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I'm currently reading The Golden City by Kathleen Cheney, which is enjoyable so far (She's a Siren spy! He's half-selkie! They Fight Crime! In 1902 Portugal!), an anthology called Daily Life In Victorian London, and Dave Barry Does Japan.

Recently I've read several 1930s-40s mysteries by Patricia Wentworth that aren't from her Miss Silver series, several of the Donna Andrews bird-themed mysteries, Sara Pascoe's non-fiction Animal: the Autobiography of a Female Body which was very good, and a couple of SFFs that I can't remember where I got the recommendation from- A Calculated Life and Gemsigns Revolution- which were also enjoyable, and a collected volume of Dinosaur Comics. It's been a good run of books.

Last weekend I got a lift to Ikea and spent a lot of money, and then a lot of time putting things together; this weekend I went to a comedy festival in London (ARGcomFest, which was excellent); I decided to get the 11.30 PM train out of London and then a taxi home at 2.30 AM, as being cheaper than another night in a hotel- it worked reasonably well, I got a bit of sleep on the train and a bit at home and wasn't totally wiped out, although having a meeting first thing in the morning wasn't ideal.
If anybody is going to Edinburgh and wants recs: Sketch groups Daphne and Lazy Susan, stand-ups James Acaster and Mark Watson, a character show from Andrew Hunter Murray, and complete inexplicability from John-Luke Roberts were all ace. Grainne Maguire and Naomi Peterson were very good too. Also, as always, the Alternative Comedy Memorial Society (I'm going twice in Edinbugh. Woo.)- I'm not sure if my favourite act was the man being a fireworks display, the woman being an egg, or the host making risotto live on stage.
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Blood orange (and lime) marmalade recip-ish
Read more... )
I went to Dublin recently for a conference recently and had a couple of days to go round the city as well, which was very nice. May well go back. There were a bunch of (e)books that I'd been waiting for that published recently, so I got them to read on the plane etc. and then had very little time to read them, so I'm still going through them, which is nice; I really enjoyed the Rachel Neumeier's The Keeper of the Mists, Seanan Mcguire's Indexing sequel, T. Kingfisher's Snow Queen retelling (I think it's called The Raven And The Reindeer), The Sleeping Life by Andrea Host (still waiting impatiently for Tangleways though!) and the final Fairyland book from Catherynne Valente. Also Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen; not the best Bujold ever, but still nice, and I do like books about grown-ups. My pre-order of the new Raksura book should arrive any day too.
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Hello folks!
I've had a good break so far, including seeing the Christmas "panto nativity" Alternative Comedy Memorial Society gig ( photos), getting 14 books for Christmas (so far have only read a 1950s cookbook, Step Aside Pops, You're All Just Jealous of My Backpack, and partway through Ancillary Mercy and This Is Improbable Too- must do better), ice-skating (didn't fall over!), going for a pub lunch and a walk by a recently-flooded beck, and having a massage/swim/steam room day. I've just had a bagel with brie, have a pot of tea steeping and some chocolate to eat, and have four more days to do Nothing At All in. Lovely.
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So after fucking up the first delivery attempt, John Lewis managed to send a couple of competent washing-machine installers round today and I have a new washing machine, and a new appreciation for not having been burnt to death by the large lump of polystyrene that had been left under the old one for n years; luckily the machine didn't have any programmes above 60C. The previous owner of this house really made some… interesting choices.
I'm reading Steles of the Sky finally, which is good but a bit high stakes, so I reread How To Be A Victorian at the same time (it's so practical, and understatedly funny, and truthful about the bad bits, and oh I love Ruth Goodman), and I'm also reading Dracula and a Dave Barry and some 30s mysteries by people I'd never heard of for light relief.
Tomorrow I need to wrap another batch of Christmas presents and bottle up the blackberry gin. I think it may need a bit more sugar, but I have sugar.
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Wednesday books

I'm reading a novella by Melissa Scott from the Astreiant series- too lazy to look up the title, I think it's Point of Knives. Also The Rutland Weekend Television book by Eric Idle.

Just finished Wee Free Men and Mark Thomas's 100 Acts of Minor Dissent.

I may read Deep Secret next, something reminded me of Bristolia this morning on the bus.

Actually it's been such a long time since I did a book log, let's mention some of the new or newish SFF books I've enjoyed over the summer:

Bujold's new novella Penric's Demon. Digital Divide, by K.B.Spangler. Daughter of Mystery by Heather Rose Jones. The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman. Sarah Tolmie's The Stone Boatmen. The Martian. T. Kingfisher's The Seventh Bride. The Silvered by Tanya Huff. The Wizard's Promise by Cassandra Rose Clarke. Nathan Lowell's Quarter Share books. The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo. Am.M. Dellamonica's Child of a Hidden Sea.

(Reread a lot of things too- The Goblin Emperor, Pyramids of London and Bones of the Fair (by Andrea Host), Mindtouch (by M.C.A. Hogarth), Traveller and Wish-Queen by Laura Wise, Martha Wells' Raksura short story collections (new novels being written, hooray!) and also read some classic mysteries n'nonfiction n'stuff.)
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Reading Wednesday

I just finished Steel Blues, the second Order of the Air book by Melissa Scott and Jo Graham, and also a book about Round the Horne by Barry Took (and very bona it was, my dearios) and Sowing Secrets by Trisha Ashley.

I'm reading about half-a-dozen books; the third Order of the Air book, Throne of The Crescent Moon, Dave Barry's You Can Date Boys When You're Dead, a volume of Colette's letters, The Art of Coarse Acting, etc.

Next may be The Dark Colony, by Richard Penn, or Stella Benson's Living Alone.
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Just finished:
An Emma Lathen mystery; Zen Cho's collection of short stories Spirits Abroad (which is AMAZING); and the Good Housekeeping collection of articles from during the second world war.

Currently reading:
A regency romance Harry Potter fanfic! (Crossover with the Antonia Forest Marlows series, but I haven't read them and it still works. Not sure if the fanwriter Ankaret is also the author with the first name Ankaret who's written a bunch of original books I've enjoyed lately; this one can certainly write well.)

Will read next:
Maybe a Dell Shannon. Or I've just bought Child of a Hidden Sea.
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Reading Wednesday

Currently reading: Consuming Passions by Judith Flanders- it's about leisure and consumption in Victorian England- it actually goes back earlier than the Victorians a lot, to show where the trends came from. Really enjoying it. Also Let's Stay Married by Basil Boothroyd, which is a comic take on self-help. And I'm slowly working my way through the short stories in the Women Destroy Science Fiction! issue of Lightspeed, which have all been good so far.

Just finished: The Travels of Ibn Battutah, (trans. Tim Mackintosh-Smith), memoirs of a great Muslim traveller of the 14th century. T. Kingfisher (Ursula Vernon)'s story collection, Toad Words. One of Dorothy Dunnet's Johnson Johnson mysteries. Oh, and I read Edinburgh Picturesque by RL Stevenson on the train back from Edinburgh.

Next: Maybe a Dick Francis.
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Just read:
I'm trying to catch up on the books I got for Christmas and the ebooks I got for my holiday in April. Read Eleanor Arnason's Ring of Swords (anthropological science fiction, very good) and the second Eternal Sky book, The Shattered Pillars- a very satisfactory second book, with everything getting worse for the characters but glints of hope, and I need to read Steles of the Sky *right now* to find out what happens, but it's still in hardback/expensive ebook, aargh. Also a mystery from Project Gutenberg, The Case of Jennie Brice by Mary Roberts Rinehart.

Reading: an A.J. Hall fic, and the TVGoHome book.

Will read next:
Not sure. Another Rinehart, perhaps, or a Robert Sheckley from my physical unread pile.
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Just read:
All the Dell Shannon mysteries have been republished as ebooks by an outfit called The Murder Room, and I read a couple of them that I don't have in print. Also Staynes and Storey's Goodbye Nanny Grey.

Partway through a bunch of reading-myself-to-sleep books- The Science of Discworld, Adventure on the High Teas, The Chickens are Restless, Mrs Miniver, a collection of Armando Iannucci columns and one of Paul Jennings columns.

Will read next:
Dunno. I'm in the mood for some more mysteries, something not too hardboiled but not too cozy. I'll read some fanfic on the way home and then see see what I have on the shelf that I haven't read recently.
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Currently reading: One of the Lawrence Block's Bernie Rhodenbarr books- The Burglar Who Painted Like Mondrian, I think it is. Also a facsimile of the 1931 Joy of Cookery, and the book about the Ignobel Prizes.
Just read: Several other Burglar Who… books, Matilda, Death of the Necromancer, The Talisman Ring, Spirits of Glory by Emily Devenport, What Matters in Jane Austen, and Murder With Peacocks by Donna Andrews. (My tablet stopped working on the flight to America. My kindle was fine.)
To read next: Perhaps Three Parts Dead. Or some more Burglar ones.
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Reading: Heavy Ice, by Ankaret Wells. (Has lots of plot and intrigue, and very vivid settings, and societies with incompatible world views, and economics, and religions, and an ambiguous villain who's never met a problem that couldn't be solved by marrying a few more people. Favourite character: Strat, aka Hawkwood Stratagem. I want a xenoraptor who'll knock my enemies flying with a nudge of her skull. ) Also The Flavour Thesaurus and Fellowship of the Ring.

Just finished: Stained Glass Monsters, by Andrea K Host; and then a reread of her other books… she's quickly become a comfort author.

Will read next: a bunch of documentation for a meeting. And The Two Towers, of course.
(Also does anybody have any fic of Belladonna Took and the other "remarkable daughters of the Old Took" going on adventures with Gandalf?)
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Just read: I've been on a Mercedes Lackey binge. Just finished Holy Disorders by Edmund Crispin and The Sleeping Partner by Madeleine Robins, too.
Reading: Beauty by Robin McKinley, Emma Thompson's diaries from the filming of Sense and Sensibility, With Bold Knife and Fork by MFK Fisher.
Will read next: Not sure. I've still got some things on the kindle that I got after Christmas, so probably one of them.


Dec. 4th, 2013 03:57 pm
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Just finished: Digger (the omnibus volume)- happy sigh. (Best bits? The messenger rats, perhaps. Or the shrew troll? Poor sweet Ed? Or Grim Eyes being patronising to the guide? Librarian Vo? Vampire squash? Digger's reaction to being stabbed? All of it is best bits.)

Reading now: Rereading Dave Langford's Critical Mass.

Next: Not sure. Perhaps Terra, or Andrea Host's new Darest book.
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One of those two-worlds-collide things happened yesterday, as I was rereading Elizabeth Barber's book Women's Work (about the history of textiles). Did you know that there's a garment still in use in bits of Europe that has clear antecedents back to the Bronze Age and possibly the Neolithic (see Venus statues)? It's a string skirt/fringed apron/girdle with fringed ends, which has something to do with fertility, being either worn by marriageable women, or young matrons; the Greek version, the girdle, was being used as a charm in childbirth into the mid-twentieth century.
Anyway. The fringed apron from Macedonia and parts surrounding is called a zostra; whereas the Greek girdle- what Aphrodite would put on when she wanted to be completely irresistible- is called a zone (the English sense of the word descends crookwise from this.) So, in Donne's To His Mistress Going To Bed, [1] "Off with that girdle, like heaven's zone glittering/ But a far fairer world encompassing" it doesn't mean "your girdle, which glitters like a bit of heaven" but "which glitters as much as a goddess's one." Nifty, eh?

[1] You know, the one with the sexy colonialising metaphor?
"License my roving hands, and let them go,
Behind, before, above, between, below.
O my America! my new-found-land,
My kingdom, safeliest when with one man man'd,
My mine of precious stones: my emperie,
How blest am I in this discovering thee!"
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Just finished Second Summoning by Tanya Huff, which is fun but slight, and Ring of Guilt by Judith Cutler, which was pretty good. None of the others in the series seem to be on special offer, though, so I probably won't move on to them yet. In the middle of rereading The Best of Myles again (collected columns of Myles na Gopaleen, aka Flann O'Brian).
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Just finished Domestic Manners of the Americans, which has a really interesting mix of justified complaint (like CONSTANT SPITTING OF TOBACCO JUICE, and SLAVERY) and "Eugh, poor people claiming to be my equals! Get some manners, Americans!" (And other things, like good scenery and travel descriptions, and a look at some early camp-fire revivals, and stuff. I'd quite like to read Basil Hall's Travels In North America In the Years 1827 And 1828 now, hearing her describe how it was received in America at the time! It isn't in Gutenberg, though, and is pretty expensive in paperback.)

And a Dave Barry book I hadn't read has arrived- Money Secrets- and is as good as it ought to be. So that's very nice.
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Just read the Other Half Of The Sky anthology, edited by Anthea Andreadis; liked all the stories, although the extract from Joan Slonczewski's novel didn't stand up al that well on its own. My initial favourite was Martha Wells's Raksura story, but Aliette de Bodiard's creepy one about a kidnapped AI has stuck in my head more. Also a couple of Patricia Wentworth's Miss Silver mysteries, which are very popcorn.
Am in the middle of a book about mediaeval Japan, and have just started one of Edith Van Dyne (L. Frank Baum)'s Aunt Jane's Nieces books.

Very likely to go to this if I can get the Monday off; anybody want to meet up?
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Just finished a couple of books where I downloaded the next in the series straight away- finally got round to The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland, and also really liked Stray, by Andrea Host.

And I'm in the middle of Dickens's American Notes, and also You Are Nothing by Robert Wringham, which OMG if the name Cluub Zarathustra means anything to you you should get straight away. (Or indeed if any of the names Stewart Lee, Simon Munnery or Kevin Eldon mean anything to you.) (I'm watching the studio tapes from the second series of Fist of Fun- yes, finally got round to an order from Go Faster Stripe.)
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I've just finished A Woman of the Iron People, by Elearnor Arnason, and Kage Baker's Bird of the River- now going back and reading Anvil of the World. Also partway through The Secret Feminist Cabal [1] and White's Natural History of Selbourne.

Speaking of natural history: Wallflowers have just come out (they flowered in January last year!). Miniature daffs are still going like mad, and fullsize narcissi, species tulips, hyacinths, primroses, violets, rosemary (!), juneberry, lady's mantle and aubretia.

[1] TINC


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