Tuesday, May 07, 2019

What I read -- April 2019

“Moon brow” by Shahriar Mandanipour. The reviewer in Locus gave this one a negative review, but that made me want to read it, maybe honestly because I need to get a handle on modern Iran for Persephone and I haven’t made a vast effort to find resources. Research can be so all-encompassing.

I have made some ridiculous assumptions in my notes, and it turns out some of them are okay. Others lead to backstory I guess?

The review I read said this book was no Persepolis, in terms of its in-cluing for western readers. I’m not sure that’s a reasonable comparison. I had a conversation with the boy about this: not all books are “meant for me”. Persepolis was written (I think) to explain modern Iran to the French. Moon Brow was written to explain the 1979 revolution to younger Iranians? Just a theory. I liked the ending.

I also had no idea why this was reviewed in Locus. There was no real F&SF or horror content. If I had all the time in the world it would be neat to try to understand the differences between the scribes on the left and right shoulders, but one of my favorite things was when they sniped at each other. This book was worthwhile enough to me that I requested the author’s other novel that has been translated into English (so in like 2 years it will bubble to the top of the Library Hold Challenge, wait for it). 

“Black Helicopters” by Caitlin Kiernan. I did not mean to get this book out of the library at this time, but the website sort of crashed and then I forgot and by the time I remembered it was already in transit. I have a policy of not stopping things once they’re in transit, because it’s maybe meant to be. Plus, it’s only like 200 pages long so it wasn’t going to kill me.

CK did some really neat things here. I especially liked the scene that was rendered in French (so somewhat comprehensible) maybe 1/3 of the way through, then again in English. 

“Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mantel. It was already on my list, but then the boy lent it to me. It was recommended to him by his girlfriend. This was a really fun book. My pandemic needs to move a bit more slowly than this one.

I really liked that Miranda felt no real obligation to publish her graphic novels to a wide audience. 

LHC #34: “Mrs. Caliban” by Rachel Ingalls. It was on my list, and she died so I moved it up. It was so fun! There was not a single unnecessary word, I’m pretty sure. I sort of felt like it was too awesome to be allowed. 

LHC #35: “The Mount” by Carol Emschwiller. It was also on my list, and she died so I moved it up. I read about half of this on the subway going to/from dance class. The main character seemed so different from most books, the POV much closer. He seemed so human and confused. 

“The Cruel Prince” by Holly Black. Got it for Christmas. I love Holly Black. Read it on a plane, will look for the sequel. I didn’t totally buy Prince Cardan, but he’s pretty complex, and that might be because Jude doesn’t totally buy him and it’s her POV.

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

In process -- April 2019

Sometime last month I made a pile of sheets for the seven basic plots, and wrote different structures for some of the different ones. Not all of them. This gave me an ending!  Last month I read a book that made me realize I need a timeline of backstory, so I took a sheet of paper and folded it in three. The central one was “world” and the left and right were for A and L. It became real clear real fast that I had a lot of timelines for A but only vagueness for L. She’s got actual times and dates now! It’s good. 

Chapter 15: This was getting pretty close to done by the time I posted in March. I think I got too bogged down in mechanics. I finally managed to get it up though. Maybe I’m getting faster?
Chapter 16: When I posted 15, this already felt close. I was working on it this morning, and it's looking really good...
Chapter 17: The plan isn’t to be running out of chapters to edit and working forward because I’ve forgotten to print stuff off, but I must say I think it’s working well for me.

Critted 6
Got back 6

FI Corset belt. Had about 2 inches done at the start of the month. I did a few rows.
Drachen (knitty Fall 2018). Finished the back and skipped to the neck so I would only have the sleeves left when I weighed the yarn so I would be able to knit one sleeve until half the remaining yarn was gone and then do the other sleeve to match. Haven’t run out of yarn yet! And I’m not likely to, as I’d used just over half the yarn on the body. I knit an entire first sleeve then put the sweater on and that sleeve was not good, way too narrow. So I ripped it out and added two inches of width. At about 12” of sleeve I tried it on again and am much more happy.
Midsummer Aran (IK Summer 2013). Bottom ribbing as a travel project. 

Put the festive bias tape I made around armholes and neck I cut into an old black turtleneck. Now I have to figure out how to do a hem, and I may have a tank I will wear (rather than a turtleneck I won’t). I’m not entirely happy with the neck either, because it kind of sticks up. I wonder if I can put darts in the tape after it’s already been applied and sewn down?