Timepunching: pinkwhite bubble girl

#31, #32

The Edible Woman, Margaret Atwood

I assumed my first reading experience of Margaret Atwood post the discovery that she is a leading light in feminism (I KNOW, KMS) would be an interesting experience - and I was right. It was also, in view of that knowledge, quite a disturbing book due to the entrenched misogyny.

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The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller

I wasn't four pages into this before I renamed it in my head as 'The Worst Published Fanfic Ever.' Granted, I haven't yet read Fifty Shades of Grey, so that is liable to change.

Unlike apparently most of the one and two star reviewers on goodreads, I have more than a passing familiarity of the story of the Iliad (and the Odyssey) - thanks to Rosemary Sutcliff rather than Homer. Even if canon didn't point towards Achilles and Patroclus being lovers, I would have shipped them that way regardless. Therefore I didn't consider it a huge or scandalous leap for her to have made.

Miller, who's a classics scholar, clearly believes Achilles/Patroclus is the ultimate canon OTP. It's a shame, because that leads her to also believe she doesn't have to prove anything with her book. She could have been writing a kiddie version of the very true story of the Iliad from the way she assumes the facts speak for themselves and all she has to do is record them. Unfortunately, while I learned more of the minutiae of Achilles' life - more than I or the story needed, in fact - I did not for one second learn why she thought she sold me on the romance. It's so much taken as a given that even she doesn't question it, and she's the goddamn storyteller here. Not Homer, whatever his supposed intentions towards the smexing were. GIVE ME SOMETHING OTHER THAN THE SMELL OF ACHILLES' FEET FOR REAL BRO.

I'm not even kidding: there are several references (too depressing to actually count) to his pink feet and how awesome they smell. Bear in mind this is MILLENIA before the invention of deodorant and electrical showers. I'm not buying it. And the writing is crammed with real clankers; the nectar-scented feet are just the start.

"Patroclus," he said. He was always better with words than I.

Sure! Why not! Except ... this is the ONLY WORD HE SAID. Which is YOUR NAME, Patroclus. Basic identity skills do not equal eloquence! No really!

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1D: smexy Harry






Also I was with my trainer today and we had a very mutually agreeable conversation on the manifold attractions of Harry Styles. (Louis is still my favourite! But revealing that and why is betraying JUST A TAD too much info for casual conversation.) And I just like that I can say to a group of any women my age, "One Direction," and they'll go, "Of course" and I'll say, "Harry Styles," and they'll go, "HELL YEAH." I feel weirdly that they're attractive in a way that very much pertains to women - like, because not of in spite of? And also that it's now okay to find younger dudes hot. It's maybe a backwards equality but it's still an equality. In conclusion, Harry Styles. What a scamp.
1D: piano!

heed my words and take flight

I just returned from three days of obligatory 'professional development' in Dublin. I was going to use 'hellish' before 'obligatory' but in fact, I think this is what purgatory is like: building paper houses, fighting over the five biscuits, and discovering my conflict management persona. All the time I really missed my new fandom. It's come at a conveniently flaily point in my life, to the extent that I brought up One Direction with EVERYONE at this course: people I'd just met, the lecturer in resilience training (who thought I was referring to a new digression in Jungian theory OH LOL), and my long-suffering friend Shane, who tiredly despises hipsters and all hipster-adjacent things. It didn't help that it was Bloomsday and we couldn't figure out if the people wandering around in period costume were pretentious assholes pretending they'd read Joyce, or painfully cool dudes who like dressing in pseudo-period clothes. (For the record, I love hipsters. I'd be a hipster, only I'm not hipster enough.)

The fact is you can't really help people whose job entails accidentally hurting and killing other people. Bless their hearts, they tried, though. I liked this breakdown of self esteem (how you feel about yourself), self confidence (your physical traits eg posture and voice) and self-concept (your impact on the world). The lecturer used an anecdote of a gay man who came out to his family and their response was, "We know." He found this extremely distressing because his self-concept was shattered by the realisation that what he'd thought was secret wasn't, really. In coming-out stories the 'we know' response is always portrayed as sweet and a relief, so I thought that was interesting. It also made me think (SURPRISE) about One Direction and the weirdly deep investment a lot of people have in them being TOTES GAY OMG YES NO TAKE BACKS. Something about how their self-concept is 'being straight' and changing that would be very traumatic, and how uncomfortable it must be to have people assuming the wrong thing about their self-concept. OR SOMETHING.

I also ended up watching recaps of Britain's Got Talent with my Terrible Relatives just because Simon Cowell was in it and he's connected with One Direction. I find Simon Cowell fascinating. In a world of posturing and artifice he seems to have built a career on honesty. I want to use a seems legit joke here.

And now to fritter away some time reading squee posts and fic by other people. Lurking is great fun on this side of Harry Potter (mind you, I thought I was a lurker in bandom and look how THAT turned out). I especially appreciate the photo commentaries. I'd try my hand at one if I wasn't so long in the tooth.
halowrites: tiger kitten




Louis likes girls who eat carrots! His favourite chatup line is 'Will you marry me!' He wants to be Susan Boyle for a day because she's such a good dancer! They fall down the steps and co-ordinate zipping onesies! Louis is my favourite person IN THE WORLD.

Also, I am twelve.
anumberonme lighted path

#4 - 30

UGH IT'S JUNE HOW DID THAT HAPPEN. Just in case anyone thought I wasn't reading in that time ... I was! Here's the proof, behind spoiler tags: Absolute Zero, Good in Bed, Clockwork Angel, Ash, The Lions of Al-Rassan, The Marriage Plot, Our Man in Havana, King Lear, Twelfth Night, Julius Caesar, Sushi for Beginners, The Secret History, Not Before Sundown, An Equal Music, The Forgotten Waltz, Tender is the Night, The Sun Also Rises, Everything is Illuminated, A Patchwork Planet, The 19th Wife, Bounce, The Glass House, The Shadow of the Wind, City of Dragons, The Elegance of the Hedgehog, The Night Circus, Mr Fox.

Come join in if you've read any of the above! I only have the sketchiest notes on these, culled from a notebook. If I don't at least write down titles I forget I've read them at all. A very reassuring trait in a doctor, I can assure you.

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Fooish: yellow doughnut

1D to hell



What else happened? Snow White and the Huntsman. For the first time I got to experience laughing at something because it was so very, very bad. I thought people who claimed to do that were exaggerating for effect - NO LONGER. I managed to contain myself with silent giggles until the credits when I nearly fell off my chair.

I mean, would I have liked some nod to overturning basic patriarchical assumptions (female sexuality is bad; beauty is the most important female attribute and its loss is irreplaceable; all females require male approbation before any of their actions gain worth)? Of course. Did I get them? No; not hugely unexpected. Turning Snow White INTO JESUS was pretty unexpected though. And the script forgot basic plot points five lines of dialogue after they'd been introduced. Nothing made sense. It was clearly written by a troll on crack.

halowrites: grey flowers

#1, #2, #3

1. Beware of Pity, by Stefan Zweig
2. Sprig Muslin, by Georgette Heyer
3. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen (reread; from now on I'm adding them in JUST BECAUSE I CAN

1. Beware of Pity, Stefan Zweig

This book was actually one of my father's Christmas presents to my mother, so I swept through the first three-quarters of it before I thought she'd miss it. As it turns out, it's a book that does well to be read quickly rather than slowly, because the moment I started taking my time over it the story flagged.

It's a first-person narrative from a Lieutenant Anton Hofmiller, an Austrian army officer, who on the eve of WWI strikes up an uneven friendship with Edith, the crippled daughter of a local millionaire.

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2. Sprig Muslin, Georgette Heyer

I should have known better than to pick this up on the recommendation of someone who writes Jane Austen paralit. Still, it was in the house, it wasn't her worst and it took me a day, so no harm done.

The story of rescued waif Amanda and her erstwhile protector Sir Gareth, who meets her on his way to offer marriage to the suitable spinster Lady Hester, is a bait and switch in the style of Cotillion, without Cotillion's masterful diversionary tactics or charming protagonists. Amanda grows more objectionable the further the story goes, because while her schemes are ingenuous her reason for carrying them out is little short of utter silliness. I would have liked more time with Lady Hester; I couldn't find her relations that objectionable when Lady Widmore is so hilarious. There's also the matter Sir Gareth's young relations, who are described in detail at the start then summarily dropped from existence. That's not unusual for Heyer, but it equally makes this, along with its other faults, one of her weaker works.

"Never mind that! He is coming, Hester, to make you an offer!"
"Oh, is he?" she said vaguely, adding, after a thoughtful moment, "Does he want me to sell him one of Juno's pups? I wonder he should not have told me so when we met in town the other day. It is not worth his while to journey all this distance - unless, of course, he first desires to see the pup."

I wish more time had been spent with Hester! There was certainly room for it, if all the blather about rescuing Amanda from her various scrapes was cut down to below the border of annoying.
Timepunching: girl with earring

#46 and roundup

Werewolves in their Youth, Michael Chabon

I can't say I find divorce as a short-cut theme for the longer one of 'how to irrevocably fuck up your life in all its dimensions' particularly interesting. Every short story in this collection seems to be about marriages and how they suck, but I could be mistaken; it took me a long time to finish all of them, because I find reading short stories a very stop-start process, and also because they were all both boring and creepy. I didn't keep many details in my mind because few of them were worthy of it, which makes writing this ~review~ kind of shaky. I'm slightly freaked out by the elements of paedophilia and rape that litter the backstories of these characters, all of whom I found to be reprehensible caricatures. If this had been the first work of his I'd ever written, it would also be the last.

Round-Up 2011

GOD I AM DISGUSTED. I didn't even make 50. Every year up until now has shown an increase - and 2011, the first full year of work: precipitous drop. WORK SUCKS YOU GUYS.

In case anyone is looking for the full list of what I read - I was too lazy to actually make a links list, feeling mostly that I was doing well to even write about the damn books at all - I'll put it here, in bold if I liked it.

The Regency Companion, Sharon Laudermilk and Teresa L. Hamlin
World Without End, Ken Follett
Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story, Carolyn Turgeon
The Changeover, Margaret Mahy
Arcadia, Tom Stoppard
Cryoburn, Lois McMaster Bujold
Miles, Mutants and Microbes, Lois McMaster Bujold
Memory, Lois McMaster Bujold

Romancing Mr Bridgerton, Julia Quinn
The Brightest Star in the Sky, Marian Keyes
Room, Emma Donoghue
The Perilous Gard, Elizabeth Marie Pope
Before I Fall, Lauren Oliver
A Dance with Dragons, George RR Martin
Gaudy Night, Dorothy L. Sayers
Mary Barton, Elizabeth Gaskell
The Final Empire (Mistborn Book One), Brandon Sanderson
Something From Tiffany's, Melissa Hil
The Help, Kathryn Stockett
Devilish, Maureen Johnson
Blackout, Connie Willis
The Road, Cormac McCarthy
The Tenderness of Wolves, Stef Penney
Rumble on the Bayou, Jana DeLeon
Tam Lin, Pamela Dean
A Summer to Remember, Mary Balough
The Lady's Not For Burning, Christopher Fry
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Tennesse Williams
Pygmalion, George Bernard Shaw
The Winter's Tale, William Shakespeare
The Real Thing, Tom Stoppard
On Writing, Stephen King
A Visit from the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan

All Clear, Connie Willis
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Kilmeny of the Orchard, L.M. Montgomery
The Golden Road, L.M. Montgomery
The Story Girl, L.M. Montgomery
Snuff, Terry Pratchett
The Magicians, Lev Grossman
A Discovery of Witches, Deborah Harkness
Rainbow Valley, LM Montgomery
Spoiled, Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

Jazz in Love, Neesha Meminger
Werewolves in their Youth, Michael Chabon

... that is a pretty crap ratio, lol. Although, go me for reading a non-fiction book for once.
Darcy'd do himself

make hay not war

So it's nearly 2012! I didn't really notice except for how I kept trying to write 1/12/11 instead of 1/1/12 on the blood forms. My brain? Not that quick on the uptake.

Instead of talking about that, I'm going to relate instead my experiences with a certain part of the internet that has been exercising me greatly in the last few days. It is nothing other than the proliferation of blogs belonging to women (I think I can safely say they're ALL women) who write Jane Austen fanfic.

They don't call it Jane Austen fanfic, of course. They call these barques of intrepid genius sequels - and lolariously, each of them refers to their sequel as 'the' sequel. But they ARE fanfic. Unlike fanfic they are generally just bad, at least from the excerpts. (Fanfic has a rollicking bell curve, from HIDEOUS to actual near-on genius. Not so here; everything is painfully average.) I've read two published ones as well, but I actually thought they were rare. MORE FOOL ME. I went looking for Pride and Prejudice fanfic about a year ago and came up empty-handed. Now I know the reason: people have copped that you can charge for it.

What I find oddest about these 'authors' is how weirdly they approach Austen's work. One of them keeps quoting from the novels as if they were factual sets of opinions that Austen had just strung together. I know we all love lambasting authors for being crap with women, POC, rape etc, but when it comes right down to it, unless expressly stated, opinions in a book are the opinions of the characters, not the author. Sure, they might tally closely - or exactly, if you're inclined to self-insertion - but technically they can't be taken as the author's one true stance on ANYTHING.

One hates Fanny Dashwood, and said she fastforwards the first scene in Emma Thompson's version of S&S where Fanny talks John out of giving his sisters any money. Aside from the fact that the scene is superlative, in dialogue, setting, action and acting ... hating the 'evil' characters - whether Fanny, Mrs Norris or Lady Catherine - seems to me to defeat the purpose of liking Austen at all. Anyone could have written Elizabeth and Darcy. It takes an extremely talented connoisseur of human folly to create Mr and Mrs Bennet.

Someone - I think on ferretbrain - said once that Jane Austen hated everyone. I can totally accept this take. I meet a LOT of people in my line of work and I hate most of them. I don't think you can write the way she did without at least a kernel of hardcore bitterness. If she'd been a man in a larger world she might not have the Elizabeths, Elinors or Annes, but I think the secondary characters would have stayed. They make the books for me. It's a shame that modern romance authors of all stripes use the tried-and-tested and utterly boring paths that those heroines trod and don't explore the far more interesting, and numerically more common, motorways of the Mr Collinses of this world.

One blogger/author wanted Lady Catherine to get her comeuppance in her 'the' sequel. Er, I'm not sure how you could top HAVING HER SUPER-DOOPER ARRANGED MARRIAGE PLANS SCUPPERED. One blogger/author said she followed the plot of Persuasion with utmost pedantry so she could make sure every plot-point tallied in her 'the' sequel. The first line of her blurb? States that Anne Elliot's FATHER was the one who convinced her to give up Wentworth. DING DING, WRONG ANSWER. I'm pretty sure that Anne would have gone ahead with the engagement had she Lady Russell's blessing, but the point is moot; it's Lady Russell that Wentworth despises. He and Anne both see that Sir Walter is nothing more than a blustering nincompoop. This same author 'interviews' Anne Elliot to promote her novel. It was the weirdest and most disturbing thing I've ever read, even allowing for the fact that the woman has no hold on Anne's character whatsoever.

Many of you, like myself, probably adore the multiple adaptations of Jane Austen films, like Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Emma, Mansfield Park, and well…Persuasion. Yet, how many of you have the patience to tackle the Napoleonic-Era verbiage novels? Thus came my inspiration to introduce my friends to the magic of Jane’s pen in a language a modern day woman can relate to.

It's not that I have no words. I have MANY words. Most of them are FUCK. The rest are YOU.

I'm pretty sure this can all be blamed on Colin Firth. These women want to self-insert into Jennifer Ehle's shoes so they can see His Wetness up close. That's fair enough, but I'm surprised they don't acknowledge it ... then again, how many people acknowledged that it was Tom Felton that turned them on to Draco Malfoy, not JK's superb and subtle rendering of a bully with a heart of gold (or whatever)? In my case, it was fandom that turned me on to him, but Tom Felton sure did help.

Me? I'd take Mr Bennet any day.

... and in a semi-related note, could Andrew Davies maybe stop writing the scripts to EVERY AUSTEN ADAPTATION EVER? He wasn't bad in P&P, maybe because he stuck pretty much exactly to the book's dialogue, but when he was left loose on S&S his deficits really started to show. I'm about to watch the Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey he wrote and, well, I'm apprehensive. (Also because BILLIE PIPER.)
Timepunching: flying bird


If I wanted to hire someone to write a website for me, basically to shelve all my fics in complete format in one place plus a comments section, how would I go about it and how much would it cost?

I feel like my fics are shabby at the moment and now that I'm not constantly adding to them like I used to, or chopping and changing journals and archives, I want something permanent. Also ... I don't think I'll ever write fic again, so this would be a nice full stop. Any help on this would be greatly appreciated!