Monday, February 08, 2016

What I read -- Jan 2016

Kind of late with this, oh well.

“The Coldest Girl in Coldtown” by Holly Black. Valentina was excellent. Great opening, relentless pace. You almost need those short chapters of exposition to have a chance to breathe.
On that, what is with these short, 3-page chapters of exposition? This is not a complaint. There were some in Razorhurst too, and something else I read recently. It’s just new to me.
The “you can never go home again” theme, the consistency of Aidan, the not wanting to be a vampire, the ending. 

“The Magician King” by Lev Grossman. I read about 40 pages and then went looking for my copy of The Magicians, to read the last chapter. I couldn’t find it so I resorted to Wikipedia. I was trying to remember when Julia had popped up again. Turns out it didn’t matter. Quentin’s part is mostly Voyage of the Dawn Treader. But we’re really here to find out what the heck with Julia anyway, and there’s plenty of that.
Seriously, who names two main characters Janet and Julia? Maybe this was done to slow me down as a reader, I don’t know.
Slate had an article right about when I started reading this. The headline was something about how the TV show of these books would be great, if it wasn’t trying so hard to be sexy. (I didn’t read the article. Last summer Slate changed things up so international readers could read five articles a month; after that we could give them money, because their advertisers aren’t interested in my eyeballs. Which I find funny, because their advertisers are often trying to sell me the thing I just bought. I don’t even know if they still have that policy. It’s been probably two months since I last saw a message telling me I’d used up three of my five free articles. And really, all they’ve done is made me a better employee. So there you go.) I thought this was funny, because I didn’t find the books sexy at all.
Having read some essays about the –ahem- climactic event that happens to Julia, I knew it was coming, and hence I was sort of waiting for that for most of the book, and all ready to be offended. But maybe because I knew it was going to happen, it wasn’t that offensive to me. The boy would say this was victim blaming, but it was sort of inevitable the way it isn’t in most books where a character has that happen to them.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

In process January 2016

1st draft

“Water Leopard”. Had roughly 22000 words at the start of the month, finished with maybe 30,000?


"Lucky Kate”. Had some notes but a mostly finished draft at the start of the month. Now I’m down to one paragraph that needs rewriting.
"Milo". So I’d made some notes but hadn’t really changed anything. I moved a lot of stuff around because the plot and character interactions were all kind of smushed at the end.
“The Cicatrix Diary”. This short story needs a decent title, if nothing else. I typed up the first half and it didn’t seem that bad – kind of charming, and made some minor changes while doing that. It’s got some nice moments! Then I typed the second half and realized there was no antagonist and no plot, and the ending didn’t really work. Fixed the plot, changed the setting because the old one added too much complication, chose a different bad guy. It is way better now.


I have a plan, I just need to get a few things out of the way first. 




Rust Damask Jacket (Takle & Kolstadt). At the start of the month I had 8” to go on the body, and 7” done on the first sleeve. Now I’ve got 3” to go on the body. It’s not where most of my energies went, but it would be nice to finish it so I can start what I think of as my blocking project, the fair isle that needs to be done so I can use whatever’s left after it for any other project that comes to mind.
Hoodie (Norah Gaughan VK S/S 2005).
Margaret Beaufort (AS Tudor Roses 2013). Did back and most of left front (maybe 24 rows left). I started this mostly because I feel like I don’t have that much yarn, so if I’m going to run out I’d rather know now than later when the right color might be harder to find. Feels like I will have enough, though.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

What I read: December 2015

“The Music Men” by Margaret Hindle Hazen and Robert M. Hazen. More research. This book covers the band movement (mostly brass bands) in the US from 1800 to roughly WWI. It explains a lot why the actual band I play in is the way it is today – the repertoire we play is geriatric, the places we play are mostly seniors’ residences, the band keeps getting older. It didn’t go that much into why the “golden age” of bands ended, but it totally suited my needs. The band in my novel is at the right time, but I need to find a way to motivate there being women/girls in it, as most bands at the time were male, some few were female, very few were mixed gender. 

“Dreamquest” by Elizabeth Knox. The ending of book 1 was quite unsatisfying. This volume wouldn’t have stood alone, either. At the same time, it was probably good to read something else in between, just because all that re-explaining exposition at the beginning wasn’t so awful this way. I quite liked the resolution.

“The Wind-up Bird Chronicles” by Haruki Murakami. My sister asked for it for Christmas, and since I had it lying around the house for years, it made sense to read it and then pass it along. Alas that it’s 600 pages, so meant I couldn’t really read anything else. Which is too bad because some of the other books looked good. I’m glad I read it, though. The translator did a brilliant job I think.

“The Missionary Position” by Christopher Hitchens. The boy gave me this for Christmas.

“Six-Gun Snow White” by Catherynne M. Valente. I was at Bakka on maybe December 29, and I saw this and just had to have it. The voice was so good. This is my favorite thing I’ve read by her (so far).

“Blackbirds” by Chuck Wendig. This is the second novel of his I’ve read, though I’ve read a couple of books worth of blog posts, I’m sure. He proves here once again that he knows what he’s talking about when he’s talking about crafting a fantastic genre read. I’m curious how he’ll progress Miriam over subsequent volumes.