taelle: (Default)
I have read the article about the Heyer bio, and omg, there's Arnie Perlstein in the comments - why does DW have no facepalm emoticons? Also, I can't decide whether I want that bio. With Cartland her bio and her autobiographical writings are actually the most interesting thing about her (though I do like a Cartland on occasion and am still fond of the first ones I've read).

Also, finished watching Britain's Best Drives. Still charmed by Richard Wilson, by landscapes and by the Fifties cars.

I am still reading War and Peace, slowly, because I want to pay attention to things - only, such a lot of unpleasant people. From war we come back to Pierre, and Pierre is quite nasty, imho. Okay, he is childish, passive and, like most of Tolstoy's favourite characters, quite disconnected from reality.

But, his relations with Helene, if you can even call it relations... So there's a beautiful girl he knew slightly when they were children, and now she is a society beauty admired by everyone, and he is rich and courted as a suitable possible husband. And suddenly he manages to notice that she is not a marble statue but a live sexy woman and he wants her. And she apparently enjoys being noticed and wanted. So, what does our hero do? He (a) decides he must marry because he can't get her out of his mind and everyone wants this anyway; and (b) at the same time keeps thinking that this is not love, this is a nasty indecent feeling, and she is stupid and unworthy and anyway people say she had an affair with her own brother. But he is going to marry her anyway, while thinking all this, because she's sexy and her father and friends want this marriage.

Now, I don't know what Helene is thinking (I wouldn't mind knowing it), but if there's something nasty here, Pierre is the main example of this, imho.

* * *

Oct. 24th, 2011 04:45 pm
taelle: (rain)
I might have planned to write a sensible post about Victoriana, since I have finished George Eliot bio (then again, I might have just gone on about how some things about her really speak to me, and some things... really don't).

But I woke up to the news that Kiriya Hiromu is retiring, and that kind of chased out all the sensible thoughts out of my head. ... yes, it's not the end of the world. She's sure to have a good post-Takarazuka career, she's so splendid and talented. But. But. But.
taelle: (sad)
On the plus side, the current job is much more sensible and doable, and the autumn is crisp and golden. Each day I go outside and return with some maple leaves - though today I picked them going through a park where for some reason there were only yellow ones. I like variety in my autumn bouqets.

On the minus side, a bad night's sleep, a sleepy day despite taking a nap in the afternoon, and my period started - oh joy.

Also, a week to my birthday. That's not a plus or a minus, that's just weird. I don't feel like I am approaching thirty-six. I don't know how I feel. When my mother was thirty-six, I was thirteen, and my sister, three. I'm not even sure I feel grown-up - maybe without children and a family of my own I never will. I... don't know anything, really.

And I have a headache.

I am definitely going to get some George Eliot in the library once I finish her bio. Middlemarch, probably... though it looks like most of her books have unhappy endings, and I am so not fond of those. But for some reason there are things about her life that resonate with me; mostly her writing troubles. Though it is, perhaps, ridiculous - me, planning a ficlet, thinking about her trouble with novels that are now classic.

But I have to write. And ficlet promises to be longer than intended and so, it needs planning.

I hope I'll get more sleep today than yesterday.

* * *

Oct. 10th, 2011 03:36 am
taelle: (diary)
So, an impromptu holiday was a good idea: I swear I did more today than on Friday, and in less time. Self, when will you learn?

And the autumn is truly golden and beautiful - and I took photos of some pretty cabbage-type things on a street flowerbed; they're unexpected but look good. Now I hope I'll find time to deal with photos - I think the mushroom-picking ones are still in my camera. Of course I might be delaying the process because I am still afraid of Photoshop (I can distinguish bad photos in need of work - now, choosing the processes for making them good is more complicated).

I think I'm pausing on Tolstoy because I was reading him too thoughtfully and got tired or frightened that I can't keep up with myself. I do tend to do that - one of the reasons I work myself into a writing block. BTW, haven't written today - but started planning and thinking about untangling that half-written LBB story. Like, almost literally untangling. Go me. Though some training-writing still needs to be happening.

Meanwhile I am reading about George Eliot - and also listening to Patrick Allitt's lectures on Victorian Britain. Fascinating, even though the lectures are a bit too surface stuff in places - then again, my knowledge on Victorian Britain is too unsystematic. But it's such an interesting time in terms of social change. Seeing the seeds of the present in the past (though the history of medicine keeps being scary despite being interesting). And with George Eliot bio I love most of all seeing the network of people working at intellectual pursuit, overlapping circles of friends and acquaintances involved in literature and science and stuff (that's why I also like Camden and the rest of the antiquarian gang - that sense of interconnectedness).

And in the kitchen my mother keeps watching Columbo. I come and go and see bits of it and it creates a curious impression of the continuing world in which Columbo moves with that simplicity of his, both artificial and real, but even his artifice looks more real than everyone else.

* * *

Oct. 9th, 2011 05:07 am
taelle: (sad)
Today my body seems to have decided that I'm having a holiday, and that's it: I got up and worked for less than an hour, and then I climbed back into bed and couldn't get out of it until maybe 4 PM.

After which my evening plans, earlier discarded because of some people being unavailable, suddenly reinstated themselves, and I went to visit some friends, mostly for Takarazuka-themed chatting and much watching of photobooks and oohing and aahing. Well, at least from my side: I firmly approach this fandom from the position of "there are no actresses I dislike, there are just actresses I don't really know". It's more fun for me that way; unfortunately that also makes me a bit tired after a contact with someone who doesn't share this approach.

That is not to say that I didn't have a nice evening; I did. (also, I finally got some DVDs that took their time in coming to me) I am just having a... seasonal increase in introvertedness? Or something. A prolonged contact with the majority of human population leaves me rather tired. Trouble is, I grew into a habit of needing that contact; ten years ago I was rather happy as a fandom lurker, with my books, my music, my fics, etc. I don't think I could return to this - looks like I grew rather too socialized, and it troubles me. I don't like to be dependent on people.

And I did write today, after missing a day. Go me! I'm not sure it will go somewhere, as it's an exploration of the motivations of a character in a long story I'm not even sure I'm writing (and which has no plot, only a group of characters and some basic events they were involved in).

No Tolstoy today, but some of the George Eliot bio. Two things strike me in what I read today (finishing the chapter on Adam Bede): the way people reacted emotionally to a novel - waiting for it excitedly, being unable to leave it, writing letters to the author... rather fannish reaction in a way. And another fandom-related thing - the way George Eliot was sensitive to criticism. It feels like a page out of a discussion on fandom criticism - "you were so harsh to so-and-so's fic, she's thinking about never writing again".

It's raining outside; I'm sorry it's a bit too cold to sleep with an open window - I like the sound of rain.

* * *

Oct. 7th, 2011 04:53 am
taelle: (Default)
I think I am all out of one-shot drabble ideas. Time to plan - it feels like something longer than a page needs planning. Also it feels like I forgot how to plan stories. At all. Too tired from work, I guess - and work goes too slowly because I am tired.

In an attempt to feel productive I decided to start on the shawl I long ago bookmarked for knitting. Or, well, tried to. Perhaps I am not sensible in trying this -  I am not a good knitter, and I never knitted anything by pattern before. Especially an English-language pattern. Though the problem here is not with translation as such - it's just that I suspect I was taught the basic knit and purl in a manner which is not quite the accepted one, so videos and too detailed pictures give me headaches and I can't really connect them with what I'm doing. Describing the idea of what I have to do works much better.

Anyway, I redid the very beginning two times but the sixth row still doesn't work. I figured out the idea of SSK even if I'm not yet sure I adapted it correctly, but I can't even find a description of a double YO, and what I'm doing clearly isn't working. ... I'm still doing that shawl, so there. Though I might provide all the dolls with scarves on the side just for the sake of completing something.

With Tolstoy, I am at the war already. I just remembered that we're not actually supposed to like Andrei. I think. I mean, Tolstoy tells us straight ahead that he's only nice and approachable to people who think him special and expect great things from him etc. ... I found the Bolkonsky family life rather interesting, btw - so Andrei loves his sister and his father. How nice. Me, I don't like his sister - her saintliness feels a bit too much, and I feel like she's as haughty as her father and her brother, in her own way.

... and it's funny to compare the 'war' bits to Heyer's Infamous Army - the hero was an aide-de-camp too, after all. Though less special than Andrei.

I think I started noticing how Tolstoy is doing what he's doing - seems like defamiliarization is his favourite trick: describing something with no kind of shorthand, like he - and us with him - sees an action  (he's mostly using it for actions and facial expressions, I think) for the first time ever. Possibly for the first time in history. It works - I think that's why everyone and everything is so alive, like we're really seeing everything; but at the same time I feel like it leads to a kind of estrangement, at least for me - we look at those people with such lack of familiarity that they keep being a bit alien, and there's little chance to feel sympathy with their everyday lives.

(I do read my other books too, but slowly. George Eliot's still writing Adam Bede, so I have ways to go with her bio).

* * *

Sep. 22nd, 2011 11:16 am
taelle: (Default)
I think the most interesting thing for me in this George Eliot bio is, well, the social details. Just what opportunities women had, what happened to marriages, what were the consequences of living with a man without marrying him and so on. I just hope this bio is accurate - it looks to be pretty definitive.

I wonder if I should try Middlemarch again. "Family" novels for some reason get me nervous and on edge as much as thrillers do - maybe more; there is so much more potential for nasty stuff happening. (and I alway knew my tastes in reading matters were pretty philistine - I like mysteries and biographies because they are sort of orderly and ordered).

* * *

Sep. 20th, 2011 04:17 am
taelle: (Default)
It's my favourite weather out there, especially in the evening - this early autumn city weather, when darkness shines with streetlights and the remains of a rain - or promises of a rain. I want to be out walking, but even not thinking about my cough which gets worse after I go out, I'd get tired after twenty minutes.

Weather, please wait for me.

So I've mostly been reading - finished Oldington's bio of the Duke of Wellington (now want more modern treatments as well as more primary sources), and Heyer's Infamous Army (so much love. Even though Heyer's heroes are allowed to be more sensible than heroines. But I like Barbara - and I really like Judith!). Now reading a bio of George Eliot (maybe silly of me - of her books I only ever read a part of Middlemarch and not finished it - I think it was too complicated a read for my state of English back then) and an urban fantasy by Kate Griffin called Madness of Angels. It was a present from a friend and I know nothing about it, but I like sometimes to read books without expectations - expectations weigh on me and make me nervous about what's going to happen in a book and what the author is going to do with her characters and with me. ... anyway, I haven't read much yet, but it's kind of interesting for now.

And I really, really hope I'm not getting a migraine. A migraine is precisely what I do not need.

And I am way too irritable to deal with many of my acquaintances, even if I'm still polite enough not to show it.

* * *

Sep. 15th, 2011 02:55 am
taelle: (Default)
Apparently reading things is still the most soothing occupation. Well, at the present. Doing 3-D wooden models is better, because it occupies my attention more completely, but I don't have any at present. Maybe I should go make a trip to buy some more, for an occastional bad day. The trouble with those models is that I have almost no space for them afterwards. (Cross-stitching, unfortunately, occupies very little of my attention)

Actually, what should occupy my attention is an agreement form for some company to buy some stuff. Or to sell some stuff. Doesn't much matter for the purposes of blogging. But I find it hard to work when I feel really unhappy, and don't have surefire methods of becoming not-unhappy (the worse I feel, the less methods are available to me). BTW, the reasons for my unhappiness are partly unclear even to me and partly too stupid to say aloud. Which, of course, makes it worse.

Perhaps I should rename this blog into something like "Reading notes". Though it doesn't really matter.

Anyway, Oldington's biography of Wellington. In a really bad Russian translation. I still like Wellington (not sure about Oldington, though). And, after some thought, I added as a second book (I do tend to read two books at once) Georgette Heyer's Infamous Army. Which did go some ways towards making me feel better (oh Charles. Oh Barbara. Oh their courtship), until some people said some things and, well... too stupid to say aloud. Perhaps I should also finish Harry Potter and History, but I felt rather bored by the first chapters - too general-knowledge, and, well, too much of 'did you know our real world also has a history of magic' and too little of the analysis of all this in connection with the HP magic and history. Or it may be just me. And I am still too obsessive-compulsive or something to just skip ahead to look for more interesting stuff.

Also, still coughing.

* * *

May. 2nd, 2010 05:22 pm
taelle: (sad)
Funny: 18th century for me always was the only not-really-interesting period in English history. And then I read the bio of Georgiana, duchess of Devonshire, and now I'm reading the bio of Sarah, duchess of Marlborough, and they kind of look like a frame for the century from similar POVs, and I'm starting to wonder and think and wish to know more...

Aside from that, if my name were Whadcock Priest, I probably wouldn't choose church as my profession, but what do I know, really.


taelle: (Default)

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