mirrorshard: (Default)
I've been wandering through a lot of discussions on the covers of SF&F books in the last few days - the old chestnut about "is this tacky or great?", "Will this put off new readers or will it keep the mundanes out of our genre?", and so on. I may work up a longer ramble on the subject, but I wanted to share my bogglement at one thing with you, O my readers.

Someone posted this image, showing the cover of his book, and asked for honest opinions.

Inexplicably, they didn't eviscerate him. There was not even any pointing and laughing. It's pretty good art, as fantasy art goes, but apparently that isn't a joke title or series name.
mirrorshard: (Default)
Steampunkish YA one-volume quest fantasy. It took me a while to twig that this was actually supposed to be a YA book, since that wasn't mentioned anywhere on the dustjacket (apart from the detail of our heroes being early teenage orphans), but once I shifted gears to that I could enjoy it.

He has some amazing ideas, but he's too clumsy about executing a lot of them - the 'clever' similarities to Victorian history look more like lazy copying, and his characterization doesn't live up to his worldbuilding. The world is filled with fun, amusing one-note characters.
mirrorshard: (Default)
Thursday 8th May - keynote speaker, Symposium: Science Fiction as a Literary Genre.

Given the amazingness-density of The Baroque Cycle, and the intricte overlapping with history and mainstream fiction, this looks fascinating.
mirrorshard: (The Book of Rainbows)
Finally, I have connectivity again. On Monday afternoon, my laptop power cable finally gave up the ghost - it had been getting progressively more and more picky about actually providing any power, up to the point where I had to spend five minutes jiggling it about and physically forcing it in to find a position where it would work. Every time. So I opened the DC jack up to look inside, and it turned out that one of the wires had physically snapped. No wonder it was getting warm...
solution )
reading )

Other than that, my life has been entirely dull whilst offline. What've I missed? What should I be doing any time soon?
mirrorshard: (Default)
The other evening, I was wandering through Border's and got mugged by John O'Farrell's An Utterly Impartial History of Britain - or, 2000 years of Upper Class Idiots In Charge.

It's a wonderful book - the history of Britain from 55 BCE to 1945 CE, without assuming that you knew any of it in the first place. O'Farrell's not a Historian, and he's wonderful in his treatment of the normal pop-history subjects like kings and generals and battles. There's been a big movement in historical studies to get away from things like that, but most of them - being Historians rather than satirists, polemicists, or straight-talking socialists - concentrate on writing about social trends and changes rather than pointing out in detail just what a bunch of incompetent idiots we all get taught to look up to.

On the other hand, he's also good at this history business - his bibliography's quite impressive. Not incredibly extensive, but it's there and it's got the right names on.
mirrorshard: (Default)
I should really get around to LARTing the local library over their shelving policies. They insist on stacking books horizontally on the shelves, or even face-out, instead of spine-out as nature intended. I rearrange the shelves I browse properly when I go, but I keep having to do it, so presumably this is actually someone's deliberate policy, and this must be remedied.

Book meme

Oct. 5th, 2007 02:52 pm
mirrorshard: (Default)
These are the top 106 books most often marked as "unread" by LibraryThing's users (as of today). As usual, bold what you have read, italicize those you started but couldn't finish, and strike through what you couldn't stand. Add an asterisk to those you've read more than once. Underline those on your to-read list.
Read more... )
mirrorshard: (Default)
I'm getting a really disturbing urge to read Atlas Shrugged, and I'm almost sure there's a copy on the bottom shelf at the foot of my bed. This is either some sort of weird hallucination (am I really posting to LJ? Am I dreaming I'm a butterfly?) or prima facie evidence of demonic possession.

Advice? Recommendations? Exorcisms?


Apr. 21st, 2007 11:44 pm
mirrorshard: (Default)
Wicked!, by Jilly Cooper (2006). Diagnosis: she's finally lost it. I first read Riders for the horses, then used to read her books for relaxation and light relief, something nice and long where the pages would just fly by. She could have been a really, really good author with some thought and care.

Found this one in the library this afternoon, now three-quarters of the way through. If you thought the earlier ones weren't full enough of Toryism, aristocracy, stereotype-bashing, histrionics, genuinely unpleasant protagonists, lubricious descriptions of underage girls, Mary Sue characters, and the nastier side of human nature, you will like this one.


Apr. 12th, 2007 02:41 pm
mirrorshard: (Default)
Have just been informed that some of E. E. 'Doc' Smith's books are out of copyright and freely available on the interweb, at http://www.thalasson.com/gtn/gtnletS.htm#smithedw - I'm looking forward to re-reading some I haven't in many years.

Mind you, that's not always pleasant. The other week, I found Being a Green Mother - one of the Incarnations of Immortality series, by Piers Anthony, which I used to love - in a charity shop. I knew by now he was bad, but that was painful. You know how some writers can strike notes of purest gold, some of silver, and so on?

Anthony's bell is purest cardboard.
mirrorshard: (Vigee Le Brun)
I keep hearing, from one source or another, about how English teachers completely turned them off reading, or how English teachers sparked their lifelong love of $author(s). (If English isn't your first literary language, substitute. Or not, as you prefer. You know the drill.)

A lot of them have seemed a bit absolutist - don't like anything we read in school, usually. Oddly, it doesn't seem to go the other way, but then I don't think I've ever met anyone who liked everything.

My experience was always that I'd make up my own mind about each piece, and I don't think it was the teacher (or the fact that it was In School) that did it. Then again, that might be because I was lucky enough to grow up in a house full of books, with family that approved of my reading, so books were nothing special to me. Intellectually, I understand that there are people who don't have this experience, but it's not something I've ever discussed with people - are any of you in that position?

Of course, it probably helped that I enjoyed school - or at least most lessons - too. I was always enthusiastic and engaged, though occasionally over-snarky about something I'd decided I didn't like. My likes and dislikes never seemed to divide themselves along genre or form lines, at least, and I don't recall having to study anything I actually disliked.

I did manage to OD on Death of a Salesman, and I probably wouldn't have finished Jane Eyre if it hadn't been for A-level English, but then it would have been years before I discovered Jane Austen otherwise, too.

So am I that atypical? (This is probably a rhetorical question, given the skewed nature of LJ. I'd be interested to find out if any of you had the "classic" turned-off-by-teacher experience.)
mirrorshard: (Rosemary in Winter)
Sorcery & Cecelia, or, The Enchanted Chocolate Pot.

It's by Patricia C. Wrede & Caroline Stevermer, it's a YA fantasy romance set in an alternate Regency era, and it's an epistolary novel.

What more could anyone want?

Apparently there's also a sequel, which is on the list for the next time I'm shopping at Amazon.
mirrorshard: (Blue flower tea)
This is a passing ramble inspired by a lemming I found. Here's the original, though I'm not going to name any of the N different places I've seen it now and again.
quite long )
mirrorshard: (Default)
I've been collecting copies of a particular Shakespeare set, one of the early mass-market paperback editions - cover, and I could a tale unfold )

Five Books

May. 8th, 2006 06:41 am
mirrorshard: (Default)
Five books I fully intend to own SoonTM.

  • Weston Martyr, The Southseaman. Referenced from Gordon's The New Science of Strong Materials which I've adored for years. I know or have tracked down most of the rest of his quotations, but not that one.
  • An English translation of Les Liaisons Dangereuses as recommended by [livejournal.com profile] elettaria in [livejournal.com profile] dracula1897.
  • Liza Picard's Victorian London. Which reminds me, I don't own a copy of Elizabeth's London, but that doesn't count for the list since the library Provided.
  • Sheri S. Tepper's True Game books. I have the Jinian trilogy, but not the others.
  • A good textbook on Dissenting movements in post-Reformation England. Haven't found out what it is yet, and still making my way through The Stripping of the Altars, so possibly not all that soon.
mirrorshard: (Default)
I was, mostly at random, reminded of a previous post I made, a brief snark comment on the death penalty. I should also note at the top here that it quickly turns into rambling about books instead, though.

[Other point I was originally going to make, about why some people support the death penalty so strongly, excised because I can't yet find a way to put it that doesn't turn into a sneer.]

I think I may have it, now, so bear with me, Gentil Reader, while I ramble. or not )
mirrorshard: (Default)
Now that makes me think there should be a Church of the Subgenre. Though the term "subgenre" seems to me to imply a semi-exclusive category rather than an arbitrary slice through a continuum, which is a better term for the kind of books that sparked this particular idle, bootless reflection.
rambling )
mirrorshard: (Default)
I picked this up on a flying visit to [livejournal.com profile] elettaria's journal, sparked by her comments on the Metaquotes thread in the preceding entry, and couldn't resist.

If you're going to follow this one (and please do!), make your own list of twelve characters before you look behind the LJ-cut. I promise you, it will be much more entertaining that way.

i) The Duke of Coffin Castle, from James Thurber's The 13 Clocks.
ii) Monkey! Which is to say, The Great Sage Equal of Heaven, featured most charmingly in the Journey to the West.
iii) Gabriel Syme, from G.K. Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday.
iv) Prospero, from Wm. Shakespeare's The Tempest.
v) Sir Isaac Newton, as featured in Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle.
vi) Wesley from The Princess Bride.
vii) Anne Elliot, from Jane Austen's Persuasion.
viii) His Grace Commander Sir Samuel Vimes, Duke of Ankh (Terry Pratchett, passim.)
ix) Hob Gadling, from Neil Gaiman's Sandman series.
x) Lady Teldra, from Steven Brust's Taltos books.
xi) Gloriana, from Michael Moorcock's eponymous book.
xii) Madame Cholet, fom Elisabeth Beresford's Wombles of Wimbledon.

So now that you've done that - you did do it, didn't you? - read more. )
mirrorshard: (Default)
Courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] rillaith, a free online tool to store catalogues of your books and organise them by folksonomic tags. It has some very nifty features indeed, such as grabbing the Library of Congress data for the book you give it.

It gives you 200 books for free, and a small payment gets you a lifetime subscription for unlimited books whilst it's in beta. I've started putting my nonfiction and reference books in, the fiction can look after themselves for now.

http://www.librarything.com/ is the main URL, and http://www.librarything.com/catalog.php?view=ravenmagic&sort=unique is my catalogue (or catalog, as they insist on calling it).
mirrorshard: (Default)
Looking up from my computer chair, I have two shelves spanning eight feet of wall each, both packed closely with books. The top one is fiction, the lower one nonfiction.

And the fiction shelf is -much- more neatly organized and stacked than the nonfiction shelf is. Granted, they're grouped by subject, but I have books in front of books, books piled sideways on top of books, and so on and so on. Whereas the fiction shelf is two neat rows of paperbacks, and a couple of feet of trade paperbacks and graphic novels at one end.

It's probably something to do with the odd fact that nonfiction books are much more varied in size and shape - but then that's because I have pop-sci, history, pop-history, hardback dictionaries, academic texts, and a pile of turn-of-the-last-century small hardbacks (is there a word for the format, that size? It's close to A6, you know the ones I mean).

This was all brought to mind by http://www.bookslut.com/features/2005_06_005739.php and a comparison of the covers of two books about the covers of childrens' and adults' books.


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags