graculus: (Default)
[personal profile] graculus
I posted here about the best books I'd read till then back in June, so I thought I'd do a follow-up post about what I've read since then which has also been good. In late December, I'll probably do a best books of the year post but expect a number of these to make a good showing then as well:

  • California Bones - Greg Van Eekhout
  • The Broken Kingdoms and The Kingdom of Gods - NK Jemisin
  • Smiler's Fair - Rebecca Levene
  • The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August - Claire North
  • Midnight Robber - Nalo Hopkinson
  • Regeneration - Stephanie Saulter
  • Sorcerer to the Crown - Zen Cho
  • The House of Shattered Wings - Aliette de Bodard
  • Penric's Demon - Lois McMaster Bujold
  • Point of Honour - Madeleine E. Robins
  • Ancillary Mercy - Ann Leckie
  • The Copper Promise - Jen Williams
  • The Traitor - Seth Dickinson
  • Wheel of the Infinite - Martha Wells
  • The Fifth Season - NK Jemisin

    If you're interested in finding out what I thought of particular books above, you can find my reviews over at Booklikes.

    I'm also still finishing up the current books in the Vorkosigan series (as I write, I am midway through Diplomatic Immunity with just two more books to go before the new one comes out in February) and subscribing to Tremontaine, which is a serialised prequel to Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner.
  • (no subject)

    Nov. 28th, 2015 09:25 am
    the_rck: figure perched in a tree with barren branches (Default)
    [personal profile] the_rck
    I’m not sure I slept at all last night. I had a story that I will probably never write running around in my head and not letting me relax into sleep.

    The lack of sleep probably contributed to my near breakdown when I discovered that Scott hadn’t brought the clean washcloths upstairs last night. I very specifically told him that I needed him to, and he stayed up well past when the dryer buzzed. Nevertheless, when I got up, everything was still in the basement. First thing in the morning is when everything hurts most, so bending over repeatedly to sort out the washcloths from everything else brought me near tears from the pain.

    My breast looks really thoroughly terrible. I think most of it is the antibiotic cream having dried in place (it’s not meant to be absorbed), so I’m hoping things will look better when I remove the astringent soaked washcloths in another ten minutes.

    I have concluded that superhero comics don’t currently work for me. None of the ones I’ve tried recently— No, I’m forgetting Tiny Titans. Those were okay. I just can’t seem to read anything more serious or longer. Maybe in a few months or years. Maybe not.

    Scott and I watched two library DVDS last night, Into the Woods (2014) and Justice League: Throne of Atlantis. I can’t say that I was disappointed by Into the Woods because my expectations were very, very low, but I didn’t really enjoy it. Throne of Atlantis had only the barest threads of plot. I think the only reason we didn’t turn it off was inertia, that and we were waiting for the laundry to finish up.


    Nov. 27th, 2015 02:36 pm
    the_shoshanna: loaf of wholegrain bread, yum. (bread)
    [personal profile] the_shoshanna
    Thanksgiving was always the big holiday for my father, so since his death it's been a difficult time. For the first couple afterward, my stepmother came up to visit me and Geoff in Montreal, because she didn't even want to be in the house, let alone accept one of the kind invitations she had from friends. Last year she volunteered to help serve at a free dinner hosted by a local wonderful brewpub, and had such a good time that she decided to do it again this year, and asked us if we'd like to join her. We were delighted to!

    It was a lot of fun. We got there at 11:30, to get prepped before they started serving at noon, but everything was already set up, so we just chilled for half an hour, and then they stood us up behind the steam trays and off we went. The food was terrific -- local businesses had donated nineteen organic turkeys, and the stuffing and cranberry sauce were delicious, plus squash and potatoes, and apple crisp and ice cream for dessert, and we were ladling it out with gusto. We served well over two hundred people in five hours, and there was still food left over; I loved that we didn't have to stint to make it last, but could keep encouraging people to come back for more, and to fill takeout boxes. One couple with two kids had a whole stack of them. Some diners were pretty clearly folks in need, and some were folks who just wanted to come out for a shared community freewill-donation dinner (last year it raised $2000 in donations for the local food bank), and some were volunteers fueling up for their own shifts; Geoff and I were supposed to help for just a couple of hours, but we were energized and having fun and ended up working the whole five hours, except for a break to eat ourselves. Plus the pub was also serving its own brews; after a few hours over the steam trays I very much enjoyed a half-pint of oatmeal stout. (At one point one of the staff came by asking if anyone needed a break and were we all well hydrated, and I assured her I was beerdrated.)

    At the end of the afternoon we thanked the cooks and the kitchen staff who'd kept the heaping trays of food coming for hours, packed up some leftovers for ourselves, and staggered home with big smiles on our faces.

    Today we went for a hike up a local hill for beautiful views over the river valley, came home for the traditional post-Thanksgiving lunch of post-Thanksgiving leftovers, and are now relaxing before meeting friends for Mexican food for dinner and then to see Richard Shindell and Lucy Kaplansky in concert. Tomorrow we go home and back to our everyday lives, but this has been a lovely break.

    (Before this we spent three days with my mother, and left on Thanksgiving morning, ducking out on her meal with her in-laws, which I'm very glad of, it having been very high-stress the last time we were part of it...)

    And as I wrote this up, my stepmother found a picture of the three of us serving up food in the local paper!

    (no subject)

    Nov. 27th, 2015 09:17 pm
    tamsin: (Default)
    [personal profile] tamsin
    holiday love meme 2015
    my thread here

    Go put yourself there as well, so I can tell you how great you are!

    (no subject)

    Nov. 27th, 2015 12:02 pm
    the_rck: figure perched in a tree with barren branches (Default)
    [personal profile] the_rck
    As it turns out, Scott has today off. That almost never happens, so I wasn’t expecting it. Given when he and Cordelia got home last night, they must have left within minutes of Scott’s mother’s email.

    Scott’s family has started exchanging Christmas wishlists. I’m thinking of making a secondary list that’s shorter than my main list. I’ve got about 250 items on my long list, and some of them are there more because I want to remember that I want them than because I expect anyone to buy them for me just now. The big list is overwhelming, and it’s hard to tell which things I want most.

    I’ve been listening to podcasts this morning. I’m hopeful that I’ve got the volume low enough that I haven’t woken Scott (though I think he’s probably up by now and just cruising the internet on his laptop).

    Scott’s mother sent home a box with a small serving of pretty much everything from the dinner she served. She didn’t send containers of the stuff Scott particularly likes which seems an odd omission and something that Scott will regret. I suppose he could make some of this stuff for himself this weekend if he wants to.

    I’ve been browsing the online catalog at our public library, and I found that the library has board book copies of Les Miserables and War and Peace. That boggles me. I have no idea how one can abridge either book quite that much, and they’re not things that I would have thought of as toddler appropriate.

    I also spent time browsing the list of book giveaways on GoodReads. There was a book of short stories labeled as ’solarpunk.’ That’s not a term I’ve previously heard of. I don’t feel sufficiently motivated to research it to see if it’s common. I was rather astonished by the number of giveaways that don’t actually give information about the book and/or author but that just say something like "I’m giving away ten copies of my wonderful new book!" That’s fine, but why would I want to win a copy if you don’t tell me anything interesting about the book? It’s possible to get away with that for, say, The Annotated Little Women, but 95% of those books are by people I’ve never heard of and so have no investment in. There were some blurbs and titles made me laugh, but I can’t remember specifics now.

    Cordelia’s school is doing the Scholastic book fair next week. I could order books online right now, but Cordelia says she doesn’t want any because she’s only interested in owning books she’s already read. So I guess I won’t be buying much this year. None of the teachers have put up wishlists online, either. I keep checking for that because I’d like to donate that way. It’s also really strange not to be volunteering at the book fair. I’ve volunteered every year since Cordelia started school.

    I really, really want to go out to eat and have restaurant pancakes. The ones Scott makes aren’t anything like the same. But I’m not willing to deal with wearing a shirt long enough to go out for that, and it’s not precisely the sort of thing one can get carryout.

    I keep starting books and then deciding that they’re not worth the effort. I think that has more to do with me than with the books because they’re books I was looking forward to and because putting them down seems to have more to do with me being tired and/or unable to focus than with there being something wrong with the book.


    Nov. 27th, 2015 11:09 am
    coffeeandink: (Default)
    [personal profile] coffeeandink
    Jane the Virgin DVDs are $8 at Amazon today.

    Reading Friday

    Nov. 27th, 2015 02:37 pm
    cyphomandra: (balcony)
    [personal profile] cyphomandra
    Just finished:

    A Banquet of Consequences, Elizabeth George. 19th in the series. Starts with a suicide and then, three years later, with the death in suspicious circumstances of a feminist academic, who is employing the mother of the suicide as a PA and general dogsbody. I liked this more than the last two for being more contained and also for having more Havers and less Lynley, and a Havers who is at least trying not to trample over all the lines. I am also relieved that it left the Italian detective off-stage for almost the entire book, even though I want to see him again. Does a pretty good job of living up to the title.

    Spoilers for ending )

    The Traitor, Seth Dickinson. Has an additional "Baru Cormorant" in the US edition, which I think I prefer. I liked this more than I thought I was going to, but it still didn't really connect with me - one of those books that sounds much better on paper (queer brown female savant takes on the empire that has colonised her homeland, by joining it and working from the inside) and what I said in my last post about twists definitely applies here. Part of the problem is definitely that this whole story plays out on a third stage - neither Baru's homeland nor that of the Empire - and it makes the stakes feel a little too much like a game without that personal connection.

    In progress: Yuletide-relevant material. Lemon Drop & Martha's Distant Journey, Unknown Lands epic Sentinel fanfic, which is atmospheric and creepy and good for summer.

    Up next: I do have Kameron Hurley's Empire Ascendant, but I think it and the next Ancillary book are going to have to wait until later, possibly until I have their respective third volumes.

    Also, I picked up H.M. Hoover's This Time of Darkness from a booksale, in a paperback version of the hardcover one I read repeatedly as a child, and I

    (no subject)

    Nov. 26th, 2015 08:34 pm
    the_rck: figure perched in a tree with barren branches (Default)
    [personal profile] the_rck
    One problem with sitting around shirtless is that my hair hanging down makes my back itch in places I can’t reach. Putting it in a ponytail doesn’t help that very much, either.

    I napped for about three hours after Scott and Cordelia left this afternoon. I had anxiety dreams involving getting lost in a huge house I’d never been in before and being completely unable to find my meds. It was pain that woke me.

    I have figured out that the key to getting out of bed without absolute agony is to put my hand under my breast so that I don’t end up with all of the weight of my breast suddenly pulling on the burned skin. It still hurts, but I kind of ease into it, spreading the pain across more time. Of course, getting out of bed without both arms free is a bit more challenging.

    The last I knew (Scott’s mother emailed me half an hour ago), Scott and Cordelia were still at his parents’ place. That’s one of the drawbacks of me not going— Scott doesn’t want to leave because that would involve admitting that he has to get up tomorrow. It’s an hour’s drive home from there, and he’s been up since 2 a.m., so he’s exhausted. The drive home is not going to be a wonderful thing, no matter when it happens, but earlier would be better so that he can actually get a full night’s sleep.

    Pursuant to the last post

    Nov. 26th, 2015 08:22 pm
    rydra_wong: Lee Miller photo showing two women wearing metal fire masks in England during WWII. (Default)
    [personal profile] rydra_wong
    If anyone fancies writing fic (fanfic or origfic) for Rachel, she's put up a bunch of (really rather awesome, IMHO) prompts and descriptions of what she likes. Check it out. See if you are inspired:

    [personal profile] rachelmanija: Totally Self-Indulgent Begging For Fic

    (no subject)

    Nov. 26th, 2015 12:24 pm
    the_rck: figure perched in a tree with barren branches (Default)
    [personal profile] the_rck
    The plan is for me to stay home today. Scott’s mother wasn’t at all upset when I told her. Scott was more disappointed than she was. I think he had his heart set on doing something normal and family related today. I have not talked to Scott’s sister yet. I want to see if, by Friday evening, I’m doing any better.

    Scott bought some mashed potatoes and stove top stuffing on his way home last night. He had cooked some turkey on Saturday that we hadn’t touched yet, so he’s cutting some of that for me to have while he and Cordelia are gone today. I had actually been thinking about ordering pizza or something, but this is probably the better way to go.

    I ended up getting up a little after 7:00 today. I was hoping to sleep later, but I just couldn’t. Scott got home around 8:00. He had to fix the apple peeler/corer because the rod had somehow gotten off center. For a little while, he was afraid he wouldn’t be able to, but he eventually managed. (He bought an extra pie Tuesday night, just in case he didn’t have time or energy to bake this morning. That means I’ll have apple pie tonight.)

    I tried lying down for a nap around 10:30 because I was tired, but my pain medication wore off not much later, and that got me out of bed. I will probably lie down again once the hydrocodone has kicked in enough that things don’t hurt quite so much.

    I’ve been putting the antibiotic cream on the spots on top of my breast that are peeling, but I’m not sure how necessary that is. There’s still dry, intact (if very, very painful) skin underneath, and, unlike the skin underneath my breast, this stuff is very much exposed to the air. Then again, I can’t put aloe on that area because it burns like crazy. Maybe I shouldn’t put anything on there at all. I really don’t know.

    I’m definitely having difficulty focusing right now, but the pain relief is a worthwhile tradeoff, most of the time. I’m mostly poking around our public library’s website and GoodReads. It’s not productive, but it keeps me occupied. I’ve got a couple of windows open for things I want to buy, but I keep hesitating because I’m not sure I’m enough all here to do it. But Cordelia really does want that sweatshirt, and it’s under $20. I’m not sure there’s a good reason not to buy it. The used books I’ve tagged, on the other hand… yeah, not so much. I want them, but I’m not sure I’ll actually read them if I do buy them.

    Scott just brought out some ginger ale called Wild Ginger for me to try. It’s very, very potent ginger, enough to kind of burn for a while after I take a sip. I love ginger, but I’m not sure I want it at this potency.

    Talking Meme

    Nov. 25th, 2015 10:20 pm
    tamsin: Text: Today I shall be witty, charming and elegant. Or Maybe I'll say "um" a lot and trip over things. (charming)
    [personal profile] tamsin
    So I'm trying to post and comment more. If you've seen me flail awkwardly in your comment section, that's why. *waves*

    In that vein I'd love to get some prompts for the talking meme that's going around. Anything you'd like me to talk about? Fandom, personal stuff, books, requests for recs, something else? Please comment and leave me a prompt! Or more than one if you want.

    I probably won't answer most of them in December, since that's the busiest month for my volunteering gig, plus my best friend is coming to visit me for a week (!!!). But I will try to answer all of them in the new year.

    (no subject)

    Nov. 25th, 2015 01:25 pm
    the_rck: figure perched in a tree with barren branches (Default)
    [personal profile] the_rck
    The nurse and the resident and the doctor all said that I’m obviously taking good care of my burns. I’m kind of boggled at the thought of not keeping them clean. They hurt much less when I keep them clean, and even if they didn’t, I’m applying wet washcloths to most of the skin three or four times a day.

    The nurse was definitely of the opinion that going to Thanksgiving dinner is a bad idea. She said that sitting around naked from the waist up is pretty much the best things I can do. She also pointed out that I’m going to be pretty drugged up. She got the resident to prescribe more hydrocodone and to change the prescription to taking two at a time if I need to. (And I did just that about half an hour ago.)

    The cabs came quickly both going to the appointment and coming home. The driver on the way there was listening to the Diane Rehm Show. The driver on the way home had the radio off and said nothing at all the whole trip, up until he told me how much I owed him.

    The next steps are texting Scott with a list of the medical stuff he needs to pick up on the way home, calling Scott’s mother about me not going tomorrow, and calling Scott’s sister about maybe not going to our niece’s birthday gathering on Saturday. I might call my sister, too, but I’m not sure. She’s likely to be at work, and calling then isn’t great. Of course, unless she needs more surgery (and she suspects she will), she’ll be working as many hours as she can physically tolerate because she works retail (management but it’s a small shop, so it’s generally only two people there at a time).

    Hurt/comfort recs for [personal profile] rachelmanija

    Nov. 25th, 2015 04:02 pm
    rydra_wong: Lee Miller photo showing two women wearing metal fire masks in England during WWII. (Default)
    [personal profile] rydra_wong
    As some of you will aready know, [personal profile] rachelmanija is dealing with some very stressful stuff; she could use some good h/c recs. This is the recs accumulation post.

    She says:

    I like old-school "lost and injured in wildernesses," "held hostage," "poisoned," "race to get to medical care," "post-action breakdown" "adjusting to being a civilian with bonus PTSD," that sort of thing - I like when the hurt is serious or life-threatening, there's some action, and plenty of comfort at the end. Sholio and Dira Sudis write the sort of thing I like, and of course my Werewolf Marines books are the exact sort of thing I like.

    I like canon recs too but already know Sharpe, Dick Francis, Lymond, Hornblower, Modesty Blaise, Eagle of the Ninth, Leverage, Star Trek (any iteration) Star Wars (ditto), Percy Jackson, Pern, Kushiel's Dart, Benjamin January, Attack on Titan, X-Men (especially anything but First Class, but I do also like First Class. I just prefer the comics and first two movies). Would love any fic recs in those canons or probably any book or anime fandom. Like, anything that's ever appeared in Yuletide probably has sufficient context.

    For fic, if the story's really great I'll try anything. But I'm picky about MCU (don't like infantilized Bucky, have irrational hatred for Coulson), don't like SGA, Sherlock, or Teen Wolf, and don't know Hamilton, Homestuck, or Steven Universe. Finally, I'm neutral on rape recovery - it's not a plus but it's not a back button either.

    I like touch starvation, people feeding each other or helping each other to walk or carrying each other, huddling for warmth, washing each other or washing their hair. And a minimum of vomit.

    (no subject)

    Nov. 25th, 2015 04:37 am
    the_rck: figure perched in a tree with barren branches (Default)
    [personal profile] the_rck
    I’m up at 3:30 in the morning because, when the hydrocodone wore off, the pain was bad enough to keep me awake. When I stood up— Ow. I’d put it close to labor levels of pain. I’ve taken more hydrocodone, and I’ve got washcloths soaked in the Domeboro solution all over my breast. Well, over most of my breast. I’ve only got two washcloths, and I really need three.

    I ought to wash washcloths before I go back to bed as I’ve only got one clean one left. I think, though, that I can reuse one of the two I’m using now when I get up at 8:00. I really can’t face laundry right now. In the morning, I might be able to get Cordelia to do it.

    I really don’t think I’m going to Thanksgiving with Scott’s family. He’s still really focused on all of us going, however. I think he’s hoping for magic or something.

    Scott will have to work 3:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. on Thanksgiving. His employer considers everything before 7:00 a.m. to be part of the preceding day because the shift starts at 11:00 p.m. This leads to occasional confusion on my part because sometimes Scott will use that convention when talking about when he has to be at work.

    Monday night, Scott had to make a special trip out to get his hearing checked as part of his employer’s OSHA compliance. They did testing in the plant during the week he was on vacation in October. Fortunately, there was a clinic here in town that would do it and that stays open until 10:00 p.m.

    I have to have Scott get more Domeboro on his way home from work. We also need some sort of liquid or chewable painkiller for Cordelia. She had a headache last night, and we had nothing for her. I don’t think the headache was too awful; mainly, she was tired. It’s hard to tell, though, because I don’t have a good feel for her pain scale. I think she doesn’t have much sense of what’s possible in terms of pain. She had back pain a couple of months ago that she rated a seven but didn’t think merited even thinking about a trip to the doctor. (It also didn’t affect how she moved.) A seven would send me to the ER— For me, labor was a six. I figure a ten would actually kill you.

    I wish I was better at reading poetry. I’m starting to get poetry from the library because I would like to be more literate that way, but I’m not having great luck finding stuff that my eyes don’t simply skid off of. I’m going to try reading some of the current volume (Cristina Rossetti) out loud to see if that helps. I used to read poetry from anthologies in middle school and high school, but I got out of the habit. I like Rudyard Kipling, Edgar Lee Masters, Emily Dickinson, Edna St Vincent Millay, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Robert Frost. Barring the Kipling and the Millay which I read in college, those are all poets I liked in high school. I don’t think GoodReads is giving me useful recommendations in this category as it seems to be focusing heavily on 20th century poets and on stuff pre-Shakespeare (based, I think, on me liking Beowulf and The Elder Edda and several Icelandic sagas and on my having read a good bit of Shakespeare and some Greek tragedies).

    Okay time to go back to bed. I’ve been up an hour, and Scott’s alarm will go off soon.

    Really, Filofax?

    Nov. 24th, 2015 10:32 pm
    katherine: Girl with glasses: Fuzzy cat with a folded pair of glasses by her paw. (Default)
    [personal profile] katherine
    I expected two small sets of Filofax pages to arrive in an envelope, perhaps an envelope with a bit of cardboard. Not deep within a medium-sized box which contained a big wodge of packing paper and a padded envelope (one of the filled with lint extra-recycled ones no less).

    The box is too small for the cats to even try to sit in, so right into the recycling it goes.
    Two small Filofax sets of paper sit on top folded white paper, next to an orange envelope and a brown cardboard box that has a sticker: Packing list enclosed

    (no subject)

    Nov. 24th, 2015 02:20 pm
    the_rck: figure perched in a tree with barren branches (Default)
    [personal profile] the_rck
    I’ve got a bunch of actual blisters on the top of my breast now. I have no idea if there are any underneath. No wonder the stupid thing hurts so much. I’m not looking forward to wearing a shirt to get to and from my appointment tomorrow, and we’ll be at Scott’s parent’s place for about six hours on Thursday (plus an hour there and an hour back). I’ll have to wear a shirt during that time. I’m not at all looking forward to it. Maybe it’s not worth going… Scott’s mother would be hurt, though, so I don’t know.

    I’m working on answering the three fic related question sets I’ve gotten on that meme. One set, I’ve just barely started, one set, I’ve finished, and the third, I’m kind of stuck on one of the questions because I’m not sure I have an answer. I’ll post those answers here when I’m done.

    Cordelia is really looking forward to having so much time off from school. I suspect she’ll get bored by the end, but who knows? Normally, I’d try to have friends come by to play with her, but, what with me sitting around topless, that’s not happening this year.

    I’m surprisingly energetic today. I actually did the dishes. Which may be just as well since, if I don’t do them, nobody bothers.

    I want to try Into the Badlands, but only the second episode is available on demand. Is that an okay place to start? Anybody know? My suspicion is that it will be too dark and violent for me (most things are), but I want to try it.

    I’ve almost finished sampling all of the artists Amazon has been recommending to me. My next step is to listen to more by the folks that I’ve marked as 'maybe' so that I can figure out if I like them enough to spend money on. Listening to more by the folks I’ve marked as 'yes' seems like a good idea, too, because some of them, when I’ve gotten CDs from the library, haven’t proved as much to my taste as I thought they were. Of course, about half of them have nothing available from the library.


    lightreads: a partial image of a etymology tree for the Indo-European word 'leuk done in white neon on black'; in the lower left is (Default)

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