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My new literary demand: Books are no longer allowed to use science-y titles when their subject is not science or science fiction. That is, if a book is titled, "The Doppler Effect" or "Avogadro's Number" etc. that book is not allowed to be about a woman living on a farm in Kentucky contemplating leaving her abusive husband nor about a teen girl with romance issues nor a widower who has lost his faith and searches for meaning on a trip to India etc. I demand truth in advertising.
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Okay, who's gonna help me identify this fantasy book?

Bit in it that I'm remembering--guy goes to solicit help from a wise-woman, witch-woman type. There's break-up history implied between them. He wants to take a warning of what's coming back to his people, but...he's dying, or maybe he's not but the price of carrying back the info will cost his life, or maybe it's hers. And she gives him a fistful of sand--maybe she smashes an hourglass?--and tells him, he's got until the fistful is gone to get the message back to his people. So he has to make the journey back with this leaking fistful of sand, trying ever so hard to keep at least a few grains in his fist so he can make it back. It's just one part of the story but now it's in my head and I have no idea what that book was. It feels like I read it twenty years ago. Who else read it and knows what book this is?
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While I am still in a stew over Megaupload (hell, I'm still stewing over the livejournal comment page changes--don't think I'm not refreshing [ profile] lj_releases, waiting for you to fill all those damn tickets, lj!), writing a coherent defense of the New Model of Media is going to take a solid day out of my life, and I don't have that day right now. So I've sensibly sat on my notes and tucked my dismay into the corner for now and will carry on with business as usual on the lj. For the moment that means more YA/Juvenile fiction recommendations.

Had anyone heard of Peter Pan in Scarlet by Geraldine McCaughrean? Its book jacket proclaims it "The first-ever authorized sequel to J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan"; in 2004 the copyright holders of Peter Pan searched for an author to write an official sequel, and McCaughrean got the honor. This is not like the Dave Barry or Ridley Pearson pastiches, nor is it one of those sideways twists on the Peter Pan story; the language is meant to reflect J.M. Barrie's original work, and so is the feel of the fantasy, with sly jokes and nostalgia touches adults will get. (If you haven't read the original Peter Pan and Wendy I recommend you drop what you're doing and have a look now; you won't believe how much of it's aimed at adults.)

I thought this sequel was enchanting. As a sequel it retcons nothing of the original work and yet still manages to slip Wendy and the Lost Boys back into the work neatly. There are 1930s England sensibilities crossed with Neverland familiarities. There's clever child-logic-magic. And there's darkness and heartbreak poking at the edges, too. Very much recommended.
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The "First sentence on page 45 of nearest book describes your sex life in the next year" meme:

From A Drowned Maiden's Hair by Laura Amy Schlitz:

The woman continued to limp toward the table.

Ooh, if that means there will be table bondage and beatings, yay!

I have an ulterior motive in doing the meme, because I want to recommend the book (which is why it's the book sitting next to me). A Drowned Maiden's Hair is subtitled "A Melodrama," and it does fit well into that category, featuring orphanages and mysterious benefactors and crumbling old houses and lies. It's actually quite fun and optimistic, for all that. And I couldn't put it down. The heroine is plucky but earnest, in a way I enjoy. Eva Ibbotson has an endorsement on the book's back cover and the author actually includes her in the dedication for pushing her to write the book.

And speaking of Ibbotson, a few days later I read another "orphans and mysterious benefactors and crumbling old houses and lies" book by Eva Ibbotson, which nevertheless couldn't have been a more different story from the previous book. But still completely delightful and with that same upbeat direction. This heroine is more sweet than plucky, and quite lovable. It's called The Star of Kazan, and while I think Eva Ibbotson hardly needs the endorsement, this really was one of my favorites of hers I've read. (Though nothing can top Which Witch?.)

Both are available as ebooks on Amazon and I found them in the juvenile section of my public library.
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I finally made time to read [ profile] circe_tigana's delightful original erotica, Playing With Prudence.

It's wonderful smut! The language is lush but never too much--plenty of dialogue to keep the whole thing moving, and every scene is ripe with sex. It's full of bondage games and people who love each other very much and enjoy pushing boundaries. Go here and read excerpts and be linked to Total E-Bound's site where you can read more reviews and buy it if you'd prefer to get it from the original publisher rather than Amazon.
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Who was it who told me Gullstruck Island by Frances Hardinge was the most amazing book? In the U.S. the title is The Lost Conspiracy and you were right, this book was incredible. I'm bubbling over to share it with everyone.

First paragraph:
It was a burnished, cloudless day with a tug-of-war wind, a fine day for flying. And so Raglan Skein left his body neatly laid out on his bed, its breath as slow as sea swell, and took to the sky.

The concept of the extrasensory gifted characters is only the littlest tip of the iceberg; the worldbuilding in this book is gasp-inducing. From the mythology of the volcano gods to the way the island, the people, and the local pidgin get their names, everything is so clever I squirmed in delight with each new element. The revenge tattoos. Blissing beetles. The Ashwalkers, omigod, so original and so scary. And the way these concepts figure into the plot: How do you teach one of these gifted infants to tether its mind to its body? How do you make a promise to a god who cannot remember the past, only the present and future?

I can't believe this book was filed in the Juvenile section of my library. Not even Young Adult, but Juvenile. What on earth earns a book its categories? The story is so sophisticated I was having moments where I couldn't follow the twists and turns, the language is rich and demands you pay attention. It's way more advanced than a lot of "Adult Fiction" texts I've had shoved in front of my face. I dunno, would they have called it adult fiction if there had been a few "fuck"s in the text? Or a sex scene? Is that all that separates adult fiction? How is it done?
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Thanks to everyone to helped clear up my confusion yesterday about the "turning dancer" illusion. Apparently a lot of you hadn't seen it yet and I had the joy of bringing a moment of "waaaa" to your lives, yay. And if you want to see the best take on it yet, go see what [ profile] darthfi did with it here.

Meanwhile, book meme grabbed from [ profile] thistlerose!


* Three books that have marked your childhood...
-Illustrated Poems For Children- When I say to someone, "this is just to say i have eaten the ben 'n' jerry's that was in the freezer and which you were probably craving at two a.m...." and they DON'T GET IT I am floored. I just assumed that everyone read this collection as a child, that it was standard for English-speaking parents to give this to their kids and you did not get out of childhood without knowing all of these.
-From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, E.L. Konigsburg- Did anyone read this and not start planning what they would take if they hid out at a museum for two weeks? I call it The Novel That Teaches You How To Pack.
-Junior Great Books Series Two: Stories, Tales, and Fables- By the time I read this I was old enough to know that not everyone would have read this along with me, but that only made me feel sorry for them. How can anyone exist without knowing the tale of Vassilisa the Beautiful, or The Cow-Tail Switch? *shakes head*

* ... and your teenagehood :
-Arrows of the Queen, Mercedes Lackey-First mainstream novel I'd read that demonstrated an innocent tolerance of sexual orientation. It made me a better person.
-Princess Daisy, Judith Krantz- That lesbian scene? Formative, baby.
-The Beauty Books, Anne Rice- I discovered that my kink was not unique and evil and dreadful, not if a mainstream author could write about it (even if under a pseudonym) and get it published.

(Yes, the teenage years are all about sex. Duh.)

* Your three favourite books (only 3, even if it's hard!):
Okay, favorite in the sense of "classic favorites in my heart," rather than "books I'm not tired of and would still choose as 'desert island' books," because these are no longer those books:
-The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien (It's ONE book. It is.)
-The Princess Bride, William Goldman- The movie is a completely different animal. This book has two of the best plotwise fake-outs you'll ever come upon, not to mention its whole "tale within a tale" fake-out.
The Silver Metal Lover, Tanith Lee- My first Tanith Lee and so the first of hers in my heart. And I haven't quite read all of her books but I've read a lot.

* Three books you could read again and again without growing weary of it :
-Archangel, Sharon Shinn- Most things by Sharon Shinn, actually. Any book in that series, along with Heart of Gold and Summers at Castle Auburn.
-Komarr, Lois McMaster Bujold- I love so many of hers; this is one I am capable of reading and eating up without feeling like my heart has been taken from me and kept away for several days. I can actually go on with my day after I've put it down. Bujold also performs the monumental task of taking a beloved series with a beloved hero who still doesn't have a steady sweetie despite a number of interesting past girlfriends, and newly introducing the woman he'll fall for immediately and who'll become his wife one book later--and making the reader like her. Rowling, you still have a lot to learn from this woman.
-The Fresco, Sherri Tepper- There's something about Tepper's "let's make these radical misogynists get what they deserve" dystopias that I eat up. This one (along with The Gate to Women's Country) is one of my most frequent rereads.

* Three books you've read or are reading recently :
-Throne of Jade, and Black Powder War, Naomi Novik- I couldn't read these until the next one was released, because if I read them I would have no more of the series waiting for me to be read at any time. So as of September and the release of Empire of Ivory I decided to go ahead. And I have no idea how I'm managing to keep my hands off of Empire so far.
-Flora Segunda, Isabeau Wilce- Recommended by [ profile] mistful, and I'm thrilled she did. A clever fantasy universe, AU-ish from our own and slightly steampunkian, with clever characters and especially fun slang. I've been calling my sandwiches "sandwies" since reading it.

* Three books that you'll read soon :
-Empire of Ivory, Naomi Novik -The flesh is weak. I'll probably read it in November.
-Mississippi Jack: Being an Account of the Further Waterborne Adventures of Jacky Faber, Midshipman, Fine Lady, and Lily of the West; Louis Meyer -Has anyone read this series? The Bloody Jack series? Omigod, so much fun. It's the old saw of "girl disguises self as boy to run off to sea" but so very very well done. A first-person narrative that's delightful, and the books get better with each, how about that.
-The Robe of Skulls, Vivian French- Picked this up at Waterstone's when I was in England. It really looks like fun.

* And one special, fetish book that you'd keep with yourself all the time :
Right now it's the first seventy-seven pages of His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik. Unless you really mean fetish in which case it's Kushiel's Dart, by Jacqueline Carey.

I'll probably be all "No, wait! I want to change my answer!" in two hours, but I'll let these stand. I tag everyone else! I want to hear all about the books in your lives!
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*dies of squee*

April 2017



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