thistlerose: (reading)
What I Just Finished Reading

Endymion by Dan Simmons. This is the third volume in the four-volume Hyperion series. It was good, though not as mind-bogglingly good as the first book. It had some slow moments when Simmons described How Things Work in the Future in more detail than I thought was necessary. But I do like this universe he's created. I find it very interesting. 1,000 years in the future people are living on all these different worlds they've colonized, and this re-vamped Catholic Church is pretty much in charge of everything. The institution isn't evil (and individual members certainly aren't - I quite liked Federico de Soya) but you know what they say about absolute power. I haven't read much SF that directly addresses the question of religion; most books - in my experience - speculate about a more secular future. Oh, and John Keats is really, really important.

I feel like Endymion was more of a set-up for the final book than a complete story by itself, so we'll see.

The Pluto Files by Neil DeGrasse Tyson. Trufax: I honestly don't remember the huge hub-bub that apparently occurred when Pluto was demoted. I never understood why Pluto was so beloved, anyway. (Possibly this is because I've always disliked Mickey's dog.) Anyway, this is a short, not-too-technical, interesting book about Pluto's discover, it's reclassification, and the weirdness that ensued when said reclassification happened. Personally, I have no problem with demoting Pluto. It makes sense to me: Pluto is more like these other bodies that astronomers have discovered than it is like the other eight planets. Only, as a literature fan, the number eight troubles me a little. Odd numbers are somehow more ... trope-y. Seven seas, seven continents, nine hells, Seven Hills of Rome, the rule of three, The Book of Three, the Trinity, three riddles, three wishes, three rings for the Elves, seven for the Dwarves, three for the humans, One Ring to Rule Them All ... it's all odd numbers.

What I'm Reading Now

Tracks by Robyn Davidson. At age 27, she decided to take a solo trip through the Australian desert. Her writing is a little uneven - she'll throw in names with no explanation, she won't mention her dog for a whole chapter even though major things are happening in her life - but she just rode out into the desert with her dog and her camels, and I want to know what happens. Obviously, she lives since she wrote about her experience. I'm more worried about the non-human animals, and I'm hoping for some good descriptions of the desert.

What I'm going to read next:

I think I'm going to try The Number One Ladies Detective Agency since it's short and I own it. I feel like I should also read something about WWI, since it's the 100th anniversary. I have All Quiet on the Western Front, which I read way back in middle school, but have been wanting to read again; Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman, which is supposed to be amazing; and Goodbye to All That by Robert Graves. Maybe I'll read them in chronological order of subject.
thistlerose: (reading)
What I Recently Finished Reading:

Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious History of the World's Most Famous Heroine by Tim Hanley. Interesting stuff about my beloved Wondy (and comics in general), with emphasis on the Golden, Silver, and Bronze ages. The book was very readable and I learned a bit (sometimes I think I love her more for the IDEA of her than for how she's written), but I think Hanley could have devoted a lot more time to the modern era. He touches on George Perez, Greg Rucka, and Gail Simone, but barely mentions the New 52, which is a shame since there's a LOT you can say about it (some good, some bad). I also wish there'd been more speculation about why there's no Wonder Woman movie yet. (Or any other female superhero or villain since Catwoman.) He might have interviewed some of the women in the industry. All in all, the book was good and worth my time, but it felt incomplete.

What I'm Reading Now:

Endymion by Dan Simmons, which is the third book in the Hyperion series. It started out magnificently, but now it's gotten a bit bogged down in the nitty gritty of travel (through space and otherwise). It's nice that Simmons put so much thought into this world (I do love the world-building in this series) but dude, come on. I can see why this thing is 500+ pages. Still, I like it. And I want to know where this whole thing is going, so I shall persevere. I LOVED the first book in the series and enjoyed the second one, so we'll see.

What I'm Going to Read Next:

I haven't quite decided, but I'm thinking of a travelogue. I have two sitting on my shelf at the moment, one about Australia, the other about Japan.

_____

I uploaded a few more Harry Potter stories to my AO3 account. I've decided that I like them after all. (Oh, Sirius and Remus. Your love was so TRAGIC.) There's one I don't even remember writing. Well, it was eleven years ago. Hard to believe, sometimes.

I have been having such trouble writing lately. I have some ideas, but when I sit down to write, I either get distracted by something on the Internet, or I just don't like the words I'm producing. *sigh* I wonder if I should just give it up and wait to see if my muse returns, or if I should plug away. I'm not really accomplishing anything.

_____

I started watching S2 of Orphan Black. I just saw episode 5 or 6. Mild spoilers and a question )
thistlerose: (tea)
And still she said, I will find you, I will find you (1205 words) by Thistlerose
Fandom: The White Queen (TV)
Rating: General Audiences
Relationships: Anne Neville/Richard III
Summary:

Anne Neville can't lie still in her grave. So she goes to find Richard.



_______

So, yeah, I wrote another thing. This is the odd little ghost story I was talking about before. I like it, even though it's odd. I've decided to put all my Plantagenet-related stories under the same tag, regardless of fandom. There aren't so many of them that it'll be confusing, and they're all about the same family. So, right now, all my Lion in Winter, Adventures of Robin Hood, and The White Queen stories are under my one fic: plantagenets tag.

(Basically, my fascination with the War of the Roses - and Richard III, though the above story is more about Anne Neville - goes like this: I discovered Shakespeare when I was sixteen or seventeen. I heard a rumor we were going to be reading "Richard III" and a couple of others the following semester, so I decided to bone up. Richard captured my imagination because he's SO FUCKING EVIL. And, unlike Iago, Macbeth, and Edmund, who are trying to ruin basically good people, the people Richard's fucking with are pretty dickish themselves. So he was fairly easy to root for. I was nattering to someone - I forget whom - about this, and she was all, "Oh yeah? DIG DEEPER." So I borrowed a history book from the library and I dug deeper, and I became fascinated with how historical events are portrayed in fiction, and why they're portrayed a certain way, and how you should always DIG DEEPER. And then I read "The Daughter of Time" and "The Sunne in Splendour" and yeah. *brandishes a white rose*)

Anyway, this story utilizes a theme that tends to pop up in my stories: one character is in trouble, and another character becomes hell-bent on getting them out of trouble. Although this one is special because (SPOILER!) everyone's already dead.

______

So now that I've gotten that off my chest - for now - I can get back to Santana and Brittany, who are still in Alabama, enjoying delicious pulled pork and trying not to melt. (They're there in August.) Speaking of characters who hit me in the id, I love Santana. She's a jerk with a heart of gold (at least where Brittany's concerned).

______

It's 92 degrees, but they're telling me it feels like 98. Greeeeeat. Isn't it September? In New England?? It's stuffy in the library; I'm so glad I cranked up the AC for the cats before I left this afternoon.

______

I've read books!

What I just finished reading:

Marco Polo: From Venice to Xanadu by Laurence Bergreen. I love travel logs. This one was interesting and well written, and almost as much about Kublai Khan as it was about Marco Polo. I do wish the author had written a bit more about how Marco's various journeys benefited Italy - Venice, specifically. Most of the book is about a white guy's observations of non-white culture. Though, to Marco's credit I guess, he's looking to learn - and probably make a buck, since he's a merchant and all - rather than subjugate. I mean, Kublai Khan wants to subjugate people (and he does). I'm not describing it well. I wanted more about why I should care about this one white guy's observations. And MAPS. There should have been many, many, MANY more maps.

The Thirteen Clocks by James Thurber. I've read this four or five times now, but I was in the mood. For the first time, it occurred to me that the Cold Duke of Coffin Castle is basically a caricature of Richard III. (Well, he locks some children up in a tower, he makes a move on his niece, and he has a number of physical disabilities.) I love this book, even if the solution is fairly simple. Thurber's language is delightful.

What I'm reading now:

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore. It sounded fun, and it's the High Holy Days, so I was in the mood for something with a somewhat religious bent. So far, I've only read a chapter and a half, but I'm enjoying it.

The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey. Another one I've read four or five times, but I'm in the mood.

What I'm going to read next:

I don't knooooooow. It might be time for more Miles Vorkosigan. I think I'm up to either "Falling Free" or "Brothers In Arms."
thistlerose: (BtVS: Willow)
I posted a story yesterday!

Will You Remember Me?
BtVS | teen-ish | Gen, with references to canon ships | Xander-centric, with major appearances by Cordelia, Willow, and Buffy | Post-series. The Powers that Be give Xander a message from Angel, to deliver to Buffy. This should be simple, but Xander has a lot of unresolved issues regarding Angel and Buffy. 6,800 words.

Feedback is always lovely.

(Link goes to AO3. The story is also on LJ and DW, but I'm getting that fakjhdkjfhadk Varnish Error.)

_____

Speaking of AO3, that stats meme is going around again. It always depresses me a little, since I think my stats are pretty low compared with other people's. Then again, I didn't start posting to AO3 until late, and most of my fandoms are dormant if not dead.

Nonetheless.

Top ten stories by hit count. )

Top ten stories by kudos. )

On a related note, I've always thought of myself as being pretty even handed in terms of shipping preference. I mean, I would say that roughly half my favorite ships are slash (m/m or f/f) and half are het. Sometimes I feel like I post way more slash (m/m, specifically) than het, so I went and looked up my stats on AO3. 121 het, 107 gen, 105 slash (m/m and f/f). Huh. Granted, I haven't posted most of my Sirius/Remus or Trowa/Quatre stories. But then, most of those have het beta couples. *shrug*

I had no idea I'd written so much gen. Granted, a lot of it is shippy gen (i.e. there are established pairings in the background, but they're not the focus).

_____

What I just read

Redshirts by John Scalzi. I was disappointed. It's a clever idea and I did laugh out loud a couple of times, but overall I found the writing pretty dry, and the characters basically interchangeable. (To the point where I snickered when one character describes his friends as interesting.) That may have been deliberate, since they're supposed to be the expendable characters, but I didn't feel any attachment to them as a result. Also, Scalzi needs to work on his dialog tags. A said. B said. C said. A said. C said. B said. It's annoying.

But it was a fast read and, like I said, the idea is clever.

I also just finished rereading Witch Baby by Francesca Lia Block. I've read it - and the other books in the series - numerous times, but this past weekend I found myself in the mood again. The plot is amazingly simplistic, but I do love Block's lyrical prose. She makes me want to run away to California.


What I'm reading now

Ethan of Athos by Lois McMaster Bujold. I am sloooooowly making my way through the Miles Vorkosigan series. (How slowly? I read the first book in high school.) I'm only 50 pages in, but so far, so good. I suspect our eponymous hero is going to get a lesson in feminism, courtesy of Elli Quinn, and I'm on board with that.

What I'm reading next

I do not know. Possibly 1776 by David McCullough.
thistlerose: (magic)
I barreled through the rest of S1 of "Once Upon a Time" last night. It's fun. There are still aspects that make me groan (pretty much anything involving fairies) but I'll stick with it. Spoilers. )

Because there's been so much Snow White lately, I felt compelled to rent Disney's animated version, which I hadn't seen since its re-release in the 1980s. It's quite a beautiful movie. Visually, anyhow. And Snow isn't as useless as I remember her being. (Well, she's less useless than Princess Aurora, which isn't saying much.) I mean, she's naive and saccharine, and she breaks down and cries, but she's had a really shitty day. Once she's gotten it out of her system, she picks herself up and presses on. I suspect her compulsion to clean the dwarfs' house comes from a need for some sense of control. Also, she has more chemistry with Grumpy than she does with the prince. Just saying. I mean, she doesn't compare with Tiana or Jasmine or Belle or any of the other modern Disney heroines, but she's less useless than Aurora. (Though I would argue that Aurora isn't the protagonist of "The Sleeping Beauty" at all. The Three Good Fairies are, and they're awesome. Especially Merryweather.)

Anyway.

I also finished Stephen King's "The Dark Tower" series. Some thoughts. )
thistlerose: (Default)
Depressed, but not too surprised by the vote in North Carolina.

Heartened by President Obama's endorsement of equal marriage rights.

Annoyed that it took him so long to get here.

Impressed that he didn't wait until after the November election.

Ultimately, proud of my president for speaking out in favor of equality.

I had a whole thing in my head about same-sex marriage. A rant of epic proportions. But now I don't have the energy.

_____

Spent much of the day working on a lesson plan, of sorts. Went to the gym. Came back in time to babysit the housemates' seven-year-old, who wanted to go for a bike ride (this is our thing) and then a walk in the park. Finished reading the first Sookie Stackhouse book. Honestly, I like the television series better, at least the first season. Charlaine Harris's writing is really not that great, and the book is missing the over-the-top-ness that made the series so much fun initially. And also )

Oh, well. I have the next four books (I got them at a book sale, where it was a dollar for all the books you could fit in one bag) and "Dead Until Dark" was entertaining enough, so I'll stick with the series a bit longer.

_____

Anyway. I'm tired. So I'm going to eat the last of the mint julep cupcakes, catch up on The Daily Show and Glee, finish S1 of BtVS, then maybe work on my fic until it's time to sleep.
thistlerose: (Default)
Slept for almost 12 hours last night. Whoa. Dreamed that:

1. I'd invented a way to make ice cubes on my laptop. Ice cubes that didn't melt until you put them in liquid.
2. My house was Deep Space Nine
3. Lloyd hurt his paw and I couldn't take him to the vet because he didn't have health insurance
4. My maternal grandparents came back to life

O_o

Now it's after 12 and I haven't decided what to do. I'd counted on having the morning to get some work done and go to the gym. I guess I could (should, really) still go, but ... it's raining kind of hard and I'm still comfy in my pajamas.

Oh, the plumber just got here and is blocking the driveway. Guess I'm not going anywhere in my car until he's done. Oh, well. :)

I could just get back into bed and curl up with my book. I'm reading The People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks, and I'm nearly done. It's ... not all I'd hoped it would be, though it's had some nice moments. Too much emphasis on the fictional people, not enough on the very much non-fictional book (The Sarajevo Haggadah). And I think the heroine's background detracts from rather than adds to the story.

What's interesting is that, about a year before the novel was published, Brooks had an article published in The New Yorker about the Haggadah, which you can read online here. It's a non-fictionalized account of how the book was rescued and changed hands a bunch of times, and I remember finding it incredibly moving. More so than the novel.

Anyway. I guess I could use this opportunity to work on my X-Men porn. Since I'm finally up to the porn part! *wrings hands* At last!

I did manage to write two stories for Remix Madness, which I think goes live tomorrow evening. I think it's pretty obvious which two are mine, so no points for guessing. :)
thistlerose: (reading)
Had a good day at work, then went to the gym. Now I'm too tired to do anything useful (like work on my story or save the universe). So, meme time. From [livejournal.com profile] aome:

Books!

The first book you read in 2011:
Wizard and Glass, by Stephen King

The last book you finished in 2011:
Beowulf (Seamus Heaney translation)

The first book you will finish (or did finish!) in 2012:
Cetaganda, by Lois McMaster Bujold

Your favorite "classic" you read in 2011:
Beowulf

The book series you read the most volumes of in 2011:
The Hunger Games Trilogy, by Suzanne Collins

The genre you read the most in 2011:
It was seriously all over the board last year, with no clear majority.

Best books you read in 2011?
Beowulf
The Forever War
, by Dexter Filkins
Looking For Alaska, by John Green
Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
The Bielski Brothers, by Peter Duffy
Infidel, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
A Visit From the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Eagan
The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury

(Not including re-reads.)

Most disappointing book/Book you wished you loved more than you did?
I really wanted to like How To Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, by Charles Yu. I liked the idea, but the book left me cold for some reason. Also The Imperfectionists, by Tom Rachman, which I really enjoyed up until the end, when spoilers )

Most surprising (in a good way) book of the year?
A Visit From the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Eagan. I hadn't known anything about it before picking it up and was very pleasantly surprised.

Also enjoyed Beyond Uhura, by Nichelle Nichols more than I'd anticipated. Awesome lady.Cutting the rest. )
thistlerose: (coffee)
Did one of you guys gift me with 2 months of paid LJ time? All I know is I have two more paid months, but LJ is being coy as to why. If it was one of you, thank you! You're so sweet. ♥

While I was eating breakfast this morning, Lloyd climbed into my lap and curled up. I thought it was very sweet. My cat loves me, I thought. Then, I noticed a little black paw iiiiiinching toward my oatmeal. I pushed the paw away gently. A few minutes later, I again noticed a little black paw iiiiinching toward my oatmeal. I love you, Lloyd. I really, really do.

I love Sophie too.



I finished "The Fault in Our Stars" this afternoon. It was depressing as hell, though well written, as all of John Green's novels are. It wasn't my favorite of his, and not just because it was so very sad. (I mean, the narrator has terminal cancer. This isn't a spoiler, as it's right there on the jacket flap. So, you know.) My favorite is either "An Abundance of Katherines" or "Paper Towns." Much as I like John Green, there's a sameness to all his characters. Colin is Miles is Quentin is Will. Alaska is Margo. And the parents are almost uniformly perfect. As someone on Good Reads pointed out, there is always a road trip of some sort. But ... he does write very very well.

All right. I am totally procrastinating now. I have 169 words of my first [livejournal.com profile] purimgifts story written. If I can write one story a week, I'll be golden. And then I'll finish that Darwin/Alex porny story! And then I'll get to all the stories I promised people *gulp* last year! Yes! Goals!
thistlerose: (MLP: Rainbow Dash)
"Back in the Paleo-pony period..."

Oh, god, I love this show.

In other news, I've finally started "Mockingjay" (this is all going to end badly) and on Friday I posted a new Alex/Darwin fic: The Hush of Falling Leaves. In which Alex is kind of messed up, but self-aware.

ETA: If you nominate a fandom for Yuletide, how do you know if it's been rejected? I see there are check marks for accepted fandoms. But how do I know if one fandom has been rejected or if it's still being considered by the mods?

Bride of ETA: I only need someone to tell me once. Thanks, guys!
thistlerose: (books)
Okay, I've just started this book (I'm up to Chapter Six, I think) so the usual rules apply: if you spoil me, I will shoot you full of arrows.

At this point I really only have to say one thing. )
thistlerose: (books)
Well, it's snowing. What the hell, Maryland.

I'm at work for another two and a half hours and I didn't bring any food. That was dumb. The apple and two nutri-grain bars I'd left in my desk are not cutting it, and the student center is closed. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

It's really quiet today. I spent about forty minutes helping a student find sources for her paper, but apart from that it's been pretty dead.

I finished reading Book V of Stephen King's "The Dark Tower" series. It started out well, but I think King lost the plot around the middle of the book, and by the end I was pretty meh. Spoilers. )

So now I'm finally starting Part II of "The Hunger Games." This will all end in tears, I'm sure.

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Thistlerose

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