- This is actually from a month ago, but I haven't been updating on Wednesdays. Anyway, I was really interested in the discussion of portal fantasies spinning off from rachelmanijas's review of Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire. NB rachelmanija disliked the book, and furthermore the review is somewhat spoilery while the comments are definitely spoilery. I read it anyway because I am somewhat unenthused by Seanan McGuire as a writer so I'll likely either not read the book or put up with reading it spoiled. But I really liked the discussion, it's the sort of wide-ranging bookish discussion I'm nostalgic for from the LJ of 10-15 years ago.
- I keep being impressed violent-darts's much-discussed rant about the children's book The Rainbow Fish. Lots of people dislike the book because its message seems to be against people expressing individuality and being different from others, the polar opposite of Elmer the elephant where being rainbow coloured is celebrated. But violent-darts takes this further and points out that:
Absolutely no line is ever drawn between Rainbow Fish’s self, their actual own body, and their behaviour [...] to be a good person you must never have something about yourself that makes you happy and proud and if you happen to be born with that something you must absolutely find a way to give it away to other people and remove it from yourself, right up to tearing off pieces of your body, in order to be a good person who deserves friends.Also some really interesting stuff about comparing this to attitudes to children considered to be Gifted.
- A time of gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor. He's got as far as Vienna after various adventures on the way. I really like spending virtual time with the author, he's erudite without being pedantic and charming without being pretentious. But sometimes even a delightful voice can get samey after many chapters of basically describing his epic walking holiday, so unusually for me I've picked up something else to read at the same time:
- The Sisterhood by Penelope Friday, which was lent to me by angelofthenorth who finished it while she was staying with me. It's a very light, frothy historical romance that stays pretty much within genre conventions, except that the dashing hero who rescues the protagonist from a terrible life as an unmarried younger sister is a woman. The characterization is good; I particularly liked the vivid portraits of Charity's really quite nasty mother and caddish brother-in-law, but it's not that everybody in the book is gratuitously horrible, the nice characters are well drawn too, and Charity herself is a very nice romance novel heroine. The sense of period is ok; nothing seems glaringly anachronistic and Friday has certainly done enough research to set the book clearly in a certain social stratum of early nineteenth century England rather than just ye olden times. Though it's not pretending to be anything other than a modern book. I haven't got far enough through the book to find out how it handles a lesbian relationship in a setting where those had no official place in society, and I'm generally hoping for light and optimistic rather than the sort of grim you see in something like Sarah Waters' historicals, but hopefully some concession to the fact that the relationship is socially unacceptable.
Up next: Not sure. Right now I'm kind of in the mood to read the second in Max Gladstone's Craft series, Two serpents rise, but we'll see how I feel when I finish the other two. Which might be fairly soon as the Fermor is short and the Friday is very light.
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