at my bedside.

Entering Space: Creating a Space-faring Civilization by Robert Zubrin is sitting around somewhere, too. I got it out of mothballs because there is a chapter on mining asteroids, which is relevant to my interests. Speaking of space-faring civilizations, season two of The Expanse arrived yesterday!

black kitty

FMK: Mélusine and Juniper Time

Jul. 19th, 2017 01:50 pm
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
[personal profile] melannen
Mélusine by Sarah Monette is a very long, very good, very fucked-up H/C darkfic in a canon I don't know.

That's not necessarily a criticism, by the way, it's enough my id that I have spent many a delightful lost weekend voluntarily reading exactly that sort of thing.

Read more... )

Anyway, I enjoyed it enough that it is getting kept (after all, some day I might not be able to find fanfic like this on the internet anymore) but I don't think I care enough about the non-id parts to go looking up the canon. (If I did I would probably just end up really liking Shannon, anyway, and like I said it's really obvious there is like 0 fic about him.)

And still very annoyed that it had exactly nothing to do with Mélusine; if someone tried to name a fantasy novel Cinderella and then not have anything to do with Cinderella except, like, the ruling family having a shoe in their heraldry and also there was a fairy godmother as a minor character in one chapter, nobody would let you get away with that.

Also, it got me re-reading a bunch of old Doctor/Master fic just in time for me to be mildly optimistic about the show again, so there's that.


Juniper Time by Kate Wilhelm was not a bad book, and I'm glad I read it, but I also don't think I need to keep it, and I didn't particularly like it. It gets the "if you like this sort of thing, this is probably the sort of thing you will like" rating, with a caveat for me being unsure about its portrayal of First Nations people. The first thing that struck me is that it didn't feel like a SF novel, or even a genre novel at all really. I spent a lot of time thinking about why. It's a story about the building of an international space station and first contact with aliens set amid the collapse of Western capitalist civilization, so it ought to be an SF novel. It's definitely at least partly just the writing style. But I think it's mostly a question of what the book thinks is important, fr. ex: not the space station or the aliens or even particularly the collapse of civilization except as they affect the two main characters' many personal issues, which are the only thing the narrative actually seems to think we might be interested in. Whic isn't to say I don't like a character-focused SF novel, but an SF novel where one of the main characters is an astronomer who spends half his time in space, a) I would expect it to spend more than five pages actually in space, and b) I would expect him to not spend all of those five pages thinking about nothing but his marital issues. Also, you know, I 100% don't care about the dude's personal issues and am only mildly interested in hers.

Read more... )

I am glad I have read this but am pretty sure I will never desire to read it again, so K pile it is. And it inspired me to finish Always Coming Home, so it was definitely worth it.

FMK #17: Humorous SF

Jul. 18th, 2017 05:51 pm
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
[personal profile] melannen
Last week's winner was Enchantress From the Stars! Looking forward to it. From discussion in the comments, I think I attempted to write that story once when I was about twelve.

The loser on overall K votes was Pebble in the Sky, but I'm invoking the rule that says a K winner must also have a majority for K votes, which Pebble in the Sky didn't have, and giving it to the Stasheff instead.

(I also just noticed that I never announced a K for the LGBT-themed week. No book in that poll had a majority of K votes - or anything close to a majority, even - so I'm not calling a K. The overall most K votes was the David Gerrold book, but it had almost twice as many f/m votes as K, so I have added it to the F pile instead.)

Responses to Mélusine and Juniper Time coming later today, I promise.

This week, a friend assigned me Humorous SF, so here we go!

How FMK works, short version: I am trying to clear out my unreads. So there is a poll, in which you get to pick F, M, or K. F means I should spend a night of wild passion with the book ASAP, and then decide whether to keep it or not. M means I should continue to commit to a long-term relationship of sharing my bedroom with it. K means it should go away immediately. Anyone can vote, you don't have to actually know anything about the books.

I pick a winner on Friday night (although won't actually close the poll, people can still vote,) and report results/ post the new poll on the following Tuesday, and write a response to the F winner sometime in the next week. That will leave me only four books behind, whoo.

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)

Poll: Brust, Dickson, Doctorow, Foster, Gardner, Hines, Jones, Laumer, Martinez, Moore J, Moore MJ, Pinkwater, Pratchett, Robinson, anthologies )

Books Wednesday

Jul. 12th, 2017 07:51 am
wendelah1: quote: take these broken wings and fly away (take these broken wings)
[personal profile] wendelah1
If I seemed overwhelmed and overwrought yesterday, I was. I am. I hope and pray that the democratic institutions in my country are strong enough to withstand the onslaught of avarice and deceit that has been set in motion by this corrupt, incompetent, evil administration and its supporters. Democrats are patriots, too. Believe me, this is the last thing I wanted to be told, the last thing I expected to have happened during the last presidential election.

Okay, so, books. I read more books than usual last week because of my quest to find a suitable romance blurb on which to base my Timeless story for [community profile] unconventionalcourtship.

Before I stumbled onto that treasure-trove of scifi porn, the Time Raiders series, I looked at a number of possible choices.

Secret Soldier by Dana Marten

Read more... )

Sundial by Carrie Lofty

Read more... )

I checked out three of the nine books from the Time Raiders Series.

Read more... )

Leave it to Beany by Lenora Mattingly Weber

Read more... )

This week needs more cats. Did you know that there is a Pinterest board devoted to books and cats?

Cat sitting on a bookshelf

This is Bartleby who resides at my favorite bookshop in San Diego, California.

FMK #16: Psi-fi

Jul. 11th, 2017 10:45 pm
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
[personal profile] melannen
Sorry for dropping off the face of the internet - life has been coming at me pretty hard the last couple of weeks, and part of that is having to find entirely different scraps of time to use for writing internet posts.

Anyway, I have read Juniper Time and am mostly through writing a review of it, so that should go up soon. I also read Always Coming Home because it was becoming increasingly clear that in order to talk about the sort of stories I want to, I needed to have read it. I'm not sure what I think of it as a novel, but as worldbuilding it is amazing and still haunting me (also I now want to go "forget sedoretu AU just give me Kesh AUs of everything", of course.) I have also made progress on reading both Melusine (not sure if I actually like it, but finding it compulsively readable, also not nearly enough snake-women so far) and Discount Armageddon (like it okay, but not finding it compulsively readable, a++ on snake-woman though.)

I also saw Spider-Man and have to say I enjoyed it more than most of the other recent Marvel movies I've watched (partly, I think, because the stakes were lower and it could just be fun.) I am mostly in it for Karen, to probably nobody's shock, although I am way too invested in Michelle because she is basically 100% me in high school (I'm white, and we weren't a well-funded magnet school so we didn't go to the academic quiz championship because the advisor got arrested for dealing crack halfway through the year and the paperwork got screwed up. But other than that, spot on. So I am terrified they will ruin her for me of course. Also I mostly just want the YW crossover where Michelle and Murph and Vision team up to help Karen with her Ordeal.)

This week's theme is Psi-Fi, for no particular reason except that it's getting harder to patch together themes from what's left. :P

How FMK works, short version: I am trying to clear out my unreads. So there is a poll, in which you get to pick F, M, or K. F means I should spend a night of wild passion with the book ASAP, and then decide whether to keep it or not. M means I should continue to commit to a long-term relationship of sharing my bedroom with it. K means it should go away immediately. Anyone can vote, you don't have to actually know anything about the books.

I pick a winner on Friday night (although won't actually close the poll, people can still vote,) and report results/ post the new poll on the following Tuesday, and write a response to the F winner sometime in the next week.

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)

Poll: Asimov, Cherryh, Dickson, Engdahl, Goldin, Lightman, Norton, Robinson, Smith, Stasheff, Zelazny )

It worked!

Jul. 9th, 2017 03:32 pm
wendelah1: Scully smailing at Mulder, text "I'm happy now" (I'm happy now)
[personal profile] wendelah1
Thank you to [personal profile] amindamazed and [personal profile] monanotlisa, for suggesting that I use Dreamwidth for image hosting. Thank you to [personal profile] thatwasjustadream for oh so tactfully explaining where "manage images" was located (under Organize--who knew) and how it works. I have had trouble for years using the scrapbook at LJ. For some reason, the upload button only works if I access it from the LJ Help Page. WTFLJ.

I have 1024 GB of storage in my scrapbook at LiveJournal. I have no idea what that number means, by the way. Is that a lot of storage, a little bit of storage? Medium amount? Apparently, I can also upload videos there, although I bet that uses up the space faster. Video sure uses up...whatever it is that smart phones use faster.

Long story shorter, I managed to upload my journal banner to the scrapbook and changed the link in the custom CSS. It worked, as far as I can tell. My LJ [livejournal.com profile] wendelah1 has a "Permanent Package of Service," as the Russian ownership now calls a permanent account. I figure if Livejournal goes down for good, I won't care if my banners go down, too, and I would rather save the limited storage space at DW (500 GB) for DW.

I will still need to find a free and simple-to-use graphics program, and, you know, figure out how to use it. But, as Master Sergeant Wyatt Logan (gratuitous mention of Timeless for the win!) likes to tell his time-travelling teammates, "One problem at a time." It sounds better when he says it, I swear. Next on the list, locating the banner for [livejournal.com profile] xf_book_club. I know I have it saved...somewhere.

This Cat is Just a Test

Jul. 6th, 2017 07:15 pm
wendelah1: ginger and black cat friends (Shelter cat AU)
[personal profile] wendelah1
Testing 1-2-3

cat walking in the grass

It's a cat.

It looks like the image has posted to LiveJournal, too.

Where to put graphics?

Jul. 6th, 2017 03:51 pm
wendelah1: Scully's head dissolving into yellow goo (I'm melting)
[personal profile] wendelah1
I don't have a lot of graphics at Photobucket--in the time since I've had it, I've used less than 10% of the storage space for a free account-- but I do have some things there that are important to me. All of my custom journal styles for my communities at LiveJournal are broken, for example. Ten years of journaling there, and now every image is gone. Oddly enough, the same pictures are still visible on Dreamwidth, for the moment, but I assume they just haven't gotten around to blocking those. Just a few minutes ago, I tried to link a gif in a comment at a community and got the "Update Your Account (by Paying Us Ransom)" message.

Does anyone have a suggestion for somewhere to host the banner for [livejournal.com profile] xf_book_club, for example? It seems like a waste of money to pay Photobucket $400/year for that, and a few other banners, especially since they may well be going out of business shortly.

Photobucket accused of blackmail after quietly requiring users to pay $400 a year to hotlink.

I'm not questioning their right to charge for services rendered, but they only provided one pricing option for customers. I'm not a small business, or a professional blogger, but if I were, boy, would I be pissed off at having all of my images gone--poof!!--without notice of the change in their ToS. Not cool.

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