Monday, March 06, 2017

What I read -- February 2017

“Tam Lin” by Pamela Dean. Got it for Christmas. Apparently she is a terribly under-read author. I found this book delightful. It was way more subtle than I expected. I was reading along, wondering when the fairies were going to show up, and, well… This reminded me quite a lot of Jo Walton’s “Among Others”, really more about the sexual revolution on college campuses in the 70’s than anything else.

“Curiosities of Puritan Nomenclature – 1888” by Charles W. Bardsley. This one took years to read. I’d started back when I was revising Fairfax the first time, and now I’m revising it again and boy do I need to flesh out my world with some characters with personalities of their own and, you know, names.

Gemma Files had tweeted about this book, something about Tiffany being a puritan name, who knew! Since Fairfax has many puritans in it who need names (and Cotton and Abigail aren’t really clever) and the whole thing is available online! I read it. It’s funny to tell people about a book like this to gauge their reactions. One friend totally got it – the book is a description of more than just words, it’s got elements of how people lived, what their values and priorities were, who were the deciders in their lives. Another friend (who complained that James Patterson sucks because his chapters are too short -- this is so not a relevant criterion for me) asked me if that was my heritage. Kinda, I guess. It’s a window into not just how people named their children, but the way they lived their lives, the influences on them, the power the church had over them. Families would go to a different parish where the registrar would christen with the name they wanted! So fun.

“The Feud: The Hatfields & McCoys, the true story” by Dean King. It was probably recommended by Sarah Monette. It was a quick read, but I had a hard time keeping track of who was who. Maybe the author assumed some previous familiarity with the featured players or something? This book isn’t about the same timeframe as WWS, or the same place, but it did give me some revelations about what I think of as my presentism problem.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

In process: February 2017

1st draft
I started the month with maybe 2000 words of the haunted house novel, which is more for sketching and experiments right now.
Not sure if it’s really first drafts (I’m calling this the third actually), but I also spent a good deal of time writing in-fill content for WWS.


“Top of the Stairs”. Implemented OWW commentary. I learned something here about marking my POV, which I did very badly in the first-subbed draft.
“Wind/Water/Salt”. Posted chapter 3 to OWW. Implemented some (but not all) Chapter 1 OWW commentary.
Working on Chapter 4, I realized something important about chapter 1. I’m now thinking, leaving old chapters on OWW in the Library Shelves section, well, Ch1 will be so different by the time my draft is finished, it’s not like anyone could read it through and get the full effect anyway.

Critted 7
Got back 5


Ann Boleyn (1998).  Started the month with the second sleeve maybe 25% done. Did a massive push over the Family Day weekend, and that sleeve is finished. I’m trying to plan a way to finish this before… October?
Okracoke cardigan (Shirley Paden). Ignored.
Shorts (from Knitting Lingerie Style by Joan McGowan-Michael). Finished.
Lace cuffs. Finished, but not before the second one suffered lace collapse and I had to start over. Because I’m too cool to use lifelines.
Sheer Beauty (Knit, Swirl). This turned out to be a great thing to work on in the car.  I’ve done the first five bands.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

What I read -- Jan 2017

“The Farmer’s Daughter” by Jim Harrison. Even though I have tons of books around the house that I want to read, my library card was expiring, and I needed a reason to go in so I took one of my books off “inactive” status. So, here we are with a book I put on my list like 10 months ago. The problem with my massive hold list at the library is, there’s no way for me to remember why I chose a certain book. It must have been for the werewolf story.

I started with no expectations, and it’s written or maybe edited in more “literary” style I guess. At least in the first story (it’s a collection of three novellas) here are a lot less commas than I’m used to, for example. That first story had a rape in it, and I sort of feel like from all the criticism I read (in general not of this story) that we’re supposed to be mad about rape in stories. Here it felt completely inevitable and didn’t bother me at all.

“Wolfhound Century” by Peter Higgins. Got it for my birthday. It was on my list. It’s a story set in a faux-Soviet Moscow (Mirgarod), kind of skewed urban fantasy, and I loved the language. Describing the gusty swirls of a rainstorm: “Rain sparrows, rain pigeons, crows of rain.” Beautiful.

“First Term at Malory Towers” by Enid Blyton. The woman at the next desk from me was referring to a colleague as one of the horrid girls from these books, so I thought in the service of more effective communication, I would find out what she was talking about, and got this from the library. It was not that long.

It was not that good either, I must say. Omniscient POV is out of style now and the shifts (sometimes within a paragraph) were disconcerting. Though the book did explain some of the quirks of my coworker’s personality. Maybe she thinks the way these girls interacted was normal? There was a huge impulse towards improving other girls, etc.

“Gemini Cell” by Myke Cole.  And since the Blyton was relatively short, I got something longer too. Military fantasy – modern military with Zombies. It was a page-turner, even if there were some moments that I thought were, I don’t know, illogical? Thinking it through, it was the military that seemed like it was making the bad choices, and of all the things in the story, that’s the thing about which MC is the expert way over me, so I’ll let it go. I assume there is or will be a sequel. What about Chang? Really fun read.