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Dec. 4th, 2014 09:04 pm
taelle: (Default)
As always, Thursday totally counts as Wednesday, so.

I recently read three mysteries by Catriona McPherson - liked them a lot, need to get more. I think in all three the murder was less of a mystery than the surrounding circumstances - which are VERY twisty; people aren't dead when they are announced to be, aren't children of their supposed parents, etc. Basically, I was genuinely interested in knowing how it would end. They're a bit strange to me character-wise because of Dandy the detective (especially Dandy's marriage) - okay, I am an emotionally cool person myself, but. Why on earth did she marry Hugh? Also, Alec, despite there being a lot about him in the first novel, doesn't quite come alive to me. Oh well.

I now have a Smartphone which makes it much easier to read Kindle books, so I left alone the ones I began on my reader and went to start several of my old and new Kindle buys. Fran Pickering's Cherry Blossom Murder is a murder mystery about Takarazuka - how could I not? I haven't read enough to say whether I like it, though - I also started Duke of Snow and Apples by Elizabeth Vail, a Regency fantasy with a mysterious footman, and a book about cleaning and housekeeping by Kondo Marie - I love books about cleaning and creating order, they're very soothing for me.

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Dec. 2nd, 2014 09:41 pm
taelle: (Default)
I have a new phone - my first Smartphone - and I am trying to learn to use it... naturally, the first app I got was Kindle. (still, it's weird to touch screen - I try to wipe it all the time!)

Now what else do I install. Life is hard.
taelle: (Default)
A bit towards the talks about fannish cross-stitching... but does Shakespeare count as fannish?

My progress on the Shakespeare sampler by Yvonne Horn:

Read more... )

I've started it on October 1st, but I am not a very frequent stitcher.

The whole is supposed to look like this:

Read more... )

* * *

Nov. 21st, 2014 08:55 pm
taelle: (rain)
 In USSR books were difficult to get. That is, you could buy an exciting modern novel about factory conflicts over producing better steel at any time, but good stuff - classical novels, historical books, adventure stories - was hard to get. You had to queue, or bring a lot of scrap paper for the right to buy popular books, or you had to know the right people who could get a book for you. The only way I managed to read Three Musketeers when I was about 8 and the film was recently out and all my classmates have read it already and I suffered was that my mother managed to borrow it in her workplace library.

So there were books you heard about and could not get. One such book was Jane Eyre: my mother had a story about how she was in a camp at school and managed to get it - I can't remember whether it was for a night, or whether she just was too eager - but basically she was reading it by the moonlight at the window, and the moonlight was moving away so she was reading and hanging out more and more out of the window to get more light.

Clearly it was a good book. And then there was perestroika and everybody went and published books (oh those horribly-made books of early 1990s), and you could actually buy stuff. And I got my hands on Jane Eyre. ... and it was probably too late - my mother read it at 14, and I was about 17, and it was interesting and dramatic, but really. Too dramatic - Mr Rochester, of course, did not help things, but mostly what I did not like was Jane's inner passions. They were a bit much for me.

And then, maybe a year later, a friend told me that she read a cool English novel by Jane Austen. Hmmm, I said, it's like another Jane Eyre?
No, my friend said, not at all. I can't remember whether she lent me the book - probably not, I think I went and bought my own. Pride and Prejudice, and I still have it, I think, even though I got better editions since then. But, well, my friend was right. I felt I met a book I could be friends with. A book where the heroes felt no need to be dramatic, and were polite, and yet their inner life was all more engrossing for them.

... and that was ages ago, and it seems to me that the majority of books is more like Bronte than Austen (I fib a little when I actually mean 'more like Jane Eyre' - I later read Shirley and loved it a lot, especially Caroline. And the historical context. And relationships... why did I not nominate Shirley for Yuletide?). And getting more and more so: here I am, reading about books on, say, DW or Tumblr, and my flists tell me: "Read this book, it's awesome! Everyone is broken and the protagonist is angry all the time!" Um. How about no.) But there still are some books I can be friends with.

* * *

Nov. 20th, 2014 03:32 pm
taelle: (Default)
 So I watched the adaptations of Strong Poison, Have his Carcase and Gaudy Night. Loved them.

... and then I went to watch Unpleasantness at Bellona Club, and oh god, why such casting, it makes no sense. Especially in this story: I can't see Carmichael's Lord Peter as a peer of George Fentiman, which he ought to be - he looks a benevolent and slightly patronizing uncle.

* * *

Nov. 19th, 2014 02:11 pm
taelle: (Default)
 https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/bullypulpitgames/night-witches - this company makes a computer game about the Night Witches regiment. I don't play computer games, but it's Night Witches - I went to read. ... and now I am thinking. Specifically, thinking about the sexism and feminism angle in their description.

My first instinctive reaction was "no-no-no, stupid Americans pushing their contemporary political concerns into our history". But. WWII here is this huge lump of unprocessed and unreflected history with only the clean and heroic bits - and I don't know when it will be processed. I have this plan going on the backburner, to read English-language books on Russian history just to have outside POV to help me think.

There is a book in Russian (I've no idea whether it was translated into English) about women at war, which I always mean to read but am afraid to - it's mostly accounts of women who went to war, and I have read _some_ real-life accounts so I have an idea about how depressing it would be; and I have met a lot of people who say that it's a tendentious and biased book to make our heroic history look dirty, and it was NOT LIKE THAT and better read Soviet-published memoirs of heroic women who volunteered and everyone in their regiments treated them as a little sister.

And, of course, once I started thinking I remembered reading memories of sexual harassment of women on the frontlines (and, one of the bits from the aforementioned book I did read - and it struck me very much - how women returning from war to their towns and villages were often shunned, because everyone believed they were whores - what else they could have been doing among so many men?)

I still don't believe in _sabotage_ which is mentioned in the game description, though: that would have been a shooting offense.

----------

Also, hello to the new people!  All this is kind of inspiring me to write more.

* * *

Nov. 18th, 2014 08:48 pm
taelle: (Default)
 I never thought I'd end up living in the time when most conversations with friends and family end up in "Is there going to be a war? Are we going to start a world war?"

* * *

Nov. 14th, 2014 06:44 pm
taelle: (Default)
 Posted a bunch of my Takarazuka fanfics from last year on AO3. Probably will post newer ones there too. As they're in Russian, there's not much  sense in it except for completeness' sake. But in a way I am trying to be unsocial in fandom - blog things no matter whether anyone is interested in reading them, write fics and not post them/not expect feedback, things like that.

(I did go to Yuletide this year, but even though I have been doing Yuletides forever, I am pretty unsocial there - I just write a fic, that's all. Well, I managed a couple of fics a couple of years)

Also, I think I've been affected by the season - I don't know the right word; I am not depressed but I kind of feel like shit, tired most of the time and not feeling much pleasure in anything in particular. Always feeling I need to catch up with something, not sure what. This is a difficult year.

* * *

Nov. 12th, 2014 12:36 am
taelle: (books)
 I was browsing blogs at the Russian blog server I use, and stumbled across someone who was - judging by their blog name - into "Jane Eyre". And there was that one entry where the blogger said that she was asked why she disliked Jane when she was okay with Becky Sharp.

And she explained that Becky was not related to anyone she was dealing with, so she had no obligations besides monetary ones. While Jane had no right to feel antipathy towards her aunt and cousins: she _had_ to love them and be grateful.

... this way of reading surprised me enough to make a note of it; I mean, I am lucky with my family and am often bewildered by people going on and on about the horridness of their parents, but... had no right? had to love? really?

* * *

Nov. 11th, 2014 12:14 am
taelle: (diary)
 I need to go and edit a fic of mine. Edit as in "shorten the beginning which is too long and meandering", not as in "check for typos and inconsistencies". ... I am stalling. 
taelle: (rain)
Thank you for writing for me! I am sure whatever you manage will be fine, but here are some details about what I like in stories in case you need more help/inspiration.

General likes and dislikes )
Specific fandom details )
taelle: (Default)
Article about SFF says: "If you've never read NN, I feel bad for you. [She] explores racism, sexism, homophobia, poverty, violence, and religion via dystopian futures [...]magnificently"

... really? I believe you that NN writes very well but I feel rather good that I've never read her - and am making a note to keep not reading her.

* * *

Sep. 27th, 2014 08:55 pm
taelle: (diary)
Reading blogs - including blogs of people you don't know but read regularly - is a weird experience because it lets you get to know people's mental and emotional state much better than it would happen in real life. And also because it often makes me want to comment asking "But whyyyyy? Why do you think this/react like this to that?" except that this is a kind of question you don't ask someone you don't know (or, often, someone you know either).

(I never grew out of the desire to ask 'Why?' - and for things like 'why do you like the thing you like', too: I was told again and again this is not a question to ask, and it doesn't have any answer, but that just made me want to find an answer. And made me get better at self-analysis, because no one else would try and tease out why).

(By now I am fairly sure I would not really understand the answer - but it would expand my mental base of "people react like this to that - weird but true")

... about the weird things that make me want to ask 'why' - too many people around seem to believe their life has two modes, "I am totally adjusted, have good plans and follow them all the time" and "I am a hopeless failure and my life is a mess". But whyyy... or better, how?
taelle: (Default)
I am rather passionate about information and hate not knowing things.

I also mostly not ask people things - the kind of simple things that most people do ask. Even if I do want to know them (especially if I do). Like, I am the kind of friend that will not ask "Now that you failed this exam what are you planning to do?", because I figure enough people are asking you that already, and one more question might feel too aggressive/tiresome.

This, of course, reflects how _I_ usually prefer to be dealt with, and I am sort of slowly recalibrating it with people I do know, but still. Kind of weird logically.
taelle: (persuasion)
When I am writing something, it almost always feels like I am squeezing words out of myself. The story is in my mind, but it can't just flow out, it needs to be squeezed through and dragged out - and I won't relax until it is done, too, because it's there, pressing on me, pushing to get out.

I'd like to find out one day what is it that the words need to squeeze through, what kind of a dam this is.

* * *

Sep. 13th, 2014 02:57 am
taelle: (books)
I think the reason I actually prefer reading nonfiction and genre books to general fiction is that I am the kind of person who never learned to separate her reading matter from her moods. The kind who won't have unhappy endings and such. And thus I am careful about what kind of books I let to influence my mood and my sense of well-being, even.

I remember ages ago, when I was still active on piffle, we were talking about Bujold. And I admitted I could not bear rereading the dinner party scene in A Civil Campaign, and even the first time I skimmed it in a jumpy and nervous way - because with my embarrassment squick it was almost unbearable to read. And several people agreed that they, too, felt that way. But then someone - Grada, IIRC - not just did not feel that way - she absolutely could not understand what was difficult in that scene. "I reread it many times! It is so wonderfully written, I enjoy it very much!" (quoted, naturally, from memory)

And I kept wondering, how was it, to experience books separately from yourself, to appreciate the skill, to enjoy complicated plots... I mean, I do appreciate all this, and yet there are books with all that which I will not finish or reread, because I am not comfortable in them. And I value my comfort, that's why I prefer the books which are subject to a certain kind of order and predictability.

(I started reading a book about reading books - I love those - and this led me to thinking that most book blogs I find, especially on Blogspot, seem to be about a very different kind of reading from mine)

* * *

Sep. 5th, 2014 03:24 am
taelle: (cosy)
I swear there should be a day of the week called 'Approximate Wednesday', for me to post my reading lists.
Then again, since I work at home and frequently work through weekends... let's say it's not approximate Wednesday, it's a relative one (Wednesday in Japanese seems to be 'Water day' judging by kanji, which makes me want to interpret 'Wednes' as 'Wetness', even though I know it's not so).

Anyway. I finished Klemperer's LTI, which was scary both on the level of 'I did not know this part of history' (seriously, I somehow thought all Jews in Nazi Germany went to camps. I knew of ghettos, of course, but only related them to occupied territories) and on the level of 'this reminds me of what's happening now'.

I also finished Boris Pasternak's 1905/Lieutenant Schmidt poems. Of which I previously have read only the first one, and I still like it better. But I now kind of want to read stuff about Schmidt now.

I am reading a bunch of stuff simultaneously, which is what usually happens when I feel jumpy and tired (well, more than 3 books is what happens when I am tired - 3 is normal); most of these, I think, I have mentioned already - the Poland history guide, the lesbian Pride and Prejudice, the next October Daye book (the 5th one). I also started a bunch of new stuff - Ernest Gellner's Nations and Nationalism, Yamaori Tetsuo's book about face in Japanese culture, Paolo Virno's book on multitudes (my sister gave it to me last New Year, but it seems strangely appropriate right now. Then again, everything seems strangely appropriate right now).

I don't think I will be up for making reading plans until I finish at least something.

* * *

Sep. 3rd, 2014 06:41 am
taelle: (Default)
I am reading a discussion about how Steve and Bucky in Avengers (or Marvel? I am shaky on the differences, I am not into comics) would not be into pop psychology and would not find going to a psychologist/therapist natural and helpful, and thinking "Oh yes".

I mean, I was born in the 1970s, not 1920s, but in a very different culture where the pop psychology is just coming in. And I have been reading fanfics for years but sometimes the seeming omnipresence of therapy drives me batty. I have no idea whether it's like this in real-life USA, but. People talking about things. "Do you want to talk about this?" Everyone seemingly being obligated to go to a therapist. I mean, if I had a traumatic experience and was made to go to a therapist, I'd probably grit my teeth and checked how do I get rid of this fastest, and would have considered this a part of traumatic experience.

And in fanfic it reads a bit like the way slashy sex scenes used to explain 1-2-3 fingers and obligatory condoms.

* * *

Sep. 1st, 2014 02:47 am
taelle: (rain)
*poking at AO3*

My five most kudos-ed fics are
- the Miss Pym one
- the Derkholm one
- the Juuni Kokki one
- the Scarlet Pimpernel one
- and the recent Hilary Tamar one

While if you go by number of hits the Juuni Kokki one is in the lead.
Then Miss Pym one, then the translation of my friend's Bujold fic, the Derkholm fic and, surprisingly, a very old Silmarillion fic.

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