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30 July 2011 @ 10:30 pm
#14, #15, #16  
I've been working for over a year now, and have learned two things: I am not very good at my job, and I suck at managing my finances. I'm also having trouble keeping up with my reading, because when my life is going down the tubes, I just want the comfort of my favourite Pratchetts and Heyers. Thus I reached the point - inconceivable a few months ago - of forgetting not only what I thought of the books I've read, but what books I've read. I've done an awful lot of re-reading - including the entirety of ASoIaF in the lead-up to July 12 - but there's a huge gap in my memory between Mary Barton and Gaudy Night. I know there's at least one other book in there, but damn if I know what it is.

Anyway. Bullet points.

Mary Barton, Elizabeth Gaskell

1. Class guilt.
3. Mary-Sue heroine.
4. Writer has clearly never missed a meal in her life.
5. Unsure as to ultimate point ... was it 'workers should know their place'? 'Workers should rebel really, really ineffectively'? 'Killing Iz Bad'? I don't know.
6. Probably a book that is more interesting in the dissection of the contemporary social issues than in the actual reading.

Gaudy Night, Dorothy L. Sayers

1. I only read this because it has Peter and Harriet in it and because I found it on my aunt's bookshelf. I spoiled myself for once without caring because I had an inkling that I wouldn't care to read any more just to find out Harriet's backstory. And I was right.
2. I did like the depiction of pre-WWII Oxford life, although it carried the inherent sadness of knowing what was to come when they (and the writer, at the time) didn't. It was obvious that Sayers was straining against female restrictions while still internalising quite a lot of misogyny; none of the female dons seemed to have a romantic life at all, and there was a strong flavour of denying one to get the other, or being denied one and settling for the other. Creepy.
3. The entirety of Peter and Harriet's 'romantic troubles' belong on whitepeopleproblems.com.

A Dance with Dragons, George RR Martin

I ... really have nothing to say about this that isn't adequately covered on the boards of westeros, misogenistic and female-character-bashing den of fan-boys-only that it is. I thought it dragged, I thought it made interesting character arcs less interesting, I am less impressed by the plotting than I was in books 1-3, the proliferation of prophecies is starting to bug me, I wish GRRM wouldn't call his fans 'fanboys' and so egg on the woman-haters that seem to plague this fandom. The TV show, by bringing fresh blood and more fandom to the table, is probably the best thing that's happened to ASoIaF.

Anyway, Dolorous Edd still rules.
"What's a god compared to a nice bowl of onion soup?"
l.m.: got; dany in the bambooincandescent on July 31st, 2011 02:30 am (UTC)
Oh, ADWD. I'm about 650 pages through it. And I love the characters still, and the world (even if it is totally mysogenistic. wow, spelling, sorry.) But some of the time jumps are totally disorienting. It's like all the storylines are beginning to disconnect and frey, and it takes me a few moments to catch up with who everyone is, where they are and what they're doing, and why it matters. Still, the man does know how to end a chapter, and I'm so emotionally attached to the entire thing, I'm basically riding the high through the book.

I guess I like it so far? Oh, well, I'm taking my time. When I finish I'll write something about it.

Dolorous Edd. ♥ YES.
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on August 1st, 2011 06:28 pm (UTC)
I don't necessarily mind the inherent misogyny of the world. It's GRRM's take on the War of the Roses with dragons and I'm fine with that. I was more referring to the attitudes of boarders on westeros who endlessly hate on Sansa, Dany and Cersei simply BECAUSE they're women and NOT sitting at home doing the sewing (ahem, Arwen).

Yeah, the cliffhangers get a little wearying. I remember when there were one or two per book, not per chapter.

Dolorous Edd even has his own tumblr, I think!
cleodoxa: lady in blackcleodoxa on July 31st, 2011 04:04 am (UTC)
I remember the thing that most annoyed me about Mary Barton was how when she changed her mind about marrying ... Jem? she couldn't tell him so, but just had to wait and hope he'd ask her again. The problem with novels like that and Hard Times is that the authors are trying to argue against class injustice without being able to make the leap and stop completely supporting class divides and believing a good working class person who deserves what they're arguing they should have is one who knows their place. So it all ends up a bit confused for a modern audience. Still, baby steps. People seemed to think it was broke new ground at the time.
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on August 1st, 2011 06:29 pm (UTC)
Oh man, YES, that was super dumb. And I can also see that they were the books that paved the way for books to come ... maybe books by Karl Marx, but whatever. I guess I'm mainly annoyed because I keep coming back to Elizabeth Gaskell hoping she'll be Jane Austen for the Victorians and she keeps trying to be ... idk, George Eliot lite. And I HATE George Eliot.