ironymaiden: (reader boys)
a co-worker has a new black vehicle, and discussion of naming said vehicle
led to suggestions of "Disaster Area" and "Hotblack Desiato".

which is how i figured out that it's been 25 years since "Mostly Harmless"
came out. (if you haven't read it, don't read it, it's crap.)

on the one hand, i appreciate that i remember details about The
Restaurant at the End of the Universe
enough that i didn't have to
look anything up. on the other hand, i'm feeling old.
ironymaiden: (red)
[livejournal.com profile] buhrger asked me five questions. if you would like me to ask you five questions, request them in a comment, then post with the same offer so that the best meme may roll on.

1.if ten-years-ago you saw your current level of engagement with Sounders FC/MLS, how surprised would she have been? (asking because ten-years-ago me would have been a little surprised.)

i think she would be more shocked that i could afford to be a season ticket holder than anything else. but perhaps sad that i couldn't escape sports - in 2005 i didn't have to know anything or pretend to care about any sports. the only time i saw any game of any kind was [livejournal.com profile] southplains's annual Super Bowl party.

but there's also a certain inevitablilty. my family has always watched sports. while i never was thoroughly passionate about any of them, i always liked the in-stadium experience of football and basketball (and to a lesser extent, baseball).* my brothers played football when they were in highschool (and i was a charming toddler). my family had Penn State football tickets. i was in marching band, which meant that i was at all the football games when i was in high school. i always loved the crowd dynamic and anything involving singing or call and response.

there is part of me that is hardwired to love night games in crisp cool weather. the boiling hot summer day games? 2015 me is still surprised that i can stand that.


2.do you have a memory of first realizing that you are a dog person? or has it always been part of you?

no. there have always been dogs, or an aching hole where the dog should be.

i have no memory of learning to love dogs. (my father had a well-trained black Lab when he married mom. so when i was born, Buck was already there.) i have memories of being told to be more careful, that not every strange dog is my friend. i also remember a time when mom suggested that i give the dog some of the cookie i was eating: i held it out and let the dog take a bite, then i finished it. no dog ever bit me (other than puppy nips) or chased me or gave me a bad experience (other than dying in my presence). in this i'm pretty lucky since i accidentally mostly did things right - i only really started researching the science of dog body language and behavior when we were ramping up to adopting Molly.

3.if, for reasons of notional security, you were required to move out of ballard to some place on the east side (the horrors!) where would you go? money is no object. notional security, yunno.

security? like, i'm building a fortress? The Snoqualmie Tunnel as a starter tunnel for my hollow mountain fortress. it has two defensible access points and a lovely view. (hey, we should do that hike some August.)

4.regarding star wars the force awakens, where do you fall on the spectrum from "SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY" to "it better not suck"? (to, i suppose, "i'm not even going to bother")

i fall solidly in "i've been hurt before". C and i occasionally say "hey, we should buy tickets for that sometime" and then we fail to go order them. i have avoided most spoiler chatter and i suppose i will need to see it before Christmas if i want to visit the internet. Pirates A and E are passionate about it and we *are* playing the Star Wars RPG right now, so it's more of a social obligation than an actual desire at this point. i don't need more Star Wars at all, but it would be nice for it to be good.

5.while we both read charlie stross, we seem to prefer different books of his. which are your favourites, and which are your least favourites?

favorites are the Laundry books, but i think they're most successful as shorter stories. so i love The Atrocity Archives, and the short about working over Christmas, and the short with the unicorns.

i adored the start of the Merchant books, but for me they fell off the rails when <redacted /> died and i think i gave it one book after that and then walked away.

i liked Singularity Sky.

thought the ones with the crime in the MMORPG were already dated when they were published and terribly twee. "Web 3.14" *rolls eyes*

loathed Accelerando. the reviews were so good, and then it turned out to be a collection of short stories that i didn't like when i read them the first time in their magazine publication. (i was really into reading short fiction magazines at the right time.)



*hockey was something i watched on tv sometimes. i think Penn State had an ice rink? i know i tried ice skating indoors approximately once somewhere and my ankles were too weak to function. i actually had an Edmonton sweatshirt at one point - it was in a bargain bin and i loved the colors. i had a passing interest in the Pittsburgh Penguins, who were very very good when i was in high school - i loved the mouth-feel of saying Jaromir Jagr (for the uninitiated, it sounds like yommer yagger. yommer yagger yommer yagger yommer yagger!)
ironymaiden: (chinstrap)
A co-worker turned me onto Marvel Unlimited, and it is simply the best entertainment investment I have made in years. (For the uninitiated, its all-you-can-read back issues of Marvel comics as ebooks that scale to your screen.) The biggest barrier to comics for me has been that I read too damn fast.*
Let's see... I've been skipping all over time, reading the first few issues of X-men, Black Panther's origins in the Fantastic Four, the Runaways, Nextwave, and following around Kelly Sue Deconnick (Lady Sif, Rescue, Avengers Assemble) and now I'm starting Captain Marvel. The end of issue 1 made me cry. Excited to read more.

Truly, I live in the future with my electronic neverending comic book. *squee*


*Admittedly, the app does seem to seize up on me when I go through issues too quickly, but a restart fixes that.
ironymaiden: (rich zoe)
Tablet! my little netbook is dead, so I have acquired a tablet with matching stylus. great compromise for me- basically a giant version of my phone, but with fancy bells and whales. I'm handwriting this!

I read Uprooted, and it was great. I had picked up a promo at comiccon, and enjoyed it, but I was skeptical because Naomi Novik does not have a great track record as far as I'm concerned, kind of a dis-recommendation: "Remember those stupid faux-Aubreyad books with the cruddy world-building and the chatty dragons?" Please ignore. If you have loved Robin McKinley or that one Orson Scott Card fairytale book (Enchanted, worth getting from a Library) you should read this thing. [livejournal.com profile] frabjouslinz loved it, she was right. It's not just about a woman and her mentor, it's also about best friends and the way women compete (and no love triangle).

Make a plan and follow it through. With the tablet, I was able to chart out a knitting idea and then swatch the chart. It changed my thinking about the pattern. But I did it without having to knit the entire thing and rip it out, or take copious notes. I made the notes first. Way easier, and I learned lots about the notes app on my tablet.

I am drinking a Not Your Father's Root Beer. Om nom nom.
ironymaiden: (reader boys)
i just keep coming back to this post, which is mostly a link to another post about reading for structure.
it has me thinking about perception a great deal, especially since i think of myself as enjoying structure, but consider the idea of a series of novels built around color references to be pretentious bullshit.
ironymaiden: (left hand)
i didn't intend to let this slide.

22. Your "comfort" book
Discussed in question 13, rereads. The Blue Sword, moving on.

23. Favourite book cover including a picture!
This is tough. Part of me wishes that books not have representative cover art. Covers are a marketing tool, and often they misrepresent characters or even act as spoilers. (my favorite example of this is the cover for the very fine Transformation by Carol Berg.) i love the first edition dust jacket for The Hobbit because it emphasizes the big journey and the dragon is so tiny and subtle. i think though, that this is my favorite:



while i'm not crazy about the text treatment, the art captures the setting of the book and the nature of the protagonists. i love the angles and the contrast of the ice with the dark sky. you can read so much into the image before and after reading the book. are there tears on those faces? strong or weak? serene or trapped?

my current favorite book art direction has to be Boneshaker. really great marriage of text and image, and as [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy says, it's so Steampunk the text is brown. (really. my copy is printed in dark brown ink. it's subtle, but a great effect that is still easy on the eyes.)

24. Favourite fictional relationship (romantic, friendship, familial)
oof. let's do all three.

romantic: i can't quite answer this one. so often in genre books romance is a thing we do not get into because it is covered in girl cooties. the truth is that everyone has a soft spot for a love interest as long as it doesn't feel pasted on and stays true to the characters. (most hated romantic relationship, Bean/Petra in the second set of Ender books. Card has a lot of issues anyway, but damn. making Petra rabid about bearing superbabies? really? i stopped reading right there.) i have a hard time separating the relationship itself from "these two people i like". and often my favorite couples will drop into the background as soon as they're happily together, because seemingly writing stories about people who are happily together is extra-hard. that issue is discussed very well here.

friendship: the easy answer is Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin. they grow and change together, live through good times and bad, have misunderstandings and annoyances, and make up when they argue. it's good, and (as much as fans might want it to be) it's not slashy. we just don't have very many good models of men being good friends to one another these days. the less easy answer is Mac and Brymn - introvert marine biologist and extrovert alien archeologist in a complex situation...i love their relationship and the contrast through the series of Mac's friendship with Brymn and with her human colleague Emily.

familial: the Vorkosigans. i don't know where to start or stop - there are multiple generations now, there are different parenting styles and generational thinking represented, there are great parents, awkward children, chips on shoulders, rakish cousins...it's as slopplily complex as a real family, complete with occasional blurring of lines between friends/family/business. i like them so much that i'll forgive Bujold for the bug butter.

30 questions
ironymaiden: (bored now)
21. A book you thought you wouldn't like but ended up loving

i can't think of any.

why would i read a book i thought i wouldn't like, unless it was for school? i had less assigned fiction reading than many people my age due to being an advanced reader and AP testing out of required college English classes, but i was always pretty game for what i considered the easiest homework ever. i can list off books i thought i would like that i didn't like. i can also come up with books that i liked better when i gave them another chance. but thought i wouldn't like but ended up loving? nonexistent.

30 questions
ironymaiden: (kitty)
19. Your favourite picture, junior fiction and Young Adult books

sentimental favorite picture book: Andy Ant by Pops Winky. it's unfortunately out of print (and goofily 70s in illustration style). it's the story of the very game but hapless Andy trying to find his place in society - he starts a job with good intentions, gets in over his head, and disaster strikes. eventually after much trial and error he finds the right fit and everyone is happy. thinking about it, it's kind of a crazy thing to have a comedy picture book about a guy ant choosing his career path and life's work, but there it is.

junior fiction: i was thinking about this, and it's difficult because i skipped past these books pretty quickly - once i started reading i went from zero to "sixth grade" in short order. and those books didn't get reread like YA books did. are Farmer Boy and Little House in the Big Woods junior fiction? if so, those. Farmer Boy is something my mother wanted to share with me so much that we read through it together even though i was able to read it by myself (and later IIRC we even tried to milk feed a pumpkin).

Young Adult: i don't even know where to start. part of my heart is always here - i think some of the best genre fiction being produced right now is on the YA shelf and i read quite a bit of it. if you're skipping them because they're "kids' books" you're missing out. i especially recommend Sabriel by Garth Nix and the Attolia books by Megan Whalen Turner. i've already talked about my relationship with Dragonsong and The Blue Sword elsewhere. maybe this is where i put Anne of Green Gables* or The Secret Garden?





*i read it sometime during elementary school (i remember it was before the miniseries hit and caused a wave of attention for the books) and i had the hardest time understanding that Canada was a different country. even with the different educational system, and the wacky order-an-orphan thing, and the bit where they talk about the American tourists. PEI might as well have been upstate New York. i think maybe that's where i imagined it was.

30 questions
ironymaiden: (boid)
18. Your favourite book series & your favourite book out of that series

still not in favor of superlatives. i can count the clear favorite things in my life on one hand and have fingers left over. right now i'm coming up with the one i repeat often - C is my favorite person. um, Seattle is my favorite of the places i've lived. green is my favorite color. ...and now i'm scrabbling.

the tough thing about book series is that usually the first one is great and then the quality keeps dropping. often i will start out owning all of a trilogy or series and then as time goes on sell off the later books and keep only the first one because it's all that bears rereading.

the exception is a series that is really one giant continuous story. so i'll keep all of the Inda books (the third one has the most memorable scenes but i wouldn't call any one volume the best). i don't own all of the Aubrey/Maturin books yet, but i periodically do the "tell the publisher" Kindle request on amazon. because if i could have all of anything on my magic book, it would be those books. carrying twenty volumes of Aubrey/Maturin at once is what ereaders are made for. (what really pisses me off is that Norton does publish other ebooks. just not those. my hatred is pure.)

anyway, the closest thing i have to an answer to the question is Discworld. which is interesting in that there is a whole section of that series that i hate, won't own, and won't reread. Rincewind sucks. always and forever. (i note that people who try Discworld and fail usually tried with a Rincewind book. i can't blame them.) if you're familiar with Discworld, there are actually several series within the series. so i don't like the Rincewind books. and while i love the Witches, there's never been one that lived up to Wyrd Sisters. but the Guard books and the Death books are pretty consistently solid and Pratchett keeps doing interesting things with those characters. my favorite Guard book is The Fifth Elephant (dwarf culture, Sgt Angua, Gaspode, Lady Sybil kicks ass WITH OPERA). my favorite Death book is Hogfather (among other things, Pratchett writes the most accurate and evocative description of hogs i have ever read - dude has seen live pigs and evokes a powerful sense memory).



30 questions
ironymaiden: (mind)
15. Do you recommend books to other people? If you could force everyone you know to read one book, what would it be?

as i have grown older, mostly only when i'm asked to do so. but then i do so with gusto. and often as not, follow it by handing you the relevant book.

force everyone to read one book? see previous "as i have grown older"...i understand that what i like is not what you like. what gets me to think more deeply about a subject may have no effect on you. i can't even say that "likes book foo, dislikes book bar" is a rule of thumb for people i want to associate with. (seriously, [livejournal.com profile] mimerki doesn't like Jane Eyre. but she's still awesome. i assume that others like me in spite of my tepid response to Jane Austen.)

16. Adaptation: What book would you most like to see made into a film? Do you like to read the book first or see the film? Any books you have read after seeing the film version?

i remember being horribly disappointed when i saw the film version of The Black Stallion because it had changed so many things from the book, and my mom patiently trying to explain adaptation to mini-me. i think the first time i appreciated the adapted film and the book as related entities to be judged on their own merits was The Hunt for Red October. still my knee-jerk reaction is that i don't care to have a favorite "ruined" by someone else's imagination, and i hate how many people i have met who watch the Harry Potter films instead of reading the books. OTOH, i always like to see a favored book's audience expand.

i guess i would like to see Bad Monkeys or The Mirage made into a film because i want [livejournal.com profile] matt_ruff to get a dumptruck full of Hollywood money.

if something i haven't read is being made into a film that looks interesting, i don't rush to read it first. more often than not, that will lead to me quibbling with the adaptation. if i see the film and then read the book, i usually can enjoy both more although sometimes it stifles my imagination to have visual templates for characters and locations. i read The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen after i saw the film, and it made the film look even worse. i started reading Hellboy after the film, and it made me appreciate Del Toro's adaptation work (i liked the film to begin with, in spite of the mysteriously fireproof clothing). and rewatching is full of cookies for people who have read the comics.

17. What is the most difficult book you’ve ever read?
vague superlatives. stop that, anonymous question writer.

perhaps the answer is Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan. it certainly has stuck with me since i read it, and i've meant to write about it several times, but it hasn't resolved into a shape that i could put into words.

i think part of what causes me trouble with the book is that it delivered a literary fiction experience that i would not have chosen for myself - i'm never going to pick up Push - because i don't find that sort of misery entertaining. it's not that i can't accept bad or emotionally complex things happening to characters - i'm often resistant to too-pat happy endings - but Tender Morsels left me feeling (please forgive me but i'm not coming up with a better turn of phrase) screwed over.

this is a story about a rape and abuse survivor who is unlike any of the survivors i know. i realize that every survivor is different, and i don't presume to judge. but my first huge difficulty with the book is that Our Heroine decides that she really really wants to have her abuser's baby. i can see how she's trying to produce a pure relationship, and that hiding the pregnancy in order to go to term is in itself an assertion of control...i just can't swallow it without choking. a lot of the book is like that for me.

yet i'm not willing to say that it is a "bad" book. that's difficult too. (and i'm perfectly willing to say that i think well-written and popular books like Wicked and Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell are bad.)


30 questions
ironymaiden: (AB)
14. What is the best book you’ve read in the past year?

i have an extreme dislike of that superlative. best writing? best story? most engaging?

i think i'll go with the one that was the most pleasurable:
My Life in France by Julia Child

i loved to watch her show on PBS as a child - this was way before i would even think of attempting anything in the kitchen. there was something engaging about her pleasure in the work she was doing, and something soothing about her goofy voice.

with her grandnephew's assistance, the book captures her sweetness and enthusiasm. she feels like an old friend - one who started the greatest adventure of her life when she was 36. (if you've seen Julie & Julia, you will recognize key incidents that were adapted for the film...and again be reminded what a waste of flesh Julie Powell is when compared to Julia Child. if you haven't seen the film, the Julia parts are awesome. watch only the Julia parts.) the book is notable not just for the stuff you would expect, but for her experiences with McCarthyism and her liberal vs conservative fights with her father. and that she had a pretty fabulous marriage. i'm not usually into biographies, but it's the hot cup of really good tea of biographies.
ironymaiden: (reader boys)
13. Do you reread a lot? Why (not)? Name a book you have reread many times.

less than i did when i was younger, but for the most part my interest in rereading or referencing is what determines what takes up shelf space. (i doubt we will get more bookcases. my goal now is not to Have All The Books but to have the right books.)

these days rereading is mostly a comfort activity. other times it's to touch up my memory of the material after something brings it up - like pulling out Jane Eyre after viewing the recent film adaptation.

i have no idea how many times i have reread The Blue Sword. total comfort read - as an adult i can see McKinley's bizarre run-on sentences, and think more about kidnapping and race issues, but it's still the mental equivalent of a hot bath.

30 questions
ironymaiden: (Gir/piggy)
12. Book borrowing – do you use the library? Do you prefer to try before you buy? What about lending your books to friends? Are you a good borrower, do you remember to return books?

yes, i use the library. it goes in fits and starts - i'll build a huge holds list and tear through library book after library book for a while, and then i'll read purchased or borrowed books or have the occasional drought where i only pick up magazines. having an ereader has changed the pattern a little, but not much since our library has ebooks. right now i'm on a purchased kick.

i rarely buy a copy of something that i read from the library, unless it's a series - i will often buy later books in the series because i'm not going to wait my turn to get the library book when i'm in the flow of a long story. assuming i liked how it turned out, then i'll go back and get the first one. (if i didn't like how it turned out, books are sold or given to interested friends.)

i can be a bit of a pusher. "you should try this and this and this!" talk about books in my house, leave with books if you are not firm. i always hope to get them back, but i no longer hand out something i couldn't easily replace. and having a nice job means that i can do that.

i'm pretty good at returning. i've safely borrowed and returned signed first editions.


30 questions
ironymaiden: (reader boys)
well, Norwescon has blown up my attempt at schedule...

11. Do you own multiple copies of any book? What are they? Why do you have multiple copies?

yes.

off the top of my head: the D&D 4e Player's Handbook, The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, and The Complete Works of Shakespeare.*

the PHB started out as an accidental spare, but has stayed because it's most convenient for C and i to each have a copy to refer to. (we really need to pick up another Exalted 2e.) as i think about it, usually we have a pair of whatever the current D&D is and then ditch one when we move up to the next edition. (although i think we still have both 2e and the revised 2e with the black cover because that was my first really my very own D&D book and it was kind of a big deal to me.)

we have three copies of The Hobbit. one is the portable paperback, one is the gold-covered 50th anniversary edition, and one was a gift from C's brother. we should probably ditch one, but we have the practical one, the pretty one, and the sentimental one.

for LotR, we have the portable paperbacks and the hardcover boxed set with the...is it Alan Lee or John Howe illustrations? (i would fail a Lee vs Howe quiz. right now, C is twitching and he doesn't know why.) anyway, a really lovely boxed hardcover set and a set of beater paperbacks. gifts from our respective families from childhood. the paperbacks are mine and i was willing to let them go at one point, but really it's handy to have the nice ones *and* the small ones.

we have three complete works: one that i've had since i was ten or twelve that has a broken spine and is full of little paper markers, the living room Riverside, and the bedroom Riverside. my old one is all sentimental value. one of the Riversides was C's textbook and has been marked up a bit. there's a separate living room and bedroom Riverside because you always want one handy (okay, if you are us you always want one handy) and the damn things are heavy. (the need for a bedroom Shakespeare is one of the awesome things about my marriage.)

otherwise, we weeded out duplicates relatively early on - as verified by more than one bookish couple, a major declaration of commitment.


*technically, there are more, since certain books we loan out don't return. i have grown to accept that i need to buy Sewer, Gas, Electric every few years - i think we're on our third or fourth now.


30 questions
ironymaiden: (reading)
9. Your current read, your last read and the book you’ll read next.

with the Kindle, i do more hopping from book to book - i'm not carrying one book, i'm carrying dozens at any time with the ability to get more if there's signal.

this morning, Little Women. i've been thinking about it lately and wanted to revisit. (i am amused that i never liked their amateur theatricals when i was younger, and i still find them tiresome today. your stupid plays are stupid Jo. i know that's intentional, but i am not required to slog through those pages. or the early parts about Amy...hey, polka with Laurie! introducing old Aunt March to novels! okay!)

last partial read, Deathless. i want to like this book so much, but i feel right now like it should be called Charmless. (for those who have read it, i'm at the point just after Ivan has shown up.) Valente has beautiful prose and really interesting ideas, but she can't make me care about these characters or understand their motivations. (or at least our heroine, who is empty inside and boring and kind of a puppet. maybe i want to read the book from her husband's pov.) i love the setting and the concept. i'll probably try again some other time when i have more spoons to use on it; for now, meh.

last complete read, Magic Under Glass, which is a bit of fluff about an immigrant girl in a mildly steampunky fake England and a clockwork man who may not be just clockwork. mystery! romance! i am generally not in favor of novels with fairies in them, but since most of them were dead and stuffed that was okay.

next? TBD. in the past i took a notepad to the Philip K Dick Awards and marked down which readings i liked and why in order to get them later. this year, i'm still taking the notepad, but i'm also taking the Kindle to hopefully buy things i like on the spot.
ironymaiden: (rich zoe)
8. The last book you acquired, and how (begged, bought, borrowed?)

i think it was Red Seas Under Red Skies? i admired [livejournal.com profile] scarlettina's copy when it first came out, and now she's made room on her shelves and sent it on to a new home (mine).


30 questions
ironymaiden: (fornication)
7. What fictional character are you (secretly) in love with

i have many not-secret literary crushes: Masterharper Robinton (with a side order of F'nor), Professor Bhaer, Edward Rochester. i think i've expressed all of those here or elsejournal at some point.

also not really secret, but at least not previously discussed: Aud Torvingen.


30 questions
ironymaiden: (reading)
6. A book with a story for you, that reminds you of something specific in your life (a person, a place, a time).

so many of them do, it's probably harder to find one i own that doesn't have a story attached to it. so here's the first one that floated up.

when we drove here from the east coast, we listened to The Joshua Tree and read each other American Gods - both of them meditations on America by artists from elsewhere. i strongly connect both with the drive, especially the long empty miles of the square states.


30 questions
ironymaiden: (midas conflict)
4. The book that’s been on your shelves the longest.

most of my favorite picture books went back to my parents' house when my niece was born. the one that would get destroyed by rough handling stayed with me: The Empire Strikes Back pop-up book


30 questions

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