Jan. 20th, 2015 02:46 pm
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For those of you who have read Ben Aaronovitch's Foxglove Summer.
Spoilers abound.

I mean it! Spoilers! )


Dec. 8th, 2014 09:24 pm
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I don't remember which of you mentioned the early 20th century novel _Living Alone_, but I ended up highlighting a bunch of passages in it, and I almost never do that in books. It was short and charming, although unfortunately marred by two instances of (typical for the time) racism.

However, that is not why I'm posting this. I'm posting this because Amazon obviously keeps an eye on what I'm reading on the Kindle, although its algorithm seems to be going by the title and not the content, and now Amazon is recommending books to me that would make Toby very worried if he didn't find it as hilarious as I do.


Freedom from Loneliness
Living Alone and Loving It
Surviving & Thriving Solo
Going Solo
Live Alone and Like It
The Single Woman's Sassy Survival Guide
Finding Forever Love

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Quick note before I go out to lunch with Toby: [personal profile] rachelmanija and [ profile] sartorias's book is now out! On Amazon: Stranger (On other sites.

It got a starred review from Kirkus!
telophase: (Kyo - cranky kitty)
From the excerpt:

1. The bad guy in the excerpt is named Shadye. Shadye. He's also a monologuer. But Shadye.

2. The main character is ripped from our world into a fantasy world because they think she is a Child of Destiny. Her mother's name is Destiny. I would find a case of mistaken identity amusing and worth reading on for the meta-commentary, but as far as I can tell from other clues in the excerpt, we're meant to take the Child of Destiny stuff seriously instead of getting meta.

3. Her rescuer says "Take my hand if you want to live...Come with me or die!" I've seen too many things in the Terminator franchise to accept that it's anything but a reworded reference to "Come with me if you want to live", and it throws me out.

4. The rescuer's name is Void. Void. He's also a monologuer.

edit to add this point, because I forgot 4.5 It needs a good editor. Witness this selection:
Somehow, she knew that the dragon was old. The magic field surrounding the creature bombarded her with impressions and sensations, piling them into her mind. It was old enough to have seen eons pass while it drifted through the skies, heedless of the scurrying humans on the world below.
Allow me to edit that for you. Ahem.
Somehow, she knew that the dragon was old. The magic field surrounding the creature bombarded her with impressions and sensations, piling them into her mind. It was old enough to have seen eons pass while it drifted through the skies, heedless of the scurrying humans on the world below.

5. But really, you lost me at Shadye.
telophase: (Genji - ladyfriend)
Excerpt from the Pillow Book of [personal profile] telophase:
1. That feeling when you get after you've finished a very good book and can't get into any other books because they seem so awkward and clunky and thin in comparison.

The book in question is The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison (*coughSarahMonettecough*). I want to start another book but none of the umpty-zillion samples I've downloaded are working for me in comparison.


Feb. 27th, 2014 10:29 am
telophase: (goku - reading)
Gilded (The Gilded Series, Book One) by Christina Farley.

Remember how I posted a week or so back about how I discovered this book was part of an Amazon program where if you have both the Kindle and Prime you can get one pre-release book a month? This was that book. I finished it last night, and my review of it is: YES. Lee Jae Hwa is a Korean-American teenage girl who has been moved (unwillingly) back to Korea by her father, who's accepted a job there. She discovers that Haemosu, a demi-god, steals the soul of the first-born girl in each generation in her family, and she's up next.

Defy by Sarah B. Larsen.

Alexa has spent the last few years in the Prince's Guard, disguised as a boy. A sorcerer kills her brother and abducts her, Rylan, a fellow guard, and Prince Damien, and a bunch of somewhat tedious stuff happens, during which Alexa fails to grieve her brother as much as I think she ought and instead spends the time on a forced march mooning over Rylan and Damien, and then eventually kills an evil sorcerer. Um, yeah. Not sure how it's got 4 stars on Amazon.


Both these books feature women who are excellent fighters: Jae Hwa is an archer and a martial artist, while Alexa wins her place on the Prince's Guard through combat, but when push comes to shove, Jae Hwa is attracted to her co-star but focuses on the important stuff (i.e., saving everyone), while Alexa spends the time worrying about what's going on (while two young men vie for this recently-bereaved young woman THIS IS NOT THE TIME, PEOPLE) and winning the day in the end solely because everyone pushed her into her actions.

I think you can tell which one I recommend you read. :)
telophase: (goku - reading)
Kindle owners (possibly USA-only; I don't know for sure) who are also Amazon Prime members, I just found out about the Amazon Kindle First program where you can download one of 4 pre-release books for free each month. I found this when looking up Gilded, by Christina Farley, after reading the excerpt on Turns out it's a Kindle First pick for February.

Anyway, the excerpt seemed interesting. The blurb is:Read more... )
telophase: (Mello - twitch)
The book I'm reading now is the story of the dig that found Richard III's body, written by THE BIGGEST SQUEEFUL RICHARD III FANGURRRL EVAR.* Who, alas, was the one that was in charge of the dig (as in the one that raised the money and commissioned everything, not the one who was actually digging), but despite her presence and all her FEEEELINGS about Richard III--I swear she's in love with him--the dig did manage to (a) find him and (b) ID him using SCIENCE.

It's primarily interesting for the storyof how you get a project like this started, funded, and finished, and all the problems therein. The not-that-great parts are the alternating chapters, which give a rundown of the history of Richard III. She says that she was trying to gain psychological insight about him, but when I--who knows next to nothing of this time period and the history--am reading and finding something to quirk my eyebrow at, that's saying quite a lot. The thing I'm talking about is her tendency, at various ambiguous moments in the history, where the truth of what happened isn't known, to run down the various possibilities and then, invariably, pick the one that is most flattering to Richard III and say that it's really the most likely thing to have happened. *[personal profile] telophase side-eyes page*

Note that I'm not actuall giving her name or the title of the book. I don't really think she'd turn up here in the comments, but I've had just enough authors turn up to contest what I've said about their books that I don't really want to risk it.

Anyway, I'd ask for recommendations for a good history of the time period except that I know I'd enver get around to reading it. At least not in the near future.

...She really does have a lot of FEEEELINGS for Richard III.

* And given the existence of the Richard III Society, that's saying quite a lot!
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Amazon's "Customers Who Bought Items in Your Recent History Also Bought" listing for me today includes on of the greater spreads of subject matter that I've encountered yet recommended for me. The ten 'pages' of recommendations include:

Mythical Beasts of Japan Koichi Yumoto
Vita: The Life of V. Sackville-West Victoria Glendinning
Orlando (Annotated): A Biography ›Virginia Woolf
Home Made Summer ›Yvette van Boven
A Fine Romance: Falling in Love with the English Countryside ›Susan Branch
Muse of Fire John Scalzi
The Carpet People Terry Pratchett
Anthology of Chinese Literature Confucius
POLPO: A Venetian Cookbook ›Russell Norman
Demons from the Haunted World ›Yoshitoshi Taiso
Gardening at Sissinghurst ›Tony Lord
Mrs. Keppel and Her Daughter ›Diana Souhami
The Mac + Cheese Cookbook ›Allison Arevalo
Deborah Harry Platinum Blonde Cathy Che
Shadows Robin McKinley
Ancillary Justice Ann Leckie
The Serpent of Venice: A Novel Christopher Moore
Sea Room: An Island Life in the Hebrides ›Adam Nicolson

Amazon really, really wants me to buy Vita Sackville-West today. I've got a number of her books recommended.
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The African language Supyire from Mali has five genders: humans, big things, small things, collectives, and liquids. Bantu languages such as Swahili have up to ten genders, and the Australian language Ngan’gityemerri is said to have fifteen different genders, which include, among others, masculine human, feminine human, canines, non-canine animals, vegetables, drinks, and two different genders for spears (depending on size and material).

Deutscher, Guy (2010-08-31). Through the Language Glass: Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages (Kindle Locations 3231-3234). Henry Holt and Co.. Kindle Edition.
Man, I love how weird languages are. (Also: English is pretty weird, at least as far as the 2600+ languages in the database studied in that link go! Ranks at #33 weirdest language in their data set, where "weirdest" means "most unusual features, comparatively," and gendered languages are not all that weird, really. SO I'M THE WEIRD ONE, NOT THE LANGUAGES IN THE QUOTE.)

Anyway, I'm a bit over halfway through the book quoted above, and enjoying it. I don't think people with a lot of knowledge about linguistics will find anything they didn't know in it; it's aimed a bit more at people with a passing interest in languages, but who aren't familiar with much of the major thought in the field. He spends quite a lot of time explaining now-discredited theories about how language shaped thinking and showing how those theories don't hold up to the evidence before starting into ways that it does shape thought and human experience. For example: languages in which directions are given geographically--as when you're describing two objects on a table in relation to each other, do you say "The pen is next to/to the right of the Post-Its," or do you say "The pen is west of the Post-Its"? People who grow up speaking geographic languages have a sort of perfect pitch for directions that those of us who grew up with other languages don't, and it seems pretty sure that because of the way the language forces you to specify those directions, your behavior and thinking adapt to it.

Anyway, that's as far as I've gotten right now. So far so good, and I loved the genders in the languages above. (And he finally explained to my satisfaction why we use "gender" -- it's an older meaning of the term, referring to categories and types in general. Referring to biological or social sex is a meaning that came later.)

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