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Fiction books
Katherine Addison. The Goblin Emperor (e)
Agatha Christie. The Murder at the Vicarage
J Sheridan Le Fanu. Wylder's Hand (e)
Ellis Peters. City of Gold and Shadows (e)
Ellis Peters. Rainbow's End (e)
Terry Pratchett. The Last Continent (e) (re-read)
Anthony Price. The Memory Trap (e)
Anthony Price. A Prospect of Vengeance (e)

In progress
Terry Pratchett. Carpe Jugulum (e) (re-read)

Non-fiction books in progress
Pauline Scudamore. Spike

Gregory Mone. The Truth About Santa Claus

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
T L Garrison. The Twisted Blackmailer
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
Edgar Rice Burroughs. The Mad King (e)

In progress
Terry Pratchett. Hogfather (e) (re-read)

Non-fiction books
Eleanor Herman. Sex with Kings

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Ursula Vernon. Summer in Orcus
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
Diane Duane. So You Want to Be a Wizard (e) (re-read)
Ryk E Spoor. Phoenix Ascendant (e)
Ryk E Spoor. Phoenix in Shadow (e)
Ryk E Spoor. Phoenix Rising (e) (re-read)

In progress
Terry Pratchett. Interesting Times (e) (re-read)

Non-fiction books in progress
Adrian Goldsworthy. Augustus (e)

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Diane Duane. Deep Wizardry
pedanther: (cheerful)
I gather this is also a part of the Yuletide experience, so here are a dozen good stories from this year's collection that were written neither by nor for me.

To begin with, the one that I've been recommending to pretty much everyone who stands still long enough:

Four Things that Weren't Adequately Covered in Mulan's R.A. Training (4540 words)

Mulan is a Resident Assistant on a dormitory floor at a college. Gosh, some of the students on her floor come from really screwed-up families.

In which the Disney Princesses are translated into modern college students sharing a dormitory, supporting each other as they deal with weird health problems, annoying acquaintances, and a variety of screwed-up family histories.

Fortunately, Belle has a Doctorate in the University of Googling Everything and after Aurora fell asleep in the middle of a conversation about last week's Dr. Who, she said, "You know what I bet you have? I bet you have NARCOLEPSY."

also: American Gods, Arm Joe, Asimov's robots, Black Books, The Fifth Element, Galaxy Quest, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, Sneakers, and ... )

The Ten Stupidest Things I've Heard Since Richard III's Remains Were Identified

Tudor Spies and Perfidy (750 words)

A meeting of the University of Leicester excavation team.

Fewer Than Ten Scenes From the Second Coming of Richard III (5500 words)

The discovery of Richard III's remains in Leicester brings a number of visitors to the city, most of them dead. Tourism may suffer. A handful of vignettes from this critical turning point in English history.

First you need to read the blog post, if you haven't already. There were quite a few "what if some of these things were true?" stories in Yuletide this year, but these are two of my favourites.

"Tudor Spies and Perfidy" is short and hilarious. "Fewer Than Ten Scenes" is longer, also funny, with a poignant turn at the end.
pedanther: (cheerful)
1. You probably didn't notice, but my computer's been in the shop for over a week, restricting my internet access to what I was able to get at work. (The actual amount of time required to fix it, according to the bill, was less than two hours.) Funnily enough, I hardly missed it. For all its ability to fill up my waking hours, apparently I don't really depend on the internet all that much.

2. It probably also helped that many of my waking hours for the last week that would otherwise require occupation have been taken up with preparations for the National Band Championships, which are being held on this side of the continent (and thus within a reasonable travelling distance of us) this year. We have a Resident Conductor visiting from over east for a few weeks, helping with rehearsals and fixing up our technique, and there have been a bunch of extra rehearsals and workshops to take advantage. He's been picking us up on a lot of little things, the small-but-important details that you miss out on because either your teacher didn't know about them or thought they were too obvious to mention explicitly. Personally, I've been picked up on everything from how I hold my trombone to the size of the mouthpiece to how I breathe. (That last one doesn't sound like much, but honestly it's worth the price of admission all by itself.) I've been feeling a lot of the same sense of discovery I felt when, at the age of 28, somebody finally taught me how to tie shoelaces properly.

3. And now I'm enjoying playing the trombone again, to a degree I haven't felt, except in brief bursts, for a long time. This calls for further thought, because there are other parts of my life that I don't enjoy and that seem like they might profit if I could find a way to get them similar treatment. (And also because there's an area of my life that I do enjoy, where in retrospect it's at least partly because one way and another the opportunities for self-improvement have been available in the last few years.)

4. I have now seen Les Misérables and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Short version: Entertaining enough, but on the whole I'm not entirely sure I approve (though I did like that one scene where the protagonist is given more motivation than in the corresponding scene in the source work).

5. I may be gradually getting the hang of the valuable skill of knowing when to give up on a novel that isn't working for you. Sword at Sunset, Rosemary Sutcliff's retelling of the King Arthur story in historical post-Roman Britain, is not a bad book (and it's got a better grasp of "historical" than the 2004 film that attempted the same thing, not that that's a high bar), but it's not my kind of thing. There's an essay about recommending books I read once, and wish I could find again, that posited several approaches to fiction which each reader prioritises differently. Sword at Sunset is a good book for people who read for Descriptions (of landscapes, historical details, etc.), but I'm one of the readers for whom that sort of thing is what you wade through to get to the good stuff, which for me is Plot and Character. The plot has one handicap in being derived from a familiar story, and another in that the novel is written in Retrospective Regretful (never my favourite form) so that even when the plot goes somewhere new you have a pretty good idea of how it's going to turn out. The characters I didn't find very engaging; I didn't outright say Dorothy J. Heydt's Eight Deadly Words ("I don't care what happens to these people"), but I did say something less snappy to the effect of "Particularly given that I already know what happens to these people, I'm not looking forward to wading through all this prose just to find out the details".
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
John M Ford. The Final Reflection (re-read)
John M Ford. How Much For Just the Planet? (re-read)
PC Hodgell. Honor's Paradox (e)
Sharon Lee. Carousel Tides (e)
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Mouse and Dragon (e) (re-read)
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Necessity's Child (e)
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Scout's Progress (re-read)
Tamora Pierce. Wild Magic (re-read)
George Bernard Shaw. Caesar and Cleopatra
Patricia Wrightson. The Nargun and the Stars

In progress
Tamora Pierce. Wolf-Speaker (re-read)

Rosemary Sutcliff. Sword at Sunset

Non-fiction books
TA Shippey. The Road to Middle-Earth 2nd ed.

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Peter Macinnis. Mr Darwin's Incredible Shrinking World
pedanther: (cheerful)
1. Wreck-It Ralph is a wonderful, wonderful movie. It hits a lot of familiar plot beats for a children's movie about the outsider who just wants friends (not that children are likely to notice or care) but it hits them really well, with a lot of humour and warmth and heart.

"Paperman", the short film that runs in front of it, is also really good.

2. I still haven't seen The Hobbit or Les Mis yet.

3. [ profile] scarfman, a cartoonist whose hobbies include mapping periods of time onto other periods of time, is marking Doctor Who's 50th anniversary year thus: He has mapped the show's 50-year history onto a single year, and on each date corresponding to a milestone like "first appearance of the Daleks" or "first companion departure" is blogging a series of one-panel cartoons marking the event.

4. Not going to do the fanfic year-in-review meme this year; it hardly seems worth it when I finished exactly one fanfic this year. (A definite winner for the "What pairing/genre/fandom did you write that you would never have predicted in January?" question, though.)

Once again, all the unfinished stories I had the first year I did the meme remain unfinished, though some of them did stir in their sleep. (One has actually progressed from "This needs completely rewriting but I have no idea where to start" to "I have a pretty good idea of what is needed now". Not that that means it's going get done any time soon.)

5. If anyone asks me if I did anything noteworthy this weekend, I may mention that the most noteworthy thing was something that I didn't do. (In fact, I'm not doing it right this moment. I'm not feeling any great sense of occasion about not doing it, which tends to confirm my feeling that it was the right thing to not do.) I probably won't be inclined to go into detail about it, though.
pedanther: (cheerful)
1. To anyone I haven't already, Season's Greetings! (Or General Well-Wishings, if you're one of the people who don't find anything remarkable about this time of the year.) And a happy new b'ak'tun!

2. I got some nice presents for Christmas this year, but none of those really great surprises that was exactly what you would have wanted if you'd expected to get it. I did manage to hit the target a couple of times in my gifts to others, which was just as good. And it was really nice just to get to hang out with the family for a while. (At one point we were watching Fantasia, and the narrator asserted that the dinosaurs were mostly peaceful herbivores apart from a few gangsters and bullies like T. rex. A few minutes later, [ profile] poinketh remarked out of the blue that he could picture a T. rex rocking a fedora, but he was having trouble figuring out how it worked the Tommy gun.)

3. There has been some good stuff in the Yuletide fic exchange this year.

* I particularly liked If the Fates Allow, which is the one for anybody who's suspected that Captain America: The First Avenger (2011, dir. Joe Johnston) is set in the same twentieth century as The Rocketeer (1991, dir. Joe Johnston). Though not so much if your interest is in blazing action sequences; the focus here is on the quiet moments between the adventures (which, given that time takes its toll, are not all happy).

* The Butterfly Also Casts a Shadow is another good one for fans of underappreciated retro action movies of the 1990s, in this case the 1994 version of The Shadow.

* On a different note, What You Make of It is an epistolatory fic, consisting of emails sent between Terry Pratchett's Johnny Maxwell and his friend Yo-less during their gap year after high school. Johnny is working at a dusty old second-hand book shop that never sells anything, which since he's Johnny turns out less boring than it sounds, while Yo-less is volunteering on a marine biology expedition and making new discoveries in the area of human biology.

4. Have I mentioned we finished our run of Snow White's Pizza Palace? Well, that was a thing that happened. I enjoyed it, and I think I'll try doing more comedy next year. The first production in the new year will be a Season of Short Plays (we're officially not calling them "one-acts" any more, because informal market research has suggested that people think that means there's only one actor). I won't be involved with that, because it overlaps with preparations for the National Band Championships, which the band is going to take a shot at because they're on this side of the continent for a change.

5. Haven't seen The Hobbit Part One or Les Mis yet, because the people I was planning to see it with are out of town. (I suppose I could see Wreck-It Ralph by myself, since the person I was hoping to see it with was [ profile] poinketh, and I know he won't be back before it closes.) Have seen the Doctor Who Christmas special, and wasn't super-impressed; it was enjoyable enough and had some really good moments, but I'm not sure it all held together, and there are worrying signs that Steven Moffat still hasn't remembered that when people say the hero of the show is a clever, unpredictable trickster figure, they're not talking about him.
pedanther: (Default)
Okay, it's been at least a week since the last guess, so I don't think we're going to get any more.

Here are the answers to the lyrics meme:

Read more... )
pedanther: (Default)
Fiction books
(anthology). Batman Black and White volume 2
Jane Austen. Mansfield Park
Chris Boucher. Doctor Who: Match of the Day
Fyodor Dostoevsky. The Brothers Karamazov
Phil Foglio, Kaja Foglio. Girl Genius: Agatha Heterodyne and the Chapel of Bones (reread)
Neil Gaiman, various collaborators. Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? (and other stories)
Rudyard Kipling. Soldiers Three
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Double Vision
Alan Moore, Zander Cannon, Gene Ha. Top 10 volume 1
Peter O'Donnell. The Silver Mistress
Lance Parkin. Doctor Who: The Eyeless
Michael Salmon. The Pirate Who Wouldn't Wash (reread)

Non-fiction books

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Stephen Dando-Collins. Caesar's Legion


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