eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)
I'm bored and on the internet, so I decided to do a book meme, because why not. NPR's top 100 sf/f books meme, from [personal profile] troisroyaumes. This is the usual kind of book meme: strong the ones you've read, emphasis the ones you intend to read, underline series/books you've read part of, and strike the ones you never intend to read.

NPR's top 100 sf/f books )
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (B5 - Delenn OMG)
So, in my minimal spare time, I have been reading the few (mostly bad) English books that are traded around here. And I have to share with you the following because, seriously, guys, I can't believe this.

This is Booked to Die by John Dunning ("A joy to read," NY Times Book Review). And it's all intro and too-forced genre style, and then I got to page 27 and )

I'm boggling again just having typed it up, actually. WTF.
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)
I was reading Mary Roach's Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex at a cafe for funsies this morning. And I was reading along, mostly enjoying it -- she mostly describes the science of sex in a funny and lighthearted and not-too-thoughtful but at least not-too-painful way. (Barring things like "men do X" and "women do Y" and the corresponding conflation of culture+biology. Since that happens all over the place in reproductive science, I was pretty sure I'd find it here too, and was prepared to put up with it.) When all of a sudden:

In which Roach sexually assaults a patient and has no ethical problem with it -- note that I'll be quoting her description of the assault under here )

In which Roach seems to have disability issues )

I am not really prepared to read her chapter called "What Would Allah Say?" after the above. I can't imagine why.
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)
The autographing list for BookExpo America just went up, and I read them even though I'm not planning to attend this year. Because the lists are hilarious. Publicists attempt to come up with a pithy statement about the book being autographed in twenty words or less, often (seemingly) without any awareness of how genre, publicity campaigns, and the English language work. As a result, we get such amazing descriptions as the following:

Beautifully illustrated guide for the Sex and the City generation. (Guide to what?)

Epic fantasy and sci-fi series with magic, mysticism, and science. (This describes such a large percentage of the sff lists as to be meaningless.)

A funny and poignant story about a very unlikely friendship. (Again, this describes an amazing quantity of the mainstream fiction lists. It is utterly meaningless! But well done on not identifying a single thing about the setting or genre, guys, seriously.)

A world where few can be trusted. (I think this wins the "Genre? Wait, is it even fiction?" award.)

A military experiment questions the human race in this haunting thriller. (I'm not sure if I'm supposed to take this literally or not -- like, is this Adam-the-demon-robot-human interrogates humans? I suspect it is, instead, that the existence of X in the experiment leads to pseudo-philosophical questions. Could be wrong!)

An instant steampunk zombie classic! (... okay, I'd read it.)

How a Boston terrier gives a new perspective on single parenthood and unconditional love. (Nothing in the description indicates if this is self-help, or fiction with a talking dog, or what.)

A political thriller about ex kgb and suitcase bombs in the US (ex kgb bombs? ex kgb agents? adjective in search of a noun?)

Oh, and this one requires author and title to make me snerk:
Senator Jim DeMint [R-SC], Saving Freedom. DeMint's firsthand account of the unsettling socialist shift.

sigh.

Jan. 9th, 2009 12:11 am
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)
So, I just got back from a marvelous two days of lounging in hot springs and reading novels -- two of my favorite things!

And I found this on my flist:



Guys, that is the new cover of Emma Bull's Bone Dance for it's re-release this year. I'm thrilled about the re-release; I have two copies of the old version, at least, because I pick it up at used bookstores whenever I find it. (It's hard when the only way you can get someone to read one of your favorite books is to give them your copy.) And I love this book times about a million, so I want everyone to read it. ETA: BUT see what I wrote here for reasons to read it from a library or used bookstore instead of buying it.

But. But but but. This is the old cover:



And one of the things you may notice? Even on that bleached-out cover? Is that Sparrow is not white. And in case people miss it on the cover, Emma Bull points it out in the text. SPARROW. IS NOT WHITE.

Everyone over on Emma Bull's post, including Emma Bull, is all "yay!" -- which I'm sure you have to be, because, well, re-issue, and Emma Bull's post -- but I am more than a little distraught.
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)
I've been rereading the first Lord Peter Wimsey novel, Whose Body. (I do a lot of rereading during the semester, because I can reread over several days and in five-minute increments without losing track of the plot. The number of times I have thus read Men at Arms and Gaudy Night does not bear thinking about.)

Anyway, in this reading, I came across a marvelous paragraph in the denouement. Lord Peter is visiting the man he now knows to be the killer, but he is pretending to be there for another reason, and the killer is pretending not to know he's in danger (while simultaneously trying to kill Our Hero). Lord Peter just reached out and prevented the villain from carrying out what was probably an attempt on Peter's life:
The silence was like a shock. The blue eyes did not waver; they burned down steadily upon the heavy weight lids below them. Then these slowly lifted; the grey eyes met the blue -- coldly, steadily -- and held them.

When lovers embrace, there seems no sound in the world but their own breathing. So the two men breathed face to face.
Isn't that awesome, guys? I love it kinda a lot.

Query:

Sep. 4th, 2008 06:41 pm
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (BtVS Tara avatar avatar)
Do you still get to call it a prologue if it ends on page sixty-one?

*bemused*
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)
Oh my god you guys, this may well be the most horrifying children's book I have ever seen (today). It is a book that "explains" plastic surgery to kids, by saying that mommy's tummy just doesn't fit in her clothes anymore, so she's going to have a tummy tuck and then be "even more beautiful" even if she has to be on bed rest for a week or two. I KID YOU NOT. Note it is by a plastic surgeon.

Also: it's vanity-published, not through a distributor. So it would be costing him several thousand dollars to publicize... if Newsweek hadn't decided to do a "review." Note the scare quotes. I mean them.
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (B5 - Delenn OMG)
... by the way, guys, this is why I'm interested in the use of Neandertals in prehistoric fiction. Ready? Here goes some Clan of the Cave Bear Jean Auel on the subject of Neandertals...
The women relied on their men to lead, to assume responsibility, to make important decisions. The Clan had changed so little in nearly a hundred thousand years that they were now incapable of change, and ways that had once been adaptations for convenience had become genetically set. Both men and women accepted their roles without struggle; they were inflexibly unable to assume any other. They would no more try to change their relationship than they would try to grow an extra arm or change the shape of their brain. ... Memories in Clan people were sex differentiated. Women had no more need of hunting lore than men had of more than rudimentary knowledge of plants. The difference in the brains of men and women was imposed by nature, and only cemented by culture...
Combine that with articles like this one in the Boston Globe, explaining that Neandertals died out because they "let" their women work? Man.

There are, of course, some awesome fictional Neandertals, and there are books that involve Neandertals in alternate universes going through the industrial revolution without ever doing the "Neolithic" (farming) revolution, and we can talk about, you know, production, and definitions of humanity, and all that. But really, you know that for me it's all about that quote up there, and that news article, and the way Neandertals are leveraged.

Book Crush

Jun. 14th, 2007 06:06 pm
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (BtVS Tara avatar avatar)
So yesterday we were all being attacked by zombies, and today I check out the BBC news... only to discover that "FBI tries to fight zombie hordes." No, really. (The actual article is about computer hijacking. But still.)

***

I am currently reading Nancy Pearl's newest book, Book Crush, which is ... essentially Book Lust but for kid and YA fiction. It's fabulous! I mean, it's basically a list of books with commentary, categorized in amusing ways ("Girls Kick Butt" "After Sam Spade and Kinsey Millhone" &c). But it's by Nancy Pearl, who is so awesome she has her own librarian action figure, and most importantly...

... it reminds me of things I haven't read in years. Books I could find on the bookshelf at my local library (if it hasn't been remodeled) but couldn't have told you the author or the titles or anything. Betsy-Tacy and Tib! The Tattooed Potato (man, I loved Ellen Raskin's books as a kid). Maniac Magee, which I tried to describe to a friend recently and totally failed to stimulate recognition. (I was like "running kid! ignores racial divisions in his town! sleeps in zoo! his friend can stop traffic by shuffling across the street!" and I got nothing.) The Melendys and the All-of-a-Kind Family and Caddie Woodlawn and the Great Brain and Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint Ephraim's Daughter Longstocking. The House With a Clock in Its Walls and Sister Light, Sister Dark.

Anyway, I recommend it highly, at least as a fun bookstore read, because at the very least it will make any childhood book addict worth her salt incredibly nostalgic. I mean, if you read half the books in your local library, and can still tell you that you can find Tamora Pierce in the back corner, right shelf, halfway down, and that that book with the mysteries and the painter and the stories-within-a-story (as it turns out, this is called The Tattooed Potato and Other Tales) on a shelf halfway along the left-hand wall? You will end up constantly going "oh! oh! That's what that book was called!" and "Damn, that was the first book I read that featured Yom Kippur!" and "oh, man, I remember how much I wanted to sleep in the Met Museum after reading that!" Oddly, the section for eight to twelve year olds makes me far more nostalgic than the section for twelve and ups, perhaps because twelve and up fiction has changed so much -- chick lit? wtf? -- and perhaps because I was reading a lot more genre fiction by that point.

It's not all old books, of course, because Nancy Pearl is far too awesome to rely on her days as a children's librarian. It's got John Green and Jonathon Stroud and other awesome people as well, so if you still read YA fiction it's a great rec list too.

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