lydamorehouse: (cap and flag)
i can't actually say it's been a slow reading week, since I plowed through the remaining 21 volumes of Pandora Hearts. I also read an on-line, one volume, one-shot yaoi called One Yen Man / 1-en Otoko as well as got through volume 2 of another manga called Bunny Drop last night, which I mentioned here previously (and I have volumes 3-6 on my TBR pile).

It's funny how, despite the number of pages that the above represents, I always feel like I've read NOTHING when I've only read manga.  That's kind of sad, because, obviously, graphic novels and manga are just as "real" reading as any traditional novel.  I don't really know why I buy into the idea that somehow they're 'lesser.' 

Speaking of my my TBR pile, on it is a graphic novel called Skim by Marika Tamaki / Jillian Tamaki, a traditional novel called The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North, the second collected volume of Bitch Planet, Bitch Planet: President Bitch by Kelly Sue Decconnick / Valantine DeLandro, and a graphic novel The Stoneman Mysteries: Book One by Jane Yolen, Adam Stemple / Orion Zangara.

We'll see how much of this I get through in a week.  I need to at least get though The Stoneman Mysteries since I told Twin Cities Geek that I'd review that one for them.  Adam is, of course, a local author and Twin Cities Geeks likes to highlight the local interest stuff whenever possible.  

Meanwhile, I still have a pretty intense case of the blahs.  I blame the weather and the Nazis.

Reading

Aug. 9th, 2017 08:43 am
lydamorehouse: (swoon)
 It's Wednesday already again. It was a good week for reading, probably because of our extended stay up at our friends' cabin.  So, stuff I read:

Spells of Blood and Kin by Claire Humphrey. A book I didn't expect to like, but ended up falling into easily.  It's about a Russian-Canadian witch and berserker/werewolf/vampires (?) I'm not quite sure how to explain the Kin, and that's the part I figured that I'd find stupid, but I really didn't.  It's one of those pseudo-literary novels where it's kind of also about families, both blood and made.  I ended up enjoying it.  

Then, I read half of Emmi Itäranta's The Weaver, because I was hoping for a sequel to The Memory of Water, which I really loved. Alas, this is not what I was looking for and so am giving up on it.  It's just a little bit TOO poetic for me.

I also read a graphic novel called Just So Happens by Fumio Obata. It's about a Japanese woman who has moved to London to pursue a career in some kind of design work. She's struggling with settling in, and then gets the call that her father died in a hiking accident.  She returns to Japan to try to figure out if she still belongs there.  It's kind of a non-story, in that nothing is resolved.  Our heroine never entirely feels at home anywhere.  The art is pretty, though.  It's a fast read. 

I got through half of the Pandora Hearts manga volumes that I took out of the library. (I took out six, read three so far). Pandora Hearts by Jun Mochizuki is about... huh, how do I describe this thing? There's a rich/tragic little lordling named Oz, who gets caught up in a supernatural adventure, probably because he's the key to some mystery involving "the Abyss," and ends up in a contract with a devil.  I'm still not sure how I feel about this series. I watched the first 7 episodes of the anime on Hulu and am finding it compelling... enough. I think my problem is with the main character.  His daddy issues really just don't interest me, and my sympathy for royal dukes only goes so far.  I'm kind of the opposite of your average romance reader (at least the ones who seem to get a lot of books targeted at them, at any rate,) in that you really have to work overtime to get me to give ANY f*cks about rich aristocrats and their "tragedies."  Just slapping a title on a character does nothing for me--well, other than infuriate me. Luckily, our poor little rich boy has a companion that I like better. Sadly, it's turning out that he's a lost prince with a tragic backstory, too, so possibly there's no one in this story that will appeal to me. The only thing that's keeping me hanging on ATM is that there's a scene with the character I like (Raven) wherein his overlord accuses him of feeling "abnormally" towards Oz, which is Japanese code for gay, so here's hoping that Raven is queer AF.

Hoping a manga/anime character will turn out to be canonically gay never ends well, so probably this is an exercise in frustration all around.  Ah, well, I have nothing else to watch while doing the dishes currently, so I will keep with this.

You?
lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
It's late for me, but I'm just back from work at the Maplewood Library. Plus, I am trying out my new computer, a Lenovo. I'm trying to get used to the keyboard. There is a funny positioning of the shift key. But, I'm sure I'll adjust. PLUS, it turns out that my Mac was fixable. My friend Patrick played around with it today and got it up and running. Hooray!

So, let's see, what have I been reading? I actually managed a real book the other day. I read Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1) by Sylvain Neuvel. It read really quickly, but the entire thing was mostly written as a series of interviews (and a smattering of journal entries and news clippings) instead of an actual narrative voice. I never quite decided how I felt about that. On top of that, there was also a very weird intrusion of the "male gaze." The lead scientist is a woman who has become convinced that the giant alien statue they're assembling (not a spoiler, this is revealed on the very first page,) is female. She gets really excited when they find the torso, because it has breasts. I object to none of this. What I found... unnatural was her long description of the statue's breast, using words like "perky" and saying things like, "she was likely the envy of all the other girl statues!" I won't go so far to say that no woman I know talks like this about boobs, because there are always exceptions, but this very much had the feel of those things I'm sure you've read where a male author describes a female character putting on her sweater and thinking to herself about the sexy contours of her body in long, loving detail. (See current Twitter storm over John Updike.)

I'm half way through the first volume of a josei manga called Bunny Drop by Yumi Unita, which I am enjoying so far. It's about a young salaryman who ends up adopting his grandfather's love child. I'm weirdly a sucker for these kinds of stories, where adults who normally don't deal with kids, suddenly have to. It's kind of trope in yaoi, actually.

I also started Spells of Blood and Kin by Claire Humphrey. I'm not very far into it, but I think I'll enjoy it. Like Bunny Drop, it starts with a funeral, only instead of grandpa dying, it's grandma.  

That's me this week. You?
lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
 Oops, I forgot that yesterday was "What Are You Reading? Wednesday."  This week has been very weird for me.  But, enough of that.  I will simply move my Wednesday list to today!

I picked up a nonfiction book at the library called Gnosticism and Other Vanished Christianities by Richard Valantasis.  I've been interested in the Gnostics since reading Elaine Pagels, plus this one promised to talk about other wacky early Christian cults.  I'm about halfway through the book and I'm a little disappointed in the surface treatment of everything, but the this is a Belief.net publication, so I probably should have expected as much.

Otherwise, I've been doing my usual yaoi reading. I read After Morning Love by Fujii Mitori, which I actually liked better than most.  I feel like the official translator missed the boat with the title though, I think you'd get a slightly better sense of the plot if it were called, "The Morning After Love," just a very slight change that tells you that this starts with the classic, "Wait, why am I hungover? Who is in my bed?" and leads to romance.

But, I speak almost no Japanese, so, weirdly, no one has hired me to be a translator.

Speaking of Japanese study, I've been terrible about keeping up with it, BUT I started watching "Pandora Hearts" on recommendation and I actually had to pause at one point because I distinctly heard the hero ask, "Kimi wa?"  (Who are you?) Given my native-speaker Japanese teacher's reaction to someone offering 'kimi' as a word for 'you,' (he turned BEET RED and literally could not speak for several seconds. I had to be the one to tell the student, "Um, that's a little rude? You've shocked Tetsuya-sensei."), I thought--okay, either this person is extremely rude or... maybe we're supposed to presume previous intimacy, despite the fact he doesn't recognize this demon-woman?  

"Anata wa?" is even fairly rude for an opening gamut, in my understanding. I feel like a polite person would ask, "Dare desu ka?" (lit: "Who is?') leaving off any rude pronouns.... which are most of them, so there you go.

To be fair, this guy is freaked out, and anime heroes tend to be rude as a rule (at least in shounen). Ichigo, for instance, is not someone you want to learn Japanese from because he starts out using the pronoun "tamee" which is akin to shouting out 'Yo, a$$hole' to people you meet. But 'tamee' ...you hear it a lot in anime speech.  You hardly ever hear 'kimi' spoken (or rather I should say, *I* haven't noticed it as often since I started paying attention) except in love songs, where it seems to be used almost exclusively, because of the intimacy it implies. My gut sense of 'kimi' is that it's not the normal sort of word you'd use WITH A STRANGER.

I had a long talk about this with another friend of mine who is studying and eventually, with the help of Google, we learned that 'kimi' as a you-pronoun can be used by men of a high status when addressing an underling without being considered rude AF.  Apparently, in the right context, 'kimi' implies a strong hierarchy, and, thus, tells us a LOT about this character, in that he can presume that the person he's addressing--a STRANGER--is automatically and significantly below him in the social pecking order.  This fits with the character, in that he is presented as a lordling of some sort, though after this pronoun use, I'm going to have to assume PRINCLING of some sort, or possibly even THE prince of all the land.

Things you can glean listening to a program in a language you barely speak.... kind of fun. 

Not to put too fine a point on it, because I am absolutely NOT one of those anime fans who will lecture a fellow fan that subs (subtitles) are superior in every way to dubs (dubbed)--BUT, I will suggest to anyone who is able to handle /comfortable reading while watching to give subs a try once, if you never have, because I do believe that it is possible to pick up extra content subconsciously.  Obviously, the above is an example that only works for someone like me, who is trying to learn the language.  BUT, previous to this, I FELT things about some characters in "Bleach" based only on my impression of their voices--their inflection, etc.  Without knowing ANYTHING about Japanese, I picked up on the fact that one character had an unusual accent (Gin for those in the know) and that it was likely Significant.  I do not know what they did with Gin's voice actor in English.  Ideally, American/Western voice actor casting would have a native-speaker on staff consulting about regional and class accents. (Please don't pretend we don't have class accents in American English. You KNOW what an upperclass East Coast accent is compared to a dirt-poor Southern drawl...) I know likely don't have a person like that on staff, but in my ideal world they would, because this is the stuff I feel you get by listening to the foreign language often enough, even without ANY study.

That being said, if, right now, you're feeling like I just dissed you because you prefer dubs.....  Honey, no!  I am so happy you're watching anime!!  I would never, ever tell you that you MUST do subs. If dubs is what works for you, yay!  I watched all of Full Metal Alchemist and Black Butler dubbed and J. Michael Tatum (the voice of Sebastian in the English BB) is an amazing dude and I would FIGHT anyone who says he's not an awesome, seductive Sebastian!

Besides, if you've been watching anime long enough, there used to be things you could ONLY get dubbed.  I have no idea what the original Starblazers sounds like, but my anime fan cred is strong because, kids, I was watching that LITERALLY before many of you were born: in 1978.  Deslock was my first anime husbando. 

Wow, this turns into a long screed. My apologies.  Gomen, gomen....
lydamorehouse: (Default)
I didn't get a whole lot of reading done over this last week. First, I was busy prepping for class, and then, right after finishing all that, I read and critiqued a manuscript for the Loft's writing coach program. (If you ever have an extra pile of dollars lying around and want to hire me, here's how you can do it.)

Then, yesterday, out of the blue, I got a note from my agent asking if I have any other trunk novels that I might be able to polish up and send off to Tapas Media again.  (She seems convinced she can squeeze real money out of them). I sort of do, but in order to meet what they're looking for, I'm doing a lot of revision... kinda major revision, which might not, ultimately, be worth it. But, I mean, what else do I have to do? (I mean, besides fan fiction.)

But, despite all that, I did plow through three manga that I picked up at Quatrefoil Library when I was there for Gaylaxicon's book club reading of Precinct 13. So, I read:

Dining Bar Akira / Kuimonodokoro Akira by Tomoko Yamashita
Man’s Best Friend / Inu mo Akurekeba by Takashima Kazusa
Your Honest Deceit / Kimi no Tsuku Use Hontou (vol. 1) by Ajimine Sakufu, and one I haven't had a chance to review yet:
Bachi Bachi by Kijima Hyougo.

You?
lydamorehouse: (swoon)
 Over here in the U.S. we had this stupid* holiday that falls on THE FOURTH of JULY no matter what day of the week that turns out to be, and so I am utterly confused to discover today is Wednesday....

Did I manage anything?  One thing I have noticed about myself with these regular Wednesday check-ins is that, no matter how crappy a reading week I might be having, I have reliably read at least one or two volumes of some manga or other.  So, in fact, this week I have read:

Ten Count (Vol. 4) by Rihito Takarai. As I talked about in my extensive review of this over on MangaKast, this yaoi has to be the smuttiest thing my library is purchasing on a regular basis. It's chock full of seriously dubious consent and, while there ARE censor bars in place, they don't actually cover a whole lot of the graphic stuff up terribly well. NOT THAT I'M COMPLAINING. I'm just surprised.

Bloody Monday (Vol. 1) by Ryou Ryoumon/Kouji Magumi. I have not officially reviewed this one yet, but it's a fun combo of cyberpunk meets bio-engineered plague apocalypse story--or at least that's what volume one seems to be shaping up to be. Given my vague dislike of body-horror, I'm thinking I should probably flip through the next several volumes of this at the library before I decide whether or not to continue. This story, however, did have one of my most favorite EVER hacker moments, though.  Our hero's laptop with the super-secret intercepted transmission he's been trying to decode gets melted by the spy-villain, and he's super-bummed and the reader thinks, "Oh no! There goes all the evidence," but when the hacker's best buddy asks him about it he shrugs and is like, "I loved that laptop, man. I built it from the ground up. It's irreplaceable." And his friend is like, "DUDE THE SECRETS!!" Hacker is all, "Huh? Oh, I have multiple copies of that. One of them is even on the cloud. Do you think I'm STUPID???"  So that was awesome and a nice dig at the Hollywood trope of information somehow existing in a vacuum.  

I have a bunch of books around to try next, and I think I'll probably try Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal next? I just don't know if I'll be able to consume anything more dense than manga during Convergence week.  I will for SURE be reading a graphic novel called The Wendy Project because I got a review copy of it for my gig with TwinCities Geeks, which is due some time next week.  

You?

----
*stupid.  Okay, there's nothing inherently WRONG with the Fourth of July. I'm just not a huge fan of all the amateur firecrackers (the big ones are _fine_, but my neighbors' racket until 2 am TICKS ME OFF) and it's been painfully difficult to be anything resembling the traditional sense of "patriotic" since November, since what I love about my country is its IDEAL as a democratic republic that thrives on reasoned discourse.   :-P
lydamorehouse: (??!!)
Having been driving a lot on our vacation I didn't read a ton, but I did manage some graphic novels this week:

PaperGirls, Vol. 2 by by Brian K. Vaughan/Cliff Chiang,
For the Love of God, Marie! by Jadie Sarson,
and a manga called Scum's Wish/Kuzu no Honkai (Vol. 1) [I think, I read this on-line, so I'm not sure how far I am in the actual tankōbon. I got through all of them that were published on MangaReader, about 15, which I'm guessing is only the first volume.]

Interestingly, there was kind of 'the perils of promiscuity for women' theme in both For the Love of God, Marie! and Scum's Wish.  I gave up on Necrotech by K. C, Alexander. I wasn't in the mood for it, I suppose, also on the road and it was an inter-library loan so it needed to go back sooner rather than later. 

How about you? Manage anything fun?
lydamorehouse: (Default)
 One thing I'm learning about myself is JUST HOW LONG it takes me to read a regular novel.  I'm still in the first half of Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers.

I did read a number of graphic novels/manga over the last week, though.  Because I got a new review gig with Twin Cities Geek that gives me access to a ton of different forthcoming titles, I was able to read:

The Circle by Damon Clark / Alyza Zherno. My official review is posted here: Creepy Art Busts Through Horror Clichés. I also read, but haven't yet reviewed Infinite Seven by Dave Dwonch / Arturo Mesa.

I also read Haikyu!! (Volumes 1 and 2) and I'm more than half way through volume 3.  The Saint Paul library has the whole collection of them, so I though I might as well read them all.  I have volumes 4, 5, and 6 all in my TBR pile.  Haikyu! is great fun to read, but the anime might be more compelling to anyone who has never read much manga.  I mean it's a SPORTS manga and super-duper shounen on top of that. But Mason is reading these along with me, so I'm going to get pulling them out of the library until we run out.

Books on my TBR pile:

An Accident of Stars by Fox Meadows
Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

And I just got a notice from the library that I have a couple others waiting for me.  But, the good news is that we're about to embark on a road trip across the American West (we're going to Yellowstone) and I'm sure there will be a lot of time for reading at the various hotels we'll be staying at.  Hopefully, I will be able to report in from Wyoming or wherever next week that I got a lot more read!

How about you?  What was your reading week like?



lydamorehouse: (Default)
 Well, this was not a great week for reading for me for some reason.  I have a TON of stuff in my TBR pile, but very little that I can report having finished.  Here's what I did get done, however:

Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun (Volumes 5-7) by Tsubaki Izumi.

I mean, that's three volumes, but that's all I managed in a week.  I feel kind of dumb about that. But, like I said, I have a bunch of stuff that I'm anxious to start.  Here's what's sitting on my end table next to my chair in the living room waiting for me:

Haikyu!! (Volumes 1 & 2) by Haruichi Furudate.  
Lupin III (Volumes 1-4) by Monkey Punch
Oishinbo: A La Carte, Japanese Cuisine & Oishinbo: A La Carte, Ramen and Gyoza by Tetsu Kariya/Akira Hanasaki
Invisible Boy (Volume 1) by Hotaru Odagiri
Last Year by Robert Charles Wilson
Accident of Stars by Fox Meadows
A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers

All of these books, outside of the Lupins, are library books, so I'd better get cracking.  

I've started A Closed and Common Orbit, which is a sequel to A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, which I loved (with a few caveats. My main caveat being that, if you're the sort who really wants your science fiction to have high-octane plot, A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet is not for you.  However, if you read fan fic and don't mind a travelogue with heavy characterization, this is the best book EVER.)  

I suspect I'm going to end up returning Last Year without cracking the cover.  I enjoyed Wilson's Affinities, but I'm just not sure about this one. Given that it's an interlibrary loan (and thus can not be renewed), I probably should have started it, if I wanted to get it back on time.  The yaoi manga Invisible Boy is probably going back, too, unless I decide to power through it in the next couple of days.  I could renew that one, but I've had it sitting here a long time and not been terribly drawn to it (the art style is very "wispy.")

Mason has already helped himself to Haikyu!! and I would like to catch up on these because I watched the first season of this anime and adored it. Who knew I had a space in my heart for SPORTS anime?  And this one is about volleyball of all things. But, it's so, so shounen that it's almost an accidental parody of all things shounen.  Look, the two rivals! They hate each other with a passion of a thousand burning suns, this pushes them to succeed, but WAIT, they must learn to work together on the same team!!  Can they overcome their rivalry to win?  

I picked up Accident of Stars which looks nothing like anything I would ever read because it is a Bisexual Book Award finalist. Speaking of interlibrary loan, I'm trying to get the other nominees through my library, too, because Bisexual Book Award! (I might have to try to pick up their YA books, too, though some of them are self-published....) 

The Japanese foodie books looked weird and interesting when I came across them on the St. Paul Public Library catalogue (which I was looking at while working at the Ramsey County Public Library!)  Lupin I picked up at Uncle Hugo's during their 20% off sale, because one of my favorite early anime movies was "Castle of Cagliostro," which I saw on a big screen at the Uptown Theater at midnight sometime in the 1990s, which features Lupin III.  They're really hard to read, like the art is both rough, and it honestly looks badly reproduced, but what the hey, it was 20% off.

So, that's me. Hopefully, I'll have more to report having READ next week.

How about you? What've you read? What are you looking forward to reading?
lydamorehouse: (Default)
As I mentioned yesterday, I actually got a lot of stuff read over this last week. I started and finished:

Novels:

WAYPOINT KANGAROO by Curtis C. Chen. The finish was as good as the start, IMHO. Kangaroo is a combination of deep space science fiction and James Bond spy thriller, only if James Bond was a little more like a real person, albeit a real person with a superpower (the ability to open a "storage pocket" into an alternate universe.) Generally, I found WAYPOINT KANGAROO to be a fast and fun read.

Manga:

Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun (Volumes 1-4) by Izumi Tsubaki. As I said before, I loved this anime. (I loved it enough that I actually wrote het fan fic for it as a treat for Yuletide last year.) The story is very cute. Our heroine Chiyo Sakura has harbored a crush on Umetarou Nozaki since middle school. She finally works up the nerve to make her love confession and blurts out, "I'm your number one fan." Nozaki takes this in a weird sort of stride and... gives her his autograph. Sakura later discovers that Nozaki has been writing a very popular girl's romance under a female pseudonym. When I try to explain the humor here to people less familiar with manga, I say, "It's about gender stereotypes. It's like finding out that the captain of the high school football team is secretly writing lurid romance novels for Harlequin. And, even though he acts like a total meathead, he's super good at it, Nora Roberts level!" Part of the charm of Nozaki-kun is that Nozaki is kind of a meatball. He's the Japanese equivalent, anyway. He seems to over-think every romantic situation with the eye of a romance mangaka, but he misses the true point EVERY TIME. I can not recommend this series strong enough, though if you don't read a lot of manga, I would the anime because it's complete at one season.

Then I read the first three volumes of Behind the Scenes!! by Bisco Hatori. Hatori-sensei is most well known for her series Ouran High School Host Club which I attempted to watch, dubbed, several years ago and bounced out of. It's SO FAMOUS, however, that every once and a while I thumb through the tankobon at the library and think, "I should read this." Well, I never did, but now I've read Behind the Scenes!! which has a similar start in that our hero, Ranmaru, really just wants to get through college with the least amount of notice. He's been keeping his head down until he accidentally crashes the science fiction film club's zombie movie set and ruins the scene. Of course they're under tight deadline, so the Art Squad (those responsible for props and make-up and the support for all the film clubs on campus) gang-press him into service as an apology/retribution. Ranmaru, who come from humble fisher folk, discovers a hidden talent to make the most out of limited supplies, a skill that the perpetually broke Art Squad desperately needs. I found the first three volumes passably entertaining. I'm somewhat confused by the "negative personality" trope that Ranmaru fits in--there is a lot of weeping and feeling helpless that I find vaguely off-putting, but like Ouran, there is a large, quirky cast of supporting characters that I like a whole lot better.

Netsuai by Naono Bohra, a single volume yaoi, about two step-brothers who fall in lust/love. The only thing this one has going for it is that it's short and smutty. There's an attempt at a storyline involving a rich, traditional family, but that was mostly an excuse to break the brothers up so that they could run back to each other's arms. I'm not a big fan of these kinds of incest/pseudo-incest storylines, but no kink shaming from me. You do you. And, for my own part, this one squicked me less because even though the younger brother constantly calls his elder step-brother 'nii-san' they aren't related by blood. Their father married the elder's mother, but that's the only connection. We see a scene of the elder brother arriving in-tow.

Deadlock by Aida Saki/Takashina Yuu. I read all the available chapters of this on-going... well, technically it popped up under "yaoi" on Mangago, but there's way more romantic tension than there is actual smut, I'd be tempted to call it a prison-themed boy's love manga. Actually, if you've always wanted to know what yaoi is like but you're super-turned off by all the NSFW sex? You could consider checking out Deadlock, because there isn't even an on-screen kiss in all the eight or so chapters available on-line, yet it's very much set up like one of the more plot-heavy yaoi. The story is of a Japanese-American (I love when Japanese writers try to write Americans, btw... and this whole thing takes place in a California prison) who was a DEA investigator, Yuuto Lenex, who is framed for his partner's murder. The FBI approach him with a deal--they commute part of his sentence if Yuuto can find the mysterious prison boss going by the name 'Corvus.' All Yuuto knows about 'Corvus' is that he's a white guy with a burn scar on his back. Cue entrance of hottie white guy cellmate, Dick. I kind of feel like there should be a joke here, but Deadlock takes Dick very seriously (despite an utter lack of lowercase dick.) I enjoyed it the way you do when you're looking for prison yaoi, but I don't know that i could recommend it to anyone who wasn't at least curious about what yaoi was like....

Last night I read Princess Jellyfish (Volume 4, 2-in-1) by Ahiho Higashimura, which continues the story of the female-only otaku commune and one crossdresser's valiant attempt to save the commune from demolition by developers. You know, the plot did not advance all that much, given how many pages I read (355.) In fact, I would bet that the story has not yet advanced beyond what is shown in the anime (at least from what I can glean from Wikipedia's episode synopses.) Probably the most interesting developments are Read more... )


EDITED TO ADD: I knew I'd read so much that I'd likely forget something!  I also read all of "As the Crow Flies" a webcomic by Melanie Gilliman, which was recommended to me by Naomi and which I HIGHLY RECOMMEND to you.  It's actually pretty easy to catch up. I managed it in one day.  The link will take you to the last panel, but you can either go to the archives and start at the beginning or used the big arrow to take you back to the first one.  "As the Crow Flies" is the story of Charlie, a young African-American girl, who has been drawn to attend a women-only Bible retreat. She not your typical Bible thumper, and neither is this retreat, but Charlie deals a lot with the underlying racism in the idea of 'purifying' as 'whitening' and generally wrestling with being a feminist (queer?) and a Christian.  It's a very pretty webcomic, too, with colored pencil art.  Absolutely worth checking out.


Okay, I think that's everything. I suspect next week will be much more sparse. Not only am I working both tonight and tomorrow afternoon, I'm also desperately trying to finish up this proposal package AND our friend John Jackson is coming to stay with us over the weekend. I think I'll be lucky to read a few short one-chapter yaoi!

But the books I have in my I-would-if-I-find-the-time pile:

LAST YEAR by Robert Charles Wilson (novel)
READER: Book One of Sea of Ink and Gold by Traci Chee
Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun (vols. 6 & 7) --I'm waiting on 5 from St. Paul Library (manga)
Invisible Boy by Hotaru Odagiri (yaoi/manga)

I also put in a request at the St. Paul Library for Haikyuu! because I saw they had them and that's another one where I enjoyed the anime, but have never read the manga.


How about you? Read anything good over the last week?
lydamorehouse: (Default)
I managed to finish an actual (non-graphic) book and get halfway through another one! Go me!

I finished COMPANY TOWN by Madeline Ashby, which I liked a lot all the way to the last... oh, I dunno 50 pages or so? The action took a sudden uptick and the narrative got kind of... sketchy? Sloppy? It felt like it was missing critical bits of connective tissue. We'd jump from one scene still reeling from the events there, and be knee deep in another before really having a sense of resolution from the first moment, you know? Then, when it looks like everyone has sacrificed for the greater good, there's a plot twist that hinges on--and I'm not making this up!!--magical sex. (Not literal magic, but, like, 'whoops' we forgot the condoms so now I have your nano-bot superpower, too, just in time to save my life!)

All that being said, I liked the first part of the book a lot. Our main character Hwa, (Go Jung-Hwa) is a bodyguard for the United Sex Workers of Canada on one of the last remaining oil rigs/floating towns. The company town is being bought out by a new owner who is going to shift the industry to nuclear power. Hwa has Sturge-Weber Syndrome and, so, unlike most people, she's completely un-augmented. After a chance encounter, she ends up working for the new owners of the town. I think the thing I found compelling in the first part of the novel was the tension between Hwa and her new world. She's poor; the new owners, her bosses, the Lynch family, are über-rich. They're so augmented they're nearly cyborgs; Hwa is flesh and bone, and flawed, at that. That made for some compelling scenes/tension, IMHO. Plus, Hwa is badass.

I'm half-way through WAYPOINT KANGAROO by Curtis C. Chen, and enjoying it so far. The novel follows Kangaroo, a interstellar spy, who has a secret superpower: the ability to open up his own, private pocket universe. What I'm enjoying about Kangaroo so far is that he's kind of an anti-Bond (he keeps screwing up, is awkward with the ladies), while still having all of the fun parts of a James Bond-type character (speeder chases, Sherlock-level people/observation skills). Plus, what's not to love about James Bond in space? I also love the the pseudo-plot point, which is that Kangaroo has been sent on "vacation" to keep him out of the way while the spy department is audited, and Kangaroo SUCKS at taking it easy. (I say pseudo-plot, because it's clear that Kangaroo has stumbled into a much bigger plot.)

It's not hard to imagine that James Bond would, in fact, be terrible with downtime. And you hardly ever see that sort of thing in movies--high-adrenaline people having to deal with the fact that life is not all car chases and shoot 'em ups, so it's nice to see it explored in a novel. In that way, WAYPOINT KANGAROO almost feels like fan fiction. Fan fiction does this sort of thing a lot, i.e. asks the reader to imagine what happens when super spies have no urgent problem to solve? What happens during the downtime? Can a character like James Bond ever relax? Who is the spy when s/he is not wearing the 'persona,' the 'legend'?

So, I can't vouch for the ending of this one, but half-way through it's still quite engaging. Of course, I would have said that about COMPANY TOWN, too.

Things on my TBR pile still:

The St. Paul Public library finally coughed up volume 1 of Monthly Girl's, Nozaki-kun by Izumi Tsubaki. I started reading that, actually, but am finding the format (a series of self-contained, 4-panel shorts/one-shots) a little hard to adjust to, when I'm used to the more traditional storytelling of a manga. Luckily, I'm familiar with the anime, so I suspect when I get into it, I'll be able to rip through it pretty quickly. The art is lovely, actually, so that will help.

The other thing I picked up is the first three volumes of Behind the Scenes!! by Bisco Hatori. The story appears to follow the classic lost soul--Ranmaru Kuriso--who has spent his life apologizing for being in the way. He's drifting through his first semester of college, trying to keep his head down and away from people, when he finds himself in the way again. This time, he almost literally stumbles into the film club's shoot of a zombie horror movie. The loud, brash back stage crew adopt him. Wacky hijinks ensue. I expect that hapless Kuriso will also discover a secret superpower regarding prop construction or otherwise figure out that the back stage crew are "his tribe." Possibly there will be romance, as this manga is published by Shojo Beat.

Dear gods, do I actually have two shojo series right now?  Yes, yes, I believe I do!  How about them apples.

So, what are you reading?


lydamorehouse: (Default)
I kind of feel like an idiot that I only just discovered that on both Dreamwidth and LiveJournal, Wednesday has been a designated "What are you reading?" day for... well, probably since forever, for all I know.

I'm going to try to remember to participate, because I love reading other people's posts about their reading lists, even though lately I have been having a hell of a time consuming entire novels. I don't know if this problem has to do with mood, my dyslexia, the political situation in America, or my attention span. But, whatever causes it, I tend to ride it out by reading a LOT of graphic novels. So, since last Wednesday, I have read:

Princess Jellyfish (Volumes 2 & 3) by Akiko Higashimura: It should probably be noted that I read the two-in-one volumes of both 2 & 3, which actually brings me up to volume 6 of the traditionally packaged tankōbon. Princess Jellyfish is the story of Tsukimi, a nerd obsessed with jellyfish, who lives in a female-only commune. Her life becomes topsy-turvy when she mets Kuranosuki, the son of a high-powered politician, who likes to cross dress. The plot basically revolves around three basic questions: will the commune get sold out from under the otaku women in order to make way for a high-rise development? Will the others in the commune figure out that Kuranosuki is actually a man? And will Tsukimi fall in love with either Kuranosuki or his dorky elder brother? Princess Jellyfish is josei (basically: written for an older female audience), so, despite these romantic elements, I'm not automatically expecting a HEA. I have some caveats/reservations before I would recommend Princess Jellyfish, in particular around how 'performing femininity' seems to net the nerd girls more positive results than when they're being their authentic selves...(and I HATE that message and that trope). BUT, so far, there's enough progress in the 'hey, nerd girls have useful skills/inner beauty too!' counterpoint that I'm willing to roll with this and enjoy its whacky ensemble cast. A lot of people chimed in when I posted about this on MangaKast, because the anime is apparently VERY popular, despite there being only one season and it having been produced some time ago.

I read a number of one-shot and single volume yaoi on Sunday while I was waiting for the dozens of small batches of flieschkueckle to fry. I read Ace no Kyuujitsu by Nishida Hagishi (about a baseball star that hooks up with a cruise ship captain) and Host is Down by Nishin Matsumi (a one-shot/single chapter story of an android seemingly alone on a derelict ship).

The things I have in my queue/TBR pile right now include:

Manga:

Nozaki-kun Monthly Girls
' by Izumi Tsubaki. I loved this anime and, when I saw that the Saint Paul library had copies of the manga, I decided to try reading it as well. The title character Nozaki is a high schooler who also has a "secret" life as a shojo (girls' romantic) mangaka. I have volumes 2-4, because... libraries. But, I'm not sure that's going to stop me from reading these, since I know how the story starts thanks to the anime.

Books:

Waiting for me on the hold shelf of Ramsey County's Roseville branch are:

Company Town by Madeline Ashby
The Reader by Traci Chee
Waypoint Kangaroo by Curtis C. Chen

So, that's what I'm reading and hoping to read... How about you?





lydamorehouse: (Default)
 Like you do.

But apparently, something didn't happen that should have when we donated our last car because we got a tabs renewal notice from the DMV for the old Taurus.  I called the Make-a-Wish people and the woman I talked to was very... helpful/not helpful.  Possibly she could have been MORE helpful if I wasn't half-asleep and had known which questions to ask while talking to her, but all I ended up getting out of our conversation was that maybe there was some part of the sale process that I didn't do.  LUCKILY, Shawn photocopied our original title, so I can bring that and the acknowledgment of sale to the DMV in Roseville (I go there because it tends to be less... soul-dead).  Hopefully, someone there will hand me the right form or be more clear about where I need to go to get the proper form (and/or tell me for sure if anything really needs to be done, because what's especially confusing is that Make-a-Wish has already SOLD my car to someone else. You'd think if I didn't do some part of the transfer of sale, that couldn't happen. But who knows? Hopefully the DMV knows.)

So, yeah, I'm avoiding going there at the moment.

I'm avoiding heading out because it's hard and I don't want to do it, but also I'm  hoping to combine this trip to Roseville with a stop in at the Roseville Library.  A manga volume that I requested has come in and I have a bunch of books that need to go back.  

I'm giving up on ALL THE BIRDS IN THE SKY.  I feel... badly about this.  I know and like the author, Charlie Jane Anders, and worse, there was nothing inherently wrong with this book.  In fact, I really feel like the old "It's not you, it's me" is applicable here, because what would happen is that I would start reading, enjoy myself for however long, put the book down and then forget about it completely for days at a time.  I've renewed the book once already. I could do it again, but I'm going to take this as a sign that I'm just not in the right mood for it. (Or possibly book reading, in general. As I said in my previous post, sometimes my brain only wants to consume graphic novels/manga.) So, it's not like I'm QUITTING the book. More that I'm setting it aside, for now.

You can see how guilty I feel, right?

I have a bunch of other books that I've been moving around the house rather than reading, too.  I'm hoping one of them will finally hit me at the right time/in the right headspace and I'll jump into it with both feet. I kind of hate these periods when they hit me.  I mean, it's not like I'm not reading at ALL, but some part of me still thinks of all the comic books/graphic novels/manga I read as "not proper books." Which is silly because I'm usually the first to jump up and defend graphic novels as REAL LITERATURE, because they are.  And I KNOW this.

Whelp, first day of glorious sunshine and I'm going to go spend it at the DMV. Wish me luck!


lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
It's kind of grim and rainy out again this morning.  I spent almost two hours at Hy-Vee this morning.  That's the last time I go THIS LONG without doing my basic staples shopping. On the other hand, our pantry is now stocked with All The Things.  Ah, tomato soup again!

Mason is supposed to have a baseball game tonight, but I wonder if it will be cancelled due to weather.  As the person who will have to sit on the cold bleachers, I really, really hope it is.  If not, I'm bringing not only a PARKA, but also a thermos of hot chocolate.  Maybe some blankets, too.

This weekend is the March for Science.  I'm looking forward to it, because I have not been very good in the last few weeks about keeping on top of my congress-critters and local legislators. I think the last thing I did was the town hall, and there's still SO MUCH stuff to fight.  Still, I try to remind myself that this is neither a sprint NOR a marathon; it's a relay race. It's okay to hand the baton to someone else and let them run with it for a while. 

I depressed myself listening to the results from the Ossoff race in Georgia, especially the news of the midnight hour (almost literally) voting machine "glitch."  I can't help but feel that we were robbed of a straight-up win. The truth is, we'll never know, but the doubts will ALWAYS linger, especially since he had a clear lead before for the "corrupted" memory card was found. Shit like that makes me lose faith.  

I mean, yes, there was a groundswell movement. Yes, he nearly did it... but, what's that going to matter, if people start to worry that their votes aren't being legitimately counted? And, Georgia isn't the only place. We never even got a decent recount of Wisconsin, Michigan or Pennsylvania, despite best efforts.

ARGH.

So.... I've been reading a lot of comic books.  I've been working my way through the Hugo nominated graphic novels. So far, I read Ms. Marvel: Super Famous (Vol. 3), Black Panther: Nation Under Our Feet (vol. 1), Vision: A Little Worse Than a Man (vol. 1) and  Vision: Little Better Than a Beast (Vol.2), and Paper Girls (Vol 1.).  I started Montress: Awakening (Vol. 1), which has been interesting so far. The only one I haven't tried to get is Saga (Vol. 6) because I suspect I'd need to read the other 5 volumes to know what's going on. Pretty much everyone says I should be reading Saga, anyway, but I'm not and I'm being obstinate about starting it for some reason, probably the whole "eh, but all the cool kids are doing it, so it can't be that great." After all, I finally got around to trying Bitch Planet, and I could have done without.  Not at ALL what I was hoping for there and absolutely NOT worth the hype.

I have all the Hugo nominee novels at home, but I have not been able to really get into any of them.  As I was telling a friend of mine the other day, I go through these periods where I read a LOT of novels and other times when my brain can only handle shorter, graphic stuff.  I've been in that second phase lately.  Like, I'll sit down with a book in my lap and two seconds later I've set it down and wandered off.  The thing about graphic novels is that in two seconds, I've read half of it, so it's no as much a strain to continue on for however many more seconds it takes to finish the thing.

I also haven't been able to write much.  I'm THIS close to finishing the latest installment in my long-running Byakuya/Renji fan fic, but I just haven't been motivated to keep on with it.

I blame Trump.
lydamorehouse: (ticked off Ichigo)
I guess  I taunted the weather goddesses a little too much in my blog yesterday, because I came out of Magers & Quinn last night and snapped this picture:


snow falling outside Magers & Quinn Bookstore, Minneapolis, MN April 10, 2017


Again, if you can't see it, is shows a bookstore storefront. The awnings below a lit-up "Magers & Quinn Booksellers" sign are snow-covered. You can see grainy streaks of heavy snowfall overlaying the whole shot. The cars parked in front of the bookstore are likewise covered in snow.

Snow.

Apparently, when I complained about the lack of moisture falling from the skies for the past few days, the weather Powers That Be heard my taunt to 'put up or shut up' and thought, "HA. We'll show HER. How about a half inch of SNOW, huh? YOU LIKE THAT, PUNK???!!"

I did not.  

It was fairly horrific to drive home in--there were points on the highway where I was fairly certain I was making up my own lane lines, since I really couldn't see where they were supposed to be...and that's never a safe feeling.  But I made it home fine, andI am happy to report,that  the new car handles like a dream in slippery weather.  I mean, the new car is funny.  Patrick, that is.  He's like a stately, yet somewhat cranky old man. He just doesn't do fast, even when you'd really like him to have a bit more pick-up and go.  So, to say he 'handled well,' really means that he was just not fussed to go any faster than all that and so took the turns and such in his own damn good time.  That's Patrick for you. He's kind of stubborn like that.  A good car, though. I'm still very happy with it. Especially pleased to have heated seats last night. (And a heater that works!)

The reading itself could not have gone better. Remember how cranky *I* was about Magers & Quinn not being able to get any copies of Precinct 13? Well, they managed it in the end. There were several copies available for sale when I came in. I was so pleased that I decided that whatever didn't sell, I'd just buy myself, because I always need giveaway copies around. I think I ended up taking home three of them (which was about half what they ordered, I'd guess. So a good night for them, too, I'd think).

The readers were all lovely. We were gender balanced (almost exactly), though all of us were white (as far as I could tell). There was a band that played songs as intermissions, which was... fancy?  There was wine and cheap snacks on a little table. We read at a podium with a microphone. I felt like I did pretty well. The story excerpt I read was from "Everything in Its Place" a story that I significantly revamped for this anthology, but which I originally sold to Tales of the UnAnticipated back in the day. (TOTU gets first publishing credit.)  When Eric first published "Everything..." he told me he didn't like the ending, which was bleak.  I'd conceived it as a horror story, really.  But, he asked me to rework it, and so I did.  It ended up still dark, but the ending has the heroine making peace with 'the thing' that lives with her.  A good, possibly better ending, but not my original intent. For the anthology I revised it back to its original, more horrific ending

One of the many nice things about having an archivist for a wife, is that I still HAD a readable electronic copy of my original. I'd saved it as Thing One (the version I sent to Eric which eventually sold to him was labeled, naturally, Thing Two.) But, it was.. clunky. So I had to do some significant revision.  I guess now I have a Thing Three, which completely ruins the Seuss reference.

Tonight, I teach!  



lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
I finally got around to reading Lumberjanes written by Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis / art by Brooke Allen


 

Here is a picture of the cover of volume one which you might not be able to see. It features the five main characters: Ripley, April, Jo, Molly, and Mal (in Stevenson style, which is hard to explain so go look at the cover of Nimona). Lumberjanes are a kind of Girl Scouts on steroids estrogen, plus these five particular girls keep running into monsters that are far from the average. Each issue collected starts with a little excerpt from the the Lumberjanes handbook, done in a tongue-in-cheek "Miss Manners" style, about how proper young ladies should behave when confronted with the Wilderness. Each one starts out sounding like something horrible from the 1950s, but ends with implications of bad-assery, ala, "A young lady should be well versed in how to cook. After all, her knife skills may come in handy when confronting a mutated grizzly." (That's my example. Stevenson and Ellis are cleverer than I. Unfortunately, I already returned the volumes or I'd give you something actually from the text. But they're very much in that vein.)

At times, for me, the characters were trying a bit too hard to be... hip? I dunno, I guess I mean whatever you kids are calling 'cool' these days... or clever. Mostly, however, I liked them. Jo was, of course, my favorite even before Read more... ) Likewise, Mal and Molly, the lesbian (or at least in love with each other) couple were runners-up.  Of them, though I liked Molly a little better, if only because she seemed nerdy in a way I could relate.  Mal, though, at least, physically looked like me--in college--but, in college, I used to complain that the butchest lesbian we ever saw on TV was Willow from "Buffy," and that wasn't saying much. So, it's really nice to see the butch, punk girls not only being represented but also allowed to secretly/not-so secretly be very NOT butch when it comes to being brave, etc.

The stories themselves impressed me less than the characters.  If you're really hoping for something whiz-bang in terms of storytelling, I'd say go read (or re-read) Nimona. But, if, instead, as one of the Lumberjanes slogans goes "Friendship to the Max" is more your thing, then you will enjoy the heck out of Lumberjanes.

I will say that, in this current political climate, Lumberjanes was exactly what I needed. I got through many nights by pouring myself a hot bath and settling into soak for a good long time while reading Lumberjanes. I used Lumberjanes the way I used "Free! Iwatobi Swim Club" and "Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories" ... which is to say, I turned to them when my brain needed something vaguely mindless, but ultimately happy/satisfying.
lydamorehouse: (ichigo being adorbs)
 It's been a long time since I reviewed a comic book here.  But, when I was working at Shoreview today, I saw that they had the first collected volume of FAITH.

Don't know if the picture thing is going to work, so I will describe the cover: Faith is a plus-sized white woman with blond hair. She's featured on the cover sitting on a telephone wire surrounded by confused-looking pigeons while she types something on her thinly-disguised Mac Book (the actual Apple logo is not there, but there's a perfectly round bit of light where it should be). She is dressed in a white outfit with a flowing train. Her cheerful face is illuminated by the blue computer light in the twilight. Her name, Faith, is in bright yellow almost comic sans font.  The comic is produced by the independent publisher, Valiant.


faith comic book cover


What I like about Faith is not her size.  It is refreshing to see a woman of substance doing the superhero-ing for once. It's even more refreshing that there's not a single lick of fat-shaming to be found in the title.  The worst that happens in that vein is that Faith's ex's new girlfriend mutters, "You sure traded up." 

What I ended up liking about FAITH, though, is that it starts to struggle with real-world issues of being a hero.  As any of you who have read this blog for any amount of time (or who have heard me speak on comic book/graphic novel-related comic books) knows, I'm a big fan of this kind of thing.

I really like it when the concept of hero-ing is taken seriously.  

In the second issue of FAITH, we see this dealt with in terms of collateral damage.  Faith has gone to investigate a missing person report and the bad guy minion she encounters in the abandoned house has rigged the place to explode. Faith is protected because she has a kind of telekinetic shield, but the houses on either side of the abandoned house ALSO CATCH FIRE.  I can't say you never see this sort of thing in comics because the Marvel Universe (both in the comic books and the MCU) have been very cognizant of the idea that superheroes are actually fairly hazardous to civilians, but I never get tired of seeing writers taking on this particular issue. Francis Portela does a great job showing the pain on Faith's faith in the aftermath.  Generally, I should say that as much as I like Jody Houser's writing, it is very much highlighted by Portela's art style.  (There also also funny imagined/day-dreamed asides/omake drawn by Marguerite Sauvage that were in a very distinct style that I also liked a lot.) 

Also, FAITH fits a new trend in female comic lead characters. Like Kamala Khan, Faith is a fangirl.  The dialogue is chock full of geek insider references. Faith even swears in "Firefly" Chinese, at one point. As a day job, Faith works for some kind of web content place, like io9 or Mental Floss (though with a more celebrity gossip bent, since this takes place in LA). Her colleagues are all pop culture nerds, and they have no idea she's a superhero in disguise.  Did I like this or did it feel like it was trying too hard to appeal to the base?  I'm not sure.  Goodness knows, I appreciate any fan fic references.

The other issue FAITH addresses is the extent to which having a secret identity is socially isolating.  I'm not sure how often that idea has been touched on before, but I found it very compelling here.  

The last thing to know is that Zephyr/Faith has a history as a Valiant superhero.  I'm not a big Valiant reader so I have to trust Wikipedia on this one, but apparently she was part of a superhero group (referenced in this reboot).  Apparently, she was a walking fat joke (she was known as Zeppelin--she's dressed all in white and can fly) in a group called Harbingers (or maybe that was the title and her team was the Renegades?) At any rate, some of that bleeds through into this issue, but I can attest from experience (or perhaps LACK of experience) that it's not necessary to have read any of her previous appearances to appreciate this reboot.   

I give is 3.5 out of 5 stars.  My hesitations mostly hinge on the fact that I'm not sure I really needed all the nerd-sassy references, and that some of the issues touched on could have gone deeper, IMHO.
lydamorehouse: (Renji 3/4ths profile)
...is that you walk away with ART.

I ended up buying $40 worth of blank cards before last night's panel discussion/reading even started at the AZ Gallery. I couldn't help it. For one the cards all featured Saint Paul landmarks, and secondly, they were f*cking gorgeous! My pen pals NEED these, you understand. NEED.

Besides, I figure that supporting my hosting venue is never a bad idea.

The panel itself went well, for the most part. Ironically, we were somewhat hijacked by a guy in the audience ("that guy") who wanted all HIS questions answered. So, I guess we were basically a living example of the whole 'things that happen when you bring up feminism on the internet.' Except not QUITE that egregious.

I always feel a little... awkward on these panels because I read a LOT of women who are publishing currently, and so I tend to baulk when people suggest that there's a huge dearth of female voices or that we somehow didn't 'break in' to SF/F until yesterday.  I tried temper my comment by pointing out that it seems pretty clear to me that the issue has to do with how are voices are perceived--the whole idea that if women make up 30% of the discussion, they're perceived as dominating.  The percentage of women writing SF/F in the past has always stayed under the radar of that threshold.  Now that we're reaching PERCEIVED parity, people are squawking that we're taking over.  

Which I hope made my, "Yes, but there *is* a published author who wrote about X" a little less annoying. (If you're curious about the context, it was suggested that in science fiction women rarely worry about menstruation, I pointed out that, ACTUALLY, Monica Byrne wrote about it in GIRL IN THE ROAD, and I could also have brought up that you could have called the main theme of BOOK OF THE UNNAMED MIDWIFE by Meg Elison 'what the f*ck are we going to about our periods in the apocalypse?' TBF, the point of % representation still stands, that's two books I could think of out of how many?) 

So, it was a good panel, I'd say.  Anything that makes *me* think about how I talk about women writers is well worth it, you know?  

The reading went well, too. With luck, I drew a few more people into my work.  

lydamorehouse: (shield)
 Last night I had a reading at Magers & Quinn in Uptown.  I kind of wanted to bail on the whole thing, of course.  Like a lot of people I know, I spent much of yesterday breaking out into uncontrolled sobbing.  But, we were talking about Women in Science Fiction and I'd made a promise.  Moreover, the bookstore had made a concerted effort to have my books available and so I didn't want to let anyone down.

I didn't think anyone would come. Most of us are so shattered and the topic seemed so... I mean, as I was telling friends of mine earlier, I was feeling so beaten down that I was afraid that all I would manage was to burst into tears an say, "Why bother!? Misogyny won!"  But, again, I thought, no, this is important.  I need to do this.  Besides, it's just a reading.  If no one comes we can go to the bar and cry.

But people came.

I was supposed to meet my fellow panelists early at a nearby restaurant, but with traffic, my mood, and everything else, I didn't manage it.  So I ended up at Magers & Quinn early and watched people come in.  One of the first was a friend of mine from fandom, Sybil, who was still leaking tears as she talked about friends of hers who were seriously considering suicide.  I had no words.  We all feel so hopeless.  But, I offered a hug and my sympathy.

By the time we started, the house was actually packed.  It was standing room only as we started to tentatively talk about what it's like being a woman writing in a predominantly male dominated field.  I talked about my added issues as a queer writer.  We were sharing "war stories."

Out of the blue, in the back of the audience sharp words were exchanged. A chair went sliding.  Someone got shoved into the stacks. I heard a sickening, wet-crunch of a punch being thrown.  Everyone was so shocked it took a minute to even understand what was happening, but then people dialed 9-1-1, some guys rushed back to break up the violence. The aggressors stalked out with threats of "we'll see you outside." To which we responded, with, "No, we're calling the cops." No one knows what started it.  Maybe a fight over a chair offered?  Maybe thugs looking for PoC to beat up on?  But the aggressors didn't seem particularly white (I would have said they were Hispanic, but they did not read as white, regardless), and they punched a white guy....? Were they looking for a white guy to hit (weird place given that everyone there were allies and the room was very much dominated by women and several other PoCs, including the victim's wife and children)? What hell happened?  It was crazy.  Beyond crazy to surreal.

I have never attended a reading/panel discussion that broke out into violence before in my life. I can only assume that this random violence was the angry version of my random tears.  Something uncontrollable, volatile, hopeless.  It might have been an attack on PoCs/queers/women, but what weird place to go looking for us!  Why chose a bookstore when Uptown is full of taverns and clubs?

But what is even more astounding to me is that the reading went on.

After the aggressors stalked out, the cops called, the victim tended to... we went on.  People stayed. No only did they stay, but we managed to talk about why what we're doing is important. People listened, people spoke, people asked questions... I cried randomly once, but we also managed--AFTER ALL THAT--to laugh, all of us, together.  

I can't even begin to really process or understand what happened, but, despite how awful it was, we went on, you know?  One step at time.  One moment at a time.  And we found a way to survive.  More than that, we survived and thrived, together.
lydamorehouse: (crazy eyed Renji)
 On Wednesday, Nov. 9, at Magers & Quinn in Minneapolis at 7:00 PM I'll be doing a "Writers in Conversation" with a number of other Twin Cities authors !  

It'll be the day after the election and I'm sure you need an excuse to dig yourself up out of your blanket fort and be social with some really cool people!

From their events page:


Wednesday, November 9, 7:00pm - Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)
 
 

 

Writers in Conversation: Local authors Victorya Chase, Kelly Barnhill, Abra Staffin-Wiebe, and Lyda Morehouse discuss women in science fiction and writing female protagonists, along with a brief reading

Victorya Chase is a writer and educator living in the the Midwest where she works in medical education teaching the importance of narrative competency and understanding the various cultural and personal stories at play in the exam room. Her writing has appeared in Cemetery Dance, Lamplight, and The Unlikely Journal of Entomology. She is the author of Marta Martinez Saves the World.

Kelly Barnhill writes novels for children and short stories for adults and poetry that she whispers in the dark when no one is listening. Her first novel, The Mostly True Story of Jack, received four-starred reviews, and her second, Iron Hearted Violet, received a Parents’ Choice Gold Award. Her most recent novel is The Witch’s Boy. Kelly lives on a city street in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with a field and a creek behind her house. A coyote runs by every morning at six a.m. and a heron flies over her yard just before the sun sets on slow summer evenings. Kelly is a fast runner and a steady hiker and a good camper. She also makes delicious pie. She has received grants and awards from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Jerome Foundation, Intermedia Arts, and the Loft. She has three very smart kids and one very smart husband and a dog who she believes might be one thousand years old. No one can say for sure. (The dog, incidentally, is very smart too.)

Abra Staffin-Wiebe has sold stories to publications including Jim Baen's Universe and Tor.com. She specializes in optimistic dystopian SF, modern fairy tales, cheerful horror, liquid state steampunk, dark humor, and heartwarming grotesqueries. She spent several years living abroad in India and Africa before marrying a mad scientist and settling down to live and write in Minneapolis. Discover more of her fiction at her website, http://www.aswiebe.com, or find her on the social media site of your choice.

Lyda Morehouse writes about what gets most people in trouble: religion and politics. Her first novel Archangel Protocol, a cyberpunk hard-boiled detective novel with a romantic twist, won the 2001 Shamus for best paperback original (a mystery award given by the Private Eye Writers of America), the Barnes & Noble Maiden Voyage Award for best debut science fiction, and was nominated for the Romantic Times Critic's Choice Award. She followed up Archangel Protocol with three more books in the AngeLINK universe: Fallen Host (Roc, 2002), Messiah Node (Roc, 2003), and Apocalypse Array(Roc, 2004). Apocalypse Array made the short list for the Philip K. Dick award. She lives in Saint Paul with her partner of twenty years and their amazingly adorable son, Mason.

August 2017

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